Downtown Dodgers + Football in the Ravine

Apparently, the recent takesies-backsies of the Los Angeles Dodgers by Major League Baseball has quiet a few suits talking. Their discussions are starting to get interesting. Yahoo Sports takes a look at how the baseball power struggle may help L.A.’s bid for an NFL franchise.

In short, the Dodgers could move to a new baseball stadium downtown on the site of the currently proposed new NFL stadium. A new football facility would go up in place of Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine. Stadium swap.

It’s a fascinating idea. Football fans would now be able to tailgate outside a brand new stadium, as opposed to the downtown site. It would also provide an opportunity to correct an injustice done decades ago – a new stadium could be situated to face Downtown Los Angeles instead of turning its back on the heart of the city. The new Dodger Stadium could also boast DTLA as a dramatic backdrop. Baseball would become more a part of the urban fabric of the city.

Take the subway to a ballgame? In Los Angeles?

What do you think?

 

Dodgers Assimilated; Leaders Dumbfounded

The Once and Futile King (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

When news broke that Major League Baseball was assuming day-to-day control of the Los Angeles Dodgers, most of the internet reacted with a sense of “about damn time.”

Local politicians? Well, they’re just flabbergasted. Blindsided by something that none of them ever saw coming during the reign of The McCourts. How could this be? Why is this happening to our beloved boys in blue? We have never had any reason to believe something like this would happen, aside from The Divorce, Manny, gang shenanigans, fan beatings, IRS investigations, and endless seasons of The Great NL West Race to .500. We’re stunned. STUNNED!!!

Perhaps the most ridiculous statement to come out of City Hall yet belongs to Wendy Greuel:

As a lifelong Angeleno and a Dodgers fan, I would hope there would be stability so the Dodgers can focus on winning the World Series.

Follow the game much, Wendy?

 

Reminder: Grand Prix of Long Beach This Weekend

That’s right folks, it’s that time of the year again. Time for gasoline and sunshine….and beer. The 37th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will make it’s way through the streets of Long Beach this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There’s a schedule of events you can check out but I suggest that you do NOT mis the celebrity race on Saturday afternoon as well as the ALMS race immediately after. Sunday will be the main Indy Car race and the culmination of what is to be a great weekend.

It looks like the weather will be perfect too. Sunny and warm, but not hot. I’ll be wearing my sunscreen. If you’ve never been, check out a post I did a couple years ago for OC Metblogs. It gives you a good idea of what to expect each day. I highly suggest you check it out. You can get Friday/Saturday tickets super cheap. Doooo it!

Dodgers Plan to Have a Security Plan. Starting April 14th.

Dodger Stadium From Praveen31's Flickr Stream

 

In a swift response to the March 31st beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow at Dodger Stadium, LAPD chief Charlie Beck has announced that a zero-tolerance policy will go into effect immediately. Starting with the next game. For reals this time.

In the short term, there will be more police officers – paid for by the Dodgers. In the long-term, they plan to “look at technology, observation posts, lighting, environmental studies and increased community outreach.”

Microchips? Armed guards on a wall? I particularly enjoy the “environmental studies.” Can you imagine: After further review, Chavez Ravine is not an appropriate location for a sports venue. Sorry about evicting all the people that lived there.

The entire announcement is best summed up in the ESPN comment thread by Stark10547:

Phase 1 of our new plan: Actually have security.
Play ball.

New Freerunning Academy opens in LA

What could possibly be coolest school in the world opened in LA last week. It’s called the ‘Tempest Freerunning Academy‘. If you don’t know what Freerunning is here’s the definition from Wikipedia:

Free running or freerunning is a form of urban acrobatics in which participants, known as free runners, use the city and rural landscape to perform movements through its structures. It incorporates efficient movements from parkour, adds aesthetic vaults and other acrobatics, such as tricking and street stunts, creating an athletic and aesthetically pleasing way of moving. It is commonly practiced at gymnasiums and in urban areas (such as cities or towns) that are cluttered with obstacles.

Freerunnung reminds me of skateboarders ripping through a city on a day they forgot to bring their boards with them. It can be beautiful and terrifying and if I was 25 years younger with working knees I’d be signing up for classes immediately!

Their 7,000 sqft facility was designed by famed ramp builder Nate Wessel and looks like a dream world where Mario Brothers, Tony Hawk Pro Skater and an Olympic training facility had a weird 3-way. It has built in foam pits, trampolines, a spring floor and my personal favorite… a 14ft warped wall right out of Sasuke!

