Sunday, December 20, 2009

Never Look Back

On a day when my Oakland Raiders are surprisingly triumphant in a stunning win over rival Denver, I turn to scan by the MLB Baseball classic channel only to find one of my most devastating sports losses ever.

Classic MLB Baseball is airing game 6 of the 2002 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the then Anaheim Angels. I haven't watched nary a highlight from that series since it ended with the Angels hoisting the trophy.

Still riding the high of my Raiders victory I figgahed, what the hell, why not, I'm Good. I was fascinated at first to see the old familiar faces of that last dominating Giants team. The faces of Russ Ortiz, Jeff Kent, Benito Santiago, J T Snow and of course Barry, gave me a fun nostalgic feel.

So I'm flipping back and fourth between the Sunday Night football game featuring Minnesota against Carolina and the MLB channel when by accident I see the full game trailer below. It read as follows:

HD, San Francisco at Anaheim in Game 6 of the 2002 World Series. The Angels rallied for a 6-5 victory after trailing 5-0 in the seventh inning. (Baseball)

Immediately after reading this trailer my heart sank and my body slumped as memories of the Giants choke in game 6 began burning in my chest like a heavy meal at a New York City Italian restaurant. All of a sudden instead of reminiscing about the great players we had I began cursing everything that game deprived us Giants fans of. For those non-baseball fans let me surmise:

The Giants moved from New York to San Francisco in 1958. They'd won the World Series in 1954 against the Cleveland Indians. It would be their last. They've only made it to three World Series after arriving in San Francisco, (1962, 1989, 2002) and have lost all three. in 62 they came back to force a game 7 only to leave men in scoring position on a heartbreaking third out ball hit hard, but not hard enough, by Willie McCovey. In 1989 the Bay Bridge World Series was interrupted in game three by the Loma Prieta Earthquake and their cross-bay opponent recovered quicker than the Giants to sweep the series 4-0. Then there's this 2002 gem of a series. The Giants went into game 6 leading the series 3-2 and a win would make them World Champions, finally. Pitcher Russ Ortiz was throwing shutout ball with a 5-0 lead when in the seventh with one out, Giants manager Dusty Baker pulled Ortiz for relief pitcher Felix Rodriguez. And the rest, as they say, is history.

As I peer back to the MLB Baseball replay it is 0-0 top of the fourth with two outs. I know the Giants meltdown is three innings away, but after typing this post and fighting off more heartburn, I give my fallen baseball heroes a final salute, snatch up the remote and presto, Sunday Night Football, no more heartburn.

I'm not sure when if ever I'll be able to watch any parts of that sorrowful World Series. 2002-03 season turned out just as bad for my Raiders as their season culminated in the debacle at San Diego. Oops, there goes the heartburn again. I can't watch anything from that championship game either. Hopefully one day when the Giants are hoisting the World Series trophy or the Raiders the Lombardi trophy, I'll be able to look back and appreciate these high achieving team's lowest moments in history. Unfortunately, today is not that day. No my friend, Not Today.


Oakland Raiders running back Michael Bush, 18 rushes for 133 yards, 1 td, runs for a touchdown during the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

QB Jamarcus Russell delivers in the clutch..........Finally!

The Oakland Raiders (4-9) go into the Denver Broncos (8-5) home and are triumphant with a game winning drive led by benched, active, benched, active QB Jamarcus Russell.

This win ranks right up there with the one in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago. Starting QB Charlie Frye played great through three quarters plus until with 10:58 left in the fourth he was escorted off the field by trainers. Then came those gut wrenching familiar words from the game announcer:

"Here Comes #2"

The one unknown about those familiar words was the fire burning in #2's will to prove himself worthy. Jamarcus came off the bench and delivered big. On a fourth and 10 after being knocked out for one play he delivered a perfect bullet for a first down to TE Tony Stewart. After that he just caught fire and didn't flame out like in previous outings.

We have to give Jamarcus credit for taking all the criticism, enduring everyone, including the so-called experts, questioning his toughness, leadership and will to win. It might be only one game for most, but for Jamarcus it was a truly defining moment in his inconsistent season. Redemption!

