Ratto: Davis turns Jackson hire into Cable-bashing


Ratto: Davis turns Jackson hire into Cable-bashing

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Watch the Raiders press conference in its entirety at 10 p.m. Tuesday on CSNCalifornia.
Ray Ratto

So who got that Raider job anyway?

I mean, one minute, Hue Jackson is looking and sounding like the new head coach in Oakland, and the next, Tom Cable is being hauled out for one more comprehensive kneecapping from Al Davis.

Comprehensive, and maybe even a hair vindictive, too.

Jackson was the story of Davis latest presser, at least early on. The hard-working assistant finally getting his chance, fixing the Oakland offense and producing almost enough points last year to satisfying the owners scoring requirements.

And then it all went off the rails . . . that is, if you thought introducing Hue Jackson was the point of the gathering.

Davis had something to say about why Cable got fired. In fact, he had a lot to say, so much in fact that when Cable was announced as the Seahawks new assistant head coach and offensive line coach, you could only laugh at the surreal juxtaposition of events.

NEWS: Seahawks hire ex-Raiders coach Cable

Then again, thats the real beauty of the Raiders at times like this. They never get the timing right.

If Davis was offended by Cable laying out assistant coach Randy Hansen, he should have fired him 18 months ago. If he was outraged by the accusations of spousal abuse, he should have fired him when he first learned of it. If he was scandalized by Cable bringing women not currently his wife on road trips for night-before-the-game sances, he should have fired him then. If he was satisfied with emasculating him last January by stripping him of play-calling duties, he should have fired him then.

And he should have explained his reasons when he fired Cable 48 hours after the season ended, or had someone who is good at making the Raiders case to the public do it for him.

Oh, and he should have shut up about the imports altogether. That was just gratuitous.

Instead, he shoehorned his expressions of anger over Cable in with Jacksons big day, and as a result made the new coach disappear.

This is what happens when you pop your head out every two years or so -- he hadnt done a presser since the Richard Seymour trade two Septembers ago. You want to cover too much, and something is sacrificed, in this case the coach who is supposed to save your keister.

This is what happens when you dont want to explain yourself. When you do, you have to cover too much ground.

And this is what happens when you keep a coach way past the day when you cant stand him any more. When you do, the reasons why you didnt fire him look worse and worse, and then finally you go over the top.

In short, Al was too late again. He should canned Cable when he first decided he could no longer abide him, for whatever reason happened to set him off.

And he waited too long to explain it, wedging the relevant and the irrelevant in a massive hodgepodge of legal, moral and football issues that well need a team of forensic speech experts to sort out completely.

Ultimately, he kept Cable around because he didnt know Jackson well enough last winter. He kept Cable around because he didnt want to have to pay off Cable and a replacement offensive line coach. And he kept him around until he was sure the season was lost.

In short, Randy Hansen and the spousal abuse issues explained the 120,000 in fines, but not the firing. The firing came, at least in Als mind, when Jackson was hired. The absolute drop-dead firing date was when they blew the Miami game.
REWIND: Napa DA's statement on Cable-Hansen investigation

But the part about the women on the road clearly came the day Cable decided to say, Were not losers any more. Thats when Al decided that no holds would barred in dismembering the former coach.

Its why he brought up the fact that Cable has been a coach on three winning teams in his entire coaching career. Its why he brought up the pregame sleepovers. Al was mad that Cable decided to take his parting shot, so much so that he decided to strike back the most aggressive way he knew how.

The over-the-top way.

Davis had enough good reasons to fire Cable for the past 18 months, but didnt do it for 32 games. He had three weeks to explain it when he did fire him. Instead, he decided to handle the Cable matter on the day that he was introducing his replacement, and he threw in so many extraneous issues that the presser became Al justifying himself . . . strangely while blaming himself for doing a lousy job of background checks on his employees.

At least we think he was blaming himself. He might have just blurted out an answer to silence a noisome questioner.

