St. Louis Raiders Is One Stop on New NFL Stadium Carousel

Three National Football League franchises have climbed aboard the new stadium carousel, and they all want to get off in Los Angeles.

Since there is only room for two, let’s consider the possibility of the St. Louis Raiders and Los Angeles Rams.

The Raiders, in Oakland; the Rams, in St. Louis; and the San Diego Chargers all are dangling the threat of a move to Los Angeles as leverage for new stadiums in their current homes.

Last week the Chargers and Raiders proposed building a $1.7 billion shared stadium in Carson, a Los Angeles suburb. Both teams have year-to-year leases, and say they’re still seeking public subsidies for new stadiums in their current homes.

Rams owner Stan Kroenke said last month he will join with the Stockbridge Capital Group to build an 80,000-seat stadium in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood. Kroenke, 67, a real estate developer who ranks 327th on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index with a fortune of $4.8 billion, is still negotiating with St. Louis officials for a new stadium there.

Now let’s allow our imaginations to take over.

Suppose the NFL allows Kroenke to take his team back to the nation’s second-largest media market, which has been without a franchise since the Raiders and Rams left in 1995. The Inglewood City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve Kroenke’s stadium plan.

The Chargers then move north, either joining the Rams in Inglewood or occupying another proposed stadium, a $1.2 billion downtown venue. In 2011, Farmers Insurance Group agreed to a 30-year naming deal for that proposal with Anschutz Entertainment Group Inc. Or one proposed by Majestic Realty Co. for City of Industry, about 25 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

That leaves the Raiders in the worst venue in the NFL. A new stadium in Oakland is a long shot; the Raiders have already burned bridges with San Antonio. Hello, St. Louis, where Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is trying to keep the Rams with a deal for a stadium along the Mississippi River.

So if the Rams leave, and a deal is in place, why not?

The biggest loser then would be other NFL teams who no longer could use the threat of moving to Los Angeles to get new stadiums at home.


News Flash: B.J. Upton of the Atlanta Braves plans to go by his birth name, Melvin Upton Jr., starting this season.

It worked for Mike Stanton. Since telling everyone to use his birth name of Giancarlo Stanton in 2012 (the same year his Florida Marlins became the Miami Marlins), he has hit a National League-best 98 home runs and signed a record 13-year, $325 million contract last November.

The change may force some Braves diehards to toss out their B.J. Upton jerseys (though some probably already did when he hit .198 in his first two seasons in Atlanta), and it probably will cause some confusion among casual fans.

But it’s nowhere near as radical a change as basketball’s Ron Artest legally becoming Metta World Peace, or football’s Chad Johnson turning into Chad Ochocinco and then returning to Chad Johnson.


This e-mail brought back childhood memories:


When Sports Line was a wee lad, his dad was friends with a neighbor who worked for the New York Yankees -- who went 77-85 in 1965 to finish under .500 for the first time since 1925.

Even with a lineup that featured Mickey Mantle and Elston Howard, and a pitching staff anchored by Whitey Ford and Mel Stottlemyre, the Bronx Bombers finished sixth in the American League that season.

So little Sports Line asked his dad’s friend why newspaper pictures showed a packed Yankee Stadium on Oct. 4, 1965, a day after the regular season ended.

The answer was that Pope Paul VI said Mass at Yankee Stadium before more than 80,000 people. The Yankees averaged 14,458 fans a game that season.

So just how many wrestling fans can pack into 45,000-seat Citi Field, where the Mets were 21st in the major leagues in attendance last season with an average of 26,860 fans per game? Tickets start at $25 for the Legends of Wrestling, which will feature six matches in a ring set up around second base.

The Mets’ previous home, Shea Stadium, hosted wrestling cards in 1972, 1976 and 1980 featuring grapplers such as Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant and Bruno Sammartino and drawing an average crowd of 30,268.


- Two Tennessee high school girls basketball coaches were suspended through the 2015-16 school year and banned from collecting their $8,393 coaching stipend next year for encouraging their players to throw a game so they could avoid the top-ranked squad in the state tournament. Rutherford County Director of Schools Don Odom said coaches Cory Barrett of Riverdale High School and Shawn Middleton of Smyrna High School “will be evaluated annually” after the 2015-16 school year to assess their future chances of coaching.