Wednesday
May 15
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#1724



"dustin' the field"


This could be a wild PGA Championship at Bethpage Black this week.

There are countless story lines on Long Island.

Can Brooks Koepka continue his dominance in major championships and win his fourth major since 2017?

Can Tiger Woods win again and tie Sam Snead's all-time career wins mark (82) and move within two major titles of tying Jack Nicklaus?

Can Jordan Spieth break a year-long slump and complete the career grand slam?

Can Rory McIlroy win a major for the first time in five years and officially show the golf world "he's back"?

There are others, too.

Dustin Johnson will look to add to his 2016 U.S. Open title this week at Bethpage Black.

The course is long. The temperatures are going to be chilly or, at the very least, nothing like they would be if the event were played in August like it's been for the last 75 years. And with the wet weather they've experienced in New York this week, practice time on the course has been cut short for even the most heartiest of competitors.

Yet, the formula remains the same. Drive your golf ball long and straight. From there, if you can pull that off, the rest of it is fairly simple.

And that's why I'm going with Dustin Johnson to win the PGA Championship this week.

The golf course will play to a length of roughly 7,500 yards, give or take 100 yards a day depending on tee box placement. With the wet turf up there, you can add a couple of hundred yards.

There's no way around it. The guy who drives the ball the best over four days is going to win.

And when he's "on", like he was in 2016 at Oakmont CC in Pittsburgh, there are very few guys in the world of golf who can combine distance and accuracy like Dustin Johnson can.

Brooks Koepka is a great driver of the golf ball. He could win this week.

Tiger Woods has found his driving magic over the last year. He could win this week as well.

The leading driver on the PGA Tour this year in terms of the combination of length and accuracy -- otherwise known as Total Driving -- is Brendan Steele. Sadly, he's not in this week's field. So that gives the Total Driving nod to Gary Woodland, who ranks 2nd on the TOUR in that stat. He could most certainly win this week.

Johnson was in the hunt at The Masters in April, tying for the lead for about 45 seconds after his birdie at the 17th hole on Sunday. Moments after he did that, Tiger birdied 15 to go up by one, then slammed the door with an 8-iron to 20 inches on the 16th hole. But Johnson was right there on Sunday, with a chance to win to boot.

He's coughed up a handful of majors in his career, including a PGA Championship at Whistling Straits back in 2010. But that was then. Now, Johnson's not the kind of player who will blow up in the final 90 minutes on Sunday.

If he drives the ball the way he's capable of driving it this week, D.J. is your winner. If he doesn't, someone else with impeccable driving statistics will hold the Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday evening.

#DMD's predicted PGA Championship leaderboard

1. Dustin Johnson, -10

2. Gary Woodland, -8

3. Brooks Koepka, -7

Patrick Cantlay, -7

5. Hideki Matsuyama, -6

Matt Kuchar, -6

7. Tiger Woods, -5

Ryan Moore, -5

Tony Finau, -5

10. Rory McIlroy, -4

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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.



While many fans in Baltimore gaze on attendance figures that can only be described as anemic, it's in a very different market that a Major League franchise is truly facing an existential crisis.

The Miami/Florida Marlins have certainly had a rocky existence marked by mostly awful ownership. Wayne Huizenga bought the team in 1996 and immediately brought a the city an improbable World Series championship in 1997 after a significant addition of talent. Afterwards he immediately began tearing that talent apart in one of the most thorough firesales in sports history.

He then sold the team almost at the exact same time to John Henry, who has gone on to be one of the leagues most well regarded owners....but not in Miami. Because in one of the most consequential events of the 20th century for MLB, Henry would sell the Marlins to finance his purchase of the Red Sox in 2002. That solved two problems at once for the league: It kept the Red Sox from being purchased by Frank McCourt who, before he would go on to ruin the Dodgers, was deadset on building a huge new stadium in Boston and abandoning Fenway Park. It also temporarily resolved a horrible situation in Montreal where fans had essentially abandoned the Expos altogether and the franchise was on the precipice of bankruptcy.

And in doing so it brought Jeffrey Loria to Miami, where he would cement his place on the short list of of the absolute worst owners in sports. The Marlins would actually win the World Series again early in Loria's tenure, thanks to a great core of young talent amassed under Henry, but that would be the last taste of glory for the franchise. Once again the teams best players were traded to save money, albeit at a slower pace than in 1998, and for a much more respectable prospect haul. Despite having some great players on the organization, the Marlins haven't been back to the postseason since that 2003 season.

Hall of Fame player? Without a doubt. Hall of Fame owner? Derek Jeter still has a long way to go on that one.

But it's not the lack of winning that made Loria so hated so much as it was his career achievements in the field of being a detestable scumbag. Loria was well documented to be a tremendous jerk to everyone around him excluding only his most loyal sycophants. He consistently operated one of the leagues lowest payroll but highest profit teams thanks to his willingness to pocket revenue sharing funds that were intended to be invested in baseball operations. At the same time he was quite fond of showing off his extensive and very expensive art collection.

And, again, he was just an all around jerk in pretty much every regard.

Then came the stadium fiasco. Long story short: using public money to build a stadium for the Marlins was not an especially popular position with voters, and the campaign to do so was marked with many accusations of bribery and corruption to make the deal happen no matter what. And, of course, the eventual appropriation of funds would put millions more dollars in Loria's pocket.

To be fair he did mark the stadium's opening with a big free agent spending spree; signing Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell while making a real run at Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson in a bid to compete. That didn't work out, and the team once again had to be blown up, but it was an attempt anyway. And as recently as two seasons ago the Marlins we're a genuinely interesting bubble team, with the prospect of building around Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Fernandez, Marcella Ozuna, and Christian Yellich for the long term.

That would never happen though, because the seemingly impossible did. While Loria was so frequently cited as in discussions over sports' very worst owners, he somehow found a way to sell the team to someone worse. Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman may not be the worst sports team owners in recent memory, if only because Donald Sterling is an irredeemable turdgibbon in every single way possible, but that statement exhausts the list of nice things I can say about them.

They're stupid, for starters, having paid an exorbitant price for baseball's lowest valued franchise, and taking out an absurd amount of debt to do so. So much debt, in fact, that it simply isn't possible for the to make a profit off of the team while operating a baseball operations department that remotely resembles that of a real big league club. That necessitated a fire sale that would have embarrassed Huizenga, running every single quality player they had out of town for peanuts, and not even hiding the fact that this is what they're doing.

And that is what sets this ownership group apart from others: They don't even respect their fans enough to put up any pretense that any of this has anything to do with anything other than their bank accounts. Say what you will about the Orioles' current situation, but the 2018 thought they were playoff contenders and just weren't. Key players got older or just stopped being productive, the aggregate talent level cratered almost overnight, and there was virtually no disagreement that the team needed a rebuild.

That's not the case at all in Miami, who even after Fernandez's death would have had two MVP candidates in Stanton and Yelich and could have at least been a wild card team with some modest pitching upgrades.

Instead they're a bottom feeder with none of those players and nothing to show for it. Worse, they're an embarrassment to the league and a genuine blight on professional sports in general. The new ownerships misdeeds haven't been limited to the roster: They angered fans by removing franchise stalwarts like Jeff Conine from mostly ceremonial positions, Better has occasionally been dismissive to critical of fans unhappy with the team's direction, and they even alienated a minor league affiliate thanks to the fact that one of Jeter's top lieutenants apparently couldn't stand the team's "bat dog."

For his part Jeter had the gumption to say he was "disappointed" in the team's performance over the weekend, as though they just have to work harder and Jeter himself bears no responsibility for the fact that his team's roster is garbage.

The end result? Officially the Marlins are drawing a hair shy of 10,000 paying fans per game. If you're freaked out about attendance at Camden Yards, consider that the O's are outdrawing the Marlins by 5,000 fans per game. That's a ridiculously low number for a baseball team in 2019, and nothing about the team's current situation suggests that there's anything they can do to fix it this time.

Rob Manfred and the rest of the league's owners will soon have to confront the possibility that the Jeter/Sherman group has completely killed off Miami as a baseball market entirely.

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"things i've seen, places i've been"


As we roll on with our special feature this week, I have two more "things" you simply must see in your sporting life.

And, honestly, I wasn't so sure I needed to see either one of them. But once I did, I knew they were both worth promoting and urging others to see as well.

So let's get to both of them.

A live NASCAR race

If you've never seen a NASCAR race live, you have no idea what you're missing.

Seriously...

I've been to three in my life. And from the first moment I stepped foot into the grandstand at Dover Race Track some twenty years ago, I was completely overwhelmed with the entire spectacle.

Trust me on this one. If you've never seen a NASCAR race live, once you do you'll never, ever watch it or think about stock car racing the same way.

And here's another promise. If you're one of those folks who think race car drivers "aren't athletes", once you see a race live and in person, you'll know just how dumb of a take that really is. Those guys are extraordinary athletes.

There's almost nothing I can write that does it all justice. Not only are those cars scorching around the track at 200 mph, but they are on top of each other's bumpers like it's New York City at 4:30 pm on a Tuesday afternoon.

It's really remarkable that there aren't more catastrophic accidents in auto racing given the speed and close proximity of cars, cars and more cars.

Get to a NASCAR race and see it for yourself. You'll be blown away.

Army/Navy football game

I assume by now most college football fans in the area have taken this one in, but if you haven't seen the Army-Navy game in person, it's simply a "must do".

I've seen the game in Philadelphia and Baltimore. I hate to admit this, but for some weird reason, Philadelphia is a better venue for the annual December affair. I'm not sure why. Maybe I just caught Baltimore on a bad day...but the game has a much different feeling in Philadelphia.

Either way, though, seeing the Army-Navy game in person has to be on your bucket list if you're a sports fan.

Get there early. Take it all in. Having a rooting interest doesn't matter all that much, honestly. It's just awesome to see the pageantry and the dedication of the service men and women in the stands and the effort of the players on both sidelines.

Army-Navy is a must-see event. If you've never been, do it in 2019.

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Tuesday
May 14
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#1723



these things i don't understand


Who in their right mind thought it was critical to play last night's baseball game in New York?

I'm a dummy and I could have told you at 7:00 pm, some 190 miles away in Baltimore, that it was going to rain all night in New York.

And with the Orioles still scheduled for another trip to the Bronx later this season, why put so much emphasis on playing last night's game in the rain and slop at Yankee Stadium?

I get it. Those poor baseball players just hate having to play two games in one day. Doubleheaders are akin to double-booking a dental patient, I suppose.

But playing last night couldn't have been that important. It's May 13. It's a 3-hour trip to New York. Just play the game some other time.

A dummy could have figured that out. A dummy did, in fact.

Speaking of figuring things out, Joe Flacco is spot-on when he says, basically, "I'm not all that keen on helping the guy below me on the depth chart take my job."

Flacco earned some national media attention on Monday when he spoke out about Denver's rookie quarterback, Drew Lock, and the idea that the 11-year veteran would again be "mentoring" a first-year player, as he did a year ago in Baltimore when Lamar Jackson was drafted.

"I'm trying to go out there and play good football. I'm trying to go out there and play the best football of my life," said Flacco. "As far as a time constraint and all stuff, I'm not worried about developing guys or any of that. That is what it is, and like I said, I hope he does develop. But I don't look at that as my job. My job is to go win football games for this football team."

Flacco is 100% correct. He's a quarterback. Not a quarterback instructor. I wrote about this during the 2018 season when the Ravens drafted Jackson and it was expected that Flacco would help tutor the young quarterback. It's not Flacco's job to teach the guy taking his job how to take his job.

And yet, there are people who actually think Flacco should be aiding in the development of Drew Lock, as if the Broncos will give him some kind of big bonus if Lock turns into the next Tom Brady and Denver wins the Super Bowl in '22, '24, '27 and '29.

It's all so stupid. They brought Flacco in to be their quarterback. He hasn't taken a snap in a real game yet, and already people are throwing shade at the guy.

I'm not a lacrosse expert by any means, but the final 1:45 of Sunday's NCAA tournament game between Towson and Maryland was really strange.

Towson led 13-12 and had the ball. The shot clock was at 80 seconds. For the Flyers fans out there, that's one minute and twenty seconds. Towson then took the ball and ran into the corner with it. I assumed they would try and run some kind of play, score a goal, and put the game away at 14-12.

Instead, the Towson player just stood in the corner with the ball. And the Maryland defender, standing six feet in front of him, just hung out there with him.

No one moved.

40 seconds went by. Nothing. 60 seconds went by. Nothing.

Finally, with about 35 seconds left in the game and 10 seconds left on the shot clock, the Tigers tried to run a play, but they did so with little effort or intensity. They put up a half hearted attempt and turned the ball over to Maryland with 25 seconds left in the game.

The Terps came down the field and scored a goal with 3.4 seconds left to tie it and send the game to overtime.

I'm no lacrosse coach. And while I understand what they did, I don't see the smarts behind it. From both teams. Why would Towson just stand around for the better part of 80 seconds and not try and put the game away with one goal? And why did Maryland just stand there and let the Tigers chisel the game away?

I'm sure there's a fancy set of statistics that say Towson did the right thing by killing the clock and not trying to actually play lacrosse. The Tigers can brush up on those stats this weekend while they're watching that lucky Terrapins team play Virginia in the quarterfinals.

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both within a short drive


On Monday, I started my "Places I've Been, Things I've Seen" project here at #DMD.

In case you missed it Monday's edition, all of this started when I was watching Notre Dame and Johns Hopkins play lacrosse on Sunday night. The announcers kept talking about the campus in South Bend and they'd occasionally show pictures or video clips of the buildings and property at Notre Dame.

And it got me to thinking about the places I've been in my life that are "must see". As I mentioned in Monday's piece, these are not necessarily "events" that you must see. You won't find "Game 7 of the World Series" on my list. Instead, these are simply places or things you must see or experience in your lifetime. In my opinion, anyway.

On Monday, I led off with Madison Square Garden and Dodger Stadium.

Today, I'll show a little more East Coast bias with both of my selections. And once again, we'll head to New York City for one of them.

9-11 Memorial

It took me almost 14 years to get up to Manhattan to take in the serene setting of the 9-11 Memorial, but I did it in July of 2015 and it was truly one of the most emotional places I've ever seen, personally.

Perhaps it's different for those of us who weren't entirely familiar with lower Manhattan and didn't have much visual experience with the New York City skyline and the Twin Towers. I hadn't ever seen them standing and in place, so seeing the empty area with the memorial and the big fountain was probably much different for me than, say, a regular Manhattan business professional who saw the buildings every day.

When you stand there and read the names of those who passed away, you simply can't help but think about the phone calls, texts and e-mails that were sent out that morning as people in the damaged buildings came face to face with their mortality.

It's impossible to not think about the first responders who went into those two buildings, knowing full well what they were facing and the potential dangers that lurked with every step.

And you'll stand there looking up at the empty sky and remember those poor souls on the two airplanes who were simply going about their lives on that Tuesday morning on September 11, 2001.

There's no way you can visit the 9-11 Memorial and not feel incredible sadness.

But at some point in your life, you have to make the trip and experience it for yourself.


The Palestra

This requires a trip to Philadelphia, but if you can tolerate that........I'm kidding. There's simply no way you can be a fan of college basketball and not take in a UPenn game at The Palestra at some point in your life.

The Palestra is, simply, a college basketball palace. There's not a bad seat in the house, for starters, and the tour around the concourse to see the old pictures, trophies and other artifacts is well worth getting their one hour before tip off.

I've been three times and I can say without hesitation I'll be going back again at some point in the future.

The area around the arena/campus is actually nice and vibrant. It offers you the opportunity for a pre-game cheesesteak, pizza or adult beverage. But once you're in the building, it's all basketball.

Philadelphia has a spectacular high school and college basketball history. Every prominent youth basketball player has played at The Palestra at some point. Most college programs and coaches have also played there at least once, if not two or more times.

Trust me, it's a 90-minute trip up I-95 that you will not regret.

And if you plan it out right, you can catch a game at The Palestra in the afternoon and then go to the Wells Fargo Center that night and watch the Flyers lose to someone 7-2.

What a doubleheader that would be...

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pga championship top ten


PGA Championship week has arrived.

I know, you're still recovering from Tiger winning the Masters and here we are again?

It's even more strange when you realize we're talking about the PGA Championship -- in May, instead of August.

In their on-going effort to not butt heads with the NFL, the PGA Tour convinced the PGA of America (yes, they're separate entities) to move their marquee event to May, sandwiched between the Masters and the U.S. Open. Whether it works remains to be seen. But at least for now, they're giving it a shot.

This year's event takes place at Bethpage Black, site of Tiger's 2002 U.S. Open victory and Lucas Glover's 2009 win in the same event. Interestingly enough, the PGA Championship fits better with the likes of Glover rather than Woods. Over the last two decades, a number of "off" names have captured the PGA, including Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel, Y.E. Yang, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley and Jimmy Walker. It's a "Lucas Glover" kind of event, where a guy who is really good winds up catching lightning in a bottle for a week and then fails to win another major in the rest of his career.

Matt Kuchar's accuracy off the tee and steady tee-to-green game should bode well for him this week at Bethpage.

Bethpage is a monster of a course on Long Island, and with the wet weather they've experienced up there this spring, it's likely going to eliminate many of the game's "shorter" players. By shorter, we're talking the guys who "only" hit it is 280-290 yards off the tee.

You won't be seeing Fransceco Molinari in my Top Ten, in other words.

Our Top 10 to date: Tony Finau (10), Hideki Matsuyama (9), Gary Woodland (8), Patrick Cantlay (7), Rory McIlroy (6), Brooks Koepka (5), Tiger Woods (4) and Ryan Moore (2).

There's always a debate on TOUR: "Who is the best player without a major championship?"

Several names could be thrown out there as the answer to that one in 2019. Matsuyama, for sure. Rickie Fowler, perhaps? Some might say Tony Finau or Xander Schauffele. But most folks would go with Matt Kuchar, and he's #2 on our PGA leaderboard for this week's event at Bethpage.

Kuchar hits it straight. That's a major priority this week.

And while he's not one of the TOUR's big bombers off the tee, he moves it out there decently enough, averaging 291 yards per-drive. Sure, there might be a handful of par 4's where he's hitting a hybrid or long iron into the green, but the same will be said for 85% of the players in this week's field.

More than anything, it's simply Kuchar's time to win. He's been close on several occasions in major championships and hasn't yet hit the winner's circle. He's playing great golf in 2018-2019. And the weather might lend itself more to a plodder than ever before.

It would be great to see Kuchar win this week. Don't be at all surprised if he does, in fact, finally capture that elusive first major championship.

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Monday
May 13
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#1722



places i've been, things i've seen


As I watched Notre Dame beat up on Johns Hopkins in college lacrosse last night, the folks at ESPN-U made it a point throughout the broadcast to show bits and pieces of the campus at South Bend.

Granted, we all know that lacrosse isn't the most popular sport at Notre Dame. Not by a longshot. But a campus is a campus is a campus. And that piece of property about 95 miles from Chicago really is something to behold.

And it got me to thinking last night about the places I've been and the things I've seen. You get a little more melancholy year by year, I'm finding out these days. You start reflecting more. You start realizing God has graced you with a lot of favor along the way. And, yet, you think about the things you haven't seen or visited and you remind yourself, the candle doesn't stop burning for anyone.

So I thought I'd take this week to let you in on the "best" ten places I've visited or seen in my 56 years. These are not "sporting events", mind you. The Ravens-49'ers Super Bowl is not on my list, for example. Why? Because if you weren't there the first time, you can't get there now. That game will never be replayed. You were either there when it happened or you missed it.

I'm talking about places you can visit today. Or tomorrow. Or next year. Timeless places. Places, hopefully, where your children might even be able to visit someday. Here's an example of what will not be on my list, to give you the parameters. I was fortunate enough to play Pine Valley eight years ago. While I'd tell you that was a remarkably memorable place and one of the greatest days of my life, sports wise, it's not "open to the public". Therefore, it's not on the list you'll see this week.

Each day this week I'll present two places I've been fortunate to see in person. I'm trying my hardest to put them in order, although that's really, really hard. So, here's what I do know. Number one and two, which you will see on Friday, are definitely one and two. They are indisputably the two most memorable places I've been to or seen in my life.

Oh, and please share your list as well. I'm definitely interested in hearing what experiences you've had along the way.

And, no, these do not all have to be sports-related. Most of mine are, but a few of them aren't.

With that, here are my first two.

Madison Square Garden --

There's simply no way you can go through your life and not see an event of some kind at "The Garden". Please...if you haven't yet done it, be sure and make that a "must do" in 2019 or 2020.

