Wednesday
February 21
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issue 21
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an ode to a friend


Heaven's country club just got a new member. They better have soft butter up there or Dr. Dave Bimestefer is going to have a word with someone.

I learned yesterday of the recent passing of Dr. Bimestefer, who turned 80 years old last May and spent nearly four decades as an orthodontist in the Baltimore area.

He was a longtime member at Baltimore Country Club and was an oustanding amateur player dating back to the 50's, 60's and 70's. If you're ever at BCC and you walk up the steps leading to the second floor men's locker room, you'll see his name all over the boards that list former club champions: J.D. Bimestefer.

His full name was John David Bimestefer, but everyone knew him as Dave or Doctor Dave.

I met him in 2003. My wife came home from work one day and said, "I have someone who wants to meet you." She went on to explain that her orthodontist was a golfer and that when she told him her husband also played, he suggested they meet up for lunch and golf one day at BCC.

"Do you guys just do that?" she asked. "You'll go meet someone you don't even know? And play golf?"

I went to great lengths to explain to her that, yes, "We'll just do that" and that one of the great things about the game of golf is it has a weird way of connecting people who might otherwise not have any previous bond at all.

The clubhouse at Baltimore Country Club, where Dr. Dave Bimestefer was a proud member for over 50 years.

And with that, I followed her lead and met Dr. Bimestefer at BCC on a sunny May afternoon. We had lunch and headed out to the course, although Dave's health was somewhat shaky at the time and he mostly hit tee balls, imparted wisdom, and gave me a 3-hour lesson on how to putt the greens at Five Farms.

We were on the 16th fairway on the East Course when he offered one of his "Dr. Dave gems" as I called them. "People always ask me how to shoot par and I tell them it's easy: Just don't hit two bad shots in a row," he said.

He was a huge believer in that philosophy. When Tiger Woods was having his decade-long period of dominance on the PGA Tour, Dave would often call me after one of his major championship wins and say, "Did you watch the golf over the weekend? How many times did you see Tiger hit two bad shots in a row?"

Dave wasn't really a Tiger fan. But he marveled at his golf game. And he would constantly remind me that Woods rarely, if ever, hit two bad shots in a row.

"Everyone thought Hogan had 'the secret'", Dr. Bimestefer said to me over an iced tea one day. "He didn't know any more about the golf swing than other guys out there. He just outworked them. And he never wanted to tell people that was why he beat their brains in because he was afraid they'd believe it and start outworking him."

Dr. Dave loved Ben Hogan. He once said to me while we were playing a casual round at Bethesda Country Club, "You remind me of Hogan."

I thought that was a great compliment. That is, until he delivered the punch line. "You both would have been better off if putting only counted for a half-a-stroke instead of a full stroke."

He also delivered one of the all-time great lines about Duke University. Dr. Bimestefer was a Duke graduate, and a proud one at that.

We were watching a Duke basketball game -- I think it was in the NCAA tournament -- and I took the opportunity to needle him a bit about his alma mater.

"Oh, Lord, we're not watching these creeps, are we?" I asked.

He smiled, emptied some sugar into his iced tea and started stirring.

Twenty seconds later, he said, "Do you know why you don't like Duke?"

I was confused. "I don't understand", I replied.

"Do you know why you don't you like Duke?" he repeated it, emphasizing the word you.

Before I could answer, he told me.

"Because you didn't go there..."

I think that memory goes back to 2007 or so. But I still remember it. It was a great line. And in simple logic, it can be attached to nearly everything we do in life.

Anytime I hear someone poo-poo or criticize golf, I think of Doctor Dave's line and always consider saying to that person. "Do you know why you don't like golf?"

"Because you don't play it..."

The root of that whole thing being, of course, that if you went to Duke, you'd like it. And if you didn't go, you're predisposed to not liking it.

He was right.

We were playing once at Bulle Rock and I hit the par-5 15th hole in two shots and had maybe 10 feet for eagle.

I nursed the first putt just past the hole but it rolled out about four feet by and I missed the comeback putt for birdie, making par on the hole.

The 30-second cart ride to the 16th tee was silent as I stewed over hitting two shots 520 yards and then needing three more shots from three yards to get the ball in the cup.

As we walked to the 16th tee, Dave said, "That's happened to me before, you know."

I mumbled something and reached for a tee in my pocket.

"When I used to hit a par-5 in two shots," the good Doctor said, "and then three putted for a par, I'd always remind myself that it took less energy to do that than topping my tee shot, half-shanking my second to 200 yards out, hitting my third in the front bunker, blading that one out to the back of the green, and then chipping in for five."

"Same score that you made...but you used a lot less energy in making your five," he said. When I looked up, he was smiling. I laughed. He made his point. Golf's a crazy game.

Dr. Dave was one of a kind.

We were playing once at DuPont Country Club up in Delaware and my ball stopped in a divot somewhere on a back nine fairway.

As we both looked at my ball, only half visible, Dave said, "I'll turn my back if you want and you can pee on it and call it casual water and take a drop..."

I was struggling on the back nine once at Mountain Branch with Dave and my great friend Ernie Kosmas and the two of them were taking delight in my woes, as golfing friends like to do.

"You need a break," Dave said. "You're playing a lot of golf..."

I hit a bad tee ball on the 15th hole and followed that up with another bad shot in the fairway. Dave and Ernie could hardly hide their joy at seeing my struggles.

"You want some advice from the Doctor?" Bimestefer asked. "Take two weeks off...

I knew a punch line was coming. Or suspected so, at least.

"And then take up tennis."

He and Ernie giggled about that one for the next ten minutes.

Dr. Bimestefer loved golf.

And he loved Baltimore Country Club.

And Duke University.

And, as I learned, soft butter.

Once during lunch at BCC, he got agitated when the server brought out cold, "hard" butter.

"This place is great," he said. "It's one of the best clubs in the country, and I've been to just about every one of them. But I can't figure out why they think serving frozen butter is a good thing. It's butter. It's supposed to spread. You can't spread this if it's frozen."

He was right.

I never really thought of it that way, but he was friggin' right. Butter should be soft.

Thanks for the lessons, Dave. All of them. Even the one about butter.

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are the caps on the verge of a meltdown?


Don't look now, but the Washington Capitals are in a dogfight.

They usually save their collapsing for mid to late April, but this year, it looks like they might be starting early.

The Caps fell at home to Tampa Bay last night (who are VERY good, by the way), 4-2, giving up three first period goals and losing for the third time in five games dating back to last Tuesday's loss in Winnipeg when they squandered a late lead and went on to lose in overtime to the Jets.

Something doesn't look right down in D.C.

Forget that the standings don't look good. Washington has 75 points, Pittsburgh now has 74 and the worst-franchise-in-the-history-of-sports has 72 points now.

The Caps don't look good, either.

Braden Holtby gave up three first period goals last night in the Caps' 4-2 loss, marking the second straight game he's allowed three opening period tallies.

At the forefront of their recent struggles is goaltender Braden Holtby, who was awful in Chicago last Saturday night, giving up six goals in two periods before being mercifully yanked by head coach Barry Trotz.

Holtby got the start last night (after sitting out the game in Buffalo on Monday, a 3-2 win) and promptly gave up three goals in the first period. Trotz stuck with him for the remainder of the night, though, and Holtby only surrendered one more tally in the 4-2 defeat.

Something's not right, though. Holtby's struggling. Not just this week. Or last week. This season, really. Philipp Grubauer is a competent back-up netminder, but Trotz might be forced to start splitting the playing time on more an alternating basis if Holtby doesn't get his act together soon.

Oddly enough, the Caps are getting a remarkable season from Alex Ovechkin, who scored his 36th goal of the season last night and is now just six tallies shy of 600 for his career.

Ovechkin's doing his part. More than his part, actually. But the supporting troops aren't helping out much.

Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky have both been disappointing.

T.J. Oshie has battled injuries and a fat, new contract that might be burdening him more than anyone knows.

And the Washington defense is slow, doesn't take the body very well, and doesn't give Holtby or Grubauer the support they need and deserve for sixty minutes night after night.

The playoffs are always a bit of an automatic thing for the Caps. Meaning, they always make it. And always lose early.

Right now, they're ten points clear of Columbus (65 points), who own the 8th and final spot in the wild card standings of the Eastern Conference. They're going to make it (right?), but once the post-season rolls around, it's hard to envision Ovechkin and Company hanging around for long.

This doesn't come as any great surprise, of course. Any fan of the Washington Capitals has to be prepared for April or May heartbreak.

As long as the Flyers don't do anything in the post-season, I can balance out any meltdown the Caps have.

Then again, there's always the possibility that those two might meet in the post-season and......well.....I can't even think about it. Let's get to this bridge when, or if, we cross it.

KELLY banner ad

so, you think you know baltimore sports?


50 years of Baltimore sports.

From 1968 through 2018.

How well do you know it?

Where did Justin Tucker play college football? If you know that sort of "trivial stuff", you and your two friends could win big money or prizes in #DMD's Sports Trivia Contest.

Our Baltimore Sports Trivia Contest is officially open for business, brought to you by our friends at Glory Days Grill. And if you and two friends win the contest on April 9, you'll walk away with $2,000.

Not a bad return for a $75 entry fee.

The details can be found by clicking "Trivia Contest" at the top of the page. All of the qualifying dates and rules and regulations are listed there.

In summary, though, it's pretty easy. You and two friends form a team. Without the aid of your cell phone or the internet, you'll register for one of four qualifying rounds and then answer 25 questions over a one-hour period.

The top four teams from each qualifier advance to the Finals on April 9.

Here are three sample questions you might find, just to give you an idea of the depth of knowlege you'll need for the contest:

What was the final score of the Ravens' AFC championship game win at New England in 2013?

Name the colleges these Ravens played for: Dennis Pitta, Todd Heap, Marshal Yanda, Derrick Mason and Justin Tucker.

In no specific order, name every Orioles manager (official managers, not someone filling in for one day while a manager was out sick, etc.) from 1968 through 2018.

If you knew those answers, or at least some of the answers, you're on your way. Get your team together and enter the contest. There will be questions harder and more detailed than those and questions that are a tad easier, too.

We'll throw in a couple of Blast, Clippers, Skipjacks questions, but not many. And we'll also add some local flavor by asking a question or two about local college players or high school athletes from Charm City.

At least 80% of the questions will center on the Ravens, Orioles and Colts.

Anything from 1968 through 2018 is game.

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Entries are open. Get your team 3-person team together and register today.

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#dmd comments


Eric     February 21
As Ed Frankovic would tell you Drew, Holtby having a stellar year. Playing with2 rookies on D and hobbled Orpik is causing lots more quality chances against. Last night 3 layups and a tap in

mike from catonsville     February 21
Biff, great eulogy (you should give it in the church as well). One of the keys of a good eulogy is that when finished for those there for the family and maybe not knowing the person personally you feel as if you did. You accomplished that today with your remembrances.



The closer 80 gets it sure doesn't seem that old. Sorry he didn't have another 10 to give the world and his friends.

JohnInEssex     February 21
GREAT write-up on Dr. Bimstefer. Was a patient of his a LONG time ago - he had an office in Highlandtown. Coming from Essex on Eastern Ave, it was near Smitty's restaurant on the left, before you get to City Hospital (now Bayview) on the right.

I just remember it being a nice experience going to his office, and would remember that office often when passing thru that area all these years later. Didn't realize this other side of him. What a cool guy to know. THANKS for sharing all of his fun yet thought provoking quotes and stories!

BFD (Big Fat Daddy)     February 21
Drew - Very nice write up on Dr Dave.



To Drew's followers - I have 3 Ravens PSLs for sale. Price is $500 each. Scroll down to my ad.

Tom J     February 21
I couldn’t agree more with the good doctor about the soft butter. Never made sense to me either..!! Great stories Drew.

unitastoberry     February 21
I opined the other day when I saw Cashner welcomed to the club by some young blonde who works for the team he mentioned he had been in touch with Brady since the fall. No mention of Buck or Dan.

@Radiogal I heard Van Halens "Hot for Fiber" its moving!

Sorry about your friend Drew......My condolences to the family

Vince Fiduccia     February 21
Great story Drew. Sounds like a terrific person to spend 18 with.


MM     February 21
Good story about your friend Doctor Dave. Enjoyed reading it.

Steve from Cape Coral     February 21
If it's true that Anderson is now running the show, than he needs to get his butt in front of a mic and start to explain to the fans what the hell is going on ??? If Anderson is the direction the O's plan on going with, than this club is going to go down the toilet real fast !!!

