Southern California sports fans, we feel your pain. Now that you’ve joined us in being held captive at home by the effects of the COVID-19 disease with no live games to help pass the time, we thought we’d offer some neighborly advice.
As we’ve already noticed up here, the NFL, NBA and MLB are among the leagues helping us by offering lots of re-broadcasts of old games. But a word of warning: Some games aren’t suitable for all audiences!
Trust us. We wished someone had cautioned us we might encounter images of a hobbling Kirk Gibson from the 1988 World Series or that damn Rally Monkey in Anaheim from Game 6 of the 2002 World Series while surfing around for an enjoyable game.
The worst part was we just couldn’t avert our eyes from the horror.
Of course, we’ve got no one to blame but ourselves. Gov. Gavin Newsom may be ordering us all to stay at home, but there’s nothing in his directive preventing us from changing the channel.
With this in mind, we’ve come up with the Top 5 game broadcasts L.A. fans will want to socially distance themselves from. No need to thank us. Just consider this a public service warning to our state’s lower half.
In chronological order, here are some painful sports replays Angelenos need to avoid while being sheltered-in-place:
1962: Giants rally to stun Dodgers in playoff finale
It’s been 57 years, but there’s still lingering pain somewhere in L.A. after this one. The Dodgers, who blew a four-game lead with eight days left to force a playoff series, then went on to blow a two-run ninth-inning lead in the winner-take-all Game 3. The Giants, playing in their first postseason series since moving to San Francisco, used a timely Willie Mays hit and an assortment of Dodger miscues (four walks, an error and a wild pitch) to score four runs in the top of the ninth and hold on for the series-clinching win. Oh, this all happened 11 years to the day when the Giants scored four runs in the ninth inning against the Dodgers to win the pennant. But you probably already heard of Bobby Thomson’s homer.
1974: A’s beat Dodgers in I-5 World Series clincher
The Swingin’ A’s had won the two previous World Series titles, then did it once more in ’74 against the haughty Dodgers. The title-clinching Game 5 may have epitomized the smugness of the Dodgers those days. With the game tied 2-2 in the seventh inning, some unruly ‘s fans threw debris onto the outfield grass. Muscular L.A. reliever Mike Marshall, who defiantly refused to wear long sleeves under his jersey even on the cold night at the Coliseum, waited nearly 10 minutes on the mound as rolls of toilet paper and other items were removed. He refused the offer to throw warmups while he waited. The A’s Joe Rudi correctly assumed Marshall would throw him a fastball and belted it over the fence in left for a game-winning home run. The only negative part for Bay Area fans is that the Dodgers’ Von Joshua, a former Castlemont High of Oakland star, had the distinction of making the final out of the series.
1982: Giants ruin Dodgers’ playoff chances in season finale
The Giants didn’t wait long to get revenge on the Dodgers, who knocked San Francisco out of postseason contention on the second-to-last day of the 1982 season. Needing a win in the season finale at Candlestick to force a one-game playoff with Atlanta for the NL West crown, the Dodgers tasted misery in the bottom of the seventh inning. With the game tied 2-2 and two Giants aboard, Dodgers reliever Terry Forster hung a slider to Joe Morgan and the two-time NL MVP didn’t miss it. He blasted a three-run homer over the fence in right and celebrated with his teammates as though they had won a playoff spot. In actuality, it was merely the next-best thing for the Giants — the Dodgers didn’t.
1989: Rams see ghosts in loss to 49ers in NFC Championship
Reigning NFL MVP Joe Montana was as brilliant as ever against L.A. while leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl by completing 26-of-30 passes for 262 yards and two scores. But the lasting images from this game came courtesy of the 49ers’ defense, which so dominated and rattled their rivals from down south that Rams quarterback Jim Everett sacked himself late in a 30-3 NFC Championship game loss at Candlestick. Everett, who was under constant pressure all day while throwing three interceptions, mysteriously dropped to the turf in the fourth quarter while under no immediate danger of being sacked. As John Madden told CBS viewers after watching the replay, “I’ll tell you, Everett felt the bullet when there was no bullet.”
2011: Sharks’ epic comeback stuns Kings in Western Conference playoffs
Lastly, how could Sharks fans or even the folks down in Los Angeles forget about this stunning San Jose victory in Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinals? In one of the most improbable comebacks in NHL postseason history, the Sharks overcame a 4-0 deficit while rallying for a thrilling 6-5 victory in overtime. Kings fans were loving life when San Jose pulled goalie Antti Niemi in the second period after he surrendered four goals. Niemi was showered with taunts from the crowd at Staples Center as he skated off. The Fins’ ferocious rally came seemingly out of nowhere as they exploded for five goals in the second period, capped by Joe Pavelski’s score in the last minute. The teams remained tied until overtime when Devin Setoguchi took a cross ice pass and ripped it past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick for the game-winner. San Jose would go on to win the series in six games.
No hard feelings now that we’re truly in this together, right SoCals?