Nothing like a good raging controversy over the ridiculous.
That’s what we’ve had this week on KNBR’s Gary Radnich show. When the Sharks went three-up over the Red Wings and emerged as favorites to win the Stanley Cup, we started planning the victory parade in San Jose. If the Sharks blow it, you can blame us — not Ralph — for the jinx.
The question was, how many people will turn out ? The Bay Area’s largest city — celebrating its first major sports victory. The SaberCats apparently didn’t count. Anyway, this turned out to be a far more sensitive issue than I could ever imagine.
You see, San Jose has a chip on its shoulder. It is tired of playing Jan to San Francisco’s Marcia. It considers itself a major league city that has been given fringe sports, and so there is justifiable pride in the Sharks and anger about the city’s image.
Gary guessed a million people for a Stanley Cup parade, then adjusted to half-a-mill. I decided to low-ball, admittedly trying to push buttons. I started out at 30-thousand, then raised it to a more reasonable 75-thousand. I haven’t moved from there, but Gary still thinks I am on crack.
So did some emailers: you know, the keyboard John Waynes who called me a “dolt” and worse. ( Thanks a lot, Gary, for reading that email on the air. ) Funny, none of them went on the air to tell me so. Anyway, they felt I was insulting the Sharks and the city.
Quite the opposite.
I’m figuring on a couple of things: first of all, the heart of Silicon Valley is a busy place where people have to hustle, especially in this economy. They might not have time for a parade, even if they’re Sharks fans. Yes, Silicon Valley has a lot of unemployed people who DO have time, but I don’t think a large percentage will be in the mood for a parade.
On top of that, the Sharks have a rabid core of fans, plus others who are following the team, but many South Bay residents come from elsewhere and don’t really know much or care much about hockey. Yes, fans from outside the area could come in for the parade, but I seriously doubt public transit and downtown San Jose streets can accomodate even 250-thousand people.
Having said all that, 75-thousand is a hell of a lot of people. If I’m low, I don’t think it’s by much. I can definitely see local newscasts rhapsodizing about “a throng of 100-thousand people” descending on downtown for the celebration.
It’s funny how angry people get: the last I checked, the parade hasn’t happened yet, so we’re all guessing, yet they are so sure I am wrong. And they know this, how … ?
My estimate is an educated guess based on a decade of covering sports here, not just a shot in the dark. Tampa Bay had 50-thousand for its parade, while the Ducks didn’t even have one. Detroit had two-million; but comparing Detroit to San Jose is comparing lugnuts to computer chips.
If I’m wrong, believe me, I won’t be upset — because it’ll be a great party. For now, I’m standing my ground. I’m not hating. Don’t you hate, either.
Oh yeah, and the Sharks still need to win nine more playoff games.