Monthly Archives: June 2014
There are many reasons to be excited about the 2014 edition of the San Diego Chargers. The first, and most obvious, is that they should build upon the successes of the 2013 campaign.
Going into Tom Telesco’s and Mike McCoy’s second year at the helm, the team has improved in critical areas. Somehow fitting Brandon Flowers within the tight cap space might be the steal of the century! Bolts drafted well again this year, picking up Jason Verrett, Jerry Attaochu and Chris Watt. The team is deeper and stronger going into camp than it was last year.
Here’s what I’ll be looking for in 2014:
Ryan Mathews. He silenced a lot of critics with his play and his toughness last year. He ran harder and with more purpose than in previous years. Most importantly, he held on to the football and he kept playing once he got out of Mike McCoy’s dog house early in the season.
Malcom Floyd. He sustained that frightening neck injury last year in Philly, but is saying he’s ready to play and he’s been cleared by the doctors. When healthy, he’s a solid #2 WR. A big body, physical guy who can also stretch the field. If he can stay healthy, look for trouble in coverage with he and Keenan Allen.
Speaking of Keenan Allen. Came out of nowhere last year. Our third round draft pick was slated to be brought along slowly until the injury bug bit. Can he duplicate and build on his rookie success? Rest assured he’ll get more secondary attention this year in addition to getting more attention from Philip Rivers.
Ladarius Green. I expect to see him on the field more as the heir-apparent to Antonio Gates. Gatsey isn’t what he used to be, and his skills have diminished with age. I think Green will play more and begin to take his place as Antonio’s future replacement.
Cornerback position. I was excited about Steve Williams last year until he tore his pectoral muscle early on. Telesco was high on him as well. With a CB corps of Flowers, Williams, Verrett, Shareece Wright and Richard Marshall, we’re definitely in better shape than we were last year.
Offensive line. Who’d have thunk? King Dunlap may have been the most underrated player of 2013. An area everyone was concerned about turned out to be one of the more stable units on the 2013 squad. Look for draft pick Chris Watt to see time at guard and at center, spelling Nick Hardwick as his playing days are winding down.
There’s a lot to be excited about this coming year. Telesco made a lot of upgrades considering the salary cap restraints he had to work with. Donald Brown is an upgrade over Ronnie Brown. Flowers is, without question, an upgrade over Derek Cox. Health is always the question mark. Can M80 stay healthy? Dwight Freeney? Can Philip Rivers build on his successes with Mike McCoy’s offense? Can Ryan Mathews be the stud RB he showed last year he can be? Will Mantei Te’o improve over a pedestrian rookie campaign where he learned on the job after missing training camp with foot issues?
I believe the Chargers are poised to make another run at the post season, and maybe deeper into the post season than last year. Time will tell.
(Photo caption) David with friends at Claudia’s in Portland during the 2011 season opener!
So the next big question is what if you are a Chargers fan in say Dayton, Ohio or Philadelphia and you want to start a Chargers bar. You may think you are alone, but remember there are San Diego Ex-pats that have had to move around country for work and family. There are Chargers fans who never lived in San Diego looking for Brother/sisterhood. There may be closeted Rivers’ fans just waiting for a spot to gather and sing along to our wildly out of date disco fight song.
Portland’s Claudia’s sports pub started with two guys watching a Tube TV together in the corner and in three years built it up with almost zero effort.
Remember if you want to ensure turn-out you have to provide an experience the Charger fan can’t get at home with NFL Sunday ticket.
> Wear Chargers gear – Gotta be able to recognize each other so you know to high-five when Rivers gets us in the endzone.
> Introduce yourself to other fans. It is basic but you build up your crew by being friendly and welcoming. Make small talk before the game and during breaks about the Chargers. At the end of the game tell them about your online group. Oh yeah…
> Start a Facebook group, A Twitter, A meet-up group or anything like this. Communicate between games you become a tighter group. Let’s say you live in Indianapolis and a Bolts fan moves to the city. A google search can grow your group.
> Get Pumped. High fives on scores or first down can be fun. It is something you don’t get at home. Fun is infectious. When the team is winning the bandwagon should always be ready. After big wins in Portland we used to sing the fight song together! I know it’s cheesy, but it is also fun.
Lets say you got a dozen people but you are worried about turn-out. Here are some next level things you can do. Talk to the bar staff and the owners (not on a Sunday when they are busy). Stop by or call on a weekday when they are bored. Find out ways you can work with them.
> Food and drink specials with Chargers themes. Offer to print the menu for the bar with your groups contact info on it.
> Play the Chargers fight song on TD’s. You can do this by setting up speakers to a phone in a pinch. If the bar has a DJ give them a disk. If they are too busy have someone offer to do this. This creates a fun atmosphere.
>Raffle prizes Give away tickets for each game attended and give a prize out at the end of the year. You might be able to get better prizes. Hit players and Charger PR staff on Twitter.
> That might work better if you raise money for a Charity. So do that raise money for one of the player’s foundation.
Facebook has several local and national Chargers groups. It is a great place to start. If you don’t use Facebook you can use other social media but I highly suggest this approach! Feel free to post comments with your ideas right here on BoltBlitz! Update us with results!
