Welcome to Occupy Staples Center, the playoff version


Six playoff games over nine days, guaranteed.

Ten potential playoffs games over 14 days, not out of the question.

“This is pretty wild, isn’t it?” asks Lee Zeidman.

The perfect swarm of NBA and NHL playoffs has become the obvious payoff for AEG’s construction of Staples Center built in the first place in 1999. Adding all conglomeration of 19 eateries and hangouts across the street in LA Live doesn’t hurt business right now either.

Once upon a time, there was a threat of no NBA season. Now, it’s Occupy Staples Center.


Zeidman, the Staples Center senior VP and GM who worked for 10 years previously at the Forum, agrees that it’s a good bet no U.S. arena, stadium or bowling alley has ever seen the likes of what this building will endure with having the Lakers, Clippers and Kings converge for elbow room at their designated home arena in the post season — at the same time, nearly night after day after night between this Sunday and Saturday, May 12.

“I don’t think this has ever happened in the history of sports as it relates to two major sports, and I don’t think anyone will ever break this,” said Zeidman.

The reason is: Staples Center is the only place in the country with two NBA teams and one NHL team as its tenants. You’d have to have a city like New York willing to have both the NHL’s Rangers and Islanders join the NBA’s Knicks and Nets in the same converted flat. But the Nets are all ready to move from Jersey to Brooklyn in a new facility soon.

Wheras the Forum only had one instance where there were two games in one night – that was a Kings game followed by a indoor soccer match – Staples Center can handle all the nightly ruckus, Zeidman insists.

“It was built for this,” said Zeidman, noting 19 doubleheaders this season. “This is one of the payoffs. The other would be if we could get the Lakers and Clippers to win their first two rounds and make it to the Western Conference finals. Not only would that guarantee an all-home series, but it would assure us that one of them would be in the NBA Finals.

“Otherwise, this is business as usual; this is normal for us.”

It’s as if Marvel comics got all its superheroes together — Captain America, Ironman and Thor — and combined to form …

The Avengers?

Dang, if only that Arena Football League team was still around vying for space rental.

How there isn’t any twin-bills in the upcoming weeks was only avoided when the Clippers didn’t get home court for their first-round series against Memphis, or today would have been the first day-night NBA playoff DH.

“The longer this all goes, the better it is for everyone,” said Zeidman, who says the building will have about 240 events this year, including the start of the WNBA season in late May, mixed in with a few concerts such as Van Halen and Radiohead in the coming weeks. “We’ll just defer a little summer maintenance to June 27.”

Not quite. ESPN’s X Games are coming to Staples Center a month earlier than usual this year because of the Summer Olympics – this time, it’s from June 28 to July 1.

“I don’t get much sleep anyway,” said Zeidman.

But there was no way to cram two Springsteen concerts into the place before this? Of course not. The Boss only plays the dingy Sports Arena. Staples Center is too “sterile” for his tastes, even though he opened the place.

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Weekly media column version 04.27.12


What’s included in today’s weekly media column (linked here): How does a professional baseball pitcher survive in the game when his employers discover he’s writing a book about his experiences? It’s not that easy, as Dirk Hayhurst and Eric Pettis have discovered recently. Reviews of their recent books have appeared this week on the blog.

What isn’t mentioned in the column:

== Three NBC channels will end up showing Kings-Blues games from the Western Conference semifinal series. Game 1 opens Saturday at 4:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Network, called by Dave Strader and former Kings player and radio analyst Brian Engblom. Game 2 Monday is on CNBC at 6 p.m. At Staples Center, Game 3 on Thursday May 3 goes back to NBC Sports Channel at 7 p.m., with Game 4 Sunday at noon in the NBC Channel 4 slot. A Game 5 back in St. Louis will be Tuesday May 8 on CNBC (time to be determined). Game 6 at Staples on Thursday May 10 would be on one of the three NBC channels (to be determined, as well as the time). Same for a Game 7 in St. Louis on Saturday May 12. KTLK-AM (1150) will stay as the home radio base with Nick Nickson and Daryl Evans (with a special Kings Talk call-in show set for after Game 1). FSWest is set to air Kings Live post-game shows with Bob Miller and Jim Fox, but it could be hit and miss as to which games they’ll appear.

== Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Lisa Salters will cover the Lakers-Nuggets Western Conference quarterfinal game Sunday at 12:30 p.m. for ABC (Channel 7), while Dick Stockton, Chris Webber and Craig Sager will do the Clippers-Grizzlies opener from Memphis at 6:30 p.m. on TNT Sunday. The rest of the Lakers’ series will be on FSW or KCAL-Channel 9 (home or road) unless ABC takes it. The Clippers’ series will also be on Prime unless ABC has it.

== In a reference to “What Smokes” about a Norman Chad column (linked here) remark about Jack Whitaker’s lifetime Sports Emmy Award, comes this as well: “I’m thinking it’s a missed opportunity for everyone that Jim Gray has never has worked the sidelines at a bullfight.”

== Richard Sandomir’s New York Times piece on the demise of the sports cartoon (linked here).

== Deadspin.com posts a video on how to use the recent ESPN Magazine — the one that reports on widespread pot use by the Oregon Ducks football team — as a hash pipe (linked here).

