Spander: New year doesn't bring much hope for Bay Area sports 

This is a happy new year? The 49ers reveling because they didn’t lose more games than they won. The Raiders groping because they did lose more games than they won. The Warriors making us wish it were baseball season. The Giants and A’s making us wonder why we should wish it were baseball season.

The Sharks — at least one team does it right. But it’s the team that’s well, not on thin ice, but hardly in everybody’s mind set.

That’s not the Sharks’ fault. It’s ours. People don’t surf in Boston. We don’t play very much hockey in Northern California — or follow it very well either.

Still, the Sharks win. What a novelty. Yes, the Giants also won, except they finished downstream from the hated Dodgers, and unless they get another hitter — or unless Mark DeRosa is the next Joe Morgan — it’s going to stay that way.

The Athletics? A year ago, they were touting Jason Giambi and Matt Holliday. Now, it’s Coco Crisp. Coco Crisp? The Yankees have A-Rod, and the A’s respond with Coco Crisp. Roy Hobbs wasn’t available?

A new decade, the same problems. Six pro franchises in the Bay Area. Two — the Sharkies and Los Gigantes — had winning records. The Niners were at .500. The other three, all residents of the Oakland Coliseum complex, were big time losers.

For the A’s, it’s money or lack thereof, at least that’s what they say. All they need is that new ballpark down in whatever town is currently in vogue and Oakland (San Jose?) management will have the wherewithal to retain the talent it uncovers.

The Warriors go along kicking the same can they’ve been pulverizing for what — a hundred years? They trade Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy for Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington. Then they trade Harrington and Jackson. They get a boost from Baron Davis, then they chase him to the Los Angeles Clippers. Half the team is injured. The other half can’t make free throws. When you have a worse record than the Clips, it’s time to start over.

What’s left to say about the Raiders? Is Al Davis going to play musical chairs with another coach? Tom Cable wasn’t all that bad. But the man who would be quarterback was all that bad. Is it hopeless? Hapless? JaMarcus-less? It’s Blackout City. No local TV, and no reason to believe there’s a reason to take pride in that poise.

Davis has preached the gospel that change happens quickly in the NFL, citing teams such as the Arizona Cardinals and Cincinnati Bengals who went from bottom crawlers into contenders. Stop preaching, start doing. What’s changed with the Raiders? Definitely not the man at the top.

We’ve had our moments. They’ve had theirs. The Raiders were in a Super Bowl before they were in a funk. The Giants got to a World Series, the Sharks to the third round, the A’s and the Warriors to the second round. And the Niners once were the best team in football.

All in the past.

Mike Singletary, the Niners coach said, “We’re not far away.” They are far away. So are we.

You could say wait until next year, except next year is here and it’s not very pretty. Help!

Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on and E-mail him at

About The Author

Art Spander

Art Spander

Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on and Email him at
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