Wednesday
July 15, 2015
Facebook logo #DMD Twitter logo Volume XII
Issue 15

espn's transformation is on stage tonight, too

Caitlyn (née Bruce) Jenner will be honored tonight by ESPN at their annual three-hour self-massage they call the ESPYs.

ESPN logo

Jenner is being honored with what ESPN considers their most prestigious and note-worthy accolade – the Arthur Ashe Courage Award – presented annually to a person deemed by the network to have displayed incredible courage over the last calendar year.

This announcement tonight marks the end of any consideration we can give to ESPN as a reputable source of sports broadcasting.

This, tonight, is the end of their run.

ESPN has done this to themselves. For a couple of decades, they were a news source. We checked in with them at breakfast every morning for sports highlights, Top-10 moments from the night before, and general scores and stats that we’d otherwise get from the local newspaper. You want to know why the local TV stations chopped their nightly sportscast from five minutes to two minutes, circa 1995 or so? Four letters for you – E.S.P.N.

When ESPN covered sports, there was no one better. CNN tried it in the mid-1990s and they failed. FOX tried it, too, about a decade ago, and they quickly threw in the towel. No one, it seemed, could do what ESPN could do. They woke up with you every morning and went to bed with you every night.

ESPN changed the way we followed sports.

And now, quite sadly, it’s time to prepare their eulogy and send them off to whatever heaven looks like for a washed up, has-been of a sports network that would rather startle and shock than show us who won last night’s game and how it happened.

This was inevitable, I suppose. For years, they merely REPORTED on the games in the various leagues. Then, they started broadcasting games. They made “business deals” with every league at one point or another over the last twenty years. They tried their hardest to walk the fine line of “media entity” and “corporate bedfellow,” but they weren’t able to pull it off without all of us knowing the truth.

Tonight, though, is their most egregious mistake, ever. Courage comes in many shapes and sizes. It comes in the form of an 18-year old man grabbing a rifle and heading to the Middle East. It comes in the form of a doctor in Philadelphia, Chicago, or anytown USA, taking a scapel in hand and trying to remove a bullet from a 10-year-old’s brain, all the while knowing if there’s one slip, one hiccup, one mistake, that kid might not walk again. It comes in the form of a single mother of two, working 60 hours a week to support her family, and doing so while having virtually no free time to herself.

Courage in sports is everywhere. Lots of people are going to point to the college basketball player, Lauren Hill, who passed away a few months ago after a highly publicized battle with brain cancer. There are plenty of others over the last twelve months who have been courageous, like Ms. Hill, but they won’t be honored by ESPN tonight.

Instead, ESPN will go for the only thing they know these days. They’ll go for shock value. They’ll honor a transgender male-to-female who was a remarkable world-class athlete nearly forty years ago. By that thread, ESPN can likely cling to Caitlyn Jenner’s connection to the world of sports, but we all know the truth. Jenner is being honored tonight because that’s what will generate ratings. If ESPN truly cared about the plight of those in the country laboring with the decision to reveal their transgender desires, they’d take EVERY PENNY of their advertising revenue from tonight’s show and donate it to a facility or two in the country that caters to, educates, and oversees the transformation a person goes through when opting for transgender procedure.

They can’t do that and won’t do that because “we have shareholders to answer to,” and the loss of millions of dollars of advertising revenue would be costly to their fiscal-year bottom-line.

ESPN will parade Jenner out on stage and talk about courage, but only because the nation will be watching. They won’t become the nation’s leader for transgender acceptance AFTER tonight, but they WILL claim they’ve done their part by introducing Jenner to a country full of people who are still by-and-large completely detached from the idea that a guy can be a guy for 60 years of his life and then wake up one day and suddenly say, “I’m a woman, now.” For starters, most people couldn’t care less what Bruce Jenner decided to do with his body. Like a car wreck you see on a Saturday night, you’d rather not look, but the flashing lights pull you in every time. Millions and millions of Americans will get pulled in tonight, but only because they’ll be left out of the conversation on Thursday morning if they don’t have an opinion.

ESPN, meanwhile, gets the win. They’re doing great service to the transgender community tonight and honoring the memory of Arthur Ashe by having a former Olympic champion take the stage and be lauded for his courage in telling the nation, “I’m a woman, now.”

If you want sports highlights on Thursday morning, send ESPN a message and look elsewhere for them. They’re no longer interested in making that a priority, anyway, so I doubt they’ll even miss you.


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drew's call for the british open

The tournament begins tomorrow, I know, but I know a lot of you are fantasy golf players – like I am – and you’ll need to get your lineups in today for the British Open.

Here’s my “official” lineup via one of the national fantasy sites, although I’ll admit I have more than one entry in the hopper for this week’s major championship. The one below, though, is the one I believe in the most.

1. Justin Rose 4. Matt Kuchar
2. Rickie Fowler 5. Danny Lee
3. Brooks Koepka 6. Brendon Todd

This, of course, is the lineup I configured within the $50,000 salary cap, so I wasn’t able to include the likes of Paul Casey and Jordan Spieth, both of whom I think are going to be “right there” come Sunday afternoon.

OK, now, I owe you the winner, after revealing my fifth through second place finishers earlier in the week.

But first – gotta build a little suspense, I suppose.

A few items of importance.

  1. I think Jordan Spieth has a GREAT chance to win the British Open. He’s not “having one of those years.” He has arrived. He’s an extraordinary putter, his mental game is almost unparalleled and, simply put, he has “it.” He’s a winner, through and through, and there might not be any stopping him this week at St. Andrews.
  2. I told you before the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay that Tiger Woods wouldn’t play well and that he’d miss the cut. I was right. I’m telling you this week at St. Andrews he’s going to play well, hang around for a couple of days, and perhaps even make things a little bit interesting on Saturday by climbing to within four or five shots of the lead. In the end, look for something like this out of Tiger: 68-70-70-74 and a tie for 12th place.
  3. Rickie Fowler and Danny Lee will be heard from this week in a big way. Fowler is coming off a terrific (winning) performance at the Scottish Open while Lee is a rules-infraction and missed-10-foot-putt away from winning back-to-back PGA Tour events.

And now, the winner.

Justin Rose
Justin Rose

I love Justin Rose’s golf game and I think this week’s event is a perfect opportunity for him to claim his second major title. You don’t have to drive it on a dime at St. Andrews, which might help Rose, who does have a tendency to hit it left off the tee from time-to-time. He knows the course well, appreciates the imperfections of links golf and the crazy Scottish weather, and when his putter is on, there are few who can hang with him over 72 holes.

Predicted Top Ten:

1. Justin Rose (-15) T6. Brooks Koepka (-9)
2. Paul Casey (-13) T6. Charley Hoffman (-9)
3. Jordan Spieth (-12) T6. Danny Willett (-9)
4. Jason Day (-11) T9. Brendon Todd (-8)
5. Rickie Fowler (-10) T9. Ernie Els (-8)

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#dmd sponsor spotlight


orlando products, inc.

One of #DMD’s most ardent supporters over the last eight months has been Orlando Products, Inc., a Baltimore-based company specializing in innovative packaging solutions for virtually any shipping or storage need(s).

Orlando Products logo

Orlando has recently undergone significant upgrades in their logo and brand-recognition efforts, and continues to be an area-leader in employee benefits and team building.

They recently held a company-wide contest designed to improve the health of their employees, and rewarded a number of people in the Orlando Products family with cash prizes for their weight-loss and fitness improvements.

Here are the results, along with photos of the winning Orlando employees. Congratulations to everyone who participated in the contest and thanks to Joe Orlando and his sons Matt and David for their continued support of Drew’s Morning Dish!

please click images to expand them
Sau Nguyen captured first place for losing 18.25% of her body weight. She won the Orlando Products, Inc. top prize of $500.
Everett Christopher won $300 for finishing second (shedding 10.37% of his body weight). Jeffrey Quick took third with a loss of 7.24% (cashing for $100).



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pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis; Bishop of Rome and Sovereign of the Vatican City; Pope of the Catholic Church

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, Maryland.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, and bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket-sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.


In case you didn’t get to check-in to Drew’s Morning Dish in the last few days, you’re seeing some changes in the “look” of the website.

Nothing fancy or earth-shattering per se, but there are some parts of the site that are still in transition; one of those parts is the “Comments” section, which hasn’t yet been submitted by our developer for inclusion in the new format we’re using.

So, if you read something here today and you’d like to comment on it, simply send me an e-mail and I’ll post it on the site at the very bottom. I value your opinions and insight, and most certainly welcome your comments on a daily basis. If you’d like to comment on today’s #DMD, e-mail me (18inarow at gmail dot com).





Tuesday
July 14, 2015
Facebook logo #DMD Twitter logo Volume XII
Issue 14

these days, you gotta prove it

You might have missed this in the chaos of your own 4th of July holiday weekend festivities, but Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul was injured while playing with fireworks and the result was the amputation of his right index finger a few days ago.

The sub-story to his injury comes in the form of a medical chart somehow obtained by ESPN’s Adam Schefter that was posted on their web-site and social media circles for the whole world to see. The report from a Miami hospital reveals Pierre-Paul had his right finger amputated, a subject of conjecture for a few days as members of the media tried to ascertain the extent of the player’s injury.

Adam Schefter
ESPN's Adam Schefter

It wasn’t until Schefter posted the medical report that confirmation was in place and then – no pun intended here – the fireworks really began. People both in and out of the media criticized Schefter and ESPN for posting the report. Some cited basic privacy and confidentiality issues while others tried to tie the report to a violation of HIPAA laws. When it was learned the press isn’t bound to HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Privacy Act) and can’t be prosecuted criminally for exposing one’s condition of health, those criticizing Schefter and ESPN simply leaned on the concept of: “You had no business showing that person’s personal medical information.”

Schefter, in his own defense, stated his decision to publicize the medical records:

“This was a public figure and franchise football player involved in a widely speculated accident with potential criminal behavior in which there was a cone of secrecy that surrounded him for five days that not even his own team could crack. … But in a day and age in which pictures and videos tell stories and confirm facts, in which sources and their motives are routinely questioned, and in which reporters strive to be as accurate as possible, this was the ultimate supporting proof.”

Sounds reasonable to me.

But he’s still getting grilled by folks who don’t understand why it was necessary to publicly display Pierre-Paul’s medical records.

My take: It was necessary in the same way it was necessary for every media outlet in the country to show Ray Rice punching his fiancée in the face ten months ago and helping put him out of work.

That’s to say, actually, that it WASN’T necessary to air the video except to satiate the curious public who would no doubt watch, click, share and forward the clip all over the country.

It wasn’t WRONG to air the Rice elevator video. But it wasn’t NECESSARY to air it, either.

The same goes for Jason Pierre-Paul’s medical records. Could Schefter have simply said, “I saw the medical records and they indicate the player had his right index finger amputated as a result of his fireworks accident.”? Sure, he could have said that. Where, though, is the proof of such a claim? That’s what the naysayers and critics would have asked right away.

TMZ could have written, “We saw the Ray Rice elevator video and he absolutely punched his fiancée in the face that night in Atlantic City.” The public would have said, “If you have the video, show it. Otherwise, you’re just whistling Dixie.”

Let me also say I don’t necessarily condone releasing the Rice elevator video or the Pierre-Paul medical records. It’s part of a bad direction our country has been going for a while now, where everything you do is subject to the interpretation of people who see you though a camera lens, a cell phone photo, some words on Twitter or any other method that you allow yourself (or not) to be exposed to that’s not under your direct control.

In the end, though, Adam Schefter was simply following in the footsteps of everyone else in the country who strives to prove themselves when issues or stories are addressed that may or may not require evidence of proof.

As a reporter, your number-one priority is “get the story right.” If you publish a story and it’s wrong, you’ve gone backwards. In Schefter’s case, he was merely putting a stamp on what he already knew. Ultimately, that was the best way for him to get the story right.


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orioles mid-season awards

Yes, I know we’re past the 81-game mark, but with the All-Star break upon us, here’s a look at some “interesting” categories for Orioles mid-season awards.

Manny Machado
#franchiseplayer

BEST PLAYER: It’s Manny Machado, by two or three lengths, in fact. Adam Jones had a great start, but he’s tailed off since mid-May and there’s little doubt – at least to me – that his play has suffered over the last month due to a nagging shoulder injury. Machado has done it all. Hitting for average, banging home runs and serving the team well in his lead-off hitter role. His defense has been decent, nothing more, but a lot of the errors have been throwing, not fielding.

WORST PLAYER: Of those still on the roster, Steve Pearce has been the least effective of everyone. Much was expected of him at the plate, but it simply hasn’t happened. His versatility in the field has helped him stay employed, but all the promise of 2014 has quickly turned to dust in 2015.

Britton
#theycallhimthecloser

BEST PITCHER: If you’re looking at just performance and statistics and you’re including EVERY pitcher, Zach Britton has been the team’s best performer on the mound thus far. Ubaldo Jimenez and Wei-Yin Chen have been awesome and it would be tough to pick one of them over the other, but Britton has literally been lights out as the team’s closer. Give him the ball with the lead in the 9th inning and it’s game, set, match.

WORST PITCHER: Well, this one isn’t that hard. Bud Norris wins, easily, although you can make an argument that Chris Tillman has hurt the club just as much due to his ranking within the pitching rotation. In other words, Tillman, as the #1, was expected to deliver start-after-start. Instead, he labored through a terrible first two months or so before starting to put together some consistently good starts in early June. Norris, as a back-end of the rotation type, was basically supposed to hold up his end of the bargain, go .500, and produce something in the range of a 4.00 ERA. Nothing of the sort has happened thus far.

BIGGEST SURPRISE: Even though he’s tailed off over the last 20-25 games, Jimmy Paredes has been a terrific addition to the lineup in 2015. He’s on pace to hit something in the .290 range and he’ll finish with 18-20 home runs, too. This time last year, no one knew how to pronounce his last name.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: He missed the first month of the season, but J.J. Hardy’s season to date has been pretty dismal. He’s hitting .226 and his on-base percentage is .259. In 225 plate appearances, he has exactly 11 extra-base hits. They’re giving him $11.5 million for that. Go ahead and shake your head.






GREAT AMERICAN BALL PARK

CINCINNATI

vs.

TONIGHT AT 7:30 PM EST

FOX - TV





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drew's top five british open picks

We’re two days away from the start of the British Open and the excitement is really starting to build at St. Andrews as we digest the possibility that Jordan Spieth can win his third straight major championship in 2015.

Let me reiterate what I said the day after he won the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay last month. It’s completely reasonable to seriously consider Spieth a worthy candidate to win this week at St. Andrews and next month at Whistling Straits to capture the single-season Grand Slam. Will it be a walk in the park? Of course not. Is he playing the best golf of anyone in the world right now? He is. Does that mean he can win this week in Scotland? It certainly helps his cause.

As you’ll see here, today, I’m not picking Spieth to win this week. I do think he’s going to be there and I’m eagerly awaiting his opening round to see if he gets that good start he needs to get himself situated on the leaderboard and in pursuit of his 5th win of the season overall.

Paul Casey
#PaulCaseyontheClaretJug

I’m taking Spieth to finish 3rd this week. I see him being right there, I see him playing high quality golf, and I see someone else out-playing him on Sunday to take the Claret Jug and end his quest for all four major titles in 2015.

I really like Paul Casey this week at St. Andrews and I’m taking him to finish in the runner-up spot. His 2015 has been terrific, he ranks 17th in FedEx Cup points, and he came close to winning a few weeks back before suffering a playoff loss at The Travelers. Casey is a solid driver of the ball, hits his irons as well as anyone and just needs a good week with the putter to contend. This could be his time to shine.


monday at the maryland open

I wrote last week about getting in this year’s Maryland Open as an alternate after falling one shot short of qualifying with a 75 at Andrews Air Force Base back in late May. Yesterday’s start to the Open at sensational Columbia Country Club wasn’t my best day, but it included a number of high-point moments that served to ease the pain of an opening round 81 that included a bogey, double-bogey finish.

The more tournament golf I play – which coincides with the older and wiser (I hope) I get – the more I learn to just hit the shot in front of me, go get the ball and hit it again, then add up the score at the end of the hole and start everything all over again on the next tee.

Long gone are the days when I’d start bogey-par-bogey and break out in hives saying to myself, “Dude, you better get your act in gear or you’re gonna shoot 80!” I no longer try and hit the impossible shot or do silly things that almost always leave you with regret. I certainly don’t hit every shot perfect and I’m capable of a mental mistake or two – both of those surfaced on Monday, hence my score of 81. For the most part, though, two decades of tournament golf have made me understand it’s either your day or it isn’t your day and how you handle both of those is more important than the actual score itself.

For starters, Columbia Country Club is simply a magnificent golf course. It’s in my top five favorites in the state and I’d say the layout is as fair, tough and rewarding as any course you’ll play in the Mid-Atlantic. To wit, the first day leaders are only two-under par, and this year’s event includes twenty or thirty exceptionally talented professionals and amateurs including Denny McCarthy, the local product who just played all four days at the U.S. Open last month.

I didn’t play poorly on Monday. Not in the least. I didn’t make anything on the greens, which is where you make your score – or, in my case, don’t make your score. I switched “full-time” to left-handed putting on July 1 and have putted very well that way over the last two weeks, but on Monday at Columbia, I had difficulties matching the pace of the greens with the break I was reading. I putted much better on the back nine, though, and I’m very confident I’ll have a better go of it on the greens today when I tee off at 10:00 a.m. in round two.

It would be easy for me to list the six putts from six-feet and in that I missed on Monday that ballooned my score from what should have been a 75 or 76 to the 81 I earned. Instead, let me show you how I shot 81 instead of 86. At plus five through six holes, I was on the verge of throwing up an ugly front nine number, but recovered nicely to hit the last three greens in regulation coming in and my par-par-par finish left me with 40 for the front.

I hit a remarkable recovery shot on the par-5 12th hole after missing the fairway and having tree issues in front of me. I could have easily rattled one (or two) off the trees and made a gazillion on the hole, but I knifed a 5-iron through a small gap, left myself 115 yards, and hit my approach to ten feet or so. Staring a bogey or more in the face after my drive, I nearly made birdie before tapping in for par.

On the dramatic par-3 16th hole, which my ex-Calvert Hall star and caddie Nick Smearman accurately said “looks just like a hole you’d see at Augusta,” I hit a 7-iron to 35-feet and ran my first putt six feet past the hole. I made the par putt, though, capping off a par-par-par run at 14, 15, 16.

