Liotta: Bay Area sports fans sleep easier now 

I was having trouble sleeping, blaming my waking suddenly on bad dreams after the night after disappointing night of sports in the Bay Area.

Ask my wife. I’d become downright grumpy. Mention Pedro Feliz and I’d snap. Baron Davis, and I’d mutter and grumble. Until the other night, that is, when I fell off into a deep slumber filled with dreams I hadn’t had in years.

Dreams of the Giants winning, stringing together a winning streak of six or seven — even eight — in a row. Barry Bonds hitting home runs like the good ol’ days, now behind a slew of great pitching. Zito, Cain, Morris, Lowry, even Ortiz. All over The City I saw fans wearing Giants hats. Lots of ’em. In all different colors, even.

Dreams of the Warriors finally in the playoffs. No, not just making them, but giving the best team in the NBA fits, with Baron Davis actually playing team ball. And not a single fan able to remember what number Dunleavy or Murphy had worn.

Dreams of the Sharks advancing in the NHL playoffs. And like every Sharks fan’s trance, the Boys of Teal standing at the threshold of the Detroit Red Wings. Not only that, the Sharks winning the opening game of the seven-game series, silencing those irritating Hockeytown fans in their own Hockeytown building.

Dreams of the 49ers blossoming into a team at the edge of the NFL’s playoffs, coming off a free-agent frenzy that puts them smack dab in the middle of the hot teams going into the draft. I even dreamed up a couple of fans that I’d have to describe as cocky. Not just optimistic, but downright cocky. Eight picks in the first four rounds will do that.

In fact, I didn’t want to wake up.

After three years of the Giants losing, the Warriors losing, the 49ers losing and the Sharks tempting fate year after year, there have been plenty of sleepless nights to go around for all Bay Area sports fans. And don’t forget that Stanford football has been awful, and, to be honest, Cal football hasn’t been much more than a tickle at the fancy of big expectations, only to be a Holiday Bowl participant year after year.

Let’s admit it — it’s been downright tough to be a sports fan in this town the past few years. Long faces and longer losing streaks have been par for the Bay Area course. Lots of grumpy faces.

But we’re all sleeping better now, aren’t we? And if somebody pinches me, I’m going right back to grumpy.

» Which is harder to endure? Watching Russ Ortiz pitch or undergoing oral surgery? The man battles like nobody else, but I’d forgotten what it’s like to sit through one nine-pitch confrontation after another. It feels as if the games he pitches last four hours. And I’m leaning toward oral surgery.

» Doesn’t Bruce Bochy make you feel like he’s a heckuva manager? The way he handles himself, his players. It’s totally a feel thing right now — based on watching the way the Giants go about their business — but win or lose, this is a guy I hope the Giants have in the dugout for a lot years.

» Seeing Jason Richardson can one jumper after another over baffled members of the Dallas Mavericks gives me the feeling he’ll be able to do it no matter what level the Warriors reach in the playoffs. The kid who looked one-dimensional as a rookie has built himself into the consummate professional, unflinching in the face of the glare of the playoff spotlight.

» While Barry Bonds deserves all the attention his start has warranted — in the first month of the season, he has placed himself directly on course with his confrontation with Hank Aaron and his record — Matt Cain is the best show the Giants have right now.

Tim Liotta is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner.

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Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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