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Monday
February 15
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 15

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vaughn taylor reminds us why golf is the best game of them all

I spent Thursday through Sunday just outside of Boynton Beach, Florida, visiting an old friend and working on my golf game for four days.

We played 18 holes each day, practiced afterwards, studied our swings on video, hit more balls, and finally gave in when the sun set and a nice bottle of wine called us to the clubhouse.

I hadn't touched a club since January 7 -- literally -- so it was just fun to get out and play a little bit.

Over the four days, I hit a handful of what I would deem really good shots, made a couple of birdies each day, and thoroughly enjoyed the company of my friend who now calls Florida home.

But the bad shots far outweighed the good ones and the golf I played was largely uninspiring. I made more lousy swings than Trump took swipes at Bush in Saturday night's debate. It was deflating, to say the least.

My golf game, that is.

Well, watching grown men (insert joke here) who purportedly want to run our country bicker back and forth like a bunch of 14-year olds was also kind of deflating, but I've come to expect it from this group of folks trying to get elected.

Anyway...

From the cozy comforts of an airport lounge, I watched Vaughn Taylor scorch the back nine at Pebble Beach on Sunday afternoon and win the golf tournament by one shot over Phil Mickelson and it reminded me -- again -- of why golf's the greatest game ever invented.

And watching Taylor win at Pebble Beach lifted me up in a way a few birdies at Pine Tree Golf Club in Florida didn't. His victory, the third of his career, came so far out of nowhere it's almost impossible to describe without giving way to over-emphasis.

Taylor doesn't even really play on the PGA Tour anymore. He's technically a member of the Web.com Tour these days, which is golf's equivalent of Triple-A baseball. The Web.com Tour is littered with former college hotshots looking to work their way up through professional's golf chain of command, but it's mostly made up of guys who once played the PGA Tour -- successfully -- for a living and couldn't make enough money out there to keep their card and their spot on the tour.

The money available on the Web.com tour is roughly about 25% of what's offered each week on the PGA Tour. The golf courses they play are nice, but not much more than that. Spectators do come out to watch, but it's likely you know a bunch of them by their first name. Some of the events are televised and covered by the local media, but for the most part, it's a Tour played in anonymity.

It's where young players go to work their way up and old players go when they start to slide down. Generally speaking, there's no middle ground on the Web.com Tour. You're either on the rise or on the decline.

If you search Vaughn Taylor's name on the PGA Tour's website, his current personal profile page links him to the Web.com Tour first -- and the PGA Tour second. He's a minor league golfer these days.

So, yes, Vaughn Taylor was very much on the decline before yesterday's unthinkable victory.

But, a decade ago, he was a factor on the biggest golfing stage in the world. He won a PGA Tour event in 2004 and 2005 and even once represented the U.S. in the Ryder Cup.

That 2006 Ryder Cup team is thought by most golf experts to be the least talented U.S. squad ever, what with guys like Chad Campbell, J.J. Henry, Brett Wetterich and Scott Verplank highlighting (or lowlighting) the roster. And Vaughn Taylor was on that team, too.

Before yesterday's improbable win at Pebble Beach, Taylor hadn't stepped into the winner's circle since 2005. His career in professional golf included two PGA Tour triumphs and a 2003 win on the Web.com Tour.

365 professional tournaments entered: 3 wins.

Then, in his 366th event, lightning struck.

Taylor started the day six shots behind Phil Mickelson. I'm sure he was just thrilled to be in the Top 10 as Sunday morning dawned out there on the Monterey Penisula.

Granted, Taylor made about $600,000 in 2015 playing a mixed schedule of Web.com and PGA Tour events, so it's not like he was in a van eating Ramen noodles over the weekend, but all Taylor was likely thinking about as he reached the first tee on Sunday was another good day of golf and, maybe, a Top 5 finish that could get him $300,000 for a week's worth of work.

Then his putter started being obedient on the back nine and suddenly just finishing in the Top 5 wasn't the outer reach of his limits. While Mickleson faltered, others around him started climbing, including Taylor, who birdied #10 and then ran off four straight birdies at 13, 14, 15 and 16 to take the lead.

After finishing at 17-under, Taylor had to wait for sixty minutes while Mickelson navigated the last few holes. A birdie at 17 moved the left-hander to within a shot and when he came up just short of the par-5 18th hole in two shots, a playoff looked like a reasonable bet.

CBS cut away from Mickelson's trek up the 18th fairway to show Taylor, on the practice range, hitting shots by himself and waiting for the conclusion of the final hole.

It was a fitting video capture of Taylor, because it's probably the snapshot of his career, or at least the last decade of it. Hitting balls, making divots, evaluating the swing -- and then doing it again. And again. And again.

Only this time, the work had actually been done already and this was a time-killer more than anything else.

A playoff looked inevitable when Mickelson chipped to six feet on the 18th green, but his birdie putt inexplicably didn't fall. And Vaughn Taylor was a winner again.

Eleven years after his last win, Taylor was a champion once more.

Want some perspective? Taylor winning yesterday is as improbable as Jamal Lewis coming out of retirement, losing 75 pounds, and leading the NFL in rushing in 2016.

It would be like Jeff Bagwell showing up in spring training and saying, "You jerks won't let me in the Hall of Fame? I'll show you..." and then hitting 33 more home runs at age 47.

But that's why golf is so great.

Lewis couldn't do that in football and Bagwell couldn't do that in baseball. Father Time wouldn't allow it, more than anything else. But golf is different.

A guy like Vaughn Taylor, a journeyman if ever there was one, can catch lightning in a bottle on a sunny Sunday in February and revive his career in a matter of about 90 minutes. They say golf's a young man's game -- at least on the professional level -- but a guy who turns 40 in three weeks was the best of the bunch this weekend at Pebble Beach.

Earl Weaver had a lot of poignant quotes about the game of baseball, most of them made to illustrate how baseball is "the greatest game".

"You can't sit on a lead and just run a few plays into the line to kill the clock," the former Orioles manager once explained. "You've got to throw the damn ball over the plate and give the other guy his chance. That's why baseball is the greatest game of them all."

Someone should have reminded Earl that there's a thing in baseball called the intentional walk.

Golf, not baseball, is the greatest game ever invented because there truly isn't a moment where you're not actually trying. There's no "prevent defense" in golf. You can't purposely foul the other team's worst free throw shooter with 6.4 seconds left in an attempt to get the ball back for a last-ditch shot at winning the game. And if you're in trouble in golf, you can't ice the puck to give yourself a chance to catch your breath.

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Back in the winner's circle, 11 years later. Only in golf.

In golf, a swing and a miss counts as much as a missed putt from one foot. Every time you make a swing and attempt to hit the ball -- even if you don't -- it counts as one shot. Sometimes, like Vaughn Taylor found out yesterday, you make one less swing than everyone else in the tournament and they give you a bunch of money and a trophy.

So, as I sat in the Palm Beach airport Sunday afternoon and nursed a hot tea with a lounge full of rabid golfing enthusiasts -- most of whom were pulling for Mickelson -- I couldn't help but think what Taylor had gone through over the last decade just to get back to the point where he was hitting balls on the Pebble Beach practice range waiting for his fate to unfold.

Years of hard work, years of dedication, years of playing and, sadly, years of losing. A long run of losing, in fact. And yet, somehow, Vaughn Taylor picked yesterday to make his return to golf's winning circle.

It was quite the triumph.

And it reminded an old guy like me whose best competitive golf days are behind him that, well, maybe they aren't behind me after all.

Maybe there's still something good to come.

As Vaughn Taylor showed me yesterday, if you just keep practicing, playing, working hard and trying to improve -- who knows what tomorrow brings?

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st. frances beats mount st. joe for a-conference hoops crown

Kurk Lee Jr. finished with 29 points and Daquan Bracey added 23 of his own as St. Frances claimed the MIAA A-Conference title with a 75-67 win over Mount St. Joseph yesterday at UMBC's RAC Arena.

The Gaels were up 21-12 in the second quarter before Lee and Bracey sparked a 20-2 run for St. Frances.

Mount St. Joe would eventually tie the score at 32-32 at halftime, but the Panthers came out roaring in the 3rd quarter and were never threatened from there.

Bracey scored 11 of his 23 points in the 3rd quarter as St. Frances opened up a 53-39 lead.

MSJ would creep to within six points at 61-56 with just under three minutes left in the game, but Lee made a two point basket and a foul shot to increase the margin to 64-56 and from there it became a foul-shooting contest.

St. Frances made nine straight foul shots in the final two minutes as the Gaels tried gamely to pull off a last ditch stunner, but it wasn't to be, as the Panthers earned their 4th MIAA title while finishing 29-8.

The scene now shifts to SECU Arena for this coming weekend's Baltimore Catholic League championship, where the two teams will be in the mix once again, with the likes of Calvert Hall and John Carroll also vying for the coveted post-season crown.

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dulaney grad darley has career day in umbc hoops loss

UMBC men's basketball saw their comeback effort fall just short in a 96-92 loss to UMass Lowell on Sunday. Junior Will Darley (Dulaney H.S.) scored a career best 31 points in the loss that dropped the Retrievers to 6-21 overall and 2-10 in America East play.

The opening 20 minutes saw several lead changes, with neither side establishing a firm advantage. Cody Joyce and Darley got the scoring started with an and-one and a triple respectively. However the River Hawks went on a mini spurt to give themselves an 11-10 lead midway through the first quarter.

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Will Darley scored 31 points in Sunday's UMBC loss at UMass Lowell.

From there both sides would go back and forth, with the River Hawks holding a 40-38 lead at the break. Darley led the attack with 13 points. Both Rodney Elliott (John Carroll H.S.) and Jairus Lyles had seven points in the opening stanza to lead the Retrievers, who shot 59.1% from the floor.

Half two opened up with a big hustle play from Joe Sherburne, who dove out of bounds to save to ball to Elliott for a layup. Lyles then stole the UMass Lowell pass and finished the run out to give UMBC a 51-50 lead. From there, the River Hawks would answer the call, scoring seven straight to increase their lead to nine.

The Retrievers would have their answer, as Darley scored seven straight points to give UMBC the lead at 70-69. Darley's seven points were a part a 12-4 run that spanned three minutes.

UMass Lowell went on a run of their own to start the 4th quarter and eventually went up by eight. They hit some key shots late, never letting the Retrievers within three points.

However, the Retrievers got a key stop with under a minute to go and trailing by four points. But, Lyles had his three point attempt blocked, and the River Hawks hit their free throws late to secure the victory.

Darley finished the day with 31 points on 10-17 shooting. Elliott pumped in 20, while Lyles added 16 points.

The Retriever men will return to action at Hartford on Wednesday, Feb. 17. Tip-off with the Hawks is slated for 7 p.m. in West Hartford.


In Baltimore on Sunday, UMBC junior forward Pandora Wilson set the tone early with four points in the first 30 seconds to give the Lady Retrievers a lead over UMass Lowell that would reach 22 points in the fourth quarter. Wilson completed her third double-double this season, setting a career high with 28 points and adding a game-high 12 rebounds in the Retrievers' 68-52 victory over the River Hawks.

Junior guard Taylor McCarley bested her previous season high by a point and added a team high eight helpers. Her 30 points in the victory marks the fourth time this season she has topped 20 points as the two Academy of Holy Cross grads combined for 58 of UMBC's 68 points.

It was the second straight America East conference victory for the Retrievers, who improved to 6-6 in conference play (15-10 overall) and trail the University of Harford for the fourth seed by just a single game. The team has four contests remaining before the conference tournament begins March 5th at Binghamton University.

The Lady Retrievers head back to the RAC Arena this Wednesday, Feb. 17, to take on the Hartford Hawks. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m.

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never been to augusta
for the masters?
let's change that!

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

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

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

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

The per-person price is $975. Everything is included in the package: airfare, ground transportation to and from the course, a full-day practice-round ticket, and lunch during the day.

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

If you're interested in making the trip to Augusta this April 5th, send me an e-mail today: 18inarow (at) gmail.com


MASTERS TRIP
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Sunday
February 14
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 14

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rare losses by caps, terps leave
bandwagon a little lighter

Man, talk about people freaking out . . .

Maryland lost at home on Saturday to Wisconsin and the Capitals dropped a road decision at Dallas last night—and you would have thought both teams just got eliminated from post-season play.

The social media reaction after each loss was both comical and sad.

"Welcome to the 5th seed, Terps," cackled someone on Twitter after the Terps got busted in the mouth by 13 points at the Xfinity Center.

Two and done, maybe one and done, LOL," was another over-reaction in the aftermath of Maryland's first home loss in 28 games.

Yesterday's loss at College Park was in the works for a month or more, actually. The Terps goofed around with Northwestern last month before squeezing out an overtime win over the Wildcats, then they played around with Purdue for 35 minutes a couple of weeks ago before beating the Boilermakers.

I'm not overly concerned with Maryland's loss to Wisconsin yesterday. They're 22-4 and will have to throw up all over themselves between now and the end of the Big 10 tournament to not earn at least a one, two or three seed in the NCAA tournament.

But, there are definitely some concerning things about the Terps' recent play.

Melo Trimble—who went 1-for-14 from the floor vs. Wisconsin—looks like he's already filled out the paperwork for the NBA draft.

He'd be better served to fill out a registration form for Steph Curry's summer shooting-camp in Charlotte.

Jake Layman continues to be on-again, off-again. One night, he's the stud of all studs. The next night, he's Dave Neal.

As much as Trimble makes the Terps go, Layman is the gas for the motor. His energy fuels the whole roster. Lately, though, he's just been too inconsistent.

Jared Nickens played 12 minutes vs. Wisconsin and took one shot. One. And he missed it, predictably. But when one of your best shooters (who, admittedly, hasn't shot the ball well over the last 15 games) plays 12 minutes and attempts one shot, something's wrong.

But, the other team tries too. Wisconsin really needed that win yesterday.

Maryland wanted to win. The Badgers (16-9, 8-4 in Big Ten) really needed it.

And the Terps just couldn't handle what Wisconsin threw at them.

That happens, especially in college basketball. But, no one has been exempt from the odd result this year. Villanova, Kansas, Oklahoma—they've all stubbed their toes once or twice thus far. It happens.

Sure, the Terps could draw an unfavorable match-up in the tournament next month and get bounced early, like they did last year when West Virginia mauled them in the second round.

But I would have been saying that—and have been saying it—even if the Terps would have whipped up on Wisconsin yesterday.

One game doesn't change anything.

Before yesterday, Maryland was a team capable of getting sent home by the second weekend of the tournament or sticking around until the Final Four.

And they're still that same team now, despite getting run out of the (home) gym by Wisconsin.

The Caps took one on the chin last night at Dallas and you would have thought Barry Trotz's team just got beat by the worst team in hockey.

Yes, it was a bit of a "showdown" game between the best team in the East (84 points) and the best team in the West (77 points). And Washington got punked through 40 minutes, trailing 4-0, before rallying with three third period goals to fall, 4-3.

But it's one loss.

And Washington has now played 54 games this season and lost just TEN of them in regulation. Ten losses in 54 games is one helluva run.

I understand that Dallas might not be a great match-up for the Caps. But seeing people on Twitter and social media pre-predicting a June ass kicking at the hands of the Stars was quite laughable.

You're a Caps fan and you have the nerve (and the risk-taking gene) to even mention the words "Caps" and "Stanley Cup Finals" in the same sentence? And in February no less?

You must have spent the last 10 years or so on Pluto.

I would love to see the Caps play in the Stanley Cup Finals and if they face Dallas, I'd be more than thrilled. I don't give two hoots who they would face in the Finals. If it's Dallas, that's great. If it's Chicago, that's fine as well.

Sitting around whining about one loss on February 13 and somehow connecting that to the Stanley Cup finals in four months is really dumb.

This is the freakin' Caps we're talking about here. Let's call it like it is. The Caps are likely NOT going to the Stanley Cup Finals this season. Why? Because they're the Caps, that's why.

But if they do go, I certainly don't care at all about who they wind up facing.

And one loss, against Dallas, in their barn, isn't anything to get worked up over, that's for darn sure. It might not be an outlier, per se, since the Stars are also a good team, but it's one loss out of 82 games.

Getting yourself in a tizzy over one loss just isn't being a smart fan.

Maryland has some blemishes, sure. But this year's NCAA field is like your junior-high prom. Everyone has a pimple or three.

The Caps are as well rounded as they've ever been, but they're not unbeatable. One game isn't changing what they've done so far in 2015-2016. They're the best team in hockey—right now—and it might be by about five lengths or so.

Maybe I'm just blind to the regular season, but the Terps and Caps have far bigger fish to fry than fretting over a February 13 loss.

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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!


wisconsin takes advantage of
bad night from terps

There’s an old adage that claims you are never as good as you look when you win and never as bad as you look when you lose. For Maryland’s sake let’s hope the latter is true.

They couldn’t possibly be as bad as they looked last night in their 71 to 57 defeat to the Wisconsin Badgers in front of a packed house in College Park.

Wisconsin used an epic first-half Terp scoring-drought (one field goal in the final 13:14 of the half) to turn a seven-point Badger deficit into a 15-point halftime lead.

The visitors were never seriously challenged in the second half and answered any Terps run with a three-pointer that found the bottom of the net. For the game, Wisconsin shot 46% from behind the line, making 12 of their 26 attempts.

Maryland point guard Melo Trimble was a disappointing 1-14 from the field, as the Terps simply couldn't make up for his poor night shooting the basketball.

The first half featured a series of scoring spurts. First, Wisconsin jumped to a 7-2 advantage after Nigel Hayes knocked down a three for the game’s first points, and was followed by layups from Badger big men Ethan Happ and Vitto Brown. Brown would go on to post a career high 21 points.

The Badger run was ended by 12 straight Terp points over the next 3:49. That run would propel Maryland to a 14-7 lead with 13:32 left in the half. Two Rasheed Sulaimon threes, two buckets by Diamond Stone, and a nice driving shot by Jake Layman would account for the scoring.

The rout was on, right? Wrong.

No one in attendance, viewing on TV, or listening to Johnny Holiday’s play by play on the radio would have guessed that the Terps were just about finished scoring for the half.

There was 13:32 left in the half when the Maryland offense totally stalled. Their remaining first half possessions would yield six turnovers, one lonely field goal on one-for-nine shooting, and four Trimble foul shots. They would go over eight minutes without scoring at all and convert just one field goal in 13 plus minutes. Meanwhile, Wisconsin banged in five more threes and had a 36-21 lead at intermission.

As Terps coach Mark Turgeon admitted in his post-game interview that the contest's outcome was decided in those first 20 minutes.

A 15-point halftime hole is far too deep to overcome when, in the second half, you shoot 20% from the three-point line, 57% from the foul line, 44% from the floor, get outrebounded 21-16, and allow your opponent to make 6 of 12 threes.

That’s exactly what happened in Maryland’s second half. They never played well enough to challenge Wisconsin, and as a result the Badgers coasted to the 14-point win.

This game was concerning to me for several reasons.

One of those being the offensive rebounds that the Terps continually give up. The issue goes beyond boxing out.

Maryland had only one player on the court last night that has size and can get off the floor. This guy was only on the court for about a minute and never played at all. I’m talking about Saturday's honorary team captain (and two-time Final Four participant) Chris Wilcox.

I'm well aware that during Chris’s two years of playing at Maryland his teammates had loads of talent, but I always believed Wilcox put them over the top. This current Terps team has nobody like him, a big man with “hops”, and they get hurt by teams who continually out-jump them for balls.

The Maryland big men are a very skilled group and carry big bodies, but they all lack the verticality that made Wilcox so valuable. Only Jake Layman and guard Rasheed Sulaimon show the ability to separate with their vertical jump and it’s something that works against Maryland in almost every game.

Also spotlighted tonight were Damonte Dodd’s inability to guard outside the lane, and Jared Nickens’ inability to guard anywhere.

Repeatedly allowing his offensive assignment to shoot (and make) deep jumpers, Dodd played perhaps his most ineffective defensive game as a Terp. He was burned often in his nine minutes of playing time and had no points and one rebound.

Nickens was just too slow, regardless of his assignment. He was forced to use his hands and arms to defend quicker players and the result was four personal fouls in just 12 minutes of playing time. When he is not hitting threes (under 20% in Big 10 games), his value to the team diminishes to that of solely providing rest for the starters.

Perhaps of greater concern is the drop-off in productivity from Melo Trimble. Maryland cannot be successful against quality competition with Trimble playing the way he has in his two most recent Big 10 games.

Melo is an anemic 3 for 26 from the floor in his last two Big 10 games. In those two games he has also missed all seven of this three-point attempts. Last night he added five crucial turnovers and was a central figure in the Maryland loss. No doubt that Trimble will produce some quality play in future games, but one has to wonder if his recent efforts will hurt his draft stock.

I thought the Terps showed signs of panic tonight during their scoring void. As the drought got worse, I saw more one-on-one play, more bad shots, and a bunch of bad passes. That same calm and self-assuredness that has helped define their many late-game victories eluded them tonight. They got tense and were a bit rattled, even at home.

Trimble goes 1 for 14. Wisconsin hits 12 three-pointers. Maryland gets outrebounded 40-30 and goes eight minutes plus without putting a point on the board.

It all added up to another loss for a top-ranked team in a year where there are several good teams but no great ones. Maryland is a good team that had a bad night. A really bad night.

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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.


Well, much like four of the six players on my fantasy roster at Pebble Beach, I stunk it up for you this week.

If I would have been any more useless, I could have been a participant in either of the political debates we saw over the last five days.

I went with "horses for courses" and a couple of my thoroughbreds spit the bit.

Let's start with the good news, I guess. One of my "sleeper picks", Colt Knost, made the 54-hole cut and will get you four rounds worth of points if you played him.

And Brandt Snedeker will do the same, but he won't be defending his title this week as he sits at -2, a dozen shots behind leader Phil Mickelson.

That's the end of the good news.

My pre-tournament (predicted) winner, Kevin Na, threw a shoe in round three with a 79 that left him outside the cut line. Bubba Watson also missed the cut, which isn't particularly shocking given how much he dislikes being around people in general. That makes playing in a Pro-Am setting difficult for him, although I assumed he'd tear those par 5's apart at the three Monterey Penisula courses.

I went with James Hahn one more week than I should have, as he couldn't parlay his strong play from last week in Phoenix into another solid tournament at Pebble Beach.

And my hunch on Scott Brown? It was a bad one. He's doing laundry on Sunday instead of playing golf at Pebble Beach.

So, I had my first truly "bad week" of the year at Pebble Beach. I'm not entirely surprised, as the Pro-Am setting and the course rotation makes it difficult to handicap the field. I went with "horses for courses" in a lot of cases this week, but it just didn't work out.

Have no fear though...I already have a list full of great plays for you next week when the Tour moves to Riveria CC in Los Angeles. I'll be back, don't you worry.

Oh, and they ARE playing a golf tournament at Pebble Beach today and it just might make for some good drama. I've been touting Phil Mickelson's renewed game for a few weeks now and even gave him out this past Wednesday as "someone to consider". He owns a 2-shot lead over Hiroshi Iwata and a 3-shot cushion over Freddie Jacobson and Sung Kang.

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looking for that perfect
valentine's day gift?
two seats remain on our
adele bus trip

#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 two weeks ago and we've already sold 30 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 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 rows. 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 woman can sing, 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. Unlike some performers who 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 view of the stage.

In my history of organizing and running sports and concert trips, I've found that most people are interested in getting into 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. If you go to a game or a concert with three other friends, you'll want to be sitting together. We understand that.

Let me also say this: This trip ISN'T for women 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 welcome to come along. We'll be departing from the Towson area at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, September 9, and returning right after the show.

How do you get a seat on our Adele Bus? Just click here for 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, 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!


never been to augusta
for the masters?
let's change that!