At that point, I stood eight over for the day when I could have been ten, eleven or twelve over if not for some solid play on several of Columbia’s tough holes.

Columbia CC 18th hole
#18thhole

The lug nuts loosened at 17 and 18, unfortunately. I hit a terrific tee shot at 17, but played a poor approach from 75 yards and made bogey. At 18, I hit a 300-yard drive but went flag hunting on my second shot and missed the green to the left, which left a near impossible up-and-down. The resulting double-bogey left me disappointed if for no other reason than I knew I played much better than my 11-over par score indicated.

A friend checked in later in the day on Monday and asked the question you never like to ask, but there’s no other way to say it. “How’d you shoot 81 today?” he asked.

“I made a five footer for double bogey at 18,” I replied.


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pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis; Bishop of Rome and Sovereign of the Vatican City; Pope of the Catholic Church

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, Maryland.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, and bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket-sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.


In case you didn’t get to check-in to Drew’s Morning Dish in the last few days, you’re seeing some changes in the “look” of the website.

Nothing fancy or earth-shattering per se, but there are some parts of the site that are still in transition; one of those parts is the “Comments” section, which hasn’t yet been submitted by our developer for inclusion in the new format we’re using.

So, if you read something here today and you’d like to comment on it, simply send me an e-mail and I’ll post it on the site at the very bottom. I value your opinions and insight, and most certainly welcome your comments on a daily basis. If you’d like to comment on today’s #DMD, e-mail me (18inarow at gmail dot com).





Monday
July 13, 2015
Facebook logo #DMD Twitter logo Volume XII
Issue 13

halfway there — without much progress

We’ve reached the 88-game mark and the All-Star break – baseball’s proverbial half-way point – and the Birds, at 44-44, are going the other way, which means the upcoming four-day hiatus comes at a perfect time for Buck Showalter’s team.

Losing two of three to the Nationals isn’t necessarily indicative of a team bottoming out, particularly when you’re facing Max Scherzer in one of of those games. But make no mistake about it, the Orioles are reeling, having gone 3-10 since the Texas Rangers came to town and won three out of four the week of June 29.

At least the team’s embarrassing lack of execution with runners in scoring position slowed down a bit on Sunday in the 3-2 loss to the Nationals. After going 1-for-35 in the last five games in that category, the Orioles were only 0-for-1 on Sunday with runners in scoring position. I guess that what happens when you face Max Scherzer, but the fact remains the Orioles are 1-for-36 with runners in scoring position since last Monday’s series opening loss in Minnesota.

Part of that issue, frankly, might have something to do with Buck’s batting order preference, with the team’s best hitter over the last month – Manny Machado – occupying the lead-off spot in the lineup. If Machado’s name was, say, 3rd or 5th on the lineup card, I doubt they’d be in that 1-for-36 offensive tailspin, because he’d be driving in runs when given the kind of opportunities the Orioles have had over the last six games.

With a couple of weeks remaining until the trade deadline, the O’s are faced with some pressing questions and issues as they figure out if they’re buyers or sellers come deadline time. If they’re buyers, who are they going to part with in the minor league system to help right themselves over the final two months of the season? In the back of Dan Duquette’s mind, I assume he remembers parting ways with Jake Arrieta (that was a July 2nd deal…not one of the deadline variety, back in 2013), who yesterday improved to 10-5 on the season with the Cubs and has a 2.66 ERA at the All-Star break this year. The main subject of that deal, starting pitcher Scott Feldman, was merely a rental for the season’s final three months.

He also remembers collecting Andrew Miller from the Red Sox last season in exchange for minor league pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, who has handled himself well thus far in 2015, going 5-2 with a 3.56 ERA for the Sox.

If you’re selling in a few weeks, who gets dangled? Bud Norris? He might have SOME value, but he won’t fetch much. Wei-Yin Chen? Sure, go ahead and move him if you want, but be prepared to get one quality start every week from the rest of the pitchers in the Orioles rotation in August and September. Chris Davis, Matt Wieters? You can trade either or both of them, but do you have adequate replacements? In the case of Davis, I’d say no. Caleb Joseph can play a suitable catcher, though, so moving Wieters might not be such a crazy idea.

More than anything else, though, the Orioles need to hit better over the final 74 games of the season. If they acquire a decent starter pitcher or two at the deadline but still manage to average 3.4 runs per-game (like they did in the last fifteen games), they’re not going to win enough over the last two months.

It’s going to be an interesting August and September in Baltimore, made even more worthy of watching based on the what the Orioles’ brass decides to do between now and July 31.


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out-pitched to the max

Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Nationals was almost unfair to Wei-Yin Chen, the Orioles starter who went eight innings and allowed just three runs. Not only did Chen have to draw support from a benign O’s offense, he also had to hope D.C. starting pitcher Max Scherzer didn’t have his “A stuff.” Neither of those worked out in Chen’s favor, unfortunately, as the Birds managed just two Adam Jones solo home runs and Scherzer was superb, allowing four hits in 8.2 innings of work to improve to 10-7 on the season with a 2.12 ERA.

Scherzer
Scherzer allows four hits and beats O's.

Offensively, in line-up spots four through nine, only Jonathan Schoop (1-for-3) collected a base-hit on Sunday for the Orioles. The others were 0-for-16 on the day.

The loss was the fourth straight series defeat for the O’s dating back to the Rangers series in Baltimore that saw Texas win three of four. The Birds then lost two of three in Chicago, all three in Minnesota, and two of three to the Nationals.

Three notes: Adam Jones tied and then surpassed Frank Robinson for 8th place on the Orioles all-time home run list, hitting #179 and #180 in Sunday’s loss. Jones made his 2nd error of the season on Sunday. The Orioles still lead the lifetime series with the Nationals, 36-32. The teams will meet in D.C. for three games in September.





GREAT AMERICAN BALL PARK

CINCINNATI

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TUESDAY EVENING

7:30 PM EST

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FRIDAY EVENING'S MATCHUP
at Detroit
Ubaldo Jimenez (7-4) Anibal Sanchez (8-7)
7:08 p.m. (July 17th)

award winners at
the all-star break

Sure, I know they don’t give out awards at the halfway point of the season, but it’s still fun to list them anyway and see if they hold up for the final two and a half months of the season. So, here they are, the MVP and Cy Young winners – thus far.

Keuchel
Dallas Keuchel, Astros.

American League Cy Young – This is one is razor-thin close, but I’d go with Dallas Keuchel at this point. He’s one of the biggest reasons why Houston is in 2nd place in the A.L. West, with an 11-4 record and 2.23 ERA. He gets the nod – barely – over Chris Sale of the White Sox.

American League MVP – They might as well just rename this thing the “Trout Award,” as the Angels centerfielder is the obvious front-runner for the award at the halfway point. He’s hitting .312 with 26 HR and 55 RBI, with a .405 on-base percentage. There’s simply nothing this kid can’t do.

Harper
Bryce Harper, Nationals.

National League MVP – It’s Harper, of course. Finally starting to fulfill all of the promise and quality that was expected of him, Washington’s Bryce Harper is on his way to the MVP award in 2015. He’s hitting .339 with 26 HR and 61 RBI for the first-place Nationals.

National League Cy Young – Despite being 10-7, there’s virtually no question Max Scherzer is the best pitcher in the National League and the Cy Young winner at the All-Star break. His 2.11 ERA is outstanding and he threw a one-hitter and no-hitter in back-to-back starts.


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spieth stays home, wins again

Lots of experts criticized Jordan Spieth for staying in the United States this past week and playing at the John Deere Classic while nearly every other prominent professional got an early start on their British Open preparation by playing in the Scottish Open.

Spieth
Spieth wins for the 4th time in 2015.

Spieth quieted his critics – for the time being, anyway – by outlasting Tom Gillis in a two-hole playoff at TPC Deere Run to win that title for the second time in his career and capture his fourth victory of the season overall. Spieth took a two-shot lead into the final round but played poorly on the front nine and was trailing Gillis throughout the day until he birdied #17 to move into a tie at 20-under. The reigning Masters and U.S. Open champion then made a standard two-putt par at the second playoff hole to beat Gillis, who hit his approach shot into the water at the 18th hole to gift the victory to Spieth.

If Spieth goes to Scotland and plays poorly this week, his decision to stay in the U.S. and play the John Deere will again be a topic of discussion. In the end, though, the 21-year old decided to stay home, play a tournament he’s fond of, and collect yet another win in one of the most improbable seasons we’ve seen on the PGA Tour in a long time.


drew's british open top five

The British Open starts this Thursday and I’m excited to present my Top Five finishers, as I do for each major championship. I’ll give you two today (#5 and #4) and two more tomorrow, before revealing my winner on Wednesday morning. I’ll also have my fantasy golf picks for you on Wednesday.

Fowler
Rickie Fowler: Has his time arrived?

5th place – I’m not on the Rickie Fowler bandwagon just because he won the Scottish Open. In fact, it probably means he can’t win this week at St. Andrews, because it’s just too difficult to win two significant tournaments in back-to-back weeks. But, I love Fowler’s chances this week. He has clearly adapted well to links golf and the fact he’s now won twice in three months shows he’s moved into a new category of player on the PGA Tour. He’s a winner. A guy to be reckoned with week-in and week-out. Rickie Fowler can win this week at St. Andrews, but I’m calling for a 5th place finish for the 2015 Players Championship winner.

Jason Day
Jason Day: Will St. Andrews be his first?

4th place – Jason Day is as close as you can be to winning a major without winning one and now that his vertigo issues have evidently been cleared up, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Day hold up the Claret Jug on Sunday evening. I’m expecting him to be right there when the fourth round begins, but he won’t be able to bring it home, finishing in 4th place.


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pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis; Bishop of Rome and Sovereign of the Vatican City; Pope of the Catholic Church

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, Maryland.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, and bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket-sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.






In case you didn’t get to check-in to Drew’s Morning Dish in the last few days, you’re seeing some changes in the “look” of the website.

Nothing fancy or earth-shattering per se, but there are some parts of the site that are still in transition; one of those parts is the “Comments” section, which hasn’t yet been submitted by our developer for inclusion in the new format we’re using.

So, if you read something here today and you’d like to comment on it, simply send me an e-mail and I’ll post it on the site at the very bottom. I value your opinions and insight, and most certainly welcome your comments on a daily basis. If you’d like to comment on today’s #DMD, e-mail me (18inarow at gmail dot com).





Sunday
July 12, 2015
Facebook logo #DMD Twitter logo Volume XII
Issue 12

is there magic in the air in 2015?

In yesterday’s edition of #DMD, the topic centered on early candidates for the 2015 S.I. Sportsman of the Year award that is typically announced in early December.

To dovetail off of that piece and look at a couple of current events in sports, there’s some real hope we might be on the verge of a truly magical 2015 in the world of sports.

Serena
Serena Williams wins her 21st career major at Wimbledon.

Serena Williams is now just one U.S. Open win away from not only winning five straight major tennis titles, but she would also complete the single-season Grand Slam, which is a truly remarkable accomplishment. She claimed the third part of her four part quest with yesterday’s championship win at Wimbledon, and now just needs a triumph at Flushing Meadows, New York in September and she will have done the unthinkable.

American Pharoah wins the Triple Crown in horse racing and Serena Williams wins the Grand Slam in women’s tennis.

How much better could it get?

Jordan Spieth has both the 2015 Masters and U.S. Open to his credit, and is halfway to golf’s Grand Slam, something no one – NO ONE – has been able to do in golf under the current rotation of the four major titles. Bobby Jones won the four major golfing titles in 1930 and captured the Grand Slam, but two of those four events (U.S. Amateur and British Amateur) were amateur tournaments. Spieth would become the first player to ever win The Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship in the same calendar year. Most recently, in 2000-2001, Tiger Woods held all four of those titles at the same time, but the ’01 Masters triumph came in April after he won the last three majors of the 2000 season.

Spieth is two wins away from true golfing immortality.

With all due respect to Serena’s pending accomplishment, three women have won the Grand Slam, including Steffi Graf in 1988.

If Spieth wins the next two golf majors in 2015, he’ll have done something no man in golf has EVER done.

And wouldn’t that be something?

American Pharoah, Serena Williams and Jordan Spieth. What a summer!

Williams still has some tennis to play, but she’s in great shape to be the last one standing at the U.S. Open. If we were playing h-o-r-s-e and the word was L-O-C-K, Serena would have L and O right now.

Spieth has his work cut out for him, but he most certainly has the game to win next week at St. Andrews. If he does that, the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits will be almost too much to watch. The problem in golf is you can have four great days, shoot 68-66-68-69, and some dude goes nuts with the putter on the weekend and shoots 65-66 to come from nowhere to beat you.

Serena has now made this year’s U.S. Open “must watch” if you’re a true fan of sports, as has Spieth, who is just beginning what promises to be a sensational and perhaps record-breaking career. In the same way you were rooting for American Pharoah to win the Belmont just to say “I remember that year,” you’ll be a Serena supporter in September and a Spieth fan next week at St. Andrews.


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orioles offense sputters again in loss to nats

Another night, another evening of frustration for the Orioles, who went a second consecutive game without getting a hit when a Baltimore runner was in scoring position.

The 7-4 loss to the Nationals last night included two more Baltimore home runs (Steve Pearce, Caleb Joseph), but the Nationals countered with a couple of their own and then held on in the 9th inning when the Birds had runners on 1st and 2nd with one out and couldn’t score.

In Friday’s 3-2 win, the Birds went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

Last night, it was 0-for-8.

It started on a bad note in the first inning when the O’s were ready to blow the game open before everyone finished their first beer. Manny Machado led off with a single and Chris Parmelee added a double to put runners at second and third with no outs.

Here we go, right? Wrong. Adam Jones popped out, Jimmy Paredes grounded out to score a run, and Travis Snider struck out to turn a big inning into an inning of reprieve for the Nationals.

By the time the near-sell-out crowd filed out, the Orioles failed to get a base hit on eight occasions when runners were in scoring position.

You just can’t win many games like that. Sure, you’ll get the occasional walk-off dinger like they did on Friday when Jonathan Schoop planted one in the left field seats, but when you have runners on the bases and they stay stranded there at the end of the inning, that’s a recipe for finishing .500.

Miguel Gonzalez didn’t have his best stuff last night, as he only threw 79 pitches and didn’t record an out in the 6th inning when the Nationals scored four times to take a 6-4 lead.

This has become the O’s profile over the last twenty five games or so. The starting pitching – other than Jimenez and Chen – can’t throw 5-hit, 7 inning, shut-out ball. Offensively, runs are at a premium and big innings are as rare as an unsold bag of Cheetos at a Dave Matthews Band concert.

Bryce Harper
Bryce Harper: Having a monster year thus far.

It’s just not a good mix these days. Two out of ten games, everything comes together and the Birds click on all cylinders. In three of the remaining eight, they figure out a way to win, somehow. The other five are losses. Hence, that’s how the club is 44-43.

Three notes: Orioles 1B Chris Davis missed Saturday’s game with a stomach bug. Every Nationals starter except Ian Desmond had at least one hit on Saturday night. Bryce Harper’s sixth inning home run was his first round-tripper in twelve career games against the Birds.




SUNDAY AFTERNOON'S MATCHUP
in Baltimore
Wei-Yin Chen Doug Fister
1:35 p.m.


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pga tour: spieth fires 61 to lead by two at john deere

I under-estimated Jordan Spieth. Big time. Yes, I picked him to win on Wednesday in #DMD, but that was mainly a "horses for courses" feeling more than anything else. With a lukewarm field and a course he knows and likes, I figured he was a shoo-in to win.

Jordan Spieth
Spieth ready to win at John Deere again.

I under-estimated Spieth because after Thursday’s opening round even-par 71 at the John Deere Classic, I assumed he would stroll around on Friday morning, give it the old college try, shoot another 71 or so, and almost-intentionally miss the cut so he could get an early start on his journey to Scotland for next week’s British Open.

Who could have blamed him for that? After all, the WORST thing he could have done on Friday was shoot 67, make the cut on the number, and then be forced to play two basically meaningless rounds before heading over to Scotland sometime around 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Well, a funny thing happened to Spieth on his way to a missed cut and a weekend of early practice at St. Andrews.

He lit up TPC Deere Run on Friday (64) and Saturday (61), and now he’s suddenly in position to win for the fourth time this year heading into Sunday’s final round. Spieth’s 17-under total through 54 holes is two better than last week’s winner, Danny Lee, who remained red hot with a third round 62. Shawn Stefani, Justin Thomas and Johnson Wagner are three back at -14. Spieth just keeps on making birdies – and an occasional eagle – and is just one round away from heading over to the British Open with undeniable momentum.


woods starts "tiger talk" at st. andrews

There was a time when you almost knew Tiger Woods was going to win an event just by the way he yapped before the start of the tournament.

If he was talking in circles, using words and phrases that were unknown to virtually everyone else, and claiming to be “really close” – odds were he was close enough to win come Sunday afternoon.

Tiger
When Tiger is smiling and talking "baseline," watch out.…

Don’t look now, but Tiger is sounding a lot like that former version of himself as he prepares for St. Andrews next week.

I’m not sure that actually means anything. Talk is one thing, birdies are another. But when you hear Woods chirping about “baseline” (whatever that is), you should be aware. And it’s probably a good idea to be on high alert when Woods starts lamenting how he’s now going to have to play a different style of golf next week because he thought the course was going to be dry and now it’s soft due to recent rains.

"I did a lot of work," said Woods, talking about his off-week before leaving for Scotland and the British Open. "I feel good. Sunday at Greenbrier is probably the best I hit it in two years. That was fun. It sounds crazy when I told everyone at Greenbrier that I felt close, after the scores I shot at the Memorial and the U.S. Open. I just didn't quite have the feel yet. I shifted the baseline so much I just didn't quite have the feel yet.

"I put it together at Greenbrier and hit it really good. [Instructor] Chris [Como] told me it was the first time I led the field in proximity to the hole with my iron game. That was fun. Sunday, I missed one fairway, the 17th hole, which I have never hit in six tries. So that wasn't really surprising.

"I feel like everything's coming around. I still need to get a feel for how this golf course is chasing. I wasn't expecting it to be this soft. The shot selections I was working on last week and some of the trajectories I was envisioning on certain holes and certain winds and the ball chasing and what I need to do to make it move on the ground. It's going to be different. It's going to be more forced carries than I was expecting coming into the event."

