A Brief History of California Playoffs
As a Los Angeles Native, it is my duty and my honor to hate on our neighbors to the north. Sure, Big Sur is lovely, but if it were up to me, I'd break California in half at Fresno and make it two states. You couldn't find two groups of people more different than Northern and Southern Californians. Sure, they may say that those of us from Southern California are self-absorbed and self-obsessed… but at least we look good while doing it.
This is pretty much everyone from Northern California.
The folks from Northern California are incredibly righteous and they play frisbee golf… so it's amazing that they've actually been an able foe in terms of intra-California professional sports playoffs. This is the first time since 1969 that a hockey team from the Bay Area has played against a team from Los Angeles in the NHL playoffs… (no, I'm not counting the Sharks-Ducks series from 2009… I said "Los Angeles")… so I thought I would take a look back at the great professional sports playoff battles between Northern California and Southern California.
A brief visual history of the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
2001: MLS Cup – Los Angeles Galaxy vs San Jose Earthquakes
On October 21, 2001 at the Columbus Crew stadium in Columbus, Ohio, the Los Angeles Galaxy faced the San Jose Earthquakes for the MLS Cup in front of 21,626. The most amazing part of this Northern vs Southern Calfornia matchup was that 21,626 people showed up for a soccer game.
Although I think that number may be slightly inflated.
Sweet frosted tips, Landon Donovan.
1993: RHI Murphy Cup – Anaheim Bullfrogs vs Oakland Skates
For a while, the Anaheim Bullfrogs were the most successful team that played a sport closely resembled to ice hockey in Orange County. And in 1993, they faced their rival to the north, the Oakland Skates, in the RHI Murphy Cup.
The Bullfrogs won the first 2 games to take the best of 3 series in front of their home crowd. Who could forget this classic intra-state roller hockey battle? I bet the people in this piece of tape wish they could.
2001: XFL Million Dollar Game – Los Angeles Xtreme vs San Francisco Demons
That's right, for a few months in 2001, one of the most important Northern vs Southern California Professional Sports Battles had a better national television contract than the NHL.
In the first and only championship game for Vince McMahon's upstart XFL, the Los Angeles Xtreme took on the San Francisco Demons at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. And with a name like "Xtreme" how could the team from Los Angeles not walk away with the trophy. Right, Tommy Maddox?
I wonder if the XFL trophy had a personal handler too.
The Xtreme won the Million Dollar Game 38-6. And true to its word, each of the 38 active Xtreme players, plus five on the practice squad, split $1 million, an average of $23,255 per player… or basically what Matt Cooke doesn't get paid for each of the 10 games he's suspended for.
1988: MLB World Series – Los Angeles Dodgers vs Oakland A's
The Dodgers, a group of over-achieving, underdogs, did not finish in the top five in any offensive statistical category except batting average. They had only 1 player, a pitcher, on the All Star Team. But this rag-tag group of men with nicknames like "Mickey" and "Orel" (oh, Orel wasn't a nickname? Weird.) fought their way to the World Series to face the bigger, badder, more steroid-y (allegedly) Oakland A's. The A's were a juggernaut in the making, about to start a consecutive streak of 3 years in the World Series… a streak which rode on the enormous shoulders of their star young outfielders.
No way these dudes were anything but all-natural.
By now you know the story. You've even seen the highlight played over and over. The star offensive player for the Los Angeles team injures his leg just before the Big Game. But in a startling comeback, he hobbles onto the playing field and leads his team to a huge upset victory. Wait a second… this does sound familiar.
I'm just saying… if the Kings push the Sharks to 7 games, I have a feeling we'll be seeing this.