Tuesday
December 15
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVII
Issue 15

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odds rightfully against rose ever getting back in the game

The Ravens caught a lucky break on Monday, perhaps for the first time this season.

Pete Rose wasn't so fortunate on Monday.

With last night's 31-24 win by the New York Giants in Miami, the Ravens-Steelers game in Baltimore on Sunday, December 27 will now be a 1:00 pm start and the Giants-Vikings tilt that same day will moved into the 8:30 prime-time slot.

That saved the Ravens from a predictable thrashing they're going to take at the hands of Big Ben and Company two games from now. If you think Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin terrorized the Baltimore secondary this past Sunday, just wait until you see what Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown do on December 27. Pittsburgh might hang a 50-spot on the Ravens that day -- and that's with Big Ben getting pulled midway through the fourth quarter because Mike Tomlin doesn't want to risk an injury to his future Hall of Famer. Alas, only the "regional audience" will see it now rather than the entire country.

I, for one, am relieved at the thought that the December 27 game has been "flexed" out of the prime time slot. I can remember with great fondness that playoff win in Pittsburgh last January and even this October's fluky win at Heinz Field, but a 55-17 pummeling on national television wouldn't be cool. I'd prefer the entire country not watch 30,000 Steelers fans in Baltimore reveling in a mammoth ass-kicking at our expense.

Pete Rose didn't get so lucky on Monday. The news he received was expected, but still news nonetheless. Rob Manfred, in the first marquee decision of his tenure as MLB Commissioner, refused to reinstate Rose, who was banned for life from baseball in 1989 for gambling on Major League games while he managed the Cincinnati Reds and played in the big leagues.

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There it is...in his own handwriting.

Rose tested the waters with Manfred after years of unsuccessfully appealing his case to then-Commissioner Bud Selig. The all-time hits leader was hoping to find a sympathetic ear in Manfred, who heard Rose's "case" earlier in the year and took several months to compile his own information coupled with what he heard from Rose himself. The verdict: Rose still doesn't "get it" even to this day. He continues to gamble on horse racing and baseball -- both legally, mind you -- despite previously telling the Commissioner's office he had distanced himself from gambling in an effort to prove he was worthy of reinstatement. Manfred's decision was simple and firm. The game of baseball doesn't need Pete Rose and Rose doesn't deserve the game of baseball to embrace him some 26 years after this mess started with his initial lifetime suspension.

Manfred made the right call on Monday. Baseball is healthier than ever before, as evidenced by the $206 million contract handed out to Zack Greinke two weeks ago and teams routinely spending upwards of $100 million or more on player salaries. TV money is pouring in at record rates and attendance continues to stay steady or rise in some cities. Baseball certainly doesn't need Pete Rose. It's doing just fine without him.

It's long been said that Rose broke baseball's golden rule. Anyone who has ever been near a locker room of a MLB team has seen "the sign" that hangs near every entrance in every stadium. It's all there, every day, in plain view. You simply can't miss it:

(d) BETTING ON BALL GAMES. Any player, umpire, or club official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has no duty to perform shall be declared ineligible for one year.

Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.

As my old friend Charley Eckman used to say, "It's a very simple game." You bet on a game that you're NOT involved in and you're done for a year. Bet on a game that you're involved in and you're gone for life. They both seem like reasonable punishments to me. In fact, I've often wondered why Rose continues to press the issue at all. He knows the drill. It's over. And while I see and understand his hope that someone, someday sits in the Commissioner's chair and whisks Rose back in the game, that's simply NEVER going to happen. And it shouldn't happen.

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And he sells these baseballs...still making money off of his gambling admission.

Given our country's growing liberal mindset these days, there are plenty of folks out there pining for Rose's reinstatement. Those folks will somehow try and connect the steroid scandal of the 1990's and 2000's as a way of justifying the thought that Rose's lifetime ban should be lifted. They'll talk about "cheating the game" and treating one as you treat the other, but the reality is the two are in no way at all connected to one another. Rose bet on baseball, which was, and still is, completely and expressly against the rules of the game. Major League Baseball didn't even test for steroids until 2003.

That Rose didn't come clean for twenty years may or may not have played a role in Manfred's decision. There are those who think had Rose just admitted from the start that he bet on baseball -- which ANYONE with even half-a-brain, a Flyers fan, for example, knew all along -- that things might have turned out differently for him. I'm not so sure about that, but I can at least admit that fibbing to the country for the better part of two decades didn't help his cause going forward, especially when the evidence surrounding his guilt was so strong and so apparent.

Pete Rose was a great baseball player. He belongs in the Hall of Fame. But he can't get there -- and won't get there -- because he gambled on the games while he played and while he managed. I'm still shocked anytime I hear or read someone defend him, but it always makes for interesting debate for about 90 seconds or so.

Because he was a great player, Rose has this odd belief the game "owes him one". No, sir, it doesn't. You earned your due as a player and you earned your due as a scorned, confessed gambler on the games.

I'd say the odds are 4 to 1 against Rose ever realizing that Manfred's decision was the right one, but I know, for certain, that it was.

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bo's eye view

BO SMOLKA is a longtime member of the Baltimore-Washington media. He covers the Ravens for #DMD and ComcastSportsNet. Bo's insights and analyses are presented by Advanced Heating & Cooling, which offers a variety of energy saving, high-efficiency equipment for heating, air conditioning, and geothermal systems.


Really, what could anyone have expected? Sunday's game at M&T Bank Stadium was a preseason-Week-4 lineup (Ravens) facing the two-time NFC champion rounding into playoff form (Seahawks). The result, a 35-6 beatdown by the Seahawks, was utterly predictable, and as many of my media brethren predicted beforehand, the game was far closer to a Seahawks shutout than a Ravens win.

Yet despite the blowout, the Ravens might have found their quarterback for the final three games of the season. Good thing I didn't bet a Harpoon beer with Drew Forrester; he predicted as soon as Joe Flacco went down that Matt Schaub would not last the rest of the year as the Ravens' starting quarterback. I said he would; not because I thought Schaub was anything great, but because, well, at the time, the Ravens had no other quarterback on the roster and I figured the season was lost anyway.

But now after seeing Schaub for two weeks and Clausen for one, I am convinced Clausen should run this offense for the rest of the season, even if Schaub is 100 percent healthy. Wait a minute. Am I really going to bat for a quarterback who has a career record of 1-12 as a starter, hasn't won a game since 2010 and has been outscored 61-6 in his two starts this year? (To be fair, both came against a tenacious Seattle defense; one while playing for the Bears in Week 3, and Sunday's massacre.)

Yes, and here's why: For starters, Clausen didn't gift-wrap the other team six points, which immediately makes him six points better than Schaub. He threw one bad interception to Richard Sherman, but his throws had at least as much zip as Schaub's, he carried himself with at least as much confidence, and he has more mobility. In short, he has more upside. We're not exactly comparing a Ferrari and a Maserati here, but you get the picture.

And now Ryan Mallett has entered the picture as well, with reports surfacing Monday that the Ravens are close to signing the enigmatic quarterback who wore out his welcome in Houston with inconsistent play and missed meetings. Coach John Harbaugh on Monday would not confirm the Mallett signing, and said he was ready to go with Schaub if he's healthy.

"If he’s at 100 percent, and he’s ready to go – or close to it – and you feel like he can go out there and win for us, then he will play," Harbaugh said of Schaub. Then again, Schaub could end up on injured reserve Tuesday. But healthy or not, Schaub should have a seat and the Ravens should see what they have in Clausen.

Clausen badly misfired on a few throws, but he has been with the team less than three weeks. He's dealing with a ragtag bunch of receivers and tight ends and an offensive line minus two starters, so route issues, timing issues, pressure issues all came into play.

Keep in mind the Ravens also need to have a backup quarterback ready for next year when Joe Flacco returns. It definitely can't be Schaub. He has done nothing to warrant that. Could it be Clausen? They won't know that unless they get a look at him, and now offers the chance for an extended audition. Remember, Flacco will probably miss OTAs and into training camp as he recovers from knee surgery, so there will be ample opportunity for Clausen to state his case for a Ravens paycheck next fall.

It certainly doesn't hurt that he's already familiar with Marc Trestman's system, which is one big reason he landed with the Ravens before the ink was dry on his release papers from the Bears. (Then again, Clausen could quickly fall out of favor if Trestman is bounced as offensive coordinator, but hey, that's a story for another day.)

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sports illustrated got it right with serena

As much as I loved seeing American Pharoah win horse racing's triple crown last summer, Sports Illustrated pulled into the winner's circle yesterday when they announced Serena Williams has been selected as the magazine's "SportsPerson of the Year" for 2015. There were other candidates worthy of consideration; Jordan Spieth, who won golf's first two major titles and rose to #1 in the world, and, Steph Curry, who helped guide the Golden State Warriors to the NBA title last June. I saw a few social media calls for U.S. Women's soccer star Carli Lloyd, but her moment of greatness was only three weeks or so last summer when the U.S. team won the Women's World Cup in Canada.

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No, despite the fact that Spieth and Curry COULD have been chosen for the honor, Williams was the right selection. She captured the first three majors of the tennis season and was on pace for the single-season grand slam until she was upset in the semi-finals by relatively unknown Roberta Vinci.

Williams has become an iconic sports figure over the last 15 years and will arguably go down as one of the greatest female American-born athletes this country has ever seen. While some look at the S.I. award as a "career achievement" honor, winning three straight major tennis titles -- at age 33, no less -- is more than reason enough to select her for the 2015 award.

I understand the fondness for American Pharaoh and, frankly, I wouldn't have been upset if the vote had gone his way, but the Williams selection was the right one. Other horses have won the triple crown. No other 33-year old women have won three straight major tennis titles...EVER.


you asked, you receive! we're heading to dc for caps-flyers

A number of people have reached out to me over the last couple of weeks (ever since #DMD launched the Golden State vs. Wizards bus trip) and asked me to put together a bus trip to see the Capitals play.

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Giroux vs. Ovechkin on January 27. Join #DMD for our Caps bus trip and see it in person!

Well...it's happening. And who better to see the Caps bury than the worst franchise in all of sports -- the Philadelphia Flyers. So, we're heading to DC on Wednesday, January 27 to see the Caps host the Flyers at 8:00 pm.

Here's what you get as part of our trip: Round-trip bus transportation from the Towson area, a pre-game "Happy Hour" at Glory Days in Towson, dinner on the bus ride to DC from Chick fil-A at Nottingham Square, snacks and drinks on the ride to DC, plus a LOWER LEVEL TICKET to the Caps-Flyers game. The per-person cost is $175, with a $75 deposit due at the time of your reservation and the remaining $100 due no later than Jan. 15, 2016.

If you're interested in getting seats on the Caps-Flyers bus, e-mail me today: 18inarow at gmail.com

As is our custom, we're only taking 40 people on the bus. There was a "soft sales opening" on Monday via social media and we've already sold 7 seats out of the 40. 33 seats remain on the trip.

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we've added a second bus for the golden state warriors game on feb. 3

We've now added a second bus for our February 3rd #DMD bus trip to see the Warriors play the Wizards in Washington DC. Our first bus sold out like hot cakes, so we're starting to fill a second bus for the big game in DC, which will be Golden State's only visit of the season to the Verizon Center.

If you want to see Steph Curry and the Warriors in person, this is your BEST chance! Our second bus option is a bit different than bus number one, but you're still in for a great night! For $119, you get a game ticket, a pre-game "Burger and Beer" party at Glory Days in Towson, drinks and snacks on the way to DC (via luxury motor coach) and a Wizards t-shirt. If you're interested in going on the second bus, e-mail me: 18inarow at gmail.com



our masters trip is a great holiday gift idea!

We still have spots available on our trip to Augusta National for the Masters practice round on Tuesday, April 5.

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Haven't been to to Augusta National yet? #DMD can fix that for you when we fly down for the Masters practice round on April 5.

You'll be leaving on an early morning flight out of BWI and will arrive on the grounds of Augusta by 9:00 am. After spending all day watching the best golfers in the world on the best golf course you'll ever see, anywhere, we'll pack up and head for home in the early evening and arrive back at BWI by 11:00 pm.

If you're a golfer and you've NEVER been to Augusta National, this is simply a "must make" trip in your lifetime. And you'll never be able to do it more economically or more easily than our #DMD trip next April.

The per-person price is $975, which even includes lunch at Augusta National! Everything is included in the package; airfare, ground transportation to the course, a full-day practice round ticket and lunch during the day.

PLEASE NOTE: The only money due now is a deposit of $200 per-person. The remaining $775 is due by March 1, 2016.

If you're interested in making the trip to Augusta next April, send me an e-mail today: 18inarow (at) gmail.com


Monday
December 14
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVII
Issue 14

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the ravens didn't quit on sunday, they just finally got what was coming to them

No, I'm not going to be the guy who paints a silver lining on a 35-6 thrashing.

The Ravens got clobbered yesterday. John Harbaugh called it "our worst performance of the season by far." I'd agree with that, although the first thirty minutes were fairly acceptable until Buck Allen fumbled the ball and Seattle turned that miscue into a TD to lead 14-3.

In fairness, yesterday was the first time all season the Ravens got run out of the gym. I expected the Cardinals or Dolphins or someone else along the way to hand us our lunch by a 35-6 score, so the mere fact that it took until game 13 says something about the team's resiliency.

There's no sugar coating what we saw against the Seahawks. The Ravens were soundly outclassed, which is to be expected when you're literally playing guys who have been cut 2-3 times this season by other teams around the league. How's this for alarming? Kamar Aiken is the only receiver on the current 53-man roster who played a game with the team in October. As I wrote back in August when I predicted the Ravens would go 9-7 and MISS the playoffs, depth was always the big concern for this 2015 team. Twenty one million in dead money on the cap rendered them depth-less -- and when the first stringers went out, the guys who were next in line simply weren't good enough. Nothing I saw yesterday or over the last eight weeks has surprised me.

There were some interesting calls into the various local post-game radio shows on Sunday evening. More than one caller accused the Ravens defense of quitting. Some folks were particularly harsh on Elvis Dumervil and Lardarius Webb. I don't think those two -- or anyone else -- "quit" on Sunday. I just saw a worn-down, out-of-gas defensive unit finally cave in after several weeks of being more-than-representative on their side of the ball. Were there technique and scheme miscues? Absolutely. But "quitting"? Nah, I didn't see that.

Jimmy Clausen was just about what I thought he'd be...a back-up to the back-up who made some decent throws but doesn't have the quality anymore to actually run an offense on his own. A bozo or two called the radio stations yesterday on their way home from the game and started yapping about how Clausen's numbers were just as good as Flacco's and then they'd giggle and hang up the phone. They were either Steelers fans looking to troll or they were Ravens fans who had far too much to drink at the game. Clausen MIGHT be better than Matt Schaub -- and that's a MIGHT. But he's not in the same solar system as Joe Flacco when it comes to quarterbacking a team in the NFL for a 16-week season. Shame on you for even thinking that, let alone saying it out loud.

But this is what happens the team stinks. Replacements come in and do well -- or don't -- and opinions are immediately made based on that small sample size. Kamar Aiken couldn't catch a cold last season or earlier in 2015, now, suddenly, he's blossoming into a "real" receiver. Or is he? Perhaps it's all a by-product of getting the ball thrown his way 10-12 times per-game instead of 3-4 times, but he's looking the part these days. The same goes for Buck Allen, yesterday's fumble nothwithstanding, of course. The former USC running back appears to be a guy we can work into the offensive system over the next few years. On the flip side, have we seen enough of James Hurst and John Urschel to know they're not the answer at tackle and center respectively?

I'm not upset with yesterday's humbling loss. It is what it is at this point. I suspect Kansas City or Pittsburgh might do the same thing. Hell, Pittsburgh might ring up 50 on the Ravens in a couple of weeks when they come to town. I'm just going to watch the games and take the good with the bad. And I might occasionally pop in the Super Bowl 47 DVD just for old times sake.


At the risk of being scorned for "repeating" myself, I'm re-running a few items today that appeared in the Saturday edition of #DMD. Saturday in these parts typically offers our lowest reader numbers and this past Saturday was no different. Temps in the 60's, no local college football and the Ravens not casting nearly the shadow they typically would were all contributing factors, I assume. So, I'm posting a few things from the Saturday edition that I think are worthy of a "re-run" if you will. Hopefully those who didn't come around Saturday get to enjoy them here today.

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complaints about orioles fanfest are old news

Several people reached out to me over the weekend with complaints about FanFest, which was held this past Saturday at the Convention Center. The criticisms were launched mainly over the autograph policy and the lack of significant names at the event itself. As I wrote to each of the people who complained to me, "I don't work for the team. Send these complaints directly to the club and ask for a personal reply so you know someone actually took the time to read it."

I did, though, point out to the people who contacted me that you knew going in that you were paying for autographs. You knew that because you "pre-paid" for them, in advance of actually heading down to the Convention Center on Saturday. Look, do I think it's a shameful act to charge the fans money for autographs? Absolutely. It's a disgrace. I almost blame the players, in some small way, because if any of them had an ounce of integrity, they'd tell the club they aren't participating if the fans are being charged money for their signature. Yes, yes...I know the money is "going to charity" as the club always reminds us, but that's not really enough -- for me anyway -- to get me to overlook the fact that the Orioles are charging money for entrance into the event, and charging more money for autographs.

It's one thing if it's the consumer who decides where his/her $25 goes for the autographs. That would almost be acceptable. If the Orioles said, "Here's a list of charities in the Baltimore area...you select which one you want your $25 to be donated to and we'll get it there for you", I might be OK with charging money for three signatures. But if the Orioles are taking your $25 and telling you it's going to "Orioles charities", that's not good enough, in my opinion.

I also completely understand the club's general reasoning behind charging for autographs. The Orioles (and the players, perhaps, to some degree) don't want adult autograph hounds coming in, getting a signature, and then selling it for profit via trade shows or the internet. That's a lovely thought and all, but the club doesn't REALLY care about autograph re-selling or they'd make it a no-autograph policy from the jump. They care just enough to ask for $25 for their charity...once you've donated to them, you can get those autographs and re-sell them to your heart's desire.

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Hard to tell who is more excited...you, paying $25 to get Darren O'Day's autograph - or O'Day signing it for you.

If the team really wanted to eliminate the adult autograph hounds, they'd simply make the signing portion open -- and free -- only to children ages 16 and under or something like that. Or, they could do the smart thing and just open the event to everyone and let anyone get an autograph since, you might remember, everyone in the Convention Center on Saturday is the reason why there's a team in Baltimore in the first place. Isn't it a fair trade if I'm an Orioles fan, buy some tickets every summer, give MASN $3.50 a month via my cable bill and get J.J. Hardy's autograph in return at FanFest? That seems like a decent deal for the Orioles.

It would be nice if just once per year, the Orioles said to the community at large, "Today, you own US. Come on in, see the players, get any autographs you want and buy some season tickets and mini plans while you're here, please." I realize that's far too "loose" of a plan, but it would be the right thing to do for certain.

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put your money
where your mouth is

Each week here at #DMD Game Day, I give you five NFL selections against the spread, my "best bet" of the bunch, and my official Ravens score prediction as well. This all, of course, is for "entertainment purposes only," although with the NFL officially in bed with both of the major fantasy sports companies in the country, the league is actually far more involved in gambling than any of us are, that's for sure.

I went 3-2 for the second straight week yesterday, but lost my "Best Bet" game for the first time in three weeks.

Here's how I saw yesterday's five games:

TITANS AT JETS (-7.5): This one looks too easy, although "the hook" (that extra half-point) could come into play if the Jets play down to their competition. I don't think they will. New York can smell the playoffs now and they're not about to get involved in a dogfight with a bad Tennessee team, so I'm going with the J-E-T-S to win comfortably 30-17.

RESULT: Ahhh, yes. A good way to start the day with an easy win by the Jets.


SAINTS AT BUCCANEERS (-4.5): I definitely don't know what to think about New Orleans and this is the kind of game they inexplicably win, mainly because it's a division opponent and winning AT Tampa Bay isn't all that hard, even when the Bucs are decent. But I like what Jameis Winston has done this season and the Bucs could still wiggle their way into the post-season, which gives me even more reason to go with Tampa Bay to win AND cover, 34-29.

RESULT: I said I didn't know what to think about the Saints and that proved true again yesterday. New Orleans wins at Tampa Bay to drop me to 1-1.


STEELERS AT BENGALS (-2.5): If Pittsburgh had any kind of defense, I'd pick them today, but I still see the Seahawks game over and over whenever I think about the Steelers' ability to stop a decent offense. They won't be able to stop Cincinnati today and while the Steelers offense is rock-solid, it won't be enough, as I'm taking the Bengals in this one, 30-24.

RESULT: I almost feel like I should get a do-over here, what with Andy Dalton going out on the first series and all. But Vegas doesn't give do-overs and neither does #DMD. So, I'll take my loss (questionable as it might be) like a man and fall to 1-2 on the day.


COWBOYS AT PACKERS (-6.5): Am I missing something here? The Cowboys are less than a touchdown underdog at Green Bay? Dallas has no quarterback, no offense, and a pretty sorry defense. Yes, I saw the game last Monday night in Washington. Dallas was terrible. The Redskins were just more terrible. This one won't be close, as Green Bay wins easily, 31-16.

RESULT: "Green Bay wins easily" I said and I was right, as the Packers won 28-7 to make me 2-2 on the day.


FALCONS AT PANTHERS (-8): Everything about this game tells me to take Atlanta. Eight points is a lot of points to give up to a division opponent, regardless of the venue. Atlanta is an almost must-win situation. Carolina is due for a letdown at some point and, perhaps, even a loss. This game just feels like I should be all over Atlanta. So, with that, I'm taking the Panthers and giving the points in a 33-20 win.

RESULT: Yep, I almost took Atlanta. Then I played the old "whatever you're feeling, bet the opposite" trick and it worked like a charm to finish me up at 3-2 on the day.


BEST BET OF THE DAY: I'll go back to the well again this week and take Tampa Bay as my "Best Bet" today. I don't feel "great" about any game, honestly, but the Bucs should be able to handle New Orleans by 4.5 points in Tampa Bay.

RESULT: As I was tying the "Best Bet" on Sunday morning, I though long and hard about going with Green Bay over Dallas. At the last minute, I went with Tampa Bay over New Orleans. Coulda, shoulda, woulda.


RECORD TO DATE: 32-37-1

LAST WEEK'S RECORD: 3-2

BEST BET OF THE DAY (SEASON): 7-6-1


drew's new "wine winner" is here!

I made my usual stop at The Wine Merchant on Falls Road in Lutherville last Friday, enjoying a sample (or two) from their wine tasting table and ordering some carry-out food for the family. I don't know about your family, but we are a carry-out-Friday household at the Forrester residence. My wife and I are dragging by Friday evening and it takes a burden off of us if we just grab some sandwiches/soups, etc. from the The Wine Merchant. So that's what I did on Friday, in addition to discovering an outstanding price on one of my favorite bottles of red wine.

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Just a 1/2 mile from the Beltway, offering a great selection of wine, spirits and beer -- plus sandwiches and other carry out food items.

I'm a red wine guy -- although my next "wine winner" selection in a couple of weeks is a white, I'll have you know -- and I've long been a fan of the Nicky Hahn offerings, so when I saw this 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon for just $12.99, I hopped right on it and grabbed a bottle. You'll see my "Drew's Wine Winner" promotional card right on the front of the box if you get in to the Wine Merchant and do some shopping b before the holidays. Trust me: This is a GREAT wine for the price.

Everyone has different tastes when it comes to wine, but the Hahn wines have just always appealed to me for some reason. Cabernet, Pinot, Merlot, it doesn't matter...they all just have a simple, full taste. There's nothing overpowering at all about their Cabernet and the price is remarkable. You can grab a bottle of Penfolds for $50 or snag this one for $13 and I think you're going to be very happy with your $13 choice.

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The 2013 Hahn Cabernet Sauvignon is a perfect holiday dinner wine.

Here's what the fancy wine writers say about the 2013 Hahn Cabernet Sauvignon.

"Inviting red cherry and currant jam aromatics complement notes of vanilla and caramel. Chewey tannins frame hi-tone cherry and berry flavors that carry through the long, smooth finish. The Hahn Cabernet Sauvignon is grown in outstanding vineyards throughout California, primarily the warmer climates in Lodi and Paso Robles. There grapes ripen fully and develop ample red cherry and black currant flavors on the vine. Once harvested they barrel ferment their grapes in small French oak casks, enhancing the wine’s mouthfeel and contributing a subtle spicy aroma."

I just say it's a terrific, fairly priced wine that you can enjoy time and time again.

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our masters trip is a great holiday gift idea!

We still have spots available on our trip to Augusta National for the Masters practice round on Tuesday, April 5.

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Haven't been to to Augusta National yet? #DMD can fix that for you when we fly down for the Masters practice round on April 5.

