Saturday
April 20
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#1699



about that oshie hit...


I didn't know you guys cared so much.

Several commenters checked in on Friday and asked about my opinion on the T.J. Oshie hit from Thursday night's 2-1 Caps loss at Carolina. I do have an opinion on it.

I'm not sure you'll like it, but that never stopped me before.

In situations like the one we saw on Thursday night, I try and let a day or two pass before I render a "final verdict". I take into consideration what I thought happened "in the moment", then wait to see if there's any sort of announcement on an injury or long-term impact, and also give myself more time to simmer down and see the event from 35,000 feet rather than make a knee jerk, over-the-top reaction.

Here's what I initially thought on Thursday night: "It wasn't all that bad."

As I watched the play, it looked to me like two guys pretty much going at full speed and Warren Foegele of the Hurricanes clearly crosschecks T.J. Oshie in the back as he nears the boards. The Caps broadcast team went nuts in calling out Foegele -- as they're paid to do -- and social media lit up with fans of the defending champs calling for Foegele to be suspended. That's also a very normal reaction.

Carolina rookie Warren Foegele has been a pain in the Caps' side in the four games thus far, scoring goals and injuring T.J. Oshie on Thursday night.

But it didn't look to me like Foegele "lined him up", the way, say, Tom Wilson has done numerous times in his career. I don't bring up Wilson to compare the two. In fairness to Wilson, a lot of his head-hunting moves take place in open ice, not along the boards. I mention Wilson because time and time again I've seen him get a guy in the crosshairs from 20 or 30 feet away and then level him with a hit to the head or upper body area.

I don't think Warren Foegele lined up Oshie. Did he crosscheck him from behind? He did. Should it have been a 5-minute major rather than a 2-minute minor? I thought so when it happened and still think so now.

But today, like Thursday, I don't see it as a reckless hit that warranted a suspension.

It's playoff hockey. Guys are going to get hit. Some of those hits are going to be punishing. Some, unfortunately, occasionally result in injury.

And to put all of this in context, I also didn't think Nazem Kadri's hit on Alex Ovechkin back in the 2017 playoffs was suspension-worthy, either. Maybe I'm just a guy who thinks your head has to be taken off your body in order for the offending player to be suspended. I'll wear that merit badge if that's the case. But I thought Kadri's hit, while punishing, wasn't worthy of a suspension.

Warren Foegele played 77 games for the Hurricanes this season and had 20 penalty minutes.

He doesn't seem like the kind of guy who would intentionally injure another player. At the very least, the stats don't support that sort of behavior.

It's one thing if he has a long rap sheet or has, say, 128 penalty minutes in 63 games like Tom Wilson does. Wilson gets in a fight every week. Foegele basically got a penalty every tenth game he played in this season.

I just don't see a pattern of behavior with Foegele that suggests he was intentionally trying to injure T.J. Oshie on Thursday night. Bad hit near the boards? Definitely. Penalty? Most certainly. Suspension? Not in my book.

There's no doubt the Oshie injury could be a turning point for the Caps, even if they're fortunate enough to skate past the Hurricanes in this series. They'll have to man-up without Oshie, who has been one of the team's best offensive players over the last two seasons. But Caps enthusiasts will also remember they won a couple of playoff series' a year ago without Nicklas Backstrom. It can be done, in other words.

Oh, and if I'm Warren Foegele, I have the equipment guy put my head on a swivel before tonight's Game 5 in D.C.

Tom Wilson's not happy...

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coughlin lights up ramsey over missed workouts


Jacksonville Jaguars Vice President Tom Coughlin knows how to prepare for national "420 Day". He lit up Jalen Ramsey on Friday afternoon without even mentioning his name.

The Jaguars had a week's worth of "voluntary workouts" that started last Monday and ended yesterday. "Voluntary", of course, is just that. It means the team is holding a workout and would like you to attend but because the Collective Bargaing Agreement protects the players in matters such as these, a player not attending a voluntary workout can not be punished.

But that doesn't mean a player not attending can't be called out and criticized by the team, either.

So, Coughlin did just that, without mentioning either Ramsey or linebacker Telvin Smith, who were the only two signed players to not show up in Jacksonville for the workouts.

Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey fired back at the Jaguars on Friday after the organization questioned his work ethic after he missed a week of voluntary workouts.

"We're very close to 100 percent attendance, and, quite frankly, our players should be here building the concept of team, working hard side-by-side, constructing our bond of togetherness, formulating our collective priorities and goals," Coughlin said. "Success in the NFL demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish and insensitive to the real values of team. The hard work that many try to avoid is the major building block for the development of an outstanding football team."

Coughlin then added, "It's not about rights and privileges. It's about obligations and responsibility, and the question is: Can we count on you?"

That's the one that probably set Ramsey off. It took him a couple of hours to fire back on social media.

Ramsey went to Twitter and explained: “Fully aware” & “voluntary” meaning I don’t HAVE to be there BUT they know the EXACT REASONS I am not. My teammates know it’s ALL love & know I’ll be ready when it’s time!"

Someone needs to give Ramsey a refresher course. Just because the team is "fully aware" of why you aren't in attendance doesn't make it right in their eyes. If you sleep through your alarm on Monday and call the office to tell them you're going to be an hour late to work, just because you "made them aware" doesn't mean they're happy with you.

I don't know how Ramsey doesn't understand that.

Now, he's right about the workouts being voluntary. That clearly means his attendance is not mandatory.

But Coughlin didn't ease up on his criticism of Ramsey, even though he never mentioned his name. And it was a full blast that Coughlin gave, too. He didn't mince words, calling the two who missed the workouts "lazy, selfish and insensitive".

The issue facing the football team seems to be one connected to leadership. If Ramsey is the leader of the team (and I don't know that he is, hence the word "if") he should have taken it upon himself to be in Jacksonville for the workouts. Nothing does a team more good to have the leaders there leading the charge. And nothing harms a team more than the leader saying, "You guys go ahead and put in the work, I think I'll skip this one."

And let's face it. Football players don't really want to be running around in shorts and tee shirts in mid-April when the season is still four months away. But the team sees value in having them all under one roof for five straight days. And Coughlin's right in the sense that everyone should put forth their best effort for those five days.

Perhaps Coughlin and the Jaguars are still bristling at Ramsey for his comments about opposing NFL quarterbacks last year. All that did was put a bullseye on the Jacksonville defense in 2018, and on Ramsey as well, and neither party played up to expectations last season.

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#dmd comments


eric     April 20
The guy deserved a suspension but who cares, he's a nothing player. Loss of Kempny and Oshie are knockout blows. Caps got contributions from everybody last postseason and so far are getting it from nobody this post season. It happens, as TB,Pitt and Calgary stars will attest from the golf course today. As for Coughlin all I can say is boo hoo, take it up with the people who negotiated the CBA. Voluntary is voluntary

Dale     April 20
Thanks for your even keeled approach. I agree that Foegel's history doesn't suggest he was trying to hurt TJ. He's no Tom Wilson as you pointed out.

RJ     April 20
Count me as one who "likes" your opinion on the Oshie situation, since I agree with it lol. I saw some of the DC based twitter comments, frankly they were embarrassing. Thankfully I am not a DC-based fan, so I guess I can still be rational. And I sure hope Wilson is not goaded into something foolish, as they need Wilson the hockey player more than ever now.

If the players think they need retribution, let DSP do it. They surely did not call him up for his hockey skills, right?


first time commentor     April 19
That sentence is bad in so many ways it makes me want to ask the writer what drugs he was on when he wrote it.

Barry     April 19
Spot on Long Arm. In LF world, kind to me = give me free stuff. Suddenly he is inviting people to watch game 5, must be trying to reel in a sponsor lol.

Count me as also disappointed that Drew did not weigh in on Oshie. Ed F going bonkers, I thought it was Hunteresque shove in a bad spot on the ice, but not egregious enough for a suspension

The long arm     April 19
@DMD tears

I guess that quote sums it up. It is the greatest example of a run on sentence in the history of writing. Congrats? To Brien.

It's just bad writing.

But the LF is worse, by a wide margin. His premises are always personal. So if a team or a guy or a sponsor treats him shabby or great...that colors the article. Talk about BIAS. He even rated the Oakland Colusiem high on his baseball stadium because they were "kind" to him, which is code for free stuff. He is the epitome of fake. The Capitals stopped advertising and he ignores them. Last year he was responsible for their winning the Cup because he had "pimped the puck for 4 decades"( I don't know what that means) and his almost brotherly friendship with "Trotz"...who told me he barely knows him. (I rented Trotz a house when he was in Baltimore and we have kept in touch).



These two writers never get better. Look at Drew, his writing has improved by leaps and bounds. You get better by doing it and being respectful of the process. Just care.


hockey fan     April 19
Did I miss the official #DMD opinion on the Oshie hit? This is an opinion web site, right?

The LF sidekick and all his whiny DC boys seem to think Wilson ought to "pound that guy's face". Yea, that would be productive. How about go win the series. Disappointed that DMD did not weigh in, given his lifelong Caps fandom.

DMD lover in tears     April 19
The Major League Baseball Players' Association gets a lot of things wrong, and has gotten a lot of things wrong at least since Donald Fehr left his leadership position in the group, and their complete lack of leadership on what should be a very straight forward topic may well encapsulate the basic reasons why they fail at obtaining so many other priorities.

Delray Rick     April 19
CJ...That's the fall-back word today when you do not like some one..

clayton     April 19
English Observer You must not be a connoisseur of the cliche, which, in the Jackson piece, abounded. His writing would have to improve to be called bad.

Cash Is King     April 19
Bean balls are part of the game. They have been doing it from day 1. And it isn’t going anywhere. There is an argument to be made that the “game” was better when the players policed themselves. The CWS beaning was executed correctly. Ribs and lower. And in my perfect scenario...when a batter charges the pitcher, they should handle it like hockey. Man vs man.

Chris in Bel Air     April 19
There are 10 teams in MLB with a road record above .500. The O's are one of them at 7-6. In addition, their 7 wins are topped only by the Mariners (9) and Mets (8) - TB and SD also have 7 road wins. I doubt they will end the year above .500 for the year but a good start nonetheless. On a less positive note, Mullins is now below the "Davis Line" at .089. Overall though, I am enjoying watching this team far more than that train wreck last year.

english observer     April 19
Oh no, not another Tiger battle! We should be focused on what might be the most poorly written column from @Brien EVER. Almost puts the LF to shame, but hard to say anyone, even @ Brien, could be a worse writer than the LF.

