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ESPN: Bay Area Best in the Nation For Pro, College Sports

| October 17, 2013
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ESPN The Magazine's Bay Area cover. Photo: Courtesy of ESPN The Magazine

ESPN The Magazine’s Bay Area cover. Photo: Courtesy of ESPN The Magazine

Humblebrag“ is one of those Silicon Valley portmanteaus that I try to avoid — a cringe-worthy word made for social media — but in this case, Bay Area, there’s no way around it.

Pro and college sports here are definitely something to humblebrag about. At least, ESPN The Magazine thinks so.

A recent issue focuses on the Bay Area’s professional and collegiate sports scene and concludes that right now, we are as good as it gets. A quantitative survey ranked major metro areas with more than one pro team based on their championship performances in the last year or so. The results weren’t even close: We were far and away #1, well ahead of first runner-up Washington D.C/Baltimore. (A more detailed review of individual teams put most of the Bay Area’s pro squads in the third tier among 122 franchises.)

Beyond that, ESPN sees a lot for us to — ahem — humblebrag about. The Bay Area is building new stadiums for the 49ers and the Earthquakes without relying on loads of public funding to do it (unlike similar projects in, for example, Miami, that are still costing taxpayers a bundle). Stanford lost its head football coach to the 49ers, but found a successor who’s still handling business. The A’s (and perhaps the Raiders) could leave Oakland, but their fans — OH, THE FANS — cannot be beat. At the very least, they have the best taste in makeup and costuming.

Indeed, the fans are one of the things that could threaten our superiority in the future, according to the magazine’s senior editor Megan Greenwell. It’s not that we’re all fair-weather fans, it’s just that we live in a place with such (literally) fair weather, and so many other things to do, that keeping interest high could sometimes be tough.

“It’s easier for a Pittsburgh to be loyally wedded to the Steelers than it is in the Bay Area, where there are a million things to do at all times,” Greenwell said. “Even if the (A’s, Warriors or Raiders) didn’t move, any lessened commitment to the fans could really threaten sports in the Bay Area entirely.”

And of course, our sports landscape could change at any time. Oakland’s efforts to redevelop the Coliseum are moving forward, but the future of that remains uncertain. San Jose is still pushing to clear the way for the A’s to move south. And Colin Kaepernick is always, of course, one unforgiving sack away from changing the 49ers chances of returning to the Super Bowl. You never know.

But if you’re like me, you work with at least a few people who love sports… maybe a little too much. There’s our cantankerous blogger who opened my eyes to the Tour of California and the America’s Cup (yeah, I know, not pro sports, but still)… there’s the producer who bleeds yellow-and-green, all the while doing unbiased stories about the Giants with a hidden smirk… the director whose love of the G-Men sometimes shows up in the delectable homemade baked goods she brings to the newsroom.

As for me, I’m not a die-hard fan, but I’ll never forget the night the Giants won the Series in 2010. It was a few months after I’d moved here to work for KQED. From my apartment window in Twin Peaks I could hear and see the city come alive: horns honking, people banging on pots and pans, fireworks going off, and just the joy of a city seeing a team of “misfits” unite and win it all.

I mean, come on… what’s not to humblebrag about?

Listen to the entire interview:

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