Ratto: Bay Area jerseys are uniformly uninspiring


Ratto: Bay Area jerseys are uniformly uninspiring

Sept. 6, 2011


Follow @RattoCSNRay Ratto

On the off chance that you watched Maryland play Miami last night and are sharing your cornea-searing whinings with your mates around the coffee room today, let us help.Stop it. Stop it and shut up. Youre grown people. You really dont care that the Maryland players looked like half-Crusaders, half-Crash Test Dummies. You dont really mind it one way or another, if you want to be honest with yourselves. Youre too old to buy a jersey, and you didnt go to Maryland anyway, so this doesnt affect you in any shape or manner at all.At least you now have some visual frame of reference for Maryland. Plus, you dont have a fashion show on Bravo, so nobody gives a hot sizzling damn about your fashion views.We get why youre confused and annoyed. You live in the most vibrant area in the United States, and when it comes to your local teams, you may as well be a dog. At least they come by their color-blindness honestly.
But its not just color blindness that marks us as a culture. You want no uniforms that ever allow you to fold an envelope, let alone stretch one.The last truly bold design any of our teams ever attempted was the Warriors classic The CITYcable car ensemble. That was 1966, and it was ruined in 1971 when the franchise left for the mythical land of Golden State and turned perfection into a bad cartoon. It was, and is, one of the high-water marks in the history of sweat-soaked haberdashery.For the most part, though, we are hidebound conservatives when it comes to our teams and their garb, so were in no position to mock Maryland for getting wacky with its flag shoulder patches.The 49ers are red and white with khaki pants. When Eddie DeBartolo brought black shadowing to sell new stuff, he was mocked for ruining perfection, which of course wasnt perfection so much as it was better than this Arena Football crap.The Raiders are black and silver, and have been for 48 consecutive years, which works great for dogs but is otherwise designed to blend in with the surrounding when youre on stalking patrol.The Giants are black and orange, orange and black, and the bold addition in 2000 was, yes, wait for it . . . cream. The As are dark green, and when they want to be wacky, they throw in a yellow top. And the white shoes that were so radical in the early 60s now look like wing-tipped spats.Stanford is cardinal and white. Cardinal is a slightly redder version of maroon, and maroon is red for people who like the sight of blood. Cal is blue and gold, mostly blue, and when it goes to yellow, the older alums complain about the glare.The Warriors havent gotten the uniform right in 40 years, and the Sharks great innovation (after stealing the inverted triangle motif from the Pittsburgh Penguins) was to add goldenrod. And having done so, they still go to all black home jerseys because the players like to look like ninjas, or something like that.All Im saying, then, is that were not really in a position to judge Maryland -- not with our Brooks Brothers fixations.Besides, Maryland isnt aimed at you anyway. The kids are the ones who like the loud noises and flashing colors, and theyre the ones who end up buying the stuff. You have your Gus Otto and Purvis Short and John Ayers and Orlando Cepeda jerseys in your heads because thats how you grew up. Maryland is how your kids grow up . . . Maryland and Oregon (oh God, Oregon) and Boise State and whatever the Nashville Predators and Barcelona are wearing these days.So spare us your outrage about Maryland. If they need to juice T-shirt sales by making their players look like harlequins, well, this is just the way of the world in the time we have left before the meteor hits. Suck it up, rub some dirt on it, walk it off.And when the 49ers have that third jersey ready for sale next year, buy a dozen for you and all your friends. I mean, youre going to anyway because youre not that different than your kids. You like new stuff and loud colors and piercing noises, too.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.

Internet immediately goes to DefCon1 on Chip Kelly-to-Cal


Internet immediately goes to DefCon1 on Chip Kelly-to-Cal

In what can be considered your standard bolt out of the blue, California head football coach Sonny Dykes has reportedly been fired.

In what can be considered your standard spur-of-the-Internet-moment-connect-the-dots inspiration, the Internet went immediately to DefCon1 on Chip Kelly-to-Cal rumors.

The logic, of course, is impeccable. Dykes never really snapped the Cal program around, taking a bad program and making it, well, mediocre, and he has spent much of the past two years aggressively seeking out other jobs, so one can assume there was at least some trouble in paradise, even if you want to make the case that Cal football and paradise are somehow connected.

And Kelly just got canned by the 49ers as part of Jed York’s latest I-will-not-be-made-to-look-ridiculous twitch, so he could sign a properly modest contract at Berkeley and still get his full $6 million with the offset from the three years left on his Jed deal.

So it makes perfect sense . . . which is why it should be judged with considerable skepticism.

For one, Kelly can almost surely do better in the college job diaspora. Cal is a big name with modest ambitions due in part to constant budget constraints, and there are better jobs out there even if he sits for a year.

For two, Cal and Kelly are an odd fit, given the persistent tensions between academia and athletica at Berkeley.

For three, the job comes with massive roadblocks, including Stanford, USC, Washington and (potentially) a resuscitation of the Oregon he left behind. Success will not come easy, if it does at all.

For four, Cal just finished four years of gimmick offense and overburdened defense, and Kelly would provide a more successful version of the same.

And for five, this is too easy, too simple, too convenient. Something about this scenario must be wrong somewhere. When people hit the Internet with photoshopped Kelly-in-Cal-costumes within minutes of the Dykes announcement, you know this is too obvious to actually come to fruition.

Why? Because we don’t live that well, that’s why.

