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Championships at Stake This Month for L.A.’s Two Favorite Teams

October 1st, 2020 · No Comments · Baseball, Chargers, Clippers, Dodgers, Kobe, Lakers, NBA, NFL, Rams

Well, here we are. A city, a metropolitan center that had to be content (in terms of the Big Four professional sports leagues) with a couple of Stanley Cup championships over the previous decade. Now, L.A. finds out if its favorite two clubs can win titles in the same month.

Los Angeles is overrun by sports teams. If we count Orange County as part of greater Los Angeles, and we should, it is a market with two NFL teams, two NBA teams, two Major League Baseball teams and two National Hockey League teams and, well, that is no fewer than eight “top-drawer” clubs in a single market.

Lots to like. But we like the Lakers and the Dodgers best. Our favorites. Each starved for trophies that used to come their way with regularity.

For the Lakers, it has been a decade since NBA title No. 16 was secured. For the Dodgers, it has been 31 years since World Series No. 6 was achieved, back in 1988.

Now, “thanks” to the lethal Covid-19 pandemic, and the doggedness with which the NBA and Major League Baseball fought to save enough of their seasons to make it feel like the real deal, we shall see, in 29 days or less, whether the Dodgers and Lakers can bring some joy to their fans.

Each has a legitimate shot at winning. If both win, it would mean (or would have, in pre-pandemic days) downtown parades barely two weeks apart.

Who has the better chance of winning it all?

That would be the Lakers, given that they are only four victories shy of ruling the NBA. They meet the Miami Heat in the now-famous “bubble” in Orlando, beginning tomorrow, Wednesday.

That same night, the Dodgers open the playoffs with a best-of-three assignment at home against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Dodgers just went 43-17 during the abbreviated “regular” season, which projected to 116 victories in a typical, 162-game season. Their numbers are fairly astonishing.

But they have a long road to travel, and the rejiggering of the playoffs to include 16 teams, instead of the usual 10, reduces their chances of winning. It stands to reason. Surviving a 16-team tournament is harder than winning a 10-team competition that is actually more like eight, given that each league had a “play-in” wild-card game to make two four-team brackets, one in each league.

The Dodgers get to stay home in their best-of-three with the Milwaukee Brewers then, if they win, move on to the best-of-five divisional series, and if they are still on their feet after that play for the National League championship in a best-of-seven series and then, if they have gotten over those three hurdles, they would play for the World Series, scheduled to end no later than October 28.

The Dodgers and Lakers … why are these two teams L.A.’s favorites?

For the Lakers, it is about celebrity-strewn court-side seats, and the cachet of the league’s most celebrated team, at least through 2010.

The Lakers won five championships in the first decade of the new century, with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal doing the heavy lifting.

Now, it is LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and that marks a return to the star power of the previous decade.

The Lakers are supposed to be the club that gets the prime time games on Christmas and in the playoffs, and a lot of fans embrace all of that.

The Dodgers are more of a lifestyle choice than a walk-of-fame. They play 81 home games per season (usually), and they manage to sell three million tickets pretty much every year. (Who says baseball is dull?)

They also have a history of success, with six World Series victories, five of them (1959, 1963, 1965, 1981, 1988) since they left Brooklyn for Los Angeles.

If I had to choose between them, if we get a choice of just one winner … it’s the Dodgers, just because it has been so long.

Or wait. The Lakers already are on the verge of winning. Why not pull for them? Yes, why not?

All we ask from this is one. Two would be OK, also.


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