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The Complicated Relationship of the NFL in Los Angeles

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The Los Angeles area had been without a NFL for 21 years before the St. Louis Rams decided that they were going to head back to Southern California. Los Angeles is the central location for the second-largest media market in the entire United States and was actually the first city along the West Coast to get a NFL team, even if it did not last forever.

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 04:  Julius Randle #30, Roy Hibbert #17, Metta World Peace #37 and Jordan Clarkson #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers react after a timeout in the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on December 4, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA – DECEMBER 04: Julius Randle #30, Roy Hibbert #17, Metta World Peace #37 and Jordan Clarkson #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers react after a timeout in the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on December 4, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Buccaneers and Los Angeles Wildcats

The first NFL team that landed in Los Angeles was the Los Angeles Buccaneers. But since the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission had put a ban on pro teams practicing in their stadium, it was forced to be a road team. A road team is a professional team that does not play in its home stadium. So since the Coliseum Commission would not allow for pro teams and there were so many athletes coming from Californian universities, the only option was to have a Los Angeles team that simply did not play in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Buccaneers, though comprised of Californian players, was based out of Chicago. I know that does not make a lot of since to us in the modern day because we would think it would then be a Chicago team, but remember that this was the 1920s. There was not air travel to get to places easily. Teams had to travel by rail, buggy, and cars that could accommodate them, meaning that travel was hard. Having a central location in the United States would make it far easier to travel to games.

On the AFL side of things, there was the Los Angeles Wildcats that faced the same location issue as the Buccaneers. Neither team survived past the 1926 season, unsurprisingly.

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The Los Angeles Bulldogs

The first pro football team to actually stay in Los Angeles were the Los Angeles Bulldogs. The Bulldogs reserved the right to operate independently, being part of several different pro leagues from 1934 to 1948. In 1948, the team was reduced to being a minor league team.

The Bulldogs resided in Gilmore Stadium, which is where CBS Television City is currently located. The NFL allowed the Bulldogs into the 1937 NFL season, but there was still the issue of traveling around the country for games. Air travel still was not common, making journeys to make games incredibly tricky. Because the NFL had to go back on their admittance of the Bulldogs into the league, they held the 1938 and 1939 All-Star Games in Los Angeles.

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The Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams were originally the Cleveland Rams, but they moved to Los Angeles in 1946, bringing the first stable NFL team to the West Coast. The Rams had won the 1946 Super Bowl and then decided that California would make a better home for them. The home for the Los Angeles Rams was the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was the home field for the USC Trojans as well as the UCLA Bruins as well as well as the Los Angeles Dons, which was part of an AAFC franchise. When the Rams went to Los Angeles, the league decided to remove their restriction against African American players, allowing a more diverse pool of football players.

The Rams became a powerhouse when they moved to Los Angeles and they were already a pretty impressive team in Cleveland. They eventually became unhappy with the location of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and moved to the Anaheim Coliseum.

Los Angeles lost both its pro teams in the 1990s when the Raiders moved to Oakland and the Rams moved to St. Louis. It was only recently announced that the Rams would be moving back to Los Angeles, bringing the NFL back to Los Angeles.

The Great Teams of the LA Area

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Given that Los Angeles is the second-largest city in the United Sates, it makes sense that they would have some of the best sports teams in the entire country. Perhaps not all of the Southern California teams are the greatest, but the area does have the means for amazing sports teams and has seen a few pass through over the years.

Let’s take a peek at some of the best professional Los Angeles teams throughout history as well as who claims home turf there today.

Baseball on the field
Baseball on the field

Baseball

Los Angeles is not home to just one baseball team, but they have two. Covering both the American League and the National League, Los Angeles has the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The Dodgers, established in 1883, were originally a Brooklyn, New York-based team that moved to Los Angeles in 1958. They are one of the oldest baseball teams in the world. The team has won many championships in its history, but the team is perhaps best-known for being team that Jackie Robinson was on. Robinson was the first African American to play professional baseball and it was the Dodgers that made it happen.

The Los Angeles Angels have existed since the 19th century as well, though they were not part of Major League Baseball until 1961. The Angels was just a common name for LA teams since it is the English translation of “Angeles.” The team is also the basis for the remake of the movie Angels in the Outfield. The original movie used the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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Basketball

Like with baseball, Los Angeles has two professional basketball teams: The Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers. The two teams share the Staples Center as their home court. They also have the Los Angeles Sparks, which is part of the WNBA and it also shares the Staples Center.

The Lakers are well-known to be one of the best teams in the NBA and have a large fan base as a result. They also have the most titles of any other franchise from Los Angeles and is only second to the Boston Celtics. The team originated in Minneapolis (hence the name “Lakers”), but moved to Los Angeles in the early 1960s.

The Clippers are a relatively new team and won’t their first division title in 2013. They do not have as large of a fan base as the Lakers, but the team does seem to be improving each season.

