Ray Ratto

Melky's moment of leverage


Melky's moment of leverage

With the action fast and furious inside your heads as baseball resumes this evening, let me try and put one thing into perspective for you.Melky Cabreras next contract.Specifically, this: Hes not signing one any time soon, unless he and his agent are idiots. The Giants are talking, and they may even offer, and Cabrera may even be excited about the possibility of finally putting down roots in one city. But hes not signing anything yet.Why? Because this is his MOL his Moment Of Leverage, and his moment requires other suitors, none of whom can get involved to drive the price up until the off-season.Many of you already understand this, but some are already growing impatient, wondering why the Giants havent already lavished him with money for the glorious future. And the answer is a simple one.These things progress at their own pace, and the Giants are not in control of the process. Not, that is. They can make the first offer, but the rules of free agency clearly state that nobody ever takes the first offer.RELATED: Melky Cabrera career stats 2012 game logs News
What the Giants can do, and what they are doing, is show Cabrera how much they value him. What they can do, and what they probably need to do more often if they are going to catch his eye, is win more often than they currently are. What they can do is show him the best possible time they can, make their offer, and hope that come November and December he sees the wisdom in staying.As opposed to the wisdom in going.All the not knowing is nerve-wracking for those of you who like your answers six minutes ago, but thats how it works in the real-time world. And while Cabrera may be the most coveted outfielder in this off-seasons market, he wont be the only one. Michael Bourn, B.J. Upton, Carlos Quentin, Nick Swisher and Shane Victorino will also come into play.The difference, of course, is that the Giants fan base hasnt developed a costume-based attachment with any of them, and each of them will seem a poor substitute if Cabrera leaves.That logic, though, is not part of either his, nor the teams, thinking. And when we say team, we dont include the marketing department, which would probably hold an in-office wake as it burns all the MelkMan-related paraphernalia it would like to develop.So what we are left with, then, is three more months of watching him play, to see if he can maintain the absurd pace he has been on since the start of May. He has carried San Franciscos outfield, and been the most productive part of the batting order (and you all remember last year, when they had no batting order at all, right?). And you have showered him with love and attention he didnt get in New York or Atlanta or Kansas City. You may have made him a home.But there are homes, and then there are summer homes, and none of that will be determined until the winter. Because Melky Cabrera and his agent are not fools, and the Giants are realistic about the way these things go. Nobody gives up their MOL these days. Nobody in his right mind, anyway.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


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?”