James     February 21
Today's Juice is a must listen for sports fans in town. That was DF on the radio back in the day. Good to hear you with that spirit in your voice about the Orioles.

DELRAY RICK     February 21
VONN wil not have to go the WHITE HOUSE because its for winners ONLY.

H     February 20
Lefty deserves to be in the basketball hof. Wherever he went he turned basketball into a religion at that school.

Radio Gal     February 20
MFC

I don't care who does it...it is weird. Maybe they should change the lyrics. Mick could sing "I can't get no.....grey haired action"... or Bruce could sing "Power Scooter Road".

Or Led Zepplin could sing "Rampway to heaven'.



Join in on the fun and give your own geriatric NEW lyrics to older rockers.

mike from catonsville     February 20
@Radio Gal (or guy- Gal maybe Jen Royle), be careful the owner of this site will follow Bruce religiously and he's 68. You are treading on thin ice there.


DR (the original)     February 20
Terps have been playing that passing game/motion offense for several games now. Personally, I like it way more than the stuff that Turgeon usually runs, but there's more than one way to play basketball.

radio gal     February 20
I missed out on the LF thread? Shucky Darns. But the new radio station is now officially an Oldies Station. Dreary interviews from a non fully formed Fan Boy from years and years ago. Interviews with the most peculiar life form on planet earth.....Social Security check receiving Rock Stars. Could never understand 65 plus guys jumping around on stage and singing songs that are about youthful exuberance. Just step back and think about that....it is odd.



Still reeling from the "big announcement' The LF promised 20 hours of sports and 15-20 hours of other stuff. Well, he has rarely done 20 hours of new content of sports in a week before....so there is that...but it still is good to see that his interviews are "blowing up" on Youtube with views in the 6 to12 range. Is there such a thing as anti-viral. Or the dreaded one viewer..and we can guess who that is. And what happened to the new not sticking to sports? Why not a change in the Website. Nothing changes in terms of real work. I guess the COO and sometime contributor to the DMD comments section could pull his weight...but it is verified on twitter that he was trolling and trying to get a "Bachelor" reject to come to Baltimore. Being the Chief Operating Officer of a real company leaves little time for stalking hot reality stars.

unitastoberry     February 20
The 70s Bullets were a very good team. But they never got to the promised land until they got Elvin Hayes. When they had the Pearl they were spectacular but could never get by those great Knicks teams of the same time period and then there was Kareem and his schooling of Unseld in the 4 and out championship series with the Bucks.

Howie N     February 20
CO

If you are being serious, the Terps did win with D. They were tenacious and it led to easy points, that is how you score forty one....and someone got into the head of Wiley. He has never played like that. Effort is important. He was trying last night. Expect tons more minutes the next game. Also their offense was different. Didn't see as much as the Harlem Globetrotter weave as before. The O started closer to the basket. Good interior passing. And Bruno? He is suddenly a good defensive rebounder....and defensive rebounding is good defense....in fact that is Turgeons biggest weakness as a coach.....some how he can't teach defensive rebounding. It looked better last night.



Why were the Bullets "good" through out most of the 70's? They had one of the greatest 3 defensive rebounders of all time in Unseld and a guy who loved getting rebounds[because they enhanced his stats] in Elvin Hayes[still my favorite player ever]. Rebounding is a way under rated "skill".

Casual Observer     February 20
Sometimes I wonder if Dale Williams is watching the same game that we all watch. Maryland scored 41 points in the 2nd half last night but yet they won with "defense". ????

RG     February 20
Never went to a Blast game back in the day (didn't move to Baltimore until 1991) but I'm curious what the ticket prices were back then for those sold out games?



Thanks.

Donald     February 20
Hey Drew, thanks for sharing that story about Paul Kitson. Like many fans he was always one of my favorites. I was wondering if you would do your all time top MISL team from the hey day of the league? Or maybe your top ten or something. I'd love to see who you pick.

TA     February 20
Kitson died in 2005 at age 49 of a heart attack. He was coaching a youth soccer team at the time.

Jeff G.     February 20
That was a great story about Paul Kitson. He was one of my faves. I remember one time he brought a snake on the field after a game!

When did he pass away and how?

unitastoberry     February 20
The Blast phenom in Baltimore of the 80s was insane. Those tickets were almost as hot as Van Halen in their prime on a local level of course. I think it was spurred on by the Colts moving and just complete boredom after baseball season in the pre info /internet age.

DF     February 20
If anyone else has an Android phone and listened to "The Juice" today, please let me know if you were able to hear the entire 15 minutes or did the podcast cut off early in the segment about Chris Tillman. Thank you.

HERMAN     February 20
When Gary Williams left it feels like he took the heart of the program with him. Rooting for MD hasn't been the same since. Gary had that intangible quality, that spark, that instilled hope built on confidence, and trust. That you were going to get a great effort on the floor. You might not win, you might be the underdog, but if anyone could find a way, Gary would. Under current leadership you know in your heart the hope is misplaced.

I wish we could go back to those days when he'd come out of the tunnel and raise that fist, eighty year old alumni were ready to go out for the jump ball when he pumped that arm.

When Gary left, that spirit left.

Brian M.     February 20
Drew,

Always loved Kitson and the Blast as a seoson ticket holder back in the 80's.

I was in the "Arena" on Sunday watching Monster Truck Jam and can't believe we don't have some new state of the art facility, but this is Baltimore, MD.

I felt bad for the drivers of those trucks not really being able to get into the throttle out of fear they jump the stands.

More Blast stories Drew please!

mike from catonsville     February 19
Interesting that Biff has taken down the Nestor comments.It's his site and he has the right to do what he wants. I will always defend that but the comments didn't seem out of line.



I will say, however, I doubt seriously it was Nestor but the cadence, style, was spot on accurate. So I applaud that ingenuity.

unitastoberry     February 19
Tilly appears to be done but you never know. I'd like to make 3 million guaranteed after I stunk out the joint the last 2 years. Stranger things have happened but the odds here are not good. I always thought it was more than his shoulder too perhaps some personal problems? Lets hope its all behind him.

Eric     February 19
Tillman signs with the Orioles. @itsahooded4iron called that one two months ago! Way to go Drew!

Jason M     February 19
Dan heads north after this season. Showalter deserves an extension early in Spring. If Brady is getting the keys to the Orange Corvette next year, I think he needs Showalter's steadying influence and credibility.

John In Westminster     February 19
Interesting point on Nebraska being very similar to Maryland. Only oversight is the fact the Huskers did beat the Terps a week ago. In addition, Nebraska did beat Michigan while the Terps have no wins against Top 25 competition. Still, an 11-4 conference record in the ACC or Big12 is much more meaningful than the B1G.

Henry     February 19
Congratulations to Don Mellinger for joining #DMD. He's a good man. Welcome Don!

Mark     February 19
You nailed it Drew. Brady will be in Dan's seat next season and there's no way Buck will work for Brady, so that's the end of him in Baltimore.

TJ     February 19
Buck is gone.

Dan is gone.

Because Angelos doesn't have a clue how good those two have been in Baltimore.

Next story.

Ghost of JROB     February 19
Buck and Dan (and their agents) are likely well aware of their status with the Orioles beyond the 2018 season. They are under contract for their current roles through the end of the season. Perhaps they each would rather leave for other opportunities…but they are under contract through the end of the season…and like professionals, will honor the contract (otherwise breaching it).



Drew? As GM of the Blast…was it common practice to keep the media informed of player/coach negotiations? Did you ever have a valuable player play the final year of his contract without an extension already in place beyond the final year? Did you give an annual “State of the Blast” press conference?


GM     February 19
Good insight today Drew. Always enjoy your work. Glen Marino

TimD in Timonium     February 19
I was lucky enough to be in the audience when Buck spoke & took questions for well over an hour at a Calvert Hall event in January 2013. At the time, I thought he came across as one of the most intelligent and insightful managers I'd ever listened to. Still think that way. He deserves better for what he's done here. Just like Adam Jones.


Davey     February 19
Your last line of the O's story hit the nail on the head. Brady and Buck don't get along. Brady will hire a new manager. Another classic O's screw up.

Mike from catonsville     February 19
The headline yesterday was so appropriate for:

Fergie



WTF? Doing her best Marilyn Monroe Happy Bithday Mr President imitation. Thankfully only saw it this morning as I couldn’t watch any of the game especially after Kevin Hart’s channeling of Don Rickles. Thankfully I had a choice watching the X games, oh , I meant the Olympics .

hoppy     February 18
There is hope for the brain washed. This is a serious, sober take on the situation. The silly(are the O's are low on money) the lazy(Angelos is evil) and ridiculous(the MASN fleecing of fans). All of that has disappeared. No absurd suggestion that a tank job is forthcoming

Since ALL of this just spitballing. Whose to say that negotiations are on "double secret" status. That actually makes some sense.


Bob from Hereford     February 18
Great to see Bubba win again.

Eric     February 18
Haha Dan hit it on the head. No mystery here, cheapskate owner+8000 people in stands 5 nights a week=no soup for you players!

RJ     February 18
Tampa DFA'd all star Corey Dickerson, so O's not the only head scratching organization in baseball. Yet, MLB keeps raking in the dough, so who are the real idiots here?

Steve of Pimlico     February 18
Not having Manny and/or Jones on the team next year will result in a significant drop in ticket sales. Sort of like my favorite Greek owned dinner not having gyros and Greek salad

slump     February 18
i know it sounds crazy because I can't stand DD but who can blame him for doing nothing with this team. He was offered another position with another organization which was a promotion and a pay raise but PA told him no way you are leaving and DD was forced to stay here. If that happened to any of us at our job how hard would we work until our contract was up. I am by no means justifying this pathetic off season. I believe the club is getting 50 mil from the sale of MLB digital media. Where is that money going. Not making any inquiries is bush league

Ghost of JROB     February 18
MM...I count 2018 as a "year". We could substitute "season" if you prefer, but he is Orioles property for one more year (or season).

MM     February 18
@Ghost, Jones doesn't have a "year" left unless you're considering 2018 a "year". He and Machado are both free agents after 2018.

Ghost of JROB     February 18
At the risk of earning DF’s “Dumb Comment of the Day”:



PB’s idea of offering 3 years and $25m would be considered “an insult” by Machado’s agent (and DF for that matter). There is no guesswork with Machado. He wants to be a free agent. A courtesy call is more “bush league” than no call at all.



With Jones…what’s the hurry? He still has a year on his contract. The market is correcting itself with regard to guys “on the 14th hole” of their career (he will be 33 in August). If Jones wants to be an Oriole for holes 15 through 18, and his agent has any sense at all…the agent calls Dan Duquette and says “here’s what we have in mind…any interest”. If Dan says “we aren’t interested”, then Jones can truthfully tell the media (tweet or whatever) the Orioles told them they have no interest. The fans can react however they want with that (truthful) information.



The phone rings both ways…mind you!


Dan     February 18
Drew wants to know what's going on with the Orioles. Here's what: Angelos is cheap.

Thanks. Have a nice day.

Tuesday
February 20
r logo#DMDfacebook logovolume xxxxiii
issue 20
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those old days were a blast


For some weird reason, lately I’ve been watching a lot of old Baltimore Blast highlights on YouTube .

I’m not sure why. I’ve been to a bunch of Blast games at SECU Arena this season, so perhaps that’s part of it.

I had coffee with Mike Stankovic a few weeks back and we shared a bunch of “old stories”.

I see Scott Manning a lot at Eagle’s Nest, where we’re both members.

Maybe all of those things have triggered something that’s had me going back in time and remembering my days working for the Blast, especially the early years.

I went to the Blast’s home opener on November 29, 1980 vs. the Philadelphia Fever at the Civic Center.

One year later, I was making $10,300 a year as the team’s Public Relations Assistant, code word for “Drew, go across the street and get lunch for everyone…”

But to borrow a famous line from a TV sitcom’s theme song – “Those were the days”.

At one point in the early 1980’s, we sold out the Civic Center 56 straight games.

Despite losing the '82-83 Championship Series to San Diego, the five-game series set indoor soccer TV ratings records on USA Network and paved the way for the Blast to pack the Civic Center for years to come.

And when I say “sell out”, I’m talking every single seat. Filled. 11,516 people in the building. 56 straight games.

I sometimes stop and marvel at that feat, even today. That old building, in downtown Baltimore, in the dead of winter. We sold it out 56 straight times, over parts of three seasons.

