Story of the Week
"Itís Not So Easy Beiní Green." Not only was that the title of a hit song "Old Blue Eyes" did in decades gone by, but it describes us, the young and innocent and naive L.A. Kings hockey fans. Back when we were kids (that was just a few months ago), we were riding high.
The Kings had just beaten Detroit in the NHL playoffs, and had come within one short 20-minute third period of game seven in the semis against Colorado of advancing to the Stanley Cup finals. The Kings lost that game seven, but we Kings fans all hoped that "Wait ĎTil Next Year" wasnít just a lost Brooklyn Dodgers cry of despair at Ebbets Field, but rather the hope of future Kings successes, maybe even a Stanley Cup win while Iím still breathing.
Forget it! Who am I kidding? Away goes Luc Robitaille to Detroit in the off-season, just as Rob Blake had left for Colorado earlier. Why? They left to make more money, much more money, and they left, too, for a bona-fide shot at winning the Stanley Cup. (As you know, Blake has already achieved that dream since he left here.)
Itís my opinion that Mr. Philip Anschutz, the mega-zillionaire real estate baron from Denver, cares far more about profits as owner of the Kings, and far less about building a higher payroll in hopes of winning a title here. Keep the payroll at $40 million, one of the lowest in the NHL, and the fans will still come. In my opinion, with Anschutz, itís not about money; itís only about money!
I donít begrudge any team owners the opportunity to realize a good return on their investment; they deserve it. But fans, especially paying ones, deserve a team that makes every effort to win, and that goes for both the ownership and management of that team. Those of you who agree with me have an option; donít buy Kings tickets. Iím not!
The Lakers paid Shaq megabucks to play here; as has been the case since moving to L.A., the Lakers want to win championships, and they show it. And although the Dodgers donít always spend their money wisely, that being a statement of kindness, we canít accuse them of keeping their wallet in their pocket. Then thereís the Kings!
Please note that the moment Mr. Anschutz proves my opinions false, and spends the money worthy of a major-market team fighting to win the ultimate prize, I will immediately skate to my computer and take a slap-shot at this article, in print and for all to see. As a long-time Kings fan, Iíd love to be given reason to do so.
Last Weekís Trivia
When did the seventh inning stretch in baseball originate? When an old buddy of mine (he was part of our poker group for years), President William Howard Taft, attended a game in 1910. After the top half of the seventh inning, Taft stood up to stretch his legs. The crowd, thinking he was getting up to leave, also stood up as a show of respect. Taft then sat down, and the crowd followed. Itís been happening ever since. (Fortunately, Taft didnít do his stretch later in the game. L.A. fans are virtually gone by the end of the seventh inning.)
Trivia Question of the Week
Who is the only player in NFL history to play on three consecutive Super Bowl winning teams?See next weekís Sports Junkie for the answer.