Clippers’ Jordan gets one last snub for spot on West All-Star team

•February 12, 2015 • Leave a Comment

New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis will miss this Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden in New York because of a right shoulder sprain that’s kept him of the line-up in New Orleans’ last two games.

You’d think Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan would get a call from the commissioner’s office as Davis’ replacement but that call never came. Instead, Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki got the call to replace Davis on the West roster.

The Jordan snub obviously didn’t come unnoticed by his Clippers teammates and head coach Doc Rivers. They understand offense sells and defense doesn’t especially in the all-star game where it’s non-existent.

In his seventh season with the Clippers, Jordan has been putting up all-star numbers as, easily, the best defender in the league averaging double-figures in rebounds and scoring with his points coming off rebound opportunities and five block shots per contest.

Clippers DeAndre Jordan (left) was snubbed for the West All-Star Team in favor of Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki (right). courtesy: LM Otero/AP

Clippers DeAndre Jordan (left) was snubbed for the West All-Star Team in favor of Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki (right).
courtesy: LM Otero/AP

What they do know is if the Clippers have a legitimate shot at winning an NBA title as soon as this season, Jordan’s defense and rebounding will be a big reason why.

“Next year I’ll just have to average 20 points a game,” said Jordan after scoring 24 points and pulling down 20 boards in the win over the Rockets. The third straight game he’s had at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in the absence of forward Blake Griffin out with a staph infection in his right elbow. “At this point there’s nothing I can do about it (the all-star snub). I’ve moved on. It’s cool.”

“There has never been a team that’s won a championship without being a decent defensive team or a great defensive team.” Said Rivers when asked about the snub. “The defensive side is always forgotten in the All-Star Game. I think they should include the best defender.”

To hear more from the Clippers on Jordan’s all-star snub, watch the video accompanying this story.

This will be Nowitzki’s 13 all-star game appearance in his 17th season in the league. He won’t replace Davis in the West’s starting line-up. Golden State rookie head coach Steve Kerr will pick Davis’ replacement as the starter on the front line.

Relocation fee to L.A. could cost NFL owner & city upwards of $1 billion

•February 11, 2015 • Leave a Comment
Rams owner Stan Kroenke (left) is building an 80,000 seat stadium in Inglewood.

Rams owner Stan Kroenke (left) is building an 80,000 seat stadium in Inglewood.

Since the Rams and Raiders left Los Angeles in 1995, 22 of the 32 NFL teams have moved into new stadiums with all of them built at Los Angeles’ expense. That includes the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis where the Rams moved after the 1994 season.

The cost to the City of Angels is the privilege of being the home of a franchise in the biggest and most lucrative entertainment/sports industry: the National Football League.

Los Angeles – the second largest media market in the country also known as the Entertainment Capital of the World – has always been considered an NFL market.

For the last two decades L.A.’s game has been off the field being used as leverage by the owners threatening a move to the City of Angels in the process fleecing their current cities of taxpayer dollars to build these new multi-billion dollar stadiums. This has enabled the value of all 32 franchises to climb to an average of $1.4 billion apiece. That’s a total of $44.8 billion.

The Indanapolis Colts - who parked their team plane at LAX - are one of many teams using L.A. as leverage to get a stadium deal in their current city.

The Indanapolis Colts – who parked their team plane at LAX – are one of many teams using L.A. as leverage to get a stadium deal in their current city.

That “L.A. Leverage Game” for the league is a thing of the past with all these new cathedrals of the gridiron up and running. The St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers are the three remaining teams needing new buildings. The Raiders and Chargers leveraging their respective cities with L.A. can’t work because the cities they call home and L.A. are all California cities and are thus subjected to the exact same laws. It’s absolutely known that all government entities in the Golden State will not earmark taxpayer dollars towards sports stadiums. It’s just no fiscally responsible.

