Ray Ratto

Superior play doesnt measure up to potential

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Superior play doesnt measure up to potential

If Jim Harbaugh announces Wednesday, as expected, that Colin Kaepernick will start in St. Louis against the rams Sunday, he will do with his deeds what he could not possibly manage with his words.Declare the end of the 49ers nascent quarterback controversy.If Kaepernick is the choice rather than Alex Smith, as most people assume it will be, Harbaugh will have made a clear preference for one over the other, and only Kaepernicks ineffectiveness or an injury will change that. Smith becomes one of those rare examples of a man losing his job because his superior play doesnt measure up to his new rivals potential.RELATED: Mariucci believes Harbaugh will stick with Kaepernick
And if you see a parallel between this and Harbaughs own struggles with Mike Tomczak back in the day, so be it. Well leave that to the lab coats and 145-hr couch fees.But if Kaepernick is the choice, one can only assume that he will remain so, circumstances permitting, which means we dont have a controversy any more, but a job change. Kaepernick has Smiths, period.It would, however, be helpful to the entire process if Harbaugh could keep from speaking on the subject because, well, he keeps trying to reinvent the universe with his tongue and just makes the issue worse.A quarterback controversy, you see, is when a coach cant make up his mind. This is not that. This is what happens when a coach cannot sensibly explain why he has made up his mind, and while that may be a controversy, it isnt of the quarterback variety.When Harbaugh announced at Mondays weekly What-Was-That? Fest that Smith is his starting quarterback, we were on to something. And when he followed that with Kaepernick not being a backup, wed hit the motherlode of convolution. Harbaugh was trying to redefine terms that everyone else in the universe has agreed upon since the language first developed.RELATED: Alex Smith game logs Colin Kaepernick game logs
Smith is not the starting quarterback because he is not starting. In fact, he isnt playing at all, which makes him not only not the starting the quarterback, but also not the playing quarterback. Whatever Harbaughs motivations may be for trying to change the meaning of words, he isnt allowed to do so just because he is worried someones feelings will get hurt, or because he enjoys poking the media with a stick.

He can change his quarterback, and he has, because he has the job and nobody else does. And hey, it may be a stroke of brilliance. Nobody knows that yet, because the only way this works is if they beat the New York Giants in the postseason, or get to the Super Bowl by avoiding the Giants entirely.But while Harbaughs gift for decisiveness is not in question, what he seems to have trouble doing is explaining it. Mondays performance was a tour de force in nonsense, made worse by the idea that he thought he the quarterback job is no different than a running back or a defensive endpass-rushing linebacker.It isnt. You cant share the quarterback job. The last guy to try, Red Hickey of the early 60s 49ers, ended up fired within a year. It is meant to be a job for one, and making it a job share only means that the 49ers have no quarterbacks rather than two.RELATED: Mailbag -- 49ers' depth will be tested
This seems not to be the case, so it is up to Harbaugh to say, clearly and concisely and without reinventing terms with which the rest of us are already in agreement, that Kaepernick is the starter. Or, if he wishes to have a quarterback controversy rather than a quarterback cornucopia, that Smith is the starter again.I mean, the only way he could have done a worse job was to have Vernon Davis do it, seeing as how he has already declared the job is fit for both Kaepernick and Smith.Or maybe thats a job that can be outsourced down the chain of command. Greg Roman, maybe. Or Jed York, who could use something to do these days. Or maybe even mayor Ed Lee, who could explain it in no less than 45 minutes.But Wednesday looks like the day that the problem will be put to rest. That is, if Harbaugh doesnt persist in declaring that he has two starting quarterbacks and no backups. Or that he doesnt get plankfaced on multicolored Nyquil spritzers and blurt out, SCOTT TOLZEIN!Or better yet, given his alternate penchant for revisionist history as well as revisionist vocabulary, PEYTON MANNING! 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

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USATI

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.