As I was watching the Los Angeles Lakers celebrate another title this year, I wondered when the last time a Northern California team had won a prestigious title. I remembered the last title brought to Northern California was about a month ago when the San Jose Sabercats of the Arena Football League won the Arena Bowl. But who can honestly say they watch the Sabercats of the Arena Football League? Out of all the recognizable nor-cal teams – Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants – none have proven themselves to be serious contenders. Yes, some may make the argument about the Sacramento Kings – the team that took the Los Angeles Lakers to a seventh and deciding game in this past year’s Western Conference Finals. But if I remember correctly, the Kings lost that series in a shameful fashion. The series between the Kings and Lakers might have been close, but the excuses the Kings’ players and fans made are the shameful part. The Kings and their fans blamed the referees for their loss. Maybe the Kings should look at their star player Chris Webber, who shied away from the big shots and crumbled under the pressure. What separates the Lakers from the Kings is that the Lakers don’t constantly cry over bad calls made by the referees. The Lakers also have players that don’t buckle under the pressure of a big game. The Kings choke in the big games because they are scared. These are all the facts that only King fans would attempt to dispute and I can understand that. I would back up my team too, even though what I might have heard was the truth. Another nor-cal basketball team, the Golden State Warriors – wait one minute, who? The Golden State Warriors: When was the last time this team endured some sort of success? It must have been when they topped a fifteen win season with a twenty win season. That’s right, now I know who this team is. Does this team even belong in the National Basketball Association? Simple fact, this team can’t even make the playoffs to choke, but I guess they choke enough in the regular season. Now, two football teams – the Oakland Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers – have had some success, although it was during the years I was a little kid playing on the monkey bars. The Oakland Raiders are a replica of the Sacramento Kings. The Raiders only seem to complain about the referees and think they’ll win that way. I don’t think it works that way and that was evident when they played the New England Patriots in last year’s divisional playoffs.
After Patriot’s quarterback Tom Brady apparently fumbled the ball, the referees claimed that Brady’s arm was in a forward motion, which results in an incomplete pass. That was a well enough explanation that the Raiders were furious over. But instead of forgetting about the call, the Raiders continued to argue over it and in the end lost the game. The Raiders have been projected to be in the Super Bowl for the past few years now, and they continue to choke in the playoffs. The players cannot take the blame upon themselves, so they have to blame the referees every chance they get. This is why the Raiders will continue to choke, until they learn to put the blame on somebody other than the ones in the black and white striped uniform. The San Francisco 49ers have seen years of success, but have faltered in the past few years. This team needs to quit crying over the little things. The coaching staff seems to want all the attention on themselves when the team wins, but when the team loses, the attention has to be shifted towards the players. How about the attention given to both sides, win or loss? When this team learns to coexist with each other, maybe then they will start winning in the playoffs. But until then, they will continue to choke in the playoffs. The two nor-cal professional baseball teams – the Oakland A’s and the San Francisco Giants – have probably choked the most in recent years.
The A’s seem to fear the big name teams every year. Last year, the A’s seemingly had the defending champs, the New York Yankees, beat as they held a two game to none lead. But then the A’s got scared and lost the next three games to lose the series. If that isn’t choking, then I don’t know what is. Maybe this year will be different, but if the fear of big name teams still lingers, I see no World Series Championship for the A’s.
Then there are the Giants, a team that seems to win during the regular season, but falter in the postseason. This team just can’t seem to score a run in a postseason game. It may be because their star player, Barry Bonds chokes in every playoff game the team plays in. Bonds, who seems to hit everything out of the ballpark in the regular season, can’t even make contact during the postseason. This team is capable of winning, only if their star players step to the plate and not shy away. So, to all the fans of these nor-cal teams, I’m not saying these teams cannot win. I am saying they have obstacles ahead of them that need to be taken care of in order for them to win. I would easily pick one of these teams to win a title before I would pick the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox to win one.