Ray Ratto

Jerry Reinsdorf's mixed message

827361.jpg

Jerry Reinsdorf's mixed message

Bud Selig is listed on Lew Wolffs Facebook page as my BFF for Stadium Construction.Jerry Reinsdorf is the man whom Bud Selig relies on when owners need to be guided one way or another on issues importance to the billionaire class.Reinsdorf told people at a luncheon in Chicago for Israeli baseball on Thursday that he would rather see two major league teams contracted than any further expansion.Now lets take two, add two, get seven, and panic like banshees on diet pills.But lets also whistle at the fascinating new twist in our ongoing local saga, Whither The Elephants?First, though, Reinsdorfs money quote, when asked about expansion:"I don't see any baseball expansion right now. If it were up to me, I would contract two teams. But I certainly don't think expansion is on the horizon."This doesnt mean he is working secretly to contract the Athletics. In fact, Reinsdorf never works that publicly on anything, preferring the privacy of large mahogany desks and furtive conversations in hallways.RELATED: Ratto -- Selig, owners show Bay Area teams no respect
Plus, he has apparently told Wolff any number of times that he prefers that the As see their great migration plan fulfilled.But that, too, is something that should be taken with a grain of salt, because owners say a lot of things they end up not doing.In other words, Reinsdorf gave a lunch crowd an oblique hint about contraction. The As regard themselves as doomed in Oakland, forced to win games by two touchdowns merely to get peoples attention. Now, everyone, run shrieking into the street.Reinsdorf has spoken on the subject of contraction before, referencing the Minnesota Twins only months after their second World Series victory in four years. That one went over like a lead scone.That was twenty years and change ago, so its not like he has a long track record of demanding that Major League Baseball shrink. Hes said two things, referenced one team, and thats about it.RELATED: Ratto -- New ballparks don't produce wins
But now this is a talking point among people who talk ceaselessly for a living, and since the As have been most dissatisfied with their current situation, the assumption would naturally follow that contraction would have their name stamped on it first.Of course, there are other teams in equally dire straits, and Reinsdorf did say a couple. Maybe he meant the Cubs.Or maybe he was just being wacky. When fans called out to him to name the teams he merely said, I have a habit of getting myself into trouble. I just did yesterday. So I'm not going to.Or maybe, and this is most likely, he wasnt thinking out loud at all, but sending a signal out to some party or parties that contraction is always an option in his mind, and not to be dismissed as the massive outlay of money it actually is. He never speaks accidentally, and he never speaks without purpose, so when he speaks on any issue, even baseball in Israel, attention must be paid.How much attention is the question, so lets put it this way: The As could move. Or they could stay. Or Reinsdorf might encourage that they be atomized, though it seems unlikeliest of all. I hope thats cleared it up for you.Heh heh heh.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

dray-ap.jpg
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?”