Ray Ratto Nov. 19 Chat Transcript

Ray Ratto Nov. 19 Chat Transcript

Nov. 19, 2010RATTO ARCHIVE
Editor's Note:CSNBayArea.com Senior Insider Ray Ratto chats regularly! Be sure to join him forfree-flowing discussions on just about anything!
Ray RattoCSNBayArea.com

Ray Ratto:
So let's get down to cases, shall we? As He Who Sees All and Knows All, I am the guy for your snap-judgment needs. Plus, I'm feeling exceedingly pretty today. And now . . . you.

From Heath:
How many more games do the 49ers win this year?Ray Ratto:
An excellent question, which I have pondered long and often since the season began and then went to hell. The answer is three -- both Arizonas and Seattle at home. They go 6-190, there is much hue and cry about firing coaches and general managers being hired and Uncle Eddie coming back, but only one of those will actually happen. The first one.From Julie:
Do you foresee Coach Singletary coaching his way to a division tittle or to a one way ticket to unemployment?Ray Ratto:
No, and yes, in that order.From BearBacker:
Scenarios by which Cal wins the Big Game? And don't give me something about the Hayward Fault rupturing and swallowing Andrew Luck at midfield. Seriously, what are Cal's options and strategy?Ray Ratto:
Wow, that took quite a tone right away, didn't it? Cal wins by forcing turnovers (three, minimum) and grinding out first downs to keep the ball out of Luck's hands. I don't see a big score here, between the Cal defense and the weather, so I would say that's Cal's ticket.From OrangeOctober:
Is there any way that Derek Jeter won't be a Yankee for life? Would you advocate the Giants signing him in any way? Even if he's lost a step or some batspeed I feel like he would be a force in a clubhouse that doesn't know how to defend a title.Ray Ratto:
Doesn't know how to defend a title? The Yankees won last year and couldn't defend the title. Frankly, Jeter stays in new York, because San Francisco offers him nothing he doesn't already have more of in New York. If the Yankees are talking 15Myear, that's way out of the Giants' ballpark for a guy who is clearly beginning the landing portion of the flight.From Josue:
Besides Huff and Uribe, who is the top free agent for the Giants this offseason?Ray Ratto:
That is theirs, or someone else's?From Sam:
Are the Raiders for real?Ray Ratto:
No, they are utterly fictional. We won't know based on Sunday, because I don't think they are good enough to beat Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh. They beat Miami but lose at San Diego, and the Chargers have an easier closing schedule.From Rip:
What is wrong with the Sharks? Yeah, yeah, people were pointing fingers at the officials on Thursday but the bottom line is that this team is tough to watch right now. Is a vein going to explode in McClellan's neck soon?Ray Ratto:
The neck explosion is scheduled after the game in Ottawa Dec. 2. San Jose has two full lines and shards of two others, and one reliable defenseman (Boyle) who is being run to a nub because those around him are too hit-and-miss. The loss of Malhotra was enormous, and the need for a defenseman to replace Blake, which everyone knew at the time, grows only more acute.From Benton:
If you're Andrew Luck and you're looking at Buffalo or Carolina as the next place your mail is being delivered, does that influence the decision to come back for his senior season? Or do you take the money and run?Ray Ratto:
We don't know if there will be a lockout, so that factors in as well. Historically, quarterbacks who wait tend to wait too long, but Luck could play some Manning-like hardball to get a better team interested in trading up (daddy Oliver played in the league, is the AD at West Virginia, and can twist a little arm here and there). I don't think he stays if there is football in 2011, but I also don't think he is doomed to those two choices.From Marvin:
How do you feel about a potential move for the A's from Oakland to San Jose?Ray Ratto:
Do I think it's going to happen? No. Do I think the A's would be helped by moving there? One year, two years, tops. They've done such a shoddy job of building a fan base that I think they'll run into serious resistance from ticket buyers after a year or two. Waiting for the team to get good to draw crowds only leads to front-runners who buy game-day but not full season ticket packages. Frankly, I think John Fisher and Lew Wolff have gone about this whole thing so monumentally wrong that it can't end well either way.From Miller:
