Ray Ratto

Neukom should buy A's ... crazy or brilliant?


Neukom should buy A's ... crazy or brilliant?

Im completely stealing this idea from Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News, mostly because I am an immoral swine, but also because of its pure cheekiness.Anyway, here is his Tweet:Former Sharks CEO Greg Jamison is trying to buy the Coyotes. I've got a great idea for Bill Neukom's next investment: How about the A's?It is, of course, a stupid idea, and one he would never actually consider, but lets be honest. Watching Neukom argue both sides of the mythical territorial rights issue would be spectacular rhetorical fun.Now before you get your Jim Leyland-issue baseball undies into a rosin bag, let us reiterate the real problem with the San Jose, and all, territorial rights. They can be snapped away from the Giants at any moment with just evidence that the As have their money, their investors and 22 of the remaining 29 owners.And the Giants, can jump up and down all they want, with the Burns daughters doing the jumping and Larry Baer on timbales, but they cant sue Major League Baseball. They can grumpily accept a going-away gift, but thats about it.The problem remains, as it always has, though, that assembling money in this climate for a ballpark in California is too difficult a task. If it was easy, the As would already be there. At least they probably would be; were still not sure if the hologrammatic John Fisher is just in this for the revenue sharing.In any event, wed be fascinated to see if Neukom really wanted to assemble investors (he probably couldnt make the buy on his own) who would let him be the fully autonomous MGP he envisioned himself as in San Francisco.And then argue against his long litany of public statements about the sanctity of territorial rights that he has always known are largely chimerical, just to watch whomever handles counsel for the Giants turn all claret-faced at the change in his opinion.It would also be a hoot watching him in a green and gold bow tie talking about his greatest regret was not seeing the Oakland Oaks kick the San Francisco Seals collective hinders in one of his many sojourns to Emeryville as a boy, and how much he truly hated Seal outfielder Gene Woodling and loved Oaks manager Casey Stengel.In short, this is a daft idea by Kawakami, which is to be expected. It is also a delicious idea by Kawakami, which is also to be expected. And wed better seize onto those ideas of his while we can. The Warriors have not yet announced this, but he will be the teams new mascot a small, semi-cranky middle-aged guy kicking Joe Lacob in the shins while distributing blue-and-gold-frosted churros when the team holds an opponent under 108 points.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.

National SOB League can never forget the noble man who brought them together


National SOB League can never forget the noble man who brought them together

So after one day, the NSOBL (the National Son-Of-A-Bitch League, as if you couldn’t guess) has survived the contemptible brain-burps of the Panderer-In-Chief. Now we’ll see if the players’ fury has true staying power.
And by staying power, we don’t mean whether they will continue to defy the call of the National Anthem (an easy enough task), but whether they view their newfound solidarity as something that needs to be nurtured to truly endure.
After all, it’s easy to be galvanized by the noisy neighbor who spends his day on the porch shouting irrational obscenities at the neighbors. But Donald Trump isn’t the issue; he never was. All he did was put a face to the idiocies that prevent us from being the country we should be.
But this started a year ago with a single knee, a single person, and a broader cause than a President who needs to pick fights the way a vampire needs naked necks. Colin Kaepernick, whose career as a football player is essentially over because he caused the NFL a headache by honoring his conscience, took his knee to protest police excesses, and didn’t need to be called a son of a bitch to do so. He was later, of course, part of the medley of all the other insults that followed, but he didn’t kneel because he was insulted. He knelt because other were, and worse.
But the beauty of these days is that we take any idea or action and immediately change its meaning to fit our own prejudices. Kaepernick’s message was too nuanced for a lot of people’s facilities because they value symbols more than people, but nobody doesn’t understand being called a son of a bitch by a boss you hate.
So the new NSOBL is just starting to coalesce. There will not be a shortage of reasons for players to find their voice and conscience, and to break the bonds that required them to ask permission before speaking or thinking. If they are as they purport to be, they will remember that change happens with a single son of a bitch.

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


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.