Ray Ratto

Great Scott! Pac-12 stands pat


Great Scott! Pac-12 stands pat

Sept. 20, 2011


And now Larry Scott, Empire Builder And Master Of This Vector of The Universe, says the Pac has found its true number, and it is 12.Ill bet theres wiggle room, though. In the world of conference realignment, todays story is tomorrows paper towel.For the moment, though, Scott says the Pac-12 is staying with its current alignment, already looking dated and threadbare after eight months. The chaos he helped arouse is now too chaotic even for him.

If thats what this is, and I wouldnt bet too heavily on any of it. This storys developments have the shelf life of anchovies on a space heater.Scott apparently has thrown up his hands at Texas and Oklahomas exhaustive dithering, or demands for loopholes in the fabric of the conference, or general demeanor, or for failing to bring enough barbecue for everyone in the room.This may be an indication that Texas and Oklahoma are willing to remain uneasy partners in the Big XII, willing to have commissioner Dan Beebe fired so that they can continue to run their 10-headed pop stand their way.It may also be todays twist in a story that is marked by one common theme -- rich folks trying to get massively richer without even the modesty to dress their venality up as nobility.In fact, this may merely be everyone going back to their corners before the next round of greed-jousting tomorrow, or Thursday, or next Monday. That would be the safe bet, knowing these hyenas.But as is always the case, anyone who says they know anything to be true for more than an hour is a liar, and anyone who says their source is good is a fool.And lets face it, kids -- you cant ask more of a developing story than the knowledge that everything you have heard and are hearing now is dead wrong, with an excellent chance of being wrong again tomorrow.Drink up, kids. Its a slumber party in hell, and nobody looks ready for bed.

Phrase that Matt Joyce left out of his apology is key to talking the talk

Phrase that Matt Joyce left out of his apology is key to talking the talk

Matt Joyce said the word, he did the apology, he’ll do the time, and then we’ll see if he’ll get the forgiveness he asks.
Joyce’s two-game suspension by Major League Baseball for using a gay slur at a fan during Friday’s Athletics-Angels game in Anaheim is well within industry norms (though it might have been more tactically impressive if the club itself had issued the suspension), and his apology did not deflect blame or contain the always-insincere caveat “if I offended anyone.” He did offend people and he knew it, so he didn’t couch it in the phraseology of “I don’t think what I said was improper, but I’ll do the perp walk just to get this over with.”
He even offered to do work with PFLAG, the support group that supports the LGBTQ community, thereby putting his time (which is more meaningful than money) where his mouth was.
In other words, he seems to have taken his transgression properly to heart, which is all you can really hope for, and now we’ll see if he is granted the absolution he seeks.
You see, we’re a funny old country in that we talk forgiveness all the time but grant it only sparingly, and only after a full mental vetting of important things like “Do we like this guy?” and “Is he playing for my favorite team?” and “Do I feel like letting him up at all?”
In other words, forgiveness is very conditional indeed.
Joyce said what he said, but his apology seemed to be given freely and unreservedly rather than crafted to meet a minimal standard of corporate knee-taking/arse-covering. If he follows through on his offer to do face-to-face work with PFLAG or an associated group and absorbs the lesson of not using other people as a weapon for his own frustration, then he ought to be acknowledged for doing so. That’s what forgiveness is.
But if the principle you adhere to is “once guilty, forever doomed,” then you’ve succeeded at giving in to the mode of the day, which is jumping to a conclusion and never jumping back because it’s just easier and more convenient to do so.
It’s up to him. But it’s also up to you.

Promotion and relegation would be a great idea in all sports


Promotion and relegation would be a great idea in all sports

There is no inherent reason why you should care about Miami FC or Kingston Stockade FC, two lower level professional soccer leagues in the lower right quadrant of the nation.

But when they joined together to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the international governing body for any sport not run by Americans for Americans, to demand that all American teams submit to the concept of promotion and relegation, from MLS to, presumably, your kid’s under-8 team, they became interesting.

And the best part about soccer, except for Neymar being worth twice as much as all other humans in the history of the sport, is promotion and relegation.

In fact, it would be a great idea in all sports – although the idea of the Giants and A’s in the Pacific Coast League might scare the bejeezus out of Larry Baer and John Fisher.

Now we are not optimistic that the CAS will see this Kingston and Miami’s way. Americans like their sports top-heavy, where only a few megaclubs get most of the money and attention while the rest sort of muddle along, safe but unremarkable. And to be frank, promotion and relegation is most a fun media construct for making fun of bad teams – say, like the A’s and Giants.

But we can agree, I think, that having Jed York pay Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch to keep his football team out of the Canadian Football League, or better still, the Mountain West Conference, would add to healthy dose of spice to what promises otherwise to be a pretty humdrum year.

And promotion/relegation would certainly reduce all that troublesome tanking in the NBA people endlessly whinge about.

So here’s to Kingston Stockade and Miami FC. Your cause is just. Persevere. After all, in this rancid period for American sporting culture, someone's got to stand for the quixotic yet indisputably correct thing.

And when it fails, and it probably will, just know you sleep with the angels -- if that’s what passes for fun at your house.