Friday
February 26
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2377


did judon cross the line?


Matthew Judon could have done the Ravens a favor this week, if we're being honest.

When all the smoke clears, Judon might have "signed his expulsion papers", as Richard Cameron barked at another student who had just punched him in the face in one of the final scenes of Dead Poets Society.

I can't imagine the Ravens were ever going to win the free agency fight for Judon, but who knows? Perhaps the veteran outside linebacker would have peddled himself to the highest bidder for a month, found the interest to be lukewarm at best, and wound up back in Baltimore for 2021 and beyond.

Now, though, after the situation that Judon created this past week, would the Ravens even consider having him back in Owings Mills?

In case you missed it, here are just three headlines that are circulating within the national media this morning:

ESPN: Matthew Judon's personal attacks on Jamison Hensley were completely uncalled for

New York Post: Ravens star Matthew Judon extorting ESPN reporter with strip club photo claim

CBS Sports: Ravens star threatens to release strip club photos of ESPN reporter

Those are three. The other 25 you'll find with a quick internet search all pretty much say the same thing.

The key words: Ravens. Judon. Threatens. Extorts.

I'm no expert on peddling yourself as a free agent, but my limited Glen Burnie education tells me attempted extortion as you're about to offer your services to 31 other potential employers is....not.....the.....way.....to......do.....it.

In case you don't know the back story, here it is real quick. ESPN reporter Jamison Hensley, who lives in Baltimore and was the longtime Ravens beat writer for The Baltimore Sun authored a column recently in which he said a source told him that Judon and his agent turned down a Ravens contract offer prior to the start of the 2020 season.

Judon took exception to that. In fact, he took great exception to it and posted a criticial social media post directed at Hensley. The reporter than calmly reached out to Judon and suggested he offer a quote refuting the contract offer story and that he (Hensley) would publish it a new article. Judon did that.

Apparently, though, that wasn't good enough. After Hensley posted a new article with Judon's quote, the Ravens outside linebacker than took to another social media outlet and said if Hensley and/or ESPN don't apologize for the earlier incorrect story they published, he would post pictures of Hensley and Judon that were taken at a strip club.

I don't think I have to support Jamison Hensley here but I will, just for the sake of making sure people understand something: Matthew Judon doesn't have pictures of Jamison Hensley in a strip club. And that's that.

So now what?

The Ravens were likely going to already lose Judon to free agency, so this consideration might not even come into play at 1 Winning Drive. But should the Ravens even consider keeping Judon now?

I say "no".

I get it, trust me. We've become so indebted to our athletes and winning that we allow lots of flaws and mistakes. You see it on virtually every team, at some point. And, occasionally, it's more than fair to overlook a brush with the law or some kind of "small blemish" in return for the production they can provide on the field, the court, the ice, etc.

What Matthew Judon did, though, isn't a "small blemish". He threatened to extort someone, publicly, and did so in a way that could potentially cause the person (Hensley) family, marital and professional strife.

Judon crossed the line.

He's unemployable in Baltimore. At least to me.

The Cardinals might take him. The Dolphins were rumored to have heavy interest in him. Maybe he goes to Miami. If the Steelers don't get J.J. Watt, maybe Judon heads to the Steel City. That's fine. But his days in Baltimore should be over.

Can you imagine, for a second, if Allen Robinson did this to a reporter in Chicago just as he was getting ready to reach free agency and the Ravens were interested in acquiring a wide receiver in the off-season?

I could be wrong here, but I don't think the Ravens interest in Robinson would be the same once the story broke that he was extorting a Chicago reporter. I know we need receptions and YAC and touchdowns and all that, but extortion is a pretty bad look.

And for those wondering if Judon has apologized to Hensley yet, the answer apparently is "no".

Not that an apology would change things, but it would be nice to see or hear Judon at least acknowledge how wrong he was for the strip club claim and the attempted extortion.

It's a terrible, terrible look for a guy trying to pry $100 million or more from a NFL team this off-season.

Someone in the league will take Judon. You can bet on that.

But I sure hope it's not the Ravens. He crossed the line on Wednesday. Judon did, in fact, sign his own expulsion papers, just like "Nuwanda" in that closing scene of Dead Poets Society.

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will tiger return?


As more details are released about the surgery Tiger Woods underwent on Tuesday night, more and more medical professionals are suggesting that Tiger's career is likely over.

Yesterday, as news broke that Woods had been transferred to a new hospital in suburban Los Angeles, one doctor on CNN said such a move is almost a sure sign that Tiger's hospital stay is going to be more lengthy than first thought and "additional surgeries are now all but guaranteed."

What those surgeries would be is up for speculation, of course, but the picture is clear at this point: Tiger is, totally no pun intended here, not out of the woods yet.

And there are lots of medical professionals and orthopaedic experts chiming in to say, as they see it right now, that Tiger's golf career has ended.

It would be a shame, obviously, if Tiger goes out like this, but others like Thurman Munson, Derrick Thomas and Kobe Bryant met a much worse fate than Tiger, who was fortunate to survive Tuesday's accident. If the worst thing that happens to Tiger is his career ends with 82 wins and 15 majors, he leaves with a record unmatched by anyone else in the history of the sport.

As it stands now, listening to the experts and medical professionals, it would appear Tiger is done. One doctor on CBS said Thursday night he would put Tiger's chances of playing competitive golf again at 20%. Another on CBS said "20% might be an accurate number only if no other treatment or surgeries are required in the days and weeks ahead. Any additional repairs would diminish that 20% number."

Woods, of course, is no stranger to comeback stories. He's rebounded from knee injuries, achilles injuries, neck injuries, back injuries and several "personal situations" that kept him off the course for a period of time. But none of those had the seriousness of what happened on Tuesday. Not even close.

There have been other occasions where doctors have advised Woods to either not play or have warned him that his career might, in fact, be finished. There's the famous story in May of 2008 where a doctor told Tiger his knee was shot and he couldn't play in the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Woods did play, of course, and hobbled around on one leg for five days and eventually won the event in a playoff with Rocco Mediate.

I'm no doctor, so I can't say one way or the other what Tiger's chances are of playing again. The medical folks who do know, though, are painting a grim picture. I certainly won't be surprised if he never tees it up again.

And this time, the doctors might actually be right.

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faith in sports


I am one of Tim Tebow's biggest fans. I think he's an awesome minister. Hearing him share his faith and "the word of God" is far more compelling, to me, than watching him play football back in the day when he was a pretty good quarterback.

Today's edition of "Faith in Sports" features Tebow sharing one of his favorite stories. It's 5 minutes long. It would be great if you took 5 minutes of your day to watch it.

As always, thanks to our friends at Freestate Electric for their support of #DMD and our Friday "Faith in Sports" segment.


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#dmd comments








Connor     February 26
I'm not even a Tiger Woods fan but reading along I have to wonder what Delray Rick means when he says "Truth Hurts". What truth? That one sportswriter thinks Tiger is a lousy person? Didn't that writer in Philadelphia think Eddie Murray was a lazy, arrogant baseball player who was just trying to cash a check? What did he know? Sports writers might be the worst people in the media.

Delray RICK     February 26
TRUTH HURTS

Keith Merrill     February 26
Having lived in Greenwich for 11 years I can assure you Mushnick's reputation in NYC is that of a sour puss who never says a good word about anyone. He's not very well thought of up there.

Larry     February 26
Mushnick = hack. No respect at all in media circles.

bob jackson     February 26
DELRAY Rick - I read the NY Post earlier today and it was so spot on about your "Messiah" great article.

Carl in Owings Mills     February 26
Hey Drew, just wondering if you read and had opinion on Mushnick crapping all over Tiger today in the Post?

Josh     February 26
Tiger will play again. This is likely a 2 year injury. He'll win again but maybe not until he's on the PGA Tour Champions. I would never count him out

Jeffrey “Fireball” Roberts     February 26
It was great seeing Kenny Cooper. Can’t wait for part 2. I remember that commercial like it was yesterday. Great memories, greater times. To be young again, we never knew what we had.

KJ     February 26
Here's the thing w/Herman, when he posts, he expresses an opinion. You can agree, disagree, whatever, but there is "content". All the "Herman bashers" (JJ, Mark, Kevin, et al) do is, well, bash Herman. With the added bonus of calling him a racist, as if that is a benign criticism. Really puzzles me why these comments stay up, they are NOT related to "today's topic", they are strictly personal shots at an individual.

Loved the Kenny Cooper Part I. Best point of the conversation was discussion about all the "fluff" added to the Blast games. I was one of those who called it "a circus show" and not a "sport", but Drew's point about all the leagues do it now is 100% spot on. I still think it's a shame they do it, but there's no doubting many fans enjoy this extraneous activity, for whatever reason. Not sure whose idea it was, but definitely was an idea ahead of its time, there's no denying that.

Tom J     February 26
Never mind the extortion attempt, I wouldn't have Judon back in a Ravens uniform for 20 million dollars as he wasn't worth the 16 million they paid him last year.

Bob S. (AKA Idiot Caller)     February 26
Are these doctors commenting on Tiger Woods injury the same type of media friendly doctors that have been advising everyone about COVID-19? "Don't wear masks... no wait, now wear masks... no wait, now wear two masks...". Pardon me if I don't trust these media doctors right now.

I would bet heavily right now that Tiger DOES make it back and end up playing tournament golf again, and winning a tournament or two before his career is over!

Don't bet against Tom Brady, and don't bet against Tiger Woods!

F Kline     February 26
Are we also supposed to abandon Michael Phelps? He ran afoul of the law a couple of times. Is that what we do now?

J.J.     February 26
Good point @Kevin but surprisingly the author of that comment conveniently forgot about Ray Ray's trial in Atlanta.

Tom     February 26
Interesting topic on Judon. Not sure I understand how Tiger Woods gets weaved into the discussion but given the source I do understand. I agree with @DF. I wouldn't re-sign Judon based on this episode. It reeks of poor character.

unitastoberry     February 26
Like I said yesterday Judon is not worth any of this nonsense. Unlike the Orioles I find myself siding with the Ravens management most of the time. Decent player like a Mosley on the outside. Wrong price. Decosta has it covered with the Wizard of Oz consulting.

Kevin     February 26
I know it's not cool to troll the troll but wasn't it just Herman a few weeks ago who was slobbering all over Ray Lewis so much that Herman needed stitches in both knees? I seem to recall 52 got in off field trouble as well???

TimD in Timonium     February 26
If only more pro athletes would let somebody else manage their Twitter account, handle their finances, drive them around...

Brian Jessup     February 26
Judons a jerk don't let the door hit you on the way out.



So depressed about Tiger. I was really hoping , by some miracle, he would qualify for the BMW Tournament this summer so I could go to Caves Valley and watch him. I've never seen him in person and would have been one of 30,000 other fans trying to catch that glimpse up close.(or somewhat close) It's such a shame to have it end like this but maybe there's a few more miracles left in his body. One can hope.

Steve from Cape Coral     February 26
Interesting, Nothing about your boy skating on the DWI charges ??? Very Sad news, but par for the course !!!

HERMAN     February 26
"We've become so indebted to our athletes and winning that we allow lots of flaws and mistakes"

Uh, yeah, I can think of one glaring example where that is true, especially for the site owner. Being able to hit a little white ball better than others excuses all off course behavior.

"And, occasionally, it's more than fair to overlook a brush with the law or some kind of "small blemish" in return for the production they can provide on the field, the court, the ice, etc."

Odd that you left off "course", or "golf course", as the recent coverage of the "accident" was like an homage, a sycophantic orgy, where formerly respected "news" programs gave up hours of hard news in coverage of the "accident". The sporting public at large has ignored everything with regard to one particular athlete, site owner included.

Could such adulation in the face of past transgressions have led to contributing to the "accident"?

When one pays no price for their sins where is the deterrence to repeat the sins?




Delray rick     February 26
For our readers who have the internet (HERMAN) and who don't (spend a dollar) check out NY POST today and PHIL MUSHNICK'S column on the MESSIAH. Its classic.

JohnInEssex     February 26
Just completed watching part 1 of Kenny Cooper interview.

Feel the same way Drew does concerning Kenny Jr. not getting a fair shake with the US National team. They have ALWAYS needed a finisher, Kenny would produce, but somehow weirdly not be on the team.



One of my coolest memories as a referee was working a game at Rosedale Park where Kenny Jr. was playing on a U10 team. He towered over everyone and was dominating. Got to say HI to Kenny Sr. and thank him for all he did for soccer in Baltimore. SO MANY great memories thanks to the BLAST!

tom     February 25
yea @AL, cause you are such a class act youself, smh

JK     February 25
Thanks Drew for the Kenny Cooper video interview. Love seeing and hear my favorite coach. It was great to hear all the Blast and life experiences on the interview. This brought back some great memories. I can't wait for part 2!

JeffWell     February 25
Pretty much a d*#k move by Judon IMO. Speaking of such moves,we get a real gem from that be "classy" guy Al.

Howard     February 25
After about 30 years, the Spirit commercial remains the best sports commercial of all time.

Thanks for the laugh

Rob Really     February 25
Delray quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald today... nice! Are we still allowed to do that??

Delray Rick     February 25
Show me a hero,and I'll write you a tragedy.

TimD in Timonium     February 25
The early to mid-'80s was a great time to be a Blast fan. It very could have been the Golden Age of the Baltimore Civic Center. What a time.

unitastoberry     February 25
I don't do twitter but been watching this Judon vs Hensley thing. I shake my head at social media many times. I was on facebook for a while but deleted. Now you have a reporter with a pretty solid reputation who reports that he turned down a deal for 16.5 million a year? Then Judon replies saying he's a liar and he has pictures of him with a stripper? Wow I guess you just have to shake your head and wait for Hensley to sue for liable. I think if Matt or his agent turned down 16.5 mil/yr they are nuts. I have seen many great outside LB/Rush ends and Matts not one of those headed for Canton types. He's not Suggs,Bouleware,maybe not even Jamie Sharper or Jaret Johnson. I could go back further in time with a few names but no one will know them. See you Matt good luck. BTW the cap is going down and the league is basically demanding that the networks back up the Brinks trucks with more money to offset loses due to Covid and poor ratings.

RickinBaltimore     February 25
Kenny Cooper will always have a special place for me. I grew up on the Blast, and as a kid, they were larger than life. He knew how to coach, but how to promote the team, the trek up and down federal Hill immediately comes to mind.

Tom J     February 25
Can't wait to watch the Kenny Cooper chat. He was bigger than life "back in the day" when the Blast ruled the winter in Baltimore. Brought me many evenings of joy during those glory days. It was nothing like being in the old Civic Center when it was packed to the rafters and that place was rocking..!!!!

Delray Rick     February 24
This guy has 3 crashes and almost hit a man in the hotel lot..and that man was upset. Watch his interview. SHOULD HAVE HIS LICENSE REVOKED.


Cal     February 24
As you noted on Twitter yesterday DF, God is indeed great. Those prayers for Tiger worked. Now let's hope he can resume some normal functionality in his life and maybe even play golf again someday.

Brian Jessup     February 24
Sources say Tiger's appointment was 1 hour away and he was running late with only 20 minutes to make it. Thank God he's not dead. Speculators are running wild, drugs, sleep, distracted driving, who knows maybe a combination of all three. Here's hoping he somehow makes it back, maybe after this he won't want to but the golfing and non-golfing world was depressed yesterday.



I don't think the "OJ" coverage of the car being towed in was necessary, that was way over the top.



And we thought 2020 was bad, hope this isn't an omen for the rest of the year.

Vince Fiduccia     February 24
The Golf Channel's coverage of Tiger was outstanding last night, especially the work done by Rich Lerner. If you want information about Tiger do not go to one of the cable news outlets. They are one rung below thrash TV. The Golf Channel has insider information with Tiger's people.

unitastoberry     February 24
I hope Tiger Woods recovers. Lots depend on how good or bad his surgeon was along with any complications from the repairs. He's going to be on pain killers again for a long time which is not good either. I hope when he gets back to normal he finally hires a full time driver.

ChrisK     February 24
Excellent call with Marc Cohn. Also, a good take on Zanzibar--not quite my favorite of William's, but it's way up on the list. And yes, Earl Weaver was the best. Harbaugh can make an argument, but he also would have a sub-.500 career playoff record if Rahim Moore hadn't tripped over his own feet. He's not there yet, but he's in the conversation.

TimD in Timonium     February 24
@Delray Rick, you called this on Feb 22. Maybe it was speeding, maybe he fell asleep, maybe he was texting, bad outcome either way, but could've been much, much worse. If Alex Smith can come back from a catastrophic lower leg injury, I believe Tiger can do. Get well soon, Tiger.

JohnInEssex     February 23
I remember back in 83 that some of the Orioles players were determined to win without Weaver at the helm. They wanted to show it wasn't the manager, but the players.

And the final game of 82 - Cal Sr. botched sending/not sending Glenn Gulliver from 3rd base early in the game and we never really recovered.

HERMAN     February 23
Earl Weaver was the best manager in town, hands down.

Earl was light years ahead in using statistics, knowing minute details about players history of performance against competition. He used 3 X 5 index cards to keep stats across the board.

Earl studied the stats of championship teams. He knew what home run totals it took, how many RBI's it took, how many hits. Then he attempted to put a team together position by position who could meet those totals. He knew which players hit his pitcher well, even the obscure players and pinch hitters.

Earl was one of the only managers in history to platoon a pair of mid-level talents at the same position in an attempt to have two players at the same position equal the output of one superior performer.

Earl was a stats-geek scientist forty years before it became a necessary tool of every team in the game.

He may have tightened up a team during the World Series and lost some he should have won, but for season long performance Earl was the best in town, one of the best in the history of the game.

Howard     February 23
Earl underachieved with the talent that he had. Someone has pointed out that Altobelli took Weaver’s guys and won a World Series in 1983 but Weaver couldn’t do it with his guys in 1982.

Harbaugh wins a Super Bowl with a team that was clearly not the most talented in the NFL..

cj     February 23
Praying for Tiger. The crash scene looks really bad. Godspeed to him.

Delray Rick     February 23
MESSIAH in car crash in LA. Had to extraction by "jaws of life".

Neil     February 23
Just wanted to say I thought A to Z was good reading material today. Add that to your regular columns please.

Chris in Bel Air     February 23
Yes to Weaver as B'more best. Harbs is certainly making a good case. I'm assuming Harbs will be coaching (and winning) for at several more years. If he were to win another Super Bowl, that could certainly make the decision more difficult. Still remember that final 4 game weekend against the Brewers in 1982. The O's and Weaver almost pulled it off.

Big yes to the U2, Beastie Boys, The Cars, Steely Dan and INXS. No to DMB, Pearl Jam and Little Feat.

@Delray Rick - I've been rooting for Spieth too. I agree he seems like his game has turned around. I would love to see him win a tourney and a major this year.

Skip     February 23
I agree with UtB about Weeb and being an oldster myself I would nominate Paul Richards for his building of the Birds in the 60s.

Frank     February 23
RIP Ted Patterson. I remember @DF listed him on his Top 10 Baltimore sportscaster list a few years ago. Maybe you can share a story or two about Ted sometime this week @DF?

unitastoberry     February 23
E -- Is Earl Weaver Baltimore's all-time best coach? I don't know...that's why I'm asking you. I mean, in my lifetime (please note that) , the only candidates for the honor are Shula, Weaver, Billick, Showalter and Harbaugh. Shula wasn't around long enough. Showalter didn't win a championsip. Billick had a lot of "off years" despite winning a Super Bowl. It's either Harbaugh or Weaver. I think you can make an argument for both, but I'll listen to you and your reasoning.



In your lifetime yes Weaver was by far. In my lifetime I would bring Weeb Ewbank into the mix for me. Forget Shula he never won a title here and disrespected Unitas. Rosenbloom was nuts or drunk or hangin with the bookies and strippers when he let Weeb go. Weeb won three titles in 2 cities and brought many HOF players into the league. Earl was great but he inherited a great team from Bauer. But he proved himself again after Frank and Brooks left/retired and Altobelli won with Weavers guys. I'd call it a tie for me with Weaver and Weeb.

Tristan (DMD Editor)     February 23
Good morning, just for your information, no more comments will be permitted about the vaccination for Covid. I'm going to remove all currently published comments and we will not be allowing any further comments.



Thank you for your understanding.

Thursday
February 25
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2376


kenny cooper


For any Baltimore sports fan who was around Charm City in the 1980's or 1990's, today's edition of #DMD needs no headline to introduce the topic other than the two words above -- Kenny. Cooper.

If you weren't around back then, what I'm about to say might seem almost impossible, but it was true. Very much, true, in fact.

In the 1980's, in Baltimore, Kenny Cooper was as recognizable and popular as anyone connected to Baltimore sports, including Cal Ripken Jr. and Eddie Murray. At that time, Cooper wasn't "Mr. Soccer" in Charm City. He was "Mr. Baltimore".

I don't make statements like this every day and I'm sure you probably don't, either. Cooper was a second father to me. Both of grandfathers lived in another state and I saw them only during summer vacations. My dad's father passed away when I was 12 and my mom's dad passed away in my early 20's. I was far closer to Cooper than I ever was to either of my grandfathers.

I was so close to Kenny that when my mom passed away in 1987, I put a picture of Cooper and I in her casket. It was a photo of the two of us after the championship win over St. Louis and it was one of my mom's favorite photos.

When I started with the Blast in 1981, the organization was really still trying to find its way. They had some big crowds in the 1980-81 campaign at the old Civic Center and the team made the playoffs that first year, but the sport and the franchise hadn't taken hold quite yet.

Cooper was the guy who engineered the growth of the franchise.

He believed very much in the "personal touch" back then. He rarely turned an opportunity to speak at a community function. He was in parades, spoke at schools, met with CEO's at the Center Club and was as comfortable in sweats and indoor soccer shoes as he was in a collar and tie.

We even went to the Jessup prison three times to play soccer-volleyball against the inmates, believe it or not. They weren't exactly candidates for season tickets, but Cooper wanted his players to see the other side of life. He was always thinking, Coops was.

On the field, the Blast had great success. In his 14 seasons as the head coach in Baltimore, the team missed the playoffs one time ('90-91). Cooper led the franchise to the MISL title in 1983-84 after narrowly losing to San Diego the year before. There were other really good teams along the way and, sadly, other post-season losses to the Sockers, but that '83-84 team was the best side in Blast history and one of the best all-time teams of the old MISL.

Cooper came to the U.S. from Blackpool, England. One of the benefits of that birthplace is that it happened to be a few miles from one of England's greatest golf courses, Royal Lytham and St. Annes, which is where guys like Tom Lehman and David Duval won their major championships.

So, if you wondering how a kid from Glen Burnie wound up standing on the first tee with Eddie Birchenough, the head golf professional at Royal Lytham, that's how. I didn't do anything. Cooper did it all.

"On the tee, from the United States, Drew Forrester..." Birchenough said as I struck a 5-iron on the first hole at Royal Lytham, which is a par-3 hole, oddly enough. You can sorta-kinda tell I still remember that day. I was fortunate enough to play Royal Lytham five times. I also got to play Royal Birkdale and The Belfry with Cooper. I was blessed beyond imagination.

I also learned a lot from Cooper about marketing and the concept of personalization. Coops was a fanatic for hand-written notes, something I've tried to emulate over the years with friends and business contacts. He understood the idea of "standing out" better than just about anyone I've ever met.

The red tie, the red car with "Fans 1" on the license plate. The patience to sit with an inexperienced media member and explain soccer to him or her. Yes, Cooper mastered the art of standing out.

The only thing Kenny never did was play for the team. He was an outstanding professional goalkeeper both in England and the U.S., eventually settling in Dallas and enjoying a 10-year career with the Tornado of the NASL. So, by the time he reached Baltimore, his playing days were over.

Everything else besides playing, though, Cooper checked off. Coach, general manager, salesman, marketing guru, public relations head honcho...he did it all. He might be the first to tell you that perhaps he stretched himself too thin along the way, but in those days no one was really caught up in titles.

If one of our sales execs was going on a call and needed Cooper to help close the deal, he'd slip out of his sweat pants, hop in the shower, throw on a suit, and head to the appointment with the sales executive.

So if you didn't know Cooper before now, hopefully you have a better picture of him. If you were a Baltimore sports fan in the 1980's and 1990's, you already knew him. Either way, though, I hope you'll enjoy today's edition of "Drew and Friends" below, where I sit down with Cooper for a 2-part series. We'll run part 2 on Saturday.

Additionally, because I stumbled upon this during a recent YouTube search, here's a commercial we did to introduce the Baltimore Spirit, who started playing in the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) in 1992-93 after the MISL went out of business in the summer of 1992.

Due to a legal hassle between the leagues and the old Blast owner and the new Spirit owner, we couldn't use the name "Blast"...so we held a contest to name the new team and Spirit was the winner. When we needed to remind people that Baltimore still had an indoor soccer team in town, we used the commercial below to introduce ourselves.



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drew and friends


Here's part 1 of our lengthy conversation with Kenny Cooper. Thanks to our friends at Primary Residential Mortgage for their continued support of "Drew and Friends"!



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"The Keen Eye" of
David Rosenfeld

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


if it’s the last time


We may have seen Tiger Woods swing a golf club for the last time. Whatever you think of him, it’s a seminal moment in American sports. His career really might be over this time for good.

Not saying he’ll never pick up his clubs and play golf again; I sure hope he can, if he wants to. Not saying we’ll never see him again, hopefully looking and sounding better than he did this past weekend. I assume his recovery to such a state after the car accident will take a while.

We just might not see Tiger Woods, professional golfer. Red shirt on Sunday. Big crowds following. The perfect shot right when he needs it the most, like on #16 at Augusta in 2019. The swing that changed golf forever.

I wouldn’t say that Tiger was the reason I started playing golf; that was probably my age. But he did begin his reign at right about the same time. All of us who started back then thought the same thing. That swing…

Could this be the final winning putt of Tiger's historic career?

Older guys were quirky — even some not-so-old guys (at the time), like Paul Azinger and Jim Furyk. Sure, Sam Snead was pure silk and Ben Hogan was incredibly repeatable and those old film shorts of Bobby Jones were amazing. Jack Nicklaus was pure power, not to mention the greatest of all time.

This guy, though? He was perfect. He was the perfect size with the perfect body type and, according to Azinger, hit the ball with a sound he couldn’t even comprehend. Golf is a technical game, and his technique was unflawed.

Fine, if you were a golf instructor, you said stuff like “across the line” or prone to a “two-way miss.” Hank Haney got Tiger to be “laid off” at the top (please, no jokes) and hold the club more in his palms than his fingers. His more recent instructors talked all sorts of new-age stuff, activating glutes and the like. Something changed when he finally relented and started playing “modern” equipment, as Phil Mickelson once quipped.

What a load of bunk. All of it. Someone’s swing is the end result of all its parts, not the parts itself. And it was beautiful, maybe the most beautiful thing in all of sports.

You guys have it good now. Rory McIlroy has a fantastic swing, especially with the driver. Louis Oosthuizen is lovely to watch. Dustin Johnson’s athleticism makes Tiger’s look like the “B” team. Before all of them, Adam Scott actually had Tiger’s exact swing without the killer instinct and closing ability.

There was nothing like Tiger’s swing before. Power, the kind that changed the game. Balance, incredible considering the amount of power being created. Speed, the amount of which can only be obtained with a combination of power and balance.

Of course a player can win a golf tournament, whether on the PGA Tour or at his or her club, without having a swing like that. And of course winning tournaments has a lot to do with everything but someone’s full swing—getting out of trouble, the short game in general, and putting in particular.

I’m not sure there’s ever been anyone better than Tiger in his prime at all of those things too. But there’s not a lot of excitement in all of it, no matter how many long putts Jordan Spieth was making a few years ago. Dan Jenkins once wrote that Tiger was the first pro to ever “play great and putt great” for a long period of time. It’s instructive that “play great” comes first, because it’s hard to putt great if you don’t play great to get there.

Tiger’s swing—the usual, “stock” one—allowed him to create other swings surrounding it as he got older. He could aim left with a wedge, take it back a little steeper and use his forearms to hit a slight fade when nobody else really thought about doing something like that. An hour later, he could aim slightly right with the same club and roll his arms just enough to the left to create a low-trajectory draw that stopped like a fade. His action was so solid that a ball slightly above or below his feet, or an uphill or downhill lie, had almost no effect on his swing.

Some of his most famous swings came from the rough, often pretty thick. A spectacular shot in 2000 from the left rough on the 18th hole at Firestone comes to mind. The force with which he squatted into those shots was legendary, and sometimes his right foot would come off the ground with the violence. Yet, it was still well-balanced. How many of us have tried that over the last 25 years only to realize that it’s not normal to make good (or even any) contact with a ball you can hardly see?

Tiger still says his best swing came during the 2002 PGA Championship at Hazeltine National in Minnesota. You’ve seen it. His feet are backed up against the lip of a fairway bunker, the ball sitting a foot below him. There’s a line of trees directly in front of him, he has a 3-iron, it’s 7:30 in the morning and it’s cold enough in August for Woods to be wearing a sweater.

Hovering the club behind the ball (it was in a bunker, remember), his swing then flowed as beautifully as ever, if only a bit steeper and quicker in the takeaway in the attempt to get the ball up in the air. The quality of the shot was apparent immediately, as it always was with Woods. If anything is more famous than his swing, it’s how he reacts to each swing. The ball landed on the green, and he made a long putt for birdie.

A while back, I remember walking out from my office onto the grounds at Gilman School, maybe 1000 feet or so from the baseball field. As I looked into the distance, there was something immediately noticeable. Even though his back was to me, I could see that Cal Ripken was throwing batting practice. Even at 50 or so, many years retired from the game, it would have been recognizable to any Orioles’ fan.

Tiger’s swing takes that to another level entirely. It’s like Michael Jordan’s dunk from the foul line in the All-Star Weekend dunk contest, only repeated thousands of times. Nobody else shoots a basketball like Steph Curry or hits a forehand like Roger Federer or has a slap shot like Alex Ovechkin from his “office.”

The setup and posture, which ought to be copied but is difficult to copy. The position at the top, which may have been slightly left or right but was never loose in a bad way. The only place he ever seemed to “mess up” was on the way down, when his lower body would be too active and his hands had to catch up. For that reason, the driver was never his best club, no matter how far he could hit it.

And just to add a flourish, there was the club twirl in the second after he knew he hit a good one. Tony Finau hits good ones. Some great player at your club constantly flushes shots. You, and everyone else, hits good shots related to your ability. All of us look completely ridiculous doing a club twirl afterward, though. That belongs to him, no matter who else does it now.

If it’s the last time we’ll see it, that’s ok. Like the thousands of people who get into serious car accidents every year and live to tell about it, Woods is lucky to be alive. In perfect health or not, someone’s golf swing isn’t as important as their ability to walk, no matter how famous a person is for his swing.

As the last 13 years or so of Woods’ life shows, even the most perfect life isn’t exactly perfect. That swing, though? Nothing was more perfect, and thank god we have so many video clips from which to remember it.

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Wednesday
February 24
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2375


"it stopped me in my tracks..."


Justin Thomas was on site in Bradenton, Florida preparing for this week's tournament when his caddie handed him a cell phone on the 5th fairway.

Thomas looked at the news concerning Tiger Woods. There wasn't much there, yet, just a headline that read "TIGER WOODS SERIOUSLY INJURED IN CAR ACCIDENT".

"It stopped me in my tracks," Thomas told the media afterwards. "I was just sick to my stomach. I felt awful."

For most of the American golfing and sporting world, the reaction was the same on Tuesday afternoon around 2:15 pm EST once word started circulating that Woods had been in an accident in Los Angeles.

The vehicle of Tiger Woods after Tuesday morning's one-car accident in Los Angeles.

Nearly every PGA Tour player at The Concession Golf Club on Tuesday had the same general overview of Tiger's importance to them and their career as a professional golfer.

"Tiger's the reason I'm standing here today, no two ways about it," Tony Finau said. "The day he won the Masters in 1997, I said to my parents, 'I want to be a professional golfer some day' and it was all because of Tiger."

"We're all here playing at Concession for these huge purses and all of this notoriety within the world of golf because of Tiger," Bryson DeChambeau stated. "It's been a privilege to get to know him and call him a friend. Our sport won't be the same if he doesn't play after this."

"I was numb as soon as I saw the news," Dustin Johnson said. "Just numb. Thinking about his family and his foundation and everyone he just impacted with the Genesis Invitational and then this happens. I was speechless for a few minutes today. Like, I just couldn't speak to anyone. I had to get through it."

The news late Tuesday night painted a grim picture for Woods in terms of his return to golf. Doctors surgically repaired Tiger's right leg, inserting pins and screws in his tibia and femur. There was no official timetable given for his return to a normal quality of life, let alone the potential to play golf again. But the injuries were significant enough that it's more than fair to assume Woods may never again play competitively.

If there's any morsel of news that is potentially favorable for a return to golf, it's that Tiger's injuries were mainly to his right leg. The left leg and hip are the stabilizing force in the golf swing. While it wouldn't be impossible to play again after trauma to the left leg, it would make it far more difficult to do so.

As soon as word got out early Tuesday evening about the extent of Tiger's injuries, golf enthusiasts and historians pointed to Ben Hogan's career and how he was involved in a serious automobile accident that led many to believe he'd never play again, only to come back and compete at a high level, win the U.S. Open and so on. Perhaps Woods and Hogan will be further linked through this unfortunate accident, particularly if Tiger can return someday, compete, and win.

But if this does mark the end of Tiger's historic career, it will leave him tied with Sam Snead at the top of the career wins list with 82. He'll finish three majors shy of tying Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major titles. But everything else in golf that could have been accomplished, Woods managed to do during his 25 year professional career.

I'm sure there are legions of amateur golfers around the country who share the same story that I have as it relates to Tiger and his impact on my golf game.

I first picked up a club in 1986. I had no idea what I was doing. I assumed I'd just "goof around" with golf, play it on a casual basis, use it to help my career and line of work, etc.

I started to enjoy it more around 1989. I was still "dabbling" in the game, but I was definitely taking it more seriously.

I played my first golf tournament in June of 1993. I shot 79-77 in the Spring Publinx at Mount Pleasant and Clifton Park. I had no idea what I was doing.

I enjoyed golf at the outset. For roughly the first ten years, I liked playing and was attracted to the element of "tournament golf" right away.

But make no mistake about it: I love competing in golf because of Tiger Woods. It really is that simple. I can say, almost without question, the same general thing Tony Finau hinted at on Tuesday. If not for Tiger and his influence circa 1997, I wouldn't have ever developed a love for competing in golf tournaments.

I owe it all to Tiger Woods. And, to be clear, "all" is a bunch of amateur golf tournaments, a few wins along the way, and 25 years of loving the sport. I love competing in golf because of Woods and the way he competed.

I stopped in my tracks, too, yesterday, just like Justin Thomas. I checked my phone regularly throughout the day for updates just like Jon Rahm and Dustin Johnson and Tony Finau. I was worried, just like everyone else.

If Tiger doesn't play again, so be it. God has a plan for him and that plan will come to fruition as He sees fit. The most important thing, of course, is that Tiger returns to a normal quality of life and can enjoy spending time with his family and two children and can continue the outstanding work with his foundation in Southern California.

Woods has done more than enough for golf. He owes the sport nothing at all.

If this is, in fact, the end of his career, history will tell his story and it will be a remarkable account of someone who was bigger than the sport itself.

But knowing Woods and having faith in the way God works, I personally don't think we've seen the last of him playing golf and competing.

I don't think the book is closed just yet.

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SUCH
a sports fan

MARK SUCHY is a lifelong Baltimore sports fan, youth basketball coach and father of three athletic sons. A former weekend sports radio host in Baltimore, "Such" offers his memories and insights on sports related topics each Wednesday here at #DMD.


around the rim


The end of February draws ever closer, and with it, the winter doldrums begin to fade. It’s almost March, that magical time in the Mid-Atlantic when the winds blow 35 MPH one day, and the next it’s 62 degrees with a hint of summer in the air.

College hoops is winding down, and if you look around the corner of the calendar, you can see the approach of the best sporting event of the year, March Madness. This year’s edition promises to be unique and memorable and hopefully never to be replicated.

March Madness is bubble-icious in 2021. Criticize it all you want, it’s still better than being deprived of the spectacle like we were in 2020. I’ll take it.

It’s all neutral courts for every team this year. No traveling hordes of students and alumni in far-flung locales like Boise or Albany. The entire tournament will be played in the state of Indiana. No impartial fans in the arena to cheer on the 14 seed as they cling to a 5-point lead against the 3 seed, with everyone openly pulling for the upset. A bit of the allure will be absent.

But it’s happening, and that’s reason enough to celebrate and to speculate. Here are some observations and useless predictions as Selection Sunday approaches on March 14th.


Can Mark Few and Gonzaga become the first team since 1976 to go undefeated in a college basketball season and win the NCAA tournament?

There are currently two undefeated teams still remaining, Gonzaga and Baylor.

This is heady stuff for any program in late February, no matter the difference in conference strength. It’s obvious to even a casual college basketball fan that the Big 12 is superior in depth to the West Coast Conference, but it’s unfair to detract from what these two programs have accomplished in this strange season. Undefeated is undefeated.

If I were forced to pick one of them to win a National Championship without a loss, I would take Gonzaga, based on the likelihood that they would win their conference tournament (if it’s even played). But the odds of either of these schools winning it all without a loss are long. There’s a reason no team has been an undefeated National Champion since Indiana in 1976.


KenPom.com has 8 Big Ten teams in its top 30 as of Tuesday morning, with Maryland checking in at #30. For all the angst that oldtimers like me still feel about the Terps leaving the ACC, there’s not much doubt that in recent years, the Big Ten has been a deeper conference in basketball. It’s still strange to see the Terps playing in Evanston as opposed to Raleigh, and I’ll never get excited about a matchup against Nebraska, but times change, and I’m finally beginning to appreciate the depth and quality of the schools in the conference.

I’m doing my best to shed some of my Tobacco Road snobbery. This isn’t to say that I’ll ever get over the move or think games against Ohio State and Michigan mean more than games against Duke and North Carolina, because they don’t and never will. But I can accept that this is the way it is from now on, and that’s more than I could say three or four years ago.

Speaking of KenPom.com, his latest poll has Maryland at #30, situated between #29 North Carolina and #31 Duke. Wait, I thought those two were bad this year? Maybe it’s some kind of cosmic poetic justice. I still think the Terps should be at least one spot ahead of UNC, just because. I don’t need metrics to deny me that satisfaction.


Speaking of Maryland, and I can’t believe I’m typing these words, the Terps could prove to be a very dangerous team in March. This week off comes at just the right time, allowing them the chance to rest and recharge for one final month of their best effort. And effort is what has earned them their current record.

Defensively, they’ve been outstanding over the past month, communicating and switching and boxing out ferociously.

I still think they take too many threes, but if Wiggins continues his ascent offensively, and Morsell continues to shoot the mid-range jumper with confidence, they can hang with anyone in the country.

And strangely enough, this season of coronavirus might actually work to their benefit, as lack of familiarity with their smaller size and aggressiveness could lead higher-seeded teams to overlook them a bit.

Right now, I’ll predict the Terps grab a 9 seed, win their first-round matchup, then face either Gonzaga or Baylor in the Round of 32. Maryland has the profile of a team the committee loves to match up with against a 1 seed on the first weekend. Veteran, savvy and tough. It would be an entertaining game.


Luka Garza of Iowa is leading the nation in scoring, averaging 24.7 points per game for the Hawkeyes, who are currently 17-6 and well positioned for a top 4 seed in the tournament. If he maintains his pace, he’ll become the first Iowa player to lead the country in scoring since the immortal Murray Wier in 1947-48, who averaged 21.0 ppg. That record is unofficial, since the NCAA didn’t begin compiling statistics until 1972-73, but I doubt there will be much argument about Wier’s achievement on internet message boards.

It’s interesting to note that no player who led the country in scoring has ever won a National Championship. The closest anyone ever came was the great Oscar Robertson with the University of Cincinnati, who went to back-to-back Final Fours only to come away empty. Keep that little nugget in mind as you look at your bracket.

I’m going to guess that you didn’t know the nation’s leading rebounder is a 6’11” Muslim named Fardaws Aimaq. He’s averaging 15.5 rebounds per game for the Utah Valley University Wolverines, which is located in Orem, Utah, and is a member school of the Western Athletic Conference. Aimaq is the son of Afghani refugees who fled to Vancouver, Canada in the early 1990’s after brief stays in Hamburg, Germany and Toronto. He has a black belt in mixed martial arts and was a high-level swimmer in Vancouver growing up.

Aimaq transferred to Utah Valley after his freshman year at Mercer University, and he’s blossomed into a force on the glass this season, with three games of 20+ rebounds. He averages a double-double, scoring 14.4 points per game. It’s unlikely we’ll get to see Aimaq in the tournament, as the Wolverines are 8-9 on the season. That disappoints me a bit; I’m a fan of the big men.


If you’re looking for a team to root for that has a Baltimore connection, take a look at the VCU Rams. Freshman point guard Adrian (Ace) Baldwin of St. Frances Academy is a starter for the Rams, who currently lead the Atlantic 10 with a record of 17-5 (10-3 A10).

Baldwin was The Baltimore Sun Player of the Year the last two seasons, and he’s averaging 6.2 points, 4.4 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game. The lightning-quick lefthander has matured into the Rams’ floor leader, and guards make a difference in March. Having watched him growing up, I can assure you that Ace won’t be intimidated by the stage or the opponent. Here’s hoping he has a memorable March.


My way too early prediction?

Virginia has to be the longest-tenured defending National Champion in college basketball history. But it says here their reign ends on the second weekend. My all-too-early Final Four is Baylor, Villanova, Gonzaga and Alabama, with Gonzaga cutting down the nets in front of an empty arena. Mark Few gets his long sought-after title, and the 1976 Hoosiers will finally have some company.

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Tuesday
February 23
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2374


a.......to.......z


In the old days of The Evening Sun, my buddy Phil Jackman used to author an occasional column called: Reading Time, Two Minutes.

It would, of course, take roughly 2 minutes for you to read. But it was always packed with some good stuff.

In honor of Jackman -- you'll see a story about him later this week here at #DMD -- I thought I'd give "A.....to......Z", which might take you roughly 3 minutes to read.

Not that I'm better than Phil or anything like that. I'm not. Maybe we just take longer to read these days than we did back in the 1990's.

A -- Alshon Jeffery was released by the Eagles yesterday. The wide receiver's name will immediately be semi-connected to the Ravens because any veteran pass catcher of note who is available is automatically linked to Baltimore. If I'm the Ravens, though, I pass. No pun intended. Not interested...

B -- Of all the music artists, bands, etc. that are no longer together, I miss the Beastie Boys the most. They're not making music any longer because one of their founding members, Adam Yauch, passed away 9 years ago. Has it really been almost a decade? Wow. I miss their music. Those guys were true pioneers.

What will 2021 bring for Chris Davis?

C -- What's going to happen with Chris Davis this season? I mean, we know he's going to be on the team in 2021 and next. The Orioles aren't going to pay a guy $23 million to not play, particularly after the way they've been slicing payroll and expenses over the last four months. But what happens with Davis? Does he play 60 or 70 games before the O's create another one of those mid-season injuries for him? Or is there any chance at all he somehow cobbles together a decent campaign at the plate? Yeah, I agree. A mid-season "injury" seems highly probable.

D -- Dave Matthews Band has, in my opinion, 25 "great" songs. Yeah, I counted 'em yesterday. And I'm a pretty harsh critic, actually. Now, granted, they've made a lot of music over the last 25 years or so, but for any band to have 25 truly "great" songs, that's really saying something about their staying power. I'd list them all here for you, but I doubt you're that interested. Just trust me. They have 25 great songs.

E -- Is Earl Weaver Baltimore's all-time best coach? I don't know...that's why I'm asking you. I mean, in my lifetime (please note that) , the only candidates for the honor are Shula, Weaver, Billick, Showalter and Harbaugh. Shula wasn't around long enough. Showalter didn't win a championsip. Billick had a lot of "off years" despite winning a Super Bowl. It's either Harbaugh or Weaver. I think you can make an argument for both, but I'll listen to you and your reasoning.

F -- Of all the European golfers we've seen win major titles over the last decade, Francesco Molinari is the one guy from that group who will win another one. Justin Rose got his, Henrik Stenson got his, Shane Lowry got his and Sergio Garcia got his. Molinari has one British Open already and shoulda-coulda-woulda won the Masters in 2019 if not for a blunder at the 12th hole and Tiger's improbable final round. Molinari will win another major soon. Watch and see.

G -- Keep your eye on the Chicago White Sox this season. Not just because they're an up and coming team, but because Baltimore's Gavin Sheets might very well play in Chicago at some point in 2021. It's likely he'll start the season with their Triple A team in Charlotte. He's working on his defensive outfield skills in an effort to increase his value with the "other" team in the Windy City. I'm pulling for him, big time. I hope you are as well.

H -- Hunter Harvey is going to be the Orioles closer in 2021. I have no idea if he'll keep the job all season but he can throw heat for an inning and he's definitely not afraid to challenge hitters. He might only get the chance to close 35 or 40 games (assuming the O's win 10 to 15 games by a comfortable margin) but the bet here is it will be fun to watch, if nothing else.

I -- There have been lots of underrated bands in my lifetime, but there's no doubt to me that INXS (pronounced: In-X-Cess, with the emphasis on the "X") is near the top of the list. They were awesome. Their best 12 songs are as good as any band's best 12, in my opinion.

Can Jordan Spieth get back in the winner's circle in 2021? #DMD says "yes!"

J -- I'll say Jordan Spieth wins a tournament before June 1st. He's getting closer and closer to putting it all together. If you're looking to dump some money on a semi-longshot at Augusta National, you could do a lot worse than Spieth. I wouldn't be shocked at all to see him win there again.

K -- Kansas City will -- as long as Patrick Mahomes stays healthy all season -- play in the Super Bowl again next February. That will be their 3rd straight trip to the big game. Here's the crazy stat: They could have already played in three straight if they wouldn't have lost that lead to New England back in 2019.

L -- I haven't listened to every live album in the history of music, but if you pressed me to name my favorite live record ever, I'd go with "Waiting for Columbus" by Little Feat. My all-time favorite Little Feat song is on that album -- Mercenary Territory.

M -- Someone asked me the other day who the best American born soccer player is...and I said, without hesitation, Mia Hamm. I thought from a technical standpoint, she was better than any male player we've ever produced. Christian Pulisic might change my mind on that someday, but for now, I'm sticking with Hamm. She was a rockstar in her day.

N -- Neil Young is also very underrated. I know he has a quirky, distinct voice, but it works for him. I love his sound. "Harvest" is a top 25 album of my lifetime. Someday I'm going to do that list, by the way.

O -- The only way to drink orange juice is with pulp. I don't understand how people can't like pulp in their orange juice. My two kids can't stand it. My wife doesn't care for it, either. The good news there is when I buy orange juice with a lot of pulp, I know I'm the only one in the house who will drink it.

P -- Do you have any idea how good Pearl Jam is? It's only been the last three years or so that I've reconnected with them. I was a big fan 15 years ago or so. Then I kind of dropped off once Eddie Vedder started going nuts and spending 15 minutes at every concert preaching politics to me. But I've been listening to them a lot over the last few years and they are really, really good. What's my favorite song? I'm glad you asked. It's below.




Q -- Quickley, the Knicks are sorta-kinda looking decent again. OK, that was a cheap way of using the "Q", but it's very much worth noting that former John Carroll H.S. star Immanuel Quickley is enjoying a terrific rookie season in the NBA. He's averaging 12 points per-game in 19 minutes per-game thus far in 2020-2021. Not bad for a 21-year old.

R -- People ask me quite often who my favorite sports play-by-play person is...and the answer is always the same. It's Ron Weber, the guy who called Capitals games on the radio when the team first started playing in Washington DC in 1974. I used to listen to every Capitals game on WTOP back in those days. I would live and breathe Caps hockey through the eyes and words of Ron Weber. He's my favorite, ever.

S -- While we're on the underrated theme, let me tell you that Steely Dan was also massively underrated in their day. Those guys were phenomenal. Every album was awesome. That's hard to do, by the way, but they did it. When they put out an album, there were a handful of great songs on it. "Aja" is one of my top 10 albums of all-time. Maybe even top 5.

T -- Tony Finau is close to picking up a label he doesn't really want or, even, deserve. You know, it starts with a "c" and sounds like "soaker". It's that word sports enthusiasts use when an athlete has the chance to seal the deal and doesn't. Finau was closing in on his second PGA Tour win on Sunday (and first in a full, "real" field) when he suddenly couldn't do anything right. He badly missed an iron shot into the 18th green from the middle of the fairway, then fanned a 6-foot putt to win on the first playoff hole. On the second playoff hole, he hit a poor iron shot on the par-3 hole, a so-so bunker shot, and then missed a putt to tie Max Homa. Finau is an excellent player. He makes a lot of money. He's not a choker. But he needs to win soon. Or......

U -- I used to be a fairly big U2 fan. Then I wasn't. But occasionally I'll go back and listen to their early albums like "The Unforgettable Fire" and "The Joshua Tree" and it will remind me of how good those dudes were at the outset of their career. There aren't many albums in my life that have been as good as "The Joshua Tree".

V -- I've been saying this for a while, so maybe this is just a safe, easy use of the "V" letter, but Viktor Hovland is going to be a rockstar on the PGA Tour. Pin this to your refrigerator and look me up in 20 years if he hasn't won 3 or 4 major titles. He's going to win a lot out there. I think he has the game to be a grand slam winner, honestly. He could very well win all four majors in his career. He's that good and his game travels that well.

W -- "Walking in Memphis" by Marc Cohn is a great song. Never heard it? You came to the right place. Check it out below.




X -- You might not know this, but that's why you come here. Because we know it. The Ravens have never had a player on their roster whose last name started with "X". That's a good bar bet for you...if you're ever allowed back in a bar with people, that is.

Y -- You Are The Girl is my favorite "Cars" song of all-time. They have a lot of great songs, mind you. I could pick one of 15 or so as my "favorite". But if you pressed me, I'd go with You Are The Girl.

Z -- And, finally, we're to "Z", which means I get to tell you that Zanzibar is my favorite Billy Joel song of all-time. The version from his live show at Shea Stadium is superb. But any version gets the job done.


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soccer: americans and champions league preview


This week featured many Americans playing in Europe’s top competitions, the UEFA Champions League and Europa League. Three US players started for their teams in the Champions League and three others started in the Europa League. Over the weekend there were three games with Americans on both sides, two in Germany and one in the English Championship. This week we will also preview the second batch of round of sixteen Champions League matchups, taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday.

It was a tough round for Americans in the Champions League this week. Sergino Dest, Tyler Adams, and Weston McKennie all started for their teams in the first legs of the round of sixteen, but all three teams lost and will have a lot of work to do in the second legs.

The top billed match of the week was Barcelona vs Paris St. Germain. Sergino Dest got the start at right back for Barcelona and was handed the very difficult task of defending one of the best young attackers in the world, Kylian Mbappe. It did not go great for the young American. Mbappe had a huge game, scoring a hattrick and leading PSG to a dominant 4-1 win. While Dest has received some harsh criticism for his role in the loss, he was set up to fail by the Barcelona tactics.

Sergino Dest continues to get extensive playing time for Barcelona.

Dest was often left all alone to defend Mbappe, receiving little help from right winger Ousmane Dembele or his center backs. This would be an impossible task for almost any defender and Dest did a decent job containing Mbappe for much of the first half. He lost Mbappe a little bit on his second goal, but it was mostly due to an unlucky deflection that wrongfooted Dest and put the ball at Mbappe’s feet.

Overall, Dest was not great, but it was much more of a team performance than an individual one by the American. He started and played well in a weekend draw against Cadiz. Barcelona will need a minor miracle to overturn the 4-1 deficit in the second leg in order to advance to the quarterfinals.

Tyler Adams started at right wing back for RB Leipzig in their Champions League match with Liverpool. Adams played well despite Leipzig taking a tough 2-0 loss. The American set up two golden chances with outstanding passes in the second half, but his teammates could not finish them off. Liverpool scored both goals from Leipzig mistakes, but Adams was not involved in either.

Leipzig will need to win by at least two goals in Liverpool in the return leg in order to advance. It is a difficult but not impossible task. The team fared better in their weekend Bundesliga match, where Adams started at right wing back and provided an assist in a 3-0 win over Hertha Berlin. The win, combined with a Bayern Munich loss, moved Leipzig to just two points behind the leaders in the league title race.

In Portugal, Weston McKennie started for Juventus against Porto. The heavily favored Italian champions were upset in a 2-1 loss. The fact that they managed a late goal will be key if they are able to overturn the result in the second leg, since away goals are an important tiebreaker. A 1-0 win at home in the second leg will be enough to advance. McKennie started at left midfield in his usual role, pushing forward in the attack. The game was a mixed bag for him with some good and some bad moments. Ultimately he worked hard but didn’t have much of an impact on the game and was subbed off for fresh legs in the latter part of the second half.

There were three Americans starting the Europa League on Thursday, which is basically the NIT to the Champions League, featuring teams from many of the smaller leagues in Europe. Brenden Aaronson started for RB Salzburg in a 2-0 loss to Spanish side Villareal. He had a few nice touches but Salzburg could not break down Villareal's stout defense. Aaronson started again in their weekend Austrian Bundesliga match with second place Rapid Vienna and put in an impressive performance on the way to a 4-2 win. He has quickly become a starter for the perennial Austrian champions and that should draw attention from some of the bigger teams in Europe.

Tim Weah started for Lille in a tough matchup with Dutch champions Ajax. Weah scored the first goal of the game in the second half when he pounced on a poor pass from a defender and calmly slotted a first time shot past the on-rushing keeper. Ajax ended up coming back with two late goals for a 2-1 win, but Lille still have a decent chance to comeback in the second leg. Weah continues to see increased minutes for Lille, currently in first place in the French league.

The last American involved in the European action this week was Chris Richards, who started at center back for Hoffenheim in their wild 3-3 draw with Molde. Richards played a solid game and wasn’t the culprit in any of the opposition goals. His passing was a bit more aggressive in this game and he hit a nice pass to help set up Hoffenheim’s second goal. He is still getting familiar with his new team and system and could be a bit more decisive defensively, but overall is progressing well.

On Sunday, Hoffenheim met Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga with Richards battling directly against American striker Josh Sargent. Richards got the better of the matchup and again looked impressive in just his third game with the team. Bremen struggled offensively as a team and Sargent was no exception, as he wasn’t able to get much going and skied his one good chance over the bar from the top of the box. Richards seems to have already cemented himself as an every game starter for Hoffenheim and it appears his floor as a player is a mid-tier Bundesliga center back. At just 20 years old, the sky's the limit in a position where players peak much later in their careers.

Elsewhere in the German Bundesliga this weekend, American attackers Gio Reyna and Matthew Hoppe had their teams square off. In one of the bigger rivalries in Germany, the Revierderby, between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke, Reyna’s side came away with a dominant 4-0 victory. Hoppe provided some decent moments in hold up play, but Schalke was stifled by a superior Dortmund team. Reyna only saw a short substitute appearance late in this game after the outcome was decided. He was an unused substitute in Dortmund’s big 3-2 win over Sevilla in the first leg of their Champions League matchup.

The other game that featured Americans on both sides was in the English second division where Swansea City took on Huddersfield. Duane Holmes started for Huddersfield and put on a man of the match performance, scoring two goals. Holmes has recently moved back to Huddersfield, his boyhood club, as he looks to regain the form he had last season and get back in the national team picture. On the other side there was some unfortunate news. Jordan Morris subbed into this game in the second half, but quickly sustained what looked like a serious injury that will likely end his season. It is a terrible turn of luck for the American who was just making the next jump in his career.


This week brings the remaining four Champions League round of sixteen matches. Tuesday features Atletico Madrid against Chelsea and Lazio against Bayern Munich. On Wednesday Atalanta will take on Real Madrid and Borussia Monchengladbach will face Manchester City.

The most evenly balanced of these fixtures is Atletico Madrid versus Chelsea. The current Spanish league leaders are the slight betting favorites to advance over the fifth place British side. This is the “home” leg for the Madrid team, but it will be played in Bucharest, Romania due to Covid travel restrictions.

Atletico are traditionally known for their rigid defense and a counter attacking game plan. However, the addition of Luis Suarez this season has opened them up to a bit more of an attacking style. The former Barcelona striker has been a key piece in their first place La Liga campaign and will have to be the top priority for the Chelsea defense.

On the opposite side, Chelsea have been improving after firing coach Frank Lampard and replacing him with Thomas Tuchel, who led PSG to the Champions League final last season. The London team has been much better defensively under Tuchel, but they are still not lighting up the scoreboard. American star, Christian Pulisic, has been relegated to a substitute role thus far under Tuchel, but he may not be available for this game due to a minor calf injury.

Chelsea will need a big game out of midfielder Mason Mount to break down the Atletico defense and try to get a favorable result heading into the second leg.

In the other Tuesday matchup, fifth place Italian club Lazio take on reigning European champions Bayern Munich. The Germans are heavy favorites to advance from this matchup, but they are not in their best form at the moment. Bayern suffered a shock 2-1 loss in the Bundesliga on Saturday, reducing their lead to two points. They are missing several key players, with winger Serge Gnabry out and Thomas Muller possibly unavailable due to Covid.

Despite the losses, Bayern still have a decisive talent advantage with players like Robert Lewandowski, Joshua Kimmich and Manuel Neuer who are arguably the best in the world at their positions. Lazio feature top Italian attacker Ciro Immobile and highly coveted midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. It will be interesting to see if Lazio try to take the attack to Bayern in this home leg or if they opt to sit deep defensively and hit on the counter attack.

Wednesday features the most lopsided draw of the round, with Manchester City the prohibitive favorites to advance against Borussia Monchengladbach. Manchester City have been on fire since the start of the new year and are currently the most in form team in the world. They are on an 18 match unbeaten streak and running away with the Premier League title. Even injuries to key players like Kevin De Bruyne have not slowed them down.

Coach Pep Guardiola has adapted to their lack of depth at striker to deploy a fluid attacking system with no central striker and it has yielded outstanding results. The offseason signing of Portuguese center back Ruben Dias has solidified their back line as well and made them the favorite to win the Champions League. They will just need to get over their history of tripping up as favorites in these knockout rounds. Last year they lost as heavy favorites to French side Lyon. Borussia Monchengladbach will hope to repeat that feat.

The German team has several talented up and coming players in attacker Marcus Thuram and midfielder Florian Neuhaus, as well as a top coach in Marco Rose. They are generally an energetic pressing team, but may play more defensively against the talented City attack. They are familiar playing as underdogs and have given Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund problems this year, so it is not impossible for them to pull off the upset.

In the final matchup of the round, fourth place Italian team Atalanta welcome Real Madrid. The Spanish giants are favored to advance, but not as heavily as one may assume. Atalanta employ a chaotic pressing and attacking system that is capable of rattling even the best of teams. They will look to get the ball to their attacking hub, Josep Illicic, to both create and finish chances.

Real Madrid have been gradually closing the gap at the top of the Spanish league after a slow start to the season. However, they come into this game missing several key players. Madrid will likely be without defensive leader and captain, Sergio Ramos, as well as top attackers Karim Benzema and Eden Hazard. These losses will test the depth of the Madrid roster, but they will still be lead by one of the best midfield trios in the world with Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, and Casemiro all in great form this season.

This should be an entertaining matchup with plenty of attacking chances. Atalanta will hope to pull off an upset at home to give them a chance in the second leg in Madrid.

About the contributor: Randy Morgan was born and raised in the Baltimore area graduating from Dulaney HS and then University of Maryland. His day job is software development. He's an avid sports watcher and recreational participant. A devoted Ravens, Orioles and U.S. soccer supporter. he also follows many soccer leagues around the world as well as the NBA and college basketball. Randy played soccer, basketball, and baseball growing up and still plays soccer and basketball recreationally as well as the occasional round of golf. His commentary on mostly sports, but sometimes music and other miscellany can be found on twitter @jrmorgan16.

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Monday
February 22
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we don't get "the mondays" around here


Unlike most people, we actually love Monday around here. There's generally plenty of weekend fodder to get us revved up and rolling to start the week.

There are always games to opine on, of course. But it also helps when the greatest golfer of the last 30 years looks like Jeff Spicoli during a national TV interview and the Seattle Mariners President makes a couple of fairly benign statements that erupt into a cultural discussion about the way we view people who don't speak "our" language well.

I can't help but start with Mark Turgeon, though. My man Dale Williams unpacks yesterday's win over Rutgers below, so I won't have to do that. But what I will do, yet again, is snicker at the people in town who go out of their way to withhold credit from Turgeon even though Maryland has now won 4 straight games and appears on their way to a NCAA tournament berth barring a major collapse in their last three games, all of which they should win.

I keep saying this over and over, louder for the people in the back who don't hear very well. I'm not the biggest Turgeon fan in the world and have long said I would go in a different direction when his contract expires year after next. That typically means the school has to decide now if they want to keep him or let him go, since it's hard to recruit a kid to play for you when you only have a year or two remaining on your contract.

Mark Turgeon and his Terps won again on Sunday, but some folks still weren't happy.

But here's the other thing: Turgeon has done a good job this season. And, yes, while I understand he's the one recruiting said players, I'm here to say he's done a good job because this Maryland team is pretty limited and, well, not all that talented.

I can both not be a huge fan of the coach and yet, at the same time, be open enough to admit he's done a good job. I realize it's hard for people in this country to do that these days. We just saw that the last four years, frankly. People who didn't approve of President Trump could never, once, give him an ounce of credit for something he did right. Likewise, you'll find people over the next four years who will do the same thing with President Biden. To some, he'll do nothing right.

This is pretty much what we've become in the U.S. over the last decade or so. I don't know if it's the social media addiction we have, where everyone has an opinion and publishes it for the record, but somehow we've become a society that sticks their flag in the ground and stands by it, even if it means being unwilling to budge from that opinion for an instant.

We have a lot of flaws in our country. The "gotcha craze" is one of our biggest blemishes.

It goes like this: "I've said Turgeon sucks. Now that Maryland's winning, people are going to yell "gotcha!" at me, so I have to figure out a way to stand my ground and say "he still sucks!" even though he might not...right now."

So, yesterday, after Maryland won yet again to stabilize their position in the Big Ten and give themselves a chance to land a March Madness berth, some goofballs said this: "Well, let's see what happens in March."

That, of course, avoids having to say what's actually happening in February. "Let's see if he can do it in March" leaves virtually no wiggle room, because we all know, unless there's a bizarre miracle, that Maryland's going to lose a game in March that will end their 2020-2021 campaign. And when that happens, those folks will get to say, "Told you...Turgeon sucks. Can't win in March."

Personally, I suspect the Terps will be finished rather quickly in March. They might even play in the dreaded 6-11 "play-in" game, which they very well could lose. But the fact remains that three weeks ago, Maryland was on the outside-looking-in and they've played their way back into it, thanks, in part, to Turgeon.

If Maryland would have lost four in a row to play themselves out of the tournament, people would be all over the coach. Look, the reality is if they lose to Michigan State, Northwestern and/or Penn State and don't make the big dance, people are basically going to blame it all on Turgeon. I know that. You know that. We all know that. He's getting all the blame if Maryland flames out in the last two weeks of the season.

So, I'll keep doing the right thing with Turgeon and give him credit when it's due. He's done a good job with this Maryland team. They're not a great team. Not in the least. They're not on the same level as Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa or Illinois. But they're just as good on any given day/night as most of the others in the conference.

Turgeon deserves the credit now because he's surely going to get the blame from the "gotcha!" group when they don't win the NCAA tournament in April.


Man, Tiger Woods did not look good on Sunday at Riveria CC. Everyone saw it, too.

I'm not talking about his golf game, by the way. I'm talking about his face. I'm talking about the "look" he had when talking with Jim Nantz during the final round of the PGA Tour event that Max Homa won in a playoff over Tony Finau.

I opined on Twitter that he looked "bad". He looked fatigued and bloated as he dodged softball questions from Nantz about his future schedule and whether he'd be at the Masters in April. He appeared to have a look of worry on his face, too. Almost like he had something his heart wanted to say but his head told him to keep it to himself...for now.

This is the image of Tiger Woods on Sunday during his TV interview that had people talking.

The rest of Twitter lit up with remarks and quips about Tiger's "look" as well. Everyone, or at least most people, assumed he was impaired in some way. And he might have been, by the way. He didn't quite look like Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times At Ridgemont High but he could have passed for his younger brother.

Woods is six weeks removed from his 5th back surgery, keep in mind. There's a chance -- I don't know this, because, get this: I'm not a doctor -- Tiger might still be using post-surgery medication of some kind. I have no idea.

Some folks talked about edibles, gummies and other forms of marijuana use that Woods could have been engaging in. That could be true, by the way. Medical marijuana is now legal in California plus in 32 additional states and Washington D.C. While I'm not sure it would be wise for Woods to go on national TV and speak on behalf of the golf tournament he was running if, in fact, he was under the influence of marijuana or any other impairment, he didn't ask for my advice.

To me, there was something more important, though, than how Tiger "looked" during the interview yesterday. It was more what he said, or didn't say, that was the story of the day.

He sure didn't sound like a guy who was going to be playing golf anytime soon.

I realize Tiger's always been one of those guys who doesn't say a whole lot about his schedule. He does that, in part, to keep people guessing, for whatever reason. I understand he probably likes his privacy. I'm sure I would too if I spent my whole life being chased by the media and fans.

But when pressed by Nantz about his upcoming schedule, Tiger could have at least said, "I'm feeling a whole lot better since the end of December. Once I can start hitting balls again, I'm pretty sure I'll be good to go and I can't wait to get back out there."

He didn't say anything even close to that.

In fact, he basically said, "I have no idea what my timetable is to return."

Hey, I hope I'm wrong here. Like most of the rest of the golfing world, I don't want to see Tiger's career end with a lifetime trip on the disabled list. I most certainly want to see him tee it up at Augusta in April. The tournament won't be the same without Woods gunning for his 6th career green jacket.

I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think I will be: Tiger's not playing the Masters in April. His face pretty much told you that yesterday, even if his words didn't.


Seattle Mariners President Kevin Mather is in hot water after remarks he made earlier this month at a Rotary Club meeting were published and dissected for their lack of sensitivity.

That darn Rotary Club, huh? In the old days, you went there as the guest speaker, had one of those famous rubber-chicken dinners, enjoyed a cocktail or two, told a few stories, and that was that.

Social media changed everything. These days, the Rotary Club meetings are online. You get in front of your computer and attend the meetings or speak to the members. Any story you tell at the Rotary Club might as well be a story you tell the entire world.

Anyway...

Mather somehow got on the subject of two of the team's non-English-speaking players and criticized both of them for their difficulty in speaking English.

"His English was terrible..."

"His English is not tremendous..."

Those were the two comments he made about Hisashi Iwakuma, a former Mariners pitcher who is now with the organization as a Japanese scout and Julio Rodriguez, a high-level prospect Mariners prospect.

Speaking of Iwakuma, Mather said: "We just rehired Iwakuma; he was a pitcher with us for a number of years. Wonderful human being; his English was terrible. When he was a player, we paid him "X" but we'd also have to pay $75,000 a year to have an interpreter with him. His English suddenly got better. His English got better when we told him that."

This presupposes that the Mariners, as a condition of rehiring Iwakuma, must have told him he now needs to either learn English (better) or pay $75,000 for the interpreter out of his own pocket.

And so, Mather implied, when the former pitcher suddenly had to fork over $75,000 of his own money, he suddenly learned better English.

On outfield prospect Rodriguez, Mather said: "Julio Rodriguez has got a personality bigger than all of you combined. He is loud. His English is not tremendous."

That was it.

Once the remarks were published by the Rotary Club in their monthly "Here's Who Visited" column, someone picked up on Mather's comments about the two foreign players and the fire was lit.

Mather spent most of this past weekend reaching out to "the many people that I've insulted, hurt or disappointed." Mather went to on say he'll work hard to make amends for the things he said and the damage he did to the Mariners organization.

OK, so this could be me. And if it is, tell me. But I don't really "get it". I mean, if I went to France tomorrow for a month long internship with some sort of French school to teach golf, one of the first things I'd say is, "Ummm, my French is terrible." I don't even know how to say that in French, but it's probably the first thing I'd learn to say so there'd be no confusion.

And I highly doubt I'd be offended if someone introduced me at a golf lesson and said, "This man is from the U.S., his French is really bad." I mean, if my French is bad, my French is bad. Either I learn it (better) or......it stays bad.

This is a great country. It's also a weird country. Just last week, when NASA ended seven years of hard work by sending "Perseverance" to Mars, people got on Twitter once pictures were published and said, "Utah sure looks great in mid-February", a hint that the unnammed craft was dropped off in a Utah desert somewhere. It's also weird because one of my former golfers at Calvert Hall can send me a live stream of his practice session from Florida and I can watch the stream as if he was hitting right in front of me in Baltimore, comment on it so he hears what I'm saying and even draw lines on the screen to show him what I'm talking about. We live in interesting times.

It's also sorta-kinda weird that we can't say something like, "His English is not tremendous" when, actually, his English is not tremendous. I wish I knew the timetable for how and why that became such a mean thing to say.

If I have the time someday, I'll tell the story about going to Wilmington, Delaware circa 2000 to be part of a corporate affair surrounding an LPGA women's major golf tournament. I went with a "small" sponsor of the event, who also happened to be a fairly big sponsor of the PGA Tour at that time. One of the decision makers of the company had some interesting commentary about the influx of Asian players on the LPGA Tour and their inability to help her company sell products. It was, as it turned out, almost all about their English, or lack thereof. And she wasn't afraid to say it.