And then he did another 20 minutes after that on other issues, as he usually does at these events, which reminded everyone yet again of why they were all gathered there in Alameda.

To meet the new coach . . . Old Whatisname . . . the guy who sat next to Al when he was clipping Cable . . . the guy who fixed Jason Campbell . . . yeah, Hue Jackson. Thats the guy.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

Internet immediately goes to DefCon1 on Chip Kelly-to-Cal


Internet immediately goes to DefCon1 on Chip Kelly-to-Cal

In what can be considered your standard bolt out of the blue, California head football coach Sonny Dykes has reportedly been fired.

In what can be considered your standard spur-of-the-Internet-moment-connect-the-dots inspiration, the Internet went immediately to DefCon1 on Chip Kelly-to-Cal rumors.

The logic, of course, is impeccable. Dykes never really snapped the Cal program around, taking a bad program and making it, well, mediocre, and he has spent much of the past two years aggressively seeking out other jobs, so one can assume there was at least some trouble in paradise, even if you want to make the case that Cal football and paradise are somehow connected.

And Kelly just got canned by the 49ers as part of Jed York’s latest I-will-not-be-made-to-look-ridiculous twitch, so he could sign a properly modest contract at Berkeley and still get his full $6 million with the offset from the three years left on his Jed deal.

So it makes perfect sense . . . which is why it should be judged with considerable skepticism.

For one, Kelly can almost surely do better in the college job diaspora. Cal is a big name with modest ambitions due in part to constant budget constraints, and there are better jobs out there even if he sits for a year.

For two, Cal and Kelly are an odd fit, given the persistent tensions between academia and athletica at Berkeley.

For three, the job comes with massive roadblocks, including Stanford, USC, Washington and (potentially) a resuscitation of the Oregon he left behind. Success will not come easy, if it does at all.

For four, Cal just finished four years of gimmick offense and overburdened defense, and Kelly would provide a more successful version of the same.

And for five, this is too easy, too simple, too convenient. Something about this scenario must be wrong somewhere. When people hit the Internet with photoshopped Kelly-in-Cal-costumes within minutes of the Dykes announcement, you know this is too obvious to actually come to fruition.

Why? Because we don’t live that well, that’s why.

The beauty of a triumphant Kelly at Cal glowering down at the charred ruin in Santa Clara seems more appealing than it actually is, because try as they might, Cal fans will never be backing the more popular horse here, and Kelly won’t win that battle unless he takes Cal to the Rose Bowl while the 49ers are still grappling over draft positions.

In that way, reality sucks. The idea that Jed York could be mocked in collegial absentia by his two biggest coaching hires is delicious but almost surely illusory.

But until we get more on why Dykes got canned 43 days after the team’s last game – recruiting, academic issues, legal issues, photocopier problems from him sending his resume out so often – all we have is the Chip Kelly rumor-ette to keep us intrigued.

Okay, to keep us amused.

Okay, to keep us from falling over in a coma. Cal should matter more than it does, but it’s been 13 years since the Holiday Bowl zenith of the Jeff Tedford Era, and 25 since Bruce Snyder took the Ursines to the Citrus Bowl. The evidence since 1990 is of a team with bigger dreams than means that is slightly below .500 (160-164). Sonny Dykes leaving means one more coach who didn’t make an impact unless his departure leads to either reassessment of the program’s standards, internal or external sanctions . . .

. . . or what the hell, Chip Kelly. Let’s face it – in these dismal days for wacked-out rumormongering, this is pretty intoxicating stuff.

Warriors are most geographically vague team in history of American sports


Warriors are most geographically vague team in history of American sports

The Philadelphia/San Francisco/Golden State Warriors have always had a casual attitude about their home court, even by the once-flexible standards of the National Basketball Association.

Thus, it should be only slightly amusing but not actually surprising that Warriors chief arenologist Rick Welts is now waffling a bit (courtesy Comrade Poole) on whether the team will change its name to San Francisco Warriors when it moves across the pond in 2019-20, or retain its current geographic association with Narnia.

