All football fans are talking about the NFL Draft, which leads us to bust out our draft day steals from years past by the 49ers and Raiders. These are later-round picks that turned out to be gems! Let us know which names YOU would include on these lists (firstname.lastname@example.org).
San Francisco 49ers
1968- Skip Vanderbundt, LB Oregon State (third round)
1979- Joe Montana, QB Notre Dame (third round)
Dwight Clark, WR, Clemson (tenth round)
1986- John Taylor, WR, Delaware State (third round)
Charles Haley, DE, James Madison (fourth round)
1988-Bill Romanowski, LB, Boston College (third round)
2009-Ricky-Jean Francois, DE, LSU (seventh round)
*1988. My first week in Sacramento, and covering the team at the first Arco Arena.. I went into the Kings lockerroom and up to Reggie Theus. He said "hey, it's the new face in town". I always remembered that act of kindness. He's always been my favorite Kings for his exploits on...and off the court! Great tennis player too.
*1988. Gregg Lukenbill takes me on a sky walking tour of the new Arco arena being built. We end up on a catwalk about 100' up over all the beams and just a shell of the place. I am not good with heights, but Gregg figured i had a hard hat on so what could go wrong? I got to see places of Arco i didn't care too.
*1996 Playoffs. Game three vs. Seattle. The Kings had won game two in Seattle to even the series at one each. It was the first home playoff game at Arco in ten years. When the Kings came out of the lockerroom for warmups with "the boys are back in town" playing.... the place went crazy. Like crazy crazy. Fans stood and completely screamed their lungs out during pregame. I was in the stands as a fan, and we all looked at each other with "we need to save something for when the game actually starts". Kings lost the game and the series, but that night was my #1 moment.
*1998. Jerry Reynolds jumps up to beef a refs call and passes out right in front of me at the scorers table. Blaine Reichelt whistles him for a technical foul for his histrionics, then recinds the call when he realizes Jerry might be dead. Medics ran out and Jerry wakes up. Turns out Jerry had been on a new diet and hadn't eaten...and that was all it was.
*2002 playoffs vs Lakers. Peja airball. I felt Peja was a better regular season performer than in the hot lights of the playoffs. The biggest shot of his life turned out to be an airball. It came with 11 seconds left to go in game seven against the Lakers with the Kings down 99-98. It's a shot Peja hits in his sleep...in the regular season. The Kings went on to lose game seven in overtime, and their best chance to win an NBA title.
*Elliott Troshinsky, General Manager, KCRA-TV A salesman by trade, Troshinsky runs the most watched television station in the region and has the responsibility to keep a dominant station evolving while not blowing up too much of what's working. It's not as easy guiding a highly watched station as one might think. The Kelly family of Sacramento owned and grew KCRA from the 1950's until the sale to Hearst Company in 2000. Troshinsky has the final say in selecting news management and is ultimately responsible for what we viewers watch on KCRA's local newscasts. KCRA has not lost a 5pm/6pm newscast during ratings since 1998. You must change with the times...but if you're dominant, how much DO you change?
*Cheryl Dell, Publisher, The Sacramento Bee. If you think "nobody reads the papers anymore" just do something wrong and it ends up in the BEE.....your neighbor will find it. The BEE still has a circulation of 280,000 people, and 325,000 on Sunday. All local TV and radio stations peruse the morning BEE to see what they'll be covering that day. All major newspapers have less readership, but then again, erosion has affected TV News in an alarming way too. The BEE is still the ledger of record in this town...and the fifth largest newspaper in California.
*Marcos Breton, Columnist, The Sacramento Bee. The wordsmith of the city. Every paper has a go-to guy who speaks either to...or for the city. Breton has evolved into this role as the Bee's soul. He usually speaks up for the downtrodden and those affected by immigration issues. He also doubles as a crisp sports columnist.
If he doesn't like you, you're toast. See Fargo, Heather or the Maloof family for details.
*Jeff VonKaenel, Publisher, Sacramento News&Review. The anti-Bee weekly paper, the N&R is free and with a weekly circulation of 74,000. Every coffee shop and midtown eatery has copies laying about. The N&R does a nice job with layout and going underground to investigate stories. Block out at least an hour to get through it.... if you don't mind the seemingly endless adds for massage parlors and tattoo houses. They are, in many ways preaching to a liberal choir but it seems their readers wants to read it anyway.