For L.A. to get back on the field a stadium needs to be privately funded. Enter Rams owner Stan Kroenke. He’s partnered with the Stockbridge Group in Inglewood and is going to build an 80,000 seat stadium where the old Hollywood Park Race Track sits on his own dime.  Plans are for it to be done in time for the 2018 season with the Coliseum or Rose Bowl a temporary home for a team – or teams – moving to L.A. in the meantime.

Kroenke is buiding his NFL stadium in Inglewood as part of the City of Champions Revitalization Project.

Kroenke is buiding his NFL stadium in Inglewood as part of the City of Champions Revitalization Project.

Estimates are an owner looking to relocate his team to L.A. will have to fork up a fee of half-a-billion to a billion dollars. Were that to actually happen, that cost would be passed down to the L.A. football fan paying outrageous prices for personal seat licenses; a voucher to get you a ticket inside the stadium. Then there’s parking, the actual ticket to the game as well as concessions for food and drinks that would undoubtedly be astronomical all because of this relocation fee.

A team owner willing to move his team to Los Angeles and the fans that have waited a generation to be able to attend an NFL game in their home city SHOULD NOT be subjected to a hefty relocation fee.

The 32 owners have made multi-billions of dollars using L.A. as leverage and will make a great deal more once a franchise or two calls Los Angeles home. That’s WITHOUT so-called relocation fees.

Making an owner pay a billion dollar relocation fee to L.A. pales in comparison to the multi-billions of dollars Los Angeles has netted the league over the past two decades as a leverage piece.

According to Forbes franchise values have quadrupled in the last 17 years when most of the 22 stadiums were built. The Dallas Cowboys top the list at $3.2 billion with the newly crowned Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots coming in second valued at $2.6 billion. Both play in two of the 22 stadiums built since L.A. has been without a team.

Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft purchased the team for $175 million in 1994 which is, coincidently, the last year Los Angeles was home to the Rams and Raiders.  Kraft’s franchise is now worth some 15 times his initial investment.  Thanks partly to the leverage game L.A. was forced to play.

On the field, L.A. has a rich NFL history with the Rams who called L.A. home for 49 years. They played 34 of them in “L.A. proper” at the Memorial Coliseum and the last 15 in Anaheim sharing the “Big A” with the baseball Angels.

The Raiders left their birthplace in Oakland calling the Coliseum home for 13 years before returning to the East Bay after the 1994 season. The Chargers inaugural season in 1960 was spent in L.A. before bolting south for San Diego where they’ve called home for over 50 years.

Since ‘95, if an NFL fan in Los Angeles wanted to see the likes of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers among others in person, a two-hour and more than 125 mile drive to San Diego, or a five-hour 370 mile drive to Phoenix or an eight-hour drive or $200 roundtrip flight to the Bay Area have been the best options for L.A. fans to see these talents in person. That’s how L.A. used as leverage has affected the L.A. football fan.

Los Angeles has made multi-billions of dollars for all 32 NFL owners off the field and has a rich NFL past on it. Waiving any type of relocation fee to L.A. would be a reward for its football fans who have gone an entire generation without a team to call their own.

 

 

 

 

Rams fans from L.A. take over San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium wanting team back

•November 23, 2014 • 2 Comments

Since attending the very last Los Angeles Rams home game as a loyal fan on Christmas Eve 1994, I can count the fingers on one hand the number of NFL games I’ve attended as a fan or media member.

As a member of the media I worked Super Bowl XXXII won by Denver over Green Bay in San Diego in January of 1998the final Broncos home game at old Mile High Stadium in Denver on “Christmas Eve, Eve” 2000– the Broncos first home game at the new Mile High Stadium September 10th 2011and, as a fan along with my wife, attended the San Diego Chargers final pre-season game of 2009.

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From left to right, Joe Ramirez, myself and Aron Gonzalez ready to welcome the Rams home – back in Southern California.

