The San Jose Sharks 2009 first round playoff loss has left many Sharks fans in pain. The great regular season records the Sharks are putting up combined with the absolute worst playoff performances in Bay Area history has gotten old.
Are the San Jose Sharks the all-time choke artists in the Bay Area? As I ponder this extremely tough question I immediately compare the San Jose Sharks to the San Francisco Giants. Before anybody immediately exclaims, "But the Giants won five championships in New York," well, that was New York and a title is brought to a city by its team, not by its franchise. The comparison is going to be close as both teams have fielded both good teams that over performed and great teams that went under.
The San Francisco Giants have the third longest title drought in sports history. Thanks to the Boston Red Sox conquering their demon in 2004, the Giants moved up a notch in fan starvation. The Cleveland Indians are number two for most seasons without a title. And the most beat-up fans in sports history are Cubbie fans. The Chicago Cubs had one of their best regular seasons last year, which culminated with their folding in the playoffs. Sound familiar? It should.
The Sharks have a much shorter lifetime to draw from than the Giants. But when I start to crunch the numbers and compare, I see one glaring statistic that makes my shudder. The Giants eight playoff appearances, and the San Jose Sharks have 12 playoff appearances. So in essence even though the Giants have had 33 more seasons in the Bay Area they made four fewer playoffs and two championship appearances. The Sharks, of course, still have zero. Therefore I would say San Jose is light years ahead in terms of choking.
Was 2009 the biggest choke in San Jose History? That one is easy, yes. The 2009 year saw the Sharks set franchise records in wins and points, draw the top card and lose the first round of the playoffs in six. I cannot quite remember anything so ugly. Oh wait a minute, I have it the Oakland Athletics making 3 world series playoffs in a row only to lose to the Los Angeles Dodgers (1988) and Cincinnati Reds (1990), while beating the beloved San Francisco Giants in between. That is three title appearances in row for Oakland and zero for San Jose. I guess that's just residual pain from Oakland losing to the Dodgers and beating the Giants via the sweep.
Which brings me to the Warriors. Man that’s a whole lot of losing. They did go 12 straight years without a playoff appearance and an additional nine years in the 70s and 80s, but at least they have a title. So there really are no more demons to exorcise for them.
The San Jose Sharks are far and away the best team in terms of management, (financially and strategic) and players (in NHL history), but they seemed to have the least desire, execution, and drive at crunch time. Man does it suck to be a Sharks fan right now.
What time are the Giants on tomorrow? I need to have more pain inflicted. I’m into that.