Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Jupiterhill

They promise the moon...

They're always coming and going and going and coming... and always too soon.-Lil Von Shtupp (Blazing Saddles)

It's currently 2:20 AM, and I just spent the night sorting ball cards.  I needed to do it so its fine, but I missed out on quite a few things while doing so.  One of those things was the announcement that the St. Louis Rams are no longer the St. Louis Rams. I thought I would write a bit about my thoughts on this, as they are in my local vicinity (until the Mayflower semis start packing up to go out west via I-70 that is.

Let me start by saying for the most part, i won't miss the Rams, and I especially won't miss them playing in the Edward Jones Dome, and I won't miss owner Stan Kroenke.  I'll start with the dome.  If I remember right, I was at an event a couple years after they opened at the dome. I know it was under 5 years after opening, and at that time I thought it was crappy.  The transportation seemed bad there too.  Whenever I saw it on TV, it looked worse.  If there was any hope of staying in St. Louis, they needed a new stadium, and it needed to be built at least 10-15 years ago.  Sure it would have likely had the shortest lifespan of any professional sports team (among teams that stayed in that city for that long), but it would have been a huge step in the city keeping the team.  This new stadium proposal seemed a bit rushed and didn't make a lot of sense to me.  I also didn't like the location.  For starters, if it flooded, it was in danger to begin with.  Second, they would need to clear cut a lot of stuff to build it, when they could have just built it next to the Dome in the open lots they have there that they don't use.  However, I'm not sure I would trust whoever would be in charge of the new stadium in keeping up with the upkeep.  I mean how does a dome get so dated within a decade of being built (I mean I know its 2 decades old now, but it was outdated in 2005).  I would have serious doubts about that.  As for the design, I did like that.  I also liked the idea of giving it multi use in case they brought in a MLS team.  I think though I would have tried to add a retractable roof to the stadium just so it could please the NFL's Super Bowl committee, though to be honest, I never got why they were afraid of a little rain or snow during the Super Bowl.  My biggest complaint about the new stadium though is financing.  I'm not sure where the money was coming from, but if the state did manage to include funding, now that they have no team, maybe the state could move that money to the roads.

As for Stan Kroenke, I've never liked him.  Like most multi-millionaire in the vicinity of Missouri, I don't care for any of them, especially if they have the stench of "Walmart Money".  Don't take that wrong, I have nothing against Walmart per se, it just seems those with "Walmart Money" seem like they expect to control everything (which I guess most millionaires do, but they tend to bother me more than others).  Kroenke is married to Ann Walton (daughter of Bud Walton, co-founder of Walmart).  To be truthful, most of Stan's money is actually Ann's money.  Stan may be Missouri bred, but the way has shamelessly humiliated St. Louis last week to gain an upper hand allowing him to move was cold-hearted and the final nail in my decision to never care for him again.  He also has a hand in the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche (his son Josh runs them, Josh being a former Mizzou basketball player), and this gives me a chances to never root for them either.  Stan came out late last night saying it was bittersweet, but he was doing what was best for the Rams and the league.

Maybe what is best for the Rams is a new owner, not a new city.  I mean the Rams aren't 90's Bengals bad, but when was the last time the Rams were relevant?  Their last playoff run had them somehow make it in with a losing record.  They had a mediocre yet losing year, and to be honest, besides Todd Gurley and a couple other players, I don't see them improving without spending money on a good quarterback and several other pieces.  As much of a Jeff Fisher fan I am, I also think its time to cut him loose too.  He can't get it done in St. Lou... L.A.... Anahei.... wherever they play next year.  Not all may be his fault, but to be honest, maybe cutting him loose could benefit both him and the Rams.  Fisher could get a job elsewhere (or sit out a year and work with ESPN, letting him pick wherever he wanted to go), and gives the Rams a fresh coach in a fresh city.

I'm not mad the Rams are leaving.  I feel bad for St. Louis because despite fielding .500 teams for quite a while, they did have a fanbase.  A fanbase that eroded thanks in part to bad teams, just like any other team would have.  I know a few people who temporarily switched from Chiefs to Rams fans when the Chiefs had a few down years earlier this decade.  If the Rams would have played better, they might have kept those fans.  Plus you know, a better stadium.  Columbia is 100 or so miles from St. Louis and most are Cardinals fans.  If Rams PR were smart, they would have made inroads in Columbia to convert some Chiefs fans to Rams fans.  Especially since Kroenke has many ties to Columbia.  Shoot one rumor a few years ago was a possibility of the Rams playing some games in Columbia while the fixed/rebuilt the dome.  It would have been a huge chance to gain more fans across Missouri.  Instead it just showed how little Stan wanted to stay in St. Louis.

