Ray Ratto

Ratto: Farmer's L.A. stadium deal sure to anger Al, Jed


Ratto: Farmer's L.A. stadium deal sure to anger Al, Jed

Feb. 1, 2011


Ray Ratto

So how did the 49ers not find out that Farmers Insurancehas that much money to burn? 700 million for the naming rights to astadium with no team damn, thats some serious denial-of-coveragemoney.The Super Bowl has been dominated so far by an ice storm that has shutthe town and the AEG press conference in which Los Angeles unveiled itsnew development in the 17-year search for an NFL team to replace theRams and Raiders.
Its the Farmers angle, one which if real is so lucrative that AEGswears it wont need a dime of public money to make it happen, thuswinning the battle for L.A. and reducing City of Industry to . . .well, a city of industry.
RELATED: Naming deal reached for proposed L.A. stadium
In addition, Ed Roski, who led the City of Industry deal, held a pressconference today to show his interest in building an off-campus stadiumfor UNLV in, yes, Las Vegas. Sounds like surrenderpragmatism to me. But if this stadium is a for-real deal, maybe the 49ers will suddenlyre-warm to the idea of leaving. Or, richer yet, maybe the Raiders willget back on their high horse re: Oaklands issues. These are relative longshots, to be sure; the Chargers and Vikings lookthe front runners in this one, though it being Super Bowl Week, nothingis quite so prevalent of walkless talk.
NEWS: NFL headlines
But the L.A. deal also squeezes the 49ers and Raiders shoes if therevenue sharing regulations remain as they are, at least insofar as theChargers would become a bigger cash cow and the Vikings, who doubtlesswould leave the NFC North and replace the Rams, would do the same.Hence, Al Davis and Jed Yorks compelling interest in fighting foruniversal revenue sharing. The kind that includes luxury suites, localradio-TV money and all other income.
RELATED: S.F. mayor wants to build relationship with York
The NFL was quick to say, Nothing can happen until theres a new labordeal, which is your basic duh, but the labor deal cant happen untilthe owners who want revenue sharing extended can be appeased, whichmeans that what L.A. just did was the following:1. Endanger San Diego and Minneapolis as NFL cities, as well asput San Francisco, Oakland, Jacksonville and a few others into theargument as well.2. Make the revenue sharing issue even more acute.3. Make Al and Jed very cross indeed.4. Distract a few people from Inez Sainz outfit for Media Day.And you wonder why Super Bowl Week matters even when your team cant get a sniff of it.What's on your mind? Email Ray and let him know. He may use it in his Mailbag.

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.


U.S. Soccer: Patriotism-fueled frontrunning born of inexcusable arrogance


U.S. Soccer: Patriotism-fueled frontrunning born of inexcusable arrogance

So Bruce Arena resigned as the U.S. National soccer team coach Friday. Big damned deal.

Oh, it is to him. He probably liked the job, and might have wanted to keep getting paid.

But whether he’s there or isn’t doesn’t matter. In fact, whether the people who hired him are there or not doesn’t matter either. U.S. Soccer is the definition of sporadic interest and patriotism-fueled frontrunning, of imbedded self-interest and general indolence, all born of inexcusable arrogance.

Bruce Arena didn’t bring that to the job, nor does he remove it by leaving. He’s just another head on a spike, like Jurgen Klinsmann was before him, and Bob Bradley before him.

But that would also be true if the head of U.S. Soccer, Sunil Gulati, quit or was fired too. Even the people bleating that the U.S. shamed itself by losing to Trinidad and Tobago display the same kind of blinkered ignorance and arrogance that dogs this sport in America.

Being in CONCACAF is a gift from the heavens, and the U.S. has decided as a national collective to replace that with actual achievement. Beating Germany in friendly is proof of long-term worth. The fact is, we don’t know how to evaluate America’s place in the soccer world except as an audience, let alone how much massive structural change is required to change that.

And change must be massive, and can’t be evaluated by the next cheap win or the next galling loss, or television ratings. America is good at watching soccer, good enough to catch on the actual chasm between its national team and development structure.

But that’s where it ends, because knowing what’s bad because you just watched it, or what is actually good (like, say, a UEFA or CONMEBOL qualifier) is light years from knowing how to fix a system built on the flawed concepts of work rate without creativity and money as a solution to crippling organizational problems.

So Bruce Arena does the decent thing given the circumstances, falling on a sword that should actually be a kebab skewer. But it makes no difference. The American soccer structure needs to get what it needs before it can get what it wants, and there are no more shortcuts to take in a short-attention-span world.