Cheer up, Orlando City, last night was a game you usually would have lost

On a twisted level, I can enjoy tie results. I wouldn’t pay to watch them. I damn sure wouldn’t travel 1,834 miles to see one — much respect to the Iron Lion Firm for that — but if treading water will help my team, I’ll plop in front of the flatscreen with a six pack of tasty Newcastle and root for nothing to happen.

Which is what Orlando City SC got in a scoreless game with Colorado in Commerce City, Colo., on Saturday.

For the Lions, as awkward as this sounds, a tie is a win. The point, at least for the time being, lifts Orlando City above Major League Soccer’s generous cutoff line to qualify for the playoffs. It’s also a moral victory in the sense that positive results on the road in MLS have proven to be difficult. It’s also more evidence that the club did the right thing by firing coach Adrian Heath and replacing him with Jason Kreis.

Kreis is not necessarily a defense-first coach. Heath was a defense-where coach. Under his guidance, Orlando City players were constantly caught off-guard, being forced to commit dangerous fouls at an alarming rate. (Anyone remember those 10 red cards OCSC picked up last year?) Kreis is adding defensive stability to a franchise that has allowed the most goals in MLS in the last two seasons.

Brek Shea is a case study for what has changed with Orlando City. With Heath, Shea often played left fullback and cheated up to join the offense, exposing the Lions to counterattacks. Kreis moved Shea up to right halfback, replacing him with newcomer Mikey Ambrose.

Kaka and Cyle Larin were kept silent for most of the match, true. What is far more important is goalkeeper Joe Bendik was also kept quiet. He only needed to make one save.

A personal quirk: I love that stuff. I love knowing that if my team scores once, I can sit back and chuckle to myself knowing the game is probably over. I love watching the other team get frustrated as a stout defense taunts them like a finger wag from NBA legend Diekeme Mutombo. Defense doesn’t win championships in every sport, but it damn sure helps in soccer.

The Lions are ultimately embracing that.

The upcoming week is vital to the Lions playoff chances. Toronto — with reigning MVP Sebastian Giovinco — plays a midweek game in Orlando. Then the team heads north to play Eastern Conference leading New York City FC.

The week in L.A. sports (8/12/16-8/18/16)

I didn’t post about SoCal sports last week because I was too busy ripping the flesh from my ankles in New York. I averaged 10 miles per day in dress shoes, despite the subway system. I don’t know how women do it in heels. I really don’t.

On the plus side, I learned that my blog needs focus to grow an audience. What type of focus? No idea. So there’s that.

What happened with our favorite teams over the last week? Glad you asked:

Dodgers: The boys in blue took over first place in the last couple of days, which is nice but — and I have daily arguments with people about this — the point is not to win the division. The point is to win the World Series. And this team is unlikely to do that.

Consider these excellent points brought up by the Los Angeles Times on the Dodgers pitching staff.

As a side note, you’ve likely never heard of Joe Davis because Los Angeles doesn’t get to watch Dodgers games on TimeWarner SportsNet, but he’s apparently the heir apparent to Vin Scully — on a year-to-year basis. Davis is a 28-year-old self-described “broadcasting nerd.” Seems nice enough. He currently works with a partner on Dodgers road games, last night with Orel Hershiser.

Davis doesn’t live in Southern California, though, which makes me wonder: If he’s such a broadcasting nerd, wouldn’t you want to hang with Scully for a while?

Rams: More than 90,000 people went to the LA Coliseum to watch an exhibition football game. That’s how stupid the NFL was for not bringing a team here earlier. Angelinos missed football so much that 90,000 of them were willing to leave the Coliseum after the game into that funnel of broken dreams known as the USC parking lot.

Damn, last time I was there for a crowd that big, it was for a Rolling Stones concert. It took more time to leave the parking structure than Mick and the boys spent on stage.

The Rams won with fourth stringers in the fourth quarter, which isn’t good.

An inspired thought from CBSSports.com: Coach Jeff Fisher isn’t as good at assembling a team as you think.

Galaxy: The team has struggled to score recently as its lineup has been missing Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes. LA escaped Colorado with a 1-1 result. Keane returns to action when the team travels across the country to take on New York City FC at Yankee Stadium tomorrow.

