From cheeseheads to the final World Series out: Five LA sports teams in eight hours

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Game 5 of the World Series triggered a Sports Equinox in Los Angeles where all 5 major professional sports leagues played on the same day, in the same city. USA TODAY Sports’ Josh Peter and Sandy Hooper hit them all.
Sandy Hooper, USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES — Sunday is a day of rest? Maybe for you, pal.

For me, Sunday was a one-of-a-kind, sports extravaganza, and over an eight-hour span I saw:

Five body checks.

Four faceoffs.

Two touchdowns.

Two goals.

One Zamboni.

Not to mention foam cheeseheads, Lou Williams bobblehead dolls, NBA superfan Jimmy Goldstein and the last out of the World Series.

I saw hockey, soccer, football, basketball and basketball played by professional athletes during what was billed as the Los Angeles Sports Equinox. In short, five of this city’s pro sports teams — Dodgers, Rams, Clippers, Kings and Galaxy — were scheduled to play on Sunday. Which presented the challenge of determining if it was possible, or sane, to get to all five of the games.

Could it be done? Not without:

1.  Sandy Hooper. She is a senior video producer for USA TODAY Sports, and she was largely responsible for remembering where I parked my car. (She also produced a video documenting the adventure.)

2. Sneakers. On foot, we covered almost seven miles — about the same distance that soccer players run during their matches — and climbed 26 floors. (Much of the mileage came while walking from parking lots to the venues.)

3. John Wooden’s wisdom. It helped to remember one of his favorite sayings: “Be quick but don’t hurry.’’

So quickly, but not to hurry things along, let’s get to the highlights:

Best decision: Taking a pedicab from a parking lot at USC to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. It meant we arrived in time to watch Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers throw a beautiful, 41-yard pass to Davante Adams, and also watch the Rams and Green Bay Packers trade touchdowns in a span of one minute 37 seconds.

Worst decision: Resting a cup of Diet Coke on a what appeared to be an unlevel edge of a urinal at StubHub Center. The good news: There’s always more Diet Coke.

Best fans: Galaxy fans. The most delightful moment from a group whose diehards sing and wave flags throughout the game came after each of two goals scored by Galaxy striker Ola Kamara.

The P.A. announcer intoned: “Goal by Ola!’’

The crowd shouted back: “Ola!’’

P.A. announcer: “Ola!”

Crowd: “Ola!”

P.A. announcer: “Thank you.’’

Crowd in unison: “You’re welcome!”

Worst fans: Dodgers fans. Did you really boo your manager, Dave Roberts, before Game 5 of the World Series? Yes, you did!

Most poignant moment: At the Kings game, after a moment of silence was observed for the victims of the mass shooting Saturday at the synagogue in Pittsburgh, the Los Angeles Jewish Community children’s choir sang the national anthem.

Second worst decision: Never thinking twice before consuming soft serve ice cream dusted with Oreo cookie and granola, three peanut butter cookies, pulled chicken, grilled steak, rice and beans, quesadilla, an apple, Diet Coke and coffee.

Getting to the venues required only 37.7 miles, but it felt like almost twice that distance. Thanks, L.A. traffic! Here’s how we rolled:

First stop: No early fights

Los Angeles Kings vs New York Rangers at Staples Center

Arrived at seats: 12:30 p.m.

It was 62 degrees when we settled into our seats and the Zamboni was making its final passes across the hockey rink. The puck dropped at 12:40 p.m., but sadly the gloves did not.

No fights.

No goals.

Not before 4:35 had elapsed from the game clock and it was time to hit the road!

Second stop: Two goals in two minutes

Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Houston Dynamo at StubHub Center

Arrived at seats: 2 p.m.

When we got there, the game was tied 0-0 and I was poking fun at a sport infamous for its low scoring. But the joke was on me. We saw Kamara score twice in three minutes, sending the festive crowd into a frenzy and, after a 23-minute stay, we were on our way again.

Third stop: Foam cheeseheads everywhere

Los Angeles Rams vs. Green Bay Packers at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Arrived seats: 3:30 p.m.

By the time we got in the Coliseum, it was hard to know if we were in Los Angeles or Green Bay. Green Bay Packers fans, many wearing foam cheeseheads, were everywhere.

As we headed for our seats, the crowd roared. Rams touchdown! And we missed it! No worries, soon we were in our seats and witnessed the Rams and Packers trade touchdowns as their battle heated up.

Then once again, we were on the move.

Fourth stop: NBA superfan and bobbleheads

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Washington Wizards, Staples Center

Arrived in seats: 4:50 p.m. In time to watch the pregame shootaround before the 6:30 p.m. tipoff.

Who would come to a Clippers game in the middle of Game 5 of the World Series? NBA superfan Jimmy Goldstein, for one. And hordes of fans who happily accepted Lou Williams bobblehead dolls.

When the Clippers’ Avery Bradley made a 3-pointer to open the scoring, soon we were bobbling on out of Staples Center.

Things were growing tense at the World Series.

Fifth stop: Another World Series loss

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Boston Red Sox, Dodger Stadium

Arrived in seats: 7:20 p.m.

We saw Clayton Kershaw pitch in what might have been his final appearance for the Dodgers. But the evocative moment came after Manny Machado struck out for the game’s final out.

Slowly, Machado walked back to the Dodgers’ subdued dugout as Boston Red Sox players joyfully charged out of their dugout and joined their teammates who were celebrating on the field. The Dodgers had lost the World Series on their own field for the second year in a row.

But Los Angelenos found help elsewhere. The Rams went on to beat the Packers, 29-27, and at 8-0 remain the only undefeated team in the NFL.

Sure, the Galaxy lose a gutwrencher, 3-2, that knocked them out of the playoffs. But the Kings rallied to beat the New York Rangers and ended a six-game losing streak. The Clippers won, too, and improved to 4-2, showing there’s good basketball to be seen in L.A. even when LeBron’s not on the court.

For the record, we made it to Dodger Stadium in time for the seventh-inning stretch and I sang “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.’’ Take me out to five ballgames, in fact.

Preferably in L.A.,any day of the week.

 

 

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