May 19-20: 'Sportsageddon' in Downtown L.A.?

The recent success of the Kings, Lakers, and Clippers will create an challenging weekend for the people who operate Staples Center, Dodger Stadium, as well as traffic and transit planners.

Right now, here is what is scheduled on Saturday, May 19.

  • 12:30 pm - Spurs vs Clippers, Game 3, Staples Center
  • 7:10 pm - Cardinals vs Dodgers, Dodger Stadium
  • 7:30 pm - Thunder vs Lakers, Game 4, Staples Center

Then on Sunday, May 20.

  • Noon (probably more like 12:20) - Coyotes vs Kings, Game 4, Staples Center
  • 5:00 pm - Cardinals vs Dodgers, Dodger Stadium
  • 7:30 pm - Spurs vs Clippers, Game 4, Staples Center

From Thursday through Sunday, Staples Center will host six playoff games in four days.

According to this post from CBS Sports hockey blogger Brian Stubits, a changeover from hockey to basketball can be done in 2 1/2 hours. However, playoff hockey games can go for a very long time and it's possible that the Kings and Coyotes may not finish until close to 5 pm on Sunday.

Did you know also that there will be a major bicycle race going from Beverly Hills to Downtown on Sunday morning? The finish line will be at Staples Center.

For me, this brings back memories of a similar jam up back on April 13, 1996. The L.A. Galaxy were playing their first ever match at the Rose Bowl against the New York/New Jersey MetroStars. They won 2-1 before a crowd of over 92,000 that greatly exceeded expectations, swamping traffic on the 110.

This caused a problem for people going to the Dodgers game that night. It was a Hideo Nomo start back when Nomomania was still in vogue. Over 40,000 (including me) came to Dodger Stadium to see Nomo, who struck out 17 Marlins, in a 3-1 Dodgers win.

And even the Clippers gone into the act that night, drawing over 16,000 for a game at the Sports Arena against Utah. The Clippers won that night (there were a lot of prizes given out at the game) for their final victory in a 29-53 season.

When I left the Dodgers game that night back in 1996, I could see that traffic was moving in neither direction. Fortunately, I had a book in my car. I just sat in the parking lot for about 30 minutes reading before the traffic cleared up. Overall, there were about 150,000 people attending sporting events near the 110 Freeway in an area stretching from Exposition Park up to the Arroyo Seco.

As for this Sunday, with all the sporting activities going on in Downtown, I will be headed to the Walt Disney Concert Hall for an LA Phil performance. It starts at 2 pm. Judging by the schedule of events going on in Downtown, I think I will be able to make it there with minimal trouble, although it sometimes feels like I will be pulling off a feat similar to Luke Skywalker blowing up the Death Star.

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