Thursday
April 26
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issue 26
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ravens have lots of holes to fill in this draft


It’s proper and reasonable to be excited about tonight’s first round of the NFL Draft.

The odd pick aside – Breshad Perriman and Matt Elam come to mind most recently – the Ravens’ first round selection is almost sure to become a household name within a year or two.

If you came by these parts yesterday, you saw the consensus pick at #16 is Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey. I went against that trend and tabbed Marcus Davenport as the Ravens selection in the first round, in case you didn’t visit #DMD on Wednesday.

But there’s more than just tonight’s selection.

The Ravens will be working hard tonight to make a selection with more value than the one they made in the first round in 2015.

In fact, Friday and Saturday are vitally important to the Ravens in 2018 and beyond.

They clearly need to draft at least one tight end, if not two.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to take a center.

And a couple of wide receivers would be smart, too.

There's even a train of thought that says the Ravens wouldn't be completely out of line to take a quarterback in one of the first few rounds. This is a distinctly top-heavy draft for quarterbacks and it's looking more and more like Joe Flacco's time in Baltimore will end before this decade does.

Not that we’re keeping score or anything, but I thought it would be fun to take a guess at all of the Ravens’ draft picks over the next three days. Let’s see how I do:

1st round, #16 – Marcus Davenport, UT-San Antonio, DE/OLB

2nd round, #52 – D.J. Chark, LSU, WR

3rd round, #83 – Mark Andrews, Oklahoma, TE

4th round, #118 – Mason Cole, Michigan, C

5th round, #154 – Marcus Allen, Penn State, S

6th round, #190 – Dalton Schultz, Stanford, TE

6th round, #215 – Dylan Cantrell, Texas Tech, WR

7th round, #238 – Christian Sam, Arizona State, LB

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O'rky's O'pinion

Brian Orkmann is a life-long Orioles fan. He got a taste of the baseball life at a young age — his uncle played for seven years in the Cleveland Indians' minor-league system. O'rky traveled with his family to Arizona every year for spring training. He will serve as #DMD's witty yet discerning eye and voice in the 2018 season.


seven points from last night's 8-4 o's loss to tampa bay


1. There's not much to say about Alex Cobb and his start to the season. It's clear by now he needed more time to get ready. This is still extended spring training for him. I put this more on management than Cobb himself.

2. The injury to Tim Beckham means the O's will need to find a third baseman. Beckham is going to miss six weeks. I guess Danny Valencia inherits the job for now but that's not a long term answer there.

This picture was taken just prior to the first pitch of last night's O's game at Camden Yards.

3. It was good to see Anthony Santander get a hit last night but he continues to be overwhelmed at the big league level. It's a shame the Orioles can't call up Joey Rickard from Norfolk. He is hitting the cover off the ball down there.

4. I saw Drew noted on Twitter last night that the crowd of 8,730 at last night's game marked the third time this season the team has drawn less than 10,000 people to a game. That has to be concerning to the Orioles front office.

5. The O's are now 6-18 on the season. Their run differential (-54) is second worst in the majors.

6. Is there any chance at all the O's would fire Buck Showalter if this slide continues for another couple of weeks? If they're not planning on bringing him back next year why would you keep him around during a bad losing spell like this?

7. Chance Sisco is the O's catcher of the future. Let him play 5 times a week now. That's my opinion.

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from the desk of
brien jackson

BRIEN JACKSON's work at #DMD promises to provide some of Baltimore's best sports insight and commentary, brought to you by SECU, the official credit-union of Drew's Morning Dish. Brien has done sports-media work with ESPN, CBS, and NPR. His contributions to #DMD will focus on the Orioles, the Ravens, and national sports stories.



The NFL Draft might be the most over hyped event in all of sports, but there's no doubt that it's an extremely important one for the league's 32 franchises. Even if it's value as a spectator event is wildly overstated.

And while every draft is important, this year's edition is extremely crucial to the Ravens and could set up a seismic shift in the team's future.

It doesn't get a lot of attention because the most visible parts of the franchise are so consistent, but the Ravens are very much on a precipice with their current roster. Key players are getting older and less explosive, their franchise quarterback has been one of the worst starters in the league since 2015, and for the most part the front office has avoided any major shakeups to the team's foundation, opting instead to hope in house improvement would get the team back to the postseason for just the second time since Super Bowl 47.

A major cause of the problem is a string of bad drafts. Though expert analysts continue to give Ozzie Newsome strong grades in their immediate reactions, there's been a severe disconnect between draft day assumptions and on field production, especially with players picked in the first three rounds.

It's not that the Ravens haven't made any good picks recently, or even found some real studs. But they've had too many complete misses as well.

The biggest problem is a horde of second and third round picks who just haven't produced at a level to justify those picks.

Guys like Arthur Brown, Kamalei Correa, Bronson Kafusi, Terrance Brooks, and Maxx Williams simply haven't done enough to help the team win, and you can't pick that many non factors in the first three rounds and expect to paper over the talent drain forever.

And even Brandon Williams struggled to get on the field in his rookie season. Last year was more of the same, as Marlon Humphrey was good but Tyus Bowser, Tim Williams, and Chris Wormley all played sparingly.

They simply can't afford more of the same. They need to find good players this year, and good players who can fill roles immediately.

It doesn't have to be Calvin Ridley, or Derwin James, any other particular player.

They don't even have to stay put at the 16th pick.

They just need to find guys who can get on the field and help them win this year.

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"The Keen Eye" of David Rosenfeld

DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.


Today is the first day of Ozzie Newsome’s final NFL draft as the Ravens’ General Manager and Executive Vice President. Though he wasn’t officially promoted to GM until 2002, he’s overseen the team’s draft process since the beginning. This will be Year 23.

It’s been a remarkable career in professional football for Newsome, a first-round draft pick of the original Cleveland Browns in 1978. After a Hall of Fame and record-setting career at tight end, he joined Art Modell’s front office and then made the move to Baltimore in 1996.

He was the NFL’s first African-American general manager, an important accomplishment that’s been overwhelmed by the successes of his teams through the years. This will be Year 41. As he embarks on his final year in command, Ozzie Newsome is the franchise.

Tonight marks the final first round selection in the storied draft history of Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome. He's made every first round pick for the franchise since 1996.

The original owner, mired in debt, sold the team long ago. Three coaches in 23 seasons is pretty good, and to be admired, but Ozzie, the guy who picks the players, has been there all along.

The best player in team history has now been retired long enough to be an inductee into the Hall of Fame himself. Ozzie and staff drafted a legitimate franchise quarterback, but he isn’t John Elway or Peyton Manning.

This is Ozzie’s team, which is kind of strange to say about a man whom you barely ever see or hear. Maybe that’s a good thing — see Jones, Jerry. Ozzie seems content to go about his job of evaluating football players.

Considering all that, I don’t think he’ll do anything different for his final first-round draft pick than he’s done before. The Ravens are going to pick the best available player according to them, with “them” being a whole lot of guys who learned the business under Ozzie.

Or, if they trade the No. 16 pick, they’ll pick the best available player according to them, whenever they do pick.

The choice of Joe Flacco at No. 18 in the first round in 2008 marks an interesting breaking point in the Ravens’ first-round history, however.

Including the Delaware quarterback, the marks for Newsome’s first 15 first-round picks were downright sensational. Only three of them qualified as disappointments — receivers Travis Taylor and Mark Clayton and quarterback Kyle Boller— but even they played significant roles for the team. They were on the field at least, whether you always wanted them there or not.

It’s been the last seven first-round choices, the ones after Flacco, that have been the subject of so much agita. They’ve been the ones that have some people happy that Newsome is giving up his duties to Eric DeCosta after this season.

Michael Oher. Jimmy Smith. Matt Elam. C.J. Mosley. Breshad Perriman. Ronnie Stanley. Marlon Humphrey.

Forget about Ogden and Lewis, Reed and Suggs. There isn’t even a Ben Grubbs or Haloti Ngata in there, at least not yet.

Oher looked like he could be a stud for years. The Ravens didn’t draft him because his story was famous; they thought he was an athletic freak for a guy his size. He was good at the beginning, but simply didn’t improve as a Raven, a fact that became obvious the minute he left the team. Is that Newsome’s fault?

Smith has only played 16 games twice in seven years with the team. He’s been on injured reserve three times and been suspended for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Nobody questions his talent, though. His choice in the first round was absolutely legitimate; he’s certainly not a “miss” by any stretch.

Elam was, and so is Perriman. The wide receiver from UCF has poor hands, not something you can really improve in the NFL. In Newsome’s defense, though, both those players were taken late, 32nd and 26th respectively, the year after the Ravens had successful playoff-bound seasons.

As for Mosley, he’s been in the Pro Bowl three times in four seasons; he’s not Ray Lewis, but who is ever going to be Ray Lewis? Stanley is bound for Pro Bowls in his career, maybe even this year. Humphrey acquitted himself well when he started for the injured Smith, and his off-the-field issues in the offseason seem like a whole lot of nothing.

So that’s two misses out of seven, and those two came with picks late in the first round. Perhaps those weren’t so much “mistakes” as they were examples of how different drafts have different levels of depth. Or maybe they’re examples of how many players drafted in the third (Brandon Williams, for instance) or fourth rounds aren’t that far away from low first rounders.

Speaking of the lower rounds, it’s become fashionable in this information age to start comparing teams against each other when it comes to finding those diamonds in the rough. Last year is a good example: In the second round, the Ravens chose Tyus Bowser, the outside linebacker from Houston, with the 47th overall pick. Fifteen picks later, the Steelers chose JuJu Smith-Schuster, the wide receiver from USC.

In a crowded group of linebackers, Bowser had trouble finding the field, and he didn’t look so great when he did. In a standout group of receivers, Smith-Schuster had no trouble finding the field, and he looked pretty good despite being the youngest player in the NFL.

The NFL Draft isn’t a football game, though. It’s not a competition between two teams where the better team wins. At the top of the draft, a team might trade up to grab a player they feel might be already gone if they don’t make the deal. In general, though, the draft is about teams making themselves better.

I don’t blame the Ravens for not taking Smith-Schuster when they had the chance; it’s possible they had a few wide receivers listed ahead of him anyway. The Ravens, correctly, weren’t thinking about how their decision would affect the Steelers.

By the time a team gets to the second round, with the possible exception of a quarterback, most teams are going to take the best player available according to them. Even in the first round, that player isn’t always obvious, no matter how many mock drafts are published in the months beforehand.

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sharpie: caps will beat the penguins


I won’t use the “g” word – as in, “guarantee” – but I’m quietly confident this is the year the Caps finally turn the tables on the Penguins in the NHL playoffs.

Yes, Pittsburgh is 9-1 lifetime vs. the Capitals in post-season play. And, yes, the Penguins have defeated the Caps in each of the last two playoff campaigns en route to back-to-back NHL titles.

It has to end at some point, though, right? I mean, all of the dominance. Pittsburgh’s run of wins vs. the Caps and their Stanley Cup success has to stop one of these years.

The Caps need a big series from T.J. Oshie as they meet the Penguins in the playoffs for the third straight year starting tonight in D.C.

I think 2018 is the year.

Every morsel of information is important. Take for instance the absence of Pittsburgh scoring star Evgeny Malkin for tonight’s Game 1 in D.C. That’s a significant loss for the Penguins.

While Pittsburgh’s penalty killing was good in the regular season and outstanding in their first round series vs. Philadelphia, the Caps’ power play unit is a different animal. If the Penguins are going to take four penalties per game, they’re going to give up extra man goals. It’s that simple.

Washington’s defense wasn’t all that hot in the first half of the regular season, but the February acquisitions of Michal Kempny and Jakub Jerabek have not only improved the Caps’ defense, but taken some heat off of Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen as well.

This Caps team will match up well physically with the Penguins. It’s all going to come down to the skill players from both teams.

Goaltending duties will be handled by Braden Holtby (Caps) and Matt Murray (Penguins). I can’t see either of the team’s back-ups getting a start in the series. Holtby was excellent in the final four games of the Columbus series while Murray was both hot (two shutouts) and cold (allowed more than four goals in two games) in the series vs. the Flyers.

Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin have played against one another 70 times in their respective careers (NHL, Olympics, World Championships, etc.) and Crosby has been on the winning team in 44 of those encounters. He scored 13 points in the six games vs. Philadelphia while Ovechkin notched goals in the Caps’ six game triumph over Columbus.

For the Caps to win, they’ll need guys like T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom to step up. Pittsburgh will counter with the likes of Malkin, once he’s available, plus Phil Kessel and Jake Guentzel.

I’d go as far as to say those three players on each team will decide the series. Match up the scoring totals at the end of the series and the trio with more points will be on the winning side.

And that, this time around, will be the Washington Capitals.

Here’s the game-by-game prediction.

Game 1: Penguins win 4-2

Game 2: Caps win, 5-4 OT (Oshie)

Game 3: Penguins win, 4-3

Game 4: Caps win, 4-3 OT (Ovechkin)

Game 5: Caps win, 3-2

Game 6: Caps win, 4-2



#dmd comments


H     April 26
Why pick a quarterback? When RG III was healthy, he willed a moribund Redskins team into the playoffs. Who knows what he could have done if Ngata did not fall on him? He is fully healthy again.

DR (the original)     April 26
Nothing wrong with that sentence, Bob. They haven't helped the team win, whether they are still on the team or not.

Bob     April 26
"Guys like Arthur Brown, Kamalei Correa, Bronson Kafusi, Terrance Brooks, and Maxx Williams simply haven't done enough to help the team win"



Brooks and Brown haven't been on the team since 2015...

John In Westminster     April 26
Most overblown term in the draft: he's a "reach" .

Really? You're not going to take a guy you covet because he should be taken 5 spots later? If he's going to be a starter and produce right away, what difference does it make if you take him "before" he's supposed to be taken. I understand taking someone in the first round when clearly they will be available in the next round at the same draft position. But if the dude produces next Fall, does anyone go back and cast shade on him because he was taken 8 spots ahead of where he should've been taken?

Nancy P.     April 26
Since I expected to get that "truth" thing thrown in my face.....how about ALL of the truth THAT GUY.

1. Ever cheat on your taxes or expense accounts? Be truthful.

2. Ever whiled away the day looking at pornography? I am sure that your wife or GF would love to KNOW that truth.

3. Ever break the law? Tell the truth.



If you boys are all about telling the truth....than tell it all.



Cowards.


That Guy     April 26
Yeah @Nancy P, we sure wouldn't want to tell the truth about the team.

Nancy P     April 26
Should be a happy day here in Baltimore. All of the hype about the ball teams and their incompetence can be realized in a double dip. Those that are crowing that they are right that the orioles stink are getting their justice. Loving to point out, this guy stinks, Buck stinks, Dan Stinks, the owner is cheap, the club does nothing right blah,blah, blah. Well the addition of the Ravens draft tonight can only help matters. I am certain that the Ravens will pick guys[or not pick other guys] that will doom the franchise for the next 5 years....so you negative dudes can gleefully state "I knew it all along, the Ravens don't know what they are doing". Along with that they should sing "happy days are here again".

It has gotten to the point where I have turned off the sports radio talk. Negativity must sell, there can't be anything that would sell better. All of the local talk, writing and pontificating has turned dreary and bleak.....Welcome to the Old Philadelphia sentiment.

"the skies above are clear again, so lets sing a song of cheer again, Happy days are here again"....as I wallow in the misery.

Thanks Baltimore for taking all of the joy out of a diversion.

Delray Rick     April 26
NBA could never play again and I could care less.

Steve from Cape Coral     April 26
Just to show how much I care about the NBA, I just learned this morning that there playoffs have started, big friggin deal !!!

Brien Jackson     April 26
@Steve



I don't think that's wrong, but picking Jackson also amounts to punting this season and creating a year long QB controversy. If we're looking for buzz I'd like to see them trade up for Edmunds in the 10-12 range.

Eric     April 26
CMAC- C Cooley in his film breakdown yesterday says Chark will be best WR in draft and that DJ Moore is a 3rd rd talent

MicMac     April 26
I believe name of the receiver from LSU you have the Ravens taking in the 2nd round is D.J. Chark. He's 6'3" 187 lbs. and last season had 35 catches for 811 yds. and 3 TDs. I'd rather see them take Gallup from Colorado St. or Kirk from Texas A&M if they take a WR in the second round and are available.

Steve of Pimlico     April 26
If the Ravens want to put excitement back into fan base drafting Lamar Jackson wuold create a real buzz.

I'm not saying that's the smart pick but the buzz might help put fans in the stands. They could put some packages in place for his skill set while he learns the pro game.

JohnInEssex     April 25
Realizing that I am far from perfect...

Am I the only one wondering if the comments section should start a strict adherence to the request that the comments be "...Well-reasoned, Thoughtful, Kind, Considerate, and Enlightening..."?

Theotherguy     April 25
Repeat comments from @MFC, no wonder he likes the Little Fella so much lol

Cobb stinks, there, happy now?

Mike from catonsville     April 25
@TOG, what exactly do you add to the conversation? As the great Jim Rome says “ have a take and don’t suck”, you miss on every level.

Josh     April 25
@MFC

I couldn’t imagine not having the Orioles... That being said... I never go to games. I have no desire to do anything in the city due to the shambles you speak of.

I’ve asked this for a while: What exactly do the Orioles do in Baltimore other than play baseball?

Theotherguy     April 25
Another Debbie Downer sighting

mike from catonsville     April 25
The turnstile count can’t be much more than 3,000 tonight at OPACY. I’m not there either so I guess I have no standing but I will be there tomorrow night . Such a shame as I can remember every night being close to a sellout . The city is in shambles, the O’s are struggling , it’s really easy to sit here in my recliner watching and wondering what does the future really hold. Will we have the O’s in 5, 7,10 years? And as much as we say we care is that the truth? Would we truly miss the O’s?

casual observer (the original)     April 25
On the Manny front, Drew summed it up best when he said “I’ll always agree you want the better player at SS rather than 3B”. You can analyze it any way you want until the cows come home, but to me, it’s as simple, and as correct, as that. I don’t buy the notion that Manny “controlled” the move back to his natural position, I’m more inclined to believe it was always the plan once Hardy left. But the O’s being the O’s, the story came out awkwardly, as with everything that comes out of the warehouse, and then the speculation ran rampant. To me, that’s all a moot point, go back to Drew’s assertion above.

As for all the draft speculation, I think the fact that the Little Fella says he relishes all the pre-draft hype and pontificating confirms how useless all of this “mocking” truly is. A shame #DMD wasted so much time on it, would rather hear Drew talk about golf or hockey. But I know that’s just me and Drew is catering to his audience, as he should

And as for @Brien, let’s go with the bar analogy that fits this web site so well. @Brien is the guy in the bar who’d get beat up even before the angry drunks show up! I did find it amusing that #DMD included him in the “media” consensus, that was a true facetious zinger by our host, well done Drewski.


Bob     April 25
I sure do miss the days when we watched baseball for the enjoyment of the game. RISP, WIP, UZR, slash lines etc... sure do make the game more than it should be, a pleasant day at the park watching over-paid men play a kid’s game. I know what an error is and isn't, I can tell a great play from a routine out and we all love the crack of the bat on a well hit home run, the snap of the mitt on a smoking fast ball and watching the orchestration of a double play. Gee I miss those days… let’s play two.

JR     April 25
Hey Drew, enjoyed reading your column about Manny and the move to shortstop today. It's refreshing to see something well thought out like that and not have a bunch of petty comments following it.

Brien Jackson     April 25
Er, Landry should have been part of the list of guys left, not the 16th pick.

Brien Jackson     April 25
@Jason



I'm really spitballing on who I think falls. I can't say I'm sure the top OT will fall to 16, but I think it's more likely than anyone else falling. I'd also see the Ravens moving down in that scenario as it shouldn't be hard to find a taker in the 19-25 range.



Fwiw, my mock top 15



Mayfield

Chubb

Darnold

Allen (Bills)

Rosen (Dolphins)

Barkley

James

Ridley

Nelson

Smith

Edmunds (Broncos)

Ward (Browns)

Fitzpatrick

Davenport

Jackson

Landry



That leaves Vea and McGlinchey, and Vea had better be out of the question.

Ghost of JROB     April 25
All Brien is saying is that there are certain statistics (accepted by all or most baseball analysts) that suggests that Beckham is an average fielding shortstop. Commenters may choose to think the statistics and analysts are wrong in relying on this data to make their baseball decisions and commenter’s “eye ball test” are better than the mathematical data. End of story.



My opinion…I think the analytics are fascinating and are of great use in confirming or dispoving what you think you know. Also…average or not…Beckham is a poor fielder no matter the position.


Jason M     April 25
Well, since it's such a consensus it's a lock that it won't happen. For the record, I love getting strong in the trenches, and our depth on the O-line saved our bacon last season when Lewis and Yanda went down early. Just seems like you can never have enough of those guys...but for the record I think we trade back.



Comments here have sucked lately. It's all trolling and flaming and digital grab assing.

Theotherguy     April 25
Here's @Briens opinion: I am right about everything, and everyone else is not only wrong, they're flaming morons who are just embarrassing themselves trying to argue with me.

The end

Brien Jackson     April 25
What is there to defend? Does the term "advanced stats" really just overload your brain or something? Is it that hard to understand the idea of recording the result of every play? That's the defense of the number! I legitimately don't understand what you need to have explained to you.

Liberal Arts     April 25
@Brien

You addressed nothing I said. You need to step away from the keyboard and take a deep breath.

And while saying that these advanced metrics stats or whatever you want to call them "might" be better....you cannot or will not defend them other to say, well, the Danny Devito thing from Matilda.


Art     April 25
@Brien, it needs to be explicitly stated if you consider yourself a writer worth reading. But that's up to you. I don't want to guess at what point you're trying to make. But that's what you make me do all the time.

Brien Jackson     April 25
@MFC



Well it didn't take long for the Rice report to become a joke, huh? All PR, no substance. Whoda thunk it?

