By the time most of you read this on Thursday morning, I'll be on my way to Durham, North Carolina.
I'm still on the alternate list for the U.S. Senior Amateur golf championship, but I'm taking advantage of the opportunity and the benefits provided to an alternate and making the trip to North Carolina today.
The chances of me getting in are probably no more than 15% at this point. But 15% is better than 0%, and I'm close enough to Durham and have a welcoming host who will put me and my son up for a few days. So I left on an early flight this morning and will spend the next two days practicing at the course (Old Chatham GC) and preparing myself as if I'm going to play on Saturday morning when the event begins in earnest.
For those who missed it a month ago, I was one of 2400 men in the country over the age of 55 who tried to qualify for this year's U.S. Senior Amateur. As it turned out, I lost in a playoff for one of the automatic spots, so I was relegated to "first alternate" from my qualifying site in Basking Ridge, NJ. There is a very complicated system in place to award spots in the tournament to alternates. It's comprised of several elements, including your field size, how many initial qualifying spots were available, and how well the field played the course on your day of qualifying.
Out of the 2400 qualifers, 156 players earned their way into the event. There are roughly 50 alternates, most of whom will elect not to travel to the site in Durham.
There have already been 11 withdrawals over the last three weeks, but I'm still down the pecking order and waiting for my number to be called if enough players withdraw.
It's a strange quandry, really. Competitive golfers are taught from the beginning to not root against their opponent(s) and I've always been a follower of that credo. You don't want anyone to get hurt, sick, etc. and have to withdraw from a national championship like this one, yet that's the only way you -- as an alternate -- can get in. Instead of rooting against anyone, I've just prayed that God will put me there if he wants me there. And if I don't get in, God must have plans for me to get in some other time.
I was excited to learn that the average age of the field this year is 59.65. This was only my second attempt at trying to qualify, as I just turned 55 in January of 2018. In my first attempt last summer, I shot 73 and missed a playoff by a shot. This year, I shot 72, got in the playoff, and then fell short. There's little doubt I'm going to conquer this endeavor at some point in the future, whether I get in this year, next, or a couple of years down the road.
I thought long and hard about whether I should go to Durham and be "on site" as an alternate. I could most certainly be going down there for nothing, in the end, because there's a good chance I won't have enough people withdraw to get in. But then I realized this: I get to do everything I'd be doing had I made the field as an automatic qualifer -- except potentially play in the tournament. I get to go on site, practice, prepare, enjoy the environment and be "part of it"...but I might wind up not playing. If that happens, it happens. But I need to go there and do everything possible to prepare in case I get the call.
I also took into consideration what I would tell my high school golfers if they faced this exact same situation in the U.S. Junior Amateur or U.S. Amateur. If they were an alternate for one of those two competitions, I would most certainly advise them to go to the tournament site as an alternate and prepare as if they were playing in the tournament. Our 2019 Calvert Hall team motto was "Stay In It", which is exactly what I'm going to do in Durham for the next few days. I'm going to stay in it, prepare, and hope for the best.
It's also going to be fun having my 12 year old son with me. I think he's old enough now to appreciate this moment, even if I don't get in, and just hanging around with him for a few days is worth the trip. And seeing my longtime friend George (yes, the George who is my #DMD right hand and occasional contributor here) and staying with him is yet another reason why I'm doing this. It will be great to visit with him, check out a Durham Bulls baseball game, and soak in the U.S. Senior Amateur with him at the same time. George was an excellent golfer circa 2000 and I know he's going to have a blast this week as well.
I'm hoping I get in. It would be gratifying to play in the event, obviously. But if I don't, I'll circle back next summer and try my hand at qualifying once again. If nothing else, this experience of coming up one shot short for the fourth time (I've been an alternate in four USGA events over the last 19 years) will push me to work harder, play smarter and, make one more putt along the way. Everyone has that same story, of course. One putt here or there changes everything. As it turned out, one putt on July 22nd was the difference between me being "in" this week and being an eager alternate.
I'll spend 6-8 hours at the course today and tomorrow getting ready, staying in it, and hoping to get the call.
"The Keen Eye" of
|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.|
“But then there’s the other thing. You know…where it wasn’t actually a thing. Not because the touchdown was called back; that part is irrelevant. It’s the thing where this is the preseason and scoring a touchdown there improved the Ravens’ chances of winning the Super Bowl by exactly zero percent.” Glenn Clark, on why Lamar Jackson shouldn’t run in preseason games.
We can debate the number of NFL preseason games there ought to be for each team, assuming it can’t be none. I think there should be two—one opportunity for each fan base to remember the location of the stadium and see the starting players for half an hour or so before retreating to someplace with air conditioning.
And we can debate how many “reps” a team’s likely starters ought to get before the regular season begins. Certainly, as far as “coaching” decisions go, that discussion isn’t exactly high on the list once the ball’s in the air in Week 1 in September.
Here are two things, however, that aren’t really up for debate.
One…when Lamar Jackson is on a football field, he’s going to run, more often and in a different way than 99 percent of the men who’ve ever played quarterback in the NFL.
Two…neither the Ravens, nor any of the other 31 NFL teams, are worried about winning the Super Bowl until they are actually playing in the Super Bowl.
As far as the first one goes, we can talk about that one play against the Packers (that wasn’t an official play, of course, once the penalty was called) until the preseason is mercifully over. Aaron Rodgers, maybe the most talented man ever to play quarterback in the NFL, was clearly thrilled watching it. After the game, he told Jackson how much he enjoyed seeing him play, with the caveat that Jackson ought to think about sliding to avoid big hits.
In doing so, Rodgers sounded like any analyst on ESPN, or most fans of the Ravens, for that matter. We watched Jackson play in 2018 with great excitement for two months, and we wondered if his unique skills were bound to get him injured. He actually did get banged up in consecutive weeks, against Atlanta and Kansas City, before returning to each game.
Perhaps I’m only speaking for myself, but probably not. I want Lamar Jackson to do that—what he did against the Packers in August 2019—as often as it presents itself. It’s a big part of why he’s out there. Maybe his skills in running the ball, both planned and unplanned, will lead to an injury-plagued career. Who can be sure? Maybe there will be an opportunity for Jackson to make a similar highlight-reel run in the Super Bowl one day. Who can be sure?
And speaking of the Super Bowl, well of course every team is looking for its starting players to avoid injury in the preseason. Some players are held out entirely, and often for good reasons. But who besides the most unreasonable fan is worried about January or February right now? I don’t even understand that line of thinking.
Lamar Jackson tried to score a touchdown against the preseason Packers because he tries to score touchdowns, one way or another. It makes no difference that the stadium was half full and the other team’s Hall of Fame quarterback watched from the sideline and it was 90 degrees outside.
Now…don’t mistake an opinion that Lamar Jackson should run the ball in the preseason whenever he sees an opportunity with an opinion that Lamar Jackson shouldn’t become a more proficient passer.
The NFL’s top quarterbacks keep getting more efficient as passers. These days, they tend to complete at least 65 percent of their passing attempts. Drew Brees was at nearly 75 percent last season. The two quarterbacks who threw for 5,000 yards last season, Ben Roethlisberger and league MVP Patrick Mahomes, each were at 67 percent. Only one quarterback who threw for 4,000 yards—Rodgers—was below 65 percent.
Jackson, in his seven regular-season starts, was at 58 percent. In the playoff game against San Diego, he was below 50 percent. He may never look like Drew Brees, but it’s imperative that he doesn’t throw the ball at the feet of or behind open receivers. He may never throw a football like Joe Flacco, but that doesn’t mean he can’t throw a better ball than he did last season or in college.
Now…don’t mistake an opinion that Lamar Jackson should run the ball in the preseason whenever he sees an opportunity with an opinion that Lamar Jackson ought to pull the ball down and run even when it’s the wrong move.
In the passing game, a good NFL quarterback sees the field, knows the proper place for the ball and has the arm talent to get it there. There have been a few that had the latter without the first two, and more than a few who’ve had one or both of the first two without the latter. Then there’s Nathan Peterman.
Will the players on the field “slow down” for Jackson in his second year, to use the cliché, and allow him to see better where and when to deliver the ball? Listening to some of his teammates, that’s already been happening. When the games start to count, Jackson shouldn’t forget that and just play on instinct. The whole thing ought to be his new instinct.
Even with Lamar Jackson playing quarterback, the Ravens aren’t going to be able to win every game by running the ball in passing situations, though hopefully they’ll have more success doing that than other teams. Jackson must recognize those chances for medium-to-long pass plays more than he did in limited play last year.
And finally…don’t mistake an opinion that Lamar Jackson should run the ball in preseason whenever he sees an opportunity with an opinion that Jackson’s issues with ball security have been solved. The second-year quarterback’s fumbling in his rookie year was the most unexpected thing about him. In general, he and the Ravens got lucky that his slippery hands didn’t lead to worse results. His inability to hold onto the ball was a much bigger problem than his inability to avoid big hits while running with the football.
It seems like Jackson had more of a problem with the ball in space, or in the “mesh” with a running back, than he did while running with the ball. With all that college experience as a primary runner, he’s pretty good at protecting himself and the ball after the line of scrimmage.
Hopefully Lamar Jackson will play in a lot more preseason games for the Ravens, even if it’s only for a few series each time. If that’s the case, it means he’s become a proficient passer, a decent decision maker and a player who avoids turnovers.
And if those are the case, Jackson will be the quarterback for the Ravens when he’s approaching 30, or even over 30. It’s unlikely he’ll have the same speed in seven years, even if quarterbacks seem to play until 45 these days.
But a player who can do what he did against Green Bay, even if it went for naught and wouldn’t have meant anything anyway? I hope he keeps doing that every time it’s the right thing to do, even on hot summer days.
I know what people are saying. I can read the internet, after all.
"I paid $260 for a 13-game plan and now the Orioles are selling 13 games in September for $30!"
There was plenty of that kind of shouting going on yesterday when the Birds announced a special September ticket offer. See every September home game for a flat fee of $30.
And, no, I'm not one of the ones complaining. I sold tickets for a long time when I was in the indoor soccer business. I understand that interest and fan affection wavers from year to year and sometimes you have to make too-good-to-pass-up offers in an effort to drag more people into the facility.
But I do understand where people are coming from when they complain.
You bought a 13-game plan for $260 in February and now you could attend the same number of games for $30 in September. The math is out of whack, obviously.
That said, there are differences in the pricing structure. For starters, it's hard to imagine anyone is going to pay $30 and go to all 13 home games in September. That's crazy talk, whether the team is battling for a playoff spot or trying to finish in last place again. 13 games in a month? No one (OK, maybe a few maniacs, but that's it) is going to do that.
