Monday, October 12, 2015

NY > LA -- All Day, Every Day

Warning: This post contains multiple profanities.

The current Mets-Dodgers Playoff series reminded me that, a while ago, I found an article on TimeOut.com that listed "31 Reasons L.A. Kicks New York's Ass."

The writer -- or writers, as the byline reads "By Time Out editors" was serious.

Los Angeles does not kick New York's ass. Not by a long shot. Especially in sports.

True, they have one of our former baseball teams, the Brooklyn Dodgers -- who've now been in L.A. for 58 seasons, only 17 fewer than they were in Brooklyn (1883 to 1957).

But look at the record. Here's the list of postseason matchups between major league teams from New York City and Los Angeles (with the suburbs included, making it possible to recognize New Jersey and Long Island on our side, and Inglewood and Anaheim on theirs). Note that the year mentioned is the calendar year, so a post-AFL-NFL merger Playoff game took place in January; therefore, the 1985 Giants-Rams Playoff was for the 1984 season:

1963 World Series: Dodgers 4, Yankees 0.
1970 NBA Finals: Knicks 4, Lakers 3.
1972 NBA Finals: Lakers 4, Knicks 1.
1973 NBA Finals: Knicks 4, Lakers 1.
1977 World Series: Yankees 4, Dodgers 2.
1978 World Series: Yankees 4, Dodgers 2.
1979 Stanley Cup Preliminary Round: Rangers 2, Kings 0.
1980 Stanley Cup Preliminary Round: Islanders 3, Kings 1.
1981 Stanley Cup Preliminary Round: Rangers 3, Kings 1. (No longer possible before Finals.)
1981 World Series: Dodgers 4, Yankees 2.
1983 AFC Divisional Playoff: Jets 17, Raiders 14.
1984 NFC Wild Card Playoff: Giants 16, Rams 13.
1988 National League Championship Series: Dodgers 4, Mets 3.
1990 NFC Divisional Playoff: Rams 19, Giants 13. (The Flipper Anderson Game.)
2002 American League Division Series: Angels 3, Yankees 1.
2002 NBA Finals: Lakers 4, Nets 0.
2003 Stanley Cup Finals: Devils 4, Ducks 3
2005 ALDS: Angels 3, Yankees 1.
2006 NL Division Series: Mets 3, Dodgers 0.
2009 AL Championship Series: Yankees 4, Angels 2.
2012 Stanley Cup Finals: Kings 4, Devils 2.
2014 Stanley Cup Finals: Kings 4, Rangers 1.
2015 NLDS: Mets 1, Dodgers 1, series still in progress.

Baseball: L.A. leads 5-4 in series, 24-22 in games.
Football: N.Y. leads 2-1, tied 46-46 in points.
Basketball: Tied 2-2, L.A. leads 12-9 in games.
Hockey: N.Y. leads 4-2, 15-13 in games.
Overall: N.Y. leads 12-10 in rounds, L.A. leads 50-48 in games.

N.Y. teams: The Yankees are 4-5, the Mets 1-1 going into this series, the Giants and Jets each 1-0, the Knicks 2-1, the Nets 0-1, the Rangers 2-1, the Islanders 1-0, the Devils 1-1.

L.A. teams: The Dodgers are 3-3 for the moment, the Angels 2-1, the once (and future?) Rams 1-1, the once (and future?) Raiders also 0-1, the Lakers 2-2, the Clippers have never played a New York team (because they've never reached the Finals), the Kings 2-3, the Ducks 0-1.

Any way you look at it, it's pretty even. Certainly, no "ass-kicking" going on, even if some individual series were lopsided.

Compare legends. L.A. can claim the Brooklyn Dodgers all they want, but Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella never suited up for Los Angeles, and Duke Snider only played for them for 5 seasons -- though, to be fair, that's as many as Willie Mays did for us before the baseball Giants moved to San Francisco. And I'm not going to count managers/head coaches on these lists.

