Friday
May 24
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#1733



by the numbers, 0 to 25


25 -- Number of home runs Trey Mancini will hit this season, which will be one more than his previous high of 24, in both '17 and '18.

24 -- Number of wins the Orioles will have by the end of June. Yikes...

23 -- Number of catches Seth Roberts will have for the Ravens in 2019. Yeah, I thought he'd be better than that as well.

22 -- Number of wins Domingo German will finish with this season for the Yankees. His 22-6 record and 2.29 ERA should get him the Cy Young award.

21 -- Number of games it will take Golden State to win another NBA title this season. They played six against the Clippers, six against the Rockets, four against the Trailblazers and they'll play five against the Raptors or Bucks. Getting kind of boring.

20 -- Number of touchdown passes Lamar Jackson will throw in 2019.

Does Tiger have two more major victores in him?

19 -- Number of home runs Renato Nunez will hit for the Orioles this season.

18 -- Number of times Jim Hunter will blame the umpires for "squeezing Oriole pitchers" during this upcoming 3-game series with the Rockies.

17 -- Number of final career major titles for Tiger Woods; he'll win one more Masters and one more British Open.

16 -- Number of home runs Gleyber Torres will have against the Orioles this season. He currently has 10. The two teams play one another nine more times.

15 -- Number of wins for the Patriots in 2019 en route to another Super Bowl title (12 regular season, 3 post-season).

14 -- Number under-par for Rickie Fowler next week when he wins The Memorial tournament.

13 -- Number of runs the Orioles will score in Colorado this weekend as they get swept by the Rockies.

12 -- Number of games won by the Browns in the 2019 NFL season, including playoffs. Yep, it won't be enough.

11 -- Number of home runs hit by Chris Davis by this season's All-Star break. He has 5 right now.

10 -- Number of regular season wins for the Ravens in 2019.

9 -- Number of wins for Andrew Cashner at the trade deadline, when the Orioles send him to the Cubs for a low-level prospect.

8 -- Number of career major wins for Brooks Koepka; his final totals (3 U.S. Opens, 3 PGA's, 1 Masters, 1 British)

7 -- Number of wins for the Steelers in 2019. Ahhhhh, won't that be glorious?

6 -- Number of final career major victories for Rory McIlroy (3 British, 2 PGA, 1 U.S. Open)

5 -- Number of home runs the Rockies will hit in one of the three games in Colorado this weekend.

4 -- Number of wins for the Bengals in 2019. This does not include pre-season.

3 -- Number of final career major wins for Dustin Johnson (1 U.S. Open, 1 Masters, 1 PGA).

2 -- Number of games the Orioles will win in next week's 3-game series with the Tigers in Baltimore. I'm feeling it...

1 -- Number of final career Super Bowl titles for Joe Flacco AND Lamar Jackson. I didn't say Jackson's would come as a starter, though.

0 -- Number of people who have ever been "banned" from commenting here at this website. Don't let some moron tell you otherwise. No one has ever been banned from commenting here. Anyone and everyone can comment 24/7.

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from the desk of
brien jackson

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



friday baseball thoughts


The hot topic in Baltimore amongst some baseball writers these days is advocating for the Orioles giving Trey Mancini a contract extension. I guess I get it, there's not a lot of guys on this team to be optimistic about in the long term, and Mancini has been their best hitter by a wide margin this season.

Still, that's not a good idea. Put aside any questions about whether Mancini's current stat line is reflective of his real capability or just residual from a very good start to the year; he's still a 27 year old DH who the team already has under control for three more years. If he were to be extended, the new contract wouldn't kick in until he was already 30.

Personally, given the Orioles current organizational position I would say they should be aggressively shopping him at the deadline if he's still hitting .300, but even if they don't want to go that route going so far as to commit more years to a player with Mancini's skill set at his age this far ahead of free agency would be a poor decision.

On a related note, Ryan Mountcastle is hitting .321/.348/.530 with 20 extra base hits (7 home runs) in Norfolk.

My favorite division race at the moment is the one shaping up in the American League Central. There's nothing compelling about the Twins and Indians per se, but the divergent paths they took over the offseason. The Indians, riding a streak of division titles and looking ripe for another one, did absolutely nothing to make themselves better. In fact, the only thing they did do was frantically try to trade away Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer, while ownership was openly telling fans they wouldn't even be trying to sign Francisco Lindor to a long term contract.

Adam Jones wasn't good enough for the Orioles in 2019, but he's been plenty good enough thus far with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Twins, on the other hand, aggressively sought out new additions, highlighted by signing Nelson Cruz, Martin Perez, and Jonathan Schoop while claiming C.J. Cronn off of waivers from Tampa Bay. And at the moment, all of those players are key contributors in Minnesota, who currently boast the best winning percentage in baseball and a 7 game lead over the Indians. As for Cleveland, as recently as three weeks ago they were averaging fewer ticket sales per game than the Orioles.

On a related note, Adam Jones is hitting .265/.323/.476 in Arizona. The Indians were widely seen as a perfect fit for Jones, due to their glaring lack of quality outfielders, but the Indians reportedly never expressed any interest in a veteran who could have been had a one year deal. Jones' wRC+ of 110 is better than any outfielder on the Indians roster, and only one Indian outfielder has a wRC+ of 100 or better (league average).

From the can't make it up file: Robinson Cano spent several days getting roasted by fans for not running out ground balls. He ended up getting benched and called out by his manager for it as well. So (because this is the Mets now) he gets back into the lineup, runs harder than usual on a ground ball....and has to leave the game with quad tightness. He's now on the IL with the injury. Seriously guys, just run hard enough to beat out errors and high-effort defensive plays. Anything more than that just isn't worth the added injury risk unless you've got serious speed in your game.

And....on a related note, I caught an interesting bit on Twitter the other morning. Some guy named Andy Slater, who as best I can tell is a sports talk radio host in Miami, posted a video and complained about the effort on a groundball from Starlin Castro. I was admittedly perplexed, because it sure looked like Castro was running pretty normally in the video, and a quick glance at the replies confirmed that I wasn't the only one who didn't see what Slater saw. Keith Law helpfully chimed in with some real data, timing Castro's run in the 4.30-4.4 second range, which he claimed was within his normal time running to first base going all the way back to the minors.

So Stark responded with something to the effect of "guess I was wrong." Haha, just kidding, he got whiny and ended up falling back on the "just my opinion" hill. Which of course was neither here nor there: Once you can time someone's running speed AND catalog that info for the sake of comparison you're out of the realm of opinion entirely. Castro might not be the fastest guy, but that's different than not giving effort on a grounder, which is what Slater claimed.

I've long felt that a big part of the reason a disproportionate number of legacy publication columnists, talking heads, and especially talk radio personalities get so salty about "analytics" is precisely because the ability to measure and catalog information like this drastically impedes their ability to construct BS narratives and controversies in just this fashion. I guess we'll consider this further evidence for the point.

Mike Trout is off to a slow start this season, hitting just .289/.457/.577 with a 174 wRC+ that's just barely above his career average. He's slowed his climb up the WAR leaderboard, and now he probably won't even manage to surpass Pudge Rodriguez and crack the top 60 all-time list until next year.

The list of guys he's probably going to pass only includes names like Jim Thome, Larry Walker, Johnny Mize, Barry Larkin, Craig Biggio, Carlton Fisk, Lou Whittaker, Paul Molitor, Edgar Martinez, Ozzie Smith, Willie McCovey, Robin Yount, Tim Raines, Manny Ramirez, Mark McGwire, Greg Nettles, Harmon Killebrew, and Tony Gwynn And that will be after 8 full years. How disappointing!

In all seriousness, I don't know what's more amazing: How good Trout is at baseball or how little appreciation there continues to be for the level of talent we have the chance to watch on a night in night out basis. He's still playing on a pace that's only ever been matched by guys like Ruth, Williams, Mays, and Mantle, but you can go days without him getting any serious national media attention, even from MLB Network or other MLB owned media.

As Mychal Givens currently boasts a 4.71 ERA and a career worst home run rate, I remain perplexed that a team that was fully committing themselves to a rebuild last year nonetheless apparently refused to seriously considering trading him last year. Then again, I remain even more perplexed that the organization left Dan Duquette in place to make decisions like that only to replace him with Mike Elias after most of the big decisions on trading away their most valuable assets had already been made.

And finally, while everyone continues to obsess over Orioles attendance numbers and baseball as a whole is on pace for another year of decline in total attendance, you know who's not having attendance problems? The Phillies. At the moment they're averaging 35,946 fans per game, an increase f 9,302 from 2018. If we assume that they average ticket price is $20, that comes to an increase in revenue of nearly $15.1 million. That's more than what they're paying for key new acquisitions Jean Segura and J.T. Realmuto combined.

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#dmd comments


The truth     May 24
Poor Monk! Haha, I've seen him on LF's Twitter feed, he's alive if not well.

But I can tell you there are a fair number of commenters who are Monk sympathizers, people who share his boldness and his stir the pot-ness. To think all these comments come from one man helps SOD cope. It's like their greatest fear is that there are others who dare to criticize! They are good for a chuckle nearly every day, so thanks for staying strong SOD

Joe p     May 24
Monk died of a broken heart. The SOD sent it's best wordsmith...and poor Monk passed away....and he was banned. Banned by being shunned by the DMD community.

George     May 24
C'mon, Herm -- Life's too short.

Actually, I was trying to gull the comment-reading public into believing I was in Brien's class as a statistician.

HERMAN     May 24
George,

You do yourself a serious disfavor linking your own intellect to Brien Jackson.

Sad.

I'd admired your accomplishments and intellect until then.

He is a completely unimpressive self absorbed millennial. Absent any gravitas. Please refrain from linking to such an empty suit in the future.


Neil S.     May 24
I can honestly put all of this to rest because I actually KNOW the real Monk. He is not dead. And to even say that here is very morbid. Have some decency folks.

Rich     May 24
You guys are sad. Monk posts here almost every day.

DR     May 24
Only one way to settle it. Post Monk's obit. If you can't, you are lying.

Monk's friend     May 24
I knew him, went to college with him. He was 57 years old. Buried at Dulaney Valley. I was there.

George     May 24
@Herman – Probably only Brien Jackson and myself are smart enough to know about this statistic: WF/BM, which stands for Win Frequency per Blue Moon. To find somebody’s number, take the number of his wins and divide it by the number of blue moons since he came on Tour. If the number is above 1.00, that is good; if below, not good.

Take Rickie F. He has five wins and there have been five blue moons since he came on Tour. Thus his WF/BM is 1.00.

Tiger’s number is 8.10 – 81 wins and 10 BMs since he came out Probably an untouchable stat.

And since Rickie’s number is 1.00, it’s both fair and accurate to say that Rickie Fowler wins once in a blue moon.

And “Garden Party” is a nice jam, but a little sad:

“If you gotta play at garden parties, I wish you a lotta luck

But if memories were all I sang, I rather drive a truck.”

Rich     May 24
No, Monk didn't pass away. Nice try.

Friend of Monk     May 24
@Rich

Monk passed away 2 years ago, heart attack.

HERMAN     May 24
Awwww George, come on man. "Travelin' man", and "Garden Party" weren't bad.

And neither is a resume with 5 PGA tour wins including the 5TH major, "The Players".

Always like the lyrics to "Garden Party".

At least we agree on the "Asian sweatshops". I don't own a piece of Nike clothing, never owned a pair of their shoes. I know that may sound insane, but something about Knight made me uncomfortable from the start.

Rickie winning a major would be great for the game.

George     May 24
@Herman – Humbug, my friend. When I see the kiddies wearing bright orange Rickie hats, I see little consumers-in-training, learning early to waste their paychecks on grossly overpriced merch made in Asian sweatshops.

As for the other Ricky – Nelson – I remember when his agent changed his name from Ricky to Rick, this to better push his merch (45 rpm records) onto an adoring public.

I may be an old-fashioned mope, but in my view, a singer’s worth should be based on his voice and style, and a golfer’s standing should be determined by his record.

Rich     May 24
Monk was just here at DMD on May 22. "Athletes In Action" is Monk. I'd venture to say he posts here 5-6 days a week under various aliases. Not sure why he's afraid to post as Monk.

HERMAN     May 24
Now George, you are well aware that even the Messiah can win the Masters, then trunk slam the PGA, and this at a course he dominated at one time to win a major.

One week it all feels great, the next you can't hit the target and the swing feels completely wrong.

Rickie's day will come. I'm hoping that Speith has found some answers in his native Texas. His emergence was good for the game, it'd be nice to see him and Justin Thomas begin to dominate again.

George, you'd have to admit, and this will date us both, that Rickie has the same charisma as a Ricky before him, Ricky Nelson, whose big bright smile and good looks made people gravitate toward them.

When the "kiddies" line the ropes in bright orange and trucker hats, it's good for the game.

George     May 24
George: Drew, You picked somebody named Rickie Fowler to win the Memorial. Is that the same Rickie Fowler who’s T93 down in Texas right now?

Drew: George, Do you like apples?

BO     May 24
Brien suggesting that someone who makes $24 million should loaf is very Brien like.

Chris in Bel Air     May 24
Some bold predictions Drew. I’m not sure how anyone can be disappointed with Seth Roberts output this coming season. Anything they get from him is a plus. I’m not expecting much. I am more interested in the development of the younger WRs. Pats a winner again? Say it ain’t so. Browns will be a good team but will learn how you look on paper doesn’t always transform into wins. I don’t see them winning a playoff game.

Cash Is King     May 24
Brien's take on Cano is some of the best unintentional comedy that I have ever read. Here are the facts Brien left out: they were both double play balls and the second one, he never even left the batters box. And then when Cano does run hard...he gets hurt. Obviously giving a little effort 4 times per night is a lot to ask from a guy making 24 million per year. In Brien's mind, trying hard leads to injuries. Stand up doubles only...you might get hurt if you have to give a little effort.

Don’t mistake me for Einstein     May 24
wRC of + 100

E=MC(2)

A(2) + B(2) = C(2)

Pi = 3.14159265359

I(2) = -1

V - E + F = 2



I don’t know what any of these formulas mean. When I watch a baseball game I refuse to pull out my TI 30XA scientific calculator. If an advanced degree is required to be a fan of the modern game of baseball, I’M moving on to the PBA. Unless I need to understand spin rate and launch angle.

Brien Jackson     May 24
Saw this too late to add but, speaking of the Mets, they apparently have an insurance policy that pays out now that Yoenis Cespedes is having season ending surgery. But Jeff Wilpon has said that the franchise considers the entire salary part of payroll, including the portion they're effectively been reimbursed for. In other words, the Mets won't use that money in a trade despite being 4.5 games out of first and only 3 back of the WC in the loss column.