Second, the O's aren't really divulging where the seats are located, either. They're selling the packages only on-line at this point, and there's no specific section referenced when you click through to the purchase page. I assume they're not selling lower box seats for $2.00 (and some change) per-game, right? These tickets are likely in the upper deck or out in the right field bleachers. It's still a great deal, no matter where you're sitting.
They're saying "tickets are limited", as if they might only sell a certain number of these packages. You're only allowed to buy two packages at the $30 price, or say the website says.
Now, who knows if the tickets really are limited? The Orioles are trying hard -- from a marketing standpoint -- these days, but that doesn't mean they aren't above stretching the truth once in a while. In the end, why limit the number of tickets you'd sell through this deal? Just sell 'em. If you sell 1,000 packages, that's great. If you sell 2,000, that's even better. My guess? They'll be hard pressed to sell 500 of them.
Look, it's September. The team stinks, football season is here, and school is back in session. That's a non-ticket-selling trifecta if there ever was one.
I love the idea. Other teams have done it in the past when they've been wallowing in last place and no one is paying attention in the final month of the season. It's not about the money. What's another $15,000 to the Orioles?
It's just a good way to say "thank you" to the folks who are still willing to come out in September. And if you already bought tickets and feel ripped off, call the Orioles and complain. My guess is they'll do something for you, too.
|Chris in Bel Air August 22|
|I too would like to see the number of pre-season games reduced. It's basically a practice against another team and the risk for injuries are too costly. Should Lamar be running around in a pre-season game. I would say, no. He is too valuable to the team at the moment. There are numerous starters who haven't even taken a snap in a pre-season game: Brady, Brees, Rodgers and Rivers in particular. Some may say, 'oh, those guys are in another class. They don't need the game time.' Well, Trubisky, Goff, Foles and Wentz haven't played either. Bottom line - the QBs are just too valuable for the success of the team's upcoming season.|
|unitastoberry August 22|
|I have a feeling that preseason is about to go bye bye after the next cba. All these team scrimmages with the qbs untouchable is the future. That sucks for low draft picks and udfa. Maybe they can have 2 games just for them? If not you can forget about any Priest Holmes or Curt Warners in the future.|
|Jason M August 22|
|Good piece by Dave Rosenfeld. I've herard a lot of guys say the NFL stands for...and have something clever to say after it, but the truest antonym is Not For Long. So I say, @LJ_era, make much of time, gather your rosebuds while you may! To the NFL...time to reduce the preseason to 2 games.
|TimD in Timonium August 22|
|Best wishes, DF, on getting in.
At least the Orioles are TRYING to discount tix to get people into the stadium. Love the weekday GA idea, @TonyS.
Nickel beer night? BOGO hot dogs? Lots of options.
The Dodgers come to town in September, and I see Rangers tix on Stub Hub starting at $9.
And Adley Rutschman, made his Delmarva Shorebirds debut on Wednesday if you missed that.
|mike norton August 22|
|Hope you get in Drew. Good Luck|
|mike from catonsville August 22|
|And this Biff is why it would be tough to go back on the radio, your "free" time. I doubt you could just take off for up to 9 days in a corporate radio world. Maybe, maybe not. Anyway good luck, hope you get in and you're 100% correct these times with your son is something you'll always treasure.
If you get a chance take in Cameron. I was lucky to have my son with me to see Bobby Hurleys last game there sitting literally right behind the MD bench. Can't replace those memories. Even without a game it's an awesome place.
Also, our Road member Kevin Grady won the Maryland Mid-Am at your home course. He's one hell of a player. I got to play with him one day and he was 7 under after 12 and he doesn't 'rake" a single putt, they all go in the hole. The ball sounds different coming off his club. That guy can flat out play.
|unitastoberry August 22|
|As for Lamar having to run last week on a busted pass play in an exhibition. Well it's football and his instincts just kicked in. We have a guy who can take it to the house on any play from behind center. It's his modus operandi. It won't happen again tonight.|
|Tony S August 22|
|Checked out the $30 deal this morning, and these aren't seats. It very specifically states that these are Standing Room tickets in designated areas, which makes me feel you will not be allowed to "relocate" to a seating area at any point during the game. It's a great thought, but does anyone really want to stand for an entire game? Here's an idea for the brain trust at OPACY: how about making all weeknight games GA? Pay one price and sit wherever you want, first-come, first-served, with the understanding that if a season ticket holder has a ticket for the seat you're sitting in you would have to move?|
|Greg C. August 22|
|I love the message you're sending your son. And the same for your high school golfers. You go, you prepare and you do everything right and hope for the best. And as always, the praise goes to our Lord and Savior! Good luck Drew !|
|Josh August 22|
|DF- They say “never up, never in”. Heck yes make that trip as an alternate! Enjoy the experience...|
|Nino Greasemanelli August 21|
OHH, Dats NICESH!
Have I ever told you about MY DADDY?!
A. M. F!.... Adios...my friend.
|unitastoberry August 21|
|The original "Conference Call" on WFBR was incredible radio. Harry Schriver was also the Colts PA announcer at Memorial Stadium from 1964-79.
@Clue Check your Bill O'Donnell quote is pretty funny.
|RJ August 21|
|Looking forward to George's educational seminar. As an old school gambler, I too am still trying to get used to always talking "money line" these days.
One thing about gamblers, you can change terminology all you want, they'll figure it out, and still gamble
|HERMAN August 21|
Didn't know you spent a life in handicapping.
Can you tell me where they'd put the over / under on how many times the network shows last year's Playful Fist Bump walk up 18, with the crowd swelling around him at East Lake?
I'm a reformed track hound, so I am rather familiar with odds, I'd take the over/under at 5. Once each day of viewing, and another nostalgic moment as the tourney ends.
|Radio radio August 21|
Correct it was straight "fish out of water" comedy. It baffles us(who have read his dreck) how any person could(including himself) see any writing talent at all. The LF has stones, no doubt he has presented his stuff to legit publishing houses. Pitching books to these guys is not for the faint of heart. They are brutal. And one friend(a combat veteran) presented his work....the guy laughed him out of the office. Same guy has multiple books in print NOW but he was shook to his core for the initial rejection. Delusional LF? Probably thought the guy was picking on him for whatever the LF has going on in that peroxide soaked mind of his. But in a series of unintentional comedy it is "the best of his career".
Talk radio today is different. The rule makers have defeated the rule breakers. Gone are the days of jocks of carrying over their allotted time or ignoring hard breaks when a topic got rolling. I'll never forget the day when Stern was over at 10...but often went til 11. One day during the news at 1050.....Robin announced that Toy Caldwell of the Marshall Tucker Band died. Stern says "so what, let's go home"....but then went off about his big giant Hat....and did another 45 minutes.
Never liked the Greaseman....but saw him do his show once. He was a rule follower. Very professional. Hit all of breaks, read all of his ads flawlessly.
Used to smoke cigars with Ron Smith at a certain Timonium cigar shop. Smart, impatient man who didn't suffer fools. His REAL disdain for Prell was funny. And he did have an opinion on most everything. Knee sports as well. He was a treasure.
|The Truth August 21|
|The Voice of Reason is sorely missed in this market. The back and forth with sidekick Frank DeFilippo was great radio. He had some legendary callers as well. Not like the idiot callers around today as some would say.....Which is an excuse to produce segments that can be replayed over and over in different sequence to pass as fresh content..
|Clue check August 21|
|Thanks to @radio radio. That "intelligent conversation" with Steve Rushin was anything but. Oh my did he lie. The "on writing" portion was just straight up delusional humor. I laughed out loud. If the LF truly believed his view of things...one can only ask one question. Why isn't he a huge, giant multiple award winning success? That he has to kick around making error filled radio spots for one location greasy spoons dives...belies how he sees himself. But funny nontheless.
@MFC. Don't know why he does not plug it, but he does 2 hours on Fridays with Glenn. It's good.
We all grew up with the radio. On career day in Junior High I signed up for Radio DJ. Johnny Dark came to our school. Not what I expected, but he was funny and he said "radio is for fat, ugly guys with good voices" Apt self description.
My first job out of college was traveling salesman, up and down the east coast and out west to Ohio. Music got boring. I switched to talk. There was only one guy better than Ron Smith including the nationally syndicated guys and that was David Brudnoy out of Boston...whose signal at night was heard as far south as Northern Virginia. DC had a psycho named Bob Kwesel...but nobody touched C. Miles Smith from WOLB in Baltimore, that guy threw bombs at everyone.
For a differing opinion on Chuck Thompson. My Mom didn't like him or his patter. Thought he was too much of a Homer. She liked Bill O'Donnell, but his homoerotic calls were not noticed by her. " Don Baylor, powerfully built, standing erect".
|RJ August 21|
|Poor Drew, these are the days he needs a ghost writer, or take a few days off and run "nestalgia" columns! Concentrate on your golf game man, we'll all be here when you come back!
This is why we need Drew back on the radio. No prep required, just show up for your shift and entertain us!
I agree writing is hard, takes way more time to gather your thoughts and write coherently, as opposed to just showing up and expressing thoughts verbally.
Although 5 hours devoted to radio, 5 hours to golfing, boom, your day is shot! Unless you are lik e@MFC and you can squeeze 30 hours of stuff into a 24 hour day - oh wait, he wants others to do that, not him! lol
|TimD in Timonium August 21|
|DF, thanks for the walk down radio memory lane. Here's a few of my memories of radio through the years: O's games with Chuck Thompson, talk radio with Ron Smith, and the glory days of alternative music in the 80's and 90's with WHFS 99.1 in Annapolis.|
|Tom J August 21|
|@ Drew......I thought you said yesterday that you were giving "your coach" today???
what Sirius channel is Madison the DJ on???/
|Chris in Bel Air August 21|
|Kudos to Brien for pulling the cover back on Kap and Reid. Both are merely fashionable activists seeking attention. It’s interesting how many in the media still peddle the Kap not being in the NFL as some systematic evidence of wide-spread racial oppression. It is almost as if his alleged black-balling is direct evidence of the “social injustices” Kap protests. Well, ol’ Kap now has tons money and plenty of time to make a difference in the world. Instead, all we hear are claims of being blackballed and sneakers that are racist… but turns out, really profitable. What a fraud and a joke.
Drew - Enjoyed your article today and miss hearing you on the air. However, I visit DMD every day and enjoy the content.
|mike from catonsville August 21|
|Biff, you need to go back on the air AND continue this as well. It might be hard given your time is yours these days. You can write at anytime during the day, maybe get a string going of 2 or three in a row that gives you more flexibility, play golf, be with the kids , see sponsors and those are pretty good perks of being the boss. But I'd love to have you on air again, along with Glenn, you guys were the best.|
|Tim August 21|
|Drew - you made the right decision getting in to radio. So glad i was a very small part of the ride.|
|HERMAN August 21|
|I would have liked to read more this week locally, and nationally about the new playoff format for the tour winner. The limited commentary I've seen has centered on something being inherently unfair about the 72 hole low stroke leader this weekend having the potential to "lose the tournament". It's a season championship, if winning just this weekend isn't enough, then it's not enough, best score shouldn't necessarily matter for this one weekend.
