Who’s got it better than us?


Eric Yee and Alec Bandler

Five years ago, the Bay Area’s professional sports teams were complete failures.

The Giants and A’s both completed sub-.500 seasons, the 49ers and Raiders were complete disasters, and the Warriors had fallen back into the dysfunctional franchise that they had been for the previous 13 seasons.

The only team that was any good was the Sharks, but even they were a joke because they always collapsed in the playoffs.

These teams have done a complete turnaround and have turned the Bay Area into the nation’s top sports area.  For the 2012-13 seasons, the Bay Area will most likely have five of its six teams (excluding the Raiders, of course) in the playoffs and be the proud owners of at least one championship.

This is a remarkable accomplishment that is rarely seen.  No other sports town can compete with the way the Bay Area teams have performed this year. Even the New York area will have fewer teams succeed in comparison with the Bay Area.

These great seasons from our local teams have made this the Golden Age of Bay Area sports.

The Giants have been the biggest part of this incredible sports year.  The Giants won 94 games in 2012 and they continued to shine on baseball’s biggest stage, winning the World Series for the second time in three years.

Twice they won three elimination games against the Reds and Cardinals to go to the World Series in 2012.

The midesason acquisitions of infielder Marco Scutaro and outfielder Hunter Pence provided a sense of leadership and motivation to win. Scutaro eventually won the NLCS MVP award for his outstanding play against the Cardinals.

When they played the favored Tigers, they showed that Justin Verlander could be beaten.

In Game 1, third baseman Pablo Sandoval lit up Tiger’s ace Justin Verlander and the bullpen, going 4-4 in the game with three home runs.

Not only did they embarrass Verlander, they embarrassed the Tigers by sweeping them.  Even Joe Buck had to admit that the Giants were playing some magical baseball.

Even though the A’s lost in the playoffs, they were most surprising team this year and one of baseball’s best stories.

Fans can always remember the various hairstyles of team icon Coco Crisp and outfielder Josh Reddick. The “Balfour Rage” and walkoff wins were the key to their constant success in close games.

The A’s just continued to fight against the boastful Yankees, Angels, and Rangers. They showed that money can’t buy championships. The A’s played some incredibly magical ball all year including sweeping the Yankees in four games during the regular season and sweeping the Rangers at home during the final three games of the season to win the AL West by a game.

If hadn’t been for Verlander, there is a good chance that the World Series could have been a repeat of 1989 with another Bay Bridge Series.

On the football side, the Raiders were awful again (what else is  new?), but the 49ers were even more incredible than last year’s incredible season.

Although the Giants won the World Series, the 49ers have shown that they are the bay’s best team.  They beat Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady on the road this year.  Those three quarterbacks combined to lose only one home during the regular season last year.  Not only did they beat Rodgers in Lambeau, but they beat him a second time at the ’Stick as 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick destroyed the Green Bay Packers 45-31 in the divisional round of the playoffs.

The 49ers also showed their dominance by overcoming a 17-0 deficit against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game.

The 49ers ran out of their comeback magic against the Ravens in the Super Bowl.  Kaepernick rebounded from a bad first half to bring the team within two points in the fourth quarter.

But his inexperience proved fatal in the final two minutes of the game.  With a first and goal on the Ravens seven yard line, it seemed as if the 49ers were going to take the lead. But Kaepernick couldn’t get the ball into the endzone.  Jim Harbaugh took a costly timeout to avoid a delay of game penalty and Kaepernick targeted Michael Crabtree three times.  But they couldn’t score and the referees refused to call a holding penalty against Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith.

Although the 49ers lost, their future is bright.  Kaepernick is only in his second year and their defense is elite.  In the next few years, the 49ers will compete for more Lombardi Trophies.

Even the luckless Warriors are playing well this year despite the unending amount of setbacks for the injured “franchise-changer,” Andrew Bogut.

They have received great play out of newcomers Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli, Jarrett Jack, and Carl Landry.  But their main success has come from All-Star seasons from Stephen Curry and David Lee.

Lee will represent the Warriors at the All-Star Game in Houston this month.  This is the first time a Warriors player will play in the All-Star Game since 1997, when Latrell Sprewell represented the team.

The Warriors impressive first half of the season has included beating the first place Clippers three times, the NBA champion Miami Heat on the road, and the defending Western Conference champion Thunder at Oracle Areana  The Warriors are the only team to beat all three teams.

If the Warriors continue to play well, Curry’s ankle holds up, and Bogut stays healthy, they will be a playoff team for the first time since the 2006-2007 “We Believe” season.

Hockey is back after the lockout and that means only good things for the Sharks as they have started the season 7-2-1.

The Sharks have been the only consistent Bay Area team over the years and this year should be no different.  They have the same core players back and shorter season could help the Sharks in the playoffs.

This is the first time the Bay Area has seen so many of its teams have success in the same year.  Since the days of Joe Montana and Steve Young, losing has been almost a given for all the Bay Area teams.  Now winning is expected for every team and losing is simply unacceptable.

Many sports fans in the Bay Area don’t realize how amazing we have it right now.   As true Bay Area sports fans, we need to appreciate these “golden” years of our sports teams because before we know it, we will be wishing for the same success that the 2012-2013 teams had.