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Football

It was actually a challenge to put together a football team for the Los Angeles area. They have been working to get a NFL team there for a long time and finally succeeded in 2016. The Los Angeles Rams will be playing in Los Angeles starting in the 2016-2017 season, having previous been located in St. Louis. The team originated in Cleveland, but moved to LA in 1946, only to move to St. Louis in 1995.

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Soccer

Los Angeles actually has a pretty fantastic soccer team, the LA Galaxy. There is also an expansion club called Los Angeles FC that is due to being playing in 2018.

The LA Galaxy is one of the most-decorated soccer teams in the United States and has won the MLS Cup five times, currently holding the cup record. The team has always been based in California. It was founded in Pasadena, but moved to Carson in 2003.

The soccer club made international headlines in 2007 when it signed the British soccer superstar David Beckham, marking the highest-profile signing that American Major League Soccer has ever had. Beckham had risen to fame playing for Manchester United from 1992 to 2003, when he transferred to the Real Madrid. He retired in 2012.

The History of the Staples Center

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The Staples Center is the ultimate sports arena in Southern California. The arena is the home court for the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League, the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women’s National Basketball Association. Also included are the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League as well as the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the National Basketball Association’s D-League.

So, in an area with such a span as the Los Angeles area, did there wind up being one arena that hosts so many different teams across leagues and sports? Here’s a glimpse into the arena’s history.

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Great Western Forum and Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arenas

Prior to the construction of the Staples Center in Los Angeles, there were two major arenas in the LA area: the Great Western Forum and the LA Memorial Sports Arena. The LA Lakers used both of the older arenas as their home courts over the past 50 years, up until the Staples Center opened.

The LA Memorial Sports Arena is located in the University Park area of Los Angeles, near the LA Memorial Coliseum and was opened in 1959 by Vice President Richard Nixon. It was the companion facility for the Coliseum and was the Lakers’ home court until they moved to the Great Western Forum when it opened in 1967.

The Forum, referred to as the “fabulous” Forum by the locals, was built on top of a former gold course by Jack Kent Cooke who was both an owner of the Lakers and the founding owner of the Kings. The Forum was not built to host just basketball, however. Cooke was intent on bringing hockey to Los Angeles, despite the climate, because he was Canadian and a huge fan of the sport. The Forum quickly became a LA landmark since it was the home court for the Lakers and could also be seen from the air when planes descend from the east into the airport.

A Time for Change

Dude to the seismic regulation changes and improvements through the years, eventually the Forum and the LA Memorial Sports Arena were due for some seismic structure updates. They broke ground for the Staples Center on March 26, 1998 and completed construction in October 1999, with an opening concert on October 17, 1999 featuring Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band.

The arena was named for the office-supply company, Staples, which was one of the biggest sponsors of the $375 million endeavor. The arena was also an instant hit, becoming the Best New Major Concert Venue in 1999 and was also polled as the Arena of the Year by Pollstar Magazine in both 2000 and 2001.

Modifications

Even though the Staples Center was the newest arena for the LA Lakers, it still needed updates by its 10th anniversary. At the end of summer in 2010, they refurbished the locker rooms, making room for all of the teams that use them as well as installing a high-definition center-hung video scoreboard. Technology had made some incredible leaps and bounds in its first 10 years, which was reflected by the updates. The newest screen is a Panasonic Live 4HD which was unveiled on September 22, 2010.

First Teams

The arena opened as the home of the Los Angeles Clippers, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Los Angeles Kings, the hockey team in 1999. The WNBA team, the Los Angeles Sparks, joined the arena in 2001 and the Los Angeles D-Fenders joined up in 200

In its brief history, the Staples Center was the location of seven NBA Finals as well as the 2002 Figure Skating Championships and NHL All-Star Games. There have been hundreds of events held there and will have thousands more still to come.

The Tragic Demolition of the Famous Wrigley Field

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I know that when you hear Wrigley Field, you are not thinking of Los Angeles. With the Chicago baseball park in current memory and still a location of tours and active teams, it is natural that you will think of Wrigley Field in Chicago instead of Wrigley Field in Los Angeles. But there was another famous Wrigley Field that has fallen out of recent memory.

But we should not forget the original Wrigley Field and remember where it was and what it represented.

Real estate photos of 90 Rocmary Place, Kleinburg, For Sue Pigg story.
Real estate photos of 90 Rocmary Place, Kleinburg, For Sue Pigg story.

Million Dollar Palace

Wrigley Field was constructed in South Los Angeles in 1925, meaning that it is older than the Wrigley Field in Chicago that was named in 1927. The LA Wrigley Field was named after the chewing gum magnate (yes that used to be a thing), William Wrigley Jr., of Wrigley’s Gum. The Chicago field was also named after him.