Some players in the event would just say, “I’ve worked hard on my game. If I can drive it well and hit a bunch of greens in regulation, I’ll be fine. My putter has been good all season and I know I can make birdies if I give myself some chances.”

That’s what the “standard” commentary would be.

Tiger, though, is far from standard. He wasn’t standard from 1997 through 2008 when he won fourteen major titles. And he hasn’t been standard over the last 18 months when he has plummeted from #1 in the world to #220.

His golf hasn’t been familiar to us recently, but he sure sounds like “the old Tiger” when he talks like he did on Saturday in Scotland.


Chase Fitzgerald banner ad


pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis; Bishop of Rome and Sovereign of the Vatican City; Pope of the Catholic Church

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, Maryland.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, and bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket-sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.






In case you didn’t get to check-in to Drew’s Morning Dish in the last few days, you’re seeing some changes in the “look” of the website.

Nothing fancy or earth-shattering per se, but there are some parts of the site that are still in transition; one of those parts is the “Comments” section, which hasn’t yet been submitted by our developer for inclusion in the new format we’re using.

So, if you read something here today and you’d like to comment on it, simply send me an e-mail and I’ll post it on the site at the very bottom. I value your opinions and insight, and most certainly welcome your comments on a daily basis. If you’d like to comment on today’s #DMD, e-mail me (18inarow at gmail dot com).





Saturday
July 11, 2015
Facebook logo #DMD Twitter logo Volume XII
Issue 11

six months until "sportsman" is announced and we're fighting about it

I hung out for a couple of hours with my old radio buddy Glenn Clark on Friday as part of his outstanding on-line sports-talk show he hosts daily from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon at www.GlennClarkRadio.com. Give it a listen sometime. You could do worse with your two hours, trust me.

One of the first things Glenn hit me with was a hot-button topic that will surely gain plenty of steam over the next few months and one I offered an opinion on last Sunday night in the aftermath of the U.S. women’s soccer team winning the World Cup.

“Who’s going to be Sports Illustrated’s “Sportsman of the Year” for 2015?

For starters, and Glenn acknowledged before I could even give him an answer, there are still two VERY significant sporting accomplishments that are possible to be achieved between now and the end of September. One of them involves a sporting event today, in fact, as Serena Williams looks for a win at Wimbledon that would give her three straight victories in major tennis championships, as she also won this year’s Australian Open and French Open. If she wins today and is three-fourths of the way there, all she’d need is a win at Flushing Meadows in September (U.S. Open) and she’d have the single-season women’s tennis Grand Slam. That would be an amazing accomplishment for ANY tennis player, let alone a 33-year old like Serena.

If she wins the Grand Slam, you’d have to consider her for the S.I. award, right?

What if Jordan Spieth captures the final two golf majors of the year? It’s not nearly as probable for Spieth to connect on his “Slam” as it is for Serena to win hers, but if Spieth did manage to win the British Open and PGA Championship over the next six weeks, he’d win the award for “Sportsman of the Year,” right?

Wait —

Carli Lloyd
Carli Lloyd -
Sportsman of the Year?

What about Carli Lloyd, who almost single-handedly propelled the U.S. women’s soccer team to their title with an amazing four games in the knockout round of the World Cup. Her three goal explosion in the first sixteen minutes of the Final vs. Japan is one of the greatest moments in my sporting lifetime, for certain. Back in 1999, S.I. did something cool and named the entire U.S. Women’s soccer team their “Sportsmen of the Year” after they won the World Cup. Because of that, I can’t imagine S.I. would duplicate such a honor this time around.

Lloyd would be a GREAT selection, in my opinion. That is, if Serena and Spieth don’t finish off their respective quests. The only push-back for Lloyd is that her body of work came largely over a two-week period. It WAS sensational, though, and anyone or anything that brings a nation together to celebrate an American accomplishment is most certainly honor-worthy.

What about American Pharoah? Crazy, right? A horse? Well, perhaps, but it IS sports and it WAS historic and since we went 37 years without a triple crown horse racing champion, I’d say “Pharoah” is a neat, outside-the-box contender for S.I.’s award. And you wouldn’t have to worry about a wardrobe malfunction during the photographing session.

Glenn also threw in the name of Steph Curry for consideration, and while I’ll admit there’s plenty to like about the whiz kid from Golden State, I think S.I.’s goal is to do something more meaningful than just say, “The guy who shot a basketball better than everyone else is our country’s most treasured athlete for 2015.”

With six months left, I think it’s simple. If Spieth wins the Grand Slam in golf, it’s him. If he fails to do it, and Serena nails her Grand Slam, it’s her. If they both come up short, I think Carli Lloyd is the perfect choice.


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schoop – as in scope – gives orioles second-half hope

No offense to Ryan Flaherty, but Jonathan Schoop’s return to the lineup is slowly starting to pay some dividends. It certainly helped last night at Camden Yards, as Schoop put one in the left field seats in the bottom of the 9th to give the Birds a 3-2 win over the Nationals. The victory snapped a 3-game losing streak and improved Baltimore’s record to 44-42 on the year, with two home games remaining vs. D.C. before the All-Star break begins on Monday.

Schoop
Schoop with the Friday night rescue.

Schoop’s game-winning home run came one inning after Matt Wieters doubled in Chris Parmelee to tie the game at 2-2. Parmelee got on base by dribbling one down the third base line for a perfect swinging-bunt single and was then able to score when Wieters drove one into the right field gap for a stand-up two bagger.

Chris Tillman had a decent night on the mound, going six innings and allowing eight hits and just two earned runs. Zach Britton worked a scoreless 9th to earn the victory, his first of the season.

Three notes: Orioles relief pitcher Wesley Wright (60-day disabled list) pitched 1.1 innings for Norfolk last night, his 9th appearance since beginning his rehab assignment for the O’s Triple-A affiliate. Nationals lead-off hitter Denard Span was placed on the disabled list prior to Friday’s game with back spasms. Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy both went 0-for-4 on Friday night for the Orioles.



TONIGHT'S MATCHUP
in Baltimore
Miguel Gonzalez Jordan Zimmerman
7:15 p.m. on FOX

SUNDAY AFTERNOON'S MATCHUP
in Baltimore
Wei-Yin Chen Doug Fister
1:35 p.m.




what would drew do?

#DMD reader Mark sent me this e-mail on Friday and I thought it was worthy of inclusion in this morning’s edition.

“Drew, we all know who the three main free-agents are and barring something weird happening between now and the end of the month, all three will be available for a deal at the deadline. Here’s my question: If you had to trade one of the three (Wieters, Davis, Chen) which one would you trade? What would Drew do?”

So, I guess when Mark says “If you had to trade one…” he means if you were somehow forced to trade one for whatever reason. OK, I’ll play along. Actually, this one is pretty easy, I think. If you have a first baseman with power, an occasionally productive offensive-minded catcher and a left-handed starting pitcher, and you HAVE to move one of them, you’d get rid of the one who has the least amount of chance to impact the club over the final 55 games or so. That, of course, would be the pitcher, who figures to make roughly twelve more starts in August and September.

Chen
Is Chen on the way out?

Davis and Wieters can both make an impact in EVERY game the Orioles play (assuming they see action). Chen can only impact the team every 5th day when he pitches. Chen, then, would be the one I would move if I absolutely HAD to get rid of one of those three.

However – if you gave me the flexibility to move any of the three but once I moved one, the other two had to stay, I’d try to trade Davis first, because I think I could get more for him than either of the other two. Teams are intoxicated with home runs and that’s the one thing Davis can do every fourth game or so. The Birds might be able to pry something decent away from a run-starved organization.


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pga tour: justin thomas knocking on the door – again – and ready to break through

I’ve been singing the praises of Justin Thomas all season long on the PGA Tour and I guess I’d say I’m a little surprised he hasn’t won yet. But that might all change this weekend at TPC Deere Run, where Thomas currently owns the 36-hole lead at 12-under par. Johnson Wagner and Tom Gillis are one shot back at 11-under.

Justin Thomas
Justin Thomas:
Ready to Win

I’ll steal a line from Snoop Dogg and say this about Thomas, the former All-American from Alabama – he’s realer than Real Deal Holyfield. He hasn’t played all that well of late, with a T-54, two missed cuts, and a T-55 in his last four events. That doesn’t matter much now, though, as he is clearly back on form after shooting 63-67 to open the John Deere Classic. Thomas is an extraordinary driver of the golf ball, averaging over 301 yards per-tee-ball and hitting almost 60% of the fairways. His iron game is sharp too, which means he just needs to roll a few extra putts in here and there over the last 36 holes and he might have himself a trophy, finally.

Jordan Spieth threw a 64 at ‘em on Friday to finish at 7-under through 36 holes, easily making the cut (-4 and better made it to the weekend) and putting himself in position to win the tournament before he heads off to St. Andrews for next week’s British Open.

Of my three picks in last Wednesday’s #DMD, Spieth is the only one alive for the weekend. My other two, Tony Finau (-3) and Jon Curran (-3), both missed the cut by one shot.




Glory Days banner ad


pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis; Bishop of Rome and Sovereign of the Vatican City; Pope of the Catholic Church

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, Maryland.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, and bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket-sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.






In case you didn’t get to check-in to Drew’s Morning Dish in the last few days, you’re seeing some changes in the “look” of the website.

Nothing fancy or earth-shattering per se, but there are some parts of the site that are still in transition; one of those parts is the “Comments” section, which hasn’t yet been submitted by our developer for inclusion in the new format we’re using.

So, if you read something here today and you’d like to comment on it, simply send me an e-mail and I’ll post it on the site at the very bottom. I value your opinions and insight, and most certainly welcome your comments on a daily basis. If you’d like to comment on today’s #DMD, e-mail me (18inarow at gmail dot com).





Friday
July 10, 2015
Facebook logo #DMD Twitter logo Volume XII
Issue 10

a three-week primer for the orioles

It’s July 10. Three weeks from today, baseball’s trade deadline will be upon us and the Orioles are going to need to do something. Sure, they can still make deals and add players after July 31, but we know most of the quality additions to playoff-hungry teams come before August 1.

Gerrardo Parra
Gerardo Parra

So, what’s next for the Orioles?

This, today, is going to deal mainly with what additions the Orioles should make between now and the deadline date. Some of this will be dependent on what the Birds decide to do with the likes of Chris Davis, Wei-Yin Chen and Matt Wieters, but for the purposes of this exercise, let’s just assume they keep all three and don’t move any of them in the next three weeks.

Who to add, then?

For starters, we are going to do a smidgen of subtracting from the current roster just so we can add a piece or two prior to July 31. I’ve been writing/saying this for a week or so now. The Chris Parmelee experiment has to come to an end. Doesn’t matter where he plays, what he does defensively or how nice of a guy he is – he’s of no value at all with the bat. I understand what they were trying to do in mid-June by giving him a couple of weeks worth of activity at first base, but it’s a failure. Go ahead and move Chris Davis back to first base, pronto, and let’s add a player at the deadline who can help.

Three outfielders could be appealing to the Birds, with two of the three staring at free agency this winter.

Ben Revere of the Phillies could be an interesting option. He’s more of a natural centerfielder but has played all three outfield positions and can certainly take the reigns in right field for the rest of 2015. He’s having a decent season offensively in Philly and has speed to burn, which the Orioles could definitely use.

Seattle’s Austin Jackson is a lot like Revere, although most folks thought Jackson was on the verge of star status two or three years ago and it just hasn’t panned out for him. Like Revere, he’s hung out at all three outfield positions and can swipe a base or two when necessary.

The Brewers might not want to part with Gerardo Parra, but if someone – like the Orioles – makes them a better-than-reasonable offer, they might have to move him on. His glove most definitely would appeal to Buck and he’s starting to hit the ball better over the last year or so. He’s a free agent at the end of the season, if that matters.

None of those three players will be playing for a contender come late July, so movement makes sense for any or all of them. Parra, to me, would potentially make the most impact and fit with Buck’s affection for good defensive players and guys who put the ball in play. I could see him taking over right field for the final 50-odd games of the regular season and making the team better.

Pitching wise, it would be foolish for the Orioles to not consider both a starter and a bullpen arm or two within the next three weeks.

Right now, there are two completely reliable starting pitchers – Ubaldo Jimenez and Wei-Yin Chen, and a guy – Miguel Gonzalez – who is competent enough to count on four out of every five starts he makes. After that? There’s not much there. You can have blind faith if you want and hold out hope that Tillman, Gausman and/or Norris are suddenly going to find their way and be a help over their last 14 starts, but I’m not counting on any of those three. That means a starting pitcher might be on the menu for the Orioles, and there are several who will potentially be available.

Let’s eliminate Cole Hamels for starters (no pun intended). He’s due to make $24 million next year, and even if Philadelphia agreed to pick up some or a great deal of that contract, the Orioles aren’t investing $10 million or whatever it would take on their end to pay him in 2016. The Orioles aren’t going after Hamels.

Now, who might they pursue?

Scott Kazmir is potentially available – and interesting. He would give the Birds another left-hander, he knows the American League, and he’s not overly expensive. The negative? A lot of teams want a dependable lefty, so he might cost someone a decent prospect and he’s a free agent at the end of the season.

Mike Leake of the Reds could also be an option worth reviewing. He’s never thrown in the American League, which could help or hurt, but his ground ball rate is very good, so that’s a plus in Camden Yards. He’s also free at the end of the season, so it’s likely he’s a rental at best.

Looking at bullpen help, Buck’s complete fear of using Brian Matusz probably means the Orioles need to bring in at least one southpaw relief pitcher at the deadline. Zach Duke seems like a natural option, but he’s owed $10.5 million over the next two years, so that could certainly deter the Orioles from looking at him.

Tyler Clippard
Tyler Clippard

Tyler Clippard of the A’s could really be a nice fit, because he can go a couple of innings if necessary, or be used on occasion in the 8th inning when Darren O’Day isn’t available because of overuse. He’s a free agent at the end of the season.

Brad Ziegler of the Diamondbacks is owed $5.5 million in 2016, but if he can come in and perform well, the O’s would be happy to pay that next year. His ground-ball rate (2nd best in the majors) should be VERY interesting to the Orioles.

If you’re asking me, I like Clippard’s versatility more than anything else about those three, but Ziegler is probably having the best year of any of them, albeit in the National League.

I have said since March I think the Orioles are winning the American League East. I’ve also said it would go down to the final week or so of the regular season. The Birds simply can’t stand pat at the deadline. This team, this pitching staff, and this lack of offense at the corner outfield positions must be improved in the next 21 days if the Birds want to return to the post-season.

I’d be very surprised if they don’t make a move or two – or three – although they don’t have much down on the farm to ship off to someone who is willing to part with one or more of the players I listed above.


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shame on major league soccer … parasites

The United States Women’s National Team won the World Cup last Sunday night in Vancouver, thrashing Japan, 5-2. The TV broadcast of the final was the most watched soccer game IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES. Sure, a huge portion of those who watched Sunday night’s game couldn’t have named three players on the team prior to the telecast, but that’s neither here nor there. It was a WORLD championship and the team from USA won. And the country responded.

U S Women's Soccer team
Champions Deserve a Parade

Fast forward to Friday, July 10. The city of New York has decided to throw the gals a victory parade. It’s the sort of stuff you do for the hometown teams when they win a Super Bowl, a World Series, a Stanley Cup or a NBA title. Victory parades in major cities are a big, big deal. They’re memorable. They could be once-in-a-generation moments. (Just ask fans of the Philadelphia Flyers – they haven’t had a title parade since 1975 – hehe.)

For reasons I can’t possibly fathom, Major League Soccer – the premier MEN’S soccer league in this U.S. – has invited themselves to the parade. No, they’re not going to be on hand to wave and salute the girls as their cars and floats go by…no, no, no – Major League Soccer and both New York teams in the league (Red Bulls and NYC FC) will have floats in the parade and ride along like they’re somehow connected to this magnificent sports moment.

I didn’t think anything in 2015 could surpass that Jenner woman from winning ESPY’s “Courage Award,” but this just might rank higher on the stupid meter.

The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team just won the World Cup and in their parade on Friday will be three entities affiliated with a men’s soccer league who have ZERO business being involved in this event.

Let’s pretend – and you have to really have an imagination for this – that the U.S. Men’s team won the World Cup in 2018. Do you think, for a New York second, that the women’s professional league and a couple of their teams would be allowed to ride along in the parade and be part of the celebration? The answer, of course, is “no.” That said, if they WERE in the parade, it would be as wrong as Friday’s inclusion of the men’s affiliates is wrong.

The women who captured the World Cup last Sunday should be permitted to enjoy their championship in a manner befitting the Yankees, Mets, Jets, Knicks (ha ha) or Rangers.

I have no idea how this got approved or who did the strong-arming, but it’s a disgrace of epic proportions.

Major League Soccer and those two New York teams should be ashamed of themselves.


beltway series is a big one for the orioles

Nothing in baseball is ever “must win” until the next game you lose means you can’t play any more that season, but this weekend’s series with the Nationals looms very large for Buck Showalter’s team.

The All-Star break is a welcome respite for most players, but it sure does help if you head into the hiatus on a good note, which the Orioles most certainly won’t do if they don’t win at least two of three from Washington.

The best news for the Birds is the worst news for the Nationals. Max Scherzer will NOT start in this weekend’s series, which means the Orioles have a chance of winning all three games. Looming for the O’s, though, is the prospect of entering the All-Star break at or below the .500 mark if they don’t win two of three. Their current 43-42 mark includes three straight defeats and eight losses in their last 10 games.


TONIGHT'S MATCHUP
in Baltimore
Chris Tillman Gio Gonzalez
7:05 p.m.

SATURDAY NIGHT'S MATCHUP
in Baltimore
Miguel Gonzalez Jordan Zimmerman
7:15 p.m.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON'S MATCHUP
in Baltimore
Wei-Yin Chen Doug Fister
1:35 p.m.



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pga tour: lighting it up at the john deere classic

They’re making birdies at the John Deere Classic like the Orioles make outs with runners in scoring position. Twenty players (that’s 20!) shot 5-under par or better in Thursday’s opening round at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois.

Ready for a punch in the gut?

