Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Carnival of greed

I like St. Louis.

It has the Mississippi. It has great barbecue. It has a great baseball organization, and really good soccer, and, once upon a time, it had three guys named Plager playing for its hockey team, which is three more Plagers than your town has. So there.

(It also has that arch deal, which you ride to the top of in these quirky little pod things that remind me of a Mercury capsule. It's the closest I'll ever get to being John Glenn or Gordo Cooper, or even Malcolm Scott Carpenter. Given that I was a space program fanboy growing up, I find that cool as all get out).

Anyway, I like St. Louis. And I think the way the NFL is allowing the owner of the St. Louis Rams to dump all over the city on his way out of town is despicable, and makes laughable the NFL's claim that it gives a tin you-know-what about its fans.

(This is also happening in San Diego and Oakland, where the owners of the Chargers and Raiders are climbing over the bodies of their fan bases to get to the supposedly magic kingdom of Los Angeles, too. That the NFL is pitting all three against one another, and in the process torturing fans in three cities that have served it well, is beyond disgusting. It is, to quote Woody Allen in "Bananas," a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham).

But back to St. Louis.

The Rams formally filed their application to move to L.A. the other day, which was bad enough. What made it completely contemptible was the way they felt compelled to kick the city of St. Louis in the groin while they were at it.

St. Louis sucks, the Rams basically said. It's a crap town with crap long-term projections that make it not worth a crap as an NFL city, and, well, crap on it. This despite the fact the city has offered to bilk its citizens out of $350 million in public money to build the Rams a new riverfront stadium.

Ingrates to the last, the Rams all but sneered.

"Any NFL Club that signs on to this proposal,” the application said, according to Deadspin, “will be well on the road to financial ruin, and the League will be harmed.”

What makes this all the more foul -- not to say slap-your-knee hilarious -- is that it's L.A. that has the greedheads in three cities slobbering. L.A., where all three of these franchises once resided before deciding they couldn't make a go of it there. L.A., where, if you count the dear departed Express of the  dear departed USFL, pro football has ultimately failed four times.  

L.A. ... where any initial bump the return of the Shield will provide will almost certainly erode to the usual L.A. scenario of a half-empty stadium because, well, it's L.A., and the sun's shining, and USC is ranked again, and Rodeo Drive and the Staples Center are open for business. Let's go to the beach/shopping/to the Lakers game! And how 'bout those Trojans?

Meanwhile, back in St. Louis ...

Well. There's still those Mercury capsules. And a vast empty space on Roger Goodell's map that reads, presumably, Here There Be Dragons (But No Revenue). So Screw 'Em.



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