Monday
February 29
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 29

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


what's so dangerous about a pie?


With today being "Leap Day" and all, I figured I'd use this extra 24 hours to get everyone completely caught up on what's going in the world of #DMD.

A lot is happening.

On Saturday (admittedly not the greatest day to "announce stuff" in the website industry), we unveiled two really cool events we're hosting over the next couple of months. I hope you can join us for one or both of them.

Our 2nd annual Charity Duckpin Bowling Tournament, presented by Orlando Products, Inc., is set for Saturday, March 26 from 6 pm to 9 pm. We're asking you put together a team of four bowlers for the night and come out to compete for OUR prize money that we'll donate to YOUR charity. Last year's kick-off edition was a blast and I think the 2016 event will be even better.

You can find full tournament details by clicking here, but the gist of it is simple. Come on out, bowl for three hours, have some pizza, beer and soft drinks, and try to post the best 3-game score of any of the other 15 teams. We'll award prize money to the top four teams (out of 16) and write your charity a check right there, that night.

Your first order of business: Find three people to join you. Co-workers, friends, family members -- they all make great teammates.

Next, identify your charity. Last year, several teams even went out and collected "pledges" from people in their world based on how many strikes their team threw, which, as you know if you've ever bowled duckpins, are often few and far between. Get pledges for $2.00 or $5.00 per-strike and raise additional money for your charity in the event you're not one of our prize winners.

The last piece of business: Come on out with us on March 26 and have a great time! I hope you can join us. This is truly a lot of fun.


If you're a fan of Bruce Springsteen and you're going to the concert in Baltimore on April 20, we have an awesome event planned prior to the show.

#DMD is hosting a private party at the downtown Sheraton (Conway Street) from 5 pm to 7 pm, just five blocks from the Royal Farms Arena, and we have everything you need to make any party a success.

First, our event offers complimentary parking FOR THE ENTIRE NIGHT. Park your car in the Sheraton garage for our party and leave it there for the show, too. It's a five block walk to the arena and your parking concerns are eliminated.

We have a delicious full buffet to offer everyone as well. After a long day of work -- and in preparation for 3 hours and 15 minutes of Bruce and the E Street Band, you'll need to fill your stomach with some good food, right? We have that covered for you.

Two complimentary drinks (beer/wine) plus soft drinks, tea and water are part of the offering as well. Plus, we'll have a cash bar set up for those of you interested in cocktails or other alcoholic beverages during the party.

Last but not least, we'll be playing "Bruce music" for two hours and we'll hold a karaoke contest and award a cash prize to the best Springsteen imitator!

You can check out the Springsteen party details by clicking here. Please note we're limiting the event to 60 guests and already 24 tickets have been sold.


A couple of weeks ago after church at Immaculate Heart of Mary, my buddy Ray Infussi gave me a great idea about something I should do here at #DMD. Back on January 29, I went to the Springsteen show in DC with Ray, his wife Mary Beth, and their family, and wrote about the concert here the next day.

Several of Ray's friends reached out to him with mock adulation and said, "Hey, you're a star, you got a mention in Drew's Morning Dish!"

That got me to thinking about INTENTIONALLY mentioning a loyal #DMD reader within the content here and giving them, essentially, a "#DMD shout out". So, that's what I'm going to start doing.

Where do YOU come in? You simply send me the name of the person who reads #DMD and I'll throw their name in an upcoming edition. And I'll send along a week's worth of Royal Farms coffee to you, for taking the time to submit THEIR name!

Everyone wins. You send the name and get free coffee from Royal Farms, your friend sees his or her name in bold print at #DMD, and I get to do something nice for the very people who make the website go and grow.

So, start thinking. Who is there in your world that you know visits #DMD every day? If you have someone, e-mail me his or her name and give me a little bit of background on them (how you know them, where they work, etc.) and I'll get their name "up in lights" here at Drew's Morning Dish. My e-mail is: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

BARCS banner ad

o's should worry more about a lead-off hitter, less about pies


OK, I think I know exactly what's going on here.

In case you missed it on Saturday, O's centerfielder and head cheerleader Adam Jones sent out a tweet that essentially confirmed he's no longer going to be smashing a pie in the face of a teammate during the MASN post-game show.

After the predictable, immediate push-back from his adoring fan base, Jones was quick to point out that no one should be mad at the Orioles organization for the latest news.

"It's no ones fault,'' Jones tweeted. "It's just about safety. At the end of the day it can be dangerous so we're being smart."

Eh, maybe.

