Ray Ratto

With Curry's ankle, Robinson signing means something now


With Curry's ankle, Robinson signing means something now

This is what I wrote before Stephen Currys ankle fell off the end of his leg again. I now must feel differently. The status quo does not change, of course, but now Robinson is desperately needed to take the minutes Curry will lose while he ponders the hellhound that is fate.

So Im reading the Nate Robinson news you know, him signing with the Warriors and Im wondering what the hell to feel about it.

And then I just sigh and realize that once again theyve changed the wallpaper on an old PC. It doesnt mean a whole lot of anything.

RELATED: Warriors complete Nate Robinson signing

Now Im not so nave as to think that this is the Warrior roster that will stand the test of this shortened season. Nate Robinson isnt the secret rocket fuel. There is no secret rocket fuel on this team.

But maybe its a deal that leads to a deal that leads to a deal. Maybe its the first in a series of clandestine moves that the teams five or six general managers have aligned to create a whole new team, which is to say any team that isnt the current team.

Its just that thats not really the way to bet.

It looks like an add for addings sake. It looks like a great way to create a disgruntled guard, as Comrade Steinmetz mentioned in his analysis earlier Wednesday.

It looks like an idea that came up over breakfast and was considered a gem by the end of the cruller.

True, you cant have big things every day, but the Warriors are yet again putting off the big day that awaits them all the day when Joe Lacob most of all realizes that this roster as constructed is a dead end. Even with Kwame Brown, it lives and dies on its shooting, and all those years of producing nothing does wear on veterans. They dont just turn the page they pile on the years and eventually get to the point where it seems hopeless without a huge gesture that changes the entire building.

And now, a restructured front office isnt the catalyst. New thinking is, and Nate Robinson isnt really new thinking. Its not fair to think of him as such, but it is fair to tap ones feet and wait for the organization to understand that under any financial system, the team playing the soundest basketball and leaving no holes exposed wins the most games.

And the Warriors are deep in holes. They are still too easy for opponents to play, and the substantive changes required are being deferred yet again.

So its not Nate Robinsons fault that there is more head-scratching about this than head-nodding. On this team, hes just a guy, and in basketball being just a guy is not really a compliment at all.

And now Nate Robinson matters. See? Time stands still for no paragraph, kids. Never mind staying thirsty, my friends. Stay limber.

Dusty Baker's postseason agonies and his Hall of Fame candidacy


Dusty Baker's postseason agonies and his Hall of Fame candidacy

Dusty Baker’s face tells a lot of different stories, but there is only one it tells in October.

Disappointment. Deflating, soul-crushing, hopeless disappointment.

With Thursday night’s National League Division Series defeat to the Chicago Cubs, the Washington Nationals have reinforced their place in the panoply of the capital’s legacy of failure.

But Baker’s agonies extend far further. His 3,500 games rank him 15th all-time, and only one manager above him, Gene Mauch, is not in the Hall of Fame. His 105 postseason games ranks seventh all-time, and his nine postseason appearances ranks sixth.

But his postseason record of 44-61 and no World Series titles curse him. He has been on the mailed backhand of eight series losses in 11 tries (plus a play-in game loss in 2013), and been marked by the media-ocracy as an old-school players’ manager who doesn’t wrap himself in the comforting embrace of statistical analysis.

He is now Marv Levy and Don Nelson – the good manager who can’t win the big one.

Only Levy and Nelson are in their respective halls of fame, and Baker probably won’t be. Having no World Series titles (his bullpen dying in 2002 being as close as he ever got) dooms him as it has doomed Mauch, although Mauch made his reputation as a brilliant tactician with bad teams.

But even if you take Baker’s worst metric – the postseason record – he still ranks in the 90th percentile of the 699 managers in the game’s history, though even then there’s the caveat of the 200 some-odd interim managers who you may choose not to count.

This is not to claim he should be in the Hall of Fame. This is to claim he should be discussed, if only to determine if reputations in the postseason are the only way managers are allowed to be evaluated. Because if that’s the case, Dusty Baker’s world-weary October face makes that conversation a very short one.


U.S. Soccer: Patriotism-fueled frontrunning born of inexcusable arrogance


U.S. Soccer: Patriotism-fueled frontrunning born of inexcusable arrogance

So Bruce Arena resigned as the U.S. National soccer team coach Friday. Big damned deal.

Oh, it is to him. He probably liked the job, and might have wanted to keep getting paid.

But whether he’s there or isn’t doesn’t matter. In fact, whether the people who hired him are there or not doesn’t matter either. U.S. Soccer is the definition of sporadic interest and patriotism-fueled frontrunning, of imbedded self-interest and general indolence, all born of inexcusable arrogance.

Bruce Arena didn’t bring that to the job, nor does he remove it by leaving. He’s just another head on a spike, like Jurgen Klinsmann was before him, and Bob Bradley before him.

But that would also be true if the head of U.S. Soccer, Sunil Gulati, quit or was fired too. Even the people bleating that the U.S. shamed itself by losing to Trinidad and Tobago display the same kind of blinkered ignorance and arrogance that dogs this sport in America.

Being in CONCACAF is a gift from the heavens, and the U.S. has decided as a national collective to replace that with actual achievement. Beating Germany in friendly is proof of long-term worth. The fact is, we don’t know how to evaluate America’s place in the soccer world except as an audience, let alone how much massive structural change is required to change that.

And change must be massive, and can’t be evaluated by the next cheap win or the next galling loss, or television ratings. America is good at watching soccer, good enough to catch on the actual chasm between its national team and development structure.

But that’s where it ends, because knowing what’s bad because you just watched it, or what is actually good (like, say, a UEFA or CONMEBOL qualifier) is light years from knowing how to fix a system built on the flawed concepts of work rate without creativity and money as a solution to crippling organizational problems.

So Bruce Arena does the decent thing given the circumstances, falling on a sword that should actually be a kebab skewer. But it makes no difference. The American soccer structure needs to get what it needs before it can get what it wants, and there are no more shortcuts to take in a short-attention-span world.