So anytime you feel yourself hating on the Angelos family, remember that at least it's not the Wilpons.

HERMAN     May 24
I tuned into the Raptors game last night, after all nothing else was on worth watching, and I've got to say I don't understand the appeal of the pro game at all. The game was a sloppy mess. Both teams were missing shots, playing isolation and sending in a one on four regularly, there were no real set plays, just a series of allowing the "big dog" to try to take his man one-on-one and, if he hit too much traffic, kick it out for a bricked three. It was truly awful to watch. The fourth quarter was abysmal. Milwaukee threw it up wildly, as if they hadn't designed a play all year.

How has this hot mess risen to be a world-wide phenomenon?

In the fourth quarter they may has well removed everyone from the court but Leonard and a defender. Of course he got 14 or so in the quarter, he took every shot.

The announcers are going nuts, dripping praise on the game, Leonard, and totally ignoring the absolute mess on display. At one point they were shooting a collective 30 percent. And not from good defense, from absolutely horrendous shot selection.

It was just terrible to watch and compounded by the announcing team heaping praise on the mess.

If these are two of the three best teams in the league I have no idea how people are excited to watch it.

Compared to playoff hockey it was like watching wrestling.

Tom J     May 24
Number 18 that is......

Tom J     May 24
Haha, I’ll respectfully take the “OVER” on that one.....

RJ     May 24
I too miss Monk. Sure he could go off the rails sometimes, but was usually good for a laugh. Some speculate he is still here, but I think those are knockoff Monk wanna bes. Some do a pretty good impression, others not so much. Fine line between snark and wit. I take our host's word that he was not banned per se, but guessing he may have had a few comments deleted and moved on.

But there is no question, the SOD has been a lasting offshoot of Monk's tenure. I really wonder, who out there think #Drew needs "rescuing" from a little criticism?? Anyone who listened to him on the radio knows that could not be further from the truth. Frankly, when these knuckleheads come out here attacking even veiled criticism, I think it is insulting to Drew, if not disrespectful. But I guess in a way, the SOD provides its own form of entertainment, kind of like any time I listen to Repeat Radio for my dose of #positivity!

JohnInEssex     May 24
THANKS Drew for literally making me LOL at #18.

And has everyone forgotten how horrible the Orioles were during the pre-Buck era? During that time, would turn on MASN, and 5 minutes couldn't pass without an Oriole doing something boneheaded. I would grumble, then tune into something else.

48 (and counting) - the number of consecutive days I have not even attempted to tune into MASN to watch the Orioles this season.

Delray Rick     May 24
File this under " can not believe it". The ORIOLES just trading with the METS for KEON BROXTON of the life-time average of .216 and 314 stike outs in 750 at-bats. The new GM said "we have had our eye on him". Also we paid 500Gs for this slugger.

unitastoberry     May 24
I can see the Pats going all the way once again too. Their division as usual is a joke. Unless Brady gets hurt.

I dont think the Stillers are as bad as 7 wins.

I had no idea who Domingo German was until you mentioned him because I have not watched the Orioles going on 2 seasons now. Where does NY they get these guys?

Josh     May 23
That is funny! Thank you, I never would’ve figured it out

Monks ghost     May 23
All of the insider stuff came from banned comment trouble maker Monk...who missed



SOD was coined by Monk for his haters, who would put Monk in his place. Sychophants of Drew. If "dear leader" was attacked, is attacked....trumpets blare and the SOD comes to his defense...even though Drew doesn't want it. Might be the funniest thing to come out of this section.



LF stands for the Little Fella or Little Fellow. The short in stature and education and manners and good sense and ethics. Former boss of Drew who once was a "dear friend" right up until he fired him even though Drew was paying his own salary.



I miss Monk

Josh     May 23
What exactly is SOD?

Some guy     May 23
SOD is nothing if not reliable and ever vigilant

Tom J     May 23
@Industry Expert.....No, they STINK....."Below average elite players" as you say???? Other than Cashner and Means, these pitchers couldn't get AA players out. 100 HR's already????? Ya, I'd say that is "below average".....



And just because other teams do it, it doesn't mean the Orioles still have to do the tiered pricing. It's a joke and the lack of attendance is showing how "funny" it really is.....



Stop being an apologist......

G-Man     May 23
The guy writes insightful, analytic columns about golf and you guys cry about it so much he stopped doing it. Then he writes something funny once and you can't handle that either. Stop your crying. Why don't you write a story and give it to him if you want something 'substantive' on the site tomorrow.

industry expert     May 23
Tiered pricing based on opponent, game day surcharge, all other non-customer friendly pricing policies, these are all industry standards nowadays. Even Bowie charges more on game days (although they don’t do “premium” pricing).

Before I get blasted, I agree these are STUPID ideas in an industry with lagging in person attendance, just saying blaming O’s and/or Angelos is so LF-esque.

Just like the “creative” writing in today’s feature story, blah, blah, blah. Same old rehashed criticisms. These players don’t “stink”. People like all of us posting out here, we stink, or stunk, it’s why we never got paid to play a sport.

What they are is below average elite players. And comparing what paid entertainers make vs what we all make at our jobs is nonsensical too.

But those howling at the moon criticisms is what drives talk radio, and this site blossomed out of that genre, so not surprising we’d get a chorus of hip hip hoorays. Me, I’d like to see more substantive blogs, but hey, can’t do that every single day I suppose. I’m just glad we get those with some frequency here at this site, as opposed to the site that is mostly #Positive criticisms these days


Robert     May 23
Nice allegory there Drew; the only addition I'd have made would be to have the boys show up at the ticket window an hour before game time and get slammed for the same day surcharge on top of their premium game upcharge racket. I'm not sure how the O's brass would go about it but almost every other non-mono/oligopoly enterprise lowers price when demand wanes. That move might work IF they were to give it a go. Maybe your story will go from your lips to their ears? It couldn't hurt.

CJ     May 23
#DMD gold today. One of the best things this year.

Geno     May 23
NO DOUBT THE VILLAR LINE "IT MUST BE TOUGH TO BE THE NEW GUY" WAS THE CAKE TOPPER OF THAT STORY. SO FUNNY!

Steve of Pimlico     May 23
In regards to the O's,if you bleed orange you are now "sleeping with the fishes

rafael     May 23
"Sorry man, looks like you just made a category error. If a player made it "as high as" AAA that means they played in AAA but never made the big leagues."



Moron!



You can't write and you can't read, either.

David Rosenfeld     May 23
So I HAVE heard about Gleyber Torres, and the fact that he's got 10 home runs just against the Orioles this year.

Which gives me another opportunity to remind everyone that the Yankees got Torres from the Cubs in 2016 by trading Aroldis Chapman. The Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years. What a story. Almost forgotten, 2 months later, the Yankees re-signed Chapman at 5 yrs., $86 million.

So, the Yankees had the insane prospect and, almost immediately, the dominant pitcher they traded to get him.

Jason M     May 23
Great writing by DR. Count me in as nostalgic for the 'Showalter years'. The team had chemistry.

Davey     May 23
The funny part was the Jonathan Villar story. "It's always tough on the new guy."



Ummmmmm, he's been in the big leagues for 7 years.

unitastoberry     May 23
RIP Oklahoma drills. Bud Wilkinson is turning over in his grave.

TimD in Timonium     May 23
Great story, DF. Let's start here - there are no "premium" games being played at OPACY this season. Enough with the up-charge.

Delray Rick     May 23
DREW.....Best article by you in awhile. Loved it cause ITS TRUE!!!!

Hal     May 23
I peed myself twice reading the baseball story. Thanks for a great read.

Brien Jackson     May 23
@Math



I do suspect it's wrong, because I'm working with Raphael's numbers which are not exactly believable on their face. For example, there are 750 players on active rosters right now (25x30) so obviously there haven't been fewer than 1400 total big Leaguers since 1965.



But yes, suffice it to say Raphael misunderstood what "as high as" meant.

Tom J     May 23
Pure gold today Drew, Schmedley Fencing........!!! Would you happen to have their number??? I need a new fence.......



maybe the O's should get rid of that upper deck. No need for it and it will help those outfielders catch some balls. Sounds like a win win.

HERMAN     May 23
baseball in Baltimore is dead, the Angelos family murdered it. Tuning into the current misery is an exercise in nostalgia, a longing to recreate the exuberant feeling of youth and the lifelong connection to the home town team, and game. No one in their right mind would watch this train wreck and enjoy it, seeing the beloved home town team a decimated mess. Best to ignore it altogether. Find a new hobby. I gave up on them the day they fired Davey Johnson and haven't missed them a day.


Thursday
May 23
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#1732



two different perspectives


Bill and Fred decided to take in last night's O's game at Camden Yards.

For background, both of them work for the same company. This week is the annual employee's conference in Baltimore. Bill has lived in Baltimore all his life and has been an Orioles fan forever.

Fred is from Utah. Last night was the fourth game he's ever seen in person.

"What do I owe you for the ticket?" Fred asked as he and Bill walked from the Sheraton to Oriole Park.

"Forty five dollars," Bill replied. "We have great seats."

"Wow, that's a lot," said Fred. "I thought it would be less than that."

"Well, this is a premium game," Bill explained. "Those tickets cost more than the other games."

Fred understood. "Oh, so these two teams are really good then?"

An all too familiar site at Oriole Park this week...

"Actually, no," Bill said. "The Yankees have a good team, the Orioles are in last place."

"Why is it a 'premium game' then?" Fred asked.

"It's kind of a long story," said Bill. "But the Yankees are a popular draw. Lots of New York fans come to the games. So they call it a premium game and charge more money for the tickets."

"Sounds kind of scandalous to me," Fred said as he handed Bill two twenty dollar bills and a five.

In the second inning, the Yankees hit two home runs to quickly jump out to a 4-0 lead.

"How come the Orioles pitcher keeps throwing the ball right over the plate like that for them to hit?" Fred asked.

"Well, the guy who started for the Orioles isn't very good," reasoned Bill.

"I can see that. Well how come he's on their team, then?" Fred wanted to know.

"The Orioles are rebuilding this season, so a lot of players you'll see tonight are just cast-offs from other teams. They wouldn't be in the majors if they weren't playing for the Orioles tonight," said Bill.

"That's interesting. Must be pretty good work," said Fred. "I'd love to stink at what I do and still have a job."

In the third inning, left fielder Joey Rickard had difficulty catching a fly ball, finally circling under it at the last minute and snagging it.

"I wonder what bothered him?" Fred wondered. "There's no wind tonight. Why was he having trouble catching it?"

"Well, when he was in the minor leagues a lot of the ballparks didn't have an upper deck. So sometimes it takes guys a little while to adjust to that nuance of the major league parks," Bill explained.

Fred nodded in agreement. "So this is his first year, huh? Must be really nervous."

"No, this is his fourth year in the big leagues, actually," said Bill.

"Oh. I didn't realize the upper deck was that much of a distraction," Fred delcared.

Later, the Yankees built a 6-1 lead on a Gary Sanchez home run. The crowd roared in delight.

"Are these all Baltimore people who like the Yankees?" Fred asked.

"No, not really. They're New York people for the most part who are Yankees fans and come down for a day or two to watch the games," Bill explained. "It's much more affordable for them to watch a game here than in New York."

"And the Orioles don't mind that so many Yankees fans are here tonight?" said Fred.

"On the contrary," Bill stated. "If not for the Yankees fans in the ballpark the last few nights, there would have been 5,000 people in the stadium."

"That's not good, I assume?" asked Fred.

"Not for a major league team," said Bill.

In the 6th inning, the Yankees' Brett Gardner advanced to second base because Jonathan Villar forgot to cover second base on a routine single to left-center field.

"Why didn't the second baseman cover second on that play?" Fred asked.

"Well, there's a lot going on out there," Bill explained. "And some of the guys are really bored because the games are slow. So there's a combination of things, really. Some of the guys are still young and inexperienced."

"I gotcha," said Fred. "That second baseman must be a rookie, huh? It's tough when you're the new guy."

"Actually, this is seventh year in the big leagues," Bill said as he googled Villar's career stats.

"You would think he knows what he's doing if he's been in the majors for seven years," said Fred. "Kind of weird to make that sort of mistake."

"Well, like I said, there's a lot going on in his head during the game," said Bill. "I mean, these guys can't make every play."

In the 8th inning, Chris Davis came up for the Orioles with the Yankees ahead 7-5 and a runner on first base.

"This is a big at bat here," said Bill. "Just need a home run from Davis and we're all tied up."

"Why didn't he swing at strike three? It was right over the plate," Fred asked.

"Well, he's having a bit of a tough time this season," said Bill. "But I'll tell you something. He really hits the ball hard when he makes contact with it four or five times a week."

Fred nodded in agreement. "Yeah, if he could just turn those strikeouts and flyouts into singles and doubles, he'd probably be earning that $10 million a year he makes."

"He actually makes $23 million a year," said Bill.

"No matter what he does?" Fred asked. "You mean, he gets paid $23 million even if he doesn't produce?"

"Yep, he sure does," confirmed Bill.

"Wow, " said Fred. "I wish we had that kind of deal at Schmedley Fencing. I lost that Davenport account last year and it cost me $28,000 in commission."

"Yeah, it's kind of wacky," said Bill. "Davis gets paid no matter if he goes 0-for-4 tonight or 4-for-4."

"When's the last time he went 4-for-4?" Fred asked.

"Probably 2014," said Bill. He was too tired to look it up on his phone, but just assumed he was right.

In the top of the 9th, Fred suggested they leave early and head back to the Sheraton for a beer.

"No," explained Bill. "We want to stay until the end. For starters, the Orioles might come back in the 9th and win and I want to be here for that. Second, it's probably best to leave with the rest of the crowd instead of walking alone."

"I understand," said Fred. "I can't imagine the Orioles are going to score three runs in the 9th inning to tie it up. I don't know anything about baseball but just from watching for the last 3 hours I can tell you the team stinks. But I know there's been some issues with crime in the city."

"Yeah, but those issues are overblown," said Bill. "We're rebuilding in Baltimore, just like the Orioles."

As they shuffled back to the hotel, Fred tried to steer the conversation to something else, since Bill seemed particularly bothered by the baseball team's loss.

"So, what are you looking forward to this summer?" Fred asked.

Bill thought about his answer for a few seconds.

"The start of Ravens training camp," he said.

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


summer of our discontent


The temperature last Sunday reached 87 degrees, which seemed even warmer because I hadn’t been out on the golf course yet on any day balmier than 65-ish.

Right about the time I caught a flyer lie on the 14th hole and airmailed the green by 15 yards, I thought about the next few months of 87-degree (or much hotter) days. My stomach started to churn a bit, and my entire body experienced a brief malaise. Perhaps it caused that pull hook off the 15th tee.

