The time has come to reevaluate the local sports scene. The Dodgers are average, so perhaps it's a blessing that most fans can't see them on TV, the Clippers are solid on the court but an embarrassment off of it, and the Lakers are a mess everywhere. However, the Kings are playing in their third straight Western Conference finals and are seven wins away from winning their second Stanley Cup in three years. I'd say it is past time for all Angelenos to jump on the Kings' bandwagon and help support the best chance we have of a championship season.
I invited my friend from Chicago to go with me to see the Kings in the playoffs at Staples Center, but Donald Sterling called and asked me not to bring any Blackhawks people to the game.
I am wondering why the L.A. Times finds it necessary to include in its hockey coverage the point of view from an apparent whiny, classless crybaby from Chicago. Neither informative nor interesting, it is just droll, no, insulting.
Can anyone imagine a paid, edited and published, fully grown adult newspaper writer spending an entire article bad-mouthing a referee's call that did not even affect the outcome of the game — that they won?!
What is this guy going to do when — not if — the Kings beat them and win another Stanley Cup? Perhaps someone could put the video of him bawling his eyes out on YouTube for us.
In Game 7 against the Ducks, the Kings, to their credit, came out with passion and intensity. The Ducks came out (and stayed) like they had an early tee time Saturday. Teemu played like it was his last game, which, unfortunately, it was. He and Ducks fans deserve a lot better effort than that.
I read a quote recently about the retirement tours of Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. The quote was to the effect that Jeter is widely admired, Mariano Rivera was widely beloved. Here, in Teemu Selanne, we have one man who, in the world of hockey at least, matched Jeter in admiration and exceeded Rivera in being beloved.
OK, he ended his career two playoff series early, and he didn't get a retirement tour around the league. However, the show of respect the Kings gave him before they left the ice wouldn't have occurred if the Ducks continued on, and it was a worthy and telling way to show how much this one winger has meant to the Ducks, Southern California and the game.
Around the league
If they can't force Donald Sterling to sell the Clippers, maybe the NBA can force Time Warner Cable to purchase their TV rights so that no one can watch them either.
I get that Adam Silver is trying to put his own stamp on the NBA, but planting Cleveland's ping-pong balls in the freezer is so David Stern.
If the NBA wants to steer clear of conspiracy theories every year at the draft lottery, then why don't they just show the proceedings live? Having a secret ceremony to choose the draft order and then wheeling out a stack of sealed envelopes with the winners makes us fans feel like we are watching a Russian presidential election. After all, if the league can cancel a trade for "basketball reasons," then surely, using the same logic, it can rig a few ping-pong balls to bounce a certain way.
Was it just a coincidence that when Cleveland won the NBA draft lottery AGAIN, the Chick Hearn doll was shaking his head "no"?
In his column on the "racial stereotyping" in remarks by Mark Cuban, Bill Plaschke chooses to ignore reality. Many people of a variety of backgrounds, racial, political, ethnic and otherwise, brand themselves by dressing, acting or decorating themselves in a certain way. Unfortunately, many of these appearances, rightly or wrongly, have come to be associated in the public mind with a certain kind of person. Most people would react differently to a guy on a motorcycle covered with chains and tattoos than a man with glasses and a pocket protector filled with pens. An image may project a danger that is not really there, but the prudent person reacts accordingly. It's not fair but it is reality.
Due to my personal bias against obnoxious team owners who think having money entitles them to sermonize, if I saw Mark Cuban coming, I would cross the street.
Imagine still having a job where you have made $100 million in blunders by signing previously injured players in advance of their full recovery. Now Mitch Kupchak is searching for a new coach after wasting tens of millions on the previous coaches. Before he seeks Mr. Bryant's opinion on how to run the offense again, I suggest he check out whether Mr. Bryant can run down the floor.
Kevin H.. Park
The easiest way to make sure Kobe Bryant and the next Lakers coach are on the same page is to make sure they're the same person. Appoint Kobe as a player/coach. Surely he doesn't have too much more basketball left in his body but he can transition to the bench while remaining central to the organization. His leadership skills and knowledge of the game and the team are unquestionable. And there is precedent. The great Bill Russell did the same thing with the Celtics as his career drew to a close. Who else knows the Lakers and what they need at this difficult time more than Kobe?
Where are they?
Part of the Dodgers' problem is that 70% of the psychic energy from their fan base is blocked from watching, focusing, concentrating that power in the moment. You can't unplug more than half of your fan base and not lose some magic.
So, Time Warner Cable is "eager for all consumers in the Dodger footprint to have access to SportsNet LA." Really? Well, so far, the only place anyone's seen that "footprint" is squarely on the backsides of loyal Dodgers fans!
By the time the Dodgers get everything settled with Time Warner Cable, it will not matter, because they will be so buried down in the division and out of contention, no one will want to watch them play — and especially pay extra for it.
Regarding the return of the Dodgers' rotation, a true "turning point" for the season will come when they start besting teams with winning records. Fattening up on the lowly Mets and D-backs is fine. But save the gloating for such time as the Dodgers can better, say, their 3-7 record against the first-place Giants.
After watching another game involving poor defense, baserunning and mental errors, it is apparent this Dodgers team is either poorly coached, or poorly motivated. Matt Kemp at times looks like he plays with oven mitts on his hands, doesn't hustle and is a shell defensively of what he used to be. Give me Ethier in center any day. The middle infield is porous, Uribe is soon to be 40 and Gonzalez has the range of a glacier. Their defense is going to continue to cost them games, along with their lack of focus.
There's no biting in baseball!
One small step
It is ironic that Stage 7 of the Tour of California passed within sight of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, which pioneered deep space communications from Mars and beyond, yet NBC Sports could not get a decent signal from the streets of Pasadena.
Lakers, no Kobe. Dodgers, no Kershaw. Kings, no Kopitar. Penn, no Teller. Captain, no Tennille. Peanut butter, no jelly.
2014 U.S. World Cup roster, no Donovan? One doesn't fully function without the other.
Mark J. Featherstone
The Los Angeles Times welcomes expressions of all views. Letters should be brief and become the property of The Times. They may be edited and republished in any format. Each must include a valid mailing address and telephone number. Pseudonyms will not be used.
Mail: Sports Viewpoint
Los Angeles Times
202 W. 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Fax: (213) 237-4322