Viking’s Rampage

On Sunday, Dave and I went downtown to see the Rams football game. The Rams were in the hunt for a post-season playoff berth. ‘Were’ is the operative verb here because, they got trounced by the visiting Minnesota Vikings, who are also looking to be in the playoffs. The game started out not too bad. The Norsemen jumped out ahead with a touchdown, but the Rams came right back and tied it up. After that point is was all downhill for Saint Louis though. I shouldn’t count the Rams out yet, they might not yet be mathematically eliminated, but they should be after the way that they played.

This was their last home game of the season, or at least their last regular season home game, as Dave once corrected me before the game. Always the eternal optimist, with just a few minutes left in the game and the Rams having failed to score from within the Viking’s red zone, Dave told me, “Well, it’s still a two touchdown game.” So, it would remain until the final whistle blew, ending the game with a final score of 36-22. This game was trumpeted as fan appreciation day. It might as well have been dubbed fan depreciation day. [Thanks, Bernie!]

I got pretty good seats, Dave was impressed, or at least they looked good on Stub-Hub. Stub-Hub never said anything about the neighbors. The row behind us was entirely populated by Minnesota fans. Garrison Keillor tends to portray all of Minnesota like his mythical hometown, Lake Wobegon, “where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” After Sunday’s game, I wholeheartedly concur with the “where all the women are strong” part. The woman with the strongest voice was seated immediately behind me.

By the bitter end of the game, we few diehard Rams fans were possibly outnumbered by the jubilant Vikings fans. Initially, I thought that all of these rabid Minnesota fans had journeyed the 600+ miles from Minneapolis just to see this game. Returning home via the Metrolink it became clear that these Viking fans are now Saint Louis transplants. We were vastly outnumbered by them on the train ride home. There are still two more away games left in the regular season. The last one is against the Seahawks. It won’t help us any this year, or in next year’s draft, but I would still like to see the Rams play the spoiler and win at least one more, if not two. Go Rams!

Ramdom Fandom

Rams Knit Cap

Anne is seen modeling her latest knitting creation, a Saint Louis Rams’ cap for Dave. It is a lovely cap; she did a great job on it. It looks a lot like the Rams’ football helmets, but not enough to infringe upon any NFL copyright, in my humble opinion. Like I said, it is a lovely cap. I’m sure that Dave will love it, when he gets it. He is an avid Rams fan. I can just see him now, parading around town in it, on game day, or any other day for that matter too. All this being said, it somewhat grieves me that this post is going to be a hate on the Saint Louis Rams. It is such a lovely cap.

Originally, I was going to crank on how the NFL in general and the Rams in particular has plundered Saint Louis. Their initial haul of booty included a new publicly financed stadium, with fans paying thousands of dollars per seat, just for the opportunity to purchase tickets in it. The Rams repaid their Saint Louis fans with the greatest show on turf and a Super Bowl victory. That was twelve years ago and the Rams’ decline since then has been inexorable. Now, like they are warlords who have picked clean their kleptocratic fiefdom, they are scouting for their next victim city. While the Rams are dickering with Saint Louis for a new lease of another new stadium, they are also wooing new fans, by giving away to the British, what could very well be some of Saint Louis’ last few NFL home games. It is almost enough for a disgruntled fan to say, just go, except that it is such a lovely cap. Did I tell you the cap is reversible?

No, the heart of these anti-Rams rants was sparked by recent news reports about the Rams’ new defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams. NO Saints, former defense head, he has garnered notorious notoriety of late, for his practice of putting hits on opposing team’s players. Putting the hurt on opposing offences, is the job of every NFL defenseman, but creating an 18,000 document paper trail of how you planned and executed to injure, maim and “take-out” opposing players, is a personal injury lawyer’s dream come true. “Mr. Fisher, I’ve got Brown & Crouppen calling on lines, one, two, three …” The lawsuits will come. As of now, the sharks are only circling the Saints and maybe the Redskins and the Bills, all former employers of Williams.

