Ray Ratto

Ratto: Lincecum's last chance to vent on the Giants

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Ratto: Lincecum's last chance to vent on the Giants

Aug. 30, 2011

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Tim Lincecums last chance passed Monday night, and with it the last chance for the Giants pitching staff to unload a years worth of imprecations toward their teammates.All it would have taken was for Lincecum to say that one simple sentence, I know we were done when I gave up that Soriano homer. No chance after that. None.Then some snotty reporter would have asked, How did you know that? It was just 1-0. And Lincecum would have had his opening.Are you kidding? he could have yelped in his best scalded-dog voice as he crushed a swig of Old Overcoat. Have you been here at all? Were averaging zero a game. Zero. I give up one, were done. And its like this every stinking night. We all know it. They all know it. The fans all know it. First one to one run wins, unless its us.
The evidence is too overwhelming, the body language too revealing. Losing to the Cubs, 7-0, at home is hard not because of the 7, but because of the 0. Randy Wells, whose ERA is two runs higher than the Giants' scoring average, smothered them with a throw pillow like it was a spring training game.RELATED: Rock bottom? Cubs shut out Giants 7-0
And nobody in the clubhouse would have argued with him, or minded that he broke clubhouse protocol to shame his brethren. Hell, it might have been cathartic enough that even the hitters would have leaped to Lincecums defense.We stink, Aubrey Huff could have said. I stink, they stink, we all stink. Weve done everything we know to try and it always comes out the same. Were just grateful it took 135 games for one of the pitchers to finally lose it. They were overly kind, and we appreciate it.But the moments passed, and now a pitcher ripping the Giants offense is pretty much backing over a dead squirrel. It isnt going to get better, and it cant really get worse.And now, because Lincecum held his tongue as a good teammate would, none of the other pitchers can really unload either. Only he and Matt Cain have the legitimate right to do so, and Cains been through this too long to be either surprised or annoyed by it.URBAN: Giants just aren't very good
Since the fans are also coming around to the notion that these hitters cant be fixed this year, except maybe in the veterinary sense, laying them out in public is almost like yelling at a cat for stealing a car. You can scream all you want, but the cat isnt going to get why youre mad. Its a cat, for Gods sake.By, now, the numbers just double over and laugh. As of today, the Giants are on pace to score 544 runs, which would give them a ridiculous 3.36 runs per game. Only one team in franchise history, the 1902 Giants, failed to meet even that enfeebled standard, making this the 128th best offense in franchise history, out of only 129 teams.Since the All-Star Break, they have played 43 games, and only in 11 of those 43 games have they scored more than four runs, which is problematic in the extreme given that the average total for one team in any game is 4.15.But the pitchers have stiff-upper-lipped it through thin, thinner and starvation-level, keeping their comments under their breaths and in pitchers-only meetings in which Dave Righettis sole job is to search them for sharp objects and evidence of cutting.But Monday would have been the moment, simply because it seemed to be the moment that the fans and even the broadcasters accepted the inevitable -- that their world is going to be an endless parade of 4-to-3s, 6-to-3s and strikeouts, and that the teams average with runners in scoring position is no longer even listed.Monday was the night everyone finally realized that it isnt the batting orders that are wrong with this team, but the names on them. Monday was the night that the Giants finally stubbed out hope that they would ever hit again except in the most absurd of confluences.And yet Lincecum didnt crack, except for some oblique reference to Its hard to keep your head up. Bruce Bochy, who ran out of words long ago and had just been reciting from the Book of What Do You Want From Me, finally surrendered, skipping the postgame entirely and referring all hitting inquiries to whatever batsmen were available.So now the moment is gone, and theres no retrieving it. If a pitcher says something now, it will seem like piling on rather than frustration of constructive criticism. It certainly wont be a spontaneous outburst. It will be the dead squirrel, flattened for no good reason save being able to say, I ran over a dead squirrel.And whats the satisfaction in that?Ray Ratto is a columnist with 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

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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?”