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Greed Is Not Good

The news just broke that the San Diego Chargers will be relocating to Los Angeles next season.

San Diego has loyally supported the team since the old AFL days in the early 60s. Win or lose, the fans loved their Bolts.

LA has never supported any football team unless it was winning, and preferably winning big. Once LA had two teams, and that was great when they won; when they hit down years, as all teams do, the Raiders and Rams were both abandoned. That's why they left town twenty years ago, both in the same year. Last year the Rams came back... but they lost, and before season's end, they were playing before tens of thousands of empty seats.

I'd say the same fate awaits the Chargers, except I read that they will be playing in a small 30,000 seat venue for a couple years until the new Rams stadium (where they will be a tenant, like the Jets in old Giants Stadium) is complete. That's smart, I suppose. Nothing else about the move is.

It's all about greed. And despite what you may have heard Gordon Gekko say, greed is NOT good. (Too many people seem to lose sight of the fact that he was the VILLAIN of that film).

I am a fan of the Giants and Jets, both of whom have great loyal fan bases and seem likely to remain where they are for decades to come... but I know what it is to have your heart torn out when a greedy owner moves your team away. When I was a child, I was a Dodgers fan... the Brooklyn Dodgers, thank you very much, the Boys of Summer, one of baseball's great iconic franchises, playing in one of baseball's great iconic ballparks, Ebbets Field. The Dodgers were the heart and soul of Brooklyn; never has a city loved a team so much, or had so much of its identity bound up with them. The city that was Brooklyn died when the Dodgers departed; the gentrified borough that remains is just a bedroom community for Manhattan. (Okay, they still have fantastic pizza, gotta give 'em that).

The Dodger fans (and the fans of the baseball Giants, similarly bereft) eventually got the Mets, which helped some... especially in '69 and '86... but the pain is still there, down deep, when we think back on it. Ebbets Field was old and run-down and small, yeah, but it was wonderful in the same way that Fenway Park and Wrigley Field are wonderful. Those ballparks have become legendary and historic, cherished by the people of Boston and Chicago respectively, and I don't think anyone would dare to tear them down now. The same thing would have happened to Ebbets Field if only it had lasted a few more years and managed to survive the fad for building hideous concrete multi-purpose stadiums that dominated the 60s. (And indeed that is exactly what has happened in the Wild Cards universe, an alternate world where Walter O'Malley contracted the wild card virus before he could move the team. He turned into a pile of slime, but it was days before anyone noticed the difference).

Maybe because of my early childhood trauma at losing the Dodgers, I have never liked the various relocations that have plagued both football and baseball over the decades. The ONLY cases where I think it is warranted are those where a city stops supporting its team or teams... as happened in LA with the Raiders and the Rams. But the rest? Bob Irsay slinking out of Baltimore in the dead of night with the Colts? Despicable. Al Davis abandoning Oakland, spending a decade in LA, then moving back? Offensive. Art Modell moving the Browns from Cleveland? Shame, shame.

Cleveland did get a new Browns team, so at least they got to keep the name and tradition (though the original Browns, now the Ravens, are a perennial contender who won a SuperBowl after the move, while the expansion Browns have pretty much sucked since they were reborn, so it was hardly a fair swap). The good fans of Baltimore did not even get that. The 'Colts' name and colors should have stayed when Irsay left. Let the Indianapolis team start fresh with a new name and uni, as the Ravens did. It would be splendid if the NFL would rule that Spanos can move his team, but the name 'Chargers' and the lightning bolt and the powder blues should all remain with San Diego, for however long it takes for them to get an expansion team. The relocated team can be the LA Earthquakes, since I think their tenure in Lalaland is going to be pretty shaky. If what I read is true, neither the city nor the Rams want them there.

Green Bay has the right idea. The Packers are owned by the people of Green Bay. Would that were true in more cities. If I were only a billionaire (not even close, sorry), I'd buy an NFL franchise and leave it to the city upon my death... except, alas, I am told that NFL rules no longer allow that. So there will never be another Green Bay, and the billionaire owners will continue to move their teams around the country in search of ever newer, bigger, glitzier stadiums paid for by the fans and taxpayers, stadiums that can generate hundreds of millions in profits instead of merely tens of millions.