What are the odds of Pablo Sandoval getting in shape? And is he on his own or will the Giants send a trainer to Venezuela, or force him to hang out in Scottsdale? What are your thoughts ... what is the plan? Thanks, your writing is among the best.Ray Ratto:
You're far too kind, and I should know. The biggest hurdle (since he is going to San Diego and then Scottsdale) is for his mother to accept that she can't cook for him in the same way he is used to eating. The rest of it is just monitoring him, which the Giants are already planning to do. They expect him to be below 250 by the time camp starts, which I'm not sure he can manage.From Frank:
Fighting in hockey ... your take?Ray Ratto:
Do they need it? No, but they're too afraid to find out, so it will be there until you and I and our children are all long and safely dead. Or until someone dies in an on-ice fight. Is that morbid enough for you with the holidays coming up?From Victor:
Harbraugh good fit for 49ers or Dallas?Ray Ratto:
No in either place, because they're both too top-down for him. But of the two, Dallas is better, because he rises to the attention and is in a bigger theatre. Plus, he and Jerry will scream at each other, which Jerry clearly needs more of in his life.From Yvonne:
Jed York -- how do you grade him as an owner? Maybe a B? I had a lot of faith in him when he initially took over -- fired Nolan, clearly a bright guy with a passion for the team, pushed the stadium vote through. For some reason, maybe it's just me, but the bloom has gone off the rose a bit.Ray Ratto:
Well, Yvonne, you're a little generous with the letters there. It's a B-minus at best, bordering on a C. Singletary is his problem, and I see no evidence to suggest that he either is or has at his disposal someone who can find him a replacement, let alone a general manager to run the operation. Maybe he'll have a change of heart, leadership-wise, but so far nothing indicates that he has. Fix that, and you have a B. Don't fix that, and it's a C, maybe even worse.From Josh:
Will the Warriors become an elite team in the next couple years? i see a bright future with Ellis,Curry, and David Lee but need more All Stars.Ray Ratto:
God, no. This is still a team that is too thin, doesn't defend consistently, and is terribly fragile. It would take four years for them to do what they need to do, and at that, they'd have to get the best player in the draft and make hjim happy while making him better. They're coming from a long way off the pack, and I don't see a 34-game improvement (from 26 to 60 wins, anm elite number) over two years.From Maria:
Can you handicap the Heisman race? Will this mess at Auburn impact Cam Newton's chances? Is Andrew Luck going to be a finalist? Could he win the thing? Who else ... the Boise St. QB?Ray Ratto:
Newton is still the leader until the NCAA, FBI, Interpol or MI5 says otherwise. Kellen Moore is also a more viable candidate. But Luck has a chance to get himself an invitation to New York.From BigGamer:
Jeff Tedford vs. Jim Harbaugh in a staredown ... who would win?Ray Ratto:
A staredown? Tedford. You can't get either one of them to say anything they don't want to do, but you can break Harbaugh's ocular resolve if you train properly.From SportsFan:
Do you get free Comcast Cable? And can you do anything about the 4-hour window waiting for a tech?Ray Ratto:
Yes I do. And I will expand it to eight hours, 10 on the weekend, just for you. No need to thank me -- it's all in a day's work for Johnny Television.From Roger Goodell's Evil Twin:
Will the NFL ever find a way to minimize concussions, or legislate them out of the game? I don't want players to get hurt or have memory issues after they are done playing but c'mon, this is a violent, collision-based game. Call me a sadist but I like to see big hits and guys getting laid out.Ray Ratto:
Sounds like you like concussions. An interesting position, that. As to your question, they will work just as hard as their lawyers tell them to to keep from having to go to court, so yes, I think they'll try to legislate.From Giants415:
Will the Giants be a favorite to book a ticket to the World Series again this year or the next couple years?Ray Ratto:
No for 2011, maybe for 2012 0r '13. Too much went right, and you never know which pitcher is going down next year, but one will. It's the law of big numbers.From Luis:
Your World Series Prediction? I'm saying Yankees-Atlanta.Ray Ratto:
Pirates-Royals. And tell your friends where you heard it, because if I'm right . . . well, you know.From Jerry:
is there something I'm missing in the Rajai Davis? Did he look at Beane the wrong way last week? He put up good numbers last year and all we're getting is a couple of AA relief pitchers.Ray Ratto:
The DeJesus deal made him superfluous, and Beane likes to stockpile minor leaguers.From John Izumi:
ray your doing a great job but tyreke evans and demarcus cousins or steph curry and monta ellis for next 10 years your choice.Ray Ratto:
None of them will be together for the next years, but if you're asking me who among them will go that long, I'd say all but Cousins. That's an uneducated guess, mind you, but that's the one I have today. From Lunatic Fringe:
Has the World Series changed Sabean's local profile forever? Has it invalidated the criticism of failing to develop position players, overpaying for old free agents? Am I just a bastard for continuing to beat this drum? Where would you rate him among big league GMs? Upper tier?Ray Ratto:
You are a bastard, and it has nothing to do with this; I know where you go, I see what you do. I am Santa Claus.As for the rest of it, you have to rememebr that Sabean operates now with more freedom of action and resources than he ever did under previous management, so many of the criticisms you cite were based on an old template (they didn't have great position player evaluators, but their development budgets were so low that they had to make hard choices and decided to draft as many pitchers as they could find). In addition, he could not rebuild the club from below until Bonds left by ownership fiat, so he had to settle for bad bargains like Dave Roberts and Randy Winn. He did make his share of mistakes (Benitez, Alfonzo, Hillenbrand), but he's not a stupid man or anti-youth opr anti metrics,. He just relies more heavily on scouts than many GMs do. Where he ranks is difficult to say because each GM has different spending and control parameters, and there are so many GMs who are relative babes and have a sm,all sample size. In short, I'll duck that one because he has so few contemporaries. From John Izumi:
another question is demarcus cousins a legit 20 point and 11 rebound guy in 2-4 years if his head is straight?Ray Ratto:
Who knows? Let's wait until his head is straightened, and guess again then.From Brian, Grass Valley:
Did you get a sense that the Giants were trying to distance themselves from Bonds during the World Series and its aftermath? How would you describe the vibe between No. 25 and the team, its ownership, etc.Ray Ratto:
If they want to distance themselves from him, they would never invite him back. Neukom has no tie to Bonds that he doesn't want to have, and the fact that he sat next to Neukom during the LCS tells you pretty much what you need to know there. I don't think he'll get a baseball job while Sabean is there, but if he really wants one afterward, there is always a chance.From John Izumi:
ray i came to this chat late cant wait till next week, have a great week man.Ray Ratto:
You, as well. I'll do the best I can given my limited resources.From Brian, Grass Valley:
Will Bonds beat the Feds in his trial? Did you see the ESPN piece on Marion Jones? Seems that if she did some time, Bonds has to feel a bit nervous. And I'm no F. Lee Bailey but it seems that when Uncle Sam wants your hide, he usually gets what he's after.Ray Ratto:
Without a corroborating witness (Greg Anderson), he walks.From Brandon:
Billy Beane -- was he overrated by all the Moneyball hype? Is he a top-notch GM or merely a guy who's carved out an identity based on the fact that he's going against the grain? Tough to judge him with the A's so tight with their cash.Ray Ratto:
The last sentence is most important, but it's fair to say he benefitted from the roster he had when he took over, and was probably overpraised during the early 2000s and the Moneyball explosion. But he's not stupid, by any means. He's just impoverished.From Joe:
Seen any good movies lately?Ray Ratto:
No.From Billy Beane:
Was Dye for Jose Ortiz impoverished?Ray Ratto:
No. He's done some very good work, but to evalutae him fully, you'd have to see him with a full wallet, just as you'd evaluate Sabean with a free hand. That's why comparing general managers is silly. Comparing owners is much easier, since it's mostly a 27-way tie for last.From Billy Beane:
Anderson or Haren?Ray Ratto:
Both.From Joe Lacob:
when do i hire a replacement for keith smart?Ray Ratto:
Christmas morning. That always plays well with the customers.From Ron:
I'm doing them because someone who signs my check told me to. Then again, I'm kind of a whore that way.And so ends another lost hours of all our life spans. Next week -- "Trytophan, The Silent Killer," or "This Is The Police; Drop That Yam And Come Out With Your Hands Up."