Baseball: L.A. can legitimately claim Sandy Koufax and... uh... Don Sutton? I don't care that he's in the 300 Wins and 3,000 Strikeouts Club: He doesn't exactly scream "legend." Steve Garvey? Don't make me laugh. Fernando Valenzuela? No question, he's legendary -- but not an all-time great. Mike Piazza? If you want to count him, the two cities would have to share him. Orel Hershiser? Good, but not great. Clayton Kershaw? So far, an absolute bust when it matters.

The Angels? They had Reggie Jackson for a few years (but so did we), and Rod Carew for a few years, and Nolan Ryan for a few more. Since then? Vladimir Guerrero is better known for Montreal, Albert Pujols is better known for St. Louis, and who's the biggest star from their 2002 World Champions? Tim Salmon? Troy Percival? John Freakin' Lackey? Doesn't exactly scream "Star Power" in the "City of the Stars." (And, despite what team owner Arte Moreno might name the team, Anaheim is not even in the County, let alone the City, of Los Angeles.)

So even if you limit New York baseball "legends" to just from 1958 onward, when L.A. major league baseball properly began, and agree to share Reggie and Piazza, we can still claim Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera from the Yankees; and Tom Seaver from the Mets.

Football: L.A. may end up being in their final season without an NFL team. Certainly, it looks like a team is coming, maybe even two, probably out of the three teams that used to call it home: The St. Louis Rams, the Oakland Raiders (moving there for a second time), and the San Diego Chargers. But who are their legends? No, you can't count all those USC running backs.

Rams: Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, Jack Youngblood and Marshall Faulk. Raiders (who were only there for thirteen seasons): Marcus Allen, Howie Long and Tim Brown.

Giants, counting only from the Rams' arrival in 1946 until both teams left after 1994 (eliminating Eli Manning and Michael Strahan from the discussion): Frank Gifford, Y.A. Tittle and Lawrence Taylor. Jets: Joe Namath. New York wins.

Basketball: The Clippers can't count anyone. The Lakers can count Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (even though he's from New York), Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.

The Nets can count Jason Kidd and the young Julius Erving. The Knicks, if you only count from the Lakers' arrival in 1960 onward, can count Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe and Patrick Ewing. Even if you want to throw in Bill Bradley and a brief tenure at the end of his career by the great Jerry Lucas, it doesn't turn this one away from L.A. Nor does it if you add Bernard King.

Hockey: The Devils and Ducks have to share Scott Niedermayer. The Kings and Rangers have to share Wayne Gretzky. The Ducks also have Teemu Selanne. Jean-Sebastien Giguere is not a legend. The Kings have Marcel Dionne, Rogie Vachon, Jari Kurri, Luc Robitaille and Jonathan Quick.

Counting just since the Kings' debut in 1967, the Rangers have Rod Gilbert, Phil Esposito, Mark Messier, Brian Leetch and Mike Richter. Henrik Lundqvist is not a legend. The Islanders have Denis Potvin, Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy and Billy Smith. The Devils have Scott Stevens and Martin Brodeur. Our 3 teams with 13 legends, a little over 4 per; their 2 teams with 8 legends, exactly 4 per. So if you only count 1967 to 2015, it's close.

New York has the edge in legends in baseball, football and probably hockey. L.A. has it in basketball.

But count the titles. Again, just within the time periods allotted. Baseball: Yankees 10, Mets 2; Dodgers 5, Angels 1; New York wins, 12-6. Football: Giants 2, Jets 1; Rams 1, Raiders 1; New York wins, 3-2. Basketball: Lakers 11, Clippers 0; Knicks 2, Nets 0; Los Angeles wins, 11-2, or 11-4 if you count the Nets' ABA titles (and you shouldn't). Hockey: Islanders 4, Devils 3, Rangers 1; Kings 2, Ducks 1; New York wins, 8-3. Total: New York wins, 25-22. Not all that close.

Neutral site events? That makes it ridiculous. L.A. has had 2 Olympics, 5 Super Bowls, 2 Final Fours, a World Cup (split with other cities, including New York), 12 Breeders' Cups (9 at Santa Anita Park and 3 at Hollywood Park), the Rose Bowl every year, and 3 Heavyweight Championship fights.

New York has had a Super Bowl, 8 Final Fours (7 at the old Madison Square Garden, 1 at the Meadowlands), a World Cup (split with other cities, including Los Angeles), 6 Breeders' Cups (4 at Belmont Park, 1 at Aqueduct and 1 at Monmouth Park), the U.S. Open tennis tournament every year, the Belmont Stakes every year, and 61 Heavyweight Championship fights.

Do you count golf as a sport? I don't, but you might. Southern California has hosted the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship just once each. New York (counting New Jersey) has hosted 22 U.S. Opens and 11 PGA Championships. New York has a Ryder Cup, played in Englewood, New Jersey in in 1935; Los Angeles only does if you count Palm Springs/Rancho Mirage, in 1955.

*

Okay, maybe you think sports isn't everything. That's understandable. There are other considerations.

What were Time Out's 31 reasons? Here they are, with my comments:

1. We would just be bad Angelenos if the weather weren't first on our list.

So you like smog? You like earthquakes? You like mudslides? You like wildfires? Moron. It starts raining here, we say, “Aw, no, it’s raining again.” It starts raining there – and it does rain there – you say, “Ahhhhhhhh! I’m melting!”

2. People actually smile here. Manners, ever heard of ‘em?

We don’t need no manners. We’re New York: Fuck you.

3. Our tourist traps aren’t traps. They’re actually nice places that locals like to visit too, like the Hollywood Bowl, Malibu and the Griffith Observatory. New Yorkers are inexplicably proud when they can say they’ve never visited the Statue of Liberty (a majorly important site in our country’s history)—and never would.

Your tourist traps? You mean, like, stars’ homes? That they’re never in? You got a better chance of seeing a star walking through SoHo than you do at Hollywood & Vine.

For the record, as an icon, the Statue of Liberty is "majorly important"; but as a tourist attraction, it's a pain in the neck to get to, expensive, and the view from the Crown isn't any more special than some other views of the City. Better to take the Staten Island Ferry (which is free), and see it fairly close, both going and coming back. As a tourist attraction, the Statue of Liberty is incredibly overrated. So is the HOLLYWOOD sign.

So don't tell us about tourist traps. We have Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden. You have... Dodger Stadium? The Staples Center? Puh leeze. We have the Empire State Building. You have... the Capitol Records Tower? We have the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, etc., etc., etc. You have... the Getty Center? You have Grauman's Chinese Theater? We have Radio Fucking City Music Hall.

"But, Mike," you might say, "from Dodger Stadium, you can see the San Gabriel Mountains. From Yankee Stadium, all you can see is housing projects." You want mountains? Don't go to a baseball game. Besides, we have the Catskills.

4. Which would you rather wake up to in the morning? Birds singing or cars honking?

Cars honking. It means there are people getting where they want to go (or, at least, trying to). Most of the birds we got here are pigeons. Feathered rats.

5. New York’s gratuitous getaway is Atlantic City, a sad attempt at hedonistic tourism. LA’s is Las Vegas, which wrote the hedonism manual.

Bullshit. Coney Island did that.

6. LA's natural beauty.

Which you can’t see because of the damn smog.

7. Two words: medical marijuana.

And you’re going to need it, to cure the coughing from the smog and the burns from the wildfires. We don’t need medical marijuana: We got chicken soup, bubbeleh.

8. Mexican food. Do we really need to elaborate here?

We have Mexican food. And food from a hundred other countries that tastes better than anything you got.

9. You get more bang for your buck here, especially when it comes to living space. We don't have to pay an entire month's salary for an 8x10 "apartment" with our toilet in our entryway just to be in a cool neighborhood.

You couldn’t. L.A. has no cool neighborhoods. Even Venice Beach hasn’t been cool since Jim Morrison got fat. And Santa Monica hasn't been cool since Jack, Janet & Chrissy moved out of their Three's Company apartment.

Also, nobody remembers Neil Patrick Harris as L.A.'s Doogie Howser, M.D. anymore. He's New York's Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother now. Back then, he was a precocious kid; now, he's legen... wait for it... dary.

(Actually, forget that last part. It was just trash talk. Doogie was a good guy. Barney was an asshole. It was as if Larry from Three's Company (using Jack's name, no doubt) knocked up one of the Bradford girls from Eight Is Enough, and Barney was the result. He'd be much more at home in L.A.)

10. We don't humble-brag about how hard we have it in a weak ploy to get respect (or sympathy). Our quality of life is good here, and we're pretty pleased about it.

You don’t humble-brag to get respect because it wouldn’t work. You don’t deserve respect.

11. Farmers markets. Bigger, better, more plentiful, more often, all year long.

Union Square Greenmarket > anything you got.

12. When you live in a city that's still evolving and growing (as opposed to a city that is chronically built out and claustrophobic), you can have any lifestyle or living situation you want.

Our city is still evolving and growing. Hell, we recently got rid of the dinosaur (Michael Bloomberg).

13. In-N-Out. (Burger)

Eat that shit, and you’ll be in-n-out of the bathroom all night. We’ve got a dozen chains they can’t touch – for health-code reasons.

14. Cockroaches, bedbugs and rats? Not really a thing here. Enjoy your infestations (and pricey exterminations).

You got studio heads and agents. Same thing.

15. A shopping trip to Ikea/Target/any grocery store isn't a harrowing day-long event here. Our errands are stress- and crowd-free, much like the rest of our lives.

A store that doesn’t have a crowd isn’t good enough to draw a crowd. If your errand was stress-free, it was too easy, and something is wrong. Also, how do you get there? In New York, we take the Subway or the bus. In L.A., what, you drive? Parking alone will be "a harrowing day-long event." Damn, you're stupid.

(Yes, I know: L.A. has a subway. Most people there are still adjusting to it.)

16. We've already rubbed in the fact that our weather is unmatched, but we also know how to take advantage of it. We spend a lot of time outdoors—eating, drinking, hiking, pool partying, watching movies, going to concerts—year-round. We don't have to run on a treadmill if we don't want to. Even our schools are indoor-outdoor. Lucky kids.

You watch movies outdoors?

You want outdoors? We got Central Park. We got Prospect Park. We got the Bronx Zoo. We got the other Bronx Zoo, Yankee Stadium. We got Flushing Meadow-Corona Park. And across the street from that we got the Mets… Uh, let’s move on.

17. Theme parks. They're everywhere, and they're fucking fun: Knotts Berry Farm, Universal Studios, Six Flags, oh, and only the happiest goddamn place on earth, Disneyland.

Bullshit. Everybody who’s been to both Disneyland and Disney World says the Florida one is better. You got Six Flags? We gotta get on a bus to get to Great Adventure, but we got Six Flags, too.

We also got Coney Island, City Island, Jones Beach, the Hamptons, and 120 miles of Jersey Shore, from Sandy Hook to Cape May, with Belmar, Point Pleasant, Seaside Heights, Long Beach Island, Atlnatic City, Ocean City, Sea Isle City and The Wildwoods in between. (Okay, everything from LBI on down is technically Philly territory, but they don't bother us because we're even tougher than they are. You guys wouldn't last 20 minutes with them, either.)

And we got the greatest theme park on the planet: Times Square. Which, by the way, is free. You might need to take the Subway to get there, but, otherwise, it's free.

18. Maybe it's because we spend a lot of time in our cars, but radio rules here.

Your radio is static compared to our radio. New York invented radio! Okay, Pittsburgh did, but we invented the radio industry. We were Radio City before the Music Hall went up. From Graham McNamee and Rudy Vallee in the 1920s, to Fiorello LaGuardia and Mel Allen in the 1940s, to Alan Freed in the 1950s, to Cousin Brucie in the 1960s, even today with Scott Shannon and Elvis Duran, our radio kicks the megahertz out of your radio.

19. We can go all year without turning on the heat or the air conditioning.

And we can go all year with breathing. Yes, if you’re gonna play the weather card again, I’m playing the smog card again.

20. When New Yorkers get out of the city, it involves an escape plan. You need to find a car. You need to buy a ticket. You need to worry about weather. And you need to get the hell out, because you just can't take it anymore.

