Friday, June 01, 2007

Dodgers: Los Angeles' Landlord?

According to Christine Daniels of the LA Times, the Dodgers own LA. Even over the Lakers. I don't know if I entirely buy this, given the Dodgers' lack of playoff victories in the last twenty years, but history does count for something.

Anyway, the top five:

Whose town is this, anyway?

It is a question I have heard a lot from friends whose allegiances to one local team or another are as personal as they are impassioned. And it's a question I've been mulling during this week's insane intersection of big and bigger L.A. sports news -- "All Kobe, All the Time" radio banging elbows with the first-place Dodgers, the first-place Angels and the Stanley Cup-questing Ducks.

Which entity ranks as "L.A.'s Team" during normal, more stable, the-sky-is-not-falling-on-the-Lakers conditions?

The landscape has changed considerably since the Rams and Raiders bolted for leaner pastures and an ex-Dodger catcher ambled down the freeway to turn the thing around in Anaheim. Here is one view on how the current roster of teams breaks down in terms of popularity, loyalty and interest among Los Angeles/Orange County fans:

1. Dodgers. Still tops after all these years, precisely because of all those years. . . . The Dodgers beat the Lakers into Los Angeles by a couple of seasons, at a time when baseball was still king, enabling them to get a foothold they have yet to relinquish. Passion for the Dodgers has been simmering longer, dating back to the days of Walt Alston (he didn't appear overly passionate, but the people who supported his team were) and Coliseum "Moon Shots." . . . Replay the tape: Scully, Koufax, Lasorda, Fernando, Hershiser, Gibson, Piazza. Tough to find bigger L.A. icons than those.

2. Lakers. With a bullet, thanks to the gun Kobe has tried to hold to the Lakers' heads. . . . The fever took a while to crest, first breaking out during the Showtime years, then subsiding during the Randy Pfund/Elden Campbell years, then rebounding with a fury with the 2000-2002 Three-Peat. . . . Kobe Versus Shaq '04 pushed it into the stratosphere, where it has remained despite only four playoff victories since.

3. USC football. Given up for yesteryear's news during the 1990s, the Trojans have pulled off the comeback of our generation. . . . Against significant odds, USC football is bigger today than it was under Howard Jones and John McKay and John Robinson. Post-Palmer/Leinart/Bush, it now seems hard to believe that USC went more than two decades between Heisman Trophies and national titles.

4. UCLA basketball. Given up for yesteryear's news during the Steve Lavin regime, the Bruins are back to giving the people what they want with back-to-back Final Four appearances. Well, almost. . . . Stylistically, Ben Howland does it a little differently than John Wooden did. If Wooden's Pyramid of Success were the real deal, Howland's players would have been the ones cutting and transporting the stones.

5. UCLA football. The Bruins' Little Brother Football Complex in a nutshell: UCLA's greatest quarterback of the last half-century was named Troy.

I suppose Daniels isn't a "Summer School" fan, or Mark Harmon would have merited a mention...


Eric Karros said...

That is a tough top 5 to crack

Anonymous said...

How fickle do you think we are?. Just because we haven't won anything does not mean our loyalties change.

Anonymous said...

No way are the Dodgers the #1 team in the City of Angels. LA is a hoops town (Lakers/Bruins) followed by college football (SC/UCLA) and the Dodgers come up 5h.

Anonymous said...

you are wrong anonymous. The Dodgers rule you idiot.

Eric Karros said...

Karros, you don't know what you're talking about either idiot. The Avengers will be in that top 5 by end of '08.