And it doesn't really matter what you see there. You'll get the "feeling" either way. I've seen hockey, basketball and a concert in MSG and while each has its own charm, it's being around the building and in the building that connects with you in a very distinct way.

Some people don't like New York City. I get that. It's definitely an acquired taste. But the Baltimore to New York trip is so easy, and getting to the Garden is particularly simple, that you don't really have to fight with the people, the traffic and so on. Just get to Penn Station in downtown Baltimore, hop on a train for Penn Station New York, and Madison Square Garden is actually directly above the train station. You walk outside for a matter of one minute to get into the Garden. There's probably a crafty way of never actually leaving the train station, come to think of it.

If you really want to experience the arena and New York life, the thing to do is see Billy Joel at The Garden. That's the best way to check this one off your bucket list.

But, please. If you've never been to Madison Square Garden, you simply must get up there and experience it for yourself.


Chavez Ravine, aka Dodger Stadium --

I get it. Here in Baltimore, we think Camden Yards is the dreamiest of all baseball stadiums. The Orioles even trademarked a sensationally cheeky and bombastic phrase to promote it: The stadium that forever changed baseball.

Well, it's a nice ballpark and all, but it can't hold a candle to Chavez Ravine in Los Angeles in terms of actually sitting there and watching a game on a beautiful summer day or night.

Much like New York, Los Angeles and the west coast isn't for everyone. But that baseball stadium sure is. There's just something about the "style" out there that makes both the stadium and the game itself a real treat. And far, far more memorable than you can imagine.

To borrow a line from Randy Newman -- I love L.A. So getting out there to see a game in the 90's was a big deal to me. And once I finally saw the place, I had to go again. And again. I've seen six games at Chavez Ravine in my life (the Dodgers are 6-0 in those games, btw) and I can say, without question, it's the most memorable stadium I've been to, including those in Chicago and Boston, which are very special in their own right.

Baseball was meant to be played in the summer. Not in the spring when it's 48 and rainy. Not in October when you have to wear three layers to the game to stay warm. It was meant to be played in 88 degree temperatures where you can wear shorts and a tee-shirt.

And baseball was meant to be played at Chavez Ravine.

Go out there and see for yourself.

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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.


yesterday, today and tomorrow


This Week’s Subject: Lacrosse, and traditional powers

Yesterday…

Syracuse lacrosse blew a 12-8 third-quarter lead Saturday afternoon at Loyola, giving up seven straight goals on the way to a 15-13 defeat. The Orange, who’ve won more NCAA championships than anyone in the modern Division I era, have now gone consecutive seasons without winning an NCAA tournament game for the first time in 37 years.

Big deal, you say? Tell that to the hundreds of commenters who spoke up on syracuse.com in the minutes after the game, almost as many Baltimoreans as you’d see talking about the Ravens in the immediate aftermath of a disappointing loss.

People think that lacrosse is big in Baltimore, and it is, but Syracuse is a different animal. There’s only one team to root for, and it’s a small city without any major professional teams. Syracuse basketball under Jim Boeheim gets 25,000 fans into the Carrier Dome, and the lacrosse team gets to play there too. They’ll often get 5,000 or 6,000 fans, which seems small in a cavernous dome but in reality are very large crowds for lacrosse games.

Once a lacrosse power, Syracuse is trying to find their footing again as more Division I schools offer lacrosse as a scholarship sport.

Besides that support, though, there was always something different about a Syracuse lacrosse team.

Syracuse had fun playing the game, almost as if it wanted to entertain the audience as much as win. The Orange played without fear in fast-break transition in a way no other coaching staff would allow its players to do. Players made behind-the-back passes and shots a normal part of their repertoire.

The coaching staff, first Roy Simmons and then John Desko, took advantage of its location by recruiting Canadian players, who have unique skills with their sticks from playing indoor box lacrosse. They’ve always talked about playing the game in the style of the local Native Americans, who invented lacrosse generations ago, even if much of that is just a lot of mumbo jumbo.

More than 30 years later, lacrosse fans still talk about the Gait brothers, Gary (who now coaches the Syracuse women’s lacrosse team) and Paul, who did things on the field that nobody did before and very few have done since. A regular-season game between the Orange and Virginia in 1997, won by Syracuse by the ridiculous score of 22-21, is sometimes credited with being the catalyst for the entire online lacrosse media industry.

One other difference? In Central New York, lacrosse is a public-school game. Syracuse picked up local kids from all walks of life and let them play. Some of them, like the Gaits and the Powell brothers, are considered among the top players in the history of the game.

Today…

There still are only 73 Division I men’s lacrosse programs. On that level, the game isn’t “growing” as much as it is at the grassroots. And yes, Syracuse has only missed the NCAA tournament once since 1982.

The truth is, however, that right now Syracuse is just another team. A good team, with the same glut of local-area talent, but not a team that looks much different than any other good team.

It’s now been 10 years, and counting, since the Orange won the NCAA championship. For the teenagers being recruited right now, that might as well be an eternity.

Here in Baltimore, it’s now been 12 years since Johns Hopkins won the NCAA championship. As much as the tradition of that program endures, there are more than a few teenagers who have to be wondering whether that’s their best chance to win.

There was a somewhat interesting dilemma this year with High Point, which is a school near Greensboro, N.C., if you haven’t heard of it. The Panthers, who finished 13-3 in just their seventh year as a program, won games on the road against both Duke and Virginia. According to amateur lacrosse “bracketologists,” however, High Point had no chance to make the NCAA tournament after losing in its conference championship game. Meanwhile, Johns Hopkins was summarily pasted by every good team it played before beating Maryland twice in six days late in the season.

All of this begs the questions…is the lacrosse world better when Syracuse and Johns Hopkins, among others, don’t really look much better than any other teams? And would the NCAA tournament be better if teams like High Point made it in the field?

Yes, and yes.

It’s better for players/recruits, who know they can play on a good team in a lot of places. It’s better for new fans, who aren’t beholden to rooting for traditional powers. It’s even better for coaches, though they wouldn’t admit it. Having to work a little harder to compete every season, and having no assumptions about where you might be at season’s end, are good things.

There are excellent Canadian players on a lot of teams now, not just at Syracuse. The players from “non-traditional” areas of the United States are making their way to non-traditional college lacrosse programs too. There are more and more games on television and HD video streams every year, and not just for teams like Syracuse.

These are good things for the sport, and if Syracuse isn’t as good because of it, then that’s too bad.

Tomorrow...

I’ve wondered sometimes what lacrosse would be like with twice as many Division I teams, closer to 150. Perhaps that’s not a legitimate thought, considering the growing but still relatively limited number of areas where players can learn to play the game at a high level. Maybe a better thought would be to approach the number of Division I women’s lacrosse teams, which now stands at approximately 115.

The most interesting potential expansion when it comes to the sport isn’t at places like High Point, as cool as that story could be. Instead, it’s a question of what would happen if the big boys began developing men’s lacrosse programs.

In the women’s game, this has happened most notably on the West Coast, as there is now a legitimate group of six Pacific 12 schools—Arizona State, Cal, Colorado, Oregon, USC and Stanford—who play at the varsity level. In the Atlantic Coast Conference, where only five teams play men’s lacrosse, eight play women’s lacrosse, including Boston College, Louisville and Virginia Tech. They play women’s lacrosse—on an NCAA tournament level—at both Florida and Vanderbilt.

Right now, only five Big 10 teams play men’s lacrosse—Penn State, Rutgers, Michigan, Maryland and Ohio State—and the league had to grab Johns Hopkins to make it eligible for automatic qualification into the NCAA tournament. But what if twice as many of the league’s schools had teams?

Michigan State once had a team. Northwestern has a women’s team that became the best program in the country only a few years after it began playing. Places like Minnesota and Wisconsin, in big metropolitan areas, seem like good candidates for teams. Just as much as Ohio State is, anyway.

These schools, like Michigan has now as a young program, have tremendous infrastructures behind them if they’d like to become a high-level lacrosse program. Unlike Johns Hopkins, or Loyola, they won’t have to retrofit their programs to compete with bigger football-playing schools. They already have everything they need; actually, if you’ve ever seen some of the facilities they have, way more than everything anyone could ever need.

I’m sure some fans would be sad if the sport became overwhelmed by the big time. If you really look at it, though, in some ways it already is. Duke has been, overall, the best program of the last 10 years. Notre Dame’s been close, though they’ve yet to win it all. Maryland, under John Tillman, has been just behind Duke, first as a conference rival and now in its new league.

And don’t forget Syracuse, who’s always been a big-time team that’s now being forced to re-examine how to stay that way.

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this weekend in
college lacrosse


Contributed by #DMD's college lacrosse analyst
John Pusateri


towson, umbc, hopkins all go home


There were some decent games and some not so competitive games on the second day of the NCAA lacrosse tournament. And it was a tough day for the local teams. Let's go through the recap.

Penn State 25 - UMBC 10: Tough day for the Dawgs as the Nittany Lions showed why they are the #1 team in lacrosse. The Retrievers have been on the losing side of the face-off battle for every single game. But only winning a handful (4 of 38) against the best offense in the land will make any team look bad. The Nittany Lions offense is a thing of beauty to watch and UMBC's Tommy Lingner didn't have a chance as the DuPenn State offense had Retriever defenders scrambling every which way to keep up only to give up easy shots throughout the game. Whenever UMBC did get a stop or win a faceoff, they were pretty efficient on offense. Particularly Ryan Frawley scoring 6 goals. Tough break for the Retrievers who can hopefully find a solid FOGO for next season.

Maryland 14 - Towson 13 OT: Probably the best game of the day. Figured there would be one upset and unfortunately it was my Tigers to take the fall as the Terps rallied to score the game tying goal with 3 seconds left. Then Maryland's Kyle Long found Anthony DeMaio cutting toward the goal for the overtime winner. Alex Woodall returned for Towson and won 22 of 31 faceoff and used those extra possessions to outshoot the Terps 47-34. However, the difference in the game was Maryland's Danny Dolan making 15 saves compared to Towson's Tyler Canto making just 7. And it was freshman midfielder Kyle Long who had a career game in leading the Terp offense, netting 1 goal and dishing out 4 assists including the game winner. Great win for the Terps and another tough 4th quarter loss for the Tigers.

Duke 12 - Richmond 11: The Spiders always come to play against Duke and this game was no exception as the #2 seeded Blue Devils needed a 5 goal run to pull away from the Spiders in the 3rd by 5. Then fought off a 4th quarter Richmond comeback including 2 goals in the game's final minute to survive and advance.

Notre Dame 16 - Johns Hopkins 9: In probably the biggest surprise of the weekend, the Irish jumped to a 7-1 lead and increased to 10-2 by half, then traded some runs with the Blue Jays to close out the game. Notre Dame was solid at the face-off X, beating Hopkins 17-12 and also out ground balling the Blue Jays 35 to 25. I thought the better offense would have the advantage against the Irish, but you can't score if you don't have the ball. Another big night for Joey Epstein (3 goals, 3 assists) who led Hopkins offense along with Forrey Smith (3 goals) and Cole Williams (2 goals, 1 assist).

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pga championship top ten


PGA Championship week has arrived.

I know, you're still recovering from Tiger winning the Masters and here we are again?

It's even more strange when you realize we're talking about the PGA Championship -- in May, instead of August.

In their on-going effort to not butt heads with the NFL, the PGA Tour convinced the PGA of America (yes, they're separate entities) to move their marquee event to May, sandwiched between the Masters and the U.S. Open. Whether it works remains to be seen. But at least for now, they're giving it a shot.

This year's event takes place at Bethpage Black, site of Tiger's 2002 U.S. Open victory and Lucas Glover's 2009 win in the same event. Interestingly enough, the PGA Championship fits better with the likes of Glover rather than Woods. Over the last two decades, a number of "off" names have captured the PGA, including Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel, Y.E. Yang, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley and Jimmy Walker. It's a "Lucas Glover" kind of event, where a guy who is really good winds up catching lightning in a bottle for a week and then fails to win another major in the rest of his career.

Hitting the fairway off the team is supremely important at Bethpage Black and few guys on the TOUR keep it in the short grass more often than Ryan Moore.

Bethpage is a monster of a course on Long Island, and with the wet weather they've experienced up there this spring, it's likely going to eliminate many of the game's "shorter" players. By shorter, we're talking the guys who "only" hit it is 280-290 yards off the tee.

You won't be seeing Fransceco Molinari in my Top Ten, in other words.

Our Top 10 to date: Tony Finau (10), Hideki Matsuyama (9), Gary Woodland (8), Patrick Cantlay (7), Rory McIlroy (6), Brooks Koepka (5) and Tiger Woods (4).

We're going with a bit of a flyer here at #3, but his track record at Bethpage is very solid and his 2019 stats all point to the golf course being a nice connection for him.

Our #3 is Ryan Moore.

Moore had good finishes at Bethpage in the 2009 U.S. Open (T10, +2) and the 2016 Barclays (T7, -6) and the thing he does best -- driving it in the fairway -- is perhaps the most important part of anyone's game who plans on contending at Bethpage this week.

Moore's major history isn't all that impressive, but he's been in the hunt enough to not be bothered by it should he show up on the Sunday leaderboard. He's made the cut in six straight PGA Championships, in fact.

His form this year is decent enough. He's made 10 of 14 cuts, including this past week at the Byron Nelson, and is 5th on the entire TOUR in driving accuracy, hitting 72% of his fairways. Finding the short grass will be important this week at Bethpage. Moore is cut from that "Lucas Glover cloth", where he winds up winning the event and you say, "How did that happen?"

Our top two players will not be longshots or Ryan Moore types. But the PGA Championship routinely has a good-but-not-great player hovering around the leaderboard on Sunday. This time around, it might very well be Ryan Moore.




Sunday
May 12
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#1721



happy mother's day!


It seems like we should have more than just one day on the calendar to celebrate the woman who brought us all into this world. One day certainly doesn't do her justice.

But today is the day we all say "thank you" to our mothers.

If you're fortunate enough to still have your mom with you, there's no shame in going over the top today and pouring on the love and affection. Come to think of it, there's never any shame in doing that, Mother's Day or not.

If you're like me and your mother is no longer alive, today's simply a day to remember her with great love and fondness.

I'm fortunate in that I have a wife who is an awesome mother to my two children, so we get the opportunity to shower her with love and praise today. And what we will do.

But back to my mom for a minute.

With my father spending nearly all of his life in the car sales business and working until 9 pm several nights a week, it was my mother who assumed the primary duty of shuttling me to and from sports games and practices. She would watch my Little League games from start to finish unless they were close in score. Then, I'd look over in the final couple of innings and her folding chair would be empty and she'd be sitting in the car doing her crossword puzzle and waiting for me to arrive at game's end.

"I couldn't bear to watch," she'd always say. "I wish you guys could just win ten to nothing once or twice a season."

I remember once we lost 16-3 and she sat through the whole game, endlessly chatting with all of the other moms and eating a snowball.

"I hate to say it," she told me afterwards, "but that was a lot of fun for me today. I got to watch the whole game and we had such a great time chatting with one another."

"Awesome, I'm so happy for you," I deadpanned like most 13-year smart ass kids would do.

When I graduated from high school and took on a small, part time role with WJRO Radio in Glen Burnie, my mom would get up every morning and listen to my sportscasts, which aired at 7:20, 8:20 and 9:20 am. She was battling cancer for the first time circa 1982 and this, I thought, was almost as effective as any medication she could take.

I remember one morning I stumbled over the name of the Glen Burnie High School quarterback, Ricky Ringrose, during the taping of the sportscast. I went into the program director and told him that and asked if I should re-record the 90-second taping.

"No, leave it like that," he reasoned. "It sounds a little more authentic when there's a stumble or a mistake."

Later that night when I got home, my mom was baffled.

"I heard your sportscasts this morning," she said. "You messed up Ricky Ringrose's name in all three of them. At the exact same time. Maybe you should practice more before you go on the air."

I had to explain to her that it was taped and run at 7:20, 8:20 and 9:20. It was the same sportscast, just repeated.

"Do they pay you once or three times?" she asked.

"I get paid for doing all three," I replied.

"Boy are they dumb," she said.

I wasn't going to fight with her. She might have been the only listener I had.

My mom and I used to sit in our living room and listen to Casey Kasem's Top 40 every Saturday. It aired on WCAO, AM 600, in Baltimore, which was my mom's go-to station when she wasn't listening to me do sportscasts on Glen Burnie's tiny AM outfit.

It was through Casey Kasem's Top 40 where I learned to love the music of Elton John, Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Steve Miller Band.

My mom's all-time favorite song was King Harvest's Dancing in the Moonlight. Even now, when I hear it played on satellite radio, I'll remark to my wife and kids that it was my mother's favorite song. I'd never forget that.

My mom passed away when I was 24, on July 21, 1987.

Whenever I have a discussion with anyone who also lost their mother at a young age, I inevitably ask him or her, "Have you ever recovered from your mother's passing?"

Here I am, 32 years later, and I know I never have. By the grace of God, I've had lots and lots and lots of great things happen to me in my life. But losing my mother was the worst day of my life, for sure.

Wherever you are today, whether your mom is still alive or not, shower her with love and praise. And always remember...without her, you wouldn't be here today.

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this weekend in
college lacrosse


Contributed by #DMD's college lacrosse analyst
John Pusateri


favorites win lacrosse tourney openers


We are off and running with the 1st round of the NCAA tournament. Let's take a look quick look at Saturday's results and preview the games on tap for Mother's Day Sunday (Love you Mom!). As noted, all games will be televised on ESPNU.

Saturday's Results

#8 Loyola 15 - Syracuse 13 - Talk about a great game and a fantastic win by the Greyhounds. The teams started out trading goals in the 1st half. But it was apparent the Orange were the aggressors winning the majority of loose balls. However, they only pulled ahead by a few goals to lead 9-7 at half. The Greyhounds were down 12-8 in the 3rd quarter and it felt like the game was comfortably in Syracuse's hands. But that's when the fireworks began for Loyola as Bailey Savio started to dominate face-offs and the offense followed suit en route to a 7-1 run to close out the game.

Pat Spencer more than atoned for last week's goose egg against Army netting 3 goals and dishing out 6 assists to become the all-time assist leader in NCAA history. And he notched those 9 points against Syracuse's All-American defender Nick Mellen. The Greyhounds had 6 players with multiple goals all in all. Goalie Jacob Stover was a little chilly in the 1st half, but ended strong with 17 saves. Great game and a great win for Loyola.

#5 Yale 19 - Georgetown 16 - The score was closer than how the game actually played out as the Bulldogs completely dominated the Hoyas leading by 19-11 at one point. Yale attackman Jackson Morrill (McDonogh) scored 3 goals and dished 2 assists while linemate Matt Brandau (Boys Latin) netted 4 goals and an assist as the Bulldogs were on a mission yesterday.

#4 Penn 13 - Army 8 - The Black Nights battled hard and brought the game to within 2 goals, trailing 10-8 midway through the 4th. But the Quakers reeled off the last 3 goals to close out Army for the right to play Yale next week. Penn's Kyle Gallagher won an astonishing 22 of 25 face-offs.

#3 Virginia 19 - Robert Morris 10 - As expected, the Cavaliers did some major damage against a foe from a lessor conference in what may be the biggest blowout of the weekend. Virginia loves beating up on the little guys but will be playing against the big boys for the rest of the tournament.

Sunday Game Previews

#1 Penn State vs UMBC (Sunday 12:00 pm) - UMBC travels to Happy Valley to tangle with the #1 Nittany Lions, who as advertised have the nations best offense (17.33 goals per game) and are led by the nations best scorer in Mac O'Keefe (60 goals and 17 assists) and best assister in Grant Ament (23 goals and 78 assists) along with 4 other who've scored 24 or more goals this season. Their offense is fast and quite a sight to witness. They also have one of the better face-off specialists in Gerard Arceri, winning 61.1% of his face-offs.

Meanwhile the Retrievers stats and losing record of 7-8 (even after winning the America East and NCAA opening round game) look like the #17 seed that they are. The fact that they won a 4-way tie-breaker just to qualify as the 4th seed typifies the David-like opponent that you'd feed to the Goliath that is the #1 seed in Penn State. However, more often than not, the NCAA's give a great opportunity to the hot team. And the Dawgs are riding a 4-game win streak. Checking in on their numbers during that streak, the keys have been offensive efficiency which has resulted in improved scoring (13.25 goals per game) along with defensive efficiency by holding opponents to 34.3 shots per game which has resulted holding opponents to 9.5 goals per game.

