Sunday
January 31
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVIII
Issue 31

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just how good can the orioles be in 2016?

The Super Bowl is still one week away, we all knew Novak Djokovic was going to win the Australian Open and I've mentally moved on from Wednesday's preditcable Caps loss to the Flyers.

So let's talk some baseball this morning.

I'll say it, short and sweet: I think the Orioles are going to very good in 2016.

I know what you're thinking. Trust me, I know. "Have you see their starting pitching, Drew?"

Indeed, I have. It's largely the same staff from 2015, minus, arguably, their best thrower of them all, Wei Yin Chen.

I'll concede on the notion that the club's starting pitching is weaker, if you'll concede to me that the team's offensive potential -- barring injury -- is much greater than the pitching weakness.

Did I explain that right? The removal of Chen from the starting rotation weakens the club, yes. But the addition of Mark Trumbo and the anticipated full-season-production from the likes of Matt Wieters and Jonathan Schoop outweighs -- in my mind -- the loss of Chen. There, that should make sense.

What you're getting from the Orioles in 2016 is something similar to what the Blue Jays engineered in Toronto last season when they won the A.L. East. Big bats, lots of runs, and more 9-6 wins than Bruce Springsteen has Grammy awards (that would be 20, by the way).

Sure, Toronto's starting rotation is a tick better than Baltimore's, but the bullpen that Buck Showalter has at his disposal is far superior to anything the Blue Jays had in 2015 or will have in 2016. Pitching isn't just about who starts the games, it's also about who finishes them.

One of Showalter's biggest tasks in Sarasota will be figuring out who plays where. A lot of that depends on the glove of Mark Trumbo. If he shows he's capable of patroling right field with even the most basic amount of skill, Buck will likely leave him out there and play Chris Davis at first base.

But it's certainly not unreasonable to think that Showalter would swap those two if Trumbo runs around out there like Jay Gibbons and costs the team a run or three early in April or May. We know, for sure, that Davis can handle right field duties like a real major leaguer. We'll have to see if Trumbo can do it.

To me, the anticipated full season of production from both Schoop and Wieters is what really gets me to think 2016 could be a big year for the Birds. Schoop has some warts, admittedly. He's never seen a 3-2 pitch he doesn't like and his on-base percentage (.270/career) suffers greatly because he hasn't yet learned how to take a walk. In 817 career at-bats, Schoop has drawn just 23 walks. Hell, Jim Thome probably walked that many times in one month during his career.

But Schoop has something that most 2nd baseman don't. He can hit the ball out of the park. He recorded 15 homes runs in 86 games last season and had 16 dingers in 137 games in 2014. If he can play 150 games in 2016 -- admittedly, he's never done that in three prior big league seasons -- I'm guessing Schoop's home run total is in the 20's.

The same sort of boost in team offense comes from Matt Wieters in 2016 if, like Schoop, he stays healthy and plays the entire season.

Oh, and there's a much bigger issue lingering around Wieters, which should prompt him to give a varsity effort every day this season. He'll be a free agent (again) after the 2016 campaign and would up his stock dramatically with a big year at the plate.

If Wieters is any kind of competitor, he has to be embarrassed at what transpired this past off-season when he was forced to sign the "qualifying offer" rather than explore free agency after his agent snooped around to a bunch of teams and found little to no long-term interest in his client. Anyone high quality veteran worth his salt would be shamed at not drawing a 5-year offer that, if nothing else, would leave them comfortable enough to say, "To hell with the qualifying offer, I'm going to free agency."

A full season of Wieters should net the team at least 20 home runs and 80 runs driven in. And that's if he just has a typical season with the bat. If he could just have one of those breakout years we've all been waiting for, maybe he goes 32 HR, 100 RBI. That would certainly help make up for the anticipated starting pitching woes.

And what of those starting pitching issues? Are they real? Or just something for all the baseball nerds and blogging junkies to prattle on about during the winter?

The starting pitching concerns ARE real, yes.

Chen's departure not only leaves the club without a quality left-handed thrower in the rotation, it also takes away one of the club's most reliable arms. He made over 30 starts in three of his four years in Baltimore and was more than capable of giving the team five or six quality innings per-start. His durability was questionable, yes, which is ultimately the reason why the club didn't get involved in the high-stakes game of free agency with Chen. Showalter soured greatly at Chen's apparent lack of intestinal fortitude and that was that, as the saying goes.

But, Chen's spot in the rotation needs to be filled by someone. Anyone. And right now, there's no one available to fill that hole.

And no, please, it's not freakin' Brian Matusz.

The Orioles are going to give Matusz the ball in spring training, try and "stretch him out", and see if the former #1 draft pick -- originally thought to be a legit starting arm in the big leagues -- can find the fountain of youth and move back into the rotation.

Don't count on it. Not even a little bit. Matusz is nothing more than a left-handed bullpen arm.

It's my general belief that we'll see some degree of market-correction from the O's in 2016, as far as the starting rotation goes and their impact on the season as a whole. I don't think Chris Tillman is a 5.00 run ERA guy like he was in 2015. I'm not sure we'll see a return to the form that saw him average a 3.50 ERA in 2013-2014, but he's far more likely to dip back into the 3's this season than he is to balloon to something in the mid 5's. Just my hunch...

You know what you're going to get from Ubaldo Jimenez. He'll make 30-something starts and in about a dozen of those, he'll look like one of the best pitchers in the American League. But in a dozen others, he'll look like Sydney Ponson circa 2004. Still, you know what's to come from Jimenez. An ERA in the low 4's and a pretty honest effort every time he takes the mound.

The other two arms, Miguel Gonzalez and Kevin Gausman, are both very capable of having good seasons. There's no telling if they will, of course, but each has shown a legit skill set in their respective tenures in Baltimore. Gausman is the more intriguing of the two, naturally, because he's a former #1 draft pick with a gazillion dollar arm. He's not quite Nuke LaLoosh from the movie Bull Durham but there are some similarities. The O's just need him to put it all together now.

So, yes, I'm one of the rare guys (or gals) in town who actually thinks the Orioles are poised to make a run at another American League East title in 2016.

I didn't mention the club's outstanding defensive capabilities, the fact they have one of the league's best in-game managers, or the 1-2 punch of Manny Machado and Adam Jones.

I also didn't bring up the Korean player the club added in the off-season, Hyun-soo Kim, mainly because I don't really know what to expect from him. His career in the Korean league was strong, but there's no telling what he'll do here in the U.S. We'll take what we get.

Don't go buying your playoff tickets just yet, but at least be confident that the Orioles are going to be better in 2016 than they were in 2015.

I think that's a very safe bet.

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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!


which ohio state team will terps see today?

Just as we did with the Maryland-Northwestern rematch, we will examine today’s rematch with Ohio State from the standpoint of what will, and what will not, repeat itself from Terrapin-Buckeye contest two weeks ago at the XFINITY Center. That outcome was a 100-65 blowout win for Maryland.

In the January 16 game, Maryland (18-3, 7-2) broke out to a 48-30 halftime lead behind solid team shooting. They connected on 60% of their two point attempts and 70% of their threes. They scored 24 points in the paint which accounted for every two point shot made. Maryland was able to penetrate frequently which led to easy layups and dump offs for dunks.

From the opening tip, they focused on getting the ball down low to Robert Carter Jr and he responded with 15 first half points on 6 for 9 shooting which included hitting both of his 3 point attempts. He was simply too strong and too quick on the low blocks for the Buckeye big men. Rasheed Sulaimon’s first half included 3 out of 4 shooting from beyond the three point line and 5 for 6 overall to tally 13 points.

You know a half is going your way when the slumping Jared Nickens throws up 2 deep balls and hits both.

While Maryland had success getting the ball inside, they did a poor job defending their own interior, allowing Ohio State to score 20 first half points around the basket. Most of that damage was done by JaQuan Lyle who had eight from close range. Also in the opening 20 minutes, Ohio State hit 2 of 5 three point shots and failed to get to the foul line. They grabbed six offensive rebounds compared to three for the Terps and turnovers were even at nine.

The second half would yield little significant information other than to show that this Ohio State had some “quit” in them and that Terp head coach Mark Turgeon was not above allowing his team to score some “statement points". Maryland grew the lead to 40 and eventually won by 35.

Certainly for today’s match-up, Maryland won’t win by 35 as they did in the previous contest. In Vegas, they think that Maryland is five points better but I have to wonder if that’s enough.

Points were not hard to come by for Maryland as they were continually able to get good looks and easy baskets. Yes, they did hit 11 of 21 threes, but they only scored 3 times in the first half from the foul line and will assuredly get there more often this time around.

Scoring will not be an issue for Maryland today, but a lesser (and more normal) shooting percentage from the Terps and an increased effort level from Ohio State will decrease the totals from 100 down to 79. Ohio State's shooting percentages would suggest that an offensive explosion is probably not in their future. They will make a few more three point shots this time around, but won’t drop in 18 shots from the foul line like they did in game 1 (all in the second half).

Maryland will do a better job cutting of dribble penetrations and have renewed focus on rebounding, making it hard for the Buckeyes to score more than the 65 they did the first time around.

I see a late Ohio State run coming up short as Maryland builds a double digit lead and then holds on to secure a 79-70 win on the road. After that it’s on to Nebraska for a meeting with the ‘Huskers on Wednesday night.


umbc hoops: men lose a tough one, women post big road win

A gritty effort by the UMBC men's basketball team came up just short on Saturday afternoon, January 30, as the Retrievers fell, 84-81, to visiting New Hampshire at the RAC Arena.

Sophomore guard Jairus Lyles led all scorers with 26 points, leading four Retrievers in double figures.

There were six ties and seven lead changes in the second half and neither team led by more than four points over the final 27 minutes of play.

UNH held a 75-71 lead with 2:35 remaining, but UMBC got a pair of free throws by sophomore guard Rodney Elliott (John Carroll H.S) and forced a missed field goal attempt on the other end. Then, Lyles got a screen on the left wing and got to the basket, converting a lay-up to knot the score at 75-all with 1:24 remaining.

After a Wildcat time-out, sophomore post Taylor Leissner, who was limited on the inside during the game, stepped out late in the shot clock and knocked down a trey from the top of the key to give his side the lead for good at 78-75 with 59 seconds remaining.

UMBC (5-18, 1-7 America East) failed to answer on the next possession and Leissner hit one of two free throws with 40 seconds left. The Retrievers would cut the deficit to two points three times in the final 33 seconds and had a chance to tie the game after UNH guard Joe Bramanti hit one of two free throws to give his squad a 84-81 lead with 11 seconds left. But the Wildcats defended Lyles well and Elliott's off-balance attempt with three seconds left fell short of the mark.

UNH (12-9, 5-3 AE), which has won four of its last five outings, was paced by junior guard Jaleen Smith, who scored 15 of his team high 21 points in the second half.

Lyles converted 10 (of 18) field goals or more in a game for the sixth time in a dozen outings for UMBC. Elliott added 17 points, sophomore guard Jourdan Grant (Archbishop Spalding H.S.) recorded 15 and junior wing Will Darley (Dulaney H.S.) tallied 14.

Darley and senior post Cody Joyce led UMBC with nine rebounds each, as the Retrievers outrebounded the conference's second-best rebounding squad (+6.8), 37-35.

UMBC hosts three-time defending America East champion Albany as the second half of league play begins on Wednesday, Feb. 3.

Meanwhile, Phil Stern's Lady Retrievers picked up a huge road win at New Hampshire, as UMBC got a season best 27 points from junior Taylor McCarley in a 65-55 win on Saturday. The win moves the Retrievers to 13-8 overall and 4-4 in America East play on the year.

After taking a 26-25 halftime lead, defense was the key for the Retrievers in the third quarter. UMBC forced a total of five turnovers in the quarter, and found themselves on the right side of a 7-0 run early on. McCarley and Laura Castaldo torched the Wildcats late in the 3rd with a mini 5-0 run to push the advantage to ten. The Retrievers ended the third with 42-32 lead.

Quarter four started the way the third ended. McCarley hit a pair of triples, and had five total points early on. From there the Retrievers would make their foul shots, holding on for a 65-55 victory.

McCarley led all scorers with a season high 27 points, adding five rebounds and three assists. Pandora Wilson chipped in 20 and seven boards. The Retrievers shot 38.8% from the field, holding the Wildcats to 33% shooting.

The Lady Retrievers will continue their road swing with a Wednesday matchup at Albany on February 3. Tip-off with the Great Danes is set for 7 pm.

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Drew's Fantasy Golf Update

Earlier this week here at #DMD, I gave out six fantasy-golf picks for this week's PGA Tour event. Let's look at how those six players are faring in the tournament.

If you're looking for a place to relax and watch this week's golf tournament, try any of the Baltimore-area Glory Days Grills, including Drew's favorite on East Joppa Road in Towson.


I wish I would have done better for those of you who bank on me for your fantasy golf advice. I'm having a rare bad week. Or, at least I hope it's a rare bad week.

My predicted winner of the tournament at Torrey Pines, Justin Rose is spending the weekend surfing after missing the cut. I should have paid more attention to the fact that Rose hadn't played in a competitive event since mid-December. I knew that, actually, but I figured that would give him energy, not hurt his performance.

Spencer Levin was one of my "sleeper" picks and that's what he was doing -- sleeping -- on Saturday morning and Sunday morning while the rest of the guys who made the cut were playing golf for money. I really thought I had a darkhorse there. Turns out I didn't.

It's the same song-and-dance for Cameron Tringale, who shot 69-78 and packed his locker on Friday afternoon.

I did have three guys make the cut, though, which isn't good in the least, but gives me something to build on for next week.

Dustin Johnson shot 74 on Saturday to drop back to -6. He's still in the hunt with co-leaders Scott Brown and K.J. Choi both at 9-under par, but D.J. will need a big round today to get near the top of the leaderboard.

Both Scott Stallings (-4) and Brandt Snedeker (-3) would need a million things to go right for them today to have a shot at winning.

Don't lose faith in me just yet. I'll bounce back next week for you.

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if you've never seen the palestra in person...join us on feb. 20

This trip, I'll admit, is close to my heart.

We're going to "The Cathedral of College Basketball" on February 20, otherwise known as "The Palestra" -- on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. What's there, you ask? Only the greatest college basketball venue on the east coast, that's what. And it's 90 minutes away. Penn will be taking on Yale that night (7 pm) and #DMD is packing a bus full of people to take it all in. Best of all, we're just about as close to courtside as you can get, just a few rows up from the floor, packed in there on a Saturday night to witness not only a game, but to experience the building that still, today, is on every high school and college basketball player's personal "bucket list". If you play in The Palestra, you've made it.

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You have to see a game in there at least once: The Palestra on the campus of UPenn.

Officially, here's The Palestra:

The Palestra, often called the Cathedral of College Basketball, is a historic arena and the home gym of the University of Pennsylvania Quakers men's and women's basketball teams, volleyball teams, wrestling team, and Philadelphia Big 5 basketball. Located at 235 South 33rd St. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, near Franklin Field in the University City section of Philadelphia, it opened on January 1, 1927. The Palestra has been called "the most important building in the history of college basketball" and "changed the entire history of the sport for which it was built."

The arena originally seated about 10,000, but now seats 8,722 for basketball. The Palestra is famed for its close-to-the-court seating with the bleachers ending at the floor with no barrier to separate the fans from the game.

Since its inception, the Palestra has hosted more games, more visiting teams, and more NCAA tournaments than any other facility in college basketball.

I've been to The Palestra twice. If you haven't yet been, make this trip with us. I promise, you'll leave the building with goosebumps.

We're doing the whole trip for $69 per-person. Here's what you get: Round-trip motor coach transportation from Towson to Philadelphia. A delicious Palmisano's sub and other snacks, along with beer, soft drinks and water on the ride up to Philadelphia. A lower level, near-courtside seat for the Penn-Yale game. And a commemorative, limited-edition "I saw The Palestra!" tee-shirt.

All of that for $69 per-person. I was only able to get 30 tickets, so at this point, that's all we're taking. I'm working on more tickets in the event demand warrants it, but if you want to be one of the first 30 to get on the bus and go to Philly, we'd love to have you.

Just click right here to reach The Palestra page, make your payment and secure your spot on the trip.

Saturday
January 30
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVIII
Issue 30

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Click here for full details on our Masters trip!




bruce springsteen gave me a birthday gift last night!


I learned something on the final day of the 52nd year of my life last night in Washington DC. And wouldn't you know it, while doing so I also got an early birthday present from Bruce Springsteen.

It hit me as Bruce and the E Street Band produced a scorching version of "You Can Look But You Better Not Touch" around one hour into their show at the Verizon Center. And today, my 53rd birthday, I'll pass it on to you as a gift of sorts.

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There's something about sharing the same air with someone who does it better than you that lifts you up in a way you didn't know was possible. People have often asked me, "Why do you love Bruce Springsteen so much?"

I finally figured it out last night.

It took about 40 years, but it finally hit me.

Being in the same room -- albeit one shared last night with 19,000 other people -- with someone who produces a quality that you haven't yet produced is what reaches you and, if you allow it, also teaches you at the same time.

And no, I'm not talking about playing the guitar, singing about growing up in New Jersey with an overbearing but loving father, or a girl you're trying to impress with your jazzed up car, or the construction job you have that leaves you worn out on Friday night. I'm not capable of singing, writing songs or playing in a rock-n-roll band, of course, but that's not the "gift" you get when you see Bruce live.

The gift is seeing someone perform day after day and night after night at their highest level, generating the most quality they've ever produced, perhaps, right then and there...at that very moment.

As Bruce and the band tore through "You Can Look..." I watched in amazement and thought, "Here they are, playing maybe their 4,000th (?) show together over the last 40 years, and this song, this effort, this result -- might be as good as they've ever been. Ever."

That's what hit me. And that was the gift I got from Bruce last night in Washington DC.

It wasn't quite a religious experience, but I would have definitely kneeled if the space in Section 424 would have allowed for it.

In a way, it's what happens to all of us when we're sports fans and we latch on to a team or athlete who happens to be enjoying a great run of success. It's called being a "front-runner" and most times we're criticized for jumping on the bandwagon during their height of success.

We're not jumping on because we "like" them, we're jumping on because we want to BE like them. We want to win. We want to have success. We want to be able to do what WE do as well as THEY do what they do.

I'm taking a busload of 40 people back down to the Verizon Center this Wednesday night to see Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors take on the Wizards. I'm speaking only for myself here, but I want see Curry and his team perform in person because I'm on their bandwagon. There's no shame in admitting that. But I'm on it not because I wear a Warriors t-shirt (I don't) or because I want to be just like Steph Curry (I can't).

I'm front-running for the Curry and the Warriors these days because they're producing a quality of basketball that's almost unprecedented for ANYTHING we've seen in our lives. They won last year's NBA title after going 67-15 in the regular season and they're 42-4 to start the current NBA campaign. I want to be as good at what I do as they are at what they do.

And I want to see them do it in person on Wednesday night.

I don't want to be a rock-n-roll hero. I can't be. But what Springsteen teaches you is that you can be just like him at whatever it is that YOU do.

I've seen him 22 times now and in an oddly interesting way, I can say every show has been dramatically different and every show has been exactly the same. And that's to say, simply, I've never, ever, ever seen Bruce have an off night. Not once. Not even close. It's the same energy, the same passion, the same excellence and the exact same emotion when the encore ends and the show is over.

That emotion is easy to describe in one word: Awe.

Bruce and that band just refuse to ever deliver anything but their very best. They go out there every night and produce magic.

We all wish we could say the same for ourselves. Right?

No matter how old you are or what you do for a living, you've had an "off day" here and there. It happens. We're human. But the reach for excellence and quality that Springsteen so clearly covets is a trait we all need to embrace. And you can apply that to anything, really, whether it's your effort to be a better husband, better wife, better father, better mother, better employer, better employee and, yes, even a better coach or golfer.

What Springsteen gives you as HIS gift is the undeniable concept that you CAN produce extraordinary "work" every day, every night, every time. And the word "work" there is simply meant to encompass what you do from the moment you wake up until the moment you put your head down on the pillow. Because, as we all know, life is hard work.

Life can be fun, sure, but it's also hard, particularly if you're trying to produce a quality that's special and worthy of pride.

I wasn't the only one in the building last night enjoying themselves and, best of all, I saw people of all ages taking it all in and reveling with the greatest rock-n-roller of my generation. As I mentioned yesterday here at #DMD, my friend Ray Infussi and his wife Mary Beth brought their three young children along for their first taste of Bruce in concert.

The age range on our limo bus literally went from 8 to, I'd guess, mid 50's or so. In the arena, I saw people in their 80's, people in their 40's and people in their 20's. A bunch of travelers on our #DMD bus weren't alive yet when "Born in the USA" came out in 1984, let alone "Born to Run" in 1975.

But everyone knew the words and everyone joined along. Springsteen loves to let the audience sing the opening verse or two of a lot of his songs. It's probably his way of making sure the band and their work is still relevant, as if they'll ever be a day when it won't be. They get it right, too.

People don't just sing the song, they sing it the way Bruce sings it. They have the right rythm, the right cadence and they know what words to hit hard and what notes to hit soft.

When the band launched into "Thunder Road", the entire crowd joined in, right from the outset. As we worked our way to these lyrics, "Show a little faith there's magic in the night -- you ain't a beauty but hey you're alright..." the video screen captured Bruce, just standing on the edge of the stage, looking out at the crowd with a smile and gently nodding as if to say, "You all are really good." And there for a second, the people in the seats became the show and Bruce and the band became spectators. For a brief moment, they were in awe of us.

And as the setlist started to dwindle and the night was almost done, Bruce and the band launched into "Dancing in the Dark", which, frankly, is one of the rare Bruce songs I never really liked or connected with for some reason. It just never "reached me". But it did last night.

As he once did in the music video for the song, Bruce brought two women up on stage to dance with him as the band played in the background. Both were in their 50's, I'd say, and each brought signs along to the show that said, essentially, "Bruce, will you please dance with me?"

So, he did. He put out his hand and brought them up on stage -- independent of one another -- and gave them a one-minute memory they'll never forget. They were "in the band" at that point and they went from onlooker to performer in the snap of a finger. For a very brief moment in their life, those two women got to produce an extraordinary quality, just like Bruce and the band do every night.

When you turn 53, gifts don't come in boxes. They come from your parents, if you're still fortunate enough to have them with you, and your family, your wife, your children and your friends. They are your best gifts, of course.

But if you allow yourself to receive it, gifts can come from other sources as well.

I got one on Friday night, January 29, 2016 from Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band.

For the 22nd time, I saw them live, but for the first time ever, I figured out why I go and why I'm a Springsteen junkie.

I want my quality of work and life to be as extraordinary as the one Bruce produces night after night.

As Bruce so accurately sings in the song "No Surrender" -- "We learned more from a 3-minute record, baby, than we ever learned in school."

How true.

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And that's it for today.

I'll get back to sports tomorrow. If you're looking to get out today, head down to UMBC for the Retrievers basketball game at 1 pm vs. New Hampshire. If you can't make it, we'll re-cap it for you in tomrrow morning's edition of #DMD. Also on Sunday, we'll preview Maryland-Ohio State basketball. I'll tell you how I'm doing in fantasy golf for you (not well, but I'll rebound for you next week, I promise) and I'll offer a few insights on the Orioles tomorrow as well as the snow starts to melt and the vans are getting packed for Sarasota.

Today, I'd simply like my Springsteen piece above to represent what's important to me on this, my 53rd birthday.

I love sports, of course, but occasionally it's good to let other things take the lead.

And I need to get some hot tea and honey in me. My voice is shot.

Have a great Saturday.

DF

Friday
January 29
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVIII
Issue 29

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Click here for full details on our Masters trip!



"Sprung from cages out on highway 9, chrome wheeled, fuel injected and steppin' out over the line..."


You can go ahead and sing the rest of it, if you want. It's OK. Everyone knows the lyrics to Bruce Springsteen's song Born to Run.

I'll be at the Verizon Center tonight with a limo-bus full of other Bruce crazies as The Boss and his E Street Band roll into Washington DC for a stop on the critically acclaimed "River Tour".

We'll be transported to the show in style courtesy of our friends at Triangle Limousine, who have us heading to DC in style with a DVD player, flat screen TV's, and plenty of room for our ice cold Harpoon beer and fresh subs and dinner from Palmisano's of Baldwin. And I've created a pretty cool (and somewhat difficult) "Bruce Trivia Contest" for the ride down. The winner gets $50. If someone gets all 13 questions right, they get $100.

Tonight's show marks the 22nd time I'll see Springsteen live, I'm proud to admit. And if all goes well for both of us over the next few months, I'll be there on April 20 when he plays the Royal Farms Arena, too.

Our bus tonight will be filled with people of all ages, which is one of the things I love about Springsteen. My friend Ray Infussi and his wife, Mary Beth, are bringing their adolescent children along, not because they're dragging them to a Springsteen show, but because the kids want to be there. We have a few 20-something couples on the bus, plus some oldies-but-goodies (ahem) who are longtime "Bruce junkies". It's a show for all ages, kind of like the circus, only without the smell of the elephants lingering in the building.

People often ask me why I've seen Springsteen over 20 times and the answer has changed over the years. I've been a fan since I first heard the Born to Run album in the mid 1970's. Almost predictably, my first brush with The Boss came when a friend was working on his car across the street from my house in Glen Burnie. It was an 8-track tape (yep, I'm that old) and the one thing I vividly remember when I asked Fred Ravadge about the music was his reply, "The guy's name is Bruce Springsteen. He's gonna be big someday, like Elvis."

That was a pretty good call, I'd say.

But I go to the shows now because I'm always afraid this might be the last time I get to see him. I know it appears Bruce is "ageless", what with the 3 hour and 15 minute shows he routinely performs and the boundless amounts of energy he displays night after night, but the fact of the matter is Bruce is 66 years old now and...well...you just never know what lies ahead in this life of ours.

Without question, seeing the likes of David Bowie and Glenn Frey both recently passing away in their late 60's has created even more of an urge for me to not miss a local show. You just never know when it's going to be the last time you get to see him live on stage.

I also know his music, lyrics and sound are an acquired taste, much the same way Jimmy Buffett or The Grateful Dead are in that "love 'em or hate 'em" category. Most people are either all in on Springsteen or they have no interest at all. I like that. It makes me feel like I'm part of a special club on nights like tonight when we're all there, in the same building as the great one, singing along to virtually every song and sharing an evening together with an iconic musician who has ridden the waves of life with us for the last "x amount" of years.

When he plays Born to Run tonight, 75 year olds will be signing along with 65 year olds, 55 year olds, 35 year olds and 15 year olds. There aren't many bands or musicians alive today who have that connectivity from generation-to-generation. And that's probably the best thing about Springsteen's career. It's never been about one group of people. His songs can apply to everyone, whether it's 1976 or 2016.

I could go on and on, naturally, but I won't. I'll just leave you with a cool video from a show in Pittsburgh earlier this month where Bruce played David Bowie's Rebel, Rebel in honor of Bowie's recent passing.

If you're going tonight, be safe and have a great time. I know you will.


#DMD HDTV


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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!


terps toughen up in big win over iowa


The Maryland Terrapins had a slim 2 point lead, 62-60, with possession of the ball and a mere 94 seconds remaining in last night’s game against 3rd ranked Iowa. Terp coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout and set up what would be the biggest play of the game.

Maryland, who was looking to extend their lead, had just been given possession on a held ball after a crucial front end miss of a one and one by Iowa’s Mike Gesell. Coming out of the time out, Turgeon elected to go small with Diamond Stone being Maryland’s only big man in the game (Robert Carter Jr had just fouled out a few seconds earlier).

The ball was inbounded on the right wing and moved across the perimeter to the left wing and into the hands of Jake Layman. Meanwhile, Stone was cutting across the lane and as he got to the left side near the foul line extended, Iowa’s Dom Uhl tried to play him over the top and deny the entry pass. Just like in the play book, Stone sealed off Uhl making the Layman pass over the defender an easy one. Stone caught it, and with no weak side help because the other Terps were all on the perimeter pulling their defenders with them, the dunk was inevitable. The lead was now four.

Seconds later, a Melo Trimble strip and another Layman assist, this time on a breakaway for an easy bucket by Jarrod Nickens, gave the Terps a 66-60 lead and essentially secured the win. It was a brilliant play call by Turgeon at a critical time and it capped off a fantastic night for the home fans at the XFINITY Center who enjoyed a truly memorable 74-68 Terp win against one the nation’s best college basketball teams.

Maryland's having an outstanding season, but they really lacked a "signature win" on their schedule to date. That talk ended with last night's win over Iowa, a victory that could loom large for the Terps come tournament-seeding time in March.

Robert Carter Jr was tied with the Terps Rasheed Sulaimon for game high point honors at 17, but it was his defensive effort on the Big 10’s leading scorer, Jarrod Uthoff, that was a bigger factor in the game. Uthoff, who had scored in double figures in every game this year, was limited to just 9 points on 2 for 13 shooting.

When Carter wasn’t shutting Uthoff down, it was Layman who provided the blanket coverage on the Iowa star. Layman, who played a brilliant first half, managed to connect on only 1 of 8 shots in the second half but played what I thought was the best defensive game of his Terp career. He fought for position all night long and continually got into passing lanes with good movement. He also grabbed 7 rebounds, (tied for team high) blocked 2 shots, and had 2 assists against zero turnovers. He was tougher and stronger than usual and seemed to be energized by the matchup with Uthoff.

