Ray Ratto

Ratto: Posey injury a stern test for Bochy, Sabean

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Ratto: Posey injury a stern test for Bochy, Sabean

May 26, 2011RATTO ARCHIVEGIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEORay Ratto
CSNBayArea.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- All the other rhetoric aside, Bruce Bochy codified the Buster Posey issue with one deft phrase.

We dont like it. Hes our guy.

Thats all that it needs to be. Buster Poseys leg got crumpled in a baseball play, a career-changing (not threatening necessarily, but changing for sure) injury. Floridas Scott Cousins steamrolled him based on one judgment alone:

Is this my best chance of scoring based on what I know running at my top speed 20 feet from home plate?

Put another way, again according to Bochy:

There was nothing malicious about it. I think he figured that this was what he had to do to score.

In short, this wasnt false hustle by Cousins, and vilifying him is wrong on its face. Fans can decide they dont like it because hes your guy, but they dont get to deny rational thought.

We do not know when Cousins made up his mind to collide with Posey. You speculate what you want, but you do not know. Moreover, the fact that Nate Schierholtz was the one making the outfield throw made it more, rather than less likely that Cousins would assume his best play would not be a slide or a fly-by but the full-on-hope-I-knock-the-ball-loose collision.

And thats it. Pure and simple as can be.

The cries for rules changes for home plate collisions are therefore misguided, because when you try to legislate against bad luck, which is what the Posey injury was, you create different kinds of bad luck.

If you want the rule to change, the only one that works is the rec league co-ed softball rule where a line is drawn 20 or 30 or 40 feet up the line and make home plate Switzerland, and every play a force-out.

If, on the other hand, you want the culture on home plate collisions to change, you lose. Few players slide feet first any more, even fewer know how to hook slide, and the player who doesnt try his hardest to score is out of baseball just as fast as the catcher who doesnt want to block the plate.

Buster Posey is a loss, and a dramatic one. His injury is comprehensive, and could in the worst-scenario be career-shortening. And for most of you, you dont like it because ... well, you know.

And thats the end of it. It makes managing and running the Giants a much more difficult proposition, but the creativity that is required of Bochy and Brian Sabean now makes the team more fascinating to follow.

The calculus of running a baseball team has now gone from differential to integral, and watching Sabean and Bochy try and meld a team without a chunk of its nucleus will make the season valuable entertainment in a radically different way.

Which is another way of saying, Its more fun to watch Buster Posey than watch people cope with the absence of Buster Posey, but you eat whats on the table when you cant order off the menu.

In the meantime, you dont like it, because hes your guy. Just dont forget youd have been all for it if Buster Posey were Carlos Ruiz, and the Giants were the Phillies. And if you can say otherwise, then good on your father. Youre a better person then all the other people in your section.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.

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.