Ray Ratto

Ratto: Bay Area jerseys are uniformly uninspiring


Ratto: Bay Area jerseys are uniformly uninspiring

Sept. 6, 2011


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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.

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.