Ray Ratto

Ratto: No end in sight for dismal Giants offense

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Ratto: No end in sight for dismal Giants offense

June 19, 2011A'S PAGE A'S VIDEOGIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEO
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Bruce Bochy spoke of heading up to Napa on the Giants day off Monday, which seems fair warning to the bottles up the 707. You will be squeezed tightly, and with some malice.After one more dismal offensive performance indeed, we would like to apologize to fans of the word dismal for insulting it in this way the Giants have all day Monday to consider whether this is just a hideous slump, or if this is actually who they are. An inert, globulous out factory that will make the words two and three clichs.RECAP: A's, Cahill finish off sweep of Giants with 2-1 winTwo, of course, being the number of runs they get when they apply themselves. Three, on the other hand, being the number they see right before the alarm goes off and they face another day of two.

Sunday, against the struggling Trevor Cahill, they didnt even manage the two. They barely managed to get any runners in scoring position, didnt move them along when they did, and the one time they did . . . well, never mind. They lost, 2-1, to Oakland, and got swept 11-5 against a team that is even worse at the batting arts than they are. They are now hitting .221 with men in scoring position, a firm and unassailable 29th, and their problems are not solved by tweaking lineups, players or even the trade market.Now, the obligatory happy talk note. A year ago, they scored one run in three games in Oakland. Now, back to the hideous reality.The Giants are, in many ways, the 2010 San Diego Padres all pitching, no hitting. Okay, the Padres had a little bit of hitting. They were .266 with RISP with a .766 OPS, while the Giants are .221 with a .657 OPS.But youre getting the gist. The Giants, through injuries, bizarre plate approaches, location and just plain bad luck, have become a team that doesnt walk, does strike out, and still doesnt drive the ball. They are ninth in strikeouts, but 26th in walks, 25th in total bases, 23rd in extra base hits and 26th in homers.
RELATED: Giants team statsIn other words, they combine miserable plate discipline with an inability to drive the ball, leaving Bochy to say in one of those unguarded moments you think youre getting even when youre not, We have to be better than this.Well, one is getting the distinct feeling that the Giants are not better than this, that they are still six games over .500 and in first place in the desolate NL West despite themselves rather than because of themselves. Maybe this is who they are, period.Oh, Bochy trotted out a new postgame throw-against-wall-and-hope-for-adhesion idea, playing Pat Burrell more, presumably instead of Nate Schierholtz, who is showing again why he is not an everyday player offensively. This is not the first time he has thought about this solution, or any of about 75 others. He talks to general manager Brian Sabean every day. Help is not on the horizon.Anyway, it shouldnt be. Its still the middle of June, and only a few teams can say theyre hopelessly eliminated (the As were one of those before they changed managers and won six of their last 10. The market is relatively still, and especially so for offensive help. Worse yet, the other teams have Sabean over a barrel in terms of compensation, and the ballpark makes a lot of hitters long to lose in more favorable climes.RELATED: Giants Insider gallery: Cain deals, but Giants swept
Is there a solution? Yes, but Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez are adamant about healing first. Is there a stopgap solution? Probably not, save this one:The Giants will have to do this by themselves, for themselves. The list of players reaching their capabilities stops at Cody Ross, period, and all those bursts of momentary joy when someone strings three hits in two games together dissipates quickly.This is, in short, a team that doesnt generate runs, nor does it manufacture them. They are locked in as who they are, unless they decide they can be what they were a year ago average. Because average would be good enough in this godforsaken corner of Gods Little Ballyard, and the argument Well, nobody else is any good either, so theyll be able to hold on with just this works for only a little while.And a little while is close to its expiration date.

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.