Look, I think the whole thing is silly, personally. Once, twice a year? OK, that's kind of a cool thing to do, I suppose. But coming out win after win after win and shoving a pie in a guy's face while he's doing a TV interview gets boring after a while.

But, is it actually "dangerous"?

My first question, if, in fact, it IS dangerous, is why did it take the Orioles do long to figure it out? Jones has been doing this for a couple of years now, maybe even longer. We're hundreds of pies into it by now. Why, suddenly, is it dangerous?

I also understand this falls in line with a bunch of new rules the team distributed at spring training last week. No one can ride a hoverboard or a solowheel and listening to the Beatles isn't allowed, either. (OK, I made that last one up)

So, for the sake of player safety, no hoverboards, solowheels or pies in the face.

Hmmmm, I smell something here, and it's not a blueberry pie fresh out of the oven.

I love a good wager, as you might know by now.

I'd bet just about anything that the Orioles have come down on Jones and the pie-in-the-face gag because the Baltimore-based company who supplies the pies isn't forking over a couple of hundred grand to be "the official pie of the Baltimore Orioles".

It's not about "dangerous", it's about "marketing".

For starters, if the Orioles sales and marketing folks DIDN'T approach the pie people about a corporate sponsorship, they're not doing their job. Of course you do. "Hey, we know you're dropping off those pies at every home game...why not become an official partner of the Orioles so we can help promote your brand and product at the stadium?"

That sounds smart. It makes good sense, if you're the pie company.

That is, until the Orioles show you the price tag and it's $150,000 for the season to be "the official pie of the Orioles".

That's a lot of $20.00 pies that need to be sold to make up for the $150,000 marketing investment.

What started out as a friendly gesture from a local pie company turned into a popular post-game stunt from perhaps the team's most popular player since Cal Ripken Jr. and now, suddenly, the Orioles want their own piece of the pie (sorry, you knew that was coming).

That's just my guess, but I'd almost guarantee it's true.

If shoving a pie in a guy's face was, in fact, "dangerous", wouldn't the Orioles have acted on it back in 2014 when Jones was doing it on a nightly basis as the O's breezed to the American League East title?

Just a hunch here, but this is more about business than danger.

I'll tell you what else is dangerous.

Not having a left-handed starting pitcher who can go six or seven innings.

And not having a lead-off hitter who can play right field.

The Orioles should worry about that stuff a lot more than they worry about a pie in the face.

SECU banner

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.


OK, a little "real" golf talk first.

That was a helluva win for Adam Scott yesterday at the Honda Classic, the kind that could really get him going as the tour winds its way to Augusta for the Masters in six weeks time.

Scott held off a typically-ragged Sergio Garcia down the stretch and coaxed in a 3-footer at the 18th hole to win his first tournament in almost two full years and, more importantly, his first victory going back to the conventional, short putter.

The former Masters champ finished at 9-under par and looked solid with the putter all week, having made the switch from the long putter to the short putter when the rules changed on January 1, 2016 and golfers are no longer allowed to "anchor" the long putter.

He hit a superb shot on the par-3 17th hole, just finding the putting surface and leaving himself with 15 feet for birdie. When Garcia made bogey and Scott made par, the lead was two and that was just about all she wrote.

Garcia made it interesting when he dribbled in a 12-footer of his own for birdie at the last hole, but Scott calmly rolled in his 32-inch putt to win for the 12th time in his career.

Now -- I'm a "no excuses guy" when it comes to fantasy golf. You make your six picks and there they are, for everyone to see. If they play well, you look like you knew what you were doing. If they stink, so do you.

My worst week of the fantasy golf season is over (I hope). I had just 3 of 6 players making the cut on my "official team", although I did have one 6-for-6 card that netted me some decent money after yesterday's final round of the Honda Classic. Unfortunately, the one I gave out as my #DMD team was a flop.

I'll start with my "sleeper picks" first. William McGirt was one of my cut-makers and hung around long enough to finish at 2-under par and finish tied for 8th. He's not a guy who's going to win a couple of tournaments a year, but he almost always gives you four rounds of golf. For his price, McGirt is a solid weekly play. Scott Piercy was a bust last week, speaking of cut-making machines. He entered the tournament 7-for-7 on the year, but went home early after rounds of 77-74.

I liked Luke Donald at the Honda, and he made the cut, but finished T61. Donald has four top 10 finishes at PGA National and I thought he might break through and stay in contention until the final few holes, but that didn't pan out.

