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Morning Briefing

Hey, L.A. almost won something

October 31, 2006|Mike Penner | Times Staff Writer

What happens when your beloved baseball team has won one playoff game in 18 years ... and your once-peerless basketball team plays second fiddle to the Clippers ... and you haven't had an NFL game in 12 years ... and your once-Hollywood-hip hockey team hasn't gotten out of the second round of the playoffs since trading Wayne Gretzky?

You're voted second-worst sports city in America by Sportsbook.com.

Los Angeles trailed only Atlanta, according to a "bluish-green-ribbon panel of sportswriters, bloggers and pundits" assembled by the online betting website.

Among the reasons:

* "Lacks an NFL team, despite former commish Paul Tagliabue doing everything within his power to relocate one there, short of luring the Vikings with the promise of a 'Grey's Anatomy' cameo."

* "If the Steve Bartman incident had happened at a Dodgers game, would anybody have bothered to get the guy's name and ruin his life?"

* "Short-lived infatuation with Gretzky-era Kings fooled the NHL into thinking the West Coast is a sustainable region for hockey."

* "Everybody sure jumped on the Clippers bandwagon in a hurry."

* "Not that this is the place to rail about sports' corporate overlords, but the multi-tiered luxury boxes at the Staples Center elevate the upper-deck seats to an altitude almost entirely devoid of oxygen."

* "If you lose a team [the Rams] to St. Louis, you're not even trying, dude."

Trivia time

What is the Kings' playoff record since trading Gretzky?

They call it Not-lanta

According to Sportsbook.com, here's how Atlanta beat us out for No. 1:

* "Thanks to TBS and its countrywide reach, Braves fans were able to bring the tomahawk chop out of the racist basement and into our hearts."

* "The Hawks last made the playoffs during the Taft administration."

* "[Fans are] less passionate about their teams than their accents."

* "Wait -- do they have an NHL team now, or don't they? Nobody can remember, which might be part of the problem."

* "The Braves had to sue the Braves Cleaning Service to get the www.braves.com Internet domain -- but in a departure from their usual modus operandi, they actually won that one. Hugs all around!"

Tim McCarver

doesn't do Super Bowls

Besides suggesting that the country might not warm to Fox's coverage of a five-game World Series that will be remembered mostly for a smudge on Kenny Rogers' hand, the record-low 10.1 average television rating for the St. Louis-Detroit series also helps illustrate how big the NFL is in this country.

The World Series' rating did not equal one-fourth of Super Bowl XL's 41.6 rating in February.

Additionally, the combined average ratings for this year's World Series, NBA Finals (8.5) and Stanley Cup finals (2.3) amount to 20.9 -- barely half the rating for the Pittsburgh-Seattle Super Bowl.

And the Pittsburgh-Seattle Super Bowl did not crack the top 20 of highest-rated Super Bowls. The record rating for a Super Bowl is 49.1 for Super Bowl XVI in 1982, in which the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals, 26-21.

Trivia answer

The Kings have qualified for the playoffs four times since trading Gretzky in February 1996. In five series -- they reached the second round in 2001 -- the Kings have a playoff record of 10-18.

And finally

Charles Barkley, on TNT's "Listen Up," talking about his Halloween experiences as a youngster growing up in Leeds, Ala.:

"I remember dressing up as a cowboy with the belt and holster and the big hat. But where I grew up, not many people gave out candy."

mike.penner@latimes.com

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