Nicholas Thompson
Nicholas Thompson

Justin Thomas and Nicholas Thompson share the first-round lead at 8-under 63. Charles Howell III has a share of second place at 7-under 64. Yours truly has ALL three of those players on teams in my for-profit fantasy golf league this week. Except…I have three teams in the league and each one of those players is on a different one of my teams. If I had all three on the same team, Drew might be authoring Monday’s edition of #DMD from a palatial 3200 square foot penthouse suite at the Aruba Hyatt Regency.

Others hanging around after the first round include Steve Stricker and Shawn Stefani (-6) and Robert Streb (-5), who lost in a playoff last week at The Greenbrier.

Jordan Spieth honored his commitment to play in the John Deere Classic, but his opening round 71 is probably going to help land him in Scotland sometime early Saturday morning after he misses the 36-hole cut later today.

My three picks for the week were Spieth, Tony Finau (-4) and Jon Curran (-1). Finau’s 67 makes him a contender pending another solid round on Friday, but Spieth and Curran will both need to shoot a few under par in round two to make the weekend cut.



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pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis; Bishop of Rome and Sovereign of the Vatican City; Pope of the Catholic Church

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, Maryland.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, and bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket-sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.






In case you didn’t get to check-in to Drew’s Morning Dish in the last few days, you’re seeing some changes in the “look” of the website.

Nothing fancy or earth-shattering per se, but there are some parts of the site that are still in transition; one of those parts is the “Comments” section, which hasn’t yet been submitted by our developer for inclusion in the new format we’re using.

So, if you read something here today and you’d like to comment on it, simply send me an e-mail and I’ll post it on the site at the very bottom. I value your opinions and insight, and most certainly welcome your comments on a daily basis. If you’d like to comment on today’s #DMD, e-mail me (18inarow at gmail dot com).





Thursday
July 9, 2015
Facebook logo #DMD Twitter logo Volume XII
Issue 9

have the orioles ruined kevin gausman?

The question in the title above is just that…it’s a legitimate question, one that you might very well have an opinion on and one I certainly think is worth pondering.

Kevin Gausman
"I need to start getting guys out"

I don’t KNOW if the Orioles have ruined Kevin Gausman.

To start with, a philosophical type would first ask the question: “Was he REALLY that good in the first place? Was his ceiling REALLY that high? Was he REALLY worth a first round pick in the draft?”

My amateur answer to those three questions would be: Yes, Yes and Yes.

If the answer was/is “no” to those questions, we can stop right here, ponder no more, and just say, “The Orioles made a bad pick.”

I don’t think they did.

And I’m not trying to “over-panic,” either, but Gausman should be better than this by now. At least, I think he should be.

I’m also trying not to put a lot of stock in what we saw from him, specifically, on Tuesday night in Minnesota. There, that night, he was terrible. Two pitches, neither of them worth a hoot, and most of them just too flat and too straight to concern major-league-caliber hitters.

He’s appeared in 51 big league games over the last three years. Gausman’s career ERA to this point is 4.31. Not horrible, by any means, but above the league average. It’s certainly worth noting that his BEST year of the three came in 2014 when he made 20 starts and recorded an ERA of 3.57. It wasn’t until the playoffs that Buck Showalter moved him to the bullpen, where he appeared in three of the team’s seven post-games and allowed just one earned run in eight innings of work. This year, they clearly went with Bud Norris over Gausman to start the season.

So, the data shows that Gausman has been good – sometimes even very good – at certain points in his three-years in the big leagues.

He’s also been bad. And I think, if you’re honest, an overall assessment would indicate that when he’s been bad, his poor form greatly outweighs the good form he shows when he’s wheeling and dealing. That’s my opinion, anyway.

What is it, then?

Why is Gausman not better – or improving, at least?

This comes from my untrained eye, granted, but if there’s one thing I love about baseball, it’s pitching. I love goalies in hockey and soccer, kickers in football and pitchers in baseball. I pay attention to pitchers.

Gausman has two pitches. Or, I should say, he relies on two pitches. He has at times shown an array of pitch options, but these days, it’s either a fastball or the standard curve/breaking ball. He’ll mix in the splitter with his fastball, but we hardly see the sinker or the change-up anymore. If you’ve ever heard Jim Palmer offer his insight on Gausman during a MASN broadcast, Palmer simply can’t accept the fact that the 3-year veteran hasn’t yet developed a consistent, reliable change-up to offset his high 90’s fastball. I’m a dummy and I’ve figured that out, so when I hear Palmer lament Gausman’s woes, it makes me perk up a little bit.

Why, though, hasn’t Gausman learned another pitch? Re-phrase that question: Why, in three years now, hasn’t Gausman learned to TRUST another pitch? He has thrown five different pitches in the big leagues, but these days almost exclusively uses two. Further, why haven’t the Orioles insisted he learn a new pitch? Is he not coachable? I don’t think that’s the issue. Someone I know associated with the team raves about him “as a kid” and says he’s a great listener and very intelligent.

What, then, has happened to him?

If you look at his minor league numbers, they’re not all that great, either. In parts of four seasons affiliated with various minor league teams in the Orioles’ system, Gausman has a 3.46 ERA in 37 appearances. Is he not getting the proper teaching at Norfolk? Was he handled too delicately at Bowie?

I’m not sure. At this stage, though, you'd expect a pitcher of his caliber to light up the minor leagues when he goes down there. It would be like taking a 3-year PGA Tour veteran and giving him an exemption into next week's Maryland Open. He'd win the tournament, hands down, without question. Why doesn't Gausman dominate at Norfolk, for instance?

I know this: I see a guy who looks the part, has the pedigree, and should be making progress at the big-league level. What I don’t see, though, is a guy who IS making progress at the big-league level. One start good, one start bad, one start OK, one start bad…and so it goes.

How much of this is on Gausman? How much of this is just the natural progression of a young pitcher who might not be benefitting from the role he’s been given in his three years in the majors thus far? How much of this is on the Orioles?

I don’t know the answers to those questions, but I know he can’t survive and thrive in the American League with two very basic pitches, even if one of them is a 98 MPH fastball.


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norris joins hunter, gausman on the minnesota "goat list"

First, it was Wei Yin Chen on Monday night, giving the Orioles ample opportunity to win the series opener in Minnesota, only to see the offense fizzle with runners in scoring position and Tommy Hunter cough up the game-winning two-run homer in the 10th inning.

Tuesday night, Kevin Gausman took the mound and looked like he won a Twitter contest that awarded a random fan a chance to pitch three innings in a major league game.

Bud Norris
"Wow, that ball was hammered"

Wednesday afternoon, it was Bud Norris who ruined another completely acceptable starting pitching performance, this one from Ubaldo Jimenez, as the Twins finished off the sweep with a 5-3 win. Jimenez didn’t allow a run in his five innings of work, but therein lies part of the problem. He was gassed after throwing 110 pitches, heading to the shower with a 1-0 lead and the ball passed on to Bud Norris. Norris couldn’t get out of one inning without barfing up the lead, as Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer both hit homers to put Minnesota up 3-1. In the 7th, Chaz Roe gave up a two-run double to make it 5-1 in favor of the Twins. The Birds scratched their way back into it with back-to-back homers from Machado and Davis in the 8th inning, but the Orioles went down in order in the 9th to lose for the 8th time in their last 10 games.

Davis was moved to second in the order and responded with a strong day, going three for four. No one else did much of anything, including Chris Parmelee, who is now 6-for-63 after another “o-fer” day on Wednesday. I’m not sure if Parmelee’s Aunt Suzie is Buck’s sister’s best friend from college, but there’s just no way that guy should be playing right now. You and the guy who delivers your mail might go 2-for-63 if you were with the big league club. He has to go…soon. I hate to be that harsh. He might be a nice guy and all. But he can’t hit major league pitching.

The loss dropped the Birds to 43-42 and ended what some thought would be a fruitful road trip to Chicago and Minnesota at 1-5. It’s home for a weekend series with the dangerous Washington Nationals and then the All-Star break. They’re not as bad as they showed in Minnesota, but the Birds are definitely reeling right now.

Don’t look now, but the Red Sox – who stink – have 45 losses on the season and the O’s have 42. It’s time for a winning streak.

Three notes: The Orioles have scored three runs or less in seven of their last ten games. Christian Walker was the DH on Wednesday after his recall from Norfolk late Tuesday night. Kevin Gausman was optioned to Norfolk after Tuesday’s 8-3 loss to the Twins to make room for Walker.


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with rory out, which europeans might shine at st. andrews?

As I opined right here at #DMD on Monday, there was no way Rory McIlroy was going to play in next week’s British Open after sustaining a serious ankle injury playing soccer last weekend. McIlroy confirmed that opinion of mine on Wednesday afternoon when he withdrew from the season’s third major championship.

It’s a shame Rory’s not playing. He certainly had more than a puncher’s chance of winning at St. Andrews and the anticipated drama of a McIlroy-Spieth showdown would have had everyone drooling.

Now, then, which of the European hopefuls have the best chance of a triumph at the 2015 British Open? With “1” being “no chance”, and “5” being “get the engraver ready to start his work”, here’s how I see the chances of Europe’s finest next week.

Sergio Garcia
"I'm going to win one of these ... you'll see."

Sergio Garcia (3.3) – I’m a believer that Garcia will, eventually, win a major title. It might be similar to the way Darren Clarke finally won his at age 42, but Sergio is winning one at some point. I also think the British is the one he’ll win. Those two reasons make him a VERY realistic winner next week at St. Andrews. Just needs to get the right tee-time rotation. We know how playing in the rain while the afternoon guys get sunshine irks him.

Lee Westwood (2.1) – Like Garcia, I’ve long thought that Westwood would win a major someday – and he’s had FAR more chances than Sergio – but his clock is starting to run out, I’m afraid. Would I be shocked if he won at St. Andrews? No. Surprised? Yes. Too many great players ahead of him now 

Henrik Stenson (2.8) – Just can’t stay engaged for 72 holes, which is a requirement at a major championship. Has every tool you need to win a major or two – or three, even – but he just can’t put it all together for four rounds. St. Andrews might be a good fit for his wayward driver, though.

Luke Donald (1.8) – I have no idea what’s happened to this guy, but his golf game has pulled an Elvis and left the building. Still hits it straight enough, but lacks the short game and putting prowess to get it done next week.

Ian Poulter
"I'll just keep on making putts, until ..."

Ian Poulter (2.5) – He can cobble together a solid round or two at any major championship, but he’s more flair than substance these days. As we see every two years at the Ryder Cup, he can roll his rock, especially on those flat European greens, but there’s something missing from his arsenal when it comes to major events.

Justin Rose (3.7) – He is, right now, the second best European player (to McIlroy) and could be gaining ground on Rory, truth be told. Rose is a complete stud. He’s just a very hot-and-cold putter. If his putter is “on” next week, watch out.

Paul Casey (3.5) – I love this guy’s chances next week. I mean, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. His form has turned around, he has great confidence, he has a good track record at St. Andrews, and his time has come. Don’t be at all surprised if he wins.

Graeme McDowell (2.0) – Nah, can’t see it happening for him next week. His game has really tailed off over the last two years. Lost his driver swing in 2014 and is still struggling to get it back. Can hang around for a round – or two, maybe – but he’s nowhere near the level of Garcia, Rose and Casey right now.


the difference between american and european golf announcers


A #DMD Guest Column by
The Eccentric Starter

In the last year, two precisely similar situations unfolded, one on the PGA Tour, the other on the European Tour. In each, a golfer came to the 72nd and last hole late on a Sunday afternoon needing a birdie to win, and failing that, a par to force a playoff with a player already in the house. The golfers, each unnamed here, both stepped to their tees and hit disastrously bad shots, far left into lateral water hazards paralleling their 18th fairways.

Here is the commentary from the American tournament:

Rog:     He's pulled it, Johnny!!! Pulled it into the water!! I saw the splash myself from my vantage point right near where Tiger Woods was after hitting his tee shot two hours ago! Oh, and it last crossed the margin of the red-staked hazard at a point far back from the green, so after his drop, he'll have NO CHANCE of getting on, so he'll have to chip it in just to tie, and he's not the world's greatest chipper, his statistics place him at 121st on Tour, so it looks like the shot he just hit blew the tournament for him. Oh, my!!

Tower of Babel
Tower of Babel, painted by Lucas van Valckenborch in 1594. Hangs in the Louvre Museum.

John:     Looked like a hook, Rog.

Rog:     Huh???

John:     You said “pulled.” Looked like a hook from here.

Rog:     Oh! — Well John, you're a 25-time PGA Tour winner and a two-time major champion, John, so if anyone knows the difference between a pull and a hook, it's you, John. I just thought it was a pull because I couldn't actually see the full flight of the ball from where I'm standing, where Tiger was two hours ago, and mistakenly called it a pull, I guess.

John:     Well, it doesn't really make a difference what is was to **********. He's just blown the tournament with one swing. I almost know how he feels because I almost did that once myself. It was back in Phoenix, or maybe it was Westchester, in '74 or maybe '76. I came to the last hole on Sunday needing a birdie, and I don't want to imply I have better control of my nerves than **********, or that my swing held up under pressure, the way his obviously didn't today, but I was able to hit a great drive followed by a beautiful approach to seven feet, then hole the birdie to win. But like I said, I almost know how he feels, because this exact same thing under the exact same circumstances almost happened to me, and I really feel sorry for him.

Rog:     That's big of you, John. ********** is going to be scarred by this for a long, long time. Who knows if he'll ever recover, golf-wise, and ever be able to compete again at the highest level on a Sunday afternoon, where everything is on the line. Not everyone has the intestinal fortitude of a champion like, say, Tiger Woods. And it may even affect his relationship with his blond wife and his two cute blond children, who are all waiting for him by the 18th green, or at least they were until he hit that shot, and even with his parents. If they're still alive.

Dave:     What a shame! This makes me want a drink, and I'm on the wagon. Who would ever have thought an Irishman would go on the wagon, although maybe it was because I applied for and was awarded American citizenship several years ago, and then an Air Force guy gave me a ride in an F-22, after which I puked. But I must say that at least I puked like a patriot. I also give to charity, by the way. But I'll wager ********** is going to puke after that shot, and I for one don't blame him.

Gary:     I tell you, folks, no one has choked on the 72nd tee more than I have in my — —, what would you call it? — , — "career,” I guess…

All in unison:     Ha ha ha.

Gary:     …and I can tell you, with certainty, that he knows he's blown it, and that he indeed wants to puke, just like Dave did after his ride in that F-22. And by the way, I give to charity too, as does everyone in any way connected with the PGA Tour.

John:     Let's try to stay on message, guys. Rog, you wanna get up to the green and try to get a word with ********** as he comes off?

John's unerring instinct knew that the object of his insightful analysis would want above all else to share his grief and heartbreak with tens of millions of strangers on TV. During this mindless and irrelevant blather, the TV camera immediately turned back from the splash of the ball in the water to the poor golfer who hit the shot. The camera never left him, and put him in closeup so he was the lone object in the picture. It followed his every long step to his point of relief. To his credit, he didn't spit.

In Europe, after that golfer hit into the water, here was the commentary:

Renton Laidlaw
Renton Laidlaw

Renton Laidlaw:     (silence)

Renton Laidlaw:     (more silence)

Renton Laidlaw:     (even more silence)

During the silence, the camera stayed on the spot where the ball plunked into the water. The waves made by the splash radiated outward in perfect concentric circles, then ever so slowly dissipated into nothingness. Only then did the camera pan slowly back to the golfers. This camera followed the twosome, their caddies, and the walking scorers. The one who hit the shot was clearly identifiable by his posture and gait, and viewers, at least those who had been in comparable situations, could empathize and sympathize with his tortured plight. Only after two minutes did Laidlaw, in his lordly and charming Standard Scottish English, resume.

Renton Laidlaw:     "The time has come," the Walrus said, "to talk of many things: of shoes, and ships, and sealing wax — of cabbages and kings, and why the sea is boiling hot, and whether pigs have wings."

Renton Laidlaw:     (silence again)

After 30 seconds, the scene slowly faded out to black, soundlessly, and into a commercial.

What sublime artistry!


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pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis; Bishop of Rome and Sovereign of the Vatican City; Pope of the Catholic Church

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, Maryland.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, and bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket-sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.






In case you didn’t get to check-in to Drew’s Morning Dish in the last few days, you’re seeing some changes in the “look” of the website.

Nothing fancy or earth-shattering per se, but there are some parts of the site that are still in transition; one of those parts is the “Comments” section, which hasn’t yet been submitted by our developer for inclusion in the new format we’re using.

So, if you read something here today and you’d like to comment on it, simply send me an e-mail and I’ll post it on the site at the very bottom. I value your opinions and insight, and most certainly welcome your comments on a daily basis. If you’d like to comment on today’s #DMD, e-mail me (18inarow at gmail dot com).



Wednesday
July 8, 2015
Facebook logo #DMD Twitter logo Volume XII
Issue 8

thought for the day – everyone stop punching each other

Nineteen year old De’Andre Johnson was supposed to play quarterback for Florida State this coming season, but that’s not happening now. Johnson, you might have heard, smacked/punched/slapped a girl in the face in a Tallahassee bar back on June 24 and criminal charges were filed shortly thereafter. FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher dismissed Johnson from the team earlier this week and the quarterback has now “lawyered-up” in an attempt to work his way through the troubling legal issues and get back on the football field with some other college that’s desperate for a highly rated signal caller.

Because you probably MUST see the video in order to make a full opinion on the story, here it is, below. Warning, it’s fairly graphic. It’s a video of a man punching a woman in the face.

So, what stood out to you as you watched that video?

Re-read the first paragraph above and you’ll no doubt come across the first thing that SHOULD stick out like a sore thumb.

Unless he was ordering ice water, club soda or a non-alcoholic Shirley Temple (and, sure, those ARE possibilities), why was a 19-year old guy in a bar ordering drinks? I have no idea if the girl in the video is 21 years old, but I know the football player is 19 years old.

The video clearly shows the girl punching the guy first. If you believe his attorney, the girl also used a racial epithet and drove her knee into Johnson’s groin as part of the altercation.

Is that grounds for the guy punching her in the face?

Absolutely not, in the same fashion that it was probably not smart (or permitted by law) for her to punch HIM in the face moments before he slugged her.

I’m not questioning Florida State’s decision to cut the kid from their football team. They had no option but to do that.

I would question, though, how a 19-year old kid is getting served alcohol in a bar (again…I’m just pre-supposing that’s what he was ordering…I’ve searched the internet for an answer to that question and can’t find it in any story written about the incident). And I would also question why there’s no reaction at all in the direction of the female who apparently instigated the whole mess? Does her role simply not count?

