Ray Ratto Nov. 19 Chat Transcript

Ray Ratto Nov. 19 Chat Transcript

Nov. 19, 2010RATTO ARCHIVE
Editor's Note:CSNBayArea.com Senior Insider Ray Ratto chats regularly! Be sure to join him forfree-flowing discussions on just about anything!
Ray RattoCSNBayArea.com

Ray Ratto:
So let's get down to cases, shall we? As He Who Sees All and Knows All, I am the guy for your snap-judgment needs. Plus, I'm feeling exceedingly pretty today. And now . . . you.

From Heath:
How many more games do the 49ers win this year?Ray Ratto:
An excellent question, which I have pondered long and often since the season began and then went to hell. The answer is three -- both Arizonas and Seattle at home. They go 6-190, there is much hue and cry about firing coaches and general managers being hired and Uncle Eddie coming back, but only one of those will actually happen. The first one.From Julie:
Do you foresee Coach Singletary coaching his way to a division tittle or to a one way ticket to unemployment?Ray Ratto:
No, and yes, in that order.From BearBacker:
Scenarios by which Cal wins the Big Game? And don't give me something about the Hayward Fault rupturing and swallowing Andrew Luck at midfield. Seriously, what are Cal's options and strategy?Ray Ratto:
Wow, that took quite a tone right away, didn't it? Cal wins by forcing turnovers (three, minimum) and grinding out first downs to keep the ball out of Luck's hands. I don't see a big score here, between the Cal defense and the weather, so I would say that's Cal's ticket.From OrangeOctober:
Is there any way that Derek Jeter won't be a Yankee for life? Would you advocate the Giants signing him in any way? Even if he's lost a step or some batspeed I feel like he would be a force in a clubhouse that doesn't know how to defend a title.Ray Ratto:
Doesn't know how to defend a title? The Yankees won last year and couldn't defend the title. Frankly, Jeter stays in new York, because San Francisco offers him nothing he doesn't already have more of in New York. If the Yankees are talking 15Myear, that's way out of the Giants' ballpark for a guy who is clearly beginning the landing portion of the flight.From Josue:
Besides Huff and Uribe, who is the top free agent for the Giants this offseason?Ray Ratto:
That is theirs, or someone else's?From Sam:
Are the Raiders for real?Ray Ratto:
No, they are utterly fictional. We won't know based on Sunday, because I don't think they are good enough to beat Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh. They beat Miami but lose at San Diego, and the Chargers have an easier closing schedule.From Rip:
What is wrong with the Sharks? Yeah, yeah, people were pointing fingers at the officials on Thursday but the bottom line is that this team is tough to watch right now. Is a vein going to explode in McClellan's neck soon?Ray Ratto:
The neck explosion is scheduled after the game in Ottawa Dec. 2. San Jose has two full lines and shards of two others, and one reliable defenseman (Boyle) who is being run to a nub because those around him are too hit-and-miss. The loss of Malhotra was enormous, and the need for a defenseman to replace Blake, which everyone knew at the time, grows only more acute.From Benton:
If you're Andrew Luck and you're looking at Buffalo or Carolina as the next place your mail is being delivered, does that influence the decision to come back for his senior season? Or do you take the money and run?Ray Ratto:
We don't know if there will be a lockout, so that factors in as well. Historically, quarterbacks who wait tend to wait too long, but Luck could play some Manning-like hardball to get a better team interested in trading up (daddy Oliver played in the league, is the AD at West Virginia, and can twist a little arm here and there). I don't think he stays if there is football in 2011, but I also don't think he is doomed to those two choices.From Marvin:
How do you feel about a potential move for the A's from Oakland to San Jose?Ray Ratto:
Do I think it's going to happen? No. Do I think the A's would be helped by moving there? One year, two years, tops. They've done such a shoddy job of building a fan base that I think they'll run into serious resistance from ticket buyers after a year or two. Waiting for the team to get good to draw crowds only leads to front-runners who buy game-day but not full season ticket packages. Frankly, I think John Fisher and Lew Wolff have gone about this whole thing so monumentally wrong that it can't end well either way.From Miller:
