One of the nations largest sports markets has fallen asleep. The San Francisco 49ers used to be one of the greatest football franchises ever, yet now they haven't made the postseason in years. The Oakland Raiders, despite toggling back and forth between Oakland and LA, have had their share of championships here in the bay, but because the team is controlled by an egotistic owner, the chances of them succeeding this upcoming season is slim to none. In baseball, the Oakland A's were one of the most successful baseball teams in the past decade making the playoffs in five of the past eight seasons, yet fans have watched stars such as Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Jermaine Dye, Johnny Damon, Tim Hudson, and Dan Haren traded away. And while the San Francisco Giants had a home run champion to root for, that is now a thing of the past as only remnants of a 2002 National League pennant winning team remain. In basketball, after the Golden State Warriors finally found their first franchise player since Chris Webber, they saw Baron Davis leave this offseason for a multiyear deal in LA.
The Bay Area is looking for something to root for.
Not a single team in the Bay Area has a standout superstar that can unite a fan base. As most of us watch the Giants and A's struggle in baseball, every one of us is dreading the long, slow, football season that awaits. You know things are bad when the San Francisco 49ers are considering starting J.T. O'Sullivan as their starting quarterback. Alex Smith has been a complete bust for the 49ers and most fans in the area wonder what the team would look like had they drafted a University of California quarterback by the name of Aaron Rodgers. Most 49er faithful were told to believe that losing Terrell Owens and Jeff Garcia would be for the best, yet all they were given were consistent losing seasons.
The Oakland Raiders haven't been a decent team since Jon Gruden left for the Buccaneers. Sure, they made it to the Superbowl in 2003, but that was with most of Gruden's old players. Since then, the team has been a complete mess by relying on terrible quarterbacks like Josh McCown, Aaron Brooks, Andrew Walter and Daunte Culpepper. They are a franchise that can say they traded Randy Moss away for absolutely nothing because they believe he was finished. This might be the stupidest franchise in the area.
Looking at the Giants, they are a team with no direction. GM Brian Sabean knew that Barry Bonds would someday leave, but he didn't prepare for it. Instead of having a good youthful team on the field this season, fans are forced to endure a painful season that features a lineup that constantly puts players like Omar Vizquel, Jose Castillo, Rich Aurilia, and Randy Winn into the lineup. Their biggest free agent splash in the past few seasons, Barry Zito, has turned out to be the WORST signing in sports history. All the while, the teams farm system is one of the worst in baseball and there is no future in sight.
Speaking of future, that's all the Oakland A's seem to think about. Or should I say Fremont A's, because that's where the team plans to be in 2011 despite a variety of problems in the area. A's fans can't be loyal to their team because there is no one to be loyal to. Unless you want to be loyal to a GM. All the A's stars such as Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Jermaine Dye, Johnny Damon, Ramon Hernandez, Nick Swisher, Jose Guillen, Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, Aaron Harang, Rich Harden, Dan Haren, Joe Blanton, Ted Lilly, Jason Isringhausen, and Keith Foulke were either shipped out of town or left during free agency. It's been a long time since Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire last led the A's to a World Series and one has to question if one will ever come any time soon. After all, if all you do is look to the future, how can you win in the present?
On to the Warriors, they had a very good season last year only to not make the playoffs because of the conference they play in. Their best player, Baron Davis, has now left to become a Clipper forcing the team to make a bunch of offseason moves. While the Warriors might still be good, there is a huge amount of uncertainty in the Bay. Who is the face of the franchise now? Do they even have a player they can rely on in the clutch? What will the signing of Corey Maggette do for the team? There are too many questions and too few answers with this team.
It seems as if the Sabercats in the Arena Football League are the only thing the Bay Area has to root for......Wait....Arena Football?......We lost that championship game too. Soccer anyone?.....Oh wait....The earthquakes currently have the WORST record in all of MLS. Lacrosse Anyone?.....the San Francisco Dragons are the WORST team in all of MLL.
I guess we could all root for the San Jose Sharks........But who cares about Hockey?
Such is the life of a Bay Area sports fan.