For his part, now, Johnson has admitted his obvious mistake, offered what appears to be a heartfelt apology, and will “try and learn from this experience.” That’s nice of him. But nothing will ever undo that video tape. That’s his scarlet letter for a long, long time to come.

In the meantime, though, no one knows the girl’s name, outside of those in her inner circle. Her identity remains relatively anonymous, unlike De’Andre Johnson, who would probably like a $1.00 bill for every website in America who has flashed his photo (and that video) over the last seven days.

He was wrong. Dead wrong. You don’t slug people…men, women, friends, strangers, co-workers, party-goers, etc.

She was wrong, too. Dead wrong.

So, too, was the bar, although I’m guessing they fall under the no-tell-banner of “We take care of our football players here in Tallahassee.”

Everyone was wrong, but only the football player seems to be getting the heat.

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you know bud norris was giggling to himself last night

OK, so now what?

Kevin Gausman took the starting rotation gig from Bud Norris and what did he do last night? He wound up looking a lot like Bud Norris, that’s what he did.

Gausman
#notthegoodGausman

Gausman was completely ineffective, the Baltimore bats were once again feeble, and it turned into an 8-3 loss that puts the Birds at 1-4 on the Chicago/Minnesota road trip. You remember that road swing, right? The O’s were licking their wounds after dropping three of four at Camden Yards to the Texas Rangers, but that six-gamer at the White Sox and Twins looked like an appealing tonic. The White Sox stink and the Twins, while playing decently through the season’s first half, are certainly not a team worthy of fear or caution.

Five games later, the Birds have but one win to show for their road journey.

Minnesota put up a 3-spot in the first inning last night, then tacked on a single run in the 3rd and four more in the 4th before Buck waved the white towel and sent Gausman to the showers. He allowed seven earned runs in 4.2 innings of work and saw his ERA balloon to a Bud-Norris-like 5.00.

It wasn’t a great night for the offense, either, but in their defense, everyone kind of packed it in once it was 8-0 in the 4th inning.

J.J. Hardy stayed interested long enough to hit a 2-run homer in the 5th inning.

Jimmy Paredes, Chris Davis and Matt Wieters would have been better off volunteering at a Minneapolis soup kitchen on Tuesday night. That trio went 0-for-11 with seven strikeouts, including three from Davis. Chris Parmelee managed a base hit and the game was delayed for seven minutes while pigs flew above the stadium.

Three notes: The Orioles are now 17-25 on the road, owning the second fewest away wins in the American League. Only Chicago (16) has fewer. Chris Parmelee is now 6 for his last 60, and that includes a double in last night’s 8-3 loss to the Twins. It might be time for that experiment to end — soon. Twins rookie Miguel Sano hit his first career home run in the first inning of Tuesday’s 8-3 win over the O’s.


TODAY’S MATCH UP:

Orioles (Jimenez) at Twins (Milone), 1:10 pm EDT



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a funny thing happened on the way to confession

Scott Stallings was suspended 90 days by the PGA Tour yesterday for calling a penalty on himself. If he would have grounded his club in a bunker, let’s say, the penalty would have been two strokes. Instead, he turned himself for using a substance on the TOUR’s “banned list” and for that, he takes a seat for three months.

Scott Stallings
Scott Stallings

Harsh?

You bet.

A rule that needs to be reviewed?

Most definitely.

But is it also what makes golf the greatest game in the world?

Without question.

Major League Baseball chased their players down for the better part of a decade, trying to ascertain who was on the juice (most everyone), how long they’d been using it and just how much it influenced their production and capabilities. The top PED users like Bonds, Clemens, et al not only refused to ‘fess up, they lied to the government, they lied to a Grand Jury and they lied under oath. Alex Rodriguez got caught, told everyone he was sorry and it wouldn’t happen again, then less than three years later it DID happen again and this time he sat out an entire baseball season while his waistline went up and his Hall of Fame chances went down.

Back in mid-February of this year, Scott Stallings was in a player’s meeting and saw the PGA Tour’s list of banned substances. One of those substances was DHEA, which Stallings was taking under a doctor’s prescription to help treat a recent case of chronic fatigue sydrome. Stallings immediately contacted the TOUR, they did an investigation, and he was found to have violated their PED policy by taking DHEA. Oh, here’s the real kicker. A month before he turned himself in, he took and passed a random drug test just before the Humana Challenge in California.

It’s one thing if you’re using PED’s on the PGA Tour and they test you – and it comes back positive. I say suspend ‘em all if that happens. It’s a completely different story, though, when a guy turns himself in and says, “You need to know about this” and comes clean on his own accord.

Then again, that’s why golf is great.

If you’re in the rough near the green and you have a terrible lie in 6” of rough and you whiff it…you tell your playing competitors right away, “That was a miss…”

If you break a tree branch on a practice swing, once the hole is over, you say, “I made six there…I made a four, but while I was under the tree for my approach shot, I took a practice swing and broke a branch on the tree. That’s two shots…”

If you’re looking at the list of banned substances on Tour and you see something as apparently as benign as DHEA – and you’ve been taking it for three months under a doctor’s order – you simply have to turn yourself in and face the consequences.

Can you imagine a baseball player or football player doing that?

Yeah, I can’t either.



this week's pga tour picks

It’s the week before the British Open and nearly every golfer in the world that matters is either in Scotland already or making their way there by Saturday. That doesn’t include Jordan Spieth, though, who feels a special connection to the John Deere Classic – site of his first career win back in 2013 – and will tee it up there this week despite the common sense move of heading over to St. Andrews to get ready for the year’s third major championship.

Jordan Spieth
Jordan Spieth

Spieth is such a no-brainer pick this week that more common sense thinking would tell you and the rest of the fantasy golf world to lay off of him. No one who is this much of a favorite can come through and win, right?

Well, I’m not laying off of him and I’m certainly not going to tell you to do that, either. Spieth is one of my three picks this week and if you ask me now who’s winning the John Deere, I’m saying “Jordan Spieth” in about three-tenths of a second. He’s simply playing too well, he knows the golf course, and the field is of the C+ variety at best. The only way I see him not being there come Sunday afternoon is if he fires a 73 on day one and a few guys go nuts and post 63 or 64 and he just says to himself on Friday morning, “Let’s go walk 18 holes and get a good sweat in…and then jump on the plane for Scotland.”

So, go ahead and play Spieth if you’re a fantasy golf guy (or gal). He’s a great pick this week.

Tony Finau
Tony Finau

I like two other relative no-names to shine . I’ve been on the Tony Finau bandwagon for the last six weeks and I’m not jumping off now. His last six starts on TOUR are all Top 25’s or better and he’s starting to get the experience you need to contend and win, which he just might do this week if Jordan Spieth isn’t the champion. He KILLS it off the tee (ranking 7th in average driving distance at 308 yards) and despite not hitting a lot of fairways (55%), he still manages to hit 68% of the greens in regulation. This guy can play. He’s going to win at some point soon. Maybe this week.

Jon Curran
Jon Curran

I also like Jon Curran this week, even though his most recent form isn’t nearly as solid as Finau’s. Curran has made a million bucks this year, but has only made 12 of 22 cuts. In other words, when he makes a cut, it’s generally a decent finish for him. With the watered-down field in this week’s event, I like a guy who needs a breakthrough tournament and that criteria fits Curran well.

Dark-horses to consider: Derek Ernst, Chad Collins, Billy Hurley III, Ken Duke.


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pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis; Bishop of Rome and Sovereign of the Vatican City; Pope of the Catholic Church

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, Maryland.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, and bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket-sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.






In case you didn’t get to check-in to Drew’s Morning Dish in the last few days, you’re seeing some changes in the “look” of the website.

Nothing fancy or earth-shattering per se, but there are some parts of the site that are still in transition; one of those parts is the “Comments” section, which hasn’t yet been submitted by our developer for inclusion in the new format we’re using.

So, if you read something here today and you’d like to comment on it, simply send me an e-mail and I’ll post it on the site at the very bottom. I value your opinions and insight, and most certainly welcome your comments on a daily basis. If you’d like to comment on today’s #DMD, e-mail me (18inarow at gmail dot com).



Tuesday
July 7, 2015

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#DMD Volume XII
Issue 7

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"don't think, meat…just pitch"

That’s a great line from the movie “Bull Durham” when Kevin Costner, playing the role of Crash Davis, approaches the mound and tells Nuke LaLoosh, “Don’t think, Meat…just pitch.”

Now, we go to a golf story. If you’re able to strip away the sports element, I’m sure you can find a scenario in your life that connects with this.

Kevin Costner
#dontoverthinkit

I’ll tell you this first. The story has a happy ending.

Here goes –

Back on May 20, I attempted to qualify for the Maryland Open at Andrews Air Force Base Golf Course. Short story made shorter: There were 120 players on hand and 23 spots available for the Open, which is going to be played July 13-14-15 at Columbia CC in suburban Washington D.C.

I birdied the first two holes, bogeyed the 4th and 6th, and made the turn at even par.

I missed a four-foot birdie putt at #9, then promptly made bogey at the 10th, 11th, 13th and 14th holes. I lost my way with the driver, couldn’t hit a fairway, and failed to make a couple of five foot par putts. I avoided a double bogey by somehow coaxing in an 8-footer for bogey at #15, but I was in trouble. I figured +3 was the number to qualify for the Open and I was at +5 with three holes left. I made par at 16, then hit an 8-iron to 3-feet at #17 and made the putt for birdie to get to +4. I needed birdie at the last, which played to 525 yards (par 5) that day.

When the dust settled on the 18th hole, I was left with six feet for par. I looked the putt over and thought to myself, “Well, who knows? Maybe four over will get in. Five over definitely won’t, but four over might.” Even though I was resigned to the fact that plus three was probably the number, I gave the putt a couple of extra looks just in case four over turned out to be the number. It was a left-to-right putt, which is probably my least favorite putt on the planet, but I rolled it in to finish the day at 4-over par.

I was the first group out that day, so there were no scores to check when I got in. I had a bite to eat and headed over to the scoreboard before making the drive back to Baltimore. There were already six or seven guys at 74 or better (I shot 75), so I knew at that point I’d need a minor miracle to get in.

By the time I got back to Baltimore, I had no room to spare. The number was +5, but there were still 40 golfers left on the course. Watching the scores getting posted on the state golf association’s website was slow torture. Every 15 minutes or so, they’d update the latest two groups to come in and slowly but surely, the number moved to +4. I knew I was in trouble. Finally, with four groups left to come in, I was put out of my misery, as the Maryland Open cut moved to +3.

I missed it by one shot.

Columbia Country Club is one of the best golf course in the state of Maryland. Difficulty-wise, it might be as tough as any course we have in the area, and it’s always a treat to go over there and play at such an outstanding facility. I’ve played in the Maryland Open ten times, but this was one I wanted to play in, badly, and missing it really disappointed me.

Fast forward to yesterday morning.

My phone rang with a “443” number that wasn’t familiar to me. I answered it. It was a Maryland State Golf Association official, informing me that several players had withdrawn from next week’s Open and I was one of the higher-ranked alternates based on my finish at Andrews Air Force on May 20. I was in. If I wanted to play, that is.

So, there you have it.

I’m now in the Maryland Open next week, thanks to that six foot putt I made on the last hole of the qualifier. Had I missed it and shot 76, I wouldn’t have been an alternate, as only the +4’s were on the alternate’s list. By making that putt and staying at +4, I gave myself a puncher’s chance.

Moral of the story? Hang in there. Try and make every putt. Give every shot your full attention. Don’t scoreboard watch while you’re still playing. Just try and shoot the lowest score you can and see what it gets you. You can go ahead and put other life metaphors in there if you want. There are plenty that apply, I’m sure.


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it was over when hunter came in

I saw Twitter explode last night in the 10th inning when Tommy Hunter gave up the game-winning home run to Minnesota’s Brian Dozier. I had to LOL at those folks. I mean, what did you REALLY suspect was going to happen when Showalter went with Hunter to start the 9th inning in a 2-2 game?

Tommy Hunter
#murphyslaw

It was going to be a loss.

And, it turned out to be just that, a 4-2 defeat that stung just a little bit more because the O’s completely wasted a terrific starting effort – yet again – from Wei Yin Chen.

The Birds also wasted gobs of scoring chances, going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position last night. How about this stat for stinky-ness – they’re 4 for their last 42 with runners in scoring position in their last six games. Tough to win when your bats are on silent.

In Hunter’s defense, the home run ball has NOT been an issue for him this season. Last night’s dinger was the third one he’s surrendered in 2015; Darren O’Day and Brad Brach have both allowed four thus far this season.

What has been an issue for Hunter, though, is being thrust into tie-game situations and giving up winning runs. He did it twice early in the season and has essentially become more of a specialty, 7th inning, with nothing-on-the-line guy over the last couple of months. And he’s been awfully good in that role, too. Last night was different, though, and he once again caved in at the worst moment.

Blame Monday’s loss on the bats, though, not the arms. Only home runs from Machado and Jones kept the Birds from getting blanked yet again.

Three Notes: Orioles RHP Jason Garcia started his injury rehab assignment at Bowie last night. He’s on the 60-day disabled list with shoulder tendinitis. Chris Parmelee needs to see a witch doctor or buy new bats – he went 0-for-4 last night and has just 10 hits in his last 55 at-bats. That’s…ummm that’s not good. Manny Machado’s first-inning HR was his fourth lead-off homer of the season and 18th overall in 2015.


TONIGHT’S MATCH UP:

Orioles (Gausman) at Twins (Gibson), 8:10 pm EDT



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british open preview: rory's injury adds intrigue

Let me first say, in response to someone who will e-mail me and state: “It’s the Open Championship, not the British Open” – no, sir (or ma’am), THEY call it the Open Championship over there and the R & A insists in their contract with the TV networks that it be promoted, referred to and aired as “The Open Championship.” It’s the British Open to everyone else in the world. It’s been the British Open since forever, or at least since I remember the late, great Jim McKay with his sweater and hat, calling the action and making you feel like you were there, right there, in the fog, in the drizzle, playing the very shot you were watching on television.

It’s called the British Open, and that’s how I will refer to it for the next two weeks.

Rory McIlroy
#cantwalkcantplay

So, the BRITISH Open got a little more interesting on Monday when Rory McIlroy revealed he suffered a torn left ankle ligament while playing soccer with some friends over the weekend.

I’m no doctor (or “physio” as they call their trainers over there), but I’ve had more sprained ankles in my life than Aerosmith’s had hits. True, I never had the sort of medical support and around-the-clock treatment options that are in front of McIlroy, but if he really DID suffer a complete tear of his ATFL ligament, there’s no way he’s playing golf next week at St. Andrews. He can ice that thing 44 hours a day instead of 24, but he’s not playing golf next week.

That said, perhaps the injury wasn’t as bad as first reported? I don’t know if McIlroy worries about such things, but why tell the complete truth about an injury, anyway? Just to satisfy the bettors? Who cares about them, really? Better off over-selling it, hope the rest of the field writes you off, then storm in there on Wednesday, play a nine hole practice round, and start lighting it up next Thursday (July 16) in the first round.

The absence of McIlroy doesn’t necessarily gift-wrap the tournament to Jordan Spieth by any means, but it sure does eliminate one of the top contenders from the field. Think of it like this: If Tiger would have dropped out of an event in, say, 2003 or 2004, 70% of the guys playing in the tournament would immediately think to themselves, “Well, I can at least THINK about winning, now.” That’s probably the way it is with McIlroy these days, although certainly not to the same extent as the mystique Woods carried with him a decade or so ago.

Spieth remains the favorite, which is only natural given his wins at Augusta and Chambers Bay so far in 2015. It’s not his tournament to lose next week, but you should probably figure on seeing him in one of the final three groups for Sunday’s final round. I’d be surprised if he’s not there.

I’d be just as surprised if McIlroy IS there next week, both playing and on the Sunday leaderboard. I just can’t see how he can recover that quickly from an injury that typically takes up to three months of recovery time.

I hope I’m wrong. I’d love to see McIlroy in the event. It makes the golf a lot better when the best players are competing with one another. But there’s little chance he plays next week at St. Andrews. I just don’t see how he can.





she was sporty, so she makes #dmd

One of my favorite movies ever was a 1987 cutie called “Can’t Buy Me Love,” which featured Patrick Dempsey playing the role of a nerdy high school guy who basically bought the hottest girl in the school for one month in an attempt to change his “status” within the school. The girl’s name was Cindi Mancini, played by Amanda Peterson, who agreed to the deal with Dempsey’s character, Ronald Miller, then wound up actually liking the guy before the whole scam fell apart and Miller’s ploy was revealed, much to his embarrassment.

Amanda Peterson
#wortheverypenny

Amanda Peterson died yesterday at the age of 43.

She didn’t really do a whole lot after that co-starring role in Can’t Buy Me Love, but I was definitely saddened a bit last night when I read the news that she had passed away in Colorado.

One of my favorite lines from that movie – “You went from totally geek to totally chic” – was all about Peterson’s ability to get Dempsey’s classmates to buy into him since he was able to secure the hand of the best looking girl in school. In fact, I used that line in a recent edition of #DMD when I referenced Ubaldo Jimenez in 2014 – and 2015. He’s gone from totally geek to totally chic.

RIP, Amanda Peterson.


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pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis; Bishop of Rome and Sovereign of the Vatican City; Pope of the Catholic Church

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, Maryland.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, and bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket-sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.






In case you didn’t get to check-in to Drew’s Morning Dish yesterday, you’re seeing some changes in the “look” of the website today.

Nothing fancy or earth-shattering, per-se, but there are some parts of the site that are still in transition; one of those parts is the “Comments” section, which hasn’t yet been submitted by our developer for inclusion in the new format we’re using.

So, if you read something here today and you’d like to comment on it, simply send me an e-mail and I’ll post it on the site at the very bottom. I value your opinions and insight, and most certainly welcome your comments on a daily basis. If you’d like to comment on today’s #DMD, e-mail me (18inarow at gmail dot com).



Monday
July 6, 2015

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#DMD Volume XII
Issue 6

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our girls can play soccer

Back in 1999, the United States won the Women’s World Cup and lots of folks opined that victory would spark a dynamic growth period for American soccer as far as females go, that is.