But that's a story for another day.

It looks like Kevin Mather is going to keep his job in Seattle, but probably "just barely". He'll likely have to take an online class in sensitivity. He might even need to donate some money somewhere. But he'll be OK.

Live and learn, right Kevin?

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consider this


What do I think about the Orioles? I think the Orioles missed their chance. What they are doing now and the way they are doing it is up for debate, of course. We’ll have to wait a couple more years to see if that leads to a good, young team hitting the field.

But there’s no debate about Buck Showalter’s Orioles, is there? I’m sure he’s proud of what he accomplished for an historic franchise that was down on its luck (well it wasn’t really luck, I guess), and I hope nobody looks at 2018’s 47-115 debacle as some kind of overall statement on his time with the team.

Even so, the Orioles couldn’t get it done. They couldn’t beat a beatable Yankees team, didn’t get any luck against the lucky Royals and fell victim to the vagaries of a one-game playoff in Toronto. They were only moderately above average in the seasons in between, when there was a chance to consolidate a long string of winning baseball.

The Royals were, and are again, the Orioles equal when it comes to lack of competitiveness and unwillingness or inability to change that quickly. 47 wins, 55 wins, 58 wins—it makes no difference. Perhaps those extra 10 wins are harder playing the Red Sox and Yankees so often as opposed to the Indians and Twins, but it doesn’t matter. Bad is bad.

The Royals did, however, turn their time in the spotlight into consecutive World Series appearances. The first time was more of a surprise and the result of a ridiculous string of eight consecutive wins, the first of which came against Oakland in one of the most insane games I’ve ever watched. Even the World Series worked out for the Royals in that their opponent was the Giants, hardly the best team in the National League during the year.

The next year, meanwhile, was no surprise. The Royals had the best record in the American League and didn’t falter in the playoffs. Then they were a better team than the Mets and it showed. When it was over, it was over in another way too. Everybody knew that…it was just a matter of how long it would take for the franchise to return to where it had been.

But at least they got there and won. There was absolutely no reason the Orioles couldn’t have done the same thing with their core of players and the random additions each year. But they didn’t. Having a good record for a five-year stretch is great, but it’s not enough.

Whenever it is that the Orioles return to any semblance of glory, the same thing will be true. When the team has its chance, what is going to be the ultimate result?


What do I think about the Maryland basketball team? Well, the Terps have the kind of experience that many teams in the power conferences don’t have. And that helps.

I don’t know if Darryl Morsell would start for any other team in the Big 10, maybe even Nebraska, though defensively he’s quite good. I do know that Darryl Morsell isn’t afraid of the game no matter what the situation.

Eric Ayala may be unorthodox, but it’s his experience that has allowed him to go through 21 games this year with only 31 turnovers despite how often he handles the ball. Donta Scott is shooting 51 percent from the field and 45 percent from three-point range; he was promising as a freshman but now is efficient as a sophomore.

I admit to being baffled by Aaron Wiggins, a player who likely would start for every other team in Big 10 as well. Wiggins has the kind of skill set combined with size that no player in the Mark Turgeon era could really claim, and when he displays it all during a game he looks like a first-round draft pick. I wonder if he simply doesn’t have the “selfish” mentality to take over for the Terps in big spots more often.

On the Turgeon front, I’ve been impressed by the “stuff” that he’s given his offense to run this season. Anecdotally, I’ve seen more player movement away from the ball and more emphasis on getting a good shot from a team standpoint than an individual one. The Terps are more dependent on three-point shooting than ever, but that makes sense. There is no traditional post player on which to depend for a lot of close-in shots.

That’s been a big deal, obviously; the Big 10 is not a league you want to go into without a decent center, or at the very least a power forward. And once again Turgeon can really only play seven guys, though I’m beginning to wonder how much that matters in any given season. It’s just that last year’s seven guys featured Jalen Smith and Anthony Cowan, neither of whom has been replaced in any manner.

The best thing about Maryland, I think, is that the Terps don’t turn the ball over very much anymore. If only that was the case when Turgeon had more talented teams, the final results may have been different.

I don’t know if Maryland is actually going to make the NCAA tournament, no matter what Lunardi’s or Palm’s Bracketology says. The Terps have lost a lot of games, though literally none of them have been “bad” losses. Winning their final three regular-season games would help, and that’s not out of the realm of possibility.


What do I think about sports and why I like it? I suppose there are lots of reasons, probably many of which I’ve written about over the last four years.

Whenever I think about “sports” in the general sense —at least of the organized variety — I always come back to myself, sitting in my living room on a lovely chair from Gavigan’s while my significant other lounges on the new sofa from the Sofa Store.

It’s a Sunday, and maybe the Ravens played at 1:00, and now it’s 5:30 and I’m watching one of the late games. She looks up toward the television and says “haven’t we watched this game before?”

She’s trying to be funny — once you’ve seen one football game, you’ve seen them all, right? Except she couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, it’s completely the opposite. Every game has the potential for something different, even if you have no particular rooting interest in the teams.

When she spends some of her Saturday watching a marathon of “Criminal Minds” or “Law and Order” (both of which I like, by the way), well THAT’S when she should bring out the line she saves for sports. I mean, it’s THOSE programs that follow the same formula episode after episode, year after year. Sure, the ingredients might different, but the recipe is always the same. For L&O, that’s almost the entire point. 30 minutes of order, and 30 minutes of law.

Sports are not just a television property, even during this pandemic. However, it’s not wrong to say that sports are the legitimate “reality television,” wherever you happen to be watching. I mean, the last time I checked, I don’t remember the last Maryland basketball game being edited like an episode of “Flip or Flop.”

On February 11, 1996, I happened to be sitting on a different couch (not as nice) in a different city in a much different time in my life. I was watching a basketball game between Arizona and Cincinnati, two Top 25 teams. There was no reason for me to be watching the game besides the fact that it was on television.

Tired from a Friday and Saturday of traveling somewhere in the Northeast, I fell asleep at some point during the game. When I awoke from my unplanned nap, I saw the Arizona players running around the court in celebration.

I’d missed something, obviously. But what? Only Arizona’s Miles Simon grabbing a loose ball in a tie game and heaving a shot from 75 feet away at the buzzer, which banked in.

25 years later, I’m still annoyed that I missed seeing it in real time. It was the kind of thing, I’d say, that can only happen in sports.

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terps roll past rutgers for 4th straight win


The Maryland Terrapins firmly placed themselves into the NCAA tournament conversation with their 68-59 win yesterday over a lackluster Rutgers team that turned the ball over 15 times leading to 20 Terp points.

Tight Maryland defense as well as horrid Scarlet Knight shooting enabled Maryland to build a lead that at its best reached 15 points. Despite another poor foul shooting night (65%), Maryland made enough of their foul shots in the last three minutes (14-18) to claim another road upset.

With the Terps maintaining a double-digit lead for most of the second half, Rutgers was forced to put the Terps on the foul line. They chose to do so fairly early, resulting in a parade of Terps to the charity stripe. Hakim Hart was the main target of the fouls, and he responded by making 7 of 9 foul shots.

Eric Ayala played 39 of the 40 minutes and led Maryland with 14 points. Aaron Wiggins had 13 while Darryl Morsell and Hart each scored 12 points. Wiggins pulled down 10 rebounds to lead all players in that category.

Eric Ayala was Maryland's leading scorer on Sunday, with 14 points in 39 minutes.

I was a bit mystified that Rutgers went away from their low post game.

They started the contest by scoring two quick, easy, buckets by working it to Myles Johnson on the low blocks. Just 1:30 into the game, and Johnson had scored all of the points he would get in the game. The Terps made some adjustments with the speed of their double teams on Johnson, but with Rutgers top scorer, Ron Harper Jr in the midst of 1-6 and 0-4 shooting night, Johnson should have been given more touches and more than 24 minutes of playing time.

Harper did not look like his usual self. When I used the term “lackluster”, it was his performance to which I was mainly referring. He can be a dominating force with his skill set and 6’6” 240-pound frame. Yesterday we saw none of that from him, and without his scoring punch the Scarlet Knights were offensively challenged.

With only 4 minutes and a few seconds elapsed in the first half, Rutgers held a 9-4 lead. A minute or so later Jacob Young would hit a three giving Rutgers 12 points in under 6 minutes. The Scarlet Knights then went stone cold, scoring only 8 points the rest of the half.

After starting the game by hitting 4 of 5 shots, Rutgers made only 4 of their next 18 and never made another three-pointer, missing 8 straight. It was a sad display of offensive output that saw Rutgers score just 20 points in the half, and go to intermission trailing 28-20.

The second half was more of the same for Rutgers. They managed just 10 points in the first 9 minutes of the half. By that time, Maryland had forged a 15-point lead.

Rutgers would fight back to come within 6 of the Terps, but turnovers and missed shots kept them from ever seriously challenging. The foul shot parade at the end secured the Terp win, but I will say that there were so many fouls that it had me wondering if a rule change would make the game better.

Let’s give the Terps props. They played harder than Rutgers, they wanted it more, and they gave continuous energy on defense.

I was particularly impressed with Maryland’s effort in chasing Rutgers shooters off of the three-point line. I thought every Terp closed as quickly as they could, forcing Rutgers to take a contested shot or, more frequently, make an ill-advised pass. For the game, the Terps collected 9 steals because they pressured as much as they could.

Considering that they played back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday, and their bench is shallow, Maryland’s energy was superb. It certainly can’t be said that Mark Turgeon didn’t have his charges ready to play. They knew what was at stake, and played like it was important to them.

Maryland threw in some new wrinkles in the form of different offensive movement. Those sets didn’t always yield points, but they ran them with confidence. They still are heavily dependent upon isolations, but when you have little interior firepower, you need to rely on other scoring methods.

Yesterday, the Terps won a game against a likely NCAA tournament team, on the road, while making only 6 of 20 three-pointers. They figured a way to win.

This win gave Maryland their 5th “Quad 1” win. A Quad 1 win is a victory at home against a top 30 team, at a neutral site against a top 50 team, or a win on the road against a top 75 team. Without having any bad losses, so far, the Terps have put themselves in a position where an at-large bid is attainable.

Maryland will now have a week off before playing Michigan State in College Park. It’s a 2 p.m. tip-off next Sunday, covered by CBS.

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February 21
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all you have to do is ask...

Steve asks -- "Who is the one media member in Baltimore past or present that was or is really underappreciated?"

DF says -- "I don't know where to even start with this. Underappreciated in terms of how much they knew sports? Or underappreciated in how good they were at delivering a sportscast or hosting a talk show? There's a lot to unpack here! But I'll just go with the first name that came to mind. I think Mark Viviano has been vasty underappreciated in Baltimore. He was very good as a talk show host, I thought. Wasn't afraid to speak the truth, not at all concerned about asking "the tough question" at press conferences and such, and just an all around good guy off the air. He's very capable on TV, obviously. That's his calling. But all in all, I don't think people in town know how good he really is."


Barker Presch asks -- "I know you're a big hockey fan. You were one of the few who talked Caps and hockey in general on the radio. Just curious who your top three goaltenders are of all time?"

DF says -- Keep in mind I started following the NHL around 1975. Anything before that is out of my league. The best three I've seen are Ken Dryden, Dominik Hasek and Martin Brodeur. I know Grant Fuhr was excellent and saw a lot of pucks come his way, but Dryden, Hasek and Brodeur nosed him out in my book."


Scott asks -- "If you could make your Calvert Hall golfers spend a day studying up on one athlete and learning what made him/her great, who would you give them to study?"

DF says -- "Great question. Heck, it's so good I might even make them do it. The first three that came to mind are Tiger, Michael Jordan and Greg Maddux. They could greatly benefit from any of those. Woods would obviously connect with them because it's golf, but I also think they could learn a lot from Jordan, who wasn't all-world in high school, remember, and then pieced it all together. He wasn't even all that great when he first started out in the NBA, but we all know how that turned out. Maddux was a guy who demanded excellence and precision from himself and figured out a way to become one of the greatest right handers in modern baseball history. If you make me pick one for the sake of picking one, I'll go with Jordan. I think he touches all the bases. But any of those three would work for me."


C. Janaczyk asks -- "Thanks for your article on why you love golf today (Friday). A quick golf question for a novice who is just starting to take up the game at age 40. What's your best piece of advice for a newcomer to the game? Thanks!"

DF says -- "Instead of investing a lot of money in expensive clubs and golf balls, just spend that same amount of money on golf lessons from your local PGA professional and go with an inexpensive set of clubs to start with. Learning the basics the right way from the start will do you a world of good and will speed up your improvement and enjoyment of the game. Three or four lessons should get you on the right path. Above all, be patient! Golf is really hard, remember."


Tate C. asks -- "Are the Capitals going to be up and down like this all year?"

DF says -- "I think so, yes. They've only played a handful of games with their full roster due to Covid-19, so it's hard to tell how good they really could be if they had all their pieces together at once. But in general, yes, I think this is a team that will finish above .500 in their 56 game season, but not by a lot. I see their final record as something like 26-21-9. I don't think they have the defense or goaltending to be much better than that."


Tim asks -- "5 seconds left in the game. You have a time-out to set up the play and one guy to make the last bucket. Who's the coach and who shoots the ball?"

DF says -- "Oh, wow, this is a good one. You didn't specify college or professional, perhaps by design. Can I mix and match? I might say Gregg Popovich draws up the play and Christian Laettner when he was at Duke takes the shot. That kid was so good in college it was crazy. But I'll stick with all professional for my official answer and say Popovich draws up the play and Steph Curry gets to take the last shot. There might be recency bias in play here, but I think I want Curry taking it over Jordan or Kobe. If we needed 8 points in the last 3 minutes, maybe I'd go with Jordan. But one bucket to win? Steph...


Paul asks -- "What are your top three Twitter follows. Thanks!"

DF says -- "Rex Chapman (@RexChapman) is awesome. Most of his stuff is non sports, but it's really good. By far he's my favorite follow. Annie Agar (@AnnieAgar) is also great. She's a Michigan based TV sportscaster who does some outstanding "skits" on Twitter, particularly connected to college sports, with some sprinkling of the pro teams and leagues as well. Her stuff is really well done. And there's a golf follow from Monday Q Info (@acaseofthegolf1) that is outstanding. This guy basically tracks obscure golfing events, particularly Monday qualifiers on all the pro tours, and reports on them. You have to really be a golf nut to follow and like his stuff but I'm a golf nut, so it's awesome."


John L. asks -- "Who will be the next four U.S. Ryder Cup captains after Steve Stricker?"

DF says -- "I think I've done this one before. I have no idea if my four answers now are the same as they were then, but here goes. They head to Italy in 2023. I have a feeling Zach Johnson is going to get the nod there. He's very popular with the players and as a former British Open champion it makes sense to have him captain a Ryder Cup team in Europe. I'd say it's a slam dunk that Phil Mickelson is the U.S. captain in 2025 at Bethpage Black. And then you'll get Tiger as captain in 2027 in Ireland. Back in the U.S. in 2029 at Hazeltine...I have no idea. How about Matt Kuchar? That would be a nice career reward for him. Of those four, the one I'm most sure about is Phil at Bethpage Black. I could see the PGA of America flipping it and giving Kuchar the Ireland gig and having Tiger captain at Hazeltine. But Phil's a definite at Bethpage. My guess is Tiger and Phil both get to be the captain twice."


Alan asks -- "Now that most of the impact free agents have been signed and baseball's six weeks away, who is your sleeper team for 2021?"

DF says -- "Well, I don't think the White Sox are going to creep up on anyone, but I really like them in 2021. I'm not sure they have the goods to get to the World Series, but I could see them in the ALCS. How about the White Sox as the "mega" sleeper and the Mets as the "mini" sleeper?"


Carmen asks -- "With all of these snowy nights, the wife and I need some movies to watch! What are the last three really good movies you'd recommend? Thanks, Go Hall!"

DF says -- "Go Hall indeed. I just watched Dead Poet's Society for the first time in, probably, 15 years. That was one great movie. I forgot how truly excellent it was until I saw it again the other night. Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke, Josh Charles...man, what a movie. I also love the movie "Doubt". I won't spoil it other than to say when it ends, I'm pretty sure you'll have......doubt. That's also an older movie, but well worth watching. It was one of Philip Seymour Hoffman's finest roles. I'd also recommend The Green Mile, which is one of my top 5 all time favorites. You can tell I don't watch many "new movies". Here's an obscure bonus pick for you and the wife. She'll like it because she gets to stare at Clive Owen for 2 hours. It's called "Inside Man" with Denzel Washington and Jodie Foster -- and Owen. It's outstanding."


Dan Handley asks -- "I saw where Jalen Smith was just sent down to the G-League by the Phoenix Suns. Did he leave Maryland too early? Would another year or two in College Park have helped him get his NBA career off to a better start?"

DF says -- "Good question here. I think he did the right thing by leaving. I do think his stock might have risen a bit over the next year or two, but then you have no idea where he might have ended up. Despite the start to his career this year in Phoenix, most NBA experts think he's a good long term fit with the Suns. The pro game is just bigger and faster than most good college players can handle right away. He'll be fine in due time."


Chris asks -- "Who is Baltimore's most underrated and overrated athlete of the last 20 years? Thanks, Drewski!"

DF says -- "Holy cow. This one is tough. J.J. Hardy is the first one that comes to mind for the underrated selection. Dude was awesome in the field and more than capable at the plate. No one seemed to really appreciate how solid he was as an Oriole. Most overrated...CJ Mosley Nice player. But nothing more. And not nearly as good as the hype that came along with him."


Seamus asks -- I know you're a huge Springsteen fan, as I am. This might be a dumb question, but what's his most underrated "hit song"?

DF says -- "I guess by "hit song" you mean recognizable? He never had a #1 song, funny enough. But he had 5 or 6 "mainstream" hits. I actually have an easy answer. There are lots of really underrated songs on "Born in the U.S.A.", "Tunnel of Love" and "Magic", but most of those are kind of obscure songs you don't know unless you're a Springsteen nut like me. As for underrated "popular" songs, I think this is by far his most underrated of the ones even casual fans know. I actually like this song more than "Born To Run", if you can believe that!"


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terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his sixth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2020-21 season.


terps face rutgers today


It was over two months ago when Maryland and Rutgers started their respective Big Ten seasons by playing a December 14th game in College Park.

Rutgers enjoyed a hot shooting second half, scoring 47 points in the final 20 minutes, and running away from Maryland 74-60. Ron Harper Jr dominated the Terps, going for 27 points, and was one of 4 Scarlet Knights to post double digits in that game. Myles Johnson owned the boards, grabbing 16 rebounds.

That game was Geo Baker’s first one back for Rutgers after suffering an early-season ankle injury. He’s 100% now, averaging just under 10 points a game. He’s still his poor shooting self (40% from the field, 29% from 3), but is always a threat because of his athletic ability and fondness for launching shots from anywhere.

A win for Mark Turgeon and Maryland today would go a long way toward wrapping up another NCAA tournament berth.

There will be a new wrinkle for Maryland to contend with today, as Caleb McConnell returns from his back injury. The 6’7” guard gives Rutgers some added length and another rebounder. I expect him to start today.

With the Scarlet Knights currently sitting at 25 in the KENPOM rankings, they have set themselves up to finally get an NCAA tournament bid. That’s a place they haven’t visited since 1991. The Rutgers 8-8 conference record and 12-8 overall record should be good enough for Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell and his team to grab a 7 or 8 seed in this year’s March Madness.

For Maryland to avoid the season series sweep, they need to find more offense. Eric Ayala, Darryl Morsell, and Aaron Wiggins combined to go 9 for 32 in the December game. Similar numbers today will yield a similar result. The 4-20 three-point shooting won’t work either. The Terp guards got skunked from beyond the arc the last time these teams met, going 0 for 11.

As in almost every Big Ten game, Maryland must contend with size that they themselves don’t possess. This time it’s Johnson and his 6’11” frame as well as his replacement, Clifford Omoruyi (also 6’11”). The centers combined to grab 21 rebounds and score 16 points against the Terps in December.

Ron Harper Jr is a tough player to defend. He handles the ball well, has good quickness for his 6’6” 245-pound body, and shoots it well too. Donta Scott tried to check him early, and Morsell got the assignment later, but neither one had much success.

Adding Jacob Young, the fastest player in the conference, to this mix makes Rutgers a tough team for Maryland to defend. I don’t like this matchup for Maryland.

I see it as simple as this: Maryland has to make threes to have a chance today. Johnson is too good of a rim protector to think the Terps can get to hoop and score enough inside to compete with the Scarlet Knights. Maryland must get their perimeter game up a few notches.

Defensively, Turgeon’s Terps absolutely have to cut off dribble penetration. If they can’t do that, it will be a very long night for Maryland.

Outside of an unusually productive long-range game, Maryland isn’t built to beat the Scarlet Knights. They can keep it close, but won’t get over the hump. Average shooting and turnovers do the Terps in. I can see Maryland hanging tough with Rutgers, but the constant pressure that the Rutgers backcourt puts on Maryland will eventually wear out the Terps, giving Rutgers the 67-64 win.

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#dmd comments








Connor     February 26
I'm not even a Tiger Woods fan but reading along I have to wonder what Delray Rick means when he says "Truth Hurts". What truth? That one sportswriter thinks Tiger is a lousy person? Didn't that writer in Philadelphia think Eddie Murray was a lazy, arrogant baseball player who was just trying to cash a check? What did he know? Sports writers might be the worst people in the media.

Delray RICK     February 26
TRUTH HURTS

Keith Merrill     February 26
Having lived in Greenwich for 11 years I can assure you Mushnick's reputation in NYC is that of a sour puss who never says a good word about anyone. He's not very well thought of up there.

Larry     February 26
Mushnick = hack. No respect at all in media circles.

bob jackson     February 26
DELRAY Rick - I read the NY Post earlier today and it was so spot on about your "Messiah" great article.

Carl in Owings Mills     February 26
Hey Drew, just wondering if you read and had opinion on Mushnick crapping all over Tiger today in the Post?

Josh     February 26
Tiger will play again. This is likely a 2 year injury. He'll win again but maybe not until he's on the PGA Tour Champions. I would never count him out

Jeffrey “Fireball” Roberts     February 26
It was great seeing Kenny Cooper. Can’t wait for part 2. I remember that commercial like it was yesterday. Great memories, greater times. To be young again, we never knew what we had.

KJ     February 26
Here's the thing w/Herman, when he posts, he expresses an opinion. You can agree, disagree, whatever, but there is "content". All the "Herman bashers" (JJ, Mark, Kevin, et al) do is, well, bash Herman. With the added bonus of calling him a racist, as if that is a benign criticism. Really puzzles me why these comments stay up, they are NOT related to "today's topic", they are strictly personal shots at an individual.

Loved the Kenny Cooper Part I. Best point of the conversation was discussion about all the "fluff" added to the Blast games. I was one of those who called it "a circus show" and not a "sport", but Drew's point about all the leagues do it now is 100% spot on. I still think it's a shame they do it, but there's no doubting many fans enjoy this extraneous activity, for whatever reason. Not sure whose idea it was, but definitely was an idea ahead of its time, there's no denying that.

Tom J     February 26
Never mind the extortion attempt, I wouldn't have Judon back in a Ravens uniform for 20 million dollars as he wasn't worth the 16 million they paid him last year.

Bob S. (AKA Idiot Caller)     February 26
Are these doctors commenting on Tiger Woods injury the same type of media friendly doctors that have been advising everyone about COVID-19? "Don't wear masks... no wait, now wear masks... no wait, now wear two masks...". Pardon me if I don't trust these media doctors right now.

I would bet heavily right now that Tiger DOES make it back and end up playing tournament golf again, and winning a tournament or two before his career is over!

Don't bet against Tom Brady, and don't bet against Tiger Woods!

F Kline     February 26
Are we also supposed to abandon Michael Phelps? He ran afoul of the law a couple of times. Is that what we do now?

J.J.     February 26
Good point @Kevin but surprisingly the author of that comment conveniently forgot about Ray Ray's trial in Atlanta.

Tom     February 26
Interesting topic on Judon. Not sure I understand how Tiger Woods gets weaved into the discussion but given the source I do understand. I agree with @DF. I wouldn't re-sign Judon based on this episode. It reeks of poor character.

unitastoberry     February 26
Like I said yesterday Judon is not worth any of this nonsense. Unlike the Orioles I find myself siding with the Ravens management most of the time. Decent player like a Mosley on the outside. Wrong price. Decosta has it covered with the Wizard of Oz consulting.

Kevin     February 26
I know it's not cool to troll the troll but wasn't it just Herman a few weeks ago who was slobbering all over Ray Lewis so much that Herman needed stitches in both knees? I seem to recall 52 got in off field trouble as well???

TimD in Timonium     February 26
If only more pro athletes would let somebody else manage their Twitter account, handle their finances, drive them around...

Brian Jessup     February 26
Judons a jerk don't let the door hit you on the way out.



So depressed about Tiger. I was really hoping , by some miracle, he would qualify for the BMW Tournament this summer so I could go to Caves Valley and watch him. I've never seen him in person and would have been one of 30,000 other fans trying to catch that glimpse up close.(or somewhat close) It's such a shame to have it end like this but maybe there's a few more miracles left in his body. One can hope.

Steve from Cape Coral     February 26
Interesting, Nothing about your boy skating on the DWI charges ??? Very Sad news, but par for the course !!!

HERMAN     February 26
"We've become so indebted to our athletes and winning that we allow lots of flaws and mistakes"

Uh, yeah, I can think of one glaring example where that is true, especially for the site owner. Being able to hit a little white ball better than others excuses all off course behavior.

"And, occasionally, it's more than fair to overlook a brush with the law or some kind of "small blemish" in return for the production they can provide on the field, the court, the ice, etc."

Odd that you left off "course", or "golf course", as the recent coverage of the "accident" was like an homage, a sycophantic orgy, where formerly respected "news" programs gave up hours of hard news in coverage of the "accident". The sporting public at large has ignored everything with regard to one particular athlete, site owner included.

Could such adulation in the face of past transgressions have led to contributing to the "accident"?

When one pays no price for their sins where is the deterrence to repeat the sins?




Delray rick     February 26
For our readers who have the internet (HERMAN) and who don't (spend a dollar) check out NY POST today and PHIL MUSHNICK'S column on the MESSIAH. Its classic.

JohnInEssex     February 26
Just completed watching part 1 of Kenny Cooper interview.

Feel the same way Drew does concerning Kenny Jr. not getting a fair shake with the US National team. They have ALWAYS needed a finisher, Kenny would produce, but somehow weirdly not be on the team.



One of my coolest memories as a referee was working a game at Rosedale Park where Kenny Jr. was playing on a U10 team. He towered over everyone and was dominating. Got to say HI to Kenny Sr. and thank him for all he did for soccer in Baltimore. SO MANY great memories thanks to the BLAST!

tom     February 25
yea @AL, cause you are such a class act youself, smh

JK     February 25
Thanks Drew for the Kenny Cooper video interview. Love seeing and hear my favorite coach. It was great to hear all the Blast and life experiences on the interview. This brought back some great memories. I can't wait for part 2!

JeffWell     February 25
Pretty much a d*#k move by Judon IMO. Speaking of such moves,we get a real gem from that be "classy" guy Al.

Howard     February 25
After about 30 years, the Spirit commercial remains the best sports commercial of all time.

Thanks for the laugh

Rob Really     February 25
Delray quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald today... nice! Are we still allowed to do that??

Delray Rick     February 25
Show me a hero,and I'll write you a tragedy.

TimD in Timonium     February 25
The early to mid-'80s was a great time to be a Blast fan. It very could have been the Golden Age of the Baltimore Civic Center. What a time.

unitastoberry     February 25
I don't do twitter but been watching this Judon vs Hensley thing. I shake my head at social media many times. I was on facebook for a while but deleted. Now you have a reporter with a pretty solid reputation who reports that he turned down a deal for 16.5 million a year? Then Judon replies saying he's a liar and he has pictures of him with a stripper? Wow I guess you just have to shake your head and wait for Hensley to sue for liable. I think if Matt or his agent turned down 16.5 mil/yr they are nuts. I have seen many great outside LB/Rush ends and Matts not one of those headed for Canton types. He's not Suggs,Bouleware,maybe not even Jamie Sharper or Jaret Johnson. I could go back further in time with a few names but no one will know them. See you Matt good luck. BTW the cap is going down and the league is basically demanding that the networks back up the Brinks trucks with more money to offset loses due to Covid and poor ratings.

RickinBaltimore     February 25
Kenny Cooper will always have a special place for me. I grew up on the Blast, and as a kid, they were larger than life. He knew how to coach, but how to promote the team, the trek up and down federal Hill immediately comes to mind.

Tom J     February 25
Can't wait to watch the Kenny Cooper chat. He was bigger than life "back in the day" when the Blast ruled the winter in Baltimore. Brought me many evenings of joy during those glory days. It was nothing like being in the old Civic Center when it was packed to the rafters and that place was rocking..!!!!

Delray Rick     February 24
This guy has 3 crashes and almost hit a man in the hotel lot..and that man was upset. Watch his interview. SHOULD HAVE HIS LICENSE REVOKED.


Cal     February 24
As you noted on Twitter yesterday DF, God is indeed great. Those prayers for Tiger worked. Now let's hope he can resume some normal functionality in his life and maybe even play golf again someday.

Brian Jessup     February 24
Sources say Tiger's appointment was 1 hour away and he was running late with only 20 minutes to make it. Thank God he's not dead. Speculators are running wild, drugs, sleep, distracted driving, who knows maybe a combination of all three. Here's hoping he somehow makes it back, maybe after this he won't want to but the golfing and non-golfing world was depressed yesterday.



I don't think the "OJ" coverage of the car being towed in was necessary, that was way over the top.



And we thought 2020 was bad, hope this isn't an omen for the rest of the year.

Vince Fiduccia     February 24
The Golf Channel's coverage of Tiger was outstanding last night, especially the work done by Rich Lerner. If you want information about Tiger do not go to one of the cable news outlets. They are one rung below thrash TV. The Golf Channel has insider information with Tiger's people.

unitastoberry     February 24
I hope Tiger Woods recovers. Lots depend on how good or bad his surgeon was along with any complications from the repairs. He's going to be on pain killers again for a long time which is not good either. I hope when he gets back to normal he finally hires a full time driver.

ChrisK     February 24
Excellent call with Marc Cohn. Also, a good take on Zanzibar--not quite my favorite of William's, but it's way up on the list. And yes, Earl Weaver was the best. Harbaugh can make an argument, but he also would have a sub-.500 career playoff record if Rahim Moore hadn't tripped over his own feet. He's not there yet, but he's in the conversation.

TimD in Timonium     February 24
@Delray Rick, you called this on Feb 22. Maybe it was speeding, maybe he fell asleep, maybe he was texting, bad outcome either way, but could've been much, much worse. If Alex Smith can come back from a catastrophic lower leg injury, I believe Tiger can do. Get well soon, Tiger.

JohnInEssex     February 23
I remember back in 83 that some of the Orioles players were determined to win without Weaver at the helm. They wanted to show it wasn't the manager, but the players.

And the final game of 82 - Cal Sr. botched sending/not sending Glenn Gulliver from 3rd base early in the game and we never really recovered.

HERMAN     February 23
Earl Weaver was the best manager in town, hands down.

Earl was light years ahead in using statistics, knowing minute details about players history of performance against competition. He used 3 X 5 index cards to keep stats across the board.

Earl studied the stats of championship teams. He knew what home run totals it took, how many RBI's it took, how many hits. Then he attempted to put a team together position by position who could meet those totals. He knew which players hit his pitcher well, even the obscure players and pinch hitters.

Earl was one of the only managers in history to platoon a pair of mid-level talents at the same position in an attempt to have two players at the same position equal the output of one superior performer.

Earl was a stats-geek scientist forty years before it became a necessary tool of every team in the game.

He may have tightened up a team during the World Series and lost some he should have won, but for season long performance Earl was the best in town, one of the best in the history of the game.

Howard     February 23
Earl underachieved with the talent that he had. Someone has pointed out that Altobelli took Weaver’s guys and won a World Series in 1983 but Weaver couldn’t do it with his guys in 1982.

Harbaugh wins a Super Bowl with a team that was clearly not the most talented in the NFL..

cj     February 23
Praying for Tiger. The crash scene looks really bad. Godspeed to him.

Delray Rick     February 23
MESSIAH in car crash in LA. Had to extraction by "jaws of life".

Neil     February 23
Just wanted to say I thought A to Z was good reading material today. Add that to your regular columns please.

Chris in Bel Air     February 23
Yes to Weaver as B'more best. Harbs is certainly making a good case. I'm assuming Harbs will be coaching (and winning) for at several more years. If he were to win another Super Bowl, that could certainly make the decision more difficult. Still remember that final 4 game weekend against the Brewers in 1982. The O's and Weaver almost pulled it off.

Big yes to the U2, Beastie Boys, The Cars, Steely Dan and INXS. No to DMB, Pearl Jam and Little Feat.

@Delray Rick - I've been rooting for Spieth too. I agree he seems like his game has turned around. I would love to see him win a tourney and a major this year.

Skip     February 23
I agree with UtB about Weeb and being an oldster myself I would nominate Paul Richards for his building of the Birds in the 60s.

Frank     February 23
RIP Ted Patterson. I remember @DF listed him on his Top 10 Baltimore sportscaster list a few years ago. Maybe you can share a story or two about Ted sometime this week @DF?

unitastoberry     February 23
E -- Is Earl Weaver Baltimore's all-time best coach? I don't know...that's why I'm asking you. I mean, in my lifetime (please note that) , the only candidates for the honor are Shula, Weaver, Billick, Showalter and Harbaugh. Shula wasn't around long enough. Showalter didn't win a championsip. Billick had a lot of "off years" despite winning a Super Bowl. It's either Harbaugh or Weaver. I think you can make an argument for both, but I'll listen to you and your reasoning.



In your lifetime yes Weaver was by far. In my lifetime I would bring Weeb Ewbank into the mix for me. Forget Shula he never won a title here and disrespected Unitas. Rosenbloom was nuts or drunk or hangin with the bookies and strippers when he let Weeb go. Weeb won three titles in 2 cities and brought many HOF players into the league. Earl was great but he inherited a great team from Bauer. But he proved himself again after Frank and Brooks left/retired and Altobelli won with Weavers guys. I'd call it a tie for me with Weaver and Weeb.

Tristan (DMD Editor)     February 23
Good morning, just for your information, no more comments will be permitted about the vaccination for Covid. I'm going to remove all currently published comments and we will not be allowing any further comments.



Thank you for your understanding.

Saturday
February 20
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2371


truth? or over the top?


It's one thing for a local sports media person to jab at the Orioles.

There's a certain allowance, if you will, that comes with scrutinizing and criticizing one of your own. If you see it, feel it and "live it" every day, you have the right to cast an opinion, good or bad.

But if you're from out of town and it's not part of your DNA, who are you to lash out?

We see this a lot during football season. Lamar Jackson -- despite being one of the NFL's best winners in his three years in the league -- is constantly under the microscope from folks all over the country who somehow don't cast the same dispersions on people like Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold, guys who haven't done nearly as much as Jackson has in their still-young career(s).

This story, though, centers on the Orioles and Buster Olney of ESPN, who is one of baseball media's most recognized and respected voices.

Olney fired this shot on Friday and it struck a major nerve in Charm City.

Mike Elias and the Orioles were in the crosshairs on Friday after a critical comment from Buster Olney of ESPN.

On the Orioles: "I don't know where we got to a point in the sport where you could basically check out for 5, 6, 7 years and not be relevant and have it be OK."

The reaction was about what you expected from Orioles fans.

They were angry.

"We just made the playoffs in 2016!" they reminded everyone.

"Ummm, hhheeelllloooo, three trips to the playoffs in five years? What's this jerk talking about?" someone asked on Twitter.

"Buster Olney hates the Orioles. This isn't a surprise," another Baltimore baseball fan reasoned.

The latter is the one you hear or read most often when Olney criticizes the Birds. He formerly worked for the Baltimore Sun -- 25 years ago -- and people still think he has some come of axe to grind with the organization.

Just saying "he (she) hates the team" is the easiest and lamest response people author in situations like these. You'll see it here, even -- probably today, in fact -- anytime I criticize the Orioles. "Drew hates the team" is what people say when they don't have an original thought. It's a lack-of-sophistication response to a broader issue.

I haven't talked to Buster Olney in a long time. I knew him in a different life when he covered the San Diego Sockers for a newspaper out there and bumped into him a couple of times when he was here writing for The Sun, but by and large I don't know him these days. That said, it's my best guess that he couldn't care less, personally, if the Orioles go 60-102 this season or if they win the World Series. I doubt very seriously Buster Olney has an ounce of "I hope the Orioles fail" in him.

When I read that quote from Olney -- "I don't know where we got to a point in the sport where you could basically check out for 5, 6, 7 years and not be relevant and have it be OK." -- I just assumed he was talking about the "now", not the recent past. And I also assume he realizes that exact quote could also fit several other organizations and teams in baseball, namely the Pirates, Mariners and Marlins.

But the quote itself is interesting and worth inspecting. At least it is to me.

Because it does seem odd that an organization could just abandon the idea of winning -- in any sport, not just baseball -- and everyone is just supposed to be OK with it. It goes against the grain of everything we were led to believe about sports and every team in every league.

I don't follow the New Orleans Pelicans, the Minnesota Wild, the Los Angeles Chargers or the Detroit Tigers but I assume, from my small perch in Baltimore, that all four of those organizations are "trying to win". I assume that because I just rationalize that trying not to win would be so foreign to the people who actually play the games that they wouldn't support the concept of being irrelevant.

Olney's point is worth inspecting, though, because he's actually right. It actually has become OK to "check out" for 5, 6, 7 years and not be relevant.

He poses the issue in a way that leads you to believe he doesn't understand how people can be accepting of it. And there are plenty of people who, like Olney, don't get it. But there are also lots of people, particularly in baseball, for some reason, who think it's fine to "check out" for 5, 6, 7 years like the Orioles are doing right now.

The Orioles won't be good again until, at the very earliest, 2023. It could even be 2024 or 2025. They were relevant in 2016, were still trying to win in 2017, then finally gave up in 2018 and said, "We need to start over." And on the surface, that seemed like their only reasonable option once they fired Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter.

But the fact remains that the Orioles will be irrelevant for that 5, 6, 7 year period that Olney mentioned on Friday.

Can you for one second imagine the outcry and vitriol the Ravens would face if they went 4-12, 4-12, 3-13, 5-11, 3-13 over a 5 year span? People want John Harbaugh fired now and the team has gone 10-6, 14-2 and 11-5 over the last three seasons. Imagine if the Ravens "checked out" like the Jets and Jaguars did in 2020.

Olney's quote really wasn't all that crazy. People in Baltimore thought it was, of course, because it's our team he's raking over the coals. But if he would have been talking about, say, the Pirates, we wouldn't have thought anything of it. Because, in a weird way, we know he's sorta-kinda right. It's odd that any team, anywhere, in any sport, can just lose for 5, 6, 7 years and basically do it on purpose.

We're just not built to understand how losing on purpose makes sense, even though, in the case of the Orioles, you can see the blueprint Mike Elias is working with and you can -- or at least, I can -- understand how he's trying to assemble all of the parts into something that will be successful over a lengthy period of time.

The part that Olney doesn't touch on is the whole "we expect you to understand and support us while we're not relevant for 5, 6, 7 years" that franchises like the Orioles ask of their fan base. They're still selling tickets, still sending out e-mails (I got another one on Thursday of this week asking me to send in my money for 2021 even though no one even knows if I can actually go to the games) and still pushing baseball fans in town to support the organization even though they're going through 5, 6, 7 year period that Olney referred to on Friday.

I grew up here and have lived here forever. The Colts, Orioles, Ravens, Blast and Capitals are the only five sports franchises I've ever felt were "my own". Maybe my 17 years in the professional sports world gave me a different view of it, but if you're an organization -- in any sport -- and you go 5, 6 or 7 years without being "relevant", you deserve scrutiny and criticism.

I saw an interview with Barack Obama from 2014 a few weeks ago and one of the folks on the panel said, "OK, enough softballs. We have to ask you some difficult questions now."

The former President looked at them oddly, smiled, and said, "If you can't ask me a difficult question, something's wrong. I'm the President of the United States. I'm supposed to answer difficult questions. If I don't want to do that, I shouldn't be here in this office."

I get it. The Orioles aren't the same thing as being the President of the country, but the reality is they're running an organization on behalf of an entire city and region and if they're not going to be relevant for 5, 6, 7 years, they should have to answer to that.

In the end, I guess that's all Olney was asking, basically. "When did it become OK for teams to just stop trying to win?" The answer, as I said above, is more far reaching than the here and now with the Orioles. Other teams have been irrelevant for quite a while, too.

But, unlike others in town who were agitated or angry, I thought Olney's question was a fair one. It's not the one people probably wanted to hear or read, but it was totally fair.

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ravens talk with ken zalis


In today's edition of "Drew and Friends", we sit down with longtime Baltimore media man Ken Zalis, who is one of the nation's top experts on Fantasy Football and college scouting. We run through a variety of topics in this interesting sitdown with Ken, including what the Ravens need to do with their crop of free-agents-to-be, who they should draft in the first round (his answer might surprise you) and some other great nuggets of information.

Oh, and it was Yamon Figurs that Ken and I were trying to remember in the conversation. I thought he went to Kansas but he went to Kansas State...

If you're a Ravens junkie, don't miss this edition of "Drew and Friends", brought to you by Primary Residential Mortgage.




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Friday
February 19
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2370


so...why do you love sports?


At the start of every golf season, I meet with the newcomers on the team and give them a rundown of the expectations of a Calvert Hall golfer.

Whether they're with me one, two, three, or, in rare cases, all four years, the expectations are always the same. But before I explain in detail what I expect from them, I turn the conversation in a different direction.

"But wait a second," I'll say. "Before we get into what you'll need to do to be successful playing golf at Calvert Hall, let me tell you what Calvert Hall golf expects to do for you." It is, after all -- like any good partnership -- a two way street. We expect something from the student-athletes and they have the right to expect something from the program and its coach.

"Here's my goal for you," I tell them. "And this doesn't change for any player on the team. Every single young man who earns the right to be on the golf team falls under this goal. It's the root of the program at Calvert Hall."

"My goal for you," I say, "is that when you're finished at Calvert Hall, you love golf more the day you leave school than you did the day you started playing for me."

This guy right here is the best golfer in the world. Not on your block, in your town or in your state. In. The. World. Imagine that.

"So you should expect that I'll work as hard as I can to help you reach that goal. I don't care how much we win, who we beat, how many championship banners we raised in the gym...nearly as much as I care that when you leave Calvert Hall you love golf more than you did when you started with me."

And it's really that simple. And it's true. We can win or lose. We can go 12-0, 6-6, 0-12 or anything in between. We can have one, two or three All-Conference players. All of that is great. And we strive for excellence at Calvert Hall. But if a young man graduates and doesn't love golf more when he left than he did when he arrived, I've failed him, somehow. I just want those young men to love golf.

So once that part of the discussion is over, I then ask them the question that helps me figure out how to deliver on my end of the bargain. I ask every player on my team to write it down so it's "on the record", so to speak.

"Why do you love golf?"

That's what I ask every player when he starts playing for me. It's a baseline question of sorts. That's our starting point. "Tell me, today, where you're at so I can see the difference and the progress -- hopefully -- over time."

"Why do you love golf?"

And, of course, I give them my answer, too, so they know that I'm investing in the question just as I want them to invest in it. It's not idle chatter. The answer they gave is very important.

I always flip over my answer on the sheet of paper last. Not for dramatics, but to be able to end the discussion with an in-depth overview of why I love golf so much.

Here's what I show them every year. (Hopefully none of the five incoming 9th graders who got the news yesterday they're coming to Calvert Hall to hopefully play golf for me in the future are reading this...if so, exit the website...right...........now. Thanks.)

I love golf because it's really hard.

That's it.

Oh, sure. I love being outside. I love differences between playing on a breezy spring morning, a sweltering summer afternoon or a crisp, fall day. I even enjoy a December 18-hole stroll when it's 40 degrees and cloudy.

I love playing with friends, newcomers and...well...anyone, really. I have a group of guys at the club who are handicap equivalents of mine and I have a group of players who have handicaps of 10, 15 or 25 and I can tee it up with them and enjoy the round just as much as I can with anyone.

I love competing and playing in golf tournaments, whether they're at my club, a local state event or a national qualifier run by the USGA. I've played in roughly 500 golf tournaments in my life. I've won 31 of them. I lost all the rest of them. You lose in golf a lot more than you win, I found out a long time ago.

I discovered two decades ago that winning isn't all it's cracked up to be. It's the competition itself that's fun. It's the mapping out of your yearly schedule in March and then trying to lay out the game plan for how you're going to win that's invigorating. Playing with your friends, enjoying the quest to make a par, somehow, and having a refreshment after a round and sharing some laughs and stories are all immensely "better" than winning.

The best friends in my life were almost all made through golf. I even met my wife through golf, although she's never played a hole in her life. I met George through golf. Nearly every meaningful relationship in my life today can somehow be traced back to golf.

I say all of that to set the stage for the comment about why I love golf.

I love it because it's really hard. If you're a 25 handicap, it's really hard. If you're a 15 handicap, it's really hard. And if you're a 5 handicap, it's really hard. It's hard for the newcomer who picks it up the first time and it's hard for the club champion. Golf.......is.......really hard.

Sure, a 5 handicap golfer is better than a 25-handicap golfer, in the same way that a kid who plays the drums in high school can't possibly be as accomplished as, say, Carter Beauford of the Dave Matthews Band. But golf is still hard for the 5 handicap player. Golf is always hard, no matter how good you get. Just ask Jordan Spieth.

And the idea that golf is really hard is what motivates me to get better. We're all wired differently. What drives me to improve is knowing there's a challenge ahead that I need to somehow master. Playing a course in a qualifier that has three par 4 holes that require left to right tee shots? Better spend a week or two on the range perfecting a 30 yard cut with the driver. Only went 1 for 5 in "sand saves" in last week's tournament round? Get in the sand trap at the club, dump 50 balls in there, and get to work. Hit 13 greens and still shot 75? Either you're not hitting it close enough to the hole or your putting stinks. But it's hard to get better. And that, to me, is actually "fun".

So I start off my relationship with Calvert Hall golfers telling them what I hope to do for them ("I want you to love golf more when you leave than when you get here") and then establishing a baseline for why they love golf now so I can start putting a plan together to fulfill my end of the partnership.

And now that all of that is out of the way, here's what I want to ask you today.

Why do you love sports?

I assume you love sports or else you wouldn't be here. Whether it's an affection for the Ravens, Orioles, Terps -- or all three -- or some other team or program in the country, you're here because you love sports.

But why do you love sports? Have you ever really asked yourself that question?

My answer, by the way, is basically the same as it is for the question about golf.

I love sports because they're really hard.

Do you have any idea at all how difficult it is to hit a 95 mile-per-hour fastball? And if you think that's hard, try hitting an 86 mile-per-hour breaking ball one pitch after you saw the 95 mile-per-hour fastball. Even harder.

Do you realize how hard it is to step back in the pocket with a handful of guys breathing down your neck and thread a football in between three highly skilled defensive backs into the ends of your teammate, who is running at 15 miles-per-hour and has to perfectly align his stride with the pace and direction of the incoming pass?

Have you ever returned a 130 mile-per-hour serve? If you saw one in person, you wouldn't believe it. It's on you in the snap of a finger.

A "normal" person couldn't win a point from Serena Williams. A high quality amateur tennis player would likely lose to her 6-0, 6-0. Being great at tennis is really hard.

When I drive 75 miles-per-hour on Interstate 70, my nerves are frayed and I'm on high alert. Anything above 75 requires a lot of attention to detail. Well, can you even think about what it must be like to drive a car at 180 or 200 miles-per-hour when there are literally cars five inches in front of you and five inches behind you, all going at the same speed, all trying to get to the finish line a hair ahead of you, somehow? I've said this for a long time. Auto racers are among the best athletes in the world. They're incredibly underrated.

Have you ever ice skated? That's hard enough. Now try putting a stick in your hand and swat a puck around the ice while moving at high speed, but keep your head up the whole time or else the guy on the other team will knock it off.

Have you ever played second base and had a sharp grounder hit to the shortstop, where you then have to hustle over to second, wait for the toss, step on the bag, turn in one motion, avoid the guy sliding in who is trying to wreck you, and then throw the ball -- with pace -- to first base in an effort to turn an inning ending double play.

Have you ever gone to the local high school or college football field and had someone hold a football on the ground at the 20 yard line and attempted to make a 30 yard field goal? Imagine having to make a 50 yarder with the game on the line, 11 men rushing at you, and your career, potentially, relying on the talents of the guy snapping the ball and the guy holding the ball.

There's a spot in the grass right here. I want you to put a golf ball there and then hit it in the direction of a closely mowed area about 420 yards away with a hole in the ground that's four and a quarter inches in diameter. And you need to do that in just four swings of the club. Do you have any idea how hard that is to do once, let alone consistently?

We watch Clayton Kershaw and Aaron Rodgers and Serena Williams and Kevin Harvick and Alex Ovechkin and Jose Altuve and Justin Tucker and Tiger Woods and we see them and say, "They make it look so easy." But it's far from easy, even for them. It's really hard. They just happen to be really good at it, too.

But that's why I love sports. I love sports because I know -- even though I've never pitched in the big leagues, thrown in the NFL, won at Wimbledon, driven in NASCAR, scored a goal in the NHL or won the Masters -- how freakin' hard it is for those men and women to do what they do.

It's really hard. That's why I love sports.

I'm curious, though. I'm curious why you love sports?

Why do you come here every day, or visit any other website or watch any other TV program connected to sports? What is it about sports that you love so much?

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Thursday
February 18
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2369


thursday things


I'm not really sure exactly where to start. So, I'll just start.

Mark Turgeon beat Nebraska last night, 79-71. It was the second straight night Turgeon took on -- and defeated -- the Cornhuskers, who have just one win in the Big Ten so far this season.

Dale Williams handles the blow-by-blow of Turgeon's win over Nebraska last night so I won't do that here. I just wanted to point out that Turgeon has now won three straight after the home win over Minnesota last week and the aforementioned Tuesday-Wednesday home victories over Nebraska.

Mark Turgeon won his 3rd straight home game last night with a 79-71 win over Nebraska.

There's still lots of basketball left but Turgeon just might find himself in the NCAA tournament after all. They have four games left. At Rutgers, home against Michigan State, at Northwestern, and home against Penn State.

I have no idea how the whole tournament bracket will play out, but Turgeon is "right there" with four games remaining. Winning against Rutgers and Penn State would really help. Losing to a bad Michigan State team or losing to a really awful Northwestern squad would be ultra-damaging. If Turgeon can sweep those four, they have a real chance of sliding into the tournament.

Yes, I'm aware I didn't use the word "Maryland" once in the four paragraphs above that referenced basketball at College Park. I used "Turgeon" instead because of the legions of people around the area who connect him to everything with the team when it goes wrong and give him virtually no credit when it goes right.

Reminder, for those who don't know, haven't followed along or have trouble reading: I'm not the biggest Mark Turgeon fan in the world and I think Maryland should strongly consider going in another direction when the subject of a contract extension comes up at the end of this season. Read that again if you're unclear on how I feel about the coach at Maryland.

But...

I'm also wise enough to watch the games and realize that not every bad thing that happens with Maryland basketball is Turgeon's fault. He can't coach and play, you know. Maryland turned the ball over 17 times on Tuesday night against Nebraska. These are some of the highest level college basketball players in the country...and they turned it over 17 times. When is it their fault that they didn't produce?

Now, you can make the argument that "the coach chose the players" and he did, but that's an abstract discussion for another day. Sure, he picked them. But their performance is also largely on them, not the coach.

So, with a large swath of people in town blaming Turgeon for every bad thing that happens, I figured it was fair to give him full credit for the win over Nebraska last night.

I mean, doesn't that make sense? He's the sole reason they lose, apparently. If that's right, shouldn't he be the sole reason they win?

Part of the problem with college sports is the players are largely held blameless because of the idea that they're still "kids" and, for the most part, are not "compensated" for their performance. So when a college athlete's performance is subpar, it's generally handled with kid gloves because, you know, they're kids and all. "Can't hurt their feelings..."

When a professional athlete's performance is subpar, folks have no issue crushing them. "35 million and he couldn't get out of the 3rd inning without giving up 5 runs and 7 hits? What a joke!"

Anyway, I just wanted to give credit where credit is due. That was a nice win for Turgeon last night. He's coming together at the right time. If he can just win these last four games, who knows what March will bring?


I love the spirit some of you show when debating #DMD comments in the section below. I also laugh, a lot, at the fact that you take something that was written here and twist it entirely into another discussion.

The whole Ryder Cup discussion and the notion that corporate sponsors might very well influence or directly enforce their authority to determine who gets selected for the team is one of those occasions where my opinion gets maneuvered into some other argument, entirely.

A solemn Lanny Wadkins meets the media after his U.S. team squandered a late lead and lost the 1995 Ryder Cup.

One such moment came when someone here posited that Lanny Wadkins chose Curtis Strange for the team in 1995 because the two of them were close friends, shared the same agent and, yes, went to the same school. They also played the same golf ball, but back then, every guy on TOUR played Titleist.

Wadkins actually chose Strange for other reasons, although it's certainly true their lifelong friendship didn't hurt the 2-time U.S. Open's chances of being added as one of Wadkins' two captain's picks.

Strange won the U.S. Open at Oak Hill in 1989, which, the captain assumed, might work in Strange's favor since that's where the '95 Ryder Cup would be contested. There were also only two players on the '95 team who had played in '93 at The Belfry in England: Corey Pavin and Davis Love III. So Wadkins figured his team needed experience and someone with some Ryder Cup "nerves" and he chose Strange.

In case you don't remember how that '95 Ryder Cup ended, Strange lost the last two holes to Nick Faldo and coughed up one of the most important points of the singles matches on Sunday. You might also recall that Brad Faxon, one of those "newcomers", couldn't hit the green from 190 yards at the 18th hole and then missed a 4 foot putt at 18 that squandered another critical point.

Jay Haas also lost to a dude with a long putter named Phillip Walton, who was 3-up with 3 to play on Sunday and held on to win 1 up after Haas couldn't make a par at the 18th hole.

But none of that has anything to do with the whole idea that sponsors influence captain's picks. Friendships might. Whether you won at a course previously might. The team not having a lot of Ryder Cup experience might.

There is no evidence, however, none at all, that suggests a Ryder Cup player has ever been added because a corporate sponsor directly said to the captain or the PGA of America: "Player XXXXX needs to on the team because we sponsor him and we support your event."

You can speculate that it has happened, you can put 2 and 2 together, you can talk about friendships and golf balls and college reunions, but you're just saying that stuff to say it. What you don't have, though, is any real evidence that it has happened.

Friendships on and off the course, "he's a good fit in the locker room" and what course the event is held on probably do matter. If, for some bizarre reason, they played the Ryder Cup at Augusta National this September, Tiger Woods might very well be a sensible pick. So, too, would Phil Mickelson. They've won 8 Masters there. They've played the course for 25 years. That's just an example, albeit a wild one, of how the course potentially could influence a player selection.

What has never influenced a selection is who sponsors a player.

But continue creating that scenario in your head if you want and, please, opine at length on those thoughts below. It's good readin'.


Lent started yesterday.

Here's the definition of Lent just so I get it all laid out correctly: Lent is a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later, the night before Easter Sunday. The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer for Easter through prayer, doing penance, mortifying the flesh, repentance of sins, almsgiving, simple living and self-denial. This season is observed in the Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, Moravian, Oriental Orthodox, Reformed (including Presbyterian and Congregationalist), United Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches. Some Anabaptist, Baptist and nondenominational Christian churches also observe Lent.

One of the general practices of Lent is penance, which essentially means voluntary self-punishment. Over time, as a means of "cleansing one's mind or body", people give up something during Lent that they would otherwise either enjoy or "need" to stop doing in an effort to repent.

One of the key words during Lent is "repent". It's one thing to experience penance during Lent. It's another thing entirely to repent, which means "to change".

What are you giving up for Lent? I'd love to see your answers in the comments section.

Me? I'm giving up bread from Wednesday, February 17 through Saturday, April 3rd. That's a pretty significant penance for me. I eat bread. I probably eat more than I should, my family doctor says. And bread, I'm learning, means a lot of things. No more "breakfast sandwiches" from Royal Farms. No more pizza. No more chicken tacos from Glory Days. Not until April 4th, anyway.

But here's why Lent is important. I shouldn't just start scarfing down bread again on April 4th. That would actually defeat the purpose of the idea of "repent". I have a friend I texted yesterday and asked him what he was giving up for Lent and he said, "Swearing."

That's a great Lenten penance. But it doesn't mean you should suddenly start swearing again on Easter Sunday or the next week once Lent as come and gone.

The idea behind Lent is to show you a "new way". I'm certainly not going to go the rest of my life and not eat bread. But if I can go from now until April 3rd without eating bread, there's no reason to suddenly go back to eating it like a mad man after Lent has come and gone.

The genesis of Lent is for all of us to show penance in recognition of Jesus Christ's 40-day journey into the desert.

I'm giving up bread. Pray for me! It's going to be tough, but not nearly as tough as the 40 days in the desert that Jesus experienced.

And you? Tell me about your Lenten experience, please.


And, finally, on a personal note, but one that many of you might share and understand if you have high school athletes who have been impacted by Covid-19.

The Calvert Hall Golf season officially commenced yesterday when I took the team to 5 Iron Golf in downtown Baltimore for fun and work on the simulators.

We haven't been together as a team since last spring. 7 of the 10 players on this year's roster were there, along with myself and assistant coach Brian Hubbard. We played Pebble Beach, Sea Island Golf Course and The Ocean Course at Kiawah.

Covid-19 protocols were in place and masks were worn the whole time. We're "in training", sort of, for the season by wearing a mask the entire time, as it's likely players will have to wear masks throughout our practices and matches in the upcoming campaign.

None of that mattered yesterday, though. It was great to see the young men, hit some shots with them, eat some food (no meat on Ash Wednesday, remember!) and start preparing for our season, which begins on March 24 at home against Loyola.

In previous non-Covid years, our "pre-season" would have actually started on or about January 15. So, we're basically a month behind. And with more bad weather set for the area today and over the weekend, who knows when we can get out on the course and start really preparing?

But for one day, at least, it was awesome to see them and be together. Spring is right around the corner, masks and all!

We're blessed to be having a season. Go Hall!

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"The Keen Eye" of
David Rosenfeld

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


bluebloods feeling blue


There isn’t a lot to say about college basketball this year. They’ll play an NCAA tournament next month—entirely in Indiana—so there will be something to watch on TV for a few weeks. Hopefully the quarantine/lack of travel nature of the event will allow it to continue with no delays, a problem for many teams during the regular season. Locally, Maryland still has a legitimate chance to make the tournament despite a 7-9 conference record.

There have been lots of oddities, like consecutive games on consecutive nights against the same team—either scheduled that way intentionally in many conferences or done out of necessity, such as Maryland’s home games against Nebraska each of the last two nights*. With the exception of a few NFL stadiums, there is no sport in which the home crowd can make as much difference as it does in big-time college basketball—but there have been no legitimate home crowds.

*Because of COVID-related issues with each team’s intended opponents, the Loyola men’s team has played six games against Lafayette this season.

It's been a tough year for some of college basketball's powerhouse programs, including John Calipari and Kentucky.

The most interesting thing about this season? Anybody who knows anything about the sport knows that there are four “bluebloods”—Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina and Duke. They all happen to wear blue, and they happen to be the top four teams in all-time wins. And none of them is very good this year.

Kentucky’s record is — and you’re not reading this wrong — seven wins and 13 losses. There’s a good possibility that the Wildcats won’t win double-digit games this season, unless they make a run in an SEC tournament that may or may not be played. Historically, whether led by freshman players or not, John Calipari’s team gets easy looks near the basket and limits turnovers about as well as anyone in the country. But not this year.

Early in the year, Calipari kept insisting publicly that his team was talented enough and good enough to win a lot of games. I’m sure most of the Calipari “haters,” of whom there are quite a few, are not hating the fact that he’s been proven wrong.

The Cats’ leading scorer, freshman Brandon Boston, is a good example of Kentucky’s lack of efficiency. He’s making just 37 percent of his shots overall and 29 percent from behind the arc. He has more turnovers than assists, as does the team as a whole. Kentucky, which pretty much gets its pick of great freshmen once Duke has chosen theirs, is averaging less than 70 points per game.

And speaking of Duke, that team is super mediocre. At 8-8 overall and 6-6 in the ACC entering a game at Wake Forest last night, the Blue Devils aren’t even on the bubble of the bubble.

Much will be made of the “opt-out” of freshman Jalen Johnson, who left the team, ostensibly to prepare for the NBA, with a few weeks left in its season. Not as much will be mentioned about Johnson’s inability to carry on the legacy of stud freshmen leading the Blue Devils to win after win; unlike so many of those players in the last 10 years, Johnson couldn’t live up to the hype. In his last game in a Duke uniform, a win at N.C. State this past weekend, he played just eight minutes off the bench.

Mike Krzyzewski, who turned 74 last week, says he’s still in this gig with no thoughts of retirement. Even if he had seriously contemplated it, there’s no way he’d let it all end with a COVID-shortened season of lousy basketball. Certainly his team has to be better next year in front of a full allotment of Crazies and with this season as a lesson in humility.

The issue of who will replace the irreplaceable Coach K is one of the great questions in American sports. Quite a few of his former players are certainly in the mix, but none has done enough to be a slam dunk candidate.

Is it Severna Park’s own Wojo, having a tough season at Marquette these days? I can’t imagine he’s any more of a contender than Arizona State’s Hurley, Northwestern’s Collins or Pitt’s Capel. Or is there an outside-the-box hire, not unlike Coach K was when plucked from obscurity at Army in 1980 at age 33? Even after all these years in Boston coaching one of the NBA’s storied franchises, I’d have to imagine former Butler coach Brad Stevens might be interested in the job.

I watched Duke play North Carolina a couple weeks back and as usual it was a tight, intense game. That couldn’t hide the fact that the Tarheels are slightly above average and not much more. They’ll be in the NCAA tournament with a decent end-of-season showing, probably, but hardly a contender to win the thing.

Year after year, North Carolina has a combination of size and skill that few teams possess, and combined with a fast-paced style that’s often enough to dominate for stretches. This year’s team has the requisite size but not the overall talent advantage it usually displays.

True story…the Heels went looking for a home game on Twitter this week, and they actually found one for last night thanks to Northeastern of the Colonial Athletic Association. Last week, just hours before tipoff, North Carolina’s home game against Miami was postponed after video surfaced of some Tarheel players celebrating the Duke win in a crowd without masks.

Roy Williams is a few years younger than Coach K, but he certainly hasn’t been very healthy over the last seven or eight years. With three NCAA championships in 18 seasons as the team’s head coach, he has nothing left to prove, and he’s already four years older than his mentor Dean Smith was when he retired from coaching in 1997.

As for Kansas, where Williams once coached, they’re completely fine; it’s just that not being a No. 1 seed and the winner of the Big 12 looks strange on them. The fact that the ESPN Bubble Watch isn’t listing the Jayhawks as an NCAA tournament “lock” in mid-February, and the fact that Bill Self’s team fell out of the Top 25 for the first time in forever, is more proof that this is a strange year.

Kansas has held serve at home this year, at least, with a 10-1 record despite the lack of fans at the usually-raucous Allen Fieldhouse. The same can’t be said for Duke, which has lost four times at Cameron Indoor Stadium this season. Whatever you think of those fans, there is no team and place that look more different without them than Duke.

As for the Terps, they get written about on a game-by-game basis here at #DMD, so no reason to go into a deep analysis here. We know that Mark Turgeon’s team has two unbelievable road wins, at Illinois and Wisconsin, and the schedule the rest of the way should allow for some more wins. This columnist continues to be baffled by junior Aaron Wiggins, who looks like a legitimate NBA player and the worst player on the court, all within the same 10-minute stretch.

The NCAA tournament could be fun. None of those bluebloods will win it, which is a great thing. It’s possible that this year’s shelter-in-place tournament could germinate a surprise Final Four team. For a variety of reasons, the “mid-majors” are way more prevalent on the bubble than is typically the case; it could be that one of them knocks another out, instead of being knocked out by the 10th-place team in the ACC.

Assuming it all goes off without a hitch, it’ll be some solace for the cancellation from a year ago. Unfortunately, the schedule this year is different, so only the Friday after Selection Sunday will be available for a day’s worth of game watching—though I suppose that all the second-round action the following Monday could replace that.

Here’s hoping for a good tournament…though one without Duke sounds good to me regardless of what happens.

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terps win third straight


There’s not much I can add to what turned out to a rerun of Tuesday’s Terp win over Nebraska. Last night’s game was pretty much the same as Tuesday’s 74-60 Terp win, but without defensive intensity.

It was also predictable and lacking excitement. Maryland was never going to lose this game, and they didn’t. The Terps took game two of the double header 79-71.

In a game that closely mimicked the pattern of the game played two nights ago. Nebraska kept it close for a while, then they ran out of gas. Last night their tank emptied earlier than on Tuesday, but they definitely hit a wall. The same cast led their teams in scoring. Eric Ayala (24), Aaron Wiggins (22), and Jairus Hamilton (13) once again paced the Terp scoring.

Aaron Wiggins led Maryland in scoring for the second straight night on Wednesday as Maryland turned back Nebraska, 79-71.

Teddy Allen led Nebraska with 25 points. The outcome was always inevitable and I found the play to be mostly lacking energy.

While the key moments in the Tuesday game happened around the eight-minute mark of the second half, last night’s key sequence occurred at 17:16 of the second half. Again, it was Wiggins who initiated the run with a nifty spin-move in paint for an easy layup on the left side of rim. That was followed by a Darryl Morsell block of a Trey McGowens floater, that eventually led to a Wiggins three after he rebounded his own miss in the lane. (I’ll break down this offensive set in just a bit).

The back-to-back Wiggins field goals pushed the Terp lead to nine points and were the catalyst of a 12-0 run that push the Terp lead to 16 points, 55-39, effectively ended the game even though there were 14 minutes and 24 seconds left on the clock.

Now, let’s break down the Wiggins three, and I’ll tell you what I saw that impressed me. Nebraska shows straight man defense while Ayala brings the ball down court. The ball eventually finds its way to Wiggins on the left wing. He dribble drives into the paint, beating Shameil Stevenson (McGowens should have helped out, but that’s part of the low energy defense to which I referred earlier). After Wiggins missed his floater, the ball caromed right back to him. He looked at the basket again, but decided not to force the issue against some bugger guys. Smart play.

Wiggins then kicks it to the right wing, closer to the baseline and into the hands of Hakim Hart. Hart dribbles away from the hoop before passing the ball out to Morsell, who is standing on the XFINITY Center script. While this was happening, Wiggins had drifted to the top of the key. Recognizing that there were already three other Terps out there, Wiggins cuts down the lane and flares to the right corner, balancing the Terps offensive floor. From there they ran a set where Morsell cuts into the lane, the ball reverses sides to Donta Scott on the left wing. Scott offers some token penetration to hold the defense, while Wiggins rotates to the top of the key. Scott kicks it to Wiggins for a wide open three, and he buries it. Smart play.

To me that was great recognition by Maryland of where to fill in. They collected themselves and ran a good set from what could have been a tough shot in the lane over some long arms.

Yes, after the Wiggins rebound, Maryland was helped by Nebraska’s confusion as to whether they should fall into a zone, or pick up man-to-man. But the point is this, Maryland may not have been as disciplined a month ago. They showed some growth there. It was subtle, and it was just one series, but it was growth.

After the 12-0 run, the rest of the game looked like an NBA All Star game without the All Stars. You saw a lot of “matador” defense and as a result, Nebraska outscored Tuesday’s effort by 21 points and were still soundly beaten.

Sunday at 3 pm, the Terps will travel to Piscataway NJ in an attempt to avenge an earlier loss to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. The Big Ten Network will bring you all the action.

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#dmd comments








Connor     February 26
I'm not even a Tiger Woods fan but reading along I have to wonder what Delray Rick means when he says "Truth Hurts". What truth? That one sportswriter thinks Tiger is a lousy person? Didn't that writer in Philadelphia think Eddie Murray was a lazy, arrogant baseball player who was just trying to cash a check? What did he know? Sports writers might be the worst people in the media.

Delray RICK     February 26
TRUTH HURTS

Keith Merrill     February 26
Having lived in Greenwich for 11 years I can assure you Mushnick's reputation in NYC is that of a sour puss who never says a good word about anyone. He's not very well thought of up there.

Larry     February 26
Mushnick = hack. No respect at all in media circles.

bob jackson     February 26
DELRAY Rick - I read the NY Post earlier today and it was so spot on about your "Messiah" great article.

Carl in Owings Mills     February 26
Hey Drew, just wondering if you read and had opinion on Mushnick crapping all over Tiger today in the Post?

Josh     February 26
Tiger will play again. This is likely a 2 year injury. He'll win again but maybe not until he's on the PGA Tour Champions. I would never count him out

Jeffrey “Fireball” Roberts     February 26
It was great seeing Kenny Cooper. Can’t wait for part 2. I remember that commercial like it was yesterday. Great memories, greater times. To be young again, we never knew what we had.

KJ     February 26
Here's the thing w/Herman, when he posts, he expresses an opinion. You can agree, disagree, whatever, but there is "content". All the "Herman bashers" (JJ, Mark, Kevin, et al) do is, well, bash Herman. With the added bonus of calling him a racist, as if that is a benign criticism. Really puzzles me why these comments stay up, they are NOT related to "today's topic", they are strictly personal shots at an individual.

