Monday, September 20, 2021

LA Chargers Sing Luther Vandross: "A House Is Not A Home"

The LA Chargers played their first game in Los Angeles with a full house of fans attending. But, alas, the "home-field advantage" was anything but. There was clearly a majority of Dallas Cowboys fans attending, many who live in California.

True, chants of "DEEE-FENSE!" were heard across the stadium, but that was when the Chargers had the ball.

As you know, the Chargers left San Diego 5 years ago after a vote to increase taxes to build a new football stadium failed to reach 50% approval (66% approval was required for that tax increase to pass, actually) and after a subsequent joint-venture with the Oakland Raiders to build a shared stadium in Los Angeles was torpedoed by the NFL in favor of a competing proposal from the wealthier ownership group of the St. Louis Rams.

The Chargers accepted the NFL's offer to share the Rams' soon-to-be-built stadium, rent-free and with no obligation to provide a minimum level of PSL revenue to contribute toward the construction costs, to pack up and leave San Diego.

The Chargers, wanting to establish their own identity in Los Angeles, did decline to share the LA Memorial Coliseum with the Rams as both teams awaited the new stadium's construction to complete. The Chargers tried to find a separate stadium in the LA region, but were rejected by the Rose Bowl. Other less-likely options, such as Dodgers Stadium and Anaheim Angels Stadium, came with their own problems of conflicting with Major League Baseball's scheduling of its regular season and playoffs.

So, the Chargers opted instead to play inside a little 27,000-seat stadium where the city's pro soccer teams plays its games. And for the following 3 years, every Chargers game there was overrun by fans of the visiting teams.
Lonely Chargers Fan in 2019 at his home game.


Hey, even teams not known for having fans that travel in big numbers, such as the Miami Dolphins and the Philadelphia Eagles, they also outpaced the attendance of Chargers' fans in that 27,000-seat stadium at up to an 80%-20% ratio. Watching those games on TV, or viewing the official photographs taken by national media photographers, showed just how out-of-place the Chargers were inside their own home stadium. 

The then-quarterback of the Chargers, Philip Rivers, even had to go to a silent count in some of his home games because the visiting fans made so much noise trying to entice a "false start" or "delay of game" penalty from his offense.
The 4 Chargers fans in front confirm this was a home game.


Well, you say, those are the bad days of old. Now that the Chargers are in the new SoFi Stadium, with all their fans able to attend, the home game experience is gonna be way different for that team. "No doubt about it!", you say?


(well then, cue up the famous soundbite) HOW 'BOUT DEM COWBOYS!!
The Chargers opened up their first home game of the 2021 NFL Season by hosting the Dallas Cowboys. This was also the first time that the Chargers were able to have a full-capacity game in that stadium, as the year 2020 had no attendance allowed in sports stadia across California due to COVID-19 surges and outbreaks. The Chargers played in SoFi Stadium in 2020 with no fans in attendance. But now, in the year 2021, they can have fans! And the fans came!

But sadly, the majority of those fans were cheering for the Dallas Cowboys.

Let's just say that it's pretty demoralizing when you are the Chargers playing at home, you have the ball in your shiny new stadium, and all you can hear is the loud chant of, "DEEE-FENSE! DEEE-FENSE!" everywhere in the stands. Your home debut is effectively a home game for the other team.

I once made a Top Ten List on Twitter back in 2017 of every football team that is more popular in Los Angeles than the Chargers. It was one of my most-retweeted posts, probably because it's premise is basically true. 
The Chargers's ownership themselves acknowledge that they will need many years to become a relevant sports option in LA; they are literally doing outreach to middle school children in the hope that once they become adults in 10-15 years, they will be (paying) fans of the Chargers who will, in turn, have their own future children root for them, too.

Yet all the while: many people in San Diego have washed their hands of the Chargers. They did not make the jump with them to LA. They may still consider themselves to be fans of the team, but they did not sign up for PSL's & season tickets, choosing instead to be content to watch that team on TV back in the comfort of their homes in San Diego.

Some Chargers fans did follow the team to LA and bought tickets, certainly. There just aren't enough of them to fill up SoFi Stadium. Nor, it's been proven, to have filled up the little soccer stadium.