Comparing each other's seasons, this appears to be the mismatch that it is. But the Retrievers are never daunted by an opponent and have found some magic and consistency recently. UMBC Athletics Twitter response of "Seeding Doesn't Mean Anything" to the question "What advice would you give your younger self..in 4 words?", typifies their fighting spirit. However, that was against lessor competition when compared to the Nittany Lions. The Dawgs will play tough, but this will be a 16-10 win for Penn State.

Several years ago, Maryland coach John Tillman stopped scheduling an annual regular season game against Towson because "Playing Towson doesn't do anything for us." One can only assume Shawn Nadelen has mentioned that to the Tigers a couple of times this week.

#6 Towson vs Maryland (Sunday 2:30 pm, Johnny Unitas Stadium) - Some are skeptical of this pairing because of the fact that it pits 2 state teams in the 1st round. However, if you're a fan of the game (and a fan of Towson as I am), this is a game you want to see played anytime, anywhere and should be one of the best of the weekend. While both teams come in at 11-4, there seasons have taken different paths. The Tigers have been on a roller coaster starting out super strong, then enduring a losing streak to solid teams, followed by mostly dominance in a competitive CAA. The Terps started out strong in non-conference then had a solid to fading showing in the B1G that ended on a sour note, losing to their traditional rival, and much improved, Johns Hopkins twice in a row.

A key to this game will be the match-up of Maryland's Tewaaraton finalist attackman, Jared Bernhardt (45 goals, 25 assists) , against a somewhat unheralded but dominate Towson defender, sophomore Koby Smith (1st Team CAA, 28 ground balls, 19 caused turnovers). These will be the fastest players on the field and should be a great battle all game. Another key will be face-offs and whether or not the Tiger's Alex Woodall, the nations 2nd best FOGO has recovered from his injury. His backup, Jack McNellen, has done well. But more than likely will be overmatched by Maryland's Austin Henningsen (60.3% win pct).

This game also features a contrast in styles with the Tigers embracing the shot-clock era and playing more fast paced style. While Coach Tillman continues with his ball control, long possession approach. Both have been successful, but something has to give. Will the Terps rebound after those two losses to the Blue Jays? Or did Johns Hopkins find a Maryland weakness that Towson can exploit? I think a healthy Woodall would have made this a 2-3 goal Tiger victory. But this will go down to the final possession, that should result in a Tiger 12-11 victory over the Terps.

#2 Duke vs Richmond (Sunday 5 pm) - Duke's success over the past decade cannot be questioned and Coach Danowski is one of the game's best coaches. But the Blue Devils getting a #2 seed in the tournament was a bit of a head-scratcher, given how they limped to the finish line by barely beating a mediocre Marquette team in OT, then losing to Notre Dame in their backyard at Chapel Hill. They will face a known team in Richmond, whom they defeated 11-7 earlier in the season. Duke's strength is defense, holding teams to 33.7 shots per game which has resulted in only allowing 9.1 goals per game. Unfortunately for Richmond, they only generate 37.2 shots per game. So much like the last meeting, look for a low scoring affair, similar to the previous result. Blue Devils win 12-8.

#8 Notre Dame vs Johns Hopkins (Sunday 7:30 pm) - Might as well end the weekend's slate of games on a good note in a battle of the ACC vs the B1G. Johns Hopkins started very slow this season with their tournament lives in jeopardy. But they've steadily improved and with the exception of a hiccup against Penn State a few weeks ago, they've played like the #2 seed that they were in the B1G conference tournament. Some things have clicked for them on offense, their face-off units are much improved at getting ground balls and they seem to be playing with extra energy on defense. Freshman attackman Joey Epstein is leading the charge on offense with 45 goals and 22 assists.

On the flip side and as is their tradition, Notre Dame plays tough defense, only allowing 35 shots per game and just under 10 goals per game. For the season, the Irish have been consistently inconsistent going 5-5 in their last 10 games. Interestingly, they've alternated between a win and a loss during this 10 game stretch. Part of this can be blamed on their offense only scoring just over 11 goals per game and averaging only 37.6 shots per game.

If Notre Dame sticks to W/L game pattern, they are due for a win tomorrow. But if the Blue Jays offense continues to roll and puts up a big number, I just don't think Notre Dame is built for a track meet to keep up with Hopkins. And I think that's what will happen as I see the Blue Jays taking down the Irish 13-11.

JERRY'S TOYOTA banner

pga championship top ten


Well, here we are, a week away from another major golf championship.

I know, you're still recovering from Tiger winning the Masters and here we are again?

It's even more strange when you realize we're talking about the PGA Championship -- in May, instead of August.

In their on-going effort to not butt heads with the NFL, the PGA Tour convinced the PGA of America (yes, they're separate entities) to move their marquee event to May, sandwiched between the Masters and the U.S. Open. Whether it works remains to be seen. But at least for now, they're giving it a shot.

This year's event takes place at Bethpage Black, site of Tiger's 2002 U.S. Open victory and Lucas Glover's 2009 win in the same event. Interestingly enough, the PGA Championship fits better with the likes of Glover rather than Woods. Over the last two decades, a number of "off" names have captured the PGA, including Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel, Y.E. Yang, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley and Jimmy Walker. It's a "Lucas Glover" kind of event, where a guy who is really good winds up catching lightning in a bottle for a week and then fails to win another major in the rest of his career.

It was 17 years ago, granted, but Tiger has won at Bethpage Black before. Can he do it again next week in the PGA?

Bethpage is a monster of a course on Long Island, and with the wet weather they've experienced up there this spring, it's likely going to eliminate many of the game's "shorter" players. By shorter, we're talking the guys who "only" hit it is 280-290 yards off the tee.

You won't be seeing Fransceco Molinari in my Top Ten, in other words.

Our Top 10 to date: Tony Finau (10), Hideki Matsuyama (9), Gary Woodland (8), Patrick Cantlay (7), Rory McIlroy (6) and Brooks Koepka (5).

You'll probably recognize the guy at #4.

He's, ummmmm, pretty good at golf.

Tiger Woods is #4 on our list, and there's no doubt he's coming into the event next week as one of the pre-tournament favorites.

Woods won the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black and had a Top 10 finish seven years later in 2009 when Lucas Glover won the U.S. Open there. And with the course set-up a litte more benign than in previous PGA's, Woods and the rest of the field will likely play this one more like a FedEx Cup event and less like a major championship. That alone should help Woods, who is known to hit an occasional errant drive or two that would typically be gobbled up by ankle high rough.

The only question about Tiger is this: Will not having played a golf tournament since winning the Masters impact him this week?

It's rare that any world class player doesn't have a tournament or two as a "tune up" before a major, but that didn't work for Tiger's schedule this year, so next week is his first event since winning the Masters on April 14.

But if his golf is as solid at Bethpage as it was at Augusta National, don't be surprised if he captures major #16 on Long Island a week from today. As we just saw at the Masters, Tiger's golf game is alive and well.

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Saturday
May 11
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#1720



saturday musings


You'll be hard-pressed to find someone as clutch as Steph Curry in the world of sports. After being shutout in the first half of last night's Game 6 at Houston, he poured in 33 second half points, including 22 in the fourth quarter alone, to lead Golden State to a 118-113 win that sewed up their Western Conference semifinal series, 4-games-to-2.

While appearing with fill-in host Stan Charles yesterday on Glenn Clark Radio, I opined that losing Kevin Durant to injury for a week or so might not be all that crushing for the 2-time defending champions. The Warriors, you might remember, was pretty daggone good a few years ago before Durant shifted from Oklahoma City to Golden State as a free agent.

And with Durant rumored to be finding a new team this summer, his absence now -- while perhaps brief -- gives Golden State an opportunity to send a message to the rest of the league: "Just because KD might leave, nothing's changing around here."

An epic 33-point second half for Steph Curry on Friday night pushed Golden State into the Western Conference Finals against the Denver/Portland winner.

Curry is a once-in-a-generation kind of player. He's a gamer, plain and simple. And, obviously, he's a great shooter. Just ask the Rockets if you need any confirmation.

From the files of "golf is hard" comes the story of Bethesda's Denny McCarthy, who is in his first full year on the PGA Tour after winning last season's Web.Com Tour Championship event and gaining full status on the big tour.

He's played in 17 events thus far in 2019 and made 10 cuts, totaling $591,000 and some change to date. Not bad for a rookie. But the last two days at the Byron Nelson in Dallas have probably been puzzling even for a PGA Tour player with a decorated resume. McCarthy made 10 birdies in 14 holes in Thursday's opening round and finished at 8-under par 63. He led the tournament after day one.

On Friday, things didn't go so well. The former Argyle CC member ballooned to a second round 77 that left him at 2-under par. He made the cut on the number.

From an opening round 63 to a second round 77.

Same guy. Same course. Same clubs. Same everything. Except, of course, those pesky 14 shots that got in the way from one day to the next.

Someone finally beat Tampa Bay's Tyler Glasnow last night, as the Yankees got to him in a 4-3 victory, sending the heralded Rays pitcher to his first loss of the season.

Not only did he lose last night, but Glasnow was forced to leave the game in the top of the 5th inning with the always concerning "forearm tightness". With Glasnow, the Rays are a real threat to win the American League East. Without him, it would be much more of a challenge.

Glasnow was part of the trade with Pittsburgh last July that sent Chris Archer to the Pirates. Not only did the Rays get Glasnow, they also acquired Austin Meadows in the same deal.

The right hander had buzzed through the American League in the first six weeks of this season, including a shutout of the Orioles last Friday night in Baltimore. After last night's loss to the Yankees, Glasnow's now 6-1 on the season with a 1.86 ERA.

Who says those July trade deadline deals can't help both teams?

Some things changed up in Fenway Park last night, where two teams headed in different directions played a snoozer, as the Red Sox blasted the Mariners, 14-1.

With that win, Boston got over the .500 mark (20-19) for the first time all season. The Red Sox, remember, started the campaign at 2-8 and struggled throughout the month of April. Chris Sale and Rick Porcello couldn't get anyone out, Jackie Bradley Jr. couldn't muster a base hit, and the Red Sox even banned the video game Fortnite because they thought it was creating too much of a distraction.

Now they've won 9 of their last 11 games, have scored 80 runs in that stretch, and have outscored opponents 66-25 in the month of May. And they're right back in the American League East race.

Meanwhile, the Mariners are now at 20-21 after last night's drubbing. Seattle, you might remember, started the campaign at 13-2.

They know how Denny McCarthy feels. Same team, same uniforms, same bats and gloves. But from 13-2 and in first place to 20-21 and settling in comfortably in the middle of the pack in the American League West.

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this weekend in
college lacrosse


Contributed by #DMD's college lacrosse analyst
John Pusateri


weekend lacrosse preview


I'll get into some prognostications for today's games (all of which will be on ESPNU), but first wanted give props to UMBC as the #17 seed took down the Marist Red Foxes in the opening round on Wednesday night 14-8!

There were several different goal scorers by the Retrievers, led by Trevor Patschorke and Steven Zichelli, each with 3 goals and 1 assist. But the big key to the victory was goalie Tommy Lingner, who came on in relief making 9 saves and only allowing 3 goals.

Congratulations to UMBC for advancing to the 1st round to face #1 Penn State. And we all know how the Retrievers feel about facing #1 seeds.

After a lackluster performance in the Patriot League tournament, the heat is on Loyola's scoring sensation Pat Spencer today vs. Syracuse.

#8 Loyola vs Syracuse (Saturday 12 pm, Ridley Athletic Complex) - Intriguing game with the Orange facing the Greyhounds in Baltimore and should be one of the better games of the weekend.

A big individual matchup to watch will be Loyola's Pat Spencer vs Syracuse's Nick Mellen, one of the nation's top attackman vs one of the nations best defenders. Loyola's fortunes usually follow Spencer's performance and he was shut down by Army defender Johnny Surdick in the Greyhounds loss last week. But Surdick is a much bigger man than the 5'9" Mellen, so Spencer will have a decided height advantage. And I'm guessing Spencer will look to rebound after that last game.

Statisically, both teams are pretty close, with Loyola having a slight advantage in shots on goal defense and goal keeping while Syracuse has advantages in face-offs and shots allowed on defense. This will be a fun one to open up the first round and tough to call. So, we'll give this to the home team 12-11.

#5 Yale vs Georgetown (Saturday 2:30 pm) - Last year's champs have fallen off only slightly this season. After opening with an odd loss to Villanova, they turn around and hand Penn State their only loss.

Georgetown has played a solid season, only struggling when they lose the face-off battle badly. Which unfortunately is a forte of Yale, who win at "the X" 76.9% of the time. Georgetown will put up a fight, but Yale takes this one 14-10.

#4 Penn vs Army (Saturday 5:00 pm) - The Black Knights played a brilliant defensive game in beating Loyola 7-5 in the Patriot League tournament and are a stingy defensive team. But the Quakers haven't lost a game since early March and have a little beef with the seeding. Army will keep the score low, but this feels like a 10-7 Penn win.

#3 Virginia vs Robert Morris (Saturday 7:30 pm) - The Colonials are on a bit of a hot streak winning their last 8 games and have won against some decent competition. They gave Maryland all they could handle last year and could make this a game against Virginia.

But the Cavaliers have had an impressive season in winning the ACC and have feasted on weaker conference teams. Look for a convincing 16-11 win for Virginia over RoMo.

JERRY'S TOYOTA banner

pga championship top ten


Well, here we are, a week away from another major golf championship.

I know, you're still recovering from Tiger winning the Masters and here we are again?

It's even more strange when you realize we're talking about the PGA Championship -- in May, instead of August.

In their on-going effort to not butt heads with the NFL, the PGA Tour convinced the PGA of America (yes, they're separate entities) to move their marquee event to May, sandwiched between the Masters and the U.S. Open. Whether it works remains to be seen. But at least for now, they're giving it a shot.

This year's event takes place at Bethpage Black, site of Tiger's 2002 U.S. Open victory and Lucas Glover's 2009 win in the same event. Interestingly enough, the PGA Championship fits better with the likes of Glover rather than Woods. Over the last two decades, a number of "off" names have captured the PGA, including Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel, Y.E. Yang, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley and Jimmy Walker. It's a "Lucas Glover" kind of event, where a guy who is really good winds up catching lightning in a bottle for a week and then fails to win another major in the rest of his career.

Long Island was good to Brooks Koepka last June when he won the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. Can he do it again at Bethpage Black next week?

Bethpage is a monster of a course on Long Island, and with the wet weather they've experienced up there this spring, it's likely going to eliminate many of the game's "shorter" players. By shorter, we're talking the guys who "only" hit it is 280-290 yards off the tee.

You won't be seeing Fransceco Molinari in my Top Ten, in other words.

If you're not convinced by now that Brooks Koepka is one of the world's best golfers and is a threat to win any major championship, you haven't been paying attention much over the last two years.

Koepka is #5 on our list and should be an easy wager for anyone out there looking to make a buck on the PGA Championship next week.

He's won three of golf's last seven majors, but he didn't even play in one of those (Masters 2018). And he could have easily won this year's Masters tournament if not for the heroics of the GOAT.

Course set-up doesn't matter to Koepka, as he showed by winning last year's PGA, but the Bethpage Black trip should be a birdie-fest for Koepka if he brings his "A game" to Long Island.

A win at Bethpage would give him four major titles, the same number as Rory McIlroy and Ernie Els. While we're busy talking about Tiger Woods' chase for 18, it's important to remember that Brooks Koepka is on the verge of challenging the likes of Phil Mickelson (5) and Nick Faldo (6) for career majors.

A victory for Koepka next week at Bethpage wouldn't surprise me in the least.

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Friday
May 10
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#1719



chrissie hynde over brandon hyde? probably...


I feel like I've grilled this steak on several other occasions, but I'll do it again today. If for no other reason than there's really nothing much else to talk about when it comes to baseball in Baltimore these days.

If you're interested in having a reasonable, sane discussion about attendance at Oriole Park, the very first thing you have to do is remember that the attendance numbers published by the team are for tickets sold. The secondary part of that discussion then comes down to "butts in seats".

As we've seen in Baltimore over the years, those two numbers are often much, much different.

Personally, I don't think what other cities and teams are drawing has anything to do with the Orioles. Given whatever your specific agenda is for either over-amplifying or dismissing the O's attendance problems, you can handpick cities where baseball is drawing well and/or handpick cities where no one is going to the games.

I just focus on Baltimore when I'm discussing the Orioles and their attendance problems.

Crowds like this one in Baltimore haven't just happened over night. And they won't get better overnight, either.

So, let's just come to an agreement on these three things and also agree they GREATLY impact attendance in Baltimore.

1. The team stinks. There's little real enthusiasm for this year's team based mainly on last year's woeful season and the very-public rebuild that Mike Elias has undertaken. When you're in a Baltimore bar or restaurant on a Tuesday night in May and there are five TV's on and one has the O's game and the other four have various sports and a "fishing show" on at the same time, that's a pretty good indicator that the Orioles aren't top of mind these days. If the Orioles were a threat to win the A.L. East, interest in them would be up. And when interest is up, more people are compelled to go to the games.

2. Every game is on TV. This one is the most underrated of them all. You don't have to go to the stadium to have a great seat and vantage point for the game at Oriole Park. The TV broadcast is actually just as good, if not better, than being there in person. And you don't have to buy a ticket, park, spend $25 on food and drinks or pay a tunnel toll and so on. It's far, far more "convenient" to stay home and watch the games. And in 2019, most human beings are wired to look for "convenience" first.

3. The city's safety reputation is very real. This doesn't mean you're automatically going to be robbed on Thursday night if you drive downtown and go to a game. But there's a very real "fear" of going downtown, particularly with older fans, and that's not going away anytime soon. Remember, in order to get to the stadium you have to drive there. And that means, depending on where you're coming from, you have to drive through city neighborhoods and city streets. I drive through the city a lot in my travels. I'm hyper-vigilant at every traffic light and stop sign. I try to keep my vehicle moving as much as I can. I'm not "afraid" of the city. I'm just "aware" of it more now than ever before.

When you have a home game on a Tuesday or Wednesday night and 5,000 people show up, you have a significant problem. The Orioles have had five or six of those crowds already this season, with, I'd guess, another dozen or more to come.

Think about that for a second. The Orioles will play 81 home games this season. It's very likely that at least 20 of those -- roughly 25% -- will have 5,000 or less actually in the stadium to see the team play a professional baseball game. Heart, Joan Jett and The Pretenders would draw 6,000 people at the Arena on the same Tuesday night.

Heck, that rock-trio would probably outdraw the Orioles almost any time. I'd choose Chrissie Hynde over Brandon Hyde.

Here's all you need to know about the Orioles and their attendance issues in 2019. Their biggest ticket selling event of the entire year for the baseball stadium wasn't opening day (they didn't sell all the tickets, remember). It was a rock concert on a Friday in July when Billy Joel comes to town.

Interestingly enough, 44,000 people weren't concerned about "safety" when those tickets went on sale, right?

Which brings me back to points 1 and 2 above.

The team is terrible. No one wants to go watch the Orioles lose 8-2. File this under the nature-of-unintended-consequences when you decide to blow up the team and rebuild from the bottom floor. You can do that. And five years from now, we sure hope it's all worth it. But in the meantime, the consequence of that decision is 4,843 people in the stadium on a Tuesday night in June when the Tigers are in town.

And because of that, staying home and watching the game on TV -- or not -- is the easiest thing to do.

Unlike some people -- who brush off attendance woes as no big deal -- I think attendance problems are a major concern for any business that needs people to consume their product. If you own a restaurant with 40 tables and only 16 of them are filled up, you can do all the mail order food or local delivery you want, but if 16 of the 40 tables are filled and 24 are empty, you have a problem with your product. It could be the location of the facility, the availability of parking, the chef, the food, etc., but you have a problem that needs to be addressed.

When you have a 44,000 seat stadium and 5,000 people are showing up, you have a problem.

I think the Orioles have done a great job over the last five years of improving their promotional calendar. I do believe they're working hard to try and come up with creative ways to get folks in the ballpark. I also believe a lot of what's happened with them, attendance wise, isn't necessarily of their doing.

But they have to get more people in the stadium. Period...

Anyone know how to book Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders?

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The Justice Department concluded their series of prosecutions related to NCAA basketball this week when, on Wednesday, they won convictions (on some counts) against Christian Dawkins ad Merl Code on charges related to bribery.

Dawkins, a sports agent and financial adviser, self-styled anyway, and Code, a former Nike and Adidas employee, were found guilty related on charges to bribe assistant coaches at various schools. Under their scheme, Dawkins and Code provided "resources," that is money that the assistants could funnel to potential recruits. In exchange the coaches would push their players to be represented/advised by Dawkins' agency when they turned pro.