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

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

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

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

The per-person price is $975. Everything is included in the package: airfare, ground transportation to and from the course, a full-day practice-round ticket, and lunch during the day.

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

If you're interested in making the trip to Augusta this April 5th, send me an e-mail today: 18inarow (at) gmail.com


Saturday
February 13
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 13

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed

if you're not the one hiring her,
why do you care?

A Cleveland sports-radio personality is no longer employed after making comments about the Buffalo Bills' hiring of Kathryn Smith as a quality-control special-teams coach.

Kevin Kiley, formerly of WKRK Radio, says he resigned.

Maybe he did.

Maybe he didn't.

What I can't figure out—as one who previously sat behind a microphone for 12 years—is why anyone would tackle such a combustible subject when it wouldn't affect his job or his industry one iota?

This isn't the first time Kiley has said something wacky about women in sports. He also criticized the NFL a year ago for employing a female referee.

He also caught a lot of heat for that commentary—from listeners, other media members, and the station management.

I understand sports radio, believe me. It's supposed to be a lightning rod. Everyone needs a "hot take" at some point during his or her show.

But Kathryn Smith's hiring by the Bills isn't worth losing your job over, unless you're one of the coaching prospects who was passed over in Buffalo when they hired her. Then—OK—maybe you'd raise a stink.

It's one thing if you want to say, "I don't think Kathryn Smith can be a successful coach in the NFL because the players won't give her the respect her position deserves and demands."

That's an opinion that has some merit. It puts the onus on the players and removes the notion that the female coach "might not be good enough."

But Kiley tried to say, basically, that women are too soft, too weak, and too, well, "womanly," to assume a coaching position in the rough-and-tough game of professional football.

That's getting you a reprimand from the station GM at the very least—and maybe worse.

Kiley wrote a lengthy explanation of what he called "censorship" from the powers-that-be at the radio station in Cleveland. Here's the meat of it:

In early November, I resigned at WKRK, effective the end of this month. I sent them a letter in early November and really, for reasons that were unrelated to this. My principles, their principles of doing business, they don’t match. And it was tough for me to work there.

But there’s a bigger issue here, let me get to this issue here. Look, throughout the history of radio and broadcasting, from Orson Welles to Howard Stern, people have stood up for the right to say and the right to argue and the right to make points. And people have lost their jobs, and opportunities, and they’ve been chastised for that. And they sacrificed. Throughout the history of broadcasting, you have these people. And I have no right to accept censorship. I’ve never been censored. In 35 years, I’ve never been censored, and I shouldn’t have been censored for this. And I have no right to accept censorship based on what broadcasting is. And nor should you accept censorship, ever. You should make sure that the people on the radio are telling you the truth as they see it. Now, you’re gonna argue with them and you can disagree with them, but don’t let the program director there, don’t let the general manager, don’t let some clown in New York tell them what to say, and then you think it’s their opinion, or what not to say. That’s what happened here, and I’m not accepting it. So, demand the truth.

There are a lot of moving parts in that statement from Kiley. Not all of them make complete sense. I do get what he's grasping for, but it's a futile stretch to say the radio station is censoring him by not allowing him to tell the truth as he sees it.

Those two factors don't really connect here.

Kiley isn't telling you "the truth" when he says Kathryn Smith isn't "man enough" to be a professional coach. That's an opinion. He's not sharing "truth" with the listening audience, he's sharing his opinion—his "guess", really—that she won't be successful because of her inability to measure up to the standard of coaching toughness that men possess.

That's essentially what he said on the air back in January when this went down, and it's the biggest reason he's no longer employed.

He wants the right to go on the air and say whatever he wants about whomever he wants. What he also wants—and isn't articulating very well—is to be held blameless for anything he says that's offensive or not representative of the station's moral or ethical code.

You can't have both of those things.

You CAN go on the air and say something inflammatory about women, gay men or women, someone of another race, etc.

But you can also be fired for saying those things.

This is 2016. All in the Family wouldn't fly on network television these days.

And you can't go on the radio and say stuff about a female football-coach and not expect push-back from the higher-ups.

Personally, I don't think Kathryn Smith will get a fair shake from the players in Buffalo, but I'm saying that without knowing anything about the inner workings of the Buffalo Bills locker room.

I'm saying that because I think virtually every professional athlete is predisposed to dismiss anyone's attempt at coaching or teaching who hasn't been in the trenches and done it themselves.

That's just human nature, but it's far more prevalent in sports than perhaps any other industry.

Golfer Lee Trevino, when asked why he didn't take lessons, said, "Why would I let anyone tell me how to play golf who can't beat me?"

Football players, baseball players, basketball players—they're willing to take advice and learn, but you better have a wealth of experience and knowledge before you sit them down and say "here's how you do it".

Neither of our coaches in town, Buck Showalter and John Harbaugh, made it to "the show" in their respective sports. But both are widely respected by their players because each has a lengthy coaching history.

It will take a great deal of personal character and open-mindedness for the players in Buffalo to accept Kathryn Smith. But that's much more about her "experience level" and far less about being a woman.

I'm a guy. But if Rex Ryan hired me to coach in Buffalo, I'd have little chance of survival there because I don't have football-coaching acumen.

I'm all for "free speech".

And I'm not a fan of censoring anyone, as I've said many times here at #DMD when it comes to editing or deleting "comments" from readers.

But when it comes to subjects like the one Kevin Kiley broached on his show in late January, you really need to know what you're trying to say and then you have to figure out the best way to say it.

Kiley failed on both of those points, which is why he doesn't have a job in radio anymore.

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from the desk of

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

orioles off-season has been
one wild ride

The Orioles offseason has been a weird roller-coaster ride, hasn't it?

By that, I mean the action has come in pronounced waves.

First there were the (surprise) re-signings of Matt Wieters and Darren O'Day to pretty sizeable salaries—and then—nothing.

Everything went into a holding pattern until word broke that Chris Davis had re-signed, and for easily the largest contract in franchise history.

Then another lengthy period of inactivity. It seemed like the Orioles were done with their work and would be going into Spring Training with the roster at hand, obvious holes and all.

Not so fast, my friend!

There's another loop to this ride. The baseball rumor-mill is afire with word that the Orioles are just about done (as of this writing on Friday evening) with a contract for Yovani Gallardo, and if that is accomplished, that they'd like to add outfielder Dexter Fowler as well.

Those two moves would immediately plug the open wounds in the starting rotation and in right field.

Rumors sometimes don't come to fruition, but the big-name guys on the Orioles beat generally have the goods, so when you hear that a team and a player are “making progress” towards a deal, it's a VERY good bet that something gets done.

With the way the Orioles have been connected to Gallardo in recent days, I'd be shocked if something fell through at this point.

The Orioles are said to have been interested in Gallardo all offseason, which made claims of unwillingness to part with a draft pick ring hollow, and now it looks like they're the last team still in on the right-hander.

I'm not fond of Gallardo, for reasons I'll expound on if the deal is done, but he's a solid upgrade over the realistic options for the fifth-starter job, so it's hard to complain about him, especially if the limited market for mid-level free agents is allowing the Orioles to come away with a bargain.

Fowler, on the other hand, is a no-brainer signing if the Gallardo deal is done. The cost of the second draft-pick will be markedly lower than the first, and Fowler is worth more than the 29th pick anyway.

While not the power hitter you try to fit in to the corners, Fowler has solid on-base skills, runs well, and plays plus defense—these make him much better than any existing right-field options for the Orioles.

His market has been even more limited than Gallardo's, so a good discount here seems likely (Fowler will probably end up with a one- or two-year deal that pays less than the annual value of the qualifying offer), and nabbing both players would be a February coup for Dan Duquette.

If Fowler isn't signed, the Orioles are also said to be interested in Pedro Alvarez. He is pretty much the opposite of Fowler: A 30 home-run guy who's a nothing in terms of average, on-base percentage, and defense. While he wouldn't be as productive as Fowler, he would come at less than half the cost, and doesn't cost the draft pick.

What's behind this run of spending? It's hard to tell, but the thinking is probably, “the money's there so we might as well use it.”

The team already made a huge investment in Davis. Manny Machado is probably not signing any long-term deal prior to free agency. Adam Jones isn't getting any younger. Thus, the window for this team to win is open now, and may only be open for a few years.

The Orioles just announced a big hike in ticket prices. They might as well spend every available penny in the budget to put a competitive team on the field and blunt any blowback from that.

Or maybe this is just the moment for the team to put out big bucks, given the match between the existing roster that has produced four consecutive winning seasons and the available free-agent talent in their price range.

Whatever the case, the team seems to be doing its best to make another real run at the division title. Even with Gallardo and Fowler they may end up as a third- or fourth-place team in what looks to be the deepest division in baseball. But they could also end up, with a string of good fortune like they had in 2014, in first place.

And if things don't work out, you can say this for them: It certainly won't be for lack of trying.

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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 won't go to the wire
with wisconsin tonight

The Wisconsin Badgers invade College Park tonight for a 6:30 pm rematch of the game they hosted against Maryland on January 9th at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin. In that game, Melo Trimble hit an NBA-range three-pointer with 1.5 seconds remaining to break a 60-60 tie and give the Terps a 63-60 win.

Things won’t be as close this time.

Winners of their last six games, Wisconsin has enjoyed a stretch where their only two road games were against Big 10 bottom feeders Penn State and Illinois.

During the win streak they've notched solid victories against Michigan State and Indiana but neither game gave me reason to believe they can come to Maryland and beat the Terps tonight.

In their one-point win over Michigan State, Wisconsin went to the foul line 36 times and outscored the Spartans 29-12 from the stripe. In the overtime win against Indiana, Wisconsin went to the foul line 37 times and enjoyed a 28-16 advantage in foul-shots made.

That’s simply not happening, either on the road or in College Park where the Terps enjoy a season-long advantage in foul shots taken and made.

In the first contest this year between Maryland and Wisconsin, the Terps led 36-32 at the half. They were able to distribute the ball and had fairly balanced scoring. Six Terps took more than three shots in the first half and all six scored four or more points.

The second half was much different. Only three Terps scored. Only two attempted more than two shots. Maryland tallied a mere 27 points in the second half, with Trimble getting 13 and Diamond Stone and Robert Carter Jr each contributing seven.

There will be no repeat of the anemic second-half offensive output that saw Jake Layman, Rasheed Sulaimon, and Damonte Dodd combine for only one (missed) shot. No tonight. Not in College Park.

Turnovers and strategy also contributed to the low Terp output in the second half of that game last month at Wisconsin.

Maryland reached the 56-point mark with just under seven minutes remaining in the game when Terps' coach Mark Turgeon decided to slow down the game and protect Maryland’s eight-point lead.

From that point, until Trimble’s winning three-pointer, they managed only one field goal (a Stone dunk) and made two foul shots.

Three questionable Terp three-point attempts and several turnovers later, Wisconsin tied the game.

In all, Maryland committed nine second-half turnovers. The decision by Turgeon to play slowly and protect his possibly tired team certainly contributed to the hectic ending. I don’t think that choice will come into play tonight and they won’t amass nine miscues in the half.

Maryland will be well rested and have the fresher legs for this Big 10 match-up. They have played just one game (against Bowie State) since their tough, physical win at home against Purdue last Saturday.

In the Bowie State game, no Terp starter logged more than twenty minutes in the easy win on Tuesday evening. Wisconsin most recently played Wednesday night at home against Nebraska.

I look for the Terps to be the more energized squad tonight.

Everything points to a big Maryland win. Scoring on the inside should be no problem for the Terp big men and Trimble has shown that he can get inside on this Badger team.

I also believe Maryland will have more success defending Wisconsin’s solid freshman center Ethan Happ. Happ had 16 points and 11 rebounds in the first game. I think his strength inside caught some Terp interior defenders by surprise. Maryland will be ready for him tonight.

Add all this together and we have a game where Maryland leads from the start and rolls to a 17-point win.

Maryland won’t need to call off the dogs to save energy because they don’t play again until Thursday, at Minnesota. Wisconsin’s slower pace won’t stop the Terps from getting the 76-59 win.

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#DMD'S HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS SPOTLIGHT

Marsh
Insurance & Financial
410-426-2282

brought to you by
Greg Marsh

mount st. joseph and st. frances
meet for miaa hoops title

In the words of Mount St. Joseph basketball coach Pat Clatchey, his team played much of the first half of its MIAA A Conference semifinal playoff game with No. 3 Glenelg Country on Thursday as if it were “stuck in quicksand".

That changed in an instant for the top-seeded and second-ranked Gaels. They rapidly found a different gear and closed the first half on an electrifying 15-0 run that propelled them to a 52-46 victory over the Dragons.

St. Joe now advances to this Sunday’s A Conference championship game at UMBC’s RAC Arena against fifth-ranked St. Frances. The Panthers reached the final with a 59-49 win over No. 7 John Carroll in Thursday’s other semifinal.

For more than 12 minutes in the first half on Thursday, the Gaels (28-3) had no flow to their offense, struggled to get quality shots and missed numerous chances near the rim, as No. 3 Glenelg Country methodically built a 23-14 lead on the strength of five 3-pointers.

The Dragons (18-8) took their biggest lead of the night on a 3-pointer by Myles Williams and Clatchey promptly called a timeout with 3 minutes, 45 seconds to go in the opening half.

Shortly after the time out, Randy Miller hit a free throw for the Gaels and then Nigel Jackson, who drained a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer of Wednesday’s quarterfinal win over St. Vincent Pallotti, ignited the crowd and his teammates with a long trey and, finally, the Gaels were unleashed.

When the first half ended, the Gaels had turned a nine-point deficit into a 29-23 lead.

"We were playing very reactive, rather than proactive, but once we got that run going, I think we got the tempo up a little bit,” said Clatchey. “Hats off to Glenelg Country, a terrific team. We’ve had them three times and every game has just been a hard fought basketball game.”

Clatchey was especially impressed with the performance of Jackson, his 6-foot-5 forward.

“Nigel bounced back from hitting probably the biggest shot of his life last night and he really helped us win the basketball game today,” said Clatchey, who also commented on his squads grueling schedule in the month of February.

“It’s been a very difficult stretch in terms of how many games we’ve had to play. We’ve played nine games in 11 days. We’ve had two practices,” said Clatchey. “I give our team a lot of credit. They’ve been dealt a very tough hand, but they don’t make excuses. We just come out and compete and fortunately we’ve found a way to win.”

Miller lead the Gaels with 13 points and Jackson finished with 11, while senior Pierre Johnson added 10 points. Longpré had a game-high 15 points to pace Glenelg Country and Hightower scored 10 points for the Dragons.

This game story was originally produced by Varsity Sports Network and edited for space by #DMD. To follow all of Maryland's local high school basketball playoff action, visit www.varsitysportsnetwork.com.



Friday
February 12
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 12

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed

"what exactly do you do now?"

Earlier this week, I ran into a former advertiser on the radio station where I worked from 2002 to 2014. I hadn't seen him since July or August of 2014.

After a brief exchange of pleasantries, he said, "I know you're not doing radio anymore. I think I heard you were doing something on the internet, right?"

Before I could explain, he added: "What exactly do you do now?"

"I publish a website that focuses on sports, a sort of online newspaper, but more focused on current, topical items of interest," was my reply.

We chatted a few more minutes, caught up with one another's respective personal lives, then headed off in opposite directions.

And I started thinking.

What exactly is it that I'm doing these days?

I quickly realized I gave him only a brief explanation of Drew's Morning Dish and our intentions to create Baltimore's #1 sports website.

But I'm thankful he asked the question, because it remained an important daily thought of mine.

Not only have I asked myself, "What is it that I do?" but more importantly, "What do I want to be doing next year, the year after that, and so on?"

I keep coming back to the same answer: Servicing the community with quality, sports-driven content from diverse writers while simultaneously showcasing corporate partners who offer products and services to the citizens of this community.

Every six weeks or so, I find myself wanting to offer an update on what's going on at #DMD. New readers are finding us all the time, I'm blessed to say. Just this week, we've enjoyed—from a traffic standpoint—one of the most active five-day periods of the last six months.

You may be here right now and not really know much about our plans, our mission, or what we intend for the future.

Some of it is a work in progress. Sometimes I don't know what the next three steps are going to be. I work best at the one-step-at-a-time pace.

As you've seen over the last several months, our "Bucket List Trips" concept is becoming an integral part of #DMD's plan.

I believe in offering something for everyone, every day. Whether it's a story you want to read, a writer you want to follow, or a trip you want to learn more about, I'm hopeful you'll make Drew's Morning Dish a daily stop in your internet travels.

Your support of the website with daily visits, social media "shares," and word-of-mouth promotion is critical to our continued growth. I appreciate everything you do to help spread the word about #DMD and what we offer to the sports community.

Our corporate partners are the pulse of the #DMD business model. We could set a fixed monthly cost to access the website and ask you to pay to read the articles, or we could make it free and ask that you patronize our corporate partners when your need arises for products and services they offer.

Charging you to visit #DMD isn't the business model I've elected to pursue.

Instead, I bring outstanding corporate partners to the attention of the community and ask that you support them when you can. Everyone wins in this situation.

We're on the honor system here, but it's a process that has worked well over the last 18 months. Our corporate partners have received your support. That is why they re-sign with #DMD and return for another season and/or another year as one of their marketing connections for their products or services.

So thank you for all that you do to help make #DMD a success. I appreciate all who visit the site and truly appreciate that you patronize our corporate partners.

Our community has great momentum. Thanks for helping us keep that ball rolling in the right direction!

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umbc hoops: retrievers blasted
at home by stony brook

After hitting 60 percent from the field against Maine last week, the UMBC men’s basketball team ran into a shooting drought that lasted almost ten and a half minutes last night against Stony Brook.

The Seawolves took advantage of the Retrievers’ struggles by running up a 37-17 halftime lead and held on to remain undefeated in the 2016 calendar year with a 75-52 victory at the RAC Arena.

The Retrievers (6-20, 2-9 America East) opened the scoring with two successful free throws from sophomore Jairus Lyles, but Stony Brook’s Carson Puriefoy countered with a three to take an early 3-2 lead.

Freshman Joe Sherburne’s jumper less than a minute later put the Retrievers back on top by one, but the Seawolves then took a lead they would not surrender.

Stony Brook (21-4, 12-0 AE), which extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 17 straight victories, was dominant inside, scoring 20 of their 37 first-half points in the paint and pulling down 26 rebounds in the half.

UMBC freshman forward Nolan Gerrity made life under the basket a little harder for the Seawolves in the second with a team-leading four defensive rebounds. Gerrity finished the game with a season-high six rebounds, and was two points shy of his season high with eight points.

Stony Brook hit 50 percent of their field goals (13-of-26) in the opening frame, while UMBC shot a tepid 14 percent (4-of-27). Not a single Retriever scored twice from the field in the first, but UMBC shot 64 percent (9-of-14) from behind the line.

Neither team had much luck from beyond the arc in the opening half. Collectively, the two squads went one for 11 from three-point range.

The Retrievers were able to up their shooting efficiency in the second half (to 43.3 percent) but finished with their second-worst shooting percentage of the season, hitting only 16 of 52 attempts (30.8 percent).

Despite the tough outing for the Retrievers as a whole, sophomore guard Malcolm Brent was perfect from the floor, sinking all three of his field goals and hitting UMBC’s lone three.

Lyles again led the team in points (13) and was the only Retriever to break double digits, despite putting up his second-lowest total of the season.

Stony Brook senior and reigning America East player of the year Jameel Warney led all players with 22 points, and was one of four Seawolves to post double-digit point totals.

The Retrievers travel to UMass Lowell this Sunday, Feb. 14, for an America East Conference matinee. Tip-off time is scheduled for noon.


umbc-hopkins lacrosse moved to march 30

Because of predicted near-zero temperatures this weekend, the season-opening UMBC–Johns Hopkins lacrosse game at UMBC has been moved to March 30 at 7:00 p.m.

UMBC will play at Mount Saint Mary's on Tuesday, April 12 at 7:00 p.m.

The Retrievers kick-off their 2016 campaign next Saturday, February 20, when they host Richmond at 12:00 noon.

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

MATTHEW CARROLL

For only the sixth time in league history and the first time in almost eight years, the top four sides in the Barclays Premier League will go head to head when Matchweek 26 kicks off this weekend, with Sunday giving us two of the biggest matchups of the season with repercussion sure to felt throughout the top half of the table. Be sure to tune in and as usual catch all of the action live on the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Saturday, February 13 (all times eastern)

12:30pm – Newcastle United @ Chelsea – Stamford Bridge, NBC

An injury time goal from Diego Costa last weekend salvaged a point for Chelsea, who remain unbeaten in the nine matches since care taker manager Guus Hiddink took over (W3 D6), in a 1-1 draw with Manchester United to help the Blues move one step further away from the relegation zone.

They will welcome Newcastle United to Stamford Bridge on Saturday, where the Magpies will be in search of consecutive wins in the league for only the second time since November of 2014, as they continue to flip flop back and forth from the relegation zone and into safety following their 1-0 victory over West Brom.

Newcastle spent almost $50 million on four players during the winter transfer window, including England internationals Andros Townsend and Jonjo Shelvey, with the hopes of avoiding the drop down to the Championship by seasons end and, despite taking the most points off Chelsea than any other team in the league over the last five seasons (13), may find it difficult to move further from the bottom of the table this weekend with losses in their last three trips to Stamford Bridge and manager Steve McClaren with just one win against the Blues in eleven attempts.

Sunday, February 13 (all times eastern)

7am – Leicester City @ Arsenal – Emirates Stadium, NBC Sports Network

Any doubt about the legitimacy of Leicester City’s title run this season was put to bed on Saturday when the Foxes, who at this time only one year ago were in last place just trying to survive their first season back in England’s top flight, dismantled Manchester City in a 3-1 victory to go five points clear at the top of the table.

Another daunting road trip awaits them this weekend when they travel to the Emirates Stadium to take on Arsenal, who kept pace with the cinderella league leaders with two goals in an eighty-eight second span enough to take all three points at Bournemouth 2-0.

After going winless in three of their last four (W1 D3), Mesut Ozil’s opening goal last Sunday ended a 388-minute goal less drought in a game that Arsenal could not afford to lose, which could also be said about this weekend’s encounter.

One of only two sides to beat Leicester this season and without a loss in their last eighteen meetings (W12 D6), including wins in their last eight games against the Foxes at the Emirates, the Gunners have struggled when facing teams currently at the top of the league table, with only one win in their last eleven meetings against first place teams (D4 L6).

11:15am – Tottenham @ Manchester City – Etihad Stadium, NBC Sports Network

Manchester City will have to regroup quickly if they are to have any hope of continuing what just weeks ago looked to be an almost certain title challenge following the sobering defeat to Leicester, as they welcome Tottenham to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday in the final mathcup of the weekend.

Tottenham took over second place, just ahead of bitter cross town rivals Arsenal on goal differential and a point above City, following their 1-0 victory over upstart Watford, only the second time in the last thirty years that the Spurs have sat this high in the table at this stage of the season.

In a league that rewards consistency only Leicester have been better than Tottenham, their win last Saturday the fourth in a row and sixth consecutive across all competitions, including nine of their last twelve in the league (D2 L1).

City have lost only two of the last ten league meetings with Tottenham, including victories in the last five encounters at the Etihad Stadium, but have not beaten a side currently in the top six of the league table this season (W0 D3 L4), which includes the 4-1 beating that Spurs laid on them in the reverse fixture last September.

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looking for that perfect
valentine's day gift?
two seats remain on our
adele bus trip

#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 two weeks ago and we've already sold 30 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 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 rows. 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 woman can sing, 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. Unlike some performers who 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 view of the stage.