To me this format is the same as the Indy start, and no one every complains that the first row starters have an advantage over those who qualified for the last row. I hate to use bowling as an example, but the old ladder system we saw on Saturday afternoon was predicated on that week's total pin score, which is a comparable.
I actually believe the stroke format isn't staggered enough. You play all year and garner FedEx points and it only yields two strokes in the end? Doesn't seem like enough of an advantage for all that work all year. I think they need to add FedEx points to the majors. As it stands winning one of these last 2 tournaments is worth four times the major win.
I guess they'll struggle a bit until they get it right. I'd like to hear from all sides, and from more knowledgeable people, maybe some past pros. But Playful Fistbump managed to suck all the oxygen out of the room again somehow this week, an absolute slobber-fest over at ESPN, and in a week he failed to qualify. You'd think this new format would be topic A, and hotly debated, but all the pundits want to weep nostalgically and mourn last week's loss, instead of giving us some real perspective on the last 30 standing, and how anyone involved feels about this new format.
|ChrisK August 21|
|Love the radio tribute. I grew up with Chuck Thompson and Bill O'Donnell. I'll still fight anyone who says there's a better voice, or announcer, than Chuck. Ron Weber was indeed a treasure, though. I'm not a huge hockey fan, but the job he did with the Caps games was remarkable, even for me at a young age. The best studio radio host for me was Ken Beatrice in DC. He was more of a Redskins guy than anything else, but he had encyclopedic sports knowledge to me as a young fan of many teams in the dark age (1984-1996) of football in Baltimore.|
|Rich August 21|
|Thanks for sharing the radio column today. That was really special.|
|Big Fish August 21|
|Ok I'll bite... who's Lamont Germany?|
|George August 21|
|@Playful Fistbump -- I'll be happy to share my knowledge of wagering terminology. This will be in an upcoming piece. It won't appear in the next few days however, because my immediate function is to serve the DF as his chauffeur, chef, hotelier, social director, and general batman while he's here in The Triangle in his attempt to capture the 2019 USGA Senior Amateur crown at Old Chatham.
Know also that the modern tendency to use moneyline wagering is a new wrinkle in sports wagering, one we didn't use in the old days when I worked the industry, and therefore I have to study it a little bit in order to make the column germane.
|Cash Is King August 20|
Funny you mention Ernie. I have referred to MFC as a living, breathing, Cliff Claven. And MFC has never been in my kitchen.
|Tim G August 20|
|No one asked me but I think someone can hit .400 and I also think someone can hit 74 HR's. The easy answer is "Mike Trout". I think he has a better chance of hitting .400 than 74 home runs.|
|Ralph August 20|
|I actually found today's main topic very interesting. But then again I don't come here just to whine.
Will anyone ever hit .400 in our lifetime (I'm 52)? I think that's a great question. Drew says yes. I'd say the odds are 10/1 it doesn't happen.
Will someone hit 74 HRs and beat Bonds? I think that one is very attainable. Only takes two great months to hit 30. Then you have four months to hit 44. I'd say the odds are 5/1 it doesn't happen.
Don't follow golf or hockey much so I can't comment on those but I'll take Drew's word for it on both since I know he's a follower of those sports.
Back to back no hitters? No way. 50/1 it doesn't happen. Make that 100/1. But still an interesting question and definitely not worth whining about, as if none of it is interesting.
I'll say this. Give me today's topic over reading about how the Orioles lost again last night 5-4 against a lousy KC ballclub.
|golf traveler August 20|
I wonder if you've seen Woods live?
If so, do you get caught up in the madness? Ive been to hundreds of tournaments, his flock is more star struck and full of fervor than a flock of Scientologist's or at least a convention of Amway drones. They are scary.
He was sold as something else, he was in on the fraud. His actions are a betrayal of his own stated virtue. Family man, super son, generous with his time and money, the hugs from his wife after wins. The camera ready smile, the private snarl.
As a product he was a total failure..but that didn't matter.
W.B. Yeats wrote "things fall apart, the center can't hold". This has been a universal, except for Woods. The media, fan boys and a nervous golfing industrial complex succeeded in proving Yeats wrong, and Humpty Dumpty was put back together by all the Kings Horses and all the Kings Men.
First and last guy to accomplish this.
|unitastoberry August 20|
|Being that the Orioles are back to the cellar writing a daily column is a very tough thing to do. Then there is January- April with no major league sports at all in Balmur. Golf and Terps just doesn't cut it for me so I like the variety of topics such as who's the best and what if stories along with the Steadman like fact and opinion pieces.|
|Blue Tee Golfer August 20|
|From Golf Channel website. Can you imagine if Drew wrote this? Herman would have a coronary right on the spot.
He made us rub our eyes again.
Tiger Woods made us wonder yet again if we could believe what we were seeing when he won the Masters in April to overcome challenges in his career that even he wasn’t sure could be conquered.
He has given us more surreal moments than any player in the modern era, both majestic and calamitous.
From his triumphant coronation winning the Masters by 12 shots in 1997, to those grainy photos at the back door of a sex rehab clinic in 2010, and from his sad stupor in that DUI police dashcam video two years ago, to his exultant slide back into a green jacket four months ago, Woods continues to stagger us with what he has won, lost and won back again.
Through four back surgeries and knee injuries, Woods has won admiration in what he has overcome, both physically and emotionally.
The sheer gravity of it all hit home in his heartfelt hugs of his son, Charlie, and his daughter, Sam, in that last Masters victory.
“It was remarkable to watch,” said Joseph L. Price, a professor of religious studies at Whittier College in California. “It was a deeply emotional experience.
“Tiger’s failings, they have made him more heroic. We’ve seen he has vulnerabilities, as all people have, and it has made it possible to connect with him. There’s been a healing process for us in that, as there has been for him.”
|Jeff P. August 20|
|On The Golf Channel.com website today, the feature story is about Tiger Woods and three of the top four stories are about him as well.
I check their comments section and don't see anyone pissing and moaning about it.
|George August 20|
|As a service to loyal #DMD readers, we’ve searched the Comments Archive and located @Herman’s first post ever regarding Tiger Woods. It was made on February 22, 2016 in response to a piece by DF opining that Tiger wouldn’t play in any of the four majors that year. (He didn’t.)
@Herman wrote: “Golf may never again see interest as high as during the Tiger era, but he, and players such as Ricky Fowler have done something for the sport that will allow it to thrive, they made it "cool" to play golf. Every time the camera pans a golf crowd these days and I see youngsters at the rope in bright orange, and a flat brimmed matching hat sporting a large "Puma" logo, I think that the game has a bright future. The same with seeing the Phoenix tournament, and how the PGA has embraced the 17th holes' insanity, something that would have been considered blasphemous thirty years ago.
“I find the game more exciting now, in the Tiger era he was winning 1 of every 4 tournaments, and guys seemed to wilt in his shadow. It soon became monotonous watching him win each week as guys folded all around him like a cheap suit. For those who slobbered over Tiger the game may not be as exciting. But these new young guns are very good, and it's not only exciting to see which one will come through this week, I find it to be must-watch-TV.”
|Delray Rick August 20|
|After 2 exhibition games WHO HAS THE HIGHEST QB RATINGS........That's right he's a RAVEN|
|George August 20|
|@Herman -- Come on in from the cold! I for one would enjoy seeing a weekly column from you on the #DMD. They say it's easy: all you do is sit down at a keyboard, open a vein, and bleed.|
|David Rosenfeld August 20|
|#DMD contributor here...
Since Drew is being so cryptic on the coach, I'm gonna guess he's going with professional scout and instructor Tom Emanski, who developed revolutionary techniques that produced Baseball World's back-to-back-to-back AAU national champions.
And one man's opinion...the 74 HRs is going to be hard. Only 5 guys have even reached 60, and 3 of them were steroid freaks. Yes more HRs are hit than ever before, but it's more about guys who otherwise wouldn't be HR hitters hitting them.
|Billk21093 August 20|
|My coaches to consider would be:
Coach K at Duke
John Tillman lax coach at Maryland
Geno Auriemma U Conn Women's basketball coach
Kenny Cooper former Blast coach
Bobby Shriver Boy's Latin HS lacrosse coach
Russ Rose Volleyball coach PA State
Final Choice Phil Jackson, anyone who could handle both Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant and Shaq has to be considered.
|Steve from Cape Coral August 20|
|Any time MLB wants the home run record broken they will just juice the ball. So simple fly balls become home runs, it's as simple as that !!! What excites fans more than a home run hitting contest. I think MLB is not real happy having Bonds at the top of there list !!! All American Mike Trout would be a better look !!!|
|HERMAN August 20|
|Writing a column daily 365 a year is difficult, extremely so. I greatly admire what is accomplished here. But come on man, lists are the refuge of the bankrupt mind. Topically out-of-gas. Some of the best reads in sports are found here. Sunday wasn't one of them. Why anyone is offended by the obvious, especially when they weren't responsible is ridiculous.
And I'm not snarky, just observant enough to know the final blurb in the right hand box is a tweak to a few readers. No doubt. But to me it's funny and engaging, makes this place a bit of a two-way street. If this was "Charles Street", all one way, it'd get old fast. If you want me to appear more here talk to the owner. I'd be happy to pen a weekly. I don't mind being exposed now and then for being mentally bankrupt. It happens to the best of writers, even those who pen a column twice a week, not under the burden of a daily effort.
|Steve of Pimlico August 19|
|O's might have a hard time beating "The Bad News Bears" in a 3 game series i|
|Chris in Bel Air August 19|
|@David, enjoyed today's article on Harbs. Interesting that the 3 HCs who have longer tenure than Harbaugh also have HoF QBs. You don't get to hang around the NFL without a good QB. To the credit of the coaches, like Harbs did last year with Lamar, those tenured coaches have adeptly and successfully integrated offensive schemes to fit their QBs. Hopefully Harbs and Lamar are just starting off on a path to a long, winning combination.|
|Tim D in Timonium August 19|
|Had the O's game on as I did things around the house, so I only saw bits and pieces of the early lead get chipped away at, then surpassed, the doubled up to stop at 13-7.