Loved the Kenny Cooper Part I. Best point of the conversation was discussion about all the "fluff" added to the Blast games. I was one of those who called it "a circus show" and not a "sport", but Drew's point about all the leagues do it now is 100% spot on. I still think it's a shame they do it, but there's no doubting many fans enjoy this extraneous activity, for whatever reason. Not sure whose idea it was, but definitely was an idea ahead of its time, there's no denying that.

Tom J     February 26
Never mind the extortion attempt, I wouldn't have Judon back in a Ravens uniform for 20 million dollars as he wasn't worth the 16 million they paid him last year.

Bob S. (AKA Idiot Caller)     February 26
Are these doctors commenting on Tiger Woods injury the same type of media friendly doctors that have been advising everyone about COVID-19? "Don't wear masks... no wait, now wear masks... no wait, now wear two masks...". Pardon me if I don't trust these media doctors right now.

I would bet heavily right now that Tiger DOES make it back and end up playing tournament golf again, and winning a tournament or two before his career is over!

Don't bet against Tom Brady, and don't bet against Tiger Woods!

F Kline     February 26
Are we also supposed to abandon Michael Phelps? He ran afoul of the law a couple of times. Is that what we do now?

J.J.     February 26
Good point @Kevin but surprisingly the author of that comment conveniently forgot about Ray Ray's trial in Atlanta.

Tom     February 26
Interesting topic on Judon. Not sure I understand how Tiger Woods gets weaved into the discussion but given the source I do understand. I agree with @DF. I wouldn't re-sign Judon based on this episode. It reeks of poor character.

unitastoberry     February 26
Like I said yesterday Judon is not worth any of this nonsense. Unlike the Orioles I find myself siding with the Ravens management most of the time. Decent player like a Mosley on the outside. Wrong price. Decosta has it covered with the Wizard of Oz consulting.

Kevin     February 26
I know it's not cool to troll the troll but wasn't it just Herman a few weeks ago who was slobbering all over Ray Lewis so much that Herman needed stitches in both knees? I seem to recall 52 got in off field trouble as well???

TimD in Timonium     February 26
If only more pro athletes would let somebody else manage their Twitter account, handle their finances, drive them around...

Brian Jessup     February 26
Judons a jerk don't let the door hit you on the way out.



So depressed about Tiger. I was really hoping , by some miracle, he would qualify for the BMW Tournament this summer so I could go to Caves Valley and watch him. I've never seen him in person and would have been one of 30,000 other fans trying to catch that glimpse up close.(or somewhat close) It's such a shame to have it end like this but maybe there's a few more miracles left in his body. One can hope.

Steve from Cape Coral     February 26
Interesting, Nothing about your boy skating on the DWI charges ??? Very Sad news, but par for the course !!!

HERMAN     February 26
"We've become so indebted to our athletes and winning that we allow lots of flaws and mistakes"

Uh, yeah, I can think of one glaring example where that is true, especially for the site owner. Being able to hit a little white ball better than others excuses all off course behavior.

"And, occasionally, it's more than fair to overlook a brush with the law or some kind of "small blemish" in return for the production they can provide on the field, the court, the ice, etc."

Odd that you left off "course", or "golf course", as the recent coverage of the "accident" was like an homage, a sycophantic orgy, where formerly respected "news" programs gave up hours of hard news in coverage of the "accident". The sporting public at large has ignored everything with regard to one particular athlete, site owner included.

Could such adulation in the face of past transgressions have led to contributing to the "accident"?

When one pays no price for their sins where is the deterrence to repeat the sins?




Delray rick     February 26
For our readers who have the internet (HERMAN) and who don't (spend a dollar) check out NY POST today and PHIL MUSHNICK'S column on the MESSIAH. Its classic.

JohnInEssex     February 26
Just completed watching part 1 of Kenny Cooper interview.

Feel the same way Drew does concerning Kenny Jr. not getting a fair shake with the US National team. They have ALWAYS needed a finisher, Kenny would produce, but somehow weirdly not be on the team.



One of my coolest memories as a referee was working a game at Rosedale Park where Kenny Jr. was playing on a U10 team. He towered over everyone and was dominating. Got to say HI to Kenny Sr. and thank him for all he did for soccer in Baltimore. SO MANY great memories thanks to the BLAST!

tom     February 25
yea @AL, cause you are such a class act youself, smh

JK     February 25
Thanks Drew for the Kenny Cooper video interview. Love seeing and hear my favorite coach. It was great to hear all the Blast and life experiences on the interview. This brought back some great memories. I can't wait for part 2!

JeffWell     February 25
Pretty much a d*#k move by Judon IMO. Speaking of such moves,we get a real gem from that be "classy" guy Al.

Howard     February 25
After about 30 years, the Spirit commercial remains the best sports commercial of all time.

Thanks for the laugh

Rob Really     February 25
Delray quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald today... nice! Are we still allowed to do that??

Delray Rick     February 25
Show me a hero,and I'll write you a tragedy.

TimD in Timonium     February 25
The early to mid-'80s was a great time to be a Blast fan. It very could have been the Golden Age of the Baltimore Civic Center. What a time.

unitastoberry     February 25
I don't do twitter but been watching this Judon vs Hensley thing. I shake my head at social media many times. I was on facebook for a while but deleted. Now you have a reporter with a pretty solid reputation who reports that he turned down a deal for 16.5 million a year? Then Judon replies saying he's a liar and he has pictures of him with a stripper? Wow I guess you just have to shake your head and wait for Hensley to sue for liable. I think if Matt or his agent turned down 16.5 mil/yr they are nuts. I have seen many great outside LB/Rush ends and Matts not one of those headed for Canton types. He's not Suggs,Bouleware,maybe not even Jamie Sharper or Jaret Johnson. I could go back further in time with a few names but no one will know them. See you Matt good luck. BTW the cap is going down and the league is basically demanding that the networks back up the Brinks trucks with more money to offset loses due to Covid and poor ratings.

RickinBaltimore     February 25
Kenny Cooper will always have a special place for me. I grew up on the Blast, and as a kid, they were larger than life. He knew how to coach, but how to promote the team, the trek up and down federal Hill immediately comes to mind.

Tom J     February 25
Can't wait to watch the Kenny Cooper chat. He was bigger than life "back in the day" when the Blast ruled the winter in Baltimore. Brought me many evenings of joy during those glory days. It was nothing like being in the old Civic Center when it was packed to the rafters and that place was rocking..!!!!

Delray Rick     February 24
This guy has 3 crashes and almost hit a man in the hotel lot..and that man was upset. Watch his interview. SHOULD HAVE HIS LICENSE REVOKED.


Cal     February 24
As you noted on Twitter yesterday DF, God is indeed great. Those prayers for Tiger worked. Now let's hope he can resume some normal functionality in his life and maybe even play golf again someday.

Brian Jessup     February 24
Sources say Tiger's appointment was 1 hour away and he was running late with only 20 minutes to make it. Thank God he's not dead. Speculators are running wild, drugs, sleep, distracted driving, who knows maybe a combination of all three. Here's hoping he somehow makes it back, maybe after this he won't want to but the golfing and non-golfing world was depressed yesterday.



I don't think the "OJ" coverage of the car being towed in was necessary, that was way over the top.



And we thought 2020 was bad, hope this isn't an omen for the rest of the year.

Vince Fiduccia     February 24
The Golf Channel's coverage of Tiger was outstanding last night, especially the work done by Rich Lerner. If you want information about Tiger do not go to one of the cable news outlets. They are one rung below thrash TV. The Golf Channel has insider information with Tiger's people.

unitastoberry     February 24
I hope Tiger Woods recovers. Lots depend on how good or bad his surgeon was along with any complications from the repairs. He's going to be on pain killers again for a long time which is not good either. I hope when he gets back to normal he finally hires a full time driver.

ChrisK     February 24
Excellent call with Marc Cohn. Also, a good take on Zanzibar--not quite my favorite of William's, but it's way up on the list. And yes, Earl Weaver was the best. Harbaugh can make an argument, but he also would have a sub-.500 career playoff record if Rahim Moore hadn't tripped over his own feet. He's not there yet, but he's in the conversation.

TimD in Timonium     February 24
@Delray Rick, you called this on Feb 22. Maybe it was speeding, maybe he fell asleep, maybe he was texting, bad outcome either way, but could've been much, much worse. If Alex Smith can come back from a catastrophic lower leg injury, I believe Tiger can do. Get well soon, Tiger.

JohnInEssex     February 23
I remember back in 83 that some of the Orioles players were determined to win without Weaver at the helm. They wanted to show it wasn't the manager, but the players.

And the final game of 82 - Cal Sr. botched sending/not sending Glenn Gulliver from 3rd base early in the game and we never really recovered.

HERMAN     February 23
Earl Weaver was the best manager in town, hands down.

Earl was light years ahead in using statistics, knowing minute details about players history of performance against competition. He used 3 X 5 index cards to keep stats across the board.

Earl studied the stats of championship teams. He knew what home run totals it took, how many RBI's it took, how many hits. Then he attempted to put a team together position by position who could meet those totals. He knew which players hit his pitcher well, even the obscure players and pinch hitters.

Earl was one of the only managers in history to platoon a pair of mid-level talents at the same position in an attempt to have two players at the same position equal the output of one superior performer.

Earl was a stats-geek scientist forty years before it became a necessary tool of every team in the game.

He may have tightened up a team during the World Series and lost some he should have won, but for season long performance Earl was the best in town, one of the best in the history of the game.

Howard     February 23
Earl underachieved with the talent that he had. Someone has pointed out that Altobelli took Weaver’s guys and won a World Series in 1983 but Weaver couldn’t do it with his guys in 1982.

Harbaugh wins a Super Bowl with a team that was clearly not the most talented in the NFL..

cj     February 23
Praying for Tiger. The crash scene looks really bad. Godspeed to him.

Delray Rick     February 23
MESSIAH in car crash in LA. Had to extraction by "jaws of life".

Neil     February 23
Just wanted to say I thought A to Z was good reading material today. Add that to your regular columns please.

Chris in Bel Air     February 23
Yes to Weaver as B'more best. Harbs is certainly making a good case. I'm assuming Harbs will be coaching (and winning) for at several more years. If he were to win another Super Bowl, that could certainly make the decision more difficult. Still remember that final 4 game weekend against the Brewers in 1982. The O's and Weaver almost pulled it off.

Big yes to the U2, Beastie Boys, The Cars, Steely Dan and INXS. No to DMB, Pearl Jam and Little Feat.

@Delray Rick - I've been rooting for Spieth too. I agree he seems like his game has turned around. I would love to see him win a tourney and a major this year.

Skip     February 23
I agree with UtB about Weeb and being an oldster myself I would nominate Paul Richards for his building of the Birds in the 60s.

Frank     February 23
RIP Ted Patterson. I remember @DF listed him on his Top 10 Baltimore sportscaster list a few years ago. Maybe you can share a story or two about Ted sometime this week @DF?

unitastoberry     February 23
E -- Is Earl Weaver Baltimore's all-time best coach? I don't know...that's why I'm asking you. I mean, in my lifetime (please note that) , the only candidates for the honor are Shula, Weaver, Billick, Showalter and Harbaugh. Shula wasn't around long enough. Showalter didn't win a championsip. Billick had a lot of "off years" despite winning a Super Bowl. It's either Harbaugh or Weaver. I think you can make an argument for both, but I'll listen to you and your reasoning.



In your lifetime yes Weaver was by far. In my lifetime I would bring Weeb Ewbank into the mix for me. Forget Shula he never won a title here and disrespected Unitas. Rosenbloom was nuts or drunk or hangin with the bookies and strippers when he let Weeb go. Weeb won three titles in 2 cities and brought many HOF players into the league. Earl was great but he inherited a great team from Bauer. But he proved himself again after Frank and Brooks left/retired and Altobelli won with Weavers guys. I'd call it a tie for me with Weaver and Weeb.

Tristan (DMD Editor)     February 23
Good morning, just for your information, no more comments will be permitted about the vaccination for Covid. I'm going to remove all currently published comments and we will not be allowing any further comments.



Thank you for your understanding.

Wednesday
February 17
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2368


let me clear it up for you


Allow me to clear up two issues that have been topical here recently.

The Ryder Cup.

And college basketball players quitting on their team because "there's nothing left in it for them."

You may or may not care about either of those stories, but they're drawing significant attention here at #DMD, so that makes them worth my while, if nothing else.

On Monday, after Daniel Berger had won at Pebble Beach the day before, I suggested here that he would be a sensible, no-brainer captain's pick for Steve Stricker this September if Berger's not able to finish in the top six and earn an automatic berth on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

Someone rolled in and started spouting off about how that might happen or, as he believes has happened in the past, pressure from a corporate sponsor to add a different player -- one likely not as deserving as Berger and others -- would force Stricker into leaving Berger off the team.

Rickie Fowler is just one of the Ryder Cup captain's picks -- there have been others -- whose selection has come under scrutiny over the years.

That comment led to a landslide of other comments, some supporting that thought (of corporate pressure) and some suggesting it was silly to think the Ryder Cup captain would add someone to the team based on a sponsor saying "player XXXXX has to be on the team."

George brought up a point about Rickie Fowler being added to the team a few years back as a captain's pick in part because "he's good in the clubhouse." That, of course, is nowhere near the same thing as being added because a corporate sponsor pressured the captain into adding Fowler. This was, apparently, a captain making a decision -- George says -- between someone like Bubba Watson, who "won" more than Fowler, and the fair-haired boy of the Tour (Fowler), who wasn't winning at the same clip but was a popular selection within the team.

Two different scenarios. Let me address one of them first. The captain's pick scenario is part of the team-selection process because of the nature of the point system the U.S. and European teams use. Points from last year are added to points from this year when making up the team, which occasionally means a player who was really good last year and just kind-of-good this years stays afloat in the points race long enough to earn a spot on the team.

Think of it like this: A baseball player hit .309 last year with 33 HR's and 103 RBI. He finished 3rd in league MVP voting. This year, for some reason, his production dipped to .239 with 11 HR's and 58 RBI. (I'm not specifically referencing Chris Davis but if the shoe fits...).

In a "points system" for a mythical bi-annual baseball competition, Dav -- err, I mean, that player might very well hang on to snag a spot on the team, but any coach, anywhere, would always have the guy who went .239 last year and .309 this year. You want, as the saying goes, "the hot hand."

So, that's why a captain's pick (or, this year, because of Covid-19, six picks) for the Ryder Cup makes sense. It gives the captain the ability to add "the hot hand" as the selection process comes to a close. In the old days when the captain only received two additional picks, some of them -- Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer followed this formula -- would simply award the additional two spots to the players who finished 11th and 12th on the list. That was, without question, the cleanest, least controversial way of compiling the roster.

But doing it that way -- "OK, you finished 11th, I'll just add you" -- might have also reduced the quality of the team. "The hot hand" might have missed out.

So, that's the real genesis of the captain's pick idea. And it makes total sense. You're trying to win the Ryder Cup with the 12 best players that week.

Now...in the process of selecting his additional players, the captain has to consider other things besides "just golf". This very issue might come up in September when it's time for Stricker to make his picks and Patrick Reed, if it works out this way, isn't part of the "automatic six". Reed, you might know, isn't the most popular American golfer these days. And Stricker will certainly have to at least consider Reed's mercurial personality and unsteady standing with other players when making the decision to add him -- or not -- to the team.

In Fowler's case, his popularity with other players and his ability to team up with a variety of different players in the two formats might have led to his addition over someone like Watson, who, while a very good player in his own right, is also not one of the most popular figures on TOUR due to his occasionally-prickly-nature.

And, from a golf standpoint, Watson's putting -- more "hot and cold" than most Top 50 players -- makes him somewhat of a liability in the alternate shot format, which is played twice in two days in the Ryder Cup. Fowler is known (or, "was", back then) more as a steady, fairways and greens kind of guy who is reasonably consistent with the putter in his hands. I have no idea why Fowler was selected over Watson, but purely from a golfing standpoint, it's not unreasonable at all to suggest that Fowler's "skill set" might fit better in a team format than Watson's, in particular.

But the real issue George brought up wasn't necessarily golfing acumen, but more the idea that a captain would add a player based on "being good in the clubhouse." And to that, I say, it is important to add players, particularly in a quick, 3-day event, who can get together and gel quickly and seamlessly. Fowler can walk into the room and immediately fit in. He can be paired with nearly every other player on the team. There's no "baggage", so to speak. Sure, his lack of winning might be considered an obstacle, but the only time you play your own golf ball in the Ryder Cup is in the singles event. That's the only time you, yourself, can actually "win".

I won't bore you with all the numbers here, but the general review of Fowler's Ryder Cup performance is that he has played "decently". His Presidents Cup record is good, his Ryder Cup record is below .500. But it's fair to note, of course, that the American team has dominated the Presidents Cup and been dominated in the Ryder Cup during Fowler's career. Tiger and Phil have the same sort of record, frankly. Really good in the Presidents Cup and not so good in the Ryder Cup.

This is a long way of saying that the mechanics of a player's game (and not necessarily his ability to "win") and how he fits in with the other players on the team should be considered. And, in fairness to Fowler, he's not chopped liver, as some would want you to believe he is. Whether he makes the World Golf Hall of Fame someday is anyone's guess, still, but he's been a very good player on TOUR over the last 12 years. He was the #4 ranked golfer in the world in 2016. He can play.

Now...to the other issue. I'm not going to call anyone stupid or dumb, but I'll probably come close to doing that. That is, if you believe, in your heart of hearts, that a corporate sponsor would be able to somehow pressure Steve Stricker into adding a player on this year's team over a different player of Stricker's choosing.

Read this carefully: That sort of thing simply does not happen.

There is no way that WorkDay will pressure Steve Stricker into adding Matt Kuchar to the team over, say, Collin Morikawa, Daniel Berger or Tony Finau, three guys who likely might have to be added as captain's picks.

This is Stricker's one chance to win the Ryder Cup. He will be the captain this year, only. The Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits was always going to be Stricker's baby due to his Wisconsin upbringing.

Stricker is not going to add a player to the team who otherwise doesn't belong (in his eyes) because WorkDay or Farmer's Insurance or AT&T calls him and says, "You need to add our player because we spend millions of dollars on TV advertising with the TOUR."

And the TOUR isn't going to call Stricker and say, "I know you want to add Morikawa, but, you know, Kuchar's sponsor would really like to see him on the team and....well.....you know, Steve, one of the reasons why you play for $1.85 million every week is because of people like WorkDay."

One way I know that won't happen this year is because there's never been a whisper of it happening in any other year, either from a U.S. or European captain. By now, for sure, someone during the writing of a book or during a TV interview or podcast would have let it slip -- intentionally or not -- that they were once pressured to add, say, Jay Haas, because Wilson Golf was spending a lot of marketing dollars back in 1995 and Haas was then added in place of someone else more worthy. At some point, sometime, word would have leaked out about this nefarious method of selecting a captain's pick, trust me.

By the way, that sort of logic isn't necessarily "conspiracy theory" stuff. It does seem logical to connect the dots if you're looking for a reason to harbor resentment against someone. But the reality is "corporate pressure" to add a player to the Ryder Cup team is a silly, almost-laughable, concept.

In conclusion, there is some good news about the 2021 Ryder Cup team.

Fowler has almost zero chance of making the team on points as one of the six automatic qualifiers and nearly zero chance of being added by Stricker. He would have to go on a real July and August heater, winning a couple of tournaments, including, perhaps, the British Open and a FedEx Cup event, to warrant any kind of consideration from Stricker. And, well, that seems very unlikely at this point.

Scottie Scheffler -- who also doesn't win -- has a better chance at making this year's team than does Fowler.


On yesterday's edition of Glenn Clark Radio, the host and I engaged in a "conversation" about Duke basketball player Jalen Johnson and his decision to quit the Blue Devils team earlier this week.

In this case, "conversation" was really more Glenn yelling at me because I subscribe to the thought that it's not OK for college athletes to abandon their teammates with three weeks left in the season.

Clark, who has been a staunch supporter of players being paid to play college sports, also took umbrage with me suggesting that "some men aren't cut out for the rigors of Duke basketball" in my Tuesday piece here at #DMD.

Some of you noted last night that Clark's style was, I don't know, "unbecoming". I didn't see it that way at all. He's passionate about the subject of college athletes getting paid and, in particular, the on-going battle over "name, image and likeness" (NIL), which is currently being battled in court in various locations all over the country.

The coach can earn $10 million at Duke and come and go as he pleases but the players can't. Fair?

Most of our on-air disagreements over the years -- Gary Williams, the Preakness eliminating beer from the infield, college players getting paid -- usually resulted in Clark yelling at me, but it's part of the routine. He's good at it, honestly. And he's very passionate about things he believes in deeply.

So the idea that I was somehow offended by Clark's antics yesterday couldn't be further from the truth. I love the guy. Sure, he yells and screams and loses his mind and all that stuff.. But it's fine. We carry on.

Here, though, is what I will address today, because it speaks to the heart of Clark's anger on Tuesday.

How can college athletics "fix" the system? That's the point that needs to be addressed, as Glenn urged on Tuesday. That's really the issue. Clark, and many others, believe the system is broken. Players get paid nothing (hold your jokes about Kentucky basketball and Alabama football, please) and the coaches make $2 million, $5 million or, sometimes, $10 million.

Want some cold water in the face? Ready? A women's basketball coach in America East or the CAA makes $200,000 or more a year. A men's soccer coach in the Big Ten or ACC makes $400,000 or more. That's a lot of dough for two college sports that most of the country doesn't care all that much about. And the attendance figures support that...I'm not just saying that to say it.

But I digress...

So, yes, coaches in college sports "make the money" and the players get none. And this, of course, leads us back to the discussion about the value of the college education the players are receiving while they are at Alabama, Duke, Maryland, Georgetown and so on.

And that debate, about the value of such, can go on and on and on. So we won't engage in that today, because it's senseless to do that. I see value in a kid getting a "free" $200,000 worth of schooling and you might not. And that's fine. The issue at hand, though, is "how do we fix the system?"

Here's a simple solution. I'm not quite sure why this isn't already in play at the Division I level since it's already utilized in Division III athletics. But here goes.

There are no athletic scholarships.

I'm not sure if the system is "fixed" that way, but it seems like a smarter way to go about the business of college sports.

In exchange for an athlete paying for his/her tuition, they can -- under this plan, anyway -- use their name, image and likeness to secure whatever funding they need.

Billy Smith wants to play basketball in college. He's very good. Tuition at Kentucky is $200,000 for four years. Billy can now go to a local car dealer in town and say, "Pay my $200,000 and I'll do four autograph signings in four years at your store. I'll do TV commercials for you. I'll let you use my face and name in internet ads, etc."

Where's the harm in that? I mean, sure, kids will now become professional "salesmen" and will go around the country whoring themselves to the highest bidder, but let's be honest about the dirty-little-secret we all know about but don't talk about parties. They're already whoring themselves to the highest bidder.

So, let these kids use their name and image and likeness to convince a marketing partner to help pay for their schooling. I see nothing at all wrong with that idea.

By the way, the school itself might not like it. The athletic department won't be fond of competing with their star player for business deals now. Instead of the school getting $50,000 from Joe's Toyota in Tuscaloosa, the quarterback might get that $50,000 instead. But in the end, the school is still getting "their money" anyway, because Billy now has to fork over that $50,000 to Alabama for his tuition.

I see nothing wrong with asking an athlete to pay the school for his or her tuition. Nothing at all. And if the exchange for that deal is the player earning the right to "sell" himself or herself to local corporations, what's the harm?

None of this has much of anything to do with Jalen Johnson and the situation at Duke, mind you. Johnson was dead wrong for abandoning his team like he did earlier this week. It reeked of the very selfish, entitled nature that most of today's top athletes bring to their schools. "I'm in...as long as things go my way...as soon as things don't go my way...I'm out."

But this does speak to a larger problem in college sports, which is to figure out how to make the transaction of performance and education more streamlined and easy to understand.

To me, the easiest way to do it is to treat athletes like students. Make them pay their own tuition. Then, allow them the freedom to use their name, image and likeness in whatever way they want.

Or...allow for some sort of scholarship system -- like the one in place now, which 95% of student-athletes value and respect -- but do not allow the scholarship player to peddle his/her name, image and likeness.

This encompasses both types of college athlete. If you want to use your NIL, pay for school and knock yourself out on the sales side.

If you're happy to have your $48,000 education paid for by the school, take your scholarship and leave the "selling" to the school.

Either way seems reasonable to me. Loopholes and areas of concern that would need to be fine-tuned and patched up? Sure. Like anything, this concept isn't flawless.

But there's nothing wrong with a kid paying for their education and there's nothing wrong with them promoting themselves in an effort to create a brand and a business that helps put them through college.



Today's publishing time: 8:21 a.m. HST

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SUCH
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MARK SUCHY is a lifelong Baltimore sports fan, youth basketball coach and father of three athletic sons. A former weekend sports radio host in Baltimore, "Such" offers his memories and insights on sports related topics each Wednesday here at #DMD.



Dinner was finished and we sat at the table just chatting. This is always my favorite time of day with her; it’s a chance to just relax and talk about our days and follow the conversation wherever it leads.

It was a good day. She had closed a major deal that she had been working on for months. Hours and days and weeks of spreadsheets and cost analysis and shipping rates had paid off. I was delighted for her and proud of her success.

I told her that she was a Hall of Famer in her field and an All-Star in my eyes.

She looked right at me with those dazzling blue eyes and asked, “Is everything always about sports with you?”

I sat silently, knowing better than to blurt out something I couldn’t take back. I thought it over. And I knew that I had to be honest.

“Why yes, yes, it is. You know how I roll.”

“But why is that?” she countered. “I mean, there’s so much more to life than sports. And there’s a lot of people who just don’t care about them. Like me. I never played anything. And I turned out just fine.”

She’s absolutely right, of course. She almost always is. I trust her judgment in all our matters, whether it’s career advice, things around the house, or raising the children. I would never be arrogant enough to dispute her on that point. She absolutely did turn out fine.

But the thing about being a sports fanatic from my earliest age is that I learned all my lessons about how to cope in the world through athletics. That’s not boasting, it’s just plain truth.

I tried to explain. “Think about what you do for a living, or what I do for a living. We’re part of a company, which is just another word for team. There’s a boss at the top. He or she is the head coach. There are managers who are assistant coaches. There are all the employees, who are the players. You need every part of that structure to come together to make the team successful. When the company wins, the team wins, and everyone gets to share in the credit.”

“But why are some people overvalued and others undervalued?” she wondered. “That’s not right and it’s not fair.”

She had a point. And all I could think of was that those kinds of decisions were judgment calls, which are always subject to human error and bias. Sort of like how we as fans view umpires and officials.

Some of the hardest defeats we suffer stay with us for the remainder of our lives. They may have been caused by a bad call or a boneheaded coaches’ decision or a crucial mistake by a player who perhaps shouldn’t have been in the game at a critical moment. And there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s completely out of our control.

“I use sports analogies and metaphors because that’s what I know,” I explained. “It condenses a lot of emotions and thoughts into a simple explanation. It makes things easier to accept. Because the most important thing I learned through a lifetime of sports was how to accept losing. Because we’re going to lose. A lot.”

I could see her contemplating that last statement. “You know, you’re right,” she admitted. “I was just thinking about how even though I felt great about that account, there were dozens of others that I lost in the last year. And I spent more time going back and trying to figure out what went wrong with those than enjoying the ones I won.”

“We’re a strange species, aren’t we?” I wondered. “Why are we so hard on ourselves?”

“Because we always want to get better if we really care about what we do,” she explained.

Once again, she was right. Spot on, in fact. See what I mean about her?

That’s really the point of sports. If we love what we’re doing, the joy comes in the pursuit, in the desire to get better. It dawned on me right then that the most important thing I can do is enjoy the hard work and the effort.

Competitive sports taught me that. Sometimes it’s a little too easy to forget the lessons I learned years ago from practices and drills that I didn’t always enjoy. But I saw them through because there was always a game somewhere on the schedule, so the monotony would be broken and we would be able to see if we were improving.

Think about your own experiences. Think about all of the values and life skills that were instilled in you from a young age because you played a game, or several different games. Think about how you’re still invested as a fan, because you can identify with the players on your favorite team and all the practice and sacrifice they put in. Think about why you’re driven to succeed in whatever field you occupy.

Where did the discipline and the work ethic begin? When did you begin respecting opponents and not badmouthing the competition? How did you learn to accept defeat gracefully, no matter how painful it was, no matter how badly you wanted it?

I mentioned to her that even the greatest baseball players of all time failed 7 out of 10 times they came to bat. There are lots of them in the Hall of Fame. There’s a serious lesson contained in there somewhere.

“Yeah, but those guys make too much money,” she exclaimed, “and those football players, it’s just ridiculous…”

I put my hands up. We had this conversation before. It was a nice evening and a relaxing meal, celebrating her hard-won accomplishment. No need to descend into the economics of modern professional sports. I can’t justify it either, and I certainly can’t comprehend the money. We both agree on that.

Anyway, there were dishes to be done. I rose from the table and carried our plates to the sink. As I started loading the dishwasher, a thought came to me.

“Pretty girl,” I said, “why don’t you pick out a good movie for us to watch?” College basketball would still be on tomorrow night, I reasoned.

I might be dumb, but I ain’t stupid.

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DALE WILLIAMS returns for his sixth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2020-21 season.


terps tested, but roll past nebraska


Last night in College Park, the Maryland Terrapins used a 20-6 run over the last eight minutes of the game to turn a tight 44-44 contest into a cozy 64-50 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

12 of those 20 Terrapin points came from Aaron Wiggins, who paced all scorers with 21 points despite making just 1 of 6 three-pointers. Wiggins, with 11, was also the top rebounder in Maryland’s 43-28 dominance on the boards. Jairus Hamilton added 15 bench points for the Terps.

The initial 20 minutes were all about threes and turnovers. A combined 13 three-pointers were made in the first half with the Terps connecting on 7 and Nebraska hitting 6. Unfortunately for Maryland, their hot hand was offset by their 10 first half turnovers. Nebraska chipped in with 7 turnovers of their own.

Darryl Morsell's near-half-court three pointer gave Maryland a 4-point halftime lead in last night's win over Nebraska.

Each team shot better from behind the three-point line than in front of it during the first half. Hamilton made three of the Terps triples and Darryl Morsell ended the half by banking in a buzzer beater from one step in front of the half-court line

The two teams got off to a fairly even start, with the Terps holding a 14-13 advantage after just over 8 minutes of play. At that point, both teams had made 5 field goals and each had connected on 3 threes. Maryland had 5 turnovers compared with 3 for the Cornhuskers.

After the under 12-minute timeout, both teams switched to a zone defense and the scoring slowed for both Maryland and Nebraska. The game’s most meaningful event, perhaps, also occurred around this point.

With 6:08 left, Nebraska’s Derrick Walker committed a turnover and was removed. It wasn’t revealed why, but he never returned to the game. This left a huge gap in the center of the Cornhusker defense. It was a hole the Terps would exploit in the second half. The first half scoring would end when Darryl Morsell banked in a three from one step inside half court line. The Terps took a 32-28 lead into halftime.

The two teams went stone cold in the second half, occasionally trading baskets. After almost 12 minutes had been played, Maryland had managed only 12 points and Nebraska had slashed their way to just 16. Unlike the first half where threes rained down, the second half saw misses from deep and most of the scoring was a result of drives into the paint.

The game remained close until Wiggins started going hard to the basket, driving for two lay ups, getting an offensive rebound for another score, and catching a lob pass for an easy bucket in front of the hoop. Game over.

Wiggins’ first bucket in the stretch was an “and one” driving down the left side. A few moment later, he grabbed a Terp offensive rebound, made a nifty behind-the-back move, and got himself a layup on the right side of the basket.

Maryland’s next field goal was again made by Wiggins. This time it was off of an inbounds lob pass near the Terp bench. I thought it was great recognition by Morsell throwing in the ball, to see that Wiggins was matched up right in front of the basket with the much smaller Kobe Webster. Webster was further disadvantaged because he was face-guarding Wiggins. He never saw the ball coming.

Finally, Wiggins finished his run with a carbon copy of how he started it, with another 3-point play driving down the left side. This time, it was the much slower Dalano Banton that Wiggins beat. Wiggins converted the foul shot, giving the Terps a 59-47 lead with 3:47 left. The fight had been taken out of Nebraska.

Losing Walker was critical for the Cornhuskers. He is their beef, or muscle, inside. He’s not a huge scoring threat, but he plays tough defense down low. An already small team in the front court, Walker is important to Nebraska. This was only his seventh game in a Cornhusker uniform after sitting out a season due to transfer rules, and then losing another 16 games this year due to an NCAA rules violation while at Tennessee. There was a direct correlation between the absence of Walker and the huge Terp rebounding advantage.

Not to be dismissed was the offensive contributions of Hamilton. He made some big threes in the first half, and added some buckets around the rim in the second. His 15 points off the bench were big.

Overall, Maryland played tight defense, but that is made easier when your opponent has no inside scorer and also shoots poorly from behind the three-point line. For the game, Nebraska shot 33% from the floor, 28% from three, and a lowly 50% from the foul line.

I thought fatigue showed itself for the Cornhuskers. While scouting them, I’ve seen the ‘Huskers run some nice offensive sets resulting in scoring opportunities around the rim. Last night we saw little of that. When the first half threes turned into second half bricks, they were left with little else offensively. Their entire game revolved around Teddy Allen’s one-on-one moves. Allen wound up with 18 points on 7-15 shooting.

The Terps won’t win many games where they commit 17 turnovers and get 3-16 combined three-point shooting from Eric Ayala and Wiggins. But when you play a small team that struggles to score, you can get away with some flaws.

These same two teams will do this again tonight. Same starting time (7 p.m.) and once more viewed on BTN.

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Tuesday
February 16
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#2367


opt out.....or quit?


So much for a calm winter Monday in mid-February.

CBS Sports college basketball inside Jon Rothstein lit a fire yesterday afternoon and it was a raging inferno a few hours later. And it all came down to one word, basically.

Quitting.

Rothstein used that word to describe Duke freshman Jalen Johnson, who announced on Monday he was "opting out" of the final three weeks of the regular season and the upcoming NCAA tournament -- if the Blue Devils make it, that is -- in order to stay healthy for the NBA Draft, where he's projected to be a lottery pick later this year.

Upon hearing the news that Johnson was opting out, Rothstein fired off a quick tweet that went like this:

"Opting Out" with three weeks left in the regular season isn't opting out. It's quitting.

That was it. That was the tweet. And the fire started.

@busy4276 quickly shot back: "Actually Jon, it is opting out. And he can do that if he wants. He's a human and not obligated to finish playing some basketball games for anyone."

Jalen Johnson didn't even finish his freshman season at Duke, instead electing to bypass the final three weeks of the ACC campaign in order prepare himself for the NBA Draft.

@B_Ingram13I piled on too: "If he was getting paid then that would be one thing. Since he's not getting paid and the team isn't winning there's no reason to risk injury for another three weeks."

@j_eddies countered: "So, I'm on the golf course and playing terribly. Around hole #12, I just decide to walk off the course, get in my car and drive home. But I wasn't getting paid to play, so I didn't quit? Got it."

@Cover2Lew added more: "He's always wanted to go pro. There was a pandemic outside in Nov, Dec & Jan. But he played. Now that things are getting tough, now that he's experiencing a little adversity he's "opting out"? No, bruh. He's quitting. Plain & simple."

And so it went Monday afternoon and Monday evening.

For the record, so the young man's exact words are published, here's his statement from Monday: "I appreciate everything about my time at Duke," Johnson said. "Coach, my teammates and the program have been nothing but supportive throughout this season, especially during the rehab from my (December) foot injury. My family, coach and I have made the decision that I should not play the remainder of this season so I can be 100% healthy in preparation for the NBA Draft."

Simple enough. The kid got hurt early in the season, came back from that injury, started a few games, and then, recently was relegated to a bench role as Duke continued to play .500 basketball in the ACC.

He's leaving, so he says, to better prepare himself for the NBA Draft. It's hard to understand how three more weeks of basketball could hurt him in doing that, but fair enough. He wants to leave, so he's leaving.

Those that supported Johnson's decision to "opt-out" leaned on the easiest reason and defense they could. He's not "getting paid", so he can leave whenever he wants. If that happens to be disruptive to the team or the program or fails to fulfill the obligation he made to the coach and school, so be it. "He has to do what's best for him," they say.

And the other side points out the obvious counter-claim to someone who suddenly quits on his team when things aren't going well. "Everything was fine when everything was fine. Once it wasn't fine, you decided to roll out."

Rothstein's use of the word "quitting" was, I'd wager, almost entirely intentional. It wasn't a case of him using it and then, moments later, saying, "That didn't really come out the way I intended it to. Quitting is the wrong word. It's too harsh. Too demeaning."

On the contrary, Rothstein knew precisely what he was saying and, I'm quite certain, he anticipated his commentary would cause a stir.

Why it matters to Rothstein what the Duke freshman decides to do is his call, but as someone paid to offer insight and analysis on college basketball, this falls well within his "commentary lane".

So, the question isn't really whether Jalen Johnson was "right" to leave the program at Duke.

Right or wrong, he's gone. I think he's wrong for leaving. You think he's right. We'll go round and round on that one and I'm not changing your mind and you're most certainly not changing my mind. I think these entitled college athletes who just pack up and leave on a whim are a slice of what's wrong with America these days, but that's my opinion. Your opinion could be different and I get it. All good.

What I can't understand is why people get so offended and off the wall mad when a kid quits on his team and then, when someone points out that he quit, they get blasted for using that word.

We had this discussion back in the spring when a bunch of baseball players opted out of the season and I said primarily the same thing as Rothstein about them: "They quit on their team."

It is what it is. You can say "opt-out" if that makes for a better presentation or appeals to you cosmetically. "Quitting" definitely doesn't look or sound good, that's for sure. "I've made the decision that I should not play the remainder of the season" is far easier for people to digest than, "I've decided to quit the Duke basketball team with three weeks remaining in the season because I don't see the benefit of playing.

It's clearly semantics. Or is it?

"Opting out" is deciding to no longer be around. Quitting is also deciding to no longer be around. I don't see what the significant difference is, frankly, but it sure mattered to a lot of people on Monday.

The juxtaposition of Duke's semi-dismal season against what Johnson and the team assumed they'd do can't be overlooked. I mean, you can ignore it if you want, but let's call it like it is here. If the Blue Devils were 13-3 and a potential #1 seed in the tournament, Johnson wouldn't be going anywhere. He'd be slammin' and jammin' and leading Duke to the ACC title and the thought of quitt -- err, sorry, "opting out" wouldn't even enter his mind.

But at 8-8 and 6-6 in the conference, with almost no chance of doing anything special in an already weird session of March Madness that's being planned, Johnson senses an easy way out. So, he's leaving his team behind and focusing on his next challenge.

And here's the deal. Opting out, quitting, whatever you want to call it...will not impact him in the least when the NBA Draft rolls around. And Johnson isn't going to average 13.5 instead of 17.5 points-per-game in the NBA because he decided to qui -- I mean, "opt out" of his freshman season with three weeks remaining.

Jalen Johnson's life will largely go on without a hitch. So, too, will Coach K's life go on just fine without him. And, Duke basketball? He's just another kid who came in, played hoops for a while, saw a few classrooms along the way, and hit the road for greener pastures.

No one really gets hurt here, except, perhaps, for the kid Coach K passed on last winter because Jalen Johnson told him he would come to Duke, give his all, and help the team win a NCAA title. That kid, the one Coach K turned away, might be the only person who got hurt. Who knows how his life might have changed if he would have wound up in Durham?

But Jalen Johnson doesn't care about that. He probably doesn't even know who the kid was that he supplanted. "Not my problem," is probably what Johnson would say.

Fortunately, 95% of the young men and women who play collegiate sports understand the nature of the deal they're striking with the coach. It's the 5% who don't understand how it works that wind up becoming the story, like Jalen Johnson did on Monday when he qui --- shucks, did it again, "opted out" of Duke with three weeks left in the season.

When the tough got going for Johnson, he, too, got going. Everything was fine when everything was fine.

But once the ball didn't bounce his way, he packed it in.

And that is his right, by the way. The young man at Duke does have the right to leave, just like Jon Rothstein and others have the right to say that he did, in fact, quit.

It's also worth noting, to provide complete fairness, that just because Jalen Johnson left Duke hanging for three weeks doesn't mean he's a bad young man. Some men aren't cut out for the rigors of Duke basketball. Johnson's certainly not the first guy, or the last, to leave his team in mid-stream. He may never look back on this decision or someday down the road he might regret it.

"Oh, yeah, I remember you," someone might say to him someday. "You're the dude who quit on Duke with three weeks left in the season." Or they might only recognize him from his handful of All-Star appearances in the NBA. Johnson might have to deal with all of those things at some point over the next decade or so.

Today, though, he's just a guy set to make millions by this time next year who decided to roll out of Durham before anything bad happened that might prevent him from cashing in. That's the real issue, obviously. It's all about money and the potential to earn it and the possibility that one bad injury could shut down his dreams and his financial stability.

You can say "opt out" and I'll say "quit". We're both right, when it comes down to it.

Either way, Jalen Johnson won't finish the season at Duke. And here's a bet I'd be willing to make. I'm pretty sure Coach K isn't all that disappointed with his decision to qui -- "opt out".



Today's publishing time: 6:55 am HST

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americans abroad and champions league returns


It was a somewhat quiet week for Americans in Europe. Despite many players active around Europe this week, there weren’t many noteworthy performances to highlight. There were three midweek games that featured Americans on both sides as well as a couple Americans getting their first starts for teams outside the top leagues.

With fewer US player performances to highlight this week, we will take a look at the four Champions League matches coming on Tuesday and Wednesday. That competition returns with the sixteen team knockout round, the highest quality soccer tournament in the world. In which American players Could appear in each of the four matches this week.

The FA Cup took center stage during the week, with several of the new American arrivals to second division English teams getting a chance to challenge some of the top sides in the Premier League. Jordan Morris got the start for Swansea City as they took on Manchester City with Zack Steffen starting in goal. Paul Arriola made his first appearance for Swansea as well, subbing on for Morris in the 65th minute.

U.S. National team goalkeeper Zack Steffen continues to see limited action for Manchester City in the English Premier League.

The heavily favored Manchester City dominated the game, keeping almost all of the possession. This limited the chances for Morris and Arriola. However, Arriola did manage to help set up Swansea’s only goal of the game, late in the second half with City leading 3-0.

Arriola helped win the ball back high up the field, starting a counter that produced a goal. It was the only time Steffen was challenged the whole game and he couldn’t come up with the save. He will probably be disappointed he didn’t stop the shot, but City finished with a comfortable 3-1 victory to advance in the Cup.

In another “David vs Goliath” matchup, Christian Pulisic started for Chelsea against second division Barnsley. Newly acquired US striker, Daryl Dike, subbed on for the last 30 minutes for Barnsley trying to come back from a 1-0 deficit but they were unable to pull off the upset and Chelsea advanced. It was not a great game for Pulisic or the Chelsea attack, as they struggled to generate good scoring chances against a team with a great talent deficit.

Dike did well enough to earn a start in Barnsley’s weekend Championship game against Brentford where they got a 2-0 win with Dike helping to set up the second goal.

Austria provided the third game of the week with Americans on both sides. Brenden Aaronson started for Austrian Bundesliga leaders RB Salzburg against Austria Wien and American center back Erik Palmer-Brown. Aaronson was very impressive in this game, scoring a nice goal with a curling shot around the defender and keeper, as Salzburg won 3-1.

Elsewhere around Europe, John Brooks and Weston McKennie both continued their outstanding form. Brooks helped anchor the Wolfsburg back line in yet another shutout in a 0-0 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach and McKennie appeared as a second half substitute in both Juventus games during the week. The first a 0-0 draw with Inter Milan to advance in the Italian Cup and the second a disappointing 2-1 loss to Napoli in Serie A.

This week the UEFA Champions League competition resumes with the sixteen team knockout round. Seven American players remain in the competition to crown the best in Europe. This week features the first four of the round of sixteen matchups. In this round the matchups feature home and away legs with the aggregate score over the two games determining which team advances. All of the games are available streaming on CBS All Access.

On Tuesday, reigning English champions Liverpool will face RB Leipzig, currently second place in the German Bundesliga. The game is actually being played in Budapest, Hungary instead of Leipzig due to Covid travel restrictions in Europe. The betting odds pretty heavily favor Liverpool to advance, however this matchup is closer than it may first appear. Liverpool has been in a particularly poor run of form lately, losing their last three Premier League games and dealing with mounting defensive issues in the absence of their top center backs, including the injured Virgil Van Dijk.

Leipzig have won five of their last six and feature one of the top center backs in the world in Dayot Upamecano, as well as one of the top young coaches in Europe, Julian Nagelsmann. Leipzig are often greater than the sum of their parts due to Nagelsmann’s tactical acumen, as witnessed by their run to the semifinals in last year’s Champions League.

American Tyler Adams has played in nearly all of Leipzig’s recent matches, usually starting at right wing back or subbing on at central midfield, so expect to see him at some point on Tuesday. While Liverpool have a talent advantage, especially in their highly accomplished attacking trio, Leipzig will make this a competitive matchup and will hope to exploit the poor form of the Liverpool defense and keeper.

The other game on Tuesday afternoon is a battle of heavyweights and a rematch of one of the greatest comebacks the competition has ever seen. Last season’s runners up, Paris St. Germain travel to Spain to take on Barcelona. The betting odds have this set as an even matchup as PSG have been the better team this season, but will be missing superstar attacker Neymar, who picked up an injury last week and will miss both legs.

After a very poor start to the season, Barcelona have been a bit resurgent of late, highlighted by a comprehensive 5-1 victory this weekend over Alaves, perhaps their best performance of the season. It seems Barcelona may be turning the corner, having put the offseason Lionel Messi transfer drama in the rearview mirror and finally found some cohesion among many new pieces being integrated this season. They still have issues at the back where they are down several of their top center backs and may have to resort to starting star midfielder Frankie De Jong at center back.

After a slow start to the season, Messi seems to be back in top form as well, scoring two amazing goals on Saturday. Without Neymar, PSG will look to Kylian Mbappe to step up in attack. With the young French star as well as Mauro Icardi and Pablo Sarabia, they still have enough attacking talent to cause Barcelona problems. This matchup should provide some exciting and attacking soccer.

US right back Sergino Dest has been gradually working his way back from a thigh injury, but should be available for Barcelona in this one after making a late sub appearance on Saturday. He may not start, however, since Barcelona has opted for a more defensive right back recently to help with their back line issues.

Wednesday will feature another evenly matched game, with Borussia Dortmund travelling to take on fourth place Spanish side Sevilla. While Dortmund bring the loftier reputation greater star power, Sevilla are the team in better current form and the side favored to advance.

Dortmund has been in a major slump for nearly a month. A coaching change provided an initial bump in form but that was fleeting and the team has lost three of its last six, falling to sixth place in the Bundesliga. Meanwhile, Sevilla have won their last nine games in a row, including a 2-0 win over Barcelona in the Spanish Cup semifinals. They have also recently added star attacker Papu Gomez from Atalanta to give their offense a boost.

Dortmund certainly have the talent to advance, featuring several of the most coveted young attackers in Europe with Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho and American Gio Reyna. The team has been much less than the sum of its parts this season, but perhaps the Champions League will provide them the opportunity to turn their season around. Sevilla are a well balanced team with talent at all positions, including young defensive star Jules Kounde at center back. Dortmund will need improved play from its midfield to progress the ball to their skilled attackers and to account for the dynamic play of Sevilla’s Gomez.

In the final matchup of the week, Weston McKennie and Juventus take on Portuguese champions, Porto. Juventus are the heavy betting favorites to advance, but they must be careful not to take this well coached, veteran heavy, Porto team lightly. Porto have been effective limiting the scoring chances against bigger clubs in this season’s Champions League. With former Real Madrid man Pepe, anchoring their back line, Porto have kept a clean sheet in their last five Champions League matches and have yet to concede a goal at home.

Juventus have also been defensively stout, buoyed by the return of veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini from injury. This has the makings of a low scoring defensive matchup with both teams playing close to the vest. However, Juventus still boasts a dynamic attack featuring Cristiano Ronaldo, with Weston McKennie heavily involved as an attacking midfielder making late runs into the box. Juan Cuadrado could be a key piece for Juventus to help break down Porto by making overlapping runs from right back and providing crosses for the heads of Ronaldo and McKennie.

About the contributor: Randy Morgan was born and raised in the Baltimore area graduating from Dulaney HS and then University of Maryland. His day job is software development. He's an avid sports watcher and recreational participant. A devoted Ravens, Orioles and U.S. soccer supporter. he also follows many soccer leagues around the world as well as the NBA and college basketball. Randy played soccer, basketball, and baseball growing up and still plays soccer and basketball recreationally as well as the occasional round of golf. His commentary on mostly sports, but sometimes music and other miscellany can be found on twitter @jrmorgan16.

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terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his sixth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2020-21 season.


terps host pesky nebraska tonight


Over the last two years, so much has changed with the Nebraska Cornhuskers men basketball team that I thought it would be worthwhile to reacquaint ourselves with this program. With the Terps playing the Cornhuskers on back-to-back nights starting tonight, a little primer may be in order.

If the Nebraska program is to move forward, their second-year coach, Fred Hoiberg, will have to be the man orchestrating the improvements. Don’t bet against him.

Hoiberg was a 4-year starter for Iowa State after being named Iowa’s “Mr. Basketball” at the conclusion of his senior season in high school. He averaged 15.8 points per game with his best year being his junior year when he scored 20.2 per contest. Hoiberg was a late second round pick in the NBA draft and played 10 years as a pro.

Hoiberg’s first coaching job saw him coming back to Iowa State. After a 16-16 season, he led the Cyclones to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances before the NBA came calling.

Pitt transfer Trey McGowens (right) has become a force in his first season of Big Ten basketball with Nebraska.

His head coaching job with the Chicago Bulls lasted only 3 years and 24 games. His teams there were perceived as underachieving, so he and his $25 million were sent packing. His landing place was Lincoln, Nebraska.

Hoiberg’s initial season in the Big Ten was a struggle. Armed with a team patched together with transfers, his ‘Huskers lost their last 17 games. All 9 of the previous season’s top scorers were gone from Hoiberg’s roster. It took some effort just to field a team. Nebraska’s 2-18 conference record reflected his difficulties.

This season, Hoiberg again, was forced to go to the transfer well in order to field a competitive team. Transfers from Pitt, West Virginia, Western Kentucky, TCU, Tennessee, and Pitt supplied Hoiberg with his top 7 scorers in '20-'21.

This patchwork Nebraska team is feisty, but they are just 5-12 overall and firmly entrenched in last place in the Big Ten at 1-9. Their lone win, 62-61 over Penn State, came in their most recent game.

Nebraska has two glaring achilles heels. First, they are a poor shooting team. They may not as bad at putting the ball in the hoop as Minnesota, but they are a very close second. They hit just 41% from the field and 31% from the three-point line. Even their foul shooting needs help (61%).

When you combine poor shooting with their second major flaw, being the highest turnover team in the Big Ten (almost 14 a game), you are left with a squad whose offensive efficiency leaves much to be desired. They still score more than Maryland, but that’s purely a function of pace of play.

What Nebraska does bring to the table is a group of athletes. From point guard to center, they scrap and fight until the outcome has been decided. Expect that same fight tonight despite this being their 6th game in the last ten days.

Hoiberg has these guys running good sets on offense. They move well without the ball and their offense generally has a good flow. If the offense fails to yield a good look, and they haven’t turned over the ball, then look for Teddy Allen to try to break down his defender.

Known as “Teddy Buckets”, Allen plays a physical game with acceptable handles. He gets 16.6 points a game and seems to be a natural matchup for Darryl Morsell. At 36%, his three-point game is respectable, but he’s more effective with the ball in his hand bullying his way to the rim. A big guard at 6’6” and 223 pounds, he’s also good for 5 rebounds a game.

Mentioning big guards is a perfect segue into discussing Dalano Banton. Banton is a lanky 6’9” guard who is the top assist man on the Cornhusker team. He can be trouble to guard, and his length allows him to make passes that other, smaller, guards couldn’t consider. His liability is on defense, as he’s just not quick enough to guard on the perimeter.

The third guard in Nebraska’s starting lineup is Trey McGowens. Remember his last name. His brother, Bryce, enters Nebraska next year and is one of the nation’s most highly ranked shooting guards.

Of the players in Hoiberg’s regular rotation, McGowens is the best three-point shooter, at 37%. The issue with him is he only connects on 38% of his shots overall. He’s a pretty solid defender and should have Eric Ayala to check when the Cornhuskers play man to man.

On the interior, Nebraska will start Derrick Walker and Lat Mayan. Mayan is 6’9” and 1 inch taller than Walker, but his slender frame is more suited as a perimeter defender, while Walker is built for battles in the paint. Neither is a strong offensive threat, with Mayan getting 8.5 points a game and Walker just 5.3. I expect Walker to exceed that average tonight.

Forget the poor Nebraska record, this is the kind of team that can give the Terps a fit. They play tough defense and scrap for every loose ball and rebound. They have big guards who can score off of the dribble and who hit the boards. In their last two games, they beat Penn State and took Illinois to overtime.

The Terps may be forced to test their own zone offense tonight. With so many games bunched together, Hoiberg has employed a zone defense for large stretches of game time in each of Nebraska’s last two games. This will put pressure on Maryland’s ball movement and three-point shooting.

When playing man, I would expect the Terps to attack Banton. His lack of quickness can be exploited.

I see this contest as one in which most Terp fans will expect a comfortable win. I’m not so sure about that. This Cornhusker team, physically, matches up well with the Terps. What will hurt Nebraska is they don’t have the bigs that usually give the Terps trouble, they give away too many possessions, and they don’t make shots.

But, watch out for this team. They will make this game close tonight. They will get to the rim, and score enough points to scare Maryland. The Terps should win this, but I’m taking the 9 or 10 points and believing the Terps win a war, 69-63.

The game is slated to start at 7 p.m. in the XFINITY Center and can be seen on the Big Ten Network.

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#dmd comments








Connor     February 26
I'm not even a Tiger Woods fan but reading along I have to wonder what Delray Rick means when he says "Truth Hurts". What truth? That one sportswriter thinks Tiger is a lousy person? Didn't that writer in Philadelphia think Eddie Murray was a lazy, arrogant baseball player who was just trying to cash a check? What did he know? Sports writers might be the worst people in the media.

Delray RICK     February 26
TRUTH HURTS

Keith Merrill     February 26
Having lived in Greenwich for 11 years I can assure you Mushnick's reputation in NYC is that of a sour puss who never says a good word about anyone. He's not very well thought of up there.

Larry     February 26
Mushnick = hack. No respect at all in media circles.

bob jackson     February 26
DELRAY Rick - I read the NY Post earlier today and it was so spot on about your "Messiah" great article.

Carl in Owings Mills     February 26
Hey Drew, just wondering if you read and had opinion on Mushnick crapping all over Tiger today in the Post?

Josh     February 26
Tiger will play again. This is likely a 2 year injury. He'll win again but maybe not until he's on the PGA Tour Champions. I would never count him out

Jeffrey “Fireball” Roberts     February 26
It was great seeing Kenny Cooper. Can’t wait for part 2. I remember that commercial like it was yesterday. Great memories, greater times. To be young again, we never knew what we had.

KJ     February 26
Here's the thing w/Herman, when he posts, he expresses an opinion. You can agree, disagree, whatever, but there is "content". All the "Herman bashers" (JJ, Mark, Kevin, et al) do is, well, bash Herman. With the added bonus of calling him a racist, as if that is a benign criticism. Really puzzles me why these comments stay up, they are NOT related to "today's topic", they are strictly personal shots at an individual.

Loved the Kenny Cooper Part I. Best point of the conversation was discussion about all the "fluff" added to the Blast games. I was one of those who called it "a circus show" and not a "sport", but Drew's point about all the leagues do it now is 100% spot on. I still think it's a shame they do it, but there's no doubting many fans enjoy this extraneous activity, for whatever reason. Not sure whose idea it was, but definitely was an idea ahead of its time, there's no denying that.

Tom J     February 26
Never mind the extortion attempt, I wouldn't have Judon back in a Ravens uniform for 20 million dollars as he wasn't worth the 16 million they paid him last year.

Bob S. (AKA Idiot Caller)     February 26
Are these doctors commenting on Tiger Woods injury the same type of media friendly doctors that have been advising everyone about COVID-19? "Don't wear masks... no wait, now wear masks... no wait, now wear two masks...". Pardon me if I don't trust these media doctors right now.

I would bet heavily right now that Tiger DOES make it back and end up playing tournament golf again, and winning a tournament or two before his career is over!

Don't bet against Tom Brady, and don't bet against Tiger Woods!

F Kline     February 26
Are we also supposed to abandon Michael Phelps? He ran afoul of the law a couple of times. Is that what we do now?

J.J.     February 26
Good point @Kevin but surprisingly the author of that comment conveniently forgot about Ray Ray's trial in Atlanta.

Tom     February 26
Interesting topic on Judon. Not sure I understand how Tiger Woods gets weaved into the discussion but given the source I do understand. I agree with @DF. I wouldn't re-sign Judon based on this episode. It reeks of poor character.

unitastoberry     February 26
Like I said yesterday Judon is not worth any of this nonsense. Unlike the Orioles I find myself siding with the Ravens management most of the time. Decent player like a Mosley on the outside. Wrong price. Decosta has it covered with the Wizard of Oz consulting.

Kevin     February 26
I know it's not cool to troll the troll but wasn't it just Herman a few weeks ago who was slobbering all over Ray Lewis so much that Herman needed stitches in both knees? I seem to recall 52 got in off field trouble as well???

TimD in Timonium     February 26
If only more pro athletes would let somebody else manage their Twitter account, handle their finances, drive them around...

Brian Jessup     February 26
Judons a jerk don't let the door hit you on the way out.



So depressed about Tiger. I was really hoping , by some miracle, he would qualify for the BMW Tournament this summer so I could go to Caves Valley and watch him. I've never seen him in person and would have been one of 30,000 other fans trying to catch that glimpse up close.(or somewhat close) It's such a shame to have it end like this but maybe there's a few more miracles left in his body. One can hope.

Steve from Cape Coral     February 26
Interesting, Nothing about your boy skating on the DWI charges ??? Very Sad news, but par for the course !!!

HERMAN     February 26
"We've become so indebted to our athletes and winning that we allow lots of flaws and mistakes"

Uh, yeah, I can think of one glaring example where that is true, especially for the site owner. Being able to hit a little white ball better than others excuses all off course behavior.

"And, occasionally, it's more than fair to overlook a brush with the law or some kind of "small blemish" in return for the production they can provide on the field, the court, the ice, etc."

Odd that you left off "course", or "golf course", as the recent coverage of the "accident" was like an homage, a sycophantic orgy, where formerly respected "news" programs gave up hours of hard news in coverage of the "accident". The sporting public at large has ignored everything with regard to one particular athlete, site owner included.

Could such adulation in the face of past transgressions have led to contributing to the "accident"?

When one pays no price for their sins where is the deterrence to repeat the sins?




Delray rick     February 26
For our readers who have the internet (HERMAN) and who don't (spend a dollar) check out NY POST today and PHIL MUSHNICK'S column on the MESSIAH. Its classic.

JohnInEssex     February 26
Just completed watching part 1 of Kenny Cooper interview.

Feel the same way Drew does concerning Kenny Jr. not getting a fair shake with the US National team. They have ALWAYS needed a finisher, Kenny would produce, but somehow weirdly not be on the team.



One of my coolest memories as a referee was working a game at Rosedale Park where Kenny Jr. was playing on a U10 team. He towered over everyone and was dominating. Got to say HI to Kenny Sr. and thank him for all he did for soccer in Baltimore. SO MANY great memories thanks to the BLAST!

tom     February 25
yea @AL, cause you are such a class act youself, smh

JK     February 25
Thanks Drew for the Kenny Cooper video interview. Love seeing and hear my favorite coach. It was great to hear all the Blast and life experiences on the interview. This brought back some great memories. I can't wait for part 2!

JeffWell     February 25
Pretty much a d*#k move by Judon IMO. Speaking of such moves,we get a real gem from that be "classy" guy Al.

Howard     February 25
After about 30 years, the Spirit commercial remains the best sports commercial of all time.

Thanks for the laugh

Rob Really     February 25
Delray quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald today... nice! Are we still allowed to do that??

Delray Rick     February 25
Show me a hero,and I'll write you a tragedy.

TimD in Timonium     February 25
The early to mid-'80s was a great time to be a Blast fan. It very could have been the Golden Age of the Baltimore Civic Center. What a time.

unitastoberry     February 25
I don't do twitter but been watching this Judon vs Hensley thing. I shake my head at social media many times. I was on facebook for a while but deleted. Now you have a reporter with a pretty solid reputation who reports that he turned down a deal for 16.5 million a year? Then Judon replies saying he's a liar and he has pictures of him with a stripper? Wow I guess you just have to shake your head and wait for Hensley to sue for liable. I think if Matt or his agent turned down 16.5 mil/yr they are nuts. I have seen many great outside LB/Rush ends and Matts not one of those headed for Canton types. He's not Suggs,Bouleware,maybe not even Jamie Sharper or Jaret Johnson. I could go back further in time with a few names but no one will know them. See you Matt good luck. BTW the cap is going down and the league is basically demanding that the networks back up the Brinks trucks with more money to offset loses due to Covid and poor ratings.

RickinBaltimore     February 25
Kenny Cooper will always have a special place for me. I grew up on the Blast, and as a kid, they were larger than life. He knew how to coach, but how to promote the team, the trek up and down federal Hill immediately comes to mind.

Tom J     February 25
Can't wait to watch the Kenny Cooper chat. He was bigger than life "back in the day" when the Blast ruled the winter in Baltimore. Brought me many evenings of joy during those glory days. It was nothing like being in the old Civic Center when it was packed to the rafters and that place was rocking..!!!!

Delray Rick     February 24
This guy has 3 crashes and almost hit a man in the hotel lot..and that man was upset. Watch his interview. SHOULD HAVE HIS LICENSE REVOKED.


Cal     February 24
As you noted on Twitter yesterday DF, God is indeed great. Those prayers for Tiger worked. Now let's hope he can resume some normal functionality in his life and maybe even play golf again someday.

Brian Jessup     February 24
Sources say Tiger's appointment was 1 hour away and he was running late with only 20 minutes to make it. Thank God he's not dead. Speculators are running wild, drugs, sleep, distracted driving, who knows maybe a combination of all three. Here's hoping he somehow makes it back, maybe after this he won't want to but the golfing and non-golfing world was depressed yesterday.



I don't think the "OJ" coverage of the car being towed in was necessary, that was way over the top.



And we thought 2020 was bad, hope this isn't an omen for the rest of the year.

Vince Fiduccia     February 24
The Golf Channel's coverage of Tiger was outstanding last night, especially the work done by Rich Lerner. If you want information about Tiger do not go to one of the cable news outlets. They are one rung below thrash TV. The Golf Channel has insider information with Tiger's people.

unitastoberry     February 24
I hope Tiger Woods recovers. Lots depend on how good or bad his surgeon was along with any complications from the repairs. He's going to be on pain killers again for a long time which is not good either. I hope when he gets back to normal he finally hires a full time driver.

ChrisK     February 24
Excellent call with Marc Cohn. Also, a good take on Zanzibar--not quite my favorite of William's, but it's way up on the list. And yes, Earl Weaver was the best. Harbaugh can make an argument, but he also would have a sub-.500 career playoff record if Rahim Moore hadn't tripped over his own feet. He's not there yet, but he's in the conversation.

TimD in Timonium     February 24
@Delray Rick, you called this on Feb 22. Maybe it was speeding, maybe he fell asleep, maybe he was texting, bad outcome either way, but could've been much, much worse. If Alex Smith can come back from a catastrophic lower leg injury, I believe Tiger can do. Get well soon, Tiger.

JohnInEssex     February 23
I remember back in 83 that some of the Orioles players were determined to win without Weaver at the helm. They wanted to show it wasn't the manager, but the players.

And the final game of 82 - Cal Sr. botched sending/not sending Glenn Gulliver from 3rd base early in the game and we never really recovered.

HERMAN     February 23
Earl Weaver was the best manager in town, hands down.

Earl was light years ahead in using statistics, knowing minute details about players history of performance against competition. He used 3 X 5 index cards to keep stats across the board.

Earl studied the stats of championship teams. He knew what home run totals it took, how many RBI's it took, how many hits. Then he attempted to put a team together position by position who could meet those totals. He knew which players hit his pitcher well, even the obscure players and pinch hitters.

Earl was one of the only managers in history to platoon a pair of mid-level talents at the same position in an attempt to have two players at the same position equal the output of one superior performer.

Earl was a stats-geek scientist forty years before it became a necessary tool of every team in the game.

He may have tightened up a team during the World Series and lost some he should have won, but for season long performance Earl was the best in town, one of the best in the history of the game.

Howard     February 23
Earl underachieved with the talent that he had. Someone has pointed out that Altobelli took Weaver’s guys and won a World Series in 1983 but Weaver couldn’t do it with his guys in 1982.

Harbaugh wins a Super Bowl with a team that was clearly not the most talented in the NFL..

cj     February 23
Praying for Tiger. The crash scene looks really bad. Godspeed to him.

Delray Rick     February 23
MESSIAH in car crash in LA. Had to extraction by "jaws of life".

Neil     February 23
Just wanted to say I thought A to Z was good reading material today. Add that to your regular columns please.

Chris in Bel Air     February 23
Yes to Weaver as B'more best. Harbs is certainly making a good case. I'm assuming Harbs will be coaching (and winning) for at several more years. If he were to win another Super Bowl, that could certainly make the decision more difficult. Still remember that final 4 game weekend against the Brewers in 1982. The O's and Weaver almost pulled it off.

Big yes to the U2, Beastie Boys, The Cars, Steely Dan and INXS. No to DMB, Pearl Jam and Little Feat.

@Delray Rick - I've been rooting for Spieth too. I agree he seems like his game has turned around. I would love to see him win a tourney and a major this year.

Skip     February 23
I agree with UtB about Weeb and being an oldster myself I would nominate Paul Richards for his building of the Birds in the 60s.

Frank     February 23
RIP Ted Patterson. I remember @DF listed him on his Top 10 Baltimore sportscaster list a few years ago. Maybe you can share a story or two about Ted sometime this week @DF?

unitastoberry     February 23
E -- Is Earl Weaver Baltimore's all-time best coach? I don't know...that's why I'm asking you. I mean, in my lifetime (please note that) , the only candidates for the honor are Shula, Weaver, Billick, Showalter and Harbaugh. Shula wasn't around long enough. Showalter didn't win a championsip. Billick had a lot of "off years" despite winning a Super Bowl. It's either Harbaugh or Weaver. I think you can make an argument for both, but I'll listen to you and your reasoning.



In your lifetime yes Weaver was by far. In my lifetime I would bring Weeb Ewbank into the mix for me. Forget Shula he never won a title here and disrespected Unitas. Rosenbloom was nuts or drunk or hangin with the bookies and strippers when he let Weeb go. Weeb won three titles in 2 cities and brought many HOF players into the league. Earl was great but he inherited a great team from Bauer. But he proved himself again after Frank and Brooks left/retired and Altobelli won with Weavers guys. I'd call it a tie for me with Weaver and Weeb.

Tristan (DMD Editor)     February 23
Good morning, just for your information, no more comments will be permitted about the vaccination for Covid. I'm going to remove all currently published comments and we will not be allowing any further comments.



Thank you for your understanding.

Monday
February 15
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2366


there's a lot of meat on this bone


We're still in the post-Super Bowl "dog days" but I've got plenty for you to chew on today. So, too, does David Rosenfeld below. And Dale has a review of last night's Maryland win over Minnesota.

Here's what I have for you today. Opine if you feel so inclined.

I saw someone in the Comments yesterday make their typical snarky comment about the Orioles and the recent signing of Matt Harvey, an erstwhile competent pitcher who just signed a minor league deal with the O's for 2021. The commenter wondered why I wouldn't have taken a jab at the Birds for signing a guy like Harvey, who hasn't been useful in the last five years.

Take a jab at them for what reason? Because they're trying to catch lightning in a bottle? I try to catch lightning in a bottle three times a year by switching putters, even though I know, in my heart, the ones I'm attempting to recirculate will last about two weeks before heading back to the equipment closet.

Mike Elias and the O's have stockpiled veteran arms like Wade LeBlanc, Felix Hernandez and Matt Harvey for the start of the 2021 campaign.

If you've followed along with the Orioles over the last three years, you know that's their *current* organizational philosophy: Catch Lightning In A Bottle. What names do you want me to bring up? Renato Nunez, Dwight Smith Jr., Rio Ruiz, Stevie Wilkerson...I can keep going but I won't. Those are the kind of folks you sign in the 5 years or so that it takes to rebuild from scratch. You can jump up and down and foam at the mouth about it if you want, but, to me, at least, that ship sailed when Mike Elias took over. This is the way they're gonna do it and I'm good with it until we see that it either works out brilliantly or flops in a blaze of glory.

The Orioles know it's entirely likely that signing the likes of Felix Hernandez and Matt Harvey will lead them nowhere. This isn't the O's first reclamation project. They tried it with Johan Santana seven years ago and I think he was done before spring training ended. More recently they brought in guys like Dan Strailly and Gabriel Ynoa attempting to coax something out of them and, well, that didn't work out favorably, either.

