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John Madden acknowledges his roll for his team at the Madden-Mariucci "'Battle of the Bay" Charity Bocce Tournament hosted by former Oakland Raiders Head Coach Madden and former San Francisco 49ers and Cal Head Coach Steve Mariucci at Campo di Bocce in Livermore, Calif., on Wednesday, June 2, 2010. The 12th annual event raises funds for local and national charities, this year including Tri-Valley high school football, Kaleidoscope, Special Olympics and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. (Cindi Christie/Staff)

It's officially called the Madden-Mariucci Battle of the Bay Charity Bocce Tournament. In short, you can call it the Bay Area's ultimate sports summit.

There really isn't anything like it, and not just because former NFL coaches-turned-broadcasters John Madden and Steve Mariucci are the bubbly hosts.

Campo di Bocce's Livermore courts were filled Wednesday with representatives from almost every Bay Area pro franchise — the A's noticeably were absent despite being invited.

"This is it in the Bay Area, a who's who," Mariucci said. "It's a lot of fun, and it's a good mix."

This annual event has grown over 12 years into a blockbuster. The more sports honchos that come, the more worthy causes stand to benefit.

"The big thing is we raise money for charity," Madden said. "We added high school football (as a cause) this year, and I'm really proud of that.

"The state is in such a mess and schools can't spend. Football is the most expensive sport and I don't want to see it slip. Neither does Steve. This will inject enough there to help have competitive football."

While some proceeds go to five nearby high schools — Amador Valley, Dublin, Foothill, Granada, Livermore — other funds go to the Special Olympics, Easter Seals and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Just seeing the Bay Area sports franchises represented in one locale is, well, weird. But cool. It's like a parade of front-office brass mixed with famous alumni and current players, not to mention star-struck spectators and longtime sponsors.


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"Teams were always invited, but they didn't always used to play," Mariucci said. "When we named it 'Battle of the Bay' last year, now they began bringing (bocce) teams to compete."

So there was Giants president Larry Baer aiming for the pallino while donning a Giants uniform. He and his team even wore the Tim Lincecum wig-cap combo, a look they pulled off with more success than their ace pitcher of late.

"It's a lot of fun. We played the Giants out here last year, and they brought in a ringer from North Beach," Warriors president Robert Rowell said. "We bring our own staff."

Yeah, yeah, but what about the Warriors' impending sale? Are the Giants in on it? Any update? Rowell declined comment, referring that inquiry to the company handling the sale, Galatioto Sports Partners.

Football rules the Bay Area sports scene, anyhow. Former 49ers coach George Seifert and former players Dwight Clark and Bryant Young were on hand. Raiders icon Jim Otto, looking upbeat and healthy, was on a team with a few Raiderettes.

This is Madden's and Mariucci's stage, however. Longtime buddies, they chide each other like brothers, and it makes for great comedy. As for their thoughts on pressing football matters:

  • On the 2014 Super Bowl going to the New York area, both were in favor of the idea. (Disclaimer: Mariucci works for the NFL Network and Madden is a special adviser to commissioner Roger Goodell.) "If anyone can pull off a winter event, New York can, and the venue is top shelf," Mariucci said. "Players have to suck it up and play in 30 degrees or worse. But TV likes inclement weather."

  • On if a new stadium is what it will take to end the Bay Area's 25-year drought as Super Bowl host, Madden replied: "That's what it's all about. The Super Bowl has become a reward for a new stadium."

  • On if Santa Clara makes sense for the 49ers' next stadium (a plan that might hinge on Tuesday's election), Madden said: "I don't know. Money is so tough. Stadiums start at $1 billion. You can talk about votes, city councils and land. Then someone says, 'Where do you get $1.5 billion?' I don't know the answer."

  • On former Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell, Madden believed the team had to release Russell because he simply didn't play his way into his position, and he's not sure if he ever will without any preset financial incentive. Both Madden and Mariucci believe Russell will get another chance in the NFL, "but I don't see him as a starter," Mariucci said.

    Wednesday's best sound bite didn't come from either host, but rather Otto: "It's a good charity, and it's good for the Bay Area. But the Battle of the Bay comes in August."

    That Aug. 28 meeting between the 49ers and host Raiders is merely an exhibition game, however. They also meet Oct. 17 at Candlestick Park, at which time we should know if either team is a contender for the playoffs or better suited for, yes, bocce.

    Contact Cam Inman at cinman@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/CamInman