Ray Ratto

Giants' funeral dirge?

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Giants' funeral dirge?

I believe a New Orleans funeral is the way to go its essentially a party celebrating the life of the dead, with some miscellaneous burying involved. Beyond that, Im not sure what goes into it, but it sounds a hell of a lot better than just about anything else you do with the dead. Youre here, then youre gone, and you may as well leave em smiling as you pay the bill.Enter the 2011 Giants, about to be just as dead.With their magic numbers for elimination from the NL West race at 1, and the postseason entirely at 3, you may want to cling to hope, pigheaded optimists that you are, but if Im the Giants, Im making arrangements. Im having a wake, Im burying everything I can get away with, and Im serving beer and shots at the usual exorbitant prices.I mean, other than Cal football, what the hell else are they going to use the building for?In short, they need to gather up 2011 and dig a wide, shallow hole (going deep causes issues with the cove, and nothing ruins a funeral like flooding). They need to invite 40,000 of their closest friends, without charging them you know, a one-time freebie thank you that isnt disguised by saying Its for the Giants Community Fund, so cough up, suckers and do it down in true New Orleans style.Okay, San Francisco style. I forgot, Copernicus wrong. This is the center of the universe. My bad.In this hole, you place: The 2010 World Champion flag, or a facsimile thereof, in case you need to make sure all the flagpoles are accounted for. One cap, one T-shirt, one jersey, one hoodie, one set of black-and-orange argyle pants, one nightie and whatever other delicates they sell in the store in fact, one of everything, right down to the barbecue tongs, the board games, the foil cutters, the jeroboam of Old Wombat Select repackaged with a Giants logo. Like Noahs Ark, only for inventory. Team photos of the 1944 White Sox (record, 71-83) and 1985 Pirates (record, 57-104), the two teams whose average runs per game bracket that of the 2011 Giants. You know, as sort of a there but for the grace of God go thee kind of deal. And effigies of those who gave their positions so that 2011 would be the hilariously futile parade it was, to wit:1. Aaron Rowand.
2. Miguel Tejada.
3. Zach Wheeler.
4. John Bowker.
5. Bill Hall.
6. Jonathan Sanchez strike zone.
7. Buster Poseys ankle.
8. Freddy Sanchez shoulder.
9. Brian Wilsons elbow (part of the Charlie Sheen surprise Everything I Touch package).
10. Aubrey Huffs confidence.
11. Andres Torres joie de vivre.
12. Bruce Bochys genius (even though he probably exceeded last years performance flogging 84 wins out of this crew).
13. Brian Sabeans trading mastery.
14. One seventh of Pablo Sandoval.
15. The bat rack.
16. The batting cage.
17. The pitching machines.
18. The bats.
19. Anything, in short, that had anything to do with batting of any kind.
20. And of course, Billy Neukom, bow-tie and all. He was Icarus with flannel underwear, and paid the price that all minority owners who forget that they are minority owners eventually pay. They get buried in some outfield dirt and get run over periodically by Nate Schierholtz.We were going to mention Ryan Rohlinger as well, given that he had one at-bat all year and struck out in it, thereby providing context for the entire season. But that would be, well, gratuitous.Anyway, you put it all in a heap, let the folks walk by and pay their respects with little trinkets and mementos, or just some spit, if youre that disgusted. And then either bury it all, or if you can get the fire department to sign off on it, burn it and make the ozone layer feel your pain.Going out like whimpered curs just because their buzz got harshed is not the Giants Way. I know. I got the book. Its on Page 27, next to Even if you think you have the powers of Charlemagne, pretend you care about others opinions.And yeah, that goes in the pile too.The point here is this: They cant take your memories, unless the wrong guy ends up as President in 2012. But a funeral is demanded, and a funeral must happen. And remember, in the immortal words of the King of Swamp Castle after his daughters wedding was ruined by a mass slaughter during Monty Python and the Holy Grail:Please! This is supposed to be a happy occasion! Lets not bicker and argue about who killed who.In fact, that should be on a banner in front of the stadium for all of 2012.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

In retirement, Andre Ward will have days when he desperately wants back in

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AP

In retirement, Andre Ward will have days when he desperately wants back in

Andre Ward finally did what he said he would do – retire before the sport of boxing retired him.

Now we’ll see if boxing intends to leave him be.

Ward announced his retirement via Twitter Thursday morning, seemingly ending the career of one of the world’s greatest fighters in the elusive pound-for-pound category. He now plans to get into media, which is a battle of its own (ask Teddy Atlas when he talks with Stephen A. Smith how rewarding that can be).

