Sports in Our Area in Bad Shape

    Southern California sports have seen better days. The dearth of any sporting franchises that could even be labeled as competitive have the SoCal sports fans in search of a winner, or at least a team that is not excruciatingly painful to watch.

    Our baseball teams, the Padres, Dodgers and Angels, are all toiling away in mediocrity. The Pad squad is simply biding their time until they can cash in on their new stadium and start making some real dough. The Dodgers, with their preposterously high payroll, paid a lot for what they got, which was garbage, and the poor Angels will always be a second-tier organization.

    Our sole football franchise, the Chargers, can barely get to the line of scrimmage without tripping over their own feet or embarrassing themselves in some other pathetic fashion.

    Of course, while this tomfoolery is going on, our two old football teams, the defending Superbowl-champion St. Louis Rams, and the Oakland Raiders with their knife-wielding misfit fans, have compiled stellar records this season.

    Our two hockey teams, well um, eh whatever. Since Gretzky left the Kings I’ve pretty much lost interest. There is no way I am supporting some big, multinational, corporate conglomerate entity’s team, especially if said team is named after one of the conglomerations that owns the rights to awful films like “”The Mighty Ducks.””

    That is why every SoCal sports fan worth his salt is eagerly anticipating the upcoming NBA season. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing Donald Sterling’s Clippers, voted last year as the worst franchise in sporting history, come into their own, with a fresh crop of young players whose starting five may possess less collective years than our UCSD men’s basketball squad.

    Of course there is that other team that plays in the Staples Center, who are not only competent, but pretty much tops in the class as their league championship last season can attest.

    This season, the Lakers look to be even better with some key new personnel, the departures of a whiny chump or two, and another season of experience in regular and postseason play.

    Isaiah Rider is a welcome addition to the purple and gold, as he adds some thug mentality and scoring ability. Horace Grant, acquired in the three-team deal that sent the token white boy Travis Knight and outside shooter Glen Rice (and his wife) to the Knickerbockers, adds 13 years of experience and some good ol’ fashioned whoopass to the Laker team. Mark Madsen, the fresh-faced rookie who was the Lakers’ first round draft pick (29th overall) in the latest draft will also be given the chance to contribute.

    The Lake Show kicked off its 2000-2001 campaign Tuesday night against their fierce old Western rival, the Portland Trailblazers and showed that their success will be more than short-lived. Shaq-daddy knocked down 36 points, and the Kobemeister had 14, while Rider, the new kid on the block, chipped in with 13.

    One important thing, however, to keep in mind is that if you were not down with the Lakers before, it would be morally and philosophically wrong to hop onto the old bandwagon at this juncture.

    You should be able to remember the post-ShowTime, pre-Lake Show days when the only real reason to tune into Laker broadcasts was to hear the sweet schtick of Laker announcer Chick Hearn and watch poor Del Harris squirm in the harsh big city spotlight.

    Recently, it seems as if everyone is a die-hard Laker fan, yet hasn’t a clue as to who Nick Van Exel is, or, in some extreme cases, what the Great Western Forum was.

    But take heart all you true fans out there. One of these days, perhaps six to 10 years from now, the Lake Show will end, and the team will once again sink into mediocrity, as all Southern Californian teams do. Then it will be all yours once again.

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