Ray Ratto

Thornton's blast not a captain's move


Thornton's blast not a captain's move

And now, a brief word on and for Joe Thornton, whose latest brush with fame was calling the New York Rangers the softest team we played on the road trip after losing, 5-2 on Monday night.

Are you nuts?

RELATED: Thornton admits to poor word choice
Thornton, the Sharks captain and coming off his most complete year ever, dropped that little postgame gem in hopes of explaining that the Sharks could have, with better and smarter efforts, beaten the Rangers as well.

But a few things inexcusably escaped him as the words tumbled out of his mouth. That is, unless something happened on ice or away from eyeshot of which we are unaware, and since hes not saying, we cant be assuming.

RELATED: Rangers coach says Thornton should 'just shut up'

1. Calling a team soft is like calling your date ugly, and stupid. Youll win no good night kiss that way, and earn the wrath of someone whom, while you may never see them again, can still work you over after youve left.
2. Insulting a team, even inadvertently, without some tangible benefit, is not useful. The Sharks dont play the Rangers again until next year, if the league doesnt lock out the players again, unless they meet in the Stanley Cup Final. Which they wont. So getting under the skin of a team you wont see for potentially two years is like deliberately irritating a opponent while youre on an exhibition tour.
3. Saying anything in New York is by definition shouting it.
4. And getting reminded of the one flaw in your own resume by a guy with a megaphone and a healthy regard for his own profane vocabulary like John Tortorella is frankly asking for it. Thorntons reputation is that of the hard-working, diligent and talented teammate who also has no Stanley Cup Final appearances, and Tortorella, who needed cover from his teams Sean Avery-in-Hartford fiasco, used Thornton to divert the media from his own issue while hitting Thornton in the smalls with Thorntons issue -- no hardware.

Thornton knew all this, or should have. Hes been around. He knows New York. He knows Tortorella. He knows his own rep. And he got so little tactical or strategic benefit from his words that one can only assume that he didnt actually mean to say it the way it came out.

But he said it, and the tape does not mitigate his guilt much. The only thing he really has going for him is that it is such a minor matter that it will be forgotten soon enough. Unless, of course, the world tilts badly on its axis and the Sharks do play the Rangers in late May. In that case, he just made a three-day story where one didnt need to exist, which is not a captains move.

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.