I challenged myself to get thru the entire thing, and thought I was gonna make it, but it kept going and going and going, and comprehending his point became harder and harder, so I crashed and burned about 4 paragraphs shy of the end. I’m sure he had a good point in there somewhere, good luck finding it


Jonathan     April 19
Full blame goes to CBS for televising all of Tiger's shots when he was in the lead. Can't believe they would do that.

CJ     April 19
Mushnick is a noted racist. That Woods story only cements that note.

Delray Rick     April 19
HERMAN...You beat me to it. Funny article bout "REV. JIM NANTZ" the pastor of the MASTERS over which CBS would pipe in chirps of birds THAT DO NOT STAY IN THAT AREA. And the "MESSIAH " loves his kids more than you love yours.

David Rosenfeld     April 19
As a Jewish person, I only know a little about Christianity, but I'd definitely say that Phil Mushnick is the (crotchety) patron saint of the #DMD comments section.

Happy Easter and Happy Passover to everyone...

HERMAN     April 19
Fantastic article on CBS-Tiger today in the NYPost. A must online read for all Ticka, Ticka, Ticka Tiger Woods, Y'all! fans.. Great thing about the Post, they don't limit articles behind a paywall. I couldn't have evaluated the broadcast better myself. The NYPost should really be the paper of record in NY over that other lying rag.

Come on Caps, the Ovechkin reaction to last year's title was so refreshing we need an encore.

mike from catonsville     April 18
Nice mention of Holy Week. Since Biff opened the discussion do we discuss whether it's Mary Magdalene at the Last Supper and perhaps his wife? Do we go there? After all we very old Catholics were told horrible stories about her.

crab boy     April 18
I would not, because you simply cannot, compare golf skill sets between TW and any golfer more than 30 years ago. I was simply pointing out the comeback and how much more Hogan overcame vs TW in a much shorter time frame.



Golf on tour in Hogan's time was dramatically different in literally every aspect. Football, baseball, basketball all of them much different vs 50+ years ago.



On a local level lacrosse is so much different than just 35 years ago. The game is so much faster, the stick work so much better and the rules have neutered much of the physical nature of the game. Also, I don't think half the team from Hopkins in 2019 will be at Long Johns downing $1 Heinekens the night before they play UNC or UVA.



You can't compare different eras in sport but with the comeback of TW being called the greatest in all of sport by the national press I think a comparison was invited.




George     April 18
A mildly interesting observation: Tiger Woods won 14 major championships before the age of 33. Ben Hogan won all nine of his majors between the ages of 34 and 42. Tiger won no majors when he was between 34 and 42 years old, and picked up his 15th major at age 43.

Clayton     April 18
I think its funny that people just make stuff up out of thin air to back up their opinions. KA says Hogan had a subpar short game and was a lousy putter through most of his career. Based on what are you 110 years old and watched him through his career?



Laughable!

golf gods     April 18
These Tiger slurpers are quite the sensitive bunch. Sounded to me like George and Crab Boy were talking about the respective “comebacks” of Hogan and Woods, not whether Hogan was a “better” player than Woods. Sheesh.

I would agree there’s no comparison to what Hogan had to overcome, including the fact that it was a random accident and not self-inflicted. Not saying y’all can’t be excited that Woods is “back”, but you’d be nuts to think Hogan’s physical “achievement” was not significantly better. Either that or just not well versed on things that happened more than 5 minutes ago


HERMAN     April 18
It's difficult to compare talent from completely different eras in sports, and particularly difficult with golf. Even the comparison between Jack and Tiger doesn't quite work in terms of comparing eras, going back to Hogan's day and age just doesn't work at all.

Tiger has had to compete against a much wider field, and much better opponents. The game is far, far bigger today than ever before. Tiger's dominance during his run came against a world-wide competition and against some of the best trained, most talented opponents that ever played the game.

When Jack played he freely admits there were maybe six guys that had a chance to beat him, the rest of the field was filler, not near the level of the few top golfers. It was still a "country club" game. Watching old clips they even announce them on the first tee as "playing out of Lost Tree, Jack Nicklaus", as if you had to represent a particular club, muni players don't bother to show. And in Hogan's day there were even less competitors. The few may have been legendary and great, Snead, Nelson, and a few others, but for the most part the quality of competition was all culled from the country club set. In Hogan's day there was a handful of barnstormers keeping the tour alive, they made more money in side action than tournament purses.

Tiger dominated a better set of golfers period.


Blue Tee Golfer     April 18
Agree 100% with "KA". No comparison between Tiger and Hogan. I think that's coming mostly from people who just hate Tiger. They'd make an argument in favor of Johnny Miller if it was between Tiger and him.

edward     April 18
thank you for the holy week prayer ..These next four days changed the world ..We have been absolved of our sins because of Christs death ..Happy Easter Happy Passover ..Peace on Earth

K.A.     April 18
Hogan was a great player. In a lot of ways he was ahead of his time. But there's simply no way he was a better golfer than Tiger Woods. You can talk about bus crashes and eating oranges all you want but the canyon between Woods and Hogan is vast. Hogan had a subpar short game and was a lousy putter through most of his career. He won most of his tournaments by hitting the ball closer to the hole than everyone else.



There's no argument about Hogan and Woods. Woods and Nicklaus? Maybe. Hogan and Woods is like arguing whether Woods is better than Mickelson.



I think you guys are better than this but I'm not sure any more.

crab boy     April 18
@George, thank you for filling in the details. I was trying to be brief. As for comparisons, there really is none to other sporting accomplishments by Ted Williams and the like.



With respect to TW, most of his problems were self inflicted.



Hogan's were not a result of his own choices. His very fast comeback was a result of his own choices, grit and determination.

The applause for TW's comeback should be very loud. He has taken full advantage of his second chance and appears to have made serious, positive, life changing choices. He doesn't need the money. The same competitive desire that grabbed Hogan took hold of TW. I was never an ardent fan of TW but now I do root for his success today.



I hope these very talented athletes he has attracted to the game over the past 25 years get a regular taste of his competitive greatness.

George     April 17
@Long Arm – You and I use the word cheap with different connotations.

Any chance you’d share your granddad’s memories of Hogan with me? I’ve got extensive notes from conversations with many people over the years who knew and knew of Hogan, and would dearly love to have more info. If so, please write me at geomcd1949@gmail.com. It would be much appreciated.

The long arm     April 17
@George

Being cheap or frugal is not necessarily a bad thing. My granddad had some dealings with him......my granddad was one frugal somebody. They used to sing a song about him "there's old Bill sitting on a fence trying to make a dollar out of ninety five cents". And he did deals with Hogan and relayed to my Dad that he was very very frugal. Neither man got cheated.



It is not bad being cheap...hell just look at Woods...a famous tightwad. And he is worshipped like a golfing god of the first order.



Fan boys.



But according to my family legend...Hogan was a fine fellow.

George     April 17
@Long Arm – What evidence are you aware of that paints Hogan as cheap? I’ve read that he was a good tipper (after having earned a living on tips himself); that he paid his employees well (and helped them save for retirement); and that he gave extensively to charities and private persons without broadcasting his generosity.

True, early on he drove an old car, paid his caddies with his watches on several occasions, and he and his wife lived on stolen oranges for a while. But that wasn’t because he was cheap, it was because he was broke.

I don’t mean to belabor the point, but hate to see a good man’s reputation besmirched by offhand comments.

The long arm     April 17
@Macki

Ben Hogan....look it up. His record is top notch. Yes indeed he is worthy of his standing.

H     April 17
If the goal of the Orioles is to get as high a draft pick as possible, why wouldn’t you play Davis, Mullins, etc.?

Macki     April 17
Are you guys really comparing Tiger Woods to Ben Hogan?



And we're supposed to take your golf analysis seriously?

The Long Arm     April 17
@George

And he was cheap, the tournament had prestige, but the prize money was about a break even deal EVEN if you won.

George     April 17
@The Long Arm -- The British Open wasn't considered a major championship back in the 1940s and '50s. One of the reasons Hogan didn't play there, besides being mortgaged heavily to start his club-making company, is that the R & A had ruled his Schenectady [center-shafted] putter an illegal club. Hogan only decided to play when he was challenged to play the best players in the world on the hardest course in the world on ruined and painful legs, all the while learning the vagaries of using the smaller British ball on unique turf.

The Long Arm     April 17
No doubt this Woods thing has legs, which Hogan almost lost. Of course the "greatest" at everything is the greatest at this present time. NO FREAKING WAY anyone was a better hitter than Ted Williams. NO WAY anyone won like Bill Russell. And no way in any sane/rational persons mind can Woods comeback be compared to Ben Hogan. Hogan was a brilliant golfer and his injuries precluded him from playing the PGA(36 holes/day) and his good old cheapness precluded him from going to England to play yearly in the Open. I can't understand how folks say it is the greatest comeback when he has won JUST ONE major, if he wins 4 more than we can talk.



Had an interesting read today about the Mayor Pugh scandal. And how the LF wants to be mayor. Books are at the heart of it. And Sun reporter Luke Broadwater had an interesting take on PUGH's SELF PUBLISHED books....that were sold, resold, double sold and no show sold. Paraphrasing here...but Luke said something like [with all self published books, there are lots of typos, grammatical errors and sloppy errors of omission and commission]. Sounds like ALL of the LF's "best work of the career".



A'int none of dem mayors can write a lick,

George     April 17
@Crab Boy – Hogan’s four broken and shattered bones were nothing compared to the severity of the blood clots that nearly killed him two weeks after the crash. We didn’t have blood thinners back then, so if a clot would have reached his heart or lungs it would have killed him. The experimental medical practice of the time was to tie off the vena cava, the vein that brings blood from the lower torso to the heart and lungs, thus preventing the clots from advancing. The loss of flow from this very large vein had to be made up by the many much smaller veins that come from the legs into the belly. The only doctor who did this operation was in New Orleans. Weather had socked in DFW and no flights could get out. A friend of Hogan’s, an Air Force general, dispatched an all-weather bomber from NAS Ft. Worth to fetch the doctor. When the doc arrived he told Hogan that he might not survive the operation; that if he did he probably would never walk again; and if he could walk, he certainly would never be able to play golf. He also told Hogan that if he didn’t approve the operation, he would live perhaps a few more days or hours until a clot reached his vital organs.

The operation was successful. Every day for the rest of his life Hogan woke, soaked his legs for an hour in Epsom salts, then wrapped compression bandages from ankle to groin on both legs. Only then could he stand up. He took only an aspirin a day, fearing that pain-killing drugs would dull his competitive spirit.