I’m supposed to give you something every Thursday, including all the Thursdays during the hot Baltimore summer. But what, exactly, am I supposed to provide you these days?

My yearly allotment of golf columns is somewhere around one, and that box has been checked.

I understand that the French Open just got underway on the red clay in Paris. I also read the other day that the No. 1 court at the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club now has a retractable roof, joining Centre Court, so even fewer Wimbledon matches will be delayed by rain. There’s your tennis update.

Were you aware that this year’s Tour de France will actually start in Brussels in honor of Eddy Merckx, the Belgian rider who won his first of five Tours exactly 50 years ago? Now you know…

In June, July and at least half of August, there’s only one story you guys are really interested in. And I’m admitting to you that I can’t tell it. I won’t tell it. It wouldn’t be fair.

I’ve watched maybe 27 innings of Orioles’ baseball this season. If I watch more than 27 innings the rest of the season, it’ll surprise me. You’re not getting anything out of me there, and you shouldn’t want anything out of me.

I have nothing to offer besides what I read every day, or maybe every other day, to be perfectly honest. I can make no player evaluations or discuss any triumphs or tragedies as it relates to on-field or off-field decision-making.

Quick! Who is this current Oriole? And, no, you can't use Google to figure it out.**

If you think that’s kind of lame for someone who contributes for a Baltimore sports blog, I understand the thought. You probably noticed already that I haven’t named one player on the team, for instance. Dwight Smith, Jr. Paul Fry. Stevie Wilkerson. There…I named three, all of whom have done relatively well for themselves so far. As someone commented the other day, they’re all major leaguers now, trying to compete against all those All-Stars in New York and Boston. This isn’t Bowie.

Speaking of Bowie…I read the other day that a national group ranked Bowie as Maryland’s “Best Place to Live” in 2019. Seriously?

Anyway, I just can’t believe how quickly things changed when it comes to the Orioles, and not just for the team and the front office, which still seems to be changing. It wasn’t that long ago that we knew everything about these guys.

Manny Machado went to Brito Private High School in Miami. J.J. Hardy is an outstanding table tennis player, almost professional some say. Darren O’Day’s wife is a television news reporter. Nick Markakis introduced Ryan Flaherty to his wife’s sister, Ashley, and they eventually became brothers-in-law. People with no understanding of Chinese, which is to say most people, walked around Camden Yards wearing the Wei-Yin Chen t-shirt with the Chinese characters.

What didn’t we know about Adam Jones? If he wasn’t making his opinion known on camera or on the field, he was doing it on Twitter. I don’t even like half the ingredients in the sandwich that the Abbey Burger Bistro named after Jones*, but I ordered it once anyway just for the hell of it.

Then there were the on-field parts of the game that became nationally-known, not just by avid Orioles’ fans. Zach(k) Britton’s sinker, and the whole bullpen, honestly, with the quirky deliveries and stuff of O’Day and Brad Brach and Jim Johnson and others. The lovely power-hitting swings of Chris Davis (true) and Nelson Cruz and Mark Trumbo and a few others. The frequent defensive gems, and the general superb play in the field even when nothing spectacular was required.

It’s always worth repeating that, beginning on Opening Day 2012, the Orioles won more games than any team in the American League over the ensuing five seasons. Five years — more than 800 games — is nothing to scoff at; in fact, it’s just about the length of the average Major League career. Five years was almost long enough to make you forget how lousy the team was for 14 years.

And the most interesting part about that is that we knew that the Orioles weren’t the “best” team in the league.

They had to use more spare parts than most good teams, and that was part of the charm. It could be frustrating, for sure, but that was because the games really mattered. Somehow, the obstinate young Buck Showalter had turned into the delightful veteran must-see-TV Buck Showalter. The crowd had a real connection to that charm; it wasn’t the pompous expectation of winning from New York or, in the last generation, Boston.

The problem now isn’t really losing, or tanking if you want to call it that. It’s not the record (low) number of games it’s taken the pitching staff to give up 100 home runs, or the unfortunate ability to snatch defeat from the hand of certain victory that bad teams possess. It’s not even some of the amateurish defensive play, which seems so out of place compared to just a couple years ago. Those are to be expected. It’s not that you don’t know any of that stuff about the roster, since most of the team is new to Baltimore. Also to be expected.

And there ought to be no issue with Mike Elias, hired to run the team’s baseball operations back in November. He was the right person, and at the very least the Orioles might soon look like the rest of the league in terms of analytics and scouting and player development, even if it isn’t showing on the field.

No, the problem is that hardly any of these guys are going to be around the next time the team approaches the level it was at just three years ago. There’s no point in making connections to a team full of ghosts. And baseball is all about connections.

Summer kind of stinks around here, is what I’m saying. September 8 in Miami can’t come soon enough.

*Kobe beef burger on an English muffin, with pepper jack cheese, avocado, jalapeños, bacon, chili pepper mayo, lettuce and tomato.

**Paul Fry (don't worry, no one else knew, either)

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Wednesday
May 22
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#1731



does it matter?


There's a funny scene in the first Toy Story movie where Woody and Buzz Lightyear get in a dispute about whether or not Buzz can actually fly.

Buzz insists that he can. Woody emphatically states he can't. They go back and forth for a minute before Buzz gives it a shot.

What happens next is up for interpretation, but Buzz definitely gets "airborne". And Woody says, "That isn't flying. That's falling with style."

Point of the matter was, of course, that Buzz spent several seconds in the air. Whether it was actually "flying" or "falling with style" is the question.

Most days I get the opportunity to rummage through the comments section at least once. George generally alerts me if there's something in there that shouldn't be and since we chatted on the phone yesterday and he didn't say anything specific about the comments, I assumed all was well "down there". But I checked last night, anyway.

I was right. Everyone's behaving well in our little world, which isn't always the easiest thing to accomplish given everyone's insistence on being anonymous and generally unaccountable for what they post on the internet.

But I saw an interesting back and forth about the Orioles that got me to thinking last night as I watched them get clobbered again by the Yankees, 11-4.

Does it matter how the Orioles lose?

No caption needed for this one.

In other words, do we not care if it's 4-3, 8-5 or 11-4?

Does it matter, to use the last three days as example, that they've surrendered double-digit runs in their last three losses?

The Oriole set a major league record last night, allowing their 100th home run in just their 48th game, breaking the old record held by the 2000 Kansas City Royals by a whopping 11 games. Does that matter?

In Cleveland last week and at home against the Yankees over the last two nights, the Orioles have bobbled, stumbled, thrown away, dropped, misplayed and kicked the ball around so much it looks like a Bad New Bears sequel. There was an ultra-embarrassing scene in Cleveland where they somehow botched an easy infield double play and allowed two runs to score.

But does any of that matter?

Chris Davis started the season 0-for-whatever it was. As the streak grew and the major league record crept closer, people started defending Davis by saying, "Well, he's making great contact and hitting the ball hard!" He still didn't have a hit, mind you, but at least he was "making contact".

Did that matter?

David Hess threw a lot of strikes last night against the Yankees. Unfortunately they hit several of them out of the stadium for home runs.

So....does it matter how the Orioles are losing?

If they were dropping 5-4 nailbiters where they played clean baseball but just fell short, would that be better than losing 11-4 and producing a handful of Keystone Cops moments?

I think so, yes.

And the biggest reason I believe that is because there are major league standards that should be met, no matter your team's record or, in the case of the Orioles, whether you care if you win or don't care if you win.

The Orioles, by my count, have three major league players out there every day. We've gone through this list before. Trey Mancini, Jonathan Villar and Chris Davis. Yes, I know what you're thinking, Davis is a stretch. And by the $23 million salary standard, he's a complete flop. But in terms of being a major league player, he counts. If Mark Trumbo ever plays this season, we'd have a fourth guy on the list.

The rest of the guys are just guys, fortunate that the Orioles don't care if they win. If the Orioles cared about winning, those guys would all be out of work.

But at some point, the on field product has to look legitimate. It's OK to lose when you're doing what the Orioles are doing, which is rebuilding from the ground up and trying to create a new foundation. We knew they were going to lose this season and next...and probably in 2021, too.

It's not the losing that wrankles us, I don't think. It's playing like junior varsity high schoolers that irritates the ardent fans in town. That's what I think, at least.

So in the long run, 55-107 (if we're that lucky) is 55-107 no matter if you lost all 107 by one run or 107 by eight runs.

But "how you get there" does matter. In golf, if you're playing a 3-day tournament and on day one you hit 4 fairways and 8 greens and have an amazing day with the wedge and putter, you might very well cobble together a round of 72 or 73. You're happy with that. But you also know, over the next two days, that you can't continue to make those same mistakes or they'll eventually come back to haunt you. You can't hit 4 fairways and 8 greens three days in a row and shoot 72-72-72. It just doesn't work that way.

In other words, "how" you shoot 72 does matter in the long run. It might not matter that first day, but it's eventually going to matter. And you're eventually going to shoot 78 instead of 72.

For the Orioles, losing by four or by ten is still a loss. Still just one of 107. But as we watch it -- and pay for the privilege of watching it, live and on the TV -- it strikes me that I'd rather see them dig in and lose 4-2 or 5-4 than to see them get blistered 10-0 and 11-4 two of the last three nights.

I'd rather watch them catch foul balls that the back up catcher at Calvert Hall could catch.

I'd prefer to see them turn easy double plays.

In general, I'd like to watch the games and think the Orioles are major leaguers who are putting forth their best effort.

I wouldn't mind thinking to myself, "They're losing, yes. But they're losing with style."

Or, they can just continue to embarrass themselves on a daily basis.

A loss is a loss is a loss, many will claim.

But at some point, professional players have to at least look professional.

These guys mostly don't look that way.

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the long wait is over in st. louis


Baseball fans in Baltimore think it's been a long time since we had a World Series game in Charm City.

If 1983 to 2019 is "a long time", what, then is 1970 to 2019?

The last time the St. Louis Blues played for the hockey title, it was 1970 and they played Boston. This time around? They're playing Boston.

That's how long its been since the city of St. Louis has seen a Stanley Cup Finals game in their town.

Well, that's changing next week. The Blues are in the Finals.

St. Louis beat the San Jose Sharks last night, 5-1, winning their Western Conference Finals, 4-games-to-2. They'll play the Boston Bruins in the Finals after the Bruins easily swept Carolina in four games.

The series win for the Blues helped ease the pain of a controversial Game 3 loss where the refs missed an easy "hand pass" violation in overtime that directly led to San Jose's game-winning tally. But the resilient St. Louis bunch rattled off wins in the next three games to seal the deal.

Good for them. St. Louis is a great sports town, no matter what the NFL thinks. Those hockey fans have been waiting a long time for this.

The Golden State Warriors are headed to their 5th straight NBA Finals after sweeping the gutless Portland Trailblazers in four games. Yes...five straight trips to the championship series for Steph Curry and Company. Just think, if they don't blow that 3-1 series lead to LeBron and the Cavaliers a few years back, they could be on the verge of winning five consecutive NBA titles.

The Toronto-Milwaukee series winner (currently tied at 2-2) will pose some issues for the Warriors. Both teams have an all-world player (Giannis for Milwaukee, Kawhi in Toronto) and both were very, very good throughout the regular season.

But if the Warriors get Kevin Durant back in uniform by the time the Finals start late next week, they're going to be really tough to beat.

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#dmd comments


The truth     May 24
Poor Monk! Haha, I've seen him on LF's Twitter feed, he's alive if not well.

But I can tell you there are a fair number of commenters who are Monk sympathizers, people who share his boldness and his stir the pot-ness. To think all these comments come from one man helps SOD cope. It's like their greatest fear is that there are others who dare to criticize! They are good for a chuckle nearly every day, so thanks for staying strong SOD

Joe p     May 24
Monk died of a broken heart. The SOD sent it's best wordsmith...and poor Monk passed away....and he was banned. Banned by being shunned by the DMD community.

George     May 24
C'mon, Herm -- Life's too short.

Actually, I was trying to gull the comment-reading public into believing I was in Brien's class as a statistician.

HERMAN     May 24
George,

You do yourself a serious disfavor linking your own intellect to Brien Jackson.

Sad.

I'd admired your accomplishments and intellect until then.

He is a completely unimpressive self absorbed millennial. Absent any gravitas. Please refrain from linking to such an empty suit in the future.


Neil S.     May 24
I can honestly put all of this to rest because I actually KNOW the real Monk. He is not dead. And to even say that here is very morbid. Have some decency folks.

Rich     May 24
You guys are sad. Monk posts here almost every day.

DR     May 24
Only one way to settle it. Post Monk's obit. If you can't, you are lying.

Monk's friend     May 24
I knew him, went to college with him. He was 57 years old. Buried at Dulaney Valley. I was there.

George     May 24
@Herman – Probably only Brien Jackson and myself are smart enough to know about this statistic: WF/BM, which stands for Win Frequency per Blue Moon. To find somebody’s number, take the number of his wins and divide it by the number of blue moons since he came on Tour. If the number is above 1.00, that is good; if below, not good.

Take Rickie F. He has five wins and there have been five blue moons since he came on Tour. Thus his WF/BM is 1.00.

Tiger’s number is 8.10 – 81 wins and 10 BMs since he came out Probably an untouchable stat.

And since Rickie’s number is 1.00, it’s both fair and accurate to say that Rickie Fowler wins once in a blue moon.

And “Garden Party” is a nice jam, but a little sad:

“If you gotta play at garden parties, I wish you a lotta luck

But if memories were all I sang, I rather drive a truck.”

Rich     May 24
No, Monk didn't pass away. Nice try.

Friend of Monk     May 24
@Rich

Monk passed away 2 years ago, heart attack.

HERMAN     May 24
Awwww George, come on man. "Travelin' man", and "Garden Party" weren't bad.

And neither is a resume with 5 PGA tour wins including the 5TH major, "The Players".

Always like the lyrics to "Garden Party".

At least we agree on the "Asian sweatshops". I don't own a piece of Nike clothing, never owned a pair of their shoes. I know that may sound insane, but something about Knight made me uncomfortable from the start.

Rickie winning a major would be great for the game.

George     May 24
@Herman – Humbug, my friend. When I see the kiddies wearing bright orange Rickie hats, I see little consumers-in-training, learning early to waste their paychecks on grossly overpriced merch made in Asian sweatshops.

As for the other Ricky – Nelson – I remember when his agent changed his name from Ricky to Rick, this to better push his merch (45 rpm records) onto an adoring public.

I may be an old-fashioned mope, but in my view, a singer’s worth should be based on his voice and style, and a golfer’s standing should be determined by his record.

