News is out, in the pages of the Post Dispatch, that Chip and Lucia Rosenbloom are considering three serious offers — including Dave Checketts’ — to sell the Rams. And they’ll make their decision before the draft. For all you fans of the Saint Louis Rams, here is the kernel of the story:
The three bidders are committed in varying degrees to keeping the franchise in St. Louis, and that may have an impact on any sale decision.
(I like that term: “committed in varying degrees.” I’m going to try that out on my wife and see how committed she is to slapping me upside the head.)
For any potential buyer, this is the critical commitment to make: Stay in STL? Or pack up the moving vans for LA? Economically, this seems like a no-brainer. You have the country’s largest untapped market in one hand, close to fifteen million people and a sprawling virtual diaspora of self-glorifying celebrity culture … and in the other hand, a modest culturally conservative river city whose last big population boom happened more than a century ago.
However, we at RamsHerd believe that St Louis is a perfect fit for the Rams, and are prepared to present our opening arguments.
#1: The Rams’ Championship history begins here.
I mean, you could count those “NFL Championships” from 1945 and 1951, but those were hardly achievements. There were what, eight teams in this so-called league back then? Ten you say? And they were still working out the kinks on such innovations as “the forward pass,” “helmets,” and “grass” back then. I mean, they hadn’t even invented artificial turf yet! Who ever heard of The Greatest Show on Mud? That’s right, nobody.
#2: The NFL needs small media markets.
Okay, this might seem ass-backwards. But when a game in St Louis doesn’t sell out, the draconian NFL blackout policies dictate that the game gets blacked out for the St Louis territory. Which covers about 3-4 million people. But if that same game doesn’t sell out in Los Angeles — and games in Los Angeles routinely fail to sell out, just ask the Dodgers, the Clippers, the Kings, the Raiders, or hell, the Rams — then the NFL is forced to take their product out of 30-40 million homes. That’s very, very bad for the NFL and the almighty TV dollar.
Granted, it’s not a problem for the Lakers, and that could be your solution — build a perennial playoff contender with the richest championship history in the sport and only provide about 20,000 seats to the games. Shouldn’t be too hard.
And this brings us to point #3.
#3: Los Angeles doesn’t need teams like the Rams.
We readily admit that Los Angeles is richer than St Louis. But who has that money? Celebrities and self-promoting assholes. And what do celebrities and self-promoters want? To always be around things that make them look better, hotter, more glamorous and valuable. Those same people don’t want anything to do with a 1-15 team that has no quarterback and is just coming out of year zero of its rebuild. Those same people hear things like “faith” and “team first” and “The Rams Way” and repeat them back to you in a snide, laughing falsetto. Those same people would rather appear on “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here” than wear Rams gear or in any way show any kind of support for your $800 million dollar investment.
Meanwhile, the tens of millions of ordinary folks in SoCal who would support those Rams have exactly negative squat for disposable income, because the aforementioned money- and fame-hungry leeches have driven up property values and the cost of living so goddamn high in LA that kids are killing each other for nothing. Google “Los Angeles senseless killing,” and you’ll get nearly 20,000 results. Which is more than the number of season ticket holders you can expect.
#4: The Rams need St Louis as much as we need them. We know the Rams are bad. But if there’s one thing St Louis has always known, it’s bad football. It’s as much in our character as winning baseball — in fact, it might be the necessary karmic counterweight. And we still show up to games. Perhaps not as loudly or in as much force as if our team were playoff-bound, or even capable of winning a division game every once in a while, but in damn better numbers than those mopes in Jacksonville or Detroit.
There is faith in this town, even as we continue to bicker about quarterbacks and what to do with the #1 pick. We can all see a day at some point in the future when the Rams don’t suck — as clearly as we see the day when Frank Caliendo is no longer on TV, or the day when InBev sells Budweiser back to us, or the day when the mighty Hand of God himself plucks us from our Chrysler minivans and welcomes us to a slightly higher cloud than Seahawks fans get to sit on. We don’t know when it’s coming, but we know it’s coming and we’re willing to continue to root for that day.
So reward that faith, o mystery billionaire. You won’t regret it. We promise. And out here in St Louis, a promise means something.