"That's the part that's getting real tough," says Thomas. "Because in many ways, Georgia is already the model owner: she's never here; she never meddles. And Shaw cares a lot more about winning than people think; the Rams have spent to the [salary] cap every year they've been here. And Vermeil is an experienced football man who has been given complete authority over personnel decisions. But it's not working-none of it. There seemed to be so many reasons to think this team could get better, but in many cases, it has regressed. Nobody has shown they are capable of making a good decision. Nobody sees any hope or light at the end of the tunnel."

Instead, the Rams are considering new uniforms, maybe even a new name. That's fine, so long as they don't send the old one back to us. It wasn't easy for Orange County to let the Rams go, especially since Los Angeles was watching the Raiders pack their bags at the same time. Back then-even only three years ago-there was a notion that a big-league sports franchise was the mark of a high-caliber metropolis. Now it's becoming evident that anteing up to meet the demands of a mega-sports operation is usually indicative of gaping gullibility. It's for hicks, which is why teams are ending up in cities like Nashville, Jacksonville, Charlotte and, well, St. Louis. Meanwhile, in Orange County, 1998 has been a very good year to be a sports fan-praise the satellite dish, pass the remote, and tempus fuckitto you, too.

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