Hogan designed his own rehab program and stuck to it. Seven months later he was able to tie Sam Snead for the LA Open. Snead won in a playoff. Some months later, Hogan won the U.S. Open at Merion. About this feat, Red Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning sportswriter for the New York Herald Tribune, wrote:

“To say there never has been another achievement in competitive sports comparable to Ben Hogan’s victory in the National Open golf championship in not mere understatement, it is an insult to language. We shall not live to see anything like it again.”

Who knows what the criteria are for determining which comeback-after-injury is the greater, and frankly, what could they reasonably be? Hogan came back, and Tiger came back 69 years later. Both feats put sports into its proper light – a forum for showcasing the incredible resiliency of mankind. Good on both of ‘em!


crab boy     April 17
now that the folks have had a chance to cherish the whats being called the greatest comeback in golf or sports in general I would like to offer the following:



Tiger's comeback is impressive but I believe not as big as Ben Hogan. In 1949, Ben Hogan and his wife were hit by a bus, his pelvis was fractured in 2 places, his collarbone and left ankle broken, he had multiple blood clots as well. All sustained while also protecting his wife in the crash – and he won the 1950 US Open 18 months later and 5 other majors b/w 1950 and 1953. Accomplishing this with medical practices from 70 years ago. Now that is a comeback I think even @Herman would agree with.

Ron     April 17
Agree about Mancini. If winning doesn't matter, why play Davis at all? If Mancini is going to eventually be a full time 1B why do they insist on not letting him play it regularly now? Stupid decision but then again, this is not an organization known for their smarts.

Hither and Yawn     April 17
This O's team is not a bad team to follow. This shortstop can't hit a lick, but he is an exciting fielder.

Why did the Brewers give up Villar? Exciting player who has a lot of talent. I keep waiting to see his warts.

Mullins looks exactly like Bumbry, but the only thing they have in common is a weak arm. Bumbry was way "baseball" fast.

Hyde is just a good baseball guy. He looks to be sorting out roles in the pen. My gut says they will settle down some.

Weird things. I am not one of these guys who spout off on things that are only speculation. Dumb stuff like Chris Davis needs glasses or different meds. But it sure seems that he gets sick way more often than anyone his age and health and supplements taking should be. Stomach virus, colds and flu seems to occur often. Just is off or could be telling

Just have fun and watch. Some fun guys to follow. And less "turds" than last year.


HERMAN     April 17
Beginning next Tuesday it will become a lot easier to get tee times in Palm Beach County. The car carriers will line up and all the snow birds will go back north. Prices get more reasonable, restaurant wait times go down dramatically, and the tourists drop off considerably. That $ 110 fee at Abacoa goes to $ 55 for the same round of golf. And the odd thing is May is probably the best weather month of the year, 83 and sunny every day with bright blue skies.

Two days after Easter and it's a less crowded paradise.

Bo-Bo     April 17
@Delray - just a couple of 4 foot black snakes. Love that place but as you stated before, hard to get a good tee time.

TimD in Timonium     April 17
DF, you're right, this year's O's team IS more interesting. Enjoyed their Patriots Day win in Boston Monday. BTW, Manny is back in the area for Padres / Nats April 26-28.

unitastoberry     April 17
Bundy is toast. No control. Add him to the list and move on.

Delray Rick     April 17
How much$$$$ did the gamblers lose betting against our upstart ORIOLES?? They Wil lose a lot more before the end of the season. -250,350 AIN'T cutting it.

edward     April 17
i really like manager hyde ..he is refreshing and really seems to be in his element .. so happy he is our skipper ..in my opinion he is already better than get the buck out ..good luck and God bless everyone this amazing Holy week

Jeff     April 16
Good point @Kevin. He sure changed from his stance on Flacco.

Kevin     April 16
Kind of funny how Brien reverses the roles with Davis and Flacco for some reason. When Flacco was struggling, Brien crushed him every Monday and made sure to point out "what he did in the past does not matter" but with Davis, he spends most of the article defending him as a good guy, well liked and "let's not forget he used to be really good at one point." Funny stuff.

Delray Rick     April 16
BO..BO...OSPREY is great.See any gators or rattles there? Almost stepped on a rattled last summer.


Friday
April 19
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#1698



defending champs in trouble


It seems like winning a championship only really guarantees you one thing. The next season will be a dogfight. And then some, perhaps.

The Washington Capitals are now deadlocked at 2-2 in their playoff opening series with Carolina after the Hurricanes beat them last night in Raleigh, 2-1. The Caps won the first two games at home -- including one in overtime -- but weren't able to extend their series lead on the road.

Making matters worse for the Caps is a significant injury to T.J. Oshie, who was checked into the boards with five minutes left in Thursday's game and did not return. Afterwards, coach Todd Reirden was upset with the play in question and said Oshie would be out for an undetermined amount of time.

"It was a defenseless player that was quite a distance from the boards," Reirden said. "It's an extremely dangerous play, and he will not be with our team for a while."

How will the Caps respond with T.J. Oshie out for an extended period of time?

Caps fans took to social media to express their outrage at the play, naturally.

The series now shifts back to Washington for Game 5 on Saturday night.

Carolina is one of those teams you'd rather not face come post-season time, but someone has to play them. After spending most of the season's first half in last place in the Eastern Conference, they won 27 of their final 40 games to jump over several teams and finish the campaign with 99 points, just five points shy of the Capitals.

On paper, the Hurricanes are no match for Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov and company. But the games aren't on paper, and the Hurricanes have now chiseled the series down to a best-of-3 affair. Anything can happen at this point, particularly with the Carolina goaltender -- Petr Mrazek -- standing on his head throughout most of the series.

I've said this a lot over the years and it bears repeating now. The team that thinks it's really good is often more dangerous than the team that actually is really good.

Carolina is starting to think they're really good. And they are, indeed, dangerous.

And if the Caps are fortunate enough to get past the Hurricanes, guess who will be there waiting for them on the other side? Barry Trotz and the New York Islanders, who disposed of the Penguins in four quick games.

The Boston Red Sox are finding out that no one cares all that much about what they did last season. Boston is off to an awful 6-13 start and head into a road series with the Tampa Bay Rays sporting one of the worst starting pitching ERA's in all of baseball.

Nothing much has gone right for Boston so far this season. They started the season playing 11 straight road games and won just three of those. Then they came home and split two games with the Blue Jays and somehow lost 2 of 4 to the Orioles. Two more losses in New York to the Yankees leave them in last place in the A.L. East.

It's early, of course, and you know all about the fact that it's a marathon, not a sprint, but the Red Sox have some serious pitching issues.

Chris Sale is 0-4 to start the season with an 8.50 ERA. Rick Porcello is worse, if that's possible. He's 0-3 with an 11.12 ERA. David Price had a nice outing against the Orioles last Saturday, but he's been laboring through the season's first three weeks as well.

And if you think the Orioles bullpen is lousy, you haven't watched Boston much this season. Their bullpen is just as bad.

The Red Sox can hit, but at this point they're going to need to score 6 or 7 runs every game in order to have a chance to win.

It's tough when you won the title the year before and no one gives you a morsel of respect. Such a shame, huh?

And even though they won last night in L.A., the Golden State Warriors are also finding out that it's a long way to the top, if you wanna rock-n-roll. Golden State won the series opener over the Clippers, then collapsed in Game 2 and squandered a 31-point lead to lose, at home no less.

And with DeMarcus Cousins now out for the rest of the playoffs with a torn quad, the Warriors' run to a 3rd straight title seems shaky.

True, they've won 3 of the last 4 NBA crowns without Cousins on their team, but he was going to be the "X factor" this time around. The Warriors waited patiently until after the New Year to bring him in the lineup after an achilles injury sidelined him in 2018. He looked like a difference maker when the games mattered in April and Golden State tried to lock down the #1 seed in the Western Conference.

And then came the Game 2 collapse at home. And the injury to Cousins. And, suddenly, there were questions about Golden State.

They shouldn't have any trouble getting past the Clippers now that they're up 2-1. But Denver, Portland and Houston won't be post-season pushovers and the Jazz, should Golden State meet them, have always played well against Steph Curry and company.

The Capitals, Red Sox and Warriors. All three are in a fight to stay at the top. Everyone wants to beat the champ.

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



As Drew highlighted on Thursday, it didn't take long for baseball's first beanball brouhaha to develop, as things got heated when Kansas City hurler Brad Keller plunked emerging star Tim Anderson of the White Sox after the former tossed his bat in celebration after a home run earlier in the game.

Benches cleared, implausible denials as to intent were issued after the game and, of course, Anderson was ejected along with Keller. Oh, and the White Sox manager as well, though not Kansas City's Ned Yost.

A lot of that is rote and expected at this point. Earlier in the season, Chris Archer threw a fastball at a Cincinnati hitter for showboating a home run, despite Archer's own bombastic displays of pride after strikeouts in the very same game at that, and MLB suspended him for a mere 5 games, requiring him only one additional day off in between starts. Whoopee.

That the league doesn't do nearly enough to police pitchers' misconduct when it comes to deliberately hurling the ball at another player at upwards of 100 MPH is a column I could write, and probably have written, roughly half a dozen times per season. So consider that point made once again for this season and let's move on to discussing another bad actor here who gets quite a bit less attention than they should on the matter.

The player's union.

The Major League Baseball Players' Association gets a lot of things wrong, and has gotten a lot of things wrong at least since Donald Fehr left his leadership position in the group, and their complete lack of leadership on what should be a very straight forward topic may well encapsulate the basic reasons why they fail at obtaining so many other priorities.

Because ultimately, this is a matter of workplace safety for the union members who are being thrown at. Having a baseball thrown at you at high velocity is a very dangerous thing. It hurts, obviously, but it can easily cause injury, time out of work, and in theory could even be fatal in the worst case scenario.

In any other workplace you would absolutely expect the UFCW, UAW, etc. to be very proactive in addressing any kind of similar behavior from employees, union members or not, that similarly endangered the safety of co-workers on the shop floor, and they would.

What role does the player's union have in diminishing the amount of in-game skirmishes and beanball incidents that could threaten the safety and livelihood of the players?

But the professional sports unions seem paralyzed to act on player safety matters when at least one group of players feels like they're being targeted by the rules or insists that acting in a dangerous manager is right and good. The NFLPA went through the same thing when the league wanted to crack down on blows to the head and excessive roughness from defenders, but even they have moved on at a faster pace than baseball players have, which is probably best explained by the fact that so many baseball players think that this particular bit of nonsense is an integral part of the fabric of the game itself.

