Nothing Gold Can Stay

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In April 2007, the eighth-seeded Golden State Warriors, led by Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson, and Jason Richardson stunned the basketball world. In dramatic, underdog fashion, the Warriors defeated the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the NBA Western Conference playoffs, claiming the best-of-seven series by a count of 4-2.

The Warriors snuck into the playoffs, finishing two games over .500 at 42-40. Don Nelson and his squad finished the season on a tear, winning 16 of the final 21 games. This marked the team’s first playoff appearance since the 1993 – 1994 campaign.

Golden State carried this late-season momentum into the postseason. They came. They saw. And, they won the first round. Then, they partied like they had won the NBA Championship.

In the Western Conference semifinals versus the Jazz, the Warriors came out flat. They were out-rebounded, and they could not execute in critical moments. Utah won the best-of-seven series in five games.

Still, the Warriors organization and its fans uphold a great deal of pride when it comes to the “We Believe” era. On Tuesday night at Oracle Arena, the 2007 team was honored in a pre-game ceremony. Davis, Jackson, Richardson, Monta Ellis, Al Harrington, (former / current Warrior) Matt Barnes, and a handful of other key players were in attendance.

Having witnessed the impressive feat firsthand, and to be able to reflect on it, is quite satisfying. It is thoroughly important to honor past heroes and past achievements.

But, at the same time, we cannot get caught up in the nostalgia. We cannot live in the past.

For instance, imagine seeing your favorite band from your adolescence perform 15 years after the fact. It’s fun to reminisce. It’s fun to sing the songs (because you know every word). And in that moment, you remember how the music complemented your past experiences. However, 15 years is a long time. Things change. People change. Attitudes adjust. Interests fade. While nostalgia is euphoric, it is short-lived. The key is to live in the moment.

The time is now for these 2016 – 2017 Warriors. After last season’s meltdown, coupled with the offseason acquisition of Kevin Durant, the expectations are through the roof.

As we navigate through the Western Conference semifinals, we find that the Warriors are pitted against the Utah Jazz once again. Some may consider it a story of redemption. While the cast of characters is different, the ultimate prize remains.

The reunion was merely a complementary storyline. It was an added incentive to tune into the game. It generated a nostalgic effect for the viewer, and it effectively boosted TV ratings. But, hey, that’s business as usual in America!

The real question is, did the tech brethren and the real estate tycoons sitting courtside at “Roaracle” genuinely appreciate the gesture?

Did these folks experience the excitement during the “We Believe” era? Did they own season tickets during the 2007 run? Or, did they recently hop on the bandwagon?

See, money is power. And, winning is contagious. The Warriors are a bona fide contender nowadays because they have powerful, experienced leaders, both on the court and in the management sphere. Prior editions of Warriors basketball (e.g. “Run TMC,” “We Believe”) found a good deal of success, but they could not sustain it. There was talent, but no vision.

In two years time, the Warriors will ditch Oracle Arena and the City of Oakland, a place they’ve called “home” for the past 46 seasons. The transition is bittersweet for many longtime fans.

The Golden State (or perhaps the “San Francisco”) Warriors will open the 2019-2020 season at the Chase Center, situated in the trendy Mission Bay enclave in San Francisco. Will a new setting generate a better experience? Will it provide a better home-court advantage?

It’s safe to assume that the overall vibe will be different. Furthermore, the price of admission will spike. Meanwhile, expectations for the organization will increase accordingly. There is added pressure for Joe Lacob and Peter Guber to deliver a top-notch product on an annual basis.

We know this much: head coach Steve Kerr, along with Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and all supporting cast members represent the “Golden Age” of Warriors basketball. It would be prudent to acknowledge the widespread notion that says, “Nothing gold can stay.” So enjoy it while it lasts, Dub Nation.

Let’s Go Warriors!

http://www.csnbayarea.com/warriors/how-we-believe-warriors-laid-groundwork-theyre-way-past-believing-now

 

#FaceOfMLB (Part 2 of 2)

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David_Wright

David Wright is the #FaceOfMLB

Just a quick update to this, because I find all of this quite fascinating, and it offers a lot of good parallels. Then we can put it to bed, because after all, it’s old news.

If you didn’t hear, Sogard lost in the finals to David Wright. Albeit, it was a very close call – 51% to 49%. Sogard was leading by a hefty margin at one point. Sports Illustrated reports that Sogie held a commanding 55% to 45% advantage as of 3am PST on Friday morning. Then, all of sudden, the East Coasters got in gear and catapulted Wright into the winner’s circle. Or did they?

Studies have shown that social media usage has peaks and valleys throughout the day. Trends have developed to capture engagement, and thereby increase response rates. Increased engagement strengthens your brand. To illustrate, Facebook posts are common between 1pm – 4pm, with 3pm Wednesdays being the peak (probably because everyone is bored at work and looking for distractions to get through the day). Meanwhile, Pinterest posts generally peak on Saturday mornings (because that’s when you actually have time to share your new muffin recipe). Research also indicates that Twitter is a beneficial tool when used Monday through Thursday from 11am – 3pm. The worst time to tweet is between the hours of 8pm – 9am. Generally speaking, your tweets will evaporate into the cloud and go unnoticed during this time frame. Fewer individuals are online between 8pm – 9am, so there is less engagement.

