What it was like covering Alex Smith on the 49ers beat

A photo with me and Alex Smith at a local premiere of “The Taking of Pelham 123” in the Bay Area.

I first started the San Francisco 49ers in 2007. At the time I was just a blogger and gaining access to anything the 49ers did was definitely not on my radar. However, it was exciting for me to cover the team I grew up watching and hoping that the Niners could get back to respectability.

I had a lot of hope in Alex Smith. He as entering his third season with the team and he had a lot of pressure on his shoulders as the top overall pick in 2005. This is where I started focusing a lot of my writing on him and the team. It was some ups and downs in those two years until I finally got credentialed.

Gaining credential access to the 49ers was a big deal for me. The Niners at the time never gave access to online media journalists — the concept was too new and bloggers like myself were an unpredictable unknown. I was just grateful that I worked hard enough and published enough quality content that the team decided that I was worth considering. I was only able to cover a few practices here and there but that was enough for me. That was when I got to interview and meet Alex Smith.

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My WrestleMania 37 predictions

Well, thanks to COVID-19 last year, WrestleMania was forced into the Performance Center. This year, with limited fans in attendance, the attempt to pull off this show in Tampa Bay is going to happen. Once again it’s a two-night affair and I am going to make my predictions on what will go down.

Kickoff Pre-show: WOMEN’S BATTLE ROYAL — NOT HAPPENING
– The match will be cancelled for the second straight year.

Kickoff Pre-show: ANDRE THE GIANT MEMORIAL BATTLE ROYAL — SMACKDOWN
– This match happened on SmackDown with Jey Uso winning.

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What it was like attending Opening Day in 2021

Opening Day in Oakland. April 1, 2021.

Last night was a special night for me. And for Major League Baseball. After not being able to have fans in attendance all of last year except for a few postseason games, the league is back in full swing with fans being able to attend games in limited capacity. Except for you Texas Rangers. Shame on you.  

The COVID-19 pandemic hit across the United States and all of Major League Baseball in early spring last year and the league had to shut down everything. It was only months later into the summer did the league begin playing games. No fans in attendance and my hopes of attending a big league game that season was dashed. 

I usually find myself in Oakland for a handful of games every year to see my hometown A’s. Since moving to Los Angeles, being able to attend games at the Coliseum has been challenging but I have found ways to fly or drive back home. The team didn’t allow any fans in attendance at all last season, opting for cardboard cutouts among other silly gimmicks. But this season, they’re letting fans in at a limited capacity (20 percent) and I knew immediately I wanted to be in attendance for that first game. I booked my flight and bought my ticket to Opening Day in Oakland. I had to be there. 

This will be my first live sporting event since a Warriors game in San Francisco last January. The pandemic took away any other chances of me attending any other sporting events since then. But now a little bit over a year later, I am back at one of my favorite places ever. 

The Coliseum site itself has been a vaccination site in recent months and now it’s welcoming fans back for a live event. I wanted to document everything about my experience in my first game back. I wanted to see what was different now than what it was like in 2019, the last season the team was able to have fans in attendance. Here’s what I saw.

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Determining the best Super Bowl game ever with a unique grading system

Was Super Bowl XXXII the greatest Super Bowl ever?
(Photo by Lutz Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Last night’s Super Bowl game wasn’t all that exciting. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers grabbed the lead early and its defense suffocated the Kansas City Chiefs. And with that, the 55th Super Bowl game ended with a 31-9 blowout.

While watching the game last night I started to think about all the previous Super Bowl games and which one is the best game ever. If you ask based on the qualifier of the actual gameplay, then you will get a ton of answers and all are debatable. We could look back at the New York Jets’ major upset in Super Bowl III. Or maybe Joe Montana’s late drive to seal the win in Super Bowl XXIII. Or maybe the New York Giants taking down the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII?

These are just a few examples of some games worth considering. But I feel that there should be some other qualifiers. The gameplay is important, but the visuals to me are a very important factor into the decision. For a long while, the Super Bowl was played under sunny skies. Now, depending on the location of the game and the game start time, that option may not exist. Even games played indoors eliminate the sun from being a factor.

Another thing that matters is the field itself. This is a personal preference, but games played on grass are visually more appealing than games played on any other surface. And with the rolling out of astroturf and field turf, it seems like every other year we lose that element.