But a good union requires leadership who bridge these gaps and keep players onside and working together, and that's something that's been totally lacking from the baseball union since Michael Weiner took over. On the one hand, MLBPA has been all too happy to play the role of company union when dealing with ownership, and other the other hand union leadership has been excessively pliant in following the membership and the players' leadership, and far too reluctant to steer them on a different course when they're acting foolishly or undermining their own position.

The result is a players' union beset with various groups of players often working at cross purposes, for different goals, and even trying to make gains for themselves at the expense of fellow players or future members. That's the antithesis of how an effective union conducts themselves and, surprise surprise, the result has been back to back collective bargaining agreements that have been disastrous from the players' standpoint and now have many veterans openly musing about a future strike.

And while the beanball issue isn't the biggest problem in and of itself, it's a good encapsulation of why the union is failing. If the post-strike period was a boon for players, it was because the business of baseball was dominated by a split between big market clubs and small market clubs, with a huge amount of focus on leveling the playing field for the small market teams while large market teams were at least trying to guard as much local revenue from revenue sharing as they could. With the teams split and players mostly united, things went pretty darn well for the players.

Now the dynamic has shifted. Increasing central revenue shares have made revenue sharing less important from the league's perspective, and the owners are presenting a united front while the players are fighting amongst themselves. The most consequential case of such came during the 2011 negotiations when players put a big priority on limiting the amount of money newly drafted amateurs could receive in signing bonuses.

And as a cherry on top, because they also put a high priority on not agreeing to "hard slotting" because they'd previously taken a strong rhetorical stance against that, they agreed to an ostensibly soft slotting system that penalized teams for going over slot amounts while rewarding them for signing players for below slot value, which meant that high draft picks found themselves with absolutely no leverage to even demand that teams pay them the full value of the slot. Oh, and after they made draft picks and slot money more valuable than they'd ever been before in baseball, they then agreed to penalize teams for signing free agents by forfeiting those super valuable picks.

The short terms results were predictable: The free agent market collapsed for second tier free agents who rejected one year qualifying offers, while taking away those pools of signing bonus money had no appreciable impact on overall Major League compensation. Which should have been expected given that even the teams that were breaking records on draft spending were still only plopping down $10-15 million for their entire draft class. At the end of the day the players' motivation was purely about resentment that these guys hadn't "earned" seven figure bonuses yet while run-of-the-mill big league backups "deserved" it, and in trying to create that they obliterated the market for those veterans just like their NFL counterparts did when they agreed to the current rookie wage scale.

And now we're seeing the long term impact. Star players who came up without ever having a chance at those contracts are going into their first negotiations with less cushion than guys like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado had, and as teams are using the rules to create as much leverage as possible for pre-arbitration they're rushing to unbelievably team friendly extensions. That's fine so far as it goes, and to be sure we're still talking about the kinds of money that will leave the players, their kids, and their grandkids set for life.

But we're also looking at a reality where the players are going to continue getting a smaller and smaller share of the league's total revenue, perhaps the smallest amount they've won in three decades as soon as five years from now. And in the interim, there's a big pool of 30-somethings caught between eras, so to speak, who won't have gotten the big contract on either end and will probably continue agitating for major labor action by the union.

But they'll be backed up by fellow players who probably won't care about them, the same way those veterans didn't care about them 8 years ago, or 4 years ago, or still mostly don't care about them now.

The players can muse about a strike if they want to, and people who want to see the end of things like service time manipulation can hold out hope that that will change the game for the better just like the last strike did. But the truth is that the union simply doesn't have the united front they'd need to whether any strike, and the owners will almost certainly crush them in short order unless they get their act together. That's going to require a major shift in leadership, and a willingness to tell the players, especially veterans, hard truths about their situation and what it will take to win the victories they want.

And above all else it will take a union that's at least as committed to the priorities and interests of young players as it is to those of players over 30.

That just simply doesn't look like it will happen in the foreseeable future, and until it does the players have no one to blame but themselves for the state of their labor situation.

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Thursday
April 18
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#1697



about once a year, we remind you...


It seems like once every baseball season, I come here and remind you that Major League baseball players are (mostly) a bunch of childish jerks. Here's that annual reminder for you.

If you didn't see what happened yesterday in Chicago, it went like this.

Tim Anderson of the White Sox launched a mammoth home run off of Kansas City's Brad Keller in the 4th inning. Anderson threw his bat in the direction of the White Sox dugout as he started to make his way to first base.

Manny Machado got hit with a pitch a couple of years ago and decided to punch the pitcher in the face. That's one way to send a message.

Keller apparently took exception to Anderson's reaction. I assume the K.C. pitcher just wanted Anderson to carefully lay his bat down at home plate. The next time Anderson came to bat, he was hit with a Keller pitch.

A fracas ensued, which, if you watch baseball, isn't really much of a fracas at all. It always turns out to look the same, no matter the city or teams. A couple of guys get overheated and have to be "held back" by their teammates. The managers hop around like Kevin Bacon in Footloose to show how angry they are. And the umpires do what they do best, which is to completely overreact to the situation and throw a few people out of the game because, well, that's what they enjoy doing more than anything else.

It's amazing that we as a sports-loving nation take baseball seriously for seven months when players act the way they did on Wednesday. The K.C. pitcher was so mad at another player throwing his bat in the direction of his own dugout that he endangered him in the next at-bat with an intentional "wild pitch". I can't get over how stupid pitchers are. They're the dumbest of the dumb.


Every spring, I watch playoff hockey and marvel at how great it is. No sport has a better playoff "season" than hockey, end of story. They play (basically) every other day for a couple of weeks and then if they're fortunate enough to move on, they take a few days off and then do it all again. If they win that series, they do it again. And if they're fortunate enough to advance to that fourth series, they're playing for the championship of the hockey world.

It's funny to think of playoffs like this, but here goes. In hockey, for instance, you can win the first series 4-3, the second series 4-3, the third series 4-3 and the fourth series 4-3...and you're the Stanley Cup winner. For those Flyers fans out there, don't panic. I'll do the math for you: That means you can go 16-12 in the post-season and still win it all.

The intensity and enthusiasm for playoff hockey is unrivaled. If ever the term "warrior" was applicable, it's with hockey players. Those guys are absolute warriors.

Speaking of the Flyers, they missed the playoffs again this year. Just thought you should know.


In mid-April every year, the NFL releases their schedule for the upcoming season and everyone then does the prediction thing for a day or two. The Ravens' 2019 schedule came out yesterday and in a truly odd scheduling quirk, they simply alternate home and away games throughout the 16-week season. A team will typically play a couple of home games in a row, then a couple of road games in a row, etc., but not this year. Not for the Ravens, anyway.

With Mike Tomlin and the Steelers set to battle for the AFC North basement in 2019, the NFL will not feature a Baltimore/Pittsburgh prime time game this coming season.

They open with an automatic win in Miami on Sunday, September 8. They then come home to beat up on the hapless Cardinals on September 15. That's a friendly gift from the schedule makers for sure.

For the first time in a long time, the Ravens and Steelers do not play a prime time night game this season. That said, the final game of the season in Baltimore (12/29) could easily be flexed to Sunday Night Football on NBC if it decides the division or a playoff spot. I can't imagine that's going to happen, though. Not with Pittsburgh primed to stink it up this season.

If you're a Ravens fans looking for a road trip option this season, the schedule folks didn't do you many favors this year. Forget the three divisional games...no one wants to go Cincinnati, Cleveland or Pittsburgh. What about the other cities?

Miami on September 8? Have you been to South Florida in September? It's scorching freakin' hot.

September 22 at Kansas City? That's a good one, I think. K.C. is a nice place to visit anytime, but it's really nice there in the fall months. That's a potential winner.

Seattle on October 20? That also seems like a good one. The Pacific Northwest is gorgeous in the fall.

How about a post-Thanksgiving trip to Los Angeles for the November 25, Monday Night game vs. the Rams? That's a good one, too, but you'd have to miss two days of work to see it.

And then there's Buffalo on December 8. Let me think about that one. Buffalo. In December. Nope...

So, if you're looking for an official #DMD suggestion, I'd say get yourself out to Seattle for a long weekend. Leave Baltimore on a Friday morning flight, get to Seattle around 12:00 noon Pacific time, enjoy yourself all day Friday and Saturday, take in the game on Sunday and come home on Monday morning.

Oh, and in case you need to make Thanksgiving Day viewing plans in April, here are the four turkey day football games you'll be watching.

Calvert Hall vs. Loyola, 10:00 am.

Bears at Lions, 12:30 pm.

Bills at Cowboys, 4:30 pm.

Saints at Falcons, 8:30 pm.

By the way, I have the Ravens going 9-7 after that 2-0 start. Sorry...


Today is the official beginning of Easter weekend, with Holy Thursday, Good Friday and then Easter Sunday coming up over the next four days.

Holy Thursday is important because it marks the "last supper" in the life of Jesus, where he announced his imminent death to the disciples who were seated at the table with him. The following day, of course, Jesus was arrested and crucified.

For those looking for a simple, solemn Holy Thursday prayer, this is for you:

Lord God

You sent your Son into the world,

And before his hour had come,

He washed his disciples’ feet. You had given all things into his hands.

He had come from you, and was going to you,

And what did he do?

He knelt down on the floor,

And washed his friends’ feet.

He was their teacher and their Lord,

Yet he washed their feet.

Lord God, help us learn from his example;

Help us to do as he has done for us.

The world will know we are his disciples if we love one another.

Strengthen our hands and our wills for love and for service.

Keep before our eyes the image of your Son,

Who, being God, became a Servant for our sake.

All glory be to him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

One God, now and forever. Amen.

I hope you have a great Easter weekend.

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


you’ve got to know when to hold ‘em??


For entertainment purposes only (of course), the subject of sports gambling comes up occasionally here at #DMD, whether above the fold or in the comments section.

I’m not typically the one that brings it up. There’s a big reason for that; if you ever have the pleasure (because I’m an awesome person) of sitting down with me for an adult beverage, I can tell you more.

Suffice it to say, I don’t think that gambling on sports is really that much fun, or much of a way to make a life for yourself, even if you have lots of other things in your life. In fact, it’s a great way to create a difficult life for yourself, even if it’s only a small part of your life.

The last couple weeks, however? Even I have to admit that it’s been a real triumph for sports gambling.

