Ray Ratto

Ratto: Texas History Makes Giants' Yankee-Esque


Ratto: Texas History Makes Giants' Yankee-Esque


SAN FRANCISCO -- As those who roam The Thing On King regularly, the Giants pound you into a thin gray paste with their history in this town. A steady, pulsing beat of Hey, look, its Cap Peterson, and now throwing out the first pitch, the ghost of Herman Franks. The players they havent hauled out for public viewings, you will see soon enough.

The Texas Rangers, on the other hand, have the history befitting the second incarnation of the Washington Senators -- the fourth-worst team in the history of baseball.

OK, the fourth-worst history of the still extant teams in the history of baseball. Were not going to include the Wilmington Quicksteps, Worcester Ruby Legs, Elizabeth Resolutes or Fort Wayne Kekiongas.

But the point is, the Rangers bring to this World Series a far more modest pedigree than the Giants -- Fifty Years, Forty-Seven Percent make a nice T-shirt -- and the Giants have marketed around the theory that they have suffered more than any team other than maybe the Chicago Cubs or Cleveland Indians.

Please. They havent smelled anything close to what the Rangers have cooked all these years.

The Rangers have been owned by:

- Elwood Quesada, whose claim to baseball fame was that he was an FAA administrator who couldnt figure out why the minor league players had to be paid;

- James Johnson, who with Jim Lemon bought out the investors in 1965 and whose reward was dying in 1967;

- Bob Short, who owned and moved the Lakers to Los Angeles and still went bankrupt;

- Eddie Chiles, an oil man who wanted statistical projections from his managers and players on how they would do each year. And that was one of his saner moments.

- George W. Bush. The George W. Bush. People pretty much liked him as an owner, and you may finish that sentence any way you like;

- Tom Hicks, who had enough money to pay Alex Rodriguez and buy the Dallas Stars, Liverpool Football Club and Mesquite Championship Rodeo, and went monumentally bankrupt;

- And Nolan Ryan, whose principal achievements as owner include sticking with manager Ron Washington, approving the trade for Cliff Lee, and being Nolan Ryan rather than Tom Hicks.

Well, one out of seven aint bad.

Theyve had good managers -- Billy Martin and Whitey Herzog and Don Zimmer. Theyve had good players too numerous to list, really. But by and large, they have been an afterthought of an afterthought, known mostly for playing their home games in a place whose average temperatures are actually closer to those of Hell than any other franchise.

Of course, the good thing about bad history is that as soon as you get a chance to make some, it will be the lasting impression for everyone else. You might have to work a little harder to find someone to throw out the first pitch, true, but the Rangers are playing more of the casinos money than the Giants are.

They have no good memories to overcome, except that one postseason win in Game 1 of the 1996 AL Division Series -- Giants hyperlink! The winning pitcher was John Burkett -- and the nine losses all tend to blur together, especially since theyve scored two runs in the last six games.

In short, the Rangers are OTO -- on their own, and the absence of any historical burden or template to overcome can only help, even if a eensy teensy bit. It sure beats having to apologize for being the Fort Wayne Kekiongas.

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


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?”