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First of all a quick apology as Sunday Gravy is on a one week hiatus, it will return next week in it’s regular time frame. Trust me, next week is going to be an INSANE episode of Sunday Gravy and I can’t wait to throw that fucker down.
That should be able to get you through.
This week in place of Sunday Gravy I will be bringing you an episode of “Boots On The Ground – Downtown L.A. and Staples Center.”
The Brothers Right celebrate the holidays annually and rather than giving gifts we will decide on a live event to attend where we take the money saved from purchasing gifts and just upgrade to some seriously sweet fucking seats. We’ve done Rams games, Charger games, Laker games, Clipper games, Kings games and even a Ducks game and it’s always a blast. This year it was time to see the L.A. Kings play again as they took on the Chicago Blackhawks.
Yes, our seats were THAT close to the glass.
For those of you who think I’m slacking by taking a day off I actually did cook last Sunday but we’ve already covered enchiladas. Although this time I made a beef and cheddar batch of enchiladas along with a batch of chicken, mushroom and green chile enchiladas.
Here’s some food porn for the Gravy deprived folks.
As the day dawned drizzly and overcast we loaded up the Wagon Queen Family Truckster and headed North to Downtown L.A.
That shot was taken on the 110 Freeway heading North into downtown. Downtown is actually considered just a neighborhood in Los Angeles as opposed to being the entire city of Los Angeles. It is recognized now as “DTLA.”
Look! I can see the Hollywood sign out of the other window!
Yeah that is a pretty crappy photo but the sign is there between the palm trees.
Staples Center is right in the heart of Downtown L.A. at 11th and Figueroa in what is a suddenly booming development area.
I’ve lived in L.A since 1991 and wasn’t sure I would ever see the type of mid city renaissance that is currently taking place. The old downtown that I first got acquainted with was more well known for Skid Row than for a booming commercial and residential area. After WWII L.A started suburbanizing and spreading out. Many folks stopped living in downtown and moved out to newer and cleaner suburbs leaving downtown to slowly decay and crumble. It really went to shit in the late 60’s and early 70’s. At one point in the 1920’s the Broadway District in L.A. not only rivaled but outshone the Broadway District in New York with tons of world class movie and stage theaters but with the lack of upkeep most of the older downtown fell to ruin. There are still parts of DTLA that you better stay the fuck away from come sundown – Hello MacArthur Park – but gentrification is well on it’s way to becoming a reality.
Look at this shit!
That is some Times Square, Vegas Strip type insanity. It’s a wrap-around TV!
I hadn’t been downtown in close to a year and the new development was fucking nuts! I barely recognized it. Those used to be parking lots and vacant lots where those new buildings are going up.
As most of you know Staples Center is Home to the Lakers, Clippers and Kings as well as being a premier concert venue (with pretty shitty acoustics in my opinion) and is at the very center of the DTLA entertainment district,
They also really love their fucking statues there.
The “Star Plaza” has a veritable fuck load of statues of former LA sports notables.
Let’s take a look shall we?
There’s Shaquille O’Neill and a very cool statue effect. This is the only “suspended” statue that I know of and is one of the more recently added statues on display. Additional Lakers Magic Johnson and Jerry West are also on display, soon to be joined by Kobe Bryant no doubt.
Kings players also get the statue treatment.
There’s Luc Robitaille with Oscar De La Hoya in the background. If you blow that photo up you can read the entire plaque for Robitaille. Yes, there’s a Gretzky statue too but I didn’t get a photo.
One very cool thing, L.A. not only memorializes their athletes but they respect their announcers as well.
That’s legendary Kings announcer Bob Miller. Miller was the Kings announcer from 1973 until his retirement just last year in 2017. If you look close the statue shows both of his championship rings because of course the Kings gave him a ring after each of their Stanley Cup victories. Statue looked pretty damn close to actual size as well.
Now here we go:
Fuck yes that’s “Chickie Baby!” Chick Hearn was the Lakers announcer from 1961 until he passed away in 2002. At one point he announced 3,338 consecutive games before breaking his hip and ending the streak. Chick was fucking legendary and he was the inventor of many of basketball’s now familiar phrases including “Slam dunk”, Air-ball”, “Dribble-Drive” “Finger Roll”, “Give and Go” and many, many others.
Just to give an idea how spoiled LA sports fans are, at one point we had Miller calling the Kings, Chick calling the Lakers, Vin motherfucking Scully calling the Dodgers, Dick Enberg announcing the Angels and Ralph Lawler calling the games for the Clippers – he still does by the way. Hell, Al Michaels and Keith Jackson earned their stripes out here too. These guys deserve their accolades.
Time to wander inside.
