Escondido, CA

Chargers’ drawn out departure has grown old

Well, among the countless criticism that can be leveled at the Chargers organization, this would be foremost among my hit list – it simply has no clue about when to get out of Dodge or to be more precise, San Diego.

Yes, logistical issues have probably greatly complicated things and made a more hasty departure a real challenge, but the sense here is that Owner Dean Spanos and his administrative underlings haven’t exactly been in a heated rush to make the transition up to their new, temporary headquarters in Costa Mesa. Calling their next digs the “Hive” is rather amusing because when it comes to getting things done with dispatch, the Chargers haven’t exactly been as busy as bees.

The fact that the Chargers would adopt any kind of an Orange County address is somewhat curious since they now belong to Los Angeles. We’ve heard plenty from the Chargers about what a great market they’re entering but if it’s so ideal, couldn’t the Bolts have found somewhere within the vast expanse of L.A. County to have settled?

Again not knowing the specifics about their hunt for a suitable site as to where to alight, perhaps O.C. was the only viable option available but somehow that doesn’t quite compute. It’s as if Spanos is playing an incremental game, going from S.D. to O.C and then perhaps ultimately to L.A. although supposition has it that a permanent team facility will most likely reside somewhere from Long Beach going south. L.A appears to be nowhere in the mix. How’s that for not getting any love from your new flame?

Though the team is apparently in the process of moving its ticket and marketing personnel up the 405 this month, it still has until the end of June to totally vacate the Murphy Canyon complex of the rest of its staff.  But even with that timeline, this whole transition seems as if it has dragged on interminably. By giving the impression of possibly lingering and staying too long at the dance, the pain of an acrimonious breakup between the team and city has been further exacerbated. Like salt to a still festering wound, the Chargers’ continued presence at the facility on Murphy Canyon stings a local fan base that has already been abused enough.

Though the Chargers did conduct draft-related events at both Disney and in the city of Carson, they nonetheless held their actual draft doings from right here in San Diego. And regardless of the logistical hassles and potential nightmare that moving their draft proceedings would have caused, from a public relations standpoint, this decision made for a visual that was just plain bush.

To San Diego, this was another slap to the face having to witness the turncoat Chargers conduct such high-profile business right within its midst. And what of L.A? Not having the inaugural draft of the rebranded Chargers take place somewhere in the City of Angels just smacked of disrespect and taking the lazy way out. But it’s good to know that as far as ingratiating himself to the masses, Spanos remains at a loss and out to lunch.

It’s been since mid-January that the Chargers declared their intention to cash in on what figures to be a huge money grab by migrating to Smogsville. Since then, it’s been an excessive, drawn out farewell punctuated by frankly, too much news about the Chargers that only serves to irritate and anguish those fans left behind.

The saga of the Chargers as it pertains to their former home has long since run its course. Locals are trying to move on and get past a decidedly distasteful episode. But the Chargers, both through their dubious actions and continued presence in town, come across a carpetbaggers trying to take advantage of virtually everyone.

Could Spanos have hastened the process to exit and thus spared the Charger faithful and the general populace unnecessary grief? Who can know for sure without being privy to his inner sanctum, not to mention what appears to be a sometimes convoluted brain. My guess is that someone more resourceful, motivated and with considerably more tact would have been out of here by now.

By sticking around for what seems like such an extended period of time, Spanos invokes the image of an ungrateful guest who is no longer welcome but doesn’t have the good sense and decency to take off and leave. Too bad someone didn’t have the chance to apply a persuasive kick to his posterior that might have gotten him to react sooner. He no longer belongs in San Diego or even Dodge for that matter.

Players’ posture understandable

One final sidebar that this writer would like to add concerns the reaction of the Charger players about the team’s relocation.

In general, some of those willing to go on the record did take time to thank the San Diego community for its loyal and heartfelt support. But revealingly, plenty of the players seemed to have quickly moved on and made an emphatic point of embracing their new home. Listening to some of their talk, it was as if their San Diego experience was so far in the rearview mirror that its relevance was now completely in the past.

Though this reaction is certainly understandable given the need to forge ahead, being somewhat of a San Diego partisan, it nonetheless struck the wrong chord with me. I thought to myself, damn, how soon they forget! Couldn’t they have been a tad more respectful of what’s been while simultaneously anticipating the new?

It also got me to thinking that wouldn’t it have been beyond delicious if one of the Chargers had actually come out publicly and if not blasted, then at least forcefully questioned the move. Oh man, would that have been a storyline worthy of coverage.

Yeah, I know, that was never going to happen because of the potential blowback and fallout inherent with such a bold stance. Naturally, these guys have to cover their own backsides and aren’t going to jeopardize their careers by being critical of management in general or Spanos in particular. Putting yourself out in there in such a fashion with your head, in essence, on the chopping block is simply asking too much of someone.

It would have taken extraordinary gumption and resolve to have ventured down such a path but how compelling a scenario that would have been.

Imagine a player with standing like Phillip Rivers, Antonio Gates or Melvin Ingram going to bat for S.D. and calling out Spanos for abandoning the city and deserting an historic football town. I mean, really taking the Bolt owner to task for what many believe to be an unconscionable act. Hell, if someone had done that, the citizenry might have recalled Kevin Faulconer and installed that gutsy dude as the next mayor.

But I dream on. Self-preservation and an unwillingness to rock the boat insured that such a possibility would never come to fruition.

And yet, admit it now. Who among you wouldn’t have delighted in seeing a marquee name player engaging in some serious verbal gunfire with Spanos or any of his mouthpieces over the Chargers departure? That alone would have made this unfortunate parting almost worthwhile.

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