The 10 Best California Sports Teams

Matt King@TheRealMattKingFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2012

The 10 Best California Sports Teams

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    When I moved to California four years ago, as a sports fan I could not have been more excited. California is like a sports mecca.

    California is so huge that it houses no fewer than 18 professional sports teams, so believe me when I tell you that putting together a list of the Top 10 teams here was no easy feat.

    When I say "best," I'm not just talking about ranking teams by their winning percentage and moving on. These are the teams that matter the most in California. The ones that have the right combination of success and and buzz.

    These are the 10 best California sports teams.

No. 10: The LA Galaxy

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    For those of you unaware, soccer is getting increasingly big in our country. I know that every year someone thinks will be the year it really breaks out, but the fact is that it's slowly been growing already and the MLS actually has some pretty decent fans.

    Of all the MLS teams here in the States, the Galaxy is by far the most popular, due in no small part to their massive signing of David Beckham. They also just signed popular Robbie Keane and already had American "hero" Landon Donovan.

    Don't blink or you'll miss it, but the Galaxy has become a top 10 California team.

No. 9: The Los Angeles Dodgers

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    The Dodgers are kind of a mess right now. The McCorts have to sell the team and they have more than their share of disfunction, but...it's still the Dodgers.

    They're one of the iconic teams in baseball and, lest you forget, they've actually been to the playoffs four out of the last seven years. Not to mention they have an MVP candidate and almost-triple crown winner in Matt Kemp.

    So even if the Dodgers seem like they might be down right now, they never are for long. And it's still the Dodgers.

No. 8: The Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim

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    If it weren't for this guy right here, the Angels may not have made this list. But thanks to the $254 million man and his buddy CJ Wilson, the Angels are all of a sudden a hot commodity again in the major leagues.

    With Pujols aboard, the Angels have a team that's set to compete right now. And if there's one truth in sports, it's that a team that's winning right now is a popular team.

    I have a feeling we're going to be seeing plenty of the Halos this coming season.

No. 7: San Jose Sharks

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    Maybe I'm biased because I live in San Jose, but I haven't seen a fanbase quite as rabid and dedicated as the one for the San Jose Sharks.

    It's very possible because in the sports-saturated world of California, the third biggest city doesn't have a professional football, basketball or baseball team. So they have had to focus all of their love onto the San Jose Sharks. And my, what a love it is.

    They've made the playoffs for the last seven seasons and went to the conference finals for the last two. Think fans are chomping on the bit for them to make it to the Stanley Cup? You have no idea.

No. 6: The San Diego Chargers

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    Two mediocre seasons and a lack of playoff success have cooled the enthusiasm on the San Diego Chargers. They still have an offense that can be downright scary at times, but the lack of consistency and the overall down year from Philip Rivers really has hurt them lately.

    Still, NFL reigns supreme right now, so there's no way the Chargers were going to be left off this list. They can still be one of the more entertaining teams in the league and playing in the AFC West, it doesn't take a lot to make it to the playoffs.

    Let's all just hope Rivers remembers to throw it to the guys wearing the same jersey as him more next year.

No. 5: The Los Angeles Clippers

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    The LA Clippers have to be the most exciting 2-2 team in the NBA.

    Always considered the Lakers' little brother, the Clippers made waves by signing Chris Paul out from under them. And now with CP3 running the show along with human highlight reel Blake Griffin, the Clippers are all of a sudden must-see TV.

    Although they're a long way from taking over the hometown favorites title from Kobe and the gang, this team is way too exciting to ignore right now. And that matters to people outside of the state.

No. 4: The Oakland Raiders

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    To the team that may have the most passionate fans in the NFL, but not the success to go along with it, No. 4 seems about the right place for the Oakland Raiders.

    The Raiders haven't been to the playoffs since their Super Bowl run back in 2002 and could have gotten in this year if it weren't for the Chargers ruining everything last week.

    The team may not be all that great, with a quarterback who is nothing more than a temporary solution right now and nowhere near the future of the team, but the Raiders will never stop being relevant.

    Just see what happens if they make it to the playoffs. I'll stay away from Oakland if that happens.

No. 3: The San Francisco Giants

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    The San Francisco Giants have a new-ish ballpark, a recent World Series championship, their very own reality show and the face (or the beard) of their sport. I'd say they're pretty big right now.

    Even though the team blew it down the stretch for another shot at a title last year, fans are still riding high on their improbable championship run from two seasons ago. It also doesn't hurt that they have some of the most recognizable players in a game that doesn't have a ton of star power right now.

    But still, as crazy as this city gets when the Giants are winning games and doing well, it kind of pales in comparison to what happens when this other team looks like it could win a Super Bowl.

No. 2: The San Francisco 49ers

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    Yeah, I think it's fair to say that the Niners are back.

    One of the most storied franchises in the NFL has not had a whole lot to celebrate about over the past eight seasons or so, but that all changed with Mr. Jim Harbaugh came to town.

    Now the 49ers have a bye in the playoffs, their eyes firmly set on a Super Bowl and their fans here are going insane. This is the way it's supposed to be. This team and this fanbase need to do well. All seems right with the world.

No. 1: The Los Angeles Lakers

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    Nobody in California can touch the Los Angeles Lakers. And it's not even close.

    The Lakers own this state so bad that it's stupid. They can do no wrong. With Kobe Bryant on their team, the Lake Show has missed the playoffs just once, won five championships and gotten to the Finals another two times.

    And even though the Clippers stole Chris Paul away from them and they started the season a little bumpy, everybody knows it's only a matter of time until they steal another superstar like Dwight Howard away and immediately become contenders again.

    The Los Angeles Lakers have the right combination of success, popularity and constant buzz to be an easy choice for the best team in California.

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