Sunday, September 29, 2013

Missing A Spare - Raiders Find Themselves Stranded

Once in my youth, with my newly purchased used Dodge Dart car, I took a road trip that today I would call foolish and destined to fail. I'd just bought the Dart, a 1968 rust-bucket with a dependable slant-6 engine, and couldn't wait to hit the road.  

The car wasn't much to look at, but it always started up regardless of weather or wear. The problem with it from the get go though was while the engine was un-killable, the rest of it had seen its best days and was heading to hell in a handbasket piece by piece.

But telling that to a teenager with his first set of wheels is like raining on his adventurous parade. He'll listen for a minute, then decide rain would make it that much more a challenge. He feels indestructible.

Well you've heard the horror story before.  A four hour adventure turned into a ten hour tour of every mishap imaginable. From lost muffler and overheated radiator to broken windshield wipers and bald tires blowing out. But the kicker was opening up the trunk (for the first time ever) and finding not only that there was no jack or crowbar, but there was No Spare Tire. 

At that moment, in the middle of hicksville with nothing but acres of cornfields and barns sparsely spread out, me and my boy realized we simply hadn't prepared properly for the journey. Reality set in and it was then that we heard echoes of the voices of older and wiser souls who tried desperately to warn us of the bumpy road that lay ahead of us.  

We  came close to kneeling down on the side of that country road and praying for mercy and forgiveness. But the optimism of youth does not bow so quickly, be it a higher being or proven master. Youth cannot accept the steering wheel of life being taken out of their clutches so quickly or easily.

So a desperate decision was made to salvage our broken down dreams of adventure. With A hopping jaunt through corn stalks that blocked out the sun, we found ourselves at the doorstep of a farming family who sounded as if they rescue foolish city boys full of adventure all the time.  Farmer John took us under his wing, got us to someone's place who had all that we would need and left me with advice too wise for my young mind to fully appreciate at the time; travel with a toolbox and always with a spare. And more than anything, prepare for a journey as best you can.

Today my Oakland Raiders reminded me of that had-earned lesson of long ago.  We all knew the team to be fragile; from RB Darren McFadden's durability to young starting QB Terelle Pryor's inexperience. From the patched up offensive line to the suspect defensive secondary. From a young unproven coach to questionable offensive game planning.  Simply put, the Oakland Raiders 2013 are a football team that looks new on the surface, but has a lot of life lessons to learn when it comes to taking a serious journey along the road to the super bowl. They're high on enthusiasm and low on working parts. 

Could it be they just couldn't afford the tools necessary to tune-up a vehicle and make it purr along the football freeway?  Whatever happened to Next-Man-Up?  The Raiders looked as flat as a busted bald tire on a used car with No spare.  I only hope that from top to bottom the team man-up and take full responsibility for the dilemma they found themselves in today.

Today's loss to the Washington Redskins showed the Raiders to be Inept, Injury Prone and Ineffective.  It was a frustrating day of questionable coaching, play calling and player execution. I'm feeling totally lost at sea.  And the season my Nation, is only a quarter of the way through.  Jeez Louise!  What Next, Lane Kiffin Returns to Oaktown? Spare Us! 

Final Score
Washington 24
Oakland 14

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

America's Cup Bought And Paid For? - Say It Ain't So!

Sorry folks but I gotta call this one like I see it.  The 34th America's Cup boat racing event held right here in my neighborhood sure has the smell of a stinking old Black Sox, if you get my drift.  

All the ingredients for a fix were shipped into San Francisco bay a few months back; expensive boats, rich tradition, foreign investment and one stubborn bay area billionaire.  Most will call it a great, stunning comeback, but to me it looks like an offer was made that someone couldn't refuse. And if they wanna know why the crowds didn't turn out as projected for this mega-marketed event, the secret is in the sauce.

Down 8pts to 1 a week ago, the american team won the damn event over the streaking New Zealand Emirates team 9pts to 8 today. Is this the new era of moneyball or did team america really have what it takes for such an unprecedented comeback?

So someone tell me how a hot NZ team all of a sudden turns into Gilligan and can't find the freakin finish line?  Where the heck was the Skipper?  I can understand a billionaire making the offer and showing the money, easy come easy go, but I can't fathom the Zealanders taking the money and throwing away the win. Come'on Man!

Maybe it was one of those things where all parties involved believed a dramatic, drawn-out, made for hollywood comeback would put the sporting event on the map and bring in more fans and moolah the next go round.  The Zealanders might of simply took one for the America's Cup teams.

