Tim Leiweke, president and chief executive of AEG, announces naming rights… (Kevork Djansezian / Getty…)
In following the City of Los Angeles and AEG's lead on the new football stadium, I announced to my family that I am buying a house with a salary from a job that I have interviewed for, but don't have yet. I have also announced the name of my child that has yet to be conceived with the girl I just met. I was stunned that their reaction was not pure jubilation.
I think I'm seeing this correctly. Intimate Farmers Field will be located next to an arena that's already tough to get to that has inadequate and prohibitively expensive parking that's near a tiny Metro Rail stop that's adjacent to an impacted freeway that's next to a convention center that's next to a giant hotel that's next to a giant movie theater complex that's next to a concert hall that's next to a bunch of restaurants (forget the rest of downtown).
Now, picture in your mind's eye the parking required for 56,000-seat Dodger Stadium and ask yourself how 64,000 fans will get to the stadium on game day (assuming, of course, it's not a Sunday when the Lakers also play). No thanks. I'll watch on TV.
The NFL is coming to Los Angeles! Why do I feel like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football Lucy is holding?
So Farmers Insurance is going to pony up $700 million for a 30-year naming rights deal for a proposed football stadium downtown next to Staples Center.
How nice. I can hardly wait.
I predict this latest plan has about as much chance of coming to fruition as the Lakers do of "three-peating" in June.
Ain't gonna happen.
A few billionaires and a lot of millionaires hyperventilating about a football stadium (jobs, hooray!) which will serve the purposes of a bunch of upper class people (shhh, don't tell) in Southern California, all the while saying the poor people won't have to put in a cent (Ha! Funny!). Except for the millions of dollars of bonds that will one day ("someday") have to be paid back. And except for environmental impact report which is of no concern (What toxins? What traffic?).
Where were all these people when teachers were being laid off, schools needed upgrading, and corporations were firing people and leaving L.A.? Al Michaels, Jerry West and others should be ashamed, but they know a buck when they see a buck. Even if it exploits (molests) the public trust. There's a word to describe all of them, and the rest of the NFL, but it's not polite.
Corona del Mar
As a hockey fan I am glad to see the rest of the sports world begin to do what Kings fans have been doing for years. Namely, question the motives of Invisi-Phil Anschutz and Tim Leiweke. They have already bungled one franchise, unless you are a fan of reduced player payrolls, lack of accountability, false promises and a 15-year rebuilding plan. So why the rush to hand them the keys to another team?
Staples Center has been an unqualified success because the Lakers, Clippers and Kings play around 140 home dates per year.
Farmers Field will be an total failure because any NFL team will only play around 10 home dates per year.
If the Jaguars move in to the proposed Farmers Field, they should be called the Beverly Hills Jaguars. There are more Jaguars in Beverly Hills than in Jacksonville, that's for sure.
The growing global business model for sports franchises and their stadiums now adopted by AEG and Farmers Insurance:
"If you name it, they will come!"
Time to panic!
The media, the players, even Phil, say the Lakers are not playing up to their potential. Here's a scary thought: Maybe they are!
So Mitch Kupchak suggested the Lakers may need a trade to shake things up and rejuvenate the roster? It seems to me they could trade Ron Artest (31), Steve Blake (30) and Joe Smith (35) for Trevor Ariza (25), Jordan Farmar (24) and Sasha Vujacic (26). In so doing, the Lakers would instantly become much younger, quicker and more athletic. Heck, they won a title with those guys in '09. The only problem is, I don't think the Hornets and Nets are stupid enough to make those trades.
Here are four things the Lakers can do to improve their chances.
1. Teach everyone how to fall. It is best to learn to fall backward as that is a sure foul for the other team.
2. Take video of all the fouls called, send them to the commissioner and see if he can see who the foul is on.
3. Give all the officials a seeing-eye dog to help them make the calls.
4. Change Kobe's jersey to number 6 and put instead of putting "BRYANT" on the back, put "JAMES." This way he will get the calls and the respect he rightly deserves.
Robert M. Freedman
Los Osos, Calif.