Made me think of the Mother's Day game years ago when the O's gave up a 5-0 lead to the Sox in the 9th inning. Saw all of that one, unfortunately.
|unitastoberry August 19|
|It may be August 19 but it sounds like the high priced major league mess known as the 2019 Orioles have packed it in for winter? Time for Buck Showalter or Dan Duquette to write a tell all book on why we went from the ALCS to the outhouse in 4 seasons.|
|Kevin August 19|
|mike from catonsville August 19|
|Delray Rick August 19|
|Why do they keep pushing PRESIDENT CUP on tv yesterday. Who gives a poop. After next week golf is OVER TIL JANUARY if you haven't heard. They wil keep pushing this cause you want to see the MESSIAH again. He's toast anyway. Flipping the dial yesterday and hit the disaster "6th" inning ". This team would have a tough time beating a "minor league team". Another highlight reel for SPORTS CENTER. Is it over yet?|
|Big Fat Daddy August 19|
|Coach? Well most of us only know the Pro coaches by reputation. My coach would be Augie Waibel from Poly.
So yesterday was "National Radio Day". I had no idea until I stumbled upon some folks on my Facebook page who were buzzing through their radio timeline with memories of places they've worked along the way.
A day late, as it turns out, I'm here to go through my own memory lane of the radio.
I won't be referencing much about my personal days on the radio. At least not the 2002-2014 part of my radio life. But I spent some time on Tuesday thinking back to all of the other "radio stuff" I surrounded myself with throughout my youth and my adult life.
I truly was...raised on the radio.
I started my radio show with that song -- Raised on the Radio -- every morning at 6:07 am. It was near and dear to my heart because the band that made that song a hit -- The Ravyns -- hailed from Baltimore. And the writer of that song and vocalist for the band, Rob Fahey, became a friend of mine along the way. I played the song every morning as an ode to my mom and dad, who raised me on the radio.
I love that freakin' song.
My mom and I would listen to the radio constantly in the 60's and 70's. Back then, WCAO was the "hot hits" station of choice in my house. We would listen to Casey Kasem's Top 40 every Saturday and banter back and forth about the order of the songs, who should be #1, and so on.
My mom's favorite song of all time was one I remember hearing constantly on Casey Kasem's Top 40 -- Dancing in the Moonlight, by King Harvest.
The first Elton John song I ever heard was "Bennie and the Jets". Where did I hear it? In my living room on Biddle Road, with my mom, as she made lunch and we listened to American Top 40.
My dad and I would listen to Washington Capitals game on WTOP. My dad would stick it out until roughly the middle of the 2nd period when the Caps -- circa 1976 -- would be losing 5-1. He'd always say the same thing. "Unless they start giving the Caps 3 goals for every one they score, this game's in the books." On almost every night, he was right.
I loved hockey on the radio. Truth? My goal growing up was to be Ron Weber, who at the time was the Caps' play by play voice. I was fortunate enough to interview him in 1981 when I was in broadcasting school. It's still one of the highlights of my young adult life.
I would lay in bed, listen to the Caps game, and then search the AM dial for any other hockey game I could find. On numerous nights, I heard hockey on the radio from Detroit, Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Buffalo and all the New York City stations. AM radio gets knocked a lot for their funky directional signal, but it sure came in handy back in the 1970's for a hockey junky from Glen Burnie.
Orioles baseball was on every night in my house. It was on in the kitchen, where we had an archaic 1960's radio with a dial that was broken more than once and glued back together. It was also on in the bathroom at the same time. And it was always on in my room. We didn't have a big house. But you couldn't walk 15 steps without hearing Chuck Thompson.
While I was attending broadcasting school, I got the opportunity to work at WJRO in Glen Burnie (nee WISZ). I did a morning sports report, plus the color commentary for Glen Burnie High School football. The sports report thing was really cool. I recorded them at the station, then they were aired at 7:50, 8:50 and 9:50 am. On my way to broadcasting school, I'd listen to the 7:50 airing of my own sportscast. It seemed weird, honestly. But not nearly as weird as getting $158 after taxes every two weeks for talking about sports on the radio.
I loved doing the color commentary for Glen Burnie High School football. I knew every player, obviously, and the coach at the time, Dave Rigot, was my gym teacher my senior year at Glen Burnie. I might as well have been calling Baltimore Colts games. It was, no pun intended, a blast.
When I got my job with the Blast in 1981, I worked on the WFBR radio broadcast with Art Sinclair and Charley Eckman. Those two guys were really welcoming to me. I couldn't have asked for two better people to help "break me in" to the world of professional sports radio. Sinclair was an outstanding play-by-play voice and Eckman, the color analyst, was, well, "unique" to say the least.
As I got older, my secret dream was to be a rock-n-roll DJ where I got to pick the music. By then, most playlists were automated or pre-selected by "corporate". That, I know, I wouldn't have been able to do. Why play Van Halen's "Jump" again -- for the 5th time this week -- when you could go back-of-the-rack and play "Little Guitars" from Diver Down or "Dirty Movies" from Fair Warning?
I loved listening to The Greaseman in the 1980's. He was hilarious. I got the chance to meet him in the mid '90's and he was nothing at all like his radio personality. That, I thought, made him really special. He truly was a "radio personality". Off the mic, he was Doug Tracht. On the air, he was The Greaseman.
(Editor's note: I've gone this far into the story and haven't mentioned Tiger Woods. I'm trying to find a way to do it, though, trust me.)
These days when I listen to sports talk radio, I find it equal parts sad and informative. Today's radio is "sad" because I can hear all of the corporate-mandates.
"Tease it hard on your way out to a commercial" ("And when we come back, someone from the Ravens got into it with John Harbaugh yesterday...we'll tell you who it was...next.")
"Don't let the callers talk long. Get them to make their point and then move along." (I despised that mandate. If someone waits 12 minutes on hold to speak to you, bum rushing them off the air in 25 seconds seems completely disrespectful).
"Reset the interview every 2-3 minutes so people know who you're talking to." (I get this one, but it was awfully uncomfortable to break into someone's train of thought by reminding everyone who it was that was speaking..."We're talking with Clark Judge of CBS Sports.")
"We go to traffic at 7:04 am, not 7:06 am." (I actually heard that one once a week. I was guilty of being late with traffic reports...a lot.)
I get it. Corporate radio rules the world these days. There simply aren't many individually owned radio stations any longer. Most of them just can't compete with the big boys, who suck up almost all of the national media accounts and get the flagship rights to the local teams -- a double whammy of epic proportions. But corporate radio is also very mechanical and robotic. If you don't reset the show every 3 minutes, you're getting an email or a quick meeting afterwards to remind you of your failings.
But I still love listening to the radio. I love Madison on SIRIUS. She's actually a "DJ" most of the time, a far cry from most of the automated music stuff on satellite radio. I also have Houston based evangelist Joel Osteen on one of my SIRIUS pre-sets. I try to listen to him at least once a day. I love the way he shares the word.
I enjoy finding the occasional college football game in the Fall that I otherwise wouldn't care about. I love listening to Morgan State basketball on WEAA in the winter. Lamont Germany is a treasure few people outside of Baltimore know anything about.
I still flip over to WTMD once a week or so just to hear that it's still going strong. That's a great college radio station right there, if, in fact, it's still actually considered "college radio".
These days, I enjoy the radio not for what it is, really, but for those rare occasions when I can find a station or a "jock" that makes me remember what it was like a long time ago.
from the desk of
BRIEN JACKSON's work at #DMD promises to provide some of Baltimore's best sports insight and commentary, brought to you by SECU, the official credit-union of Drew's Morning Dish. Brien has done sports-media work with ESPN, CBS, and NPR. His contributions to #DMD will focus on the Orioles, the Ravens, and national sports stories.
Someone needs to talk to Eric Reid.
The Panthers safety, who was once a first round draft pick but really made his mark by becoming Colin Kaepernick's first comrade-in-kneeling, found his way back into the news last week by, what else, bringing up Kaepernick. When word got out that Jay-Z would allegedly be buying an NFL team Reid went off on the rapper and public supporter of Kapernick's (although Jay-Z distanced himself by saying it was time to move beyond kneeling, whatever that was supposed to mean) ultimately labeling Jay-Z as "despicable." He also found a way to work in a dig at the Players Coalition, Reid's favorite punching bag and regular source of his ire.
You know what Reid didn't mention, at least as far as I saw in public reports? Any black person who had been killed by the police. You know, what the kneeling protests were ostensibly supposed to be about in the first place. In fact, I honestly can't remember the last time that Reid's gotten any press for bringing that up, or any other topic besides Kaepernick's employment status for that matter.
Which is why Reid desperately needs someone he will actually listen to to sit him down and very matter-of-factly tell him one very simple truth: It's not about Colin Kaepernick!
Or, at least, it's not supposed to be. It's supposed to be about the issue of police killing black people quickly and with impunity. It's supposed to be about preventing any other 12 year old black kid from becoming the next Tamir Rice. I suppose one could argue that it's supposed to be about "social justice" more broadly if they wanted to. But it is, in fact, actually about Colin Kaepernick. It has been ever since he first took a knee, and it was inevitable that we'd reach the stage where even Kaepernick's fans and defenders are so wrapped up on this one simple point that they often forget that they're even supposed to bring up the problems he was allegedly protesting to begin with.
Here's something that might be a secret but probably shouldn't be: I am not a Colin Kaepernick fan. I've got quite a low opinion of the guy, in fact. In the most charitable estimation of him that I can come up with, he's just not all that smart. He reminds me of nothing so much as a college freshman who read Malcolm X or a history of the Summer of Love for the first time, smoked a little bit too much weed in the dorm later on and decided that he was like, a radical man. Mix in a million dollars or so and something of a public platform and you've got any number of celebrities with public opinions on issues they may or may not know anything about. Cut the money down to like $100,000 and you're talking about 99% of the country's stand up comedians. It's not an unusual type for celebrities is what I'm saying.
Apropos of nothing perhaps, the first big red flag with Kaepernick was when he told people they shouldn't vote in 2016. Now put aside whatever your preference was in that election or what it's going to be next year or the time after that and just understand one thing: Left, right, three-eyed, or purple the dumbest thing you can do is listen to a rich person who tells you not to vote. Sure, it's easy for someone with a lot of money and enough visibility to get whatever they say published as a news story to sneer at the idea that voting is useless, but I'm guessing that you don't fall into that category. 99.9% of the country doesn't, and being a rich person pushing that line just lends further credence to the notion that your position is....not well thought out.
Then again that was obvious from the beginning of Kaepernick's protest because HE WAS DOING IT ALL WRONG! Now that's a little gauche to say these days and you're not supposed to critique the ways other people express themselves and all of that and that's fine so far as it goes. But it remains a stone-cold fact that effective protest of any variety has two absolutely crucial elements: An action that is disruptive to society or the targeted actor and a demand that the target can meet to end the protest. For (an oversimplified) example: the Montgomery bus boycotters were withholding fares by not riding and hurting the city's budget which forced the city to agree to some of their demands at which point the boycotters went back to riding the busses. Kaepernick got the first part right (the NFL definitely wanted him to stop kneeling in the worst way), but he literally never even conceived of the second part. There was nothing he wanted that anyone was in a position to give him in order to end the protest or mark it as a success. It was, at best, another case of a celebrity "raising awareness" for an issue which is so obviously useless that you can actually make socially acceptable jokes about it when the subject is cancer of all things.