First, there’s a 34-year-old guy named James Holzhauer, who grew up outside Chicago and now lives in Las Vegas. Holzhauer, as Jeopardy! announcer Johnny Gilbert has noted each of the last 10 days during that show’s introduction, is a professional sports gambler.

James Holzhauer has taken Jeopardy! by storm over the last few days, winning a whopping $131,127 in a recent show.

In those 10 games, Holzhauer has won nearly $700,000. He obliterated a single-game record by earning more than $110,000 on one day last week, then won six figures again for the second time Tuesday before doing it again on Wednesday, winning a new record $131,127.

Then, there was another James…James Adducci, 39, who identifies as a self-employed day trader and lives in rural Wisconsin. When Tiger Woods holed his short bogey putt on the 18th green at Augusta National Sunday afternoon, Adducci had somehow won a life-changing sum of nearly $1.3 million…by betting on the greatest winner in golf history?!

Meanwhile, another bettor came agonizingly close to a huge win on very long odds. He would have won $400,000 combined on two separate tickets if Texas Tech had won the men’s basketball national championship, having placed a total of just $2,300 in wagers.

Why, exactly, did three Texas Tech players converge on Virginia’s Ty Jerome in the final seconds of regulation in the NCAA title game, leaving De’Andre Hunter wide open in the corner for a game-tying three-pointer? I bet that guy would like to know.

Somewhere, Kenny Rogers is rolling over in his grave. Oh, wait…Kenny’s not dead yet. He just kinda looks like it.

I have no idea how good of a sports gambler Holzhauer is, in terms of wins and losses, though if you’re willing to call yourself a pro, you must be doing all right. I do know that his profession, if you want to call it that, is a big reason why he’s on the way to becoming the richest contestant of all-time.

Holzhauer is great at trivia, for sure. He’s very quick on the buzzer, as are most Jeopardy! champions, even ones that only win a couple games. What he’s taken to a new level, however, is playing the game. And only a sports gambler would play the game the way he’s playing it.

His strategy is to pick the clues toward the bottom of the board first, trying to get a big lead with the higher-priced clues. Besides getting the correct answers (er, questions), obviously, he’s mainly searching for the clues that are “Daily Doubles.” And when he gets them, Holzhauer puts his hands together, as if he’s holding chips in the vein of his poker-playing friends in Vegas, and goes “all in.” Said Holzhauer, recently. “I don’t have a mental block about betting $38,314 on one trivia question. It’s only money.”

Oh, and in case you want to know what he thinks about sports, he’s not exactly a fan of the prevent defense, I would guess. When talking about his aggressive game strategy, Holzhauer said that he “often sees sports teams playing to force overtime instead of trying to win in regulation, and it makes me shake my head.”

Jeopardy! isn’t just a collection of trivia and knowledge questions that you hope to get right, like it seems at home when you’re trying to impress someone. It’s a game—there are others competing against you, there are more than a few good strategies, and there are consequences to being wrong.

Holzhauer might not get anywhere near Ken Jennings, who won 74 games in a row. He might not be the most knowledgeable contestant in Jeopardy! history. But he plays the game better than anyone I’ve seen, and he does it with a surgical aggression. He got that from betting on sports, a game that’s far less predictable than a 30-minute game show.

Adducci, meanwhile, is the opposite of Holzhauer. He may be a speculative day trader, but he insists that his large bet on Tiger Woods was, quite literally, the first time he’d ever bet on a sporting event in his life.

He took all the money he was willing to part with, about $85,000, and headed to Las Vegas to find a sportsbook willing to take his action. He actually had to get the cash from banks in Nevada, and was carrying it in a backpack on his way to the casinos. Seriously.

After striking out at two venues, he headed to William Hill, where he found a group willing to take the bet. Adducci, remember, wasn’t some kind of sharp, or somebody looking to play a game. He wasn’t even James Holzhauer, who says he bets mostly on baseball and hockey. He was really just a tourist who honestly thought Tiger was destined to win.

William Hill probably thought it would be good publicity for them if the bet materialized, even if they took a big loss. They weren’t the only book around the world to take a big hit when Eldrick won the tournament, but they came out ahead in the reputation department. On Monday, Adducci cashed in his winning ticket, and the news photographers were there to take a shot of the smiling winner with an oversized check, as if he was Happy Gilmore winning the Waterbury Open.

Tiger, you may have known, was a 14-to-1 shot to win The Masters. So, $85,000 turned into $1.275 million. When Tiger is 58, having faced three more back surgeries, and playing the tournament for the last time, I wonder if the oddsmakers will make him anywhere higher than a 5-to-1 play.

Sports gamblers, like any segment of the population, run the gamut of the human condition. I suppose a large percentage of them are men, and I also suppose that most of them don’t have the capacity or life situation to think that $38,000 is “only money.” More than a few, who don’t have that kind of money to play with, play with it anyway. On the whole, there’s no reason to root for them.

It turns out that’s the case with Adducci who, upon further review, has a criminal past filled with domestic violence convictions and allegations. I wish he wouldn’t have won.

It also turns out that a sports gambler is the best kind of Jeopardy! contestant, at least if money is the main object. It’s now been proven, and not just by a bet on a lark from a guy in Wisconsin, that you can never count out the great Tiger Woods. And hey…even the Texas Tech aficionado is only out a couple grand on the deal…he could easily have spent that in Vegas in a couple hours without any of the fun.

Sometimes, at least for a short time I guess, every hand’s a winner.

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#dmd comments


eric     April 20
The guy deserved a suspension but who cares, he's a nothing player. Loss of Kempny and Oshie are knockout blows. Caps got contributions from everybody last postseason and so far are getting it from nobody this post season. It happens, as TB,Pitt and Calgary stars will attest from the golf course today. As for Coughlin all I can say is boo hoo, take it up with the people who negotiated the CBA. Voluntary is voluntary

Dale     April 20
Thanks for your even keeled approach. I agree that Foegel's history doesn't suggest he was trying to hurt TJ. He's no Tom Wilson as you pointed out.

RJ     April 20
Count me as one who "likes" your opinion on the Oshie situation, since I agree with it lol. I saw some of the DC based twitter comments, frankly they were embarrassing. Thankfully I am not a DC-based fan, so I guess I can still be rational. And I sure hope Wilson is not goaded into something foolish, as they need Wilson the hockey player more than ever now.

If the players think they need retribution, let DSP do it. They surely did not call him up for his hockey skills, right?


first time commentor     April 19
That sentence is bad in so many ways it makes me want to ask the writer what drugs he was on when he wrote it.

Barry     April 19
Spot on Long Arm. In LF world, kind to me = give me free stuff. Suddenly he is inviting people to watch game 5, must be trying to reel in a sponsor lol.

Count me as also disappointed that Drew did not weigh in on Oshie. Ed F going bonkers, I thought it was Hunteresque shove in a bad spot on the ice, but not egregious enough for a suspension

The long arm     April 19
@DMD tears

I guess that quote sums it up. It is the greatest example of a run on sentence in the history of writing. Congrats? To Brien.

It's just bad writing.

But the LF is worse, by a wide margin. His premises are always personal. So if a team or a guy or a sponsor treats him shabby or great...that colors the article. Talk about BIAS. He even rated the Oakland Colusiem high on his baseball stadium because they were "kind" to him, which is code for free stuff. He is the epitome of fake. The Capitals stopped advertising and he ignores them. Last year he was responsible for their winning the Cup because he had "pimped the puck for 4 decades"( I don't know what that means) and his almost brotherly friendship with "Trotz"...who told me he barely knows him. (I rented Trotz a house when he was in Baltimore and we have kept in touch).



These two writers never get better. Look at Drew, his writing has improved by leaps and bounds. You get better by doing it and being respectful of the process. Just care.


hockey fan     April 19
Did I miss the official #DMD opinion on the Oshie hit? This is an opinion web site, right?

The LF sidekick and all his whiny DC boys seem to think Wilson ought to "pound that guy's face". Yea, that would be productive. How about go win the series. Disappointed that DMD did not weigh in, given his lifelong Caps fandom.

DMD lover in tears     April 19
The Major League Baseball Players' Association gets a lot of things wrong, and has gotten a lot of things wrong at least since Donald Fehr left his leadership position in the group, and their complete lack of leadership on what should be a very straight forward topic may well encapsulate the basic reasons why they fail at obtaining so many other priorities.

Delray Rick     April 19
CJ...That's the fall-back word today when you do not like some one..

clayton     April 19
English Observer You must not be a connoisseur of the cliche, which, in the Jackson piece, abounded. His writing would have to improve to be called bad.

Cash Is King     April 19
Bean balls are part of the game. They have been doing it from day 1. And it isn’t going anywhere. There is an argument to be made that the “game” was better when the players policed themselves. The CWS beaning was executed correctly. Ribs and lower. And in my perfect scenario...when a batter charges the pitcher, they should handle it like hockey. Man vs man.

Chris in Bel Air     April 19
There are 10 teams in MLB with a road record above .500. The O's are one of them at 7-6. In addition, their 7 wins are topped only by the Mariners (9) and Mets (8) - TB and SD also have 7 road wins. I doubt they will end the year above .500 for the year but a good start nonetheless. On a less positive note, Mullins is now below the "Davis Line" at .089. Overall though, I am enjoying watching this team far more than that train wreck last year.

english observer     April 19
Oh no, not another Tiger battle! We should be focused on what might be the most poorly written column from @Brien EVER. Almost puts the LF to shame, but hard to say anyone, even @ Brien, could be a worse writer than the LF.

I challenged myself to get thru the entire thing, and thought I was gonna make it, but it kept going and going and going, and comprehending his point became harder and harder, so I crashed and burned about 4 paragraphs shy of the end. I’m sure he had a good point in there somewhere, good luck finding it


Jonathan     April 19
Full blame goes to CBS for televising all of Tiger's shots when he was in the lead. Can't believe they would do that.

CJ     April 19
Mushnick is a noted racist. That Woods story only cements that note.

Delray Rick     April 19
HERMAN...You beat me to it. Funny article bout "REV. JIM NANTZ" the pastor of the MASTERS over which CBS would pipe in chirps of birds THAT DO NOT STAY IN THAT AREA. And the "MESSIAH " loves his kids more than you love yours.

David Rosenfeld     April 19
As a Jewish person, I only know a little about Christianity, but I'd definitely say that Phil Mushnick is the (crotchety) patron saint of the #DMD comments section.

Happy Easter and Happy Passover to everyone...

