The end of “The Era”

30 09 2010

When I found out that Daily Journal sports reporter Emanuel Lee was leaving the newspaper I love at the end of September I wrote him a quick email and told him that, as far I was concerned, I had just had my “Michael Jordan” moment.

You remember that one right? The one where he shocked the sports world when he retired (the first time) and you thought, wait, is he even allowed to do that? The best player in the game, just walk away?

If you know Emanuel Lee you know I’m not exaggerating in comparing him to Michael — as far as I’m concerned Emanuel, like MJ, is the best in the game. His Airness on newsprint. I challenge you to prove me otherwise.

I met Emanuel while working for the Daily News five years ago. I was a rookie on the scene, he was an established, award-winning journalist. I tell you, when you’re just starting off in the the newspaper game, it can be pretty intimidating. At least for me it was. I remember the first time I said more than a hello to him, as a fan and aspiring sports reporter, I felt like I had just talked to Bono.  Over time, and through covering the same sports scene, we built a decent friendship. I’d catch him at a game, we’d share a chuckle, the fist bump, the occasional meal, the chat about our significant others — he’d sit with me and the gf while watching baseball games at Washington Park in Burlingame. I tell ya, those were some fun times. Cold Fridays at South City. Drinking root beers at Aragon. Looking at each like “WTF” when Serra’s volleyball coach didn’t want to talk to the press (us) after a loss. Oh, and Chuck Rapp, sharing laughs from his quotes. It was those times that morphed Emanuel Lee into just “Lee.” Like, Pele.

But the nicest, most generous thing Lee ever did for me was get me my gig at the Daily Journal. Budget cuts and etc. at the DN were leaving me broke, and when a spot opened up at the Daily Journal for a production artist, I asked if he’d put in a good word for me.
Two years later, here I am — super bummed that I’m losing a co-worker. I feel like Pippen. I think at the Daily Journal, we all feel like the Bulls.

Proof of Lee’s greatness starts with his body of work. A search of his work online will lead you to over 2,000 stories. Walk into the Daily Journal office and his awards from the Peninsula Press Club fill our walls. 13-time winner for the Daily Journal. 18 overall. Stories like “Breathing Easy” in 2005, “Serra: Finally!” in 2006, “Attaway Rises Above” in 2007, “Champs at Last” in 2008 (which was a personal favorite after following that Burlingame team all season too) are just the tip of the iceberg’s tip. We can go on for days and days.

I don’t want this to read like a eulogy, because Lee is moving on to bigger and better things. But the newspaper, no, the Peninsula is losing someone who is the best at their craft. We are all at a lost — to not read his writing should feel like what it was like to not see No. 23 wagging his tongue down the court.

Some of my proudest moments at this newspaper have revolved around Lee. He’s never shied away from telling me how proud I’ve made him and how glad he was to have made that recommendation a little more than 2 years ago. Personally, I’m just relieved that I made his word stand. Lee, you’ll be sorely missed. Thank you for everything. Like I said, as far as I’m concerned you’re in Cooperstown, Canton — consider this my number retirement ceremony for you, my friend.

You can read Sports Editor Nathan Mollat’s farewell column here. He’s been friends with Lee for a lot longer. Brothers in battle. He writes: As a reporter and writer, there is none his equal around here. A multi-time winner of Peninsula Press Club awards, he set a standard to which I aspire. His knack for pulling the most intimate details from interview subjects constantly had me shaking my head in amazement, wondering what he said and how he said it that would make people open their souls to him. More than once I felt my eyes well up reading one of his stories.

That’s when Emanuel was at his best. But he wasn’t too shabby the rest of the time, either …

And one other thing. When Emanuel first told me at the beginning of the month he would be leaving, I told him this and I now tell the Daily Journal sports community as well: I may find someone as good as Emanuel Lee to replace him, but I don’t think I’ll find anyone better.

I’ll miss you my friend.


Posey in Sports Illustrated

22 09 2010

You don’t think the rest of the league is noticing Bustey Posey? Check out what came in the mail today inside of my Sports Illustrated (click for a larger view).

Photograph is by Brad Mangin and the story is by Ann Killion (who you should know from her time in the Bay Area).

I will confess, I’m a skeptic when it comes to baseball phenoms. I love them, and god knows I love Posey for what he’s done. I’ve been following his play since his time at Florida State (Go Noles!) and when he was drafted by the Giants, I was thrilled.
But, I tend to be cautious when it comes to my affinity for rookies who come up and are strong in year one. I’ve seen it before, numerous times, guys who blow up in their rookie campaigns and then fade. Giants fans, you don’t have to go much further than Pablo Sandoval to find a great example of how damaging the combination of a great rookie year, plus the media/marketing of a player, can have on a talent.
Shoot, Sandoval couldn’t handle it. He’s hitting .260.
So, why will Buster Posey be different? Read Killion’s story. It’s great.
That’s it from me today. As a fan, I hope he wins ROY — if the Giants make the ‘smlayoffs’ I don’t see how he can’t.

