Monday, August 4, 2008

The secret circus - where everyone except you is invited to Raiders training camp

Have you noticed that the Raiders are the only NFL team that does not have at least one training camp practice open to the public? I've noticed that for many years. With other teams you can see it on ESPN or NFL Network where there are bleachers or surrounding grass areas with fans thrilled to take the day off work to sit in the summer sun and watch their team practice. It's not all that interesting really but if you are a football junkie, it can be a slice of heaven.

The Raiders don't allow the general public into their training camp facility. They do not even allow season ticket holders in either. The only way you are getting in is if you are invited (it's all who you know). Journalists are mercifully allowed in or we would never know what's going on.

Isn't that ridiculous that every franchise except the Raiders has a relationship with their fans where they invite you in to their training camp. In the minds of the Raider Nation, they believe the "Celebration" pep rally in early August makes up for this slight. To me, the Raider Nation Celebration is a way to throw the fans a bone, give them a dog and pony show. Some may be satisfied with this but I'd rather have a ticket to one day of training camp as a perk to say thanks for being a season ticket holder. That is the way to show us you actually value our patronage, not a hokey pep rally.

Sure, there are many logisitcal problems with allowing the public into your training camp. We understand the vast amount of work involved just getting everything done the way it is now. We also know that in one day you spend more on catering than you would on renting portable bleachers. Raiders HQ, we know you have money to burn. You just don't want to do it. Nah, let's be real. Al does not want to do it. To him that would be like breaking a secret society oath (where he is the only member).

In looking at the other possible reasons for this blunt denial of good relations with the season ticket paying fans, it makes excellent business sense. It's much less details to be concerned with. It reduces the need for extra personnel. It reduces the window for possible problems such as fan misbehavior or something else, some guy stubs his toe and sues the Raiders and the Marriott. Anything is possible so maybe the fact that the Marriott owns the property, legal and insurance reasons prevent them from having the public attend camp. Whatever the reasons, I've never heard an explanation from Raiders HQ why this is. That is how the Raiders do business. It's only an issue if they raise it as an issue.

Perhaps this was addressed and I missed it. Perhaps Raiders HQ has already explained this slap in the face the Raider Nation is oblivious to.

It must be the spies. Al does not want any spies at the facility so by shutting everyone off that solves the problem. You just know other NFL teams really need to see the Raiders practices in July so they can formulate a detailed scouting report for November.

Still, the Raider Nation respects Al's no spies policy. If this is what helps the team win games and make Al happy then that's what the Raider Nation will do. Brother, do you have $5 so I can buy a ticket to the celebration coming up?

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