Ray Ratto

Ratto: Devil in the details for 49ers-Raiders stadium


Ratto: Devil in the details for 49ers-Raiders stadium

July 20, 2011


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Jed York and Amy Trask were asked for the umpty-umpth time the is-that-a-unicorn question, and because he doesnt want people to think hes disengaged, he answered it.The unicorn is the 49ers-Raiders shared-stadium model, and though we have covered this before, we will do it again. But first, the full quote, courtesy Vittorio Tafur of La Cronica.We've put our teams together, York, the 49ers Chief Executive Son said. It doesn't mean we're going to find the right deal that fits for both teams, but we're certainly going to get a look at those options.Oh. Now, over to the response from the Raiders public face on all things stadia, Trask:We have said repeatedly that we have an open mind with respect to our stadium solution," she said. An open mind means an open mind as to sharing a facility with the 49ers. I say to Jed regularly that we should have not only an open mind to the sharing of the facility, but to the location of the facility which we might share. And so there are a lot of options for us to consider.
In other words, yes there is a unicorn. And no, weve never seen it.But the devil is in the details, as it always is, and there is way more devil than unicorn here.For one, where does the stadium go? The 49ers would want it in Santa Clara, where they keep saying they are prepared to start construction. The Raiders would want it closer to Oakland, if not Oakland proper. Reason: The team that has to leave its fan base becomes a de facto tenant of the other, no matter how you draw up the partnership.In fact, the side that gave in would surely want monetary compensation for moving away from its fan base, and negotiation increases the possibility of impasse, rather than the other way around.For two, the NFL would have to solidly commit to the Bay Area as the next place for a league stadium loan, and there is no sense that the league is prepared to do that. The league regards Los Angeles as a priority, and as we saw from the first stadium fund, it exhausts quickly, and if youre not first in line, youre not really in line.Perhaps the loan would be made available only under the strictures of a shared stadium, but we dont know that to be so. But the Bay Area would need to be a league priority for a change, and frankly, it never has been. There isnt much urgency among owners for the Bay Area rather than Los Angeles. Neither the Raiders nor 49ers can be said to be league insiders in terms of owner influence, so schmoozing the other 30 owners would have to be Roger Goodells cause, and he may not be interested, either. He has other oil fires in his garage.And for three, and this is the kicker, the Raiders line of succession is a very open question. Al Davis still clings to his chimerical piece of Los Angeles, and whether it is him or his son, putative heir Mark Davis, there is some reason to fear the notion that the Raiders might either try to move back to Los Angeles or sell and then be moved. That is not the current intention (calm yourself, Amy), but the future is less than guaranteed in Oakland either way.Point? If the Raiders leave, the 49ers end up holding the bag for both shares, and they would have to be budgeted ahead of time for such an eventuality. If money is that tight, it could be a deal-breaker, thus the 49ers would have to have ironclad assurances that the Raiders are committed to the long haul in the Bay Area.And we neednt add but will anyway, the vice needs to be every bit as versa. Its not like Jedediah wouldnt think about L.A. himself if things dragged on much longer.These are the same problems that there have always been, and negotiations here would neither be gentle nor brief. Each side has a claim to put forward, and will be as cruel as need be to do so. They might find in the end that they wouldnt be good partners at all.But yes, there is a unicorn. Somewhere off in a magical forest, and when it gallops, it leaves sparkles and rainbows behind. That, and 1.2 billion in a state thats flat broke gets you a stadium. Come back to us when youve got the money done, boys and girls, not the unicorn sighting.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.

MLS respects timing more than dominance, so Quakes have a counterpuncher's chance


MLS respects timing more than dominance, so Quakes have a counterpuncher's chance

The San Jose Earthquakes cheated the reaper Sunday, which is news in and of itself. I mean, they’re a playoff team so rarely that getting to a 35th game is quite the achievement, and they should not begin the arduous process of sobering up until Tuesday morning.

I mean, their playoff game with Vancouver is Wednesday night, so slapping themselves back into form is probably a priority.

They got an improbable stoppage time goal from Marco Urena Sunday against Minnesota to sneak through the back door into the final Western Conference playoff spot Sunday, their first appearance in the postseason in five years. It was as electrifying a moment as Avaya Stadium has seen since it opened, and one of the best goals in franchise history if only for its importance.

That said, the Quakes also enter the postseason with a losing record (13-14-7) and the worst goal difference (minus-21) for any playoff team in league history. They are the most cinder-based of the league’s Cinderella stories, and are dismissed with prejudice by most observers as being as one-and-done as one-and-done can be without being none-and-done.

This is a league, though, that has respected timing more than dominance. In 2016, the Montreal Impact finished last in the East and got to the conference final; in 2012, Houston (which was a relocated Quakes team) just snuck in to the postseason and reached the final; in 2005 and 2009, the worst (Los Angeles and Real Salt Lake) ended up first.

In other words, the Quakes’ pedigree, modest though it is, still allows it a counterpuncher’s chance. Its attack, which is third-worst in the league, playoffs or no, is matched by its defense, which is fourth-worst in the league. Their years as a de facto vehicle for Chris Wondolowski are coming to a close, sooner rather than later. They are in no way an elegant team. They are working on their second coach of the year (Chris Leitch).

But therein lies their mutating charm. Their postseason pedigree stinks, but there is a no compelling reason why they cannot cheat a result or two. After all, the lower scoring a sport is, the greater chance for an upset, and the Quakes’ history screams that no franchise could use one more.

So they head for Vancouver, a raucous crowd and a difficult side, carrying with them only their humble resume and the indomitable cheek demanded of the upstart. I mean, anybody in their right mind would much prefer the Whitecaps’ chances, but you gotta be who you gotta be.

Plus, the Quakes are getting a 35th game, which is more than they had a right to expect, all things considered.

Dusty Baker's postseason agonies and his Hall of Fame candidacy


Dusty Baker's postseason agonies and his Hall of Fame candidacy

Dusty Baker’s face tells a lot of different stories, but there is only one it tells in October.

Disappointment. Deflating, soul-crushing, hopeless disappointment.

With Thursday night’s National League Division Series defeat to the Chicago Cubs, the Washington Nationals have reinforced their place in the panoply of the capital’s legacy of failure.

But Baker’s agonies extend far further. His 3,500 games rank him 15th all-time, and only one manager above him, Gene Mauch, is not in the Hall of Fame. His 105 postseason games ranks seventh all-time, and his nine postseason appearances ranks sixth.

But his postseason record of 44-61 and no World Series titles curse him. He has been on the mailed backhand of eight series losses in 11 tries (plus a play-in game loss in 2013), and been marked by the media-ocracy as an old-school players’ manager who doesn’t wrap himself in the comforting embrace of statistical analysis.

He is now Marv Levy and Don Nelson – the good manager who can’t win the big one.

Only Levy and Nelson are in their respective halls of fame, and Baker probably won’t be. Having no World Series titles (his bullpen dying in 2002 being as close as he ever got) dooms him as it has doomed Mauch, although Mauch made his reputation as a brilliant tactician with bad teams.

But even if you take Baker’s worst metric – the postseason record – he still ranks in the 90th percentile of the 699 managers in the game’s history, though even then there’s the caveat of the 200 some-odd interim managers who you may choose not to count.

This is not to claim he should be in the Hall of Fame. This is to claim he should be discussed, if only to determine if reputations in the postseason are the only way managers are allowed to be evaluated. Because if that’s the case, Dusty Baker’s world-weary October face makes that conversation a very short one.