What’s all this naysayer talk, in my beloved parking lot of human sprawl, about the Chargers coming BACK to Los Angeles?
This is terrific news and I only hope it was in exchange for a Kardashian. I say to the Chargers: "Welcome home." Someone hail Joshua, or maybe Herb Albert, to blow his horn. I do regret that one more team in town will further tax the already overstretched sports staff of my hometown L.A. Times.
Sorry about that and if that's where this negativity is coming from, well, I get where it's coming from.
Bill Plaschke, my former colleague and the paper’s prize-winning (but sometimes a bit reactionary) columnist, sounded like he wanted to build his own wall near Mexico to keep the Chargers out.
“We. Don’t. Want. You.” Plaschke wrote in the rarely-executed four word, four period, sentence.
What kind of Welcome Wagon is this?
My four-period rebuttal: That. Ain’t. Necessarily. So.
(Plaschke, it should be stated, started in the San Diego Bureau of the Times and few objected when he moved up to L.A.)
Los Angeles went 20 years without an NFL team and now we have two teams. That’s fan-tastic.
We should embrace this, notwithstanding the politics and the harboring of yet another wing-nut owner in Dean Spanos.
Look, we survived Dan Reeves, Jack Kent Cooke, Donald Sterling, Disney owning the Angels, FOX AND Frank McCourt owning the Dodgers.
We can handle Spanos.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
The best news is Los Angeles is finally a full-capacity, world class town again, recalling the days when I covered the Rams and Raiders for editor Bill Dwyre’s “world champion” sports section.
This is like Venus de milo getting her arms back.
Or, maybe Noah’s Ark, because we have two of everything again: two football teams, two baseball, two hockey, two NBA squads and two power 5 conference colleges in UCLA and USC.
Take that, Bay Area. With the slight improvement of our local teams, L.A. could become the greatest sports town in the world.
The Chargers' news makes me nostalgic for one of my formative career years, 1984, when Los Angeles hosted the Olympic Games and all the other sports we had back then, including Cal State Fullerton football and the spring-loaded USFL (later coached by former Chargers' quarterback John Hadl).
We flexed big, Venice Beach muscles back then and certainly can handle a 5-11 franchise delivered to us by way of Rancho Penasquitos.
As for people up here not wanting the Chargers, well, some of us in Chino Hills beg to differ.
Twenty-something years ago, we were abandoned by the NFL and left to raise three small boys without a hometown team.
I tried to ween them on the San Francisco 49ers because of my professional friendship with quarterback Steve Young, whom I covered when he toiled for the USFL’s Los Angeles Express.
It didn’t take, so my boys geographically gravitated to the San Diego Chargers. They followed, and still follow as adults, the franchise religiously and unanimously hailed Wednesday’s late-breaking news.
My boys live and die with Philip Rivers and the fellas, and this year that required a defibrillator.
Also: the narrative of Los Angeles and its undying, romantic tether to the Rams has grown tiresome. The Rams ended for many of us when Georgia jerked our team to the mid-west. Loyalty fades after time and we all moved on. I covered the Rams for five years, yet refused to watch Mrs. Frontiere accept the Lombardi Trophy on behalf of anyone beyond the St. Louis arch.
Despite the Rams’ return this year, as far as I’m concerned, the town is now up for grabs. This is a free-market society and the Rams now must compete for our respect and bobble-head purchases.
A lot of my capitalists friends tell me this is the cornerstone of a good economy, so what's good for a corner 7-Eleven must be good for football.
And remember: we stole the Rams from Cleveland, while the Chargers, in 1960, were born in Los Angeles.
So, tie a yellow thunderbolt around the old oak tree.
If only these L.A. Chargers had the on-field brains employed back then. The 1960 team went 10-4 in its only L.A. season and lost to Houston in the AFL title game. Those Chargers had three Hall of Fame coaches on their staff, led by Sid Gillman and underlings Chuck Noll and Al Davis.
They don’t make coaches like that anymore, but it will be curious to watch the Rams and Chargers conduct a public bake off, in the same stadium, against each other. The television cooking show would be called: Gridiron Chefs.
Both teams start at ground zero, needing new coaches. (UPDATE: the Rams just announced the hiring of Sean McVay; your move Chargers). Both franchises are coming off nearly equally horrific seasons.
The Chargers, if you had to pick, were the better bad team, going a competitive 5-11 versus a filthy 4-12 for the Rams.
And I'll take ANY second team not named Raiders, who I covered for two, dangerous years at the Coliseum. Many Raider players would not allow their own families to attend home games. I personally saw one fan nearly beaten to death for wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers' jersey.
The Chargers, with Rivers still in his late prime, have the chance to win the town sooner than the horned-helmeted team I grew up with.
Los Angeles, trust me, can handle this as the Chargers cram into temporary housing at the StubHub Center until the Inglewood stadium is complete.
What L.A. has never handled is a loser, so both franchises are on the clock. The battle for fans and supremacy should provide a big boot to the pants to franchises that may have taken home for granted.
So enough of this negative talk--let's get this super-charged, two-team party started.[/membership]