Rich     May 24
Monk was just here at DMD on May 22. "Athletes In Action" is Monk. I'd venture to say he posts here 5-6 days a week under various aliases. Not sure why he's afraid to post as Monk.

HERMAN     May 24
Now George, you are well aware that even the Messiah can win the Masters, then trunk slam the PGA, and this at a course he dominated at one time to win a major.

One week it all feels great, the next you can't hit the target and the swing feels completely wrong.

Rickie's day will come. I'm hoping that Speith has found some answers in his native Texas. His emergence was good for the game, it'd be nice to see him and Justin Thomas begin to dominate again.

George, you'd have to admit, and this will date us both, that Rickie has the same charisma as a Ricky before him, Ricky Nelson, whose big bright smile and good looks made people gravitate toward them.

When the "kiddies" line the ropes in bright orange and trucker hats, it's good for the game.

George     May 24
George: Drew, You picked somebody named Rickie Fowler to win the Memorial. Is that the same Rickie Fowler who’s T93 down in Texas right now?

Drew: George, Do you like apples?

BO     May 24
Brien suggesting that someone who makes $24 million should loaf is very Brien like.

Chris in Bel Air     May 24
Some bold predictions Drew. I’m not sure how anyone can be disappointed with Seth Roberts output this coming season. Anything they get from him is a plus. I’m not expecting much. I am more interested in the development of the younger WRs. Pats a winner again? Say it ain’t so. Browns will be a good team but will learn how you look on paper doesn’t always transform into wins. I don’t see them winning a playoff game.

Cash Is King     May 24
Brien's take on Cano is some of the best unintentional comedy that I have ever read. Here are the facts Brien left out: they were both double play balls and the second one, he never even left the batters box. And then when Cano does run hard...he gets hurt. Obviously giving a little effort 4 times per night is a lot to ask from a guy making 24 million per year. In Brien's mind, trying hard leads to injuries. Stand up doubles only...you might get hurt if you have to give a little effort.

Don’t mistake me for Einstein     May 24
wRC of + 100

E=MC(2)

A(2) + B(2) = C(2)

Pi = 3.14159265359

I(2) = -1

V - E + F = 2



I don’t know what any of these formulas mean. When I watch a baseball game I refuse to pull out my TI 30XA scientific calculator. If an advanced degree is required to be a fan of the modern game of baseball, I’M moving on to the PBA. Unless I need to understand spin rate and launch angle.

Brien Jackson     May 24
Saw this too late to add but, speaking of the Mets, they apparently have an insurance policy that pays out now that Yoenis Cespedes is having season ending surgery. But Jeff Wilpon has said that the franchise considers the entire salary part of payroll, including the portion they're effectively been reimbursed for. In other words, the Mets won't use that money in a trade despite being 4.5 games out of first and only 3 back of the WC in the loss column.



So anytime you feel yourself hating on the Angelos family, remember that at least it's not the Wilpons.

HERMAN     May 24
I tuned into the Raptors game last night, after all nothing else was on worth watching, and I've got to say I don't understand the appeal of the pro game at all. The game was a sloppy mess. Both teams were missing shots, playing isolation and sending in a one on four regularly, there were no real set plays, just a series of allowing the "big dog" to try to take his man one-on-one and, if he hit too much traffic, kick it out for a bricked three. It was truly awful to watch. The fourth quarter was abysmal. Milwaukee threw it up wildly, as if they hadn't designed a play all year.

How has this hot mess risen to be a world-wide phenomenon?

In the fourth quarter they may has well removed everyone from the court but Leonard and a defender. Of course he got 14 or so in the quarter, he took every shot.

The announcers are going nuts, dripping praise on the game, Leonard, and totally ignoring the absolute mess on display. At one point they were shooting a collective 30 percent. And not from good defense, from absolutely horrendous shot selection.

It was just terrible to watch and compounded by the announcing team heaping praise on the mess.

If these are two of the three best teams in the league I have no idea how people are excited to watch it.

Compared to playoff hockey it was like watching wrestling.

Tom J     May 24
Number 18 that is......

Tom J     May 24
Haha, I’ll respectfully take the “OVER” on that one.....

RJ     May 24
I too miss Monk. Sure he could go off the rails sometimes, but was usually good for a laugh. Some speculate he is still here, but I think those are knockoff Monk wanna bes. Some do a pretty good impression, others not so much. Fine line between snark and wit. I take our host's word that he was not banned per se, but guessing he may have had a few comments deleted and moved on.

But there is no question, the SOD has been a lasting offshoot of Monk's tenure. I really wonder, who out there think #Drew needs "rescuing" from a little criticism?? Anyone who listened to him on the radio knows that could not be further from the truth. Frankly, when these knuckleheads come out here attacking even veiled criticism, I think it is insulting to Drew, if not disrespectful. But I guess in a way, the SOD provides its own form of entertainment, kind of like any time I listen to Repeat Radio for my dose of #positivity!

JohnInEssex     May 24
THANKS Drew for literally making me LOL at #18.

And has everyone forgotten how horrible the Orioles were during the pre-Buck era? During that time, would turn on MASN, and 5 minutes couldn't pass without an Oriole doing something boneheaded. I would grumble, then tune into something else.

48 (and counting) - the number of consecutive days I have not even attempted to tune into MASN to watch the Orioles this season.

Delray Rick     May 24
File this under " can not believe it". The ORIOLES just trading with the METS for KEON BROXTON of the life-time average of .216 and 314 stike outs in 750 at-bats. The new GM said "we have had our eye on him". Also we paid 500Gs for this slugger.

unitastoberry     May 24
I can see the Pats going all the way once again too. Their division as usual is a joke. Unless Brady gets hurt.

I dont think the Stillers are as bad as 7 wins.

I had no idea who Domingo German was until you mentioned him because I have not watched the Orioles going on 2 seasons now. Where does NY they get these guys?

Josh     May 23
That is funny! Thank you, I never would’ve figured it out

Monks ghost     May 23
All of the insider stuff came from banned comment trouble maker Monk...who missed



SOD was coined by Monk for his haters, who would put Monk in his place. Sychophants of Drew. If "dear leader" was attacked, is attacked....trumpets blare and the SOD comes to his defense...even though Drew doesn't want it. Might be the funniest thing to come out of this section.



LF stands for the Little Fella or Little Fellow. The short in stature and education and manners and good sense and ethics. Former boss of Drew who once was a "dear friend" right up until he fired him even though Drew was paying his own salary.



I miss Monk

Josh     May 23
What exactly is SOD?

Some guy     May 23
SOD is nothing if not reliable and ever vigilant

Tom J     May 23
@Industry Expert.....No, they STINK....."Below average elite players" as you say???? Other than Cashner and Means, these pitchers couldn't get AA players out. 100 HR's already????? Ya, I'd say that is "below average".....



And just because other teams do it, it doesn't mean the Orioles still have to do the tiered pricing. It's a joke and the lack of attendance is showing how "funny" it really is.....



Stop being an apologist......

G-Man     May 23
The guy writes insightful, analytic columns about golf and you guys cry about it so much he stopped doing it. Then he writes something funny once and you can't handle that either. Stop your crying. Why don't you write a story and give it to him if you want something 'substantive' on the site tomorrow.

industry expert     May 23
Tiered pricing based on opponent, game day surcharge, all other non-customer friendly pricing policies, these are all industry standards nowadays. Even Bowie charges more on game days (although they don’t do “premium” pricing).

Before I get blasted, I agree these are STUPID ideas in an industry with lagging in person attendance, just saying blaming O’s and/or Angelos is so LF-esque.

Just like the “creative” writing in today’s feature story, blah, blah, blah. Same old rehashed criticisms. These players don’t “stink”. People like all of us posting out here, we stink, or stunk, it’s why we never got paid to play a sport.

What they are is below average elite players. And comparing what paid entertainers make vs what we all make at our jobs is nonsensical too.

But those howling at the moon criticisms is what drives talk radio, and this site blossomed out of that genre, so not surprising we’d get a chorus of hip hip hoorays. Me, I’d like to see more substantive blogs, but hey, can’t do that every single day I suppose. I’m just glad we get those with some frequency here at this site, as opposed to the site that is mostly #Positive criticisms these days


Robert     May 23
Nice allegory there Drew; the only addition I'd have made would be to have the boys show up at the ticket window an hour before game time and get slammed for the same day surcharge on top of their premium game upcharge racket. I'm not sure how the O's brass would go about it but almost every other non-mono/oligopoly enterprise lowers price when demand wanes. That move might work IF they were to give it a go. Maybe your story will go from your lips to their ears? It couldn't hurt.

CJ     May 23
#DMD gold today. One of the best things this year.

Geno     May 23
NO DOUBT THE VILLAR LINE "IT MUST BE TOUGH TO BE THE NEW GUY" WAS THE CAKE TOPPER OF THAT STORY. SO FUNNY!

Steve of Pimlico     May 23
In regards to the O's,if you bleed orange you are now "sleeping with the fishes

rafael     May 23
"Sorry man, looks like you just made a category error. If a player made it "as high as" AAA that means they played in AAA but never made the big leagues."



Moron!



You can't write and you can't read, either.

David Rosenfeld     May 23
So I HAVE heard about Gleyber Torres, and the fact that he's got 10 home runs just against the Orioles this year.

Which gives me another opportunity to remind everyone that the Yankees got Torres from the Cubs in 2016 by trading Aroldis Chapman. The Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years. What a story. Almost forgotten, 2 months later, the Yankees re-signed Chapman at 5 yrs., $86 million.

So, the Yankees had the insane prospect and, almost immediately, the dominant pitcher they traded to get him.

Jason M     May 23
Great writing by DR. Count me in as nostalgic for the 'Showalter years'. The team had chemistry.

Davey     May 23
The funny part was the Jonathan Villar story. "It's always tough on the new guy."



Ummmmmm, he's been in the big leagues for 7 years.

unitastoberry     May 23
RIP Oklahoma drills. Bud Wilkinson is turning over in his grave.

TimD in Timonium     May 23
Great story, DF. Let's start here - there are no "premium" games being played at OPACY this season. Enough with the up-charge.

Delray Rick     May 23
DREW.....Best article by you in awhile. Loved it cause ITS TRUE!!!!

Hal     May 23
I peed myself twice reading the baseball story. Thanks for a great read.

Brien Jackson     May 23
@Math



I do suspect it's wrong, because I'm working with Raphael's numbers which are not exactly believable on their face. For example, there are 750 players on active rosters right now (25x30) so obviously there haven't been fewer than 1400 total big Leaguers since 1965.



But yes, suffice it to say Raphael misunderstood what "as high as" meant.

Tom J     May 23
Pure gold today Drew, Schmedley Fencing........!!! Would you happen to have their number??? I need a new fence.......



maybe the O's should get rid of that upper deck. No need for it and it will help those outfielders catch some balls. Sounds like a win win.

HERMAN     May 23
baseball in Baltimore is dead, the Angelos family murdered it. Tuning into the current misery is an exercise in nostalgia, a longing to recreate the exuberant feeling of youth and the lifelong connection to the home town team, and game. No one in their right mind would watch this train wreck and enjoy it, seeing the beloved home town team a decimated mess. Best to ignore it altogether. Find a new hobby. I gave up on them the day they fired Davey Johnson and haven't missed them a day.


Tuesday
May 21
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#1730



thumbs up and thumbs down


Now that the PGA Championship has been played in May, we can fully assess the decision to move it from its traditional August date.

We have lots of other stuff to evaluate as well, including the now 2-time defending champion, that guy who finished second (again), the Masters champ who didn't make the cut, and the coverage on CBS.

So, let's get to it.

The move to May -- thumbs down

I understand why they moved the event from its usual August date. The PGA Tour is trying hard to get their year over with before the NFL season starts. But the move to May didn't "feel" right from the first hole on Thursday. The unpredictable spring weather created havoc with practice schedules, as well. Perhaps a warm-weather venue would be better, but it seemed like a bit of a downer moving from August to May.

Bethpage Black -- thumbs up

It might be the best public course in the country NOT called Pebble Beach. Yes, better than Torrey Pines. The par 70 layout wasn't the greatest idea in the world, but the first two holes are driver-wedge, driver-wedge, so I guess it makes sense to turn some short'ish par 5's into par 4's. With no weather factoring in at all, 16 under would have won the golf tournament. As it was, the crazy winds on Sunday helped Bethpage show her teeth. It's a remarkable venue for a tournament.

The fans -- thumbs down

Pick a word.

Embarrassing. Pitiful. Boorish. Unrefined.

Any of them work.

The fans, particularly on the weekend, were a disgrace. Shouting while players were making a golf swing was the norm on Sunday afternoon. The stuff about chiding Koepka while he was making four straight bogeys was overblown. People wanted D.J. to mount a charge and make it exciting, even at Koepka's expense. But yelling during a player's swing -- which happened all day on Sunday -- was discourteous, plain and simple. The Ryder Cup is scheduled for Bethpage in 2024. They should change the venue right now. There's no way they can hold the Ryder Cup there without having significant issues throughout the week.

Brooks Koepka is now the #1 player in the world after his win at Bethpage last weekend.

Brooks Koepka -- thumbs up

That was some pretty gutsy stuff coming down the stretch, especially with the crowd all over him and openly rooting for DJ to catch him. Look, he has a long, long way to go to even come close to establishing himself as "Tiger-like", but his performance over the last eight majors is certainly similar to the way Woods played from 2000 through 2008. Brandel Chamblee was right when he pointed out that Koepka has to win golf tournaments that AREN'T majors as well...but he was wrong when he said he needs more evidence that Koepka is an elite player. Tiger has 81 career wins. Koepka now has 6, with four of those coming in major championships. Something tells me Brooks isn't going to threaten 81. But he's on one heckuva run. If he can get to 8 majors, that would truly put him among the game's greatest players ever.

Dustin Johnson -- thumbs down

Like a race horse who finally pins his ears back and runs in the last quarter mile, DJ has now mounted late rallies at The Masters and PGA this year, with nothing to show for it except gobs of money. On Sunday, at 8-under and within one shot of the lead standing in the fairway at 16, all Johnson had to do was figure out a way to finish at 9-under and he very well might have won the golf tournament. Instead, he promptly went bogey-bogey to slip back to 6-under and make Koepka's walk up 18 a little less squeamish. DJ is a great player. But he is not a great finisher. Plain and simple.

David Duval -- thumbs up

For the second straight major championship, the former British Open champion called the winner correctly on Wednesday night during his duties on The Golf Channel. It was Duval back in April who predicted Tiger would win at Augusta National. And then, last Wednesday, he summed it up pretty nicely by saying, "This golf course is set up for Brooks Koepka. It's long and tough and the greens aren't particularly treacherous. He might win going away. But he's your winner at Bethpage this week." Ding, ding, ding. Nice work, Mr. Duval.

