Who needs pro football? L.A. has the Galaxy
Did you see the artist's rendering of L.A.'s cool new pro football stadium?
You might think, though, that Farmers Field will be just a place to play football. Hardly. We're way beyond that, Toto:
"This showcases the advantage of being in Los Angeles, how people would rather be outside or inside," said Ron Turner, principal of the project's lead architect, Gensler. "We need a symbol, a gateway. It's important for people to say, 'Wow! That's L.A.' "
That's right: It's the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower and the Hollywood sign rolled into one.
(Though I'm still a bit puzzled by the "how people would rather be outside or inside" line. Is there another choice?)
And just imagine how cool it would be if we actually had a pro football team to play in it!
But why spoil the fantasy? This is L.A., land of dreams. Especially in sports.
This make-believe stadium for a nonexistent football team really is a fitting metaphor for the city's sports scene today. Right now, here's what our sports universe looks like:
- We have a championship-caliber pro basketball franchise, and another franchise with one of the game's best young players. But thanks to labor strife, there's no NBA season.
- We have a storied baseball franchise. But thanks to an owner who treated it as his personal ATM, it's bankrupt and has to be sold.
- We have a storied college football program. Unfortunately, it's on NCAA probation.
- We have a pro hockey franchise. It's never won a Stanley Cup, though, and it's owned by AEG, the same people who are trying to woo a pro football team to come play in our fantasy stadium.
It's gotten so depressing, this newspaper recently ran a series ranking L.A.'s greatest sports heroes. Sandy Koufax was No. 1. As if we needed reminding just how bad things have gotten.
But all is not lost. We do have the Galaxy.
That's right: L.A.'s pro soccer team will be playing for the MLS Cup on Sunday at the Home Depot Center in Carson.
Imagine that: a real team, playing in a real stadium, for a real title.
Fans will see the Galaxy's international star, David Beckham (that's Mr. Posh Spice to most of you), and the team's homegrown star, Landon Donovan. They'll be taking on the Houston Dynamo. (Extra credit if you can name one player on Houston's team.)
But I'm not trying to poke fun here (OK, maybe a little). Soccer may not be first in the hearts of many sports fans. But don't sell it short. As The Times' Kevin Baxter wrote:
The Galaxy, the league's marquee franchise, is estimated to be worth more than $100 million, and attendance around the league is way up -- this year the MLS regular-season average climbed 7% to 17,872, better than last season's NBA and NHL figures.
Plus -- and you might have guessed this -- it's also owned by AEG. (If it keeps up, it'll have to change its name to All the Entertainment we can Gobble up.
So though we may never have the L.A./AEG Farmers Fielders of the NFL, we still have a chance at a title this year.
Photo: Galaxy midfielder David Beckham. Credit: Mike Stobe / Getty Images
Image: Artist's rendering of Farmers Field. Credit: AEG