Ray Ratto

Choosing the cat over the Cardinals

Choosing the cat over the Cardinals

People like animals, often for reasons beyond the fathoming of normal folks.
Thus, you are allowed to be amused and disgusted simultaneously the news that Rally Cat, the feral kitten who disrupted a St. Louis Cardinals game and then allowed the Cardinals to win it, has been in the middle of a custody battle and has finally lawyered up.
Or, more specifically, been lawyered up on its own behalf.
The St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach, which has resisted the Cardinals’ attempts to appropriate the cat for its own nefarious marketing schemes, has gone to court to fight for the cat’s right to be owned by someone other than the Cardinals.
Me? I side with the cat. If only I knew what the cat wanted.
To date, there have been no discovery motions made by the cat, no quotes from the cat, no appeals from the cat to be adopted by someone who will not then turn the cat over against its will to either the Cardinals or the Outreach people.
And until I learn that, I side with the cat.
For one, nobody knows if the cat liked being feral; it’s not a choice I would make, but I’ve never been a cat. For two, the Cardinals have always been a bit too weighty for their britches, and being able to appropriate cats must surely be beyond their purview. For three, the lawyer, a guy named Albert Watkins who was described by Deadspin as “media friendly,” seems like the sort of person who would not be averse to using the cat for his own marketing ends.
So I wait for the cat. Maybe there’s a cat whisperer out there who can decipher the context and inflections of what seems to us to be your standard plaintive meow, someone who can show us that the cat is capable of  thoughts as complex as, “WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING WITH A LAWYER? I CAN’T PAY A LAWYER! PLUS, I DON’T HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT BASEBALL IS EXCEPT THAT IT’S LOUD AND PEOPLE SPILL BEER ON ME. SCREW BASEBALL!”
In the meantime, I await the A’s trying to claim eminent domain on an ocelot – just because at this point of another bygone season, even weird publicity beats none at all.

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

You don’t think you needed this game to go this way, but you did, and you do.

The Golden State Warriors spat out a 17-point lead and lost, 92-88, in Boston Thursday night, in a game that was taut if not particularly elegant, and in a game that elevated the Celtics to a place that makes them the new heir apparent to the heir apparent.

The Celtics have been a difficult out for the Warriors during the Brad Stevens Era, losing six of nine but only being blown out twice, and Thursday was not one of those nights. The box score will tell you the shooting and rebounding problems, but the Warriors had that lead and didn’t hold it. Or, to be accurate, the Celtics had that deficit and refused to let it destroy them.

Which is exactly the kind of team you, the fully licensed Warrior fan, want to watch play your team in the NBA Finals. You want to see them genuinely challenged, forced to win outside their comfort zone, induced to show their greatness in the highest of high leverage situations.

At least we think that’s what you want. Maybe you prefer blowouts so you can drink and go to the bathroom without care or fear. After all, the Warriors have taught the area the true meaning of front-running by being in front so often.

But the Celtics play a level of defense typically reserved for the San Antonio Spurs, and yes, the Warriors. They have a spiky exoskeleton that the acquisition of Kyrie Irving has actually enhanced, and Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum give them a gifted precocity that fits well with veterans like Al Horford and Marcus Morris, and Boston’s overall youth (they are fifth youngest, while Golden State is third-oldest) ought to make them a more difficult conundrum than Cleveland or any other team in either conference.

They are not yet the superior team; that remains to be proven, and betting against the Warriors requires a level of irrational bravery left only for the truly self-destructive.

But they are, as we sit this evening, the team the Warriors will have to work hardest to finish, because on a night when they had the chance to do so, they didn’t. In other words, the fight for a third ring still goes through Oakland, but it looks more and more like a one-stop through Boston.

And as much as you may hate thinking about it, you’ll almost certainly remember, and savor, a Celtics-Warriors final more than another round of Cavs-on-the-half-shell.

Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor


Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor

Programming note: Warriors-Celtics coverage starts today at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming live right here 

Draymond Green spoke to a group of students at Harvard Thursday on the subject of leadership, and if you find that incongruous, shame on you.
I mean, who else would you want as a college professor?
Green has led, and been led. He has learned, and he has taught. He has certainly lectured, as any teammate, official and media member will testify. He’d be a hell of a teacher, and the subject almost doesn’t matter.
For one, homework would be different, as in I’d bet there would be no written work. I don’t see Prof. Day-Day poring over essays about the Industrial Revolution, M-theory or pre-Raphaelite art. Not even the history of Basketball-Reference.com.

For two, having tenured faculty audit his classes may find his choice of rhetoric a little strident, as in “What the ---- were you thinking, dude?” is not typically approved instructional methodology.
And three, nobody would get a grade. Green would mark every exam with a “35,” as in his draft position, and besides, the exams would be students arguing with each other over whether that was a foul or a no-call, and who pulled the better face when the call was made. He’d give either an approving nod or give the loser a second technical foul and kick him or her out of class.
But it would be a hell of a class. Not at Harvard, of course, because Green probably would want to teach a school that could better use his brand of wisdom, and Harvard kids already have a healthy lead off third base. He’d want his students to make Harvard students cry, you can just tell.
But wouldn’t he look perfectly Draymond in a cap and gown on graduation day, pulling a bottle out of his sleeve to make the valedictory speeches less painful. “Damn, dude,” you could hear him yell. “Peaking?”