Author Archives: Chase Beardsley

Oakland Or Bust

Photo by Chase Beardlsey
Oakland Coliseum

The Oakland port is another saga in the story as long as time itself for Oakland residents. The story about the Oakland A’s and the search for a new stadium while they play in a stadium that is constantly called the worst in baseball.

“They don’t even have straws anymore,” A’s fan Rick Silva said to the San Francisco Chronicle. “We asked for straws, and they said they don’t have any.”

That is just one of the minor issues inside the storm of the Oakland A’s. To speak about these issues, we need to talk about their current home: the Oakland Coliseum. 

The Coliseum opened up in 1966, 58 years ago. It was intended as a multipurpose stadium to house the Oakland Raiders and later the Oakland A’s. Right across from the stadium was an arena where the Golden State Warriors began to play. The A’s moved in 1968. Time went on. The A’s won three straight championships in the 70s, the Raiders won a championship in the 80s, and shortly after, the Raiders left for LA. This left the A’s all alone in the stadium. 

However, the A’s didn’t want to stay in the coliseum as the stadium was not maintained well. A low point emerged in 1979 as only 653 fans showed up to see the A’s play the Seattle Mariners in what is believed as the lowest paid attendance in MLB history, and a nickname was given to the stadium: the Oakland Mausoleum. 

The original A’s owner: Charlie Finley was attempting to sell the team at this time, and it was planned to sell the team to Marvin Davis. Davis made plans to move the A’s to Denver but with the Raiders gone, the city didn’t want to lose another sports franchise. Oakland refused to let the A’s out of its lease with the coliseum, and the deal fell through. The franchise was later sold to Levi Strauss & Co.

The 90s rolled around, the A’s won another championship, and the Raiders came back into the picture. In Preparation to set up their home back in the Bay, the Raiders demanded more seats in the coliseum, and this led to a point in time where a lot of A’s fans say the franchise took a turn. 10,000 seats were added to the upper deck, obstructing the view of the Oakland hills. This addition to the stadium, also called a monstrosity by most A’s fans, was dubbed Mt. Davis after the Raiders owner. “Mt. Davis” is barely used for A’s games, only being opened up a handful of times most recently in the 2019 wild card game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

In 2012, the stadium became the last to host both NFL and MLB games. This wouldn’t hold up for long as, finally, in 2017, the Raiders submitted a plan for relocation to Las Vegas. It was approved that year and the Raiders would leave town in 2019 for a massive stadium adjacent to the Las Vegas Strip. The A’s neighbors: the Warriors, would also leave town in 2019, leaving for a new arena in San Francisco: the Chase Center. This left the A’s as the only Oakland sports franchise.

To talk about the aging coliseum is one that can gross one person out and leave another scratching their head as to why professional sports teams still play here.

Sewage has been a constant issue with the stadium. In 2013, the stadium suffered an extreme sewage backup. This left parts of the stadium three feet below sewage water forcing the A’s and Mariners, who were playing, to use the Raiders locker room and showers. This wasn’t the first time sewage had been an issue at the stadium. During a sewage backup, the Los Angeles Angels complained about fecal matter and bacteria in the visitor’s training room. Even one of the many A’s owners found out while trying to dine at the coliseum that food was delayed due to sewage. Backups reportedly occur even when the stadium isn’t in use.

Animals have had their fair visitation of the stadium. On Dec. 19, 2018, during a Raiders game, a janitor said the following loud enough on a radio to shock all attendants.

“There are two dead mice in the soda machine,” Ann Killion, reporter for the SF Chronicle later tweeted.

Beyond that just this year, feral cats have invaded the coliseum site. Yes, what’s estimated to be between 50-100 feral cats have invaded the field according to ABC7 News and reportedly are gaining due to … well you know natural reproduction. At least the A’s have some sort of answer to the mouse issue even though it wasn’t planned.

If you think you’re done with the issues at this point, you’re wrong because we haven’t even covered the actual team and their marketing yet. 

The A’s have been minimizing their promotions, discounts, and season ticket benefits. Season ticket holders used to be able to get 25% off all gear and half off all beverages and food. Now, that’s gone.

“You used to get a Round Table Pizza coupon on the back of your parking ticket. Now nothing,” A’s fan Marcia Partch told the SF Chronicle.

At best, the A’s concession stands are described as mediocre, often ranked near the bottom of people’s MLB concession stand rankings. They often serve burned hot dogs and lack of choices throughout the stadium. Options are bland and lacking compared to the across the bay neighbors at Oracle Park, who serve Ghirardelli ice cream, freshly made smoothies (with a produce garden behind it), and carne asada burrito bowls. As a reference, Thrillist (an online website that covers food and entertainment) ranked Oracle Park as having the fourth best concessions in the league. The A’s were ranked 30th. The only saving grace for the coliseum is the food trucks that show up in the championship plaza, but even they don’t want to stay at the aging stadium as they usually leave early into the game.

On top of all of this, the A’s have doubled the price of season tickets from last season. For example, a left-field bleacher seat was $456 for a season ticket now it is $840.

The A’s have also removed their fan-favorite A’s Access program, a flat fee that also had discounted food, beverages, and parking. Now, if you want to park at the stadium even as a season-ticket holder, it will cost you $30.

“Just crazy to see raised prices that much with no investment in the team, fan experience, or commitment to stay,” Bryan Johansen, a longtime season ticket holder, told Mercury News.

There’s one more thing to add on top of this mess. The actual team. The A’s missed the playoffs for the first time in three years last year due to an epic collapse of the team. So the A’s did what the A’s have done numerous times in the past: blew it up. Out went pitchers Chris Bassitt and Sean Manaea, first baseman Matt Olson, third baseman Matt Chapman, and center fielder Starling Marte. All traded for prospects and picks. Any star players that the A’s had were gone. Any hopes for the A’s to bounce back were gone. A team that just needed to add to make the November dance diminished all chances of that.