But If Hernandez or Harvey can somehow cobble together three good months where they make a dozen starts each and their ERA is somehow at or below the league average, the O's might be able to peddle one or both of them somewhere at the trade deadline and get a useful middle-of-the-road prospect in return. I realize that's asking for a borderline miracle, but you never know, right?

On the other hand, If both veteran pitchers flame out, which is the likely scenario, who cares? The Orioles are not the Brewers, Angels, Phillies, Mets or any of the other 6-8 average teams in the big leagues who have a puncher's chance of making the playoffs if, and that's *if*, lots of things go their way in 2021. Understand this: The Orioles have 0% chance of making the playoffs this season. Yes, that's 0%. So why worry about who they sign or don't sign at this point?

Just settle in for 100 losses in 2021 and hope for something better in 2022. Spinning your wheels worrying about why they signed Felix Hernandez or Matt Harvey is dumb. They're trying to catch lightning in a bottle. If they do, great. If they don't, just hang on and see if 2022 is better.


I'm a mask wearing, Covid-19 protocol-abiding citizen. Even though I was recently vaccinated for the coronavirus, I still see the need to follow the guidelines and everything. I realize we're still in the fight, even though millions of us have now received the vaccine.

But here's what I can't understand.

Why, for example, could Maryland not have had 2,000 people in the building for last night's Minnesota basketball game. Towson played host to Northeastern yesterday (and won...nice job Tigers!) and no one was in the arena. Why not allow 300 or 400 people in the building for that contest?

All these NHL games I'm watching. No one is in the building. 20,000 seats at the arena in DC and you can't let 3,000 people in there to watch the Capitals?

Is it a cost thing? Could opening the building and only having 3,000 people in the seats actually cost more money than the team might bring in through ticket sales? I have no idea what an average Caps ticket is, but I know upper deck seats are in the $80 range and lowers are roughly $200. So let's say their average price is $160. 3,000 people is $480,000. It can't possibly cost $480,000 to open the building for one night. It just can't, right?

I realize there are some teams allowing fans back in the building, which I see as "reasonable". No one is jamming 20,000 people in there. They're not even selling half the seats. But why shouldn't all these hockey and basketball teams be OK with putting 2,000 or 3,000 in the building?

When baseball rolls around in April, are you telling me it won't be OK for the Orioles to allow 5,000 people in the stadium?

What I'm about to note is totally not a snipe at them. As the great Ian Eagle once said, "It's not a low blow, it's just a fact." The Orioles routinely have 20 or so games every season where roughly 5,000 or less are actually in the stadium. What's the difference between those 5,000 being there on a Tuesday night in July in 2018, 2019, etc. and having 5,000 people there this April or May, with a directive to spread out all over the ballpark so they follow social distancing guidelines?

I just don't get it.

Have people wear their masks in all areas of the ballpark except at their seats. When seated, just like at a restaurant, put your mask on. Yes, I realize it's outdoors and everything, but just follow the mask rule so we can all go to a game, please.

Allow 3,000, 4,000 or 5,000 in the place to start the season and let's see how it goes. I saw where last week approximately 1,800 people are going to be allowed into Ed Smith Stadium for spring training games in Sarasota. That stadium holds 8,500 people. If you can "allow" 1,800 people in there, you can certainly safely permit 5,000 people in a 44,000 seat facility in Baltimore.

I'm aware some of this stuff is political in nature and not necessarily the team's call. I have no idea what Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott thinks about baseball fans in the stadium. It could be the lowest thing on his priority list. But if I'm the Orioles, I'm putting the heat on the new Mayor to help get this thing moving along and opening up the ballpark in April so people can go watch the games.


It was disappointing to see Jordan Spieth fail to close the deal yesterday, but for the second straight week, he didn't collapse on Sunday, he just didn't do enough to win.

But Daniel Berger sure did do enough. Berger shook off a bad double-bogey at Saturday's 18th hole and roared back to win on Sunday, capping it off with a fabulous 3-wood from 260 yards and a 25-foot eagle putt at the last hole to win at Pebble Beach by two shots.

That win should bode well for Berger in September when it's time for U.S. Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker to make his six captain's picks. Berger could, of course, make the team as one of the "automatic six", but if not, the way he closed on Sunday, plus a win last season as well, should be more than enough to earn legitimate consideration from Stricker.

Daniel Berger eagled the 72nd hole yesterday to win at Pebble Beach, putting him firmly in the spotlight for a possible Ryder Cup selection in September.

As I watched Berger and co-3rd place finisher Patrick Cantlay hit fairways and greens on Sunday, it dawned on me how formidable of a duo those two would be at Whistling Straits in September. Cantlay, like Berger, will likely fall outside of the top 6 unless he wins a major in 2021 (and that, by the way, is entirely possible), but he's a no-brainer selection for Stricker when it's time to make his six "free" picks.

Berger and Cantlay would be an awesome team in either the better ball or foursomes (alternate shot) format. So, too, would be Berger and Reed or Cantlay and Morikawa. Reed's occasionally balker driver would be complimented by Berger and Morikawa's hot-and-cold putter could be offset by Cantlay's great work with the flat stick.

I know I'm getting the cart before the horse, but seeing Berger and Cantlay -- along with Spieth, who still has an outside shot at making the team somehow -- light it up at Pebble Beach got me to thinking about that Ryder Cup in September.

This might not wind up being the team, but, if so, look at this monster lineup of 12 Americans: DJ, Koepka, J.T., Reed, Bryson, Webb, Xander, Cantlay, Berger, Morikawa, Wolff and Tony Finau. Yes, I'm aware Finau hasn't won a "real" event on TOUR yet, but he will. And he also has previous "Cup" experience that can only help him in September. And then you have guys like Harris English, Scottie Scheffler and Russell Henley waiting in the wings to grab a spot if possible.

I'm smelling a rout at Whistling Straits in September. But I'll let the American clubs do the talking, I suppose.


"You can't four putt unless you're not trying." -- Those were the sage words I once heard from the great Billy Bassler Jr., the outstanding former head golf professional at Rolling Road. I came in once after a round at the Baltimore City Amateur at "The Road", where a lot of competitors were complaining about a dicey pin placement at the treacherous 6th hole. Several players, in fact, quit the tournament in dispute of the hole location and the speed of the green. It was, in fairness to them, unfair that day.

Anyway, as I signed my card and saw my old friend, I said to him, "Gettin' some heat about that pin at 6, huh?" Bassler smiled and said, "Yeah, you know how it goes. You shoot 82 and you have to blame it on someone."

And then he uttered something I never forgot. "Had a couple of guys four and five putt that green. I told 'em all the same thing. Anyone that four-putts a green in golf isn't really trying."

Billy Bassler, meet Nate Lashley.

Lashley was tied for the lead and looking like he might win his 2nd career PGA Tour title yesterday at Pebble Beach. When I say Lashley was "humming along nicely", that's an understatement. He was splitting the middle of every fairway, throwing darts into every other green, it seemed, and he was 16 under staying standing in the middle of the 16th fairway, tied with Daniel Berger.

Lashley had 156 yards to the hole and a breeze in his face. He hit a soft, comfortable 8-iron, playing the shot for 165 yards to a back right pin. His approach bounced just over the green, leaving him a very delicate chip down the hill. He didn't hit a particulary good shot there and left himself with 12 feet below the hole to stay tied for the lead.

His first putt went past the hole by two and a half feet. His next putt, for bogey, caught the lip and rolled down the hill four feet. His putt for double bogey didn't go in, either. He did manage to coax the two footer for triple bogey in, though. So.....there was a four putt. From 12 feet. Tournament gone. Head gone, too.

Seve Ballesteros once four-putted the 15th hole at Augusta National. Afterwards, while answering questions from the media, Ballesteros got the question he knew he'd receive if someone in the media just had the mettle to ask it.

"Seve...about that 4-putt at 15. Can you take us through it?" someone asked.

"What would you like to know?" Seve asked.

"Well, just what happened there," the reporter replied.

Ballesteros stewed for a second. The man with 2 Masters and 3 British Opens to his credit was being pressed for an answer about a bad putting experience? He looked at the reporter. More silence. Finally, Seve explained.

"I miss. I miss. I miss. I make. Four putts."

How do you like that answer, Mr. Bassler?

But, wait. I can't pick on Lashley and Seve without my own story. We all have one, or more, if you've played tournament golf along the way.

The Maryland Open was at Hillendale one year a decade or so ago. I remember playing reasonably well the first day and having a decent chance at making the 36-hole cut. I started on the back nine on the second day and played the front (the "back" nine of the course) in a couple over par. I just needed to shoot a couple of over on the front nine and I'd be able to play the final day of the 54-hole tournament.

Making the cut at the Maryland Open used to be of premium importance back in those days because an amateur who played all 54 holes didn't have to go through the qualifying process the following year for either the Maryland Open or Maryland Amateur. The rules have slightly changed since then, but back in 2002 or so, making the cut at the Maryland Open was huge.

I got to the par 4 sixth hole at Hillendale in good shape. I split the fairway with my drive. I had 130 yards to the hole. The flag was in the front portion of the green, on the right side. I hoisted a wedge up in the air. "Go in!" my caddie yelled. The ball never left the flag. From where we were, you couldn't see where it stopped but I knew it was close to the hole.

As we approached the green, I could see the ball was, in fact, close. It was one of those occasions where the angle made it look like it was a foot away from the hole, but as we got to the green, it was actually about four feet directly above the hole.

I studied the putt and my stomach churned. This was definitely one of those moments where you know it's either going in or you're going to three putt. The afternoon mid-July sun had baked the greens and the pin was in a nasty spot.

There's a saying in golf. "Just breathe on it", when referring to a slippery, oily putt. That was the last thing my caddie said to me. "Just breathe on this one..."

I did just that. I barely made contact with the ball. It creased the left edge of the hole and just missed going in. And then it kept rolling. And rolling. It picked up speed. And eventually settled just off the green, 12 feet from the hole. I putted the next one a little firm, wanting to make sure it got up the hill. The ball stopped an inch from going in. And......started to roll slightly. "Please stop right there," I pleaded.

It didn't stop. It rolled back down to my feet. I putted the next one just right of the hole about 8 inches and it fortunately came to rest. I tapped that one in for a cool 4-putt, double bogey six.

And the first thing that came to my mind wasn't blowing my chance to make the cut at the Maryland Open. "Don't even say it, Billy Bassler..." I thought to myself. "I was trying on every single one of those putts."

Me, Seve and, now, Nate Lashley. Members of the 4-putt club.



Today's publishing time: 8:14 am HST

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consider this


Jordan Spieth is almost there, and I’m betting he gets there soon. He was too brilliant of a player to fall off the planet by age 27. I think I remember when he started his slump, to somewhere about No. 100 in the world if that really means much.

They were playing the Northern Trust Open in 2017, one of the FedEx Cup playoff events, at a hoity-toity place called the Glen Oaks Club on Long Island. Spieth shot 267, 13-under-par, four clear of second place. Alas, so did Dustin Johnson, who shot a 66 on Sunday to force a playoff.

So the two superstars headed back to the 18th tee. I’ll let the club’s website describe the hole:

Either play it right about 275 yards off the tee and play a second shot in from 170-190 yards to a green 20 feet above you. Or smash the hell out of the drive, carrying it clear over the lake left of that bunker, 310 yards in the air. That leaves a flip shot in from 110 yards out.

And that’s exactly what happened — both things. Spieth had the honor and hit a drive right of the lake (a.k.a. down the middle of the fairway) that, according to CBS technology, carried 290 yards in the air and had eight feet of curve. I’d take it!

Then DJ stepped up and appeared to be aiming off the golf course entirely. He smashed the hell out it, as we saw a lot in 2020, took a quick look and picked up the tee. It was breathtaking — both the shot itself and the nonchalance about the whole thing.

Spieth then hit a lovely 6-iron or 7-iron, which he was doing back then, but it could only stop so close to the hole on the fringe. Johnson indeed flipped a wedge up the hill, and it never left the flag before finishing about two feet under the hole. Game over — and Spieth hit two great shots he’d gladly take again.

Jordan Spieth is a tough competitor, and by 2017 he sure had been a great winner already. He’s not afraid of Dustin Johnson, and like all PGA Tour players, he ain’t really concerned about any ball or game but his own.

So maybe that 10-minute playoff didn’t stay long in Spieth’s head —you can’t win ‘em all. But it sure seems possible that it made him think about how good he could be if he could do a little more of what he just saw.


Orlando Brown, Jr., wants a trade, and I honestly admire his mentality. Yeah, he wants left tackle money on the one big NFL contract he’ll get to sign. But he really just wants to prove himself at that position on a full-time basis, and that’s not going to happen in Baltimore.

On a much broader note — even though I don’t really understand it —I find the entire ladder-type NFL salary structure within the salary cap constraints to be utterly fascinating. The whole idea that left tackle money would somehow mean something different than center money or outside linebacker money or strong safety cash is an interesting economic experiment.

The whole thing is very “socialist,” to use a word nobody likes to use these days; we all know that the NFL is in many ways a collective, with rules designed to create as much competitive balance as possible. Then again, there’s something pretty “capitalist” about disputing with the league or the team whether you are a hybrid defensive lineman or a hybrid linebacker when it comes to your contract.

And then there’s the “franchise tag,” for which the league and the Players’ Association seem to have defined quite explicitly what a typical free agent player is worth at his position per year. Taking away the kicking positions, you’re worth a little more than $10 million as a tight end at the low end and nearly $25 million as a quarterback at the high end. A cornerback is considered about $600,000 more valuable than a linebacker, which really feels kind of random.

As an aside, as good as Ronnie Stanley is, wouldn’t you say that the left tackle spot for the current Ravens is no more important than, say, the center spot, considering the overwhelming number of pistol/shotgun formations, or the aforementioned tight end position, which Eric DeCosta basically just said is the Ravens’ most important position?

If you asked me who the most important person was on the 2019 Ravens’ offense behind Lamar Jackson, I’d pick Nick Boyle. But I digress…

The whole thing leaves a player like Brown in a beguiling situation. He has no leverage, really, like almost any similar player entering his fourth year. He also has no chance to prove himself at what he believes is his best position unless there’s an injury to the starter there.

At the same time, a team eventually could sign Brown as a free agent and plop him at left tackle even if he never plays left tackle for the Ravens again.


Did you know that Presidents’ Day is colloquial, and that the official name of today’s federal holiday is “Washington’s Birthday?” Also—for what it’s worth—Lincoln’s birthday was February 12 (1809) and Washington’s was February 22 (1732), but Presidents’ Day will never be celebrated on either of their actual birthdays, because the third Monday in February can fall only between the 15th and the 21st of the month.

I once had the chance to visit the President with a sports team, an opportunity that I turned down. And please don’t lump me in with Matt Birk or Tim Thomas or any of the teams that refused (or weren’t invited) to visit the White House during President Trump’s administration.

President George W. Bush was a big sports fan*, and his administration made it a point to invite every NCAA Division I champion to the White House. In the fall of 2003, the Princeton women’s lacrosse team got an invitation; they’d won their second straight title back in May. I was asked to go along with them, and I immediately hedged.

*Late in his first term, President Obama had Bush to the White House for the unveiling of his official Presidential portrait. During his remarks, Obama thanked Bush for his support while transitioning to the White House and also for “leaving him a really good TV sports package.”

I was not a member of the Princeton athletic department in May 2003. In fact, the last time I’d seen the Princeton women’s lacrosse team, I was rooting against them. Instead, I was backing Loyola, their opponent, in the national semifinals being played in Syracuse. “We” lost—it was the final game for our coach, Diane Geppi-Aikens, who died from brain cancer the next month.

By October, I had switched places. Beginning soon, the Princeton team would be “my” team. But I didn’t know any of the players, and hadn’t experienced the 2003 season with them. The person who’d been in that position was no longer at the school, but I suggested he be invited instead. When that was nixed, I told my boss, a longtime Princeton employee, that he should join the team on the trip to D.C. instead.

The following season, our team at Princeton started the season 19-0. With a chance to win a third straight national title, we lost to Virginia in the NCAA championship game. If we’d won, I would have been excited to head to the White House if the invitation had come.

A lot has happened since then, in the White House and for me. Unless I get an approval from my representative, no tour of the place is in the cards. Many years later, I still feel right about my decision.

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terps blast minnesota...again


The Maryland Terrapins made short work of the Minnesota Golden Gophers last night, cruising to a 72-59 win at College Park.

The Terps pulled out to a big, early lead, and never looked back. The Gophers made a run late in the second half, but the Terps answered with a big three-pointer from Aaron Wiggins. It was a real long-range bomb with the shot clock running out. A pure “dagger” that crushed whatever slight hopes Rick Pitino’s team may have had.

A late 3-pointer from Aaron Wiggins helped stop an 11-0 Minnesota run and the Terps defeated the Golden Gophers for the second time this season last night in College Park.

For the game, the hot shooting Terps made 10 of 20 threes and connected on 53% of their shots overall. Aaron Wiggins hit 3 of his 5 three-pointers to lead the Terps with 17 points. Darryl Morsell added 13 points, mostly with his mid-range game, and Eric Ayala made 4 of 5 threes while posting 12 points.

Minnesota’s top four scorers, who collectively average 51.3 points, shot 10 for 40 and only tallied 23 points in this game. Good Maryland defense, poor Minnesota shooting, and Liam Robbins’ foul trouble combined with an ankle problem, doomed the Gopher’s offensive production.

Things were so bad offensively for the Gophers that two of their bench players, Jamal Mashburn Jr and Isaiah Ihnan, led Minnesota with 14 and 12 points respectively.

To say the Terps dominated the first half would be a gross understatement. They led 44-28 at intermission, having hit 62% of their threes and 58% from the floor.

The Terps also used superior speed and some terrific interior passing to get easy looks around the basket. 11 of their 18 made baskets were assisted. They cut well and frequently got behind their defender. Maryland played with a different speed than the Gophers, but mostly, the Terps hit shots.

Meanwhile, the Gophers did their part in getting blown out by shooting under 30% from the floor and knocking down just 3 of 14 three-point attempts.

Maryland sprinted out of the gates, leading Minnesota 11-3 at the first TV break. At that point the Gophers were 1-7 from the field and had committed 2 turnovers. More importantly, Liam Robbins, the 7-foot Gopher center had to leave the game with 2 fouls. He would play sparingly during the first 20 minutes. His absence was noticeable.

The Terps lead grew to 14 points, 20-6, after Galen Smith dunked one on a nice feed by Eric Ayala, The Terps hit their first 3 three-point shots and looked comfortable and confident. A Donta Scott three at 7:49 put Maryland up by 19. Minnesota’s offense never looked capable of putting up enough points to ever challenge that 19-point gap.

The Terp lead would stay comfortably in double digits for most of the second half. With 5:18 left in the game, and Maryland up by 15, 65-50, Minnesota’s Tre’ Williams hit a three. That was followed by two more Gopher threes, and very suddenly the Terps lead was just 6, 65-59. There was 3:14 left in the game.

But Maryland had a quick answer to the Minnesota threat, and it came in the form of a deep Wiggins three, the dagger. After that, the visiting Gophers never scored again and the Terps coasted to the win.

I thought losing Robbins was a huge factor in this game. Even during his limited time in the game, his effectiveness was clearly hampered by an injury. I know he’s no Wilt Chamberlain, but when 100% healthy, he plays a key role on both sides of the court for Minnesota. Without him, the Gophers were lacking a rim protector on defense and an inside threat on offense.

In a unique COVID related scheduling quirk, Maryland will play back-to-back games against Nebraska this Tuesday and Wednesday night in College Park.

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Sunday
February 14
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#2365


here we are again...


This is getting to be old hat for Jordan Spieth.

Make it two straight weeks with a chance to win after not being in that position since mid-July, 2017. And this time, unlike last Sunday in Phoenix, it's Spieth's tournament to lose. He leads several players by 2 shots with 18 holes to go at Pebble Beach.

I wrote here last Wednesday that Spieth's final round in Phoenix, where he was bypassed by Brooks Koepka and several others, might have actually wound up helping the 3-time major champion in the long run. His play over four days, despite not winning, was a return to glory of sorts. He could still play, he found out. All he needed to do was fine tune a few things and he might be back in the winner's circle.

For the second striaght week, former world #1 Jordan Spieth has a chance to break nearly a 4-year winless skid on the PGA Tour.

And...well...one week later, the winner's circle awaits. And it's convenient he has the chance to win at a place where he's won before (2015) and at one of the country's most fabled layouts just off of Stillwater Cove in the Monterey Peninsula. It's not Augusta National, of course, but Pebble Beach is as well known as the Georgia course and the list of who has won at Pebble is long and impressive.

Other than a major championship or the Players for his return to the top, there's probably not a better "regular" tournament for Spieth to win, truth be told. Pebble Beach is a shotmaker's delight and when Jordan ruled the golfing world circa 2015, he could hit every shot in the book with his eyes closed.

So today's the day Spieth's been wondering about over the last three-plus years. "When will I win again?"

It very well might be today.

And, just as I wrote here last Sunday when he had a shot to win in Phoenix, it's well worth remembering that a Spieth victory today would be great for American golf. He was once a blossoming figure in the sport and was well on his way to becoming a household name. "The next Tiger" was probably too lofty, but Spieth was on the verge of dominance before it all went south after his British Open victory in 2017.

With the Ryder Cup captain getting six picks this September, a Spieth win today and perhaps one later on this spring/summer would make him an inviting add-on for Steve Stricker. That is, if Jordan can't accumulate enough points to make the team as one of the automatic six, which is unlikely unless he wins 3 times with one of them being a major.

Make no mistake about it, though. Spieth needs to finish off this chance today and get back to "winning" golf. He has steadily improved his play since the new year started and Pebble Beach seems to have invigorated him and stirred up some positive memories and swing thoughts.

18 holes stand behind Spieth and the next chapter of his career. There aren't many people who aren't pulling for him, that's for sure.


Speaking of "here we are again" there's been lots of chatter in Baltimore over the last couple of days about the Ravens pressing off-season needs and how those relate to former Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, who is now a free agent after being released in Houston on Thursday.

The Ravens' pass rush wasn't all that great in 2020. Matthew Judon had a good year, Calais Campbell was a nice addition, and Yannick Ngakoue had a moment or two of success after coming over from Minnesota just before mid-season. But it all added up to a department that needs some attention in the off-season.

Should the Ravens pursue former Texans defensive end J.J. Watt or use that money elsewhere this off-season?

So Watt seems like a player the Ravens would naturally align with, right?

Yes. But, no.

Watt is a very good player, even if he's in the October of his career. There's still some tread on his tires, despite a 10-year run in Houston and a couple of significant injuries along the way. There is still good football left in him, no doubt.

And he is a better man than player, for those who haven't followed his career all that closely. Watt was heavily involved in raising money for Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and helped put together several significant fundraisers for Covid-19 relief in Houston last year. Upon his departure from the Texans on Thursday, Watt filmed a social media message thanking the fans and organization personally, a heartfelt two minutes that should be the model for how a player leaves an organization.

There's little doubt that Watt would fit in well in Baltimore. He would, to borrow that familiar term, "play like a Raven". His hard working style would mesh nicely with the team's profile and having him around to chase Burrow, Mayfield and Roethlisberger in 2021 would be helpful.

But.........

Would Watt's arrival actually be good for the roster as a whole? The Ravens are already faced with a big decision on Judon and Ngakoue. One of those two, at least, is likely to depart via free agency. It seems almost impossible for the Ravens to be able to keep both of them in 2021 and beyond. Tyus Bowser, a promising young player, is also a free agent and set to score his first big contract. The Ravens might very well let Judon and Ngakoue sign elsewhere and give Bowser a good, reasonable deal in Baltimore.

There's also a bigger issue. If the Ravens were to fork over big bucks for Watt, he wouldn't be cheap. He was due to make $17.5 million in 2021 for the Texans. He might not command that kind of salary from his new team, but he's not playing for $7.5 million, either. And here's the complicated part for the Ravens. After signing a one-year "show me" contract for $3 million in 2020, defensive end Derek Wolfe quickly became a favorite of John Harbaugh and the entire organization. The Ravens could sensibly give Wolfe a new 2 or 3 year deal in the $10-$14 million range and reward him for a job well done in 2020.

Watt coming to Baltimore probably means the end of the road in Charm City for Wolfe. And that's potentially not the greatest of trade offs. Sure, Wolfe is only one year younger and his sack total in 2020 (1) won't send him to Canton post-career, but Wolfe is more of an interior pressure player while Watt is an edge guy who fights the offensive tackle tooth and nail and chases the quarterback more like a linebacker would.

Interestingly, the majority of "good" pressure the Ravens apply to the quarterback tends to come from the interior lineman and ends, plus the gap blitzer, whether that's a linebacker or defensive back. The Ravens just aren't a team that goes outside-to-in very well and that's the one thing Watt specializes in, while someone like Wolfe -- or Campbell -- does his work in the trenches.

There are other potential issues with the Ravens, namely the wide receiver position and the offensive line. The team is in a constant search for upgrades in both areas, either via free agency or the draft. And if they wind up giving someone like Corey Davis or Allen Robinson a big contract this off-season, there's almost no way they can keep the likes of Wolfe and Bowser and then be the winner of the Watt sweepstakes.

The 2020 team went 11-5 and won a playoff game, remember. Four of their five losses were explainable and largely "acceptable". Only the stinker in New England, where it rained cats and dogs all night, was a head scratcher defeat. They also lost to the Chiefs, twice to Pittsburgh, and at home to Tennessee in a game where they squandered a late lead. Sure, the 2020 team feasted on the NFC East, which was horrendous all season, but you play who you play, as the saying goes.

I bring up that 11-5 record and playoff win to remind people that the 2020 club (and the one in 2019) was among the AFC's best. Do you bring in J.J. Watt and let three or four key performers from that team get away or do you stand pat with the likes of Wolfe, Bowser and Judon and try and improve the team with a modest free agency spend and a successful draft class?

If it came down to adding Watt but losing Wolfe and Judon, do you make that move? You lose two guys who know the system, play it well and have "earned their stripes" in Baltimore. Granted, Judon will cost roughly the same as Watt when it's all said and done, probably even more since you have to ink him to a longer-term deal, but he's two years young than the former Texan and hasn't had the injuries Watt has suffered, either.

You can tell where I'm going with this...no one asked me, of course, but I'd keep Wolfe and Judon before I'd fork over big money on J.J. Watt. And, all things being equal if Judon does leave via free agency, I'd keep Wolfe over bringing in Watt to replace him and use that "extra money", if you will, on a receiver or an offensive lineman.


One last "here we are again" and I'll make this one quick, because I follow the Wizards about as much as I follow the Mountain West Conference in college basketball.

I'm asking a serious question because I don't really know the exact answer. Or even an exact "opinion", for that matter.

How on earth are the Wizards this bad?

They're 6-17 and in last place in the Eastern Conference. And they're not just "bad". They're not losing most nights by a bucket or three. They're dreadfully bad. I watched about two and a half quarters of their game with the Knicks on Friday night and you would have thought New York was the league's cream-of-the-crop-two-time-defending-league-champion.

Is Russell Westbrook that much of an albatross that the Wizards actually got worse, if that's possible, with him on the team?

When did Alex Len become such a stiff? Or did he just have a bad night on Friday vs. the Knicks? That's possible, of course. Perhaps I caught him when his chakras weren't in line. But the Knicks made him look like a JV call-up on Friday.

I understand Bradley Beal is a high quality, premium NBA player. But how is he part of this collection of misfits? He can't make them better? Or are the Wizards 6-17 instead of 2-21 because of Beal?

Westbrook really looks like a guy you don't want on your team or in your organization. That's a view from 35,000 feet, admittedly, but there's not much about his quality that seems out-of-this-world or anything like that.

I don't know, man.

I'm hoping someone out there watches the Wizards (besides our intern Tristan, but he's apparently a diehard 76'ers fan) and can shed some light on this for me. I'm not saying the Wizards should be 18-5. But 6-17? With a couple of supposed all-league guys in Beal and Westbrook?

I can't figure it out.



Today's publishing time: 8:12 am HST

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DALE WILLIAMS returns for his sixth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2020-21 season.


terps host minnesota tonight


When I started my research into tonight’s Maryland Terrapin vs. Minnesota Golden Gopher basketball game in College Park, I have to admit to having a big bias towards the visiting Gophers. They have had some solid wins this year, beating Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, and Purdue.

After losing five of six recently, Minnesota (13-7, 6-7) comes to College Park riding a modest 2-game winning streak with their latest victim being the Boilermakers. They have a talented big man (7-foot Liam Robbins) who played limited minutes because of foul trouble in the 14-point loss to Maryland on January 23.

Can Mark Turgeon's Terps pull off another impressive win over a quality Big Ten opponent tonight?

Also, I don’t see Minnesota shooting as badly from the three-point line as they did in the previous game against the Terps. Those factors should have pushed me solidly to Minnesota.

However, in re-watching the Terps victory over the Gophers, I saw several repeatable positives for Maryland. Most importantly, I believe that Maryland can, again, get dribble penetration. The Terps dissected the Minnesota defense with dribble penetration in the first game, and I expect those penetration opportunities to be available tonight also.

I’m not so sure getting into the lane will result in a bunch of interior points, but they’ll get inside, making kick-outs available. The Terps just need to hit those open threes that they are likely to get.

Also working in the Terps favor is the fact that Minnesota is one of the worst shooting teams in the Big Ten. Tonight, will be no different. They’ll be better than their 5-23 performance from the three-point line in the first game, but don’t expect them to light up the scoreboard from long range either.

The Terps ability to get into the paint allowed them to win the points-in-the-paint battle, 22-18, in the first game. Maryland is quicker than Minnesota, with one exception (Marcus Carr). But unlike the last game when Maryland used that quickness advantage to score frequently inside, this time the 7-foot Robbins will be there to protect the rim. Terp points close to the bucket will be much harder to come by.

Robbins is the Big Ten’s #1 shot blocker. He’ll get a few blocks tonight too. That will make the kick-out threes very important in this game.

Offensively, Marcus Carr will still be a handful for Maryland. He may not be as accurate as he was when he went 8 of 14 in their earlier matchup, but he’s still good for 18 to 20 points with his quick moves and pull-up jumpers. While Carr hit 8 field goals in the January game, the rest of his team only made 6 shots, combined, in the 63-49 loss to the Terps.

Carr will get much more support in this game. Expect Robbins to greatly improve upon the 6-point performance he posted last time out against Maryland. The Terps fronted him and doubled him, but Minnesota coach, Richard Pitino, will find a way to get him more involved tonight.

Brandon Johnson made just 2 of 6 shots in the earlier game at Minnesota, but tonight I expect him to score that many just from hitting the offensive glass. Jamal Mashburn, off of the bench, is good for 10 points tonight.

Offensively for Maryland, Darryl Morsell should greatly improve upon his 4-point performance. Regardless if he draws Gabe Kalscheur or Tre’ Williams, he’ll have an athletic advantage. He only averages 8 points a game, but he should be good for 14 tonight.

Donta Scott had a big game for Maryland against Minnesota, going for 15 points and 11 rebounds. Scott won’t get 11 rebounds tonight, but he’s a tough matchup for Robbins and another 15-point performance is not out of the question.

Eric Ayala led the Terps with 21 points in the previous game. He scored 5 of his 8 buckets inside the paint. Those close-range points won’t be as plentiful tonight. Ayala will struggle to get into double digits.

So, what does all of this mean? It means the 112 total points scored in the first game will be easily exceeded. It also means that this will be a much more competitive game than the last one where the Terps got out to a big lead and were never seriously challenged. Tonight, each team will have a chance to win this game late.

So far this season, Maryland has yet to play in an overtime game or a “buzzer beater” contest. Tonight, will be one of the two, if not both. It would not surprise me to see either Maryland or Minnesota with the ball and a chance to win the game on the final possession.

Let’s go with Maryland hanging on by the skin of their teeth for a 66-65 win as Marcus Carr misses the chance to provide his Gophers win a last shot win. Watch all of the action on the Big Ten Network starting at 7 p.m.

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Saturday
February 13
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#2364


the questions are piling up around here


John L. asks -- "In your lifetime who are the best 5 athletes who have played in Baltimore and/or Washington DC for a minimum of at least 5 years?"

DF says -- "Hmmmm, gotta really think about this one. In no real order (yet), Alex Ovechkin is definitely on the list. Ray Lewis is on the list. I was such a huge Eddie Murray fan...I'm gonna put him on the list. I'd have to say Ed Reed is on the list. You got me on the "5 years" minimum because that means I can't put Stan Stamenkovic of the Blast on the list. I'm going to do something totally dumb here and go with Justin Tucker as my 5th guy. I realize I'm leaving off some HOF'ers like Cal and J.O....but I think Tucker is going to go down as the greatest player in his position in NFL history. I have a soft spot for goaltenders and kickers, admittedly."


Kevin asks -- "Are you at all worried that Tiger Woods might not ever win another tournament and could finish on 82 wins instead of becoming the all-time leading winner with 83?"

DF says -- "I'm not "worried" about it, but I certainly think there's a chance he won't win again. I mean, if you made me bet something, I would bet that he does win one more, at least, but there's always a chance he comes back this March, plays 3 tournaments, hurts his back again, and calls it a day. But if he's able to resume playing again and can stay relatively healthy, I think he'll figure out a way to win again. He might have to play a fall event with a reduced-quality field or, gasp, even one of the tournaments that are played opposite one of the WGC events he doesn't otherwise qualify for...but I think he'll win one again somewhere along the way. That said, I definitely wouldn't be shocked if he plays a few events in March and April and just can't go any longer and decides to hang it up."


The great Lynryd Skynryd, with huge hits like "Sweet Home Alabama", "Free Bird" and "Gimme Three Steps".

Gary Crow asks -- "Here's your favorite for a future Q and A on the Dish. Underrated or Overrated? Lynyrd Skynyrd, Queen, Yes and AC/DC. Thanks!!"

DF says -- Oh man, this is gonna be hard. Lynyrd Skynyrd for sure was vastly underrated. Their 12 best songs are as good as any band's 12 best songs. Their "greatest hits" album really was "great". Look, this is hard, but I kind of think Queen was overrated. Freddie Mercury was a remarkable singer. Top 10 of all-time in rock-n-roll. I love Queen's "Jazz" album. But I think overall they were kind of overrated. I liked Yes a lot. I was -- as you know from my fondness for Rush and Genesis -- into that "prog rock" sound. I think Yes was underrated. Maybe just barely, but they were. AC/DC?? Big time underrated, especially with Bon Scott. The early years of AC/DC were outrageously good. "Powerage" is one of my all-time top 10 favorite albums. They were obviously very good with Brian Johnson on vocals, but Bon Scott was awesome."


Pat asks -- "The Blue Jays are going to be really good this season. So are the Yankees. The Rays will figure out a way to win 85 games, at a minimum, like they always do. How many wins does that leave the Orioles? Do you have a predicted record in mind yet?"

DF says -- "Now that they've signed Felix Hernandez, I'm thinking maybe a wild card berth? I'm kidding. Look, every team wins 50 games. So they'll win 50 at least. How many more can they win than that? Maybe 10? 12? But then I look at their roster of no-names and fresh-faces and I wonder how they can win 50, honestly. I mean, they have 2 or 3 good players. And that's it. I reserve the right to change my mind on this, but I'll say they win 58 games."


Bill Printz asks -- "I'm sure you agree Jim Nantz is the top TV golf voice/play-by-play guy, but my question for you is: Who is second best? Thanks, Drew. Daily Dish reader here!"

DF says -- "Thanks, Bill. Appreciate you reading every day. I'll tell you someone who I think is very good and very underappreciated: Terry Gannon. He does a lot of the main chair work for The Golf Channel on Thursday and Friday before either CBS or NBC takes over on the weekend. Gannon is extremely savvy about the game, knows the players very well, and has a great grasp on when to talk and when to let the action speak for itself. I'd love to see him get more work with one of the big networks."


M.J. asks -- "You can pick any coach in the country to spend one month with and essentially be an "intern" who gets full access to the coach and their team for one month. Who are you choosing?"

DF says -- "Easy answer. No question about it. Geno Auriemma of UConn women's basketball. Give me 5 days up there in Storrs with him and I'd be thrilled! But one month sounds awesome too!"


Scott asks -- "If you could play any five golf courses in Maryland over a Monday through Friday period, five days in a row, what five would you play and why? Thanks, Drew. I played in the "Flag Tournament" to support FCA last year at Eagles Nest and had a great day. I hope you plan on having that event again this year."

DF says -- "Five days in a row, huh? That's a lot of golf. But I can handle it. Any five of my choosing? Hmmmm. I'm going with Monday at Oakland Golf Club out in Oakland, MD. It has the best par-3 hole in the world (#10) and a bunch of other really fun and occasionally hard holes. VERY underrated golf course. Tuesday I'm back in Baltimore to play Green Spring Valley Hunt Club. There's just always been something about that course that I like. And, if I can bum a member's account number, they have an off the charts wine list. Wednesday we'll head over to the D.C. area and play Columbia Country Club, which is just a gem of a course and facility. The back nine there is really something special. From there we'll move over to the Naval Academy Golf Course, which is truly a hidden gem. And we can't do a one week tour without settling in over at Baltimore Country Club, where I'll bend the rules a little and actually play twice, the morning on the West Course and the afternoon on the East Course. I'll snag 3 and 3 from my buddies Nick Smearman and Brian Woods and beat them out of a few bucks to make the week a complete success. And, yes, we'll be having that event again next October. Thanks for playing in 2020 and be sure and join us again."


Kevin Lalley asks -- "What are your three biggest pet peeves in sports?"

DF says -- "I love this question! I have about 20! My top three: Receivers who do the "throw the flag!" motion when they think they've been interfered with. I think that gesture -- throw the flag! -- should be a penalty. Another pet peeve is the out-of-bounds rule in golf. I can hit my tee ball 300 yards and it can go one inch out of bounds and it's a 2 stroke penalty. You can whiff the ball on the tee and and simply re-tee it, hitting your 2nd shot. Drives me nuts. And from baseball, nothing drives me nuts more than rabbit ears umpires who throw people out of the game after they -- the umps -- have made a mistake or blown a call. If you miss strike 3 or blow a out/safe call, you have to take the heat from the manager and the other players."


Is Webb Simpson a top 5 player in the world? #DMD thinks so.

RJC asks -- "Right now (whenever you answer this), who do you think are the best 5 golfers in the world?"

DF: Dustin Johnson is the clear #1. I mean, he's not as dominant as Tiger was in his heyday, but Dustin's best right now is significantly better than anyone else's best. The 2/3 slot is kind of a toss up but I'll go with Justin Thomas at #2 and Jon Rahm at #3. I'm going to throw a couple of curveballs at 4 and 5. I realize Rory is a great player and all and he's one of the best drivers of the golf ball in modern history, but his short game and putting just aren't good enough to be a top 5 guy in the world any longer. Schauffele is really, really good. He hasn't won in two years, though. How can a guy be in the top 5 and not have a win in two years? So I'm going with Webb Simpson and Paul Casey as 4 and 5, and I realize they're both barely in the top 10 in the official world rankings. If you give me those five guys, DJ, J.T., Rahm, Simpson and Casey, you can take any other five players you want and my five will beat your five every single time."


Tim Jermes asks -- "Name one band or music artist you never "got" in terms of how popular they were or how much their music was loved."

DF says -- "I never got into Jimmy Buffett but I do understand why he has such a following. That summertime feel of his music is very magnetic. But I've never purchased one of his albums. I guess the band I never "got" was the Grateful Dead. And I'm not necessarily saying they aren't good or anything like that. But I listened to a lot of their music in the 80's and it just never grabbed me. I'd listen for about 10 or 15 minutes and ask my friends if they wanted to listen to Billy Squier instead."


Carmen asks -- "Have some fun with this one in your next Q and A article on DMD. When I say "obscure pro sports franchise" who are the five that immediately come to mind?"

DF -- "Good one! Ready? Atlanta Hawks, Winnipeg Jets, Memphis Grizzlies, Anaheim Ducks and Sacramento Kings. (I honestly had to Google it and make sure Sacramento was still in the NBA)."


Sam Petrallini asks -- "I saw you lament the passing of Chick Corea on Thursday on Twitter and assume you're a jazz fan. What's your favorite album (from jazz)?"

DF says -- "I have so many I could name. I was a huge David Sanborn and Michael Brecker fan in the 1980's and 1990's. I love Pat Metheny. Jeff Lorber. Jean Luc Ponty. But I would say my favorite jazz album ever was by a band called "Yellowjackets". The album was "Four Corners". Best song? How about the one below, called "Out of Town".




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Friday
February 12
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2363


it's simple: tell orlando brown jr. "no"


I get it. It's a slow news week in these parts and the talk radio shows have to fill the hours with something, and even now, with the Ravens season in the rear view mirror and the upcoming O's campaign looming less than two months away, the town would still much rather talk about the football team than the baseball team.

It's been that way for a long time. And these "dog days" of February or March are always in need of some "spiking", somehow. Heck, one year in late February, Glenn Clark and I milked three days out of an appearance by the Pittsburgh Steelers charity basketball team up in North Harford County. Seriously. Three whole days we spent on it. And if I can say so myself, it was pretty good radio for a time in the sports calendar when there was nothing else going on.

So all this week when I've heard the shows and segments and callers all chiming in about Orlando Brown's "trade request", I've just laughed and said those familiar words: "the dog days".

Ravens (right) offensive tackle, Orlando Brown, Jr.

But in reality, Orlando Brown Jr. wanting out of Baltimore is, in fact, a legitimate story. It's far more important and worthy of critical discussion and analysis than the Steelers bringing their caravan of back-ups and former players to a high school gym 50 minutes north of Baltimore. I do know that much.

The story is pretty easy to decipher and figure out. Brown saw the deal Ronnie Stanley coaxed out of the Ravens and wants to be paid a similar amount of money. Don't we all, huh?

Brown has played right tackle for the Ravens over the last three seasons but was pressed into left tackle duty for the final half of the 2020 regular season after Stanley's season ending injury. And, to no one's surprise, Brown handled the move well, quickly establishing himself as a formidable left tackle and quarterback protector.

But, now, Brown wants to be a left tackle. Or, at the very least, get paid like one. He has another year remaining on his 4-year rookie deal, so the Ravens have his rights for the 2021 campaign. The only way Brown doesn't play with the Ravens next season is if he's traded or he sits out. Otherwise, he's in purple.

So what should the Ravens do? Trade away one of their best offensive lineman just because he's asking for it? You've invested three years of time, money and sweat equity into Orlando Brown, Jr. Now is not the time to let him roll out of town. Now's the time to try and milk one more great year out of him and then convince him to sign a new deal in Baltimore and remain a Raven.

Brown is apparently trying to "create a trade" for himself, with the Ravens blessing. Whether he and his agent are able to do that is anyone's guess. The teams that Brown is talking with know he has almost no leverage in this situation. The Ravens aren't going to give him away and Brown's asking price is likely going to be sticker shock to a lot of NFL general managers.

So who blinks first? The Ravens don't want a malcontent in their midst, that's for certain. If Orlando Brown, Jr. has lost his affection for the organization, it probably is time to move on. But the Ravens are in the business of winning football games. They are not in the business of making disgruntled contracted employees "happy". And Orlando Brown Jr. being on the Ravens in 2021 gives them a better chance of winning than if Orlando Brown, Jr. isn't with them in 2021.

That is...unless the Ravens can actually crush someone by shipping Brown to the highest bidder. If they can find a NFL team who will overpay, by a lot, for Orlando Brown, Jr., then perhaps they should make the move. It's worth repeating, again. There's no room for malcontents on the team. "If you don't like it here, we'll find you a new place to play."

Oh, and the sitting out option, just to clarify, isn't really an option for Brown. If a player fails to report to training camp by the mandatory reporting date, he loses an accrued season. That means, in Brown's case specifically, he'd become a restricted free agent in 2022 and the Ravens could still keep him in Baltimore by matching any offer sheet he presents from another NFL team. Brown wouldn't be an unrestricted free agent until 2023, in the "hold out" scenario.

So, he might threaten or throw up a cryptic Twitter message about sitting out next pre-season, but the Ravens know he's bluffing and he knows the Ravens know he's bluffing. A guy chomping at the bit to rake in a massive 5 or 6 year deal (likely the only one he'll ever sign as a professional) isn't going to delay his free agency by a year by doing something stupid like sitting out a few weeks of training camp "just to send a message".

The Ravens should politely tell Orlando Brown, Jr. to expect to be in Baltimore next season.

Sure, if some team comes along with a deal that's too good to turn down, then perhaps the Ravens should consider it. But failing a blockbuster haul, the best course of action for the Ravens is to tell Orlando Brown to cool his jets over the spring and get ready for another year in purple.

Orlando Brown, Jr. might not like hearing it, but it's the way the NFL works. Teams make large investments in drafted players and for the duration of that initial, rookie contract, the teams hold the upper hand. The Ravens know how to play the game as well as any organization in the league and the guess here is they'll play this particular moment to perfection.

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meanwhile, 40 years ago today...


So, yeah, we're getting old. Or at the very least, I am.

40 years ago, I graduated from high school.

I just sorta-kinda realized that yesterday when I saw the news about the 40-year anniversary of one of the greatest albums of my life, Moving Pictures, by the great Canadian trio, Rush.

Yep, seems crazy but it's true. Moving Pictures was released on February 12, 1981. I remember sitting in the parking lot of Glen Burnie High School on that day with my best friend, Pete McQuaid, and listening to the whole album on DC101 when they played it front to back at 3pm. Back in those days, music stations played....you guessed it....music!

I remember hearing Red Barchetta -- "this is a song about a car" Geddy Lee would say later that year when I saw Rush in concert -- and thinking to myself, "Holy cow!!!"

My first introduction to Rush was in the parking lot of Benfield Pines ice rink in the winter of 1979. One of the guys on the team threw in the Hemispheres cassette and said to me, "You ever hear these guys? Rush."

Ten days later I had cobbled together whatever money I had made from washing dishes at Beefsteak Charlies in Glen Burnie and purchased all six of Rush's albums (to date), including Hemispheres. I was, for sure, hooked.

And then came Moving Pictures in 1981 and everyone found out about Rush. That was, almost certainly, their pinnacle in terms of mainstream music. They released other albums afterwards and some Rush junkies even think Vapor Trails or Clockwork Angels were better (I don't, for the record), but there's no question Moving Pictures was the one occasion in Rush's Hall of Fame career where they hit a grand slam in terms of radio air play.

Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart. Three men made the music. Peart actually wasn't the drummer on the first album, but very few people even know that. Lee's voice is unique, to say the least. It's pretty much one of those "love it or hate it" things, although I always thought the uniqueness of it made the sound what it was. Lifeson's guitar work was always underrated. And Peart...well, he was called "The Professor" for a reason. There have been lots and lots of rock-n-roll drummers in my lifetime. Only a select few ever get mentioned in the same breath as the great Neil Peart, who passed away in 2020.

40 years ago today. Wow. I can remember it well. Moving Pictures would become our "album of 1981". We played it every Friday night. The cassette got worn out over the summer in Ocean City. Even in the fall of 1981, we were still cranking up Limelight as loud as we could.

Oh, and here's that song about a car I told you about.


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faith in sports


This week's edition of "Faith in Sports" takes us back to the NFL for a visit with 10-year NFL veteran quarterback Jason Campbell. Listen in as Campbell takes you on his journey and how faith and his love for God was instrumental in his career and handling the highs and lows of being a professional athlete. Thank you, as always, to our friends at Freestate Electric for sponsoring today's edition of "Faith in Sports".



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#dmd comments








Connor     February 26
I'm not even a Tiger Woods fan but reading along I have to wonder what Delray Rick means when he says "Truth Hurts". What truth? That one sportswriter thinks Tiger is a lousy person? Didn't that writer in Philadelphia think Eddie Murray was a lazy, arrogant baseball player who was just trying to cash a check? What did he know? Sports writers might be the worst people in the media.

Delray RICK     February 26
TRUTH HURTS

Keith Merrill     February 26
Having lived in Greenwich for 11 years I can assure you Mushnick's reputation in NYC is that of a sour puss who never says a good word about anyone. He's not very well thought of up there.

Larry     February 26
Mushnick = hack. No respect at all in media circles.

bob jackson     February 26
DELRAY Rick - I read the NY Post earlier today and it was so spot on about your "Messiah" great article.

Carl in Owings Mills     February 26
Hey Drew, just wondering if you read and had opinion on Mushnick crapping all over Tiger today in the Post?

Josh     February 26
Tiger will play again. This is likely a 2 year injury. He'll win again but maybe not until he's on the PGA Tour Champions. I would never count him out

Jeffrey “Fireball” Roberts     February 26
It was great seeing Kenny Cooper. Can’t wait for part 2. I remember that commercial like it was yesterday. Great memories, greater times. To be young again, we never knew what we had.

KJ     February 26
Here's the thing w/Herman, when he posts, he expresses an opinion. You can agree, disagree, whatever, but there is "content". All the "Herman bashers" (JJ, Mark, Kevin, et al) do is, well, bash Herman. With the added bonus of calling him a racist, as if that is a benign criticism. Really puzzles me why these comments stay up, they are NOT related to "today's topic", they are strictly personal shots at an individual.

Loved the Kenny Cooper Part I. Best point of the conversation was discussion about all the "fluff" added to the Blast games. I was one of those who called it "a circus show" and not a "sport", but Drew's point about all the leagues do it now is 100% spot on. I still think it's a shame they do it, but there's no doubting many fans enjoy this extraneous activity, for whatever reason. Not sure whose idea it was, but definitely was an idea ahead of its time, there's no denying that.

Tom J     February 26
Never mind the extortion attempt, I wouldn't have Judon back in a Ravens uniform for 20 million dollars as he wasn't worth the 16 million they paid him last year.

Bob S. (AKA Idiot Caller)     February 26
Are these doctors commenting on Tiger Woods injury the same type of media friendly doctors that have been advising everyone about COVID-19? "Don't wear masks... no wait, now wear masks... no wait, now wear two masks...". Pardon me if I don't trust these media doctors right now.

I would bet heavily right now that Tiger DOES make it back and end up playing tournament golf again, and winning a tournament or two before his career is over!

Don't bet against Tom Brady, and don't bet against Tiger Woods!

F Kline     February 26
Are we also supposed to abandon Michael Phelps? He ran afoul of the law a couple of times. Is that what we do now?

J.J.     February 26
Good point @Kevin but surprisingly the author of that comment conveniently forgot about Ray Ray's trial in Atlanta.

Tom     February 26
Interesting topic on Judon. Not sure I understand how Tiger Woods gets weaved into the discussion but given the source I do understand. I agree with @DF. I wouldn't re-sign Judon based on this episode. It reeks of poor character.

unitastoberry     February 26
Like I said yesterday Judon is not worth any of this nonsense. Unlike the Orioles I find myself siding with the Ravens management most of the time. Decent player like a Mosley on the outside. Wrong price. Decosta has it covered with the Wizard of Oz consulting.

Kevin     February 26
I know it's not cool to troll the troll but wasn't it just Herman a few weeks ago who was slobbering all over Ray Lewis so much that Herman needed stitches in both knees? I seem to recall 52 got in off field trouble as well???

TimD in Timonium     February 26
If only more pro athletes would let somebody else manage their Twitter account, handle their finances, drive them around...

Brian Jessup     February 26
Judons a jerk don't let the door hit you on the way out.



So depressed about Tiger. I was really hoping , by some miracle, he would qualify for the BMW Tournament this summer so I could go to Caves Valley and watch him. I've never seen him in person and would have been one of 30,000 other fans trying to catch that glimpse up close.(or somewhat close) It's such a shame to have it end like this but maybe there's a few more miracles left in his body. One can hope.

Steve from Cape Coral     February 26
Interesting, Nothing about your boy skating on the DWI charges ??? Very Sad news, but par for the course !!!

HERMAN     February 26
"We've become so indebted to our athletes and winning that we allow lots of flaws and mistakes"

Uh, yeah, I can think of one glaring example where that is true, especially for the site owner. Being able to hit a little white ball better than others excuses all off course behavior.

"And, occasionally, it's more than fair to overlook a brush with the law or some kind of "small blemish" in return for the production they can provide on the field, the court, the ice, etc."

Odd that you left off "course", or "golf course", as the recent coverage of the "accident" was like an homage, a sycophantic orgy, where formerly respected "news" programs gave up hours of hard news in coverage of the "accident". The sporting public at large has ignored everything with regard to one particular athlete, site owner included.

Could such adulation in the face of past transgressions have led to contributing to the "accident"?

When one pays no price for their sins where is the deterrence to repeat the sins?




Delray rick     February 26
For our readers who have the internet (HERMAN) and who don't (spend a dollar) check out NY POST today and PHIL MUSHNICK'S column on the MESSIAH. Its classic.

JohnInEssex     February 26
Just completed watching part 1 of Kenny Cooper interview.

Feel the same way Drew does concerning Kenny Jr. not getting a fair shake with the US National team. They have ALWAYS needed a finisher, Kenny would produce, but somehow weirdly not be on the team.



One of my coolest memories as a referee was working a game at Rosedale Park where Kenny Jr. was playing on a U10 team. He towered over everyone and was dominating. Got to say HI to Kenny Sr. and thank him for all he did for soccer in Baltimore. SO MANY great memories thanks to the BLAST!

tom     February 25
yea @AL, cause you are such a class act youself, smh

JK     February 25
Thanks Drew for the Kenny Cooper video interview. Love seeing and hear my favorite coach. It was great to hear all the Blast and life experiences on the interview. This brought back some great memories. I can't wait for part 2!

JeffWell     February 25
Pretty much a d*#k move by Judon IMO. Speaking of such moves,we get a real gem from that be "classy" guy Al.

Howard     February 25
After about 30 years, the Spirit commercial remains the best sports commercial of all time.

Thanks for the laugh

Rob Really     February 25
Delray quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald today... nice! Are we still allowed to do that??

Delray Rick     February 25
Show me a hero,and I'll write you a tragedy.

TimD in Timonium     February 25
The early to mid-'80s was a great time to be a Blast fan. It very could have been the Golden Age of the Baltimore Civic Center. What a time.

unitastoberry     February 25
I don't do twitter but been watching this Judon vs Hensley thing. I shake my head at social media many times. I was on facebook for a while but deleted. Now you have a reporter with a pretty solid reputation who reports that he turned down a deal for 16.5 million a year? Then Judon replies saying he's a liar and he has pictures of him with a stripper? Wow I guess you just have to shake your head and wait for Hensley to sue for liable. I think if Matt or his agent turned down 16.5 mil/yr they are nuts. I have seen many great outside LB/Rush ends and Matts not one of those headed for Canton types. He's not Suggs,Bouleware,maybe not even Jamie Sharper or Jaret Johnson. I could go back further in time with a few names but no one will know them. See you Matt good luck. BTW the cap is going down and the league is basically demanding that the networks back up the Brinks trucks with more money to offset loses due to Covid and poor ratings.

RickinBaltimore     February 25
Kenny Cooper will always have a special place for me. I grew up on the Blast, and as a kid, they were larger than life. He knew how to coach, but how to promote the team, the trek up and down federal Hill immediately comes to mind.

Tom J     February 25
Can't wait to watch the Kenny Cooper chat. He was bigger than life "back in the day" when the Blast ruled the winter in Baltimore. Brought me many evenings of joy during those glory days. It was nothing like being in the old Civic Center when it was packed to the rafters and that place was rocking..!!!!

Delray Rick     February 24
This guy has 3 crashes and almost hit a man in the hotel lot..and that man was upset. Watch his interview. SHOULD HAVE HIS LICENSE REVOKED.


Cal     February 24
As you noted on Twitter yesterday DF, God is indeed great. Those prayers for Tiger worked. Now let's hope he can resume some normal functionality in his life and maybe even play golf again someday.

Brian Jessup     February 24
Sources say Tiger's appointment was 1 hour away and he was running late with only 20 minutes to make it. Thank God he's not dead. Speculators are running wild, drugs, sleep, distracted driving, who knows maybe a combination of all three. Here's hoping he somehow makes it back, maybe after this he won't want to but the golfing and non-golfing world was depressed yesterday.



I don't think the "OJ" coverage of the car being towed in was necessary, that was way over the top.



And we thought 2020 was bad, hope this isn't an omen for the rest of the year.

Vince Fiduccia     February 24
The Golf Channel's coverage of Tiger was outstanding last night, especially the work done by Rich Lerner. If you want information about Tiger do not go to one of the cable news outlets. They are one rung below thrash TV. The Golf Channel has insider information with Tiger's people.

unitastoberry     February 24
I hope Tiger Woods recovers. Lots depend on how good or bad his surgeon was along with any complications from the repairs. He's going to be on pain killers again for a long time which is not good either. I hope when he gets back to normal he finally hires a full time driver.

ChrisK     February 24
Excellent call with Marc Cohn. Also, a good take on Zanzibar--not quite my favorite of William's, but it's way up on the list. And yes, Earl Weaver was the best. Harbaugh can make an argument, but he also would have a sub-.500 career playoff record if Rahim Moore hadn't tripped over his own feet. He's not there yet, but he's in the conversation.

TimD in Timonium     February 24
@Delray Rick, you called this on Feb 22. Maybe it was speeding, maybe he fell asleep, maybe he was texting, bad outcome either way, but could've been much, much worse. If Alex Smith can come back from a catastrophic lower leg injury, I believe Tiger can do. Get well soon, Tiger.

JohnInEssex     February 23
I remember back in 83 that some of the Orioles players were determined to win without Weaver at the helm. They wanted to show it wasn't the manager, but the players.

And the final game of 82 - Cal Sr. botched sending/not sending Glenn Gulliver from 3rd base early in the game and we never really recovered.

HERMAN     February 23
Earl Weaver was the best manager in town, hands down.

Earl was light years ahead in using statistics, knowing minute details about players history of performance against competition. He used 3 X 5 index cards to keep stats across the board.

Earl studied the stats of championship teams. He knew what home run totals it took, how many RBI's it took, how many hits. Then he attempted to put a team together position by position who could meet those totals. He knew which players hit his pitcher well, even the obscure players and pinch hitters.

Earl was one of the only managers in history to platoon a pair of mid-level talents at the same position in an attempt to have two players at the same position equal the output of one superior performer.

Earl was a stats-geek scientist forty years before it became a necessary tool of every team in the game.

He may have tightened up a team during the World Series and lost some he should have won, but for season long performance Earl was the best in town, one of the best in the history of the game.

Howard     February 23
Earl underachieved with the talent that he had. Someone has pointed out that Altobelli took Weaver’s guys and won a World Series in 1983 but Weaver couldn’t do it with his guys in 1982.

Harbaugh wins a Super Bowl with a team that was clearly not the most talented in the NFL..

cj     February 23
Praying for Tiger. The crash scene looks really bad. Godspeed to him.

Delray Rick     February 23
MESSIAH in car crash in LA. Had to extraction by "jaws of life".

Neil     February 23
Just wanted to say I thought A to Z was good reading material today. Add that to your regular columns please.

Chris in Bel Air     February 23
Yes to Weaver as B'more best. Harbs is certainly making a good case. I'm assuming Harbs will be coaching (and winning) for at several more years. If he were to win another Super Bowl, that could certainly make the decision more difficult. Still remember that final 4 game weekend against the Brewers in 1982. The O's and Weaver almost pulled it off.

Big yes to the U2, Beastie Boys, The Cars, Steely Dan and INXS. No to DMB, Pearl Jam and Little Feat.

@Delray Rick - I've been rooting for Spieth too. I agree he seems like his game has turned around. I would love to see him win a tourney and a major this year.

Skip     February 23
I agree with UtB about Weeb and being an oldster myself I would nominate Paul Richards for his building of the Birds in the 60s.

Frank     February 23
RIP Ted Patterson. I remember @DF listed him on his Top 10 Baltimore sportscaster list a few years ago. Maybe you can share a story or two about Ted sometime this week @DF?

unitastoberry     February 23
E -- Is Earl Weaver Baltimore's all-time best coach? I don't know...that's why I'm asking you. I mean, in my lifetime (please note that) , the only candidates for the honor are Shula, Weaver, Billick, Showalter and Harbaugh. Shula wasn't around long enough. Showalter didn't win a championsip. Billick had a lot of "off years" despite winning a Super Bowl. It's either Harbaugh or Weaver. I think you can make an argument for both, but I'll listen to you and your reasoning.



In your lifetime yes Weaver was by far. In my lifetime I would bring Weeb Ewbank into the mix for me. Forget Shula he never won a title here and disrespected Unitas. Rosenbloom was nuts or drunk or hangin with the bookies and strippers when he let Weeb go. Weeb won three titles in 2 cities and brought many HOF players into the league. Earl was great but he inherited a great team from Bauer. But he proved himself again after Frank and Brooks left/retired and Altobelli won with Weavers guys. I'd call it a tie for me with Weaver and Weeb.

Tristan (DMD Editor)     February 23
Good morning, just for your information, no more comments will be permitted about the vaccination for Covid. I'm going to remove all currently published comments and we will not be allowing any further comments.



Thank you for your understanding.

Thursday
February 11
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2362


bruce and the beach


You can blame this one on a lazy, snowy, post-Super Bowl morning if you want.

This is generally "one of those weeks" in the world of sports. The big football game has come and gone, baseball doesn't start for six weeks and the NCAA tournament is still anyone's ballgame at this point.

Back in the old days of the radio business, these next six weeks were often to referred to as "the dog days". Around here, we'll have plenty to chat about, so don't worry about that. If nothing else, we can laugh at Red Sox fans who are watching their once-proud on-field product get decimated. The Red Sox traded one of their only good remaining players -- Andrew Benintendi -- to the K.C. Royals last night, and the folks in Boston are howling. Welcome to our world here in Baltimore, Beantown baseball fans.

Alas, I'm poking into two subjects today that are near and dear to me. This edition of #DMD will not be for everyone, so please save the quips, jabs, and so on, because I know from the start not all of you are Pebble Beach golf enthusiasts or fans of Bruce Springsteen. I am a fan of both, though, and occasionally, because it's called "Drew's" Morning Dish, I'll write about things here that interest me and might not interest a significant slice of the audience.

We'll be back tomorrow with "other" sports stuff. Oh, and David Rosenfeld's Thursday column below has lots of great Ravens stuff in it, so you can quench your football thirst with David's outstanding work.

Also below, you'll find an awesome sitdown with Don Donatello, a former cast member on The Golf Channel's "Big Break II" and a current (occasional) caddie on the PGA Tour. If you like golf, Donatello is well worth watching in today's edition of "Drew and Friends". As you'll see, he speaks his mind on a variety of subjects.


The PGA Tour makes their annual stop in the Monterey Peninsula this week for the annual Pebble Beach Pro-Am. This year's tournament will be contested on two courses instead of the usual three; Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill.

I had the luxury and privilege of playing both courses when I took a group of #DMD clients and friends out there for a long weekend in October of 2019. Every year at this time, I sit back and watch as much of the coverage of the tournament as I can, having now seen both pieces of glorious property up close and personal.

The gorgeous 105 yard 7th hole at Pebble Beach.

In the same way that I tell everyone who loves golf -- "You have to get to Augusta National at some point in your life to watch a Masters round" -- I say the same thing about Pebble Beach having now been there.

If you love golf, you have to play Pebble Beach once.

There's really only one drawback. The cost of doing it.

Some might consider the drive from San Francisco or San Jose to be problematic and a drawback, but it's basically a 2-hour trip that includes a rather spectacular final 15 minutes if you take 17 Mile Drive. There's a smaller airport in Monterey that you can also fly into, but nearly everyone lands in either San Jose or San Francisco and drives from there.

The price of playing and staying at Pebble Beach far outweighs the drive from the airport in terms of "drawback value".

It's nearly impossible to play Pebble Beach without staying on their property. You can slide in as a single if you happen to be out there for business, visiting friends, etc., but even that's a longshot. Your best option is to book a stay with them which almost always is at least two nights of hotel accommodations. Those, as you'll find, are typically in the $850 plus tax per-night range, minimum. Before you need to be given CPR, keep in mind that's a room with two beds. You're in for $450 a night at a minimum, tax included.

Here's the simple rule I found while I was out there. It's a painful rule. But a simple one. Plan on spending $1,000 a day for hotel, golf and food. And that's a minimum number. There's sorta-kinda no way to penny pinch at Pebble Beach. Pebble is $600 to play, Spylass Hill and Spanish Bay are both $450.

There are some other not-as-well-known public tracks in the area that are definitely worth playing and are in the $125 range, believe it or not, but if you stay at Pebble Beach and don't play Pebble Beach, Spyglass and Spanish Bay, what are you doing there in the first place?

There aren't many things in life that live up to the hype, in my opinion. I'm not sure why that is, but that's the way I've seen it over my 58 years. Having children lived up to hype. The "Born To Run" album still, to this day, lives up to the hype. Fenway Park lived up to the hype. The movie The Green Mile lived up to the hype. Augusta National and Bethpage Black...both lived up to the hype.

Pebble Beach lived up to the hype as much as anything I've ever seen.

It was, in a word, flawless.

Except for the cost. But the cost is the cost is the cost.

But the property, the town, the golf course, the......everything......even the wine at Spanish Bay Resort. All of it lived up to the hype.

The golf course is exactly what you'll see on TV this week, but on steroids that would have made Bonds, McGwire and Sosa jealous.

I'm not going to bore you with my shot-by-shot round from 2019. The caddie fee for that would be $150 and I doubt you want to pay me $150 to hear about my round.

But the golf course is both exceedingly easy and incredibly difficult. #1 and #2 are "handshakes", a 370 yard par 4, from the tees we -- and most visitors -- elected to play and a 500 yard par 5. The 8th, 9th and 10th holes are gloriously situated right next to the cove and any shot right of the fairway takes up space next to thousands of other golf balls that land on the sand or in the surf and get washed away for eternity.

The 7th hole, as you'll see if you watch the tournament this week, is a 105 yard downhill hole that is so laughably difficult you can't believe it. Caddies will tell you about windy mornings where "my player" hit 6-iron. On the day we played, an unimaginably pleasant Chamber of Commerce Saturday afternoon with a high temperature of 73 degrees, I bunted a sand wedge from 105 ("it's playing 82 yards, not an inch more" my caddie said) and didn't make the green. I did, for the record, roll in a 10-footer for par, though. What a great hole the 7th is.

I made three birdies that day. I made a 6-footer at the 2nd hole after hitting my 2nd shot into the greenside bunker. I made a 20-footer up the hill at #4 after playing a smart 4-iron off the tee and hitting a 9-iron in from there on the 350 yard hole. And I made a curling 15-footer that was my best putt of the day at the 16th hole.

Unfortunately, a mid-round stumble at 10, 11 and 12 hurt me. I also totally botched the famed 17th hole, which my group stupidly played from the back tee (220 yards) because it seemed like the thing to do at the time. "It's playing every bit of 245" my caddie said. I hit a 5-wood into the front bunker, knocked it out to 15 feet, and three putted for a dreadful double bogey.

I did manage to par the glorious 18th hole with three standard shots and two putts from 20 feet and finished the day at 4 over 76. I wasn't displeased with my score, but also didn't find the golf course all that difficult from the tees we played. Pebble Beach is far, far more beautiful and striking than it is difficult and laboring. If you can hit your tee ball relatively straight, Pebble Beach is actually a "routine" layout. The greens are definitely a challenge, but the caddies do the work and just tell you where to hit it.

For those of you who love golf, I'm telling you...get out there and play the course. I'd love to put another group together sometime after Covid-19 and go again, in fact. If you're reading this and you're interested in going, let me know (18inarow@gmail.com). Here's the only thing about that kind of trip. You have to do it in pairs. It's the only way to make it work, financially. So if you and a friend, family member, etc. are interested in going out there, shoot me an e-mail.


So I covered golf, above, and now I'll cover something else I'm very fond of: Bruce Springsteen. You can duck out now or you can continue reading. Either way is fine by me.

This is not about Springsteen's music, so don't worry, I'm not going to sell you on how great he's been in his almost 50 year career or anything like that. You either like his music or you don't. I'm not really interested in getting you to like it if you don't already.

Bruce Springsteen, musician, activist and salesman?

But I am interested in discussing "the middle", a topic Springsteen broached last Sunday night when he was the center of attraction on a TV commercial that was played during the Super Bowl. That ad has already been pulled by the automobile manufacturer after it came to light on Tuesday of this week that Springsteen had actually been arrested back in November on a DUI charge in New Jersey.

I'm assuming that Springsteen hid that arrest from the automobile company. I mean, they wouldn't have put him behind the wheel of a $5 million TV commercial in the wake of a DUI arrest, right?

But I'm not here to talk about that, either. I have no idea what happened to Springsteen in that New Jersey state park. I'm sure he'll go through the legal process and whatever happens, happens. I detest drinking and driving, as I know all of you do. Springsteen will get what he gets from the legal system and that's completely out of my hands.

I do, however, want to talk about the TV commercial and its theme: "the middle".

What is "the middle" that Bruce refers to? And why did the automobile company choose him to try and convince people to meet there?

And, on an even more fascinating note, why would Springsteen inject himself -- a man who, until this weekend, had never before appeared in any sort of commercial or endorsement for any product -- into this quest to bring people to the middle when he, himself, has largely been as far away from the middle as anyone could be?

Was this commercial a chance for Bruce himself to confess something to his followers and fans? Has he, perhaps, extended himself so far beyond the middle that he might now be feeling some late-life guilt? The New Jersey musician has been a staunch liberal throughout his entire life. He has been "about" the middle in his music career, but has never really lived there. He's always been far, far away.

There are, obviously, deep political overtones in the video you'll see below.

If you want to tear at that guts of it and lash out at the automobile company for using him or for Springsteen to "preach", go ahead, but that's not really something that interests me at all.