The one for the thumb occurred Sunday, November 22nd as a fan, back in San Diego at Qualcomm Stadium, to watch the Chargers host the St. Louis Rams. The very same Rams I grew up with and considered part of my family up until the day they announced they were leaving for the Midwest not long after that 24-21 Christmas Eve ’94 loss to the Washington Redskins at Anaheim Stadium.

The first Rams game I attended in person in 19 years, 11 months.

When I was a kid in the 70s my Father, Henri, designed clothes for then-L.A. Rams owner Carroll Rosenbloom, general manager Don Klosterman, head coach Chuck Knox and some players. They were around my Dad’s store in Beverly Hills all the time so that made them my family. And when they were there, so was I.

The Rams are the leaders among three teams with stadium issues in their current homes favored to relocate back to Los Angeles as soon as next season. The other two are the Oakland Raiders and, ironically, the Chargers.

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A capacity crowd at the “Q” in San Diego of 66,000+ with at least 40% of it being L.A. fans of the St. Louis Rams.

Led by the Southern California Rams Booster Club  – the largest Rams booster club in the world – and the Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams movement, other Rams booster clubs from up and down California as well as Arizona and Seattle, Washington – that’s right, Seattle – organized and planned for a Los Angeles Rams takeover of the “Q” as soon as the schedule came out last year.

Takeover the “Q” they – WE – did.

RAMS AT Q 3 (720x737) (720x737)

Members of the Southern California Rams Booster Club – the largest Rams booster club in the world – enjoy some tailgating prior to kickoff.

It was an opportunity for L.A. Rams fans to relive some memories. Let’s not forget the Rams called Southern California home – playing at the Coliseum then the Big A – for 49 years prior to the move east.

It was also an opportunity to show Rams owner Stan Kroenke he has an L.A. fan base ready to support the team should he relocate them back to L.A.

Needless to say, the L.A. fans took full advantage of that opportunity.

According to the San Diego Chargers they sold some 20,000 tickets to Los Angeles Rams fans. Add those tickets bought through independent ticket agencies like Stub Hub – which is where I purchased my ticket – upwards of 35% to 40% of the 66,000+ football fans in the stadium for Sunday’s game were Los Angeles fans of the St. Louis Rams.

About an hour prior to kickoff Kroenke and Chargers owner Dean Spanos were having a conversation near the Rams bench. Rams fans from L.A. began chanting “Bring them home, Stan!” and “L.A. Rams!” He heard every chant.

Sitting in my seat right behind the west end zone I was stunned to see so much old school regal blue and sun gold jerseys, hats t-shirts and anything Rams from the L.A. days around that stadium. So were the Chargers fans.

RAMS AT THE Q 5

Rams owner Stan Kroenke (rt) sharing pleasantries with Chargers owner Dean Spanos before kickoff.

Chants of “Go Chargers, Go!” were met with as many “Defense, Defense!” and “L.A. Rams! L.A. Rams!” chants.

L.A. fans of the Rams took over the sections behind the Rams bench from end zone to end zone. Directly behind the bench banners with single letters spelled out:

L-O-S-A-N-G-E-L-E-S-R-A-M-S

RAMS AT THE Q

Fox TV cameras showing fans behind the Rams bench telling the world where they want their team.

All this was not missed by those players who played to the crowd throughout the game as well as the Fox television cameras and commentators. It was a playoff atmosphere.

Similar looking to the Big A, being at the “Q” reminded me of those Sunday afternoons spent at Anaheim Stadium watching the Rams “back in the day.” Ram fans on every seating level and every deck.

When they left for St. Louis I felt betrayed and indifferent from then on when watching them play. I was told they moved because we, I, didn’t support them because of the many things to do in Southern California. A complete slap in the face to my loyalty and love for the Rams, win or lose.

RAMS FANS SAN DIEGO

Members of the So. Cal. Rams Booster Club & Rams World Order in the stands behind the Rams bench.