Brien Jackson     April 25
@Art



I guess I didn't think it needed to be explicitly stated that if Beckham is average at shortstop and terrible at third base while Machado was good at both than the better lineup for the team puts Beckham at short.

Art     April 25
You did say that Brien. What I don't know from any of your comments is whether you think Machado is better at 3B or SS for the team. You never say that. You say a lot of stuff but you never actually say that.

DELRAY RICK     April 25
BECKHAM SUCKS. PERIOD. Keep track how many games he loses for us with the glove. He might win a few games with bat but more times then not he is a OUT. The ORIOLES are in bad situation with MANNY leaving a bum on 3rd and a WHO? On SS. What has this become on this site the GEORGE AND BRIEN SHOW? Do not take a receiver with the 16TH PICK.

mike from catonsville     April 25
It will be draftalooza for the next few days but under the radar is a task force headed by Condoleeza Rice on changes to NCAA basketball. One is:



"Changing summer basketball. The summer circuit is a money-soaked mishmash of leagues, with the three major ones run by the three apparel companies that sponsor virtually all top basketball programs (Adidas, Nike and Under Armour). Adidas’s sponsorship of such teams enabled it to pay players’ families without raising suspicion, according to prosecutors, and it is not uncommon for companies to pay families in ways that do not even violate N.C.A.A. rules.



The commission could recommend that the N.C.A.A. establish a centralized alternative. And if the N.C.A.A., say, barred college coaches from attending shoe-company events — which are the primary way coaches scout talent — those might lose their luster quickly."



My take(never to happen) would be blow up AAU and start over and keep the money out of it. Start regulating coaches, programs and tournaments. We know that won't happen but hopefully Rice is on to something that will see major changes in the not to distant future.



Her report is due out today.



Happy pre-draft day. Let the frenzy begin.

Brien Jackson     April 25
@Liberal



What is there to "believe" in using "the eye test" to....watch every play and write down the results?* How does one "disbelieve" that? Do you disbelieve batting average or on base percentage? This is just projection all the way down: It's people who say "I don't care what the actual results are I don't think he's good" that are holding on to belief in the face of fact.



*You might, as Drew does, infer that Beckham being an average defender means that the average is simply bad, which is fine, but doesn't really help make roster decisions.

Brien Jackson     April 25
@Art



Honestly, what are you talking about? I said as directly as possible that Beckham is a league average defender at shortstop. How much clearer can it get?

liberal arts     April 25
@brien. I can say with out any kind of animus,you severly lack critical thinking. Other than your obvious writing challenges,it is your biggest flaw. You slavishly worship sets of numbers that YOU believe, but either can't or won't defend with empirical clarity. Most times you come off as the Danny Devito character in "Matilda". His rant at his little girl "I'm big,your little, I'm smart,your dumb, I'm right,your wrong". Defend your positions. And the advanced stats are seriously flawed. They might be a tad better, but to "dogmatize"them? Not smart or tolerant

Art     April 25
Probably the most confusing thing about Brien's writing style is that you can go through the 10 or more comments he wrote here about Machado and Beckham and when you're finished reading all of them you have no idea what his opinion or position is on the subject. That's a criticism I suppose, but it's the truth. He never actually says "this is my point". Maybe it's me. I'm sure it is.

Brien Jackson     April 25
Switching gears, I'd be interested to know how the people calling McGlinchey a "safe pick" see the top 15 playing out. Even if 5 quarterbacks go, you still need 10 more guys off the board before the Ravens come up. Let's take away Barkley, Chubb, Nelson, James, Fitzpatrick, Ward, Ridley, Smith and Edmunds. That's 9 guys. Probably one of Davenport, Landry, or Vita Vea goes too. So who's left that would be a preferable, "less safe," pick? And how does one of those other 9 guys fall without McGlinchey getting picked in the top 15?

Brien Jackson     April 25
People around here must have gone to school before they started teaching critical thinking or something. Because you're definitely making the same assumptions if you're using fielding percentage. Namely you assume that everyone who plays the same position has basically the same range, everyone gets to the same balls, and thus errors are the only variable that matters. If you think that there's a substantial difference in range between the best and worst defenders then fielding percentage is self-evident nonsense. More generally there's nothing funnier than people saying that they "hate stats" when in fact what they mean is that they're slavishly devoted to fake statistics like fielding percentage or saves.

"short" changed     April 25
How can you do a media round up in Baltimore and not include the Little Fella? I've read where he is the "G.O.A.T." In terms of local sports. There can't be any hard feelings because he is such a charitable,giving,above reproach,honest and all around best exploiter of a cancer victim in town. Just for a lark, gave a listen the other day,it was just as awful as usual, but the lack of any kind of timeliness is striking. Guesses on things that have already happened is funny, but commercials that are so disturbing are another. The ad for a local crab house that states that the owner is a "bone marrow cancer survivor too" is chilling. That guy died in December. How is that explainable on a human level?

Jake     April 25
Good article on Machado. I always appreciate how @Drew tries to show both sides and let the reader decide which he/she favors. Good article.

albert einstein     April 25
When writing the theory of relativity(you know,scientific stuff) never entered my mind to have the "constant" be something that "balances out over time". Take it from me(a dead guy) that these new fangaled stats have serious flaws. Good job George for your "peer review"

Brien Jackson     April 25
@RJ



Um....yes. It's not even been much of a secret that scoring decisions default to hits because they're being for players stats and especially arbitration. That's why batters appeal them!


ray ray     April 24
this is funny. reasonable people arguing with a loony bird. please ------- keep it up!

RJ     April 24
Errors are based on salary considerations? Who knew.

Thank goodness we have access to the insights and wisdom of the great Brien Jackson here at #DMD, lucky us

George     April 24
@Brien – You waste people’s time with responses like your last two. I’ll wait for an article from you but won’t hold my breath. If sabermetrics has some validity, say why. The #DMD Comments section is demonstrably not your forum of choice for responding – directly and clearly – to specifically-formulated questions put to you.

Brien Jackson     April 24
@George



Errors are entirely subjective and biased by salary considerations, so I don't see how any of that doesn't apply to fielding percentage either.

Brien Jackson     April 24
This is the funniest conversation in a long time. So to be clear, actually counting the number of balls hit to a position that the fielder turns into an out is "esoteric" statistical nonsense, but creating a completely arbitrary statistic called "errors" and then creating "fielding percentage" off of that made up metric is just good sense. This is all because, like I said this morning, no one can let the idea that Beckham is a bad shortstop go. This is truly awesome stuff.

Wednesday
April 25
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issue 25
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general consensus: notre dame’s mcglinchey goes at #16


Two years ago, on the day of the 2016 NFL draft, word leaked out in the early afternoon that the Ravens were going to select offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley with the 6th pick – assuming he’d be there when it was their turn to select their first round player.

Last year, no one had any idea the Ravens were going to select Marlon Humphrey with their first pick at #16.

This year seems to be one of those occasions where an obvious selection – albeit perhaps a puzzling one – has materialized over the last week or so.

Whether it will be the common narrative of “best player on our board at the time” or a time-sensitive selection given the need to protect Joe Flacco for another year or two, the buzz around town is that the Ravens are zeroing in on Notre Dame offensive lineman Mike McGlinchey with their first round pick (#16) tomorrow night.

McGlinchey might not be the glitzy selection that someone like Calvin Ridley or Derwin James would be, but it’s become trendy for the Ravens to play safe on draft day, particularly in the first round.

Here’s what several Baltimore area media members predict will happen with the 16th pick in the first round tomorrow night. Note: These predictions are made assuming the Ravens are not going to trade out of the 16th pick.

Jeremy Conn, 105.7 radio -- Pick: Mike McGlinchey

Comment: “I would like them to trade back, and I think they could end up taking D.J. Moore if they trade back. But if they stay put, McGlinchey seems like the pick. Having McGlinchey and Stanley as your bookend tackles for the next few years could be nice building blocks. Selfishly, I want to see them draft a young explosive wide receiver.”

Bo Smolka, Press Box -- Pick: Mike McGlinchey

Comment: "McGlinchey could be the best available player when the Ravens are on the clock at 16 and fills a need on the offensive line if you assume James Hurst isn't the long-term answer. There is a more glaring need at TE, but the consensus is no TEs are top-16 talent. Ozzie Newsome has never been one to reach based on need, and in his last draft as GM, he's not about to start now."

If he's available at #16, a number of Baltimore media members figure the Ravens are going to select Notre Dame offensive lineman Mike McGlinchey on Thursday in the NFL Draft.

Tony Lombardi, Russell Street Report -- Pick: Mike McGlinchey

Comment: “The Ravens are in a tough spot that ultimately produces a pick that some will consider a slight reach. Ideally they will trade back, acquire a second, 3rd round pick and take D.J. Moore. But finding a trade partner will be a challenge and the pick will reluctantly be Mike McGlinchey.”

Scott Garceau, 105.7 radio -- Pick: Derwin James

Comment: “My hope is that the Ravens trade back and stock up on a few extra picks, but I think they’re going to try and solidify their defense and there are several guys who would be good fits, including Minkah Fitzpatrick, Tremaine Edmunds and the player that I think falls in their lap, Derwin James from Florida State.”

Glenn Clark, Glenn Clark Radio/Press Box -- Pick: Mike McGlinchey

Comment: “If I've learned anything about the Ravens, it's that I should assume they'll make the safest pick possible. McGlinchey fits the "best player available" mantra but I think the team should prioritize pass catching or pass rushing instead.”

Brien Jackson, Drew’s Morning Dish -- Pick: Mike McGlinchey

Comment: “A lot depends on who falls here. I think the Ravens would prefer to get Raquan Smith, Derwin James, or Calvin Ridley but I think they're all gone in the top 10 picks. The 6'8" McGlinchey immediately shores up their line by filling the RT hole, and he can fill in at LT when Ronnie Stanley misses games too.”

What do I think? It has some twists and turns, but follow along if you would, please.

I think the player the Ravens want the most is Derwin James. I heard that as far back as late December. He was always their “hot button guy”.

But unless they somehow trade up to beat out the Tampa Bay Bucs (#7), they’re not getting James. And there’s no history at all to suggest the Ravens are going to give up draft picks to move up ten spots and get a player. So let’s dismiss that idea…but they sure would love to see James there and available at #16.

I do not think the Ravens are enamored with Calvin Ridley. Sure, he went to Alabama, and that makes him a natural projection for the Ravens, but his combine numbers were more than enough to scare teams who otherwise might have had him as a top twenty pick. I do think they like D.J. Moore, the Maryland product, but they’re keenly aware of their draft failures at the wide receiver position. And the work they’ve done in the off-season – wide receiver wise – has taken a little bit of pressure off of the Ravens in terms of drafting a pass catcher in the first round.

Tight end is a much needed area of improvement/upgrade and there’s little doubt they’ll have to do it via the draft, but I don’t see anyone with enough quality to warrant a selection at #16.

If Baker Mayfield somehow lasts all the way to #16 would the Ravens take a quarterback with that choice? Maybe. But if Mayfield is somehow there, I think they’d be more likely to trade out of that pick and “give” the quarterback to someone else who needs one more than they do.

C’mon Drew, who are they going to take? Is that what you’re asking at this point?

OK, here goes.

I’ll waffle a bit and hedge my bets, because ultimately the player the Ravens choose at #16 will be predicated mostly on what happens between the 10th and 15th picks.

There are lots of people who think McGlinchey is going to go to Oakland with the tenth pick.

In that scenario, obviously, he wouldn’t be available to the Ravens at #16.

Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick will likely be gone by #16, but he would be an intriguing option for the Ravens if McGlinchey’s off the board.

My guess? Fitzpatrick will be gone by the 13th pick, at the latest.

Could Terrell Suggs' eventual replacement be Texas-San Antonio defensive end Marcus Davenport?

That leaves one other position of critical need for the Ravens that very well might have a high quality player available at #16: defensive end/outside linebacker.

I think the Ravens are going to wind up with either DE/OLB Marcus Davenport or rush end Harold Landry.

Landry is the smaller of the two and would primarily be a quarterback chaser only.

Davenport is more of a potential Terrell Suggs-clone who can work east and west plus chase the quarterback with great pursuit skills.

”We like players who touch the ball or touch the quarterback,” is one of those Ozzie-isms that should always be remembered on draft day, particularly in the first round.

The Ravens need impact players. Whether those are offensive impact players or defensive impact players, the Ravens just need good, solid, worthy investments.

McGlinchey might very well be the pick if he’s there at #16, but I’m going to guess he won’t be available to them in that spot.

If he’s gone, I’m going with Marcus Davenport as the selection at #16.

If both of them go before the 16th selection rolls around, Harold Landry (DE), Jaire Alexander (CB) or D.J. Moore (WR) could be the Ravens’ first round pick.

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the machado move: why it made sense and didn't make sense


I said last week I was hopefully going to get around to this thought at some point in the near future.

Today has become "near future".

With almost each passing day, I see social media light up with commentary on Manny Machado's move from third base to shortstop. Most of the stuff I see isn't complimentary to Machado.

When examining the pros and cons of the move, it's incumbent upon the person authoring the narrative to remember that Machado always held the upper hand in the scenario. He never really wanted to be a 3rd baseman in the first place. He was plugged in there because the Orioles already had a shortstop, J.J. Hardy, when he arrived on the scene in 2012.

So, knowing Hardy was going to be a free agent after the 2017 and assuming his decreasing value and age would likely lend itself to the Orioles not bringing him back, Machado -- in his mind -- was always going to step back to his more natural shortstop position in 2018.

Then, late last season, the O's acquired Tim Beckham from the Rays and everyone figured he'd step in as the team's new shortstop in 2018.

Machado, though, didn't "figure" that.

And in fairness to him, it's certainly not his fault the Orioles took a gamble on a player like Beckham, who is really more suited for a super-utility role and bat-off-the-bench than anything else.

Manny's a better player than Beckham. That's stating the obvious. No matter if he's at third, shortstop or serving as a DH for a day or two to take a break from the defensive grind, Machado is three times the player of Beckham.

Have the Orioles been any better defensively with Machado at shortstop than they would have been had he stayed at third base?

I'm not a "stats guy" and never will be. I've always been more about watching the game with my eyes and making assessments based on what I see. Beckham is not a good defensive player.

And I don't really care how he compares to others, either. Beckham is not a good shortstop. And he's not a good third baseman, either. And, if he played second base for 145 games a year, my guess is he'd wind up not being very good there, either.

Oh, and he's not all that hot with a bat in his hands. Sure, he had a bang-up month of August in 2017 when he first arrived on the scene, but anyone can make three birdies in four holes. Check back with me after the round and tell me how the other 14 holes went. Beckham's September performance a season ago -- and his start this year -- is the reason why Tampa Bay gave him away for some airline tickets and two coolers of sports drink powder.

So Machado, in his defense (no pun intended), knew Hardy's days were numbered in Baltimore and probably was right to assume he'd be the team's shortstop in 2018.

It's not Manny's fault the Orioles brought in another shortstop in the meantime.

And, yes, since defense in baseball still does matter, I'll always agree you want the better player at shortstop rather than third base.

That's all meant to say that Machado expected to take over the position when Hardy was gone and rightfully probably assumed the team's defense would be better with him being stationed there.

And had the Orioles gone out and picked up a real third baseman in the off-season, we wouldn't even be having this argument. Mike Moustakas was the obvious candidate, but no one really knew he'd sign for peanuts in March when he was out there asking for $85 million or more in January.

But they didn't sign Moustakas or anyone else with decent defensive ability at third base.

Once the Orioles agreed to the Machado-move-to-short, they were in a tough spot.

Reduce Beckham to a role player? There were already rumors that he had become a clubhouse problem in Tampa Bay when the Rays took him out of the everyday lineup.

Move him to third base? He stinks there, as we've seen already in less than a month of the regular season. That's not to say he'd always be a lousy third baseman, by the way. With time, his play might wind up being acceptable there. But a couple of months of fielding grounders in Florida isn't going to cut it.

As I tell my high school golf team all the time, nothing -- and I mean NOTHING -- replicates actual tournament golf. You can go out and play money matches or friendly games with your teammates and make everyone putt everything out, follow all the rules, etc., but there is no substitution for actually playing the "real" tournament.

The same goes for Beckham and the "art" of learning a new position. Just having a coach drive grounders at you four hours a day is all well and good, but it's not at all, in any way, the same as having those balls hit to you in a live game. There are too many other variables going on during the game (men on base, pitch count, hitter's tendencies, score of the game, etc.) that somehow connect to the way you're going to field your position.

So, moving Beckham to third base after Manny got his wish to move to shortstop was a bad move. Period. There's really no argument for that.

The argument, though, is this: Given that the club didn't sign a proven third baseman in the off-season, would the Orioles be better right now had Manny stayed at third and Beckham remained at shortstop?

I think that's a fair debate. Through the first month of the season, I don't see Manny playing the shortstop position any better or worse than he played third base. You can cite any fancy stats you want, but I don't see it -- with my eyes. I see him still making great plays and remarkable throws across his body. I see Machado as an outstanding shortstop. I saw him as an outstanding third baseman.

I understand Machado himself wanted to move to shortstop, but I don't see any obvious evidence that supports the idea he's somehow a "better" shortstop than third baseman.

And, yes, no matter what he says to the contrary, Manny essentially telling the team he's going to move to shortstop and then being moved there isn't the greatest look. It's not a great look for him and it's not a great look for the O's, particularly when they clearly had no real desire to do anything with the third base spot except give the job to an unprepared Tim Beckham.

It's one thing if the Orioles say to Machado, "We like that Moustakas kid. Given that we don't know what you're going to do in 2019 and beyond, we're going to go out and sign him this winter. Would you be OK with moving over to shortstop?"

If Machado would have pitched a fit over that decision -- and let's be honest, he's known for being petulant and moody at times -- you could have easily said to him, "This could all be avoided if you'd sign a long term deal with us. But since your agent has made it clear you want to test the free agent waters, we have to start planning for our future without you now."

Alas, the Orioles did it the other way.

They allowed Manny to control the situation.

Instead of deciding how they wanted their infield to look, they let Machado tell them how it would look.

And now, 23 games into the season, it looks like a regrettable scenario where only one guy -- Machado -- is benefitting from all of it.

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take dad to the u.s. open


#DMD is putting together a special one-day trip to the U.S. Open on June 15 at Shinnecock Hills GC on Long Island (NY) and we'd love for you to be part of it with us!

We're billing it as a "Day with Dad", but you certainly don't have to bring your father along. We just think it will be fun if you do!

Defending champion Brooks Koepka will be in the field at Shinnecock Hills on June 15 when #DMD travels to Long Island for the second round of this year's U.S. Open.

We're heading to Shinnecock Hills to see the second round of the 2018 U.S. Open, departing Baltimore at 5:00 and arriving at the course roughly around 9:00 am. We'll spend the whole day on the course watching the best players in the world play on one of our nation's most iconic golf courses.

If you've never seen Shinnecock Hills in person, this is a must-do opportunity to experience one of our nation's most breathaking and scenic courses.

Our luxury motor coach will be limited to just 40 passengers, giving everyone room to spread out and enjoy the ride to Long Island. We'll enjoy breakfast, drinks and snacks on the ride to the course and we'll have more food and drinks for everyone on the ride home.

Oh, and there's U.S. Open trivia as well! A $100 cash prize is available for our trivia contest, so brush up on those needless facts about the U.S. Open.

Bring Dad along for a truly special day together at the U.S. Open. All of the best players in the world will be there...and the two of you can watch the tournament on Saturday or Sunday with the experience of having just walked the famous layout.

#DMD golf trips like this one are also excellent for employee and client reward. If you have a golfer or two that work in your business or if there's a special client you'd like to treat, we promise we'll great care of them on the trip to Shinnecock Hills!

For pricing and payment details go here.

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Tuesday
April 24
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about davis, buck and losing


I used to say this all the time when I was in the soccer business and the team would drop a few games in a row.

”The hardest thing to do in sports is to stop losing.”

There’s no manual for it.

You can’t bring in a guest speaker to talk about it with the team . Well, you can try that, but the only thing that fixes losing is winning.

A change of players or coaches works occasionally. But more times than not, those kind of moves are just window dressing, masking some other serious problem that’s at the root of the losing.

The Orioles are now 6-17 after last night’s 2-1 loss to the Indians.

There’s still 85% of the season remaining, and every team has an “up” period and a “down” period. But when you’re 11 games under .500, at any point in the season, you need to do some soul searching.

What’s the tonic for the O’s?

Is O's manager Buck Showalter starting to feel the heat of the team's 6-17 start?

Change the manager?

The Cincinnati Reds have already tried that. It’s not helping them. They lost with the old manager and they're losing with the new one, too.

I don’t think sending Buck Showalter down the road would do anything of note for the Orioles, either.

Change the players?

Some of that will happen naturally over the next couple of weeks. Jonathan Schoop will be back soon and we can assume Mark Trumbo’s disabled list stint will end within the next couple of weeks. Those two will help a beleaguered offense.

We hope, right?

Let’s be honest about the lineup, though. Even with Schoop and Trumbo back in there, the mission statement of the Orioles is pretty obvious: Hit home runs. Lots of them.

When they go through a stretch where the pitching match-ups are convenient and the temperatures reward the long ball, the Orioles might put together a couple of weeks of winning baseball.

But for those of you who say, “Wait until June and July when it gets hot and humid…those long fly balls will clear the fences”, you might want to remember the other team hits long fly balls that clear the fences in the summer as well.

And here’s the thing about a lineup that depends on home runs. If they’re not hitting the deep ball, they’re prone to going into a major funk, similar to what we're seeing from the O's through the first month of the 2018 campaign.

The Orioles are one-dimensional. They either hit four home runs and beat you or they lose.

So this woeful start to the season shouldn't be all that shocking. It's as much about roster compilation as it is anything else.

I do believe at some point the home runs will come and so will a bunch of wins, but baseball is a sport where six wins in ten games is typically followed by six losses in ten games.


