Rams Should Have Earned Fan Loyalty

* In response to Georgia Frontiere's comment, "It's like planting corn; if you don't have fertile soil, how is anything going to grow?" ("Rams Owner May Sell Part of Team," May 9): If the Ram organization had used the ideology regarding the fans when they moved to Anaheim, just maybe all those fans they are looking for would be there today and would have been there through their lean and losing years. Sowing a good crop, feeding it and tending it during good times will support you through the rough and bad times. Granted, there are some fair-weather fans who will only support a winning team.

It is difficult for any fan to come out and support a losing team, but it has happened all over the league. It is not because those cities financially supported the franchise or because there are too many sports organizations in the area, it is because their public relations department and management has been astute enough to see the need for the team, as a whole, to become part of the city and to be available as much as possible.

As an example, the Dallas Cowboy owner along with the stadium has provided a sports center with large-screen TVs by the stadium for fans who can't afford a ticket for each game to view home games. Away games are also shown. After home games, the owner, Jerry Jones, along with coaches and players, shows up to express appreciation for the fans' support.

The San Diego Chargers conduct fan appreciation day during preseason so fans can see the new players and get autographs. Kansas City rewards season-ticket holders with the opportunity to sit in the owner's suite during one game for helping recruit new season ticket holders.

Art Modell, owner of the Cleveland Browns, met with the Browns booster club in Los Angeles during one of the team's trips to the area. The San Francisco owner frequently meets in the parking lot prior to games to communicate with the fans. In a well-publicized turnaround, Chuck Knox turned the city of Buffalo on its ear and had all kinds of support from the fans during their lean years.

As a Ram fan for 35-plus years and a season ticket-holder for 10 years, it would be a shame to see the Rams leave Anaheim, but if they do, their bad times are of their own making.

Regardless of wherever they go, they will surely try to plant the same cornfield by throwing corn seed to unfertilized earth and expect it to produce 100 bushels of fans per acre. it may produce for a while, but as it has been in Anaheim the yield will wane again.

"Is there a chance for the Rams to stay in Anaheim?" is not the question. It should be: "What kind of public relations do the Rams need to revitalize an old, worn-out cotton field so it will produce a sustaining crop of fans again?"

TERRY HELMAN

Stanton

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