You'll be leaving on an early morning flight out of BWI and will arrive on the grounds of Augusta by 9:00 am. After spending all day watching the best golfers in the world on the best golf course you'll ever see, anywhere, we'll pack up and head for home in the early evening and arrive back at BWI by 11:00 pm.

If you're a golfer and you've NEVER been to Augusta National, this is simply a "must make" trip in your lifetime. And you'll never be able to do it more economically or more easily than our #DMD trip next April.

The per-person price is $975, which even includes lunch at Augusta National! Everything is included in the package; airfare, ground transportation to the course, a full-day practice round ticket and lunch during the day.

PLEASE NOTE: The only money due now is a deposit of $200 per-person. The remaining $775 is due by March 1, 2016.

If you're interested in making the trip to Augusta next April, send me an e-mail today: 18inarow (at) gmail.com



we've added a second bus for the golden state warriors game on feb. 3

We've now added a second bus for our February 3rd #DMD bus trip to see the Warriors play the Wizards in Washington DC. Our first bus sold out like hot cakes, so we're starting to fill a second bus for the big game in DC, which will be Golden State's only visit of the season to the Verizon Center.

If you want to see Steph Curry and the Warriors in person, this is your BEST chance! Our second bus option is a bit different than bus number one, but you're still in for a great night! For $119, you get a game ticket, a pre-game "Burger and Beer" party at Glory Days in Towson, drinks and snacks on the way to DC (via luxury motor coach) and a Wizards t-shirt. If you're interested in going on the second bus, e-mail me: 18inarow at gmail.com


Sunday
December 13
#DMD GAME DAY
presented by
Volume 17
Issue 13
Baltimore Ravens vs. Seattle Seahawks

1:00 PM EST

M&T Bank Stadium
Baltimore, MD


I saw someone on Facebook trying to sell his tickets to this afternoon's Ravens game and was he asking "face value and not a penny more". My guess is he'll get a penny for both of them long before he gets face value.

When the 2015 schedule was first released last April, today's game against the Seahawks looked like a "must-attend" event. For starters, it was originally supposed to be a prime-time, 8:30 pm game, and then you bring to town the 2-time defending NFL champion Seahawks, who make one of their rare visits to Baltimore. It had the look of a marquee match-up -- eight months ago. That all went down the tubes back in October when the Ravens started the season 1-6 and, alas, tonight's game is now today's game (1:00 pm) and John Harbaugh's team is simply playing out the string while the Seahawks battle for a playoff spot in the NFC.

Good luck getting face value for your tickets today. Any of you.

It will indeed be interesting to see how many people show at Ravens Stadium today. And that's NOT an indictment on local football fans. Not at all. I can say, with certainly, that if I owned season tickets I'd likely be missing this one today, what with the expected temps in the 60's (golf, anyone?) and holiday shopping still looming (I'm starting soon, I promise). There WILL be a lot of no-shows today, but those folks don't deserve criticism. Now...about that Steelers game in two weeks.


army-navy turned out to be a true classic

Our busload of #DMD football enthusiasts pulled into the Lincoln Financial Field parking lot just before 1:00 pm on Saturday and when we left six hours later, everyone on the trip had witnessed one of the best sporting events of their life. And that's not me saying that -- that's THEM saying that, as we hung around after the game for a quick sandwich and a refreshment before making the trek back down I-95 to Baltimore.

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It truly was a special day.

From the pre-game festivities honoring our two military branches to the game itself, the whole event was a remarkable testament to the outstanding work our young men and women are putting in as members of both the Army and Navy. Navy won the game, 21-17, but that didn't matter in the end. What mattered, if you were there, was simply being reminded that these are the people who have enlisted themselves to help protect our country and our freedom...and when you see them in person, you get overwhelmed with a feeling of "everything's going to be OK". I'll take those kids who played football in Philadelphia yesterday protecting me and my family any day. And the same goes for every Cadet and Midshipman I saw on Saturday. I'll take them on MY team...for sure.

A final thanks once again to Summit Financial for their sponsorship of Saturday's trip to Philadelphia. It's through Summit's partnership with #DMD that we were able to make the trip affordable for everyone who went with us. Thanks, too, to Harpoon Beer, Chick fil-A of Nottingham Square and Palmisano's of Baldwin, all of whom contributed food and/or drink to help keep us going throughout the day.

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today's main storylines:
ravens vs. seahawks


*Can Clausen look the part? -- Unless Matt Schaub just needed three days off this week (don't we all?), it would appear he's going to sit this one today vs. Seattle and that means Jimmy Clausen will get the starting nod for the 4-8 Ravens. There's no telling how that's going to go for Clausen, who was signed a couple of weeks ago to back-up Schaub for the remainder of the season. Now, it's Clausen's job, and he faces a Seahawks defense that is opportunistic and very capable of shutting down a Ravens offense that is completely out of gas. Turnovers will be critical today. Can Clausen play a clean game, keep it simple, and not be forced into situations where he has to "make something happen?" If so, that recipe might work for the Ravens, as long as their defense holds up its end of the bargain. But if Clausen has to put the game in his hands and throw the ball 35 times, that spells trouble.

*Stay grounded -- This is a cut-and-paste job from last Sunday's loss in Miami. I think the same thing I wrote a week ago holds true today. Given what I just wrote above, the most important thing the Ravens can do today is establish a running game. If I'm Marc Trestman, I tell the team before the game, "We're running the ball 45 times today. Buck, you're getting 30 of those carries. Terrance, you're getting 15 of them. We're running the football today." And then I stick with that plan, even if I encounter a few three-and-outs along the way. Everytime the Ravens run the ball that's one less opportunity for Clausen to throw it to the other team. Run, run and run some more.

*Put pressure on Russell Wilson -- Easier said than done, as the Ravens will have to work its way through Seattle's offensive line just to get a crack at Russell Wilson, but making life tough for the Seahawks' QB this afternoon will go a long way in helping keep this game close. That means Dumervil has to come up big as do the interior defensive linemen. Chris Canty has enjoyed a renaissance the last few weeks and Brandon Williams continues to play a prominent role on a weekly basis, so let's see one or both of those guys get in the mix today and cause some trouble for Wilson.

*Get Tucker on track -- I realize 50 yard field goals aren't a piece of cake, but Justin Tucker hasn't been hitting on all cylinders for the last 6-8 weeks. Today would be a good day -- particularly given the expected balmy weather -- for Tucker to get back on track. Oddly enough, though, his kicking stats on the road are slightly better than they are in Baltimore. If the Ravens are going to win today -- and that's a huge if -- Tucker will have to be flawless with his contributions.


Here’s how Drew sees today's game:

I'm not sure I see the blowout everyone else around town is predicting, mainly because Seattle's traveling east and playing at 1:00 pm, which almost always factors in the performance of the west coast team. I also think the Ravens defense is capable of handling whatever Seattle throws at them. I'm not saying the Ravens will shut down Russell Wilson, but I don't think the Seahawks are going to paste Baltimore the way they manhandled Minnesota a week ago.

The issue, of course, is the anticipated play of the Baltimore offense. How on earth will they score any points? I guess it's going to be a lot of Buck Allen and Terrance West, but someone has to block for those guys, remember. And if Jimmy Clausen has to throw the ball -- which, at some point, he will -- then all bets are off. I think the Ravens defense shows up today, but the offense, predictably, sputters. Seattle leads 10-3 at the half, extends that to 17-3, and then the Ravens squeak out a third quarter TD before the Seahawks add a late field goal to win 20-10.

Strangely, a 20-10 loss will feel like a win.

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percentage points

Here's a look at a handful of key parts and players in today's game vs. Seattle and some percentage-of-success numbers to correlate with all of it.

77% - If you said to me, "Drew, what are the chances the Seahawks win today?"

69% - Chances of the Seahawks holding Clausen to under 250 yards passing?

43% - The chances Russell Wilson throws for over 300 yards?

52% - What are the chances the Ravens rush for over 130 yards?

39% - The chances any Ravens WR catches a TD pass?

3% - Chances Justin Tucker misses an extra point today?


put your money
where your mouth is

Each week here at #DMD Game Day, I give you five NFL selections against the spread, my "best bet" of the bunch, and my official Ravens score prediction as well. This all, of course, is for "entertainment purposes only," although with the NFL officially in bed with both of the major fantasy sports companies in the country, the league is actually far more involved in gambling than any of us are, that's for sure.

I went 3-2 a week ago and have continued to inch closer and closer to elusive .500 mark, as I'm now 29-35-1 on the season. I need a big day today.

Here's how I see today's five games:

TITANS AT JETS (-7.5): This one looks too easy, although "the hook" (that extra half-point) could come into play if the Jets play down to their competition. I don't think they will. New York can smell the playoffs now and they're not about to get involved in a dogfight with a bad Tennessee team, so I'm going with the J-E-T-S to win comfortably 30-17.


SAINTS AT BUCCANEERS (-4.5): I definitely don't know what to think about New Orleans and this is the kind of game they inexplicably win, mainly because it's a division opponent and winning AT Tampa Bay isn't all that hard, even when the Bucs are decent. But I like what Jameis Winston has done this season and the Bucs could still wiggle their way into the post-season, which gives me even more reason to go with Tampa Bay to win AND cover, 34-29.


STEELERS AT BENGALS (-2.5): If Pittsburgh had any kind of defense, I'd pick them today, but I still see the Seahawks game over and over whenever I think about the Steelers' ability to stop a decent offense. They won't be able to stop Cincinnati today and while the Steelers offense is rock-solid, it won't be enough, as I'm taking the Bengals in this one, 30-24.


COWBOYS AT PACKERS (-6.5): Am I missing something here? The Cowboys are less than a touchdown underdog at Green Bay? Dallas has no quarterback, no offense, and a pretty sorry defense. Yes, I saw the game last Monday night in Washington. Dallas was terrible. The Redskins were just more terrible. This one won't be close, as Green Bay wins easily, 31-16.


FALCONS AT PANTHERS (-8): Everything about this game tells me to take Atlanta. Eight points is a lot of points to give up to a division opponent, regardless of the venue. Atlanta is an almost must-win situation. Carolina is due for a letdown at some point and, perhaps, even a loss. This game just feels like I should be all over Atlanta. So, with that, I'm taking the Panthers and giving the points in a 33-20 win.


BEST BET OF THE DAY: I'll go back to the well again this week and take Tampa Bay as my "Best Bet" today. I don't feel "great" about any game, honestly, but the Bucs should be able to handle New Orleans by 4.5 points in Tampa Bay.


RECORD TO DATE: 29-35-1

LAST WEEK'S RECORD: 3-2

BEST BET OF THE DAY (SEASON): 7-5-1

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the streak ends -- golden state falls at milwaukee

24-0 became 24-1 last night in Milwaukee, where the Golden State Warriors had their 28-game regular season winning streak snapped by the Bucks in a 108-95 loss. The defeat ended Golden State's pursuit of the Lakers all-time record of 33 consecutive wins set back in 1971-72.

Steph Curry had 28 points for the Warriors, who went 6-1 on the 7-game road trip that many predicted would see them lose their first game. It took until the final game of the trip, but it finally happened. Draymond Green had 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Warriors while Klay Thompson, returning after missing a game with a sprained ankle, had 12 points on 4-of-14 shooting.

The Warriors trailed 59-48 at halftime after shooting 2-of-13 from 3-point range. It was just the fourth time this season that Golden State trailed at the half.

Oh, and speaking of the Warriors.

#DMD is heading to the Verizon Center on Wednesday, February 3rd to see the Wizards host the defending champion -- and currently undefeated -- Golden State Warriors at 8:00 pm. It's Golden State's only regular season trip to Washington and we've already sold out the first bus! So, a second bus is now running and you can get in on it if you'd like to see Steph Curry and the Warriors in person.

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He comes to the area once a year. February 3rd is your chance to see Steph Curry live and #DMD is taking two buses to D.C. for the game.

We'll be leaving the Towson area at 5:30 pm in a luxury motor coach, with Harpoon beer, soft drinks and snacks available for everyone on the way down to D.C. Our package for the night includes an unlimited buffet from 7pm until the start of the 4th quarter and unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks from 7pm until the start of the 4th quarter. Everyone in our group will be sitting together in the upper level of the Verizon Center and everyone also gets a free Wizards t-shirt. How much? $119 per-person. Do the math and figure it out yourself. You get a game ticket, all the food and drink you need or want, a free t-shirt, plus you don't pay for gas, tolls or parking -- for $119. We're only offering that $119 price until December 22nd, by the way. After the 22nd it goes up to $129 per-person.

If you're interested in making the trip to D.C. for our pilgrimage to see Steph Curry and the Warriors, send me an e-mail today: 18inarow (at) gmail.com

Saturday
December 12
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVII
Issue 12

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with or without chris davis, we're heading to the army-navy game today

I was hoping to begin today's 90-minute treak to Lincoln Financial Field by asking everyone to raise their ice cold can of Harpoon beer and toast the re-arrival of Chris Davis to Baltimore. Alas, we'll be toasting something as we depart Baltimore, but it won't be the signing of Davis, as Friday came and went without much of any news from either the Orioles or Scott Boras.

There was baseball news, though, and it was staggering -- to me, at least. Jason Heyward got $23 million per-year from the Cubs (with two opt-outs in the event he can't live on $23 million), which blows me away when you consider he's basically Nick Markakis circa 2009. Sure, he's a solid player and all, but $184 million over 8 years? Laughable. But that's what those guys get now.

That leaves Davis, Justin Upton and Alex Gordon still waiting to be wooed, and each will likely command a deal somewhere in the neighborhood of what Heyward pinched on an annual basis from the Cubs on Friday. I'd like to see the Orioles land one of those three, but I'd understand -- fully -- if they don't. Davis in particular has blemishes of concern; an apparent fondness for chewing tobacco (remember what happened to Josh Hamilton when he stopped "using"?), an Adderall "waiver" from the folks at MLB (please remember to fill it out properly, CD) and a proclivity for striking out at least once a day if not more. Because I don't follow Upton or Gordon on a daily basis, I don't know much about their warts, but I suspect they have some warts, too, or they'd be known as "the perfect player". And we knows that's not possible, because Mike Trout already owns that label.

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One of the best sporting events in the country takes place today in Philadelphia when Army and Navy do battle on the football field. And #DMD will be there!

So, we'll head up I-95 today, a busload full of us, eager to take in one of the country's greatest one-day sporting spectacles: the Army-Navy game. I've enjoyed the "sports trips" element of Drew's Morning Dish over the last 16 months. The list of where we've been is getting longer every month or two; Augusta National for a Masters practice round, New York City for an Orioles-Yankees series, Pittsburgh and New England for Ravens football and Phoenix for a 5-day golf/Ravens game combo. I've enjoyed every trip we've put together at #DMD, and yet I believe today's quick up-and-back journey to Philadelphia might be the most special of them all. Most of the people on the bus today have NEVER seen the Army-Navy game. That makes it special for ME, personally, as I know they're going to have a memorable afternoon in Philadelphia.

Thanks to our primary sponsor of today's trip, Summit Financial in Hunt Valley. They'll be giving our trip goers a special gift today when we board the bus as an added treat for everyone. Thanks to our friends at Harpoon Beer for stocking us with plenty of "refreshments" for the ride and the tailgate at Lincoln Financial Field. Everyone will eat well today thanks to our friends at Chick fil-A Nottingham Square and Palmisano's of Baldwin. The weather looks great and the game is epic. We're in for a real treat.


a tip of the cap to sinatra in today's "3140" podcast

Today's podcast is available below and there's not only sports talk in there, but we celebrate the life of the great Frank Sinatra, who would have been 100 years old today! In between hearing some of Frank's classics, I talk Orioles, Ravens and once again give you "3 Questions" and their respective answers. "Who's the MVP of the NFL after 12 weeks?" I tell you in today's edition of "3140".

#DMD 3140 Podcast
December 12, 2015
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bo's eye view

BO SMOLKA is a longtime member of the Baltimore-Washington media. He covers the Ravens for #DMD and ComcastSportsNet. Bo's insights and analyses are presented by Advanced Heating & Cooling, which offers a variety of energy saving, high-efficiency equipment for heating, air conditioning, and geothermal systems.


The Ravens have a lot of history behind them going into Sunday's game against Seattle at M&T Bank Stadium: Baltimore is 17-1 in their last 18 home games against the NFC. They are 12-1 all-time at home against teams from the West Coast, including 2-0 against Seattle. But what the Ravens do not have is more important than history: They don't have their quarterback, their top running back, their top receiver, their left tackle, their Pro Bowl pass rusher, etc., etc. You get the picture. This is a depleted Ravens team that has soldiered along gamely, but the level of competition is about to jump, with four straight games against teams in the playoff picture.

If the Ravens are to upset the Seahawks on Sunday, here are five things the Ravens need to do:

Control the clock

The best way to keep this game close is to shorten it by mounting some sustained drives. The Ravens had a 15-play, 75-yard drive that lasted more than eight minutes against Miami last week, although it produced no points when the Ravens turned the ball over on downs at the Dolphins 2-yard line. Still, controlling the ball and the clock will be critical. That will mean having at least moderate success running the ball -- and committing to run the ball -- and converting on third down. The Ravens rank 27th in the league, converting 34.8 percent of the time, and Seattle ranks fourth in third-down defense.

Spread the field horizontally as well as vertically

Seattle has the third-ranked run defense, and the Ravens offensive line is banged up. This will be a much tougher test for Buck Allen, Terrance West and the Ravens run game. But Allen caught 12 passes last week – one shy of the team record – and he and fullback Kyle Juszczyk will be a big part of the passing game, especially if Jimmy Clausen has to start at quarterback. Success with passes in the flat, or swing passes to backs, could open things up in the middle. And if the Ravens don’t want the Seahawks cramming nine people in the box, they still need to take a shot or two downfield, even against that secondary. Chris Givens has shown the ability to get open deep.

Slow the Seahawks run game

The biggest surprise last week was how the Dolphins offense shredded the Ravens top-10 run defense on the ground, piling up 137 rushing yards. They had some success up the middle and also at times around the edge. There’s no Marshawn Lynch this week, but rookie Thomas Rawls has been outstanding. Rawls, signed as an undrafted rookie, leads the league with 5.6 rushing yards a carry. Who ranks second? Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (86-450, 5.2 avg.) Seattle averages a league-best 146.6 rushing yards a game. The Ravens need to contain Wilson, set the edge and tackle.

Create some short fields

The Ravens could have a lot of trouble moving the ball with a patchwork offense facing a very formidable defense. The best bet for the Ravens would be to create some short fields. Interceptions don’t seem all that likely – the Ravens have a league-low four all season, and just one in the past nine games. More likely would be a timely fumble recovery, or a long punt return by Kaelin Clay to set up the Ravens with great field position, or better yet put points on the board directly. But of course, an interception wouldn't hurt.

Take chances

The Ravens have nothing to lose. Fake punt? Onside kick to open a half? Sure, why not. Maybe a trick play can keep the Ravens in the game, and the fact is there is much more pressure on the Seahawks than on the Ravens. The Ravens can afford to play loose and relaxed, and that can be an interesting variable. Plus, they have the home crowd and the early East Coast start time on their side.

PREDICTION: All 12 Ravens games this year have been decided by eight or fewer points, the first time in NFL history that has happened. But that streak is about to come to a crashing halt. The Seahawks appear to be superior in every way against a limping, reeling Ravens team that could be starting Jimmy Clausen at quarterback. Seattle already faced Clausen once this year, when he was with the Bears, and the Seahawks won 26-0. This won’t be much better, and the Ravens should feel fortunate they were flexed off national television. At least the whole country won't see this beatdown. Seattle 33 - Ravens 13

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drew's new "wine winner" is here!

I made my usual stop in The Wine Merchant on Falls Road in Lutherville yesterday, enjoying a sample (or two) from their wine tasting table and ordering some carry-out food for the family. I don't know about your family, but we are a carry-out-Friday household at the Forrester residence. My wife and I are dragging by Friday evening and it takes a burden off of us if we just grab some sandwiches/soups, etc. from the The Wine Merchant. So that's what I did last night, in addition to discovering an outstanding price on one of my favorite bottles of red wine.

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Just a 1/2 mile from the Beltway, offering a great selection of wine, spirits and beer -- plus sandwiches and other carry out food items.

I'm a red wine guy -- although my next "wine winner" selection in a couple of weeks is a white, I'll have you know -- and I've long been a fan of the Nicky Hahn offerings, so when I saw this 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon for just $12.99, I hopped right on it and grabbed a bottle. You'll see my "Drew's Wine Winner" promotional card right on the front of the box if you get in to the Wine Merchant and do some shopping b before the holidays. Trust me: This is a GREAT wine for the price.

Everyone has different tastes when it comes to wine, but the Hahn wines have just always appealed to me for some reason. Cabernet, Pinot, Merlot, it doesn't matter...they all just have a simple, full taste. There's nothing overpowering at all about their Cabernet and the price is remarkable. You can grab a bottle of Penfolds for $50 or snag this one for $13 and I think you're going to be very happy with your $13 choice.

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The 2013 Hahn Cabernet Sauvignon is a perfect holiday dinner wine.

Here's what the fancy wine writers say about the 2013 Hahn Cabernet Sauvignon.

"Inviting red cherry and currant jam aromatics complement notes of vanilla and caramel. Chewey tannins frame hi-tone cherry and berry flavors that carry through the long, smooth finish. The Hahn Cabernet Sauvignon is grown in outstanding vineyards throughout California, primarily the warmer climates in Lodi and Paso Robles. There grapes ripen fully and develop ample red cherry and black currant flavors on the vine. Once harvested they barrel ferment their grapes in small French oak casks, enhancing the wine’s mouthfeel and contributing a subtle spicy aroma."

I just say it's a terrific, fairly priced wine that you can enjoy time and time again.

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warriors win in boston; now 24-0

Friday night in Boston was Golden State's biggest test of the season-to-date, as they had to face the Celtics without Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes, both of whom missed the game with ankle injuries.

It didn't matter, although their 23-game winning streak was certainly in jeopardy throughout the night, as the Warriors won 124-119 in double overtime.

Stephen Curry scored 38 points despite his worst shooting performance of the season, adding 11 rebounds and eight assists Friday night, and the Warriors improved to 24-0 in winning their 28th straight game dating back to the final four regular season games of the 2014-2015 campaign. They now own the second longest winning streak in NBA history and trail the Lakers' all-time record of 33 straight wins by just five games.

The Warriors play the Milwaukee Bucks on tonight to complete a seven-game road trip. No NBA team has ever gone 7-0 on a single road trip.

We've now added a second bus for our February 3rd #DMD bus trip to see the Warriors play the Wizards in Washington DC. It's their only visit of the season to the Verizon Center, so if you want to see Steph Curry and the Warriors in person, this is your BEST chance! For $119, you get a game ticket, a pre-game "Burger and Beer" at Glory Days in Towson, drinks and snacks on the way to DC (via luxury motor coach) and a Wizards t-shirt. If you're interested in going on the second bus, e-mail me: 18inarow at gmail.com


our masters trip is a great holiday gift idea!

We still have spots available on our trip to Augusta National for the Masters practice round on Tuesday, April 5.

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Haven't been to to Augusta National yet? #DMD can fix that for you when we fly down for the Masters practice round on April 5.

You'll be leaving on an early morning flight out of BWI and will arrive on the grounds of Augusta by 9:00 am. After spending all day watching the best golfers in the world on the best golf course you'll ever see, anywhere, we'll pack up and head for home in the early evening and arrive back at BWI by 11:00 pm.

If you're a golfer and you've NEVER been to Augusta National, this is simply a "must make" trip in your lifetime. And you'll never be able to do it more economically or more easily than our #DMD trip next April.

The per-person price is $975, which even includes lunch at Augusta National! Everything is included in the package; airfare, ground transportation to the course, a full-day practice round ticket and lunch during the day.

If you're interested in making the trip to Augusta next April, send me an e-mail today: 18inarow (at) gmail.com


Friday
December 11
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVII
Issue 11

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waiting for something to happen...

The big news from Thursday -- the final day of baseball's winter meetings in Nashville -- wasn't that the the Orioles selected outfielder Joey Rickard from the Tampa Bay Rays in the Rule 5 draft. I'm sure that was big news to Rickard, but not to most of us in Baltimore.

No, it wasn't the Rule 5 selection that had everyone talking and typing and tweeting, it was the early morning "leak" that the Orioles offer to Chris Davis was "off the table". That news circulated around 10:00 am or so on Thursday, giving us gobs of prime time discussion on social media and talk radio to toss in our two cents.

Here's mine: None of this over the last two days makes sense. I mean, honestly, NONE of it. I'd first add this nugget to the ingredients, because I think it's relevant. From what everyone in Nashville (and by everyone, I'm talking about well-respected, thorough "national baseball reporters") says, the pecking order of the four prominent free agents remaining is: Upton, Heyward, Davis and Gordon. That doesn't necessarily mean Alex Gordon (4th on the list) is going to get a "bad deal" somewhere once he signs. It simply means once the other three are gone, teams that DIDN'T win either the Upton, Heyward or Davis sweepstakes might be itchy to cough up big bucks for Gordon.

