Ray Ratto

The Hall of Fame is not church

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The Hall of Fame is not church

With the Hall of Fame candidates released today by the Baseball Writers Association of America, Canada, Japan, Various Hispanic Nations and All The Ships At Sea, the moralists are back in full flight and plumage.

Oh, hurray.

The debate that always seems to happen on this subject is thus resumed, with no resolution or even advancement in thought on either side expected. In other words, let the apoplectic shouting resume.

In fact, let me add to it by pointing out something to those voters who prefer to make their annual petulant stand on performance enhancing drug use and Hall of Fame something they may have forgotten in their annual blood pressure spike.

YOU DON'T WORK FOR BASEBALL! YOU ARE NOT GUARDIANS OF THE GAME! IT IS NEITHER YOUR JOB, YOUR RESPONSIBILITY OR EVEN YOUR RIGHT TO KEEP THE GAME PURE OF MISCREANTS WHEN IT SHOWS EVERY DAY THAT IT DOESNT WANT TO BE!

And might I add:

YOU SILLY SELF-DELUDED BASTARDS!

I just needed to get that last one off my chest. Sorry.

All the other arguments about whether Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, et. al., deserve inclusion have been exhausted, to no effect. People long ago stopped listening anyway, which is why shouting is the only way to even get any aerobic exercise on this topic any more.

So let us deal with the new round of explanations and rationalizations in the only way that seems to make even a ripple by shouting. And in no particular order:

THE HALL OF FAME IS NOT CHURCH. IT IS THE HISTORY OF BASEBALL, FOR GOOD AND ILL. IF IT ISN'T, THEN WHY ARE THE MEN WHO DEFENDED THE COLOR LINE IN THE HALL? WHY IS TY COBB IN THE HALL? WHY IS KENESAW MOUNTAIN LANDIS IN THE HALL? THERY ARE PART OF THE HISTORY, TOO. REMEMBER?

Next:

GIVEN THAT THE OWNERS HAD BEEN WARNED ABOUT THE DANGERS OF STEROIDS IN PARTICULAR BACK IN 1988 AND DID NOTHING ABOUT IT FOR MORE THAN A DECADE, WASN'T PED USE THE INDUSTRY STANDARD FOR MORE THAN A DECADE? YES, IT WAS. THEIR RULES, NOT YOURS.

And then:

WHEN DID JOURNALISTS START DEFENDING THE ERADICATION OF PEOPLE AND FACTS TO ACHIEVE A DESIRED END FOR THE BENEFIT OF PEOPLE THEY ALLEGEDLY OBJECTIVELY COVER? IF YOU CAN ANSWER THAT WITH A WORD OTHER THAN NEVER, YOU SHOULD PROBABLY QUIT YOUR JOB.

Not to mention:

HOW IS IT DEFENSIBLE NOT TO VOTE FOR JEFF BAGWELL BASED ON A SUSPICION, AS YET NEITHER PROVEN NOR EVEN EVIDENCED, THAT HE MIGHT HAVE DONE SOMETHING AT SOME POINT TO EXPLAIN HIS ACHIEVEMENTS? YOURE COMFORTABLE WITH THAT LEVEL OF INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY?

And might I add:

SINCE WHEN IS CRAIG BIGGIO'S CASE FOR INCLUSION ENHANCED BY THE NOTION THAT HE HAS NEVER BEEN SUSPECTED OF PED USE? IF I SAID OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD THAT I THINK HE USED BRAZILIAN WOMBAT EXTRACT FOR SIX WEEKS TO HELP HIM TRANSITION TO THE RIGORS OF SECOND BASE IN 1992, CAN I KEEP HIM OFF MY BALLOT? DOES THIS MAKE ANY SENSE TO YOU AT ALL?

By the way, I'm voting for Craig Biggio, so don't try to misconstrue that last one.

WHEN WERE YOU HIRED TO DEFEND THE MYTHICAL PURITY OF THE GAME? WHO PAID YOU TO DO THIS? YOUR WHY DO YOU HAVE A STAKE IN DISTORTING HISTORY, OR DEFENDING NUMBERS? WHY IS REALITY NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU?

And might I add a corollary:

ISN'T IT BETTER FOR YOUR CASE TO VOTE IN PLAYERS YOU KNOW OR THINK USED PERFORMANCE ENHANCERS SO THAT BASEBALL CAN LIVE WITH THE SHAME THAT COMES FROM LOOKING THE OTHER WAY ON WHAT WERE ACTUALLY FELONIES? I MEAN, IF YOU HAVE A STAKE IN CLEANING UP THE GAME, WHICH YOU SHOULDN'T, ISN'T REMINDING THE INDUSTRY OF ITS OCCASIONAL SYSTEMATIC FAILURES PART OF THAT JOB?

And finally, because my voice is giving out:

VOTE FOR WHOMEVER THE HELL YOU WANT. LET A THOUSAND FLOWERS BLOOM, AS THAT GRAND OLD BALL FAN MAO ZEDONG ONCE SAID. JUST DON'T TELL US YOU DID IT BECAUSE THE GAME DESERVES TO BE REPRESENTED BY THE FINEST CALIBER PEOPLE. BASEBALL IS ALL CLASSES OF PEOPLE, MISCREANTS, NOBLEMEN AND ALL POINTS IN BETWEEN, AND THAT'S WHAT IT DESERVES. YOU CAN'T CHANGE THAT, AND CASTING A VOTE WITH THAT IN MIND DISTORTS WHAT YOU SEE AND WRITE ABOUT.

And if you think baseball should reward only clean players and punish PED users, please remember this:

MELKY CABRERA JUST GOT A RAISE FROM HIS 2012 CONTRACT. IF BASEBALL IS FINE WITH THAT, WHY DO YOU THINK YOUR STANDARD FOR THEIR HALL SUPERCEDES THEIR OBVIOUS POSITION ON THE MATTER?

Okay. I'm going to melt down some cough drops and shoot them directly into my larynx now. I did the best I could. Plus, I called a lot of people I know and like silly, self-deluded bastards in print. That, to me, is a very good days work.

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

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AP

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?”