Fans in Southern California are riding a crest.
Phil Jackson’s Lakers surfed to the NBA Finals in June and are ready to dive into another season.
The Dodgers are sailing into the pennant series, which surprised plenty of pundits, but not this one. Way back in April I wrote at TheColumnists.com that the boys in blue would win the National League title. Why? “Joe Torre’s in Los Angeles.”
You see the connection. Los Angeles is making a splash because of two of the greatest bosses in history:
Jackson, whose nine titles tie him with Red Auerbach for No. 1 among NBA coaches.
Torre, whose four World Series crowns put him near Casey Stengel and Joe McCarthy among the greatest managers.
Speaking of winners, the other baseball team that goes by Los Angeles — the Angels — has Mike Scioscia calling the shots. He won it all in 2002 and entered October with his cross hairs on a second title. His gang entered the playoffs with the best record in baseball, boasting top power, speed and pitching.
The Angels are out.
Out in the first round.
Out against Boston for the third time in five years.
Out on a suicide sqeeze in the ninth inning of the deciding game at Fenway Park.
Scioscia called for the bunt. Erick Aybar missed. Goodbye, season.
Hello, suicide watch.
Angel fans are bashing thunder sticks against their heads. Some want to do the same to Scioscia.
A squeeze play when all the Angels needed was a fly ball? Another horror in Angel lore.
No question Scioscia is the right skip for Anaheim’s ship. This is a high-water mark in Angel history, thanks to his grabbing the tiller in 2000: four division titles to go with that glorious 2002 trophy, plus a packed Angel Stadium every summer.
So the Angels will weather this fan storm and keep Mike manager.
Where I’d like to see a change is at brand-new Citi Field in New York. Time for the Mets to match their new digs with a new helmsman: Gary Carter.
Mets fans — and I’m one — are seasick over the 2007 dive under Willie Randolph and 2008 replay under Jerry Manuel.
We’re about to jump overboard after the nightly blown leads.
We’re looking for ballast: A Hall of Famer who was superior to fellow catchers Torre and Scioscia. A hero on the champion Mets of 1986. A winner who just managed the Orange County Flyers to the top of the Golden Baseball League.
Bring back Gary Carter.
Message to Mets:
Carter manages just up the road in Fullerton, Calif. I’ll get him for you.
Bucky Fox is an author and editor in Southern California who runs BuckyFox.com