Ray Ratto

Ratto: Advice for the Championship Baby's parents


Ratto: Advice for the Championship Baby's parents

July 19, 2011


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As someone who has avoided marketing and its practitioners as though they were door-to-door salesmen, and because I have not yet been hired as Comcasts West Coast obstetrician, I have largely remained free of the details of the World Championship Baby promotion.
RELATED: The Giants World Championship Baby

But as the day grows closer, I will serve as the childs de facto ombudsman as he or she faces an uncertain world wearing nothing but orange and black for most of his or her formative years.

I have not cleared this with the parents, as (one) I dont know them and (two) as the stupidly-titled Senior Insider, I dont have to. I checked with Legal on this, so dont mess with me.

But on behalf of little Todd or Toddina, let me say the following things:

1. There are other colors in the rainbow than orange and black. The child will have to wear Dodger colors on the Fourth of July, and Minnesota Wild colors on Christmas. Thats just how it goes. A duo-chromatic world is bad for a childs mental health.

2. Slapping a beard on the childs face for photos is not something one can easily explain to that child later in life. Save years of disgusted looks from family members and friends and leave the little ones mug free of props. That includes bow ties as well, unless you want the child to spend time fighting off assailants in schoolyards.

3. Panda outfits are probably acceptable if you are willing to lie in play groups and say, we just like baby bears, and besides, you dressed your kid up like a platypus, for Gods sake.

4. Calling the child The Freak is the same as investing 400,000 in therapy futures.

5. In fact, all nicknames should be eschewed so the little being can develop an actual individual identity. He or she is not MadBum or Vogey on Sanchie or Miggy or HuffDaddy or Buster Junior or Pat The Bat or Buckethead (for the manager) or Crankypants (for the general manager). These are all awful ideas when attached to the adults currently under contract, and their use is an unalloyed blight on the fan base. But since they apparently have no shame in the area of infantilizing their players, well have to make our stand on behalf of the winning zygote.

6. And Zeets is right out. Perfectly ghastly.

7. Using the word Torture, which is already a tedious clich, is not recommended for raising a child. It will be torture without questions, especially once the child starts to walk and irretrievably when talking in complete sentences follows. But kids take a dim view to being compared unfavorably to waterboarding. Bad for the self-esteem, were told by child psychologists who charge 145 an hour and therefore must be smart.

8. The child does not care about the Dodgers. The child cares about its next Fig Newton. Prioritize properly. Do not teach it to say Beat LA unless there is a good reason to do so. Let the miniaturized human find his or her own path.

9. Tommy Lasorda doesnt know your kid. Hes not a factor.

10. Teaching the child to bitch about lineup selections, bullpen construction, rotation maintenance and things like OPS, WAR and BABIP is not a bad thing, but dont forget the basics. ERA, batting average and wins and losses may not be great statistics to draw sweeping conclusions, but knowing the seven times-table doesnt put rockets into orbit either. First things first. Teach the fundamentals.

11. If the child grows up and decides to follow another team, thats your fault. You will have overplayed the Giant angle and sickened the child into nausea. Do not rebuke the little ingrate for wanting to seek his or her own path; let the diminutive little soul-sucker choose the Pirates, or the Nationals, or the Winnipeg Jets, or West Bromwich Albion, if he or she wants. Its called letting him or her be an individual. A stupid idea, I know, but you follow the Giants with a creepy monomania that has caused your friends to back away from you at parties. It is not fair to make the child live your pathologies.

12. If the child grows up and decides to follow a divisional rival, make the malignant little brute live in a tree in the back yard. Individuality has its limits, and a few missed-meal cramps ought to straighten him or her out.

13. And never ever ever let the liquor cabinet be depleted. The team angle aside, a child is a frightening responsibility who will cause years of sleep deprivation, worry, stress and heart palpitations. A child costs damned near a million bucks from the womb to the front door going out, and if you think about it too hard, youll hit yourself repeatedly in the head with a mounting hammer.

14. If after all this you still want to be in the WCB contest, then we cant help you. But you can never ever say you havent been told. So drink up, Brittany and Scott if you win, only a few of us will make fun of you.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

NBA All-Star Game more and more reveals personalities rather than skills


NBA All-Star Game more and more reveals personalities rather than skills

The voting for the NBA All-Star starters was properly instructive to both Adam Silver and the public at large about exactly what the game is meant to be – which is why I totally get their decision not to televise the All-Star draft.

It’s really a personality test for everyone involved, for good and ill.

I think having a draft nobody can see is idiotic, stealing an idea the NHL used and then discarded years ago and then not employing the reason why they did it to begin with, but if the All-Star Game is really an expression of ego, then the next best thing to having no draft is having one nobody can see.

The All-Star Game really only functions as a coronation of the elite by the elite, a festival of mutual backslapping friend-rewarding that has nothing to do with the playing of the game, or the moving of the T-shirts or jerseys or expensive hotel rooms. This is about stratifying the player pool so that everyone knows who’s who and what’s what.

Everything else is irrelevant, and the draft reinforces that. Kevin Durant not wanting to be a captain is strategic thinking by a future industrialist. Stephen Curry not minding being a captain is the perfect who-cares statement for someone who doesn’t mind playing the game because objecting to it takes too much work. LeBron James being a captain is the perfect political muscle-flexing that fits his personality.

Damian Lillard already assuming that he won’t be named to the team is a statement about his being considered the perpetual one-level-down guard. Russell Westbrook being named and then controlling the ball as he would in a regular season game is a statement about how he views his place as a disruptor. And on and on and on – the All-Star Game more and more reveals personalities rather than skills.