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30 baseball books in 30 days of April, ’12: Day 27 — Big-time experiences from an ECR grad


The book: “Just A Minor Perspective: Through The Eyes of a Minor League Rookie”

The author: Eric Pettis

The vital stats: Amazon Digital Services, 97 pages/3042 KB, or 41,000 words, $2.99

Find it: The Kindle edition at Amazon.com (linked here) or at the author’s website (www.ericpettis.com)

The pitch: Eric Pettis was a junior at El Camino Real High in 2005 who threw the two-hitter in a 5-1 upset of Chatworth to clinch the L.A. City title at Dodger Stadium. That was probably the most important game in ECR’s baseball history since Randy Wolf won the City title with a one-hitter more than 10 years earlier.

After four seasons at UC Irvine, the first and last as a starter, the middle two as a top reliever, the All-American Pettis wasn’t picked until the 35th-round by the Philadelphia Phillies in the June, 2010 draft.

That was No. 1,107th overall, if your counting. Pettis was.

He took the challenge and that summer posted an 8-0 record and 1.37 ERA with seven saves in 20 games at short-season low-A ball for Williamsport in the N.Y.-Penn League. That earned a promotion for the start of the 2011 season at A-ball in the South Atlantic League. One month later, it was up to high-A ball in Clearwater of the the Florida State League through the end of the season. Combined stats: 2-3, 2.84 ERA in 47 games, 5 saves (see his baseballreference.com page).

For his troubles, he was cut free.

Back in Chatsworth, waiting to get picked up, or thinking about going to an Independent League team for a shot, Pettis has some more time to promote his eBook, where some of the 16 chapters go with the titles of “Fried Chicken and Hot Air Balloons,” “Messing with the Baseball Gods,” “No-No No-No,” “Pirate + Leprachaun = Change,” and “To the Penthouse.”

Continue reading “30 baseball books in 30 days of April, ’12: Day 27 — Big-time experiences from an ECR grad” »

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Q and A with Dirk Hayhurst: “It’s the most liberating and imprisoning experience at the top”


From GroovyGarfoose.com, Bonnie Hayhurst’s musical therapy website.

As a follow up to today’s review of “Out of My League” (linked here), and a preview to Friday’s media column, some painfully insightful Q-and-A with pitcher/author Dirk Hayhurst:

Q: Are you officially out of baseball now?

A: I guess so. Part of me is like (in an announcer voice), “Next year, latch onto any team and have a goodbye tour!” But let’s be honest. I’ve applied to grad school. People want me to do broadcasting. Shoot, I don’t know.
I hate saying this, because I feel I’m betraying everyone, but I get it from Twitter fans every day, from people who I don’t know who they are, saying: “You should get into broadcasting!” Or, “You should write about …” And I’m “OK, all right.” Then I get away from it and it’s like, “What the hell am I doing?” I’m letting essentially 14,000 digital nobodies essentially tell me now to live.
I’m taking it slow trying to find out what I care about. I’d like more of my existence to be more what’s in front of me right now and not potentially what’s happening in this digital world I occupy pandering for followers. I hate being sucked into this.

Continue reading “Q and A with Dirk Hayhurst: “It’s the most liberating and imprisoning experience at the top”” »

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30 baseball books in 30 days of April, ’12: Day 26 — More honest-to-gospel truths: The Garfoose comes back to nest as a happily-married Padre and a psychologically scarred major leaguer


The book: “Out Of My League: A Rookie’s Survival in the Bigs”

The author: Dirk Hayhurst

The vital stats: Citadel Press, 406 pages, $24.95

Find it: We suggest going to Powell’s (linked here) or Barnes & Noble (linked here). And at the publisher’s website (linked here) and the author’s website (linked here).

The pitch: The anticipated followup to the 2010 New York Times bestseller “The Bullpen Gospels” establishes Dirk Hayhurst on the cusp of the 2008 season — he’s got an off-season job at Circuit City, he’s getting serious about his girlfriend Bonnie, still sleeping on the inflatable mattress on the floor of his tyrannical grandma’s house in Ohio just to save money — and then he lands an invite to the San Diego Padres’ spring training camp.

All that Single-A-related manure seems like a lifetime ago. Hayhurst still struggles and juggles his big-league aspirations around a supporting cast that includes a bi-polar father, a argumentative mom, an alcoholic brother and a loving fianc who realizes no matter how supportive she tries to remain, it’s not always going to make him feel any better.

Starting the season at Triple-A Portland, Hayhurst gets the call to replace Greg Maddux in the rotation in late August. But he quickly learns that no matter how great the hot tub is in the hotel he’s put up in, there is constant, brutal frustration in trying to survive day to day with the expectations put on him, and by him, at the big-league level. No matter how obscene amount of money is given to him for his role as a spot starter and bullpen longman, there are huge trappings Hayhurst didn’t see coming. And he crumbles a bit.

Continue reading “30 baseball books in 30 days of April, ’12: Day 26 — More honest-to-gospel truths: The Garfoose comes back to nest as a happily-married Padre and a psychologically scarred major leaguer” »

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