Known as Wrigley’s Million Dollar Palace, Wrigley Field was originally the field for the Los Angeles Angels, which was a Pacific Coast League baseball team. Their parent baseball club was the Chicago Cubs, fitting considering the duel Wrigley Fields.

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Two Wrigley Fields – What Gives?

So why in the world were there two Wrigley Fields to begin with? The reason is that William Wrigley Jr. was from Chicago. He moved there from Philadelphia at the end of the 19th century when he was 29. There, he built his Scouring Soap company which in no way resembled his chewing gum. He then gradually bought the Chicago Cubs from Charles Weeghman until he was the primary shareholder.

Where the Chicago Cubs have been pretty successful through the franchise history, they also had a “farm team” in Los Angeles, called the Los Angeles Angels. The farm team was designed to train up and coming players to enter them into the major league in Chicago. Since Wrigley owned both teams, he first built the ballpark in Los Angeles to have somewhere for the Angels to play. Then, since was finally the complete owner of the Cubs, they renamed the park that was already there. Weeghman Park became Wrigley Field as a result. So since both locations were part of the same franchise and both owned by Wrigley, it makes sense that there were two Wrigley Fields in baseball.]

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The Minor League

From the time Wrigley Field opened in 1925 until 1957, the ballpark was the home field for the Los Angeles Angels. The park also was the home field for the Hollywood Stars, which was another PCL team. The Stars moved to their own field, the Gilmore Field eventually, but when they played on the same field, the ballpark had more than 850,000 fans in 1930, which was more than the Major League teams, the Browns and Cardinals, had drawn that season.

In 1957, Wrigley Field was sold to the Brooklyn Dodgers who were relocating to Los Angeles. The ballpark sold for $3 million, which was an insane amount of money for the stadium at the time. The Dodgers and Angels played there until 1961, when the Angels and Dodgers moved to the newly built Dodger Stadium.

After Baseball

After the Angels moved to the Dodger Stadium there were no teams that were based at Wrigley Field any longer. There were some random evens held there, including a civil rights rally in 1963 that was led by Martin Luther King Jr. The field was also used for some random events and soccer matches, until they decided it needed to be torn down to make way for Gilbert Lindsay Park.

Wrigley Field was demolished in 1961.

7 Things You Need to Know About the Los Angeles Rams

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Los Angeles Rams may be throwing you off balance, but that is only if you have not yet heard that they are moving back to Los Angeles. Although the team has been in St. Louis for the past 21 years, Los Angeles is soon to be posted for a professional football team again, welcoming the Rams back to the sunny California area.

With their new move back, there are some things that you should brush up on about the Rams. This season in a new location could mean new things for the team and make an exciting football season for Rams fans.

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  1. The Rams were originally a team in Cleveland but were moved to Los Angeles following a petition by owner Dan Reeves to the NFL to move the team to the west. Their first stadium was the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which seated over 100,000 fans. It was because of this move that the NFL was the original coast to coast sports entertainment industry.
  2. The Rams were the reason that football became an integrated professional sport. Before the Rams were moved to Los Angeles, football excluded minorities. But there was a regulation in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum that said that there had to be at least one African American on any sport that used their facility. So the Rams signed Kenny Washington in 1946 as the first African American on their team, adding Woody Strode as their second in the same season.
  3. Because of some strange regulations before World War II, there were no professional teams allowed to play in Los Angeles before the Rams moved there in 1946. There were the Los Angeles Buccaneers, but they were not actually allowed to use Los Angeles as their home turf, even though the team was comprised of Californian players and used the name.
  4. The Rams had the best offense in the NFL in the early 1950s, winning the NFL Championship Game in 1951. Wide receiver Elroy Hirsch held a remarkable 1,495 receiving yards with 17 touchdowns. It was because their success coincided with the beginning of home televisions that the Los Angeles Rams quickly rose in popularity, allowing people to watch their games from the comfort of their own home without the cost of having to purchase a ticket to see the game live.
  5. After moving to St. Louis in 1995, the Rams performance really began to struggle. They did win the championship in Super Bowl XXXIV and they made it to the Super Bowl in XXXVI, but overall, their performance over the past two decades has been weak at best.
  6. After the Rams moved to St. Louis, Los Angeles was not successful in finding a replacement professional football team to fill in the void made by the Rams. There had been the talk of moving some other professional teams there, including the Seahawks, the Browns, the Bengals, and even the Buccaneers, but nothing came of it. In fact, the Bengals, Buccaneers, and the Seahawks all used the vacancy in Los Angeles as a form of leverage to have their own stadiums built locally, improving their own home field without having to leave.
  7. It was announced in 2016 that the Rams would be moving back to Los Angeles for the 2016/2017 season. They have approved a new stadium, set to be called the City of Champions Stadium, but it has not been built yet. As a result, the Rams will be returned to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where they had played so many hundreds of games in the past. The Coliseum has been recently used for the USC Trojan college football team, so it is not like it is out of working order.