Why Los Angeles Dodgers Fans Are the Best Fanbase in L.A.
Los Angeles Dodgers fans have had it rough over the past 24 years. The Dodgers haven't won a World Series since 1988; and in that time they've had to watch championship parades for the Angels (MLB), Kings (NHL), Galaxy (MLS) and multiple parades for the Lakers (NBA). Even the Clippers (NBA) have managed to become a relevant franchise.
Watching other Los Angeles-based sports franchises enjoy success has been bad enough. But Dodgers fans also had to endure two awful periods of team ownership over the past 13 years.
The misery began when Fox Entertainment Group purchased the team in 1998. That ended a 48-year run of ownership by the O'Malley family which began in 1950 when Walter O'Malley first purchased a 25-percent ownership stake in the team from Branch Rickey and became the Dodgers' team president.
The nightmare continued in 2004 when Frank McCourt purchased the Dodgers and started using the team as his own personal ATM machine instead of investing in building a winner.
But throughout the lean years, Dodgers fans have continued to support the boys in blue, save for a brief time towards the end of last season where fans smartly began staying away from Dodgers Stadium in protest of McCourt's reign of terror.
The baseball gods have finally begun to smile on Los Angeles again with the new ownership group moving heaven and Earth to bring another World Series championship to Chavez Ravine.
Despite the success of the other sports franchises over the past three decades, here are four reasons why Los Angeles Dodgers fans are still the best fanbase in L.A., and will remain so indefinitely, at least until an NFL franchise makes its way back to the city.
More Loyal Than Lakers Fans
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The last time that the Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series after the 1988 season, the Los Angeles Lakers had already delivered a championship to the City of Angels earlier in the year when they defeated the Detroit Pistons in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
Since then, the Lakers have added five more championship trophies to their extensive collection and trail only the Boston Celtics (17) for the most championships in NBA history.
But all that success has made Lakers fans an arrogant and spoiled bunch that doesn't respond well to losing and is more well known for the celebrities that grace the sidelines of the Staples Center.
Meanwhile, Dodgers fans have continued to vehemently support their team throughout the hard times, and the attendance figures reflect that loyalty. Since 1988, Los Angeles has only failed to draw two million fans to Chavez Ravine twice, and one of those occurred during the strike-shortened 1994 season.
Even crazier is that the Dodgers have drawn over 2.5 million fans in every season since 2004, which marked the beginning of the Frank McCourt era.
Deeper Roots Than Angels Fans
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Despite coming to Los Angeles in 1958 from Brooklyn, the Dodgers still have longer and deeper roots in the city than the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim who did not arrive until 1961.
The Angels have tried hard to take over the hearts (and wallets) of L.A. baseball fans, and those efforts have been ratcheted up since Arte Moreno purchased the team in 2003. Moreno has spent lavishly to bring in top free agents and put a consistent winner on the field, and Angels fans have appreciated the investments.
The Angels went all out this past offseason by bringing in free agents Albert Pujols from the St. Louis Cardinals and SoCal native C.J. Wilson from the Texas Rangers. The team took their championship dreams to another level when they traded for former AL Cy Young winner Zach Greinke, and the emergence of uber-rookie Mike Trout has kept the spotlight on the Angels all season.
In addition to the on-field efforts, Moreno has tried several marketing gimmicks to try and gain a greater foothold in the L.A. market. They successfully petitioned MLB to change their name from the Anaheim Angels to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim prior to the start of the 2005 season.
They are now considering dropping 'Anaheim' from the name entirely, even though that is where the team is physically located.
Better marketing and bigger spending aside, the Angels have enjoyed little success over the last 51 years, winning only one championship during the 2002 season.
The new Dodgers ownership group is spending money like it grows on trees, so it's unlikely that Moreno's financial muscle will ever lead to the Angels eclipsing the Dodgers as the premier MLB team in southern California.
This Ain't a Hockey Town
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The Los Angeles Kings shocked the NHL and took the city of Los Angeles by storm this spring by winning their first Stanley Cup in the franchise's history. Still, that's not nearly enough to start calling L.A. a hockey town.
Other than the eight seasons that Wayne Gretzky dazzled the city with his once-in-a-lifetime talent, the prospect of roller hockey would likely get Angelinos more excited than a Kings game.
This is not a feeling that Dodgers fans are familiar with, as baseball is a huge part of the city's culture, all the way down to the Little League level. As much as people in Los Angeles love the Dodgers, they love the game of baseball just as much.
You'll probably start seeing a lot more Jonathan Quick and Drew Doughty jerseys around Los Angeles following the Kings Stanley Cup victory. But the signature blue Dodgers caps and Matt Kemp jerseys still reign supreme.
The Clippers Are Still the Clippers
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If you think Los Angeles Dodgers fans have suffered over the past 13 years while enduring the ineptitude of Frank McCourt and the suits at Fox Entertainment, just imagine what it's like being a Los Angeles Clippers fan and knowing that Donald Sterling has been the guy signing your team's checks for the last 30 years?
The Clippers have been bad nearly as long as I've been alive and the list of poor decisions made by Sterling or the clowns he's hired to run the team—either as coaches or general managers—is too long to cover in this article.
Suffice it to say that it'll take a while for Clippers fans to get used to the exciting and winning brand of basketball that Lob City currently brings to the Staples Center, led by point guard Chris Paul and power forward Blake Griffin.
Meanwhile, Dodgers fans have tasted victory enough to appreciate the painful years when the team has not been competitive. That's why the current renaissance that the team is experiencing under the Guggenheim Baseball Management group feels so good.
Team president Stan Kasten is a well-respected MLB baseball executive. Magic Johnson is a legend in Los Angeles who is used to delivering championships to the city, winning five NBA titles as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
With Kasten and Johnson serving as the faces of the new Dodgers ownership group, fans were giddy from the day the sale of the team became official. Since then, the team has spent money and made trades all geared towards making the Dodgers a winner right away.
That level of activity has provided an immediate return on the emotional investment made by Los Angeles fans in their favorite team. Hopefully the Dodgers can deliver the big payoff in the form of a World Series title, the ultimate reward for the best fanbase in L.A.