Feb. 23, 2011KINGS PAGE KINGS VIDEO
CSNCalifornia.comAs we wrote in this space just a scant couple of weeks ago, there is trouble in KingsLand. The All-Star weekend really helped ramp things up, due in large part to David Stern, and aided by a deafening silence out of ARCO (errr Power Balance Pavilion). I am writing this at 3am on a weeknight, fresh from a most unsettling dream. Just a little background: although I masquerade as a writerradio guy, I was born and raised here in Sacramento. For our out of town friends, the "Carmichael" in "Carmichael Dave" comes from a suburb of Sacramento I grew up in. I got my start in show business as a 14 year old caller to several KHTK radio programs, the station that currently employs me. I would always be the first nerd on hold after a Kings game, "Dave in Carmichael" eventually got shortened to "Carmichael Dave", and the rest is not so important history.
Point being, I rarely qualify as being an "objective" journalist. Truth be told, many of the people I've met in this business also do not qualify as "objective", but I do my best to hang a big sign around my neck that says something like "fan with column spaceradio show". I have no issues with that, I sleep just fine at night (when my 3 and 2 year olds follow suit). Its just that before we moved on with this little ditty I'm writing, I thought it best that we were honest with each other. You are making a committment to read what I type here, you deserve nothing less than full disclosure.
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So I woke up in a sweat. In my dream, it was the morning after the Kings announced they were leaving Sacramento for Anaheim. Unless you've been in a hole for a month, you know that this has a very real possibility of becoming a reality, not just a subject of my nocturnal brain patterns. But in my mind, tonight, the unthinkable happened. And if you've ever dreamed before, you know that there is a finite amount of time before you begin to lose the bits and pieces that made up what happened while sleeping. So I grabbed my computer, scared the hell out of my slumbering wife, and dove onto the couch to put finger to keyboard. What follows is the article I would've written had this been an actual happening:
Say it ain't so, Joe (and Gavin)So the long citywide nightmare has become a reality. I was a 9 year old boy the day the Kansas City Kings announced they were leaving the midwest for greener (andcow filled) pastures out west. I cut out each and every article from our local paper announcing that Sacramento was now a major league town, and pasted them to my bedroom wall at my parents' house. Filled with pride and excitement, I remember all we could talk about at school the next day (and week, and year) was that no longer would it be necessary to drive the hour and a half to Oakland to see NBA basketball, we would soon have it in our own backyard. Magic, Larry, Jordan, Barkley, they would all be striding through our streets soon, maybe stopping in a restaurant to have a bite to eat. We all immediately began begging our Dads to queue up to grab what was immediately the hottest ticket in town. I am now married, with two children too young to understand what's going on. Even though I have long left my Mom and Dad's nest, I know that in a guest room that used to belong to me,my old bedroom wall stillholds those same articles cut from the paper now browned and frayed a bit at the edges. It kills me to think my children will never experience the joys of a hometown big-time team. It devastates me to know it was for the stupidest of reasons. I really hate this place sometimes. Like Luke Skywalker said about Tatooine, I was born here, raised here, and (as Han Solo added) will probably die here. I am a Sacramentan through and through. But let's not kid ourselves. There's really nothing to do here. The summers are horribly hot. The nightlife is generally best in the suburbs. Downtown Sacramento is passable at best, and one of our biggest attractions is saddled with the name "Old Sac". When I have friends visit from out of town, when they ask what we can do during their stay, the conversation inevitably involves travel. Lake Tahoe is just a short trip up the mountain, and San Francisco about the same distance west.Our Capital city'smotto might as well be "Sacramento: We're near things". If you take away the Kings, there's really not much left. Something inside me likes hearing broadcasters nationwide say our city's name. Deep down, I know some schlepp in Connecticut is hearing it at the same time. Don't ask me why that matters, but I guarantee I'm not the only one who feels that way. Sure, about 18 of the 25 odd years the team has been here have seen losing seasons, but that's why the winning ones meant so much. Was it really that long ago that people were flying purple flags out of their windows? Remember the winding lines outside of Carl's Jr just to get a stupid bobblehead? How many of us still have a copy of Sports Illustratedshowingthat immortal lineup of 2000 with the tagline: "Greatest Show on Court"? All of that's