Cothran

Pause please and consider the time and effort that went into moving the 49ers and the Giants out of Candlestick Park.

The search for a new site began under Dianne Feinstein's administration and ended only this year when ground was broken for the China Basin ballpark. And the teams won approvals for their respective new stadiums only after the city government made massive monetary commitments and engaged in a variety of questionable activities, including probable voter fraud, and, just this month, the certain approval of a giant, ugly-ass Coke advertisement that will manipulate children into drinking more of the rot-gut sugar water.

All the Little Leaguers want from the city is help in keeping the crazier neighbors, and their crazier concerns, at bay.

If City Hall is willing to spend truckloads of cash and disrespect voting laws for multimillionaires who can't win their division or commit federal felonies without getting caught, you'd think it could stand up to a few NIMBYs on behalf of the kids, most of whom, I'm pretty sure, have no criminal records, and put all of their hearts into every game.

Crusty, Old, and Slow
Last week, I wrote a passing remark about investment guru and superrich-guy Warren Hellman. I called him crusty and old. Now, I have learned, Mr. Hellman feels aggrieved and demands an opportunity to rehabilitate his honor.

It seems that Monsieur Hellman thinks himself neither old nor crusty. It seems crusty old Warren fancies himself an athlete. His chosen sport, it seems, is running. Marathons to be exact.

The day my column came out, I heard from Warren's people, who said that he was challenging me to a foot race of unspecified length and duration to determine just who the old and crusty one was.

Since I don't have any "people" -- just some long-suffering friends, and an often legitimately annoyed fiancee -- I accepted Hellman's challenge in person, over the phone, with two words:

"Anytime. Anyplace."
But get this. I had to talk to an assistant to his assistant to lodge my manly rejoinder. Whatever.

The race is on for Nov. 14, along the Embarcadero. (More details to come as negotiations progress with Hellman.) All media folks will get invitations. And I think it's important that the event be documented for the ages. I'll tell you why.

I know the odds are decidedly against me. Chances are I'll eat dust and die. But I don't care. I'm answering to a higher calling. Honor is at stake. Actually, a lot is at stake. Allow me some leeway here, but I think the soul of the city is at stake.

See, I'm your basic common man, a lout living paycheck to paycheck in a fancy-pants town run by a fraternal order of bigwigs like Hellman. Guys like me, we rarely have an opportunity to compete on a level playing field with guys like Warren; the cards are always stacked against us. Well, on the Embarcadero the playing field gets leveled. It's just going to be me and Warren. His money won't help him there. It will be mano a mano. And there ain't going to be no rematch.

Now, I know he's a spry little monkey. I know he runs marathons. I know he's fit as a fiddle.

I also know a few things about myself. I know that the last time I worked out, Nixon was president. As Hellman has structured corporate mergers of titanic scale, I've focused my energies mainly on increasing the profit margins of the Marlboro and Guinness companies. Eggs Benedict is my idea of a between-course palate cleanser. I am easily 60 pounds overweight. I get winded driving up Mount Tam.

But I have something Hellman and the FOBW will never possess. Heart. Or at least what's left of one.

And that, stud-boy Warren, can make miracles happen. Miracles you Evian-sipping, penthouse-gym-frequenting, grilled-radicchio-salad-for-lunch fellas can't imagine in a million lifetimes.

So let's have at it, you crusty old capitalist.
If I lose I will change my byline to Crusty Cothran for a month.
And if you lose ... well, we can discuss stock options later.
See you on the waterfront.

George Cothran (gcothran@sfweekly.com) can be reached at SF Weekly, 185 Berry, Suite 3800, San Francisco,

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