Ray Ratto

Ratto: Advice for the Championship Baby's parents


Ratto: Advice for the Championship Baby's parents

July 19, 2011


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As someone who has avoided marketing and its practitioners as though they were door-to-door salesmen, and because I have not yet been hired as Comcasts West Coast obstetrician, I have largely remained free of the details of the World Championship Baby promotion.
RELATED: The Giants World Championship Baby

But as the day grows closer, I will serve as the childs de facto ombudsman as he or she faces an uncertain world wearing nothing but orange and black for most of his or her formative years.

I have not cleared this with the parents, as (one) I dont know them and (two) as the stupidly-titled Senior Insider, I dont have to. I checked with Legal on this, so dont mess with me.

But on behalf of little Todd or Toddina, let me say the following things:

1. There are other colors in the rainbow than orange and black. The child will have to wear Dodger colors on the Fourth of July, and Minnesota Wild colors on Christmas. Thats just how it goes. A duo-chromatic world is bad for a childs mental health.

2. Slapping a beard on the childs face for photos is not something one can easily explain to that child later in life. Save years of disgusted looks from family members and friends and leave the little ones mug free of props. That includes bow ties as well, unless you want the child to spend time fighting off assailants in schoolyards.

3. Panda outfits are probably acceptable if you are willing to lie in play groups and say, we just like baby bears, and besides, you dressed your kid up like a platypus, for Gods sake.

4. Calling the child The Freak is the same as investing 400,000 in therapy futures.

5. In fact, all nicknames should be eschewed so the little being can develop an actual individual identity. He or she is not MadBum or Vogey on Sanchie or Miggy or HuffDaddy or Buster Junior or Pat The Bat or Buckethead (for the manager) or Crankypants (for the general manager). These are all awful ideas when attached to the adults currently under contract, and their use is an unalloyed blight on the fan base. But since they apparently have no shame in the area of infantilizing their players, well have to make our stand on behalf of the winning zygote.

6. And Zeets is right out. Perfectly ghastly.

7. Using the word Torture, which is already a tedious clich, is not recommended for raising a child. It will be torture without questions, especially once the child starts to walk and irretrievably when talking in complete sentences follows. But kids take a dim view to being compared unfavorably to waterboarding. Bad for the self-esteem, were told by child psychologists who charge 145 an hour and therefore must be smart.

8. The child does not care about the Dodgers. The child cares about its next Fig Newton. Prioritize properly. Do not teach it to say Beat LA unless there is a good reason to do so. Let the miniaturized human find his or her own path.

9. Tommy Lasorda doesnt know your kid. Hes not a factor.

10. Teaching the child to bitch about lineup selections, bullpen construction, rotation maintenance and things like OPS, WAR and BABIP is not a bad thing, but dont forget the basics. ERA, batting average and wins and losses may not be great statistics to draw sweeping conclusions, but knowing the seven times-table doesnt put rockets into orbit either. First things first. Teach the fundamentals.

11. If the child grows up and decides to follow another team, thats your fault. You will have overplayed the Giant angle and sickened the child into nausea. Do not rebuke the little ingrate for wanting to seek his or her own path; let the diminutive little soul-sucker choose the Pirates, or the Nationals, or the Winnipeg Jets, or West Bromwich Albion, if he or she wants. Its called letting him or her be an individual. A stupid idea, I know, but you follow the Giants with a creepy monomania that has caused your friends to back away from you at parties. It is not fair to make the child live your pathologies.

12. If the child grows up and decides to follow a divisional rival, make the malignant little brute live in a tree in the back yard. Individuality has its limits, and a few missed-meal cramps ought to straighten him or her out.

13. And never ever ever let the liquor cabinet be depleted. The team angle aside, a child is a frightening responsibility who will cause years of sleep deprivation, worry, stress and heart palpitations. A child costs damned near a million bucks from the womb to the front door going out, and if you think about it too hard, youll hit yourself repeatedly in the head with a mounting hammer.

14. If after all this you still want to be in the WCB contest, then we cant help you. But you can never ever say you havent been told. So drink up, Brittany and Scott if you win, only a few of us will make fun of you.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

The real issue that lingers now that OJ Simpson is a free man

The real issue that lingers now that OJ Simpson is a free man

O.J. Simpson is free. The system as it is defined by those who run it in the case of the Nevada Parole Board, worked.

But the issue that lingers is whether we can free ourselves of him. That system is far more amorphous, arbitrarty and essentially unfair. And in its own revolting way, it works too.

The O.J. market has always been bullish. The old cliché that people can’t get enough no matter how much you shovel at them is more true for him than for any other sports figure of the last 50 years. More than Tiger Woods. More than LeBron James. More than Michael Jordan. More than all of them.