My guess is that's where the Davis hold-up is right now. Scott Boras is simply going to wait until the first two dominoes fall -- Upton and Heyward -- and then he'll be able to peddle Chris Davis to one of the teams that lost out on the first two...likely for far more money than he would have received from a team this week in Nashville. That's just my hunch.

I've said all along and will continue to say I don't think the Orioles offered Chris Davis $150 million. I'm not saying the Orioles didn't make him an offer. I suspect they did. But I'd say the O's were far more likely to have offered something in the 5-year/$100 million range. That would truly be a landmark contract for them, having never given a player $100 million in their existence, and it would also keep Davis closely enough in line with Adam Jones ($85.5 million a few years back) so that the team's salary structure wouldn't be blown up by adding Davis to the mix.

We're now learning that four million dollars of Darren O'Day's $31 million was deferred until after his contract concludes. It's not my money, obviously, so when I say "what's four million bucks matter?" I'm trying not to diminish the importance of four million dollars. But...what's four million bucks matter? Would an organization that just penny-pinched Darren O'Day over four million dollars really offer a player $150 million over seven years when they've never given a player more than $85.5 million? It just doesn't make sense -- given what I know (and you know) -- that the Orioles put that kind of offer up knowing, by the way, it was likely not going to be good enough to land Davis.

And I'm not bashing the Orioles for failing to play at the big-boy poker table with Scott Boras. If they made him a 5-year/$100 million offer or 7-year/$150 million offer, those are both reasonable attempts to sign Davis. You can debate the use of the word "reasonable" there, but the point is that neither of those offers are chump-change.

I still say it was Boras or one of his underlings -- or maybe even Larry Reynolds' camp, he's the agent for Justin Upton -- that circulated the 7/150 "news" on Wednesday. The Orioles certainly wouldn't have wanted their "offer" to be public. That's terrible business. You never want anyone else to know what you're offering someone to come and work for you. Instead, it was most likely an agent looking to stir the pot who circulated that offer, even if it wasn't true in the first place. It "got the ball rolling" as the saying goes.

Thursday's "offer is off the table" story was equally as odd. You wanted the player on Wednesday and wanted to give him $150 million. By Thursday you're ready to move on? I get the idea of squeezing Boras and Davis and pressing them to make a decision, but "pulling the offer" seems high-school'ish, if, in fact, it even happened that way. So if Boras calls back today and says, "We'll take 7/150", are the Orioles going to say, "Nope, sorry pal. It's now 7/143."? Again, much like the news from Wednesday about the offer being made, I'm not sure why the Orioles would have wanted it to go down that way on Thursday.

There have been four prominent players signed thus far in the off-season. In order; Jordan Zimmermann, David Price, Zack Greinke and Ben Zobrist. Not ONE of those players had a story circulate about any "offer" made to them during their negotiating process. I looked at my computer a couple of Saturdays ago and there it was: Zimmermann heads to Detroit. I breezed through Twitter last week and saw the news about Price signing in Boston. I was having a drink in the bar at Eagle's Nest and looked up on the TV screen and saw the scroll at the bottom: Greinke signs 6-year deal with Diamondbacks. There weren't any leaks at all along the way about the deal they were chasing and the offers being made.

Maybe the Orioles really did offer Davis 7/150 and some goofball somewhere decided he'd play big shot and leak it. It could be just that simple. Other than that, though, I can't for the life of me figure out how this Davis story has unraveled so quickly over the last 48 hours. Perhaps it was the Orioles who leaked the offer to the media and Boras is outraged by it, since it would severely limit his initial bargaining power with other clubs ("Well, if the Orioles are willing to give him $150 million, we'll give him $160 million and not a penny more...")

I still hope the Birds re-sign Davis because replacing 45 HR is tough, and offense is needed if you're going to compete in the American League East. I just don't see how they can do it now, given how the last two days have gone down. This, to me, looks like a permanent break-up.

I hope I'm wrong.


dmd's salute to army-navy means no podcast today

A quick personal note...you'll see below the second installment of our in-depth look at the history of the Army-Navy game, as the 1963 game is eloquently re-visited by our #DMD staff contributor, George McDowell. I thought it would be appropriate to allow that piece to take center stage today, so there's no "3140" Podcast here as is usually the case on Friday. Instead, the Podcast will be available for you tomorrow, December 12, here at Drew's Morning Dish.

And let me take a moment to thank Sydney Nusinov and Charles Nusinov and Sons jewelers for hosting the third of our four "collection events" last night, where we collected over 150 pieces of winter apparel for the men at Helping Up Mission! We'll wrap it all up next Thursday, December 17 at Glory Days in Towson (5-7 pm) and then we'll be taking all of the coats, jackets, sweaters to Helping Up Mission on Tuesday, December 22nd. Thanks to everyone who has donated thus far!

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The 1963 Army~Navy Game

The 1963 Army-Navy Game was scheduled for November 30 in Municipal Stadium in Philadelphia. The Midshipmen of Annapolis, led by quarterback Roger Staubach, were the #2 team in the country. The Army Cadets were ranked #3. The winner of their annual matchup would face the #1 Texas Longhorns for the national title in the Cotton Bowl on January 1st. Eight days before the game President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

JFK and shipmates
LTJG John Kennedy and PT 109 crewmates in 1942.
(Click to expand.)

President Kennedy had served in the Navy in World War II as commander of a Motor Torpedo Boat (PT boat 109) in the South Pacific. On the night of August 1, 1943, the 109 and 14 other PT boats were ordered to attack a Japanese convoy that was re-supplying troops resisting U.S. advances in the South Seas islands. The ambush was an abject disaster. None of the Japanese convoy was sunk nor even hit by a torpedo.

Kennedy's boat was sliced in half when it was run over by a Japanese destroyer. The crew was thrown into the water. Two were killed in the collision or subsequently drowned. Half the boat remained afloat. The survivors clung to it. Taking stock of the situation, Kennedy decided to abandon what was left of the sinking boat and swim with his men to an island three miles away. Two of the surviving crew couldn't swim, so Kennedy fashioned a small raft and the men clung to it and paddled. Kennedy, a strong swimmer, towed the most seriously injured crewman to the island by pulling him along with the man's belt clamped in his teeth.

JFK at coin toss
President Kennedy on his way to toss the coin in the 1961 or 1962 game.

The tiny island was uninhabited and had no fresh water. Japanese patrol boats could be seen not far off the island shore. Kennedy determined the greatest chance of survival lay in him swimming out into the channel formed by the group of islands in hopes of signaling another PT boat. While it was still dark, Kennedy swam out and trod water for an hour, but no friendly boats passed near him. He swam back to the island and collapsed. On the second night, another member of the crew, George Ross, swam out into the channel, but he too saw no American boats.

On the third night, in dire need of fresh water and food, Kennedy led the entire crew on a swim/paddle to another island, again dragging the seriously injured man by a life-vest strap held in his teeth. This island also had no food or water. The next night, the crew swam to a third island. Here they found fresh water and some Japanese candy. Kennedy found a canoe, which he used that night to paddle out into the channel in hopes of attracting the attention of a friendly boat. None came into sight.

JFK at coin toss
President Kennedy at the 1961 game.

On the fourth night, Kennedy paddled the canoe to yet another island, where he met locals allied with the Americans. He dispatched them to friendly forces with a message stating his location. The next day two PT boats came to pick up Kennedy and have him lead them to the island where the rest of PT 109's crew was hiding. The pre-arranged signal that a rescue party had arrived was to be four gunshots. Kennedy had three bullets left in his revolver, and fired them off. The he borrowed a crewman's rifle and fired the fourth shot. He was so weak after his long ordeal that the rifle's recoil knocked him backwards off the prow of the PT boat and into the water. For “extremely heroic conduct . . . in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service,” LT. John F. Kennedy was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, the nation's highest non-combat medal for heroism.

As president and Commander-in-Chief, Kennedy attended the 1961 and 1962 Army-Navy games. Navy won the 1961 game (in Philadelphia; 13-7) and the 1962 game (also in Philadelphia, and Navy won again, 34-14). No doubt the president had been looking forward to the 1963 game.

Carl Stichweg
Army's Carl "Rollie" Stichweg, here playing quarterback, scores against Navy in 1963. Captain Stichweg would later earn his airborne wings, and falls like this would be cushioned by his parachute.

Military tradition requires a thirty-day period of mourning when a commander-in-chief goes down. Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy, the president's widow, and Robert Kennedy, the president's brother and the sitting Attorney General, contacted the newly sworn-in president, Lyndon Baines Johnson, and informed him that it was the assassinated president's family's wish that the game be played. It was reset for a week later than originally scheduled, on the anniversary of the attack on Naval Station Pearl Harbor, December 7, in Philadelphia.

The 1963 Army-Navy game was thrilling. It wasn't decided until the last play, or non-play, of the game. A video recap follows. Roger Staubach won the Heisman Trophy in 1963. But in the Army-Navy Game, although he played great, he wasn't the best player on the field that day. Army's Rollie Stichweh, number 16 in the dark jersey, runs the Army game on offense, and also plays defense and on special teams. Please to enjoy:


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three questions -- with three answers

Every Friday here at #DMD, I take three questions I've received during the week (via e-mail, Twitter, etc.) and give the answers here for all to see.

Scott L. asks: "Drew, thanks for following the Golden State Warriors so closely. I'm a huge NBA fan and go to 10-15 Wizards games a year and I'm on your bus trip to see the Warriors in February. I'm just wondering what your official prediction is on how they'll finish in the regular season. Will they beat the Bulls record of 72-10?"

DF: "They're 23-0 as I write this (with a game tonight in Boston). They're past the quarter-mark with no losses. Statistically, they're in great shape to beat 72-10. But I don't think they're going to do it, simply because I think it's just too hard to do. I'm going to say they go 70-12, which is still really freakin' good, by the way. It will come down to the last couple of weeks of the season but they'll come up short in pursuit of 72-10. I hope I'm wrong."

Tim asks: "Who's the Ravens MVP this season?"

DF: Someone else brought this up to me earlier this week! Holy cow, I don't think they have an MVP! Right? I mean, honestly, who are the candidates? It's crazy. I'll say the guy who has "played the best" this season is Brandon Williams. I'm not sure that makes him the MVP of the team, but that's probably the guy I'd cast my vote for if I were given the chance to vote."

Arthur asks: "I'm a big fan of the Doors, too, Drew, and I saw your note on Jim Morrison the other day and you noted you thought he was the greatest rock-n-roller ever. I agree! But I'm wondering who your female "greatest ever" would be? Do you have one?"

DF: "Oh, yes, easy answer here. Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders in a landslide. I'd have to think about the candidates a little more, but she'd be number one for sure. I think the Pretenders were one of the most underrated bands of my generation. Great question!"

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THIS WEEKEND IN ENGLISH SOCCER
Contributed by #DMD's EPL Reporter

MATTHEW CARROLL

Could Matchweek 16 of the Barclay’s Premier League finally be the week when the top five teams in the league begin to pull away from the pack? On paper each look to have very winnable games and with results going their way we could finally begin to see some clarity on who this seasons legitimate title challengers could be. Tune in this weekend to catch all of the action live on the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Saturday (all times Eastern)

10am – Swansea City @ Manchester City – Etihad Stadium, NBC Sports Network

It has been a roller coaster few weeks for Manchester City, with losses to Liverpool and Stoke City sandwiched around a win over Southampton dropping them out, then back in, and then again out of first place in the league table. They will once again look to take over the top spot when they welcome a struggling Swansea side to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday who, having lost four out of their last five and twelve out of their last thirteen, reluctantly parted ways with their longtime player-manager Garry Monk this week with his replacement or an interim manager yet to be named.

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Garry Monk is out as the manager at Swansea after losing twelve of thirteen games in 2015.

Monk, who had been with the club first as a player and then later as manager since 2004 and was an integral part of the clubs meteoric rise from League 2 football all the way to England’s top flight, had guided the Swans to a club record point haul and an eighth place finish in the league last season. Their form however has nosedived since the start of this campaign, with last weekend’s 3-0 home defeat to Leicester leaving them only a point above the relegation zone, and a road trip pending to the Etihad where City have won thirteen out of their last fifteen and the Swans only one of their last eight.

Sunday (all times Eastern)

11am – Newcastle United @ Tottenham – White Hart Lane, NBC Sports Network

Following their 2-0 win over Liverpool last weekend, Newcastle United are on the verge of climbing out of the relegation zone for the first time this season, currently tied on thirteen points with league newcomers Bournemouth and Norwich City and just a point behind the aforementioned Swansea City. They will look to continue to climb the rungs of the league table ladder when they visit White Hart Lane and Tottenham on Sunday, who extended their unbeaten streak to fourteen games with a 1-1 draw against West Bromwich last week, their best run in the top flight in almost thirty years. Despite their historic run of form, Spurs still find themselves three points adrift of the top four and with Arsenal, Manchester United, and Manchester City - all teams above Spurs in the league table - with very winnable games this weekend against bottom of the table dwellers Aston Villa, Bournemouth, and Swansea City respectively, they know they will have to take all three points from the Magpies, who have won just one of their last fourteen away matches (W1 D2 L11) managing a disappointing five goals while conceding thirty five, to keep pace or seriously risk denting their hopes of a top four finish.

Monday (all times Eastern)

3pm – Chelsea @ Leicester City – King Power Stadium, NBC Sports Network

The Cinderella story of the 2015 Barclays Premier League season continues with Leicester City, only a year removed from playing in the second tier of English football, once again back in the league’s top spot following last their 3-0 defeat of Swansea City last weekend. Since losing to last year’s champions Chelsea in April, who they will welcome to the King Power Stadium this week for Monday Night Football, Leicester have lost only one of their last nineteen league matches (W12 D6 L1) and seven of their last ten league home matches on their improbable run to the top of the league standings.

The struggles of the defending champs in the league this year have been well documented, and just when they had to think that it couldn’t get any worse they lost 1-0 to league newcomers Bournemouth last week at the fortress once known as Stamford Bridge to fall just two points above the relegation zone. Chelsea have won their last six league meetings with Leicester and although they have struggled on the road recently, having won only one of their last eight league away matches (W1 D2 L5), they will hope to build on their mid-week win and qualification to the knockout stage of the Champions League.


we're heading to new york again next summer!

Last July, 40 baseball enthusiasts took part in the first-ever #DMD trip to New York, where we spent three days taking in a pair of Orioles-Yankees games and enjoying a fun-filled 72 hours in the Big Apple.

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If you're an Orioles diehard, #DMD has a great trip for you and your family next July! Four days, four games, lots of fun!

In typical New York fashion, we're making it bigger and better in 2016, as the MLB schedule makers did us a huge favor and put the Orioles in New York for FOUR games -- July 18, 19, 20, 21 -- next summer. So, we're going back!!!

Once again, the trip will be limited to only 40 people. We'll ride up on a luxury motor coach to NYC on the morning of July 18, take in the games on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (1 pm game), and head back home on Thursday night, July 21.

Our group will be staying at the DoubleTree Metropolitan Hilton in downtown Manhattan.

Everyone receives game tickets to all four games, outstanding accommodations at the DoubleTree Hilton, and an unlimited subway pass to get you to and from the games and anywhere else you want to go during our 4-day stay.

If you're interested in more details, pricing, etc., send me an e-mail today and you'll get everything you need: 18inarow at gmail.com


Thursday
December 10
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVII
Issue 10

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sadly, davis now getting the evil eye from baltimore baseball fans

These delicious games of sports poker always feature a villain -- sometimes more than one -- and enough plot twists to turn the whole thing into a Netflix series. And even though most of it is predictable, it's still fun to watch. That is, unless it's your player and your team in the eye of the hurricane. Suddenly, then, it's not that much fun.

The Chris Davis saga took a sharp turn on Wednesday when we learned from someone that the Orioles have supposedly placed a 7-year, $150 million contract offer in front of the power-hitting first baseman. The story was "sourced", meaning no one officially -- on either side -- confirmed the size of the offer, rather both parties simply confirmed an offer had been made. It makes no sense at all for either the Orioles or Scott Boras, the agent representing Davis, to confirm the $150 million offer, as these are still live, breathing contract talks and other teams could be lurking in the background ready to make their best move -- or not.

But something odd happened on Wednesday that almost always happens in moments like these where million dollar contract figures are tossed around like a football in Lot H of Ravens stadium this Sunday. Once the $150 million offer was leaked, and Davis hadn't signed within one hour, people started to bite back. "Tell Davis he has one hour to take the deal and if he doesn't, eff-him!" was a particularly internet cry I read time and time again on Wednesday. "If he can't take $150 million, let him go somewhere else!" was seen constantly throughout the day. It almost always works like this, mainly because none of the great unwashed like you and I can fathom the notion of actually refusing an offer of $150 million.

While Maryland does have the highest household income in the United States (an average of $71,000), none of that matters to folks who hear of an athlete rejecting $150 million. So they react...and not in a kind way. All of it, of course, is just eye wash, because if Davis signs in Baltimore for $150, $160 or $170 million, he'll get a standing ovation on opening day (as long as he's not suspended for PED use again like he was for the opener in 2015). We care just long enough to be mad about it and say and write silly things, but the truth of the matter is this: What Chris Davis is dealing with is something none of us will ever face. Not in this lifetime, anyway. I'd like to think I'd probably just take the $150 million and be happy, but maybe I'd also hold out for $200 million simply because I think I deserve it, and more importantly, might be able to get it.

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If Chris Davis gets $150 million from the Orioles, he'd be $65 million ahead of the largest contract ever handed out by the club.

Personally, I'm not sure I believe much of what was leaked out on Wednesday. I believe the Orioles made Davis some sort of offer, yes. I believe they want him back on the team. And I also think they've resigned themselves to the fact that they're going to have to pay him remarkably well in order to keep him in Baltimore. Unlike Adam Jones, who sold himself cheaply a few years back when he agreed to a 6-year/$85 million deal, Davis won't be playing for peanuts under the term of his new contract.

But it strikes me as very odd, given the history of the Orioles and their ownership group since 1993, that a franchise that has never -- not once -- agreed to a contract worth more than $85 million would suddenly be willing to pay someone upwards of $150 million. It's just not in the Orioles' DNA to fork over $22 million a year for a baseball player, particularly when they'd have to agree to pay him $22 million for SEVEN straight years. Yes, sure, I realize a substantial portion of the $150 million would be deferred in some fashion and it might wind up that Davis gets $100 million over seven years and then another $50 million over the following ten years, but any way you slice it, it's still $150 million...and the Orioles have simply NEVER done that before.

It's a unique situation when an offer is leaked to the media. Let's pretend for a second it was the Boras camp that made up that 7/150 offer and then got it out to a reporter or two. Why would they do that, you ask? Well, if the Orioles' offer for Davis was, say, 5/90, it would be important for Boras to counter such a "paltry deal" (go ahead and giggle) by making other teams think he had something far more substantial on the table, like 7/150. Boras wouldn't ever want the other 29 teams to know the best offer he had for Davis thus far was 5/90. So, he comes up with something "reasonable" like 7/150, links it to the Orioles (since they have, in fact, made an offer) and the game of "who will pay my guy the most?" begins in earnest.

Oh, and the Orioles couldn't DENY they offered 7/150 and only offered 5/90. If they do that, they look cheap to their fanbase and potentially enrage the player, too. "No, no, no, we didn't offer 7/150. That's an outrage. We'd never do that. We offered the player 5 years and $90 million and we think that's fair!". That scenario would never play out, which Boras knows, of course. So, he essentially has the power to make up whatever number(s) he wants in an effort to play all of the interested parties off of the other. It's dirty pool, yes, but it's also high-stakes gambling. Boras BETTER be right or Chris Davis could be left without a team by the end of the week.

Boras also knows the team has its annual FanFest event this Saturday in Baltimore and he's keenly aware that the club hasn't revealed its ticket prices for 2016 and they haven't yet sent out season ticket renewal information, either. He knows those two things haven't been done because of HIS client. And, so, knowing it's in the Orioles best interest to have something concrete in place to "sell" this Saturday, Boras has another hunk of leverage to use this week while he's trying to get his client the best deal possible.

And for the record -- I don't blame Chris Davis for not taking $150 million, if, in fact, that was the offer he received. If he thinks he can do better, turn it down and roll the dice. I've said all along I'd like to see him back in Baltimore, but if he goes elsewhere, so be it. I think the Orioles owe it to their fan base to retain him, but at some point you make an offer, say to the player "this is the best we'll do" and then you either let him take it or leave it. If the Orioles are at that point, the rest is up to Davis and Boras.

And here's the last thing to keep in mind. Don't EVER trust Scott Boras. Don't. Do. It. These sports agents would steal the bike out of your backyard just to get you to buy a more expensive one. Anything "leaked" for the benefit of the player is always coming from the computer or cell phone of the agent. And it's always done to paint their client in the best light possible.

Don't be down on Chris Davis. He's just doing what he's told to do by his agent. It's all part of the game. It's a little disturbing at times, yes, but it's just the routine development of the master plan, which, in this case, is designed to get Chris Davis the most money he can possibly get.

Yes, you and I would be happy with $150 million. But we can't hit 45 home runs, either. If we could, we might want $200 million.

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bring your winter apparel to us tonight

Our third of four "collection events" to help the men at Helping Up Mission takes place tonight from 5 pm to 7 pm at Charles Nusinov and Sons jewelers on Satyr Hill Road in Parkville.

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Our 2015 winter apparel collection drive, presented by Jerry's Toyota, rolls on tonight at Charles Nusinov and Sons in Parkville. Please bring us your gently used coats and jackets!

We'll take anything you can bring, of course, but we're mainly looking for gently used winter clothing; coats, sweaters, sweatshirts, hats, gloves, shoes, etc. We'll also take children's winter clothing as well, since the men in Helping Up Mission can use those items for holiday gifts to their own family members.

Our first two collection events -- at Glory Days Grill and Jerry's Toyota -- have been very successful, as we already have well over 1,000 pieces of apparel to donate. We'd like to get to 2,000 by the end of next week if possible. We'll be taking the items to Helping Up Mission on Tuesday, December 22nd, our sixth straight year going down there and lending a hand to those in need.

If you'll bring five pieces of winter apparel to Charles Nusinov and Sons tonight from 5 pm to 7 pm, I'll give you two free UMBC basketball/lacrosse tickets (your choice) and free food items from either Glory Days or The Corner Bakery. It's our way of saying "thanks" for taking the time out of your holiday season to help us with our annual collection drive.

And in case you can't make it tonight, we'll be at Glory Days (E. Joppa Road in Towson) next Thursday, December 17, from 5 pm to 7 pm for the final collection event.

Please come out tonight and meet us at Charles Nusinov and Sons jewelers, 8720 Satyr Hill Road, Parkville, MD, 21234.


we're heading to new york again next summer!

Last July, 40 baseball enthusiasts took part in the first-ever #DMD trip to New York, where we spent three days taking in a pair of Orioles-Yankees games and enjoying a fun-filled 72 hours in the Big Apple.

X
If you're an Orioles diehard, #DMD has a great trip for you and your family next July! Four days, four games, lots of fun!

In typical New York fashion, we're making it bigger and better in 2016, as the MLB schedule makers did us a huge favor and put the Orioles in New York for FOUR games -- July 18, 19, 20, 21 -- next summer. So, we're going back!!!

Once again, the trip will be limited to only 40 people. We'll ride up on a luxury motor coach to NYC on the morning of July 18, take in the games on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (1 pm game), and head back home on Thursday night, July 21.

Our group will be staying at the DoubleTree Metropolitan Hilton in downtown Manhattan.

Everyone receives game tickets to all four games, outstanding accommodations at the DoubleTree Hilton, and an unlimited subway pass to get you to and from the games and anywhere else you want to go during our 4-day stay.

If you're interested in more details, pricing, etc., send me an e-mail today and you'll get everything you need: 18inarow at gmail.com

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please . . . sing, sing now . . .
no, thank you, no . . . only after you!

Army Navy 1944 program cover
1944 Army-Navy Game program. (Click to enlarge.)

On Saturday, December 2, 1944 the Army Cadets, the #1 team in American college football, earned the right to sing second by beating the #2 ranked Navy Midshipmen in a hard-fought and well-played game at Municipal Stadium in Baltimore on a very cold and windy afternoon. The Cadets held a 7 – 0 lead at halftime. In the second half, led by team captain Tom Lombardo, Doc Blanchard (Mr. Inside) and Glenn Davis (Mr. Outside), Army scored two touchdowns, blocked a Navy punt that resulted in a safety, and held the Midshipmen to a single touchdown late in the game. The final was 23 – 7. Municipal Stadium sold out its (some sources say 52,833, others say 66,659) seats and several thousand more fans bribed their way or sneaked in (the Sunpapers estimated over 70,000 were in attendance) to watch the first of many contests that would be deemed a Game of the Century.

