The Nightmare By The Bay (Part Two)

By Gary Norris Gray
Updated: November 5, 2008

Bay Area Teams CALIFORNIA — Four of the Bay Area’s six professional teams have really struggled over the past three years. Each of them have made several coaching changes.

Each of them have made massive personnel changes, but it seems like they are in the proverbial “Black Hole” (pun intended).

Today, we take a look at the A’s, Warriors, and Sharks.


Many believe Oakland GM Billy Beane’s era could be at an end. The Athletics won the AL West in 2006 and then fell into the bottom of MacAfee Field the last two years.

The A’s cannot keep their budding superstars after playing in Oakland three years. So the potential for the A’s to win has dropped dramatically. The joke now in the Bay Area is can you name the Oakland A’s starting lineup and trust me it’s very hard to do.

Lets put it plain and simple — the Oakland A’s are too cheap, A’s veterans are all over the league, seven former A’s played in this years ALDS. Many former A’s are All Stars in different uniforms.

The A’s cannot compete with the big market teams. Other teams in the league are passing the slumping Oakland baseball team.

The question remains can this team keep catcher Kurt Suzuki, outfielders Travis Buck and Jack Cust, pitcher Justin Duchscherer, and infielder Bobby Crosby.

These are the current stars of the green and gold. Will they be wearing a different color jersey in two or three years with the Billy Beane method of running a baseball franchise?

“Money Ball”, may have seen its day. In addition to this mess the Oakland organization plans to move the club 30 miles south of MacAfee Field to Fremont, California.


This is the most frustrating team in the Bay Area. They have already started like they ended last season losing two close games last week against New Orleans and Toronto.

Warrior fans should expect this all year long. Get use to it Bay Area. They are the basketball version of the “Cardiac Cards” of 1976 who won six games in the last quarter.

Last Saturday, they received their first victory of 2008 beating up my home state team the New Jersey Nets. The Warriors have been in the playoffs the last two years, but hasn’t progressed through the first round, and only being the eighth seed each time.

Before that, the team had a 12-year playoff drought.

Owner Chris Cohan, General Manager Chris Mullin, and Head Coach Don Nelson are now not on the same page. All three men are asking the question will rookie guards DeMarcus Nelson and Anthony Morrow make the Bay Area forget Baron Davis?

Then you add the dissention of Al Harrington wanting to leave GoldenState.

The Warrior organization recently signed Nelson to a contract extension. There are many questions why this coach returned to the Bay Area. Is he trying to catch Lenny Wilkins who has 1,322 victories to Nelson’s 1,280 victories?

He could bypass Lenny with one 40+ win season at GoldenState.

The next question is how many championships banners hang from the Oracle Arena ceiling? The answer is one from 1975. Nelson believes the Warriors do not need a big man in the center position.

Many of his teams are run and gun, trying to outscore teams. Many have stated and believe that defense wins championships and the Warriors still don’t know how to do defend the basket.

Look at the recent history of the Golden State Warriors.

The Warriors have so much potential but it never seems to come to certainty.

Nelson traded all of the greatest Warrior trios of all times Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, and Chris Mullin also known as Run T-M-C named after the famous rap group, Run DMC.

Who knows what would have happen if they had stayed in Oakland.

The 1994 Chris Webber trade to the Washington Bullets broke the Warriors back. GoldenState has never been the same. This was the power forward the Warriors wanted and needed. Webber and Nelson butted heads so many times that year that somebody had to leave Oakland.

Now mind you the fans do not go to a basketball game to see the coach, the fans go to the game to see the players win. The Warriors finally received the message with empty seats.

In 1997, the Warriors continued the free fall with the fighting episode with Latrell Sprewell choking coach P.J. Carlesimo in the middle of the season. Sprewell was suspended the rest of the season so the Warriors ended up in last place again.

The Warriors have had a history of trading good players and receiving mediocre players in return. Earlier this decade they traded three more superstars from 1998 to 2003 including Jason Richardson, Antawn Jamison, and Gilbert Arenas (Agent Zero) for almost nothing.

The Warriors free fall continued.

