LARams.net unabashedly digs Keith Olbermann and has since long before he so magnificently and vehemently called for the penitent dissolution of the Seattle Seahawks in a piece excellently (not to mention historically justifiably) entitled “The Dumbest Super Bowl Loss Ever” – I mean, come on: Anyone who leaves ESPN twice only to get the Worldwide Leader to give him newfound autonomy in broadcasting is okay with us.
So last month (significantly before the launch of LARams.net), Olbermann delivered a nice screed in observance of the silver anniversary of the January 17, 1995, announcement by owner Georgia Frontiere that the Los Angeles Rams would be departing for St. Louis. The Rams would also be leaving a sunny outdoor environment for the confines of a turf-carpeted dome – a turf-carpeted dome which Missouri citizens will reportedly still be paying off through 2024.
As up to Olberman’s amusing-yet-salient standards as “The Revolving Los Angeles Sports Door” is, this new resident of Orange County (as tethered to the Los Angeles sociocultural economy as is, say, virtually anything between the city’s southern border and the San Diego outskirts) and Rams backer has to take a slight exception to some of the man’s remarks.
According to Olberman, in the L.A. sports world “Almost nothing is original to the community,” a state which may “symbolize the cliché of Los Angeles, city of lost transient angels.” (That’s “angels,” by the way, not “Angels.”)
Perhaps defining Los Angeles in terms of transients and expatriates is fair enough, but, geez, isn’t that the American way? If L.A. is a burg which lacks originality, how exactly does that differ from any other part of the U.S. taken from those who first inhabited the land? And if Los Angeles, Orange County and the surrounding areas are some of the few remaining vestiges of what my generation was brought up believing was a wonderful red, white and blue “melting pot,” what’s bad about that?
The Cleveland Rams departed the city of their birth in 1946 to move to Los Angeles and become the first top-level sports franchise in California – a state which had clearly deserved a pro club for decades but were denied to do limitations of cross-country travel. The U.S. census of 1940 showed that L.A. ranked fifth in population while San Francisco ranked 12th.
And if the Cleveland-to-Los Angeles precipitated the sort of cross-national move that would sweep Major League Baseball in the 1950s, trigger waves of expansion in the ‘60s and result in the birth of the AFL to provide football-bereft cities of teams, so be it. With American sports owners apparently unwilling to create teams for the nouveau riche cities of the post-war era, relocation – as many a company found out after the boys came home – was the most viable business move at the time.
Not to mention one undertaken without the deception or hanging of high price on the new market’s populace…