The story about St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke buying land in Los Angeles has blown over the last two months. I feel there is a solid chance now that the Rams could be good this next year, over .500 at least, fans will show up and the team won’t move. For that to happen, the Rams need to make the right draft decisions this next week.
The Rams moving seemed like a foregone conclusion to me back in January. It makes a lot of sense. The Rams move back to their ancestral homeland to fans who still remember the Los Angeles Rams and some who would gladly jump back on the bandwagon.
I will admit that St. Louis football fans have not been very good, myself included. The unwritten rules of NFL fandom dictate that “thou must showeth up even if the team is stinky pile of poop.” After the Rams road the “Greatest Show on Turf” into the ground with a series of terrible drafts, The Edward Jones Dome has not been selling out.
I believe when the Cardinals go through an inevitable down stretch that Cardinal fans will routinely voice their displeasure through talk radio and different means. I used to work in Kansas and my editor was a Royals fan. It baffled me that they put up with Jeff Francoeur hitting bellow .200 in right field; Cardinals fans, no matter how bad the team is, will cry bloody murder if they kept a non-prospect hitting .171 in a corner out field spot. That same type of passion does not exist with the Rams.
The fact that Kroenke and the Rams’ owners want more public funding for a stadium when they have not paid off the last one makes me sick to my stomach. The city and the state should tell them no. If the owners used an ultimatum – public funding for a new stadium or the team moves – I would tell them to pack their bags.
The ramifications for this is immense. St. Louis has now chased away one NBA team and one NFL team and had another team dissolve in the ABA-NBA merger. St. Louis never gets a major professional sports franchise again if the Rams move.
However, I also look at it from a view of fandom. Will I still root for the Rams if they leave? The only reason I started cheering for them is because they moved to St. Louis, but I think I will keep my fan allegiance. I lived in three different states in my adult life and I’m about to move to a fourth. I’ve never changed who I rooted for based on my geographical proximity.
What are my other options? I’m moving to western Florida. I could root for Tampa Bay or Jacksonville, both of which are historically bad (the Jaguars may also move). I could root for the Chiefs or Bears but I don’t particularly want to do that.
I’m going to end up cheering the Rams, the product of a historic anomaly.