I heard F.P. Santangelo say that a lot of people probably don’t want anything for Christmas this year because the Giants won the World Series (I heard him on the radio, I wasn’t stalking him in Half Moon Bay … wait, that’s kind of stalkerish that I know where he lives … never mind).
And there’s only one thing to say about that statement: it’s absolutely ridiculous.
Maybe some of us would like some World Series-related swag, but no presents? No, I’ll still take some presents, and we still have things we’re wishing would happen in the sports world.
What’s so wrong with being a greedy sports fan? The entire enterprise is based on greed — greedy athletes, greedy owners, greedy bowl selection committees, greedy colleges, greedy TV networks, greedy tattoo parlors (Seriously, I’m surprised it took this long for collegiate athletes to get in trouble for tattoo-related stuff. These guys aren’t even supposed to work, let alone get gifts, and they can afford full sleeves on each arm? Please.); the list is infinitely long. So while we should all be happy with the Giants’ world championship, there’s still plenty of things we’re wishing for this Christmas. Ten, to be exact.
1. We wish the 49ers would hire a real head coach.
He doesn’t have to be Jon Gruden or Bill Cowher. But he must have some head coaching experience somewhere (even high school would suffice), and he must be able to notice what’s going on in the game without watching slow motion replays in his office first. And oh yeah, it would be nice if he was able to choose a QB who could produce and possibly even make that QB better. I know that’s asking a lot, but it’s Christmas!
2. We wish Jim Harbaugh would stay at Stanford.
Stanford has a gem of a stadium that isn’t too big, next to one of my favorite areas to tailgate — ever. Who doesn’t like the Grove? It’s like you’re car camping next to El Camino Real! Fans have caught a lot of flack for not filling up Stanford Stadium, but to be fair most people didn’t expect Stanford to be relevant this soon, let alone totally awesome. If Harbaugh sticks around a while, people will plan around Stanford games and the program will be established as one of the best in the country. If he leaves that’s all going to go back to square one, which would be pretty sad — unless the team Harbaugh went to was the Niners, in which case everyone would get over his departure pretty quickly (sorry, Stanford).
3. We wish the Warriors would decide on Monta Ellis or Stephen Curry.
Face it, it’s not working, it didn’t work before and it won’t work in the future. Both guys have trade value (especially Curry); the Warriors need to pick one of these guys and strengthen themselves in another area besides “defense-phobic combo guard.”
4. We wish Pablo Sandoval would get over whatever bothered him last year.
He got a divorce, he gained a ton of weight, and it was just hard to watch. The GIDP’s, the lack of range at third, and the throws that sailed into the stands all added up to a really disappointing year for the Panda, and it’s tough to say what the root cause of his suckage was. Does he have a problem with food, or was he just upset about his personal troubles? Did his personal troubles cause him to eat more? We don’t need the guy to hit .330 with 25 HR, we’re just looking for him to split the difference between his production in 2009 and 2010.
5. We wish the Oakland A’s would get a ballpark in downtown Oakland.
Part of this is selfish, since BASG is rooted in the heart of San Francisco and if the A’s moved to San Jose I’d probably go to a game every other year. The other part of this is the love I have for the poor souls in Oakland, who live in a seriously underrated town (my buddies used to live there for a few years near Lake Merritt, and I always had a blast there … and never felt unsafe). A ballpark near Jack London Square would revitalize “The Town,” and mark permanent roots for a team that has been a consistent winner in Oakland for most of its 40+ years on the east side of the Bay.
6. We wish the Raiders and the 49ers could share a stadium.
C’mon, this makes too much sense to write an entire paragraph. Just get it done.
7. We wish the A’s and the Warriors could stay healthy for once.
Just because we’re tired of hearing the excuses. Each team either needs to stop signing fragile players or get a real training staff. One year of bad luck injury-wise is one thing. Both squads getting decimated year after year is a pattern.
8. We wish Tiger Woods would play in the AT&T Pro-Am again.
Hey Tiger, right about now is the time to show you’re not too big to deal with a round that takes a little longer and fans who don’t follow all the etiquette rules (Jesus Christ! Damnit! No pictures!!!). Your image needs a major upgrade; what better idea could there be than to have you partner up with Bill Murray this April and play the tournament you used to play years ago (I saw Tiger hit a drive 10 feet in front of me at the AT&T when I was in college, and it was probably the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen). Not playing this event makes you look like a detached and petty elitist. And when you don’t play it means CBS gives us more Ray Romano and George Lopez, and that is hardly a good thing.
9. We wish the Sharks could get to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Sharks have been teasing the casual fans for years, and absolutely torturing their real fans. The NHL playoffs are nice, but the fact that they’ve never made the Finals is pretty lame considering that in the NHL playoffs it barely matters what seed you are or if you even have home ice. Even if they lost in the Finals, that would probably be enough to finally make it into the conversation with the rest of the region’s pro teams, at least occasionally. Rookie Logan Couture is already a star, as he’s tied for fourth in the entire league in goalscoring (leading the Sharks in goals by 4 over Dany Heatley). Their problem? A deep Western Conference where the Sharks (currently 5th) are only 2 points ahead of the team in 9th.
10. We wish the teams around here could sell beer in the stands.
Let’s finish this wishlist off with a little holiday cheer, eh? (Sorry, all that talk about hockey makes me feel rather Canadian.) Pretty much everywhere else in the United States, stadiums and arenas have these things called “beer vendors.” They allow you to purchase beer from your seat, so not only do you not miss two innings or half of a quarter/period waiting in line, you also don’t have to make the awful walk through a crowded concourse back to your seat. You know, where you sip some beer off the top to keep it from spilling all over your hand, only to have some douche in a Ed Hardy shirt or five drunk girls taking photos of themselves (that they’ll post on Facebook 0.8 seconds later) run into you. And when that happens, the beer never spills on them. No, you instinctively pull the beer back toward yourself and spill it all over your shoe and the bottom of your jeans. Terrible. California needs to step their beer game up, especially since the no-roving-beer-vendors policy doesn’t seem to lead to a decrease in fighting or public drunkenness.