A sports-related pie-fixing scandal? Hell never felt so fun


A sports-related pie-fixing scandal? Hell never felt so fun

I’m liking this 2017 so far. Then again, after 2016, nearly any year would be an improvement.

Just this last weekend we got a flat-earth scandal that turned into a mock-up about media self-importance and fake news (yay Kyrie Irving and his impish sense of satire!).

We got the overblown Russell-Hates-Kevin narrative, and the faux Russell-Secretly-Loves-Kevin counternarrative, all because we are stunningly attracted to meaningless and utterly contrived drama (yay our ability to B.S. ourselves!).

We got the NBA All-Star Game ripped for having no defense even though last year’s game was, if anything, worse (yay short attention span!).

We got the Boogie Cousins trade and the national revulsion of all the thought processes the Sacramento Kings put into this perpetually rolling disaster (yay making Boogie and Vivek Ranadive household names!).

And now we got the Great Sutton United Pie-Fixing Scandal. Yeah, pie-fixing. Hell never felt so fun.

So here’s the deal. Sutton United, a very small fry in English soccer, got to the fifth round of the FA Cup, a competition in which all the clubs in England are commingled and play each other until one team remains. The big clubs almost always win, so any time a small club goes deep, it’s a big deal.

Anyway, Sutton went deeper in the competition than nearly anyone in the last century, a charming development given that it is such a small club that it had a stadium caretaker, goalie coach and backup goalie all in one massive fellow, a 46-year-old guy named Wayne Shaw. Shaw became the globular embodiment of the entire Sutton Experience, a jolly lark for everyone involved and especially when he ate a pie on the bench in the final minutes of Sutton’s Cup-exiting loss to Arsenal.

And now he’s been eased into resigning his jobs with the club, because – and this is so very British – there were betting shops taking action on whether he would in fact eat a pie on the bench, and he either did or did not tip off his pals that he was going to chow down on television.

He did eat the pie. His pals collected on their bets. The sport’s governing body opened an investigation into market manipulation by gambling – which is hilarious given that no fewer than 10 gambling establishments have advertising deals with English soccer clubs. Shaw was invited to quit to kill the story, and he took the hint.

Hey, dreams die all the time. But it’s still pie-fixing. Let that rattle around your head for a minute. Pie-fixing. Not match-fixing. Not point-shaving. Pie-fixing.

Now how can you not love this year?

Sure, it sucks for Shaw, but it serves as a series of cautionary tales for athletes around the world.

* Gambling is everywhere, and every time you inch toward it, you dance on the third rail.

* If you want to help your friends, give them cash.

* This is a horribly delicious way to lose your gig.

* And finally, fun in the 21st century isn’t ever truly fun because someone in a suit and a snugly-placed stick is going to make sure you pay full retail for that fun.

But it is nice to know that something that has never happened before is now part of our year. Pie-fixing is a thing now, as silly in its way as Irving’s flat-earth narrative was. And as we steer away from normal games as being too run-of-the-mill-fuddy-duddy entertainment, we have replaced them with sideshows.

Or do you forget how many people complained Saturday and Sunday that the dunk contest wasn’t interesting enough? How stupid is that?

Lots. Lots of stupid. But against pie-tin-shaped planets and pies turned into betting coups, how can it possibly compare?

We chase a lot of idiotic narratives in our sporting lives. The great What Will The Patriots Do To Roger Goodell story died like the old dog it was. We still try to flog Warriors-Thunder as a rivalry in search of better TV ratings when all the obvious evidence is that it is no such thing unless you think a couple that broke up nine months ago is still a solid story. We have Bachelor fantasy leagues, for God’s sake.

This would leave most normal folks in despair, thus matching their everyday experiences, but yin meets yang, and every time it looks like we are all barrel-rolling into the sun, we get Irving, and then we get Wayne Shaw.