They offer classes from beginner up to advanced (although the advanced classes are by invite only) but if you just want to go and play on their gear they have an un-monitored open gym for the adults and a monitored open gym for the kids.

Check out their amazing trailer video after the jump.

One Reason Why I’d Be Overthrown If I Ruled The Dodgers But I’d Do It Anyway

Because I’d’ve forfeited yesterday’s and every damn game going forward until the apprehension of the suspects wanted in the post opening-game beating that put a Santa Cruz paramedic and father of two into the hospital in critical condition. Plus I’d put up $100,000 in team money as a reward for their arrest and conviction.

But nothing so extreme and outrageous and defiantly zero tolerance occurred to the the Dodgers who instead give us a front office spokesperson who gives us this: “It is extremely unfortunate that this incident took place on what was otherwise a great day at Dodger Stadium for tens of thousands of fans.”

Really?

Sure, I understand the show must go on and the  game must be played. But I also understand that doctors are trying to decide whether or not to remove a part of the victim’s brain.

From the Daily News:

Bryan Stow, 41, is in a medically-induced coma today with brain injuries delivered by two Dodgers fans. Stow, wearing San Francisco Giants apparel, was jumped, knocked to the ground and repeatedly kicked in the head after Thursday night’s game, his relatives said.

According to police the attackers are 18-25 years old, were wearing Dodgers attire and had shaved heads and thin mustaches. One had a small goatee, and the other had numerous tattoos on his neck, said Detective Percy Morris at a news conference Friday. A female reportedly drove the getaway car the suspects got into after the assault.

Police urge anyone with information on the attack to call police at the Northeast Station at 213/485-2563.

Where would you build an NFL statium?

So last week Farmers Insurance based in Simi Valley bought the naming rights to an NFL stadium to be built in downtown LA.  Pretty cool, right?  Well the folks out in the City of Industry haven’t given up on an NFL stadium out there and can one up the Downtown LA Folks, their preliminary draft Environmental Report has gotten approval.  The Pasadena Star News is running a poll and as of Sunday afternoon voting is 2 to1 in favor of City of Industry.

Of course its all contingent on getting a NFL team to plunk in a stadium and for that there are no commitments. Personally I think it would be pretty cool to be Downtown if only because it would be mass transit accessible for more folks as opposed to the transit starved C of I.

Where would you put a stadium?  Sound off in the comments and vote over at the Pasadena Star News HERE.

New NFL Stadium Finally Coming?

A brand new NFL stadium right next to L.A. Live. Los Angeles hosting the Super Bowl in 2016. The World Cup in 2022. Bigger conventions. More jobs.

AEG’s Tim Leiweke is talking about it. Exciting, no?

Already, there are fears of gridlock, declining property values, and general mayhem from some of the self-proclaimed pioneer loft-dwellers. Here are but a few comments from Curbed:

I think it would bring gridlock for days—–and make the area less pedestrian friendly.

Its not like we have a lot of available open space around here. i’m not opposed to commercial, but a stadium seems to big. nothing green around there.

I love living downtown but bringing in the sporting low life that comes with 10’s of thousands of football fans can destroy downtown.

My favorite complaint that I hear whenever something new is being developed Downtown, is about someone “losing the view” from their building. Because everyone moves to the heart of a city for sunshine and rolling meadows. Peace and quiet. Solitude.

I’m curious to know what you think. Is this a good idea? If you live Downtown, are you are for or against an NFL stadium/event center being built next to L.A. Live?

Win Tickets For L.A. Derby Dolls This Saturday!

Fight Crew vs. Sirens by Stalkerazzi

The L.A. Kings’ hockey season is just getting started; the L.A. Dodgers’ baseball season is mercifully drawing to a close. The L.A. Derby Dolls‘ roller derby season is in high gear, though, and this Saturday night you can see the most exciting sport in Los Angeles as the Fight Crew battle the Sirens in a race toward the 2010 Championship (in December.) Keep reading to find out how you can win your free tickets.

Banked track roller derby is an aggressive, fast-paced, full-contact sport. These women may look nice all dolled up in skates and fishnets, but do not be fooled. They are fierce competitors who give everything they’ve got on the track in order to achieve victory.

If you’ve already been to the Doll Factory, then you know. If you haven’t, you just have to experience it for yourself. Surrounded by the roar of a sold out crowd, you’ll watch a high-speed chase on the track that will leave you breathless. Before the game and at half time, you’ll enjoy various food vendors including Hot Dog On A Stick and Garage Pizza, ice cold beer from Alex’s Bar, and a vendor village packed with jewelery, t-shirts, skate gear, and all sorts of other stuff. There’s even a live band at half-time (Eternal Youth.)