This is where the Players Coalition, led by Malcolm Jenkins and Anquan Boldin come in. It's also where it starts to become evident how far gone Reid, and maybe Kaepernick are. Because even as other players started kneeling, either in support of Kaepernick's original message or simply in support of his right to expression, there was never any indication that Kaepernick was willing to democratize the action, and the Players Coalition, literally an organized group of players, really made that as clear as could be. Because they largely got it. Their endgame was negotiating with the owners for something tangible (money for community and social justice projects) in exchange for not kneeling.
The eventual deal had broad support, but Reid in particular revolted against it, quite clearly feeling that Kaepernick, and by extension Reid himself, were more legitimate voices here. He's still bearing a grudge so strong and deep that in his rant against Jay-Z he casually invoked the Players Coalition as though it's some sort of obvious epithet.
And their main sin? You betcha: Not being consumed with Colin Kaepernick's employment status.
So with that in mind, let's just state the obvious fact that somehow constantly goes unmentioned whenever this topic comes up: No one has come out of this saga better than Colin Kaepernick. Yeah yeah he's "blackballed," but do you honestly think he's bothered by that? The guy signed a MASSIVE, top-tier contract with Nike. That alone is easily going to end up paying him far in excess of what he ever could have hoped to make as an NFL quarterback. Nike has lashed themselves to him so tightly that he's as involved in decision making as Michael Jordan or Lebron James. He's a cultural icon, for better and for worse. Again, all of this vastly eclipses what Kaepernick would have or could have done just as an NFL quarterback, even taking the most bullish outlook on his talents.
Now I'm a deeply cynical person. I'm the kind of person who reads that Kaepernick decided to call a holiday edition shoe that the company paying him nine-figures put out for the 4th of July "racist," and then seeks out the articles that divulge that the shoe was selling like crap before that so it's no skin off Nike's back to stop distributing it.
More than that, I'm so much of a cynic that I spend days scrolling Google News to make sure I don't miss the follow up article reporting that, sure enough, following Kaepernick's comments the remaining shoes that had already been shipped to stores are suddenly selling like hot cakes AND they're going up on E-Bay for three times the sticker price. Perhaps I'm too cynical but, man, you couldn't have planned that out better for Nike if you tried.
And gosh, it's hard not to notice that that kind of sums up the arc of Kaepernick's story as well. By 2017 he was a former Super Bowl quarterback who had been benched in large part because he signed a dumb contract that left huge chunks non-guaranteed as long as he didn't get injured and wasn't happy about it. But when the 49ers engineered a trade to Denver, he wasn''t happy that the Broncos wanted him to re-work the contract for cap reasons either so he nixed that deal and went back to backing up Blaine Gabbert or whatever schlub it was at the time. Then he starts kneeling and he's the biggest celebrity in professional sports, or certainly football anyway.
From the second he kneels it's not about police shootings: It's about Colin Kaepernick. Even his advocates in the media had trouble staying on topic, and while they tried to insist it was about police issues or what have you they were actually spending 95% of their column space arguing for Kaepernick's rights to protest or pushing his claim to be a starter or eventually pushing for his roster status as the pre-eminent social justice issue of our time. Meanwhile Kaepernick was working out a contract with Nike that's reserved for guys like Jordan or Lebron or Derek Jeter, getting his own apparel line, etc.
I'm not suggesting that was some evil master plan in Kaepernick's head the first time he kneeled but, well, what about that would be any different is he had planned it that way?
I don't know Colin Kaepernick or Eric Reid. At all. Not one meaningful thing about them. I can't speak to their motivations or the sincerity of their beliefs or how much thought they've put into their public actions or what level of counsel they've been willing to accept. But I absolutely know this much: Kaepernick has parlayed the idea that he "sacrificed everything" into becoming one of the richest professional athletes in history.
I would not be shocked if he's ultimately the richest former NFL player bar none. And he's done all of that without having to practice in 100 degree heat or take hits from 310 pound defensive linemen. Kaepernick is a damn fool if he actually wants to go back to playing football on a full-time basis, and I'm genuinely amazed that everyone seems to take that at face value given the circumstances.
And I can't shake the feeling that Eric Reid is the biggest mark of them all here. Reid put his own future on the line as much as Kaepernick did (well, he didn't wear the pig socks I guess) in San Francisco, he had trouble finding a job too, he's increasingly ostracizing himself from his peers and sympathizers and....for what? Loyalty to Kaepernick? It's certainly admirable to stick up for your best friend like that but last time I looked Reid doesn't have a Nike apparel line for his trouble.
Maybe Kaepernick is making sure his best friend is getting a slice of the pie but again, call me a cynic, I suspect he's not. Or not that much, anyway.
Someone needs to talk to Eric Reid.
I had a friendly discussion with a sports fanatic on Monday and the topic centered on Cody Bellinger and Mike Trout and the home run chase in Major League Baseball.
Trout currently leads the A.L. with 41, while Bellinger has 42.
"Do you think someone will ever hit 74 home runs in a season and beat Bonds' record?" he asked me.
That led me to thinking about the various sports records and milestones that we see as cherished and whether someone can attain them. A lot of times, we talk about records that will never be broken. In this case, I came up with five things that I think will happen at some point in the next 25 years.
To answer the first question, I see someone hitting 74 homers in one baseball season. Maybe soon, in fact. I think that one is a no-brainer. Trout and Bellinger will both finish with 50-plus this season. There's no reason at all they can't have a monster season where they hit 74 or more. Perhaps some hotshot kid will come along in 2033 and see the ball well for six months and hit 74 or more.
I'm not sure anyone will ever break Bonds' career number, but his season best of 73 is definitely in jeopardy before 2045.
I always assumed someone would hit .400 in my lifetime, but it hasn't happened yet. Tony Gwinn (.393 in 1994) and George Brett (.389 in 1980) threatened it a long time ago, but no one has come close since. This year's league leaders are hitting .339 (LeMahieu, A.L.) and .334 (Yelich, N.L.).
It seems to me like hitting .400 shouldn't be all that hard. Then I realize only a few dozen players each season wind up hitting just .300. That puts .400 into perspective. That and the fact that no one has done it in my lifetime, I suppose.
But someone's going to do it. That's a lot of hitting, I know, but it's basically 1.5 more hits per week over the course of the season. LeMahieu has 156 hits in 460 at bats thus far in 2019. If he had 186 hits instead of 156, he'd be hitting .404 right now. 30 more hits in 20 weeks of baseball doesn't seem all that outrageous to me. Of course, he'd have to continue that pace through September.
I've never had a hit in the majors, so what do I know? But I think hitting .400 is very attainable. I see someone doing it before 2045.
No one has ever won all four current major golf championships in one season. Bobby Jones won the grand slam for his era but the majors back then were different than they are today, and Tiger Woods once captured what was called "The Tiger Slam", meaning he won all four in a row, just not in the same season (U.S. Open, British Open, PGA in 2000 and the Masters in 2001).
But no one has gone through the year winning all four golf majors consecutively. Someone is definitely going to do that in the next 25 years. If you look at Brooks Koepka's 2019 campaign, he could have won the first three for sure. He finished T2 at the Masters, won the PGA, and was the runner-up to Gary Woodland at the U.S. Open. He then finished 4th in the British Open. That's a close call for the Grand Slam right there.
Some kid is going to come along and knock the golf world on its heels, the way Woods did in the mid 1990's, and winning four straight major championships will be part of his legacy. Whether anyone can ever catch Tiger's 15 majors is another topic for another day, but I do see someone being able to win all four in a row, particularly if they're able to conquer Augusta National, which always seems to be the one that's the most difficult to figure out. Just ask Lee Trevino, Tom Kite and Greg Norman. Between them: zero Masters wins.
I watch college golf a lot. All you have to do is look at what happened in July, when Matthew Wolff (4th career start) and Collin Morikawa (5th start) both won golf tournaments in their first month or so out on TOUR. There will be a college standout come along at some point soon who will rock the golf world. He'll win everything in sight, the way Woods did circa 2000, and capture the single season Grand Slam, too.
Back to baseball for a second. Johnny Vander Meer threw consecutive no hitters back in 1938. No one has ever done it since. I think that happens within the next 25 years as well.
At some point, a pitching stud is going to come along and have "one of those seasons" and he'll do something crazy...like go 26-2 with a 1.84 ERA. And in the midst of that, he'll throw back-to-back no hitters. This one could be the craziest of them all, because it's really difficult to throw one no hitter in the majors, let alone two in back to back starts. But just think of this season, as an example. What if the schedule worked out that you faced the Mariners and Orioles in back-to-back starts, for example? Or any two light hitting teams. The schedule plays a big part in it.
And last, I think someone will break Wayne Gretzky's single-season goal record of 92. Heck, Teemu Selane scored 76 goals in his rookie season (1992-93). You're telling me he couldn't have found a way to score 17 more at some point in his career? He didn't, of course, but the fact is lots of players get in the 60-goal range these days. Someone will come along and average a little more than a goal a game at some point.
The argument against breaking Gretzky's record is that more players on the roster these days means less total ice time, which naturally equates to fewer chances to score. And that's fair. But when you're a goal scorer, you get chances in every game. Multiple chances, in fact. Just follow the Caps' Alex Ovechkin along during the course of a 60 minute game. There might be nights when he gets 10 chances to score.
Some hockey hotshot will come along who gets 10 chances every night and connects on at least one of them. I think 93 goals in a season is coming, folks.
What about you? Do you have any records or accomplishments you believe will be broken in the next 25 years? Put 'em up in the comments so our #DMD readers can ridicule them. Or agree, even.
I wanted to get back to this topic yesterday, but Sunday's "Fenway Fiasco" took place and I wanted to throw some thoughts out there on that, so the "One Coach" topic from Sunday got moved to today.
And even now, I'm still not fully prepared to address it. The reason? I've waffled on my coach three times now. I had one on Sunday. Changed it on Sunday night. Had another one on Monday. And changed that selection yesterday. I'm on my third coach now.
It's not as easy as I thought it would be.
One coach. You can pick one coach from any sport and have him/her coach your team. Sounds inviting, huh? Who would you take?
As I mentioned in Sunday's edition of #DMD, my final list was 20. In there, you'll find the usual suspects. Bill Belichick, Phil Jackson, Nick Saban. Just to name three.
But one of my finalists is not from a major sport. And that coach is getting strong consideration to be my "winner" in this little contest, if you want to call it that.