I admittedly took a flyer on Martin Laird and it was a bad choice. International players had won 6 of the last 9 Honda Classics (and with Adam Scott's win yesterday, make it 7 of 10) and Laird's the kind of guy who just up and wins out of nowhere. I thought the Honda was a good time for him to show up. I was wrong.

I expected Patrick Reed to be in the hunt on the back nine come Sunday afternoon and instead he watched the back nine at home on TV. Almost 26% of those who played fantasy golf (at the site I use) had Reed on their team, so I'm not the only guy feeling disappointed at his poor play.

X
I thought Russell Knox would be holding up another trophy on Sunday after the Honda Classic, but it didn't work out that way.

I picked Russell Knox to win the tournament at PGA National but he simply never got going. He made the cut, giving me three for the weekend, but that's about all he contributed. His putter misbehaved on Thursday and he wasn't able to get it to cooperate over the next three days, either.

I've played enough fantasy golf to know it only takes one good weekend to get your mojo going again. It's a lot like REAL golf, in fact. You have a couple of bad weekends, you think you've totally lost it, and then, BAM!, you go 6-for-6, make some money, and all is well with the world.

This week's event is at Doral, where last year I correctly picked the winner on Wednesday -- Dustin Johnson. That fact alone has me excited to hand out my "official team" in a couple of days. Time to go to work on finding the other five players I'll give you here at #DMD.

Primary Residential banner

st. joe, john carroll, meet for catholic league title tonight

Two blow-outs on Sunday evening in the Baltimore Catholic League semi-finals might not have made for edge-of-your-seat basketball, but it did set up what should be a very compelling championship game tonight at SECU Arena on the campus of Towson University.

Mount Saint Joseph will take on John Carroll tonight (7 pm) in the Baltimore Catholic League final, as John Carroll looks to rebound from last year's one-point, last-second loss to Calvert Hall in the BCL title game.

Last night at SECU Arena, John Carroll upset MIAA A-conference champion and number one ranked St. Frances, 60-33, as Immanuel Quickley scored 16 points while the Patriots were able to hold the St. Frances dynamic duo of Daquan Bracey (9) and Kurk Lee Jr. (6) to 15 total points on the night.

John Carroll steamed out to a 33-18 halftime lead and poured it on in the second half to win by 27.

Mount Saint Joseph improved to 31-4 overall with their third win of the year over Calvert Hall, as the Gaels led by twenty at halftime and went on to win easily, 93-51. It marked the third win in three tries vs. Calvert Hall this season.

Randy Miller and Miles Wilson led St. Joe with 17 points each, while sophomore Brendan Adams had 12 for the Cardinals, who finish the year at 17-14.


our fenway park trip still has available spots open!

If you haven't been to Fenway Park, #DMD has just the opportunity for you.

X
If you haven't been to Fenway Park, join #DMD for a great 3-game to see the Orioles and Red Sox this June!

We're headed to Boston for a 3-game Orioles-Red Sox series in mid-June, flying to Boston on Tuesday, June 14 and returning to Baltimore on the morning of Friday, June 17. In between, we'll take in three games in historic Fenway Park and sit above the green monster in left field for two of them.

The trip includes round-trip airfare from BWI to Boston, ground transportation, three nights of lodging at a hotel located just four blocks from Fenway Park and tickets to all three Orioles-Red Sox games with the rest of the group traveling on the #DMD trip.

It's a great way to start your summer of 2016!

If you're interested in pricing information, click the link in the header menu at the top of the page that says "Fenway Park Trip". We'd love to have you join us!


Sunday
February 28
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 28

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


lack of toughness will cost terps in the dance

Maybe this is all for the best.

I'm not one of those guys who believes in the old sports adage "get it out of your system now" as it relates to losing, having a bad stretch of games, or tumbling from #2 in the country all the way down to somewhere in the mid teens next week, presumably.

Losing is losing. Not much good comes from it.

But the current slide of the Maryland basketball team gives Mark Turgeon a chance to coach again. Some of you might be shaking your head at that notion -- "No, no, no, we want him to do LESS coaching, not MORE" -- but the fact remains that it's hard to coach a bunch of ultra-talented kids when they're wrecking everyone in sight the way Maryland did in December and January.

Now that we've seen their blemishes in high-definition, the players at College Park should be better listeners.

This latest slide is particularly troubling, with a common theme -- Maryland got out-worked -- rearing its head in three losses over the last two weeks; a home thumping at the hands of Wisconsin, a loss to a lowly Minnesota team, and yesterday's defeat at Purdue, where the Boilermakers were just dying to give away the game in the last five minutes.