In my history of organizing and running sports and concert trips, I've found that most people are interested in getting into 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. If you go to a game or a concert with three other friends, you'll want to be sitting together. We understand that.

Let me also say this: This trip ISN'T for women 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 welcome to come along. We'll be departing from the Towson area at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, September 9, and returning right after the show.

How do you get a seat on our Adele Bus? Just click here for 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, 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!


never been to augusta for the masters?
let's change that!

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

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

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

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

The per-person price is $975. Everything is included in the package: airfare, ground transportation to and from the course, a full-day practice-round ticket, and lunch during the day.

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

If you're interested in making the trip to Augusta this April 5th, send me an e-mail today: 18inarow (at) gmail.com


Thursday
February 11
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 11

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this must be peter's swan song

There is nothing in the ownership tenure of Peter Angelos that suggests what we've seen from the Orioles over the last three months is "part of the plan".

And that leaves me with only one reasonable deduction.

Angelos is in the beginning stages of prepping the franchise to be put on the market.

There's no other explanation for the spending we've seen from Angelos and the Orioles since the 2015 season ended. Sure, the nearly $17 million they're forking over to Matt Wieters wasn't entirely a decision they made, but they could have easily eliminated the prospect of paying him that kind of money by not making him the qualifying offer in the first place. But, they did. And they took a huge financial hit by doing so.

They traded a bag of balls and some Southwest Airlines tickets for Mark Trumbo, and he'll make $9 million in 2016.

Then they stuffed two Brinks trucks full of money for Chris Davis and shelled out the unthinkable amount of $161 million to re-sign him last month.

And now we're hearing that the club has all but inked right handed pitcher Yovani Gallardo to a multi-year contract that might get him somewhere between $35-$45 million depending on the length of the deal.

Oh, and Dexter Fowler might be hanging out in right field if he'll take his price down to the $27-$30 million range for his multi-year agreement.

I know, I know, I'm thinking the same thing you are, trust me: What in the hell is going on here?

Simple. Peter's positioning himself to try and sell the ballclub.

That's what I think, anyway.

Here's what we DO know about the team's history and the method(s) by which Angelos constructed his organization.

First, nothing pre-2006 even matters anymore, because those were before the days of MASN and the regional sports network empire that Peter created nearly a decade ago. The game COMPLETELY changed when Angelos bilked Major League Baseball out of the territory rights to both Baltimore and Washington DC as part of the compromise for Peter so graciously allowing the Expos to move from Montreal to DC.

So, since the start-up of MASN, Angelos tried the "gut it and just lose for the sake of losing" routine, which frankly was a suggestion made by Andy MacPhail when he took over the club in June of 2007.

MacPhail almost immediately convinced Peter that spending $93 million (2007) to lose by 25 games to the Yankees and Red Sox wasn't nearly as profitable as spending $67 million (2008) and losing by 25 games to the Yankees and Red Sox.

Peter bought in. And, honestly, it probably wasn't all that dumb of an idea given the landslide of talent difference between the Orioles and those other two A.L. East monsters. You can almost see Peter nodding his head as MacPhail says to him, "Look, Mr. A, let's be smart about this. Those guys are gonna kick your ass again in 2008 even if you spend $93 million again. Shave this thing down to $65 million or so, save yourself $30 million, and we'll tackle it in a different direction a year from now."

Rumors and inner-circle whispers back then even had MacPhail getting a piece of the "new profit margin", which meant dropping the salaries by $30 million made even more sense. For MacPhail, that is.

But, it also greatly diminished the overall value of the baseball product in Baltimore. Peter still had the TV network to fall back on, sure, but no one was going to the games back then and the franchise was not only a punch-line across the country, but in Charm City as well.

The value of Peter's baseball-related holdings was increasing by the day given the cash cow that had become MASN, but the baseball franchise itself -- the actual organizational "product" -- wasn't worth David Price's recent contract with the Red Sox.

So...that wasn't the solution. The team lost, no one paid attention, and Angelos certainly couldn't have been proud of the way it was going in 2008, 2009, etc.

And, for sure, no one in town with money to burn would have wanted to buy the franchise, particularly in light of the fact that you still had to deal with the old man and his son(s) when the subject of local cable TV rights came up.

Then in July of 2010, Buck Showalter showed up and the game changed. For the better.

Whether it was because Angelos saw that Showalter could get blood out of a stone or that Showalter told Angelos "get me better ballplayers or I'm gone", the team started to spend money on players. It was incremental at first, but year-by-year, the payroll started to bulge. It went from $81 million (2012) to $90 million (2013) to $107 million (2014) to $110 million last season. Think what you want, but in two of those four years, the Orioles made the playoffs.

And guess what else has happened in those four years? The Orioles were an item again. They became vibrant. Life -- good life -- blossomed in the ballpark for six months. And, for the first time since MASN was born, there's now reason to think the club might actually be "sellable" without having the TV network attached to it.

Which, I think, is why we're seeing Angelos go hog-wild these days and cough up money that we previously never before thought was possible.

If the Orioles do sign Gallardo and Fowler, their 2016 payroll might very well be close to $170 million. It's at $145 million now, without those two. Peter Angelos -- spending $170 million -- on baseball players. Yeah, and I'm going to sing back-up with Springsteen in Baltimore on April 20.

Other than prepping the franchise for a sale, what other possible explanation could you give for this off-season of money distribution?

At 86 years old now, did Peter suddenly wake up and say, "Dammit, you know what? I wanna win myself a world championship before I go on to the great courtroom in the sky."? I don't think so. I'm not saying he doesn't want to win, but I also don't think 86 year olds have an epiphany to change the way they've done stuff for the last 20 years of their life.

It's true that by putting this mega-mother-payroll together that he's also creating a substantial amount of future debt for someone who might buy the club from him. But they'd be buying GOOD players and, you think (or hope), a winning, championship-caliber on-field product.

What person wants to inherit a downtrodden franchise with two good players and a bunch of bums who can't win 75 games a year?

Peter tried that angle in 2008 and it flopped.

This new way might be the answer. Spend a gazillion dollars on players, get the team back on the map from a competitive standpoint, and then pawn it off to the next Steve Bisciotti in town who fancies himself an "up and comer" and needs the spotlight of a pro sports franchise to cement his status in the community.

And, let's face it, a lot of the money Angelos is obligating himself to pay out is actually money he'll never personally hand over. He'll be long gone by the time Chris Davis starts collecting that deferred money Angelos authorized in the new contract.

I'm just spitballing here, but I can't imagine Peter's two sons -- John and Lou -- are overly interested in taking over the franchise and actually "owning" it. They have their rainbow and pot of gold. It's called "MASN". That's the business model that attracts them. A lot of money in, not that much money out. No fussing around with players, unions, contracts, deferred money and community criticism if the team loses 85 or 90 games.

If either of those guys had a legitimate interest in assuming ownership of the Orioles, they'd be in the Warehouse on a daily basis learning the nuances of how it all works. I hear that's not the current set-up. And there's also that pesky $50 million dollar (or more by the time it transpires) estate tax they'll have to pay when/if their father hands the franchise over. It's just not worth all the hassle.

So, I can only assume Peter's looking to sell the baseball team. And there's nothing at all wrong with that, by the way. It makes perfect sense.

It's a lot easier to sell a flourishing company than a sagging one.

Peter finally came to terms with that, it would appear.

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lyles worth the ticket price at umbc

It's rare that our local mid-major basketball programs have players on their roster that are "worth the price of admission" kind of talents. That's not a criticism, per se, but just the simple reality of the way it works in big time college hoops these days.

The elite, "game changers" get scooped up by Kansas, Kentucky, Duke and, heck, even our very own Maryland Terps are starting to look like they might be on the verge of becoming a recruiting powerhouse under Mark Turgeon.

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Jairus Lyles and his 25 points-per-game welcome Stony Brook tonight at UMBC's RAC Arena.

But, our local schools have had some "special" players over the last decade. There was Jay Greene at UMBC, who helped guide the Retrievers to a conference title and NCAA tournament berth in 2008. Reggie Holmes was an exceptional player at Morgan State and he too played in NCAA tournaments under coach Todd Bozeman. Most recently, Towson had Jerrelle Benimon, who briefly flirted with Denver in the NBA before settling on a nice career in China.

UMBC has another one of those marquee players now.

His name is Jairus Lyles.

Lyles transferred from VCU last year and was forced to sit out the first semester this season due to NCAA rules. Since his debut in December, Lyles has been perhaps the America East conference's best player, averaging 25.4 points per-game in his 14 games with the Retrievers.

It's rare that you buy a couple of tickets to a local college game and see a player that makes you say, "Now that guy right there was worth the $10 I paid tonight to get in here with my kid and watch this game."

But UMBC has that player, now, in Jairus Lyles.

You can check out Lyles and the Retrievers tonight when they welcome conference beast Stony Brook to the RAC for a 7 pm tip-off. Tickets are available at the RAC box office.


with 30 games left, warriors "just" need to go 25-5

If any team in the NBA finishes the last 30 games of this regular season at 24-6, you'd assume they'd be thrilled, right?

Imagine that. Down the stretch, late in the season, every game matters -- and you go 24-6. That's some ballin', there.

But if that happens to the Golden State Warriors, they'll be disappointed.

How's that for perspective?

They'd be disappointed because a 24-6 finish would leave them at 72-10 and tied with the '93-94 Chicago Bulls for the all-time best single-season record in NBA history. If they go 25-5 -- which is possible, but certainly not a walk-in-the-park -- they'll own the record all by their lonesome.

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NBA champion and MVP a year ago, now Steph Curry's encore is trying to take down Michael Jordan and the Bulls from 1993-94.

They moved one win closer last night as Steph Curry scored 26 points and fellow "Splash Brother" Klay Thompson had 24 as the Warriors improved to 48-4 with a 112-104 win at Phoenix. They've reached the All-Star break with four losses so far this season.

OK, yes, the Suns aren't what they used to be, that's for darn sure. They're 14-40 on the year. But a win-is-a-win, especially when you really can't afford many goof-ups when you're in pursuit of that elusive 73-9 record like the Warriors are now.

Golden State has 48 wins and 4 freakin' losses after 52 games. That's unthinkable.

What's even more unthinkable is this: To get to 73-9, they still have to go 25-5 down the stretch. And in those 30 games are trips to San Antonio and Oklahoma City, plus a handful of other games that fall on the back-end of a long road trip or a 3-games-in-days stretch.

I always say "don't bother me with news about a baseball hitting streak until the guy gets to 30 consecutive games". That's a solid benchmark for anyone chasing either the 56-game streak of DiMaggio or the 44-game streak of Pete Rose. You get to 30 games in a row...I'll pay attention.

It's time to start keeping an eye on Golden State now.

They need to get to 73 wins to break the all-time record. They're currently at 48. The "watch" is officially on.

It won't be long before they'll be at 55. And then 60. As long as they don't have 7 losses by the time they reach 60, they're definitely in the hunt.

And they know it, too. Curry, Thompson and others have commented on the record that the record is in their crosshairs. They're chasing it.

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check out my new "wine winner" at the wine merchant

I was able to get over to The Wine Merchant last Friday and grab a couple of bottles of wine for the weekend, and I found a terrific red "blend" from Tessellae Old Vines that I've nominated as "Drew's Wine Winner" this week.

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Available for $15 at The Wine Merchant, you'll love the taste of this awesome red blend.

You will not only love the price ($15), but you'll really enjoy the taste, too. It's a blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 20% Mourvedre that was aged in a concrete tank. You'll taste black cherries, blueberry and even a hint of licorice in this bottle. I enjoyed it with chicken on Sunday afternoon and it was just right. Not overpowering, not heavy and most certainly not suffocating, which is what I sometimes find a red blend will do with lighter meats.

If your budget and your patience allows for it, this is precisely the kind of wine you buy now and vow to store for a few years. If you can do that, you'll really love the results in 2019 or so.

But, if you're like me and you're a "buy it and open it" kind of wine lover, I promise you'll love this wine from Tessellae. The price is perfect and the wine is just as victorious.

Stop in at The Wine Merchant and check it out for yourself. You'll see my "Drew's Wine Winner" card on the box, confirming that I've selected it as this week's winner. If you need any help, ask for Chris (general manager) or Joe (owner) and they'll be happy to help you find it and load it up in your vehicle.

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looking for that perfect valentine's day gift? 2 seats remain on our adele bus trip

#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 two weeks ago and we've already sold 30 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...



never been to augusta and the masters? let's change that!

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you're interested in making the trip to Augusta this April 5th, send me an e-mail today: 18inarow (at) gmail.com


Wednesday
February 10
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 10

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Click here for full details on our Masters trip!




orioles had to raise ticket prices (and yet they'll still take grief for it)


Over the weekend, my "Bird in the Sky" at the Warehouse sent me a brief note and said the Orioles were releasing their 2016 season ticket information "early in the week". I assumed that meant it wouldn't be Monday, since any marketer with a half-a-brain knows you NEVER publish bad news on a Monday.

I was right. The Orioles unveiled their 2016 season ticket information and pricing yesterday.

It didn't go over well.

There are a lot of moving parts to Tuesday's announcement. Most of them are the inevitable kind, the stuff you expected to see but still don't like nonetheless. A few things about the new pricing are also just part and parcel of the way baseball ticketing works these days. And there are one or two almost-predictable foul-ups because, well, anytime a team changes a policy or two, it's bound to be the wrong decision.

Personally speaking, my 29-game plan with seats in Section 7 went up about $4.30 per-ticket. While the published "overall hike" was 20% across the board, my seats went up by roughly 25%.

I was prepared for ticket prices to increase. I knew as much back in early December when my confidant at the Warehouse told me the team was waiting for the Chris Davis decision before deciding on and publishing their 2016 pricing.

I think we all found that to be somewhat reasonable. If you're going to give a ballplayer $161 million, someone has to pay the lion's share of that investment.

Is a $4.30 per-ticket, per-game price hike fair? That means I'll spend $240 more for the season, assuming I don't sell my opening day tickets (which I likely will, since my Calvert Hall golf team has a match on April 4) and don't put a few of the Yankees or Red Sox games on sale at one of the (team approved) secondary-selling sites (which, frankly, I probably will as well).

I don't buy a 29-game plan mainly because of the pricing. I buy it to have a reliable, good seat for the games I get through my plan and I know I'm first in line for playoff tickets if the club makes it to the post-season.

The Orioles will point out to everyone they're still the 9th most affordable team in Major League Baseball, it's only the club's 3rd ticket hike in 12 years, and all that other stuff.

Some of that is true. Some of that is spin.

A few years back, the O's conveniently -- and quietly -- changed the designation of some of the lower box seats, moving a couple of sections into a more prime (code word: more expensive) seating location. So, those folks saw a ticket price hike that others in the stadium didn't.

Small stuff, and I know we're not supposed to sweat it, but still relevant when it comes to matters of transparency and customer service.

For at least the last couple of years, the 13-game plan holders don't get opening day as part of their plan(s). That's a bad move. Anyone who signs up for a double-digit-games ticket package is worthy of an opening day "reward".

We know the message the Orioles are sending there: Buy a 29-game plan instead of a 13-game plan.

For some, it's simply impractical to go to 29 baseball games in a 6-month time frame. The money is one thing...but the time needed to go to 29 games just isn't there for a lot of people. 13 games is a much more reasonable number. And yet, they don't get an opening day ticket as part of their package.

That's a mistake.

A few people reached out to me yesterday claiming their two seats experienced a hike of nearly $1,300 each -- or $2,600 for the entire season. I'll admit, that's quite the jump.

Ultimately, I guess you have to ask yourself this: Would you rather pay 2008 prices (average ticket price, $17.00) and see the team lollygag through another 95-loss season with a roster almost-intentionally crafted to bring about losing, or would you rather pay 2016 prices (average ticket price, $30.00) and watch a team with a $145 million payroll have a legitimate shot at playing meaningful baseball in September?

I'll take 2016.

I saw 2008. It was a joke. The franchise, moribund at that time by anyone's description, was literally NOT worth supporting. They weren't interesting in winning, they were interested in having a product they could put on TV for the new network that was in its infancy.

I'll pay $4.30 more per-game to see Chris Davis 18-20 times a year (roughly the amount of games I'll see through my 29-game plan) if it means I don't have to watch Alex Cintron or Freddie Bynum masquerade as a shortstop in the 8th inning of another 9-2 loss to the White Sox, circa 2008.

We all knew this day was coming the minute we woke up on that Saturday in January and saw the Chris Davis signing on our Twitter timeline.

The Orioles have a $145 million payroll this year. At $25.00 per-ticket (last year's average) and 2.5 million people (roughly) going to the games, that's $62.5 million in ticket revenue.

I went to Glen Burnie, and gym -- not math -- was my go-to-subject, but that leaves a shortfall of about $83 million.

So, raising prices is the only way to cut into that $83 million deficit, if you want to call it that.

Yes, of course, all MLB teams pull in well over $100 million each in national TV money and then there's the MASN cash cow that forks over another $35 million or so to the Birds. All that TV money puts the club in the black, yes, but they still have taxes, insurance, front office staff, minor league operations and a gazillion other expenses to control within their operating budget.

The Orioles are making money, yes, but they're also not in a position to just do it on their own. The fans have to pay the freight, too.

Do I like everything about the way the club handles their ticketing? Not necessarily. But I also have to say that anytime I have an issue or special-needs-situation that requires a "personal touch", my ticket sales representative - Mark Hromalik - is a pro's pro. He treats me great. And I feel like I'm valued as a 29-game plan holder.

Someone probably should get to Dan Duquette, though, and remind our favorite general manager of something as the club heads into the 2016 campaign. I'll share HIS WORDS from the e-mail I received yesterday that announced the ticket prices for the upcoming season:

Over the past four seasons, the Orioles have won more games than any team in the American League. That progress is anchored by a powerful lineup, a dynamic rotation, a strong bullpen, crisp defense, and a commitment to The Oriole Way at every level of our organization. While we finished short of our expectations last season, we have worked hard this winter to improve our club in 2016 and ultimately to bring a World Series championship to Baltimore.

Yes, I put the words "dynamic rotation" in bold myself. Look, I get it, someone from the marketing department sent Duquette an e-mail asked him to provide a few paragraphs for inclusion on the ticket piece that went out yesterday. And that's what Dan did.

He's right, the Orioles have won more games than anyone in the A.L. over the last four years. "Powerful lineup" can't be debated. Strong bullpen? You bet. Crisp defense? Sure. But, ummm, Danny my friend..."dynamic rotation" probably aren't the two words any of us think of when we're considering this year's mound corps or the one we had in 2015, 2014, etc.

It's a little thing, yes. But don't try and tell us we're seeing something that we're not.

We'll come to the games if you guys keep trying to win. The attendance figures over the last couple of years have supported that statement. No need to buffalo us into thinking everything is perfect with the the structure of the team's roster, because we know it isn't.

Now, had you signed David Price for $218 million...then "dynamic rotation" might have at least been somewhat acceptable, yes.

As it is, the tickets went up and that's cool -- partly because that's just the way it goes these days and partly because the roster improvements dictate a price hike.

Spend money on really good ballplayers and we'll spend money on your product.

See you in April.

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time for a new #dmd podcast

I cover a handful of things in today's newest podcast, including some discussion about the Super Bowl, the Orioles and their ticket price increase, and something "additional" from the world of fantasy golf. For those of you who are going to check out my weekly Fantasy Golf Guide below, I'll tell you that I've handed out a few "other names" on today's podcast, ones that you won't find in written form below.

Yes, I know, kind of a "cheap" way of getting you to listen. You'll thank me next week if one of those sleepers you hear on the podcast below brings you some coin.

#DMD 3140 Podcast
February 10, 2016

and here's something really cool from adele

I don't stay up late enough to watch the James Corden TV show, but I've seen enough of him now to know he's extremely talented, funny, and -- I assume -- a solid, functional talk-show host.

He has this cool segment he does occasionally that involves "carpool karaoke", where he brings in big-time musical artists and has them sing with him.

I thought I'd post this one that he did recently with Adele. It's a blast. If you haven't seen him or her, you'll probably become an instant fan.


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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.


OK, I'm starting to pick up steam now and some of you are taking notice. And making money off of me. And that's fine, because that's what I'm here for, after all.

I went 5-for-6 last week in Phoenix in terms of players I selected who made the cut, and I had a handful of guys on the Sunday leaderboard, including eventual winner Hideki Matsuyama, John Huh and Phil Mickelson. The week before, remember, I had Brandt Snedeker as one of my plays and he won at Torrey Pines.

I haven't picked an outright winner yet this season. I hope to change that this week.

Pebble Beach (and the other courses that make up the rotation this week) is perhaps the one "horses for courses" tournament you can literally almost bank on all season. Some players can putt poa annua greens, some can't. Ryan Palmer, for example, simply hasn't fared well in his career on poa greens. I love him as a somewhat regular fantasy player because he makes a ton of birdies, but Pebble Beach isn't his place -- as an example of a guy you shy away from this week based on past performance.

That said, the opposite very much comes into play this week. There are guys who LOVE the Monterrey Penisula courses, putt the greens well, and are just "automatic" picks for the week. The only problem with that? Everyone else is picking them, too.

So, let's get started with a couple of off-the-radar-screen guys that might make the difference for you this week at Pebble Beach.

I know he stumbled a little bit on Saturday in Phoenix and took himself out of the event with a bad back-nine, but James Hahn is playing some excellent golf these days and might be ready for a breakthrough week. He's the kind of guy who likes the pro-am concept (which they're playing this week) and his carefree attitude blends well with this sort of tournament. I'm playing him in my personal roster, for sure.

Another guy who just puts up solid numbers week in and week out is Colt Knost and you might get him fairly cheap this week. Give him a play and see what comes of it.

I know Scott Brown threw up all over himself in that Sunday-Monday weather-plagued fiasco at Torrey Pines a couple of weeks ago, but he was in control of the golf tournament until the winds and rain handed the event to Snedeker. If Brown can putt those crappy greens at Torrey Pines, he can do the same at the three Monterrey area courses. I'm playing him this week. Just a hunch.

He probably won't come cheap, but you almost have to play Bubba Watson. As much as I'm starting to allow my personal dislike for him to leak into my fantasy selections, I'm going to give him one more week of the benefit-of-the-doubt. I'm not sure he'll handle the peculiar nature of the poa annua greens all that well, but he's going to hit irons into virtually every par-5 on each of the three courses. If Watson can't shoot 18-under par this week, he shouldn't come back to the event in the future.

There's simply no way you can ignore Brandt Snedeker, so don't. He's won twice in the last few years and has the tournament scoring record. That "pop" putting stroke of his is absolutely perfect for the bumpy poa greens the players will find this week in California. He loves the tournament and the courses, he's currently on GREAT form, and there's nothing at all that says he's due for a letdown. Play him.

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Currently 4th in the 2015-2016 FedEx Cup standings, it's time for Kevin Na to take that next step. Might he do that this weekend at Pebble Beach?

I'm taking Kevin Na to win this week. He's played well of late, his past history at the course is good, which might mean he's due to finally break through and win there. I think Na is one of those players who just needs a win or two to get his career really percolating. I'm not saying he can be another Jason Day, but in much the same way Day's career took off after a couple of wins jolted his confidence level, I think Kevin Na is in the same boat.

I wouldn't beat you up for playing Jordan Spieth or Phil Mickelson this week, nor would I think you're nuts for playing Jimmy Walker or Dustin Johnson. It's hard to NOT have those guys on one of your rosters if you're a "multi-roster" player like many of us are.

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looking for that perfect valentine's day gift? 2 seats remain on our adele bus trip

#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 last Monday and we've already sold 30 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...



never been to augusta and the masters? let's change that!