A second win on the road in December for the Oakland Raiders. Congratulations Silver & Black on a thrilling win against a hated yet worthy opponent. Denver did not just roll over and die, they fought to the end. Problem was, they were playing the one team who's seasons live and die with beating them every season. The Oakland Raiders!

Final Score
Raiders 20
Broncos 19

Game balls to RB Michael Bush, Defense and Special Teams

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Was Franz Schubert A Raiders Fan?

Winterreise - Composed 1827
(translation) Winter Journey
Sports Equivalent: Home For The Playoffs

Who Knew?

Approaching Nor'easter Affects NFL Game Times

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. There's a winter storm scheduled to blow through the east coast this weekend, affecting NFL and college football games. The NFL has moved some of their scheduled game times back a few hours to allow for snow clearance prior to games. So far the following teams have pushed back their games:

Chicago at Baltimore
San Francisco at Philadelphia

We Raiders fans know all too well how weird and crazy things can affect the outcome of games played in snow. We carry both good and bad memories of snow games played in Denver as well as New Fumbleland. There's two types of snow games; one being a fluffy snow that gives the game a wintry wonderland look of beauty and has little affect on the game; the other is a wet snow that comes sweeping in like a sleety hurricane causing havoc on player visibility, footing and execution . So which storm will rear its head this weekend? Time will tell.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Saying Something Nice About Denver

As a Raiders fan I've never had anything nice to say about the Denver Broncos or Denver, Colorado for that matter. john elway was a good quarterback, but I didn't get emotional over him finally winning a super bowl. They've had some good running backs in terrell davis and ole skool running back floyd little. Heck, I'll even give horse face Shannon Sharpe his due as a decent tight end, but none of these players rank higher than a C on my sports counter. However, there was this one dude that represented the Broncos for 30 years and was a true hardcore fan before there was such a thing as fans being hardcore.

His name was Tim McKernan, and in 1977 he wore a wacky ensemble to a Broncos game as a result of a bet. Well, he won the bet and much more. Tim became the #1 fan of the Denver Broncos and represented his team well for three decades. He traveled to various football stadiums in his broncos getup and took the good with the bad from rival fans. He even donned his outfit at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, the brave soul.

Tim was what many of us die hard fans strive to be; an ambassador of the games we love and the teams we pledge our allegiance to. If you go online and read the many stories about this guy, how he donated part of the $30,000.00 he earned for the sale of his autographed barrel to a battered women's shelter; how he's inspired young boys at high school football games to wear their own versions of his costume; how he touched his family and friends with his unique character and undying love for his Broncos. Yes, Tim was what a Fan of any sport must remember to be, a humble humanitarian with a love for life and appreciation for Gods immaculate gift of sports to us.

I remember watching NFL football in 1977 and seeing my beloved Dallas Cowboys, yeah Raider Nation I was a cowboy fan as a youngster, whip up on the Denver Broncos in the super bowl. I can't recall many, if any, of the broncos players from back then but I do remember the crazy fan with the cowboy hat and boots wearing a barrel in the cold outdoor football stands. I believe the barrel had an "Orange Crush" soda label on it to represent the nickname of the Bronco defense of that time. I now know the name of that krazy fan as well as the sportsmanlike heart he carried. Again, his name was Tim McKernan, forever known to football fans worldwide as "The Barrel Man."

Who says you can't wear a barrel to heaven?

Tim "Barrel Man" McKernan
Gone But Not Forgotten

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Accidental Death Of Cincinnati Bengal Player

Its a sad day in the arena of sports today. A young football player, Chris Henry of the Cincinnati Bengals, has died after falling from the back of a truck driven by his fiance.

Though there's speculation of a domestic dispute the details are still not clear. Raider Nation salutes the 26 year old who spent the last year turning his life around in a positive way. Henry becomes the
33rd Bengals player to die. He leaves behind two children ages 2 and 1.

Prayer and Blessings!

