Paterno's disgrace like no other


Paterno's disgrace like no other

Joe Posnanskis upcoming book on Joe Paterno has been universally slagged as a valentine to a disgraced man, based on no readings at all. Hey, we are a community of pre-judgers, and no matter how bad we are at it, we do it cheerfully anyway, typically on command.Or have you never asked, What do you think the Giants are going to do in September? or Will the 49ers get to the Super Bowl?But the brief GQ excerpt of the book is actually a look at a man who dies of disgrace in slow motion, and not the love letter to the image he crafted. And the one paragraph that shows him in the most horrible moment of self-realization makes all the pre-criticisms of the book moot.On Thursday (the day after his firing), Paterno met with his coaches at his house. He sobbed uncontrollably. This was his bad day. Later, one of his former captains, Brandon Short, stopped by the house. When Brandon asked, How are you doing, Coach? Paterno answered, I'm okay, but the last syllable was shaky, muffled by crying, and then he broke down and said, I don't know what I'm going to do with myself. Nobody knew how to handle such emotion. Joe had always seemed invulnerable. On Thursday, though, he cried continually.My name, he told Jay (his son), I have spent my whole life trying to make that name mean something. And now it's gone.You are not required to have sympathy for him even now. The misdeeds are too great, the misplaced priorities too horrendous. His disgrace is well-merited.But this is no love letter from Posnanski, as had been feared. This is a train wreck from the view of the engine, a look at the depths of disgrace that Chad Johnson couldnt possibly match in HBOs Hard Knocks when he was cut on camera by the Miami Dolphins after allegedly assaulting his soon-to-be-ex-wife Evelyn.Who, weirdly enough, he was going to appear on a VH1 reality show come September. Live by TV, die by TV, its all the same, because theyll both have new shows eventually. It is the nature of the beast.But there will be no new show for Paterno, not that there should be. Posnanski is allowed to capture him confronting his own doom, once and for always, and there is something both devastating and forlorn in all that, something television and the law of the observer effect cannot recreate.The observer effect states roughly that measurements of certain systems cannot be made without affecting the systems, a scientific way of saying that if you know you are watched doing something, it changes what you do. Johnson knew HBO was in the room when he was cut, because Johnson is a child of the age of intrusion television, and he reacted in full knowledge that he was being watched, and had the time to reinvent himself or his surroundings with time.Paterno knew he had no time left. He was dying, all he had known was being demolished, and his name and reputation was being reduced to rubble, not one brick at a time, but in an enormous explosion, and he would never be able to repair it. He may have been delusional about his importance, or his sense of his morality, but he knew what hed done, he did it anyway, and he was reaping a horrible whirlwind.You see, theres disgrace, and then theres disgrace. The difference was that in Paternos case, there was no TV camera there to somehow trivialize it, or promise a new exciting episode. This was his end, as captured not by a camera but a man with a pen. It will be remembered far longer than Chad Johnsons last HBO cameo for that very reason.
Ray Ratto is a columnist for

Sharks' Vlasic out of the lineup again

Sharks' Vlasic out of the lineup again

NASHVILLE – Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic is out of the lineup again.

The defenseman, who didn’t play on Tuesday in Minnesota with the flu and took just one shift in the third period on Friday in Dallas, was scratched for Saturday’s road trip finale against the Predators. The team stated Saturday’s absence was due to his being sick, although it should be noted he was spotted leaving the dressing room on Friday in Dallas not walking completely right.

The Sharks are 2-3-1 in games Vlasic missed this season entering Saturday night. 

Chris Tierney was also scratched, and is day-to-day with an upper body injury. Is was just the second game he has missed this season.

Dylan DeMelo drew into the lineup for Vlasic, while Timo Meier got back in on the fourth line with Micheal Haley and Marcus Sorensen.

Melker Karlsson (lower body) remains out.

Madson focused on his pitching, not his role in A's bullpen

Madson focused on his pitching, not his role in A's bullpen

MESA, Ariz. — Ryan Madson goes about his business getting ready for the season, without much clarity on what his bullpen role will be and hardly wringing his hands over the mystery.

A’s manager Bob Melvin has four veteran relievers with closer experience to choose from to be his ninth-inning man. He said Saturday morning he likely won’t announce that decision until the Bay Bridge Series that leads into Opening Day.

Madson, who rang up 30 saves as Oakland’s primary closer last season, prepares the same during the spring regardless of what inning he might pitch. He sees the numerous closer options as being a benefit for whoever ultimately gets picked for the ninth.

“If I’m doing it and I don’t get it done, there’s guys that will,” Madson said. “It’s not just a one-man show, so that takes the pressure off actually. People would think maybe it adds pressure — you gotta do good so you can have it. To me, it does the exact opposite. That helps me, knowing the more guys you’ve got that can do the job, the easier that job becomes.”

It wouldn’t be a shock if Melvin goes with the 36-year-old Madson as closer to begin the season. He’s the incumbent, and, though he had a 7.50 spring ERA before throwing a scoreless inning Saturday, no one among the trio of John Axford, Santiago Casilla and Sean Doolittle has made an emphatic statement for the job with their Cactus League performance. Axford’s 5.06 ERA is the lowest of those four.

From his comments so far this spring, Melvin seems inclined to use Ryan Dull as an escape artist to enter with men on base, a situation that he excelled in last season.

Regardless of how Melvin lines up his bullpen for the regular season, he’s said that he’s likely to utilize multiple guys in save situations depending on who’s available and who needs rest on a given day.

At this time last year, Madson was assumed to be the eighth-inning setup man with Doolittle handling closer duties. Melvin wound up flip-flopping them for the start of the regular season, and Madson got off to a strong start and remained the closer for most of the year. In his first extended ninth-inning duty since 2011, he notched his second 30-save season but also had seven blown saves, tied for second most in the American League.

“The emotions are different” in the ninth inning, Madson said. “They’re heightened, and so I had to adjust that way. … As long as I can navigate those emotions and put them in the right place, I usually do well when I can do that.”

Entering the second year of a three-year, $22 million contract, Madson said he likes the way he’s rounding into form on the mound despite less-than-glittering numbers.

“When I have good angle on the ball, good deception and good movement, then I get outs and I get ground balls,” he said. “I get strikeouts with the changeup. So if I focus on that, everything else falls in where it needs to.”