Sacto mayor Johnson big hat, no cattle again

615016.jpg

Sacto mayor Johnson big hat, no cattle again

I believe Kevin Johnson is serious when he says he wants a major league baseball team in Sacramento. I believe he is sincere. And I definitely believe he is nuts.
RELATED: Sacramento to explore bringing MLB team to city
But not nuts in that wouldnt this be an idea to kick around the back yard with a few folks? way. Just nuts in that why would you say this out loud to strangers? way. Johnson has done this kind of thing before announcing he had a deal with the peripatetic Maloof boys on an arena without having their signatures scrawled under duress on so much as a cocktail napkin. We know how that turned out by the powder burns on Johnsons shirt collar.
REWIND: Funding dispute arises between Kings, Sacramento
But now hes aiming higher, and more erratically, at a team, in an industry whose franchise values have essentially doubled in a year, and whose easiest team to buy is worth maybe three times as much as it was. In short, he is presumably trying to schmooze John Fisher with essentially the same line he used on the Oofs, namely, We sure would like you to do what we want here where we live. That, and 400 million would get you the As, and another 300 million would get you the ballpark theyd need to play in. In short, hes gone big hat no cattle yet again.At least with the Kings, they were already in town, and he could paint the Oofs as disingenuous because they were. With baseball, he has no leverage, an insufficient corporate base, and nobody interested in buying a club with values freshly inflated by the Dodgers and Padres (pending) deals. Johnson says Sacramento is a major league city, whatever that means. Yes, it still has the Kings and Monarchs and Capitals and River Cats, but major league means a lot of things. Good schools, good roads, good hospitals and health care facilities and fire fighting, parks and neighborhoods, well-stocked and fair-minded police thats pretty damned major league, and you dont need a team for any of that.But its not our place to lecture Sacramento, because all the places we will in have issues and stages of suck-y-osity. Everybody tries to do the best they can with what they have.And hey, maybe Johnson knows something we dont about a team for sale, an eager buyer, and a love affair with the state capital we have not yet discerned. Its how Gregg Luginbill brought the Kings from Kansas City via Omaha all those years ago. But on the 99.3783 percent chance that hes blowing smoke here in blind hope, lets just say that wishful thinking works even less well the second time around, and if this is just a blind bluff, its chances are zero.And having missed out on keeping the Kings because he was dealing with guys in a financial freefall, he cant convincingly sell anyone on hooking a ball team. Not enough money, no ready-to-go venue, not enough corporate support in what is essentially a government town . . . it is as close to inconceivable as conceivable can be. But were always ready to listen to a line if hes actually got one to throw. This just wasnt it.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.

The real issue that lingers now that OJ Simpson is a free man

The real issue that lingers now that OJ Simpson is a free man

O.J. Simpson is free. The system as it is defined by those who run it in the case of the Nevada Parole Board, worked.

But the issue that lingers is whether we can free ourselves of him. That system is far more amorphous, arbitrarty and essentially unfair. And in its own revolting way, it works too.

The O.J. market has always been bullish. The old cliché that people can’t get enough no matter how much you shovel at them is more true for him than for any other sports figure of the last 50 years. More than Tiger Woods. More than LeBron James. More than Michael Jordan. More than all of them.

And now his parole hearing, televised and streamed by every outlet except Home & Garden Television, proved it again. He will never not be O.J.

But he is also 70. He is also planning to go to Florida and be with his family, based on what he told the parole board Thursday. He has assiduously avoided the media in his nine years in Lovelock, and if his family is providing the support it pledges, it will do its utmost to keep him from our prying eyes as he enters his dotage.

There is nothing we have that can do him any good. We have eaten all the forms of O.J. there are, culminating in the Emmy-award winning documentary on him, and finally, his release from prison. If he is wise as well as smart, here’s nothing left of his life but re-airs.

So the question becomes not so much whether he can leave fame alone, or whether fame can leave him alone. Our national appetite is poor on the topic of leaving people be, let alone deciding enough is enough. The fame we make for people gorges, purges and gorges again, in a hideous cycle that demeans all involved.