The game started out as if each team forgot how to play defense. The score was 10-8 in favor of the Terps at the first TV timeout and each team looked unstoppable. After Carter Jr hit a jumper and Layman scored five straight in what seemed like a blink of an eye, Maryland had their biggest lead of the night at 8 points, 17-9, with 13:30 left in the half. An Iowa 10-2 run would pull them even at 19-all and by the 4:54 mark Iowa would own a one point lead after a steal and layup by Ahmad Wagner.

Maryland would then use an eight point burst by Sulaimon to ignite a 13-7 run and end the first half up 41-35.

The baskets that were so easy to come by in the first half were almost impossible to find in the second. The same Terp team that shot almost 55% from the floor in half one only hit 33% in half two. Iowa’s drop off was significant also, as their 50% shooting percentage from the floor in the first half fell to 37% in the final 20 minutes. Let’s give some credit to the defensive efforts of both teams while still noting that both did miss some very open looks.

The Maryland six-point halftime lead was a one point deficit with only three minutes gone in the second half as the Terps first five possessions could only yield four missed shots and a turnover. The game would stay tight with Iowa’s biggest lead being one point while the Terps would get their lead up to five on one occasion. The only thing working for Maryland offensively were entry passes into the interior of the Iowa zone (Iowa stayed in a zone for the majority of the game) to Carter Jr who was then able to turn and connect on short jumpers.

Even though it was tense, tough basketball, and very exciting, it was not artistic. Finally, with the game on the line and each possession taking on greater significance, Maryland ran the play to Stone that would determine the outcome. The crowd went nuts and stayed on their feet for the remainder of the game after the Stone dunk that put them ahead by four at 64-60. Iowa was forced to foul to stretch the game, but Maryland hit just enough free throws to secure the victory.

In looking back at this Maryland win, there were several key stories. One was the terrific defense played by the Terps including their work on the boards (rebounding stats were nearly identical for both teams).

A second story could be the horrible shooting in the second half (Maryland scored 41 points in the first half, but had scored only 21 second half points with 94 seconds left in the game).

A third story, and a very important one, was Maryland’s ability to get into the bonus after only 6:30 seconds had expired in the second half. Scoring from the line was essential for a team that missed all 10 of their three point attempts in the second half. The last story was the play after the timeout that was the beginning of the end for Iowa.

Having the students back from their winter break for such a big game certainly gave the arena the enthusiasm that you have come to expect at College Park whenever the Terps play a Top 10 team. The crowd definitely made a difference last night. It was a pretty magical night and the essence of what the college game should be. Even though second half shoots were banging off the iron (actually, several shots hit nothing at all and the “air ball” chants were frequently heard), the play was intense and the outcome was never certain until the last minute.

For those looking for a full 40 minute game from Maryland, you got it last night and the result was an impressive win. Next up for Maryland are road games against Ohio State on Sunday followed by a trip to Nebraska next Wednesday, February 3rd.

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Drew's Fantasy Golf Update

Earlier this week here at #DMD, I gave out six fantasy-golf picks for this week's PGA Tour event. Let's look at how those six players are faring in the tournament.

If you're looking for a place to relax and watch this week's golf tournament, try any of the Baltimore-area Glory Days Grills, including Drew's favorite on East Joppa Road in Towson.


Round one of the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines is in the books and unless Spencer Levin goes nuts today and fires a 65 somehow, I'll once again fail to have all of my fantasy picks make the weekend cut. But I'm still very much alive with several of my other selections for the week, so let's see how everyone is doing thus far:

My two "sleeper picks" were hot and cold. The aforementioned Spencer Levin shot four-over par 76 on the South course at Torrey Pines, so he moves over the easier North course today for his second round. I hope it's easier to the tune of, say, 64 or 65 for him, or Levin will be surfing somewhere in San Diego on Saturday and Sunday. The other "sleeper", Scott Stallings, fashioned a cool little 68 (four under) on Thursday, but he played the easier north Course. I like his start, though, and I expect Stallings to be hanging around the leaderboard over the weekend.

Cameron Tringale got off to a solid start as well on Thursday, with a three-under round of 69 (North course).

My "big three" weren't so big on Thursday, but they're all capable of something in the mid 60's today to get themselves right back in the tournament.

Dustin Johnson had it going for a while and was 4-under at one point on the South course before finally finishing at 2-under par 70. He should be able to rake in some birdies on the North course today and pop up on the leaderboard at some point.

Brandt Snedeker never really got it going and was fortunate to scrape together a one-over par round of 73 on the South. He'll need to post something like 67 or 68 today to ensure he plays the weekend, which I think he'll do.

And my pre-tournament pick to win, Justin Rose never got it in gear on Thursday and plodded along to a one-under round of 71 on the South. Like Snedeker and D.J., Rose moves over to the North course today where he should be able to make up some ground.

Oh, and there IS actually a golf tournament going on out there and Scott Brown (66 on the South) and Andrew Loupe (66 on the North) are tied for the lead at 6-under par. Loupe was a hot pick this week after playing well last weekend at PGA West. Former FedEx Cup winner Billy Horshel is among five guys at 5-under par, just one shot out of the lead.

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if you've never seen the palestra in person...join us on feb. 20

This trip, I'll admit, is close to my heart.

We're going to "The Cathedral of College Basketball" on February 20, otherwise known as "The Palestra" -- on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. What's there, you ask? Only the greatest college basketball venue on the east coast, that's what. And it's 90 minutes away. Penn will be taking on Yale that night (7 pm) and #DMD is packing a bus full of people to take it all in. Best of all, we're just about as close to courtside as you can get, just a few rows up from the floor, packed in there on a Saturday night to witness not only a game, but to experience the building that still, today, is on every high school and college basketball player's personal "bucket list". If you play in The Palestra, you've made it.

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You have to see a game in there at least once: The Palestra on the campus of UPenn.

Officially, here's The Palestra:

The Palestra, often called the Cathedral of College Basketball, is a historic arena and the home gym of the University of Pennsylvania Quakers men's and women's basketball teams, volleyball teams, wrestling team, and Philadelphia Big 5 basketball. Located at 235 South 33rd St. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, near Franklin Field in the University City section of Philadelphia, it opened on January 1, 1927. The Palestra has been called "the most important building in the history of college basketball" and "changed the entire history of the sport for which it was built."

The arena originally seated about 10,000, but now seats 8,722 for basketball. The Palestra is famed for its close-to-the-court seating with the bleachers ending at the floor with no barrier to separate the fans from the game.

Since its inception, the Palestra has hosted more games, more visiting teams, and more NCAA tournaments than any other facility in college basketball.

I've been to The Palestra twice. If you haven't yet been, make this trip with us. I promise, you'll leave the building with goosebumps.

We're doing the whole trip for $69 per-person. Here's what you get: Round-trip motor coach transportation from Towson to Philadelphia. A delicious Palmisano's sub and other snacks, along with beer, soft drinks and water on the ride up to Philadelphia. A lower level, near-courtside seat for the Penn-Yale game. And a commemorative, limited-edition "I saw The Palestra!" tee-shirt.

All of that for $69 per-person. I was only able to get 30 tickets, so at this point, that's all we're taking. I'm working on more tickets in the event demand warrants it, but if you want to be one of the first 30 to get on the bus and go to Philly, we'd love to have you.

Just click right here to reach The Palestra page, make your payment and secure your spot on the trip.

Thursday
January 28
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVIII
Issue 28

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Click here for full details on our Masters trip!



"get your coat, this won't take long...

Just before overtime started last night at the Verizon Center, a nice man from North Carolina who befriended me during the Caps-Flyers game looked up from a row below and said, "Well, what do you think?"

"You can go ahead and get your coat and the rest of your stuff, this won't take long," I replied without hesitation.

And, of course, it didn't.

The worst team in all of sports did what they ALWAYS do against the Capitals last night at the Verizon Center. They escaped near certain death on a late gift from the refs and then won in overtime when Philadelphia's Jakub Voracek schooled Evygeny Kuznetsov behind the net and clanged in the game-winner to send about 3,000 rat fink Flyers fans home happy.

It was as predictable as the sun rising in the East this morning. When the Flyers are involved, the Caps almost always get the short end of the stick.

My new friend seated directly in front of me was a former Caps season ticket holder who got snowed in over the weekend while visiting his parents in Arlington, Virginia. He decided to stick around for the game, having not seen the Caps in DC since 2008 or so, he recollected.

To our right were seven Flyers fans, all clad in either an orange or white team jersey, and they were ripe from the time they sat in their seats just after face-off. The fact all seven of them came lumbering down the steps with two beers in hand -- each -- should have been a warning sign of things to come.

And they got even "more ripe" as the game went on. And why wouldn't they? What self-respecting Flyers fan DOESN'T get drunk and act like a complete buffoon in Washington, right? Right.

Philly jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead -- thanks in part to the traditional "cheapie" where one of their guys just happens to be standing in front of the net to collect an errant Caps pass -- and my friend from Raleigh turned around and said, "Boy, this isn't good..."

We joked about moving from the seats we had in Section 114 to get away from the outrageously profane idiots in the Flyers gear fifteen feet to our right, but I knew better.

"It doesn't really matter where we go," I explained. "Those people are everywhere tonight. It's like finding a snake in your backyard. There's never just one of them. There are always more lurking around somewhere nearby."

We shared a laugh and went back to watching the game.

"Plus," I said a minute or so later. "The Caps aren't going to get blown out tonight. It might look like it right now, but they won't. They'll scratch their way back into this and then they'll break our hearts late in the 3rd period."

"You sound like you've seen this before," my North Carolina friend replied.

"Oh, yeah, I have," I said. "I can almost tell you exactly how it's going to end and we still have 45 minutes of hockey left."

It's important to note here that had last night's opponent been, say, Dallas, or St. Louis, or Florida, the Caps would have figured out a way to rebound from a tough start and win the game. The eventual outcome was always going to turn out ugly for Washington because it was the Flyers who were in the building. Any other team -- I wouldn't have been worried.

And because this year's Caps team IS different and because Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth couldn't stand on his head and make silly-save-after-silly-save all night, the hosts did, in fact, claw their way back from that early 2-0 deficit. They tore the Flyers a new one in the 2nd period and eventually tied the game at 2-2 before Philly managed a late tally to take a 3-2 lead into the locker room with 20 minutes left.

Washington would tie the game up early in the 3rd period just a minute after -- take a seat for a second, you'll be shocked -- Stevie Wonder (that would be the ref, of course) missed an OBVIOUS tripping penalty on the Flyers that had the hometown faithul roaring in the stands.

"There we go!," my friend in front of me exclaimed as we exchanged fist bumps and looked down gleefully at the Flyers fans to our right. But they weren't there. They were on a beer run, as it would turn out.

"I wouldn't get too worked up," I warned right after the Caps tied the game at 3-3. "There's fifteen minutes of hockey left. This is like the last 30 minutes of The Departed. You know all those guys still have to die before the movie ends but you're not quite sure how it's going to happen and who's going to do it."

As the clock ticked on and both teams produced empty scoring chances, I knew EXACTLY what was coming.

"This is headed to overtime," I said to my new friend from North Carolina when there was a stoppage in play with about four minutes left in the game. "That's how this one's going to end tonight."

My new pal said, "You mean a shootout? That would be pretty cool. I've never been to a game in person and seen a shootout."

"No, this one will end in overtime," I replied. "And it won't end the way we want it to end."

With 2:02 left in the game, the Caps got a power play. This, now, was the opportunity they wanted. A 5-on-4 advantage, with so much skill on the ice it could make your head spin. Kuznetsov, Backstrom, Oshie, Ovechkin, Carlson. Holy cow. One of those great snipers would surely find a way to put this game away in the next 120 seconds, right?

Thirty seconds into the power play, a shot to Neuvirth's right was cleared by the goalie into the stands. My right arm immediately shot up to signal for a penalty, as did the arms of about 10,000 other armchair referees in the building who all knew a delay-of-game infraction had just been witnessed.

But there was no signal from the referee. No penalty was called. And when they showed the replay on the video board above center ice and it was CLEARLY obvious that Neuvirth should have been penalized, I knew what was coming up soon.

"That's the ballgame," I said. "Done..."

My friend below looked back, puzzled. "Why? Did I miss something?"

"No, you didn't miss anything. That's how the Caps always lose to these turds. Something ALWAYS goes wrong, the Flyers benefit, and they figure out a way to parlay that good fortune into a win."

"I hope you're wrong," he replied.

"I won't be," I shot back.

Predictably, the power play fizzled as the Caps worked the puck around for a quality scoring opportunity. The seconds ticked off, the final horn blared, and each team was guaranteed at least one point in the standings because the game ended in a regulation tie.

On cue, I took to Twitter and typed in the following tweet:

Well...here it comes. Wonder who it will be? Schenn? Del Zotto?

Then as the teams met with their respective coaches for overtime line-up information (they play 3-on-3 in overtime during the regular season) I leaned in and gave my buddy from North Carolina the heads up.

"You can go ahead and get your coat and the rest of your stuff...this won't take long," I said. "Philly will score within the first minute."

I was right on both accounts.

It took all of 38 seconds in overtime for Voracek to do the deed and that was that. Another painful, excruciating loss to the worst franchise in the world.

"Wait! They're reviewing the goal to see if went in," my friend pointed out to me as the teams stayed near their benches while the officials checked to make sure the goal counted.

"It went in, don't worry," I replied. "This is all part of the movie. They make us hang around for another 30 seconds or so just to rub it in a little more."

The review of the goal took longer than overtime, as one of our #DMD travelers who went with us to the game pointed out afterwards.

In the end, naturally, the goal was deemed "good", and the Flyers high-fived a little more before heading to the dressing room.

Just as Scott Laughton of the Flyers left the ice, he took a moment to look up and motion over to a section of the stands where a large number of Flyers fans had gathered to celebrate the win. He waved his stick in their direction, tucked it between his left armpit, and clapped for them as if to say, "Thanks for coming to see us..."

In the midst of those 20 or so Flyers fans was a lone man, in a white Caps away jersey, sitting in his seat, wedged in between those idiots in orange.

"That was me in 1979," I thought to myself. "Some poor bastard always gets crunched in around those creeps after the game and has to take in all of their venom."

As I watched it unfold, I could only think of one other thing.

"I hope he has thick skin."

It's a pre-requisite if you're fan of the Capitals.

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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 7:05, Maryland will face the best visiting team that will step into XFINITY Center this year when the Iowa Hawkeyes take on the Terps in a game that features two top 10 college heavyweights.

The #3 ranked Hawkeyes offer Maryland a formidable task on both sides of the court. It’s a huge game for the Terps, not only for Big 10 and NCAA tournament seeding, but this game will no doubt set expectations for the remainder of the season.

With a Maryland win here, they show themselves as a legitimate contender for a conference title and a Final Four run. Losing casts real doubts about the Terps and it becomes somewhat difficult to mention them as one of the top title contenders. A loss to Iowa would be their third in five games and would end their chances to add a marquee win to their resume.

On so many levels, Iowa is a very impressive basketball team. Most notably, they have a bevy of guys that can kill you from the three point line. Of the starters, team leader Jerrod Uthoff hits 48% from behind the line, point guard Mike Gessel knocks down 42%, and Peter Jok makes 40%. Reserve Dom Uhl connects on 53% of his three point shots.

As a defender, you can’t leave your man to help somewhere else. If you do, you are going to get burned. Maybe you can get away with leaving Anthony Clemmons alone on the wing (he only hits 30%), but the rest are just too accurate to allow them to shoot uncontested threes.

From a team aspect, Iowa runs solid half court sets that lead to good looks and easy baskets. They are far more likely to score from a great pass than from a one-on-one move. Also, you have to guard them chest to chest because even the slightest amount of space is enough for this collection of “quick release” shooters to pull the trigger on a shot that a defender didn’t see coming. It usually goes in.

One thing I haven’t seen from Iowa frequently are possessions that result in drive and finish moves. Most drives end in kick-outs as the defense can’t rotate fast enough and Hawkeye 7’1” center Woodberry (8.9 ppg) is only a secondary option. Gessel and Jok can both penetrate but it’s not a mainstay of their offense.

Uthoff might be the front runner for Big 10 Player of The Year. Not only is he the conference’s leading scorer, but he is third in free throw percentage, and first in blocked shots. He is almost the same size as Maryland’s Jake Layman, but plays much longer and stronger and will be matchup nightmare for Maryland.

If Iowa has one player who can effectively create his own shot, its 6’6” Peter Jok. He is the Hawkeye’s second leading scorer at 14.8 ppg, and perhaps their most versatile offensive weapon. As a junior, he is the only non-senior in a Hawkeye starting lineup that is the most seasoned in the Big 10.

Defensively, I think we’ll see long stretches where Iowa employs a zone. Whether playing man-to-man or zone, they are very active with their hands and always seem to be moving to get into good defensive positions. Jok leads the conference with 1.6 steals per game.

Luckily for Maryland, Terp strengths may also be Iowa defensive weaknesses. You can penetrate on Iowa and Melo Trimble is one of the best in the country at slicing through defensive formations.

More importantly, the Terps can score down low with their talented front court tandem of Diamond Stone and Robert Carter Jr, but both players need to be aware of quick double teams. I’m not sure Maryland can stay with Iowa if the Terps fail to get solid numbers from their big men, but they both should be able to impact tonight's game. I’d like to see the Terps go down low often, force Uthoff to work hard on the defensive end, and perhaps have him accumulate fouls.

When you have two talented college basketball teams, the outcome often relies on effort, toughness, and determination. Iowa goes after the ball hard for forty minutes and has shown to be a bit more consistent with their effort level. If the Terps can match that energy tonight, especially when contending for rebounds, then they can win this game. The students are back at school and will provide a level of chaos that Iowa rarely sees on the road.

I look for the Terps to feed off of that energy, limit the Iowa three point shots, and pull off a tough win. The early line had the Terps as four point favorites. Maryland wins by one, 68-67.

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umbc hoops: men lose to binghamton, ladies win

A road-weary UMBC squad produced its lowest scoring total in league play this season, posting only 57 points in a 66-57 setback at Binghamton on Wednesday evening.

The Retrievers had averaged 78.3 points per game in their six previous America East contests. But UMBC never got untracked against the Bearcats, shooting only 38.8 percent from the floor.

UMBC (5-17 overall, 1-6 America East) sophomore guards Jourdan Grant (Archbishop Spalding H.S.) and Rodney Elliott (John Carroll H.S.) were the lone Retrievers in double figures with 10 points apiece. Binghamton (5-15, 2-5 AE) sophomore post Willie Rodriguez hit all nine of his free throw attempts and led all scorers with 24 points, while guard Marlon Beck hit five treys in a 19-point effort.

UMBC trailed, 32-23, at the half and fell behind by as many as 19 points at 52-33 with 9:00 remaining. The Retrievers would whittle the gap to 55-47 after a trey by Elliott with 5:24 to play, but a 5-0 Bearcat response restored a double-figure advantage.

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While the UMBC men were dropping a road game at Binghamton, Taylor McCarley was leading the women's team to a home win over the Bearcats with 17 points and 10 assists.

Retrievers sophomore guard Jairus Lyles entered the game averaging 26.0 points per game and was coming off a career-high 32-point effort at Vermont on Sunday, but he connected on only 3-of-11 shots from the floor and finished with a season-low 8 points. Lyles did lead UMBC with 8 rebounds and added a pair of steals.

The Retrievers struggled against Binghamton's 2-3 zone, hitting only 8-of-22 shots in the first half and misfiring on 8-of-10 from behind the arc. The Bearcats' top two scorers, Rodriguez (11 pts.) and Beck (10 points) paced the hosts offense as they took a 32-23 halftime advantage.

The Retrievers, who have been on the road since last Friday, return to Baltimore and will prepare to face New Hampshire at the RAC Arena in a Saturday matinee.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday night at the RAC, the UMBC women's basketball got a pair of double-doubles from juniors Taylor McCarley and Pandora Wilson in a 62-51 victory against Binghamton. McCarley registered 17 points and ten assists with eight rebounds, while Wilson added 18 points and ten boards as the Retrievers moved to 12-8 overall and 3-4 in America East play.

Ahead 29-24 at the half, the Retrievers continued to pressure the Bearcats when the third quarter started, as McCarley stole a Binghamton pass and finished on the other end. That would be the start of four straight possessions with a steal, forcing a Binghamton timeout with UMBC ahead 35-24. UMBC used an 8-0 run midway through the quarter to extend their lead to 41-24 before Binghamton went on a run. They cut it to as close as 12, but McCarley hit a huge and one to push the lead to 50-35 after three.

In the fourth, Binghamton opened up with a pair of three point field goals, but the Retrievers answered with a 7-0 run, sparked by five points from senior Capree Garner. The Retrievers would hold on, winning 62-51.

McCarley added five steals to go along with her 17 points and ten boards. Hagaman finished with eight points and ten caroms, while chipping in two blocks and three steals. The Retrievers shot 41.7% from the field and 83.3% from the charity stripe.

The Lady Retrievers return to the hardwood on Saturday, Jan. 30 at New Hampshire. Tip-off with the Wildcats is set for 1 p.m. in Durham.

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looking for that perfect valentine's day gift? our adele bus trip is now on sale!

#DMD has put together a bus trip to Philadelphia on Friday, September 9 to see Adele perform at the Wells Fargo Center. The trip went on sale this past Monday and we've already sold 16 of the available 32 packages. If you're thinking about giving this Adele trip as a gift, you need to check in with me soon with your deposit.

I don't think you're going to say, "Adele? Who the heck is that?" but just in case you do, you can watch the video below for a glimpse of her and her music.



Her 2016 world tour is expected to smash a bunch of records (in terms of tickets purchased, revenue generated, etc.) and she'll be coming to the area next Fall. Our bus on September 9 will take 40 Adele fans to Philly, complete with dinner on the bus ride, beer and wine, plus Adele trivia (with a cash prize to the winner).

That's the good news. We have tickets to the show in Philly and we have an awesome luxury motor coach. It's going to be a great night.

The bad news...sort of. It's not cheap. Ten million people hit the TicketMaster website on the morning the seats went on sale in December. They were all gone in minutes. My ticket guy in New York City was able to get his hands on a hundred or so at various venues around the country, with Philadelphia being one of them. There are two shows in Washington DC, but as he said to me last week when I was pondering whether to buy Verizon Center tickets or Wells Fargo Center tickets -- "Just be warned -- you're gonna pay DC prices, which are generally 20 to 25 percent higher than Philly."

So Philly it is. Honestly, the ride up I-95 to the Wells Fargo Center is only about 35-45 minutes further than getting to DC. We made it from Baltimore to the stadium complex in Philly for the Army-Navy game in 75 minutes back on December 12. And if the ticket prices are cheaper in Philly for me, they're also less expensive for you.

And let me pass this along, too: This is very much one of those things you can purchase for your significant female and she can absolutely board the bus "solo" and still have a great time. She'll no doubt be spending the evening making new friends on the bus and sitting with others in the arena and on the #DMD trip who are also there on their own. So, sure, you can pass this Adele trip info on to a friend and perhaps you both send your respective significant females so they share the night together; or you can send her as a "single" on the trip. Either way, she'll have a great night.

The other note to share from the outset is this: The seats for this show in Philly aren't in the front row or anything. Right now, a seat on the floor would run you anywhere from $800-$2,000. (I know what you're thinking at this point -- "That girl can sing, sure, but for $2,000 she better be belting out "Rolling in the Deep" in my living room."). Our seats for the September 9 show are upstairs on the side of the stage. Interestingly, unlike some performers who will sell the entire venue, including seats BEHIND the stage, Adele has opted not to do that on this tour. She will only sell tickets with a front or side of the view stage.

In my history of organizing and running sports and concert trips, I've found most people are mainly interested in getting in the building at a (somewhat) reasonable price and sharing that experience with others on the trip with them. The location of the seat is secondary to spending a memorable few hours with friends and and getting to and from the venue safely. Our policy at #DMD is that we don't put people in single seats or break up groups of four, six, etc. who are traveling together for the event. If you go to a game or a concert with three other friends, you'll all want to be sitting together. We understand that.

Let me also say this just to be clear: This trip ISN'T for females only. I know of one guy (me) who has been an Adele fan since she arrived on the scene six years ago and he'll definitely be on the bus trip on September 9. If you'd like to accompany your significant female on the trip, you're more than welcome to come along. We'll be departing from somewhere in the Towson area at 4 pm on Friday, September 9 and returning right after the show.

How do you get her a seat on our "Adele bus"? Just go to the main header of the website above and click on "Adele Trip" for all of the payment processing. If you'd prefer to pay by check, e-mail me and we'll make arrangements: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

One last thing: We'll also send you a special "Adele Concert Valentine's Day Gift Card" you can give her on February 14th, complete with details about the trip you purchased for her.

You're on your way to being a hero. Or more of one than you already are...

Wednesday
January 27
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVIII
Issue 27

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a five-decade feud continues tonight at the verizon center

It all started in the late 1970's.

At the outset of their days in the NHL, the Washington Capitals were so bad and such easy pickins' that it was impossible to have a true "rival". No matter who skated into the Capital Centre back then, they almost always left with a victory.

But there was one team that wound up getting under my skin more than any other: The Philadelphia Flyers.

Lots of teams came to the Cap Centre back in the old days and poured it on. Every time the Canadiens visited the Capitals, Guy Lafleur would skate around with his Tom-Petty-flowing-locks and throw a few goals behind Ron Low or Bernie Wolfe en route to an 8-2 Montreal win. And that's IF the Caps were capable of scoring two goals on the night.

Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin and Rene Robert would routinely combine for six or seven goals whenever the Sabres showed up, but it was almost a weird kind of fun watching them make fools of Yvon Labre, Robert Picard or any stiffs the Caps employed on the blue line in the 70's.

There was nothing fun about the way the Flyers would beat the Caps, though. Nothing. Nothing at all.

Fortunes have changed dramatically over the last decade or so, and the Capitals are now far, far more competitive than they were 35 years ago, while the Flyers aren't quite the "Broad Street Bullies" of yesteryear. But that won't mean anything to me tonight at the Verizon Center when I take in the Caps-Flyers contest with other #DMD enthusiasts. I'm looking for revenge -- still -- for a decade of poundings the Caps took from those punks in Philly.

Why the venom?

That's an easy question to answer. There's venom because of the way the Flyers used to win in Landover. I probably would have been OK with it had the results been blow-outs. I never disliked the Canadiens or the Rangers or the Bruins and they were constantly slapping the Caps around to the tune of 7-1, 9-2 or worse.

No, the Flyers didn't have that much under the hood back in those days. They had to do it the sneaky way. You think the New England Patriots win with mirrors and a few tricks up their sleeves? Hell, the Flyers patented winning games like that in the 1970's.

For starters, it's important to realize that back in those days, it was rare to see groups of visiting fans in an arena en masse. It just didn't happen. When Montreal would come to town, you might see a dozen people wandering around the building in that gorgeous Canadiens "red" away jersey (yes, back then, the home team wore white jerseys). Occasionally when the Penguins played in Landover you'd get a handful of Pittsburgh folk show up for the game, but that was about it.

But when the Flyers played in Landover, their fans strolled in by the thousands, taking over the building with those awful looking orange shirts, most of them with #16 CLARKE on the back. It was my first brush with "opposing fans" and those creeps from Philly were ruthless.

When the Flyers showed up at the Cap Centre, you felt like an Orioles fan circa 2008 when the Yankees or Red Sox played in Camden Yards. Out of place. Miserable. Ostracized.

Then the game started. And you quickly found out why no one else in the country liked the Flyers, either.

They were all pricks. Every. Single. One. Of. Them.

Bobby Clarke? Yep, he was a prick.

Bill Barber? Yes sir, he was as well.

Brian Propp? You betcha.

Dave Poulin? Absolutely.

Ken Linseman? He was the worst of them all. You think Tom Brady cries after every no-call? Linseman was the biggest whiner in the league. They should have named a trophy after him, he complained so much.

Nearly every game at the Cap Centre against the Flyers took on the same pattern. The Caps would play hard for a period or two and keep the contest close. Some nights, the home team might even squirrel their way to a 3-2 lead heading into the 3rd period.

I can remember using the bathroom in between periods and hearing those rat fink Philly fans saying stuff like, "Ahhh, it dudn't matta anyways, you know deez guys's is gonna give up a couple of cheapies to us before da nights ovah..."

That smirk. The way they said it. I can still hear it today, in 2016. It's indelibly etched in my soul.

And so, the 3rd period would begin. On cue, Bob Sirois or Hartland Monahan or Dennis Maruk would have a golden opportunity early on to give the Caps some breathing room, but their close range shot would hit the post or just miss the net. Deep down, you knew that would probably come back to haunt the Caps.

It did.

With about nine minutes to go, just at the point when you would start looking up at the clock to see how much time was left, Ed Hospadar or some other Flyers bum who couldn't skate worth a hoot would collect an errant puck near the blue line and desperately flip it in the direction of the net, barely avoiding an offsides call. As the puck floated into traffic, there was Tim Kerr -- speaking of bums who never skated -- fighting off a half-hearted check from some Caps defender who had no business being in the league and deflecting the shot past Low, Wolfe or maybe it was Jim Bedard on that given night.

It would have likely been the Flyers first real scoring chance of the period and they had now tied the game at 3-3.

And there was that "cheapie" the jerks in the bathroom had been laughing about -- and correctly predicting -- some 15 minutes before.

But there was more to come.

The Caps would stage a rally and pepper the Philadelphia goal with shots. A few would be saved, one or two would tick off a skate and slide agonizingly close to the net and a few others would be downright whiffs since, well, these were the Caps and a great scoring chance often resulted in no actual shot going on goal.

