Ray Ratto

Ray Ratto Nov. 19 Chat Transcript

Ray Ratto Nov. 19 Chat Transcript

Nov. 19, 2010RATTO ARCHIVE
Editor's Note:CSNBayArea.com Senior Insider Ray Ratto chats regularly! Be sure to join him forfree-flowing discussions on just about anything!
Ray RattoCSNBayArea.com

Ray Ratto:
So let's get down to cases, shall we? As He Who Sees All and Knows All, I am the guy for your snap-judgment needs. Plus, I'm feeling exceedingly pretty today. And now . . . you.

From Heath:
How many more games do the 49ers win this year?Ray Ratto:
An excellent question, which I have pondered long and often since the season began and then went to hell. The answer is three -- both Arizonas and Seattle at home. They go 6-190, there is much hue and cry about firing coaches and general managers being hired and Uncle Eddie coming back, but only one of those will actually happen. The first one.From Julie:
Do you foresee Coach Singletary coaching his way to a division tittle or to a one way ticket to unemployment?Ray Ratto:
No, and yes, in that order.From BearBacker:
Scenarios by which Cal wins the Big Game? And don't give me something about the Hayward Fault rupturing and swallowing Andrew Luck at midfield. Seriously, what are Cal's options and strategy?Ray Ratto:
Wow, that took quite a tone right away, didn't it? Cal wins by forcing turnovers (three, minimum) and grinding out first downs to keep the ball out of Luck's hands. I don't see a big score here, between the Cal defense and the weather, so I would say that's Cal's ticket.From OrangeOctober:
Is there any way that Derek Jeter won't be a Yankee for life? Would you advocate the Giants signing him in any way? Even if he's lost a step or some batspeed I feel like he would be a force in a clubhouse that doesn't know how to defend a title.Ray Ratto:
Doesn't know how to defend a title? The Yankees won last year and couldn't defend the title. Frankly, Jeter stays in new York, because San Francisco offers him nothing he doesn't already have more of in New York. If the Yankees are talking 15Myear, that's way out of the Giants' ballpark for a guy who is clearly beginning the landing portion of the flight.From Josue:
Besides Huff and Uribe, who is the top free agent for the Giants this offseason?Ray Ratto:
That is theirs, or someone else's?From Sam:
Are the Raiders for real?Ray Ratto:
No, they are utterly fictional. We won't know based on Sunday, because I don't think they are good enough to beat Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh. They beat Miami but lose at San Diego, and the Chargers have an easier closing schedule.From Rip:
What is wrong with the Sharks? Yeah, yeah, people were pointing fingers at the officials on Thursday but the bottom line is that this team is tough to watch right now. Is a vein going to explode in McClellan's neck soon?Ray Ratto:
The neck explosion is scheduled after the game in Ottawa Dec. 2. San Jose has two full lines and shards of two others, and one reliable defenseman (Boyle) who is being run to a nub because those around him are too hit-and-miss. The loss of Malhotra was enormous, and the need for a defenseman to replace Blake, which everyone knew at the time, grows only more acute.From Benton:
If you're Andrew Luck and you're looking at Buffalo or Carolina as the next place your mail is being delivered, does that influence the decision to come back for his senior season? Or do you take the money and run?Ray Ratto:
We don't know if there will be a lockout, so that factors in as well. Historically, quarterbacks who wait tend to wait too long, but Luck could play some Manning-like hardball to get a better team interested in trading up (daddy Oliver played in the league, is the AD at West Virginia, and can twist a little arm here and there). I don't think he stays if there is football in 2011, but I also don't think he is doomed to those two choices.From Marvin:
How do you feel about a potential move for the A's from Oakland to San Jose?Ray Ratto:
Do I think it's going to happen? No. Do I think the A's would be helped by moving there? One year, two years, tops. They've done such a shoddy job of building a fan base that I think they'll run into serious resistance from ticket buyers after a year or two. Waiting for the team to get good to draw crowds only leads to front-runners who buy game-day but not full season ticket packages. Frankly, I think John Fisher and Lew Wolff have gone about this whole thing so monumentally wrong that it can't end well either way.From Miller:
What are the odds of Pablo Sandoval getting in shape? And is he on his own or will the Giants send a trainer to Venezuela, or force him to hang out in Scottsdale? What are your thoughts ... what is the plan? Thanks, your writing is among the best.Ray Ratto:
You're far too kind, and I should know. The biggest hurdle (since he is going to San Diego and then Scottsdale) is for his mother to accept that she can't cook for him in the same way he is used to eating. The rest of it is just monitoring him, which the Giants are already planning to do. They expect him to be below 250 by the time camp starts, which I'm not sure he can manage.From Frank:
Fighting in hockey ... your take?Ray Ratto:
Do they need it? No, but they're too afraid to find out, so it will be there until you and I and our children are all long and safely dead. Or until someone dies in an on-ice fight. Is that morbid enough for you with the holidays coming up?From Victor:
Harbraugh good fit for 49ers or Dallas?Ray Ratto:
No in either place, because they're both too top-down for him. But of the two, Dallas is better, because he rises to the attention and is in a bigger theatre. Plus, he and Jerry will scream at each other, which Jerry clearly needs more of in his life.From Yvonne:
Jed York -- how do you grade him as an owner? Maybe a B? I had a lot of faith in him when he initially took over -- fired Nolan, clearly a bright guy with a passion for the team, pushed the stadium vote through. For some reason, maybe it's just me, but the bloom has gone off the rose a bit.Ray Ratto:
Well, Yvonne, you're a little generous with the letters there. It's a B-minus at best, bordering on a C. Singletary is his problem, and I see no evidence to suggest that he either is or has at his disposal someone who can find him a replacement, let alone a general manager to run the operation. Maybe he'll have a change of heart, leadership-wise, but so far nothing indicates that he has. Fix that, and you have a B. Don't fix that, and it's a C, maybe even worse.From Josh:
Will the Warriors become an elite team in the next couple years? i see a bright future with Ellis,Curry, and David Lee but need more All Stars.Ray Ratto:
God, no. This is still a team that is too thin, doesn't defend consistently, and is terribly fragile. It would take four years for them to do what they need to do, and at that, they'd have to get the best player in the draft and make hjim happy while making him better. They're coming from a long way off the pack, and I don't see a 34-game improvement (from 26 to 60 wins, anm elite number) over two years.From Maria:
Can you handicap the Heisman race? Will this mess at Auburn impact Cam Newton's chances? Is Andrew Luck going to be a finalist? Could he win the thing? Who else ... the Boise St. QB?Ray Ratto:
Newton is still the leader until the NCAA, FBI, Interpol or MI5 says otherwise. Kellen Moore is also a more viable candidate. But Luck has a chance to get himself an invitation to New York.From BigGamer:
Jeff Tedford vs. Jim Harbaugh in a staredown ... who would win?Ray Ratto:
A staredown? Tedford. You can't get either one of them to say anything they don't want to do, but you can break Harbaugh's ocular resolve if you train properly.From SportsFan:
Do you get free Comcast Cable? And can you do anything about the 4-hour window waiting for a tech?Ray Ratto:
Yes I do. And I will expand it to eight hours, 10 on the weekend, just for you. No need to thank me -- it's all in a day's work for Johnny Television.From Roger Goodell's Evil Twin:
Will the NFL ever find a way to minimize concussions, or legislate them out of the game? I don't want players to get hurt or have memory issues after they are done playing but c'mon, this is a violent, collision-based game. Call me a sadist but I like to see big hits and guys getting laid out.Ray Ratto:
Sounds like you like concussions. An interesting position, that. As to your question, they will work just as hard as their lawyers tell them to to keep from having to go to court, so yes, I think they'll try to legislate.From Giants415:
Will the Giants be a favorite to book a ticket to the World Series again this year or the next couple years?Ray Ratto:
No for 2011, maybe for 2012 0r '13. Too much went right, and you never know which pitcher is going down next year, but one will. It's the law of big numbers.From Luis:
Your World Series Prediction? I'm saying Yankees-Atlanta.Ray Ratto:
Pirates-Royals. And tell your friends where you heard it, because if I'm right . . . well, you know.From Jerry:
is there something I'm missing in the Rajai Davis? Did he look at Beane the wrong way last week? He put up good numbers last year and all we're getting is a couple of AA relief pitchers.Ray Ratto:
