Ray Ratto

Ratto: Ranking Giants' second-half keys


Ratto: Ranking Giants' second-half keys

July 13, 2011


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Youre sitting there on the back edge of your couch, waiting for Carlos Beltran. Brian Wilson said you could have him, right there during the All-Star Game and you never doubt a single thing the good Swami Saveananda tells you.In short, you have issues that cant really be addressed in this small space..But on the off-chance that the Giants cant make Brandon Belt and picking up Beltrans remaining 8.5M stand up against the expected onslaughts from the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers and Phillies, lets consider instead what they have, and theyre going to need from what they have, between now and the final table.In order of importance, and set by your author, and not to encourage some sort of dialogue, because frankly, this is the correct list:
RATTO: A's stagger into season's second half

1. Matt Cain: Someone is going to have to be the bloodless stopper for this rotation, which frankly, has been running at about 70 percent efficiency, and Cain spent the All-Star Break topping off on the oil, hydraulic fluids and windshield washer for the rest of the trip. If he breaks down, the Giants break down.2. Aubrey Huff: Not much production, either with power or with simple getting-on-base-i-tude. If he has a second half of any quality in him, it should start, well, sort of now-ish.3. Sergio RomoRamon RamirezJeremy AffeldtJavier LopezSantiago CasillaGuillermo Mota: Because they have been doing yeomans work of the most extraordinary kind getting the Giants from their starters to Ulysses S. Grant, and if any of them lose their yeo between now and then, the whole enterprise could collapse.4. Tim Lincecum: His numbers are as bad as his record, but any faltering is considered the end of his career by those who think the panic button is actually the enter key. The Giants are built on the assumption that four of their five starters are going to be lights out, and Lincecums bulb, while still shining, isnt giving off all the lumens it should.5. Pablo Sandoval: More of his redemptive first half is required, so he doesnt look like a guy who needs to be constantly whipped to perform, and so that the Giants arent turning 2-1 wins into 1-0 losses.6. Cody Ross: The home runs take care of themselves.7. Rasputin: Three blown saves already, which means hes allowed three more.8. Nate Schierholtz: Hes not a regularly capable four-hitter, but he is now better than a fourth outfielder. At least hed better be if the Giants dont want to lament their inability to close the Beltran deal.9. Eli WhitesideChris Stewart: Because catchers do grow on trees, but there arent many trees out there.10. Andres Torres: There are those who think too little and those who think too much. Torres is one of the latter, but maybe if he stops thinking about going bad, hell start going good again.11. Miguel Tejada: This is his salarynew contract drive -- in case hes not motivated solely by showing he can be of greater help to this team.12. Jonathan Sanchez: At some point, hell be back. If he brings his friends Ball One, Ball Two, Ball Three and Ball Four, even Doctor Seuss will hate him.13. Madison BumgarnerRyan Vogelsong: Only one of the two really needs a dominant second half, and it doesnt really matter which one.14. Brian Sabean: Needs to have a trigger, needs to be ready to pull it.15. Belt: The most tradable non-major-league piece. He may serve going as well as coming. Although if Huff cant snap out of it, Belt might have to become the everyday first baseman again.16. The schedule: Favors Arizona down the stretch, so having a nice lead on 91 cant hurt. Of course, San Diego had a nice lead last 91 and, well, you know.17. Aaron RowandPat BurrellEmmanuel Burriss: You can win without a bench, but the 2002 Giants didnt have a bench and lost to the Angels. The 2010 Giants did, and well, you know.18. Brandon Crawford: If he catches the ball and throws the ball, nobody will mind that he hasnt yet mastered the hitting the ball thing.19. Bruce Bochy: He was smart before he got here, hes smart now, and hell be smart in September. He doesnt play, though, and in baseball, brains are defined by quantifiables like runs and outs and wins. Not ruining the bullpen is still Job 1, and he hasnt ruined a bullpen even in years when he didnt have one to ruin.20. Bob-Tie Billy Neukom: Resisting the impulse to be Jerry Jones is vital here. He has two jobs -- saying, We can afford it, or saying We cant afford it. This might be tough given that he doesnt have the distraction of sniveling about a new ballpark, and may have way too much time on his hands, but him going along for the ride worked a year ago, and theres no reason to think it wont again.21. Duane KuiperJon MillerMike KrukowDave FlemmingTito FuentesErwin Higueros: As more and more of the teams games go national, theyll have to bump up their original-insights-per-game numbers. We all know how people reflexively reel when theyre not getting their Giantsiana from The Boys, so panic may result if theyre not at the top of their laryngeal powers down the stretch. One blown double play call, and it could all go crashing down on them all.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.

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


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.