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you're interested in making the trip to Augusta this April 5th, send me an e-mail today: 18inarow (at) gmail.com


Tuesday
February 9
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 9

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Click here for full details on our Masters trip!




in order to learn you have to learn


Get yourself a cup of Royal Farms coffee (or two) and settle in, please. You might be here a while.

I intentionally didn't dive right in on Monday morning and spew a few hundred words on "Cam-Gate" and the whole post-game press conference saga that unfolded on Sunday night in the aftermath of the bloody nose the Panthers received at the hands of the Broncos in Super Bowl 50.

I wanted to let it all marinate for a day.

And I was anxious to see how the reactionary crowd handled it.

Predictably, they screwed it up.

So, yes, I'll give you my thoughts today and, yes, I'm going to defend Cam Newton. Mostly.

Let me also go on the record and say this: I'm not really a Cam Newton fan, which is to claim, I guess, basic indifference. I think he's one helluva football player, as his 2015 performance showed.

But I'm not writing this today to glorify a hero-from-afar of mine, the way I might had Fred Couples acted like a prick back in 1993.

I'm offering this not because I like or worship Newton, but more because the whole story needs its proper balance.

I'm very fortunate that during my 12-year radio tenure, I saw nearly every type of post-game locker room "scene" one could witness. I also had a 17-year run in the world of professional soccer where I saw first-hand -- and functioned in -- a true locker room environment.

I'm not saying I'm an expert on the whole thing, but I would consider myself well versed in talking (writing) about it since I've literally been IN there. I'm not a guy who loves sports and opines on things such as what we saw on Sunday night. I'm a guy who has actually been there, done that and got the tee shirt.

I stood six feet from Billy Cundiff in the locker room at Gillette Stadium when he addressed the media after his famous miss in the AFC Championship Game. I was in that same locker room one year later when the Ravens won to advance to the Super Bowl. And I was blessed to be in the Superdome for Super Bowl 47 covering the game, which earned me the privilege of being in that locker room in the wake of Baltimore's win over San Francisco.

So, that's where I'll start with regard to Cam Newton and the reaction from Sunday night's post-game press conference.

I'm sure you've seen the video by now. If you haven't, and yet you've offered an opinion of it, you're way off base for doing so. For as PR savvy as the NFL is, particularly when it surrounds the Super Bowl, they're incredibly uncomplicated in certain areas of importance. You saw that first-hand with Newton and his post-game press conference.

For some dumb reason, the league decided on Sunday night to have the Panthers and Broncos in the same general area for the post-game press conferences that involved the players. This meant that you had Denver players in the same space as Carolina players. It was likely done for convenience, as the media didn't have to race from one side of the building to the other after the game.

Good idea in general, but poorly thought out, because the league should be smart enough to know that virtually every major news outlet in the country sends multiple on-air talent and reporters to cover the game. One person (or group) takes -- in this case -- Denver, and the other person (group) takes Carolina. No one REALLY needs to run from one team area to the other anymore. This isn't 1986, it's 2016. 4,000 people cover the Super Bowl now.

But, there Newton was on Sunday night, literally 40 feet or so away from the backside of the Broncos staging area, being forced to handle and address questions with a raucous atmosphere just on the other side of the room. It was poorly set-up from the jump.

When the Ravens and 49'ers played, the Ravens were brought into a huge room that looked more like a hosting section for a stable of horses instead of football players. The 49'ers were across the hall in a similar setting. The noise from the winner's side was loud. The loser's side was like a kindergarten nap session.

But at least they each had a roped off area within their respective rooms.

For Newton, there was NO privacy at all. He was plopped down on the edge of a huge room that included members of the team who just vanguished him within earshot. Oh, and he was then asked questions that required thought, consideration and professionalism. It was a situation that required a small degree of solitude and, frankly, "room". He didn't get either on Sunday night.

I didn't like the way he was dressed, honestly. I thought that was a poor decision on Cam's part, because he looked more unprofessional than he sounded, in my opinion. A hoodie with that scowl? He just needed a note and a gun and he would have been vying for a part with Al Pacino in the movie Dog Day Afternoon.

So, for sure, Newton's post-game attire was silly. And it sent the wrong message, too. Then again, that's what you get when you drag a guy out of the locker room 25 minutes after the biggest game of his life and he hasn't had time to shower, let alone find his tie and sport coat.

As Brian Billick once said so accurately: "Whoever it was that invented the post-game press conference that occurs ten minutes after the game ended never had to do it himself." So true. If you're doing it right, facing the media -- in any circumstance -- takes a little bit of time, coordination and rehearsal. You want to look the part, sound the part and be the part. It's not nearly as easy it as it looks.

Ultimately, though, that one's on Cam. If nothing else, he should have thought his appearance through a little more. No hoodie, for starters. And get yourself together with a decent shirt at least. Look professional, son.

But the rest of the media session was much more a function of what goes on in the first hour following the Super Bowl and a lot less about Newton being a "punk", "jerk", "sore loser" or "douchebag", as I saw over and over and over on Sunday night and Monday.

The game ends, you spend the better part of five to ten minutes getting OFF the field, then you barely have enough time to get your shoulder pads off before the PR guy is grabbing you and saying, "You're up next in the media interview area. We gotta roll."

You're literally playing in the Super Bowl at 9:59 pm -- and then you're in a room full of people at 10:27 pm answering questions like, "How's it feel to lose this game"?

Oh, and let's not forget that what's good for the goose ISN'T always good for the gander. I don't know what Carolina player it was that CBS TV cameras picked up crying on the bench Sunday night, but can you imagine for one second if that would have been Newton? No one said a word about it in the aftermath and I still don't know who it was, honestly.

But if the MVP would have done that? Holy cow, the Michael Jordan crying-face meme would have a replacement (thankfully) and Saturday Night Live would have 12 minutes of new material for next week's show.

It could also be a black and white issue, too. And by that, I mean, really a black and white issue. Cam Newton gives a vapid, 2-minute press conference after the most demoralizing moment of his professional sporting life and he is -- according to some on social media -- a "piece of crap". If that's indeed the case, what's that make Johnny Manziel, who apparently threatened his girlfriend, restrained her, and then struck her in such a fashion that she suffered hearing damage. I'll be here waiting for that answer.

Let's talk about perception for a minute.

I've seen Bill Belichick's act after a loss. Been in the same room with the "genius", in fact, after his team took one on the chin. You think Newton was brief and perfunctory on Sunday night? Belichick's press conferences after a big-game loss are as exciting as a water fountain. I don't recall anyone labeling him a douchebag or "piece of crap".

"Coach, how frustrating is it to lose this AFC title game at home to the Ravens?"

"Ummm, we don't like losing anytime," Bill the Great said. Or mumbled more like it. I could barely hear the answer when I was in the room that night.

Everyone's seen the press conferences after the Patriots fall short. They're "concise", to use a nice term. "Wildly unprofessional" would probably be a better way to put it.

"Awww, you know Bill," they say up in New England. "He doesn't like losing."

Newton, the black superstar, is a "douchebag" when he loses, gives short answers and doesn't flash a smile afterwards. Belichick's "a competitor to the highest degree" when he loses and broods.

The Patriots' coach has in the past directed members of his staff to enter opposing locker rooms on game day and literally steal information from them. They've been caught filming the opposition's practice sessions and having staff members dressed as media members in a covert attempt to video tape the other team's sideline signals.

People snicker and call that "trying to gain every edge possible".

Newton is "classless" because he lost the Super Bowl and was in a bad mood afterwards.

See how it works? We make judgments on these guys that don't balance out.

And we do that in large part because we're giving an emotional reaction -- much like they're doing, too.

This isn't meant to fully excuse Newton for Sunday night's fall-from-the-pedestal. He should have done better with it, admittedly. It's a little bit like going to court for a speeding ticket that you received for going 52 in a 35 mile-per-hour zone on Rossville Boulevard.

You walk into court and the judge says, "How do you plead?" and nearly everyone answers the same way -- "Guilty with an explanation, your honor."

And then you go into the details of how your kids woke up late for school, your daughter spilled jelly on her shirt during breakfast, you were running behind, you had an 8:30 am meeting in Towson, and you were going just a little too fast in an attempt to get them to school by 8:00 am so you could make that 8:30 meeting.

You're still guilty of speeding. But there's a (somewhat) reasonable excuse behind it.

I've never heard the judge say, "You're a douchebag. Two points and court costs. Next time tell your daughter to wear a bib at the breakfast table."

Newton was guilty on Sunday night. With an explanation.

And, yes, part of winning with grace is learning how to lose with grace, too. I preach that to my Calvert Hall golf team year in and year out. Win with dignity and lose with dignity. But the only way to figure HOW to do that is by actually doing it.

If Newton's never played in the Super Bowl before or lost a huge, critical, season-ending game, how is he supposed to have the experience necessary to deal with it?

People lauded Peyton Manning for the way he handled losing to the Ravens back in 2012 on the night of the "Mile Hile Miracle". Guess what? Peyton knew how to handle it because he'd been there about ten other times in his career.

Some media members lashed out at Newton on Sunday and Monday -- and I mean, REALLY lashed out -- which is to be expected. It's part of the show. They're looking for the hot lede that gets you to read their work.

But they're doing you -- the consumer -- a disservice by just publishing the evening's hot take. Have an original thought or two, would ya?

See more of the story below.

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And those former players who lined up and spit nails at Newton after the game? Hilariously out of touch. Maybe if Deion Sanders was actually paying attention to the working environment of the NFL instead of trying to show off as the former "cool" player that everyone adores, he would have known the inner workings of what Newton was dealing with on Sunday night.

This is 2016. When Sanders played, 50 people were in the locker room after a game. Now, 250 people are in the room throwing darts at you and retweeting every last word you say. It's night and day.

I don't expect former players to really get it, though. They're earning a check talking about the game they played, but they're doing so from their vantage point as a former player. As Michael Irvin smugly pointed out afterwards when asked how he handled losing a big game, he said, "I wouldn't know, I never lost one."

Well, if you never lost one, how the hell can you talk about what it's like to be down there in that room handling it all the right way?

Answer: You can't.

Newton -- and the Panthers -- got the old Cleat of Reality on Sunday night. It doesn't always go the way you think it's gonna go. The other team tries, too. And anyone who says, "Well, he should have thought about how he was going to handle losing before the game in order to prepare himself" doesn't really understand high-level sports.

No athlete worth his or her salt EVER talks to themselves about the "what if?" of losing before they play. They just don't.

Losing on the final day of a major championship never entered Tiger Woods' mind until Y.E. Yang stared him down at the 2009 PGA Championship. Woods simply didn't think it was possible that he'd lose a major championship down the stretch.

And guess what? There are plenty of well-reasoned folks who cover golf for a living who say Tiger never recovered from losing to Yang on that Sunday afternoon at Hazeltine back in 2009.

Do you really think Mike Tyson sat around in his hotel room in Tokyo back in 1990 and said to himself, "Now, what will I say to the media after this fight if Buster Douglas kicks my ass tonight?"

So, yes, without question, Cam Newton was completely unprepared for what he was faced with on Sunday night at 10:30 pm. Much like being in the same room as your wife when she gives birth to your child, nothing can prepare you for it except being there and doing it. It's called, simply, "experience".

I was much more prepared for my wife's second c-section than I was the first time around. I was ready for the cutting, the smell, the pulling, the anxious moments and that instant sound of life that occurs when the doctor pulls a live human being out from underneath that blanket.

The first time? I didn't know what the hell to do.

The second time was much easier.

I was -- experienced.

It's certainly worth mentioning that others before Newton didn't handle losing all that well, either. In case you have a short memory, I'll remind you of a pretty famous middle linebacker who played in Baltimore and developed a (very regular) habit of bolting out of the locker room after losses in the 2004-2007 time frame. Yes sir, after a win, Ray would always be hanging out at his locker, almost ushering the cameras over to hear his gospel.

Following a loss? Number 52 would hang out in the trainer's room for a while, send one of the locker room kids over to grab his bag and personal belongings, and he'd high tail it out of there without a peep.

I saw that happen a lot.

I'm a Ray Lewis guy, like virtually everyone reading this, but I also have to do a little preaching of my own when I know the truth. Ray Lewis wasn't a gracious loser by any means, until later on in his career when wisdom and experience guided him more than emotion.

I saw Ray handle the AFC Championship loss in New England with tremendous grace. He was incredibly poignant in the way he gathered the team around him afterwards and implored them to learn from what had just happened. And be better for it in the future. But he wasn't always the guy who handled losing well. He LEARNED how to do it.

Cam Newton never saw Sunday night coming and had no idea at all how to prepare for it. And, remember, he's the quarterback. He's the reigning MVP. He's the man in Carolina. He's not the offensive guard or the safety, both of whom could walk through the Charlotte Mall tomorrow and not be approached.

This is new territory for him. The only way to explore it is to walk around and navigate the trails. There are some things the map just doesn't show you.

And, yes, with Newton's role and visibility comes great expectations, that's true. But it also increases the burden of getting it right by ten-fold or more. It's a slippery slope. And you can't experience it until you've experienced it.

I don't think Newton's a sore loser, punk, jerk or douchebag.

I think he's like the rest of us. It's good times when you're playing well and bad times when you're not.

I can definitely admit that I'm a lot more fun in the bar after I've shot 68, that's for certain. If I shoot 78, I might not be the life of the party at the 19th hole.

For Newton, winning equals fun. He's dabbin', handing footballs to kids, and smiling with adoring fans who wait outside of the player's entrance for a photo opportunity.

It's not that much fun losing. And it's certainly not fun getting the ever-living stuffing kicked out of you, physically and mentally, in front of hundreds of millions of people watching the game at home on TV.

Cam will look back on the hoodie, the short answers and the walk-off and regret it sometime in the future. Once he's had time to digest it all, he'll understand how easy it was for people to perceive him as a poor sport, even if much of what he did was reasonable when you take into consideration there's no prep-course for it.

The answers he gave were spot on, truth be told. Anyone who watched the game knew the reality. Carolina got punched in the mouth. And instead of punching back, they pulled a Roberto Duran and said, "No mas". They got outplayed, period.

It's one thing if you're in the game at the end, like the 49'ers were in New Orleans four years ago, and four plays from the five yard line with the game on the line leaves you with nothing except a second place medal. Then, you probably DO have some questions to answer afterwards.

What happened to the Panthers on Sunday night? That's easy to answer. Denver out-everything'd them. If that game doubled as a chess match, the Broncos moved two pawns, a bishop, their queen, and promptly said, "Checkmate". It was that precise.

I don't see what else Newton needed to say. Could he have had more energy? Of course. Looked people in the eye? Sure. Stuck around for a few extra minutes to answer four more questions that eventually yielded the same worthless result? Yep.

Did he handle losing the biggest game of his life well?

Not really.

But that all went down the way it did in part because he hadn't been there before -- not because he's a sore loser or a douchebag.

I'm shocked more people who think they know sports -- and work in the industry for a living -- didn't point this stuff out on Sunday and Monday. Instead, everyone raced for the keyboard and authored the same old boring, tired tale about a guy who "doesn't get it".

Newton gets it. He understands a lot more now how he's supposed to handle losing the Super Bowl.

Prior to Sunday, he'd never before experienced that feeling.

You can't learn until you learn.

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from the desk of

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

Ken Stabler was in the news twice last week.

On Saturday, he was announced as a part of the Hall of Fame Class of 2016. Earlier in the week, it was reported that the deceased former quarterback had been found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

If you've not been following such things over the past few years, CTE as it's more commonly known, is a degenerative brain disease closely linked to the repeated head trauma suffered by football players. It's linked to deceased players only at this point, because it can only be diagnosed through an autopsy of the brain, but it's almost certain that a large number of current players have it already as well.

It's associated with depression and a host of other mental health problems, and Junior Seau was infamously driven to suicide most likely as a result of the disease.

To have such a pall hanging over what should always be the ultimate feel-good story for retrospectives on an athlete's career really epitomizes the struggle that has become watching and enjoying NFL football these days.

I'm not here to offer any grand answers to the ethical question that NFL fandom has become because, well, I don't have any. I am fairly troubled by the idea of a form of mass entertainment that entails human beings literally destroying their bodies and suffering life-altering medical problems in its pursuit, and I'm even more bothered that young children (and, frankly, high school aged kids) are encouraged to play full contact versions of the sport.

I was watching some NFL Classics films during the run up to the Superbowl, and was very much taken aback by an offhand reference to the players as “gladiators of the gridiron,” a once common phrase that now takes on a depressingly morbid appropriateness given what we know is happening to the players we're cheering on...and booing.

Worst of all, however, is how very clear it is that the NFL couldn't really care much less about the problem, at least in so much as they put on enough airs about the whole thing that they can pay lip service to the idea that they care about “player safety.”

But then, week after week, you continue to see dozens of incidents that demand attention, yet go unnoticed by the leage office once the appropriate fines have been handed out.

Case in point: The egregious facemask penalty called against Broncos' cornerback Aqib Talib for “tackling” Panthers' receiver Philly Brown just shy of the goal-line. I use the air quotes because as anyone watching the game knows, Talib made very little effort to tackle Brown beyond grabbing his face mask and attempting to flip him over, in what was a truly scary sight in real time. It's a small miracle Brown didn't break his neck on the play, but because the foul happened inside the two yard line and Brown had already made the first down, the penalty was essentially nothing, and the gain was a saved touchdown.

If the NFL cares about player safety, they'll instruct officials to be more aggressive in ejecting players like Talib for similar no-cost fouls in the future, but they don't, so they won't.

Or consider how far behind the NCAA the NFL is these days in enforcing rules against “targeting.”

In the college game, players who are flagged for the penalty are ejected from the game but, and this is important, all such calls are first reviewed to make sure the referee got the call right in the first place. The NFL, on the other hand, has a slap-dash system of rule enforcement where hard-but-clean hits are often penalized by officials looking to err on the side of caution and the penalty for launching yourself into an opponent's head is the same as going to the ground in celebrating a touchdown.

I don't think it's any real susprise that you see much more buy-in from players to the college set of rules than in the pros, given both the harsh punishment and the earnest attempt to make sure legal hits aren't getting flagged. The NFL provides you with absolutely no guarantee that legal hits won't be flagged by a set of officials who aren't worried about blowing the call, so there's no reason to put real effort in to complying with the rule rather than just playing it out and hoping for the best.

The NFL could, obviously, easily adopt the college rules any time they wanted to, but they won't because a) the added replays would mess with the oh-so-important television schedule and b) because they certainly don't want to run the risk of star players getting ejected from big prime time games. Player safety might make for good PR releases, but it's nowhere near as important to the owners or Roger Goodell.

Speaking of Commissioner Silverspoon, here's what he had to say at his press availability last week, when reports of 29 year old all-time great Calvin Johnson's retirement prompted a reporter to ask if Goodell was worried that health concerns were going to cause an increase in early retirements from the league.

"I don’t see so many people walking away from the game. I don’t agree with that."

That statement from Goodell comes in the same league year that 49ers linebacker Chris Borlan (24 years old) and offensive lineman Anthony Davis (25) both called it a career while specifically citing concerns over their long term health as the reason. And three years after Bart Scott said “I play football so [my son] won't have to.”

I suppose there's nothing else the NFL commissioner could really say about the topic, but Goodell expounded by equating these concerns over one's well being to a lack of passion for the game, which was simply gross given that it's becoming more newsworthy if a dead player is found to not CTE than to have been suffering from it.

And this is my real concern when I find myself cheering for the bone crunching hits or see someone leave a game with a concussion. Intellectually I tell myself it's okay to keep liking football because the league and the players can make it safer, on another level you simply can't deny that the league doesn't actually care about that at all, so long as they can maintain a decent level of good press, and as such isn't going to implement any truly proactive (read, costly) policies to try to actually make the game safer until it's too late.

And, frankly, that other part of me seems to be winning, as I find myself less and less interested in any NFL games that don't include the Ravens each passing week.

Maybe there's a lot more people like me out there...and maybe that will finally get the Commissioner's attention.

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looking for that perfect valentine's day gift? 2 seats remain on our adele bus trip

#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 last Monday and we've already sold 30 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...



never been to augusta and the masters? let's change that!

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you're interested in making the trip to Augusta this April 5th, send me an e-mail today: 18inarow (at) gmail.com


Monday
February 8
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 8

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed

Click here for full details on our Masters trip!




defense still matters after all (hopefully the ravens took notice)

The moment might have have been just a tad too big for Cam Newton, but the spotlight of Super Bowl 50 certainly didn't bother the Denver Broncos.

I, for one, enjoyed last night's 24-10 Denver win that gave Peyton Manning his second championship ring.

It proved -- or perhaps simply reinforced to us -- that a great defensive effort is almost always going to overcome an opponent who relies mainly on offense. In baseball, they like to say "good pitching always beats good hitting". In football, defense still reigns supreme when the game matters most.

Last night's double-barrel effort from Denver's Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware hopefully caught the eye of Ozzie Newsome, Eric DeCosta and John Harbaugh, the trio in Owings Mills largely responsible for cratfing the 2016 Ravens roster.

Ozzie has a famous saying he likes to fall back on anytime someone asks him what he perceives are the most important positions in football: "Give me a guy who touches the ball or touches the quarterback."

Right on, Oz.

In last night's Super Bowl triumph, Denver touched the quarterback. A lot. And they did so in a way that rendered Cam Newton almost useless. Sure, he had 265 yards passing, but there were two long gains of 40-something yards in there and the rest was eye wash.

What we saw last night will go down as one of the greatest defensive performances in Super Bowl history. It wasn't about points allowed or yards gained, but more about how much of a hurt they put on Newton and the Carolina wide receivers.

The 1985 Bears, 2000 Ravens and even the Seahawks from 2013 produced great defensive efforts in their respective Super Bowl wins, but I'm not sure any of them matched what Denver did to Newton and his offense last night. They punked them, from the opening whistle until the Papa John's guy gave Peyton a kiss on the cheek as he was walking to midfield with the confetti dropping.

The national media is already trying to make Newton into a sore loser after his short-answer-fest in last night's post-game press conference.

"What do you want me to say? They played way better than we did," Newton replied afterwards when asked to explain the loss.

Sometimes, less is more, which is why Newton's answer was perfect.

Denver simply played way better than Carolina, mainly on defense, but even on offense, where Gary Kubiak and Company essentially reduced Peyton Manning to Trent Dilfer once they saw what their defense was doing to the Panthers' offense.

And give Manning credit, too. He didn't try to be a hero last night or "put his stamp on the game", either. He managed the whole affair as best he could, what with his once capable-arm now reduced to something akin to one of those tee-shirt guns a lot of colleges use to entertain the crowd. In other words, it looks like it's coming at you fast, but, in reality, it lands like a butterfly.

The zip on Manning's throws is gone. Long gone. But his head still works fine and if last night's game was a chess match, Peyton still got the job done...it just took him a little longer to capture your king and end the game.

In much the same way that Ray Lewis was just "another guy" running around in Super Bowl 47, Manning looked almost out of place last night, playing on the league's biggest stage and in the most high profile position to boot. But, also like Ray, he got that second Super Bowl ring because others around him played for the cause and delivered when it mattered most.

Newton and the Panthers will be back, I'm sure. Free agents will look at Carolina as a sexy place to go, now, what with the MVP running the ship and a rabid fan base making for a warm, welcoming community. They're in a fairly benign division, too, which makes championship-chasing very realistic as well.

Manning, I think we all assume, won't be back. There's no reason at all for him to return. His suspect health should be a primary concern and one (honest) appraisal of the game tape will show Peyton what the rest of the world already knows: His arm is shot.

Peyton doesn't need the money, either. He has enough cash, insurance and pizza to last him this lifetime and the next one, too. There's nothing else to play for -- so why play? His legacy is cemented, his first-ballot Hall of Fame status is secure, and he delivered that Super Bowl title he promised to Denver when he showed up there in 2012 after the Colts kicked him to the curb.

