49ers' fanbase proclaims Kaepernick the Baby Jesus

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49ers' fanbase proclaims Kaepernick the Baby Jesus

Well, you have to hand it to 49er fans, you really do. In these perilous economic and geopolitical times, with global disaster through magnetic shifts just around the corner and the nine counties doused in rain, they still have to ability to leap with both feet down the rabbit hole that is Colin Kaepernick.As in, and you know youve thought this, Ive seen enough. Hes the Baby Jesus, and its Christmas morning. I dont need to know any more.RELATED: Ratto -- For SF, this is a full-blown QB controversy
Of course, youre wrong. You do need to know more. Thats the whole point of not leaping to any extraordinary conclusions based on limited sample size. Thats how teams get stuck with Matt Cassel, and Kevin Kolb, and Matt Flynn by jumping to conclusions.But off one game, one impressive, even lopsided game against a quarterback-less Chicago team whose own resume is fattened by wins over bad teams and losses to good ones, you want the quarterback position decided for good, and in Kaepernicks favor. You dont want, or need, to know any more.Well, pride goeth before Shaun Hill, I suppose.This defense of the short-attention span is remarkable, even for 49er fans who understand how the traditional quarterback controversy really works. And in truth, it isnt even that as much as it the desperate need to see something new even if the something old (Alex Smith) has been perfectly fine.But for a fan base that has been eating its young at quarterback for decades, its to be expected. One game is plenty, and in fact is more than enough evidence to make sweeping pronouncements about the long-term future of the position.Do you not see the madness of that position? How much more Blaine Gabbert, Mark Sanchez and, yes, Tim Tebow, do you need to see before you realize that jumping to conclusions usually results in a high ankle sprain?This is not to defend Smith as the once and forever quarterback. This is also not to denigrate Kaepernick. The facts are the facts. The problem, though, is that there arent enough of them, no matter how sure you say you are.Kaepernick has now played essentially two full games in the NFL when you total all the plays in which he has participated yes, even the modified wildcat plays in which he was used as another running back. Two. How is that enough information to make such a sweeping judgment?Heres how. If Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree come out and say, We want Kaepernick because we can do more. If Jim Harbaugh says, Ive been lying about Alex Smith all along. If Smith says, I am not worthy. I hereby resign.Or if Jed York decides hes rather spend the rest of his life as Jerry Jones.Since none of these conditions exist today, does it not make more sense to (a) let events dictate the course of action and (b) keep ones powder dry until more information has been generated?The answer for the 49ers is yes. Is Kaepernick the obvious choice to deal with a resurgent New Orleans team in the Superdome? No, because very few quarterbacks make that work. He may play Sunday because Smith still hasnt navigated the concussion protocols, and he may even play because Harbaugh is playing the hot hand, but neither of these are guarantees that he will play well.And for those of you who just plain hate Smith as a quarterback, you still dont have enough data today to know for sure that Kaepernick is definitively better. You dont. And if you think you do, then you dont know as much about football as you think you do.The solution to your conundrum then? Do the one thing none of us are comfortable doing wait. We like the snap judgment, knowing that the snap judgment is often wrong, because we want to say we called our shot. We want to pretend our understanding of a sport is so keen and so precise that it exceeds those of the wisest professionals, which is of course madness. We dont have that gift. Hell, most coaches and general managers dont have that gift, which is why so few teams win year after year.So yes, Colin Kaepernick had a hell of a game, and yes, the groundswell rises for his ascension into the fulltime job.But groundswells are just polls, not facts. If you think you have enough data, you dont have enough data. I mean, you want a rookie quarterback in experiential terms to win you a Super Bowl, which is daft enough.But if that cant cool your jets, consider this. A TV host with a bad case of the Tebows on a noted sports channels morning screaming sportswriter show says he has enough information to proclaim Kaepernick a superior quarterback. That ought to cool your engine for awhile.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

Rise of Stephen Curry assisted in making Chase Center a reality

Rise of Stephen Curry assisted in making Chase Center a reality

SAN FRANCISCO -- On a cool Tuesday by the bay, the Warriors celebrated The House Being Built On The Sweat And Adoration Of Stephen Curry. And it was quite the spectacle, from the church choir warming festivities to the heavy-equipment cranes performing a synchronized dance routine.

After nearly five years of visualizing and planning and plotting and adjusting -- and, above all, turning around a once-hapless NBA franchise -- the Warriors successfully navigated the maze of litigation, coming out reaching for hard hats and shovels.

Construction on what officially will be known as Chase Center, built at a cost upward of $1 billion, can commence because there are no further legal hurdles to clear. The Warriors moved from Philadelphia to San Francisco in 1962, and then to Oakland in 1971, and now they’re packing up and crossing the bridge back to San Francisco.

How did Warriors CEO Joe Lacob and co-owner Peter Guber, who completed the purchase of the team in November 2010, accomplish such an enormous feat?

They planned early. They hired in 2011 a polished dealmaker in president/COO Rick Welts. They were unfailingly optimistic and persistent and adaptable. They listened. They made concessions. They would not and could not, ever, give up.

It’s basically the same strategy that helped them land Kevin Durant, who was the only player at the ceremony.

But there are two more factors that absolutely were critical. One, Lacob and Guber asked for no public money. And, two, they steadily improved their product.

Which brings us back to Curry. The quest for a new building benefitted mightily from the new owners inheriting Curry, who in revolutionizing the sport also revived a dormant franchise. He is the primary reason for the newly robust state of the Warriors, who followed Curry to their first championship in 40 years.

“That gave us tremendous momentum,” Guber acknowledged after the nearly two-hour ceremony in Mission Bay. “It gave us tremendous market awareness. It gave us the strength to know we could hit our numbers. It gave us the strength to know that the San Francisco Bay Area was getting a team that wasn’t a flash in the pan, but one that was built to sustain itself.”