Back in those days, Blast employees got two complimentary tickets to each home game. Those were like gold. My friends from Glen Burnie were lining up to be on the receiving end of a ticket or two.

I remember Paul Kitson coming to the office on the 3rd floor of the arena a couple of hours before a Friday night home game.

He closed the door to my office. Anguish was all over his face.

”I need a huge favor,” Paul said. He was always one of my favorites. I was crushed when he passed away a decade or so ago.

”I invited some family down from New Jersey for the game tonight and no one in the locker room has any extra tickets,” Paul said. He was notorious for needing extra tickets, by the way.

”How many do you need?” I asked.

For some reason, Paul whispered his answer. Even though he was in my office with the door closed, I guess he didn’t want to risk being overheard. “I need five,” he said in a hushed tone.

I didn’t have any tickets. Not one. Not two. And especially not five.

”Paul, I don’t have anything. I’m sorry,” I replied.

”How about press passes? Can you just write them five press passes so they can get in the building?” he asked.

It didn’t dawn on me at the time, but this was probably a trick Kitson had used before, during his early playing days in New York with the Arrows.

I caved in.

I quickly took out five single-game media credentials and pushed them in his direction. I handed him a pen. I guess I figured if he actually wrote the names on the credentials that it might absolve me from getting fired.

Kitson wrote the names on the credentials and handed them to me.

”I owe you big time for this,” he said.

Later that night, Kitson scored three goals in a win over the Los Angeles Lazers.

A small part of me felt like I made a contribution to that accomplishment by helping Kitson get his family in the building to see him play.

The following season, we were on a west coast trip and had a few days between games in San Diego and Los Angeles. Kitson approached me at breakfast one morning in our team hotel in Marina del Rey.

”You like Earth, Wind and Fire, don’t you?” he asked.

”I love that band!” I replied.

”We’re going to see them tonight,” said Kitson. “I owe you for those passes you gave me last year for my family. I have some tickets to the concert tonight and you’re going with us.”

And that’s how a kid from Glen Burnie got to see Earth Wind and Fire in 1984.

Paul Kitson was a good man.

He also authored one of the all-time great quotes…one that I’ve used a lot in my days being involved in sports.

In the 1984-85 season, the Blast faced off with the Cleveland Force for a third straight year in the post-season. Baltimore won the series in ’82-83 and ’83-84 and the Blast-Force rivalry was among the most heated in the entire MISL at the time.

Known for his "moonwalk" after scoring goals at home, Paul Kitson once scored seven goals in a playoff game vs. Los Angeles in May of 1985.

Cleveland employed a big, rugged, mean kid from the Seattle area named Bernie James. He was one of the best defenders in the league.

He and Kitson clashed several times in Games 1 and 2 in Baltimore, including a spirited scuffle that earned both guys time in the penalty box in the second game of the series.

After the game, James made a comment about Kitson’s long fingernails (and the “masculinity” of such) and the quote was published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. When we arrived in Cleveland the next day for Game 3 the following evening, the quote in the newspaper irritated Kitson to no end.

On the morning of the game, we had a light practice session and stretching at the Richfield Coliseum. We arrived at the arena only to see the Force still on the field finishing up their pre-game walk through and practice.

Game 3 was on television and I had to get a handful of players for some quick interviews. I summoned Scott Manning, Heinz Wirtz and Kitson.

When Cleveland’s practice ended, the three players and I headed out to the field where the Force TV crew was waiting for us.

I immediately noticed Bernie James walk in the direction of Kitson.

Trouble was brewing.

Kitson. at 5’8”, was three inches shorter than James and probably 60 pounds lighter. That didn’t matter. He moved closer to the Cleveland defender and the two were now just a few feet apart.

”You better watch your mouth when you talk to the newspapers,” Kitson said, referencing the remark James had made about his fingernails.

James stood his ground and looked directly at Kitson. “I’m going to kick the living s**t out of you tonight,” he warned.

There was silence for a second or two.

For a brief moment, I thought the two might fight right then and there.

And then Kitson authored that memorable line.

”Oh yeah?,” he said. “Well, you better bring a f***ing army with you.”

Cooler heads prevailed and James headed off to the locker room. Later that night, Kitson scored twice as the Blast won to take the series lead, 2-games-to-1.

As I wrote earlier…those were the days.

One of my recent YouTube clips turned up the TV commercial below. This was the 30-second spot we recorded prior to the 1992-93 season when the Blast became the Spirit after the MISL (MSL) folded and the franchise entered a new league, the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL).

The house we destroyed in the commercial was over near Johns Hopkins University. The people were moving out of state and allowed us to use their home for the commercial.

Most of the things you see that got broken were bought at a thrift store in Towson.

The commercial generated a lot of “heat” for us. Some good, some bad. But it did what we wanted it to do. It got people to talk about the start of the season.




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The Orioles managed to get some work done over the President's Day holiday weekend, and in the week leading up to it as well. After months of waiting out the market in search of starting pitching, Dan Duquette secured deals with both Andrew Cashner and old-faithful Chris Tillman in the past week, solidifying two more spots in the rotation and, maybe, finishing the team's offseason shoping.

Both of those deals have their selling points....and their drawbacks.

Cashner produced a strong back of the card line in 2017, going 11-11 for the Rangers with a 3.40 ERA in 166.2 innings. Baseball Reference valued him at about 4.5 wins above replacement....a very solid season.

Go much further than that, however, and the red flags start flying. Cashner has only cracked the 175 innings pitched mark twice his career, and only started 30 or more games once.

Last year he met neither of those bench marks. Additionally, the split between those top line numbers and his underlying performance is the stuff of a hyebolic hypothetical from 2010.

His FIP (fielding independent pitching), a metric that essentially seeks to predict long term performance in a pitcher by assessing outcomes over which the pitcher has direct control over (walks, strikeouts, home runs), was a much less sterling 4.61. His xFIP (expected FIP) which does the same thing as FIP but controls for variables even further by adjusting his home run to flyball ratio to the leage average, was a downright dissapointing 5.30.

Furthermore, that home run rate was roughly 2 points lower than his career average, in a season where hitters hit a higher share of flyballs out of the park than at any time in MLB history.

If all of that sounds complicated and/or complex, it's really not. Cashner had the league's worst strikeout to walk ratio last season and relied on an abnormally low number of home runs allowed.

Pitchers who do that don't usually have ERAs in the lower 3.00 range, and for Cashner to do that again with the same overall body of work would be highly unusual.

Chris Tillman is back in Baltimore, re-signing with the Birds for the 2018 season on Monday.

Tillman's a known quantity and, understandably, isn't generating a lot of excitement in town.

Simply put: There isn't a single thing to acquit Tillman's 2017 performance. It was historically bad, to the point where it appears that the Orioles were the only team to even offer him a guaranteed big league contract.

But back in 2016, Tillman had one of the best seasons of his career. In fact, despite having a down season in 2015 mixed in, Tillman's numbers from 2012 through 2016 overall are really quite good. The Orioles are banking that a shoulder injury is to blame for his atrocious 2017 campaign, and that he'll be all healed up and much closer to his old self in 2018.

They're also counting on him, and Cashner, being cheap.

Affordability is really the defining connection between these two deals, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Cashner will make at least $16 million and be under team control for two seasons, though that could balloon to include a third year and up to a total of $41 million if Cashner meets all of his incentives. That's a more than reasonable price for a starter with Cashner's profile, and in the even next winter brings a tear down and rebuild approach his contract should be easy to move in a trade if he's healthy.

As for Tillman he's only pitching on a one year deal, one that can pay him anywhere from $3-10 million this season.

The question now is what, if anything, the Orioles have yet to do. Cashner and Tillman aren't pitchers you should be counting on to lead your rotation, but the Orioles don't have to view them as such.

If this team is going to contend for the postseason, it's going to need Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman to fully step into the role of carrying the starters throughout the full season. If those guys falter, this team is going nowhere no matter what else they do with their pitching staff.

If, on the other hand, you view Cashner and Tillman as back of the rotation fodder, however, the moves suddenly look much better. These guys are proven big league commodities, and while there's a lot of risk associated with both (let's not sugarcoat it: They could both easily be absolutely terrible this year) there's plenty of upside here as well. Heck, there aren't many other teams around the league with as much potential upside at the end of their rotation as the Orioles' could potentially have.

I say "potentially" because to make this work out, the Orioles need to actually make Cashner and Tillman their fourth and fifth starters. And that requires finding someone to be their third starter (or better). And that's very much not unthinkable, even after adding two starting pitchers.

The fact that they got such good value on Tillman and Cashner means they still have plenty of money to go after Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn if they're so inclined (they probably aren't).

They've also been reported as having trade talks with the Astros about curveball specialist Colin McHugh, who would also fit the bill. A bit of an odd man out in an increasingly crowded Houston rotation, McHugh might be a bit pricey to pull out of Texas, but he'd be a nice addition.

Despite being injured most of last year, McHugh pitched 184 innings in 2016 and eclipsed 200 innings back in 2015 when the Astros shocked the world by claiming a wild card spot. He owns a career ERA of 4.08 and an FIP of 3.76.

Of course this is probably just a lot of speculation about nothing, and the team probably won't make any more moves on the pitching front.

They're already talking as though they've moved on to prioritizing that must-have left handed hitting outfielder, something they've decided they simply must have this year even though there's already a log jam in the corner outfield spots and signing someone else to start probably just means top prospect Austin Hays getting fewer chances to get at bats...or maybe even being forced down to the minor leagues altogether.

The Orioles are suddenly on the right track in this winter program, but there's very few indications that they're going to stick the landing.

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DALE WILLIAMS returns for his third season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2017-18 season.


second half defense leads terps to rare road victory

It was a long time coming, but Maryland finally got the road win that had proved so elusive.

By beating the Northwestern Wildcats 71-64 last night, the Terps managed to sandwich seven straight road losses in between two road wins. If they only could have played all of their road games in the state of Illinois.

They started this season’s Big Ten road campaign with a win over Illinois in Champaign and they ended it by beating the Wildcats in Rosemont, Illinois. The Terps had three double-digit scorers as Kevin Huerter led the way with 18 points while both Dion Wiley and Anthony Cowan had 13.

But Maryland didn’t win the game with offense. It was the defense that brought them back from an 11-point deficit. Ironically, it was that same defense (or lack of it) that caused them to be behind by so much in the first place.

Northwestern led 37-30 at the half and the three-point line was the difference maker.

When watching the opening 20 minutes, it was easy to see why Maryland has one of the worst 3-point defenses in the Big Ten. They allowed Northwestern to hit 8 of 15 three-point attempts, almost all of which were uncontested.

Kevin Huerter's 18 points led the Terps to just their second conference road win of the season last night as the Terps won at Northwestern, 71-64.

I wrote, yesterday, that the blueprint for beating this team was to not let them shoot threes. I guess Turgeon and the Terps didn’t read my article, or didn’t believe it.

Either way, Maryland continually failed to close out on the Wildcat long range shooters and they paid the price. The lone bright spot in the half for Maryland was Michal Cekovsky and his 4 rebounds and 8 points on 4-5 shooting. The Terps hit only 1 of 8 first half three-point attempts.

Maryland scored only 9 points in the last eight minutes of the first half when they became afflicted with the turnover bug, especially traveling violations.

Bruno Fernando and Anthony Cowan combined for only three shots from the floor. Three of the five Terp starters (Cowan, Darryl Morsell, and Dion Wiley) failed to hit a field goal. The first half was pretty awful if you are a Terp fan.

The second half started with Northwestern going right at Bruno Fernando. The first time they did it, Fernando guarded Dererk Pardon one on one with no help. Fernando picked up a foul and Pardon went to the line where he hit both shots. The second time Northwestern went to Pardon, the Terps doubled down and Northwestern found the open man for another three-point connection.

By the 18:00 minute mark, Fernando was on the bench with his 3rd foul and the Northwestern lead was double digits. Things looked bleak for Turgeon’s troops.

But Maryland then made some effective changes.

They initiated a soft 2-2-1 three-quarter court press. It wasn’t a trapping press where they try to get points off of it, it was a nuisance press designed to take seconds off of the shot clock and disrupt Northwestern’s rhythm.

Once the Wildcats finally got the ball across half court they were met with another challenge, Maryland was covering much tighter and they were getting their hands into the passing lanes. They deflected countless balls, defended the three-point shot, and caused multiple turnovers.