But there’s that word “seemingly.” Boxers have a greater incidence of unretirement than any other sport because they miss what they do, they are typically surrounded by people who like the paydays the boxer’s fights provide, the unpaid tax debts some incur never go away, and sometimes they just don’t have anything better to do.

And then one day they find out they can’t do anything at all because of the punishments that come with violent sport, and then they become either tragedies or cautionary tales. Almost nobody gets to 95 like Jake LaMotta did.

Ward has said repeatedly that would never happen to him, that he was in control of his destiny and would remain so. And you want to believe him, because he would be that rarest of boxing stories – the unmitigated success.

It will be his toughest fight, however, far tougher than Sergei Kovalev. Boxing has this weird thrall upon its practitioners that can prove irresistible, if not outright necessary, and Ward will have to train as hard to repel its call as he did when he was neck-deep in it. It will not be easy, and he will have days when he desperately wants back in.

But retired fighters typically make poor unretired fighters, and the more one unretires, the worse the future becomes. So Andre Ward has to win this one more than any other fight.

And maybe it will be an easy victory for him – but it is a victory that will have to be achieved every day, almost like fighting alcoholism. Boxing is bad for you, and though it has been good for Andre Ward (as far as anyone knows), being an ex-boxer will be even better. He has done what needs to be done, and now he needs to do something else, one that doesn’t require putting his body and brain at risk for our amusement.

If this can be done, Andre Ward can achieve it. But neither he nor anyone else should think it will be any easier than understanding an Adalaide Byrd scorecard. Post-boxing will be difficult and rewarding business. All he has to do is master it every day for the rest of his life.

The time has come to draw your own conclusion

The time has come to draw your own conclusion

For the record, and just so you can’t say you weren’t told, these are the 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL and the 50 backups. Draw your own conclusions.

(Author’s note: We list these only because Joe Webb was just signed by the Buffalo Bills, whose starter and first backup, Tyrod Taylor and T.J. Yates, are still in the concussion protocol).

AFC WEST

DENVER: Trevor Siemian (Paxton Lynch, Brock Osweiler)

KANSAS CITY: Alex Smith (Patrick Mahomes, Tyler Bray)

LOS ANGELES: Philip Rivers (Cardale Jones)

OAKLAND: Derek Carr (E.J. Manuel, Connor Cook)

AFC NORTH

BALTIMORE: Joe Flacco (Ryan Mallett)

CINCINNATI: Andy Dalton (AJ McCarron)

CLEVELAND: DeShone Kizer (Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan, Josh Woodrum)

PITTSBURGH: Ben Roethlisberger (Landry Jones, Joshua Dobbs)

AFC SOUTH

HOUSTON: Tom Savage (DeShaun Watson)

INDIANAPOLIS: Scott Tolzien (Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett)

JACKSONVILLE: Chad Henne (Blake Bortles)

TENNESSEE: Marcus Mariota (Matt Cassel)

AFC EAST

BUFFALO: Nathan Peterman (Taylor, Yates, Webb)

MIAMI: Jay Cutler (Matt Moore, David Fales)

NEW ENGLAND: Tom Brady (Jimmy Garoppolo)

NEW YORK: Josh McCown (Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg)

NFC WEST

ARIZONA: Carson Palmer (Drew Stanton, Blaine Gabbert)

LOS ANGELES: Jared Goff (Sean Mannion)

SAN FRANCISCO: Brian Hoyer (C.J. Beathard)

SEATTLE: Russell Wilson (Austin Davis)

NFC NORTH

CHICAGO: Mike Glennon (Mitchell Trubisky, Mark Sanchez)

DETROIT: Matthews Stafford (Jack Rudock)

GREEN BAY: Aaron Rodgers (Brett Hundley)

MINNESOTA: Sam Bradford (Case Keenum)

NFL SOUTH

ATLANTA: Matt Ryan (Matt Schaub)

CAROLINA: Cam Newton (Derek Anderson, Brad Kaaya)

NEW ORLEANS: Drew Brees (Chase Daniel, Taysom Hill)

TAMPA BAY: Jameis Winston (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Griffin)

NFC EAST

DALLAS: Dak Prescott (Cooper Rush)

NEW YORK: Eli Manning (Geno Smith, Davis Webb)

PHILADELPHIA: Carson Wentz (Nick Foles)

WASHINGTON: Kirk Cousins (Colt McCoy)

Again, draw your own conclusions. I know I’ve drawn mine.