Remind us again when Southern California was the center of the baseball universe.
Like, six months ago?
All it took way back in late ‘12 was the Dodgers and Angels committing to a combined $360 million in roster spending for ’13 personnel. The assumption was that there were performance clauses in all those contracts, as well as lower Medicare deductibles, but that’s not our area of legal expertise.
Still hankering for a Freeway Series? With a combined 24-42 mark going into Friday’s games, the Dodgers and Angels are liable to get a ticket, steep fine and a suspension of their operator’s license for attempting to drive an empty bandwagon in the FasTrak lane.
Six weeks in, BaseballProspectus.com gives the Dodgers an optimistic 33.2 percent chance of making the playoffs (based on a projected 82-80 mark in the NL West), and the Angels have a 19 percent shot (with an 80-82 AL West record).
The prospects of Don Mattingly and Mike Scioscia sitting in as managers by the time that happens isn’t accounted for. The two must feel as if they’re sitting on the San Andreas Fault, because all this early mess is their fault, of course.
A lesson to relearn: Before one plants a pre-paid championship flag on a particular beachhead, could someone please check the compounded penalties for failure to cash in on fans’ rewards points now that the local NBA interest levels have subsided?
Or will a weekly Friday Fireworks Night make everyone forget the implosion that’s about to occur?
== How proud must the football followers of Texas be in watching Josh Hamilton hit all four of his homers this season and collect six of his 11 RBI against the Houston Astros, a team whose total payroll ($22 million) isn’t that far off from the $17.4 mil he’ll make just for showing up?
(FYI: The two people who want to be the next mayor of L.A., Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti, have raised a combined $17.9 million toward their candidacy).
== Would the Angels be interested in having Scott Kazmir back now? Torii Hunter? Mickey Hatcher?
== Aaron Harang (1-4, 7.30 ERA with Seattle) really wouldn’t have been much help to the Dodgers right about now, would he?
== What could each team do now to fix things? Former MLB GM Jim Bowden has some suggestions. Easy to make, of course, when you’re not in the middle of the boiling kettle, right?
== With all the air time MLB apologist Joe Torre has received lately, is competence or accountability the bigger image issue facing today’s union of umpires? There’s no rule preventing them from consulting a rule book during a game, is there?
== What’s more childish: A) Kobe Bryant says his mom stole his Teen Choice Awards surf board from his house and put it up for auction, B) Bryant would notice such a thing missing, C) There is actually a Teen Choice Award, D) Someone would buy it in an auction?
== If the Clippers are so worried that Chris Paul might decide to pick up and move elsewhere, could the team purchase some kind of insurance plan in the interim from Cliff Paul?
== Now that the Detroit Pistons have hired Phil Jackson as an adviser on their head coaching search, what’s to prevent him from recommending Mike D’Antoni?
== Not to dampen anyone’s day, but Tony Siragusa says he has the answers to all our problems for “leakage’’ – and it’s as simple as slipping some kind of Depend protective insert into our under garment.
And this all depends on what Siragusa defines as embarrassing?
== Isn’t it classic case of years of stone-washed price gouging that Levi’s has the deep pockets to afford $220 mil-plus in naming rights for a Santa Clara football stadium?
Suggestion: Can you make Section 501 pants optional?
== Before Louisville coach Rick Pitino arranged to have that national championship tattoo emblazoned on his back, did anyone in the NCAA office make sure he wasn’t trading any jerseys for it?
== Maxim magazine has been getting some flack by including Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend on its annual list of the “Hot 100”? For real?