What are the odds of Pablo Sandoval getting in shape? And is he on his own or will the Giants send a trainer to Venezuela, or force him to hang out in Scottsdale? What are your thoughts ... what is the plan? Thanks, your writing is among the best.Ray Ratto:
You're far too kind, and I should know. The biggest hurdle (since he is going to San Diego and then Scottsdale) is for his mother to accept that she can't cook for him in the same way he is used to eating. The rest of it is just monitoring him, which the Giants are already planning to do. They expect him to be below 250 by the time camp starts, which I'm not sure he can manage.From Frank:
Fighting in hockey ... your take?Ray Ratto:
Do they need it? No, but they're too afraid to find out, so it will be there until you and I and our children are all long and safely dead. Or until someone dies in an on-ice fight. Is that morbid enough for you with the holidays coming up?From Victor:
Harbraugh good fit for 49ers or Dallas?Ray Ratto:
No in either place, because they're both too top-down for him. But of the two, Dallas is better, because he rises to the attention and is in a bigger theatre. Plus, he and Jerry will scream at each other, which Jerry clearly needs more of in his life.From Yvonne:
Jed York -- how do you grade him as an owner? Maybe a B? I had a lot of faith in him when he initially took over -- fired Nolan, clearly a bright guy with a passion for the team, pushed the stadium vote through. For some reason, maybe it's just me, but the bloom has gone off the rose a bit.Ray Ratto:
Well, Yvonne, you're a little generous with the letters there. It's a B-minus at best, bordering on a C. Singletary is his problem, and I see no evidence to suggest that he either is or has at his disposal someone who can find him a replacement, let alone a general manager to run the operation. Maybe he'll have a change of heart, leadership-wise, but so far nothing indicates that he has. Fix that, and you have a B. Don't fix that, and it's a C, maybe even worse.From Josh:
Will the Warriors become an elite team in the next couple years? i see a bright future with Ellis,Curry, and David Lee but need more All Stars.Ray Ratto:
God, no. This is still a team that is too thin, doesn't defend consistently, and is terribly fragile. It would take four years for them to do what they need to do, and at that, they'd have to get the best player in the draft and make hjim happy while making him better. They're coming from a long way off the pack, and I don't see a 34-game improvement (from 26 to 60 wins, anm elite number) over two years.From Maria:
Can you handicap the Heisman race? Will this mess at Auburn impact Cam Newton's chances? Is Andrew Luck going to be a finalist? Could he win the thing? Who else ... the Boise St. QB?Ray Ratto:
Newton is still the leader until the NCAA, FBI, Interpol or MI5 says otherwise. Kellen Moore is also a more viable candidate. But Luck has a chance to get himself an invitation to New York.From BigGamer:
Jeff Tedford vs. Jim Harbaugh in a staredown ... who would win?Ray Ratto:
A staredown? Tedford. You can't get either one of them to say anything they don't want to do, but you can break Harbaugh's ocular resolve if you train properly.From SportsFan:
Do you get free Comcast Cable? And can you do anything about the 4-hour window waiting for a tech?Ray Ratto:
Yes I do. And I will expand it to eight hours, 10 on the weekend, just for you. No need to thank me -- it's all in a day's work for Johnny Television.From Roger Goodell's Evil Twin:
Will the NFL ever find a way to minimize concussions, or legislate them out of the game? I don't want players to get hurt or have memory issues after they are done playing but c'mon, this is a violent, collision-based game. Call me a sadist but I like to see big hits and guys getting laid out.Ray Ratto:
Sounds like you like concussions. An interesting position, that. As to your question, they will work just as hard as their lawyers tell them to to keep from having to go to court, so yes, I think they'll try to legislate.From Giants415:
Will the Giants be a favorite to book a ticket to the World Series again this year or the next couple years?Ray Ratto:
No for 2011, maybe for 2012 0r '13. Too much went right, and you never know which pitcher is going down next year, but one will. It's the law of big numbers.From Luis:
Your World Series Prediction? I'm saying Yankees-Atlanta.Ray Ratto:
Pirates-Royals. And tell your friends where you heard it, because if I'm right . . . well, you know.From Jerry:
is there something I'm missing in the Rajai Davis? Did he look at Beane the wrong way last week? He put up good numbers last year and all we're getting is a couple of AA relief pitchers.Ray Ratto:
The DeJesus deal made him superfluous, and Beane likes to stockpile minor leaguers.From John Izumi:
ray your doing a great job but tyreke evans and demarcus cousins or steph curry and monta ellis for next 10 years your choice.Ray Ratto:
None of them will be together for the next years, but if you're asking me who among them will go that long, I'd say all but Cousins. That's an uneducated guess, mind you, but that's the one I have today. From Lunatic Fringe:
Has the World Series changed Sabean's local profile forever? Has it invalidated the criticism of failing to develop position players, overpaying for old free agents? Am I just a bastard for continuing to beat this drum? Where would you rate him among big league GMs? Upper tier?Ray Ratto:
You are a bastard, and it has nothing to do with this; I know where you go, I see what you do. I am Santa Claus.As for the rest of it, you have to rememebr that Sabean operates now with more freedom of action and resources than he ever did under previous management, so many of the criticisms you cite were based on an old template (they didn't have great position player evaluators, but their development budgets were so low that they had to make hard choices and decided to draft as many pitchers as they could find). In addition, he could not rebuild the club from below until Bonds left by ownership fiat, so he had to settle for bad bargains like Dave Roberts and Randy Winn. He did make his share of mistakes (Benitez, Alfonzo, Hillenbrand), but he's not a stupid man or anti-youth opr anti metrics,. He just relies more heavily on scouts than many GMs do. Where he ranks is difficult to say because each GM has different spending and control parameters, and there are so many GMs who are relative babes and have a sm,all sample size. In short, I'll duck that one because he has so few contemporaries. From John Izumi:
another question is demarcus cousins a legit 20 point and 11 rebound guy in 2-4 years if his head is straight?Ray Ratto:
Who knows? Let's wait until his head is straightened, and guess again then.From Brian, Grass Valley:
Did you get a sense that the Giants were trying to distance themselves from Bonds during the World Series and its aftermath? How would you describe the vibe between No. 25 and the team, its ownership, etc.Ray Ratto:
If they want to distance themselves from him, they would never invite him back. Neukom has no tie to Bonds that he doesn't want to have, and the fact that he sat next to Neukom during the LCS tells you pretty much what you need to know there. I don't think he'll get a baseball job while Sabean is there, but if he really wants one afterward, there is always a chance.From John Izumi:
ray i came to this chat late cant wait till next week, have a great week man.Ray Ratto:
You, as well. I'll do the best I can given my limited resources.From Brian, Grass Valley:
Will Bonds beat the Feds in his trial? Did you see the ESPN piece on Marion Jones? Seems that if she did some time, Bonds has to feel a bit nervous. And I'm no F. Lee Bailey but it seems that when Uncle Sam wants your hide, he usually gets what he's after.Ray Ratto:
Without a corroborating witness (Greg Anderson), he walks.From Brandon:
Billy Beane -- was he overrated by all the Moneyball hype? Is he a top-notch GM or merely a guy who's carved out an identity based on the fact that he's going against the grain? Tough to judge him with the A's so tight with their cash.Ray Ratto:
The last sentence is most important, but it's fair to say he benefitted from the roster he had when he took over, and was probably overpraised during the early 2000s and the Moneyball explosion. But he's not stupid, by any means. He's just impoverished.From Joe:
Seen any good movies lately?Ray Ratto:
No.From Billy Beane:
Was Dye for Jose Ortiz impoverished?Ray Ratto:
No. He's done some very good work, but to evalutae him fully, you'd have to see him with a full wallet, just as you'd evaluate Sabean with a free hand. That's why comparing general managers is silly. Comparing owners is much easier, since it's mostly a 27-way tie for last.From Billy Beane:
Anderson or Haren?Ray Ratto:
Both.From Joe Lacob:
when do i hire a replacement for keith smart?Ray Ratto:
Christmas morning. That always plays well with the customers.From Ron:
I'm doing them because someone who signs my check told me to. Then again, I'm kind of a whore that way.And so ends another lost hours of all our life spans. Next week -- "Trytophan, The Silent Killer," or "This Is The Police; Drop That Yam And Come Out With Your Hands Up."