For us, in Baltimore, we can only hope last night's game reminded Ozzie Newsome of his own poignant saying.

This April at the NFL draft, go get a guy or two who can touch the quarterback. Great ones, please.

In fairness to Ozzie, DeCosta, etc., they did try assembling a dangerous duo in 2014 by bringing Elvis Dumervil to Baltimore as a book-end threat with Terrell Suggs. And Dumervil hasn't been chopped liver over the last two years, mind you, but Suggs' best days are behind him and he's been more effective against the run, honestly, than he has been at chasing the quarterback for the last few years.

As I've been saying over and over since the season ended in early January, the Ravens need to get younger in 2016. Get some fresh legs in here, even at the expense of losing a veteran or two.

And there's no better place to start than on the defensive side of the ball.

Denver proved again last night that you win those rings with defense.

You might need a prolific offense to get to that final game, but the team smiling at the end is the one with the better defense.

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and about those super bowl commercials...

Falling under the category of "Everyone does it, so we don't we?", I'll give the Super Bowl commercials a paragraph or two of space here this morning.

Maybe it was because the game wasn't all that thrilling, but I found myself paying more attention to the commercials last night than I think I have in previous years. I guess that's why companies spend $5 million on an ad, right?

Unlike other years, I don't really remember any ads that were plain, outright, horrible last night. I thought the dogs running around on the field in hot dog buns was kind of stupid, but I also remember the commercial was about ketchup, so in that regard, it WAS effective at least.

I also thought the "NFL is Family" commercials that essentially reminded us that people have sex in the aftermath of their team winning a Super Bowl was strangely "mysterious". I mean, what exactly WERE they trying to sell us or tell us with that ad? But it's their money, and giving $5 million to the network is better than giving another $5 million to Roger Goodell.

My three winners last night were: Third place -- Kia's "first date" with Kevin Hart, who gave his daughter's boyfriend the keys to his Kia and then used a "car finder app" to follow the two of them all over the city for a few hours to make sure his daughter AND his Kia were both safe and sound.

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Steve Harvey and T-Mobile took this moment and turned it into a great commercial claiming Verizon was wrong.

Second place -- Pantene's "Strong is beautiful" with the father helping his daughter with her hair. If you're a Dad with a daughter, this one got to you, I'm sure. I know it had me smiling as Lucy sat in my chair with me, snuggling and watching the Super Bowl.

First place -- T-Mobile using Steve Harvey to announce that Verizon's recent smear campaign against them had the WRONG information in it. Having Harvey do the deed and announce "Verizon got it wrong, not me" was pure genius. And major props to Harvey for the way he handled the aftermath of his Miss Universe foul-up last month. What a pro.


and, finally, the halftime show...

Because it's the Super Bowl and they have to try and make everything bigger and better even when it shouldn't be, the league botched last night's halftime show featuring Coldplay.

The audio wasn't very good, we couldn't hear Chris Martin well enough, and the insistence on having "supporting acts" like Bruno Mars and Beyonce only breaks up the whole thing and disrupts what might have been an enjoyable 14-minutes of music.

What ever happened to just picking an act and letting them perform? I know, I know, Pepsi is paying an ungodly sum to sponsor the whole thing and they want you to stay in your seat and actually watch it from start-to-finish (so you can be reminded at the end that Pepsi sponsored it), but I think they'd have a better shot at accomplishing that if they would just hire a band or an act and leave them out there on their own.

I'm a Coldplay fan, admittedly, but their catalog of hits could have easily been worked into a six-song, 14-minute show that would have been well worth watching.

Too many people running around, too much of everything else, too many distractions -- and not nearly enough focus on the music.

I was unimpressed, but I won't hold that against Pepsi. It turned out to be a nice summary of the NFL, actually. They try hard, but they simply do too much.

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my new winner really is a winner!

I was able to get over to The Wine Merchant on Friday and grab a couple of bottles of wine for the weekend, and I found a terrific red "blend" from Tessallae Old Vines that I've nominated as "Drew's Wine Winner" this week.

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Available for $15 at The Wine Merchant, you'll love the taste of this awesome red blend.

You will not only love the price ($15), but you'll really enjoy the taste, too. It's a blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 20% Mourvedre that was aged in a concrete tank. You'll taste black cherries, blueberry and even a hint of licorice in this bottle. I enjoyed it with chicken on Sunday afternoon and it was just right. Not overpowering, not heavy and most certainly not suffocating, which is what I sometimes find a red blend will do with lighter meats.

If your budget and your patience allows for it, this is precisely the kind of wine you buy now and vow to store for a few years. If you can do that, you'll really love the results in 2019 or so.

But, if you're like me and you're a "buy it and open it" kind of wine lover, I promise you'll love this wine from Tessallae. The price is perfect and the wine is just as victorious.

Stop in at The Wine Merchant and check it out for yourself. You'll see my "Drew's Wine Winner" card on the box, confirming that I've selected it as this week's winner. If you need any help, ask for Chris (general manager) or Joe (owner) and they'll be happy to help you find it and load it up in your vehicle.

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looking for that perfect valentine's day gift? 2 seats remain on our adele bus trip

#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 last Monday and we've already sold 30 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...



never been to augusta and the masters? let's change that!

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you're interested in making the trip to Augusta this April 5th, send me an e-mail today: 18inarow (at) gmail.com


Sunday
February 7
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 7

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed

Click here for full details on our Masters trip!




wild sports saturday takes us to peyton's swan song

I don't know where to start.

The Super Bowl gets played tonight at 6:30 pm and I feel like I'm just now starting to realize it. Maybe it's because the Ravens season turned out so dreary that I've dismissed the 2015 campaign from my mind, but for whatever reason, this game between Carolina and Denver just doesn't register on the anticipation-meter for me.

But I'll be watching, although admittedly I'm probably just as excited to see Coldplay perform at halftime as I am for the actual game itself.

Honestly, I'd probably like to see Denver win today if this is, in fact, the final game of Peyton Manning's career. We learn to hate every quarterback who isn't on our team, and it was easy to dislike Manning when he was winning games and beating the Ravens when he was in Indianapolis and wearing "those colors", but truth of the matter is Manning has been great for the league and a wonderful ambassador for football.

I'm not anti-Peyton in the least. I'm not necessarily rooting for Denver today -- I really DON'T care at all who wins -- but if the Broncos win and Manning rides off into the sunset as a champion one final time, I'm cool with that scencario.

Who am I picking to win? Oh, you'll find the answer to that elsewhere in today's edition of #DMD.

So much went on yesterday that I feel like zipping back and hitting a few of the high points, including a quick shout-out to my friend and #DMD corporate partner Greg Marsh and his wildly popular 80's band, The New Romance who entertained a few hundred of us last night at Padonia Ale House. They tore through a memorable list of about 40 songs in their 2-hour-and-45-minute set, ranging from Depeche Mode, Men at Work, New Order, The Cure, Journey and virtually anyone else who produced a hit in the 1980's. They were freakin' awesome.

Working backwards from there, Golden State and Oklahoma City locked horns in a huge NBA game last night out in Oakland, which was put on the schedule as part of the weekend's Super Bowl festivities even though Santa Clara is about 45 miles from the stadium where they'll play Super Bowl 50 tonight.

Steph Curry and the Warriors held a 15-point second half lead at one point before Kevin Durant willed the Thunder back in the game, eventually tying it up at 104-104, but Golden State's shooting touch returned in the game's final three minutes and they prevailed, 116-108. That puts the Warriors at 46-4 at the 50-game mark of the '15-16 NBA campaign.

In case you're wondering, the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls were 45-5 at the same point in the schedule en route to their record-setting 72-10 season. But, the Warriors have their work cut out for them from here on in if they want to finish with single-digit losses and etch their name into the record books.

They still have three games remaining with San Antonio (43-8 currently), two more match-ups with Oklahoma City and a handful of games against the L.A. Clippers, Houston and Dallas, each of whom can stand-up-and-be-counted on any given night. I still say it's going to be tough for Golden State to finish at 73-9. I'm not dismissing what they've done thus far -- winning is winning -- but their final 32 games present many more legitimate "losing opportunities" than they faced in the first 50 games.

I'll admit, though, I'm following the NBA more now than I probably have in 25 years because of Golden State and Steph Curry.

Speaking of standing up and being counted, Maryland again turned a 5-minute game into a breeze yesterday when they stared down heartless Purdue in a 72-61 win at the Xfinity Center. In addition to being just flat-out (really) good, the Terps have developed a very nice habit over the last couple of years under Mark Turgeon. If the game is close when the clock shows 5:00 remaining in the second half, Maryland almost always figures out a way to win. And that's a great trait.

Purdue looked the part for 35 minutes yesterday, but they had nothing under the hood when the game was on the line. I do think the Boilermakers could be a team-to-watch in the NCAA tournament, but once they face a team with good guard play, they're cooked, no pun intended.

Maryland has a lot of good, sequential pieces in their line-up and their best six players are probably as strong as any other school in the country. But, the Terps are definitely vulnerable to the bad match-up as well, which Purdue exposed a little bit yesterday before their brick-count finally caught up to them at game's end.

And, please, I'm no high-level college basketball coach, but someone needs to get to Turgeon and remind him the Terps are at their absolute best when Melo Trimble mans up and takes the ball to the basket and forgets about trying to be pretty. If a dummy from Glen Burnie sees it...

I get that Trimble is a decent shooter and isn't afraid to take the big shot -- see the game at Wisconsin game earlier this year -- but he pulled the whole team down yesterday trying to force his way into a field goal after going the opening 28 minutes without one. Once Melo started going to the bucket, drawing fouls, and dishing the ball off, Maryland rallied and Purdue wilted.

The Terps have a couple of tough games left in the Big 10 regular season including a home game with Michigan and road contests at Purdue and Indiana, but Maryland has positioned themselves for a #1 or a #2 seed in the NCAA tournament if they can finish the regular season with two or three conference losses and then a run to at least the Big 10 tournament semi-final. That kind of finish would likely prompt the committee to send UM to either Raleigh or New York City for their opening round games in March.

And the Caps got my Saturday off to a nice start with a 3-2 shootout win in New Jersey, leading up to this afternoon's 12 pm home match-up with the worst team in all of sports. I really considered heading back down to the Verizon Center today to see the Caps and Flyers do battle, but figured I'd just be setting myself up for more heartache. As I witnessed back on January 27 -- and have seen time and time again over the last 35 years - those rat finks from Philly always figure out a way to scratch out a win in Washington.

Even in the regular season, it drives me bonkers to see the Flyers win in Washington. It's like Duke winning at Maryland in the old days of the ACC. Anyone but them.

Have yourselves a great Super Bowl Sunday. We have coverage of today's big game below, plus some other good stuff as well in this "super" edition of #DMD.

The football season comes to a close today.

Spring is just around the corner.

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from the desk of

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


Here's the question you're going to hear a lot today: Is this Peyton Manning's “last rodeo"?

My guess is that today is, in fact, his final game. Despite the redemption narrative, it's worth remembering that Manning was awful this season, and was legitimately benched at one point for Brock Osweiler.

If the Broncos win today, Manning would easily be the worst starting quarterback by single-season DVOA to ever lead his team to a Super Bowl, and he ended last year struggling mightily as well. Yes there's an obvious caveat that we're talking about an inner circle Hall of Fame player here, but Father Time eventually beats everyone, no matter how great, and it's abundantly clear that age and injuries have caught up to Manning.

He's simply not capable of playing at a high level consistently anymore.

So whether or not Los Angeles or any other desperate team comes calling for one more hurrah, I think we're seeing the very last of Manning this evening.

Are we all ready for the storybook ending, with one of the all-time greats riding off into the sunset, championship-trophy held high? Meh, not so much.

It's weird how apathetic I am to Manning's run through the playoffs at this point. I've always been in the Manning-over-Brady camp, both because Brady went to Michigan (and I'm an Ohio native and Buckeyes fan) and because I don't think Manning has really gotten credit for getting by with a lot less organizational help than Brady ever did.

While Brady has played his entire career with a head coach with a legitimate claim to the title of greatest of all time, Manning's best head coach has been Tony Dungy; someone so mediocre he prompted the Buccaneers to give up two first round picks to get Jon Gruden to finally get their team over the hump and to the Super Bowl.

Brady's Super Bowl teams have consistently had great defenses. Former Colts GM Bill Polian famously eschewed middle of the defense players and linemen other than Dwight Freeny and Robert Mathis under the theory that the offense would score so many points the other team would never get a chance to run the ball. If the great Brady/Manning debate is a proverbial coin flip, that's enough of a tilt in Manning's favor for me.

But now that Manning's on the verge of writing the storybook ending to his Hall of Fame career, I really can't say I care if he wins or loses in this (likely) final chapter.

Maybe it's because of my lasting hatred for the Broncos born from an extra-annoying fan I went to school with, maybe it's because of my newfound love for Cam Newton, or maybe it's just that Manning hasn't exactly been setting the world on fire over this playoff run, but if I had to pick between the two I'd still probably rather see the Panthers take the trophy tonight. Then again, if the Broncos do win and Manning goes out Lombardi in hand a la Ray Lewis or John Elway, that'd be cool too.

Maybe, in the end, this is just a reflection of my growing ambivalence towards all things NFL (outside of the Ravens), which I'll expound on later this week.

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one final time: put your money where your mouth is, playoff style


It all comes down to one game, which is the way it should be, I guess.

The last game of the NFL season sends one team home a champion and one a runner-up, and it also gives me my one and only chance to reach the elusive .500 mark in this not-using-real-money gambling piece I do called "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is".

After getting off to a horrible start (8-17) five weeks into the season, I rescued myself with several weeks of 4-1 work to get to the point where I am right now: 46-47-2. I'm on a nice post-season run, too, at 8-2 picking outright winners and 6-4 against the spread.

Carolina is a 5.5 point favorite in this one, which is a distinctively difficult line to buy no matter which team you prefer. That's why Vegas made it 5.5, right?

A line of 5.5 means the Panther have to win by at least a touchdown-margin. My guess is if they DO win, it will be much greater than that. But what if Denver's defense shows up and so, too, does Carolina's, and this game in Santa Clara becomes one of those 20-17 thrillers?

If you like Denver, you win if they cover and you win if the Broncos triumph. You get two chances to make your money.

Ever since the final whistle blew and Peyton Manning hugged Tom Brady at midfield a couple of weeks ago, something told me the Broncos were winning today. And I've never felt swayed by anything else I've seen, read or thought about the game over the last fourteen days.

I don't think the moment is going to be too big for Cam Newton, but the reality is he's never played a game in this sort of spotlight. First timers CAN win, of course, but there's no denying the pressure Newton will feel in the hours leading up to the game is unlike anything he's ever experienced.

I'm certainly not expecting a vintage Manning performance today, but I also don't think he's going to stink-it-up, either. Two weeks of rest has helped, for sure, and Peyton has played enough of these kind of games to know how to handle it all.

Yes, I'm taking Denver and the 5.5 points and I'm picking them to win, too.

Denver's defense will force a turnover or two in the second half and turn a 17-10 halftime deficit into a 24-20 lead heading into the 4th quarter.

The Panthers will climb to within one at 24-23 and then the Broncos will tack on a late field goal of their own to go up 27-23.

And that's how it will end.

I'm taking Denver to win, 27-23.

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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 hope you paid attention on Wednesday here at #DMD when I gave you Phil Mickelson, John Huh and Hideki Matsuyama in my fantasy golf guide.

If you did, you're probably pretty happy with me right now.

My predicted tournament winner, Gary Woodland is sitting at 6-under par after rounds of 67-72-68. He can't catch the leader, Danny Lee (-13), but Woodland can make some birdies today and climb up the leaderboard for a nice finish to the event at TPC Scottsdale.

I told you Hideki Matsuyama would be in the hunt on Sunday and there he is, just three shots behind Lee at 10-under par. Matsuyama is poised for a third straight Top 5 finish at this event and could win today if Lee falls by the wayside. I also liked Phil Mickelson in this event and he produced a stirring round of 65 yesterday to move to 8-under par. He's probably too far back to mount a Sunday charge unless a bunch of guys gag it today, but Phil's game is certainly coming around.

One of my picks lost interest on Saturday, as Bubba Watson shot 73 to fall back to 2-under par. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, I say.

One of my two darkhorses, John Huh, is hanging around 7-under par and could finish in the top 5 today with a solid final round. He's an off-the-radar-screen guy to watch this year on TOUR.

My other darkhorse, Hudson Swafford, missed the cut after shooting 1-over par for two rounds.


umbc hoops: lyles scores 37 in road win over maine

UMBC sophomore guard Jairus Lyles scored 37 points, the third-most in school history, leading the Retrievers to an 83-79 victory over Maine yesterday afternoon in a contest played at the Portland Expo Center.

The win was UMBC's second over Maine this season and improves the Retrievers to 6-19 overall and 2-8 in America East conference play.

Lyles scored the top figure by a Retriever in 24 seasons, tallying the most points since Derell Thompson set the UMBC record when he scored 43 points at Towson on Feb. 15, 1992. He hit 14-of-19 shots from the floor, three-of-five from behind the arc and six-of-seven from the charity stripe in 39 minutes. The 14 field goals made was one shy of a UMBC Division I record.

Led by Lyles, the Retrievers converted a season-high 60 percent (33-of-55) of their field goal attempts. Senior post Cody Joyce went 4-of-4 (10 pts.), while freshman center Nolan Gerrity scored a season-high 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor.

Freshman Joe Sherburne was the fourth Retriever in double figures, scoring 12 points, but leading the visitors with a season-best 12 rebounds. UMBC outrebounded Maine, 43-25 and allowed only 5 second-chance points.

Despite their efficiency from the floor, the Retrievers could not shake Maine, despite leading for all but 4:25 of the contest. In fact, the Black Bears had a handful of second-half leads and were still tied at 63-all with 8:04 remaining. But a Gerrity put UMBC ahead for good at the 7:55 mark, and after Maine hit one of two free throws, Lyles buried a trey to give the Retrievers a 68-64 advantage 33 seconds later.

A Lyles lay-up with 75 seconds left pushed the margin to 78-70, but UMBC missed two front ends of one-and-one free throw chances and the Black Bears stayed within striking distance. Maine's Kevin Little buried a long trey with three seconds left to bring the hosts to within 82-79, but UMBC junior forward Will Darley hit the second of two free throws with 2.5 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

Lyles, a transfer-student from VCU, has scored 24 or more points in 12 of his 14 games as a Retriever since becoming eligible in mid-December. He is now averaging 25.4 points per game.

UMBC returns home on Thursday, Feb. 11 to take on America east leader Stony Brook. Tip-off time at the RAC is set for 7:00 p.m.


never been to augusta and the masters? let's change that!

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you're interested in making the trip to Augusta this April 5th, send me an e-mail today: 18inarow (at) gmail.com


Saturday
February 6
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 6

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Click here for full details on our Masters trip!




springsteen fever hits baltimore

A quick scan of my Facebook page yesterday morning around 10:10 am told the story of who was successful at landing Bruce Springsteen tickets for the April 20 show at the Royal Farms Arena.

I saw a lot more "I got shut out" comments than I saw "I got tickets!".

And so it goes with Ticketmaster these days. Trying to get seats at 10:00 on the on-sale date is akin to "trying" to the win lottery. There's nothing about it that "trying" will help. It's all about luck. If you hit the enter-button at precisely the right moment, you're a winner. If you don't, the tickets are gone by the time you hit refresh.

Fortunately, that doesn't mean you're going to miss the show. In this case specifically, I have access to a fairly large chunk of Bruce tickets because I have a reliable source who is able to provide them for me.

But I don't get them at face value, unfortunately.

And as I said to someone last night who poked at me for the price of an upper level ticket for the Springsteen show ($250), "Face value for a concert doesn't exist anymore. Unless you're one of the very few people fortunate enough to hit the Ticketmaster lottery."

I am by no means an expert on the sports and entertainment ticket industry. Far from it. I've learned a lot more about it over the last couple of years as I've put together trips for "bucket list" events such as Springsteen, The Masters, Army-Navy and more, but I'm not "on the inside" when it comes to ticket matters.

What I do have, thankfully, is a source that's not only reliable, but someone who doesn't "crush me" with the re-sell price once they've accumulated their batch of tickets for a game, concert, etc. And the other big advantage I have is the seats are always together and available in groups of 2, 4 or more.

Two weeks ago, I bought 32 tickets for the September 9 Adele show in Philadelphia and then yesterday, another 44 for Bruce in Baltimore. What I get is a price that's about 20%-25% lower than the mainstream "traditional" ticket re-sell sites. I get that price because I'm reliable, I suppose. I write the company a check, they're happy to have a good-pay, and I'm happy to have the tickets.

Oh, and THEIR price to me is lower than the price I would pay on the big-boy ticket re-selling sites. Here's an example: I have two tickets right now in Section 313 for the Springsteen show. They're available to you for $260 each. A quick scan of the big boys shows two seats together in that very same section would run you $292 each.

You'd save $64 with MY tickets. The seats are no different. But, that's why the folks at the big ticket re-sell websites live in big houses in New York City and I live in Parkville.

I'll admit I don't prefer using the "traditional" ticket re-selling hubs (*ahem*) because it's hard to stomach the fact they're making money on both ends of the sale. They're charging both the seller AND the buyer a fee. It's creatively knitted into the eventual on-line price you see as the consumer, but make no mistake about it, that $140 Ravens ticket you just bought doesn't return $140 to the person who put it up for sale.

But that's how business works. It's supply (they have the tickets) and demand (you want a ticket). If you don't own one, you're going to get leveraged. How MUCH you get leveraged is the issue, of course.

Some musical acts are trying their best to help the "common fan" by now requiring that the best sections in the arena be "credit card entry only". What that means, basically, is the credit card that is used to PURCHASE the tickets originally (at face value, through the Ticketmaster outlet) must be presented at the door on the night of the show. And then, if you bought four tickets, for example, you must bring the other three people with you when you enter the building.

That's a noble thought by the artists and it IS a way to help reduce re-selling gouging, but it's also a collosal pain the rear end. It means if you live in Baltimore you can't buy four great seats for your daughter who lives in Seattle because she has to have YOUR credit card and YOUR driver's license in Seattle when the show comes to town.

But there are at least some steps being taken to try and get "real fans" the best seats in the house.

And then the other component of concert and sports ticketing is getting the seats you want in the numbers you want. Most people want two or four seats. Lots of people want three tickets together, for whatever weird reason. That escalates the price because the single seat (for just about any event) is the hardest one to peddle on the re-sell market.

Go look on any of the traditional re-sell sites and you'll see the cheapest ticket is almost always a single. Why? Because no one buys it. Try getting four or six tickets together at the same price you can buy a single (both sharing the same general location, of course). You can't do it.

I had several people yesterday reach out to me for Springsteen tickets and when I showed them the price list ($250 for upper level, $285 for middle concourse, and $350-$375 for floor seats), they balked by saying, "I just have a philosophical opposition to paying above face value for tickets."

That comment reminded me of the scene in the movie Caddyshack when Danny Noonan offers Tony D'Annunzio a Coke for fifty cents and D'Annunzio says, "I ain't paying fifty cents for no Coke" and Noonan smirks and says, "Then you ain't gettin' no Coke."

If you don't want to pay at least $250 to see Springsteen, you're probably not going to see him this time around. Unless, of course, you were one of the fortunate few who rung the bell at 10:01 am on Friday and got your seats through TicketMaster.

I get the "philosphical opposition" thing, I really do. I'm philosophically opposed to paying $100 for four baseball tickets and then having to pay $15 to park my vehicle in the stadium lot. After all, when I go to Kohl's to spend $100 there, I don't pay to park in their lot. But I either pay $15 to park my vehicle in the stadium lot or I park off-site somewhere and walk.

