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Can the Dodgers recapture the city of Los Angeles from Lakers?

February 02, 2013|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Stan Kasten, president and CEO of the Dodgers, right, and Janet Marie Smith, senior vice president of planning and development, speak about improvements to Dodger Stadium on Jan. 8.
Stan Kasten, president and CEO of the Dodgers, right, and Janet Marie Smith,… (Reed Saxon / Associated…)

If you’re a diehard Dodgers fan, in the deepest recess of your little blue-pumping heart, do you secretly hope the Lakers continue to fall flat on their derrieres?

That Mike D’Antoni never does figure out how to play two big men at once, Kobe Bryant’s sudden split personality (I’m a shooter! No, no, I’m a passer!) blows up, Steve Nash gives into the march of time and bad backs, a disgruntled Pau Gasol catches a flight back to Spain and Dwight Howard continues to be confused with Clark Kent?

If the Lakers continue their embarrassing implosion, could this actually swing back to a Dodgers town?

The Dodgers have a long way to go to recapture this city’s No. 1 status from the Lakers, who easily have been the dominant sports team here over the last 20-plus years.

It might seem hard to imagine happening now, everyone constantly in a tizzy over everything purple and gold, but remember the Dodgers were the preeminent sports team in Los Angeles in the ’60s and ’70s.

To reclaim their previous status, the first thing the Dodgers naturally have to do is win. Not easily done, as evidenced by the last 25 years, even with their sudden addition of talent.

The Lakers themselves serve as clear forewarning that bringing a collection of stars together offers no simple road to success.

But right now the Dodgers’ new ownership appears on the right course to healing wounds from the Frank McCourt/Fox era. Dodger Stadium is getting a facelift, the roster will be the most expensive in the majors this season and focus is being placed  back on organizational structure.

The Lakers’ roots are deep in the city now, which is sort of understandable given their 10 titles and 16 NBA Finals appearances in the last 32 years. But Bryant is talking about playing only one more year, Howard might not return next season and Nash will turn 39 next month.

A seeming opportunity is there. It will take a title, or titles, for L.A.’s freeways to be littered with cars displaying little Dodgers flags attached to their windows. But at least it can be visualized, which is light years from two seasons ago when Dodger Stadium was awash in empty seats and the franchise in bankruptcy.

Maybe the two teams share the L.A. stage like in 1988. Maybe the Clippers surpass them both, or the NFL returns in a big way or the Stanley Cup-champion Kings win over an enormous new following (OK, getting carried away with that last one).

Or just maybe, this once again becomes a Dodgers town.

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