A turnover by Scottie Lindsey followed by a Huerter dunk cut the deficit to 7. After trading baskets, a steal by Morsell and layup by Cowan had it down to 5. Maryland continued to chip away at the lead when a steal by Cowan and subsequent layup by Wiley trimmed it to 1 point.

On the next possession, a steal and layup by Wiley gave the Terps their first lead since the 4:31 mark of the first half. But they weren’t finished with the takeaways. Another steal by Wiley ended with a Huerter 3, and just like that Maryland had built a four-point advantage with 7:27 left in the game.

Wiley knocked down a corner three with 3:40 left to give Maryland their biggest lead at 9 points. They closed the game out by making 6 straight foul shots to secure their 71-64 win.

It was a pretty dramatic defensive transformation for Maryland tonight. After forcing just 4 turnovers in the first half, they pressured Northwestern into 10 in the second half. The Terps converted a bunch of the Wildcat miscues into points and led 20 to 8 in the “points off turnovers” column.

Five of Maryland’s six steals came in the second half, and they got their hands on a half-dozen other balls where Northwestern was able to maintain possession. Fernando was again outplayed by his Wildcat counterpart, Pardon, but his 6 rebounds (team high along with Morsell) enabled the Terps to hold a 31-25 rebounding advantage. The offensive rebounds were even at 8.

For the Terps to win a road game while shooting 29% from the three-point line and committing 13 turnovers is a testament to the defense they played in the second half.

They wanted this game badly and it showed by their willingness to go all out after being behind by 11 points.

For Northwestern, this was their second consecutive second half collapse. They have now been outscored in the second half of their last two games by a combined score of 79-38.

Maryland will wrap up their regular season Big Ten play with a home game against a Michigan team that posted a victory on Sunday against the 8th ranked Ohio State Buckeyes . It will be senior night for Sean Obi, Jaren Nickens, and Michal Cekovsky. Game time is 12 noon.

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treatment of buck, dan is most puzzling o's move yet


There was a time back in the winter of 2015 when the Orioles didn't publish any of their ticket information for the upcoming season.

"They're probably waiting to see if they re-sign Chris Davis," we all reasoned. "If they sign him, prices go up. If they don't, maybe they stay as they are."

And that's exactly what happened.

The team inked Davis to a long-term deal in mid-January and a week or so later, the ticket information was distributed and, indeed, ticket prices were increased for the 2016 campaign.

I bring up that circumstance as a reminder that occasionally the fans can see an issue and logically figure out what's going on behind the scenes. Sometimes it doesn't take a rocket scientist or a Glen Burnie High grad to do it, either.

I'm interested to see if you can figure out what's going on with the Orioles and the two people who are largely responsible for the organization's on-field turn around. I can't figure it out. Maybe you can.

I can understand the reluctance to cough up $200 million or more to Manny Machado.

I can understand the reluctance to give Zach Britton $100 million.

I can understand the reluctance to sign one of the available free agent pitchers to a 4-year, $72 million deal.

But I can't understand why the Orioles would leave Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette hanging out to dry like this.

Can you explain it?

Why would the Orioles not have these two signed beyond the 2018 season? Anyone? Bueller?

Both Buck and Dan are "free agents" at the end of the 2018 season. In any other organization, you'd very rarely allow your manager and/or general manager to reach "lame duck" status, particularly if they had been successful.

It's not healthy for the players ("Why listen to him? He's not going to be here next season anyway...") and it's certainly not healthy for the two people in the spotlight.

Showalter has commented publicly on his contract situation and said all the right things. "I'm just here to win baseball games. The other stuff will take care of itself at the end of the season," was a common paraphrase he recited when asked about his status on a local radio show.

But deep down, Buck can't feel warm and fuzzy about this kind of treatment. And who would? He showed up here in 2010 to take a job no sane person in baseball coveted, and is now starting his eighth full campaign with the club.

Since Buck showed up, the O's have made the playoffs three times, advanced to the ALCS once, and are no longer everyone's homecoming series. Whether you believe it's "all about Buck" or "a little about Buck", one thing can't be debated: The team has won under his tutelage.

Why doesn't he have a contract next season?

Is Peter Angeles dissatisfied with his performance? I can't imagine that's possible.

And what of Duquette's status?

He arrived on the scene in 2012 and the club immediately made the playoffs for the first time since 1997. Coincidence? Sure, it most likely was. But the winning continued. Playoffs and the ALCS in 2014, playoffs again in 2016.

If you're judging Showalter and Duquette on "winning", they've both done plenty of that since they showed up in Baltimore.

Why don't the two of them have a contract for next season?

Duquette is a bit more of an interesting case because he flirted with taking the Toronto Blue Jays job in the winter of 2014-2015. Perhaps at that point, once Angelos nixed the opportunity, Duquette informed the O's owner he'd serve out his contract and be gone after the 2018 campaign.

That's a realistic scenario. And since Angelos has been grooming Brady Anderson for a stepped-up role in the organization anyway, why be concerned if Duquette's leaving after the season?

But what's the deal with Buck?

Why let him flap in the breeze like this?

Are the Orioles really going to let Showalter become a managerial "free agent" next October?

None of this makes much sense. After going more than a decade as a laughingstock, the Orioles finally gained some respect back in 2010 when they coaxed Showalter out of the broadcast booth and back into the dugout.

That respect grew in 2012 when Duquette showed up and the Orioles made the playoffs, beat Texas in the wild-card game, and extended the Yankees to five games before losing in the ALDS finale in the Bronx.

What haven't those two done?

Sure, Buck has his ways. He's not perfect by any means. And Duquette's kind of an odd duck. But together, they've been involved in a lot of winning in Baltimore.

They deserve to be treated better than this, for sure.

It's hard to figure out.

That is, unless Brady Anderson already has the team's manager picked out for 2019...and his name isn't Buck Showalter.


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I mentioned last week on The Juice that I'd have a full-length podcast with our #DMD corporate partner Andy Paladino today. And here it is!

Andy and his Paladino Financial Group can help get you ready for retirement or simply guide along the way to better investing ideas. If you're like me and the thought of handling your own money and your own retirement scares you, then give this podcast a listen.

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

Who?

Tony Bennett or Jay Wright

With Baltimore's Phil Booth leading the way, Jay Wright and Villanova won the school's second NCAA title in 2015-2016.

Right now, it’s probably between Virginia and Villanova for the title of best team in the nation, and the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament. I’d also argue that the coach of each team is tied at the top of the rankings of the nation’s best.

Before Tony Bennett arrived in Charlottesville, Virginia basketball had been essentially irrelevant for a generation. After reaching the regional finals in 1995, the Cavaliers went to the NCAA tournament three times in the next 16 seasons.

Bennett is one of the better teachers of defense in the history of the college game. His team’s style can be difficult to watch, but it’s given UVa an identity it never had and allowed the Cavaliers to compete with Duke, North Carolina and anyone else. Virginia hasn’t been this good since the Ralph Sampson era, and Bennett hasn’t had anyone nearly as talented as Sampson.

Meanwhile, Villanova was a program that might have been Seton Hall, another smaller Catholic institution that had one glorious year in another era. Wright, hired from Hofstra in 2001, has instead turned the Main Line school into a national power.

Wright is one of the better teachers of offense in the history of the college game. His team is fun to watch and, unlike Duke or Kentucky, usually features juniors and seniors leading the way. This year’s squad has an unheard of six players averaging in double figures in scoring.


What?

Your conference schedule

In the 14-team Big Ten and Southeastern Conferences and the 15-team Atlantic Coast Conference, a team’s conference record is essentially irrelevant.

Heading into Sunday’s game at Illinois, Nebraska was 11-4 in the Big Ten. The Huskers had won six games in a row and eight of their last nine. Then they lost to the Illini. No worries, right? Wrong. ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi had Nebraska in his “First Four Out” of the NCAA tournament on Sunday, and that’s not going to get any better with a loss to a Big Ten bottom feeder.

Meanwhile, Maryland is 7-9 in the Big Ten. If Nebraska had Maryland’s conference schedule, having to play Michigan State, Purdue and Michigan twice apiece, the Huskers would probably have the same conference record as the Terps, or worse.

Nebraska’s five “home-and-home” opponents this year are Minnesota, Rutgers, Wisconsin, Illinois and Penn State. Four of those teams have under .500 overall records for the season. Of course, you can only play the teams they put in front of you. And in basketball, you do play everybody at least once, so you can never say you never got the chance to prove yourself against any particular team.

There are so many things about the super-conferences that stink, but for a basketball fan, and a basketball evaluator, this is one of the worst. It’s can be impossible to compare teams, even after 30 games over four months.


When?

March 15

In 2018, the Ides of March corresponds with the first Thursday of the NCAA tournament. Chalk me up as one who thinks the positives of the first round of the tournament override the historical negatives of the day on the calendar.

The first Thursday of the NCAA tournament is my favorite day of the year. The next day is pretty good too, but there can only be one first day. Take the day off, even if you aren’t a huge college basketball fan.

If I were anywhere close to Boise, Dallas, Pittsburgh or Wichita, I’d be interested in being in those arenas for first-round games on that Thursday. For the price, it’s usually a really good deal.

I last attended NCAA tournament games in 2010, when I had the chance to work behind the scenes at the first - and second - round site in Buffalo.

My role was to assist the stenographers who were transcribing every word of postgame and off-day press conferences. Those folks are insanely talented at what they do, but they don’t know much about sports. If a player or coach referenced a person or word or topic that needed to be spelled correctly, or further researched, then I was there to help.

I remember Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim talking about Derrick Coleman; I was there to show the steno that it’s spelled Derrick, not Derek. I know…tough life…


Where?

The World’s Most Famous Arena

In its quest to infiltrate a New York market that couldn’t care less, the Big Ten is playing its Men’s Basketball championship at Madison Square Garden. Since the Big East has the Garden during the usual week, the Big Ten had to move its tournament up a week to get the building.

For the second year in a row, the ACC is playing its basketball tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. So that conference, headquartered in Greensboro, N.C., and the Big Ten, headquartered in Chicago, are both playing postseason championships in New York City.

On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with playing in New York. There’s great tourism, outstanding hotels and big-time professional arenas. There are hosts of alums from any big school in America—engineers from Purdue and Georgia Tech, lawyers from Duke and Michigan—living in or near the city. And as a television property, the location of the tournament makes no difference at all.

But New York is all about “juice,” and there’s no “juice” about the Big Ten tourney in Manhattan, is there? It’s just another event among thousands, and I’m sure it gets lost in the shuffle.

Gary Williams could complain every year about the ACC tournament being in North Carolina, but at least people cared about it. The Big Ten’s move to D.C. a year ago and New York this year has nothing to do with basketball passion and everything to do with money.


Why?

Michigan State

When the final buzzer sounds in the national championship game in San Antonio April 2, I believe that Tom Izzo and Michigan State will be the ones celebrating.

The Spartans have everything you need to dominate the NCAA tournament, not just win it.

With Miles Bridges, Jaren Jackson and Nick Ward, they are plenty good on offense; in the non-conference season, they scored more than 100 points in four consecutive games. Their overall size and athleticism might make the Spartans an even better defensive team than Virginia, taking into account the faster tempo at which they play.

Villanova may be known for its excellent three-point shooting, but Michigan State actually leads the nation in three-point percentage, making more than 42 percent of its shots from beyond the arc. The Spartans also are unselfish, with a greater percentage of their baskets coming off assists than any other team.

From the standpoint of talent, pure and simple, Duke and Michigan State are the best teams in the country. But I’d be way more surprised to see Duke make the Final Four than I would be to see them not make it out of the first weekend.

Izzo’s team was losing by 22 points at Northwestern on Saturday and then held the Wildcats to 11 points in the second half. That’s the kind of team that will be cutting down the nets in April.

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DALE WILLIAMS returns for his third season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2017-18 season.


terps look to end road losing skid tonight at northwestern


It was only nine days ago when the Maryland Terrapins dominated the Wildcats of Northwestern in their 73-57 win at College Park.

These two teams meet again tonight at 7 pm in the Allstate Arena at Rosemont Illinois. The off-campus Allstate Arena is the temporary home for Wildcat basketball while the Welsh-Ryan Arena gets its facelift.

History is due to repeat itself to tonight. Either the Terps will, once again, defeat Northwestern, or they will continue their trend of losing road games. Their road loss streak is currently at seven.

Maryland has the right to feel they know the recipe for beating Northwestern. Their recent 16-point win was a game in which they built a double digit lead less than six minutes into the first half, and were never seriously challenged.