David Agranoff is a die-hard Chargers fan but also the author of 3 published horror fiction novels including the Vegan Revolution…With Zombies, Hunting the Moon Tribe and Boot Boys of the Wolf-Reich. Follow him on Twitter @DAgranoffauthor
In 2006, just as LT was on his historic touchdown record run, my wife and I moved away from San Diego and ended up in Portland, Oregon. Besides learning how to not despair with a 7 forecast of solid showers we also had to root for the Bolts in very different environment. Thankfully the Chargers were good enough at the time that we got played on national TV often, but I spent some games following the score on the ticker. That my friends is a shitty way to watch football, game tracker on NFL.com doesn’t cut it. I didn’t know anyone else who was a Chargers fan.
In 2009 when the Bolts were 2-3 and suffering from another slow start thanks to the coach I am not allowed to name. I was wearing a Chargers hat while shopping at a Portland Trader Joes when a guy called me over. “Hey Chargers fan…You watch games at Claudia’s sports pub?” I had no idea what he was talking about but he told me this was where Chargers fans watched the games. You see, I don’t drink and, as silly as it may sound to some, I never thought about a Sports bar.
Luckily it was near my place, so that Sunday I went to Claudia’s for the first time. Well you know what happened next? Rivers and LT led the Bolts on a killer 11 game winning streak, and I thought they couldn’t lose while I was at the bar. With the games on a massive screen with around 30 or 40 Chargers fans each week, I was impressed by the support of the team and the atmosphere. Our 2009 record for number of fans was 62. All in Blue and Gold. I loved the game like atmosphere. Everyone clapped and high-fived on every positive play, we yelled and cheered together. I loved it, made life-long friends and watched every game at Claudia’s through the 2013 season.
Claudia’s Sports pub is one of Portland’s oldest sports bars, going back to the 50’s. In the morning, it is a Bears bar, in the afternoon it was almost always Bolts dominated. Mostly San Diego Ex-pats but more than a couple of fans of the team were converts who enjoyed the atmosphere.
I hated missing games with the crew and for those of you in other cities who have a Chargers bar, consider yourself lucky. If you don’t already have a Chargers bar, why not start one? Claudia’s is actually one of two Chargers bars in Portland, and it was all started by two guys. I’ve done my best research on Charger bars around the country. I am not positive this information is all up to date. I have also included some ideas for starting a Chargers bar in part two.
Considered by many to be the best Chargers bar/experience outside of the 619 is in the lower Haight of San Francisco. Danny Coyle’s is the place. Also known as a Seahawks bar, all you have to do is read the Yelp reviews to see this is Charger country north. One Yelp review said “Such a great place for Chargers fans to call a home away from home. Nothing like hearing the San Diego Chargers theme song play every time a touchdown is scored and having the whole bar sing along in excitement. Honestly, I have more fun watching the Bolts at Danny Coyle’s than I do back in San Diego.” Sounds like a challenge, San Diego!
668 Haight St San Francisco, CA 94117 b/t Pierce St & Steiner St in Lower Haight
New York City:
MJ Armstrong’s The internet has conflicting info on this bar. It appears to still be open. At one time MJ Armstrong’s had a drink and food specials menu that included dishes named after Charger greats and the Bolts Stadium. They also had a DJ who played Chargers songs on scores.
329 1st Ave New York, NY 10003 b/t W Stuyvesant Loop & 19th St in Stuyvesant Town, Gramercy
I have heard great things about Chicago’s Chargers scene. Here is what I know. They have an active FB group with more than 150 members and a legendary bar. I am told they have prizes and play the Chargers fight song on touchdowns.
Crossroads Public House, 2630 North Clark Street (at Wrightwood), Chicago, Illinois 60624 – 773.248.3900
According to several reports Las Vegas has a strong Bolts fan base. There used to be a place called Michael’s pub that closed. When I put out a request several fans wrote back including Chris Jimenez of Las Vegas “There is a Facebook page called Vegas Chargers Bolts. The lady who runs it gets us all together. There is about 40-60 She buys prizes and gives them out.” The two rumored bars are Al’s is in Henderson near Green Valley Ranch Station and 7777 bar.
7777 W Sahara Ave
Las Vegas, NV 89117
Seattle has an active Chargers fan base in Seattle with a Facebook group. They have been looking for a bar to call home. Gerald Simonsen owner of the Iron Bull wants to work with Chargers fans to make that happen. When he bought the bar he didn’t know he inherited a Bears bar. “We have people who drive 100 miles on sunday morning to watch the Bears play. We can have up to 200 folks in the joint. We have two 12 foot projection TVs and maybe 20 regular flat screens,” Simonsen told Bolt Blitz. In Portland, Chargers and Bears shared a bar with few conflicts. Simonsen wants to work with Chargers fans to make it a Chargers bar as well. “I have been trying to get a Charger crowd in the Iron Bull since I bought the place. If we started to get a good crowd, I would buy another projector and screen and set up a Chargers corner. We can play songs on the sound system, show any video that will work on the computer on the big screen or anything else anyone wants. Every Chargers game on the big screen where there is no conflict.”
Iron Bull 2121 N 45TH St, Seattle Wa 98103
Various Bars Rumored to be Bolt Friendly:
Posse’s Sports Bar, 1212 S. Baldwin Avenue in Arcadia, California
Goldrush Saloon, 3399 Pegar Road in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Handlebar and Grill, 19345 N. Indian Avenue, Palm Springs, California.