“I’ve got about 15 (A’s) jerseys and it’s hard to find one that’s still on this team,” said Silvia to the SF Chronicle. 

The A’s are notorious for doing this as many fans have come to expect their fan favorites and star players to eventually get traded or leave just a couple of years after they burst onto the scene. It’s happened with stars Jose Conseco, Mark McGwire, Rickey Henderson (multiple times), Catfish Hunter, and other numerous stars that have impacted the franchise. Some call it the A’s way.

With all of these things adding up, there’s limited things attracting A’s fans and baseball fans to games. According to ESPN, the A’s have the worst attendance, averaging around 7,715 fans each game. For comparison, the Dodgers at the top of the list are at 49,057 on average, and Oakland’s neighbor: the Giants average around 32,360. It’s worse than that though as the A’s set two records for some of their lowest attendance ever. In a series against the Baltimore Orioles in April, the A’s had 3,748 fans in the second game of the series. This was the smallest crowd the team had played against since 1980 when a game against the Texas Rangers had 2,443 fans in attendance. The next game however against the Orioles was a smaller number of 2,703. A lot of fans are boycotting the team with constant issues going on with the team and the stadium resulting in attendance that hasn’t been seen since 1980.

So the Colosseum is reaching its end, the team isn’t good, and fans aren’t showing up. What will fix all these issues? The simple answer is to get a new stadium. However, that’s a simple thing to say but a hard thing to do. The A’s have been trying to get a new ballpark for quite some time. San Jose was a great option at a point in time until it was shot down by the U.S. Supreme Court and the San Francisco Giants. The city of Fremont was even an option complete with a ballpark proposal. That failed due to residents of the city being concerned about pollution, traffic, and noise. Now the A’s look to what looks to be their best hope ever to have a new stadium. 

The A’s proposed plan is to build on Howard Terminal which is right next to Jack London Square (where the A’s have held fan events countless times) in Oakland. It would include the 35,000-capacity stadium complete with a sleek modern look that hasn’t been seen in baseball before. The A’s would also build offices, retail space, a hotel, and residential space. In addition to this, the A’s would revamp the coliseum site, turning the stadium into a community ballpark. The A’s would also build housing, a skills center, community gathering spaces, offices, and restaurants. The Oracle arena would stay and be repurposed as an events center. The A’s boast that the new stadium would produce 6,119 permanent new jobs, $7.3 billion in economic benefits, increase infrastructure to battle rising sea levels, and give back bay views to the citizens of Oakland. It seems almost too good to be true. The A’s and the city of Oakland have been trying to break ground on Howard terminal since 2017. Now in 2022, no ground has been broken even with progress being made with the staff of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission stating that the land that the A’s plan to build on is not needed by the port of Oakland.

Courtesy of Oakland A's
Proposed ballpark on Howard Terminal

“(This) report is great news for Oakland and our region,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement. “The best use of a dormant Howard Terminal is to convert it into a thriving waterfront ballpark neighborhood.”

“This is really the last location that can work in Oakland,” A’s team president Dave Kaval told KPIX 5.

Even with this news, the A’s still have a long way to go with two lawsuits being filed against them by the Union Pacific Railroad Company and East Oakland Stadium Alliance.

The other option for the A’s that some believe is inevitable is the relocation of the franchise to Las Vegas. 

“The Oakland Coliseum site is not a viable option for the future vision of baseball. We have instructed the Athletics to begin to explore other markets while they continue to pursue a waterfront ballpark in Oakland. The Athletics need a new ballpark to remain competitive, so it is now in our best interest to also consider other markets,” the MLB said in a statement.

Las Vegas is already home to the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights and Oakland’s old NFL team: the Raiders. The two teams have been very successful, and Oakland fans fear that the A’s aren’t too far from joining their old co-owner of the coliseum. 

Kaval and A’s ownership has made numerous trips to the city. Most infamously while the A’s were playing a game, Kaval was busy in Sin City watching a Golden Knights playoff game.

“Things really soured for me when he (Kaval) went to Vegas last year to go to a Golden Knights playoff game,” said season ticket holder Will MacNeil to the Mercury News.

“I think that’s a negotiating ploy,” said A’s fan Max Pringle when the Mercury News asked him of Kaval’s visits to Las Vegas. Pringle added that he thinks the A’s have done their share to get a new stadium.

“I cannot understand how anyone would think we would spend $2 million a month to develop this new stadium at the waterfront and all the effort and time,” Kaval exclaimed to the Mercury News. “Why would we do all those things if we wanted to leave? It doesn’t make any sense.”

Either way, you lean, the temptation of Vegas is there. The two sports teams that currently reside in the city have nice sparkling new arenas and stadiums. Another point in favor of moving to Las Vegas is being closer to one of their farm teams: the Las Vegas Aviators. The Aviators have been selling out their games recently as the city shows that baseball has fans in the city.

Back in Oakland, the team isn’t doing so hot this season. They are 12-19 and are at the bottom of the AL West. The team is bottoming out in attendance, and fans are protesting and boycotting owners John Fischer and Kaval.

“An owner that would trade or/and let fan favorites walk. An owner whose team still plays in a stadium with sewage problems. A stadium that still has horse troughs as urinals in the restroom. An owner that has sent his president to Las Vegas last offseason for research on relocation. Why would an A’s fan go to a game when they just raised tickets after trading all their stars? Why would an A’s fan buy a jersey of a player that is guaranteed to be gone in two years? It’s not that A’s fans don’t exist. They’re tired of the BS. It’s a boycott” CBS sports MLB producer Danny Vietti tweeted out about the issue.