Lakers: Nick Young appears to be done with the team, not by his choice. The guy, who in his defense was the victim of the D’Angelo Russell videoclip prank in the spring, has actually attempted to mend fences with the teammate who stabbed him in the back. It doesn’t matter. Russell was the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s NBA draft, and he’s Nick Young. The Lakers can’t find a trade partner. The talk now is that Young will simply be cut.

Meanwhile, the Lakers also signed Yi Jianlian from China. He was a draft bust from 2007. The No. 6 overall pick played 272 games over five seasons, first with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Clippers: Paul Pierce said he will return for a 19th NBA season, according to the Orange County Register.

Kings: People love lists, so the NHL Network created a time killer, “Top 20 Defensemen in the Game Now.” Drew Doughty is No. 1. Not a bad choice. 

Why the Angels must part ways with Mike Scioscia

Growing up, some of my best friends were Angels fans. I don’t know why. You usually don’t ask when you’re young. You just accept it. They’re your friends, after all. So as a teen and young adult, I would keep my pouting to a minimum while they would drive to Anaheim Stadium instead of Dodger Stadium.

Angels games were often a miserable experience. To accommodate the Rams, Anaheim Stadium was converted into this multipurpose monstrosity that looked like Candlestick Park — with the same level of comfort. And my friends wanted to see the Angels beat the better teams in the American League, which meant we were often outnumbered by Yankees and Red Sox fans.

So when the stadium was reconfigured for baseball, and when they finally won their only world championship in 2002, I sent an email congratulating the ones I still had contact with. Your favorite team being a world champ? Few things top that feeling.

Only Mike Scioscia is still the manager then and the Angels haven’t come close since then, unless you count getting clobbered by the Yanks in the 2009 ALCS. He’s been at the helm for 17 years. One title isn’t good enough. He has to go.

For years, national baseball announcers have showered praise on Scioscia as “the best manager in the game,” even though Tony LaRussa and Bruce Bochy might privately disagree. Bochy has won three since 2002.

Besides, it has become abundantly clear to me that Scioscia has steadily accumulated power and favor with team owner Arte Moreno. Scioscia influences personnel decisions, instead of simply asking for particular players. That’s beyond his job description.

As such, he bears responsibility for a fractured major league roster and a minor league system that is far and away the worst in baseball, according to Baseball America and ESPN.

When he was hired by the Angels in 1999, he took over a roster of players assembled for him that included Tim Salmon, Darin Erstad, Jarrod Washburn, Bengie Molina and Ramon Ortiz. All were the core that won the title three years later. Heck, John Lackey was on that 2002 team and he’s still going strong.

Since 2002, Scioscia curried favor with Moreno, who falsely saw an opportunity to become more popular than the Dodgers. Moreno took risks at Scioscia’s behest, signing elite players such as Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and C.J. Wilson. Remember the Dodgers are still paying Carl Crawford $20 million for doing nothing? The Angels are paying Hamilton more to play for the rival Texas Rangers. Pujols is approaching the twilight of his career and nobody really knows where the hell Wilson is.

In baseball, when you go on a free-agent hiring binge, you forfeit top draft picks as the minor-league system withers.

Moreno then shut off the funds. Few people on this earth are made of money. But with no money to invest, no prospects to promote to the major league team, which is currently at 50-70, all you have left is Scioscia’s reputation — which is one world title.

And I haven’t even discussed in depth that idiotic power play last year between Scioscia and former general manager Jerry DiPoto. The GM threw up his hands over Scioscia’s ego and moved on to Seattle, where the Mariners are suddenly respectable.

The Angels long road to a rebuild starts with a proper division of labor: A front office creates a plan for developing a winning team. A manager takes those players and assembles them into a winning unit. The players execute. Their current model is Scioscia banging on Moreno’s door, demanding the front office bends to his will.

If the Lakers could part ways with Pat Riley after four world titles in 1990, there is no reason to suggest Scioscia is more important to the Angels.

He’s not expendable. He’s damaged the franchise for his own ego. And Angels games are again a miserable experience.

Mike Scioscia is the very definition of a manager who should be let go.

Modest praise for the New York sports fan

I want to start by turning back the clock to 1988. I proofread copy for a newspaper in the San Diego area that no longer exists. People there aren’t excited about newspapers. And you really have to prod them into giving a damn about their sports teams — like the Padres making the World Series. Oh, the frontrunners came out from their climate-controlled holes then.