It's a pretty straight forward case of bribery and, on the assistant coaches' part, of defrauding the players who trusted them in the event that they were urging them to sign with Dawkins without disclosing that they were being paid to do so. Especially given that Dawkins record doesn't present himself as anyone of note, and certainly not someone who seems to have any qualification to serve as an agent or financial adviser to a professional athlete. Indeed, one of the "partners" in the arrangement was actually an undercover FBI agent with no knowledge of the industry at all.

Interestingly, Dawkins and Code were acquitted on a total of 7 other charges (4 for Dawkins and 3 for Code), including honest services fraud. I say that's interesting because those charges were built around the theory that the defendants had defrauded the universities in question, the same theory that underpinned the convictions in earlier cases involving Adidas executives.

Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller has been in the middle of the college basketball recruiting scandal but no one has yet officially thrown him under the bus in court.

Dawkins also dropped a bit of news that I haven't seen hardly anyone notice: That prosecutors were willing to make a deal with him if he gave them information on higher profile coaches, notably Arizona's Sean Miller, who were arranging payments to star players. Dawkins could be lying about that, but his dogged refusal to implicate anyone, especially Miller, on the witness stand does lend it a bit of credibility. And if it's true, it really should cause a bit of outrage and a lot of questioning about just what the priorities of the government and their cheerleaders actually are.

I mean on the one hand you have a coach who may or may not have been paying a player $10,000 per month, and on the other hand you have a sleazy hack of a wannabe agent who now stands convicted trying to sign up young 20-somethings to his Mickey Mouse operation through lies and deceit. Which one of those actors really deserves to have prosecutors trying to put them in jail for their misdeeds?

It's also interesting that Dawkins, in particular, is leaning into his actions post-conviction by casting himself as someone doing right by players who, in his eyes, deserve to get paid. That's a novel approach, but given that the crux of his scheme involved recruiting these same players to his two-bit agency by means of fraud I'm not quite ready to anoint him as a true champion of treating players fairly.

He did, however, get at something that we simply don't talk about enough and really need to keep in mind to a much better degree when these "scandals" involving players getting improper payments come up: Dabo Swinney.

Ok, maybe not Dabo specifically. As much of a walking sludge pit as he might be, the guy isn't himself responsible for the cesspool that is college athletics.

But still, we need to talk about that contract. Because there's no way around the fact that a guy getting paid $93 million (not counting "bonuses") over ten years to coach "amateur" sports where the players aren't allowed to let the wrong person pick up the check for dinner is absurd in the absolute best case scenario.

Is Dabo a great coach? Obviously. Is that worth enough to Clemson to justify his massive contract? Yes, probably.

But you know who else is very good at what they do and generates a bunch of money for the university through their sports programs? Zion Williamson. Reggie Bush. Cam Newton. Maurice Clarett (I alone must own close to $1,000 worth of memorabilia relating to Ohio State's 2002 National Championship season, a whole bunch of which relates specifically to Clarett). And a whole bunch of other players who have been on the wrong end of NCAA rules enforcement for no reason other than getting a cut of the action in the racket that is NCAA athletics.

And that's all that the NCAA is, one big giant racket working to enrich the millionaires no one has ever heard of in the industry. Dabo might have an argument that he's actually worth his salary, but most of these schmucks can't even come close. The guy who runs the Outback Bowl, and does nothing else, takes home over $1 million a year. Jim Delaney will make more money in his last year as Big Ten commissioner than Bryce Harper will on average in his "megadeal" with the Phillies. Charlie Weis went from failing at Notre Dame to getting himself an annual salary in excess of $2 million with Kansas, a program that barely qualifies for "also ran" status. Weis won one conference game in his tenure with the Jayhawks, and after accounting for the buyouts it took Kansas and Notre Dame to fire him ended up making $1.6 million per win in his head coaching career (Weis was 41-49).

Big time football programs like Alabama and Ohio State create additional "consulting" positions on the coaching staff and pay people nearly $1 million a year just so they don't sign up to work for one of their rivals. And as I've pointed out a few times here, for his one total Big 12 conference championship Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy made more money for coaching football last year than John Harbaugh did.

That is the core essence of the NCAA: It's a multi-billion dollar industry where everyone but the players are angling to pocket millions and millions of dollars from the enterprise. For the assistant coach at Clemson who was taking money from Dawkins because he thought he had a real chance to sign Williamson would have absolutely catapulted his career if he'd actually managed to do that. Second-tier programs like Auburn see a windfall in revenues when a major star like Cam Newton shows up, making the $125,000 they (allegedly) paid to his father to secure his signing absolute chump change.

And that's the issue in a nutshell: The NCAA is "amateur" athletics in name only. The NCAA insists on continuing not to pay players to keep up the veneer, but mostly to make sure that the [Insert Ridiculous Name Here] Bowl chairman can make $750,000 for that gig because the money doesn't have to be spread around to thousands of football players risking short-and-long term injury to make a bunch of non-descript old people millionaires. But how much those old people can make fluctuates quite a bit based on the quality of the unpaid players that are working to their benefit.

It's simply not any kind of mystery why people continue to break the rules to pay players what amount to really small amounts of money on this scale: Because it stands to make them a lot more money.

And that, ultimately, is the truth we all need to agree on. I've got plenty of respect for people who want college sports to actually resemble something akin to amateur athletics. I might not ultimately agree with them, but I respect the viewpoint.

But you're not going to accomplish that goal by going after players or agents, or hauling shoe company executives into federal court on cockamamie legal theories. If you don't want college sports to be a big business industry, then you need to shift your focus from the star player (allegedly) making $10,000 a month under the table to the head coach making over $750,000 a month. Because a contract like that and "amateurism" simply aren't compatible.

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pga championship top ten


Well, here we are, a week away from another major golf championship.

I know, you're still recovering from Tiger winning the Masters and here we are again?

It's even more strange when you realize we're talking about the PGA Championship -- in May, instead of August.

In their on-going effort to not butt heads with the NFL, the PGA Tour convinced the PGA of America (yes, they're separate entities) to move their marquee event to May, sandwiched between the Masters and the U.S. Open. Whether it works remains to be seen. But at least for now, they're giving it a shot.

This year's event takes place at Bethpage Black, site of Tiger's 2002 U.S. Open victory and Lucas Glover's 2009 win in the same event. Interestingly enough, the PGA Championship fits better with the likes of Glover rather than Woods. Over the last two decades, a number of "off" names have captured the PGA, including Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel, Y.E. Yang, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley and Jimmy Walker. It's a "Lucas Glover" kind of event, where a guy who is really good winds up catching lightning in a bottle for a week and then fails to win another major in the rest of his career.

Could Rory McIlroy's five year "stall" at major championships come to and end next week at Bethpage Black?

Bethpage is a monster of a course on Long Island, and with the wet weather they've experienced up there this spring, it's likely going to eliminate many of the game's "shorter" players. By shorter, we're talking the guys who "only" hit it is 280-290 yards off the tee.

You won't be seeing Fransceco Molinari in my Top Ten, in other words.

On Monday, May 6, we led off with Tony Finau at #10. Hideki Matsuyama was #9 on Tuesday, May 7. May 8 was Gary Woodland at #8. Patrick Cantlay came in at #7 on May 9.

The player at #6 has been on a major "stall" for a while now, but this year's event at Bethpage Black might be right up his alley. Rory McIlroy is #6 on our list.

Bethpage Black is not going to resemble the U.S. Open. It's going to look more like a FedEx Cup event in terms of course set-up, which means you're probably going to see a winning score of somewhere near 14 or 16 under for four days (par 70). The easier set-up and "birdie-fest" mentality fits right into McIlroy's hands, even if the par 70 layout doesn't.

As we saw at The Players back in March, McIlroy still has the game to win on the biggest stage. Just because he hasn't won a major since capturing the PGA in 2014, but let's all agree on something: He's going to win more majors in his career. That's a given.

And despite his lackluster play at Augusta National in April, McIlroy is still very much a threat next week at Bethpage. The weather will remind him a bit of May in Ireland, if the long range forecasts hold true, and his powerful golf game will be a good fit for the length he'll find at the Long Island course.

Rory McIlroy has a great chance to win the PGA next week.

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Thursday
May 9
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#1718



"it's not joey callow, it's joey gallo"


Of all the sports, nothing comes close to equaling the intensity of a playoff game 7 in the NHL. There have been a few duds over the years, but for the most part they are always "instant classics". Last night was no different, as San Jose held on for dear life in Game 7 to nip Colorado, 3-2. The last 12 minutes of the game were absolutely riveting. Here's my question. What is it about playoff hockey that is so, so different than regular season hockey? Don't get me wrong, the NHL is a great product whether it's December or May, but the playoff intensity gets ramped up 75%. How do they do it? After ten pre-season games and 82 regular season games, nearly all of the played at breakneck pace, and the traveling from October through April, how do they ramp it up to an even higher level come May and June? It's always amazing to me. Nothing's better than the NHL playoffs.

I'm no NBA fan. Or at least not a "major" one, anyway. But if the New York Knicks somehow wind up with Zion Williamson, that could be a legit "league changer" for the Association. At some point soon, the cycle has to come to an end in Golden State. The league could use a new marquee team. And Williamson, we all assume, is going to be a monster in the NBA. After a decade of being a bottom feeder, it would be really cool to see the Knickerbockers become a "thing" again.

100 home runs before 100 singles. That's Joey Gallo.

Joey Gallo of the Texas Rangers put the finishing touches on an amazing statistical accomplishment last night. With his home run on Wednesday evening, he has now hit more home runs (100) in his career than singles (93). You read it right. And, no, you don't have to check to see if it's right. It is. Isn't that crazy? 100 home runs and only 93 singles. You can win a bar bet or two with this one.

Back to the NHL playoffs for a second. The Final Four are set now: St. Louis vs. San Jose in the West and Carolina vs. Boston in the East. If you're bored with the Warriors winning the NBA title every year and the Patriots winning the Super Bowl every year -- and the Red Sox winning the World Series every three or four years -- the NHL should be your cup of tea. You never know who might win the whole thing. Both St. Louis and Carolina are remarkable stories. On December 20, 2018, the Blues lost to the Canucks, 5-1. At that point, St. Louis had a grand total of 30 points. They were in next-to-last place in the West. That same night, the Hurricanes lost 4-1 to the Red Wings. They were also in next-to-last place in the East with 33 points. Now, they're both potentially going to meet in the Stanley Cup Finals if they can win their respective conference final series'. Moral of the story? As I tell my Calvert Hall Golf team nearly every day: STAY IN IT.

I'm as jacked up as the next guy about the two big name wide receivers the Ravens drafted a couple of weeks ago. I'm not sure Seth Roberts is a world-beater acquisition, but Brown, Boykin, Roberts and Moore might very well turn out to be a competent receiving group. But for all the excitement we're feeling about having Brown and Boykin, it's important to remember the ball has to get thrown to them. Therein lies the question mark. In my mind, at least. Can Lamar Jackson play "quarterback" well enough to use the talents and exploits of the new rookie pass catchers? It's all well and good to be really fast and be able to jet past people and get open. But someone has to throw the ball to you. Accurately. Let's hope Jackson can do that.

Speaking of weird stats, here's one involving our old lollygagging buddy Manny Machado. Machado has 8 home runs and 3 doubles thus far for the Padres. For the Flyers fans who don't have a calculator handy, that's a total of 11 extra base hits for #13. Trey Mancini has 19 extra base hits (13 doubles, 6 HR) and Dwight Smith Jr. has 15 extra base hits (6 HR, 9 doubles). Now, I know Smith Jr. won't challenge Machado for extra base hits by season's end. But what about Mancini? Any chance?

I was talking with a friend on Wednesday about the old days of the Blast and a couple of memories came flushing back to me. In the real "heyday", let's say 1982 through 1986, all employees received four complimentary tickets to every game. And that was it. There were no more to be had. I would routinely have friends say, "Can you get me two tickets?" and, if I had already given my four away to someone, I'd have to say to them, "No, I can't." And I couldn't. There were no tickets to be had, even for those of who worked there. It was during that point when we sold out the Arena 56 straight games. And those were "legit", real sell out crowds. All tickets gone. 56 consecutive games. Some of those games would be mid-week affairs against Golden Bay or Phoenix or Buffalo. Hardly big drawing cards back then. But we sold all 12,506 seats no matter who was in the building.

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“mom goals”


I was at a lacrosse game several years ago when a player took a hard shot from 10 yards out that found the net. Except it was the side of the net, the part on the outside of the goal mouth. As the goalie picked up the loose ball that hadn’t actually gotten past him, my friend said something I’d never heard before.

“Mom goal.”

As in, only the player’s mother thought it was a goal. Everybody else realized the truth. Funny…

I guess there’s some comment in there about mothers thinking everything their child does is just great…and also a comment about moms maybe not understanding all the rules…or perhaps not paying rapt attention to every second of the game.

When it comes to moms and sports, we often hear about the sacrifices they and their partners make as parents for their children, like someone in my family does as her daughter travels the country chasing her dream of playing in college. Then there’s the somewhat dismissive term “soccer mom,” and the stereotype of the tennis-playing moms who hang out at the club gossiping while their husbands work for a living.

Like the “Mom goal,” that’s all quite old-fashioned, really. All that stuff exists, but it’s hardly the most important thing to talk about in 2019 when it comes to mothers and sports.

Fact is, this is really the first generation of moms who are able to serve as true athletic role models for their daughters and sons.

They were the first to be taken seriously as athletes—the television and other media coverage, the resources devoted to them, the sheer number of opportunities that were finally available to them. In college athletics, it wasn’t that long ago that women had to fight for decent uniforms and practice time and any kind of marketing support at all. Today’s younger moms were lucky enough never to experience that.

Today’s young moms were finally able to get away from the ridiculous obsession with female athletes and sexual orientation, as if that actually mattered or was anyone’s business. They had parents who encouraged them to be athletes if they wanted to be, as opposed to trying to force them into something women were supposed to be.

A 10-year-old boy can look at his parents, both around 40 let’s say, and tell his friends that his mom was a big-time athlete back in the day. She can be the famous one, while Dad seems like just another dude, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

If there’s anyone left, male or female, that thinks there’s something wrong with any of that, well that’s a real shame.

There are lots of challenges that come with motherhood and sports, of course, particularly when it comes to current athletes and coaches. Those who “want it all” don’t have it easy. There’s no guarantee an athlete will return after a pregnancy with the same abilities, and that can be a pretty scary proposition.

I recently read a piece by Stacy Lewis, the accomplished professional golfer, which detailed all of the thoughts that went through her mind before, during, and now after her pregnancy. You can just sense the combination of passion for her game and passion for her new daughter, and how that affects her life both positively and negatively.

In coaching, unfortunately, it probably scares some of the most powerful people, mostly men, who shy away from hiring a woman partially for that reason. In turn, women may be shying away from coaching, knowing that they may not get the best reception if they try to be a coach and have a family at the same time.

Personally, I’m always amazed when I see a pregnant woman stalking the bench during a basketball game, not sitting down when she probably should be and displaying exactly the same intensity as she always has. I sometimes wonder exactly what happens to her an hour after the game when all that effort starts taking its toll.

The point is…Moms that are still in the game are even more important than the ones whose careers ended a long time ago. They’re strong people, role models for us no matter what we do or how we identify ourselves.

As for my own mother, who’ll be traveling through Italy on Mother’s Day…well I’ve always felt a bit sorry for her when it comes to sports.

First she met my father, which led to almost 49 years of marriage and three children but also other things…like transistor radios at social functions, depressed Mondays after Sunday football losses and having to tell him to stop calling in so much to radio talk shows.

Then my brother came along, and he had the athletic talent that my father never did. Any idea that sports would become less a part of their lives didn’t happen, and my mother always did her best to be interested. I always had a lot of admiration for her attitude about it.

Maybe there was some “Mom goal” in there, but mostly it was just maturity. Other parents, Dads and Moms, did a lot of yelling at umpires and probably their kids during the car ride back home, but she had a better perspective.

Then came my adult life, one that was supposed to end up in a law office or somewhere like it. Instead, I spent most of my time immersed in games. Eventually, I think, she realized that the whole thing actually made sense for me.

Recently, I reminded her that the greatest challenger so far to Jeopardy! whiz James Holzhauer was Adam Levin, who has spent more than 25 years as the sports information director at Brandeis College outside Boston. With all those facts in our heads, we can be pretty smart, though I’ve yet to try out for Jeopardy!, much to her chagrin.

And then there was my sister, who was no doubt born to eventually give up ballet and such trivialities and play high school sports instead. My father had more fun with her and sports than he did earlier in his life, which certainly translated to my mother as well.

For sure, there are Moms of my generation and younger that take it all in just like my mother did, as a kind of dispassionate but also interested observer. And there will always be Moms, and Dads, who have no interest in sports at all, even if their children do. They might prefer to give their kids a ride, but not even hang out to watch the game. I’m sure most youth coaches would prefer that more parents did that during practice.

What’s new, however, is kids knowing that maybe it was their Mom who gave them their athletic genes. Those traits of competitiveness, stubbornness and game “smarts” could have come from their Mom too.

Besides the famous ones from pro and college sports they watch on TV, their Mom is truly their sports hero. And all of that is completely normal.

It wasn’t always that way, and the sports world’s better off for it. Someday soon, the “Mom goal” won’t even be funny anymore.

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pga championship top ten


Well, here we are, a week away from another major golf championship.

I know, you're still recovering from Tiger winning the Masters and here we are again?

It's even more strange when you realize we're talking about the PGA Championship -- in May, instead of August.

In their on-going effort to not butt heads with the NFL, the PGA Tour convinced the PGA of America (yes, they're separate entities) to move their marquee event to May, sandwiched between the Masters and the U.S. Open. Whether it works remains to be seen. But at least for now, they're giving it a shot.

This year's event takes place at Bethpage Black, site of Tiger's 2002 U.S. Open victory and Lucas Glover's 2009 win in the same event. Interestingly enough, the PGA Championship fits better with the likes of Glover rather than Woods. Over the last two decades, a number of "off" names have captured the PGA, including Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel, Y.E. Yang, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley and Jimmy Walker. It's a "Lucas Glover" kind of event, where a guy who is really good winds up catching lightning in a bottle for a week and then fails to win another major in the rest of his career.

After nearly winning the Masters in April, Patrick Cantlay seems poised to win a major championship soon.

Bethpage is a monster of a course on Long Island, and with the wet weather they've experienced up there this spring, it's likely going to eliminate many of the game's "shorter" players. By shorter, we're talking the guys who "only" hit it is 280-290 yards off the tee.

You won't be seeing Fransceco Molinari in my Top Ten, in other words.

On Monday, May 6, we led off with Tony Finau at #10. Hideki Matsuyama was #9 on Tuesday, May 7. May 8 was Gary Woodland at #8.

We're going to stick with "hits it long and straight" (and can score, too) and give you another potential first-time major winner who nearly pulled off a huge upset at the Masters last month. In fact, he actually led the tournament for about 2 minutes after his 15th hole on Sunday.

#7 is Patrick Cantlay.

Cantlay ranks 15th on TOUR in driving distance average at 308 yards. His accuracy percentage isn't so hot, as he's 173rd in hitting fairways at just a little over 56%. He'll have to bump that particular stat up to at least 60% for the PGA Championship.

But despite his occasionally-wild driver, his greens in regulation numbers are outstanding. He ranks 39th on TOUR with 68% of the greens hit in regulation.

He's having a fine 2018-2019 season, having made 9 cuts in 12 events, with 3 finishes in the top 6, including a runner-up finish at Harbourtowne a few weeks ago.

Cantlay is a future Ryder Cupper for the U.S., maybe even as early as next year at Whistling Straits. He's a legit player. And Bethpage Black could mark his official coming out party as a guy to be reckoned with anytime he tees it up.

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Wednesday
May 8
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#1717



this is what happens...


There was a time, a decade ago or more, when a Red Sox visit to Camden Yards would have all but guaranteed the Orioles three overflow crowds, no matter how the Birds were faring in the standings.

Just for kicks and giggles, let's go back to a late June series in 2009, when the Orioles were still an A.L. East bottom feeder and the Red Sox were perennial contenders.

On June 29, a Monday, the Red Sox blanked the Birds, 4-0. 36,548 people watched the game at Camden Yards.

The following night was a special one. 31,969 were there to see the Orioles win 11-10. You'll remember that game as the one where the Orioles trailed 10-1 heading to the bottom of the 7th and came back to win. There were a lot of depressing days and nights circa 2009 but that victory tasted especially sweet, particularly with the stadium 60% filled with Boston baseball fans.

A crowd of 29,231 was there the following afternoon. Boston turned the tables on the O's in that one, scoring four runs in the 9th inning to send the game to extra frames, where they then won, 6-5, in 11 innings.