Belichick is a great coach. There are no two ways about it. But the black cloud over him as it relates to some Super Bowl improprieties makes it tough for me to take him as my "one coach". I don't think "DeflateGate" was his fault in the list. I doubt he had any inkling that Brady was fooling around with the air pressure of the footballs. But Belichick most certainly knew his staffers were illegally filming Super Bowl workouts of the opposing team.
Anyway...now that you know Belichick isn't my "one coach", we can move along.
Who is yours?
You can take any coach from any sport and he/she will coach your team in that sport.
I will give you my coach tomorrow.
I don't care how the Orioles lose tonight...my coach gets revealed tomorrow.
Returning home from a golf trip out in Western Maryland on Sunday afternoon, Dale Williams and I searched for something to listen to as we made our way onto Interstate 70 at the exit for Deep Creek Lake.
"The Orioles were up 5-0 when we stopped at the gas station a half ago," I said. "Let's listen to that for a while. It will be nice to hear a win for once."
Dale searched his satellite radio until we found the game. By then, it was 6-3 in favor of the Orioles. The broadcast we would listen to for the next 80 minutes or so was the Red Sox radio team. The only person I identified by name was longtime Boston broadcaster Joe Castiglione. I didn't catch the name of the other man in the booth with him.
What happened over those 80 minutes was equal parts brutal honesty and comedy. The two Red Sox broadcasters spent most of the broadcast grilling the Orioles for their numerous mistakes and giggling at every piece of misfortune, except for the moment when Chance Sisco got hurt. They were seriously concerned about Sisco's health. But once he was lifted from the game, the ribbing and negativity rolled on.
"And it's now 6-4 in favor of the Orioles...and you have the feeling this one's far from over," Castiglione said.
"Every game is far from over when you have this pitching staff that the Orioles have," his partner countered.
I could have sworn I heard a snicker in the background.
Of course, we in Baltimore know they're right. A 6-4 lead in the 6th inning is certainly not safe.
Moments later, the game changed in one moment, as Renato Nunez, Jonathan Villar and Jace Peterson let a fly ball fall in between them 10 steps into the outfield. Two runs scored, the game was deadlocked at 6-6, and the onslaught began.
"What are those three doing out there? Boy, this Orioles team sure knows how to kick the ball around, don't they?"
Someone in the stands yelled, "What is this? Little League?" and it was picked up over the crowd mics, bleeding over the air ever so slightly.
Castiglione giggled. "Someone's got it right down there near the field. This looks like Little League."
"Maybe not even that good..."
Over the next 20 minutes, the Orioles would give up three more runs in the inning to take what was a 6-0 lead at one point and chisel it neatly into a 9-6 deficit.
A run scored on a ball hit to Chris Davis behind the bag at first. Davis fielded it cleanly, went to throw to second for an inning ending force out and ----- no one was standing on second to field the throw. He then went to short toss the ball to the pitcher covering first and ------ no one was covering first.
Castiglione's partner giggled into the microphone. "I mean, if this is what Brandon Hyde sees every night, no wonder he doesn't have any hair." Bald jokes are funny that way. I guess.
"We're watching one of the worst examples of fundamental baseball I've seen in a long time. There are some innings when a team gives their opponent an extra out. I feel like the Orioles have given the Red Sox three extra outs in this inning."
"Something tells me they do this regularly," Castiglione said.
By now, Dale and I were even laughing at the one liners and quips. "These guys are just raking us over the coals," Dale said. "It's interesting to hear the perspective of a broadcast team that can say whatever they want."
And that would be true, of course. You'd never hear the O's radio team blast the Birds like that, in the same way the Boston radio guys wouldn't rip into their own team with nearly the enthusiam they were ripping into the Orioles. It's easy for the Boston radio guys to tear into the Baltimore baseball team.
They had plenty of ammunition on Sunday.
In the next inning, the onslaught continued. Boston scored four more runs to extend their lead to 13-6.
"And that's 13 unanswered runs for Boston today," said Castiglione. "My guess is they're not finished yet." (Editor's note: They actually were finished, Joe. So take that.)
"I wonder what Jim Palmer and Gary Thorne are saying over there on Baltimore television?" the other Boston broadcaster wondered.
"They've seen this a lot over the last couple of years, but I'm sure they can't even believe some of the things they've seen out there today," Castiglione added.
"You know, they say no lead is safe at Fenway. We've seen that a lot over the years. We've seen it a lot this year, even. But it's also apparent that no lead is ever safe with the Orioles, either. This team's defense and pitching make sure of that."
"I've seen some teams with poor defensive players before," Castiglione countered. "I'm not sure I've ever seen one this out of sorts as this Orioles team has been over the weekend. Where were they before this, New York? They must have left their baseball brains in the Bronx. This team is shockingly bad."
"They actually lost all four down there," the other voice in the booth said. "I'd say it's been a while since the Orioles were a good defensive team."
With that, the O's came to bat in the 8th trailing 13-6.
"And here's Chris Davis at the plate. It's actually been a decent day at the plate for Davis. He's been on base three times."
"You have the feeling there's a strikeout in his future, though. He doesn't go through many games without one," Castiglione said. One of the two guys giggled. I couldn't tell who it was.
And with that, naturally, Davis struck out.
"That wasn't unexpected," Castiglione remarked. "I assume Orioles fans expect it every time he comes to the plate."
As the 8th inning moved along, the two Boston broadcasters started talking about other things, like any on-air team does when the game's outcome is no longer in the balance. They chatted briefly about the Rays-Tigers game in Tampa Bay, a new restaurant near Fenway, and a movie they both wanted to see. By this time, Dale and I were also "in and out" of the broadcast, so I'm not sure what movie tip they gave. Sorry.
Finally, as they headed to the top of the 9th, Castiglione provided a quick summary.
"If you're just tuning in, Sox fans, this one's been a doozy. The Orioles were up 6-0 in the third before the Red Sox woke up and putting their batting shoes on. Some terrible Baltimore pitching helped, as did an inning of really poor defense from the Orioles. Raffy Devers is having a whale of an afternoon at the plate with four hits, including a home run and two doubles. He's petioning the league to let the Orioles come back again next week. It's now 13-6 as we head to the top of the 9th and clean this one up for a 3-game sweep of the Orioles."
The Birds did manage to scratch out a run in the 9th, losing 13-7.
"And that will do it here from Fenway. We saw a lot of baseball today in three and a half hours," said Castiglione as the final out was recorded. "I'm sure Brandon Hyde won't watch the replay of this one on the flight home. This one got ugly quick for his team."
We flipped the radio over to listen to the A's-Astros game from Oakland. And wouldn't you know it, the first thing we heard was a scoreboard update.
"And in Boston, the Red Sox trailed 6-0 early before reeling off 13 unanswered runs to beat the Orioles, 13-7. That ended an 0-7 road trip for the Orioles."
"They've had a lot of 0-7 road trips over the last two years," a second voice said.
Enough already. We get the point, guys.
This Week’s Subject: John Harbaugh
John Harbaugh was not the Ravens’ first choice to be the organization’s third head coach. I don’t know how far down the list he was with the people making the decision in 2008, but he definitely wasn’t near the top of the list of what was out in the media. As far as the public goes, I don’t know whether he was even on the list.
It’s easy to forget how different that was than the previous time the Ravens hired a head coach, prior to the 1999 season. Brian Billick was absolutely at the top of every list, seeing as how he was the offensive coordinator for a 1998 Minnesota Vikings team that set an NFL record for most points in a single season.
Randy Moss and Cris Carter always help in that regard, by the way. Anyway…
Billick was just shy of his 45th birthday when he was hired. Harbaugh was just a few months past his 45th birthday when he was hired. Otherwise, they weren’t alike at all.
Looking back, Billick was a successful coach and won a Super Bowl, and his successor has been a successful coach and won a Super Bowl. Harbaugh, of course, has lasted much longer than anyone might have guessed, including himself. Only Bill Belichick, Sean Payton and Mike Tomlin have been in charge of their teams for longer.
Besides that, Harbaugh has proved to be something of a pioneer in NFL coaching. His success has made it ok for owners and general managers to hire someone as an NFL head coach with an amount and type of experience that otherwise wouldn’t seem to qualify.
There isn’t really a “type” anymore, though I suppose you could argue that the “very young offensive guru” is becoming one. Being an offensive coordinator for a team for a while isn’t necessarily considered better preparation than being a position coach for a shorter time.
Steve Bisciotti made his fortune in staffing. I don’t know if that experience had anything to with hiring Harbaugh, who wasn’t his first choice anyway, but it sure seems like other owners have followed his lead as we head toward 2020.
Here’s where we are with John Harbaugh, then…
This is his 12th season — again, behind only Bill Belichick (20th season), Sean Payton (14th season) and Mike Tomlin (13th season) among current NFL head coaches.
In January, he signed a four-year extension with the team, keeping him under contract in Baltimore through the 2022 season. He’ll be 60 years old then, whether he’s still the team’s head coach or not. As for this season, and recent ones, well…Harbaugh saved himself.
Throw away 2015, as I think the front office did. The entire team got hurt, and Jimmy Clausen started at quarterback twice.
Harbaugh’s teams in 2016 and 2017 were simply mediocre. The specifics of each season, and how each still had playoff possibilities in the final weeks, don’t even matter now. The Ravens just weren’t a team that had anyone excited, possibly even their coach.
And then the 2018 team was 4-5, a guy who wasn’t really ready to be an NFL starting quarterback was out on the field, and who knew what was going to happen?
John Harbaugh knew, I think. At the very least, he probably had a lot of confidence about it. As I’ve written in this space before, the preparation his team showed in playing Lamar Jackson’s way was absolutely coaching to be commended.
And then the Ravens went on the road, outplayed the Chargers and their Hall of Fame quarterback, and won an important game against a good team for the first time since the 2014 playoffs in Pittsburgh.
Harbaugh smiled big-time at the end of that one in Carson, didn’t he? Certainly nothing had been clinched, and we didn’t know that his team would have a much poorer performance against the same Chargers two weeks later. But he knew that his team had done something great when it seemed like they were at a point of no return. No matter how much the head coach has to do with that, he or she is going to get a lot of credit for it.
And now he’s got a new contract, and the new quarterback is official, and nobody has any idea what’s going to happen. That’s life in the NFL, and Harbaugh is now a grizzled veteran.
Let’s talk about the future of John Harbaugh and Lamar Jackson, then, since it’s a combination that’s been pretty good so far.
We’re talking eight games, though. Half a season. Not a lot to go on yet, so I’m not sure it’s time to make any bold predictions besides a guess at the record for this season and only this season. The way John Harbaugh talks about the whole thing, however, it seems like he’s pretty excited about it.
Sure, he’s a football coach from a football family. He gets excited about watching film in March and leading non-contact (we hope, since he’s been fined for doing otherwise) drills in June minicamps and figuring out how to respond to losses when they happen during the regular season. He even pretends to be excited for press conferences.