HERMAN     April 19
Fantastic article on CBS-Tiger today in the NYPost. A must online read for all Ticka, Ticka, Ticka Tiger Woods, Y'all! fans.. Great thing about the Post, they don't limit articles behind a paywall. I couldn't have evaluated the broadcast better myself. The NYPost should really be the paper of record in NY over that other lying rag.

Come on Caps, the Ovechkin reaction to last year's title was so refreshing we need an encore.

mike from catonsville     April 18
Nice mention of Holy Week. Since Biff opened the discussion do we discuss whether it's Mary Magdalene at the Last Supper and perhaps his wife? Do we go there? After all we very old Catholics were told horrible stories about her.

crab boy     April 18
I would not, because you simply cannot, compare golf skill sets between TW and any golfer more than 30 years ago. I was simply pointing out the comeback and how much more Hogan overcame vs TW in a much shorter time frame.



Golf on tour in Hogan's time was dramatically different in literally every aspect. Football, baseball, basketball all of them much different vs 50+ years ago.



On a local level lacrosse is so much different than just 35 years ago. The game is so much faster, the stick work so much better and the rules have neutered much of the physical nature of the game. Also, I don't think half the team from Hopkins in 2019 will be at Long Johns downing $1 Heinekens the night before they play UNC or UVA.



You can't compare different eras in sport but with the comeback of TW being called the greatest in all of sport by the national press I think a comparison was invited.




George     April 18
A mildly interesting observation: Tiger Woods won 14 major championships before the age of 33. Ben Hogan won all nine of his majors between the ages of 34 and 42. Tiger won no majors when he was between 34 and 42 years old, and picked up his 15th major at age 43.

Clayton     April 18
I think its funny that people just make stuff up out of thin air to back up their opinions. KA says Hogan had a subpar short game and was a lousy putter through most of his career. Based on what are you 110 years old and watched him through his career?



Laughable!

golf gods     April 18
These Tiger slurpers are quite the sensitive bunch. Sounded to me like George and Crab Boy were talking about the respective “comebacks” of Hogan and Woods, not whether Hogan was a “better” player than Woods. Sheesh.

I would agree there’s no comparison to what Hogan had to overcome, including the fact that it was a random accident and not self-inflicted. Not saying y’all can’t be excited that Woods is “back”, but you’d be nuts to think Hogan’s physical “achievement” was not significantly better. Either that or just not well versed on things that happened more than 5 minutes ago


HERMAN     April 18
It's difficult to compare talent from completely different eras in sports, and particularly difficult with golf. Even the comparison between Jack and Tiger doesn't quite work in terms of comparing eras, going back to Hogan's day and age just doesn't work at all.

Tiger has had to compete against a much wider field, and much better opponents. The game is far, far bigger today than ever before. Tiger's dominance during his run came against a world-wide competition and against some of the best trained, most talented opponents that ever played the game.

When Jack played he freely admits there were maybe six guys that had a chance to beat him, the rest of the field was filler, not near the level of the few top golfers. It was still a "country club" game. Watching old clips they even announce them on the first tee as "playing out of Lost Tree, Jack Nicklaus", as if you had to represent a particular club, muni players don't bother to show. And in Hogan's day there were even less competitors. The few may have been legendary and great, Snead, Nelson, and a few others, but for the most part the quality of competition was all culled from the country club set. In Hogan's day there was a handful of barnstormers keeping the tour alive, they made more money in side action than tournament purses.

Tiger dominated a better set of golfers period.


Blue Tee Golfer     April 18
Agree 100% with "KA". No comparison between Tiger and Hogan. I think that's coming mostly from people who just hate Tiger. They'd make an argument in favor of Johnny Miller if it was between Tiger and him.

edward     April 18
thank you for the holy week prayer ..These next four days changed the world ..We have been absolved of our sins because of Christs death ..Happy Easter Happy Passover ..Peace on Earth

K.A.     April 18
Hogan was a great player. In a lot of ways he was ahead of his time. But there's simply no way he was a better golfer than Tiger Woods. You can talk about bus crashes and eating oranges all you want but the canyon between Woods and Hogan is vast. Hogan had a subpar short game and was a lousy putter through most of his career. He won most of his tournaments by hitting the ball closer to the hole than everyone else.



There's no argument about Hogan and Woods. Woods and Nicklaus? Maybe. Hogan and Woods is like arguing whether Woods is better than Mickelson.



I think you guys are better than this but I'm not sure any more.

crab boy     April 18
@George, thank you for filling in the details. I was trying to be brief. As for comparisons, there really is none to other sporting accomplishments by Ted Williams and the like.



With respect to TW, most of his problems were self inflicted.



Hogan's were not a result of his own choices. His very fast comeback was a result of his own choices, grit and determination.

The applause for TW's comeback should be very loud. He has taken full advantage of his second chance and appears to have made serious, positive, life changing choices. He doesn't need the money. The same competitive desire that grabbed Hogan took hold of TW. I was never an ardent fan of TW but now I do root for his success today.



I hope these very talented athletes he has attracted to the game over the past 25 years get a regular taste of his competitive greatness.

George     April 17
@Long Arm – You and I use the word cheap with different connotations.

Any chance you’d share your granddad’s memories of Hogan with me? I’ve got extensive notes from conversations with many people over the years who knew and knew of Hogan, and would dearly love to have more info. If so, please write me at geomcd1949@gmail.com. It would be much appreciated.

The long arm     April 17
@George

Being cheap or frugal is not necessarily a bad thing. My granddad had some dealings with him......my granddad was one frugal somebody. They used to sing a song about him "there's old Bill sitting on a fence trying to make a dollar out of ninety five cents". And he did deals with Hogan and relayed to my Dad that he was very very frugal. Neither man got cheated.



It is not bad being cheap...hell just look at Woods...a famous tightwad. And he is worshipped like a golfing god of the first order.



Fan boys.



But according to my family legend...Hogan was a fine fellow.

George     April 17
@Long Arm – What evidence are you aware of that paints Hogan as cheap? I’ve read that he was a good tipper (after having earned a living on tips himself); that he paid his employees well (and helped them save for retirement); and that he gave extensively to charities and private persons without broadcasting his generosity.

True, early on he drove an old car, paid his caddies with his watches on several occasions, and he and his wife lived on stolen oranges for a while. But that wasn’t because he was cheap, it was because he was broke.

I don’t mean to belabor the point, but hate to see a good man’s reputation besmirched by offhand comments.

The long arm     April 17
@Macki

Ben Hogan....look it up. His record is top notch. Yes indeed he is worthy of his standing.

H     April 17
If the goal of the Orioles is to get as high a draft pick as possible, why wouldn’t you play Davis, Mullins, etc.?

Macki     April 17
Are you guys really comparing Tiger Woods to Ben Hogan?



And we're supposed to take your golf analysis seriously?

The Long Arm     April 17
@George

And he was cheap, the tournament had prestige, but the prize money was about a break even deal EVEN if you won.

George     April 17
@The Long Arm -- The British Open wasn't considered a major championship back in the 1940s and '50s. One of the reasons Hogan didn't play there, besides being mortgaged heavily to start his club-making company, is that the R & A had ruled his Schenectady [center-shafted] putter an illegal club. Hogan only decided to play when he was challenged to play the best players in the world on the hardest course in the world on ruined and painful legs, all the while learning the vagaries of using the smaller British ball on unique turf.

The Long Arm     April 17
No doubt this Woods thing has legs, which Hogan almost lost. Of course the "greatest" at everything is the greatest at this present time. NO FREAKING WAY anyone was a better hitter than Ted Williams. NO WAY anyone won like Bill Russell. And no way in any sane/rational persons mind can Woods comeback be compared to Ben Hogan. Hogan was a brilliant golfer and his injuries precluded him from playing the PGA(36 holes/day) and his good old cheapness precluded him from going to England to play yearly in the Open. I can't understand how folks say it is the greatest comeback when he has won JUST ONE major, if he wins 4 more than we can talk.



Had an interesting read today about the Mayor Pugh scandal. And how the LF wants to be mayor. Books are at the heart of it. And Sun reporter Luke Broadwater had an interesting take on PUGH's SELF PUBLISHED books....that were sold, resold, double sold and no show sold. Paraphrasing here...but Luke said something like [with all self published books, there are lots of typos, grammatical errors and sloppy errors of omission and commission]. Sounds like ALL of the LF's "best work of the career".



A'int none of dem mayors can write a lick,

George     April 17
@Crab Boy – Hogan’s four broken and shattered bones were nothing compared to the severity of the blood clots that nearly killed him two weeks after the crash. We didn’t have blood thinners back then, so if a clot would have reached his heart or lungs it would have killed him. The experimental medical practice of the time was to tie off the vena cava, the vein that brings blood from the lower torso to the heart and lungs, thus preventing the clots from advancing. The loss of flow from this very large vein had to be made up by the many much smaller veins that come from the legs into the belly. The only doctor who did this operation was in New Orleans. Weather had socked in DFW and no flights could get out. A friend of Hogan’s, an Air Force general, dispatched an all-weather bomber from NAS Ft. Worth to fetch the doctor. When the doc arrived he told Hogan that he might not survive the operation; that if he did he probably would never walk again; and if he could walk, he certainly would never be able to play golf. He also told Hogan that if he didn’t approve the operation, he would live perhaps a few more days or hours until a clot reached his vital organs.

The operation was successful. Every day for the rest of his life Hogan woke, soaked his legs for an hour in Epsom salts, then wrapped compression bandages from ankle to groin on both legs. Only then could he stand up. He took only an aspirin a day, fearing that pain-killing drugs would dull his competitive spirit.

Hogan designed his own rehab program and stuck to it. Seven months later he was able to tie Sam Snead for the LA Open. Snead won in a playoff. Some months later, Hogan won the U.S. Open at Merion. About this feat, Red Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning sportswriter for the New York Herald Tribune, wrote:

“To say there never has been another achievement in competitive sports comparable to Ben Hogan’s victory in the National Open golf championship in not mere understatement, it is an insult to language. We shall not live to see anything like it again.”

Who knows what the criteria are for determining which comeback-after-injury is the greater, and frankly, what could they reasonably be? Hogan came back, and Tiger came back 69 years later. Both feats put sports into its proper light – a forum for showcasing the incredible resiliency of mankind. Good on both of ‘em!


crab boy     April 17
now that the folks have had a chance to cherish the whats being called the greatest comeback in golf or sports in general I would like to offer the following:



Tiger's comeback is impressive but I believe not as big as Ben Hogan. In 1949, Ben Hogan and his wife were hit by a bus, his pelvis was fractured in 2 places, his collarbone and left ankle broken, he had multiple blood clots as well. All sustained while also protecting his wife in the crash – and he won the 1950 US Open 18 months later and 5 other majors b/w 1950 and 1953. Accomplishing this with medical practices from 70 years ago. Now that is a comeback I think even @Herman would agree with.

