Ray Ratto

Ratto: Overachieving Giants give fans day of respite

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Ratto: Overachieving Giants give fans day of respite

Aug. 3, 2011

RATTO ARCHIVEGIANTS PAGE GIANTSVIDEO

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In a bad blow to Giant fans everywhere, the local nine scored four runs in a single inning Wednesday. Yes. Four. Runs. You know those things where a guy runs around the bases and touches the five-sided pointy thing with his foot?

RECAP: Giants score season-high at home, salvage win
Bad blow? Yes. Even though you have a thing for your team and approve of days like Wednesdays, in which the lads took and held a lead for Ryan Vogelsong, and regained the lead in the National League Amish Division.
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Bad blow? Yes, because youre the ones who started this fetish with torture and cling to it even though it was last years meme and should have been gracefully retired with Jose Guillen.

Fact is, the Giants are overachieving at an almost galactic rate, and for you to fret that the boys arent hitting enough (which they arent) is exactly one of the reasons why they have any charm at all.They are one of eight teams in the last decade to have reached the first week of August with such a meager attack. For the record, here are the others, and the reason why you need to know this will become clear shortly.YEAR TEAM RUNS ON AUG. 3 FINAL RECORD
2003 Detroit 362 43-119
L.A. Dodgers 371 85-77
2004 Montreal 377 67-95
2010 Baltimore 379 66-96
Pittsburgh 359 57-105
Seattle 344 61-101
2011 San Francisco 391 90-62
Seattle 361 71-91

Those last two are projections, of course, but the message is a pretty clear one. To score such a miserable number of runs this late in the season, you need to plan on finishing 67-95. Or worse, since the last Giants team to hit this poorly after 111 games was the 1985 model, which stands alone as the franchises one 100-loss team.Now thats the kind of rancidity you always said you enjoyed last year -- WHEN THEY WERE SCORING 100 MORE RUNS THAN THEY HAVE NOW. That was the sort of agony you said explained your love for this team -- WHEN THEIR RUN DIFFERENTIAL WAS PLUS-94 INSTEAD OF PLUS-3.So what is it, you big bunch of candies? Are you men (as in family of man) or mice (as in small obnoxious rodents who mostly make dumpsters come alive)? Are you up for this or not?Wednesdays game was so not-Giantic that it is a wonder that the crowd followed the rules. Multiple crooked-number innings (fours in the third and fifth innings), and the first six-run game at home all year -- IN ONLY THEIR 53RD HOME DATE.In the past nine years, the Giants broke the mythical six-runs-at-the-Phone mark in their third, first, first, fourth, first, seventh, sixth, first and third games. So waiting until 53 to nail down this arbitrary achievement tells us one thing.You folks better be up for the next two months. And days like Wednesday will not toughen you up properly.Sunny day. Wind blowing stridently to left field. Vogelsong pillow-smothering an all-right-handed hitting Arizona lineup. Carlos Beltran tripling and singling twice. Orlando Cabrera, mocked as a five-hitter, doubling home two runs. It couldnt have been easier on the eyes, the heart or the nervous system.But thats not how this is going to be. This was a day off for you, a freebie after two weeks of two runs a game. Frankly, we suspect Wednesday was just one more way to suck you back in when you were ready to take a hike on this team. Especially, as it turns out, with Philadelphia coming to town for a four-game series that will be falsely sold as Armageddon.No, this is a spectacularly modest team offensively, almost epically so. They will make you bleed through the eye sockets for your entertainment, but it wont be torture. Anything but.Frankly, children, youre playing with the casinos money here. With these numbers, your team should be 56-55. With the history of non-hitting teams over the last decade, your team should be 46-65.Torture? Hell. Day to day, this may be hard on your guts, but as large sample size matter, this is cashing a Scratcher. Now rub some dirt on your brains and walk it off. Youve got 51 more to go, and most of them wont be like this.

In retirement, Andre Ward will have days when he desperately wants back in

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AP

In retirement, Andre Ward will have days when he desperately wants back in

Andre Ward finally did what he said he would do – retire before the sport of boxing retired him.

Now we’ll see if boxing intends to leave him be.

Ward announced his retirement via Twitter Thursday morning, seemingly ending the career of one of the world’s greatest fighters in the elusive pound-for-pound category. He now plans to get into media, which is a battle of its own (ask Teddy Atlas when he talks with Stephen A. Smith how rewarding that can be).

