Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rams Fans Put Their Devotion into Practice

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rams Fans Put Their Devotion into Practice

Article excerpt

A fairly astounding thing happened Saturday afternoon. The Rams held a glorified practice and about 7,500 fans came out to watch.

I wish Paul Tagliabue could have seen this.

Better yet, I wish Jerome Bettis could have been there. J.B. is still our guy, but he doesn't know what he's missing.

Bill Bidwill wouldn't have believed his eyes.

The Rams are so popular, we can only assume that Mike Keenan would like to trade them all to Hartford.

You're not in Los Angeles anymore, guys.

The circumstances weren't ideal for a large turnout. The day was steamy and unforgiving, best spent submerged in a swimming pool. The sun was fired up, too, as the temperature sizzled around 100 degrees.

Maryville U. charged a $10 admission to raise funds - appropriately - for the purchase of air-conditioning. The price didn't scare many customers away.

Fans filled most of the bleacher space on both sides of the field at Kirkwood High. Others nestled in and got comfortable on the slopes of cool grass, under shade trees.

There were tailgate parties, barbecues, a Dixieland band, hospitality tents, cheerleaders, valet parking and a police escort for a three-bus caravan of Rams players and coaches.

All of this . . . for a practice?

I'm sorry, but could someone please tell me when St. Louis became Dallas? Wasn't this supposed to be a baseball town? And this was just the warm-up for those fall Sundays.

"What a nice surprise," linebacker Shane Conlan said. "It's going to be fun playing here."

That's because of enthusiastic, football-hungry fans. Saturday offered the first real opportunity for a peek at the Rams in a semi-official setting: an intrasquad scrimmage featuring full contact and those NFL Films-caliber grunts and groans.

The fans wanted that up-close look at their new team. There were big cheers for the former Cardinals fullback, Ron Wolfley. A nice ovation for the ex-Redskins quarterback, Mark Rypien. Ryp may have the early lead over Chris Miller in the fan voting. …

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