Ray Ratto Oct. 8 Chat Transcript

Ray Ratto Oct. 8 Chat Transcript

Oct. 8,2010
Editor's Note:CSNBayArea.com Senior Insider Ray Ratto chats regularly! Be sure to join him forfree-flowing discussions on just about anything!Ray Ratto
Welcome to the B. William Zito Lounge for today's chat. Don't be bashful, and don;'t be stupid, unless that's your A-gameFrom Dan
Does it drive you nuts that all of the outside media and other bandwagoners descend on your turf and step on your toes? It does me, get the heck out TBS, I want my regular Comcast guys who blow our doors off. Although, Brenly would fit in nicely with the crewRay Ratto
After 29 some-odd yearsI'm used to it. When Comcast becomes a mega-rightsholder, we'll be the outside media and bandwagoners, and we will not be merciful
Who do you think I am, the King of Television? Picture in picture! Mute! Radio! There are options. I don't mean to be snotty, but TBS owns the rights and there is nothing you can do but seek alternate forms of informationFrom Sox
What will it take for Selig to agree to adopt instant replay?Ray Ratto
Massive amounts of cash from the TiVO peopleFrom Dan
When you watch brodcasts from other teams, you realize how spoled we in Giantsland are spoiled with everyone in the brodcast media that are involved with the Giants. 90 of the other brodcasts are sleepers. I will probably regret posting this because now, once again, Comcast will raise rates.Ray Ratto
In fact, we're raising rates right now. Send me 20 or you have to listen to Ted Leitner in SpanishFrom NaturalHobbs
Ray - should Bud Selig listen to screaming commentators on ESPN who think that increasing instant replay should be top on our nation's to-do list, or people who've actually played, like Bobby Cox, who had the perfect response last night - he knew that if you put yourself in a position to 'lose' a game on a bad call, then you've lost already - striking out 14 times, making 2 (3 really) errors, and pitching around Sandoval was more than enough to cost them the game.From Leitner Loves Hockey
When should I start paying attention to the Sharks this year? Corollary: Is the NHL season too long?Ray Ratto
I think they're on now. As to your corollary, think of this as game 244 of the 2007 season and you'll feel much better about the current setupFrom NaturalHobbs
Have you seen Lincecum throw that many fastballs, without half being deposited in the stands, since 08 or even 07? Is the book on the Braves that they susceptible to fastballs, or was his early offspeed stuff that good? Or is the Braves offense that much worse than the Giants?Ray Ratto
His early offspeed stuff established the fastball, which topped out at 94 but actually moved more than it has in the past. It wasn't Halladay wicked, but it was Cliff Lee-level nasty. And by the way, the Braves' offense isn't that much worse than the Giants. One run is still normally a crummy day's work, even for the MarinersFrom NaturalHobbs
Is there ANY reason (short of injuries to 2 starters) why Zito would be back on the roster for the NLCS or WS?Ray Ratto
A cholera epidemic? No, I'm being a wise ass. I'd be surprised if he saw any postseason unless Bumgarner has a soul-crushing panic attack or turns lousy, and I'm not expecting suchFrom Sox
Any idea what the Giants' upper limit on off-season spending is? Do the Rowand and Zito deals preclude them from trying to sign Beltre or Crawford?Ray Ratto
Why, no, I don't. I did see Neukom running laps around the field with his shirt off, if that helps. As for money, I think they have it. But convincing hitters to come here when they have other options (as Crawford and Beltre surely do) is a whole different fondue pot entirely. They'll get paid wherever they go, but numbers are easier to compile in friendlier confines than theseFrom Edgar, Sacramento
What will happen first, the Kings get a spiffy downtown arena, the 49ers get a Santa Clara stadium or the A's migrate to San Jose? Maybe I should include hell freezing over as option No. 4?Ray Ratto
Or option 5: I wear a 34-waist again. If I had to rank them, 49ers, A's, Hell, Kings, me.From Brian from Lake Tahoe
I see this Giants team as being capable of winning a 5-game series against anyone in both leagues. But a 7-game series makes me nervous. Can the pitching carry them against a powerhouse like Philly, should the lads get to the NLCS?Ray Ratto
I am on record as saying no, so unless I want to look like Dick Vitale picking 47 college team to reach the Final Four, I am honor-bound to stay as I have been. Sounds like from the tone of your question that you're a little squeamish about Sanchez in a Game 7From Ellen -- As fan
Would Eric Chavez have been a borderline Hall of Fame candidate if he'd stayed healthy? (I realize that's like asking if I'd be rich if I had a different father). But just for the sake of debate, what say you?Ray Ratto
No. Even a borderline HOF candidate had to track at a better rate than he did in his heyday. No shame in that; it's just that the HOF is a bitch to get into, and even harder once the Veterans Committee gets around to telling you to take a hikeFrom Malcom, Carmel 49ers Fan
I really like Jed York, the way he speaks, the vision he has laid out, the way he has aggressively pursued a stadium ... is he a guy to lead this team for decades? Or is he just a better alternative than is father and I'm delusional.Ray Ratto
I believe you'll want to go with option (b), until you see something more from the boy than the fact that he isn't Dad. I mean, if you get liquored up enough, Sarah Palin sounds clever, too. It isn't how they sound, it's what the product looks likeFrom Rand
Why wouldn't the 49ers and Raiders share a stadium like the Jets and Giants. Geography? Or is it just mutual hatred, distrust, lame egos, etc. It absolutely makes no sense, and in this economy, it's insulting.Ray Ratto
