So, let’s dive in with a Thanksgiving-themed “What I’m Thankful For in Sports” column.
I like cheese.
I am thankful for Joe Lacob’s Trumpian brashness.
When Lacob bought the Warriors in 2010, he promised to hang another NBA championship banner. The laugh track from the Bay Area — and the NBA world at large — was louder than anything on Paulie Mac’s sound board. Not five years later, he hung a banner. Moreover, he’s made the Warriors into the Rolling Stones in their prime. Now, every Warriors game is like an NFL Sunday. When I started at KNBR in 2004, every Warriors game was like a D-League game. Thank you, Joe Lacob. May our president-elect cash in on his braggadocio as surely and swiftly. (I’d start by naming Jerry West, Bob Myers and Steve Kerr to his cabinet.)
I am thankful for the comedy of the “Warriors Blew a 3-1 Lead” signs, memes and posts.
When it comes to LeBron and the Cavaliers stealing an NBA title from the 73-win Warriors, only the Giants’ 2002 World Series loss compares in terms of Bay-Area pain. We were all having trouble wondering how we would process the searing sports agony. Thankfully, America has picked up the slack. The relentless preponderance of “Warriors Blew a 3-1 Lead” signs at College GameDay, the tweets achieving mathematical tricks to get to the 3-1 lead punch line, all have actually managed to dull the pain. It’s become quite clever. And it’s achieved the comedic “boomerang” effect — it was funny, then not funny, then so relentless it became funny again. I’m a big believer in gallows humor.
I am thankful for the rise of the Raiders.
Not only because long-suffering Raiders fans like Overnight Dave, Raider Vito and your garden variety neighbor Raiders fan who dresses as either an ape or Darth Vader — or both — deserve happiness. Yes, I’m happy for all of those nice people who longed for some NFL smiles. But mostly, I’m happy that as the holidays approach, the Bay Area has a viable option on NFL Sundays that takes our attention away from the relentless drudgery and boredom of the wholly irrelevant 49ers.
I am thankful for the 49ers for one reason.
For those of us in our late 40s and upward, the 49ers’ nine-game losing streak and threat to win maybe two games all year has an unintended positive side effect: it’s bringing back our youth. Yes, there was a time, sports fans, when the 49ers did this before. It was 1978. They went 2-14. They lost nine in a row. Candlestick Park had AstroTurf. Hardly anybody showed up. And I was 11 years old, and life was innocent and fun and I didn’t owe anybody money and I could eat whatever I wanted and I thought Christmas and my birthday were the two greatest days in the world. Those were good days, amigos. The 2016 49ers are reminding me of those days. So, thank you, 49ers. Now, can anyone hire the next Bill Walsh to complete that childhood nostalgia?
And finally, I am thankful for Madison Bumgarner.
Because he hits home runs. And he throws October shutouts. And he has three World Series rings. And he’s 27-years old. And because I imagine he is spending Thanksgiving clearing brush in North Carolina, eating turkey in a rustic kitchen and then throwing cutters to his high school catcher in a nearby barn.
Looking forward to the spring, dude.