Sports on move in Los Angeles for weekend play

May 02, 1992|By Maryann Hudson | Maryann Hudson,Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES -- It didn't take Mayor Tom Bradley's indefinite extension of the dusk-to-dawn curfew yesterday for some sports team officials to realize that decisions on weekend events should be made.

Some sports organizations acted before Bradley did, such as Los Alamitos and Hollywood Park, which canceled horse racing for the weekend. The Los Angeles Dodgers postponed their weekend series against the Montreal Expos at Dodger Stadium. For the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers, who play in venues that have been surrounded by violence, yesterday was also a mad scramble.

The continuing civil disorder in wake of the acquittal of four policemen in the beating of Rodney G. King sent both teams searching for alternate game sites.

The Lakers, who were scheduled to play Game 4 of their NBA playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers last night at The Great Western Forum in Inglewood, have moved that game to tomorrow afternoon at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

The Clippers, scheduled to play their Game 4 against the Utah Jazz today at the Sports Arena, have moved their game to tomorrow afternoon at the Anaheim Convention Center.

"If we would have taken care of business in Game 3, I'd be back home on the golf course right now hitting an iron to the green," said Clyde Drexler, who waited with his team yesterday in a Los Angeles hotel for word of where the Trail Blazers' game against the Lakers would be held.

The Dodgers postponed last night's game, then spent the rest of the day working on the logistics of what to do about the two games remaining. At about 6:30 p.m., they decided to postpone the entire series.

The Dodgers played at home almost every day during the Watts riots in 1965 without any postponements, playing host to the New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Phillies from Aug. 11-17. But this time there has been violence within a few miles of the stadium.

One of the first policemen hurt in Los Angeles was Michael Strawberry, brother of Dodgers outfielder Darryl Strawberry. He was one of three police officers who sustained minor injuries when their car was fired upon yesterday during the rioting.

Strawberry, 32, and the other two men were treated at Daniel Freeman Hospital in nearby Inglewood and released.

All of that made athletes, black and white, reluctant to play in Los Angeles.

"I don't want to go there," second baseman Delino DeShields of the Expos said. "There's no need for us to go there when things are crazy. It'd be better off for everybody, not just us. This game isn't very important. That stuff is a lot more important than a baseball game."

Canadian-born outfielder Larry Walker said: "I just want to go home to my own beautiful country. To go to L.A. is just stupid. It just isn't worth it. You'd be taking a chance with your life."

Hollywood Park in Inglewood lost its most lucrative racing date of the season by canceling its races today and tomorrow. Racing will resume Wednesday. The cancellation of wagering today, when the Kentucky Derby simulcast would have been shown, is a financial blow.

Sporting events in other areas of the country were affected: In San Francisco, where a state of emergency was declared because of rioting, the Giants postponed their game with the Phillies at Candlestick Park. And unrest in Rochester, N.Y., forced the postponement of the Red Wings' Triple-A baseball game against the visiting Richmond Braves and an American Hockey League playoff game.

In college sports, the UCLA-Southern Cal-Brigham Young men's and women's track meet scheduled for today at UCLA has been postponed until next Saturday, at UCLA's Drake Stadium. Cal State Northridge will replace BYU.

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