So the NFL draft has come and gone and either you are excited about your team’s future or you aren’t. Honestly, I think my team did alright in the draft, but the one thing I took away from the whole thing was just how lacking in star-studded talent it was. I mean, anytime two tackles get picked with the first two picks you know you aren’t in line for a landscape-changing draft class. Of course the Chargers picked Manti Te’o and he was immediately compared to the incomparable Junior Seau. After watching pretty much every game of Te’o’s college career (thanks to my wife who is a Notre Dame alum) I am pretty sure Charger fans are going to be a little disappointed once Te’o gets on the field. He’s a decent linebacker, but he has none of the explosiveness and little of the fire Seau brought to every game he played. That’s not to say he won’t be a solid NFL player, I just don’t see him being a superstar.
Last week also brought us the start of the NBA playoffs, and the end of the NHL regular season. The Lakers’ season mercifully ended quickly as the San Antonio Spurs swept them out of the postseason tournament. Again, not surprised. I am, however, a little taken aback by the fact the Clippers are facing elimination at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies. Aren’t these supposed to be the new-age Clippers? The ones with stars who make the playoffs and then win games? I certainly thought so. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if the franchise has truly turned a corner or if their regular season success was just a big tease.
Speaking of big teases, the baseball teams in Los Angeles certainly fall into that category, don’t they? As I write this column, neither the Dodgers nor the Angels had a winning record, and only the lowly Houston Astros and San Diego Padres were keeping them from being in the cellar of their respective divisions. After the spending spree both teams have been on over the past couple of years, you really have to wonder what the problem is in L.A.? Is it the manager’s faults? Don Mattingly is certainly not a proven quantity, but Mike Scioscia is, he’s won a World Series! Is this talent they possess really not that good? Do both these teams suffer from the same disorder that plagues the Clippers?
I think, maybe, the issue is a little bit of everything, although the talent, and the mixing of said talent into a good team is certainly the biggest culprit in my eyes. If you look at most teams made up of all-stars who have been taken from other teams, you will usually find a team that does not live up to expectations and in many ways that’s what both the Dodgers and the Angels are. You can put the Toronto Blue Jays in that same class as they seem as lost as their west coast counterparts. All of these teams were assembled in the offseason, through trades and free agent signings and they all look unstoppable on paper. However, as the old adage goes, the game is not played on paper. The Dodgers took on some questionable personalities when they brought in Boston Red Sox castoffs Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonazalez and Carl Crawford and I think they are paying the price for it. Same thing with the Angels and Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. I’m not saying they aren’t good guys, I’m just saying they might not mesh and make the best team. Which, ultimately, is what everyone’s trying to do, because it’s usually the best team that finds the most success.