Leave it to a poet far more versed in the English language than me to frame the Monday night 49ers-Seahawks game in context.
Take it away, E-40:
“Levi’s Stadium starting to feel like Candlestick Park”
Whoa! Did he just say that?
He did. In his recently dropped ode to the 2019 49ers, “Niner Gang”, the kid outta Vallejo drops a lyric that most fans over the age of 25 would consider either a) blasphemy; b) heresy; c) total bull manure.
But . . . is it?
Maybe, just maybe, Levi’s Stadium and its 49ers atmosphere is, like a boy growing into a man, hitting its stride.
You can thank the magic letter “W” for that.
When it comes to anything in life, wins cure all. Recently, in HBO’s “Succession”, a meditation on power and family, the head honcho Logan Roy caps a monster acquisition for the company by raising his glass and saying: “Money always wins.”
True, but you you know what else always wins?
By starting 8-0, the 49ers have taken all the complaints we Candlestick-ers have thrown at Levi’s — it’s too far from San Francisco! It’s in an office park! It’s too sunny! I don’t see Joe or Steve or Ronnie or Jerry in uniform! And it’s too far from San Francisco! — and tossed them in the rubbish bin.
Now, the Candlestick crowd is saying: “You going Monday night? See you there!”
Funny what a montage of Nick Bosa sacks and George Kittle YACs can do to a fan base.
The pile-on of complaints about Levi’s when it opened for sure carried the air of a group of people who have lost something. When the 49ers left Candlestick, they weren’t just leaving Candlestick. They were marking a time in our life that would never return. The finality of a Candlestick departure meant our youth was fleeting, our time was marked and, yes, basically, we’re all gonna die, and we’re that much closer to it.
You didn’t expect me to go there, did you?
Well, I didn’t expect E-40 to rap “Levi’s Stadium starting to feel like Candlestick Park”. So we’re even.
Frank Sinatra sang a schmaltzy old tune called “There Used To Be A BallPark Right Here”, to represent that nostalgic crowd in New York missing Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds. You see it right now with the Oakland crowd and Chase Center. (Although, the Oakland enmity towards Chase Center runs a little deeper, tapping into the almost war-like hatred the 510 has for the 415. That’s a topic for another Jock Blog.)
Anyway, we Candlestick-ers had to adjust. And the adjustment was made no easier by the 2014 inaugural season being colored by the rumors of Jim Harbaugh’s departure, and the sight of Rich Sherman and Russ Wilson eating turkey legs at the 49ers’ new home. We were pretty sure Johnny Unitas and Raymond Berry didn’t eat turkey legs at midfield of Kezar Stadium. That might not have had a happy ending.
After that, Jim Tomsula. After that, Chip Kelly. And by then, any reason you wanted to hate Levi’s — it’s too far from San Francisco! It’s in an office park! I don’t see Joe or Steve or Ronnie or Jerry in uniform! It’s too far from San Francisco! — was totally validated. The team stunk.
Along comes 2019. And every dice roll by John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan has worked. They traded for a franchise QB who everybody likes. They drafted a pass rusher and traded for another and the guys can play. They signed a linebacker who brought energy and violence. And the wins started pouring in.
And now, Levi’s is the home for all that good energy. For Jimmy G. For Dee Ford. For Kyle in a flat-brim hat. And E-40 is rapping out lyrics that once seemed crazy.
I still think Levi’s is too far from San Francisco. And I don’t love the office park vibe. But guess what? I’m going Monday. And maybe, if we squint our eyes and listen to the noise and feel the November air under Monday Night lights, we’ll get that old feeling.