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In the Bay Area, we like winners


We’re sad in the Bay Area: The 49ers lost the Super Bowl on Sunday. That was heartbreaking enough, but it’s doubly tragic, because nobody even expected them to have a winning season, much less end up in the Super Bowl.

When the clock finally ticked out at Hard Rock Stadium, with the Chiefs winning 31-20, a deathly silence settled over my neighborhood (and over the entire region, I expect). Had the 49ers won, there would have been raucous cheering and applause. Instead—nothing. In every apartment and home, sadness infiltrated, like the Angel of Death. There would be no victory parade down Market Street in 2020.

We here in the Bay Area have a history of winning sports teams. The Niners have won five Super Bowls. More recently, the Warriors captured three NBA titles. And then there were the Giants, whose three World Series victories—2010, 2012 and 2014—made the city delirious with joy (and made a superstar out of Timmy Lincecum).

We’re a city of winners. San Francisco’s congressional representative, Nancy Pelosi, is the Speaker of the House of Representatives (second in the line of succession to the presidency, after the Vice President). San Francisco’s former mayor, Gavin Newsom, now the Governor of California, is a likely presidential contender in the future. One of our Senators, Kamala Harris, briefly caught the national spotlight when she ran for president; you’ll be hearing more from her. And our senior Senator, Dianne Feinstein, has been a famously effective Senator since her first electoral victory in “the year of the woman,” 1992.

It’s not just politics and politicians that make us winners. San Francisco itself is often considered the most beautiful city in America. It retains that status, despite its problems with homelessness. We have Silicon Valley just to the south, the greatest economic and technological engine on Earth. There’s wine country and Redwood forests to the north, the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains to the east, and, of course, the mighty Pacific Ocean, whose shoreline—in sharp contrast to the addled coast of the Atlantic—is protected from development because Californians had the wisdom to pass the requisite environmental laws.

All in all, we have quite a lot to be proud of here. Republicans, on the other hand, have spent decades trashing San Francisco, heaping every conceivable nasty insult on us. Whenever I hear them diss us, I’m reminded of their jealousy and vindictiveness. They come here every chance they get, to visit and dine in our restaurants and sightsee—and then they go home and babble about “San Francisco Democrats,” or “libtards, or “nuts and fruits.” Trump has even led his crazed rallies to chant “Lock Her Up!” about Feinstein!

Well, I suppose what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. After all, most of us Californians wouldn’t want to live in the trailer parks of rural Mississippi or the evangelical wastelands of Kansas. Not only do most Republican sanctuaries have terrible weather, but they lack the cultural amenities and intellectual vibrancy Californians love. Californians also appreciate inclusiveness, and the small-minded parochialism of Republican precincts is a turnoff for us. That’s not at attack on anybody’s religion; but it is to suggest that we don’t cotton to having others impose their bigotry upon us.

So we’ll mourn the 49ers loss for a few more days. It’s all good. There’s always next year. It would have been fun, had the Niners won, to witness many, if not most, of them boycotting a White House visit (as many of the Warriors did in 2017 and 2018). Trump would have aired his grievances on Twitter, while the rest of us chuckled. But, alas, it’s not to be. That’s sports for you: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Hopefully, you win more than you lose! Which reminds me: We are going to win in the November elections! We’re going to elect a Democratic president, we’re going to elect a Democratic Senate, and we’re going to increase our majority in the House.

I would be remiss if I didn’t get in a word about the chaos in Iowa. Even now, as I write—Tuesday morning—nobody knows who won. Trump will make much of this, of course: “The Democrat Party can’t even manage a caucus, and they’re asking you to let them run the country!” It’s a good line and will find traction among his MAGA hat-wearing droolers, but I don’t think most American will blame an app malfunction on the Democratic candidate, whomever he or she is. Right now, in the midst of the uncertainty, there’s some speculation that Mayor Pete may end up getting the most votes. If he does, I’ll utter the famous catchphrase of my boyhood—“How ‘about that?”—which the N.Y. Yankees’ announcer, Mel Allen, used to use, whenever Mantle hit one out of the park, or Berra made a flying catch. “How ‘bout that?” will perfectly express the surprise and satisfaction of a Buttigieg victory.

  1. Bob Rossi says:

    You know what the worst thing was about the 49ers loss? They lost to a team from the great state of Kansas:-)

  2. Well, with all due respect the Kansas, it wouldn’t have mattered what state they lost to. They lost! : o

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