Charger fans, I feel for you.

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( 80 comments )
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Jasmine Townsel
Jan. 13th, 2017 12:00 am (UTC)
Ravens!
Hey there, as a Ravens fan I know Many people who still remember the day they woke up and he Colts were gone. Still a very sore subject, even with a winning history. What the Chargers did was horrible. Eli was right not to want to go there
Stephen Bergstrom
Jan. 13th, 2017 12:00 am (UTC)
The Spanos family hasn't truly cared about the franchise or the city that hosts it since the Bobby Ross era. When they fired Marty Schottenheimer after a 15-1 season and replaced him with Norv Turner, I washed my hands of the team.

I'm quite thankful that neither of my parents lived to see their home team pack up and leave. I, for one, am only too willing to help with the packing.

Edited at 2017-01-13 12:06 am (UTC)
Peter Jung
Jan. 13th, 2017 12:07 am (UTC)
That keeping the name of the franchise thing...
...does feel kind of wrong indeed. I mean, imagine the New Orleans Saints moving to, say, Columbus (OH) and keeping the name as the "Columbus Saints"...? Or moving the Buffalo Bills to Las Vegas, becoming the "Las Vegas Bills"??? Just doesn't work.
grrm
Jan. 13th, 2017 12:23 am (UTC)
Re: That keeping the name of the franchise thing...
Already happened. The New Orleans Jazz became the Utah Jazz. Hard to think of a more oxymoronic combination.
(no subject) - kalimac - Jan. 13th, 2017 07:11 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Scott Rollen - Jan. 13th, 2017 07:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
cryptaknight
Jan. 13th, 2017 12:20 am (UTC)
I grew up in San Diego and went to college there. I'm a die hard Chargers fan, and I am so disappointed about this move. It feels a bit like a betrayal.
sourbillytipton
Jan. 13th, 2017 12:37 am (UTC)
Billionaire Owners Who Lack Ethics?
Shocking!

And you're right about the LA fans. Fair weather fans exist in every city but it's ridiculous in LA. The Dodgers and Lakers are the only exceptions because the Dodgers typically spend the most $ in the NL, and the Lakers always attract top free agents.

The only place worse than LA to start a professional sports franchise is anywhere in Florida.

George if you did own an NFL team, they would be called the Santa Fe _________? And what would their colors be? Yellow&Red?
grrm
Jan. 13th, 2017 12:44 am (UTC)
Re: Billionaire Owners Who Lack Ethics?
Direwolves, of course. Grey and white.
Re: Billionaire Owners Who Lack Ethics? - Mike Rubin - Jan. 13th, 2017 02:57 am (UTC) - Expand
rare_bit_fiend
Jan. 13th, 2017 12:39 am (UTC)
I thought LA getting the Rams back would be the end of this nonsense. now they want 2 teams?!?! I don't even get it. LA is a BASKET BALL town anyways(and they stole their team from us...) for years LA not having a football team was a powerful piece of leverage the NFL used against cities to force various cities to build stadiums. they just did this a few years ago here in Minneapolis. during an election year suddenly threes all this talk everywhere about negotiations for the LA Vikings, better fast track a stadium bill and not let the city voters have a say, or kiss your precious Vikings good bye.( all but 2 of city council members who were pro stadium in that session have since lost their seats)

Edited at 2017-01-13 12:43 am (UTC)
Keith Barry
Jan. 13th, 2017 12:41 am (UTC)
Perhaps it's our fault
Decent people generally aren't driven to seek the kind of wealth required to own an NFL franchise. So they never do. Until the world somehow changes, perhaps they should. Same thing goes for power I say.
Of course, to get the wealth required they would all but certainly need to be indecent at points. In reality though, I've found that just ends often justify indecent means, within reason.
A revolution of greed by the decent could help is all I'm saying. Perhaps afterward the world may actually change somehow.

