Ratto: Be careful about cheering Dodgers' demise


Ratto: Be careful about cheering Dodgers' demise

June 27, 2011


Follow @RattoCSNRay Ratto

Were I you (and lets all agree what a bad idea that would be), I wouldnt be quite so smug about the Dodgers filing for bankruptcy, as they did today.Sure, it may make Giant fans feel good, and it might inspire in As fans that There but for the grace of God . . . feeling. But thats not what the Dodgers going Chapter 11 is about at all.
NBC BAY AREA: Dodgers' bankruptcy could affect Stow case
This is about Frank McCourt wanting another 150 million to operate the team while he shakes his bare behind at Bud Selig and says, Hey, Buddy, better get some more lawyers, and make sure they bring their lunches. Its on now, Giggles.And it is. The Dodgers are about to become the St. Louis Browns in ways the As never have been. In fact, when As fans think of Frank McCourt, they should hit their knees and thank the God that killed Cain and squashed Samson that they have Johnny-Boy Fisher and Lew Wolff. At least theyre not actually looting the team through shell companies to pay for messy divorces.
Worse than that, though, the Dodgers hold down a job in your brains that nobody else does -- as The Team You Can Mindlessly Hate For No Better Reason Than The Fact They Exist.NEWS: Dodgers file for bankruptcy in battle with MLB
Every fan base should have one, in fact, and those that dont have to scramble about trying to find a cheap substitute. The Giants have the Dodgers, and the As have the Giants, and beyond that ... you got squat. Bupkiss. Nada. The null set.The 150 million that the bankruptcy filing frees up is ostensibly for the care and upkeep of the team, which is on the verge of missing payroll. It isnt going to suddenly turn into Prince Fielder, so calm down.But the weak, pathetic, small-minded Dodgers, run by a carpet-bagging lamprey who is trying to loot the team to pay for his hideous divorce and still make eight or nine figures for his continued personal enjoyment, are not in your best interest.You need the Dodgers as big and as bad and as imperious as possible, because you are invested in them being big and bad and imperious. Those characteristics feed your scorn, and it salts and spices your mindless chants of Beat-L-A. The fourth-place Dodgers, winning 73 games and wearing barrels with shoulder straps where the uniform used to go just doesnt cut it. You know it, we know it, they know it.This isnt about hating the Dodgers, or hating anything. This is about taking comfort in the caricature of the Dodgers (or in the case of As fans, the caricature of the Giants). Mocking these Dodgers has a bit of the running-over-the-dead-squirrel feel to it.And it also serves as a reminder that every team in the world is a bad owner away from destruction. Tradition, history, the beauty of the game, the shared experience, the passing of one generation to the next ... its all one small-minded rich guy away from going to hell.Between the owners principal goal of buying high and selling higher, the way that produces owners who buy with debt rather than with cash (see Frank McCourt again), and the way they demand that cities build them playing palaces on their own dimes and then let the owners take the profits from those buildings ... were all one venal thought away from hating the teams we grew up loving.Dodger fans didnt ask for Frank McCourt. Frank McCourt was thrust upon them like a lien against their property. They were fine with the OMalleys, and didnt mind them owning the team in perpetuity. Now theyre stuck looking at the Giants, the ones they mocked for the Bonds years, and saying, Man, wouldnt it be cool to be them?And you would look at them and say, with your usual magnanimousness, Take a hike. Live with the shame of your team. Go watch Tommy Lasorda begging for money by freeway on-ramps. No room here at this inn for you.Then you feel bad for looking like the fan you have always hated. Yes you do. Dont try to pass that off.So dont get too happy about the Dodgers latest shame-fest. You get no enjoyment in beating the weakened, you need the strong rivalry, you know this could be your team in five years, and youd want them to let you up when it happens to you.And dont try to pass that off, either. Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.

Patriots win one for the ages, but where does it rank?

Patriots win one for the ages, but where does it rank?

The price of watching Roger Goodell being booed back to the Bronze Age is a subtle but real one, and one that people will feel very dearly soon enough.

The last great cathartic Super Bowl is now done, with the New England Patriots winning the brilliant and decisive battle to be sports’ new evil empire. In doing so, it rendered Goodell a permanent and risible punch line in National Football League history, the mall cop who wanted the death penalty for littering, and in the words of the song “got what he wanted but he lost what he had.”

True, $40 million a year can make the dissolution of your public persona a reasonably decent tradeoff, but we lost the argument about who won his windmill tilt with the Patriots. It’s done, and he is now permanently and irrevocably a figure of ridicule.

But that’s not the only debating point America lost Sunday night, and while you wouldn’t think it given how much time we are willing to shouting at each other, quality arguments are not easily replaced.

We have almost surely lost the mindless debate about the best quarterback ever, because there is nothing anyone can bring up that the words “Tom Brady” cannot rebut except calling his own plays, and since that is no longer allowed in football, it is a silly asterisk to apply.

We have almost surely lost the equally silly shouter about the best coach ever. Bill Belichick is defiantly not fun, but he has built, improved and bronzed an organizational model that is slowly swallowing the rest of the sport. That and five trophies makes him the equal if not better of the short list of Paul Brown, George Halas, Vince Lombardi, Bill Walsh and Tom Landry.