Well, if that were the case, if we hadn’t supported the Rams because of the many things to do around here on a Sunday afternoon it stands to reason ex-owner Daniel Reeves – who brought the Rams to L.A. from Cleveland in the mid-40s – would’ve moved the team within five years. He didn’t and the Rams were here for 49 years.

Current Rams owner Stan Kroenke saw that love and loyalty for the team on full display on Sunday. For the Ram fans from L.A. doing all the chanting at the “Q” on Sunday, the takeover was a success.

To the NFL, the St. Louis Rams and the naysayers around the country who say L.A. never supported and won’t support a team, you’re wrong.

The Rams lost the game in a heart-breaking fashion they used to do often when they called L.A. home. With a chance to win late in the game, they turned the ball over losing 27-24.

For the Los Angeles fans of the St. Louis Rams, it was a win. Their message was heard loud and clear. They got plenty of T.V. time visually and audibly. They – WE – could be rewarded with a return of the Rams as soon as next season. A perfect time for a Golden Anniversary Celebration.

Your comments are always greatly appreciated.

The NFL in London could work with a little compromise

•November 3, 2014 • Leave a Comment

This coming Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars will play the third and final game of this NFL season’s International Series at Wembley Stadium in London, England.

The series began as an experiment in 2007 by the National Football League to gauge interest of the sport in the European marketplace.

And although the second largest media market in this country – Los Angeles – is on the verge of landing not one but possibly two NFL teams as soon as maybe next season after being without a team for 20 years, the League is still hell-bent on putting a team across the pond in London by 2022.

Commissioned by the NFL and a London marketing agency, the accounting firm DeLoitte released its findings last week from their study that said an NFL franchise based in London could generate more than $255 million for Britain annually.

In British pounds, we’re talking 165 million.

Pounds. Dollars. No matter what currency you reference, that’s a whole lot of coin the 32 team owners can’t ignore.

So, what about the fans both in the States and the British Isles?

A majority of NFL fans here don’t like the idea of putting a team in London because of travel logistics and the idea that it would be similar to out-sourcing American jobs to foreign countries.

Tom Bateman, president of Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams, traveled to London in 2012 to watch the St. Louis Rams play the New England Patriots. courtesy: Tom Bateman

Tom Bateman, director of Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams, traveled to London in 2012 to watch the St. Louis Rams play the New England Patriots.
courtesy: Tom Bateman

As for the Brits, L.A. native Tom Bateman, the director of Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams, traveled to merry old England for a week in October of 2012 to watch the St. Louis Rams take on the New England Patriots.

While there, Bateman spoke with British fans he discovered enjoy American football immensely but think the idea of putting a team in London permanently is a silly one.

I agree with the Brits. If a team is moved or an expansion team is awarded to London, would the league’s name be changed to the International Football League?

“Part of the appeal to the Brits is that each (International Series) game showcases different teams” said Bateman who added, “The NFL in the UK is a spectacle as much as it is a sport. Probably more so.”

British tailgaters at the 2012 NFL International Series Game between the St. Louis Rams and New England Patriots played at Wembley Stadium in London. courtesy: Tom Bateman

British tailgaters “dressed to kilt” at the 2012 NFL International Series Game between the St. Louis Rams and New England Patriots played at Wembley Stadium in London.
courtesy: Tom Bateman

He also discovered an NFL game represents everything the British love about America.

According to Bateman the Brits love the fact that we’re a show off nation.

Really, no sport or league shows off more than the NFL.

“It’s flashy, spectacular, the uniforms, the helmets, the cheerleaders, the endzone celebrations, the sack dances, all of that.” Said Bateman continuing, “But as a sport, to the Brits it can’t hold a candle to soccer or as they refer to it, real football.”

Also on the NFL’s agenda, sooner rather than later, is reducing the pre-season schedule from four games to two while expanding the regular season from its current 16-game schedule to 18.

An 18-game schedule is something the Players’ Union isn’t too keen on for player safety and the extra two games don’t increase the players’ salaries.

