Dear Big Daddy,
Are you celebrating, now that the road is clear for a downtown NFL stadium in LA?
(Signed) – Jaded Fan
Hey Jaded Fan
I know they’re salivating in my old L.A. district for a downtown NFL stadium, and now their wishes are likely to be fulfilled. Another example of the changes in the electorate since I was around: If I ran for office now, I’d probably get whacked in the primary by a pro-business Democrat when I came out against a stadium. Which I would.
I’m not pro-business, I’m pro-money. There’s a big difference. I’m like Warren Buffett with charisma and without the dark glasses. Also, without the farm: I got off the farm early and when I left, even Kiska in the Aleutians seemed like paradise. So much for the farm.
One of the reasons I came to Sacramento was to get away from these stadiums. Even that stadium in Texas that’s privately owned – you know, the one where the kickers kept hitting the score board – I don’t like that one, either, and that was built long after I went to the Great Majority. It’s big and garish and everywhere at once – adjectives that some used to apply to me – and it keeps nature out.
And that’s the problem. Nature and football go together. Mud, sleet, rain, snow – now that’s football. Under the dome on Astro turf doesn’t cut it. Too bright and shiny and clean, no snow blurring the 50 yard line, no screams that disappear into the dark sky.
The old Balboa stadium, where the Chargers first played and the race cars came on Saturday night and spewed mud clods into the corner seats, now that was a stadium. Jim Mills took me there a couple times. Two roustabouts in a night on the town. Thrilling, just thrilling.
And that brings us back to the L.A. stadium.
It’s not that I dislike the stadium because it got a special environmental review exemption, or because Jerry put on his dancing shoes and sucked up to big business while repeating his environmental shtick or that everybody in L.A. seems to be boosting this project. I’m above all that.
No. I don’t like it because it keeps nature out.
Southern California has almost no nature at all, anyway, except during the Santa Ana winds, but what little it has will be kept out – count on it. I don’t like traveling anywhere east of the 405 unless I absolutely have to, so driving into LA’s urban hive is not something I would look forward to. Especially if it is just to see a team with absolutely no real connection to LA toss a ball around and reap billions of dollars. Imagine what we could do with billions of dollars for schools or the park system. Or not.
Instead, we’ll get traffic jams, mediocre playing and incessant hype in the nation’s second largest media market. What L.A. really needs is a good volleyball team, the return of Dick Lane at the Olympic and the rebirth of L.A.’s great roller-derby team, the Thunderbirds.
And I don’t remember getting stuck in traffic at the Olympic. In fact, there was very little traffic.
The worst thing that happened to me was being temporarily blinded when the sun reflected off Lane’s glasses.