Marcos Breton

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Marcos Breton: It's nice to see sports owner's commitment

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 - 11:07 am

You can't force relationships that can only flourish when both sides want them to work.

That's why the Kings seem to be fading away in Sacramento at the same time that a new soccer team is coming to town.

When the United Soccer League announced Monday that it was awarding a franchise to Sacramento in 2014, there was Warren Smith leading a local ownership group after once being a big part of the River Cats.

It was nice to see a gathering of parties who want to be in Sacramento because it's been a long time since we truly felt such commitment from the Kings owners.

Some gripe that soccer on a modest scale is a terrible substitute for a "big league" NBA team, but that's completely wrong.

Professional soccer in Sacramento is its own venture and not meant to be a substitute for the Kings. Ideally, the Sacramento-area would have the Kings, USL, Major League Soccer – America's premier soccer league – and the River Cats and other events.

Ideally, Bruce Springsteen would make a stop in Sacramento instead of coming no closer than Oakland. That would have saved many of us a 200-mile round trip in a rainstorm last Friday night.

But we get a dwindling number of elite entertainers at Sleep Train Arena and are witnessing the Kings wither away because the Kings owners are as successful here as they are everywhere else – which is to say they are not.

It's hard to tell whether the Maloofs are purposely letting the Kings die on the vine to make it easier for them to move the franchise or if this is the best they can do.

Neither scenario is promising for Sacramento.

Few people are going to games, tickets are selling for peanuts on the Internet, the team is more dismal than ever and excels mostly in player suspensions.

Meanwhile, grieving fans grasp at anything as the situation darkens. One local blogger wrote that if only the Maloofs and Mayor Kevin Johnson put aside their "egos," the Kings' long-term future in Sacramento could be secured.

Such emotion is understandable, but ultimately delusional.

For a decade, the Maloofs killed the deals meant to tether the Kings to Sacramento and the Maloofs were always the ones no one could pin down for serious discussions.

Meanwhile, Seattle has emerged as a suitor for the Kings because hedge fund billionaire Chris Hansen has led the charge with his wallet and intellect.

That's how it works everywhere else, and it's why it's not working here.

Johnson can't whisper in the Maloofs' ears to be smart or pledge more money that Sacramento doesn't have.

All Johnson or Sacramento can hope for are partnerships with people who want to be here. If they don't, they don't.

Good riddance.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Marcos Breton

Marcos Breton, news columnist

Marcos Breton

Hello, my name is Marcos Breton and I'm the news columnist with The Sacramento Bee. What's a columnist supposed to do? I'm supposed to make you think, make you laugh, make you mad or make you see an issue in a different way. I'm supposed to connect the dots on issues, people and relationships that cause things to happen or prevent them from happening in our region. I also write a weekly baseball column during the baseball season. I am a voter in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Yes, I have voted for Barry Bonds - twice. I am a native of Northern California. I am the son of Mexican immigrants. I've been at The Bee for more than 20 years, and I love Sacramento.

Phone: 916-321-1096
Twitter: @MarcosBreton

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