Ray Ratto

Ratto: Bonds vs. Novitzky off to fast start


Ratto: Bonds vs. Novitzky off to fast start

Ray RattoCSNBayArea.com

Day Two of the Barry Bonds trial ends early on Day Three, and thats probably a helpful tidbit for those of who you think this sort of thing works in an orderly fashion.Jeff Novitzky, the IRS (and now FBI) agent who was the dumpster-diving linchpin for the case, got through relatively arid prosecution questioning and about half of the defenses cross, with brief but fleeting signs of impatience as defense attorney Allen Ruby couldnt get Novitzky to lose his patiencebreak his programming.And this is one of the two true wedge witness, because to see the defenses side of things one must be convinced that Novitzky wanted Bonds scalp waving from his car antenna more than anything else. Outside the room, people long ago chose sides on that one and will never be convinced to change sides, but inside it, Novitzky and Ruby skated to a scoreless draw, with plenty of time still on the clock.Then comes the prosecutions best chance at a slam dunk, if one is at all possible Steve Hoskins.Hoskins is the former Bonds valet (for lack of a better term) who fell out with Bonds and is really the key witness for the prosecution. He is the one on the other end of the much-discussed phone conversation with trainer Greg Anderson which the government intends to claim is the best circumstantial evidence available that shows that Bonds knew what he was applying to his body and why he was applying it.Hoskins is the one the prosecution needs to turn smoke to gun, as Anderson is again a guest of the crown, playing yet again his customary jail-for-silence gambit. And since Anderson wont talk about the phone conversation, Hoskins has to (a) talk for both of them, and (b) withstand what we can expect will be an even more spirited attack from the defense than Novitzky has received so far.Unfortunately for those of you want this thing to matter a long time, the witness quality drops off after that. Mike Murphy, the longtime Giants trainer, will be asked to testify about the varying circumferences of Bonds head, and then Jim Valenti, Victor Contes co-defendant in the BALCO trial, and Larry Bowers of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency are expected next.At some point, Bonds mistress Kimberly Bell will testify as well, but thats as much for sniggering as evidence, and frankly, we suspect by then that the jury will have learned all it is going to learn about the thing they are charged to decide.Thats the way we should all hope this trial goes decided on the basis of the two most damaging prosecution witnesses, Novitzky and Hoskins, rather than the ancillary offerings of Murphy, Bell, et. al. By now, all the other arguments dont matter anyway, even though they keep getting offered as coin of the realm, to wit:1. The trial is a waste of money: That isnt the measure of justice as much as it is a problem for someone in the comptrollers office, and frankly, who gives a damn about them? Its not like the money was earmarked for schools or the arts or law enforcement. Its what we in the money game call a sunk cost. This trial is about whether the government can prove that Bonds willfully lied to it under oath, and the lengths to which it has gone to prove it in other words, the line between justice and vendetta. What it costs, or doesnt, is a matter for efficiency experts alone. 2. Its about steroids: No, it really isnt. Its about how far the government can be allowed to pursue someone it believes lied to them. If it were about steroids, we wouldnt need the Anderson phone call; Bonds admitted using the cream and the clear, and the only debate would be about his intent when using them.3. Since Anderson isnt talking, this trial is doomed: Maybe, but maybe not. Its probably the way to bet, but if the defense cant undermine Novitzky, it has to win big on Hoskins. Just as the superior team is warned never to let the game get to the point where the referee can influence it, so it is with juries.4. This will be the precedent-setting case that helps guide the Roger Clemens trial: No it wont, not even close. Separate trials, separate issues, separate lawyers, separate defendants.But at least we wont have to wait for the meaty parts. The government led with its high cards, and the defense has to counter right away. Most trials back into the relevant bits, so thats one thing for which we can all be thankful. Well have a pretty good idea who proved what to whom by weeks end.

If eclipse ends life on Earth, it's bad news for fans of one Bay Area team


If eclipse ends life on Earth, it's bad news for fans of one Bay Area team

If the lunatic fringe of the lunatic fringe is right and the total eclipse of the sun is actually a harbinger of the end of life on earth . . .

- It’s good news for the Giants, who have been eliminated from the National League West race for less than 24 hours, or that they will not have to watch the Los Angeles Dodgers put their feet up on baseball for the first time in 28 years.

Besides, there won’t be any more years, so time becomes meaningless.

- It’s good news for the 49ers, who won’t have to endure a harsh week of practice from freshly irked head coach Kyle Shanahan, who finally saw exactly why the job came open for him in the first place.

- It’s good news for Raiders’ fans, who won’t see their team move to Las Vegas, and because they won't be soul-crushed if they can't beat the Patriots -- who will also die en masse despite Bill Belichick's entreaties to ignore the noise of seven billion terrorized shrieks.

- It’s bad news for A’s fans, who will never learn in what location their fabulous new franchise-saving stadium will not be built.

- It’s good news for the Warriors, who can say in their death throes that they were the last NBA champions ever, and that the Lakers will never get LeBron James.

- It’s good news for the Lakers because they cannot be found guilty of tampering with Paul George. It’s also good news for Jimmy Kimmel because he can’t lose a draft choice (some faceless F-list actor as a guest) as a result.

- It’s good news for the Kings, because they’ll never have to have the difficult meeting about Zach Randolph.

- It’s good news for the Chargers, because they won’t have to answer any more questions about why only 21,000 people were announced as the crowd for their second practice game, or to confront the very real possibility that they could become the NFL’s Washington Generals.

- It’s good news for the Jets, Mets, Nets and Knicks because the end of the planet is the only just solution for them all.

- It’s good news for Cal because it can stick its middle finger to the sky and say, “Here’s your $400 million debt. Try to collect it while we’re all dying.”

- It’s good news for Kevin Durant because he doesn’t have to slalom through the Internet trolls any more.

- It’s bad news for Roger Goodell, because he sure left a boatload of money on the table as he was hurtled into space like the rest of us.

- It’s bad news for Nick Saban because he will have never seen it coming. On the other hand, it’s good news for the people who cover Alabama football because they’ve endured their last journalism lecture from Prof. Nick on why they do their jobs so poorly.

- It’s bad luck for Jim Harbaugh because he will feel like a complete nitwit as he learns just what “an enthusiasm unknown to mankind” really means – the end of mankind.

- It’s bad news for all the sixth graders in America who are being offered scholarships that they will never be used by college coaches they will never meet. Of course, that would have been true even  if the world doesn’t end.

- It’s bad news for the hackers who have been spoiling Game Of Thrones because this is Game Of Thrones, only the dragon is the sun incinerating us all.

- It’s bad news for Kyrie Irving, because he will have died a Cleveland Cavalier.

- It’s good news for America, for the obvious reason that the planet will expire before our current political class can murder it.

- And finally, it’s good news for dignity, because the Mayweather-McGregor “thing” will never happen, and that alone means that even as we are torn asunder, we will know that the deity loves us all because both McGrogor and Mayweather are being torn asunder too.

Of course, if you’re reading this Tuesday, you’ll know the world didn’t end, and we’re just as screwed as we ever were. Oh well. Try to find your happy place, and drink like there’s no Wednesday.

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.