Ray Ratto

Ratto: Giants Dancing All the Way to Texas

212011.jpg

Ratto: Giants Dancing All the Way to Texas

Oct. 28, 2010RATTO ARCHIVEGIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEOMLB POSTSEASONRay Ratto
CSNBayArea.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- Its been another hellishly bad postseason for pre-series analysis. But well be back at it next spring, undeterred by the fact that the Giants are laughing at us all for the dolts we surely are.

They didnt hit for six months and three weeks, and now they have a hundred runs and a thousand hits in two games of the World Series nobody thought theyd ever see.

They faced pitchers who made them scrape for everything they got for 172 games, and now they find the one team in baseball that lets them do whatever they want.

They sweated bone marrow and spinal fluid to get past San Diego, Atlanta and Philadelphia, and now theyve formed a conga line around the basepaths in the Series.

Anyone see this coming? Liar! Anyone see 20 runs and 22 hits in two games against the Texas Rangers, including seven with two outs and nobody on (a Series first)? Falsifier! Anyone not believe there was the dreaded T-word (torture) looming in every at-bat? Fibster!

Anyone see these guys two games away from The Parade That Dare Not Speak Its Name? You Prevaricating Swine!

Fortunately, there is the nagging fear all Giant followers still have, that the Rangers arent this bad, that the invigorating waters of Arlington will purify and revivify them and change this World Series before Monday dawns.

Hint: The 1960 Yankees scored 20 runs in the first two games against Pittsburgh and split. They also scored 21 runs in the last two games and split again. They lost that Series. They were mighty unhappy.

But thats it. Thats your look-out-theres-a-trap warning. Because right now, the Giants couldnt look better, and the Rangers couldnt look more like the Washington Senators from which they were spawned.

If you had to organize the heroes in the first two games in order of importance, youd have to start with Game 2 starter Matt Cain, whose third consecutive masterwork made him the pending new face of the franchise. He pitched through and around the Rangers for 7 23 innings, needing neither an overpowering fastball or luck behind him to stifle the Texas hitters.

But after that, what you have is a list of the forgotten, the slandered and the worse-money-after-bad.

Freddy Sanchez doubled three times and drove in three runs in Game 1. Edgar Renteria homered and drove in three runs in Game 2. Aaron Rowand tripled home two runs in Game 2. Juan Uribe hit a three-run homer in Game 1. Nobody has, when the hat has been passed, not kicked in more than his share.

Heres another one. Only three Giant starters, Buster Posey in Game 1 and Andres Torres and Sanchez in Game 2, have not scored. Only Sanchez, Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff in Game 2 have not had hits. The Giants have had 11 extra-base hits after having only 20 in the previous 10 games.

In the meantime, even the two things the Rangers could hang their hats on, the C.J. Wilson start that ended with a blister and the Ian Kinsler 398-12-foot double, ended up kicking Texas right in the cash-and-prizes.

Kinsler ended up at second on the ball that bounced off the tippy-top of the fence looking like someone had just spit in his plate. And Wilsons departure turned into a Family Guy skit -- 19 balls in 22 pitches, followed by Renterias single, Rowands triple and Torres double.

In summation, this has been preposterous. Unfathomable. Not even the uncounted legions in the Downtown Pot Brigade could have emptied out the entire Mendocino County Storehouse Of Fun and hallucinated this.

So the whole of GiantsWorld now boils itself down to a single existential answer to a single existential question, namely:

Is this team -- the one that spent the whole season laying naked on the third rail daring the 12-car train from the airport to come barreling down the track -- prepared to finish the job in Arlington?

Bruce Bochy, who has managed like his mortgage was on every at-bat, will try to manage that way in Games 3, 4 and If Necessary, but can the Giants actually make his job this easy twice more?

In other words, is torture at last an outmoded construct here at the corner of King and Ball Four?

The quiz resumes Saturday, with Jonathan Sanchez, who blew up in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series, against Colby Lewis, who was an As mop-up man in 2007 and a nearly-ex-player in 2008 and 2009.

So yeah, this can get a hell of lot weirder. But after these two games, the bizarro-bar is pretty damned high.
Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

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

dray-ap.jpg
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?”