Spander: Future looks bright for Bay Area sports teams

The Niners’ offensive line is in trouble. The Giants are not going to catch the Rockies. The Raiders are still the Raiders, unable to beat the Chargers. Now, that’s out of the way.

It’s the nature of our business to complain, usually for good reason. But it isn’t that bad, people. The Niners are undefeated, and who cares if it’s one game and they’ll probably lose to Seattle. They’re undefeated.

The Giants remain in the pennant race. Surely after those constant water-torture defeats on the last road trip and then the bashing by the Dodgers — wasn’t San Francisco’s strength pitching? — they don’t have a legitimate chance. But they remain in the pennant race, and it’s the middle of September.

Who knows how to approach the Raiders, who again feel they were mishandled by the unofficial Conspiracy Committee the NFL created specifically to taunt them. Oakland is better than it was, if incrementally. So accept that and, as Serena Williams says, “Move on.”

There’s always something out there to grasp, something to make us believe anything is possible. Didn’t Y.E. Yang beat Tiger Woods? Didn’t Juan Martin del Potro beat Roger Federer? Didn’t Cal beat Western Washington Central State, or whatever that poor little institution is called?

We’ve been informed the Niners are going to play ugly football this season. So be it. That billboard with Mike Singletary says, “I want winners,” not, “I want guys who are pleasing aesthetically.”

The Niners’ rhetoric is borrowed from our pal Al Davis. You know the line, “Just win, baby.” Not, “Just be artistic.” In Oakland, the problem the past six years — as in San Francisco — was not how the performance looked, but how the scoreboard looked. The Raiders are the guys who came up with the Immaculate Deception, a play that was as unattractive and effective as any ever subsequently banned by the league.

Things are turning. The Niners probably will get to .500 for the first time since 2002. That also was the last year the Raiders had a winning record, and while they’re probably not going reach that small pinnacle, they should be improved, which unquestionably the Giants are. Once again we reach back to March. It looked like a reheated version of recent seasons past, if more experienced. In spring training, the idea the Giants would be alive two weeks from the end of the season would have been cause for disbelief. Also for great rejoicing.

The great baseball axiom of what might have been will vex Giants fans through the winter if, as it appears now, the team will not make the postseason. Why not dwell on what was? And what may be?

In theory, the Giants were next year’s team. Suddenly, two months into the season they got a jump on the time schedule. They’re not as good as the Dodgers, not quite as good as the Rockies. But they’re better than most everyone predicted they would be.

What will the Niners and Raiders be? The forecasts are for mediocrity or worse. But the first weekend was encouraging. And if you need a reason to dream the impossible dream, there’s always that tennis player Juan Martin del Potro.

Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on www.artspander.com and www.realclearsports.com. E-mail him at typoes@aol.com.

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