If you want to see Springsteen in Baltimore (or anywhere else for that matter), you either need to have hit the lucky keystroke on your computer at 10:00 am yesterday morning or you need a really, really good friend who hit the lucky keystroke on their computer yesterday and graces you with a ticket at face value. That's about the only way you're getting in without paying more for the ticket than is printed on the front of it.

By the way, that's the way the Super Bowl works, too. And the Daytona 500. And the Masters. And everything else that's on people's "bucket list".

Now, if anyone wants to see Pete Yorn with me in Washington D.C. next month, we can get a table in the front row of the dinner theater for $35.00 per-person.

"Hey Drew, who the hell is Pete Yorn?" you're asking right about now.

Answer: He's the guy offering face value tickets on his website, that's who.

I got rid of most of my Springsteen tickets yesterday. #DMD clients gobbled up most of them, which, frankly, is the biggest reason I get in the "ticket game". I provide a service to the corporate partners on this website who support me. I had roughly 15 or so tickets left over after all of their orders were placed and pieced a few off here and there to readers, Facebook friends, etc.

But understand this: I'll still be stopping by Royal Farms every day next week for my morning coffee. And when I need a good bottle of wine, I'll hop in my car and try to find a great $12.00 bottle at The Wine Merchant.

In other words, I'm not getting rich off of those 44 Springsteen tickets I bought. I'm not hiring a butler this morning and having HIM make my coffee and do my wine shopping for me, that's for darn sure.

If you want Springsteen tickets and you're willing to pay "more than face value" but not get crushed by the fees that the "big boys" will hit you with, I might be able to help you today. Just reach out to me via e-mail (drew@drewsmorningdish.com) and tell me how many you need and we'll go from there. I don't have much left, but I do have seats upstairs, in the middle level and on the floor. It really just depends on how many you want together, honestly.

And understand from the start you're going to pay anywhere from $250-$350 to see the show.

I don't set the ticket prices, remember.

I'm just trying to help you not get gouged so much, that's all.

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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 take on dangerous purdue today in college park

In almost every Maryland basketball game thus far in 2015-2016, the Terps have enjoyed a distinct size advantage. Diamond Stone and Robert Carter Jr. give Maryland an inside scoring tandem they did not possess last year and those two are the main reason why Maryland has risen to the top tier of the national rankings.

Today at 4 pm in the XFINITY Center, the Purdue Boilermakers will hit the court with a team that can match, or even exceed, the size of the Terps' front court. It’s a new challenge for Maryland and for Purdue, too.

It’s not often that the centerpiece of a basketball team comes off the bench, but Boilermaker center (and three-time Big 10 Player of the Week) A.J. Hammons has been doing just that. The 7’0”, 250 pound senior center has started only eight of Purdue’s 21 games (8 of 10 in conference). He is a physical beast in the paint and looks to finish every touch close to the basket with authority.

In Big 10 contests this season, Hammons is Purdue’s leading scorer at 15.5 ppg, and collects almost 7.6 rebounds per game despite getting only 25.8 minutes per game of playing time. He has limited shooting range, but is efficient with the short shots that he takes. He will be a tough matchup for Stone, Damonte Dodd, or Michal Cekovsky.

Hammons is big, but Purdue center Isaac Haas is bigger. Standing at 7’2” tall and weighing in at 282 pounds, Haas is a mountain of a man, but lacks the finesse to truly take advantage of his imposing physique.

Purdue has another imposing “big” in freshman Caleb Swanigan. He was one of the most sought-after high school players in the country last year and is considered by some to be the highest rated recruit ever to sign with Purdue. A fairly nimble 6’9” 250 pound forward, he leads Purdue in rebounds per game (9.0) and is forth in scoring (9.9). He can score inside or out, and I expect him to match up with Robert Carter Jr.

I'm particularly excited to watch the Swanigan-Carter Jr. battle, but all of the interior wars will be fun to witness.

Another match up of note will be that of Maryland’s Jake Layman against Vince Edwards of Purdue. Edwards is a double digit scorer who grabs 5.4 rebounds per game. At 6’8” and a strong 225 pounds, he will be a real test for the Terps small forwards who must stop his 40% shooting from the three point line. I’m not so sure he can handle Layman down low, but with the other giants patrolling the lane, there may be no room down there for Jake to work.

The Purdue guards are very capable but not quite as intimidating offensively as the Boilermaker front court. Raphael Davis hits 38% from the 3 point line and is the reigning Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year. At 6’6” tall, he is a big guard with real good athletic ability and should be locked up with Rasheed Sulaimon.

This Purdue team has some really nice pieces and that's why they're ranked in the top 20 nationally (18th in the AP poll). But they do have a few weaknesses that Maryland will look to exploit.

I would highly encourage the Terps to put on their track shoes and run whenever they can. Purdue may be deeper than Maryland (they get double digit minutes from 10 players compared to 7 for Maryland) but have shown at times to be sluggish retreating on defense.

If Maryland can maintain fresh legs with their interior players, they may be able to wear down Hammons and Haas. This means more playing time for Dodd and Cekovsky and both need to respond to the challenge. I expect the Terps to increase their fast break points by pushing the tempo.

After watching several Purdue games, I wasn't impressed with how their big men defend guards who get into the lane. With Melo Trimble being one of the best in the business at getting inside with dribble penetration, protecting the rim will be a big concern for Purdue coach Matt Painter. The Boilermakers help out real well when defending the post, but they don’t protect the rim with nearly the same intensity.

Turnovers may be Maryland’s undoing come tournament time, but for today I see a drastically reduced amount of miscues. Purdue won’t create many turnovers and that will lead to more Terp shots and more Terp buckets. Purdue doesn’t get into passing lanes the same way Nebraska does and as a result they don’t collect a bunch of steals.

Statistically, these teams are so even that many would look for a close game. Purdue rebounds better than Maryland while the Terps shoot it a bit better. As always in College Park, the home crowd (it’s a “Red Out” today) will be a big factor.

Vegas opened Maryland as a 4.5 point favorite. I was all set to take those points and predict the upset, but the more games I watched, the better I liked the way Terp strengths fit into Purdue weaknesses.

Hammons will get his points, but it won’t be nearly enough for Purdue. This is a statement game for Carter Jr. to show pro scouts he can handle some big boys. I say he has a strong game, Trimble gets close to 10 assists, and the Terps as a team shoot well enough to claim a 77-68 victory.

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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.


It's still anyone's game at TPC Scottsdale and I'm in position to have five of my six fantasy recommendations make the cut at the Waste Management Open.

They weren't able to finish the second round yesterday due to darkness, but let's look at how the six players I handed out on Wednesday are doing thus far.

My predicted tournament winner, Gary Woodland is sitting at 3-under par after rounds of 67-72. He has some work to do to catch the leader (James Hahn at -10) by Sunday afternoon.

I told you Hideki Matsuyama was a good play and so far it looks that way, as he's at 7-under after rounds of 65-70. I also liked Phil Mickelson this week and he's going to play the weekend after posting 2-under par for 36 holes (69-71).

My other "big boy" was Bubba Watson and he's at 4-under par after consecutive rounds of 69.

One of my two darkhorses is going to make the cut and the other likely won't. The 36-hole cut won't be decided until Saturday morning's completion of round two, but it looks like Hudson Swafford will be available for your Super Bowl party after shooting 74-69 and posting 1-over par. The cut MIGHT fall at 1-over, though, so he'll hang around in Phoenix today to see how things shake out.

My other darkhorse, John Huh is at 3-under par after 69-70.

I was really hoping for a six-for-six weekend, meaning all six of the guys I gave out on Wednesday play all 72 holes and get you some fantasy points all four days. At worst, I went five-for-six.

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looking for that perfect valentine's day gift? 2 seats remain on our adele bus trip

#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 last Monday and we've already sold 30 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...



never been to augusta and the masters? let's change that!

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you're interested in making the trip to Augusta this April 5th, send me an e-mail today: 18inarow (at) gmail.com


Friday
February 5
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 5

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed

Click here for full details on our Masters trip!




baltimore's arena issues aren't about the building, they're about the city

After not visiting Washington D.C.'s Verizon Center in roughly three years, I recently took in three events there in seven days as part of our various trip offerings here at #DMD.

I saw the Caps play someone in hockey on Wednesday, January 27. I've already erased that one from my memory, but I vaguely remember being there.

I was in the Verizon Center last Friday, January 29 for the Bruce Springsteen concert.

And this past Wednesday, a busload of #DMD'ers ventured to D.C. to see Steph Curry and the Warriors dispose of the Wizards.

That's quite a building they have down there at F and 6th street. I haven't been in every major indoor venue in the country, so I can't label it "the best" or anything of that nature, but it's as good as you can get, I'd say, from a seating and amenities standpoint.

If you're from Baltimore, it makes you insanely jealous to venture into that facility to watch NHL hockey or NBA basketball in particular, because we all know we'll never see our own franchises in those two sports in Charm City.

In fact, it's unlikely we'll even see a new, state-of-the-art indoor arena in Baltimore in my lifetime.

And our lack of teams here doesn't have anything at all to do with the current facility, the 54-year old Royal Farms Arena. Sure, there's no chance a NBA or NHL team would call our current building "home" with its antiquated seating style and lack of corporate hospitality options. But, as a lot of major concert acts have showed over the last decade, the arena still serves a significant purpose for Baltimore.

In a weird sort of way, the building in Baltimore has taken on the characteristics of your grandparents. When you were 14, you thought they were both nuts. At 34, you realize they have much more wisdom than you had the capacity to realize twenty years before.

That's the Royal Farms Arena. Twenty years ago, the city was howling about how much the place was "holding us back". Now, in 2016, we realize the building itself had nothing to do with the growth of the city. The Rolling Stones, Eagles, Garth Brooks, Bruce Springsteen, Alicia Keys and Jay-Z all found the arena more than suitable for their respective uses in recent years. Our city and state government's lack of vision in 1990 and beyond was (and still is...) the problem.

Yes, I'm particularly fond of the Royal Farms Arena because I spent 17 years there in a 3rd floor office while working for the indoor soccer team in town. The Blast still plays there, in fact, and shows like Disney on Ice (at the arena this weekend) and the circus still call it home when they make their annual visits to Baltimore. It has served its purpose in a very unique -- and underrated -- way since 1962, despite the obvious warts and blemishes.

And, yes, those cosmetic shortfalls are real, there's no denying that. As 12,000 seat buildings go in this country, the Royal Farms Arena is incredibly useful and adequate, particularly for a no-frills city like Baltimore. Would it work in DC? Of course not, because the corporate and stuffed-suit political climate in "the District" require more glitz than substance.

I get it. We all know the limitations of the building in Baltimore. But it's still running along nicely when the right tenant or suitable act needs to call it home.

Now, in case you weren't paying attention -- and based on the crowds at Towson basketball games over the last few years, you likely weren't -- the Colonial Athletic Association announced two weeks ago they are ending its three-year marriage to Baltimore as the site of their men's basketball tournament. After a brief run at the Royal Farms Arena, they're packing up and heading to Charleston, South Carolina to see if that community will embrace their signature event every March.

But that departure is NOT about the building in Baltimore being "unattractive for basketball."

The Royal Farms Arena wasn't a problem when Maryland hosted Princeton in basketball earlier this season and a sold-out crowd saw the Terps beat the Tigers a week before Christmas.

The CAA tournament is leaving Baltimore because not enough people care about the CAA and the crowds of 4,000 or so were thought to be "embarrassing" for the conference. Had they played the tournament at the new, state-of-the-art SECU Arena on the campus of Towson University, the entire tournament would have been a sell-out in each of the last three years. That's the difference between a 12,000 seat venue and a 4,500 seat venue, I suppose, but it also clearly points out what the issues are with regard to the CAA tournament itself.

If the Big 10 decided (I know this wouldn't happen, but just play along) to move their men's basketball tournament to the Royal Farms Arena, would all 12,000 seats be sold? You're darn tootin' they would.

It's not about the building, it's about the product.

And, let's be honest here, it's also about Baltimore's ability to financially sustain a franchise over a long period of time.

If somehow, magically, the NBA or NHL awarded our city a franchise and a new 20,000 seat structure went up somewhere in downtown Baltimore to accommodate one or both of those new teams, I'm quite confident it would ultimately be an unsuccessful run for them.

There might be an initial honeymoon period as we danced with our new sports partners, but the on-going need for corporations to pony up $100,000 for a suite and people like you and I to fork over $200 for a good seat to see a hockey or basketball game would be a fairly quick drain on our enthuasiasm level.

I'm sorry, but over the long haul, Baltimore just couldn't support its own NHL or NBA franchise and that really doesn't have anything to do with the building at 201 West Baltimore Street.

If the CAA basketball tournament proved anything our community in general, it's that Baltimore only cares about the things that are inherently important to us. It's a generational thing with baseball and football in this city. We have a baseball team, we go to the games (although those numbers were laughably bad in the early 2000's). We have a football team, we go to the games. But we do so because that's what we learned to do as kids. Our parents were baseball and football fans, and so, too, are we.

Nothing about going to watch Towson play Drexel or Hofstra play Northeastern in the CAA basketball tournament is in our DNA. Going to see Bruce Springsteen is in my DNA, so I'll be there on April 20 when he plays at the Royal Farms Arena. Shelling out $150 for a "ticket book" for the 4-day CAA hoops event just isn't in our blood, no matter how much we like Pat Skerry.

It's not about the building in Baltimore.

It's connected to what we can afford and how much we enjoy being a spectactor for that particular event.

And it's about how much we're willing to latch on to whatever plays in the venue and then call it our own.

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from the desk of

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

Let us be frank at the commencement: the designated hitter is coming to the National League.

Commissioner Rob Manfred brought up the possibility recently in remarks to reporters and, though they've since been walked back, the writing is on the wall for the idea of professional pitchers being forced to pick up bats and meekly attempt to not embarrass themselves at the plate.

Speaking just for myself, I'm totally at a loss as to why anyone opposes the DH after 40+ years of its existence in the sport. Okay, I'm not really: beat writers who have to spend most every game in the press box for work purposes are generally in favor of anything that makes games shorter, and pitchers batting instead of actual professional hitters mostly does that. Their preference for the institution bleeds out in opinion columns, and still plays some role in shaping fan discourse around the “purity” of the game, especially among baseball fans.

But from a fan standpoint, what is the appeal, exactly? I grew up in the Dayton, Ohio area as a big Reds' fan, so I've seen my share of National League ball and, I have to tell you, I couldn't possibly prefer the “A.L. Style” more.

There are few things less anti-climactic than seeing the death of a potential rally a mile away because the pitching spot is coming up, in large part because the guys often times aren't even trying.

Running out ground balls? Of course not: You don't want a starting pitcher to get hurt running the bases. Digging in for a tough at bat? Please, these guys barely even take batting practice. They're not ready to go up there and foul off tough pitches with anything other than blind luck.

The real harbinger of inevitable DH hegemony, however, is that nowhere in advanced levels of baseball other than the National League do pitchers bat. That includes college baseball, the minor leagues, the Arizona Fall League, winter leagues, and most Spring Training games. That means that the vast majority of today's upcoming pitchers haven't handled a bat regularly since high school.

And fans supposedly want to watch those guys try to hit big league pitching in what is supposed to be a showcase of the very best baseball talent in the world? Give me a break.

And before anyone goes there, I won't even entertain the notion that there is “more strategy” in the National League game. This necessarily implies that there is less strategy in the American League, which is just hogwash. Each league offers different strategies.

No, you don't have to weigh the offensive vs. pitching value of pinch hitting for your pitcher who may not need to come out of the game in a tight contest, nor do you have to “master” the double shift (which is silly since basically anyone who knows what it is can plug-and-play a double switch), but there are still strategic considerations to be made. When do you bring in a certain reliever? Do you try to stretch a starter one more inning?

When is the proper time to start playing platoon matchups with your bullpen? All of these are real strategic questions that can win or lose a game and are a big part of the American League game as well.

I will allow one defense of the National League tradition, and that is that it's just that: Tradition. Pitchers used to bat all of the time in Major League Baseball, they've batted forever in the National League, and a lot of people don't want to see that changed for purely historical/aesthetic reasons. I personally don't share that opinion, but I don't begrudge anyone the way they subjectively enjoy sports, and I'm certainly not interested in an argument over personal tastes.

I can respect a frank admission that someone just simply prefers the senior circuit to the junior one, even if I don't personally agree.

But, sorry to say, the current equillibrium won't persist forever. Too many people in the baseball power structure want to bring the DH to the N.L., and it simply is going to happen. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next year, heck maybe not even in the next five years, but fairly soon pitchers batting in Major Leauge Baseball will be a thing of the past altogether.

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

MATTHEW CARROLL

There will be action from start to finish in Matchweek 25 of the Barclays Premier League, which kicks off bright and early Saturday morning with a battle for first place and then concludes with one of the most storied rivalries in all of football. In between, there are top half of the table matchups and a key encounter near the bottom of the table that could push one team another step closer to the brink of relegation. As usual, you can catch all of this weekend’s action live on the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Saturday, February 6 (all times eastern)

7:45am – Leicester City @ Manchester City – Etihad Stadium, NBC Sports Network

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Something has to give this Saturday at Manchester City. Visiting Leicester have the most road points in 2016, while Man City owns the most home points in the EPL this season.

Leicester City took over sole possession of first place with two goals from Jamie Vardy, whose wonder volley from outside the eighteen-yard box for the opener was enough to put a smile on the face of England national team manager Roy Hodgson who was in attendance scouting for EURO 2016, and more than enough to overcome Liverpool. They will kick off this weekend’s action when they travel to the Etihad Stadium for a showdown with second place Manchester City, who did just enough in a 1-0 victory over relegation candidates Sunderland to stay three points behind the Foxes in the league table.

While this might not have seemed like one of the biggest fixtures of the season when the schedule was released last spring, a closer look at the numbers clearly shows this to be a matchup of the two best teams the Premier League has to offer this year, with the forty seven days Leicester has spent at the top of the table eclipsed only by City’s one hundred days, City winning the most points at home this season (28) while Leicester has won the most away from home (25), and the Citizens winners of sixteen of their last nineteen at home while the Foxes have lost just one of their last fifteen away encounters.

12:30pm – West Ham United @ Southampton – St. Mary’s Stadium, NBC Sports Network

A brilliant display from goal keeper Frasier Forster (11 saves) helped Southampton manager Ronald Koeman continue his dominance over his Arsenal counterpart (W4 D5 L2), with the 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium extending the Saints unbeaten streak to four games and holding their place in the league table. Koeman and company will now set their sights on closing the gap to sixth place when they host West Ham United, who comfortably took all three points from last place Aston Villa in a 2-0 victory to remain within shouting distance of the top four, at the St. Mary’s Stadium on Saturday evening.

West Ham have lost only one of their last eleven league games (W4 D6) and just once in their last eight meetings with the Saints (W4 D3), including the reverse fixture earlier this season when the Hammers came back from a goal deficit to claim all three points in a 2-1 victory. West Ham have not won both home and away against Southampton in the same season in over fifteen years, but to pull the double this year they will have to solve the in-form Forster, who has saved all twelve shots that he’s faced in his four appearances since his return from injury and is yet to concede a goal in these matches.

Sunday, February 7 (all times eastern)

11am – Manchester United @ Chelsea – Stamford Bridge, NBC Sports Network

With their manager’s future in doubt and a seemingly ever present dark cloud hanging over the club for the last two months, Manchester United were desperate for a quality performance and that is exactly what they turned in against Stoke City, with Anthony Martial’s curling effort putting the game beyond doubt prior to halftime before Wayne Rooney capped off the scoring shortly after the break in a convincing 3-0 win. They will look to make it two in a row when they travel to Stamford Bridge to take on arch rivals Chelsea who, like Arsenal, were done in by superb goalkeeping in a 0-0 draw at Watford.

Following their 0-0 draw in the reverse fixture in their final game of 2015, Chelsea are now unbeaten in their last six meetings with United (W3 D3), failing to take points in only one of their last thirteen matches against the Red Devils at Stamford Bridge. The conversation is likely to remain on van Gaal however as he squares off against his Dutch compatriot Guus Hiddink, who has not lost in his last five matches against his countryman (W4 D1) and who remains unbeaten since he took over as the interim manager following Jose Mourinho’s departure in mid-December (W3 D5).

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never been to augusta and the masters? let's change that!

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you're interested in making the trip to Augusta this April 5th, send me an e-mail today: 18inarow (at) gmail.com


Thursday
February 4
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 4

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed

Click here for full details on our Masters trip!




blame the coaches, blame espn, blame the parents, and, yes, blame the kids

All that's wrong with Division 1 college football was on full display Wednesday, as "National Signing Day" took center stage across the country.

This outrageous spectacle of embarrassment and entitlement isn't found just in college football. College basketball also features the same gaudy unveiling of who-goes-where, but Wednesday's day-long parade of hats and logos -- not to mention the cash and cars we didn't see -- was football's moment to fill the room with the aroma of accomplishment.

Truth? It smells like the garbage you forgot to take out before leaving for that 10-day family cruise in August.

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Preparing for the show.

Let's get the necessary pre-cursor-statement out of the way so I can set the stage for my distaste of "National Signing Day" by openly admitting the most obvious thing:

I have soured on "big time" college athletics over the last decade or so, it's true. I love, love, love college sports, but only when they're competed in an arena of fairness and in a place where the competition and the spirit of sport matters.

That might very well be far too polyanna'ish for 2016, but it is what it is at this point. I abhor the dirty side of college athletics. And abhor might be the "soft" version of my level of dislike for what goes on in the world of Division I football.

People often ask me, "Drew, why do you have such fondness for UMBC women's basketball?" -- a program and a school that are an example of a part of college athletics that I do like. The answer is simple: "Because I feel like I'm seeing an authentic representation of the school where those young ladies and their coaching staff are putting the competition FIRST and themselves SECOND."

Now, as Snoop Dogg once rapped in a Dr. Dre song -- back to the lecture at hand.

It's become a tradition -- and frankly, I don't know when this all really started -- over the last decade or so for high school football players to have a far-too-public "unveiling" of what college they are going to attend. Yesterday was that day. The sexy name is "National Signing Day".

Long gone are the days where you ran to the mailbox, got your acceptance letter, and went out for an ice cream with mom and dad to celebrate your scholarship and entry into the world of college football.

Look, I might be old, but I get that it's 2016 and not 1976. Things are different now.

But, "National Signing Day" is an epic circus of EVERYONE getting it wrong. No one gets left in the wake. The college football programs are to blame, the parents of the kids are definitely to blame, the young men are to blame and -- for sure, and perhaps most importantly -- those rat fink money-grubbers at ESPN are to blame.

Then again, one of the reasons the schools have the money to funnel to the right channels so those kids make a living playing at your local school (oh, wait, they're not allowed to receive money, I forgot...) is because of ESPN.

So, we can't really be all that upset at ESPN, right? They're just feeding the monster that helps fill their belly every September through January.

Wrong.

We should be upset with all of them.

By and large, these are 17 and 18 year old young men who are not only ill-equipped to deal with this new sense of fame (and fortune), but it's also not really deserving.

Anyone who has ever played amateur athletics knows all about jumping from level to level. Sometimes your ability takes you to that "next level" and keeps you there, sometimes your ability takes you to a place where the talent you have just doesn't quite match-up with the others you oppose and compete against.

Those kids yesterday shouldn't have been in front of a packed gym and TV cameras. They should have been in class, gleefully appreciative of the blessings handed to them from the University of Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame or Florida State, but in class nonetheless.

