It’s tough being a sports fan in Southern California these days. The Lakers and the Clippers finished off disappointing seasons by being bounced in the first round. Both Mike D’Antoni and Vinny Del Negro are in danger of losing their jobs.
UCLA fired Ben Howland after a first round exit and is starting over with Steve Alford. USC dismissed Kevin O’Neill and brought in Andy Enfield to try to right the ship.
You like baseball? Ok great. The Dodgers dropped to 13-17 after being swept away by the hated Giants and have a team that resembles a M*A*S*H unit. The Angels? Well, they’re worse. They fell to 11-20 with another loss Sunday to the Orioles.
How long do you think Don Mattingly and Mike Scioscia will be around if the losing trend continues? With payrolls that make the Yankees look broke both of them could end up standing next to Howland and O’Neill in the unemployment line if things don’t get better soon.
The football team at USC may have been the most disappointing of all. Lane Kiffin’s team finished 7-6 after an embarrassing loss in the Sun Bowl and reportedly there was a brawl that broke out in the locker room following the game. SC has consistently had some of the highest rated recruiting classes in the nation despite being on NCAA probation but those classes didn’t translate to victories in 2012. Another season like that and Kiffin will be shown the door.
Matt Barkley was a victim of the poor showing falling all the way to the fourth round of the NFL draft before he was selected.
UCLA was better although the Bruins did get hammered in the Holiday Bowl and lost their last three games. Jim Mora however is still the safest coach in So Cal.
Well, unless you consider hockey. Unfortunately not many people do. The Kings provided more excitement than any local team lately by winning the Stanley Cup last season, although they are currently down to the St. Louis Blues 2-1 in the first round of the playoffs. The Ducks are contenders as well and are up 2-1 in their series.
But take those few brief hockey moments out of the equation and its been a rough go.
Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Well, the good thing is in sports things can turn around in a hurry. If the Lakers re-sign Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant returns healthy as well as Steve Nash and D’Antoni has a full season to work with the Lakers could return to prominence. If the Clippers re-sign Chris Paul and Blake Griffin takes the next step they will be right back in contention.
UCLA and USC are banking on fresh new starts to ignite their programs, and you have to admit, what Enfield did at Florida Gulf Coast was pretty exciting.
It’s hard to imagine USC football having as bad of a season as it did last year. The Trojans have to get better don’t they? It stands to reason that the only way they can go is up. UCLA with Mora and Brett Hundley at quarterback should only get better.
It’s only May and with guys on the Dodger roster like Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier, the offense will come around. The ownership group has already shown it will spend whatever it takes to win so I’m sure another pitcher could be on the way before the trading deadline. Josh Hamilton will start hitting eventually and I can’t imagine the Angels pitching staying this bad. And of course the Kings and Ducks are ok.
So take heart. Hope is on the horizon and soon your favorite Southland team will rise from the ashes and taste the fruits of victory. If not we can always count on our professional football team to pick us up. Oh wait, never mind.
That’s my principle.
Tim can be reached at email@example.com.