A couple weeks ago, I received an official voter’s ballot for a trivial contest. There were 10 slots to fill.
And no, I’m not talking about the Baseball Hall of Fame.
This was the annual Los Angeles News Group Top 10 Sports Stories of the Year ballot. All the stories we considered involved people and teams who hailed from, or competed in, the greater Los Angeles/Orange County/Inland Empire area. The number-one story on my ballot didn’t involve an athlete, let alone anyone connected to baseball. It was about Jerry Buss, whose death in February took up four of five columns on the front page of that day’s Daily News:
I was surprised to see my colleagues disagreed. The Dodgers’ tumultuous “return to glory” captured their hearts. The sample size of our staff writers may be smallish, but what do I know? L.A. likes a winner.
Then Ken Gurnick of MLB.com broke down the Dodgers’ season in 874 words and it didn’t seem like enough.
Then Puig was arrested. (Again.)
Then David Vassegh of KLAC (570-AM) tweeted this:
This is the most irrelevant #Lakers season since '93-94 (33-49) At least then there was faith Jerry West would save the franchise…
— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) December 30, 2013
And suddenly, the Dodgers had become the Lakers.
Debate it all you want, but it seems the tides of buzz and drama and relevance have turned in the Dodgers’ favor. If there’s room for two teams in the public consciousness — as Magic Johnson said roughly one year ago — the Lakers aren’t taking advantage of it right now. The Dodgers are.
Some bullet points for a Monday morning:
• Happy 78th birthday, Sandy Koufax.
• New Texas Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo wouldn’t mind seeing the Dodgers and countryman Hyun-Jin Ryu in the World Series:
Choo: "I will try my best to win the World Series and will beat Ryu if I see him in that stage.”
— Dan (@MyKBO) December 30, 2013
• From ESPN.com: “The average game in 2013 lasted over 3:04, helped by a major-league-record 243 extra-inning games.”
• How have the winter transactions to this point have affected each team’s defense?
• SI.com’s Jay Jaffe analyzed the consequences of an overstuffed Hall of Fame ballot.
• The lyrics to “Chinatown” by Destroyer are confusing and esoteric (“To your detriment you try to explain/A government swallowed up in the squall”), but there’s something about a breezy saxophone solo, a synthesizer, and a drum machine that puts me in that musical sweet spot between 1982 and 1987: