Dodgers by Edward Conde

Sports Culture in L.A. Or the Best Selfie Club in America

The Dodgers almost made it! This year’s World Series, a once in a lifetime event, woke up the city. But it also said so much about the real L.A. sports culture. What is this Los Angeles sports culture I speak of?

First things first, rest in peace to the 2017 Trolley Dodgers of Los Angeles. You were special. You were the whole damn show. You were the showstoppers, Shawn Michaels in his prime, and no, there was no match for your air of swagger and just plain “I’m better than you and I know it attitude”. That was true until the Astros of Houston stepped up to the plate.

And boy, oh, boy did they.

This year’s World Series offering – one that could only have been a gift from the Baseball Gods themselves – was out of this world! There were stars in the seats, in the sky, and in our eyes after being knocked out by a supernova of talent, grit and all the power of the most deadly lineup to not wear pinstripes in decades. It’s one I’ll tell my grandchildren about (if they stop making Plan B so cheap, that is). It’s one I’ll never forget, something that should be taken to the grave as all-time heartbreak, and a simultaneous infusion of hope.


That’s right.

I speak of hope after having my heart ripped out. And it’s not because I think the Dodgers will win it next year. Or even the year after that.

Who knows? Sports be crazy, yo.

Dodgers by Edward Conde

© Edward Conde/Flickr Creative Commons

But I saw my team play in a game for all the marbles, with men on base and I watched them flail lifelessly at cut fastball after cut fast ball. I’m looking at you Bellinger.

Game seven was a reality.

So, yes, I believe it can happen. Is it next year or the year after, or maybe I’ll be on my deathbed, clinging to life while anticipating something divine – some proof that the holiest of miracles could occur on a baseball diamond.

The fans know the score and they don’t forget every bitter little pill they’ve had to swallow over the years. All the parades and banners and rings and buzzer beaters and confetti and Randy Newman songs can’t drown out the sadness they feel when the team DOESN’T win the big one. Winning doesn’t make losing easier, no, quite the opposite, it makes it unfathomable, unacceptable.

Does this make me entitled? Does it make me a sore loser, and is it my fault that I was raised on champagne and game-winning shots made by guys with nicknames like “Fish”, “Bigshot Rob” or “Jellybean”?

I don’t know.

What I do know is that after watching SoCal fans suffer through what is sure to go down in L.A. sports lore as one of the most crushing losses, one where a 105 win team came up short at home against a team that hasn’t won a World Series in almost twice as many years as the good guys have, I’m sure the sting will last for more than one off-season.

Dodgers by Edward Conde

© Edward Conde/Flickr Creative Commons

With that being said, we can’t talk L.A. sports or sports culture without addressing the stigma that follows L.A. sports fans wherever they may go. They say some truth exists in all stereotypes.

But are the ones about L.A. fans just flat out true?

It would be improper to discuss L.A. sports culture without talking about a few things like perpetually showing up late to games (even big ones), snapchatting the final pitch as opposed to, you know, watching the player throw the ball in real time, in real life.

Should we blame traffic for late arrivals? ADD for lapses in concentration during game 7 vs the Celtics? Or should we finally just accept the fact that fans of teams in this state are spoiled rotten. Spoiled by winning. Spoiled by great weather. Spoiled by luxury and too many avocados.

L.A. fans have a reputation for being particularly nonchalant, even spoiled when it comes to their sports teams that are not named after a barber’s favorite tool.

I kid, but do I really?

Dodgers by Edward Conde

© Edward Conde/Flickr Creative Commons

If you cringed, you’re most likely complicit in perpetuating this closely held national (global?) belief that L.A. fans suck.

Ever screamed “Kershaw, you’re garbage!”? “What the fuck, Kobe, you’ve forgotten how to shoot?”, incomplete earnest? I know, I know, we all say things in the heat of the moment that we simply do not mean.

We say them anyway. We repeat them – to friends and to anyone who’ll listen to our sad diatribe on what amounts to a three-hour distraction.

But what about hockey? hockey fans don’t switch teams. hockey fans go to hockey games to watch hockey.

And also the fights. Can’t forget about the fighting. They definitely do Not go to be seen courtside with Leo or Denzel or Jack. Not that they’d be caught dead at Staples Center unless it was the last safe place during a zombie apocalypse or opening night for the Lakers.

Dodgers by Edward Conde

© Edward Conde/Flickr Creative Commons

They prefer not to be seen at all really. The fans are typically there on time, are focused on the game, and tend to know every player’s name. That includes bench players and unsigned college players who’ve yet to break out on the big stage. That in itself should qualify hockey fans as the best sports fans in Southern California, but wait there’s more. They don’t expect to win. Ever. Have you ever spoken to an L.A. Kings fan? Have you ever seen one? They are rare, like the gluten eating suburbanite or the In-N-Out without a line wrapped around the block twice.

In either instance, one thing is true.

Passion for the team. And no, I don’t mean stab the Giants/Angels/Cubs fan in the parking lot passion.

No, dear lord. I mean that you live and die with the team, the choice you made or that your mother or father or uncle or grandfather or grandmother made. The choice that was passed down to you and yours in spite of the losing seasons and seasons of regret spent watching other teams build dynasties while yours struggled to find pitchers who could build up enough arm strength to pitch five clean innings, to play a whole season without tearing an ACL, or a pectoral muscle on the first play from scrimmage.

Dodgers by Edward Conde

© Edward Conde/Flickr Creative Commons

Coaches will be fired. Trades will be made. But the fans. The fans will stay. At least the diehards will. They don’t know any better. They don’t know anything else and that’s what makes them great. They stick it out. If a bad light is cast, let it be shone on the phony fan who can’t tell you Culberson’s jersey number who screams at the not loud enough T.V. at the bar formerly known as the Gold Room.

Sports culture is passion. Pure unbridled love.

Pictures Courtesy of Edward Conde (Flickr Creative Commons)

Michael Lorenzo Porter is an American-born short story writer and occasional journalist. His love of card games and fear of spiders have formed his world view in equal measure.