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If Stan Kroenke gets the Dodgers, doesn't L.A. get the Rams?

The baseball team needs a new owner and St. Louis may not be able to keep its football team.

February 01, 2012|T.J. Simers
  • Will St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke be the one who helps steer a football team back to Los Angeles?
Will St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke be the one who helps steer a football… (Dilip Vishwanat / Getty…)

I had dinner with Georgia Frontiere, where the Rams' owner chose to tell me about each of her seven husbands — four too many for me to make a newspaper deadline and still explain to the people of Los Angeles how she had just won approval to move her team to St. Louis.

I hopped into a waiting limo in Oakland, expecting to find Al Davis, but got a pair of Raiderettes instead. So I never did get around to meeting with Davis to discuss the possibility of the Raiders returning to L.A.

Former super-agent Michael Ovitz sent a martini to my hotel room and had Tom Cruise and Jerry West call to talk football and the prospect of bringing the NFL back to town. Ovitz also asked me not to park my Ford Escort in front of his Rockingham home so no one might think he was entertaining a poor person.

When it comes to the NFL and L.A., I find almost nothing too far-fetched. But now maybe comes the capper of them all.

If Frank McCourt chooses Stan Kroenke as the Dodgers' winning bidder, McCourt does something that Eli Broad, Ed Roski, Mayor Riordan, Peter O'Malley and so many others could not do.

He not only brings the NFL back to town, but he gives fans here the Rams again.

There is no other reason for Kroenke to bid on the Dodgers, even though there are NFL rules that prevent an owner from owning a baseball team in one city and a football team in another.

Imagine a statue of McCourt outside L.A.'s new football stadium, his arms outstretched and palms up in the hopes someone might drop a dollar or two in them.

Crazy, I know, but no more so than driving to a dog track in Tampa years ago with the daughter, her Notre Dame roommate, Rams executive John Shaw, his wife-to-be and Kroenke all jammed into a rental car.

I've seen Kroenke, who married the daughter of the co-founder of Wal-Mart, go pale losing a $2 show bet on some poky mutt. So I remain somewhat dubious he will be the last bidder standing after McCourt squeezes the very last nickel out of bidders.

But I do like the idea of greeters outside a stadium as fans arrive.

I can't imagine McCourt ripping Kroenke off, but Kroenke is the determined sort. He wanted badly to be a sports owner, and now he not only owns the Rams but the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids and Mammoth as well as the British soccer powerhouse Arsenal.

He also owns a pair of wineries, and if you owned the Rams wouldn't you need a drink?

He has a home in Malibu, and he put together a sports TV network in Colorado, which the new owner of the Dodgers may want to do here.

If you live in St. Louis, today is the deadline for the Convention and Visitors Commission to submit a financial plan to keep the Rams.

St. Louis is obligated to make the Rams as rich as the top quarter of teams in the NFL, which is impossible given the dump they play in. If the city fails to deliver such a plan, or it's rejected by the Rams come March 1, the team will be free to break its lease and play elsewhere in 2015.

The Rams are already irritating the locals, announcing they will play a regular-season game in London each of the next three seasons even though small print in their deal with St. Louis forbids it.

When a city gets cross with an NFL franchise, well, we know how that goes around here.

The Chargers were the first choice to come here, but the Goof who owns them seems more concerned with upsetting his fan base than finding a new one.

Kroenke, meanwhile, hired a former USC football player in Jeff Fisher to coach the Rams. Fisher was the coach who steered the Oilers through their move from Houston to Tennessee to become the Titans.

Kroenke is also Denver pals with Philip Anschutz, who is working on a plan to open a football stadium here in time for the 2016 season. I wonder if the Rams could play in Dodger Stadium for a year.

Now as well as I know Enos Stanley Kroenke, who was named after St. Louis baseball players Enos Slaughter and Stan Musial, I wonder if he's the right guy for L.A.

A Denver columnist nicknamed him "Silent Stan" because he's not one to talk publicly. And I would think to be successful here the next Dodgers owner will have to speak directly to the fans.

But this week Silent Stan couldn't even come to the phone to explain to someone he's known for some time that he's bound by a gag order not to discuss the Dodgers. When someone can't say "Hello," hard to believe he's going to offer much when it comes to discussing the Dodgers' payroll.

On the other hand, it looks as if he might have no trouble saying "Goodbye" to St. Louis.

I COULDN'T think of a reason to go to the Lakers game other than to ask about Blake Griffin's monster dunk.

"It was fantastic," said Coach Mike Brown.

Doesn't he wish he had exciting players like that?

"I have exciting players," he said. Asked to name them, he began with Derek Fisher.

But your team is nowhere near as exciting as the Clippers, wouldn't you agree?

"That might be true for some people, but I just want to win," he said. "I don't care if we're exciting or not."

That's fairly obvious.

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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