The DeJesus deal made him superfluous, and Beane likes to stockpile minor leaguers.From John Izumi:
ray your doing a great job but tyreke evans and demarcus cousins or steph curry and monta ellis for next 10 years your choice.Ray Ratto:
None of them will be together for the next years, but if you're asking me who among them will go that long, I'd say all but Cousins. That's an uneducated guess, mind you, but that's the one I have today. From Lunatic Fringe:
Has the World Series changed Sabean's local profile forever? Has it invalidated the criticism of failing to develop position players, overpaying for old free agents? Am I just a bastard for continuing to beat this drum? Where would you rate him among big league GMs? Upper tier?Ray Ratto:
You are a bastard, and it has nothing to do with this; I know where you go, I see what you do. I am Santa Claus.As for the rest of it, you have to rememebr that Sabean operates now with more freedom of action and resources than he ever did under previous management, so many of the criticisms you cite were based on an old template (they didn't have great position player evaluators, but their development budgets were so low that they had to make hard choices and decided to draft as many pitchers as they could find). In addition, he could not rebuild the club from below until Bonds left by ownership fiat, so he had to settle for bad bargains like Dave Roberts and Randy Winn. He did make his share of mistakes (Benitez, Alfonzo, Hillenbrand), but he's not a stupid man or anti-youth opr anti metrics,. He just relies more heavily on scouts than many GMs do. Where he ranks is difficult to say because each GM has different spending and control parameters, and there are so many GMs who are relative babes and have a sm,all sample size. In short, I'll duck that one because he has so few contemporaries. From John Izumi:
another question is demarcus cousins a legit 20 point and 11 rebound guy in 2-4 years if his head is straight?Ray Ratto:
Who knows? Let's wait until his head is straightened, and guess again then.From Brian, Grass Valley:
Did you get a sense that the Giants were trying to distance themselves from Bonds during the World Series and its aftermath? How would you describe the vibe between No. 25 and the team, its ownership, etc.Ray Ratto:
If they want to distance themselves from him, they would never invite him back. Neukom has no tie to Bonds that he doesn't want to have, and the fact that he sat next to Neukom during the LCS tells you pretty much what you need to know there. I don't think he'll get a baseball job while Sabean is there, but if he really wants one afterward, there is always a chance.From John Izumi:
ray i came to this chat late cant wait till next week, have a great week man.Ray Ratto:
You, as well. I'll do the best I can given my limited resources.From Brian, Grass Valley:
Will Bonds beat the Feds in his trial? Did you see the ESPN piece on Marion Jones? Seems that if she did some time, Bonds has to feel a bit nervous. And I'm no F. Lee Bailey but it seems that when Uncle Sam wants your hide, he usually gets what he's after.Ray Ratto:
Without a corroborating witness (Greg Anderson), he walks.From Brandon:
Billy Beane -- was he overrated by all the Moneyball hype? Is he a top-notch GM or merely a guy who's carved out an identity based on the fact that he's going against the grain? Tough to judge him with the A's so tight with their cash.Ray Ratto:
The last sentence is most important, but it's fair to say he benefitted from the roster he had when he took over, and was probably overpraised during the early 2000s and the Moneyball explosion. But he's not stupid, by any means. He's just impoverished.From Joe:
Seen any good movies lately?Ray Ratto:
No.From Billy Beane:
Was Dye for Jose Ortiz impoverished?Ray Ratto:
No. He's done some very good work, but to evalutae him fully, you'd have to see him with a full wallet, just as you'd evaluate Sabean with a free hand. That's why comparing general managers is silly. Comparing owners is much easier, since it's mostly a 27-way tie for last.From Billy Beane:
Anderson or Haren?Ray Ratto:
Both.From Joe Lacob:
when do i hire a replacement for keith smart?Ray Ratto:
Christmas morning. That always plays well with the customers.From Ron:
I'm doing them because someone who signs my check told me to. Then again, I'm kind of a whore that way.And so ends another lost hours of all our life spans. Next week -- "Trytophan, The Silent Killer," or "This Is The Police; Drop That Yam And Come Out With Your Hands Up."

