Ray Ratto

Ratto: Fix the problems Giants, or no October


Ratto: Fix the problems Giants, or no October

Aug. 23, 2011


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Well, thats another 200 minutes you, and the Giants, can never get back.

The momentary Era Of What The Hell Maybe This Wont Suck After All Feeling ended with a monumental thud Tuesday well, with a thud and balls bouncing all the acreage as the local nine (and barely nine at that) fell to the San Diego Padres, 7-5.

And todays lesson, fellow proles: Dont expect the Giants soft, gooey schedule to save you. They are someone elses soft, gooey schedule these days.

RECAP: Giants tie it, but Padres strike back for 7-5 victory
The loss, which manager Bruce Bochy stiff-upper-lipped into a tribute to the teams fight, was another one of those games that make a better box score than a show. Pitches from the normally reliable Matt Cain that were hittably up. Balls thrown hither and yon and not always with a sense of purpose. In many ways, a sloppy bit of work at the same time that the Arizonii (cq) were polishing off the earthquake-shattered Washingtons.

We wanted to say earthquake-shattered because, geological snots that we are, we wanted to point out to our Atlantic brethren what cherries they actually were Tuesday.

But we digress.

The Giants most strident defenders point to their dog-eared, half-tattered pocket schedules and see Dodgers and Rockies and Padres and Astros and Cubs, and say, Oh my! And then they watch events like Tuesday and revert to Oh my God!

IN short, you cannot look ahead and predict the Giants future based on the likely futures of their scheduled foes. They have now needed 38 innings and more than 12 hours to beat two of the National Leagues worst teams once.

Giants Insider gallery: Ultimate high, to ultimate low

And as part of a greater whole, the shards of Giant baseball are proof that as enemies go, they need look no further than the fogged-up shower mirrors.

Bochy laughed at the suggestion that his team was better off a year ago when it was 6 games behind the Padres than it is now, two games behind the Diamondbacks, and he is right to do so. Even an idiot can see that 4 games of difference with 32 to play matter a pretty good deal.

On the other hand, the standings must be among this teams least nettlesome concerns. Oh, the rest of us and keep track of every Paul Goldschmidt at-bat and every J.J. Putz save opportunity, but more than ever before, the Giants issues are themselves, and therefore the only thing that should be gnawing at their souls.

When they pitch, they dont hit. When they hit, they dont catch. And when they play the NL East, theyre hopeless. If you want to feel good about your team and your world, they wont see another of those teams this year unless they reach the postseason.

But the Giants have bigger issues. There arent enough healthy ones. The ones that are semi-healthy are producing only sporadically. The dog days have been Rottweilers, and the Giants have been carrying a pork wallet.

In short, never mind the schedule. Keep your head down, and worry about whats in front of you. A team that is one run short of being the worst team in baseball, and is on a pace to score the 10th lowest number of runs, and third lowest in a season of 140 games or more IN TEAM HISTORY!

Worry about the disabled list, or the sudden error binge, or whatever you want. Just dont avert your gaze and start thinking that other teams will be of service to your team. This is a Giants problem, solely and completely. If they dont fix them, they neither will, nor should, reach October.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

Bortles the worst QB in the NFL? Yeah, he doesn't care


Bortles the worst QB in the NFL? Yeah, he doesn't care

Blake Bortles of America’s Jaguars represents something new and dangerous in American sports, and no, it isn’t because he is the national punch line who punches back.

Rather, the Jacksonville quarterback who is preparing for the AFC Championship Game against the New England Monolith, is dangerous because he seems genuinely not to care at all that he is routinely savaged as the worst quarterback in the National Football League. Not just passive-aggressively so, but actually and completely.

Have you any idea what this does to the smack-talking industry? If this catches on, our generation of semi-malevolent athletic parrots are stuck without a reason to talk that trash.

Of course, Bortles is unusual in this regard, in that he has been mean-mouthed not just by players but by regular citizens. He has been used as a prop for the Why-Isn’t-Colin-Kaepernick-Working movement, he has been compared unkindly to Ty Detmer, the previous low water mark in championship-level quarterbacks, and essentially disparaged almost universally.

Put another way, a case can be made that he has been savaged in his idiom as aggressively as the President.

And what does he do? Well, win, sure, but he has help, as all quarterbacks do. We always seem to forget that in our only-one-position-matters depth of understanding about the sport.

No, what he does is say with all sincerity that he doesn’t care one way or another, and that he never claps back at anyone for their more pointed views re: his skill set. If this is so, he is not only the owner of a rhinoceros hide, but he may be the living embodiment of a movement toward, “Oh, I suck? Yeah, okay, whatever. You’re probably right. You have yourself a good day.”

Andrew Luck does that after receiving a big hit. Bortles seems to do it on command, and if this is the future of sports in America, we are heading for a fascinating new world of relative silence.

But we know better. Bortles is an outlier, again, and this will not catch on. There’s no putting the mess-talk back in the tube. But if it helps, Bortles has another round of grief awaiting him this week as he is compared to Tom Brady . . . as a compost heap is compared to the Taj Mahal.

Only with more F-bombs.

Let Steve Young's brilliant Monday Night Football idea come true


Let Steve Young's brilliant Monday Night Football idea come true

Steve Young recently told KNBR’s Tom Tolbert that he still wasn’t interested in replacing new Raiders coach Jon Gruden in the Monday Night Football analyst’s chair – “still,” as in he’s been approached before and declined, for the only legitimate dodge left on the books -- family reasons.
“I cannot take a job where you disappear for four days a week for five months,” Young said, later adding, “If I could do it from my backyard, sure, I’d do it.”
And therein lies an idea – a brilliant idea, if I do steal and say so myself.
Let Young do the games from his backyard. Put a camera back there and let him work from a lounge chair beside what I imagine is a pool. He should have a beer and snacks at hand, and his kids should be allowed to run in front of him and make noise like they would normally, because that’s how most of us watch the games. Maybe he can bring the neighbors over for a little ‘cue, as long as they don’t F-bomb through his pregame chat with Sean McDonough.
After all, these are not grand secrets he will be imparting. He is not going to be able to articulate the secrets of the bubble screen or the two-deep zone any more cleverly than any other analyst – he will just sound more agreeable and less cartoonish doing it. And if the payment for that sense of informality is him in a Tommy Bahama shirt, cargo shorts, flip-flops and a frothy IPA, well, what’s the harm.
I mean, it’s not like he would be torpedoing ratings momentum. This has been another year of diminishing viewership for the NFL, which continues to struggle with the “F” in its acronym – football. Catches aren’t catches, fumbles aren’t fumbles, holds aren’t holds, first down measurements need office supplies, and nobody can explain why the overseer on the Planet Replay is no better at getting calls right than the guys on the ground.
So why not Young lounging in his backyard? Or his garage? Or the hardware store? Or the local tavern? If McDonough needs company in the booth, there is a vast wildlife preserve of ex-players roaming the hills and flats just waiting to share insipid tales of jet sweeps and momentum shifts while Young sits working the business end of a pina colada and providing the big picture the sport is so weak at providing. Frankly, I'm stupefied that it hasn't been done already.
This has been A Tramp’s View Inside The Television Garbage Fire, and I will happily accept the standard consultants fee when this is universally adapted.