Here is a preview of Saturday night’s bout:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FajqSItMkp8[/youtube]

What: L.A. Derby Dolls Fight Crew vs. Sirens
When: Saturday, 2 October 2010. Doors open 6:00pm, bout starts 8:00pm.
Where: The Doll Factory, 1910 West Temple Street, Los Angeles.
Why: Most exciting sport in L.A. You won’t find more fun anywhere (with your pants on.)
How: Get tickets online now! The L.A. Derby Dolls sell out every bout.

Now for the prizes:

I’ve got a pair of tickets for Saturday’s bout plus a Derby Dolls t-shirt for one lucky winner. All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me who your favorite Fight Crew or Sirens skater or Enforcers ref is. (You’ll find the team rosters at the links above; Enforcers below.) Contest ends Thursday, 30 September, at 9:00am pdt. Keep an eye on your inbox Thursday, as the winner will need to reply to my email asap.

Good luck to all. Don’t want to chance winning? Don’t let the bout sell out without you. Get your tickets online now.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that I may be a bit biased toward the sport of women’s banked track roller derby, and the L.A. Derby Dolls specifically. I am a member of the Enforcers (referee team.) In truth, I’d have been happy to tell you how awesome it is, long before I ever became a ref.)

Pocket Parks: Julian D Fisher Park

Tucked behind the Monrovia School District offices lies Julian D Fisher Park.  It is one of many pocket parks dotting Monrovia, but this one is special because of its 3 regulation size basketball courts.  Good enough that it is listed on the “Courts of the World” web as a place to go for pick up games and just enjoy the sport.

Bringing it closer to home for me, the Monrovia Mountaineers, a competitive travel basketball team for 14 and under age kids uses it for practice when local gyms aren’t available.   We (as in my youngest child who is a Mountaineer) are at this park for practices with his team several times a week.

Mountaineers practice early on a Sunday morning.

There is also a nice Picnic Pavilion and play ground area to round out the usefulness of this pocket park.  Fair warning, this park is packed in the evenings and on weekends.  Week day mornings you tend to find the odd Mom and kidlet in the play area.  Parking is limited on Almond Avenue, but not completely impossible to find a space within walking distance of the entrance to the park.

Easy access from 210 Fwy via Myrtle or Mountain Ave exits.

Pocket Parks: Culver West-Alexander in Culver City

If you look at a map of Culver City, you’ll see there is an arm that reaches to the Pacific Ocean. This is “Culver West” and it’s nestled between Mar Vista and Marina Del Rey.

There is a sweet gem in that arm called Culver West-Alexander Park and if you are in the neighborhood and looking for a great spot to spend an afternoon, you will love this one.

I remember this park from the very early 90’s as I used to work in the Marina. The big field seen here used to have a baseball diamond and one year I spent many an early morning practicing softball with our company team. (Go Hurlers!) Even without a baseball diamond, you can NOT get bored at this park. I dare you!

There are basketball and tennis courts, BBQ pits and picnic tables, tons of jungle gyms and swings and even a community center. If you are a Westsider, check this spot out, bring the kids and grandparents and a big picnic. You never know what you’ll see here.

How to get there (click on the image to go to the Google Map):

You want sports? We got sports!  One tennis and two paddle tennis courts (this is where my honey and I play a lot.)

Here’s a close up of the mural at the end of the tennis court. It’s like being inside Wii Tennis!

In case you were wondering:

And also:

This happy mural greets  you when you park on Moore street. Handball courts (three) are here on the backside of the tennis court.

Wider shot of Basketball and handball courts with informal running path in front.

Close on the Mural at the Basketball court:

Plenty of stuff for the kids to clamber over and around:

And when it’s time to eat, there are plenty of shady spots to spread out and grill up some yummy picnic food.

There is plenty of parking on Moore Street and also in a small lot near the jungle gym/tennis court side of the park.

Alas, Fido will need to stay on the designated path. But it’s a sweet path!

And if you need to just chill in a grassy, shady spot, there is plenty of that too.

Read more about Richard Alexander, after whom the park was named. (Click picture for bigger version.)

Stop by some time! It’s a gorgeous little park and it’s all yours.

Paddle Tennis Anyone?

(If you already know and love Paddle Tennis, bear with me for a moment.)

It’s not Ping-Pong. It’s not Platform Tennis. It’s not Paddleball or Beach Paddle or even something called Padel. Paddle Tennis is its own game and has been around since 1898, invented in Michigan by a man named Frank Peer Beal. (Read a full history here.)

