Every once in awhile the stars align just right, and one geographic location seems to have everything go right at the same time. Boston fans know what I’m talking about, with the Bruins (2011), Patriots (2014) and Red Sox (2013) all winning titles in the last decade and the Celtics getting to the finals in 2008. The Patriots and Red Sox even managed to pull off the rare dual championship sports team season in 2004.
That is Boston and that was then. The Bay Area appears to be having our time now and it is fun. Let’s run through the sports.
I’ll be the first to tell you I don’t know much about hockey. I know there’s a puck, 5 guys on the ice at a time and they like to fight. I have always enjoyed the idea that substitutions just occur during the game instead of pausing the game. NBA game lengths could be cut in half with the same rules.
Another thing I know about hockey is the Sharks have always been good, but never good enough. A joke I’ve always been able to make at the expense of hockey fans has been, “What’s the point of watching when they always, always, ALWAYS choke?” It looks like that joke might finally be killed this season. A year after missing the playoffs completely, San Jose is in the Stanley Cup against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Although they are currently down 1-0, fans in the Bay have hope. And hey, it’s not like we haven’t just seen another team come from behind in an important series…
…And that team we all know is the Golden State Warriors. A year after winning their first title since 1975, the Warriors have pretty much been favorites all year. Or they were, until Steph Curry got injured against the Houston Rockets in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. The rest of the “Strength In Numbers” team was able to breeze through Houston and Portland in Curry’s partial absence, largely in part to Klay Thompson being the best player in the entire playoffs. Oklahoma City proved to be a problem however, with the length of guys like Steven Adams and Kevin Durant, and the ferocity that Russell Westbrook plays with, and OKC took a 3-1 series lead. Almost miraculously the Warriors were able to come back from that deficit and sent Durantula and Westbrook packing on Memorial Day, and are now preparing to host Lebron and the Cavs as the King tries to “win one for the land.” The NBA Finals tip off tomorrow night at 6 in Oakland. Drew Kerr has a preview here.
Now we’re to our first two team sport in the Bay. Last week I talked about how things are still bad for Oakland. That does not seem to be true anymore. Since that article, the A’s have lost one game and more good news was received today as it appears Sonny Gray should be able to start sometime next week on a minor league rehab assignment. Both Alvarez pitchers have been cleared to begin playing catch, and it does not look like Reddick will need surgery on his thumb so he may be able to come back this month. On top of this, Oakland only faces two teams in June currently above .500. One being the first place Texas Rangers which they can make up some ground on, and other being the cross bay rival San Francisco Giants, who the A’s have always fared well against during the regular season. If the A’s want to have a shot at playing into October, June is when they need to make their move.
The Giants fans will be the first to tell you that June is a hard month to play great ball in. The Giants are notorious for their “June swoon”. Bad news for the Giants, is as easy as Oakland’s June should be, the Giants’ schedule will be about that hard. As Oakland only faces 2 opponents above .500, after finishing their current series against the Braves, San Francisco will only face 3 teams under .500 (one being the A’s). The Phillies also sit right at .500 currently. Luckily San Francisco has built up a little bit of a cushion with their MLB best record of 20-8 in May, behind amazing pitching from Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Madison Bumgarner. Multiple complete games allowed the spotty bullpen some much needed rest and even Jake Peavy and Matt Cain were able to find a groove. If Cain can continue that when he gets back from injury and Peavy continues to find his mid season form, the Giants may be able to get through their grueling schedule in June and keep the talk of “even year magic” alive.
It’s the first day of June so there’s not much news for football. However, fans of the Raiders have been promised at least one more season with their team in the Bay and the 49ers haven’t had any players retire or get arrested this week so that’s progress. And let’s face it, things can pretty much only go up from where they’ve been since the 49ers uprooted for Santa Clara. The Raiders will look to build on a promising season behind the first quarterback they can rely on since Rich Gannon, and that’s a positive thing.
Those of us that have been around since before the turn of the century know that these teams winning won’t last forever, but for now we’ll take what we can get.
The sun is shining, summer is here, at least 2 championships will be played for in the Bay this year. Let’s sit back and enjoy the best of the Bay.