Monday I, along with many other lost, delusional human beings, will be watching the NBA's Golden State Warriors play the Phoenix Suns. It will be particularly difficult not to reach for an additional beer or an additional embrace from whoever happens to be seated next to me.
For, according to the Associated Press, the team has finally announced that it wishes to be sold. This is terribly important for San Francisco Bay Area sports, for the tech industry, and for every Warriors-committed resident of this world whose ears have become assaulted daily by the mocking laughter of their friends, lovers, children, and insurance brokers.
You see, for some time now, there have been rumors that Oracle's Larry Ellison intends to buy the Warriors. He himself has declared that heof this wantonly misdirected organization.
Now he will have to deal with Galatioto Sports Partners, who have been hired to direct the sale of the team. One suspects Ellison might have to hit the boards with some aggression if he truly wants to buy this franchise. There are rumored to be several bidding groups and speculation is that the team might cost more than $400 million. In other words, one yacht hull.
All of these groups are said to want to move the team from the Oracle Arena-- an old, but lovable place that sits across the parking lot from the Oakland Coliseum in the East Bay--to a beautiful new arena in San Francisco. The San Francisco Giants, which built the most extraordinary ball park in baseball on the San Francisco Bay, might be part of one of the bidding groups.
What the winning bidder would be buying is fan loyalty that goes beyond reason, beyond insanity, and resides somewhere to the west of even the most helpful psychotropic drugs.
Bay Area sports have struggled to gain respect and an image of success for more years than fans would care to count. The NFL's Raiders are a soap opera so extreme that many fans won't even watch, perhaps because they find the storyline far too unbelievable.
The 49ers seem to be about to part with their GM in strange circumstances. They are now run by a 27-year-old, who happens to be the son of the owner and claims his guiding principle is "there are no shortcuts to success." This may well be true as the Niners last went to the Super Bowl in 1995. The Oakland A's, scene of the supposed mathematical genius of "Moneyball," haven't even won the AL West since 2006.
Even the NHL's San Jose Sharks, who regularly saunter into the playoffs, manage to lose there to teams whose bodies they skate over in the regular season. We do have the San Francisco Giants and that beautiful ball park. But it's not as if success has been forthcoming since Barry Bonds was so shamefully harassed. The Giants last won their division in 2003.
Ellison at least has always been associated with winning. This year, he has already shown his aggressive tendencies in wresting the America's Cup from the very finest yachtsmen of Switzerland. The Warriors, however, are another challenge altogether.
The saddest thing for any Warriors fan is that change cannot come before next week, before tonight's game, before depression sets in. Still, hope is something we live with when all the facts toy with our minds and turn our innards into a junkyard.
If Oracle's CEO can bring that success--and rumors say he wants to involve Jerry West, the very logo of the NBA, to be part of his team--then he may earn the respect and, dare one mention, love that no number of prissy little yacht races can ever deliver.