Sixteen years later, that theory came to fruition in Vancouver, British Columbia, as the United States women’s national soccer team won the World Cup last night in convincing fashion, 5-2 over Japan.

It was a throttling from the opening whistle, as the Americans dominated the game from the outset and scored four goals in the opening sixteen minutes to remove any doubt about the game’s result. It was a just reward for the U.S., who were the best team in the month-long tournament and won every game they played save for one scoreless draw against Sweden in the second contest of Group D play.

Carli Lloyd
Carli Lloyd

The American stars of this World Cup like Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan and Lauren Holiday were in grade school when Mia Hamm and Company were winning the 1999 World Cup. Sixteen years from now, I bet, some girls in grade school in 2015 will say to themselves, “I want to be the next Carli Lloyd,” which is precisely what Lloyd said about Hamm, most likely.

It’s an interesting juxtaposition between what we’ve seen from our women’s national team and the men’s national team. That’s two World Cup titles in sixteen years for our American girls; and not even one final four appearance from our men’s team in the same time period. Sure, the level of competition among the men is much higher and our American guys have a longer road to travel to win at the international level, but there’s no arguing that our soccer-playing women are more dominant in THEIR sport than our men are in THEIR sport.

Here’s the most interesting part of this year’s Women’s World Cup. It helped create a bond between American sports fans that eclipsed gender, color, style, etc. We watched them as athletes representing our country; that they were girls playing soccer had no bearing at all on how entertained we were.

Here’s the truth: I’m as proud of Carli Lloyd as I’ve EVER been of Landon Donovan, for example. When I watched those girls play over the last month, I didn’t really judge them as female athletes, I assessed them based on their ability to play soccer. For instance, I’ve said for a long time that the best American soccer player I’ve ever seen is Mia Hamm…and that’s saying something because we’ve been blessed with some very talented male players over the last twenty years.

Here’s more truth: We’ll be right back in the mix again in 2019, you can count on that. Women’s soccer is here to stay in the U.S.


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sunday in chicago — so orioles-esque

After producing a grand total of twelve hits and two runs in their most recent three games, you just knew the Orioles weren’t going to break out of their offensive slumber quietly.

Jonathon Schoop
Jonathan Schoop

And, they didn’t.

The Birds erupted for nine runs, ten hits and welcomed back Jonathan Schoop—all in one fell swoop—as the three-game losing streak came to end with a 9-1 blasting of the White Sox on Sunday in Chicago.

Schoop’s first at-bat since he was placed on the disabled list on April 18 came in the second inning and resulted in a home run to left field. That’s a good way to get back in Buck’s good graces, and also the way to quiet anyone who questioned Ryan Flaherty’s demotion to Norfolk to make room for Schoop. Honestly, I was surprised that Flaherty got the heave-ho. I guess Nolan Reimold must be doing a good job of carrying Buck’s luggage through the airport.

Miguel Gonzalez was staked to a 4-0 lead and cruised in from there, allowing just one run in six innings of work. Caleb Joseph (3), Chris Davis (2) and Schoop (2) each had multi-RBI outings on Sunday.

The win moves the Birds to 43-39 and in second place in the A.L. East, just one game behind the Yankees. The O’s head to Minnesota to start a three game series with the Twins on Monday.


TONIGHT’S MATCH UP:

Orioles (Chen) at Twins (Hughes), 8:10 pm EDT




half-way home – a look at the standings

Nearly every team in baseball has played their 81st game or will do so in the next day or two, so I figured now would be a good time to look at all six divisions and see who’s good, who’s bad and tell you how I think it’s going to end in early October.

A.L. East – Leading now: Yankees, 44-38

Everyone figured the Yankees would eventually fall victim to injuries and disabled list stints, but they’ve held themselves together well thus far, despite losing the likes of Tanaka, Nova and Andrew Miller for periods of time. Their biggest surprise has been Alex Rodriguez (.284, 16 HR). Mark Teixeira is having a MVP season, with 20 HR and 59 RBI to date.

What’s going to happen — The Orioles will wind up winning the division at 89-73, as the Yankees and Rays stay in it until the final week of the season. New York earns one of the two Wild Card spots in the American League.



A.L. Central – Leading now: Royals, 46-33

Kansas City is proving that 2014 was no fluke, as they continue to roll in the Central, with surprising pressure from the 2nd place Minnesota Twins. Detroit seems to be suffering from the departure of Scherzer and pre-season injury to Verlander. The rest of the division stinks, although the Indians have some useful pieces.

What’s going to happen – Kansas City wins the division easily, finishing with 94 wins and a mid-September clinching party.



A.L. West – Leading now: Astros, 48-33

Yes, the Houston Astros have the most wins in the American League as of July 6. Go ahead, rub your eyes, blink, and read it again. And it doesn’t look like they’re going away, although the Angels are hanging in there. My pre-season pick, Seattle, just hasn’t been able to put it together.

What’s going to happen – Houston’s reliance on the home run will eventually catch up to them. The Angels will win the division at 93-69 and the Astros will claim one of the two Wild Card spots.



N. L. East – Leading now: Nationals, 46-36

They should rename this division the N.L. Least. No one but Washington is any good, although the Mets have been decent enough to hang around for a few months. Washington has all the tools to make a World Series run. This just might be their year.

What’s going to happen – The Nationals win the division in a romp, finishing at 95-67. The Mets fizzle in September and fail to snag a Wild Card berth.



N. L. Central – Leading now: Cardinals, 53-28

The rest of the division should get the equivalent of a golf handicap to make the race fair. The Cardinals should start the season 0-14 and not play a game until April 15 or something like that. Pittsburgh’s trying to hang in there, and the Cubs aren’t bad by any means, but the Cardinals are the Cardinals again.

What’s going to happen – St. Louis clobbers everyone with a 97-win season and gets home-field throughout the NL playoffs. Pittsburgh hangs on to claim one of the two Wild Card spots.



N. L. West – Leading now, Dodgers, 46-37

Despite not being able to beat the Giants in 2015 (3-9 vs. S.F. thus far), the Dodgers are still leading the N.L. West. Just think if they were getting a Cy Young-type season from Clayton Kershaw, who hasn’t been horrible by any means, but his 5-6 record and 3.08 ERA aren’t close to what he produced last season. The Giants hang around because they’re the Giants, but no one else in the division is worth a hoot.

What’s going to happen – The Dodgers will hang on and win the division in the final week with 91 wins, but San Fran will make it interesting and grab a Wild Card berth at the same time.



Playoff predictions – Kansas City beats Baltimore in the A.L. Championship Series, 4-2, and Washington beats St. Louis, 4-3, in the N.L. Championship Series.

Washington beats Kansas City, 4-2, in the World Series.


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pga tour: danny lee wins at the greenbrier

An Australian guy with Korean heritage who once won the U.S. Amateur was your winner on Sunday at The Greenbrier, as Danny Lee claimed his first PGA Tour triumph after outlasting three others in a sudden death playoff.

Danny Lee
Danny Lee

Lee, David Hearn, Kevin Kisner and Robert Streb all finished regulation at 13-under par, sending them back to the 18th hole for a playoff that would eventually see Lee and Hearn advance with birdies on the par-3 finishing hole at The Greenbrier’s Old White course. Lee rolled his putt home from about 16 feet away, then Hearn topped him to stay alive by making a 12-footer of his own.

At the second playoff hole, the 17th, a par-five, both players hit their tee ball in the left rough, but Hearn had to contend with a tree while Lee was able to lay-up with no issues. Hearn left himself with 125 yards for his 4th shot, but was unable to get the ball on the putting surface from there and his resulting bogey fell short to Lee’s routine two-putt par.

Tiger Woods couldn’t quite break the Top 25, but his four round total of minus seven included a final round 67 that featured 15 pars and 3 birdies. It was Tiger’s best overall tournament of the year, albeit against a rather weak field and at a course that ten years ago he would have blistered to the tune of 18 under par.

My three picks last Wednesday all fared well. In fact, there for a while, it looked like I might have my THIRD outright win of the season, as I picked Kevin Kisner to win the event in the July 1 edition of #DMD. I also favored Patrick Reed (-8) and Pat Perez (-9).





four-goal outburst propels usa to 3rd world cup title

The United States put away last night’s World Cup Final before most folks finished their first beer at B.C. Place in Vancouver. They scored a goal in the 3rd, 5th, 14th and 16th minutes, essentially sewing up the championship with an unheard of four-goal eruption. Japan fought gamely and even scratched their way back to 4-2 early in the second half, but this one was over at the 16-minute mark of the game when Carli Lloyd scored her third goal of the game on a dazzling midfield chip that somehow got past the Japanese goalkeeper.

Four goals in sixteen minutes.

Want a comparison?

The Ravens go up 28-0 in the first eight minutes of the season opener at Denver.

The Orioles score 9 runs in the first inning of tonight’s game at Minnesota.

Jordan Spieth owns a one-shot lead in the final round of this month’s British Open, then starts the day with six straight birdies to increase his lead to seven strokes.

That’s what four goals in sixteen minutes is like in soccer. It just never happens. But it did on Sunday night, as the Americans smothered the Japanese squad with relentless pressure and clinical finishing.

In traditional soccer post-game review fashion, here’s a United States player-by-player look at Sunday’s game and their equivalent grade based on their individual performance (Scale: 1 is the worst game of your life, 10 is the ultimate, perfect performance):

Hope Solo (7) – Probably could have positioned herself a little better on the first Japan goal, but she stood tall in the 2nd half when things started to get a little dicey at 4-2. Batted away several dangerous crosses throughout the 90 minutes.

Becky Sauerbrunn (7) – Was at her best again on Sunday night and was the team’s best overall defensive player in the seven games of the World Cup. Always in the right spot, stays tight to her player, and just goes about her business with great consistency.

Julie Johnston (4) – Badly burned on the first goal of the game. Lost her player on the second goal and was inadvertently involved when the ball glanced off of her and into the net as she retreated. Not her best night, but overall in the tournament she was excellent.

Ali Krieger (6) – Nothing special, but no glaring mistakes, either. Smart player who knows her role and plays it well.

Meghan Klingenberg (6) – One of the more pleasant surprises in WC ’15, she was particularly effective against the skilled teams like Colombia and Japan. Held her own on Sunday night and got better as the game went on.

Lauren Holiday (6) – Gifted a glorious scoring opportunity in the 14th minute and finished it with grace, drilling a first-time volley into the net from twelve yards out. Lost the ball a handful of times in the second half when Japan applied some pressure, but overall she was very good again.

Morgan Brian (6) – Steady throughout the night and did a nice a job of creating turnovers in the first half when the U.S. went into overwhelm mode early on.

Megan Rapinoe (5) – Didn’t offer much and was subbed mid-way through the 2nd half. After a strong start in the opener vs. Australia, she lost her way little by little and didn’t seem like herself in the Germany or Japan games.

Tobin Heath (7) – Terrific on the ball, as always, and scored a critical goal to make it 5-2 after the Japanese had cut into the four-goal U.S. lead in the second half. One of the team’s most improved players throughout the tournament.

Alex Morgan (6) – Had one decent chance in the second half, but other than that it was a quiet final for her. Had an outstanding tournament overall, though, creating havoc with her speed and power.

Carli Lloyd (9) – Scored three goals—and honestly could have had five if she would have connected on two additional first-half chances. A clinical finish on the first goal, great work in traffic on the second, and a sublime chip from midfield on the third that gave her three tallies in sixteen minutes. She was a warrior in all seven games and justifiably earned tournament MVP honors.


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pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis; Bishop of Rome and Sovereign of the Vatican City; Pope of the Catholic Church

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, Maryland.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, and bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket-sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.






In case you didn’t get to check-in to Drew’s Morning Dish yesterday, you’re seeing some changes in the “look” of the website today.

Nothing fancy or earth-shattering, per-se, but there are some parts of the site that are still in transition; one of those parts is the “Comments” section, which hasn’t yet been submitted by our developer for inclusion in the new format we’re using.

So, if you read something here today and you’d like to comment on it, simply send me an e-mail and I’ll post it on the site at the very bottom. I value your opinions and insight, and most certainly welcome your comments on a daily basis. If you’d like to comment on today’s #DMD, e-mail me (18inarow at gmail dot com).



Sunday
July 5, 2015

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#DMD Volume XII
Issue 5

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paint over the confederate flag, but don't expect that to fix things

Bubba Watson, last week’s winner on the PGA Tour, planted himself firmly in the news again this past Wednesday, but it had nothing at all to do with his ability to hit a golf ball 340 yards off the tee.

Watson, in some sort of charity auction a few years back, bought the car—called General Lee—that was used in the 1970’s TV show, “Dukes of Hazzard.” The vehicle featured a confederate flag on its roof, an obvious link to the show’s southern heritage.

the General Lee

On Wednesday, Watson told reporters at The Greenbrier, site of this week’s PGA Tour event, that he was removing the flag from the vehicle’s top in response to the overwhelming scrutiny the flag has received after the Charleston church shootings three weeks ago.

I don’t own a confederate flag. In fact, I’m not 100% sure I have an American flag in my house, although I vaguely remember seeing one last spring when I was looking for some Easter baskets in a downstairs closet. I’m an American, though, and certainly proud of my country’s heritage and I also understand what the red, white and blue flag represents.

I don’t really know what the confederate flag represents these days, but I know what it represented during the Civil War times. It was the flag THEY flew in support of their efforts to break away from the union. Many have linked it to racism, slavery, etc. and contend that those days in the south were connected to the confederate flag, thus, any display of that flag now is loosely saying, “Those days were OK with me.”

Watson says he’s painting over the Confederate flag because “all men ARE created equal.” (A funny thing for a guy to say who hits a golf ball 340 yards when most humans are lucky to hit it 240.)

I don’t begrudge Bubba Watson for painting over the Confederate flag. He picked a good time to do it, since so much has been made of it over the last three weeks. I wonder, though: Why, all the sudden, did the flag concern him? Because it’s in the news? Because he has corporate sponsors to worry about? Because he doesn’t need the social media grief?

It didn’t concern Watson that General Lee had the confederate flag on its roof back in 2012 when he purchased the vehicle. Heck, Watson was born in 1978. He wasn’t even a TV viewer when Dukes of Hazzard was making its run. Sure, he’s likely seen re-runs and all, but the point, really, is the car is a car is a car. It just happens to have a flag painted on the roof. I wonder…if the car would have been about a German family trying to make their way in America and their car had a swastika on the hood, would Watson have purchased vehicle and done so proudly?

The real truth is this: The confederate flag has been a symbol of the South for a long, long time. It’s drawn more attention in the last three weeks than it did over the last 100 years, that’s for sure. This time last month, if you would have walked up to someone at 39th and 8th Avenue in New York City and asked them, “What does the Confederate Flag stand for?” maybe 1.5% of those asked would have provided something close to a semi-intelligent answer. I’d say, in fact, even given the circumstances of the last three weeks, if you asked that question TODAY, nearly everyone would say, “Not sure what it really stands for, but I know it’s not good.”

Bubba Watson can take the confederate flag off the roof of a car and if he thinks he’s “doing his part,” that’s fine. In reality, he’s probably getting in ahead of the game, bowing to the pressure applied to him by corporate partners who have a Board of Directors to answer to and $750,000 beach houses on Long Island to protect.

We tend to over-react in this country. That’s what 80% of the nightly newscasts on TV specialize in, actually. We shouldn’t over-react to clothes, music, tweets and pictures, but we do. What we SHOULD over-react to is how a guy walks into a church and opens fire on innocent people, killing nine of them. A flag didn’t teach him to shoot people; a lack of upbringing and reasonable common sense—along with friends who were concerned about the killer’s instability—contributed to that kid shooting those people. His world was clearly filled with hate. I refuse to use his name, but that young man has no idea about slavery, the civil war, why the South and North fought, etc.

He’s just a kid who shot a bunch of innocent African-Americans in a church because he thought they were contributing to the downfall of the country. How ironic, right? People with guns who take away the privilege of life are the ones actually contributing to the downfall of the country. Lack of parenting—lack of teaching—lack of paying attention to someone when they’re acting irrationally…those things are contributing to the development of people who are directly involved in the daily downfall of our nation.

It has nothing at all to do with a flag.

That flag has been flying for as long as I’ve been alive and three weeks ago was the first time someone ever went into a church and opened fire on innocent people. If you want to take it down, that’s fine by me, too. But don’t think taking it down or painting over the hood of a car owned by a professional golfer is going to solve the issues.


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suddenly, the white sox can't lose and the orioles can't win

OK, so Saturday’s 3-2 loss in Chicago was a really weird baseball game.

In no particular order, here are the notes and the philosophies that played out almost perfectly.

First, the Orioles had four hits in the game. That’s one more than they managed on Thursday vs. Texas and one fewer than on Friday night at Chicago. When you get four hits in a game, you should lose. Every time. In fact, the O’s didn’t even get a hit in the game until two outs in the 6th inning. I’ll admit it: I kind of thought they had the look of a team that was going to get no-hit until Ryan Flaherty broke up Jeff Samardzija’s no-no bid.

Jeff Samardzija

Chris Tillman wasn’t very good on Saturday…but that’s how he throws on the road this season, having allowed 68 base runners in 44 innings of work. He gave up 10 hits over 4.2 innings on Saturday but was somewhat rescued—or more than somewhat, I guess—by the fact that Chicago went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring through the first five innings. Tillman departed with a 2-0 deficit on his hands and in came Bud Norris, making his bullpen debut in 2015 after losing out to Kevin Gausman in the latest edition of “He who pitches better gets to make the next start.”

Norris was nothing short of superb, working 2.2 innings and keeping the Birds in the game long enough for Manny Machado to tie things up with an 8th inning home run. Somehow, though, Norris wound up the loser, mostly because he walked the leadoff man in the bottom half of the 8th and the White Sox successfully used a sacrifice bunt to help them score the eventual game-winning run. Darren O’Day actually threw the pitch that turned into the White Sox third run, but baseball being goofy and all, Norris gets the loss and O’Day goes out for a beer with him tonight and says, “Sorry about that, dude.”

In the top of the 9th, Chris Davis came up with one out and hit the game-tying home run, except it didn’t actually land on the other side of the right field fence. Avisail Garcia reached over the wall and snared the Davis home run for the inning’s second out, leaving it up to Matt Wieters to play the role of hero. Wieters, perhaps, could have been the hero had he taken the bat off of his shoulder. Strike three came, and so did the O’s 5th loss in their last six outings.

