Posted by john on Sun, 04/30/06, 01:14pm:
Because I’m at Staples for home games, and watch road games on the TV in my office or DVR’ed at home (my Disney overlords wouldn’t have it any other way) I have yet to watch a Clippers game at a sports bar this season.
With a 10:30PM birthday party at Zip Fusion followed by karaoking at Yuu Yuu’s, Clipperblog traveled Westside for last night’s game, finding itself at Yankee Doodles (the "Doodle"), a sports bar on the 3rd St. Promenade. My last trip to the Doodle was for the Harvard-Yale Game in November, so my memories of the place are hazy due to being drunk at 10AM. But it’s close to my friend’s apartment, who reluctantly agreed to change our dinner plans so I could watch the Clipper game (she was looking forward to some Tuk Tuk).
The walk from the parking structure to the Doodle gets my blood flowing, and I’m psyched to sit among the Clipper faithful and cheer the team on. We roll in a little after tip-off. The main dining / sitting area of the Doodle (there's a full length bar along the right side) is flanked on each side by 5 enormous flat screens hanging from the ceiling. Awesome! As I scan each screen carefully, it slowly dawns on me that the Clipper game isn’t being televised on any of them! I flag down the hostess, who informs me that the game can be seen in the “downstairs area” and some screens behind the bar. Wow - I mention this is the only game in town right now - she has decided to ignore me. My friend is now laughing. We find some seats near the bar with a decent view of the 32”ers showing the game (downstairs room has almost zero light), and settle in for a couple of hours.
Some observations from the evening I’d like to share:
- Of the ~200 people jammed into the Doodle that evening, maybe 5% were Clipper fans. My constant whooping / cheering throughout the game generally met with confused looks from fellow bar patrons. Although as the game wound to a close, there were intermittent cheers as it registered with the Doodle crowd that a home team was about to win a playoff game.
- Briefly – a crew of UCLA guys were seated by us, showing some decided interest in the game. So of course Clipperblog befriended them. Things they mentioned: 1) Dunleavy is an awesome coach and they wouldn’t have gotten this far without him; 2) Maggette is “10x the player that Mobley is”; 3) Brand is the MVP of the League; 4) Kaman has crazy hair; 5) Livingston is the next great point guard. Well, 2 out of 5 ain’t bad, and I got to (finally) high-five people at critical junctures of the game.
- Doodle fare is pretty mediocre compared to other sports bars, and their draft selections are weak.
So what did Clipperblog learn? Well, just further confirmation that we are not even close to being the home team. LA is still a city that snaps to attention for a Kobe highlight, and barely acknowledges a Clipper playoff victory. But the truth is – Clipperblog loves it. Loves that we are always the underdog in some way, and that we have to scrap and fight for everything we get. With a potential Clippers-Lakers playoff series looming on the horizon, it would be a great time for the city to stand up and take notice. And at least we know the Doodle will be carrying the games on all their screens.