Then the tide turned and the Flyers did what they did best.

more on the Caps-Flyer feud below

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They faked an injury, or made a mountain out of molehill, and it was usually Linseman who did the dirty work. They didn't call him "The Rat" for nothin', you see. There'd be a loose puck in the corner and he'd go in there with Yvon Labre to try and dig it out when, BAM!, out of nowhere, Linseman would hit the ice like he'd been shot in a bad Western re-run. I swear, by the way he went down, you thought the poor guy might not ever play again.

The refs arm would shoot up to signal a penalty and the 8,000 or so creeps in those orange shirts would roar in the stands and the Flyers were headed to the power play with 4:03 left in the game.

As Linseman slowly made his way to the bench, he'd flex his knees to make sure they were still in working order. He'd have that pained look on his face like he might require surgery right after the game. It was all an act, of course, and a bad one at that, but the show wasn't finished.

The first ninety seconds or so of the power play would go along fine for the Caps. A shot or two would be turned aside and they'd clear the puck down the ice.

As the power play time wound down, a shot would find its way in front of the Washington net...a defenseman would try and hack it out of the zone, only to have Rick MacLeish standing out near the point to keep it in. He'd fire it on goal, it would deflect off of someone's skate and fall right to the stick of Brian Propp, and that garbage-collector would calmly slide it in the net for a 4-3 lead with 2:09 left in the third period.

Another cheapie.

The final two minutes would transpire with the Caps firing a slew of shots at the Philadelphia goal, only to have each of them denied. The last few seconds would always have a face-off deep in the Philadelphia end just to prolong the misery a little bit more, and when the last shot was cleared out of harm's way, it would be Ken Linseman skating like he was shot out of a cannon to get the puck up to center ice as the horn sounded to end the game.

"That's the end of the game," PA announcer Marv Brooks would say, "Final score: Philadelphia four and, your Washington Capitals, three."

There was a certain tone to Brooks saying "your" that made it even worse. He'd emphasize the word to remind you, I thought at the time, that you, as a fan, were a part owner of this night's particular defeat. He couldn't just say, "And that's the final, Phildaelphia four and the Capitals three." He had to add in the "your" just so you'd take it a little more personally.

When the game would end, I'd sit in my seat for a few minutes while the faithful in orange cleared out. Occasionally one of them would stop to offer their condolences on a hard fought loss.

"Youze guys suck!" was a popular phrase from those who were nice enough to actually say something that didn't include an f-bomb.

Most times, though, it was an expletive-laden parting shot that usually included something disparaging about my mom. Classy folks, those guys from The City of Brotherly Love.

So, there's a look at how I built up so much dislike for the Flyers over the years. That game I just described? It seemed like every Caps-Flyers game would end like that. They didn't, of course, but it sure felt like they did.

The Caps were this new franchise, biting and fighting and scratching for every win they could muster in the late 1970's. Most nights they were simply outclassed. But there were plenty of nights where the hockey gods dealt them a cruel fate, the way an older brother always has the upper hand on his little sister. And those "bad hands" seemingly always involved the Flyers.

I took it all in for about six or seven years until the tide started to turn a little bit. I was in Philly for the 3rd and final game of the '84 playoffs when the Caps swept the Flyers. That was a glorious night, to say the least. And I was watching on TV a few years later when Dale Hunter beat Ron Hextall in overtime to win the 7th and decisive game of the '87-88 playoff series with Philly.

Sadly, I was in DC back in 2008 when Joffrey Lupul scored in overtime to give the Flyers a Game 7 win in that series. I still remember it today. Longtime Baltimore sports writer Phil Jackman was with us in the upper deck of the Verizon Center and before overtime we polled one another on how the game was going to end.

There were six of us there that night and the first four all predicted a Caps triumph.

When it came to me, I said, "Mike Green wins it for the Caps."

Jackman didn't hesitate. Having covered the Capitals for a decade or more when he was with The Baltimore Evening Sun he said, simply, "Flyers win...on a cheapie."

There was a certain gleam in Jackman's eye that bothered me when he said, "...on a cheapie". I got a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. It was as if he knew the Flyers were going to win on a cheapie. I hoped he was wrong, but I kind of felt like he knew.

And that's exactly how it would end, with one of those blind-bat referees giving Tom Poti a bogus tripping penalty in the middle of the ice, setting up a Philadelphia power play. And, just like the old days when Propp or Poulin or Kerr would fetch a loose puck and brush it into the net, Lupul collected a rebound and knocked it home for the game-winner. Just like old times.

So, as you can tell, I have a lot of built-up angst for the Flyers. Honestly, it'll never leave me. Even a 7-1 Caps win tonight would only temporarily ease the pain. It's like a tattoo, my dislike for the Flyers. It ain't going away, no matter how hard you scrub it.

That pretty much summarizes why I feel the way I do about the Flyers. Their players were easy to dislike, their fans were hateful and, early on, the scars those games left were two or three inches deep. My venom for them over the years has waned a little bit -- until I start thinking about it all over again.

And I'll be thinking about it a lot on Wednesday night when I head down to the Verizon Center. It's only a regular season game, yes, but it always means a lot more to me.

As I wrote yesterday here at #DMD, I'd be willing to trade ANYTHING in sports for the Flyers losing all 82 games of the regular season. Duke winning back to back NCAA basketball titles in exchange for the Flyers going 0-82 next season? I'd sign off on that in a heartbeat. The Steelers winning two straight Super Bowls just so I could watch the Flyers go 0-82? You bet. The Yankees winning a pair of World Series in a row? If it meant the Flyers go 0-82 next season, I'm all for it.

But for all of you out there who think I'm just overly mean to Flyers fans, I'll go ahead and prove that I'm not. In fact, I'll go ahead and give you a quick video clip of one of the greatest goals ever scored in Philadelphia. Just click here and see it for yourself.

And Let's Go Caps!

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another "3140" podcast is here for your listening -- pleasure?

Just to show I'm not a complete Philadelphia hater, the greatest singer to hail from the City of Brotherly Love is featured in today's podcast. Well, technically, he's from Pottstown, PA, but it's 40 miles from Philly, so we'll call him a Philly singer. We touch on some football, a little college basketball and the Caps-Flyers rivalry. And some other stuff, too. It's all here for your listening enjoyment, below:

#DMD 3140 Podcast
January 27, 2016

poggi out as gilman's football coach

Saying “it was time,” Biff Poggi has stepped down as Gilman School football coach after 19 seasons, closing one of the most successful chapters in area football history.

“I felt like it was time, because we’ve done everything we could do,” Poggi said to the Baltimore Sun. “I thought after the 100th [Gilman-McDonogh] game, it just wasn’t going to get any better as a coach at Gilman. I don’t know how many thousands of people were there. We brought the whole school together and it was a monumental deal, an unbelievable day. I kind of wanted to go out like that.”

Gilman Headmaster Henry P.A. Smyth announced in a statement Tuesday the school’s Athletic Director Tim Holley will be the interim football coach in 2016. Holley, a 1977 Gilman grad and captain on the 1976 MSA A championship Greyhound squad, has also coached the varsity baseball and basketball programs.

"After nearly three decades as a Gilman coach and two decades as the head coach of Gilman’s varsity football team, Biff Poggi ‘79 has announced that he will be leaving Gilman to pursue another opportunity in football," said Smyth. "This decision comes after much reflection and conversation with the School, and it opens up an exciting new chapter in Coach Poggi’s life story.

Exactly what that chapter is remains to be seen, as Coach Poggi is still considering different options, including opportunities at the college level. He plans to make that decision in the coming weeks."

The statement said school officials are in the process of forming a committee to find a permanent replacement for Poggi by the end of the fall season in November. Holley and assistant head of school Bart Griffith will lead the committee.

Poggi, a 1979 Gilman grad, said he is considering offers to coach at the University of Maryland and Michigan. His son, Henry, is a junior tight end with two years of eligibility remaining at Michigan and daughter, Mellie, is a freshman member of the crew team. Two Gilman senior offensive linemen, Devery Hamilton and Stephen Spanellis, have committed to the Big 10 program.

Three former Gilman standouts, Shane Cockerille (fullback), Kenneth Goins (running back) and Melvin Keihn (defensive end) are at Maryland. New Terps coach DJ Durkin was previously defensive coordinator at Michigan.

This article was written originally at www.varsitysportsnetwork.com. The entire article can be seen there, along with extensive coverage of local high school sports throughout Baltimore and Maryland. #DMD and Varsity Sports Network have formed a partnership to produce more high school sports content in 2016 by sharing platforms and stories when the need arises.


Drew's Fantasy Golf Guide

Every Wednesday here at #DMD, Drew will provide his top picks for this week's PGA Tour event in his "Fantasy Golf Guide", all brought to you by Glory Days Grill. If you're looking for a place to relax and watch this week's golf tournament, try any of the Baltimore-area Glory Days locations, including Drew's favorite on East Joppa Road in Towson.


The PGA Tour heads to La Jolla this week, just outside of San Diego, for their annual trip to Torrey Pines, site of the last major win of Tiger Woods' career back in 2008. Jason Day makes his 2016 debut against a fairly decent field and looks to defend the title he won a year ago. There's no Spieth or McIlroy to contend with, but Rickie Fowler -- fresh off of his huge win at Abu Dhabi -- and Dustin Johnson are both teeing it up this week, so there's some firepower for Day to contend with over the North and South courses at Torrey Pines.

I'm coming off another pretty good week, fantasy golf wise. Three of my six players in last week's event at PGA West finished in the top 20 and my "sleeper" pick for the week, Jamie Lovemark, was in 2nd place heading into Sunday's final round before fading on the back nine. Let's see if I can make you all some more money this week with some smart picks at Torrey Pines.

To balance out what's going to be a top-heavy lineup this week, let's go with two "sleeper picks" in Spencer Levin and Scott Stallings. Levin is a Southern California guy who has played Torrey a lot thoughout his life and has fared well in events in his home state. Stallings lost at Torrey in last year's playoff with Jason Day and is a "horses for courses" kind of guy. Expect him to play well again this week in La Jolla.

Moving up in a class a notch, I'm favoring Cameron Tringale this week. He's coming off a decent finish at PGA West and he's a guy that might be on the verge of breaking through and winning an event sometime soon.

You have to play one of the big guns, right? I'm not saying Rickie Fowler can't play well, but I'm playing the hunch that winning plus the travel back from the Middle East keeps him out of contention this week. Jason Day is playing his first tournament of the year. Can he win right out of the gate? I'm betting "no" on that one. So let's play Dustin Johnson, who hasn't really fared all that well at Torrey over the years but might snap out of that funk this week.

X
This is the look you might see from Justin Rose late this Sunday afternoon at Torrey Pines.

I don't like overplaying a guy unless it's obvious he's on a heater, and Brandt Snedeker is that guy drawing all the right cards these days. He nearly won a couple of weeks ago in Hawaii and I'm figuring his hot putter and pop stroke will love the bumpy poa annua greens at Torrey Pines. His track record at the course is very good. Go with him again this week.

I love Justin Rose this week. All of the narrative in golf about "the big four" (Spieth, Day, McIlroy and Fowler) has to have him steamed a little bit, right? Well, he gets the chance to beat two of them this week and I think he'll do that and capture the title at Torrey Pines.

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looking for that perfect valentine's day gift? our adele bus trip is now on sale!

#DMD has put together a bus trip to Philadelphia on Friday, September 9 to see Adele perform at the Wells Fargo Center. I don't think you're going to say, "Adele? Who the heck is that?" but just in case you do, you can watch the video below for a glimpse of her and her music.



Her 2016 world tour is expected to smash a bunch of records (in terms of tickets purchased, revenue generated, etc.) and she'll be coming to the area next Fall. Our bus on September 9 will take 40 Adele fans to Philly, complete with dinner on the bus ride, beer and wine, plus Adele trivia (with a cash prize to the winner).

That's the good news. We have tickets to the show in Philly and we have an awesome luxury motor coach. It's going to be a great night.

The bad news...sort of. It's not cheap. Ten million people hit the TicketMaster website on the morning the seats went on sale in December. They were all gone in minutes. My ticket guy in New York City was able to get his hands on a hundred or so at various venues around the country, with Philadelphia being one of them. There are two shows in Washington DC, but as he said to me last week when I was pondering whether to buy Verizon Center tickets or Wells Fargo Center tickets -- "Just be warned -- you're gonna pay DC prices, which are generally 20 to 25 percent higher than Philly."

So Philly it is. Honestly, the ride up I-95 to the Wells Fargo Center is only about 35-45 minutes further than getting to DC. We made it from Baltimore to the stadium complex in Philly for the Army-Navy game in 75 minutes back on December 12. And if the ticket prices are cheaper in Philly for me, they're also less expensive for you.

And let me pass this along, too: This is very much one of those things you can purchase for your significant female and she can absolutely board the bus "solo" and still have a great time. She'll no doubt be spending the evening making new friends on the bus and sitting with others in the arena and on the #DMD trip who are also there on their own. So, sure, you can pass this Adele trip info on to a friend and perhaps you both send your respective significant females so they share the night together; or you can send her as a "single" on the trip. Either way, she'll have a great night.

The other note to share from the outset is this: The seats for this show in Philly aren't in the front row or anything. Right now, a seat on the floor would run you anywhere from $800-$2,000. (I know what you're thinking at this point -- "That girl can sing, sure, but for $2,000 she better be belting out "Rolling in the Deep" in my living room."). Our seats for the September 9 show are upstairs on the side of the stage. Interestingly, unlike some performers who will sell the entire venue, including seats BEHIND the stage, Adele has opted not to do that on this tour. She will only sell tickets with a front or side of the view stage.

In my history of organizing and running sports and concert trips, I've found most people are mainly interested in getting in the building at a (somewhat) reasonable price and sharing that experience with others on the trip with them. The location of the seat is secondary to spending a memorable few hours with friends and and getting to and from the venue safely. Our policy at #DMD is that we don't put people in single seats or break up groups of four, six, etc. who are traveling together for the event. If you go to a game or a concert with three other friends, you'll all want to be sitting together. We understand that.

Let me also say this just to be clear: This trip ISN'T for females only. I know of one guy (me) who has been an Adele fan since she arrived on the scene six years ago and he'll definitely be on the bus trip on September 9. If you'd like to accompany your significant female on the trip, you're more than welcome to come along. We'll be departing from somewhere in the Towson area at 4 pm on Friday, September 9 and returning right after the show.

How do you get her a seat on our "Adele bus"? Just go to the main header of the website above and click on "Adele Trip" for all of the payment processing. If you'd prefer to pay by check, e-mail me and we'll make arrangements: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

One last thing: We'll also send you a special "Adele Concert Valentine's Day Gift Card" you can give her on February 14th, complete with details about the trip you purchased for her.

You're on your way to being a hero. Or more of one than you already are...

Tuesday
January 26
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVIII
Issue 26

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Click here for full details on our Masters trip!



we're blessed beyond belief to have seen serena and federer

I do understand that tennis most certainly offers a "horses for courses" connection, meaning players have the ability to perform at a high level on surfaces that fit well with their game.

So what we're currently seeing from Serena Williams and Roger Federer shouldn't be all that shocking given their past performances in Australia.

But it's still one helluva story, even if the surface at the Australian Open fits them like a glove.

Horses for courses...

Rafael Nadal, for example, has won nine of the last eleven French Open titles. Nine of the last eleven, friends, is quite a freakin' run. At one point in his career, Roger Federer won four straight championships at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, but couldn't win at Roland Garros during that same period. It works the other way, too. Much like some race horses hate the dirt but love the grass, tennis players have surfaces they don't prefer. Pete Sampras never won the French, Ivan Lendl lost both of his finals appearances at Wimbledon and Venus Williams still hasn't captured the Australian Open.

While both Serena Williams (6) and Roger Federer (4) have enjoyed immense success at the Australian Open, what we're seeing from them now -- each in the November of their career -- has been simply extraordinary. Williams, well on her way, perhaps, to being the greatest tennis player of all time, has 21 Grand Slam titles in her career.

Only a shocking loss in last year's U.S. Open semi-final to a no-name (I honestly forgot the woman's name who beat her...something Italian sounding, I think...see, there's proof she was a no name.) kept her from winning the single-season Grand Slam. And she's at it again this week in Melbourne, reaching the semi-finals earlier today after disposing of Maria Sharapova in two quick sets.

Williams hasn't lost to Sharapova in 12 years. And Sharapova can play...

Oh, and Serena's beating everyone in sight, still, and she's 34 years old. That's like a 6-year old horse coming back and winning the Kentucky Derby this May against the best 3-year old horses in the world. It might be possible, sure. But if I'll Have Another roared back into Louisville and won this year's Derby, it would be a win for the ages. That's what Serena's still doing at this point in her career. She's the 6-year old horse beating the 3-year old horses by five lengths.

And, honestly, she doesn't look anywhere close to being done yet. November of her career, maybe? I'll buy that. But she can easily still compete at this level for the next couple of years and win a handful more major titles. She's at 21 now. Anyone want to bet a bottle of Silver Oak (the good one, too, from Napa Valley, not the Alexander Valley bottle) she doesn't reach 25? Right. I didn't think so.

Roger Federer is also 34 years old, albeit six weeks younger than Serena. And he's still a major force in men's tennis, too, although admittedly "Feds" has something in his path that Serena doesn't have at this point in her career -- he's called Novak Djokovic. It's the same argument we've seen in golf for the last 15 years. Phil Mickelson would likely have eight or nine major titles if not for Tiger Woods. Same for Ernie Els.

Federer has 17 career Grand Slam titles and that number would easily be in the 20's if not for Djokovic showing up eight years ago and turning men's tennis on its head with his outrageous combination of power and shot-making.

Those two -- Federer and Djokovic -- will meet up tomorrow (which, I think, is later tonight here in the U.S...hell, I don't know, I just turn on the TV and hope it's on) in the Australian Open semi-finals, with the 28-year old "Joker" looking to get past Federer and perhaps win his 6th title in Melbourne.

But Federer won't go down easy, in part because he hasn't been chopped liver at the Australian Open (4 titles) and in part because he's still playing amazing tennis. He ran 30-year old Thomas Berdych out of the gym in their quarter-final match-up to reach Djokovic, who clearly has the advantage in their upcoming contest. But don't be shocked if Federer produces one of those virtuoso performances that he's still very much capable of engineering, even at this late stage in his career. And Djokovic knows that, too, which is all the more reason to watch it unfold.

I'm a "7" as a tennis fan, which is to say I watch all the Grand Slam events with keen interest. While the Australian is obviously the hardest one to follow here in this country because of the time difference, it often produces some of the best tennis of the year because the majority of the players took a break throughout most of December and January are as fresh, physically and mentally, as they'll be all year.

These next couple of days give us yet another chance to witness the glowing talents of Serena and Federer, both of whom have been the champion's champion over the last fifteen years.

No one has done it better than those two.

We've been blessed to see them both perform at the highest level.


And now, it's time for my twice-yearly wings-clipping session. I hate to do this, but you guys make me do it every six months or so.

I'll offer all of the necessary opening comments to make sure no one gets their feelings hurt. I appreciate every single person who visits this site, whether it's on a daily basis or once a week or, maybe, today is your first and only visit to #DMD. I appreciate the support. I think you all know that.

I also appreciate the discourse that many of you offer in our "comments" section below. While we don't have a message board, per-se, which is where a lot of the silly, childish stuff would go on, we do offer anyone and everyone the opportunity to provide their opinion on anything they read here here at Drew's Morning Dish.

It's also been my position to not censor anyone. Since this website started on August 25, 2014, I've had to remove four "comments". Three were for foul language and one had a racial theme to it that I thought was overboard. But that's it. Thousands and thousands of comments and only four removed.

There's all of the "nice stuff", out of the way.

Now, hold out your wings -- those of you that this applies to -- so I can get to them easily with these clippers.

This is a reminder that the "comments" section below is not a Forum best-used to be critical of my former employer. It's not a Forum to beat each other up, either. I'm starting to see the "comments" sadly take on a characteristic that I don't like. Three comments are about sports...and then the next two are about my former employer. And then it starts to get mean-spirited. And you guys start writing stuff just to see yourself write it (and if the shoe fits here...). And, here's the real kicker -- no one really cares what you think about my former employer. I know I certainly don't and I was one of the five who got the heave-ho in August of 2014.

My former employer isn't really germane at all to the daily devotions of this website. I'm not saying you can't make some sort of occasional comment if there's something "new" you'd like to bring up, but just beating the dead horse about my former employer is completely uninteresting and, honestly, making me look BAD...not good. I got an e-mail from someone on Sunday blaming ME for the petty stuff that goes up, saying, "It's pretty obvious you're putting those people up to it and that's sad. You're better than that, Drew."

Well, as I said in my reply, I have nothing at all to do with anything that goes "up there" and I'm most certainly not putting people up to it, but I am leaving it up on the site because that's what I said I would do from the start. I don't want to censor anything anyone writes as long as it's clean and unobjectionable.

That might have to change, though.

When I start getting e-mails from readers blaming ME for the fact you all can't write about sports more, then I have to start considering better ways to run the "comments" section.

Just play nice, please.

Leave my former employer alone, please.

No one cares. Really, they don't.

Just focus on sports and our community and help me make this place better than anything else that's available for you to read today.

Thanks...DF

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from the desk of: brien jackson

I love Cam Newton. He's easily become my favorite player in the NFL who's either not a Raven (or former Raven in some cases) or an Ohio State alum.

And yes, I love Cam Newton even more because so many people hate him.

There are two things that seem indisputably true about Newton: He's the NFL's most exciting player, capable of doing things with his legs and his arm that no one else on the planet can do, and he's also the game's most polarizing figure, with a huge contingent of fans who just hate his guts.

I just can't understand that. What exactly is unlikeable about Cam Newton? He dances? This is still a thing, in 2015? In a post-Ray Lewis world? Where “Tebowing” is a verb for ostentatiously celebrating? I mean, I understand turning up your noses at the clownish defensive backs who celebrate simple tackles 40 or 50 yards downfield, but this is a guy who's scoring amazing touchdowns and has, at times, almost single-hanendly carried the NFC Champion's entire offense. If anyone's entitled to bust out some dance moves from time to time on the field, I can't see a better candidate anywhere in the NFL.

And what's more; he's a pretty amazing story in his own right to boot. It's kind of strange that we haven't heard more about this in a media interview that saturates us with narratives and stories of triumph, but Newton is just a little over a year removed from a major car accident. The guy could quite seriously have been killed at a Charlotte intersection back in December of 2014, but instead he missed only one game, and since then is has led his team to an incredible 20-2 record, including the playoffs, is going to be named the MVP of the league soon, and has his team one win a way from claiming the Lombardi trophy.

And furthermore, Newton checks off every single one of the “character” boxes we claim to want in our star athletes. Never been in any kind of trouble? Check. Does charity work and tons of events with kids? Yep. Praised as a hard worker and loved by the guys who go to work with him every day? Absolutely.

So there it is in a nutshell: Cam Newton is the most entertaining man in football (one of the most entertaining in any genre, period, if you ask me), apparently a wonderful human being with what should be a Lifetime script worthy story of overcoming tremendous adversity and gaining a new lease on life in subsequent triumph, and he has so much fun doing his job every single game that it's downright infectious. And I'm supposed to be turned off by the way he celebrates his touchdowns?

To borrow a phrase: C'mon man!

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coming tomorrow...why i despise the philadelphia flyers

Tomorrow night at 8pm, the Washington Capitals will play host to the most disgraceful franchise in all of sports, the Philadelphia Flyers. It will be the first time I've seen the Caps and Flyers in Washington since that Game 7 overtime playoff loss in 2008 when those scum-bag refs called Tom Poti for tripping in the middle of the ice and Joffrey Lupul decided to be a good player for once and stuffed a rebound past the Caps' netminder to give Philly the win.

X
There they are, sadly lamenting yet another Flyers playoff loss. This must have been taken back in the 1970's when the Flyers actually made the playoffs...

That's just another story in a long line of stories I have over the last 40 years on why it's perfectly reasonable to despise the Flyers.

I'll share my disdain for the Flyers tomorrow, both here at #DMD and via a Podcast that you'll find here tomorrow as well.

And then I'll be heading down to the Verizon Center to see what I hope will be a 7-1 Caps shellacking of the Flyers. I'd say I want the score to be 7-0 but those rat finks will figure out a way to score at least one goal.

I've said this before -- and I'll say it again here and then again tomorrow, as well.

If the sports fairy landed on my shoulder and said, "Pssst, hey Drew. I'll make you a deal. I'll have the Flyers go 0-82 this hockey season if you'll sign off on the Steelers winning back-to-back Super Bowls", do you know what I would say in reply to that?

"Where's your pen?"

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looking for that perfect valentine's day gift? our adele bus trip is now on sale!

#DMD has put together a bus trip to Philadelphia on Friday, September 9 to see Adele perform at the Wells Fargo Center. I don't think you're going to say, "Adele? Who the heck is that?" but just in case you do, you can watch the video below for a glimpse of her and her music.



Her 2016 world tour is expected to smash a bunch of records (in terms of tickets purchased, revenue generated, etc.) and she'll be coming to the area next Fall. Our bus on September 9 will take 40 Adele fans to Philly, complete with dinner on the bus ride, beer and wine, plus Adele trivia (with a cash prize to the winner).

That's the good news. We have tickets to the show in Philly and we have an awesome luxury motor coach. It's going to be a great night.

The bad news...sort of. It's not cheap. Ten million people hit the TicketMaster website on the morning the seats went on sale in December. They were all gone in minutes. My ticket guy in New York City was able to get his hands on a hundred or so at various venues around the country, with Philadelphia being one of them. There are two shows in Washington DC, but as he said to me last week when I was pondering whether to buy Verizon Center tickets or Wells Fargo Center tickets -- "Just be warned -- you're gonna pay DC prices, which are generally 20 to 25 percent higher than Philly."

So Philly it is. Honestly, the ride up I-95 to the Wells Fargo Center is only about 35-45 minutes further than getting to DC. We made it from Baltimore to the stadium complex in Philly for the Army-Navy game in 75 minutes back on December 12. And if the ticket prices are cheaper in Philly for me, they're also less expensive for you.

And let me pass this along, too: This is very much one of those things you can purchase for your significant female and she can absolutely board the bus "solo" and still have a great time. She'll no doubt be spending the evening making new friends on the bus and sitting with others in the arena and on the #DMD trip who are also there on their own. So, sure, you can pass this Adele trip info on to a friend and perhaps you both send your respective significant females so they share the night together; or you can send her as a "single" on the trip. Either way, she'll have a great night.

The other note to share from the outset is this: The seats for this show in Philly aren't in the front row or anything. Right now, a seat on the floor would run you anywhere from $800-$2,000. (I know what you're thinking at this point -- "That girl can sing, sure, but for $2,000 she better be belting out "Rolling in the Deep" in my living room."). Our seats for the September 9 show are upstairs on the side of the stage. Interestingly, unlike some performers who will sell the entire venue, including seats BEHIND the stage, Adele has opted not to do that on this tour. She will only sell tickets with a front or side of the view stage.

In my history of organizing and running sports and concert trips, I've found most people are mainly interested in getting in the building at a (somewhat) reasonable price and sharing that experience with others on the trip with them. The location of the seat is secondary to spending a memorable few hours with friends and and getting to and from the venue safely. Our policy at #DMD is that we don't put people in single seats or break up groups of four, six, etc. who are traveling together for the event. If you go to a game or a concert with three other friends, you'll all want to be sitting together. We understand that.

Let me also say this just to be clear: This trip ISN'T for females only. I know of one guy (me) who has been an Adele fan since she arrived on the scene six years ago and he'll definitely be on the bus trip on September 9. If you'd like to accompany your significant female on the trip, you're more than welcome to come along. We'll be departing from somewhere in the Towson area at 4 pm on Friday, September 9 and returning right after the show.

How do you get her a seat on our "Adele bus"? Just go to the main header of the website above and click on "Adele Trip" for all of the payment processing. If you'd prefer to pay by check, e-mail me and we'll make arrangements: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

One last thing: We'll also send you a special "Adele Concert Valentine's Day Gift Card" you can give her on February 14th, complete with details about the trip you purchased for her.

You're on your way to being a hero. Or more of one than you already are...


Monday
January 25
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVIII
Issue 25

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed

Click here for full details on our Masters trip!



we're gonna miss those two going head-to-head

It's likely that yesterday's AFC Championship Game between Denver and New England marks the end of one of the best mano a mano sports duels this generation will ever get to see.

And if that's the case -- and Sunday was the last time we'll get to witness Peyton Manning and Tom Brady face off -- we're the ones who get the short stick.

It's natural for sports enthusiasts to be envious of what Manning and Brady have accomplished in their respective careers. If they weren't playing for your team then the bad news was, of course, they were likely beating your team. Here in Baltimore, we're especially hateful of both quarterbacks and the Colts, Broncos and Patriots. Yes, the Ravens enjoyed a modest slice of success against those teams over the years, but not nearly enough to claim ownership of the rivalry.

The debate will rage on about which of the two is the better quarterback, but that's sort of like arguing over whether Robert Plant was a better singer than Freddie Mercury or vice versa. They were both remarkable. Just let the argument die with that admission and enjoy their work.

If you thought the media fawned over Derek Jeter in the final two weeks of his career, wait until you see the treatment Peyton Manning receives between now and February 7. If you're the kind of sports fan who can't stomach an icon getting his due, I'd cancel your cable for the next thirteen days. Yes, it's going to be that overwhelming.