I may not know boat racing and all it entails to win an event like the A-Cup, but I sure have a sensitive nose when it comes to sporting event smells and champions. And no disrespect to the hard working boating crews but I Smell A Rat crawling out of the SF Bay. And It Stinks!

Billionaire's Winning Comments:  
"We're competing with other sports to get kids attention. We've got to make our sport exciting and we've got to modernize it. ... It can't be unchanged since 1851."

Classic Rivalry? Please, Enough With The MNF Raiders Games

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Good Outweighs Bad in Raiders Season Opener

Maybe I should go out and buy an "I Survived A Week #1 Raiders Game."  The Oakland Raiders proved the analysts wrong this first Sunday of the season.  They may not have  won the game, but they sure showed the league that they're not a pushover.  Barring a few costly mistakes, the Raiders had the hometown Indianapolis Colts on the ropes and wobbling in the final minutes of a well fought battle.

Thanks to a mobile quarterback, creative play calling, ball control offense and a stellar defense when it mattered most, the Raiders begin the season as a team that opponents must seriously game plan for.  I see them as only getting better the more they play together.  Today was the first time all eleven defensive starters were on the field at the same time and they had four sacks and limited the Colts rushing game to 127yds, not bad. 

The Colts with QB Andrew Luck at the offensive helm, are being projected as an AFC contender for the crown this season. They were a surprise playoff participant last season, Luck's first as a replacement for the Denver bound future hall of famer Peyton 'seven touchdowns a game' Manning.

Luck is definitely a quality quarterback, young and tough. But what I saw of Terrelle Pryor today made me smile with renewed hope and promise that our Raiders football team is on track in their return to greatness.  Porter's good outweighed his bad, two interceptions and a untimely sack.  You could say he lost us the game, but you could also say we wouldn't have been in it without his performance.  I'd like to chew on the latter.

Next week the Raiders will host the Jacksonville Jaguars, another team that analysts have put at the bottom of the NFL barrel.  For as good as the Raiders played today, they cannot believe what media say about the Jags and take them lightly.  More to the point, they cannot rest on today's accomplishments and start believing they've arrived, not just yet.  Win something first, then we can begin believing in greatness.  As for now, there's more hope than gloom.

Win, Lose or Tie!

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Raiders 2013 - Ready for Combat

Its the opening weekend of NFL 2013 and Yes, I feel like most Raiders fans, we got a shot to shock and awe this season.  The cards are not in our favor, but since when have they ever been?  We have a young and hungry team who are starting new without a losing taste in their mouth from previous seasons. 

Yes Raiders fans and Raider Haters, the baby is out of the oven. Its time to take the field and show mamma the man child you are.  Win, Lose or Tie, the 2013 season is gonna be one where only the strong survive.  Stay healthy, attack and get the job done Raiders!

Just Win Baby!

Monday, September 02, 2013

New Bridge Span Opens - U GO 1st!

Its Labor Day 2013 and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge has a new eastern span set to open tonight, a day ahead of the delayed schedule date. As of 5pm the time for the bridge opening, ceremony and all, has not been announced.

I suppose us who'll use the bridge should be excited and elated about its opening. But after seeing costs run rampant, materials and design flaws exposed and threatened lawsuits, I'm really just left with one very basic question;  Is It Safe?

Ever since the infamous S-Curve design, I've been skeptical about the planning and architecture of the bridge. In May, 2013, there were concrete concerns being reported and talk of a coverup. There's probably a scary timeline of bridge building incidents you could find online.  

We must remember one fact that's key to the safety of THIS particular bridge. This is California, a place located on geological fault lines that move. A place waiting for The Big One.

The old span was built in 1936, back when the Great Depression had a strangling grip on the economy and work force.  It is said that some of the best architecture and strongest structures were built during that depressed time period, New York's Empire State Building and our own Golden Gate Bridge being two others.

Here we are some 8 decades later with a depressed economy and shrunken work force once again signs of the times. But I keep hearing that old saying "they don't build things like they used to" in the back of my head.  Maybe I'm just one of those over cautious worry worts.  Maybe I see today's disposable society wanting things made quick and cheap as opposed to making things that last. Can we trust steel from China?

I won't be the first car going over the bridge tonight, that's for sure. I hear they've gathered a bunch of classic cars that crossed the bridge when it first opened back in the 30's.  I truly don't know exactly why I even posted this story. I suppose its just to get the jitters out of my system about the quality of the new bridge span. Oh, well, congratulations bay area on your new bridge span.  May it last as long as the old span.  

But do consider this; before crossing over the sparkling piece of compressed aluminum think about pinning down your city leadership and asking them that one tooth rattling question;