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Changing Ron Artest's name, and then the subject

A Laker's name change gets the Fan of the House columnist thinking, and that leads to the Dodgers' woes, bobblehead nights and a proposal for sports' Ten Commandments.

July 13, 2011|Chris Erskine
  • Does Ron Artest's name mean anything when it comes to jersey sales? Columnist Chris Erskine might change his name to find out.
Does Ron Artest's name mean anything when it comes to jersey sales?… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

I'd like to announce that I'm legally changing my name to Ron Artest, on account of he's changing his name to Metta World Peace, which — small world — was actually my birth name.

If this name change goes through — I go before the judge on a variety of matters next week — I hope to pick up a percentage of Artest's jersey sales, though I realize I've never seen anyone actually wear an Artest jersey, other than Artest himself. Even then, it was somewhat reluctantly. Obviously, he's found a way to remedy that.

Peace out, Artest. Like we thought, you've really settled down after all these years.

By the way, if this particular name change fails, the Germans have a soccer player named Fatmire. That's my fallback: Fatmire Bajramaj. Gotta love those Hessians.

Fatmire. Who does that to a kid? Why not Muckwaddle? Or Picklehead?

Look, these days we can either laugh until we cry or cry until we laugh.

Let's take a look at your options:

I mean, wonder if it turns out that we don't really need the 405 after all? Wonder if surface streets are actually faster — could they be any slower?

That's tangential to our discussion, and not a sports question, of course, but I was five for six in the Mensa exam in the back of the airline flight magazine, and feeling better about my command of general subjects. One of the questions: "Name Fletcher Christian's ship."

The Bounty, of course. If L.A. fans are experts in anything, it's mutiny.

In a similar vein, wonder if we don't really need the Dodgers? That's a very tough question, and should probably be relegated to the essay portion of our exam.

As background, here's what my buddy Eisen sent to Frank McCourt recently about that very issue:

"I am writing this email to let you know that if you still own the team next season, I will not renew my season tickets.

"This is not easy for me. Some of my earliest memories are of lying in bed listening to Vin Scully under the covers when I was supposed to be asleep, or having my dad leave me a note next to the bed with the final score when I couldn't stay awake any longer.

"We buried my grandfather with my Dodger cap in his casket. … [So] it obviously gives me no pleasure to inform you that you need not send me a renewal notice in December."

OK, we need the Dodgers, even if my pal Eisen is out. He's such a fair-weather fan, obviously.

In his defense, Eisen says he spent well into six figures on the team in 30 years of season ticket packages and spring training trips. And you have to admit, he did answer the essay question rather brilliantly.

Seriously, the Dodgers' only real hope right now is to make every night bobblehead night, the sole time the stadium is anywhere near full.

That'd just be savvy marketing, which from what I can tell involves finding something semi-successful, then bleeding every last dime out of it — superhero movies, swimsuit issues, Lady Haha.

Sure, if every night were bobblehead night, we'd run out of players by about June. But we could fill the rest of the schedule with ubiquitous stadium types — Charley Steiner, say, or groundskeeper Eric Hansen, the man who keeps that pitch so perfect. Hansen is already a little bobbleheaded, but in a nice way. He just nods a lot.

I was going to suggest an Eisen bobblehead, but I guess he's out.

Finally, while we're being hypothetical, wonder if we fans took control of our fates?

Lots of luck, right? Hear me out.

It is one of the masterpieces of modern life that the only remaining labor unions seem to represent millionaires. In sports labor strife, it is millionaires versus billionaires. You like that matchup? Who loses whenever they get together? You do.

In response, wonder if we issued a "Ten Commandments of Sports," and revolted en masse against the players or owners who broke them?

First Commandment: You shall not flop (as in Sasha Vujacic and Italian strikers).

Second Commandment: You shall not charge more than double the value of any food item.

Third Commandment: You shall not scratch, spit, tug, squeeze, pick, pluck or adjust your cup in high-def close-ups

Fourth Commandment: You shall not strike.

Fifth Commandment: You shall not move a sports team.

Sixth Commandment: You shall not refer to it as a "bicycle kick" (I have never seen a bicycle kick anything).

Seventh Commandment: You shall not drive (also known as the Hines Ward rule).

Eighth Commandment: You shall not congregate (also known as the Pacman Jones rule).

Ninth Commandment: You shall not sext (also known as the keep-your-pants-on rule).

Tenth Commandment: You shall not lock out your employees.

These days, that's the hardest one. No lockouts? I've locked out people many times — my family, my friends, you.

From what I hear, sports lockouts are the new black.

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