It’s an issue that has gone so far that even the MLB has had enough of it. For A’s fans, they’ve seen it countless times before. After three or so years of competitiveness, the team sells off everything, and ballpark issues become the main talking point again. This time feels different, though. This time really feels like it’s a new stadium in Oakland or Vegas. So much so that players around the league are talking about it.

“I hope they move to Vegas. Oakland was special to me, but you can no longer play in the Coliseum,” former A’s player Robbie Grossman told the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky “And if they can’t build a stadium within a year or two, there’s no reason for them to be there.”

Grossman went on to say it’s a shame that the team is in the position they are in with its long history and the great fans in Oakland.

It feels like the A’s have finally had enough. So much so to even drive fans away with the product on and off the field. The Howard terminal feels like the last chance the outlandish Oakland A’s have in their current city. It’s either the beautiful waterfront stadium on Howard terminal in Oakland or they go where the past Coliseum team has gone: the desert and flashiness of Las Vegas and the strip. It really feels like the motto Dave Kaval has been saying: Oakland or bust.

San Jose Sharks, Tomas Hertl Agree On Eight Year Extension

Hertl scoring in a game against Vegas.
Tomas Hertl scoring in a game against the Vegas Golden Knights

Sharks star forward Tomas Hertl was re-signed by the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday, March 16 to an eight year contract worth 65.1 million. The contract is worth 8.1 million per year and has a no movement clause for the first three years and a modified no trade clause for the rest of the contract.

Hertl has been with the Sharks since getting drafted in 2012. He’s tied for first in goal scoring on the team this year and is second in points on the team only behind Timo Mier. Hertl was in the last year of a four year contract.

“It’s [good] to sign a nice long contract to be a franchise player and part of the Sharks,” Hertl said to “It’s an honor, but at the same time, I know what is coming with that. I’m one of the leaders and I have to make it better, so it’s challenging for me and I want to see every day, every year us getting better.”

Hertl and his contract has been a looming issue for the Sharks all throughout this season. Many trade rumors were thrown out in the past couple of months especially with the Sharks falling out of playoff contention.

“We’ve always been committed to signing him to this contract,” acting general manager Joe Will said to “It was [about being] fully committed to signing up here because we recognize the importance of the top-line center…“Tomas has evolved into a premier top-line centerman in the league, competing against the NHL’s best players every single night and delivering significant results…We are thrilled to have Tomas for another eight years.”

Hertl is now the highest paid forward on the team, beating out captain Logan Couture by $137,500. He’s second overall in highest paid on the team with defenseman Erik Karlsson leading the way.

Hertl is a fan favorite in San Jose and many rejoiced seeing him back as he’s made many favorable moments as a Shark.

“Just saw the post on Instagram and it feels more real now! I’m very happy, excited, and relieved,” said local fan and season ticket holder Aaron Convino.

The Sharks have missed the playoffs for the past two years and are poised to miss the playoffs for a third straight year. It would be a first in Sharks history. They currently sit eight points behind the Vegas Golden Knights for the second wild card spot with 26 wins, 25 losses, and eight overtime losses.

Hertl himself is excited to be back for eight more years with a tweet going out on his Twitter page when the contract was announced that simply had a smiley face.

“My heart was always with the Sharks,” Hertl told reporters.

Brady Is Back

Tom Brady


Tom Brady announced on Mar. 13 on his Twitter that he was coming back to the NFL to play another season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Brady said on Twitter “These past two months I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands. That time will come. But it’s not now. I love my teammates, and I love my supportive family. They make it all possible. I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa.”

Brady had initially retired on Feb. 1 with almost every single QB record in the NFL along with seven championships. 

The Buccaneers when Brady retired were in a moment of uncertainty with many of their star players not under contract. However Brady texted Buccaneers stars Chris Godwin and Mike Evans 20 minutes before he publicly announced his comeback that he would return for another season.

Godwin said in a public interview “we were gassed up. We’re back and we’re trying to make it back to the top of the mountain.”

General manager of the Buccaneers Jason Licht said in a statement “We are thrilled Tom Brady has decided to come back this season.”

As for other NFL teams and players, they’re not as happy as the Buccaneers organization are.

The New York Jets tweeting out “this better be real,” when Brady retired, retweeted that tweet with a caption of two words. “Guess not.”

Jalen Ramsey who Brady threw his “last” touchdown on tweeted out “Thank you! Throw that last touchdown on somebody else.”

Brady will play his 23rd season in the NFL this upcoming season and his third season with the Buccaneers. Brady is the record holder for most games started by a QB in the NFL along other records. 

Bay Area Playoff Hockey Is BACK

Stockton Heat game on Apr. 22
Stockton Heat game on Apr. 22, 2022

Playoff hockey is returning to the Bay Area! Even with the San Jose Sharks playing out their final stretch of games on the road with no playoff hopes (they were eliminated from playoff contention a month ago) and their minor league team, the San Jose Barracuda finishing at the bottom of their division, the Bay Area will still see May hockey. An hour’s drive northeast of the Bay from San Jose lies the city of Stockton, where the AHL’s Stockton Heat is about to compete in the Calder Cup playoffs.

The AHL, or the American Hockey League, is the league below the NHL. Many NHL players play a handful of games in the AHL over their careers, like current Sharks players Timo Mier and Logan Couture. While the Sharks’ AHL team: the Barracuda, finished last in their division this season, the Stockton Heat finished first. 

The Heat are the Calgary Flames AHL affiliate. They’ve played in the pacific division of the AHL since their inception in 2015 when the Adirondack Flames relocated to Stockton to become the Heat. Before this season, the best season the Heat have had was the 2016-17 season, when the Heat qualified for the playoffs with 77 points but were eliminated by the Barracuda in five games.

