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TOTALLY RANDOM

Some rinks burn out, others fade away

Old arenas have different ways of living out their final years.

February 15, 2009|Lisa Dillman

It's hard to say what feels more painful: the erasure of a well-known sports venue from the landscape or a famed arena going to seed.

Is it better to be demolished than to be left to rust?

Driving past the larger-than-life Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., it's hard not to feel wistful for the now-gone Met Center, once the home of the NHL's Minnesota North Stars.

If it wasn't for an enterprising relative, there wouldn't even be a piece of rubble on a plaque on the mantel in the living room to provide a memory nudge.

Then there's the almost-ignored Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, still standing, reduced to a cameo here and there, pulling a star turn for a rare function or movie shoot, according to an update by Tim Wharnsby in the Toronto Globe and Mail.

"It was a wonderful place," local restaurant owner George Bigliardi told the paper. "It was like part of the family, but now that part of the family is gone."

Words you never quite hear about the Sports Arena in Los Angeles.

Trivia time

Who scored the final goal in the last hockey game played 10 years ago at Maple Leaf Gardens?

Money for something

And now, for a daily dose of A-Rod.

On Friday, the University of Miami formally renamed its baseball field in honor of the controversial Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees' third baseman donated $3.9 million back in 2003 for stadium renovations.

Miami Coach Jim Morris referred to stories about A-Rod sneaking into games as a kid.

"I think he's probably overpaid a little bit for back admission," Morris told the Associated Press.

Cactus-land

Dave McMenamin of NBA.com had a couple of early impressions of all things All-Star-related in Phoenix:

Coolest place: The NBA TV/NBA.com set, where you get to sit in with a video of Ahmad Rashad and call the highlights on your own.

Creepiest sight: The life-sized plastic statues of Dwight Howard surrounding the Adidas court.

Trivia answer

Chicago tough guy Bob Probert in the Blackhawks' 6-2 victory against the Maple Leafs.

And finally

ESPN's Bill Simmons on the Golden State Warriors' Monta Ellis: "Let's add this to the collective bargaining agreement: If you crash a motorcycle or scooter after signing a big-money contract, every living NBA player from the 1940s, '50s and '60s gets to split your salary for one season."

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lisa.dillman@latimes.com

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