This seems different. He’s got a guy who allows his team to play a way that could be different than any other recent season in the NFL. I have no doubt he feels energized by it, and the uncertainty about how it might work over 16 games is actually pumping him up more than making him queasy.
That could change quickly, I suppose, but let’s hope it continues…
The best thing about John Harbaugh, circling back to 2008 actually, is that he’s never been beholden to anything. Even when he wanted to be beholden to his coaching friends, he sometimes let them go. He took immediately to his role as a manager, something Bisciotti saw in his interview maybe. Like any manager, he hasn’t been perfect, but he’s never forgotten that he was trying to lead a team to success, game by game. It’s never been anything more than that.
Helping lead a team to success in new ways, ones that probably weren’t even on your radar a couple years ago, can be pretty exciting for a coach. Harbaugh is fortunate that his boss has given him the opportunity to see if the plan can work.
From afar, he certainly is deserving of that opportunity. There’s a chance it might fail, but it’ll be fun to see how John Harbaugh deals with whatever happens in 2019 and beyond.
Someone asked me that question on Saturday and I found it fascinating.
"You can pick one coach. From any sport. Who are you taking?" he asked.
Fascinating question, right?
I don't have much recollection of coaching prior to the 1970's, so the only people I'm considering are coaches from my era. In other words, 1970-2019. I first went through the major sports and just rattled off the first names that came to my mind. That, in and of itself, was an interesting exercise.
I quickly rattled off four baseball names, then hit a wall. "Torre, LaRussa, Lasorda, Cox." I know there are others who probably deserve to be mentioned with those four. But those were the first four names that came to mind in the baseball manager category.
Football: "Belichick, Saban, Parcells." I stopped at three and tried to quickly come up with a fourth and couldn't. I guess I should have thought about Vince Lombardi, but I just don't have any personal knowledge of him, other than the stats I read.
And so it went.
I went through basketball and hockey. There were eight basketball coaches that came to mind, a mixture of professional and college, obviously. I know hockey fairly well. So I have the two best NHL coaches in my lifetime on the list just for kicks.
Soccer? Bruce Arena had a great run. Whether he was a great coach or not is a debate for another day.
I parceled back through baseball and football and tried to add names to my list. I was successful with football. Chuck Noll was really good, the history books say. So was Bill Walsh. I wound up with seven football coaches, actually.
I also added another baseball manager. That gave me five.
So my list started like this.
The lucky 23, you could say.
And, obviously, the one soccer guy and the two hockey coaches are just tokens, essentially. They're gone in the first cut.
That leaves me with 20.
Of those 20, which one would I choose, if I could, for my mythical team?
Who are you going with?
I'll give you my pick tomorrow.
For now, give it some thought and hire "your" coach in the comments section below.
Unless he comes alive next week at the TOUR Championship in Atlanta, Bryson DeChambeau is potentially facing an interesting position.
He's going to need a "captain's pick" in order to make the U.S. Presidents Cup team in December.
Now, there's still time for DeChambeau to wiggle his way back into the top 8 so he can secure one of those coveted automatic spots on the American side. He could start by having a big day today in the final round of the BMW Championship and some poor play by the likes of Tony Finau, Patrick Cantlay and Gary Woodland.
But no matter what happens today, it's going to come down to East Lake and next week's season finale. DeChambeau either has to man up and play well or he's going to need some help from captain Woods in order to make the team.
And, well, Tiger might be under the gun from within his own locker room after a contentious 10 days involving DeChambeau and his often-times slow pace of play.
Several American players have commented on slow play in recent weeks, with Brooks Koepka specifically slipping DeChambeau into the crosshairs with a rash of criticism for his slow play.
Woods recently said he'll leave a lot of the "extra stuff" to the eight players and his vice captains, apparently meaning he's going to let those guys in on the decision making process about captain's picks, of which Tiger might be one.
Seems weird, in some ways, but it's the new sports management style. Let everyone have an opinion, make them feel part of it, and give everyone ownership in the ultimate decision.
But no matter what Woods decides to do with the captain's picks, there's a high chance at this point that DeChambeau will require one to make the team.
"OK, guys, let's talk about the picks for a minute. The first name is Bryson. Brooks, let's start with you...what do you think?"
That seems like a strange way to go about it, and particularly threatening to someone like DeChambeau, who hasn't won many friends over the summer. But let's also understand how the locker room dynamic in sports really works. If there's a man (or woman) in the locker room that the team as a whole doesn't like, it's going to be difficult for he/she to play to their highest level. There are countless examples of that over time, obviously.
DeChambeau might be one of those guys. If 5 or 6 of the automatic eight don't care for him, don't want to play with him, and don't really "approve" of him, how, if you're Woods, do you go ahead and select him anyway?
Now, DeChambeau can get himself out of that predicament by playing really well today and then having a Top 5 event next week in the final event of the season. That would pretty much lock up a spot, unless something really wacky happens where Finau wins today in Chicago and Cantlay wins next week's TOUR Championship.
But if DeChambeau doesn't snag one of those eight spots, Tiger and the rest of the team have an interesting decision on their hands.
Josh Gordon must have been a cat in his previous life and somehow still has a life or two left over.
What other explanation can you give for the NFL (again) reinstating him yesterday?
Is this is 3rd or 4th chance to stay in the league now?
I'm all for giving folks a second chance. I believe its one of our greatest human virtues. But I'm also a believer in that same person, you know, the one who was kicked out, finally getting his or her act together and straightening themselves out.
Gordan seemingly can't do that. At some point, the NFL has to wash their hands of him, right?
The Josh Gordon story really gets interesting when juxtaposed against the backdrop of Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick was black balled from the league for kneeling during the national anthem. Gordon has done far worse than that -- in my opinion -- and yet he's still in the NFL and still playing.
And I'm no Kaepernick sympathizer, as anyone knows who reads this website. I wouldn't employ someone in my business who refuses to stand when the national anthem is played. But there's no way one can ignore Gordon being in the league while Kaepernick is out of it.
Oh, and don't look now, but if Gordon can stay healthy and doesn't get suspended again (slim chance of that, I'd guess), the Patriots are immediately a better team. As if TB12 needed any more help.
Only three players got hits for the Orioles last night at Fenway Park. That's right...three.
Jonathan Villar had two of them. As did Chance Sisco. And Trey Mancini chipped in with one. That's five hits. That's all the O's had in a 9-1 loss to the Red Sox.
One quick glance at the box score shows something interesting. Here are the batting averages of the hitters 4 through 9 last night in the Baltimore lineup. .245, .224, .138, .244, .176, and .226.
I know what you're thinking. Chris Davis is hitting .138 now?
No, no, no. That's D.J. Stewart hitting a buck thirty eight. Davis is at .176.
Anyway, how on earth are you beating any team with six players in your lineup hitting .245 or less?
I'll keep saying this until the season ends, I guess, and the O's finish up with their 54 or 55 wins. I have no idea how these guys have won 39 games thus far. It's a borderline miracle, really.
And I'm not saying that to trumpet the case for Brandon Hyde being manager of the year or anything like that.
I'm simply saying this collection of cast offs and misfits has zero business winning 39 games, let alone the 55 they'll probably wind up winning by the end of September.
And if you think the hitting is weak, the pitching is far worse. Andrew Cashner was decent-to-good in his three and a half month stint this year and John Means has been decent as well. Other than that, it's been awful.
I don't know how they've won 39. Yet, funny enough, they're only the 2nd worst team in baseball. The Tigers are 37-82.
Unless he pulls through with two mid 60's rounds, it would appear the season of Tiger Woods is about to come to a close at Medinah CC, the site of his 1999 PGA Championship victory.
Woods shot another pedestrian 1-under par round of 71 on Friday in the BMW Championship, leaving him at -2 for the tournament and ten shots behind leader Hideki Matsuyama.
While it's not exactly known where Tiger needs to finish because other players are vying for points as well, it's safe to say he needs to finish Top 15 this week in order to secure one of the spots in next week's TOUR Championship at East Lake in Atlanta.
If Woods continues to play poorly and finishes outside of the Top 15, his season ends.
Historians will no doubt claim his 2019 campaign was "great" based on that one victory back in April at a place called Augusta National. And while it might very well wind up being the AP's "Moment of the Year" or something like that, it's hard to ignore -- at least for me, anyway -- how poorly Woods played throughout the year, Masters win notwithstanding.
If Tiger finishes in 9th place or higher, he will have played the entire season and not finished a stroke play event better than T9...other than that triumph at Augusta National. He did make it to the quarterfinals of the Match Play, which got him a T5, but in terms of stroke play golf, the best finish for Woods this season -- other than the Masters -- was a T9 at The Memorial.
Of all the stats you can pull on Woods and his 2018-2019 season (which is really just 2019), that's the one that tells you the most about his mostly-inept play. He has a win, one top 10, and nothing else. For any golfer on TOUR, a win makes it a great season. But for that same golfer, only one top 10 is terrible. And I realize Woods only played in 11 events, but still.
In the meantime, Matsuyama is a guy still looking for a significant triumph in his career. He does have two WGC titles to his credit, but those are mostly money grabs for exempt players and they're largely played on benign courses. This week's FedEx Cup event at Medinah is a challenge for the best players in the world and Matsuyama is leading (-12) at the halfway point.
Most people assumed he'd have a major or three by now, but the 27 year old Japanese player has essentially been a great player who doesn't win much, with just five TOUR wins in total, including three in 2017. To say he's been a disappointment would be more than fair.
Unlike Woods, who is the greatest closer of any golfer of the last 25 years, Matsuyama has never been a deal-sealer in his career. He's squandered a lot of 36 holes leads, and plenty of 54 leads, too, and hasn't been able to put together those four great rounds in a row that a championship win requires.
It takes a special kind of talent to win on the TOUR and a more supreme level of talent to close the deal when it's out in front of you with 12 holes to go, 6 holes to go, and so on.
Tiger needs a Top 15 this week.
Matsuyama needs a win.
My guess is neither of them gets what they need.
from the desk of
BRIEN JACKSON's work at #DMD promises to provide some of Baltimore's best sports insight and commentary, brought to you by SECU, the official credit-union of Drew's Morning Dish. Brien has done sports-media work with ESPN, CBS, and NPR. His contributions to #DMD will focus on the Orioles, the Ravens, and national sports stories.
Brien's pre-season NFL predictions continue below. See Friday's #DMD for his AFC predictions.
NFC North: 1. Chicago 2. Green Bay* 3. Minnesota 4. Detroit
This was one of the tougher divisions to pick because I don't think there's a really bad team here. I'm totally guessing on Gren Bay-Minnesota forever, so I'll go one better and predict that they finish with the exact same record with Green Bay grabbing the sixth seed on a tiebreaker.
