By Dan Harrington/The Guardsman
Big Brother, also known as San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York, wants us to purchase seats as souvenirs from the soon-to-be imploded Candlestick Park, where they played their last game in a 44-season run one month ago.
Go ahead if you have hundreds of dollars for that folly, whether or not it raises money for the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, before it becomes a forlorn cash cow blown to smithereens.
If football is a valentine of yours, I say put your Niner memories in the foot locker and put your threads in the seats at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum.
Well, its ten miles away as the crow flies from the City College Ocean campus and just a short walk across the ramp to the stadium if you use BART to the Coliseum station.
Admission to see the Raiders play in the National Football League is far less than what is going to be charged by the Niners as they “go south” to their new tech-extravagance called Levi’s Stadium.
Not only did the organization take the team from the city, they stole St. Francis’ denim in the process.
Take the people’s team since 1946 over 40 miles away and take our collective pants? Now that ain’t right. It’s downright unseemly (make that “unseamly”).
Mayor Lee cheerleading for the Super Bowl in Santa Clara? “Fuggetta-Bowdit,” as the Jersey City hosts of this year’s lamentable Super Bowl might suggest.
Let Santa Clara’s mayor and city council do the work on that, with help from San Jose, Morgan Hill and Gilroy.
I suspect travelers will remember San Francisco—the city and county—is still here without a South Bay Chamber of Commerce map in 2016 for “Super Bowl L.”
What does “L” stand for anyway?
Yes, “L” equals 50 in Roman numerals, but today it stands for “losers,” as in the fans who lost their beloved hometown team—and, very soon, its ice sculpture of a football stadium.
Better to house the Raiders temporarily at Candlestick, while they build a new venue in Oakland with adequate plumbing among other amenities.
Or even have them over permanently in the Bayview-Hunters Point at the mall and stadium duo already ratified by voters in 2008.
Help the same 49er group that turned away from the ballot measure that would have brought jobs to southeastern San Francisco throughout the year, instead of the measly ten gridiron dates a year as it has been since 1971?
The Niners said “See Ya” years ago.
Waiting for them to go has been like watching them get plays into the huddle: painfully slow and at the last second, if not beyond.
It’s not the new star quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, or longtime stars such as Frank Gore and Patrick Willis, who are the problem, but the owners and head coach who have acted so poorly that we cannot support the team any longer.
One head coach, Mike Nolan, had the temerity to insult future Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice three times (encouraging him to come back to the team to retire only, then not allowing him to retire as a Niner, then not adding him to finish a season where he would have clearly been the team’s best receiver on a corps ravaged by injuries).
Later, former Niner mentor Mike Singletary pulled his pants down in an effort to express himself.
But at least they didn’t continually look like a spoiled crybaby on the sidelines or in the media, as current head coach Jim Harbaugh has, including the former NFL-quarterback’s pleading and gesturing for a pass interference call that no team gets in a regular season final drive, not to mention in the waning moments of the Niners’ first loss in a Super Bowl (to Baltimore a year ago).
Nice win-loss record, no doubt, but his ego is insatiable. It will wear out his team, as will his fickle ways (see Smith-Kaepernick in 2012 and Harbaugh’s 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in this postseason).
The Niner front office had better order some smoke-and-mirrors, more than one set, for the new digs near San Jose. What would Bill Walsh think?
You may have kids you may actually want to be able to bring to a game. To pay what kind of price? To see what kind of behavior?
You may have friends who are not brainwashed into thinking they must be “Niner Faithful” while they are sucker punched by a money-consumed business office that prefers South Bay luxury box dwellers over the north Peninsula home-grown fan base.
Much like former Niner quarterback Alex Smith, who toiled for years with countless bosses and playbooks, linemen and injuries only to get the boot by the ego of his head coach.
True San Franciscans-in-heart, if not residence, have been dismissed after gutting through more than a decade of doldrums for the brass’ dreams of greater riches in Silicon Valley.
That’s what the soon-to-be-in-name-only San Francisco Forty-Niners are doing—prospecting for gold.
The team had all the gold it needed in those little jean pockets called Kezar and Candlestick, and could have kept more in a new pair of dungarees in town.
They might as well replace the “SF” in the oval with a dollar sign in an empty heart.
If San Franciscans had voted against the Niners and the “stadiumall,” the move two area codes away would be tolerable.
But the vote won. The city wanted to keep its football franchise inside the city limits.
The team made their stadium elsewhere anyway.
The Niners said goodbye to 415.
Don’t plan on a call or text either, unless Jed York needs something from “Frisco.”
Now with the fallen 501’s at the ankles of 101, let’s witness the parking, traffic and etiquette surrounding 49er home games in Santa Clara.
Don’t forget, the Raiders will need a new stadium someday, whether in the East Bay or San Francisco.
In the near term, we can actually see a pro game we can afford and an underdog spirit with an upside, and new Raider convert fans can’t be accused of being front-runners.
If we are truly loyal geographically and to ourselves, we can compartmentalize our memories of the hard-working and successful Niner teams and leadership, and say good riddance to the Potemkin whistle-and-ledger-wielding wannabes who have swiped and tarnished the storied legacy.
There are some great players and people on the Niners. But why fool ourselves that the Niners, as they’ve been led away, are “our team?” The answer is a definite no.
If (and that’s a big “if”) we care about our NFL status, then we should go with the underdog spirit and reward the team giving back to its community, not disavowing it.
We should be practical with our own finances, time and travel. We should act in line with our values of fairness and loyalty and sense of community.
If you were born and raised San Francisco, it’s now the time to join the Raider Nation, unfathomable as it once would have seemed.
The Raiders could even play in San Francisco someday, if our leaders dare dream big again.
No matter what, I’m glad that the Bay Bridge is finally ready and BART is working at full strength, too.
Oakland will always be closer than Santa Clara, wherever that is (that’s a dig, get it, 49ers?)
Well, adios Niners. Best wishes on your path to glory and “caviar dreams.”