Two 911 calls shed some light on the incident that led to his unfortunate death:

911 call: Henry in truck

911 call: Henry in road

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Frye Starts, J P Losman Signs

What quarterback controversy? With Bruce Almighty out of the Raiders line-up this coming weekend in Denver, backup Charlie Frye will start at the offensive helm over Jamarcus Russell. This is one of the better Tom Cable moves this season though many may call it a "No-Brainer." We'll at least get a chance to see what Frye brings to the table. So strap on your silver and black helmet Charlie boy, its time to earn your keep and go to work.

In other news the Oakland Raiders signed former Buffalo Bills quarterback J.P. Losman to the roster. Losman has just won the four-team UFL championship with the Las Vegas Locomotives. Should Charlie Frye go down it wouldn't be surprising to see Losman come in as the number two QB over Jamarcus. Should this happen it will mean the end of Jamarcus in a silver and black uniform. And unless Jamarcus agrees to a huge pay cut, or possibly pays a team to invite him to training camp, we might be seeing the last of the #1 draft pick as he strolls away from a failed NFL career.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Raiders Competitive Right Up Until.................

Enter QB Jamarcus Russell for an injured Bruce Gradkowski. Accompanied by the booing Raiders fans Russell's confidence couldn't have been too high. Six sacks and one interception later it was obvious that the former starter and #1 draft pick hadn't learned anything while sitting on the bench. Granted his offensive line wasn't giving him much time, but it begs the question; does the offense believe in Jamarcus? The fans sure don't.

Let's hope that Bruce Gradkowski's knee injury isn't too serious and he returns to quarterback the Raiders next game. If the Almighty can't return to start and finish a game soon, then we find ourselves listening to that infamous tune heard earlier in the season under the Jamarcus reign:

Final Score:
Redskins 34
Raiders 13

Saturday, December 12, 2009

2009 Heisman Memorial Trophy Winner!

Mark Ingram, Alabama Crimson Tide Sophomore Running Back, gets to pose with the Heisman Trophy as he is awarded for an outstanding season of football play. Ingram is the first Heisman Trophy winner in Alabama history, a history rich in American football lore.

Congratulations Mark Ingram!

Roll Tide Roll

TiGer Accident Re-enactment

Since the Tiger Woods incident I've been very reluctant to jump on the bashing Tiger bandwagon by listening to or spreading hearsay. HOWEVER........, this little clip I came across pretty much sums up in my mind what happened. All the other stuff regarding WHY it happened is Tiger's business.

This clip is in Chinese, but stick with it until the re-enactment comes on. Now if only CNN or one of the news outlets here in the U.S. could get away with making such an enactment. Thanks T.A.H, a very fun and informative blogspot.

Before There Was Hip Hop

Monday, December 07, 2009

Raiders-Steelers Re-Broadcast

NFL Replay
will re-air the Oakland Raiders' 27-24 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. ET.

It really was an Immaculate Win for these Oakland Raiders!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Got Quarterback?

Bruce "Almighty" Gradkowski, with 00:15 seconds showing on the game clock, leads the Oakland Raiders past the stunned SuperBowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers "IN 30+ DEGREE BLITZBURGH?"

attempts: 20
completions: 33
yards: 308
touchdowns: 3
Interceptions: 0

The difference was in the Raiders passing game, clicking thanks to Gradkowski's pinpoint passing and movement in the pocket.

Game ball to WR Louis Murphy. The wide receiving corps came through for their biggest game of the season. Johnnie Lee Higgins gets a game ball for taking one for the team, a vicious hit that earned us personal foul yardage on the final touchdown drive. Offensive coordinator gets the nod as the Oakland Raiddahs put up 27 points in executing the play-action-pass to perfection.

The defense couldn't keep Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Rothlisberger from making big plays, but they did enough to stop the Steerler running game late.

QB Bruce Gradkowski has won his last two out of three starts and this return to his Pittsburgh roots is a rewarding homecoming. With family in the stands he he had his brightest day as a NFL player. The Offensive line did a hell-u-va job giving the Almighty time to find open receivers. Meanwhile, the Steelers offense with 'Big Ben" was Booed off the field. Imagine that, the Raiders causing fans to boo a team other than theirs.

