Ray Ratto

Ratto: What if the Giants don't make a deal?


Ratto: What if the Giants don't make a deal?

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Ray Ratto

Hey, heres an idea. What if the Giants dont get the shortstop and the second baseman and the catcher they desperately need to finish the season? What if Brian Sabean doesnt throw the roster up in the air? What if he does nothing at all, just to spite you?All for it. In fact, the position here in this squalid little corner of your favorite web site is that Sabean shouldnt do anything at all, and show the panic freaks his hand.Not necessarily because improving the side would be a bad idea, mind you. Who among the Giant fan base wouldnt want a more reliable option at second base until Freddy Sanchez (a player most of you hated for a good long time, by the way) returns?No, our position is that the fan base needs to be dead wrong again, as it was a year ago, as it was when it screamed that Bruce Bochy was a terrible idea as a manager, as it seems to be every time the boys either win two games in a row or lose two games in a row.
Put another way, Nate Schierholtz was regarded as a disaster two days ago. Today, he is considered Roberto Clemente. And both times, those analyses are wrong.URBAN: Nate makes it worth the wait
The Giants, you see, have built a profoundly loyal but decidedly schizophrenic fan base since moving to the Thing on King. They leap back and forth from conclusion to new conclusion with a speed and alacrity that shames even Red Sox fans, and they hate and love the same players with almost preposterous fervor, and often at the very same time.Or do we have to wave Barry Zito in your faces again?What seems to be missing in the We Gotta Get A Fill In The Blank discussion is, as always, what the Giants have to attract that blank. And the answer is too much. Way too much.First, understand that what the Giants have is pitching. Second, understand that they dont have as much as you think they do, at least not for depth or dealing purposes. The market for Jonathan Sanchez is understandably depressed, the market for Zito does not and will not exist, and the Giants like Madison Bumgarner too much to give him up.In addition, Sabeans history not only suggests but veritably screams that he moves pitchers who do not thrive after being moved. Joe Nathan was moved in the A.J. Pierzynski deal because (a) the Giants had no catcher and (b) because Felipe Alou had lost all confidence in Nathan and vice versa. Next up -- Kevin Correia, who would on this staff be at best the fourth starter and more likely another fifth starter.For the most part, though, the Giants have made very few poor moves with pitchers (and we neednt go through who wanted Zito and how and why he was again, do we?). Sabean understands pitching value, whether you wish to acknowledge it or not, and he knows who can be moved and who should be moved.URBAN: Giants at midseason still hard to believe
Second, other general managers know what Sabean needs, and the price he is quoted is higher than most. Cincinnati doesnt want Zach Wheeler for Ramon Hernandez, Cincinnati wants Bumgarner or better. Are you doing that deal? Let me help you with that. No. San Diego doesnt want Brandon Belt for Orlando Hudson, San Diego wants Belt and Wheeler, or two other prospects. Are you doing that deal? Only if you have convinced your insurance company to cover your brain-for-turnip transplant.And third, and most important, these offense-deficient Giants are the Giants you have become accustomed to, and the notion of being the first team since 1968 to score fewer than 600 runs in a full season and make the postseason is an ideal metaphor for the least offensively potent season in nearly 30 years. The Giants are on a pace for 591, which I know you think seems too high for this offense.But this is who and what they are, and I as your guide and mentor can assure you that you, being suckers for sloganeering, want to replace Torture with a new battle cry -- like How The Hell Do They Do This?Bruce Bochy asks that question all the time. So does Sabean. So do the broadcasters and the players and the rest of the baseball and you and you and you. This is a team that defies all logic in a season that defies all known patterns, and you desperately want to tell all your non-believing pals, We lost our two best players and still kicked hinder, and we dont know why. We just accept what is true. What you got, Skippy?Dont forget, 2010 was not just about surprise for you, it was about We know things you dont, and the Bay Area loves to pretend it knows things the rest of the world doesnt. It plays to our vanity, and we are as vain as everyone else when it comes to our sports teams.Everything we see in this season suggests that the Giants know things everyone else doesnt -- again. So why not prove that theory by standing pat with a mutant offense, too many fifth starters, and holes at three most important interior positions? Why not stick your middle finger in the air to baseball convention?Trust me, however it plays out, youll be happier than if you wake up on August 1 with John Buck. I know how you are.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.

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?”