I'm far more curious about "why?". It's not about the money. I have no idea what Bruce got paid to do the TV commercial, but I know this: the money wasn't what drove him to do it. He has so much money as it is, which is why he never whored himself to cars, clothiers, mortgage companies, guitar makers and so on throughout this career. Bruce didn't do the Super Bowl commercial for money.

So why do it?

That's what interests me.

Does he want to bring people to the "middle"? What is that, exactly? How do we get there? Who "runs" the middle? We all know it's a tough place to find and an even tougher place to manage.

I love the commercial and its theme. I really do. I think I would have loved it if, say, Tom Hanks was doing it. Or Denzel Washington. Or Morgan Freeman. Or any other famous person I respect. Bruce doing it meant something more to me, though, because I know he's as far from the middle as anyone could be.

Why now?

Why, at age 71, does Springsteen feel the need to pull people to the middle? Was the TV commercial a confession of sorts from him, that perhaps he hasn't always been as close to the middle as he should have been?

I'm more interested in the commercial, frankly, than I was the game.




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drew stole my idea, so...


As the (less than) Super Bowl dragged on to an inevitable conclusion Sunday night, all I kept thinking about was Lamar Jackson. Not the Ravens as a whole, or the disappointing loss in Buffalo, or next year’s schedule. Just Lamar…because it sure looked like Lamar out there on the field in Tampa, only Patrick Mahomes isn’t really that good at being Lamar.

Alas, it seems like someone else was thinking the same thing. Based on Twitter—the world’s most important thing ever—there were a lot of us. So I’ll leave Lamar alone to think about his contract and figure out more arm angles from which to throw the ball.

Let’s talk about something else. Let’s talk about the regular season. Why? Because the playoffs suck.

Sure, every team but one goes home empty-handed. Yes, entire careers that otherwise are fantastic—think Dan Marino or Charles Barkley—get branded with an asterisk. And how about that playoff game or series where your best player is injured; how is that fair? But it’s more basic than all that.

The postseason, the playoffs, the tournament, the championship—whatever it is you want to brand it—just isn’t a good summation of the season. It never has been, and it never will be.

The EPL, for example, has it right if you ask me. 19 opponents, home and away, for 38 weeks. No do-overs for the disappointing seventh-place team that had legitimate preseason aspirations of finishing at the top of the table. You are what your record says you are. They can keep the relegation thing over there, but otherwise I’m a fan.*

*I realize that there are separate “knockout” tournaments for these teams, such as the FA Cup and the Champions League. The NBA has actually thought about doing this—a separate in-season tournament where the winners earn a significant bonus.

There are 256 NFL games every year, 2,430 MLB games in a normal six-month season, 1,230 NBA games and 1,271 NHL games based on the 82-game seasons in those leagues. I’m sorry, but you can’t tell me that those thousands of games exist solely to choose and seed teams to play in a free-for-all.

I’m tired of fans being upset after their team wins the NHL Presidents’ Trophy with a record of 62-16-4 and then gets swept in a playoff series, like the Tampa Bay Lightning were in 2019. You seriously want to be upset as a fan of the Houston Astros, who won 107 games in 2019 only to lose to the Nationals in Game 7 of the World Series?

We just have it all wrong when it comes to our sports, pro and college, even high school. The regular season isn’t just a means of placing yourself in some other place at the end. It is the season. It’s what matters the most.

Ever listen to a retired athlete, especially one who’s not that far removed from the game? Someone the same age as Tom Brady, maybe. Whether they won a championship or never really got close, it’s always the same. They miss the job, the locker room, the “guys” (or girls), the striving to be successful no matter the result of the last game. I doubt they miss the playoffs much at all.

We’re different as fans, I guess. But I think we should take something from the players on this topic.

Everyone rightfully talks about Brady reaching 10 Super Bowls while winning seven of them. These are incredible numbers, probably records that won’t be broken, if only because how many people in the future are going to be playing pro football at age 43?

Yet whatever Brady and his teammates in Foxboro and now Tampa have done in the Super Bowl pales in comparison to all that they’ve done in every Week 4 in Miami or Week 13 in Buffalo, when they’re probably broken down and mostly injured and playing in the elements.

The NCAA men’s basketball championship is, for some, the best sporting event of the year. It’s a billion-dollar television and in-person arena property that makes some players and coaches famous forever. I still get chills thinking about the moment in Atlanta when Juan Dixon tossed the ball up into the Georgia Dome rafters at the buzzer, and that was 19 years ago.

As a summation of the college basketball season, though, the NCAA tournament isn’t good at all. There are close to 20 teams in the field that would not have qualified without an automatic bid; it’s the playoffs with a bunch of teams that shouldn’t be in the playoffs. Teams who sneak into the field “on the bubble” somehow save the perception of their seasons by winning two games to make it to the Sweet 16; teams on the 4- or 5-seed lines ruin that same perception by losing in the first round.

Virginia lost to UMBC in 2018, by a lot! A blowout, completely the opposite of the expected blowout. After the game, Virginia coach Tony Bennett sat there matter-of-factly and told the truth, which was that his team lost that one fair and square. Left unmentioned was that his team had a 31-2 regular-season record, coming within two points (in an overtime game) of finishing undefeated in the ACC. Isn’t that more important to remember?

What about the fans, you say? We care about the results more than we ever will about the process, and that’s our right. But seriously…do you actually like watching playoff games? I don’t, because a loss in a postseason game is just devastating.

After 14 seasons in the wilderness, we were treated to 14 Oriole playoff games in a five-season stretch. There wasn’t one inning during any of those games when I wasn’t completely wracked with nerves. The O’s dropped an eight-spot on a bunch of Detroit bullpen stiffs in the bottom of the 8th inning of Game 1 of the 2014 ALDS, turning a 4-3 game into a 12-3 rout—and it was still nervy watching Tommy Hunter try to get three outs in the top of the 9th.

Those extra-inning games in New York in October 2012, one a loss and one a win? Stomach-churning. Those one-off Wild Card games—the 2012 win in Texas and the 2016 loss in Toronto. Not really that fun. The fun part was watching the team get to the playoffs, wasn’t it?

Nobody ever talks about the 2001 Seattle Mariners, who won 116 games to set the modern-day MLB record only to lose to the Yankees in five games in the ALCS. Everyone still talks about the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, who set the NBA standard with 72 victories and then went on to an NBA championship. Do I understand why that’s the case? Sure. I just think it’s a much greater accomplishment to win 116 or 72 (or 73, as the Warriors did five years ago) than whatever a team does in the postseason.

How did I get off on this rant in the first place? Oh right, the Super Bowl, and Mahomes running for his life on a bad toe, and maybe that pick-six interception Jackson threw up in Buffalo a few weeks ago. Moments in time, on primetime national stages, that are difficult memories. They’ll be talked about the entire offseason, analyzed and tossed around from one pundit to another.

There were other moments for both of them. They took place in sunny September and dreary December, this year in front of very few people. They added up game by game, quarter by quarter, drive by drive. You could fill a book with them, and it would be a great read.

I’ll keep rooting for my teams in the playoffs; heck, maybe the Orioles will even make a World Series before I’m gone. But the regular season will always matter in a way that people tend to forget while drowning their sorrows.

JERRY'S TOYOTA banner
Wednesday
February 10
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2361


catch-up day


Some things that happened recently deserve commentary. They got put on the back burner momentarily. The Super Bowl, you know. But now, I can hit on those topics and another couple that have surfaced early this week.

I wasn't alarmed that Jordan Spieth didn't win on Sunday in Phoenix. As I wrote here on Sunday morning, Spieth's tee-to-green game wasn't nearly good enough to spur him on to victory. He needed his short game and putting to carry him. And it did. For three days. But there was no way he was going to putt on Sunday like he did on Saturday. Alas, he didn't. And he's still winless since July of 2017.

Jordan Spieth fell short last Sunday in Phoenix after being tied for the lead with 18 holes remaining. He hasn't won on the PGA Tour since July of 2017.

A lot of people ask me, "What happened to Spieth?" The answer is pretty simple, but it winds-and-weaves its way to something more complex. In short, Spieth fell victim to the same thing that hurt guys like Ian Baker Finch, Chip Beck, Ian Woosnam, Luke Donald and plenty of others; he chased distance, as the saying goes on TOUR. Spieth was basically an average driver of the golf ball -- at best -- when he was an All-American at the University of Texas and then in his first few years as a professional. He was a great iron player, but getting the ball into the middle of the fairway with any kind of real length was an ambitious endeavor.

What separated Spieth during his 3-year "hot run" (2015-2017) was his superb short game and putting. He was never going to shoot over par with that wedge work and putting acumen. But along the way, he started trying to add distance to his game off the tee. He saw what guys like DJ, Koepka, Rory and Justin Thomas were doing the off tee and he realized that if they're hitting 9-irons into greens when he's hitting a 7 or 8 iron that he was going to lose strokes to them, quickly.

The more indebted he got to distance, the worse Spieth's game unraveled. He started hitting his tee ball off the planet on both sides of the fairway (the dreaded "two way miss" as TOUR players call it), and then when he started hitting a couple of less greens per-round, his scores really started to suffer. And so it goes. It snowballs and then falls apart and, eventually, you're at the end of your "idea list" on how to fix your game.

Spieth has plenty of good golf left in him. I believe that to be true. I do think he'll win a golf tournament again. Probably more than one, actually. But I can't see Spieth ever being a Top 10 player in the world again. There are too many young players coming up every year who are going to step into those spots within three TOUR seasons, the same way Spieth did when he turned professional. I think Jordan Spieth is an outstanding ambassador for the sport of golf. I love the way he's handled this "slump" of his. But, unfortunately, I don't think he'll ever be the player he was 5 years ago.

So you might not have noticed a bubbling NBA story because, A) You don't follow the NBA, and, B) You don't follow the Dallas Mavericks, and, C) You've stopped caring about the integtration of political issues with the world of sports.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban ordered his organization to stop playing the national anthem prior to 2020-2021 home games.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban ordered his organization to pull the National Anthem prior to home games this season and, thus, the Mavericks have yet to play it before any of their 13 home games to date. Cuban announced on Tuesday the team won't play the anthem at all this season.

Last summer, Cuban hinted that this move was potentially on the horizon when he said, "The National Anthem police in this country are out of control. If you want to complain, complain to your boss and ask why they don't play the National Anthem every day before you start work."

In this case, if Mavericks employees asked their boss, Cuban, why the national anthem isn't played, he would say, "Because I don't want it to be played, that's why."

There are four things in my life I've never wavered on. And I can say, with utmost certainty, I'll never change my mind on these things:

1) Pete Rose bet on baseball while he was in baseball and thus, he should never be in the Hall of Fame.

2) Jim Morrison says "I just got into town about an hour ago" at the beginning of the song L.A. Woman, not "I took a little downer about an hour ago." Think about it. What makes more sense? "I took a little downer about an hour ago...took a look around see which way the wind blows" -- or -- "I just got into town about an hour ago...took a look around see which way the wind blows"???

3) Matt Ryan and the Falcons still haven't recovered from blowing that 28-3 lead in the Super Bow four years ago. Look at their record since collapsing in the final 20 minutes of that game and squandering a 25-point lead and tell me they're not connected.

4) Our National Anthem deserves to be honored and held in esteem, not tossed aside like a snowball that's lost its flavor on a hot July afternoon. Removing the Star Spangled Banner and essentially "hiding" it too avoid controversy is terrible. It's a disservice to the song itself and to the country it represents.

It's Mark Cuban's business and team and he can do as he pleases. I don't understand buckling to whatever external pressures have been applied to him. Play the National Anthem before the game and move on from there. If the players don't want to stand for the anthem, just tell them to remain in the locker room and they can then come out and join everyone (or no one) on the bench.

I've never understood why it's so hard to create a clean, accommodating policy for everyone. It's simple. I'll write it. Even a dummy from Glen Burnie can figure this out: "Prior to all NBA games, the Star Spangled Banner will be played. Any player, coach or staff member of an NBA team who is on or in the general area of the court must stand while the Star Bangled Banner is played. Anyone who wants to remain in the locker room during the Star Spangled Banner is permitted to do so and faces no penalty or sanction from the league or team."

I see nothing wrong with that policy at all. It's simple. It handles the issue of "what if I don't want to stand?" with ease and without any sort of recognition, punishment, etc.

Cuban, of course, decided it was no longer important to play the National Anthem at all. He has that ability because he's the owner. But it doesn't make his decision right, sensible or the proper recognition of the great opportunities this country has afforded him in his successful business career.

The Orioles and the Maryland Stadium Authority agreed on a 2-year lease extension earlier this week, with the Orioles owning the right to add an additional 5 years prior to the 2023 season.

John Angelos and the Orioles agreed on a 2-year Camden Yards lease extension earlier this week.

This brings an end, at least temporarily, to any thoughts at all that the Orioles might be on the move to Nashville, Las Vegas or some other U.S. city hungry for Major League Baseball.

Why only a 2-year extension? A source told #DMD on Tuesday "That's all the two sides could hammer out", citing the uncertainty of MASN and the regional sports network concept, which is being challenged with each passing day by internet streaming deals the league is making. There's also the issue of the looming $100 million payout to the Nationals, which isn't necessarily "the Orioles", but it does involve the Angelos family.

"They were close at one point to doing a 5-year extension with a 5-year option," the source says. "But ultimately the Orioles really wanted something shorter, which gives them time to see how the MASN lawsuit plays out."

The source added, "The business side of Orioles baseball is changing. You're looking at a payroll this season of $45 million. It's very clear what ownership and upper management are saying: "Why spend $75 million on a roster that can't compete with the best teams when you can spend $45 million and achieve, essentially, the same result?" And right now, that $30 million is very important to them. $30 million to the Orioles keeps them in the black. They are rebuilding on the field and on the business side as well."

None of this comes as a surprise. Not to me, anyway. There's no way the Orioles are leaving Baltimore. Not next year, not in five years, not ever. The lease was always going to get done. Two years, five years, it doesn't matter. The Orioles are staying here.

That said, there's also no doubt things are going to be run differently in the next few years, as the transition continues from Peter Angelos to his son, John. Whether the Orioles ever get back to a payroll level of $100 million or more remains to be seen, but the general concept of "why spend $75 million to finish in last when you can spend $45 million to finish in last?" isn't dumb at all. I mean, what's the difference between spending $75 million to win 60 games or spending $45 million to win 50 games? Save $30 million and win ten fewer games. Seems like something most of us would agree to, frankly.

So, 2021 doesn't really matter in Baltimore. The team is going to be lousy. Who cares? But what about 2022? Lousy again? OK, let's move to 2023. Better? Ready to spend $100 million by 2023 to get a few key veterans in to join the exciting group of young players who were groomed in '21 and '22? What if they don't actually have $100 million to spend? Then what?

The Orioles have lost so much over the last 20 years that we've all sorta-kinda grown numb to it. I don't know if Orioles baseball is a fair comparison to the Detroit Lions, but I assume Baltimore baseball fans feel like Lions football fans every year. "Yeah, we're not gonna be any good again this season. It's OK. We stopped caring about that a long time ago."

I'm definitely guilty of that, myself. I really don't care all that much any longer if they win or lose. On the off chance they do win, like they did in '12, '14 and '16, it was really fun to have games in September and October that mattered. I mean, going to a baseball playoff game with a hoodie on and feeling that cool fall breeze in your face.......it's hard to name something better in sports.

But "winning" isn't expected in Baltimore any longer. And I'm, sort of shamefully, OK with it. I don't care all that much. I assume they're gonna lose now. It's cool. But it sure would be nice to see a World Series game in Baltimore again someday soon.

And I don't think you can do that with a $45 million payroll.

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SUCH
a sports fan

MARK SUCHY is a lifelong Baltimore sports fan, youth basketball coach and father of three athletic sons. A former weekend sports radio host in Baltimore, "Such" offers his memories and insights on sports related topics each Wednesday here at #DMD.


home sweet (new) home


This place is cluttered, just like my brain. It’s sort of amazing the little things that you find as you begin packing. Twelve years in one place leads to a lot of collecting. But I’m not a diehard memorabilia collector, which is why this stuff is so scattered.

Here’s a signed Haloti Ngata color photo. I think we got it one Friday night at the Greene Turtle in Westminster when he was doing a live radio spot with my old friend Bob Haynie. Or was that this autographed Kelly Gregg picture? I can’t remember. When did those guys stop playing for the Ravens?

Here’s my ticket stub from Game 2 of the 1983 World Series. I don’t even have to look it up to tell you that Mike Boddicker struck out 14 Phillies that night and the Orioles won, 4-1, to even the series at one game each. The Birds didn’t lose again, clinching in 5 on a Sunday evening in Philly. What’s kind of amazing is to look back and realize that I figured I’d see them in the World Series a few more times in the next few seasons. 1983 sure is a long time ago…

Here’s this yellowed piece of paper that has a simple inscription: “To Mark Suchy, Best Wishes, Lenny Moore #24”. No glossy picture or cover from a program, just this once blank piece of paper. We knew Lenny’s tailor when I was growing up, and he gave this to me as a gift. Try explaining the greatness of Lenny Moore to anyone born after 1980. I always cite Marshall Faulk, but some of the younger youths nowadays don’t know him well enough to appreciate that comparison. #24 was the first of his kind, the true all-purpose, dual threat running back that’s so coveted in the game today.

Here’s a ticket stub from Super Bowl XXXV that was given to me by one of my suppliers from my career in construction. He went to the game as a corporate guest, and he kindly sent me the ticket stub, the game program and a commemorative football. As big of a Cowboys fan as he was, he was genuinely happy for me to have the Ravens win. Those have a special place in my house and in my heart. They’ll find a spot in the new house.

Here’s a black-and-white photo of Johnny Unitas that’s autographed, “To Mark, Best Wishes, Johnny Unitas”. On the bottom, in black typeface, it reads Johnny Unitas’ Golden Arm Restaurant. I remember going there to take a bus to Memorial Stadium for Colts games when I was a very young boy. It was on York Road, just north of Gittings Avenue. My parents would take me with a group of other families and kids. There was a buffet before and after the games. Unitas and some other Colts would always mingle with the crowd postgame. I’m guessing this is from around 1972, because while Unitas is wearing his trademark black hightop cleats, his hair is long (at least by his standards). He’s rocking more of the early ‘70’s flow; his hightop buzzcut is gone. None of us knew at the time that he would be gone to San Diego in another year or two.

Here’s the ticket stub from the last Maryland Terrapins home basketball game at Cole Field House. The game was played on Sunday, March 3, 2002 at 8 p.m. The University of Virginia was the opponent. On the face of the ticket it tells me that UVA was the opponent in the first game ever played at Cole Field House, on December 2, 1955. Maryland won that game 67-55. The Terps won the finale in 2002, 112-92. 30 days later that Terps team would win a National Championship at the Georgia Dome (which is also closed now). I don’t even have to look it up to tell you that Maryland won the ACC regular season title that year by going 15-1 in the conference. They somehow lost to N.C. State in the ACC Tournament Semifinals. But they never lost again.

Here's my Jacoby Jones memorial collage: Pictures of him catching the Mile High Miracle, his touchdown catch past Chris Culliver in Super Bowl XLVII, and his kickoff return for a touchdown to start the second half of that game. January 2013 sure was a lot of fun. This collage will find some wall space in the new crib.

Here’s a 3”x5” color headshot of Scott McGregor. He autographed it, “To Mark, God Bless You, Scott McGregor. John 14:6” I don’t know the year it’s from, but he’s in the Orioles’ home white uniform with the white paneled hat with the cartoon bird. It’s actually a postcard. I turn it over and it’s got the Orioles’ address for Memorial Stadium and a little box with Place Stamp Here written in it. I wonder if he sent any of these to his family and friends just for kicks? I would have if I ever had my headshot on a postcard.

Here’s my framed black-and-white picture of me taking a jumpshot against Towson Catholic. I was a sophomore at Loyola, so this has to be the winter of 1982. The scoreboard in the background shows us leading 41-28. I have to admit, my form is pretty textbook. I’m just going to go ahead and tell you I made that shot. Why not?

Here’s a replica of the Jim Palmer statue that’s in the outfield picnic area at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. There are actually four of these around this house somewhere. We got them at FanFest one year. I thought of Cakes on Super Bowl Sunday night when there was a graphic showing that Tom Brady was now the only player in NFL history to win a Super Bowl in three different decades. Palmer is the only player to be a winning pitcher in a World Series game in three different decades. He was also a World Series champion in three different decades. Sometimes, when we talk about records in sports that will never be broken, I like to put Palmer’s out there. It’s hard to imagine anyone ever matching his accomplishment, let alone breaking it. And I take some comfort in the knowledge that Tom Brady would have to be 52 years old in order to win a Super Bowl in 2030. Can’t happen, right? Right?

Here's my old Baltimore Colts pennant. It’s real blue felt, with the Colts helmet on it with the old double-bar face mask. For some reason I’ve always liked pennants. They’re inexpensive and they seem to hold up over time. Maybe I’ll make a project out of putting them together and framing them someday.

There’s the Orioles’ 1983 World Series one, the Maryland Terps’ National Championship one, a Loyola High School one that has to be from the 1950’s, even a Denver Nuggets one, from our trip in 2015. Baltimore’s own Will Barton hooked us up with tickets for a Nuggets-Mavericks game, which was very cool. Looking at these reminds me that I need a Ravens pennant. I don’t know why that never occurred to me before.

Here's my matted and framed color photograph of Memorial Stadium. It’s taken from the parking lot that faced the façade with the inscription on it. I used to have it in my old office. There’s going to be a place of prominence for this somewhere in the new sports lounge. I don’t use the term “Man Cave”. That’s played out.

I’m not much of an interior decorator. I admit that this next chapter I’m entering needs a bit more of a tasteful approach, something that says that I’ve matured a little bit over time. But one of the reasons I’ve held on to mementos like these is because they’re touchstones along my journey. I’ve always had this odd ability to connect sports and teams and games with certain times and episodes in my life. I think that’s one of the great gifts of being a lifelong fan. We can look at something and be taken back. We can remember exactly how those moments made us feel. Every range of human emotion can be contained in the result of a game. It might sound crazy, but it’s true.

I’ll have a lot more room in the new digs. There’s also plenty of storage space, which has been sorely lacking for twelve years. I’ll get settled in and start unpacking. Everything sports related is coming along. I’ll probably put the bulk of it away at first.

But I know myself too well. There will be some lazy weekend day when I’ll begin unpacking trophies and pictures and crazy little things like rings and ticket stubs and pictures and old newspapers. And they’ll find a place in my new home. Because I need those memories to make me feel at home.

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Tuesday
February 9
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2360


can you imagine?


Play along with this, will you please?

In other words, humor me.

While you're enjoying your Royal Farms coffee this morning, I want you to use your imagination. This will take some doing to create the scenario you're about to read, but you can do it.

Relax. Get your breathing right. Clear everything out of your head and picture this. The Ravens and Buccaneers, not the Chiefs and Buccaneers, met in Sunday night's Super Bowl. Got that?

"How?", you ask.

What would the reaction have been had the Ravens, not the Chiefs, laid that 31-9 Super Bowl egg on Sunday night?

Keep your eyes closed and imagine it went like this: The winds didn't howl 30 mph on that early mid-January Saturday night in Buffalo and the Ravens and Bills got to contest a "real" game, where Baltimore was able to sneak out of upstate New York with a hard fought 23-20 win.

In that win over the Bills, Lamar Jackson got the ball back with 2:23 remaining in the game, with the Ravens down 20-16, and took them down the field on a 77 yard drive, hitting Mark Andrews with the game-winning TD with just 16 seconds left.

The final drive was aided by a very questionable pass interference call, one that turned into headline material on ESPN's variety of shows, plus all of talk radio in both Buffalo and Baltimore.

But the Ravens escaped with a 23-20 win.

The following Sunday, in Kansas City, Lamar Jackson had a lousy first half as the Ravens trailed 20-10, but he bounced back with a huge final two quarters and the Baltimore rushing attack churned out 103 second half yards as John Harbaugh's team got a 39 yard field goal from Justin Tucker with 44 seconds remaining to advance to the Super Bowl with a 34-33 win over Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

So the Ravens, like the Buccaneers, won three straight road games to make it to the Super Bowl.

Only one win was in the way of Lamar Jackson going from MVP to Super Bowl champion in a year. Only win was in the way of a second Super Bowl ring for John Harbaugh and, with it, a likely trip to Canton, Ohio someday as a Hall of Fame football coach.

Baltimore is on fire all week leading up to the game. Excitement is at an epic level around town. Covid-19? Never heard of it. Parties and gatherings and neighborhood bonfires are all the rage as the Ravens take on old nemesis Tom Brady in Super Bowl 55.

And......now.......imagine this.

The Ravens lose the game, 31-9.

Jackson doesn't get the Baltimore offense into the end zone one time.

The injury plagued Ravens offensive line can't support Jackson and the Bucs pin their ears back and make life miserable for him all night.

The Ravens defense, typically tough and staunch in the trenches, gets bullied all over the field for 60 minutes.

It's as ugly as 31-9 can be.

What would the reaction have been around the country and in Baltimore?

Jackson chokes in his first Super Bowl.

Greg Roman has to go. 9 points in the Super Bowl? Fire that man.

The only reason they were even there was because they got that gift pass interference call vs. Buffalo.

Why give all that money to Marlon Humphrey if he's going to get abused like that by Mike Evans?

Harbaugh's a good regular season coach but he can't do it in the playoffs.

The Ravens will never win a Super Bowl as long as Lamar isn't a "complete quarterback."

You can't win the Super Bowl with a run-first offense. It just doesn't work.

You can probably dream up some of your own, too. But those are just a handful of examples of what would have filled up the airwaves, blogs and newspaper columns had the Ravens laid the same egg the Chiefs laid on Sunday night.

You know I'm right.

But here's what I can't figure out. Why isn't anyone saying that kind of stuff about the Chiefs in the wake of their effort against Tampa Bay?

I haven't scoured every inch of the internet over the last 24 hours, but I spent quite a while looking at various sources on Monday and it seems to me like Kansas City got off very easily.

Was it because they won a year ago and deserve somewhat of a pass on this one?

Did their 14-2 record this season exempt them from getting roasted?

Is it because Mahomes is wildly popular both on and off the field? You know, he gets a discount on his car insurance, in case you haven't been watching TV for the last eight months.

Andy Reid is now 1-2 in Super Bowls but no one seems to care about that. He got his "one" last year, which is realistically all he needed to cement his spot in Canton. So he lost to the Bucs? No one seems to care.

Eric Bienemy was the fair-haired-child throughout January, but the K.C. offensive coordinator dialed up a whole bunch of nothin' on Sunday night against the Buccaneers. No one seems to be piling on him. He had two weeks to figure out what to do without Eric Fisher, didn't he?

By the way, I'm not suggesting that Kansas City deserved to get shredded in the wake of that thumping they took. "Stuff happens" as the bumper sticker says. They had a heckuva regular season, but the injuries to their offensive line in the final month of the campaign were too tough to overcome.

There are other cliches you're familiar with that we can throw out there:

"Only one team is happy at the end of the season."

"You can't win 'em all."

"The other team gets paid, too."

"That Tom Brady, he's pretty daggone good, you know."

All of those are true. It was Tampa Bay's night. They had their "A+" game and the Chiefs had, I'd say, their "C game". And, yes, Brady is the winner of all winners.

But something tells me the Ravens wouldn't have been treated with the same amount of kindness that the Chiefs received had Baltimore lost 31-9.

Lamar would have been blasted. Roman would have been public enemy #1. Harbaugh would have been given the "win or else" ultimatum by the fan base.

The national media and local media would have carved up the Ravens in the wake of a 31-9 loss to the Buccaneers.

And it's been bugging me to no end.

Why the difference between Ravens/Harbaugh/Jackson and Chiefs/Reid/Mahomes?

Anyone?

Bueller?

Anyone have a thought on this? If it's just me, that's OK. Maybe I'm the only one who thinks it would have been totally different if the Ravens got clobbered like the Chiefs got clobbered on Sunday night.




Today's publishing deadline: 7:30 am

Today's publishing time: 7:04 am

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dale williams aims the
terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his sixth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2020-21 season.


terps fall again at home


Ohio State put in a very workmanlike effort in defeating the Maryland Terrapins, 73-65, last night in College Park. After leading for most of the first half, the Terps went dry from the field, making only one field goal in the last 6:25 of the first half, and allowing the Buckeyes to turn a 6-point deficit into a 5-point intermission lead.

When Maryland went 7:12 in the second half before hitting a shot from the floor, the outcome had been decided. Ohio State would slowly expand the lead to as much as 16 before coasting to the eight-point win.

Maryland had no answer for Duane Washington Jr. or Kyle Young. Both players had 18 points. Washington did most of his damage with 3 three-pointers while Young out-muscled the Terps inside for the bulk of his offense.

Aaron Wiggins led Maryland with 17 points last night but was just 6 of 15 from the field.

Maryland did nice work getting to the rim in the first half, outscoring OSU 18-4 in the paint. After halftime, the Buckeyes did a much better job at shutting off the penetration, and outperformed the Terps in the paint, 20-14.

For the game, Maryland was outscored 30-15 from the three-point line, hitting only 5 of 19 triples (28%). When you play a top 5 team in the country and you can’t hit shots, you lose. Aaron Wiggins led Maryland scorers with 17, but a bunch of those points were during junk time in the last few minutes. He made just 6 of 15 shots. Jairus Hamilton was 0-6 and Eric Ayala hit just 3 of 12. Donta Scott committed 6 turnovers.

The first half ended with Ohio State holding a 35-30 lead. Maryland actually led for most of the half, but a closing Buckeye 16-5 run provided the 5-point cushion. While the Terps were scoring in the paint, Ohio State was busy burying three pointers. They made 8 of 16 first half three-point attempts with Washington and Justin Ahrens each making three.

The second half started much like the first half ended. The first TV timeout came just after 4 minutes had elapsed and the Terps had yet to make a field goal. At 14:05, Mark Turgeon called a timeout. His team had now spanned 12 minutes of game time making only one shot from the field. They were 0-8 shooting in the half at that point.

The Terps had a couple of opportunities to make things semi-interesting in the last 5 minutes, but a missed shot or costly turnover killed those hopes. It’s a familiar theme for a team with no point guard or consistent scoring threat inside.

The loss dropped Maryland to 10-10 overall and 4-9 in Big Ten play.

Maryland will have a few days to regroup before playing Minnesota on Sunday night in College Park. The Golden Gophers will be looking to avenge an earlier 63-49 loss to the Terps.

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soccer: americans abroad


This week American players helped their teams to crucial victories in title races across several European leagues. In addition, the American contingent in Germany continued to grow with a young player making his debut for a new team. On the other end of the spectrum a concerning trend has emerged for a key US player in England.

Weston McKennie highlights the American performances once again this week, as he continues to be the most consistent US player in Europe. McKennie started in both the midweek Italian Cup game and weekend league game for Juventus against two of their top competitors. In the cup game against Inter Milan, McKennie played right midfield and contributed some tireless defensive work and efficient passing to help Juventus take a 2-1 win in the first of a two leg semifinal. Over the weekend he started at left midfield in a similar role, and while he was a bit quieter in this game, he put in a 65 minute shift that helped his team to a 2-0 win to move into third place, seven points behind leaders AC Milan.

Weston McKennie continues to shine for Juventus as they chase Italian leader AC Milan.

In France, Tim Weah helped Lille to a pair of Ligue 1 wins that maintained their top of the table position, two points ahead of Lyon and three points clear of PSG. Weah started the midweek match with Bordeaux as part of a pair of strikers. While he did not have a huge impact throughout the game he scored the goal that put the game away in the middle of the second half. He put in good effort to make a field length run on a counterattack and was rewarded when his teammate squared to him for an easy tap in. On Sunday Weah subbed on for the last ten minutes of a 2-0 win over Nantes and helped to set up the second goal, initiating a quick counterattack. Weah’s consistent minutes are a huge positive for the US, as his versatility makes him an option to fill in on either wing or at striker if needed.

These days it's hard to find a German Bundesliga game without an American playing. Young American center back Chris Richards started in his first game for new club Hoffenheim. Playing as the left of three center backs, Richards was very effective, especially considering he has trained for less than a week with the team. He showed off his athleticism and positioning, getting the better of most of his one on one battles and aerial duels. He may have been partially responsible for the second goal conceded in a 3-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt, when he lost his mark on a free kick, but otherwise it was a positive debut that should earn him more starts going forward.

There was another American vs American clash in Wolfsburg on Wednesday, when Schalke visited for a German cup match. The matchup saw Matthew Hoppe battling head to head with John Brooks. It was a tough assignment for Hoppe against one of the better center back tandems in the league. He had a good shot on goal in the first half that forced a tough kick save from the keeper and then got the better of Brooks with a nice turn in the second half that forced a yellow card foul. But the young striker missed a golden chance to tie the score late in the game when he skied a shot over the crossbar from the top of the box. At the end of the day, Brooks and Wolfsburg came out on top 1-0. Brooks helped lead Wolfsburg to another shutout on Saturday in a 2-0 win over Augsburg in the Bundesliga. The win kept Wolfsburg in third place and in strong contention for a Champions League spot.

Hoppe started again over the weekend against RB Leipzig in another game that featured Americans on both sides. Again Hoppe was up against one of the best center backs in Europe in Dayot Upamecano. He struggled in this battle, with Upamecano using his superior athleticism and physicality to impose his will on Hoppe. Lined up at right wing back for Leipzig was Tyler Adams. He had a solid but unspectacular performance in the 3-0 Leipzig win. His biggest moment came early on when he made a nice run down the wing and received a pass behind the defense and appeared to draw a penalty in the box, but the ref determined there wasn’t enough for a foul.

On Sunday, Gio Reyna started once again for Borussia Dortmund. He nearly had an assist early in the game when his pass set up a good shot for Erling Haaland, but the keeper made a nice diving stop. It was a mostly quiet remainder of the game for Reyna, who has been in a slight slump along with most of the Dortmund offense over the last few weeks.

In a midweek cup match, Josh Sargent started and helped Werder Bremen advance, providing a nice assist in a 2-0 win over Greuther Furth.

In the English Premier League, Antonee Robinson started both games for Fulham this week. The first was a 2-0 loss to Leicester City and the second a 0-0 draw with West Ham. Robinson put in decent performances in both games, although his errant pass against Leicester did lead to a counterattack that resulted in Leicester’s second goal. Robinson’s solid play has made him a mainstay of the Fulham lineup, however the team is struggling and face an uphill battle to avoid relegation.

There has been a concerning trend for the other American in London. Christian Pulisic was again used as a second half substitute last Thursday when Chelsea defeated Tottenham 1-0. Pulisic came on in the 64th minute with Chelsea holding the lead. Though he wasn’t able to generate much offense he did help them see out a big win over their cross town rivals.

However, it is worrisome that Pulisic has not started any of the games under new coach Thomas Tuchel. Tuchel has deployed a different formation than previous coach Frank Lampard, with more central attackers, and it seems thus far that he views other Chelsea attackers as a better fit in that system than Pulisic. The American star was left off the team completely in the weekend win over Sheffield United, but that was apparently for off the field family issues and not related to performance. It is a situation to watch as Chelsea tries to climb back into Champions League competition.

In the second division of England, Jordan Morris received a late substitute appearance for Swansea City. Morris came on with a 2-0 lead and helped see out the victory, applying good pressure upfield and nearly earning a penalty kick. The victory over league leaders Norwich City was a huge one for Swansea, as it moved them just two points behind the top spot in the table.

About the contributor: Randy Morgan was born and raised in the Baltimore area graduating from Dulaney HS and then University of Maryland. His day job is software development. He's an avid sports watcher and recreational participant. A devoted Ravens, Orioles and U.S. soccer supporter. he also follows many soccer leagues around the world as well as the NBA and college basketball. Randy played soccer, basketball, and baseball growing up and still plays soccer and basketball recreationally as well as the occasional round of golf. His commentary on mostly sports, but sometimes music and other miscellany can be found on twitter @jrmorgan16.

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Monday
February 8
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2359


it took a long time, but i'm sold


I wonder how long it took Bill Belichick to change the channel last night?

That one must have been tough for him to watch.

As Tom Brady sewed up his 7th title -- by roughly midway through the third quarter -- a lot of questions ran through my mind.

"Is Belichick still watching this one up in Foxborough?"

Tom Brady improved to 7-3 in his ten Super Bowl appearances with last night's 31-9 win over Kansas City.

"Did the situation involving Andy Reid's son -- a defensive coach with the Chiefs -- have any kind of negative impact on the Chiefs?"

"Why are we so fascinated with winners?"

"What's Tom Brady's secret sauce? He has something no one else has. What on earth is it?"

These are the things you think about when it's 28-9 and the game's pretty much over, the commercials are generally "just ok" and you weren't moved enough by The Weeknd to check out one of his live concerts from 2019 on YouTube.

So I asked myself a bunch of questions as the game went on.

"Did the Chiefs take the Buccaneers lightly?" Personally, I think that's high school stuff. It might even occasionally seep into college football. But I don't think a professional team would ever take another professional team lightly. That said, it looked a little bit like the Chiefs might not have been overly concerned with the Bucs going into the game.

"Did playing on their home field help Tampa Bay at all?" Much has been made about the first 54 Super Bowls being played on a neutral field, while last night, the "home" team really was, in fact, the home team. Did that hurt the Chiefs? Help the Bucs? I don't know.

"Why is it so hard to repeat?" That was one of the reasons I thought Tampa Bay would win last night. It's just too daggone hard to repeat in sports. And I'm not exactly sure why. It just is.

But the thing that keep rattling around in my head as the game wore on is this: "Why does Brady win so much? How does he do it?"

Yes, yes, yes. I'm aware of all the times he didn't win. He's not perfect. I'm also aware that on two occasions that he won, he could have easily lost. But that's a narrative you'll never perfect, because he also could have won two of the games he lost. He could be 5-5 at this point in his ten Super Bowl appearances or he could be 9-1. Instead, he's right where he probably should be: 7-3.

But why?

Why is it that Brady wins so much?

Of all the magic tricks he's performed over the years, this one last night was the most mystifying of them all. He went to Tampa Bay, of all places. And he won there. It's one thing if Brady goes to Pittsburgh or Denver or Green Bay and wins. Those are teams and organizations that have been winners for a long, long time, although the Broncos have been slumping since Peyton retired.

He went to Tampa Bay. And they won.

It didn't take Brady three years to win in Tampa Bay. Even that would have been a whale of a story. First year with Brady, Bucs start seeing the light, go 9-7, narrowly miss the playoffs. Second year, things start to come together, they go 11-5 and make the playoffs, but lose in Green Bay or Seattle. And then, in the 3rd year, they put it all together, go 12-4, and work their way through the post-season and beat the Chiefs in the Super Bowl.

Instead of three years, it took Brady five months.

He showed up, started playing in September, and last night he held up his 7th Lombardi Trophy.

It took the better part of two decades, but I'm sold. There's nothing else Brady can do now. I'm convinced. He has something everyone else in football doesn't have. I don't know what it is, but Brady has it.

When he first came on the scene, I was a non-believer. You probably were, too.

The field goal kicker bailed them out.

Their coach is a genius.

Brady's good, but he plays in the AFC East and is basically gifted a berth in the AFC title game every year.

Those were the reasons why the Patriots supposedly won early in Brady's career.

Now, at 43, we can all admit to seeing it differently. Sure, the New England kicker was instrumental in their success a long time ago. Bill Belichick's a terrific coach. And those years in the AFC East were cakewalks for the most part. But above all of those things......is Tom Brady.

Tom Brady wins.

He is the best winner in the history of the NFL. What he has or how he does it, I have no idea. But when Tom Brady shows up, winning is right there next to him.

It took a while. 20 years, actually. But I'm sold on Tom Brady. I'm not sold on him as a great player or anything like that. I know he's great. There's no doubt about that. I'm sold on him being the best winner in the history of the league.

He went to Tampa Bay and they won there. That says it all if you ask me.

I just wish I knew how he did it.

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super and not-so-super notes


Presented in no order at all, without any regard for preference, outcome, etc. Just things I thought about as I watched last night's Super Bowl.

Someone lost $30,000 on the coin flip prior to the game. Yep, early Saturday afternoon, a $30,000 prop bet wager was made on the coin flip and the bettor let it all ride on...........tails. Because, you know, tails never fails and all. Except it came up heads last night.

It struck me that betting on the coin flip was totally dumb. I mean, they flip the coin, it lands, and the bet is done. You either win or lose, right then and there. At least if you bet that Mahomes will throw for more than 330 yards, you have an entire game to see if, in fact, you win or lose. The coin flip was over in 2.4 seconds.

The Weeknd was decent enough at halftime, but it really feels like that whole 30-minute intermission and concert idea has run its course. I could be wrong. Maybe it was the dull nature of the game itself that made the halftime show seem "blah". But this isn't the first time I've basically checked out at halftime. Maybe I'm the outlier and most of the rest of the game-watching-folks stick around for the halftime performance.

Patrick Mahomes joined the list last night; Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and Peyton Manning. All guys who have now lost a Super Bowl in addition to winning one.

By the way, that dude apparently spent $7 million of his own money to complete last night's performance. He didn't receive a "fee" or any money from the NFL or CBS to be the halftime act. And instead, he actually forked over $7 million to pay for extra dancers, better lights and an intricate maze that he used for a couple of songs late in the 14-minute routine. I don't know much about The Weeknd, but someone who spends $7 million of their own money is fine by me.

As I noted on Twitter last night, the loss will hopefully slow down some of the chatter about Patrick Mahomes. Prior to last night's loss, people were crowing about how Mahomes could get to 2-0 with a win and how with two rings he'd be even with Ben and Eli and one ahead of Drew and Aaron.

"Mahomes might win 10 of these before it's all said and done," Bill Cowher said yesterday. I laughed at that one. Mahomes is a terrific quarterback and all, but he's not winning 10 Super Bowls. He needs to win two, first. And then three. And four. Once he gets to four, he can start thinking about six. See where this is going? Mahomes is a great quarterback, but he's also a beatable quarterback. Just like everyone else who has played that position. And saying he might win ten is as silly as saying he might win fifteen. Let's see him get to two, first, shall we?

Bruce Arians seems like the kind of coach you'd like to play for at least once. I remember a story once from his days as the offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh, when /p>he sent in a play for Ben Roethlisberger and the quarterback changed the play and Pittsburgh scored a touchdown from it. After the game, someone lauded Arians for the playcall and he said, "That one's on Ben. He changed the play at the line of scrimmage. Give him the credit."<

I remember thinking to myself, "That's a good coach right there." He gave the credit to the player even when the media didn't know the whole story. And instead of being mad at the quarterback for changing the play, he was happy he did, since a touchdown came from it.

Last night, when he was handed the Lombardi Trophy, what did Arians do? He praised the players. "These guys did all the work and all the winning," the coach said. "I had a bunch of great coaches, too." A good coach distributes credit and absorbs blame. Arians is a good coach, for sure, even if the guy on the other sideline last night is a sure fire Hall of Famer and Arians is probably just a guy who won a Super Bowl.

And speaking of coaches, you could tell after the game that Andy Reid wasn't himself and I don't think it had much to do with his team getting run out of the gym. Reid's son, Britt, was involved in a serious auto accident early Thursday morning as he we leaving the Chiefs' facility. Britt is Kansas City's outside linebackers' coach. There is evidence that Reid was drinking when he struck two vehicles on an interstate exit ramp.

Curiously, CBS addressed the issue twice last night. They brought it up hours before kick-off in the pre=game show, then again with four minutes remaining in the game. Jim Nantz mentioned it, explained that people were injured, including a young child who was seriously hurt, and offered the network's "thoughts and prayers".

There was no mention of the possibility that alcohol was involved in the accident, although Nantz and his crew know, I assume, that Reid admitted to "having a few drinks" earlier last Wednesday evening. I'm not even sure mentioning the alcohol angle was the right thing to do, but it might have been a good occasion for Nantz to simply offer a "don't drink and drive" message to the 130 million people watching the game.

It's a touchy subject for sure. Perhaps CBS shouldn't have even mentioned the story at all, other than to make comment that the Chiefs were playing without one of their coaches, who was involved in an auto accident last week. Given that a potential crime was committed, maybe it was a story they should have stayed away from after all.

But it seemed weird to tuck into the corner of a 31-9 game and bring it up with four minutes remaining, as if to say, "we really didn't want to address this, but now that there's a blowout and half of you are no longer watching, we'll get it out."

It smelled almost like CBS didn't want to hurt Andy Reid, waited until the most opportune time to sneak it into the broadcast, then did so when there were four minutes remaining.



Today's publishing deadline: 8:00 am

Today's publishing time: 7:37 am

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consider this


First Quarter: 7:17 p.m.

Fun. That’s the word I think about when I watch Patrick Mahomes play quarterback, in the Super Bowl or in any other game—even when he’s having (too much) fun against the Ravens.

Oh sure, he’s deathly serious. The look in his eyes is almost frightening in its intensity. He’s trying to see everything and everybody, as impossible as that is for even the greatest players. That’s what allows him to have so much fun, right?

I’m not sure how much he wants to run the ball—he’s averaging circa $45 million a year these days—but the delight he takes in doing it is noticeable. Lamar Jackson does it so often and on so many intentionally called plays that he gets tired of the expectation, I think, and maybe that isn’t good for the Ravens in the long run.

There is no position from which Mahomes can’t throw the ball, no amount of running with the ball that makes him more likely to throw a bad pass, no kind of pass that he’s not adept at putting in the right place at the right speed at the right time. In that way, he’s like 2020 NFL Most Valuable Player Aaron Rodgers, whom I would consider the most skilled all-around quarterback in NFL history.

As for the Bucs, it was kind of lame to see them matriculate the ball down the field quickly featuring Tom Brady, Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski, who scored on an eight-yard touchdown pass on a nicely-called play by offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, who’s two years younger than Brady by the way. Kind of like seeing the Yankees recover from a mediocre season (for them, maybe 85-77) by signing last year’s Cy Young winner and home run leader from some small-market teams.

Do you remember the last game Leftwich ever played in the NFL? It was in 2012, for the Steelers at Heinz Field against the Ravens. The Baltimore defense broke two of his ribs during that game, won by the Ravens 13-10 in Week 11, and he was done after nine years in the league.


Second Quarter: 8:16 p.m.

Kansas City finished 14-2 in the 2020 regular season. If they were trying in their season-ending game against the Chargers, which made no difference to their playoff position, the Chiefs would have finished 15-1. And yet…the Super Bowl is one game…

A game that featured a second quarter where the Chiefs kept killing themselves. A holding penalty on defense that eliminated an interception on a tipped pass. An inexcusable offside penalty on a field goal attempt that gave the Bucs a first down. A dropped pass by Travis Kelce on a third down before that. And finally those penalties on the Tampa drive in those final moments of the quarter. Eight penalties for 95 yards in the first half alone, numbers that seem more like a whole game’s worth of mistakes.

These kinds of plays are difficult to blame on poor preparation or lack of discipline or bad communication. They’re just individual moments that you hope happen at certain times in certain games, not in the Super Bowl when you’ve just intercepted Tom Brady.

The other story of the first half was told by the Chiefs’ final third-down attempt of the half, with just more than minute remaining in the second quarter. This time it was the Tampa defensive coordinator, former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, that dialed up another great pressure on Mahomes in the red zone. For a moment I thought Mahomes might keep backing up to midfield before he got rid of the ball.

The Bucs found more than a few ways to pressure the Kansas City quarterback—on the edges, up the middle, with speed from the corners and with power from the line. Mahomes is great at reading “hot” when the blitz comes, but he was just throwing the ball away most of the time in the first half as opposed to making a play. Meanwhile, the Chiefs’ defensive aggressiveness was actually hurting them.

And yeah, Gronkowski again. Ugh. And Brown again. Double ugh. One of them actually retired, and the other should have retired. How did they end up in the Super Bowl again?


Third Quarter: 9:09 p.m.

It occurred to me that the Ravens led 21-6 at halftime in Super Bowl XLVII, as the Buccaneers did in this game. Like the Bucs, the Ravens then appeared to be putting a nail in a coffin early in the second half…in that case the Jacoby Jones 108-yard return on the opening kickoff of the third quarter.

Alas, that’s not what happened back then, much to the agita of the locals. Tampa, on the other hand, is making mincemeat of the league’s best team and the AFC’s best quarterback.

Right now, as I’m tapping the keys, Patrick Mahomes has completed 11 passes for 75 total yards. He could easily complete 11 passes for 75 yards on the first drive of the game, I would think. Have to look that up some time.

Here’s a bold statement. I haven’t seen anywhere near all of the 260-plus NFL games played this season in the regular season and the postseason, yet I can’t imagine any team has played any better than the Buccaneers are playing in this game right now. Considering the opponent and the moment, this is the best performance by any NFL team in this crazy COVID-19 season.

The Tampa offense is doing what it wants, except for one bad shotgun snap and the missed fourth-down conversion at the goal line in the first half. The defense is making Mahomes look a little like Lamar Jackson did often this year, with only three or four seconds to make a play instead of six or seven.

Through three quarters, Kansas City averaged 4.8 yards per play; during the regular season, that number was 6.3 yards per play. Through three quarters, the Chiefs hadn’t scored a touchdown, which is insane. Through three quarters, Mahomes was trying to make spectacular plays but was just a tiny bit off his game.

Meanwhile, there was Gronkowski slipping out over the middle and catching a bullet from Brady on another Tampa drive for a big gain. I’ve seen it too many times over the years with those two in New England, and it still makes me ill.


Fourth Quarter: 9:53 p.m.

The game was probably over by the middle of the third quarter, but it was definitely over after Mahomes ran around like a fool on consecutive plays early in the fourth. It’s a tribute to how good the guy is that he almost made plays for a touchdown on both sequences.

So now, there’s nothing left to talk about except to congratulate Tom Brady on his seventh Super Bowl and give props to Bruce Arians’ 95-year-old mother, who was in attendance. Arians grew up close to here in York County, Pa., if you weren’t aware.

What about The Weeknd? I heard that he had promised not to lip sync during his performance. Honestly, I have no idea if he held to that promise. Personally, I can understand why Super Bowl performers would feel like they would have to lip sync. All that dancing and extra performance and superfluous noise, and the fact that the band or singer usually sings parts of four or five songs. I thought he was outstanding, though nothing will ever beat Prince singing “Purple Rain” in the rain in Miami.

The commercials? Mila Kunis looks great, and the Cheetos commercial was cute. Bruce Springsteen has always been a poet, so I’m glad he got to read some poetry late in the game. And hey…any time you can get Beavis and Butthead on television, I give it a thumbs up.

Frankly, it’s not a Super Bowl without a Budweiser commercial. I’m sure the Clydesdales will be back next year when the Ravens play the Bucs at the new palace in Los Angeles.

As the game ends, it remains surprising how poorly the Chiefs played in this one. In addition to playing poorly, which happens sometimes, they had no composure. The person who ran on the field late in the game had more poise.

But I’ll say it again. There were 269 games played in the NFL this year, 256 in the regular season and 13 in the postseason. No team played a better game in 21 weeks of football than the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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DALE WILLIAMS returns for his sixth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2020-21 season.


terps host buckeyes tonight


Imagine that you are competing in a decathlon and you finish second, by just a fraction, in every event.

You miss winning the javelin by a half inch. You lose the 400 by a nose and the 1500 by the same margin. Let’s say that every event ends that way, with the same guy beating you every time.

When you look at the total points after 10 events, the numbers would say that you were defeated by a good margin. In essence, there wasn’t that much difference in any single event between you and the winner. That’s how I see Ohio State, tonight’s opponent for the Maryland Terrapins.

#DMD's Dale Williams says Maryland needs to keep a special eye on E.J. Liddell tonight when Ohio State invades College Park.

The Buckeyes, in any one phase of the game, are not all that much better than the Terps. But they are better in every phase, and that will play out tonight. The Big Ten stats show that Ohio State isn’t in the top 3 in any category, with the lone exception being foul shooting. They won’t “WOW” you with any part of their game, but they keep on winning.

The Buckeyes (15-4,9-4) could be in line for a 1 seed in the NCAA tournament if they finish their Big Ten season strongly. They realize this and it’s the reason that I doubt Ohio State overlooks the Terps.

Watch E.J. Liddell tonight. He has something that is lacking in college hoops. He has a nice mid-range jumper. He’s not flashy, but he’s very efficient.

Liddell definitely keys on the mid-range game, but he’ll go by you if you provide an opening. Liddell is a 50% shooter and leads the Buckeyes with 15.4 ppg. He is 6’7, 240 pounds, but plays with a nice fluidity and has a fabulous touch around the basket. His game reminds me of former Terp, Lonny Baxter, but Liddell is a better shooter. Wearing number 32, I’d label him solid, but not spectacular.

Solid, but not spectacular, also amply describes the Buckeye guard rotation of Duane Washington Jr (starter) and CJ Walker (off the bench). Both players have experience, play with calm and poise, and are excellent from the foul line. Washington is more likely to get points (14.6, second on the team), but neither player is what you would call a sharpshooter.

Washington’s field goal percentages are 36.2% overall and 36.9 from the three-point line. Walker’s are only 31 and 18.5. Despite the low shooting numbers, they both play steady and controlled floor games. Walker gets 4.2 assists per game and Washington averages 3.1.

Justice Sueing, Kyle Young, and Justin Ahrens round out the Buckeye starting lineup. Sueing, who is 6’7” but plays bigger, could be a matchup problem for Maryland. His numbers shooting outside are not impressive, but he can score around the bucket. He’s solid on the boards, especially on the offensive side.

The 6’8” Young is a workhorse around the basket on both ends of the court. He’ll take an occasional 3-pointer, but most of his 8.4 ppg come in the paint. Again, solid but unspectacular.

I will give the “Spectacular” label to the long-range shooting game of Ahrens. He’s a legitimate threat from out there, hitting almost 49% of his attempts. However, he is truly one dimensional, as 86 of his 88 shots this year have been from beyond the three-point stripe. Coming off of the bench, watch this freshman, Zed Key. The 6’8”, 245-pound freshman is really strong and knows how to score in the low post.

Key is second on the team in points per minute played. When his defense catches up to his offense, he’ll warrant more paying time, and will be a key contributor for his team.

I really don’t know what else to tell you about this Buckeye team. They don’t shoot the lights out. They don’t outrun you up and down the court, and they don’t have a huge center to dominate the paint. They just play solid ball for 40 minutes and are a decent defensive team. Maryland will need a great shooting game to contend with Ohio State tonight. There are no glaring mismatches for the Terps to take advantage of in this game. They will need to protect the ball and hit shots.

I think the Terps will, again, struggle on the boards. I expect them to shoot much better than they did against Penn State, but I don’t think they can match Ohio State possession for possession. Liddell and Washington will prove to be too much for Maryland, while Key provides punch off the bench.

Perhaps Maryland can hang for 30 minutes before Ohio State wears them down and pulls away for a 72-67 win. The action in the XFINITY Center begins with a 9 p.m. tip-off and can be seen on Fox Sports 1.


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Sunday
February 7
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#2358


huge day today!


Wouldn't it be awesome if he won?

Can you imagine the reaction if he's standing there holding the trophy when the dust settles?

It would be the (very) early leader for "Sports Story of the Year".

As you can tell, I'm very excited to see if Jordan Spieth can pull it off in Phoenix this afternoon, although I don't have a great feeling, truth be told.

But don't let my cynical view of Spieth's wonky golf swing take away from the fact that I'm rooting extra hard for him to come out on top today. Spieth hasn't won a TOUR event since July of 2017 when he captured his 11th career win at the British Open. Other than a brief flirtation with the Masters in '18 (3rd) and the PGA in '19 (3rd), Spieth has largely been out of the spotlight since outdueling Matt Kuchar for his 3rd major title in 2017.

Jordan Spieth is tied for the 54-hole lead at the Phoenix Open, looking for his first win in 43 months.

Spieth will start the day at 18-under and deadlocked with Xander Schauffele, a remarkable player with Top 10 in the world kind of quality, who is also in a slump of sorts, having not won a golf tournament since January of 2019. Either of those guys would be a popular winner today, but make no mistake about it, a victory for Spieth would be the TOUR's most embraced triumph since Tiger won the 2019 Masters.

Everyone -- minus Schauffele, of course -- wants to see Spieth win. That pressure might hurt him, or Spieth, as he has a habit of doing, might spin the whole narrative in his favor and just think to himself, "I'm bound to win again someday...it's the law of averages...maybe today winds up being the day."

Purely from the "what the golfing world wants" file, a Spieth win today would probably fall second only to another Tiger Woods victory. Lots of people are longing for a Rickie Fowler major triumph, or even a major from longtime vets like Kuchar or Westwood, and it would be great to see something really crazy like an amateur or top college player win a PGA Tour event. But other than Tiger winning and claiming career win #82, nothing in golf -- right now -- would be better than a Spieth victory today.

It's not going to be easy, unfortunately. Not because Spieth won't handle the mental delicacy of breaking his losing streak. It's not going to be easy because Spieth, once one of the game's premier ball strikers, can't find the center of the clubface with his driver these days. His iron game has saved him in the first three rounds this week. Despite hitting only 43% of the fairways through 54 holes, he's somehow hit 80% of the greens in regulation.

He was rescued on Saturday by producing one of the best 18 hole putting rounds in the last decade, including birdies at 15, 16 and 17. In his heyday, Spieth was never the best driver of the ball but his superior iron play and masterful putting kept him on the front page of the leaderboard. Over the last three years, the putter became as uncooperative as the driver. And that's how Spieth's golf game sunk.

But Saturday, it was Jordan Spieth circa 2015 who toured TPC Scottsdale, hitting miraculous recovery shots after yet another wayward drive, rolling in 10 footers, 20 footers and 40 footers, waving to the small crowd of fans on hand for the event, and looking very much like a guy who once used to be really good and still remembers how to command the moment.

I'm trying hard not to get to amped up for what might happen today, because I know Spieth's game isn't anywhere close to being what it once was, despite his current 18-under total. If he putts today like he did yesterday, he has a chance, but it would be nearly impossible for a duplicate performance on the greens. What we saw yesterday was once-a-year kind of putting, if not once-every-five-years.

One can dream, though. There's no one on TOUR more deserving of a return to the victory circle than Spieth. He has handled his 43-month slump like a true professional, hasn't made excuses, hasn't blamed his coach, hasn't done anything, really, except admit that he's struggling and vowing to get it fixed, somehow.

There was a time -- it seems like longer than this, frankly -- about six years ago when Spieth became golfing America's favorite son. He rose to #1 in the world on the heels of winning the Masters and the U.S. Open in a two-month span and kids around the country wanted to be Jordan instead of Rickie, Phil or Tiger. He had it all going for him, even after throwing away the 2016 Masters, because his putter could talk the talk and walk the walk. The win at Royal Birkdale in July of 2017 left him just one major (PGA) shy of the career grand slam and he hadn't yet reached his 25th birthday.

Then, as it happens to so many of us in golf, it all went away. Rounds he once turned from 72 to 68 because of his sublime short game and work with the flat stick were suddenly now 73's and higher. He not only couldn't win again, he couldn't even crack the top 10. America's favorite golfing son was suddenly in a big time slump and it was graphically unsettling for those who watched him play.

That could all change this afternoon at TPC Scottsdale. One more great round. A few more 20-footers find the bottom of the cup for birdie. A final tap in at 18. Hands raised in victory. Wouldn't it be cool to see it all unfold that way for Jordan Spieth today?

If Jordan can't get it done, it wouldn't be awful to see Schauffele win. He's one of the most underrated players in the game, but he hasn't been the greatest-of-closers over the last 24 months. He's definitely a leaderboard regular, though, and the feeling on TOUR is once he wins a couple of more events, he might be a Top 5 player in the world.

There are others in the mix, too, including Justin Thomas (-14), who created some headlines of his own early last month when he muttered a homophobic slur to himself after missing a short putt in Hawaii. Thomas lost his multi-million deal with apparel sponsor Ralph Lauren and promised to donate a substantial part of his 2021 money from another sponsor, Citi, to charity. Thomas would also be a popular victor this afternoon.

But on this "Super Sunday" in the U.S., it would truly be a memorable afternoon if one of the game's former "super" stars found his magic again and stood alone at the top of the leaderboard at the conclusion of today's final round.

If Jordan Spieth wins today, American golf does, too.

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tom or patrick? who wins? do we care?


I wrote this earlier in the week and I'm not here to beat it into the ground any more than I already have. But this, today, just doesn't feel like Super Bowl Sunday.

And, yes, like I wrote here at #DMD, I understand why it doesn't. Heck, the Chiefs flew into Tampa Bay yesterday, treating the biggest game of the year like it was just another mid-October away game against the Buccaneers.

Alas, they're going to tee it up tonight, though, and we all know the main narrative: Brady vs. Mahomes.

They met two years ago in the playoffs and Brady bested Mahomes in the AFC Championship Game in Kansas City. Will Mahomes and the Chiefs come out on top today in meeting number two?

It's the King vs. the Kid. It's the Teacher vs. the Pupil. It's the greatest winner ever -- NFL wise, anyway -- against a guy who hasn't lost very often at all during his 3-year career.

I personally don't care at all who wins. Sure, I'll be watching it, but I have about as close to zero rooting-interest as any sports fan could have. I just don't care who wins. I see glory and reason to be happy no matter if it's the Bucs or Chiefs who come out on top. I've never been a Brady hater, so if he wins his 7th, good for him. I'm a huge Andy Reid fan, and would certainly enjoy seeing him garner his 2nd straight title.

Who do I think is going to win?

Well, like I said here last Monday, I wouldn't bet the game. Betting for Kansas City means you're betting against Tom Brady, and that seems silly to me. Brady's not perfect, of course, but it seems like you're just asking for a stick in the eye if you say to the woman at the counter, "And $100 on the Chiefs to win outright, please."

But if you bet the Bucs to win, you're ignoring what Kansas City has done in an otherwise very competitive, tight NFL over the last two seasons. They won the title last year and then lost one game this season when they were trying, going 14-1 before losing the season finale when 75% of their good players didn't suit up.

This year, Kansas City beat the following teams in the regular season: Baltimore (away), Cleveland (home), Buffalo (home and away), Tampa Bay (away), Miami (away) and New Orleans (away). They went 6-0 against playoff teams, including a 4-0 mark away from Arrowhead. Their play was a little spotty and uneven over the last 8 weeks, but they still figured out a way to win.

The skill position talent, intangibles and overall roster quality clearly favors Kansas City. But there have been recent Super Bowls where the lesser team has won on that given Sunday. It doesn't always work out that the team that should win goes on to do it.

Yes, I'm doing what you think I'm doing.

I'm going with Tampa Bay to win. I don't really know why, other than I just think Brady has one more magic bullet to fire in this wacky, crazy 2020-2021 NFL campaign. He was good enough to beat Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, in their stadiums no less, and something tells me he'll do enough today to beat Patrick Mahomes.

I'd never bet the game, remember. I have no real confidence in having this one figured out.

But my gut feeling is a 30-23 Tampa Bay win.



Today's publishing deadline: 8:00 am

Today's publishing time: 10:44 pm, Saturday, 2/6/21

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SUCH
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MARK SUCHY is a lifelong Baltimore sports fan, youth basketball coach and father of three athletic sons. A former weekend sports radio host in Baltimore, "Such" offers his memories and insights on sports related topics each Wednesday here at #DMD.



bob's day

February 6th is Proof of a Universal Power


It began snowing on Friday, just a little past noon. The snow wasn’t unexpected; every forecast you watched or read was predicting a major winter storm. All the meteorologists were in agreement for once. This was a major Nor’easter that was going to produce blizzard conditions for our area. The only real question was how much snow would accumulate.

The Mid-Atlantic region wasn’t used to huge snowstorms. There were some memorable ones, to be sure, like the Blizzard of ’79, when it was so cold that portions of the Chesapeake Bay froze over, or the Blizzard of ’93, when some parts of Western Maryland saw over four feet of snowfall. But most winters around our area would see some light accumulating snows that were more of an inconvenience than anything else.

This storm seemed different from the first sign it might be happening, though. Even four or five days out all the computer models seemed to point to a monster event. As the week went along there was no misunderstanding or mistaking that we were about to be buried in snow.

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Saturday
February 6
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#2357


saturday nuggets


We have a great edition of "Drew and Friends" below with Canadian golf analyst Eric Patterson, so for all of you in #DMD land who chase the little white ball, we have some awesome golf topics to share, including more on the Patrick Reed situation, the career decline of Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy's comments about the distance report and more.

Eric is a great golf follow on Twitter, by the way. He really knows his stuff, as I think you'll see below in "Drew and Friends", brought to you by Primary Residential Mortgage.

Dale Williams also breaks down last night's Maryland loss at Penn State. Things have changed in College Park, that's for sure. Last year, two years ago or five years ago, even, I would have just written: Dale Williams also breaks down last night's shocking Maryland loss at Penn State.

Alas, nothing Maryland does this season is shocking, whether it's beating four ranked teams, losing four straight home conference games or, sadly, losing in basketball to Penn State.

If Trevor Bauer fulfills his 3-year deal in Los Angeles, he'll make $102 million.

The Los Angeles Dodgers liked winning so much in 2020 that they're apparently revving up to do it again in 2021. The Dodgers snatched Trevor Bauer out of the grasp of the New York Mets and gave the right hander a three year, $102 million deal yesterday.

Trevor Bauer -- yes, Trevor Bauer -- will be the highest paid player in baseball in 2021, earning $40 million. Here's the crazy thing: The Mets actually offered more total value in their offer than did the Dodgers, but in the deal with L.A., Bauer can opt out after year one year or year two. He is due to make $45 million in 2022. Unless something wacky happens, Bauer will be the highest paid player in baseball in 2022 as well.

Ready for this? Bauer will likely make more than the entire playing roster of the Pirates, Orioles and Rays in 2021. All three of those teams might wind up starting the season with a payroll at or below $40 million, according to industry experts.

The Dodgers, in case you haven't followed along, just pay players whatever they feel like paying them and worry later about the consequences. In 2021, they'll pay Bauer $40 million, Kershaw $31 million and Betts $22.5 million. Three guys will make $93.5 million.

I haven't complained about baseball salaries in a long time and don't feel like today is the day to pick up that habit again, so I won't. I don't think paying someone $40 million to play baseball for 162 games is all that different than a musician or a band getting $1.5 million to play a 3-hour concert. You get what you can get.

But is Trevor Bauer really worthy of commanding the top salary in baseball? He's a nice pitcher and all...but...Trevor Bauer?

It sure doesn't feel like there's a Super Bowl tomorrow, does it? Maybe I've just been out of touch this week and haven't really picked up on it all. My mother-in-law has been ill and I've been back and forth from Western Maryland and there's a lot of "juggling" going on, family wise, because of her illness. So it definitely might be me.

But it sure doesn't feel like a Super Bowl is a day away. It could be as simple as this: without both teams being in Tampa Bay this week, there hasn't been any reason for media entities to converge on the scene and collect and distribute daily interviews, snippets, etc. Without the teams on site, you can only talk, write or podcast so much stuff before it all starts to sound like white noise.

In any other year, the prospect of Brady vs. Mahomes would be thoroughly dominating the sports landscape. I realize ESPN and their website are both madly in love with the NBA, but when the featured story the day before the Super Bowl is Kevin Durant getting pulled from a game last night because of "health and safety protocols", you know the Super Bowl is a bottom-of-the-fold story.

This game tomorrow features the best quarterback match-up since Manning and Brees did battle in 2010, with New Orleans winning their only Super Bowl (to date), 31-17. Just tossing this out there, not looking to argue or anything, but Brady vs. Mahomes is far more appealing than was Manning vs. Brees. And, 36 hours before the game, you'd hardly even know it's happening.

I get it, Covid-19 and all. I understand things are still wacky. But I expected more flash and splash this week. That's all.

Speaking of golf, for those who don't mind where it's played or what TOUR you're watching, this week's coverage of the Saudi International has provided a striking contrast to the way golf is televised and covered in the United States. The event is part of the European Tour, but the lure of big money and Race to Dubai points (that's the European Tour's version of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup) has sent a handful of Americans and PGA Tour regulars over to the Middle East to tee it up this week.

Dustin Johnson (tied for the lead as I write this at 6:54 am), Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau and Kevin Na are just five big names who made the trip from the States.

The European Tour's approach to golf broadcasting is much different than, say that of CBS or NBC. They don't focus on any players. There aren't any pre-packaged "get to know" pieces about Victor Perez or Matthew Southgate or any other guy you've never heard of who is hovering around the lead. They just come on the air and show golf.

One cool thing they do is walk along with certain groups and "barge in" on a couple of occasions to chat with the player(s) as they walk down the fairway. Granted, perhaps Justin Rose is more cozy and familiar with British analysts, but it's pretty eye opening -- and good TV -- to hear Rose talking about his golf swing with an on-course reporter as they stroll down the 12th fairway.

The PGA Tour and their broadcast partners could benefit from watching how the European Tour and the BBC handle their duties when it comes to showing golf.



Today's publishing deadline: 8:30 am

Today's publishing time: 8:17 am

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you can help baltimore tonight!!


A special edition of "Drew and Friends" below features a sitdown with Kris Ruhling of Great 8's Memorabilia. His company is putting together a huge online gala tonight from 7 pm to 10 pm, with all funds raised going to the "Famous Fund" currently being supported by Jimmy's Famous Seafood.

Jimmy's "Famous Fund" has now passed $400,000 in donated monies and they've already helped over a dozen struggling restaurants in Balitmore. Tomorrow's online "gala" promises to provide even much money to those ailing Charm City restaurants.

Please take 10 minutes to watch the video below and participate tonight if you can. There's even a round of golf with a certain Baltimore website owner on the docket for your bidding enjoyment.



