Monday, May 11, 2009

'Lost' weekend for L.A. teams
         It was not a happy Mother's Day in Los Angeles for the city's professional sports teams. The Lakers lost to the Houston Rockets in Game 4 of their semifinal playoff series in Texas. The Dodgers lost to the San Francisco Giants in extra innings at Dodger Stadium. And although the Ducks play in Anaheim, their 4-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL playoffs still makes the front page of the sports sections.
         The only bright spot was the Angels' 4-3 win over Kansas City, which gave the Halos a three-game sweep of Royals, the front-runners in the Central Division of the American League.
         Some of the biggest sports fans in town are Moms. My grandmother loved Sandy Koufax. "My boy Sandy pitched today," she'd always say after listening to the game on the radio.
          So, Manny Ramirez's mother must be wondering what in the world was her son was thinking when he decided to take a substance that is banned by baseball.
          Four days after it was announced that Ramirez had been suspended for 50 games, Dodgers' owner Frank McCourt finally met with Ramirez. Walter O'Malley would have had Ramirez in his office in two minutes. The Dodgers say they will welcome Ramirez back when his suspension ends. But will he be the same Manny? Most players who quit using steroids are never the same. Two ex-Dodgers, Paul Lo Duca and Eric Gagne are good examples. So is Jason Giambi. O'Malley most likely would have told Ramirez to pack his bags for Florida.
          As for the Lakers, their lethargic performance against the under-powered Rockets (Yao Ming didn't play because of his injured knee) has put them in dangerous territory. They can lose the series. The late L.A. sportswriter Mal Florence used to say, "You beat the burger," meaning good teams never let an inferior one get the best of them. The Rockets have the edge in  what is  now a best-of-three series.

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