Giants, Raiders current predicaments have one big difference

Ray Ratto
NBC Sports BayArea

In an odd way, which is usually the path these things take, the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Raiders are in the same place, heading toward very different places.

Older than they should be because they're not yet ready to rebuild, yet rebuilding to two very different constituencies.

The Raiders, we have discussed. Jon Gruden was brought in to cheer up a fan base and brighten Mark Davis' local profile before he takes the enterprise to Nevada, and instead decides that the real task is team demolition and reconstruction on a time frame that pays little heed to Davis' place in Oakland. Gruden is being the stark pragmatist who may or may not achieve his end, but his mission statement is clear: He wouldn't have been given 10 years and nine figures to make the Raiders credible again if it didn't needed blowing up.

So Gruden, voting Gruden's stock, decided his future lay in making the Las Vegas Raiders good by tearing up the impediment called the Oakland Raiders. He doesn't say it, but he doesn't have to.

The Giants, for their part, tried to get one last bounce out of the good old days and instead are in full crater, one defeat short of the longest losing streak since 1951 and nearly closer to last place in the National League than third in its division.

Their decision to ease into their rebuild (which actually hasn't really begun yet) could have been considered more benignly had their bullpen not imploded so ridiculously in Game 4 of the 2016 NL Division Series, but that would have been wallpaper on dirt. Since the All-Star Break in 2016, when it all started going south, the Giants are playing .426 ball, averaging 3.89 runs per game and a blown save every four games.

So yeah, a rebuild is probably in order. Well past due, one might even say.

[PAVLOVIC: Bochy meets with skidding Giants]

If there is a difference between the two positions then, it is only an emotional one. Most Bay Area Raider fans set themselves a deadline of 2020 to get their fandom worked out of this largely ill-fated 25-year reunion, and the coach they most idolized just yanked the floorboards out from beneath them. Gruden said at his introductory presser (after he alighted from his white horse, that is) that he wanted to bring home a championship for Oakland, a goal he either knew at the time was unachievable or realized soon afterward. The fans had invested in a hero who wasn't, again, and they believed a battle cry that was just a bugler playing "Retreat."

The Giants, on the other hand, aren't going anywhere, at least not in a geographical sense, which makes this simply a baseball problem. A difficult baseball problem to be sure, but a baseball problem. I mean, when the hot argument surrounding the team is over their last drafted and developed outfielder (Chili Davis in 1977 or Marvin Benard in 1992), you know you have a baseball problem.

So maybe it isn't the act of rebuilding at all, but the reaction to it. Nobody likes it, most fans just walk away and meander back at their own pace, and then they forget about it if it hits.

Except in Oakland, where this is the final rebuild. That one will probably last forever for an awful lot of people.

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