Connolly’s Bar & Grill, – 2605 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, Arizona 85085. (LT Mural on the wall, ha-ha)
OC (Fox Sports) Fox Sports Grill, 31 Fortune Drive, in the Irvine Spectrum, Irvine, California.
Spectators (Albuquerque) 5850 Eubank Blvd., NE, #59, New Mexico Phone 505-275-1166
Damon’s Bar and Grill in Pittsburgh They always play Chargers games in a bar owned by a ex-Charger Cheerleader.
The Dark Horse Sports Bar 4929 W. Ray Rd. #3, Chandler, Arizona, 85226, (480) 753-4772
Sideliners Grill in San Antonio Texas Tx.
Sportsman’s Grill Williamsburg, VA
Cities/Regions with Facebook or online groups for Chargers fans.
Portland: Facebook: San Diego Chagers fans PDX
Seattle: Facebook: San Diego Chargers fans of Seattle
Chicago: Facebook Chi-town Chargers backers
LA: Facebook Los Angeles Area Chargers fans
Las Vegas: is supposed to have a Facebook group but I couldn’t find one.
Austin, Texas: facebook.com/ SanDiegoChargerFansinAustin
Bay area meet-up group : meetup.com/South-Bay-San-Diego-Chargers-Fans/
In Part two we will discuss how to create a Chargers bar in your City!
David Agranoff is a die-hard Chargers fan and the author of 3 published horror fiction novels including the Vegan Revolution…With Zombies, Hunting the Moon Tribe and Boot Boys of the Wolf-Reich. Follow him on Twitter @DAgranoffauthor
In the fifth round of the 2013 NFL draft the Chargers selected Steve Williams, a cornerback out of Cal. Williams is known for his blazing speed and playmaking ability. Prior to be drafting, he put up a solid performance at the NFL combine. Steve posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.34 seconds and a 40.5 inch vertical leap. Additionally, he had a 6.89 second 3-cone time and a 10’8″ broad jump. All of these numbers show that he has great speed and is an explosive athlete.
Standing 5’9″ and weighing in at 185 pounds, it’s clear that Williams is a bit undersized. But don’t ignore the numbers posted above. What he lacks in size he makes up for with great leaping ability, speed and instincts. During his collegiate career as a Golden Bear, he posted 150 total tackles, 6 interceptions, 25 pass breakups and 31 passes defensed. He also forced three fumbles. As seen by his tackle totals, he is a willing tackler that uses solid form when going in to make stops against opposing offensive players.
The Charger secondary was in serious need of adding speed among its ranks. They did just that when the took Williams. Unfortunately for the team and Steve, he suffered a season-ending injury against the Chicago Bears in the preseason when he tore his pectoral muscle. Williams would spend the rest of the year on injured reserve, relegated to taking mental reps in an effort to learn the defense.
Though it is still weeks before training camp begins, Steve has been impressive thus far in OTAs and mini-camp. Granted, the team has yet to do any full contact drills, multiple media outlets have said that he has done a good job in what drills are employed during the early portions of the offseason.
Tom Telesco has done a solid job upgrading the secondary this offseason with the drafting of Jason Verrett and the recent free agent signing of former Kansas City Chief Brandon Flowers. With Shareece Wright slated to start at one of the cornerback positions, the team’s former weakness can now become a strength. Add in a healthy Steve Williams and the competition at corner will be fierce. Having so many quality players at one spot is a good problem to have. Though time on the field will have to be earned, I expect Williams to do just that in 2014 and beyond.
Telesco went into the offseason stating that adding speed and playmakers on this team was going to be a focus moving forward. Williams is a playmaker with great speed and he fits the mold of what the Chargers need to be a successful team this season.
Thanks a lot for reading.
( Photo Credit: Ginet Casido )
Recently my long-time friend, and fellow Inland Empire resident, said that he was becoming a Chargers fan…until a team moves to Los Angeles. While that is perhaps not the optimal way to become a fan of a team, that’s okay, we’ll take him. Like I said in my last post (Clash of the Chargers….Fans), we need all the fans we can get, so welcome friend, the more the merrier.
Now, my friend is a long-time, successful high school football coach, so he knows football. His knowledge will not be a problem while trying to enjoy our team. He will understand that not every play will be a touchdown. He will get that the other team is trying to win too. He will not lose his mind when we punt on fourth and two, at our 45 yard line, when we are trailing by a touchdown, with nine minutes to go. He’ll be fine with all of those things and more! But, will he fully appreciate how it will feel if and when our beloved Chargers finally win an NFL Championship? I’m not so sure.
With that in mind, I asked myself, what does a Chargers fan need to understand to truly appreciate winning it all, or even a regular game on Sunday? Of course, nothing will take the place of going through years of the cheers and tears that come with following a team. That being said, a little knowledge can go a long way toward helping someone grow attached. Here is what I came up with.
History: The Bolts have never won an NFL championship. Of this, we are all painfully aware. BUT, they did win an AFL Championship in 1963! Back in the day, the Charges were animals. They had an offense that struck fear in teams throughout the league. In fact, they were so intimidating that after winning their ring, Chargers management gave the NFL Champion Bears a call and threw down the gauntlet. The Bears received the challenge and were quick to decline. No one wanted to face the San Diego Chargers.