Three games. Two at night. One during the day. 32,000 and some change was the average attendance for the three home games.

Where has everyone gone?

I have no way of knowing how many Red Sox fans were there, but I can vividly recall, having gone to plenty of those games myself back then, that the ballpark was always jam packed with "Bah-stun" fans. If you pressed me to give an estimate, I'd say it was typically 60-40 at the very least, maybe upwards of 65-35 in their favor.

It was a dismal setting, obviously. The same type of atmosphere was there -- and then some -- whenever the Yankees came to town. Camden Yards quickly turned into Yankee Stadium South.

Social media was just starting to percolate back then. Twitter wasn't anywhere near the force then that it is today. But even in 2009, people went online and complained loud and long about the stadium being overrun with visiting baseball fans.

"How's the home team going to have any kind of advantage when they go out there for the first pitch and there are 30,000 people in the stadium, but 18,000 of them are sporting a Red Sox or Yankees jersey?"

That was a fair question back then.

"This has to stop!" people would demand. Heck, I was one of those people. I'd go on the air every morning and implore Baltimore baseball fans to man up (or woman up, I guess) and go to the ballpark.

But the truth of the matter in those days was that the visiting fans made the experience so miserable and so uninviting that you wound up giving in and saying, "I don't want to be down there with those jerks in the park...let 'em have it for a few days. I'll go to the next homestand when the A's and Mariners are in town and only 12,000 are there."

Well, I have some good news and bad news.

The good news? Boston fans aren't really coming any longer.

The bad news? Now the stadium is completely empty.

On Monday night, the O's opened a 3-game series at Camden Yards. 11,041 was the attendance.

Last night was even worse. 10,703 jammed their way into the park to see the Red Sox's version of home run derby in an 8-5 win.

Perhaps the most telling recent attendance figure came last Friday night when the Orioles drew 10,034 to the 7-0 home loss to the Rays. Yeah, I know what you're thinking: "Come on Drew, it's Tampa Bay." That's right. It was also a Friday night. That game would have drawn 23,000 with its eyes closed two years ago.

Back to these two Boston crowds for a minute.

Perhaps the meager attendance is more an indictment on the Red Sox faithful. Maybe they're getting bored with all of those World Series rings. It used to be "fun" to come to Baltimore for three days, see the Sox win in person (with tickets scare up at Fenway, sometimes the only way to see the Red Sox was to travel elsewhere) and dump a little humility on poor old Charm City at the same time.

Don't get me wrong, there were still Boston fans in the building last night. When J.D. Martinez homered in the first inning, there was a discernible "roar" from the few thousand who were there from Beantown (or wherever they're from).

But you wanted it, you got it. Gone are the days when 20,000 of them would stream into town and fill the city's coffers with money. Now...a handful of those creatures are mingling in for a 3-game series.

And, well, Orioles fans aren't going to the games either. So we're left with crowds of 10,000 to see the Red Sox play at Camden Yards.

We've become Tropicana Field North.

The Rays drew 8,059 last night to see their win over Arizona.

The Orioles drew 10,703 last night to see perhaps their biggest or second biggest road draw.

Tropicana Field North.

But, in fairness, we wanted it this way.

This, sadly, is what happens when you ask for something that you think you want, but you're not all that sure of the consequences.

We wanted Boston baseball fans to stop invading our stadium 9 or 10 times a season.

Well, they have. Unfortunately, Baltimore fans have stopped invading the stadium as well.

The beautiful ballpark -- is empty.

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this weekend in
college lacrosse


Contributed by #DMD's college lacrosse analyst
John Pusateri


ncaa lacrosse tourney preview


The brackets have been announced and, as expected, the state of Maryland is sending five of their own including Towson, Loyola, Johns Hopkins, Maryland and UMBC. I'll do a preview of the first round a little later this week. But let's take a look at the UMBC Retrievers, who will be participating in the play-in game tonight for the right to face #1 Penn State in the first round. I'll also share some overall thoughts about the brackets. Of note, all games will be televised on ESPNU.

NCAA Opening Round: UMBC (6-8) vs Marist (10-6) (Wednesday 7 pm, Poughkeepsie NY)

The Retrievers travel north of NYC to take on the Red Foxes of Marist, winners of the MAAC tournament.

The Dawgs are playing with house money at this point and it showed in taking down #1 Stony Brook and #2 Vermont in the America East conference last week. During the last 4 games, UMBC has averaged 12.75 goals including averaging 14 goals per game in the conference tournament.

Over that 4-game stretch, a catalyst for the surge in offense has been attackman Trevor Patschorke (Severna Park) who's been averaging just under 5 points per game including 14 goals and 5 assists. The challenge for UMBC will be winning face-offs where they struggle, winning only 42.6% on the season.

For Marist, their past 4 games include being blown out by Virginia 22-7, then 3 straight MAAC wins including 2 against the #4 seed Canisius and a 15-14 win against a 9-7 Quinnipiac team for the MAAC championship. Unlike the Retrievers, the Red Foxes are winning 62.1% of their face-offs.

Marist is also pretty strong defensively allowing only 9.8 goals per game if you throw out the egg they laid against Virginia. However, their scoring offense has been rather pedestrian, scoring only 9.4 goals per game.

Certainly a tough game to call and this will be close. Marist will possess the ball more with a decided face-off advantage. But that hasn't seemed to bother UMBC lately. As noted before, the Retrievers are playing like they have nothing to lose. And they may have figured out something on offense recently which is why I'll give them an 11-10 victory over the Red Foxes to advance to the first round.


NCAA Bracket Observations

Formulas vs Feel - When it came to seeding, the committee seemed to stick to the W/L record, RPI , Head to Head and Strength of Schedule (SOS) for the most part. The toughest decision appeared to be taking Maryland (11-4) over Cornell (10-5). The Terps have the better records and an RPI of 11 while the Big Red have an RPI of 12. But the Cornell's SOS was the 6th toughest while Maryland's was 15th. Army's upset of Loyola in the Patriot League conference unfortunately led to the theft of Cornell's at-large bid.

How will the injury to Towson faceoff specialist Alex Woodall impact the Tigers' chances of another run to the lacrosse Final Four?

ACC Bias - Duke and Virginia getting a #2 and #3 seed is definitely setting up the deck for an ACC team to make the final. Meanwhile Penn and Yale of the Ivy League will need to battle each other for the right to get into the Final Four. Notre Dame (8-6) had a weaker RPI and SOS than Johns Hopkins (8-7), yet its the Irish who host the Blue Jays.

Location, Location, Location - 9 of the 17 teams are located south of the Mason-Dixon line. Yet the quarterfinals are being held in Hempstead, NY and Hartford CT. Not sure why Navy-Marine Corp stadium wasn't used like it was in the past or even the University of Delaware stadium. Particularly the lower half of the bracket featuring 6 southern teams.

Hot, Hot, Hot - Sure, Penn State is the toughest out of the tournament. But even they don't want to face Johns Hopkins who seems to be firing on all cylinders and took the Nittany Lions to OT after beating the Terps two times in a row. They are averaging 15 goals per game in that stretch. The Penn Quakers have won 11 straight after losing their first 3. And UVA better not overlook Robert Morris, who has won 8 straight coming into the tournament and took the Terps to the wire losing by 1 in last year's 1st round.

Final Four - By far, one of the toughest tournaments to predict as any of the teams can be beaten. Going by the brackets, here's an early prediction of the remaining teams for Memorial Day weekend in Philly:

Penn State - Seems to be the safest bet to advance to the final weekend.

Yale - Too good of a team to be beaten 3 times by Penn in a season (both wins by 1 goal each).

Virginia - Cavaliers defense is what's impressive recently. Was pondering Towson here, but the injury to Alex Woodall may be too tough to overcome.

Johns Hopkins - Generating 44.7 shots per game over their last 3 games and putting 64.2% on cage spells trouble for teams with weak goalies like Notre Dame and Duke.

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pga championship top ten


Well, here we are, a week away from another major golf championship.

I know, you're still recovering from Tiger winning the Masters and here we are again?

It's even more strange when you realize we're talking about the PGA Championship -- in May, instead of August.

In their on-going effort to not butt heads with the NFL, the PGA Tour convinced the PGA of America (yes, they're separate entities) to move their marquee event to May, sandwiched between the Masters and the U.S. Open. Whether it works remains to be seen. But at least for now, they're giving it a shot.

This year's event takes place at Bethpage Black, site of Tiger's 2002 U.S. Open victory and Lucas Glover's 2009 win in the same event. Interestingly enough, the PGA Championship fits better with the likes of Glover rather than Woods. Over the last two decades, a number of "off" names have captured the PGA, including Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel, Y.E. Yang, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley and Jimmy Walker. It's a "Lucas Glover" kind of event, where a guy who is really good winds up catching lightning in a bottle for a week and then fails to win another major in the rest of his career.

Looking for a great bet at next week's PGA Championship? Try Gary Woodland, at 60:1.

Bethpage is a monster of a course on Long Island, and with the wet weather they've experienced up there this spring, it's likely going to eliminate many of the game's "shorter" players. By shorter, we're talking the guys who "only" hit it is 280-290 yards off the tee.

You won't be seeing Fransceco Molinari in my Top Ten, in other words.

On Monday, May 6, we led off with Tony Finau at #10. Hideki Matsuyama was #9 on Tuesday, May 7.

In keeping with the theme of "first time champions" (like Finau and Matsuyama), #8 is Gary Woodland.

Woodland is simply a terrific driver of the golf ball, which is probably the primary thing to look for next week when trying to assess the field.

He's in the top 10 in driving distance at 310 yards, in the top 50 in driving accuracy at 64% of the fairways hit and in the Top 15 in greens in regulation at 70%.

His work with the putter has always been hot-and-cold, which is why he doesn't win more. But he's not Jose Feliciano with the flat stick. He can make putts. It's just the margin for error narrows during major championships and one or two three-putts per-round zaps you right off the leaderboard.

The PGA is precisely the kind of major Gary Woodland can win. The winning score could be something in the 12 to 14 under range depending on course set-up, weather, etc., and Woodland is very capable of putting that kind of 4-day total together at Bethpage Black.

At 60:1, he's well worth a wager. Best of all, the stewards aren't going to shamelessly steal the win from him afterwards. In other words, your win ticket will cash with Woodland.

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Tuesday
May 7
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#1716



woods receives presidential honor


15 major championships and 81 PGA Tour victories later, Tiger Woods now has an honor that only three other golfers have ever earned.

Yesterday in Washington D.C., Woods was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Donald Trump. The award was given to Woods in recognition of his career and his inspirational recovery from major back surgery, which sidelined him for nearly all of 2017.

Woods became just the fourth golfer ever to receive the honor, joining Charlie Sifford, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.

Jaime Diaz of The Golf Channel said on Monday when discussing the award: "Tiger is now in the pantheon for being an inspirational human being."

Who would have thought that 24 months ago when Woods was arrested in Florida for driving under the influence of pain medication, he'd rebound to not only once again win major golf championships but would receive one of the highest honors in the country?

As the Grateful Dead once said: "What a long, strange trip it's been..."

The award should in no way be confused with the military's Medal of Honor, which is awarded to those who risked their lives (and often gave their lives) in enemy action in support of fellow soldiers.

Woods attended Monday's event at the White House with his mother, girlfriend, two children and his PGA Tour caddie, Joe LaCava. He spoke briefly at the conclusion of the ceremony.

The ceremony, including the President's remarks, can be seen below.



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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.



masn court ruling update


Late last Friday, with little warning, news broke that a decision had been reached in the ongoing battle between the Orioles and Nationals over MASN rights fees and, to no one's surprise, the MLB arbitration panel had sided with the Nationals.

The decision was sealed for proprietary reasons, but what was reported was that the Nationals had been awarded somewhere in the ballpark of $100 million in extra revenue, including some money that would apply retroactively as far back as 2012.

Last week's news was treated as a major development, but in fact it changes basically nothing about the situation, and the matter is at best still months away from the resolution.

Here's the most simplistic breakdown of the case at the moment: The entire thing has been in wheels-spinning mode since the Orioles won an appeal of the previous ruling against them by the arbitration panel. That's because the court essentially punted in that case: The Orioles contended that the MLB-sanctioned process was fundamentally biased against them, a question that the court declined to address.

Instead, they seized on the fact that the same law firm represented the Nationals, MLB, and some of the teams whose owners sat on the arbitration panel. The court held that this was a conflict of interest, and remanded the decision back to MLB with a directive to create a new panel. So now, the Orioles are going to go back to court with their original argument that the process is still inherently rigged against them.

And the Birds have a pretty strong case to that effect. By virtue of using other owners to sit on the panel deciding how much money the Nationals should get from MASN, MLB is empaneling "judges" who have a direct financial stake in siding with the Nationals.

John Angelos and the Orioles will continue to fight the courts and Major League Baseball.

On the one hand, higher rights fees in Washington help to set the market for TV rights fees everywhere else as well. But more than that, because 34% of a team's local television revenue is subjected to revenue sharing, and every other owner then gets an equal share of that pot, the Nationals being awarded more money in rights fees directly puts more money in the pockets of the owners deciding that the Nationals are entitled to more money.

It's hard to get arbitration awards overturned in court, but the easiest way to do so is to show that the arbitrator had a conflict of interest. And in this case the arbitration panel has an obvious and brazen conflict of interest.

On a broader level, the Orioles are also right that MLB is just flat out trying to screw them over. A key element of the Nationals legal claims is that the MASN arrangement with the Orioles is unfair to them but, as the Orioles have countered that's the entire point. The finances of MASN are supposed to be heavily tilted in the O's favor, as compensation for them agreeing to cede their territorial rights to the Washington market so that the then-Expos could move there in the first place.

In exchange for stepping aside for a "new" franchise in Washington, Peter Angelos was essentially promised a hefty share of that team's market capitalization through exclusive rights to their television product, at what would become a bargain of a price, as well as a much larger ownership stake in the network. That was the basic framework of the deal from the get-go.

15 years later, the league is essentially trying to renege on the bargain. There's really no other way to put it. The league now wants MASN to pay the Nationals market value, or maybe even an inflated value, for their television rights, which violates the fundamental spirit of the 2004-05 deal. In essence, the league is trying to disentangle the Orioles from the D.C. market altogether which, again, amounts to chewing up and spitting out the promises made to the club before the Expos moved to Washington.

To add insult to injury, it's not as though MLB has whole-heartedly rethought their position on the sanctity of territorial rights. Just the opposite in fact: In the most high profile situation involving the rules the league spent years stonewalling the A's attempts to move out of Oakland and into San Jose, despite the fact that San Jose was ready and eager to build them a fancy schmancy new stadium (and went so far as to try to sue the league to force the move) because San Jose now technically resides in the Giants' territory (which was itself a sop to San Francisco in order to help the raise private capital to build their current stadium, but that's another topic).

The league treats the current boundaries of team's broadcast markets as absolutely sacred, and their attempt to abrogate the Orioles' long term claim to recompense for giving away Washington D.C. is wholly unique to this one situation.

So what happens now?

Nothing, really. MASN is going to appeal the decision, again, and they're certainly not going to give the Nationals any additional money. In fact, they're playing hardball now by withholding payouts of profits to the Nats (and the Orioles, for what that's worth) on the grounds that they can't calculate what their profits will be pending the resolution of the case.

How will the appeal go? That's hard to say.

The Orioles are certainly right that any process that involves MLB owners ruling on the question is one that features an inherent conflict of interest, but the courts are really reluctant to reverse arbitration decisions or to take disputes out of the arbitration process. Then again, this is an unusually naked conflict of interest and the Orioles have already won once on this front. Their much narrower decision on the first appeal could be interpreted in either team's favor this time depending on how you choose to look at it.

There are a few things that can be said for sure, however. One is that the Orioles position is much stronger on the merits. They're fundamentally right about the nature of the agreement they made with MLB back in 2004-05, and the fact that the league is now seeking to flat out ignore that agreement in principle. That rightness is also reflected in the arguing positions of the two sides:

The Orioles are asking for the dispute to be handled by an independent arbitrator, or a judge, while the Nats/MLB are aggressively fighting to ensure that the arbitration process stays in house.

If the Nats and MLB genuinely thought that they had a good chance of winning on the merits of their argument, the simplest way to resolve the matter and get their money faster would be to call the Angelos' bluff and agree to independent arbitration. That they're primary focus has been arguing that the question should be decided by other MLB owners is a major tip off that they are not confident that they can win in an arena where the deck isn't stacked in their favor.

Secondly, this isn't going to impact the Orioles future in Baltimore, which simply isn't in any kind of serious jeopardy at all.

Yes their lease is running out soon, but beyond that detail you can't make any sense of a proposal to move the Orioles anywhere else. First and foremost, the Orioles still own over 75% of the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, and Orioles' games are still the flagship content for that network. Moving the team to Las Vegas or Nashville or somewhere else outside of the network's distribution area would be financially devastating to both the network and the franchise.

And even if you figure out a way to resolve that problem, the league has to approve a relocation bid and there's no reason for them to want to abandon the Baltimore market at this time. They're definitely eyeing expansion in the near future and the $2-3 billion that will create for the current owners. If and when that happens, relocating some existing teams may be on the docket, but there are a number of teams who would be more attractive candidates to move than the Orioles.

Say what you will about attendance in Baltimore, but they're actually outdrawing the Indians, for example, despite the fact that Cleveland is a contender shooting for their fourth straight division title. Oakland and Tampa Bay are dead end markets and perennial favorites to lose their team, while the Pirates and (especially) the Marlins have essentially killed off their markets for baseball through perpetually awful/cheap ownership.

All things considered, the Orioles are really doing quite well by way of comparison, and Baltimore remains firmly in the middle tier of franchises in terms of market capitalization.

To the extent that this plays any role in the stadium question, we've likely seen Gov. Larry Hogan tip his hand this week with a letter he wrote to Rob Manfred on the topic. The Orioles can't really go anywhere as long as they're tangled up in MASN, but the ongoing uncertainty over the legal case is likely to serve as a pretext for the Angelos family and Hogan pushing a sweetheart new lease deal for the team, which will likely put more money in the pocket of ownership and perhaps commit more state funds to renovations and maintenance of the park.

And in the long run, the Orioles may well lose the case, and the ultimate decision may well make it untenable for them to continue as the primary owner of MASN, or at least to essentially agree to cut the Nationals loose and allow them to go to Comcast or something. That would mark a big change in the economic structure of the team, but it would be easy to get Fox, Sinclair, or Disney to purchase the network if they wanted to cash out like just about every other team that started their own network last decade has.

But for now, despite the flashy headlines in The Sun on Saturday morning and the appearance of a major setback, nothing has actually happened, nothing has changed, the Orioles haven't lost anything important yet, and they're going to at least be able to continue to drag this out for several more months.

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pga championship top ten


Well, here we are, a week away from another major golf championship.

I know, you're still recovering from Tiger winning the Masters and here we are again?

It's even more strange when you realize we're talking about the PGA Championship -- in May, instead of August.

In their on-going effort to not butt heads with the NFL, the PGA Tour convinced the PGA of America (yes, they're separate entities) to move their marquee event to May, sandwiched between the Masters and the U.S. Open. Whether it works remains to be seen. But at least for now, they're giving it a shot.

This year's event takes place at Bethpage Black, site of Tiger's 2002 U.S. Open victory and Lucas Glover's 2009 win in the same event. Interestingly enough, the PGA Championship fits better with the likes of Glover rather than Woods. Over the last two decades, a number of "off" names have captured the PGA, including Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel, Y.E. Yang, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley and Jimmy Walker. It's a "Lucas Glover" kind of event, where a guy who is really good winds up catching lightning in a bottle for a week and then fails to win another major in the rest of his career.

Hideki Matsuyama has a pair of top five finishes at the PGA Championship in recent years.

Bethpage is a monster of a course on Long Island, and with the wet weather they've experienced up there this spring, it's likely going to eliminate many of the game's "shorter" players. By shorter, we're talking the guys who "only" hit it is 280-290 yards off the tee.

You won't be seeing Fransceco Molinari in my Top Ten, in other words.

On Monday, May 6, we led off with Tony Finau at #10.

The PGA Championship has been an event where lots of prominent, world class players captured their first and "only" major title. Paul Azinger, Steve Elkington, Davis Love III and David Toms fit that criteria.

Our player at number 9 is a world class player who still doesn't yet have a major championship victory to his credit. Could the PGA Championship be his breakthrough event?

Number 9 is Japan's Hideki Matsuyama.