Plus, Belichick locked up the most absurd response to a question in coaching history Monday when he said, “As great as today feels . . . we're five weeks behind the other teams for the 2017 season.” Even allowing for Gregg Popovich in-game interviews, the so-grim-he-could-make-a-robot-cry worship-the-process response has now become a cliché. If 2017 prep was so important, he should have skipped yesterday’s game, and he definitely should have chosen not to waste so much time on the trophy stand after the game when training camp drills needed to be scheduled.

Oh, and DeflateGate died. Dead. No zombie possibilities here.

We do have a meatheaded argument ahead of us about which championship in the last year is the best, which can be settled here.

1. Leicester City, because 5,000-1 is 5,000-1, and the whole world understands that. Plus, there was invaluable three-month buildup that engaged non-soccer fans.

2. Chicago Cubs, because 108 years is 108 years.

3. New England Patriots, because . . . well, I don’t have to explain it unless you have no useful memory span. “Down 25 In The Third Quarter” is the new “Down 3-1.”

4. Cleveland Cavaliers, because they slayed the first unbeatable Warrior team by coming from 3-1 down, and even as a silver medalist, it will always be an internet meme, which is what passes for memorable in our decrepit culture.

5. (tie) Villanova basketball and Clemson football in a tie, because they were essentially the same great game.

7. The Pittsburgh Penguins, because the Stanley Cup Final was devoid of drama or high moments, and only 14:53 of overtime. Feh.

But everything else is settled, and this Super Bowl will not be topped for a long time. Our current cycle of absurd championships is almost surely going to end soon, because “Down 3-1” has happened twice in eight months (three times, if you count Warriors over Thunder), and the bar has now been placed well beyond reasonable clearing.

Indeed, the only thing left is for a championship team to spontaneously combust on the award stand. But if they do so and ignite Roger Goodell along the way, that would be an ending America would cheerfully endorse.

But that also isn’t an argument any more, and yes, that includes Gary Bettman.

Raiders, 49ers can return to their normal madness after Fried Festivus 51

Raiders, 49ers can return to their normal madness after Fried Festivus 51

The Super Bowl is today, which means the best day of the year is fast approaching.

Namely, the day after the Super Bowl.

At that point, we as a nation can complete the inventory of gastric damage we did to ourselves on what shall be known to future generations as Fried Festivus.

At that point, the people who bombard us daily with news of the game – the least important part of the week-long trade show, as we have come to learn it – will all be on planes and too tired to re-explain what we already saw 37 times on game day.

At that point, nobody will care that Terrell Owens was apparently one of the first of the 15 Hall of Fame finalists to be rejected for induction because of crimes against the NFL state. The Hall of Fame is one of the sneaky ways in which the NFL never lets us escape its obnoxiously shouty profile, and the fact that Owens is right about the flawed process doesn’t change the fact that he’ll be just fine with the process when it allows him passage.

At that point, we’ll know whether Tom Brady is to be deemed a god, or merely maintain his demigod status. At least we’ll hear more about it, because it is easily the most tiresome debate in the football diaspora, engaged in by idiots with no better idea about how to kill time. A note: If you think Tom Brady is a greater quarterback because his team won a fifth ring, or a lesser one because he didn’t, your head is now officially empty enough to be reclassified a dance hall, and you are of no more value to normal society than a papier-mache goose.

And at that point, we can return to the two things we in these parts care to know – where the Raiders are going, and how the 49ers are going to present their new football brain trust.

We needn’t explain the Raiders again to you, first because you’ve heard it all if you’re paying any attention at all. Mark Davis has been trying to cobble deals at a frantic pace in hopes that one will stick, and his 31 fellow owners still have to decide how much longer they want to endure him, while faced with the painful fact that the East Bay is getting out of the exploitative license-to-be-stolen-from stadium business. They also get to know as they go to the meeting in Houston that will ostensibly decide Davis’ fate that they have ruined California as a market by their excessive greed-laced stupidity and deserve every lousy market the state can give them.

Which brings us to the 49ers, and the latest round of Judge Them By Their Press Conferences.

If there is anything worse than this team’s on-field profile, which is why Jed York hired Kyle Shanahan, it is the way it explains itself to the outside world, which is why Jed York hired John Lynch. Both Shanahan and Lynch will be paraded before a braying mobs, probably Tuesday, and York will be there as well for the cheesy photo array and a few unconvincing words of praise about each of them (as a note, Paraag Marathe will be present but only in hologrammatic form).

They will then promise – well, something or other – and Lynch will be hailed as the face of the glorious future because the man he replaced, Trent Baalke, had the public persona of a meth-tweaked hyena. Hard to find, and not worth it when you did.

Then we’ll all remember that the job Shanalynch (or Lynchahan, depending on what part of Ireland you’re from) are being asked to do is a three-year reclamation at the very least, and that the only useful question either can be asked is “Can you fix this before Jed gets embarrassed and angry and cans you both?”

And on Wednesday, there’s the start of pre-draft prep (in order words, The Eighty-Day Slave Market), and the hamster wheel to hell gears up again toward Super Bowl LII.

Only next year, the chances of relocation hysteria and a front office upheaval are that much less, and we haven’t sufficient distractions to make the year go faster.

But enjoy Fried Festivus. We can always look forward to that, even if we change the name back in December to the more traditional "Christmas."