They ran crisp offensive sets and played some of their best defense of the season. But, if coach Turgeon wants another good look at what to do, and what not to do against this Big Ten foe, he should take at good hard look at this past Saturday’s Northwestern vs. Michigan State game.

Maryland's Darryl Morsell had 14 points in the Terps' win over Northwestern nine days ago. Can he do the same tonight on the road?

Northwestern built a 27-point first half lead behind some really stellar shooting helped by an MSU defensive philosophy that allowed the Wildcats to shoot from the outside.

That would come under the heading of “What NOT to do”. Northwestern hit 8 of 13 threes and 10 of 17 from inside the arc as well. Northwestern also played aggressive defense, especially when cutting off Spartan dribble penetration.

Unfortunately, Northwestern's aggression may have been their undoing.

The second half for Michigan State was entirely “what TO do”. Defensively, they closed all gaps from the paint to beyond the perimeter. The three-point shots that were easy to come by in the first half, became impossible get off let alone shoot accurately, in the second half.

The Spartans pressured every shot and as a result, the same Northwestern team that scored 49 points in the first 20 minutes, scored just 11 in the last 20 minutes. They shot 3 for 26 in the second half.

Now, we know that not all of that can be attributed to the Michigan State defense. Some of the misses were wide open shots. But when you are in the midst of blowing a 27-point lead, the collar gets a little tight. That certainly happened to Northwestern on Saturday.

What also happened to the Wildcats was foul trouble. Their aggressiveness thwarted some MSU offensive opportunities, but it also cost them their big man, Dererk Pardon. Pardon was pulled at the 14:24 mark of the second half after picking up his 4th foul.

At that time, Northwestern held an 18-point lead. When he returned less than five minutes later the lead was only five.

Pardon is as vital to the Wildcat defense as Anthony Cowan is for the Terp offense. Pardon is the guy who kept Maryland’s Bruno Fernando from making even one field goal in their game nine days ago. Northwestern can’t afford to lose him.

While losing Pardon to fouls hindered their efforts in pulling off the upset victory, the loss of their point guard, Bryant McIntosh, to a shoulder injury, did not prove to be so harmful.

While his replacement, Anthony Gaines, is no threat from the outside, he offers more size and physicality at the point guard position. Against Michigan State, Gaines had 10 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 0 turnovers in 37 minutes of action. He didn’t impress me as a true “playmaker” type point, but his insertion into the lineup against Maryland might be an upgrade over a hurt McIntosh (who failed to score against Maryland on February 10th).

In Vegas, the potential absence of McIntosh isn’t considered enough of a loss to keep the Wildcats from being favorites in this game. The linemakers have posted Northwestern (-1) as the early line. That’s not too surprising considering that Maryland opened as a 6-point favorite when these two teams played in College Park.

So, what can we expect tonight? Darryl Morsell had a great offensive game for Maryland the last time out. He used a variety of mid-range jumpers to get 14 points on 7-10 shooting. I think Northwestern will play him with a bit more respect this time and his production could be less.

I have to believe that there’s no way Pardon blanks Bruno Fernando from the field in this game like he did in their earlier match-up. Fernando will be looking to assert himself tonight. He might not go off like he did against Rutgers, but he’ll be fired up to perform, for sure.

Northwestern's Scottie Lindsey will get his points, and Vic Law will be much improved over his 3-9 performance in the game at College Park.

What this adds up to is a toss-up.

I know the Terps beat Northwestern by 16 the last time out, but throw that out the window. This is a game between two evenly matched teams in which each side believes they can win.

Both teams realize they need a miracle run in the Big Ten Tournament in order to be a part of March Madness, so this game is meaningless as far as an at-large bid is concernned. The hungrier team wins this game.

Will Northwestern, who has had a disappointing season and are coming off of a disappointing loss, show more desire to win than Maryland?

The Wildcats had high hopes for this year after making it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever last year. Those hopes have now been dashed. It’s not senior night, so you can eliminate that potential motivating factor too.

Then I look at Maryland with their freshman and sophomore dominated lineup. Everything is still so new to them. The opportunity to finally win a road game and give them a chance to finish .500 in the Big Ten might provide some drive.

Fernando, for sure, wants to avenge his poor performance from the last game. Maryland will play hard tonight, and to a certain extent Northwestern will also. But this is the Terps last chance to win a road game, something that is important to them, and they will.

It won’t be easy -- road games rarely are -- but Maryland will end their road jinx tonight. The Terps will get double digits from both of their centers, and come away with a 74-69 victory.

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Sunday
February 18
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issue 18
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can anyone else explain this?


At the risk of being criticized for being "too hard" on the Orioles, I'll go ahead and jump in on another baseball related topic today.

Hopefully some of the softees around here don't get their feelings hurt too much.

Last week here at #DMD, I authored a piece that served to be a spring training opener of sorts and the general theme was: "It seems like something's going on..."

Too many unanswered winter questions, not enough activity, and minimal proactive movement by the Orioles -- unless you count the Rule 5 Draft as "proactive". It all seems intentional by the Orioles and their management.

What other explanation is there?

The O's aren't signing players because they don't want to sign players. That's the only reasonable deduction I could make. And, in fairness, lots of teams around the league seemingly have been afflicted with that same "feet dragging" disease. To wit, one of the top free agents available in the winter -- Eric Hosmer, late of the Royals -- just agreed on a deal with the Padres yesterday.

Today's topic is different, though.

And tomorrow here at #DMD, I'll write about something else I can't quite understand with the Birds.

Manny Machado is a free agent after this season and the Orioles apparently haven't reached out once to his agent to talk about a long-term deal to stay in Baltimore.

Today, I'm wondering about Manny Machado.

And Adam Jones.

Those two represent a front-and-back foundation of the organization on the field. Jones, at 32, is in the back now, reaching the 14th hole or so of his career. He's not quite the same player he was, say, three seasons ago, but there's plenty left in his tank.

Machado is at the front of the foundation. He's one of the top five players in the game and likely will stay at that level for at least the next half dozen seasons. He's the kind of player you can build around, as the sports-saying goes.

Both guys will be free agents at the conclusion of the 2018 season.

Neither of them, according to the player himself, has heard a peep from the Orioles.

I don't get it.

Do you?

If you believe the two players -- and this story has been out long enough for the club to refute it and they haven't -- the Orioles have not contacted their respective agents to talk about a new contract for 2019 and beyond.

Nothing? Not even a courtesy call to get a feel for the ballpark figure the player might want from the club? The Orioles wouldn't just call to say "Hey, we're interested. We're thinking a five-year deal. Let's have coffee over the winter"?

Dan Duquette hasn't contacted the agent for Machado or Jones to talk about their contract situation. Not once.

I find that very odd.

Machado met with the media at spring training on Saturday and spoke openly about his desire to stay in Baltimore. He's obviously saying all the right things and not looking to ruffle any feathers, but he did admit the only communication he's had with the Orioles regarding money is when the two sides spoke during the arbitration process.

Jones has said recently that no one from the organization has reached out to his agent to talk about a contract extension.

Now, we all know Duquette could be serving the master on this one. Perhaps he went to Peter Angelos last May and discussed the two players and was told, "Don't do anything". That possibility always exists because Peter, as we all know, marches to his own beat.

And yes, I think we all probably assume even if Duquette made a call to Machado's agent that it's likely he'd just hear this: "We appreciate the effort and the call, Dan, but Manny wants to reach free agency next winter and that's our plan. Feel free to make an offer in November. We'd love to evaluate it."

But you still have to make the call a year or two before free agency begins, don't you? Just to say, "Hey, we would love to talk about getting a deal done now before free agency hits..."

Right?

But no matter who hasn't made the call or authorized it, this much is true: The Orioles haven't contacted Machado's agent or Jones' agent in an attempt to get the ball rolling on a new contract.

That's shameful in and of itself. And a slap in the face to the fans and sponsors who have supported the club over the last two decades.

If you can't pay Machado the $25 or $30 million he expects to get, that's all well and good. Just tell his agent that, trade him, improve your team for the future and move on.

If you think Jones will be too old to invest in one more time after 2018, just tell his agent that, trade him, improve your team for the future and move on.

Not making contact, any contact, is bush league.

Those two guys, whether you care for either of them personally or not, have done yeoman's work in helping take the O's from a bottom-feeder to a playoff contender for the last six seasons. They're not the only ones who deserve credit, of course, but they've been a major part of the rebound in Baltimore.

They deserve to be treated with the kind of respect and affection that goes with players of their caliber.

That is, unless there's something going on that we don't know about...either in Baltimore or league-wide, amongst the owners.

It doesn't add up. Not to me, anyway.

I have one final topic to throw on the fire tomorrow here at #DMD. Those logs will really get the flames hopping, I think.

Because the Orioles don't talk publicly -- and even if they did, I don't know how much we'd believe them -- this kind of speculation is all we can do in Charm City. There's never a "State of the Orioles" press conference where folks who aren't on the team's media-associated payroll can ask questions. So the only thing folks can do is assess the situation and make their best guess as to what's going on in the Warehouse.

In this case, it's really hard to figure out.

The team's two "foundation" players of the last decade are both going to be free agents and the Orioles haven't made one call yet to talk about potentially extending their time in Baltimore.

Something's not adding up, folks.

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the terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his third season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2017-18 season.


terps roll past rutgers


The Maryland Terrapins jumped out of the gates quickly last night while building an early 13-point lead. They grew the advantage to 24 in the second half, and then cruised to a 61-51 victory over Rutgers on a snowy night at the XFINITY Center.

Bruno Fernando was dominant all evening while collecting game highs in both points (18) and rebounds (16).

True to form, the Scarlet Knights shot just 38% from the field and 16% from the three-point line. Maryland used effective ball movement on offense and a solid 40-minute defensive effort to improve to 7-9 in the Big Ten with two games left to play.

The Terps scored the first ten points of the game and were never seriously challenged from that point on. The lead reached a maximum of 24 points in the second half, 50-26, before the Terps relaxed and scored only 11 points in the last 14:39 of the game.

With just 40 seconds remaining in the contest, Rutgers was able to cut the deficit to seven points. At that point there may have been a bit of concern on the Maryland bench, but there never was fear.

Maryland's Bruno Fernando put a hurtin' on Rutgers on Saturday night in College Park, with 18 points and 16 rebounds in Maryland's ten point win.

One of the few things worse than Saturday’s wintry weather was the Scarlet Knight's shooting efficiency during the first eight minutes of the game. Rutgers found themselves down 17-4 after missing 8 of their first 10 shots. Meanwhile the Terps were connecting on 7 of 12 while keeping even with Rutgers on the boards.

After the second media timeout, Maryland’s first half offense bogged down a tad for about 4 minutes. During those four minutes, much of that with Kevin Huerter and Fernando on the bench, the Terps went scoreless. As soon as Huerter and Bruno reentered, the Maryland scoring resumed.

By the last media timeout of the first half, the Rutgers shooters finally started to make a few shots but their six turnovers (against just two for Maryland) kept them from substantially cutting into the Terp lead.

Towards the end of the half, Cowan began to find some dribble penetration room, scoring three times in a two-minute span, helping Maryland push their lead back up to 14, 29-15, with two minutes left in the half.

Kevin Huerter finished the Maryland first half scoring by sinking a pair of foul shots, providing the Terps with a 31-19 halftime bulge.

Fernando dominated the first half with his 9 points and 10 rebounds.

If Mark Turgeon challenged his freshman center to keep this outstanding rebounding Scarlet Knight team off of the boards, then Bruno delivered. Rutgers had just 3 offensive rebounds for the half.

It was also unique to see Maryland have a 3-1 assist to turnover ratio in the first half. They accumulated six assists while only turning it over twice.

Maryland started the second half exactly like they started the first half, by scoring the first 10 points. The 12-point lead surged to 22, way too much for an offensively challenged team like Rutgers to overcome. Perhaps the most exciting moment of the second half came when Fernando knocked down the first three-point shot of his career.

A Terp scoring drought that began at the 14:38 mark of the second half allowed Rutgers to creep back into the game, somewhat. Indifferent Maryland play, and some Scarlet Knight hustle resulted in the Terp lead being trimmed to seven, 58-51, with just 40 seconds remaining.

A 7-point gap might not be very comfortable against a good offensive squad, but against Rutgers that margin represents about 8 minutes of basketball...and they only had 40 seconds left.

While they had secured the victory, it remained to be seem whether or not the Terps would cover the 11.5 point spread. They didn’t. A sloppy finish resulted in a final score of 61-51.

