I know this is a bit late and everyone else is so draft crazy, so I thought I would enlighten you all to another aspect of the Raiders, and what makes the Raiders truly the greatest franchise in all of sports. Last month the Raiders held their 10th anniversary of the Commitment to Excellence dinner in honor of Rock Cartwright. I think they need to do a better job of publicizing the extraordinary opportunity for regular fans to meet their idols.
So here is a brief summary of one of the best trips a football fan(atic) could ever have.
Friday March 11, 2012. My friend, Tony Corroto (expert DUI witness if you ever need one) and I arrived in SF at about 12pm PST from Atlanta, GA. We went directly to rental car pick up to grab our car and wouldn’t you know they gave us a black and chrome Jeep Liberty. We knew from that point on it was going to be an amazing experience. From there we headed right over to Oakland and went to visit the stadium. He had never been to a home Raiders game before and I hadn’t been since 10-10-10 (when the Raiders snapped the losing streak to San Diego. Naturally since the Raiders share the stadium with the A’s this was the in-between seasons where the prep the stadium for baseball. The parking lot was locked down tight, but after sweet talking the security guard we were allowed to enter the parking lot. We took pictures outside the stadium, and then we saw there was a guy inside the store built in to the stadium. Everything was already changed over to A’s merchandise but he gave us a lot of Raider info dating back to the 60’s. He then showed us a back door to get into the stadium and said just look out for the security guard named “Ice Pick”. We go inside and take pictures and after a few moments “Ice Pick” comes over and tells us we weren’t supposed to be here. So we left and continued on our journey. From there we headed to the Raider Image. This was my first time stepping into one of these stores. (It’s a little piece of Heaven) So after I spent an undisclosed amount of money there, we decided to try our luck and go to Raiders HQ. We get to the facility and naturally being the Raiders it is locked up tight, but we saw a sign that said “Fan Services”. Our thinking was we’re fans maybe we can get some service. We went to the door and it was still locked so we rang the buzzer. After a few moments the door unlocked. After we got inside we saw a beautiful lobby with tons of Raider history. The receptionist told us the building was locked down and we couldn’t go any further, but since we were such great Raider fans she gave us both a souvenir ticket from the 50th anniversary. Only season ticket holders have this Limited Edition numbered souvenir ticket. Excited we left and went to our hotel the Hilton Oakland Airport. Once there we met up with a couple more guys from our Atlanta club and decided to go to Ricky’s Sport Bar that night. This Sports Bar is a must see for any Raider fan. EVERY RAIDER has been there from Jim Otto, to John Gruden, to Janikowski. This Bar is a shrine with more memorabilia than I have seen anywhere let alone just Raiders stuff. Almost every inch of every wall was covered with Raiders posters, autographs, custom artwork, jerseys etc. We actually met Ricky and he was nice enough to tell us stories and posed for pictures with us and we finally left there about midnight PST. We then went for tour of Oakland. (Probably not the best idea) But we go in safely around 2am.
Sat March 12, 2012. Even though we got almost no sleep we were up Early Sat morning and decided to head out to visit Al Davis. He is resting in a beautiful mausoleum in downtown Oakland. We paid our respects and took pictures where he resides. After that we headed back to the hotel shot some pool and played a little air hockey then had lunch. We got refreshed and got ready for the main event. The CTE dinner began at 5pm for the reception. We met tons of Raider fans and everyone wanted to talk to us once they found out we came all the way out from Atlanta. We met the presidents of several official booster clubs and they all said the same thing. “The official Raider away game this year will be in Atlanta” (the only thing that will prevent it is if the schedule puts the game on a holiday weekend). This is huge there will be A LOT of RAIDER fans descending on this city this year. After we finished our political business we started to have fun. There was a silent auction with signed merchandise from everyone from Tim Brown to Jim Otto to rookie David Auberry. There was also a preview of the actual auction merchandise as well. We sat down for dinner and they introduced Several Raiders in attendance. HOF member Jim Otto, HOF member Willie Brown, future HOF Tim Brown, the CTE award recipient Rock Cartwright, GM Reggie McKenzie, HC Dennis Allen, CEO Amy Trask, former Raider Maurice Bradshaw, former Raider Barry Sims, and a few others. The program began as we at dinner. After dinner the auction began with a bang. The highlight was probably the first item which was a Tim Brown autographed jersey. The bid went up to $900. The CEO Amy Trask gets up and adds to tix to the first home game, the bid goes up to $1500. Then she added sideline passes. Bids keep going up, and then Tim Brown says he will go to the game with the winner of this jersey. Bids kept raising, and then Amy adds parking and a suite to the winner. That jersey ended up going for $4500! This is how the auction went all night. The president of the ATL Raiders won a day at Raiders training camp in NAPA (which is closed to the public and most press) for $4000. Also auction off was a lunch with HC Dennis Allen, GM Reggie McKenzie, and CEO Amy Trask. Of course I wasn’t involved in any of the bidding. After all this was over the program ended and we were able to meet the players and staff as well as take pictures.
There aren’t too many organizations that let you meet the CEO, head coach, general manager, and H.O.F. players for $100 and all proceeds went to Nnamdi Asomugha’s Owin foundation.
Oh almost forgot… there was a raffle in which I won the HOF football signed by Jim Otto and Willie Brown. After all of this there was an after party at the hotel sports bar where we just enjoyed the rest of the night.
Sun Was peaceful we headed back to the airport after taking a slight detour on the Golden Gate Bridge. We got back safely and I was home about 11pm EST.