The Army team was a powerhouse. It was the unanimous selection as the country's best at season's end. During that spectacular year, it smacked Notre Dame in Yankee Stadium, 59 – 0, handing the Irish what is still their worst defeat. And Notre Dame wasn't a pushover. They went 8 – 2 and finished ranked #5 in the country. Army averaged 56 points per game in 1944, still the record, and gave up an average of only four per game. The team's defense set a phenomenal record of intercepting 18% of passes thrown against it. That Navy was only beaten by 16 points on this day was the real story.

Municipal Stadium
Above: Municipal Stadium.
Below: Offices of the Baltimore Park Board on 33rd Street in front of Municipal Stadium.
Municipal Stadium

The 1944 Army-Navy game was held on the 22nd anniversary of the Opening Day of Baltimore's Municipal Stadium. In 1922, the Army III Corps football team played the Quantico Marines in the first game to be held at the venue. The stadium hosted many professional baseball and college football games, including games the Naval Academy varsity team played against rival colleges, and also had been home to the International League's Baltimore Orioles Baseball Club after the latest Oriole Park burned down in July, 1944. Municipal Stadium served as the sometime home field of the Baltimore Elite Giants of the Negro National Baseball League (from 1944 to '48) and the Negro American League (1949 and part of 1950).

Municipal Stadium
Municipal Stadium in 1932. Picture taken from the south-southwest at 500 feet above ground level.

In 1950, the Baltimore Park Board decided to renovate Municipal Stadium and add an upper deck to it. The renovation plans changed from time to time, with each change calling for a larger and more expensive result. When work was completed, little remained of the original structure, and the stadium which stood in its place on 33rd Street from 1950 to 2002 was re-dedicated. The Park Board (as well as a majority of the City Council and the mayor) wanted to name the new stadium after the recently-deceased, Baltimore-born and reform-schooled Babe Ruth. This proposal was met with heated condemnation of the Board by the Gold Star Mothers of Baltimore, a sadly large organization of mothers whose sons and daughters had been killed in World War II in service to the country, and who wanted the structure to serve as a memorial to their dead children. The men of the Park Board, the City Council and Mayor Tommy D'Alesandro Jr. (Rep. Nancy Pelosi's father) decided to compromise with the women of the Gold Star Mothers, and (given the inevitable result of all compromises reached between men and women) the new structure was named Memorial Stadium. Back in the days when people were permitted to refer to local stadiums by names other than what corporate executives told them to, it was sometimes called The World's Largest Outdoor Insane Asylum, and mostly was referred to simply as The Stadium.

Municipal Stadium
Municipal Stadium in transformation to Memorial Stadium, 1950.

Memorial Stadium never hosted an Army-Navy Game. I have a dim recollection of seeing the Naval Academy team play there, sometime in the mid-1980s. I think (but wouldn't bet) that it was against Notre Dame.

Army and Navy first played one another in 1890 (Navy won, 24 – 0), and played again in 1891 and '92. Because of a fistfight between an admiral and a general after the third game, the rivalry was suspended for a while, and then resumed. The teams have played annually since 1899 except for 1909, 1917, 1918, and 1929. As of 2014, Navy leads the series, 59 to 47, with seven ties. Navy has won every game since 2002, a streak of 13. The game has been played five times in Baltimore: in 1924 and 1944 at Municipal Stadium, and thrice at M&T Bank Stadium; in 2000 (when it was called PSINet Stadium), 2007, and 2014. The majority of the games have been played in Philadelphia, a reasonably equidistant neutral site between Annapolis and West Point.

I found this video of the 1944 game online, made by the now-defunct Navy Athletic Association. Navy wears the dark jerseys. The sound is unintelligible—nothing but loud static—so I scrubbed it from the video. The scoring plays are at these time markers: 17:20 Army TD; 23:40 Army safety; 32:18 Navy TD; 36:28 Army TD; and 39:26 Army TD. Interceptions by the Army defense, what broke Navy's back, come at 19:28, 25:30, 34:30, and 43:32.

For those road-tripping to Philly to watch the 2015 Army-Navy Game, be well advised: Don't follow Drew and Dale when they get up to leave with 2:15 remaining, even if the score is 99 – 0. Arguably the most important aspect of the annual rivalry, and inarguably the most moving, comes after the last whistle has blown. The winning team joins the losing team on the losers' side of the field, and together they sing the alma mater of the loser. When the song is finished, both teams move to the side of the winner, and join in singing the alma mater of the winner. This tradition, a show of solidarity and mutual respect, signifies that despite the rivalry between the academies, when the day is done, both teams are on the same side, and that members of both teams and their classmates have pledged to defend this country with their lives. This post-game activity is rarely shown on television — the air time is much too valuable for such a sentimental and minimally relevant display.

The lyrics of the respective almae matres of the academies are printed below for those who would like to sing along with the teams when the game is over. The included audio selections are best enjoyed LOUD!

Army's Alma Mater Lyrics Navy's Alma Mater Lyrics
The Stars and Stripes Forever

The Caissons Go Rolling Along

Anchors Aweigh

USMA ALMA MATER


Hail, Alma Mater, dear!
To us be ever near,
Help us thy motto bear,
thru’ all the years.
Let Duty be well performed,
Honor be e’er untarn’d,
Country be ever armed,
West Point, by thee!


Guide us, thine own, aright,
Teach us by day, by night,
To keep thine honor bright,
For thee to fight.
When we depart from thee,
Serving on land or sea,
May we still loyal be,
West Point, to thee!


And when our work is done,
Our course on earth is run,
May it be said, “Well done.
Be thou at peace.”
E’er may that line of gray
Increase from day to day;
Live, serve, and die, we pray,
West Point, for thee!


Note: This piece was superbly written by longtime Baltimore sports enthusiast George McDowell and is the first in a series of two Army/Navy retrospectives we'll be running here at #DMD this week. His look back at the 1963 Army/Navy game will be published at #DMD tomorrow, December 11.

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Wednesday
December 9
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVII
Issue 9

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if the orioles don't spend "our money"...what do they do with it?

A familiar landscape is being painted as baseball's off-season hits full stride and, for longtime fans of the Orioles, the time has come -- again -- to choose sides.

To spend or not to spend.

You might be a supporter of the team who wants to see the club spend money on baseball players this winter. If you are, you probably wanted to see them spend money on players in 2008...or 2010...or 2012. Once a free-spender, always a free spender, I suppose.

On the other side, you may be one of those people who balks at the thought of coughing up $150 million for a player. In the framework of those sorts of deals, you're often giving a guy $20 million who just made $10 million the previous year. Who on earth deserves a $10 million per-year raise, you ask?

The baseball we've seen in Baltimore over the last four seasons has been a mammoth-sized upgrade over what we endured from 1998 through 2011. There will be people -- and rightfully so -- who will point to the last four years as proof that the club has elevated their operation and dedication to fielding a representative team. The counter-point to that, simply, would be to say: "That's what you're SUPPOSED to do when you have a regional TV network that the consumers all pay for and you're charging an average ticket price of $25.00 to see the games." Boasting on the Orioles for trying to be competitive is like thanking someone who decided NOT to snatch an old lady's purse on a crowded downtown street. Since when do you applaud someone for doing the right thing?

The way I see it, the team HAD to improve. They couldn't sink any lower, try any less and embarrass themselves any more than they did from 1998 through 2011. It's like that old marketing phrase of the Baltimore Opera House: The Baltimore Opera, it's better than you think it is. It HAS to be!

The last four years have been remarkably better than we could have expected given the track record of the team's current ownership group, yet we still long for more. Those of you who follow baseball have seen the Kansas City Royals reach two straight World Series' (it still feels weird to type that) and undoubtedly say to yourself, "How in THE hell have the Royals done that? They were a laughingstock for a decade just like the Orioles." The "how" doesn't really matter, at least not to me. I only care about the result. They've done it. That's all that matters.

There's no cookie-cutter approach to building a baseball team. In fact, there's probably only one common demoninator amongst the teams who have been to the World Series over the last decade. They all had really good players. Some had superstars, some had great pitching, some had a sound defensive team, and some had a sprinkling of all of those ingredients. There's no exact science to it or every team would have figured it out by now. Instead, there's an almost mystical approach to assembling a roster. There's a lot more luck and "wishing" than the evolution of a player's career and his ability to get to the next level. That's what I think, anyway. It becomes the chase for the perfect storm.

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The pursuit of free agent Chris Davis represents the team's most high-profile chase of a player since the Orioles supposedly wooed Mark Texeira in 2007.

The Orioles are in a unique situation right now given that they have a golden opportunity to secure -- or re-secure as it were -- the services of Chris Davis. No matter what happens, they're going to win. And, oddly enough, no matter what happens, they're going to lose. If they snag Davis in the off-season, they win because they'll deliver a fan favorite back to the waiting arms of their customers. And there's something to be said for "repaying" the legions of people who stuck by the franchise during the years when they weren't trying at all to win championships. They were stealing people's money for a decade and the re-signing of Davis would be a repayment of sorts for those crimes. They also win by re-signing Davis because the team in 2016 will be better WITH him than WITHOUT him.

They lose by re-signing Davis, too. If they cave in and give him the $20 million or so he'll wind up getting, it disrupts their current salary structure and could, potentially, interfere with off-season efforts in 2016, 2017 and beyond. Who knows...could re-signing Davis impact the club's ability to get Manny Machado to sign a new deal before he reaches free agency in a few years? And if Davis gets a Brinks truck deal and then fails to respond on the field, the Orioles are saddled with one of those "awful" contracts that we've seen far too often in the big leagues. Guy gets paid, guy goes in the tank.

The only way the deal for Davis winds up making sense for the Orioles is if they parlay his signing and any other improvements they make into a World Series appearance. Or two. Or three. The Yankees forked over $300 million for Texeira, Burnett and Sabathia in 2008 and promptly won the World Series. Was it worth $300 million to the club over the life of those deals to reach and win ONE World Series? I don't know. But it's better than anything we've done in Baltimore and better than anything that's been done in Atlanta, Chicago or Los Angeles in the last seven years.

I'm numb to these off-season dances, now. And that's for no reason other than I don't control any of the proceedings. They'll either pony up the money for Davis and keep him or they won't. I know they'll be using MY money to do it, and that's OK. I'd much rather watch the games on MASN next August when the team is 65-40 than I would to watch a team that's 45-60.

And if they don't re-sign Davis, I know what will follow in the aftermath. People will talk about fiscal responsibility and franchise value and other math equations that I honestly can't grasp. I just want the team to improve and play for the championship again sometime soon. They haven't done that since 1983. I think the time has come.

But the Orioles need better baseball players on their roster in 2016. How they go about doing that is THEIR job, not mine, but I've never seen a team produce an inferior roster (to the one they fielded the year before) and yet improve at the same time.

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Terps Spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his second season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in 2015-2016 and is presented by The Wine Merchant, Baltimore's best source for fine wines and spirits. The Wine Merchant is also a great place to stop for your carry-out lunch and dinner needs. Look for Drew's "Wine Winner" choice when you visit The Wine Merchant!


If a ten point victory could ever be a nail biter, last night’s Maryland win over a resilient Connecticut team, 76-66, was surely one. Maryland had leads of twenty in the first half and eighteen in the second, before some hot shooting by UConn and some sloppiness by the Terps caused the lead to evaporate to a scant three points after Daniel Hamilton hit a three (part of his team high 23) with 2:50 remaining in the game. On the ensuing throw in, UConn’s Jalen Adams was called for a foul (a really suspect call) and when the Huskies' coach, Kevin Ollie, voiced his displeasure with the call by throwing some papers off of the scorer’s table, he was hit with a technical foul. Melo Trimble made three of the four foul shots, the Terps had a 70-64 lead, and were never challenged again.

Trimble had a game high 25 points and seemed to squelch every attempted UConn rally with either a key bucket or slick assist. Even more impressive for the Terps was their 49–23 advantage on the boards (I did see different stat sheets with different numbers, but the margin was still impressive). The positive rebounding differential was very symbolic of Maryland’s increased effort on the defensive side as Robert Carter Jr (11), Diamond Stone (9), and Michal Cekovsky (6) outrebounded the entire UConn team. While Maryland was rebounding, playing great defense (vastly improved when defending the high ball screens), and getting to the foul line (they had a 23-9 advantage in free throws made), the Huskies were sloppy, missing shots, and getting outworked. Maryland held a 20 point lead, 34-14 with 4:27 remaining in the opening half as Diamond Stone led the way with 14 points in the opening twenty minutes. Maryland held a 38-22 advantage at the break.

The Terps scored the first two points of the second half, but didn’t seem to have the same fire they had earlier in the game. The lead fluctuated between 9 and 15 points before Maryland went into a scoring funk with 7:54 left, scoring only four points during the next five minute stretch. While that was happening, Hamilton and Rodney Purvis each made two three point shots, Purvis added a couple of layups, and Maryland found themselves with only a three point lead and just under 2:50 left in the game. UConn had all of the momentum and the loud Madison Square Garden crowd seemed to sense a big comeback. That is when the key sequence of the questionable foul, technical foul, and Trimble foul shots supplied the Terps with a margin that would not again be challenged.

The Terps' defensive effort was easily their best of the year, as was their effort on the glass at both ends of the court. They played fast, hard, and aggressive. They went after rebounds and showed heart, especially in the first half. They were able to win a game against a good Connecticut team despite having 15 turnovers and hitting only 3 of their 14 three point attempts. In addition to Trimble’s 25 and 16 from Stone, the Terps got 8 points each from Carter Jr, Jake Layman, and Rasheed Sulaimon. Joining Hamilton in double digits for UConn were Sterling Gibbs (12), Shonn Miller (12), and Rodney Purvis (11).

The Terps will host Maryland Eastern Shore on December 12th, Marshall on December 27th, and play Princeton on the 19th at the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore before moving on to Big 10 play against Penn State at the XFINITY Center on December 30th.


bo's eye view

BO SMOLKA is a longtime member of the Baltimore-Washington media. He covers the Ravens for #DMD and ComcastSportsNet. Bo's insights and analyses are presented by Advanced Heating & Cooling, which offers a variety of energy saving, high-efficiency equipment for heating, air conditioning, and geothermal systems.


The news that Ravens rookie tight end Nick Boyle has been suspended for four games -- essentially ending his season -- for a violation of the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs adds yet another black eye to what has been a thoroughly miserable year for the Ravens 2015 draft class.

It also amps up the pressure on Ozzie Newsome, Eric DeCosta and the rest of the Ravens brain trust to get it right in 2016. The Ravens over 20 seasons have done the draft as well as any organization, but let's face it: at the moment, the Ravens are looking at very subpar draft classes in two of the past three years. And with the Ravens disaster of a season unfolding, they are looking at a top-5 draft pick for the first time since 2000, when they selected Jamal Lewis No. 5 overall. That only adds to the pressure. When you pick that high, DeCosta has often said, you can't afford to miss on the pick.

In 2013, the Ravens top four picks included first-rounder Matt Elam, second-rounder Arthur Brown -- remember, they traded up to draft him -- and fourth-rounder John Simon. Elam has been a huge disappointment and landed on injured reserve this year without playing a down. Brown has hardly seen the field in three years and Simon is long gone. Yikes. That class did produce Brandon Williams (third round) and a pair of mid-round value picks in Kyle Juszczyk and Rick Wagner, but the 10-member class was a case study in quantity, not quality.

As for this year, the saga of first-round pick Breshad Perriman is well-known by now; he was hurt on the first day of training camp and never played a down, finally moved to injured reserve after trying to rehabilitate what John Harbaugh described as "probably one of the all-time, slowest-healing sprained PCLs ever."

But in case you didn't notice, last Sunday at Miami, none of the Ravens top three draft picks from this year even saw the field -- Perriman and Maxx Williams (concussion) were hurt, and defensive tackle Carl Davis was a healthy scratch. Fourth-round pick Tray Walker has hardly played a snap on defense -- and did so only when literally no other defensive backs were available -- and the Ravens cut fifth-round pick Robert Myers, though they have since brought him back to the practice squad.

Za'Darius Smith, another fourth-rounder, hasn't done much, and sixth-round project Darren Waller is on injured reserve. In other words, other than Buck Allen and Boyle, who had shown athleticism and better hands than advertised (18 catches, 153 yards), the 2015 draft class has been a swing and a miss. True, it's only Year One, and Harbaugh often speaks of the strides players make between Year One and Year Two in the NFL. The Ravens sorely need that to occur.

They also need Ozzie and Co. to make the right calls in next year's draft. The Ravens should land at least three more mid-round compensatory picks, which is good, because even if the Ravens land a future Hall of Famer in the first round, the sad truth is this team is more than one player away. That is partially because recent drafts have been so disappointing. The pressure indeed will be on Ozzie and Co. to produce better results in 2016.


here's your wednesday belly-laugh-moment

If you know anything at all about the history of New York media personality Mike Francesa, I think you'll love this clip. If you don't know who he is, just think "Ron Burgandy on the radio in New York" and you'll get the message. Francesa is well known for being the victim of radio call-in-pranks and this one, from earlier this past summer, is worth taking two minutes out of your day to watch. I'm amazed that he never really figured it out...and I can't believe the guy on the other end of the line didn't break up at some point and give it away. Enjoy...


#dmd hdtv

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warriors win again, now 23-0

They're within ten games now.

Golden State led last night's game at Indiana by as many as 32 points at one point and withstood a fairly serious 4th quarter rally by the Pacers to win 131-23 and extend their season opening run to 23-0.

With the win, the Warriors are within ten victories (consecutively, of course) of tying the all-time NBA record for consecutive wins (33), set by the Lakers in 1971-72. Golden State has now successfully handled the first five games of their current seven-game road trip. They'll play in Boston on Friday night and then wrap up the road swing on Saturday in Milwaukee.

Klay Thompson had 39 points (10-of-16 from 3-point range) and Steph Curry had 29 on Tuesday night in Indianapolis, where the Warriors led by 19 points at the half.

Our bus trip to see the Warriors play in Washington DC on February 3 has TWO seats remaining, by the way. For $119, you get a game ticket, drinks and snacks on the way to DC (via luxury motor coach), unlimited buffet, beer, wine and soda during the game, and a Wizards t-shirt. If you're interested in getting those last two seats, e-mail me: 18inarow at gmail.com

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umbc hoops lose at duquesne

UMBC fought back gamely from its largest halftime deficit of the season, but high-scoring Duquesne held off the Retrievers, 89-70, at the A.J. Palumbo Center in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. Freshman wing Joe Sherburne continued his brilliant first-year play, scoring a season-high 25 points and burying 6-of-13 from behind the arc.

UMBC (2-8) was outscored, 53-31, in the first 20 minutes, but charged out of the locker room on an 11-0 run to quickly cut the deficit to 53-42 on Sherburne's short jumper just 3:36 into the stanza. The Dukes stemmed the tide, but Sherburne kept UMBC in touch, hitting a layup to keep the deficit at 62-50 at the 11:34 mark.

However, Duquense forward L.G. Gill, who hit 6-of-7 shots from behind the arc, buried a pair of treys around two DU free throws and the Dukes rebuilt the lead to 19.

UMBC senior post Cody Joyce added 18 points in 25 minutes, while junior wing Will Darley (Dulaney H.S.) recorded 13 points, a team-best eight rebounds and five assists.

The Retrievers hit 15-of-30 shots from the floor and 5-of-10 from behind the arc in the second half, but finished at 39.1 percent (25-of-64) for the game. Duquesne also hit half of its shots in the second half (13-of-26) and finished at 53.1 percent (34-of-64) for the game.

The Retrievers return home to take on Mount St. Mary's on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 1:00 p.m.


Tuesday
December 8
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVII
Issue 8

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scott boras must think we're all stupid

If you read Monday's edition of #DMD, you'll remember I mentioned that one of the favorite tricks of agent Scott Boras is to create "a ghost team" when he's trying to peddle one of his high profile clients in the off-season.

Right on cue it happened on Monday, when word leaked out of Toronto that the Blue Jays are in hot pursuit of free agent first baseman Chris Davis.

Or did word "really" leak out of Toronto? The guy who fashioned the statement about the Blue Jays and Davis having "mutual interest" (of course Davis would have interest in any team giving him $25 million a year) is a hockey writer in Canada. Not that a hockey writer can't somehow get the scoop on a baseball story, or vice versa, but are we to sincerely believe that someone not even in Nashville at the winter meetings would uncover one of the bigger stories of the hot stove session?

Sure, that could happen, especially if Scott Boras himself gave that "story" to someone in Toronto and then sat back and giggled as it wiggled its way through the media until some hockey writer with a Twitter account throws it out there for the whole world to see.

And that, of course, is precisely what Boras does -- and wants. He needs to create leverage, both with the Orioles (who, as far as we know, are the only team that actually WANTS Davis) and any other teams that might be in need of a player of his caliber. If he's asking for $200 million for 7 years and no one is biting on that, he takes it down a notch to $150 million for 7 years. But at some point, in order to even get teams to consider 7/$150, he has to have a club "willing to pay" that amount in order to play one against the other. Hence, "the ghost team".

Boras probably got rattled last week when the Orioles traded for Mark Trumbo. He knows Trumbo isn't the answer at first base and he knows a Trumbo-for-Davis swap would be seen as a "loss" by the Orioles' fan base, but he's also well aware the Birds are quite capable of doing something dumb like that and trying to sell it as "not our fault Chris Davis wouldn't take our huge offer...so we moved on while we could still get Trumbo." And once Boras got rattled, he needed to turn up the heat on the Orioles. And what better way to do that than to bring the Blue Jays into the picture? If Davis goes to Toronto, they might score 1200 runs in 2016. They might give up 1100, but Lord only knows how many home runs those mashers would hit next season if Davis winds up in Canada.

It's a typical move by Boras. Leak something out about a team being interested so activity can truly begin and he can pull off a deal for his client.

I could be wrong on this and Davis might sign with the Blue Jays tomorrow. But I'm betting the whole story is bogus. I'd bet all of my golf clubs and my whole CD collection and a couple of bottles of Silver Oak that Chris Davis isn't signing with the Blue Jays.

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What's worse than Chris Davis being linked to the Blue Jays? Neil Peart retiring, that's what.

Oh, there was -- believe it or not -- worse news coming out of Canada on Monday. "Huh, Drew?" you ask, "How could there be worse news than Chris Davis potentially signing in Toronto?"

Legendary drummer Neil Peart of the band "Rush" has hung up the sticks and announced he's retiring.

That news effectively ends the 42-year run of the Toronto-based trio, as Peart, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson have combined to sell over 40 million records since 1974 (Peart actually wasn't the drummer on the band's first album in 1974...he joined them shortly after its release when Rush's first drummer had health issues).

If that's how it's all ending for Rush, I'm saddened. Greatly. Even though they've been showing signs of old age (aren't we all?) in the last couple of tour stops, the two most recent concerts I saw -- within the last 6-7 years -- were still enjoyable and very fulfilling for a guy who grew up with the band and considers them easily in my Top 5 of all-time favorites.

Peart, almost without argument from any expert, is one of the greatest drummers of the rock-n-roll era. There's John Bonham, Keith Moon, Buddy Rich and others in that debate, but Peart's name always surfaces whenever the "best ever" discussion surfaces.

Hell, I like Neil Peart and Rush a lot more than I like Chris Davis. If Peart unretires later today and says he'll stick around for five more years, the Blue Jays can have Davis for the same amount of time.

Yes, I'm that much of a Rush fan.

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boyle's mistake is unacceptable

The Ravens only have about eight healthy offensive players (and 11 play on the field, in case you forgot), so Nick Boyle's suspension on Monday for the final four games of the season puts the club in quite the predicament. They don't have any "real" tight ends for this Sunday's game with the Seahawks.

With Crockett Gilmore (back) and Maxx Williams (concussion) both likely to miss the game with Seattle, that would have left Boyle and some other guy the Ravens would bring in to fill out a uniform as the team's only two tight ends this Sunday.

But then Boyle got suspended yesterday.

Bad, bad timing, kid.

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With Nick Boyle's suspension on Monday, the Ravens have exactly ZERO tight ends on the current roster who are available to play this Sunday vs. Seattle.

Although John Harbaugh wouldn't reveal what Boyle was using that got detected, it's likely going to be Adderall (or the Adderall "excuse") if, in fact, the rookie from Delaware mans up and tells the media what he was using. The silly thing about the 4-game suspension is that Boyle would have been caught ONCE before the suspension -- in order to eventually be suspended for four games. That's what has to drive Harbaugh nuts. It's one thing if the guy pees dirty, gets the letter from the NFL, and is then "put on notice" that his next failed test results in a suspension. You get that letter, you vow not to do it again, and you roll on through the season. Instead, Boyle continued using whatever it was he was using and got nailed.

I'm sure Harbaugh went bonkers when that news came down on Monday, but he also might have just laughed and said, "Oh, yeah, I kind of expected something like that with one of my starters this week..." as a nod to the way the Football gods continue to torture the Ravens in 2015.

Whatever the case, Boyle's mistake is unacceptable. When your team is decimated with injuries and you're 4-8 as it is, healthy players who are ready to compete are paramount. Nick Boyle removed himself from that equation on Monday. And this time, it wasn't the referee's fault. It's his fault.


