The decade began with a Subway Series in New York, The Greatest Show on Turf in St. Louis, a new Lake Show Dynasty in L.A. and a Tiger Slam in the majors. It will end the very same way for the ring-wielding Yankees and Lakers, but in very different fashion for the formerly high-flying Rams and the world’s greatest golfer. And for the Bay Area’s professional franchises? Well, let’s take a look back at where we were when the 2000s started — and where we are now.
49ers: Under Steve Mariucci, the 2000 Niners were a 6-10 team quarterbacked by Pro Bowler Jeff Garcia, who threw for a franchise-record 4,278 yards and 31 touchdowns. Terrell Owens caught 97 passes and 13 TDs, and Charlie Garner ran for more than 1,100 yards.
In 2009, Mariucci, Garcia and Garner are out of football, and Owens is languishing in Buffalo. Mike Singletary is calling the shots and former No. 1 overall pick QB Alex Smith is trying to revive his career. Young stars Vernon Davis, Frank Gore and Michael Crabtree hope to lead the Niners back to prominence as early as 2010.
Raiders: Coach Jon Gruden guided the Raiders to a 12-4 finish in 2000, and the club’s first AFC title game since the start of the previous decade. QB Rich Gannon threw for more than 3,400 yards and 28 TDs, including 11 to Tim Brown, who had 76 receptions. Andre Rison contributed six TD catches, and Tyrone Wheatley rushed for more than 1,000 yards.
Today, Tom Cable is trying to hold onto his job in his first full year as coach of a franchise that has endured six consecutive seasons of 10 losses or more. The QB position is a mess, as former No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell is now a third-stringer, and the Raiders now employ a running back-by-committee approach. Poor drafting and ill-advised free agent acquisitions have crippled an organization that was in the Super Bowl just seven years ago.
Giants: The 2000 Giants opened Pacific Bell Park with a 97-win NL West championship, as Barry Bonds clubbed a then-career-high 49 home runs and five starting pitchers all posted double-digit win totals.
The 2009 Giants snapped a skid of four straight losing seasons with an 88-74 record. The steroid-tainted Bonds is history, and the lineup is now led by young Pablo Sandoval, who hit .330 with 25 HRs in his first full season. Bruce Bochy, who managed the Padres when the decade started, has a rotation now anchored by two-time defending Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum and young Matt Cain, and the future looks bright.
A’s: AL MVP Jason Giambi, along with Miguel Tejada, Eric Chavez and Ben Grieve, clubbed opponents into submission for the 2000 A’s, who won the AL West under Art Howe. Tim Hudson won 20 games and was the Cy Young runner-up, as the A’s lost a heart-breaking five-game Division Series to the eventual champion Yankees.
The decade ends with the last-place A’s continuing to try and build a competitive team without the benefit of a decent payroll or a marquee ballpark. Bob Green’s club won just 75 games and is without a bona fide star in the lineup or the starting rotation.
Warriors: The 2000-01 Warriors won just 17 games under Dave Cowens, and were led by Antawn Jamison’s 24.5 points per game, along with Larry Hughes and Danny Fortson. Thirty-seven-year-old Chris Mullin played sparingly, appearing in 20 games.
A decade later, Mullin has come and gone as the club’s GM, and not much has changed, as the 8-21 Warriors remain in the cellar of the Pacific Division.
Summary: While not without its moments of glory, I believe it’s fair to say it was a decade to forget, beginning to end, for the boys by the Bay.
Sports personality Bob Frantz is a regular contributor to The Examiner. E-mail him at email@example.com.