Last year the Warriors seem to have turned the corner only to be pulled back with injuries and trades. Nelson has been known to blow up teams in the middle of the season did it again with this classic example.

He traded Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy Jr., Ike Diogu, and Keith McLeod for Al Harrington, Stephan Jackson, Sarunas Jasikevicius, and Josh Powell. Now Harrington wants to leave because he is not getting enough playing time.

The Warrior circus continues.

Nelson has done this many times before coaching the Milwaukee Bucks, Dallas Mavericks, and his first coaching stint at GoldenState.

Two years ago, they defeated the No. 1 seeded Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference First Round. This was the biggest playoff upset in the recent era of NBA basketball.

The Warriors lost in the next round against the Utah Jazz, but once again Bay Area fans were lead by false hopes. This year started on the wrong foot when star guard Baron Davis signed with the Los Angeles Clippers.

During the off-season, Monta Ellis fell off of his moped at home injuring his leg. He will be out 8-10 more weeks. So the question remains are the Golden State Warriors snake bitten?

They are the only team in the league that is not named after a city or a state. GoldenState is the nickname of the state of California. So that might be the reason why the Warriors cannot win, they don’t have a real name.

But those uniforms they wore in San Francisco were the best ever, the picture of the Golden GateBridge on the front of their jerseys and the famous trolley cars on the back, with their white sneakers. At that time they were the only team that wore white sneakers home and away now teams wear different colored shoes.


This franchise was born in the fall of 1998 in the last National Hockey League expansion. The Sharks make the other five Bay Area franchises look pitiful. This team is truly committed to excellence. This team makes every effort to win.

This team is currently in first place of the Pacific Division.

San Jose is unbeaten at the Shark Tank this year. It is a team’s responsibity to make the other teams scared to come into their house. The Sharks are building on this representation.

It’s early but if the first 13 games are any indication of the productivity of this team, it will be a fun 2008-09 at the Shark Tank. In their last game, the Sharks beat Minnesota 3-1 to raise their record to 11-2-0.

Previously, they defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 28, 2-1 in a great defensive hockey game. Sid “The Kid” Crosby, one of the new young stars of the NHL, did not score a goal or get an assist.

In fact, one had to search for him on the ice because San Jose put a blanket on him.

Winger Mike Grier, one the few Black players in the league scored the winning goal in the early part of the third period for the victory. Two days later, they beat up the Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings 4-2.

The Sharks just outplayed Detroit. Players were finishing their checks, putting Red Wings into the boards, getting back on defense, and helping their goalie, Evgeni Nabokov. San Jose never lost their prospective who they were playing and stayed on the skates.

On Sunday, the Sharks shut down the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 in Denver. The Sharks stifled the Colorado productive power play, allowing only one goal. This seems like a complete team.

This franchise trades to fill their team needs. For example, acquiring players like Big Joe Thornton, Bill Guerin, and Craig Rivet. Signing free agents, Jeremy Roenick, Lukas Kaspar, and Joe Pavelski for veteran leadership, making San Jose a better hockey club.

The Sharks have one of the best goal tenders in the NHL in Nabokov, who has played for San Jose since 1999. In many other sports defense is the key to winning and Nabokov makes it easy for San Jose.

The Sharks are a classic example of a winning organization from top to bottom. Players know when they come to San Jose they are going to win. Last year they lost in the Western Conference semi finals to their arch rival the Dallas Stars.

The Sharks administration wanted more; they wanted to go to the Stanley Cup Finals so they fired their coach. Some thought it was a knee jerk reaction but the management wanted more and they felt that they had received the most from head coach Ron Wilson.

Wilson had taken them from point A (a very good team) to point B (to a very good playoff team) now they needed a coach to take them to point C (Stanley Cup Champion).

New head coach Todd McLellan changed the Sharks coaching staff. Just like the other bay area teams but this change was not a panic move, it was a move of confidence something the other Bay Area teams lack.

This great start should propel the Sharks to the Pacific Division and via for the Western Conference title against the Detroit Red Wings, Dallas Stars or Anaheim Ducks.

This could be the only bright spot for the Bay Area professional sports teams for some time.