Maybe you just can’t take your city anymore. We’re fine. We don't need to find a car, because we got New Jersey Transit, Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road. And we don't worry about weather. We prepare for it. Because, unlike L.A., we place value on thought.

21. Though we may never pronounce Marina del Rey the same way after "The Californians," no one here actually talks like that. The Valley accent is just another overused (albeit funny) trope. At their best, we're annoyed by New York accents. At their worst, we wish we had subtitles (or better yet, a mute button).

Ah, shyudduppa ya face, ya schmuck.

22. Our sidewalks may be cracked, but they're not covered in rotting trash. And they don't smell like piss.

Are you sure you’re from Los Angeles?

23. Personal space isn't a commodity here. Want to blast pump-up songs and sing along in your car on your way to work? Not so easy on the subway.

Yes, it is. Not that we like it, but it is easy to do that. Besides, why would anyone want a Los Angeleno’s personal space?

24. Movies are made here, and we're proud of it. Not only is "the industry" great for our city's economy, but it entertains and inspires the entire world.

You think we don’t make movies here? Ever heard of Robert DeNiro? Al Pacino? Woody Allen? (Okay, he’s not tough, but he makes movies here.) They even made the last Batman movie here.

25. Also, you're welcome for all that porn you watch.

You think we don’t make porno flicks here?

26. When it comes to jazzy Jews, we've got New York beat by a landslide. Woody Allen? Consensual (maybe) but creepy (definitely). Jeff Goldblum? Timeless babe. They both play weekly live shows, but Woody's cheapest tickets are a whopping $110 a pop. Jeff offers up his musical stylings (and stylin' outfits, and little dances, and eccentric anecdotes) FOR FREE, every week, and sticks around post-show to mingle with the crowd.

And where is Jeff Goldblum from? Pittsburgh. That's a far cooler city than any California city could ever be. With the possible exception of San Francisco. (Now, I've really insulted this schmuck.) You gotta import your cool people.

27. We work to live. You live to work.

Like hell we do. We live to eat, drink and be… well, “merry” isn’t exactly the right word, but we can have fun without buying molly from Miley Cyrus’ dealer.

28. So maybe, true to stereotype, we are really into yoga and juice cleanses and staying fit. Go ahead and call that narcissism if you want, but we guarantee it's better than being cooped up in a city that prides itself on being stressed out. Looking better is nice, but feeling better is key.

We don’t pride ourselves on being stressed out. We pride ourselves on beating stress. We are the stress. We are the ones who knock!

29. Coachella may be a shitshow of idiots in neon and jorts, but those idiots come from all over the world to experience it. As far as music festivals go, it destroys Governor's Ball—which no one is traveling more than four hours to attend, please.

We don’t need Coachella for music. We have Madison Square Garden, Radio City, the Beacon Theatre, and a hundred clubs that make the Sunset Strip look like a street full of poseurs – which it is, anyway.

30. New York, you’re so formal. We dress comfortably and casually to do almost anything. And then, bonus, it’s all the more exciting and special when we do get fancy.

That’s right, like that old commercial goes: “A formal dinner party means you wear socks.” You’re not casual, you’re slobs. In New York, even Oscar Madison of The Odd Couple knew he had to dress nice when a situation required it; in Los Angeles, Arnie Becker of L.A. Law could look like a slob in a $1,000 Italian suit.

31. To borrow from our homegirls in the Valley: Whatever. We know New York has us beat on some things, and that's okay. Good for them. Thing is, they're usually too busy shitting on us to realize that we don't really care. We're pretty laid back, and confident in the fact that LA is an amazing city (see above). Now if you'll excuse us, we're heading to the beach.

And we’ll take Coney, the Shore and the Hamptons – even with Snooki and the rest – over your beaches.

New York is better than L.A. All day. Every day.

If you don't believe me, ask what New York, Philly, Boston, D.C, Chicago, San Francisco, and every other city have in common. They may all hate the Yankees, or even the Rangers, and laugh at the Jets and the Knicks. They may even chant, "Yankees suck!"

But they don't say, "New York sucks!" They chant, "Beat L.A.!"

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