Anyway, on their way to getting their asses kicked by the New York Yankees, all I could hear from Padres fans were how classy they were compared to those east coast scoundrels. I knew this was crap. You can’t keep validating yourself based on the words of Will Ferrell.

But what about the intimidating rep of the New York sports fan? Are they as insufferable as Boston elitists? In need on an in-stadium criminal court system such as Philadelphia?

I attended three sporting events last week in New York — technically two, one was in New Jersey — and I’m here to tell you for the most part I don’t have a problem with them. To be frank, depending on the situation, I’d rather hang out with them than I would San Diego sports fans.

If I were to rank the three based on knowledge, passion and willingness to throw down money on their team, with minus points for stupidity and threatening behavior, it would go:

1) Yankees fans

2) Red Bulls fans

3) Mets fans

With Yankees fans, it depends on where you sit in the House That Ruth Didn’t Rebuild. Yankee Stadium, and as a Dodgers fan it pains me to say this, is every bit the cathedral of baseball one would imagine it to be. If you sit with the Bleacher Creatures in deep right field, you better fake bleeding pinstriped blood. They have the rep of Philly fans, but I must admit to their credit, the roll call is stirring.

After the Yankees take the field, the creatures chant the name of every Yankees player on the field until the player turns and waves back. Considering the game I attended was Alex Rodriguez’s last, the chant for A-Rod brought the house down.

Still, Yanks fans aren’t idiots. They bemoaned A-Rod’s suspension for substance abuse as much as they saluted him. Compare that with Bostonians traveling to NFL offices in New York and holding protests to “free Tom Brady” from his cheating suspension. Yankees fans also can laugh at themselves a little bit and talk in depth about the team.

Red Bulls fans have a little more edge. Even if you don’t like soccer, at least hang out with a supoorters group. They’re the ones having all the fun, anyway.

Their chants include obscenities, more punching at the air than a Billy Blanks Tae-Bo video and a plea to line the other team against the wall for execution. I’ve heard worse. Besides, the South Ward holds thousands chanting in unison. Well, mostly in unison. That’s not an easy trick.

The team does love that support. I prefer the Viking Army or Empire Supporters Club to other rooter groups I’ve come across in Major League Soccer.

I can’t tell you if they know soccer as Yankees fans know baseball. When you’re singing and dancing for a 90-minute soccer game, not to mention on the cusp of alcohol poisoning, you’re not going to hear strategy.

But how do I know that New York fans are just like any other city’s fans? I went to Citi Field to catch the Mets.

Most sports fans that I know refuse to accept reality when their team stinks. It’s always somebody else’s fault, particularly a cheating referee or the local press or ownership. Also, despite claims that a real fan would never leave early…

Put it this way, the first place I went to after arriving in New Jersey was to take the train to Queens to Citi Field. Next to me on this train were four guidos and a guidette who looked like they had just finished an audition for “The Moderately Overweight Jersey Shore,” and they were decked out in Mets gear from head to painted open-toed shoes.

“Hi, could you tell me which train drops you off at Citi Field?”

A guido who forgot the “gym” part of GTL sneered, “Take the Long Island Rail Road.” Then he pointed at me while looking at his friends. “This guy,” he said about me with a dismissive wave and kept talking.

So the Mets got the hell kicked out of them by the woefully inept Arizona Diamondbacks. When Mets fans boo, and boo they did, it was deafening. It was also beautiful. I wish I could download it on iTunes for $1.29.

Citi Field, which I think is actually quite handsome, is not the cathedral Yankee Stadium is. Besides, you can’t cuss in a cathedral the way Mets fans did. Or blame everybody else for your team losing 9-0.

I left early. I don’t care about the Mets or the Diamondbacks. But remember, the most passionate fans are supposedly on the east coast, where it is absolute heresy to leave early.

Or so New York would have you believe. Because legions of alleged die-hards scurried to beat me to the train back to Manhattan. Further points deducted for them talking up the New York Jets going to the Super Bowl this year.

While descending the stairs, I also noticed who I was about to run into: the three guidos. Maybe the guidette traded up for the Yankees. No idea.

But know this, the next time your team is slapping around the New York Islanders or the Jets and you know there’s going to be traffic and you have to work early tomorrow — leave early guilt-free.

Because if the random New York fan says you’re not a real fan — unlike the loyalists in New Yawk — I can tell you he’s full of more poop than an obese man’s bedpan.

