I must say, that papal election was fun.

In fact, it was so much fun -- and produced a winner who is probably more popular than either the Heisman Trophy winner or the "American Idol" winner -- that I had a great idea.

Why don't we elect a Bay Area sports pope?

The title is not exclusively religious, you know. Pope is derived from a Greek word meaning "father" or "patriarch," someone who presides over major decisions and proclaims family doctrines. It would be so cool to have one of those around here, with absolute authority.

You're probably wondering what a Bay Area sports pope would do, exactly.

That's easy. He could look at those $100 lower box seats for the World Baseball Classic at AT&T Park next week and decree: "That price point is way too high -- cut it by half or more."

Or he could forever banish the Warriors' goofy shirt-sleeve uniforms to a vapid and repulsive land, such as Southern California.

Let's see, what else? A Bay Area sports pope might finally put together a holiday college basketball tournament involving all six local Division I teams. During local sports telecasts, he could abolish those stupid Geico commercials with the talking pig. During football Sundays, he could ban all freeway traffic except for fans going to and from the game.


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Best of all, no one could usurp the Bay Area sports pope's authority to do any or all of the above. He would just issue a pronouncement, and it would happen.

See why I think it would be a terrific idea?

The largest issue, of course, would be deciding which person to trust in such an important role. It must be someone capable of looking out for all of our interests as sports fans, and wise enough to craft solid policies.

Naturally, I also have thoughts about that and have put together a proper list. Here are my top 10 candidates for Bay Area sports pope, in alphabetical order:

  • John Arrillaga: He is already the unofficial pope of Stanford athletics as the program's most major donor, so this would merely be an expansion of his influence. You also need a good planner/designer and Arrillaga builds good stuff, as anyone who strolls the school's campus can attest. Heck, he built the football stadium in less than a year. Granted, Cal fans might not be delighted by this selection. But I think they would adjust fine to having their football games scheduled for Tuesdays at 4 a.m.

  • Bruce Bochy: The Giants manager has the deep-voiced gravitas. Plus, come on, wouldn't you like to see a pope hat that large?

  • Logan Couture: The Sharks' young winger has multiple sports interests (just read his tweets) and was clever enough to celebrate one of his goals (remember when the Sharks scored goals?) back in February by "Kaepernicking" and kissing his biceps in tribute to 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Now that Alex Smith has departed with his Giants cap, Couture has just the athletic cross-cultural athletic attitude we need.

  • Anne Cribbs: Who says our pope has to be a man? In 1999, Cribbs did a wonderful job putting together the bid for a potential 2012 Bay Area Olympics. Alas, the U.S. Olympic Committee instead chose New York's bid -- only to see New York be rejected by the International Olympic Committee. Which is why last summer's Games were in London. Cribbs' skills have since been used to organize other Olympic-related events in Northern California. If she could get Pablo Sandoval to run the high hurdles, I'm on her side.

  • Andy Dolich: The longtime Northern California fixture might be the only man who has worked at the high executive level in Bay Area baseball (A's), basketball (Warriors) and football (49ers). He also was responsible for the A's Stomper the Elephant mascot. No one is perfect.

  • Ronnie Lott: No one in these parts has done more post-professional-sports-career humanitarian and philanthropic work than he has. He played for both the 49ers and Raiders. And anyone who challenges any of his edicts still could be floored simply by his stare.

  • John Madden: For one thing, he'd look perfect in the pope outfit. For another, as he demonstrates on his daily KCBS radio appearances, Madden cares about all Bay Area teams. Finally, the food would be upgraded and awesome at every stadium over which he presides.

  • Carson Palmer: Every sports fan knows how it feels to be crushed and defeated and battered. The Raiders quarterback would be the most empathetic pope ever.

  • Hunter Pence: Sometimes, we all need a good pep talk from a pope. The Giants outfielder is the perfect guy to do one, as demonstrated during last year's playoffs. And he brings along his own ritual with the flying-sunflower-seeds ceremony.

  • Those Guys Who Do Somersault Trampoline Dunks During Timeouts At Warrior Games: This would obviously fall under the "group pope" concept. I have no sensible reason for their candidacy, except that I like to watch guys do somersault trampoline dunks. They should appear at every Bay Area sports event forever.

    Hey, that's just my initial list. But feel free to discuss the concept among yourselves and make other suggestions. Then we can conduct the voting at a big tailgate picnic and send up white smoke. Talking pigs invited at their own risk.

    Contact Mark Purdy at mpurdy@mercurynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MercPurdy.