But I'll go ahead and watch. And you know what? I'm OK with it. While I've never been a Peyton "fan" per-se, I have the utmost respect for what he's done. As painful as it still sometimes is to see the Colts running around with those helmets and that blue and white gear, the truth of the matter is Manning built them into a powerhouse after showing up in Indianapolis in 1999. He built them a winner. Hell, if we're really going to call it like it is, he built that city a freakin' gazillion dollar stadium. Life in that midwestern city changed for the good -- and forever -- with Peyton Manning at the helm of their football franchise.

If you pressed me to pick one to run MY team, I'd take Tom Brady. But that's only if you forced me to make a choice. For all the snark and criticism people throw at him for being a good-looking-magazine-cover-boy who isn't tough enough to shovel his sidewalk, let alone play a man's game like football, he got his ass kicked yesterday and still stood in there and fought the fight until the late 2-point conversion was knocked away and Denver came out on top.

If only Brady's genius-coach would have smartened up in the fourth quarter and taken the easy three points when they were there to be gobbled up, Brady would be heading home to Santa Clara in search of a fifth Super Bowl ring and Manning would be watching on TV -- again. Or if New England had any faith at all in their ability to get three feet with their running game, they might have converted on a late do-or-die situation instead of throwing the ball in an (unsuccessful) attempt to get one yard.

For as great as everyone think Bill Belichick has been in the Tom Brady-era, it's remarkable how little regard the "great one" has given to developing even a halfway decent running game to give his all-world quarterback a smidgen of help.

But Brady's performance on Sunday in Denver showed the kind of guts he really has, albeit in a losing effort. That Denver made him look almost human at times proves what kind of over-the-top performance your defense needs to produce in order to keep the future Hall of Famer in check. I'm trying hard not to overstate what we saw from the Broncos on Sunday -- you see, we're especially sensitive around these parts any time a defensive performance is labeled as "greatest" of anything and the 2000 Ravens aren't mentioned -- but that was one of the all-time best single-game playoff performances you've ever seen from a defense. Ever.

And yet, Brady was able to take the Patriots within two yards of tying the game and sending it to overtime. Oh, and don't forget about the kicker missing an extra-point and his nitwit coach eschewing three points (twice) in the 4th quarter of a one-score game.

It's remarkable to look back at Brady's run in New England and see how truly one-dimensional they've been on offense. No running game, a bunch of no-name wide receivers (with the exception of Randy Moss) and little, if any, dedication to doing anything different year after year. They just send Brady out there and say, "Try to stop him. We bet you can't." Sure, they've played in the remarkably easy AFC East, which grandfathers them 11 wins a year, and Rob Gronkowski has turned into a potential Hall of Fame tight end, but it's always been about what more Brady can do for the Patriots...not the other way around.

Then again, the Colts were always suspect defensively throughout Manning's tenure there, in part because they paid the quarterback so much money they didn't have a whole lot more of it to go around and, presumably, they just assumed they'd outscore everyone with the likes of Manning, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark torturing defenses every Sunday.

The TV commercials, internet photos and larger-than-life personalities have led most of the country to be jealous of Manning, Brady and their teams. They're portrayed in a heroic light by the TV networks and the announcers and, yes, it can get old after a while. But those on-air back-rubs are deserved when you look at what both men have accomplished. You don't have to like it. But you do have to live with it, because while they're both playing, they're going to be the centerpiece. It's that simple.

As the two met at midfield on Sunday, it was warming to see the sort of mutual respect they cleary have for another. I'm sure they each feel they're a sliver better than the other, just like Magic probably thinks he was quarter-of-a-notch better than Bird and Maddux feels like he was a tad better than Clemens. But in that moment, "who's better?" didn't seem to matter. Manning, as the winner is supposed to do, led the greeting. I assume he started off by saying, "Bro, you got your ass kicked today and hung in there like a champion. I'm proud of you."

Their embrace and brief chat looked very real and, for a second or two, I was almost embarrassed that the TV cameras had to stuff their way in there to catch it for all the country to see. But I was happy to witness it and it told me a lot about both of them as competitors, particularly when they square off against one another.

Do Manning and Brady both have blemishes? Of course. But now's not the time to chronicle their shortcomings, the few that they do have. Now's the time to thank them for delivering fifteen years of virtuoso quarterback play to our living room. Our teams got the better of them once or twice, but for the most part we were the bug and they were the windshield.

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from the desk of: brien jackson

So, LeBron James fired his coach. Good for him.

Only in the NBA does a head coach get fired midseason when his team owns the top record in their conference, and looks like all but a lock to make it to the championship round.

That's exactly what happened to Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt last week, and for some reason people are losing their minds over it. Commentators and journalists are treating it as though it's some kind of national scandal, and even other NBA coaches have spoken out in criticism of the Cavs' organization. Now, I'm not the biggest follower of the NBA, especially in the regular season, but this all strikes me as weird specifically because even a casual viewer like me can tell that Blatt had absolutely no business coaching the Cavaliers right from the moment Lebron decided to “come home” before last season.

I guess one problem people have with the situation is that it does seem rather absurd on the face of it to fire a coach with the best record in the conference, one year after his team won two games in the finals. But, of course, the regular season doesn't mean a whole lot to the class of NBA teams who are legitimate title contenders, and the sheer talent level of the Cleveland roster makes them the undeniable class of the East as a baseline.

For Cleveland, the purpose of the regular season isn't so much to run up a huge win tally and claim the number one seed as it is to get LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love playing together with a high degree of chemistry, and otherwise getting the team to mesh together in a way that gives them a real chance to win it all in June.

This isn't completely unprecedented in other sports (there's plenty of people who think the Bengals should move on from Marvin Lewis no matter how many division titles he wins because he has yet to win a single playoff game, and easily the most extreme example was the Buccaneers dumping Tony Dungy and trading a BUNCH of draft picks to get Jon Gruden to replace him, but they did win a Superbowl out of the deal) but it's certainly most pronounced in the NBA.

And on that front things are clearly not going well this season. The Cavaliers appear obviously disjointed, undisciplined and, well, poorly coached quite often. They might have the sheer talent to overcome that in the Eastern Conference, but only a sucker could imagine this team, the way they've played so far, giving either Golden State or San Antonio a run for their money in the Finals, let alone winning the whole thing.

Of course, the elephant in the room here is LeBron himself, and the idea that he's the one who pulled the trigger and ordered the firing which, for reasons I don't really understand, still causes fits of consternation in a whole bunch of people. Why is the idea that the NBA's megastars have significant input in how their team's operate even remotely controversial anymore? Basketball as a game, and the NBA in particular, is all about star players.

It's virtually impossible to win a championship without at least two superstars, and having an upper tier star like LeBron, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, or Michael Jordan makes you a perennial contender. This is especially clear in Cleveland, who went from being one of the league's best teams during Lebron's original run straight to the league basement when he left for Miami, and then went right back to the Finals as soon as he came back. There isn't a single person in the building even half as important to the Cavaliers as LeBron, and NBA franchises are smart to invest their megastars in the operation of the franchise.

There's plenty of precedent for this as well, with the clearest example being Jordan himself, who essentially forced Chicago management to replace Doug Collins with Phil Jackson after back to back conference finals losses to the Bad Boy Pistons, and then literally blackmailed the team, GM Jerry Krause specifically, into keeping Jackson during the second three-peat run with threats of retirement is Jackson was replaced. I think it's fair to say Jordan was in the right there.

Look, the Cavaliers have the best basketball player in the world on their team, at 31 years of age, and at least two clear All-Stars on top of that. They're set up nicely for a few years at least, but LeBron's not 21 anymore, and their window isn't going to stay open for long. They absolutely should have a “championship or bust” mentality to their organizational decisions, and whatever else you can say about it, that's clearly what firing Blatt is about.

Maybe Blatt really is an outstanding basketball coach who just needs some time to adjust to the NBA. Maybe he would have been a perfect fit for the team he actually got hired to coach; the one with no LeBron that was looking at a long term building project of building around Irving and Andrew Wiggins and coaching up a bunch of youngsters. But in any case, the Cavaliers were almost certainly not going to win a championship this year with Blatt as their head coach, and once you come to that conclusion there's no way you can justify continuing on with him in that position, no matter how many regular season games he might have won.

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put your money where your mouth is -- it all comes down to one game

As Dave Matthews sings, "Funny the way it is."

The NFL season comes down to one game on February 7 between Denver and Carolina and my quest to finish the season at .500 also comes down to that one game.

By virtue of yesterday's 1-1 record (I had New England and Carolina), I'm now 46-47-2 for the season. I've been trying to climb back to the .500 mark ever since a disastrous 8-17 start to my "betting season" and now, finally, I'm a game away from getting even.

I see where Carolina is an early 5.5 point favorite. My guess is that will be 4 points by the time the game kicks off in thirteen days. And, honestly, right now, I have no idea which way I'm going to go, although I will say this: I'm quite certain the networks and the league would love to see Peyton win and go out on top. But I have the better part of two weeks to figure out my selection.

For now, I'll bask in the glow of being 6-4 thus far in the post-season and 8-2 picking outright winners. Heck, I even predicted the Carolina-Arizona game would be a "semi-laugher". I was close on that one. It was an out-and-out laugher, as the Cardinals got exposed and the Panthers looked like a team of destiny.


lyles pours in 32 but umbc loses at vermont

The sensational start for Jairus Lyles continued on Sunday at Vermont, but even a 32-point effort from the VCU transfer wasn't enough as the Catamounts prevailed 79-72 in Burlington.

Lyles' 32 points is the most by a Retriever versus a Division I foe since Darryl Proctor netted 33 points versus Boston University on March 7, 2009. He also led UMBC with five rebounds and five assists and he added three steals.

The Retrievers (5-16 overall, 1-5 America East) trailed, 63-55 with seven minutes remaining, when a pair of forced turnovers keyed a 11-0 run, which put the visitors ahead, 66-63, as Lyles hit one of two free throws with 4:40 to play. But on Vermont's ensuing possession, junior wing Kurt Steidl buried a trey to tie the score. After UMBC missed on the other end, Ernie Duncan's jumper with 3:18 to play gave the Catamounts the lead for good. They built the advantage to 73-67 before a Lyles' trey broke a drought of over five minutes from the field for UMBC.

The Retrievers would force a turnover with 58 seconds left, but freshman Sam Schwietz (Frisco, Texas) could not convert a pair of free throws four seconds later. Vermont's Cam Ward sealed the win as he ran the shot clock down and hit a driving layup and the subsequent free throw to put the hosts up, 76-70 with 30 seconds left.

Lyles buried 11-of-20 shots from the floor and excelled behind the arc, converting 5-of-7. But only red-shirt sophomore guard Rodney Elliott (John Carroll H.S.) joined Lyles in double figures with 13 points.

Vermont (12-9, 4-2 AE) was led by Steidl, who scored 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting from behind the arc. The Catamounts hit 9-of-21 from long range and 31-of-53 (58.5%) against a Retriever team, which predominantly played a 2-3 zone defense.

Vermont led by as many as 10 points in the first half, but settled for a 32-26 lead at the break.

Lyles is now averaging 26.0 points per game through his first 10 outings as a Retriever.

UMBC next faces Binghamton in Vestal, N.Y. on Wednesday, Jan. 27.

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pga tour: dufner back in the winner's circle

A nifty par on the 17th hole of regulation and an all-world up-and-down on the first playoff hole paved the way for Jason Dufner to win for the first time in nearly three years, as he won the PGA Tour event at PGA West in La Quinta, California on Sunday.

Dufner's victory came at the expense of David Lingmerth, who made double bogey on the second playoff hole after his approach shot found water to the left of the 10th green. One hole before, Lingmerth looked like he was going to win, but Dufner -- after a bad tee shot forced a lay-up -- hit a sand wedge from 106 yards to 10 feet and made the par putt to keep the tournament alive.

Both players had a chance to win in regulation, but they each missed 15-foot birdie putts at the closing hole.

Dufner looked to be in trouble on the 71st hole of the tournament when his tee-shot on the par-3 17th landed in rocks bordering the green. He not only got the ball out safely, but it struck the flagstick flush and could have easily gone in for a birdie. Instead, it settled a foot away and his tap-in par set the stage for a dramatic final three holes (one regulation, two playoff).

If you played my six fantasy golfers that I handed out last Wednesday, you fared pretty well this week. Two of the six (Streb and Finau) didn't make the cut, but the other four played all four rounds and made you a little bit of money, I'd assume. Jamie Lovemark, Bill Haas, and Ryan Palmer all compiled Top 20 finishes while Patrick Reed earned a T-56 at 10-under par.

Look for this week's fantasy selections in Wednesday's edition of #DMD.


looking for that perfect valentine's day gift? our adele bus trip is now on sale!

#DMD has put together a bus trip to Philadelphia on Friday, September 9 to see Adele perform at the Wells Fargo Center. I don't think you're going to say, "Adele? Who the heck is that?" but just in case you do, you can watch the video below for a glimpse of her and her music.



Her 2016 world tour is expected to smash a bunch of records (in terms of tickets purchased, revenue generated, etc.) and she'll be coming to the area next Fall. Our bus on September 9 will take 40 Adele fans to Philly, complete with dinner on the bus ride, beer and wine, plus Adele trivia (with a cash prize to the winner).

That's the good news. We have tickets to the show in Philly and we have an awesome luxury motor coach. It's going to be a great night.

The bad news...sort of. It's not cheap. Ten million people hit the TicketMaster website on the morning the seats went on sale in December. They were all gone in minutes. My ticket guy in New York City was able to get his hands on a hundred or so at various venues around the country, with Philadelphia being one of them. There are two shows in Washington DC, but as he said to me last week when I was pondering whether to buy Verizon Center tickets or Wells Fargo Center tickets -- "Just be warned -- you're gonna pay DC prices, which are generally 20 to 25 percent higher than Philly."

So Philly it is. Honestly, the ride up I-95 to the Wells Fargo Center is only about 35-45 minutes further than getting to DC. We made it from Baltimore to the stadium complex in Philly for the Army-Navy game in 75 minutes back on December 12. And if the ticket prices are cheaper in Philly for me, they're also less expensive for you.

And let me pass this along, too: This is very much one of those things you can purchase for your significant female and she can absolutely board the bus "solo" and still have a great time. She'll no doubt be spending the evening making new friends on the bus and sitting with others in the arena and on the #DMD trip who are also there on their own. So, sure, you can pass this Adele trip info on to a friend and perhaps you both send your respective significant females so they share the night together; or you can send her as a "single" on the trip. Either way, she'll have a great night.

The other note to share from the outset is this: The seats for this show in Philly aren't in the front row or anything. Right now, a seat on the floor would run you anywhere from $800-$2,000. (I know what you're thinking at this point -- "That girl can sing, sure, but for $2,000 she better be belting out "Rolling in the Deep" in my living room."). Our seats for the September 9 show are upstairs on the side of the stage. Interestingly, unlike some performers who will sell the entire venue, including seats BEHIND the stage, Adele has opted not to do that on this tour. She will only sell tickets with a front or side of the view stage.

In my history of organizing and running sports and concert trips, I've found most people are mainly interested in getting in the building at a (somewhat) reasonable price and sharing that experience with others on the trip with them. The location of the seat is secondary to spending a memorable few hours with friends and and getting to and from the venue safely. Our policy at #DMD is that we don't put people in single seats or break up groups of four, six, etc. who are traveling together for the event. If you go to a game or a concert with three other friends, you'll all want to be sitting together. We understand that.

Let me also say this just to be clear: This trip ISN'T for females only. I know of one guy (me) who has been an Adele fan since she arrived on the scene six years ago and he'll definitely be on the bus trip on September 9. If you'd like to accompany your significant female on the trip, you're more than welcome to come along. We'll be departing from somewhere in the Towson area at 4 pm on Friday, September 9 and returning right after the show.

How do you get her a seat on our "Adele bus"? Just go to the main header of the website above and click on "Adele Trip" for all of the payment processing. If you'd prefer to pay by check, e-mail me and we'll make arrangements: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

One last thing: We'll also send you a special "Adele Concert Valentine's Day Gift Card" you can give her on February 14th, complete with details about the trip you purchased for her.

You're on your way to being a hero. Or more of one than you already are...


Sunday
January 24
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVIII
Issue 24

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed

Click here for full details on our Masters trip!



plenty of basketball left, but terps aren't there yet

I don't know what's worse, losing to a reeling team or losing to a team that was willing to wear those hideous lime green uniforms.

Either way, Maryland's loss to Michigan State on Saturday wasn't pretty. And neither were the Spartans.

In some ways, the 75-66 loss wasn't all that surprising. Michigan State badly needed a win after dropping three straight and Maryland really hasn't figured out a way to beat a good team yet this season.

The Terps are 17-3 thus far for a reason. They have a terrific nucleus of players, for starters, and the engine under their hood -- Melo Trimble -- is one of the top point guards in the country. When you have a kid as adept at handling the ball and seeing the court as Trimble does, you're in almost every game from the start.

But for Maryland to go far in the NCAA tournament that starts in less than two months, they'll need a lot more to fall into place. In their current form, Maryland won't be able to win six straight games in March and April.

I'm generally not someone who overreacts to losses. Perhaps my favorite adage in sports is, "the other team tries, too." It's common to always look at your team's shortcomings when evaluating a loss and say, "If only we would have done (this) better..." And that might be true. But the other team has strengths and weaknesses as well. They're playing the same "if only" game you're playing as you try to figure out how you won or lost.

But Maryland's loss to Michigan State was particularly troubling, in a way that earlier defeats to North Carolina and Michigan weren't. The Terps were out-worked yesterday. Out-hustled. And the worst of all, if you're a coach: they were out-hearted on Saturday in East Lansing. Michigan State wanted that game more than Maryland did. It was evident from the outset.

Part of Maryland's issue is the general nature of having such a talented line-up. It's part and parcel of having a star-studded roster that not everyone finds a role with which they can identify and flourish in. Jaylen Brantley might be a perfect piece of evidence for the previous statement. On a less talented Maryland team, he'd be getting a lot more minutes. As it is, now, he's been relegated to the role of a part-timer. It's hard to get into a rythm when your playing time is spotty.

Jared Nickens is in the same boat as Brantley. At times, he's the team's best 3-point shooter. Other times, he can go weeks without impacting a game. Nickens played 20 minutes yesterday and had as many points as you did against the Spartans. When he sees his playing time reduced, that's why. 20 minutes against Michigan State, zero points.

That said, coming off the bench, particularly for kids who probably played 90% of the available minutes as high school players, isn't the easiest thing to do. Yes, there are piano movers and piano players and really good teams need both, but you're talking about teenagers here. They expect to be the piano player, because that's what they've been on the basketball court. They weren't recruited to sit the bench, they were recruited to play.

The Terps issues, though, go far beyond trying to squeeze playing time in for the likes of Brantley, Nickens and others like Cekovsky and Ram.

Maryland's downfall come tournament time -- if they wind up having one -- will most likely be their lack of toughness and their willingness to fight and get bloody when the occasion calls for it. They were out-rebounded 36-26 on Saturday and, even more telling, fell short on the offensive glass, 17-9. Anyone that we deem a basketball expert will always claim that rebounding is 80% toughness and 20% positioning. In last Tuesday's overtime win over Northwestern, the Terps collected just 4 offensive rebounds, while the Wildcats had 16. Northwestern out-rebounded Maryland, 41-32, over the course of the 45-minutes of basketball.

Each player, including Trimble, has shown moments of weakness thus far. They've all displayed great talent, too, but there's little doubt that through 20 games to date, we've seen each of the starters put their warts and blemishes on display.

Trimble has a tendency to drift in and out of games, particularly when the other team protects the perimeter. He can also get careless with the ball, especially early in games when perhaps he's trying to establish himself.

Robert Carter Jr. is perhaps the team's most complete player -- and he'll make a lot of money in the NBA someday -- but he too drifts in and out of games. While he's the team's best rebounder, it's not often he combines a big rebounding night with a big scoring night. I'm not saying he's a one-trick pony, but if he finds a way to consistently match both of those attributes up on the same night...watch out.

Diamond Stone has made great strides since the season opened in November, but we're now seeing that he needs a few toughness pills if the other team has a bruiser or two under the basket. Against the weaker teams, Stone is a beast. When the competition heats up, though, his game tends to cool. He did score 22 in the loss at Michigan last week, but tallied just 15 points total in the losses to North Carolina and Michigan State and was barely a factor in the 40 minutes of regulation vs. Northwestern on January 19.

Rasheed Sulaimon was the team's MVP in the first quarter of the season, but he looks like a different player since the New Year came around. Earlier in the season we saw a guy committed to defense and prone to hitting the big shot at the right moment. Saturday vs. Michigan State, he looked lost at times defensively and contributed only 8 points in 39 minutes of action.

And then...there's Jake Layman. It's either 19 points, 8 rebounds and "player of the game" material or it's 5 points, 2 rebounds and "this guy is a joke" outrage. And it's nearly impossible to figure out which one of those you're going to get on any given night. NBA folks love his upside. I guess they know way more than I do. I just don't see it.

It all adds up to a highly-functional Maryland team who should be at the very worst a 3-seed in the tournament and, with a nice run from here on in and a Big 10 tournament title, perhaps even a 2-seed. And the Terps can pose big-time match-up problems when March Madness rolls around. There will be coaches who follow the bracket selection show very carefully and cringe if they're scheduled to face Mark Turgeon's team.

At 17-3 on the year, Maryland has displayed the sort of basketball acumen that makes you think they have a puncher's chance to win it all if they get the right bracket and a match-up or two fall their way as the tournament rolls on. They'll lose another game or two over the next six weeks, but when the dust settles and the Selection Show airs, the Terps have all the goods to be a title contender.

But, just like last year when West Virginia backyard-brawled their way to a win on the opening weekend of the tournament, Maryland will no doubt see teams with more muscle and more grit than they possess. From what I see, now, that's a bad scenario for the Terps. Unless they get tougher -- and quickly -- they're not going far in March.

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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.


will justin forsett be this year's chris canty?

You might recall that the Ravens parted ways with veteran Chris Canty in a salary-cap move last winter. But knowing they valued his locker room presence, and thinking he still had some plays left in his then-34-year-old body, they re-signed him about three weeks later to a two-year deal.

In doing so, they cut his 2015 cap number roughly in half, to about $1.73 million.

Fast forward a year, and consider the case of Justin Forsett: He turned 30 in October, and he has a 2016 cap charge of $3.7 million after signing a three-year, $10.5 million deal after his breakout 2014 season.

With Forsett missing six games this past season with a broken arm, the Ravens got a good, long look at rookie Buck Allen and have to be encouraged by what they saw. They also figure to have Lorenzo Taliaferro and Terrance West back in the mix as well at running back.

Releasing Forsett would mean the Ravens would eat about $1.4 million in dead money, but would clear about $2.3 million in cap space. Ozzie Newsome has commented more than once about what a positive mentor Forsett is, and just as with Canty, that could be an important role for him with young backs like Allen and especially West, whose disciplinary issues and work habits are two reasons he has bounced to three teams since being drafted.

The $3.7 million question is, will the Ravens cut Forsett loose? If so, would they do so with a wink-wink nod-nod agreement that, hey, we'll call you back in a few weeks? Don't worry; you'll still get paid. Of course, there's plenty of risk in that. Although Forsett finally found a home in Baltimore after an itinerant career, maybe being cut would engender ill will and encourage him to look elsewhere. And with Forsett on the free agent market, maybe a team would swoop in with an offer the Ravens' wouldn't or couldn't match.

Then again, the Ravens might value Forsett enough, both as a player and as a mentor, that cutting him loose and trying to bring him back at a lower cap number isn't even part of the discussion. Taliaferro has not shown the ability to stay healthy. The Ravens ranked 26th in the league in rushing yards per game, and 24th in rushing yards per play. So it's not as if they were world-beaters on the ground. Forsett's average gain of 4.2 yards was better than Allen (3.8), West (3.9) or Taliaferro (3.6).

Forsett makes the team better, but at what cost? That is one of the questions the Ravens brain trust is probably wrestling with this offseason.


put your money where your mouth is -- playoff style

OK, so my margin for error is now down to the slimmest of margins. In order to finish above .500, I have to sweep the final three games of the NFL season. I'm currently at 45-46-2 for the season, with only the two conference championship games and the Super Bowl remaining. It's now or never. Here goes:

NEW ENGLAND (-3.0) AT DENVER -- So as much as I think New England is winning here, I can definitely see a way that Denver pulls it out. I suspect the Patriots will jam the middle of the field and the sidelines and try to force Peyton to beat them 25-30 yards downfield. He might be able to do that once or twice, but if he's forced to air it out 35-40 times, that spells trouble for Denver. If the Broncos can run the ball with some effectiveness and shorten the game, they have a chance. But I'm of the mindset that New England's multi-dimensional offense is going to be too much for the Broncos to handle. Too much Tom Brady, too much Rob Gronkowski and too much big play material. New England wins this one and covers by the slimmest of margins, 27-23.

ARIZONA AT CAROLINA (-3.0) -- I think this one could be "woodshed" material. I can see Carolina jumping out to a crazy lead like they did last Sunday vs. Seattle, but piling on in the second half instead of letting Arizona back in the game. The only hope for the Cardinals is that Carolina wants to get into a run-and-gun affair where the yards and points rack up all afternoon and the team with the ball last wins. I think Carolina's defense is suspect enough to allow that to happen, but something tells me today's the day they man-up and shut down the Cardinals. I'll take Carolina to win this one in a semi-laugher, 30-13.

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Drew's Fantasy Golf Update

Earlier this week here at #DMD, I gave out six fantasy-golf picks for this week's PGA Tour event. Let's look at how those six players are faring in the tournament.

If you're looking for a place to relax and watch this week's golf tournament, try any of the Baltimore-area Glory Days Grills, including Drew's favorite on East Joppa Road in Towson.


For the second week in a row, four of my six pre-tournament picks made the cut, which sounds good and all, but it really isn't. In the world of fantasy golf, you need all six guys to make the cut. Five of six can get you some money, but 6-for-6 almost always gets you paid, somehow. This week's event features a 3-round cut instead of a 2-round cut, so all six guys had a chance to make some birdies for three rounds, but only four of my players are teeing it up today. Let's see how I'm faring thus far:

We'll start with the bad news. Robert Streb (-5) missed the cut by four shots while usually-reliable Tony Finau made bogey at #17 and #18 to fall from 10-under to 8-under, missing the cut by one stinkin' shot. So those two are gone.

It was good to see Patrick Reed (-10) hang in there and play well enough to make the 54-hole cut. He can't win today, but he's the kind of guy who throws a 64 up there in the final round to finish in the top 15.

Both Bill Haas (-15) and my pre-tournament winner, Ryan Palmer (-17) have played well this week, but only Palmer has an outside chance of winning this afternoon. He'd need something like a 63 or 64 to do it, and then hope that the leaders stumble their way to a 69 or 70. Still, they've both made you some money over the last three days if you played them.

And my "off the radar screen" pick for the week is just one shot behind leader Jason Dufner, as Jamie Lovemark (-21) produced his third straight round of 65 on Saturday to put himself in position to win on the PGA Tour for the first time in his career.

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looking for that perfect valentine's day gift? our adele bus trip is now on sale!

#DMD has put together a bus trip to Philadelphia on Friday, September 9 to see Adele perform at the Wells Fargo Center. I don't think you're going to say, "Adele? Who the heck is that?" but just in case you do, you can watch the video below for a glimpse of her and her music.



Her 2016 world tour is expected to smash a bunch of records (in terms of tickets purchased, revenue generated, etc.) and she'll be coming to the area next Fall. Our bus on September 9 will take 40 Adele fans to Philly, complete with dinner on the bus ride, beer and wine, plus Adele trivia (with a cash prize to the winner).

That's the good news. We have tickets to the show in Philly and we have an awesome luxury motor coach. It's going to be a great night.

The bad news...sort of. It's not cheap. Ten million people hit the TicketMaster website on the morning the seats went on sale in December. They were all gone in minutes. My ticket guy in New York City was able to get his hands on a hundred or so at various venues around the country, with Philadelphia being one of them. There are two shows in Washington DC, but as he said to me last week when I was pondering whether to buy Verizon Center tickets or Wells Fargo Center tickets -- "Just be warned -- you're gonna pay DC prices, which are generally 20 to 25 percent higher than Philly."

So Philly it is. Honestly, the ride up I-95 to the Wells Fargo Center is only about 35-45 minutes further than getting to DC. We made it from Baltimore to the stadium complex in Philly for the Army-Navy game in 75 minutes back on December 12. And if the ticket prices are cheaper in Philly for me, they're also less expensive for you.

And let me pass this along, too: This is very much one of those things you can purchase for your significant female and she can absolutely board the bus "solo" and still have a great time. She'll no doubt be spending the evening making new friends on the bus and sitting with others in the arena and on the #DMD trip who are also there on their own. So, sure, you can pass this Adele trip info on to a friend and perhaps you both send your respective significant females so they share the night together; or you can send her as a "single" on the trip. Either way, she'll have a great night.

The other note to share from the outset is this: The seats for this show in Philly aren't in the front row or anything. Right now, a seat on the floor would run you anywhere from $800-$2,000. (I know what you're thinking at this point -- "That girl can sing, sure, but for $2,000 she better be belting out "Rolling in the Deep" in my living room."). Our seats for the September 9 show are upstairs on the side of the stage. Interestingly, unlike some performers who will sell the entire venue, including seats BEHIND the stage, Adele has opted not to do that on this tour. She will only sell tickets with a front or side of the view stage.

