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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Who's More Popular in L.A. Now, the Dodgers or the Galaxy?

Who's more popular in the second largest metropolitan area in the U.S. now, the Dodgers or the Galaxy?  The Los Angeles Galaxy have possibly the greatest tandem of players (Beckham and Donovan) any one Soccer team has ever had in the U.S., mostly play at near capacity or sellouts and is a contender for a championship this year.  The Los Angeles Dodgers have massive debt, poor attendance, a bad record for wins and losses and a horrible reputation for safety at the ballpark.

What is even worse for the Dodgers is the probability that their ownership problems and battles with Major League Baseball will continue for a long time.  There does not appear to be any easy solutions on the horizon.  MLB wants to take the team over and get things restarted as soon as possible with new owners, but this is unlikely to happen in the near future because the present owners, Frank McCourt and his ex-wife, want to keep their team, make it salvageable and restart things themselves.

A new TV deal for the Dodgers had been reached with FOX Sports, which was how the McCourts planned to overcome their payroll issues and help them generate new business dealings.  The deal was nixed by MLB and its commissioner, Bud Selig.  A precedent has been set and MLB is ready to 'Duke' (Snider) it out with the Dodgers, thus setting the stage for a knockout, drag-out courtroom fight for the rights to the team.  This will be a landmark case. 

The Dodgers aren't the only baseball team struggling to pay their bills.  On the other coast, the New York Mets are going through similar problems, though the owners have pushed much of the blame on being hoodwinked by Bernie Madoff and his Ponzi scheme.  Whether a majority of the financial problems the Mets are having come from involvement with Madoff or not, the direness of the situation is hard to ignore.

Practically a third of MLB teams are experiencing losing big money.  It's not a problem that's going away anytime soon.  Baseball got itself into this mess and will have to work itself out of it, but there will be consequences.  One big consequence is that fans are losing interest in their sport. 

What's been bad for baseball has been just the opposite for Soccer in the U.S.  MLS is taking some advantage of baseball's missteps just by being there.

There's no pro football coming anytime soon and even if there weren't a lockout, it wouldn't make any difference in LA, since there isn't a home team to root for (though a new franchise may be coming in the next few years).  The Lakers and their new coach may not be getting started for quite some time either, as the NBA seems headed for a lockout too.

If you're a sports fan in LA right now, you can give your attention to the Los Angeles Angels, surely some fans are converts to the Halos from the Dodgers, or you can beat the drum for the Galaxy, which seems to make more and more sense.  Soccer is cooler than baseball now and the incompetent Dodgers are helping to point this out for everyone to take notice of.

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