Thursday, June 15, 2006


From the backlog: Our Man in LA makes over the sports

So you might be wondering what it is exactly that Our Man in LA did during that period of time when he ignored his daily posts here on the blog. Mostly, it wasn't all that important, and I'll show you what I mean.

About a month ago, my pal Doc Noel came back to LA from Jersey and hung out at my Los Feliz pad. Beers were drunk, the wife was away at work, and so conversation turned, as it often does, to how we would change the world if given complete and utter control of the tiny planet. Some people, given this kind of imaginary power, would create a plan for peace in the world, erase hunger and poverty in six easy steps, or at the very least, make sure that Fox didn't cancel ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT.

Not us. We focused on the important issues, the deep ones.

Basically, we talked about how we'd fix the four major sports leagues in North America. As a conversation and eventual plan, it was thought-provoking and smart. It was also the kind of thing that forced my wife to remark (when she got home from rehearsal) the words that all brilliant minds long to hear:

"I can't believe you guys wasted all your time on this. How many beers did you have?"

Quite a few, my bride. Quite a few.

It's all right, of course. My wife doesn't understand that all men do this. We're obsessed with minutia. If it's not playing God to an imaginary universe of sports, it might be Fantasy Baseball or Fantasy Football. It probably involves sports in one way or another.

She'll learn. It's only been three years of marriage.

Anyway, I'm stalling. Let's get on to the new Wieland-Noel major leagues, shall we? Before we begin, you should know that we created a few ground rules for these leagues:

1) Only a few cities deserve teams in the three major sports (baseball, football, basketball): New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Detroit, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Denver. Seattle, Minneapolis, and Cleveland ended up with them, through no fault of their own.

2) The three big major leagues are limited to 24 teams. That's it. Hockey gets 20 until they can beat I LOVE LUCY in the ratings.

3) A word about nicknames. No offensive ones. And none that end in anything other than the letter S, with the exceptions of baseball teams named for their socks (who can keep an X), and the Utah Jazz. Mostly because that name is so absurd that it must be kept. Also, no teams credited to the entire state (a la Texas Rangers), with a few exceptions - teams in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, the aforementioned Utah Jazz, and the Indiana Pacers. Otherwise, you get ID'd with your city only.

Away we go. The Wieland-Noel version of Major League Baseball's American League is:


New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox
Baltimore Orioles
Montreal Royals


Cleveland White Sox
Detroit Tigers
Toronto Blue Jays
Dallas Lone Stars (formerly Texas Rangers)


Anaheim Angels
Oakland A's
Seattle Mariners
Minnesota Twins

Discussion: OK, the White Sox left the South Side of Chicago and went to Cleveland. Not too much difference between the South Side and Cleveland anyway, and besides, it's likely that fans in Cleveland will show up to see a World Series team play baseball. In Chicago, they will only do that if the World Series winner is visiting Wrigley Field. Also, we've got two Canadian teams in the Major League, which we find funny. The LA Angels return to their Anaheim name. And Dallas Lone Stars sounds cool.

Now the National League . . .


New York Mets
Washington Nationals
Philadelphia Phillies
Miami Marlins (not Florida)


Chicago Cubs
St. Louis Cardinals
Atlanta Thrashers
Cincinnati Reds


Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres
Denver Rockies (you get the picture)

Discussion: This is pretty self-explanatory. As I've explained to friends, a Thrasher is the state bird of Georgia, and it sounds fairly cool. We're also not going to keep hockey south of the Mason-Dixon, so the name can remain.

Now onto the National Football League, and its National Conference . . .


New York Giants
Washington Generals
Philadelphia Eagles
Dallas Cowboys


Chicago Bears
Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings
Cincinnati Colts


Los Angeles Rams
San Francisco 49ers
Seattle Seahawks
Houston Oilers

Discussion: The Generals nickname replaces the really offensive Redskins name. The Rams return to LA, and the Oilers return to Houston. The Bengals did not make the cut for this new league, in part because the Colts franchise has so much more history. However, the state of Ohio is far more football crazy than Indiana (where the Colts threaten to leave daily), so the Colts were moved over to the Queen City.

