Sports fans, this Saturday is your special day

Sports fans, this Saturday is your special day
An Elvis impersonator gets in on the act to promote the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight at the MGM Grand media tent for a promotion video on ESPN. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

By now, you're probably aware that a sports solstice is upon us, full of the rich gifts of spring. Rolled into this one wonderful Saturday are the finale of the NFL draft, a Kentucky Derby ruled by West Coast horses, followed about 90 minutes later by one of the biggest games in Clippers history.

Oh, and there is some sort of boxing match later in the evening. How much later is anyone's guess. It's so unlike boxing to milk a moment for all it's worth.


Wow, what a day. In 50 years of following sports, I've never seen a communal infatuation with so many shared things, what Philip Roth termed "the Platonic union of souls."

So, seize the opportunity. Buy backup batteries for the remote and ice down a few extra sudsy beverages (you have to keep your fluids up).

As your trainer, I'm also recommending at least one mint julep to mark the occasion. In Louisville, they pack them tightly in what appear to be trays of four-carat crushed ice. Me, I just fill the bathtub.

"How easy life is when it's easy, and how hard when it's hard," Roth also wrote.

On Saturday, life should be easy — a sports day delivered to you as a giant, multiple-course feast.

This is the day your spouse — or girlfriend, or boyfriend, or whatever — should be your corner man, rubbing your shoulders between events.

"Keep your hands up, stud. Keep those feet moving."

About 4 p.m., rich and famous people might stop by the house just to envy you — a typical sports fan enjoying an uncommonly special day in your own VIP section: the family couch.

Vegas oddsmakers are giving 5-1 odds that you'll be in a pizza coma by 7 p.m., reboot in time for the end of the Clippers game, then begin to fade by the fifth and final round of the Mayweather-Pacquiao dance.

Let's agree on two things: Sports in America has never been bigger, supplanting movies and funny sitcoms, lust, love and capitalism itself. And the confluence of major events on this Super Saturday is like nothing we've ever seen.

Sure, October can be a rich, remarkable combination of playoff baseball and mid-season football.

July always offers a sweaty slate of Wimbledon, the British Open and baseball's All-Star game.

March has its madness, plus spring training, and the biggest sporting event of the year: St. Patrick's Day.

Yet, nothing in a single day can match this.


The festivus kicks off with the final rounds of the NFL draft at 9 a.m. At 9:30, you can take in the Washington Capitals-New York Rangers playoff game, a matchup so close that it featured a last-second goal the other night. Yes, literally the last second.

The New York Yankees play in Boston at Fenway at 10:30 a.m., the Angels play in San Francisco at 1 p.m., the Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks square off in the ravine at 6 p.m., and in soccer, the Galaxy hosts Colorado at 7:30 p.m.

The day's centerpiece events get going at 3:25 p.m., with the 141st Kentucky Derby, featuring five West Coast horses — including favorites American Pharoah and Dortmund — and six California-based riders. Santa Anita is marking the event with icy juleps, hat contests and free infield admission and parking (Gate 6 off of Colorado Boulevard).

At 5 p.m., the Clippers host Game 7 of their heavyweight series against the San Antonio Spurs. (Don't expect a late release of tickets, the team says.)

The Mayweather-Pacquiao telecast is slated for 6 p.m., but the main bout isn't expected until about 9 p.m.

"I reckon it will be bloody mayhem," predicts Grant Woods, owner of Sonny McLean's Irish Pub in Santa Monica, which is offering the fight at $20 per patron, first come, first served. "It's going to be insane."

The insanity even runs into Sunday, with Dodgers and Angels games at 1 p.m., the Yankees at Fenway at 5 p.m., and the Ducks playoff game at 7 p.m.

Look, skip the to-do list. You can plant those petunias next week. You have the rest of your life to catch up on the laundry.

Today is the day of days, the feast of feasts.

Let the wild rumpus begin.

Twitter: @erskinetimes