No, here's why it can't happen. 1. Someone would have to be made whole for moving further from his fan base, and neither side wants to do that. 2. They don't trust each other. 3. There is no guarantee when control of the Raiders passes to Mark that it won't be sold and move back to L.A. 4. Roger Goodell hasn't come out to twist the arms he would cheerfully twist if this weren't the West CoastFrom Barton Jones
Odds that Stanford makes the Rose Bowl? I'd like to assume that No. 2 Ohio State will lose a game (not likely for No. 1 Alabama, down year for the SEC) and that allows No. 3 Oregon to leapfrog its way into the BCS title game. Work with me here, Mr. Ratto, I know this is half wish, half logic.Ray Ratto
No, it's half wish, half heroin. I believe to my vacated soul that a team that gives up 49 points in three quarters to anyone has defensive issues that mean more than one loss, and probably more than 2. I don't see a 9-3 team in the Rose Bowl. Plus, Ohio State isn't losing to anyone in the Big 10 this year.From Ban TBS
So, let me get this straight: Ernie Johnson is a basketball guy, and a studio host to boot. How is it that TBS thinks he's a play-by-play guy for the postseason? Why don't they just bring Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith in and make it a complete crock? Is Tony Kubek available?Ray Ratto
There's nothing wrong with Ernie Johnson for a national audience. You just want Kuiper and Krukow, and you don't want to mute your TV and turn on the radio because you're afraid your spouse is going to sell the couch in the 15 seconds it takes you to do so. Watch and listen both. This is America! This is why I fought in the Spanish-American War, damn it! For your freedom!From Humm Baby
So, you have one game for all the marbles and you have to choose one announcer to take the hill, so to speak: Hodges, Simmons, Greenwald, Kuiper ... (not going to nominate Phil Stone or Steve Physioc, sorry). Diplomacy prevent your from answering? It's a tough call but I love Hank's dry sense of humor.Ray Ratto
Any of the latter three, but if you make me choose -- Simmons, Greenwald, KuiperFrom Black Hole
Will Jason Campbell see another start in Oakland, assuming Grandkowski stays healthy (big if). Why isn't this an outrage, that they bring this guy in and he can't make it out of September. Did Cable bet his job on Grandkowski?Ray Ratto
Cable isn't bold enough to defy The Al, but if the team loses no matter who the quarterback is, he's gone anyway. And yes, Campbell will start againFrom Giants Fan
For your money, best Giants postseason team: 1987, 1989, 2002, 2010 ... sorry, wasn't around in 1962.Ray Ratto
'62 had five Hall of Famers, but since you declined the opportunity to expand your knowledge, 2002From Blue Liner
Fighting in hockey? Time for it to go? Necessary part of the game? Enjoyable and legit part of the game? BTW -- Did you see the HBO doc on the "Broad Street Bullies" earlier this year? Terrifying and inspiring all at the same time.Ray Ratto
They tried to cut back of fighting, found out they do better box office with it. This is an old argument that always comes back to whether more people like watching Canadians beating Slovaks or Russians beating Swedes. Me, I find it a nuisance, but I know how the NHL rolls. And the Broad Street Bullies special was a little superficial for meFrom muddypuddle
best beer food combo at AT&T?Ray Ratto
Beer and roofing insulation is good, so your question may actually be mootFrom Ramond
Can the A's challenge Texas next year? Was this season a success (finishing above .50, second place in the division)?Ray Ratto
Maybe, but they need a bat, maybe even two. And no, success is not measured by being the eighth-best team. It takes more to win in the AL, and they're not there yet. They have the pitching down, but the offense was miserableFrom Tom
Do people ever recognize you on the street? We used to have season tix to the 49ers and every time Ira Miller of the Chronicle came down from the press box people used to yell at him. Do fans yell at you, run away in fear, offer to buy you a drink?Ray Ratto
Yes, but they don't tend to enjoy the experience. Most fans yell at me, but as long as none of them are holding a bill or a baby, I'm okay with it. And nobody has ever offered me a drink, unless its a Windex with an anthrax chaserFrom Brandt
Best sports town in America, in your opinion? New York is too easy a pick. For history, championships, fan passion, variety of teams, I tend to think Chicago.Ray Ratto
Philly, then ChicagoFrom Guest
Ray, is it wrong of me to be hoping that the Niners finish below 500 and miss the playoffs? My biggest fear at this point is that they'll win just enough games to decide to keep Singletary and Smith one more year.Ray Ratto
"Wrong of you" is burning down a hospital, bilking old people or devouring puppies. You're entitled to dream what you want to dream. Be bold! Be decisive! Root for 0-16 if you want. You'll get punched out a lot at the stadium, but you're man enough to take itFrom Teal Tim
What is your take on Todd McLellan? Standard analysis is he was hired to be a Red Wings-killer. What's your Cliffs Notes version on his coaching acumen, how he handles players, etc.?Ray Ratto
Bad hair. Good coach. Players work hard for him, which is the only real issue there. Standard analysis re: Detroit was wrong, but the Sharks wanted to play more like the Wings, so they went the flattery-is-the-highest-compl;iment routeFrom Mike Murphy
What do you do to keep the moths out of your sweaters?Ray Ratto
DDT cologneFrom Jim
Does Ken Rosenthal hold a conversation in the same choppy tonedialect that he uses on TV?Ray Ratto
No. He sings his conversations in a high, lilting Irish tenor, which is why he's up to eyelids in women.Ray Ratto
And with that, today's shameful exercise in alcohol-free slander is done. Next week; disappearing rabbits, flame throwers and pudding sculptures for the kids. Until then, tip 20 percent or don't pay the bill at all