I won’t take the time to list all of the great players in Chargers history, but there have been many. Their high-flying offense has impressed crowds across the league for decades. This year’s team should be no exception. Look for Philip Rivers and company to be among the league’s highest scoring offenses!
Over the years, the defense has been a bit up and down. There have been some great individual players and even a few seasons where the defense was the high point of the team. Unfortunately, the defense and offense have never really peaked at the same time. I guess the closest was our one Super Bowl season in 1994. Even then, we went into the Super Bowl as heavy underdogs to the powerful Niners and got throttled by Steve Young, Jerry Rice, and company.
Past Charger Greats You Must Know: Don Coryell, Lance Alworth, Dan Fouts, Charlie Joiner, Kellen Winslow, Rolf Benirschke, LaDainian Tomlinson, and most importantly Junior Seau. Oh, I suppose you need to know Nate Kaeding and Marlon McCree as well. Their names will come up. Kaeding was a great kicker, but he happened to miss a couple of big kicks that Chargers fans will be talking about forever. McCree tried to be a hero and cost the Chargers another shot at the Super Bowl. Anyway, if you are not familiar with these names, look them up and get familiar. You will not be able to hold an intelligent conversation regarding the Chargers without prior knowledge of these players. There are many more big names in Chargers history, but these names are must-know material. They will be on the final!
Current Chargers You Must Know: The 2014 edition of the Chargers will be a fun team to watch. Last season, the Bolts were known for an excellent passing game lead by Philip Rivers and the emergence of rookie Keenan Allen. Complementing the passing game was the rushing attack and overall outstanding backfield play of Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead. This season, the Chargers look to turn the offense up a few more volts. Mathews and Woodhead will be joined by ex-Lion Donald Brown. If Brown can repeat, or even improve upon, what he did last season, he will be a very exciting part of the three-headed monster in the backfield. On the outside, the return of injured Malcolm Floyd should give the Bolts another down field threat and allow Allen to avoid the sophomore slump that so many second year players go through. Let’s not forget Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green at Tight End. Gates is a Chargers legend who has become the crafty veteran that can still be looked for in clutch situations. Green is the up and coming young stud who ranked as the fastest player on the 2013 squad. Look for him to break out this season, if the coaches believe enough in his blocking abilities.
The defense did not impress much last season. Lack of pressure on the quarterback, poor coverage, and giving up around five yards per carry, didn’t help in the “W” column as much as fans would have liked. This season, the Bolts turn to players like Donald Butler, Manti Te’o, and Dwight Freeney to get healthy and make an impact. A young secondary has been bolstered by former Chiefs Pro Bowl cornerback, Brandon Flowers, and is still led by veteran Safety Eric Weddle.
Rivalries: You can talk all you want about the Jets and Patriots, the main rivals of the Chargers are the teams that make up the AFC West; the Kansas City Chiefs, the Denver Broncos, and the hated Oakland Raiders. Let’s take a look at why these teams are such big rivals.
The Chiefs: This rivalry started back in the old AFL. Since September of 1960, these two teams have competed twice a year, every year. Thanks to a recent run of 11-2, the Chargers lead the overall series 55-52-1. Anytime you play a team 108 times, you will have a fierce rivalry. Nickname: Chefs.
The Broncos: This rivalry also goes back to the AFL and 1960. These two exciting teams have clashed 109 times with the current record favoring the Broncos at 59-49-1. The Chargers have actually outscored the Broncos, but have still lost more games. This rivalry matchup has seen incredible aerial attacks over the years. Quarterbacks like Dan Fouts, Stan Humphries, and Philip Rivers for the Bolts vs Denver greats like Craig Morton, John Elway, and now Peyton Manning have made Chargers vs Broncos games a must see game for fans across the country. Nickname: Donkeys
The Raiders: How can I describe what Chargers fans feel about the Oakland Raiders? Despise would not be too strong, I can assure of that. Despite having won 17 of the last 21 matchups, the Raiders lead the series 59-48-2. Record may explain the rivalry, but not the hatred. The hatred comes from history on and off the field. Just a few highlights would be that the former owner, aka The Crypt Keeper, Al Davis was once a Chargers coach! After leaving the Chargers, he went up the coast, finagled a deal to buy the Raiders and began creating his evil empire. Now, no one could blame Davis for wanting to own a team and the Chargers were not for sale, so we’ll let that go.
How about the fan base? Yes, that is a problem. Raiders fans seem to think that they own the place, wherever they are. They call Qualcomm, “Oakland South” when the two team play in San Diego. Their fans swarm the stadium and harass the home crowd. It was worse when the Raiders were in Los Angeles, but their numbers are still large and loud. Again, I can’t solely blame their fans. If we would buy and use our Chargers tickets, rather than selling them online, there wouldn’t be so many Raider fans in the crowd. Just sayin’.
Then there is the, “Just win baby” motto of the Raiders. Al Davis made it clear in the seventies and eighties that he didn’t need choir boys on his team. He needed guys who won championships. Despite a cast of characters worthy of staring in the HBO series “OZ”, they managed to bring home three rings for their fans. Three rings that they will never let any of us forget, no matter how old the rings may be.
