A journey into La-La Land

Elliott SmithCorrespondent IMay 22, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 21:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on against the Denver Nuggets in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 21, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

I am heading down to Los Angeles tomorrow for a quick family trip during what should be quite an interesting weekend for the Los Angeles sports fans.

The Lakers in the Western Conference Finals and the Freeway Series between the Dodgers and Angels. Of course the Los Angeles sports fan is an interesting creature in and of itself, with it's own idiosyncrasies and rituals of which we all can make fun. (I mean, is there nothing that unites the country more than making fun of people from Los Angeles?)

Much like the city its denizens live in, L.A. sports fans are focused on the glitz and glamour, which is why the Lakers and Dodgers will always have more of a following than the Clippers or Angels, no matter what their records are. The Kings? Forget about it. The Galaxy? With Beckham, slight interest. Without? Yawn. Most fans think the teams in their area are great, but the folks in L.A. take it to an extreme (and sometimes laughable) level. Here is just a few examples:

Laker worship: I am not sure I have ever seen a fan base as wrapped up into one team as L.A. is with the Lakers. They are willfully ignorant of any of the Lakers' faults, and if you dare to suggest the Lakers might not be all they are cracked up to be, you are met with sharp rebuke.

And God forbid if you do not think Kobe Bryant is not the greatest basketball player to walk the earth. They still get excited about seeing Dyan Cannon on the Jumbo Tron and she has not been in a movie in 20 years!

Car flags: Now I know that L.A. is a car-based city, but the amount of car flags you see on the highway is insane. I do not really understand this phenomenon on an everyday basis, but everywhere you drive, you see Lakers, Dodgers, and Raiders mini-flags blowing in the breeze, from Porsche's to low riders.

Dodger Stadium: Do not get me wrong, I think Dodger Stadium is one of the great baseball cathedrals. But have you ever been to Dodger Stadium? It is a giant pain in the ass to get there (winding up one traffic-choked road through Griffith Park) and an even bigger headache getting out (fortunately most people leave by the seventh inning). Yet, the locals happily dart in and out of the traffic, reinforcing the notion that Angelinos are perhaps happiest inside their vehicles.

Dodger Dogs: a.k.a a hot dog. But according to L.A. folks, Dodger Dogs are made from some magical mixture of pork leftovers, when in reality they are the same old hot dogs that every other ballpark has.

Jack Nicholson: I live for the day that ol' Jack gets a technical foul called against him for being a nuisance. How in the world does he get away with jawing at the officials, taunting players and coming out onto the floor? Are the refs scared of him? I mean, "A Few Good Men" was not that great. Yet, we have always got to see Jack.

Raider mania: Now I understand that without an NFL team, L.A. natives (not the transplants) have to root for someone, but how could you fanatically cheer for the team that was taken away from you without remorse 14 years ago? That would be like us in Seattle supporting the Oklahoma City Thunder, when in reality, that team is dead to any Seattle NBA fan. Apparently, the L.A. chapter of Raider Nation is stuck in a permanent time warp.

Proud rejection of Orange County sports: The Angels and Ducks might as well be in Las Vegas as far as most L.A. people are concerned. My wife lived in Los Angeles her entire life and had never been to an Angels game, a fact that boggled my mind, yet is entirely commonplace. The poor Angels have tried their best to pull in L.A. fans, even going as far as changing their name, but it is mostly been met with apathy (the Angels have a loyal OC following, however). Ah, L.A. We kid because we care.