It’s not that the Bay Area’s major pro teams haven’t been good over the past few years. There have been a lot of playoff games and things are certainly a lot better than they were back in, say, 2008. But to call this era some sort of “Golden Age” is a little strong. No one’s going to want to hear this, but if championships are how we measure true regional greatness, we’ve got nothing on Boston.
The Bay Area has two titles in the last four years. Two titles in the last 10 years. Three titles in the last 20. The Red Sox have won three World Series in the last 10 years, and over the last decade the New England area has also celebrated one championship each for the Patriots, Celtics and Bruins. If you go back a few more years to grab a couple more Belichick/Brady Super Bowls … oh God, who cares. Sorry for bringing it up.
We’re definitely on the spoiled side, with most of the teams keeping most of their games interesting most of the time in recent years. Even so, it felt like all the teams were going backwards last weekend after losses by the 49ers, Raiders, Warriors and Sharks (who lost on a shootout for the third time in four games).
Weekend hangovers aside, which team is closest to popping champagne and riding slowly a day or two later down a major city street in convertibles with confetti fluttering through the air? At this point every team has a claim on “who’s next,” except …
Reasons to believe: …
Reasons to doubt: Last winning season came in 2002; Terrelle Pryor looks less like the future with each passing week (no pun intended); unproven coach/GM; there are several more reasons we can include, but Raiders fans have suffered enough.
Sorry Raider Nation, you can quit reading now. At least we got the Raiders out of the way early, so you can all go back to whatever it was you were doing before you started reading this — maybe indulging in a little origami, making gluten-free scones, or training in hopes your favorite team will sign you as a free agent offensive lineman. You know, standard Raiders fan activities.
Now for the teams with a realistic shot at winning it all …
San Francisco Giants
Reasons to believe: Even-numbered year coming up; eight players remaining from 2010 and 2012 teams; Madison Bumgarner is 24; Buster Posey should be motivated to improve after doing next to nothing after the All-Star break; Bruce Bochy seems to know what he’s doing in the postseason.
Reasons to doubt: The Giants came awfully close to finishing last in their division in 2013; the Dodgers have more money than Google; holy hell the Giants were tough to watch last year — how can driving guys in from third base with no outs be so hard, and why can’t their pitchers throw to second base and as;jsl;dfjasldjf
San Jose Sharks
Reasons to believe: Antti Niemi has won a Stanley Cup before; no shootouts in the playoffs; hockey’s postseason has no rhyme or reason.
Reasons to doubt: After making the playoffs 16 times in the last 19 seasons and failing to make the Stanley Cup Finals each time, the mission seems impossible (even though it’s not); hockey’s postseason has no rhyme or reason.
Reasons to believe: 190 regular season wins over the past two seasons; Bob Melvin is the rare manager who’s allowed to manage without Billy Beane meddling; several good starting pitchers age 25 or younger; they can’t keep facing Detroit in the ALDS every year.
Reasons to doubt: Josh Donaldson had a career year out of nowhere; Coco Crisp had a career year at age 33; offensive production in the postseason has been lacking (26 runs in their last 10 playoff games).
Golden State Warriors
Reasons to believe: One of the better starting fives in the NBA; Lakers are in hibernation; core group should play together for at least a few years.
Reasons to doubt: Lots of solid starter-types but few championship-caliber role players; Western Conference is still deeper than the Eastern Conference; LeBron James doesn’t play for the Warriors.
San Francisco 49ers
Reasons to believe: Excellent defense and coaching staff; they *should* make the playoffs for the third straight year; no truly dominant teams in the NFL.
Reasons to doubt: Woefully inadequate passing attack; history is against teams that lose in the Super Bowl; best team in football may reside in their own division.
After all that, who do you think will be the first team to pop some bottles? And we’re not referring to how Major League Baseball teams spray champagne all over the clubhouse just for clinching a wild card berth, either — we’re talking championships. RINGZ.
CONTEST QUESTION: Which Bay Area team will win the next championship?
Answer in the comments and you’re entered to win a Pizza & Champagne Party catered by Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria for you and your coworkers (up to 18 people).
You can increase your chance of winning by commenting on these posts as well:
- Best of 2013 SF Giants GIFs: The Bruce Bochy Show (contest post)
- 49ers vs. Saints score predictions time (plus an invitation)*
- Debating Damon: which woman would you choose to go on Bruce’s show?
I’ll pick a winner tomorrow (Friday) at noon. Good luck!!!
* Don’t forget to join us at Northstar Cafe on Sunday to watch the 49ers battle the Saints (free Amici’s pizza at halftime)