Of course, the city of St. Louis isn't free from blame in this either.  The town proudly proclaims its a "baseball town".  That's fine and all, but it would be better stated to be a "sports town".  Especially with 3 major sports teams in town.  Is it possible the city couldn't sustain 3 sports teams?  Maybe, but I think it could.  Sure hockey intersects with football, and baseball does too in the later months, but football is once a week, I think if a good product was provided, a good fanbase could be achieved.  Look at Kansas City for example.  They was able to host Monday Night Football last year to a sellout, a MLB playoff game to a sellout, and a MLS soccer game to a sellout all in the same week.  Sure those were special circumstances (and some argue Sporting KC is NOT in KC but rather a suburb of KCK) but the point is, each of those teams fielded good teams and the fans were behind them.  Until the last couple years, the Royals attendance was not the greatest, but I never heard David Glass (another Walmart Money man) threaten to move the team.  Fans were vocal about how changes needed to be made, and he finally made some changes.  Maybe St. Louis fans needed to do the same.  Chiefs fans did the same thing a couple years ago, and since they have been a lot better and the fans have been a lot happier.  St. Louis seems to just turn their backs on their teams instead of supporting them.  This isn't a knock on Cardinals fans, but they are very vocal, positive or negative, and I think it helps the team in terms of how the management fields the teams and their success.  Blues fans are very supportive even though they've never won a title.  Rams fans aren't supportive unless they have a winning team.  That isn't always bad, but it says to people that maybe they don't want a team as bad as we thought, thus allowing Kroenke to move out (in addition to the clause St. Louis stupidly agreed to allowing him to move if the Dome was a top 5 stadium in 20 years, which it was NEVER a top 5 stadium).  So St. Louis can blame themselves too.

As for Los Angeles, I'm not made at them, if I was them, I'd want a team too.  I'm not sure what two teams does really (is San Diego does move too), but it should be every major cities goal to field a professional sports team, especially a NFL team, which would bring in the most money.  LA has gone 20 years without football, so gaining a team they lost 20 years ago should help with a built in fanbase, which is always helpful.  Also if the owner foots most (or is it all) of the bill on the new Stadium, I would be happy too.  I hope for the fans of LA's sake, they do well, but I'm not losing sleep over it in any way.

In the end what hurts me the most is the lost revenue the state will gain had they been able to keep the Rams.  Beyond that, eh, this will be great because now there is less chance the Chiefs games will be bumped locally for Rams games (didn't happen often, but it did occasionally).

I'm not sure what happens next for St. Louis, but I hope they do fix the dome some, and they are able to book it more now since (as some have said) the football team won't be playing there.  Maybe a future National Sports Cards Convention could come to St. Louis now.

I know this seemed more like a rant, but I just wanted to share my thoughts, thanks for reading if you did, let me know what you think.

3 comments

Write comments
Matthew Scott
AUTHOR
1/13/16, 6:38 AM delete

Always a shame when teams move. The Penguins were in dire financial condition, but were saved by a group lead by Mario Lemieux. If not, they would have had to relocate to Canada or Kansas City.

Reply
avatar
CaptKirk42
AUTHOR
1/13/16, 10:33 AM delete

Lifelong Rams fan from when they were in LA. I think my initial reason for becoming a Rams fan at an early age was I was born under the Aries zodiac sign. Roman Gabriel was the QB when I first became aware of the team. I initially had a problem with their move to St. Louis but after 15 years or so I learned to cope with it. In my book the Cardinals never should have left St. Louis. I'm still not used to the Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals.

Being from the DC area (in suburban MD) I am used to teams moving, we won't discuss the Overnight sneak out of Baltimore a certain NFL team made in the early '80s which seems like it was the mid 1970s and the later Cleveland/Baltimore mess. The Senators leaving to become the Rangers when I was a wee lad resulting in DC not having a baseball team until 2005 when the Expos moved to become the Nationals. For the last 11 years Montreal has been feeling the hurt DC had for over 30 years. Sure there is nearby Baltimore but it wasn't quite close enough for me to be a true blue O's fan, I'm sort of a milktoast O's fan. I hope Montreal gets a baseball team again soon.

With teams moving there is often the resulting skewing of the set up of the divisions which initially are set logically by region. Fortunately in this case the Rams are still in the Western Division so their move doesn't make things too screwy. Unfortunately realignment of divisions usually doesn't happen until a league adds another pair of teams to the mix.

Reply
avatar
Angus
AUTHOR
1/13/16, 3:11 PM delete

As a Browns fan, I really hate the idea of teams moving. However, an interesting thing about all three teams that were interested in moving to LA was that all three have already played there at one point in time.

I really think that the NFL, maybe all sports, should have a rule stating that an owner that wants to move the team has to sell the team if there are any interested buyers that would keep the team in the city they are currently in.

If a situation is untenable, and nobody would keep a team in a given city, then that says something completely different about the situation and I might understand a team moving, but if there is someone willing to buy a team to keep it in its city then the team shouldn't be able to move.

Reply
avatar