Tag:Los Angeles
Posted on: September 28, 2011 12:13 pm
 

We've been duped here in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- We were asked to vote on a new arena here in Kansas City a few years ago. The plan -- no, the promise -- was to lure a pro franchise to play in it.

That's how 72 suites were sold in a matter of months. That's what the president of arena giant, AEG, said. You can look it up. Tim Leiweke said we'd have our own franchise (NBA, NHL) when the doors opened in October 2007.

I thought about that watching a thoroughly entertaining preseason NHL game Tuesday night at that arena -- the Sprint Center here in Kansas City. The game was sold out. The hockey was fantastic, Pittsburgh over L.A. 3-2 in an eight-round shootout.

Then this morning I read the latest back track from Leiweke

"Kansas City," he told the Kansas City Star, "can take its time."

Whoa, wait a minute. Who is Tim Leiweke telling us what to do when his politicking and false promises got us to this point?

Why not just admit, Tim, that you duped us? Admit that the Sprint Center was built four years ago to become the world's largest concert hall in the first place?

Take our time? How dare you? AEG has taken out full-page ads to proclaim that it is one of the most successful music and entertainment venues in the world. Those 100 nights of Taylor Swift and Lil Wayne and Guns N Roses, may be fun but that's not why we voted $250 million for the Sprint Center.

It was for the promise of attracting a pro franchise and to keep the Big 12 basketball tournament. That second item looks kind of shaky because the Big 12 has almost broken up twice in the last 16 months. I'm sure AEG didn't count on that, but it probably didn't have a four-day, college basketball tournament at the top of its list for building for building Sprint either.

The arena was built to house acts it could funnel through Kansas City. Nothing wrong with that, but I’m trying to come up with a list of cities this size with an arena this new that don't have a pro franchise. Please, someone help me here.

I just wish they'd told us that up front. I would have had a harder time voting for a car rental and entertainment tax to watch Enrique Iglesias and the pro rodeo tour.

“Right now there is not an urgency [to get an anchor tenant],” Leiweke told the Star. “This building is doing phenomenal."

And to that I proclaim B. -- freakin' -- S. Ask the merchants across the street at the Power and Light (entertainment) District who are doing OK, but could be doing so much better with a guaranteed 41 home dates for an NBA or NHL franchise.

One of the biggest days in the P&L's short history was a crowd that gathered to watch a U.S. World Cup game there in 2010. That had nothing to do with the glittering jewel across the street, Sprint just happened to be there.

I get that there has been an economic downturn since the building opened. I get that teams aren't moving and leagues aren't expanding. That's why I feel doubly duped. Leiweke should have never made those claims when he needed our tax dollars to fund his concert hall. I feel doubly duped because Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins ownership group toured the construction site. It turned out to be leverage for the Penguins to get their new building.

We are a college town. Check that, we are a Chiefs and Jayhawks town. You wonder how an NHL or NBA franchise would do on nights when Kansas, Kansas State or Missouri are playing basketball. I still wonder that. I also wonder why I voted for Sprint when the plan all along was to fill it with exhibition games and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Full disclosure: I loved the Paul McCartney show in 2010. At age 68, he rocked the house. Best show I ever saw. But, again, I wouldn't have helped vote $250 million for Paul McCartney either. Meanwhile, the Sonics are now the Thunder in Oklahoma City. Atlanta's Thrashers are now the Winnipeg Jets. Wait, we got scooped by OKC and Winnipeg?

"We're fine without one [anchor tenant]," Leiweke repeated, "and we probably make more money without one."

If that isn't an indication of AEG's true intentions, I don't know what is. Make money, sure? Just don't lie to us how you're going to make it. We're no closer to being a better major-league town than we were when the first shovel was stuck in the ground for Sprint. Well, unless you can't wait to see Jeff Dunham, Monster Jam and something called Nuclear Cowboyz.

It was a great night for the Kansas City hockey community on Tuesday. They got out there and sold a lot of tickets. The announced attendance of 17,779 was the most ever to watch hockey in our town.

However, it was a horrible night for the Sprint Center. When the puck dropped there were still thousands of people outside waiting to get in. Sprint/AEG apparently hasn't figured out that it needs to open more doors when there are a lot of people outside. There was literally more room marked off for smokers outside than there were for people with tickets waiting to get in.

Also, at a sold out event it might be a good idea to open all the concession stands. I missed half the game waiting in line with my son for food. At least the game presentation was good. The first period intermission featured a commercial for the 2012 Camry. One was driven on the ice, in case you didn't get that Toyota was a sponsor.

A wing-eating contest was being shown on the big screen during a face-off. The public address announcer didn't know the names of players as he was announcing goals.

I still would say the Kansas City deserves the NHL or NBA. But after the frustration of these four years, the question has changed. Does Kansas City deserve AEG?

 

Posted on: April 11, 2011 4:32 pm
Edited on: April 11, 2011 5:40 pm
 

My first-round Stanley Cup playoff predictions

First, hearty congratulations are in order to the Chicago Blackhawks who, on Sunday, choked less than the Dallas Stars.