Maryland got "out-toughed" in all three games.

Sure, Wisconsin shot the lights out of it, Minnesota was due to win one at some point, and the refs put on Purdue jerseys late in yesterday's game, but in each of those contests, Maryland simply wasn't tough enough.

If I'm Mark Turgeon, that's where I start today in College Park when the team gathers for practice after church and study hall.

"You guys just aren't tough enough..."

Generally, people don't like hearing that. It suggests a certain character flaw...a dig at their intestinal fortitude. But numbers are numbers. When you're out-rebounded game in and game out, particularly on the offensive end, where it's assumed the defensive team has a positioning advantage, the proof is in the pudding.

Maryland's just not tough.

They have the horses to BE tough, I think. Carter Jr., Stone, Dodd, Sulaimon -- those guys should be hard as nails given either their size or experience. There are others, like Layman and Trimble, who are just sort of naturally prone to be "drifters" and not tough guys, but that's acceptable. Better the devil you know than the devil you don't.

But, as a team, Maryland just doesn't have a lot of fight in them.

Come tournament time, that's either going to send the Terps home early or become their rallying cry.

Maybe this is all for the best. Had Maryland breezed through the Big 10, like it appeared as if they might back in January after they won at Wisconson and then chewed up Ohio State by 35 points, the Terps might have wound up a high seed in the NCAA tournament, like a two or three.

Potentially, with a Big 10 tournament win, the Terps could have even been a one seed. A one or two seed would have likely "kept them home" for the first couple of rounds (assuming they kept winning), which can be both good and bad, if you're the coach.

Playing close to home come tournament time is good because more supporters, boosters and family members can make the games and the travel isn't as difficult.

But those factors can be troubling for an inexperieced team or a squad of guys who like to read their own press clippings and have people around them confirming their greatness all weekend.

It might be best for Maryland to slink off to the West somewhere for the first weekend of March Madness, where they'll be just another four or five seed looking to live through one more weekend. Sure, playing a 12 or 13 seed is different than playing the automatic wins that are in the 14 and 15 slots, but you beat who they put in front of you or you go home.

I don't know how to make Maryland players get tough overnight. I'm sure Turgeon sees it, just as we all do. There are times, like late in yesterday's game when the team went to the full court press and completely overwhelmed Purdue, where the Terps just "out-athlete" the other guy and turn the game around. But we don't see them "out-physical" many teams, particularly those who are on equal footing with Maryland.

That has to change in the next three weeks if Maryland wants to make some noise in the tournament. They have to get mean, the way Paul Newman's character did as he neared the end of his quest to eat 50 hard-boiled eggs in Cool Hand Luke. Remember? "C'mon Luke...get mean with those eggs!!"

Perhaps we just bought into the hype too much. Maybe we just got "too Melo". The early results looked good, but it's a marathon, not a sprint.

And at the 23 mile mark, these Terps look like they've lost their legs.

BARCS banner ad

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.



losing fowler doesn't hurt orioles much


Things sure do change quickly, don't they? Earlier this week the Orioles were supposedly doing a good job of putting the finishing touches on a contending team, and everyone in town was getting excited about the return of baseball.

Now everyone seems to think they're already a trainwreck before any Spring Training games have even been played.

For what it's worth, I think both of these poles have been overstated. Fowler and Gallardo were nice players, quality starters to be sure, but they aren't All-Stars, and they aren't players who are good enough to really push you from the ranks of non-contenders into contenders.

The Orioles were in the "if everything goes right" group of contenders before Gallardo signed, and they're still there now (and would have been if they'd finalized the deal with Fowler too). The Orioles are still hoping for a whole bunch of good luck with their starting rotation, rebound seasons from J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters and little to no regression or injuries to any major starters.

And they're also the third most talented team on paper, at best, in their division.

To me, the Orioles still look like a team more likely to finish last than first, and Fowler wouldn't have really changed that either.

Now, that said, I also don't think the Orioles are any kind of a mess or that this week has been some sort of disaster for them, so much as it's just been pretty weird. And far from being a trainwreck, I actually think the Orioles are a little bit ahead of the rest of the league when it comes to making these kinds of decisions right now.

Consider the Gallardo situation. Three weeks ago, people were openly speculating that there might be something wrong with his arm given his declining velocity, among other things. Then, after the Orioles signed him, people are shocked something was a little off in his medicals because it's the Orioles, I guess.