The curious saga of Chris Davis rolled on last night with yet another 1-for-4 performance (which is actually pretty good for him…that’s a .250 average) and two more strikeouts, including a whiff in the bottom of the 9th with the game on the line.

Lots of people ask me what I think is wrong with Davis. I can’t say for certainty that I know, but one glaring issue with his offensive performance tells me something that I know others have also mentioned.

He strikes out "looking" far, far too much for a player of his supposed-caliber.

And to that, I say: I think there’s something going on mentally.

I don’t believe Davis has a swing flaw.

I equate lots of things in sports to golf. This is one of those occasions when golf connects with Davis and his woes.

What’s happened to Davis over the last couple of years is not in his swing. It’s mental. It’s in his head. And that’s why it’s not clearing up.

Have you ever faced a baseball thrown at you at 90 miles per hour?

Mired in a two year "slump", Chris Davis .169 after last night's 2-1 O's loss to the Indians.

If not, you have no idea how fast that little white thing comes at you. It's almost a miracle that anyone hits .300 in baseball. That a guy can actually get a base hit three out of every ten at bats -- given the velocity of the ball thrown at them -- is nothing short of sensational.

This is not an excuse for Davis. He gets paid $23 million a year to hit a baseball. He’s a professional. He should be able to handle a 90 or 95 mph fastball.

I bring up the speed and velocity issue to address the problem I think Davis is dealing with. If, in fact, he’s developed some sort of mental “yip” and he’s not able to see the ball quickly enough, that explains a lot about his woes at the plate.

I’ve never seen a quality hitter (insert your pun here) look at so many strike threes as Davis does – and has for the better part of two seasons now.

And how many times do you see Davis look at a ball right down the middle of the plate, only to see him turn to the umpire as if to say, "Dude, no way that's strike three"?

Power hitters strike out all the time. But they typically are swinging and missing when doing so.

Davis gets caught looking at strike three more than anyone I can remember.

And that, to me, smells of something that isn’t a swing flaw. How can you have a “swing flaw” if you’re not actually swinging?

Sure, he does swing and miss a lot. No doubt about that. And when he does, he's almost always "late". He's rarely ever out ahead of the ball, which is typically one of those "he guessed wrong" moments. Davis isn't picking the ball up quickly enough for some reason.

Golfers develop putting “yips”. It’s a misfiring of the wiring in your brain that restricts or prohibits you from making a functional putting stroke.

Davis has something similar going on, I believe. What’s happening with him is not about his “swing”. He has another issue of some kind that’s keeping him from picking up the baseball out of the pitcher’s hand.

And by the time he does pick it up – all it takes is a blip of a second to be “off” – the ball is into the strike zone and past him.

There could be some other issues bothering Davis, too, including the defensive shift which has been used against him throughout most of the last three seasons.

But I’d bet anything that there’s a “wiring issue” in his head that’s similar to a golfer with the yips.

He just looks at too many good pitches for this to be a simple “slump”.

And let’s mention one final thing about Buck Showalter while we’re dissecting this woeful Orioles start.

There are people “in the know” who contend the players are not enamored with the way Showalter is being treated by the organization. Buck is managing this 2018 campaign without a contract for next season, an almost unheard of show of disrespect for someone who has engineered three playoff appearances since 2012.

”No one is intentionally tanking it,” says one team associate. “But there are guys who are really frustrated with the organization’s lack of support for Buck. That might be carrying over in some fashion to either the way they prepare on a daily basis or the way they focus during a losing streak.”

There’s no doubt Showalter is popular in the clubhouse. And players, being human and all, definitely have the ability to wear their heart on their sleeves when it comes to something as sensitive as the manager being hung out to dry in a lame-duck situation.

”This might not get any better,” the team associate contends. “This could be one of those things that becomes a dividing issue between management and the team on the field.”

And so the Birds welcome in Tampa Bay and Detroit for the next six home games. If they can't win at least half of those between now and next Sunday, something is really, really wrong.

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caps send blue jackets to the golf course with the flyers


Not to brag or anything – and since I didn’t “bet it”, who cares, really? – but I did say here at #DMD when the Caps lost the first two games at home to Columbus that I thought they’d come back and win the series.

I never thought the Blue Jackets had the quality to beat the Caps four times in seven games.

And with last night’s 6-3 win at Nationwide Arena, the Blue Jackets couldn’t even beat the Caps three times in six games. Washington’s 4-2 series triumph sends them to the Eastern Conference semifinals, where they’ll take on the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Caps netminder Braden Holtby will face the Pittsburgh Penguins for the third straight playoff campaign when the two teams start their best-of-7 series later this week in D.C.

Yes, those Penguins…the same ones who eliminated the Caps a year ago with a 2-0 victory in Game 7 in D.C.

Yes, the same Penguins who have routinely eliminated the Capitals in post-season play. The two teams have met ten times in the playoffs: Pittsburgh is 9-1 in those series’.

It seems like a poor match-up for the Caps.

It’s not.

I’m not dumb enough to guarantee a series win for the Capitals. Pittsburgh has everything the Caps don’t. They’ve won Stanley Cup trophies. They have the sport’s best player. They’re winners. The Caps, since 1974, have been losers.

But if you gave me $1,000 of your money and told me to wager for it you, I’d bet on the Caps. And I wouldn’t be making that bet with my heart. I think this is the year the Caps turn the tables and beat Pittsburgh.

I doubt they can beat Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference Finals (once they beat either Boston or Toronto), but that’s OK. If the Caps beat Pittsburgh, that’s a significant accomplishment for Alex Ovechkin and Company.

If the Penguins watched the series with Columbus, they’ll know this much about the Capitals: If you give them power play opportunities, they’re going to beat you.

The Blue Jackets never seemed to figure that out. They kept getting dumb penalties and the Caps kept stacking up the power play goals against them.

If Pittsburgh stays out of the penalty box, their chances of beating the Caps increase dramatically. But if they swallow the same stupid pill that the Blue Jackets ingested, the Caps will punish them with the extra man.

Goaltending will be critical in the Caps-Penguins series. Can Braden Holtby – after a few days of rest – resume his outstanding play from the final four games of the Columbus series? If so, he can carry the Caps all on his own.

And can the Capitals rattle Pittsburgh netminder Matt Murray, who was both great and suspect in their 4-2 series win over Philadelphia? If the Caps can get him unnerved, they have an excellent chance of advancing past the Penguins.

Ultimately, the series will hinge on the play of the team's two superstars, Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. Ovechkin was terrific in the Columbus series minus a game one snoozer and Crosby was his usual excellent self in the Pens' win over the worst franchise in the history of sports.

I assume Ovechkin is tired of losing to Crosby in the playoffs.

Hopefully he can do something about it this time around.

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john pusateri
on lacrosse

Covering local college lacrosse for #DMD is an important task, and JOHN PUSATERI is more than capable of handling the job! His keen eye breaks down teams, players, tendencies and key statistical data that all fits together for outstanding coverage of college lacrosse. When it comes to covering local lacrosse, #DMD does it better than anyone around!


weekend college lax review


The Other Guys: Let's review the local teams fighting for their tournament lives.

Towson 13 - Delaware 7 - After playing to an even 6-6 score after 3 quarters, the Tiger offense exploded for 7 goals in the 4th, led by Jean-Luc Chetner with 4 goals and 1 assist.

Alex Woodall dominated the face-off X, winning 22 of 24, which earned him CAA player of the week honors. Towson is now in a 3 way tie for 2nd place in the CAA before the final regular season game against last place Fairfield this Saturday. The Tigers control their own CAA tournament destiny, but won't be hosting the tourney for the first time in a few years.

UMBC 8 - Hartford 3 - Make it 3 in a row for the defensive-minded Retrievers who've held their last two opponents to 5 goals total. Tommy Lingner continues his impressive run in the cage making 9 saves while Billy Nolan (3 goals) and Steven Zichelli (1 goal, 2 assists) paced UMBC's offense. The Dawgs are now tied for 3rd in the America East conference with Vermont whom they play in the season finale this weekend. A win against the Catamounts and the Retrievers are in the conference tournament.

St. Joseph's 14 - Mount Saint Mary's 7 - The NEC leading Hawks made their most of their senior day taking down the Mount and effectively ending their post-season chances. Mount St. Mary's will try to finish the season on a high note taking on last place Wagner at home this Saturday.

Other Notable Games:

Navy 13 - Syracuse 12 - In one of the best games of the weekend, the Midshipmen scored 2 goals in the final 10 seconds of the game to get that statement win against the Orange.

Navy face-off specialist Joe Varello gets the best of his younger brother, Syracuse face-off main Danny Varello, winning 16 of 27 draws and scoring the game winner with 1 second remaining to complete the improbable comeback. The Midshipmen capture 2nd seed in the Patriot League tournament and could have sealed an at-large bid to the NCAA tourney.

Loyola 12- Army 8 - The Greyhounds jumped out to a 7-2 1st half lead and never looked back. Loyola had 7 different goal scorers with none of them coming from Tewaarton candidate Pat Spencer, who was held to just 2 assists. However, defender Foster Huggins continued to be a force with 6 ground balls and 4 caused turnovers. The Greyhounds earn the #1 seed and will host the Patriot League tournament.

Johns Hopkins 10 - Michigan 9 - Brock Turnbaugh came up with 11 saves in one of their better defensive efforts of the season while Joel Tinney (2 goals, 4 assists) and Kyle Marr (4 goals) led the Blue Jay offense. However, the normally potent JHU offense seemed to be missing their QB Shack Stanwick, who will certainly be needed next week. But the win puts Hopkins into a tie for 1st with a chance to become the 1st seed in the B1G tournament.

Ohio State 12 - Maryland 10 - The Terps have been squeaking out wins in the competitive B1G, but couldn't do so on Sunday as the Buckeyes controlled the face-off X, out-hustled the Terps on groundballs 27-16 and solved the Terps D for the win. Connor Kelly continues to shine for the Terps. He scored 4 goals in the loss. Perhaps Maryland was looking ahead to next Saturday's matchup with Johns Hopkins in what will determine the top seed in the conference tournament.

The Final Four:

1) Duke - Danowski continues to have the Blue Devils peaking at the right time.

2) Yale- Impressive win against the former #1 Albany. But as UMBC proved, the Great Danes are vulnerable without Connor Fields.

3) Maryland - Chalk up the Terps defeat to peaking ahead to Saturday's date with their interstate rivals.

4) Cornell - Probably the most dangerous team and most explosive offense.

Outside Looking In: Denver, Loyola, Bucknell, Hopkins, Albany (depending on Connor Fields injury)

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Monday
April 23
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issue 23
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the best sports morning of the year


Welcome, as the headline says, to the absolute best sports morning of 2018.

Since I can’t see the Orioles winning the World Series next October – and if the Ravens win the 2018 Super Bowl that morning would come in 2019 – this, by far, will represent the morning that brings a smile to my face more than any other in this calendar year.

It goes something like this:

Four guys are in a car, heading to the golf course. The company they work for has a traditional golf game that's now in its 42nd consecutive year. Someone has to keep up the tradition and these are the four employees who, this April, have taken it upon themselves to carry it out.

The sun is out. It’s a somewhat unseasonal April morning, but still nice enough that all the men need are long pants, a golf shirt and a light jacket.

”I’m tired,” says the guy in the right front passenger seat.

”Me too,” says the driver. “But I couldn’t sleep. I figured this would be a great way to burn off some energy. That’s why I texted you guys last night to see if you wanted to play this morning.”

”I hurt my right shoulder yesterday,” says the guy in the back right passenger seat. “I don’t even know if I can swing a club.”

Somewhere in Southern Pennsylvania today...

”Come on man,” says the man to his left. “You’re always complaining about some kind of ache or pain. Suck it up.”

The car enters the freeway. The sports talk station lights up with callers chiming in about the local team losing a game the day before.

”Turn that off, bro,” says the oldest of the foursome, the guy in the front right passenger seat.

”All those people do is complain,” he adds.

The driver turns the radio off.

There’s silence for the next ten minutes.

Finally, someone speaks again.

”I’m not expecting much today,” the youngest of the crew says from his seat behind the driver. “I haven’t touched a club since mid-January when we all went to Florida for a few days.”

”Sometimes that’s when you play your best golf,” the driver counters.

They pull into the clubhouse parking lot. It’s relatively empty, but a young man pulls up with a golf cart that has a flatbed attachment on the back.

”Good morning men, welcome to Stonewall Golf Club,” he says. “I’ll grab your clubs and throw them on here and they’ll be ready for you on the range whenever you make it up to the practice range.”

”Thanks,” says the driver. He goes to hand the club employee a folded up $10 bill but he’s denied.

”No need for that,” the man loading the bags says in polite refusal.

The four walk into the clubhouse to grab a coffee.

They’re greeted by the head golf professional.

”This is a double edged sword,” the pro says with his right hand out in greeting.

”I know,” says one of the men who was in the car. He forces a smile but there's a definite slice of glum in the air.

”I mean, I always enjoy having you guys play here…you know that,” the golf pro states. “I was just kind of hoping it wouldn’t be today. Under these circumstances.”

The men share a few minutes of small talk and then bid farewell as they head to the practice range.

After about fifteen minutes of warm up, two caddies approach the practice area.

”Mr. Giroux, you guys are on the tee next,” says one of the caddies.

The four men introduce themselves to the caddies.

”You guys had a really good season, Mr. Voracek, nothing at all to be ashamed of,” says the other caddie as he cleans off a set of irons.

As the six men walk to the first tee, Wayne Simmonds stops and says, “I always hate this day. It’s over so quickly. One minute you’re in the playoffs, fighting for your life, and the next minute, you’re on the first tee playing golf.”

And when the opening tee shot from Scott Laughton sails down the fairway and lands softly on the freshly cut grass, the off-season of the Philadelphia Flyers is officially underway.

It's now 42 years and running since the worst franchise in the history of sports won the Stanley Cup.

Yesterday, in their own building, the Flyers were eliminated from the playoffs by the Penguins by the final score of 8-5.

The off-season is underway today for the likes of Claude Giroux, Scott Laughton and the rest of those bums.

This, without question, is the best morning we’ll find, anywhere, in 2018.

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NOTES & COMMENT
George McDowell


George McDowell is #DMD's foreign correspondent. His international reports are filed from a hardened outpost just across the U.S. / North Carolina border. He writes on sports topics that interest him that he feels might also interest some segment of the wildly esoteric #DMD readership. George has been a big fan of DF and his various enterprises since the last century, and for several seasons appeared as a weekly guest on his Monday evening radio show, Maryland Golf Live, delivering commentary as The Eccentric Starter. George also donates his time and talents to the less fortunate, and currently volunteers as secretary of the Rickie Fowler Fan Club.


lightning in a bottle


In my early teens I was diagnosed with an rare medical condition. A second opinion and even a third confirmed that I was indeed a subcanineophiliac, which, literally translated from the Latin/Greek, means lover of the underdog. The condition is incurable.

My fellow sufferers and I are doomed to lifetimes of disappointment, manifesting in the world of sports, where persons and teams deemed strong favorites almost universally prevail in their events and games.

David with the Head of Goliath, painted by the Italian artist Caravaggio in 1610. The piece now hangs in the Galleria Borghese in Rome.

There are times, however, when we so afflicted are suffused with great joy. I was born just a few years too late to see David plunk Goliath in the face with a rock launched from his sling then leisurely sever the stunned giant’s head with his own sword. But I read the story in I Samuel over and over, and was so delighted by it that it didn’t until recently occur to me to question how an agent of God could in any circumstance be considered an underdog.

There is, in modern philosophical circles, a proposition gaining some credence that asserts that everything that happens is [and was] inevitable, and that it is only because of the inability of humans to identify and understand the factors that lead to the inevitable results that we were/are unable to predict them.

If this is principle is valid, then there was a lot of inability going around in 1963 just before what was then called the men's NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament. There were two dominant teams in the field of 25 that competed for the championship – Duke, coached by the legendary Vic Bubas, and Cincinnati, which had won the previous two national titles. In the Final Four semi-finals, a lightly regarded Loyola-Chicago team surprised Duke, 94-75, while Cincinnati destroyed Oregon State, 80-46.

As expected in the Final, Duke started stong and built a big lead over the Loyolas. With ten ninutes to go, they were up by 16. This was the no-shotclock-era, and Duke decided to sit on its lead. Loyola pressed and harrassed the Duke ballhandlers, forcing turnover after turnover, and they scored each time they got their hands on the ball. Duke nearly held on, but a Loyola tip-in at the buzzer forced overtime. Another buzzer-beater in overtime gave Loyola the championship, 60-58, driving us subcanineophiliacs into paroxysms of ecstacy and tears of joy.

No caption needed.

The 1966 Orioles went into the World Series as tremendous underdogs to a powerful Dodger team led by Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. In the first game in LA, the Os scored three runs in the top of the first. Not even the sickest subcanineophiliac could imagine that those three runs were more than the mighty Dodgers would score in all four games of the Series. Those were five heady days in October of 1966 as we sickos waited nervously for a hammer that never dropped. The elation of the underdog's victory was magnified a hundredfold because the Orioles were our home team.

#DMD's intrepid leader, the eponymous Drew, often describes instances of what we subcanineophiliacs crave as lightning in a bottle. This simile [or maybe it's a metaphor – I'm never sure] paints a vivid mental picture of a presumptively impossible occurence, and thus describes the essence of our disease. I find it remarkable, and here so remark, that there has been to date no mention at all in the Morning Dish of an occurence on Monday last that was so implausible that it boggles even unbalanced minds — a stark example of lightning caught in a bottle: an amateur nearly won the Boston Marathon!

Congratulations to Sarah Sellers, the 26-year-old nurse anesthetist from Arizona who ran down and passed all but one runner [Women's Division winner Desiree Linden] in an elite international field of 12,063 women.

Sarah Sellers

As Nurse Sellers raced down Beacon St. past the Buckminster Hotel and Fenway Park toward her right turn onto Commonwealth Ave., the temperature was 31 degrees. As she raced due east on Commonwealth toward her penultimate turn, right onto Hereford St., The New York Times reported that the rain was coming down in buckets and wind gusts as high as 32 mph pushed the raindrops horizontally. As she turned left onto Boyleston St. for the three-and-a-half block stretch run to the Finish Line in front of the Boston Public Library, she had no earthly idea only one female competitor had this year preceded her.

When a race official told her that she had finished second, she thought he was speaking of an age division – it wasn't even in her mind that she could have finished second over all.

Nor should the possibility have been in her mind. Sellers ran for her alma mater, Weber State in Utah, but her distances were the 5,000 meters (three miles) and the 10,000 meters. She was several times selected as an all-conference runner, but had never been awarded All-American status. In her junior year (she thought!) a broken bone in her foot ended her competitive career.

After graduation and training as a nurse with a specialty in anesthesiology, she married and settled in Tucson. She works 10-hour shifts at Banner-University Medical Center. Her foot injury healed, enabling her to take up competitive running again. Her International Amateur Athletics Foundations webpage has one entry, listing a personal best for 10 kilometers of 35:33 in October, 2016. [This time is more than six minutes slower than the women's world record.]

Last May, when her brother qualified for the Boston Marathon, he challenged her to run in it with him. In order to qualify, Sellers had to post an official time in a sanctioned marathon acceptable to the Boston Athletic Association, which manages the event. She took Sundays off and trained the other six days, running either at 4:00 am before she went to work, or at 8:00 pm when she got off. In September she won the Huntsville [Utah] Marathon in a time that would allow her to start in Boston with a group that included the elite women marathoners of the world.

Sarah arrived in Boston with no goals or expectations and only a slight hope that her time would earn her an invitation to Olympic trials for the U.S. team. Since there were still several days before the race and the weather was rotten in Boston, she and her husband rented a car and drove up to Maine for some mountain biking.

Sarah wasn't offered a ride to the race's Starting Line in Hopkinton in the luxury motor-coaches with the elite runners. Perhaps a good thing. It would have been tough to confess to the best in the world that she had run exactly one prior marathon!

The weather pounded the runners unmercifully. The men's winner, Yuki Kawauchi, finished 12 minutes over the course record in a time slower than all winning times back to 1971. Desiree Linden, who won the women's race, finished in a time almost 20 minutes slower than the course record set four years ago in good weather. But the runners weren't racing the clock, they were racing each other, and racing on the same course at the same time and in the same spring storm. And Nurse Sarah Sellers hung tougher than all but one of the best runners in the world!

Thank you, Sarah, for this latest respite, albeit only brief, from the ravages of our disease.

The 1869 painting by French artist Luc-Olivier Merson depicts Athenian courier Pheidippides who, after the Greeks defeated the Persians at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC, was dispatched to inform the city's leaders of the victory. This probably apocryphal legend has Pheidippides delivering the joyful news that peace was at hand, then collapsing and dying from exhaustion.

Another legend, perhaps also apocryphal, has it that Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Games, so admired the work that he created a race to be run in the games that would honor the run of Pheidippides.

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"The Keen Eye" of David Rosenfeld

DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.


You can’t get the whole story without asking the 5 Ws: Who? What? When? Where? and Why?

Local Edition

Who?

Dylan Bundy

The fun thing about watching Dylan Bundy is that he’s actually living up to the hype. It just took him longer than most, through no fault of his own.

When he was 18, Bundy was supposed to be a guy who was well ahead of his age in terms of both talent and command. Billy Beane is adamant that high school pitchers are always a questionable choice, even ones picked high in the draft, but most scouts said Bundy was different.

O's ace Dylan Bundy had another effective start on Friday night as the Birds won the series opener over Cleveland, 3-1.

Considering his talents, especially his ability to get hitters out with both hard stuff and breaking balls, it’s not surprising that Bundy’s gotten to this point in his third full year. He’s had nearly 300 innings of work, and he’s now seen what he needs to do to get Major League hitters out.

He has to use all of his pitches. He has to rely on his defense, even this season when it’s not so great. He has to be able to fight through having a mediocre day to keep his team in the game anyway.

Now, he has to be the guy who leads the pitching staff.