Finally, the thing that sums it all up for me as the one moment that took this matchup from a friendly rivalry to a true hatred…..The Holy Roller…AKA The Immaculate Deception. Do me a favor and look it up. It’s too painful to go over again. Let’s just sum it up as obvious cheating by the Raiders, a non-call that made the “Hochuli call” look like the best call in NFL history, and the broken hearts of thousands of Chargers fans, including myself at age 12. Nickname: Too many to mention and most are not appropriate for this site. You’ll learn them soon enough.
January 2, 1982: I guess this is arguable, but you would be hard pressed to find a better game than when the Bolts marched into Miami, in the playoffs, and took down the high-flying Dolphins. Not only was it the best Chargers game of all time, but some say it was the best game in NFL history! This game had everything, except a bunch of defense. The Chargers got out to a huge lead, only to blow the lead by halftime on a perfectly executed hook and lateral play by Miami. The game went back and forth with Miami blocking a San Diego field goal and the Chargers returning the favor by blocking two would be game winning kicks. The game ended in overtime with a successful Rolf Benirschke field goal and victory for our Bolts, 41-38. This game will be forever known as, “The Epic in Miami”.
Biggest Win in Team History: In my humble opinion, there is only one choice for the biggest win in team history. January 16, 1995, AFC Championship game between the San Diego Chargers and the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers were so heavily favored to win and go onto the Super Bowl, they actually took some time off during the week prior to the game to go shoot their Super Bowl video, reminiscent of the 1985 Bears, “Super Bowl Shuffle”. Now that is confident! Well, that didn’t sit well with our Bolts. In fact, the soft, California team went in to Pittsburgh and handed the Steelers a heart breaking 17-13 loss, capped off by a tremendous play by Chargers linebacker Dennis Gibson, knocking down a pass in the end zone to seal the deal.
Well, there you have it. A crash course on many of the most important things you need to know if you want to really feel like a true Chargers fan. For you longtime, hardcore fans who are screaming about the details I left out and the great names I left off of my list, remember, we don’t want to overwhelm the newbies during their first season. If they catch on, they will study on their own and get more of the history of this proud franchise. This was more of the abridged version of Chargers football history.
If you are new to Chargers Nation, welcome! I think I speak for the majority of Chargers fans when I say that I wish you an enjoyable time, a positive experience, and the sheer ecstasy that you will feel one day when you look and see a San Diego Charger holding up the Lombardi Trophy. I can’t wait! Bring on the season!!!
(By the way, I know I should have mentioned “those whom will not be named,” but I just couldn’t do it.)
What a past few months it’s been at BoltBlitz.com. The growth of the website and BoltBlitzLIVE has been an amazing journey for all of us.
On May 31st, we held our first meet up at the Tilted Kilt in Mission Valley. You talk about going into an event blindly! Will people show up on a beautiful afternoon in San Diego in May to talk Chargers Football? Booga and myself reserved the back of the Tilted Kilt. Will enough fans show up? Can we get players to appear? Will the fans spend enough money for the Tilted Kilt to think it’s successful for them? We had no idea what the answers were to these questions and wouldn’t until the actual event took place.
So Booga wrote about the event. We posted it on Facebook and Twitter. That’s when the magic happened. Fans began to post the event on their personal wall on Facebook. Some people we knew, but some people we didn’t even know. Twitter almost became an infomercial about the event. Charger fans of all types bonding together as “a team that loves a team” with one common goal. Meeting other fans who share the same obsession as their own.
Now it’s the day of the event. Booga and I start receiving messages from people who can’t make it. How many would actually show up? Booga and I had a bet. He guessed about 50 while I said 70. But we didn’t know as we loaded the $5,000 in raffle prizes into the car with the Chargers shirts that Steve Adler would be selling. As we arrived at the Kilt it quickly became apparent what was happening. Fans were showing up an hour early from as far away as L.A.
As the start time approached we had well over 100 people there. Dan McClellan who worked as the Chargers beat writer for CBS RapidReports was there. Derek Togerson was filming for NBCSanDiego and their 6:30 newscast. Terri Hansen and Karen Garcia were working the raffle tables and the shirts. Then UDFAs Craig Watts and Jeremiah Sirles showed up and they were taking pictures for the fans. Jesse Arroyo of Jesse Arroyo Photography www.ArroyoPhotos.com showed up taking pictures of the fans in attendance.
At one point during the event there we had over 200 people in the bar. We filled the Kilt from the back to the front. It was wall to wall fans. People were making new friends and meeting Facebook and Twitter acquaintances for the first time. Smiles and laughter shined inside the Tilted Kilt.
But how did so may people show up? 200? Are you kidding me? The answer was simple. It was YOU! You did this!
For those of you who volunteered to work the event…..Thank YOU!
For those of you who tweeted about the event and retweeted BoltBlitz.com….Thank YOU!
For those of you who share our articles on Facebook and Charger Fan Pages….Thank YOU!
We are all a part of a team that loves a team. I know we didn’t get a chance to thank each and every one of you individually. But let it be known right here and right now, we notice all you do and it’s greatly appreciated!
So, I bid all of you a heart-felt THANK YOU!