Does televising the draft help us understand the actual meaning of the event? Maybe, but the NBA would prefer you consider it a festival of the game itself, which it plainly isn’t. Proof, you say? 192-182 in 2017. 196-173 in 2016. 163-158 in 2015. 163-155 in 2014. There hasn’t been a normal-looking score in 15 years, which means it’s not a game at all.

That isn’t the news, though. It’s that the NBA has made this is a three-day event – the day the captains and starters are named, the day the reserves are picked, and the day that teams are chosen. And every bit of it is about the reaction to that. There is no show thereafter, and the players know it. They care about the selections, because that’s how they’re keeping score.

So go team. Whatever the hell that means.


Who is now the Warriors' biggest rival?


Who is now the Warriors' biggest rival?

Earlier we discussed how the Golden State Warriors have seemingly moved beyond hating on NBA officials (three technical fouls in 18 days is a stunning reversal of their formerly disputatious form), but we may have forgotten one new reason why they have found a more Buddhist approach to the cutthroat world of American competitive sport.

They lack someone new to hate.

Their much-chewed-upon rivalry with the Los Angeles Clippers actually lasted two years, and now the Clippers are busy trying to prevent military incursions into their locker room from the Houston Rockets. Their even more famous archrivalry with the Cleveland Cavaliers seems to be imploding – with the total connivance of the Cavs themselves – before our eyes. Even cutting off their hot water made them laugh when two years ago not letting the Warriors' wives get to the game on time torqued them mightily.

And since we know that you locals desperately need a bête noire for your heroes (even though their biggest foe is actually their own attention spans), let us consider the new candidates.


The Rockets have been among the Warriors’ most persistent contender/pretenders, having faced them in both the first round of the 2017 postseason and the conference finals in 2015. Both ended in 4-1 Warrior wins as part of a greater piece – Golden State is 19-4 against the Rockets in the Warriors’ bad-ass era, 10-2 at home and 9-2 on the road, and has finished an aggregate 59.5 games ahead of the Rockets in the past three and a half years.

Hateable players for Warrior fans include James Harden and Chris Paul, while Rockets fans loathe Draymond Green and Kevin Durant and work their way down from there.

RIVALRY RATING (out of 32,353): 19. The Rockets need to win a playoff series before even matching the Clippers, who as we all know came and went in a moment.


The previous platinum standard in Western Conference basketball, the Spurs have never really gone away, though they have aged. Their pedigree is not in dispute, and Steve Kerr has essentially become the next generation of Gregg Popovich. It is hard to create a rivalry out of such shamelessly mutual admiration.

Hateable players for Warrior fans include . . . uhh, maybe Kawhi Leonard for winning two Defensive Player Of The Year Awards instead of Draymond Green, though that’s not much to go on, frankly. Spurs fans hate Zaza Pachulia for stepping beneath Leonard and ending last year’s series before it started.

RIVALRY RATING (out of 23): 1. If they didn’t have to play against each other, I suspect these two teams would date.


The Thunder’s 3-1 collapse in 2016 is all but ignored now because the Warriors did the same thing one series later, but lifting Kevin Durant was quite the consolation prize for Golden State, and the definitive finger in the eye for the Thunder, who turned their team over completely to Russell Westbrook, for good and ill. Even with the additions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony are still trying to relocate their stride.

Hateable players for Warrior fans include Westbrook and Anthony for defining the I-need-the-ball-in-my-hands-to-function generation, and owner Clay Bennett for Seattle SuperSonics nostalgics. Thunder frans hate Durant, followed by Durant, Durant, Kim Jong-un, Durant, leprosy, Draymond Green’s foot, and Durant.

RIVALRY RATING (out of 440): 220. Westbrook is a human lightning rod, Anthony is the antithesis of what Warriors now regard basketball (they’d have loved him a quarter-century ago), and Stephen Adams for getting his goolies in the way of Green’s foot. Plus, some savvy Warrior fans can blame OKC for extending their heroes to seven games, thus making the final against Cleveland that much more difficult. This could work, at least in the short term.


Damian Lillard is a much-beloved local. Plus, the Blazers have never interfered in the Warriors’ universe save their 1-8 postseason record. There are no truly hateable players on either side, though Stephen Curry threw his first mouthpiece in Portland, and Green is a perennial.

RIVALRY RATING (out of 1): 0.


The new pretender to throne, with the Eastern Conference’s version of Kerr in Brad Stevens. Even better since taking advantage of Kyrie Irving’s weariness with LeBron James, and until proven otherwise the team the Warriors should most concern themselves with.

Hateable players for Warrior fans include Irving, who made the only shot in the last five minutes of Game 7 of the 2016 Finals, while Celtics fans hate Durant for not signing with them.

RIVALRY RATING (out of 67.7): 26, though this will rise if the two teams meet in the Finals. The last time they did, Bill Russell owned basketball.


Still too remote to adequately quantify, though Toronto, Miami and Milwaukee are clearly difficult matches for the Warriors. If you put them together, Kyle Lowry, Demar DeRozan, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Hassan Whiteside with Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe coming off the bench, coached by either Eric Spoelstra or Jason Kidd, would make a fun team for the Warriors to play against. Probably not functional, but fun.

And finally:


Some decade the two teams’ geographical proximity will matter, but for now, they remain essentially two full professional leagues away from each other. We just mentioned them so Kings fans wouldn’t feel any more slighted than they already do.