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THE INSIDE TRACK | T.J. SIMERS

Arizona Doesn't Have Misleading-Ballot Excuse

November 09, 2000|T.J. SIMERS

It was one of the most nerve-racking telephone calls I have ever made, my heart pounding, the phone ringing once, twice and finally a sweet voice with the best news anyone could possibly imagine: "Arizona Cardinals."

L.A. wins. L.A. wins. L.A. wins. Scratch another bozo off the list of potential suitors looking for a greener stadium pasture.

At the same time, alert authorities because there are 376,392 morons residing in Maricopa County in Arizona.

Despite firsthand disappointing experiences with Cardinal owner Bill Bidwill, who moved to Phoenix and immediately increased ticket prices to the highest in the league for the privilege of sitting on metal benches in the Arizona sun, these people have agreed to embrace Bidwill for 30 more years.

It's probably killing these jokers that Donald Sterling doesn't own their basketball team.

The Arizona proposition to provide $1.8 billion in increased taxes on rental cars and hotels, which includes $331 million for a new stadium, passed by a margin of 51% to 49%.

OK, it's true, there are still 135,000 ballots to be counted over the next few days and nothing is really official, but everyone says it appears the Cardinals will have their new home.

"Appears" is more than good enough for me.

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SO WHO'S NEXT?

The good citizens of Philadelphia, known for booing the hometown teams--and wouldn't they have the time of their life at a Dodger or USC game--have been warned that if the city doesn't make good on a new stadium deal by Nov. 30, the Eagles may do something really dramatic.

Scoring more than 16 points in a game would be really dramatic, but look for owner Jeffrey Lurie, a budding Billy Bidwill, to announce the city has not made good on promises allowing him to break the stadium lease, which runs through 2011. That would allow the Eagles to move.

Lurie, who worked for a time in Hollywood, has had conversations with people in L.A., but I'm guessing it was to make reservations at the trendiest restaurant in town. The Eagles might make noise about moving to L.A., but there has already been state money set aside for new baseball and football stadiums in Philadelphia, and the city doesn't have to come up with that much money to meet the team's demands.

Keeping in mind that these people love to hate their crummy teams, you can understand why they will pressure city officials to find a way to keep the Phillies and Eagles.

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IF NOT THE Eagles, then who?

The San Diego Chargers have an escape clause in 2003 and some experts believe they will have won a game by then.

They lost again, however, in Tuesday's election with the vote for a new mayor going to someone who thinks the team is ripping off the city with a stadium deal calling for the city to buy tickets when the Chargers fail to sell out.

Try and sell out a stadium featuring a team of Jim Tracys.

This will be a volatile situation because the team's cranky owner, Stockton businessman Alex Spanos, who consistently turns out crummy football teams, believes most other owners in the league have a better stadium deal.

Charger fans have been worried for years that he will one day move his team to Sacramento. Now they might be willing to provide the moving vans.

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IF NOT THE Cardinals, Eagles and Chargers, then who? The Raiders.

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I CAN'T WAIT for the first UCLA basketball game to see if Dodger General Manager Kevin Malone is sitting on the bench.

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EXPERTS NOW PREDICT that the electoral college will be scrapped the next time around and the bowl championship series' computer rankings will determine future presidential elections.

Call it a coincidence, but the folks in Miami say that won't work either.

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I RAN INTO Sterling at the Clipper game Wednesday night and he was trying to convince me that Al Davis is a really nice man. I'm not sure, based on his team's results over the years, that he's a good judge of talent.

I will say this, he's paying Jeff McInnis to play point guard for the Clippers, and he's getting his money's worth, a tribute to McInnis, Elgin Baylor's eye for talent and Alvin Gentry's decision to stay with him. McInnis, who couldn't get a job last year, went into the game against the Utah Jazz as the NBA's fifth most accurate shooter.

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HERE'S SOME UPLIFTING news: The Dodgers hired bench coach Jim Riggleman, a guy with a career record of 486-598 as a manager, to advise Tracy.

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IT'S NOT AS IF he doesn't have experience to fall back on.

NFL Films recently brought together a political panel that included Al Gore and Rush Limbaugh. The moderator, Steve Sabol, asked Gore, "When you captained your high school football team your senior year, the team went 1-7. A lot of coaches will say you learn more from losing than . . . ."

Gore said, "Well, we learned a lot that year."

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THERE WERE 1,812 unsold tickets for the Lakers' game with the Rockets at Houston on a night when voters overwhelmingly passed a referendum to construct a $175-million new arena for the team.

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AFTER THE LAKERS LOST TO the Rockets and Spurs by 10 points in each game, I couldn't bring myself to watch this week's special episode of the "Family Feud," knowing the Laker Girls would also probably pound the guys.

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TODAY'S LAST WORD comes in an e-mail from Bong:

"While waiting for his championship ring from the Lakers, Glen Rice told the New York Post, 'All I'm looking at is my wedding ring.' "

That's not news--we already knew who wears the pants in that family.

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T.J. Simers can be reached at his e-mail address:t.j.simers@latimes.com

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