Ray Ratto

Marvin Miller won them all

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Marvin Miller won them all

One of the odd but telling reactions to the death of Marvin Miller Tuesday is the way hockey fans said, God, if we only had him. Hed straighten this lockout up in a New York minute.Thats how much Miller mattered. He was a strong man at a time when strength was confused with bullying, and he broke the baseball owners resolve with a cool boa constrictors logic. He had decades of labor law, a united constituency, and short-sighted owners to fight, and he found the mismatches invigorating.RELATED: Former baseball union head Marvin Miller dead at 95
Of course he did. He won them all, simply by seizing onto the central point of whatever the argument was, and never letting go of it.Indeed, his acolyte Don Fehr, whose record against the baseball mavens was nearly as good, ended up as an occasional disappointment to Miller because he was in the end a pure absolutist. Right v. wrong, with rights greatest advocate being a cold Jesuitical logic that never backed up a step. It was the one threat the owners couldnt beat, and every time they tried, they made their own positions worse.Or do the words treble damages for collusion not have the same chilling ring at your house?Miller was, ultimately, respected for his indomitable will, and with the NHL well into its 11th week of refusing to entertain people, a lot of people who still care about the game want the business to be settled no matter who gets the thin edge of the wedge.So they see Millers passing, remember how he went umpty-ump and zero against the owners and wish he could snap his fingers, win the day, and open the rinks.Of course, it was never like that. Miller worked methodically, as Fehr has. He had the value of knowing his players would wait as long as it took to close the deal, but the owners were no less stubborn than the NHL owners are now. Fehr essentially has that set of dynamics now, although some players have groused a bit that he hasnt caved before now.But Miller represented power in a simpler time, and hockey fans seek simple solutions to a convoluted process that isnt designed to reach agreement. The philosophical turning point in this disagreement whether labor or management is financially responsible for the struggles of individual teams is much thornier than mere who-gets-the-last-slice-of-pie debates.RELATED: U.S. federal mediators to join NHL talks
So Millers passing, other than reminding us that the Hall of Fame is still one worthy candidate short of inclusion, also tells us that people want strong and winning personalities when an argument goes on longer than anyones endurance.And it tells us also that the NHL owners, as much as they demonize Fehr, are lucky they didnt get Miller in his prime. Hed have held a pillow over their faces until the thrashing stopped, just as an opening act.At this point, who could disagree with that plan of attack?Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.comAP Images

If eclipse ends life on Earth, it's bad news for fans of one Bay Area team

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USATI

If eclipse ends life on Earth, it's bad news for fans of one Bay Area team

If the lunatic fringe of the lunatic fringe is right and the total eclipse of the sun is actually a harbinger of the end of life on earth . . .

- It’s good news for the Giants, who have been eliminated from the National League West race for less than 24 hours, or that they will not have to watch the Los Angeles Dodgers put their feet up on baseball for the first time in 28 years.

Besides, there won’t be any more years, so time becomes meaningless.

- It’s good news for the 49ers, who won’t have to endure a harsh week of practice from freshly irked head coach Kyle Shanahan, who finally saw exactly why the job came open for him in the first place.

- It’s good news for Raiders’ fans, who won’t see their team move to Las Vegas, and because they won't be soul-crushed if they can't beat the Patriots -- who will also die en masse despite Bill Belichick's entreaties to ignore the noise of seven billion terrorized shrieks.

- It’s bad news for A’s fans, who will never learn in what location their fabulous new franchise-saving stadium will not be built.

- It’s good news for the Warriors, who can say in their death throes that they were the last NBA champions ever, and that the Lakers will never get LeBron James.

- It’s good news for the Lakers because they cannot be found guilty of tampering with Paul George. It’s also good news for Jimmy Kimmel because he can’t lose a draft choice (some faceless F-list actor as a guest) as a result.

- It’s good news for the Kings, because they’ll never have to have the difficult meeting about Zach Randolph.

- It’s good news for the Chargers, because they won’t have to answer any more questions about why only 21,000 people were announced as the crowd for their second practice game, or to confront the very real possibility that they could become the NFL’s Washington Generals.

- It’s good news for the Jets, Mets, Nets and Knicks because the end of the planet is the only just solution for them all.

- It’s good news for Cal because it can stick its middle finger to the sky and say, “Here’s your $400 million debt. Try to collect it while we’re all dying.”

- It’s good news for Kevin Durant because he doesn’t have to slalom through the Internet trolls any more.

- It’s bad news for Roger Goodell, because he sure left a boatload of money on the table as he was hurtled into space like the rest of us.

- It’s bad news for Nick Saban because he will have never seen it coming. On the other hand, it’s good news for the people who cover Alabama football because they’ve endured their last journalism lecture from Prof. Nick on why they do their jobs so poorly.

- It’s bad luck for Jim Harbaugh because he will feel like a complete nitwit as he learns just what “an enthusiasm unknown to mankind” really means – the end of mankind.

- It’s bad news for all the sixth graders in America who are being offered scholarships that they will never be used by college coaches they will never meet. Of course, that would have been true even  if the world doesn’t end.

- It’s bad news for the hackers who have been spoiling Game Of Thrones because this is Game Of Thrones, only the dragon is the sun incinerating us all.

- It’s bad news for Kyrie Irving, because he will have died a Cleveland Cavalier.

- It’s good news for America, for the obvious reason that the planet will expire before our current political class can murder it.

- And finally, it’s good news for dignity, because the Mayweather-McGregor “thing” will never happen, and that alone means that even as we are torn asunder, we will know that the deity loves us all because both McGrogor and Mayweather are being torn asunder too.

Of course, if you’re reading this Tuesday, you’ll know the world didn’t end, and we’re just as screwed as we ever were. Oh well. Try to find your happy place, and drink like there’s no Wednesday.

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.