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As the L.A. sports world turns

And we thought the Frank and Jamie McCourt melodrama was intense.

Consider all that has transpired on the Los Angeles sports scene in the past week. The biggest plot turn was a true game changer. The L.A. Angels may play in Anaheim, but with the signing of free agent slugger Albert Pujols, for once having the name "Los Angeles" in the team's name, at the insistence of owner Arte Moreno, isn't an overreach. Adding Pujols makes the Angels, finally and clearly, the dominant baseball team and brand in Southern California. That's 50 years in the shadows of the Dodgers, now pretty much forgotten. The Angels outdrew the Dodgers in attendance this season for the first time, and it would have to be expected now for that to continue, even if Frank McCourt no longer owns the Dodgers.

One could argue the new reversal in roles is the legacy of the McCourt era. The Angels put a better team on the field than the Dodgers, they have won the World Series more recently, there is more buzz about the Angels, they have the marquee player in town, and they have by far the most charismatic and winning-oriented owner. It only looks worse that the baseball media is largely making fun of many of the Dodgers' moves this off-season — focusing on bit role players while the Angels sign Albert Pujols.

Then there's the Lakers soap opera. They kick off the post-Phil Jackson era by trying to trade two stars of their recent championship years, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, for a new, younger star in New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul. Gasol and Odom were personally devastated by the trade, but then it got all messy. The league rejected the trade, sending the players back to the Lakers. Odom was then traded anyway — to a division rival, for no one in return, just a draft pick — and the Clippers of all teams came close to trading for Chris Paul. Then that deal fell apart too.

Meanwhile, Ron Artest's Lakers jersey now reads World Peace, it sounds as if the Kings are about to fire their coach, and UCLA did fire its coach.

More drama than on any so-called reality show on television. I talk about it with Lisa Napoli this afternoon at 6:44 p.m. during the LA Observed segment on KCRW.


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