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January 23, 2003

Getting it right
By Rob Dibble

SAN DIEGO -- This is my fifth Super Bowl and San Diego is clearly the best town to host one so far. My room overlooks the Bay. When I woke up this morning, I pulled back the curtain and watched a cruise ship slowly creep into port. The weather is gorgeous and natural beauty is everywhere.

Sean Salisbury, Dan Patrick and I had dinner in the Gaslamp District. We had a few beers and burgers at an Irish pub, then did some people-watching, a favorite Super Bowl pastime. We saw Giants defensive end Michael Strahan, and I am sure we will run into many other celebs as the week unfolds.

I called Padres closer Trevor Hoffman and asked him about a place to work out. He told me that San Diego is a cardio town and there isn't a lot of weight to lift. He sent me up to La Jolla ($30 cab one way) to the Sporting Club, where I had a great workout. The Sporting Club is near the hotel where the Raiders are staying. As I left, I saw Oakland fans congregating and they were dressed like it was game day -- black-and-silver face paint, black-and-silver clothes, pirate garb. And that's just the senior citizens from Oakland. It was a madhouse, and I bet there was a cop for every fan.

San Diegans must be wondering what has hit town. Then again, they know. Raider games in San Diego are notorious for the support the visitors get. Kind of like when my Reds teams played the Cubs in Cincinnati. Cubs slugger Andre Dawson got cheered like he was at home; that's how many Chicago fans made the trek to Ohio.

San Diego, again, is a great location for this game. But the NFL does a great job in every town. Things are organized and professional. Everything is done first-class. But the spirit of the league and the pride of the league are on display all the time. The players appear at all sorts of events and don't seem to be too grumpy about it. Super Bowl week truly celebrates the NFL.

I wish Major League Baseball did half the job during the World Series that the NFL does during Super Bowl week. Maybe someone from MLB is here taking notes. But for some reason, I doubt it.

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