But, as I've said before, the Orioles track record with these kinds of things is actually quite good, and from where I sit it looks to me like the Birds simply take these post-signing physicals more seriously than the rest of the league does. That's probably because they were the team who actually experienced the Xavier Hernandez situation, but in any case I think this gives them something of an advantage in terms of making decisions with players like Gallardo, and if he IS hurt or if he's really bad in 2016 and/or 2017, I guarantee you no one in town shaking their head right now is going to be demanding that the team pick up that option for a third season as a matter of principle.

The Fowler situation is way more complex, and I don't have any more information on what went down than anyone else. I do, however, have a theory that I think fits with the available bits of public information quite well and is at least pretty plausible as an explanation.

To me, the key detail in the whole saga is this: No one ever denied the plethora of reports that the Orioles and Fowler had a deal. Not Casey Close. Not Dan Duquette. Not a single other person on either side. Nor did Fowler take issue with the interpretation that he had told Adam Jones he was signing with the Orioles.

So here's what I think happened: The two sides had an agreement in principle, the word leaked, and then the Cubs realized that they could make Fowler an offer structured to his liking and poach him away at the last second.

The key point here was that the Cubs gave him an opt-out clause (actually a mutual option, but that means Fowler can void the deal too), which the Orioles wouldn't do, and they're also giving him a deal that's going to give him for money in 2016 before he gets the chance to hit the free agent market again. That's maybe a bit unethical of the Cubs and Close, but players are free agents up until the point they sign the contract, so there's nothing illegal here and, as such, it doesn't really behoove the Orioles to make much of a stink about it after the fact.

Now the big sticking point here is that the Orioles would not cave and give Fowler an opt-out after this season, and here I think it deserves to be said that they're clearly 100% correct in drawing that line.

The Orioles, unlike most teams, seem to recognize how bad of a deal opt-out clauses are for most teams. They transfer all of the control to the player, and leave the team holding nothing but risk. Had the Orioles accepted Fowler's demand, they would have essentially been giving away the 28th pick/slotting pool money for one year of an okay starter in the event Fowler was good.

And in the event he stunk up the joint and didn't think he could get a better deal next winter, the Orioles would be on the hook for two more seasons of paying him. There's no win for the team in that scenario unless, arguably, you're a contending team signing a premier free agent like Jason Heyward or Yoenis Cespedes and the opt-out helps you do that.

Dexter Fowler, though a nice player, is certainly not in that class and such a combination of cost and risk to acquire him would be downright crazy.

So, right now the Orioles aren't quite as good as we thought they were going to be, but they're not really that worse off. I imagine that they'll sign Pedro Alvarez or Austin Jackson now that Fowler is gone, and they'll get at least half of the value back from either of those signings. Heck, if things break right, they may actually end up with a more productive player at a lower cost because of this.

The big thing, though, is to evaluate the process that goes into making decisions on these mid-tier signings. It's easy to just convince yourself these guys are a difference maker and do what it takes to lock them up, but that's a good way to spend a lot of money (and now, draft picks) building a not-very-good team.

To my eyes, it looks like the Orioles are being realistic about the market and potential pratfalls and, though most people might not agree, are actually making pretty sound decisions when it comes to free agency.

In the long run, that's going to win them a heckuva lot more games than Dexter Fowler would.

MD Home Sellers banner ad

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 battle, but fall by four at purdue


The Purdue Boilermakers used 19 offensive rebounds and a slew of second chance points to defeat the Maryland Terrapins yesterday, 83-79, in a game where the Terps never had a lead.

Maryland showed some true grit by staging two determined rallies, one in each half, but could not overcome another poor effort on the glass. For the game Maryland was outrebounded 41-22. A.J. Hammons led Purdue with 19 points while Melo Trimble had 19 points for Maryland.

When the Maryland Terrapin basketball team commits only six turnovers in a fast paced game, it’s usually safe to assume the outcome would be favorable. Yesterday’s outcome wasn’t favorable for Maryland despite committing 9 less turnovers than Purdue (6-15).

Simply put, Maryland lost this game with a very passive rebounding effort that was highlighted by two Purdue offensive rebounds off of missed fouls shots late in the second half.

To start the game, Purdue had ten early second chance points and they jumped out to an quick 16 point lead (24-8). Offensively, everything was working for Purdue. They were getting it inside to Isaac Haas and Hammons, and they also were setting up Dakota Mathias for three point shots.

Mathias hit all five of his attempts in the first half including two three pointers to tally 12 points for the half. After falling down by 16 points, Maryland got back into the game by going on a 23 to 9 run over an 8:25 span to cut the lead to just two points.