Fun fact: until not that long ago corporate law had a doctrine called 'ultra vires', nuances aside it basically meant the officers of a corporation could not take any action that wasn't directly intended to increasing the profitability of the company. Anything done for the good of the community was outside the power of the officers and illegal. This lasted well into the 20th century. So that's the kind of pit we're still digging out of.
Finally, I am in Brooklyn(mets jets fan but NOT a Giants fan) I can attest that much of the old soul of Brooklyn is gone forever...but I still try and get to L&B every month, one of the last remaining pieces left of old Brooklyn.
vandor
Jan. 13th, 2017 12:42 am (UTC)
Goodell
I think it was also an embarrassment for Roger Goodell to issue a statement saying that the Spanos family tried to keep the team in San Diego.

...And by trying, Goodell means he tried to convince the citizens of San Diego to subsidize a billionaire. Having tax payer dollars help billionaires make even more money is one of the more insane ideas in modern American politics. I love watching football but the "owners" of the league are really a bunch of vile bloodsuckers.
ser_steveo
Jan. 13th, 2017 12:45 am (UTC)
Sad rainy day in San Diego
It truly is a dreary day here. To the fullest. It hasn't completely sunk in yet that the Chargers are gone. What a bummer. I met you George at a book signing here at Mysterious Galaxy in 2009 or 2010 and we briefly chatted about football when it was my turn to meet you, you even signed my copy of AFFC with "Go Jets Go!" Anyways, now they're leaving. Just really sad about this and confused as well. I grew up rooting against LA teams so while I'm a huge Philip Rivers fan, I can never root for the LA Chargers. Definitely just lost pretty much all interest in the NFL now that my team is no more.
mankytoes
Jan. 13th, 2017 01:35 am (UTC)
Football
People complain about greed in our football (soccer) but we don't have to deal with this. Well, only once in England with a pretty small club. It's crazy how a team can leave an area- a team IS the area.
a_cubed
Jan. 13th, 2017 03:00 am (UTC)
Re: Football
Audreay Powers
Jan. 13th, 2017 01:36 am (UTC)
RE: Re: That keeping the name of the franchise thing...
Can we just get a team to Utah please!!!
Mike Rubin
Jan. 13th, 2017 02:55 am (UTC)
Re: That keeping the name of the franchise thing...
Never happen. Games are on Sundays.
Keith Russell Dulak
Jan. 13th, 2017 01:40 am (UTC)
Think about this. The president elect was looking to buy my Buffalo Bills. Maybe he would of changed the name of the team, who knows. The Buffalo Pussy grabbers? The Buffalo Putin's? The Trump Bills? The Trills? Thank God for Terry.
Evan Sokolski
Jan. 13th, 2017 02:31 am (UTC)
This is despicable. I definitely think SD should keep the name/record/etc until they can get a new team with a better owner.

Fortunately, I think your teams and mine are safe from this sort of thing.
Stephen Richter
Jan. 13th, 2017 02:50 am (UTC)
LA should Have gotten Jacksonville
The NFL should sent the Chargers to Las Vegas, and sent the Raiders to San Jose. NFL should set up a way to build a stadium without sticking the Taxpayers with the bill. Twice this year voters rejected Stadium building plans with the public on the hook for millions.
Mike Rubin
Jan. 13th, 2017 02:54 am (UTC)
Don't forget....
...also, the little-known history that the NBA's Buffalo Braves were relocated in 1978 to San Diego to become the Clippers, who not unlike the Chargers later moved to LA.

Interestingly, while most people believe the Clippers to be the descendants of the Braves, it's actually not that clear. At the time, the owner of the Boston Celtics wanted to have a team in California, and there was no way the league would allow him to move the Celtics. So the owners of the Buffalo Braves and Boston Celtics swapped teams. After that, the Braves were history, and Buffalo basketball fans have been left in the cold since.

Interestingly, not only did they swap ownership, but they also swapped most of the players, too. So based on that, one could realistically argue that the Boston Celtics are actually the descendants of the Buffalo Braves. How about them apples?


Edited at 2017-01-13 02:58 am (UTC)
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