What about a little compromise for all parties involved so the 32 team owners, the players and Britain’s annual economy can capitalize on the projected $255 million the NFL stands to generate should it have a permanent presence in London.

Since the Brits enjoy seeing different teams play each International Series game and the logistics of having a permanent team call London home seem a bit difficult to iron out, let’s give the Brits what they want.

America's Game - NFL Football - celebrated at Wembley Stadium in London. courtesy: Tom Bateman

America’s Game – NFL Football – celebrated at Wembley Stadium in London.
courtesy: Tom Bateman

At the same time, let’s expand the regular season from 16 to 17 regular season games with the extra game for each team played each week at Wembley Stadium in London.

So what if it’s an odd number schedule. Only thing affected is a team finishing .500 which isn’t a huge deal in the grand playoff scheme of things.

This way, only teams with winning records would qualify for the postseason.

Make the 17th game match ups interconference games – AFC vs. NFC – with the match ups chosen with ping pong ball machines much like the ones used to choose the World Cup soccer groups or the NBA Draft Lottery and do it during Super Bowl Week for games in the upcoming regular season. Cut the pre-season to just two games.

You’ve added a game while having an entire regular season schedule – 16 weeks – in London with the Brits seeing all 32 NFL teams in different match ups each game and year.

It becomes a “pseudo Super Bowl” each week in London because the logistics time wise of having the Super Bowl in London – which has been discussed – just won’t work for NFL fans in the States who want to see the biggest game and spectacle on U.S. soil and rightfully so.

After all, it is America’s Game. Somewhere all 32 teams need to always call home.

Kershaw gets majors’ best 17th win. Dodgers beat Nationals, 4-1.

•September 2, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw got his mlb leading 17th win Tuesday night as L.A. beat Washington, 4-1. courtesy: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw got his mlb leading 17th win Tuesday night as L.A. beat Washington, 4-1.
courtesy: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw (17-3) went eight innings, allowing a run and scattering three hits earning his major league-leading 17th win of the season in Los Angeles’ 4-1 win over the Washington Nationals Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.

It seems to be so easy for Kershaw who’s been virtually automatic. A model of consistency every five days when he’s on the hill and handed the ball.

To read the remainder of this story, please click on this link.

Over-crowding forces L.A. Co. Sheriff to shut down Rams Booster Club Picnic.

•August 17, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Citing stipulations and rules that changed Saturday’s 11th Annual Southern California Rams Booster Club Picnic at Peter F. Schabarum Regional Park in Roland Heights from a “picnic” into an “organized event,” County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation officials were forced to have the L.A. County Sheriff’s office come in and shut the event down.

“They’ve been here before.” Said a parks and recreation official who didn’t want to be identified adding, “They really amped it up this year and broke rules in the process.”

“Amped” is a good way to put it.

The picnic/event – which began at nine in the morning before being abruptly shut down at three p.m. – attracted a crowd estimated by parks and recreation officials at being more than 2,500 people.

St. Louis Rams fans came from as far as Fresno to the north and Arizona – YES, Arizona – to the southwest to get together prior to the kick-off of the upcoming season.

Panoramic view of some of the 2,500 Rams fans who attended Saturday's annual So. Cal. Booster Club Picninc.

Panoramic view of some of the more than  2,500 Rams fans who attended Saturday’s annual So. Cal. Rams Booster Club Picnic.

Former Los Angeles Rams players – including Frank Corral, A.J. “Jam” Jones and Doug Reed – were there signing autographs for everyone.

 “I’m disappointed. I wanted to meet some of those players.” Said a Sheriff ‘s officer who aided in closing the event. “I’m a huge Rams fan from way back when they were here but rules are rules and we had to shut it down.”

A tremendous turnout for an area that’s been without a team since both the Rams and Raiders left after the 1994 season – 20 years ago.

