The Oakland Raiders, after haphazardly hopscotching up and down the California coast for nearly six decades, are finally going to settle in the Nevada desert, playing football in front of a dedicated group of revelers in the gaming capital of the world.
They will likely be the only professional sports team in history whose home crowd will be entirely made up of people from all fifty states, bent strictly on gambling.
Gee, what could possibly go wrong with that arrangement?
Faithful all this time, the black and silver painted Raider fans have been dealt a low blow.
Reports have the team playing in San Antonio for 2018 and 2019 before settling in the shadows of the Mirage and Bellagio gambling dens, denying even further those faithful football fans a final rooting pleasure.
In either event, Oakland will have some time to adjust to withdrawal pangs, unlike Baltimore fans.
They never saw the owner of their Colts, Robert Irsay, (literally once upon a midnight dreary) in the dark of night, cowardly back up a bevy of eighteen-wheel Mayflower moving vans and deliver the city’s franchise to Indianapolis, just another of many owners over the years who’ve betrayed their fans.
Et tu, Irsay? Et tu?
It would be thirteen more years before Cleveland Browns owner Arthur Modell would move his own team to Baltimore, leaving broken the hearts of one of the greatest fan bases the NFL ever had, “Dawg Pound” and all, on the banks of Lake Erie.
Fortunately, upon arriving in Baltimore, Modell had the good sense to honor Baltimore’s favorite son, the long dead poet Edgar Allen Poe, by re-naming the team the “Ravens.”
The Browns, even with another new team a decade later, are still losers.
Can you say Johnny Manziel?
I experienced first hand a franchise relocating when my beloved Brooklyn Dodgers left for Los Angeles in 1957. No team in sports history ever had a more loyal fan base than those “Bums.” Perpetual losers, coiners of the phrase, “Wait ’til next year,” they finally hit baseball nirvana in 1955 when they beat the reviled Yankees in the World Series.
Two years later, through greed and avarice alone, they moved 3,000 miles away.
It took New York National League baseball years to recover until Boston’s Bill Buckner’s blunder ended one post-season famine while prolonging another.
A sense of loyalty in sports is a thing of the past. It starts in high school with kids, encouraged by parents, switching schools to find their best fit. Players in college, instead of waiting their turn, transfer to another program. Others leave after a single year–one and done it’s called—to get the big pay checks in the NBA.
And owners will continue to move at the drop of either a dollar or a sparkling new stadium paid for by wealthy casino owners or beneficent municipalities.
Hut One, Hut Two…
Ed. Note: Discussions continue as to who is the greatest Yankee of all time. My previous post on the subject reviewed the accomplishments of the six nominees, i.e., Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Berra and Jeter. In our next Coach’s Corner, I’ll share my selection with you. You might be surprised at my pick.