But there’s that word “seemingly.” Boxers have a greater incidence of unretirement than any other sport because they miss what they do, they are typically surrounded by people who like the paydays the boxer’s fights provide, the unpaid tax debts some incur never go away, and sometimes they just don’t have anything better to do.

And then one day they find out they can’t do anything at all because of the punishments that come with violent sport, and then they become either tragedies or cautionary tales. Almost nobody gets to 95 like Jake LaMotta did.

Ward has said repeatedly that would never happen to him, that he was in control of his destiny and would remain so. And you want to believe him, because he would be that rarest of boxing stories – the unmitigated success.

It will be his toughest fight, however, far tougher than Sergei Kovalev. Boxing has this weird thrall upon its practitioners that can prove irresistible, if not outright necessary, and Ward will have to train as hard to repel its call as he did when he was neck-deep in it. It will not be easy, and he will have days when he desperately wants back in.

But retired fighters typically make poor unretired fighters, and the more one unretires, the worse the future becomes. So Andre Ward has to win this one more than any other fight.

And maybe it will be an easy victory for him – but it is a victory that will have to be achieved every day, almost like fighting alcoholism. Boxing is bad for you, and though it has been good for Andre Ward (as far as anyone knows), being an ex-boxer will be even better. He has done what needs to be done, and now he needs to do something else, one that doesn’t require putting his body and brain at risk for our amusement.

If this can be done, Andre Ward can achieve it. But neither he nor anyone else should think it will be any easier than understanding an Adalaide Byrd scorecard. Post-boxing will be difficult and rewarding business. All he has to do is master it every day for the rest of his life.

The time has come to draw your own conclusion

The time has come to draw your own conclusion

For the record, and just so you can’t say you weren’t told, these are the 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL and the 50 backups. Draw your own conclusions.

(Author’s note: We list these only because Joe Webb was just signed by the Buffalo Bills, whose starter and first backup, Tyrod Taylor and T.J. Yates, are still in the concussion protocol).

AFC WEST

DENVER: Trevor Siemian (Paxton Lynch, Brock Osweiler)

KANSAS CITY: Alex Smith (Patrick Mahomes, Tyler Bray)

LOS ANGELES: Philip Rivers (Cardale Jones)

OAKLAND: Derek Carr (E.J. Manuel, Connor Cook)

AFC NORTH

BALTIMORE: Joe Flacco (Ryan Mallett)

CINCINNATI: Andy Dalton (AJ McCarron)

CLEVELAND: DeShone Kizer (Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan, Josh Woodrum)

PITTSBURGH: Ben Roethlisberger (Landry Jones, Joshua Dobbs)

AFC SOUTH

HOUSTON: Tom Savage (DeShaun Watson)

INDIANAPOLIS: Scott Tolzien (Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett)

JACKSONVILLE: Chad Henne (Blake Bortles)

TENNESSEE: Marcus Mariota (Matt Cassel)

AFC EAST

BUFFALO: Nathan Peterman (Taylor, Yates, Webb)

MIAMI: Jay Cutler (Matt Moore, David Fales)

NEW ENGLAND: Tom Brady (Jimmy Garoppolo)

NEW YORK: Josh McCown (Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg)

NFC WEST

ARIZONA: Carson Palmer (Drew Stanton, Blaine Gabbert)

LOS ANGELES: Jared Goff (Sean Mannion)

SAN FRANCISCO: Brian Hoyer (C.J. Beathard)

SEATTLE: Russell Wilson (Austin Davis)

NFC NORTH

CHICAGO: Mike Glennon (Mitchell Trubisky, Mark Sanchez)

DETROIT: Matthews Stafford (Jack Rudock)

GREEN BAY: Aaron Rodgers (Brett Hundley)

MINNESOTA: Sam Bradford (Case Keenum)

NFL SOUTH

ATLANTA: Matt Ryan (Matt Schaub)

CAROLINA: Cam Newton (Derek Anderson, Brad Kaaya)

NEW ORLEANS: Drew Brees (Chase Daniel, Taysom Hill)

TAMPA BAY: Jameis Winston (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Griffin)

NFC EAST

DALLAS: Dak Prescott (Cooper Rush)

NEW YORK: Eli Manning (Geno Smith, Davis Webb)

PHILADELPHIA: Carson Wentz (Nick Foles)

WASHINGTON: Kirk Cousins (Colt McCoy)

Again, draw your own conclusions. I know I’ve drawn mine.