Filling in for Phil and a live game blog

Several months ago, Phil Barber introduced himself as Mike Bordick when he replaced Matt Maiocco, the Cal Ripken of 49ers beat writers.

Well, today I am The Guy Who Fills In While Mike Bordick Attends A Wedding, which means you’ve never heard of me. My name is Eric Branch and I’ve been a sports writer at the PD since 2006.

With Phil away, I’ll cover tonight’s game and have a live in-game blog, free of charge.
As a longtime follower of this blog, I understand this is jarring — like some mystery cousin barging in here unannounced. But don’t fear.

I’m not Phil, admittedly, but I am a lifelong NFL degenerate who, at age 8, watched the 1980 Hall of Fame Game in its entirety. Final score: Chargers 0, Packers 0.

Due to my illness, I know Crabtree moves to the slot when Ginn enters as the third receiver, I’m well-versed on the calcified mass in Joe Nedney’s left groin and I count Irv Cross as a boyhood hero.

Finally, if the above doesn’t qualify for a one-day guest pass around here, there is this: I know Matt Maiocco. Personally.