Ray Ratto

Ratto: Numbers don't lie for Giants


Ratto: Numbers don't lie for Giants

Sept. 1, 2011

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You all realize what you could be staring at come Sunday evening, right? You know what kind of cricket bat across the chops is awaiting if the Giants dont find the cure quickly?Well, try this:NL WEST STANDINGS W L PCT. GB LAST 10Arizona 81 59 .579 ---- 10-0San Francisco 72 68 .514 9 3-7Nine back. With 22 to play. Nine. Twenty-two. The math sucks.Of course, the standings could also read:NL WEST STANDINGS W L PCT. GB LAST 10Arizona 78 62 .557 ---- 7-3San Francisco 75 65 .536 3 6-4
Were just a little suspicious of the powers of the Post-Rowand Euphoria. We have our doubts about the medicinal benefits of the Tejadaectomy. We need to be shown.Look, we know you, and we sympathize. You desperately want to believe the glass if half full, that there is still magic at the Ballpark on the corners of Down In Order and Left On Base. And surround yourselves with like-minded people because, well, why wouldnt you?And you want the standings to reflect that, and in the best-case scenario, they could. Three is doable, Nine isnt. Seven isnt very heartwarming either, and five is cutting it close.But on the likelihood that the happy talk days are over, you must consider the fact that 2010 is a long time gone, and that the Giants have showed you with all the elegance of a rhinoceros horn to the delicates how fleeting glory truly is.I mean, you can name a baby giraffe imported to an amusement park after Brandon Belt all you want, but hes hitting .219. Which is still two points better than the team is hitting its current Home Stand In Hell, but still not the stuff of mammalian legend.And its not like this has been an aberration, either. They have taken good pitchers and made them brilliant, They have taken good pitchers with bad records and made them exemplary. They have taken bad pitchers and made them good.And theyve done this for more than a month, and theyve done it so profoundly that even Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow and Jon Miller and Dave Flemming no longer have it in them to keep pumping the tires. They may be your favorite announcers ever, but they cannot make a grounder to second into a bases-clearing triple.And Lord knows theyve tried. Is Pat Burrell the answer? Cant say that one could make a case for it except that fans love the guy who isnt there. Brett Pill? Until it became clear that Belt still has some rough edges to navigate, nobody was mentioning Pill. They were fixated on Gary Brown, who is still a Single-A player.And while you were dancing gleefully on the departures of Rowand and Tejada and wished only that there could be more to satisfy your administrative bloodlust, the truth is this it's still going to be a very hard pull indeed, and it would have been if Rowand and Tejada had been croaked two weeks ago.They werent the reason for the lesion, in short. They were symptomatic, but the bigger problem was one that could not be averted a lot of important players either getting hurt or, in greater numbers, having significantly poorer years. And Bruce Bochy had long ago run out of creative options to breaking the code on this team.And now the season shakes down to a single pre-Labor Day series because of it. A sweep makes all things possible. Getting swept makes third place possible. In an entire month of This is the biggest series of the year, this is the biggest series of the year. It will define everything the Giants do, and are, from this moment forward.Three, five, seven or nine. It doesnt get any simpler than that.

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


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?”