By Ryan Decker
Southern California is a sports paradise. Great weather, tons of teams to chose from, lots of sports history, and one of the largest cities in the country.
Within the last year, southern California has added a franchise with the Rams leaving St. Louis to return to the City of Angels, a place they called home for nearly 50 years. The region has also had a team – the Chargers – agree move up the road in order to get a new home.
Nine teams currently call the southern part of the Golden State home, and here’s how they stack up from worst to first.
San Diego Padres
They may be the best team in their city (link) but they are the worst team in southern California.
The Padres have played to a losing record each of the last six seasons, and haven’t won the NL West division since 2006. Since that time, the team’s best finish in the division is a lone second-place finish in 2010.
San Diego has had a trio of managers since the start of the 2015 season, and despite recently signing first baseman Wil Myers to a team-friendly six-year deal that doesn’t reach maturity until 2020, it doesn’t look like they’re going to be much better than their recent records anytime soon.
It’s been a rough go of it over the last decade for the Rams.
The franchise hasn’t finished a season with a record at or above .500 since 2006, and hasn’t appeared in the NFL’s postseason since going back-to-back seasons in 2003 and ’04.
Since then the Rams have averaged five wins per season, including a season with three wins, a pair of two-win campaigns, and the dreadful 2009 season in which the team only one game.
If there’s a bright spot for the Rams, it’s Jared Goff and the shining new stadium that will be built and scheduled to be ready to play in in time for the 2019-2020 season.
Other than that, there’s not much going on for the Rams.
The Post-Kobe era hasn’t been exactly the most ideal time in the world for Laker fans.
The NBA’s second-most successful franchise has certainly struggled since winning its most recent championship in 2010. When making the playoffs the Lakers haven’t past the second round, and they’ve missed out on the postseason entirely each of the last three years.
Not only that, but the team’s win total has gone down dramatically over the last three years as well, winning a franchise-low 17 games a season ago.
On the bright side, though, young players like D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle certainly should give Laker fans hope for the future.
By now you should see a theme with a lot of these So. Cal teams. They have one or two things going for them but they’re still struggling in the win column at the moment.
Anaheim’s baseball team also fits into this category.
Trout is the best player in baseball and the face of the MLB. Scioscia, a former player in his own right, is widely considered one of the smartest managers in the league, and possibly due to his team’s lack of recent success, is currently one of the MLB’s most under appreciated managers, as well.
With that said, you can only do so much with so little.
While the Astros, Rangers and Mariners have all improved as of late, the Angels have stayed in virtually the same place, even to the point where there is widespread speculation as to whether or not the Halos will shop Trout.
Los Angeles’ newest franchise is the team that bucks the trend of the first four teams.
Despite winning just five games this season, the Chargers have multiple things going their way.
The Chargers have a pro’s pro at QB in Philip Rivers, along with talented players around him such as Keenan Allen on the outside, along with Melvin Gordon in the backfield and Mr. Reliable himself, Antonio Gates, still catching passes at the tight end position. On defense, San Diego’s former football franchise has Joey Bosa, who has the ability to become a real star in this league.
If this team doesn’t have another injury-ridden season next year, it’s not out of the question that the Chargers could be a contender in the AFC playoff picture in what’s already an extremely competitive AFC West.
Anaheim’s professional hockey team, formerly known as the Mighty Ducks, have been at least somewhat mighty as of late.
Although it’s been 10 years since the team won it’s lone Stanley Cup, the Ducks have been a constant fixture in the NHL playoffs, qualifying each of the last four seasons, and would be the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference this year if the playoffs started today.
The Ducks reached the conference finals two seasons ago, and GM Bobby Murray was named NFL GM of the Year a few years back.
Captain Ryan Getzlaf is one of the franchise leaders in a number of stats.
All this tells me that the Ducks could be a piece or two away from getting back to the prominence they achieved a decade ago.
Right off the bat I still believe the Clippers are the high-seed posers of the NBA’s Western Conference. Until they win a title they will still be the other team in the Staples Center.
In saying that, though, they’ve been a consistent top four seed in the playoffs since Doc Rivers and the Big 3 of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan got together. Consistency in the regular season paired with consistent exits from the playoffs prior to the Western Conference Finals.
Obviously if the Big 3 stays together – and stays healthy, which currently is a problem for CP3 – there will always be the chance for the Clips to win their first title.
Same narrative as the Ducks, though, it appears LAC is a player or two away from achieving the ultimate goal.
In both cases though, they’re simply in the wrong division or conference to really make it to the next level.
The LA Kings have arguably been the class of the NHL’s Western Conference.
Kings fans watched their team win a pair of championship trophies at the start of the decade, and have seen consistent winning throughout the last seven seasons.
LA has finished with an above .500 record every year since the 2009-2010 campaign.
If the season ended today, the Kings may only be an eight seed. But recent history shows that’s not the worse thing for this franchise, as the Kings were a lower seed in the West in each of their two Stanley Cup runs.
The Dodgers haven’t appeared in, or won, a World Series since 1988. “The Bums” are currently in their longest title drought (28 years) since they won their first in 1955.
Despite that, the Dodger’s have stayed fairly consistent in being at least a .500 team in the mean time.
With players such as Clayton Kershaw, Adrian Gonzalez, Corey Seager, and Justin Turner, the Dodgers should continue their winning ways for the foreseeable future.
Another positive surrounding LAD is that the club is trying to get younger, instead of continuing to go after players past their prime like they have in year’s past, such as Chase Utley and Howie Kendrick.
With Kershaw getting over his playoff hump this past season, maybe the time is looming to when the Dodgers will once again reign supreme.