After the San Francisco 49ers 45-31 NFC playoff win over the Green Bay Packers, led by quarterback Colin Kaepernick's record-setting 181 yards rushing, reporters were tripping over themselves to sing praises of the kid from Turlock.
But not everyone was singing praise for Turlock itself.
Scott Ostler, a longtime San Francisco Chronicle reporter and columnist, referred to Turlock as less than “nowhere” in a Jan. 13 piece, focused on 49er's coach Jim Harbaugh's decision to start Kaepernick over longtime quarterback Alex Smith.
“Then Harbaugh replaced the red-hot Smith with Colin Kaepernick, the kid from nowhere (actually Turlock, a suburb of Nowhere),” Ostler wrote.
The comment rubbed Turlock Mayor John Lazar the wrong way.
Lazar just happened to stumble onto the column in the Chronicle's Sunday edition, and instantly felt compelled to defend his town. What better way than a letter to the editor, he thought?
“Well, I'm here to tell you Turlock is somewhere,” Lazar wrote. “It's probably one of the nicest cities in the Central Valley, home to Cal State Stanislaus; Blue Diamond Growers; Medic Alert; and the Carnegie Arts Center – in addition to being one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world and a mere hour and a half drive from San Francisco.”
After the letter ran on Jan. 16, Lazar received e-mails of support from all around the state, he said.
And perhaps most importantly, Lazar received a bit of an apology, albeit indirectly, from Ostler.
“After I wrote that letter and they printed it, the same reporter came back the following weekend and wrote about how nice Turlock was,” Lazar said.
In fact, during that following week Ostler made the trek out to Turlock along with a Chronicle photographer. The duo traveled around town to Main St. Footers (home of the Kaepernick Dog), Pitman High School (Kaepernick's alma mater), and to the Kaepernick household.
Apparently, Ostler liked what he saw.
“We have come to this lovely city, intrepid photographer and I,” Ostler wrote to start his Jan. 20 column.