Curmudgeonly L.A. Times columnist T.J. Simers was in town last weekend for the Rams game, welcomed with open arms by team executives as the Rams hosted the Minnesota Vikings, and fell to 0-5.
In his column, Simers compared the state of the Rams to what it was in 1994, before the franchise picked up and left Los Angeles for here. In fact, one Rams executive went to far as to say to Simers, “Five years from now we might be back in L.A. Just imagine that.”
That doesn’t sound like a very positive statement if you’re a St. Louis Rams fan. I’ve thought for some time that…being the conspiracy theorist that I am…the Rams were greasing the skids to leave St. Louis after their lease runs out, and try to return to L.A.
Why? Because there’s a template has to how to succeed here. The Blues and Cardinals have both displayed and utilized that template. Connect with fans through caravans and interactive festivals like the Cardinals Winter Warmup and the Blues Fan Fest. Make coaches, front office types and players available for questions…and have the General Manager, Manager or Coach voice their plan. Put a smart, competitive, fundamentally drilled product on the field. And, don’t threaten to leave with anonymous quotes to writers in cities desiring a team. The Rams? Of late, they’ve done none of that.
When the Cardinals were exploring options for a new stadium, did you ever hear or read that they’d go any farther than Dupo? Has a Blues ownership since Ralston-Purina in the early 80’s been quoted about moving to Hamilton, Ontario or Kansas City or Oklahoma City? Perhaps it’s happened, but I don’t recall. The last time a professional team executive talked about taking a franchise out of St. Louis, it was Bill Bidwill, and he DID take the football Cardinals to Phoenix.
John Shaw, the President of the team until last winter, is still based in Los Angeles, as a “consultant” to Rams owners; Los Angeles based Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez. Ironically, Shaw is a “consultant” to a franchise that has no listed President, and eight Vice-Presidents.
Ownership apparently told the NFL this week that they haven’t even decided to sell the Rams. The franchise has been reticent to get proactive in marketing their players, the coach holds back information as if he has top secret national security information, and the football decision-makers of the franchise are routinely unavailable for comment. The approach is 100% opposite of the way Dick Vermeil handled things when he was President of Football Operations. What are we SUPPOSED to think?
If you’re a ST. LOUIS Rams fan, it’s time to root hard for Chip and Lucia to sell, and for Dave Checketts and his group, whomever they are, to buy. They made a concerted effort to keep the Blues here, and Checketts has made it clear they’re trying to save the Rams for St. Louis, too.
I’m glad Checketts is doing that, because I sure have questions about the Rams front office trying to do so.