August 27, 2012 |
It is time to change theme songs, Los Angeles. We've had a nice run with Randy Newman, loving L.A., but let's get up to date with what is going on here. All together now, in full Peggy Lee voice: Hey, big spender.… We had some shortcomings with our sports teams, and so we did what every self-respecting, yacht-owning, polo-playing, Rolls-Royce driver would do: We threw money at it. What has happened to Los Angeles sports is a wonder. Think of it this way: We have all this and Beckham too. The Angels' Arte Moreno saw a chance to ring some chimes and scramble some area baseball perceptions, and so he signed Albert Pujols.
July 20, 2012 |
On a fall Sunday early last decade, a young reporter living in Berlin wanted to follow a regular-season NFL game being played by his favorite team. But he had few means to do so. The closest American-themed sports bar was 20 miles away. An online written account would offer only scant details and hardly in real time. Television wasn't an option; the lone European sports network was four hours into a Formula One marathon. The reporter hit upon a solution: He called a family member in the U.S. and asked him to turn on a radio play-by-play call.
June 20, 2012 |
Recently, the world of sports has gone off the rails. It made a right turn at Indy. It has become a bunch of Seinfeld episodes. It has triggered furrowed brows and disbelieving shrugs. As Yogi Berra would say, "You can observe a lot just by watching. " The sports planet clearly slipped out of orbit a tad at NHL playoff time, but that one could get past the weird test. The Kings got hot, they were as due as a Chicago Cubs fan on life support, and they won the Stanley Cup, spectacularly.
March 21, 2012 |
Let's take a deep breath and hold off on the canonization of Roger Goodell. The puffs of white smoke coming out of the chimney are a bit much. Yes, Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL, slapped down the New Orleans Cheating Saints pretty good Wednesday. Somebody will make a T-shirt out of that soon. The big letters on the front: NOCS. On the back: a picture of Brett Favre, bleeding from the nose. Goodell didn't have a difficult decision. One of his teams got caught doing something really stupid and Neanderthal and then lied about it. Suspend the guy in charge for a year, do the same to the guy in charge of the guy in charge for six months, collect some cash and take away some draft choices.
January 30, 2012 |
Sunday was supposed to be the day the sports potatoes got off their couches. This is the NFL's contribution to society. No games — and no, the Pro Bowl is not a game. It is an exhibition. The kids down the block playing flag football hit harder. It is a day to be devoid of five guys, sitting at a table in a TV studio, making six-figure salaries to state the obvious for an audience that will nod in deep appreciation at being told that the Patriots need to establish their running game.
December 28, 2011 |
Museum: a word that produces its own dust. The institutions are not without importance, of course, but who are we kidding? Many museums can also be interminable — like Ashton Kutcher movies, or Patti LaBelle renditions of the national anthem. Oddly, one of L.A.'s most fetching museums is a dirty little secret, in an industrial area east of the Coliseum, the kind of place God hides the things he flubbed. The Sports Museum of Los Angeles opened in 2008, closed in 2009 and now is open only for special tours or charity events.
December 15, 2011 |
This just in: NBC has traded Bob Costas to CBS for Ashton Kutcher and the entire library of "Green Acres" reruns. The deal has not been finalized, but Chris Paul has threatened to try to block the deal, citing many of the "Green Acres" episodes as kind of schlocky and in need of another rewrite. This just in: Washington has traded the Lincoln Memorial to St. Louis for the Arch, three Italian joints and the Rams. Chris Paul has sued to try to block the deal, citing the Rams as a fictional entity with no real market value.
August 31, 2011 |
Legendary boxer Oscar De La Hoya has a message for a sports world that idolized and doted on him. "Hi. I'm Oscar De La Hoya and I'm an alcoholic. " So, we have tarnish on the Golden Boy. The fighter who carried the sport for nearly a decade, who proved you didn't have to be a heavyweight to appeal to the masses, who generated nearly $700 million in pay-per-view revenue before retiring at 36 in 2009, is telling all. We never thought he was a choir boy. There have been stories of boozing and womanizing along the way. But he was a boxer.
August 19, 2011 |
The ugly cloud of cheating and greed that hovers over NCAA athletics these days does not darken anything for Farren Benjamin. Nothing blocks her sunshine. She says she is a student-athlete. "Some people get that order wrong," she says. "They think they are athlete-students. " She will be an academic senior and an athletic junior at USC this fall. She will take 16 credits, including four toward a graduate degree. She will work in the Trojans' sports information department as an unpaid intern and will spend four hours a day in training for her varsity sport.
July 5, 2011 |
The variety of summer activities — now playing in camps, clinics and tourneys — is a further reminder that the days of three major sports are over. There is, seemingly, a sport for every kid and temperament. For the cerebral, there is cross-country. For the anti-cerebral, there is football. For the old-schoolers, there is baseball. For the new-schoolers, there is lacrosse. For the jumpy, there is volleyball. For the ironic, surfing. Ironically, I have never surfed myself, yet I find myself down here in Huntington Beach, mecca of the sport, actually mecca of every sport.