They’re the same as you. Good in some ways, not so much in others. It’s just sports.

“America’s Sweetheart” is black again, and that matters

Having missed out on much of the Rio Olympics, because I prefer exploring the country instead of planting myself in front of the television, I only heard about Simone Biles and her four medals — three of them gold — after the fact.

Here’s what I haven’t heard about her yet: I haven’t heard the nickname bequeathed to these exemplary feminine athletes, “America’s Sweetheart.”

Side note to the seething mass of cynics who relentlessly seek microaggressions: I’m not interested in what you think of calling a lady a “sweetheart.” It doesn’t cheapen their accomplishments. If anything, it endears our Olympic gymnastics and figure skating champions to the nation for their athleticism and charm.

It also is a nickname that can help make them fabulously wealthy.

But back to the topic. In the past, the sports press handed out that nickname to our country’s top female Olympic gymnast — Mary Lou Retton, Kerri Strug, etc. Dorothy Hamill was America’s Sweetheart in figure skating, as was Michelle Kwan and Nancy Kerrigan.

America’s Sweetheart is black, just as it was four years ago with Gabby Douglas. It matters not just for Biles, but for a culture that needed to recognize the beauty, power and femininity of black women.

I do not consider myself an expert on racial relations, but I know an advancement when I see it. Also, having been in an interracial marriage, I absolutely see the beauty in women of all races. 

I know this to be true because of former Olympic figure skater Surya Bonaly of France in particular, not that she was supposed to be America’s Sweetheart. But the description sportswriters back then of her and other black female athletes was one that sounded simultaneously benign and racist. I like to refer to them as nonstereotype stereotypes.

How is that possible?

“Surya has such amazing athletic ability. She may be the best athlete in the competition, but she just doesn’t have the artistic capabilities that the judges are looking for.”

Translation: The snobs in the judging gallery don’t think black girls can express elegance.

Dick Buttons, legendary skating commentator, said that about Bonaly back in the early 1990s.

It’s a similar description that I heard for many years with black quarterbacks in the NFL. Oh, the broadcasters would never say it about black quarterbacks as a group, but individual ones? Well, “he can run and man, can they throw, but the question is can he master an NFL playbook? Can he lead a team to a Super Bwol?” Translation: quick, strong and stupid.

Do you recall hearing that about Kendall Stewart, Michael Vick, Duante Culpepper, Warren Moon? I do. Only recently have sports broadcasters dropped that nonstereotype stereotype. Perhaps it’s because people forgot about Doug Williams. We have Russell Wilson to thank for that.

We also have Biles and Douglas to thank because their athleticism, coupled with exemplary grace, broke a glass barrier that isn’t as historic as Jackie Robinson playing for the Dodgers, but it matters to us all in the country. It matters to the girls who were little and wondered why their were no black Barbie dolls. Or to the millions of young women who wondered why their TV screens were filled with blondes.

America’s Sweetheart is a black girl.

And that is a beautiful thing.

Thoughts on the Writers Digest Conference 2016

Finally, a moment of solitude on the second floor of the Midtown New York Hilton. I’ve been by myself for about a half an hour on Sunday morning, which I presume will lead to a graceful close to an event that drew about 800 wordsmiths. It’s the most relaxed I’ve been since I’ve arrived in New York on Thursday. It won’t be that way for much longer.

Because, and in my view this is a compliment, the 2016 Writers Digest Conference is not for the meandering.

This blog post is for those aspiring authors who wonder if the investment is worth it. In my view, it surely is, with two caveats:

1) If you’re expecting an agent to melt in a puddle with your handshake and speak in tongues with ethereal joy as they hand you a contract, then it isn’t worth it because you are delusional. Your expectations are as unreal as the open micers I knew in Hollywood who expected to get a job offer from Conan O’Brien after three minutes of stolen jokes at The Laugh Factory. (I’ll address what your expectations should be in a moment.)

2) Whenever anyone pursues a career in professional entertainment, people will ask if you are “serious about it.” For example: “Yo, bro, our band blends ska with bluegrass with a splash of hip-hop and we really need someone who plays the harpsichord, so if you want in that’s cool… But you better be serious.”

To trek to #WDC16 — a platform-friendly hashtag — is like answering reveille to a boot camp with laptops. Far friendlier than Sgt. Foley in “An Officer and a Gentleman,” but you had better be prepared. You can get far more out of it with a plan. You’ll get far more out of it if you already have a completed manuscript. You’ll surely get more out of it with business cards.