Dusty Baker's postseason agonies and his Hall of Fame candidacy


Dusty Baker's postseason agonies and his Hall of Fame candidacy

Dusty Baker’s face tells a lot of different stories, but there is only one it tells in October.

Disappointment. Deflating, soul-crushing, hopeless disappointment.

With Thursday night’s National League Division Series defeat to the Chicago Cubs, the Washington Nationals have reinforced their place in the panoply of the capital’s legacy of failure.

But Baker’s agonies extend far further. His 3,500 games rank him 15th all-time, and only one manager above him, Gene Mauch, is not in the Hall of Fame. His 105 postseason games ranks seventh all-time, and his nine postseason appearances ranks sixth.

But his postseason record of 44-61 and no World Series titles curse him. He has been on the mailed backhand of eight series losses in 11 tries (plus a play-in game loss in 2013), and been marked by the media-ocracy as an old-school players’ manager who doesn’t wrap himself in the comforting embrace of statistical analysis.

He is now Marv Levy and Don Nelson – the good manager who can’t win the big one.

Only Levy and Nelson are in their respective halls of fame, and Baker probably won’t be. Having no World Series titles (his bullpen dying in 2002 being as close as he ever got) dooms him as it has doomed Mauch, although Mauch made his reputation as a brilliant tactician with bad teams.

But even if you take Baker’s worst metric – the postseason record – he still ranks in the 90th percentile of the 699 managers in the game’s history, though even then there’s the caveat of the 200 some-odd interim managers who you may choose not to count.

This is not to claim he should be in the Hall of Fame. This is to claim he should be discussed, if only to determine if reputations in the postseason are the only way managers are allowed to be evaluated. Because if that’s the case, Dusty Baker’s world-weary October face makes that conversation a very short one.


U.S. Soccer: Patriotism-fueled frontrunning born of inexcusable arrogance


U.S. Soccer: Patriotism-fueled frontrunning born of inexcusable arrogance

So Bruce Arena resigned as the U.S. National soccer team coach Friday. Big damned deal.

Oh, it is to him. He probably liked the job, and might have wanted to keep getting paid.

But whether he’s there or isn’t doesn’t matter. In fact, whether the people who hired him are there or not doesn’t matter either. U.S. Soccer is the definition of sporadic interest and patriotism-fueled frontrunning, of imbedded self-interest and general indolence, all born of inexcusable arrogance.

Bruce Arena didn’t bring that to the job, nor does he remove it by leaving. He’s just another head on a spike, like Jurgen Klinsmann was before him, and Bob Bradley before him.

But that would also be true if the head of U.S. Soccer, Sunil Gulati, quit or was fired too. Even the people bleating that the U.S. shamed itself by losing to Trinidad and Tobago display the same kind of blinkered ignorance and arrogance that dogs this sport in America.

Being in CONCACAF is a gift from the heavens, and the U.S. has decided as a national collective to replace that with actual achievement. Beating Germany in friendly is proof of long-term worth. The fact is, we don’t know how to evaluate America’s place in the soccer world except as an audience, let alone how much massive structural change is required to change that.

And change must be massive, and can’t be evaluated by the next cheap win or the next galling loss, or television ratings. America is good at watching soccer, good enough to catch on the actual chasm between its national team and development structure.

But that’s where it ends, because knowing what’s bad because you just watched it, or what is actually good (like, say, a UEFA or CONMEBOL qualifier) is light years from knowing how to fix a system built on the flawed concepts of work rate without creativity and money as a solution to crippling organizational problems.

So Bruce Arena does the decent thing given the circumstances, falling on a sword that should actually be a kebab skewer. But it makes no difference. The American soccer structure needs to get what it needs before it can get what it wants, and there are no more shortcuts to take in a short-attention-span world.