The 27 year old has a very respectable PGA Championship record. He's never missed a cut in six tries and was T4 in 2016 and T5 in 2017. Major championships are much to his liking. In 24 career majors as a professional, Matsuyama has only missed the 36-hole cut on four occasions and has seven Top 10 finishes.

Bethpage seems like a course that will suit him well. Length off the tee isn't an issue at all. He's 17th on TOUR in driving distance with an average of 307.5 yards off the tee.

While his driving accuracy numbers are pretty dismal (58% of fairways hit), he ranks 32nd on TOUR in greens in regulation at almost 70%.

In other words, he often drives it off line, but hits it so far that he can still wedge the ball onto the green.

So what's Matsuyama's problem? Putting. Plain and simple. He's the epitome of "he's either scorching hot with the putter, or ice cold."

On weeks that Hideki putts well, he's in the hunt. When he doesn't, he's nowhere near the leaderboard.

He's too talented to go his entire career without a major championship. It stands to reason Bethpage could be the site of his first foray into the winner's circle.

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Monday
May 6
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#1715



lots of stuff to cover


If you haven't been paying attention to the Orioles -- and based on the attendance, you likely haven't been -- there has quietly been a front office shakeup of sorts over the last week.

John Vidalin joined the O's last July as the team's new COO of Business Operations. I'm not really sure what that job entailed, but it sounded kind of important. Vidalin had an impressive sports management resume with a recent stint in Miami with the NBA's Heat.

Well, he's gone.

No longer with the Orioles, apparently.

Vidalin is no longer part of the Orioles organization. No one is really saying why. No one's saying anything, actually. Vidalin just disappeared from the team's front office roster and that was that.

Another big name followed him out the door last week, as Brady Anderson is no longer on the organization's front office roster and is presumably no longer a "Special Assistant to the Owner" or whatever whacky title they gave the former O's centerfielder.

Anderson, you might remember, was hopeful of a more significant role within the front office when Dan Duquette was jettisoned last October. Some said Anderson didn't want to be the general manager, but desired a more active role in the team's on-field product.

He's apparently no longer employed by the Orioles.

The Orioles won't say anything, and losing Vidalin and Anderson aren't going to set the rebuilding project back an extra year or anything, but anytime two executives leave an organization it's definitely worth noting.

It would be good to hear from the Orioles about the two departures, but, as we know, opening up to the media has never really been their cup of tea.

Speaking of the Orioles, they made some other news over the weekend, although the story is more about the team's flagship radio station than the ballclub itself.

On Saturday afternoon, a local attorney appeared on a talk show on 105.7 and made a claim that an anonymous offer of $3 billion had recently been made to purchase the Orioles and that the new would-be-buyer planned on moving the team to Las Vegas.

On Sunday morning, a station executive sent out a series of tweets apologizing for the attorney's remarks on their airwaves and calling the story "a non-credible rumor".

Let's assume the Orioles reached out to the higher ups at 105.7 and demanded they address the attorney's comments. It seems reasonable that a member of the Orioles organization would have reacted that way.

Why no statement at all from the Orioles if they were so concerned about the story that they contacted the radio station? Why not just offer a one or two line response, refute the "non-credible rumor" and go from there?

Whether the Orioles know this or not -- and I have to believe they do -- the "Las Vegas rumor" has been bubbling around Baltimore since last summer, if not earlier. It's been "out there" for the better part of 10 months now.

Are they letting the story dangle -- even though it might not be true -- because they want to be able to potentially use it when lease negotiations for Camden Yards begin in earnest later this year? If so, that's understandable. You always need a trump card to throw down. But if not, why not just say, right now, without question, "We're not moving to Las Vegas." End of rumor. End of story.

A prominent business executive in town mentioned it to me in the parking lot of Ravens stadium prior to the Chargers playoff game last January. His side of the story included Major League Baseball contracting two teams by 2021 and the Orioles going to Las Vegas within four years.

Call that a "non-credible rumor" if you want -- and it very well might be -- but when well known Baltimore business folks are saying that sort of stuff, it's worth filing away for future use.

This wasn't some goof having a third margarita at a Harborplace bar on a Friday afternoon. It was a suit-and-tie "name" in town who would stand to know something as dramatically important as the baseball team being lured by the city of Las Vegas.

Personally, I don't see any way the Orioles would ever leave Baltimore. But I also didn't think Washington D.C. would ever get a team again and they did. What I "think" is one thing. What I "know" is something entirely different.

I "think" the Orioles are staying in Baltimore forever...

There was still lots of chatter around the country on Sunday about the awful decision to strip the Kentucky Derby victory from Maximum Security on Saturday evening.

Whether you're on the side of "it was wrong" or "it was right", there's one thing for sure. It's a terrible, terrible "look" for the horse racing industry.

And while it will generate lots of buzz for the Preakness on May 18, the horse that supposedly won -- Country House* -- has no chance of winning in Baltimore or at the Belmont in early June.

What happened on Saturday at Churchill Downs was a complete fluke. It was akin to Leicester City winning the Premier League out of nowhere a few years ago. They could play that season 100 more times and Leicester City would never win the whole thing again.

Likewise, they can run that Derby race 100 more times and Country House* would beat that field exactly zero times.

That is, unless they disqualified the winning horse and awarded the victory to the non-deserving second place finisher, like they did on Saturday.

If you're a fan of the wrong horse winning the Derby, you got your wish on Saturday.

It's one thing if the jockey does something outrageously stupid and negligent and creates a dangerous situation with some kind of lane change that impedes the progress of other horses.

But that's not what happened on Saturday. In fact, Luis Saez deserves credit for getting Maximum Security back into position after the horse jetted out some six yards to his right as he turned for home and heard the crowd's roar.

Country House* won the race because of human error, that much is true. Three humans, in fact. The ones in the steward's office who stole the Derby from Maximum Security should get the blame for the whole fiasco.

In case you missed it over the weekend, Christian writer Rachel Held Evans passed away suddenly after a mysterious illness led to a series of seizures and a medically induced coma.

Held Evans, 37, was particularly impactful with young American women who were exploring Christianity and needed a female voice to guide them.

Her second book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master, was released in October 2012. It was a first-hand account of a woman living a Biblical lifestyle for a year and it pushed Held Evans to a new, heightened position among female evangelicals in the United States.

The Christian community lost a powerful and important voice on Saturday, May 4. May she rest in eternal peace.

And speaking of May 4 deaths, this past Saturday marked seven years since the untimely passing of the great Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys.

Yauch and his band mates were amazing musical artists. They were trend-setting pioneers of the highest degree, jumping into the rap world in the early 1980's and earning the respect of that genre's greatest innovators, including Chuck D., Doctor Dre and LL Cool J.

A well-known activist, Yauch and Erin Potts organized the Tibetan Freedom Festival in 1994 in order to raise awareness of humans rights abuses by the Chinese government on the Tibetan people.

Yauch passed away from cancer at age 47 in 2012. The band hasn't made any new music since.

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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 spirit of the rules

Yesterday...

Sports aren’t the only activities in life that have rules, though they often provide a great laboratory for the age-old debate that even William Shakespeare (or whomever it was that wrote all those plays) liked to tackle.

There’s the letter of the law, and there’s the spirit of the law, the fight between a literal interpretation of someone’s rule and actual intent of the rule.

For many years, I think, sports tended to fall on the side of “spirit.” It was always a bit of an inconsistency, because somebody wins and somebody loses. When my team has five goals and your team has four, that’s very literal. Maybe having so much depend on the spirit of the rules doesn’t always make sense with such an outcome.

Baseball has always been a great example of that tendency. From the “neighborhood” play at second base to the understandable differences in strike zones to the infield fly rule, there are quite a few decisions that have long been made with a nod toward the idea that perfection is impossible.

Even with all the replays we see now in football, there’s still plenty of officiating that takes the spirit of the rules into account; for instance, how many times do we hear that offensive holding could be called on most plays from scrimmage? And then there are coaches like Bill Belichick, who gamed the system against the Ravens back in the 2014 playoffs in such a way that rules had to be changed to protect the spirit of the situation.

Sometimes, like with the introduction of the shot clock in lacrosse, there’s an admission that officials have generally been unable to administer at least part of the game by the spirit of the rules. Finally, enough people realized that something else had to create the pressure on teams to try to score goals as opposed to just wasting time.

Before all of today’s technology, and all of today’s outrage culture on social media, and all of today’s money wrapped up in sports, did sports have it right?

In some ways, I’d say yes; it seems like all of us had a better sense of what a “catch” was in football before we started thinking so much about it. In some ways, I’d say no; you can’t ever say that it’s “wrong” when a replay shows a runner clearly out a first base when the opposite call was made.

It just seems like, bad calls and all, the public accepted a certain lack of perfection, especially if it mainly came from observing the spirit of the rules.


Today…

In Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, the excellent horse that crossed the finish line first, Maximum Security, was later disqualified because of the letter of the law. I suppose that’s what happens in most horse races where something similar occurs. I’m with those racing fans who say that the same standard ought to be used in the world’s most famous race as would be used in the fourth race at Penn National on a regular Tuesday.

Maximum Security (jockey in pink silks, pink hat) was the best horse in the field on Saturday at the Derby, but lost the race due to a rules infraction.

A race horse, of course, can’t violate the spirit of the rules. A jockey certainly can, but what rider would intentionally do something that could potentially injure his ride or another one, not to mention trigger an automatic objection and/or disqualification?

And horse racing, of course, has long been a sport where video review is a defining characteristic of the game. It has to be, from determining the winner (or other finisher) in a photo finish to seeing potential violations that aren’t quite as important as the Kentucky Derby decision.

Still, after seeing the replay of the race a few times, it’s hard not to say that the spirit of the rules wasn’t violated by the decision, even if it was the correct decision.

The original winner was the best horse over the distance of a mile-and-a-quarter. He and his connections entered the day having never lost a race, and they left the track still never having lost a race. That type of record bodes well for the two other Triple Crown races; not that it matters now.

There’s also the fact that part of the objection process is to interview the riders, in particular those who lodged the objections. They aren’t always good arbiters for the truth, I wouldn’t think. And they know better than anyone how hard it is to keep a horse running completely straight anyway.

I understand the underlying dilemma here. Maximum Security moved from one “lane” to another, albeit briefly, when another horse was about to occupy that spot. And if that other horse was allowed to occupy that spot, perhaps he would have been in a different position a few moments later. That was the ultimate decision to make.

What I wonder, however, is whether the letter of the law needs to be more broadly defined. In the same way that we always say that “one play doesn’t decide the game,” it makes some sense to ask if one false move decides the race, whether it’s the Kentucky Derby or the fourth at Penn National, and then codify the answer somehow.


Tomorrow

Horse racing, after the Belmont Stakes in five weeks, will move back to its usual position in the deep, dark background until next May.

Before that, the connections of the “winner” of Saturday’s race, Country House, will most likely feel the obligation to send the horse to Pimlico for the Preakness, and he’s certainly unlikely to win, as he was in Louisville. Maybe Maximum Security will come to Baltimore and win again, in the process gaining some sense of redemption for his rider and his team. Winning a Triple Crown race is a big deal, even if you only win one officially.

The time-honored dilemma between the letter of the law and the spirit of the rules, however? That’s never fading into the background. After all, very few topics in Shakespeare’s works aren’t still worthy of debate today.

And guess what?

That’s great, when it comes to sports.

The debates over officiating, rules and even statistics are all big parts of what makes the sports world go round. Those debates aren’t as big as discussions about the players and coaches themselves, and they never will be, but they still matter a lot.

Like the players and coaches, over time and generations, ideas about the rules and what they mean are going to change. There are sports rules, like the “stymie” in match play in golf, that seem comical in retrospect.

There have always been areas of subjectivity, even in horse racing, when it comes to the adjudication of the rules. There’s no reason to believe that will change, and there’s very little reason to believe that most fans, players or coaches want that to change.

Having listened and read comments from trainers, owners and broadcasters after Saturday’s race, I heard every answer there could possibly be to the question of whether the decision to penalize Maximum Security was the right one. The trainer Todd Pletcher seemed to talk out of both sides of his mouth—it was the right decision, though in his educated opinion, there was no way the horse was going to lose the race, he said.

In a certain way, Pletcher spoke for every person who has ever been the beneficiary of a call, or been on the other side. In other words, he was speaking for every person who’s ever been a fan of a sports team. The only right answer, it seems, is that both sides are often correct.

Except for that pass interference thing in the NFC Championship game, I guess…

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pga championship top ten


Well, here we are, a week away from another major golf championship.

I know, you're still recovering from Tiger winning the Masters and here we are again?

It's even more strange when you realize we're talking about the PGA Championship -- in May, instead of August.

In their on-going effort to not butt heads with the NFL, the PGA Tour convinced the PGA of America (yes, they're separate entities) to move their marquee event to May, sandwiched between the Masters and the U.S. Open. Whether it works remains to be seen. But at least for now, they're giving it a shot.

This year's event takes place at Bethpage Black, site of Tiger's 2002 U.S. Open victory and Lucas Glover's 2009 win in the same event. Interestingly enough, the PGA Championship fits better with the likes of Glover rather than Woods. Over the last two decades, a number of "off" names have captured the PGA, including Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel, Y.E. Yang, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley and Jimmy Walker. It's a "Lucas Glover" kind of event, where a guy who is really good winds up catching lightning in a bottle for a week and then fails to win another major in the rest of his career.

Still looking for his first major victory, Tony Finau is #10 on #DMD's projected PGA Championship leaderboard.

Bethpage is a monster of a course on Long Island, and with the wet weather they've experienced up there this spring, it's likely going to eliminate many of the game's "shorter" players. By shorter, we're talking the guys who "only" hit it is 280-290 yards off the tee.

You won't be seeing Fransceco Molinari in my Top Ten, in other words.

Leading us off is a player who not only hits it a long way but has the game to contend in major championships, as he's done a few times over the last two years.

Number 10 is Tony Finau.

Finau has played in 12 major championships and already has five Top 10 finishes, including a T5 at last month's Masters.

He can bomb it off the tee, which is a major prerequisite at Bethpage Black.

The only thing holding Finau back? He hasn't yet won anything of note on the PGA Tour. He's made lots and lots of money. He made the Ryder Cup team as a captain's pick. He's become one of the game's top players. But he hasn't figured out how to close the deal and win golf tournaments.

The PGA Championship seems like a perfect fit for Finau.

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Sunday
May 5
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#1714



maximum garbage


I'm not a bitter bettor who was part of the $9 million that was lost when those knucklehead stewards at Churchill Downs stole the Kentucky Derby from the winning horse yesterday.

So, because I'm not among that group, I can say without question that Saturday night's decision to steal the Derby victory from Maximum Security was outrageously terrible.

It was an awful, awful decision.

Because it's a horse race and because they allowed 19 horses to jam their way into the Derby, things can -- and often do -- get tight. I'm often amazed at how "clean" a race is given how many horses are in tight quarters for a mile and a quarter or more. It's like NASCAR except with horses.

Maximum Security (jockey in pink silks, pink hat) heads for home en route to winning the Kentucky Derby...only to find out 20 minutes later he actually finished 17th.

Yesterday's race was like that, with no fewer than eight horses crammed into tight quarters as they headed for home.

Was their a sudden move off to the right by Maximum Security that dangerously bunched a couple of horses together for 20 or 30 yards? Sure.

Were a couple of horses impacted until Maximum Security straightened out and surged back into the lead? Quite possibly, yes.

But no one got hurt. No one got clipped. Nothing really happened except for a horse race.

And then came the objection and the 20-minute video review and, sadly, the removal of Maximum Security from the #1 position on the final board.

Garbage. Maximum garbage.

If there's an incident in the race that causes horses to tangle up, get injured and so on, it would be perfectly reasonable to punish the offender. No one would argue against that.

But nothing really happened. Remember Mike Tomlin's bush-league move on the sideline back in 2013 when he half-stepped on the field while Jacoby Jones ran past him?

Nothing really happened there, either. Was it wrong? Of course. Did Jones slightly alter his stride? It looked like it. But there was nothing game officials could do in the moment because Tomlin didn't actually make contact with Jones on the play.

Maximum Security was Mike Tomlin yesterday. Nothing really happened. There was a moment where it looked like something might happen, but ultimately, nothing did.

Until the objection was filed, that is.

And then the stewards got their 15 minutes of fame.

All of the post-race controversy glossed over the fact that Maximum Security was clearly the best horse in the field from start to finish. It's one thing if he's 15 lengths behind in the backstretch and then goes bull-in-a-china-shop over the last half mile, darting in and out of traffic and causing havoc with the other competitors.

But no such thing happened. Maximum Security took to the front, stayed out there for two minutes, and won the horse race fair and square.

That is, until the stewards stole it from him and awarded Country House* the victory in a race he clearly didn't deserve to win.

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college lacrosse


Contributed by #DMD's college lacrosse analyst
John Pusateri


tigers, retrievers headed to ncaa tourney


Conference Finals

America East: UMBC 14 - Vermont 13 - The Dawgs are going to the dance! Something about UMBC being bottom seeded that makes them play big against Goliath. The Retrievers get revenge on a one-goal OT loss in the beginning of the season. Exciting back and forth ending with a great unassisted goal by Trevor Patschorke with 1 minute left to clinch the game winner. Ryan Frawley (4 goals, 2 assists) , Brett McIntyre and Trevor Patschorke (4 goals, 1 assist each) lead the way for UMBC. Great win for Coach Moran!

Shawn Nadelen and the Towson Tigers are headed back to the NCAA lacrosse tournament after yesterday's CAA title victory over Drexel.

Colonial Athletic Association: Towson 16 - Drexel 14 - The Tigers are CAA champions once again after surviving a 5-0 run from the Dragons in the 4th for the victory. Towson featured 5 multiple goal scorers lead by Timmy Monohan (2 goals, 4 assists) and Luke Fromert (4 goals). A key for the offense for the tournament was keeping the turnovers down (15.0 avg), which plagued them earlier in the season. Goalie Tyler Canto also came up big with 17 saves, many of the SportsCenter Top 10 variety.

B1G: Penn State 18 - Johns Hopkins 17 (OT) - In one of the best games of the season, John's Hopkins continued it's hot streak against the #1 Nittany Lions, jumping out to an 11-8 halftme lead. The Nittany Lions then went on a 5 goal run to take the lead in the 3rd. The teams then traded goals and Hopkins eventually evened the score with 30 seconds left in the game. However, Penn State won the opening face-off in OT and made good on the possession with a goal by Mac O'Keefe just 25 seconds into the extra period. Joey Epstein paced the Blue Jay offense with 7 goals and 2 assists. Matt Narewski has emereged as as the Blue Jays primary face-off specialist, winning 16 of 29 draws against one of the nations best in Gerard Arceri. The Blue Jays have come a long way this season after a very slow start and may be the hottest team in the country.

NCAA Tournament Thoughts:

NCAA Selection Sunday comes at 9pm on ESPNU. And while the polls usually indicate who the hottest teams are, the NCAA seeds are based mainly on:

A) Strength of Schedule

B) RPI

C) Head to Head

D) Input from Regional Advisory Committee

E) Travel Considerations

The first 3 are pretty standard objective measures while the last 2 are kinda subjective and usually are the cause of some head scratching seeding with questionable teams getting home games. Case in point, Notre Dame will very likely have an RPI of 10 but may end up hosting Denver (RPI of 12) as the #8 seed because of travel considerations for Denver. Also, sometimes losses in conference tourneys don't hurt as much as they would in the regular season.

Given this background, we'll take a stab at the seedings of our local teams and include a guess at the remaining top seeds.

UMBC (6-8) - #17 (America East Champion AQ)

The Retrievers as the America East automatic qualifier with the only losing record in the field will be the last seed and most likely play Marist in the 16/17 play-in game for the right to play the #1 seed.

Maryland (11-4) - #11 (B1G At-Large)

This is where the fun begins in trying to seed these teams because there will be a big pile from the #6-#11 seeds including the Terps, Loyola, Notre Dame who all lost recently while Towson (RPI of 9 prior to CAA tourney) won and Hopkins took Penn State to the wire after beating the Terps.<.p>

Syracuse is also in the mix here but didn't play because their season was over. These teams could end up in any order. The Terps have played a tough schedule and performed very well this season. But back-to-back losses to Johns Hopkins to close out the season puts a hurting on their RPI. They also lost to Notre Dame earlier this year.

Johns Hopkins (8-7) - #9 (B1G At-Large)

The B1G was probaby the toughest conference in the NCAA along with the ACC. Beating the Top 10 Terps twice in a week and almost winning the B1G final against the #1 team in the land is big medicine. Hopkins also sports one of the toughest schedules non-conference. The Blue Jays are definitely a team you do not want to draw.