I offer no reviews of the individual instructors, save one, because they tend to change. Pay rapt attention to Chuck Sambuchino, who runs the Saturday “pitch slam” and offers a course prior in how to effectively communicate with the agents. Sambuchino — I’m tempted to call him Chuck because he was so driven and helpful — managed to effectively run four separate “slams” where as many as 800 people had opportunity to pitch a conference room with dozens of agents.

How many agents? More than enough. I’d count, but I’m tired. You get about 90 minutes to pitch. You have a list of agents and what their passions are, so that you can focus on those who might share your vision. Sambuchino updates the list on his blog up to the date of the slam. You’ll also get a map so that agents are easy to locate in the room. And Sambuchino — I can’t give him enough credit for this — was circling the room. If an agent was without a writer to chat with, he would look at a longer line and ask if anyone wrote that agent’s favorite genres.

“Does anyone here write YA? You? Go there! Go there!”

Now, I didn’t need to, because I had paid attention to the man beforehand, fine-tuned my pitch on his advice and had my plan. As such, I spoke with about nine agents. That’s far more than I have accomplished with a flurry of query e-mails.

I did not attend a special one-on-one with an agent, which is a separate option requiring additional payment. I can’t tell you if it is worthwhile.

As for the classes, the instructors in most courses understood implicitly that those in attendance were more concerned over their own futures. As such, the curricula was solution-centric. How much should you dedicate to plot? How the devil do you come up with a plot twist? And dammit, what the hell is “showing, not telling” anyway? 

The speakers — and this was another benefit to this conference — avoided pretentiousness. I had attended two other conferences. I dreaded coming to this one because I didn’t want to hear another four days of “I don’t write because I do it well. I write because (dramatic pause) I must!” I want to commend the speakers for not once mentioning their muse.

I have one quibble, though. I prefer individual speakers as opposed to panels. Panels tend to focus on the panel, not the writer in the audience.

Finally comes the question of value. This conference is not particularly affordable unless you plan ahead. The conference offers you a discount at the New York Midtown Hilton, $249 per night. Thus, you’re out another grand if you fly in and don’t have friends or family in the area. If you have the money, invest it. I’m sure the rooms here are quite swanky and therapeutic.

I’m a cheapskate, though. This is how I afforded the conference: I used a discount carrier and flew into Newark, N.J. Get a hotel by the airport. You’ll chop at least $500 off your lodging. The New Jersey Transit isn’t a great mode of transportation, but it will get you to Penn Station. You transfer to one subway and you’ll be dropped off a block from the Hilton.

Granted, it’s not as relaxing as going back to your room after classes, but this was a business trip to me.

Because, bro, I am serious.

Anyway, I have to go. My moments for solitude? They’re gone. People are arriving.

New York vs. Los Angeles… or how to tell your butt from these two holes in the ground

There’s been a transcontinental gripefest brewing for decades that I hope will end tonight. After all, I have now spent 13 hours in New York and I tell you, I feel like I already know the place.

Because both of these cities are too much alike for this idiotic argument to take place.

The similarities abound.  Take immigration. New York welcomed generations through Ellis Island. L.A. looked at Mexico and said “f— it.”

They both have skyscrapers, although New York has more of them. They have two basketball teams each. The Yankees have more titles than the Dodgers. But judging from that tribute to Jackie Robinson at Citi Field, the Mets clearly wish they were the Dodgers.

New York has more subways. L.A.’s are marginally cleaner. Tourists love New York for the glitz of Times Square, but I’m here to tell you that place is just Hollywood Boulevard with more billboards. They even have the same guys in superhero outfits begging strangers to take photos for cash. Same fat guy playing Spider-Man, too. Seriously, Peter Porker, no magic web is going to hold up that descending belly.

I have a lot of friends in stand-up comedy. Which scene is better? No idea. You think I’m going to spend an evening in a comedy club? After I spent the better part of a decade hearing penis jokes night after night? Sure, an evening of wacky fart material would be a special treat.

I will say this, though. Nobody in NYC comedy complains about Caroline’s the way LA does The Comedy Store.

On the subway home to my hotel, which Expedia forgot to mention was in the center of a Bermuda Triangle of strip clubs, I spent a bit of time thinking over this argument. It really has raged on and I can’t see why we must have this pissing match.

