Wednesday, February 22, 2017



Let's take a look at a couple of quotes from the episode........

Yes, the final meeting of the season between 
the local Rockets and the powerful Pioneers.

So the football team that was owned by Eric Wagner was the Rockets.  Whether the team is still in existence, let alone still calling Los Angeles home, is unknown at this time.  They could have remained in L.A., but changed their name if Shirley Wagner sold off the team after Eric's death.

If so, here are some other possibilities as to names by which they were now known:
  • Los Angeles Cougars ('The Incredible Hulk')
  • Los Angeles Thunderbirds ('Psych')
  • California Bulls ('First & Ten')
Mrs. Wagner could also have sold the Rockets and the new owners might have decided to not only change the name, but move the team to another city.

Here are a few of those options:
  • Denver Monarchs – 'Dynasty'
  • Nassau Rebels – 'The King of Queens'
  • New Jersey Blazers – 'Magnum, P.I.'
  • Pittsburgh Ironmen – 'Queer as Folk'
  • San Diego Sabres – 'The Game' 
  • Seattle Cobras – 'iCarly'
  • Texas Angels – 'The A-Team'
  • The Turbos - 'Starsky and Hutch'
  • Orlando Breakers – 'Coach'
The following are from '1st And Ten':
  • Chicago Huskies
  • Dayton Cougars
  • Houston Stallions
  • Houston Riggers
  • Phoenix Warriors
  • Toronto Mustangs
(O'BSERVATION: Other cities mentioned in '1st And Ten' as having teams, but not identified by nickname, include Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Miami.  The Pittsburgh team could be the Ironmen from 'Queer As Folk'.)

Let's move on to the next quote...

We're on our way to Montreal at 6:30.
If we move fast enough, I can still pin down that hockey franchise for you.

Just because the plan was for Hanlon and Wagner to fly into Montreal, that doesn't mean the hockey team Hanlon wanted to buy was based in the City of a Hundred Steeples.  But there were quite a few hockey teams in the Quebec province that could have been in Hanlon's sights as a potential purchase for the Wagner sports empire.

All of those teams can be found in the TV series 'Lance et Compte', which can be translated as "He Shoots, He Scores".  The central team was Le National from Quebec City and was probably the team up for sale.  ('Lance et Compte' would not air until 1986, so in the team's history maybe it was up for sale in the early 1970s.

Here are the other teams mentioned in 'Lance et Compte':
  • Chicoutimi Saints
  • Prince Albert Comets
  • Trois-Rivières Dragons

One other possibility would be found in the Ontario port city of Hamilton, the Hamilton Steelheads.  They first appeared in Toobworld in 1998, so as was the case of Le National, they could have been on the block back in 1972.  As of 2000, the team was still owned by Duff McArdle, as seen in 'Power Play'.

Because of Eric Wagner's death, any possible deal fell through.  So there's no need to look at Toobworld hockey teams in other cities as the results of a purchase by his estate.

And finally the last quote from "The Most Crucial Game".......

Look, maybe I'm not the biggest fan of Paul Hanlon, but let me tell you this--
He's one of the sharpest, shrewdest general managers in this business.

Put this club on its feet.

He got another basketball franchise, built a couple of stadiums.

"Another"....  So the Wagner sports empire has - or had - two basketball franchises. (It could be that by "another", Rizzo meant that the Wagners sold one team before buying a new one.)

I think we're supposed to think that the Los Angeles Lakers were the first team owned by Old Man Wagner, as several of the Lakers were seen practicing in the episode.


Here's more on their appearance in "The Most Crucial Game":

The scene where Peter Falk and Robert Culp are talking at the basketball court has appearances by Los Angeles Lakers players LeRoy Ellis, Pat Riley, Happy Hairston, Jim McMillan and Keith Erickson. They are part of the scene, as Culp's character Paul Hanlon explains to Columbo that they are some pro players that live nearby and like to get together and play for fun from time to time.

This would be a major divergence from the Lakers history in the Trueniverse, but not so radical as the fact that Dennis Rodman's televersion is from another planet; the televersion of Dick Van Patten died years before he did in real life; and Willy Mays is a warlock!

I think that when the team was bought by a group of investors led by Bobby Short in 1957, Eric Wagner's father was among that group.  So yes, technically he was an owner of the team, located in Minnesota, but he moved along with the team in 1960 when Short relocated the Lakers to Los Angeles.  And when Short sold the team to Jack Kent Cooke in 1965, Wagner Senior divested himself of his interest as well.  And that way, Coach Rizzo was right when he said Hanlon had bought another basketball team for the family.  The Wagners just didn't own them at the same time.

When we saw the Lakers in that scene, I think Hanlon was right.  They liked to use the Wagner arena gym for practice and friendly pick-up games.  That's why Hanlon was being coy by saying they were just some local players who lived in the area.  He just didn't want the word to get out that the Lakers used the facility or they would be over-run with gawkers.

So here are some of the options to be found in Toobworld for the second basketball team in the Wagner empire:
  • Cascade Jaguars – 'The Sentinel' 
  • Philadelphia Spartans – 'Warehouse 13'
Yeah, there aren't many, but they're cherce.

I'm leaning toward the Jaguars as they would be on the West Coast, being in Washington state, and thus more manageable from the base of the Wagner financial empire in Los Angeles than a team on the other side of the country.

Rizzo also mentioned that Hanlon built a couple of stadiums.  I'm not sure that would necessarily mean the Wagners owned the teams who played in those stadiums; they could probably be contented with just collecting the leases and rents from the team owners who did occupy those stadiums.  And in building those stadiums, Hanlon probably kept it in mind that they should be centrally located near the heart of the Wagners' business interests as was the case with the Jaguars team.  So of all my choices for fictional stadiums in the United States, I chose only those on the West Coast which were only an hour's commute away by plane.

And since we've already dealt with three of the major sports in the USA, so with the stadiums, I figured I might as well tackle the "Great Telemerican Past-time".....

These stadiums were more than likely for minor league teams.  So if we're looking for California candidates, here are a few possibilities:

  • Bay City Bluebirds – 'Bay City Blues'
  • California Stars – 'The Greatest American Hero'
  • San Francisco Saints – 'Monk' 
  • Santa Barbara Seabirds – 'Psych'
  • Neptune Pirates – 'Veronica Mars'
  • Hoboken Zephyrs – 'The Twilight Zone'
Yeah, i know Hoboken is in Joisey.  But there's this:

Once upon a time, there was a major league baseball team called the Hoboken Zephyrs, who, during the last year of their existence, wound up in last place and shortly thererafter wound up in oblivion. There's a rumor, unsubstantiated, of course, that a manager named McGarry took them to the West Coast and wound up with several pennants and a couple of world championships. This team had a pitching staff that made history. Of course, none of them smiled very much, but it happens to be a fact that they pitched like nothing human. And if you're interested as to where these gentlemen came from, you might check under 'B' for Baseball - in The Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling

I've often wondered if they were supplied by the Delos Corporation.....

Otherwise, these are some other minor league teams whose stadiums could have been commissioned by Paul Hanlon as property belonging to the Wagner family:
  • Albany Senators – 'Cold Case'
  • Miami Kings – 'Baseball Wives'
  • Myrtle Beach Mermen – 'Eastbound & Down'
  • New York Empires – 'Clubhouse'
  • Gotham City Eagles - 'Batman' 
  • Motor City Wheels - 'Batman' 
If you have any other suggestions for sports teams and stadiums found only in Toobworld which should be considered for this post, let me know.......


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