In short, 2017 is going to be fun of grand surprises for us all. I look forward to the day President Trump tries to fete the Patriots and only gets to Skype with Bob Kraft and the equipment guys who midwifed DeflateGate, and Mark Davis in Las Vegas, just to see if he can get a P.F. Chang’s into the Bellagio.

Why not? This is sport’s year-long tribute to sketch comedy, and evidently everyone is signing on enthusiastically to replace lessons of morality and honor and equality and dignity and sportsmanship with slackened jaws and belly laughs.

So yay sports! Or as it is clearly becoming, A Night At The Improv.

Patriots win one for the ages, but where does it rank?

Patriots win one for the ages, but where does it rank?

The price of watching Roger Goodell being booed back to the Bronze Age is a subtle but real one, and one that people will feel very dearly soon enough.

The last great cathartic Super Bowl is now done, with the New England Patriots winning the brilliant and decisive battle to be sports’ new evil empire. In doing so, it rendered Goodell a permanent and risible punch line in National Football League history, the mall cop who wanted the death penalty for littering, and in the words of the song “got what he wanted but he lost what he had.”

True, $40 million a year can make the dissolution of your public persona a reasonably decent tradeoff, but we lost the argument about who won his windmill tilt with the Patriots. It’s done, and he is now permanently and irrevocably a figure of ridicule.

But that’s not the only debating point America lost Sunday night, and while you wouldn’t think it given how much time we are willing to shouting at each other, quality arguments are not easily replaced.

We have almost surely lost the mindless debate about the best quarterback ever, because there is nothing anyone can bring up that the words “Tom Brady” cannot rebut except calling his own plays, and since that is no longer allowed in football, it is a silly asterisk to apply.

We have almost surely lost the equally silly shouter about the best coach ever. Bill Belichick is defiantly not fun, but he has built, improved and bronzed an organizational model that is slowly swallowing the rest of the sport. That and five trophies makes him the equal if not better of the short list of Paul Brown, George Halas, Vince Lombardi, Bill Walsh and Tom Landry.

Plus, Belichick locked up the most absurd response to a question in coaching history Monday when he said, “As great as today feels . . . we're five weeks behind the other teams for the 2017 season.” Even allowing for Gregg Popovich in-game interviews, the so-grim-he-could-make-a-robot-cry worship-the-process response has now become a cliché. If 2017 prep was so important, he should have skipped yesterday’s game, and he definitely should have chosen not to waste so much time on the trophy stand after the game when training camp drills needed to be scheduled.

Oh, and DeflateGate died. Dead. No zombie possibilities here.

We do have a meatheaded argument ahead of us about which championship in the last year is the best, which can be settled here.

1. Leicester City, because 5,000-1 is 5,000-1, and the whole world understands that. Plus, there was invaluable three-month buildup that engaged non-soccer fans.

2. Chicago Cubs, because 108 years is 108 years.

3. New England Patriots, because . . . well, I don’t have to explain it unless you have no useful memory span. “Down 25 In The Third Quarter” is the new “Down 3-1.”

4. Cleveland Cavaliers, because they slayed the first unbeatable Warrior team by coming from 3-1 down, and even as a silver medalist, it will always be an internet meme, which is what passes for memorable in our decrepit culture.

5. (tie) Villanova basketball and Clemson football in a tie, because they were essentially the same great game.

7. The Pittsburgh Penguins, because the Stanley Cup Final was devoid of drama or high moments, and only 14:53 of overtime. Feh.

But everything else is settled, and this Super Bowl will not be topped for a long time. Our current cycle of absurd championships is almost surely going to end soon, because “Down 3-1” has happened twice in eight months (three times, if you count Warriors over Thunder), and the bar has now been placed well beyond reasonable clearing.

Indeed, the only thing left is for a championship team to spontaneously combust on the award stand. But if they do so and ignite Roger Goodell along the way, that would be an ending America would cheerfully endorse.

But that also isn’t an argument any more, and yes, that includes Gary Bettman.