A proverbial perfect storm could be brewing to help the Dodgers capture the sports' attention of all of Los Angeles.
The Lakers are eliminated and their future dominance is uncertain. The Clippers are eliminated and they are still owned by the notorious Donald Sterling. The Kings are in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since the days of Wayne Gretzky, but any hockey excitement in Los Angeles will die off once the Finals end. And the Angels, only nominally in Los Angeles, are one of the big disappointments in the league at the quarter mark.
Meanwhile, there is a wave of positivity hitting Chavez Ravine. The Dodgers are, as of this writing, the best team in all of baseball. They are already seven games ahead of the Giants in the loss column. They are a full week ahead of their rivals and are doing it with dramatic rallies.
Even losing MVP front runner Matt Kemp for a few weeks hasn't stopped them. Clayton Kershaw has shown last year's Cy Young was no fluke and Chris Capuano might have been the best affordable pickup of the offseason.
And the relief of having the Frank McCourt era ending has made going to Dodger Stadium a happy experience again. And what better symbol for good times in Los Angeles returning than Magic Johnson, the city's biggest sports star ever, wearing a Dodger cap?
There is one more piece to the Dodger puzzle, and it is currently in the Pacific Northwest. They need to bring Ichiro to Hollywood.
Sadly the Mariners are not going to do squat this year. Their pitching is fine, but their lineup seems like eight players followed by scouts raving about their potential as they hit below .230.
Ichiro Suzuki is still in Seattle and is playing every day. He may no longer be a batting title contender, but he still has speed and durability and a knack for a game-changing play. But after 11 and a quarter seasons in Washington state, his appeal and spark might be tempered now. He is one of the most exciting and unique stars this generation of baseball has produced, but he has not returned to the postseason since his MVP Rookie year of 2001.
A change of scenery could introduce the excitement of his fast, throwback style of baseball to a new fanbase. What better landing spot is there besides Los Angeles?
Remember when the Japanese fans of Los Angeles came out in droves during the post-strike bitterness of 1995 to see Hideo Nomo? Those fans are still there.
So are the fans who turned left field into Mannywood with the arrival of Manny Ramirez in 2008. Los Angeles fans love stars. And Ichiro, who brings an exciting game and an unbelievably cool sex appeal to the game (my wife thinks he is gorgeous) is much better suited in Dodger blue.
Put Ichiro in left field with Matt Kemp in center with Andre Ethier in right and that could be the best defensive outfield in all of baseball. Have Ichiro lead off and put jack rabbit Dee Gordon at the bottom of the lineup and the Dodgers will be able to have speed as a weapon along with Kemp and Ethier's power.
Then have the Dodger fans who have been avoiding the team come back to cheer on a first place team with charisma and star power, and they might become the team of L.A.
Now the Mariners are not guaranteed to deal Ichiro. They would clearly ask for a few key building blocks in exchange for their biggest draw. But truth be told, the Mariners are barely drawing with Ichiro. They are 11th out of 14 American League teams in total attendance and Ichiro can become a free agent at the end of the season.
So perhaps they should try and get something for him if he goes elsewhere. Or the Mariners can trade him and then try to resign him as a free agent like the A's did when they dealt away Rickey Henderson in 1993 and resigned him for 1994.
Either way, the Dodgers have a chance to capture the hearts, minds and passion of Los Angeles sports fans in a very unique way. Pick up the phone and call Seattle. The worst they can say is, "iie."