Sterling Kelley Jr. is not an Oakland Raiders fan. He prefers the 49ers, which is a shame, given that he gets so many calls from Raiders fans, some late at night, some drunken, always about tickets.
That's because the Pinole resident's telephone number, which he and his wife have had for more than fifty years, is 510-724-3377. Please don't call him. Seriously. He doesn't want to hear from you.
I must admit, however, that I'm one of the morons who called him.
As it turns out, 724-3377 spells "RAIDERS" on a telephone keypad. I'm part of a season ticket package, and I wanted to buy tickets for a couple of extra games. The team's promotional materials said to call 1-800-RAIDERS (724-3377), and for some reason I figured RAIDERS was the local number. And so I called it to Kelley's distress.
I was not the first. Scores of others have been calling the house for more than a decade. "It started when Al Davis moved them to Oakland" in 1995, Kelley says.
What does this patient gentleman tell errant callers? "I tell them to call 1-800-RAIDERS," he says. "I'm gonna send Al Davis a bill one of these days." The real problem is after dark, "particularly with drunks at eleven o'clock at night."
Even though he prefers the Niners "If both of them play, I root for the 49ers" Kelley still has an opinion on the East Bay team. "I think they should be better this year, but I don't know how to read all this stuff about their quarterback," he says, referring to No. 1 draft pick JaMarcus Russell.
Well, neither do the rest of us in Raider Nation.
So, Mr. Kelley, thanks for answering our misguided calls. But after more than fifty years, it might be time to change your number.