Years ago the company I worked for (mobile home sales) opened a sales lot in the central valley of California.
A fellow salesman, Chris, is as devoted to the Rams as us.
It seemed that everyone wore that same gold niner jacket.
Chris and I love to play "playhouse 90" (just adding bull on top of his bull).
Well, we decided to get lunch at this beer bar we never been in.
Walking in we see two guys at the bar stools with those ugly gold jackets.
So we walked in sat down next to them and started the bull.
Chris says "what the hell was the rookie doing? Have you heard anything new?
I say "no, this is the worst freak accident ever in sports."
They didn't bite.
So I added "at least we have Steve Young."
Well, that got their attention and butted in asking "what happened"?
Chris (God he was great at this) explains that up at Rocklin (where the whiners have their training camp). It was break time for lunch.
Montana had a moped since it was some 300 yards from their offices.
Bill Walsh decided to jump on back for a ride like he has done so many times before.
One rookie (Chris looks at me and says was it our 2nd round pick? I say yes) threw a bomb to another rookie.
This linebacker was sprinting at full speed, did not know where he was going and exploded (he says EXPLODED) into Montana and Walsh
They ask are they okay?
I had the response "CNN says Montana right thumb has severe ligament damage and Walsh is still in a coma.
The opened mouth stare of these two was priceless.
The whole time the owner of this bar listened and after hearing the niners QB thumb is destroyed and the "genius" is in a coma.
He says "HEY THAT IS GOING TO BE GOOD FOR MY RAMS."
I almost fell out of my stool. He could care less about Montana and Walsh. Its going to help out his Rams.
Well that place we adopted as are own.
After the 4 of us cried in our beers, they got up to go.
As they were heading for the door, Chris says "GUYS" as they turn around Chris says "I THINK OUR 2ND ROUND PICK WILL BE OKAY" and gives a thumbs up and a smile.
They both go "oh that's good" and leave. Not a bad lunch.
THE RENO TRIP The year was 1981, the Rams next opponent was Frisco in Frisco.
I went to my Father's Wednesday morning and opened the paper to see the NFL line (remember how you had to wait till wednesday before the line came out? What technology) and it said the Rams were getting 2 1/2 points.
I was positive it was a misprint.
I went and got the Herald Examiner and it said the same thing THE RAMS WERE GETTING 2 1/2 POINTS!!
Now picture this, my Father and I started talking very low to each other.
You see, in our demented Ram eyes, it was like we found the key to Fort Knox.
cause the Rams haven't been underdogs to the Whiners since Christ was a Corporal.
Why were we virtually whispering?
Cause we didn't want the neighbors to find out (my Dad has 3 acres) for a fear a rush to the betting windows would tip off the casinos of their castrophic error.
We were in the air flying to Reno by 1 in the afternoon.
After getting a room at Harrah's,
My Dad was on the crap table.
He knew how to play craps and if the table was hot (throwing numbers) so would my Dad.
Every $5,000 he won,we would take a cab and go to western union to wire it back home (didn't want it on him).
We went 4 times (sending 21,000 back) and he put $4,000 on a 2-way parlay.
He laid 6 1/2 points taking USC against Norte Dame (Gerry Faust first year at ND) and taking the Rams and 2 pts (went down a half pt).
USC won 14-7 that Saturday.
So it all came down to the Sunday's Ram-Whiner game.
With less than 2 minutes in the game, Frisco led 20-17.
But, the Ram had the ball on frisco's 24 yard line and it's first and ten.
On first down, Tyler gains 3 yards to the whiners 21 yard line.
On 2nd down, the Rams do a play action pass and Pat Haden has a wide open Preston Dennard by at least 5 yards (frisco blew the coverage) and he overthrows him by less than an arm length. (I am sorry for yelling all those 4 letter words).
On third down they run Bryant (typical,huh) up the middle for 1 yard.
I regain my composure and say "let's tie this sucker get the right side of the coin and win this baby.
Corral comes out for a chip shot (20 yard line).
The view was from behind the goal post.
Perfect placement by Cromwell,
Corral kicks it and to me it looked like it went thru but I notice the frisco fans jump up at once (the ball hit the left goal post and bounced directly back, it couldn't be an inch or two to the right and angle in,no,hit it straight on and bounced back.
All my Dad said was "that was a $14,000 muff". Ram memories are priceless (so was Corral's kick).
In 1985, there was the 7 supermarket union strike in LA.
I was hired as a red hat (keep peace between the replacement workers and the strikers on the picket line).
I worked the Safeway distribution center. This complex was the size of a city (it where all the food is stored for their 200 stores).
I worked the 6pm to 6am shift. 7 days a week for the next 9 weeks.
20 dollars an hour was the pay.
I never left that complex one time for almost 2 months.
I slept in a motor home, showered and ate there.
I met Bill Malavasi there and we worked together.
There was 40 of us red hats from all walks of life. There was around 10 off duty LAPD detectives and then there was the 6 members of the "blood's".
The smallest one of them was called tiny and he was 6ft 3in and round 220lbs. They weren't the type you would be hanging out with to get a fresca with.
They kept to themselves.
There was this one striker that was a jerk
The shift was at 1 am
You would see this 1960 falcon come in, it would be a family and the wife is dropping off the husband off and their would be two kids ages 5 and 3 in the back standing in their PJ's holding their dolls.
As she tries to leave, these strikers are so good at walking in front of the car as soon as this one is out of the way another gets in the way.