Paddle Tennis is a blast and in these hot sunny summer days, if you love tennis, you might find yourself stymied by full courts and long wait times to play. However, if you shift your game a tiny bit, you can find wide open (and best of all: FREE) Paddle Tennis courts all over LA. And all those half dead tennis balls you have lying around? They are required for Paddle Tennis. Look at you — recycling while you play. (Your dogs may be upset while they wait for their shot at the deflated balls, however.)

If you are already playing tennis at public courts, you may have seen the smaller Paddle Tennis courts alongside the regular courts. If not, here is a map for just some of the public courts available. The map does not include my current favorite court in Culver City: Culver West Park, just south of Washington on Wade or Moore streets. (The park itself is a little gem with a big jungle gym for the kids, a huge lawn (used to be a baseball diamond) a dog walk track, 1 tennis court, 2 paddle tennis courts, and 2 handball courts, plus restrooms and an indoor community room.)

Venice is a hot spot for Paddle Tennis and the home of Power Paddle, the last all wood paddles on the market (seen above). Brian Lee is the owner of the company and former five time paddle tennis champion, taking over from his father who started making the paddles to improve his own game. (Full disclosure, my husband I use Power Paddles, though I didn’t realize they were locally made by Mr. Lee when I started writing this article!)

Paddle Tennis is great sports for kids to learn with the smaller courts and paddles. And since you only need a paddle, a few balls and a willing partner, it doesn’t have to be expensive to start. Give it a try! If you need a partner, I’m an amateur, but I can give good rally.

For full rules, info and player rankings, visit the US Paddle Tennis Association.

(Oh and if you think the smaller court and deflated balls make this some kind of rinky-dink retired granny sport, watch this video.)

Go out and play!

Lakers Sweet Victory!!!

The Lakers are the Kings of LA today!  The game last night was simply epic. They played with heart, soul and fire and kept us on the edge of our seat til the very end!  Congratulations to the new champions!  Whew!  That was a great ride!  THAT was entertainment!

I had a friend who wanted to watch the game at a sports bar with his buddies and they left TWO hours beforehand to get a seat and had to go to five bars before they found one they could squeeze into!  He called us at 8am this morning to share the crazy shenanigans of the drunken crowd.  Me, I watched it in the sweet comfort of my own home so I could laugh at my love, Dan the Man jumping around in front of the TV waving his fists every five minutes.  There’s something inherently tender about your guy getting full of testosterone watching his team.

And Ron-Ron, you earned your jersey!  So sweet, thanking his wife, his mom and his psychiatrist!

What a game!  Every single Laker player contributed in his own way.  Fisher pulling out that three, Pau, never giving up and Kobe rallying in the last quarter!  Thank You.  I am honored to be a fan of this awesome team!

GO LAKERS!

“Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”

Every now and then we Trojans have to join up with those annoying Bruins on some things (and not just hating on Cal). This weekend, we join together on a sad note – mourning the loss of former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.

John Wooden and Bill Walton, 1970

John Wooden and Bill Walton, 1970. Photo courtesy Vedia on Flickr.

I’ve been making some plans lately for the upcoming World Cup. I don’t follow soccer (football?) but I wanted to take part in the magnificent exercise in sports fandom that will be USA vs. England. Whatever their sport, fans tend to unite over great communal experiences like the World Cup, the Olympics, the Super Bowl or the Lakers in the finals.

We, as lovers of sport, also unite in recognizing legends, regardless of rivalry or affiliation. We all recognize the greatness that was John Wooden.

And all of us, Bruins, Trojans, whatever, felt our hearts sink a bit at the news that Wooden was “gravely ill”, and then when he eventually passed away last night. He may have been 99 years old and hadn’t coached in decades, but the loss of Wooden still leaves a big gaping hole in the sports world. Coaches with his level of success and, more importantly, his level of influence are one-in-a-million.

Well before I moved to California and learned about Trojans vs. Bruins (and on which side I stood), I learned about Wooden. I remember my 7th grade basketball coach preaching his wisdom to us in the locker room. His name is all over buildings in Westwood. My favorite monument to him is the bust carved out of wood that sits in the lobby at ESPN Zone in Anaheim (the “wooden Wooden”). He’s practically required reading for teachers and coaches of all levels.

Wooden represented the best of UCLA, of basketball, of Los Angeles, hell, all of sports in general. While normally I would be reveling in seeing the Bruins cope with a loss (like, say, in a football game), this time, I, and fans everywhere, will be right there with them.