Ray Ratto

Crisp moves back to his happy place


Crisp moves back to his happy place

Programming Note: A's-Twins coverage begins at 5 p.m. today from Minneapolis on Comcast SportsNet California

Coco Crisp has finally found his comfort zone, it seems and only had to hit .156 to do it.Crisp is moving back to center field after resisting left field so much that it became almost a mental block for him. He reached the nadir of a modern athletes life Monday when he said Im ready to boo myself, and that came after a two double-play day in Minnesota.Thus, he moves back from left to center in hopes of recreating the happy place he once had, and Yoenis Cespedes becomes the left fielder. Veteran rank has its privileges, especially when youre making 17 outs in every 20 at-bats.RELATED: Coco Crisp game logs
Is this pouting? Probably not. Only he can know that, and his position would be a resounding No. So lets take him at his word.Nevertheless, the As are so horrifyingly bad offensively that the 2011 Giants hitters are saying, God, those guys stink. And the Giants played in the National League and scored 570 runs, 35 more than the As are on pace for scoring.RELATED: MLB team stats leaders
That would be the fourth worst offense in the American League since the designated hitter rule was introduced, and manager Bob Melvin knows it. He has been managing without a bat rack all season long, and between the reintroduction of Brandon Inge, the impending activations of Cespedes and Manny Ramirez and the plan to have Josh Reddick bat third and fifth every day, he knows he still needs more, and he cant wait to do it.So Coco Crisp is the center fielder again, in hopes that the As can create a presence in the two-hole, while they wait for Jemile Weeks to create a presence in the leadoff spot, and while they wait for Cespedes and Ramirez and Inge to fill the four, five and six-spots, and while they wait for Kurt Suzuki to remember the years when he was a hitting catcher.Put another way, as Bruce Bochy understands, you dont set records for lack of run production because one guy is out of whack. It takes a team effort, and the As have been that team.Is Crisp the center fielder the answer? Maybe not, maybe not even the answer to matter of Crisp. But waiting is worse, and waiting hoping is worse still. The As arent doomed, but they are doomed with this offense, and they can see Doomville City from where they are standing.This doesnt mean that Coco Crisp the left fielder was a bad idea. It means that circumstances and reluctance made it an idea that became bad. Now it is up to Crisp to show that the left fieldcenter field issue was the only thing keeping him from being a major league hitter again.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

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?”