The Heat this season, however, quite literally turned up the Heat. They have a record of 45 wins, 15 losses, and seven OT/shootout losses. Matthew Phillips is their leading scorer with 30 goals and 37 assists for 67 points. He’s also ninth in the league for points. Rookie Jakob Pelletier is also playing well with 62 points so far this season. 

The Heat clinched their second-ever playoff spot on Mar. 19 and clinched the pacific division title on Apr. 23.

The Heat have also had good net performances, especially from young netminder: Dustin Wolf. This season, Wolf has 33 wins, eight losses, and four OT/shootout losses under his belt. He’s rocking a .924 save percentage and 2.33 goals-against average. Wolf was born and raised in Gilroy, under two hours away from Stockton. He would go to Sharks games and later play with the L.A. junior Kings when his family moved to southern California.

“From when I started playing, the game has grown tremendously in California,” said Wolf to “It’s huge for guys coming out of here. Kids look up to you. To have them be able to say they live five minutes from where this guy or that guy grew up it’s huge. It creates a ‘Why can’t that be me?’ sort of thing.

Wolf was named a first-team AHL all-star on Feb. 28, the only Heat player ever to do so. 

The Heat’s attendance has been strong ever since their inception. The Heat’s attendance has dipped this season, but it’s mainly been due to COVID. Since the city of Stockton dropped their vaccine requirements, the Heat have had great attendance, including their final home regular-season game on April 22, where the Heat lost in overtime to the Abbotsford Canucks.

“It’s great when we get more fans in the building. It’s always more fun to play in front of an atmosphere…Whenever the building is loud, and there’s energy in the crowd, it makes it a lot more fun to be a part of the game from the player’s standpoint,” leading scorer Matthew Phillips said in an interview.

“It’s actually fun! It’s cool to know there’s another hockey team in my backyard. I would 100% go again,” said Sharks fan Aaron Coviano after attending the last home game of the season.

Due to the team winning their division, the Heat get a first-round bye in the AHL playoffs. They will face whatever team is the lowest seed that gets out of the first round. That could mean a California playoff matchup of the San Diego Gulls or the Bakersfield Condors. 

Even though they need to wait for the first-round matchups to finish for their playoff story to start, the boys are excited for the return of playoff hockey in Stockton.

“I mean, that’s why you train, and that’s what you play for is playoffs, and that’s when hockey is the most fun and when you get the best out of everybody, so we’re all super excited to play playoff hockey,” Phillips said.

Taylor Hawkins on drums for the Foo Fighters

Taylor Hawkins, Dead At 50

Taylor Hawkins on drums for the Foo Fighters
Taylor Hawkins on drums for the Foo Fighters

Taylor Hawkins, the drummer for the Foo Fighters and rock ’n’ roll hall of famer, died unexpectedly on March 25, 2022, while on tour with the Foo Fighters in Columbia. He was 50 years old.

Emergency services were called to Hawkins hotel room on Mar. 25 due to Hawkins suffering from chest pains. Hawkins was declared dead on the scene after unsuccessful attempts at CPR. Although it was later revealed that Hawkins had 10 substances in his system at the time of death (including antidepressants, opioids, and cannabis), Colombian officials said they would keep working to make clear the events of the timeline of Hawkin’s death.

Hawkins was born in Fort Worth, Texas, on Feb. 17 and later moved to Laguna Beach, California. He started his drumming career as the drummer for the Orange County-based band Slyvia and went on to be the drummer for Alanis Morissette on her Jagged Little Pill tour and her Can’t Not tour. This was the first huge claim to fame for the 32-year-old drummer. Hawkins would also provide backing vocals for some of Morissette’s songs and appear in some of her music videos. He would call this time one of the most fun of his life.

Hawkins soon after became the drummer for Foo Fighters after conflicts between Dave Grohl and former drummer William Goldsmith emerged, leading to Goldsmith leaving the band. Grohl, who at that time wasn’t close with Hawkins, called him asking for recommendations for a new drummer for the band. Hawkins surprised Grohl by volunteering himself as the new drummer. Grohl didn’t ask Hawkins because he thought Hawkins wouldn’t leave Morissette and her touring band as they were bigger than the Foo Fighters at the time. Part of Hawkins’ reasoning was his willingness to play in a band rather than a solo act.

Hawkins debuted on the Foo’s “The Colour and the Shape” album, which included hits like “Everlong” and “My Hero.” He would go on to record eight more albums with the band. The band won 15 Grammys and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2021.

Hawkins not only drummed for the band but also provided vocals, guitar, and piano. On the final stretch of touring with the band, Hawkins performed a cover of Somebody To Love by Queen, including in his last show in the Bay Area region up in Sacramento. 

Hawkins was close with all of his Foo Fighters band members, especially Dave Grohl. Grohl described him in his 2021 memoir as “my brother from another mother, my best friend, a man who’d I take a bullet for.”

Hawkin’s death was announced suddenly that evening on the Foo Fighters’ social media platforms, stating, “his musical spirit and infectious laughter will live on with all of us forever.” The Foo Fighters canceled all of their upcoming shows and tours four days later. 

Miley Cyrus broke down in tears after dedicating her performance of “Angels Like You” to the drummer. Cyrus said, “I would have done anything to hang out with him.” Elton John also dedicated his performance of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me” to Hawkins. John called Hawkins “one of the nicest people you could ever meet.

Hawkins is survived by his wife: Alison, and their three children: Oliver, Annabelle, and Everleigh. He is also survived by his siblings, Jason and Heather.

No public funeral service has been announced for Hawkins at this time.

Ukraine, Russia, and Hockey

War, inflation, and refugees are at the top of everyone’s minds, but the ongoing battle between Ukraine and Russia affects even the smallest things in these times, hockey.

On the Ukrainian side of things, a former NHL player is currently in the war torn country. Ukrainian born Dmitri Khristich is on the frontlines fighting for his country. He played 811 games in the NHL scoring 569 points, more than any other Ukraine born player in history but now he and his wife are fighting for their country.