Bundy is the kind of pitcher who’s a candidate to throw a no-hitter every time he takes the mound. He’s also the kind of pitcher who’s able to be successful without throwing a lot of ground balls, and he’s only allowed one home run so far this season.


What?

Ravens’ 2018 schedule

When the Ravens’ (and every other team’s) schedules were announced on Thursday, we started doing some planning. Many were happy that there are no home games at night, though that’s subject to change with “flex” scheduling later in the season.

Some of us even started to do the whole game-by-game win/loss thing, which is fun, if somewhat ridiculous.

Otherwise, we learned nothing, at least no more than we knew on December 31 when the team’s 2018 opponents were set. The order in which you play the games doesn’t really start to matter until you take stock of the injuries, results and other woes that won’t happen until the games actually begin.

It is unfortunate that the Ravens are one of the few teams to have three straight road games, at Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Tennessee in Weeks 4, 5 and 6, but the stretch of three straight home games in November, with a bye after the Pittsburgh rematch in Week 9, is a pretty good balance to that.

This is the ninth year in a row that Week 17 in the NFL features intra-divisional matchups. Considering the rivalry between the Steelers and Ravens, it’s interesting that the league has never scheduled the teams for the final weekend in those nine years. One of the two matchups per year is usually “reserved” for an NBC Sunday night, but you’d think the other might be fun at season’s end.


When?

Today

Today’s the day when guarantees will be tested.

On Saturday, after his team lost in overtime to the Capitals, Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella guaranteed that his team will return to Washington for a Game 7 on Wednesday.

Can Alex Ovechkin and the Caps eliminate Columbus tonight and meet up with Pittsburgh again in the NHL playoffs?

Following Game 2, when the Capitals fell behind 2-0 in the series after losing in overtime, Alex Ovechkin also had a prediction. He guaranteed that his team would return to D.C. having tied the series.

If Ovie was right on with his boasts, won’t Tortorella be too? Guarantees always work, right?

Looking at it from the outside, I could see why Tortorella would be high on his team’s chances to win Game 6 at home. The Blue Jackets have put together quite a few stretches in the series where they’ve dominated the Caps, including the third period Saturday when they outshot Washington 16-1.

It sure feels like Tortorella’s team has hit the post a lot in this series. They’ve also been “unlucky” to have witnessed the return of Braden Holtby after his late-season slump. The Capitals have scored some ugly goals.

I see no reason why Game 6 won’t go to overtime. Or, maybe the Blue Jackets will respond to their coach’s challenge with a convincing victory. Whatever the case, I still see the Capitals winning the series if it comes back to Washington for Game 7.


Where?

Camden Yards

Want to know a good indicator that a team is bad? Look at the results at home. If you can’t win there, you probably can’t win anywhere.

The Orioles have played nine games this season at Camden Yards and scored only 18 runs. That’s Camden Yards, the place where pitchers go to die, sea level version. That’s Camden Yards, the place where the left-centerfield fence says 364 feet but that’s always been pretty questionable.

Buck Showalter’s team has won 47, 46, 50, 47, 50 and 46 games at home over the past six seasons. Yes, even last year, the Orioles gave their home fans some excitement.

With the team’s attendance problems, playing poorly at home is maybe the worst thing that could happen to the Orioles. Those attendance problems could also be exacerbated by the player moves that might occur because of the team’s poor start.

Of course, there’s also the vicious circle question. Does a team, no matter how professional, start to play poorly at home when nobody shows up?

There are much larger issues with attendance in Baltimore. The Orioles could win every game at home, and I’d bet the attendance would still be disappointing. People aren’t coming anymore for reasons that have nothing to do with the standings.

With continued lousy home results, those numbers could be historically low this season even in the middle of the summer.


Why?

Kevin Huerter

The sweet-shooting swingman who’s played two years at Maryland announced this week that he’s declaring for the 2018 NBA draft, though he won’t sign with an agent and will in all likelihood return to the Terps for the 2018-19 season.

As an exercise in evaluation, I have no issue with any player getting feedback from NBA teams by going through the process before the draft. I’d bet a few players, perhaps even Huerter, do it precisely for that reason as opposed to an honest belief that they’ll be drafted that year.

I get it — some fans find it strange that guys who can’t even lead a team to the NIT are getting publicity as early NBA draft hopefuls. I don’t think there’s anything more “individual” than the NBA draft, though. The second a player’s college season is over, his team’s results are immaterial. I’m not even sure scouts and NBA front office people always care to ask college coaches about leadership or personality anymore.

The declarations by Huerter and Bruno Fernando do leave some questions as to Maryland’s roster. The Terps have what is considered by many a Top 15 recruiting class. If Huerter and Fernando join Anthony Cowan on the 2018-19 Terps, that players in that recruiting class can ease in to their new roles a little bit. Otherwise, they’ll be asked to do a lot more.

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Sunday
April 22
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issue 22
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this, that and the other


You have to give the folks at Central Florida credit. They're nothing if not creative.

Yesterday, despite actually not winning the NCAA football championship in 2017, they unveiled a banner that said they did.

Central Florida, remember, went 13-0 last season, including a Peach Bowl win over Auburn. They were the only FBS team to not lose a game in 2017. Thus, they figure they were the best team in the nation.

Saturday's pomp and circumstance was all part of the plan hatched by athletic director Danny White last December, who claimed he would treat the school's football accomplishment as a national championship, complete with parade and banner.

It's cute and all, but hopefully no one with a brain is actually buying into it.

Central Florida took out an ad in several Florida newspapers last January proclaiming their 2017 national championship.

This is what we've become in 2017, I suppose. Participation trophies for six year olds, ribbons for 5th place finishers in youth swim meets and now, we're even trying to hoodwink college kids into thinking they did something they didn't actually do.

Don't get me wrong. 13-0 in a FBS football season is quite a feat. I don't care if you're playing in the CAA (which is FCS, but you get the point), 13-0 is 13-0.

But Central Florida didn't win the national championship last year, no matter what the banner says.

Sure, they beat Auburn in a bowl game and Auburn beat Alabama in the regular season and Alabama beat Georgia in the championship game and........I guess by virture of connect-the-dots, Central Florida says they should be the national champs.

Except it doesn't actually work like that.

Central Florida had a really good team last year. They whooped on that powerhouse Maryland team, in College Park, don't forget.

But the banner they unveiled yesterday is a fib. They didn't win the national championship in 2017. And I think, deep down, everyone actually knows that.


We saw another couple hours of lackluster offense from the Orioles yesterday at Camden Yards, as crafty Mike Clevinger threw a two-hit complete game shutout for Cleveland in their 4-0 win.

Hey, look at it like this: The O's had two more hits than the Red Sox managed to record last night in Oakland against Sean Manaea. How about that, huh? The Orioles actually weren't the first team in MLB to get no-hit this year, despite what we all assumed.

But Boston's 17-3 and the O's are 6-15. The joke's on us, not them.

Manny Machado (who else?) and Chance Sisco collected the two hits off of Clevinger, who is 3-0 vs. the O's over the last two seasons. Not that Machado had to have a bang-up year to collect a whopper of a contract this off-season, but he's off to the kind of start he was hoping for in his walk year, hitting .337 with a .421 on-base-percentage thus far.

O's right hander Chris Tillman had his best start of the season on Saturday vs. Cleveland but still fell to 0-4 as the Birds lost to the Tribe, 4-0.

And Sisco not only did something at the plate, he threw out three guys attempting to steal as well (although Lindor was actually safe at third in the 9th but Cleveland didn't care to challenge at that point for some reason). Sisco is hitting .256, by the way, which is three times the batting average currently authored by Caleb Joseph (.081).

I'm not saying Sisco is turning into Johnny Bench or anything like that, but he should be playing more than Joseph at this point. The numbers are saying it.

If you're looking for a small silver lining in the 4-0 shutout, it's that Chris Tillman put together a decent start for once. But don't get carried away. The Cleveland offense is nearly as stale as the Orioles' at this point. Other than Michael Brantley (.341), no one for Cleveland is hitting above .278 and, like the Birds, they have a handful of guys hovering around the mendoza line.

Still, Tillman "only" allowed four earned runs in six innings of work yesterday, which is a step in the right direction for him.

I'm not a dummy. I know the 6-15 start is terrible. But three things have definitely hurt the club thus far that no one could plan for in early March.

1. Mark Trumbo hasn't played a game yet. His replacement, Danny Valencia, has been awful.

2. Jonathan Schoop got hurt on Friday the 13th in Boston and hasn't played since. The Birds have gone 1-6 without him.

3. Alex Cobb has been completely ineffective in his two starts. Why the team couldn't have signed him in January or February and given him a complete six weeks of spring training is anyone's guess, but Cobb's mid-March signing curtailed his efforts to get ready for the season. In two starts thus far, he's looked really bad.

It's a marathon, not a sprint, and there's lots of baseball remaining.

Our #DMD basketball writer, Dale Williams, sent me a note via text on Saturday and asked: "Is there a remote chance the Orioles finish at .500 or better this season?"

My reply: "Remote? Yes."

It's not looking good right now, for sure, but there's still time to chip away and get back to .500. At this point, that should be the team's first in-season goal. Somehow, someway, get their record back to the .500 mark.


There's no getting around the fact that regular season NBA basketball is pretty awful.

Sure, anytime Golden State is in town, anywhere in the league, the game actually matters. And when the Warriors play the Rockets or the Celtics or the Cavaliers, it's probably worth watching.

But for the most part, a NBA regular season game is about as exciting as a Gilmore Girls rerun.

The playoffs, though, are much different.

I wouldn't say playoff basketball is rivaling the NHL playoffs for excitement and intensity, but the NBA post-season is definitely a major upgrade over the regular season product.

As we saw the other night in Washington when the Wizards and Raptors got nasty with one another, these guys actually want to win now.

In mid-January, they look like they couldn't care less who wins or loses.

But it's not that way in late April.

Heck, the 76er's and Heat got agitated with one another in Games 1 and 2 of their series because guys were making layups in the final minute when the game was already decided.

Baseball has their stupid unwritten rules and so, too, does basketball apparently.

The 76er's have become the instant darlings of the league, it seems. After five years of losing on purpose (it was adorably called "the process" by the engineers of it all) and stinking up the joint 60 nights a year, the 76'ers have a legitimate team now. Legitimate, as in, they're going to give everyone else in the Eastern Conference a run for their money this season.

It's still likely going to come down to Golden State and Houston in the West, but the East is a complete crapshoot at this point. It could be Toronto, the #1 seed. Or the Celtics. LeBron and the Cavaliers won't go quietly (but they have to get past Indiana first). And the aforementioned 76'ers are going to be pesky and a handful as long as they're still playing.

Don't make the mistake of not watching the NBA playoffs because the regular season is so drab and dreary. This is a different level of basketball, now.

It's actually worth watching. Very much so, in fact.

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caps scratch out another ot win, lead columbus 3-games-to-2


Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson owe Nicklas Backstrom a steak dinner.

Backstrom's goal midway through the first overtime period on Saturday afternoon lifted the Caps to a 4-3 win over Columbus in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. The Caps now lead 3-games-to-2 with Game 6 set for Monday night in Columbus. Washington is 2-0 at Nationwide Arena in this playoff round.

Nicklas Backstrom's two goal game gave the Caps a 4-3 win over Columbus on Saturday. His OT goal pushed Washington to a 3-2 series lead.

The deflection tally from Backstrom potentially saved Ovechkin and Carlson from a summer's worth of misery. Ovechkin had a glorious scoring chance four minutes into overtime but couldn't put a 20-foot shot past Sergei Brobovsky. It was the kind of chance great goal scorers like Ovechkin dream about. Game on the line, nothing between the shooter and the net except the goaltender...but Ovechkin's shot went directly into the Columbus netminder.

Moments later, Carlson had an even better opportunity, as a nice one-handed pass from Lars Eller found Carlson ten feet in front of the net, all alone on Brobovsky. But the Columbus goaltender made a remarkable save and the game stood tied at 3-3.

Enter Backstrom, who had been quiet throughout much of the series, but tallied twice on Saturday, including the game-winning tip-in on a shot from the point.

"We didn't play very well in the third period," Backstrom said afterwards. "We were kind of fortunate that it went to overtime. But we kept saying 'just put pucks on goal and make something happen' and that's what we did. I was able to get my stick on it and it went in somehow."

I would say a deflating goal like that might empty the Blue Jackets' tank, but they seem like a hearty bunch and, let's face it, the Caps have a long history in post-season play of not being able to handle prosperity.

So don't be surprised if there's a Game 7 in Washington next Wednesday night.

Braden Holtby was again outstanding in goal for the Caps, mostly in the third period when Columbus outshot the hosts, 16-1. Holtby made several nice saves in overtime, as Washington improved to 2-2 in extra session games in this series.

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take dad to the u.s. open


#DMD is putting together a special one-day trip to the U.S. Open on June 15 at Shinnecock Hills GC on Long Island (NY) and we'd love for you to be part of it with us!

We're billing it as a "Day with Dad", but you certainly don't have to bring your father along. We just think it will be fun if you do!

Defending champion Brooks Koepka will be in the field at Shinnecock Hills on June 15 when #DMD travels to Long Island for the second round of this year's U.S. Open.

We're heading to Shinnecock Hills to see the second round of the 2018 U.S. Open, departing Baltimore at 5:00 and arriving at the course roughly around 9:00 am. We'll spend the whole day on the course watching the best players in the world play on one of our nation's most iconic golf courses.

If you've never seen Shinnecock Hills in person, this is a must-do opportunity to experience one of our nation's most breathaking and scenic courses.

Our luxury motor coach will be limited to just 40 passengers, giving everyone room to spread out and enjoy the ride to Long Island. We'll enjoy breakfast, drinks and snacks on the ride to the course and we'll have more food and drinks for everyone on the ride home.

Oh, and there's U.S. Open trivia as well! A $100 cash prize is available for our trivia contest, so brush up on those needless facts about the U.S. Open.

Bring Dad along for a truly special day together at the U.S. Open. All of the best players in the world will be there...and the two of you can watch the tournament on Saturday or Sunday with the experience of having just walked the famous layout.

#DMD golf trips like this one are also excellent for employee and client reward. If you have a golfer or two that work in your business or if there's a special client you'd like to treat, we promise we'll great care of them on the trip to Shinnecock Hills!

For pricing and payment details go here.

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Saturday
April 21
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issue 21
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ravens trying to make good on their promise


At least the Ravens aren't waiting until August 23 to sign a few wide receivers and revamp the team's pass catching core.

That trick -- waiting until the very last minute -- hasn't served the O's very well thus far, as their decision to play the stall-him-out game with pitcher Alex Cobb has led to a pair of awful outings at the start of his 2018 campaign.

The Ravens said they were going to revamp their wide receiver position and they've definitely done that. Yesterday, John Harbaugh's team signed New Orleans Saints wide receiver Willie Snead to an offer sheet. If the Saints don't match the offer within five days -- which, they won't -- the restricted free agent will join the Ravens for the 2018 campaign.

In: Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead.

Out: Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin and Michael Campanaro.

A couple of others who caught passes a year ago are also no longer with the club. Gone are Ben Watson (61 receptions, a team high) and Danny Woodhead (33 catches).

That's definitely "revamping".

Is Alabama WR Calvin Ridley still on the Ravens' radar even after they signed three veteran wide receivers during the off-season?

The only issue, of course, is whether the new guys are any better than the old guys. It's one thing to sweep out the gang that was holding you down, but you also have to replace them with something of similar or better quality.

Where's the tight end who will fill Watson's shoes and his 61 catches? The Ravens are presumably going to draft a tight end at some point fairly early in the draft, and even then they might still snag a veteran free agent at some point between now and August.

I love that the Ravens recognized their need to vastly improve their wide receiver department.

I wish the Orioles would have showed the same urgency over the off-season with regard to starting pitching.

But just bringing in new guys to catch the ball isn't necessarily the tonic for improvement. I'll present to you Exhibit A: Jeremy Maclin, 2017.

The Ravens have to bring in the right players. And only time will tell if they're right or not.

Snead is definitely a question mark. He comes to the Ravens with some recent baggage, on and off the field, including a 2017 DWI arrest that led to a 3-game suspension and an injury filled campaign a season ago that led to just 8 catches for 92 yards in 11 games.

8 catches for 92 yards -- Steve Smith Sr. would do that in one half of football. Snead did it in a season.

But in 2016 and 2015 combined, Snead caught 141 footballs and nearly recorded 1,900 passing yards in total.

Yes, he was playing with Drew Brees. And, yes, half of his season, at least, was spent indoors in New Orleans.

He's still likely going to be a better fit than Jeremy Maclin was in his brief 6-month tenure with the Ravens.

Crabtree remains the wild card of the group. He'll be the go-to red zone guy and the Ravens will essentially be expecting him to be a better version of what Mike Wallace gave them. Wallace had more speed but didn't have the jump ball skills that Crabtree possesses.

Brown's the speed guy who, if healthy, could potentially take the heat off of Breshad Perriman. If Perriman even makes the team, that is.

There's a draft coming up late next week and the Ravens will undoubtedly go wide receiver shopping next Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There are people who still believe they'll take either Calvin Ridley (Alabama) or D.J. Moore (Maryland) with that pick if either of those guys are available at #16 in the first round.

Either of those guys would be a good pick, but as we know with the draft (see Exhibit B: Perriman), just because you take a guy in the first round, in no way at all does it guarantee he'll be a standout NFL player.

On paper, the Ravens have definitely done what they set out to do in late January.

They've invested their time, energy and funds in the wide receiver position. They haven't "significantly" upgraded the position. Not in my mind, anyway. But they've "improved" it, for sure.

Now if we can just keep the other team from driving down the field in the game's final couple of minutes and chewing up our secondary...

When does that off-season project start?

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O'rky's O'pinion

Brian Orkmann is a life-long Orioles fan. He got a taste of the baseball life at a young age — his uncle played for seven years in the Cleveland Indians' minor-league system. O'rky traveled with his family to Arizona every year for spring training. He will serve as #DMD's witty yet discerning eye and voice in the 2018 season.


7 points from last night's 3-1 orioles win over cleveland


I'm sorry I've been out of touch sports fans. I had a sudden work trip to Orlando (tough but someone has to do it) thrown in my lap on Wednesday and just returned on Friday morning.

I'm actually going to the ballpark today and tomorrow. Maybe I'll see the team's first 3-game winning streak of the season this weekend!

Here's a review of last night's 3-1 win over the Indians, a team near and dear to my heart because my uncle was in their farm system for several years back in the 1980's.

1. I know the Indians aren't a very good offensive club but Dylan Bundy was outstanding again last night, allowing 5 hits in six innings of work and surrendering just one run. I know he threw a lot of pitches (108) but Bundy was on point again for the fifth time this season. In his five starts, he's allowed 0 earned runs once, 2 earned runs once and 1 earned run three times. That guy can pitch.

Machado did it all last night. A home run to tie the game at 1-1 and a stellar defensive play in the 7th to protect a 3-1 lead.

2. It didn't look like the Trey Mancini knee injury was serious. Buck Showalter said after the game they were considering a few stitches, so it sounds like it was more of a cut than anything structural like his ACL. Losing Schoop was bad enough. Losing Mancini would be really bad. Maybe he gets the day off today and then gets back out there on Sunday afternoon.

3. More Richard Bleier please. All that guy does is get people out. I know Manny saved him with that diving play in the 7th but Bleier is really solid.

4. More concerning to me than the Orioles batting averages is the on base percentage numbers of guys like Jones (.261), Davis (.286) and Beckham (.265). It's hard to score runs when you're not on base, unless you hit a bunch of home runs.

5. We might get to see a lot of runs in today's game at 4:05 pm. Mike Clevinger goes for Cleveland and Chris Tillman takes the mound for the Birds. For two offensively challenged teams, the two starts might be what they each need.

6. Don't forget, the Orioles are still without Mark Trumbo in the lineup. When he arrives, Danny Valencia goes. And Trumbo will add something to the offense, which Valencia really hasn't.

7. This doesn't have anything to do with last night's game, but I found it interesting that Kevin Gausman went to a new wind up last week in Detroit. He said he felt like he threw the ball better with it. Major league pitchers don't often change on the fly like that. I hope it's not a band aid for Gausman.

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take dad to the u.s. open


#DMD is putting together a special one-day trip to the U.S. Open on June 15 at Shinnecock Hills GC on Long Island (NY) and we'd love for you to be part of it with us!

We're billing it as a "Day with Dad", but you certainly don't have to bring your father along. We just think it will be fun if you do!

Defending champion Brooks Koepka will be in the field at Shinnecock Hills on June 15 when #DMD travels to Long Island for the second round of this year's U.S. Open.

We're heading to Shinnecock Hills to see the second round of the 2018 U.S. Open, departing Baltimore at 5:00 and arriving at the course roughly around 9:00 am. We'll spend the whole day on the course watching the best players in the world play on one of our nation's most iconic golf courses.

If you've never seen Shinnecock Hills in person, this is a must-do opportunity to experience one of our nation's most breathaking and scenic courses.

Our luxury motor coach will be limited to just 40 passengers, giving everyone room to spread out and enjoy the ride to Long Island. We'll enjoy breakfast, drinks and snacks on the ride to the course and we'll have more food and drinks for everyone on the ride home.

Oh, and there's U.S. Open trivia as well! A $100 cash prize is available for our trivia contest, so brush up on those needless facts about the U.S. Open.

Bring Dad along for a truly special day together at the U.S. Open. All of the best players in the world will be there...and the two of you can watch the tournament on Saturday or Sunday with the experience of having just walked the famous layout.

#DMD golf trips like this one are also excellent for employee and client reward. If you have a golfer or two that work in your business or if there's a special client you'd like to treat, we promise we'll great care of them on the trip to Shinnecock Hills!

For pricing and payment details go here.

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Friday
April 20
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issue 20
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a make or break homestand.....in april?


Well, if nothing else, this is interesting.

April baseball is usually good for getting the kinks out, winning a few, losing a few and preparing for the season long grind that awaits.

