DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - Sports fans in Los Angeles are the most underrated in the country.
You read that right. Underrated.
I am tired of hearing the clichés about how local fans show up late and leave early. We do, but there’s a darn good reason for it: Traffic.
Traffic in this area is not an excuse, it’s a plague. So what? Fans here are as passionate and smart, and often just as dumb, as fans in other towns.
That doesn’t mean the fan base of every Los Angeles team is created equal. Thus, I thought I’d break down which Downtown team really has the best fans. I did 1-10 rankings in four categories: Loyalty, Loudness, Smarts and Sheer Numbers. The maximum score is 40.
I ranked the Dodgers, Clippers, USC Trojans Football, Kings, Sparks and Lakers. I skipped USC basketball because, really, who cares about USC basketball?
Loyalty: 9. Every game, Dodger fans pour through the Chavez Ravine turnstiles come shine or shine. No matter how average this franchise has been, they show up, the last McCourt year excepted.
Loudness: 8. Ask Barry Bonds if Dodger fans know how to use their voices.
Smarts: 5. Not exactly a MENSA meeting going on at Dodger games, especially in the parking lot. Enough said.
Sheer Numbers: 10. Dodger Blue faithful are everywhere and they support their team. They also have more fans with team tattoos than any other local squad.
Total: 32 points
Loyalty: 7. There are a lot more “on the bandwagon, off the bandwagon” fans then you would think with this franchise. Can’t blame ’em, given the trials and tribulations.
Loudness: 7. They get loud for Blake Griffin monster dunks and DeAndre Jordan made free throws, the most spectacular and rarest events in the NBA, respectively.
Smarts: 7. Clipper fans know the game well enough to know that Vinny Del Negro isn’t the guy to coach a team to a title. So does my cat Happy. Unfortunately, owner Donald Sterling hasn’t figured this out yet.
Sheer Numbers: 7. The Clippers might have the third most fans in the NBA. And the fourth most fans in Downtown L.A.
Total: 28 points
USC Trojans Football
Loyalty: 10. You can’t beat rooting for your alma mater.
Loudness: 7. I understand it’s hard to get too loud in the fourth quarter after you’ve run up 60 on Washington State.
Smarts: 8. They know their team, the recruiting and where to park so they don’t drop $120 on game day.
Sheer Numbers: 8. The fan base will continue to grow unless new UCLA coach Jim Mora can stem the tide. It’s OK to laugh.
Total: 33 points
Loyalty: 9. The fans today were there way before Jonathan Quick, Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown even strapped on skates. And way before that shiny Stanley Cup.
Loudness: 8. Most of the time they raise their voices to cheer for the players on the ice. You think the skaters didn’t hear it during the playoffs and finals? Oh, they knew.
Smarts: 10. No one knows their sport like Kings hockey fans. Or the best place in town to sit and enjoy a Labatt’s Blue, eh.
Sheer Numbers: 4. Almost every last Kings fan shows up to every home game.
Total: 31 points
Loyalty: 7. My wife says Sparks fans are true and diehard. Good enough for me, dear.
Loudness: 8. My buddy Roger says Sparks fans are loud and passionate. Good enough for me, dude.
Smarts: 7. Smart enough to not pay Lakers prices to watch hoops at Staples Center. Good enough for me, Sparks season ticket holders.
Sheer Numbers: 2. The team will average around 10,000 a game this season. Not bad, but even Chivas USA claims bigger crowds. Oh, you have never heard of Chivas USA? You are not alone.
Total: 24 points
Loyalty: 9. This team has not won a title in two years! Kobe Bryant hasn’t hit a game-winning playoff shot in six. Still, they show up and wear the jerseys.
Loudness: 8. For years Lakers games could be very quiet. But the fans raise their voices at the right times, and not only when free tacos are on the line.
Smarts: 7. Too many Lakers fans don’t know their bench rotation from a tire rotation. Then again, apparently neither does coach Mike Brown.
Sheer Numbers: 10. Just go to one of their parades after a title and tell me otherwise.
Total: 34 points
So, the fan bases wind up in this order: Lakers, USC Football, Dodgers, Kings, Clippers and Sparks. The order really does make sense based on winning alone.
And they say L.A. fans don’t know anything about sports?
Dave Denholm loves walking to championship parades, talking hockey with my buddy Terry and living Downtown.
©Los Angeles Downtown News.