There were few surprises on Saturday night other than the lack of effort from Rutgers on the offensive glass in the first half. In all of the games I’ve watched them play, they swarm the glass like provoked hornets around a hive.

Last night, they looked sluggish. Maybe Fernando was just too strong for them, but Rutgers did look a wee bit passive.

Maryland’s offense had great ball movement, particularly early in the game. They pushed tempo when they could, and played aggressive defense throughout. The Terps did what they had to do in order to beat one of the weaker teams in their conference.

Maryland has little time to rest as they travel to Rosemont, Illinois to battle with the Northwestern Wildcats tomorrow. The Wildcats are coming off of a 65-60 home loss to Michigan State on Saturday in which they led by 27 points at one juncture in the game.

After scoring 49 points in the first half, Northwestern only managed 11 in the second half. Game time on Monday is 7 pm.

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how well do you know baltimore sports trivia?


50 years of Baltimore sports.

From 1968 through 2018.

How well do you know it?

Where did Justin Tucker play college football? If you know that sort of "trivial stuff", you and your two friends could win big money or prizes in #DMD's Sports Trivia Contest.

Our Baltimore Sports Trivia Contest is officially open for business, brought to you by our friends at Glory Days Grill. And if you and two friends win the contest on April 9, you'll walk away with $2,000.

Not a bad return for a $75 entry fee.

The details can be found by clicking "Trivia Contest" at the top of the page. All of the qualifying dates and rules and regulations are listed there.

In summary, though, it's pretty easy. You and two friends form a team. Without the aid of your cell phone or the internet, you'll register for one of four qualifying rounds and then answer 25 questions over a one-hour period.

The top four teams from each qualifier advance to the Finals on April 9.

Here are three sample questions you might find, just to give you an idea of the depth of knowlege you'll need for the contest:

What was the final score of the Ravens' AFC championship game win at New England in 2013?

Name the colleges these Ravens played for: Dennis Pitta, Todd Heap, Marshal Yanda, Derrick Mason and Justin Tucker.

In no specific order, name every Orioles manager (official managers, not someone filling in for one day while a manager was out sick, etc.) from 1968 through 2018.

If you knew those answers, or at least some of the answers, you're on your way. Get your team together and enter the contest. There will be questions harder and more detailed than those and questions that are a tad easier, too.

We'll throw in a couple of Blast, Clippers, Skipjacks questions, but not many. And we'll also add some local flavor by asking a question or two about local college players or high school athletes from Charm City.

At least 80% of the questions will center on the Ravens, Orioles and Colts.

Anything from 1968 through 2018 is game.

We have some awesome prizes for the top six finishers. And you and your team will be featured on a #DMD podcast if you're the champions!

Entries are open. Get your team 3-person team together and register today.

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Saturday
February 17
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a dummy from glen burnie told tiger this wasn't going to work


There are times when you opine on sports, whether it's a game, an athlete or a moment, where you're bound to be right.

Sometimes it's luck. Sometimes it's because your opinion was well-founded in statistical data or analysis. And sometimes you're right because it was probably going to be harder for you to be wrong, if that makes sense.

Maybe it's too early to say this and declare "I was right", but I'll say it anyway.

Back in late 2017 when Tiger Woods announced he was parting ways with swing instructor Chris Como, I offered the opinion that Woods was making a mistake. Not a mistake by no longer employing Como, per se, but a mistake in not having anyone working with him and monitoring his golf swing.

I said it then: "Tiger can't win again without having one of the world's top instructors in his camp."

I was right.

OK, maybe I won't be right next week when he tees it up at The Honda Classic. That's a home game for him, sorta-kinda. He might shock us all and win. I'd be wrong, in that case.

He heads to Augusta in six weeks, a place he's won on four previous occasions, although not since 2006. Maybe he wins there. I'd be wrong if that happens.

When Tiger Woods parted ways with swing instructor Chris Como in 2017, it left him on his own. "I need to do this by myself," Woods claimed.

I'll be wrong if, at any point in 2018, he wins a tournament, because I don't think he can win without having a world-class instructor by his side.

This isn't meant to be a massive overreaction to what happened at the Genesis Open on Thursday and Friday, where Woods shot 72-76 and missed the cut. He all but predicted it himself in his Tuesday press conference when he acknowledged that his history at Riveria CC in Los Angeles wasn't all that impressive. Golf's weird like that. Some guys love a certain golf course and play it well, others can't break 70 at the place.

That Tiger missed the cut in his second tournament after a one-year layoff isn't a big deal at all.

That he can't hit the golf ball straight off the tee, though, is a big deal.

Woods can talk all he wants about his "feels" and the need to "do it on my own" and the other jargon he uses to come to terms with the fact that he's the only major champion on the PGA Tour who doesn't have an instructor on his payroll. It's all eyewash.

Useless.

I was right. Woods needs an instuctor by his side or this comeback of his, which, frankly, has been impressive in a lot of ways, will never reach its potential.

Tiger's short game and work around the greens has been spectacular in the two events he's played thus far. If we're being honest, he would have missed the cut at Torrey Pines by six shots if not for a half dozen remarkable par-saves on Thursday and Friday.

Until Friday's round at Genesis, where his putter betrayed him with three, back-nine three putts, his work with the flat stick had also been commendable.

Prior to his back surgery in 2017, Tiger's short game was a mess. He had the chipping yips, remember ("He'll never get over those, ever," said Golf Channel's Brandel Chamblee), and was starting to show signs of nerves and breaking down when he didn't hit a green in regulation.

Contrary to Chamblee's assertion, Tiger did get over the chipping yips. His short game in two tournaments has been an asset, not a fault.

But his work off the tee has been awful, if we're calling it like it is.

That's mostly about his use of the driver, although on Friday at Riveria CC, he missed several fairways on the opening nine when he used an iron off the tee.

He did smash a few down the fairway, it's fair to note. He smoked a 3-wood on the par-4 tenth hole that reached the fringe of the green and then two-putted for a nice birdie there.

Tiger hit a perfect 310-yard drive on Riveria's difficult closing hole and zipped a pitching wedge to 15-feet. For just a second there, it was Tiger circa 2008.

But those two examples were outliers, for the most part.

And here's the thing. When Tiger misses a fairway, he's not missing it by a yard or three.

He's missing it so badly, they could build a Chick fil-A between the first cut of rough and where they eventually locate his golf ball.

In other words, he's hitting it off the planet with at least 50% of his tee balls, mostly with the driver.

It's one thing if Woods isn't healthy. But by all accounts, his back is doing great. He's generating more than enough clubhead speed to keep up with the longer hitters on TOUR, and while he might not be hitting 180 yard 8-irons anymore, his health isn't a concern at this point.

This isn't about health. It's about his golf swing.

Tiger knows his body, yes. No one would argue that.

Tiger knows his "feels", yes. It's a goofy term, admittedly, but I get it, as a golfer.

Tiger know his move through the ball and how he likes to hit the ball, sure.

But here's what I know: He can't fix himself off the tee. If he could, he would have by now.

Tiger better send Butch Harmon a blank check (and who knows if Butch would even take it...) or perhaps even lower himself to working with Peter Kostis, the CBS golf analyst who has several players in his teaching stable, including red-hot Chez Reavie.

I don't know the full list of names that would qualify as a "world class instructor", but Woods better find one.

Heck, even Chamblee himself has said recently, "I could fix Tiger in two minutes". That might have been hyperbole, but Chamblee does have a keen eye for the golf swing. He's not an "instructor", if you will, but he won on the PGA Tour and has watched and anaylzed Woods enough over the years to have an opinion worth hearing.

Woods, of course, has a long history of being stubborn when it comes to making amends with folks who betrayed him. That might leave those three I listed, Harmon, Kostis and Chamblee, out of the picture if, in fact, Tiger ever goes looking for another instructor again.

But he needs to find someone. Quickly.

He can't win if he doesn't get help with his driver and play off the tee.

I hate to say I told you so, Tiger.

But I told you so.


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dale williams aims
the terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his third season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2017-18 season.


terps shouldn't overlook rutgers tonight


If the Maryland Terrapins think they can just show up tonight at 8 pm and claim a victory over a lowly (3-12 and next to last in the Big Ten conference) Rutgers team, they might become the Scarlet Knight’s fourth Big Ten victim this season.

Coach Steve Pikiell has a tough team that plays hard against everyone, everywhere. They don’t always play well, but they play hard.

The wins don’t accumulate because they frequently have trouble getting the ball into the basket, but they will rebound and scrap on the defensive end for 40 minutes.

When your team is 3-12 in conference play, and has no hope for a post-season tournament, but you choose to come back from a dislocated knee cap in just two weeks, you are tough. That act by Rutgers sophomore, Eugene Omoruyi, defines their team.

If only they had some offensive talent to go along with their defensive prowess.

Logging the most average minutes per-game in all of Division I basketball, Anthony Cowan will again be called upon to help the Terps tonight in their home game with pesky Rutgers.

Earlier this year, Rutgers played Michigan State in East Lansing. In that game Michigan State attempted 34 foul shots. Rutgers attempted only 15 from the charity stripe.

The Spartans hit 47% of their three-point attempts while Rutgers knocked down just 28% of their deep balls.

Four Scarlet Knights fouled out and another player had four fouls. No MSU players had five fouls. With numbers like that you would have to assume that Michigan State beat Rutgers by a score that was similar to the thirty-point beat-down that they put on Maryland in early January.

That assumption would be dead wrong. The score was tied 59-59 at the end of regulation. Michigan State would go on to win 76-72 in overtime. Rutgers out-rebounded one of the best rebounding teams in the country that night.

The box score for the Rutgers match-up with Purdue showed numbers similar to the Michigan State game. Purdue would win by just two points, but like Michigan State, they got out-rebounded (37-25) by Rutgers.

Consistent efforts on the glass and on defense are why this Rutgers team is ranked 13th in the NCAA in scoring defense and 6th nationally in total rebounds. They are tough, but they aren’t effective offensively.

The top three Scarlet Knight scorers all shoot less than 40% from the field.

Cory Sanders will take the most shots, but he hits only 38% from the floor and just 23% from 3-point range. Sanders is a fantastic athlete who can create his own shot off of the dribble, but his percentages are low because he is often forced to take bad shots at the end of his team’s offensive possessions. He gets 14.5 points per game.

Sanders' backcourt mate, Geo Baker, is not as athletic, and also connects on just 38% of his shots from the floor. Baker is not afraid to launch a wild shot or two and that tendency shows up in his shooting percentages. He is third on the team with an average of 11 points per game.

Both guards, Sanders and Baker, average 32.9 minutes per game.

Rutgers’ second leading scorer, Deshawn Freeman, didn’t play in the Scarlet Knight’s most recent game. The reason seemed to be disciplinary, but that could not be confirmed. His shooting numbers are 39.9% from the field, and just 14% from the three-point line. Freeman is his team’s leading rebounder with 7.5 per game.

The Rutgers big men are of various shapes and sizes. They all rebound, but none are proficient with their offensive moves.

The three starters in their last game were Eugene Omoruyi (6’7” and 234 lbs.), Issa Thiam (6’10” 190), and Mamadou Doucoure (6’9” 243lbs).

Thiam, at 6’10”, prefers the outside game and does very little damage on the interior. He is the best three-point option on this team. Candido Sa and Shaquille Doorson will both see time. Doorson is 7’0” and tips the scales at 275. Like the other Rutgers “bigs”, they don’t offer much on the offensive end.

Points are going to be at a premium tonight and if Maryland is going to be successful on the offensive end it will be a result of good ball movement and sharp offensive sets.

One-on-one moves will be lost more than they are won tonight. With the Rutgers half-court defense being so good, and their half-court offense so bad, I believe both teams will look for fast-break and transition points whenever possible.

The fact that Rutgers has so many interchangeable parts at the 3, 4, and 5 spots enables them to keep guys rested while still applying relentless defensive pressure in the half court. They aren’t a pressing team though.

I’d like to analyze the individual matchups, but I have no clue what they could be.

Sanders and Anthony Cowan are similar in size, but I don’t see Mark Turgeon putting that work load on his already overworked point guard. Cowan leads all of D1 basketball in minutes played.

Perhaps Morsell gets that assignment and Cowan will check Baker. From there, who knows? We still don’t know if Freeman will play for Rutgers.

