NYC v LA Round 6: Sports Culture

If you want to read what this series of posts is all about, go here.


So I thought I’d do a pros and cons for each of the cities (NYC and LA) based on 15 categories of my choosing – i.e the kind of things that are important to me about a place that I chose to live. For example, since I don’t have any children, so you won’t see “education” on the list, but I do love to eat sandwiches, so “food” will definitely be on the list.

Keep in mind these are MY pros and cons…pros and cons that I have come to after living in LA for five years (2000 – 2005) and then living in New York for five years (2005 – 2010).  This is intended to be a fun (and funny) list, and is not to be taken seriously, but I hope some of you, especially those of you who have lived in both places (or experienced them) will enjoy it. Come back tomorrow for Round 7.


***Unhappy with the direction these lists are headed, Adam has taken over for Round 6***

In tackling the issue of sports culture, Kelly thought it would be wise to draft my services.  While I am a big sports fan, and an educated sports fan, I am not a fan of any sports team in New York City or Los Angeles.  With that out of the way what evidence supports each city’s claim to the crown of “Best (or better) Sports Culture”?

To the naked eye New York City, with it’s two football teams(Giants, Jets… who actually play in New Jersey), soon to be two basketball teams (Knicks, Nets), two baseball teams (Yankees, Mets), hockey team (Rangers), as well as hosting the US Open and countless other sporting events that I’m forgetting, wins the city battle in a landslide.

However, Los Angeles, with their dynastic basketball team (Lakers) and the high profile fans that support them (Jack Nicholson!), make a cosmetic push that keeps them in the conversation.  Los Angeles also has a rich baseball history (Dodgers… originally from Brooklyn, and the Angels), a hockey team (the Kings…full disclosure… I don’t like hockey, or know much about it), and… oh… they have another basketball team (Clippers) and they used to have two football teams.  That is something.  LA does dominate in college sports. Now this suddenly looks like a landslide.

How about the fans?  What is more important to a sports culture than the fan.  Los Angeles has the big stars (see above) and the beautiful people.  Seeing a Lakers’ game, with the crowd on their feet, is a sight to behold.  The Clippers have a loyal fan base, in spite of their perpetual losing ways.  Loyalty is good.  What about New York?

Simply put, and I’m not a fan of the New York teams, and I can still see they have some of the most passionate, knowledgeable fans in the country.  Listen to a sports talk radio station in NYC and you will hear in depth analysis of last night’s long relief pitching in the Yankee game from a guy who lays pipe for a living.  It is impressive.  Baseball is the true pastime in New York, as even the casual sports fan, the one seen at that super bowl party who doesn’t know how many points a TD scores, watches games every week, even crappy games against teams without the Yankee payroll.  The Knicks, who have been terrible for years now, fill up the stands with die hard fans right off the bus at Port Authority, fans who know what True Shooting Percentage is and what Wilson Chandler’s +/- is.  That is a real fan.  I know, because I’m a real fan of my teams… none of which are in New York or Los Angeles.  In fact I hate the Lakers, and the Knicks, and the Giants, and especially the Yankees but I can stand up and recognize that New York has better sports culture than Los Angeles.

Besides, why would you want to be indoors when it’s so nice out.  We should drive down to the Santa Monica Pier and ride the Ferris Wheel.  Advantage: NYC


  1. thejamminjabber’s avatar

    Boo to sports, but yay to Adam actually writing about something.

  2. Puckett’s avatar

    You’re overlooking a crucial component of fan culture – fairweatherness.

    It’s not really a stereotype to note that some Dodgers fans show up in the 4th inning and leave in the 7th, and are prone to talking on cell phones or working on laptops or doing just about anything other than pay attention to the game. In addition, it’s not unusual for attendance to drop if the team isn’t doing well. Finally, Frank McCourt purchasing the team seems to be a downgrade from the previous owners – something no one really thought possible – and his divorce is dramatically affecting the team’s payroll and, in turn, ability to compete.

    The Angels were largely a competitive laughingstock until Arte Moreno purchased the team and approached free agency like the Yankees do, suddenly making the Angels perennial contenders able to spend their way out of drafting and free agency signing mistakes. Up to that point, they mostly existed in Southern California so that Dodgers and Padres fans could watch Pedro Martinez plow through their lineup in 10K+, 0 ER performances.

    The Yankees expect a World Series win every season – anything less is failure – but have not done well in drafting for some years and have offset the draft concerns with free agency spending on players who are often just passing or already past their prime, saddling them with large contracts for often under-performing players (note: this is only a bad thing for Yankees fans. The rest of the baseball world rejoices in this).

    Mets fans have often avoided the team like the plague and the management of the Mets has been an issue in the past, often causing talented players and staff to leave. While the Mets seem to have solidified an amazing core of young players, Mets fans can be fickle and only the most diehard support the team through losing streaks.

    As far as other sports go (and I’m still not entirely convinced that other sports exist), I can’t say. However, I would give the greater Los Angeles area the edge simply because you won’t be freezing or having games snowed out in April or October, nor will you endure that brutal New York summer weather for games in other months because honestly, who wants to sit through a three or four-hour-long game when it feels like you’re in a sauna?

  3. kfugrip’s avatar

    There is nothing worse than a fairweather fan.

  4. Dean’s avatar

    As a life-long Dodger fan, I think that it is impossible to understand the arriving and leaving of the fans until you have lived with that parking lot for a few years. I have personally left for a game THREE HOURS in early and arrived in the third inning. I love Vin Scully, but listening to him while sitting in traffic outside Chavez Ravine is no fun. The early departure thing is overblown, but it warrants mentioning that parts of the parking lot can get a bit rough after the game. If you parked badly, then sometimes getting ahead of the crowd is the better part of valor.

    Ownership has been terrible, since the O’Malley family sold. The team went two decades without a post-season win. The current owners are, essentially, grifters. Despite that, the Dodgers draw over 3 million fans every single year and place among the top draws in baseball. That is passion.

    It is roughly the same as the Knicks in NYC.

  5. Puckett’s avatar

    Actually, life-long Dodgers fans I know don’t get it either. Yes, parts of the parking lot can be sketchy and I think we all remember that shooting after the Giants game, but still … I managed to make it to a Dodgers / Padres game before it started with enough time to grab pizza and beers and that was driving up from San Diego.

    As far as the owners go … man, I never thought I’d say this, but the McCourts make me miss the deft, nuanced management skills of Kevin Malone who, though not an owner, was one of the least liked people in the organization since O’Malley moved it from Brooklyn.

  6. Ben Cohen’s avatar

    This is a terrible set of choices, add Dallas to this and you would be choosing between the markets that everyone should root against. Sorry, I can’t support this.

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