Ron     April 17
Agree about Mancini. If winning doesn't matter, why play Davis at all? If Mancini is going to eventually be a full time 1B why do they insist on not letting him play it regularly now? Stupid decision but then again, this is not an organization known for their smarts.

Hither and Yawn     April 17
This O's team is not a bad team to follow. This shortstop can't hit a lick, but he is an exciting fielder.

Why did the Brewers give up Villar? Exciting player who has a lot of talent. I keep waiting to see his warts.

Mullins looks exactly like Bumbry, but the only thing they have in common is a weak arm. Bumbry was way "baseball" fast.

Hyde is just a good baseball guy. He looks to be sorting out roles in the pen. My gut says they will settle down some.

Weird things. I am not one of these guys who spout off on things that are only speculation. Dumb stuff like Chris Davis needs glasses or different meds. But it sure seems that he gets sick way more often than anyone his age and health and supplements taking should be. Stomach virus, colds and flu seems to occur often. Just is off or could be telling

Just have fun and watch. Some fun guys to follow. And less "turds" than last year.


HERMAN     April 17
Beginning next Tuesday it will become a lot easier to get tee times in Palm Beach County. The car carriers will line up and all the snow birds will go back north. Prices get more reasonable, restaurant wait times go down dramatically, and the tourists drop off considerably. That $ 110 fee at Abacoa goes to $ 55 for the same round of golf. And the odd thing is May is probably the best weather month of the year, 83 and sunny every day with bright blue skies.

Two days after Easter and it's a less crowded paradise.

Bo-Bo     April 17
@Delray - just a couple of 4 foot black snakes. Love that place but as you stated before, hard to get a good tee time.

TimD in Timonium     April 17
DF, you're right, this year's O's team IS more interesting. Enjoyed their Patriots Day win in Boston Monday. BTW, Manny is back in the area for Padres / Nats April 26-28.

unitastoberry     April 17
Bundy is toast. No control. Add him to the list and move on.

Delray Rick     April 17
How much$$$$ did the gamblers lose betting against our upstart ORIOLES?? They Wil lose a lot more before the end of the season. -250,350 AIN'T cutting it.

edward     April 17
i really like manager hyde ..he is refreshing and really seems to be in his element .. so happy he is our skipper ..in my opinion he is already better than get the buck out ..good luck and God bless everyone this amazing Holy week

Jeff     April 16
Good point @Kevin. He sure changed from his stance on Flacco.

Kevin     April 16
Kind of funny how Brien reverses the roles with Davis and Flacco for some reason. When Flacco was struggling, Brien crushed him every Monday and made sure to point out "what he did in the past does not matter" but with Davis, he spends most of the article defending him as a good guy, well liked and "let's not forget he used to be really good at one point." Funny stuff.

Delray Rick     April 16
BO..BO...OSPREY is great.See any gators or rattles there? Almost stepped on a rattled last summer.


Wednesday
April 17
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#1696



at the 10% pole, here's the deal


OK, 18 games is a smidgen more than 10% in a 162 game season. Blame it on Tiger Woods. I was ready to do this on Monday and then the sports world stopped around 2:28 pm on Sunday and, well, we're a day or two late now.

With last night's 4-2 loss to the Rays, the Birds are now 7-11 through 18 games. Honestly, they probably have two more wins than I assumed they'd have at this point. I'd have bet the "under 5.5" for wins through 18 games.

So let's look at where things stand now that the O's have completed 10% of their schedule.

I wrote this after the first week and it bears repeating now. Dwight Smith Jr. looks like he might be a keeper. I'm not saying he's going to turn into a 550 AB, .285 hitter or anything like that, but he's certainly MUCH more useful than Joey Rickard. MUCH is in all CAPS for a reason. He has a little bit of power, does Smith, and his speed certainly doesn't hurt. The more I see him in the lineup, the better I feel about him.

Not really getting any better, five years later.

I can't say the same thing for last night's starter, Dylan Bundy, who looked good for three innings and then unraveled once the Rays got a second and third look at him. Bundy threw 88 pitches in five-plus innings of work. I never won a Cy Young myself, but I know enough to say that 88 pitches in five innings isn't very good. I don't think Bundy cares all that much. I said the same thing last year. I think he's happy to be in the big leagues and really happy to be earning a nice salary but I'm not sure he cares all that much about winning. The O's would be wise to try and make a beneficial deal for him at the deadline and send him on his way.

This one's on repeat, too. It's not new news, by any means, but the Orioles bullpen is as unpredictable as a Morrissey international tour. I'm really fearful of what we're going to see in June and July. Who's the closer, by the way? I get it, we don't really care who closes out the games because winning and losing doesn't matter in 2019, but who actually is the closer on the team?

I like Brandon Hyde and his way of doing things. I still don't understand the fascination with playing an automatic out at first base, but my guess is the Chris Davis situation is above Hyde's pay grade. I liked that he got tossed out of the game in Boston this week while trying to make the umpires understand they missed the call entirely on that over-slide at second base. I like seeing him on the bench chatting with a young player. Every time they showed Buck on the bench, he was standing on the top step spitting our sunflower seeds. Hyde seems to be more involved in-the-game, which I like.

Cedric Mullins is overmatched. They can keep him up with the big league club if they want, but Mullins isn't getting any better at this point. As long as his confidence isn't getting shattered by going 2-for-15 every four games, I guess it's OK to keep him around. But there's no way he's a Major League ballplayer right now. He's just not. Get him back to Norfolk or Bowie and give him some more development time.

Not sure what they continue to see in Rickard, but to each his own. Like Mullins, he's mostly overmatched by big league pitching. He'll occasionally make a contribution with the bat, but it's not nearly enough to warrant any kind of lengthy or extended playing time. If he somehow settles in as the 4th outfielder on a 60-win team, I guess that's OK. But if he gets 450 AB this season, that's a problem.

You have to wonder what seeing 7,000 people in the stadium at 45 of the team's 81 home games is going to do to the psyche of the players by July or August. Maybe they just trot out there and play hard no matter if the crowd is 7,000 or 27,000, but my guess is playing in front of those minor league hockey crowds three or four times per homestand will grow old very quickly.

Please let Mancini play first base regularly. If you insist on playing Davis, throw him in there every third or fourth day, max. Give Mancini the first base job, and that's that. And please don't tell me Davis helps the team win games with his glove. The O's don't care if they win this year, remember?

If I'm Hyde, I run with reckless abandon whenever we get a guy or two on base. It has to be the right guy on base, obviously, but once we get someone to first base, we should be trying to get him to second base within four or five pitches. Run, steal bases, keep the other team unsettled. That's the mantra for 2019.

This team is far, far, far more interesting than last year's group of imposters. In some ways, I like the make-up of the current roster, minus the likes of Mullins and Rickard. This is a 55 win team, at least. Maybe even 60. They stink, but at least there's something seemingly brewing here. I don't see anyone jogging down to first base or pimping a home run that bounces 12 feet short and leaves them standing at first base instead of third. Are there are a bunch of 4-A players on the roster? Sure. But they're not jaking it. I can deal with the losing as long as they're not wearing clown shoes.

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final masters wrap-up with no mention of you-know-who


Some guy won The Masters for a 5th time on Sunday but some other things happened, too.

Like these things...

As I wrote here last week at #DMD, the 5th hole was lengthened and made extremely more difficult and it paid immediate dividends for the folks at Augusta National. That hole was hard, hard, hard. The winner made bogey there all four days, in fact. There's not much room to do that sort of thing on the rest of the property, but don't be shocked to see other small design changes over the next decade as the membership at Augusta tries to keep the course relevant and a tough test of golf in the wake of these 330 yard drives that are almost routine on TOUR now.

Still looking for that very elusive first green jacket.

Franceso Molinari will be heard from again but this one probably stings a little bit, even a few days later. Easier to write than do, obviously, but all Molinari needed was not to make a big number on the inward nine and birdie the two par 5's and he was a winner. A two-shot lead in golf is nothing, of course, but after pars at #10 and #11, a simple par at #12 would have put one of the nails in the coffin. Failing to birdie either par 5 on the back nine was just as much his undoing as the wind-aided brain fart at the 12th. But that kid is one heckuva player. He can putt his ball, that's for sure.

Hats off to The Golf Channel's David Duval, who called the winner on Wednesday and stuck with him all week, even when pressed by other show hosts to pick someone else. There was a distinct sound of confidence in Duval's voice on Wednesday when he announced his choice. It was almost as if he knew the end result before the first ball went in the air.

Tony Finau is a terrific player, but at some point he needs to win a golf tournament. Finau is starting to develop a reputation out there as a bit of a check collector, putting himself in great position to win but coming up short on every occasion. He led the field in driving distance for the week at Augusta but couldn't parlay that into anything except more money.

There has been talk about the Masters someday going to a "distance-restricted ball" in an effort to combat the prodigious length we see from TOUR players these days. I think the Augusta members are smart enough to not disrupt what already is the greatest golf tournament in the world. Even this year, with players bombing it out there 330 yards, the winning score was still only 13-under par for four days. The course is plenty long enough and plenty difficult enough. Leave it alone. A tweak here or there isn't bad, but there's no reason to do something ultra-stupid, like put a ball in play that only flies 250 yards.

What happened to Rory McIlroy? Another Masters comes and goes without McIlroy donning the green jacket, so he'll have to wait another year to complete the career grand slam. While his game looks better now than it did, say, two years ago, there's still something missing from Rory's arsenal. He's just not consistent enough. And with you-know-who back at top form, McIlroy isn't even Nike's best golfer anymore. My how the mighty have fallen, huh?

When our #DMD group was at Augusta last Tuesday, I bought a turkey and cheese sandwich, two bags of apple slices and a sweet tea. The total was $6.00. LOL.

As the 18th green celebration roared on around him the winner found his caddie for the first time since holing the final putt that gave him his 5th green jacket. The two came together, clasped hands, and the winner said, "We did it!". I thought that was a great moment. "We" did it. The caddie often plods along with his player and is the forgotten part of the team, but this duo seems different. They seem like they really are a team. For the winner to say "We did it!" is a sign that he gets it, too. The caddie is part of it after all.

