Scrolling through my timeline a few days ago, looking at my friends and absolute strangers celebrate the 49ers upcoming trip to the Super Bowl, I came across a recently formed Facebook group. Reading its name quickly turned the grin on my face into a blank stare.
The Las Vegas Raiders.
On January 22nd, 2020, the Raiders finished the process of ripping the hearts out of ,arguably, the most loyal fan base in the NFL. They have officially abandoned the city that gave them their flair, attitude, and world wide identity. Oakland has become an after thought.
Although I am a lifelong Niner fan, I am an East Bay guy first. I understand the void that this will leave in the soul of The Town. The Silver and Black are as synonymous with Oakland as Cheeseheads are with Green Bay. They belong together the same way that The Beatles did and Mark Davis is flawlessly playing the role of Yoko Ono. The Raiders and Oakland are both less without one another.
I have made countless trips on BART to the concrete slab which is the Coliseum. Most of them beginning at the Bayfair station and going two stops north, stopping in East Oakland. So many of my sports memories begin while crossing the Coliseum BART pedestrian walkway. As you stroll over, you came across vendors offering up their finest counterfeit t-shirts, hats, and cold beverages directly out of a Rubbermaid cooler that looked like it saw more than a few camping trips. Yes, it was entrepreneurship at its finest.
You were bound to find every level of party in the parking lots. There was everything from entire mariachi groups draped in silver and black to O.G.’s on their Weber grills flipping hot links with a screwdriver. The sounds and smells were quite distinct and so was the company.
Big business prevails again and the loyal supporters who hand over their money on lose once more. But, hey, it was truly magnificent while it lasted. In those parking lots, you created an American sports fan lore of historical proportions. Sin City will have to follow that.