In sum, O.J. Simpson can, if he is paying attention to the value of normalcy, end his addiction to fame. I have far more serious doubts about fame and its addiction to him.

Quietest time in sports yields a pair of idiotic fascinations

mayweather-mcgregor-ball-weird.jpg

Quietest time in sports yields a pair of idiotic fascinations

Some time not that very long ago, someone in sports management who will almost certainly spend all of eternity bobbing for razor-studded apples in a pool of lava saw an opportunity in the phrase, “The quietest time in sports.” And decided to fill it with filth.
 
It is believed to begin right after the end of the NBA Finals, although that artificial start date has been extended through free agency now that the NBA’s principal entertainment vehicle is the burning of money. It used to be right after the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, though now it has been extended backward. And it ends roughly at the beginning of NFL and/or college training camps, depending on where you live and which of those two beasts you profess your God to be.
 
But let’s get back to the management succubus who has set us on the path that has led inexcusably to the current point. The idea that baseball no longer holds the interest or attention spans of the young, cool and inadequately trained in the value of money is now accepted as fact, and as any marketing nitwit will tell you, nature abhors a vacuum.
 
So here’s what we’ve got. Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor in what is very simply a lazy-stereotype-laden comedy tour that isn’t funny let alone even mildly convincing. They have both been on the stage too long, with a month still to go before the final shame-off August 26, where they simply enter the arena, stand with their backs to each other at the ring rope and spend 45 minutes trying to target-spit into the eyes of the high-rollers. Why the promoters didn’t just muzzle Mayweather and McGregor and use actual professionals like Key and Peele and Aisling Bea and Ed Byrne to work the crowds for a million per is simply a lack of imagination at work.
 
Here’s what else we have. Our idiotic fascination for Lonzo Ball’s two best Summer League games being achieved wearing shoes other than those promoted by his father/huckster as though his skills and intelligence are all in his feet.
 
What this actually is, of course, is people using Lonzo’s momentary and mostly microscopic achievement to call LaVar a tedious swine without ever using his name or his product catalog because he, like McGregor and Mayweather, beats down crowds and calls it entertainment, and people have signed on in a weird backdoor way – by finding reasons to like the son as a weapon against the father.
 
Thus, Lonzo Ball gets to learn how to be a professional athlete of note while carrying the load of his father’s impression upon the nation as well as the loads of those who believe that sins of the father must revert to the son. Popularity’s dominant property is its corrosion, and Ball will have to have very fast feet and well-constructed shoes indeed to dance away from the rising tide of a bored fan base with an ax to grind.
 
It isn’t as instantly gratifying a train wreck as Mayweather-McGregor, but it is a triumph of the new marketing strategy of wholesale idiocy that diminishes the watcher as well as the watched.
 
Neither of these events are in and of themselves interesting. Mayweather-McGregor is simply a kangaroo boxing a bear because circus entertainment no longer has circuses as venues, and Ball’s summer bears almost no relationship to the true test of his career – how to be the best player on a terrible team and then make the adjustment to being the third best player on a rebuilding team.
 
Ball has a longer shelf life because of that single useful component, but it is made less rather than more interesting by the presence of his father, who is now indelibly part of the tale at a time when most parents leave their children to find their fortunes by the virtues of their skills and wits.
 
McGregor-Mayweather has the sole benefit of being cringeworthy both before, during and after the event, a month-long smear of degradation that reduces all involved, including those who buy the fight, into penitents, into rolling apologies. It is an event in which nobody gets out with any shred of dignity, with the single revolting example of the grisly accountant-beasts who will take the Internal Revenue’s cut immediately after the fight.
 
And if that isn’t Satan winning, then you don’t know how to score a game in which Satan plays on all the teams at once and sees to it that the game is scheduled in the middle of July because some client of his told him it was the best time of year for personal and professional disgrace with a scoreboard on the end of it.