The Bay Area loves a winner. How many playoff series do the Sharks need to win to feel the love?
My real name is Steve Berman (no, I'm not affiliated with Eminem, and I'm not this guy either), but it's my blog name that's helped me catch a little grief over the past few years. First, I admit it's pretty presumptuous to call yourself the sports guy for an entire region, as if your point of view and opinions are any more valid than any of the other writers around here. Second, it's strikingly similar to the moniker used by the most popular sports writer of the past decade. And third, I don't pay equal attention to all the teams around here. Due to biases formed during childhood, reader interest (traffic) and too few spare hours in the day to watch that much television (especially since my wife and I share a TV), I've focused most of my efforts on chronicling the Giants, Warriors and 49ers, with the college squads, Raiders, Athletics and Sharks getting the short end of the blog.
It doesn't help that I've never played hockey, nobody in my family cares about hockey unless the Winter Olympics are on, and the Sharks didn't exist until I was in junior high school, when all my team allegiances were already solidified. As a result, my heart isn't in it. I've gone to a couple games and had a blast. They have a ridiculous amount of really, really good players. But I, like a majority of sports fans in the 415, 707, 925 and 510 (and maybe even 408), don't live and die with the Sharks. The Sharks sell out all their games and have a strong group of loyal, knowledgeable fans, and there's no Bay Area team as consistently successful as the Sharks. However, no other franchise's success is met with more shrugs.
Now, as the Sharks enter the playoffs as one of the NHL's hottest teams, with a new goalie and the probably Rookie of the Year highlighting the fact that they have more offensive weapons than ever, they have a realistic chance of making the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time. And telling by the legions of fans the San Francisco Giants acquired over the past six months, a playoff run that goes into June could increase the number of people who claim to be Sharks fans exponentially. There's plenty of fans who in Northern California who root for their teams through thick and thin, but this place is also packed with frontrunners looking for the next cool reason to party. Would a run to the Finals even be enough? Would people need a Sharks victory parade down the streets of San Jose to stop obsessing over the Giants' corner outfield defense for 15 minutes? Maybe we'll find out. Of course, this is the NHL, so the Sharks have a 50/50 shot of losing to the Kings in the first round.
Awkward Segue Department
- Speaking of the Kings, hopefully the people who run SB Nation Los Angeles times have time to cover a third NBA team this season, since SB Nation Bay Area probably won't be doing too much Anaheim Royals coverage.
- It's a reach to say this, but I'm going to anyway -- Chris Webber hasn't exactly blessed every team he's played for. First Michigan, then the Warriors, Wizards, Sixers, Pistons, and then the Warriors again for good measure. Now he's working for the NBA as an analyst alongside the incredibly awkward Kevin McHale on the league's TV network, and the league's on its way to a crippling lockout that could last longer than any work stoppage in the past 20 years. Coincidence??? Probably.
- The Giants spent about 72 hours celebrating their World Series triumph, and Keith Olbermann isn't happy about it!
But I must say this: the Giants are rapidly becoming one of the most disliked teams in baseball – and not just because of the silly boastfulness of the ring ceremony and the rest. No World Championship team has ever been feted by fans who have been worse winners than have the 2010 Giants. I mean Red Sox Nation didn’t gloat this much like this after ’04. It’s understandable that a franchise that saw that much frustration and even peril might continue to celebrate for years to come, but there is a reason they coined the phrase "act like you’ve been there before."
Why do I have the feeling Keith got blown off by Brian Wilson at some celebrity-filled party in L.A. this past winter?
- I understand the furor over stupid post-championship celebrations where people break storefront windows and set cars on fire, but who cares if fans celebrate? When did Olbermann become Roger Goodell? You're right, Keith. Each Giants fan should have responded to their favorite team's first World Series win since moving to San Francisco like Phil Mickelson after sinking a birdie putt in the second round of the Northern Trust Open.
- The A's started their season 1-4, giving up 24 runs in those first 5 games. Oakland won 2-1 on Monday night to push their record to 5-5 this season. In their last 5 games, they've allowed 6 runs.
- Trevor Cahill, who's K/9 is 10.66 so far this season (or about double his career K/9 rate), signed a 5-year, $30.5 million extension.
- Both the Giants and A's should end their respective seasons with records far above .500. That is, unless the Giants' defense (9 errors in their first 10 games) and Oakland's offense (every A's regular is hitting under .250) improve from dreadful to barely adequate.
- Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry may miss the Warriors' last game of the season Wednesday night against Portland, a game which may signify the last chance to watch an NBA game played within 300 miles of Oakland until ... who knows?