Summer’s over; sports season finally begins |

Summer’s over; sports season finally begins

Summer is a season of sports doldrums for me.

I suffer through ESPN’s baseball highlights and catch glimpses of the Tour de France mostly to see who is doing what type of designer drug this year.

By September I am so thoroughly bored with 6-4-3 double plays (yawn) and paunchy first-basemen hitting home runs (snore) that I start feverishly watching something even more meaningless: Preseason football.

It’s more of a tease than anything else. Watching Trent Dilfer throw lasers ” OK, I exaggerate occasionally ” to wide receivers I’ve never heard of isn’t necessarily the epitome of entertainment. But it signals to me that sports season is actually revving up again.

This year, I think fans of Bay Area football have something to look forward to. Raiders fans can anticipate another implosion to a 2-14 record ” spurred either by a tantrum from disgruntled receiver Jerry Porter, weight issues by mouthy lineman Warren Sapp or impossibly poor decisions by incoherent owner Al Davis.

The Raiders have mind bogglingly faltered before the season has even kicked off, refusing to compromise with No. 1 draft pick Jamarcus Russell on a contract ” leaving the supposed future of their franchise sitting at home so far this year.

And the 49ers, I believe, will make the playoffs for the first time since Jeff Garcia and Terrell Owens highlighted the team’s offense.

Alex Smith has looked sharp in the preseason so far, and Vernon Davis ” the 49ers young tight end ” may just trample any defender who comes between him and the end zone. Plus, with easily winnable division match-ups with Arizona and St. Louis, my hopes are high for San Francisco to make it back to the postseason.

But what makes football such a great sport to watch and follow is that almost every team has a legitimate chance to make the postseason each year ” the Raiders perhaps being the one exception.

The season always holds surprises ” think last year’s Saints. The cellar dwellers can beat a powerhouse any game. And every play is exciting enough to keep Sunflower seeds out of the players’ mouths.

And preseason is a couple months of sunny optimism, before your team gets annihilated by the competition, your hopes are dashed, and you limp through the postseason watching other teams play the games you wish your team was playing.

Everyone’s a winner in preseason even if they lose ” they’re just working out the kinks after all.

But now I can’t wait for the actual season to start. For ESPN’s “NFL Live” to push John Kruk and his “Baseball Tonight” cohorts off the air.

Because, as sad as I am to see the days shorten and the summer wane, I can’t wait for football season to kick in and some real sports to begin.

Just one more week of pop-ups to center field, bunts down the first-base line and snoring through SportsCenter, and we’ll have bone-crushing tackles, deep, end-zone passes, and tackle-busting touchdown runs.

It’s fall, and I’m ready for some football.

Sierra Sun assistant editor David Bunker is a 49ers fan who converted to watching Redskins football during a four-year stint on the East Coast.

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