Ratto: Giants Dancing All the Way to Texas

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Ratto: Giants Dancing All the Way to Texas

Oct. 28, 2010RATTO ARCHIVEGIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEOMLB POSTSEASONRay Ratto
CSNBayArea.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- Its been another hellishly bad postseason for pre-series analysis. But well be back at it next spring, undeterred by the fact that the Giants are laughing at us all for the dolts we surely are.

They didnt hit for six months and three weeks, and now they have a hundred runs and a thousand hits in two games of the World Series nobody thought theyd ever see.

They faced pitchers who made them scrape for everything they got for 172 games, and now they find the one team in baseball that lets them do whatever they want.

They sweated bone marrow and spinal fluid to get past San Diego, Atlanta and Philadelphia, and now theyve formed a conga line around the basepaths in the Series.

Anyone see this coming? Liar! Anyone see 20 runs and 22 hits in two games against the Texas Rangers, including seven with two outs and nobody on (a Series first)? Falsifier! Anyone not believe there was the dreaded T-word (torture) looming in every at-bat? Fibster!

Anyone see these guys two games away from The Parade That Dare Not Speak Its Name? You Prevaricating Swine!

Fortunately, there is the nagging fear all Giant followers still have, that the Rangers arent this bad, that the invigorating waters of Arlington will purify and revivify them and change this World Series before Monday dawns.

Hint: The 1960 Yankees scored 20 runs in the first two games against Pittsburgh and split. They also scored 21 runs in the last two games and split again. They lost that Series. They were mighty unhappy.

But thats it. Thats your look-out-theres-a-trap warning. Because right now, the Giants couldnt look better, and the Rangers couldnt look more like the Washington Senators from which they were spawned.

If you had to organize the heroes in the first two games in order of importance, youd have to start with Game 2 starter Matt Cain, whose third consecutive masterwork made him the pending new face of the franchise. He pitched through and around the Rangers for 7 23 innings, needing neither an overpowering fastball or luck behind him to stifle the Texas hitters.

But after that, what you have is a list of the forgotten, the slandered and the worse-money-after-bad.

Freddy Sanchez doubled three times and drove in three runs in Game 1. Edgar Renteria homered and drove in three runs in Game 2. Aaron Rowand tripled home two runs in Game 2. Juan Uribe hit a three-run homer in Game 1. Nobody has, when the hat has been passed, not kicked in more than his share.

Heres another one. Only three Giant starters, Buster Posey in Game 1 and Andres Torres and Sanchez in Game 2, have not scored. Only Sanchez, Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff in Game 2 have not had hits. The Giants have had 11 extra-base hits after having only 20 in the previous 10 games.

In the meantime, even the two things the Rangers could hang their hats on, the C.J. Wilson start that ended with a blister and the Ian Kinsler 398-12-foot double, ended up kicking Texas right in the cash-and-prizes.

Kinsler ended up at second on the ball that bounced off the tippy-top of the fence looking like someone had just spit in his plate. And Wilsons departure turned into a Family Guy skit -- 19 balls in 22 pitches, followed by Renterias single, Rowands triple and Torres double.

In summation, this has been preposterous. Unfathomable. Not even the uncounted legions in the Downtown Pot Brigade could have emptied out the entire Mendocino County Storehouse Of Fun and hallucinated this.

So the whole of GiantsWorld now boils itself down to a single existential answer to a single existential question, namely:

Is this team -- the one that spent the whole season laying naked on the third rail daring the 12-car train from the airport to come barreling down the track -- prepared to finish the job in Arlington?

Bruce Bochy, who has managed like his mortgage was on every at-bat, will try to manage that way in Games 3, 4 and If Necessary, but can the Giants actually make his job this easy twice more?

In other words, is torture at last an outmoded construct here at the corner of King and Ball Four?

The quiz resumes Saturday, with Jonathan Sanchez, who blew up in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series, against Colby Lewis, who was an As mop-up man in 2007 and a nearly-ex-player in 2008 and 2009.

So yeah, this can get a hell of lot weirder. But after these two games, the bizarro-bar is pretty damned high.
Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

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

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USATSI

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

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Geology.com

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.