Ray Ratto

Ratto: Burrell comes through a game late vs. Rangers

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Ratto: Burrell comes through a game late vs. Rangers

March 7, 2011RATTO ARCHIVEGIANTS PAGE GIANTSVIDEO
Ray RattoCSNBayArea.com

SCOTTSDALE-- Pat Burrell was having a spring that looked like October, and Giant fans understand how that looked through shards of glass.But having done so little in Game 1 through 5 of last years World Series (0-for-13, 11 strikeouts), he came back in Game 6 with something of a vengeance, homering, singling and walking to lead the Giants to a 4-1 win and a 5-1 win in the World Series That Never Ends.RECAP: Giants top Rangers 4-1 in World Series rematch
And given that his place in the Giant universe is uncertain because of a surfeit of outfielders and the development of the mythical Brandon Belt, the two hits tonight mean almost as much as the 13 non-hits back then.Im in kind of a different position here, thats true, he said after breaking out of a 2-for-17 cage this spring. But tonights a good sign.Manager Bruce Bochy had said that Burrell was trying to go the other way more to correct his gelatinous start, and both of his hits were to the right of second base. The two-run homer, off Tommy Hunter in the fifth, was wind-aided a bit, but not so much that it didnt constitute a lucky at-bat.I wasnt trying to go to right field more deliberately, he said. Id been pulling off balls, but letting them track, so thats what I was concentrating on. Theyve been real good about letting me know when I was playing and getting ready, so in that respect this spring is a lot like most of the other 10 years.But I keep telling myself you never really know whats going to happen. In Philly, I knew where I was going to be. The last couple of years, you just dont know.Burrell is in what looks like a logjam with right fielder Cody Ross, center fielder Andres Torres, utility backup Nate Schierholtz, backup center fielder Aaron Rowand and perhaps even Aubrey Huff if Belt foils the master plan and breaks camp with the major league team.Thus, this spring could go some way toward helping cool the tire fire that was his postseason.I was just in one of those things where nothing I did felt comfortable, nothing seemed to work. It just happened at a bad time.One game late, at least.

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

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AP

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.