Loyola (11-4) - #8 (Patriot At-Large)

Going with Loyola here because the lost to an Army team with a lower RPI (18) on their home turf and Towson owns the head-to-head. However they did beat Johns Hopkins early in the season.

Towson (11-4) - #7 (Colonial Athletic Champion AQ)

This is a challenge because the CAA isn't as strong. But the Tigers RPI should be around 6 after winning the CAA, they did play a significantly tougher schedule and don't have any losses to unranked teams.

Remaining Top Seeds:

#6 - Notre Dame

#5 - Penn

#4 - Duke

#3 - Yale

#2 - Virginia

#1 - Penn State

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Saturday
May 4
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#1713



anyone going to the preakness?


As news surfaced on Friday that Preakness officials are going out of their way to make it even more inconvenient to attend this year's race two weeks from today, it got me to thinking. And asking...

Who among the #DMD faithful is going to this year's Preakness on May 18?

In case you missed Friday's news, you will no longer be allowed to bring any kind of food or drink to Pimlico on Preakness day. Last year they instituted a new rule prohibiting their customers from bringing in their own food and drink to the infield.

Yesterday they went ahead and provided the finishing blow by barring outside food and drinks from the entire facility.

I wonder if anyone even cares enough any longer to worry about the new policy?

Is there any chance at all that the May 18 Preakness will be the final edition in Baltimore?

Just for kicks and giggles, I asked a cross-section of people at Eagle's Nest on Friday if they planned on going to the Preakness on May 18. Some were my age, several were in their 40's and another group ranged from 25-35 or thereabouts.

I quizzed 19 people total. Guess how many say they're going?

Two...

I don't know what that says. I guess "the Preakness isn't very popular with Eagle's Nest members" is the first thing that pops in my mind. But I'm not sure if 17 of 19 people NOT going is a big deal.

Here's what I am sure of, though.

Other than a fondness for horse racing and the event itself, there's nothing at all pushing me to attend the race on May 18. Zero. Nada. Zilch.

The musical acts are completely anonymous to me and anyone else over the age of 27. Kygo, Logic, Diplo, Juice Wrld, FISHER and Frank Walker are the scheduled acts.

I've never heard of any of those people. Have you?

I get it. I know the stock answer is: "They don't want old white guys at the race. They want 'kids' there who will drink beer all day, get wasted, bet on a few races, and so on."

But by not having something special going on for adults -- you know, people with jobs who have discretionary money to spend at the track once a year -- they're missing out on an opportunity to draw more folks to the track on May 18.

Maybe they just think the "older audience" simply won't go to the Preakness any longer. If that's indeed the way they think, they're wrong. But they do need to do something to get us there. Just having a day of racing isn't the answer.

And while I'm not suggesting that the no-outside-food-policy is a death knell for the race, I will say that it's just another obstacle in the way of getting anyone to attend.

It's already $90 to get in the infield. Now you're telling me it's $90 and I can't bring in my own pretzels, water, Snickers bars and anything else.

Kind of dumb if you ask me.

Editor's note: No one asked me.

If the folks at Pimlico just want the track overloaded with 25 year olds, they're probably more worried about getting that demographic interested than they are concerned about alienating the old white guys.

I get that part of it. But why not try and cater to both groups? Can't they have The Goo Goo Dolls or some other half-washed-up 90's band perform to keep the old fogies interested?

Interestingly enough, I'm precisely the kind of Baltimorean the Preakness folks should be trying to lure to the race. I have a history of going in the past, I enjoy horse racing, I'd certainly like to support something with "Baltimore" stamped on it and I have a circle of friends who might share my enthusiasm for the event.

But rather than market to me, Preakness officials have moved on to chase a younger audience.

I sure hope those folks show up on May 18.


and today's derby winner is...


The early call is a sloppy, muddy track for today's running of the Kentucky Derby in Louisville.

I understand, it's an outdoor sport and all, but there's nothing worse than waiting a year to run one of the biggest horse races in America and then have the track be "off".

With that in mind, #DMD isn't changing anything about our suggested finish in today's Derby. Mostly because we don't know enough to discard the horses who hate the mud and promote the ones who have run well in it previously.

We're going with Game Winner to come out on top this afternoon, followed by Win, Win, Win, Cutting Humor and Tax.

For those of you looking to buy a new house down in Ocean City, your winning ticket looks like this: 16-14-10-2. I hope I get an invite to your new place later this summer.

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this weekend in
college lacrosse


Contributed by #DMD's college lacrosse analyst
John Pusateri


college tournament update


There were some exciting games earlier this week, including some surprises that resulted in 3 of the 6 local teams who qualified for their conference tournaments finding their way to the conference finals.

Let's take a quick look at the results from the conference semis followed by a preview of this weekend's conference championships.

Conference Semifinal Results --

Johns Hopkins 12 - Maryland 7 - Looks like the Blue Jays indeed have the Terps' number as they took down Maryland for the 2nd time within a week on Thursday.

This game played out very much like the last game in which the Terps jumped out to a signifcant 6-2 lead at half, only to have Hopkins take over the game outscoring Maryland 10-1 in the 2nd half.

And like the first game, the Blue Jays defense put the clamps down on the Terps, holding them to just 28 shots. Great week for Johns Hopkins who most likely secured an at-large bid to the NCAA's with this win.

Towson 18 - Delaware 11 - The Tigers started slow but tallied 13 goals in the 2nd and 3rd quarters to take over the game as the offense was clicking on all cylinders. Towson featured 7 different goal scorers with Brendan Sunday (3 goals, 5 assists) leading the way. Luke Fromert, Timmy Monohan and Brody McLean also chipped in 4 goals a piece.

Charley Toomey and Loyola were shocked by Army in the Patriot League semifinals but the Greyhounds will still be a prominent fixture in the NCAA tournament that starts next weekend.

UMBC 14 - Stony Brook 8 - Huge win for the underdog Retrievers who knock off #1 seed Stony Brook hang 11 on Seawolf goalie Michael Bollinger in the first 2.5 quarters. Attackman Brett McIntyre lead the way for UMBC with 4 goals.

Robert Morris 13 - Mount St Mary's 12 OT - Thought this could be one of the better games of the weekend with last year's NEC champ RoMo starting to hit their stride at the end of the season. Tough loss for the Mount who built up a 5 goal lead late in the 3rd only to have the Colonials score the last 6 goals of the game to win in overtime. A disappointing end to a solid season for Coach Gravante and his squad.

Army 7 - Loyola 5 - If someone told me before the game Army was only going to score 7 goals, I would've predicted them losing 100% of the time. Regardless of opponent.

However, in one of the biggest surprises of the week, the Black Knights completely shutdown the Greyhounds, one of the best offenses in the game, to advance to the Patriot League final.

A key was All-Conference defensemen Johnny Surdick holding Tewaarton candidate Pat Spencer to just one assist. Goalie AJ Barretto (St. Pauls) was also key for Army making 13 saves. Loyola goalie Jacob Stover also had a big hand in this defensive struggle making 14 saves. Unfortunately, it was an off-night for Loyola's offense thanks to a masterful defensive performance from Army.

Conference Finals

America East: UMBC vs Vermont (Saturday 12 pm, Stony Brook NY) (ESPNU) - Rematch of a 1-goal loss for the Retrievers back in March to the Catamounts at Vermont, 12-11 in double OT. The Dawgs are playing with house money at this point, so the pressure is on the Catamounts. However, this one, like their last game, may come down to goalie play. I'll give the edge to Vermont.

Colonial Athletic Association: Towson vs Drexel (Saturday 1 pm, Amherst MA) (Web) - After the Tigers rescued victory from the jaws of defeat a week ago in Philly against the Dragons, both teams put up huge numbers against their CAA semi-final opponents including Drexel taking down #1 seed UMass 15-12. I think the goalies for both squads will be seeing the ball better during the day and the key to this game will be who can keep their turnovers down.

Towson did the better job the other night valuing the ball and I think they are the better team. The injury to Towson's faceoff maestro, Alex Woodall, will give the Dragons the advantage at "the X" again, but I'll still give my Tigers a 11-10 victory.

B1G: Johns Hopkins vs Penn State (Saturday 7 pm, Piscataway, NJ) (B1G Network) - Hopkins has been hot as of late with their only blemish coming against, you guessed it, Penn State, in the form of a 20-9 drubbing of the Blue Jays. While Hopkins has been on a mission to make the NCAAs, the Nittany Lions have declared war on the national title. And it starts with Penn State capturing the B1G title, their first, with a 5-goal victory.




Friday
May 3
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#1712



friday musings


With Maxx Williams signing in Arizona yesterday, that leaves only Nick Boyle still on the roster from the Ravens' draft class of 2015.

Last weekend in this space, I chronicled the 2014 edition of the Ravens draft and noted how dreary a collection of NFL'ers that particular group turned out to be.

Well, 2015 is worse, believe it or not.

Much worse, in fact.

Here's the list of the others besides Williams and Boyle: Breshad Perriman, Carl Davis, Za'Darius Smith, Buck Allen, Tray Walker, Robert Myers and Darren Waller.

Smith was the only one of the group who distinguished himself (in a good way) and even then, he's pretty much a one-trick pony who either has a great game or is nowhere to be seen. Walker sadly passed away, so there's obviously no NFL grade on him. The rest, though, are about as non-descript as you can get.

And that was only four years ago, friends. If you're looking for a reason why the Ravens have struggled over the last five years, the 2014 and 2015 draft classes are good spot for you to begin your examination.

I don't know what happened in those years, draft wise, but Ozzie and the front office definitely missed on a number of players. Far too many.

In the aftermath of the Caps gagging away series leads of 2-0 and 3-2 to the Carolina Hurricanes, I remarked on Twitter how dangerous I thought the 'Canes would be going forward. Caps fans beat me up like I was The Brooklyn Brawler, telling me the Islanders would pound them in the next round and how I didn't know what I was talking about. "Watch and see," I wrote. "Carolina will give them all they can handle and more."

Carolina leads the series 3-0 and can close it out tonight down in Raleigh.

The Hurricanes play an interesting style of hockey. It's not the most graceful thing I've ever seen, but it's very effective for their collective skillset and for the demands of the NHL playoffs. They dump the puck in the corner and then go fight you for it. And not only is that their style, they actually look like they enjoy doing it. And in the NHL playoffs, the fighters and grinders typically win out.

Interestingly enough, that's sorta-kinda the way the Caps won last year. They just outfought and outworked people throughout their four playoff series'. And Braden Holtby stood on his head, which always helps.

All you have to know about Carolina's style is to go back and look at their game-winning goal against the Caps in Game 7. They get the puck in the Caps' defensive zone, they fight and scratch for a half minute to keep it in there, the puck finds Justin Williams in a seemingly-harmless position in the corner. He digs it out, throws it in front of the net and, voila!, it's tapped in for the series-clinching goal in double overtime.

Remember: "The team that thinks they're really good is often more dangerous than the team that actually is really good." That cliche fits Carolina to a tee.

A week before Tiger gets to town, his yacht pulls in just outside of Long Island and prepares to host Woods and his traveling staff.

In preparation for the PGA Championship in a couple of weeks at Bethpage on Long Island, Tiger Woods' yacht showed up yesterday at a harbor some 15 minutes from the golf course. Woods presumably will stay there throughout the week, along with his "staff" of six people.

It will be interesting to see how Tiger fares at Bethpage given that he will not have played a golf tournament between the Masters (he won that tournament, in case you haven't heard) and the PGA Championship. Most players wouldn't want that sort of month-long break between events. Most players don't have 81 career wins and 15 major championships, either.

Bethpage is familiar to Woods, as he won the 2002 U.S. Open there. He also fared well there in 2009 when Lucas Glover somehow pieced together four good rounds to win. Woods finished T6 in 2009 with a final total of even par (74-69-68-69).

We'll have our PGA Top 10 starting later next week, and Woods, for sure, will be on it. While it would be somewhat surprising to see him post back-to-back major victories, there's no doubt he's heading to a place where he's supremely confident. Oh, and don't forget, the U.S. Open is at Pebble Beach in mid-June. He's, ummmmm, done pretty well there in the past, you might remember.

If you haven't been following the NCAA basketball "payment scandal" this week, you're missing out on some pretty good stuff. Namely, Arizona's Sean Miller was apparently paying DeAndre Ayton $10,000 a month to play for him at the University of Arizona. Now, obviously, there are varying sides to the story. Miller has contended forever he did no such thing. But wiretapped conversations between agents who were vying for players to send to Arizona say differently.

Jalen Rose was on TV yesterday bellyaching, like a lot of people do, about the salaries of college basketball coaches. Rose basically said this: "If these coaches can make two or three million dollars a year, why can't a kid make $10,000 a month?"

He then whined for a couple of minutes about how unfair it is to the kids and blah, blah, blah. And Rose kept harping on the "outlandish" salaries of the coaches.

Meanwhile, sports talk radio people in middle America are pulling in $50,000 a year while Rose makes $200,000 yapping about the NBA for two hours a day on a national TV show.

In other words: You get what you get in your profession because that's what people make. Crying about how much a college basketball coach makes is silly. They make what they make. If, say, the University of Dayton offered Jalen Rose their head coaching job (just as an example), would he "only" take $175,000 or would he want the equivalent or more of the guy who was in the office right before him?

Baseball players making $30 million a year? Stupid. But they get that because the owners have allowed it to happen. Basketball coaches get $2.5 million a year to coach kids because that's what school presidents and athletic directors (and boosters, probably) have allowed to happen.

But it's one thing for the great unwashed like you and I to bemoan the $30 million football or baseball player. We can't identify with that sort of wealth, obviously.

On the other side, there's almost nothing more aggravating in our sports landscape these days than hearing grown men or women who make a lot of money themselves whine about how much some other guy or gal makes. Lord only knows what sort of "deal" Jalen Rose cut for himself at Michigan two decades ago.

And the constant burping and swaddling of these "college kids" is even more vomit-inducing. Here's the easy, simple message for them: If you don't like your particular college sport, team, school or coach, you can always do something else.

One of the reasons these kids are so entitled is because we allow them to be that way. If everything isn't lined up perfectly, they have no idea how to handle it. It's borderline shameful on our part that we've allowed it to get this way.

And speaking of kids, on a non-sports story for a minute, I did want to share this message, as it's one I offered to my own children both back in December and now, this week.

The trial of fallen Baltimore County police officer Amy Caprio ended in a felony murder verdict against Dawnta Harris earlier this week. He, of course, was the young man who ran over and killed Officer Caprio last April in Perry Hall.

The outright lies by his attorney were exposed last week when roughly one minute of the police officer's body-cam was shown both to the court and publicly. The young man was sitting in the vehicle, engine running, when he was told five times to "get out of the car". Rather than get out, he ran the officer down.

Back in December of this year, while en route to a Towson University basketball game, I was pulled over in downtown Towson by a Baltimore County police officer. I had my two children in the back seat, ages 11 and 8.

"What did you do, Daddy?" my daughter immediately asked after I said, "Uh oh, I'm getting pulled over."

"I don't know," I replied, "but I'll pull over and we'll find out."

The officer approached my vehicle and asked for my license and registration. Honestly, I had no idea at all where my registration was, but it was either in my glove compartment or the middle console next to me.

"I'm not sure where my registration is," I announced to him. "I'm going to open my glove compartment and see if it's in there." Before reaching in, I reminded him again. "I'm going in my glove compartment to check for my registration, OK?"

It wound up being in there, I was given a warning for having a rusty license plate (yep, you apparently can't drive around with rust on your license plates...who knew? LOL) and off we went to the basketball game.

The lesson I then explained to my children was the obvious one. When a police officer asks you to do something, you do it.

Had Dawnta Harris followed Officer Caprio's instructions last April, he wouldn't be going to jail for the rest of his life and she would still be alive today.

Please share that with your children, if you would. And remember it yourself, as well.

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The first month of the baseball season is in the books and, well, things aren't going so well for the hometown club.

Not that we expected much else, but it's still a little bit sad to see them entering play Friday with an 11-21 record, on pace for another losing season. Surprisingly, things haven't been all bad, and dare I say the club has even had their moments. Some were big, exciting wins, some near misses. Some just good moments from individual players. And if you're a big fan of home runs, you're having a blast this season!

So in the spirit of (long term) optimism, let's forget about the losses altogether for a minute and look at some positive aspects from the month of April, shall we?

Trey Mancini: After a rough sophomore season, the former Rookie of the Year candidate is re-establishing himself as a middle of the order hitter to be respected no matter how bad his team is. In fact, "Boom Boom" is downright mashing, with an eye-popping .355/.405/.618 line with 6 home runs in his first 28 games. He still doesn't have a solidified defensive position, but it doesn't much matter if you hit like that.

Should the O's try and sign Trey Mancini to an extension or trade him away while his value is high?

Even better, Mancini's batted ball profile suggests that his turnaround from 2018 might not just be a flukey fast start.

Despite a reputation as a power hitter, over half of his balls in play were grounders in both 2017 and 2018. Groundballs do not tend to lend themselves to extra base hits. That's a big part of the reason why when his batting average on balls in play (BABIP) came down from a Troutian .355 in his rookie campaign to a merely normal .285 last year, his overall average went from .293 to a decidedly less impressive .242.

This year the BABIP is once again an unsustainably high .413, but he's significantly cut his groundball rate which should generate more extra base hits, including home runs. Better yet, he's managed to increase his long rate without increasing his strikeout rate at the same time, and in fact is striking out slightly less than he has in the past few seasons.

Ironically, Mancini might be playing himself out of town at this rate.

At 27 years old and set for his first year of arbitration after this season, Mancini doesn't really have a lot of long term value to a team that expects to be at least another year away from contention. But because he has all of that team control left, a team in range this season could definitely see him as an intriguing trade target this summer, who could provide some relatively cheap offense for the next few years as well.

With teammates like Alex Cobb, Andrew Cashner, and Dylan Bundy struggling mightily early on, Mancini may be the Orioles only good chip with which to add anything at all to the farm system this year.

Renato Nunez: A leading member of the "who the heck are these guys?" brigade, Nunez has acquitted himself well in his first chance at regular big league action hitting .266/.316/.477 in 29 games.

Unlike Mancini though, it probably won't last very long. Nunez has hit many few popups and made much more hard contact on balls than he has even in his minor league career, so he's probably just riding a hot streak to open the season. But the team needs someone to fill the lineup and get respectable at bats, Nunez is certainly doing that, so perhaps the extra time in the big leagues and in the lineup will give the major league coaches some time to work with him and turn him in to a valuable asset.

Dwight Smith Jr.: The 26 year old former Toronto farm hand is another guy who's making a good showing in a shall we say, unique chance to get regular big league playing time. No one's idea of a future All-Star or a guy to build a lineup around, but a .276/.325/.486 hitting line with solid baserunning and defensive ability, plus the ability to plug into any outfield position, will fit on just about anyone's roster. He's another guy who could end up making sense to trade for just that reason, despite the fact that he has a lot of team control left and is only 26. Hey, it's a rebuilding process, right? Gotta leverage the valuable assets you have!

Ryan Mountcastle: OK, now I'm starting to stretch the concept of the topic at hand by including someone who isn't even on the big league roster. But hey, this is about looking to the future, right? Right.

Anyway Mountcastle has handled an aggressive promotion to Triple-A with aplomb. Despite being just 22 years old, through his very first 107 plate appearances in Norfolk Mountcastle is swatting .300/.327/.520 with 11 total extra base hits, including 5 home runs. He's definitely solidified himself as the Orioles top prospect, and one of the very best hitting prospects in all of baseball.

Hitting is definitely the key word, however, because it's still an adventure for the youngster anytime he has a glove in his hand rather than a bat. It seems as though the Orioles are finally pushing him to first base, however, where he has a real chance to stick. Even if he can't, however, there's enough offensive potential here to make him valuable as an everyday DH whenever he makes it to the show. Don't expect that to be this season, however, because a) this year is a sunk cause already, b) Mountcastle really does still need time to work on his defense, and c) with no chance of competing the Orioles are likely going to manipulate his call up to maximize their years of team control over Mountcastle. Maybe next May.

The rest of the guys: Okay okay, they're not any good.

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Thursday
May 2
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#1711



what one player would you take?


While watching bits and pieces of the Orioles Game 2 gag job last night in the Windy City, something dawned on me.

Besides, "boy, this team stinks..."

I sure would like to have Jose Abreu on my team.

Because they're the White Sox and all, I haven't paid much attention to them or Abreu over the last six seasons. But on the occasion I have seen him play, it strikes me that Abreu is quietly one of the better hitters in the league. Or, perhaps, not so quietly.

