And then there were two ... NFL teams in Los Angeles. The Chargers are moving north, the team announced today, and will eventually share a stadium with the Rams in Inglewood. Until that venue opens, probably in 2019, the Chargers will play at the 30,000-seat StubHub Center in Carson.
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Dave Roberts moved to San Diego in 1984 and called the city home during a baseball career that has carried him across the country. He played and coached for the Padres. He rooted for the Chargers, developing an affinity for stars like Junior Seau and LaDainian Tomlinson.
Even now, as manager of the Dodgers, he still lives in San Diego County during the off-season. So he settled on an understandable refrain Thursday morning, when the Chargers officially announced their departure from San Diego for Los Angeles. The word “disappointing” came up often as he discussed the move with The Times.
“For me, as a part of the community, for the franchise itself, it’s just very disappointing that it would have to come to this,” Roberts said in a telephone interview. “Because it seems like moving shouldn’t have been an option. But obviously the Spanos family has their reasons.”
Chargers owner Dean Spanos announced the move in a letter on his team’s website. Spanos had spent more than a decade negotiating with the city of San Diego about finding a replacement venue for Qualcomm Stadium, which was built in 1967, six years after the Chargers left their original home at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and embarked south.
The Chargers are expected to share a stadium with the Rams in Inglewood. Rams owner Stan Kroenke moved the Rams out of St. Louis last winter. While the new stadium in Inglewood is being built, the Chargers are expected to play at the StubHub Center in Carson, the home of the MLS’ Galaxy.
Meanwhile, San Diego, the eighth-largest city in America, will be left with a lone sports franchise, the perpetually bottom-dwelling Padres.
“As a fan and a San Diego native, it’s disappointing,” Roberts said, “because you associate the Chargers as our hometown team. But I think if there’s any city that can handle and support two NFL teams, Los Angeles certainly is a city.
“Selfishly, me living up in Los Angeles, it makes it easier for me to see the Chargers. But as a San Diego native, it certainly is disappointing that a city like this, at any point in time, wouldn’t have an NFL team.”