Today the Golden State Warriors officially announced that they have every intention of becoming the San Francisco Warriors for 2017-18 season; everything is official but the name, which will come right before the moving trucks show up. The polarizing cheers and jeers started immediately and I don’t see them stopping anytime soon. Fans in the East Bay are pissed (and in some cases devastated) while supporters in the city, the North Bay and on the Peninsula are toasting (champagne or white wine I’d imagine) the move. Who would’ve thought that the extra 15 minutes of travel time and a new/old logo would make such a huge impact? Some say they are taking the world away, some say they are just bringing it back and I say they’re just moving it 15 miles down the road and making it better. The fact is that this is the Bay Area's team not Oakland's team. The Raiders and A's are Oakland teams, the Giants and Niners are San Francisco teams but the thing that is so great about the Warriors is that anyone in the Bay can love them, there are no boundaries to being a Warriors fan.
I’ll be in the arena pumped up and rocking my “City” jersey from day one but will the rest of the faithful be there ready to intimidate opponents (circa 1992 or 2007) with me? The people crying out against the move tell me I’ll be sitting with a bunch of Facebooking, wine sipping, cheese nibbling yuppies while the ones in favor tell me those are the ones who buy most of the season tickets already. I figure on most days I’ll be sitting with the same hardcore fanatics I’ve spent most of my life with. Some days when I’m lucky enough to get great seats I’ll be sitting with tourists, bankers and venture capitalists but that happens at Oracle Arena too. The divide starts clearing up after eight to ten rows in Oakland but at Lacober Arena; my name for the place until someone comes up with a better one for me; I’m thinking that divide won’t happen until you get to the way upper half of the lower bowl. So far the debate seems a little bit like the class warfare of American politics but we’re not talking about the 99 against the one.
No one can question that the game day experience will improve immensely because fans will no longer be showing up 10 minutes before tip off and clearing the parking lot ten minutes after it ends. From now on we’re going to be filling bars and restaurants before games and hitting the night scene after; hopefully celebrating victories well into the playoffs. Now that’s what I call a “Great time out!” I never did that once at Oracle. Going straight home after we beat the Mavericks in 2007 was a huge disappointment but in 2017 we’ll be hitting the town 20,000 deep painting the town blue and yellow.
Will the fair weather fans get caught up in the views during games?
Make no mistake that our “Great time out” is going to cost us. For season ticket holders, holy shit, get ready for the biggest round of sticker shock ever. I don’t see how seat licenses start at less then $20k and that’s before you buy the damn tickets. Real quick I’m just going to sum up what my trip from the East Bay is going to cost on top of my normal Oracle expenses. Most amounts are approximate: $30 extra for each ticket, $6 for extra gas unless we’re paying that much per gallon in 2017, $5 for bridge toll (which will probably be more like $10 in 2017), $20 for parking plus a decent dinner (which wasn’t an option before) and whatever the increases for beer, food and merchandise are. That’s basically a minimum of $100 if I bring my wife. It’ll be more fun and a better experience but I’ll be paying extra for every ounce of beer and overall enjoyment; but at least I can go home smelling like garlic fries.
Transportation will probably be a bitch too with only 1,000 spots included so far and where the hell is my $40 parking spot going to be because you know we can kiss $18 parking goodbye? I'd hate to pay that much to walk a mile to the front door! In the next five years we’ll be hearing about all the virtues of BART, MUNI and CalTrain but I want to come and go as I please without consulting the schedule of some transportation service that’s always running late. For those that do take BART it will probably be about the same number of stops (if not less) and about the same number of steps to the arena when you get off the train so don’t let anyone make that the excuse. There's also going to be the new Transbay Terminal that will be fully operational by that time in theory so public transportation should actually be very good as a whole.