And that’s when the tiebreaker occurred to me.

Pissng match? New York only thinks it smells like piss. Los Angeles actually does. I know this for a fact.

New York wins.

Brace yourselves: I think the dude is going to win Florida

A “decision 2016” report from a swing state:
I have now seen both major party candidates for president speak in person — DT in Jacksonville and HRC in Kissimmee. (Some readers will note I hate using the candidate’s names because in our hypersensitive times, even the name of the candidate draws an odd, almost nonsensical, amount of anger.)

Why both major candidates? Celebs don’t impress me much. You know how it is when you live in Los Angeles. But I saw President Reagan speak. Seeing a president or a potential one? That impresses me. President Obama came to Orlando after the Pulse nightclub terrorist shooting. Had his event been a public one, I would have gone.

Anyway, I’m in Florida now. It goes like this. I have no clue about the general election, but I think the dude is going to win this state.

She (again, avoiding names) spoke to about 3,000 where I saw her. Not bad, but there are two problems.

One, had I known the Pulse nightclub shooter’s Dad was in the house, I probably would have passed.

Two, the male candidate had two rallies the day I saw him last week. He allegedly spoke to 8,000 at one in Daytona. Where I saw him in Jacksonville, he covered the floor and the lower bowl of an arena just a little smaller than where the Anaheim Ducks play. The campaign called it 15,000. I think that’s an exaggeration. I think it was about 10,000.

I also see far more bumper stickers and signs for him than her in most of the state. Heck, some people created their own signs for him. I even saw some for Bernie Sanders, but I see very few HRC bumper stickers around much of the state.

There is an energy to the DT campaign in this swing state.

For HRC to win Florida, it appears Debbie Wasserman-Shultz is going to have to carry Miami by an insane margin. And I’m not driving four hours to hear either of them speak down there. This political hobby of mine is a little silly, but I’m not that obsessive. If I were, please notify the Secret Service.

I offer no analysis of what either candidate said. I don’t trust either of them. I can only offer this semi-anecdotal account of enthusiasm plus the sheer volume of people willing to see the candidates.

I will also concede that his rally was a lot louder and raucous. There were more protestors at his rally, including the weird ones. Some idiot dressed as Pikachu with a sign begging “Mr. Trump, please don’t deport me.” I have no idea what nationality the guy was or if he was a natural-born citizen. I wanted that nut deported.

Some of his supporters were only too happy to confront the protestors. I didn’t see any fights, but that rally wasn’t a completely calm event, either. Neither side in Jacksonville was morally pure.

But Florida is a purple state. I like living in a purple state. Most people here are content letting you have your opinions because most of us don’t adhere to a party line like it’s holy writ. I spent most of my life in California, where over time it became not just left-leaning, but midnight blue. It’s incredibly difficult to have a conversation in that environment. I know far too many people there who aren’t interested in polite debate. They are only interested in capitulation.

Meanwhile, I saw billboards in Texas demanding the state leave the union. That’s not just right-leaning, that’s blood-dripping red. I liked a lot of the area around Dallas, I must say, but I’m not sure I want to live in that state, either. I don’t want to be surrounded with people who vote conservatively like I do.

I’m comfortable enough with my beliefs to have them respectfully challenged.

So we know from experience that she will win California no matter what and he will win Texas no matter what. The electoral maps tend to be the same for the last 20 years with the exceptions of states such as Ohio and Florida.

And I’m telling you, like it or not, the gut feeling here is he wins Florida.

For once, I’m dreading the NFL season

We all have different sets of friends, because we go through different phases in life.

With regards to professional football, I have two phases. Two sets of friends align themselves rather neatly with those phases.

There are the people who have known me for much of my adulthood, as a fan of the Oakland Raiders.

Then there are the people who knew me growing up, when I loved the Los Angeles Rams.

If you are a male sports fan, you’re going to see where this gets awkward really soon.

The Rams were the first professional sports team in Los Angeles, arriving from Cleveland in 1946, predating the Lakers and Dodgers by quite a few years. They spent almost 50 years in SoCal, establishing an identity of rugged line play and those super-cool ram horns on the helmets, the first ever design on NFL headgear.

They were often threats to get to the Super Bowl, but never won one. Didn’t matter. I still think Eric Dickerson might be the greatest running back who ever lived. I still think Jack Youngblood playing in a Super Bowl with a broken leg is one of the most macho things I’ve ever seen. And this is one damn cool way to finish an NFL playoff game.