The Orioles had no business being in the game on Saturday. But, because it’s baseball, they were. In the end, though, they got the result they deserved—a loss—and dropped to 42-39 on the season.

TODAY’S MATCH UP:

Orioles (Gonzales) at White Sox (Rodon), 2:10 pm EDT




orioles mid-term grades

Yesterday at #DMD, we graded the Orioles field players at the halfway point of the 2015 season. Today, it’s the pitchers’ turn to get their report cards. In no particular order, here we go:

Chris Tillman (D) – It’s been an interesting last month or so for Tillman. He won four of five starts in June, but his ERA went up from 5.61 to 5.67. His season to date hasn’t been good, but a lot of that is connected to his inability to get the Toronto Blue Jays out. He’s allowed 18 earned runs in three outings vs. Toronto this season. Overall, it’s been ugly. His ERA is 5.57, his WHIP is 1.567 and hitters are clipping him for a .287 average.

Miguel Gonzalez (C+) – His 4.04 ERA doesn’t show just how decent his season has been to date. He’s 6-5, with 1.230 WHIP, and batters are averaging .239 against him. The negative? In four starts in June, he only made it to the 7th inning once and has reached that point just one time in his last six starts overall. He tends to tax the bullpen when he starts a game.

Ubaldo Jimenez (B+) – Has gone from totally geek to totally chic in twelve months, now establishing himself as the team’s best starting pitcher after looking like a guy who could get DFA’d this time last year. He’s 7-4 on the year, with a 2.96 ERA and a 1.230 WHIP. His strike-out-to-walk-ratio is superb (93 K/29 BB) and he’s surrendered just 8 home runs thus far in 2015.

Wei-Yin Chen (B+) – He’s making a strong case for himself this winter when he becomes a free-agent for the first time. Is 4-4 on the year with a 2.84 ERA and his WHIP (1.113) is the best among O’s starters. Had some early-season difficulties reaching the 7th inning, but that’s not been an issue over the last month or so.

Bud Norris (D) – Like Tillman, he’s mostly been a liability in 2015, finally getting moved to the bullpen this past week in favor of Kevin Gausman. Was 2-7 as a starter, then suffered the loss on 7/4 at Chicago. His ERA is 6.63 and his WHIP is just as bad at 1.566. Hitters are feasting on him to the tune of hitting .300 when Norris is on the mound. Only has 42 strikeouts in 12 games in 2015 and has allowed 11 home runs in that span. Maybe the bullpen is the answer for him?

Darren O’Day (A) – His hiccup on 7/4 in the loss at Chicago shouldn’t diminish what he’s done thus far in 2015. Has a .829 WHIP and a 1.14 ERA to go with a 5-0 record. If the Orioles get the ball to him in the 8th inning with the lead, the game is pretty much a done deal.

Zach Britton (A+) – Sure, he’s “just” the closer, but Britton has done his job better than anyone else on the team has done theirs thus far in 2015. Has a 1.82 ERA and a 1.012 WHIP to go with his 23 saves. 41 strike-outs and just 7 walks in 34 appearances in ’15.

Brad Brach (B) – He’s experienced a few bad outings, but for the most part Brach has been a pleasant surprise thus far. Has a 3.35 ERA with a 1.093 WHIP.

Tommy Hunter (B-) – Nothing special, but he’s generally been reliable after those early April woes where he was on the bad end of a couple of heartbreaking losses. Prone to the home run ball before this season, but thus far in 2015, he’s surrendered only two dingers. The wildness we’ve seen in the past is gone, too. Only five walks in 34 innings. His 3.93 ERA is a little high, but for the most part, Hunter’s been decent in 2015.


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chestnut eats 60 hot dogs—and loses

In yesterday’s edition of #DMD, I loosely predicted some guy would eat 60 hot dogs in ten minutes in Saturday's annual 4th of July contest on Coney Island.

I was wrong.

TWO guys ate 60 hot dogs in ten minutes. And one of them—eight-time defending champion Joey Chestnut—actually LOST. Chestnut was unseated by Matt Stonie, a 23-year old kid who weighed in at 125 pounds, compared to Chestnut’s 230 pounds. Stonie took the lead at the four minute mark of the 10-minute eating contest and held on from there, building a two hot dog lead and maintaining that until the horn sounded, where he finished with 62 in his stomach to Chestnut’s 60.

Matt Stonie eating

Yes, they have to eat the buns, too.

No, they’re not allowed to, ummm, you know, “get rid of” anything during the 10-minute contest, which also includes the period of time afterwards when they are still chewing. Once your mouth is empty (and the contest has ended), you can retreat to a quiet place to take care of whatever business you need to handle.

Yes, they also put liquid in their bodies during the ten minutes. Hot dogs, buns, lemonade—just like a picnic in your backyard, except they eat as much in ten minutes as your entire 12-person party eats in two hours.

Ready for this? The guy who finished in 3rd place ate 35 hot dogs. He lost by 27 hot dogs.

Stonie also ate 153 buffalo wings in 12 minutes last year—just in case you were thinking maybe his win over Chestnut was a fluke.





women's world cup final sends usa  against japan

Tonight’s Women’s World Cup final between the USA and Japan (7 pm, FOX) features two teams who are very familiar with each other. Their styles contrast, their players of power are different and by and large they’ve taken much different paths to reach this evening’s final in Vancouver.

The Americans are one surrendered goal away from having a complete clean sheet in their six games thus far. They allowed Australia to score in their opening match of Group D play, then blanked Sweden, Nigeria, Colombia, China and Germany to reach the championship game. In the knockout round(s), Japan edged the Netherlands and Australia to reach the semi-finals, then needed a bizarre own goal off the foot of an English player to knock off England in overtime last Wednesday night.

Tonight’s game is a rematch of the 2011 Final, won by Japan in penalty kicks, and marks the final World Cup game of Abby Wambach’s illustrious career. She may not see the field—unless the U.S. needs her as an 80th minute sub—but her mere presence in the locker room serves as the American team’s most significant rallying cry tonight.

The Japanese team is one of the most skilled sides in the tournament. They love to pass the ball, love to create odd-side, change-of-pace rushes, and will shoot from anwyere in and around the 18-yard penalty area. They’re dangerous going forward—more so than the U.S.—but not nearly as consolidated and well-tuned defensively as the Americans.

Alex Morgan

The U.S. team will have an advantage in two key areas tonight: athleticism and speed. While they might not be quite as technically sound on the ball as the girls from Japan, the likes of Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd will simply get the ball, look up, and start to goal. Once they build a head of steam, sometimes the only way to stop their progress is by fouling them, which is precisely how the U.S. earned their penalty kick against the Germans on Tuesday night in the 2-0 semi-final win. Lloyd, in particular, has really found her form of late. If coach Jill Ellis goes with Tobin Heath at one of the midfield slots, she could also create some problems for the Japanese defenders. She’s better on the ball than anyone in a USA jersey.

Naturally, the game will likely come down to the American’s defense and the play of goalkeeper Hope Solo, who was outstanding in the first half against Germany and has allowed just that one goal in the opening game vs. Australia. Defenders Jill Johnston, Becky Sauerbrunn and Meghan Klingenberg have been nothing short of superb in the six games thus far, but they'll have their hands full tonight with the sneaky, deft-touch style of the Japanese forwards.

Prediction – I think the Japanese score a goal to end the great defensive run of the Americans, but I’m calling it a 2-1 USA triumph—in overtime—on goals from Alex Morgan and Christen Press, who comes on as a sub and gets the game-winner.


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pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, Maryland.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, and bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket-sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.




In case you didn’t get to check-in to Drew’s Morning Dish yesterday, you’re seeing some changes in the “look” of the website today.

Nothing fancy or earth-shattering, per-se, but there are some parts of the site that are still in transition; one of those parts is the “Comments” section, which hasn’t yet been submitted by our developer for inclusion in the new format we’re using.

So, if you read something here today and you’d like to comment on it, simply send me an e-mail and I’ll post it on the site at the very bottom. I value your opinions and insight, and most certainly welcome your comments on a daily basis. If you’d like to comment on today’s #DMD, e-mail me (18inarow at gmail dot com).



Saturday
July 4, 2015

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#DMD Volume XII
Issue 4

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ever eat 10 hot dogs in 60 minutes?

It’s a trick question, sort of, but answer it anyway: Do you ever recall eating ten hot dogs in sixty minutes? My guess is nearly everyone reading this who answered the question said, “heck no.”

Ten hot dogs in one hour is A LOT of food, no matter what size the hot dog. Could you eat three or four in one hour? Sure. Have you? Probably.

Chestnut eating hot dogs

Today on Coney Island in New York City, Joey Chestnut or some other nut job is likely going to eat—wait for it—SIXTY hot dogs in TEN minutes.

And you thought ten hot dogs in sixty minutes was stuffing yourself?

At today’s annual July 4th hot dog eating contest, Chestnut will look to win the title for the 9th straight year and, in the meantime, chase his own world record of 63 hot dogs consumed in ten minutes back in 2013.

The fun begins on ESPN2 at 12 noon, with the eating contest itself starting right around 12:30 pm. It’s must-watch TV, I’m telling you. They introduce the eating contest participants like they’re professional wrestlers and the combatants come out with poses, finger pointing, etc. They then take their place in front of a tray of hot dogs and try to eat as many as they can in ten minutes.

Ready for a reality check?

Someone will eat 45 hot dogs in ten minutes today and be a laughingstock in the contest. 45 hot dogs in ten minutes is like finishing 21st in the Kentucky Derby. You were in the race, but not really capable of competing.

I watch the contest every 4th of July. It’s become a staple of my holiday, seeing just how many hot dogs these maniacs can consume in the same amount of time it takes you and I to eat a bowl of cereal at breakfast.

I marvel at it every single year.

60 hot dogs in ten minutes.

And that includes the bun, in case you were wondering.

Try eating ten hot dogs in sixty minutes one of these days. And then remember the likes of Chestnut eat SIXTY in TEN minutes.

And live to tell about it.


In case you didn’t get to check-in to Drew’s Morning Dish yesterday, you’re seeing some changes in the “look” of the website today.

Nothing fancy or earth-shattering, per-se, but there are some parts of the site that are still in transition; one of those parts is the “Comments” section, which hasn’t yet been submitted by our developer for inclusion in the new format we’re using.

So, if you read something here today and you’d like to comment on it, simply send me an e-mail and I’ll post it on the site at the very bottom. I value your opinions and insight, and most certainly welcome your comments on a daily basis. If you’d like to comment on today’s #DMD, e-mail me (18inarow at gmail dot com).

Happy July 4th to you and your family! Stay safe, please!!!

Please enjoy one of our national treasures on this holiday:


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five hits won't do it either,
O's lose 1–0 in chicago

Thursday night in Baltimore, the Birds managed just three hits in a 2-0 loss to the Rangers. Couldn’t get much worse than that, right? Well, it stayed at that level on Friday evening in Chicago, as the O’s collected a whopping total of five hits in a 1-0 defeat to John Danks and the White Sox.

The loss was no fault of starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who went 7 innings and allowed just six hits on the night. His only blemish was a 3rd inning home run by Chicago’s Jose Abreu that turned out to be the game’s only run. Jimenez struck out four, walked two and lowered his ERA to an impressive 2.96. This time last year, the Orioles were looking to Nancy Kerrigan the guy in a dark hallway at Camden Yards – now Jimenez is the team’s most stable, consistent starting pitcher.

John Danks

The Birds had a great chance to tie or even go ahead in the 7th inning when they had runners at 2nd and 3rd with only one out, but Danks struck out Caleb Joseph and got Ryan Flaherty to fly out to left field to snuff out the rally and keep the Birds off the scoreboard.

The O’s went quietly in the 9th, as White Sox closer David Robertson came in and blew away Davis, Wieters and Hardy on just twelve pitches, striking out all three of them to record his 17th save of the season.

Three Notes: Adam Jones might as well not play when John Danks is on the mound. Going 0-for-3 last night vs. Danks, Jones is now 1-for-33 against him in his career. Matt Wieters went 0-for-4 on Friday night and is now 4-for-32 in his last nine games. Jimenez threw a first pitch strike to 20 of the 28 batters he faced last night.

TODAY’S MATCH UP:

Orioles (Chris Tillman) at White Sox (Jeff Samardzija), 2:10 pm EDT


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orioles mid-term grades

Today’s game in Chicago marks the official halfway point of the Orioles 2015 season. Let’s hand out some report cards, shall we? We’ll grade the field players today and the pitchers in tomorrow’s edition of #DMD. Keep in mind the stats aren’t exactly up-to-date. I’m doing this report card in the 3rd inning of Friday’s game in Chicago, for example, so most of the statistics are through Thursday’s game vs. the Rangers.

Chris Davis (B-) – Has his average up to .235 and the power (18 HR’s) is there, but he’s still a strike-out-waiting-to-happen. In fairness, though, he’s been much better overall since Memorial Day. The Orioles have a very interesting decision to make with him at the end of July.

Ryan Flaherty (C) – He’s done an admirable job filling in for Jonathan Schoop, but the stats don’t lie; he’s just a grinder who occasionally makes a contribution. His versatility keeps him employed.

J.J. Hardy (C+) – The batting average is up (.246) but the woeful .275 on-base-percentage can’t be ignored. Still flashes a terrific glove at shortstop, even if his range is starting to suffer a tad. Nothing special thus far, but he’s only 50 games into his season after missing the first month.

Manny Machado (A) – Didn’t have the greatest of starts, both with the bat and the glove, but he’s been on fire over the last 30 games and is now firmly entrenched as the team’s leadoff hitter (.302 average). Will establish career-high totals in HR’s and walks in 2015. Hasn’t missed a game yet, proving to any doubters that he’s fully recovered from his second knee surgery in as many years in 2014.

Steve Pearce (D) – Just isn’t getting any better and could be a candidate for a DFA at some point in July if things don’t improve. Hitting .216 with a .284 on-base-percentage, but it’s the lack of power (only 6 HR’s) that’s really hurting him.

Adam Jones (B) – Has tailed off considerably since the end of May and continues to battle a shoulder injury that shelved him for nearly a dozen games late last month. His power numbers are down big-time, with only 10 home runs at the halfway point. After spending most of April and May hitting in the .350 range, he’s down to .289 now.

Travis Snider (C-) – On-again, off-again, but mostly off. The average (.264) isn’t bad, but the home run total (3) is concerning for a guy who had 13 dingers last year in Pittsburgh.

Jimmy Paredes (A) – Had a rough patch in early June, but still leads the club in hitting (.315) and already has ten home runs on the season. It’s probably fair to say if the tying run was at 3rd base with two outs in the 9th inning, you’d want him at the plate over anyone else on the roster. If only he had a glove that worked.

Caleb Joseph (B-) – Still seeing regular duty with Wieters not yet back “full-time” in the catching spot, and continues to contribute occasionally with the bat. Hitting .240 with five home runs on the season. Not an automatic out, but the team is better offensively when Wieters is in the lineup over him.

Chris Parmelee (B-) – A June call-up that might have been a pre-cursor to a Chris Davis deadline deal. Not bad with the bat, but the glove could use some work down at first base. Showed some power right after his arrival from Norfolk, with three home runs in his first two outings, but he’s cooled off – power wise – since then. Too many strike-outs (15) vs. walks (3), which hurts the on-base-percentage (.316).

Matt Wieters (B-) – Gets a decent grade mainly because the team starting winning like wildfire when he returned on June 5, but the stats have been “just OK” for the most part. Average (.242) is a little below what he’s capable of and the OBP (.269) is pretty dismal, honestly. Only three home runs since his return a month ago.

David Lough (C) – Keeps on keeping on, as the saying goes. Just when you think his time might be up, he has a good night or two at the plate or dives around and makes a couple of solid plays in the field, like he did in the Rangers series. He is what he is with the bat – a .216 hitter who can’t do much more than that – but his glove and speed keep him employed. If he’s your 25th guy, you can make use out of him.


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pga tour: tiger makes the weekend

Tiger Woods is one good round of golf away from having a chance to do something he hasn’t done since 2013. He might actually have a chance to win a golf tournament this weekend at The Greenbrier.

Woods, who posted a season-best 66 on Thursday, turned in a so-so round of 69 (one-under par) on Friday, but is well positioned for the weekend and has a legitimate chance to be in contention come Sunday afternoon. Tiger hasn’t been in position to be a weekend threat all year—and no, we’re not counting The Masters where Woods said he was in contention on Saturday despite being behind by 11 shots—so one has to wonder how he’d handle his business on Sunday if enters the final round with a chance to win his 80th career tournament.

Tiger Woods

It’s a no-name-leaderboard in West Virginia, as a host of players you’ve never heard of are all battling for the top spot. Jhonattan Vegas and Scott Langley share the lead at 9-under par, followed by Chad Collins, Danny Lee, Bryce Molder and Kevin Chappell, all one one-back at minus eight.

Two recent college golfing studs looking for their first PGA Tour win are within shouting distance, as Patrick Rodgers (-7) and Justin Thomas (-6) both need a solid Saturday round to put themselves in position to win on Sunday.

Woods drove the ball all over the map on Friday, but his iron game was sharp, as he hit 14 of 18 greens and made four birdies to give him eleven overall in the first 36 holes of the event. One of his Friday bogeys came on a 12-handicap flubbed chip around the green and his inability to put the ball in the fairway seems more and more like something that’s here to stay, but the putter made up for it again on Friday, much like it did in Thursday’s opening round.

It’s good to see Tiger’s name on the leaderboard again, even if it’s just a piddly little early July tournament that most of the really good players avoid.

Among those heading home after two rounds include Bill Haas (even par), pre-tournament favorite Webb Simpson (+3) and former Greenbrier champion Angel Cabrera (+3).


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pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, Maryland.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, and bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket-sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.


Friday
July 3, 2015

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#DMD Volume XII
Issue 3

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twenty years ago today baltimore lost a sports legend

Our city has had a wide range of true sporting heroes, from Brooks, Palmer and Eddie to Unitas and Matte…to more current names like Ripken, Lewis and Flacco.

Those, of course, were/are on-field contributors. The list goes on and on.

Off the field, though, perhaps no one in this town ever personified Baltimore like Charles Markwood Eckman (September 10, 1921–July 3, 1995).

