The Lakers wilt at the end of the back-to-back, losing in the final minute and falling behind 3--1 in the series. Sharon Hernandez is headed to WP24, but the downtown revival extends well past L.A. Live. Cedd Moses was running a money-management firm 13 years ago when Staples opened and the Adaptive Reuse Ordinance was passed, facilitating the conversion of historic downtown office buildings into housing units. Moses became convinced that this was the next frontier for the city's bar scene. "Everybody thought I was nuts," Moses says. Now nicknamed the Cocktail King, Moses owns nine bars downtown, including Casey's Irish Pub, where Lakers fans are drowning their sorrows as they avert their eyes from highlights. Kershaw's masterpiece is the only bright footage from the day.
SUNDAY, MAY 20: THE WORKHORSE
Six months ago Staples Center employees complained about the paychecks they lost to the NBA lockout. Today, there is no shortage of overtime. David Edford, the 34-year-old operations manager, reports to work at 7 a.m., having put in 14 hours in each of the past three days. But this will be his most challenging shift by far. Before the weekend, arena general manager Lee Zeidman told his staff, "It doesn't get any bigger in the sports-entertainment industry."
Zeidman was worried about everything from the microphones to the food. "What if we run out?" he asked. After all, they bought only 21,600 hot dogs in advance. But Zeidman's most pressing concern was the changeover between the Kings' and the Clippers' games on Sunday. Even though he brought in 500 extra workers for the weekend, and more than 2,000 in all, they needed time to sweep, mop and convert the arena from hockey to hoops. "It's a tsunami coming our way," Zeidman said. "If the Kings go to overtime, we could have 20,000 people trying to come in here while 20,000 are trying to leave."
Edford supervises the 35-person changeover crew, which turns an ice rink into a basketball court in 2½ hours. "The eyes of the world are on us," Edford tells his crew. "We're not just working for ourselves. We're working for everybody who does this kind of work and never gets this kind of recognition." Edford was the one who wiped the floor after Westbrook slipped. He asked everybody from cheerleaders to referees if they noticed condensation. They swore they did not.
Before the puck drops on the Kings' game, the final stage of the Amgen Tour of California finishes at the arena's front door, won by a 22-year-old Slovakian named Peter Sagan. RadioShack captured the team competition after cyclist Chris Horner yelled, "Pedal faster! The hockey game is about to start!" The Kings do not go to overtime, falling 2--0 to the Coyotes, and Edford rushes onto the ice with his crew. They lay 520 sheets of rubber composite across the ice. Then they cover the rubber with 223 pieces of hardwood, hammering them into place with mallets. They yank off the glass and the boards, roll in the basket stanchions and erect seats behind the baselines. All the work is done by hand. The changeover is completed in two hours and 20 minutes, and it would have been faster, except they needed 14 minutes to find one misplaced chair.
Most of the Clippers are already in their locker room. Forward Caron Butler asks an usher to recap the Kings' game. I bolt for Chavez Ravine, where the Dodgers are in the third inning and the sun is starting to dip behind the palm trees. Suddenly the moon drifts in front of the sun, creating what looks like a ring of fire in the sky. On a weekend in which all the sports planets aligned, the Dodgers witness the first annular solar eclipse in 18 years.
His team down 5--3 with two runners on base in the seventh inning, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly summons pinch hitter Scott Van Slyke, son of former All-Star outfielder Andy Van Slyke. On a 3-and-0 count the rookie gets the green light and drives a fastball over the leftfield fence. By the time the Dodgers wrap up the game, I am back at Staples Center, for the Clippers' last gasp.
They lead by one point with 2:27 left, but San Antonio, which has won every game for the past six weeks, does not allow another basket. There is no shame for the Clippers, a team that was thrown together in training camp. "They were great," says Penny Marshall, sitting on a folding chair outside the locker room, hugging every player who emerges. "They just need more time."
For all the home teams, except the Dodgers, the weekend has been a disappointment. But it has proved that more than 100,000 people can pour into downtown on a Sunday and reach their destination in time.