“Some of the people at the event brought over-sized portable barbeques, a few were consuming alcoholic beverages,” said the parks and rec official adding, “That’s against the rules.”

The parks and rec official also told me some brought huge portable generators while others plugged into outlets in the available public restrooms causing a “tripping hazard” for park-goers.

“You can’t do that. It’s similar to when a request for concerts or movies in the park are made. You need permits for all of this,” explained the parks and rec official.

With a Sheriff’s department helicopter flying over-head, So. Cal Rams Booster Club president Ralph Valdez told me;

“We’ve had this picnic here the last seven years around this time and never been told to leave.”

The difference from those picnics prior to Saturday’s is that they never attracted more than 200 people – still a big enough number for an area without a team for 20 years.

Schabarum Park is a 575-acre facility with 75 acres developed for activities that include walking, hiking and picnics with “limited parking” provided.

The picnic areas are divided up into 11 locations with the largest sites having a group capacity of no more than 200 people.

According to the park’s picnic information sheet most of those are made available on a first-come first-served basis but with the largest areas requiring a non-refundable reservation/rental fee, a refundable “clean-up/security deposit” fee of between $150-$450 and may require proof of liability insurance showing the County of L.A. as “co-insured” for the amount $2-million.

“I wasn’t told any of that info. I was told picnic areas were first-come, first-served,” explained Valdez adding, “They have my contact info and never called me.”

Prior to this year, there really wasn’t any need to contact him.

That’s all changed with – to borrow from the parks and rec official – recent “amped up” talk of the NFL’s inevitable return to Los Angeles in the near future.

L.A. Sparks show appreciation for fans beating the Seattle Storm, 77-65.

•August 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Candace Parker (3) led the Sparks with 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists in L.A.'s 77-65 win over Seattle Friday at Staples Center.

Candace Parker (3) led the Sparks with 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists in L.A.’s 77-65 win over Seattle Friday at Staples Center.

LOS ANGELES – Getting ready for a Western Conference Semi-Final showdown with either the defending WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx or the Phoenix Mercury, the Los Angeles Sparks took care of business Friday night beating the Seattle Storm on Fan Appreciation Night at Staples Center, 77-65.

L.A. has one game remaining in the regular season before beginning the playoffs. Low and behold it could be a playoff preview with the Sparks finishing the regular season in Phoenix against Brittney Griner and the Mercury.

Candace Parker led the way for the Sparks (16-17) with 24 points to go along with seven rebounds and six assists and Kristi Toliver poured in 20 points and dished out six assists for the winners who held a 16 point half-time lead at 48-32 and led by as many as 20 in the third quarter at 56-36.

The Storm (12-21) – who were led by Jenna O’Hea’s 16 points – went on an 11-0 run closing the gap at 56-47 midway through the third and trailed by a 60-53 score at the end of the stanza but would get no closer.

 “We were on the verge.” Said Sparks coach Penny Toler. “We were up by about 18 and then we got three or four sloppy turnovers. In a game like this you can’t do that.”

L.A. committed 20 turnovers giving up 22 points – seven of those in that third quarter that led to 11 Storm points- letting them right back in the ball game.

 “We just wanted to get the win tonight. “ Said Parker. “It’s fan appreciation night, our last home game. I think we did a good job coming out but we just had spurts where we weren’t focused.”

 

13 year Storm veteran Sue Bird played just under five minutes and didn't score for the Storm.

13-year Storm veteran Sue Bird played just under five minutes and didn’t score for Seattle against the Sparks Friday night.

L.A. will have to show some focus Saturday night in Phoenix when they finish the regular season against the league’s best team – the Mercury – who’ve beaten L.A. in all their match ups this season.

A win coupled with a San Antonio loss gives the Sparks the third seed and they can pack their bags for an opening round series with the defending WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx.

Or L.A. gets the fourth seed and will stay in the Valley of the Sun and open the post season against the Mercury.

Basically, pick your poison.

 
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