The Terps had balanced scoring in the half led by Diamond Stone’s 10 points. Jarod Nickens and Jake Layman had seven each while Trimble and Robert Carter Jr each had six. The weak rebounding for Maryland was a constant throughout the game, but particularly in the opening 20 minutes.

For the half, Maryland grabbed only eight caroms while Purdue had nine offensive rebounds and 19 overall. In the first 20 minutes, Purdue notched 18 second chance points and outscored Maryland 26-18 in the paint. Purdue shot 57% for the half and had a 44-39 lead going into the break.

In the second half, Purdue’s shooters cooled off a bit but they seemed to hit a shot or grab a key rebound every time the Terps looked like they might make a serious challenge. The Boilermaker lead ranged between three to seven points for most of the half before they were able to inch it up to ten after Hammons hit his second three point shot of the game. The game would get a little crazy from that point on and Maryland would almost pull off a miraculous comeback.

Following a Hammons three, Trimble would get called for an offensive foul. There was 3:50 remaining and Maryland would elect to apply full court pressure with Jake Layman on the ball. Layman deflected a pass and Trimble wound up with ball and was fouled while shooting. He hit both foul shots and the Purdue lead was now eight.

The Terps pressed again and this time Layman’s pressure led to a Trimble steal who fed Stone for a layup. The lead was now six and the Terps were applying more pressure.

On the next in-bounds series, Rasheed Sulaimon got the steal and immediately fed Nickens outside the arc. When Nickens' 3-point shot shot found the bottom of the net the lead was 3.

Maryland erased seven points off of the Purdue lead in a mere 28 seconds and it was a new game -- again.

The Boilermakers weren’t finished turning the ball over, as two of their next three possessions would end with ball handling miscues. A Trimble three pointer followed by another Purdue turnover led to a Layman lay-up that would tie the game with just 2:12 left.

When Hammons hit only one of two foul shots after being fouled by Trimble, Maryland would have the ball with a chance to take the lead. The possession ended with Stone having the ball knocked out of his hands and go out of bounds. Initially the ball was awarded to the Terps but the refs reviewed the play and ultimately reversed the call after a long deliberation. It would be the last time that Maryland had the ball with a chance to take the lead.

With the Terps still applying maximum pressure, Purdue’s Johnny Hill would somehow manage to break free from the right wing and go all the way to basket for a layup and three point lead. Purdue got the ball back with 39 seconds remaining when Mathias misfired on a three point shot. The Boilermakers Hill grabbed the miss (the last of Purdue’s 19 offensive rebounds) and the game was essentially over. Purdue would go on to make four foul shots without a miss and the final score was 83-79.

Maryland’s rebounding numbers were the season’s worst on the both ends of the court. The nineteen offensive rebounds that Purdue collected were the most allowed by the Terps this year while the 22 total rebounds that Maryland grabbed were by far the least they have had all season.

In many instances it appeared that Purdue went to the ball with much more intensity than Maryland did.

Overshadowed in the loss were some impressive offensive numbers by Jake Layman and Diamond Stone. Layman went to the basket hard for most of his 15 points. He was 7 for 8 from the field and hit his only three point try. Jake’s defensive efforts while the Terps pressed late in the game were essential to the Terps dramatic comeback.

But the game was lost on the boards and Jake failed to grab even one defensive rebound. It was the first time this year that he failed to get a defensive rebound and continued his recent decline in rebounding numbers. It was also his third game in a row with less than five rebounds and his sixth in a row with less than six. His shooting numbers are on the rise however, as he has made 22 of his last 31 shots.

Stone was 9 of 16 from the field but only posted two defensive rebounds.

Melo Trimble’s numbers appear on the surface to be solid. He had nineteen points, five assists, and only one turnover, but his effect on the game seemed to be minimalized. His shot still doesn’t look smooth and he hit only two of seven three point shots and four of twelve overall.

Rasheed Sulaimon struggled from the field (2-10, 1-5) also. His shot selection at times was questionable but he is by far the most active Terp on the defensive end of the floor.

Maryland will get another extended rest before their home contest against Illinois on Thursday and then they will finish up their Big 10 regular season at Indiana.

Glory Days banner ad

lyles sets scoring record but retrievers fall in season finale

UMBC men's basketball suffered a 78-69 loss at the hands of New Hampshire on Saturday. The Retrievers came back to within three points of the Wildcats late in the game, but UNH finished the contest by going 10-of-11 from the foul line to hold on for the win.