Pac Bell Park completely transformed China Basin from a shit hole to a part of town where you wanted to enjoy an afternoon in the city. Lacober Arena is going to turn a good piece of waterfront closer to downtown into the hottest spot in the entire city. The Giants ballpark also gave us a World Series, Barry Bonds home run chase, an All Star game, a couple concerts, the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl and the XFL. Someday Lacober Arena will give us an NBA All Star Weekend, every big concert imaginable, some NCAA tournament games and (Lord willing) an NBA championship. I’ll take option number two if I had to choose but that’s not the case, these venues are a half-mile waterfront walk away from each other! On days when the Giants and Warriors are playing traffic is going to be a nightmare but once you’re in there will be no better place to be on the entire west coast; in fact I cant wait for a nice day sometime between April in June when I can hit an afternoon Giants game, grab some dinner after and be just in time for a 7:30pm tip off at Lacober.
You won't believe this but Joe Lacob was making bold statements and talking a big game today
It’s going to be interesting next season when the debate for and against the move is taking place during games at Oracle. When the Lakers are in town we might hear dueling chants of OAK and SFO between BEAT LAs. I’m not ruling anything out yet. You think Joe Lacob got booed on Mully Night? If he so much as looks at a microphone between 2013 and 2017 it could get ugly. For the Giants fans in the crowd we can’t let the Dodger loving Goober off the hook either. Chris Cohan didn’t show his face until the 2007 playoffs after getting showered with hate at the 2000 All Star game and I half expect Lacob and McBoober (is it not clear yet that I’m a Giants fan too?) to follow Cohan on this one.
Outside of an NBA championship this will be the Lacober crowning achievement and since you can never guarantee one of those (although I won’t rule it out with these guys) it’s no wonder they are going full steam ahead. It’s unreal the way they act like the things they say leave little room for doubt; I wonder whether they’ll have another Sorry We Suck Day if this plan falls through they way they did when the playoff proclamation fell flat. They must be at least a little upset that big announcements like this one barely show up on ESPN.com let alone SportsCenter.
Like I’ve said from the start I could really care less when push comes to shove, I just want a fucking winner! I’m so tired of being looked down on by Laker fans it drives me nuts and a new arena won’t change that. Contrary to popular belief a new home isn’t going to draw top tier talent either. Is any body tripping over themselves to play with Jay-Z in Brooklyn? Deron Williams is considering leaving millions of dollars on the table to walk in a couple months and Dwight Howard wants a trade there because he’s unwilling to forfeit a red cent to play for Jigga. You think that players will come because they can live in San Francisco? They can do that now and still have a 15-minute reverse commute to the arena and the practice facility. Does sporting cool “The City” jerseys appeal to superstars and do they care whether the team is called San Francisco or Golden State? The only things that matter are deep playoff runs and money; and every team has money. With all things being equal you better be sporting a winner and it’s got to start now, not 2017.
For the city and everyone else involved this thing will be a real cash cow. Britney Spears and every other over priced disposable lip syncing teeny bopping act will be crawling over each other to get a date at this place. They’ll have to get in line behind people like U2, Van Halen (not Van Hagar; shot out to my man Joe Dirt), Madonna, the Stones, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, Metallica, MotoX, the circus (as long as people in SF and PETA promise not to protest) and you get the freakin point. When you add up the games, shows and events we’re talking over a hundred dates on the calendar and that’s before the San Jose Sharks get tired of losing money start renting from Lacober.