“We just want them to please leave the country, please go away, then we can negotiate or talk. But please go away so we can live in peace,” Khristich pleads.

NHL teams have been backing up Ukraine. In Nashville, Seattle, and San Jose, the Ukrainian national anthem has been sung before the U.S. national anthem to support the country. A Ukraine flag was seen draped over a fan in SAP Center in a game against the Bruins. Controversially, Capital One arena (home of the Washington Capitals) has banned Ukraine and Russian flags from their arena, the only arena to do so.

There are currently around 40 Russian born players in the NHL spread among all 32 teams. That’s around 5% of a league that’s mostly dominated by Canadian born players. With the war looming, people are turning to these 40 Russians for answers or just someone to blame for the war.

Alex Ovehckin is a veteran in the league. He’s considered by many to be the best Russian to play the game and his career proves it. Playing his whole career with the Washington Capitals, he won the Stanley Cup in 2018 but what most people talk about is his career goal totals. He has 764 goals to date, which is fourth all time for most goals scored in a career. He is only two goals behind Jaromir Jagr for third all time and what many are keeping an eye on is he’s on pace to beat Wayne Gretzky’s 894 goals for first in a couple seasons. 

Capitals captain: Alex Ovechkin

However, people’s eyes haven’t been on his accolades recently. They’ve been on his opinion of the war. Ovechkin didn’t come out right away with a statement when the war started leading to many people critiquing him. That soon changed when Ovechkin held a news conference. 

“Please, no more war. It doesn’t matter who is in the war — Russia, Ukraine, different countries — I think we live in a world, like, we have to live in peace and a great world,” Ovechkin pleaded in the interview. 

Ovechkin has been known as a supporter of Russian president Vladimir Putin in the past. Ovechkin has a picture of himself and Putin together as his profile picture on Instagram and has also announced in the past on the platform that he was organizing a movement to support the Russian President.

“Well, he is my president. But how I said, I am not in politics. I am an athlete and you know, how I said, I hope everything is going to be done soon,” the Russian hockey player said when asked about Putin.

Ovechkin came under fire for his lack of action and wording on the issue. MassMutual, a business partner with the NHL, pulled their widely popular commercial that featured Ovechkin, his wife, and teammate Nick Backstrom. Hockey company CCM followed suit in removing Ovechkin commercials as well.

Ovechkin’s critics also included NHL hall of famer and Czechia citizen Domninik Hasek. 

“What!? Not only an ablist, a chickens — t, but also a liar! Every adult in Europe knows well that Putin is a mad killer and that Russia is waging an offensive war against the free country and its people,” Hasek tweeted in response to Ovechkin’s interview.

Hasek also tweeted that Russian NHL players should be banned from the NHL temporarily while also adding he feels bad for those Russian NHL players who condemn Putin.

Ovechkin’s family lives in Russia and many assume that’s why he didn’t say much. We aren’t very far removed from when Artemi Panarin; superstar for the New York Rangers, took a leave of absence from the NHL due to his remarks about Putin.

“The mistake in our society is treating [Putin] like a superhuman … This is nonsense. How many million people live here? No question there is someone better,” Panarin said in 2019.

Panarin’s home country accused him in 2021 of beating up an 18-year-old woman in 2011. Panarin left the Rangers for a couple weeks to deal with the matter and rumor has it, to make sure his family in Russia was safe from the country.

Nikita Zadorov is the only other Russian to really be outspoken about the ongoing issue. The Calgary Flames defenseman took to social media to post a photo with two words on it. “No War.” Zadorov also wrote in the description “stop it.” People commented on his post thanking him for speaking up, some calling him a hero. 

People haven’t been so nice to those who haven’t spoken out however.

Dan Milstein is a player agent in the NHL. He represents more than a dozen Russian players currently playing in the NHL. This includes two time Stanley Cup champions Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vaseilevsky. His clients recently have been harassed with the war going on and even sent death threats. Milstein himself who was born in Ukraine has been getting the same threats.

“It has been difficult for some (players). Some guys find refuge by stepping on the ice and playing the game. … But could you imagine stepping on the ice and playing a competitive game thinking that your wife and your newborn child are at home unprotected?” Milstein told ESPN.

Milstein also added when speaking to ESPN he hasn’t slept for six days due to the difficult times. 

“People are picking on the wrong crowd. I can speak on behalf of my clients: They want world peace like everybody else. They’re not being treated like that,” said Milstein

In the Bay Area, one of Milstein’s players plays with the San Jose Sharks. Russian forward Alexander Barabanov was acquired last trade deadline from Toronto and made an immediate impact on the team with seven points in nine games. This season he has 27 points in 48 games in his first full NHL season.

Sharks head coach Bob Boughner when asked about Barabanov and Milstein’s quote said “Within our four walls of our room, we have a family kind of atmosphere and we treat each other that way. We’re all by Barbie’s side.”

Milstein has three other Russian players under contract in the Sharks organization. 

Forward Alex Barabanov
Sharks forward Alex Barabanov

“I just think in general, I know it’s crazy times, and there’s a lot of guys over here playing in our league from Russia,” Boughner added. “To hold anything against those guys, they’re over here doing something they love to do. I don’t think that should be compared to what’s going on in the rest of the world.”

The NHL put out a statement on Feb. 28 condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and suspending any Russian affiliated partnership and Russia NHL websites/social media pages indefinitely. The NHL also stated the following on behalf of their Russian players.

“We also remain concerned about the well-being of the players from Russia, who play in the NHL on behalf of their NHL Clubs, and not on behalf of Russia. We understand they and their families are being placed in an extremely difficult position.”

