The off season sucks! I gotta get it out there. I DO NOT LIKE THE OFFSEASON. I'm simply living for the Combine, the Regionals, then the Draft and then sprinkle in a little free agency and it is all simply a tease no different than those samples of grilled subs that were given out at the Galleria food court this past weekend.
The bits and pieces of football news that we get as fans during this time of the year are simply scraps and nothing short of gristle on the bones from meat long eaten. Off season sucks!
No college ball, no football, no nothing. We are left at the mercy of the NFL and it's heartless decision to not have an off season developmental league. That's another piece for another time, but I stress this to emphasize another. At this time of the year, we are so starved for anything football, the most minuscule thing can be turned in the Mount Kilimanjaro. Whether it be a player supposedly bullying another or a coach getting the boot after one season, it is all we have right now to feed off of. So the media and anyone else with any kind of access to mass readership will pump up the smallest to largest to expand their base.
For example, the 60 acres that Stan Kronke purchased.
Not trying to be in a cheerleader skirt for the guy, but he is a beast at that real estate game hands down. He knows what to buy and when. People with his kind of money do things methodically. This was well pointed out in Bryan Burwell's piece in the Dispatch just recently.
Stan Kronke is what my family likes to call "Long Bread". You don't get to this status (nor marry someone else of an even higher status) unless you are tactical, resourceful and most of all discreet.
Yes, discreet. Every hand played matters, whether intentional, circumstantial or consequential, every move matters at this level of power. If there is something that you want, you must play to win. You don't broadcast your plans to the opponent so that you lose.
Let's look at this whole St. Louis Rams to Los Angeles clearly:
1. In the same article mentioned above by Bryan Burwell, there are more than a few things that would have to fall into place in order for the Rams to even consider moving somewhere else.
2. The media would pit St. Louis Rams fans and Los Angeles fans against each other as they have no other football news to report. They would have the world forget how absolutely bleak the stands looked in Los Angles when the Rams where there. Problem I always had was the stands were empty no matter how well the team did. They simply did not have the fans to sustain the team there long term.
Sure there are some LA brethren that would have us believe a ton of different stories as to why the team left in the first place, but I would retort that the fact that the stands were as empty as they were to even give Georgia Frontiere enough ammunition to take the move to the NFL ownership and it get approved is enough to tell you that things are not what they seem in Cali. No fault to the Rams fans there, but as a sports team, there is simply too much competition for fans.
It also brings me to laughter when Los Angeles media would play on the fact that St. Louis fans are not packing the stadium in and are not supportive in general. Yet I have witnessed first hand what the 12th man in St. Louis can do for a team, cheering them on myself through two Super Bowl appearances and one championship led by one of the best quarterbacks to play the game in Kurt Warner. Stan Kronke was there for that and saw exactly what the fans are capable of. The fan base here could not only sustain a team for decades to come, but also work with Stan to create another venue the St. Louis Rams in the area. The Rams just need to win and show progress. The fans will come out and are coming out more each season since Jeff Fisher and Les Snead have come to town. Before then, the only top of anything that St. Louis was seeing was the picks at the top of the draft. Now we're known for an aggressive style of play, impressive defense and relentless effort. They had this same relentless effort during their time in LA and it didn't matter much to anyone then.
When St. Louis fans see good ball being played, they support as seen by the "sea of red" for Cardinals games. If you don't think the sight of that many fans there in support doesn't make both Kronke and Tom Stillman salivate than you don't know business.
Sure none of the other professional teams in St. Louis have seating as large as the Edward Jones Dome, but 66,000 seats for this town is nothing when all it really takes to get a St. Louisan out of the house is warmth, drinks and snacks at the destination and we're good. So if you throw in a winning team on top of that, you've got us for the evening or even a lifetime.
3. What we're seeing in this thing between the CVC and Stan Kronke is a high stakes game of "chicken" and I truly think St. Louis fans should look at the truth of this entire fiasco...big money and who gets it in the end.
The real money lies within the ownership of both the sports team AND its venue al la Jerry Jones. Why? Glad you asked.
Once you own the venue your team plays in, you are not sharing money with anyone. You are then making all the cash from 60,000 plus seats all year round. Not just when your team plays, but when anything happens in that place, you get paid.
Now when you place potential locations for a new St. Louis Rams venue side by side with Los Angeles and St. Louis, the situation becomes clearer.
How much does it cost to build a top tier venue in Los Angeles in comparison to St. Louis? Where do you get the 'most bang for your buck'? If you're still thinking about the answer, go check this website and compare cities and you will have your answer quickly. Everything costs more there:
Take it a step further, how much more would someone have to pay in construction costs in the Los Angeles in comparison to construction costs in St. Louis, MO. An average salary of $50k in St. Louis is comparable to over $70k in Los Angeles.
I lived in California for 7 years and I can tell you that one of the reasons I left was because I could not justify paying over $400,000 for 1200 sq. ft. of house in the Bay Area that looked like a shed. When you're born and bred midwest, a purchase like that is hard to swallow.
Lastly, the truth...
The current stadium situation is far less about St. Louis Rams leaving the St. Louis area than it is about leaving St. Louis City and the city losing that revenue. Stan could easily pull a Jerry Jones and simply move to St. Louis county, own everything and say goodbye to the politics of the inner city. If Missouri has nothing else, we have relatively cheap land in large portion and no one knows that better than Stan Kronke.
He is tactical, resourceful, discreet and also smart. Why spend a ton of money to move an entire professional sports organization all the way across country to try and cultivate a market that is already pulled in million directions for attention? Movies, collegiate sports, professional basketball, professional baseball and anything else you can imagine is your competition as the owner of the franchise that moves to Los Angeles. Oh, by the way don't forget that you are sandwiched in between three other professional football teams in the state with heavy fan bases in the Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers and the infamous San Francisco 49ers. Good luck with that.
Here in Missouri, he can own the entire 'kit and caboodle' and the only competition he has is a few Cardinal games during the regular season. He can own the venue, taking all the revenue that comes with it from the NFL football games, monster truck events, state athletic championships, concerts and anything else you can stuff in a stadium.
This is a money game and the question is who gets it in the end. My bet is on Kronke.
Let's wake up as fans and realize this game we're watching from the sidelines is one for Big Boys with Big Toys.
By the way, if you're reading this Stan, please grab the Chrysler Eureka plot as the smell in Earth City is not getting any better.
Tell me what you think Rams fans!