Sure, there are years to go in the post-San Diego migration project of the Chargers, and things may yet improve for them. But the first impression of "Chargers-In-LA-In-Our-New-Stadium-In-Front-Of-Our-LA Fans" showed that a lot of work still needs to be done.

Thus my point: their house is surely not their home.

Oh, here was my Top Ten List of Football Teams That Are More Popular In LA Than The Chargers:

1) Raiders
2) Rams
3) USC
4) Cowboys
5) 49ers
6) UCLA
7) Galaxy (futbol)
8) Mater Dei
9) Madden Video Game
10) Mexico National Team

and then fast-forward to...
186) Tudor Electric Football 












...and finally you will get to Number 187 on the list: the Chargers

#Chargers #FightForLA #NFL #Cowboys
#RoadTripRallyParty #SoFiStadium #LosAngeles

Thursday, August 26, 2021

The Battle Of The Bay, and Tailgating!

The annual "Battle Of The Bay" contest between the two bay area baseball teams, the San Francisco Giants & the Oakland Athletics, took place in a 3-game series last weekend at the Oakland Coliseum. 
It was a postcard-perfect California day, as the blue skies and mild sun made put the perfect vibe for all.
Our friend Leonard Ybarra had organized a group tailgate for everyone at the finale game on Sunday. He set up a big tailgate spread of food, grilled right there on the spot! Lots of side dish fixings to go alonside the beef kabobs, chicken, three different types of sausages (the Pineapple Links were out of this world!), and PLENTY of adult beverages to pair with that wonderful food. 

And what is a tailgate without MUSIC! Leonard is a professional Event Performance Planner who provides music, lighting, and stage sets for special events all across California.

Leonard Ybarra, the nice guy who did all this!
His work has been seen on big parade floats,  corporate award shows, you name it. He had  this tailgate rockin' to the beat with one of  his many DJ rigs...music to set the mood  for consuming mass quantities!


I brought along a 7UP Cake from Oakland's  renowned, "It's All Good Bakery", along  with a Lemon Ice Box Pie...it's kinda like a  key lime pie but with much more of a "grandmother's love" baked in. 😋
Eating and talking, laughing and dancing, and eating even more. That was how our day got to a great start!
7UP Cake, Lemon Ice Box Pie, & Big Cookies!

...but, alas, then there was the game.
Now, if you are a SF Giants fan, that game was fairly typical: the Giants are outplayed for most the game, looking up at the other team from behind.
 But then the Giants decided to make sure that...
The FIREWORKS HAPPEN!

The Oakland Athletics had taken the lead and just needed a few outs to seal the victory. The Giants weren't looking good all game, but they managed to get a runner on base. And with a mighty swing, the next batter sailed the ball over the left field fence for a 2-run go-ahead homer. And that was that.

For the non-Giants fans, this was a crushing end to the game. The Athletics got a runner on second base in the bottom of the 9th inning, but they could not bring him home for the tying score as their last batter struck out to end the game.
Some heroic A's fans that Leonard recruited.

Leonard's tailgate spread.
So, as we gazed upon the field and looked at the final score in the lights, we still could say that the day was awesome! I hadn't been tailgating anywhere since the year 2017, and it was good to be out on the blacktop with familiar sights & sounds, and making new friends. We even kept up our former tailgating culture by giving plates of food to the hardworking stadium security staff. Just like old times!
I am grateful to everyone for making this "let's get back to normal" effort such a success. It's good to socialize with like-minded people, and we *definitely* gotta do this again! Thanks, everyone!

Giants and A's fans together on a wonderful day.


Tuesday, August 17, 2021


Hello, everyone,
There's been some consternation (some, not all) about the State Of Nevada's new policy on COVID vaccines for venues of 4000+ attendees.

As relates to Raiders games, this is not a mandatory policy implemented by the state government. The governor's press conference today explains all the details of this, "Only Vaccinated Allowed" policy. This policy is the way that people will be able to be indoors at Raiders games without masks.


The Raiders have the option not to do this policy, but then everyone will have to wear a mask...which it was clear at the first preseason game that many people there weren't wearing masks.