And as you know, I am a big uniform guy so finding a good contrast in both teams’ uniforms is important to me. I love it where both teams don’t share any of the same colors and that there is a good balance of colors on each uniform. For example, the Seattle Seahawks wearing a blue helmet, with blue jerseys and pants isn’t visually that strong. And on the other hand, despite the Pittsburgh Steelers having a very classic uniform, I am not a fan of a black helmet on a white jersey with yellow pants. It’s too many different dominant colors on one uniform.

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Warriors fall flat again in tribute to Oakland roots

The new Warriors uniform that pays tribute to Oakland.

The Golden State Warriors announced new uniforms for the team in their upcoming season. The uniforms are a tribute to their Oakland roots.

This isn’t the first time the Warriors have tried to pay tribute to Oakland with their San Francisco move finalized, but this will be the first time they will wear an Oakland-themed uniform while playing in San Francisco.

Despite the goodwill these uniforms are attempting to make, it’s still a slap to the face of the city of Oakland.

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Will the Oakland A’s finally win a postseason series?

Do the A’s have what it takes to win it all?

Today the Oakland Athletics embark on their third consecutive season in the playoffs. The last two years, the A’s failed to win the division and were forced to play in the Wild Card Game. Both times, the A’s lost and their postseason dreams ended just like that. This season with the 60-game schedule due to the pandemic, the A’s won the West and don’t have to worry about a one-game schedule. They will now play a best-of-three set against the Chicago White Sox. The A’s will play all these first round games in Oakland, which is a nice reward for winning the division. It’s a different format than previous years because of the pandemic but I won’t complain about it. The A’s clearly were the best in the division and have earned this right.

But will they win this series? Will they go far into the postseason?

Having watched the A’s this season I believe that they have what it takes to win it all. However, they need to be so perfect in everything they do in these playoffs. On paper they are not the best but they have found ways to get it done on the field, leading them to a 36-24 record this seasons.

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My WrestleMania 36 predictions

What a strange time we are right now. COVID-19 has forced this major event out of the stadium and into the WWE Performance Center. No fans. Two nights. It could be great. It could be awful. I have no idea which nights the matches will take place. Here are my predictions.

Kickoff Pre-show: WOMEN’S BATTLE ROYAL — NOT HAPPENING
– There will be more than 10 people in the ring so this match won’t go as planned. 

Kickoff Pre-show: ANDRE THE GIANT MEMORIAL BATTLE ROYAL — NOT HAPPENING
– There will be more than 10 people in the ring so this match won’t go as planned. 

===

WWE CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE MATCH 
– Drew McIntyre vs. Brock Lesnar (C)

It would be a great way to start the first night of the show with this match. The hype for this has died a little bit but the potential of Drew McIntyre is still pretty strong. However, with so much uncertainty right now, it might be a good idea to have McIntyre win the title and then not be in any foreseeable matches. So right now, having Brock Lesnar hold the title until maybe SummerSlam is the way to go.

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The coronavirus scare and what’s next in sports

It’s crazy to think that this is a reality. It’s hard to even grasp that this coronavirus pandemic has led to this.

But then again, I haven’t been able to recall a time where something like this has happened here in America. Has a pandemic led to professional sports leagues to suspend or even cancel games?

The initial thought was that it would just be a case where games would be played without fans. But with now players contracting the virus, it is very apparent that there is no reason to play any games until we know what to do next.

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My thoughts on Kobe Bryant — the ultimate nemesis

Here is Kobe Bryant dominating my team once again, dropping 51 points .

I hated Kobe Bryant.

Growing up in the Bay Area as a Warriors fan, why would you like him? He entered the league in 1996 and at the time I didn’t think much of it. After all, he was this high school phenom but hadn’t proved anything yet. But because he was on the Lakers, I knew that this guy was the enemy.

Over the years, that enemy became the villain. He was the nemesis. He was the thorn in my side and on the side of my favorite team.

I rooted against him.

I hated it when the Lakers won three straight titles. I hated seeing him make those game-winning shots. I didn’t want to hear it when he scored 81 points. I was upset that he won two more titles later in his career.

I would intentionally agitate fans by claiming that he wasn’t the G.O.A.T. and that he wasn’t even the best player of his own generation. (Tim Duncan is better.) When he scored 60 in his final game, I looked at the flaws of his stat line and instead tried to direct the narrative to the Warriors who had just won their 73rd game that same night.

Heck, even when the Lakers retired both his jerseys, I was finding ways to hate on this unprecedented move for a team I didn’t care about.

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