Ratto: Lincecum's last chance to vent on the Giants


Ratto: Lincecum's last chance to vent on the Giants

Aug. 30, 2011


Follow @RattoCSNRay Ratto

Tim Lincecums last chance passed Monday night, and with it the last chance for the Giants pitching staff to unload a years worth of imprecations toward their teammates.All it would have taken was for Lincecum to say that one simple sentence, I know we were done when I gave up that Soriano homer. No chance after that. None.Then some snotty reporter would have asked, How did you know that? It was just 1-0. And Lincecum would have had his opening.Are you kidding? he could have yelped in his best scalded-dog voice as he crushed a swig of Old Overcoat. Have you been here at all? Were averaging zero a game. Zero. I give up one, were done. And its like this every stinking night. We all know it. They all know it. The fans all know it. First one to one run wins, unless its us.
The evidence is too overwhelming, the body language too revealing. Losing to the Cubs, 7-0, at home is hard not because of the 7, but because of the 0. Randy Wells, whose ERA is two runs higher than the Giants' scoring average, smothered them with a throw pillow like it was a spring training game.RELATED: Rock bottom? Cubs shut out Giants 7-0
And nobody in the clubhouse would have argued with him, or minded that he broke clubhouse protocol to shame his brethren. Hell, it might have been cathartic enough that even the hitters would have leaped to Lincecums defense.We stink, Aubrey Huff could have said. I stink, they stink, we all stink. Weve done everything we know to try and it always comes out the same. Were just grateful it took 135 games for one of the pitchers to finally lose it. They were overly kind, and we appreciate it.But the moments passed, and now a pitcher ripping the Giants offense is pretty much backing over a dead squirrel. It isnt going to get better, and it cant really get worse.And now, because Lincecum held his tongue as a good teammate would, none of the other pitchers can really unload either. Only he and Matt Cain have the legitimate right to do so, and Cains been through this too long to be either surprised or annoyed by it.URBAN: Giants just aren't very good
Since the fans are also coming around to the notion that these hitters cant be fixed this year, except maybe in the veterinary sense, laying them out in public is almost like yelling at a cat for stealing a car. You can scream all you want, but the cat isnt going to get why youre mad. Its a cat, for Gods sake.By, now, the numbers just double over and laugh. As of today, the Giants are on pace to score 544 runs, which would give them a ridiculous 3.36 runs per game. Only one team in franchise history, the 1902 Giants, failed to meet even that enfeebled standard, making this the 128th best offense in franchise history, out of only 129 teams.Since the All-Star Break, they have played 43 games, and only in 11 of those 43 games have they scored more than four runs, which is problematic in the extreme given that the average total for one team in any game is 4.15.But the pitchers have stiff-upper-lipped it through thin, thinner and starvation-level, keeping their comments under their breaths and in pitchers-only meetings in which Dave Righettis sole job is to search them for sharp objects and evidence of cutting.But Monday would have been the moment, simply because it seemed to be the moment that the fans and even the broadcasters accepted the inevitable -- that their world is going to be an endless parade of 4-to-3s, 6-to-3s and strikeouts, and that the teams average with runners in scoring position is no longer even listed.Monday was the night everyone finally realized that it isnt the batting orders that are wrong with this team, but the names on them. Monday was the night that the Giants finally stubbed out hope that they would ever hit again except in the most absurd of confluences.And yet Lincecum didnt crack, except for some oblique reference to Its hard to keep your head up. Bruce Bochy, who ran out of words long ago and had just been reciting from the Book of What Do You Want From Me, finally surrendered, skipping the postgame entirely and referring all hitting inquiries to whatever batsmen were available.So now the moment is gone, and theres no retrieving it. If a pitcher says something now, it will seem like piling on rather than frustration of constructive criticism. It certainly wont be a spontaneous outburst. It will be the dead squirrel, flattened for no good reason save being able to say, I ran over a dead squirrel.And whats the satisfaction in that?Ray Ratto is a columnist with 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.