San Francisco 49ers Preview —

9 09 2010

Here’s the latest piece of work to come off of my computer
(Click for a larger view):

It’s a preview for the upcoming 2010 season. A couple of days ago I posted a comment on Facebook asking friends what they’re biggest question heading into the new season was. I got a couple of good responses which I used on this graphic. Since we’re sharing, the Alex Smith and Michael Crabtree photos are from Rueters. Give it a look. I think it came out pretty freakin’ cool.

Two-A-Days (Day 1)

24 08 2010

I’ve decided to go ahead and post some of the Daily Journal’s annual prep football preview — the format of which changed significantly from last year. Instead of knocking out an entire pull-out section (or two with the way it was split up), this year, Nathan Mollat (Sports Editor) decided to break it down into 10 days of football preview and came up with the name “Two-A-Days” — breaking down two teams a day (logo of which is up top).

Graphically the task was much different — along with the typical front page (which after publishing, I wasn’t thrilled about), we have a couple of other elements: • A time-line that will run across the top of the Sports section everyday of the preview • What I call a “banner” that packages the thing together and • A simple info box to accompany the players to watch and schedule.

My goal was to tie everything in with the logo. It’s a different task than what I’m accustomed to so we’ll see how the reception is like from parents and fans here on the Peninsula — breaking new ground with this logo thing is kind of nerve-wracking for me.

This will be my fifth year covering (in one way or another) the Peninsula football scene. I’ve fallen in love with the area — I make no predictions, but keep an eye on Burlingame in the Bay, Jefferson in the Ocean and Carlmont in the Lake. Those are my pre-pre-season picks. For now, check out some of the preview below. It’s going to be a great season.

Are you ready for some football?
By Nathan Mollat

A generation ago, the double-day practices — two practices a day — was common throughout the land when it came time for high school football teams to prepare for the season.
While some squads still use the exhausting days as a way to quickly whip a team into shape and to use every available minute to prepare for the season, many teams — because of rule changes or class schedules — have done away with the grueling practice ritual.
Never fear, however, as the Daily Journal presents its 10th annual football preview. We’re doing things a little differently this year. Instead of a multi-page pullout section, we’ll be running two previews a day for the next two weeks — the Daily Journal’s own two-a-days.
Read the rest of Nathan’s column here.

Panthers are primed to roar
By Emanuel Lee

For the last couple of years, the Burlingame High football team — try as the Panthers might — didn’t have a legitimate passing game to complement their usual potent running attack.
This season should be different, and that’s what has ninth-year coach John Philipopoulos fully expecting his team to contend for a Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division championship.
“If we fire on all cylinders, we’re going to be a handful,” said Philipopoulos, whose team is back in the league’s top division after spending the last two years in the Ocean.
Read the rest of Emanuel’s preview here.

Line depth crucial for Dons
By Nathan Mollat

There was no question who the key to the Aragon football team was in 2009: All-Everything quarterback Sam Tuivailala, who has since moved on to a professional baseball career in the St. Louis Cardinals organization.
For the uneducated, it should be a blessing for opposing teams to not have to deal with Tuivailala on a weekly basis, right? Not necessarily. While the Dons may no longer have the attributes of a superb athlete to run the show, the team might actually be vastly improved this season, thanks in large part to increased depth at many of skill positions, as well as more varsity experience.
Read the rest of Nathan’s preview here.

Outside Lands 2010 — review

16 08 2010

SMDJ-Page 28 (081610)SMDJ-Page 28(2) (081610)

Another year, another chance to cover Outside Lands. Despite all the talk going around about the shortened festival and the lack of musical firepower, I was impressed with the way the event came together. Here is the review I filed — it will out in tomorrow’s edition of the newspaper.

Smaller, but just as potent, Outside Lands’ return is a success
By Julio Lara, Daily Journal Staff

Big names or smaller ones, two day or three — if there’s one thing the organizers of Outside Lands can count on it’s that if you give the people of the Bay Area good music, good food and great drinks, they will come.

The task was challenging, yet simple: how do you bring people to a music festival, which was one day shorter and without the aid of a gigantic, mainstream act and still deliver a memorable experience.

The answer: it’s easy  — at its core Outside Lands has always been about the music and the people — with or without titanic acts, those who are appreciative enough to know good music will always come out as long as you try to give them an amazing atmosphere to enjoy it in.