I mean Golden State. I often confuse utterly fictional locales – when I can be bothered to give a toss either way.

But the Warriors, whether they play in Oakland, San Francisco, Pier 30, Pier 32, Westeros, Hobbiton, the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, Curryvania, the Klingon Empire, the Death Star or Planet Nine, are relocating, and once they break the seal on the earth in 12 days, Welts and his fellow elves will almost surely play the team’s future name as a mildly tedious cliffhanger.

Hey, fun is where you find it.

The matter of the team’s relocation will be a sore subject among lifelong East Bay residents, who have put up with the Warriors for 45 years in various stages of development, including the current “We Almost Never Lose” stage. They regard the Warriors’ transplantation to San Francisco to be an unspeakable crime given the high level of fan allegiance afforded them in Oakland.

And yes, they regard Oakland and San Francisco as very real places, as opposed to Golden State, Freedonia, Vulgaria or the Nexus of All Realities.

It is not yet fully known what San Franciscans think of this development, but that’s the nature of the gamble here. They may embrace the Warriors as the new toy in town and then lose interest, and frankly, neither Welts nor anyone else knows the answer to that.

Either way, their die is cast, and Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are now future former Oakland fixtures. Yes, they are quite fond of the exciting new real estate values and their exciting new unobstructed view of the bay, but it has long been assumed that the move would also entail changing the name back to “San Francisco” for the snob appeal.

Now Welts, who has overseen both arena projects (including the one at Piers 30 and 32 which ended up with the piers beating the Warriors in a rout), tells Comrade Poole that the San Francisco Warriors might not end up as the San Francisco Warriors after all.

“Four years ago, I think the conventional wisdom in our building here in Oakland was that yes, we should attach a city name to the team, then it becomes a more global franchise,” Welts marketing-gobbledy-gooked. “There was a lot of head-scratching four years ago about where the Golden State Warriors even played, in other parts of the world. What’s happened with the team over the course of the ensuing years, until today, has made the Warriors if not the preeminent, at least among the three best-known NBA franchises around the world. And everybody who didn’t know where the Golden State Warriors were four years ago, if you’re a fan today, anywhere in the world, you know where the Golden State Warriors are.”

In Oakland.

Now, the mic drop.

“The team’s success has caused us to really rethink whether or not that’s something we should or want to do,” he added. “I guess it’s fair to say there’s been no final decision made. But if you were a betting man, I think you would probably want to wager that the name might remain the same.”

Of course. Why not stay fictional when specificity might move fewer hoodies?

Then again, this is a team that in its 70 years has played home games in Philadelphia (the Arena, the Civic Center, Lincoln High School and Convention Hall), Hershey and Bethlehem PA, Atlantic City, Trenton, Collingswood and Camden NJ, and Saratoga Springs NY . . .

(a moment’s rest here to catch our breaths)

. . . and then after moving west in 1962, the Cow Palace, San Francisco Civic Auditorium and USF’s Memorial Gym, the Oakland Auditorium, San Jose Civic Auditorium, San Jose Arena, Richmond Auditorium, then Sacramento, Bakersfield, Fresno, San Diego, Eugene, Seattle, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.

In fact, and you can swindle the gullible at your neighborhood tavern with this one, the Warriors’ first game in San Francisco occurred almost three years before the team left Philadelphia. The Warriors played the visitors to the Minneapolis Lakers, who moved to Los Angeles a year later and had already played a regular season game at the Cow Palace earlier in the year, so this game, January 31, 1960, could have been considered a civic scouting trip for both teams as they sought new homes.

In other words, the Warriors are almost surely the most geographically vague team in the history of North American sports. Moreover, they are about to become the first team in sports history to go home for the third time under three different city names – Philadelphia, San Francisco and Krypton, or whatever the hell they want to call themselves this time.