Raiders' magic dissipates, but valuable lesson about contending learned

Raiders' magic dissipates, but valuable lesson about contending learned

So the Oakland Raiders are good, but not magical, let alone soaked in destiny. So they can make every game a hard slog for the opponent, but they are not invulnerable. So they can be inefficient, and too sure of themselves, and terribly wasteful when they’re cold.

In other words, they are part of the National Football League – no longer too good to be true.

Their performance against the Chiefs in Kansas City was a pyramid of blown opportunities, opportunities made necessary by a terrible start. A week ago, against a borderline playoff team, they could get away with it. Thursday, on hostile ground, against a team that has lost three of its previous 23 regular season games and has a defense that specializes in standing on your chest until you whistle Yankee Doodle through your navel, they couldn’t.

The result of the 21-13 loss in a game with 12 more points than degrees of temperature is that the Raiders are now the fifth-best team in the American Football Conference rather than the first-best team with four more chances to change that position.

In other words, Thursday’s defeat only provided this much wisdom: The Raiders are a good team vulnerable to other good teams with an iron-plated sense of purpose, stubborn defenses that can apply and maintain a chokehold for hours on end, and offenses that don’t feel compelled to imitate Oakland’s offense by getting into a shootout.

And also this: There is nothing that would necessarily prevent them from beating the Chiefs in case of a third match, even though Kansas City held them to fewer points in two games than they scored in every other game save one. They are still, as the pedants say, “in the argument.”

But they have flaws to be exposed against the right team in the right situation. Kansas City has been that team twice, and New England probably is, but there the list probably stops. Nobody in the AFC North or South seems terribly capable of matching them in neutral conditions, but here’s the other bone spur:

The playoffs are not about neutral conditions.

The Raiders have come a long way in what most people think is a long time, but in fact in terms of team construction, you can throw out everything before 2013, and almost everything before 2015. They are just now getting a full understanding of the hardest part of becoming a Super Bowl contender – the other Super Bowl contenders.

Yes, Kansas City has an indifferent playoff history under Andy Reid, but it is clear that under current conditions the Chiefs are serious players. And while we have no link to how the Raiders would fare against new England, we are pretty sure that they wouldn’t want to play the second weekend of January arse-deep in snow in Foxborough.

The point? Now they get how hard this contender stuff really is. They could not have learned that lesson any other way – not anyone they’ve played yet save Kansas City.