Chicago's defense was great last year and shows no signs of falling back, while I think Mitch Trubisky is going to take a big step forward in his own right. I'll pencil Chicago in to the number one overall seed in the NFC, in fact. I don't think Detroit is going to be a particularly good team, but I don't think they're awful either. They'll have the best record of any 4th place team in the league.
NFC East: 1. Philadelphia 2. Dallas 3. Washington 4. New York Giants
Gotta be the most annoying division in football, right? Gosh, I just can't wait to watch a god-awful primetie game between the Redskins and Giants! Anyway Philadelphia has the best all around team, the best coach, and I'll say Carson Wentz stays healthy.
Dallas will work out the Ezekiel Elliot situation sooner or later but the whole thing takes its toll, Dak Prescott isn't that good and they get the 2nd spot here almost by default. Neither of the other two teams are good, but the Giants are just in an awful place as an organization right now, with no one with any idea what the hell they're doing in a decision making spot. I'm considering the possibility that Eli Manning retires midseason.
NFC South: 1. New Orleans 2. Atlanta* 3. Carolina 4. Tampa Bay
New Orleans isn't going to look as good as they did last year, but there's still a lot of weapons there and they get the 2nd seed and a bye. Atlanta seems to come and go on an almost year to year basis, so I'll say this is an "on" year for them, Matt Ryan and Julip Jones have big years, and they end up with the 5 seed after finishing just a game behind the Saints. Carolina is good, but not that good. Tampa Bay isnt going anywhere with Jameis Winston at quarterback.
NFC West: 1. Los Angeles Rams 2. San Francisco 3. Seattle 4. Arizona
Here's one thing I am absolutely sure of: Everyone who played in the Super Bowl for Los Angeles last year has spent every single day since then thinking about how they should have won that game. They're remebering every mistake, every bad coaching decision, every strategic error made, every single way that they could have made the play that they didn't that would have turned that game. None of them think that the Patriots were that good of a team, certainly not better than they were. It's eating at them, and at quarterback Jared Goff in particular. I think there's going to be a big Superbowl hangover here, made worse by the amount of cap space and resource they pushed into making it all the way last season.
But I also dont think anyone else in this division can overtake them, and they'll earn the 4th seed in the NFC. San Francisco takes the second spot at 9-7, though I know I'm being way too optimistic about their team. Seattle has proven that they didn't have any particular draft magic, and have made nothing but bad decisions since calling that infamous inside slant on the goal line.
Russell Wilson is good, but he can't carry this team with that cap number. Bold prediction: Pete Carroll is a Black Monday firing this year after the Seahawks go 7-9. I think Kyler Murray is going to be good, but Kliff Kingsbury is going to be a disaster as a head coach and the Cardinals will only avoid the number one pick for a second straight year because of Oakland.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Kyler Murray
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Nick Bosa
Offensive Player of the Year: Matt Ryan
Defensive Player of the Year: Earl Thomas
Coach of the Year: Anthony Lynn
MVP: Phillip Rivers
Wild Card Week:
Indianapolis d. Kansas City
New England d. Cleveland
Atlanta d. Los Angeles
Philadelphia d. Green Bay
Mostly chalk here, especially considering that Atlanta will have a better record than the Rams. I'll spice things up by predicting that Cleveland gets really close to an upset before Brady leads yet another comeback for the victory. Meanwhile Indy blasts the Chiefs and, in a surprise move, Andy Reid is fired the week after the game.
New England d. Baltimore
San Diego d. Indianpolis
Philadelphia d. New Orleans
Chicago d. Atlanta
The top seeds win handily at home, while Caron Wentz has a true coming out party by going on the road and outdueling Drew Brees in the 4th quarter. Meanwhile, in Baltimore, Bill Belichick frustrates the Ravens with a completely different defensive look than what he showed in the teams' regular season meeting, which the Ravens will win. It's ugly for the offense in the first half, and the halftime adjustments aren't enough to bring them back.
Chargers d. New England
Chicago d. Philadelphia
Home field makes all the difference. The Bears' defense suffocates the Eagles and Chicago's offense runs away with it in a game that looks a lot like the Ravens' 2013 AFCCG win in New England. Home field really makes the difference for the Chargers, as being away from Foxborough gives them the upper hand as Philip Rivers leads a 4th quarter comeback and a defensive stand seals the deal.
Super Bowl 54:
Chargers d. Chicago
What did I say: I think it's the Chargers year. For the second straight year we get a defensive struggle, but a more entertaining one than last year's game. Rivers throws a TD to break a 16-16 tie and then a field goal puts them up by the winning score of 26-16.
Take it to Vegas.
Dak Prescott wants $40 million.
So do I.
The difference, of course, is I'm not really in position to demand it. He isn't either, really, but he does play football and he does play quarterback and, somehow, he now believes he should be paid $40 million annually.
Oh, yeah, he's never won anything in his life, football wise.
But that doesn't stop Prescott from looking to tear up the final year of his 4-year rookie deal and get $40 million from the Cowboys in the meantime.
The good news for the Cowboys? They shouldn't have any trouble reminding Prescott he isn't worth $40 million, no matter how much Matt Ryan or Andrew Luck get paid. Those two are legit quarterbacks, even though they both have as many Super Bowl rings as Prescott.
The bad news? Running back Ezekiel Elliott also wants the last two years of his rookie deal torn up. He's not in camp yet, instead telling the Cowboys his starting point will be Todd Gurley's $60 million/$45 million guaranteed contract.
These two guys crack me up.
Prescott...basically a half-decent quarterback, nothing more.
Elliott...a premier running back who, up to now, hasn't been able to turn the Cowboys into a winner.
But the bigger issue here isn't really the new deals for both players. It's about rookie deals that are no longer considered rookie deals...and the impact this stunt could have around the league if the Cowboys acquiesce and give into these two goofs.
Both players agreed on rookie contracts. And they should fulfill them. End of story.
But the Cowboys have a way of marching to the beat of their own drummer. And it wouldn't be out of the question for Jerry Jones to give in to both players because, well, we all know, "Jerry wants to win more than anyone."
So far, neither of those guys have helped Dallas win anything.
Now, if Dallas wants to step outside of their obligation and give those two players "new" money, they can go right ahead. I can think of better ways to spread the wealth on the salary cap in "Big D", but I don't run the team.
Either way, new contracts or not, those two guys sitting out like they are shows a character flaw. It's football season now. The other 51 plyaers on the team deserve better than a couple of high profile guys showboating for a new contract when the one they signed previously is still intact.
Here's my call: Dallas will never win anything with those two guys at the helm of their offense.
from the desk of
BRIEN JACKSON's work at #DMD promises to provide some of Baltimore's best sports insight and commentary, brought to you by SECU, the official credit-union of Drew's Morning Dish. Brien has done sports-media work with ESPN, CBS, and NPR. His contributions to #DMD will focus on the Orioles, the Ravens, and national sports stories.
The Ravens played their second preseason game last night, and this column has nothing to do with that.
I'm writing it before the game even starts, in fact, because preseason games don't mean anything. At all. Trying to "learn things" from them is a mug's game. It's how you end up thinking that schlubs like Marlon Brown are actually good because they had some good moments/games against another team's schlubs.
Enjoy the games for what they're worth, but they tell you nothing about whats going to happen or who's going to be productive once the games actually count.
But this seems like as good a time as any to put my predictions for the coming season on paper, which is also a mug's game but also more fun than watching a preseason game. So with that said, here's how the season will play out:
AFC North: 1. Baltimore 2. Cleveland* 3. Pittsburgh 4. Cincinnati
The Browns hype is for real, at least provided that everyone stays healthy. Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Oliver Vernon, Myles Garrett, and Denzel Ward make up an insanely talented core and fill up the premium positions on the field as well. As long as they don't have any major injuries they're going to win more games than they lose this year and, I think, make the playoffs.
But while the Ravens trail the in terms of having star players at premium positions, they're a much deeper team and, in particular, Cleveland has the potential to have a really bad offensive line.
I think Lamar Jackson is going to surprise some people with his throwing ability this year, Mark Andrews is going to emerge as one of the best tight ends in the NFL, but mostly the Ravens are going to find a lot of ways to run the ball and hit big plays with explosive players, and I'm not only betting on them to win the division, but secure a first round bye with the 2nd seed.
The Steelers still have talent, but they're going to miss Antonio Brown, Ben Roethlisberger can be great or absolutely awful, and at some point you just can't keep trudging along through all of that drama. They're not going to be terrible, but they're not going to win as many games as the Ravens and the Browns
The Bengals, on the other hand, will be pretty bad, and are the only team that are total non-contenders in this division.
AFC East: 1. New England 2. New York Jets 3. Miami 4. Buffalo
No one in this division matters but the Patriots. They're the only team that's going to finish above .500, let alone make the playoffs. I do think they're going to suffer a bit though with Gronk gone and Brady aging. I'll put them in the 4th seed going into the playoffs, in fact, but they're not going to have any trouble winning their division.
AFC South: 1. Indianapolis 2. Houston 3. Jacksonville 4. Tennessee
Indianapolis finished last season hot, had a tremendous offensive line, and as long as Andrew Luck is healthy I think they'll win the division this year.
Houston has great high end talent, but the depth isn't there and Bill O'Brien just isn't anything special as a coach. Jacksonville will be better with Nick Foles, but not that much better. The defense isn't recapturing what they did 2 years ago.
Tennessee is going to be brutal offensively, and after this year they'll move on from Marcus Mariota.
AFC West: 1. Los Angeles Chargers 2. Kansas City* 3. Denver 4. Oakland
I know people have been saying this for at least the last 10 years, and I absolutely know that I shouldn't fall for it, but I think this is the Chargers' year. They were a really good team last year and really only laid an egg against New England in the playoffs and against the Ravens in December.
This year I think they get over the hump and not only win the division, but claim the number one seed. Kansas City is going to take a step back and have a very bad defense, but Pat Mahomes is enough to keep them in second place in this division and snatch them the 6th seed in the AFC.
Oakland is going to be a total dumpster fire by the time Week 8 rolls around, and by the end of the season we'll all be talking about Jon Gruden's contract as one of the all-time worst one in sports history.
I'll bet that Joe Flacco starts the whole season in Denver, but only because John Elway is terrible at evaluating quarterbacks not named Payton Manning and Drew Lock is no exception.
The Broncos will finish 7-9 and Flacco will be one the worst rated starters in the league again, while the comment section here is still flooded every Monday with people who want to explain who other than Flacco is responsible for Denver's loss and expound about how the Broncos just won't give him the All Pro's at every position that everyone knows any quarterback needs to succeed in the NFL.
Tomorrow: Brien looks at the NFC for 2019 and makes his post-season predictions.