It's one thing to have an organized "school event" to showcase a large group of "student-athletes" who are signing to play college sports. Calvert Hall does it a few times a year to match the seasons of sport. As a high school golf coach, I'm extraordinarily proud of two of my former players -- Nick Smearman and Jimmy Grem -- who are currently playing at Towson University.

But those events -- and I'm speaking only for Calvert Hall here, I'm sure there are a lot of high schools who produce similar "signing day" activities -- are done in good-taste, where the young men are wearing a red Cornell sweatshirt or a baby blue North Carolina hat.

It's not done in front of a packed gym with the young men playing "musical hats" until they finally let everyone know where they're headed off to next September to play football, lacrosse, basketball, etc.

Ironically, it's a celebration that generally includes, literally, lemonade, coffee, tea and some cookies and a cake.

You know, the stuff that 18 year olds eat and drink.

Nothing about yesterday's carnival even remotely resembled "good taste".

It came off precisely as it is: Showboating, entitlement and a TV show.

The parents are probably so overjoyed at the mere thought of saving $200,000 on their son's education that they really don't care how much their son gets peddled to those creeps at ESPN. And they're also not thinking about what his "day in the sun" might be doing to him emotionally as he gets ready to leave the friendly nest of home-life for the ultra-high-stakes world of college football.

As Denzel said in "Training Day": "This s**t is chess, it ain't checkers."

And those 18 year olds aren't ready for chess. They wouldn't know how to move a knight if they had the instruction book in front of them. They're kids, still. Fame and fortune isn't something they're ready for and, back to that word again, deserving of, either.

They're high school kids who play football. They haven't done anything in life REALLY worth talking about on TV. That's the truth.

We all parent our children a different way. That's a fact, not a criticism or a judgment of any kind. I can say, for sure, in my house, if my son or daughter EVER is touched by God enough to have a skill-set worthy of a big-time Division 1 athletic scholarship that there will be NO spectacle, no TV cameras and most certainly, no shameless "rotating hats" while he/she keeps everyone in the gym on pins and needles until they finally tell the world what school they'll be granting the privilege of having them next Fall.

That's MY decision as a parent. The rest of the studs (and "studettes"??) at my kid's school can have one of those glory sessions. My son or daughter will contact the appropriate college coach once that's permitted and say, "Thank you for this great opportunity...I'm coming to XXXX to get an education and play for you" and thus will end the process of telling everyone who-cares-to-know where they'll be attending college.

Ultimately, though, the colleges and the coaches are the ones who get the most red marks on their bottoms for what we witnessed yesterday.

They're the real goats in this whole thing, because the recruiting game is all about who "gets the best class", as if we really have any way of knowing that in the first place.

It's like these nitwits who grade the NFL Draft the day after it's complete. "Who had the best draft?" they ask...and then they tell you. There's only one small problem: None of those guys have played a down of football in the NFL. But they grade the draft anyway because they have time and space to fill. And they have to give all the appearance they're better than their competition, which is precisely why college coaches like Jim Harbaugh makes such a horse's ass out of himself, all in the name of getting a few more players than, say, Michigan State or Wisconsin.

The coaches are saying the same thing the kids are saying: "Look at me! Look at how I'm different. Look at how I'm better. It's about my superiority today."

That aura gets passed on to the kids throughout the recruiting process. And ESPN knows it, so they promote it even more with their countless hours of pandering to those young men and the college coaches.

In the end, you have one, big, smelly day of self-glorification that at its core, is an occasion with good intention. It very much SHOULD be a day of happiness for those young men as they get rewarded for their athleticism, academic accomplishments and passion for the sport they love.

Instead, it's become something resembling the Bunny Ranch in Las Vegas.

Everyone should be ashamed of their role in pimping the talents of a teenager.

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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!


maryland turns away pesky nebraska

The Terrapin basketball team proved once and for all that size does matter as they used their decided height advantage to block 13 shots (eight by Diamond Stone), outrebound Nebraska 40-31, and score key points in the paint to earn a hard fought 70-65 win on Wednesday night in Lincoln.

The game was actually closer than the final margin indicates. It was tied at the five minute mark and Maryland only had a one point lead with 2:32 left.

Stone had a monster game protecting the rim and added 16 points and ten rebounds to go along with his career high eight blocks. Melo Trimble’s 20 points led all scorers.

I’m sure Terp head coach Mark Turgeon was glad to see the first half end. Varun Ram missed two foul shots with one second remaining to play in the opening half. Michal Cekovsky missed a tip of the second Ram miss and the horn sounded ending a disappointing 20 minutes for the Terps.

For the half, Nebraska shot 28% from the field and 18% from the 3-point line but still only trailed by only one point, 29-28. The Cornhuskers were able to keep it close because Maryland turned the ball over a whopping thirteen times in that first half.

As I pointed out in yesterday's preview, the quickness of the Nebraska guards gave Maryland big trouble, but many Terp miscues were the result of sloppy, lazy passing. Rasheed Sulaimon logged only five minutes in the half and Robert Carter Jr only seven as they were both plagued with early foul trouble.

The Terps hit only four of their ten foul shots in the first half. It was ugly.

The two teams traded baskets for much of the second half until a Rasheed Sulaimon dunk gave Maryland a six point lead, 47-41, with 12:28 remaining. Almost immediately, a three pointer by Nebraska guard Glynn Watson Jr narrowed the lead to just three points. Nebraska twice held three point leads in the second half. They led 54-51 at the 8:29 mark and again at 57-54 with 7:12 left. Both of those leads were erased by timely Melo Trimble 3's.

When Michael Jacobson hit a three with 2:32 remaining, the Cornhuskers were again within one point of Maryland, 62-61. The Terps would then score four points in five seconds on a Jake Layman layup and a Stone dunk. With the lead back to three, Stone missed the front end of a one-and-one and gave Nebraska an opportunity to tie with 33 seconds left. A missed three by Andrew White III (19 points, 9 rebounds) ended all Nebraska upset hopes.

Nebraska really gave Maryland trouble with their quickness on both ends of the court. They were able to get eight steals on defense and frequently got to the rim off the dribble. Unfortunately for them, far too often their penetration ended in a blocked shot.

In a game that featured speed vs size, size clearly won.

Maryland dominated the scoring inside but Robert Parker Jr struggled offensively and all of it was not due to the time he missed with foul trouble. Nebraska forward Shavon Shields did a great job of not allowing Carter Jr to receive entry passes. It was a similar defensive strategy that stifled Carter Jr in the second half of the Ohio State game.

The Terps shot poorly from the foul line hitting only 13 of 22. Stone and Ram both went 0-3. Carter Jr had one of his most bizarre stat lines for any game as a Terp. He charted zero field goals, only four points and four rebounds, but dished out a game high five assists.

Maryland’s next game is against Purdue in College Park on Saturday at 4 PM.


umbc's late rally falls short at home

UMBC shaved a 16-point second half deficit to three points in the final minute, but could not complete the comeback and fell, 79-73, to Albany in America East Conference play at the RAC Arena on Wednesday evening.

Retriever sophomore guard Jairus Lyles led all scorers with 24 points and senior post Cody Joyce scored 13, including his 1,000th career point.

Albany (18-6, 7-2 America East) scored the first nine points of the second half to extend a 35-29 lead to 44-29 just 1:16 into the frame. They would widen the margin to 49-33 at the 16:29 mark before UMBC (5-19, 1-8 AE) would begin to chip away at the deficit.

The Great Danes still led, 70-61, with 3:27 to play before a Joyce lay-in and a subsequent trey by sophomore guard Rodney Elliott (John Carroll H.S.) cut the gap to 70-66 with 2:02 remaining. There was an exchange of field goals, with Joyce surpassing the 1,000-point mark on another inside finish with 1:24 remaining.

Both teams failed to score on their next possession, as UMBC junior forward Will Darley (Dulaney H.S.) came up short on a jumper in the paint that would have cut the lead to two points with 54 seconds left. After UA committed a turnover, Elliott drew a foul, but only converted one of two free throws to bring UMBC to within 72-69 with 27 ticks left.

But Albany hit four consecutive free throws to hold UMBC off in the final 24 seconds.

Lyles scored 24 or more points for the 11th time in his 13 outings as a Retriever. At one point, he had 20 of UMBC's 40 points. Lyles added four steals and four rebounds in 39 minutes of action.

UMBC takes to the road for their next conference match-up, as they face Maine in Portland on Saturday, Feb. 6 at noon.

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we went to d.c. to see steph curry and he delivered

A busload of 46 basketball enthusiasts took part in #DMD's trip to the Verizon Center last night to see the Wizards take on the defending champion Golden State Warriors.

Let's be honest: That bus would have had 11 people on it, maybe, if the Atlanta Hawks would have been in town instead of Golden State.

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Just another night at the office for Curry, who poured in 51 points for the Warriors last night in DC.

We all made the treak down to the Verizon Center on a foggy Wednesday night to see Steph Curry and the reigning MVP didn't disappoint. He finished the game with 51 points, 36 of which came in the opening half.

In fact, Curry had 25 points in the first quarter alone, as Golden State surged to a double digit lead en route to their 134-121 win over the Wizards. John Wall had a whopper-of-a-night, too, with 41 points amid a dazzling array of shots and drives to the basket. Wall had a great night.

Curry, though, had one of those epic, memorable nights where his shooting touch was on in the game's opening 12 minutes and he wasn't afraid to pull the trigger.

Thanks to our great partners at Glory Days Grill and Harpoon Brewery for making the night special for our busload of travelers.

Glory Days sponsored the whole trip and put out a generous pre-game spread for everyone before we departed. Burgers, nachos, chicken wings -- everyone was plenty full by the time the bus departed for the nation's capital. And we washed it all down with ice cold Harpoon beer on the way to DC.

And then we saw Steph Curry.

It turned out to be a superb night for all involved.

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looking for that perfect valentine's day gift? 2 seats remain on our adele bus trip

#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 last Monday and we've already sold 30 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
February 3
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 3

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Click here for full details on our Masters trip!




"what are friends for?"

It was two weeks prior to the 2010 Super Bowl in Miami that my radio partner, Glenn Clark, started dropping hints about a birthday surprise he was planning for me.

One of the only downfalls of my annual trek to the Super Bowl every year was the week almost always coincided with my birthday (January 30), which meant I was away from my wife, children and friends on the big day. Honestly, I'm not much on birthday celebrations, but it was symbolic if nothing else.

Given a choice, I'd rather be home for my birthday than away for work, but duty called every year and I'd be doing radio on the morning of my birthday. 2010 was going to be no different.

"I'm cooking up something really special for your birthday," Clark teased on the air a couple of weeks prior to our departure for Fort Lauderdale, which was "technically" the host city for the Super Bowl that featured New Orleans vs. Indianapolis (played in Miami). I naturally tried to coax the surprise announcement out of him, but he wouldn't budge.

As our departure drew near, Clark turned up the heat on the air during our 6 am to 10 am weekday shift.

"It involves a person, I'll at least tell you that much," he hinted.

"And you'll be incredibly surprised, I promise you. It will be a birthday gift you won't forget," Clark added.

But that was about all I could get out of him, and there wasn't nearly enough information for me to make an educated guess on what my birthday gift might be.

The broadcast team loaded up on Sunday and flew down to Fort Lauderdale one day in advance of the opening of radio row at the Convention Center. On the flight down to Florida, Clark started ramping up the teaser-portion of his promised delivery of an awesome birthday gift.

"So, this is going to happen on Tuesday (the 30th of January)," he said. "I don't think I've ever pulled a rabbit out of my hat like I've done this time."

Clark and I had been working together for a couple of years at that point and I knew he was prone to the occasional use of hyperbole -- like everyone in sports radio -- so I tempered my enthusiasm for one of my iconic heroes stopping by on Tuesday. Still, thoughts raced through my head as our plane headed for South Florida.

X
My favorite Raven of all time, Daniel Wilcox.

Given that radio row often produces "odd" guests (E Street Band member Nils Lofgren stopped by one year; U.S. Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger was a guest of mine; and comedian Frank Caliendo was always hanging around each year for some weird reason) you never knew who might be in the room at any given moment. It was impossible for me to hedge a bet one way or the other on who or what my birthday surprise might be.

On Tuesday, January 30th, we woke up early and headed to the Convention Center for the 6 am start of my show. It was me, Clark and producer Ray Bachman with the duties that morning.

Our typical routine was to try and get to the building no later than 5:30 am, check to make sure the equipment was still in working order, then chug down a coffee or two to shake out the cobwebs and get ready for another 12 hours of radio.

I was stationed at our table on radio row when Clark's cell phone rang.

He picked it up and had a brief conversation.

"Hello? Hey man, you made it? Where are you? OK, I'll come outside and help you get in. We have to go upstairs and get you a credential."

And with that, Clark took off.

I remember Bachman saying, "Dude, you're gonna have a cow when you see who he has coming in here today."

Ten minutes later, as I was preparing for the start of the show, I looked up from the desk and saw Clark walking in my direction, 100 feet away. He had two people with him, but I couldn't quite make out who it was as they zigged-and-zagged through tables and radio and TV set-ups.

Finally, I saw who Clark had with him.

It was former Ravens tight end Daniel Wilcox and his wife, Shauna.

Wilcox was -- and still is to this day -- my favorite all-time Raven. There are a lot of reasons why, and if you'll allow me to bore you for a second, I'll explain.

I was always a "grinder" in sports. Never the fastest, never the flashiest, never the most skilled. I got what I got out of sports mainly because of passion and practice. I identified with Wilcox because those were his characteristics as a pro football player. He was obviously talented enough to play in the NFL, but by every account Wilcox was a grinder who worked hard, practiced well and would do anything the coaching staff asked of him. I liked that about him.

Our other "link" if you will -- Dan attended Appalachian State in Boone, North Carolina, which is situated about 40 miles from where my mother grew up (Lenoir, NC). My family spent many a summer day in Blowing Rock (part of Boone) having lunch or dinner while we were visiting relatives on vacation. And "App State" is a wonderful school and a college campus that still to this day remains one of my favorites from my years chasing college soccer players when I was running the indoor soccer team in Baltimore.

My fondness for Wilcox began during the 2006 Ravens season when I asked him to be part of charity free throw shooting contest at Towson University and he not only agreed to do it, he rallied a group of other players (Ngata, Stover, Oglesby) to join him that night to help us raise money. I knew Wilcox was a good egg when he pulled that off for me.

X
Who caught the first touchdown pass in the elite career of Joe Flacco? That would be Daniel Wilcox, of course, in Pittsburgh on Monday Night Football.

I frankly never got very close to any Ravens players during my radio tenure because I felt it had the potential to be a conflict of interest if I had to talk about their play on the air and had any sort of personal or business relationship with them. Over the years, I would get to know a couple of guys and work with them on a project-by-project basis (Flacco, Birk, Koch, Mulitalo) but for the most part, I didn't do anything with a Raven that didn't involve on-air radio work.

That said, I forged a unique relationship with Wilcox over the four years I knew him while he played. And I admitted as much on the air. I didn't keep it a secret.

And there he was...in the Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, coming to join me for the day as a birthday gift.

I had talked with Dan several times on the air since his departure from the Ravens in 2008, but that point, in 2010, marked the first time seeing him in person in roughly two years.

I left the table to greet him. His wife, Shauna, was six months pregnant at the time. I was beyond stunned that they were there.

"Happy Birthday, man," he said as we hugged. "I drove all night from Atlanta to get here today, so you better do some good radio with me this morning."

Wilcox had a youth football clinic in Atlanta on Monday night that ended around 6 pm. He ate, showered and hit the road at 8 pm with Shauna alongside. They pulled in to the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center at roughly 5:45 am.

That's the kind of guy Daniel Wilcox was and still is to this day.

And Clark was right. That was ONE awesome, memorable birthday gift.

Wilcox hung around throughout the day with us before eventually leaving in mid-afternoon.

I joked with him as he got ready to depart and said, "I'm so glad you came here today, but you know, you could have just called in...I would still love you just the same."

"Nah, man, that's not the way it works," Wilcox replied. "Glenn asked me to come here and celebrate your birthday with you and I said I would. What are friends for, right?"

They don't make friends like that very often, that's for sure.

And I'm still indebted to Clark for that stunt he pulled. A fact he'll occasionally remind me of when he needs something extra special from me.

"I got you Dan-freakin'-Wilcox for your birthday don't forget!" he'll always say.

"That's right, you did," I'll reply. "Tell me again what it is you need from me."

After all, what are friends for?

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another "bucket list" trip on the schedule tonight as we see steph curry and the warriors

February 3rd is finally here.

And with that, 44 of us will be heading to the Verizon Center tonight on a luxury motor coach to see the Wizards host the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors and reigning league MVP Steph Curry. It promises to be quite a night.

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How many points will Steph Curry have tonight? We'll all take a guess tonight as part of a contest we'll have on the bus trip to see the Warriors.

Our friends at Glory Days Grill are sponsoring tonight's trip, as our traveling group meets at Glory Days in Towson for a pre-game beverage and appetizers before heading to DC.

We have a supply of various tasty Harpoon beer products to enjoy on the bus ride and everyone in our group will be sitting together in the upper level of the Verizon Center to see if the Wizards can hand Golden State just their 5th loss of the season. The Warriors are 44-4 on the year and have won seven straight games heading into tonight's tussle with Washington (21-25).

During the game, everyone gets to enjoy an unlimited buffet with beer/soda/water in the DraftOps Fantasy Lounge and all of our attendees also receive a Wizards t-shirt. It's going to be quite a memorable night at the Verizon Center, no matter the outcome.

Thanks once again to Glory Days and Harpoon for making tonight's "bucket list" trip a success. Here's to a night of great fun...


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!


traveling terps face pesky nebraska tonight

If you like fast paced, get to the rim basketball, you will love the Nebraska team that Maryland faces tonight at 8 pm.

They don’t have the old 1990 Loyola Marymount kind of tempo, but the Cornhuskers have four players in Shavon Shields, Tai Webster, Glynn Watson, and Andrew White III, who love to run and can all beat you off the dribble. Shields is particularly tough to defend being that he is a 6’7” forward who will probably match up with Robert Carter Jr and Jake Layman. He averages 15.8 ppg making he and White III (17.0 ppg) the top scoring tandem in the Big 10.

White III is a 6’7” big guard who spent two years playing for the Kansas Jayhawks before transferring to Nebraska. He may be the best in the Big 10 when it comes to creating his own shot and scoring off the dribble. Hitting 51% from the floor and 42% from the three point line, he is dangerous from anywhere on the court and one player I believe could start for any team in the conference.

Shields, also 6’7” but a bit thicker, is not likely to beat you with a three or by posting up, but loves to run the floor on the break or beat you to the basket off the dribble. He is a tough matchup for most 4’s in the league because of his ability to put it on the floor and go hard to the basket.

Webster and Watkins like to run too, with Webster the better 3 point threat and Watkins a quick guard with the ball.

Nebraska will push the tempo, create off the dribble, and force turnovers on defense with their hands. What they don’t do well is defend the paint. They are just too small and lack a true big man on the interior.

The Cornhuskers are in the bottom five in the Big 10 in scoring defense, much of that due to giving up points in the paint. In their most recent game against Purdue, Boilermakers center, A.J. Hammonds, put up a career high 32 points on 14-17 shooting. Most of those shots were short layups and dunks. Nebraska was just too small to defend the 7 foot Purdue big man.

Even though Nebraska notched three of their four Big 10 wins against the bottom of the conference, they did steal an impressive win at Michigan St two weeks ago. The Terps can’t take them lightly or Maryland might get shocked.

The quick Nebraska guards are tough to handle when they go to the basket and I expect them to give the Terps a game tonight. Shields could be a problem also, but with Stone or Dodd protecting the rim, he may be slightly neutralized.

For the Terps to win this road contest and move to 9-2 in the Big 10, they better get back on defense quickly, pound the ball inside (they can’t settle for 3 point shots), and defend those Nebraska guards.

Nebraska was a team I predicted would be “much improved” in my Big 10 season preview and, looking at it now after a 4-5 start to conference play, they could perhaps outperform my predicted 12th place finish.

However, wins for Nebraska may be a bit more difficult to come by as their schedule gets tougher in the second half of the season. That said, they will give Maryland all they can handle tonight. The line is six points and my guess here is that the Terps don’t cover, squeaking out a 77-75 win behind a big game from Diamond Stone.

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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 heads to TPC Scottsdale this week for the Waste Management Open and the field starts to get a little better with the likes of Rickie Fowler, 2-time Masters champ Bubba Watson, Brooks Koepka (defending champion) and U.S. Open titleist Webb Simpson in the field this week.

My performance last week got saved a bit with Brandt Snedeker's heroic Sunday performance that saw him shoot 3-under while everyone else in the field was shooting 5-to-8 over par on Sunday and Monday. Snedeker's win on Monday got you some points if you listened to me and played him last week.

Unfortunately, if you listened to me you also played guys like Justin Rose, Spencer Levin and Cameron Tringale, each of whom missed the cut. I'm sorry for that. Better days are ahead, starting with this week in Scottsdale.

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Look for long-hitting Gary Woodland to be in the hunt this weekend at TPC Scottsdale.

In an effort to spread out my six players into something resembling your "real" fantasy lineup, I always take a couple of dark horse candidates.

I'm a big believer in the theory that most high quality golfers "have it" for about three to four weeks at a time. Then, something goes off track, they miss a cut or play poorly, and after a week trying to find it, they do just that and the whole cycle starts again.

So, with that in mind, let's go with a couple of young players who performed well last week in San Diego and play John Huh and Hudson Swafford in the Waste Management Open. Both of those guys are up-and-comers and TPC Scottsdale might just be one of those breakthrough sort of weeks where they're in contention on Sunday and finish in the Top 10.

Even though he didn't make the cut last week at Torrey Pines, I have a feeling Phil Mickelson is on to something and this might be the place where he starts to look dangerous for the Masters in April. Mickelson played well a couple of weeks ago at PGA West and is hinting that his game is back. Let's see if it is this week in Scottsdale.

You'd be foolish to ignore Bubba Watson this week, so I won't. His track record at TPC Scottsdale is terrific and he's definitely a "horses for courses" kind of player. Take him for sure.

I really like Rickie Fowler and Hideki Matsuyama this week, but I can only choose one of those two (since I have someone else winning), so I'm going to go with Hideki Matsuyama based on his two top 5 finishes in two prior trips to this golf course. But you wouldn't be wrong picking Fowler this week, either.

I'm taking Gary Woodland to win this week at TPC Scottsdale. He's played well in Arizona before (match play finalist a few years ago) and has the length to chew up the par 5's and drive a couple of the made-for-thrills par 4's at TPC Scottsdale. It's just a hunch, but I'm going with Woodland this week.

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looking for that perfect valentine's day gift? 4 seats remain on our adele bus trip

#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 last Monday and we've already sold 28 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...


Tuesday
February 2
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 2

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Click here for full details on our Masters trip!




five words i never thought i'd read: "being considered for a pulitzer"


It's officially Groundhog Day, February 2, 2016.

But today's edition of #DMD certainly won't be like any other you've read. So, it's not "Groundhog Day, The Movie" in these parts today. No, no, no.

What you're going to read below came in to me last Wednesday. The only reason I didn't post it right away? I assumed it was a hoax. I left it in my e-mail inbox and carried on with my day.

Two days later, I received another e-mail, this time with the same copy I originally received, only this time it was "marked up", which is computer-ese for "ready to be published". A note at the bottom said, simply, "Now you can go ahead and use it. My apologies for not having it prepared properly when I submitted it two days ago."

We use standard HTML coding here, so having something "marked up" for use isn't that crazy. If a nitwit like me can mark stuff up, anyone can. But the fact that the contributor went to the trouble of marking up the entire piece -- and doing it all correctly, thank you for very much -- pushed me in the direction of putting it up for public consumption here at #DMD.