Ummmmm, the Orioles don't have that luxury. Their grind actually starts tonight.

After a series sweep at the hands of the Tigers in Detroit, the O's return to Baltimore for a 10-game homestand with their orange and black feathers not-so-neatly clipped. At 5-14 now, there's no nice way to say it: The Orioles have to win more than they lose against the Indians (4), Rays (3) and Tigers (3).

5-14 to start the season. Holy cow that's bad.

Fortunately for the Birds, they're in Baltimore and not New York. The media here lays low for the most part. Sure, everyone's looking for a scapegoat right about now, but you won't see screaming headlines of a personal nature in the Baltimore Sun like you'd see in the New York Post if the Yankees were 5-14.

And the schedule turns in the O's favor now. OK, Cleveland won't be a walk in the park, but Tampa Bay is 5-13 and very beatable and the Tigers, despite what they just did to the Birds in the Motor City, are a 5-game losing streak waiting to happen.

Alex Cobb hands the ball off to Buck Showalter after a dismal outing in Detroit on Thursday. Cobb has a 15.43 ERA in two starts thus far in 2018.

It's very possible Buck Showalter's team could get their chakras in line back in Baltimore and win 7 of 10 just as easily as they just dropped all six games in Boston and Detroit on the recent road trip.

But wait. It's also easy to see the O's laboring through the next ten games and going 5-5 or 4-6, too. Something's not right with this ballclub. There's talent there, but the mixture isn't yielding a tasty dish.

There are two regulars hitting the ball worth a hoot: Trey Mancini (.286) and Manny Machado (.388). That's it. Pedro Alvarez (.290) is hitting the ball when he's in the lineup, but it's feast or famine with him. Adam Jones had a big day on Thursday with three doubles, but he's "only" at .260 thus far. In that O's lineup, though, .260 is almost a miracle.

The team's 5-6-7-8 hitters on Thursday were all hitting below .200 before the game. Two of the four are guys that matter, Chris Davis (.145 with a home run on Thursday)) and Tim Beckham (.194 with 3 hits on Thursday).

This O's team is making Cam Cameron and Marty Mornhinweg look efficient.

Enough harping on the woeful offense...you get the point.

I won't even harp on the starting pitching. The summary is simple.

Dylan Bundy has been terrific.

Andrew Cashner has been OK.

Kevin Gausman has struggled but always seems to put up a fight.

Chris Tillman has been terrible.

Alex Cobb can't quite get to terrible yet.

And Mike Wright Jr. is very fortunate that Tillman and Cobb have been terrible. Or he'd be out of a job.

So, like the Royals (3-13), Marlins (5-13) and Reds (3-13), the Orioles find themselves in a really weird April dilemma. Their season is sorta-kinda on the line over the next ten games. And that's not hyperbole.

If they somehow produce an awful 3-7 homestand, they'll be 8-21 to start the campaign. The fancy computers that baseball nerds use to predetermime how many wins a team will need to make second wild card spot in the American League are saying the magic number this year is "89".

It seems awfully weird to be talking about the playoffs on April 20 when your team hasn't even won six games yet, but if -- and note the word "if" there -- the Birds were to produce something terrible like a 3-7 homestand, they'd have to go 81-52 over the last five months of the season to hit the 89-73 mark.

You can't win the pennant in April (although the Red Sox actually might clinch the division by Memorial Day at this rate...) but you sure can lose it.

And the O's have put themselves in an almost must-win bind over the next ten games in Baltimore.

Yes, it's early.

Yes, it's a marathon, not a sprint.

And, yes, the schedule thus far has featured four playoff teams from a year ago.

The only problem? The Orioles can't beat the playoff teams from 2017 (4-9) and they can't beat the non-playoff teams from a year ago (1-5).

The good news? A lot of their early season woes can be glossed over with a 7-3 homestand.

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caps, holtby back on level ground after 4-1 win in columbus


I said when the Caps trailed Columbus 2-games-to-0 that I still thought they would come back and win the series.

And here I am now, still saying it, but even more confidently after last night's 4-1 road win for the Capitals knotted things up at 2-games-apiece.

The Caps might have played their best overall game of the entire season last night. They got a whopper of a performance from Braden Holtby in goal and T.J. Oshie and Alex Ovechkin both scored goals for Washington as the visitors built a 3-0 lead and were never really threatened.

Game 5 is tomorrow afternoon (3 pm) in D.C.

The series shifted under the stellar play of Holtby, who was excellent in the Game 3 overtime win and was remarkably stellar on Thursday night in the 4-1 victory. As we're seeing in Las Vegas these days and have witnessed time and time again over the years in playoff series' featuring opponents of the Capitals, a scorching hot goaltender can take you places.

Another strong night in goal from Braden Holtby helped the Caps get past Columbus on Thursday, 4-1, and send the series back to D.C. tied up at 2-2.

And while I wouldn't call what Braden Holtby has done over the last two games a performance of "scorching" magnitude, it's definitely fair to say he's been the most valuable player on either side in the two Washington wins.

Barry Trotz rolled the dice at the outset of the series and went with what was then the hot hand in Philipp Grubauer. Actually, that might be a smidgen overplayed. Grubauer wasn't as much the "hot hand" as was Holtby more simply "the cold hand".

Holtby labored through a significantly rough patch in February and March. In some ways, Trotz did the only thing he could have done in Game 1. He went with the guy playing the best over the last month of the regular season.

But playoff hockey is like tournament golf...the two are a different animal when it comes to stress and handling the heat. Grubauer didn't play well in Game 1 or in his two periods of work in Game 2. Credit goes to Trotz for seeing that and not being afraid to make the change.

Of course, whenever we're discussing the Caps and the playoffs, you have to recognize and address the white elephant in the room.

It's very possible the Capitals stub their toe tomorrow afternoon and lose Game 5 at home. It would be very Caps'ish for them to do just that.

But I'm not seeing it. Columbus had their chance and squandered it.

And if things work out and the Caps and Penguins both go on to win their respective series', Ovechkin and Company will have a golden opportunity to slay their longtime foe in the next post-season round.

One thing we know for sure with the Caps when it comes to the playoffs.

There's no telling what might happen.

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john pusateri
on lacrosse

Covering local college lacrosse for #DMD is an important task, and JOHN PUSATERI is more than capable of handling the job! His keen eye breaks down teams, players, tendencies and key statistical data that all fits together for outstanding coverage of college lacrosse. When it comes to covering local lacrosse, #DMD does it better than anyone around!


weekend college lax preview


The Other Guys: Maryland and Loyola are pretty much locks to make the NCAA tournament regardless of how they do in their conference tournaments. Johns Hopkins and Navy have great chances to make it provided they can get to the final of their conference tournaments or win one of their last games against top 10 opponents (Hopkins vs MD and Navy @ Syracuse).

So let's look at the other state teams who, for all intents and purposes, are fighting for their NCAA tourney lives and need to win their conference tournaments to make the NCAA tourney.

Towson vs Delaware (Saturday 12 pm, Johnny Unitas Stadium) - The Tiger's season started with high hopes after making last year's final four and were named pre-season conference favorites. However, the reality of losing all of last years offensive stars quickly set in as the replacements struggled to gel. But after a few games, one of last year's returners Jon Mazza assumed the offensive leadership role, punctuated by a terrific game winning goal against Ohio State. The offense played respectably in two losses against two of the nation's best in Duke and Denver.

Then an off the field issue which has resulted in the benching of Mazza has left the Tigers reeling again as they now sit in a 4 way tie for the bottom of the CAA with a 1-2 conference record. However, the Tigers still control their own destiny and a win against the 2nd place Blue Hens would go a long way to securing a spot in the conference tourney. So how will they fare against Delaware?

Unfortunately for the Tigers, new coach Ben DeLuca's former winning ways are starting to rub off on the Blue Hens at the right time as they've won 2 out of 3 conference games and only loss by 1 goal against conference leading UMass. Fortunately for the Tigers, Delaware gives up 36 shots per game to opponents, let's opponents score 10.6 goals per game, only scores 18.6% on man-up opportunities and is only winning 49.3% of their face-offs.

Towson was ice cold in Boston last weekend scoring only 4 goals, but was on fire the weekend before back home at Johnny hanging 17 on Drexel. Which Towson offense will show? I say the one in between, with the hope that my Tigers will cut back on the turnovers and squeak out a 9-8 victory.

UMBC vs Hartford (Saturday 12 pm, Catonsville, MD) - The Retreivers were picked 4th in a pre-season America East poll and are unfortunately sitting just a game outside conference tournament qualification in 5th place. UMBC had a rough 2-7 start against decent competition and a couple of bad games against winnable opponents Mount St. Mary's and a young UMass-Lowell program. The Retrievers offense suffered a huge blow with the loss of leading scorer Trevor Patschorke.

But then they faced #1 Albany and did the unthinkable by beating the Great Danes. The good mojo continued the following week holding Binghamton to just 2 goals for their second conference win. Midfielder Billy Nolan has stepped up to assume offensive leadership to help combine with UMBC's stellar defense, now ranked #8 in the NCAA. Will it be enough to continue their 2 game win streak?

Fortunately for UMBC, they are facing the worst team in the America East in the University of Hartford Hawks who have yet to win a game in conference. Also fortunately for the Retrievers challenged offense, they face one of the worst defenses in the game with the Hawks giving up 12.4 goals per game. Hartford does have a stellar face-off unit that wins 60% of their possessions. But that doesn't matter to a defense like the Dawgs who lost nearly every face-off to #Albany and still managed to beat them.

Unlike last week, I don't see UMBC holding Hartford to just two goals. But I do see the Retrievers prevailing in this game, 7-5. However, being in 5th place, UMBC will also need to beat a 10-2 Vermont team next week to qualify for the conference tournament. A big challenge for sure. But not as big as beating #1 Albany.

Mount St. Mary's vs St Joseph's (Saturday 1 pm, Philadelphia, PA) - The Mount was picked 6th in the Northeast conference pre-season poll. They are doing better than that, but barely as they are tied for 5th in the conference. Mount St. Mary's was almost knocked out of contention, but managed to beat Hobart, the team they are tied with, last week to stay alive. Technically, they are in the running for 4th place to qualify for the NEC tourney. But need to win out and need current 4th place Sacred Heart to lose their last game against 5th place Hobart.

Unfortunately, winning out includes beating the #1 team in the conference in the St. Joes Hawks. Fortunately, while the Hawks have an 8-3 record, they aren't exactly knocking out the competition and have few close wins including a 1 goal victory over Hobart and a 2 goal victory over Sacred Heart. So they are letting lesser teams hang around. That might trouble given the Mount is scoring over 11.1 goals per game.

However, St Joes has one of the best defenses in the land, only allowing just 8.0 goals per game and its also Senior Day in Philly. The Mount will give the Hawks a game. But St Joe's seniors (which include 4 of their top 5 scorers) will rule the day and doom the Mount's NEC playoff hopes, winning 10-8.

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this weekend in
english soccer


Contributed by #DMD's English Premier League Reporter
MATTHEW CARROLL

With the FA Cup semifinals once again taking precedent over the league this weekend, an abbreviated Matchday 35 of the English Premier League will get underway tomorrow morning. You can catch the semifinal action, which will see Manchester United take on Tottenham tomorrow before Chelsea and Southampton go head to head on Sunday, live across the Fox Sports broadcast platforms and don’t forget about the first legs of the Champions League semifinals that get underway next week when Liverpool take on Roma and Real Madrid and Bayern Munich square off for a spot in the finals late next month. Like the FA Cup, you can catch all of the Champions League action on Fox Sports and the league action, as usual, live on the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Saturday, April 21 (all times eastern)

7:30am – Liverpool @ West Bromwich Albion – The Hawthorns, NBC Sports Network

Left for dead at the bottom of the table, West Brom showed they in fact still have life when they won for the first time since January and only the fourth time all year as they shocked Manchester United at Old Trafford 1-0. Still nine points adrift of completing the most improbable “Great Escape” of all time but now with the faintest glimmer of hope for survival, they will try to take down another league giant when they entertain Liverpool at The Hawthorns to kick off the weekend, with the Reds suffering no ill effects from their thrashing of Manchester City in the Champions League as they rolled over Bournemouth 3-0.

The matchup with West Brom should be the perfect tune up for Liverpool ahead of their first leg tussle with Roma next week. The Italian outfit stymied the vaunted Barcelona attack with a defensive masterclass to overturn a three goal first leg deficit and the Baggies, who are sure to pack it in and make it difficult for the Reds to break them down, should be the perfect dress rehearsal as they search for three points, which they have taken only once in their last nine meetings with the Reds across all competitions (L4 D5), if they hope to have a fighting chance of survival over the seasons final weeks.

With Man City's 3rd league title in six years in the books, Pep Guardiola became the first Spanish manager to ever win the EPL crown.

Sunday, April 22 (all times eastern)

8:30am – Burnley @ Stoke City – bet365 Stadium, NBC Sport Network

Desperately fighting for top flight survival just like West Brom, Stoke City had their first three points since late January well within their sights until West Ham United found the equalizer in the final minute of normal time to save a point in a 1-1 draw and deal a major blow to Stoke’s hopes of earning another season in the top flight. The result moved the Hammers another step away from the drop zone while the Potters remained mired in the relegation zone, five points south of safety, as they prepare to welcome Burnley to the bet365 Stadium to kickoff the Sunday morning slate.

Despite a 2-1 loss to Chelsea yesterday, which brought Burnley’s five game winning streak to a halt, the Clarets are firmly rooted in the top half of the table and set to record their highest ever finish in the top flight. There is still nothing flashy or fancy about Burnley but they are consistent and efficient and will provide a difficult test for Stoke, who have dropped the last two meetings with their weekend visitors and who have only one win from the last six between the two (L3 D2), although they have dropped only one of the last four when they have met at the bet365 Stadium (W2 D1).

11:30am – Swansea City @ Manchester City – Etihad Stadium, NBC Sports Network

After a tumultuous ten days, which saw Manchester City blow a two goal halftime advantage in the defeat to arch rivals Manchester United and then crash out of the Champions League after Liverpool got the best of them over both legs of their quarterfinal showdown, City were back on track when they cruised past Tottenham last Saturday afternoon 3-1. When West Brom surprised Manchester United the next day, City were officially crowned champions of the league and they will take their bow in front of their home fans when they welcome Swansea City to the Etihad Stadium to wrap up the Sunday card.

Arguably the best team to ever take the field in England, City’s third domestic championship in six years saw them shatter both league and club records, with more likely to fall before its all said and done. With a five point cushion ahead of relegation favorites Stoke City and Southampton after their 1-1 draw with Everton the last time out, the Swans, who have only one win in their thirteen all time top flight meetings with the Citizens (L10 D2), are lucky to have some room for error with the likelihood of them walking away with anything from what is sure to be a raucous occasion in Manchester slim.

Thursday
April 19
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issue 19
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would ravens take lamar jackson with 16th pick?


The Ravens have done something recently they almost never do when it comes to drafting college players.

They brought in Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson for a private workout and publicly praised him. Actually, it might have been in reverse order. The praise came first and the workout followed. Either way, it was an odd twist for the Ravens.

If there's one thing the Ravens have done well over the years, it's disguising their intentions come draft day. No one expected the team to take Haloti Ngata in the first round. C.J. Mosely was a surprise pick, too. And last year, don't forget, they didn't even bring Marlon Humphrey to town for a personal visit/interview and still picked him in the first round.

I suppose things could change a bit with Eric DeCosta getting set to take Ozzie Newsome's job as the team's general manager, but Eric's been groomed by Ozzie for the better part of a decade now. There will be some parts of the position that Eric does differently, but my guess is the basic x's and o's of the college draft won't be one of them.

And a very basic part of the draft is not letting on who you're interested in and who you aren't interested in.

To wit, the Ravens organize a media-centric event every year called the "Liar's Luncheon" where the team's draft honchos answer questions from the media about the draft. Those representing the team are directed to offer nothing of substance. That, of course, is the smart way to do it, although some would probably argue -- rightfully -- that it would be better for the Ravens to save the $2,000 they spend on lunch and just send out a couple of generic press releases on the draft.

What sort of different philosophies will Ravens soon-to-be general manager Eric DeCosta bring to the table? You can bet one of them won't be telling the media who the Ravens like and don't like in the college draft.

Now, back to Jackson, the mobile quarterback from Louisville that some say might wind up being a better wide receiver in the NFL.

Is that part of the Ravens' strategy? Could he be the Shohei Ohtani of professional football down the road? A quarterback on this series, a wide receiver on the next?

I doubt it. While that person might come around someday down the road in the NFL, it's not going to be Lamar Jackson who pulls that sort of unique double-duty in Baltimore.

But it wouldn't be out-of-this-world crazy to take Jackson as a quarterback and have it stored somewhere in the back of your brain that if things don't work out as a signal caller, he might very well be able to transfer his skill-set to the wide receiver position.

I'm not sure if you've heard, but the Ravens have a need at wide receiver...

A member of the organization confirmed the club likes Jackson and says "don't be surprised" if he's the team's pick at #16 next Thursday in round one of the draft.

Nothing would surprise me, naturally. I've seen a lot in my years. But given how much they praised Jackson and openly talked about bringing him in for an interview, that tells me the Ravens want other teams to think they're seriously enamored with the Louisville quarterback.

That would be like you thinking about asking Sally to the high school prom and broadcasting your intentions to everyone a week ahead of the asking date. Why on earth would you do that, after all? What if the cute quarterback was thinking about asking her but hadn't gotten around to it yet? All you've done is heightened his awareness to ask her before you do.

The Ravens have never been a team that broadcasts their true drafting intentions. And why should they? What's in it for them to tell the world they really, really like Lamar Jackson?

But let's say they do want him. And what if he's there at #16? Would they take him?

My source says they would.

Joe Flacco is in his 11th season. His tires have been patched quite a bit over the last few years. And this particular draft class is abundant with quarterbacks. This kind of opportunity might not come around again for a few years.

There are plenty of other moving parts that have to be considered, of course.

What if Calvin Ridley and Lamar Jackson are still on the board when the Ravens get to choose in the first round?

Ridley can help right away, but wide receivers typically have a 5-8 year shelf life.

Jackson might not start for two or three years, but quarterbacks can play well over a decade or more if they stay healthy.

There are others who interest the Ravens in the first round, too, but guess what? We're not hearing about them, in the same way we didn't really hear about Marlon Humphrey last spring.

The Ravens might be 40-40 over the last five years. They might be in a salary cap pinch. Their head coach might be on the hot seat. But one thing they aren't is "dumb" when it comes to the operation of the college draft.

I think they like Lamar Jackson, yes. But I'm pretty confident there's someone else out there they really like and they're hoping no one else can figure out.

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NOTES & COMMENT
George McDowell


George McDowell is #DMD's foreign correspondent. His international reports are filed from a hardened outpost just across the U.S. / North Carolina border. He writes on sports topics that interest him that he feels might also interest some segment of the wildly esoteric #DMD readership. George has been a big fan of DF and his various enterprises since the last century, and for several seasons appeared as a weekly guest on his Monday evening radio show, Maryland Golf Live, delivering commentary as The Eccentric Starter. George also donates his time and talents to the less fortunate, and currently volunteers as secretary of the Rickie Fowler Fan Club.


"their ecstacy was short-lived"



One of the most beautiful and moving hymns in the English language was inspired by the words of Psalm 107, which the King James translation of the Bible elegantly renders in part:

"Some went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters.
They saw the works of the Lord, his wonderful deeds in the deep.
For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves.
They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away."

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, painted by Rembrandt von Rijn in 1632. The painting was stolen from the Gardner Museum in Boston in 1990 and has not been recovered. [Click to enlarge.]

The text of the hymn was written in 1860 by the English poet, William Whiting. His lyrics were set to music in 1861 by his countryman, the Reverend John Dykes. The title of the piece is “Eternal Father, Strong to Save.”

For those with a seafaring heritage — which, when considering this island that is North America, is all of us — the haunting couplet that ends the first three verses of the hymn brings unembarrassed tears to the eyes of the strong and raises the hairs on the backs of the necks of those whose ancestors either perished in or survived terrible storms on angry oceans:

"Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!"

In 1879 the hymn was adopted by Lieutenant Commander Charles Train, a navigation instructor and master of the Midshipman Choir at the United States Naval Academy, for devotional use and benedictions. Commander Train initiated the practice of concluding Sunday worship services at the Academy with the hymn. Because of its extraordinary emotional power the piece in short time became a service-wide tradition.

The intrepid young men and women who choose to attend the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis understand full well that their educations obligate them to careers that may indeed put them in peril on the world's seas. But patriotism, love of this noble nation, and the desire to serve their fellow citizens outweigh in their minds the dangers they might face in future times.

These lads and lassies, the cream of their high schools and the best and the brightest of their peer groups, not only sign up for a demanding and challenging four years of rigorous study, but also for an extra-curricular regimen designed to strengthen their characters and temper their resolve.

For some very few of this elite, a further extraordinary and abject lesson in humility awaits. A tiny minority of the members of the Academy's 28th Company are required each spring to venture across King George Street, the roadway that separates the campuses, onto the lawn of the neighboring institution of higher learning, St. John's College, to get their tails soundly beaten and their spirits roundly crushed, in the annual play for the Annapolis Cup, that trophy symbolizing croquet supremacy in both the city of Annapolis and the civilized universe.

We present first a video of the 2012 "match" [such as it was styled] between the Academy and St. John's, wherein much of the tradition is explained by one who does his best to maintain the pretense of equality of the teams.



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The Naval Academy was beaten in the 2012 match, their 25th defeat in 30 matches dating back to the first in 1983. As the narrator stated, after drawing even at two games to two, "their ecstacy was short-lived." Reality set in as Ms. Barcus slammed home her final ball against the post to grind to dust the Academy teams' hopes.

But we know that, in the world of sports, anything is possible. The intrepid 2017-18 UMBC basketball team, defying all odds, beat the Number One team in the country in the NCAA basketballs. Perhaps presaging this upset, the Naval Academy in 2013 and 2014 won, for the first time in recorded history, matches in consecutive years. The universe righted itself in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and St. John's posted resounding victories.

