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Day 4: Pour The Wine

Raiders writer Bill Soliday

Posted by Bill Soliday, Raiders beat writer for ANG Newspapers
If you try real hard, you can smell the cabernet in the air up here. Probably wishful thinking. However, certain members of the media with an oeneophilic tendency have the gall to show up at the Napa Valley Marriott wearing t-shirts advertising that little-known athletic endeavor, The Wine Tasting Triathlon … consisting of performing the following feats, in order:
Swirl, sip, chug.

And in some cases (there’s a thought! How many bottles in a case?) there is the fourth discipline – spill (one the shirt).

As for the identity of the wearer, we won’t identify me. I mean him.

Bring a sweater
Truth is, there isn’t a whole lot of fun involved in a football training camp. It’s twice a day in what can be, and often is, oppressive heat and blinding sun.

Take today. Please.

It was Randy Moss Day. Mr. Moss was finally going to submit to interviews. That meant everybody with a press pass and a stupid question was welcome to stand in a circle and sweat for upwards of 30 minutes, waiting for Norv Turner’s savior to show up and proffer inane queries of every conceivable ilk.

While the beastly members of the media shifted from one foot to the other waiting and every member of the team walked by un-interviewable (see, if you left the circle of pundits you’d lose your place and ultimately find yourself one or more zip codes away from the subject of the day, straining to hear), it suddenly struck me.

On this day, if no other, Moss was an Oakland Raiders’ most favorite teammate.

Old friends
As we stirred, dripped and waited, I encountered an old colleague in this circle of affliction …none other than Ron Borges of the Boston Globe. A former Tribune Raider beat writer was in town … maybe looking for a nice bottle of chardonnay, maybe looking for pearls of wisdom from football’s bad boy.

Ron, who was once referred to as “The Volga Boatman” by fellow scribe Dave Newhouse due to his swarthy looks, was wearing a cast on his left foot. He explained that he had broken two bones in his foot training for a marathon.

“The Boston Marathon?” I asked. “No, the Chicago Marathon,” he said. “Good thinking,” commented a random cameraman. “No hills in Chicago.”

Borges is often sought out for his knowledge of the sport of boxing and has been involved in the production of those well-done Sports Century segments on cable.

Couldn’t let him get away without firing off a low blow.

One of the Sports Century productions was on Oakland’s anti-social and iconoclastic sports teams of the 70s – the A’s Mustache gang and those evil Raiders.

In that piece, our own Monte Poole and the Chronicle’s Ray Ratto were interviewed. Both were identified as “Oakland residents.”

Which is a little like identifying Jerry Brown as an East Bay homeowner.

Randy appears at last
When Moss finally emerged from his nice soothing shower and walked into the collective stink of motley media, he had – surprise – quite a lot to say. Not that any of it was ground breaking news, but he was what I would describe as expansive. Not a single one-sentence response, as we have become accustomed to from athletic emissaries over the years.

He spoke for 19 minutes and 12 seconds, which was damn nice of him, I thought … especially since it now made for 49 minutes of standing in one spot counting beetles and ants beneath our feet.

My intention had been to ask him how much that snazzy candy-apple metal-flake purple paint job on his Chevy truck cost him. I’ve got a ’57 T-Bird that would really look keen as a two-seater grape.

I never got the chance. He had sort of answered the question anyway.

Asked if he intended to re-paint the thing black to conform to his Raidertude, Moss replied “Nah. I mean, if I have somebody that’s gonna paint it for me, I’ll do it. But with my own money? No.”

In other words, somebody in Minnesota – probably an ex-Viking who owned a Chevy dealership — did it for him and my guess would be it was done gratis.

He said he wanted to keep his ride purple anyway because it was his way of remembering Minnesota.

Yeah, I know what he means. I’ve been in Minneapolis in December and I remember that color. Everybody in that state turns purple as soon as they walk out the front door in winter.

Mossmobile.com
But here was Moss’ kicker on the truck. He’s planning on giving it away “to a lucky fan” in the coming months. He’s running a contest on his website in which the truck will be given away free.

Moss did not reveal the address of his website so as soon as I could get to a computer, I did a “Randy Moss” search because … well, frankly, I want that truck. And so do you. It is, and I do not overstate my case, the visual approximation of a nuclear blast.

Unfortunately, I cannot assist you in finding the website (neener, neener … I’ll just keep it to myself). Just kidding. But I will tell you this: type in Randy Moss and there are 14,467 pages of possibilities.

I got as far as Page 3 where one link sends you to a photo of the fabled Moss on the moon shot in Green Bay.
When I saw a link to the Randy Moss Driving School, I gave up. Check that site out, by the way. It’s a scream … the Randy Moss Driving School for Professional Athletes.

And by the way, I swore I saw embedded in the paint job on the front hood of said vehicle, the imprint of a meter maid’s badge.

Which only makes it more valuable, I suspect. Be my guest and feel free to surf away.

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Bill Soliday - Raiders Writer