Tiger Woods -- thumbs down

Tiger wasn't Tiger throughout the week, yet he still came within a shot of making the cut. And even in missing the final 36 holes, he still sounded chipper in his post-round interviews (winning the Masters will do that for you, I guess) and said all the right things...something he might not have done 10 years ago. There's no doubt winning at Augusta National in April took something out of him. And not playing between the Masters and PGA made him far more rusty than I suppose he figured it might. Oh, and playing those 7400 yard courses with 4-6 inches of primary rough is no longer favorable for him. But all in all, Tiger played decently despite not playing in five weeks, and not making the cut didn't seem to bother him, either. Safe bet: He will make the cut in both of the season's final two majors. He might even win one of them.

Jordan Spieth -- thumbs up

He didn't win, obviously, but Jordan Spieth probably took as much out of the tournament as anyone except Koepka. He didn't drive the ball well at all, hitting just 5 of 14 fairways on Sunday, but he putted magnificently throughout the event, which was his calling card circa 2016 when he was among the best players in the world. There's a month before Pebble Beach, but Spieth's game might just be coming around at the right time.

CBS coverage -- thumbs down

I hate to be the one to say it, but I will. We need to see more golf and less Amanda Balionis. CBS screwed the pooch big time on Sunday by missing what really might have been the shot of the tournament -- Koepka's 2nd at the 18th hole. Instead of sticking with Koepka live while he played that shot, they went to Balionis and her interview with Dustin Johnson. I get it. She gets paid, she's pretty, and the CBS folks want her in front of the camera as much as possible. But when there's golf being played, they should stick with that, especially when it involves the leader of the golf tournament on the final hole.

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trailblazers say "no more money for you"


The Portland Trailblazers know how to fight.

They'll just stop paying you.

On Saturday night, Portland squandered a big lead at home against Golden State, falling behind 3-0 in their Western Conference Final series.

A couple of hours after the game, the Oregonian ran an article on their website where they had cobbled together over 100 tweets, social media posts, GIF's and memes connected to the Trailblazers' loss earlier in the night.

Most of the stuff was precisely what you think it would be. Snarky, cutting, snide and so on. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum took the brunt of the damage, which was to be expected. They're the two best players on the team.

Except the Trailblazers didn't find it funny. Not at all, in fact.

They disliked it so much, their CEO, Chris McGowan, tweeted out his own response after combing through all of the social media contributions that made up the story at the Oregonian. "As long as I'm in charge, we won't spend another dime with them. This is ridiculous."

Trailblazers CEO Chris McGowan took offense to some not-so-nice things printed about his team after they gagged away a double digit lead at home in the NBA playoffs.

When you have the team CEO threatening you on social media, you know you've gone too far, right?

This, of course, is not the first time a professional sports organization has held advertising and sponsorship dollars over a team's head. It's a slippery slope, for sure, as both parties know what's at stake as soon as the threat is made.

The team stands to look like spoiled brats who own all the equipment and say, "If you won't let me bat cleanup, I'm taking the bats, gloves and balls and leaving!"

The media entity looks like the for-sale-sign that they are if they give in, apologize, and pledge never to be so insensitive again.

This, of course, is what's wrong in 2019. Or, just one of the many things that's wrong in 2019, is a better way of putting it.

The Trailblazers are mad at some petty internet snark after they blew a big lead at home in a crucial playoff game. Hey, here's a way to avoid that from happening in the future. WIN THE GAME.

There was a funny scene in Hangover II where Stu is standing at the elevator, despondent, after a particularly tense moment with his fiancee's father.

Phil (Bradley Cooper) says to him: "Would you relax. He's your father-in-law. He's supposed to hate you."

The Trailblazers should take that scene to heart. And remember...it's the internet, it's supposed to be filled with nut jobs and keyboard warriors and spineless creeps who post mean spirited stuff for no reason other than it's a free country and the internet is as anonymous as the people who stick those roofing and siding flyers in your screen door at some point during the day.

You blew a big lead at home in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. You think people aren't going to chirp?

Sure, I get it. It's a local publication in Portland that you'd think would have somewhat of a rooting interest in the series. They can't possibly want to see the Blazers lose, right? So why the post-game article that featured all those mean tweets and social media posts?

Because. It's. The. Internet.

And the internet can be very funny. I see mean stuff posted about the Orioles all the time that makes me laugh. Maybe that's my own character flaw, but funny is funny, even if it's your team that's in the crosshairs. I mean, we can laugh at a meme poking fun of Ben Roethlisberger, so we should also be able to laugh at a meme poking fun of Lamar Jackson. That's what I think, anyway.

The stuff posted by the Oregonian wasn't their own original material, remember. It was a compilation of things they cherry-picked from the internet in the aftermath of the loss. All they were doing was putting it in one place so everyone could read it all at once.

No harm there.

Except the Trailblazers got pissy and now say they won't spend any more money with the publication.

Oh, and don't look now, but guess what happened last night? Portland blew a double-digit lead in the second half, at home, and got swept by the Warriors, losing Game 4 in overtime, 119-117.

Someone will have to pay for that today, I'll bet.

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Monday
May 20
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#1729



is it "tanking" or "losing" that bothers us most?


Brien wrote an interesting piece here last week and the general theme of it was "tanking" in professional sports. We live in a new era, as you probably know, where losing gets glossed over with pleas of "But this is the only way we can better!", and we're seeing it all firsthand here in Baltimore with the Orioles.

I can't -- and won't -- dismiss the fact that one of the most secure ways to improve is by finishing near the bottom of the league, no matter the sport, and stockpiling your roster with young talent.

That concept only works if your front office folks know what they're doing. For years and years and years, the Cleveland Browns were masters at screwing up the first round of the NFL Draft. They might have figured it out recently, but for a while there, it was a joke to see how poorly constructed they were, front office and draft wise.

But if you can do what the Houston Astros did six or seven years ago, you can come to terms with intentionally losing. The Astros gutted their roster -- really, their entire on-field organization -- and started from scratch. They had some really lean years, but it all culminated in an improved product, more winning and, finally, the World Series title in 2017.

The Orioles, as you know by now, are trying to do the same thing the Astros did. The Orioles even went as far as to bring people in from the Astros organization with the hope they could cookie-cutter the process that made the Astros so good.

So, in 2019, the Birds are officially "tanking".

Last year, they were just losing without a purpose.

This year, they're still losing, but there's at least a plan to place to make something good come out of this 110-loss season we're about to see.

But I have to say, I'm no more interested in this year's team than I was in last year's team. Not at all. Not even close. And, as anyone knows who comes here, I'm a baseball guy.

I probably watched 130 of the 162 games last season, even as the team jaked it through that 47-115 campaign. I'm not even sure why I watched so much. Maybe it was the "car accident theory", where you don't want to look but you just have to sneak a peek to see if it's as bad as it looks.

But I watched last year. A lot.

I'm not watching this year at all. The O's are 15-31 after yesterday's embarrassing 10-0 thrashing in Cleveland. For the Flyers fans reading, don't rush to your phone to use the calculator. I have it right here. That's 46 games thus far in 2019. I bet I've watched bits and pieces of 10 games since the season started.

I flipped over to MASN at one point yesterday to see what was going on in Cleveland. It was 5-0 in favor of the Indians. I spent all of 11 seconds watching the Orioles. Back to golf, or the NBA, even. Why watch those guys get beat 12-0, I thought to myself. It was actually only 10-0, I'd find out later.

Brien's piece got me to thinking about "tanking". More than I had before. And my conclusion is pretty simple: I hate it.

It might be the new way to do things, which is all well and good. This could just be one of my "Get off my lawn!" moments. But losing on purpose like teams do these days is unfair to everyone involved. Maybe Renato Nunez and Hanser Alberto (or is Alberto Hanser? I swear, I don't know...) and Pedro Severino don't care that they're just placeholders for real players who are going to come along in a year or two and take their jobs. They're in the big leagues, making big league money, after all.

It's unfair to the fans who pay "major league prices" at the ballpark to watch a 55-win team (maybe) produce a bunch of Keystone Cops moments that serve as great headline fodder for Deadspin. It's one thing if you're charging those prices to see a team that's struggling, injury riddled or just playing .500 baseball. It's another thing entirely to pay those prices to watch a team that was built not to be competitive -- right now.

NFL fans are famous for being OK with losing late in the season if it means a better drafting spot in April. What's the difference between finishing 3-13 and 5-11, after all? Nothing really, except the 3-13 team might pick 2nd in the draft and the 5-11 team might have the 9th pick in the first round. Why not just go 3-13?

I guess the answer lies in the effort.

And in the integrity of the organization.

I don't dislike that the Orioles are finally trying to put some thought into what they're doing. I actually prefer it, in fact.

But I definitely dislike the idea that the only way to get good again is by making us sit through seasons with the likes of Nunez, Martin, Severino et al.

I don't think that's the only way. In fact, I know it isn't. I don't remember the Red Sox, Cardinals or Dodgers tearing their entire organization apart and fielding a minor league team for six years until they got good again.

I get it: The Orioles have done this to themselves and this "rebuild" is now the only way to get good again. I do get that part of it. But I also get this: It's patently unfair to the people who go to the stadium and pay to watch it.

Editor's note: I'm one of those people who go to the stadium and pay to watch it. So perhaps the joke's on me in the end.

"Tanking" is what we do in 2019. I understand that. But it's dumb, if you ask me. And I'm less and less interested on a daily basis because of it. If the Orioles make the World Series in 2024, everyone will applaud the rebuilding effort and say "all of that losing was worth it".

Maybe it will be worth it.

But the folks who watched every minute of every game in 2012 won't be around a dozen years later to enjoy it.

All of that losing will have finished us -- ahem, I mean "them" -- off.

(I looked it up. I was right. It is "Hanser Alberto".)

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"The Keen Eye" of David Rosenfeld

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


yesterday, today and tomorrow

This Week’s Subject: The sport(s) of kings

Yesterday…

If you’re ever looking for a great picture of mid-century America, one taken at a packed sporting event should do the trick. Men — and it was all men — wore suits and fedoras and crammed into places like the old Chicago Stadium or Boston Garden. The air was filled with smoke; cigarettes and cigars weren’t banned indoors and, according to the CDC, over half the U.S. male population smoked. Ten guys running up and down a basketball court in a haze-filled bandbox seems ridiculous now, but so do a lot of things…

Like the fact that that horse racing and boxing, along with baseball, were by far the most popular spectator sports in our country.

Yes, horse racing, the sport of kings, so called because it was very much entertainment for royalty in its earliest days. And yes, boxing, also the sport of kings, considered a noble pursuit and long adjudicated by rules lent by somebody called the “Marquess of Queensbury.”

If Gerry Sandusky was giving the nightly sports report on WBAL in the 1950s, he’d talk about the day’s races at Pimlico every day they raced there, not just during the week leading to the Preakness Stakes. After that, he’d probably talk about the local boxing card on Friday night, even if no big national fight was on the horizon.

Oh, and he’d probably get more than three minutes to do all of that, but that’s another story entirely. Even in my lifetime, he used to get more than three minutes to talk about the Orioles and Colts and Ravens.

Professional football was more like semi-pro when it first came to Baltimore and a host of other cities. Professional basketball didn’t even have its championship series broadcast live until the early 1980s. Major professional hockey was played in only six cities until 1967, and only four of those cities were in the United States. College football and college basketball were locally prominent in many places, but national obsessions were many years away.

It would be easy to say that times were simpler, and something like boxing was (and is) pretty simple; two men pounding each other, with rules that make it all seem fair. And it’s easy to say that gambling has always been important to sports, and horse racing is sports gambling with certain rules that make it all seem fair too.

Of course, corruption is quite rampant in both, but that’s not even be the biggest reason why we don’t talk about horse racing and boxing anymore…

Today…

Somehow, in an age where sports is now considered close to 100 percent entertainment, horse racing and boxing have lost. On some level, that’s really surprising, because both are honestly quite entertaining.

Think about it…thoroughbreds run a mile in less than two minutes. Saturday, a horse named Bodexpress violently threw his rider at the start of the Preakness and proceeded to run as he had been trained to do, even passing tiring horses in the backstretch. Frankly, it was stunning. I couldn’t take my eyes off it.

Boxing was about “stars,” of course, generations before the NBA marketed itself throughout the world that way. Forget about Muhammad Ali, the most famous athlete in the history of the world. How about Marvelous Marvin Hagler (he actually had his name legally changed) and “Sugar” Ray Leonard or even James “Bonecrusher” Smith and Mitch “Blood” Green? Boxing invented sports as entertainment! Everyone else just copied boxers and promoters, if you think about it.

So, what happened, exactly? Well, a lot. Sure, there have been demographic and other societal changes. How we look at animals, and what constitutes cruelty toward them, seems to be changing. As far as boxing goes, mixed martial arts had a lot to do with the sport’s perception as old-fashioned and boring. There’s always the important fact that boxing started to put all of its big-time events behind paywalls, an understandable decision with certain understandable consequences.

There’s also been, I think, a gravitational pull toward actual sports, as in games that people play.

Football truly blossomed in popularity when the game became about passing and speed and points, and 350-lb. lineman started to run like players 100 pounds lighter. Basketball players are quite simply the greatest athletes in the world, considering the game skills they possess combined with athletic talent. When hockey expanded to markets like Washington, D.C. and eventually even the Sun Belt, more people got exposed to the speed and skills that make the game great.

In the 21st century, it may seem like sports is about analytics and technology and performance, in the sense of athletic specimens like PGA champion Brooks Koepka and how he looks in a golf shirt. Really, though, sports is about skill. That’s what sells right now, and it makes complete sense.

Does boxing require skill? Of course, but that’s never what sold it. Do jockeys riding thoroughbreds have tremendous athleticism? Of course, but that’s never what’s sold the sport either. Rightly, I think, we celebrate athletic achievement in a very different way now.

Tomorrow...

The trials of Pimlico Race Course and the Preakness Stakes aside, the future (and present) of horse racing is of constant interest to those who truly love the game.

Deeds have been done — all the casino gambling approved and created to add to the live racing, the current push toward legalized sports gambling throughout the country, the closing of certain tracks that no longer made sense. We’ve reached the postmodern era, so to speak, and the suits and fedoras aren’t coming back.

In the recent past, there’s been some calls for a horse racing “commissioner,” or maybe even some kind of better federal oversight into an industry that exists in many states but is governed differently in every one. Perhaps that would help to solve some issues with corruption or drugs. Maybe that would be a boon to marketing the sport, or perhaps that would be a big mistake in that vein.

There are so many issues, however, that just aren’t truly solvable for the sport.

