Column: Dear Rams, here are some notes on L.A. reality — and realty

Playboy Mansion

If Rams owner Stan Kroenke is looking for a new residence in Los Angeles, the Playboy Mansion can be had for $200 million.

(Jim Bartsch)

For decades now, L.A. has dreamed of becoming a cultural touchstone — like Oprah, like New York — and now finally we are. The NFL is returning to Los Angeles. This is not another false alarm. This is the real deal, something we cannot get enough of in L.A. — genuine reality.

Do we seem a tad excited? It’s only because nothing really big ever happens here.

To the Rams players and staff, welcome to our busy city by the sea. If at first glance, it seems like a teeming human centrifuge, that’s just our airport.

There are parts of Hollywood and the Westside that are even worse (that left turn off La Cienega, at Wilshire, will just about kill you every time).


Thing is, if you survive LAX, you can probably survive most intersections in Los Angeles.

A few things you should know:

1. In L.A., a frown is the same as a smile. If you pull up and find people scowling, don’t be alarmed. That’s our default expression and probably means we’re happy.

2. In L.A., we don’t read social cues very well. In fact, we don’t read anything very well, except screenplays and real estate contracts. On those, we really focus.


3. Your cheerleader tryouts probably just got way more competitive.

4. Moving from St. Louis, you might’ve taken a bump in the cost of living. Be assured that there is housing for everybody here, at all price points, including tents overlooking freeways. And the Playboy Mansion, which just happened to go up for sale.

That’s where Stan Kroenke will probably live. It’s selling for $200 million. Seriously, that’s a good price. Closer to the water, and he’d be paying a real wad.

So, while Kroenke is moving into Hef’s old mansion, the rest of you will be pricing tiny fixer-uppers in Torrance, or as I call it, “the Beverly Hills for the rest of us.”

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In fact, that whole South Bay has a lot to offer, and I’m not just talking culturally. I’ll wager my entire collection of Idina Menzel albums that you’ll find a place that’s just right for you, with plenty of room for at least one other person.

A quick tutorial on California real estate: Many of the houses here look like doughnut stands. Those go for about a million. The bigger ones, especially in Orange County, look like Courtyards by Marriott. Those run $6 million and up.

If you find something with lots of high ceilings, orange arches and a fake lawn, that’s probably a church. Put an offer in anyway (you can probably flip it).


Whatever you do, get a full inspection before signing anything, and always consider earthquake insurance. That goes for your sparkling new stadium as well.

Very impressive, that Inglewood stadium. I see from renderings that it will have a glass roof. That shouldn’t be a concern, considering it’s a decent distance from the San Andreas fault. Hey, it’s only money anyway.

Of more concern, probably, are the millions of sea birds in that area. I’d consider a glass dome in Inglewood to be a major splatter zone (think of the blimp shots). So, if time allows, you might reconsider all that glass. It’d probably hold in a lot of nasty greenhouse gases as well.

Other than that, we can’t wait to meet you.

You should probably also be aware that L.A. has some defective mythologies about what it means to be a man in this day and age. You might be confused at first, especially you linebackers. After all, what other city can boast both Ryan Seacrest and the Incredible Hulk? That just means we’re very fluid regarding manhood. And that’s a good thing.

Meanwhile, you’ll find that I’m sort of the Genghis Khan of sports journalism, interested mostly in conquest and legacy. Oddly, they left it to me to welcome you.

So, I’ll be at baggage claim when you arrive, the guy in the yak vest and double-horn helmet, holding a gift basket full of walnuts and fruit.

Actually, there’s usually a bunch of us like that. I’ll be the one on the horse.


Follow Chris Erskine on Twitter: @erskinetimes

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