They're passing out the Kool-Aid. Again. It's the usual preseason activity, only, fearing resistance to this year's strain, its extra-strength. And judging by the Q&A, it's being lapped up.
Warrior Update attended a Warriors event last night at a BMW dealership in San Rafael. It was billed as a chat with Larry Riley (GM-in-training) and Robert Rowell (um, cough, Warriors President). Clearly though, it was a thinly veiled attempt to sell some of the more exclusive seats (read: pricey first 10 rows). Unlike previous years, they are not driving off the lot the moment they are unloaded.
The gathering was held on the showroom floor of the car dealership in Marin, which in itself was interesting. Not the car dealer, but the North Bay location. Has the front office exhausted the fan base within ballistic missile range of Oracle Arena? Are they now selling to people who, 41 times a year, are going to drive an hour each way to be entertained by a 29 win team? Um-mm, really?
About 100 people were there, including fans, four Warrior Girls, a dozen sales executives, and the Warriors TV and radio team—Bob Fitzgerald and Jim Barnett.
Following 45 minutes of light food and drinks, Bob Fitzgerald grabbed the mike and emcee'd, taking the middle stool between Riley and Rowell. Each gave a five minute pep talk, followed by Q&A. Questions were hand written, pre-submitted and obviously screened; clearly, management learned the lesson some time ago: Live questions to a regime less popular than Kim Jong-il could lead to classic YouTube moments.
Picture the collective sigh of everyone's Kool-Aid acid test wearing off when a live interactive moment with Warrior management spreads faster than United Airlines breaking guitars.
The questions were lame, no surprise there, and the answers were off-the-shelf predictable, even less surprise:
—Steven Jackson; "He wants to win, just like us"
—What is the projected starting five; "Never written in stone, whatever helps us win"
—Any big trades in the making; "Anything to improve the team, given the reality of the shrinking salary cap and lackluster economy" (and the owner's cash flow crisis)
—Is there any way for me to get free season tickets; "no" (We drove from the city for this?)
Rowell, Riley, and Fitzgerald all expressed excitement about the young team, potential growth, and as always, the teaser of perhaps making the playoffs.
Then the moment came.
If you listen closely, there is usually a revealing moment of truth. Sometimes it's subtle, you have to really search. Other times...
Riley was speaking of Nellie's focus this year: Nellie is more focused then he has ever seen him; Coach is excited, committed to developing the young players; We are going to see some great coaching this season; If this team can hang around .500 come February, we are going to see some very good coaching late in the year."
Wait! Stop the Tape! Hit that eight second TIVO rewind button! Did I just hear that?
"If this team can hang around .500 come February..."
There it is, the moment. The Warriors are striving for mediocrity.
Five months into the season, the goal is to win half the games. The Kool-Aid must have been extra strength though, because in last night's revival tent it passed without a murmur.
It's safe to say most organizations expect to be at least .500 by February; Good teams would be highly disappointed, but not our Warriors.
After hearing the distinct sound of air escaping our personal balloon, there seemed to be little hope of discussing the offseason free agency. Some teams add Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess. Others get Marion and Drew Gooden. Others still add Shaq, Artest or Andre Miller. The Dubs get Devean George and Acie Law.
For this well honed goal of a .500 record, Warrior Update owns fourth row seats.
Dare we ask: Are there other Russian oligarchs who want in? Could Larry Ellison change his mind?
Yet through the haze, we can still see one thing clearly: We are still excited to see Anthony Randolph.
And as always, go Dubs...