Ray Ratto

Ratto: Just another day for David Shaw

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Ratto: Just another day for David Shaw

Sep. 3, 2011

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On the day that Larry Scott apparently clinched the Heisman Trophy by doing nothing much more involved than watching Oregon-LSU, the news from Stanford was somewhat more mundane.

Unless youre David Shaw.

Oh, most folks were focused on Andrew Luck holding serve in his quest for the trophy that Scott will now win. His numbers were impressive without being gaudy (17 of 26, 171, 2 scores through the air and one via his legs, and he wasnt kept in the game to run up his numbers against a game but mostly overmatched San Jose State team.

The final score of 57-3 was marked neither by ruthlessness or piling on. Nobody was hurt, and seasons were not changed. It was in every sense your run of the mill opener.

RECAP: Stanford overwhelms SJSU in opener 57-3

That is, if youre not Notre Dame, or Oregon State, or TCU.

Scott, for his part, did far more by doing far less, standing faithfully but silently while Oklahoma took the best cuts of the Big XII Conference tri-tip and dragged them westward, which is the conference commissioners equivalent of going 70-for-53 for 1,967 yards and 86 touchdowns.

But thats a tale for later this week, when an announcement is anticipated that Stanford will have four new playmates in a Pac-16 that will be broken up into the Larry Division and the Scott Division.

And so, too, is the Andrew Luck story, because that will be an ongoing grind.

No, its reasonable to let this be David Shaws day. His first game as Stanford coach, his father Willie as an honorary captain, and the knowledge that it will never be quite this clean or easy ever again. Now that deserves commemoration.

That is, if Shaw would let himself relax, and he wont. Hes one of those Type A guys.

We were going along in the third quarter, and we were starting to get a rhythm, he said, calmly but firmly, and the coaches had to come up to me and say, Maybe its time to get some of the starters out. Its good they said that, because I was so focused on the way the game was going and what it was I wanted us to do that I wasnt paying attention to the score.

Wasnt paying attention to the score? Well, it was 43-3 at the time, so it wasnt one of those factors that demanded his full attention.

He also wasnt paying attention to Lucks now quixotic search for the Heisman as we said, Scott seems to have finished that debate by eviscerating the Big XII with just a smile and a charged cellphone.

No, Shaws big day felt to him like all the others that led to it, with one exception.

When Dad went out on the field (as one of the honorary captains, after a long and admirable career as an assistant), that caught me a little bit, Shaw said. I mean, I knew it was happening, but it just hit me more than I thought it would, I guess.

But he let nothing else exceed the ordinary. He did force himself to spend more time paying attention to the defensive and special teams areas, but he did not allow his equilibrium to be otherwise disturbed.

I slept great, he said of his Friday night. I always sleep great the night before a game. Bill (Walsh) always said the week is for the coaching and preparation, but Saturday is for the players. This was their day.

And it was. San Jose States multitude of errors (seven penalties, six fumbles, half of them lost, a missed field goal and a ton of standard blocking and defending mistakes) made this a hard game to evaluate cleanly. Luck himself called his day average, with the emphasis on not up to snuff. Indeed, the game never had the feel of a 54-point win, as Stanford gained only 373 yards and had the ball for a middling 34:30.

But it was David Shaws first, and that would matter. It only gets harder from here, because the first game of a coachs career is the only free one hell ever have. Fans start offering strategies, alums want more time, and the complications start to crowd out the simplicities.

Yes, he may sleep fine on Friday nights, but his weeks will only get harder from here. And he will have it no other way.

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

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USATI

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.