Ray Ratto

Loria's repeat offense just part of baseball business


Loria's repeat offense just part of baseball business

Now that everyone has calmed down about Jeffrey Lorias latest contribution to the national pastime conscience-crushing behavior perhaps we can remember what his role in baseball history is.To do exactly this. He did it in Montreal, so that Major League Baseball might repopulate Washington. Hes done it a few times in Florida now, and has no more sleepless nights about that than he would if he accidentally forgot to let his dog out before bedtime.This is what he does, and baseball is fine with it because he hasnt caused them any irritation in any other way. He is a good soldier, votes the way the boys want him to, and in exchange for that good behavior, he gets to cheerfully loot a town and burn its baseball fans.How is that different from, say, Charlie Finley in days of yore, or Frank McCourt more recently? Easy. Loria plays ball with the people he has to play ball with, and baseball will put up with any manner of behavior as long as the buttered of the bread is acknowledged and mollified.Finley didnt, and was effectively squeezed out of baseball. McCourt sued for his right to turn zero dollars into a billion, and baseball, being the feckless operation it often is, agreed just to be rid of him which, actually, it isnt yet.Loria, though, did exactly what an owner does these days. He squeezed a community out of stadium money, while promising no quid in return for the quo, and owners approve of that. Plus, he didnt offend his partners in any fiduciary way, except that his name will be brought up with about 11 others when the next round of complaints over revenue sharing come up.You see, baseballs hierarchy doesnt actually care whether an individual tries to win or not, and never has. It wants its franchises to keep up the property, and see to it that franchise values rise. Loria may be a notorious freebooter, but the franchise he bought for 158 million ten years ago is now worth 450 million in the last Forbes valuation. That, weirdly, is almost exactly what he has spent on player salaries and bonuses over the last 10 years.In exchange for that, he has one World Series, a bunch of angry local citizens, a federal investigation about how he got the approval for his new stadium, and if he sells, he will make all that back and plenty more.By baseballs definition, he is a hell of an owner. They would take three of him before one Mark Cuban, and make of that what you will.Truth be told, theres nothing baseball intends to do about Loria, now or in the future, as long as he remembers not to be a pain in the hinder to his partners. The only real response the citys baseball fans can make is to refuse to patronize the dumpster fire that is his team. And the feds, well, theyre a whole different story entirely.But what the Marlins did Tuesday, and will continue to do in their relentless search for the perfect payroll the minimum times 25, or 12,250,000 is for our outrage and amusement alone. No, theyre not trying, and no, they dont care that you know it. They are contemptuous of what the public thinks is the reason for owning a baseball team, while being entirely solicitous of the real reason to own one.To play nice with your partners, and make more money than you can possibly eat.To that news, you may fulminate all you wish, but baseball being fine with his business practices just reminds you that what you are watching has nothing to do with what the owners are doing. They are not sportsmen, and never have been. They bought teams to make money, and those who dont follow Lorias philosophy at least admire his brass. They would do exactly this if they could.And when the day comes that they have to, theyll know the trail has already been re-cleared for them.

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?”