His career slash line is .294/.353/.516. Abreu averages 32 HR and 109 RBI per-season and strikes out on average about 138 times per-season, roughly 70 times less than our "power hitting" first baseman.

So that leads me to asking you this today.

Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox continues to torture American League pitching.

What non Hall of Fame player, in any sport, would you like to have on your team?

And you can't say Steph Curry because he's definitely making the Hall of Fame someday.

You could say, for example, Nick Markakis. Funny, we actually had him on our team once and didn't think he could play any longer. And now, in a strange twist, he might actually squeeze his way into the Hall of Fame someday. But I digress.

You could also say Jose Abreu, as another example. I've always wanted Ben Roethlisberger on my team, but for the purposes of this argument, I'll leave him off the list because I'm quite certain he's headed for Canton in a decade.

Give me a player, in any sport, that you'd take on your team. And tell me why.

No, you can't say Mike Trout.

Oh, and your choice doesn't have to currently play, either.

You could say Wes Welker, for example. I'd accept that one.

I've always liked Andrew McCutchen, now with the Phillies, but at one time a National League MVP with the Pirates. We also had a guy here in Baltimore that fit this question perfectly. His name is Adam Jones.

I was a big Torii Hunter fan throughout his outstanding 18 year big league career. He could have played for my team any day.

Larry Fitzgerald is going into the NFL Hall of Fame someday so I can't choose him. But boy...would I love to have had that guy on my team.

I always liked the way Scott Rolen played baseball. In hockey, I'd sure love to have Phil Kessel play for the Capitals, although I guess there's a pretty good chance Kessel will be a Hall of Famer someday.

You get the idea.

Who is your non-Hall-of-Famer that you'd want on your team?

Officially, I'll go with Abreu right now. I'm sure you have others to add to the list.

Please play along in the comments section below.

Oh, and we do have one house rule. No Philadelphia Flyers, past or present, are allowed on the list. Carry on...

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For almost 20 years, Larry King had a weekly column in USA Today. It was a perfect vehicle for the average reader of that publication, who was believed to have an attention span of approximately 30 seconds. And a lot of those columns were written in the 1980s and 1990s, before the internet knocked that average attention span down to 1.6 seconds! The snobs enjoyed making fun of King for the randomness of it all and the constant name dropping of his celebrity friends, or ones he wanted to be his friends. On “Saturday Night Live,” Norm Macdonald dressed up as King and, hunched over a typewriter, spewed missives like “the more I think about it, the more I love chicken…”

You know what, though? It’s actually a lot harder than it looks, especially doing it every week. At the very least, King gets props for his curiosity on so many subjects. I thought I’d give it a try, #DMD style…

My Two Cents…

The 2014 movie “Draft Day” starting Kevin Costner is more entertaining than the actual NFL Draft, which is amazing considering how bad the film is…Speaking of movies, the director John Singleton, who passed away the other day at age 51, was only 23 years old when he directed “Boyz n the Hood.” RIP…Not political: I can’t believe the President actually thinks that sending out for fast food is the right thing to do when championship sports teams visit the White House…Home runs are flying out of MLB stadiums more than ever, and not just because of the Orioles. Keep ‘em comin’, I say…

It’s nice that front offices analyze all the calls they consider to be missed and then publicize them, but they only seem to do it when they lose…I wonder what Buck Showalter is thinking right now…A prediction: Tiger Woods will get injured and miss at least one major championship in 2019…I’ve always been amazed at how many people seem to go to the ballpark just for the food…A friend of mine sold his Ravens’ PSL the other day for $700, and the team took a $250 finders fee off the $700…There really isn’t anything that can be done about slow play in professional golf…The Kentucky Derby is on Saturday, which had to be pointed out to me the other day.

Best player in baseball but team toiling in last place. Hard to figure out...

If you’re wondering, Mike Wright has pitched in one game for Seattle, allowing three hits and two walks in two innings. Sounds about right…With all of the homers being hit, Manny Machado only has four of them, and two doubles, in more than 100 at-bats…Was watching Kevin Durant the other day and was thinking that, considering his size, he might be the most talented player in NBA history…Back to movies…I will never, ever, understand the obsession by adults with things like “The Avengers.”…Speaking of that, don’t forget Star Wars Night at Camden Yards in two days, May 4—as in, May the Fourth be with you—ugh. Shout out time...Book it—North Carolina will win an NCAA women’s basketball title again in the next five years now that my former colleague Courtney Banghart has been named head coach…Another former colleague, Brooks Matthews, is retiring as Gilman’s lacrosse coach at the end of the season. He is a no-nonsense guy, which is what the lacrosse players at Gilman needed…Good luck to Brian Brecht and the Rutgers lacrosse team in the Big 10 Tournament, which they’re hosting. A long time ago, he did an above-and-beyond thing for me that I’ll never forget.

Non-sports, non-politics thoughts…Classic Rewind, SiriusXM Channel 25, has become my favorite station…The fact that there is a Roy Rogers close to my office is both a great triumph and a terrible dilemma…Whatever happened to the courtesy of moving over one lane to allow a car merging into highway traffic an easier time doing so?...I still miss “Seinfeld,” more than 20 years after it left the air…The pollen in the Baltimore area has been worse this spring than any I can remember…There’s a happy medium between having too much stuff and living in emptiness, and we spend all our lives trying to find it.

Back to sports…The Ravens drafted two wide receivers in their first three picks—how come they never did that when Joe Flacco was playing quarterback?...The Orioles were 10-20 after 30 games this year after being 8-22 through 30 games last season. Kudos for the improvement!...Don’t look now, but the Carolina Hurricanes might win the Stanley Cup…It seems like at least a quarter of the players in Division I basketball have put their names into the NCAA’s transfer portal…Lamar Jackson’s QB guru, Joshua Harris, is not the same Josh Harris who played QB at Bowling Green and was drafted by the Ravens in the sixth round in 2004.

Mike Trout has an OPS of 1.081 and leads the league in on-base-percentage and walks, but the Angels are in last place in the AL West…I’d love to hear some memories of Gino’s from commenters…RIP Mr. Marchetti…Somebody named Shawn Armstrong is now on the Orioles’ 40-man roster, and he’s out of Minor League options. Oh boy…NY Giants’ draft pick Daniel Jones, the subject of quite a bit of fan consternation, was set to play at Princeton before Duke swooped in at the last second…There are only two players anywhere near the 3,000-hit mark right now, and the next guy after that is Nick Markakis…Does anybody know if Freddie Kitchens can actually coach an entire NFL team?

Finally, on the opinion front…Penn State had the best regular season in college lacrosse, but they won’t win the national championship…There’s no way in hell that Joe Flacco was happy that John Elway drafted Missouri’s Drew Lock in the second round…I agree with Ben Hogan—there’s nothing more frustrating than hitting a great drive and a great iron to four feet and then missing the putt…The Yankees are on their way to their first World Series title in 10 years…And speaking of New York, the winner of the PGA Championship on Long Island in two weeks? You heard it here first…Rickie Fowler.

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this weekend in
college lacrosse


Contributed by #DMD's college lacrosse analyst
John Pusateri


Conference championship week is here with a chance for 6 out of 7 local teams to make the NCAA tournament. Let's take a look at all teams and their chances on advancing this weekend into further post season play. Note that we'll focus on current RPI ranking since that is one of the main criteria for NCAA selection. Keep in mind seedings are also impacted by cost of travel, so some seeds may be altered to keep travel to a minimum for lower ranked qualifiers.

Loyola (RPI #6, Record 11-3)

Conference/Seed: Patriot #1

1st Game Prediction: The Greyhounds are hosting the tournament and will face 4th seeded Army on Friday @ 5pm at Ridley Athletic Complex (TV: CBSSN). Loyola took down the Black Knights 13-9 less than 2 weeks ago at West Point. Look for another dominate Greyhound victory for them to advance to the final.

Tourney Outlook: Loyola is the clear league favorite and will most likely face a Boston team on the rise who beat them handily a few weeks back. Look for the Greyhounds to return the favor in the final.

NCAA Thoughts: The Greyhounds should land anywhere between the #5 and #8 seed depending on the outcome of other conference finals. If they advance to the Patriot League final, they should be hosting a 1st round NCAA game regardless.

Maryland (RPI #7, Record 11-3)

Conference/Seed: B1G #3

1st Game Prediction: Turnaround rematch with Johns Hopkins on Thursday (7:30pm B1G Network) in NJ from this past weekend's loss should be interesting. Does Hop have MD's number? Did the Terps take it easy knowing their fate? Did Maryland go vanilla on O and not slide on D as to hide their true intentions for their upcoming game? Lots of possibilities. But I'll give the Terps a 2-goal victory.

Tourney Outlook: Maryland goes to the B1G final and loses a heartbreaker to the #1 team in the country, Penn State, by 1 goal.

NCAA Thoughts: Like Loyola, the Terps will be an at large bid at a minimum and should also host a first round game seeded between #5 and #8.

Shawn Nadelen's Towson Tiger will likely have to win the CAA tournament in order to play in this year's NCAA tournament.

Towson (RPI #9, Record 9-4)

Conference/Seed: Colonial #2

1st Game Prediction: The Tigers will meet Delaware in Amherst, MA on Thursday @ 7pm. The injury to face-off specialist Alex Woodall makes this game closer than expected. But Towson should squeak out a close victory against the Blue Hens.

Tourney Outlook: The Tigers should have something to prove after UMass ran them off Johnny U field a few weeks ago. But the injury to Woodall might be too much to overcome for a run-n-gun Minutemen squad who will thrive off the extra possessions. Look for another UMass victory, albeit a nail-biter.

NCAA Thoughts: This one will hurt because if Towson does run the table and win the CAA, they could very well host a game should other higher seeded teams fall early in their conference tourneys. However, if they lose early, they will be out and if they lose the final, they will be on the last in/1st out bubble list. Their strength of schedule should give them an edge. But I don't feel the selection committee will let two CAA teams into the tourney. So we'll say the Tigers season ends this weekend.

Johns Hopkins (RPI #11, Record 7-6)

Conference/Seed: B1G #2

1st Game Prediction: Per Maryland's notes, rematch with the Terps on Thursday (7:30pm B1G Network) in NJ from this past weekend's upset of Maryland. And per my previous notes, this should be a close win for the Terps.

Tourney Outlook: Out in the first round.

NCAA Thoughts: Given the strength of schedule and their RPI, another win against Maryland more than likely gives Hopkins an at-large bid. However, given a prediction of a loss, I feel they will miss this year's tournament.

Mount St. Mary's (RPI #36, Record 9-6)

Conference/Seed: Northeast #1

1st Game Prediction: The Mount takes on Robert Morris, last year's champ, Thursday 5:30pm in Emmitsburg, MD). Mount St. Mary's took down the Colonials on the road 14-11 back in March. That was RoMo's last loss as they've reeled off 6 straight wins. Look for a great game in Emmitsburg that should end up as a 1-goal Mount victory.

Tourney Outlook: The NEC pretty competitive at the top as all tourney teams are pretty competitive. Given this we'll give Mount St. Mary's the home advantage and say they win with 2 one-goal victories.

NCAA Thoughts: Relatively speaking, the NEC is probably the 3rd lowest ranked conference. Should they win the conference, look for a #14 or #15 seed.

UMBC (RPI #58, Record 4-8)

Conference/Seed: America East #4

1st Game Prediction: The Retrievers face the #1 Stony Brook Seawolves in NY on Thursday at 7pm. Stony Brook won this game 14-7 back in March. UMBC is 3-2 since that game. While the Retrievers are playing better, look for the Seawolves to win this one as well.

Tourney Outlook: 1st round exit.

NCAA Thoughts: Slim chance of running the table to qualify.

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Wednesday
May 1
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#1710



what games did you create as a kid?


This past Sunday night, I happened to see a post on Twitter where a young boy of probably 10 or 11 years old was bouncing a ball off a wall and pretending as if he were "making plays" on a baseball infield. He'd throw the ball off the wall to his left, neatly field it, and then make the imaginary throw to first base. He'd then do the same thing to his right, and so on. The video clip was probably two minutes in length and it was truly inspiring to see this kid, all by himself, creating ways to make himself better.

I was "that kid" growing up in Glen Burnie. I broke more windows and flower pots in front of my house than I'd care to remember. Most of the time it was with a baseball -- or rubber ball -- but occasionally it was a street hockey ball that inflicted the damage.

That Sunday night social media inspiration led me to do something different with my Calvert Hall Golf team on Monday. In lieu of going out on the course and "practicing", I put together a one-hour long "skills challenge" of sorts, where they were required to hit a variety of different shots and accumulate points for each successful attempt. Putting was also part of it, naturally, as we had the players try and make putts, avoid 3-putting, and giving them one putt "for all the marbles" from ten feet away.

All of this got me to wondering...

What "games" did you create as a kid?

During my early teen years, we played wiffle ball at a house across the street from mine, and set up a mini stadium configuration of sorts. It was Home Run Derby in 1976, Glen Burnie style. If you hit the ball below the gutters of the first story of the house, you were out. If you hit the ball above the gutters but below the chimney, it was a single. Above the chimney but not over the roof was a double. And anything that cleared the house was, of course, a home run.

I guess we needed a bigger house to create a triple, unfortunately.

Wiffle Ball has been played in more backyards than anything else...

We'd stand out there for hours and hours on hot summer days and play Home Run Derby.

Later, in my late teens, a group of us involved in Young Life ventured down to the Naval Academy on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to play soccer. A friend in the group lived in Annapolis and knew the set-up down there and suggested we all convene and play soccer. This was 1980 or so, when restrictions weren't nearly as tight as they are today. So a dozen of us piled in some cars and headed to the Naval Academy to play soccer.

When we got down there, much to our chagrin, the only goals that were set up on the fields we wanted to use were lacrosse goals. There were no soccer goals in sight. So we used lacrosse goals. But before we started, one of the guys said, "I have two lacrosse goalie sticks in the car, let's use them." And so, we did.

So there we were, 12 guys playing soccer, but each goal had a "goalie" in front who could use the stick to help stop shots.

I would love to know what people thought as they jogged past us on that chilly November day. "Those boys sure are confused..."

We made that an annual event, or at least "annual" until everyone got older, wiser and less interested in showing up for Thanksgiving Dinner with a pulled hamstring. I'd say we played that game six or seven years in a row before reality set in.

There were tweaks along the way, too. We eventually went to a size 4 (smaller) soccer ball. One year, instead of lacrosse goals, we were forced to use field hockey goals, which were actually perfect in size.

We even came up with a name for it: Soccrose.

On Monday at Country Club of Maryland, I created several different scenarios for our "skills challenge". We had them try and hit the green from 105 yards away. Five shots...the ball has to hit the green in the air. Five shots from 150 yards away...same thing, five shots, ball has to hit the green on the fly.

We hit bunker shots as well. Five shots, ball has to hit the green on the fly and stay on the green.

I created a "billy goat lie" for them, where their feet were in the bunker and the ball was a foot above them in the grass. They had to figure out how to play the shot from there onto the green, some six or eight feet away and keep it on the green. Anything inside the flag got them bonus points.

There's a saying in tournament golf that goes like this: "Never try a shot you haven't practiced."

So, now, they've come across a "billy goat lie" if nothing else...and practiced it as well. There's a technique involved in hitting a ball above your feet. The clubface closes more quickly, which means you have to aim further right to get the ball to actually start on your intended line. But unless you practiced that shot, you wouldn't know that intuitively.

On the putting green this past Monday, they putted four balls in a circle from four feet away. Think of a clock. A ball was stationed at 12, 3, 6 and 9. They got to putt each of those. And then we set up a 30-foot downhill putt and challenged them to two-putt it four consecutive times. And, lastly, we gave them a 10-foot putt "for all the marbles".

And wouldn't you know it...

Yesterday in our match against an outstanding Loyola team, the following happened. Almost mystically, I'd say.

Matt Cover, a junior, came to the 9th hole "all square" in his match. He was in the final pairing of the day. The match was extraordinarily tight.

On the 9th green, he had 45-feet for birdie. His playing opponent was much closer. Cover needed to two-putt, for sure, to stay even in the match. Just like he practiced on Monday, Cover rolled the first putt to a foot and made par.

On the 11th green, still tied, Cover faced an 8-foot birdie putt. His playing opponent had a 3-footer for birdie. When everyone's standing around the 11th or 12th green, it's easy to sense that "something's on the line". Cover knew what was going on, even if he didn't know the exact score.

Just like the "for all the marbles" putt on Monday, he made the 8-footer for birdie. His opponent made his, too.

And then, at the last hole, still tied, Cover missed the green on the par-3 12th hole (White #3, for those familiar with Hunt Valley Golf Club) and was left with an across-the-green chip. His opponent had a 15-foot birdie putt.

Cover chipped up to -- you guessed it -- four feet. His opponent missed his birdie putt.

The ensuing four foot putt was one of those rare occasions in high school golf where it's win or lose. In my seven years at Calvert Hall, we've had two other instances, ever, where this scenario was present on the last hole with the last player needing to make a putt for us to win the match. Miss it, we lose.

He made it.

I couldn't help but shake my head in amazement as I watched it all unfold. The exact three putting "things" we created on Monday all played out in the final hour of the match yesterday. We didn't have to go to the course to replicate "golf". We did it right there in the practice area at Country Club of Maryland.

And then I thought about that young boy I saw on Twitter on Sunday night and couldn't help but think of the inspiration he gave me for Monday's practice. Had I not seen that Twitter post on Sunday, I don't know what Monday's practice would have looked like.

But seeing that kid bounce the ball off the wall and pretend he was Manny Machado or Nolan Arenado or any other big leaguer reminded me of my own youth. I didn't need anything except a baseball and a glove or a hockey stick and a puck. I'd figure out a way to compete and make myself better, even if I was all by myself.

Matt Cover stood on that 12th green yesterday, all by himself, not counting the 40 people standing around watching, of course. He just needed to make a putt. One putt. From four feet. And just like he practiced on Monday, he rolled it in.

And this all leads me to ask you, again. What games did you create as a kid?

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20% of the way there...


Some Major League baseball musings as teams approach the 20% mark of the 162-game season.

This shouldn't be much of a surprise given their upstart season a year ago, but the Tampa Bay Rays own the best record in baseball at 19-9. Here's the funny thing: I think I can name four guys on the team. Maybe six if you include pitchers.

My guess is once the Yankees get healthy -- if that ever happens -- they're going to wind up nosing their way past the Rays, but I definitely wouldn't bet on that. I think Tampa Bay is a wild card team for certain, or perhaps it's the other way around and they hold off the Bronx Bombers and the New Yorkers wind up as the wild card.

C.C. Sabathia recorded his 3,000th career strikeout on Monday. Can he help the Yankees get past the Rays and win the American League East?

I realize the Twins are 17-10 and in first place in the Central, but remember, six of those wins came against the Orioles. Even though I picked the Twins to win the division, I'm still not sold that's going to wind up happening. Cleveland will hang around long enough to make it a race, that's for certain. Everyone else in the Central pretty much stinks.

In the West, the Seattle Mariners have cooled off after their hot start and the Astros are where we assumed they'd be...in first place, at 18-12. But this division race isn't going to be a laugher. Seattle and someone else -- probably the A's -- will be there come Labor Day.

Bryce Harper hasn't done a whole lot yet, but the Phillies are on top in the N.L. East at 16-13. The Mets, Braves and Nationals are all trying to put something together and get themselves comfortably above .500. The Marlins? They were eased at the quarter pole.

In the Central, the Cardinals are 19-10 and in first place, with the Cubs and Brewers right there as well. This will wind up being the best of all the division races in 2019. Five or six games might wind up separating those three teams come late September.

And in the West, the Dodgers just keep on winning, but the Padres and Diamondbacks are both looking like Wild Card threats if they can keep winning 17 of 30 games along the way.

Early Cy Young possibilities:

Tampa Bay's Tyler Glasnow is the definite early leader in the A.L., with a 5-0 record and 1.75 ERA. You don't know who he is? That's OK, not many other folks do, either.

No one is really standing out yet in the N.L., but Zack Greinke -- who just beat the Yankees last night -- is 5-1 with a 3.27 ERA. That's good enough to get the early vote, I guess.

Early MVP possibilities:

In the National League, the Dodgers' Cody Bellinger is a nose or two in front of Milwaukee's Christian Yelich. Bellinger, get this, is hitting .431 thus far in 2019, with 14 HR's and 37 RBI. That's quite a start.

In the American League, no one is standing out yet. Seriously, if they handed out the award today, no one would win. You could probably make an argument for the Orioles' Trey Mancini. Without him, the O's would probably have six wins instead of ten.

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