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DALE WILLIAMS returns for his sixth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2020-21 season.


terps fall at penn state


If you didn’t watch last night’s Maryland game, you didn’t necessarily need to read the final score to tell that the Terps suffered an ugly loss at Penn State. You could just read the stat sheet, as it told the whole story.

Penn State had 11 offensive rebounds. Maryland committed 15 turnovers and they shot 3-17 from the three-point line. Aaron Wiggins went 1-11 from the field and in the second half, Penn State outrebound 25-11. Those putrid numbers all combined for a 55-50 Terrapin loss.

Eric Ayala almost had half of Maryland’s points, going for 23. The 23 was a bit deceiving because 9 of his points were from the foul line and he only made 2 of 6 three pointers. Maryland had every opportunity to win this game, but turnovers, poor rebounding, and missed shots did them in.

Eric Ayala scored a game high 23 points for Maryland in last night's loss at Penn State.

The first half was an equal disaster for both Maryland and Penn State. The Nittany Lions couldn’t hit a shot and the Terps couldn’t create a shot. Maryland’s first five possessions ended with a paltry 2 shots and an astounding 5 turnovers.

Galen Smith had 3 of those 5 early miscues. The inability to even get off a shot, let alone hit one, allowed Penn State to take a 5-2 lead at the first TV timeout. For over 6 minutes the only Terp points came from the foul line. Their first field goal was a three pointer by Donta Scott after 6 minutes and 12 seconds had been played.

Each team went on a tiny run in the first half, but after 20 minutes the score would be tied at 23 all. Penn State connected on just 10 of 29 shots from the field while hitting only hit 3 of 14 three-pointers. Maryland amassed 11 first half turnovers while hitting just 2 of 8 threes. It wasn't pretty, to say the least.

Hakim Hart, in limited first half minutes had 4 turnovers. This game was way too fast, and the on-ball pressure way too tight for him to have been given the point guard role while he was on the court. Bad move Mark Turgeon.

I won’t detail the second half other than to say the Terps didn’t make a field goal in the last 7:37 of the game, and got outrebounded 25-11. They had ample opportunities to make this game interesting, but they kept missing good looks. Hart missed a layup and fumbled away another good chance. It was bad.

The perimeter dominant offense that has seen moderate success in other games, was useless Friday night. With Maryland unable to hit threes, or little of anything else, I thought Turgeon should have used an offensive scheme that featured isolations on the low blocks. Donta Scott was totally underutilized last night, and with Penn State being relatively small, he should have been an offensive focus down low. I would have preferred to see Wiggins or Darryl Morsell working on the low post also.

With Penn State having no intimidating inside defender, Maryland’s shot chart would show that 14 of their 17 made field goals were layups or dunks. They were 14-23 once they got inside. That type of successful percentage inside tells me they should have started their offense inside, using sets to get the ball into the low post instead of trying to use dribble penetration to get there.

Penn State did a good job of helping out to stop the penetration. The perimeter isolation part of the Terps offense was stymied, and with their threes not falling, scoring was tough. I would have loved to see them use a low post offense, but, without a true point guard to distribute the ball, perhaps that would have been fruitless also.

This would have been an important win for the Terps considering that their next game will be against an Ohio State team that has their eyes set on a potential #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. After that, they play host to Minnesota.

A win last night would have kept Maryland's already slim at-large bid hopes alive. Instead, the loss has them looking at a three-game losing streak unless they can pull off one more upset.

The 9 p.m. home game against Ohio State this Monday night will be televised by Fox Sports 1.

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#dmd comments








Connor     February 26
I'm not even a Tiger Woods fan but reading along I have to wonder what Delray Rick means when he says "Truth Hurts". What truth? That one sportswriter thinks Tiger is a lousy person? Didn't that writer in Philadelphia think Eddie Murray was a lazy, arrogant baseball player who was just trying to cash a check? What did he know? Sports writers might be the worst people in the media.

Delray RICK     February 26
TRUTH HURTS

Keith Merrill     February 26
Having lived in Greenwich for 11 years I can assure you Mushnick's reputation in NYC is that of a sour puss who never says a good word about anyone. He's not very well thought of up there.

Larry     February 26
Mushnick = hack. No respect at all in media circles.

bob jackson     February 26
DELRAY Rick - I read the NY Post earlier today and it was so spot on about your "Messiah" great article.

Carl in Owings Mills     February 26
Hey Drew, just wondering if you read and had opinion on Mushnick crapping all over Tiger today in the Post?

Josh     February 26
Tiger will play again. This is likely a 2 year injury. He'll win again but maybe not until he's on the PGA Tour Champions. I would never count him out

Jeffrey “Fireball” Roberts     February 26
It was great seeing Kenny Cooper. Can’t wait for part 2. I remember that commercial like it was yesterday. Great memories, greater times. To be young again, we never knew what we had.

KJ     February 26
Here's the thing w/Herman, when he posts, he expresses an opinion. You can agree, disagree, whatever, but there is "content". All the "Herman bashers" (JJ, Mark, Kevin, et al) do is, well, bash Herman. With the added bonus of calling him a racist, as if that is a benign criticism. Really puzzles me why these comments stay up, they are NOT related to "today's topic", they are strictly personal shots at an individual.

Loved the Kenny Cooper Part I. Best point of the conversation was discussion about all the "fluff" added to the Blast games. I was one of those who called it "a circus show" and not a "sport", but Drew's point about all the leagues do it now is 100% spot on. I still think it's a shame they do it, but there's no doubting many fans enjoy this extraneous activity, for whatever reason. Not sure whose idea it was, but definitely was an idea ahead of its time, there's no denying that.

Tom J     February 26
Never mind the extortion attempt, I wouldn't have Judon back in a Ravens uniform for 20 million dollars as he wasn't worth the 16 million they paid him last year.

Bob S. (AKA Idiot Caller)     February 26
Are these doctors commenting on Tiger Woods injury the same type of media friendly doctors that have been advising everyone about COVID-19? "Don't wear masks... no wait, now wear masks... no wait, now wear two masks...". Pardon me if I don't trust these media doctors right now.

I would bet heavily right now that Tiger DOES make it back and end up playing tournament golf again, and winning a tournament or two before his career is over!

Don't bet against Tom Brady, and don't bet against Tiger Woods!

F Kline     February 26
Are we also supposed to abandon Michael Phelps? He ran afoul of the law a couple of times. Is that what we do now?

J.J.     February 26
Good point @Kevin but surprisingly the author of that comment conveniently forgot about Ray Ray's trial in Atlanta.

Tom     February 26
Interesting topic on Judon. Not sure I understand how Tiger Woods gets weaved into the discussion but given the source I do understand. I agree with @DF. I wouldn't re-sign Judon based on this episode. It reeks of poor character.

unitastoberry     February 26
Like I said yesterday Judon is not worth any of this nonsense. Unlike the Orioles I find myself siding with the Ravens management most of the time. Decent player like a Mosley on the outside. Wrong price. Decosta has it covered with the Wizard of Oz consulting.

Kevin     February 26
I know it's not cool to troll the troll but wasn't it just Herman a few weeks ago who was slobbering all over Ray Lewis so much that Herman needed stitches in both knees? I seem to recall 52 got in off field trouble as well???

TimD in Timonium     February 26
If only more pro athletes would let somebody else manage their Twitter account, handle their finances, drive them around...

Brian Jessup     February 26
Judons a jerk don't let the door hit you on the way out.



So depressed about Tiger. I was really hoping , by some miracle, he would qualify for the BMW Tournament this summer so I could go to Caves Valley and watch him. I've never seen him in person and would have been one of 30,000 other fans trying to catch that glimpse up close.(or somewhat close) It's such a shame to have it end like this but maybe there's a few more miracles left in his body. One can hope.

Steve from Cape Coral     February 26
Interesting, Nothing about your boy skating on the DWI charges ??? Very Sad news, but par for the course !!!

HERMAN     February 26
"We've become so indebted to our athletes and winning that we allow lots of flaws and mistakes"

Uh, yeah, I can think of one glaring example where that is true, especially for the site owner. Being able to hit a little white ball better than others excuses all off course behavior.

"And, occasionally, it's more than fair to overlook a brush with the law or some kind of "small blemish" in return for the production they can provide on the field, the court, the ice, etc."

Odd that you left off "course", or "golf course", as the recent coverage of the "accident" was like an homage, a sycophantic orgy, where formerly respected "news" programs gave up hours of hard news in coverage of the "accident". The sporting public at large has ignored everything with regard to one particular athlete, site owner included.

Could such adulation in the face of past transgressions have led to contributing to the "accident"?

When one pays no price for their sins where is the deterrence to repeat the sins?




Delray rick     February 26
For our readers who have the internet (HERMAN) and who don't (spend a dollar) check out NY POST today and PHIL MUSHNICK'S column on the MESSIAH. Its classic.

JohnInEssex     February 26
Just completed watching part 1 of Kenny Cooper interview.

Feel the same way Drew does concerning Kenny Jr. not getting a fair shake with the US National team. They have ALWAYS needed a finisher, Kenny would produce, but somehow weirdly not be on the team.



One of my coolest memories as a referee was working a game at Rosedale Park where Kenny Jr. was playing on a U10 team. He towered over everyone and was dominating. Got to say HI to Kenny Sr. and thank him for all he did for soccer in Baltimore. SO MANY great memories thanks to the BLAST!

tom     February 25
yea @AL, cause you are such a class act youself, smh

JK     February 25
Thanks Drew for the Kenny Cooper video interview. Love seeing and hear my favorite coach. It was great to hear all the Blast and life experiences on the interview. This brought back some great memories. I can't wait for part 2!

JeffWell     February 25
Pretty much a d*#k move by Judon IMO. Speaking of such moves,we get a real gem from that be "classy" guy Al.

Howard     February 25
After about 30 years, the Spirit commercial remains the best sports commercial of all time.

Thanks for the laugh

Rob Really     February 25
Delray quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald today... nice! Are we still allowed to do that??

Delray Rick     February 25
Show me a hero,and I'll write you a tragedy.

TimD in Timonium     February 25
The early to mid-'80s was a great time to be a Blast fan. It very could have been the Golden Age of the Baltimore Civic Center. What a time.

unitastoberry     February 25
I don't do twitter but been watching this Judon vs Hensley thing. I shake my head at social media many times. I was on facebook for a while but deleted. Now you have a reporter with a pretty solid reputation who reports that he turned down a deal for 16.5 million a year? Then Judon replies saying he's a liar and he has pictures of him with a stripper? Wow I guess you just have to shake your head and wait for Hensley to sue for liable. I think if Matt or his agent turned down 16.5 mil/yr they are nuts. I have seen many great outside LB/Rush ends and Matts not one of those headed for Canton types. He's not Suggs,Bouleware,maybe not even Jamie Sharper or Jaret Johnson. I could go back further in time with a few names but no one will know them. See you Matt good luck. BTW the cap is going down and the league is basically demanding that the networks back up the Brinks trucks with more money to offset loses due to Covid and poor ratings.

RickinBaltimore     February 25
Kenny Cooper will always have a special place for me. I grew up on the Blast, and as a kid, they were larger than life. He knew how to coach, but how to promote the team, the trek up and down federal Hill immediately comes to mind.

Tom J     February 25
Can't wait to watch the Kenny Cooper chat. He was bigger than life "back in the day" when the Blast ruled the winter in Baltimore. Brought me many evenings of joy during those glory days. It was nothing like being in the old Civic Center when it was packed to the rafters and that place was rocking..!!!!

Delray Rick     February 24
This guy has 3 crashes and almost hit a man in the hotel lot..and that man was upset. Watch his interview. SHOULD HAVE HIS LICENSE REVOKED.


Cal     February 24
As you noted on Twitter yesterday DF, God is indeed great. Those prayers for Tiger worked. Now let's hope he can resume some normal functionality in his life and maybe even play golf again someday.

Brian Jessup     February 24
Sources say Tiger's appointment was 1 hour away and he was running late with only 20 minutes to make it. Thank God he's not dead. Speculators are running wild, drugs, sleep, distracted driving, who knows maybe a combination of all three. Here's hoping he somehow makes it back, maybe after this he won't want to but the golfing and non-golfing world was depressed yesterday.



I don't think the "OJ" coverage of the car being towed in was necessary, that was way over the top.



And we thought 2020 was bad, hope this isn't an omen for the rest of the year.

Vince Fiduccia     February 24
The Golf Channel's coverage of Tiger was outstanding last night, especially the work done by Rich Lerner. If you want information about Tiger do not go to one of the cable news outlets. They are one rung below thrash TV. The Golf Channel has insider information with Tiger's people.

unitastoberry     February 24
I hope Tiger Woods recovers. Lots depend on how good or bad his surgeon was along with any complications from the repairs. He's going to be on pain killers again for a long time which is not good either. I hope when he gets back to normal he finally hires a full time driver.

ChrisK     February 24
Excellent call with Marc Cohn. Also, a good take on Zanzibar--not quite my favorite of William's, but it's way up on the list. And yes, Earl Weaver was the best. Harbaugh can make an argument, but he also would have a sub-.500 career playoff record if Rahim Moore hadn't tripped over his own feet. He's not there yet, but he's in the conversation.

TimD in Timonium     February 24
@Delray Rick, you called this on Feb 22. Maybe it was speeding, maybe he fell asleep, maybe he was texting, bad outcome either way, but could've been much, much worse. If Alex Smith can come back from a catastrophic lower leg injury, I believe Tiger can do. Get well soon, Tiger.

JohnInEssex     February 23
I remember back in 83 that some of the Orioles players were determined to win without Weaver at the helm. They wanted to show it wasn't the manager, but the players.

And the final game of 82 - Cal Sr. botched sending/not sending Glenn Gulliver from 3rd base early in the game and we never really recovered.

HERMAN     February 23
Earl Weaver was the best manager in town, hands down.

Earl was light years ahead in using statistics, knowing minute details about players history of performance against competition. He used 3 X 5 index cards to keep stats across the board.

Earl studied the stats of championship teams. He knew what home run totals it took, how many RBI's it took, how many hits. Then he attempted to put a team together position by position who could meet those totals. He knew which players hit his pitcher well, even the obscure players and pinch hitters.

Earl was one of the only managers in history to platoon a pair of mid-level talents at the same position in an attempt to have two players at the same position equal the output of one superior performer.

Earl was a stats-geek scientist forty years before it became a necessary tool of every team in the game.

He may have tightened up a team during the World Series and lost some he should have won, but for season long performance Earl was the best in town, one of the best in the history of the game.

Howard     February 23
Earl underachieved with the talent that he had. Someone has pointed out that Altobelli took Weaver’s guys and won a World Series in 1983 but Weaver couldn’t do it with his guys in 1982.

Harbaugh wins a Super Bowl with a team that was clearly not the most talented in the NFL..

cj     February 23
Praying for Tiger. The crash scene looks really bad. Godspeed to him.

Delray Rick     February 23
MESSIAH in car crash in LA. Had to extraction by "jaws of life".

Neil     February 23
Just wanted to say I thought A to Z was good reading material today. Add that to your regular columns please.

Chris in Bel Air     February 23
Yes to Weaver as B'more best. Harbs is certainly making a good case. I'm assuming Harbs will be coaching (and winning) for at several more years. If he were to win another Super Bowl, that could certainly make the decision more difficult. Still remember that final 4 game weekend against the Brewers in 1982. The O's and Weaver almost pulled it off.

Big yes to the U2, Beastie Boys, The Cars, Steely Dan and INXS. No to DMB, Pearl Jam and Little Feat.

@Delray Rick - I've been rooting for Spieth too. I agree he seems like his game has turned around. I would love to see him win a tourney and a major this year.

Skip     February 23
I agree with UtB about Weeb and being an oldster myself I would nominate Paul Richards for his building of the Birds in the 60s.

Frank     February 23
RIP Ted Patterson. I remember @DF listed him on his Top 10 Baltimore sportscaster list a few years ago. Maybe you can share a story or two about Ted sometime this week @DF?

unitastoberry     February 23
E -- Is Earl Weaver Baltimore's all-time best coach? I don't know...that's why I'm asking you. I mean, in my lifetime (please note that) , the only candidates for the honor are Shula, Weaver, Billick, Showalter and Harbaugh. Shula wasn't around long enough. Showalter didn't win a championsip. Billick had a lot of "off years" despite winning a Super Bowl. It's either Harbaugh or Weaver. I think you can make an argument for both, but I'll listen to you and your reasoning.



In your lifetime yes Weaver was by far. In my lifetime I would bring Weeb Ewbank into the mix for me. Forget Shula he never won a title here and disrespected Unitas. Rosenbloom was nuts or drunk or hangin with the bookies and strippers when he let Weeb go. Weeb won three titles in 2 cities and brought many HOF players into the league. Earl was great but he inherited a great team from Bauer. But he proved himself again after Frank and Brooks left/retired and Altobelli won with Weavers guys. I'd call it a tie for me with Weaver and Weeb.

Tristan (DMD Editor)     February 23
Good morning, just for your information, no more comments will be permitted about the vaccination for Covid. I'm going to remove all currently published comments and we will not be allowing any further comments.



Thank you for your understanding.

Friday
February 5
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2356


please...slap me in my face


I found a great gig but it has one drawback.

I think you'll agree, it's a drawback we could all handle.

The NBA announced yesterday they were going to go ahead and jam an All-Star game into their already tight 2020-2021 schedule, on March 7th in Atlanta, after toying around with the idea of giving the entire league a 5-day break between March 5 and March 10.

Instead, most of the league will be off those five days but the league's best players -- most of whom are also the highest paid players in the game -- will be forced to convene in Atlanta for the All-Star Game.

LeBron James will be forced to make a 3-day business trip to Atlanta in March as part of his $39 million salary in 2021.

That news did not sit well with the league's marquee player on Thursday, as LeBron James ripped the whole idea, eventually settling with this gem: "(It's) pretty much a slap in the face."

And the sports world thinks Patrick Reed is a heel?

LeBron James makes $39 million a year. Yeah, yeah, I know, taxes and all. He might "only" take home $20 million of that when it's all said and done. But James essentially makes $500,000 for every game he plays. Let's just say the government can skip giving him the stimulus check and he'll survive.

The average salary for a NBA player is $8.1 million. Use the word "average" however you like, but when you watch a NBA game tonight (maybe I should have said "if you watch" one), take every player who isn't a star that you know and he's pretty much making roughly somewhound $5 or $6 million this year.

Some "average salary" players will make the All-Star Game, by the way. Like James, they'll be forced to give up a few days of their break and go tread their way through a meaningless Sunday afternoon game in Atlanta. I can't feel any worse for them. Can you?

Here's the full transcript from his comments on Thursday: "Short offseason for myself and my teammates, 71 days," James said, referring to the time the Lakers had from Game 6 of the NBA Finals in October to opening night against the LA Clippers in December. "And then coming into this season, we were told that we were not having an All-Star Game, so we'd have a nice little break. Five days [in March] from the 5th through the 10th, an opportunity for me to kind of recalibrate for the second half of the season. My teammates as well. Some of the guys in the league. And then they throw an All-Star Game on us like this and just breaks that all the way up. So, um, pretty much kind of a slap in the face."

James is right, by the way, about a lot of things. The NBA only gave the players (those that made it to the Finals, anyway), a 71-day break between the end of the Covid-impacted 2019-2020 season and the start of the 2020-2021 campaign. They were originally unsure about having an All-Star Game this season, then changed their mind. The NBA, you might recall, lost a billion (with a "b") dollars last year when the virus hit so they, too, are looking to make up some of that lost revenue. That is, James might realize, kind of important. Without a league, he doesn't make $39 million.

Yes, there are still teams and players impacted by Covid-19 even now, a fact James also brought up. "We're playing in a pandemic," he reminded the media in Los Angeles on Thursday. That's a fact, of course. Like a lot of Americans who are working during this pandemic, James and his NBA brothers are flying around, staying in hotels, playing basketball AND MAKING AN AVERAGE OF $8.1 MILLION A YEAR.

James, by the way, conveniently forgets he didn't have to "work" this season. He could have opted out, citing Covid-19 concerns, the way dozens of NFL players did during the 2020 season. But LeBron wants that $39 million, I assume, so, like a lot of Americans who probably had a boss that said, "Wanna get paid? Come to work.", LeBron gathered up enough energy to report to his job in late December and start making that salary.

Other players will join in with their complaints over the next day or two, you can count on that. Galvanized by the league's best player singing the blues, a bunch of guys -- including a few you've probably never heard of -- will also complain about having to go to the All-Star Game in Atlanta.

"A slap in the face," they think.

Calvert Hall Golf is a far, far cry from the NBA, but when we have a 33 degree day in February or March and we gather for practice at Country Club of Maryland, I make sure to mention to my group of players "you don't have to practice today...you get to practice today." Playing varsity golf at Calvert Hall isn't an obligation, it's a privilege. I can, I remind them, always find a few other aspiring varsity golfers who are on the JV roster to take their spot, guys who would give up their Yeti and that Minecraft gift card they got for Christmas for the opportunity to play and/or practice with the varsity team, 33 degrees or not.

NBA players don't "have" to play in the All-Star Game in Atlanta. They "get" to play in the All-Star Game in Atlanta.

I've never had $39 million or even $8 million, for that matter, so I'll be the first to say that I have no idea if that kind of money would change me. But anyone -- even LeBron -- who thinks going to the All-Star Game as part of collecting his $39 million salary is a "slap in the face" hasn't, you know, actually been slapped in the face during this pandemic.

"Slapped in the face" is the restaurant you own being forced to close after being open in downtown Baltimore (or Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, Manhattan) for 24 years.

"Slapped in the face" is having your boss catch up with you via ZOOM to let you know your position is being eliminated in the wake of the pandemic.

"Slapped in the face" is a lot of things, but making $39 million and having to take a previously-unscheduled 3-day business trip to Atlanta isn't one of them.

I like LeBron, by the way. I always have. "The Decision" notwithstanding, LeBron has handled his career sublimely. Say what you will if you're a detractor, but you've never once seen him on TMZ, on the police blotter, or involved in some other incident that muddies him or his reputation.

Everyone is occasionally guilty of saying something dumb, though. We're all prone to it. I thought the Ravens were going to beat the Bills, remember. It happens to the best of us.

But calling an invitation to the All-Star Game a "slap in the face" is, actually, a slap in the face. To all of us.

Sign me up, right now, for next year's All-Star Game. I'll go out a week ahead of time to get everyone's hotel room straight, pillows fluffed, and bathroom towels warmed up. And I'll only take $8 million.

Please, someone out there, hire me tomorrow, pay me $8 million, and slap me in the face once a year.

You know where to contact me.




Today's publishing deadline: 8:15 am

Today's publishing time: 8:12 am

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you can help baltimore on saturday


A special edition of "Drew and Friends" below features a sitdown with Kris Ruhling of Great 8's Memorabilia. His company is putting together a huge online gala tomorrow night from 7 pm to 10 pm, with all funds raised going to the "Famous Fund" currently being supported by Jimmy's Famous Seafood.

Jimmy's "Famous Fund" has now passed $400,000 in donated monies and they've already helped over a dozen struggling restaurants in Balitmore. Tomorrow's online "gala" promises to provide even much money to those ailing Charm City restaurants.

Please take 10 minutes to watch the video below and participate tomorrow night if you can. There's even a round of golf with a certain Baltimore website owner on the docket for your bidding enjoyment.



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DALE WILLIAMS returns for his sixth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2020-21 season.


terps at penn state tonight


For the first time in over a month, the Maryland Terrapins will battle against an unranked team tonight when they travel to the Bryce Jordan Center to take on the Nittany Lions of Penn State. Game time is 7 p.m. and you can watch the action on Fox Sports 1.

Penn State may be only 3-7 in the Big Ten, but I’ll label them as “dangerous”.

They have double digit wins over two ranked teams, beating Wisconsin by 10 and Virginia Tech by 20. In addition, they lost to Ohio State and Michigan by only 4 points, and to Indiana in overtime. This is a scrappy Penn State team team that forces turnovers and matches up well with the Terps, but to me the way to beat them is obvious and achievable.

Penn State will force turnovers, and the team leads the Big Ten in that category with 13.6 forced per game. They are second in steals with 7.5 (the Terps get just 4.6). The key this evening is Maryland cannot let those turnovers become points. So, the first big focus for Maryland will be transition defense.

Maryland's Darryl Morsell will face a tough defensive task when the Terps visit Penn State tonight.

The Nittany Lions will try to push everything they can. Turnovers, defensive rebounds, even made buckets will be immediately converted into offense for (interim) head coach Jim Ferry’s team. Maryland must get back and defend. It could be a real track meet tonight and the Terps might find themselves giving up 80 points if they don’t bust their tails to beat Penn State down court.

Both of these teams struggle to hit shots from the floor, but Penn State makes up for it by being the best offensive rebounding team in the conference. This is the second point of focus for Turgeon’s Terps. Keep the Nittany Lions off of the offensive glass.

Penn State gets almost 13 offensive boards per game. Maryland needs to either reduce that number, or match it with offensive rebounds of their own.

If Maryland can play solid transition defense, and keep Penn State of off the offensive glass, they should win this game. A bonus for them would be to limit the scoring of Myreon Jones. Jones leads Penn State with 15.6 ppg. He scores far more points from the 3-point line (105) than he does inside the arc (82). He’s accurate from long range, 43%, and you can count on him launching 5 or 6 threes every game. His pull-up jumper game is nice too. Myreon Jones, meet Darryl Morsell.

Izaiah Brockington is next in scoring with 14.7 ppg. A decent outside threat at 35.7%, but he won’t shoot many from long range and he’s way more effective in transition. While Jones has made 35 of his 76 field goals from behind the three-point line, only 10 of Brockington’s 80 field goals have been threes. If he gets the opportunity in transition, he’ll put a defender on a poster. A lefty, he’s not nearly as effective if you force him right.

Where Penn State is not likely to hurt you is in the low post. John Harrar is the only starter who stands over 6’6”, and he’s not a true back-to-the basket player. He is very muscular, and powers his way to about 8 points and 8 rebounds a game. He has been described as “Looks like a Marine, plays like a Marine”. He’ll hang around the rim on offense, and it’s his offensive rebounds that must be eliminated.

Maryland will score more points tonight than in any other Big Ten contest so far. Their previous high is 73. They will beat that tonight. Penn State gives up 77 points per game. Like Maryland, they don’t come at you with much size, and there is no big man to protect the rim. Everyone, except maybe Brockington, is vulnerable inside on the post-up. The Terps will use this to their advantage tonight.

Maryland finally plays a game where they won’t have to contend with a premier post player. This could allow Turgeon to go small for long stretches. When they do, it would pit Harrar against the Terps Donta Scott. That’s a major problem for Penn State. I respect Harrar’s game, but he can’t defend Scott away from the basket.

While Penn State goes a bit deeper into their bench, I expect them to play most of their minutes with 6’1” Jamari Wheeler, 6’3” Jones, 6’4” Brockington, 6’6” Seth Lundy, and 6’9” Harrar. Off of the bench, Sam Sessoms and Myles Dread could see 20 minutes each, but they are only 6’0” and 6’4”, respectively.

To win tonight, Maryland needs to match Penn State’s intensity. They can do this by stopping the Nittany Lion transition game, and by fighting hard to keep Penn State off of the offensive glass.

This is no cake walk. Penn State is a fighting, scrappy club that has some talent. However, without size, they are limited in their offensive and defensive options.

The Terps will exploit several mismatches, and get to the rim frequently. With no big man to stop him, Scott has a big game tonight. He could get 20. The offensive rebound totals will be about even, and the Terps will win a game filled with scoring.

A Maryland victory by 76 to 72 could easily happen. The point-spread, early, had Penn State as a 2.5 point favorite. One final note: if the game is tight in the final minute, Penn State’s most crafty ball-handler, Wheeler, is only a 52% foul shooter.

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faith in sports



Today's edition of "Faith In Sports", brought to you by Freestate Electric, takes us to the world of mixed martial arts and a lesson from Cody Garbrandt. Garbrandt talks about his youth, his discovery of fighting to survive, and his eventual "bottoming out", which included an attempted suicide. If you haven't watched one of our "Faith In Sports" videos, please watch this one.




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Thursday
February 4
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2355


eight years later...


Yesterday marked the 8th anniversary of the Ravens 34-31 Super Bowl win over San Francisco in New Orleans. I'm not much on "odd year" anniversaries, truth be told. Five, ten, twenty, sure. But, eight? Seems weird to celebrate "eight" years.

But we write about sports here and the Ravens are our team and this just happened to be a Super Bowl that I actually attended and witnessed. So, today, I'll share some memories of that week and the game.

I worked eight Super Bowls, as I mentioned earlier this week, but only opted to "fight the fight" to attend Super Bowl 47 in New Orleans. Why not attend them all, friends have often asked me. I mean, "you're already there, just stay for the game!" they said.

There are a bunch of answers to that question. First, honestly, the game never really mattered all that much when someone other than Baltimore was playing. I didn't have much interest in seeing the Indy vs. the Bears or Arizona vs. Pittsburgh.

Joe Flacco and John Harbaugh won their first Super Bowl ring in New Orleans on February 3, 2013.

Next, the week was really draining, mentally and physically. Sounds weird, I know. It's....radio....how draining can it be? As I mentioned during the "Drew and Friends" sitdown with Ray Bachman, we worked our tails off all week when we there at radio row. We got there on Sunday and never stopped until Friday night. We weren't digging ditches, but it was a grind.

The idea of flying to the Super Bowl was great and the hustle and bustle of the week itself was appealing, but here's what wasn't on my list of things to do: leave the Super Bowl. Everyone who came to the Super Bowl arrived at different times, in other words, but they all wanted to leave at the exact same time, Monday at 10:00 am.

So I always scooted out of town on Friday night, eager to see my wife and two young children back home. I just didn't have the energy left to fight three more days of "Super Bowl fever".

But I did stick around for Ravens-49'ers because we were on the air both Saturday and Sunday leading up to the game and then, I think, we even wandered back to the convention center and did some post-game radio, although I'm not 100% sure on that.

One non-football note real quick. We stayed at a hotel about six blocks from the Convention Center (where radio row was located) and on Saturday night, there was a concert in town featuring Journey (not with Steve Perry, but with that Arnel guy) and Rascal Flatts. On Saturday morning I got on the hotel elevator and there stood the great Neal Schon, right in front of me. I had one of those weird moments where I didn't say anything while I quickly searched for something to mutter. "Escape was an amazing album!" I finally blurted out.

"That's my favorite of everything we did," Schon replied. He went left out of the elevator and I went right, but for a moment, Neal Schon and I stood in a New Orleans elevator talking shop. Well, not really. But it was a fun 12 seconds nonetheless.

Everyone always asks me about the lights going off in the stadium early in the 3rd quarter of the Super Bowl and whether we were scared up in the press box. I can remember it quite vividly. At first, I wasn't even sure what was going on. I sort of noticed that part of the field looked "different", but I didn't realize anything was happening until the PA announcer said something that I couldn't quite understand.

And that's when the thought briefly raced through my mind that this might not be good. I quickly thought back to the 9-11 attacks when one of the hijackers said to the passengers in a foreign, hard-to-understand voice, "Please stay seated, we are going back to the airport." I couldn't quite make out what the PA announcer was saying, but I definitely heard something and the words "please remain calm" were distinct.

But within seconds, everyone figured out it was a lighting issue. That didn't necessarily strip away all the fear, but it reduced some of the tension for the moment. A few minutes later, after we were all convinced it really was just a lighting issue, we were able to breathe much easier.

I remember a few things about the end of the game. I recall sitting there with Glenn Clark and saying, "All they have to do here is let Kaepernick run the ball in," as the 49'ers moved in for what we all thought was going to be the go-ahead score. Alas, the 49'ers (Greg Roman at the helm of the play calling) bungled those four plays and couldn't get in the end zone and the Ravens were forced to gingerly play their way through the final minute and a half before taking a safety to finalize the scoring.

I remember Josh Bynes making the game-ending tackle and immediately thinking, "the last guy they kept in August just made the last play of the Super Bowl." Bynes and Adrian Hamilton were the last two standing in August and the Ravens went with Bynes (although Hamilton would later join the team in-season), a former Auburn linebacker who earlier in the season had been verbally degraded by Bernard Pollard in a wild locker room scene after an overtime loss at DC. I have to admit it warmed my heart to see Bynes make that game-ending tackle. It turns out he was more than a "bench warmer" in the NFL, as he was told in Washington D.C. two months earlier.

Matt Birk and I had done a few small charity projects together and my annual golf outing donated proceeds from our 2012 event to Matt's H.I.K.E. Foundation, so when I saw him on the field after the game, I congratulated him on the win and a great career.

"You're going out a champion," I said to him. "I'm happy for you."

He looked at me and smiled and said, "Who said I'm done? I might stick around for a few more years!" But the twinkle in his eye and the relief on his face told a different story and Birk, who started and played all 64 regular season games in his four year career, did indeed retire after winning that ring in New Orleans.

I saw Ray Lewis in the hallway outside of the locker room. He was talking with a PR representative of the team. As I walked by, I heard Ray say, "I always swore I wouldn't talk to him again after what he did to me a few years back but I'm good. Bring him over and I'll talk to him." I didn't have the time or inclination to snoop at that point, but a while later I found out Ray was speaking about a journalist who had written some mean spirited things about him after the situation in Atlanta in 2000. That was Ray's night to forgive and move on, apparently.

On my way to the John Harbaugh press conference, I stopped in to hear what Ray had to say. Six weeks before, I was standing in front of him in Baltimore -- literally 10 feet from him -- when he said, "I told my team today that this is my last ride." And now, 10 or 15 feet away, Ray was standing there as a 2-time Super Bowl champion. It was a pretty cool moment.

I was standing in the front row when Harbs walked in. In a funny moment, as he stepped through the roped off area to approach the microphone, a league PR official handed John a large white towel with the Gatorade logo on it. In the process of handing it over, the man actually draped it on John's shoulder and said something like, "Here you go, Coach, you can use this during the presser."

John didn't know if he was supposed to be "wearing" the towel during the press conference and said, sternly, "I'm not using this," and dropped it to the floor. It struck me in that moment that someone in NFL marketing was going to be on the chopping block first thing Monday morning if that prop -- a towel -- was part of Gatorade's national marketing deal with the league.

Someone should have made it a point to inform both coaches of the requirement: "Hey, if you're the winning coach, you'll need to drape the Gatorade towel over your shoulder during the official press conference after the game." Not doing that left too much unknown for Harbaugh, who, again, wasn't really sure if he was supposed to sport the towel or if someone had snuck in and put the towel on his shoulder in an effort to garner free publicity.

I eventually made it back to the locker room and encountered Joe Flacco, who was named the game's MVP. "Not bad for a kid from Delaware," I said to him as we shook hands.

He laughed and replied, "I'm sure glad I got the chance to make that out throw to Anquan!", a reference to an article from earlier in the week that said Flacco's strengths during the 2012 regular season were watching the Ravens defense and making the sideline "out throw".

I'm glad I got to see a Super Bowl, but the only reason it matters at all to me was because the Ravens were involved. I did miss being in Baltimore for the game, as I know it was wild-town on Sunday night, but the memories of seeing it all unfold in the stadium and afterwards in the locker room can't be replaced.

Eight years later, it's still worth remembering.

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"The Keen Eye" of
David Rosenfeld

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


random roman numeral musings


This is the 55th Super Bowl—LV—which does not mean Las Vegas. LVIII (58) might actually be in Las Vegas; originally that one was scheduled for New Orleans, but said game would have caused a conflict with Mardi Gras. Seriously. So the NFL instead gave that city No. 59, and No. 58 is still to be announced.

What would be more fun? The Super Bowl in New Orleans at the same time as Mardi Gras, or the Super Bowl in Vegas? I guess we won’t find out. In any case, LVIII will take place after the 2023 season, which will be Lamar Jackson’s first season as quarterback of the Texans.

I find it somewhat amazing that LV will be the first time a team will play in a Super Bowl in its home stadium, in this case the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Raymond James Stadium. The Bucs have only had one playoff chance to reach a Super Bowl at home before—the 2000 season—but Tony Dungy’s team lost in the Wild Card round.

The old man vs. the kid on Sunday in Tampa Bay...for all the marbles.

We remember who won that Super Bowl—XXXV—and it would be two seasons after that Tampa actually won the Super Bowl—XXXVII—in San Diego. Before that season, the Bucs had literally traded for Oakland’s coach, Jon Gruden, and his Tampa team would go on to win the Super Bowl by 27 points—over the Raiders. Gruden, of course, is once again coaching the Raiders, this time in LV, I mean Las Vegas.

The two most frequent hosting locations for the Super Bowl have been Miami and New Orleans, with 11 and 10 respectively. The most frequent stadium host for the game is the Superdome, with seven games. We remember who won game XLVII in that stadium eight years ago; perhaps Jackson will lead the Texans to game LIX there in February 2025.

Maybe Buccaneers’ quarterback Tom Brady will find a way to get his team into that game, when he’ll be 47 years old. Or maybe Tampa will let him go after next season, and he’ll lead the Ravens to that game instead…


Taking away the two victories (in two attempts!) by the Ravens in the Super Bowl, there are certain games from the previous LIV that stick out in my mind. They weren’t always the best games, but simply ones I remember well.

You always recall your first, right? The first I can remember watching was XIV (14), played in January 1980 at the Rose Bowl between the powerful Steelers and the not-so powerful L.A. Rams. Pittsburgh won the game 31-19 after trailing 19-17 entering the fourth quarter.

Competitively speaking, it was one of the best Super Bowls despite the Steelers being an 11-point favorite during the week.

Certainly my father would have pushed me to root for the Rams, who were basically an average team that made a playoff run. The Rams’ quarterback, Vince Ferragamo, completed less than 50 percent of his passes in 1979 and had twice as many interceptions as touchdown passes but still led his team to four straight wins late in the regular season.

Worth noting—Lamar Jackson has thrown 68 touchdown passes and 18 interceptions while running for nearly 3,000 yards in 37 career starts. But I digress, since he has yet to play in the Super Bowl.

It was two years later that I became an admirer of the San Francisco 49ers, who beat the Bengals 26-21 in game XVI to begin their 1980s dynasty, one in which they won three more Super Bowls. A couple years later, after the local team left town on my 11th birthday, I took on Bill Walsh’s team as my own. Yes, I know—that made me kind of a front runner. But if you were around to watch those Joe Montana-led teams, they were easy to like.

That was the first time I can recall going to an actual Super Bowl party, in the club basement of a cousin’s house not far from home. It would be more than 20 years later that I actually imbibed too much at a Super Bowl shindig, and in doing so missed Janet Jackson’s famous “wardrobe malfunction” at halftime of game XXXVIII.


Can the Ravens as currently constructed, or at least similarly constructed, win the Super Bowl? You have to remember that’s a different question than holistic questions about the future of the franchise, or philosophies on offense or defense.

Will Lamar Jackson someday follow in the footsteps of Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes and hoist the Lombardi Trophy?

The simple answer is that the Ravens are going to keep making the playoffs with a team built the way it is now, maybe for many more years in a row. For the one millionth time, one can’t win the Super Bowl without first making the postseason.

On a side note, it’ll be interesting to see how the extra playoff team in each league affects the eventual Super Bowl participants. This year, the Chiefs had the lone AFC bye, while the Bucs had to win three games. Will No. 1 seeds tend to keep making it to the championship? Or will the increased number of playoff teams lead to crazier results and Super Bowls featuring odd matchups? It’ll be a while before we know any of those answers.

You need some luck to win the Super Bowl sometimes, like a Mile High Miracle a few weeks before the game. No matter what your regular-season record, you may need something special that nobody else has—like Tom Brady or the Ravens’ 2000 defensive unit. The current team in Baltimore has that, of course, but hasn’t had the luck.

For whatever reason, playoff football hasn’t been kind to the Ravens the last three years. That topic has been discussed ad nauseam. In the next few years, that could completely turn on its head.

Some might say the Ravens have to prove they’re able to beat Kansas City before they can become Super Bowl contenders. That would be great for confidence, but that doesn’t necessarily mean in any one season that they’ll have to beat the Chiefs to make it to the Super Bowl.

From a franchise perspective, the Ravens are unlikely to go “chasing” a Super Bowl in the way you might see from Jerry Jones in Dallas. Ironically, that makes them more likely to win a championship, something Jones doesn’t seem to understand.


Who’s the winner on Sunday? Ageless Brady or peerless Patrick Mahomes? The best team in the NFL or a good team making a nice run? Relative senior citizen Andy Reid (62) or more senior citizen Bruce Arians (68)?

These teams played in the same stadium 10 weeks ago, and Kansas City kicked butt, to be honest. The final score was 27-24, but it wasn’t that close. Mahomes completed 37 of 49 passes for 462 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. When the Chiefs needed to run out the clock ahead by three with 4:10 left, they did so; Mahomes was brilliant on those eight plays that closed out the game.

So the conventional wisdom is that the Bucs will have to win in a shootout if they want to win Nobody is holding the Chiefs to 17 or anything like that, plus Tampa ain’t exactly chopped liver when it comes to offense either. Conventional wisdom doesn’t always work in the Super Bowl, but I think it will this time. Sounds like a good game…unless it isn’t.

The Super Bowl is, of course, just one game, and strange things can happen in a single game. Last year in Miami, the great Mahomes was awful for the first 45 minutes of the game against a good San Francisco defense. He threw low, he threw behind, he threw to the other team. He was all over the place, until he reverted to Superman in the fourth quarter.

On Sunday, if one of the two quarterbacks is going to look like Mahomes did last year in the first three quarters, I’d bet on Brady. He tossed three picks up in Green Bay two weeks ago, and he just seems way more susceptible to the big miss than he’s been before. The funny thing about Brady, though? Here he is in his 10th Super Bowl, and it’s almost like he’s got more to prove than anybody in the game! Was it him, or was it Belichick?

I’ve got the Chiefs 35-31, similar to the game back in November. But I’m not rooting either way.




Today's publishing deadline: 8:20 am.

Published time: 8:16 am

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Wednesday
February 3
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2354


quick hits


Something dawned on me this morning as I prepared this Wednesday edition of #DMD.

This is a great place to start your morning.

Bragging? Eh, maybe a little. More than bragging, though, it's really just pride. I read the stuff that Dale and Mark contributed today and I realize how cool it must be to have a place to visit every morning and read about sports from a variety of sources.

I hope you feel the same way. I think most of you do, actually. I get enough e-mails and "on the street" comments to know that the majority of you appreciate what we do here, which does make a difference, believe me. Do we have a detractor or two who come along and stir the pot and create some tension? Sure. But those who love the site far, far outweigh those who don't.

I'll put Mark and David up against anyone in town when it comes to writing and expressing interesting, cogent thoughts on the world of sports, particularly those that lean "Baltimore". I couldn't have two better "general assignment" guys than those two. I never suggest a writing topic for them and never send them a note after a published piece and say "be careful there..." They are both outstanding writers and, best of all for a boss, "hassle free". I appreciate them, greatly. I hope you do as well.

Dale's knowledge of basketball and the Terps is as solid as anyone around. He sees the game differently than most of us. If you didn't get to see last night's win over Purdue, settle in and read Dale's account and you'll see how and why it happened. That, I've always believed, is the mark of a solid journalist, whether it's a sports story, news story, etc. They take you to the place where the event happened and you can understand what transpired without actually having been there. Dale does that when he writes about basketball.

I'd put Randy's soccer insight up against anyone in town. As the World Cup rolls around in 2022, we're excited to be the destination in town where people can come and get their fill of both the U.S. National Team and the rest of the teams participating in the event in Qatar. In the meantime, the qualifying matches this year and next year will be covered extensively here as well. If you know a soccer lover, please direct them here on Tuesday to get their fill of "Americans Abroad".

As you've seen recently, I'm branching out with some new stuff in 2021. Thanks to our friends at Primary Residential Mortgage, "Drew and Friends" will become a regular #DMD feature. A couple of times a week, I'll sit down with someone for 30 minutes or so and chat about sports. It's a column, podcast and video interview all in one. I enjoy doing it. I'm no Evan Washburn or anything like that, but the format appeals to me because it's somewhat like talk radio and also utilizes interviewing skills and story telling, both of which I enjoy.

I'm also getting more involved with fantasy golf. I can't say much about the details just yet, but by mid-spring I'll be working with a national daily fantasy sports company as their "fantasy golf expert" (you can laugh......now) and that content will also be linked and featured here at #DMD. As in-tournament betting becomes a thing on the PGA Tour, the site I'll be working with will feature the ability to wager on golf as it happens, right then and there. "Rory McIlroy has 169 yards to the hole. Odds he hits the shot within 17.4 feet of the hole, 3:1. Odds he hits the shot within 12.3 feet of the hole, 5:1. Odds he hits the shot within 6.7 feet of the hole, 7:1." Place your bets...

And now...here are a few sports quick hits for your Wednesday morning.

I have no idea where this Watson for Jackson talk originated, but it's silly if you ask me. For starters, the Ravens are not trading Lamar Jackson for Deshaun Watson. They're just not. Nor should they. It would be a dumb trade.

Deshaun Watson for Lamar Jackson? No. No. No. The Ravens have their quarterback, thank you.

Perhaps this "story" was the by-product of the Goff for Stafford deal and the notion that the Texans are in great position to fleece someone who is in need of a quarterback. Social media is filled with folks looking to create a story out of a non-story.

In case you haven't noticed, the Ravens don't need a quarterback. They're thrilled with the one they have. The Rams weren't thrilled with their QB and the Lions weren't thrilled with their QB. So, they swapped those two players. The Jets aren't thrilled with their QB, so Watson probably has appeal to them. The Dolphins just drafted a guy last year, saw him play a handful of games in 2020, and perhaps they weren't overly impressed with Tua...so, maybe Watson is a guy they covet.

Whether Lamar Jackson is as "good" as Deshaun Watson is up to the experts to decide. But I know this: The Ravens are thrilled to have Lamar Jackson and they're not trading him for anyone. End of the story.


I like the "new look" version of the Washington Capitals we've seen in the first three weeks of the NHL season. True to form, a Peter Laviolette team moves up and down the ice, with defenders put into position to score and forwards asked to help out on defense. This up-temp style typically leads to a lot of scoring chances both for and against and that's precisely what we've seen thus far.

Alex Ovechkin has only scored two goals in six games this season, but the Caps are tied for the lead in the NHL's East Division.

There are some unsettling things, yes. The Caps have squandered several two or three goal leads in the first ten games, including a pair of 3-goal advantages against Boston earlier this week. Those moments will happen a lot given the team's new style, but there will also be occasions when the Caps can quickly erase a two or three goal deficit, like they did against the Islanders last Thursday when they trailed 3-0, then promptly erupted for five goals in the second period to take a 5-3 lead.

The goaltending duties this year will go to a pair of youngsters, Ilya Samsanov and Vitek Vanececk. Samsanov has been out almost two weeks now due to Covid-19, so Vanececk has picked up the work in his absence. While both are promising NHL netminders, they're also going to see a lot of rubber given the Caps' style under Laviolette. Whether they can handle the hurried 56-game season, cramped into four-plus months, remains to be seen.

The East Division in the NHL is going to be a barnburner. To wit, the Caps currently have 15 points in 10 games (6-1-3) and yet they're tied at the top with the worst-franchise-in-the-history-of-sports, who are 7-2-1 in their 10 games. Pittsburgh appears as if they're ready to hit a down cycle, but they continue to win, somehow. The Islanders have yet to hit their stride, but you have to assume Barry Trotz's young and talented squad will be heard from at some point.


The Patrick Reed saga from this past weekend continues to smolder, with stories coming out about American players "whispering" that they don't want to tee it up with him in the Ryder Cup this September. Reed, by the way, moved into 6th place (automatic berth) in the American standings with his win last Sunday at Torrey Pines.

Patrick Reed remains the topic of conversation in golf, three days after winning his 9th career tournament in San Diego.

There have also been, predictably, several stories from prominent national writers, all taking turns contributing scathing columns about Reed in the aftermath of the embedded-ball issue from last Saturday.

Until everyone has exhausted their energy for the story, Reed's going to have to deal with it. He did, after all, create the story himself with his cavalier -- if not downright "scripted" -- approach to the situation on the 10th hole in the third round last weekend.

I've written enough about it, personally, but I think it's always fair to point out that this could be the occasion where Reed actually is in the right. His ball might have been embedded. What percentage I would put on that isn't even important, but it is important to at least acknowledge he could have been telling the truth last Saturday.

That said, I think Reed knew, without question, how to proceed in that situation and use the rule(s) to his advantage. I also believe there are countless other PGA Tour players (and some major champions) who also know how to use the rules to their advantage. Anyone who thinks Patrick Reed is the only guy on TOUR who might have tried that exercise on Saturday on the 10th hole is totally naive.

If you think "using the rules to your advantage" is cheating, that's fine. Alas, it's not. But if you believe using the rules to your advantage brushes up too closely to the "spirit of the game", you might very well have a valid point. Reed knew the minute he asked the female volunteer if she saw his ball bounce that he was in stage one of using the rules to his advantage. Once she said, "no", he was able to move to step two.

One final thing about last Saturday that I've yet to hear anyone mention. Reed's two playing partners, Robby Shelton and Will Gordon, had every right to walk over and inspect Reed's ball themselves on Saturday when he motioned to them (before picking it up) and said, "I'm going to check and see if this is embedded." Both of those guys were high quality college players. Shelton has been a professional since 2016 and Gordon just joined the TOUR, but they know enough about tournament golf that they had the right to say to Reed, "I'll be right over to help you with that."

Why neither of them did that, who knows? But they didn't. And then Reed had free reign to continue to use the rules to his advantage. And that's what he did.

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dale williams aims the
terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his sixth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2020-21 season.


ayala comes through as terps nip purdue


Just when it appeared that offensive rebounding (Purdue had 10) and poor Terp foul shooting down the stretch (Maryland missed 3 of 6) would seal Maryland’s losing fate, those very same things proved to be the difference in the Maryland Terrapins’ 61-60 win over the Purdue Boilermakers last night in College Park.

Maryland had possession of the ball, down by one with just a few seconds remaining, when Eric Ayala rebounded his own miss in the paint and was fouled attempting the put-back. He went to the line with a chance to give his Terps a tie or lead. With Maryland down by one, 59-58, and just 3.3 seconds left in the game, Ayala calmly buried both critical foul shots.

When Purdue’s Trevion Williams double dribbled trying to handle the inbounds pass on the sideline at half court, the Terps had secured their first home conference win in 2020-2021. Maryland rallied from 5 down with 2:24 to play to get this win.

Maryland had three double-digit scorers. Aaron Wiggins led with 18, Ayala had 16, and Darryl Morsell chipped in 11. It was the Terps’ 8-13 performance from the three-point line in the second half that kept them in the game. Williams was a dominating force for Purdue with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Jaden Ivey added 14 points for the Boilermakers.

Maryland got a game high 18 points from Aaron Wiggins to beat Purdue, 61-60, on Tuesday night.

The low scoring first half ended with Purdue holding a 27-24 lead. The potential Purdue scoring was stymied by their 11 turnovers, including 7 Terp steals. Maryland couldn’t score because they couldn’t shoot, especially from the three-point line. The stat sheet would show that the Terps went 1-12 shooting threes in the first half.

The Boilermakers also grabbed 6 first half offensive rebounds compared to zero for Maryland. Trevion Williams bullied his way to 9 first half points. Honestly, with all the turnovers and missed shots, it wasn’t the greatest basketball to watch.

The second half started with Purdue pounding the ball down low to Williams. The result was 6 quick points for Williams and the Boilermakers, who would take a 36-30 lead. This is where the Terps got hot from the three-point line.

At the 16:26 mark of the second half, Wiggins made a short two-point jumper. It would stand as the last two pointer the Terps team would make for 14 minutes and 22 seconds. A streak of seven consecutive Terp threes was broken at 2:04 when Morsell made one of only four Terp “twos” in the half.

Towards the end of that streak, a Williams dunk gave Purdue what looked to be an insurmountable 7-point lead, 56-49, with 3:45 left. Ayala answered with a three. After a Purdue miss, Morsell was fouled and went to the line for two free-throws with the Terps down 4. He could only connect on one, cutting the lead to 3.

Eric Hunter Jr. and Morsell traded buckets, giving Purdue the ball, up 3 with 2:04 left. Ivey got fouled in the act, and connected on both of his foul shots. The Purdue advantage was now 5 points with just 1:43 remaining in the game.

Ten seconds later, Morsell would bury yet another Maryland three and now the Terps trailed by just 2, 60-58, with 1:33 left. You could sense a “We can do this” attitude coming from the Terp bench.

On Purdue’s next possession, Ivey missed a deep three, and Wiggins hauled in the rebound for Maryland. Ayala was then fouled going to the basket, and approached the line with a chance to tie. Like Morsell before him, he hit the first and missed the second. The Terps were now down by one, and only 48 seconds separated them from a disappointing loss.

After a disjointed Purdue offensive possession, Ivey missed another jumper, and again, Wiggins grabbed the carom. There were 16 seconds left when Mark Turgeon called timeout.

I’m not sure what he drew up, but Ayala controlled the ball, eventually driving to the hoop. He was in the lane about 5 feet away in the middle of the lane amongst the trees when he tossed up a heavily contested shot. The miss came off to the left, where Ayala snatched it from the air and immediately put up another shot. He was clearly hacked from behind by Ivey while attempting that second shot. The clock would show that 3.3 seconds were left as Ayala prepped for his two foul shots.

He calmly sank both shots and his team only needed to defend against Purdue’s inbounds play from under their own basket. At this point, I have to admit to knowing that Turgeon would elect to not guard the passer and that the general fan base would criticize the decision. I don’t mind it as long as the players execute. He has used it three times now. This is the second time it worked.

With all other options covered, Purdue inbounded the ball to Williams at the corner of the half court line and the sideline. He jumped to catch it and took a dribble to collect himself as he came down, He secured the ball and then dribbled again to launch a half court heave. The ref closest to him called the violation and the Terps had their win.

There were some interesting stats from this game. Wiggins not only led the Terps in points, but his 11 rebounds were also a team high. No other Terp had more than 3 rebounds. Of Purdue’s 15 turnovers, a whopping 10 came from Maryland steals. The Terps had four players play 33 or more minutes.

After going 1 for 12 shooting threes in the first half, Maryland went 8 for 13 in the second. When you include the Boilermakers stats, the far end of the court would yield just 1 three in 18 tries while the near end got lit up to the tune of 12 for 24. Maybe it’s the lighting or even the background?

Either way, it all worked for Maryland last night, as they improved to 4-7 in the Big Ten. They’ll travel to State College to take on Penn State at 7 p.m. this Friday.

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SUCH
a sports fan

MARK SUCHY is a lifelong Baltimore sports fan, youth basketball coach and father of three athletic sons. A former weekend sports radio host in Baltimore, "Such" offers his memories and insights on sports related topics each Wednesday here at #DMD.


I’m as old as the Super Bowl. Well, technically I’m older, but the 55th anniversary of the Super Bowl takes place before my 55th birthday, which is in July again this year (and please, just send cash, and thank you in advance).

Because sports has always been so central in my life, I’ve marked the passing of time in relation to teams and events and players and their careers. For instance, when I heard about Hank Aaron’s passing, I immediately remembered watching him hit his 715th home run on a Monday night. It was a rare early season national broadcast in the era when there were just 3 networks. I was only 7, but that memory will always take me back to my childhood and my love of baseball. Our brains work in some strange ways.

So it is with the Super Bowl, which I can still recall being played in the mid-afternoon in its early years. These were the days before it became a two-week-long explosion and celebration of American excess. It was just a championship football game played in a neutral location. The halftime show was either a college marching band or Up With People (yes, I’m that old).

In a lot of ways, the changes surrounding the Super Bowl, the way that it’s marketed and promoted and overhyped, and the actual playing of the game, are reflective of our cultural shifts during my lifetime.

John Harbaugh was the second Ravens coach to hold the Lombardi Trophy.

Think about how shocked the media was when Joe Namath, the New York Jets’ quarterback, confidently guaranteed a victory over the Baltimore Colts before Super Bowl III. This type of brash cockiness just wasn’t on display in the sports world in 1969 (with the possible exception of Muhammad Ali). It should be noted that Namath made his declaration while sitting poolside at his Miami Beach hotel. There was no such thing as Media Day in those early years. I would contend that’s a good thing.

Or how about Duane Thomas, the star running back of the Dallas Cowboys, asking in all earnestness to the media, “If it’s the ultimate game, why do they play it every year?” Every year during the two-week interval between Championship Sunday and Super Bowl Sunday, I think of Thomas’ profound rhetorical question. Nobody has come up with a satisfactory answer yet.

It’s not just how we watch and consume the sport that’s changed, it’s also how the game is played, and the rules that have so clearly shifted to favor the offense. I realize I was a young boy for the first decade of Super Bowls, but it seemed that offenses were predicated on establishing a punishing running game, with the passing game only used in obvious situations. I would contend that the last years of “old school” football reached its pinnacle in back-to-back Super Bowls, when first Larry Csonka of the Miami Dolphins, and then Franco Harris of the Pittsburgh Steelers were named MVP. That was 1974 and 1975, which is officially a long time ago.

I think that football and the NFL and the Super Bowl really began ascending in 1976 to its current status as the new American pastime. Out of sheer coincidence, 1976 was the Bicentennial Year and the 10th Super Bowl. I remember the logo patches that the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys wore on their uniforms that day had red, white and blue surrounding the Roman numeral X. In a very subtle way, the timing and the game itself were announcing that Super Sunday was now a milestone date every year on the American calendar. If memory serves me correctly, that was also the last afternoon kickoff for a Super Bowl.

As the next decade of Super Bowls went on, the hype and the media coverage and the pregame shows all began to grow. So did Super Bowl parties and block pools and exotic bets. I believe it’s this particular decade that gave rise to the NFL’s dominance in the sporting landscape.

It’s all led to this point, where every year the Super Bowl is the premier mid-winter event on the American sports and social calendar. It’s become inescapable, larger than just a game, overanalyzed, overhyped and overgrown. Just the way we like things, it seems, especially when it comes to football.

I was going through some old NFL Films recently. I have a collection of them from the 1970’s. First and most importantly, John Facenda was the greatest narrator in the history of the world. The man had an ability to make a football highlight film the stuff of mythology. What pipes.

Several thoughts came to mind watching those tapes. No league ever marketed itself as astutely as the NFL. They’ve been able to romanticize a brutal sport and gloss over the uglier aspects of the game and the long-term effects it has taken on its players. Simultaneously, they’ve turned those men of yesteryear into heroes and icons.

While we may not remember historic numbers in football the same way we do in baseball, when you rattle off names from the NFL’s past you get an immediate mental image of the player: Unitas, Butkus, Payton, Rice, Brown, Sayers, Sanders, Montana, Marino, Swann, Stabler, and on and on. No sports league has ever married film and video and music to its players and their highlights as effectively as the NFL.

One last observation from the game of the 1960’s and 1970’s: We seem to have lost the knack for nicknames. There were so many great ones from that era, like the Purple People Eaters, the Monsters of the Midway, the No-Name Defense, the Doomsday Defense and the Steel Curtain. Even my beloved Baltimore Colts of the mid-70’s had the Sack Pack. But over the past few decades it seems we’ve moved away from nicknames, and somehow that makes me a little sad. We need to bring back nicknames.

I have a friend from my days of living in Garrett County whose father caught the football that Jim O’Brien kicked to win Super Bowl V for the Baltimore Colts. O’Brien’s field goal at the end of the game gave the Colts a 16-13 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

The story goes that my buddy Steve, his brother Greg and their father had secured tickets in the open end zone of the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida that day. This was before you had to pay thousands of dollars for a seat through the secondary market.

They were sitting about halfway up in the temporary bleachers that had been set up behind the end zone for the game. As the Colts hurried onto the field for O’Brien’s attempt, the grounds crew forgot to raise the netting behind the uprights. When O’Brien’s game-winner sailed through, it came directly to Steve’s father, through a sea of hands.

Steve told me that he remembered his dad putting the ball under his shirt and immediately grabbing his sons and heading for the exit. As they worked their way out of the stadium, strangers were pushing and pulling at his father, some trying to steal the ball and others pulling out wads of cash in an effort to buy the ball on the spot. But his old man wasn’t giving that ball up for anything.

When they got back home to Baltimore, he reached out to the Colts to let them know he had O’Brien’s football. After some negotiations, his father gave the ball to the Colts in exchange for lifetime season tickets, some memorabilia and a photo opportunity with O’Brien. I can remember seeing the framed newspaper articles at Steve’s house along with pictures of the football, a signed #80 white O’Brien jersey and their ticket stubs from that game.

It's hard to envision a similar scenario playing out in today’s NFL. I guess their season tickets were rendered meaningless on March 28, 1984.

Going back through the history of 55 years of Super Bowls, it occurs to me that there were a lot of really great teams and players that either never won the big game, or had to work really hard over the course of several seasons to finally emerge as champions.

In just the first decade of Super Bowls, the Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Colts, Oakland Raiders, Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins all lost Super Bowls before capturing the title. I’m counting Oakland even though it took them until Super Bowl XI to win it (close enough).

I remember those great Minnesota Vikings teams of the 1970’s that went to 4 Super Bowls in 8 years and never won one. Fran Tarkenton, Chuck Foreman, Mick Tinglehoff, Alan Page and Carl Eller were just a few of the great players who made it there and never got to raise the Lombardi Trophy.

Their companions in Super Bowl misery are the Buffalo Bills of the 1990’s, who famously went to 4 consecutive Super Bowls only to walk off the field defeated. Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas and Bruce Smith and Andre Reed were all tremendous players who had successful careers and never tasted the ultimate thrill of victory.

In fact, the Vikings and Bills are tied for most Super Bowl losses without a victory, both at 0-4. The only other franchises to lose multiple Super Bowls without winning one are the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and Cincinnati Bengals, all at 0-2. For a point of comparison and civic pride, the only undefeated multiple-time Super Bowl winning franchise is the Baltimore Ravens at 2-0. Take that, Pittsburgh.

And take a moment to console the fanbases of the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars, who are the only remaining franchises to have never appeared in a Super Bowl. Well, maybe not so much the Jaguars (I’ll never get over the expansion snub of Baltimore).

My point is that I believe the hardest thing to do in sports is win a championship. It doesn’t matter what sport or what level, it takes an extraordinary amount of talent, hard work, good fortune and good health to win a title. Go back through the history of any sport and look at the names of some of the all-time great players who never won a championship and you might appreciate the degree of difficulty required to emerge on top.

I think it’s important to keep this type of history in mind as we watch this Sunday’s game and as we watch our favorite teams in the years ahead. I know we spend a lot of time around these parts dissecting and debating the skills and shortcomings of Lamar Jackson (put me down as a huge supporter and defender of his), but it’s going to be a great challenge in the years ahead for him, and the Baltimore Ravens, to hoist that trophy someday. Just look at #15 in Kansas City. Then consider that he might not win this game. He’ll be starting from the same spot as #8 in Baltimore next September.

Speaking of quarterbacks and Super Bowls, I present herewith and without comment the following names of men who have been starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl (some have even won it): Neil O’Donnell, Tony Eason, Jim McMahon, Jimmy Garoppolo, Craig Morton, Jeff Hostetler, Mark Rypien, David Woodley, Trent Dilfer, Chris Chandler, Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan, Jake Delhomme, Stan Humphries, Daryl Lamonica, Kerry Collins, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Colin Kaepernick, Drew Bledsoe, Nick Foles, Brad Johnson, John Elway, Vince Ferragamo, Steve McNair, Rex Grossman, Brett Favre, Jim Kelly, Ron Jaworski, Boomer Esiason, Cam Newton, Billy Kilmer, Tom Brady, Steve Young, Ben Roethlisberger, Rich Gannon, Bob Griese, Joe Namath, Earl Morrall, Joe Kapp, Donovan McNabb, Drew Brees, Jim Plunkett, Len Dawson, Ken Anderson, Johnny Unitas, Jared Goff, Doug Williams, Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw, Bart Starr, Ken Stabler, Dan Marino, Patrick Mahomes, Fran Tarkenton, Kurt Warner, Phil Simms, Russell Wilson, Joe Theismann, Aaron Rodgers, Troy Aikman.

Whew.

After 55 years, I always think of this list of names as the NFL’s version of the chicken or the egg question. Which came first, the team or the quarterback? What was more important? Even after all this time, I’m not sure I have the right answer to that. Success comes in many ways.

Baltimore holds a unique place in Super Bowl history. It remains the only city to have 2 different franchises capture championships, with the Colts and the Ravens. I think it’s fairly safe to say that Baltimore will always hold this distinction, unless some team moves back to Oakland or St. Louis, and given the greed that NFL owners are notorious for, that could happen someday.

But as a child of the 1970’s, they will always be the Oakland Raiders to me. And I still have to remind myself that the Rams were in St. Louis when they won the Super Bowl. Because sometimes when I close my eyes and daydream, I still see the St. Louis Cardinals playing in Busch Stadium. I guess I’m just old.

Aside from the Ravens 2 Super Bowl victories, the most memorable game for me was on February 7th, 2010 when the New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts, 31-17.

My father had died suddenly the day before that game. He had a heart attack while he was plowing snow in the first of the back-to-back blizzards we endured that week.

I had made a bet with my friend Mitchell in the week leading up to the game, and of course I bet on the Saints. No self-respecting son of Baltimore could ever bet on the Colts.

Things were a bit of a blur that Super Bowl Sunday, and we certainly didn’t have any big party that day (not that we had planned one anyway), but I remember laughing with Mitchell when he called me that afternoon to check in on us and express his condolences again. I’ll never forget him saying how there was no way the Colts could win now that Bob was up there with the other Saints. Laughter really can be the best medicine.

I think I smiled for the first time that weekend when Tracy Porter picked off Peyton Manning and returned it 74 yards for the touchdown that sealed the deal.

The Saints really had marched in.

Like everyone else in America, I suppose I’m obligated to make a prediction. It IS the Super Bowl, after all.

Without overanalyzing things too much, I’m going out on a very short limb here and picking Tampa Bay to win. After knocking off Brees and Rodgers on the road, I think it’s only fitting that the Buccaneers and Tom Brady beat Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs to cap off a remarkable playoff run and become the first team to not only play a Super Bowl in their home stadium, but win one too.

Buccaneers 36, Chiefs 34

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Tuesday
February 2
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2353


tuesday stuff


I used to love snow. Now, not so much.

Everyone loved snow as a kid, right? But once you grow up and realize it doesn't shovel itself, snow becomes far less appealing.

That said, I will say that I can tolerate snow as long as it doesn't...turn to ice. Which, at least in my neck of the woods in Baltimore County, it has. I don't like ice because people get hurt, cars get wrecked and businesses don't operate.

The only redeeming quality about the recent storm is that it's February 1st and two months from now, we'll be into spring.

Calvert Hall kicks off the golf season on March 24 at home vs. Loyola. That also makes the snow and ice somewhat less imposing on me.


So, the Orioles had two veteran pitchers for the 2021 season when you woke up yesterday.

"Had" is the key word in that sentence above. Today, they have one.

The Orioles shipped Alex Cobb to the Angels yesterday and sent L.A. $7.5 million of his $15 million 2021 salary, too.

And let's be honest, John Means isn't exactly Clayton Kershaw or anything like that. But he's decent enough that he'd be a solid "3" or "4" on some pretty good teams.

The other veteran on the staff, Alex Cobb, is gone, traded away to the Los Angeles Angels for a minor league infield prospect. The deal hasn't yet officially been finalized because it involves the Orioles paying for half of Cobb's $15 million salary in 2021 and those kind of transactions need approval by the Commissioner's office.

Cobb came to Baltimore in 2018 and went 7-22 in three injury-plagued seasons. The data indicated he wouldn't find Camden Yards to be friendly and that turned out to be true. He was 0-11 with a 5.29 ERA in Baltimore, where fly ball pitchers typically don't fare well.

While some people wonder "how are we ever going to win now?", it's more than fair to point out the Orioles weren't winning all that much with Cobb and his departure to L.A. just means some other young arm in the organization (or multiple arms) will make 30 or so starts in 2021.

Losing Cobb might take the O's from 57 wins to, say, 52 wins. At that point who cares? What's the difference? Obviously, at some point, the organization will actually have to put winning first, and then we'll be able to see how successful Mike Elias is at building a championship organization.

But for now, at least, everyone assumes the Orioles are going to lose and the Birds will most certainly deliver on that promise in 2021.

The minor leaguer they acquired, Jahmai Jones, was the Angels' #2 draft pick in 2015. He had a brief cup of coffee in the big leagues last season and will likely see time in Baltimore in 2021. This isn't anything like the Bedard-to-Seattle deal that brought Adam Jones (and others) to Baltimore. But Jahmai Jones could wind up helping the organization at some point.

The other obvious issue with regard to Cobb is the $15 million he was due to receive in 2021. The Orioles will fork over $7.5 million of his salary to the Angels, but moving the right hander out of Baltimore does shed another $7.5 million off the O's 2021 payroll. They're now closing in on the upper 40 million mark for total 2021 salaries.

No word yet if the O's are putting four guys to a room during spring training or asking players to chip in $6.50 a man for the post-game buffet in Sarasota. Hang tight, though, that news could be coming soon.


Former Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia called it quits yesterday, a bum knee ending what might turn out to be a Hall of Fame career.

Pedroia underwent knee replacement surgery a couple of months ago and is no longer able to run. He was injured in Baltimore back in 2017 when Manny Machado slid into him at second base and never really recovered from that moment.

Dustin Pedroia only played in 9 games in 2018 and 2019 as a result of this collision with Manny Machado in 2017.

He did return briefly in both 2018 (3 games) and 2019 (6 games), but the writing was on the wall after the knee injury in Baltimore. Simply put, he was never the same.

And, so, now, the obvious question looms: Is Pedroia a Hall of Famer?