Other hockey related leagues and companies started to condemn Russia as well. EA Sports who produce the NHL video games series tweeted that they would be removing the Russian national team from the rosters of the game. The IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) announced the suspension of all Russian national hockey teams from any form of competition including the decision to change the location of the 2023 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships from Russia.

It’s not looking good for the Russians and Ukrainians in the NHL who are just trying to safely live their dreams playing professional hockey. Any action will enrage someone and could potentially harm their family. They are stuck. It’s a situation that no one would want to be in. The only thing they can do is wait.

Uncharted Review

Super Mario Bros in 1993 scored a 28% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Warcraft in 2016, this one also scored a 28% on the website. Assassin’s Creed also in 2016, an 18% rating. Movies based on video games haven’t done well with critics or fans. Now, Sony brings in Tom Holland, who’s riding high after the critically acclaimed Spider-Man No Way Home to make their video game Uncharted a commercially successful hit movie. Sony’s gamble pays off with a fun blockbuster adventure with fantastic acting and comedy.

Uncharted is based on a video game series that has released nine different games since 2007. I’ve never played any of these video games, so coming into the movie theater, I judged this film from that perspective.

Tom Holland plays the main character: Nathan Drake. Holland does a great job in this film and adds another chapter to his successful career. He worked hard for this film. He even worked undercover at a bar to practice his drink-making skills for this movie. Holland’s character progresses from an obsessive treasure thief to a young Indiana Jones.

Mark Wahlberg, known for films like The Departed and Ted, plays Victor Sullivan. Wahlberg’s character is intriguing as he first shows up on the screen as an untrustworthy, charming, and secretive treasure hunter. He compels Drake to go on an adventure with him. His character is explored much deeper throughout the film, and the ending is a payoff in his character arc that can’t be explained without spoilers.

Other characters in this movie include Chloe Frazer (played by Sophia Ali), who accompanies Nathan Drake and Victor Sullivan. Braddock is a former companion of Sullivan who goes after our heroes and the treasure (played by Tati Gabrielle), and Santiago Moncada is the mustache-twirling villain in this movie that is going after the treasure for greed (played by Antonio Banderas). 

Uncharted starts as Sullivan recruits Drake to find the long-lost treasure of Cortez. However, the wealthy Santiago Moncada is right behind them and will do whatever it takes to get the treasure, including hiring Sullivan’s old companion, Braddock, to chase after the duo. Drake and Sullivan learn to trust each other and work together and possibly find Drake’s older brother, who went missing looking for the same treasure. 

Mark Wahlberg stars as Victor “Sully” Sullivan and Tom Holland stars as Nathan Drake in Columbia Pictures’ UNCHARTED. Photo by: Clay Enos

Uncharted’s storyline is a little too fast-paced for my liking. In the beginning, we get straight into Drake being recruited by Sullivan. We get to know a couple of things about Drake mostly, not really Sullivan, as the action starts not too long after that. However, after that first action scene, the movie starts to find its natural pace as Holland and Wahlberg begin to find their chemistry. This great acting duo made me laugh and feel compelled to follow these characters. The late addition of Sophia Ali’s Chloe Frazer into the group adds more layers into both aforementioned characters and makes the movie more enjoyable.

I thought the humor was well done, which is an issue that I believe is popping up in more films. Not everything needs humor, and not every joke lands in movies. Take a look at some of the MCU and the DC movies, which sometimes become awkward with a dark, gritty tone or emotional moment just to have some joke ruin it like when Joss Wheadon’s Justice League has an uncomfortable joke with the Flash falling onto Wonder Woman awkwardly into her chest. Uncharted’s humor is well placed, timed, and actually made me laugh. There is a long-running joke that goes all the way into the end credits that was very enjoyable. Uncharted nailed the humor aspect of the movie.

There are a lot of twists in the movie. I won’t go into spoilers, but a couple are obvious. The major one in my eyes comes right before the popular scene in the trailer where Tom Holland is being sent flying out of an airplane. That twist was a bit weird and sudden. However, I personally believe it pays off to help better some of the major characters. It’s one I didn’t see coming, and I like it when movies pull twists that audiences would never see coming. I think Uncharted does a great job doing that.

The finale is something I have to talk about. Again, no spoilers, but there is footage of helicopters flying pirate ships out of a cave in the trailer, and yes, that is the finale. I thought that the whole final act of the showdown between Drake and Sullivan and the villains on the flying pirate ships was well filmed and entertaining. There is a major character-building moment for Sullivan during this scene, making all the action and fighting on flying pirate ships over the tropical ocean even more pleasing. I think it could be one of the most memorable action scenes of the year.

Uncharted is one of the first major blockbuster movies of the year behind Scream (which came out in January), and boy, does it ever pay off. While huge fans of the video game series might critique the film for not being like the video game, coming in as a movie fan or a person who just wants to have a fun time at the movies with friends, family, or significant others, this is a great film to go to. It has fantastic acting from Holland and Whalberg, who play characters that really draw viewers into the story. The epic story of the movie will keep the audience entertained, and the humor will have everyone laughing. 

Overall Uncharted, although it starts kind of weird with its unusual pacing, it ends up being an excellent and humorous movie that is one to remember. This movie is a solid eight out of ten for me.

Sophia Taylor Ali, Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg star in Columbia Pictures’ UNCHARTED. photo by: Clay Enos

Chabot Gladiators Baseball Steamroll Los Medanos Mustangs 8-2

The Chabot Gladiators destroyed the Los Medanos Mustangs on Feb. 15 at home by a score of 8-2.

The Chabot College baseball team came out hot with a total of four runs in the first three innings as Los Medanos quickly fell behind. Fernando Sansone scored in the bottom of the second as Jonathan Gazdar hit a double. Gazdar would go on to score later that inning. At the bottom of the second, Matt Sugden homered at the bottom of the third to send himself and Fred Ramos home, making the score 4-0.