Editor’s Note: I couldn’t have said it better myself. The fans are why we do what we do. We love you guys! Just a reminder that #BoltBlitzMeetup2 is July 12th at The Tilted Kilt in Mission Valley at 5:00 pm. We plan on doing it just as big and we look forward to seeing everyone from the last meetup and as many new fans as possible.
I can’t tell you how excited I am to introduce you to Ernie Martinez. Ernie has been in the San Diego Sports Talk industry for over 25 years. There may not be a more likable, more humble personality in the San Diego market than Ernie. In an age where personalities in radio come and go, as much as the wind blows, Ernie has been a mainstay.
Mr. Martinez has shared all the highs and lows the same as every other fan in San Diego has endured during the past 25 years. His passion for the Padres and the Chargers is unmatched, and comes across in his stylistic phrasing on the radio and in his tweets on Twitter.
Currently, Ernie is the producer on the morning show on 1360am “World According To Chris and Ben,” a show which he named. As we approach training camp in a month, make sure you follow @erniemartinezSD on Twitter and on 1360am.
Thomas: It’s very interesting to me to see how a man got to be where he is now. You career began as a mouse in Chuck E. Cheese. You’ve got to share that experience from 1983.
Ernie: My foundation for the work force was built by my Dad at an early age of 5-years old. He owns and operates ( along with my Mom…50 years strong ) his own business ( landscaping/gardening). I had a paper route as well ( The Times Advocate which eventually became the North County Times).
Prior to my senior year in high school, Escondido High, I ventured to seek something else. That something else led me to Chuck E. Cheese Fun Time Theatre, where my job duties were to be a gameroom attendant and Chuck E. Cheese the mouse. Being the mouse I had to avoid being kicked in places that would buckle any mouse…. One time, this kid attempts to kick me (Chuckie) and I grab his foot, and in the classic Dirty Harry voice… here’s how the incident played out as I recall.
Chuckie: “I dare you to do it again.”
Kid: (In a shocked voice) “Chuckie…. you’re not supposed to talk.
Chuckie: “You try kicking me again and talking will be the least of your worries.”
From then on when he came in, he would try to see who was behind the mesh eyes the Chuckie costume had.
My other Chuckie story is when my head fell off in front of a bunch of 2-3 year olds. While holding my head, I’m staring at a bunch of shocked kids and fuming moms.
Thomas: What made you want to get into the Sports talk Industry? Who did you look up to when making that decision?
Ernie: I started writing and creating my own newspapers and sports magazines at a very young age. That desire to write lead to journalism classes in high school, eventually a sports writer and a sports editor for the school paper.
In 1982, I was invited to attend an editor’s day at the ball park at San Diego Stadium (All the high schools from San Diego County were invited). We got to meet Whitey Wietelmann and Bob Chandler while interviewing Dick Williams and Steve Garvey. I asked “The Garv” a question and was stoked! That excitement leads to radio aspirations.
After high school I attended Palomar Junior College where they have their own campus radio station, KKSM. I started doing shows and sports, got a real job at a radio station in Escondido and landed a job with the Mighty690 when they launched in 1991.
I had always enjoyed listening to games on the radio. Jerry Coleman, Bob Chandler, Dave Campbell and Vin Scully were all inspirations. I just knew I wanted to do something with Major League Baseball.
Thomas: You had some really good stories at Steve Adler’s going away party last year about the Padres being in New York during the 1998 World Series. What was it like to be there first hand watching “your” team play in that stadium vs the Yankees?
Ernie: It was a whirlwind for 2.5 weeks during the playoffs and World Series. I started covering the team in 1991 and saw them go from a good team to a bad team and then leading up to the ’98 season. I had been to and gone through New York before…but to be there and a room in a cool hotel and covering the team was awesome. Walking through the stadium to see the locker room that Ruth and Gehrig shared was very cool. Of course my greatest moment was to see Tony Gwynn silence the crowd with his blast off the facade in game one of the series. Then Greg Vaughn goes back-to-back. Great trip.
Thomas: Speaking of the Legend that is Tony Gwynn. What are some of your favorite memories of him? Both as a fan and a member of the media?
Ernie: I saw Tony play many games as a fan. But for some reason the one that sticks out was a mid-week game with a good buddy where it was a typical Gwynn night. A couple of hits and three assists. We cheered… good time. As a reporter, there are many but here are some that stick out.
1. The homerun at Yankee Stadium.
2. I would always get to the park and sit in the pressbox and watch Tony take BP at around 2:00 or 2:30 in the afternoon. After he was done I’d go down and he’d be sitting in the dugout talking with a reporter or someone. One time he’s putting pine tar on his bats and says, “Ernie, let me show you how I pine tar a bat.” I was a kid in a candy store.
3. I was invited to take BP against Bruce Bochy one afternoon. Tony was on the DL but working out. I was shagging balls in RF when Tony came running out to his position and asked me what I was doing in his house. I smiled and moved to CF. Once again there was a Gwynn and Martinez in the same OF.
Thomas: Okay, let’s talk Gridiron now. Telesco and McCoy seem to have brought with them some needed fresh air to a polluted Complex. What are your impressions of the new era Chargers so far?