In my history of organizing and running sports and concert trips, I've found most people are mainly interested in getting in the building at a (somewhat) reasonable price and sharing that experience with others on the trip with them. The location of the seat is secondary to spending a memorable few hours with friends and and getting to and from the venue safely. Our policy at #DMD is that we don't put people in single seats or break up groups of four, six, etc. who are traveling together for the event. If you go to a game or a concert with three other friends, you'll all want to be sitting together. We understand that.

Let me also say this just to be clear: This trip ISN'T for females only. I know of one guy (me) who has been an Adele fan since she arrived on the scene six years ago and he'll definitely be on the bus trip on September 9. If you'd like to accompany your significant female on the trip, you're more than welcome to come along. We'll be departing from somewhere in the Towson area at 4 pm on Friday, September 9 and returning right after the show.

How do you get her a seat on our "Adele bus"? Just go to the main header of the website above and click on "Adele Trip" for all of the payment processing. If you'd prefer to pay by check, e-mail me and we'll make arrangements: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

One last thing: We'll also send you a special "Adele Concert Valentine's Day Gift Card" you can give her on February 14th, complete with details about the trip you purchased for her.

You're on your way to being a hero. Or more of one than you already are...


Saturday
January 23
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVIII
Issue 23

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Click here for full details on our Masters trip!



#dmd will help you warm her heart (and this has nothing to do with shoveling snow)

This seems like a good day to break some pretty good news here at #DMD. Every sporting event in the area was canceled on Friday and most of our thoughts on this snowy Saturday will likely be about anything BUT sports.

So, I'm going to talk about Valentine's Day.

It's coming up in less than a month.

And I'm venturing outside of my comfort zone and putting together a special one-night trip for that significant FEMALE in your life that you can pass along to her for Valentine's Day. If you're looking to be a hero, I can help you achieve that status.

#DMD has put together a bus trip to Philadelphia on Friday, September 9 to see Adele perform at the Wells Fargo Center. I don't think you're going to say, "Adele? Who the heck is that?" but just in case you do, you can watch the video below for a glimpse of her and her music.



Her 2016 world tour is expected to smash a bunch of records (in terms of tickets purchased, revenue generated, etc.) and she'll be coming to the area next Fall. Our bus on September 9 will take 40 Adele fans to Philly, complete with dinner on the bus ride, beer and wine, plus Adele trivia (with a cash prize to the winner).

That's the good news. We have tickets to the show in Philly and we have an awesome luxury motor coach. It's going to be a great night.

The bad news...sort of. It's not cheap. Ten million people hit the TicketMaster website on the morning the seats went on sale in December. They were all gone in minutes. My ticket guy in New York City was able to get his hands on a hundred or so at various venues around the country, with Philadelphia being one of them. There are two shows in Washington DC, but as he said to me last week when I was pondering whether to buy Verizon Center tickets or Wells Fargo Center tickets -- "Just be warned -- you're gonna pay DC prices, which are generally 20 to 25 percent higher than Philly."

So Philly it is. Honestly, the ride up I-95 to the Wells Fargo Center is only about 35-45 minutes further than getting to DC. We made it from Baltimore to the stadium complex in Philly for the Army-Navy game in 75 minutes back on December 12. And if the ticket prices are cheaper in Philly for me, they're also less expensive for you.

And let me pass this along, too: This is very much one of those things you can purchase for your significant female and she can absolutely board the bus "solo" and still have a great time. She'll no doubt be spending the evening making new friends on the bus and sitting with others in the arena and on the #DMD trip who are also there on their own. So, sure, you can pass this Adele trip info on to a friend and perhaps you both send your respective significant females so they share the night together; or you can send her as a "single" on the trip. Either way, she'll have a great night.

The other note to share from the outset is this: The seats for this show in Philly aren't in the front row or anything. Right now, a seat on the floor would run you anywhere from $800-$2,000. (I know what you're thinking at this point -- "That girl can sing, sure, but for $2,000 she better be belting out "Rolling in the Deep" in my living room."). Our seats for the September 9 show are upstairs on the side of the stage. Interestingly, unlike some performers who will sell the entire venue, including seats BEHIND the stage, Adele has opted not to do that on this tour. She will only sell tickets with a front or side of the view stage.

In my history of organizing and running sports and concert trips, I've found most people are mainly interested in getting in the building at a (somewhat) reasonable price and sharing that experience with others on the trip with them. The location of the seat is secondary to spending a memorable few hours with friends and and getting to and from the venue safely. Our policy at #DMD is that we don't put people in single seats or break up groups of four, six, etc. who are traveling together for the event. If you go to a game or a concert with three other friends, you'll all want to be sitting together. We understand that.

Let me also say this just to be clear: This trip ISN'T for females only. I know of one guy (me) who has been an Adele fan since she arrived on the scene six years ago and he'll definitely be on the bus trip on September 9. If you'd like to accompany your significant female on the trip, you're more than welcome to come along.

How do you get her a seat on our "Adele bus"? E-mail me and I'll give you the details. We'll take a down payment now and then payment in full on May 15th. My e-mail: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

One last thing: We'll also send you a special "Adele Concert Valentine's Day Gift Card" you can give her on February 14th, complete with details about the trip you purchased for her.

You're on your way to being a hero. Or more of one than you already are...


#dmd makes it to the golf channel!

If you happen to be inside this weekend (haha - too soon?) and find yourself in the mood to watch the Golf Channel, you'll see the debut of a brand new TV commercial featuring #DMD's trip to the Masters on April 5th. In the event you don't see it, we thought we'd show it to you here, today:

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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!


Which Michigan State basketball team will Mark Turgeon's Maryland Terrapins see tonight? Will it be the wounded squad backed into a corner and prepared to fight for its life? Or will the Terps be playing a team that just doesn’t have the firepower to justify the lofty #1 ranking that they once held? We will know a few hours after the 6:30 pm start.

It certainly would be easy to justify any Spartan struggles that occurred while their star player, Denzel Valentine, was nursing an early-season knee injury, but this team has lost three straight with Valentine back in the line-up and now faces a potential fourth loss in a row with the talented Terps coming to town. Michigan State will take on that challenge without the services of their best ball handling guard, Lourawls Nairn Jr, who is recovering from a foot injury.

Based on what their recent game tapes show, the Spartans will need a supreme effort tonight against the Terps if they plan to avoid going 3-5 in the Big 10.

Valentine is a fantastic shooter from anywhere on the court and his 45.4% from three point range is especially troublesome for opposing defenders. He averages just over 18 points a game but is perhaps not fully in game shape after recovering from some minor knee surgery more than a month ago. His game is very perimeter oriented right now, and I haven’t seen the relentless pursuit of the basketball that has been the trademark of not only Valentine, but of Coach Tom Izzo’s teams in general.

The loss of Nairn (and his 4.5 assists per game) will force Izzo to give minutes to some guards that pose little threat offensively and didn’t show me the “quicks” to get the basket or defend the quicker Terp backcourt. There is one guy that can cause problems for the Terps and that is Spartan guard Eron Harris. Harris can drive, shoot threes and get acrobatic at times. He’s a good athlete and plays with energy.

Matt Costello is a sturdy center who can be effective on both ends of the court, but he lacks a polished post-up game and might not be the right match-up for defending either Robert Carter Jr. or Diamond Stone.

Bryn Forbes is Michigan State’s second leading scorer at 13.1 per game, which is fairly solid considering he only plays about 26 minutes per game. The minutes on this team are spread out wide as Coach Izzo has a deep rotation, but I question the quality of the depth.

Michigan State doesn’t possess the size to compete with Maryland down low or the speed to hurt them with dribble penetration. The do have several guys who can hit threes, but I don’t think that’s enough to sustain them for 40 minutes. I know Sparty is a trapped rat right now, but I don’t see enough from them for me to give them the nod here. Take the 3.5 points that the early odds-makers want to give you.

Maryland wins outright with a solid team performance, 71-63.

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here's are three great "snowy day questions" to ponder

During my weekly Friday appearance on Glenn Clark Radio yesterday, he asked me three questions that were a topic on his show earlier in the week.

I told him then and there I was going to steal that idea and run it in today's edition of #DMD. I'm a man of my word. Here are the questions:

You're snowed in for three days and can't leave the house. Assuming you have power the whole time, if you could only watch ONE movie for the entire weekend, which movie would you watch?

If you could invite anyone LIVING to your house to share that three days with you for conversation, dining, movie-watching, etc., who would it be? (this is the part where I ask that you keep your response "clean")

If you could watch a replay of only one sporting event for the entire weekend, what sporting event would you choose to watch?

OK, here were my responses:

X
Arriving in New York on their first trip to the U.S., these two were an amazing duo in Coming to America.

For the movie, I think I'd want a comedy. "Training Day" is my favorite movie of all-time, but I think I want some laughter in the house if I couldn't go outside for three days. My choice would be "Coming to America" with Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall. There are about 100 great lines in that movie and I can watch it endlessly and never get tired of it.

I'd invite Bruce Springsteen to my house for three days of story-telling, music-playing and general discussion. Bruce isn't much of a sports fan, so most of our time would be spent talking about his life and the world of rock-n-roll, but that's fine with me. Come on over, Boss.

My sporting event that I'd watch on replay would be the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey game between the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union. I'll never forget that night. I remember where I watched it (as most people do) and I don't think I've ever felt my heart swell for "something American" like it did when Al Michaels yelled out, "Do you believe in miracles!!??"

I'm anxious to see your personal choices in the comments section below. Please share...

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Drew's Fantasy Golf Update

Earlier this week here at #DMD, I gave out six fantasy-golf picks for this week's PGA Tour event. Let's look at how those six players are faring in the tournament.

If you're looking for a place to relax and watch this week's golf tournament, try any of the Baltimore-area Glory Days Grills, including Drew's favorite on East Joppa Road in Towson.

They've played two rounds now at PGA West out in California and I'm primed for another big weekend of fantasy golf success if a few of my picks can just keep playing good golf this weekend.

X
Could this be the weekend Jamie Lovemark claims his first PGA Tour win?

My "back of the pack" guy had another great day on Friday and is just one shot behind 36-hole leader Jason Dufner. I told you on Wednesday in my Fantasy Golf Preview to play little-known Jamie Lovemark this week. What's he done thus far? Oh, not much...just 14-under par through two rounds, that's all.

Two shots behind Lovemark and poised to make a run at second straight title at PGA West is Bill Haas (66-66), who plays those courses out there the way I used to play Clifton Park a decade ago when I knew what I was doing. I told you on Wednesday Haas would be a factor this week. Don't be surprised if Haas wins.

I picked Ryan Palmer to win this week and he's hanging in there nicely, with a round of 66 on Friday to get him to 11-under par and just four shots behind Dufner.

Tony Finau (-7) and Patrick Reed (-6) have a lot of work to do to break into the Top 25, but both of those guys are capable of going 65-65 on the weekend and making up a lot of ground and delivering you a lot of fantasy points.

My other pick, Robert Streb, posted a 69 on Friday and is now 1-under par through 36 holes. If this were a horse race, the jockey would "ease" him to the finish line.

So, if you DID play my picks this week, you're liking me right about now. I hope I'm this happy on Monday morning.


we still have seats left on our caps-flyers bus trip, jan. 27

They're the hottest team in hockey and they're home next Wednesday, January 27 against the Philadelphia Flyers.

And #DMD is heading to the Verizon Center in DC to check it out in person!

X
Giroux vs. Ovechkin on January 27. Join #DMD for our Caps bus trip and Rock The Red!

We do all the heavy lifting for you next Wednesday. We do the driving, in an awesome limo bus provided by our friends at Triangle Limousine. We'll feed you on the way down to DC, supply some ice cold Harpoon beer, soft drinks and water, plus we'll have a cool Caps trivia contest with prizes.

Here are the important details of our trip: Round-trip bus transportation from the Towson area (leaving at 5:30 pm), 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, plus either a LOWER LEVEL TICKET ($175 total trip price) or UPPER LEVEL TICKET ($90 total trip price) to the Caps-Flyers game.

If you're interested in getting seats on the Caps-Flyers bus, e-mail me today: drew@drewsmorningdish.com



Friday
January 22
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVIII
Issue 22

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is angelos making a late-inning comeback?

This seems like a natural topic to address today as we prepare for 30 inches of snow here in Baltimore.

A blizzard comes our way and I ponder whether or not Peter Angelos is going to end his days as owner of the Orioles by going out on top.

I didn't really see either one of those things coming this time one week ago.

It's probably not a stretch to say that Peter Angelos has been Baltimore's most polarizing sports figure over the last two decades. If not him, who would it be? Right, it's Angelos. We're admittedly not a city with a lot of sports villains in our midst, but Angelos has occupied that role during his ownership run that started way back in 1993.

And it hasn't been only Baltimore and Maryland to take notice of Peter's ownership roller-coaster. Sports Illustrated published lists of "the worst owners in baseball" in 2009 and 2013 and our guy at The Warehouse was number one with a bullet both times. Hey, at least someone with the Orioles was winning back in 2009 when the on-field product had reached an all-time low.

But things have changed over the last six years.

They've changed a lot, in fact.

And the 87-year old Angelos is poised to perhaps go out as a hero rather than a villain. Who woulda thunk it, right?

The idea that Peter Angelos might end his ownership tenure as a good guy rather than a heel might seem too far fetched for you to believe, but we're a country that's built on forgiveness and giving a second chance (unless you're Ray Rice and there's a nasty video of you available for all to see...then, not so much). Muhammad Ali was a 1960's draft dodger who was once despised and now, fifty years later, is regarded as one of our country's most showcased symbols of "freedom of choice". Right here in our own city, Ray Lewis went from pleading guilty to obstruction of justice in a double murder case to rising to the top of the NFL as one of the game's all-time greatest defensive players and now works as a football analyst for ESPN.

The list of professional athletes, musicians and politicians who have have gone from hero-to-goat-to-hero is longer than the line at the cash register of your local grocery store this morning. We build you up, we tear you down, and we build you up again. That's just how we roll in this great land of ours.

Angelos got off to a rousing start as the O's owner, armed with a fresh, state of the art stadium and an iconic player who was chasing one of the greatest records in all of sports history. That the Birds landed in the post-season in 1996 and 1997 didn't hurt Peter's early scorecard either. For a half-dozen years or so, Angelos was a good owner. Or so we thought.

Then the losing started in the late 1990's and all hell broke loose.

Angelos dug in his heels and vowed to do it his way, which was code word for: "We're not forking over a lot of money for these baseball players." As both the Yankees and Red Sox became perennial championship contenders with their shiny, expensive rosters, the Orioles got progressively worse. Some of it was drafting, some was a by-product of a shoddy minor league system and some, yes, was embedded in Angelos himself, who simply refused to "play the game".

Who can ever forget the now-famous quote from the O's owner when asked about the team's pursuit of then-high-profile-free-agent pitcher Roy Oswalt. "I was at a meeting in Milwaukee and everyone was talking about the most recent deal the Astros made giving Oswalt $73 million for five years, $14.5 million a year. That is lunacy. He's going to pitch every fifth day. A good ballplayer and all that, but $14.5.million a year…now come on."

That was classic Angelos, going from well-respected-attorney to prudent-baseball-mind in one fell swoop, essentially suggesting that paying Roy Oswalt $14.5 million per-season was "lunacy" because he only works once every five days.

There were lots of other "fights" along the way throughout that first decade of the 2000's. Battles with WBAL Radio, Comcast SportsNet, Ed Hale, the Ravens and the Indy series race that briefly flirted with Baltimore were all line items on Peter's agenda. If nothing else, you at least have to admit the man wasn't afraid to take on all comers.

It's worth noting here, if for no other reason than "fair play", that Angelos hasn't been shoddy or cheap in all aspects of his professional life. He's given the city of Baltimore a lot of money over the years for various civic projects and has been extremely benevolent with local charitable and non-profit endeavors.

But his high-profile position as Orioles owner dwarfed any of the good he did with the University of Baltimore School of Law or any other philanthropic gesture he made. The club suffered mightily on the field and became the laughingstock of baseball in the late 2000's with crowds routinely around 10,000 in what many felt (and still feel) was America's best ballpark.

And most of the blame for that "Decade of Despair" went to Angelos.

Suddenly, though, things started to change.

In 2009, Angelos stamped "approved" on the return of BALTIMORE to the away jersey, a move seen by many as a softening-of-the-heart from the guy who once considered the Orioles a regional team and not belonging specifically to Baltimore.

He hired longtime baseball executive Andy MacPhail to initiate a rebirth of the on-field product and then allowed MacPhail to tear apart the team's (mediocre at best) roster and start almost from scratch.

Angelos then went through an exhaustive search for a new manager in the summer of 2010 before finally settling on Buck Showalter and would later sign off on the biggest contract in team history when he gave Adam Jones an $85.5 million contract extension in 2013.

In a final piece to the puzzle, Angelos would then bring aboard a weird, mercurial guy named Dan Duquette to run the club's baseball operations department and lightning struck right away as the O's made the playoffs in 2012 for the first time since 1996.

In 2014, the Orioles won the American League East on cruise-control and advanced to the American League Championship Series before falling to the Kansas City Royals.

And then, last Saturday, Baltimore learned that Angelos had agreed to give Chris Davis $161 million dollars.

Yes...times have indeed changed.

The owner who for a long time couldn't make a right decision suddenly couldn't make a wrong one. Every move worked. And good times returned to Baltimore in the summer.

This isn't to say Peter Angelos is going to be completely exonerated for his mistakes of the past. When the final chapter of his ownership tenure is written, it's even likely the "bad" might outweigh "the good". But that final chapter still has stories to include, and if one of those tidbits is an Orioles World Series title in one of the next few years, Angelos might very well leave a hero when his days on this Earth come to an end.

Anyone who has spent the last two decades following Baltimore sports probably didn't see this day coming. Would we ever sit around and ponder whether or not Peter G. Angelos would exit on top? Not hardly. It was always a foregone conclusion that Angelos would forever be considered a ragged, miserly owner who made a gazillion dollars being associated with the Orioles and the regional sports network he built a decade ago. That might turn out to be the wrong conclusion, now.

Down by six runs heading into the bottom of the seventh inning of his ownership tenure, Angelos chipped away. He hit a couple of singles, put some guys on base, and then got back in the game with a long homer to left field. He scratched out a few more runs to tie it up in the eight inning.

Now...we head to the ninth.

If nothing else, it's been one helluva comeback for Peter Angelos.

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

MATTHEW CARROLL

With their first extended rest between games since the middle of December, Matchweek 23 of the Barclays Premier League kicks off with a full slate of quality matchups and one of the most famous London Derbies of them all. With a blizzard bearing down, stay inside and tune in to catch all of this weekend’s action live on the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Saturday, January 23 (all times eastern)

10am – Stoke City @ Leicester City – King Power Stadium, NBC Live Extra

After scoring at least one goal in their first eighteen games this season, Leicester City has gone into a bit of an offensive slump as of late, managing only three goals over their last five matches, one of which came in last weekend’s 1-1 draw against last place Aston Villa. The point they earned against the Villains was enough to keep them joint league leaders with Arsenal heading into the weekend when they will welcome Stoke City to the King Power Stadium, with the Potters continuing their run of strong performances against the league’s top four sides following a 0-0 draw against the Gunners.

The Foxes have lost only one time against the current top four sides in the league (W1 L1 D2), tallying a respectable five points from a possible twelve as they continue to maintain their unlikely title challenge well into the second half of the season. Stoke has been firmly positioned in the top half of the table all year long and while Leicester have won eight and lost just one of their last thirteen home matches in the league, the Potters will like their chances having lost only three of their last twelve away matches (W4 D4 L3), keeping a clean sheet in five of their last eight away fixtures.

12:30pm – Manchester City @ West Ham United – Boleyn Ground, NBC

With Arsenal and Leicester City both dropping points on the road last weekend, Manchester City pulled within a single point of the joint league leaders with a 4-0 dismantling of Crystal Palace. They will visit the Boleyn Ground and West Ham United on Saturday who will be looking to pull the double over the Citizens after winning the reverse fixture earlier this season, but who will be reeling a bit after their 2-1 setback to bottom of the table Newcastle United, which ended an eight game unbeaten run and for the time being eased some of the pressure the Hammers had been putting on the top four.

West Ham are unbeaten in their last eight league fixtures at the Boleyn Ground (W4 D4) and after winning just one of the previous fourteen league matches against Manchester City (W1 D3 L10) have won two of the last three meetings (W2 L1), including the 2-1 victory back in September which ended City’s eleven game winning streak in the league. The Citizens struggles on the road this season have been well documented, but they will enter the game encouraged by their 2-1 win on their last trip away from home at Watford, which ended a six match road winless streak (D3 L3).

Sunday, January 24 (all times eastern)

11am – Chelsea @ Arsenal – Emirates Stadium, NBC Sports Network

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hasn't figured out a way to beat Chelsea over an 8-match stretch. Will that change this Sunday?

Defender John Terry’s goal in the final minute of second half injury time, which replays later showed him to be offside, completed the comeback from two goals down to salvage a point in a 3-3 draw against Everton and move Chelsea four points above the relegation zone. Unbeaten in their last six matches since manager Guus Hiddink took over for Jose Mourinho (W2 D4), they will travel to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday to take on Arsenal, whose 0-0 draw on the road at Stoke City was enough to keep the Gunners joint top of the table, just ahead of Leicester on goal differential.

Arsenal have won seven of their last nine league matches at the Emirates (W7 D2) but have struggled against Chelsea as of late, going winless in their last eight league encounters (L5 D3), failing to score in any of those matches. If the Gunners fail to score this weekend it will equal their longest run without a goal versus any opponent in their history (six matches v Liverpool 1997 to 2000), however they will like their chances to break the eight hour and two-minute scoreless drought with the news that Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez are both expected to return from injury for the game.

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how am i doing so far for you fantasy golfers out there?

Day one of this week's PGA Tour event is in the books and the scores at PGA West, as expected, are quite low. Let's see how my six picks fared after 18 holes:

My "back of the pack" guy lit it up on Thursday. I sure hope you took my advice and played Jamie Lovemark, as he's currently just one shot out of first place after an opening round 65 yesterday.

My selection of Robert Streb isn't looking too hot, though, as he stumbled his way to a 2-over par round of 74, which puts him in 129th place. That's not good.

My other four guys are doing just fine, with Patrick Reed and Tony Finau shooting 3-under par 69's on Thursday. All it takes today from one of those guys is a 64 or 65 and they're right back in the top 10 or thereabouts.

Defending champion Bill Haas loves PGA West. And he produced a tidy opening round of 6-under 66 yesterday to get his title defense off to a solid start.

And my predicted winner of this week's event, Ryan Palmer sits one shot behind Haas at 5-under after a 67 of his own on Thursday.

All in all, I fared well on Thursday. I need Streb to have a whopper of a day on Friday, obviously, and if Finau and Reed put together some solid play today, I could realistically have four players in the top 20 heading into the weekend.

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umbc hoops: men and women both lose to hartford

Visiting Hartford never trailed and scored a season-high 98 points in a 98-87 victory over UMBC at the RAC Arena in men's basketball action on Thursday night.

UMBC sophomore guard Jairus Lyles led five Retrievers in double figures with 24 points. But Hartford reserve guard Jalen Ross topped all scorers with 27 points, hitting 13-of-14 attempts from the charity stripe.

Hartford (7-13, 2-3 AE) shot over 64 percent from the field in the second half, buried 8-of-13 shots behind the arc and 15-of-18 from the free throw line. They outscored UMBC, 59-55, in the final 20 minutes.

The Retrievers would rally late, trimming an early second half 16-point deficit of 59-43 to 84-80 after a Lyles run-out and layup with 2:42 remaining. But as they did so often in the second half, Hartford hit a perimeter shot, as junior guard Justin Graham hit a trey from the right wing just before the shot clock expired.

Hartford converted 9-of-10 free throws in the final 62 seconds to seal the victory.

The Hawks finished the game at 55 percent (33-of-60) from the floor, 50 percent from behind the arc (13-of-26) and 82.6 percent from the stripe (19-of-23). UMBC managed to counter with 56.8 percent shooting from the field in the second half and ended the game at 48.5 percent (33-of-68).

The Retrievers (5-15, 1-4 AE) have only won once this season when shooting below 50 percent from the field.

Lyles -- a transfer from VCU -- has now scored 24 of more points in eight of his nine outings for UMBC. He hit 9-of-18 shots from the floor, including 6-of-9 in the final 20 minutes. He also led UMBC with nine rebounds and four steals. Freshman wing Joe Sherburne added 18 points and seven rebounds.

UMBC got a huge second half boost from walk-on freshman guard Ishmail Jabbie. Appearing in just his seventh game, Jabbie scored 12 points in 12 second-half minutes, hitting all five shots (one trey) from the floor and his lone free throw attempt. Red-shirt sophomore guard Rodney Elliott (John Carroll H.S.) contributed 12 points and a game-high seven assists, while senior post Cody Joyce (Churchton, Md./Southern) scored 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting from the field.

The Retrievers will attempt to beat the major snowstorm slated for the region and leave town on Friday morning to make the journey to Vermont for a Sunday matinee.

In women's action at Hartford on Thursday night, sophomore Laura Castaldo scored a career high 20 points on a career best six three's to lead the Retrievers, however UMBC fell 65-57. The loss drops the Retrievers to 11-8 overall and 2-4 in conference play on the year.

The Retriever women will be back on the hardwood on Wednesday, Jan. 27 for a 7 p.m. matchup with Binghamton at the RAC


if you've never seen the palestra in person...join us on feb. 20

This trip, I'll admit, is close to my heart.

We're going to "The Cathedral of College Basketball" on February 20, otherwise known as "The Palestra" -- on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. What's there, you ask? Only the greatest college basketball venue on the east coast, that's what. And it's 90 minutes away. Penn will be taking on Yale that night (7 pm) and #DMD is packing a bus full of people to take it all in. Best of all, we're just about as close to courtside as you can get, just a few rows up from the floor, packed in there on a Saturday night to witness not only a game, but to experience the building that still, today, is on every high school and college basketball player's personal "bucket list". If you play in The Palestra, you've made it.

X
You have to see a game in there at least once: The Palestra on the campus of UPenn.

Officially, here's The Palestra:

The Palestra, often called the Cathedral of College Basketball, is a historic arena and the home gym of the University of Pennsylvania Quakers men's and women's basketball teams, volleyball teams, wrestling team, and Philadelphia Big 5 basketball. Located at 235 South 33rd St. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, near Franklin Field in the University City section of Philadelphia, it opened on January 1, 1927. The Palestra has been called "the most important building in the history of college basketball" and "changed the entire history of the sport for which it was built."

The arena originally seated about 10,000, but now seats 8,722 for basketball. The Palestra is famed for its close-to-the-court seating with the bleachers ending at the floor with no barrier to separate the fans from the game.

Since its inception, the Palestra has hosted more games, more visiting teams, and more NCAA tournaments than any other facility in college basketball.

I've been to The Palestra twice. If you haven't yet been, make this trip with us. I promise, you'll leave the building with goosebumps.

We're doing the whole trip for $69 per-person. Here's what you get: Round-trip motor coach transportation from Towson to Philadelphia. A delicious Palmisano's sub and other snacks, along with beer, soft drinks and water on the ride up to Philadelphia. A lower level, near-courtside seat for the Penn-Yale game. And a commemorative, limited-edition "I saw The Palestra!" tee-shirt.

All of that for $69 per-person. I was only able to get 30 tickets, so at this point, that's all we're taking. I'm working on more tickets in the event demand warrants it, but if you want to be one of the first 30 to get on the bus and go to Philly, we'd love to have you.

Just click right here to reach The Palestra page, make your payment and secure your spot on the trip.

Thursday
January 21
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVIII
Issue 21

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i'll check the history books, but i don't remember slaves getting free school and $3,320 in cash

This is actually far less about slavery and far more about a young man saying something stupid, but that doesn't mean the two aren't connected.

And it also doesn't mean it shouldn't be discussed, again.

In case you missed it this week, University of Florida football player Jalen Tabor compared his "plight" as a collegiate athlete to that of slavery in a since-deleted tweet (of course) that has drawn national attention in the wake of a financial report detailing the SEC's money-haul last year.

Each SEC institution reportedly received $31 million (from the 2014-2015 school year) in TV revenue sharing via the newly-created SEC Network, plus each school's payout from the College Football Playoff.

That prompted Tabor to tweet this:

"The SEC Made 527.4 Million in Total Revenue and Players Ain’t Get A Penny. Modern Form Of Slavery."

Someone's obviously been skipping history class at Florida.

Tabor would later apologize, sort of, for his clown shoes social media commentary, but by then it was too late to sweep under the rug.

That Tabor would link his time at the University of Florida to slavery is a boring, tired commentary that we've all heard before. He's not the first guy (or gal) to say something remarkably stupid about slavery; he's just the latest one to do it.

It might surprise people to know that slaves, in fact, WERE paid in some instances. Yes, cash money, actually. Our general "vision" of slavery is that African Americans were thrust into a situation not of their doing or free will and made to work without compensation. That wasn't true. There were some, in fact, who were paid incredibly low wages -- and made to work long, demanding hours.

It's important to note that I bring up the above point in an effort to simply separate "truth" from "fiction". It should in no way be thought that I'm implying slaves actually "had it better than they let on". They didn't. It was torture.