The voting ended (strangely) at 8am EST, which is Twitter downtime. Furthermore, this meant it was 5am PST – a time when a large portion of West Coasters (and, in particular – A’s fans) were still under the covers or were focusing on their morning routines. A’s fans weren’t actively voting in the wee hours of the morning, so this presented a slight disadvantage. Furthermore, how can we be so sure that the Mets’ community was, in fact, executing a (legitimate) comeback? More importantly, how did the Mets’ fan base construct such a rapid turnaround?

King of Queens

“What does ‘Met’ stand for, anyway, you know? I mean, what’s a ‘Met?’ What’s the deal with that?”

Granted, the Mets have a devoted fan base – actually very similar to that of the A’s. The people in Queens are a very simple bunch, much like the working class in Oakland. (Hell, both locales could benefit from urban renewal, but that’s another can of worms). You ever watch The King of Queens? Yeah, I know it’s cheesy, but Kevin James’ character is pretty accurate. People from Queens love the Mets. Just mention “Game 6” to anyone in Queens, and I’m sure you’ll have a great conversation.

Meanwhile, the Mets play in the shadows of the New York Yankees and their 27 world championships. Here in the Bay Area, the San Francisco Giants have executed recent championship runs in 2010 and 2012. In turn, they have been able to bring in more business, because they have proved to their fan base that they are a winning team. And, seriously, that’s how you grow a business. Instill confidence in yourselves and your customers. Now, they can easily cater to the tech crowd and the San Francisco elite.

Just this week, the Giants offered the A’s somewhat of a consolation residency should Oakland move forward in their plans to build a new ballpark. Do the A’s take it? I don’t know. There are lots of factors at play – there are legal issues to flesh out, scheduling conflicts to acknowledge, and a bigger issue called pride. Will A’s fans be able to enjoy a home game in an unfamiliar park? This is something A’s management has to digest and sort out.

Trout 3

Mike Trout

Look, MLB wanted to see Trout versus Jeter in the finals. It would have been a story that the mainstream cared about. Everybody loves a story. Trout, the center fielder of the Los Angeles Angels, is the up-and-coming MLB superstar.  He’s the first baseball player ever to sign a $1 million guaranteed deal before he is eligible for free agency and/or arbitration (i.e. a big payday). He’s going to be a rich man, and he deserves it because he’s got the talent to back it up. This kid is 22 years old, and he can play. He’ll hit 30+ HR, drive in 120 RBI, collect 35 doubles, steal 30+ bags, and his defense is superb. Just wait.

The Captain

The Captain

Meanwhile, Jeter is retiring at the end of this season, much like Mariano Rivera did last season. Even if you’re not a baseball fan, you know who Derek Jeter is. So, it’s another way for the Yankees to make money. It’s an insurance package, because if the Yanks don’t perform well on the field this season, they can still put asses in the seats, because everyone from all corners of the world wants to see The Captain play one more time.

Is there a Mike Trout in the music scene nowadays? Someone so talented in all facets – recording, live performance, stage presence, general appeal, etc? I’m not talking about the Lady Gagas of the world. I’m talking about music created today that we can still appreciate 50 years down the line. Like The Beatles.

Deon Cole

Deon Cole

Consider this – I recently witnessed Deon Cole’s stand-up routine at Cobb’s Comedy Club in San Francisco. It was hilarious. Do you know who he is? He’s a writer (or at least he used to be a writer) on CONAN. He also appears on some of Conan’s sketches. He’s clever, personable, smart, and he has great stage presence. But can he appeal to the mainstream? Does he need to? Or should he simply focus on his own fans?

That said, have you ever heard of the Long Tail Theory, a concept developed by Chris Anderson? To quote, “The future of entertainment is in the millions of niche markets at the shallow end of the bitstream.”

Sogard in the field

This is Nerd Power

To circle back, was the voting process in #FaceOfMLB genuine? Were there other factors at play? I guess we’ll never know for sure. Hey, CSN Bay Area reminds us that David Wright does not even have a Twitter handle! How did he connect with all of his fans the way Sogard and the A’s community did? Furthermore, go ahead and track #DavidWright on the Trendsmap (via CSN Bay Area), and you’ll see a lot of tweets coming from South Korea. Is it possible MLB bought tweets, the same way that Facebook buys “likes” via “click farms” in Southeast Asia, and other pockets around the world? At the end of the day, David Wright received more votes, but were Mets’ fans actually more engaged than A’s fans? Do you follow? To better understand, watch this video, courtesy of Veritasium. It’ll blow your mind. I’d subscribe to the YouTube channel, as well.

That’s all for now. I’m gonna go watch The Oscars.