By Joe Torosian
“I don’t want no damage
But how am I gonna manage with you
You hold the percentage
But I’m the fool payin’ the dues”
This column is not that easy…
In 1973, Chuck Knox became my father. John Hadl, Harold Jackson, Lawrence McCutcheon, Isaiah Robertson, Jack Snow, Charlie Stukes, Merlin Olsen, Fred Dryer, and Dave Elmendorf became my uncles.
Growing up on a street with zero fathers…I’m not talking one or two fathers…I’m talking about a street with zero fathers…the Lord provided an emotional stopgap…The stopgap was sports, the main sport was football, and the team was the Los Angeles Rams.
It might sound cute, it might sound funny, but it’s not a joke. The Rams filled an emotional void for those of us who grew up without fathers. There was no adult male to play football with in the street. There was no adult male to play tackle football with at Pioneer Park. There was no adult male to watch the game with and tell us stories about the debate between Bob Waterfield or Norm Van Brocklin.
The Rams were family and any team that beat the Rams became evil. From 1973 to 1975 the Rams lost a total of 11 games. Five of those losses were to the Cowboys (3) and the Vikings (2)…Guess who we hated?
On Saturday, unless the Rams roll out to a 40-point lead midway through the third quarter, I will enjoy nothing about this Cowboys-Rams game. I don’t expect everyone to understand this, but it is something very personal to me…and a few others. (I say “a few others” because I doubt very much that most of the people claiming to be Rams fans now are truly Rams fans.)
I’m not going to lose any sleep if the Patriots beat the Chargers, or if the Chargers beat the Patriots this week. I like both the Chiefs and Colts. I really want the Eagles to beat the Saints—because I’ve always hated the Saints and I don’t think I can tolerate another round of, “how great it is for the city of New Orleans with all they’ve been through…”
(Pardon me while I spew)
If the Rams lose on Saturday, a cloud will literally fall on me. I’m more mature now, I won’t lash out, I won’t cry. It won’t determine my future, change my future, nor destroy my faith in God…But that little bit of my soul that is forever married to the Rams will be in mourning.
I can’t shake it, the neuropathways are set.
“Oh, Laker fans? Oh, Laker fans?” (Is there (or was there) anything worse than turning on the radio and hearing Arnie Spanier’s voice?): I don’t want to make this my Matt Kemp moment for basketball—You may recall that I was the one advocating the Dodgers keep Kemp for the 2018 season after they reacquired him—but I did have a few comments about LeBron James when the Lakers signed him.
I said this was a guy turning 34 years old, with 15-years of NBA tread on his tires. But, if you add all of the playoff games he’s played, he has been running the hardwood in the Association for 18 seasons.
The team has played 42 games, he’s missed 8 of them…The Lakers are 23-19 and on the hook for $35-million this year, 37-million next year, and 39-million the year after that…and James holds the option on a fourth-year at 41-million.
As Lakers’ fans…You guys are all good with that, right?
First Add Dodgers: I know Yasmani Grandal was painful to watch behind the plate in the post-season…But won’t Austin Barnes look worse over the course of 162 games, playing in 130 of them, and gobbling up 400 at-bats? I’m excited for you.
Last Add Dodgers: They could bring A.J. Ellis back. Matt Wieters, Martin Maldonado, and Nick Hundley are available. I can personally vouch for Rene Rivera, who was very solid during his time with the Mets. Maybe even Devin Mesoraco…
Really Last Add Dodgers: Dance with Barnes…or make the deal for J.T. Realmuto.
I know what Consigliere Tom Hagen would say to Sonny Corleone: “Make the deal, Sonny!”
Or…Go, Rocky Gale!
Making the Call:
It’s imperative for me to be proven wrong. I want to be wrong.
Cowboys beat the Rams
Saints beat the Eagles
Chiefs beat the Colts
Patriots beat the Chargers
Conference Title Games
Chiefs beat the Patriots
Saints beat the Cowboys
Chiefs beat the Cowboys (And the Singisers invite me over for Easter dinner.)
My Heart’s Desire:
Rams beat the Cowboys
Eagles beat the Saints
Colts beat the Chiefs (I’m good either way)
Chargers beat the Patriots
Conference Title Games
Rams beat the Eagles
Colts beat the Chargers
(Friendships with Rich Whittington & Eric Elias are suspended.)
Rams beat Colts
Really Really Last Add Dodgers:
Don’t sign Bryce Harper. If he settles for 7-years, then…maybe? But don’t give him ten years. I see this guy 18-19 times a year when the Nationals play the Mets. He’s okay. To me, he’s an amped up version of Eric Karros. He’ll hit a lot of home runs but seldom will they be important home runs.
If you have to make a move that will inflict pain…Make the deal for Realmuto…Pay the price, and you’ll have control for two seasons.
This may be late to the game…but did the New York Jets hire Adam Gase based off his successful run in Miami?
My brain is getting sore thinking about sports again.
Joe T. can be reached at email@example.com
and you can follow him on Twitter @joet13b