NFL disregards domestic violence, as Giants extend its tolerance scale


NFL disregards domestic violence, as Giants extend its tolerance scale

The National Football League has been reminded yet again that it neither understands nor cares to understand about domestic violence.

But it will do better, you may rest assured. They’ll have a week where all the on-field personnel wear purple to commemorate the bruises.

That’s what the NFL does when it can no longer ignore its own tone-deafness – they turn their stupidity into a marketing opportunity. After all, every social problem can be solved in the league’s eyes by figuring out a way for the league to monetize it.

The latest example of the NFL’s slack-jawed world view comes from New York, where the Giants could not and still cannot figure out what to do about kicker/serial domestic abuser Josh Brown except not let him go to London for the weekend.

This means the league has learned nothing from the Ray Rice incident, even as Rice of all people is showing on a regular basis how to learn from it. More than that, it means it has no interest in learning anything about it, and will never prioritize it beyond crisis-management level – “Uh-oh, something bad just happened. Quick, put it behind us.”

Then again, the league has been so relentlessly ham-handed on so many things that, as convenient as this may be for it, we should stop expecting it to do so, to the point that when someone from the league wants to explain some social issue to us we should simply say with one voice, “Oh, shut up, you yammering frauds.”

It is difficult to prioritize the number of ways the Giants failed to comprehend the problem currently smacking them between the numbers, although owner John Mara’s “He admitted to us he'd abused his wife in the past. What’s a little unclear is the extent of that” may summarize it nicely.

Put another way, one could make a case that the Giants extended the universal talent-tolerance scale (if you have the talent, anything can be tolerated until it can’t) to include placekickers.

That seems less likely, though, than the more obvious point that the league doesn’t regard domestic violence as something worth concerning itself with, while bloviating all the time about all the things with which it is concerned. The league is the beat cop who never gets out of his car to see what is happening on his beat, and is shocked when something does.

And while it will be handy to pile this atop the list of reasons why Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn’t get it, the truth is he is merely the painful rash that reveals the league’s case of shingles. The league’s 32 constituent elements are culpable here because ignorance in the face of so much evidence becomes willful, and Goodell’s skill is not in guiding the league but in figuring out where his 32 bosses want him to go, and avoiding all the places they don’t.

Hence, domestic violence. This is not an easy problem to solve, as any expert will say, but Mara trying to decide how many punches are enough isn’t it. The league’s six-game suspension guideline that is now four years old has never been imposed on any player. It wants the power to use the talent-tolerance scale at whim to do what it wishes when it wishes to do it.

Or in this case, not do anything at all until it has to, and then in as minimal a fashion as it can manage.

So, Josh Brown loses a week in a foreign country on the company dime as a trade-off for continually terrorizing his wife. The league says it punished him for a game but was powerless to do anything else while knowing all along how severe the problem had become.

In short, it did the minimum. Now that everyone knows the fullest extent of Brown’s abuse, and how much the league knew without doing anything, it will now extend the minimum out to what it thinks is a new minimum.

So we now know that the NFL is looking for some metric that will determine the transactional “extent of that,” as John Mara so eloquently put it for us. When it comes up with that formula, it will surely ignore that standard, because the real standard is still “talent-tolerance,” and the world is made up of concentric circles surrounding the people who make the league and its members a dollar more tomorrow than it made today.

And spouses are a long way from the center.