Suddenly, the Warriors were the hottest team in California, no matter the sport. Try walking a block in the Bay Area during working hours without seeing someone rocking Warriors gear. Popularity raises the profile and also has influence.

If the Warriors choose to retain the name “Golden State,” instead of reclaiming the designation “San Francisco” Warriors, as they were known from 1962 to 1971, that also could be traced back to rise of Curry and his ability to lift his teammates and, by extension, the entire region.

Lacob said Tuesday that there’s a good chance the Warriors retain the name “Golden State,” echoing comments made by Welts on the CSN Warriors Insider Podcast of Jan. 5. The reasoning, according to the Warriors, is that the name has become widely recognized and, now, synonymous with success -- much as the former Boston, now New England, Patriots of the NFL.

“We are the Golden State Warriors,” coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s not up to me, but I don’t want it to change. It’s a unique name; it’s the only one like it in the league. I would like to see that remain. I fully believe we are still the Bay Area’s team, no matter whether we’re playing in Oakland or San Jose or San Francisco.”

There was much joy in the room, particularly on stage, Tuesday afternoon. Along with Lacob, Guber, Welts, Kerr and Durant were San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Chase bank executive Thasunda Duckett. All seven had complimentary things to say, with Durant even facing an artists’ rendering of Chase Center and saying “it’ll be fun playing in there.”

Curry was not attendance Tuesday, though he has appeared a previous gatherings regarding the new building.

Chase Center, covering 11 acres, is scheduled to open in the summer of 2019, two years behind the original projections stated by Lacob and Guber back in 2012, long before they secured naming rights. From multiple lawsuits to a major site change to more lawsuits, the road to Groundbreaking Day was fraught with challenges.

The organization overcame them all, with a crucial assist from the point guard.

Mailbag: Should Sharks trade a d-man for scoring help?

Mailbag: Should Sharks trade a d-man for scoring help?

Tuesday’s practice was canceled, as the Sharks boarded an afternoon charter flight to Los Angeles with the dads in tow for the annual fathers trip. That leaves us some extra time for a mailbag…

Why is no line set over halfway through the season? (Kevin Cocquyt @KevinCocquyt39)

The shuffling up of lines is one of those aspects of the game that I think gets overblown a bit. I can’t put a number on how many times Pete DeBoer has prefaced his reply to a question about the latest line changes with the phrase, “we’re not married to any lines…”

That said, I do think the preference would be to ice a more consistent top six at this point. The fact that they haven’t found a left wing to consistently skate on the top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski is concerning. On the second line, it remains to be seen if Kevin Labanc can stick with Logan Couture, or if he’ll start to fade a bit in his first NHL season. The other players that started the season on the second line, Joonas Donskoi and Mikkel Boedker, have been moved all up and down the lineup all season long (more on that below).

Tomas Hertl’s absence has thrown a monkey wrench into all of this, of course. Assuming he gets back next month, there’s still plenty of time to get the lines sorted out for the playoff push. Regardless, though, they are almost always fluid, and keep in mind when DeBoer made a major change to his lines last playoff run – moving Patrick Marleau up to the second line and Chris Tierney to center the third line in the middle of the Nashville series – the Sharks finished off the Predators in the second round and went on to beat the Blues in the Western Conference Final.

So I guess my message here would be, don’t panic all that much at this point. It’s a long season.

Largest surprise and disappointment with the Sharks halfway through the season? There's a lot to pick from on both fronts. (Drew Cormier @DrewCormier)

I’ll give you one obvious and one maybe less obvious for both.

I’ll start with biggest surprise. It has to be Labanc. I know he tore up juniors last season, but this is still a kid who just turned 21 years old and wasn’t a high-round draft pick (sixth round, 2014). I knew the organization was high on him, and I even had him down as a dark horse player to make the team out of camp, but to come up so soon, and play regularly on a top scoring line and score seven goals – more than Donskoi, Boedker, Tierney, Joe Thornton and Joel Ward – is impressive, and, frankly, surprising.

One guy that’s gone under the radar a bit, though, is Brenden Dillon. The 26-year-old defenseman is simply faster and more mobile than he was last season, and he’s really made this defense corps one of the best in the NHL one-through-six. I know the numbers don’t show it, as Dillon has just four assists and a minus-five rating, but he’s a better player than he was last season.

As for disappointment, Boedker remains at the top of that list, even after his hat trick against the Oilers. He just doesn’t seem like the type of player that fits in with this forward group. At this point, I have to think there’s some buyer’s remorse there with Boedker owed $4 million a season through 2019-2020.

But another player that just hasn’t taken that next step so many thought he would is Donskoi. He was downright electrifying on some nights in the playoffs last season, and I thought this season we might see him get to 15-20 goals and 40-50 points. Instead, he’d be on pace for just 28 points in a full 82-game season. I thought he’d be better.

What do you think [Justin] Braun is worth? Can he be used as part of a deal for a top scoring forward? We need extra scoring. (Backhand Shelf @ChrisRivs)

I can understand the concern with the Sharks’ lack of scoring, and that many of their key forwards seem to be underperforming. Perhaps adding a little more scoring punch to their roster at the trade deadline is something that Doug Wilson will explore.

But, I don’t see any way this team will move one of its top four defensemen for a scoring forward. The strength and identity of this team this season has been its defensive structure and its ability to limit the opposition from getting shots and scoring chances in front of goalie Martin Jones. Moving Braun, or any of their other big minute defensemen, just wouldn’t make any sense.

I do, however, expect they’ll lose at least one of their current top six before next season, either through a trade or the expansion draft. That could very well be Braun, who might not get protected. In the meantime, though, they need him on the blue line.