Is Rams' Shaw phoning home?

November 09, 1994|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,Sun Staff Writer

As if Baltimore NFL fans didn't have enough to be depressed XTC about, now comes word that the Los Angeles Rams president has called people in St. Louis who have urged a move there and assured them the team is leaning that way.

"We're very serious about coming there and really appreciate your support," John Shaw told one letter writer, Bryan Herrick.

Herrick, a guidance counselor at a St. Louis-area community college, said he wrote Shaw a letter in response to one of several write-the-Rams appeals made in St. Louis. Last Friday night, he got a call at home from Shaw, who thanked him for the letter.

"The tone was very upbeat, and he said he was really impressed by the letters he has received," Herrick said. "The last person I expected to hear from was John Shaw."

Herrick's answering machine accidentally recorded the conversation. The recording reveals a brief exchange in which Shaw says the team is "very serious" and Herrick reassures Shaw that the city would back the Rams despite a lackluster history of NFL support.

"I'm glad to hear that. I'm impressed with your mail support and I just wanted to let people know we're grateful for it and hopefully we'll get it done for you," Shaw said on the tape.

"I have gotten so many letters from people in St. Louis that I am really impressed with their support," he said.

Eric Allen, who has organized a Baltimore-based writing campaign called "Wright The Rams," said his group has collected and mailed thousands of postcards from taverns but has not heard back.

"I have not heard of anyone who has said they have heard from John Shaw," said Allen, a salesman and part-time actor.

His group has set up drop boxes to collect the cards, which it then sends to the Rams. But his number is not on the card, so fans hearing back would not necessarily be able to tell him.

He is urging local fans to write Shaw or team owner Georgia Frontiere at 2327 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim, Calif. 92801.

On Monday, another St. Louis letter writer, advertising executive Jim Rindler, got a call from Shaw, who said he was planning to visit St. Louis soon and appreciated the Halloween candy Rindler sent -- along with a note saying "it would be a real treat for you to come to St. Louis."

Shaw said he was "positively inclined" about St. Louis, Rindler told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"He said it would come down to an emotional decision: Are they ready to move out of L.A.?" Rindler said. At least one other St. Louis letter writer also has reported a call from Shaw.

Rams spokeswoman Heidi Sinclair confirmed that Shaw had made calls to fans in St. Louis, but she did not think he had called anyone in Baltimore, or in Anaheim, the team's current home.

Herrick said he interpreted the calls as a sign of seriousness about the negotiations. An entourage from St. Louis and Orioles owner Peter Angelos are scheduled to visit Shaw this week to discuss a possible move.

"I think people here are pretty cautious about optimistic projections. I feel that Baltimore is an excellent football town, and I think they deserve a team," Herrick said.

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