What happens next year, when an incident occurs, because surely it will. Do the Rams really want to remain associated with this man? Does Saint Louis want to host a team that does? Football is a violent sport. Any given play contains thirteen or more felony assaults, anyplace except on the field. The difference with Williams is that he has left a paper trail of every aggravated assault that he called for and then paid for. My advice to the Rams, drop this case now. Otherwise, Dave might not wear the cap and it is so lovely.

Sliding into the Weekend

Friday’s forecast for freezing rain made the commute home interesting. MODOT is responding to this winter storm with vigor, attempting to silence the criticism generated after last week’s storm. There was plenty of white-stuff on the roads tonight, but none of it was water. I swung by the grocery store on the way home and true to form; Saint Louisans had flocked to the store. The parking lot was full and the bread and milk shelves were nearly empty. Whenever there is a threat of a winter storm, Saint Louisans rush to stock up their larders. It’s not like we are going to be snowed in for days, the forecast for Sunday has highs in the fifties. [Update: accidents are now being announced on radio.]

In Congress, the SOPA anti-piracy bill was withdrawn today. I’d like to believe that my little black “Stop Censorship” ribbon had something to do with it, but realistically, it was the big boys, Google, Wiki, et al. that swayed the issue. My ribbon is scheduled to display to the 24th. Let’s hope it won’t be necessary to resurrect it again.

Is it an Eagle? No, it's a Seagle

There are just three more games left in the NFL football season. This weekend’s games will decide the two Super-Bowl participants and then after that game, football will be gone again. Something called basketball, will run the picket fence, until pitchers and catchers report and spring training begins. By then, this year’s winter loose grip should have slipped even more and signs of spring should be around.

This football season has not been a very good one for the Rams (2-14). Tied for the worst record in football, we were beat out of the first draft pick by Indianapolis. To add insult to injury, Indianapolis will host this year’s Super-Bowl. The Rams fired their head coach and hired the former Titans coach, Jeff Fisher. With this move a Rams fan can hope for some improvement next year, but to what extent? A 6-10 record would be an improvement, but hardly anything to get excited about. Yesterday, the Rams announced that they will play one game each season, for the next three seasons in London. These games will be Rams home games, reducing the number of regular season games in Saint Louis to seven.

So, Saint Louis is guaranteed 21 more home football games, because in March of 2015, the Rams are free to roam. If Saint Louis doesn’t promise to fork out for a new stadium by then, then say bye-bye to the Rams. The NFL would love to see the Rams return to LA, a much larger market than Saint Louis and currently without a team. Indianapolis spent big and bought the Super-Bowl. The question now on the table is, will Saint Louis submit again, build another large publicly funded stadium and prove to the world that Saint Louisans are sheep? 

[After all of this ranting, Anne reminded me that the Blues are doing well. Oh, well.]

Fool’s Ball

Dave, Anne and I went to go see the fool’s-ball game at the Jones Dome on Sunday.  Dan is no fool, so he eschewed the whole thing.  We took the Metro downtown, so there were no hassles with parking and also no danger of towing.  Besides we met some nice people along the way.  There was the man with the little boy.  The boy wasn’t his son, but the man was friends with the mom and was taking the little boy to the game.  The boy was cold, waiting for the train.  An elderly woman overheard this and showed us how to turn on the overhead heat lamps.  That seemed to help, anyway the train was warm.

We arrived on time, but had to wait at the will call window and missed the Rams’ first touchdown.  The seats were decent, so we settled into watch the game, I with my camera, Anne with her knitting and Dave with his Rams’ jersey on.  I’ll cut to the chase, the Rams won, 25-17.  This win keeps the Rams in the running for a payoff birth, while the San Francisco 49ers’ loss eliminates them from contention.  The opportunity to trash-talk my two Californian brothers about this victory, will be savored.

Next week the Rams face the Seattle Seahawks.  The possibility to further extend my intra-family fool’s-ball rivalries to the in-laws has not escaped my attention.  The winner of that game will represent the NFC West in the playoffs.  If the Rams win next week they will finish the regular season with a .500 record, an even number of wins and losses, but if the Seahawks win then they will be the first un-asterisked NFL team with a losing record to go to the playoffs.  The playoffs are not for losers!  That makes the Rams the last line of defense and the final protector of the NFL’s sacred honor.

America expects that every Ram will do his duty.