Still, I hesitated.

How do I publish something on my own website that indicates I've been put up for consideration of a Pulitzer?", I asked myself last Saturday while I was still trying to figure this all out.

And why bother, even? I'm not winning, obviously. I mean, I'm just not.

This isn't "Hey, if you're up for consideration, you have at least have a chance of winning" stuff. This isn't the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team playing the Russians kind of odds.

There aren't ANY established odds for something this outrageous, because I can't win. There are longshots and there are super longshots and there are "ain't never gonna happen in a million years" and then there's this -- my work here at #DMD being rewarded with a Pulitzer.

On Saturday, January 30, I sent a return e-mail to the sender with the question of "Why are you doing this?" but didn't receive a reply.

My gut said not to publish the contributor's piece. "A nice gesture and all," I said to myself, but better to keep this one under wraps.

Late Sunday evening, long after I was in bed, a return e-mail arrived with the contributor's explanation. It was simple, but enough to convince me of their authenticity.

And their explanation made sense.

The closing sentence was the final piece of the puzzle that led me to publish the piece you'll see below.

"You can dream about winning a blue ribbon at the County Fair for making a great bowl of chili or you can dream about being a Pulitzer Prize winner. Whichever one of those you choose requires you to dream big," the contributor wrote.

So, you'll read it below and laugh like I did when I first saw it in my e-mail inbox last week.

I'm still laughing, actually.

But you know what else I'm doing, now?

Dreaming big.

I know I'm not winning, but that doesn't matter. I'm dreaming big.

And to whichever one of you complete lunatics out there did this, I thank you. It means a lot. You got me to dream big. Or bigger.

A blue ribbon at the County Fair is nice, but I want more than that.

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chasing the rainbow

by Anonymous

Query: What do sportswriters Dave Anderson, Arthur Daley, Red Smith, Jim Murray, and Drew Forrester have in common?

Answer: They have all been awarded Pulitzer Prizes. Except Drew.

Come April 18th, that might change. I put Drew up for consideration by the Pulitzer Committee for the 2015 Prize for the category “distinguished commentary, using any available journalistic tool.”

Red Smith
Walter "Red" Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning sports commentator. Smith was once asked if it was difficult to turn out a daily sports column. "No," he replied. "All you do is sit down at your typewriter, open up a vein, and bleed."

Note that I didn't say I “nominated” Drew for the prize. The Pulitzer Committee discourages use of the term because the truth of the matter is, exactly as in this particular case, any mope off the street with a credit card and enough spare time to compile the burdensome entry forms can put somebody up for consideration.

Many an aspiring writer or musician has put his own work up for consideration by the Pulitzer Committee, and then referred to himself as a “Pulitzer Prize Nominee.” This is now a big no-no among the egghead set. I put Drew up [without his prior knowledge] because of “sustained [365 columns in 2015] and insightful journalistic excellence.”

Anyone whose work has been submitted is deemed an entrant. The Pulitzer jury selects a group of three finalists from these entrants, and these three only are properly called nominees.

You may think it absurd to put up a sportswriter in a category in which previous winners have addressed the most important human issues: war, famine, civil rights, disease, systemic injustice, forced migration, torture, ad, sadly, nauseum. You may think it further absurd because, in the 100-plus years of the Pulitzer awards, only four sportswriters have been awarded the commentary prize, and arguably for the work of their long careers, and not just for their work in the years in which they won.

I agree.

Simply put, the Pulitzer Prize should have a category for sportswriting. It has, after all, a category for “cartoon or portfolio of cartoons.” It is an unfortunate aspect of the Pulitzer that it requires the mixing of apples and oranges, then discriminates against the oranges because they are not apples.

You may think it absurd to put up commentary published in a quaint vehicle called Drew's Morning Dish when the competition's work appears in such impressive places as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Houston Chronicle, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Washington Post, and others.

I agree with that as well.

After all, how can a commentator who has no guaranteed paycheck, no employer-based retirement, no HR Department support, no supervising editor, no secretary or receptionist, no advertising department, no research assistants, no fact checkers, no re-write men, and no proofreaders possibly compete against the establishment commentators? Good question! Well, some insightful wit once said that 90% of success is just showing up.

The hard fact here is that Drew is there, and another hard fact is that it doesn't matter a whit how he got there. Let the judging begin.

Jim Murray
Jim Murray, Pulitzer Prize-winning sports commentator. He had a million of 'em. On the Indy 500: "Gentlemen, start your coffins." On Rickey Henderson: "He has a strike zone the size of Hitler's heart." On Steve Garvey: "The most controlled man I've ever met. He makes the pope look temperamental."

Frank Deford, in his book, Over Time: My Life as a Sportswriter [New York: Grove Press; 2012], writes with curmudgeonly humor, which I believe masks a deeply-felt and long-festering wound, about the short shrift given sportswriters by their fellow journalists. Here, he tells what came of his request for NPR to put him up for a Peabody Award [the Peabodies are awards for radio and TV comparable to the Pulitzers for print media] for his weekly sports commentary. A Peabody representative told NPR that a sports commentator could not win the award:

But this is what stung: Peabody’s spokesman told Ellen (McDonnell, NPR’s executive director of news programming), “You should’ve nominated Daniel Schorr for politics.”

The late Mr. Schorr was the distinguished political commentator on NPR—as far as I was concerned, they could’ve given him a Peabody each and every year. But the idea that his work talking about politics merited recognition simply because of the subject matter, while mine disqualified me—well, yeah that upset me. I’m sorry, but every now and then I take umbrage.

It's not wholly logical that sportswriting—which includes commentary on issues such as athletes earning 500 times what an average worker makes; the closing of ALL libraries in a major city one day a week for an entire year and using the savings to finance a stadium for a group of multi-millionaires; steroid use by hundreds of thousands of aspiring college and professional athletes; and the flourishing of two-tiered justice systems in many college towns that protect athletes from arrest and prosecution, even for felonies—is not recognized as worthy of its own Pulitzer Prize category.

For Drew, or any sportswriter in this era, to have any chance of winning a Pulitzer, the award would have to change its category criteria. And if the rules are changed, I'm not wholly dismissive of the Dish's chances. And what greater thrill is there than when the home team catches lightning in a bottle!

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from the desk of: brien jackson

Leave it to a professional sports league to take a simple problem, with an obvious, simple, solution and radically transform a system in a way that makes the problem markedly worse. That's exactly what Major League Baseball has done with the qualifying offer system.

If you're not familiar with how this regime came about, here's a quick rundown. The old system used to involve a crude statistical ranking provided by the Elias Sports Bureau that ranked players within position groups (starting pitchers, middle infielders, catchers, etc.) and divided the top tiers between “Type A” and “Type B” free agents.

If a team offered a departing free agent salary arbitration, they received a first round supplemental pick for any Type B free agents who signed elsewhere, or a supplemental first rounder AND the highest available draft pick from the signing team for a departing Type A free agent. The statistical rankings provided by Elias were crude and outdated, but by and large the system functioned pretty well: Teams weren't significantly constrained from signing free agents, and the small market teams that were losing productive free agents got back a good haul of high draft picks with which to replenish their organization.

There was, however, a pretty glaring glitch. Because relief pitchers were classified as their own position group, there were far too many Type A free agents at that position, and as teams began to realize that relief pitchers generally weren't worth big commitments, the market for the class of relievers who qualified for Type-A status but were clearly below the tier of elite players in the league cratered.

Even someone like Rafael Soriano had to work out the equivalent of a sign-and-trade deal when he went to Tampa Bay prior to the 2010 season. But the fix here was pretty straightforward: Figure out a way to fold relievers into a grouping with starters that would leave the absolute best in the ranks of qualifying free agents without impacting the non-spectacular middle releviers.

Instead, MLB and the union developed the qualifying offer system we see now, which wouldn't be terrible in its own right if it wasn't tied in to the equally stupid draft slotting/pool system. I'll spare you my rant against the MLBPA, but suffice to say, if anyone tries to pass off a line about how powerful the union is in the post-Donald Fehr era, this arrangement is all you need to know that those days have passed.

I've detailed this before, so to briefly recap: If you sign a player who rejects a qualifying offer you forfeit your highest unprotected pick and the attached signing pool money. So where teams didn't necessarily mind giving up a first round pick under the old system because they could make up for it by offering a bigger bonus to a high ceiling high schooler they drafted in, say, the 6th round, now that's simply not an option because of the slotting system, and the consequences of going so far over slot to coax these players into the minor leagues instead of college baseball.

And after a few seasons of playing the new system out, it's simply impossible to escape the conclusion that it's simply not working for anyone but the owners' respective tax lawyers.

Mid-level free agents are seeing their salaries artificially depressed by being attached to the draft pick (really pool) compensation system, teams that could use these players are having to balance the much higher long term costs of signing a player like Yovani Gallardo or Howie Kendrick, and even the small market teams who are supposed to benefit from draft-pick compensaton are getting one less compensatory pick from losing their free agents now than they used to.

None of which is really defensible given the rather fluid way we saw the market work just 5-6 years ago.

Someone like Gallardo might not be a clear superstar, but he's also clearly a quality big leaguer who shouldn't have this much problem finding a job, but with the prospect of losing upwards of 40% of your available money to sign an entire draft class, teams have to seriously consider whether signing a non-superstar is worth that long term cost.

All of which is just a long way of saying that the current system simply has to be disposed of in the next round of collective bargaining, and something much closer to the old system, that compensates small market teams for losing players without substantially impeding the free agent market, should replace it.

But, again, the current system is good for the owners' bottom line, because it decreases the cost of players like Gallardo, Kendrick, Matt Wieters, and other mid-tier free agents, so because the union has already acquiesced to it, it's most likely here to stay.

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

MATTHEW CARROLL

After a weekend of FA Cup fourth round action, Matchweek 24 of the Barclays Premier League kicks off with a mid-week slate of games that will begin a stretch of three games for each side over the next thirteen days. As usual you can catch all of this weekend’s action live on the NBC family of networks or, if you are stuck at the office, online at NBC Live Extra.

Tuesday, February 2nd (all times eastern)

2:45pm – Southampton @ Arsenal – Emirates Stadium, NBC Live Extra

Following a run of form that saw them drop six of eight games (W1 L6 D1) Southampton have rebounded with their 1-0 victory at Manchester United in Matchweek 23, only the second time they have won at Old Trafford since 1988, making it three wins a row and 284 minutes since they last conceded a goal. They will travel to the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday to take on Arsenal, who dropped from the league’s top spot down to third place, just behind Manchester City on goal differential, after they were left shorthanded following Per Mertesacker’s 18th minute red card in a 1-0 defeat to Chelsea.

Arsenal will be out for revenge after Southampton easily dispatched of the Gunners just over a month ago in the reverse fixture, extending the dominance that manager Ronal Koeman has enjoyed over his counterpart Arsene Wenger, with only two losses in their ten head to head meetings (W4 D4). The Saints have won three and lost just one of the last five matches against the Gunners in all competitions (D1) but have struggled historically on their travels to the Emirates Stadium, taking all three points in just one of their last twenty-one away trips (W1 D5 L15).

2:45pm – Liverpool @ Leicester City – King Power Stadium, NBC Sports Network

With Arsenal falling to Chelsea, Leicester City took over sole possession of first place following their comfortable 3-0 victory over Stoke City, three points clear of both the Gunners and Manchester City. The last eleven teams to be top of the Barclays Premier League at the turn of February have gone on to win the title that season, and with matches to come against Arsenal and City in the coming weeks, they will have to overcome a poor run of form against Liverpool, who they welcome to the King Power Stadium on Tuesday, if they hope to enter the upcoming title tilts still top of the table.

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Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri and star striker Jamie Vardy welcome Liverpool to King Power Stadium on Tuesday, February 2nd.

Leicester are unbeaten at home since a 5-2 loss to Arsenal in September (W4 D3) but Liverpool, who have been frustratingly inconsistent under new manager Jurgen Klopp, have not lost in their last seven league matches against Leicester (W5 D2) and have lost just one of their last five away encounters with the Foxes (W2 D2 L1). The 1-0 defeat in the reverse fixture on Boxing Day ended the Foxes ten game unbeaten run and began a difficult period for the surprise league leaders with the victory over the Potters last weekend ending a run of only one win in their last seven games across all competitions.

3pm – Stoke City @ Manchester United – Old Trafford, NBC Live Extra

What has now become a month’s long, almost daily saga of Louis van Gaal’s status as Manchester United manager took yet another turn following an all too familiar lackluster performance by his side in last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Southampton, when United managed only one shot on goal in the full ninety minutes. A 3-1 victory over Derby County in the fourth round of the FA Cup has eased the mounting pressure on van Gaal temporarily, however a slip up when Stoke City visit the Theater of Dreams on Tuesday could once again have the masses calling for his ouster.

With fifteen games left in the season, United are ten points off the top with the thirty-seven points they have earned to date their worst total at this point in the last twenty five years. Despite only two league victories in the last two months, and facing a Stoke side who eased to a comfortable 2-0 win against them at the Britannia Stadium on Boxing Day, history will be on United’s side with the Potters losing all seven league matches at Old Trafford and manager Mark Hughes his last eight away to his old club while conceding thirty-two goals, more goals than any other team has managed against the Potters.


looking for that perfect valentine's day gift? 4 seats remain on our adele bus trip

#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 last Monday and we've already sold 28 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...


Monday
February 1
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 1

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Click here for full details on our Masters trip!




super bowl week is my fondest radio memory

Nearly eighteen months after my radio career ended, I can say there's not really that much I miss about being behind the microphone.

I definitely don't miss having to get up at 4:30 am Monday through Friday. Now, I get to "sleep in" until 5:30 am. I need all the beauty rest I can get, so that extra hour means something.

I don't miss having to navigate Hart Road at o-dark-thirty, with deer scampering in and out of the woods and darting in front of my vehicle in a flash. For the record, by the way, I never hit a deer in all of my years traveling that road. I would have lost that bet, for sure.

And, in general, I just don't miss "being on the air". I've been too busy to miss it, frankly.

I will say that I miss talking to the callers. They made the show, in my opinion. I noticed recently that my old friend "Bob from Hereford" has been chiming in here at #DMD. That's great. He was always one of my favorite baseball callers. I miss those guys.

But, all in all, I just don't miss being on the radio. Maybe getting the heave-ho the way we all did left such a scar that we've erased the good times from our memories so it doesn't hurt so much, but I just don't find myself missing it. These days, I listen mostly to Sirius/XM when I'm in my car. Radio sports talk is secondary now.

However, I do miss something about my radio career, though.

And this is a great week to bring it up.

I miss being at the Super Bowl.

That was the one trip we'd make each year that would actually be fun. It was hard work, mind you, particularly when you were doing eight or ten hours of live radio per-day, which I did for several years. But, it was fun.

So, I thought this would be a good week to give you some funny Super Bowl stories. It will give you a small peek into what happened "behind the scenes" as we delivered awesome radio to those of you back home who liked hearing us from "radio row".

If I'm going to relay funny Super Bowl stories, I have to start with my very first trip, which took place in 2007 when the Colts and Bears played in Miami.

In the weeks leading up to the big game, we had a series of planning meetings at the station. There were several of us in on those. The station's owner, myself, Paul Kopelke (general manager) and Ray Bachman (the station's lead producer). We would discuss at length the scheduling of the various on-air shows at the station and how we could weave the interviews and Super Bowl programming into twelve hours of coverage each day.

The subject of housing came up and the station owner assured us we were all set. Most media members stay in one of the three or four hotels supplied by the NFL, but even those rates, at $399 a night, were a little too much for our week-long budget.

"We have a condo, right across the street from the Miami Convention Center," the owner said. "It's literally a 2-minute walk to the place where we'll be doing radio every day."

That seemed perfect.

Being a "Super Bowl rookie", I didn't ask many questions. I was just happy to be going on the trip. My wife, three months pregnant at the time, was going to fly down on Wednesday to spend a few days with me and enjoy the Miami weather.

When we departed on Sunday morning from BWI, there were five of us in total making the trip. It was me, along with the station owner, and staffers Casey Willet (our Ravens reporter at the time) Ray Bachman and Chris Voxakis, who wasn't a full-time station employee but made the trip to serve as the all-important "runner" for the station. He might have been the busiest man of the week, as he was the one who would literally race around the convention center and try and secure guests for us during the day.

We landed in Ft. Lauderdale, grabbed a rental van, loaded everything up, and made the 30-minute drive to Miami.

The 80 degree temperatures were awesome.

The palm trees and blue sky were a welcome sight.

We were excited.

Then we got to the condo.

Our room was on the 14th floor. I don't recall exactly how many floors the building had, but we were near the top. This was Miami living at its best, I thought to myself as we boarded the elevator.

Bachman was the first in the door and I don't remember EXACTLY what he said, but it was something brief and to the point, like, "Holy s**t".

He then let out a laugh and walked in. We followed him.

The main living room was about 30 feet by 30 feet. Enough room, perhaps, for about two people to move around in comfortably, but no more than that.

Bachman and Voxakis surveyed our accomodations.

"Ummm, there's no bedroom," Bachman deadpanned.

And with that, we were officially "home" for the week.

There we were, in a beautiful condominium in downtown Miami, ready to enjoy Super Bowl week and all that comes with it.

But we would do so in the confines of a ritzy studio-like setting. There was a main living area, with a couple of couches and chairs. And a kitchen. And a bathroom, of course. But that was it.

We finally did locate the bed. It was one of those "pull from the wall" kind where you unsnap a couple of things and, voila!, the bed pulls down to the floor. Honestly, it was a pretty decent sized bed. If you had a family of three, say, you all could easily fit on it.

Five grown men WEREN'T fitting on it, for sure.

There were other surprises, too.

In the midst of looking for a bedroom and sizing up the "quaint" nature of the accomodations, we hadn't noticed the decor.

Let's just say the condominim could have been used as a setting for the 1990's movie The Birdcage, which, ironically, WAS actually filmed in downtown Miami. If you don't know anything about the movie, go ahead and google it and then you'll put all the pieces together.

The station owner got the pull-out bed, naturally, and there weren't any other takers to share it with him, so he got it all to himself. Bachman had the most station-seniority in the group, so he got first dibs on the big couch, while Willet, about 6'4", 260 pounds, got the second portion of the couch. Voxakis and I made temporary bedding out of bench-type thing that circled around the room.

And that's how we spent my first Super Bowl.

Five of us, squished into a condominum that rivals the size of a conference room in your local library.

We still did great radio, still worked our tails off, and still had a memorable time.

Bachman, the team-player he was back then, offered up the coach after a couple of nights. Or it was rented from him? I forget which way it happened, but I remember I had the "privilege" of sleeping on the couch one night while Bachman slept on the ledge that I previously called my bed. He jokingly remarked the next morning that he woke up at 2:30 am and his head was halfway out the open window, the South Florida breeze blowing in his face.

Nearly all of us in the room worked each day on roughly four or five hours of sleep from the night before, but the likes of Bachman, Willet and Voxakis were troopers. In at midnight, up at 5:00 am, and on the air at 6:00 am. And we all did great radio until 6 pm every night.

We hated it, but we loved it at the same time.

We expected better accomodations -- deserved better, we thought -- but we didn't let our work suffer because of it. Oddly, it was not only one of the more funny moments of my radio tenure, but one of the prouder ones, too.

It was like hitting .333 in a minor league baseball season. You produce despite the bus rides, awful food, cold showers in the visiting stadiums and bad lighting in most of the ballparks. You look back and wonder how you did it, then feel some true pride at actually doing it and doing it well.

My good-natured wife even came down on Wednesday as planned and "toughed it out" with us. By then, the station owner and his wife, who also came down mid-week, moved into a hotel room elsewhere in Miami, so there were still five of us in the room through the weekend. It was like camping, sort of, except we had a real kitchen and a bathroom at our disposal.

I'm proud to say the accomodations never once affected our work throughout the week. We were up every day at 5 am and we gave a maximum effort for twelve hours, producing what I thought was great radio for the folks back home.

Sleep deprived? You bet. But you wouldn't have known it. We worked our tails off that week.

Bachman and I still share Super Bowl stories occasionally and the "Miami condo story" is always at the top of our list. Super Bowl week was never the same -- not for me, anyway -- after that first trip to South Florida.

It was a hard act to top.

I'll share some other funny stories from my Super Bowl memory bank throughout this week.

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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 hold off buckeyes, 66-61

In a strange basketball game in Columbus Ohio on Sunday, the Maryland Terrapins hung on against the Ohio State Buckeyes and escaped with a narrow 66-61 victory.

Maryland was able to capture the win despite making only six shots from the field in a second half that saw them score 14 points from the field and 15 from the foul line.

The Terps were greatly helped by the Buckeyes horrendous foul shooting. For the game, Ohio State hit just 14 of 26 free throws for 53.8% and missed a bunch of them down the stretch in a tight game.

Not unexpectedly, Ohio State came out motivated and on fire. They knocked down their first three, 3-point shots and held a seven point advantage, 20-13, at the 12:36 mark of the half. After that it was pretty much all Maryland as they outscored the Buckeyes 24-11 to take a 37-31 lead into the intermission.

Ohio State only managed one field goal over the last nine and a half minutes while the Terps played a steady half of offensive basketball void of lengthy scoring droughts. They focused on getting the ball inside to Robert Carter Jr (8 first half points) and Diamond Stone (also 8 in the first half). They showed poise and patience by taking three point shots only when the shot was wide open but hit just 2 of 7.

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On-again, off-again Jake Layman was "on again" in Sunday's road win at Ohio State, contributing on both ends of the court.

Jake Layman followed up his all-around strong performance against Iowa with a fantastic first half that saw him score 12 points and grab 7 rebounds. He looked good taking the ball to the rim instead of settling for deep threes. For the Maryland team it was a very workmanlike 20 minutes.

While Maryland avoided extended scoreless stretches in the first half, the second half seemed like one big drought. Some poor shooting and questionable shot selection had Maryland down one with 5:45 to play. They had made only four shots from the field in the first 15 minutes of the half. For some reason, they abandoned the low post feeds to Carter Jr and instead opted for Stone who misfired frequently from close range.

With the outcome still to be determined, and the Terps clinging to a one point lead, Rasheed Sulaimon and Melo Trimble sandwiched three point shots from the left side in between a Keita Bates-Diop layup and Maryland had a five point lead with 2:08 left in the game.

Two made foul shots by Sulaimon would put Maryland up by six with 14 seconds remaining. After a made three by Ohio State’s Jae’Sean Tate closed the gap to three with a scant six seconds left, two Trimble foul shots provided the final five point margin and sealed the 66-61 Terp victory.

It was a strange game because of the total transformation of the Terp offense after halftime. They continually ran real good sets in the first half, getting the ball down low for their bigs or dumping off passes after good dribble penetration.

To start the second half, they played nearly the first four minutes without taking a two point shot. They failed on all four of those three pointers before a Trimble layup finally broke the second half ice.

In seventeen minutes of second half play, the Terps had managed to make just four shots. I will give some credit to Ohio State’s adjustments as they forced Carter Jr away from the basket, but Maryland did not work as hard on the offensive end and their 2nd half shot selection as well as shooting percentage showed it.

It’s probably fair to say this game was won (or lost) at the foul line. While Ohio State struggled (missing 12 times including the front end of several one and ones), the Terps excelled. For the game, Maryland missed only three of 23 attempts and nailed all eight of their tries down the stretch.

Trimble led all scorers with 20 and Layman produced a double double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Four of Layman’s rebounds were on the offensive side, an area of concern for Maryland in recent weeks.

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looking for that perfect valentine's day gift? 5 seats remain on our adele bus trip

#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 27 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...


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.