Their next lessons come in Weeks 16 and 17, when they face the frantically desperate Indianapolis Colts in Oakland and then the Broncos in Denver the week after. Desperate teams can be very difficult indeed, especially to teams that are safe and dry and home, playoff-wise.

And then there are the actual playoffs, which if they were played today would have the Raiders traveling to Houston for a very winnable game against the stultifying Texans. The week after, they could be either in Kansas City again or in New England, getting a gut full of visiting field disadvantage.

But as a learning experience, the Raiders may have come out very well indeed. They now know in very real and personal ways the real difference between where they think they should be and where they are, as well as how many ways this can go terribly wrong between now and then.

And also how well it can go, if they learn what the Chiefs taught them again Thursday.

Marshall's admission a reminder culture of health doesn't exist

Marshall's admission a reminder culture of health doesn't exist

Brandon Marshall of the New York Jets had one of his greatest games ever against the San Francisco 49ers two years ago and remembers almost none of it, because, as he told reporters Wednesday, he was cloudy-minded on painkillers.

This admission is one more reminder that sports are not necessarily good for one’s health, in large part because the culture of health in sports really doesn’t exist.

There is, rather, a culture of ordnance, and the players are the weaponry.

Marshall’s acknowledgement that he was masking pain from a high ankle sprain that should have kept him out of action for “four to six weeks,” by his own estimation but had him returning to action 10 days after the original injury.

“I’ll say it: I took a couple pain pills, so . . . I took a couple of pain pills to mask the pain,” he said on a conference call with CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco. “I really wasn’t supposed to play. So I don’t remember much from that game. I just remember catching those balls. That was pretty much it.”

We now re-enter the culture of playing when it isn’t prudent, either out of a misplaced sense of bravado or employer-based pressure to perform (there is no direct statement from Marshall saying that the painkillers were given to him by the team). The sense of bravado, which most athletes have, probably can never be legislated, and the culture of downward pressure to perform no matter what the infirmity has proven immensely difficult to conquer.

But there is another factor here, and that is the general lack of efficacy of painkillers. Warriors coach Steve Kerr took to using a form of medicinal marijuana because the painkillers he was taking for long-lingering symptoms from his back surgery were doing more harm than good. He said he found the marijuana was equally lacking, but he had enough concerns about the deleterious effects of Vicodin, OxyContin and other standard medications assigned to athletes in pain.

“I’m not a pot person; it doesn’t agree with me,” Kerr told CSN Bay Area’s Monte Poole on the Warriors Insider Podcast. “I’ve tried it a few times, and it did not agree with me at all. So I’m not the expert on this stuff. But I do know this: If you’re an NFL player, in particular, and you’ve got a lot of pain, I don’t think there is any question that pot is better for your body than Vicodin. And yet athletes everywhere are prescribed Vicodin like it’s Vitamin C, like it’s no big deal.”

He later expanded on that after the initial “Kerr Is A Sparker” headlines hit the Internet.

“Having gone through a tough spell over the last year with my own recovery from back surgery, a lot of pain, a lot of chronic pain, I had to do a lot of research,” he said. “You get handed prescriptions for Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet . . . NFL players, that’s what they’re given. That stuff is awful. That stuff is dangerous, the addiction possibility, what it can lead to, the long-term health risks. The issue that’s really important is how do we do what’s best for the players.

“But I understand that it’s a perception issue around the country. The NFL, the NBA, it’s a business. So you don’t want your customers thinking, ‘These guys are a bunch of potheads.’ That’s what it is. To me, it’s only a matter of time before medicinal marijuana is allowed in sports leagues because the education will overwhelm the perception. If you do any research at all, the stuff they’re prescribing is really bad for you and the stuff that they’re banning is fine.”

It is instructive, then, that when Marshall was asked for his position on the NFL’s stance not to include marijuana as a permissible substance for pain management, substance, a Jets public-relations employee who could be heard in the background of the call saying that Marshall “knows better than that.”

But Marshall did answer the question, saying in essence that he fully intends to know better, period.

“That is something that I actually want to research more this offseason when I have time,” he said. “I’m not a guy that knows about the benefits of what it can do for pain and other things. But I’d like to hear others’ opinions and really research the effects it can have on us – positives and negatives.”

In the meantime, sports soldiers on, using increasingly debunked methods for dealing with the pain their businesses inflict upon their employees and issuing warnings about breaching the silence of the workplace. But tales like Marshall’s will continue to surface until the businesses that require him and his like come to grips with the toll of their shortsightedness and, in some cases, neglect.