And a memorable experience is what you got if you attended Outside Lands 2010 at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

Sure, the drive here and then subsequent parking situation might have been a headache. But once you got inside music fans experienced what has made Outside Lands the most popular music festival in the Bay Area.

Flocks of people headed to the historic park for the two-day event and were treated to exceptional musical acts, great food and the vibe unique to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Dead heads, tweens, young and old — the thing that has made Outside Lands great throughout the years is the ability to gather an array of musical fans to a central location and give them a taste of everything.

Saturday, Furthur, the Grateful Dead spin-off featuring Bob Weir and Phil Lesh brought their sound straight from the Haight-Ashbury area to the park, filling the Lands End stage in the process and playing to an emotional hug of a set — a love story of sorts for the place that embraces their culture so much.

They were preceded by acts like Tokyo Police Club, Gogol Bordello and The Whigs. The Strokes, an east coast band who rose to prominence in the early park of the decade, made a triumphant return to the stage, thrilling the San Francisco crowd during the first night the festival.

Sunday the masses flooded the park for a chance to see Kings of Leon, the Grammy-award winning band who were presented with the task of carrying and headlining a festival that has brought huge names to their stage in the past. Judging by the size of the crowd to close out the two-day festival, the band from Nashville did not disappoint.

Sunday saw a strong line-up of music. The Reverend Al Green dazzled in his soulful performance at the Lands End stage. Down the polo field and into the Speedway Meadow, Aterciopelados, a rock band from Columbia, was spot-on with the voice of Andrea Echeverri to lead the way — her socially conscious performance was perfect for the San Francisco crowd.

But it wasn’t just about the music — what the organizers of Outside Lands were banking on was that the extra effort they put into gathering the best of locally specific food and wine would go long way in distinguishing their festival from the rest.

As it was they can pat themselves in the back — there was delicious cuisine for every appetite present at Outside Lands — from the South American with Pica Pica and Sabores del Sur, to Korean Tacos with Namu, to fried chicken at Farmer Brown’s Little Skillet — frankl, if you left hungry from Outside Lands it’s only because you weren’t trying.

The ecological efforts of the festival should also be applauded — at “EcoLands” you could watch a concert at the completely solar-powered Panhandle Stage while teeter-totting your way to a free sno-cone.

There was plenty to do and plenty to see at Outside Lands and with the success of the festival this past weekend expect the music, food, wine and art extravaganza to return for years to come.

Earthquakes beat the Wizards

15 08 2010

For those wondering, Jason Hernandez received a red card in the 88th minute for “violent conduct.” He called it a spur of the moment thing — he said the guy he clocked with an elbow was asking it for it  — it wouldn’t surprise me honestly, Kansas City was diving the entire night.


Busy weekend continues with a nice 1-0 win for the Earthquakes Saturday night against Kansas City. Goal by Chris Wondolowski in the 35th minute for the difference. I’m posting the story I filed today and a link to it online tomorrow when it’s officially out. Also, there’s video of Frank Yallop below and Chris talking briefly about his goal at the bottom of this post. Peace out.

Quakes back on the winning track

By Julio Lara, Daily Journal Staff

Nothing like a win to makes things all better.

Coming into Saturday’s game against the Kansas City Wizards, the San Jose Earthquakes were reeling — winners of only one of their past seven games, the Quakes were bruised mentally, battered physically and seemingly put together by duct tape due to injury.

Injuries to the likes of Ramiro Corrales, Chris Leitch, Steven Beltashour and Ike Oparra forced head coach Frank Yallop to put together a starting-11 that featured newcomers Tim Ward and Khari Stephenson and move players like Bobby Convey from their conventional positions to spots were the team was in need.

But if there’s one thing San Jose has shown this season is that Yallop can prepare his team to play defense, especially at home. And that’s what it took Saturday night — an exceptional defensive performance, highlighted by the play of goalkeeper Joe Cannon, and a timely goal by Chris Wondolowski propelled San Jose to a huge 1-0 win over the visiting Wiz.

“I’m very happy for our guys,” Yallop said. “I’m very pleased with the three points. And it puts us right back in the (playoff) picture and that’s all we needed to see.”

It was a game the Quakes needed to win, coming off a heart-breaking loss to the Colorado Rapids the week before in which an own-goal did them in.

San Jose came out like they knew that. Offensively in the first half, the Earthquakes created a handful of chances throughout — by the 30th minute, Cornell Glen alone had three clear goal-scoring opportunities but failed on all of them.

But Wondolowski came to the rescue in the 35th minute, one-timing a pretty lob from the newly-acquired Stephenson inside the Kansas City box for the 1-0 lead. It was Wondolowski’s team-leading 7th goal.