In 1960, for instance, the average number of races per year for a thoroughbred horse was just more than 11, slightly less than once per month. Fifty years later, the average number of starts for a horse was barely six per year, maybe once every two months.

For the owners of best horses, the ones that win high-level stakes races, there’s economic reasons not to race that far outweigh the reasons to race. On some level, that’s always been the case, since a great horse has always been more valuable (and long-lasting) at stud than he is on the track.

Those realities, however, aren’t good for honest fan interest in the sport. Great horses are here and gone. American Pharoah and Justify each won the Triple Crown, and each retired within months of that feat. Justify never raced as a two-year-old, ran six races as a three-year-old and then was gone. It’s easy to forget great achievements when the athletes who achieved them, even if they aren’t human, just disappear.

Thinking about horse racing, boxing, tennis and even golf, without Tiger Woods--the traditional individual sport is unlikely to ever to reach the pinnacle it reached back in those days of smoky rooms and three-piece suits. Like with the Triple Crown races, the “majors” get big publicity, as do the stars that win all the majors, and then the sport disappears for a while.

Sure, horse racing is becoming a smaller and smaller piece of the gambling industry. The other question, however, is if it can regain a bigger piece of the sports industry.

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this weekend in
college lacrosse


Contributed by #DMD's college lacrosse analyst
John Pusateri


ncaa lax final four is set


We saw a great weekend of games with 3 of 4 going to OT. And thanks to the shot clock, there was plenty back and forth action -- and scoring -- leaving no lead safe. And we had a little controversy, which was unfortunate for one of our own. Let's review how this weekend went:

Did Loyola's loss to Penn State derail Pat Spencer's chances of winning the Tewaarton Award?

Penn State 21 - Loyola 14 - The game's best offensive stars were on display and they did not disappoint. Pat Spencer had a monster game with 6 goals and 5 assists. Unfortunately, so did the Nittany Lions' Mac O'Keefe (9 goals) and Grant Ament (1 goal, 8 assists). In this defense optional game, Penn State's Gerard Arceri was the difference winning 22 of 36 draws against Loyola's Bailey Savio. And the Nittany Lions put those extra possessions to work, peppering goalie Jacob Stover with 54 shots, 40 of which were on cage. Stover played valiantly, making 19 saves. But Penn State's offense was a sight to behold.

Pat Spencer was clearly the best player on the field and did a lot more to earn his points than Ament who kept feeding a wide open O'Keefe, who in turn kept firing lasers. However, the Tewaaraton winner is usually the one whose team makes the deepest run into the post season. And if Ament has another big game next week, he'll likely win the award. At least the senior Spencer goes out on one of his best performances.

Yale 19 - Penn 18 OT - As advertised, the game of the weekend and one we should've witnessed in Philly in the Final Four next weekend. These two are two of the best in the NCAA and it showed. The Bulldogs had a two goal lead with less than 2 minutes left in the game. But Penn capitalized on a man-up with 47 seconds left, then won the ensuing face-off and scored the game tying goal with just 5 seconds left. However, the Quakers turned the ball over in overtime and Jack Tigh scored the game winner after slipping on the turf, only to recover his own loose ball and slip past 2 Penn defenders to net the game winner. Jackson Morrill (McDonogh) paced Yale with 4 goals and 3 assists.

Virginia 13 - Maryland 12 OT - Wild game in which Maryland seemed in control with pace of play and possession time. However, they never really pulled away and were only up by a goal at half, 6-5. After trading some goals early in the 3rd, the Terps went on a 5 goal run to lead Virgina 12-7 with over 10 minutes to play.

And then disaster struck in the 4th quarter as Virginia won every face-off, cashed in on a couple Terp penalties and then got a gift from the refs as a rocket from Cavalier attackman Michael Kraus struck the top crossbar so hard that it shook the net enough to convince the refs it was a goal in real-time to tie the game with 1:30 left. Slow motion replay confirmed the ball hitting the crossbar and never crossing the plane of the goal. Kraus also netted the game winner in OT on the first possession to end Maryland's season.

The Terps were led by Jared Bernhard (4 goals, 1 assist), Anthony DeMaio (4 goals) and Logan Wisnauskas (2 goals, 2 assists). Unfortunately, the Terps didn't get much help from the rest of the team. Tough way to end the season as it seemed the Terps played good enough to win, particularly when you consider the game tying goal controversy. Fortunately for the Terps, most of the offense comes back next season and should be poised to make another run deep into the tournament.

Duke 14 - Notre Dame 13 OT - This rubber match of ACC foes went down as expected with each trading runs. Notre Dame did battle back to take the lead with 7 minutes left. But the Blue Devils scored 3 of the last 4, including the game winner in OT. In the end, the Duke offense was the better shooting team and won the battle of the ground balls 30-25. Duke was led by Nakeie Montgomery (1 goal, 4 assists) and defenseman Cade Van Raaphoorst (5 GBs). Notre Dame was led by Ryder Garnsey (4 goals, 1 assist) and Bryan Costabile (Mount St. Joe's) (2 goals, 2 assists).

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Sunday
May 19
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#1728



we needed bigger rocks


Since sports in America is results-driven, let's get that out of the way first.

Loyola outplayed my Calvert Hall team yesterday and won the MIAA A-Conference golf championship, 14-7, at Caves Valley. We can't, and won't, offer any excuses or regrets. We played well, but not well enough to beat Loyola on Satuday. They played better golf than we did.

But the rest of the story is what I'll remember more than what happened yesterday over 12 holes of golf.

We had an amazing four months together, filled with learning and fun and experiences that will hopefully make every young man on the team better in the future.

At the beginning of the season, I tell my team this: "If you love golf more at the end of the season than you love it right now, that's all that matters." Then it becomes my job to help make that happen. And that's essentially how I judge my role and my competency. If they love golf more in May than they did in January, I did what I set out to do as their coach.

Calvert Hall Golf, Caves Valley, May 18, 2019.

So the first thing I asked them yesterday as we stood behind the 3rd green was that same question: "I told you this back in January. So now, I'm going to ask you. 'Do you love golf more right now than you did in January?'"

I asked each one of them. Each of them said "yes".

They won.

They didn't win yesterday's championship golf match, but they won "the season". And my three seniors will go off to do great things and, I believe, likely be someone's club champion in the future. One of them is headed to Roanoke College to play golf down there. He'll start a new journey in September and hopefully be able to use what he learned at Calvert Hall to become an outstanding college golfer.

Seven of the ten players will return next season. As we stood together after the match yesterday, I asked them if they wanted the secret to getting the trophy instead of finishing runner-up. "Do you want the secret?", I asked each of them. They all said "yes" or nodded in the affirmative.

"You have to become better at golf..."

There is no secret, obviously, although I think Ben Hogan came as close as anyone to discovering it when he said, "Dig it out of the dirt." And that's what my seven returning players will need to do over the next eight months. They'll need to work hard, play in tournaments, win and lose, and, ultimately "dig it out of the dirt".

At our season-ending party last night, I remarked that I couldn't have been any more proud of them, even had we come out on top yesterday. And that's the truth. The history books won't show that, obviously, but the amount of pride I had for those young men wouldn't have been elevated with a win on Saturday over Loyola.

Our motto for the season was "Stay In It". And we did that all the way to the very end. The final hole yesterday was anti-climatic. Loyola had sealed the deal a hole or two earlier when their first four players had accumulated enough points to win. I knew as much on the 11th green.

When we got to the 12th tee, one of the two CHC players in the final group said, "It's not looking good, is it coach?" You can sense such things in a golf match. The Loyola team was behind the 11th green and their mood was elevated. Our team was behind the 11th green in a more somber state. You could have figured it out quite easily.

"No," I said to him, "Today wasn't our day. But you know what we're going to do here? We're going to play this hole out to the very end as if it does matter. I'd love to see you make birdie on your last hole as a senior. And let's help your partner (the other Calvert Hall player in our group) make a birdie here as well and win three points in his match. It's important to him as a 9th grader to finish strong on this hole."

I paused for a second. And then reminded them one last time in 2019: "Stay In It".

"You got it, Coach," he said.

And with that, both players finished the day with birdie putts on the last green, with the match entirely decided. One of them stopped a foot short and the other lipped out of the hole. Pars went on the scorecard, but they made a birdie in the "Stay In It" department. Both of them hit great drives, perfect lay up shots on the par 5 hole, and nice pitch shots within 12-15 feet of the hole.

The only thing we didn't do on Saturday was win the match. But we won in a lot of other ways.

At our team breakfast yesterday, my outstanding assistant, Brian Hubbard, delivered an awesome short story about David and Goliath and talked about the fact that Goliath stood on the hill for 40 days and begged for someone to come and fight him. Finally, David said, "I'll go" and he headed off with a slingshot and five rocks.

We used the David and Goliath theme this week to remind our guys that someone has to go and fight. In our case, six young men got the privilege of playing in the final match. The David and Goliath story really isn't all that much about underdog and favorite, although that's what most people tend to take from it. We focused on something different. We simply reminded our team that someone had to go fight Goliath and they had to use whatever abilities they had to try and beat him. There was no "special sauce". David just went with what he had that day, and was fortunate to beat him.

So our six guys went with what they had on Saturday and gave it their all. As it turned out, we needed bigger rocks to beat an exceptional Loyola team.

On a personal note, I can't say "thank you" enough to those who supported us all season, and yesterday in particular. We had roughly 60 supporters out there, including several #DMD readers who introduced themselves before the match.

We were honored to have three of our former honorary captains at yesterday's breakfast, the honorable Mike Gill '68, Frank Miller '75 and Dave Smearman '83. It was great having them join us at breakfast.

Those who came out and supported us were much appreciated, I can assure you. Parents, friends, Calvert Hall grads and personal friends of mine...all of you were very kind to give up your Saturday afternoon to come out and watch. You were noticed, trust me.

In our pre-match prayer, we always say this, "Father, we ask that you give us humility in victory or peace in defeat."

We have peace. We gave it our all and came up short.

We'll be back in 2020. We're staying in it.

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i assume that's last call


I couldn't be at the Preakness yesterday, obviously, but I sat in front of the TV starting at around 6:15 pm and watched the pre-race festivities on TV.

It struck me, as I'm sure it did many of you, that I could very well be watching the final Preakness at Pimlico.

Someone at our Calvert Hall golf team party asked me how many times I'd been. It got me to thinking. So I went to my phone and tried to figure it out, using the winning horses as my memory guide.

I think I've seen 14 of them in person, but haven't been since 2011 when Shackleford won and that rat-fink Mike Smith choked in the final 300 yards on Astrology and cost me about $8,800.

That's a good reason to not go back, huh?

Did War of Will win the last Preakness to be run at Pimlico?

But as I watched it yesterday, reality set in that this could be "last call" for Pimlico. Nothing is set in stone, of course, but it's sure looking more and more like the powers that be are aiming towards moving the race to Laurel in 2020 or shortly thereafter.

They'd have to announce that move fairly soon, obviously. While it's "only one day", the event itself is a 12-month task.

"How do you think the race would do down there in Laurel?" someone asked yesterday as we watched the pre-race coverage.

"I'm sure they'd wind up marketing it as a D.C. event," I surmised. "They'd try and pull from D.C. and Northern Virginia, where there are bigger business and more affluent people. It would take a while, but if they stick with it, they could certainly turn it into a D.C. showcase event."

Sadly, that would also mean it's no longer a "Baltimore event".

Anyone who lives in and around Baltimore knows that we consider Laurel a D.C. suburb. It always has been. And if the race gets moved to the race track on 198, Baltimore will no longer be the host of the Preakness.

Ultimately, should we care? I mean, should we really care? Anyone who loves the Preakness and horse racing can still go if the race moves to Laurel. There's nothing stopping you, other than, potentially, fewer available tickets due to less room for race-goers.

If you don't go to the Preakness now, why would you care if the race moves to Laurel? You weren't going when it was in Baltimore. You're likely not going if it's in Laurel.

Would it be a black eye for Baltimore to have the Preakness shift from Pimlico to Laurel? Of course it would. There's 144 years of tradition built up. "Sweat equity", if you will. But with the race track on Northern Parkway unsafe and the lack of funds to overhaul it, the writing is on the wall. Sadly, it looks like it's over.

It would be disappointing to see it go, but the Preakness, like a lot of things in Baltimore, has been ignored for a long, long time by city and state officials. The city, of course, wants the race in Baltimore. The state? They don't care, as long as the event is bringing people to Maryland. Laurel is just fine with them.

I hope I'm wrong, but my guess is the next Preakness will be run at Laurel Park. In some ways, I'll miss it. In other ways, I won't. The saga surrounding the race has become so off-putting that it's probably best to see if Laurel is, in fact, a better fit for the event.

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Saturday
May 18
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#1727



that's enough evidence, brooks


In an interesting twist of fate, Tiger Woods got to see firsthand over the last two days what playing against Tiger Woods was like circa 2004 when he was routinely winning golf's major championships.

Brooks Koepka even referenced Woods in his post-round comments on Friday after posting a 5-under round of 65 that moved him seven shots clear of the field after 36 holes at the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.

"I remember watching Tiger just crush people," Koepka told reporters. "And he did it by just keeping his head down and pounding those drives and then hitting iron shots to six feet all day. I learned from that. It's a good way to play golf."

Indeed it is. Especially if you can do it on golf's biggest stage and with Woods in your group.

Koepka sits at 12-under par through two rounds, with a handful of guys playing for second place at 5-under, including Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott. Koepka's emergence as one of the world's best players isn't "new news". He won the 2017 U.S. Open and then captured that same tournament last summer and added the PGA Championship in August for his third major title in six tries (he missed the '18 Masters with an injury).

12-under par in the first two rounds of a major championship? Ho-hum stuff for Brooks Koepka.

A win at Bethpage this week would put Koepka in some rare air. He'd have as many major championships (at age 29, remember) as Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Ray Floyd, each of whom captured four of them. Four majors would put Koepka just one behind Phil Mickelson (5) and two behind Lee Trevino and Nick Faldo (6).

There was a time when it seemed inevitable that McIlroy and Spieth would both wind up chasing double digit major wins, but now, today, the smart money would go on Koepka to finish with more majors than either of those players.

All he has to do is finish the job at Bethpage this weekend. Ask any player if he'd rather have a 7-shot lead through two rounds or be trailing by 7 and he'd always say "leading", but Koepka knows he has to finish the deal or else this would go down as one of golf's great weekend collapses.

"I'm teeing it up Saturday with the mindset I have to go shoot 65 again to stay in the lead," Koepka said on Friday night.

Another 65 should do that, I'd think.

