Your intrepid reporter spent the Memorial Day weekend in Santa Clara. Naturally, I couldn’t resist driving over to check out the new stadium.
There was a chain link fence surrounding it and guards at the northwest and the northeast entrances, so all I could do was admire the place from the street. I could see into the stadium from the northwest corner, and the sea of red seats on the east side. I could also see the giant scoreboard at the south end of the park.
Nice joint. And probably as close as I’m ever going to get to it.
Centennial Blvd. is closed off for the construction. To get to Niner HQ, you have to go away from it, down into a golf course and then wend along a side street and back under the Tasman overpass to the eastern side of HQ.
I parked my truck in the soccer field parking lot, adjacent the 49er property, and hoofed it next door. The two gate entrances to Fort 49er were both closed, so I mosied along the fence at the east end of the practice field. It was a high chain link job, with heavy duty tarps strung along it to keep anyone from seeing inside.
About half way down the fence, at a spot where two fence support poles left a nice little gap, somebody had sliced open the tarp for a tiny six inch view inside. I may have gotten both hands on it and enlarged the tear somewhat.
Excellent. I got the old eyeball in there and while Maiocco, Barrows, Kawakami, and Branch were grousing in the press trailer somewhere, your reporter was actually viewing a 49er practice.
The offense was on the south field in red jerseys, the defense on the north one in white. Both groups were at the other end of the field, away from me, but the offense then started marching down the field toward me, evidently practicing the “roar down the field and stall in the red zone” offense.
It seemed pretty casual. I could see Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman in the backfield, probably describing how a play should work. Then the players would line up and the offensive line would ferociously block imaginary D-line enemy guys, while the backs and WRs trotted out in pass patterns to make catches against listless fake defensive backs who basically did nothing to stop them.
I got a good look at 49er rookie RB Carlos Hyde when he caught a ten yard pass and trotted toward me. He looked feisty and very much like a stud.
Just as the team was reaching the stall zone, about twenty minutes into my viewing pleasure, a 49er security guy on the inside of the fence suddenly loomed in front of my peering orb and ordered me to take a hike. He was a friendly wimpy guy, but as I backed away from the fence, another security guy was heading my way on the outside of the fence, and he did not look like the wimpy sort, nor the friendly sort.
As you might surmise, I decided to leave. My “getting the shit kicked out of me for nothing” days have long receded into the past. My defense now is “harmless old fart.”
So that was that. I saw twenty minutes of a secret 49er practice. Ha ha ha. Take that 49er HQ paranoids. The Outsider will not be denied!