The beauty of a triumphant Kelly at Cal glowering down at the charred ruin in Santa Clara seems more appealing than it actually is, because try as they might, Cal fans will never be backing the more popular horse here, and Kelly won’t win that battle unless he takes Cal to the Rose Bowl while the 49ers are still grappling over draft positions.

In that way, reality sucks. The idea that Jed York could be mocked in collegial absentia by his two biggest coaching hires is delicious but almost surely illusory.

But until we get more on why Dykes got canned 43 days after the team’s last game – recruiting, academic issues, legal issues, photocopier problems from him sending his resume out so often – all we have is the Chip Kelly rumor-ette to keep us intrigued.

Okay, to keep us amused.

Okay, to keep us from falling over in a coma. Cal should matter more than it does, but it’s been 13 years since the Holiday Bowl zenith of the Jeff Tedford Era, and 25 since Bruce Snyder took the Ursines to the Citrus Bowl. The evidence since 1990 is of a team with bigger dreams than means that is slightly below .500 (160-164). Sonny Dykes leaving means one more coach who didn’t make an impact unless his departure leads to either reassessment of the program’s standards, internal or external sanctions . . .

. . . or what the hell, Chip Kelly. Let’s face it – in these dismal days for wacked-out rumormongering, this is pretty intoxicating stuff.

Warriors are most geographically vague team in history of American sports


Warriors are most geographically vague team in history of American sports

The Philadelphia/San Francisco/Golden State Warriors have always had a casual attitude about their home court, even by the once-flexible standards of the National Basketball Association.

Thus, it should be only slightly amusing but not actually surprising that Warriors chief arenologist Rick Welts is now waffling a bit (courtesy Comrade Poole) on whether the team will change its name to San Francisco Warriors when it moves across the pond in 2019-20, or retain its current geographic association with Narnia.

I mean Golden State. I often confuse utterly fictional locales – when I can be bothered to give a toss either way.

But the Warriors, whether they play in Oakland, San Francisco, Pier 30, Pier 32, Westeros, Hobbiton, the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, Curryvania, the Klingon Empire, the Death Star or Planet Nine, are relocating, and once they break the seal on the earth in 12 days, Welts and his fellow elves will almost surely play the team’s future name as a mildly tedious cliffhanger.

Hey, fun is where you find it.

The matter of the team’s relocation will be a sore subject among lifelong East Bay residents, who have put up with the Warriors for 45 years in various stages of development, including the current “We Almost Never Lose” stage. They regard the Warriors’ transplantation to San Francisco to be an unspeakable crime given the high level of fan allegiance afforded them in Oakland.

And yes, they regard Oakland and San Francisco as very real places, as opposed to Golden State, Freedonia, Vulgaria or the Nexus of All Realities.

It is not yet fully known what San Franciscans think of this development, but that’s the nature of the gamble here. They may embrace the Warriors as the new toy in town and then lose interest, and frankly, neither Welts nor anyone else knows the answer to that.

Either way, their die is cast, and Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are now future former Oakland fixtures. Yes, they are quite fond of the exciting new real estate values and their exciting new unobstructed view of the bay, but it has long been assumed that the move would also entail changing the name back to “San Francisco” for the snob appeal.

Now Welts, who has overseen both arena projects (including the one at Piers 30 and 32 which ended up with the piers beating the Warriors in a rout), tells Comrade Poole that the San Francisco Warriors might not end up as the San Francisco Warriors after all.

“Four years ago, I think the conventional wisdom in our building here in Oakland was that yes, we should attach a city name to the team, then it becomes a more global franchise,” Welts marketing-gobbledy-gooked. “There was a lot of head-scratching four years ago about where the Golden State Warriors even played, in other parts of the world. What’s happened with the team over the course of the ensuing years, until today, has made the Warriors if not the preeminent, at least among the three best-known NBA franchises around the world. And everybody who didn’t know where the Golden State Warriors were four years ago, if you’re a fan today, anywhere in the world, you know where the Golden State Warriors are.”

In Oakland.

Now, the mic drop.

“The team’s success has caused us to really rethink whether or not that’s something we should or want to do,” he added. “I guess it’s fair to say there’s been no final decision made. But if you were a betting man, I think you would probably want to wager that the name might remain the same.”

Of course. Why not stay fictional when specificity might move fewer hoodies?

Then again, this is a team that in its 70 years has played home games in Philadelphia (the Arena, the Civic Center, Lincoln High School and Convention Hall), Hershey and Bethlehem PA, Atlantic City, Trenton, Collingswood and Camden NJ, and Saratoga Springs NY . . .

(a moment’s rest here to catch our breaths)

. . . and then after moving west in 1962, the Cow Palace, San Francisco Civic Auditorium and USF’s Memorial Gym, the Oakland Auditorium, San Jose Civic Auditorium, San Jose Arena, Richmond Auditorium, then Sacramento, Bakersfield, Fresno, San Diego, Eugene, Seattle, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.

In fact, and you can swindle the gullible at your neighborhood tavern with this one, the Warriors’ first game in San Francisco occurred almost three years before the team left Philadelphia. The Warriors played the visitors to the Minneapolis Lakers, who moved to Los Angeles a year later and had already played a regular season game at the Cow Palace earlier in the year, so this game, January 31, 1960, could have been considered a civic scouting trip for both teams as they sought new homes.

In other words, the Warriors are almost surely the most geographically vague team in the history of North American sports. Moreover, they are about to become the first team in sports history to go home for the third time under three different city names – Philadelphia, San Francisco and Krypton, or whatever the hell they want to call themselves this time.