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Tuesday
April 16
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#1695



in the end, golf was the real winner


The jacket and the trophy and the headlines went to Tiger Woods after his Masters victory on Sunday.

But golf wound up being the real winner. Again. And that's a good thing.

There's no telling what happens with Woods now that his career, somewhere around the 15th tee, perhaps, is apparently back on track. Can he win three more major championships and tie Jack's record of 18? It seems more reasonable now, with that one victory on Sunday doing wonders for his chances if for no other reason than he simply showed he can still win under the most intense pressure the sport has to offer.

Assuming he can play in them all between now and age 50, Tiger still has 27 majors remaining over the next six-plus years. When broken down like that, it seems reasonable to think he can win three times along the way. Remember, Nicklaus once finished 6th at the Masters at age 58. 6th isn't winning, obviously, but superstars often do unthinkable things, like winning the Masters at age 43 after four back surgeries, for instance.

Tiger has two children now, ages 10 and 11. Is there a new generation of junior golfers waiting to sprout in the wake of his win at Augusta on Sunday?

He's already being presented with two chances to win in the next two months at courses where he previously captured major championships. Tiger won the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage and the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Granted, that was almost a lifetime ago for Woods. So, too, was the 2005 Masters, which before this past Sunday was the last time he won at Augusta National.

All of this just goes to say the obvious: There's nothing Woods can't do.

I mean, would you be at all shocked if he wins at Bethpage next month when the PGA Championship is played there? Of course not.

Would it stun you in the least if he goes to the Monterrey Penisula in June and wins the U.S. Open? Not a bit.

But no matter what happens in those two events, golf is once again winning because of Tiger Woods. The generation of golfers I coach at Calvert Hall were between the ages of six and eight years old the last time Woods won a major championship. That little note dawned on me this past Sunday afternoon when a half dozen of the players on my team showed up for a late afternoon practice in red shirts.

"Honoring Tiger," one of them said to me when I asked why so many of them were in red, as if I didn't already know.

It hit me at that point. They hadn't ever seen Tiger Woods in his glory -- real glory -- until he rolled in that two foot putt on the 72nd hole on Sunday. They were barely able to walk and chew gum at the same time back in 2008 when Tiger fended off Rocco Mediate at Torrey Pines. They knew about Tiger, sure, but they didn't really know what he was all about. Now, they do.

I took some time to tell them about Tiger's life. I broadly discussed his personal mistakes, just to make sure they knew his road wasn't all peaches and cream. I mentioned the back surgeries and the pain killer issue and the rest of the "real life" stuff that got in the way of his golf starting in 2009. I did that just to remind them that life is filled with ups and downs along the way. Some of those downs you create yourself, some of them are just the way the dice turn up for you. In the end, I reminded them, the key thing is to simply "stay in it".

That's our theme for the 2019 at Calvert Hall Golf: Stay In It. And if anyone ever exemplified that as a life lesson, it's Woods.

Perhaps Tiger's re-entry will do now what it did twenty years ago when he started winning major championships at a record pace. Maybe it gets more people to pick up the sport. Perhaps it gets folks who once played and gave it up to clean up their clubs and give it a go again. I'm sure more sponsorship dollars will roll in. Who knows, maybe more golf courses get built again, another sign of progress back in the old days when Woods was on his first career roll, circa 2000.

But the most important thing that can develop from Tiger's win was right there for all of us to see on Sunday afternoon after he met his family behind the 18th green.

Everywhere you looked, there were children. Junior golfers. 10 year olds, now, who might someday want to be Masters champions themselves. And all because they were there on April 14, 2019 when Tiger Woods did it once again.

If more children get involved in golf at a younger age, the sport prospers. Did you catch Tiger's post-round stroll to the clubhouse? The throng of patrons was littered with young children, smiling, shouting, hands clapping. That's how those who are now in their early 20's reacted a dozen years ago when Woods was still at the peak of his career. He was a superstar then, and the sport picked up all the benefits from it.

Not surprisingly, the nation's interest in golf waned over the last decade while Woods moved out of the picture. He was always the premier needle mover. Others came along with their good looks and solid swings and winning ways, but they were nothing at all like Woods when it came to generating interest in the sport.

We're a country that adores winners.

We always have.

We're also a country that loves a great redemption story.

It's in our blood, as a nation.

Tiger is both, of course. A winner and a great redemption story, all rolled into one.

And now the sport of golf gets to benefit from it.

I'm excited to see where it goes from here.

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from the desk of
brien jackson

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



Our long national nightmare is over: On Saturday April 13, 2019 Chris Davis got a hit. As you know, that snapped an historic 0-54 streak, an all-time "accomplishment" for the Orioles $161 million first basemen.

In addition to just cracking the hit column for the season, Davis was arguably the MVP of the Orioles win in Boston on Saturday, collecting three hits and four total RBI, the first time he's cracked that mark since July of 2018. On Monday, he even hit his first home run of the season in an 8-1 victory for the Birds.

Will this change anything for Davis and the Orioles? Not really.

One big game and one decent series is nice considering all that Davis has gone through over the past few seasons, but there's no comeback story in the making. Davis is an aging slugger with skills who don't age well and, on a night in night out basis he just can't handle big league pitchers.

He's not going to suddenly start hitting like, he may well go back into another extended funk, and calls to hand him a one way ticket out of Charm City aren't going to abate. If anything, as the losses almost certainly pile up for Baltimore, the question of when to acknowledge the inevitable and finally cut Davis loose is likely to dominate this town's baseball focused conversation.

How many more days will the Orioles stick with Chris Davis? Or could it be months? Or years, even?

This does beg the question: Why haven't they done that already? Everyone knows it's coming, eventually. Everyone knows that Davis is not going to be a part of the next Orioles team that has even an outside chance of making the postseason, and that Mike Elias is unlikely to allow him to hang around and take a roster spot away from any young, big league ready player who will be a part of that future mix.

So knowing that Davis's fate is only a matter of time, why drag out the inevitable and force everyone, Davis included, to endure the farcical spectacle of putting him in an MLB lineup everyday?

The simple answer is that there's nothing to gain by waiving him sooner rather than later.

If the Orioles cut Davis right now (approximately 4:03 PM on Sunday) they wouldn't save a penny on his salary, they wouldn't increase their postseason odds by even a single percentage point, and there's no one else in the organization that Davis is holding back by occupying first base every day. That will change at some point: Either when Ryan Mountcastle transitions into the first basemen of the future or when Mark Trumbo is healthy and there's a 1B/DH/OF logjam to resolve.

At that point Davis's continued presence may become a real problem but, for now, there's no problem for the organization other than the fact that Davis's ever increasing depths (heights?) of failure are a bit embarrassing even for a team that Rachel Phelps would struggle to assemble.

And on another level, there's another variable in play here: Everybody just likes Davis. Beat writers recounted that Davis's big game on Saturday was met with a raucous celebration in the clubhouse, which Davis participated in as a good sport. At the time, Davis acknowledged Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello tipping his cap after the slump busting hit, and actually asked officials to remove the ball for him to keep as a career memento.

Those are the actions of a man with perspective and a sense of humility, and when you add in Davis's charitable work and the hard work he puts in on a daily basis, as is pretty much universally attested to, it's easy to see why his peers and bosses would like him. And they seem to like him a lot.

Fans don't see things the same way, of course. To fans, the players, coaches, executives, etc. aren't much more than commodities to be acquired, cast aside, bought, sold, and moved around however is most convenient. And that's fine: To those people, the fans are just the marks, er, customers. But to everyone who works for the Orioles, in any capacity, Davis is a colleague, a co-worker, or a loyal, hardworking employee. That means something, as well it should.

And while it's easy to forget considering how bad things have been since 2017, there was a time when Davis was decidedly not a bum. In fact, from 2012-2016 Davis was a premier slugger who meant a lot to a franchise that won a lot of games and took a franchise from the very bottom of the league to a consistent playoff contender. In 2013 he hit .286/.370/.634 with 53 home runs and finished 3rd in MVP voting. In 2015 he hit 47 home runs.

Those two teams didn't make the playoffs, but in 2012 he hit 33 home runs in only 562 plate appearances for one of the most surprising playoff teams in history, and even in 2016 he hit 38 home runs and was worth 3 fWAR for a wild card team. Take Davis away, and the Orioles probably don't make the postseason in 2012 or 2016. And for as much as the current commentary focuses on money, and the notion that Davis isn't earning his contract, Fangraphs estimates his monetary value to the Orioles from 2012-2016 at a total of $137.8 million (and these numbers probably underestimate the value of his 2012 season). Davis's problem isn't so much that he isn't earning the money that the Orioles are paying him, but that the seasons that are worth those salaries and the years that they're being paid out don't match up.

And finally, let's acknowledge one simple truth. When the Orioles do pull the trigger on releasing Davis, that's the end of the line for "The Crusher."

No one is picking up Davis, even after he clears waivers and can be had for the prorated minimum salary. He's just that bad. When the Orioles cut him, Davis has played his final game as a big leaguer, period. And when you put that all together, the totality of the situation, the impact Davis really did have on this franchise's recent period of success, and the fact that his colleagues and bosses just flat out like the guy, it's not hard to see why they let him stick around rather than cutting him just to cut him.

Things will probably change when there's actually something to be gained from doing so, but until that point the organization seems content to let Davis keep going out there and enjoying what are clearly his final days as a major league player.

And that's fine.

JERRY'S TOYOTA banner

breakfast bytes

O's-Twins rained out in Baltimore; Single admission doubleheader set for today at 4:05 pm.

Back on track? Red Sox pick up rare road win, 6-4 at Tampa Bay.

NHL: Western Conference loses its #1 seed as Calgary is eliminated at home by Colorado, 5-1.

PGA Tour: Shane Lowry (-9) continues to lead weather-delayed Hilton Head event; Mullinax one back at -8, Dustin Johnson at -7.


O's SCOREBOARD
Thursday, April 18
Orioles
6

Rays
5
WP: J. Means (2-2)

LP: D. Castillo (0-1)

HR: Severino (1), Garcia (3), Pham (3)

RECORD / PLACE: 8-12 / 3rd


PLAYOFFS SCOREBOARD
Thursday, April 18
AT HURRICANES 2
CAPITALS 1
CAPS GOALS: Ovechkin

GOALTENDER: Holtby

SERIES: Caps: 2 – Canes: 2

GAME FOUR: Saturday, April 20 at Carolina



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