C'mon, Scott Ostler, do you get some kind of perverse enjoyment from kicking a team when it's down? What's the point? This is America, Scoop, and only cub reporters have to stoop to, "When last spotted, the Valley Express was going over the hill" to get column space. You'd show a lot more class with a little support than you do by trying to create your own obits. If you like, we'll write a letter of introduction for you to Jim Murray. Maybe you can get into his Sportswriting II class: "Satire without resorting to cheap shots."
We realize that you big city reporters look down your word processors at us insignificant Valleyites, but there's a million-and-a-half of us out here, and we don't think so much of your side of the hill either. Fer shure. You urban types just love to say, "Nah, there's nothing worthwhile in the Valley," but you sure like our tax base and our percentage of major sports ticket sales. Valley secession is still a viable concept--we'd be the seventh-largest city in the country and certainly a major market for sports.
We'd love to see the USFL bring the Express to the Valley. We'll support 'em. We like hot dogs, apple pie, Chevvies and underdogs. We don't like Coliseum traffic, Dodger Stadium parking, "L.A." teams that play elsewhere and snide inferences by snob reporters about where we choose to live, like "remote area" and "Death Valley."
We also don't like cheap shots at the players who "actually showed up for the opening kickoff," even if softened by vague references to "heart" and "decent fight." These guys have guts to keep playing under the circumstances. Wonder how many column-inches you'd write if you weren't sure you'd be paid or if The Times was bankrupt and owner-less. These guys are playing despite the front-office problems and possible repercussions to their careers.
If you absolutely must snipe at something, pick something that really needs it: the utterly inept officiating. You were probably too busy counting the crowd to notice.
See, Scoop, we in the great unfranchised boondocks still believe the measure of a team is in the guts of its players, not the size of its bankroll.
RANDALL and DONA PUGH