We’re kicking off 23ABC’s camp week with California’s newest team — the Rams back in Los Angeles. It's been 23 years, and now they are the closest team geographically to Bakersfield.
While the team has struggled in recent years posting 12 consecutive losing seasons, excitement is high as the team put on pads today for a full contact practice.
This past Saturday there was more than 10,000 fans to watch camp in Irvine.
Gideon Hyman, a 15-year-old from Westwood, made the trip with his dad and two brothers to see Wednesday’s Rams camp. He was so excited once he heard LA would be getting a team that he memorized their current roster.
“I was born in 2001 so I’ve never had a football team here before,” Hyman said. “Pretty cool to have a team here in LA. As soon as I heard we got a team I just hit the books and started learning everything I could.”
Fans aren’t just excited for the chance to see a team, but also for one led by the number overall pick in this year’s draft: Jared Goff.
“You want me to start off with Jared Goff? Sure why not. He had a good day. Jared had a good day,” Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said.
While all eyes were on the rookie quarterback, others were just glad to be home.
TJ McDonald played football in the Central Valley before heading to USC and then the Rams.
“Never thought I’d be playing back here let alone in the Coliseum,” Rams safety TJ McDonald said. “My ticket numbers might be crazy but I’m excited for it just to have them at the game.”
McDonald is joined by a fellow native of the Central Valley, guard Cody Wichmann who said living in Los Angeles has been an adjustment.
“Plenty to do out here, plenty of ways to get in trouble,” Wichmann, from Mariposa, said. “I’ve always tended to keep out of trouble so hopefully I can continue to do that.”
Back in Bakersfield, Rams merchandise has been flying off the shelf since the team announced they’d be returning to California.
“A lot of people in LA so they’ve been wanting a team back and it’s been picking up more,” Luis Rodriguez from Touchdown Sports said. “I think it’s going to be a competition to the 49ers and the Raiders.”