Ray Ratto

Ratto: Is Posey due for Bow Tie Neukom's first splurge?


Ratto: Is Posey due for Bow Tie Neukom's first splurge?

Ray RattoCSNBayArea.com

SCOTTSDALE -- Good news for Giants fans, less interesting for anyone else: Buster Posey is a thousandaire!
NEWS: Report: Posey, Giants reach one-year deal
In fact, though the Giants are typically slow to announce deals for one-year players even after theyve all been signed (which they havent), the most educated guesses have Posey coming in at 550,000, give or take a used car. It would be less than Tim Lincecum got after his first Cy Young season, but more than National Rookie of the Year runner-up Jason Heyward.But, and this is more interesting than the actual number, which will leak out soon enough, it is a measure of how business is to be done with the Giants under B.T. Bill Neukom.For the record, the other Giants who signed, 19 of 30 in all, were Eli Whiteside, Darren Ford, Jose Casilla, Emmanuel Burriss, Clayton Tanner, Ehire Adrianza, Alex Hinshaw, Steve Edlefsen, Ryan Rohlinger, Thomas Neal, Henry Sosa, Francisco Peguero, Pablo Sandoval, Conor Gillaspie, Dan Runzler, Sergio Romo, Travis Ishikawa and Nate Schierholtz.Posey is hotcoveted enough that it would not be considered terribly risky to try and hook him into an arbitration-eating deal, not unlike the one that Tampa Bay gave Evan Longoria after one week of major league service.It was widely mocked, that six-year 17.5M (with three options worth another 27M) deal that now looks a lot like highway brigandry by the Rays. Indeed, a contract like that for Posey seems like such a bargain that the only way it could go bad is if Posey was eaten by a bear.Which, by the way, is forbidden in his current contract. No work on a bomb disposal unit, no blindfolded cliff diving in Mexico, and no bear devourings.But the Giants havent gone deep with a newbie before in the MagowanSabean era, nor have they done so in the NeukomSabean era. In fact, the rewards Sabean and Bruce Bochy got for stealing a World Series right out from under the nations noses indicates Neukoms unusually conservative streak.What he did was decide to vest Bochy and Sabeans 2012 options. No more, no less. No option for 2013. No improved parking space. No reupholstering the office spittoons. That was it. Neukom was not going to be tied to contracts he would regret later, even if it meant losing people that he would regret later.In fairness, there is nothing in the Longoria contract that should interest Posey and his agent, Casey Close. He could very well be the new centurys first Johnny Bench, and to take a deal in line with being the next Steve Yeager would be exactly the kind of thing that gets agents replaced.Still, there are risks worth taking, and this wouldnt be a bad one. Usually waiting for the market to make such decisions tends to become a very expensive prospect. If Posey would go for it, Neukom should dive head-first with a pen, a paper and a foot massage, if needed.True, there are other considerations (Lincecum, Jonathan Sanchez, Madison Bumgarner, the increasingly mythological Brandon Belt, et. al.), but Neukom has shown a conservative bent when it comes to spending money before its time. He was a little squeaky by most analyses when it came to Bochy and Sabean, and he would have had to have cleared any notion of a longer deal for Posey.I mean, who doesnt like prudence, especially in this day and age? But lets just say this -- if Posey remains Posey this year, the money the Giants saved will be returned to him with a loud thump next year. Just sayin, as the kids like to say.

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?”