What I do know is that Maryland’s outside game had better be on target tonight, because I don’t see an abundance of points in the paint for the Terps. They also need to keep the rebounding deficit that is likely to happen to a bare minimum. That means everybody has to keep a butt on their man.

I’d like to see more of Michal Cekovsky and Bruno Fernando on the floor together. While realizing that Ceko is coming off an injury, and that having your two big men on the floor at the same time extends your rotation, Turgeon needs to start prepping this team for the Big Ten Tournament and his only chance to make a run is to have those two playing together for significant stretches.

Yes, it means that either Sean Obi or Joshua Tomaic will see time at center, or Maryland could go small for a while, but it’s a necessary evil in my mind if you want to stop giving up extra possessions due to offensive rebounds.

The Terps should win tonight’s game just because they have better shooters.

How close the game will be is tough for me to predict. Will the Terps play the team that took Michigan State to overtime, or the one that lost by 22 to Indiana at home?

With the line holding steady at 11.5 points, I’m going to quietly proclaim that Rutgers gives the Terps a game and the margin finishes with a 61-57 score. Terps win by four at home.

KELLY banner ad

how well do you know baltimore sports trivia?


50 years of Baltimore sports.

From 1968 through 2018.

How well do you know it?

Where did Justin Tucker play college football? If you know that sort of "trivial stuff", you and your two friends could win big money or prizes in #DMD's Sports Trivia Contest.

Our Baltimore Sports Trivia Contest is officially open for business, brought to you by our friends at Glory Days Grill. And if you and two friends win the contest on April 9, you'll walk away with $2,000.

Not a bad return for a $75 entry fee.

The details can be found by clicking "Trivia Contest" at the top of the page. All of the qualifying dates and rules and regulations are listed there.

In summary, though, it's pretty easy. You and two friends form a team. Without the aid of your cell phone or the internet, you'll register for one of four qualifying rounds and then answer 25 questions over a one-hour period.

The top four teams from each qualifier advance to the Finals on April 9.

Here are three sample questions you might find, just to give you an idea of the depth of knowlege you'll need for the contest:

What was the final score of the Ravens' AFC championship game win at New England in 2013?

Name the colleges these Ravens played for: Dennis Pitta, Todd Heap, Marshal Yanda, Derrick Mason and Justin Tucker.

In no specific order, name every Orioles manager (official managers, not someone filling in for one day while a manager was out sick, etc.) from 1968 through 2018.

If you knew those answers, or at least some of the answers, you're on your way. Get your team together and enter the contest. There will be questions harder and more detailed than those and questions that are a tad easier, too.

We'll throw in a couple of Blast, Clippers, Skipjacks questions, but not many. And we'll also add some local flavor by asking a question or two about local college players or high school athletes from Charm City.

At least 80% of the questions will center on the Ravens, Orioles and Colts.

Anything from 1968 through 2018 is game.

We have some awesome prizes for the top six finishers. And you and your team will be featured on a #DMD podcast if you're the champions!

Entries are open. Get your team 3-person team together and register today.

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Friday
February 16
r logo#DMDfacebook logovolume xxxxiii
issue 16
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are the orioles low on money?


You probably read the headline and laughed, right?

The Orioles...low on money?

How is that possible? They raked in approximately $253 million back in 2016, for example. How could they be low on cash barely one full year later?

I'm not saying they are. I'm just asking the question, that's all.

In case you missed it, the Birds actually signed a real player yesterday when they inked free-agent right-handed pitcher Andrew Cashner to a two-year, $16 million deal.

The signing was met with the perfect reaction on social media. Most folks see it as a positive ("He's better than what we have") but clearly understand the O's have a long way to go.

Cashner had a nice season in Texas a year ago, posting a 3.40 ERA. But baseball stat-nerds will tell you his "peripherals" weren't all that great in 2017, meaning when you dig deeper into his data, you see some troubling signs.

The stat that sticks out in bold for Cashner was his strikeouts-per-nine-innings-pitched, which dropped to 4.6, against his walks-per-nine-innings, which finished up at 3.5. Of starting pitchers who qualified in 2017, it was the worst ratio in the majors.

In need of a couple of veteran arms to go with Bundy and Gausman, the O's secured one yesterday with the signing of Andrew Cashner, who had a solid season in Texas in 2017.

There are gobs of other stats that would be confusing to normal people like you and me (ERA-/FIP-/xFIP-) that don't bode well for Cashner, either. One of these days I'll get a Calvert Hall grad to come around and explain them all to us in greater detail.

So, the Cashner signing is what it is. He's a proven, veteran major league starter, which is precisely what the Orioles needed. They need one or two more of them between now and the March 29 season opener.

He's not going to win the Cy Young award in 2018 but he probably isn't going to be Wade Miley II, either. I saw several people on Twitter claiming the Orioles "got a lot better" on Thursday with the Cashner signing. I think I'd let the season play out a little bit before I make that claim.

But Cashner is much better than Gabriel Ynoa or Mike Wright. End of story.

That said, an interesting note came out of the Cashner signing.

The Orioles actually deferred $3 million of the $16 million they'll pay him until 2020-2022.

He'll get $5 million this year, $8 million in 2019 and would receive $10 million in the 2020 campaign if he pitches a combined total of 340 innings in 2018 and 2019. Interestingly, Cashner's deal for 2020 becomes a "player option" if he pitches 360 or more innings in 2018 and 2019.

Anyway...back to the $3 million in deferred money.

I realize it's easy for me to play with someone else's cash, but are the Orioles that low on money that deferring three million bucks is important to them?

Unless they did that just to say "we won" in the bargaining room with Cashner and his agent (and, sure, that possibility exists with the Birds), why would they defer a measly $3 million on his deal?

That's a red flag of sorts. To me, anyway.

The club spent $163 million on player payroll in 2017.

Assuming -- with a slight drop-off in attendance included -- their team revenue was roughly in the $250 million range a year ago, what's the worry over $3 million?

Oh, and with the departures of guys like Tillman, Jimenez, Hardy, Miley and other vets, the Birds were able to slice about $52 million out of their 2017 payroll heading into the 2018 campaign.

There are always adjustments for arbitration deals in those numbers, but just a quick look at the numbers involved says this: The Orioles had a significant amount of "new" money to spend for this upcoming season over the winter and hardly spent any of it. And now that they have, they deferred $3 million of it until two years from now.

What's going on?

I don't know the answer, but I'm curious.

I guess we can see now why they haven't made a contract offer to the likes of Machado, Schoop or Jones, huh?

If they're deferring $3 million to Andrew Cashner, they're certainly not giving Machado $30 million a year or sliding a $100 million, 6-year deal in front of Schoop to keep him from entering his free-agent-to-be campaign in 2019.

Yes, attendance has decreased a bit over the last few years, but they did raise ticket prices in 2016, mostly to offset the $161 million they gave to Chris Davis (and they deferred a large chunk in that deal, too, remember).

They're still raking in MASN dollars, although they only receive money from cable owners who are still "active". Once someone drops cable TV, the Birds can no longer fleece them for $5.00 a month.

But does lower attendance and a slight decline in cable TV owners equal such a massive drop-off in revenue that the club doesn't have $16 million to give to Andrew Cashner over two seasons?

Or was all of that just fancy negotiating by the Orioles and way to "win" the negotiations with the right-hander?

I'm just asking.

I don't know what's going on, exactly, but I see things that look odd.

More money to spend. But less money actually being spent.

Something's not adding up...

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news and notes


Things are tightening up a bit for the Washington Capitals, so last night's 5-2 win at Minnesota was a good one.

The Caps currently lead the Metropolitan Division by just three points, although the second-place team, Pittsburgh, has played 59 games while Barry Trotz's team has played just 57.

Washington's lead on the team currently occupying the final wild card spot (Carolina) is 10 points.

Alex Ovechkin had another goal last night and Andre Burakovsky awoke from his season-long slumber to score a sweet end-to-end tally for just his 6th goal of the campaign.

Had the Caps not squandered a late lead in Winnipeg on Tuesday night and lost in OT there, this current road trip would be off to a great start.

As it is, Washington heads to Chicago for a Saturday night encounter with the Blackhawks, who are in last place in the Central Division and in need of a late-season miracle just to make the playoffs.

5th year grad student Jairus Lyles has led UMBC to one of their best regular seasons in nearly a decade, as the Retrievers are currently second in conference play with four games remaining.

The Towson Tigers men's basketball team picked up an important win last night at SECU Arena, turning back a spirited effort to trim the Blue Hens, 67-65.

Towson is now 8-7 in the CAA (Delaware fell to 4-11 with the loss) and is still fighting with the likes of William & Mary and Hofstra for CAA tournament seeding early next month.

Mike Morsell had 19 points for Towson last night, while Brian Starr chipped in with 17.

The Tigers are one of just three teams to beat CAA-leading College of Charleston this season, but it's been and up and down year for Pat Skerry's team thus far. They can fix it all with a run in the conference tournament, though.

And speaking of conference tournaments, the UMBC men will host a quarterfinal game in the America East tournament in early March.

The Retrievers are currently 9-3 in the conference (trailing only Vermont at 12-0) and have locked up at least one of the top four seeds heading into tournament play.

America East is one of the conferences that hands out home games in their tournament, with the team owning the better regular season conference record earning the right to play in their own building.

The Retrievers boast a quality lineup, led by Jairus Lyles and Joe Sherburne. Some might argue that a mid-season switch to a new arena at UMBC wasn't the best move from a competitive standpoint (new lighting, different sight lines, etc.) but other than Vermont, no one in the conference has been as consistent as UMBC has thus far in the 2017-2018 campaign.

Three of UMBC's four remaining regular season games are at home, starting with this Sunday (1 pm) against Albany.

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50 years of Baltimore sports.

From 1968 through 2018.

How well do you know it?

Where did Justin Tucker play college football? If you know that sort of "trivial stuff", you and your two friends could win big money or prizes in #DMD's Sports Trivia Contest.

Our Baltimore Sports Trivia Contest is officially open for business, brought to you by our friends at Glory Days Grill. And if you and two friends win the contest on April 9, you'll walk away with $2,000.

Not a bad return for a $75 entry fee.

The details can be found by clicking "Trivia Contest" at the top of the page. All of the qualifying dates and rules and regulations are listed there.

In summary, though, it's pretty easy. You and two friends form a team. Without the aid of your cell phone or the internet, you'll register for one of four qualifying rounds and then answer 25 questions over a one-hour period.

The top four teams from each qualifier advance to the Finals on April 9.

Here are three sample questions you might find, just to give you an idea of the depth of knowlege you'll need for the contest:

What was the final score of the Ravens' AFC championship game win at New England in 2013?

Name the colleges these Ravens played for: Dennis Pitta, Todd Heap, Marshal Yanda, Derrick Mason and Justin Tucker.

In no specific order, name every Orioles manager (official managers, not someone filling in for one day while a manager was out sick, etc.) from 1968 through 2018.

If you knew those answers, or at least some of the answers, you're on your way. Get your team together and enter the contest. There will be questions harder and more detailed than those and questions that are a tad easier, too.

We'll throw in a couple of Blast, Clippers, Skipjacks questions, but not many. And we'll also add some local flavor by asking a question or two about local college players or high school athletes from Charm City.

At least 80% of the questions will center on the Ravens, Orioles and Colts.

Anything from 1968 through 2018 is game.

We have some awesome prizes for the top six finishers. And you and your team will be featured on a #DMD podcast if you're the champions!

Entries are open. Get your team 3-person team together and register today.

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#dmd comments


Eric     February 21
As Ed Frankovic would tell you Drew, Holtby having a stellar year. Playing with2 rookies on D and hobbled Orpik is causing lots more quality chances against. Last night 3 layups and a tap in

mike from catonsville     February 21
Biff, great eulogy (you should give it in the church as well). One of the keys of a good eulogy is that when finished for those there for the family and maybe not knowing the person personally you feel as if you did. You accomplished that today with your remembrances.



The closer 80 gets it sure doesn't seem that old. Sorry he didn't have another 10 to give the world and his friends.

JohnInEssex     February 21
GREAT write-up on Dr. Bimstefer. Was a patient of his a LONG time ago - he had an office in Highlandtown. Coming from Essex on Eastern Ave, it was near Smitty's restaurant on the left, before you get to City Hospital (now Bayview) on the right.

I just remember it being a nice experience going to his office, and would remember that office often when passing thru that area all these years later. Didn't realize this other side of him. What a cool guy to know. THANKS for sharing all of his fun yet thought provoking quotes and stories!