Unvaccinated people who want to go to the game can get a shot in the parking lot on gameday, and they will then be allowed in with a mask required. They get the 2nd shot a month later, wait 2 weeks for that 2nd shot to activate fully, and they can then go to all the Raiders games without wearing masks.
Vaccinated people who show proof will be allowed in without a mask.

That is the policy announced today. Because if Raider games become Super-spreader Events with people flying back home infected, or if thousands of infected tourists arrive in Las Vegas and cause a big outbreak there, the State Of Nevada would then be forced to do something definitely more dramatic to prevent COVID spreading. It is clear that the Raiders want to avoid that.

So, you can get your vaccine, or you can choose to not get your vaccine. But the Raiders chose today to not risk going back to having an empty stadium like last year. If you are unvaccinated, the Raiders are moving on without you...which I guess means they are exercising *their* Freedom Of Choice.
===========

Click here to watch the Nevada Governor's press conference. The reporters there are presenting relevant questions & possible "what if?" scenarios to him.

And please: BE SAFE!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Hello, everyone! PLEASE HURRY!
Margaritaville Resort is our AMAZING host hotel!


Located right on the beach, with breathtaking ocean views!
 We are fast approaching our Road Trip Rally Party weekend! We don't want anyone to miss out!


We have a great Promo Code for the famous Margaritaville Resort Hotel that offers a significant discount!
 The Promo Code is "OAK0921", and anyone may use this Promo Code to extend your stay at this rate beyond our listed itinerary.



Spacious rooms with a "Let's Just Chill" motif!
And our activities for this event? Yes, they are embedded here in this blog. Please feel free to download this pdf to your phone, tablet, and computer. Each activity in the .pdf is a link that, when clicked, will bring you to the appropriate Ticket Site.

Our Activities for the 2018 Road Trip Rally Party in Miami, with links to the Ticket Sites


                                     Click each of these activities for tickets.

We want to show that city that what they saw last year in 2017 was not a dream! Let us all return and show the fans of the Dolphins how deep Raider Nation rolls!

Always,
Afro



Friday, June 15, 2018


The Road Trip Rally Party is HERE!

Yes, everyone! 2018 will bring the SEVENTH ANNUAL Rally Party to the world! Who knew at our first event in 2012, this would grow to become an anticipated gathering for all each year!

We are definitely grateful to you all for making this happen!

We have our itinerary set for the this year's Road Trip Rally Party. What we have planned will be:
  • A Day Trip to the Bahamas. Freeport, on the Grand Bahamas island
  • A nighttime Beach Bonfire Party at Mizell-Johnson Beach
  • A full day of Saturday fun & sun (more on that later)
  • A Sunday morning tailgate party.
Yes, Road Trippers...the beach beckons! 
Please feel free to click the links there for purchasing tickets to our scheduled activities.Our downloadable 2018 Rally Party Itinerary is HERE. 


We have our host hotel ready for your bookings, the renowned "Margaritaville Resort", located right there on the beach boardwalk. 3 swimming pools, an adults-only pool deck with full bar, live music, restaurants, even beach lounge chairs and umbrellas provided for your stay! A discount group rate is available to our group, as well. Find the link in the downloadable 2018 Itinerary to make your room reservations.

A charter bus has been arranged to take us from Margaritaville to the game, if you so desire. 

We are discussing with Margaritaville about hosting our Saturday afternoon activities, as well as our Sunday morning tailgate party. As soon as we reach an agreement, we will be certain to announce it to you all.

And yes! We do have group-rate tickets to the football game, too! . Unfortunately, the Dolphins' ticket website does not allow you to select specific seats or rows. The Dolphins have assured us, however, that tickets purchased during a single transaction will be grouped together. Please go here to get your Raiders vs Dolphins seats.
We are offered group Field-Level seats, as well as Club Seats.
So, we are all set! We had an ABSOLUTELY great time last year! The Ft. Lauderdale Convention Bureau really took care of us, and worked for months to make sure everyone would see the best that the Hollywood community has to offer. 
They really wanted us to come back again, and you all will be happy you did!

Check back here for updates to our itinerary, including our finalized plans for Saturday!

Thanks!
   ~~Afro


   

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The NFL Draft Is Today, And TV Coverage Of It Has BIG Changes!

