I love L.A.!
The familiar Randy Newman chorus serenades down from the rafters between an entire city’s worth of fluttering accomplishment banners, joining the millions of little confetti sprinkles liberated from the ceiling above.
The familiar sounds that accompany the familiar confetti depict an all-too-familiar reality for most L.A. sports fanatics, one as maniacal as it is expected: championship or bust. Every year. No excuses.
From lightin’ up your halos to livin’ it up in Lakerland, a big success spotlight illuminates everything-So. Cal to where it becomes a microscope more than a spotlight. With each new player, each new coach, each new GM, comes new scrutiny and expectations, flooding the typical L.A. fan’s mind with new grandiose thoughts that include nothing short of a championship.
This hasn’t always been the case for some L.A. teams, and still isn’t, though the recent influx of talent interchanges has left long-time losers like the L.A. Kings, L.A. Angels of Anaheim, and L.A. Clippers to close the gap between their in-house big brothers, the Lakers and the Dodgers.
As if there wasn’t ever a good time to be an L.A. fan, no time like now speaks to the greatness of the entire city.
Look at the Angels, who entered this baseball season with some of the highest expectations since they signed outfielder Vladimir Guerrero in 2004. Perhaps signing baseball’s best player, multi-MVP first baseman Albert Pujols, would logically contribute to such an outcome.
While the Angels’ season has largely been met with disappointment thus far, their blue-and-white counterparts have maintained their historical excellence, as a torrid Matt Kemp has his club at the top of the NL West and the top of baseball overall.
Meanwhile, the home of the Lakers, Clippers, and Kings sits less than four miles to the north, as the Staples Center has housed one of the NBA’s greatest franchises in the Lakers for nearly two decades since the purple and gold moved from The Forum in 1999.
While the Lake Show continued to live up to, at least somewhat, its storied history of success by reaching the Western Conference semifinals before dropping to the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games, the historically-laughable Clippers made an unprecedented leap towards prolonged success this season as well, also reaching the Western Conference semifinals before getting swept out by the San Antonio Spurs.
After what seemed to be the biggest move of the offseason fell through for the Lakers, when they offered a trade involving all-star power forward Pau Gasol and sixth man of the year small forward Lamar Odom for New Orleans Hornet’s all-star point guard Chris Paul, the Clippers quickly moved in and made their own all-star swap.
Despite giving up their up-and-coming guard Eric Gordon, the Clippers acquired CP3 and vaulted towards the top of the Pacific Division, ultimately falling just a game back of the Lakers for the third playoff seed. The playoff berth marked the fifth time in their futile history that they were still playing basketball after the regular season ended, and only the second time they got out of the first round, the first time occurring in 2006.
Not to be outdone, the generally-disappointing L.A. Kings have had a season to remember. While the Lakers’ and Clippers’ extended seasons have come to an end and the Dodgers’ and Angels’ season has just begun with high aspirations, the Kings used the NHL’s regular-season to sneak into the playoffs as the eighth and final seed, facing a tough task to even come out of the first round against the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks. Surprisingly, not only were they able to defeat Vancouver in five games, but they continued their playoff demolition, saddening the St. Louis Blues with a quick sweep before hunting down the Phoenix Coyotes in the Western Conference Finals.
The Kings have now reached the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since their only other appearance in 1993, when they fell to the Montreal Canadiens in five games. For this go-around, they’re squaring off against the high-flying New Jersey Devils, who just came off an impressive six-game series win over the top-seeded New York Rangers.
Whether the Kings, Angels, or Dodgers manage to win it all this season, it’s a good time to be an L.A. fan. Never has there been a season where all five L.A. professional sports teams have had such high aspirations, and with the Laker’s age issues and Angel’s surprising batting woes, who knows when, or even if, this will happen again.
But as for now, L.A. sports fans everywhere are finding it easy to love L.A.