BFD (Big Fat Daddy)     February 21
Drew - Very nice write up on Dr Dave.



To Drew's followers - I have 3 Ravens PSLs for sale. Price is $500 each. Scroll down to my ad.

Tom J     February 21
I couldn’t agree more with the good doctor about the soft butter. Never made sense to me either..!! Great stories Drew.

unitastoberry     February 21
I opined the other day when I saw Cashner welcomed to the club by some young blonde who works for the team he mentioned he had been in touch with Brady since the fall. No mention of Buck or Dan.

@Radiogal I heard Van Halens "Hot for Fiber" its moving!

Sorry about your friend Drew......My condolences to the family

Vince Fiduccia     February 21
Great story Drew. Sounds like a terrific person to spend 18 with.


MM     February 21
Good story about your friend Doctor Dave. Enjoyed reading it.

Steve from Cape Coral     February 21
If it's true that Anderson is now running the show, than he needs to get his butt in front of a mic and start to explain to the fans what the hell is going on ??? If Anderson is the direction the O's plan on going with, than this club is going to go down the toilet real fast !!!

James     February 21
Today's Juice is a must listen for sports fans in town. That was DF on the radio back in the day. Good to hear you with that spirit in your voice about the Orioles.

DELRAY RICK     February 21
VONN wil not have to go the WHITE HOUSE because its for winners ONLY.

H     February 20
Lefty deserves to be in the basketball hof. Wherever he went he turned basketball into a religion at that school.

Radio Gal     February 20
MFC

I don't care who does it...it is weird. Maybe they should change the lyrics. Mick could sing "I can't get no.....grey haired action"... or Bruce could sing "Power Scooter Road".

Or Led Zepplin could sing "Rampway to heaven'.



Join in on the fun and give your own geriatric NEW lyrics to older rockers.

mike from catonsville     February 20
@Radio Gal (or guy- Gal maybe Jen Royle), be careful the owner of this site will follow Bruce religiously and he's 68. You are treading on thin ice there.


DR (the original)     February 20
Terps have been playing that passing game/motion offense for several games now. Personally, I like it way more than the stuff that Turgeon usually runs, but there's more than one way to play basketball.

radio gal     February 20
I missed out on the LF thread? Shucky Darns. But the new radio station is now officially an Oldies Station. Dreary interviews from a non fully formed Fan Boy from years and years ago. Interviews with the most peculiar life form on planet earth.....Social Security check receiving Rock Stars. Could never understand 65 plus guys jumping around on stage and singing songs that are about youthful exuberance. Just step back and think about that....it is odd.



Still reeling from the "big announcement' The LF promised 20 hours of sports and 15-20 hours of other stuff. Well, he has rarely done 20 hours of new content of sports in a week before....so there is that...but it still is good to see that his interviews are "blowing up" on Youtube with views in the 6 to12 range. Is there such a thing as anti-viral. Or the dreaded one viewer..and we can guess who that is. And what happened to the new not sticking to sports? Why not a change in the Website. Nothing changes in terms of real work. I guess the COO and sometime contributor to the DMD comments section could pull his weight...but it is verified on twitter that he was trolling and trying to get a "Bachelor" reject to come to Baltimore. Being the Chief Operating Officer of a real company leaves little time for stalking hot reality stars.

unitastoberry     February 20
The 70s Bullets were a very good team. But they never got to the promised land until they got Elvin Hayes. When they had the Pearl they were spectacular but could never get by those great Knicks teams of the same time period and then there was Kareem and his schooling of Unseld in the 4 and out championship series with the Bucks.

Howie N     February 20
CO

If you are being serious, the Terps did win with D. They were tenacious and it led to easy points, that is how you score forty one....and someone got into the head of Wiley. He has never played like that. Effort is important. He was trying last night. Expect tons more minutes the next game. Also their offense was different. Didn't see as much as the Harlem Globetrotter weave as before. The O started closer to the basket. Good interior passing. And Bruno? He is suddenly a good defensive rebounder....and defensive rebounding is good defense....in fact that is Turgeons biggest weakness as a coach.....some how he can't teach defensive rebounding. It looked better last night.



Why were the Bullets "good" through out most of the 70's? They had one of the greatest 3 defensive rebounders of all time in Unseld and a guy who loved getting rebounds[because they enhanced his stats] in Elvin Hayes[still my favorite player ever]. Rebounding is a way under rated "skill".

Casual Observer     February 20
Sometimes I wonder if Dale Williams is watching the same game that we all watch. Maryland scored 41 points in the 2nd half last night but yet they won with "defense". ????

RG     February 20
Never went to a Blast game back in the day (didn't move to Baltimore until 1991) but I'm curious what the ticket prices were back then for those sold out games?



Thanks.

Donald     February 20
Hey Drew, thanks for sharing that story about Paul Kitson. Like many fans he was always one of my favorites. I was wondering if you would do your all time top MISL team from the hey day of the league? Or maybe your top ten or something. I'd love to see who you pick.

TA     February 20
Kitson died in 2005 at age 49 of a heart attack. He was coaching a youth soccer team at the time.

Jeff G.     February 20
That was a great story about Paul Kitson. He was one of my faves. I remember one time he brought a snake on the field after a game!

When did he pass away and how?

unitastoberry     February 20
The Blast phenom in Baltimore of the 80s was insane. Those tickets were almost as hot as Van Halen in their prime on a local level of course. I think it was spurred on by the Colts moving and just complete boredom after baseball season in the pre info /internet age.

DF     February 20
If anyone else has an Android phone and listened to "The Juice" today, please let me know if you were able to hear the entire 15 minutes or did the podcast cut off early in the segment about Chris Tillman. Thank you.

HERMAN     February 20
When Gary Williams left it feels like he took the heart of the program with him. Rooting for MD hasn't been the same since. Gary had that intangible quality, that spark, that instilled hope built on confidence, and trust. That you were going to get a great effort on the floor. You might not win, you might be the underdog, but if anyone could find a way, Gary would. Under current leadership you know in your heart the hope is misplaced.

I wish we could go back to those days when he'd come out of the tunnel and raise that fist, eighty year old alumni were ready to go out for the jump ball when he pumped that arm.

When Gary left, that spirit left.

Brian M.     February 20
Drew,

Always loved Kitson and the Blast as a seoson ticket holder back in the 80's.

I was in the "Arena" on Sunday watching Monster Truck Jam and can't believe we don't have some new state of the art facility, but this is Baltimore, MD.

I felt bad for the drivers of those trucks not really being able to get into the throttle out of fear they jump the stands.

More Blast stories Drew please!

mike from catonsville     February 19
Interesting that Biff has taken down the Nestor comments.It's his site and he has the right to do what he wants. I will always defend that but the comments didn't seem out of line.



I will say, however, I doubt seriously it was Nestor but the cadence, style, was spot on accurate. So I applaud that ingenuity.

unitastoberry     February 19
Tilly appears to be done but you never know. I'd like to make 3 million guaranteed after I stunk out the joint the last 2 years. Stranger things have happened but the odds here are not good. I always thought it was more than his shoulder too perhaps some personal problems? Lets hope its all behind him.

Eric     February 19
Tillman signs with the Orioles. @itsahooded4iron called that one two months ago! Way to go Drew!

Jason M     February 19
Dan heads north after this season. Showalter deserves an extension early in Spring. If Brady is getting the keys to the Orange Corvette next year, I think he needs Showalter's steadying influence and credibility.

John In Westminster     February 19
Interesting point on Nebraska being very similar to Maryland. Only oversight is the fact the Huskers did beat the Terps a week ago. In addition, Nebraska did beat Michigan while the Terps have no wins against Top 25 competition. Still, an 11-4 conference record in the ACC or Big12 is much more meaningful than the B1G.

Henry     February 19
Congratulations to Don Mellinger for joining #DMD. He's a good man. Welcome Don!

Mark     February 19
You nailed it Drew. Brady will be in Dan's seat next season and there's no way Buck will work for Brady, so that's the end of him in Baltimore.

TJ     February 19
Buck is gone.

Dan is gone.

Because Angelos doesn't have a clue how good those two have been in Baltimore.

Next story.

Ghost of JROB     February 19
Buck and Dan (and their agents) are likely well aware of their status with the Orioles beyond the 2018 season. They are under contract for their current roles through the end of the season. Perhaps they each would rather leave for other opportunities…but they are under contract through the end of the season…and like professionals, will honor the contract (otherwise breaching it).



Drew? As GM of the Blast…was it common practice to keep the media informed of player/coach negotiations? Did you ever have a valuable player play the final year of his contract without an extension already in place beyond the final year? Did you give an annual “State of the Blast” press conference?


GM     February 19
Good insight today Drew. Always enjoy your work. Glen Marino

TimD in Timonium     February 19
I was lucky enough to be in the audience when Buck spoke & took questions for well over an hour at a Calvert Hall event in January 2013. At the time, I thought he came across as one of the most intelligent and insightful managers I'd ever listened to. Still think that way. He deserves better for what he's done here. Just like Adam Jones.


Davey     February 19
Your last line of the O's story hit the nail on the head. Brady and Buck don't get along. Brady will hire a new manager. Another classic O's screw up.

Mike from catonsville     February 19
The headline yesterday was so appropriate for:

Fergie



WTF? Doing her best Marilyn Monroe Happy Bithday Mr President imitation. Thankfully only saw it this morning as I couldn’t watch any of the game especially after Kevin Hart’s channeling of Don Rickles. Thankfully I had a choice watching the X games, oh , I meant the Olympics .

hoppy     February 18
There is hope for the brain washed. This is a serious, sober take on the situation. The silly(are the O's are low on money) the lazy(Angelos is evil) and ridiculous(the MASN fleecing of fans). All of that has disappeared. No absurd suggestion that a tank job is forthcoming

Since ALL of this just spitballing. Whose to say that negotiations are on "double secret" status. That actually makes some sense.


Bob from Hereford     February 18
Great to see Bubba win again.

Eric     February 18
Haha Dan hit it on the head. No mystery here, cheapskate owner+8000 people in stands 5 nights a week=no soup for you players!

RJ     February 18
Tampa DFA'd all star Corey Dickerson, so O's not the only head scratching organization in baseball. Yet, MLB keeps raking in the dough, so who are the real idiots here?

Steve of Pimlico     February 18
Not having Manny and/or Jones on the team next year will result in a significant drop in ticket sales. Sort of like my favorite Greek owned dinner not having gyros and Greek salad

slump     February 18
i know it sounds crazy because I can't stand DD but who can blame him for doing nothing with this team. He was offered another position with another organization which was a promotion and a pay raise but PA told him no way you are leaving and DD was forced to stay here. If that happened to any of us at our job how hard would we work until our contract was up. I am by no means justifying this pathetic off season. I believe the club is getting 50 mil from the sale of MLB digital media. Where is that money going. Not making any inquiries is bush league

Ghost of JROB     February 18
MM...I count 2018 as a "year". We could substitute "season" if you prefer, but he is Orioles property for one more year (or season).

MM     February 18
@Ghost, Jones doesn't have a "year" left unless you're considering 2018 a "year". He and Machado are both free agents after 2018.

Ghost of JROB     February 18
At the risk of earning DF’s “Dumb Comment of the Day”:



PB’s idea of offering 3 years and $25m would be considered “an insult” by Machado’s agent (and DF for that matter). There is no guesswork with Machado. He wants to be a free agent. A courtesy call is more “bush league” than no call at all.



With Jones…what’s the hurry? He still has a year on his contract. The market is correcting itself with regard to guys “on the 14th hole” of their career (he will be 33 in August). If Jones wants to be an Oriole for holes 15 through 18, and his agent has any sense at all…the agent calls Dan Duquette and says “here’s what we have in mind…any interest”. If Dan says “we aren’t interested”, then Jones can truthfully tell the media (tweet or whatever) the Orioles told them they have no interest. The fans can react however they want with that (truthful) information.



The phone rings both ways…mind you!


Dan     February 18
Drew wants to know what's going on with the Orioles. Here's what: Angelos is cheap.

Thanks. Have a nice day.





Drew Is Here.

Every Weekday.





breakfast bytes

NHL: Caps fall behind 3-0. lose at home to Tampa Bay, 4-2.

Baseball: Rays fire sale continues, Souza goes to Diamondbacks in 3-team deal.

Olympics: Vonn wins bronze medal; U.S. hockey eliminated by Czech Republic, 3-2, in a shootout.

College hoops: #2 Michigan State blisters Illinois, 81-61.


Adam Hadwin