With the loss, UMBC fell to 7-24 overall in 2015-2016 and 3-13 in the America East conference.

Sophomore Jairus Lyles set the sophomore season scoring record on Saturday with 27 points, becoming the program leader for most points scored by a sophomore in a season.

The Retrievers hung around with the Wildcats in the early going, getting six points from Jourdan Grant in the first couple minutes. However UNH responded, going on a 10-0 run over a three-minute span to give them a 23-9 lead, forcing UMBC coach Aki Thomas to burn a timeout.

Freshman Joe Sherburne drilled a three to end the run, giving the Retrievers their first bucket in over five minutes. That three seemed to spark the Retriever offense. UMBC went on a 7-0 run fueled by Ishmail Jabbie and Nolan Gerrity who each hit a pair of free throws during that run.

New Hampshire would have the answer, outscoring the Retrievers, 15-6, over the last three minutes of the half to take a 41-26 lead into the locker room.

The Wildcats extended their lead to as many as 19 in the early stages of the second half and looked like they might salt away the game by the ten minute mark.

But, UMBC would finally wake up. The Retrievers would eventually scratch their way back to within three points with two minutes left in the game, but New Hampshire went 10-11 from the foul line down the stretch to hold on for a 78-69 victory.

In addition to Lyles' 27 points, Grant added 14, while Sherburne chipped in ten and nine rebounds.

UMBC will be the eight seed in the America East Tournament and travel to play top seeded Stony Brook on Wednesday, March 2.


st. joe, calvert hall, set to meet tonight in catholic league semi finals

A strong defensive effort and a balanced scoring attack were the key ingredients as No. 3 Mount Saint Joseph steadily wore down eighth-seeded Loyola in a 59-44 quarterfinal round victory, Saturday evening, in the 2016 Baltimore Catholic League Tournament quarterfinals at Towson University’s SECU Arena.

The Gaels advance to Sunday’s semifinals at SECU and will face Calvert Hall College in the first BCL final four match at 7 p.m. The 14th-ranked Cardinals defeated St. Maria Goretti, 84-73, in the nightcap.

The Gaels’ lead hovered around 10 points most of the way, before they pulled away to the 15-point victory with a strong fourth quarter effort at the free throw line.

Senior Miles Wilson scored 13 points to lead the Gaels (30-4 overall) and sophomore Jalen Smith had 10, including eight in the fourth quarter to help put the finishing touches on the victory.

“We got off to a slow start. Coach told us to run the offense. We couldn’t stop. We had to convert,” said Wilson.

Both teams started sluggishly in the first quarter as the Gaels scored the only four points over the first 5 minutes, 21 seconds of the opening stanza. The Gaels would also score the next six as well to build a 10-0 advantage and close the quarter with a 12-4 lead.

According to Wilson, the Gaels' lengthy layoff since the MIAA A Conference championship game was a factor early.

“We haven’t played in two weeks,” added Wilson. “It took a little bit to get in rhythm.”

Leading 31-22 late in the third quarter, St. Joe got three free throws from Pierre Johnson and hoops from Justice Kendall and Jaden Robinson to stretch their advantage to 38-22, the Gaels’ biggest margin of the night. Loyola would cut it to 12 before the end of the third quarter and 10 early in the fourth quarter, before St. Joe went on an 8-2 run to virtually salt the win away.

In addition to Wilson and Smith, Randy Miller and Robinson combined for 13 points for the Gaels. Shaw paced Loyola with 12 points, while Fava had 9 and junior Kenny Lewis finished with 8.

Defending Catholic League tournament champ Calvert Hall rode a sizzling third quarter performance from Brendan Adams to move into the semifinal contest against Mount Saint Joseph. The sophomore guard scored 29 points as the Cardinals (17-13) won the rubber match over Gorretti.

Sophomore guard Josh Cornish added 18 points for Calvert Hall, and Austin Griffiths added 13. Elijah Clarence led Goretti (15-13) with 24.

Adams scored 13 points in the third quarter as the Cardinals turned a 34-33 advantage into a 66-45 cushion.

After being down 10 early, Adams said the Cardinals weren't ready to relinquish their crown.

"In the huddle, we all knew this was a big game so we all had to step up and make plays," said Adams.

Goretti had the Cardinals in a 20-10 hole early in the second quarter, but, by halftime, the Towson school owned a 34-33 advantage after a basket from Adams. The second-team All-BCL guard went to work in the third.

