Ray Ratto

Monday night disaster

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Monday night disaster

Monday night brought one of the greatest moments in television history – well, television sports history, anyway. And Steve Young, of all people, had a hand in it.

Not that Young isn’t good on television, or that that really matters all that much. In many ways, a monkey can be good on television. But Young is not by nature a purveyor of outrage, let alone the dyspeptic spasms of disgust he emitted last night.

And he was the calm one.

He, Trent Dilfer, Stuart Scott, Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and an angry nation was subjected to the New York Jets at their worst – which is sort of like saying being subjected to the North Koreans at their least jocular.

The Jets were ghastly even by their miserable standards in a 14-10 loss to Tennessee, itself a bit of a misery farm. They were so horrible that Dilfer and Young got into a seeming argument over who could be more contemptuous of what they’d seen, who they’d seen do it, and the prospects for a post-apocalyptic future.

Frankly, Dilfer won for sheer throw-weight. That he didn’t actually vomit on Scott in apoplexy was a triumph of self-control. And Tirico basically laughed the game off the air at the end.

But Young worked the scalpel while everyone else used the Gallagher Fruit Mallet. He said the Jets quit, which they had. He said the coaching offices need to be remodeled starting with the users. He supported Mark Sanchez but thought he was no longer of use to the franchise.

And if he could have, he would have grabbed Woody Johnson and slapped him. Over and over again.

They did what British announcers do often when confronted by miserable entertainment. They said it was miserable entertainment. They broke network programming to do, because network programming requires a level of denial, promotion and hope-selling that is simply out of place in our modern somebody-tell-me-something-that-isn’t-a-total-and-complete-lie world of ours.

Indeed, most game announcers are required to do just that, in just those words. They are selling a program, and nobody will watch a program that promises to make people violently ill, as Jets-Titans surely would.

But Jets-Titans exceeded all lack of hopes in this regard. It was the zenith of spastic athletic performance. It made a mockery of all the mythmaking nonsense the National Football League pitches on a weekly basis. It was aesthetic filth with a ball – a ball that neither team seemed to want much.

It was a night where lefthanded euphemisms like “not the start they wanted,” and “they could have done that better,” and “That will hurt them later in the game” would be the order of the day.

Instead, it went slowly but surely toward what became a festival of fury from the entire broadcast crew as each tried to find a new way to call a spade of animal waste a dump truck of toxic landfill.

And it ended with Young, the professional nicest guy in the room, firing with them all. He seemed more sad than angry at first, but he could not suppress his disgust as he eventually piled on with his partners.

A rightsholder telling the truth about three bad hours of programming – finally, a moment of clarity from a planet’s worth of nonsense. Jets-Titans was awful in concept, foisted upon us only because of ESPN’s obsessive need to Tebow the night away one more time, and it deteriorated from there.

And for once, the broadcasters acknowledged it – a lesson for the young larynxes and talking heads of tomorrow. Sometimes the game overwhelms even the happiest of talk.
 
And to their credit, the ESPN crew for once didn’t shun their responsibilities. Though it might have been a nice touch if they’d risen from the set, turned around and flipped off the field while the graphics people put up a legend that read simply, “Good Night, And We Apologize.”

But that’s a truth for another day, apparently.

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

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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?”