He won a pair of titles with Boston, although it's more than fair to point out he was "there in spirit" with the 2018 squad. He didn't play in the Red Sox World Series victory over the Dodgers because of the aforementioned knee injury.

Still, if one of the rules about Hall of Fame merit is "best at his position for an extended period of time", one would assume Pedroia is going to get significant consideration for entry into Cooperstown.

He finished his career with a .299 average, a Rookie of the Year award (2007), a league MVP award (2008), four gold gloves, and a ton of respect around the country as one of the game's fiercest competitors.

His 1805 hits in 14 seasons isn't all that impressive, but in four of those 14 seasons he only played a total of 115 games. In his career, Pedroia played 1512 games and had 1805 hits. A hit per game, in other words.

Because he played in Boston, Pedroia will draw extensive favor when voting time rolls around. If, say, he would have spent his career in Kansas City or Seattle, the Hall of Fame rallying cry wouldn't be as loud or meaningful. But he garnered a lot of the spotlight in Beantown because, A) he was a really good player and, B) the Red Sox were a perennial title contender throughout the bulk of his career.

I don't think he's a first ballot Hall of Famer. Not in the least. And I might even consider him somewhat of a long shot, honestly, because he does fall short of the statistical standard for most non-pitchers (3,000 hits being one of them). Pedroia, to me, is a lot like Scott Rolen. His career was much better and much more impactful than you probably realize.

Yes, I'd vote for Pedroia. From 2007 through 2017, he was one of the best second baseman in baseball, if not the best. The numbers and awards are there and his leadership skills in a fiery, ego-filled Boston locker room are legendary. Some of those things are tangible and some aren't, but the Red Sox were a feared opponent when Dustin Pedroia was healthy and in the lineup.

If he does wind up in Cooperstown someday, I'd be the first guy to say, "Good for him..."

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super bowl memories


I was fortunate enough to "work" eight Super Bowls, from 2007 (Indy beat the Bears, in Miami) through 2014 (Seahawks beat Broncos, in New York).

I put "work" in quotes above because it really was work, but sitting in a big convention center or hotel talking about the Super Bowl with athletes and media folks can easily become just as much "fun" as it can be actual work.

Starting today, I thought I'd take a trip down memory lane at some of the funnier moments I enjoyed while I worked "radio row". I've brought Ray Bachman along in "Drew and Friends" below to kick it all off. Ray was a longtime producer at the radio station and was probably along with me for four or five of my early Super Bowl trips. He's one of the funniest people I've ever met, for starters, and hanging out with him for a week is guaranteed to create a chapter of memories and hilarious moments.

We cover a lot of that fun in today's episode of "Drew and Friends".

Unfortunately -- or, perhaps, fortunately -- many of the truly funny stories about the Super Bowl are either NSFW or just aren't reasonable to publish given that we don't have permission of those involved to publicize them here. Some people might be OK with their name being muddied, others might not like being impuned here on a public website. So, when at all possible, we either don't publish the story or don't mention specific names.

But Ray and I have no problem mentioning our owns names, as you'll see below.

One funny story for today did not involve Ray, because he wasn't with us when the group traveled to New York for the 2014 Super Bowl.

Glenn Clark and I were at the table that year, gathering up guests for both my morning show and Glenn's afternoon show. One morning, I took a potty break during a set of commercials and when I returned to the table, there sat a 20-something guy in a flannel shirt, with a few of his "handlers" gathered around the table.

One of them handed me a sheet of paper that was promoting something or other, and at the top, it said, "Phillip Phillips".

I looked down at the guy sitting there. Glenn said, "You have 30 seconds," as he was listening to the show back in Baltimore and would alert me when it was time to rejoin from New York.

I had no idea who the guy was in front of me and I had less than 30 seconds to figure it out.

I couldn't use the internet that quickly. So I just blurted it out. I leaned in a little and said, "Dude, I have to be honest, I have no idea who you are..."

By now, he had picked up a guitar that was next to him. "Ha ha, that's funny," the guy said. He was genuinely smiling.

"15 seconds," Clark said.

"I'm serious," I replied to the guy in front of me. "I have no idea who you are."

"I'm Phillip Phillips," he shot back. "I won American Idol in 2012."

"You're back," Clark said.

And with that, I interviewed Phillip Phillips for 6 or 7 minutes with no idea who he was, what sort of music he played, or anything about him. I think I pulled it off just fine, but the look on his face when I said, "I have no idea who you are" was priceless.

When the interview was finished, Phillips and his handlers laughed and I jokingly said, "It might be a good idea to put "Phillip Phillips, American Idol Winner, 2012" at the top of the page instead of just Phillip Phillips," and they nodded in half-hearted agreement.

I swear, I had no idea who the guy was, but here was his big hit song...which, by the way, was pretty good.



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dale williams aims the
terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his sixth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2020-21 season.


terps host purdue tonight


In what seems like a never-ending string of top 25 opponents, The Maryland Terrapins will face off with the 24 ranked team in the nation tonight when they take on the Boilermakers of Purdue. The Boilermakers are hot, having won 5 of their last 6 games to grab a share of 5th place in the Big Ten.

Maryland, at 3-7 in the conference, is only 3 spots from last place. The two teams played on Christmas day, with Purdue scraping out a 73-70 win. I’m not so certain things in the XFINITY Center will go as well for Purdue as they did in West Lafayette. Game time has been changed to 6:30 p.m. and can be seen on the Big Ten Network.

Terp coach, Mark Turgeon should find some comfort in knowing that Purdue can’t possibly match the 7-13 (54%) three-point shooting that they enjoyed in the first half of the previous game. Likewise, even though the Terps have, at times, struggled from the foul line, it’s impossible to think they could go 10-21 against the Boilermakers, again.

Mark Turgeon and the Terps will be looking for their first Big Ten home win of the season tonight when Maryland hosts Purdue.

This time they’re at home, where the shooting percentages generally increase. Just those two factors alone push me to believe that Maryland can emerge victorious tonight.

On the downside, if you are a Terp fan, Purdue’s leading scorer (15.4 ppg) and rebounder (9.8 rpg), Trevion Williams, only played 16 minutes on Christmas day because of foul trouble. He still managed to post 10 points and 8 rebounds, and the guess here is he’ll be a much bigger factor tonight. There’s not a lot the Terps can do with the 6’10, 265-pound Williams, other than try to maintain position and keep him off the offensive glass.

I’m wondering, and I’m sure Boilermaker coach Matt Painter is too, from where will the Purdue points come? Brandon Newman had 17 points against the Terps earlier, but he’ll draw Darryl Morsell tonight. Morsell came off the bench in the first game, but still logged 26 minutes.

Morsell will get over 30 minutes of court time tonight as he attempts to lock down Newman. Eric Hunter Jr, the Purdue point guard, had 16 in the first game but needed 15 shots to get there. He won’t get 16 points tonight, but his shooting percentage could match his 40% performance of the previous matchup.

For my money, containing Newman and Jaden Ivy is key to Maryland’s success tonight. Ivy should get the start tonight as a result of Sasha Stefanovic, the Boilermakers top three-point shooter, missing his third game after testing positive for COVID-19.

Those two freshman guards are going to be trouble for several years in the Big Ten, but they must both be contained tonight, especially Newman, if the Terps want to beat their 4th top 25 team this season.

Look for Maryland to use some full court and three-quarter court pressure tonight. Purdue is not the best ball handling team and Maryland used some pressure successfully against them in their first match-up. You’ll see it again tonight.

Maryland can, and will, get to the rim in this game. They’ll take the ball right to Williams in the paint looking to score or draw fouls. The Terps hit a respectable 50% of their shots inside the three-point line against Purdue over a month ago. It shows that the Terps can finish once they get inside against the Boilermakers, albeit, Purdue was without Williams for more than half of the December game.

Maryland isn’t a very deep team. We all know that they have extremely limited choices when it comes to big men, but their guard rotation is limited also. In their last game against Wisconsin, Maryland had only 1 minute of guard play from their bench. This limits their options offensively and defensively. It becomes more difficult to pressure the ball on defense and play up-tempo on offense when you are worried about exhausting your team.

Against Purdue earlier, Maryland got 37 bench minutes from their guards. Mark Turgeon, tonight, will need a similar pattern of substituting if he is to use some press defenses and play the up-tempo game that can give Purdue issues. He may not use 37 bench minutes from his guards, but he’ll use way more than 1.

In their first meeting, it was Maryland’s Chol Marial who forced Williams into two early fouls, sending the Purdue center to the pines. Marial played 12 minutes in that game, but his contribution was limited. Don’t expect him to see 12 tonight. Those precious minutes will go to guards. Most likely Aquan Smart and Reese Mona, with maybe a sprinkle of Marcus Dockery thrown in.

The most recent line that I’ve seen has Maryland as a 1.5-point favorite. If this holds up, the game will be the classic unranked home favorite against a visiting ranked underdog. It’s not a guarantee, but it’s a real high percentage play for the home team.

What I expect is a really big offensive game from Aaron Wiggins. 18 points out of him would be no surprise. He shot 5-12 in the first game, and he’ll be better tonight. I also expect him to get to the foul line far more than the two times he went in the first game.

Speaking of free throws, Morsell and Eric Ayala combined to go 2-9 from the line in the first game. No way that happens again. Purdue had some issues guarding Morsell because of his athleticism, and that’s how he got to the line 6 times. He had 10 points against the Boilermakers. Let’s pencil him in for 15 tonight.

These are two of the lowest scoring offenses in the Big Ten. Purdue is last, Maryland is right next to them at #13. The Terps will look to apply some defensive pressure to force turnovers, limiting Purdue’s scoring chances. If they can limit Newman, they’ll win a tight game.

A final score of 69-63 would give Maryland another win over a top 25 team, possibly improving them from the current rank of #42 in the Pomeroy College Basketball Rankings.

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soccer: americans abroad


This week featured US players competing on both sides of the Atlantic as European leagues continued and a “B” version of the US national team played an exhibition with Trinidad & Tobago. In Germany, two American strikers went head to head, while others helped their teams to wins to remain in competition for the top spots.

Off the field there was a flurry of activity involving American players as the winter transfer window came to a close on February 1st.

Last Saturday in the German Bundesliga, American strikers Josh Sargent and Matthew Hoppe lined up on opposite sides of the field as Werder Bremen took on Schalke. The game was a pretty tame 1-1 draw, with neither of the American players making a big impact. The juxtaposition of the two young attackers did highlight the different skill sets they can bring to the striker position for the national team.

Sargent does a good job coming back towards the midfield to make himself available to his teammates to hold up the ball in possession. Hoppe is more of an opportunistic scorer, who excels when running in behind the defensive line or finding space in the box.

In this game, Hoppe created one good chance early when he intercepted a poor pass from the Bremen defense and glided past the keeper, but he couldn’t cut in his shot from a sharp angle. Sargent had one big chance as well, but he was unable to get over top a volley and put his shot well over the goal.

American Tyler Adams continues to shine for German side RB Leipzig.

In the competition for the top spots in the Bundesliga, Tyler Adams helped RB Leipzig to a key 1-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen. Adams played the full game, starting at right wing back and then shifting to center midfield in the second half. Adams was active all game intercepting passes and making tackles, especially after the move to center mid. His quick, accurate passing helped Leipzig keep the ball moving in possession. The win kept Leipzig in second place, still seven points behind leaders Bayern Munich.

John Brooks had another big game for Wolfsburg in a 3-0 win over Freiburg that vaulted them into third place. Brooks was his normal solid presence in defense, helping register another clean sheet. He also got involved offensively in this one, scoring the first Wolfsburg goal when he struck home a loose ball inside the box that fell from a corner kick. Wolfsburg are now three points clear in their hunt for a Champions League place.

Gio Reyna started and played the full game for Borussia Dortmund in their 3-1 win over Augsburg. Reyna nearly helped Dortmund get the first goal when he hit a first time shot just outside the penalty area that deflected off a defender’s hand for a penalty kick. Dortmund missed the ensuing penalty, but they were able to find their offensive rhythm after that and pile on three goals. The attack mostly flowed through Jadon Sancho on the opposite flank from Reyna. The young American just missed getting on the end of a few crosses and otherwise didn’t stand out one way or the other. The win puts Dortmund one point out of the Champions League spots.

In Italy, Weston McKennie continued his strong run of form, starting and playing the full game in an important 2-0 win for Juventus over Sampdoria. McKennie played on the right of midfield in this game, but was often drifting toward the central attacking area in possession. He created one good chance in the first half that was broken up by the keeper. He also played an important defensive role in this game, leading the team in tackles won and interceptions. His efficient passing helped Juventus maintain a possession advantage throughout the game.

In the English Premier League, Christian Pulisic was used as a substitute in both of Chelsea’s games during the week. In the midweek game Pulisic subbed on in the 76th minute to try to boost the attack in a scoreless game. He was able to draw a couple of corners, but Chelsea could not break down a packed in Wolverhampton defense and settled for a 0-0 draw. The American winger subbed on a halftime of the weekend game against Burnley with Chelsea leading 1-0. Pulisic helped to double the score late in the half when he drove towards the left edge of the box and chipped a ball over a defender to Marcos Alonso, who scored a spectacular volleyed goal.

Elsewhere in England, Antonee Robinson returned from his red card suspension and started for Fulham in a 2-2 draw with West Bromwich and Jordan Morris made his debut for Swansea City in the Championship (2nd division), subbing on for the last ten minutes of a 3-1 win over Rotherham.

Back home in the US, a “B” version of the national team capped off their January training camp with a match against Trinidad & Tobago in Orlando. Since this is not a FIFA sanctioned international date, the team was composed of MLS players that are currently in their offseason. There was not much to learn from this game since Trinidad & Tobago barely fielded a professional team and the US destroyed them 7-0.

Performances in the month long training camp will likely resonate more with coach Gregg Berhalter more than this game but there were a couple players who stood out in Orlando. Sam Vines was a key part of the first two goals, playing an outstanding curled pass to set up the first. The 21 year old Vines is coming off a strong season for the Colorado Rapids and looks capable of at least giving Antonee Robinson some competition at left back.

The other stand out, and man of the match, was striker Jesus Ferreira. The FC Dallas man was superb, playing in somewhat of a false nine striker role, dropping back into midfield to help connect passes in the build up play. He was involved in five of the seven goals for the US, scoring two himself and assisting on three others. Ferreira had a rough season for FC Dallas, bouncing in and out of the starting lineup, but his skill set seems to mesh very well with Berhalter’s style for the US team and that should keep him in the conversation in an open competition for the striker spot.

Goalkeeper Matt Turner had little to do in this game, but he did stop a penalty kick the one time he was called upon. He has been a fast riser over the last year and looks like he’s the current favorite to back up Zack Steffen.

Finally, there were several transfer stories that broke this weekend regarding American players as the European transfer window came to a close.

The long rumored Brian Reynolds transfer was finally completed, with the FC Dallas right back moving to third place Italian side, Roma, for a fee of around $7 million. Another former FC Dallas product, Chris Richards, got a loan to mid table German team, Hoffenheim. Richards had made a few appearances early in the season for Bayern Munich, but had since been relegated to playing with their reserve team. This move should allow Richards to see a lot more minutes in the top tier Bundesliga for the remainder of the season.

DC United veteran, Paul Arriola, is heading to join his US teammate Jordan Morris in a loan at Swansea City in the English Championship. Another player who took the field for the US on Sunday, Orlando City striker Daryl Dike, is heading to the English Championship as well, on loan to Barnsley for the rest of the season.

Lastly, US national team veteran Deandre Yedlin is transferring from Newcastle to Galatasaray of the Turkish league. Yedlin had fallen out of favor at Newcastle this season. The move will give him a chance to re-establish his value at a team that often competes for a Champions League spot.

About the contributor: Randy Morgan was born and raised in the Baltimore area graduating from Dulaney HS and then University of Maryland. His day job is software development. He's an avid sports watcher and recreational participant. A devoted Ravens, Orioles and U.S. soccer supporter. he also follows many soccer leagues around the world as well as the NBA and college basketball. Randy played soccer, basketball, and baseball growing up and still plays soccer and basketball recreationally as well as the occasional round of golf. His commentary on mostly sports, but sometimes music and other miscellany can be found on twitter @jrmorgan16.

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Monday
February 1
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#2352


don't bet against them


In a week that featured some kind of crazy Wall Street story where people bet for and against a stock, it seemed only natural that Patrick Reed became the focus of intense scrutiny on the PGA Tour.

Reed is like a stock, in many ways. You either believe in him or you don't. You're willing to bet on him or against him. Very few people in the golf world don't have an opinion on Reed.

The sport's number one villain was at his compartmentalizing best on Sunday at Torrey Pines, where he tuned out all of the negative scrutiny and social media banter to fire a final round 68 and cruise to a 5-shot win for his 9th career victory on TOUR.

No one gets more heat and turns it into a positive better than Reed. Not in golf, anyway.

This isn't to suggest that Reed hasn't earned his stripes as one of the game's most polarizing figures. He has. Very much so, in fact. But there's also a significant amount of piling on that occurs anytime Reed even comes close to stepping out of line, as he did on Saturday in round 3 at Torrey Pines when he removed an embedded ball from a patch of rough that might not have been embedded after all.

Patrick Reed has quieted Ryder Cup fans, opposing TOUR players and the media during his stellar professional career.

The vitriol -- on this occasion -- far outweighed the evidence. But that's why he's Patrick Reed and not Rory McIlroy, who had the same thing happen to him on Saturday at the 18th hole, proceeded in the same manner as did Reed, and wasn't vilified at all.

McIlroy has an impeccable record on TOUR and is pretty much above scrutiny. That's fine. He's earned that along the way. Reed, it should always be pointed out, has also earned the stripes he wears. Remember Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter? Well, that's Patrick Reed.

But once the incident on Saturday was explained by Reed and TV cameras pretty much supported everything he did in accordance with the rules (tried to ascertain if the ball bounced, marked his ball with a tee, determined, in his mind, that it was embedded, etc.), the piling on could have softened. Reed, if you think such things matter, handled himself well in the 45 minutes of press grilling he received following Saturday's round. He didn't look like a guy who had just been caught cheating and/or bending the rules in his favor.

CBS spent the first 13 minutes of their final round programming re-hashing what happened on Saturday. They once again brought in their "TV rules official" (who, again, said Reed followed all of the rules), they asked for the opinion of their four on-air analysts (Faldo, Baker-Finch, Nobilo and Pepper -- all of them were critical of Reed), and even the generally-even-handed Jim Nantz had an edge in his voice -- "the optics are not good, let's just say that" -- that couldn't be mistaken for anything other than disdain for Reed.

Brandel Chamblee of the Golf Channel spent 77% of his "speaking time" on yesterday's post-game show roasting Reed for what happened on Saturday and 23% of it discussing his stellar final round play, flawless short game, and 9th career victory.

Reed, meanwhile, just keeps on rolling along. Some folks opine that he's perfected the cheating and the scrutiny that follows in such a way that it has become "old hat" for him. He can easily handle it because it's not new to him, Reed's detractors claim. That could be true, by the way. I've never been in that position, but old habits do die hard.

There is plenty of room to debate the quality of Patrick Reed's on-course character. He has, going back to the Hester Prynne reference, earned his badge of dishonor. But one thing that is not up for debate is Reed's talent on the golf course. He is -- on the week where his chakras are in line and all parts of his game are clicking -- one of the 10 best players in the world. If Nicklaus had Reed's touch around the greens, he would have won 25 majors. If Norman could have "closed" the way Reed does on Sundays, the Australian would have won 10 major titles.

The overflow from what happened on Saturday isn't going away anytime soon. Not for Reed, anyway. The microscope on Rory has already been cleaned up and put away, on a shelf somewhere in the basement. McIlroy said "I didn't cheat" and everyone associated with golf said, "Well, that's all we needed to hear. Thanks, Rory."

Reed said, "I didn't cheat" and everyone said, "Yes you did, I hope you never win another tournament for the rest of your career."

Except Reed went right out and won on Sunday. And he did it the way he usually does. By playing nearly mistake-free golf, chipping the ball as well or better than Seve in his heyday, and making 125 feet of putts.

Somehow, Patrick Reed ignores the whirling controversies and seemingly almost plays "better" golf when he's the topic of conversation.

He summed it up on Sunday night when someone in the media asked him why he's able to play his best in situations like the one he faced on Sunday.

"I've always been the underdog," Reed said. "People bet against me in college and look what I did there. People have bet against me on the PGA Tour and now I have, what, 9 wins and a major so far? It's fine. I just try to play great golf and the rest of the stuff isn't a big deal to me."

This much is certain: There's only one Patrick Reed.

And betting against him seems like a bad idea.


Sometime this coming Sunday night, either Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes is going to be a Super Bowl losing quarterback.

If Tampa Bay loses, Brady will be 6-4 in the big game. If Kansas City doesn't win, Mahomes drops to 1-1.

If you're betting on the game this Sunday, you're then, by default, betting against either Brady or Mahomes.

Are you really going to bet against Patrick Mahomes this Sunday?

Have you watched that kid over the last 3 years? Have you seen the weapons on the Kansas City offense? They won 14 of 15 games in the regular season where they were "trying" to win. They won the Super Bowl a year ago, you might recall. Mahomes might be the most valuable player in the entire league, obviously.

If you bet on one of these guys, you're betting against the other one.

You're going to bet against Patrick Mahomes?

I don't know if I would.

But if I bet on Mahomes that means I'm betting against Tom Brady.

And I definitely don't think I'm doing that.

Sure, you can pick apart Brady's Super Bowl record all you want, and some of that debate has merit. He's 6-3 in his Super Bowl history, but two of those wins were almost flukes, really. If Seattle gives the ball to Marshawn Lynch on the two yard line, Brady's 5-4. And if the Falcons' defense doesn't collapse in the final 20 minutes and throw away a 28-3 lead, Brady's actually 4-5.

But, you can also play the game the other way, too. If not for David Tyree's crazy catch or Philadelphia using a trick play, Brady could have won those two Super Bowls as well.

Still, the question gets asked again. Are you willing to bet against Tom Brady this Sunday?

I'm not.

Sure, Washington stunk this season, so Tampa Bay's road win in the opening round of the playoffs wasn't at all surprising. Or all that impressive, even.

But Brady then took the Buccaneers to New Orleans and eliminated Drew Brees, then did the same thing the following week in Green Bay when he sent Aaron Rodgers packing.

And this week, if it matters, Brady is playing a home game in the Super Bowl. He went on the road and beat Brees and Rodgers and now you're going to bet that he won't beat Mahomes in his own stadium?

It's here that we should point out that Kansas City already did beat the Buccaneers once this season, back on November 29, in Tampa Bay, by a 27-24 score. So there is some recent history to the rivalry, if that matters.

But what happened two months ago in a regular season game has very little bearing at all on what might transpire this Sunday. This, of course, is the last game of the season. The winner gets the glory, the loser earns a footnote.

Which quarterback would I bet on this Sunday?

Well, I'd bet on Mahomes, for sure. He has an array of talented people around him and his track record speaks for itself.

But I'd bet on Brady to pull this one off, one (perhaps) final rabbit-out-of-the-hat to cement himself as the greatest "winner" the league has ever seen. Brady's skills might have declined over the last few years, but he still "bleeds winning".

So in the end, I wouldn't place a wager on Sunday's game, if you haven't figured it out by now.

Doing so would mean I'd be forced to bet against one of those guys and I'm smart enough to never do that.

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I don’t know what Lamar Jackson commands in the salary department, either now or next year. I guess, like they say in the real estate world, you have to consider the “comps.” As far as how he plays the game on the field, of course, you could argue that Lamar has no “comps.”

Still, it surprises me how people talk about Lamar’s career so far. For instance, the following was written here the other day…

“I love what Lamar Jackson has done in his 2+ years as a starter with the Ravens.”

So, I love Mark Andrews and what he has done in those same three seasons. I love J.K. Dobbins’ potential and Marlon Humphrey’s toughness and Ronnie Stanley’s talent. I love the Ravens’ special teams, like always.

Not to be overly semantic, but it’s far beyond “love” with Lamar. He is sensational, one of the most amazing football players in the history of the NFL. He is asked to do things that no other player does…and he does them while also winning the game (and also scoring lots of points) most of the time. He is so good that a franchise completely changed its offensive philosophy…yet somehow he gets more criticism about that than praise.

I don’t think it’s enough to say that you love what Lamar’s done. Whether you are a Ravens’ fan who roots for him, a Steelers’ fan who roots against him or just an NFL fan who watches him, that doesn’t give him nearly enough credit.

Also written here last week about Lamar. “He’s not a 10-year veteran with a proven track record. He’s a three-year veteran who appears to have a promising future.”

Yes, I sure hope that Jackson has a great future, not only for himself but also for the franchise. There are no guarantees in the NFL, and part of anyone’s contract negotiation is a risk assessment, about the player individually and the team collectively.

But I don’t understand how we can keep talking about him as if he’s a relatively-unknown quantity. Jackson was the Most Valuable Player in the NFL in 2019. He ran for 1,200 yards and threw 36 touchdown passes, the most in the league. This (strange) year he wasn’t as good, though he did help his team win a playoff game for the first time.

Lamar Jackson is only 24 and is still on his rookie contract (for now), but he has a proven track record. What you think of that track record is a matter of opinion, I suppose, but what he’s accomplished is not.

To me, Lamar’s biggest perception problem comes from Kansas City, not Baltimore. Patrick Mahomes, who came into the league a year earlier, is already a Hall of Fame player. He might win the Super Bowl two years in a row. He is a better quarterback than Lamar, and he could be a better quarterback than anybody who’s ever played after a few more years.

So Lamar may never be his “comp,” but that doesn’t mean the narrative around the Baltimore quarterback shouldn’t be told in the right way.


Does anybody else find it funny that a team hired the Ravens’ wide receivers coach to be its head coach?

The Ravens use their wide receivers as pass catchers way less than any other team in the NFL. The Ravens’ wide receivers are generally ridiculed as a unit, and told they need to help out the quarterback more than they do.

David Culley was also the Ravens’ “passing game coordinator” in 2019 and 2020. If you’ve watched the former NFL players in the national media since the playoff loss in Buffalo, you know what they think of the team’s passing game. When Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner talks about passing, I tend to listen.

I’m not saying that Culley is a bad coach, and I understand that he is an experienced mentor who has served as the assistant head coach in two places under two outstanding head coaches. The head coaching position is (or should be, anyway) about philosophy and leadership, and that doesn’t take a special talent in coaching any specific area of the football team.

Still, I think it’s an interesting hire. It’s almost like the Houston Texans intentionally went “bland” after going “sexy” the last time with then-Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien, a former Bill Belichick assistant who kinda ended up ruining the team in Houston in his eventual role as general manager. Plus, Culley is 65 years old, more of a retirement age for veteran football coaches than a time when they become head coaches.

I think it’s perfectly fine to hire someone of any age to be a head coach, by the way. It’s just a matter of numbers that it’s unlikely for Culley to be a long-term answer like the guy he just worked for, John Harbaugh, who took over the Ravens at age 45.

By hiring Culley and not, say, Eric Bieniemy of the Chiefs, the Texans also made a tangential franchise-altering decision. Deshaun Watson wants out of Houston, and surely more than one team will want him no matter how much money he makes or how many draft picks he’ll command.

In addition to the on-field question of potentially replacing a quarterback that led the NFL in passing yards in 2020, the whole thing presents a public relations dilemma for Houston. Last year, O’Brien traded away wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, so the team will have gotten rid of its two biggest offensive stars in consecutive years. Now it looks like a future Hall of Famer, the great J.J. Watt, also might be gone.

In some ways, it will be best for Culley if Deshaun Watson stays, because who wouldn’t want to be the coach with Watson as quarterback. In other ways, it might be better for all parties if Watson goes. Good luck to Culley, who certainly will be coaching in a “gettable” division for a while with the retirement of Philip Rivers and the Titans one Derrick Henry injury away from mediocrity.


The great John Chaney, legendary Temple basketball coach, died on Friday at age 89. He retired in 2006—a long time ago now—but he was already an anachronism well before that.

Basketball is a game of offense, now more than ever. Chaney was one of the worst offensive basketball coaches I’ve ever seen. His teams didn’t really move without the ball, and they dribbled too much. If a guy on his team was a great shooter, it wasn’t because Chaney recruited great shooters, and the player might have been better off playing for a coach that knew how to get great shooters open. One thing his teams didn’t do is commit a lot of turnovers, even if their shot selection wasn’t great.

As for defense…well Chaney was a legend. He was one of the pioneers of the “matchup zone,” which can mean a lot of things. I’ve always thought what it means most is that the offense doesn’t really know what defense is being played; the players get confused, the coaches aren’t sure what plays to run and the defense gains confidence the whole time.

Chaney recruited players from Philadelphia and elsewhere with that defense in mind, not unlike Jim Boeheim has at Syracuse for many years now.

And as for “style?” Well, Chaney was like a lot of coaches who’ve retired as older men in the last 20 years or so. In totality, and not just for African-American parents, you’d want your child to play for him. In actual practice, he was often “old school” in a bad way.

Chaney had a poor ending to his career. Upset about what he felt were illegal screens in a game against Saint Joseph’s during his penultimate season, Chaney sent in a “goon” (his word) with the sole purpose of committing hard fouls. The young man put in this position, Nehemiah Ingram, committed five fouls in four minutes. One foul went too far, injuring a player enough to force him to leave the game and miss several more games.

Chaney was suspended for one game for his stunt. When the seriousness of the Saint Joseph’s player injury became apparent, he suspended himself for the rest of the season. That was the right call, probably, but the whole thing was simply a childish move for a man in his 70s. He offered an apology, but I’m not sure how anyone could have really accepted it privately.

I had the good fortune of being in Temple’s Liacouras Center for Chaney’s 1,000th game as a head coach, in December 2004, earlier in the same season as the “goon” game. That game mostly sticks out in my mind as the one featuring the worst non-call by an official I’ve ever witnessed, one for which the lead official called our head coach the following day to apologize after watching the replay on TV. But that’s a story for another time…

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January 31
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#2351


reed and rams create wild saturday


Headline: Patrick Reed involved in another rules incident.

Social media reaction: Patrick Reed is a cheater!

Golf analysts on TV: "Patrick Reed can never be trusted."

That's what happens when you're a PGA Tour player who had a highly-publicized "incident" in college and a few other brushes with the rules of golf in a successful, but scrutinized, professional career to date.

You never get the benefit of the doubt.

A drop from an embedded lie became the story of the day at Torrey Pines on Saturday. And, unfortunately, Patrick Reed was at the center of the story.

"Patrick Reed doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt," Brandel Chamblee said last night on the Golf Channel. "His record speaks for itself when it comes to brushing up against the rules of the sport and the spirit of the game."

That much might actually be true. Reed, through actions of his own over the years, has used up more than his fair share of "benefit of the doubt" cards.

But.......

The incident on Saturday at Torrey Pines isn't nearly as clear cut as Reed's detractors make it out to be. I mean, you can just scream, "He's a cheater!' if you want, but that doesn't necessarily mean Reed cheated on Saturday when he removed his ball from its original lie in the rough bordering the 10th green.

Rather than just immediately finger Reed as a guy who cheated, I think it's more reasonable to look at what happened, what was actually allowed within the rules, and what role the PGA Tour rules official, Brad Fabel, played in the whole incident.

When presented with the evidence, you might still think Reed cheated on Saturday. If so, that's fine. But you'd be well served to review the incident in its entirety, because it's not quite as black and white as "Reed cheated."

Given the wet conditions and the "lift, clean and place" local rule that was in place on Saturday, players were on alert right from the beginning of play that embedded (or "plugged") balls were a possibility both in the fairway and in the rough. An embedded ball that is not in a penalty area or a bunker can be removed from its lie, cleaned, and played without penalty.

When Reed hit a high, towering iron shot out of a fairway bunker left of the green at the 10th hole yesterday, he wasn't able to see the ball land. That particular nuance of the shot is very important. If a golfer sees his ball bounce, he can generally assume it is not embedded or plugged.

Reed asked his playing partners, Will Gordon and Robby Shelton, if either of them saw the ball bounce. Neither of them did. Their caddies didn't, either. As Reed approached the area, a volunteer was there and pointed out that she had marked Reed's ball with a small flag.

"Did you see it bounce?" Reed asked her.

"No, I didn't see it bounce," she replied.

Armed with that information, Reed proceeded to the next part of the shot. He was totally within his rights to at least consider that his ball was embedded. Had the woman said, "Yes, I saw it bounce," Reed wouldn't have -- rightfully -- considered that the ball could have been embedded in the rough.

Reed then notified his two playing partners that he was going to check for an embedded lie. He does not have to do that in front of them. Notifying them of his intention is within the rules. At that point, Reed was doing precisely what the rules allow him to do. He asked if the volunteer saw the ball bounce. He assumed it could have been embedded when she said "no", and he notified his two playing partners he was going to check and see if the ball was embedded.

Contrary to what golfing neophytes think, Reed also did not have to ask for a rules official to witness the probe of the ground to see if his golf ball was, in fact, embedded. Reed, at that point, was still doing the right thing.

Now.......here's where things got murky.

Reed concluded his ball was, in fact, embedded. He removed it from its pitch mark (apparently) and then, wanting to proceed according to the rules, called a rules official to help him determine where to drop the ball.

It's important to note here, again, that Reed did not break a rule when he removed the ball from what he thought was an embedded lie. Once he determined it was embedded, he was entitled to remove it, clean it, and drop it. You don't have to consult a rules official to perform that sequence. But players generally get very nervous when the rules are involved, which is why they call in an official for something as simple as a "standard" drop for free relief.

PGA Tour players are out there every week competing for millions and millions of dollars and a 2019 survey by Golf Digest showed that only 17% of the players were able to accurately answer three questions about dropping a ball that has entered a penalty area (known then as a "hazard"). For all of their incredible skill hitting the golf ball, PGA Tour players are very skittish when it comes to actually knowing all of the rules.

Anyway...Reed called the official over and then asked him to confirm the ball was embedded. Perhaps he was doing that because he knows his own past and the microscope was going to be on him as the leader of the tournament, with cameras and microphones trailing him around Torrey Pines.

Interestingly, though, it's not a "rule" that Reed has to bring the rules official over to confirm that the ball was embedded. Why he opted to do that adds to the intrigue. Reed was well within his rights to check to see if it was embedded, confirm that it was, and then take his drop and play on.

Instead, he asked the rules official to "confirm" that it was an embedded ball.

And, now........it gets really murky.

The rules official -- Brad Fabel -- felt an impression or indentation in the ground and confirmed that, yes, the ball was embedded.

Reed then asked him about taking the drop and where he would proceed from, which is what players generally do when they don't know the letter of the rule.

And that was that...Reed took a drop, knocked the ball up to 15 feet and, then, as fate would have it, he rolled in the par putt.

Except that "wasn't that". When the CBS cameras picked up the play at the 10th hole, it was very obvious that the ball did, in fact, bounce once when it landed in the rough. Reed didn't know that. He asked the volunteer standing there if she saw his ball bounce and she said "no". No one saw the ball bounce. But it clearly did.

So, after the round, Reed was able to watch the video and see that his ball did, in fact, bounce once. It seemed incredibly unlikely -- "virtually impossible", Reed said afterwards in his various press conferences -- that the ball could have been embedded given the bounce it took.

That begs the obvious question. What did the rules official feel in the ground that led him to believe the ball was, in fact, embedded?

The entire story lies in the answer to that question.

Had the rules official not felt that mark, indentation, impression in the ground, he would have been at the center of a major controversy. But when he felt whatever it was he felt, Reed was exonerated and play continued without issue.

What happened? Is there even the slightest chance that Reed's ball actually was embedded? Could it? It seems very unlikely. But...maybe?

If, though, his ball wasn't embedded, what happened that made the rules official believe the ball was embedded? This is the entire issue. Is there any chance Reed either intentionally or accidentally returned to the location of the "original spot" where the ball hit the rough, which likely would have left an indentation in the ground before bouncing in the air and settling in the rough? Is he that nefarious? Could he have even pulled off that kind of trick in the heat of the moment?

Is there also a chance that Reed's ball, which came out with a lot of spin after being out of the bunker, hit the ground, bounced into the rough and then spun slightly backwards into its original divot in the ground? Without seeing that happen, it's impossible to know. But under the umbrella of "anything is possible", it's at least plausible to say that could have happened.

The most pressing issue of all, though, is this:

What did the rules official "feel" in the ground when Reed asked him to confirm that the ball was embedded? He said, "Yes, I feel a lip there," meaning he could feel a circular impression in the ground that left a ridge or lip at the top of the ground.

Brad Fabel is the only one who knows what he felt when Reed asked him to confirm the ball was embedded. Reed's actions throughout the "incident" were fine and totally within the rules -- right up until he asked the official to confirm that his ball was, in fact, embedded. He didn't need to do that. It's not a "rule", at all, that you have to get an embedded ball rule confirmed by an official.

What happened? How did the whole thing go so wildly off the rails?

Did Patrick Reed cheat?

Did the rules official help him cheat?

Or is this an occasion where Reed actually conducted himself appropriately and the incident falls more on the rules official than the player himself?

One thing for certain: If Reed goes on to win today (he's tied for the lead at 10-under), he better win by at least two shots. If not, the victory will have an asterisk next to it, without question.


The Los Angeles Rams picked up a veteran quarterback on Saturday night.

But they gave up an amazing array of "stuff" to acquire Matthew Stafford from the Lions.

On the surface, it looks like one of the dumbest trades in NFL history, if we're being honest.

The Rams shipped their former #1 draft pick and starting quarterback for the last four years, Jared Goff, to the Lions. Stafford will be 33 years old next season. Goff turns 27 in October.

Why would the Rams swap their 26 year old QB for a 33-year old QB?

Oh, but wait. There's a lot more.

The Rams also sent the Lions two first round draft picks ('22 and '23) and a 3rd round pick in the upcoming 2021 draft.

The Rams picked up Matthew Stafford on Saturday night in a trade with the Lions that raised a lot of eyebrows.

You read that right. The team with the 26 year old quarterback also sent two of their first round draft picks and a third round pick to the team receiving the 32 year old quarterback.

Huh?

What planet are the Rams on?

Stafford is a good quarterback. He has spent his entire career in Detroit, which, of course, means he's done a lot of losing over the years. But it's not like the Rams just acquired Aaron Rodgers. They swapped a QB who helped them get to the Super Bowl a few years ago for a QB who has lost as much as Charlie Brown in his career.

It makes zero sense.

Imagine, for a second, if the Ravens wanted to trade Lamar Jackson for some bizarre reason. They might be able to milk two first round picks and a third round pick out of some team in exchange for Lamar. That one, you could sign off on and say "That's a lot to give up, but they're getting a former NFL MVP who is three years into his career."

The Rams gave up their own starting QB, two first-round picks, and a third round pick, for a guy who hasn't won anything in the NFL.

It's a quarterback's league. I get it. The two teams playing next Sunday have two remarkable quarterbacks to call their own. It's really, really hard to win a Super Bowl (or even get there) without a legit, standout quarterback. (Hold your Trent Dilfer jokes, please).

But do the Rams really value Stafford that much?

They obviously do.

For their sake, I hope the gamble pays off.

At the outset, it sure looks like they gave up far too much for Matthew Stafford.

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Saturday
January 30
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2350


a good day to give answers to things on your mind


David asks: "My wife and I got my son a set of golf clubs for Christmas. Neither of us are golfers but some of Tharen's friends are golfers and we thought it would be good for him to take up the sport. He's 10 years old. I'm just wondering what's the first lesson you would teach him if we turned him over to you for instruction?"

DF says: "Congratulations on introducing your son to the greatest sport ever invented! He'll hopefully get a lifetime of enjoyment out of it. The first thing I'd teach him? I would take him to the putting green and make him realize that the object of the game is to get the ball INTO THE HOLE in the fewest strokes possible. And that on all 18 holes (unless it's match play), the ball MUST go into the hole for the score to count. So my first "lesson" for him would be to have him stand on the putting green and make 25 one-foot putts in a row. Just so he starts off his "golf career" by making putts. And from there, you can move him to two-foot putts, three-foot putts, etc. I don't subscribe to the theory that putting is the most important thing about golf, but I do believe good putting is a "habit" and you can actually learn how to do it the right way."


Carl in Owings Mills asks -- "I've always wanted to ask you this and now seems like the best time. Why do you think indoor soccer was such a hit in Baltimore and the same time that minor league hockey struggled and eventually couldn't make it and had to leave town?"

DF says: "I don't know much about the early days of the Clippers but I know they drew some great crowds in the '70's when they played Rochester and Hershey. Obviously when they became the Skipjacks and later, the Bandits, they didn't draw many people. Well, for starters, indoor soccer capitalized on the boom of youth soccer in the '80's. More kids started playing than ever before, there were several indoor arenas built around town to house kids who played outdoor in the warm months and needed a place to play in the winter. So we were able to get those kids (and their parents) to come to the games. There isn't that sort of grass roots infrastructure in hockey in the area. There are kids who play, of course, but nowhere near the number of kids who play youth soccer. I also think you have to remember we (the Blast) had a lot of the best dates in the building because we had drawing power and we had some leverage at the negotiating table. So, of our 20-24 home dates, we'd get 12-16 of them on a Friday or Saturday whereas the hockey team would have 35 or 40 home dates and they might get 8-12 weekend dates. They played a lot of games during the week, which were tough sells in the community. And, in general, I think indoor soccer was just a better sport to watch in person. Players didn't wear equipment that covered their body or face. You could see the joy and emotion in indoor soccer players in a way you couldn't with hockey players. So, in a weird way, one of the reasons the Skipjacks and Bandits didn't make it was because of......the Blast."


T.J. asks -- "Here's an Over-rated and Under-rated question for your next Q & A column. Of the following, who is the most Over-rated and who is the most Under-rated? Boston, Journey, Yes and Styx. Thanks!"

DF says: -- "Wow, it seems like sacrilege to call one of those bands overrated. All four of them made great records and made a lot of money. The underrated one of the bunch is easy: Journey. They were so good it was crazy. Their best 14 songs on a "Greatest Hits" album are as good as any band, ever. And yet, people seem to forget how great Steve Perry was or how many amazing albums they put out. I guess I'd say Boston is the most overrated, mainly because they just didn't put out a lot of music at the height of their run. Their first album was remarkable, obviously, and Don't Look Back was really good, but nothing else about them stands out to me. By the way, in honor of the great Steve Perry and Journey, below is their most underrated song. It's one of Perry's best vocal performances:




Creston asks: "I'm looking for a couple of go-to names for daily fantasy golf in 2021. You're the man for that! As you know, you have to play 6 players every week. Give me 3 or 4 guys to play every week, please."

DF says: "Well, you have to remember, every player doesn't play every tournament. And some guys are better playing the Florida courses then, say, the West Coast swing. But anyway, if these six guys are in the field, using several of them (depending on how much money they cost you) always makes sense because they make a lot of cuts: Sungjae Im, Viktor Hovland, Ryan Palmer, Patrick Reed, Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson. That team would cost you more than $50,000, but you can sprinkle 3 or 4 of them into your team on any given week and they'd give you a good shot at cashing a check, I think."


K.C. asks: "I have a friendly bet with a friend of mine. I say the Orioles will never win as many games in one month in 2021 as the Ravens will win the entire season in 2021. Who wins the bet?"

DF says: "Holy cow, I love this bet because it could come down to one game either way! OK, so let's pretend the Ravens go 11-5 in 2021. Will the Orioles ever win 11 games in one month in 2021? They play, on average, 26 or 27 games, I guess. The answer is: Yes, the Orioles will, in one month, at least match the Ravens win total. Two reasons for this: A) The Ravens could lose Lamar in September or October and bottom out and go 6-10 or 7-9 and the Orioles are certainly going to win 8 games in a month. And, B) I'd say the "max" the Ravens can go is 12-4 and the Orioles will have at least one month where they get 12 wins. They play six months. On average, they win roughly 10.5 games a month. This is a GREAT bar bet, by the way!! Good luck to both of you!"


Paul Riddle asks: Who now is the proverbial "best player without a major" on the PGA Tour?"

DF says: "Good one here. There are a bunch of guys who could fit this question. Tommy Fleetwood comes to mind right away. He's really good. Just needs that one breakthrough major. Kevin Kisner is another solid guy who needs a major to cement himself as a top player. Lack of length hurts him a little bit, unfortunately. You have the old guard, like Kuchar and Westwood, who just need that elusive major to cap off their career(s). But the best player without a major right now is Paul Casey. I really think if he could just win one major, he might win 2 or 3 more in a few years. Casey is a great, great player."


Steve G. asks: "An old school Blast question for your next Q&A. Other than San Diego (for obvious reasons), what was the best road city you experienced in the MISL and what was the worst?"

DF says: "Dallas and St. Louis were great. They both had big buildings and drew good crowds and the downtown area was vibrant. Another favorite was Cleveland, because they always had great crowds. We stayed out near Richfield in the old days because that's where the Coliseum was, so we never actually got to stay and/or experience downtown Cleveland. Kansas City was also awesome. I'd say "St. Louis" wins by a nose as the best place other than San Diego. By far, the worst was Minneapolis-St. Paul. It was just too freakin' cold, no one came to the games, the arena was freezing. It was miserable there."


Lou asks: "Given what you know right now, how many games do you think the Orioles win in 2021?"

DF says: "This is almost impossible to answer and be close to confident that you're right. I mean, they might win 50 games with this lineup they're going to trot out there. Throw in that they might wind up trading Mancini, Santander and Cobb by mid-season and who knows? But I'll say the O's will win 58 games somehow. I realize that might sound crazy, but I assume one or two of their young pitchers will be decent. 58-104 sounds right (for now)."


Cody in Orlando, FL asks: "I have a friend who hits his driver like 250 yards and says "I bombed that one!" and me and the other guys in our foursome look at each other and roll our eyes. What's a "bombed" drive in your opinion?"

DF says: "All the way from Florida!?? Thanks for checking in up here in freezing Baltimore! Well, a drive of 250 yards is "bombed" for a 75 year old. I have no idea how old your friend is. But as a general rule, these days, amateur golfers who hit the tee ball 300 yards can consider that "bombed". And, remember, that's a total distance, not the carry yardage. My observation is that 80% of people who play golf have no real clue how far they actually carry the ball with their clubs. I ask people all the time, "how far do you hit your 7-iron?" and they say, "170 yards". Then they hit five 7-irons for me and they hit it 149, 168, 156, 152 and 157. The one they hit 168 turned out to be the outlier of the group, yet that's the one they connect with in terms of yardage. In reality, they actually hit their 7-iron more like 155. If your friend carries the ball 250 yards, that's a long way. If his total yardage is 250, that's still "good", but it's not really "bombing it" in my opinion. Lots of guys hit it 250 off the tee."


Rich asks: "If Brady and Tampa Bay lose the Super Bowl, that will make Tom 6-4 in the "big game". And he would be 5-5 if Seattle wouldn't have thrown the ball on the 2 yard line a few years ago. Should we make anything out of that mediocre Super Bowl record if Tampa Bay does lose to the Chiefs?"

DF says: "Sure, what you make out of it is how hard it is to win the Super Bowl. Only one team wins it every year. And when you finally get there, you're generally playing the other "hottest" team in football besides your team. I don't think Brady's career record is going to be altered or perceived differently if they lose on Sunday and he's 6-4 in the Super Bowl. It's hard to win that game. As you pointed out, he's 6-3 right now and two of his wins have been bizarre, almost. That Seattle game and the win over Atlanta where they were trailing 28-3 and came back to win. Then again, if David Tyree doesn't make the greatest catch in the history of the sport, they would have defeated the Giants, don't forget."


Keith asks: "I saw you mentioned Steely Dan on Twitter and was wondering what your favorite song is by them?"

DF says: "One of my top 10 favorite bands ever! "Aja" is one of the best albums of my lifetime, for sure. So, it's probably not a surprise my favorite Steely Dan song comes from that album. Here it is, below."


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Friday
January 29
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2349


just to clarify


I took a deep breath last night, poured myself a glass of wine, and went through the comments section over the last few days.

I have the ability to look back at every comment, not just the ones that actually appear on the site below. The page only loads 50 comments, so there are days when someone's comment from the morning might not be there (visible) by, say, 6 pm, but I can still see it in the #DMD "back room".

Anyway...that was an interesting read last night, to say the least.

Some of you are -- well, never mind. There's no use in going there.

I thought it might be a good time to clarify some things on my end, just because, A) I own the site and I have that luxury, and, B) there's a lot of information in those comments that deserves some sort of response.

So...just to clarify.

Would I vote for Schilling? -- The answer on this is, yes, I would. I believe he had a Hall of Fame baseball career. I don't value much of what he believes or says about the government and other things, but that's neither here nor there when it comes to playing baseball and being a Hall of Fame-caliber player.

And, like I wrote yesterday, if Schilling is not worthy of election (according to voters) because of his wild personal beliefs, we need to exhume the careers of everyone in Cooperstown to make sure they pass the "good human being" test. I'd rather not do that. Curt Schilling belongs in the Hall of Fame because he was a really good baseball player and, unlike steroid users, didn't cheat the system to reach his level of quality.


Lamar Jackson has one year left on his original rookie contract, but there's talk that the Ravens are looking to extend him before the start of the 2021 campaign.

I'm all for re-signing Lamar -- I love what Lamar Jackson has done in his 2+ years as a starter with the Ravens. I agree with those who opine about the value of his work based on a small receiver pool and a relatively mediocre offensive line. Oh, and that offensive coordinator, too. Lump him in there as well. However...all of that great play from Lamar does not, yet, add up to giving him a $250 million (or more) contract, which is roughly what it will take to sign him to a long-term extension. Let's watch him improve (important word, there) and take the team a week or two deeper into January before we throw $250 million or $300 million at him.

The biggest challenge about giving any player $250 or $300 million is what it does to your team's salary cap. That's way beyond my scope, but I know if the cap is $220 million and one player is making $22 million on the cap, one guy out of 53 is taking up 10% of your allocated resources. I'm not saying "don't sign Lamar". In fact, I'm saying, "let's keep Lamar around." But I also think it would be wise to let him play out the 2021 season under his current deal and take it from there. He's not a 10-year veteran with a proven track record. He's a 3-year veteran who appears to have a promising future.


Swindling Mancini and Santander -- I found this particular nugget interesting in the comments section. One person mentioned the reason the Ravens should give Lamar $250 million is because professional athletes want to feel "appreciated." I assume $250 million would do that. But that same person also bellyached about the local media piling on the Orioles for trying to finagle $1.5 million away from two of the team's best players during last week's arbitration process.

The Orioles asked both Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander to defer some of their 2021 salary, an unheard of practice according to baseball sources. The total the team would have saved? $1.5 million. So how do Mancini and Santander feel "appreciated" by the Orioles when they're asked to defer money to a later time?


Tiger Woods and his personal life -- When all else fails, take a shot at Tiger and his flawed personal life. The same for Ray Lewis...but we'll get to him in a moment. I'm not sure why people can't differentiate between what an athlete does "on the field" and what they do "off the field", but a lot of folks seem to have trouble with this concept. For some reason, I don't have trouble with it. Woods is the greatest golfer I've ever seen. His record on the course speaks for itself. He's had some personal issues, yes. So have lots of other athletes, including the late Kobe Bryant.

Oh, and here's a news flash. The very people on websites just like this one have also experienced some self-produced "issues" in their lives, too. They just don't get their mistakes and failings paraded around on the morning news and on the internet. But people deserve forgiveness. It's at the very root of Christianity. And I'm not here to judge Woods -- or Kobe, Ray Lewis or any athlete -- for the mistakes they make as a human being. I'm here to judge them as an athlete, because that's really all I can see.


Ray Lewis and Atlanta -- It had been a while since I saw the "Ray Lewis, double murder" mention anywhere, but it usually pops up around this time each year. I have no idea what Ray Lewis knew about the murders in 2000. No one else does, either. The only person who knows that? Ray Lewis. What I do know is there was never any evidence at all brought against Ray for actually committing the crime. He was, of course, found guilty of Obstruction of Justice. But there was never any evidence at all that Ray Lewis actually took out a knife and stabbed two people. ZERO evidence of that. So, people can keep on saying that if they want and making morbid jokes about it, but it's senseless.

And by the way, not that it matters in the context of the double murder talk, but I always found Ray, personally, to be a stand-up guy who was a straight-shooter. He knew how to play the media game, sure. He knew what to say, when to say it, and a lot of what he said was "calculated" in that regard. But every high profile athlete knows how to work the media. And, frankly, the media knows how to work the athletes, too.


Did crowds like these in 2018 and 2019 hurt the Orioles in the pocketbook more than we realized?

The Orioles and their penny pinching. -- The Orioles are welcome to run their business however they like, particularly in this "Covid-19 era" where revenues and profits have taken a hit. If they want to lay off 30 employees in November to save money, that's their call. If they want to jettison a bunch of broadcasters (yes, yes, I know, MASN is MASN and the Orioles are the Orioles) and save money, that's their call. If they want to strip their roster down to the bare bones and save money, that's their call. But to suggest that it doesn't look "strange" for all of that to happen within a relatively short time frame is silly.

Oh, and the organization doesn't have a lease for the stadium beyond 2021. So there's that nugget, too. Add on to that the rumor we've been hearing for a while now that the Angelos sons aren't particularly interested in selling the franchise and then it really gets weird. Perhaps it will all come together like a puzzle sometime later in 2021 and we'll all go "Ahhhhh, makes sense, now", but for the time being, whatever's going on down there is definitely a little strange.


On the subject of the comments -- This has been a good week. I've only removed 3 comments, total, and two of those were for posting without a name and one was for foul language. As I always say, "We don't have many rules around here...so me asking you to follow them should put you out too much." The back-and-forth middle school bickering you guys insist on doing is, I assume, just in your online DNA. I don't have another explanation for it and I'm certainly not going to come around here every day and chastise you for it. I just don't have the actual time to invest in doing that, mainly. I don't know why it's so hard to be nice to one another, but that's on you to figure out.

As long as you keep following the simple rules (post a name, no foul language, no attacks and/or mentions of my former boss -- since he's not here to defend himself -- and no "general" political discussion), we're fine. You can still jab at each other and dip each other's ponytails in ink and all that stuff if you choose to do it. Once in a while I'll stop by and admonish you, you'll get mad at me for a few days, and then you'll be back bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed and loaded for bear again. It's all good as long as you keep in mind I have to police the site based on my standards, not your standards. I appreciate you coming around and reading the site and supporting the corporate partners we've established here.

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faith in sports


Yes, I'm "one of those people" who loves hearing athletes give praise to God and their faith when the microphone is put in front of them. I think it's important for those men and women to share their faith in a way that others who are watching or listening realize they're actually proud of their faith. So with that, today, here's an awesome video of athletes giving praise and thanking God, not only when they win, but when they lose, too. God is great ALL THE TIME.

Thanks, as always, to our friends at Freestate Electric, for sponsoring our weekly "Faith in Sports" segment here at #DMD.


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Thursday
January 28
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2348


words


Funny thing is, Curt Schilling might actually be a Hall of Fame pitcher. I admit, I've changed my tune on him over the last few years.

At first glance, when you look at the bottom line totals on his Baseball Reference page, they're not all that impressive. Wait -- they're "impressive", but at first blush they're not Hall of Fame impressive. His record was 216-146, his ERA was 3.46 and his WHIP was 1.137.

Then, you look a little deeper and you realize those numbers of his were actually really good. In 700 less innings, for example, he had 900 more strikeouts than Jim Palmer. And, maybe more importantly, Schilling's career WHIP was actually better than Palmer's 1.180 final number, which has long been considered the benchmark for walks and hits per-inning.

I'm certainly not saying Schilling was a better pitcher than Palmer. But when you do a deep dive on his numbers, Schilling's career gets more and more impressive.

So I bring all of that up to concede that he probably is a Hall of Famer.

Except he isn't. And he won't be, it appears. Schilling fell 16 votes shy of being elected earlier this week, then launched into an explosive online tirade that ultimately concluded with the pitcher asking to be removed from next year's ballot.

Schilling, in case you haven't followed along, has been a major topic of controversy over the last couple of years. He has projected some rather disturbing thoughts during that time, including attacks on Muslims, members of the transgender community and the Clinton family. An ardent supporter of Donald Trump, Schilling has been involved in several high-profile back-and-forth Twitter fights in support of the former President.

Curt Schilling's Hall of Fame candidacy was, almost certainly, impacted by his strange behavior on social media. How much was it impacted? There's no way to tell. But it's as definite as it can be without having voters fill out a form and declare it. Schilling didn't get enough votes because of his social media presence.

I'm still not 100% sure I'd vote for Schilling as a Hall of Fame pitcher, but I'll admit I'm closing in on pushing the "yes" button on him. His regular season numbers were impressive. He's one of only 18 pitchers to record 3,000 career strikeouts and, of those pitchers who reached that number and are no longer active, all are in the Hall of Fame except for two; Roger Clemens and Schilling.

And Schilling's post-season numbers were really, really good. In the playoffs, Curt Schilling was better than a lot of Hall of Famers, actually.

But in 2021, what you say and the words you use matter, even when your last pitch was thrown in 2007.

Whether you agree with Schilling's personal or political views -- and nearly all of us don't -- the fact remains none of those things had anything to do with him as a baseball player. Bonds, Clemens, Ortiz, Sosa and the rest of the steroid users were involved in something illegal that impacted their baseball performance. What they did took place during their baseball careers. Same for Pete Rose. While he was in baseball, he bet on baseball games.

Curt Schilling might be totally crazy and his political views are beyond comprehension to most of us, yet none of that had anything to do with his 19-year career.

If Curt Schilling can't get in because he's nuts and wouldn't be a good representative of the Hall of Fame and it's high moral character, why not take steps to remove Ty Cobb? Look up his past when you get a minute and tell me he's someone the Hall is proud to have in their building.

I have said forever that I wouldn't vote for Bonds or Clemens (or Ortiz or A-Rod, etc.) if I had a Hall of Fame vote. I've never changed my tune on those two or Pete Rose. I'm sorry. While you were in baseball you disgraced the sport. And, so, I wouldn't vote for any of the steroid junkies.

Oddly, though, I'm not sure I'd leave Schilling off my ballot even though I don't agree at all with him, politically. It's akin to my argument about Bruce Springsteen when my conservative friends put him on blast and chastise me for "listening to that liberal a**hole". I don't care what Springsteen's politics are, even though I most certainly don't agree with most of them. I just care that he keeps singing and playing the guitar and making good records.

I don't care that Curt Schilling is a nut, now. Maybe I should. Perhaps I'm the one who has it wrong. But if the Hall of Fame is going to start evaluating players post-career on what they did, said and became after their playing days are over, let's do that for every player and figure out who stays and who goes.

Curt Schilling might not be a Hall of Fame person, but he is, actually, a Hall of Fame pitcher.

It's a shame his words aren't as effective as his splitter was during his baseball career.


It wasn't even "words" -- plural -- that got Justin Thomas in hot water a few weeks ago.

It was one word. Just one. And he uttered it to himself, albeit within earshot of a greenside microphone during the PGA Tour's Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

Technically, Thomas said afterward, he was referring to his golf ball when he muttered the homophobic slur. After missing a six foot putt, Thomas spit out the word, tapped in the short one, and moved to the next tee. He probably thought nothing of it...that is, until the round ended and he was confronted by media members who asked for his response to a social media roasting he was taking from people who heard him mutter the homophobic slur.

In the aftermath, Thomas did what he should have done. He apologized. He talked about being bothered by the mere fact he used the word. He spoke about not sleeping well and reiterated how sorry he was for using the word.

"That's not who I am," Thomas claimed the day after the incident occurred.

A few days later, the folks at Ralph Lauren withdrew their million-dollar (plus) sponsorship of Thomas, claiming he was no longer a good fit for their brand. Thomas wore the "Polo" logo on his clothing and was, by all accounts, an excellent representative for the company. He never missed a photo shoot, was wildly popular with the executives at Ralph Lauren, and was, it appeared, a perfect match for the Polo brand.

But one word changed all of that.

Just one word. He didn't pull a Kobe Bryant and direct a homophopic slur at a PGA Tour rules official. He didn't call someone a name. He reacted angrily to a missed putt and called his golf ball a name. A "bad" name, yes. But it was a golf ball.

It's worth noting there are people who believe Thomas was calling himself the derogatory slur. Those folks contend that's just as bad as using it against another person. You can believe Thomas that he was referring to his golf ball or you can believe he was referring to himself. That's your call. I'm not really sure it matters either way, personally.

Earlier this week, the folks at Citi -- another million-dollar sponsor of Thomas -- announced they were continuing their relationship with Thomas despite the recent uproar. They did, however, make it known that Thomas will be donating a "meaningful portion" of his Citi-earned sponsorship money to the LGBQT community and the causes they support.

Whether that was Citi's idea or Justin's idea is unknown, but both parties want us to know that money makes everything OK in this case. Citi can continue to reap the benefits of being involved with one of the best American golfers as long as he donates money to a cause and Thomas can continue to profit off of Citi as long as he's willing to donate money -- that he rightfully earned from them -- as a penalty for the word he uttered.

Apologies are no longer good enough. Mistakes have to be rectified these days with the one thing that makes everything better.......cash.

Thomas might very well donate $2 million to the LGBQT community and still have those same homophobic words in his vocabulary. They'd never know, but they'll have his $2 million.

In this day and age, the way to get an athlete's attention is by using money to punish them. The NFL does it every Sunday. Tackle someone the wrong way and it costs you $20,000. The NBA does it on a weekly basis. It's OK to foul someone, but if you intentionally foul someone and it looks "harmful and reckless", that could cost you $15,000.

Justin Thomas used one word he shouldn't have used and he stands to lose millions of dollars.

If he never uses that word again, he learned his lesson, the experts say.

But did he? Is Justin Thomas now "fixed" for good? We might not ever know.

One thing we do know, though: An apology from Thomas wasn't good enough. Money had to change hands in order for us to believe he's truly sorry for what he said.

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"The Keen Eye" of
David Rosenfeld

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


it’s an interesting gig


This is a “gig” economy, and many of us have them. This space right here is one, and I have a few more too. I’m reminded of what my father used to say about Tom Davis, now gone from the Orioles’ broadcasts after a couple generations (1). “He’s got more W-2s than the IRS.”

A lot of gigs and even full-time jobs aren’t really much different now than they were before the pandemic; the working world was already more “remote” than you think (2). Plus, as the CEO at my full-time job has noted more than once, the working world will not be the same as it was before when the pandemic ends. Why lease all that real estate if you don’t need it, right?

The arena -- at most colleges, anyway -- is empty these days, but the games go on.

Still, there’s one gig that’s really weird in these times: anything to do with college sports. The experience is interesting…and mildly depressing, occasionally anxiety-ridden and somewhat hard to believe, even with all that we’ve come to believe over the last 10 months.

I suppose all of us have gotten used to being out in public while trying to be as alone as possible, but it’s beyond weird at a sporting event. A college basketball game is a public event, whether there are 200 or 20,000 people in attendance. Now, it’s more like a private party, only without much celebration.

In some ways, it feels like an honor to be there; you’ve been invited to a secret soiree, even if it’s in the afternoon. In other ways, wearing a mask for several hours and avoiding much conversation, it feels like it’s wrong to even be there (3).

Think about this. Every once a while, maybe every other game, the basketball comes flying off the court into the scorer’s table or even the stands. Think of the lazy/tired “kick ball” defender who sticks his shin in the passing lane, only to have the ball carom into the first row.

Now…unless you’re one of the players, coaches or trainers, don’t touch the ball to throw it back to the referee. If you do that, the ball will have to be taken out of play and wiped down, then dried so it can be used again.

Basketball is not soccer or volleyball. Typically, the captain(s) or maybe the point guard of the home team choose the basketball to be used in the game, with the approval of the refs, and it’s something they take seriously. Every ball in the rack feels different (4). For reasons of COVID, that game ball must now be replaced (at least temporarily) by a substitute that’s been hiding away in a special blue bag just for that situation.

This past weekend, before a game, I got the attention of an assistant coach from the visiting team whom I’ve known for years (5). Normally, I’d spend a few minutes chatting with him about his team and his family; he played at Princeton when I worked there and got married to a Princeton women’s basketball player. As a “Tier 2” human being, however, I can only get so close to the visiting team bench before someone starts glaring at me. We spoke for 30 seconds and promised to talk more whenever it is that’s possible.

What I’m saying, I guess, is that it’s become almost easy to deal with the overarching effects of the pandemic. You can work from home and shop from home and generally spend more time at home. You can limit interactions to small groups of people and utilize technology to stay in touch with ones you’re not seeing. But it’s the little things that add up, right? Don’t even think about catching the ball and throwing it back (6), unless it’s about to hit you in the face I guess.

College sports are about a lot of things, depending upon your level of cynicism or where you went to school. For the athletes themselves, in this generation, the emphasis (even at lower levels) has switched to the “student-athlete experience.”

This has mirrored the college experience in general, by the way. Nobody ever complains about the food in college anymore, not with Chick-Fil-A on every campus and the modern insistence on organic, vegan, gluten free and everything else. College living spaces are amazing now; calling most of them “dormitories” would be an insult to them. In the race for students, schools have turned into country clubs, and I’m not just talking about Ivy League schools.

Sporting events are not just games…they’re, well, events. There are video boards everywhere. Pregame introductions have become theater productions. The game is a show, like it’s been in professional sports for a long time.

But not now. The game is just a game. The introductions are still there to give some sense of normalcy, but they have no effect. There’s no crowd to get hyped up, which might actually help get a team off to a hot start.

Some people like the fact that the pandemic has allowed college basketball coaches to dress more casually; why is it that they have to dress up in Armani anyway, they say? I don’t like it all. The Jay Wrights of the world are impresarios, directing young guys in a performance that excites thousands, even if you don’t win NCAA championships. The casualness makes it seem like they’re not taking it as seriously…which maybe they aren’t this season (7).

And then there’s the schedule. Nobody is really sure a game will actually happen, no matter how much you’d like it to happen. Maryland played Wisconsin last night and, like with every other Terps game this year, I didn’t necessarily believe it would actually occur until the opening tip.

Michigan has a great team — a NCAA championship caliber team, pandemic season or not. Yet the Michigan athletic department is now on a two-week pause, and the team’s next four games have been postponed. The Wolverine fans in Ann Arbor and throughout the country are surely excited when they watch the team play, but how excited can they really be?

The NCAA has a great plan for its tournament in Indiana, but is it 100% certain to happen exactly that way (8)? Certainly the organization feels like it must hold the tournament after cancelling last year, but there’s no guarantee it will go off without a COVID hitch.

Look, I get it. A team might not get to play a game they were supposed to play, through no fault of their own really, and they’ve known that since the beginning. There are contingencies in place, and surely contingencies for those contingencies. The rabbit hole is much deeper than ever before.

But the little things add up, and that makes it hard to enjoy no matter how great it seems that there are games in the first place. It’s an interesting gig these days, but not in a good way.


Notes --

1 - Remember the Home Team Sports days, when they’d throw the broadcast down to Davis near the dugout several times per game for updates? I loved those, and he was great at them. Alas, the internet and then the smartphone long ago made that role unnecessary.

2 - Provincial Baltimoreans probably don’t realize how much the traffic and the technology had already pushed telework to the forefront in the D.C. area in the years before COVID-19.

3 - Caveat. I am being paid to be there, which is great. But it doesn’t mean I can’t question whether or not the game should be happening in the first place.

4 - A weird thing about college basketball is that conferences and schools use different brands of basketballs. I honestly believe that teams have lost road games because they use “The Rock” at home and Spalding on the road.

5 - My friend, Scott Greenman, is one of my favorite basketball players of all time. He is 5-foot-9 but played like he was 6-foot-5. Google his highlights to watch him win a game at Cornell all by himself.

6 - I’ve always taken great pride in my ability to catch a ball screaming at my face while protecting a laptop and not missing anything that happened in the game. Small things…

7 - Considering the “blanket waiver” extended to NCAA athletes, I wouldn’t take it that seriously either. A coach knows that he can probably have the same team next year as he did this year, which is the opposite of usual.

8 - True story. At 9-7, and 3-6 in the Big Ten, Joe Lunardi had the Terps as one of his “Last 4 In” in a 68-team NCAA tournament bracket as of Wednesday afternoon.


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DALE WILLIAMS returns for his sixth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2020-21 season.


home woes continue as terps lose to wisconsin


The Wisconsin Badgers atoned for their earlier loss to the Maryland Terrapins, winning a game last night that was nowhere near as close as the 61-55 score might indicate. The combination of tough Badger defense and Micah Potter’s offense was just too much for this Terp team.

Potter had game highs in points (23) and rebounds (12). Aaron Wiggins led the Terps with 18 points.

The loss dropped Maryland to 3-7 in the Big Ten and, oddly, 0-4 at home in conference play so far this season.

The first half featured an early Maryland 6-minute scoring drought that allowed the Badgers to forge an 11-point lead, 17-6. The Wisconsin shooting was bad, but they were eons better than the Terps. After 12 minutes, the Badgers were shooting a lowly 38%, but Maryland was hitting a paltry 22% from the field and they were 0-8 from the three-point line.

After scoring just 2 points in the first half, Aaron Wiggins notched 16 points for the Terps in the second half of last night's loss to Wisconsin.

Donta Scott finally hit the Terps first couple of three-point shots, but a three by Brad Davison and an inside bucket by Nate Reuvers kept the Wisconsin lead in double digits, 24-14, with just 3:52 left in the half.

Wisconsin was doing a great job of cutting off dribble penetration, forcing Maryland to shoot from further out than they really would have liked. Of Maryland’s first 24 shots, 13 were from beyond the three-point stripe. They hit only two of those deep attempts.