The Gladiators were in a back and forth competition in innings 5 and 6 with the Mustangs. The Mustangs would have two runs in the two innings while the Gladiators attempted to match them with one run of their own made by Quinn Ayres with a grounder by Brian Duroff.

The flood gates opened in the bottom of the eighth, where Chabot would score three unanswered runs to send Los Medanos packing. Fernando Sansone scored, and Jonathan Gazdar scored again on an error. Finally, JT Noble also scored on the same error. 

During the game, I interviewed Dan Miller: head athletic trainer at Chabot, serving Chabot since 1991.

Miller stated that. “I think the coaching staff has done a great job with the new team, and I really think they’ve gelled well.”

After not playing last year and with a fresh new roster, the coaching staff had challenges coming into this season. The Gladiators dropped their first two games of the season in January with close scores of 5-3 and 8-7. Then they went on a three-game winning streak from Feb. 1 through Feb. 5, including a shutout of Laney College. They then went 10 innings with Marin in the ninth, ending with a loss. The team, unfortunately, got obliterated by the Fresno City Rams 10-4 on Feb. 11.

The team moved into Steve Friend Stadium this season here at Chabot. It’s been a project that Chabot has been really excited about, calling it “one of the top facilities in the state” on the Chabot College Instagram.

I asked Miller what he thought about the new park. He responded with, “I love it, it’s something that we’re really proud of, and there’s a lot of cool stuff we have going on here.”

The new ballpark features batting cages, new bleachers with seats, great audio systems, and a whole new fresh looking field. Miller added, “My favorite part of the new park is the dugout. They’re very clean and modern.”

Chabot is now 4-4 in the season with a winning record in their inaugural season at Steve Friend stadium but is 2-3 on the road. Their next game is Thursday, Feb. 17, at Diablo Valley vs the Vikings.

Tom Brady, NFL Superstar Retires

After 22 seasons of playing in the NFL, Tom Brady officially retired on Feb. 1.

After a week full of rumors after NFL reporter Adam Schefter reported that Brady would retire. Brady made it official and followed that up with:

“This is difficult for me to write, but here it goes: I am not going to make that competitive commitment (to football) anymore. I have loved my NFL career, and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention.”

Brady went on to also thank his Buccaneer teammates and the whole Buccaneers organization, the city of Tampa, his wife: Giselle, and the rest of his family. Interestingly, Brady didn’t mention anything about the New England Patriots, the team who drafted him way back in 2000.

The San Mateo-born quarterback retires from the league with a ridiculous amount of accolades and achievements. However, Brady’s career did gain him some enemies, specifically, from teams he dominated during his career.

“Screw Tom Brady,” Indianapolis Colts fan Tanner Cummings said to me when I asked him his opinion on Tom Brady. 

It’s worth noting that Brady’s Patriots were often the team that eliminated the Colts from the playoffs during the 2000s, including five separate times that the Patriots eliminated the Colts to move on and win the Super Bowl.

However, even those who aren’t huge football fans are still amazed at what the 44-year-old QB has done in his lengthy career.

“It’s impressive what he’s done,” Sandy Lopez, a friend of mine, told me. Lopez, not a big fan of football, still knows the legacy the QB has made in the NFL.

Brady won seven Super Bowl titles in total. Six of those championships were with the New England Patriots, with whom he played 20 seasons for. 

Patriots owner Robert Kraft put out a statement the day after Brady announced his retirement.

“Words cannot describe the feelings I have for Tom Brady, nor adequately express the gratitude my family, the New England Patriots, and our fans have for Tom for all he did during his career. … You didn’t have to be a Patriots fan to respect and appreciate his competitiveness, determination, and will to win that fueled his success. As a fan of football, it was a privilege to watch. As a Patriots fan, it was a dream come true.”

Kraft also thanked Brady, adding that he considered Brady a part of his immediate family.

Brady replied, “Thank you, Patriots nation. I’m beyond grateful. Love you all.”

Many believe that Brady didn’t mention the Patriots due to the apparent ongoing cold war with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. Belichick put out a statement congratulating Brady on his retirement as well.

“I am privileged to have drafted and coached Tom Brady, the ultimate competitor and winner. Tom’s humble beginning in professional football ultimately ended with him becoming the best player in NFL history,” Belichick stated.

Belichick continued to say that Brady was always on the top of his game, was always a professional, and ended his statement thanking Brady for his impact on the Patriots organization and himself.

Brady put out a video on his social media two days after his retirement announcement that included highlights throughout his career, most of them with the Patriots. 

Brady left the Patriots in 2020 during free agency to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he won his final championship.

The Glazer Family, who are the Buccaneers owners, said in a statement Tuesday morning:

“Tom arrived in Tampa Bay with an unprecedented level of expectations and delivered some of the most memorable moments in our franchise history. His impact on our team and community was immediate and profound … Saying goodbye to a legend is never easy, but we wish him continued success in retirement.”

Brady was born in San Mateo, California, in 1977. As a Bay Area resident, he often went to San Francisco 49ers games. He looked up to Niners QB Joe Montana, whom he called his idol. Brady attended Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, where he played football, basketball, and baseball. Brady was excellent at all those sports and was even drafted by the Montreal Expos in the MLB. Brady, however, committed to football and the University of Michigan. Brady’s parents still live in San Mateo, and Junipero Serra High School later renamed their football stadium after Brady.

Brady’s path to the NFL couldn’t have been any more challenging. Coming into the University of Michigan’s training camp, he was seventh on the depth chart. He saw a sports psychologist for anxiety and even debated going back to the Bay Area to play for the University of Berkeley’s football team. He slowly rose to be the starting QB. After graduating from the university, Brady went into the draft with an unimpressive NFL training combine. He was selected 199th overall in the draft and was the seventh QB taken. Brady began his NFL career as the fourth-string QB on the Patriots, and within a season, he worked his way to be the organization’s top QB, later winning his first championship in his second season.