Now the American Conference . . .


New Jersey Jets
Boston Patriots (I have a feeling that New England will still follow them)
Miami Dolphins
Atlanta Falcons


Detroit Lions
Cleveland Browns
Pittsburgh Steelers
New Orleans Saints


Anaheim Chargers
Oakland Raiders
Denver Broncos
Kansas City Chiefs

Discussion: Not much. Moving the Chargers to Anaheim better serves the LA and SD market, with very little fall-out.

Onto the NBA, now in its Finals. Here's the Eastern Conference . . .


New York Knicks
Philadelphia 76ers
Boston Celtics
Washington Bullets (let's face it: Wizards is a dumb name)
Miami Clippers (Heat's not so great, either, and LA doesn't need two teams)
New Jersey Nets


Chicago Bulls
Detroit Pistons
Cleveland Cavaliers
Atlanta Hawks
Milwaukee Bucks
Indiana Pacers

And now the Western Conference . . .


Minnesota Timberwolves
Denver Nuggets
Houston Rockets
Utah Jazz
Dallas Mavericks
San Antonio Spurs


Los Angeles Lakers
San Francisco Warriors ("Golden State"? Lame, lame, lame)
Phoenix Suns
Las Vegas Aces (formerly the Sacramento Kings, but this sounds cool, right?)
Seattle Supersonics
Portland Trail Blazers

Discussion: Not much. You know why? Because at first glance, it's hard to tell what teams we've cut out here. Do you really think you'll miss the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets or the Toronto Raptors? Or the Orlando Magic? Me either.

Finally, finally to hockey. This was our toughest challenge, but we think the new 20-team league brings the fun.

Here goes. First, no dull conference names. We go old school, starting with the PRINCE OF WALES CONFERENCE:


Boston Bruins
Toronto Maple Leafs
Montreal Canadiens
Buffalo Sabres
Ottawa Senators


Chicago Hawks (not Blackhawks, which is a tribal name and kind of offensive - but Hawks is fine)
Minnesota North Stars (returning one of the coolest names in sports)
St. Louis Blues
Denver Miners (not great, but Avalanche doesn't end in S)
Winnipeg Jets (back from the brink)



New York Rangers
Philadelphia Flyers
Washington Capitals
Detroit Red Wings
New Jersey Devils


Vancouver Sharks (no nasty name-calling for Canadians, fun though it may be)
Edmonton Oilers
Calgary Flames
Los Angeles Kings
Seattle Whalers (bringing back another cool name)

Discussion: We maintained all the Canadian teams, and even restored the one in Winnipeg. Teams are gone from Phoenix and Florida, though we kept one in LA . . . for now.

Questions? Comments? Protests? Send them here. We'll listen.

Otherwise, that about does it for this post. Be sure to check back in next time when my friends and I consider changing the boundaries of European nations. Kidding. Just kidding. We'd need way more beer for that.

See you tomorrow.

OK, so NY & LA get crosstown rivalries, but none for Chicago? Bogus.
I think I probably could have added much to the discussion of football and baseball, and subtracted much from you beer stash. I know I couldn't have helped any in hockey, except to propose a one-season limit on the sport. Hockey is a winter sport. Play it in the WINTER. Pre-season may begin in November, but otherwise it's Dec 21-Mar 21 only. And not every team makes the playoffs. Please. What's the point of the regular season if only a couple of teams doesn't make the playoffs?
Same goes for basketball and baseball, for that matter. Pick a season and stay in it. Football, however has my permission to spill into fall and winter, because the teams only play once a week. The superbowl in February, though? Lame. Move it back to January where it belongs.
I agree overall with your premise, but in the NFL, why'd you move the Lions into the AFC? I see absolutely no logic behind swapping them and the Colts, thereby destroying the most geographically united division in the league and killing some old rivalries. Not to mention the budding Colts-Pats pissing match in the AFC.

Not good, sir.
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