Ernie: I can’t tell you how excited I am about the Chargers right now at this very moment. Like other fans, I look forward to the season, but I am more about watching the MLB season play out and slowly transition into football. I haven’t looked forward to the Bolts with this much anticipation…. ever. It’s not just because they are coming off a playoff year, but it’s how they gelled together last season. Players were challenged and rose to the occasion and the team seemed to plug up some holes with talent during the offseason. I am just excited to see how they play in the upcoming season. Fired up!
Thomas: It seems the fans are going to have a public vote hopefully in 2016 for a new stadium. With all the transplant individuals in this city along with voters that are dead set against any public money going to pay for the stadium, the situation seems a little doubtful. Do you think the Chargers can get this passed? What is your opinion of the Downtown location over the current Mission Valley site?
Ernie: My response, I hope so. The Chargers could have left over the past few years and gone elsewhere but have remained in San Diego. That is a sign of loyalty. I believe this is where they want to stay and bring home a championship. The NFL belongs in this great city of ours. This city has had a rough patch with finances and I can only hope they and the team can come together on a plan and wonderful facility whether it’s in downtown or Mission Valley.
Thomas: You have a “true” talent with your drawing and work you’ve done in graphic design. What interested you into this field at first?
Ernie: First of all, thank you. I started drawing at a very young age. Creativity and artistry run in the family. My mom started having us create birthday cards when I was about 4-years-old and I have never had to buy one. I make my own.
I have always enjoyed painting and writing. I started making baseball cards of my friends when I was in the 7th grade and continue to make them to this day. I have probably made close to a thousand. Friends come up to me and say, “I still have the card you made of me in Pony League.” It’s a good feeling.
Computers have allowed me to further my creativity. A few years ago, after being waived from the radio industry, I earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design.
Thomas: Would you please share with us the work you do for “The Miracle League” and exactly what it is they do?
Ernie: My main goal when I started radio was to do play-by-play for baseball. That was before sports radio launched on the west coast. After moving forward in sports talk radio, I did little play-by-play. Although I was part of the first ever radio play-by-play broadcast at Petco Park for the Tony Gwynn Classic along with Alan Horton ( Voice of the Minnesota Timberwolves ) on March 11, 2004.
While out of the radio business a few years back, I was asked if I was interested in volunteering with The Miracle League of San Diego. I became their play-by-play announcer. I’d do 5-6 games on a Saturday, two times a year. There is a spring and fall season. I announce the games over the loud-speaker at “Engel Family Field” at San Dieguito Park. It is one of the greatest things I have ever done while fulfilling my dreams of being a play-by-play announcer for baseball. It’s tons of fun!
The MLSD provides people with special needs the opportunity to play baseball in an organized league at two locations in San Diego County: Engel Family Field, a Little Padres Park in San Dieguito Park and Del Mar and Green Field at Coronado High School in Coronado.
Thomas: You book the guests for the show you named “World of Sports According to Chris and Ben.” How hard is it to book guests for a 5 day a week show? Any good booking stories you’d like to share?
Ernie: Producing was the one job I never really had to do in my 20 plus years in radio. It was very challenging at first and I didn’t enjoy it. I felt, and I do at times, feel like I’m bothering people. But I’ve moved past that. Being back in the industry, I’ve rekindled relationships with those I have worked alongside in the past and helped cultivate some new and fresh guests since being back in radio at this position.
Chris Ello, Ben Higgins and Herm Gasaway have all been a tremendous help in moving forward and always looking for a timely guest. My goal is to have 10 guests per week ( 2 per show ). Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Some of our best shows have had no guests. It allows the host to do their thing. I thought our coverage, as a whole, ( The World of Sports” and “The Drive” with Mike Costa and Judson Richards and Jim Russell) of the passing of Tony Gwynn was phenomenal. We all worked hard, booked great guests – on the fly – and added insight, as well as the insight from our callers and listeners.
The one booking story that stands out goes back to October 1991 during the World Series between the Braves and the Twins. Dave Marcus, long-time Padres engineer, and I are producing a weekend baseball show for former Padres announcer Dave Campbell, and Jim Rome. The amazing part is, back then we had two producers for a weekend show. Those were the days.
Campbell asked to call Leo Mazzone to see if he would join the show Sunday morning following game 6. The Braves were a win away from a championship if they won on Saturday. I call Leo and he says, “Well, if we win tonight, I can’t promise anything.” My response, in a very shy way, “And if you don’t?” I was young and wasn’t thinking. Mazzone paused for a few seconds as I waited on the other end of the phone. I’m now kicking myself. He agreed to do it. Needless to say, Kirby Puckett makes a homerun saving catch and then hits a walk-off in game 6. Mazzone joins the show Sunday morning prior to game 7. And the rest is history.
Thomas: So where can fans find you on Twitter and the show?
Editor’s note: I can’t thank Ernie enough for taking the time to do this interview. With all due respect to every other individual that we’ve interviewed on BoltBlitz.com, players included, this might be my favorite. Thanks again, Ernie. And Thomas, keep knocking it out of the park. Great job by both of you.
OK kids. Let’s test your knowledge of Chargers trivia and history. Put in your answers as comments and the first to get all ten correct answers gets two free raffle tickets at the second Boltblitz.com Meet Up on Saturday, July 12 at 5:00 P.M. at the Tilted Kilt in Mission Valley!