Hello, everyone!

Well, have you enjoyed your off-season thus far? Were you able to get into the NBA playoffs, or find interest in the opening weeks of Major League Baseball? Man City soccer, perhaps?

 If so, then you've found lots of entertaining stories to follow! The red-hot Red Sox, the surprising  Oakland A's, the amazing Utah Jazz, the over-hyped Oklahoma Thunder, the upstart Philadelphia 76ers...so much to see!

 But, if these teams didn't get you in the mood, then you'll be happy to know that the NFL 2018 Season gets rolling TODAY with the 2018 NFL Draft! 

The 2018 NFL Draft on Thursday, April 26, 2018.
Hopeful college players will await a phone call from an NFL team, telling them that they were selected to join them in a quest for a Super Bowl championship! Some of these young men will be selected in the First Round, guaranteeing them a place on the team's roster. Others will be chosen in later Rounds, where they may have to fight to get a spot, lest they be placed on the team's Practice Squad (a holding area where players are allowed to practice but cannot play in real games), traded to another team, or simply cut.

Fox Sports' Troy Aikman Shares The Desk At NFL Network.
 The NFL Draft this year will be hosted inside the opulent AT&T Stadium, aka "Jerry's World", where the Dallas Cowboys call home. What's interesting this year is that the televising of the NFL draft will be far different this year than in the past. For one, Fox stations will broadcast the draft live in partnership with the NFL Network channel. Troy Aikman, the top NFL analyst at Fox Sports, will share a desk with Steve Mariucci of NFL Network. 


ESPN will also show the NFL Draft, but a studio replacement will
be in place for Jon Gruden, who normally works on TV for the NFL Draft but is no longer at ESPN now that he's been hired as the Oakland Raiders' head coach. Who will Jon Gruden's replacement be today, you ask?

 You can find how it all shakes out here in this article from the Miami Herald.

Cleveland Fans Had Only This To Cheer For.
 So, what will the NFL Draft have in store for your favorite team? Will the Cleveland Browns take a quarterback, having passed over Carson Wentz AND DeShaun Watson the past two years (but taking Johnny Manziel), to try to get back to glory? 

49ers QB Jimmy Garappolo
Will the San Francisco 49ers find players to help new pretty-boy QB Jimmy Garappolo continue his win streak? Has post-Harbaugh misery finally left that team? Will owner Jed York ever be forgiven?



New/Returning Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden
And will the Oakland Raiders strike gold in the draft with a new head coach now calling the shots?

 Stay tuned!

      Yours,
                Afro

Friday, April 20, 2018

Our Road Trip Rally Party Returns To MIAMI !!

Good morning, Everyone!

Well! After having such a GREAT TIME IN FLORIDA last year, we were wondering if we can have that same magic for 2018. And then we knew: the best way to have that same magic is to do Hollywood Beach and Miami again!
Hollywood Beach Boardwalk. Plenty To See And Do!

Yes, your Road Trip Rally Party is returning to Florida! Every vendor that provided that wonderful experience for us has said over & over again how much they enjoyed our group of people. They really want us back! So, why not give these people what they want!


Our Saturday Night Rally at Whiskey Tango Restaurant!
The 3-day weekend of September 21st -thru- 23rd is when we will be there. Many enjoyable activities will be planned for you, as the South Florida region comes alive with Raider Nation bringing the vibe!

Please go to our website, **www.roadtriprallyparty.com** for information and updates. We will start posting the information toward the end of May, roughly one month from now. 
You can also stay current with updates by signing up for our newsletter, where you are automatically entered into our totally free contest to win prizes as we approach our event. 

So, mark the day! Mark the weekend! September 21st -thru- 23rd is when the Road Trip Rally Party comes back to Florida!

Maybe you missed last year's event and maybe you were a little disappointed after hearing about all the fun we had...well, here is another chance to join us!  :-)


All These Wonderful Delicacies Await You!
And yes, there are many Food Network-quality restaurants there that want to show us what's up! We can certainly take them up on their offer! 

Thank you for making the Road Trip Rally Party an event that people look forward to each year. It is special because of YOU!

Stay tuned!

    Yours,
              Afro