SMITH: NOLA welcomes our boys in pink

By game time today, untold thousands of football fans in New Orleans will have seen, spoken to or shaken their heads at the four California dudes in a pinked-out limo.

"We're a little obvious," Jack Tolin said Saturday from the French Quarter. Everywhere he and buddies John Dubkoff, Dan Tregaskis and Roger Sprinkle go, they go clad in pink gear from the National Breast Cancer Foundation and they dole brochures seeking donations to it.

"A few bars down here have announced our presence," said Tolin, a Santa Rosa oral surgeon. Up and down Bourbon Street, he and his pals have snapped photos after plopping a pink cancer-fighting cap onto a mime.

The Sonoma County quartet decided months ago to take a road trip to New Orleans during the Super Bowl, and in the course of the journey to do something socially redeeming. So they established that the central purpose of the run is to raise $10,000 for the breast cancer foundation.

They won't even go to the game today. They'll swap their pink duds for the Red & Gold and find a bar from which to cheer the 49ers.

Tolin said he and the guys have made a few observations. One is that, judging from the colors worn and attitudes displayed, Ravens fans in New Orleans outnumber Niners fans by about 5 to 1.

There are 49ers decals on the limousine, so our guys have drawn fairly prickly remarks from some of the Baltimore fans. Tolin said that even many of the nice Ravens fans are annoying, with their incessant chanting.

He and buddies also are astounded by the enormous presence of police officers, many of them imported from other jurisdictions. "You can't ask them for directions," Tolin said, "because they aren't from around here."

The guys happened upon Mark Ibanez, the veteran KTVU sports director, as he and his camera crew sought out the fan who gave the best 49er pep talk. He picked our Dan Tregaskis.

He and the Men in Pink get asked a lot, "Where are you guys from?"

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