Tuesday, November 04, 2003

On a more pessimistic note
Despite my ill-founded optimism below, I have to admit that now is not the best of times to be a Bay Area sports fan. Not counting the minor teams (which actually have done quite well, with the Earthquakes and CyberRays both bringing home a title in 2001, and the Sabercats winning in 2002), none of the area teams has won a title since the Niners won the Super Bowl in '94 (well, technically the Super Bowl itself was '95, but it was for the '94 season), and none seem particularly well-positioned to in the future. I don't need to tell anyone here how close the Giants came in 2002, but they probably can't win with their current personnel (especially given the age of a lot of the team) and they don't seem to have the money (and definitely don't seem to have the minor-league talent) to replace them, with Magowan looking to cut payroll. The A's are probably going to stay in contention for a few years, but it'll require a steady stream of shrewd dealings and good minor-league developments just to keep them treading water, given their financial constraints; it's hard to see them getting noticeably better in the near future, so essentially they'll need a healthy dose of playoff luck to get a title, and they haven't exactly been showing that in spades. The 49ers are in a similar situation: while it looks that the team they'll have is going to be at least competitive, I can't see it getting measurably better in the near future, and I can see it getting a lot worse if they fail to retain a lot of their current players. York's performance as an owner has not exactly inspired confidence so far, either. The Raiders, like the Giants, came close in 2002 (though the '03 Super Bowl was much less close than the '02 World Series), but they also were looking at a very short window of opportunity, and judging by their performance and injury record this year, it looks like it's already closed. The Warriors, though I might be optimistic about their relative performance, are not going to contend for a title any time in the foreseeable future. And finally, the Sharks, which were a trendy pick for a Stanley Cup winner a year ago despite never even reaching the conference finals, instead sunk straight to the basement, traded away all of their talent, and saw the one player who looked like he might be a franchise cornerstone (Nabokov) instead revert to mediocrity. Since they're also cursed with penny-pinching ownership, the outlook here is not so good.

Well, at least I have all these past memories to console me...of course, they only apply to the Niners anyway.

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