Work in Sports
Not so golden
'Niners will struggle, as proof of 'First defense'
This is the ninth in a series of postcards Sports Illustrated's Peter King will e-mail from his annual NFL training-camp tour.
Saturday, July 29
TEAM: San Francisco 49ers
SITE: At the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., there is no longer a football team. And this is where the 49ers have training camp. Strange. The name of the stadium is Amos Alonzo Stagg Stadium. And let me just say this about this site: You broil here.
PLAYER I SAW WHOM I REALLY LIKED: Quarterback Tim Rattay, who threw a pretty 18-yard rollout pass right to rookie wideout Jermaine Arrington and hit him right between the numbers. From the limited work I saw, Rattay, the 49ers' seventh-round pick, looked better-more fluid, more relaxed-that the third-round pick, Giovanni Carmazzi. They're rooming together in a classic old dorm room here and get along famously, by the way. Rattay is the early-to-bed, early-to-rise type. He has to tell Carmazzi to turn off the lights at night so he can get his shut-eye.
OPINION/FACTOID THAT MIGHT BE INTERESTING ONLY TO ME: Carmazzi is a nice Italian boy, but he didn't know what a cannolli was until he went to Hofstra.
THE FOOD: Had a sandwich in head coach Steve Mariucci's office.
I love those square-bottled Black Mountain waters. I know I say I'm not a water snob, but I think Black Mountain is the best spring water in the country.
Dear NFL Junkie:
First, I must tell you about my trip here. Weather screwed up the Macomb-to-Oakland odyssey, and so I ended up standing in a lot of lines. Yesterday, in the United line at the Peoria Regional Airport, two women were talking about the final Live with Regis and Kathie Lee episode.
Peoria woman 1: "I am in mourning. I can't believe it's over."
Peoria woman 2: "I didn't even watch. I was afraid I'd be too emotional. Terrible, just terrible."
This is what I thought just then: I am really not in touch with this great land of ours.
One other non-football item which only you natives of Red Sox Nation would understand: I can't believe I missed Pedro last night.
Yep, I could have landed in Oakland had everything been on time and seen Pedro Martinez baffle the A's. But because we were short three flight attendants for two hours, we sat at O'Hare and I blew my chance. Rather, United blew my chance.
My one note about the 'Niners will not exactly get their faithful fans fired up. When they called out "First defense" and had the regulars for Monday's preseason opener take the field, these are the men who ran out: Cedrick Killings, Chike Okeafor, Reggie McGrew, John Milem, Jeff Posey, Ed Thomas, Jeff Ulbrich, Pierson Prioleau, Monty Montgomery, Ahmed Plummer, Zack Bronson.
I do not think it will be a banner year for the 'Niners. By November, the 25,000 who will actually show up for their home games will be rooting for the No. 1 pick in the draft more than for the team to win.
Check back soon for more postcards from camp. Next: Oakland (Sunday).