Terps Spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his second season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in 2015-2016 and is presented by The Wine Merchant, Baltimore's best source for fine wines and spirits. The Wine Merchant is also a great place to stop for your carry-out lunch and dinner needs. Look for Drew's "Wine Winner" choice when you visit The Wine Merchant!


The University of Maryland men’s basketball team returns to action tonight fresh off of Friday’s 96-55 win over a woefully out-manned St. Francis team. ESPN will broadcast the 9:00 pm contest against the University of Connecticut Huskies, the last of three marque non-conference games for Maryland. UConn has a quick athletic line up and should pose some problems for the Terps.

The Huskies have started out with five wins and only two losses with both losses by only three points to Syracuse and Gonzaga. They have some real nice pieces, decent depth, and plenty of experience. The experience starts with Grad students Sterling Gibbs and Shon Miller. Gibbs played one season at Texas before getting in two seasons at Seton Hall. The 6’2” 191 pound guard averages almost 12 points a game, has missed only one foul shot, and shoots 35% from the three point line. He has good quickness and can get to the rim but needs to finish more often once he gets there. Shon Miller had three real solid years at Cornell (he sat out as a sophomore with a shoulder injury) before coming to UConn to play for Head Coach Kevin Ollie. Miller (an athletic 6’7” 222) connects on a very high percentage of close range shots, almost never takes a three, and shots over 80% from the foul line. His 12 ppg is third on the team.

Another transfer, junior Rodney Purvis, spent a season at North Carolina State before coming to UConn. He is a bigger guard at 6’4” 205, shoots it very effectively from the floor (48%) and the three point line (42%), but converts only 52% of his threes. His 14.1 ppg leads all Huskie scorers. Keep your eyes on forward Daniel Hamilton. The 6’7” slasher loves to create his own shot (often acrobatic attempts), and averages 12.6 points and over 9 rebounds a game. Last year he was his conference’s (American Athletic Conference) pre-season rookie of the year and lived up to that billing by winning the award at the 2014-2015 season’s end. He is a high-energy guy, as are most of the Huskies, who prefers to shoot off the dribble but will occasionally jack a three.

UConn’s inside game is mainly handled by 7’ junior Amida Brimah. Last year, Brimah led the nation in blocked shots with a total of 121. He doesn’t shoot often, but when he does it usually goes in. At 71%, his field goal percentage (most dunks and layups from dish-offs and put-backs) is easily the best on the team. Also seeing time at center is the promising freshman Steven Enoch. While only getting 9 minutes per game right now, I believe this kid has the goods to be a key performer in the future.

The Huskies lack of discipline frequently hurts them on offense. When playing the tougher opponents, too many of their offensive possessions end with poor shots as the Huskies can tend to get a little “playground”. Zone defenses have frustrated them at times. On the other side of the court, this UConn team can really get after you defensively. They are aggressive, extremely quick, and we already pointed out that they block shots. However, they do yield eight three pointers per game and tend to give up points to their opponent’s big men.

If Maryland shoots the three well, they should handle UConn. If the game comes down to the wire, it’s the Huskies that may have the edge due to their ability to make free throws. I’ll take the steadiness of Melo Trimble over UConn’s quickness and aggression. I think Maryland can hit enough shots to keep the Huskies at bay, but it won’t be easy. Let’s go with the one-point favorite Terps (early line) winning by six, 74–68.

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monday was a great day for collecting winter apparel!

Our second of four winter-apparel-collection days went through the roof on Monday, as we gathered over 500 coats, sweaters, sweatshirts, gloves and shoes at Jerry's Toyota as part of our annual donation drive to help the men at Helping Up Mission in downtown Baltimore.

We now have well over 1,000 total items for the 400-men who live at the facility -- and we still have two more collection dates in the next two weeks! We'll be taking everything to Helping Up Mission on Tuesday, December 22nd and distributing it then, just in time for the holidays.

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In addition to serving as the title sponsor of this year's Winter Apparel Drive, Jerry's Toyota-Scion on Belair Road helped us collect over 500 pieces of apparel on December 7!

On Monday, Jerry's Toyota-Scion employees routinely stopped by the table in the main showroom with their donations and contributions. Thanks to Bill Bolander of Jerry's Toyota for organizing things on his end and thanks to all the employees who helped out! My friend Joe Calogerro of The Traffic Group brought a mammoth sized box on Monday afternoon that contained over 60 items. Thanks to the people at The Traffic Group for their generous support of our mission.

Anyone donating five or more items on Monday received UMBC basketball tickets, and free food from either Glory Days or The Corner Bakery.

We have two more drop-off events for those of you interested in cleaning out your closet and helping us give clothing to the men at Helping Up Mission.

This Thursday, December 10, 5-7 pm at Charles Nusinov and Sons in Parkville.

Next Thursday, December 17, 5-7 pm at Glory Days Grill in Towson.

Please come out and donate your gently used coats, jackets, sweatshirts, shoes, hats, etc. Anything that keeps someone warm in the winter, we'll take. And put it to good use!


happy birthday jim morrison!

The greatest rock-n-roller of all-time (in my humble opinion, of course) would have celebrated his 72nd birthday today, so we extend birthday wishes to the great Jim Morrison -- lead singer of The Doors -- who was born on this day in 1943.

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James Douglas Morrison, December 8, 1943-July 3, 1971

I was driving to Jerry's Toyota yesterday afternoon for the second session of our winter apparel collection drive and "Light My Fire" came on Sirius/XM. When it was over, the studio announcer (that's what they're called now -- you and I knew them as "DJ's") said, "James Douglas Morrison...no one knew what they had in him when he was around. In fact, he didn't know what he had in himself when he was around." I thought that was a very poignant statement. And so it goes...sadly.

So, Happy Birthday, Jim. If you really did fake your own death and you're hanging around in France or Switzerland like many have said over the years, I hope you have a great one!

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we only have six seats left on the golden state warriors bus trip

If you're looking for a unique holiday gift, Drew's Morning Dish has it for you. If you're just a fan of the NBA, this is for you, too. And if you're just a curious sports fan who wants to see what the hype is all about, you can jump on the bus with us and see it for yourself.

#DMD is heading to the Verizon Center on Wednesday, February 3rd to see the Wizards host the defending champion -- and currently undefeated -- Golden State Warriors at 8:00 pm. It's Golden State's only regular season trip to Washington and we have an outstanding trip package for 40 of you who want to get on the bus and see Steph Curry and Company live and in person.

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He comes to the area once a year. February 3rd is your chance to see Steph Curry live and #DMD is taking a group of 40 to D.C. for the game.

We'll be leaving the Towson area at 5:30 pm in a luxury motor coach, with Harpoon beer, soft drinks and snacks available for everyone on the way down to D.C. Our package for the night includes an unlimited buffet from 7pm until the start of the 4th quarter and unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks from 7pm until the start of the 4th quarter. Everyone in our group will be sitting together in the upper level of the Verizon Center and everyone also gets a free Wizards t-shirt. How much? $119 per-person. Do the math and figure it out yourself. You get a game ticket, all the food and drink you need or want, a free t-shirt, plus you don't pay for gas, tolls or parking -- for $119. We're only offering that $119 price until December 22nd, by the way. After the 22nd it goes up to $129 per-person.

If you're interested in making the trip to D.C. for our pilgrimage to see Steph Curry and the Warriors, send me an e-mail today: 18inarow (at) gmail.com

Note: Our first full day of sales for this bus trip was Wednesday, December 2nd and we have already sold 34 of the available 40 seats. Only 6 seats remain.


Monday
December 7
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVII
Issue 7

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tough to win when you only score one touchdown

And that puts a wrap on the 2015 season for the Baltimore Ravens.

Oh, sure, I'm going to do what I always do and remind you that the Ravens aren't "officially" out of it yet. They COULD still finish 8-8 and a bunch of teams like Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Houston, Buffalo, the Jets and Raiders could ALL finish 7-9 or 8-8...and somehow, after hours of sifting through tiebreaker formulas, the Ravens could still sneak in.

But it's over. The Ravens will not be involved in post-season action for just the second time in eight years in the John Harbaugh era. The last four weeks will be fun, though, because Baltimore will face four teams who will each likely have "something to play for" when they meet up with the Ravens. Seattle, who demolished Minnesota yesterday, comes to town next week still trying to cement their spot in the NFC playoff picture. Kansas City, the hottest team in the NFL over the last six weeks, will need a win in Baltimore to keep their playoff train chugging. Pittsburgh, now 7-5 after smashing Indianapolis last night, will show up here two days after Christmas in desperation mode if they lose to the Bengals (away) and Broncos (home) over the next two weeks. And Cincinnati might very well need to beat the Ravens on January 3rd to sew up the #1 seed in the AFC playoff race.

So, while the games might not matter all that much to the Ravens, they'll matter a whole hell of a lot to the other four teams they're facing in the season's final month. That, alone, makes the games worth watching -- or at least having on in the background.

Baltimore's playoff fate was (un)officially sealed in yesterday's 15-13 loss at Miami, a game that felt a lot like losing to the Browns. You think the Ravens are an engine not firing on all cylinders? The Dolphins are sputtering just as bad if you ask me. I didn't realize they were that crappy until I saw them for sixty minutes yesterday. They stink. But...so do the Ravens.

I'm not quite sure what Marc Trestman was trying to accomplish on Sunday by throwing the ball 46 times and running it on just 26 occasions. Miami's run defense was ranked as the 30th worst in the league heading into Sunday's game. I went to Glen Burnie High School, yes, but that seems like an easy one to figure out. You...ummmm...run the ball against the Dolphins. Right? Sure, if Joe Flacco would have been the quarterback on Sunday, I could see letting him air it out to the tune of 46 throws, but even then I'd have to question the 46 vs. 26 play call breakdown -- and Flacco knows what he's doing. There's no logic at all in having Matt Schaub throw the ball 46 times against the Dolphins. None.

We all know the offensive pass interference call was bogus, but people saying that "cost us the game" are silly. If you're just a fan of doing math and not watching the rest of the game, then, yes, those six points were the difference. In that case, you'd have to blame Justin Tucker, too. His missed field goal cost the Ravens three points as well. No, what cost the Ravens that win on Sunday was more than a bad call and a missed field goal. Not getting one foot on 4th and 1 at the Miami two yard line had something to do with it. Throwing the ball to the other team twice in 20 seconds had something to do with it. And the team's offensive coordinator eschewing a decently-percolating running game and trying to have a rubber-armed quarterback in the December of his career go to the air 46 times also had something to do with it.

That's how you lose, though, week after week. Nothing, it seems, works in your favor. All the bounces go against you (except that one in Cleveland on the final play), all the calls are questionable and all the little things add up to another loss. Anyone who has watched all 12 games this season knows this to be true; with a few wacky things happening in their favor, the Ravens could be 7-5 or even 8-4. And they could also easily be 0-12. Frankly, it's much easier to make a claim for the club being 0-12 than it is 8-4, but you get what I'm saying. There's a fine line between winning and losing and the Ravens have walked it all season, including yesterday in Miami.


Our winter apparel drive to benefit the men of Helping Up Mission enters its second week today and we'd love to have you come out to Jerry's Toyota-Scion (8001 Belair Road, Parkville) today from 10 am-12 noon or again from 4 pm to 5 pm and drop off your unwanted coats, sweaters, sweatshirts and anything else you can dig up out of your closet.

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In addition to serving as title sponsor of this year's Winter Apparel Drive, Jerry's Toyota-Scion on Belair Road will be our drop-off location today, December 7.

Anyone bringing us five pieces of winter apparel today receives two free UMBC basketball tickets and a free appetizer coupon from Glory Days Grill in Towson. We need more clothing to make this year's drive a success and we'd love to see you at Jerry's Toyota-Scion today, so if you're in the area, please stop out and make a donation for our Helping Up Mission campaign.

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o'day deal done (almost) and boras up to his old tricks (again)

There for a little while on Sunday, the city of Baltimore was reveling in some GOOD sports news in advance of an anticipated Ravens loss in Miami. Darren O'Day took the money and stayed home, which was quite a pleasant surprise when given the backdrop of last week's information that had both the Dodgers (lots and lots of money) and the Nationals (lots of money) both interested in securing his services.

But roughly 45 minutes after word leaked out that O'Day had agreed to a 4-year, $31 million deal to return to the Orioles, the veteran relief pitcher took to Twitter to caution folks that he hadn't, in fact, completed a deal with the Birds. Dan Duquette admitted as much last night at the winter meetings in Nashville, saying there was "still work to be done with the language of the contract", which most people believe is some sort of no-trade power for O'Day, whose wife works for a Washington D.C. TV station.

The Orioles apparently outworked the Nationals in the O'Day deal, giving him a fourth year on the contract when the Nats apparently balked at doing so. Curiously (and supposedly), the Orioles lost out on both Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz last winter because they refused to give a 4th year on each of those respective contracts. But $7.75 million is a lot different than $12 or $14 million, I guess, and losing a key player to the Nationals might have irked Peter Angelos beyond belief, so O'Day's demand for a 4th year was easier to digest.

I'm not sure a no-trade clause is a great idea for a right-handed relief pitcher, but there are always occasions when you have to give a little to get what you want, and it would appear this one of those moments for the Orioles. O'Day would probably agree to a future trade with the Nationals, Phillies or either of the two New York teams and that would be about it. And that, of course, takes into account that his wife presumably continues to work in Washington D.C.

Chris Davis remains unsigned and this is all starting to look more and more like a classic Scott Boras move. I'm not saying there aren't teams interested in Davis, because I'm sure there are several who would love to add him to their line-up. But is anyone out there willing to do one of those crazy mega-bucks-deals for $200 million for 7 years? I'm not so certain about that. I'm guessing Boras is busy in Nashville drumming up a "ghost team" to wave in Duquette's face, trying to make him think the Orioles are on the verge of losing their power-hitting first baseman if they're not willing to cough up $24 million a year for the next "x number of years". In reality, the Orioles might have already offered Davis $100 million for five years and Boras might be shopping that around and getting a lukewarm response to it.

Boras is a so-called super agent because he gets the big players their big big bucks, but I'd be willing to bet if you got a few glasses of Silver Oak Cabernet in him that Boras would admit that most of what he does is nothing more than high stakes poker without wearing sunglasses. He does far more bluffing than he actually does negotiating. Making teams think they're losing the guy they want gets more deals done than anything else. I look at the scenario right now and think there's a reasonable chance the Orioles could still snag Davis on a 6-year deal if they're willing to pay him a boatload of money ($22-$24 million) for three years with some sort of opt-out clause in the contract if Davis wants to test the waters again after the 2018 campaign. One thing we know for sure: There will be MORE money in the coffers in 2018, not less.

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put your money
where your mouth is

How cow, there for a few minutes I had visions of 5-0 dancing in my head. But then the Bears choked at home and the Colts got blown out and I wound up finishing yesterday's action at 3-2.

Here's how I saw yesterday's five games:

CARDINALS (-4.5) AT RAMS: I'm trying something this week and the Cardinals/Rams game is a PERFECT opportunity to initiate my Week 13 theory. I'm simply going with EXACTLY what the records and the teams suggest is going to happen...and making my pick accordingly. So, this first game is a no-brainer, because Arizona is a good-to-very-good team and the Rams are useless. I'm not overthinking this at all, I'm just going with the Cardinals in a semi-rout, 34-20.

RESULT: Hit this one right through the uprights. Arizona=very good. Rams=awful. No sense in overthinking it. Went with the Cardinals and started the day 1-0.


FALCONS AT BUCCANEERS (-1): Atlanta started off 5-0 and now they've hit the skids to fall all the way to 6-5. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, has been competitive on a weekly basis and is starting to look like a team to watch in the future. Nothing about this game tells me Atlanta is worth taking so let's go with Tampa Bay to win AND cover, 27-21.

RESULT: Just snuck this one through the right upright, as Tampa Bay scored late to win and cover, but a win is a win and the money still spends. Oh, and I hit my "Best Bet", too, which I always enjoy doing. 2-0 to start the day.


49'ERS AT BEARS (-6.5): Chicago's actually pretty decent this year. Jay Cutler is having a much better campaign than anyone thought he would and the Bears' defense is getting better as the season goes on. San Francisco stinks. This one seems far, far too easy to pick with a 6.5 point spread, but I'm taking the Bears in this one, 24-10.

RESULT: I thought I had this one in the books, but the Bears couldn't hold a late lead and the 49'ers somehow won in overtime as I dropped to 2-1 on the afternoon.


BENGALS (-9) AT BROWNS: The Browns just lost to Matt Schaub. Some guy named Austin Davis is playing quarterback for Cleveland today. Your Aunt Betty could earn a roster spot on the Browns if she was a running back...because they don't have anyone else worth playing at that spot. Cincinnati, meanwhile, has more weapons than Coldplay has had hit songs, it appears. And they have a real quarterback. And everything about this game tells me Cincinnati wins in a romp, 38-17.

RESULT: If anyone bet the Browns in this game, they should be taken in for a full evaluation. I'm just disappointed I said they'd score 17 points. Another win gets me to 3-1 on the day.


COLTS AT STEELERS (-7.5): This game makes no sense at all, which means I'm going with the reasonable, knee-jerk reaction. How on earth are the Steelers going to beat a decent team (albeit with their back-up QB) by 7.5 points with that scroungy, misfit of a defense they're using? Sure, I know the game's in Pittsburgh, but Indianapolis is decent enough to keep this one close, no matter which Hasselbeck plays at QB for them and no matter how many times Antonio Brown catches the ball for Pittsburgh. I'm taking the Colts and the 7.5 points although I think Pittsburgh wins on a late field goal, 30-27.

RESULT: Ummmm...let's move on. Nothing to see here. I completely misread this game, as the Colts went up 10-6 in the second quarter and then weren't heard from again until their plane landed in Indianapolis around 2 am. Steelers win 45-10 and I finish the day at 3-2.


BEST BET OF THE DAY: I'll take Tampa Bay as my "Best Bet" today, but I honestly feel good enough about any of my five picks to use them in this category. I'll go with Tampa Bay because their point-spread is the smallest of any of the five.

RESULT: I'm now 7-5-1 on the year in the "Best Bet" category after Tampa Bay's win over Atlanta.


RECORD TO DATE: 29-35-1

LAST WEEK'S RECORD: 3-2

BEST BET OF THE DAY (SEASON): 7-5-1


golden state wins again to improve to 22-0

It was a game until midway through the third quarter, but the Golden State Warriors continued their remarkable start to the 2015-2016 NBA campaign with a 114-98 win at Brooklyn on Sunday night that moved the Warriors to 22-0.

Steph Curry scored 14 points in the 3rd quarter to turn a nailbiter into a mini-rout, as the defending champs squandered a 17-point first quarter lead and the Nets actually led by as many as five points during the third stanza. Brooklyn took "The Dubs" to overtime back in early November out in Oakland, so they have some history as a team that gives Golden State trouble, but Curry got hot late in the 3rd quarter en route to a 28-point night as the Warriors won their fourth straight game on their current 7-game road trip.

They'll go for 23-0 on Tuesday night in Indiana. Friday night they're in Boston and Saturday night the trip concludes in Milwaukee.

If they win these next three to get to 25-0, that will put them two wins shy of tying Miami for the second longest winning streak in league history (27) and will leave them just eight wins shy of equaling the Lakers' all-time record of 33 consecutive wins in the '71-72 campaign.

Oh, and speaking of the Warriors.

#DMD is heading to the Verizon Center on Wednesday, February 3rd to see the Wizards host the defending champion -- and currently undefeated -- Golden State Warriors at 8:00 pm. It's Golden State's only regular season trip to Washington and we have an outstanding trip package for 40 of you who want to get on the bus and see Steph Curry and Company live and in person.

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He comes to the area once a year. February 3rd is your chance to see Steph Curry live and #DMD is taking a group of 40 to D.C. for the game.

We'll be leaving the Towson area at 5:30 pm in a luxury motor coach, with Harpoon beer, soft drinks and snacks available for everyone on the way down to D.C. Our package for the night includes an unlimited buffet from 7pm until the start of the 4th quarter and unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks from 7pm until the start of the 4th quarter. Everyone in our group will be sitting together in the upper level of the Verizon Center and everyone also gets a free Wizards t-shirt. How much? $119 per-person. Do the math and figure it out yourself. You get a game ticket, all the food and drink you need or want, a free t-shirt, plus you don't pay for gas, tolls or parking -- for $119. We're only offering that $119 price until December 22nd, by the way. After the 22nd it goes up to $129 per-person.

If you're interested in making the trip to D.C. for our pilgrimage to see Steph Curry and the Warriors, send me an e-mail today: 18inarow (at) gmail.com

Note: Our first full day of sales for this bus trip was last Wednesday, December 2nd and we have already sold 31 of the available 40 seats. Only 9 seats remain.

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#DMD'S HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS SPOTLIGHT

Marsh
Insurance & Financial
410-426-2282

brought to you by
Greg Marsh

The #DMD High School Sports Spotlight spent much of last week and last weekend at Ravens Stadium as the local High School Football season came to an end.

The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) presented the Class 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A State Football Championships at Ravens Stadium. In years past, our local Baltimore teams held their own against the Metro D.C. teams and others from the far flung regions of the Old Line State. This year...not so much.

MPSSAA Class 4A

When the 4A playoff run started on November 13th, most were sure that 4A South power Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School would meet Old Mill from the 4A East for the 4A Championship game. This is high school football, though, and anything can happen.

Anything did happen early in the post-season when Broadneck took out Old Mill in the Regional Finals to advance and face the Howard Lions. Howard, consistently ranked in the top 10 this season in local football polls, were thought by many to be underrated. That seemed to be the case when they sent Broadneck home in the State Semifinal round and the Lions moved ahead to face the Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. Pumas in the State Final game. The Pumas got to the Finals as expected, crushing every team that they faced in the MPSSAA playoffs. They continued that run into the 4A Championship matchup against Howard, dominating the game and coming away with a 55-6 victory and the 4A State Title.

Class 4A: #1 Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. def. #2 Howard, 55-6 (2nd title)


MPSSA 3A

Class 3A featured the usual suspects again this year. Damascus, Potomac, Reservoir and this year’s favorite from exit 7B off of 795, the Indians from Franklin High School. Locally, there was little doubt going into the 3A postseason, that Franklin would win it all.

That is exactly why Franklin lost 20-14 to the Dundalk Eagles in a Regional Final Round upset. Dundalk took teams by surprise this season and that continued as they advanced to the Championship game after taking down Potomac 41-34 in the semifinal round. After pummeling every team in their way, Damascus was waiting for the Eagles, proving to be more than Dundalk could handle, taking home a 55-14 win and their 8th 3A State Championship.

Class 3A: #1 Damascus def. #2 Dundalk, 55-14 (8th title)


MPSSAA 2A

The 2A post season started in fine fashion, with three of the number one regional seeds falling to the number four seeds in the first round. The 2A North saw No. 4 Dunbar defeat No. 1 Eastern Technical, 28-14; No. 4 Gwynn Park defeated No. 1 Thomas Stone, 18-7, in the 2A South; and in the 2A West No. 1 Oakland Mills fell to No. 4 Walkersville in a 26-14 loss.

With the brackets blown up, the stage was set for what would be the most competitive Championship game of the weekend when Patuxent scratched out a 21-20 victory against Walkersville for the first State Title in their history.

Class 2A: #2 Patuxent def. #4 Walkersville, 21-20 (1st title)


MPSSAA 1A

No one gave the Warriors from Havre de Grace much of a chance in the 1A playoffs this year, but the Warriors, playing in the 1A East, came to play. Havre de Grace picked the perfect time of the season to start playing their best football.

The Warriors relied on their defense to hold the opponents in check and they proved to be up to the task while the HdG offense scored just enough points to win each game and advance to the State Championship game. The Warriors season came to a 44-14 end against perennial playoff power Fort Hill giving the Sentinels their fifth State Championship title.

Class 1A: #1 Fort Hill def. #3 Havre de Grace, 44-14 (5th title).

The #DMD High School Sports Spotlight is brought to you by Greg Marsh and Marsh Insurance and Financial. Be sure to check in next week for more local High School sports coverage and be sure to check in with Greg Marsh for all of your personal insurance needs too. Give him a call at (410) 426-2282.

Sunday
December 6
#DMD GAME DAY
presented by
Volume 17
Issue 6
Baltimore Ravens vs. Miami Dolphins

1:00 PM EST

Sun Life Stadium
Miami, FL


I go back to the one of the great lines from the movie "Training Day" (and there were many).

"It's not what you know, it's what you can prove."

I "know" the Ravens are out of the playoff race at 4-7.

But, honestly, with only 7 losses thus far, I can't prove that. Because the Ravens are actually still alive in the hunt for a post-season berth.

I know you're laughing or shaking your head in denial...or smirking, perhaps, if you're a Steelers fan (worry about your own team -- and that's a nice defense yinz have up there in the Steel City).