gone now. Good job Sacramento. If you weren't so stupidly against progress of any kind, this wouldn't havehappened. If you weren't so stuck in bureaucratic muck constantly, maybe things would be different. Nice work on the arena project. I was really optimistic every time I heard about another drafting of a resolution to examine the possibilities of a 90 day evaluation of a procedural undertaking of an expoloratory committee to rule as to whether of not it was feasible to grade a new arena's viability. Great work, elected officials. But its easy to blame the politicians, and we should, in part. The people themselves? This is their cross to bear as much as anyone else, if not more. If there is one way to describe the attitude of Sacramento when it comes to progress, its quite simple. NIMBY. The Not In My BackYard club. Do what you want, just don't bother me with paying for it, and don't bring it anywhere near me. Just don't bother me, period. Stay off my lawn. One of the many problems is, the city of Sacramento itself is mostly government workers, retired and active, and other types that really don't buy into the allure of major league sports. The real progressive younger types fall into the suburbs, which don't really have much of a say in the publicly funded arena category. Its a Catch-22 that ultimately bit the city in the rear, and they never had much of a fighting chance. A recent nationalpublication rated the most miserable cities in the country, and 3 of the top 5 were Sacramento, Stockton, and Modesto. That's right, the same 3 cities you hear about whenever a local TV station does a legal ID. THAT'S their market. Keep in mind, the misery index was configured when the Capital still HAD AN NBA FRANCHISE. Is it possible to be any higher than 1? Yes, I know. Schools are falling apart, people are hungry, the streets are in disarray. This is all true, and those are real problems. Guess what? We ALL HAVE REAL PROBLEMS. Everyone deals with real issues on a day to day basis. That's one of many reasons why its important to have professional distractions. Movies, music, and yes sports, it all helps. Many of us like the idea of coming home, putting our feet up, and cracking a cold one while watching the local team get their ass kicked. And was it so long ago that we were all swept up in Kings fever? When Chris Webber and Co led the charge, and the Kings were one referee robbery short of bringing a championship parade to J st, a new arena referendum would've passed by a landslide. But this is, and always has been, a fairweather town. Yes, the team sold out for years when they were winning 20 games a season, but that's because they were new, and no one knew any better. In a way, one of the worst things that happened was for this city to taste succcess. Once they did, even just a little bit, nothing else was good enough. Even as crappy as this year's team was, I'd take them over just about any of the pre-Mitch Richmond teams based on Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins alone. But most nights, the arena struggles to break 5 figures in attendance, regardless of the opponent. Not to worry though, that's no longer a problem. The team is leaving, and let the tears flow into the American River. This isn't the Baltimore Colts and the Mayflower vans, they had they Orioles. This isn't Clay Bennett and the Seattle Sonics, they had the Mariners and Seahawks. Its not the Cleveland Browns, as tortured as that city is, they still had the Indians and Cavs (and the movie Major League). Even when George Shinn took the Hornets from Charlotte, they still had the Panthers in the NFL. No, Sacramento was a one trick pony. Sorry Rivercats, but Triple-A is not the big boys. We have always had the "we're not a cowtown", L.A. sucks mentality. But in the end, all we are is a national joke. With city after city killing themselves to build new arenas to woo teams, we just simply put our heads in the sand. Even the city we originally stole the team from, Kansas City, has new digs in hopes of luring back an NBA franchise. By the way, no luck sofar. Remember, they still have the Chiefs AND the Royals. Most people regard KC as a hokey doke town. Where does that leave us? So there it is. In just over 25 years, Sacramento blew its chance. I guess it was fun while it lasted. All the work Gregg Lukenbill and his partners did has gone down the drain, and if I want my children to see big time basketball, I will once again be making the trek to Oakland, this time as driver, not passenger. Its the circle of life, in a sick and twisted way. Even in such a short time frame, the Kings were able to cultivate a one-sided rivalry with the Lakers, although they constantly beat us (thus one sided). I will never forget being in the stands in the early part of the 2000s, screaming until I was hoarse the city-wide rivalry anthem: "Beat L.A., Beat L.A." How little did we know that a decade later, the ultimate in cruel twists would fall on our doorstep. Not only did we lose our team, we lost them to our worst enemy. In the end, L.A. beat us. Stay classy, Sacramento.