And now his parole hearing, televised and streamed by every outlet except Home & Garden Television, proved it again. He will never not be O.J.

But he is also 70. He is also planning to go to Florida and be with his family, based on what he told the parole board Thursday. He has assiduously avoided the media in his nine years in Lovelock, and if his family is providing the support it pledges, it will do its utmost to keep him from our prying eyes as he enters his dotage.

There is nothing we have that can do him any good. We have eaten all the forms of O.J. there are, culminating in the Emmy-award winning documentary on him, and finally, his release from prison. If he is wise as well as smart, here’s nothing left of his life but re-airs.

So the question becomes not so much whether he can leave fame alone, or whether fame can leave him alone. Our national appetite is poor on the topic of leaving people be, let alone deciding enough is enough. The fame we make for people gorges, purges and gorges again, in a hideous cycle that demeans all involved.

In sum, O.J. Simpson can, if he is paying attention to the value of normalcy, end his addiction to fame. I have far more serious doubts about fame and its addiction to him.

Quietest time in sports yields a pair of idiotic fascinations


Quietest time in sports yields a pair of idiotic fascinations

Some time not that very long ago, someone in sports management who will almost certainly spend all of eternity bobbing for razor-studded apples in a pool of lava saw an opportunity in the phrase, “The quietest time in sports.” And decided to fill it with filth.
It is believed to begin right after the end of the NBA Finals, although that artificial start date has been extended through free agency now that the NBA’s principal entertainment vehicle is the burning of money. It used to be right after the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, though now it has been extended backward. And it ends roughly at the beginning of NFL and/or college training camps, depending on where you live and which of those two beasts you profess your God to be.
But let’s get back to the management succubus who has set us on the path that has led inexcusably to the current point. The idea that baseball no longer holds the interest or attention spans of the young, cool and inadequately trained in the value of money is now accepted as fact, and as any marketing nitwit will tell you, nature abhors a vacuum.
So here’s what we’ve got. Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor in what is very simply a lazy-stereotype-laden comedy tour that isn’t funny let alone even mildly convincing. They have both been on the stage too long, with a month still to go before the final shame-off August 26, where they simply enter the arena, stand with their backs to each other at the ring rope and spend 45 minutes trying to target-spit into the eyes of the high-rollers. Why the promoters didn’t just muzzle Mayweather and McGregor and use actual professionals like Key and Peele and Aisling Bea and Ed Byrne to work the crowds for a million per is simply a lack of imagination at work.
Here’s what else we have. Our idiotic fascination for Lonzo Ball’s two best Summer League games being achieved wearing shoes other than those promoted by his father/huckster as though his skills and intelligence are all in his feet.
What this actually is, of course, is people using Lonzo’s momentary and mostly microscopic achievement to call LaVar a tedious swine without ever using his name or his product catalog because he, like McGregor and Mayweather, beats down crowds and calls it entertainment, and people have signed on in a weird backdoor way – by finding reasons to like the son as a weapon against the father.
Thus, Lonzo Ball gets to learn how to be a professional athlete of note while carrying the load of his father’s impression upon the nation as well as the loads of those who believe that sins of the father must revert to the son. Popularity’s dominant property is its corrosion, and Ball will have to have very fast feet and well-constructed shoes indeed to dance away from the rising tide of a bored fan base with an ax to grind.
It isn’t as instantly gratifying a train wreck as Mayweather-McGregor, but it is a triumph of the new marketing strategy of wholesale idiocy that diminishes the watcher as well as the watched.
Neither of these events are in and of themselves interesting. Mayweather-McGregor is simply a kangaroo boxing a bear because circus entertainment no longer has circuses as venues, and Ball’s summer bears almost no relationship to the true test of his career – how to be the best player on a terrible team and then make the adjustment to being the third best player on a rebuilding team.
Ball has a longer shelf life because of that single useful component, but it is made less rather than more interesting by the presence of his father, who is now indelibly part of the tale at a time when most parents leave their children to find their fortunes by the virtues of their skills and wits.
McGregor-Mayweather has the sole benefit of being cringeworthy both before, during and after the event, a month-long smear of degradation that reduces all involved, including those who buy the fight, into penitents, into rolling apologies. It is an event in which nobody gets out with any shred of dignity, with the single revolting example of the grisly accountant-beasts who will take the Internal Revenue’s cut immediately after the fight.
And if that isn’t Satan winning, then you don’t know how to score a game in which Satan plays on all the teams at once and sees to it that the game is scheduled in the middle of July because some client of his told him it was the best time of year for personal and professional disgrace with a scoreboard on the end of it.