Hunkered down together, a celebratory crew of Oakland Raiders fans convened at Banning’s craft microbrewery to hang out, and to meet two former Raiders players who headlined the event.
Otis Sistrunk, a defensive lineman who played his entire NFL career with the Raiders, and Mike Siani, a wide receiver who played from 1972-77 and caught 128 passes for 2,079 yards and 13 touchdowns, were at Brew Rebellion Saturday evening to meet some avid fans.
Their visit was arranged and sponsored by the Inland Empire Raiders Booster Club.
“I’d met Otis before. He’s been to a few events to sign footballs,” said Tony Lemos, who came out from Redlands with his wife Linda. “They are fantastic to come out just to be with fans. It’s always neat to hear stories about being on the team and what it’s like being in the Super Bowl.”
Casually sitting around and chatting with them, visitors heard stories about what it’s like being on a Super Bowl team, “but they probably really shouldn’t be repeated — they’re things that only teammates should know about,” Lemos said.
According to Lemos, who is an active member of the Inland Empire Raiders Booster Club, Sistrunk had been flown in from Atlanta to attend the event at Brew Rebellion, and to join another one in Anaheim that weekend.
Brew Rebellion co-owner Ed Parker, who describes himself as a “lifelong Raiders fan,” was thrilled to have Sistrunk and Siani at his bar.
“They were so gracious to everybody and so appreciative that people wanted just to come out to meet them,” Parker said. “I’ve been a fan for a long time, and it was great to be around others who are fans.”
Brew Rebellion co-owner Brad O’Donnell admits that he is a Miami Dolphins fan, but for Saturday “I acted like a Raiders fan.”
Brew Rebellion referred to their drinks in the spirit of the occasion, offering up a Raiders Pale Ale, for instance, though nothing was brewed specifically for the event.
In an effort to increase activity in the little corner of San Gorgonio Avenue where Brew Rebellion is, O’Donnell said that there will be other similar events for Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers and Los Angeles Chargers fans, and perhaps others.
They are hosting the Calimesa-based alternative band DedBuny this Saturday, Nov. 2 starting at 4 p.m., are sponsoring the Banning Classic Car Show on Saturday, Nov. 2 from noon to 6 p.m.; and hosting Banning-based Studio Lovecraft’s Intergalactic Circus, which will include carnival games fire dancers, starts at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9.
In O’Donnell’s observations, “The players are in their 70s — I mean, they were in the Super Bowl what, 40 years ago — They took photos and signed autographs. Everybody had a good time. They were nice, friendly, and enjoyed themselves.”
Heading into this weekend, the Raiders are second in the AFC West.
Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org , or by calling (951) 849-4586 x114.