Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Monday, October 19, 2009

Few Show For California Redwoods' Football Opener -- But Fans Still Manage to Have Fun (Legally and Illegally)

Posted By on Mon, Oct 19, 2009 at 12:01 AM

click to enlarge There is grandeur in this view of life... - JIM HERD
  • Jim Herd
  • There is grandeur in this view of life...
Text by Joe Eskenazi. Gorgeous photos by Jim Herd.

In the many months between when we first reported the inception of the San Francisco-based United Football League up to the moment we wandered into a largely abandoned AT&T Park for the Saturday night home debut of the California Redwoods, we never did figure out the league's "mission statement." The UFL, it reads, "was developed to fulfill the unmet needs of football fans in major markets currently underserved by professional football."

Within a speedy 15-minute drive of AT&T Park sits not one but two professional football stadiums -- and large portions of Saturday's crowd came outfitted in the gear of both professional squads. And yet, you can't shrug off the unforeseen benefits of locating a team in San Francisco. Within moments of the Redwoods' historic opening kickoff, a pair of breathtakingly gorgeous young women loudly and abruptly ended their romantic relationship an arm's length from your humble narrator; one lithely sprinted up the aisle to parts unknown, her mascara running awkwardly down her cheeks. The other gritted her teeth, sunk low into her green plastic chair, and forlornly began to bang out text messages.

Show me another football venue in the nation that can provide that.

We're going to go fairly lightly on the game details of Saturday's contest in this article: If you cared to know, you'd have probably been there. God knows there was room for you, and this was not a hard ticket to obtain. Half an hour prior to the game scalpers were offering us the best seats in the house for 15 bucks -- 10 dollars below face value.

click to enlarge Down in front! - JIM HERD
  • Jim Herd
  • Down in front!

Before we go any further, let me make something clear: While the Redwoods' 24-7 win over the visiting New York Sentinels was decidedly not a great exhibition of football, it was also most definitely not bad. On the whole, the fans I chatted with throughout the game felt they were getting a decent return for their $10 or $15 tickets. Folks did seem to be enjoying themselves -- some in ways unintended by AT&T Park's management (and we'll get to that).

click to enlarge Redwoods QB Mike McMahon runs like hell - JOE ESKENAZI
  • Joe Eskenazi
  • Redwoods QB Mike McMahon runs like hell
That being said, the unavoidable takeaway for anyone who did deign to attend this game was that he or she was in an exclusive club. UFL officials told me with straight faces that they distributed 11,438 tickets for this contest and 6,341 fans entered the stadium. Never mind the fact that team owner Paul Pelosi told me prior to the season that his economic projections were based on 20,000 people showing up for every game: League officials' claims that one out of every seven seats in the stadium was occupied were akin to Groucho Marx querying "Who are you going to believe? Me or your own eyes?" 

click to enlarge Does this stadium look even one-seventh full? Sadly, it does not. - JIM HERD
  • Jim Herd
  • Does this stadium look even one-seventh full? Sadly, it does not.
  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , ,

About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Bio:
Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" is a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly, which he has written for since 2007. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers... more

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • Phish at the Bill Graham Auditorium
    Phish is in the midst of a block of sold out shows at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (October 27-29). The Monday night concert featured a rare first set opener of “Walfredo” with the band members switching instruments for the song. The evening’s highlights included John Fishman and his iconic vacuum cleaner solo and favorites such as Chalk Dust Torture, Slave to the Traffic Light, Axilla, Rift, 2001 Space Odyssey, and Maze. The show also featured Phish’s debut of a, seemingly impromptu, version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” to with roaring approval of the, singing along, crowd. With Game 6 being tonight, partying Phish fans will join Giants fans in Civic Center Plaza where there will be a World Series viewing party on a large screen set up by the City. Photography by Jamie Soja.
  • The 4th Annual Masquerotica 2014 - NSFW
    The theme this year was Carnaval Mystique for the 4th Annual Masquerotica at The Factory. Attendees were entertained by strip dance, trapeze, and live music. Photographs by Calibree Photography.