Sunday, May 20, 2012

2012 Grades: The Fans

By Justin Taylor

Our time is coming again!

Let me start by telling the story of one crazy lunatic fan that started the season brainwashed after hearing “Things be changin’ in the Bay Area” on KNBR like 5,000 times before opening night.  He thought our young legs and improved bench were going to give us an advantage against the aging Lakers, Spurs and Mavericks during a condensed season.  Starting out two for our first three with one of those wins came against the Bulls had him really riding high and talking trash to all the Laker fans at work.  He even put together a “New Year” play list on the Ipod to get pumped for the upcoming schedule.
The list after beating the Bulls and Knicks on consecutive nights:

Jimi Hendrix: Changes
David Bowie: Changes
Sam Cooke: A change is gonna come
U2: New Year’s Day

I’m not going to lie; I was that crazy lunatic fan.  Twelve days into the season we were already riding a five game losing streak capped by a pathetic effort against the Jazz and heading into an expected blowout against Miami.  We played so bad that their Harry Potter looking small forward Gordon Hayward look like Larry Bird that night.  That was enough to make me snap and my wife (Mrs. Trapped) could see it.  We had the following exchange on the ride home:

Me: That’s it!  The only way for this team to improve is to start tanking.  This mediocre middle of the pack bullshit is just ridiculous; it’s time to bottom out!

Her: I don’t get it, why would you hope for them to lose and how does that lead to improvement?

Me: In the NBA there is no worse place to be then middle.  Every year you either go to the playoffs or the draft lottery.  If you’re at the end of the lottery the chances of making a significant improvement the following year are slim to none.  You’re pretty much doomed to repeat the process; kind of like what we’re doing right now.

Her: What is the point if you’re rooting for them to lose?  I don’t know why you even follow this crap so closely, it sounds fixed to me.

Maybe not an exact match but being on the losing end to either of these guys would bother me

The play list had some updates the next morning.

Tupac: Changes
E40: Things’ll Never Change
U2: Sunday Bloody Sunday
Sublime: 40oz. to Freedom

You get the idea…

From that point forward I was watching every game alone except when I had tickets; in that case she’s ready to go.  You should have heard her making fun of me the next night while I was going crazy watching that Heat game (“Thought you wanted them to lose?”) while standing next to my La Z Boy like I was at the arena.  That win was great but the loss to the Bobcats a few nights later; who turned out to be the worst team in the history of the league and won seven games all year; only made things worse.
I should probably get an F for allowing my frustration to get the best of me but I’m giving myself a C+ because I didn’t miss a minute and found an outlet to vent and connect other fans that were Trapped in Golden State.  I walked a fine line rooting for 4th quarter collapses until after the trade when I wasn’t the only one embracing the tank.

Mullin Night

Nobody, including Joe Lacob, was more upset on Mullin night than this guy

It’s a shame the only national attention the fan base (or the team for that matter) received this season is when Joe Lacob got booed on Chris Mullin night.  It was way overblown since it was maybe 500 people in a silent arena; not the five or ten thousand it was made out to be.  Those people paid for the right to let management know what they thought of their talk while their actions (the trade) guaranteed a losing season.  Had those fans let that moment slide they’d still be sending nasty emails, littering message boards, complaining on KNBR while finding nothing but one big deaf ear.

The media grilled the entire fan base for the few that spoke their minds but made no mention what angered them in the first place.  Bill Simmons went above and beyond to detail our misery a couple days later so at least one national guy got it.  The last two paragraphs are below because I only wish I could say it better; and because most Warrior fans were throwing up before they got through his 5,000 words of torture.

Now …
Imagine you're a Warriors fan. Imagine you just endured everything just laid out these past 35 years. Imagine you didn't trust your owners, your front office, anybody. Imagine they just traded your most entertaining player for an injury-prone center who can't play, and imagine knowing that you can't sign anyone else for two more summers because Biedrins and Jefferson have clogged your cap like a freshman dorm toilet. Imagine you have some of the best fellow fans in the league, only you rarely if ever have a chance to cheer anything. Imagine hearing that, after months and months of Chris Paul rumors and Dwight Howard rumors and "PLAYOFFS! PLAYOFFS! PLAYOFFS!" rhetoric, your team just abruptly told you, "Oh, by the way, we're going to tank the rest of this season because we don't want to be haunted by a stupid trade from four years ago, but seriously, thanks for paying for season tickets this year."
Imagine you were a paying customer and Chris Mullin Night doubled as the last bankably fun night of the season. Imagine the emotion inside the building with those Warriors legends on hand. Imagine everything cresting with Mully's humble speech. Imagine the arrogance of Lacob grabbing that microphone — somehow deciding that he should be the last speaker of the ceremony, not Chris Mullin — and imagine your resentment over the past 35 years suddenly swelling as you realized, "Here's my one chance to be heard."
I ask you … would you boo?

Season highlights and lowlights
This would have been just another frustrating season of Warriors basketball if Mark Jackson and Joe Lacob hadn’t continued heaping the bullshit on us. Many knowledgeable fans were driven from optimistic about the new ownership group to thinking we were right back in the middle of a perpetual marketing campaign.  Once the trade happened and management shut their mouths my perception of them took a drastic turn for the better.

My only concern once everyone realized we needed losses more then wins was the home crowd.  We’ve all seen it numerous times before.  Does that Miami victory happen if there aren’t 20,000 people losing their minds in the second half?  My theory is that this team tends to play down to the level of the competition and up to the passion of the fans.  The Oracle faithful will the Warriors to a couple extra victories every year and we needed this one to be different.

I think we'll be back to intimidating opponents in the playoffs real soon

As is the case most years the only ones that were present and accounted for every game were in the stands.  Only the Los Angeles Faker game April 18th gets an asterisk because there was way too much purple and gold in the.  Still, I was happy for the season ticket holders that got a little of their money back in the midst of our 5-22 close to the season.  I brought a Laker fan to that game for the first time ever because I figured one of us might as well enjoy the whole game. 

The worst part of the season was buying tickets early in the year to see the Lakers once and Spurs twice down the stretch and ended up seeing the best players on both sides sitting.  Kobe didn’t suit up and in the first Spurs game Duncan, Parker and Ginobili might as well have worn street clothes after the half since none of them played.  For their final trip those three didn’t even make the flight and Gregg Popovich decided he needed to rest his legs (he sent Mike Budenholzer to perform the coaching duties for the meaningless game) for the postseason too.

Each year when people talk about the home court in the league Oracle Arena falls somewhere in the conversation.  The team came in tied for 23rd out of 30 teams and the fans came in 11th place overall in terms of attendance.  It seems ridiculous to me that we out drew five playoff teams.  As far as losing teams go only Portland finished ahead of us.  They were 9th overall in attendance and only had five more wins then us.  Once we put a healthy team on the floor we’re going to blow past them but they might be thinking the same thing.  Even the best fans in the league need a rival to stay sharp.

As always the fans came out in staggering numbers as the local media could only wonder why.  It’s almost like we do it ourselves because we vote with our money and no matter what the organization does they get our votes.  The team knows we’re out here but they should also know that they aren’t getting our hard earned money until they make it a good investment.  I talk a big game but I’ll be there opening night so who am I to talk?

Per usual the crowd at Oracle Arena grades out much higher then the team: A+

As I'm getting ready to post this Adam Lauridsen broke the news that the team has a deal in place to make the SF move in 2017!  Rick Bucher is now reporting the same on and Marcus Thompson as well!  Who’s ready to light up a new arena?  Looks like we won't be Trapped in Golden State forever...Already getting my new site name ready!!!