by Kevin Brent

We don’t need baseball anymore. I’ve had it. No more playoffs, no more listless interviews with preoccupied losing pitchers “tipping their hats” to the guy who just went three for four against him. No more preambles and post ambles from an enraptured Bob Costas and especially no more of ESPN’s Stewart Scott smugly popping off lyrics from Puffy’s latest tribute to Biggy Smalls. I don’t want to hear Dan Rather or Peter Jennings or even Bill Clinton wind down their own twisted Baseball memory lanes. I don’t need to read about it in my morning newspaper or hear it on those bleeping sports talk shows. Don’t bring it up or toss it out. Don’t harbor on it, knock it back and forth, or chew on it for a while and spit it out. I’m over it. I don’t need baseball, and I especially do not need a World Series.

It’ll just be the same old crap spinning on the same, tired old turntable. Chipper Jones and Javier Lopez and the tomahawk chop while Ted Turner and a new Jane Fonda grow old in the front row. The Yankees and all their glorious pinstriped history pumped down our throats until we can recite Mickey Mantle’s stats from 1954 in our sleep. We’ll be in Atlanta or Cleveland or Boston or maybe even (gulp) San Francisco and it won’t be the Dodgers or even the Angels. And that is my exact point.

Where are our teams? For crying out loud, what’s happened to Southland baseball? How is it possible for our two teams to simultaneously become equally transparent for the better part of a decade? And not just invisible, because at least we could ignore it as effortlessly as if we were channel surfing through the WNBA Championship on Lifetime to get to Sportscenter or any movie on TNT. We are bad, and that has translated directly to us, the fan.

People across the nation think we’re bad, too. They think we don’t care. That we’re stuck up, preoccupied, oblivious, overly tanned, overdosing on whatever. They think we don’t care about our sports and they are wrong. Overwhelmingly so. We need sports to subsist. Look at the exhaustive selection of sports radio and local sports television reporting which have sprung up in the last five years. Jim Rome has gone from San Diego whipping boy to nationwide media phenomenon. Fox spent billions to not only obtain the Dodgers but to establish a dominant West Coast affiliate. They own the right to televise the Lakers, the Bruins, Angels, and Trojans. The Los Angeles area was recently ranked in the top ten by a national publication of best sports cities in the nation.

We have more class than those loudmouth bums from the boroughs of Bronx or Westchester or Long Island. We don’t need a San Francisco bay to fish our home run balls out of and we certainly don’t need a certain tired, spectacled comedian stomping through our streets pumping up our two-bit town. We are the ocean and the mountains. We are the sun and bluest of skies. We’ve got swaying palm trees in our outfield, bristling against the cleansing warmth of the Santa Ana winds, while shlumps in Beantown kneel in praise to a drab green wall. We’ve got Tommy Lasorda, Vin Scully, and the memory of an old cowboy named Autry.

And we’ve also got meltdowns, shakeups, and internal explosions. There are clubhouse catastrophes, contract squabbles, front office cleansings, and players to be named later in deals that should never have been done. We seemingly have so much yet currently find ourselves with so darn little to actually show for it.

No titles this decade. Millions of dollars and promises later and here we are, ready to officially begin a new century in mankind’s history, and we can’t get out of third place or even be competitive in a lackluster wild card hunt.

Both Angels and Dodgers have nurtured and developed their own methods of combustibility that we are now presently accustomed. The Angels give us hope throughout a season then pathetically cash it all in September, while the Dodgers tease our faith with flares of brilliance throughout the year, then loose disparagingly to bad teams right when it counts the most.

It used to break my heart. Then, the persistence of these two teams to blindly repeat past mistakes became so reliable that I numbed over to the whole experience. I was passionless. Addicted, in a sadistic way, to experiencing the brunt of their riotous path to demise.

But no more. I am alive with a new meaning I feel all of Southern California is set and willing to embrace. Let’s stop the playoffs and World Series until our teams can join the fun. Cancel all transmissions West of the Rockies. We’ll set ourselves apart, change our name if we have to, form an alliance with Texas. We don’t want your games if they don’t bleed Dodger blue or Angel, well, blue also.

There will be no Fall Classic. Not anymore. Not until a champagne soaked Adrian Beltre or Adam Kennedy is standing next to the Commissioner speaking with the President about their game winning RBI double.

Let’s lay down the law and all hold our collective breath. Here we go.