$2,200 for Lakers ticket just a drop in Hollywood bucket

Commentary

June 14, 2006|By PETER SCHMUCK

If you're like me, you often bemoan the fact that Baltimore doesn't have a state-of-the-art downtown arena ... until you read something like this:

The Los Angeles Lakers have increased the price of a courtside seat from $2,100 to $2,200 for the 2006-07 season at Staples Center.

Of course, we're talking about the infamous Jack Nicholson/Dyan Cannon seats that have helped enhance the Hollywood image of the Lakers all the way back to the "Showtime" days of Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at the Fabulous Forum.

The 4.9 percent increase probably isn't going to cause anyone in that income bracket to cancel those season tickets, but it's still hard to imagine anyone spending $2,200 to watch a sporting event that lasts a little more than two hours and a home team that features only one true superstar.

Just to put it in further perspective, consider that if Kobe Bryant averages 27 field-goal attempts a game next year (like he did this season), courtside fans will be paying $81.48 per shot.

That's more than Jason Grimsley was paying for his hGH.

NBA players union leader Billy Hunter said over the weekend that the union will not accept enhanced testing to determine if NBA players are using human growth hormone.

Hunter indicated in an interview with Bloomberg News that hGH is Major League Baseball's problem and that his players "are tested enough."

"We don't participate in a sport where there's a need for growth hormone," Hunter said.

So, the NBA union chief actually thinks that baseball players are using hGH to get taller? And you wonder why professional sports can't get a handle on the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs?

The NFL Players Association also is expected to resist the groundswell of public pressure to increase testing. Can't imagine those 360-pound guys who can run the 40 in 4.3 seconds would have any reason to want to get any bigger, either.

Meanwhile, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency continues to blast the NHL for its supposedly inadequate drug policy after no NHL players turned up positive for steroids or amphetamines during six months of random testing.

While NHL officials hailed the perfect outcome of this year's testing program, WADA chairman Dick Pound told the Associated Press that it was simply indicative of a program that is so full of loopholes that it is easy to defeat.

I'm siding with the NHL on this one. If the players can't use amphetamines, how do you expect them to stay awake for the whole game?

In other drug news, a Spanish cycling team has been banned from next month's Tour de France because the team's deputy director was arrested in a doping investigation.

More proof that performance-enhancing drugs are really just Major League Baseball's problem.

In case you didn't notice, baseball powerhouse Cal State Fullerton is back in the College World Series, which should be of some interest to Baltimore baseball fans since a couple of Titans - shortstop Blake Davis and outfielder Brandon Tripp - were chosen by the Orioles in last week's amateur draft.

Former Duke star J.J. Redick, apparently in keeping with a new university policy that requires high-profile athletes to embarrass the school whenever possible, was arrested early yesterday in Durham, N.C., and charged with drunken driving.

It didn't take long for some Internet prankster to exploit the nasty motorcycle accident that left Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in serious condition in a Pittsburgh hospital.

The cynical cyber-citizen purported to have acquired an ounce of blood from the accident site and placed it up for auction on eBay, though it was clear from the description of the item that it was a spoof.

For the record, even I think it was in bad taste.

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

"The Peter Schmuck Show" airs on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon on Saturdays.

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