With apologies to Karl Marx, sports, not religion, is the real opiate
of the masses, an escape from the tensions of travails of everyday
Except in this town.
Here, the gods of sports mock us. Consider:
The Lakers are fading like a distant memory. It’s Kobe Bryant and a
bunch of other guys who will never see their jerseys hanging from the
rafters unless it’s at the hands of an angry mob.
Then Kobe gets his nose smashed and his bell rung in an all-star
game. An all star game? Nobody gets hurt in an all-star game.
But our guy does. My advice: don’t refinance to buy playoff tickets.
The Clippers? They have risen from the ashes. But one key injury or
some other bizarre twist of fate and they’re beloved losers again. We
wish them success, however, if for no other reason than to see those
cheesy ads that Donald Sterling buys in the Times saluting himself as
a great humanitarian.
College basketball in this town is a disaster. USC is painfully inept
and UCLA is dysfunctional. The Bruins are lucky they played all their
game at the Sports Arena this year because nobody saw them.
Hockey is your game? The Kings are crashing faster than space junk.
That’s what happens when you average one goal a month. But be
patient. It’s only been 45 years. They’ll start their Stanley Cup
drive any day now.
The Ducks? Who cares? They’re from Orange County. Besides, how can
you get behind a team that shares a name with Daffy.
Wait, it gets worse.
Football in Los Angeles is personified by USC. Last year, they were
an exciting and powerful team. The problem with the Trojans is that
they rack up NCAA infractions as quickly as they score touchdowns.
Even their women’s tennis team was recently sanctioned.
Now they’re facing serious football scholarship limitations because
of their misdeeds. It could prove damaging. Why don’t they just turn
pro and avoid all these hassles?
UCLA plays football, too. But mostly they spend their time acquiring
bad coaches. Their latest hire has no college coaching experience.
This is either innovation or insanity.
Professional football seems tantalizingly close at times. Both Ed
Roski and Phillip Anschutz stand ready to build billion dollar
There’s just one stumbling block: NFL Commissioner Roger
Goodell says there hasn't been any discussion about adding to the
league's 32 teams and he's not interested in shifting a franchise.
It almost makes you wish the Raiders were back in town.
Which brings us to baseball.
I don’t have to remind you of what has befallen our beloved Dodgers.
Under the direction of owner Frank McCourt, they have achieved the
difficult but dubious distinction of failure on the field and in the
The good news: McCourt is being forced to sell his bankrupt team. The
bad news: he wants to hold on to the parking lots.
McCourt is like a bad flu bug. Just when you think you’ve got it
licked, it comes back to make you miserable again.
His parking lot gambit is either a device to jack up the selling
price or --- our worst nightmare --- an indication that we’ll have to
tolerate him for years to come.
There will be plenty of good seats available at Dodger Stadium this
Then there’s the Angels, a team so insecure they’ve taken to calling
themselves the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
They don’t represent Los Angeles. They’re from Orange County, dammit.
And no matter how many expensive free agents they sign, no matter how
many games they win, they will always be the other team in town.
Besides, how can you root for a team with a waterfall in center field?
ESPN once characterized Atlanta as the worst sports town in America.
But that was because of a lack of fan support.
In our case, it’s as though the country titled to the west and all
the bad karma rolled into Los Angeles County.
So do good deeds. Love your neighbor. Be kind to dogs and kids.
Maybe it will bring us a few winners.