It would take a weird set of events over the last five games for the Ravens to somehow get in, this I know for certain. Kansas City would have to fall apart, the Steelers would have to do the same thing, and Houston and the Jets would also both need to hit the skids. And, of course, the Ravens would have to beat Miami today, Seattle next week and then run off three more wins against the Chiefs, Steelers and Bengals to finish up the year.

I'm here to say that I don't see that happening.

But, because football is nuts and the league is 110% completely unpredictable, I'll give today's game in Miami its fair due: It's a MUST win game for the Ravens. Period. Win, and their playoff hopes still flicker. Lose, and they're done.

The Dolphins, of course, can say the same thing. They're 4-7 and this is it for them today as well.

I'm dealing in reality when I say the Ravens are still alive in the playoff race. Because they are. But, because you can't win seven games in a row all in one fell swoop (which is what they would do to get in, having been 2-7 at one point), you have to plod along week-by-week and pick them off as they come to you. St. Louis -- check. Cleveland -- check. Miami -- check? If you get those three under your belt, now you're suddenly 5-7. Somehow knock off Seattle next Sunday and you're 6-7. And, by the way, don't discount the game being flexed out of the 8:30 pm slot as a potentially significant factor next Sunday. Seattle LOVES having an East Coast game played at either 4:00 pm or 8:30 pm. They -- like all west coast teams -- despise the 1:00 pm East Coast start.

If the Ravens get to 6-7, things start to get interesting again in Baltimore. Kansas City would come to town the following Sunday and who knows what that game might mean to both teams?

You remember the Chiefs, right? They lost their star running back in September, got off to a 1-5 start and everyone stuck a fork in them. They've won five straight games now and are 6-5 and in the thick of the playoff race.

It's a crazy league. Which, by the way, is the way the league likes it, I'd say.

And if the Ravens can somehow win today in Miami, it could get even more crazy over the final four weeks of the season.

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today's main storylines:
ravens vs. dolphins


*Which Matt Schaub shows up? -- There were flashes of decency from Matt Schaub on Monday night in Cleveland. He made some good throws, particularly in the first half, and seemed to see the field well as he connected with a handful of different receivers. But, as I noted a bunch of times throughout the year whenever his name camp up, his arm strength is no longer sufficient enough to hold up in a game where he's forced to throw the ball 30-35 times. He threw the ball 34 times last week. His last throw, picked off at the 50-yard line, defines my theory above. If the Ravens can somehow keep Schaub from making the game-chaning mistake today, they have a chance to win. But history -- or recent history, at least -- suggests Schaub is just too prone to the killer mistake. It's coming, at some point.

*Stay grounded -- Given what I just wrote above, the most important thing the Ravens can do today at Sun Life Stadium is establish a running game. If I'm Marc Trestman, I tell the team before the game, "We're running the ball 45 times today. Buck, you're getting 30 of those carries. Terrance, you're getting 15 of them. We're running the football today." And then I stick with that plan, even if I encounter a few three-and-outs along the way. Everytime the Ravens run the ball that's one less opportunity for Schaub to throw it to the other team. Run, run and run some more.

*Keep Landry in check -- The most dangerous receiver on the Miami roster is Jarvis Landry (76 catches, 816 yards, 4 TDs). Much like the Ravens, the Dolphins don't have a plethora of quality at the receiver position. There are plenty of ways to skin a cat, I know, but if Baltimore can limit Landry's production today, they have a very good chance of winning. But we've all seen Jimmy Smith play this season and we know it's a coin-flip what kind of game we'll see from him today.

*No dumb penalties -- I'll leave this "key" up for the sixth straight week. Last Monday in Cleveland, the Ravens finally got rid of the "dumb penalty bug", but that was the time in quite a while the club didn't kick themselves in their own private parts with dumb, needless penalties. If they can stay relatively dumb-penalty-free today, they have a puncher's chance of winning.


Here’s how Drew sees today's game:

It's a quarterback's league and the Ravens are suffering at the quarterback spot. I know they won a Super Bowl in 2000 with a guy who wasn't anywhere close to elite, but Trent Dilfer wasn't a scrub on the downside of his career back then. He was basically a game-manager who had the best defense of that era doing the job for him. I just can't see Matt Schaub engineering a win for the Ravens today. Yes, they could get another punt return, an interception return or some other kind of defensive or special teams contribution to the scoreboard, but those things just don't happen every Sunday. And without them, I don't see how Baltimore wins.

I'll save all the predicted play-by-play and drama of how I think it's going to happen and just say this: The Ravens defense won't get run out of the gym by the Miami offense, but the Dolphins will do enough to come out on top. Schaub will only throw 27 passes as the Ravens try desperately to limit his role in the game, but he'll throw two more interceptions and the Dolphins will turn those two picks into ten points en-route to a 26-16 win.

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percentage points

Here's a look at a handful of key parts and players in today's game at Miami and some percentage-of-success numbers to correlate with all of it.

57% - If you said to me, "Drew, what are the chances the Dolphins win today?"

63% - Chances of the Browns holding Schaub to under 250 yards passing?

45% - The chances Ryan Tannehill throws for over 300 yards?

82% - What are the chances the Ravens rush for over 130 yards?

53% - The chances any Ravens WR catches a TD pass?

3% - Chances Justin Tucker misses an extra point today?


put your money
where your mouth is

Each week here at #DMD Game Day, I give you five NFL selections against the spread, my "best bet" of the bunch, and my official Ravens score prediction as well. This all, of course, is for "entertainment purposes only," although with the NFL officially in bed with both of the major fantasy sports companies in the country, the league is actually far more involved in gambling than any of us are, that's for sure.

I finished up a decent month of November last week and have rebounded from a disatrous 8-17 start to the season to get to 26-33-1 through the week twelve. I could use a big week to creep closer to that elusive .500 mark.

Here's how I see today's five games:

CARDINALS (-4.5) AT RAMS: I'm trying something this week and the Cardinals/Rams game is a PERFECT opportunity to initiate my Week 13 theory. I'm simply going with EXACTLY what the records and the teams suggest is going to happen...and making my pick accordingly. So, this first game is a no-brainer, because Arizona is a good-to-very-good team and the Rams are useless. I'm not overthinking this at all, I'm just going with the Cardinals in a semi-rout, 34-20.


FALCONS AT BUCCANEERS (-1): Atlanta started off 5-0 and now they've hit the skids to fall all the way to 6-5. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, has been competitive on a weekly basis and is starting to look like a team to watch in the future. Nothing about this game tells me Atlanta is worth taking so let's go with Tampa Bay to win AND cover, 27-21.


49'ERS AT BEARS (-6.5): Chicago's actually pretty decent this year. Jay Cutler is having a much better campaign than anyone thought he would and the Bears' defense is getting better as the season goes on. San Francisco stinks. This one seems far, far too easy to pick with a 6.5 point spread, but I'm taking the Bears in this one, 24-10.


BENGALS (-9) AT BROWNS: The Browns just lost to Matt Schaub. Some guy named Austin Davis is playing quarterback for Cleveland today. Your Aunt Betty could earn a roster spot on the Browns if she was a running back...because they don't have anyone else worth playing at that spot. Cincinnati, meanwhile, has more weapons than Coldplay has had hit songs, it appears. And they have a real quarterback. And everything about this game tells me Cincinnati wins in a romp, 38-17.


COLTS AT STEELERS (-7.5): This game makes no sense at all, which means I'm going with the reasonable, knee-jerk reaction. How on earth are the Steelers going to beat a decent team (albeit with their back-up QB) by 7.5 points with that scroungy, misfit of a defense they're using? Sure, I know the game's in Pittsburgh, but Indianapolis is decent enough to keep this one close, no matter which Hasselbeck plays at QB for them and no matter how many times Antonio Brown catches the ball for Pittsburgh. I'm taking the Colts and the 7.5 points although I think Pittsburgh wins on a late field goal, 30-27.


BEST BET OF THE DAY: I'll take Tampa Bay as my "Best Bet" today, but I honestly feel good enough about any of my five picks to use them in this category. I'll go with Tampa Bay because their point-spread is the smallest of any of the five.


RECORD TO DATE: 26-33-1

LAST WEEK'S RECORD: 2-3

BEST BET OF THE DAY (SEASON): 6-5-1

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golden state gets a scare, still wins, now 21-0

As long as they keep winning, I'll keep covering their games each morning here at #DMD. The Golden State Warriors received the second close call of their current 7-game road trip, but a couple of late foul shots from Steph Curry and a last second turnover by Toronto paved the way for a 112-109 win last night that moved the Warriors to 21-0 to start the season.

Curry scored 16 points in the first quarter and finished the night with 44 overall, including a couple of key 3-pointers in the 4th quarter in addition to the aforementioned foul shots in the game's final ten seconds.

The streak gets put back on the line tonight in Brooklyn, where the Warriors tangle with the Nets, a team that took them to overtime last month in Oakland before losing.

Don't forget, we're heading to Washington D.C. on February 3rd to see the Warriors in person. Our bus trip for the Wizards-Golden State game is on sale now, with NINE (9) seats left. Your $119 price gets you a bus ride, game ticket, food/drink on the way to D.C., and then unlimited food, beer, wine and soda at the Verizon Center throughout the game. Oh, and everyone also gets a free Wizards t-shirt, too!

If you'd like to reserve seats on the bus trip, e-mail as soon as you can: 18inarow at gmail.com.


umbc hoops: retrievers win at longwood

UMBC men's basketball picked up a big 70-59 win at Longwood on Saturday night, with sophomore Rodney Elliott (John Carroll H.S.) pacing the offense with 18 points, including 6-of-8 from the foul line. The Retrievers are now 2-7 on the season.

The opening half saw UMBC take a quick 5-0 lead, with all five scored by junior Will Darley (Dulaney H.S.). The Lancers responded with a trio of threes from Kanayo Obi-Rapu. From there, the Lancers would score 13 straight to push ahead 17-7 midway through the first twenty minutes.

However UMBC would respond, outscoring the Lancers 22-6 over the final seven minutes of the half. Elliott gave the Retrievers the lead on an emphatic one-handed dunk at 29-28. Darley led all scorers with 14 points at the break, going 5-of-8 from the field, including 4-of-6 from three. Senior post Cody Joyce added eight for the Retrievers who shot 57% from the field in the opening half.

UMBC opened the second half by extending their lead to 50-38 early on. Freshman Joe Sherburne found his range, scoring nine of his 15 points in the final stanza.

The Lancers would keep it close. Lotanna Nwogbo had a pair of buckets to keep the Retriever lead at ten points. However, UMBC would not let the lead slip, hitting free throws down the stretch to win 70-59.

Joyce ended with 16 points, adding six rebounds. Elliott led the way, scoring 18 points, including 6-8 from the charity stripe. Darley (14 points) and Sherburne (15) also hit double figures as UMBC shot 52% from the field in the contest.

UMBC will be back in action on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at Duquesne. The Retrievers and Dukes tip at 7:00 p.m. in Pittsburgh.

Saturday
December 5
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVII
Issue 5

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let's just give chris davis $50 million a year and get it over with

The headline above is in jest, of course.

I don't think the Orioles should give Chris Davis $50 million a year. I don't think any player -- in any league -- is worth anything close to that kind of money. I would say, though, based on the current economic climate in baseball, that Manny Machado or Bryce Harper wouldn't be nuts for telling his agent, "I want to be the first $50 million per-season player when I become a free agent."

If you're thinking, "C'mon Drew, there's no way some dude gets $50 million a year for playing baseball," I'd only submit to you that we ALL said that before the first player hit the $10 million, $20 million and, now, $30 million per-season number.

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If healthy, a baseball pitcher can make 34 starts per-season. Zack Greinke will make $34 million a year with the Diamondbacks. Yes, that's $1 million per-start.

Zack Greinke signed yesterday with the Arizona Diamondbacks for $206 million. For six years. That's $34.3 million per-season if you don't have your calculator handy. David Price used to be the highest-paid player in baseball. Remember him? He signed with the Red Sox on Thursday -- that's Thursday of this week -- for $31 million a year for seven years.

Price will make $89,750 every day over the next seven years (once his contract starts). Think that through for a second to absorb the enormity of it. Use your own job for context. Think of it like this: Right now, if you make $80 per-day, you make $400 per-week and roughly $21,000 per-year. That's the low end. How thrilled would you be to make $800 per-day? If you made $800 per-day, you'd make about $221,000 a year. Now we're getting somewhere, right? If you made $8,000 per-day -- well, you'd be living like a king (or queen) and making roughly $2.1 million per-year.

David Price makes $89,750 per-day -- every day for the next seven years.

And here's the funniest part. If Price isn't "happy" after three seasons in Boston, he can opt-out of his deal and become a free agent again. Hilarious, isn't it? "If you aren't happy making $89,750 per-day for three years, we'll let you seek a better arrangement with another team in the league."

Now ask yourself this: If you're Scott Boras, and you have Chris Davis on your client list, what's HE worth to a team given that he plays 140 of the 162 games each season and pitchers toe the rubber 34 times each season? I understand how it works these days. Some nerd with a calculator and a chart of variables will tell us that Greinke was "worth" 9.3 wins above replacement (WAR) last season while Davis was only worth a measly 5.2 WAR in 2015. That, somehow, means Greinke was supposedly responsible for four more wins during the course of last season than Davis, who played roughly five more days per-week than Greinke. I feel like Gene Hackman at the end of "The Birdcage" when I say, over and over, "I don't understand..." There's no chance, no matter what a baseball nerd and his or her abstract math tells us, that the best pitcher is worth more money than the best field player. Sorry. Put away your calculators. You're never going to convince me of that.

So, if Greinke can get $34 million per-year, what should Chris Davis get? And, mind you, Chris Davis isn't even close to being the best player in baseball. He's a good player who has the potential to be great, but if you were starting a baseball team tomorrow and had the first FIVE picks of any field players in the game, you wouldn't think about taking him with one of those five selections. But if Greinke's worth $34 million a year, what's Chris Davis worth?

I remember, like it was yesterday, when George Foster signed a contract with the Mets in 1982 that would pay him $2 million per-season...my father said, "Won't be long before some guy gets $5 million a year for playing baseball. When that happens, the league will go out of business."

Well, Dad, if you're watching the games from up above, $5 million is what the bat boys make these days. And, yes, Dad, I'm stunned by it all the way you were when the Mets gave George Foster $2 million a year. $34 million per-year to play baseball. Or do anything, for that matter. It's just crazy.


I was fortunate to get my hands on four more Army/Navy tickets (the game is sold out) late this week and we do have room on our #DMD trip to Philadelphia on Saturday, December 12 if anyone out there wants to make a last minute decision and join us to see the Army/Navy game. Our bus trip is presented by Summit Financial and I'm hearing through the grapevine the folks at Summit have a special treat in store for all of our trip goers.

The bus leaves from the Towson area at 11:30 am next Saturday. We'll provide lunch on the ride to Philadelphia, along with Harpoon beer, soda and water. Once at Lincoln Financial Field, we'll all enjoy an awesome Palmisano's of Baldlwin sub and some more snacks and refreshments before heading in for the big game. We'll return right after the game and should be back in Baltimore by 8:30 pm.

If you're interested in these four seats (or two or three of them), e-mail me as soon as you can: 18inarow at gmail.com.

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the ravens can't win in miami...right?

There was a laughter-filled room of Eagle's Nest Country Club members enjoying a Friday evening Happy Hour last night and to my surprise, a lot of the discussion still centered on the Ravens. I kind of assumed, at 4-7, most of the guys would be in "non-football" mode at this point. Sure, we bounced some golf topics around, chatted about the Golden State Warriors, discussed a little college football and marveled at the crazy world of baseball salaries -- but more time was spent talking about the Ravens than anything else.

And there are still people who are optimistic that the Ravens might somehow squeeze another win or two out of this nice stretch of soft opponents they're facing and have a puncher's chance at squeezing into the playoff picture by December 27th when Pittsburgh comes to town.

I'm not that optimistic, sorry to say.

I don't see how they can win with Matt Schaub at quarterback.

X
Do YOU believe?

Yes, I'm well aware they already DID win with Schaub at quarterback, but that was thanks to a punt return and blocked field goal, both of which resulted in two touchdowns in Monday night's 33-27 win at Cleveland. Schaub "got the win", but only because he was the guy taking snaps the whole game. His win on Monday night was akin to a pitcher giving up seven runs in 5.2 innings of work but having his team produce eleven runs of its own in an 11-7 victory. The pitcher was just "there".

I don't think Matt Schaub can't beat another NFL team.

But if the Ravens return a kick-off or a punt, maybe he can. If the Ravens defense scoops up a fumble and takes it into the end zone, maybe he can. If someone intercepts a Ryan Tannehill pass and scores a touchdown from that mistake, maybe he can. But you're asking for a lot to happen in order for Schaub to be on the winning end of things Sunday in Miami.

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bo's eye view

BO SMOLKA is a longtime member of the Baltimore-Washington media. He covers the Ravens for #DMD and ComcastSportsNet. Bo's insights and analyses are presented by Advanced Heating & Cooling, which offers a variety of energy saving, high-efficiency equipment for heating, air conditioning, and geothermal systems.


It wasn't easy, and it wasn't pretty, but the Ravens have themselves a winning streak for the first time this season after their wild 33-27 'kick-six' win at Cleveland on Monday night. They hit the road again on a short week, never an easy task in the NFL, but they visit a Miami team that is reeling. The Dolphins (4-7) have lost four of five and have been busy blowing up the coaching staff this season; the head coach and both coordinators have been let go, with offensive coordinator Bill Lazor the latest to get the ax.

Under John Harbaugh, the Ravens are 5-0 against the Dolphins, and 4-0 in Miami, so home-field advantage clearly has not been an issue. In fact, Ravens fans have usually made up a sizable portion of the crowd. If the Ravens want to extend their winning streak to three, and keep Harbaugh's record against the Dolphins intact, here are five things that need to happen:

*Matt Schaub needs to avoid disaster

Wait, wasn't this one of the keys last week? And didn't he throw a pick-six? Yes, and yes. Schaub and the Ravens can't expect two special-teams touchdowns to bail them out again. He needs to be sharp with his throws, and he needs to make better decisions than he did on the two awful throws that were intercepted Monday night. Schaub, incidentally, is 5-0 against the Dolphins, with six touchdown passes and four interceptions, though he hasn't started against them since 2012.

*They need to run, and then run some more

Buck Allen and Terrance West showed some promise against the Browns on Monday, combining for 92 yards on 19 carries. Granted, the Browns featured the league's lowest-rated run defense, but this week, that honor belongs to the Dolphins, who allow 138.5 yards a game on the ground. Ravens guard Kelechi Osemele practiced all week after missing the past two games with a knee injury, so that should boost the offensive line. I know Marc Trestman wants to throw the ball, but the Ravens need to pound the ball and pound the ball some more until the Dolphins stop them.

*They must cover the middle of the field

Don't think the Dolphins haven't watched film of the Browns game, or other games, in which tight ends, slot receivers and running backs got wide open in the middle of the Ravens defense. Tight end Jordan Cameron (25-302) has had a fairly quiet season, but tight ends have killed the Ravens all season. It will be interesting to see whether new Dolphins offensive coordinator Zac Taylor makes Cameron a bigger part of the offense. One adjustment the Ravens have made lately is using backup linebacker Zach Orr more frequently in coverage packages. Expect to see more of that.

*They must hold on to would-be interceptions

This has been a recurring problem all season, which is why the Ravens still have just four interceptions, the lowest total in the league. They are well on their way to a franchise record. (The fewest in team history is 11, which was tied last season.) On Monday night, Ravens defenders got their hands on at least three potential interceptions and couldn't hang on to any of them. They weren't all easy catches, but none were impossible, either. The Dolphins figure to be throwing Jarvis Landry's way a lot; he has been targeted 94 times in 11 games, with 76 catches for 816 yards. This should be a game in which Jimmy Smith earns his money.

*Coming up big on special teams again wouldn't hurt

The Ravens can't expect special teams touchdowns to bail out Schaub again, but they expect momentum-turning special teams play every week. They have blocked a kick in five straight games, the longest such streak in the NFL since 1983. Whether it's a big return from Kaelin Clay, a blocked kick, or a special teams fumble recovery, which proved to be huge in the Rams game, the Ravens special teams have come through time and time again this season. Sam Koch and Justin Tucker need to be their reliable selves, and then the other units need to come up with a big play.

PREDICTION: The Ravens and Dolphins are headed in opposite directions. The Ravens have won three of four, and the Dolphins have lost four of five. True, the Ravens are playing on the road, after a short week, and are as short-handed as they were a week ago. That could spell trouble. But under adverse conditions is when John Harbaugh has done his best coaching, and the Ravens will sneak out of Miami with the win in yet another nail-biter. Ravens 24-Dolphins 23.

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#DMD'S HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS SPOTLIGHT

Marsh
Insurance & Financial
410-426-2282

brought to you by
Greg Marsh

The 1st Annual Shirts vs Skins Basketball Classic is being held this weekend at Calvert Hall College High School this weekend, on both Saturday and Sunday.

This elite high school basketball showcase matches up three traditional Baltimore high school basketball powerhouses against two nationally acclaimed out of state teams.

If you're a fan of local Baltimore high school basketball and you want to see how "our kids" stack up against some of the East Coast's top programs, you'll want to be at Calvert Hall on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday, Dec. 5

4:15 pm -- St. Frances Academy vs. Constitution H.S. (Philadelphia)

6:15 pm -- Calvert Hall vs. St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, NJ)

Sunday, Dec. 6

1:30 pm -- McDonogh vs. St. Benedict's Prep

3:30 pm -- Calvert Hall vs. Constitution H.S.

Tickets for both days and all games are available at the door.

The #DMD High School Sports Spotlight is brought to you by Greg Marsh and Marsh Insurance and Financial. Be sure to check in next week for more local High School sports coverage and be sure to check in with Greg Marsh for all of your personal insurance needs too. Give him a call at (410) 426-2282.


get on the bus to see the wizards and golden state with us, feb. 3

If you're looking for a unique holiday gift, Drew's Morning Dish has it for you. If you're just a fan of the NBA, this is for you, too. And if you're just a curious sports fan who wants to see what the hype is all about, you can jump on the bus with us and see it for yourself.

#DMD is heading to the Verizon Center on Wednesday, February 3rd to see the Wizards host the defending champion -- and currently undefeated -- Golden State Warriors at 8:00 pm. It's Golden State's only regular season trip to Washington and we have an outstanding trip package for 40 of you who want to get on the bus and see Steph Curry and Company live and in person.

X
He comes to the area once a year. February 3rd is your chance to see Steph Curry live and #DMD is taking a group of 40 to D.C. for the game.

We'll be leaving the Towson area at 5:30 pm in a luxury motor coach, with Harpoon beer, soft drinks and snacks available for everyone on the way down to D.C. Our package for the night includes an unlimited buffet from 7pm until the start of the 4th quarter and unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks from 7pm until the start of the 4th quarter. Everyone in our group will be sitting together in the upper level of the Verizon Center and everyone also gets a free Wizards t-shirt. How much? $119 per-person. Do the math and figure it out yourself. You get a game ticket, all the food and drink you need or want, a free t-shirt, plus you don't pay for gas, tolls or parking -- for $119. We're only offering that $119 price until December 22nd, by the way. After the 22nd it goes up to $129 per-person.

If you're interested in making the trip to D.C. for our pilgrimage to see Steph Curry and the Warriors, send me an e-mail today: 18inarow (at) gmail.com

Note: Our first full day of sales for this bus trip was Wednesday, December 2nd and we have already sold 31 of the available 40 seats. Only 9 seats remain.

Friday
December 4
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVII
Issue 4

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orioles "working 24/7" to make a big move

Before I offer an update on what I'm hearing about the Orioles and their pursuit of big name free agents, let me LOL at one of the questions I used for "three questions" in today's #DMD 3140 Podcast that you'll find below.

Rory sent in a question that I answered in the Podcast that essentially asked, "Has any elite, quality team in the NFL ever gone downhill WITHOUT losing their quarterback to injury like the Packers are doing this season?"

You'll hear my answer in the Podcast.

Maybe Rory should have waited until after last night's Green Bay-Detroit game to write me. And perhaps I should have waited until after the game to answer him.

Aaron Rodgers brought the Packers back from a 20-0 third quarter deficit last night and heaved a miraculous 61 yard touchdown throw on the game's final play to give Green Bay a 27-23 win that very likely might have saved their season. Rodgers has been suspsiciously ineffective over the last month, playing poorly in losses at Denver and at home to Detroit and Chicago. When people are used to seeing Superman jump over three buildings in one leap and he suddenly only makes it over one of them, there's reason to worry. And people have been worrying about Rodgers over the last month or so.