Pittsburgh Coach Mike Tomlin on Bruce Gradkowski prior to the game:
"When I watch him on tape I see a guy that's got very good accuracy and pretty good mobility, can release the ball from a variety of body positions and locations," Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. "It seems like he's been a sparkplug for that offensive unit."



Final Score
Raiders 27
Steelers 24
WR Louis Murphy

Receptions: 4
Yards: 128
Touchdowns: 2
Longest: 75

Saturday, December 05, 2009

#2 Alabama Rolling Over #1 Florida Gators

There's still a whole quarter yet to play, but from the looks of it the Alabama Crimson Tide is in full command of the SEC Championship game against #1 Florida. The Gators just haven't been themselves since stepping onto the Georgia Dome turf today.

Meanwhile, the Bama offense, led by junior QB Greg McElroy, is hogging the ball and putting Championship points on the board. The winner will play in the BCS National Championship game held in Pasadena,Ca on Jan. 7, 2010.

If the Crimson Tide keep up the pressure, there'll be a new #1 ranked team come Monday morning. For Alabama it'll be a tasteful payback for last year's SEC Championship Game loss, a see-saw scoring campaign won by the Florida Gators.

4th Quarter Score
Florida 13
Alabama 32

Give'em Hell Alabama!

Message-To-Al Billboard Leased for 4 Weeks

Good work Raider Nation! The "Message to Al" billboard went up on on the Nimitz Freeway (Hwy 880) Dec. 1st and will remain until Dec. 28th, three days after Xmas, in hopes that majority team owner Al Davis will deliver Raider Nation a years overdue Xmas gift. The billboard should be a reminder to all Raiders fans, especially Al Davis, that our team needs GM leadership in order to produce a winning product on the field.

Silver And Black Forever says it best when commenting about the significance of hiring a GM in his "Message To AL" post:

"It isn't rocket science. It isn't a breakthrough idea. It isn't anything revolutionary. It is merely a logical, reasonable solution to making a significant positive change."

So next time you find yourself riding on the Nimitz take time to peek up and view the billboard that represents a Xmas Card to team owner Al Davis, from the loyal yet frustrated Raider Nation. Why even good ole St. Nick finally listened to reason from his elves and approved of a little red nosed reindeer to lead his sled team through a blasting blizzard one foggy Xmas eve.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Drew 'Freakin' Brees Is For Real Folks!

Saints quarterback Drew Brees acknowledged the cheers of the crowd as he left the field after dismantling the Patriots 38-17. Brees threw five touchdown passes as the Saints improved to 11-0. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff )

If you missed the surgical procedure that New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees performed Live on Monday Night Football, then you'd better ask someone who saw it before Brees operates on your team. Brees performance was one for the ages. He carved up the New England Patriot defense as if it were a Thanksgiving Day TurDucKen on John Madden's table. Brady and his offensive cast of Patriots could not compete with the points that Brees and his offensive arsenal seemed to produce effortlessly. And gutsy Patriots coach Bill '4th & 2' Belichick didn't have an answer either.

Drew Brees was so commanding and accurate in his performance that I'm sure Peyton Manning was watching somewhere in awe. At one point he was 15 for 17 passing. All the winning teams of today have that one base quality in their arsenal, a good passing quarterback with generalship of the field. Dare I say it but I must; Drew Brees, barring injury, just may wind up getting his New Orleans Saints team to the Super Bowl this season. And if the (S)aints go marching in to win it all, it'll make last year's cinderella story Arizona Cardinals look like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The Saints are full of talent, both offensive and defensive, and currently sport an undefeated 11-0 record. Look out NFL, the Aints are coming and they' ain't wearing bags over their heads anymore.

Drew Brees Performance in a nutshell: SICK!

His Final Passing Stats: 18-22 for 371 yards and 5 touchdowns. NO INT's

The 5 TD's went to five different receivers, two touchdown plays were more than 65 yards.


Final Score
Patriots 17
Saints 38