I love L.A.

8 05 2009

Just like Randy Newman sings it — I love L.A. What a crazy couple days in my original hometown.

Dodgers set modern record home winning streak

The Dodgers set a modern record with 13 home wins to begin the year, only to relinquish a 6-0 lead to the Nationals and blow their chance for win No. 14. The Nationals!! The Dodgers went through this streak without their No. 2 starter (Hiroki Kuroda), although the fact they’re still counting on Jeff Weaver, Eric Stults and God knows who else (Jason Schmidt???) to provide strong starting pitching. That makes me sadder than the time in third grade Whitney Benson told me that she liked my friend Pacman instead of me. That was seriously his name.

Manny

Ugh, yuck. Right when the Dodgers had hit their stride, reeling off a 13-game home win streak and sitting atop the Majors, we have to find out Manny did the unthinkable: He, a prominent Major League baseball player, used performance-enhancing drugs. Real glad none of the other great players from my generation — Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire — used that stuff. (This is where I state my unbridled love for Tony Gwynn, who can be guilty only for dominating seven or eight doughnuts before every ballgame.)

I’m more upset that Juan Pierre and his girlish left arm are going to take up the everyday left field spot. I had just begun to come around to Manny, but I had always been suspicious that something controversial would happen with him. Thank goodness I wasn’t born with the type of obsessive, worshipping behavior that was displayed by so many desperate Dodger fans, like this jackass:

 

Do you even like yourself?

Do you even like yourself?

 No, I save my worshipping for The Kobester. Oh, speaking of.

“Don’t you know you’re hitting Ron Artest?”

Clearly a playoff-defining quote, delivered from Ron Ron himself after Kobe chucked him in the chest (not the neck!) near the end of Game 2. And of course Ron brought on his crazy eyes, which we all fondly remember him first showing on a national stage during his Detroit City Rampage a few years ago. 

Look, there’s probably no reasonable way I can assess Kobe or the Lakers in an impartial way. I am entirely obsessed with the franchise. If I weren’t concerned with what my roommates thought of me, the walls in my room — and probably even my ceiling — would be plastered with posters of Kobe and The Clan. I’d likely light purple and yellow candles and pray five times per day, facing west.

But believe me (only because I said so) when I say this: Kobe’s elbow to Artest was not that fearsome. It just wasn’t. I can’t begin to estimate the number of NBA games I’ve watched through the years, but I’ve seen elbows delivered like the way Kobe’s was numerous times. Plus, let’s remember the fact that Kobe delivered an elbow to possibly the NBA’s most physical player. Have you seen Artest barrel through defenders on his way to the hoop? You seen the dude wrestle underneath the basket for a defensive rebound? If anything, Kobe should have been justified to nail Artest, Kevin Harlan-style, “Right beeet-wwween the eyes!”

I would actually show the Kobe elbow video on here if not for the fact that I’m getting so disgusted with most of the NBA playoff talk centering around why Player A should be suspended for slapping/elbowing/kicking/pummeling Player B. Get over it, I say.

Basketball is a physical sport, the NBA is full of fine-tuned, mega-strong athletes, and playoff ball is incredibly intense. I’m worried that the NBA is going down the road of the NFL, where defensive players are penalized for sneezing on quarterbacks. Moving on.

Fisher sizing up Scola

That soapbox was a perfect segueway into more playoff suspension talk. I loved Fisher’s full body punch into Luis Scola. Not just for the fact that Scola’s head nearly fell off, or that Fisher developed a gash in his bald dome. I love Fish’s veteran savviness. Don’t let people tell you it was a rash move, and that they were so surprised by the “classy” Fisher punking someone. Dude knew exactly what he was doing. 

He knew that at that point in the series — middle of second game, Lakers needing to win to tie the series — he had to send a message. And it had to be him. The Lakers needed to let the Rockets know that they wouldn’t be punked around. Kobe couldn’t deliver that message, even though he basically did by emphatically yelling “He can’t guard me!” every time he threw a dart in Shane Battier’s face. It couldn’t be Pau Gasol or Lamar Odom, who are more naturally timid and invaluable to the team while Andrew Bynum sucks on his pacifier on the team’s bench. Fisher knew he is the team’s muscle — unusual for a point guard — and that he had to sacrifice his body, perhaps even a game and a half of playing time, to let Houston know the Lakers are for real. 

Players like Fisher don’t lose their cool. Everything they do is calculated, and Fisher has the type of basketball personality that cooly identifies when his team needs a jolt. It’s how he’s able to nearly always find the open spot on the floor to hit a gigantic jump shot. He knows what he’s doing, and he understood he had to sacrifice himself for the greater good of the team. 

Lamar walks to work

First, the picture:

 

Looking gangsta with the untied tie.

Looking gangsta with the untied tie.

This is why I love Lamar Odom. Inconsistency might be his middle name, but you feel like he always means well. He’s apparently been through a lot in his life (mother dying when he was 12, infant son dying in the crib a couple summers ago), and that seems to have given him a more realistic perspective of the world than what we can usually expect from millionaire professional athletes. I even loved his explanation for taking the walk from his downtown penthouse to the Staples Center a few blocks away: “I’m a New Yorker.”

Right on, L.O. One thing, too. The dude has some serious swagger. He’s one of those guys who can literally wear anything and make it look cool. I can’t imagine trying to pull off the untucked white dress shirt over the black t-shirt, supported by a cream vest and untied black tie. How many seconds would it take for someone on the streets of Long Island City to slap and rob me if I trekked around like that? Fifteen, 25? And L.I.C. ain’t exactly East Brooklyn, if you know what I mean.

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One response

8 05 2009
apollocreed

Dude I think you could totally pull it off. Just don’t bring your wallet.

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