There are pockets of hope. In Minnesota, resistance to building a new stadium for the Vikings has been fierce — so much so that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell popped in the other day to deliver a not-so-subtle message. He surely let it be known that he's got Los Angeles on speed dial, ready to send them another team if the Land of a Thousand Lakes won't agree to pay for more than half of a $1 billion stadium that owner Zygi Wilf (estimated net worth: $1.3 billion) just has to have.
Here's how Minnesotans should respond: Hey, Zygi, you come up with the bulk of the money. After all, you're going to be the prime beneficiary of a new stadium, which will surely send the value of your franchise — along with your net worth — soaring even higher. If you see things differently, take a hike.
While plenty of loyal fans would undoubtedly be heartsick over losing their beloved Vikings, they'll survive. Just ask the city that now has its eye on your team. Los Angeles lost not one but two NFL franchises (the Rams AND the Raiders) in one swoop during the 1990s. Did L.A. fall apart? Hardly. Same for Seattle, which hasn't missed a beat since its NBA team, the Sonics, bolted to Oklahoma City because they didn't get a new arena.
This is the great ruse that owners, politicians and a few very influential people in most of our major metropolises have been able to pull off. They've persuaded us that we'll be less of a city, and therefore not quite as important as people, if we don't have a big league team in our midst. Over the last 20 years, the tab for building and renovating facilities for the NFL, Major League Baseball and the NBA stands at roughly $27 billion, much of it our money.
Well, it's time for the gravy train to stop.
If our favorite team wants to leave because we won't hand over the keys to the city vault, good riddance.
Most of the games are on TV anyway.
Paul Newberry is a national writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at pnewberry(at)ap.org or www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.