At the gym this morning, listening to the news while doing treadmill, I learned that, quote, it is official, the Rams have filed to move back to L.A., unquote.
Those of you who know me will not be surprised that I am fine with this. Go, leave. Aside from one season and a surprise upset, allowing St. Louis to claim a superbowl win for its archives, the Rams have been…problematic. We built them a dome. We have suffered through the hissy-fits of their owner(s). We have been held hostage by Rams management over the issue of building yet another dome in order to keep a team that rarely (ever?) fills the seats at the stadium they already have. They have been a drain on the emotional (and fiscal) resources of this city and to no purpose.
Do any fans really care about seeing them in a new arena? Other than the ones with stock options involved?
Be that as it may, I understand. This isn’t about money. It’s about a devotion with which I have some understanding but no connection. And it would not bother me in the least if the only money involved were private money.
But somehow these uber-rich owners keep demanding municipalities pony up a bribe to keep these teams local, as if they have a right to expect us to pay for their profits before, during, and after, so that a minority of people can go to a handful of games that could be watched on television—in which case it really wouldn’t matter where it was played, you could green-screen any venue you wanted—and task the resources which could well be spent on something vital, like schools or poverty programs or that aquarium proposed several years ago which keeps being ignored but would actually serve a purpose, namely education.
If the powers that be in St. Louis can come together to bypass the right of the citizens to vote on an issue and allocate many millions for a purpose which, as far as I can see, is nothing but the real world equivalent of an XBox thrill, then why can’t they do the same for something that actually benefits people?
The Rams matter to me not a bit. Stay, go, I don’t care. But the politics around this do matter because they are indicative of skewed priorities and a mindset that finds it easier to throw bread and circuses at people rather than do anything constructive that might improve lives. The Board of Alderman and the local courts have demonstrated an ability to act on something relatively unimportant only because money is involved. They can damn well do their jobs and act on things that pertain to the commonwealth and stop assuming our tax dollars are well-spent on distractions and short term diversions.
Let the Rams go. Now, can we have a serious discussion about that aquarium?