All is fair in love and war, and in croquet matches as well. Imagine, if you will, the soul-crushing weight the Johnnies laid on the Naval Academy team as they were introduced. The visitors had been horrified that the words of the beloved hymn that they sing each week:

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

had been perverted by the St. John's Freshmen Chorus into this trash-song:

Oh, Johnnies as you play croquet,
Defend our honor on this day.
Your battle cry let Middies feel,
To them the Form of Good reveal.
Oh, hear us as we boldly pray,
Defeat the Navys at croquet!

Who could blame the Navys had they tucked tail and run back to their fortress on the bank of the Severn River on hearing this?



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In preparation for the match, each team plays a friendly in the week before against a senior-citizen team from Annapolis' Ginger Cove Retirement Community.

At this event each year the right meets the left, and the far right meets the far left, and good and productive conversation ensues. No elbows are thrown on the courts, and there are no cheap fouls near the end of the match as the outcome becomes certain. There is no targeting of a helpless player. No member of either team has a shadow agent, and no player has received under-the-table payments that must be hidden from the IRS. No cars will be overturned after the matches are finished, and no buildings will be torched.

St. John's prevailed this year, as usual, although the final score was a surprisingly close at three games to two. This fourth victory in a row makes the 11th time that a class of midshipmen has gone through four years and not tasted victory even once during their tenure. Very sad. A cynic might even say that the Naval Academy was the Rickie Fowler of croquet. But there's always next year!

The Academy team and many more of the brigade of midshipmen stuck around and danced with Johnnies at the Waltz Party in the Great Hall and to rock 'n' roll in the Boathouse 'til the cops came at 3:30 am and said if the music wasn't turned down, everybody was going to jail.

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"The Keen Eye" of David Rosenfeld

DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.


If this online publication gets accused of anything by its commenters — those willing volunteers among the growing number of patrons who read every day — it’s that we’re too negative.

Just last week, in this space, I suggested that Chris Davis can’t hit on a Major League level anymore. A pessimistic piece, no doubt, though someone went too far by insisting I was rooting against the Orioles by writing it.

It’s easy to be negative about someone hitting .125, of course. The question is if we expend too much effort giving the thumbs down to people who really don’t deserve it.

I haven’t done a sophisticated analysis of four years of #DMD, but let’s be honest: we spend a lot of time asking teams and individuals to improve because we think they’re not good enough, even when they win or do a lot of things well.

Last week on his eponymous radio show, Dan Patrick spent a few minutes on the topic. He brought up the case of Russell Westbrook, who averaged a “triple-double” for an 82-game NBA season for the second year in a row. Instead of being celebrated, though, the talk after the final regular-season game was all about Westbrook being a ball hog who doesn’t care about his teammates or winning.

Have we been too "negative" with John Harbaugh over the last five years? He did, after all, deliver a Super Bowl title to us in 2012.

You can choose that kind of click bait, I guess, or you can be more discerning. You can read or listen to what you want; you can have your mind changed or your opinion confirmed. That’s the same as ever in the internet age.

I’m with Patrick, though. There’s been a real change, and I feel it too.

It’s one thing to speak critically. It’s another to find an accomplishment and spend most of your time focusing on something negative, either real or perceived, surrounding that success.

I thought back to something I wrote six years ago, when I was completing a master’s program. I was struggling mightily with a short introduction to my thesis, a few paragraphs that would explain the connection between the five stories in it. I happened to be at Camden Yards when the answer came to me.

What I was writing about was achievement. There’s something about true achievement, in sports or otherwise, that fascinates writers—and readers. We’re really interested in getting to the bottom of it; there has to be something else besides talent.

That was 2012.

Doesn’t it seem like we no longer care about what makes somebody good?

All we want to do is find the scab and pick at it.

It’s not just Skip Bayless or Stephen A. Smith. It’s not just the guys and girls covering professional and major college teams. It’s all of us.

Russell Westbrook averaged 25.4 points, 10.1 rebounds and 10.3 assists per game this year. Last season, his averages were 31.6, 10.7 and 10.4. He and Oscar Robertson are the only players in NBA history to accomplish the feat.

When Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City to join the Warriors, Westbrook had to take on a bit more of the load. He shoots more now. The great scorer and future Hall of Famer Carmelo Anthony was traded to the Thunder prior to this season, only to spend the year performing more like a role player.

Bring Westbrook up to a big NBA fan, though, and they’ll talk about how he goes 1-on-3, 1-on-4, or even 1-on-5 more than any other player in the league. Basketball 101 says that Westbrook’s style of play hurts his team more than it helps.

What if that’s not true, though? Westbrook is so good, and so fast, that he often finishes a 1-on-3 break with a higher percentage shot than if he waited for someone else. He’s so proficient that he can play well in a way nobody else can, yet our tendency is to find something wrong with that.

Alex Ovechkin is one of the top 100 players in NHL history, and much higher on the list if you’re just talking about goal scorers. He’s a freak of nature, a 6-foot-3, 235-lb. “power forward” about whom teammate Evgeny Kuznetsov once said “when I shoot, I can see my puck. When he shoots…oh come on. Where’s the puck?”

The Capitals never had a player like Ovechkin before he got to Washington in 2005, and it’ll be a long time before they have one again. However, like every other player in team history, he’s never won the Stanley Cup as a member of the team.

When that result inevitably happens again, there will be more calls for the Caps to send him elsewhere in the hope of getting players that might change that history. The narrative of his career with the team will then be defined by failure, which is patently ridiculous.

We’ve always used championships to help define careers, but we’ve never been as intensely personal about it as we are today. The lack of them, or fewer of them than we’d like, has become our focus, even with the greatest players.

We’ve always used statistics to define careers, with an allowance to different eras, but we’ve never used them the way we do today. The analytics revolution might have given us a greater sense of a player’s value, but it’s also made us focus on the negative, even with the greatest players.

We have so much more video now, even compared to 10 years ago. With social media, we have a window into the lives of players we didn’t have before. We know, or think we know, so much about players that we forget that sometimes they do something great.

They average a triple-double. They lead the league in goals for a seventh time. They win the Heisman Trophy after starting their career as a walk-on at another school.

They are big-time athletes, and they deserve our pointed analysis as much as they deserve our outright appreciation. But what’s the percentage of each? Can’t we try too hard at criticism in the same way we go too far at adulation?

The funny thing is — and I hate to say it — the answer might be no.

The days of journalists, talking heads and opinion writers being buddies with athletes ended a long time ago; their access is different than it was before. We’re well into the era where teams, and even individuals, have created their own publicity empires in the guise of news. Relatedly, it’s a constant tipping point when a media outlet is worried about offending one of its partners.

There needs to be a counterpart to Jim Hunter, and he or she needs to work harder than Jim Hunter because there are way more Jim Hunters out there than there used to be.

It’s not so much about equivalence or balance, false or fair. It’s about telling an entire story. Even if the lousy part of the story is only a pin prick, we’ve reached the point where there’s a danger of it never being mentioned at all.

There’s an idea that the sports media goes negative with the sole purpose of driving page clicks, and there are days when that seems a valid argument.

There’s also an idea, one I agree with, that people, including athletes, sometimes confuse good coverage and informed opinion as “going negative.”

Congratulating and praising Russell Westbrook on his accomplishment, and then leaving it at that, is probably the best thing to do. We care about achievement, and his will be worth noting well after he retires.

Still, we must try harder than ever before to find the interesting stories behind those accomplishments. Sometimes, those aren’t necessarily as sunny as they might seem.

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Wednesday
April 18
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issue 18
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it's complicated, but o's should start thinking about a fire sale


This most certainly wouldn't go over very well.

"You should have done this last July!" people around town will yell.

"If you wouldn't have putzed around all off-season, this wouldn't have happened in the first place," others will say.

"If you go 60-102, no one's going to the games!" someone will claim.

In order, those people would be: Right, right and ------ right.

But it is what it is, and now at 5-12 after another dismal offensive night and a 4-2 loss in Detroit, the Orioles have to start at least considering the merits of making some early in-season trades and basically throwing in the towel on the 2018 campaign.

It won't go over well, that's for sure.

Given the team's lackluster start to the season, should the Orioles start considering a May deal for Manny Machado?

It's hard enough to generate enthusiasm for the club and sell tickets for 60 or so less-than-desirable dates. Think what it will be like to get people in town excited about a team that is clearly going nowhere in 2018.

But in the wake of their 5-12 start, the Orioles should at least consider their options at this point.

I'm not a crazy New York media guy writing a bash-piece about how the team sucks and they deserve this sort of misery as a punishment for their failings. I see enough of that from the fans in Baltimore on social media.

I'm simply saying the organization needs to take a hard look at this situation from the very realistic perspective that things might very well not get better for them in the next month or so.

What if this 5-12 start turns into 10-24? In other words, what if they duplicate the 5-12 run they're currently on and three weeks from now they're sitting at 10-24? At that point, just to finish at 86-76 and potentially challenge for a wild card spot, they'd have to go 76-52 between mid-May and late September. That kind of lengthy run is improbable from just about any team.

Yes, this means I'm saying the Orioles should start putting their ducks in a row and figuring out if someone is interested in Manny Machado for what will certainly be a summer rental.

If you're screaming "they should have done that last July!" you can -- and should -- save your breath. I agree they should have done it last July, but they didn't. So let's stop harping on that and just figure out if there's a way to move him now.

There are certainly teams who are off to impressive starts who might look at a Machado acquisition as a piece that could potentially propel them into the post-season. I have no idea at all if these teams have the farm system to support a deal with the Orioles, but the New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers and Arizona Diamondbacks are all teams who would benefit from a guy like Machado coming around for four months or so of baseball.

They're not all in the National League on purpose, but a deal with any of those four teams might be easier to sell to the fan base in town given that Machado won't come back to bite the Birds via games in the American League this season.

In theory, though, if the O's are going to try and trade Machado, they should endeavor to get the very best package of players in return they can, no matter who the trade partner eventually becomes. That's my opinion, anyway. Trade him to the Yankees or Red Sox if you want, just make sure you get a U-Haul full of players from either of those rivals.

On the flip side, of course, is the mere fact that teams are likely reluctant to give up a whopper-of-a-package for Manny knowing he's probably not re-signing with them in the off-season. So there's that catch-22 the Orioles will always face when trying to deal Machado, in-season or not.

Here's one thing I do know, though: If the Orioles trade him now, they're going to get more in return for him than if they wait until the July trade deadline to deal him.

And, yes, they likely would have received more for him had they traded him away last July instead of now or this July. We know that. But let's not harp on that at this point.

Will trading Machado impact the team's 2018 ticket sales? Of course. I don't know by how much, but moving Machado on will be a clear sign that the team is essentially saying, "We're going to accept our fate for 2018" and people will likely respond by not going to the games.

That's part of the business, unfortunately.

There is no easy way to do this, so in that regard, you simply have to stick with the mantra of "we're doing what's best for the organization in the long run" and go with it.

Might it be a few weeks too early to start considering this sort of overhaul? Sure, it might be. The team has played a tough schedule thus far and injuries have prohibited Buck Showalter from trotting out his desired lineup 17 games into the 2018 campaign.

In other words, the club still has plenty of time to turn this around.

And what does it say to guys like Andrew Cashner and Alex Cobb when you're shipping out the team's best player in the first season of their respective Orioles tenures?

But at this point, the O's need to start at least considering moving Machado and a few other players to new teams.

Zach Britton? Sure, if you can get something for him at this point, go ahead and think about it.

Brad Brach? Given that he's injury free, he might fetch a better prospect than would Britton at this point.

Adam Jones? That's a touchy one for me due to my fondness for Jones, and he can reject a deal given his 10-and-5 status, but someone would definitely take him for a few months.

I'll throw Chris Davis in there just to do it but no one is taking him, obviously.

Tim Beckham? Sure, if you can something reasonably valuable for him, make the move.

The time might be right to do this sort of thing now instead of waiting until the end of July when a dozen other teams are having a fire sale along with you. Sure, some teams might not be as desperate now as they will be in July, but there might be a team now that's chugging along nicely who will take the hook in May -- but might not be as hungry in July once their season has leveled off.

This is a tough one.

Anytime you give up on a season it's a hard sell.

But the Orioles have to start thinking about it.

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caps back in the series after double overtime win


They were outplayed but, fortunately, not outscored.

And when the lights went off in Nationwide Arena around 11:30 pm last night, the Capitals were alive (maybe not "and well"...but alive at least) after a 3-2 double overtime win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Columbus now leads the best-of-7 series 2-games-to-1, with Game 4 set for Thursday night in Ohio.

Lars Eller was the hero in double overtime with the game-winning goal on a stuff in front of the net that somehow got past Sergei Brobovsky. It was set up in part by a 3-on-2 break that included Brett Connolly and Devante Smith-Pelly, which helped Smith-Pelly avoid the goat horns after his whiff near the end of regulation helped send the game to overtime in the first place.

Caps netminder Braden Holtby made his first start of the series last night in Columbus and turned in a stellar performance as Washington won Game 3 in double overtime, 3-2.

In some ways, the game was similar to the way things played out in D.C. in the first two games of the series, where the Capitals got the better of things in regulation only to see Columbus score in overtime and steal the game on foreign ice.

Columbus was clearly the better of the two teams last night, but Eller's goal was the difference.

And so, too, was Braden Holtby, who got the starting nod in goal and was super-efficient for Barry Trotz's team. He'll be between the pipes again in Game 4, for sure, and will likely be the team's goaltender of record for the remainder of this series vs. Columbus.

Offense and goal-scoring still looms as an issue for the Capitals. They've now played the better part of 12 full periods of hockey through three games vs. the Jackets and they have a grand total of 10 goals, six of which have come on the power play (including a tally during a 2-man advantage last night).

In other words, Washington has basically scored four even-strength goals in 12 periods of playoff hockey over the last three games -- or four games if you want to do the math and turn the overtime periods into "games". Four goals in four games. That's pretty bad.

And to think the Caps won a playoff game last night without any offensive contribution(s) from Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, Backstrom or Oshie. Not one of those four scored a goal for D.C. and yet, somehow, they still managed to win. I doubt I would have taken that bet from you prior to Tuesday night's Game 3.

They're still the Capitals and there are plenty of ways for them to lose this series, but I'll continue to contend I see them winning here and moving on to face the Pittsburgh/Philly series winner next. It might take seven games and even then, everyone's nerves will be frayed, but I don't see the Caps falling to this Columbus team.

One thing for certain: They're right back in this series after last night's double OT win on the road.

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2018 ravens schedule to be released tomorrow


The NFL announced on Tuesday that the 2018 league schedule will be released tomorrow night, Thursday, April 19, at 8:00 pm.

The Ravens have an interesting set of non-division road games on the slate for 2018, including trips to Charlotte, Atlanta and Nashville.

And even the annual visit by the Browns is somewhat appealing now that Cleveland has Tyrod Taylor and Jarvis Landry.

A quick look at the Orioles home schedule tells us this: The Birds are away on September 9, home on September 16 and away again on September 23.

That sets up nicely for the Ravens to open the season at home in 2018, which is what I suspect will happen when the schedule gets released tomorrow night.

The real question is this: Will the stadium be full next September 9 in Baltimore? (assuming that's the home opener)

There are still thousands and thousands of people trying to unload their PSL's on various sites and through the Ravens organization. Will those folks just become single-game buyers or are they "finished" with the team?

Let's get your early opinion on your thoughts on attending the home opener in September.


 Drew's Morning Dish

#DMD Poll

Question: Will you attend the Ravens home opener in September?
Definitely.
Most likely.
Not sure at this point.
Likely not.
No chance.
Name
Email address

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take dad to the u.s. open


#DMD is putting together a special one-day trip to the U.S. Open on June 15 at Shinnecock Hills GC on Long Island (NY) and we'd love for you to be part of it with us!

We're billing it as a "Day with Dad", but you certainly don't have to bring your father along. We just think it will be fun if you do!

Defending champion Brooks Koepka will be in the field at Shinnecock Hills on June 15 when #DMD travels to Long Island for the second round of this year's U.S. Open.

We're heading to Shinnecock Hills to see the second round of the 2018 U.S. Open, departing Baltimore at 5:00 and arriving at the course roughly around 9:00 am. We'll spend the whole day on the course watching the best players in the world play on one of our nation's most iconic golf courses.

If you've never seen Shinnecock Hills in person, this is a must-do opportunity to experience one of our nation's most breathaking and scenic courses.

Our luxury motor coach will be limited to just 40 passengers, giving everyone room to spread out and enjoy the ride to Long Island. We'll enjoy breakfast, drinks and snacks on the ride to the course and we'll have more food and drinks for everyone on the ride home.

Oh, and there's U.S. Open trivia as well! A $100 cash prize is available for our trivia contest, so brush up on those needless facts about the U.S. Open.

Bring Dad along for a truly special day together at the U.S. Open. All of the best players in the world will be there...and the two of you can watch the tournament on Saturday or Sunday with the experience of having just walked the famous layout.

#DMD golf trips like this one are also excellent for employee and client reward. If you have a golfer or two that work in your business or if there's a special client you'd like to treat, we promise we'll great care of them on the trip to Shinnecock Hills!

For pricing and payment details go here.

Tuesday
April 17
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issue 17
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davis vs. flacco? it's not even close


While in the car last night, I heard my old radio friend Terry Ford on the FM station. He was drumming up business on an otherwise dreary Monday night in mid-April by talking about the similarities in contract situations between Orioles first baseman Chris Davis and Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.

Callers chimed in to chew the fat with Terry -- who, on a side note here, is still one of the best sports talk guys in town in my opinion -- and give their assessment on which of the contracts is the worst of the two, the one belonging to Davis, or Flacco's deal.

For the uninitiated or if you're one of the people in town trying to forget about both contracts, Flacco originally signed a six year contract in 2013 after the Ravens won the Super Bowl, then had a three-year extension tacked on to it at a later point, totaling roughly $190 million over 9 years.

Davis signed a lucrative $161 million deal for 7 seasons in 2016.

Much to my surprise, people called in and said Flacco's contract was the worst of the two.

I almost drove off of Joppa Road when I heard one guy say, "Flacco's an out and out bum. We can't get anyone to come and play here because of him. At least with Davis, he can still play a decent first base and there's always a chance he'll break out of it at some point and hit a bunch of home runs."

I love that logic. With Davis, "there's always a chance". Notice how there wasn't a mention that, with Flacco, "there's always a chance"?

O's first baseman Chris Davis signed a 7-year, $161 million deal in 2016, much to the chagrin of GM Dan Duquette, who wasn't in favor of the contract but got overruled. Two years later, Duquette's looking smart.

This argument isn't even remotely close.

Seriously. Not even close.

It's like asking someone who was the better singer for the English rock band, Queen: Freddie Mercury or Adam Lambert?

C'mon man.

The Davis contract is by far the worst of the two. By far.

To hear people on the radio last night, you'd think Flacco had somehow morphed into a combination of Johnny Manziel, Robert Griffin III and Chris Simms.

Is his contract hurting the Ravens from a salary cap standpoint? Sure. Virtually any player who dings the team for $25 million and would cost them almost that much in dead salary cap money is "hurting the team".

But in no way, not on ANY planet, is Flacco's contract "worse" than the one Davis signed in 2016.

Flacco didn't let the Bengals or Steelers drive the length of the field in the game's final two minutes last season and cost the Ravens a playoff berth.

He can't play quarterback and cornerback, folks.

Has he been "great" since 2013? Not really. He did have a really good year in 2014 under the watchful eye of Gary Kubiak, but since then, he probably hasn't lived up to the billing of a Super Bowl MVP. I'll grant you that. But to suggest that Joe Flacco's contract stifles the Ravens more than the Orioles are suffocated by Chris Davis and his deal is laughable.

Davis is hitting .132 this season. He has more strikeouts (18) than hits (7). He has 1 home run and 2 RBI through 15 games.

And that's just this year.

Last season he hit .215 and struck out 195 times and only played in 128 of the team's 162 games. Had he played in 150 of the 162, he would have set an all-time personal record for strikeouts in a season (219).

And he's getting $23 million a year for this "production".

Flacco hasn't performed great, but he hasn't hit .215, that's for sure.

There's obviously no way to magically equate Joe's stats with those of Davis, but I'd say Joe's performance over the last few years is that of a .270 hitter. We all know anyone who hits .290 in a season has enjoyed a "very productive" year at the plate. At .300, you're basically a Hall of Famer -- if you can do that for your entire career.

Joe is a .270 hitter at this point, or at least has been over the last few years. He might not be earning all $25 million annually (and remember, he got a bunch of money up front in 2013 so he's actually "only" making $12 million or so via a paycheck at this point), but he's still performing at a marginally adequate level.

One thing for sure: Flacco is NOT Chris Davis.

The Davis contract might very well be one of the main reasons the organization isn't willing to cough up $275 million for Manny Machado. They either, A) Already have too much future money on the books in the form of deals with Davis (and others), or, B) Are scared to death that Manny might do the same thing to them that Davis is doing right now.

But the biggest reason why the Davis deal is far worse than Flacco's is because it's guaranteed for this season and five more. There's nothing at all the Orioles can do about it. He's getting his $161 million whether he hits .132 or .332. 18 home runs or 48 home runs...it doesn't matter. Davis gets paid.

And he is almost not a tradeable commodity at this point because no one will take on the contract given his lack of production. If the Orioles could find a suitor, they'd almost certainly have to pay a large portion of the remaining contract.

Flacco's contract hurts the Ravens because they can't kick him to the curb -- if they even wanted to -- because he'll cost the team dearly on the cap. Even next year, he'd still cost $16 million of dead money if they decide to part ways with him prior to the 2019 campaign.

But no matter what, there's no real argument here.

You can stir things up for talk radio and I get that. I did it for 12 years. I get it.

The Chris Davis contract is far worse than the one Joe Flacco is currently playing under.