*Doug Elmets, Elmets Communications. KCRA-TV uses Elmets frequently as a commentator to dissect political situations and elections. All that while Elmets holds down his day job as a communications whiz AND being the advisor to area Indian Casinos. He's got his hands in a lot of pies. You could see him on TV one night defending something done at Thunder Valley casino, and the next morning appearing in the KCRA newsroom talking about Reaganomics or "why Iowa went heavy for Hillary". Are the lines blurred here? It's nice to be that glib and in demand.
He's smart and a great sense of humor.
1. "Funderland"; Land Park Sacramento. Old school mini-amusement park with a log flume ride, roller coaster and flying planes. Can't beat it for the under ten year olds. Plan a picnic before or after because you're right at the park. Next door is the Sacramento Zoo and Fairytale town. You could kill the whole day in one spot. Dad could even get in nine holes while Mom sweats the kids by herself! Or not.
2. "The California Museum", 10th and O Sacramento. There are so many great museums in the city, but this is one i think alot of folks miss. Sure, we take our relatives to Old Sac, The railroad museum and the State Capitol building, but this is a museum with great history about our state. Make this one a stop with the kids the next time you want to try something new. Better suited for kids 8 and up. Other great stops include the Aerospace museum at McClellan Park and the Marshall Gold discovery site in Coloma.
3. Bouncing. Yes, bouncing. Nothing wears the little darlings out better than a trip to one of the many bounce spots in greater Sacramento. Spend 2-3 hours bouncing, and they're sure to pass out on the way home. Our fave spots are the "Bounce spot" in West Sac, "Laguna's awesome party spot" in Elk Grove and "Sky High" in Rancho Cordova (trampolines aplenty). These places are a gold mine in the winter to get out of the rain, and in the summer to escape the heat.
4. River Cats Baseball. The area's affordable sports entertainment venue that's family friendly. Of course they have bounce houses for the kids. Lawn seating is available for families that want to set up lawn chairs or throw down a blanket. My kids are good for about 4-5 innings or until i'm broke from buying chicken strips and dinger dogs.
5. Indoor skating. Great to get out of the rain or away from the sun. We've hit "Skatetown" in Roseville for a couple of birthday parties for ice skating. My kids are always trying to get me to take them to "The Rink" at Bradshaw and Highway 50 for roller skating and/or to "Sunrise Roller land" in Citrus Heights. They fall a hundred times but keep getting up for more!
*Vida BLUE; A's and Giants. I met Vida the day he reported to KC in April 1982 after being traded by SF. I remember standing on an empty field interviewing him and thinking "omg..this is Vida Blue". I was working in Ft Myers, Florida where the Royals had spring training...and we hooked up for some beverages that night at Raffles Bar. He told me stories about how A's owner Charlie Finley wanted him to legally change his name to "True Blue" and how Charlie's donkey would crap all over the infield during batting practice. Vida later moved to Sonora, CA and we kept in touch during my sports days at KCRA.
*Dennis ECKERSLEY A's. The classiest interview ever. I had to interview him right after the A's demoted him to the bullpen in Spring Training '88. He wasn't happy about it. He went on to become the most dominant ninth inning guy i've ever seen. His best "stand up guy" moment was in the World Series that same year, right after he gave up the iconic homer to Kirk Gibson. Eck didn't hide in the shower. He stood in front of his stall and calmly addressed us on how that was the "wrong pitch" to throw to a hobbled Gibson and how the loss was totally on him. He owned the moment, and it was a big one. Classy.
*Dave HENDERSON A's. He flashed that gap-toothed grin constantly on and off the field and engaged with fans in between pitches. It was like he was drinking in every moment he had as a player, knowing it wouldn't last. I've never seen a player who had more fun. "Hendu" had a solid MLB career as a player and he made all of us beleive he enjoyed every minute.
*Will CLARK GIANTS. Thrill was a tough interview because he like to use the word that rhymes with "duck" a lot. A total leader on the field and off. He wasn't easy to get on camera unless Kristine Hanson of KCRA did the interview. We understood.
*Rickey HENDERSON A's. Most interviews were a challenge with Rickey, becuase he was hard to understand and he referred to himself as Rickey in the third person. "Rickey will not play for that amount of money because Rickey is worth more" said Rickey. I think that's what he said. He was really from Mars.