Brooks has Brandel Chamblee of The Golf Channel to thank for some of his inspired play of late. Chamblee, who targeted Tiger Woods for most of 2018 under Woods shut him up with a win at The TOUR Championship last September, has continually poked at Koepka this spring, citing his apparent lack of enthusiasm as a sign that "he doesn't care" and then this week demanding he see "more evidence" that Koepka is indeed a "world class player".

Koepka brought a box of evidence to the post-round interview room yesterday. It was called "12 under par and leading by 7 shots."

I get it. Chamblee has to say something to try and set himself apart from other TV golf analysts. His weekly jabs and digs at Woods during his four year "down period" were justified, albeit a little tiring given Tiger's inability to play due to injury. But to question Koepka, with three major wins in two years and a runner-up finish at The Masters in April? Dumb stuff, if you ask me.

Right now, today, Brooks Koepka is the best player in the world. Forget what the stats say. He's showed, since that U.S. Open win at Erin Hills in 2017, that he's the guy to beat whenever a major championship is played.

One needs no more evidence from him.

Speaking of Woods, he retired to the comfort of his 155 foot yacht last night on Long Island and packed his gear after a 5-over par 36-hole total left him one shot off the cut line. If you're looking for one shot that summed up Tiger's first two days, it was the very last one he hit on Friday, from the middle of the fairway at Bethpage's 18th hole.

Knowing he needed a birdie to make the cut, Woods drove his ball perfectly (a real rarity on Friday) and was left with 112 yards to the hole. Professional golfers eat up 112 yard shots. The best player to ever play the game swallows that shot whole.

Woods came out of it badly, fanning it and leaving himself with a birdie chip from off the green that had no real chance of going in. Whether that was rust, fatigue or simply "not having it" -- as Woods said afterwards -- the final shot that sealed his fate was woefully poor.

Tiger drove the ball terribly on Friday. He missed all but three fairways, and although several of those misses were just a foot or two in the rough, the result (not being able to make clean contact) was the same as missing it by 15 feet.

On Thursday, his short game and putting were both sub-standard, and that's being kind.

Yes, Woods could have made the cut with just one or two of those putts he missed going in, that's true. But he wasn't beating Brooks Koepka on Thursday and Friday. And Woods knows that better than anyone, since he got to watch all of Koepka's 63 shots on Thursday and 65 shots on Friday.

Unlike Brandel Chamblee, Tiger doesn't need to see any more evidence that it's Koepka's tournament to win.

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this weekend in
college lacrosse


Contributed by #DMD's college lacrosse analyst
John Pusateri


weekend college lacrosse preview


With the exception of Towson and their loss to Maryland, chalk ruled last weekend. And so did the 3 main conferences including ACC, B1G and Ivy. Not so much the case this weekend as all teams remaining have beat one of the other teams still remaining in the tournament. Which is good for the fans because these should all be good games.

On the flipside, it makes calling a winner of each all the more challenging. So if you're of the gambling sort, you might be best served to keep your money in your pocket. All games will be broadcast on ESPNU, with Saturday's games being hosted at Hofstra University, NY and Sunday's games in Fairfield University, CT.

#3 Virginia vs Maryland (Saturday, 12:00 pm)

Two things stood out in Maryland's win over Towson: 1) Goalie Danny Dolan played one of his better games of the season. 2) The Terps can score and win when the other team takes away their top scorers, Bernhardt and Wisnauskas. They also demonstrated grit in being down to Towson most of the game, but never losing their cool and battling back to win. And this is a credit to Coach Tillman as he's a big reason the Terps have consistently gone deep into this tournament every season he's coached.

Two things stand out for the Cavaliers: 1) Virginia is generating 8+ shots more per game (45.2 to 36.6) than the Terps which results in Virginia scoring 1.6 more goals per game (14.3 and 12.7). And 2) Virginia has been the more consistent team down the stretch against the good teams. Therefore, I see Virginia being more capable of putting points than Maryland's last opponent and I don't think Dolan won't have as good of a game in the pipes. The Terps make this a good game, but Virginia advances to the Final Four by the score of 14-12.

#2 Duke vs #7 Notre Dame (Saturday, 2:30 pm)

This game represents thee rubber match between these two ACC foes and may be one of the lower scoring matches of the weekend given these teams are two of the better NCAA defensive teams, but also two of the lower scoring offenses. Duke seemed to show some rust after an extended layoff from losing early in the ACC tournament (to Notre Dame) in their win against Richmond. Meanwhile the Irish continued their streak of alternating a win with a loss for the last 11 games.

However, the big difference in last week's ND win was the return of their leading scorer, Ryder Garnsey who was academically eligible all season, but showed up against Hopkins to score 3 goals and an assist. This game will come down to which goalie will play better. And I think the addition of a well-rested Garnsey will make the difference as the Irish finally break the win/loss/win streak and win their 2nd straight, beating Duke 12-11.

Pat Spencer and Loyola could do double damage on Sunday. With a win over Penn State they get rid of the #1 seed AND advance to the NCAA lacrosse Final Four again.

#1 Penn State vs #8 Loyola (Sunday, 12:00 pm)

One word to describe this game: Fireworks! This one features the best offense against one of the best offenses. The Nittany Lions are led by NCAA scoring leader Mac O'Keefe and Tewaaraton finalist Grant Ament. The Greyhounds counter with Kevin Lindley, #2 in scoring, and Tewaarton finalist Pat Spencer, #3 in total points (goals and assists).

As a sidenote, the winner of this game may very well decide the winner of the Tewaaraton trophy as the nation's best player. Interestingly, both teams hold other teams to around 10 goals per game. Penn State does it by keep away, with Gerard Arceri winning over 60% of his face-offs. Loyola does it by goaltending with nations #2 goalie in Jacob Stover (59.4% save pct).

Trying to find a downside for each is a challenge. For Loyola, looking at 2 of their 4 losses (Towson and Boston), they were dominated at the face-off X, which Arceri is very capable of. For Penn State, it's a defense that is very susceptible and can give up goals. The Blue Jays won the faceoff matchup and put up 17 goals in the B1G finale. UMBC barely had the ball and still managed to score 10 goals last weekend. Needless to say, if you bet this game, take the over.

As for the winner, I think the Nittany Lions will win enough faceoffs to the extra saves Stover would need to make (at least 20) to win this game, which I don't see the Greyhound goalie doing. Both teams will wear out the nets. But unfortunately, another local team goes down as Penn State outlasts Loyola 18-15.

#4 Penn vs #5 Yale (Sunday 2:30 pm)

While the previous game will feature lots of scoring, this replay of the Ivy League championship should be the best of the whole weekend. A true bare knuckles heavyweight brawl. And arguably a match-up deserved of a Final Four game. But let's enjoy this one while we can.

Penn won the first 2 games by 1 goal each. Two big anomalies went in Penn's favor to make that happen. Yale's Tewaaraton finalist face-off specialist TD Irelan (the nations best FOGO) lost and did just OK against Penn's Kyle Gallagher in this year's previous contests. And Penn goalie Reed Junkin had two of his best games of the season while Yale goalie Jack Starr played average in the first and below average in the 2nd loss. One if not both of those anomolies will even out in this game as I see the Bulldogs getting there revenge 14-12 over the Quakers to advance to the final four to defend their title.

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Friday
May 17
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#1726



we're bringing rocks with us


Almost four months to the day that it started, our Calvert Hall golf season is going to end tomorrow at Caves Valley.

We're in the Championship Final.

It's our first appearance in the Final since 2013, when we beat Gilman in my first year as the Cardinals' head coach. The following year we fell in the semifinals and haven't been close to getting back to Caves Valley since.

But this year, we made it. And after two months of fitness work that started in mid-January, a 5-day spring trip to Pinehurst in late March, and a grueling 12-match regular season schedule, we're one win away from the MIAA A-Conference title.

The challenge, though, is very daunting.

We're taking on an extremely talented Loyola team tomorrow. They are very, very good.

We both finished the regular season 9-3. Calvert Hall was very fortunate to squeak out an 11.5 to 9.5 win at Loyola's course on April 30. It all came down to one four-foot putt and our player made it to win the match for us. The following week at our home course, Loyola turned the tables on us with an emphatic 14-7 win.

The odds are stacked against us tomorrow, but we're excited to be there with a chance to win. Loyola has played Caves Valley as recently as two years ago in the Final vs. St. Paul's, while we haven't been there since 2013.

Since 2015, Loyola has gone 10-1 against us, including a playoff win in 2017. We're not unaware of that stat, as I'm sure they're not. "Uphill climb for Calvert Hall" might be putting it lightly.

I know what you're thinking: Looks like the Patriots vs. the Eagles in the Super Bowl a couple of years ago. I wonder if Nick Foles is around tomorrow to help us out?

Oh, and over the last few weeks, while we were scraping together narrow wins including an 11.5 to 9.5 nailbiter over Spalding this past Wednesday in the semifinals, Loyola has been clobbering everyone in their path, including the 3-time defending champions (St. Paul's), Spalding and, as I referenced above, Calvert Hall back on May 9.

It's David (us) vs. Goliath (them) tomorrow at Caves Valley.

I can only hope Saturday's story ends the same way the famous Bible story ended, with David winning the fight. We'll be bringing some big rocks to Caves Valley tomorrow.

For those here in Baltimore -- sorry to bring this up, I know it still hurts -- it's the MIAA's version of Super Bowl III, only we're not running around "guaranteeing a victory" like Joe Namath did. We sure would love to win, though.

One thing for certain: We'll show up and put our best foot forward. It's the only way we know how to play. We don't do anything ultra-flashy. We're just a blue collar team that grinds out most of our wins. Loyola is flashy and talented and very deep. We get it. We're a significant underdog on Saturday. The Dons don't have any weaknesses.

I think you'd like my team. We have a roster of ten great kids. They've worked their tails off since January. They've grown as young men and teammates. When we first met back in January, I gave them three words and asked that they follow them: Stay In It. And they've done just that, all the way to the end of the line.

We'll bring some rocks tomorrow and see if we can stand toe to toe with them the way David stood up to Goliath.

It is golf, after all. You never know what might happen.

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places i've been, things i've seen


As is often in the case when I come up with things like this week's "project", it all starts out with the "winner" in my mind and then I work backwards from there. This was one of those occasions.

I knew from the very beginning which two places I've been and things I've seen would be the final two for Friday's edition. There was never a doubt in my mind.

Now, granted, one of them is very sport specific and I don't think you'd be interested in shelling out big bucks to go experience it if you're not a participant or follower of that sport.

The other one, though, can be seen through several different angles and it's well, well worth visiting.

I hope you've enjoyed this week's feature.

Let's wrap it up.

Negro League Baseball Museum

I've never been in a building that moved me as much as the Negro League Museum did when I first visited back in 2008.

"Stirring" is probably the best word I can use.

It's a remarkable place, plain and simple.

Because it's small, you can do the whole tour in roughly 90 minutes. It's not like Cooperstown, where you're in for the long haul when you arrive.

But once you're in that Negro League Museum in Kansas City (right next door to the American Jazz museum, which is also a must-visit place), you completely understand what those men faced and how triumphant it was for them to finally break through and play in the Majors.

When you read the letter that says "Teams are prohibited from signing colored players to a contract" you get the message. Loud and clear.

It's an incredible place, baseball fan or not. The pictures, the videos, the stories...you'll feel an incredible range of emotions, from shame and disgust to hope and elation, all within about 20 minutes or so.

Get to Kansas City and visit the Negro League Baseball Museum. It's something you'll never forget.


Augusta National Golf Club

I get it. If you're not a golfer, this has very little appeal to you.

But if you are a golfer and if the Masters tingles your spine every April, you simply have to figure out a way to go to Augusta National Golf Club at some point in your life.

As I tell everyone who asks me about it: "You'll never watch the tournament the same way again."

It's an amazing golf course, filled with nooks and crannies you'd never see or understand by just watching it on television. I've chronicled the course many times here at #DMD. It's far more hilly than you realize and the green complexes are incredibly complicated. That golfers tour that place in 14, 15 and 16 under par for four days is quite remarkable given what they face. That's why they're best in the world at what they do.

Sure, the food prices are crazy low and the merchandise prices are crazy high.

The facility is impeccably maintained. There's not a blade of grass out of place. And if it is, they remove that blade of grass and tell it to never come back.

Yes, there's a certain stuffiness about Augusta National that seems a little off-putting.

But the golf course is a gem. It's what diamonds want to be when they grow up. It's the greatest place I've ever seen.


from the desk of
brien jackson

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



It's time for professional sports to do something about "tanking."

No, that statement isn't directed at the Orioles, though it's obviously relevant to them. It was actually the Eastern Conference semi-final series between the 76er's and Raptors that got me thinking about that. Even if you're not an NBA fan, you might remember the period not that long ago when the 76er's mantra was "trust the process." That was in reference to general manger hotshot Sam Hinke's constant practice of swapping anyone and everyone for packages centered around draft picks, a pretty brazen if not necessarily explicit strategy of scourging a roster in the short term for the potential to draft a superstar, or multiple superstars, down the road.

And it worked, kind of. If we're being fair to Hinke, he actually was using his high draft picks (as opposed to say, Cleveland, who was eager as could be to pass up even the second overall pick just to acquire more picks) and didn't have terrible results. Joel Embiid has been a difference making big man when he's been healthy, and Michael Carter-Williams was the 2014 Rookie of the Year. Hinke would go on to trade him, on the other hand. Even Jhalil Okafor was a well regarded prospect when Hinke picked him 3rd overall, he just hasn't been healthy in his professional career.

Still, there was really no denying what Hinke's strategy was, and though he wouldn't admit to tanking he certainly did wink at the accusations. And in the long run it's mostly worked for them, even if it did get Hinke fired. The 76er's did accumulate a lot of assets, they were able to draft Ben Simmons to pair with a mostly healthy Embiid and acquire a star in Jimmy Butler, and despite losing a close series they were certainly contenders in the East this year.

Mike Elias and the Orioles are losing on purpose in 2019 with hopes that it all pays off in three or four years.

In the NFL, the Browns took tanking to a whole new level. Like the 76er's, the Sashi Brown era Browns barely hid that they were borderline trying to maximize losses in years they had themselves deemed to be "rebuilding" ones. But unlike the 76er's did with players like Embiid and Okafor, the Browns didn't even necessarily bother to actually pick top prospects when they had top picks, even quarterbacks. In what once seemed like monumental blunders, the Browns traded away the picks that would become Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson (they did pick Myles Garret with the number one overall pick, to be fair) in an effort to stockpile additional picks, which Brown acknowledged he saw as "lottery tickets" in a close-to-literal sense.

