So Matt Coker thinks Sacramento is Oakland Raiders country (“Fear of a silver and black planet,” SN&R Feature Story, November 29). That may be, but the next home for the peripatetic Raiders ought to be right here in Al Davis’ namesake city. That’s right: The Davis Raiders. It’d be perfect. Here’s why.
First off, Davis the owner has just the right mix of progressive values and quirkiness to appeal to Davis the city. He was the first NFL boss to hire a Hispanic coach, Tom Flores, the first to hire an African-American coach, Art Shell, and the first to name a woman, Amy Trask, as CEO. He’s often displayed a soft spot for the wayward and the disowned, at times running the Raiders like a no-kill shelter for stray or homeless athletes. Here in the land of the burrowing owl, we can relate.
Second, Al would love the ego boost. In this era of bland corporate naming rights, the eponymously titled team is the last frontier for the vain. And I don’t see Microsoft Paul moving his Seahawks to Allentown, Pa., anytime soon. Nor will Jerry Jones be airlifting the Cowboys across the Atlantic to Jonestown—which player would dare drink the Gatorade? Thus, the honor of having his surname right there on the banners and trophies would be a singular achievement among team owners; the grandest tribute of all. The Davis Raiders.
Now, I hear the new Aggie Stadium, capacity 10,743, was built with an eye for expansion. How about adding a Mount Davis? A towering concrete monolith of usually empty seating like the one Al demanded from Oakland would be most welcome here, in a city that prizes density and infill above all. Price those cloud-level bleacher seats on the low end, and we’re talking affordability, too. Plus, our skyline would finally feature more than a water tower. It’s win-win, and that’s as many wins as the Raiders have had in their division this year.
Of course, Al would have to pitch any construction as environmentally sustainable, an improvement in the lives of flora and fauna, even. So say he wants to dome the whole affair. We built a tunnel for toads—would we really say no to a football stadium that doubles as an off-season indoor bird sanctuary?
There are plenty more synergies to leverage. For instance, there’d be no need to waste taxpayer money renaming our streets to honor notable players, as the main thoroughfare is already Russell Boulevard. Just slap JaMarcus on the front, and it’s parade time.
Now, should Russell not pan out, Michael Vick will surely be the Raiders’ quarterback in 2010, once he’s released from prison (Al loves a reclamation project). This could spell trouble in a town that recently turned a spare athletic field into … Toad Hollow Dog Park. But the guess here is that by then Vick’s handlers will have so rehabbed their client’s image that you’ll find Mike at the farmers’ market each Saturday, helping with pet adoptions for the Yolo County SPCA.
To be sure, for all this to work some adjustments must be made to Raider Nation. To appeal to Davisian sensibilities, the infamous Black Hole will have to be redubbed The Hole of Color. And the Mondavi Center needs to be more of a brewery, at least during home games.
And we’re not so keen on litigiousness, so Al would probably have to agree to undergo community mediation instead of courtroom battles to resolve his inevitable lawsuits. And when the city, as you say, failed to provide adequate parking, how did that make you feel, Al? But I hear he’s mellowing in his old age.