And, yes, a great number of slaves were "employed" by their masters and received no cash or payment of any kind, other than a place to live and clothing and food for their daily maintenance.

So, the history AND business lesson for Jalen Tabor begins there. And it begins for the thousands of other college athletes who think what they're currently getting in exchange for the education is akin to "slave labor".

Slaves didn't choose to be owned.

They didn't choose where they were going to live and work.

And they most certainly had no say at all in their living conditions or the manner in which they were treated.

In many cases, as the history books have told us, slaves were literally "worked to death" and then merely replaced by someone else.

Jalen Tabor made the decision to attend the University of Florida and play football for the school. He wasn't forced to do it, unless you'd consider the opportunity for a free college diploma and the personal gain and satisfaction that comes from playing in front of 75,000 people three months a year "being forced to do it".

I'm sure a number of schools pursued Tabor, brought trinkets and nice things to his house, and did their utmost to convince him their institution suited him best, both on and off the playing field.

Tabor then made a choice where he was going to play football. He chose Florida. That's literally where any comparison between Jalen Tabor and slavery stops. Checkmate.

more on the Jalen Tabor story below

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In looking at his tweet and the social commentary it was meant to offer, Tabor's point, of course, isn't actually about all the hard work that goes into being a college football player at the D-1 level. It very much is hard work, by the way. Tabor's point isn't so much about being mistreated, either, because he and the rest of the players at Florida aren't being mistreated. They get a monthly stipend of $3,320, they live in off-campus apartments funded by the school, their meal card gets them 24/7 access to food in a special athletic commissary and they don't fork over $29,000 per-year for their education.

That simply doesn't equate, in any way, to "being mistreated".

Slaves? Now, yes, THEY were mistreated.

Tabor's point was that he -- and others, I assume -- deserve more. He made it a point in his tweet to mention the SEC made $527 million in total revenue ("and players ain't get a penny of it"). He wants a piece of that action. Or, a bigger piece than he already gets.

Because he's a football player and not someone who runs a company, he forgets that the SEC bringing in $527 million doesn't mean the SEC made $527 million in profit. They didn't. Tabor doesn't bother with those facts, not because he's trying to shy away from them, but more because he went for the jugular and connected the conference's cash haul with the fact "(he) ain't get a penny".

I don't know what the SEC's profit was in 2014-2015 and I'm quite certain it was large ("staggering" might be a better word than "large") but just like we don't all know the ins and outs and perks of Tabor's "deal" at Florida, we don't know every expense line associated with running the SEC as a company, which it very much is, of course.

We're living in strange times these days. We have young, liberal thinkers running around the country appearing on TV news shows claiming that their college education should be free and funded by the government (yeah, because its swimming in money these days) or that their college loan(s) should simply be forgiven because they're unable to find a satisfactory job to help repay said loan. Everyone forgets the choices they made along the way and just wants a quick, easy resolution to their problems.

Jalen Tabor asserts that he should be getting more for what he's doing on the football field at the University of Florida.

He's probably right, by the way. He likely should be getting more. How much more is the chief argument in the whole thing, but Tabor's not wrong to think -- and say -- "I deserve a bigger piece of the pie."

What the NCAA should do is something along the lines of what I've been suggesting for years. It's simple. Treat your "revenue generating" college sports programs just like a business. After all, that's what it is, anyway. Treat the young men and women who make money for the school as "employees" and not "students".

Here's an easy solution: If Jalen Tabor decides to play football at the University of Florida, he's on the hook for four years of tuition at $29,000, just like the rest of the great unwashed who go there to study economics, business, computers or communications. The "free ride" is over...for everyone.

Now, unlike the Mass Comm major or the kid studying finance at Florida, Tabor would receive a significant "salary" in exchange for playing football at Florida. How that's computed and adjusted is based mainly on the revenue football brings in, which is to suggest, obviously, that a football player at Florida would be "worth more", than say, the starting guard on the women's basketball team.

I'm sure that pesky Title IX issue would eventually come into play, too, which would give Tabor and those of his ilk another lesson in how college athletics works these days. But we'll get to that down the road...

Doing something this drastic would require the schools and conferences to "open their books", which is probably something they wouldn't want to do and would likely fight in court. It wouldn't be an easy solution to the problem, but it might be easier than the current system we have in place.

A free four-year education (or one at a reduced cost, in some cases) for scholarship athletes, coupled with free housing, free food, and a monthly allowance -- for lots of reasons, it's evidently not good enough.

And then these entitled college athletes who choose where they go to school in the first place come along and complain about it. And no one calls them out on it. It's similar to the way you and I bark every day at the same red light that takes too long to change at Perring Parkway and Putty Hill Avenue. Here's a thought: Take a different route if you don't like the one you chose.

I've said for a long time there's a solution for these kids who think they're getting a raw deal by playing college sports and not getting paid for it. Just let them all pay for their education and then, in turn, sign them to a "contract" that permits the school to pay them just like they pay a professor, a custodian or -- gasp -- a coach.

Someone far smarter than me should be able to figure out a reasonable way to put that whole thing together.

Yes, of course I realize what kind of pandora's box that would open. The rich schools in the elite power conferences would scarf up all the really good players. Bidding wars would begin. Kids would literally be out there "cutting their best deal".

News flash: That already happens now.

Let's not be naive. College sports IS big business now, in 2016, and that goes for the conferences, the schools and the kids themselves. Everyone is cutting deals, some that are above board and some that violate NCAA rules.

But to get the likes of Jalen Tabor to fully grasp the concept of "free enterprise" -- which is clearly what he's looking for -- why not just give it to them? There's your teaching moment, and the young man (or woman) hasn't even stepped foot in school.

"Sure, Jalen, we'd love to have you play football here for us at the University of Oklahoma. The out-of-state-tuition here is $39,350. We'll take a registered check for that. Make sure you bring it by the finance office before school starts on August 24th."

By the way, that's PRECISELY how they do it at the Division III level. They give academic money to deserving students, sure, but every athlete pays the freight just like they would if they weren't playing golf, tennis, football, soccer, etc.

Tabor's effort to link slavery with his "tough life" in Gainesville was clearly the wrong approach, but his message wasn't that misguided. He wants a piece of the business-pie, so to speak. I say give it to him.

I say we're all smart enough to somehow figure out a way to bring a college athlete into the fold and make them start learning about "real life" right away.

It has nothing at all to do with slavery or history, even.

It's just business.

And as I mentioned the opening sentence, this whole thing has far less to do with slavery and a lot more about a kid saying something stupid.

If only they would pay attention in class, they might understand it all a little bit better.

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umbc hosts hartford tonight in key conference battle

The UMBC Retrievers men's basketball team will try to bounce back from a tough overtime home loss when they take on the Hartford Hawks tonight, January 21, at the RAC Arena.. Tip-off time for the America East Conference contest is slated for 7:00 p.m.

Live stats will be available via www.umbcretrievers.com and fans can also follow via the men's basketball program's Twitter feed (UMBC_MBB). Access of live stats and video is also available via UMBC Front Row, UMBC Athletics' mobile website.

The Retrievers haven't played since last Saturday when they dropped a heartbreaking overtime loss to UMass Lowell. UMBC sophomore guard Jairus Lyles poured in 29 points in that game, but UMBC (5-14 overall, 1-3 America East) missed all eight field goal attempts in overtime and fell, 95-89.

UMBC freshman wing Joe Sherburne sent last Saturday's game into overtime by burying a 3-pointer just before the horn. But the visiting River Hawks scored on the first possession of overtime and never trailed in the final 4:38 of the contest. Lyles (25.5 ppg) has debuted with a flourish, scoring 204 points in his first eight contests. He has scored 24 or more points in all but one of his outings and the Retrievers are averaging 80.1 points per game during Lyles' brief tenure.

In his return after missing the 2014-15 season due to injury, red-shirt sophomore guard Rodney Elliott is averaging 14.1 points per game after scoring a season-high 24 points vs. UML. Sherburne has scored in double figures in 15 of his first 19 intercollegiate games and averages 12.9 points per contest. Sherburne's 47 treys lead UMBC and he is already has sunk the seventh-most by a Retriever freshman in school history. Junior forward Will Darley is the fourth Retriever in double figures at 11.5 points per contest.

Hartford (6-13, 1-3 AE) has dropped five of its last six, but half of the Hawks' wins have occurred on the road. On Thursday, UH matched up at home with Stony Brook and the visiting Seawolves cruised to a 77-43 victory. Red-shirt junior guard Evan Cooper came off the bench to lead UH with 10 points, but SBU held Hartford to 29.4 percent shooting in the game.

Red-shirt junior guard Pancake Thomas leads the Hawks at 15.6 points and 6.4 caroms per outing. Freshman, George Blagojevic contributes 11.2 points per game The Hawks have converted 41 more treys than their foes and five Hawks average more than one trey made per game. UH struggles on the glass, with a -11.3 rebound margin, but leads the America East with a +2.6 turnover margin.

Hartford claimed a pair of nail-biters versus UMBC last season, winning, 65-63, at the RAC Arena in February and outlasting UMBC, 55-52, in West Hartford a month later. With the sweep and three consecutive wins overall, UH grabbed a 14-12 overall lead in the series. UMBC has won seven of the 12 contests played at the RAC Arena.

Following tonight's home game with Hartford, the Retrievers play their next two on the road, starting with a 1:00 p.m. Sunday contest at Vermont.

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if you've never seen the palestra in person...join us on feb. 20

This trip, I'll admit, is close to my heart.

We're going to "The Cathedral of College Basketball" on February 20, otherwise known as "The Palestra" -- on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. What's there, you ask? Only the greatest college basketball venue on the east coast, that's what. And it's 90 minutes away. Penn will be taking on Yale that night (7 pm) and #DMD is packing a bus full of people to take it all in. Best of all, we're just about as close to courtside as you can get, just a few rows up from the floor, packed in there on a Saturday night to witness not only a game, but to experience the building that still, today, is on every high school and college basketball player's personal "bucket list". If you play in The Palestra, you've made it.

X
You have to see a game in there at least once: The Palestra on the campus of UPenn.

Officially, here's The Palestra:

The Palestra, often called the Cathedral of College Basketball, is a historic arena and the home gym of the University of Pennsylvania Quakers men's and women's basketball teams, volleyball teams, wrestling team, and Philadelphia Big 5 basketball. Located at 235 South 33rd St. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, near Franklin Field in the University City section of Philadelphia, it opened on January 1, 1927. The Palestra has been called "the most important building in the history of college basketball" and "changed the entire history of the sport for which it was built."

The arena originally seated about 10,000, but now seats 8,722 for basketball. The Palestra is famed for its close-to-the-court seating with the bleachers ending at the floor with no barrier to separate the fans from the game.

Since its inception, the Palestra has hosted more games, more visiting teams, and more NCAA tournaments than any other facility in college basketball.

I've been to The Palestra twice. If you haven't yet been, make this trip with us. I promise, you'll leave the building with goosebumps.

We're doing the whole trip for $69 per-person. Here's what you get: Round-trip motor coach transportation from Towson to Philadelphia. A delicious Palmisano's sub and other snacks, along with beer, soft drinks and water on the ride up to Philadelphia. A lower level, near-courtside seat for the Penn-Yale game. And a commemorative, limited-edition "I saw The Palestra!" tee-shirt.

All of that for $69 per-person. I was only able to get 30 tickets, so at this point, that's all we're taking. I'm working on more tickets in the event demand warrants it, but if you want to be one of the first 30 to get on the bus and go to Philly, we'd love to have you.

Just click right here to reach The Palestra page, make your payment and secure your spot on the trip.

Wednesday
January 20
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVIII
Issue 20

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i'll go ahead and say it (and regret it later) -- this might be the year for the capitals

I've waited long enough.

The Capitals have enjoyed good starts to their season before and have "looked the part" a bunch of other times over the last decade.

But they've never looked as good as they look right now.

So, it's with great reluctance and, I'm quite sure, future regret, that I pronounce the Caps capable -- and I mean, FULLY CAPABLE -- of winning the Stanley Cup this season.

Last night's 6-3 win in Columbus (a longtime Caps nemesis for some weird reason) pushed the Capitals to a 35-8-3 record and a league-best 73 points. By NHL standards, losing just eight games in regulation in 46 total starts is damn near amazing. Washington leads the league in points by five over the Blackhawks of the Western Conference.

(By the way, I should take this opportunity -- since we're talking hockey -- to mention that the worst franchise in all of sports lost last night at home. The Philadelphia Flyers were 3-2 LOSERS (yes, losers is in all caps for a reason) to the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday evening up in Philly. All is well with the world. Now...back to discussing a WINNING team.)

OK, so the Caps are kicking ass and chewing bubblegum thus far in the '15-16 season. But why? What's different than previous years?

I'm glad you asked.

First, Alex Ovechkin is having a monster year, which is normal for him, but it's a different monster year. In the infancy of his career, Ovie just skated around trying to collect goals and points, without much worry about how the rest of the players were functioning.

He then morphed into a physical, rough-and-tumble player who could still score goals and do damage offensively, but also looked to inflict a little physical pain on opposing players from time to time.

That seemingly stopped for a couple of years after a suspension due to a bad hit in a game against the Blackhawks and then-coach Bruce Boudreau told "The Great Eight" to cool his jets a little and start worrying more about scoring and less about hitting people.

But, let's be clear on something, no matter the year, no matter the coach, no matter the team's record, Ovechkin has piled up big year after big year over his 11-season career in DC.

This season, though, is different. It could be that Washington's off-season additions of Justin Williams (16 goals) and T.J. Oshie (15) are paying off in spades and taking some of the nightly heat off of Ovie. The emergence of fellow Russian Evgeny Kuznetsov (team high 48 points) has to be factored in as well, as it's starting to look like the Caps might have a "young Ovechkin" right there in their own locker room. He's not as powerful as Ovie, but probably a better handler of the puck and certainly a better passer than Ovechkin.

Put all of that offensive authority together and combine it with a solid defense and a career-year from Braden Holtby, and it's reasonable to think the Caps might actually skate around with the Stanley Cup next June.

Unfortunately, heartbreak likely looms five months from now.

Those of us who have followed the Capitals for a long time (me? I've been watching them since the mid 1970's) know all too well what's in the offing because we've seen it play out a dozen times over the last 40 years.

Washington will cruise to the division title, they'll wrap up the number one seed in the conference and in the league overall, then they'll throw up all over themselves in one of the early playoff rounds. It always goes that way. Well, except for the '97-98 season when they did avoid The Spring Stumble, only to lose to Detroit in the Finals.

And to make matters worse this April or May, the Caps won't just LOSE in the playoffs. They'll LOSE in heartbreaking fashion, like they did a year ago in the second round when they gagged away a 3-games-to-1 lead against the New York Rangers and ended their season with a Game 7 overtime loss at the Garden in New York.

Maybe this is that special team that puts it into overdrive come playoff time and forges ahead, busting through a few rounds before meeting up with Chicago or Dallas or Anaheim in the Finals. I'm starting to think and believe that's actually possible this time around.

But probably not.

Understand this: I'm not being pessimistic or negative to suggest that another one of those playoff give-aways is on the horizon this spring, because any real Caps fan has been conditioned to seeing it unfold right there in front of them.

It's really not that much different than watching the Bengals give that playoff game away to the Steelers two weeks ago. You just knew it was going to happen. Why? Because you've seen the same skit over and over and over. The Bengals always come up short in the post-season. It's just what they do.

The Caps are the Bengals and the Bengals are the Caps. Tough to write, but it's the truth.

Somewhere, though, way back in my brain, I really DO believe this year is different for the Caps. I can just feel it. They look different. They're playing different. They look like a team that can win the whole thing.

Sounds like something the folks in Cincinnati were probably saying in early December when the Bengals were 9-2, right?


a "3140" podcast is available for your listening (and show shoveling) pleasure

At some point this weekend, you'll get the iPod out and put in the earbuds as you get ready for a snow-shoveling marathon. What better way to shovel than to listen to a "3140" podcast from Drew's Morning Dish. Right? Right. So, here it is.

#DMD 3140 Podcast
January 20, 2016
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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!


terps need overtime to beat pesky northwestern

In last night’s rematch against Northwestern, Maryland turned the ball over way too much (16 times, 9 in the first half), rebounded horribly (a 16-3 deficit on the offensive glass), shot poorly (23% from the three point line, 43.8% overall), and survived some questionable late game strategy to somehow come away with a 62-56 overtime win in College Park before a less than capacity crowd at the XFINITY Center.

The Terps were able to prevail on the strength of what was perhaps their best defensive effort of the year and by converting 16 of 19 shots from the foul line. Melo Trimble had a game high 18 points for Maryland, while Robert Carter Jr. was the leading rebounder with 14.

A Terrapin letdown was not all that unexpected considering the weekend blowout-win last Saturday against Ohio State and upcoming big games against Michigan State and Iowa, but to give up 16 offensive rebounds to a Northwestern team that pursued missed shots with more aggression than Maryland was shocking.

Also shocking was the absence of minutes for Diamond Stone, especially at the end of regulation. Perhaps Stone only logged a mere 15 minutes of game time because of his inability to grab even one rebound, but his absence on the court for Maryland’s final possession of regulation was confusing to me.

The strategy employed with the score tied and the Terps looking for a last shot to win the game, was a simple give and go. Give the ball to Trimble, and go away. Trimble dribbled, and dribbled, and dribbled some more, before launching a deep three without ever looking to pass or making a sincere effort to penetrate.

It’s my opinion that Diamond Stone, who was on the bench, should have been inserted and should have been the number one option. He scores frequently when touching the ball in the paint, has fantastic hands, and shoots foul shots very well. A ball in his hands down low is usually money. Turgeon made a big mistake by not using him there, and for that matter not using him more frequently throughout the whole game, but got away with it. With Michael Cekovsky not available due to personal matters, one would think that Stone’s time would increase, not drop.

The Terps fell behind early in last night's game as Northwestern was able to hit a couple of threes and then five consecutive jumpers. Maryland also shot it well, when they were able to get off a shot, but too many possessions ended with turnovers and the Terps found themselves in a 16-9 hole at the 12:33 point of the first half.

They were still down by seven with 8:45 left in the half when a flagrant foul was called on Wildcat forward Sanjay Lumpkin for pushing Robert Carter Jr as he attempted a breakaway dunk. From that point on, Maryland outscored Northwestern 14-5 to take a two point lead into intermission. The halftime numbers would show that Maryland committed 9 turnovers and gave up seven offensive rebounds while only collecting one. They took 21 shots compared to 30 for Northwestern, but the Terps shot a better percentage and outscored the Wildcats 6-1 from the foul line.

Maryland scored the first four points of the second half to grab a six point lead that they would extend to eight on a Trimble layup with 14:34 left in the game. Northwestern responded to their coach’s 30 second timeout by scoring seven consecutive points helped by turnovers from Stone and Jake Layman. It was the beginning of a 16-4 run for Northwestern who very quickly had momentum, hope, and four point lead at 47-43 after a Lumpkin dunk with 5:34 remaining. It would be the last field goal made by them as they missed their final six shots, hit one of two from the foul line, and turned the ball over three times in the final 5:22.

Maryland took a brief lead when Laymen hit a big three point shot from the top of the key with 2:34 left. Those would be the Terps last points in regulation. The half ended with the missed Trimble three where he clearly settled for a less-than-good shot.

Maryland scored first in overtime when Trimble drove the lane, hit the layup, got fouled and converted the foul shot. The Wildcats had a chance to take the lead, but Joey van Zegeren missed the first of two foul shots leaving the game tied at 55 all with 2:16 left in overtime. Diamond Stone then scored the next five Maryland points with an old fashioned three point play and then two more foul shots on the nest Terp possession. His foul shots gave Maryland a 60-56 lead with 31 seconds left. Two foul shots by Robert Carter Jr. with only 14 seconds remaining would finish up the scoring and Maryland had a 62-56 win.

Northwestern was 4-11 shooting threes in the first half, only 1 of 10 in the second. They held an almost unbelievable 66-48 advantage in shots taken for the game but hit only 35%. They were 5-12 from the foul line. Melo Trimble took 10 of Maryland’s 22 shots in the second half. They scored only 17 points in that half, as the team tended to stand around while Melo pounded the ball into the hardwood looking for an open lane to drive or some space to shoot. He was 0-3 shooting three point shots in the half and really did a poor job of getting his teammates involved. Melo also had only one assist in a second half that lacked any flow offensively as the combo of too much Melo and the Northwestern zone troubled Maryland.

Jake Layman was 2-4 from outside the three point line, but 0-3 inside of it. He did grab seven rebounds and his three block, three steal defensive effort was certainly key in the Terp victory.

Next up for Maryland is a trip to East Lansing to face the Michigan State Spartans at 6:30 p.m. this Saturday.

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Drew's Fantasy Golf Guide

Every Wednesday here at #DMD, Drew will provide his top picks for this week's PGA Tour event in his "Fantasy Golf Guide", all brought to you by Glory Days Grill. If you're looking for a place to relax and watch this week's golf tournament, try any of the Baltimore-area Glory Days locations, including Drew's favorite on East Joppa Road in Towson.


The PGA Tour moves to the California desert this weekend as they tee it up at the TPC Stadium Course at PGA West.

When making your fantasy selections this week, think about one thing: Birdies.

It's routinely a birdie-fest at the Stadium Course. This, of course, is where David Duval once shot his 59 and it's where Patrick Reed blew away the field with an amazing 28-under par total to win here a couple of years ago.

I had a decent showing at the Sony Open last week. Four of my six picks made the cut (that's "just OK" actually...) but my pre-tournament winner -- Brandt Snedeker -- nearly won the event, losing in a playoff to Fabian Gomez. I also liked Jimmy Walker last week and he finished T-13.

You'll see a lot of "chalk" this week because it's definitely "horses for courses" at PGA West. You'd be foolish not to take the three "big guns" I'm touting below.

Let's start off with some back-of-the-pack money makers since you'll need to throw in some inexpensive guys within your roster of six. Jamie Lovemark is a long-hitter who should be able to make a bunch of birdies this week. He's coming off of a nice performance at the Sony (T-7) and has made 4 of 6 cuts thus far in the '15-16 campaign.

I really like the golf game of Robert Streb and I'm taking a little bit of a flyer on him as he's not a guy prone to making gobs of birdies, but if the conditions aren't perfect out there for a day or two and scoring goes up, he's a guy who could post 20 or 21 under and get in the hunt.

And I'm a Tony Finau guy until he proves me wrong and misses a bunch of cuts in a row. This should be a perfect week for the big bomber to gobble up those par 5's at PGA West and stay in the thick of things through the weekend.

The next three...you simply can't ignore.

You have to play both Bill Haas and Patrick Reed this week. True, only one of them can win, but they're both going to put up a bunch of red numbers at this course. Haas is the defending champion and Reed owns the tournament scoring record. They're locks.

I'm going with Ryan Palmer to win the tournament, though. He's a true "horse for the course". Palmer is 63-under par at the Stadium Course over the last three years, but just can't get into the winner's circle. That's changing this year. I like Palmer to come out on top in a close battle with Reed and Finau.

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we still have seats left on our caps-flyers bus trip, jan. 27

They're the hottest team in hockey and they're home next Wednesday, January 27 against the Philadelphia Flyers.

And #DMD is heading to the Verizon Center in DC to check it out in person!

X
Giroux vs. Ovechkin on January 27. Join #DMD for our Caps bus trip and Rock The Red!

We do all the heavy lifting for you next Wednesday. We do the driving, in an awesome limo bus provided by our friends at Triangle Limousine. We'll feed you on the way down to DC, supply some ice cold Harpoon beer, soft drinks and water, plus we'll have a cool Caps trivia contest with prizes.

Here are the important details of our trip: Round-trip bus transportation from the Towson area (leaving at 5:30 pm), 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, plus either a LOWER LEVEL TICKET ($175 total trip price) or UPPER LEVEL TICKET ($90 total trip price) to the Caps-Flyers game.

If you're interested in getting seats on the Caps-Flyers bus, e-mail me today: drew@drewsmorningdish.com



do you have springsteen tickets on jan. 29,
but don't want to drive?

There's probably nothing that takes the steam out of going to a concert more than having to drive yourself to the venue. I guess the same can be said for an athletic event, too, particularly if you like to relax and enjoy an adult beverage or two while you're at the game.

With no disrespect intended for the building itself, driving from Baltimore to the Verizon Center can be particularly tension-filled and aggravating, especially if you're driving in something even close to rush hour traffic.

X
Are you going to see The Boss on Jan. 29? We'll drive you there!

So...how many people in Baltimore have tickets to the Bruce Springsteen show on January 29 at the Verizon Center? The event is already sold out, 19,000 tickets gone in a matter of minutes, and my guess is a significant percentage of those 19,000 seats will be occupied by folks from our neck of the woods. And who, in Baltimore, wants to get in their car at 5:00 pm and drive down to DC on a Friday night to see "The Boss"? Obviously, you have to get there somehow if you have tickets...but who REALLY wants to drive down there, pay the tolls, fight the traffic, park your car and so on? Oh, and if you're driving, you can't have that beer or two before, during or after the concert, either.

Introducing -- the "Bruce Bus". We're providing an awesome limo-bus from our friends at Triangle Limousine on January 29 for anyone who has tickets and wants to ride down to the show in DC. Oh, and we'll feed you on the ride down, provide unlimited beer, soft drinks and water, and I'll even throw on a Springsteen DVD to get everyone pumped up for the show. We'll drive, you relax and enjoy yourself. Dinner, drinks and safe travels on us. You just go and enjoy The Boss. No worries about parking, traffic or having a drink or two at the show and then having to navigate your way back to Baltimore.

It's $75 for your seat on our "Bruce Bus", which is really better called "The Bruce Limo-Bus". We'll be leaving the Towson area around 5 pm, which gets us into DC in plenty of time for the show. If you want to reserve a seat or seats on the bus, you MUST e-mail me directly -- drew@drewsmorningdish.com. That's the only way I'm taking reservations.

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Tuesday
January 19
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVIII
Issue 19

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nfl's "pro wrestling look" harder and harder to watch

It's starting to happen every weekend. Literally. Every single weekend, something goofy happens in a NFL game that changes the outcome.

And I'm not necessarily talking about penalties that are or aren't called, either. Everyone bellyaches about this-call-and-that-call, but those things occur in every sport, with great regularity.

In baseball, one umpire likes the low strike, the guy the next night doesn't.

In basketball, that was a foul last night but tonight, this crew lets everything go.

Heck, in hockey, you have to have a wound worthy of stitches to draw a penalty in the playoffs.

So, what's happening in the NFL these days isn't about penalties, per se, although the folks in Cincinnati would disagree with that notion.

Did you see what happened in Arizona last Saturday night? The referee didn't miss a key holding call. He didn't botch an illegal formation penalty. He screwed up the freakin' coin flip in overtime. That's something that would ONLY happen in pro wrestling, right?

Can't you see it now? Ric Flair has to face either Stone Cold Steve Austin or The Undertaker. He has a long history with Stone Cold and is clearly petrified (wink-wink) of Austin, but more than willing to wrestle The Undertaker. Vince McMahon comes out and says, "We'll just flip a coin. Heads you face The Undertaker. Tails you face Austin." He flips the coin. It comes up heads. Flair is all smiles -- right up until McMahon says, "Wait, wait, wait just a second. That coin didn't actually flip. I'm sorry. We have to flip it again."

The next time, of course, it comes up tails and within about three seconds, Austin jumps in the ring, gives Flair "The Stunner" and the cameras fade to black as Flair's body shakes on the mat.

The referee on Saturday night in Arizona tossed the coin in the air and somehow it didn't flip.

I might be wrong on this, because I've never asked her to flip a coin, but I think I could ask my 5-year old daughter to flip a coin and she'd get it right. The first time.

Now, before you say, "They re-flipped it, what's the big deal?", you have to have a halfway-working brain to evaluate the whole concept of a coin flip.

If I call heads the first time, I'm likely calling tails next time. Or, maybe I won't. And that's precisely the point. If we're flipping coins to see who has to go in the haunted house first and I call tails and it lands on its side, stuck in the mud in the front yard, I think I want the opportunity to "re-call" the flip. Why? Just because, that's why. It's a coin flip. It's all luck, anyway.

Oh, and for the record, I'm not 100% sure I believe Aaron Rodgers when he says, "I would have called tails the second time around"...it's easy to say that after it comes up tails, naturally. But that's not REALLY the point here. The point is, every coin flip is its own moment.

Once the first flip got screwed up, Green Bay should have had the option of calling the next toss, too. That's how it works. Alas, it didn't work that way on Saturday night.

Let's also remember that the coin flip in overtime decides a lot. It definitely can mean the difference between winning and losing. Just ask the Packers, or, even, the Patriots, who are playing AT Denver instead of AT New England this Sunday because they botched the decision after they WON the coin toss a few weeks ago in their penultimate game with the Jets.

If you're going to mandate that the flip of a coin means so much to the outcome of a game -- particularly a playoff game -- you simply have to get the friggin' coin flip right. How on earth do you flip the coin and it not actually "flip"?

And I am not saying Green Bay lost the game because of the botched coin flip. They should have stopped Larry Fitzgerald on the second play of overtime. That would have helped their cause a lot. But the coin flip in overtime is a huge element of the game. And the refs got it wrong. I still can't believe it, but they somehow bungled the freakin' toss of a coin.

And speaking of Denver and their spot in the AFC title game this Sunday, what about the Peyton Manning "fake-sake-flop" routine he pulled against the Steelers that turned out to be a huge play in their win over Pittsburgh?