We are telling her to keep moving slowly but she does not want to hit them and stops. With the two kids scared to death in the back,this one loudmouth would yell "Kids your momma is a scab whxxx and likes it in the axxxxxx".
Now you want so badly to say somethig but if you did safeway would fire you on the spot.
I saw three get fired telling that punk to shaddup.
Me and Bill made a pact when this strike is over lets get this guy.
Every Friday I recieved a check for 1380 take home
After the 5th check everybody was burning holes in their wallets
But, then came Dec. 9th 1985.
The showdown with the rams and niners on mnf.
The Rams were getting 7 points.
Between the 40 of us there was over 30,000 bet on the Rams
I had 2,000 on the Rams
When Ron Brown ran the 2nd half kick off back for a TD the noise you heard was us.
LAPD detectives hugging the gang members like brothers was a site to see.
And when Gary Green sealed the win for the Rams people who never said a word to each other are sitting next to each oth like brothers.
It's amazing how when your team beats the hated rival and have a few bucks on it we become pals.
The California Bowl was a week later.
It was Fresno St. vs Bowling Green.
The line was 9 1/2 Fresno favored.
Bill's brother Bryce played safety for Fresno.
Bill gives him a call.
Bryce said they won't know what hit them.
Our team speed is going to kill them.
I ask Bill how does he know without playing.
He said when I was the LB at Kansas you could see on film how much fast OKLAHOMA was,
You got scouts.
We would go into norman 90,000 screaming fans and they would dress 60 players
then kick our ass.
If Bryce says speed is on fresno. they will destroy Bowling Green
That's all I wanted to hear.
I put 4 grand on Fresno st.
There had to be 50,000 taking Fresno St.
Score fresno 51 Bowling Green 7
Now everybody thinks Bill has inside information on all games.
And keeps hounding him for info
The date is Dec. 25th 1985.
The strike is coming to and end
They let go 35 red hats except for me and bill.
There was only 10 strikers and that jerk.
Comes the 1 am shift.
A nice looking monte carlo painted pearl white comes in to drop off his his buddy.
As he is leaving the strikers won't let him leave so we run down there.
That jerk takes a box cutter and keys the driver side.
When he heard the noise this black driver calmly gets out of his car to see the the damage.
That punk gets in his face and says "what are you going to do about it you scab nxxxxxxer"
As his ten union brothers screaming kick his ass.
When the two got behind the car.
You knew this punk was in trouble.
Because just with his fingers he push that jerk 3 feet back/
As the jerk takes a step to get in his face.
All I saw from my left eye was his boot is a missile to this guys face.
He did a flying kick his body was parralel.
Hit this punk on the cheekbone.
It was like in slow motion as his eyes rolled back and his head hit the concrete and his legs twitched.
The black gets in a combat stance thinking the 10 strikers were going to rush him.
All they did is yell "get his license number".
The guy gets back into the car and leaves.
The ambulance picks up this guy.
We didn't see nothing as we walked back to our 2 man hut.
And started saying that was the greatest thing we ever saw.
Well there is a Santa.
Because this punk of a man has a broken cheekbone, broken jaw, his neck needs a brace.
That guy turned himself in that night.
He was a black in the milatary.
The rest of the night Bill told me Ram story after Ram story (and he had 100's of them.)
What a december.
Made over 10,000 in 2 months plus an extra 6 grand betting on the Rams and Fresno.
Seeing my Rams win the division over the hated whiners.
Met a great friend in Bill Malavasi.
Saw that punk get what he deserves in an awesome way.
Oh One more thing.
One of the red hats checked if Safeway owed overtime pay.
And in May I got the check for 3100.00.
I love union strikes.
Did your Dad ever get a divorce because of the Rams and Niners? Well, my Pop did.
And I never been more proud.
Let me explain.
My parents were married for 30 years.
My Mom gets cancer and passes away.
My Dad went kind of goofy (lonely) for 2 years.
Then he meets Lorraine from the bay area.
And they decide to get married.
My Dad had pretty deep pockets, but, Lorraine had deeper ones.
Lorraine wanted a big wedding, and got it.
Cost for the wedding and reception was around 75,000 (my Dad would say lorraine paid for it, but, I know he did).
They have been married for less than 3 months when Cindy (my wife) and I pay them a visit.
It happened to be the weekend of the Ram-Cowboy 1980 playoff game.
Right when the game started, Lorraine's nephew,
Chad (he was 20) walks in.
Our Rams were getting hammered by Dallas.
Every time Dallas did something good or the Rams did something bad, this punk would scream "YEAH, YEAH, YEAH".
It's not my house and I don't know these people well so I turned the other cheek.
Then this happened.
Dorsett fumbles the ball and your see Ram and Cowboy players scrambling for it.
I get about an inch from the TV hoping the Rams recover, they don't.
Dallas gets the ball back.
Her Nephew puts his index finger two inches from my face and screams "YEAH, YEAH, YEAH".
I snap and say to him "I am going to knock your fucking teeth down your throat".
Lorraine, who was in the Living room, heard me and wants to know what going on?
I say to her "Your slug for a nephew is a worm".
My Dad tells me to shaddup.
The slug leaves the four of us go out to dinner.
Me and Cindy head back home.
Within 30 minutes of when we left, Lorraine and my Dad get into it.
It was over the Rams, Niners and the slug.
My Dad gets into his Jaguar and heads back to his home in Fresno.
They never see each other again and divorce (married for less than 3 months)
My Dad would have a few drinks and say "You know those God Damn Rams cost me a divorce".
NOW THATS LOYALTY TO THE RAMS
I LOVE YOU POP