Silent but effective Sharks look to be an under-the-radar power

Silent but effective Sharks look to be an under-the-radar power

The National Hockey League began its 685th season (or whatever the hell it is; the other reason to know is for the yobs who have to authenticate the shoulder patches), and apparently is going to belong to Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid and the new focus on speed and attack and goals.

At least that was the talk after Night One of 179, in which the first three games of the new season featured some mid-‘80s level run-and-run play. The Ottawa-Toronto game gave us Matthews’ first four NHL goals in a game his Torontos lost, 5-4. The Edmonton-Calgary game finished 7-4, with the nonpareil McDavid scoring twice. Even the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks engaged in some fun-time up-and-down play in a 5-2 St. Louis victory.

But here, we get cold, hard sanity – the discipline and territorial integrity that is the hallmark of the new-ish and ever-so-slightly improved San Jose Sharks. They opened their defense of the Not-Quite-Stanley Cup with a very grind-y 2-1 win over the allegedly declining but still obstinate Los Angeles Kings.

[KURZ: Instant Replay: Couture, Burns push Sharks past Kings]

Guess which game won’t be talked about come the morning’s national rehashes. And guess who won’t give a farthing’s worth of damn.

Matthews and McDavid will of course dominate – Matthews, because he is a Toronto Maple Leafs and all things Leaf trump all things anything else in this still-defiantly Canadian league, and McDavid, because he helped usher in the brand new civic boondoggle . . . err, arena in Edmonton with two goals and the quote of the night.

“I don't think I touched the puck four times in my first game,” McDavid said, telling what is clearly a monumental whopper because he knows a good story when it is thrust upon him.

That will get run.

The Sharks, on the other hand, have resumed their plan running silent and running deep. Despite having the territorial and chance edges, the Skating Selachimorpha needed to stay true to their truth, which is that 11-goal games are not to their advantage, and that the sum of the whole must exceed its parts.

That’s how they got to hang a new banner from the rafters of The Old Grey Girl on Santa Clara Street – by keeping their heads when all about them are scoring theirs off.

Then again, the Sharks have older legs in key positions, greater expectations than Get The Puck To The Young’uns and Try Not To Finish 13th, and a coach in Peter (Chuckles) DeBoer who has the pressure of taking last year’s stealth success and finish the job the Pittsburgh Penguins prevented them from doing a year ago.

In short, the Sharks are likely to be just as under-the-radar this year as they were last, and assuming health and focus, they are still one of the two or three best teams in the Western Conference.

It’s just that they can’t run hither and yon chasing whatever puck looks tempting to them. Their first duty is to maintain defensive integrity, which they did with fervor and purpose Wednesday night, and their second is to see to it that goaltender Martin Jones is not oppressively treated by the opponent (San Jose outshot Los Angeles 31-22, and totally outshot the Kings, 73-58).

There was, in short, relatively little to make anyone wax euphoric about this team off one game, and in fairness, Kings coach Darryl Sutter knows how to keep games into the race-to-three stage, which may color the judgment some.

But the Sharks are playing the way they have learned works best for them, and that means gumming up passing (15 takeaways) and shooting lanes (21 blocked shots). They are like the Kings – well, the Kings of a couple of years ago – than they are the newest incarnations of the Oilers or Leafs, and based on history, that shall be considered a good thing.

Of course, the game, she is a’changing, and at some point in the next couple of years the changes that every season brings will become substantive ones, the old core will give way to a new one, and the current orthodoxy that speed is the most important component to happy-happy-win-joy will overtake San Jose.

DeBoer, though, showed against last night that is perfectly comfortable dancing with who brung him, as the kids no longer say, and making the most of what Providence has offered him. And Wednesday, as it did for most of the past year save the lost fortnight in Pennsylvania, that philosophy once again came up trumps.

Well, maybe that’s a saying we should probably forgo for awhile. Let’s just leave it at “Sharks, twice as many as Kings.” That’s a good enough result to get paid off in this league, and until DeBoer is asked for style points, that will more than suffice.