By Erin Sherbert
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The Bay Area sports landscape could look far different in just a few years. This month, both the 49ers and the A's announced major moves out of their historic city homes. Over the next three to five years, the A's plan to build a 30,000- to 34,000-seat ballpark in Fremont called Cisco Field, surrounded by housing and retail stores; the team estimated the project could cost up to $500 million. The 49ers, meanwhile, declared they were considering a move to Santa Clara, hoping to have a new stadium built by 2012. The 20-acre site, on Great America Parkway, is near the 49ers' practice facility and headquarters. Although both plans are far from being realized, the message is clear: Faced with deteriorating stadiums, the open land and development potential around San Jose is too attractive to pass up. Are you an apologist for the changing sports landscape in San Francisco? Take our quiz and find out!
1) The 49ers stunned S.F. earlier this month by announcing they were abandoning the proposed $600-800 million revamping of Candlestick Point and instead planning to relocate to Santa Clara. The team would play at a site adjacent to the Great America amusement park, where owner John York said at a news conference, "We're excited about all the possibilities Santa Clara has to offer." What's your reaction to the news?
A) Wait ... is Santa Clara the one with the good Target? Or is that Sunnyvale?
B) Great America and the 49ers right next to each other?!? And you thought traffic was terrible on the 101 now!
C) Who can blame them? It's not like Candlestick has any history in 49ers lore or anything.
2) In a measure of how shaken city officials were by the 49ers' abandoning of the Candlestick redevelopment plan which would have seen the construction of 6,500 homes Mayor Gavin Newsom said: "John York is obviously a very straight shooter, but in this case, respectfully, I don't think he has been. We were just two months ago talking about rolling it out. ... That's why I'm a little perplexed about the abruptness of the phone call I received last night." Although the two sides have since talked, they remain far apart on a deal. What do you think of York's role in the drama?
A) York might not know anything about football, but he doesn't know much about politics, either.
B) How many "abrupt phone calls" do you think Newsom is surprised by in a given night? I'm just asking.
3) By backing out of the deal, the 49ers forced city officials to scrap their much-discussed proposal to host the 2016 Olympic Games. Scott Givens, the managing director of San Francisco's 2016 Bid Committee, told reporters: "We've damaged our reputation. We've put our city in what we believe is an unrecoverable position." What do you think of the debacle?
A) Wait a minute ... the 49ers damaged our reputation? What does an atheistic tranny anarchist need to do to get a little credit around here?
B) I dunno, but Mr. York might want to make sure that Mr. Givens remains a safe, court-ordered distance away from him.
C) Well, this leaves Chicago and Los Angeles on the list of bid cities. I hope Olympians enjoy Italian beef and smog.
4) As both the 49ers and the A's consider moving, a legal debate has begun brewing over naming. A's owner Lew Wolff has hinted that he might call his club the San Jose A's of Fremont, while Sen. Dianne Feinstein has said she wants to block the 49ers from using the city's name, telling reporters: "You can't move to Santa Clara and call yourself the 49ers." What do you think the teams should be called?
B) "San Jose A's of Fremont, formerly of Oakland, Kansas City, and Philadelphia" has a nice ring to it.
C) The Golden State 49ers. (Bonus point for choking back tears and/or vomit.)
5) In a news release, the A's addressed whether they would need public financing for a new stadium, declaring: "The public assistance sought will be in the form of processing the development activity in the most efficient manner possible, the agreement that benefits generated solely by the development will in part or in total be used to facilitate the development program in a manner that will not impose on general fund or bonding issues or local government and other aspects of public-private cooperation that will stand the test of public acceptance." What do you think that means?
A) It means they want our money.
B) Hold on Fremont's legal counsel just fainted.
C) It means we're in a new era of ballpark financing: It doesn't matter if you take taxpayers' money as long as you pretend not to.
6) Oakland officials have been quick to point out that the A's move will not damage the city financially and could save taxpayers the cost of changing the field back and forth for baseball and football. In addition, the Coliseum would be able to book different events throughout the year. As Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente said: "To be candid, we made more money in one Rolling Stones concert than the A's made in a whole year. We will deal with it." How do you think Oakland will deal without the A's?
A) I don't know, but good God, Mick Jagger must be rich.
B) Great! Man, if there's one thing this area lacks, it's monster truck shows.
C) Are you nuts? With Al Davis looking after Oakland, nothing bad could happen! (Bonus point for being named in Davis' will, right after the devil.)
7) Santa Clara Vice Mayor Kevin Moore promised that if the 49ers win another Super Bowl, "the parades will still be in San Francisco." Do you think the major cities will support their former teams?
A) So Santa Clara gets the team and the games, and we get to pick up the trash after the parade? What a deal.
B) The 49ers will always have a home in San Francisco. It'll be windy, and freezing in the upper decks, and the sightlines won't be very good ... but it'll be a home.
C) Of course. I just wonder how long it will take the Raiders to move back into the National Football League.
How to score:
Score zero points for every "A" answer, one point for every "B," and two points for every "C."
0-6 points: Don't want to see the 49ers and the A's go? Perhaps an impassioned, fruitless online petition is in order.
7-10 points: You're worried about the impact of the 49ers on the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League? You need to get out more.
11-14 points: Congratulations! You're a true apologist for the changing Bay Area sports scene. Now root along with your favorite team while you sit in traffic!