One guy is performing at marginally adequate level (the quarterback) while the other is getting one hit in every ten official at bats.

Who has the worst contract? It's not even close, folks.

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from the desk of
brien jackson

BRIEN JACKSON's work at #DMD promises to provide some of Baltimore's best sports insight and commentary, brought to you by SECU, the official credit-union of Drew's Morning Dish. Brien has done sports-media work with ESPN, CBS, and NPR. His contributions to #DMD will focus on the Orioles, the Ravens, and national sports stories.



Months of completely useless discussion, speculation, misinformation, column space, and blog posts will finally culminate in actual developments next Thursday when the 2018 NFL Draft officially opens in JerryWorld.

As that intro might let on, I despise "draft season."

The endless parade of mock drafts, and talk about other peoples' mock draft, is the most perfect example of empty content you'll ever get. What we learn year after year after year is that one or two teams are going to surprise us with a pick or a trade and throw a wrench into what we expect to happen.

Someone you wanted your team to pick goes early, someone you didn't think would be there falls and you suddenly don't want the player you've spent months demanding your team draft anymore, there's an inexplicable run on one position, etc. The end result is that all of that nonsense you spent months reading is made irrelevant in one instant.

And lest I get too comfortable on this soapbox, I'll admit I'm not immune to this either.

Last year I expected the Ravens to have a shot at one of the top receivers and made bold declarations about how they just had to leave the draft with either Corey Davis or Mike Williams. As it turned out, not only those two players but also John Ross were all off the board when the 10th overall pick came due, the Ravens instead got cornerback Marlon Humphrey, and Humphrey ended up being far more productive than any of those three receivers.

That pick caused cries of outrage that the Ravens should have picked Alabama tight end O.J. Howard instead, and then Howard went on to collect just 432 yards on 26 catches for Tampa Bay (not that that means people don't still say the Ravens should have picked him, of course).

All of which admittedly creates a dilemma when it comes to writing about the draft. You certainly don't want to ignore it entirely, but it's virtually impossible to make any kind of strong declaration about it without ending up with egg on your face, especially when you talk about picks in the middle of the first round that are highly volatile depending on what the teams at the top do.

The Ravens' draft, for example, depends heavily on how teams REALLY evaluate quarterbacks. If Baker Mayfield and/or Josh Allen fall, to say nothing of Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph, the Ravens chance of nabbing a stud will decrease dramatically. In another scenario, however, all six of those players could conceivably come off the board in the top 15 picks, which would leave the Ravens in position to draft a top ten non-qauarterback player.

So with that in mind, what I'll do is examine the Ravens' positions of need headed into the draft, and various ways they might address them depending on how the top 15 picks shake out.

Wide Receiver

Everyone knows that the Ravens' biggest area of need is the wide receiver position, and just about everyone has been salivating over Alabama's Calvin Ridley since the National Championship game.

But given the premium being put on wide receivers in today's market, it's inconceivable that Ridley will stay on the board long enough to land with the Ravens unless the team breaks type and offers up a huge bounty of picks to move up. But I can realistically see Ridley going as high as 4th overall.

The good news is that while Ridley is clearly the best this draft has to offer, he's not the only option. Maryland's D.J. Moore has had a great series of workouts and would be a defensible selection at 16th. He also might be available if the Ravens move down a few spots, as could Texas A&M's Christian Kirk.

The second and third round should also feature some good receiver prospects, which gives the Ravens some latitude to go elsewhere should there be a clearly better player available at a different position. But the Ravens absolutely have to hit on one wideout in the first three rounds, and realistically probably need to get two good rookie wideouts.

Pass rusher

Somehow this doesn't get talked about very much when we talk about the Ravens' areas of deficiencies.

Last year the Ravens' put a lot of resources into overhauling their defense, especially the secondary, but their pass rush was sporadic at best. The team is asking way too much of Terrell Suggs, who is still capable of having big games and impressive numbers but doesn't wreak havoc game in and game out anymore, and other edge rushers like Zadarius Smith, Matt Judon, Tyus Bowser, and Tim Williams just aren't producing like the team is expecting them too.

The good thing is that this might be a year when pass rusher gets overlooked. Thhe vast majority of the pre-draft buzz is on quarterbacks and defensive backs, and there very well could be a run on both positions ahead of the Ravens. A relative dearth of offensive tackles might have a couple of teams reaching to fill needs at that spot as well. And Saquon Barkely, Quenton Nelson, and Calvin Ridley will almost certainly go in the top 10 picks.

The only defensive end/linebacker I'm sure will be gone before the 16th pick is N.C. State's Bradley Chubb. That means that Tremaine Edmunds, Rashaan Evans, Maurice Hurst, and Harold Landry could all be options when the Ravens' turn comes, and all of them should represent an immediate upgrade to the team's ability to get after opposing quaterbacks.

A wild card here is Georgia's Roquan Smith, who is more of an inside linebacker, but is so quick and talented that the Ravens might not be able to pass up on him if he falls down the board.

Offensive Line

The Ravens have an obvious hole at right tackle, where they're currently penciling in James Hurst to start, and counting on Alex Lewis to stay healthy enough to occupy any spot for a full season doesn't seem like a great bet either.

As mentioned earlier, however, this is the thinnest draft in recent memory for offensive tackles. Texas' Connor Williams and Notre Dame's Mike McGlinchey could both be available at 16, and if the Ravens had had more success acquiring new wide receivers already I'd say everyone should be fine with targeting one of them. But neither is at the caliber of the top tackles in previous drafts, and I couldn't countenance passing on any of the aforementioned defensive players to pick one, although just allowing Hurst to move back to left guard would make the offensive line better on paper.

Another intriguing option is Ohio State's Billy Price, the best center to enter the draft in several years. He'd be worth picking 16th overall if you were bullish on his upside, and the Ravens could then move Matt Skura back to guard where he was very good in 2017. If they're willing to kick Marshall Yanda out to right tackle and let Hurst stay at guard, that's a sleeper pick that could work out very well for them offensively.

Quarterback

Let's admit it: The Joe Flacco era in Baltimore is approaching the end.

Unless the former Super Bowl MVP drastically improves the quality of his play, the Ravens are almost certain to cut him after this season or next. And in today's NFL, if you don't have long term confidence in your quarterback, it's never too early to start looking for your next one, especially in a draft that may feature six quarterbacks going in the first round.

We can discount Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen off the bat, as I'd bet dollars to dimes that both will be picked in the top 3. Josh Allen probably goes in the to 5 as well, although he has bust written all over him. There's buzz about Baker Mayfield being a top 5 pick too, but I don't think anyone would be shocked to see him suffer an Aaron Rodgers esque slide. And no one really knows what anyone thinks of Lamar Jackson or Mason Rudolph.

Whether or not the Ravens should pick any of these guys is a question that's unanswerable without knowing exactly what the team is thinking. What is their opinion of these players as prospects? What are their current plans for Flacco? If they're already planning to move on from Joe and they view an available quarterback as a "franchise QB" caliber player, then taking him is a no-brainer.

You don't go anywhere in the NFL without that caliber of player under center, and you don't get many chances to draft one. If you pass one up, you're going to regret it more times than not. And yes, the Ravens are in "win now" mode, but at some point it needs to be acknowledged that a large chunk of blame for the team's poor offensive performances rests with the inconsistent-to-bad play they've gotten from their quarterback, and it's absolutely plausible that Mayfield, Jackson, and Rudolph could all be better quarterbacks than Joe Flacco in 2018.

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#dmd comments


H     April 26
Why pick a quarterback? When RG III was healthy, he willed a moribund Redskins team into the playoffs. Who knows what he could have done if Ngata did not fall on him? He is fully healthy again.

DR (the original)     April 26
Nothing wrong with that sentence, Bob. They haven't helped the team win, whether they are still on the team or not.

Bob     April 26
"Guys like Arthur Brown, Kamalei Correa, Bronson Kafusi, Terrance Brooks, and Maxx Williams simply haven't done enough to help the team win"



Brooks and Brown haven't been on the team since 2015...

John In Westminster     April 26
Most overblown term in the draft: he's a "reach" .

Really? You're not going to take a guy you covet because he should be taken 5 spots later? If he's going to be a starter and produce right away, what difference does it make if you take him "before" he's supposed to be taken. I understand taking someone in the first round when clearly they will be available in the next round at the same draft position. But if the dude produces next Fall, does anyone go back and cast shade on him because he was taken 8 spots ahead of where he should've been taken?

Nancy P.     April 26
Since I expected to get that "truth" thing thrown in my face.....how about ALL of the truth THAT GUY.

1. Ever cheat on your taxes or expense accounts? Be truthful.

2. Ever whiled away the day looking at pornography? I am sure that your wife or GF would love to KNOW that truth.

3. Ever break the law? Tell the truth.



If you boys are all about telling the truth....than tell it all.



Cowards.


That Guy     April 26
Yeah @Nancy P, we sure wouldn't want to tell the truth about the team.

Nancy P     April 26
Should be a happy day here in Baltimore. All of the hype about the ball teams and their incompetence can be realized in a double dip. Those that are crowing that they are right that the orioles stink are getting their justice. Loving to point out, this guy stinks, Buck stinks, Dan Stinks, the owner is cheap, the club does nothing right blah,blah, blah. Well the addition of the Ravens draft tonight can only help matters. I am certain that the Ravens will pick guys[or not pick other guys] that will doom the franchise for the next 5 years....so you negative dudes can gleefully state "I knew it all along, the Ravens don't know what they are doing". Along with that they should sing "happy days are here again".

It has gotten to the point where I have turned off the sports radio talk. Negativity must sell, there can't be anything that would sell better. All of the local talk, writing and pontificating has turned dreary and bleak.....Welcome to the Old Philadelphia sentiment.

"the skies above are clear again, so lets sing a song of cheer again, Happy days are here again"....as I wallow in the misery.

Thanks Baltimore for taking all of the joy out of a diversion.

Delray Rick     April 26
NBA could never play again and I could care less.

Steve from Cape Coral     April 26
Just to show how much I care about the NBA, I just learned this morning that there playoffs have started, big friggin deal !!!

Brien Jackson     April 26
@Steve



I don't think that's wrong, but picking Jackson also amounts to punting this season and creating a year long QB controversy. If we're looking for buzz I'd like to see them trade up for Edmunds in the 10-12 range.

Eric     April 26
CMAC- C Cooley in his film breakdown yesterday says Chark will be best WR in draft and that DJ Moore is a 3rd rd talent

MicMac     April 26
I believe name of the receiver from LSU you have the Ravens taking in the 2nd round is D.J. Chark. He's 6'3" 187 lbs. and last season had 35 catches for 811 yds. and 3 TDs. I'd rather see them take Gallup from Colorado St. or Kirk from Texas A&M if they take a WR in the second round and are available.

Steve of Pimlico     April 26
If the Ravens want to put excitement back into fan base drafting Lamar Jackson wuold create a real buzz.

I'm not saying that's the smart pick but the buzz might help put fans in the stands. They could put some packages in place for his skill set while he learns the pro game.

JohnInEssex     April 25
Realizing that I am far from perfect...

Am I the only one wondering if the comments section should start a strict adherence to the request that the comments be "...Well-reasoned, Thoughtful, Kind, Considerate, and Enlightening..."?

Theotherguy     April 25
Repeat comments from @MFC, no wonder he likes the Little Fella so much lol

Cobb stinks, there, happy now?

Mike from catonsville     April 25
@TOG, what exactly do you add to the conversation? As the great Jim Rome says “ have a take and don’t suck”, you miss on every level.

Josh     April 25
@MFC

I couldn’t imagine not having the Orioles... That being said... I never go to games. I have no desire to do anything in the city due to the shambles you speak of.

I’ve asked this for a while: What exactly do the Orioles do in Baltimore other than play baseball?

Theotherguy     April 25
Another Debbie Downer sighting

mike from catonsville     April 25
The turnstile count can’t be much more than 3,000 tonight at OPACY. I’m not there either so I guess I have no standing but I will be there tomorrow night . Such a shame as I can remember every night being close to a sellout . The city is in shambles, the O’s are struggling , it’s really easy to sit here in my recliner watching and wondering what does the future really hold. Will we have the O’s in 5, 7,10 years? And as much as we say we care is that the truth? Would we truly miss the O’s?

casual observer (the original)     April 25
On the Manny front, Drew summed it up best when he said “I’ll always agree you want the better player at SS rather than 3B”. You can analyze it any way you want until the cows come home, but to me, it’s as simple, and as correct, as that. I don’t buy the notion that Manny “controlled” the move back to his natural position, I’m more inclined to believe it was always the plan once Hardy left. But the O’s being the O’s, the story came out awkwardly, as with everything that comes out of the warehouse, and then the speculation ran rampant. To me, that’s all a moot point, go back to Drew’s assertion above.

As for all the draft speculation, I think the fact that the Little Fella says he relishes all the pre-draft hype and pontificating confirms how useless all of this “mocking” truly is. A shame #DMD wasted so much time on it, would rather hear Drew talk about golf or hockey. But I know that’s just me and Drew is catering to his audience, as he should

And as for @Brien, let’s go with the bar analogy that fits this web site so well. @Brien is the guy in the bar who’d get beat up even before the angry drunks show up! I did find it amusing that #DMD included him in the “media” consensus, that was a true facetious zinger by our host, well done Drewski.


Bob     April 25
I sure do miss the days when we watched baseball for the enjoyment of the game. RISP, WIP, UZR, slash lines etc... sure do make the game more than it should be, a pleasant day at the park watching over-paid men play a kid’s game. I know what an error is and isn't, I can tell a great play from a routine out and we all love the crack of the bat on a well hit home run, the snap of the mitt on a smoking fast ball and watching the orchestration of a double play. Gee I miss those days… let’s play two.

JR     April 25
Hey Drew, enjoyed reading your column about Manny and the move to shortstop today. It's refreshing to see something well thought out like that and not have a bunch of petty comments following it.

Brien Jackson     April 25
Er, Landry should have been part of the list of guys left, not the 16th pick.

Brien Jackson     April 25
@Jason



I'm really spitballing on who I think falls. I can't say I'm sure the top OT will fall to 16, but I think it's more likely than anyone else falling. I'd also see the Ravens moving down in that scenario as it shouldn't be hard to find a taker in the 19-25 range.



Fwiw, my mock top 15



Mayfield

Chubb

Darnold

Allen (Bills)

Rosen (Dolphins)

Barkley

James

Ridley

Nelson

Smith

Edmunds (Broncos)

Ward (Browns)

Fitzpatrick

Davenport

Jackson

Landry



That leaves Vea and McGlinchey, and Vea had better be out of the question.

Ghost of JROB     April 25
All Brien is saying is that there are certain statistics (accepted by all or most baseball analysts) that suggests that Beckham is an average fielding shortstop. Commenters may choose to think the statistics and analysts are wrong in relying on this data to make their baseball decisions and commenter’s “eye ball test” are better than the mathematical data. End of story.



My opinion…I think the analytics are fascinating and are of great use in confirming or dispoving what you think you know. Also…average or not…Beckham is a poor fielder no matter the position.


Jason M     April 25
Well, since it's such a consensus it's a lock that it won't happen. For the record, I love getting strong in the trenches, and our depth on the O-line saved our bacon last season when Lewis and Yanda went down early. Just seems like you can never have enough of those guys...but for the record I think we trade back.



Comments here have sucked lately. It's all trolling and flaming and digital grab assing.

Theotherguy     April 25
Here's @Briens opinion: I am right about everything, and everyone else is not only wrong, they're flaming morons who are just embarrassing themselves trying to argue with me.

The end

Brien Jackson     April 25
What is there to defend? Does the term "advanced stats" really just overload your brain or something? Is it that hard to understand the idea of recording the result of every play? That's the defense of the number! I legitimately don't understand what you need to have explained to you.

Liberal Arts     April 25
@Brien

You addressed nothing I said. You need to step away from the keyboard and take a deep breath.

And while saying that these advanced metrics stats or whatever you want to call them "might" be better....you cannot or will not defend them other to say, well, the Danny Devito thing from Matilda.


Art     April 25
@Brien, it needs to be explicitly stated if you consider yourself a writer worth reading. But that's up to you. I don't want to guess at what point you're trying to make. But that's what you make me do all the time.

Brien Jackson     April 25
@MFC



Well it didn't take long for the Rice report to become a joke, huh? All PR, no substance. Whoda thunk it?

Brien Jackson     April 25
@Art



I guess I didn't think it needed to be explicitly stated that if Beckham is average at shortstop and terrible at third base while Machado was good at both than the better lineup for the team puts Beckham at short.

Art     April 25
You did say that Brien. What I don't know from any of your comments is whether you think Machado is better at 3B or SS for the team. You never say that. You say a lot of stuff but you never actually say that.

DELRAY RICK     April 25
BECKHAM SUCKS. PERIOD. Keep track how many games he loses for us with the glove. He might win a few games with bat but more times then not he is a OUT. The ORIOLES are in bad situation with MANNY leaving a bum on 3rd and a WHO? On SS. What has this become on this site the GEORGE AND BRIEN SHOW? Do not take a receiver with the 16TH PICK.

mike from catonsville     April 25
It will be draftalooza for the next few days but under the radar is a task force headed by Condoleeza Rice on changes to NCAA basketball. One is:



"Changing summer basketball. The summer circuit is a money-soaked mishmash of leagues, with the three major ones run by the three apparel companies that sponsor virtually all top basketball programs (Adidas, Nike and Under Armour). Adidas’s sponsorship of such teams enabled it to pay players’ families without raising suspicion, according to prosecutors, and it is not uncommon for companies to pay families in ways that do not even violate N.C.A.A. rules.



The commission could recommend that the N.C.A.A. establish a centralized alternative. And if the N.C.A.A., say, barred college coaches from attending shoe-company events — which are the primary way coaches scout talent — those might lose their luster quickly."



My take(never to happen) would be blow up AAU and start over and keep the money out of it. Start regulating coaches, programs and tournaments. We know that won't happen but hopefully Rice is on to something that will see major changes in the not to distant future.



Her report is due out today.



Happy pre-draft day. Let the frenzy begin.

Brien Jackson     April 25
@Liberal



What is there to "believe" in using "the eye test" to....watch every play and write down the results?* How does one "disbelieve" that? Do you disbelieve batting average or on base percentage? This is just projection all the way down: It's people who say "I don't care what the actual results are I don't think he's good" that are holding on to belief in the face of fact.



*You might, as Drew does, infer that Beckham being an average defender means that the average is simply bad, which is fine, but doesn't really help make roster decisions.

Brien Jackson     April 25
@Art



Honestly, what are you talking about? I said as directly as possible that Beckham is a league average defender at shortstop. How much clearer can it get?

liberal arts     April 25
@brien. I can say with out any kind of animus,you severly lack critical thinking. Other than your obvious writing challenges,it is your biggest flaw. You slavishly worship sets of numbers that YOU believe, but either can't or won't defend with empirical clarity. Most times you come off as the Danny Devito character in "Matilda". His rant at his little girl "I'm big,your little, I'm smart,your dumb, I'm right,your wrong". Defend your positions. And the advanced stats are seriously flawed. They might be a tad better, but to "dogmatize"them? Not smart or tolerant

Art     April 25
Probably the most confusing thing about Brien's writing style is that you can go through the 10 or more comments he wrote here about Machado and Beckham and when you're finished reading all of them you have no idea what his opinion or position is on the subject. That's a criticism I suppose, but it's the truth. He never actually says "this is my point". Maybe it's me. I'm sure it is.

Brien Jackson     April 25
Switching gears, I'd be interested to know how the people calling McGlinchey a "safe pick" see the top 15 playing out. Even if 5 quarterbacks go, you still need 10 more guys off the board before the Ravens come up. Let's take away Barkley, Chubb, Nelson, James, Fitzpatrick, Ward, Ridley, Smith and Edmunds. That's 9 guys. Probably one of Davenport, Landry, or Vita Vea goes too. So who's left that would be a preferable, "less safe," pick? And how does one of those other 9 guys fall without McGlinchey getting picked in the top 15?

Brien Jackson     April 25
People around here must have gone to school before they started teaching critical thinking or something. Because you're definitely making the same assumptions if you're using fielding percentage. Namely you assume that everyone who plays the same position has basically the same range, everyone gets to the same balls, and thus errors are the only variable that matters. If you think that there's a substantial difference in range between the best and worst defenders then fielding percentage is self-evident nonsense. More generally there's nothing funnier than people saying that they "hate stats" when in fact what they mean is that they're slavishly devoted to fake statistics like fielding percentage or saves.

"short" changed     April 25
How can you do a media round up in Baltimore and not include the Little Fella? I've read where he is the "G.O.A.T." In terms of local sports. There can't be any hard feelings because he is such a charitable,giving,above reproach,honest and all around best exploiter of a cancer victim in town. Just for a lark, gave a listen the other day,it was just as awful as usual, but the lack of any kind of timeliness is striking. Guesses on things that have already happened is funny, but commercials that are so disturbing are another. The ad for a local crab house that states that the owner is a "bone marrow cancer survivor too" is chilling. That guy died in December. How is that explainable on a human level?

Jake     April 25
Good article on Machado. I always appreciate how @Drew tries to show both sides and let the reader decide which he/she favors. Good article.

albert einstein     April 25
When writing the theory of relativity(you know,scientific stuff) never entered my mind to have the "constant" be something that "balances out over time". Take it from me(a dead guy) that these new fangaled stats have serious flaws. Good job George for your "peer review"

Brien Jackson     April 25
@RJ



Um....yes. It's not even been much of a secret that scoring decisions default to hits because they're being for players stats and especially arbitration. That's why batters appeal them!


ray ray     April 24
this is funny. reasonable people arguing with a loony bird. please ------- keep it up!

RJ     April 24
Errors are based on salary considerations? Who knew.

Thank goodness we have access to the insights and wisdom of the great Brien Jackson here at #DMD, lucky us

George     April 24
@Brien – You waste people’s time with responses like your last two. I’ll wait for an article from you but won’t hold my breath. If sabermetrics has some validity, say why. The #DMD Comments section is demonstrably not your forum of choice for responding – directly and clearly – to specifically-formulated questions put to you.