Charlie Eckman

Today is the 20th anniversary of Charley’s passing. For those that never knew him, it’s hard to describe EXACTLY what Chas was, once his days as coach and referee in the NBA came to an end. He was a sportscaster, yes. You could also reference him as a “sports entertainer,” I guess. Eckman was an over-the-top, occasionally obscene, tell-it-like-it-is kind of guy who loved Baltimore, warts and all.

I first met Eckman when I was nine years old. His nephew played on the same Little League team as I did in Glen Burnie. I vividly recall Eckman blasting our manager (we were the Dodgers) after a one-run loss, collecting his nephew at the dugout and barking at the manager, “If you don’t know baseball, let’s get someone in there who does! You gotta hit-and-run there in that last inning, Skip.”

I would go on to shovel Charley’s walk in the winter (he was notorious for telling us he’d give us twenty bucks, then hand us ten when it was all done and chase us off), listen to him on the radio, then eventually earn the privilege (and that’s what it was) of traveling around the country with him for seven years when he was the Blast’s radio color commentator and I was the nerdy, 20-something PR assistant.

One of the most memorable “lessons” he ever gave me involving sports came one night over dinner in Pittsburgh when we were there to play the Spirit. Eckman was at the table, along with Blast head coach Kenny Cooper, and he said to me, “Soccer will never make it big in this country until people gamble on it. Once they start placing bets on soccer, it has officially arrived. Any sport in this country worth following has to have gambling attached to it.”

There was also a night in a Cleveland restaurant called the Richfield Tavern that I remember quite well because I think it was the first time I ever spit out a drink while laughing. The waitress came by to take our order. She introduced herself and went into her routine about the specials for the night. Her first menu item was fish and it went something like this:

“First, we have an outstanding salmon tonight, drizzled with a delectable asparagus and corn sauce. There are also a few pieces of seabass back there that we —" She never got to finish.

Charley grabbed her arm and said, “Sweetie, I don’t give a s**t about that fish, I’m a grown man. Bring me an end cut of prime rib, medium well, please. And another scotch.”

Charley passed away on July 3, 1995. His service at the church next to the Harundale Library in Glen Burnie was on overflow that day. I’m not kidding when I say I think close to 1,000 people were there. It was a great tribute for a man who meant so much to so many, both in Anne Arundel County and Baltimore.


As you know if you’re a regular visitor here at #DMD, we’ve made a couple of small cosmetic changes to the site this morning. I brought this up earlier in the week when I mentioned we were working on a new format that would better serve ALL electronic devices that our readers use on a daily basis.

According to our site’s traffic data, 29% of #DMD readers in 2015 have come from mobile phones. That’s three out of ten visitors. The old platform, unfortunately, did not allow for our corporate partners’ ads to be seen in their entirety on the right side of the page when being viewed on a mobile phone.

That changes today.

Now, with our new platform in place, every ad on our website can be viewed on all devices, whether it’s your laptop, PC, tablet or mobile phone. And the content will also flow better, with less break-up based on what size screen you’re using. In short, the new #DMD you’re seeing today, while cosmetically not much different than what you’ve been seeing over the last few months, has a lot more technical capabilities for us and our advertisers.

There are a couple of temporary hiccups we’re working hard to fix and by this time next week, we should be in full operation mode. For the time being, the “Comments” section is not available. However, if you’d like to comment on today’s entry (or any entry until “Comments” is working), just send me an e-mail (18inarow at gmail dot com) and I will manually place your comment(s) at the bottom of the piece. I value your input and do not want to see the comments come to a halt while our software folks complete the new work, so just e-mail me your comment and I’ll put it up there for you.

Additionally, we’re now integrating our podcasting software with the new platform we’re using and it will be a couple of days until that’s perfected and our editing skills are “professional” enough to launch a new podcast.

I’ve repeatedly mentioned that Drew’s Morning Dish is a work in progress. We’re doing our best to make it easy to read, easy to navigate and easily connective to our corporate partners who use the site to reach you, the potential consumer. Some of that progress is disguised as “trial and error.” We’ve tried some things that either didn’t work (in our opinion) or weren’t all that appealing, visually, and we’ve leaned on an expert or two to give us their professional opinion on what we need to do to make the website “good, better, best.”

Again, if you have a general contribution/comment about today’s content, just e-mail me the comment directly and it will go up on the site. If you have an opinion that you don’t want made public, just note that in the e-mail and it will remain private between you and me.

Please take a minute today to look over our corporate partners and give them consideration the next time your needs interface with what they have to offer. These are all local companies who have a solid reputation in Baltimore and Maryland, and we’re very fortunate to have them aligned with Drew’s Morning Dish. I know each and every one of them,…personally. If you get the chance to patronize them, please make sure you mention you’re a #DMD follower.

Have a safe, relaxing and enjoyable July 4th weekend!


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orioles and eddie money
– only three hits –

OK, so if you count the song “Shakin,” maybe Eddie Money had four hits. That’s a worthy debate. Two Tickets To Paradise, Baby Hold On and Take Me Home Tonight were winners, though.

What isn’t up for debate is this: The Orioles had three lousy hits on Thursday night and the usually reliable bullpen was betrayed by a 9th inning meltdown, as the Texas Rangers won 2-0 at Camden Yards to claim three of four games in this week’s series. The loss spoiled an otherwise outstanding night on the mound from Kevin Gausman, who worked 6.1 innings, allowed four hits and no earned runs, while striking out seven and walking two. He did more than enough to be on the good end of things last night, but the Baltimore bats—much like Eddie Money’s career—just sort of fizzled when more was needed.

In case you’re dying to know, Manny Machado and David Lough (with two) were the only O’s with base hits on Thursday night. Everyone else took the collar, including Chris Davis, who struck out with the bases loaded in the 3rd inning and got picked off in the 6th after drawing a two-out walk.

A good eye at the plate and a risky sacrifice in the 9th inning led to both Texas runs, as the Rangers used a walk and a bunt to move the go-ahead run to second base with one out. A Leonys Martin single plated the first run and moments later the insurance tally was added. The Birds went quietly in order in the ninth to lose a home series for the first time since May 29-31 vs. Tampa Bay.

Three notes: Manny Machado made his 12th error of the season in last night’s game. Rangers starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo gave up two hits in six innings of work on Thursday night and extended his shutout streak to 29.1 innings, the longest streak in the majors this season. The Orioles optioned relief pitcher Tyler Wilson back to Norfolk before the game to make room for Gausman.

TONIGHT’S MATCH UP:

Orioles (Jimenez) at White Sox (Danks), 8:05 pm EDT


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tiger in the hunt?

Could it be? A Tiger sighting? Amidst the wild rumors that Woods was doing some night-putting with the then-wife of fellow PGA Tour player Jason Dufner earlier this year, Tiger fashioned his best round of 2015 on Thursday at the Greenbrier, shooting 4-under 66 to trail first-round leader Scott Langley by four shots after round one.

First, the juicy stuff. Woods—through his agent—“flatly denies” the rumors that his romance with Lindsey Vonn was terminated when the skiing champion learned that Tiger and Amanda Dufner were doing more than reading Hogan’s “Five Fundamentals” book together. For the record, if my opinion matters (which, it doesn’t), I believe Woods. Wait, what am I saying? I do, though. I really do. I’m not sure why, but I don’t think Tiger would shack up with another Tour pro’s wife.

Now, the golf. After a horrendous 48 hours at the U.S. Open two weeks ago, Woods made seven birdies at the Greenbrier on Thursday. Yes, it’s a par 70. Yes, by TOUR standards, it’s an easy course. Yes, four under is basically a “good” score there, nothing more. But this was walking-on-the-moon steps for Tiger on Thursday, as he showed flashes of someone who actually knew what he was doing.

Scot Langley

Langley leads by one shot over another guy—like Woods—who hasn’t done much over the last two years, Jonathan Byrd, and an Australian, Danny Lee.

My three picks from Wednesday all broke par on Thursday in round one, but they’ll need to duplicate those scores today if they want to play the weekend. Patrick Reed (-2), Pat Perez (-3), and Kevin Kisner (-3) all still have a chance at being there on Sunday, but they’ll need two rounds in the mid-60's to get there.


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caps make a splash

Two moves in two days and two solid additions for the Washington Capitals as the summer free-for-all begins in the National Hockey League. On Wednesday, the Caps signed free agent right-wing Justin Williams, a three-time champion (once with Carolina and twice with L.A.) and a guy who knows how to turn up the heat in April and May, which has always been a problem for the hockey team in D.C. Ready for this stat? In his career, Justin Williams is 7-0 when playing in a Game 7. And he has SEVEN goals in those win-or-go-home games. Read that again: The dude has never played in a Game 7 and gone home a loser that night. The Caps, of course, couldn’t win a Game 7 if Jose Feliciano was the opposing goalie. This isn’t a reach by the Capitals. Williams is a nice addition and a perfect fit for what they sorely lack in Washington—a guy who knows how to win.

T J Oshie

The big news came on Thursday, though, when the Capitals shipped Troy Brouwer and a few other not-yet-established pieces to the St. Louis Blues for right wing T.J. Oshie, who had 19 goals and 36 assists in 72 games last season. Oshie is best known for scoring four shootout goals for the U.S. in last winter’s Olympic thriller vs. Russia. Brouwer is a gritty player who served Washington well in his four years there, but his skill-set has diminished with each passing year. Once a good finisher with a nose for the goal, he’s morphed into more of a Johnny-on-the-spot guy who gets the odd goal now and again but whose bark is worse than his bite. Oshie, meanwhile, has been a productive regular-season player, but like many of his now-former-St. Louis-teammates, has lost his way in the playoffs.

For a team starving for more offensive consistency, these two moves should bolster Washington’s front-line in 2015–16. Yes, they’re thin at the blue line right now, but when you have the chance to get players like Justin Williams and T.J. Oshie, you do it —and worry about getting defensive players tomorrow.


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pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, Maryland.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, and bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket-sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.


COMMENTS

From Dave: "Drew, do you think Tiger's play (good or bad) is directly related to how much his head moves?"

DF: "I assume you mean by how much it moves up and down, since he's never really had much lateral movement to his head but for years he had that famous "dip" in his downswing. Most of the teachers who believe in the "use the ground" theory (like Foley and his current teacher, Como) say your head should go down with your body on the downswing and then explode up with your body as you move into the ball. I guess that's a short way of saying I don't think his head movement has much to do with his poor play of 2015. I've said for a while that I think his golf swing has just become more and more flat over the years and that puts a lot of pressure on him to square his clubface with his hands at impact. If that timing is off, so is his contact."


Thursday
July 2, 2015

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#DMD Volume XII
Issue 2

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hey j.j. hardy – please stay just the way you are

While I was in New York on Wednesday night seeing Billy Joel perform his record-breaking 65th concert at Madison Square Garden, the Birds were doing some entertaining of their own in Baltimore, scratching out a 4-2 win over the Rangers to enjoy the taste of victory for the first time this week.

For those ardent Orioles fans in town, keeping the faith—even after a modest two-game losing streak—is always important. Baseball being what it is, clubs can win 7 of 10 or lose 7 of 10 in a heartbeat. So, while last night’s game with Texas wasn’t a must-win or anything of that sort, it was still important to get back in the win column after the Rangers won the first two games of the series. Remember what I’ve said often over the years: “The toughest thing to do in sports is to stop losing.” That’s not careless talk, either. I know sometimes I go to extremes opining about sports and games and players, but that theory I just gave you is true. It’s tough to stop losing. Don’t believe me? Just ask the Cleveland Browns. (Now, I know what you’re thinking: “You know, Drew, you may be right.…”)

That’s why last night’s 4-2 win over Texas was important. It gets the pressure off the Birds, for starters, and at least gives them a chance to split the series with a win tonight at Camden Yards. A loss last night and the Rangers could have pulled off the unthinkable this evening; sweep all four games in Bawl-mer.

I opined in yesterday’s edition of Drew’s Morning Dish that the Orioles were faced with some roster move decisions over the next month, and Wednesday was “DD-Day” (as in Delmon Departs) for the O’s own version of “The Angry Young Man” as Delmon Young was designated for assignment. Dan Duquette is confident he’ll be able to deal Young to someone…which, I think, means he’s going to do his best to keep Young out of either New York or Tampa Bay. If the Birds can’t deal him within ten days and Young winds up a free agent, don’t be shocked if the Yankees grab him as some insurance against left-handed pitching. Young had a brief cup of coffee with the Rays back in 2013, so they’ve been-there, done-that, but players often times make two or three return visits to a club—just ask Nolan Reimold.

Young’s departure leads me to believe the Orioles are starting to get that itchy feeling for Dariel Alvarez. He’s hitting .274 at Norfolk with 12 home runs and 40 RBI. Of concern though is a tepid .300 on-base-percentage that gets thrown out of whack by the fact he’s walked a grand total of six times thus far in 2015. My guess is it might be a tad too early for Alvarez, but then again, he could come up and be the Big Man on Mulberry Street for all I know.

Young’s departure shows just how fleeting success can be in the world of baseball. He was the hero of last October’s Game 2 thriller over the Tigers and his numbers this season weren’t horrible by any means — but, like Alvarez, his on-base-percentage was suffering at a lowly .289 because of four walks in 180 plate appearances. Couple that stat with the fact he had a miserable June (.200 batting average with one extra base hit in 55 AB’s), his power is gone (two home runs this season) and he’s almost no factor against right handed pitching…and you have an expendable player. And so it goes — one moment you’re the king of a huge playoff win, the next thing you know you’re sleeping with the television on, waiting for SportsCenter to tell you where you’re playing tomorrow.

There’s more to come, too. Kevin Gausman comes up from Norfolk today to make tonight’s start in the series finale with the Rangers, so someone has to get the flu or wake up with a swollen ankle this morning. That could be a relief pitcher or it could spell doom for Nolan Reimold. And, Jonathan Schoop will be eligible to return as early as this Friday, though the Birds could ask him to take five additional days of rehab. They could also option Schoop to Norfolk once his assignment is complete, but I doubt they do that. To me, the Schoop situation gets solved by dumping either Reimold or Steve Pearce. The O’s aren’t doing anything with Ryan Flaherty and Chris Parmelee has the look of someone who might fill in for Chris Davis at first base if the Birds decide to part company with him at the deadline. Pearce has simply lost his way in 2015, hitting just .217 with six home runs in 168 plate appearances. He’s versatile enough with the glove, but in order to stay with the big-league club, he needs to hit like he did in 2014. That’s not happening. He had 47 extra-base hits last season; this year, he has 12 — and it’s July 2. Maybe it’s just a matter of trust, but Pearce better get his bat working again, soon. In any case, once Schoop comes up, either Reimold or Pearce is movin’ out.


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chen stymies texas again

If the Orioles do decide to dangle Wei-Yin Chen at the trade deadline later this month, it might make sense for a Western Division team to take a look at him. Chen improved to 5-0 in his career against the Rangers with last night’s 4-2 win at Camden Yards, allowing four hits in eight innings of work while lowering his ERA to 2.84 on the season. J.J. Hardy played the role of the big shot on Wednesday night, hitting a 2-run home run in the 7th inning to put the Birds ahead for good. The Rangers hit two more home runs, giving them ten in the three games thus far this week, but they didn’t have a base runner in their final nine at-bats on Wednesday night. Zach Britton came on for the save and struck out all three Rangers in the 9th inning to help push Chen’s record to 4-4 on the season.

batter

Three Notes – Manny Machado saw his 12-game hitting streak come to an end on Wednesday night, but Chris Davis extended his season-best streak to 11 consecutive games with a hit. Chen and Britton faced a combined 32 batters on Wednesday evening and started those at-bats with a strike 23 times. Rangers RHP Yovani Gallardo (7-6, 2.72 ERA) brings a scoreless streak of 23.1 innings into tonight’s game. He was 2-0 with a 0.54 ERA in June.


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indians' carrasco loses no-hitter in the ninth

There was another near-miss no-no last night in the major leagues, as Cleveland’s Carlos Carrasco had his bid for a no-hitter snapped with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the 9th inning at Tampa Bay. Joey Butler lined a single to right on a 2-2 count, plating Tampa’s only run (they had two runners on via a walk and hit-by-pitch) in an 8-1 loss to the Indians. Carrasco was outstanding, striking out 13 on the night and improving his record to 10-6 on the year.



drake's music causes stir on pga tour

PGA Tour players, by and large, operate on a friendly basis with one another. They’re competitive with one another, obviously, but most of the time you’re more focused on beating the course, not your opponent (unless it’s match play).

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That all changed this week, evidently, when Will Wilcox and Brendan Steele got into a tiff over some music that Wilcox was playing through his phone while he practiced on the range during last week’s event in Cromwell, Connecticut.

When Wilcox—who was listening to Drake, by the way—arrived at The Greenbrier this past Monday, he was notified by the TOUR that a player had lodged a formal complaint about the music being played on the practice range. Wilcox learned it was Steele who ratted him out and then took to Twitter to hash things out.

Will Wilcox

Will Wilcox ✔@willwilcoxgolf
@Brendan_Steele hey dog sorry for upsetting u with that Drake on the range last week #whatisthismiddleschool
10:09 PM – 29 Jun 2015

Brendan Steele ✔@Brendan_Steele
@willwilcoxgolf no dog. It’s the @PGATOUR act accordingly
12:56 AM – 30 Jun 2015

Will Wilcox ‏@willwilcoxgolf Jun 30
@Brendan_Steele couldve asked me to turn it off an wouldve done so happily

Will Wilcox ✔@willwilcoxgolf
@Brendan_Steele was more referring to the tattle tale approach u took

Who knows what got Steele’s goat more; being called “dog” by Wilcox on Twitter, the “#whatisthismiddleschool” hashtag, or having the whole mess made public via social media. Either way, I don’t think those two will be playing in friendly Tuesday practice rounds together any time soon.

I think Drake stinks, by the way, so I probably would have just asked Wilcox to throw on a little Billy Joel. Or put headphones on. Perhaps I would have just gone down to the other end of the range and avoided the whole fiasco that way.


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pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, MD.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, plus bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.


Twitter logo We need MORE Twitter followers, please. We’re now heading in the direction of 3000 followers and we’d love to have you follow us: @itsahooded4iron

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If you need to contact me directly: 18inarow@gmail.com

Thanks for making “The Dish” part of your daily read!

Drew Signature

O's SCOREBOARD
Sunday, October 1st
Orioles
0

Rays
6
WP: B. Bell (5-7)

LP: K. Gausman (11-12)

HR: Casali (1)

RECORD/PLACE: 75-87, 5th place