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2012's Sports Hotbed: The Bay Area

AP Photo

A different strain of excellence is coming into focus, one that's been quietly incubating for a few years. The Giants won the World Series and the 49ers came within a few plays of the Super Bowl; the A's continued to be scrappy and unkillable, and the Warriors are beginning to feel relevant again. The Sharks remain a force (albeit a perennially underperforming one) in that bygone thing called professional hockey. The Raiders continue to not fall into a pit of lava.

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