The last time I did one of these was back in 2009. The last paragraph looked like this:
That’s the thing with stuff you’re most thankful for: it’s rarely permanent. Neither is sports ineptitude. Here’s to being thankful for a winner a year from now.
Here’s a violin, Bay Area Emo Guy. What a baby. Luckily, things have turned around. Like, night and day … or Singletary and Harbaugh … or Smart and Jackson … or Geren and Melvin. Less than a year after that post, the San Francisco Giants won their first World Series since moving out west. All the other pro teams started winning more games than they lost at some point between then and now (or kept winning, in the case of the Sharks) … except the Oakland Raiders. At least the Raiders have cool uniforms and actually seem to pay attention to the salary cap these days.
On to what I’m thankful for, four years later:
1. Our local announcers
The amount of talented people calling games around here is unreal. Jon Miller, Duane Kuiper, Dave Flemming, Mike Krukow, Ken Korach, Randy Hahn, Drew Remenda, Dan Rusanowsky, Greg Papa, Tim Roye, Tom Tolbert and Jim Barnett all enhance the games we watch and listen to with information and humor you don’t get in other regions — at least not to the same degree.
He made the list back in 2009 for, “making the big game matter for the first time since Kurt Cobain was alive.” The game between Cal and Stanford is once again small, but the 49ers have gone 34-13-1 (including the playoffs) since Harbaugh took over a team reeling from an embarrassing eight-year stretch. Also …
Harbaugh: I think it’s just a lot of gobble, gobble, turkey, you know?
Q: What is gobble, gobble turkey?
Harbaugh: Just gobble, gobble, gobble turkey from jive turkey gobblers. I think that paints a pretty good picture.
It sure does.
3. Donte Whitner
Selfishly speaking, Whitner is the best. Yesterday Ruthless got a chance to see Whitner in his off-field element (in front of his locker, holding court), and the 49ers strong safety didn’t disappoint with some amazing quotes about Ahmad Brooks’ hit on Drew Brees. No one on the team is more fun to chat with, and when you throw in the “Hitner” silliness and the fact that he’s quietly having an outstanding year … well, it’s hard to imagine life without him. Not everyone will agree with me on this if we’re talking strictly football and salary cap, but I hope the 49ers re-sign Whitner after the season.
4. Mark Davis’ hair
In a world full of people trying to get attention based on their appearance, Davis succeeds without trying. The Raiders haven’t won a Super Bowl in 30 years, but at least they have their Ginger Bowl.
5. Oakland A’s fans
For always keeping me humble and reminding me of where this site is lacking. Hopefully in future years I’ll be able to write about how I’m thankful for the A’s PR staff finally allowing me or another BASG writer to cover their games.
6. Stephen Curry
It’s pretty rare to be able to watch a person who’s probably the best ever at a particular skill, especially one as vital as shooting is to the game of basketball. We haven’t seen a game from Curry yet this season like his 54-6-7 in New York, the 47-6-9 in Los Angeles or the 44-4-11 in Game 1 in San Antonio he put up in 58 minutes, but we will soon enough.
A young first baseman who plays outstanding defense and puts up solid offensive numbers probably shouldn’t be the most polarizing figure in the region (although you could make an argument lately for Colin Kaepernick). But for whatever reason, Belt drives more conversation than anyone and might be the best symbol of the simmering dislike/distrust between those who’ve embraced sabermetrics and others who don’t want math intruding on their daily sports-viewing. If Belt can play nearly as well in the first half in 2014 as he did in the second halves of the 2012 and 2013 seasons, the Belt-bashing will probably stop, though. I’m sure everyone will find someone to complain about (Pablo Sandoval, step on up!).
(Sticking with the theme, Carmen got in the spirit yesterday with “Five Giants GIFs that make me thankful to be a Giants fan.”)
8. Our friends’ Sharks tickets
They’re actually property of the company our friend works for, but once in each of the last two seasons they’ve allowed us to sit with them in the second row. To espouse the virtues of live hockey is about as clichéd as it gets, but there’s a reason why many clichés exist. Even pregame warmups grab your attention from the second row. And while it’s a little difficult to see what’s going on over at the other end of the ice at times (that’s what the videoboard is for), the glass-crashing, pucks-flying-just-over-your-head experience is so, so worth it. Intermissions are also great, allowing one enough time to hit the restroom and grab more refreshments, but not so much time that boredom sets in. Then, in a little over two hours, it’s over. If we lived in the South Bay I’d probably consider buying season tickets, so for the benefit of my checking account it’s probably better that we live in San Francisco.
It’s dingy, the concourses and aisles are nearly impossible to navigate, and the crowd has taken a turn for the gangster, but I’ll miss the old girl. If Levi’s Stadium turns out to be awesome I probably won’t miss it nearly as much, but we’ll always have the memories of losing the feeling in our fingers while scarfing down a malt at a Giants game, feeling the building shake after a 49ers touchdown, and all those tailgates.
10. All of you
Yeah, here’s where it’s going to get sappy. My apologies in advance.
Back in 2007 and 2008 I used to write posts on BART rides back and forth from Walnut Creek. In 2009 much of the content was created in my cubicle when I was supposed to be writing ad copy trumpeting the joys and money-making possibilities that are sure to arise after spending tens of thousands to attend college online. Now I’m doing this BASG thing full-time, something I’m thankful for every single day. But there’s no way I could do it without my wife, who set up this site back in December of 2007 (the few who read the site back then will recall the Simpsons characters we used without permission to represent the writers) and continues to contribute in countless ways to this day (including GIFs of 49ers pass rushers kicking quarterbacks in the crotch).
I also couldn’t do it without an amazing group of writers, including Kyle McLorg, Carmen Kiew, Wendy Thurm, James Arcellana, Francis Mayer, Scott Willis, Dray Miller, the 100% anonymous LOL KNBR Callers, Scott Warfe, Nicole Whatley, Kyle Madson and Joey McMurry. A huge thanks as well to Amici’s for being the best partner an independent sports website could possibly have. And finally, thanks to all the readers. This month saw the highest traffic in site history, and we definitely couldn’t do it without you. There’s so much competition out there from sites and networks much bigger than ours, and I can’t say how much I’m both humbled by and appreciative of your continued support.
So on that note, a Happy Thanksgiving to all! May your dinners be delicious, and here’s to the local squads continuing to win at a higher clip than they did back in ’09. And feel free to let us know what you’re thankful for in the comments; I’m sure your lists will look quite different than my set of 10.