Ray Ratto

Ratto: NFL playoffs rally cry -- go Seahawks!?!?


Ratto: NFL playoffs rally cry -- go Seahawks!?!?

Ray Ratto

You can get NFL playoff analysis anywhere. Animals can do NFL playoff analysis, and they dont ask for benefits, so were about two years away from an all-zoo-beast NFL Network.

So lets cut right to it. Go Seahawks! Super Bowl or bust!

Weve all had our fun mocking the worst playoff team of all time, unless you want to go back to the NBA of 1950, but its time to get serious, and what America needs to brighten its spirits and believe again in the hopes of Everyman is the Seahawks. It doesnt matter against who. Hell, the Patriots could beat Seattle 107-3, but the point would have been made, namely:

The system works best when the system is in chaos.

Seattle is the spoke in the wheels this year, the mutant interloper who just busted out of the care facility to spend Christmas with the family. The Seahawks strip the pomposity from the playoffs, and the longer theyre involved, the better it gets.

By winning, the Seahawks would make every pre-game analysis for the rest of time pointless.

All those fancy charts that list Team A having the advantage in Categories B through L would be rendered moot.

Video breakdowns, human interest stories, the entire publicity-generating machine of the NFL would spit sparks and break down in a shower of gears, microchips and burning suit coats.

And who wouldnt want that?

What could be wrong with a paragraph that begins, Seattle? No idea how this happened. Honest, Ive been watching football for 385 years, and I am completely stupefied. I dont even know half the player son this team. I dont want to know them. Gaaaahhhhkkkhhhkhkkhhlblblblbbbl.

And now back to you, Rich.

Anyway, go Seahawks. Because sometimes the meek have to throw a few knees to the groin to inherit the earth.
Ray Ratto is a columnist with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

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.