Ray Ratto

Linking A's stadium with ability to sign players is flawed


Linking A's stadium with ability to sign players is flawed

There is nothing particularly new about Billy Beanes interest in the Athletics stadium issue. Hes been telling this one for awhile now, since he has started publicly linking the illusory San Jose stadium to his ability to signing players.Theres also nothing particularly useful about it. Baseball budgets are set by owners, not general managers, so Beanes claim that he cannot make bolder forays into the market has always been true. The owners determine what goes out based on what comes in, and that has always been the case.The intriguing thing is the claim that the As lost money last year, which one can only assume does not include the revenue sharing check the As annually receive from Major League Baseball. And assuming that, we can assume that once again, John Fisher and Lew Wolff didnt actually lose real money.So lets remove that as the reason for the As new P.R. push for stadium action, and that they are becoming more strident in their impatience for a report from the largely mythical blue ribbon panel studying the San Jose market. Why this fiction continues is a marvel of modern mythmaking, as the issue isnt about San Jose as a market.The issues are in fact these: Do the As have the money to do this? Wolff says yes, but as there is no independent way to know, there is no reason to believe or disbelieve him. There is no shovel in the ground, and that is sufficient information. Do the Giants have a way to prevent the As from moving? No. They can lose territorial rights with a simple owners vote, and they cannot sue Major League Baseball if the vote goes against them. So the Giants have no leverage whatsoever. None. At all. Does baseball want to screw the Giants? Sort of, yes. What Bud Selig is actually trying to do is what he does best back-channel everything so he can find a dollar amount that the As would be willing to grease the Giants with to buy their acquiescence and silence. The As are standing with their original offer of nothing, and the Giants are insisting that no amount of money actually exists because their long-term plan has always been for the As to be nowhere near them.And no blue-ribbon panel can decide any of those issues.This is what it always has been an exercise in politics and arm-twisting, with Selig trying to find the middle ground that makes everyone a little bit unhappy but not so unhappy that theyll start bitching out loud.Bud likes peace and quiet that way.This is why all the screeching about territorial rights has always been nonsense, and why the blue ribbon committee has been a joke, and why every assumption based on either of those two things is erroneous and even silly on its face.Whats actually important to know is this:MLB can live with the status quo, right up until the day that Fisher and Wolff decide to sell, or simply get out. There are those who believe the Dodger settlement issues are tied to the As because Wolff and perhaps even Beane are casting covetous eyes southward, though that seems something of a stretch at this point.If the Dodgers and As are not linked that way, then the urgency to solve the issue isnt baseballs but Fishers and Wolffs. And in baseball like every other sport, there are owners with throw-weight within the organization and owners without throw-weight. They are among the withouts, and so, frankly, are the Giants group. Theyre just guys fighting over a piece of property, and neither side has the leverage to bully the other one aside.And Billy Beanes role? Hes largely involved at ownerships behest now to put a public face on this otherwise faceless issue, as in, We wanted to keep Gio Gonzalez but Buds been mean to us.Yeah, thatll work. One, Bud barely cares about Gio Gonzalez, and two, this isnt about baseball. This is about a haggle over hush money traveling westbound on the Bay Bridge, pure and simple, and the political issues involved in either making that happen or ignoring it altogether.And you wont be seeing any press conferences about that.

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?”