Wisconsin pounded the offensive boards during the final 3:52 of the half, and a buzzer beater by Tyler Wahl mercifully brought the first half to an end with the Badgers comfortably ahead, 38-20. Micah Potter had 14 first half points for the Badgers. Donta Scott had half of Maryland’s 20 points. 14 of the Terps 28 first half shoots were from behind the arc.

When you take 14 threes, and hit just 2, you usually struggle. It’s safe to say that Maryland struggled in the opening 20 minutes.

After the intermission, Maryland would briefly make the game very interesting. The second half started with two Terp threes and a Darryl Morsell dunk. Just that quickly the 18-point deficit was to down 10, 38-28. Aaron Wiggins added a three, two foul shots, and a midrange jumper to further erode the Badger lead, which was now just 3 with under 12 minutes left in the game. The Terps were on a 20-5 run before Davison hit a three for the visitors just before the TV timeout at 11:02.

Back-to-back three-point plays by Potter (one long range bomb and one “and one” tip in) stretched the Badger lead back to double digits. He would hit another three a minute later, giving Wisconsin an insurmountable 15-point bulge.

Unfortunately for Maryland, their hot hand couldn’t be sustained. They were able to put up 20 points in the first 8:45 of the second half, but would score just 15 points in the game’s final 11:15. The last two minutes were just garbage time and the final score was 61-55.

The Badgers were able to dominate the game because they executed their defensive game plan to perfection. They kept the ball out of the lane and they contested most of Maryland’s three-point attempts. The dribble penetration that Maryland used to gain an 18-point advantage in points-in-the-paint during the first game wasn’t available last night. Wisconsin’s ability to play the screens was infinitely better last night than in the first game between the two teams.

Maryland took 30 three pointers and only 23 shots inside the arc. They will never win with those stats, but when you have no inside presence and your opponent takes away the dribble drives, the outside shot is what you have.

The Terps didn’t make them last night. They played poor defense for the first 20 minutes and struggled terribly on offense for all but 8 minutes in this game. They deserve credit for coming back the way they did, but their lack of offensive diversity and dependency on the three-point shot sealed their fate.

Maryland returns to action on Tuesday when they play Purdue in College Park. Maryland will be seeking revenge for their Christmas Day 73-70 loss to the Boilermakers.

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January 27
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"just say no" -- both of you


Here's my quick memo to the Ravens when it comes to the subject of signing Lamar Jackson to a contract extension prior to the 2021 season:

"Just say no."

And here's my quick memo to Lamar Jackson when it comes to the subject of signing a contract extension with the Ravens prior to the 2021 season:

"Just say no."

That's right. They both need to tell the other "not now."

The Ravens shouldn't re-sign Lamar in 2021 and Lamar shouldn't obligate himself to the Ravens past 2021. That's the advice I'd provide both parties. That is, if they asked me to provide it.

Look, here's the deal with Lamar. This is not a low blow. It's a fact. He's a good quarterback. He had a great, MVP season in 2019. But he is not yet a "great" NFL quarterback. And the truth of the matter is, honestly, he could wind up just being a "good" quarterback for the next decade, in the same way that Michael Vick had a great season and was a good quarterback for quite a while, but was never even remotely close to the best quarterback in the NFL.

Personally, I think Lamar has the potential to be better than Vick. That said, he's coming up on his third full season in the big leagues. I don't think it's wise to back up the Brinks truck for him. Not yet, anyway.

And, yes, I'm fully aware of Joe Flacco and the contract he was able to milk out of the team after the 2012 campaign, when he "bet on himself" and went from being able to sign a $92 million offer to instead signing for $120 million (all of which he didn't receive, of course) after he was named Super Bowl MVP.

Are Harbs and Lamar ready to continue their "marriage" for another 5 or 6 years?

I get it. There's a gamble here. If the Ravens don't pay Lamar now and they do win the Super Bowl next year, his price goes way up. I understand the roll of the dice.

But these first four or five years of the rookie contract are where the team actually "wins". It's the same in baseball. The club makes the player play for the paltry sum of $500,000, $850,000, $2.5 million and so forth in the first six years, and then they have to massively overpay the really good players for the next six years.

So the Ravens are going to "win" in 2021 with Lamar, because it's the last year where they actually control his rights and his salary, unless they were to franchise him in 2022 and/or 2023.

You agreed on a 4-year deal with the young man when you drafted him and there's nothing at all wrong with saying to him, now, "We're going to fulfill our obligation to you and if things go well in 2021, we'll gladly give the Brinks truck guy directions to Owings Mills and you can pack the money in the back at that point."

This is a little bit about Lamar's play. He's a good quarterback at this point. Will he improve? It seems likely that he will, yes. But until he does improve, why rush to give him a new deal?

But it's a lot more about the odds. If I'm the Ravens, I play the odds. Either way, I'm a winner. If the Ravens win the Super Bowl next season and Lamar is the rock star we think he might be, the Ravens will have a 3rd Super Bowl trophy in their building, even more respect around the league as one of the NFL's top franchises, and a quarterback who led them there, presumably.

And if they don't win the Super Bowl next season and Lamar has another "good" year (or, even, a great one), he'll come in at a reasonable price tag when his contract expires at the end of the 2021 campaign. What's reasonable? Here are the five quarterback costs and salaries for next season (according to OverTheCap.com) just to show you what the top guys are due to make:


By 2021 cap number

1. Roethlisberger, $41 million

2. Ryan, $40.9 million

3. Rodgers, $37.2 million

4. Brees, $36.1 million

5. Goff, $34.9 million


By 2021 salary

1. Goff, $28.1 million

2. Garoppolo, $25.5 million

3. Wentz, $25.4 million

4. Brady, $25 million

4. Brees, $25 million


Cap hit and salary earned are both issues anytime you're forking over 20, 25 or 30 million dollars. You have to figure out a way to pay your best players what they're worth and, at the same time, try and keep your team's salary cap flexible enough that you're not getting buried by a bad contract in two or three years.

How are the 49'ers and Eagles feeling about those contracts they gave Garoppolo and Wentz, respectively? Not so good. And while I'll bank on Lamar more than I'd bank on either of those two, the fact is the 49'ers and Eagles rushed to get their new deals done and look what it got them.

This is where the Ravens have to be leery of giving Jackson the $200 million he's probably going to ask for when the time comes to start throwing numbers around. Deshaun Watson signed a 4-year, $156 million deal last year. Jackson is definitely going to ask for more than Watson. So somewhere in the $175-$200 million range seems logical.

Patrick Mahomes signed a $503 million dollar deal last July. Could Lamar Jackson earn a new deal of that magnitude if the Ravens go on to win the Super Bowl next season?

I could be wrong on this, because you're basically worth whatever the guy right before you was able to get, but I don't think Lamar Jackson is a $200 million quarterback. You're basically chaining yourself to a guy who has been good -- and occasionally even great -- in his first 3 years. I think that's a risky move...if I'm the Ravens.

It might not be exactly germane, but think about a marriage when it comes to determining Lamar's long-term future.

The Ravens and Lamar have been dating for three years now. They like one another. A lot, in fact. The Ravens have discovered all the great things about Lamar; he has a solid personal foundation, he cleans up after himself around the house, he doesn't stay out late with the boys, he compromises when necessary and he makes a good living. He seems like the ideal partner to marry.

But why rush it until you're 100% sure he's the guy you want to be with? Sure, a NFL contract isn't a "lifetime", but you get the point. Don't rush into this new contract. Make sure he's the right guy for the next six years and, as importantly, make sure you can get him at the right price.

Right now, if I'm the Ravens, I'm not giving Lamar some incredibly silly contract just to say "We've locked him up."

And, yes, I'm fully aware that Lamar might opt to sit out the pre-season (if there is one) to try and put pressure on the Ravens to make him one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL. I totally understand how the game works. Lamar will be under the gun from the NFLPA to maximize whatever deal it is that he signs. And if the Ravens don't pay him this spring, Jackson might have to do something out of his character and stir the pot a little bit.

If I'm the Ravens, I'm prepared for anything and everything, but I'm not prepared to fork over $200 or more million to him.

Not yet, anyway.


And even better, if I'm Lamar, I'm not sure I'm all that gung-ho about a new deal in Baltimore prior to my rookie contract expiring.

I understand the value of signing now in the event something happens on the field that takes you out of action for a season. Ask Dak Prescott, who didn't get the money, or Ronnie Stanley, who did get his new deal. They have each side of the story covered.

But if I'm advising Lamar, I tell him this is his one, best chance to cash in. And if I'm him, I want to make sure the Ravens are the best fit for me in 2022 and beyond.

With all due respect to Eric DeCosta, John Harbaugh and Greg Roman, I haven't seen anything -- if I'm Lamar -- that tells me the Baltimore offense is going to be put together in such a way that it maximizes both my playing abilities and my ability to potentially earn a second big contract in 2024 or 2025.

If you're Lamar, how confident are you that the Ravens are going to bring enough quality wide receivers over the next couple of years? Are they going to re-sign Mark Andrews? What happens with Orlando Brown Jr.? How about a center? A right guard? And so on...

If the Ravens give Lamar $30 million a year for the next four years, what's left for everyone else, especially with Humphrey and Stanley already cashing in and other veterans surely to come on board along the way?

In the end, I think both entities still have to prove themselves to the other.

Yes, the Ravens are a great organization. Sure, veteran players who come to Baltimore laud the professionalism of the franchise and praise the way Harbaugh treats people. But the Ravens don't have a patent on being "great". I don't hear many people bellyache about the way they're treated in Seattle, Green Bay, Buffalo, Nashville, Kansas City and so forth. In other words, there are other outstanding organizations in the NFL besides Baltimore. And Lamar might find one of those places an equally good fit for him down the road.

Who knows, other teams might actually put an emphasis on getting premium wide receivers and offensive linemen in an effort to woo Lamar to their organization!

People get edgy whenever Lamar is criticized in town, but we're three years into his career and he is still unproven in a few major areas of quarterbacking. This does not mean he stinks or shouldn't be on the team. It simply means you have him for one more year at this "rookie price" and the best course of action right now is to let him play out that deal and see what happens in 2021.

If the Ravens win the Super Bowl next year, they'll either keep him and pay him big bucks or some other team will scoop him up and overpay him and the Ravens -- with a Super Bowl title in their grasp -- will look for a new quarterback. I can think of worse scenarios than that one.

And as far as Lamar is concerned, he has every right to wonder if the Ravens are ever going to truly build an offense around him and give him the protection and weapons he needs to fully maximize his abilities. This is not to suggest that the Ravens have failed at building an offense -- they drafted Jackson, after all, so they can't be that dumb -- but if they don't get him two or three game changing wide receivers and some better offensive line protection, they're not beating anyone in late January or early February in 2022, 2023, 2024 and so on.

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MARK SUCHY is a lifelong Baltimore sports fan, youth basketball coach and father of three athletic sons. A former weekend sports radio host in Baltimore, "Such" offers his memories and insights on sports related topics each Wednesday here at #DMD.


odds and ends


I’m completely ambivalent about the Orioles and MASN and the news in the last week about the elimination of pre- and postgame shows. I’ve probably watched about 10 minutes total of those productions over the past few years.

That’s due in part to the team’s lack of signature wins and signature players, and in part to my general disdain for that type of sports programming. I’m just not one of those fans who feels compelled to watch pregame shows. I don’t really care all that much about puff pieces that attempt to humanize players, or seeing what some long-retired player thinks about today’s game. It’s perfectly meaningless background noise, sort of like the elevator music of the sports world.

MASN announced this week that Gary Thorne will no longer be the team's TV play-by-play voice.

What will be interesting to see is how MASN will go about handling the announcer’s roles. I’ve always believed that there are too many voices in the booth at times. It can be redundant. Who the voices of the Orioles will be, and for how long, is what I’m curious to find out.

But again, I don’t watch the games because of the broadcast team, I watch the games to see the Orioles play.

While I’m here, this is just a quick personal observation and gripe about how baseball is televised: Can we please stop with the extreme close-ups of the pitcher as he leans in to get the sign? I really don’t need to see every pore on his face or hair in his beard. I get it, he’s concentrating intensely. And another thing (and this is one that MASN has long been guilty of), is zooming in on the ball in mid-air as it’s headed for the bleachers.

Please, just pull back on the shot so we can enjoy the panorama of the flight with the stadium as a backdrop. I get it, there’s lots of green seats, even without a pandemic, but it’s really disorienting and annoying.


I have no knowledge of the inner workings of the Orioles’ front office and ownership group, but I have to wonder as a very casual observer if all the decisions about MASN and player salaries aren’t somehow linked to the succession plan of the Angelos family estate.

The Orioles are a family-owned business, and when the patriarch is stepping away, for whatever reasons, sometimes the heirs have divergent interests and ideas about how the business should operate. Or even if they want to remain in the business at all. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bakery or a shoe store or a construction company, sometimes the heirs of the business just won’t see eye-to-eye. Money does strange things to people.

A commenter here posted an interesting note about the coming changes to cable and network broadcasting in the next few years. I was particularly intrigued about the idea of a la carte ordering for my viewing pleasure. I don’t know about you, but I pay an exorbitant amount each month to watch essentially six or seven channels. The concept of paying as I go to watch my sports or movies or documentaries, especially if it eliminates a substantial amount of money from my budget, is quite appealing. Tell me more.


We were having a conversation at work the other day about the Ravens, and more specifically, about Lamar Jackson’s contract. I firmly believe that Lamar should play the next season out under the final year of his rookie contract and then negotiate a long-term deal. For one, the salary cap is going down this coming year, so teams are already stretched and will have to make some difficult roster decisions.

Sign Lamar to a new deal or let him play out his rookie contract?

If the Ravens and Jackson stand pat, it allows more flexibility to bring in more weapons for him to work with in an effort to improve the offense. Secondly, it allows Jackson to “bet on himself” the same way another quarterback in Baltimore did about eight years ago. That worked out fairly well, as I recall.

And finally, there’s going to be a very active quarterback market this offseason around the NFL. As those players move, a lot of their contracts will be restructured, so there will be even more comparisons for Jackson to point to entering the next offseason.

Oh, and Lamar? Just a friendly piece of advice here, with all due respect to you and your family, but get an agent. This is a lifetime, generational deal you’re about to sign. You need excellent counsel.


I have no idea what to make of this year’s edition of the Maryland men’s basketball team. Perhaps schizophrenic would be the only description I can summon. Blowout losses at home and three wins on the road against Top 25 teams is hard to analyze. Two things have stood out to me so far, though.

One is that playing defense as hard and as cohesively as possible will always keep you competitive, no matter the opponent or the venue. The other is the long-forgotten value of having fourth-year players on a college basketball roster. Darryl Morsell will likely never play in the NBA, but he’s the epitome of what a real, traditional senior can do for a team. He’s a fearless leader and it shows. The facemask is pretty cool, too.

Mark Turgeon has now been the head coach at Maryland since 2011. I know I’ve never been his greatest supporter or defender, but in fairness, he’s done a lot better than many other men would have in replacing Gary Williams. I’ve always believed he was the opposite of Gary; a really good recruiter and a mediocre in-game coach.

But I think he’s a lot better at the in-game stuff than I give him credit for, except when he elects not to guard the inbounds pass at the end of a game. I don’t think I’ll ever get over that one. And he did it twice.


I’ve essentially given up all hope of any prep sports happening during this school year, but a recent headline caught my eye. Apparently, the Baltimore County Public Schools administrator said something to the effect that fall sports could now be safely played this spring. It had to do with the fact that those sports are all played outside.

Someone should alert her to the fact that volleyball is a fall sport and is played indoors. It’s still far too dangerous for any winter sports to played, though.

Driving around southern York County the other day, a curious vehicle caught my eye. It was big and long and yellow, with black stripes and bright red and yellow lights. There were children inside of it, and every so often it would stop, and more children would climb aboard it. Apparently it was delivering them to some place they call a “school”. Will wonders never cease?

There are people I know who live in York County, Pennsylvania, and all across their social media timelines are pictures of their children playing sports. Indoors! With masks on! And people in the bleachers socially distanced, enjoying the game! I’m still amazed at how this virus is apparently too contagious for children who live and go to school ten miles away in Baltimore County to be allowed back, but kids in Pennsylvania are enjoying a more “normal” year.

Perhaps the virus just stops at the Mason-Dixon Line. I don’t know. Someone a lot smarter than me will have to sit me down and educate me on epidemiology. Maybe I should have paid more attention in “school”.

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terps host wisconsin tonight


On December 28, almost exactly one month ago, Maryland claimed the first of their top 25 victims when they beat the Wisconsin Badgers, 70-64, in Madison, Wisconsin. The Badgers will try to even up the series tonight when they take on the Terps in College Park at 9 pm. The game can be seen on the Big Ten Network.

The Terps outscored Wisconsin 19-12 during the last 5:38 of that December game to claim the road win against the #9 ranked Badgers. Maryland did this by shooting the ball exceptionally well from the field (64%) and the foul line (91%) in the second half. They will need to do equally as well tonight if they intend on repeating the previous outcome.

Maryland was able to get into the lane, and to the rim, against Wisconsin last month. Aaron Wiggins was beating Brad Davison off the dribble at will, as did Donta Scott against whoever checked him. This led to some easy buckets in the paint, where Maryland enjoyed an 18-point scoring advantage.

#DMD's Dale Williams says Wisconsin's Nate Reuvers will have more of a role in tonight's game than he did in the Badgers' loss to Maryland back on December 28.

After their earlier game, I wrote that I was surprised Wisconsin played small, not using Nate Reuvers and Micah Potter at the same time. I understand that the defensive match-ups might have been better for Wisconsin, but the Badgers needed points. Most of their offensive firepower came from D’Mitrik Trice and his 25 points. Reuvers and Potter combined for just 12 points, I can guarantee those two get more than that tonight.

Look for coach Greg Gard to focus much more on low post offense. Both Reuvers and Potter can score inside against their much smaller Terp counterpart and I expect them to get numerous touches inside. Reuvers especially, likes to roam the perimeter, but that’s not where he can most effectively be utilized tonight. Wisconsin will run sets that end in low post touches.

I would expect both Badger bigs to be allowed to operate down low without a double team. That might require some change if Wisconsin’s offense becomes efficient working it inside, but in the early going Maryland will protect the three-point line and let their bigs battle.

I also expect Gard to figure out a way to stop the dribble penetration that spelled his defeat in the first matchup. Maybe a zone is in order, but even in straight man, the dribble penetration won’t be so easy this time around. This will put a greater emphasis on the Terp perimeter game. Can they respond?

In the second half of the December 28th game, Maryland hit 64% from the field, 43% from the three-point line, and drained 11 of 12 foul shots. I can’t see that type of shooting proficiency to carry over into this game. The 46 points that Maryland scored in that second half were an anomaly. They won’t post that lofty number in any half tonight.

Here’s what will happen. Wisconsin will establish themselves in the paint. This will open up the perimeter, with the likely beneficiary being Davison. Trice will continue to be a headache for Terp defenders, and Maryland won’t be able to repeat their shooting effort of the first game.

Wisconsin will cut off the Terp dribble penetration, forcing Maryland to score outside the paint. The Terps won’t get to 70 points tonight and will struggle offensively in a low scoring game.

A 67-61 final score, with Wisconsin winning, sounds about right to me. Reuvers and Davison pace the Badgers with 17 points each. For you short term investors, the early line is Wisconsin (-3).

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Tuesday
January 26
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in defense of...the orioles?


I know, the headline seems kind of weird, right?

Defending the Orioles?

Isn't that akin to defending Oasis for kicking Liam Gallagher out of the band? In other words, how do you defend that?

But I digress...

One courageous commenter in Sunday's edition of #DMD -- who apparently has lived on Pluto since, oh, about the year 2000 -- took to writing a poetic, sappy note about the Orioles and their most recent bizarre behavior.

Our intrepid contributor defended the Orioles, which, on the surface, wouldn't be all that odd. I, too, have defended them from time to time on things they've done (or haven't done).

But the implied theme of the comment on Sunday wasn't so much to defend the organization, but to point out how "everyone else" is quick to pile on the baseball franchise, even when they might not deserve it.

Case in point was last week's incredibly strange tactic by the Orioles to ask two players -- Anthony Santander and Trey Mancini -- to defer part of their 2021 salary to later years. The total sum of that request came out to roughly $1.5 million dollars.

Mike Elias and the Orioles might spend under $60 million on player payroll in 2021.

According to baseball sources who commented last week, such a ploy had never before been heard of during an arbitration hearing.

Our resident Orioles defender called it "making a mountain out of a molehill" when #DMD pointed it out, even though we were far from the first to actually report the story. We merely offered insight and opinion on it.

If anyone can point out a reasonable idea why trying to swindle two of your best young players out of $1.5 million (combined) in 2021 makes sense, I'm definitely willing to listen. The Orioles, of course, aren't going to explain themselves, which is why everyone else is left to ponder, wonder and draw their own conclusions about things the organization does that might seem odd or out of character.

With the Orioles, generally, there are two sides to the issue. There's the "public one", where the fans have to sort of figure it out for themselves, and the "Orioles one", where the team doesn't really say anything at first, waits a few days for stories to circulate, then comes along with their own version and assumes you'll take it as gospel.

The team's finances, for example, have long been a mysterious issue. This season, the team's payroll is likely going to be somewhere around $55 million, with two players (Davis, $23M, Cobb, $15M) making up $38 million of that $55 million total.

According to the website spotrac, the Orioles spent $130 million on payroll in 2018. Three seasons later, they're spending $55 million. "Why" they're doing it doesn't seem like the biggest question. "What are you doing with the $75 million you're not spending on players?" seems like the more pertinent question.

And perhaps it's as simple as "it's none of your business what we're doing with the money we've saved." If that's the case, OK then. But share holders (which, as we know, are really what ticket purchasers are in their minds) would like to know what's going on.

By the way -- don't look now, but I'm actually almost, sorta-kinda defending the Orioles -- several teams in Major League Baseball are doing the same sort of salary purge heading into 2021. The Indians might rival the Orioles for penny-pinching this season, as they're completely dismantling their recently-competitive team, and the Cubs are in the beginning stages of an organizational and financial re-boot as well. The Orioles are definitely not the only team paying minimum wage these days.

The recent news about the Orioles and Nationals broadcast teams is another shining example of this "what to believe?" quandry. The Nationals even came out yesterday and criticized MASN for their decision regarding the on-air staff cuts. Perhaps they, themselves, weren't even given a reason why it all went down.

Now, let's get the formalities out of the way so no one gets confused: MASN is not the Orioles. They are two separate entities. That said, the same people that own the Orioles own MASN. It's like Budweiser and Busch beer. If you get offended by an Anheuser-Busch TV commercial and swear off buying Budweiser and instead start drinking Busch every Friday or Saturday, you are, in fact, still drinking Budweiser. You just don't know it.

So the Orioles broadcast team was dissolved by MASN, not the Orioles, but it might as well have been the Orioles...because it was.

But here's the deal: If MASN/the Orioles want to make wholesale changes to their broadcast operations and on-air staff, they have the right to do that. What would be effective, though, would be to release that information themselves and offer some sort of explanation, without violating any employment rules and regulations.

Instead, they do the opposite. They inform the people they're cutting out that they're cutting them out and then say nothing for three days. And once word gets out that the likes of Hunter, Thorne, Davis, etc. are gone, conclusions are drawn and opinions are made.

If the Orioles -- oops, I mean, MASN -- just said this, or something like it, I think that would have been fine: "Our business model has drastically changed over the last 5 years. We've seen a decrease in the number of homes using traditional cable TV services, we had to put $100 million into escrow last summer in advance of settling a lawsuit, and the 2020 pandemic severely impacted our revenue stream. In light of those things, we've been forced to evaluate our total expenses for 2021 and beyond and one of the first areas we looked at were salaries for on-air personnel and support/technical professionals. In an effort to cut those costs by roughly 40%, we've been forced to make some drastic changes."

Or they could have just said: "We pay Gary Thorne and Jim Hunter too much money and we need to cut back."

But either way, we'd get the message. And, as it relates to "defending them", most of us would probably understand it. If nothing else, at least we heard the news from them, directly.

Instead, the story goes out, the Orioles don't say a word, then three days later they come around with "their spin" and no one really knows what to believe.

That reckless practice is hard to defend.

Part of this isn't all the fault of the Orioles. Part of the blame for the baseball franchise's public perception is connected to the Ravens, who have spent the Bisciotti era, at least, keeping their fan base as informed as possible on things that go on within their organization.

Have the Ravens been perfect? No, they have not been. Have they made mistakes? Yes, they have. But far more often than not, the Ravens handle their public relations issues the right way, getting the word out quickly, whether it's about a ticket price hike, a stadium-related issue or something as benign as who broadcasts the games on radio and TV.

The Orioles, you might remember, waited on announcing their ticket prices in 2016 until mid-January when they figured out if they were going to re-sign Chris Davis. I don't know if that's even germane to the conversation, but it seems like an "Orioles kind of thing to do."

But the Ravens have long been the starting pitcher who gives 7.1 innings, allows 3 earned runs, 6 hits and strikes out 7 while walking one. In other words, it wasn't a perfect effort, but it was awfully good. The Orioles, meanwhile give you 5.2 innings and allow 5 earned runs, 8 hits and walk 3 while striking out 5. It's not terrible, but it's not Cy Young, either.

So the O's have always had this issue in town of not only being judged on their merit, but on what the Ravens have done as well. Some would say that's unfair. One team plays 162 games, the other plays 16. One team's season is four months long, the other season is six months long. There's always more news, more stories and more headlines involving the baseball team because that's just the way it is.

Either way, though, the Orioles have a tendency to do head scratching things and the Ravens don't. And then when you wonder aloud why the Orioles do those things, you're "not defending them".

For each of the last seven years (except for last season, obviously), I've defended the Orioles the only way that really matters. I've purchased a ticket plan from them and gone to the games. Ironically, on a personal note, I've never purchased a Ravens ticket plan, instead buying my seats on a game-by-game basis when interest and the weather and my golf schedule allow for that convenience.

I defend the Orioles every March when I give them my credit card, but that doesn't mean their policies and decisions shouldn't be evaluated and opined on, whether I agree with them or not.

The rest of Baltimore has the same freedom. They, too, have the right to their opinion. Defend them when it's appropriate and scrutinize them when it fits the moment.

But the issue here is not the way the community views the Orioles. Far from it. The issue is that the Orioles need to be better at what they do and how they explain themselves. That's been their problem for a long time, honestly.

They just need to be better. On the field and off the field. If they're better, defending them won't be necessary.

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let's help the famous fund!


Whenever asked, #DMD readers are always quick to help out. I've seen that countless times over the last six years, including every December when we donate clothes to Helping Up Mission or last spring when we bought food and distributed it to 27 different area hospitals for doctors, nurses and emergency personnel fighting to battle Covid-19.

So here I am again, asking for your help.

John Minadakis and the folks at Jimmy's Famous Seafood have created the "Famous Fund" in an effort to help Baltimore area bars and restaurants who have been crippled by the pandemic and the restrictions that have been placed on them by either state or local government.

They're closing in on $350,000 raised over the last 10 days. Please watch the "Drew and Friends" interview with Minadakis to get a full idea of how and why the fund is being used to help Baltimore and if you're inspired to donate, please do. We're not looking for any credit here, but if you want to tag #DMD when you donate, that would be cool. I'm proud of the community work our readers always do and would love to see lots of #DMD tags on social media when you reach out to Jimmy's Famous Seafood to make your donation.

You can follow Jimmy's on Facebook and Twitter (@JimmysSeafood) and make a donation, big or small, through those platforms.

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soccer: americans abroad


American players lit up the scoreboard in a busy week in European soccer. This was a two game week for the German Bundesliga, while England and Italy played both league and cup games. In other leagues around Europe, several US players debuted for new teams.

Fresh off receiving the US National Team Player of the Year award, Weston McKennie delivered the top performance of the week. McKennie started and put in a solid performance at right midfield for Juventus in a 2-0 win over Napoli in their midweek Italian Super Cup match. On Sunday, McKennie started again in the league match against Bologna and was one of the best players on the field. His passing in the middle of the field helped Juventus maintain position and build threatening chances throughout the game as he barely put a foot wrong.

McKennie was a frequent target on surging runs into the box and was rewarded in the 72nd minute when he scored a well placed headed goal off a corner kick. The goal provided the insurance Juventus needed to see out a 2-0 win and inch back into the title race.

It was also a good week for Americans in Germany, where three different US players found the back of the net. Newest sensation,Matthew Hoppe, scored once again for Schalke in a 2-1 loss to Koln on Wednesday. The teenager’s fifth goal in the last three games demonstrated his scoring instinct as he pounced on a loose ball in the box and poked it past the keeper.

American Matthew Hoppe continues to shine for German side Schalke, with 5 goals in his last 3 games.

Hoppe was unable to continue his scoring streak on Sunday as Schalke fell 4-0 in a dominating loss to European Champion Bayern Munich. Schalke struggled to get the ball past Bayern’s midfield, resulting in very few touches in attack for Hoppe.

Fellow striker Josh Sargent had a rough start to the week, turning in one of his worst performances of the season in Werder Bremen’s midweek 1-0 loss to Borussia Monchengladbach. Sargent seemed like the packed schedule might be catching up to him and causing fatigue. He looked set to receive some rest, starting on the bench in the weekend match against Hertha Berlin, but was called upon as an early substitute when the starting striker was injured in the 32nd minute. Sargent seized the opportunity with a strong game and capped the performance off with one of the goals of the weekend.

About ten yards from the top of the box, Sargent settled a loose ball with his back to the goal, made a nice turn to elude a defender, and then rocketed a shot past the keeper in the upper right corner. He was poised in his hold up play all game and set up another good chance on a counter attack later in the game, helping Bremen to a much needed 4-1 win.

Tyler Adams got in on the weekend scoring spree as well, notching his first Bundesliga goal. Adams started at right back for RB Leipzig in their weekend match with Mainz. Despite playing at right back, Adams was getting high up the field in attack for most of the first half. He benefited from this positioning early in the half when he was able to pounce on a rebounded shot and slip a shot past the keeper into the corner to give Leipzig a 1-0 lead.

Adams was forced to defend a bit more in the second half as Leipzig coughed up the lead and took a disappointing 3-2 loss. The loss is a big blow to Leipzig’s title hopes, with Bayern Munich winning both their games on the week. However, it was a good performance from Adams which should keep him seeing plenty of minutes going forward.

It was a better week for John Brooks’sWolfsburg, who won both their games to move into a tie for third place in the standings and into the thick of the competition for a Champions League spot. Brooks was a key piece in two more shutouts from one of the best defenses in the Bundesliga, a 2-0 win over Mainz and a 1-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen. Brooks passed the ball effectively in each game and was dominant in his aerial duels.

The Wolfsburg defense did a noticeably better job containing the dynamic Bayer Leverkusen attack than Borussia Dortmund did earlier in the week.

Dortmund dropped down the table with losses to Leverkusen and Borussia Monchengladbach. Gio Reyna was used as a substitute in both games as he recovered from an illness the previous week. Reyna came on for the last 20 minutes against Leverkusen, with the score tied 1-1, but could not prevent Dortmund from giving up a late counter attack goal to take the loss.

He came on a few minutes earlier in the weekend game, this time with Dortmund down 3-2 and needing a goal, but again Reyna was unable to help them pull off the comeback.

In England, Christian Pulisic started in Chelsea’s Premier League match against Leicester City on Tuesday. Pulisic had a good first half, creating several of the limited chances Chelsea saw. He was not as effective in the second half as Chelsea’s entire attack stagnated while trying to come back from a two goal deficit against an organized Leicester defense.

The 2-0 loss to fellow Champions League contenders seemed to seal the fate of coach Frank Lampard. Despite a 3-1 win over lower division Luton Town to advance in the FA Cup over the weekend, Lampard was fired early Monday morning. It is heavily rumored that the next coach will be Thomas Tuchel, who took Paris St. Germain to the Champions League final last season.

Pulisic is very familiar with Tuchel, as he was the coach for much of his time at Borussia Dortmund. Chelsea will hope the coaching change can right the ship and get them back into contention for one of the four Champions League spots.

In other FA Cup action, Zack Steffen started in goal for Manchester City and made one save in a 3-1 win over Cheltenham to advance to the next round.

In Spain, Sergino Dest was rested by Barcelona after picking up a minor injury last week. Yunus Musah was used as an early second half sub for Valencia in their midweek 1-1 draw with Osasuna. Musah helped set up Valencia’s only goal with a nice combination at the top of the box and a low sharp cross. He was back in the starting lineup in Valencia’s big weekend match with league leaders Atletico Madrid, but he was unable to exert much influence in his 79 minutes as Valencia took a 3-1 loss.

Finally, two new Americans in Europe made their debuts. Brenden Aaronson subbed on for the last 28 minutes RB Salzburg’s 2-0 win over Altach for his first Austrian Bundesliga minutes. His former Philadelphia Union teammate, Mark McKenzie, also got his debut, starting at center back for Genk in a 3-2 loss to Belgian league leaders Brugge. It's good to see these players so quickly integrating into their new teams in what should be a positive sign for their futures.

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Monday
January 25
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2345


a weeknd of notes


This guy, again? -- Geez, we have to endure yet another two week lovefest for Tom Brady, huh? Say it ain't so. But this time, oddly, I think we can all sorta-kinda understand why it makes sense to bow at the feet of TB12. He just took a Tampa Bay team that meandered through a pretty bland 11-5 regular season and waltzed through three road playoff games -- eliminating Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers along the way -- to reach his 10th career Super Bowl.

Brady has been the starting quarterback in 20 NFL seasons and he's now reached the Super Bowl in 10 of those 20 seasons. Unreal, isn't it? I'll stop with the accolades now. You'll hear and read 100 more Tom Brady stories over the next two weeks, I don't need to ruin your Monday with a full menu of why he is so great.

But this post-season run with the Bucs has solidified Brady's stature as the best quarterback of the last 50 years, and, perhaps, of all-time even.


Clayton Kershaw, Greg Norman, Aaron Rodgers (?) -- While we worship at the altar of all things Tom Brady, there's another story on the opposite end of the spectrum that will get thoroughly examined by the national media in the next few days. Aaron Rodgers is now 1-4 in NFC Championship Games after the 31-26 loss to Tampa Bay yesterday.

Aaron Rodgers had never before played the NFC title game at Lambeau Field until yesterday and even that wasn't enough to send him to his 2nd Super Bowl.

It might actually help Rodgers that the Super Bowl match-up is Brady vs. Mahomes. Most of the national guys and gals will spend the next 13 days focusing on those two and the Green Bay QB might become an afterthought for the time being.

Rodgers is not a playoff bum, mind you. He's 4-2 in the Wild Card Round and 5-3 in the Division Round in his Hall of Fame career. But when he reaches that last game in the NFC, he's a 4-time loser and a 1-time winner.

But his 1-4 mark in the penultimate game of the season strikes a comparison to some other who were great, great, great in the lead-up events and then suddenly not-so-great when it mattered most. The two quick references are Clayton Kershaw (who finally won his first World Series in last year's virus-shortened campaign) and Greg Norman, who shoulda/coulda/woulda won 8 major championships in his career but somehow only won twice.

All three of those guys were (are) the best in class in their respective sports. Kershaw is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, so, too, is Rogers, and Norman is arguably one of the top 20 players in the history of golf, despite his flawed major championship history. But something happens to all three in the big moments, for whatever reason, although it's fair to point out -- in their defense -- that their performance in the biggest of moments was never terrible, it just didn't meet the standards they set along the way.


How will the Ravens compete? -- One thing stood out to me as I watched the Chiefs dismantle the outclassed Bills on Sunday night to reach their 2nd straight Super Bowl. For the time being, at least, how on earth are the Ravens going to compete with the Kansas City Chiefs?.

Sure, the Chiefs will have their day when age and contracts and the salary cap catches up with them, but that doesn't look imminent to me. And while they still have Mahomes, Hill, Kelce, Hardmen, Edwards-Helaire and any other offensive stalwarts they draft and groom, the Chiefs are clearly the team to beat in the AFC.

I'm not in the K.C. front office, obviously, but they should just keep adding weapons to Mahomes' artillery belt. Give him another tight end, another wide receiver, some more offensive line help and.....welll.....sit back and enjoy the view from the penthouse.

How will the Ravens team as its currently constructed compete with Kansas City? Answer: They won't. They need to be much better on offense and still need to solidify their defense, particularly their pass rush, in order to have even a prayer of unseating the Chiefs at the top of the AFC. As AC/DC said on their album, High Voltage, "It's A Long Way To The Top If You Wanna Rock-n-Roll."


Si Woo Kim wins in Palm Springs -- I'm a Patrick Cantlay fan, so I was a little bummed to see Cantlay's final round 61 not hold up for the victory yesterday at The American Express Championship in Palm Springs, California. But if Cantlay was going to lose, I didn't mind seeing a guy like Si Woo Kim beat him.

Si Woo Kim made a 16-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole on Sunday to win his 3rd PGA Tour event.

Kim, who won for the 3rd time on TOUR with birdies at 16 and 17, is just one of a handful of outstanding Korean golfers who are emerging as elite players in professional golf. Korean women have long been dominant on the LPGA Tour, but it's only been in the last five years or so that their male counterparts have started to become household names on the PGA Tour.

If you're a fantasy golf enthusiast, you'd be well served to play at least one Korean player every single week if they're in the field. Sungjae Im, Byeong-Hun An (Ben An), Kevin Na (who just won last week), Sung Kang, Danny Lee and Seung-yul Noh are the best of the best Korean players. Na technically grew up in Southern California, by the way, but the others were all born and raised in South Korea and played their formative golf over there.

Don't be surprised if one of those listed above wins a major championship this year. Im is the most talented of the Korean players, but, as Kim showed yesterday, all of them are capable of winning on any given week.


It was pass interference, but... -- OK, look, there's zero doubt -- unless you're a total Green Bay homer -- that the critical late 4th quarter play was, in fact, pass interference on the Packers' Kevin King. He grabbed the receiver's jersey and prohibited him from making a play on the pass. It was pass interference. Period.

But here's where the folks who say "that hasn't been called all day" do have an argument. Just like baseball pitchers know early on what the umpire's strike zone is going to be for the game and hockey players know what the ref's tolerance for rough housing will be after a shift or two, football players also know what sort of leniency they might get from a certain officiating crew.

So when you play 58 minutes and holding, grasping and those other "nitpicky" things haven't been called, you, as the player, kind of assume that's the way it's going to be all day (night). This is not to excuse King for his infraction. It was interference, and it came on a highly critical play. But if it was interference in the first quarter, it's interference in the fourth, too. When the officials don't call it early on, the players get the notion things are going to be that way throughout the game. And then when it does get called, they're confused.


So just to prepare you, it's "Weeknd", not "Weekend" -- His real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, but he goes by, for some reason, the Weeknd. It's pronounced "Weekend". Don't ask me why he wouldn't have just spelled it "Weekend", I haven't a clue. Anyway, he's a R&B crooner who has unleashed a fury of hits on the music world and he's the halftime act at Super Bowl 55 in 13 days.

The halftime show was once a great idea that's been thoroughly overhyped over the years. It used to be simple: Someone will play some songs at halftime to make the TV network some additional money and make the game or some part of it appealing to non-football fans as well. There have been some great halftime acts along the way. It's not a terrible idea to celebrate the biggest game of the year -- and, perhaps, the highest rated TV show of the year -- by including music at halftime. Let's just hope the musical artist lives up to the billing.

Just to prepare you, here he is. By the way, the guy can totally sing. He's beyond legit.


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let's help the famous fund!


Whenever asked, #DMD readers are always quick to help out. I've seen that countless times over the last six years, including every December when we donate clothes to Helping Up Mission or last spring when we bought food and distributed it to 27 different area hospitals for doctors, nurses and emergency personnel fighting to battle Covid-19.

So here I am again, asking for your help.

John Minadakis and the folks at Jimmy's Famous Seafood have created the "Famous Fund" in an effort to help Baltimore area bars and restaurants who have been crippled by the pandemic and the restrictions that have been placed on them by either state or local government.

They're closing in on $350,000 raised over the last 10 days. Please watch the "Drew and Friends" interview with Minadakis to get a full idea of how and why the fund is being used to help Baltimore and if you're inspired to donate, please do. We're not looking for any credit here, but if you want to tag #DMD when you donate, that would be cool. I'm proud of the community work our readers always do and would love to see lots of #DMD tags on social media when you reach out to Jimmy's Famous Seafood to make your donation.

You can follow Jimmy's on Facebook and Twitter (@JimmysSeafood) and make a donation, big or small, through those platforms.

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"The Keen Eye" of
David Rosenfeld

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


consider this


News came Saturday that Larry King had passed away. At 87, he outlived tens of things that should have killed him much earlier, including eight divorces from seven wives.

In his prime on television and on the radio, and even in his later years after his CNN show ended and he worked on the internet and streaming platforms, King was a master interviewer. That skill, and his network’s broad reach, allowed him to interview anybody and everybody you could name—the famous, the infamous, and everyone in between.

Like most people who like to ask questions, King wasn’t particularly fond of answering them. His response to what makes a good interviewer was pretty simple…being a good listener. He sometimes didn’t know where the interview was going until it happened, and those ended up being his best shows. Many of them will go into the historical record way beyond the digitized archive that surely exists somewhere.

Talking to someone is usually easy, even if you tend to be an introvert. Interviewing someone is not easy, no matter how much well you think you’re doing it. So many interviews have lost steam when the questioner does or says something that shows that he or she didn’t do the research, so to speak. For every Robin Williams, who bolted on stage and basically took over for Letterman or Leno for 10 minutes, there’s a Sean Penn, who has to be egged on to speak in more than one-word sentences.

The best interviews of President Trump (or any President, to be honest) were not ones that exposed an ideological bent by the interviewer but instead exposed the President’s inability to respond well to difficult questions. The best sports interviews are ones where the interviewer is able to pull any honest answers at all; the cliché and sound bite and, yes, sometimes even the references to the Lord are typically designed to avoid doing so.

You may recall that I’ve echoed (ok, copied) King a few times in this space, specifically the “News and Views” format he used to great success in USA Today for two decades. It was a kind of Twitter before social media existed, and many years later he would take to Twitter to make the same random observations.

People made fun of King for those columns, and I was trying to make a little fun of him too. To my surprise, however, they are the most difficult columns I’ve written for #DMD. I didn’t always hit the mark, which just goes to show you that something so random and seemingly “throwaway” can actually be really hard.

Olev ha-shalom (rest in peace) Mr. King, born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger in 1933 in Brooklyn. Everybody who’s ever tried to do an interview or a silly blog was trying to copy you in one way or another.


Maryland beat Minnesota the other day, going away. The game featured one of those great defensive efforts that the Terps have put in several times a season in the Mark Turgeon era. His teams, at all four of his coaching stops, have been way more consistent on defense than offense, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Aaron Wiggins and the Terps might only have three Big Ten wins so far this season, but all three have been impressive.

So the Terps now have three Big 10 wins this year, and the big deal isn’t even that they’ve all come on the road, which isn’t really “the road” this year. It’s the quality of competition that’s been of note—Wisconsin, Illinois and now the Gophers, who last week beat an outstanding Michigan team by 18 points at the same Williams Arena.

As an aside, sports can be amazing sometimes. Just the other day, Dale Williams noted that the Maryland-Michigan game last week was never close. Four days later, the Maryland-Minnesota game could be described in the exact same way.

Despite those three road wins, Maryland is not a particularly fun team to watch in 2020-21. It’s not that they can’t be “good,” as we’ve seen; it’s simply that the Terps lack the overall talent they’ve had in most years. There are no NBA players on the roster, and not even one player that can truly dominate a game either physically/athletically or with great skill.

That’s not a great combination…but what Maryland does have is experience, even with this shortened season. Darryl Morsell, Eric Ayala and Aaron Wiggins have all played a lot of games in a Maryland uniform, and they aren’t afraid, especially with no true road games to make it hard on a team.

Transfers Jairus Hamilton and Galen (not Jalen) Smith are like many of Turgeon’s transfers—average players at best, though Hamilton is an excellent shooter. That being said, both of them have played a lot of college basketball games also at high levels, Hamilton in the ACC at Boston College and Smith in the SEC at Alabama.

Of course, experience only means so much, especially in this era of college basketball. You need guys like Jalen (not Galen) Smith, last seen on the Xfinity Center floor dominating some of those same guys from Michigan who’ve beaten the Terps twice this season in blowout fashion. Smith, by the way, has only played in three of the Phoenix Suns’ 15 games in his rookie season. He is, for now anyway, the proverbial last guy on the bench in Arizona, though he did play almost 10 minutes Saturday against the Denver Nuggets.

Over the next few years, as the college basketball world gets back to normal like everything else, I think Maryland will restock itself in the talent department. Then you can go back to wondering whether Turgeon can coach those guys well enough to win a conference tournament or make a deep NCAA tournament run.


Not sure about you, but in my workplace I’m required to complete a yearly online training course about sexual harassment. Like you, probably, I pay as much attention as necessary in order to pass the “quiz” given at the end of the course. These training modules are perfunctory, and operate as a bare minimum for companies to prove they are taking harassment seriously.

I thought about that just this weekend when I read Britt Ghiroli’s account of her experience with an Orioles’ player in his Dallas hotel room the night before the 2012 AL Wild Card game against the Rangers.

If you didn’t read about it, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that Ghiroli was able to rebuff the player’s unwanted efforts, which included lit candles and music, with relative ease. The bad news is that it happened at all, and that Ghiroli spent about seven years wrestling with how to deal with it in the best way.

I’m really not interested in countering the peanut gallery (of both men and women) who respond to this story and others like it in half-joking fashion—something to the effect of “what did she think would happen when a guy invited her to his room?” Ghiroli did a good job of explaining that, and I can tell you from experience that she speaks the truth.

Instead, I want to go back to those silly harassment training videos. As they would say, women who cover sports like Ghiroli simply have a hostile work environment. Case closed.

Not a “difficult” work environment, or a “stressful” work environment, or a work environment that can get heated, which big-time professional sports certainly can in a host of ways. No, I mean a hostile work ecosystem that serves to foster this behavior and then explain it away, a work environment where the players, coaches and front office use their “power” with female reporters to act as if this stuff doesn’t exist.

Female sportswriters want to be sportswriters, not “female sportswriters.” They want to act like their male colleagues without getting messages (no pun intended) from players and staff that those male reporters don’t get. These incidents are not isolated at all, as we found out recently with the firing of Mets’ GM Jared Porter, hailed by the national media after his hiring as a guy with great character and integrity.

When I first heard this story, my immediate thought was to look back at the roster of the 2012 Orioles, especially to those who are no longer in baseball. But I stopped myself, because this isn’t about “outing” a player. It’s about a culture where people who are just trying to work and make a living are made to feel uncomfortable for being who they are.

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Sunday
January 24
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2344



this and that, sunday style


There are two football games today, you might have heard. One is in Green Bay and the other in Kansas City. The winning teams from today's two contests get to play in this big game called the "Super Bowl".

Can Josh Allen and the Bills continue their improbable run tonight in Kansas City?

I'm neither interested nor uninterested today. I'll watch the games, at some point, in between clicking over to see if Max Homa can win the PGA Tour event out in Palm Springs, California and the Capitals can run their early-season points streak to six games with a point (at least) against the Sabres down in The District.

What would I like to see happen? I always have a soft spot for organizations who haven't been there in a while, so my natural rooting interest would have me pulling for Tampa Bay and Buffalo today. But I can see plenty good in both Green Bay (Aaron Rodgers is a rock star) and Kansas City (Andy Reid is awesome) and wouldn't mind at all if both home teams win this afternoon.

Who do I think will win? I'm going with Green Bay and Buffalo. I don't think Rodgers is losing at home and my guess is the Tampa Bay offense finally lays an egg in a 31-17 Packers victory. In Kansas City, I'm going with the notion that Mahomes' toe injury is going to limit him to the point where Buffalo squeaks by them on a late field goal, 26-23.

It's really hard to repeat in sports. It's incredibly significant that Kansas City has now hosted three straight AFC championship games. That is quite an accomplishment in this day and age. But the odds say the Chiefs won't go back to the Super Bowl for the second consecutive year. It's just really hard to do.

Truth of the matter: I don't care who wins, but it would be great to see Max Homa pull off the golf victory. If that happens, I'm whole for the day.


I totally understand the community reaction to the last 48 hours worth of Orioles news and completely get why people are nervous.

Something weird is going on. Some folks are opining that the Angelos family is preparing to sell the franchise, hence the stripping of payroll within the playing roster and the front office, but a few ear-to-the-ground sources in Charm City have been saying for the better part of six months now that the two sons -- John and Louis -- are not interested in selling the franchise when Peter eventually passes away.

When will John Angelos and the Orioles reach a new lease agreement on Camden Yards?

There was a pesky estate tax that had grown to something like $80 million that would have been due upon transfer of the franchise, but apparently that's no longer the "real" number and some legal wrangling has made it possible to keep the franchise in the family and not be forced to hand over that kind of money to the state.

Believe that if you like, but more than one person in the know has been saying that -- to anyone who asks -- for a while now.

But the last 48 hours have been strange, nonetheless. The reduction-in-force at MASN is certainly part of the equation, since, of course, the Angelos family has controlling interest in that entity. The news that the organization let the entire PR department go at season's end, plus some other front office members, is also now part of the story. And then came yesterday's news about the Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander arbitration hearings.

The Orioles, according to sources, apparently asked both Mancini and Santander to defer part of their 2021 salaries. This move, unprecedented in Major League Baseball, would have saved the organization a grand total of $1.5 million.

You read that right. There's a period in between the "1" and "5". It would have saved the Orioles $1.5 million. It's one thing if that tactic -- had it been accepted -- saves the team $15 million. That's worth going to battle for, obviously.

But when you're trying to save $1.5 million, that raises a bright, candy apple red flag.

There's also the lease issue at Camden Yards that remains unresolved. The current lease expires at the end of 2021, although the O's do maintain an option to merely extend it by five years in lieu of negotiating a new one. The absence of a lease agreement in this, the final year of the current agreement, is a growing concern in the city.

I agree it all looks rather strange. Cutting payroll, drastically altering the make-up of a once-successful regional sports network, trying to swindle $1.5 million from two young players, and no lease agreement...those things are indeed puzzling from a "professional" organization.

However, here's one piece of the puzzle you don't have to worry about finding: The Orioles are not moving. There has been speculation that Nashville could be attempting to lure the Birds from Baltimore. Las Vegas has also been rumored to have an interest in adding professional baseball to their sports landscape.

I don't know much, but I know this: The Orioles aren't leaving Baltimore. Major League Baseball would never allow it to happen. This isn't 1984, where teams just pick up and move in the middle of a snowy night. The league essentially controls the relocation process now, with their own staff dedicated to scouting out potential new cities. Additionally, 75% of the owners would have to agree on a move (by any team, anywhere) and that's not happening without the commissioner's influence.

I agree things look sketchy with the Orioles but they're not moving.

What they are doing is anyone's guess, but they're not relocating to Nashville, Las Vegas or anywhere else.


Mark Turgeon and the Terps picked up a nice win yesterday in Minnesota. Dale Williams gives you the insight in his article below on how it happened.

Mark Turgeon's Terps blew out Minnesota yesterday, yet some local hoops fans weren't overly impressed.

After the game, I took to Twitter to give Turgeon credit for guiding Maryland to a third win over a nationally-ranked team this season.

You would have thought I was applauding the Son of Sam for winning the prison table tennis tournament.

People went ballistic, reverting back to their tired argument about how Turgeon stinks and "this wasn't a real road win because no fans were there" and so on and so on.

I've never been a huge Mark Turgeon fan. I'd call his work in College Park "admirable", which is, I'd say, about what I'd call Marquis Brown's work thus far in Baltimore in his two years with the Ravens. Not great, not terrible, some really solid moments...but more was expected.

But despite not being a huge believer in Turgeon, I'm capable of giving the man credit when the team does do something well. I've never thought he was the elite recruiter that some believe he is and I've never considered him at the top of the list as an in-game coach, either. His work is, as I said, "admirable", but nothing more, really.

That said, Maryland has wins this year over Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota and, if not for some middle school foul shooting, would have also defeated Purdue earlier in the campaign. Turgeon deserves credit for those wins in the same way he deserves scrutiny when they get blown out at home by Iowa, Michigan and Rutgers.

"Balance" is probably the thing our country needs the most these days. We have seen it on full display in the recent Presidential election and the ensuing inauguration. If you're a Democrat, the Republicans can do nothing right and if you're a Republican, the Democrats do nothing right. There's no balance at all in our culture. You're either "for" everything or "against" everything. It's a joke, frankly. Clown shoes stuff.

Maryland went to Minnesota yesterday and won a game. They didn't only win, they trounced the Golden Gophers. That leaves the Terps at 3-6 on the year. They can't escape their record. It's not very good, obviously.

But the idea that you can't simply say "That was a great win today, good job by Turgeon getting those kids to play hard and man up" is a character flaw. Sorry if that's harsh, but that's what it is.

Balance. We need it. A lot of it. It's one of the things holding us back.


Coach K and Duke lost a tough one yesterday to Louisville and after the game, the coach of the Blue Devils was in no mood for rookie journalism.

A student journalist who was participating in the post-game virtual press conference asked "K" an entirely reasonable, varsity softball question. It was one of those simple questions that Krzyzewski has handled, oh, about 24,000 times in his legendary career.

But instead of answering it with a quick, coaching 101 answer, Coach K belittled the kid. "What's your hardest class at Duke?" he asked the young man. "How would you like it if, after a hard test, someone asked you what's next?"

Come on, man. Is that what making $9 million a year to coach basketball does to someone?

Rather than tweak the kid with snark, why didn't Coach K just say to him what he would have said to any veteran reporter he respected?

"Well, we obviously have a lot of room to improve. This is clearly a tough year for everyone giving the circumstances with the virus. We've been good at times and then not so good at times. We'll just do what we always do. We'll get back in the gym and work on the things we need to work on in order to get better for our next game against a good Georgia Tech team this Tuesday."

That answer accomplishes everything. It reminds everyone there's a virus going around that has plagued a lot of teams, including Duke. It emphasizes that Duke has also had some good moments in their 5-5 season to date. And it gives some praise to Georgia Tech, in the event their players and coaches see the clip.

Instead, Coach K took 35 seconds to embarrass a kid who didn't deserve it.

Amateur hour stuff there. Bush league...


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DALE WILLIAMS returns for his sixth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2020-21 season.


terps blast minnesota


There were enough bricks in the Williams Arena yesterday to resurface the Indianapolis speedway.

Only 12 field goals were made in the second half, but it all worked out for Maryland. For the third time this year, they walked off an opposing court with a victory against a top 25 team.

This time, it was a 63-49 victory over a Minnesota team (4-5, Big Ten) that shot just 30% from the field. Eric Ayala had 21 points for Maryland (3-6, Big Ten) while Donta Scott added 15. Marcus Carr had 25 for the Gophers.

Eric Ayala poured in 21 points for Mrak Turgeon's Terps on Saturday.

Maryland pulled off this upset by keeping Minnesota off of the offensive glass (just 6 offensive rebounds), and by attacking Liam Robbins. Robbins, who played only 22 minutes, fouled out with 4:42 left in the game. Other than his 3 blocked shots, he was no factor in the game.

The speedier Terp big men continually dribbled past Robbins, and his defensive response was to foul. It was a brilliant strategy from Mark Turgeon, and perhaps the determining factor in the game.

Minnesota was so bad on offense that Maryland actually outscored them by 5 points in the second half despite the Terps hitting just 28% of their field goal attempts, going 3-12 from the three-point line, and making only 12 of 22 foul shots.

Maryland’s 17-29 performance from the foul line is almost identical to their 17-30 effort in the blowout loss to Michigan. Not many teams will miss 25 free throws over two games. That’s a problem that needs to be fixed moving forward.

After getting out to a 17-3 start, the Terps managed to hold a 36-27 halftime lead. Only a string of 6 Terp turnovers in 7 possessions around the midpoint of the half, and the offensive production of Minnesota’s Marcus Carr, kept the Gophers from being in a huge halftime hole. Carr had 14 first half points, the rest of his team had just 13.

The Maryland defense was active and aggressive, while the Gopher offense helped by shooting just 38% from the field and 27% from the three-point line. The Terps shot the ball well in the first half, hitting 54% overall and 45% of the threes.

Assisting in Maryland’s shooting percentage was their ability to get inside and get to the rim. Eric Ayala especially enjoyed the porous Minnesota defense as he tallied 14 first half points. The Terps also executed some nice backdoor plays that resulted in easy buckets.

Starting the second half, the Gopher’s poor shooting allowed Maryland to extend their 9-point halftime lead, to 12, with 7:47 remaining in the game. Fouls were beginning to mount for both teams. Liam Robbins had already been benched after picking up 3 fouls in the first 2 minutes of the half. He didn’t return until the 7:47 mark. That’s when Maryland’s Aaron Wiggins left the game with his fourth foul. Darryl Morsell, Hakim Hart, and Galin Smith had three fouls each, as did Carr and Eric Curry for Minnesota.

Robbins eventually fouled out while attempting to block a Jairus Hamilton dunk after Hamilton blew by him. Getting beat off of the dribble was a common occurrence for the 7-foot Minnesota center.

For most of the second half, it seemed that the Minnesota possessions were on repeat. The Gophers would miss a shot and the Terps would get the rebound. Minnesota made just 24% of their shots in the second half. The Terps weren’t much better, hitting only 28% of their attempts.

Some credit for all the poor shooting needs to go to the defensive efforts of both teams. After allowing Maryland to shoot 54% in the first half, the Gophers came out in the second half with much greater intensity. Maryland didn’t handle the rejuvenated Minnesota defense very well. Many Terp second half possessions ended with a Hail Mary shot as the shot clock was running out.

Maryland’s defense impressed me with the quickness in which they switched on screens. Not trying to work through screens, the Terps chose to switch. They were very effective doing this without causing mismatches favoring Minnesota because the players handling the ball, and screening were relatively the same size.

Maryland’s defensive stats were also greatly helped by Minnesota’s horrible shooting day, even by Gopher standards.

The win gave Maryland their third road victory against a ranked team. It’s the first time in school history that the Terps have been able to accomplish this feat.

On Wednesday, Maryland will play another ranked team when the 10th ranked Wisconsin Badgers come to the XFINITY Center looking to extract revenge for the loss that the Terps handed them on December 28. The Badgers will be Maryland’s 7th ranked opponent in their last 8 games.

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Saturday
January 23
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trouble in tv land


There's been no official word yet from the folks at MASN, but the story broke yesterday on The Athletic website and Britt Ghiroli's reporting is as solid as it comes. In other words, here's the story:

The broadcast teams for the Orioles and Nationals on MASN are getting torn apart for the 2021 season. And, even worse, the network itself appears as if it's on the verge of dissolving in the wake of a memo that has instructed both the Orioles and Nationals to participate in their own programming efforts in an effort to maintain the quality of their broadcasts.

Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer have formed one of the best TV broadcasting duos in all of baseball. They are apparently not returning in 2021.

Gary Thorne, Mike Bordick, Dave Johnson, Rick Dempsey, Tom Davis and Jim Hunter are among those who are expected to not return in 2021. Hunter was the only one of the five to make a public comment on Friday, as he announced the end of his 24-year run as a broadcaster within the Orioles organization.

In a legal document sent to both organizations, MASN not only informed the teams of the slashed on-air staff for game broadcasts, they notified the Orioles and Nationals that there would be no pre-game or post-game shows for either team in 2021 unless the teams themselves are willing to pay for the product. That means hiring all the talent and production people, paying them, handling all travel costs (if any) and any other fees and charges accrued in the process of doing pre-game and post-game shows.

That's MASN's classy way of saying: "No more pre-game and post-game shows", basically.

There will be a 15-minute "lead in" show, apparently, that features the in-game announcing team previewing the game, but no formal pre-game show as in past years with a more extensive look at the game, pitching match-ups.

More importantly, the post-game show is gone. Whether you liked it or not -- and let's face it, some nights it was "comedic relief" after another 9-3 loss -- it was an important aspect of the game and gave viewers a chance to learn something about baseball from the likes of Dempsey or Dave Johnson, with occasional insights from Palmer, Thorne and others.

Why is this happening? Good question.

The most obvious answer is likely the right one: MASN is in financial trouble.

There's also the ongoing uncertainly surrounding Covid-19 and how broadcast teams are actually going to perform their duties in 2021. Last year, of course, none of the on-air personnel traveled to away games and even their work at Camden Yards was restricted due to the virus.

When they do make a formal announcement about the staff cuts and reduction in programming, MASN is likely going to shuffle and dodge their way around the question of "Why?", but it stands to reason they're losing money and can no longer afford to run the business the way they once did.

If there's any other explanation, I'm all ears.

MASN owes the Nationals over $100 million from a lawsuit that is still fluttering around in a court system somewhere. Perhaps the clock is running out on appeals and such and the higher-ups at MASN are finally coming to terms with having to write that check.

There's also the notion that other than cable providers sending them money every month, there's no real "cash flow" moving around at MASN. Broadcasts of Orioles games (not sure about Nationals) are largely brought to you by an airline, office furniture/equipment supplier, and an insurance company. That's pretty much it. And it's been that way for a long time.

Salaries at MASN, particularly those of guys like Thorne and Palmer, are a well kept secret, but industry standards would suggest both of those guys are making upwards of $150,000 annually. Throw in the rest of the on-air hosts, production professionals, etc. and MASN is easily spending well over $1 million annually in salaries to air Orioles games.

Because fewer and fewer people listen to games on the radio these days, and all 162 games are on TV, the "TV people" are now the ones with which most fans connect. The broadcasting staff cuts in Baltimore will be similar to what was felt when the O's and talented radio man Jon Miller parted company in 1996. Viewers associate their summer nights with the likes of Thorne, Palmer, Dempsey, Davis, Johnson, etc. It will be a tough pill for MASN viewers to swallow, for sure.

Baseball programming and streaming rights are very complicated in 2021. Like most other regional sports networks, MASN is part of a widespread effort to bring more broadcasts into a "compartmentalized look", which could mean pre-game and post-game shows move to a YouTube channel or some other form of streaming that requires far less expense to produce and distribute.

But one thing stands out about 2021: The telecast of Orioles baseball will look very different, be very different and, most likely, offer the viewers an inferior product in comparison to what they've been used to seeing since 2007.

No more Gary Thorne?

No more Jim Palmer?

Orioles baseball simply won't be the same in 2021.

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"drew and friends"


We first started our video interview series back in December with "Drew's 15 Days of Christmas". It wound up being something like "18 Days of Christmas" because I enjoyed doing it so much, I added a few extra guests along the way.

I mentioned late in 2020 that I was planning on expanding the ZOOM interview format in 2021 and.........well.........here we are, with today's formal debut of "Drew and Friends", brought to you by Primary Residential Mortgage.

We kick off the first edition with a visit from two of the "primary" guys at PRMI -- pun intended -- Dean Johnson and Vic Biscoe. These men are not only longtime friends of mine, they've been ardent supporters of Drew's Morning Dish since the inception of the website in 2014. They're also both Calvert Hall grads, so you know they have impeccable character!

Dean and Vic are also huge sports fans, as you'll quickly find out below in our 20-minute sitdown to announce their partnership with #DMD and "Drew and Friends".

Oh, and they also just happen to run one of Maryland's most successful mortgage companies, too. I recently used Primary Residential Mortgage for the mortgage on my new home, with Vic and his staff leading me, literally, by the hand throughout the entire process to make sure everything went right at the settlement table. I've also used them for other mortgage efforts in the last 15 years, including a refinance in 2010 that saved my family a lot of money.

"Drew and Friends" will likely air here twice a week during 2021, with interviews from athletes, media members and anyone else who is an important part of my life, Baltimore sports or Drew's Morning Dish. We appreciate the continued support of Primary Residential Mortgage and, by all means, if you have a mortgage need in the future, please give them a shot at earning your business.


DREW AND FRIENDS



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dale williams aims the
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DALE WILLIAMS returns for his sixth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2020-21 season.


can terps slow down minnesota today?


It is quite possible that no college basketball team has ever started their conference season by playing eight straight games against nationally ranked teams. Until Minnesota, this year.

The 11-4 Gophers (4-4 in conference) finally play a team outside of the top 25 when they take on the Terps today at the Williams Arena in Minneapolis. Game time is 2 p.m. and the contest can be viewed on BTN.

The Golden Gophers have lost all four of their Big Ten road games, and won all 4 of their conference home contests. They lost by 27 at Illinois, by 12 at Wisconsin, and by 15 at both Michigan and Iowa. Their home wins were against Iowa (7 points, in overtime), Michigan State (a 25-point win), by 17 against Ohio State, and a revenge win by 18 against Michigan.

Can Aaron Wiggins and the Terps beat a third nationally-ranked conference foe this season today?

The rankings of the Big Ten teams Minnesota has played range from #5 (Iowa) to #25(Ohio State). The rankings were at the time of the game, not as of now. Regardless, they were dealt a brutal early schedule, and their record shows it. The latter part of their season is a bit easier as only one of their 10 remaining regular season games comes against a ranked team.

The 17th ranked Gophers are building a resume worthy of an NCAA tournament invite. They have yet to suffer what would be called a bad loss, and have five quality wins. In addition to the four conference wins against ranked teams, they also beat a very good St. Louis team.

Today, we can expect Minnesota to launch a ton of threes and take many ill-advised shots. A large percentage of their shots will miss. Whether it be from the field or the three-point stripe, they are the worst shooting team in the Big Ten. I won’t be surprised to see them take 25 threes today. I’ll put the over/under on air-balls at three. We can also expect Minnesota to grab a bunch of offensive rebounds. They have good athletes and go to the offensive glass hard. As a result, second chance points are a staple of their offense.

The focus of Minnesota’s offense is 6’2” guard, Marcus Carr. He’s good for over 20 points a game, but only hits 41.5% from the field. He’s real quick off of the dribble and is not shy about putting up a shot from anywhere on the court. He may be NBA material, but not until he becomes more disciplined on both ends of the court. He’s a wildcard for sure. He might go off for 30 points, or he could shoot 3-16.

When Carr isn’t doing his thing, look for Liam Robbins to get into the offensive mix. Robbins averages almost 14 points per game. At seven feet tall, Robbins is a quality three-point threat, hitting 40% from long range. He can score inside as well, but he’s not really an intimidating force down low. He’s big, but the Terps have faced better low post scorers this year. At 235 pounds, Robbins can be pushed around inside and look for the Terps to do just that.

Both Gach (yes, his name is Both) and Gabe Kalscheur are the next two highest scorers for coach Richard Pitino, but the guy who worries me more is the 6’8” Brandon Johnson. He’ll be a tough match-up for Maryland and the Western Michigan University transfer is knocking down 38% of his three-point attempts. He is a streaky shooter who loves the corner three. If the Terps allow him to heat up, it will be a long night for them.

Defensively, Minnesota will provide good pressure in the half court and will cause turnovers. In their most recent game, the big win against Michigan, the Gophers forced the Wolverines into a whopping 20 turnovers. Robbins (a Drake transfer) is really good at protecting the rim or offering weakside help. He is also the league leader in blocked shots.

Call me crazy, but I think this Minnesota team is a good match-up for Maryland. Carr is tough, but he’ll work against Darryl Morsell. Morsell will make him work hard for every shot he takes. Carr is a scorer, but I say Morsell holds him under his average. Robbins’ height will give the Terps problems, but if his Maryland defender can keep him off of the offensive glass, that’s a win for the Terps.

The expected Gach / Aaron Wiggins match-up goes to the Terps too. Both are athletic 6’6” guards, but Wiggins has the better offensive arsenal. Defensively it’s a draw. Gabe Kalscheur and Eric Ayala are similar in size, but with Kalscheur’s three-point percentage dropping from almost 42 in his freshman year to just 32 now, he hasn’t shown to be the offensive threat that he once was. Advantage Maryland.

The Terps, as currently comprised, will never win the big man match-up, but it’s important today to limit Robbins. He can get 15 or 16 points, but he can’t be allowed to get 18 or more. That leaves us with what I think is the key match-up of the day. If Donta Scott outplays Brandon Johnson, Maryland can win. Johnson is longer, but Scott is stronger. I’d like to see Scott get some good looks on the low blocks. He could do damage inside.

The keys today are to keep Minnesota away from the offensive glass, and to make Carr work hard for his shots. They also need to limit Robbins. Then, lastly, they need to win the battle at the 4 spot (Scott, Johnson).

Minnesota is due to lose to an unranked team and perhaps their fresh legs (their Nebraska game on Wednesday was a COVID-19 postponement) really equate to rust. Maryland matches up well at all but one position. The books are wrong here. Making Minnesota a 6.5 point favorite was a mistake.

An off-day shooting for the Gophers causes them to drop a 75-72 decision to the Terps. Scott and Wiggins lead the way with 18 and 16 points respectively.

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breakfast bytes


Seahawks QB Wilson has "four teams he'd agree to be traded to" agent says; Dallas, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Chicago.

Caps score four times in the 3rd period to beat Penguins in D.C., 5-2.

NBA: Wizards win for 6th time in 7 games, 112-110 at Denver, as Beal scores 33.

Big Ten hoops: Michigan State getting hot late in the season, beats #4 Ohio State, 71-61.

PGA Tour: Webb Simpson, Matthew Fitzpatrick share first-round lead of WGC event in Bradenton at 6-under par.




SCOREBOARD
Thursday, February 25
PENGUINS
2
AT CAPITALS
5

CAPS GOALS: Backstrom (9), Oshie (5), Wilson (7), Hagelin (2), Eller (3)

GOALTENDER: Vanecek

RECORD: 9-6-3

NEXT GAME: 2/27 at New Jersey