Maybe we make too much out of the good and the bad when guys like Rodgers perform at they level they do, but last night's win was remarkably poignant for him in that he literally rescued himself from one half to the other. Go look at your Twitter timeline if you don't know what I mean -- in the opening 30 minutes as Green Bay trailed 17-0, plenty of people were bashing him, questioning his toughness and wondering if something else was going on that our naked eyes couldn't detect. By midnight, those questions were gone. Long gone. And yes, it was "only" Detroit, but it was vintage Aaron Rodgers in the fourth quarter, where he stared defeat in the face and laughed, running a ball into the end zone himself from 17 yards out with 3:04 to play and then throwing the game-winner at the buzzer to Richard Rodgers.

Oh, and because it's the NFL, there was controversy surrounding the final play. The game actually appeared as if it had ended on the previous play, but the Lions were called for face-masking and Rodgers got one more shot at the end zone on a final, untimed play. And he made it count.

So, Rory, I answered your question the best I could on the Podcast. But I learned my lesson: NEVER answer a question about a player or a team playing a game on a Thursday night when you're recording the Podcast on a Thursday night.

No hard feelings, though, my friend.


here's your new "3140" podcast from #dmd

We touch a lot of bases in this week's edition of the 3140 Podcast. I tell you why Mark Trumbo might be poised to have a huge year in Baltimore, I look at this week's schedule in the NFL, and I talk Caps, Wizards and Maryland's hiring of D.J. Durkin. And there's the aforementioned edition of "three questions" as well. And -- one of rock-n-roll's best voices of the last 20 years turns 49 years old tomorrow, so his band's work is featured throughouto today's edition of 3140. Enjoy it...

#DMD 3140 Podcast
December 4, 2015
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orioles still looking to make big splash

I offer this only for commentary purposes and would certainly never expect anyone to believe it as fact given the long track record of the Orioles and their annual pursuit of free agents in the off-season.

But my "bird in the sky" who hovers around Oriole Park at Camden Yards tells me that Dan Duquette is still burning the midnight oil in an effort to have a prominent free agent signed by next Saturday's annual FanFest event at the Convention Center.

And no, Mark Trumbo wasn't intended to be the splashy player news that would get everyone in town scrambling for their purse or wallet to fork over money for season tickets.

Duquette wanted Jordan Zimmermann, but the Orioles lost out on him when the former Nationals pitcher signed with the Tigers last weekend. The Birds are also interested in Yovani Gallardo, but, like Johnny Cueto -- who recently turned down $20 million a year from Arizona -- Gallardo is looking for something in that $120 million range for six years. As I always remind everyone, "looking for" and "getting" are two different things, but it does appear as if the new going rate for a quality, dependable, starting arm (with age on his side) is in the $20's.

X
How many season tickets would the Orioles sell at FanFest on Dec. 12 if Chris Davis walks in the building that day and says, "I'm baaaackkk..."?

The Orioles are still trying to convince Chris Davis to re-sign in Baltimore. Laugh if you will, and I know it's almost unthinkable that the Orioles haven't ever had a $100 million player and are suddenly entertaining the thought of giving a guy $150 or $200 million, but my bird-on-the-tree says the Orioles are "active" with Davis and his agent Scott Boras. I haven't changed my tune, personally -- I think Davis is gone, primarily because the Orioles are simply not a franchise that will take on that sort of long-term debt. Perhaps there's a way to do a 7-year deal with Davis and give him an opt-out clause after three years, but I'm pretty sure there are teams out there willing to just do the whole seven and make Davis happy...and rich.

So, the Trumbo deal -- suspicious as it still seems to me -- was a good start for Duquette. And if he replaces Steve Pearce, for example, it's a major upgrade for the club. But if Trumbo is the club's answer for losing Chris Davis, that's like replacing Steve Perry of Journey with that guy from the Phillipines who just sounds like Steve Perry.


you have three questions, i have three answers

Rich asks: "Drew, what did you think of the Tiger Woods interview in TIME magazine this week?"

DF: "It covered a lot of territory, that's for sure. I loved the reflection part of it, where Woods talked about "peaking at age 11" and how he dominated golf at a young age and put all of Jack's records up on his wall as motivation. I thought Lorne Rubenstein (the author of the piece) missed out on a great chance to ask Tiger about his (suspected) use of PED's, but that could have also been part of the agreement that the magazine entered into with the Woods camp. "No asking about the night of Tiger's altercation with his wife and no asking about PED's." If so, you can't ask those questions. But in general, I thought it was a piece that humanized Woods and showed him to be aging with grace. He certainly seems to be resigned to the fact that his body is likely not going to allow him to play golf at a high level ever again."

Patrick asks: "Settle a bar bet for us Drew. Who's the most overrated coach in the NFL?"

DF: "I have such a soft spot for coaches that I cringe when I see the words "overrated" and "coach" in the same sentence. I know how hard NFL coaches work to get their team prepared and I know the coaches all want to win far, far more than the players do. But Rex Ryan is, without question, the most overrated coach in the league. I could go on and on about it, but I won't. He's more of a ringleader than a coach, in my opinion. Nearly everything he does is designed to make sure you know he's there and he's the coach, which, of course, we already knew. But he always needs to remind us."

James asks: "Look into your Drewski crystal ball and tell me where Maryland hoops finishes this season. Can they win it all?"

DF: "There's just no way to know what's going to happen in March, because so much of a team's hopes rest on their overall health at tournament time and, of course, what their side of the bracket looks like when it's announced. I'd bet, though, that Maryland is AT WORST a #2 seed in the tournament. They'll be in the Top 10 all season and will likely be a team with only three or four losses come March Madness time. Now, that's me taking into account that they stay healthy all season. If they were to lose Melo Trimble, for example, they're in big trouble. But all things being equal, Maryland goes into the tournament in March as a #2 seed and from there, anything could happen."

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#DMD'S HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS SPOTLIGHT

Marsh
Insurance & Financial
410-426-2282

brought to you by
Greg Marsh

The 1st Annual Shirts vs Skins Basketball Classic is being held this weekend at Calvert Hall College High School on Dec 5th and 6th.

This elite high school basketball showcase matches up three traditional Baltimore high school basketball powerhouses against two nationally acclaimed out of state teams.

If you're a fan of local Baltimore high school basketball and you want to see how "our kids" stack up against some of the East Coast's top programs, you'll want to be at Calvert Hall on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday, Dec. 5

4:15 pm -- St. Frances Academy vs. Constitution H.S. (Philadelphia)

6:15 pm -- Calvert Hall vs. St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, NJ)

Sunday, Dec. 6

1:30 pm -- McDonogh vs. St. Benedict's Prep

3:30 pm -- Calvert Hall vs. Constitution H.S.

Tickets for both days and all games are available at the door.

The #DMD High School Sports Spotlight is brought to you by Greg Marsh and Marsh Insurance and Financial. Be sure to check in next week for more local High School sports coverage and be sure to check in with Greg Marsh for all of your personal insurance needs too. Give him a call at (410) 426-2282.


get on the bus to see the wizards and golden state with us, feb. 3

If you're looking for a unique holiday gift, Drew's Morning Dish has it for you. If you're just a fan of the NBA, this is for you, too. And if you're just a curious sports fan who wants to see what the hype is all about, you can jump on the bus with us and see it for yourself.

#DMD is heading to the Verizon Center on Wednesday, February 3rd to see the Wizards host the defending champion -- and currently undefeated -- Golden State Warriors at 8:00 pm. It's Golden State's only regular season trip to Washington and we have an outstanding trip package for 40 of you who want to get on the bus and see Steph Curry and Company live and in person.

X
He comes to the area once a year. February 3rd is your chance to see Steph Curry live and #DMD is taking a group of 40 to D.C. for the game.

We'll be leaving the Towson area at 5:30 pm in a luxury motor coach, with Harpoon beer, soft drinks and snacks available for everyone on the way down to D.C. Our package for the night includes an unlimited buffet from 7pm until the start of the 4th quarter and unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks from 7pm until the start of the 4th quarter. Everyone in our group will be sitting together in the upper level of the Verizon Center and everyone also gets a free Wizards t-shirt. How much? $119 per-person. Do the math and figure it out yourself. You get a game ticket, all the food and drink you need or want, a free t-shirt, plus you don't pay for gas, tolls or parking -- for $119. We're only offering that $119 price until December 22nd, by the way. After the 22nd it goes up to $129 per-person.

If you're interested in making the trip to D.C. for our pilgrimage to see Steph Curry and the Warriors, send me an e-mail today: 18inarow (at) gmail.com

Note: Our first full day of sales for this bus trip was Wednesday, December 2nd and we have already sold 28 of the available 40 seats. Only 12 seats remain.

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THIS WEEKEND IN ENGLISH SOCCER
Contributed by #DMD's EPL Reporter

MATTHEW CARROLL

We touched on this several weeks ago and as we approach Matchweek 15 it is once again worth noting the parity that exists throughout the Barclays Premier League, with at least six teams in position to challenge for the league title, another five within shouting distance of the coveted Champions League spots (top four and an estimated $30 million pay day), and another six with a shot at a Europa League place (fifth place). Tune in this weekend to catch all of the action live on the NBC family of networks or online (Live Extra) to see who will be staking their claims for positions throughout the league table.

Saturday (all times Eastern)

7:45am – Manchester City @ Stoke City – Britannia Stadium, NBC Sports Network

After back to back defeats against Liverpool and Juventus (Champions League), Manchester City rebounded last weekend with a 3-1 victory over Southampton that once again took them back to the top of the Barclays Premier League table following a one week absence. They will visit the Britannia Stadium in Saturday’s early contest to take on Mark Hughes and a Stoke City side who, despite sitting in a respectable twelfth place in the league on nineteen points, will need to put in a quality performance in front of their home fans following a surprising 2-0 setback to bottom dwellers Sunderland a week ago.

The defeat to Sunderland was only the second for Stoke in their last nine outings (W5 D2) as they looked to be gelling as a squad following the introduction of several new faces during the summer transfer window when Hughes injected some attacking flair into a historically defensive side. They may find it difficult to get back in the win column against a Manchester City side that finally appear to be getting healthy just in time for the busy Christmas round of fixtures and who the Potters have won only two of their last fourteen league meetings against (D5 L7) and one of their last twelve.

10am – Sunderland @ Arsenal – Emirates Stadium, USA Network

X
Arsenal skipper Arsene Wenger has his work cut out for him on Saturday when he faces Sunderland with perhaps eight starters out due to injury.

Left for dead with relegation by seasons end seemingly a certainty just weeks ago, Sunderland have all of a sudden won two in a row to pull themselves up to seventeenth place and out of the drop zone for the first time this year. They will visit the Emirates Stadium on Saturday looking to make it three in a row against an Arsenal side they have had trouble with over the years, failing to claim three points in all but one of their last twenty three encounters. Even manager Sam Allardyce, who has overseen the miny Sunderland resurgence, has struggled against the Gunners, losing his last seven encounters.

Arsenal have never lost to the Black Cats at the Emirates Stadium (W9 D5) but will find themselves seriously undermanned for Saturday’s matchup with as many as eight first team squad members set to miss the weekend meeting through injury including playmakers Alexis Sanchez (hamstring) and Santi Cazorla (knee), out for three weeks and three months respectively, and who will be joining Jack Wilshere (ankle), Theo Walcott (calf), Danny Welbeck (knee), Tomas Rosicky (groin), Francis Coquelen (knee), and Mikel Arteta (calf) on the sidelines.

10am – West Ham United @ Manchester United – Old Trafford, NBC Sports Network

Although it hasn’t always been pretty, and just about every supporter will tell you that their style of play has been downright boring, Manchester United have not lost since an October trip to Everton (W2 D3) to climb up to third place in the league table, only a single point behind cross town rivals Manchester City. They will welcome West Ham United to Old Trafford on Saturday, a venue where the Red Devils have tasted defeat in only two league matches in the calendar year and against a side they have not lost to in their last thirteen league meetings (W11 D2).

West Ham have struggled for consistency since losing midfielder Dimitri Payet, who manager Slavin Bilic openly declared as their best player, to an ankle injury for three months and have not won in their last four league outings (D2 L2). While a win on Saturday would see the Hammers become the first team in league history to beat Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and United away from home in the same season history will be against them, having lost seven in a row at Old Trafford and managing to claim all three points at the Theater of Dreams twice in the last twenty years.


Thursday
December 3
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVII
Issue 3

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durkin not a "bad hire"...maybe terps football is a "bad job"

All over the area on Wednesday, sports enthusiasts were carving out their opinion on new Maryland football coach D.J. Durkin.

Most of it, from what I could tell, was a less-than-receptive response.

But, let's be fair to Durkin, who begins his head coaching career at College Park after a distinguished run working with Jim Harbaugh at both Stanford and Michigan as a defensive coordinator and top recruiter. It's not at all a stretch to say "his time has come" when evaluating whether or not Durkin is ready for, or deserves, the opportunity to run his own program.

No one ever heard of "the other Harbaugh" in Baltimore when the Ravens announced they were interviewing John Harbaugh back in January of 2008 when they had a coaching vacancy. You'd be nuts to think that move by the Ravens hasn't panned out well for them over the last eight years. So, maybe D.J. Durkin becomes Maryland's version of John Harbaugh.

I doubt it, though.

And it's not that I doubt Durkin. He might be -- technically -- exactly what Maryland football needs in the wake of Randy Edsall's military-approach that left the players afraid of their own shadows and resenting the authority Edsall tried to use on them.

X
After high-profile jobs at Florida, Stanford and Michigan, College Park is the next stop for defensive whiz D.J. Durkin.

I don't see Durkin being successful at Maryland because football in College Park isn't set-up for success. I've been down this road plenty of times when chronicling my thoughts on football at our state school. I said this on the radio in 2004, 2008, 2012 and have written on the subject time and time again: There's simply no footprint for Terps football in the state of Maryland. Is that a marketing issue? Sure, some significant part of it might be. But in order to market something, people have to "want" your product. You make it attractive enough, you tell them how to get it, and they come looking for it. That's simply not the situation at Maryland. So, yes, some of it is marketing.

It goes beyond sales and marketing though. Far beyond that, in fact. There are clearly enough people in the D.C./Baltimore metro area to support the school's football program. We're talking about selling out a 53,000 seat stadium six times a season. And now, in the Big Ten, that likely means a handful of upper-echelon schools could be coming to College Park every year or two.

Maryland needs a bigger, better stadium. They need better overall training facilities. They need, in short, to make football a massive priority down there. But, the cynic would say, "you're not selling 53,000 seats now...why build a new 70,000 facility?" And they'd be right...sort of. The skeptic would also ask if it's smart to sink a bazillion dollars into football when there's no guarantee at all that local football fans are going to latch on. Sure, there's the "build it and they will come" theory, but it's not like we're building a new Little League field in Parkville with $89,540 we raised by selling cookies and doing car-washes for three years. This is big-boy territory, involving millions and millions of real dollars. Who's paying for the upgrades? And would they work, anyway?

Winning games would certainly create a buzz at Maryland, which is why, I assume, the school opted for D.J. Durkin yesterday. They must feel he gives them the best chance to win. And let's face it, guys like Frank Reich and Mike Locksley didn't have "can't-miss" credentials, either. Mark Richt wasn't coming to Maryland. Neither, apparently, was Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen.

But the reason guys like Richt or Mullen said "no thank you" is simple -- the Maryland football job just isn't all that attractive. Yes, I know, the Under Armour guy LOVES the Terps. Wooop-dee-do. He's been "loving" Maryland football for a decade now and that hasn't helped them get any better. He's a sports apparel wizard, not Vince Lombardi or Ozzie Newsome. I hear people talk all the time about the fertile recruiting ground that's right here in Maryland's background. Prince George's County kids, Baltimore kids, etc. are all mostly heading elsewhere to play their college football. "If we can just get them..." people say. Well, you're NOT getting them. That's not to say Maryland can't recruit top prospects. Locksley (and Edsall, in fairness) gathered a Top 30 recruiting class, according to the experts, for 2016, and even though most of them weren't from around here, there's a sliver of proof right there that someone was able to sell Maryland football to an 18-year old and his parents.

It's a classic chicken-and-egg scenario for Maryland football. It starts with winning. If the program wins, kids will come. But you can't win without kids who know how to play football. And they're not coming, most of the time, anyway, on a whim or a promise that a new era of Maryland football is about to begin. Maybe D.J. Durkin IS the answer. Maybe he'll compile a staff that will coach-'em-up while he scours the countryside for a locker room full of new, legit talent. And if Durkin can do that in some relatively short period of time -- within 3-5 years -- he might have found himself a nice gig in College Park, where football-coach-success-stories are few and far between over the last 20 years.

All you have to do, funny enough, is look at what has transpired in the office right next to Durkin's at College Park. I'm not downplaying the role of Mark Turgeon as a coach when I say (write) this, but if you gave ME Trimble, Stone, Carter Jr. and Sulaimon, I'm pretty sure I'd get you 20 wins. Or...they would. I'd just be along for the road trip per-diem and the free Under Armour gear. But you get my point. It's all about players. If Durkin can get some really good football players and somehow climb up the ladder in the Big Ten, people might become interested in football at College Park.

I wish I could be an optimist on this one, but it's tough to be anything but pessimistic. And it won't be D.J. Durkin's fault five years from now when Maryland football fans are barking for a new voice and a new leader for the program in College Park.

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bo's eye view

BO SMOLKA is a longtime member of the Baltimore-Washington media. He covers the Ravens for #DMD and ComcastSportsNet. Bo's insights and analyses are presented by Advanced Heating & Cooling, which offers a variety of energy saving, high-efficiency equipment for heating, air conditioning, and geothermal systems.


Well, well ... whaddya know? It turns out the Ravens can win with Matt Schaub at quarterback. Granted, it helps when special teams scores two touchdowns, and when the opponent is in complete disarray, but a win is a win, and in the NFL, you only get 16 chances a season. And let's face it: Many Ravens fans figured the Ravens were headed to 2-14 and seven straight losses with Schaub under center.

On Monday night, Schaub was pretty much as advertised . He showed a veteran's poise at the outset -- I'm not convinced that Keith Wenning or Bryn Renner would have been ready for his NFL regular-season debut in a nationally-televised prime time game -- but Schaub was hurt by the mistakes that have defined the latter stages of his career. And in Schaub's case, that of course includes a pick-six. Really, it's almost hard to fathom how often this has happened. Pick-sixes just are not that common, and yet Schaub threw one in a record four straight games in 2013, and now he's thrown one in each of the last two games in which he's thrown a pass (dating to last year with Oakland.)

Schaub made some decent throws, and the Ravens even let him take a couple of shots downfield. He and Chris Givens hooked up on a 48-yard bomb that would have been a touchdown had Schaub not underthrown it. Givens was two steps behind the defense but had to slow down and wait for the ball. (And on that subject, Givens is consistently getting behind the defense, giving the Ravens a speed threat that Kamar Aiken and other Ravens receivers just don't present.)

Schaub wasn't spectacular, and his two interceptions were terrible throws. The pick-six was the type of throw we saw from Schaub in training camp -- he locked onto his receiver and delivered a ball that was just begging to be jumped by the defender. Then again, let's face it, at times he didn't look much worse than Joe Flacco, whose inconsistent season included several head-scratching throws. (No, I'm not suggesting that the Ravens are as good with Schaub as with Flacco. They aren't. There is no QB controversy here. Move along ...)

But this will be -- has to be -- the Ravens offensive formula over the final month of the season: Run the ball successfully, make decent throws, avoid disaster. They did two of the three on Monday night. Schaub did not avoid disaster, but two special teams touchdowns made up for it. It was curious that the Ravens still relied on the passing game more than the running game despite solid work from Buck Allen and Terrance West. The Ravens threw on 34 of their 57 offensive snaps against the Browns. Offensive coordinator Marc Trestman admittedly was in a quandary: Do I call for my backup quarterback to throw to essentially backup receivers -- including one who officially joined the team that morning? -- or do I call for my backup running back to run behind three backup offensive linemen? Such is the plight of the 2015 Ravens offense.

Schaub couldn't have entered the picture at a better time. He made his season debut against a reeling Browns team, and on Sunday he faces a Dolphins team has lost four of five, that ranks 28th in total defense (21st against the pass, dead last against the run) and that has essentially blown up the staff already, firing the head coach and both coordinators this season.

This always figured to be the most forgiving stretch of the Ravens schedule -- a four-game stretch coming off the bye that included the Jaguars, Rams, Browns and Dolphins. Now it's up to Schaub to make the most of it. Of course, another special teams touchdown wouldn't hurt.

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ho hum, golden state now 20-0 and still rolling

Steph Curry erupted for 28 points last night -- in the third freakin' quarter -- and poured in 40 overall as Golden State continued their unpredecented start to the 2015-2016 season with a 116-99 win at Charlotte to improve to 20-0 on the year.

They've played 20 games and won them all.

Drew's note: I'm so excited about Golden State, we're heading to D.C. to see them on Wednesday, February 3rd. And when I'm excited about a mid-season NBA game, you know something special is going on. So, check out the information below on our trip to see Steph Curry and the Warriors in Washington when they visit the Wizards in two months.

This unblemished season can't last forever, of course, and the Warriors face a stern test this Saturday night in Toronto, but the Lakers all-time NBA record of 33 straight wins is at least within eyesight now as Golden State tries to weave their way through a difficult 7-game road trip that started in Utah on Monday and continued last night in Charlotte.

Here's how the rest of the trip looks for them:

Sat., 12/5 at Toronto

Sun., 12/6 at Brooklyn

Tues., 12/8 at Indiana

Fri., 12/11 at Boston

Sat., 12/12 at Milwauke

Following that road trip, the Warriors return home for five straight home games, including a December 25 meet-up with LeBron and the Cavaliers.


get on the bus to see the wizards and golden state with us, feb. 3

If you're looking for a unique holiday gift, Drew's Morning Dish has it for you. If you're just a fan of the NBA, this is for you, too. And if you're just a curious sports fan who wants to see what the hype is all about, you can jump on the bus with us and see it for yourself.

#DMD is heading to the Verizon Center on Wednesday, February 3rd to see the Wizards host the defending champion -- and currently undefeated -- Golden State Warriors at 8:00 pm. It's Golden State's only regular season trip to Washington and we have an outstanding trip package for 40 of you who want to get on the bus and see Steph Curry and Company live and in person.

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He comes to the area once a year. February 3rd is your chance to see Steph Curry live and #DMD is taking a group of 40 to D.C. for the game.

We'll be leaving the Towson area at 5:30 pm in a luxury motor coach, with Harpoon beer, soft drinks and snacks available for everyone on the way down to D.C. Our package for the night includes an unlimited buffet from 7pm until the start of the 4th quarter and unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks from 7pm until the start of the 4th quarter. Everyone in our group will be sitting together in the upper level of the Verizon Center and everyone also gets a free Wizards t-shirt. How much? $119 per-person. Do the math and figure it out yourself. You get a game ticket, all the food and drink you need or want, a free t-shirt, plus you don't pay for gas, tolls or parking -- for $119. We're only offering that $119 price until December 22nd, by the way. After the 22nd it goes up to $129 per-person.

If you're interested in making the trip to D.C. for our pilgrimage to see Steph Curry and the Warriors, send me an e-mail today: 18inarow (at) gmail.com

Note: Our first full day of sales for this bus trip was Wednesday, December 2nd and we sold 20 of the available 40 seats. 20 seats remain.

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umbc hoops -- men lose at bowling green, women beat american

A gritty effort by visiting UMBC came up a bit short on Wednesday night, as Bowling Green overcame a halftime deficit to defeat the Retrievers, 72-64 at Stroh Center.

Freshman wing Joe Sherburne tied his season high with 19 points, while red-shirt sophomore guard Rodney Elliott (John Carroll H.S.) added 16 points and 7 assists.

The Retrievers set a good pace in the first half, hitting 7-of-16 shots from behind the arc, 44 percent overall and committed just six turnovers in getting out to a 33-29 lead. But the second half was a different story, as UMBC misfired on 9-of-11 shots from behind the arc, suffered 10 give-aways and were outscored, 43-31.

Bowling Green improved to 5-2 on the season with the victory. Wing Spencer Parker led all scorers with 20 points, hitting 8-of-13 shots from the floor.

Sherburne, who also converted five treys and scored 19 points versus Cal Poly, added five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Elliott also grabbed five caroms and his seven helpers were a season-best. Junior wing Will Darley (Dulaney H.S.) scored in double figures for the second straight game with 10 points.

UMBC continues its three-game road trip when they visit Longwood on Saturday afternoon with a 5:00 p.m. tip-off scheduled.

Meanwhile at the RAC on Wednesday night, UMBC women's basketball forced American into 25 turnovers and scored 21 points off of turnovers en-route to picking up the Retrievers third victory in the last four games. Senior guard Capree Garner and junior forward Pandora Wilson each tallied 12 points on the night to help the Retrievers defeat American, 47-46. The Lady Retrievers (3-3) return to action at home this Sunday, December 6 at 1:00 pm when they host LaSalle.


we need more winter clothes for Helping Up Mission!