Only they left for St. Louis in 1994. I was going to tell you why they left, but then I looked at what I was writing and this post was turning into a treatise on why I’m happy owner Georgia Frontiere is dead. I erased all of that. Perhaps another rant…

Anyway, considering how American men love football, I was an oddball in that I had no favorite football team for years. There was no way in hell I would ever root for the St. Louis Rams. One of the darker days of my life was when Kurt Warner led them to a Super Bowl win. I was absolutely furious.

After at least five years of vacantly staring at Animal Planet on Sundays, I started rooting for the Oakland Raiders. Why is another long story that I will skip. But I stuck by the Raiders for many lean years, including three as a season ticket holder. The Raiders current run of missing the playoffs stands at 11 seasons. When I choose a team to root for, I am nothing if not faithful.

Or am I?

Because the Rams have moved back to Los Angeles. They’ll be playing in the Coliseum in downtown until a new stadium is constructed in Inglewood. Their first game with “Los Angeles” back in the name comes Saturday.

And I’m truly torn. Not weeping into a velvet handkerchief torn, but this is more of a midlife crisis than when I noticed my hair was thinning.

It’s kind of a man law. You’re not supposed to ditch favorite teams unless the circumstances are extreme. There would be no such thing as Mets fans had the Giants and Dodgers not left New York for California. This is akin to the Dodgers rebuilding Ebbets Field and returning to Brooklyn.

I caught myself looking at Rams gear online today. That cool ram horn logo. “Welcome back” sweatshirts. Then photos of the team working out in the Coliseum, where I watched them play when I was a child.

Only now the Raiders are a pretty damn good football team and I stuck with them through thick and thin. And there was more than a decade of thin.

There is no simple answer. The Raiders have been like a bitter second wife who realized you might leave and took up a Zumba class to avoid a divorce. The Rams are like a high school sweetheart you just happened to run into a month after she had breast augmentation.

I’d say I’d pray over it, but even Pope Francis can’t excuse this.

I have maybe a month before the regular season kicks off to figure it out.

Normally, I don’t buy “the old days were better” argument…

But millennials aren’t having sex, according to recent reports. Or if they are having sex every so often, they’re not interested in … Oh, who cares explaining why? There are plenty of Google links for you to get caught up in the minutiae.

I’m not interested in why my generation was better. I just know now that it was.

Because sex is amazing. The more I get of it, the happier I am.

If you are running in the middle of the street to catch Pokemon, but too lazy to poke… If you spend your free time crafting odes to the thespians in the new “Ghostbusters,” but don’t want to bust one out to…

It’s getting really difficult to explain how great sex is without sounding like a creep with horrible puns. Guys, you’re just going to have to trust me on this one.

Pursuing sex is worth it. Not just the act, but the thrill of the chase. There’s nothing on this earth like meeting, attracting and eventually seducing a pretty girl. Not video games. Not Netflix and chill.

Understand, I’m honestly not the type of guy who gets misty-eyed over the good ol’ days. In many respects, the good ol’ days were horrible. When something is detestable today, at least it’s overwith faster. Take music: Tchaikovsky’s piano concerto in A minor is widely regarded as a piece of crap that takes almost an hour to perform. “Bitch, I’m Madonna” from 2015 is like genocide for the ears, but takes only four minutes. Advantage, the future.

Or the good things tend to be better today. It took Titian three years to paint Venus of Urbino. It only takes a drunk girl 15 seconds to pull off her bra for topless selfies. Advantage, the future.

But know this, there’s more to the female form than held in the confines of your smartphone screen.

So millennials, I really want you to know in what passes for your souls that I didn’t jump on the “the next generation is going to ruin society” bandwagon until I knew with certainty that you were, biologically speaking, going to ruin society. I’m from generation X. I have file cabinets full of stupidity to hang my head over. For example, this

We started my generation with this, threw in a couple of exploding space shuttles and ended with this.

So we sure as hell weren’t perfect.

But when things went horribly wrong, we knew that happiness was just one drunk naked girl around the corner away. We win.

If y’all young whippersnappers don’t appreciate whipping it in snapper, I can’t help you.

Dammit, another horrible pun. Whatever. Stop mansplaining your solosexuality, put on some nice clothes and hit the club.