And much like with the 76er's, it seems as though the strategy ended up working out for Cleveland. Passing on Watson eventually led to them drafting Baker Mayfield and Denzel Ward. Mayfield looked like a stud in his rookie year, and by adding players like Jarvis Landry, Kareem Hunt, and Odell Beckham Jr. the Browns are amassing a scary looking offense on paper. They haven't won anything yet, obviously, but it's hard to argue against the proposition that they're in a much better place than they were four years ago, and that losing an exorbitant number of games and making all of those trades down the board didn't help put them in this position.

But it's in baseball where the concept of tanking has taken off, probably because baseball is unique in that that strategy of losing a bunch of games to maximize draft value also coincides with ownership's interest in reducing costs to the highest degree. This was the pitch when Jeff Lunhow's crew brought the concept to the league in Houston: If the team is going to be bad anyway, it's pretty to be really bad than just pretty bad, and along those lines it's better to be cheap in the name of being really bad than to spend additional money on big league talent to take the roster up to the level of being pretty bad.

In theory this is a prudent form of money savings that doubles up a team's long term resources: Not only do you get better draft picks that might become Carlos Correa or Alex Bregman, but the money you didn't save on a mediocre outfielder to take you from 58 wins to 60 wins is money you can spend 2 or 3 years later on a mediocre outfielder to round out a roster and take you from 90 wins to 92 wins....which might be the difference in making or not making the postseason. It hasn't exactly worked out that way, as while all of the big market teams who went through substantial rebuilds have brought their payrolls back up, none of them have gone far beyond what they were spending prior to the rebuild, and certainly haven't applied any of the surplus they saved during the rebuild to subsequent payrolls to substantially increase them.

But they have won for the most part. Houston and Chicago won World Series championships. The Yankees, who didn't have to do a total tear down but did essentially punt the end of the 2016 season have been among the league's best teams for the past two seasons and boast a terrific young core. The Phillies are in first place right now. So there's no denying that what we're seeing the Orioles do now, among many teams honestly, is sound strategy which has been proven to be able to deliver the desired results if executed properly.

And there's no doubt that the Orioles were in a situation like the Astros, Cubs, and Phillies had found themselves in: With a big league roster that absolutely stunk and was going to take years to turn around. In no way, shape, or form am I faulting them for their rebuilding strategy or saying that they need to change it.

But frankly, this era of professional sports kind of stinks. There's a real problem when a 2-12 team plays a 3-11 team at the end of the NFL season and all of the announcers and TV talking heads are openly musing that the loser of the game is the real winner because they've improved their draft stock. Not because that's wrong, but because it's right. And that's a little bit absurd. The basis of the game is supposed to be pitting two teams against each other who are both trying to win, no matter how much better one might be than the other, and when one team isn't trying to win we're losing a little bit of the "sports" side of the equation in favor of the "professional" side.

Don't get me wrong, Brandon Hyde and all of the players in uniform care a lot about whether they win or lose every night, but Mike Elias doesn't. Not really. Not yet. At a certain point if he was being honest he'd probably even admit that he prefers losing. Because it really is better to lose 110 games than it is to lose 90 games. Heck, as a consequence of our increasingly championship-or-bust view of sports fandom there might even be people out there who think losing 110 games and starting to stockpile young controllable prospects is better than going 84-78 and missing the playoffs by 8 games. And they'd probably have a pretty decent argument to make.

I'm not saying that it's the wrong thing for anyone to do, or that the teams employing the strategy aren't being smart about maximizing wins in the long term. For the most part they are. It's just that watching teams do the smart thing doesn't necessarily mean we're watching them create the most entertaining product for us, the fans. And watching bad teams compete with one not to stay out of the cellar, but to get into the cellar, is not my idea of entertainment on most nights.

The systems that today's smart GMs are exploiting don't have to stay stagnant forever, the leagues can and should change the rules to incentivize even the bad teams to try to win as many games as they can. One way to do so would be to rework draft selection orders so that rather than the team with the worst record getting the best pick, you do something like take the worst 10 teams in the league and give them the top 10 picks in the draft, but with the worst team getting the 10th pick while the team in that group with the most wins gets the number one pick.

There are a number of proposals like that to disincentivize losing big, and a lot of smart people trying to figure out how to rework the systems that other smart people have "hacked," as the kids say these days. The leagues really ought to be paying attention to them, or at least take a view that even the perception that multiple teams in every one of their sports are willing to maximize losses rather than wins for anything below .500 at least. Sports is at its best from everyone's vantage point when every win matters, and its imperative on the people running those sports today to rework their rules so that team's win by winning, not losing.

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Thursday
May 16
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#1725



places i've been, things i've seen


Completely by happenstance, David Rosenfeld and I wrote, in part, about the same thing today.

I don't want to spoil it for you, so I won't make much comment here on what you'll see from him below. But you'll find it interesting, as always.

I'm nearing the end of this week's project, "Places I've been, Things I've seen", with two more today and the final two tomorrow. I hope you've enjoyed it.

I haven't seen every sports stadium, arena or complex in my life. I took a few minutes yesterday to try and think about exactly how many I have been privileged to see. I think it's somewhere around 90, which includes college campus facilities as well.

But two of them stand out above the rest, I must say.

And here they are...

Fenway Park --

If you haven't been, please go.

It's that simple.

Sure, it's old and decrepit in spots. The seating is tight. It's not "modern" by any means.

But it's Fenway Park. And it's still there. And they can still play baseball in it, all these years later.

It's akin to seeing Springsteen or The Stones. Bruce might not be able to hit the high notes on Jungleland or Badlands these days, but he's still plenty good enough, even as he approaches 70 years old.

Fenway Park is Bruce Springsteen.

Luxurious? Not a chance.

Historical and embracing and worthy of your adoration? Every. Single. Day.

"Cozy confines" is a term often used in sports when describing a particular arena or sports facility. That term fits Fenway Park like a glove. It's cozy, for sure. And when you're sitting there on a summer night watching a baseball game, your mind is allowed to wander to its fullest. You can see Carlton Fisk. And Yaz. And -- gulp -- David Ortiz, even.

But more than the Red Sox players themselves, what you see at Fenway Park is 1950 again. Give or take a few thousand new seats, a handful of paint jobs over the years, and a number of modern mechanical touches, you're seeing Fenway Park now as those 40, 50 and 60 years ago saw it.

It's indeed a treasure.

If you haven't ever been, you must go.


I spoiled this one a bit earlier in the week, but I can't leave it off. You must go see a football game at Notre Dame stadium in South Bend, Indiana.

I get it. Notre Dame has a particular appeal to those of the Catholic religion and perhaps not so much appeal to others. I understand that, for certain. But it's college football that draws the sports fan to Notre Dame. And it's one amazing place.

South Bend isn't the easiest place to get to and the campus itself is situated just off the borders of a traditional midwest neighborhood. Like most places you dream of seeing and then finally do -- it won't be at all what you expect. And that's why you go...

The stadium, much like Fenway Park, is a throwback. Bench seating in the second level will be your first indicator that the stadium at Notre Dame is different. And while you're sitting there enjoying the game, you'll look around and say, "Wow, there sure are a lot of people here." It's incredible, really.

You can -- and should -- walk the campus while you're there and get a real feel for Notre Dame the school. It's an amazing place. The Grotto of our Lady of Lourdes is a MUST SEE if you make it to Notre Dame for a game. The peace and serenity of it all is breathaking.

I've seen a lot of college campuses in my day. Most are very forgettable. Notre Dame is unforgettable.

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"The Keen Eye" of David Rosenfeld

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


odds and ends


No Mo Romo --

Over the past few years at #DMD, we’ve all enjoyed reading about the site’s namesake and the various golf challenges he’s undertaken, in particular his attempts to qualify for national championships.

It’s quite obvious from hearing these stories that, no matter how good you are, playing this type of tournament golf is a different kind of pressure, even for seasoned club professionals and high-level amateurs.

So, considering how much we like hearing about these tests, you’d think I’d like hearing and reading about Tony Romo, the former Cowboys quarterback and current CBS football analyst who played in last weekend’s Byron Nelson tournament on the PGA Tour and then tried to qualify for the U.S. Open this week.

I don’t, though. In fact, I find it really annoying.

And it doesn’t have anything to do with the sponsor exemption that Romo received to get into the Nelson event. These tournaments get to make those decisions, and the occasional choice of Romo or Steph Curry or somebody more anonymous isn’t hurting anyone.

Nope. What annoys me is that Romo actually believes that he can be a professional golfer.

Romo says that golf is now his “livelihood,” and “what he does every day.” The second one is fine; he’s got the time, and the money to hire good coaches, and is clearly an excellent player. The first one? It’s just not going to happen.

One of his coaches recently said, about Romo, that “a lot of people in golf get to a certain level and they kind of stay at that same level, so if he keeps getting better every day, he’s going to start catching up and passing some of those guys.”

Is that really true? I doubt it. Even he’s passes some of those guys, there will always be players who’ve spent a life preparing for pro golf that take their place.

I’m not here to tell Tony Romo to stop chasing his dream, and I appreciate the competitiveness that lies within pro athletes. I just like him better as a really good amateur golfer and a surprisingly entertaining football commentator.

I Beg to Differ --

I’m a lucky traveler myself, for sports and otherwise. I think about all the “old” places I’ve been—Fenway Park and Wrigley Field (both still around); Tiger Stadium and the old Yankee Stadium (now gone). The Palestra and Cameron Indoor Stadium—when they’re full. 90 miles away from Baltimore you’ll still find the old Hersheypark Arena, a hockey arena where Wilt Chamberlain once scored 100 points in a basketball game.

There’s no doubt that, in retrospect, I’m glad I’ve been able to put a check mark on these places and others on the bucket list inside my head. But I also remember what else went through my head at the time.

"Frankly, it's kind of disgusting" -- #DMD's David Rosenfeld.

These are buildings, not people. Old is old. These places have outlived their usefulness, and actually make the experience worse than it would be otherwise.

It’s almost a joke that multimillion-dollar sports properties like the Red Sox and Cubs play in the facilities that they do. I don’t think I’ve ever been more disappointed in a place than I was at Wrigley Field — frankly, it’s kind of disgusting. Fenway looks like a Minor League park; honestly, in 2019, an organization like the Boston Red Sox is deserving of something worthier of its importance to the community.

Cameron features the ultimate dichotomy — the best college basketball program of the last 40 years playing in what’s certainly the worst facility of its peers, not to mention a whole bunch of programs that couldn’t beat Duke’s bench players if they were spotted a 10-point lead.

These days, in the era of high-definition broadcasts on 75-inch televisions in man caves, we often talk about the numerous advantages of not going to the game. Usually, we talk about it in terms of traffic, and the security hassles, and the sheer amount of money and time it takes to make a day of it.

Sometimes the spot where you have to go isn’t so great anymore either. It’s a lot of fun to see places that belong on the National Register of Historic Places, but it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be replaced by something better.

He’s a Great Coach --

I heard several analysts question the Cavaliers’ hire of Michigan coach John Beilein as their new head coach. He’s a nice guy, and has teams that are fun to watch, but he’s just a college coach, you know? He’s not even a college coach who’s won the national championship. Close, but no cigar. Plus, he’s 66 years old. What’s the deal, Dan Gilbert?

Here’s the truth. Lots and lots of college basketball coaches are much better coaches than many of the guys wearing expensive suits in the NBA. The fact that John Calipari and Rick Pitino weren’t so great 20 years ago doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

The Lakers just recycled Frank Vogel, already the head coach for two NBA teams before being fired, and insisted he hire Jason Kidd, a Hall of Fame player and mildly successful coach with an interesting personal history.

Count me as one who thinks that taking a chance on Beilein is a better move than that one. Also count me as one who thinks that Beilein might have been taking a chance that Zion Williamson would have fallen into his team’s lap. Oh well…

One other thing. Gilbert, the Cavaliers’ owner, is a Michigan State graduate. Rumor, and good reporting, has it that he’s asked Tom Izzo if he’d like to be the Cavaliers’ coach plenty of times, and each time he’s gotten the same “no” answer. So, he’s probably been looking to the college game for a while, not just this time.

The most interesting fact about Beilein is that he’s never been an assistant coach at any level of basketball. He was a head coach of a high school team, a community college team, teams at both the NCAA Division III and Division II levels, and four schools (Canisius, Richmond, West Virginia and Michigan) at the NCAA Division I level.

At 66, this seems like the final step in that story for Beilein, who maybe decided that he’d like the spend the final years of his career not doing all the extraneous things besides basketball that a college coach must do.

No Big Waves --

No team has really made any kind of great waves through the first quarter of the baseball season, have they? It always seems like someone goes absolutely crazy early on and makes their postseason appearance a foregone conclusion by the middle of May.

The Astros are close, I suppose, with a seven-game lead already. With Seattle coming back to Earth after a ridiculous first three weeks, only Mike Trout (really, only him) can keep any team in the AL West competitive with Houston.

The statistics so far—both of the modern sabermetric kind and the traditional kind—would indicate that Houston is one of the best offensive baseball teams of all time. Like—adjusted for certain variables—in line with the 1927 Yankees, and better than the 1976 “Big Red Machine” or the 1982 Brewers, known as “Harvey’s Wallbangers” after manager Harvey Kuenn.

Meanwhile, the defending World Series champions entered this week having won five in a row, eight of their last nine and 11 of their last 13. Boston played three games against the Mariners at Fenway last weekend and scored 34 runs in three wins. Don’t be surprised if the Sox are in first place by mid-June.

There’s a real possibility, I suppose, that the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays get involved in a legitimate pennant race in the AL East, with the Orioles and Jays as year-long punching bags. The fact that those two teams are so far below the other three makes the likelihood of one of those top three teams breaking away much lower, considering the unbalanced schedule.

As for the Orioles, they really haven’t made any great waves either, unless you count Chris Davis and his .290 average the past month. They are just about where we’d expect them to be, with the pitching being particularly horrendous as we expected. That is, of course, except for 26-year-old lefty John Means, an 11th-round draft pick in 2014. If you had him at No. 7 in WAR for American League pitchers, alongside guys like Justin Verlander and Trevor Bauer, then you were probably the only one.

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breakfast bytes

Givens walks three in the 9th, including go-ahead run, as Yankees complete sweep with 6-5 win.

NBA playoffs: Raptors pull off big road win at Milwaukee, 105-99, lead Eastern Conference Finals, 3-2.

Baseball: Twins hit 8 home runs in 16-7 win over L.A. Angels.

PGA Tour; Tony Finau (-6) leads at Colonial; Tiger Woods commits to playing The Memorial next week.


O's SCOREBOARD
Thursday, May 23
Orioles
5

Yankees
6
WP: T. Kahnle (2-0)

LP: M. Givens (0-2)

HR: Nunez (10), Frazier (9), Voit (12)

RECORD / PLACE: 15-35 / 5th


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