You know by now that, faced with a win-and-they're-in scenario, the Stars coughed up a hair ball, losing to Minny 5-3 on Sunday. That was after Chicago had all but handed them a playoff berth by losing at home to Detroit. Dallas not only lost but flamed out spectacularly. The Stars were up 2-1 after one period, tied 3-3 after two. The playoffs were 20 minutes away -- and the tame Wild won an utterly meaningless game, for them. 

Minnesota was so giddy it immediately fired its coach. Good luck in the offseason, Stars. You need a) at least one top four defenseman; b) an owner and; c) some heart.

Only one of those is available through free agency. Now, on to the greatest tournament in sports. Over the next three months, brave-hearted warriors will play for the ultimate prize. (Hopefully, one of them is Sidney Crosby.) They will do it without getting paid a cent. That's right. Since assumptions can't be made about the playoffs before the playoffs, the checks come during the regular season. 

While we're in the congratulatory mode, Canada gets a pat on the back -- or maybe an elbow to the cheekbone. America's Hat has fewer teams in the playoffs (two) than the state of California (three). Meanwhile, the last subject anyone is talking about in these playoffs is those Hawks defending their Stanley Cup title. There is Ringless Roberto, the Strangers, the Caps who spent the season putting a cap on their offense, all set against the backdrop of the league waiting for the next debilitating concussion. Speaking of EMTs, that reminds me of another subject no one is talking about: Montreal-Boston in the first round!


Let the gamesmanship begin. These are my first-round predictions only. I've ranked the entertainment value of each series with an (EV).

East

No. 1 seed Washington vs. No. 8 New York Rangers (No. 2 in EV)

So far, it has worked -- Caps' coach Bruce Boudreau's philosophical overhaul. Washington could always score goals. As the last couple of seasons have shown, it didn't have the defensive grit in the playoffs. Boudreau's job and Alex Ovechkin's legacy could be on the line. Rangers in six.


No. 2 Philadelphia vs. No. 7 Buffalo (5 EV)

The best thing about the Sabres are the goals calls of play-by-play guy Rick Jeanneret ("Top shelf, where mama hides the cookies!"). When Buffalo scores it sounds like a cross between an Irish wolfhound being neutered and poachers killing an infant elephant in front of its mother. Flyers in five.


No. 3 Boston vs. No. 6 Montreal (1 EV)

Expect lots of scrums, neck braces and inquiries by local authorities. And that's just getting Zdeno Chara from the team bus to the lockerroom. Seriously, this series could be better than the final. With apologies to Bon Jovi, Canadiens-Bruins give blood a bad name. Bruins in six.


No. 4 Pittsburgh vs. No. 5 Tampa Bay (3 EV)

In this year of the Bays -- the Green version won the Super Bowl. Tranformers director Michael is working on another sequel -- Tampa needs to show it is about more than Martin St. Louis and Steve Stamkos. The gutty, little Penguins should rule this series minus Crosby (maybe), Evgeny Malkin (definitely) and Matt Cookie (temporarily, suspended for the first round). Biggest difference in most series: Special teams. Pittsburgh in No. 1 in penalty kill. Flightless birds in five.


West

No. 1 Vancouver vs. No. 8 Chicago (4 EV)

These are not the Hawks who are defending champions. They are not the Hawks who have bothered the Canucks in the postseason the past few years. These also aren't the Canucks who are expected to win the Stanley Cup, until they do it. Vancouver has all the elements for a Cup run. It just has to prove it. Vancouver in six.


No. 2 San Jose vs. No. 7 Los Angeles (7 EV)

Wait, what? Stanley Cup? For the Los Tiburones? Dude, whatever you’re smoking, it's good. In NorCal they know spring as the time when the Sharks annually beach themselves in the playoffs. There is no reason to think this team is any different. L.A. is missing leading scorer Anze Kopitar. The Penguins have proven they can thrive without Crosby. The Kings aren't as deep. San Jose in six.


No. 3 Detroit vs. No. 6 Phoenix (6 EV)

The sooner the Coyotes lose, the better for Winnipeg which is jonesing for its old team so bad there is a methadone clinic set up in city hall. The Red Wings have slogged through the final few games. They hope to get Henrik Zetterberg back from a knee injury. Not that they need him to beat the 'Yotes. Hold on, Winnipeg. Your boys are coming, soon. Red Wings in five.


No. 4 Anaheim vs. No. 5 Nashville (8 EV)

The league's No. 1 goal scorer (Corey Perry) vs. what might be the league's best goalie (Nashville's Pekka Rinne). This series is the equivalent of your average suburban housing track. They all look the same. In this case, it's hard to find a difference in these two teams. Go with the Ducks in six because Nashville has never won a playoff series. That and Barry Trotz scares the hell out of me
Posted on: October 24, 2008 10:23 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2008 1:00 pm
 

Next job, Sarah

Sarah Palin (and her running mate) just lost my vote.

Palin was in St. Louis Friday night to drop the ceremonial puck in the St. Louis Blues-L.A. Kings game. Blues goalie Manny Legace slipped on the carpet that was left on the ice for her and apparently tweaked his hip. Legace has had knee problems in the past. Who knows what this is going to mean to an already struggling franchise

Nice job, Sarah.

Category: NHL
 
 
 
 
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