Get your thinking caps… here we go!
1) Which of the following Charger greats is not a member of the Chargers Hall of Fame? Gary Garrison, Louie Kelcher, John Carney
2) Which of the following former NFL Head Coaches was not part of Sid Gillman’s coaching tree? Chuck Knoll, Tom Landry, Bill Walsh
3) There actually are four :cough: Raider coaches who came from Sid’s tree. Name them.
4) In the team’s history, four numbers were retired. One of those four was unretired. Why?
5) In what year did the Chargers “win it all”?
6) Way before LT, who was the first member of the Chargers Hall of Fame to wear #21?
7) Name the Chargers first San Diego home.
8) How many Offensive Linemen in the Chargers Hall of Fame?
9) Way before Junior Seau, who was the first member of the Chargers Hall of Fame to wear #55?
10) Name the only Charger coach to lead his squad to the Super Bowl?
Let’s see who wins those raffle tickets!!
Here is the video production of last night’s BoltBlitzLIVE on Mountain Country 107.9. We were honored to have been joined by former Charger offensive lineman Rocky Selanders. He provided some great insight on the way the game of professional football used to be played. They didn’t do it for the money, they did it for the love of the game.
Be sure to tune into Mountain Country 107.9 every Wednesday at 7:00 pm for each and every BoltBlitzLIVE radio show. In the coming weeks I’ll be joined by co-host Eddie Brown III of UT San Diego. We’ll continue to have great guests and continue to focus on our goal of both informing and entertaining you on all things Chargers.
Thanks in advance for all of your support on both BoltBlitzLIVE and BoltBlitz.com.
There are quite a few intriguing positional battles that are about to play out at Chargers Park. Training camp is right around the corner and general manager Tom Telesco has done a solid job adding depth at many different positions in all three phases of the game in San Diego.
We’ll be going over all of the camp battles as training camp approaches here on BoltBlitz.com. For the sake of this article, we’re going to take a look at the strong safety spot and look at how it could end up playing out.
When looking at the players that the Chargers currently have on the roster that are strong safeties, there’s quite a competition for the number one spot. Below are the individuals that will be battling for the starting spot and players that will be battling for playing time.
While in college at Clemson, Gilchrist played both safety and cornerback. In his first three seasons with the Bolts he has done the same thing. As a Charger, he has seen time at the outside corner position, nickel corner and strong safety. Although he has struggled at times, he did show a lot of improvement toward the end of the 2013 season.
When watching tape on Gilchrist he actually was in the right position to make more plays than his stats would indicate. He’s improved in the tackling department and seemed to settle into the strong safety role sufficiently by the end of the year. It would seem that he’ll go into 2014 as the favorite to begin the year as the starter. But that will be decided during training camp and the preseason.
As an undrafted free agent out of Central Michigan, Addae was not a lock to even make the roster as a first-year player. He came in and impressed enough that not only did he earn a roster spot, he saw a serious increase in playing time as the year played out. Even as a collegiate player he showed he has a penchant for hitting. The guy will knock you out. That’s also part of the problem as well. He tends to go for the killshot as opposed to making sure that the tackle is made properly.
Though he has a lot to learn as far as coverage ability, he did show improvement throughout the year as he saw more action on the field. You noticed that he was in the right place at the right time more often than earlier in the season with more in-game experience. Despite Gilchrist most likely being the leader to take the starting job, look for Addae to push him and, perhaps, even unseat him at some point during the upcoming season.
For those of you that I have been listening to BoltBlitzLIVE on Mountain Country 107.9, hosted by yours truly, you already know a little bit about Darby. He seemed like a very impressive young man who has a good head on his shoulders. What stood out to me was that he kept reiterating that he was always willing to work hard and he would never settle for giving anything but his best effort in all that he does.
Alden is a former defensive back at Arizona State and he proved to be a playmaker while playing for the Sun Devils. Last year he managed to tally 72 total tackles, 4 interceptions ( one of which he took to the house for six ) and two forced fumbles. Darby’s impact on the game did not go unnoticed as he earned the honorary Pat Tillman practice jersey with the team. When speaking to him live on air, he absolutely did not take this honor for granted.
Similar to Addae, Alden is coming in as an undrafted free agent. But you can never have too many playmakers in the secondary. I firmly believe that he will make the 53-man roster, and, in due time, become a player that the defense can count on when he’s on the field. He can contribute immediately on special teams. He’s willing to do whatever the team asks of him. Look out for Alden Darby.
Phillips has his work cut out for him seeing as both Gilchrist and Addae are locks for the team, and the playmaking skills of Darby make him too hard to pass up on. But he also made his fair share of plays in college while playing for the Texas Longhorns. In 50 career games, 28 of which he started, Phillips finished with 206 career total tackles, 6 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries.
As a senior against West Virginia he ended up with a career-high in tackles with 11. During that same season he snagged two of his six career picks. Again, it will be very difficult for Phillips to find a spot on an already crowded Charger roster. But, if he does enough to impress the Charger coaching staff, maybe he can land a spot on the San Diego practice squad.
So there you have it. This is where you come in. Let me know what you think about the camp battle at strong safety by leaving your comments below.
Thanks a lot for reading.