Are fans replacing the Lakers with baseball? Some may think that nobody can surpass the Lakers with their history, prestigious titles (nine championships total) and memorable players. But let me break it down.
This past year professional sports has had its ups and notorious downs. No one can argue that there’s no other team in Southern California that can unite so many fans from one area than the Lakers.
However, are they being surpassed by another sport? Another organization with better owners, coaches and consistent players? Yeah, I think so.
Sports are associated with their fans and it’s the fans that support, defend and stand by their teams. They enrich an organization and the organization should, in return, do things for their supporters. Am I right?
Since the Lakers lost in five games to the Pistons this past June, there’s been more drama going on in the postseason than in the presseason, as we gained karl Malong and Gary Payton to the roster and let’s not forget the accusations Kobe got slapped with from a young woman in Colorado.
As a fan I have been dismayed, disappointed and angered by the way the Lakers organization has been handling itself, and I don’t know how much more I’m able to take.
I trusted Jerry Buss who once thought like a fan and handled the organizations business while meeting his fans needs.
Instead, Buss’ main objective has been to win, period.
Some knew he favored Kobe and his actions have proven them right.
His first act was to dismiss now former Head Coach Phil Jackson, the man who won three championships during the five years he served as head coach of the Lakers and got ridiculously close this past year to getting his 10th overall title.
It wasn’t Jackson who caused the Lakers to lose this past championship, but instead the players who had major attitudes, rifts or who wanted to always be the star player. Letting Jackson go was a big mistake and it wasn’t the last on Buss’ summer to-do list.
The team no longer has Shaquille O’Neal, who would have cost us two arms and two legs, but what we got in return are players who don’t compare to not only O’Neal’s game, but his character. He loved his fans and even put an ad in the Los Angeles Times before he left reassuring fans of it.
Afterwards, our all-star team fell apart, piece by piece. Payton was traded, and put up a fuss about it, as well as Rick Fox to the Celtics. But I didn’t really care that much about Fox, because he was plagued with injury and as a result didn’t do much on the court.
Derek Fisher, my favorite player, became a free agent and left to play for the Golden State Warriors. Then there’s Malone who is recovering from surgery and isn’t retiring or playing this year.
However, speculation says that if he does return to the game he’ll play for the Lakers or not work for their organization.
So the only ones left on the team are Kobe and all others. What happened to the dynasty, to another NBA Championship? Gone.
If the Lakers had to lose so many key players to other teams and if some of them actually wanted to leave, then this is saying a lot about the Lakers organization.
And fans haven’t gained anything, either. Just tickets that are now even more expensive, which isn’t a plus.
So, what professional sport is out there that can meet the needs of fans? Baseball. But more specifically, the Angels and Dodgers.
This year both teams made it to the playoffs and each won their American and National League West Titles, respectively.
The Dodgers have had a dependable roster and we can count on consistent players like outfielder Shawn Green and pitcher Eric Gagne. The Los Angeles Dodgers also had their handful of playoff appearances, 23 to count, five World Series Titles and unforgettable players like Jackie Robinson.
The Angels, on the other hand, haven’t had as long a history in Southern California as the Lakers or Dodgers, but they’re quickly catching up and doing it their own way.
Two years ago they won their first World Series Title and a year later Arturo Moreno took over ownership and became the first Latino to own a Major League Baseball team. Moreno is also trying to help out fans and meet their needs by making it more affordable to watch a baseball game from the stands.
And players, such as outfielder Garret Anderson, designated hitter Troy Glaus and infielder David Eckstein, are sticking around because the Angels want players to come back and play for a great and still improving organization. Not to mention the fans love them.
Last year, outfielder Vladimir Guerrero became a major addition to the team, and one reason he decided to come to the Angels was because the fans make it a point to come out and support their team.
So maybe I’m not exactly trading in the Lakers for the Angeles or Dodgers. But what I am saying is that both MLB teams don’t give me as much of a headache, agony or disappointment as the Lakers have.
They are teams I can count on as a sports fan and I have nothing but admiration for them. And it’s not just because they’re great, but also because they remember to give back to their fans. They make them feel proud to be one of their fans.