We now find out -- cue the pro wrestling intro music -- that Manning advised Emmanuel Sanders of the stunt in advance of it happening. “I was stepping up," Manning said afterwards. "When you fake that way and kind of get your head around, I felt that guy closing, so I stepped up and kind of leaned forward. My momentum kind of just took me down, I guess. I didn’t think that he had touched me. I told Emmanuel just to kind of be alert in case I fall down, get back up, to be uncovered.”

Huh?

You told your wide receiver beforehand to "be alert" in case you fall down and get back up...

OK, then. You fell down intentionally, faked a sack, got back up, and made a key throw on a scoring drive that ultimately was crucial in your team's playoff win.

That sounds fair.

Oh, wait, no it doesn't. It sounds like something you would do in professional wrestling.

That the refs didn't see somehow have the brains to watch that play and see that Manning took himself out of the play by falling down is beyond me. Yes, yes, yes -- I know all about "playing to the whistle" and all of those other sports cliches. I get it. But the quarterback ended the play by putting himself on the ground.

Or did he?

The officials decided he didn't. Actually, what they decided is there aren't really any rules pertaining to that specific situation, so they just waved off Mike Tomlin's challenge and Manning and the Broncos derived great benefit from a wacky loophole in the rules. One, you'll recall, that changed the course of that drive and, as a result, the game itself.

Two more NFL games, two more outcomes decided, in part, because the refs and the NFL don't have common sense. Or, perhaps they DO have common sense and it's all part of the master plan.

You'd see both of those things in pro wrestling, remember. A botched coin flip -- something so simple as flipping a nickel in the air -- and a guy laying on the mat, knocked out cold, who gets up when the ref and the other guy aren't looking and hits both of them with a steel chair.

Somehow, though, we all keep watching.

The football, that is.

Or is it "somehow, though, we all keep watching -- both"??


We have some #DMD housekeeping to handle this morning and it's the "good news" variety. We're excited to have The Cause Network partnering with #DMD again in 2016 and even more proud to be promoting another of their Baltimore-based charitable organizations for the next 12 months.

There Goes My Hero is an organization dedicated to restoring hope to leukemia patients and their families by increasing registered bone marrow donors, providing nutritious meals to patients undergoing treatment, and supporting blood cancer research. They are affiliated with The Cause Network through a special fund-raising platform that generates funding for their various missions through a website dedicated specifically to them.

If you've been a longtime #DMD reader, you've hopefully seen (and clicked on, for more information) the BARCS ad below that supports the efforts of the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter. Each time you use the BARCS website to shop online, a portion of that purchase goes directly to BARCS through The Cause Network.

The same benefit now includes There Goes My Hero and you can see their web platform by clicking on the "Hero" ad on the right side of the #DMD main page. Each time you visit that page and shop on-line at one of their approved vendors, a portion of that purchase goes directly to There Goes My Hero. Nearly every single one of us now does on-line shopping of some sort during the year. Both BARCS and There Goes My Hero give you the opportunity to help support their great efforts simply by doing your web-based shopping through them.

Drew's Morning Dish is also excited announce a new partnership with Triangle Limousine, a Harford County-based company providing a variety of limousine and stylish vehicle options for your next wedding, prom, dance or corporate outing.

We'll be using Triangle Limousine in the next few months as part of our on-going effort to give our corporate partners an "upscale" experience and I urge you to consider Triangle for your special event in the future. As I always remind everyone, there isn't a corporate partner on #DMD that I wouldn't personally vouch for...and Triangle is no different. I've known the people involved with Triangle for nearly a decade now, and you can use their services with the comfort of knowing the job will get done right and you'll be happy with the service they provide at a reasonable, fair price.

You can reach Triangle Limousines at 410-877-0215. Ask for Mark Chapman when you call and please let him know you're a #DMD reader.

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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!


Just seventeen days ago when they met Northwestern, the Maryland Terrapins stormed out to a twenty point halftime lead and coasted to a 72-59 win at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston Illinois. The same two teams match up tonight, this time at the XFINITY Center for an 8 p.m. contest on what will be a chilly night in College Park. Can either side realistically expect things to go differently this time around?

If you are a Wildcat fan looking for hope, most certainly you would point out that the previous game with Maryland was the third game in just seven days for Northwestern. They were fresh off an 81-72 win at Nebraska on December 30th and then returned home to face the Terps on January 2nd. Yes, their college kids, but fatigue can and does play a role throughout the season.

You might also look to the perfect shooting in the first half by Rasheed Sulaimon and Diamond Stone, who combined to go 9-for-9 from the field with Sulaimon also hitting all three of his three point attempts. You'd probably be right to think that those players won’t do that again tonight.

Furthermore, Northwestern (normally a very solid ball handling team) committed eight turnovers in the first half against only one for the normally turnover-prone Terps. Adding even more fuel to the “I think I can” fire for the Wildcats is this: After knocking down 10 triples in 23 attempts against Nebraska, they only connected on one of eight 3-point tries in the first half against Maryland. Surely the Wildcats are going to shoot better than that this time around, right?

Lastly, Northwestern managed to outscore the Terps by seven in the second half despite hitting just one of their twelve threes. Maryland hit 11 threes in that game and Northwestern also had the second half offensive rebound lead, 8-2. If you normalize all of those “anomalies”, perhaps we get a much different result this time around. That makes perfect sense, right? Well, not so fast.

Not everything went right for the Terps that night, either. While Maryland did hit five first half three-point shots while building a big first half lead, those buckets came off of a whopping sixteen tries for a not-too-impressive 31%. Surely they can improve on that. Also in the first half, the Terps went to the foul line just three times and hit only one. They also endured a subpar half from Melo Trimble, who connected on just one of his seven shots.

Finally, while Northwestern did trim the Terps 20-point halftime lead into a 13-point final deficit, the Terp lead was 21 with 5:07 remaining in the game before a late 13-5 run by Northwestern provided the final 13-point margin. So, looking back, there surely are areas where the Terps can expect to improve and in doing so crush any upset hopes the visiting Wildcats may have tonight.

All that said, I do expect some things to be different this evening, and they mostly point towards a much tighter game. The 8-1 turnover differential that Maryland enjoyed in the first half of the earlier match-up will not happen again. That means fewer chances for Maryland and more shots taken by Northwestern. Because of that, Maryland won’t enjoy the 34-25 advantage in first half shots taken and won’t go up 20 early in the game.

Northwestern shouldn’t struggle as badly shooting threes, but that may be offset by Maryland getting to the foul line more frequently. I’d look for the Terps to play a better second half this time around, mostly because they will have to do that in what is likely a closer game, margin-wise.

A wildcard for the Wildcats is the return of their 7’0” 275 pound center, Alex Olah. Now healed from from a foot injury, he played seven minutes in Northwestern’s game on Saturday and could provide some interior defense that the Wildcats are sorely lacking. He was averaging almost 13 points and 6.5 rebounds per game as a starter before being sidelined almost a month ago.

The early line has the Terps anywhere from a 12 to 13 point favorites. While I think that any team shooting 64% from the foul line, as Northwestern does, (last in the Big 10) can’t possibly come to College Park and pull off a big road upset against this Terp team, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see a ten point Maryland victory. I’ll go with a 74-64 win for Mark Turgeon's team in a game that’s sandwiched between the emotional Ohio State game and a road test at Michigan State followed by a home game versus Iowa.


curry, warriors crush lebron and the cavs in title series rematch

When Golden State and Cleveland met on Christmas Day in the much-anticipated "Curry vs. LeBron" rematch of last summer's NBA title series, it was the Warriors who pulled off the win, but it was an 89-83 game that went down to the last minute or so.

It didn't go down to the final minute last night in Cleveland.

Golden State led by 37 points after three quarters and cruised to a 132-98 win over the Cavaliers in Cleveland, improving the Warriors' record to 38-4 and rebounding nicely after losing at Detroit on Saturday night.

If last night's effort in Cleveland was Golden State's attempt to send a message...well...consider that message sent.

Steph Curry scored 35 points -- all in the first three quarters before Golden State interim coach Luke Walton called off the dogs -- and the pre-game friction surrounding a comment Curry made about last year's championship won in Cleveland quickly disappeared when the Warriors pulled out to a 26-point halftime lead.

"I wonder if the locker room will still smell like champagne?" Curry playfully asked on Monday after a practice in Cleveland. That comment wasn't taken well by the Cavaliers, who bristled at the "disrespect" Curry showed them by mentioning last June's championship-clincing win in their arena.

As he did last summer and again on Christmas Day, Curry got the better of LeBron, who scored only 16 points against the Warriors on Tuesday night. Curry, meanwhile, was his hot-shooting-self, going 12-for-18 from the floor with seven 3-pointers on the night. The game was so lopsided that Cleveland could only outscore the Warriors by three (31-28) in the 4th quarter with Curry resting on the bench for the entire final twelve minutes of the game.

We're heading to the Verizon Center on Wednesday, February 3 (8 pm) to see the Warriors and the Wizards in Golden State's only visit of the season to DC. If you're interested in joining us on our bus trip, we have a limited number of spots available, although the in-game buffet is no longer part of the package. Game ticket, bus ride and drinks and snacks on the trip to DC are included. If you're interested in going to the game with us, please e-mail Drew at: drew@drewsmorningdish.com.

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we still have seats left on our caps-flyers bus trip, jan. 27

They're the hottest team in hockey and they're home next Wednesday, January 27 against the Philadelphia Flyers.

And #DMD is heading to the Verizon Center in DC to check it out in person!

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Giroux vs. Ovechkin on January 27. Join #DMD for our Caps bus trip and Rock The Red!

We do all the heavy lifting for you next Wednesday. We do the driving, in an awesome limo bus provided by our friends at Triangle Limousine. We'll feed you on the way down to DC, supply some ice cold Harpoon beer, soft drinks and water, plus we'll have a cool Caps trivia contest with prizes.

Here are the important details of our trip: Round-trip bus transportation from the Towson area (leaving at 5:30 pm), 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, plus either a LOWER LEVEL TICKET ($175 total trip price) or UPPER LEVEL TICKET ($90 total trip price) to the Caps-Flyers game.

If you're interested in getting seats on the Caps-Flyers bus, e-mail me today: drew@drewsmorningdish.com



do you have springsteen tickets on jan. 29,
but don't want to drive?

There's probably nothing that takes the steam out of going to a concert more than having to drive yourself to the venue. I guess the same can be said for an athletic event, too, particularly if you like to relax and enjoy an adult beverage or two while you're at the game.

With no disrespect intended for the building itself, driving from Baltimore to the Verizon Center can be particularly tension-filled and aggravating, especially if you're driving in something even close to rush hour traffic.

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Are you going to see The Boss on Jan. 29? We'll drive you there!

So...how many people in Baltimore have tickets to the Bruce Springsteen show on January 29 at the Verizon Center? The event is already sold out, 19,000 tickets gone in a matter of minutes, and my guess is a significant percentage of those 19,000 seats will be occupied by folks from our neck of the woods. And who, in Baltimore, wants to get in their car at 5:00 pm and drive down to DC on a Friday night to see "The Boss"? Obviously, you have to get there somehow if you have tickets...but who REALLY wants to drive down there, pay the tolls, fight the traffic, park your car and so on? Oh, and if you're driving, you can't have that beer or two before, during or after the concert, either.

Introducing -- the "Bruce Bus". We're providing an awesome limo-bus from our friends at Triangle Limousine on January 29 for anyone who has tickets and wants to ride down to the show in DC. Oh, and we'll feed you on the ride down, provide unlimited beer, soft drinks and water, and I'll even throw on a Springsteen DVD to get everyone pumped up for the show. We'll drive, you relax and enjoy yourself. Dinner, drinks and safe travels on us. You just go and enjoy The Boss. No worries about parking, traffic or having a drink or two at the show and then having to navigate your way back to Baltimore.

It's $75 for your seat on our "Bruce Bus", which is really better called "The Bruce Limo-Bus". We'll be leaving the Towson area around 5 pm, which gets us into DC in plenty of time for the show. If you want to reserve a seat or seats on the bus, you MUST e-mail me directly -- drew@drewsmorningdish.com. That's the only way I'm taking reservations.

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Monday
January 18
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVIII
Issue 18

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o's ticket price increase is coming -- but how much is fair?

The ink wasn't dry on the new contract and the Orioles, I'm certain, had already figured out how much of the Chris Davis deal was going to be absorbed by the fan base.

"You wanted him, and you got him, now you have to help pay for him," is what Peter Angelos would say if he were permitted one unfiltered comment free of backlash.

And, in the simplest of terms, the owner would be right. The fan base clearly wanted Davis to return to the fold in 2016. And, now, someone's going to have to ante up the money that was promised him over the next seven years.

How much, though, is fair? What responsibility does the club have to fund its own expenses and what part of a new player deal should the fan base be expected to absorb?

Let's first remember this: Just five seasons ago, the Orioles spent $85 million on player salaries. Yes, that's correct, but you can go ahead and research it for yourself if you don't believe me. In the 2011 campaign, the payroll in Baltimore was $85,304,038.

The club's 2016 salary figure is now expected to reach close to $150 million with Davis due to start hauling in $23 million this season.

That's quite a hefty increase in expenses over what will eventually be a six year period once the 2016 campaign plays out.

There will be people who think the club should bear the brunt of the new Davis deal and the rest of the increased salaries for the likes of Wieters, Trumbo and Machado. "The owner has been stashing away hundreds of millions of dollars through MASN over those six years, let him use some of that money," many will say.

It doesn't quite work that way in Major League Baseball as the owners, rather than coming up with a hard salary cap to control their spending, would rather just penalize one another based on how much any club spends over a certain acceptable threshold. I think that's a dumb way to do it, personally, but that's how it goes in the big leagues. And with that also comes a cleary defined set of rules for how much money a team can take from its regional sports network and the "sharing formula" in place to spread the wealth amongst all 30 clubs.

It's easy to just say "Let MASN pay the $23 million a year for Davis" -- but it simply doesn't work like that.

So, the fans have to pay some of it.

Yes, I know, we're already "paying some of it" by forking over money 12 months a year for MASN programming we rarely watch unless there's a baseball game being aired. But we have to pay in other ways, too. And that's why the ticket price increase is coming.

How much are you willing to contribute to the Chris Davis fund?

That's an honest question.

If you paid $24 per-game for your Orioles season ticket plan last season, are you willing to pay $30 this year? That's more than a 20% hike for you. Is that fair? Would you pay it?

My seats last year were $15 each per-game through a 29-game plan. I'm asking myself that same question these days, preparing for the e-mail and the letter in the mail. A 20% bump would make that ticket $18 this season. Is that reasonable given what the club has done this off-season? I'm thinking about it and wondering...

The math is pretty easy to do and, once it's complete, you can see just how hard it is for the Orioles to push all of the Davis contract on the fan base. The club's average ticket price in 2015 was $24.97 and 2.3 million fans went to the ballpark. Get out your calculator and start figuring it all up. Player payroll a season ago was $115 million. It's going up by $35 million this coming season. If 2.3 million fans attend the games again THIS season, that's roughly an additional $17 per-game each fan would have to spend to fully absorb the $35 million.

That's a lot of absorbing.

Even asking the fans to "just pay for Chris Davis" means each paying customer would be responsible for approximately $5 more per-game in 2016 (since, in theory, they paid part of his $12 million salary a season ago). Is that fair? Are you prepared to pay $5.00 more per-game this season to see Chris Davis play?

I don't know the right answer nor do I know the best formula for computing the ticket price increase. I just know it's on the way.

I guess I'll make my decision on whether I'm renewing my plan once I see the information in front of me. There's more that goes into it all than just deciding if I want to pay more for my tickets, but it eventually does come down to a philosophical position we all take with regard to helping fund someone else's enterprise.

How responsible am I -- the consumer -- for the expenses of your business model?

The Orioles will show us the answer to that question fairly soon.

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put your money where your mouth is -- playoff style

I finally suffered a post-season loss yesterday, as the Seahawks failed to beat Carolina, but the Denver win over Pittsburgh moved me to 7-1 thus far in picking outright winners over the last two weekends.

Against the spread, I went 1-1 on Sunday (thanks to that half-point hook in the Denver-Pittsburgh game) and 2-0 on Saturday, bringing my playoff mark to 5-3. Overall for the season, I'm now 45-46-2, so that elusive .500 mark for the season as a whole is still very much alive. That said, I don't have much room for error any longer. There are only three games remaining in the season.

I'm not all that excited about the New England-Denver game next Sunday because I think it's a foregone conclusion that Tom Brady and Company are going back to the Super Bowl. I am, however, very much looking forward to the NFC title game, as it's one of those "you're a winner no matter what" kind of games. I'd be happy as heck for Carson Palmer if he finally gets to a Super Bowl, but surely wouldn't mind seeing Cam Newton get there, either.

By the way, speaking of that half-point hook in Sunday's game at Denver. How sick must you have been if you had Denver and gave up 7.5 points? After the Broncos kicked a late field goal to extend their lead to 23-13, all you needed was a stop from the Denver defense and you were a winner. Instead, the Broncos allowed the Steelers to venture the length of the field and kick a fairly-meaningless field goal with twenty seconds left in the game that tucked Mike Tomlin's just inside that 7.5 point spread at 23-16. Holy canoli...


here's how i fared for you in "fantasy golf" last week

OK, so anyone can just pick a bunch of players on Wednesday, post it for everyone to see, then never bring it up again. I won't do that.

Every Wednesday here at #DMD, I make my six fantasy golf picks for the week in an effort to help those of you who are fantasy golf enthusiasts.

Here's last Wednesday's picks and the quick commentary I offered on each one, plus a review of their performance.

I like a couple of promising young players who had quality 2015 seasons to shine at Waialae CC and factor in the Sunday chase for the title. Let's go with Tony Finau and Harris English, both of whom were cut-making-machines last year. Finau made 22 of 31 cuts and had a whopping 16 finishes in the Top 25. English is the better of the two, overall, with 24 of 28 cuts made last season and a remarkable record since turning pro in 2012: he's made 90 cuts in 114 PGA Tour events in the last four plus seasons on TOUR.

Jimmy Walker is a solid, safe pick this week. He routinely plays well on the West Coast and early in the season in general, plus he won the event at Waialae CC in 2014 and 2015. It's awfully hard to win anywhere three years in a row, but Walker figures to be right there this Sunday afternoon. You'd be foolish to ignore his track record at the course. I'm also throwing in Russell Henley and Justin Thomas this week in Hawaii. This is just the type of tournament one of those guys wins. They're each solid ball strikers and birdie-makers when their putter cooperates and they'll need to average 5-6 birdies a day at this venue to keep up with everyone.

I'm going with Brandt Snedeker to win this week's TOUR event at Waialae. He played well at Kapalua last week (T-3 with Koepka) and has a history of high finishes early in the season, plus he's typically a player who gets hot for a week, extends that streak for a couple of more weeks, and then goes away for a while. Coming off of his outstanding play at The Plantation Course a week ago, I'll go with Snedeker to triumph at the Sony Open.


Here's how everyone fared: First off, I nearly had the winner outright, as Snedeker finished at 20-under par and tied for first before losing in a playoff to Fabian Gomez. So, if you listened to me and you played Snedeker, you're happy with that selection.

Weekend rounds of 65-66 vaulted Jimmy Walker to a T-13. You did well with that one, too, if you followed my advice.

Harris English (T-56) and Tony Finau (T-64) both got off to promising starts but fizzled on the weekend. Still, they made the cut and got you some points in all four rounds.

But that's where the good news ends. Russell Henley and Justin Thomas both spent the weekend on the beach somewhere in Hawaii after each failed to make the cut.

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"the boss" honored david bowie on saturday night

The opening night of Bruce Springsteen's new U.S. tour featured one of the more memorable things we've seen "The Boss" do in a long time. He entertained the 19,000 on hand in Pittsburgh with 3-hour, 30-song show, including an awesome rendition of David Bowie's song Rebel, Rebel. I thought you might enjoy it, so here it is:

#DMD HDTV


my new wine winner is available
at the wine merchant

When you're looking for a good bottle of wine, there are times to be adventurous and times to simply pick a good, reliable bottle. People who enjoy wine generally fit into one of those two categories; you're either someone who bounces around and tries a variety of wines or you're someone who goes "tried and true" a lot. I'm in the latter category, for sure.

And that's why this week's featured wine at The Wine Merchant is from Josh Cellars. You'll just never go wrong.

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10741 Falls Road, Lutherville, MD 21093

For starters, the Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon that is this week's "Wine Winner" at The Wine Merchant in Lutherville is easy on the wallet. It's a $15 bottle of wine, which just about always fits everyone's budget. It's an easy bottle, too, meaning it's not going to clash with your food choice in almost every circumstance, and is especially great with simple things like burgers, chicken and a casual Saturday evening meal where you're just looking to have a good wine accompany a good, quiet meal. It's not explosive, so don't think you're all going to sit around the table and say, "Holy cow!!! This wine is unreal!". It's just not that type of wine. Instead, when you're cleaning the dishes and you take that last drink from the glass, you'll say, "You know what, that was a nice bottle of wine for the price."

Here's what the people who know far more about wine than I do say about it: "Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon has aromas of rich, dark fruits and baking spices on the nose, which yield fresh plum and blackberry fruit, violet, dried fig, vanilla bean and Chinese Five-Spice. The wine is juicy with plum and blackberry flavors prominent, layered with smoky and sappy maple wood, roasted almonds and hazelnuts that finishes long with fine, firm tannins."

And it might also be important to know a little about Joseph Carr, the guy who started Josh Cellars. It's an interesting story and will tell you a lot about why his wines are so good.

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Available at The Wine Merchant in Lutherville, this bottle of Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon is perfect for just about any occasion.

Joseph Carr was an award winning Sommelier and international wine industry executive who set out on his own in 2005 and founded Joseph Carr Winery in Carneros, California. It was, as Mr. Carr says, a chance to follow a dream. "We're a family owned company dedicated to making world class, handcrafted wines. We work with small growers, coopers and winemakers producing elegant, sophisticated, yet approachable wines from Napa Valley, Carneros, and the North Coast of California."

Joseph Carr now works with well known wine maker Tom Larson to produce his second label, named "Josh Cellars."

"After we're done producing our portfolio of Joseph Carr wines, we like to sit around "the garage" we call a wine cellar, and tinker with a few things. Growers we call friends come by and lend a hand. We laugh, tell stories and produce a winemaker's wine that we make just for ourselves; handcrafted wines that we jokingly refer to as a "vin de garage." These wines are named after my father, as they are expressive, but unassuming and approachable – just like him."

Head into The Wine Merchant on Falls Road and Lutherville and ask for the Josh Cellars Cabernet. You'll see my "Wine Winner" card right there on the box, telling you it's this week's wine of choice at #DMD.

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Sunday
January 17
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVIII
Issue 17

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davis re-signs and yet we're
still not satisfied

Maybe this is what happens in New York or Boston when they pony up big bucks for a player.

On the outside-looking-in for so long, I just kind of assumed the Yankees and Red Sox fan bases just whooped it up for a few days after a marquee signing, then politely opened up their checkbooks and helped their club pay for its newest major investment.

But who knows? Maybe what we're seeing in Baltimore in the aftermath of the re-signing of Chris Davis is how it goes elsewhere.

Saturday was a wild day for Charm City sports fans, as the local baseball team entered completely new territory by forking over $161 million to Davis, although it will take the club the better part of 22 years to pay it to him. For a franchise that hadn't once paid a player $100 million over the life of a contract, $161 million is quite the leap of faith.

The news of the Davis deal splattered across social media around 8:00 AM on Saturday and it immediately started an avalanche of positive and negative feedback for the Orioles. There were lots of folks who were happy to have Davis return no matter the money spent to keep him here, but a surprisingly large number of people were simply not happy about it.

I'll start this by giving my official position on the whole thing. I'm thrilled the team spent money on a quality baseball player. They owe that to the fan base, particularly those who stuck with the franchise through the "Decade of Despair" in the early 2000's when they had no real interest at all in competing with the likes of New York and Boston in the A.L. East. The Davis re-signing is a long-awaited triumph of sorts for the people who have supported the team without much, if any, reciprocation of goodwill from the ownership group.

I'm happy they've brought Davis back, too. I think he's a quality player. I'm not overwhelmed with him, but I think we could do a whole lot worse (and have) than him.

All that said, I think Davis is going to have a very difficult time living up to the standards of a $23 million per-year baseball player. I just don't think he's cut out for the type of evaluation that comes with the sort of deal he signed yesterday. My short summary: I don't think Chris Davis is a $23 million per-year player, but there's really not that much difference between an $18 million guy and a $23 million guy. One just makes a little more money than the other, that's all.

And that's my broad brush reaction to the deal.

I understand that people see the $161 million barrel of cash that was wheeled to the first baseman and say, "They should have spent that on Gordon, Span and Kazmir!". Maybe. You'd have to think those three guys grouped together would outperform Davis. But maybe Dan Duquette didn't want Alex Gordon. Maybe they weren't that interested in Denard Span. It's one thing for fans to create fantasyland trade deals and produce their own free-agent-wish-list, but Duquette runs the team and he might see the game differently than you, me, and your Twitter followers.

I saw lots of folks reveling in the signing yesterday and using that opportunity to poke at Davis and Scott Boras for "giving in". I might look at it the other way, frankly. Boras, like he always seems to be able to do, eventually weaseled his way past the general manager's desk and into the office of the owner, where he was able to negotiate directly with Peter Angelos. That was the winning stroke. Duquette and the baseball nerds at the Warehouse might have previously convinced Angelos that Davis was an $18 million player and not a penny more. That was all well and good until Boras was able to get with Angelos privately and then, perhaps, the numbers started to change.

A month ago, remember, the Orioles made Davis a $154 million offer and then pulled it off the table the next day. Somehow, Boras was able to scratch another $7 million from the club, not a huge windfall by today's contract standards, but $7 million is $7 million. Sure, a lot of the money is deferred over 22 years and the O's didn't budge on their demand for no opt-out clause in the deal, but what once was a rumored 7-year/$154 million deal turned into a $7-year/$161 million deal when it was wrapped up with a bow on top.

I don't know it to be true that Boras "won" the negotiations once he was able to sit one-on-one with Angelos, but that was likely the winning putt right there. It created the picture in Peter's mind that "the big boys are negotiating now" and also gave him some leverage down the road to say, "I delivered the baseball fans of Baltimore a player they truly wanted in Chris Davis."

Baltimore, meanwhile, continues to fight and scratch over the Davis re-signing. Some folks are happy, some are mad, some think we burned Boras and others think he burned us. Maybe this is what they did in New York back in 2008 when they spent $400 million on Sabathia, Teixeira and Burnett. Hell, maybe Red Sox fans were outraged in December when Davis Price signed a $217 million contract to pitch in Boston over the next seven years.

So, I'm guessing that like nearly all of these "Brinks truck" contracts, the Orioles will likely NOT get their money's worth when the dust settles on the deal seven years from now.

I pre-supposed everyone would be doing dancing like Kevin Bacon in Footloose if it ever came to pass that the Orioles were able to keep Davis in Baltimore. It never really dawned on me that there would such an outcry against the deal getting done. As I noted above, I'm not sure I would have given him $161 million but that doesn't mean I don't want him on the team, either. I just don't think he's a $23 million per-year baseball player.

There's more to come on this over the next few days, I'm sure, as we learn more about how it all happened and, of course, how much the fans are going to have to contribute to that $161 million investment. The inevitable ticket-price-increase is coming soon and it's my guess the organization has already internally mapped out a series of price increases over the next 3-5 years to help offset what is obviously the largest financial decision they've made -- player wise -- since the current ownership group took over more than decades ago.

I also believe this is Peter Angelos' parting gift to the city of Baltimore and it wouldn't surprise me if he markets it as such if we ever get to hear him speak on the subject. "The people wanted Chris Davis in Baltimore and I delivered that to them," is what he'll likely say.

And that's a true statement.

Angelos listened to the fan base and delivered them the player they wanted most.

I'm just surprised more people aren't thankful for it.

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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!


did turgeon, terps run up the score on ohio state?

Call it even. Maryland turned the tables yesterday as they ran the Buckeyes out of the XFINITY Center for a 100-65 blowout win before a packed and boisterous crowd and in doing so avenged a 24-point loss from last January at Ohio State.

The Terps used superior shooting, especially from behind the three point line (11-22) and were led by Rasheed Sulaimon (9-10, 4-5, 22pts) and Robert Carter Jr (10-13, 4-4, 25pts) to dominate both halves. Ohio State’s leading scorer, Marc Loving, was held to 3 points on 1-8 shooting.

After allowing 11 points in the first 4:08 of the game, the Terps got stingy on defense and surrendered just 19 points during the remaining 15:52 of the half. Meanwhile, the Maryland shots were constantly finding the bottom of the net and most of those were coming from Carter Jr, who poured in 15 points in the first half and scored 10 of Maryland’s first 13 overall.

After falling behind by three points, a Sulaimon triple tied the game (11-11) at the 15:39 mark and Maryland never was challenged again. Balanced Terp scoring had them leading by ten with 7:22 remaining and Ohio State began to look like a team that might fold. In a similar fashion to their game against Indiana, the Buckeyes did just that...they folded. Sulaimon finished off the half by scoring 8 points in a little over two minutes and when the halftime horn sounded, Maryland had a commanding 48-30 lead and only needed to coast to the finish line. But that’s not what Coach Mark Turgeon had in mind for his troops.