Like a faberge egg sitting out on the bay
As much as the Forty Niners mean to the city they wanted a billion dollar stadium for 12 days a year max. This is the cities second chance in as many years to step up, get a deal done and claim a victory after admitting defeat at Candlestick Point. Even with the rubber stamp by a lame duck mayor this project has a ton of hoops to jump through before a shovel (or a pile on in this case) ever hits pay dirt. We all know what a pain in the ass SF politicians are but I can’t blame them for hesitating to pony up the funds for the Niners. But this has to happen right? We’re talking the premier venue on the west coast here. This isn’t Candlestick; for every single event held there hundreds of existing businesses in the area are going to see massive increases in happy paying customers. Think about Red’s Java Hut for a second….yeah…he’s about to be RICH BITCH! (trademark: Dave Chappelle)
They say it’s going to be a $500 million project; with $100 million going straight into the crumbling foundation; and they say money is no issue. Are we to believe that they can build a world class, state of the art venue in the middle of a city where everything is overpriced for $400 million? I’m going to take them at their word when they maintain it can be done even if their words aren’t worth a damn thing. I’m also wondering if that number buys them territorial rights to combat Larry Ellison when he buys a team and tries to shoehorn them into the Bay or if that costs extra.
If the money isn’t a problem and the politicians don’t shoot themselves in the foot we’re still not out of the woods. They are either going have to appease or grease the palms of environmentalists, neighborhood associations, politicians and (as Tom Tolbert put it to Lacober on KNBR) those people who are looking out for the safe migration of the Columbian salamander. The special interests in San Francisco are probably as prominent as anywhere else in the country. Don’t mess with their views, don’t mess with their air quality, don’t touch their native insects and don’t even think about messing with their money. All I’m saying is that they should still secretly scout other sites as if they were trying to buy a short sale with anything less then all cash.
It’s hard not to feel for the people of Oakland knowing that this might just be the first domino to fall in the overall professional sports exodus. At the same time it’s equally of hard to feel bad for Jean Quan and the rest of the local government who saw this coming for years. After all that time they couldn’t come up with anything better than Coliseum City when it was obvious the location was one of the biggest reason the Warriors wanted out. What did they expect the team to do while they spent all their time trying to appease the Oakland A’s greedy ass billionaire cheap skate owners? When I first discussed the topic last month I proposed one of two Jack London locations that would have been infinitely better for the team and Oakland then Coliseum Shitty. It’s also hard to see any other fate for Oracle Arena then The Bay Area Sports Guy’s assertion that it will become a nicer version of the Cow Palace with it’s Tattoo and Gun Expos. If the Warriors feel compelled to do the city one small solid on their way out they could negotiate a deal to let the their D league team (currently known as the Dakota Wizards) play their games at Oracle and rename them the Oakland Oaks.
This should be the new home of the Oakland Oaks come 2017
The Warriors could ultimately end up back in Oakland but the damage has been done. Coliseum City is officially on life support and the stadium is not the reason Raider games are getting blacked out each year. I could be proved wrong if they build a stadium with 15,000 less seats and start selling out. Even if the arena doesn’t get built as it was laid out today it won’t remove the layers added to the stigma of Oakland being a second class city. The culture and history of “The Town” is second to none but at the end of the day it is still “The Town” when “The City” is a 10 minute trip away.
Lacober’s statements remain as bold as ever and their confidence in getting this project completed by 2017 is borderline ridiculous. Getting this thing done on time is going to be a more difficult promise to fulfill then his disastrous playoff guarantee. The Niners spent decades trying to get a new stadium and failed. The Giants took over two decades to stick a shovel in China Basin but the difference is they say this one will be privately financed start to finish. The Giants finally broke ground when they finally made that commitment and the Niners never did which is why they are excavating next to Great America as we speak.
It is going to be an interesting five year period to say the least. We’ve got love, hate and apathy sitting side by side; all rooting for their camp as well as the team on the floor. I thought it was weird cheering for fourth quarter collapses this season but that’s got nothing on this. I’m actually looking forward to this season more then I thought I was going to. I hope all the fans continue to show because the rest of us appreciate them even if ownership doesn’t. At the end of the decade the only thing that truly matters is that they put a winner on the floor wherever that may be. If they were to do that in Oakland they would still raise prices for tickets, parking, food, beer and air if they could. The only difference between the money grubbing elitists they are being made out to be and the money grubbing elitists that they are is that they will be responsible for building the greatest venue the city of San Francisco has ever seen and that is saying something!