We kicked off our annual Winter Apparel Drive this past Monday night at Glory Days in Towson and left the place with a dozen huge bags of various clothing items that will go to the men at Helping Up Mission later this month. Over 500 items were collected in all on Monday, all part of our 2015 initiative to make the upcoming winter and holiday season a little brighter for those men at HUM who are trying to get their lives back together. And we still have three more weeks of collecting to go!

We have two more donation opportunities for you in the next seven days, so please try and help us if you can. Next Monday, December 7, you can drop off your winter apparel items at Jerry's Toyota-Scion on Belair Road from 10 am to 12 noon or again from 5 pm to 7 pm and you'll receive two (2) free tickets to a UMBC basketball game and a free appetizer card from our friends at Glory Days Grill just for helping us with our donation drive.

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In addition to serving as title sponsor of this year's Winter Apparel Drive, Jerry's Toyota-Scion on Belair Road will be our next drop-off location on Monday, December 7.

Please come out next Monday at Jerry's Toyota-Scion and drop off your unwanted winter clothing. We'll take coats, jackets, sweatshirts, gloves, hats, shoes, socks, etc. And yes, we'll take men's, women's and children's clothing. A lot of the men at the Mission use these items as gifts for loved ones during the holiday season.

We've added another donation event at Charles Nusinov and Sons jewelers in Parkville next Thursday, December 10 from 5 pm to 7 pm. Once again, anyone who will bring us five (5) pieces of winter apparel will receive two UMBC baskeball tickets and a free appetizer card from Glory Days Grill.


our masters trip is a great holiday gift idea!

And speaking of awesome holiday gifts, we still have spots available on our trip to Augusta National for the Masters practice round on Tuesday, April 5.

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Haven't been to to Augusta National yet? #DMD can fix that for you when we fly down for the Masters practice round on April 5.

You'll be leaving on an early morning flight out of BWI and will arrive on the grounds of Augusta by 9:00 am. After spending all day watching the best golfers in the world on the best golf course you'll ever see, anywhere, we'll pack up and head for home in the early evening and arrive back at BWI by 11:00 pm.

If you're a golfer and you've NEVER been to Augusta National, this is simply a "must make" trip in your lifetime. And you'll never be able to do it more economically or more easily than our #DMD trip next April.

The per-person price is $975, which even includes lunch at Augusta National! Everything is included in the package; airfare, ground transportation to the course, a full-day practice round ticket and lunch during the day.

If you're interested in making the trip to Augusta next April, send me an e-mail today: 18inarow (at) gmail.com


Wednesday
December 2
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVII
Issue 2

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like nicholson said in “the departed” – “i smell a rat”

OK, here’s the easy stuff out of the way.

I don’t mind the Orioles acquiring Mark Trumbo on Tuesday. He’ll be the team’s right handed DH and his numbers against lefties are more than acceptable. His on- base-percentage isn’t great and his glove is suspect, but the O’s are getting him for his anticipated work at the plate, not in the field.

So, if you want me to give the deal a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down, I’m giving it the “good” sign.

But something’s not adding up.

Why would the Mariners give up on Trumbo? He didn’t set the world on fire for them in his 96-game stint last season but he definitely wasn’t awful, either. He’s 30- years old. He has power. And Seattle gave him away for a guy – Steve Clevenger – who is essentially a back-up, complimentary-at-best type of player. I know the Mariners were thin in the catching department in 2015, but if they think Clevenger is their 140-game answer behind the plate, they’re in for a shock next season.

I smell a rat. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but the deal just doesn’t add up. Sure, Trumbo’s due to make $9 million next season (through arbitration), but what’s $9 million to the owner(s) in Seattle? They gave Robinson Cano a gazillion dollars a few years back and sent two Brinks trucks to Nelson Cruz’s house last winter. $9 million is chump change in the major leagues these days. So, unless I hear the Mariners say, “we did it because of his salary”, I’m simply not willing to believe they traded him “because of his salary”.

Now, if Seattle is about to bathe Chris Davis in $200 million, maybe that $9 million Trumbo was due to make DOES matter. But would a club already paying Cano $24 million per-year give another $24 million or so annually to Chris Davis? I doubt it.

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The cozy confines of Camden Yards could be perfect for Mark Trumbo, but why would Seattle give him away for next-to-nothing?

So, I ask again: Why trade Mark Trumbo to the Orioles for a journeyman catcher? They couldn’t do better than Clevenger? Has Trumbo’s stock fallen that much that no team in the big leagues was willing to part with a legit, starting player in exchange for him? I get it, he’s no Mike Trout, but he’s not Steve Pearce, either. In the right situation – and Camden Yards might very well be the RIGHT place for him – Trumbo could hit 25-30 HR’s and knock in 85’ish runs. And for that, you’ll trade him away for a guy coming up from the JV for his first real shot with the varsity?

They’re going through a change in Seattle, yes. Their new General Manager, Jerry Dipoto, isn’t a fan of guys like Trumbo who don’t get on base a lot and aren’t very stylish with the glove. In fact, Dipoto shipped Trumbo from the Angels to the Diamondbacks a couple of years ago when he was running the team in L.A., so this is the second time he’s made the tough call to Trumbo’s agent.

But 29 other teams could have taken a chance on Trumbo and provided Seattle with someone more valuable and productive than Steve Clevenger. Right? Right? I mean, unless I’m missing something, the deal seems awkwardly out-of-balance.

I don’t get it.

There has to be something else to the deal that we’re not being told, or, perhaps, that the Mariners didn’t tell Dan Duquette

I’m OK with Trumbo-to-Baltimore, but none of it adds up.


Speaking of not "adding up", the Terps' performance in Chapel Hill last night was about as sloppy as it could have been for Mark Turgeon's team and they still only lost by eight, 89-81, to North Carolina. Not that Turgeon and Company went down there looking for a morale victory or anything of that nature, but it speaks to Maryland's overall quality that they turned the ball over more times than Chris Davis struck out last season and still had themselves in a two-possession game with roughly a minute left to play.

Oh, and North Carolina just hit another 3-pointer while you were reading this.

There wasn't much to pick apart last night for Maryland. They just gave the ball away far too much and then went through a cold stretch from the field in the game's final six minutes or so. Guys that you figured would step up did, in fact, show some style and polish. Trimble was a nervous wreck in the opening ten minutes but then settled in nicely and basically went toe-to-toe with the Tar Heels in the second half. Sulaimon continued to look like a poor man's Steph Curry in the first half while Jake Layman was trying to find his shooting touch. Carter Jr. and Stone both had flashes of promise. It wasn't an "awful" performance by any means, but it didn't have the sort of high-quality attachment to it that you would need to win at Chapel Hill.

If you're one of those nervous nellies who has to find something to chew on after a loss like that, I guess it's fair to say that the Terps would be in trouble -- and I mean, big trouble -- if something happens to Trimble. And not because Trimble is that good but because no one else on the team can handle the ball in an up-tempo pace like he can...and even last night, Trimble himself struggled in that role. Jaylen Brantley might be that guy but thus far he hasn't really connected well enough to earn that level of trust from Turgeon. Let's just hope Trimble stays healthy. If he does, there's nothing to worry about.

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Terps Spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his second season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in 2015-2016 and is presented by The Wine Merchant, Baltimore's best source for fine wines and spirits. The Wine Merchant is also a great place to stop for your carry-out lunch and dinner needs. Look for Drew's "Wine Winner" choice when you visit The Wine Merchant!


The shooting hands were awfully hot last night in Chapel Hill when the Maryland Terrapins faced off with the Tar Heels of North Carolina. When the smoke finally cleared, Carolina had emerged with an 89-81 victory paced by Marcus Paige with 20 points, solid inside play by the Carolina big men, and assisted by 22 Terp turnovers. Melo Trimble led all scorers with 23 points and Rasheed Sulaimon added 18 for Maryland. Both teams shot over 50% from the field and Carolina was 9 of 13 (69.2%) from the 3 point line. Maryland hit only 4 of their last 18 shots, many of those being desperation 3 point attempts, and yet still managed to shoot 46% from beyond the arc.

The Terrapins were turning the ball over at a torrid pace to start the game. They had nine in the game’s first 12 minutes with Trimble accounting for four of those. He finished with 8 turnovers for the game. The Tar Heels capitalized on the Terp miscues to build a 32-19 lead at the 7:16 mark of the first half. The Heels were hitting from the outside and doing damage in the paint as well. Tar Heel preseason All-America Marcus Paige looked as though he had never missed the first six games because of a broken bone in his hand. He was sharp from the outset and finished with 20 points (4-for-5 shooting 3s), 5 assists and only 1 turnover. When Maryland stopped turning it over, and started hitting shots, they were able to close the gap to 41-36 at the half.

In the second half, the five point Carolina lead bounced up and down until Maryland finally tied the game at 53 on a Sulaimon triple with 15:52 left. After an amazing display of shooting by Trimble, the rest of the Terps, and North Carolina too, the game was tied at 69 with 8:49 remaining. But the Terp hot hands got ice cold down the stretch, while Carolina continued to get balanced scoring to pull away for the 8 point win. The Carolina starting big men (Justin Jackson, Brice Johnson, and Kennedy Meeks) combined for 37 points on 16 for 30 shooting. By comparison, the Terp big men tallied only 24 with Jake Layman scoring just 4 point on a dismal 1-for-5 shooting night. Jake did grab a team high 8 rebounds.

For the most part, Carolina had control of the game. Maryland never had more than a one point lead while Carolina frequently had leads of 5 or more throughout both halves. Carolina looked a bit more poised in their half court sets and on defense their pressure on the ball paid handsome dividends. No Terp starter had less than 2 turnovers. That being said, Carolina may never have another shooting day like the one they had last night. They may not hit 70% of their threes unguarded in practice. They forced turnovers, hit threes, scored inside, and racked up 89 points to win by eight. Maryland’s defensive effort was not that bad, but the Heels were just that good. Not too many teams are going into the Dean Dome and coming out with a win when the home squad plays that well.


tiger looks, sounds "done"

Tiger Woods showed up in the Bahamas yesterday to help promote HIS event on this week's PGA TOUR silly season calendar and because he's still Tiger Woods and people want to know what he's doing, the 14-time major champion sat down with the media to discuss his latest back surgery and the anticipated timetable for his return.

It was a sad, sad scene.

Woods has always been the master of saying nothing, or, I suppose, saying whatever it is he wants to say without regard for whether or not he's actually answering the question that was presented to him. It's a remarkable habit you pick up, I guess, when you've been in the media spotlight for the last two decades of your life and another writer is standing in front of you with his notepad out, looking for a quote for tomorrow's edition.

So, it wasn't much of a surprise that he spoke on Tuesday, rather, it was a surprise to see him look that downtrodden. And real. And, for what it's worth, that bad physically. There were a few forced smiles and an occasional poke at himself, but all in all it was Woods looking like he's at the point now where he's confronting his fate as a world-class golfer. I suppose it's tough to see yourself at 40 years old and know the best you've had to offer is behind you, and I'm guessing that's an even more difficult personal assessment to absorb when your body won't let you do what's required to play the sport you once dominated.

It's one thing to get older, lose 20 yards off the tee, and simply slide down the quality ladder because that's what happens as the years go by. It's a different story, though, when your body just throws in the towel and even the best doctors in the world can't fix what ails you. Tiger looked and sounded like a guy who knows it's over. It was tough to watch.

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get on the bus to see the wizards and golden state with us, feb. 3

If you're looking for a unique holiday gift, Drew's Morning Dish has it for you. If you're just a fan of the NBA, this is for you, too. And if you're just a curious sports fan who wants to see what the hype is all about, you can jump on the bus with us and see it for yourself.

#DMD is heading to the Verizon Center on Wednesday, February 3rd to see the Wizards host the defending champion -- and currently undefeated -- Golden State Warriors at 8:00 pm. It's Golden State's only regular season trip to Washington and we have an outstanding trip package for 40 of you who want to get on the bus and see Steph Curry and Company live and in person.

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He comes to the area once a year. February 3rd is your chance to see Steph Curry live and #DMD is taking a group of 40 to D.C. for the game.

We'll be leaving the Towson area at 5:30 pm in a luxury motor coach, with Harpoon beer, soft drinks and snacks available for everyone on the way down to D.C. Our package for the night includes an unlimited buffet from 7pm until the start of the 4th quarter and unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks from 7pm until the start of the 4th quarter. Everyone in our group will be sitting together in the upper level of the Verizon Center and everyone also gets a free Wizards t-shirt. How much? $119 per-person. Do the math and figure it out yourself. You get a game ticket, all the food and drink you need or want, a free t-shirt, plus you don't pay for gas, tolls or parking -- for $119. We're only offering that $119 price until December 22nd, by the way. After the 22nd it goes up to $129 per-person.

If you're interested in making the trip to D.C. for our pilgrimage to see Steph Curry and the Warriors, send me an e-mail today: 18inarow (at) gmail.com

Note: We did a soft sales opening yesterday on Facebook and Twitter and as of 6am on December 2nd, 11 of the 40 available seats are already purchased.


our masters trip is also a great holiday gift idea!

And speaking of awesome holiday gifts, we still have spots available on our trip to Augusta National for the Masters practice round on Tuesday, April 5.

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Haven't been to to Augusta National yet? #DMD can fix that for you when we fly down for the Masters practice round on April 5.

You'll be leaving on an early morning flight out of BWI and will arrive on the grounds of Augusta by 9:00 am. After spending all day watching the best golfers in the world on the best golf course you'll ever see, anywhere, we'll pack up and head for home in the early evening and arrive back at BWI by 11:00 pm.

If you're a golfer and you've NEVER been to Augusta National, this is simply a "must make" trip in your lifetime. And you'll never be able to do it more economically or more easily than our #DMD trip next April.

The per-person price is $975, which even includes lunch at Augusta National! Everything is included in the package; airfare, ground transportation to the course, a full-day practice round ticket and lunch during the day.

If you're interested in making the trip to Augusta next April, send me an e-mail today: 18inarow (at) gmail.com


Tuesday
December 1
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVII
Issue 1

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if you're not thrilled with that win, go back to bed

Chalk one up for the people who actually wanted the Ravens to win last night in Cleveland.

Guys like Brent Urban, Kamar Aiken, Elvis Dumervil, Buck Allen, John Harbaugh, and yes, even Matt Schaub, who eventually wound up looking like Matt Schaub but still got the "W" in a 33-27 victory over the Browns that came in the most unlikely manner possible.

I'm quite certain Will Hill wasn't thinking "maybe I shouldn't take this blocked field goal back to the house -- I might be costing us a better draft position next spring."

I've been saying this all season, or at least since the club fell to 1-6 and folks around town started clamoring for a complete 2015 wash-out: Losing is for losers. If there's a game in front of you, you try to win. Period. If you watched that game last night and don't think people like Kamar Aiken and Brent Urban are better football players this morning for what transpired on Monday night, I don't know what else I can say to you.

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This wasn't taken last night, but that was the smile you saw from John Harbaugh when Will Hill scampered into the end zone on the last play of the game.

And for those folks in town who still cling to the notion that John Harbaugh can't coach, you were handed exhibit A in Cleveland of why you're dead wrong. True, there were two odd situations in the second half -- both probably a by-product of being 3-7 than anything else -- that smelled like dumb moves, but that team last night was ready-to-freakin'-play from the opening whistle. Sure, that's why Harbaugh gets $5 million a year and you and I don't -- it's his job to get those guys ready -- but go ahead and try to make 53-guys come together and play for a common goal when the season is all-but-over and the only result they're really hoping for is to leave the game standing on both legs with both arms swinging freely. There's nothing worse than a December injury that ruins that mid-January trip to the Dominican with your buddies from back home.

But I didn't see any players on Monday night who looked worried about what they'd be doing in January. It certainly wasn't the best football we've seen, but no one looked like they were going through the motions, and that's probably more important than the final result, honestly.

And, no, Harbaugh wasn't perfect on Monday night. Challenging that Schaub scramble on 3rd down -- when he already knew he was going for it on 4th down no matter what the result -- wasn't textbook coaching and eating up the play clock late in the game on 4th and 1 and costing Sam Koch five more yards wasn't all that beneficial, either, but if you can overlook those faux pas' and just consider how hard the team played for sixty minutes last night, it's pretty easy to see how important John Harbaugh is to the Ravens.

Oh, in case you missed it, and based on how many of you have sort-of given up on the team over the last month, I'm guessing a lot of you did, here's what happened: With the game tied at 27-27 late in the 4th quarter, Matt Schaub threw the ball to the wrong team...again. He's our turnover-prone quarterback now -- in case you've REALLY gone missing -- and while he made some nice throws and even looked the part on more than one series, he gave the ball to the Browns at midfield with a couple of minutes remaining.

Cleveland, because their coach has NO IDEA at all what he's doing, toyed around with the ball, let 19 seconds tick off the clock in the game's final minute, and eventually ran a silly play up the middle to "settle" for a game-winning 51 yard field goal from Travis Coon. Coon is accurate as all get-out, but his kicking trajectory is low, which came in handy -- no pun intended -- when Brent Urban, a 2014 draft pick who made his NFL debut last night, reached up and blocked the kick. Because the ball isn't round, it bounded perfectly in the direction of Will Hill, who scooped it up and ran 64 yards for the game-winning touchdown as the clock expired.

I hope you had a good night's sleep.

I know John Harbaugh did. And so did his players.

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our winter apparel drive is off to a great start

We kicked off our annual Winter Apparel Drive last night at Glory Days in Towson and left the place with a dozen huge bags of various clothing items that will go to the men at Helping Up Mission later this month. Over 500 items were collected in all on Monday, all part of our 2015 initiative to make the upcoming winter and holiday season a little brighter for those men at HUM who are trying to get their lives back together. And we still have three more weeks of collecting to go!

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In addition to serving as title sponsor of this year's Winter Apparel Drive, Jerry's Toyota-Scion on Belair Road will be our next drop-off location on Monday, December 7.

Thanks to our friends at Jerry's Toyota-Scion, presenting sponsor of this year's event, for their great support of our "mission" to help the men at Helping Up Mission. Next Monday, December 7, you can drop off your winter apparel items at Jerry's Toyota-Scion on Belair Road from 10 am to 12 noon or again from 5 pm to 7 pm and you'll receive two (2) free tickets to a UMBC basketball game and a free appetizer card from our friends at Glory Days Grill just for helping us with our donation drive.

Glory Days and manager Chris McCray were awesome hosts last night as Glenn Clark and I visited with longtime friends who stopped by to donate their unused clothing. Craig Creamer of ABC Rental in Rosedale --an original #DMD partner since the day the site was launched on August 25, 2014 -- came by with a bag of clothing and we chatted about that Calvert Hall-Loyola Turkey Bowl game...mostly because that's how I welcomed him in, me being the Calvert Hall golf coach and Craig being a proud Loyola grad. Brad Foxwell of Advanced Heating and Cooling stopped in with a bunch of clothes and stuck around for dinner and a chat as well. It's been six years, now, that we've been doing this annual campaign to help the guys at Helping Up Mission and I'm always amazed at how many people go out of their way to lend their support.

Please come out next Monday at Jerry's Toyota-Scion and drop off your unwanted winter clothing. We'll take coats, jackets, sweatshirts, gloves, hats, shoes, socks, etc. And yes, we'll take men's, women's and children's clothing. A lot of the men at the Mission use these items as gifts for loved ones during the holiday season.

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Terps Spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his second season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in 2015-2016 and is presented by The Wine Merchant, Baltimore's best source for fine wines and spirits. The Wine Merchant is also a great place to stop for your carry-out lunch and dinner needs. Look for Drew's "Wine Winner" choice when you visit The Wine Merchant!


Tonight, at 9:30 p.m., when the Maryland Terrapins and the Tar Heels of North Carolina renew their rivalry at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, the #2 ranked Terps will match up with a Carolina team that could pose some problems and in doing so, help the Terps evaluate their progress and expose areas that require improvement.

This Carolina line-up can be as big as Maryland’s, but with a bit more athleticism. The front court of Kennedy Meeks (6’10” 260 Jr), Brice Johnson (6’10” 230 Sr.) and Justin Jackson (6’8” 200 So.) leads a team that pulls down an average of 43 rebounds per game. That’s over ten per-game more than the Terps. Johnson and Jackson are both long and lithe while Meeks is a load underneath with his wide body. Those three account for more than half of the Tar Heels points and rebounds. Even though all eyes may be focused on the return of Tar Heel point guard Marcus Paige (back from a broken bone in his hand suffered during practice on November 3rd) the preseason first team All-American may not be the key to the outcome.

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Will the return of Marcus Paige be enough to put the Tar Heels over the top vs. Maryland tonight?

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon accurately stated that his team needs to play "a more physical brand of basketball." That will be especially true tonight. For the Terps to have success, they must stop the inside scoring of the Heels. All three Carolina “bigs” can score inside the paint and often pass to each other for easy looks. They also grab offensive rebounds and score on put backs. Meeks is a true back-to-the-basket guy while Johnson can face up a bit more. Jackson is a match-up nightmare for any team. He can put it on the floor, play with his back to the basket, and will shoot from the outside. He may be the most versatile weapon that the Tar Heels have. And then there’s Paige...he led the Heels last year in nearly every offensive statistic, averaging over 14 points-per-game while connecting on almost 40% of his 3-point shots. He provides ball handling stability as evidenced by his less than two turnovers per-game -- despite playing a team high 33 minutes per-game. How effective he is in his first game back remains to be seen, but he should be in decent shape and may only need to shake off a little rust.

When Maryland has the ball, I look for Melo Trimble and even Rasheed Sulaimon to exploit the Carolina defense with dribble penetration. The Tar Heels have shown some vulnerability to penetrating guards and Trimble is certainly one of the best in the nation at getting to the lane. Kick outs and dump offs should be available. Terp forwards Diamond Stone, Robert Carter Jr, and Michal Cekovsky will need to come up big on both ends of the court if the Terps are to win a tough game on the road vs a top 10 team. It's a cliche to say this is a "statement game", but it certainly amounts to that for the #2 ranked Terps, who could show they're really legit with a win at Chapel Hill.

Perhaps the night’s most intriguing matchup is at small forward. Small forwards Jake Layman for the Terps and Justin Jackson for Carolina are very similar with their offensive skill sets. Both players can score from any spot on the floor with Layman being a slightly better shooter and Jackson being a bit tougher inside. They both rebound well and are similar body types making this a real key matchup that bears watching.

Can Maryland play a tougher style of defense inside? Will the Terps penetrate the Carolina defense to get easy looks? Will the Heels control the boards? Something tells me that the Terps are not quite ready to win the “Battle of the Bigs”. Despite a solid effort from the Melo Trimble, I think that Jackson, Paige and company win one for Tar Heel coach Roy Williams. I’ll go with the Heels by eight, 79-71.

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golden state challenged, but still undefeated after winning in utah

You can't win 82 in a row if you don't win the first 19, right?

OK, OK, I know Golden State isn't going 82-0, but they're on a collision course with destiny now after improving to 19-0 with a 106-103 win at Utah on Monday that kicked off a 7-game road trip for Stephen Curry and Company.

The Warriors actually trailed by three points with under seven minutes left in the game and it was a one-possesion affair for the rest of the night, as the teams traded baskets, with Curry coming up big when he drained a 26-foot three-point bucket with 0:46 remaining that gave Golden State the lead for good. I keep saying this about the Warriors -- they're not ALL Steph Curry. He was human on Monday night, throwing in "only" 26 points while three others on the team contributed double-figures in scoring. It's not how many Curry scores, it's WHEN he scores them that impact the game the most. Down three midway through the 4th quarter, he hit a three pointer to tie the game. And then there was the aforementioned trey that put Golden State ahead for good at 104-101. He can shoot, yes. But he can make those shots when they count the most and that's the real signature of Curry's evolution as a player.

The Warriors are now in hot pursuit of two noteworthy NBA marks. Miami won 27 games in a row a couple of years ago, falling six wins shy of the Lakers all-time mark of 33 straight victories back in 1971-72. Golden State needs eight more wins to equal that mark set by LeBron and the Heat, and with six games left on their cross-country road trip, it would figure that these next half-dozen games make them or break them as far as the pursuit for the Miami record goes. Here's a look at the remaining games on the road swing:

Wed., 12/2 at Charlotte

Sat., 12/5 at Toronto

Sun., 12/6 at Brooklyn

Tues., 12/8 at Indiana

Fri., 12/11 at Boston

Sat., 12/12 at Milwauke

Following that road trip, the Warriors return home for five straight home games, including a December 25 meet-up with LeBron and the Cavaliers.

For the record, I think they're losing a game on this road trip, most likely in Toronto this Saturday night, but I'm in for the long haul with the Warriors. As long as they keep winning, I'll keep following along.


RETRIEVER ROUND-UP

UMBC baseball fell to in-state rival Maryland, 6-2 on Tuesday afternoon in College Park. The Retrievers fell behind early, but got a two-run home run from Hunter Dolshun to take the lead. However the Terps scored four runs in the sixth to take the victory.

The Retrievers fall to 18-20 on the year while Maryland improves to 32-15 in 2017.