“He put right on a platter,” Wondolowski said of Stephenson’s pass. “Goal scoring is contagious. Hopefully I can get back on a steak and get it going again. It’s great to get that feeling back.”

The second half belonged to Cannon and the line judge.

For his part, Cannon came up with some significant saves to preserve the team’s fifth home shutout — none bigger than his save of Teal Bunbury in the 59th minute.

Three times in the second half the Wiz had goals disallowed by the line judge’s flag on an offside call, much to the chagrin of the Kansa City bench. But despite a red card to Jason Hernandez in the 88th minute and four minutes of stoppage time, the Quakes had just enough to hold on for the victory and the much-needed three points.

Cannon and Wondolowski will get the headlines with their clutch play, but several Quakes performed very well Saturday night. Convey was terrific playing left back, despite a mistake early in the game that almost cost his team a goal. Brandon McDonald was moved to a central defender position for the game and performed very much to Yallop’s liking. Hernandez was also solid defensively and Arturo Alvarez created chances from his midfield position the entire evening.

Huge doesn’t begin to describe the win — not only were they reeling, but a loss or draw with the league’s best team, the L.A Galaxy, coming in next week, would have surely shut the door on San Jose’s playoff aspirations in 2010.

But now, playing with the confidence that comes after a win, the showdown the Galaxy (a team they tied 2-2 in Los Angeles) appears to be a winnable game for San Jose.

And that would be even bigger than huge.

Outside Lands 2010 – Preview

14 08 2010

This WordPress app for my Droid is pretty cool. I’m updating the post with the article while on my phone … gotta love technology. Anyways, if you want to read it, it’s below the pages.
Outside Lands version 3.0 kicks off today at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Part of the fun of it is covering the event, yet for me, getting to put something together to present the festival is awesome too. Here are the graphics I came up with. I doubt I’ll have time to actually copy and paste the article that accompanies it … but, I’ll try in the morning. Anyways, I liked how they came together. See y’all later and GET YOUR ASSES TO THE FESTIVAL! 


Outside Lands set to rock
By Julio Lara, Daily Journal Staff

In versions one and two, Outside Lands, the San Francisco music festival that returns for its third go-around this weekend, dazzled.
In 2008, headliners like Radiohead, Beck, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers brought roughly 130,000 fans to the inaugural event.
In 2009, Pearl Jam, Black Eyed Peas and The Dave Matthews Band nearly matched that total.
But in 2010, and with the festival now cut from three days to two and a tough economy that has affected festivals and music tours nationwide, Outside Lands faces a new challenge: Tickle the interest of music fans without the help of huge names to draw the Bay Area crowd back for more. Organizers of the event are hoping that Kings of Leon, the Grammy-award winning band that is slated to release a new album in October, along with Furthur and The Strokes, will do the trick.
Outside Land returns today at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, with more than 40 musical acts across four stages. Tickets for the two-day festival range from $75 to $140 (plus pricier VIP packages are also available) and while the titanic names of yesteryear may not be coming, organizers of the event have put together what they hope will be a fantastic sample of what the Bay Area has to offer.
The aforementioned Kings of Leon will grace the stage Sunday night. Headlining a festival of this magnitude is a first for Kings and it’s something to which they look forward.“We love playing festivals and we love San Fran,” said Kings of Leon drummer Nathan Followill. “So I think with those two things together … it should be a great time. There are so many great bands playing as well so I’m more excited to listen than actually sing I’m pretty sure.” Kings of Leon will be preceded by acts like Al Green, Phoenix and Social Distortion on Sunday. In day one of the festivities, Grateful Dead spin-off Further featuring Bob Weir and Phil Lesh will headline the night. The Strokes, who rocketed to stardom in 2001 but have been in a hibernation of sorts since 2006, will make a much- anticipated appearance on Saturday as well. Also performing will be Wolfmother and My Morning Jacket. But this weekend isn’t just about the music. For yet another year, Outside Lands has managed to round up a great menu of over 30 local food vendors to satisfy the taste buds with “A Taste of the Bay Area.” Festival goers are also encouraged to visit “Wine Lands” — a collection of 26 fine local vintners.
“Eco Lands” will once again be the epicenter of the Outside Lands’ sustainability mission and environmental commitment. Throughout its existence, Outside Lands has continued to implement innovative approaches to ensure the most environmentally sustainable event possible, including a completely solar powered stage, a refillable water program, cell phone recycling and urban gardening workshops. And there will be plenty of other things to enjoy at the festival like the Chase Freedom Lounge, the Pulse Lounge and the Inside Outside Lands Lounge to name a few.
For more information on the events, including what you can or can’t bring, how to get there, and more visit