I guess with all the trade deadline rumors about deals that did or didn’t happen, it’s kind of easy to overlook the most important thing in baseball: the standings. Because the story no one seems to be talking about is the fact that the best records in each league belong to teams in Southern California, setting up a real possibility of the first-ever Freeway Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the…let’s just call them the Angels.
Both teams looked the part of World Series contenders on Sunday. In Atlanta, the Dodgers used a three-run homer by Matt Kempto pound the Braves 9-1; meanwhile, the Angels hammered the Twins 13-4 to complete a three-game road sweep where they scored 35 runs. And while not everything is 100 percent for either team (Chad Billingsley left his start early with cramps during the Dodgers’ win, while Vladimir Guerrero suddenly turned 150 years old this season for the Angels), there’s at least a strong possibility of an all-LA (kinda, sorta) World Series.
And as a baseball fan living in Los Angeles, here’s my feeling on this: I hope to God this doesn’t happen. The first reason is selfish: I have to drive past Dodger Stadium every day for work - it’s almost impossible for a Tuesday night game against Florida, so I can’t imagine what a World Series game against the Angels would be like. A 30-minute commute turning into a two-hour nightmare? No thanks.
But more importantly, I’d have to hear weeks of coverage about the series as if it’s a real, heated rivalry. Which would make my head explode, because it just isn’t. This isn’t Red Sox vs. Yankees, with real, palpable hatred. Or even Yankees vs. Mets or Cubs vs. White Sox, both of which are city rivalries with loads of class, race and societal baggage (in that who you root for speaks volumes about who you are and where you came from).
Dodgers vs. Angels has none of this. People root for one or the other based on which ballpark was closer to them growing up. (Fortunately, the area that is equidistant from Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium is the mini-mall and warehouse-filled patch of nothingness called Norwalk.) If Dodger fans think about the Angels at all, it’s with a dismissive chuckle. Meanwhile, Angels fans will quickly point out who has the last World Series title while secretly grimacing at the whole “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim” fiasco.
If you’re a big NFL fan near Troy, NY tonight, you might want to check out some minor-league baseball as the Tri-Cities ValleyCats take on the Oneonta Tigers. Why? Because SI’s Peter King is going to be throwing out the first pitch and hanging out with fans to talk about the upcoming season, along with a host of NFL experts including NFL.COM’s Adam Schefter, Sporting News’ Albert Breer, NY Giants radio voice Bob Papa and Redskins lineman Ross Tucker.
The CHICAGO TRIBUNE breathlessly reports that Jay Cutlercompleted his first 12 passes during 7-on-7 drills at camp yesterday. Although to be fair, Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman probably couldn’t complete 12 passes back and forth to each other.
Formula One driver Jensen Button spent part of his break from racing competing in the London Triathlon, where he set a personal best. I would have spent the time watching his girlfriend Jessica Michibata giving her personal best while modeling bikinis on a beach in Japan.
Letdown City: the rally car racing final at the X Games gets stopped halfway through when Travis Pastrana wrecks his car, handing the win to former Indy 500 winner Kenny Brack. To celebrate, Brack knocked back a tall glass of ice cold Red Bull and milk.
I guess you could say that the Red Sox’s trade for Victor Martinez has paid some early dividends: he went 5-for-6 in Boston’s 18-10 win over Baltimore. Too bad Clay Buchholz is still not very good at pitching to big league hitters.
The baseball day in Los Angeles started on a solemn note Monday when the Dodgers held twomoments of silence for fallen comrades in arms during Chavez Ravine’s opening day Monday (before a third passed later in the day).
(”Look! Look up at that paragraph! It says that someone wants me! Do you see that?”)
FIU has found a certain comfort level with losing (five straight seasons) and could certainly use the limelight brought by a famous coach. Perhaps Isiah’s excited because he thinks he can ply his trade in a different country unfamiliar with his sordid past. (That’s what the “International” stands for, right?)
Another gentleman of leisure being paid by an NBA team to go away but still looking for a new home will also have to find a new place of leisure as well. At least two of Detroit’s casinos (current count: 439280410) have reportedly tossed Allen Iverson out on his ear for “boorish behavior”, including bodyguard-related scuffling, pouting after a loss, and being generally churlish.
(There’s always golf to ruin one’s forced retirement)
So kudos to the MGM Casino and the Greektown Casino for standing up to Allen Iverson’s shenanigans after he’s left town and will likely never return unless absolutely forced to by contract. Also, way to leak the information once the coast is clear.
We once spotted AI in the Omni Hotel in Atlanta, taking over a section of the open-air lounge and bar to play cards in the late afternoon with his buddies. He did not order from the bar; instead, he had the bellboy bring his crew a beat-up old cooler filled with their own special reserve.
We did not get a chance to see his favorite drink, but we bet he could get it for 25% less this season at Dodger Stadium. Better bring the bodyguards to carry the overflow.
And now our riot police-approved hail of rubber bullets reinforced by the near-certainty there are relatively few industries interested in “boy whisperers”…
The Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers desperately need new arenas to replace their dilapated current homes, well over 25 years after their construction. That’s according to NHL frontman Gary Bettman, who certainly showed puck-sized cajones to lay out that demand in this economy.
Your 2009-2010 temporary receptacle for misplaced affection for college days gone well past: Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich, who will stay at Kansas for another year.
Donations of human kindness for the decency-deficient (like media abuser Delmon Young) can be made to SPORTSbyBROOKS, c/o this station.
When you win the World Series like the Phillies just did, you can get away with just about anything. Exhibit A? Signing Chan Ho Park. Exhibit B? Giving a two-year deal to a 46-year-old pitcher.
(How old is Moyer? His rookie card came out when baseball cards were still cool. This, of course, is a 1987 Topps)
Of course, Jamie Moyer is no average 46-year-old pitcher (though there aren’t any others right now). Moyer is a Philly-area native who was instrumental in bringing the title to his hometown. And Moyer is one of the most durable pitchers in the game, even at his advanced age. I sometimes wonder if Mark Prior just sits at home silently watching Moyer, shaking his head at the absurdity of it all.
Last night I had the pleasure of taking in the Dodgers-Diamondbacks sporting contest in the cool night air of Chavez Ravine. A very, very brief summary of the event: All of the Dodgers fans want to have Manny’s babies!
Seeing as it’s only Manny’s 2nd game in Dodger Blue, the fans are still in what armchair psychologists refer to as “the Honeymoon Phase” of the relationship.
According to Wikipedia, this is “the phase early in a long-term relationship characterized by greater than typical joy and lesser than typical friction. Usually during this time there is much more physical contact between the two partners in the relationship.” In other words, the place went nuts when he knocked out his first home run as a Dodger.
A partial analysis of the rest of the evening after the jump.