First thing you notice is, goddamn that’s a lot of luxury suites. Three plus levels of nothing but luxury boxes. You may also notice just right of the score board are the 2 Kings Stanley Cup banners for the 2011-2012 and 2013-2014 seasons. Think they like waving their championship dicks in your face? You ain’t seen SHIT yet.
Yeah. There are the Lakers and Sparks championship banners.
Like retired jerseys?
The two on the bottom “8” and “24” are both jersey numbers Kobe Bryant wore and they were both retired earlier this season.
Before you start thinking, I’m not a fan of either team. I’m a Bulls fan and a Devils fan but I still love to see live sports. I mean look at this fucking place.
Oh and for you poor folks who may not have attended a hockey game, it’s cold. Like really fucking cold. Like wear a goddamn jacket cold. This should be obvious since the game is played on, you know, ICE but just a bit of warning. This is because the first hockey game I attended in 1975, I believe, I froze my damn ass off and talked my parents into buying me a sweatshirt.
Even if you’re not the biggest hockey fan you can still come for the hot zamboni action!
The crowd was yet another sellout for the Kings who are sitting near the middle of the pack of the Western Conference standings. The Blackhawks are definitely having a down year and they reside in dead last of the Central. As the crowd filed in and we approached opening face-off both teams came out on the ice for the warm up.
Here the entire Kings team warms up.
How close were our seats again?
If you’ve ever sat this near to the glass, each missed slap shot slams off the glass like a rifle shot. Now that the protective netting has been enforced league-wide you don’t have to fear about taking one off your goddamn noggin while you fuck around with your phone.
Still, pay some fucking attention people. Isn’t that why you’re here?
The Kings have a pretty solid spectacle before each period with laser light effects and this really fucking cool lighting effect that emanates from the top of the protective netting and encircles the entire rink.
Good crowd for this game with a BUNCH of ‘Hawks fans in attendance. Since this was a 1:00 PM PST start time, they didn’t even get that hammered drunk.
You will also note that I haven’t mentioned concessions, beers etc. That’s because of the 1:00 PM start. I can’t get too crazy in the day like I used to so I basically consumed nothing at the game. This is a new tactic that I’ve employed for early games. It saves a ton of money, reduces dramatically the number of men’s room visits and it allows me to drive/remain coherent until later in the day when I can then properly overly imbibe in the safety of my own home or hometown.
From memory Staples has pretty solid concessions with the big sellers being Wetzel’s Pretzels, Jody Maroni’s sausages and Popcornopolis popcorn. All local offerings.
They do have a solid selection of beers including a wide array of craft beers as well as several full bars.
You can drink what you want here, no doubt.
I’m not going to do a full write-up on the game but I can hit the highlights.
During the first period the ‘Hawks were on the attack.
And the Kings were on the defense for the majority of the period.
The only goal of the period was scored directly in front of us as the ‘Hawks took a 1-0 lead at the end of the first.
Score at the end of the 1st period.
During the second period the Kings looked to begin their own offensive charge. The Kings scored 3 unanswered goals and basically hammered Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg. After the third goal the Kings fans were loudly serenading the goalie with chants of “Fors-berg.” It looked like the Kings day at this point.
Once again, all 3 of the Kings goals happened directly in front of us at our end of the ice.
At the end of the second.
But there’s a reason why the game is 3 periods long. Unfazed by the Kings 2nd period assault, the Blackhawks came back with a goddamn vengeance in the 3rd. They just blasted Kings goalie Jonathon Quick with FOUR, (4) 4!! unanswered goals including an empty netter to seal the deal as time was expiring.
Alas, at the end of the game…
Blow that photo up to see the final stats. The Kings out shot Chicago 32-25 and they outhit the Blackhawks 34-7. Thirty four to seven! What the fuck happened to you Chicago? Didn’t you come from the old Norris Division where all the gooniest teams resided? Didn’t you used to be nicknamed the “Hackhawks?”
“And now you’re playing like a bunch of…pussies!”
Regardless, it was an amazing time. Great fucking fun. And all 8 goals scored in the game happened on our end, directly in front of us. When does that ever happen?
We walked back to the parking lot, climbed back in the Family Truckster and headed Southwest towards home.
Now some of you are wondering “Why didn’t I eat anything again?”
This was waiting on the other end. That’s a Brooklyn style charcoal fired oven pizza from Grimaldi’s. Which in my opinion is the best fucking pizza in L.A. If any of you L.A. residents are skeptical, give me a message and get some availability because I will be happy to prove it to you.
Thanks for reading along and hopefully this either piqued or satisfied your curiosity in regards to Downtown L.A. and the Staples Center.
Sunday Gravy will return next week with a goddamn DOOZY!