Greetings from Cooperstown, where I am on assignment to cover the baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies this weekend. As Raiders fans, you probably care more about the goings on in Canton and why Tom Flores, Jim Plunkett, Ray Guy, Cliff Branch and Kenny Stabler do not yet own yellow jackets and have their busts in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Fair enough, and yes, I think Flores and Plunkett are the biggest Raider snubs from Canton, as I also believe Jerry Tarkanian belongs in the basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield and Billy Martin should be enshrined here in Cooperstown as well.
But I digress. The Raiders have announced the times for their first week of practice and, as reported here last week (http://www.sacbee.com/raiders/story/2038913.html), they report Tuesday to the Napa Marriott, spend all day Wednesday in meetings and hit the ground running with an old school-yet-maniacal stretch of four straight days of two-a-day practices. The morning practice begins at 8:30 a.m. and the afternoon practice will get underway at 4:20. Tom Cable, entering his first camp as head coach after replacing Lane Kiffin in Week 5 last season, will address reporters on Wednesday in Napa at 12 noon.
All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha has an inkling as to why Camp Cable is beginning with so much class time.
"I think (Cable) wants us to be mentally prepared for camp instead of just going right into it," Asomugha said last Sunday at the Coliseum, where he threw out a ceremonial first pitch before and A's-Los Angeles Angels game. "There's a lot of injuries early on in camp if you're not mentally into it because you're thinking it's all physical and you could over-exert your muscles. He understands it, so the first day is all mental, 'Let's get back into the stuff that we've learned, keep on with the playbook and stuff and then the second day we'll get into it a little bit more.''
Asomugha also said Cable approaches the team captains individually, rather than as a group, for feedback.
"He'll grab me every now and then and just let me know what's going on with the team and how things are going," Asomugha said. "He'll do that with Shane (Lechler) as well. We haven't had a collective meeting yet. That'll happen during the season. I'm sure in camp as well."
Also, the Raiders' joint practices with the 49ers in Napa will be Aug. 18 and 19, the 49ers have announced, in advance of the Aug, 22 exhibition game between the teams at Candlestick Park.
And now, for some Raiders PSAs...
-The team announced again its 2009 Raider Nation Celebration - Family Fun Day - will be held at the Coliseum on Aug. 8, from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. The event is free, as is parking, and will include a Raiders practice, appearances from current and former Raiders players and coaches, the Raiderettes, an interactive Kids Zone and the organization's three Super Bowl trophies. Fans can participate in the "Under Armour Combine," the 40-yard dash, short shuttle and vertical jump and magnet schedules will be handed out to fans. Season ticket holders can also earn 100 "Bonus Raider Rewards Points" by bringing a photo of themselves in Raiders gear and can earn 50 points for each non-season ticket holder guest they bring to the event. Also, fans interested in acquiring new season tickets are able to choose from available seat locations earlier in the day from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
- The Raiders also announced the launching of its "micro-site" commemorating the original American Football League team's 50th season. The site is at www.raiders50thseason.com and will host photo galleries, interactive games and contests, merchandise, ticket promotions and videos. As one of the eight original AFL teams that began play in 1960, the Raiders will play in four "legacy games" this season - at home in the season opener against the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football on Sept. 14, against the New York Jets on Oct. 25 and against the Kansas City Chiefs on Nov. 15, and at the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26. The Raiders will wear their 1963 uniforms in each of those games. Of course, 1963 is the year in which Al Davis became a Raider.
- Also as part of the 50th anniversary celebration, the Raiders have started posting billboards around the Bay Area celebrating seminal plays in the team's history. Each moment lists a specific phone number for fans to call in to hear that specific radio call. Following are the currently available plays and corresponding phone numbers to hear the original radio call.
• George Blanda's game-winning 53-yard field goal in 1970: 866.508.5050
• The Holy Roller at San Diego in 1978: 877.482.5050
• Jim Plunkett's 99-yard TD pass to Cliff Branch in 1983 at Washington: 877.964.5050
• Bo Jackson 91-yard TD run at Seattle in 1987 on MNF: 877.419.5050
• Tyrone Wheatley Run in 2000: 877.934.5050