Brady only missed the playoffs once in his 22 seasons of playing as a starting QB and never had a losing record as the starter. He has won the most championships as a player. More than any other player and has won more championships than any NFL franchise. The former Patriot and Buccaneer is a five-time Super Bowl MVP winner. He’s started 363 games which is the most of any QB in history. Brady and his teams that he quarterbacked made the Super Bowl ten times. The future hall of famer is the oldest player to win the Super Bowl, and has 35 playoff wins. Brady owns most of the NFL’s QB records, having 97,569 total passing yards in his whole career.

Brady says now he’s planning on spending more time with his family. However, a return to the NFL isn’t completely out of the question as he leaves the NFL with this quote.

“You know, I’m just gonna take things as they come,” Brady said. “I think that’s the best way to put it, and I don’t think anything, you know, you never say never.”

The Release Of The Kraken

Four years after it was announced that Seattle would get a National Hockey League team, one year of being branded as the Seattle Kraken, 3 months after the expansion draft: Seattle hockey fans didn’t have to wait anymore. The first official game of the Seattle Kraken’s maiden season against the last NHL expansion team: the Vegas Golden Knights.

Concerns were high as many of the high-profiled Kraken players were on the COVID protocol list however most of them managed to be in the game including the player who took the first face-off.

The first of firsts for the Kraken was the very beginning of the game at T-Mobile arena on Tuesday (Oct 12). Jared McCann took the first ever face-off. McCann played for Pittsburgh last year and was an obvious choice for the Kraken to take in the expansion draft with 32 points in 43 games. However, knowing this, the Penguins flipped the forward to the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Kraken took McCann from them. He’ll pop up later in this historic game again. 

The first shot was taken by Mark Giordano 18 seconds into the first period. Giordano was another prime candidate to be taken in the expansion draft when protected lists were released. Giordano had been a long time player of the Calgary Flames. He played with the Flames since 2004 and became team captain in 2013. 

Giordano won the Mark Messier award in 2020 which is given to a recognizable leader on and off the ice. Giordano also won the James Norris award as best defenseman in the league in 2019. With a resume like that, Giordano was taken from the only team he had ever known. Flames fans were sad but probably became even more sad when Giordano was named captain of the Kraken and scored his first (unofficial) goal with the team in a preseason game against the Flames.

The Kraken’s first game and the whole momentum behind this new team was shortly cut off. 3 minutes and 10 seconds into the first period, the Knights scored to make the score 1-0. Welcome to the NHL. 6 minutes and 36 seconds into the period and the Knights score another goal making it 2-0 to end the 1st period. The Kraken would go down 3-0 at 6:43 in the second period. Not a great way to start an inaugural game or season.

11 minutes and 32 second into the second period and history was made. Joonas Donskoi was selected in the expansion draft from the Colorado Avalanche. He had been a solid point producer for the past 3 seasons with the Avalanche and Sharks. Donskoi makes a pass to Vince Dunn. Dunn was another selection in the expansion draft from the St Louis Blues. Dunn is a Stanley Cup champion, winning it with the Blues in 2019. Dunn shoots the puck on net and Vegas goalie Robin Lehner makes the save. The puck rebounds in front of the net where an unlikely player would be.

That is where Ryan Donato stands. Ryan Donato unlike most of the Kraken’s players didn’t come from the expansion draft. Donato has bounced around the league for a little bit. He was drafted by Boston, traded to Minnesota where he played for 2 seasons, and then traded once again this time to San Jose where he played last season. Donato went to free agency after the Sharks didn’t offer him a contract and didn’t actually get signed until August where the Kraken signed him to a 1 year, league minimum contract. Donato gets the puck and backhands it into the net. First goal for the Seattle Kraken in franchise history. Ryan Donato becomes a trivia question answer. Not bad for a player who has been across the league the past couple of years.

Shortly after Ryan Donato’s goal, Jared McCann scores the Kraken’s second goal. He is assisted by Jordan Eberle who was selected in the expansion draft by the Islanders and Jaden Schwartz who was signed in free agency by the Kraken. Schwartz is another Stanley Cup champion winning with the Blues in 2019. McCann’s goal makes the score 3-2. A comeback in their first game? Kraken fans hoped so. The Kraken fans who had waited so long to see their team hit the ice and so long for their city to even get a team got their wish.

 The 3rd period brought the 3rd Kraken goal. 7 minutes and 58 seconds into the game and Morgan Geekie: selected in the expansion draft from the Carolina Hurricanes, shoots a wicked shot to beat Robin Lehner. He is assisted by Jeremy Lauzon: the expansion draft pick from the Boston Bruins. The game is tied 3-3. The score was 3-0 at one point of time, now it’s 3-3.

Unfortunately, the Kraken wouldn’t get their Cinderella story that night. Soon after Geekie’s goal, Chandler Stephenson would score to make the score 4-3 Vegas and although the Kraken would get some good shots on goal, that would remain the final score.

“We did a lot of good things, being down 3-0 in this building and being able to push back to get it back to even. It says a lot about this group in terms of sticking together and making plays but it’s disappointing not to come away with 2 points,” said head coach Dave Hakstol.

“I think we gave them too many grade A opportunities right away and it came to bite us so we need to correct some things and obviously we’ll learn from that,” Ryan Donato told the media after the game.

The Kraken would win their next game against the Nashville Predators which became the first win in franchise history. Meanwhile, although their debut in the NHL ended on a low, it was worth it all the same to Kraken fans everywhere. The sold out crowd on October 11th in T-Mobile arena, although consisting of a lot of Knights fans, had Kraken jerseys dispersed in the crowd as well. A dream 4 years long that came true.