Gift of April: 16 glorious days of LA vs. SF rivalry

Gift of April: 16 glorious days of LA vs. SF rivalry
April 5, 2014, 9:00 am
Share This Post

If the Warriors draw the Clippers and the Sharks face the Kings, the days April 16 through May 1 belong to, “Beat L.A.” (USATSI)

If it was possible to receive a dollar for each time the cliché chant “Beat L.A.” was yowled in a Bay Area sporting venue, there’d be no need for any of us to ever attend another event because we’d all be in Cap d’Antibes paying others to chant on our behalf.

Well, chant on YOUR behalf, anyway. I don’t need L.A. beaten for any reason myself. I have a list of specific people for whom a good throttling would be well earned. Geographical entities, not so much.

But this is the Bay Area’s true Gregorian moment -- a full fortnight of rote shriekage in games that matter, between four teams who hate their opponents as much as they like themselves.

And in these turbulent times, who couldn’t use a little extra locally-based turbulence?

Barring a stunning reversal of form (or the Warriors screwing up by catching Portland for fifth place in the Western Conference final standings, those hyenas), the days April 16 through May 1 belong to, “Beat L.A.”

[RELATED: NBA standings | NHL standings]

Or, if you’re reading this south of the Paso Robles line, “Sharks/Warriors Suck.”

Hey, we’d like the chants to be better and more original, if not necessarily more scatological, but the spleen wants what the spleen wants.

But here’s how those 16 days play out, and league schedulers could sublet this job to monkeys and still make it right for everyone, if they could be bothered to come to terms with the monkey union.

April 16 -- Kings at Sharks 1
April 18 -- Kings at Sharks 2
April 19 -- Warriors at Clippers 1
April 20 -- Sharks at Kings 3
April 21 -- Warriors at Clippers 2
April 22 -- Sharks at Kings 4
April 23 -- Clippers at Warriors 3
April 24 -- Kings at Sharks 5
April 25 -- Clippers at Warriors 4
April 26 -- Sharks at Kings 6
April 27 -- Warriors at Clippers 5
April 28 -- Kings at Sharks 7
April 29 -- Clippers at Warriors 6
May 1 -- Warriors at Clippers 7

Oracle Arena has no events to worry about during the fortnight, and Staples Center is equally clean. The only date that the Sharks need avoid is April 19, which is booked with a Juan Gabriel concert. And no, there will be no crack about Juan Gabriel’s biggest hit. He’s doing an arena tour, so he must be a big deal to enough people. We will leave them to their bliss.

But look at the other dates, and how tantalizingly delicious they are. You can get all 14 potential games properly staggered so that hockey fans can also enjoy the basketball, and vice versa. Each team could have game-on-day-off for their entire series, and each game will have its own stage.

Better yet, the two circuses move in five separate blocks -- hockey up north for three days, both sports down south for the next four, back up north for three, south for two, north for two and south for two. And that’s if both series go seven, which if there is a weekend god who handles such things in a good frame of mind re: our needs.

It’s win-win. Or, knowing these two teams, their relative competitive evenness and general disputatiousness, win-loss-win-loss-win-loss-win.

Of course, if it was that simple, someone would have already pointed this out to you. But the two leagues’ broadcast partners (of which all but two can be freely slandered as entities which do not pay me) have their own needs, and so do the 32 separate arenae (cq) which house the 38 teams still with legitimate playoff aspirations (six of which will aspirate all over themselves ultimately, which is just something cheap I wanted to say).

Anyway, those sportatoria have their own booking issues (there are apparently an almost unlimited supply of traveling Juan Gabriels), which can elongate series just as much as network thuggery.

But Kings-Sharks and Warriors-Clippers have several advantages the other series do not if your interest is merging all the converging interests into one coherent two-week orgy of drama, cheating, obscene imprecations and beer.

One, they are West Coast series that do not involve the Lakers, which do not move the network needles nearly so much and therefore must not be stretched out for national ratings convenience. Unlike, say, Pacers-Bobcats or Bruins-Blue Jackets.

Two, if the network-approved story lines are the animosities between the teams and their fan bases (and we mean civilized animosities rather than out-and-out viciousness, and there is a chasm of difference between the two), days off quell those differences rather than stoke them.

And three, the teams can do their own horse-trading with the suited brutes in New York, and they could all agree to take one for the greater good.

Does this inconvenience arena workers who have to turn Staples Center around quickly? Hey, they like getting paid too, and they’re good at this sort of thing, even if it means a boatload of overtime for the three quick turnarounds April 20, 21 and 22.

And who doesn’t like a boatload of overtime?

In sum, this is about as perfect as perfect gets, two happy storms converging at just the right time to take our minds off the latest burst of geologic burps from the Ring Of Fire. Sure, earthquakes can be a bit of an irritant, but you’ll be too busy cursing players in different colored laundry and telling your children, “You know that knee Andrew Bogut just gave DeAndre Jordan (or “You know that elbow Slava Voynov just gave Logan Couture?)? You shouldn’t do that nudge-nudge-wink-wink.”

We will now leave it to Adam Silver, Gary Bettman and the networks to screw up our meticulously scheduled good time. All except our own network, of course. Our folks are as keen as a neurosurgeon's laser and as pure as newly driven Tibetan snow, as you all know.

Don't tell me I can't degrade myself to power. I got the gift, Daddy.


More Team Talk