Youth will drive Bay Area teams to success
The Bay Area has turned into a youth-driven professional sports bonanza that could, if the right pieces stay in place, last for some years to come and bring continuous postseason playoff appearances and, hopefully, quite a few titles along the way.
First we’ll start with baseball, and what else can be said for the San Francisco Giants, who now have won two National League pennants and World Series championships in the past three years, with young players abound, brought in by ace general manager Brian Sabean, managed to perfection by Bruce Bochy, and paid for by the top-flight club owners.
Heading the youthful world-champion Giants is Buster Posey, who in one total season and two partial seasons has led San Francisco to a pair of World Series titles while garnering a bevy of top honors, including the NL’s MVP, rookie-of-the-year, comeback player-of-the-year and silver-slugger awards as an all-star catcher.
Then over the Bay in Oakland, the American League West champion A’s have a constantly changing, quality, youth-oriented roster put together by executive-of-the-year Billy Beane and directed by the AL’s manager-of-the-year Bob Melvin.
In football, the five-time Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers are loaded with talent, which includes a lot of young and hungry players who want to be part of a sixth Super Bowl title. This might happen this year, especially with their team depth on both sides of the ball and a creative and motivating coaching staff headed by Jim Harbaugh.
The 49ers have the NFL’s top all-around defense, which ranks near the top of being one of the hardest-hitting units of all-time, while San Francisco’s offense has turned into, and continues to evolve, as a multi-faceted and productive unit with not just one, but two talented quarterbacks at the helm of this impressive battleship.
While the incumbent, Alex Smith – who, remember, has a 20-win, 5-loss, 1-tie record over the past two seasons – might have seen his reign as starter gone to the young, exciting and, so far, productive Colin Kaepernick, having two top-performing QBs, a-la Joe Montana and Steve Young, is like having a gold mine in your backyard.
Whoever is QB-ing, the 49ers lead the hunt for this year’ Super Bowl crown.
One note: As of presstime I didn’t know who’s starting against the Rams this Sunday, but don’t be surprised, despite the success of Kaepernick, who is San Francisco’s future franchise QB, if Smith gets the nod because, remember, Harbaugh is the 49ers’ entertainingly, innovative and usually successful head coach.
As for the Oakland Raiders, well, they have a young head coach and quite a few talented young players, who still need time to put a totally new culture and system in place to reach a level of continuous success, so be patient and stay tuned.
In basketball, the Golden State Warriors are in the early part of their season, but they might have hit the biggest jackpot of the recent draft with Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green.
These three talented, smart and productive players have joined a deep team of sparkling young players, including standout starters Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who with veterans David Lee and the soon returning Andrew Bogut will finally make the postseason playoffs, and will make it an annual habit of attending them, with, yes, an NBA title in their future.