Maryland came out firing in the second half and their lead soared from 18 to 24 in a little over two minutes. Things would only get worse for Ohio State, who shot 8-27 in the final twenty minutes. A jumper by Melo Trimble at the 15:21 mark pushed the lead to 30 and Maryland was still playing hard. Sulaimon continued to pick up full court and Turgeon had only made one substitution, replacing Carter Jr with Damonte Dodd. It seemed like the Terp skipper was clearly making a statement.

The lead grew to 41 when Sulaimon hit another 3 pointer with 10:40 left. At that point, it appeared the dogs were called off and things got a bit sloppy. The Buckeyes scored seven straight at one point very late in the game, and the final margin was 35, 100-65.

Maryland clearly had their best offensive game of the year, shooting 62.7% overall and 52% from the three point line. Contrast that with 37.3% and 25% shooting for Ohio State and it’s easy to see why the score was so lopsided. Rebounds and turnovers were almost dead even between the two teams. The Terps shared the ball well and that was reflected by their 23 assists (9 by Trimble). Of course, the assist numbers are greatly helped when the person receiving the pass continually knocks down the open shot.

Trimble and Sulaimon, who both looked tired in the Michigan loss, played only 27 and 26 minutes respectively after logging big minutes in the last two tough Terp contests (Trimble did sit for 10 minutes with foul trouble against the Wolverines). Diamond Stone continued to impress with 15 points (5-8, 5-6 from the foul line) and a team high 6 rebounds.

Maryland next plays on Tuesday night, 8 p.m. at the XFINITY Center against a Northwestern team they defeated 72-59 only two weeks ago.


lyles pours in 29 but umbc loses overtime heartbreaker at home

UMBC sophomore guard Jairus Lyles poured in 29 points, but the Retrievers missed all eight field goal attempts in overtime and fell, 95-89, in extra time to visiting UMass Lowell on Saturday afternoon at the RAC. Lyles scored just four points in the first half, but reeled off 25 in the second half as the Retrievers opened up a 10-point lead at one point before the River Hawks went ahead late.

UMBC freshman wing Joe Sherburne sent the game into overtime by burying a 3-pointer just before the horn. But the visiting River Hawks (6-11, 2-2) scored on the first possession of overtime and never trailed in the final 4:38 of the contest. Lyles only took a pair of shot attempts in the overtime period.

UMass Lowell sophomore reserve guard Matt Harris smashed his career high and led all scorers with 32 points.

The Retrievers led, 36-30, at halftime and built a ten-point advantage at 60-50 midway through the second half and forced an empty possession by the River Hawks. But UMBC committed a turnover on the next possession and Harris banged home a trey on the other end to start an 8-0 run by the visitors.

UMBC (5-14, 1-3 AE) appeared to steady, rebuilding seven-point edge at 72-65 on a layup by sophomore guard Rodney Elliott (Baltimore, Md./John Carroll) with 5:23 remaining. But UML, which hit 18-of-27 shots in the second half and 6-of-10 from behind the arc, scored on its next seven possessions. After Harris tied the game at 73-all with a trey from the right side, UMBC committed a turnover and an ensuing flagrant foul. River Hawk freshman reserve guard Logan Primerano converted both free throws and a field goal as UML retained the ball. The Retrievers misfired on their end and Harris capped the 9-0 run with a pair of free throws to give his side a 79-73 lead with 1:40 to play.

But UMBC scored the next five points on an Elliott rebound and bucket and a long Lyles trey. The teams exchanged field goals and Harris hit two free throws with 15 seconds remaining to give UML an 83-80 lead. UMBC had three chances to tie, with Sherburne and Lyles missing treys, separated by a time-out. UMBC junior forward Will Darley (Timonium, Md./Dulaney) rebounded Lyles' miss with four seconds left and kicked the ball to Sherburne, who knocked down the trey from 23 feet, just to the right of the key.

The River Hawks scored the first six points of overtime, but did give UMBC one chance in the run of play to get the game tied. But Sherburne missed with 63 seconds left and Elliott made just 2-of-4 free throw attempts on the next two possessions. Trailing 93-89, Sherburne could not convert from behind the arc with 10 seconds left and Harris sealed the victory with two free throws.

Lyles -- a transfer from VCU -- hit 10 field goals (of 18) for the fourth time in his eight games as a Retriever. Elliott scored a season-high 24 points and led the hosts with seven rebounds. Senior post Cody Joyce, Darley and Sherburne all scored in double figures with 11, 10 and 10 respectively.

UMBC returns home Thursday, Jan. 21 when they welcome Hartford to the RAC Arena.

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from the desk of: brien jackson

It might not have seemed like it, but the Orioles were always the favorite to win the Chris Davis “sweepstakes.” If anything, they were really the only team who even entered. Just a week ago,in fact, I told Drew I still expected Davis to stay in town for just that reason.

Still, with talks between the two sides seemingly breaking down in the last few days and the Orioles putting a formal offer to Yoenis Cespedes, it was something of a surprise to see Jon Heyman break the news early Saturday morning that the two sides had an agreement. There's a lot of aspects in which this impacts the franchise going forward, so I'll use my most hated “a few thoughts” format to keep them somewhat organized:

-First and foremost, the organization is sending a clear message by handing out such a large contract, the first time the team has gone over $100 million for any player. Now, no matter how many times people assume that any team that has an ownership stake in a cable network must be a “big market” team, the Orioles are still somewhere around dead middle of the pack in terms of franchise value (and, in fact, the Nationals are easily ahead of them despite an ownership share in MASN 25% the size of the Orioles'), so don't expect an annual payroll that consistently sits in the top ten.

It's also easily conceivable that fans are strongly lamenting this deal in a few years if the team can't scrape up the cash to keep Manny Machado off of the open market. But for now it's a strong statement that the team recognizes where the market is, and that they're not afraid to operate in it for the right player.

-If we use the team's reported offer of 7 years, $154 million as a baseline, you have to wonder if Davis isn't going to feel a little bit sour when he pays out Scott Boras' commission. The “concessions” Boras won for Davis, an extra million dollars per season and a limited no trade clause (which is basically meaningless since Davis will have 10-and-5 rights by the time the contract is tradeable anyway) are nothing but face saving peanuts, and definitely nothing compared to the value the Orioles will get from deferring a whopping $42 million of the contract, interest free.

I've seen some people saying the Orioles bid against themselves in the end, but this is the wrong way to think about MLB free agency. This isn't an open auction, but more akin to buying a house. The Orioles made a very slight increase on their offer to close the deal before anyone else could come along and unexpectedly buy the asset out from under them with a better deal for Davis. That's smart business, and something a lot of teams often don't understand.

-From a baseball perspective, I'm not a big fan of making this large of a commitment to Davis, and never really have been. Frankly I think Cespedes is a better all around player than Davis, and would have rather had him in a one-to-one swap, even if he isn't going to end up being substantially cheaper. But Davis should be pretty valuable in the short term (though that's not a given considering how 2014 went for him), so the focus now should be on trying to compete in the short term.

The biggest impediment to that right now is the starting rotation, and Dan Duquette is probably going to have to get creative to really improve that unit. The Orioles were talking to Yovani Gallardo whil the Davis talks progressed, so one assumes they have the budget room for him as well, but Gallardo will cost them the 14th pick and a lot of money, given the insanely generous contract home run machine (and Boras client) Ian Kennedy just got from Kansas City.

-Finally, a note on the Orioles' 2016 payroll. By my estimate, the Orioles' current commitments for 2016 with Davis' $23 million AAV (average annual value) and the just announced arbitration settlement numbers come to about $120 million. The team still has to come to terms with Brian Matusz and Zack Britton, plus assign salary numbers to the team's pre-arbitration players, which will add at least $10 million to the ledger, and then they'll be assesed around $15 million to cover their obligations to the players' benefit package. In other words, if the team doesn't add any more free agents their payroll will come in at around $145 million, which would have easily put them in the top 10 in baseball last season.

If the O's add Gallardo or another starter they'll be pretty close to 6th or 7th in MLB. It's important to note here that the $23 million figure for Davis is just an accounting trick, as for luxury tax purposes the team is assigned the contract's AAV in each season, and with the structure of the salary payments and the deferred money arrangement, the actual cash payout to Davis will be $17 million for each of the next seven seasons. That should make it possible to not only add a starting pitcher, but actually makes it entirely possible (yet extremely unlikely) that they could still be in the mix for Yoenis Cespedes or Justin Upton if either player is, in fact, considering taking a one year contract and trying their hand on the market again next winter as well.

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put your money where your mouth is -- playoff style

Hey, hey, hey, don't look now, but I'm almost at the .500 mark after going 2-0 in yesterday's NFL playoff games. By correctly hitting on New England (how about that? I said the Pats would win 28-20 and they won 27-20) and Green Bay ("Packers cover but Arizona wins a wild one" I said) I'm now at 44-45-2 for the season. I'm so close to .500 I can taste it! And I'm 6-0 thus far in calling the outright winner of the post-season games.

SEATTLE AT CAROLINA (-2.0) -- I've gone back and forth on this game all week. Carolina comes in refreshed and rested, while the Seahawks might still be thawing out from last Sunday's game in Minnesota. Seattle is coming east for a 1 pm game, which historically hasn't been productive for west coast teams. The Panthers won in Seattle earlier this year...can they repeat that charm again today in Charlotte? Everyone's riding high on the Seahawks and for obvious reasons. The moment might be too big for Cam Newton and Company, right? You know what, I'm going with Caro...no, wait, I'm taking Seattle here. See, I just changed my mind again. Seahawks blow up a close game with a 4th quarter pick-six and win this one 30-17. (For the record, I hope I'm wrong here. I'd like to see Carolina win this one.)

PITTSBURGH AT DENVER (-7.5) -- There's simply no way Pittsburgh can win this game with an ailing Ben Roethlisberger and no Antonio Brown in the lineup. That's not the question, though. The issue, of course, is the point spread and whether or not Denver can cover 7.5 points. I'm going to assume Peyton Manning becomes "playoff Peyton Manning" today and keeps that shaky Pittsburgh defense in the game with a couple of bad throws and a fumble in the pocket. I say Denver win this one, but the Steelers cover in a 24-19 Broncos triumph.


another "bucket list" trip coming up -- we're heading to The Palestra

This trip, I'll admit, is close to my heart.

Sure, our bus trip to see the Caps and Flyers on January 27 and Golden State Warriors-Washington Wizards on February 3 will be fun. Our April 5 pilgrimage to Augusta National and the Masters practice round will be memorable for everyone. And our summer baseball trip to Boston and Fenway Park will be an absolute blast. I'm not downplaying any of those trips at all when I brag heavily about what we're going to be doing on February 20.

We're going to "The Cathedral of College Basketball", otherwise known as "The Palestra" on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. What's there, you ask? Only the greatest college basketball venue on the east coast, that's what. And it's 90 minutes away. Penn will be taking on Yale that night (7 pm) and #DMD is packing a bus full of people to take it all in. Best of all, we're just about as close to courtside as you can get, just a few rows up from the floor, packed in there on a Saturday night to witness not only a game, but to experience the building that still, today, is on every high school and college basketball player's personal "bucket list". If you play in The Palestra, you've made it.

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You have to see a game in there at least once: The Palestra on the campus of UPenn.

Officially, here's The Palestra:

The Palestra, often called the Cathedral of College Basketball, is a historic arena and the home gym of the University of Pennsylvania Quakers men's and women's basketball teams, volleyball teams, wrestling team, and Philadelphia Big 5 basketball. Located at 235 South 33rd St. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, near Franklin Field in the University City section of Philadelphia, it opened on January 1, 1927. The Palestra has been called "the most important building in the history of college basketball" and "changed the entire history of the sport for which it was built."

The arena originally seated about 10,000, but now seats 8,722 for basketball. The Palestra is famed for its close-to-the-court seating with the bleachers ending at the floor with no barrier to separate the fans from the game.

Since its inception, the Palestra has hosted more games, more visiting teams, and more NCAA tournaments than any other facility in college basketball.

I've been to The Palestra twice. If you haven't yet been, make this trip with us. I promise, you'll leave the building with goosebumps.

We're doing the whole trip for $69 per-person. Here's what you get: Round-trip motor coach transportation from Towson to Philadelphia. A delicious Palmisano's sub and other snacks, along with beer, soft drinks and water on the ride up to Philadelphia. A lower level, near-courtside seat for the Penn-Yale game. And a commemorative, limited-edition "I saw The Palestra!" tee-shirt.

All of that for $69 per-person. I was only able to get 30 tickets, so at this point, that's all we're taking. I'm working on more tickets in the event demand warrants it, but if you want to be one of the first 30 to get on the bus and go to Philly, we'd love to have you.

Just click right here to reach The Palestra page, make your payment and secure your spot on the trip.

Saturday
January 16
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XVIII
Issue 16

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was buck's "target comment" out of line?

During my weekly appearance on Glenn Clark Radio yesterday, my former on-air cohort lashed out at Orioles skipper Buck Showalter. Clark was "outraged" -- yep, those were his words -- at the idea that Showalter would try to make Chris Davis feel bad about holding out for his best deal possible with a comment about shopping at Target.

During a recent appearance at a local Baltimore charity event, Buck replayed a conversation he had with the first baseman just before the end of the 2015 season when the two were talking about the upcoming off-season and the pending free agency of Davis. "I asked him, 'Chris, when you walk into a Target store, can you buy anything you want? Well, how much is enough?'", Showalter said.

I found Showalter's comment entirely appropriate while Clark cited the O's manager for being "borderline unprofessional". We obviously have different opinions on this one.

Clark and I have worked together off-and-on for the better part of the last eight years. He's a very talented young broadcaster. We were part of the crew of five who were bludgeoned unexpectedly by a local radio station back in August of 2014. Those firings led to the start-up of this website you're reading today and Clark's own venture, a daily internet "radio show" that he styles after his former show at said station. I appear almost every Friday with him and we go back-and-forth like Bayless and Smith, only with a little more intelligence, we like to think.

Some of our on-air differences over the years were rooted in professional wrestling, admittedly. Clark is an unabashed supporter of all things University of Maryland and, in particular, Gary Williams. That led me to chide him constantly anytime Duke got the better of Maryland at anything, but I was no more interested in seeing Duke win in sports than I am in seeing those rat-fink Philadelphia Flyers win three games in row. It was all just shtick.

But some of our on-air disagreements were legitimately strong-opinions-turned-tense and that also made for good radio (or so we both thought until we got canned...ha ha).

This situation involving Showalter's "Target comment" is one of those times where we simply disagree on whether the manager has the right -- or not -- to question the motives of his (former?) player.

It's probably quite telling that the two old men in this particular situation -- me and Showalter -- have the same basic opinion while the two 30-year olds also operate off the same basic premise.

That could be where this starts and stops, really. I loathe the entire concept of a human being receiving $23 million a year in guaranteed pay to play sports, so it's natural for my reaction to be one of those "line in the sand" type of reactions. "If this clown won't take $23 million a year GUARANTEED, tell him to hit the road..."

It's one thing for a PGA Tour player to show up at a golf tournament, put up his $700 entry fee, and then play for a $1.3 million winner's check. Heck, just making the cut and finishing in last place gets you $20,000 most weeks. But nothing is guaranteed, besides some money you might get for wearing a golf shirt with a company logo on it. If you don't make birdies and play on the weekend, you get nothing in return from the tournament. You actually "lose money" playing golf that week.

Davis -- and every other major league player -- doesn't know what that feels like and probably never will. If Davis signs for $154 million, he's getting that $154 million no matter if he hits 350 home runs in seven seasons or 150 home runs in that same span. The guaranteed multi-year contract in baseball is the sport's most outrageous middle-finger to the rest of the great unwashed. I think it's at the core of what's wrong with the game today.

Clark, on the other hand, firmly believes the manager of the baseball team has no business at all telling a player how much money he should feel comfortable asking for and earning. I can see that point clearly, too. After all, Showalter hasn't been working for $80.00 an hour with the O's over the last six years (although you never know with the Birds, right?). What if the roles were reversed? What if the Orioles win the World Series in 2016? Would Showalter expect a pay raise? Would his value change? One would think so, yes.

There comes a time, though, where those of us on the outside have to actually make a conscious effort to remember that the compensation professional athletes receive is far less about their true value and far more about what their respective collective bargaining agreements provide for them.

Do you know who Brennen Beyer is? Name ring a bell? He's a fringe NFL player, most recently with the Ravens in fact. He's a guy simply trying to make it in the league, get a contract, play a few years, and maybe even get a pension from the league someday. He has a contract with the Ravens for 2016 that calls for him to get paid $450,000. And with all due respect, none of us have ever heard of the guy. Yet, he's currently part of the team's 53-man roster and taking up salary cap space.

I bring up Beyer simply to point out that the money is sort-of-outrageous at all levels of sports, not just with Chris Davis and his crazy demands. Brennen Beyer hasn't made one tackle in the NFL and yet he's due to make $450,000 this year.

But Beyer is "worth" that because that's the deal the NFL Player's Association struck with league owners a few years back. $450,000 is what you get these days when you're a walk-on who catches the coach's eye and gets a rookie contract. What's more wacky? Paying a guy $450,000 who doesn't play or paying a guy $23 million who does?

Coming full circle now, whether or not Chris Davis is "worth" $23 million isn't really what we're pondering here. Statistics and data and fancy-schmancy baseball algorithms computed to tell us what our eyes and gut can't will determine the value of Chris Davis. If those numbers indicate he's a $23 million player, then he's a $23 million player. That his salary is guaranteed regardless of performance is a by-product of the deal his union struck with the owners, but the value of his contract is determined by science and math.

At some point, though, we have to step away from that and deal with it more on a human scale. And that's where folks will disagree on things. I'm the guy that says, "Dude, you're a joke. Take the $23 million a year and be happy." Buck Showalter is the guy who says, basically, if you can buy everything at Target, you have more than enough money to live on. Glenn Clark and those of his ilk say, "How dare any of you tell someone how much money they should command from their employer."

I'm of the belief that it was well within Showalter's right -- when asked a question about it, which he was -- to offer his opinion on the contract situation of Chris Davis. I didn't find his comment to be appalling in the least. It was founded in humanity and the reflection of what we all generally consider to be reasonable. It's true, $15 million a year to play baseball isn't really any more "reasonable" than $18 million a year or $23 million a year. Hence, Showalter's comment "when is enough, enough?" fits perfectly here. Just take your $23 million and go to Target, son.

This all leads me back to something I wrote on Thursday here at #DMD. Given everything that has transpired over the last six weeks with Davis, it's probably best for him to find a new team and for the Orioles to move on and pursue other players with the money they had earmarked for the first baseman. If $154 million over seven years isn't good enough to get you to marry me, you're probably not my type anyway.

I guess I'm not telling Chris Davis what I think he should make in Baltimore. I'm now telling him what I think he SHOULDN'T make.

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put your money where your mouth is -- playoff style

OK, so I went 4-for-4 last weekend picking NFL playoff "winners", but only went 2-2 picking against the spread. That makes me 42-45-2 on the season to date.

Let's look at today's two games and see if I can inch closer to that elusive .500 mark.

KANSAS CITY AT NEW ENGLAND (-5.0) -- This could wind up being one heckuva football game, particularly if Rob Gronkowski's status and playing time are as uncertain as we've been led to believe over the last 24 hours. New England is getting a lot of ailing players back on the field today, which helps them a lot. They've had a week off, of course, while the Chiefs come in as the league's undisputed hottest team, winning 10 straight games to close out the regular season and then demolishing Houston last week on the road to open the post-season. New England is 11-2 in their playoff opener under Bill Belichick, a stat that favors them considerably today. KC's defense is good, but New England's offense can beat you in a variety of ways, as the Ravens saw a year ago when they were trick-played-to-death up at Gillette Stadium. I really do want to go with KC in this one, but I'm not. I don't know that the Chiefs can score enough to win here, so I'm going with New England to win and cover, 28-20.

GREEN BAY AT ARIZONA (.7.0) -- You'd think the spread in this one would be a little more enticing than 7 points given that Arizona pummeled the Packers out west a few weeks ago. This is obviously a huge game for the Cardinals. If they win and Seattle upsets Carolina, Arizona will host next Sunday's NFC title game. They can't afford to lose that opportunity should the Seahawks handle the Panthers today. It's hard to figure out which Green Bay team is "the real Green Bay team". Was it the one that got blown out in Phoenix or the one that went to Washington and beat up on the Redskins a week ago? I'm going with Arizona to win, but Green Bay hangs around and covers in a wild one, with the Cardinals winning 36-31.


if you'd like to see bruce springsteen on january 29...

My ticket contact in New York City reached out to me last night around 7 pm with this text: "If you need Bruce tickets in DC, I have 16 for you."

I tried getting tickets to the January 29th show in conventional fashion last month but that, predictably, was a swing-and-a-miss. I hit the TicketMaster website at 9:58 am, logged in, hit the "Get Tickets Now" button and at 10:02 am, the show was sold out. Yeah...right.

Anyway, seats for the show at the Verizon Center have been out-of-this-world expensive ever since, but as my ticket guy told me around the holidays, "Once all the gift-giving is done, prices will go down in mid-January, trust me."

I did. And he was right.

So, I went ahead and bought 16 tickets last night.

Now I just have to find 16 people who want them. (Well, actually, I only need to find eight people who want them. Eight were sold right away last night, roughly ten minutes after a Twitter and Facebook message got posted advising people I had tickets and a bus lined up).

Yes, we'll have a bus heading down to DC for the show, stocked with beer, soft drinks, water and some good food. We'll leave the Towson area around 5:00 pm and come back right after the concert ends. I can now not only offer you a ride to the Verizon Center in comfort and safety, I can also offer you a decent upper level ticket that will more rival your monthly car payment rather than your mortgage payment.

If you're interested in seeing Bruce Springsteen in this once-in-a-lifetime setting where he plays the entire "River album" from front-to-back (plus a handful of his other hits), please go ahead and e-mail today and I'll get you set-up. You can find me at: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

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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!


terps host ohio state today

Before we analyze this afternoon’s basketball game and match-ups between Maryland and Ohio State, it may be wise to take a look at last year’s game.

Despite the fact that only three of last year’s ten starters are likely to start today, that game last January probably left a bad enough taste in the Terp mouths, especially Melo Trimble, that it could have a major impact on the motivation level for the Terps today at noon. Combine that with the tough loss Maryland endured at Michigan Tuesday night, add in Trimble’s frustration level in that game (one field goal) and things do not bode too well for the visiting Buckeyes.

It’s fair to say that Maryland got embarrassed last January 29th in the 80-56 loss at Value City Arena in Ohio. Marc Loving was 5-5 shooting three point shots and had a game high 19 points. Future NBA guard D’Angelo Russell had 18 points and an astounding 14 rebounds as the Terps were outrebounded as a team 51-32. Trimble failed to make a field goal, going 0-8 and dishing out one lone assist. Ohio State dunked, bombed, and postured their way to a laugher, and I don’t expect Mark Turgeon or the rest of the Terps to forget it. Melo Trimble surely will remember it today.

For the Terps to have success today, they must find a way to neutralize the Buckeye dribble penetration. Most of the offensive damage Ohio State does comes from their ability to get to the lane off the dribble, and they have several guys who can get that done. Leading scorer, 6’8” junior forward Marc Loving averages 14.6 ppg but only shoots 33% from the 3 point line (the same guy who went 5-5 in last year’s game). Keita Bates-Diop also hits one third of his threes, and averages 11.8 ppg. At 6’7” 230, he has a bigger body than Loving, but still prefers a face up game as opposed to being a post-up guy. In fact, Ohio State really doesn’t have a true post-up guy.

Center Trevor Thompson, a Virginia Tech transfer, (6.2 ppg) fails to create a strong presence on the low blocks and freshman 6’10” center Danial Giddens is a bit too raw to be a factor around the basket offensively. Defensively, Giddens is one of the national leaders in blocked shots and is an emerging big man with Chris Wilcox-type athleticism. Jae’Sean Tate and promising freshman guard JaQuan Lyle, both average 10.6 ppg with Lyle being the more nimble player while Tate is a bull but a bit undersized at 6’4” playing forward.

So what can we expect today at noon? For one, I expect the crowd to provide a ton of energy for this conference game being shown on ESPN 2. I expect a highly motivated Maryland team to play hard, emotional basketball. On defense I’d like to see the Terps double team the dribbler when Ohio State attempts dribble penetration. It might mean leaving a guy open on the wing, but I’d risk it. Indiana did this frequently in their 85-60 blowout of OSU last Sunday.

Maryland’s 1-3-1 zone may also be effective against the Buckeye ball handlers. Ohio State will run when the opportunity strikes, so the Terps need to hustle back after a miss, but I would not expect that to be a problem for Maryland.

On offense, I can’t see Maryland altering things too much. They will enjoy some advantages down low with Robert Carter Jr and Diamond Stone, but as we saw against Michigan on Tuesday, the Terps must get production from Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon if they want to maintain efficiency on the offensive end.

With Ohio State having no seniors, and just one junior that sees significant time, I think a road win in a hostile gym against a motivated team will prove to be a bit of a stretch for them. Look for Maryland to cut off the dribble penetration, get to the foul line, and post a big win revenging the disaster from last year. Vegas has posted an early line of 10.5 points. That’s not enough as Maryland pulls away mid-first half and hands the Buckeyes a 75-58 loss at the XFINITY Center.

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i'll be at umbc today to see
jairus lyles in person

Yep, I'm heading to the RAC today at 12 noon for the UMBC-UMass-Lowell game and I'm honestly looking forward to my first glimpse of Retriever newcomer Jairus Lyles.

The VCU transfer has been a great addition to the UMBC lineup since he became eligible after the first semester. Lyles has kicked off his UMBC career with a flourish, scoring 175 points in his first seven contests. His 27 points at Howard last month was the most ever by a UMBC Division I player in a debut and he became the first Retriever to score 20 or more points in his first four appearances in the black and gold. The Retrievers are averaging nearly 79 points per game during Lyles' brief tenure.

In his return after missing the 2014-15 season due to injury, red-shirt sophomore guard Rodney Elliott (John Carroll H.S.) is averaging 13.5 points per game. Freshman wing Joe Sherburne has scored in double figures in 14 of his first 18 intercollegiate games and averages 13.1 points per contest. Sherburne's 45 treys lead UMBC and he already has sunk the seventh-most three pointers by a Retriever freshman in school history. Junior forward Will Darley (Dulaney H.S.) is the fourth Retriever in double figures at 11.7 points per contest.

UMBC sports a 5-13 record overall and 1-2 in America East play, while UMass-Lowell is 5-11 and 1-2 in the conference

Come on out with me today and support the Retrievers!


my new wine winner is available
at the wine merchant

When you're looking for a good bottle of wine, there are times to be adventurous and times to simply pick a good, reliable bottle. People who enjoy wine generally fit into one of those two categories; you're either someone who bounces around and tries a variety of wines or you're someone who goes "tried and true" a lot. I'm in the latter category, for sure.

And that's why this week's featured wine at The Wine Merchant is from Josh Cellars. You'll just never go wrong.

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10741 Falls Road, Lutherville, MD 21093

For starters, the Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon that is this week's "Wine Winner" at The Wine Merchant in Lutherville is easy on the wallet. It's a $15 bottle of wine, which just about always fits everyone's budget. It's an easy bottle, too, meaning it's not going to clash with your food choice in almost every circumstance, and is especially great with simple things like burgers, chicken and a casual Saturday evening meal where you're just looking to have a good wine accompany a good, quiet meal. It's not explosive, so don't think you're all going to sit around the table and say, "Holy cow!!! This wine is unreal!". It's just not that type of wine. Instead, when you're cleaning the dishes and you take that last drink from the glass, you'll say, "You know what, that was a nice bottle of wine for the price."

Here's what the people who know far more about wine than I do say about it: "Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon has aromas of rich, dark fruits and baking spices on the nose, which yield fresh plum and blackberry fruit, violet, dried fig, vanilla bean and Chinese Five-Spice. The wine is juicy with plum and blackberry flavors prominent, layered with smoky and sappy maple wood, roasted almonds and hazelnuts that finishes long with fine, firm tannins."

And it might also be important to know a little about Joseph Carr, the guy who started Josh Cellars. It's an interesting story and will tell you a lot about why his wines are so good.

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Available at The Wine Merchant in Lutherville, this bottle of Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon is perfect for just about any occasion.

Joseph Carr was an award winning Sommelier and international wine industry executive who set out on his own in 2005 and founded Joseph Carr Winery in Carneros, California. It was, as Mr. Carr says, a chance to follow a dream. "We're a family owned company dedicated to making world class, handcrafted wines. We work with small growers, coopers and winemakers producing elegant, sophisticated, yet approachable wines from Napa Valley, Carneros, and the North Coast of California."

Joseph Carr now works with well known wine maker Tom Larson to produce his second label, named "Josh Cellars."

"After we're done producing our portfolio of Joseph Carr wines, we like to sit around "the garage" we call a wine cellar, and tinker with a few things. Growers we call friends come by and lend a hand. We laugh, tell stories and produce a winemaker's wine that we make just for ourselves; handcrafted wines that we jokingly refer to as a "vin de garage." These wines are named after my father, as they are expressive, but unassuming and approachable – just like him."

Head into The Wine Merchant on Falls Road and Lutherville and ask for the Josh Cellars Cabernet. You'll see my "Wine Winner" card right there on the box, telling you it's this week's wine of choice at #DMD.


please click here to see previous issues of #dmd.

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.