Brien Jackson     April 24
@George



Errors are entirely subjective and biased by salary considerations, so I don't see how any of that doesn't apply to fielding percentage either.

Brien Jackson     April 24
This is the funniest conversation in a long time. So to be clear, actually counting the number of balls hit to a position that the fielder turns into an out is "esoteric" statistical nonsense, but creating a completely arbitrary statistic called "errors" and then creating "fielding percentage" off of that made up metric is just good sense. This is all because, like I said this morning, no one can let the idea that Beckham is a bad shortstop go. This is truly awesome stuff.

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at this point, i'm honestly numb to it


If you think I'm outraged at another Capitals home playoff loss and an 0-2 hole in their series with Columbus, you're dead wrong.

I've been watching the Capitals play hockey for about 43 years now. Nothing shocks me. Or makes me mad.

The Caps find themselves in familiar territory in mid-April after dropping last night's Game 2 at home, 5-4 in overtime. Washington is once again on the verge of taking a solid regular season and flushing it down the drain with a week's worth of sluggish defense, lapses in goaltending and an alarming failure to cash in on golden scoring chances.

As the bumper sticker says: Same s**t, different day

This is where I'll provide the typical disclaimer that "the series isn't over yet". And it's not, actually. Sure, an 0-2 hole heading back to Columbus for the two next two contests isn't the most desirable spot to be in a 7-game series, but the Capitals won 3 of 4 from the Blue Jackets and they're very capable of going there and stealing a win on Tuesday night in Game 3.

It's far from over. But if we were playing horse and the word was "over" instead, the Caps would have O and V.

Alex Ovechkin led the NHL in regular season goals with 49, but has failed to score an even strength goal in two games vs. Columbus.

Speaking of O and V, Alexander Ovechkin popped home a couple of power play goals last night, but he and the rest of the team could only manage one even strength goal on the evening. Unless I'm doing the math wrong, the Caps have 7 goals in the series and 5 of them have come with the extra man. Two even-strength tallies in two games? That stinks.

Yes, yes, the other team tries too. I know that. And Columbus netminder Sergei Brobovsky was beyond spectacular in last night's win, making 54 saves, including several sparkling stops in overtime. The nitwit picking the game's 3 Stars somehow failed to include "Bob" in the rankings, but he was clearly the #1 star of the night.

Still, hot goaltender or not, the Caps have to do a better job of finishing their scoring chances. Through two games in this series, the only two players with even strength tallies are Jay Beagle and Devante Smith-Pelly. When you've played a total of seven periods of hockey over two games and Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and Oshie haven't scored a goal during the "regular" flow of the game, that tells you something.

In overtime last night, Tom Wilson failed to convert on what was essentially an empty net chance, Ovechkin didn't get good wood on a chance from 20-feet out and Kuznetsov had an opportunity just miss the target as well. Three great chances, three missed efforts to tie the series at 1-1.

Philipp Grubauer's night ended early when he was yanked after giving up three second period goals. Braden Holtby was solid in his third period and overtime work and now coach Barry Trotz has a decision to make for game 3 on Tuesday night in Ohio. I assume he'll go with Holtby.

This is not unfamiliar territory for the Capitals. Playoff tension, players underperforming, losing games at home. The Caps have been down this road on many an occasion in the Oveckin era. If you're looking for a silver lining in this mess, there it is. Call it the nature of unintended consequences if you like, but at least the Caps have been in this spot before and know how to deal with it.

As for the notion that Caps fans are again "sick" about this potential post-season collapse, I can only speak for myself when I say, "Nahhhhh...I'm numb to it by now."

I expected them to beat the Blue Jackets, yes. In fact, I still think they're going to come back and win the series in 7 games.

But if they somehow don't win the series, it will not at all shock me.

They're the Capitals. This is what they do. Someone on Twitter compared them to the Cincinnati Bengals. I'd argue the Caps have been far more successful in the regular season than has Cincinnati, but I get the point. And it's pretty accurate, I'd say. There's something in the Bengals' DNA that helps them collapse in the post-season -- when they make it.

The Caps apparently have the same ancestry as the Bengals.

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"The Keen Eye" of David Rosenfeld

DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.


You can’t get the whole story without asking the 5 Ws: Who? What? When? Where? and Why?

Disappointment Edition

Who?

Alex Cobb

On one level, I appreciate his honesty. On another, he didn’t feel “ready” to face the Red Sox lineup on Saturday?

Alex Cobb has started 116 games in his Major League career, many of them against AL East competition. He’s 30 years old, and after missing most of two seasons due to injury, returned to start 29 games for the Rays last year.

He signed a four-year contract worth $57 million less than a month ago, and spent several weeks preparing for his first start of this season. His signing gave the team’s fanbase, not to mention the team’s veteran players, a good deal of hope.

And he wasn’t ready? Not a good excuse. It makes him look bad, and it makes the team look bad for the unusual way they went about getting him, um, ready.

Of course, a simulated game in Florida is not an actual game against the best team in the division. And yes, a couple of Boston’s guys are red hot, as Cobb said.

Cobb was signed as a guy who could stop a team that was hot, or at the very least keep them within striking distance for a good Orioles’ offense, yet he was no different than Chris Tillman, soon to be released, was the day before.

The Orioles can’t afford anyone else who can’t keep his team in the game, $57 million or not.


What?

Maryland is in the market for a new athletic director after Kevin Anderson announced his resignation last week.

Kevin Anderson’s sabbatical

On October 16 of last year, the Maryland athletic department announced that Director of Athletics Kevin Anderson was leaving for a six-month “sabbatical.” Exactly three days before the end of those six months, Anderson resigned.

Has there ever been anything weirder in the local sports world than Anderson’s half-year venture into “professional development?” Was Anderson really fired in October, as was reported by some outlets, and involved in some non-disclosure agreement where he’ll eventually talk?

I saw him briefly in the press box at Maryland Stadium on Sept. 23, when the Terps were blown out by a Central Florida team that finished the year undefeated. That was the last Maryland football game Anderson attended.

Fans and commentators can debate Anderson’s tenure as Director, but a large contingent hated him from the second he fired Ralph Friedgen after the 2010 season. That was eight years ago, and one conference ago, but for some fans the hurt is still there.

Anderson was forced into another hire a short time later, when Gary Williams retired following the 2010-2011 season. Mark Turgeon was a fine candidate, even if he was a second or third choice, but his team’s middling results affected Anderson’s reputation as well.

Probability says that Damon Evans, who’s served on an interim basis for six months, will be the next man up for the job. Evans was the AD at Georgia from 2004-2010.


When?

April

The other day I heard ESPN’s Trey Wingo say that April is the best month of the year on the sports calendar. I get what he’s saying: there’s The Masters, it’s a new baseball season, the NBA and NHL playoffs get underway and the NFL Draft is there for those missing football.

It’s an interesting question to ask, and I’m guessing you might get someone to say every month of the year if you asked a few hundred people. What is the best sports month of the year?

Personally, I’d flip Wingo’s answer by 180 degrees. October is the best month of the year, with the NFL and college football in full swing and the World Series taking center stage. The fact that the NBA and NHL are getting underway is only tangential. Plus, I like the weather in October, especially for playing golf.

There’s a regional and/or provincial answer to the question for many people, I assume. I don’t have an NBA or NHL team to support, so the playoffs don’t have the same juice for me as they do for others. I’m sure the NHL playoffs are great, but I don’t have a reason to watch besides a passing interest.

Here at #DMD, every month has to be our favorite sports month. Something interesting in sports is bound to happen any week of the year.


Where?

Michie Stadium

More than 15,000 fans were there to watch Navy beat Army, 9-8, in a men’s lacrosse game played Saturday in West Point. The Navy seniors finished a perfect 4-0 in the “Star” game between the two teams. Last year, more than 12,000 fans were there in Annapolis to watch the Midshipmen upset the sixth-ranked Black Knights.

Both Navy and Army have been pretty good recently; not national championship caliber, but good enough to compete with those teams in any given game. That doesn’t really make a difference, though. Nobody comes to the Army-Navy lacrosse game because it’s about championships, or because people just go to lacrosse games when the weather is nice.

They go because of respect. And isn’t that the greatest reason in the world?

I bet not every person on the lacrosse teams at Navy and Army is a great person. I bet most of them have made mistakes. I bet a few of them qualify as “lax bros,” just like their high school teammates that play at other schools. In other words, they’re just like every other group of people.

Except for the fact that they’ve made a commitment that so few of us would make if given the choice. It’s just too hard, but not for them.

So, more of us than usual attend their games, and it makes total sense to me. I hope it keeps happening.


Why?

Rory McIlroy’s 74

He started the final round of the Masters three shots behind, playing in the final group with eventual champion Patrick Reed. Even with a five-foot miss for eagle on the second hole, one that would have tied him with Reed within 30 minutes of the start of the round, he was just fine.

That was as close as he got. In fact, by round’s end, McIlroy was passed or equaled by six guys who started behind him. The quest for a career grand slam will have to wait another year, when he will be approaching the ripe old age of 30.

On Sunday, it was McIlroy’s putter that failed him. There were plenty of birdies out there, as demonstrated by Jordan Spieth and Cameron Smith, and he didn’t make any. Case closed.

Is there something else about the place that’s keeping him from winning? That back-nine collapse and score of 80 was already seven years ago.

As long as McIlroy remains among the longest hitters in the game, he’ll do just fine at Augusta. The course suits him as much as it does any player out there, at least until you get to the greens, and those keep a lot of players from winning.

McIlroy talked a lot about not trusting his putter on Sunday. I assume that his trust might have grown substantially if that five-footer on the second green found the hole.

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It can always get worse.

I write that sentence every time I write about anything pertaining to the NCAA. It's meant to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but there's absolutely an element of truth to it.

No matter what dumb, obscene, ridiculous, or offensive thing comes out of the NCAA or its affiliated universities that you can't imagine ever being topped, someone is bound to beat, and in relatively short order.

That said, if there was ever going to be an exception to this rule, you would certainly think that the Jerry Sandusky/Joe Paterno scandal involving the serial rape of children at Penn State would be the absolute gutter for depravity in college sports.

Alas, it really can always get worse.

The ongoing case of former USA gymnastics and Michigan State doctor Larry Nassar, and the unconscionable behavior of Michigan State officials, not only manages to "best" Sandusky and Penn State, it dwarfs it.

While the Sandusky case drew much more media attention because it involved football, a crown jewel program, and the direct involvement of arguably the most famous coach in college football history, the scale of Nassar's criminality and the length to which Michigan State went to and have gone to protect him and avoid accountability to his victims is as mind-boggling as it is sickening. And infuriating.

I don't have nearly the time or space to cover every detail of Nassar's crime, and Michigan State's misconduct, but here's a rundown of the major points:

Last November, Nassar plead guilty to sexually abusing six women under the pretense of providing them medical treatment in his role as a sports doctor. He had previously been convicted of federal child pornography charges.

Along the way, his history of serially abusing, molesting, and raping female gymnasts he was supposed to be treating. During the sentencing portion of Nassar's trial, the judge opened the proceedings for victim statements from all of Nassar's alleged victims, not only the six he had agreed to plead guilty to assaulting.

156 victims testified against former Michigan State athletic trainer Larry Nassar during his trial.

Over 150 women would eventually give statements to the court detailing how Nassar had abused them.

The visual spectacle of the seven day long proceeding was so shocking, so unbelievable, that even months later it remains hard to process, though there were definitely stand out moments.

Olympic star Aly Raisman delivered remarks full of equal parts composure and righteous fury that might as well have ended with Nassar's literal disembowelment. Rachael Denhollander, who broke the dam on Nassar's serial crimes by telling her story to The Indianapolis Star in 2016, ended her statement to an extended standing ovation that's choking me up even now.

The judge herself offered an outraged and vicious statement prior to issuing a sentence she herself declared a figurative death sentence that went so far it prompted debate over whether she'd crossed to line of appropriateness for a judge.

But what's truly memorable about the weeks long proceedings is what isn't memorable at all. While the never ending procession of victims was in itself a spectacle I will never forget, it all quickly became mind numbing in the most literal sense of the word. There were simply so many statements, so many victims, that it just isn't possible to commit even a tenth of them to memory individually.

Even at his lowest point, when the victims and justice had supposedly caught up to him and brought him to account and beg for mercy, Nassar still managed to strip the vast majority of his victims of their personhood. And at some point, he also managed to force us, for reasons beyond our control, to stop giving our full attention to the words of the victims and let our thoughts drift to the question of how this ever could have happened.

How could someone in Nassar's position, treating world class athletes who often came from privileged backgrounds at that, manage to get away with his crimes for as long as he did, racking up such an unfathomable number of victims.

Nearly three months later, the answer is both obvious and outrageous. Simply put, no one in a position to stop Nassar gave a damn about what he was doing.

That starts with Michigan State, whose misconduct and dereliction of duty in handling complaints against Nassar were so egregious, so impossible to understand, that the idea that they were actively covering for him almost represents the best explanation.

When Nassar was accused of molesting patients as part of their "treatment," the gymnastics coach and close friend of Nassar's asked members of the team (which included some of his victims) to sign a card in support of the serial rapist.

The panel that was called to formally investigate allegations against him under Title IX was staffed with his colleagues and even personal friends. One of the medical experts n the panel had even been personally suggested by Nassar himself! Shockingly the panel cleared him, with actual medical professionals going so far as to declare digital penetration of the vagina to be a legitimate treatment for leg pain.

Suffice it to say, this was an investigation and a university whose primary goal was declaring Nassar to be innocent, and silencing his victims. They might have failed at the former, but Michigan State is still very much trying to silence his victims as much as possible.

Just last week, a public board meeting at Michigan State erupted when one of Nassar's victims, Kaylee Lorincz, accused interim President John Engler of pressuring her to settle a lawsuit against the university in a private meeting without her lawyer. Lorincz also says Engler accused her of only seeking to make money on the lawsuit, as though the university doesn't owe at least that to the victims they literally helped Nassar assault (Nassar went on to molest at least a dozen more young women after Michigan State's kangaroo court cleared him of wrongdoing).

The board's response was to attempt to cut off Lorincz's statement before she was finished, and video of the meeting sure makes it appear as though police who were present were prepared to arrest her before the angry crowd forced the issue and Lorincz was allowed to finish.

Oh, and later in the meeting Engler actually had the chutzpah to blame proposed tuition hikes on the cost of the lawsuits, which thankfully prompted at least one student to tell the jackwagon off right then and there.

It's easy, and tempting, to righteously demand that the NCAA take some sort of unspecified acts to punish Michigan State for all of this, but the truth is the scope of misconduct here is well beyond what the NCAA can, or should, respond to. This is an issue for the actual authorities to deal with, and the NCAA should learn from their mistakes with Penn State and just let actual public officials handle things.

That said, it's really hard for me to watch this unfold and not draw obvious connections to the culture and nature of college sports.

Whether you want to admit it or not, college sports is an industry built on exploitation, and the NCAA exists to facilitate the exploitation of college athletes. Universities, corporate partners, conference and bowl game directors, and senior university administrators make millions of dollars off of the enterprise, while the rules allow the players to capture none of the revenue their efforts produce in compensation.

And even when we find out that they're getting paid outside of the rules, the actual numbers that we learn about represent a tiny fraction of the amount they generate for the university they play for. Maybe Cam Newton got $100,000 for signing with Auburn, but how much revenue did Auburn make as a direct result of Cam Newton playing for them?

Oh sure, there's the "free education" colleges provide, but I'd like to think we're just about to the point of having enough self-respect to stop acting like that's a claim that deserves to be taken seriously. The reality in the NCAA is much closer to what we learned about North Carolina, where 146 word essays from illiterate players were getting "A: grades and whole classes were frauds meant for nothing but keeping athletes technically eligible.

Heck, we've known this at least since 1991 when future Pro Bowler Robert Smith quit Ohio State because his coaches berated and punished him for having the nerve to major in pre-med and then actually take his academics seriously!

Oh by the way, North Carolina's head football coach that you almost certainly can't name off the top of your head takes home in excess of $2 million every year for presiding over a mediocre at best team. This is what college athletics is, and frankly there isn't anything surprising about the fact that an industry whose entire business model involves exploiting J.T. Barrett so that Jim Delaney can "earn" a $20 million bonus is an industry that provides safe haven to monsters who sexual exploit female athletes.

Did anyone notice that there have been no serious discussions about Delaney being removed as Big Ten commissioner despite having both the Michigan State and Penn State situations happening under his nominal leadership?

From my vantage point, the big difference between Michigan State and Penn State is that this time I have no illusions that we've reached the bottom of the barrel in college athletics. If Penn State felt like the exception that proved my unofficial rule, Michigan State shows that there really is no exception. Heck, sandwiched in between those two headline grabbing stories is a laundry list of rape scandals so long you could never remember them all. Baylor. Florida State. Vanderbilt.

Michigan State's football and basketball programs have even been the subject of new disclosures of covering up instances of sexual assault. There's absolutely no sign that anything is changing for the better, or that any of this is going to be taken seriously in the foreseeable future. 156 victim impact statements in open court will not be a nadir of any kind, and will certainly not be the end of this.

Because, where the NCAA, or college sports in general, is concerned, it can get worse. It will get worse.

It always does.

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weekend college lacrosse review


Game of the Week: #17 Navy 9 - Army 8

As expected, records didn't matter in an exciting game which came down to the wire. Army had several excellent scoring chances in the game's last seconds, but in the end, they were turned away by Navy goalie Ryan Kern to preserve the victory. Army's shooting woes continued as they took 43 shots, but only put 17 on cage. Navy's offense defined efficiency and only required 13 shots on cage to produce 9 goals. The Midshipmen were led by Ryan Wade (2 goals, 1 assist) and Chris Hill (3 goals).

Other Notable Games

#10 Loyola 23 - Boston 9 -- No, this is not a football score. The Greyhounds offense erupted for 10 goals in the 3rd quarter, utilizing 14 different goal scorers. Heck, even goalie Jacob Stover got in on the act scoring a goal from his own crease to end the 1st half. Loyola offense was lead by Aidan Olmstead ( 4 goals, 2 assists) and Pat Spencer (3 goals, 6 assist) who may be lacrosse's best QB.

Towson and coach Shawn Nadelen are in danger of not qualifying for the 4-team CAA playoff after a lackluster 8-4 loss at UMass last Saturday.

UMass 8 - Towson 4 -- Just when you think the Towson offense is starting to click, the offense goes back to their careless ways, giving up the ball 16 times. The Tigers were only down one goal with 5:30 left in the game but the Minutemen come up with 3 goals late to continue to dominate the CAA. Towson is now on life support in the CAA and must win their last 2 games to guarentee a spot in the conference tournament. The lone Tiger bright spot was goalie Shane Brennan with 13 saves.

#14 Penn State 14 - #4 Johns Hopkins 12 -- The Big Ten might be the most potent conference offensively and this one didn't disappoint, as the Nittany Lions secured a big win, unfortunately Hopkins's expense. I didn't think Penn State's face-off ace Gerald Arceri would be so effective on just one leg after being injured by the Terps last week. But he managed to win 16 of 23 against the Blue Jays -- and Penn State knows what to do with the ball when they get it. The Blue Jays are in the habit of starting slow and exploding in the 2nd half. But Arceri slowed down that 2nd half charge enough to secure the win. It also didn't help that Hop's offensive leader Shack Stanwick went down in the first half and didn't return. Cole Williams (3 goals, 2 assists) and Joel Tinney (2 goals, 3 assists) paced the Blue Jays offense.

UMBC 5 - Binghamton 2 -- No, this is not a baseball score. The Retriever defense pitches a shutout in quarters 2, 3 and 4 to take down the Bearcats for their 2nd win in a row. UMBC goalie Tommy Linger recorded 8 saves and Billy Nolan scored twice to lead the Dawgs who now control their own destiny in the America East conference at 2-3.

#1 Maryland 11 - #8 Rutgers 10 -- Maryland just knows how to win when it counts in the B1G. Early in the game, the Terps went up 5-1. But Rutgers came all the way back to tie it at half 5-5. And the Scarlet Knights could have very well led by a few goals with several man-up opportunities. However, Maryland's defense stepped up holding Rutger's EMO to just 1 goal on 7 opportunities to keep the game tied. The teams then traded goals in the 3rd quarter, ending the period tied 8-8. But once again the Terps to pulled away in the 4th with 3 goals to seal the victory. Connor Kelly (4 goals, 4 assists) led the way again on the offense including the game winner along with Bubba Fairman (3 goals).

Final Four Projection - Updated after this weekend's results. for the NCAA Tourney

1) Maryland - Most balanced team in the land. Also great to have 3 face-off guys that could start for most teams.

2) Duke - Leaders of the ACC hang 18 on #12 UVA.

3) Albany - The former best team in the land gets a week off to get healthy and gets back one of the game's best, Connor Fields.

4) Denver - Previous "good wins" aren't looking so good as teams like UNC, Towson, Ohio State and Villanova are struggling.

Outside Looking In: Yale, Loyola, Cornell, Penn State (others like Hopkins, Syracuse and Bucknell could also be included)



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O's SCOREBOARD
Wednesday, April 25
Orioles
4

Rays
8
WP: A. Kittredge (1-2)

LP: A. Cobb (0-3)

HR: Sisco (1), Hechavarria (2)

RECORD/PLACE: 6-18, 5th

breakfast bytes

Cobb roughed up again as O's drop series opener to Rays, 8-4, and fall to 6-18.

LeBron James (44 points, game winning 3-pointer at the buzzer) carries Cavaliers to 98-95 win over Indiana and 3-2 series lead.

Wizards fall in Toronto, 108-98, Raptors lead series 3-2 with Game 6 set for D.C. on Friday.

NHL: Bruins score four goals in the third period to eliminate pesky Toronto, 7-4, in Game 7 in Boston.