L.A. Kings celebration even brings out Rams fans
Some opportunistic advocates saw the L.A. Kings victory parade as a golden chance to talk about things that had nothing to do with hockey.
With thousands of Kings fans gathered in essentially the same place, some used downtown Los Angeles as a soapbox Thursday to spread the gospel, advocate for the city’s old football team, and try to turn a big profit.
The Kings may have defeated the New Jersey Devils, but to at least one group, the fight isn't over between heaven and hell.
Gathered at Figueroa Street and Olympic Boulevard, a Christian group seized on the massive gathering to urge people to repent and believe in Jesus Christ.
One man used a microphone and radio to preach to people about believing in the Bible. He held a cross, on which was written, "Judgment Day coming."
Others stood with large banners that read "Christ will return to judge."
The Cerritos-based group arrived to save souls about 9 a.m., according to Priscilla Crawford, a member of the group. There were up to 15 members who were scattered throughout the parade route, she said.
At the same street corner, fans of the Los Angeles Rams were adorned in the throwback uniforms. The team moved from Los Angeles to St. Louis after the 1994 season, but with a new football arena in the works, some believe the team could return.
Tom Bateman, 41, and three others posed for photos at the street corner after grabbing people’s attention with their banner: "Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams."
Kings fans clapped and shook hands with the group, many supporting the cause.
"The NFL is possibly coming back to L.A. and if it is, it should be the first team that was here, and that's the Rams," Bateman said.
The group travels to different Los Angeles sports-related events to build support for their cause. Since they started their advocacy efforts more than two years ago, they have received 5,000 likes on their Facebook page and gained 500 Twitter followers.
"We're just trying to make a wrong into a right again," said Joe Ramirez, 51, a supporter.
Meanwhile, many vendors trying to earn a buck by selling Kings merchandise suffered a day of loss.
"Lakers fans are better," said vendor Rafael Lopez, 55. "I haven't sold anything."
Lopez, who recently lost his job as a chef, said he's made at least $400 selling ice cream at past parades. "I'm not even close to $80," he said Thursday.
"There's a lot of difference," added Jesus Martinez, 38. "I have sold all of my product at Lakers events and parades."
Martinez said he was expecting to do well because the parade was going to draw a huge crowd for a team that won it' first championship.
"I think the fans are just too emotional," Martinez said. "They probably don't even realize we're here."
-- Ruben Vives
Photo: The group Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams goes to sports-related events to raise support for their cause. Credit: Ruben Vives / Los Angeles Times