Tied at 36, Adams hit back-to-back trifectas and a deep two-pointer, putting Calvert Hall in front, 44-36. Adams had three daggers from behind the arch as the Cardinals connected on five in the quarter to build a 66-45 advantage.

Top-seeded St. Frances defeated Spalding on Saturday while John Carroll outlasted Our Lady of Mount Carmel, moving St. Frances and John Carroll into tonight's other semi-final match-up at SECU Arena.

This story was originally published by Varsity Sports Network and edited for space considerations by #DMD. For in-depth coverage of Baltimore and Maryland high school sports, turn to www.varsitysportsnetwork.com, the area's leader in covering high school athletics.


earn money for your charity at our bowling tournament on march 26

#DMD's 2nd annual Charity Duckpin Bowling Tournament will be held on Saturday, March 26 from 6 pm to 9 pm at Stoneleigh Lanes in Towson, all brought to you by our friends at Orlando Products, Inc.

We had fourteen teams at our inaugural event in February of 2015 and handed out prize money to the top three teams. This year, we're opening the tournament to sixteen teams and we'll reward the top four teams, plus the individual who bowls the highest game during the night. We'll also have a prize for the team posting the worst score of the evening, too.

Here's the really cool part. You might have bowled in an event before where everyone is there to raise money for a charity that's controlled by the tournament organizer. That's a cool way to do it, too, as everyone gets together for one common cause. Nothing at all wrong with that.

But, our bowling tournament at #DMD is different.

You'll be bowling for YOUR charity on March 26.

Prior to the first ball being rolled, all sixteen teams let us know which charity they're representing. You can pick any charitable endeavor you please. Local, national, international, school-related, family-connected, etc. You pick the charity, you bowl in an attempt to win them money.

We own Stoneleigh Lanes from 6 pm to 9 pm. Your 4-person team bowls as many games as you can in that 3-hour span and we'll take your THREE best scores as your total team score for the night. The top four teams win prize money for their charity. We'll also give prize money to the individual bowling the single-highest game of the night, too.

We'll conduct an optional 50-50 raffle and give half the money to the charity of the winning ticket that we draw at the end of the night and half the money goes to the team with the worst 3-game score for the evening.

Even if your team bowls lousy, you can still win!

Last year, a couple of teams took it upon themselves to get "sponsors" (friends, family, co-workers) to put up a modest amount of money ($1.00, $3.00, $5.00) for each strike their team bowled during the evening. That was a way to raise money for their charity even if they didn't factor in the prize money. That's a great idea, too!

Entry fee is $350 per-team of four, which gets you three hours of bowling, pizza, soft drinks and, for those of you over 21, ice cold Harpoon beer all night along.

Please join us on Saturday, March 26. I promise you'll have an awesome time as we participate in one of Baltimore's great traditions -- duckpin bowling -- and raise money for YOUR charity.

Our friends at Novak's Computer Services have already entered their team. We have 15 spots left.

I promise you'll have a great time.

bowling for charity and partying with "the boss"

It's not that I don't enjoy writing about interesting things such as the Orioles somehow losing a player they thought they had for two days or the Ravens giving a kicker $4.5 million when their secondary stinks and they're in need of three more good wide receivers.

I wrote at length about both of those subjects earlier this week, and will touch on them again below, too.

But I get REALLY excited when I'm able to let you all in on some new, cool stuff we're doing here at #DMD.

X
Show your bowling skills and raise money for YOUR charity on March 26 at Stoneleigh Lanes.

So, this morning, I'm REALLY excited.

Our 2nd annual Charity Duckpin Bowling Tournament will be held on Saturday, March 26 from 6 pm to 9 pm at Stoneleigh Lanes in Towson, all brought to you by our friends at Orlando Products, Inc.

We had fourteen teams at our inaugural event in February of 2015 and handed out prize money to the top three teams. This year, we're opening the tournament to sixteen teams and we'll reward the top four teams, plus the individual who bowls the highest game during the night. We'll also have a prize for the team posting the worst score of the evening, too.

Here's the really cool part. You might have bowled in an event before where everyone is there to raise money for a charity that's controlled by the tournament organizer. That's a cool way to do it, too, as everyone gets together for one common cause. Nothing at all wrong with that.

But, our bowling tournament at #DMD is different.

You'll be bowling for YOUR charity on March 26.

Prior to the first ball being rolled, all sixteen teams let us know which charity they're representing. You can pick any charitable endeavor you please. Local, national, international, school-related, family-connected, etc. You pick the charity, you bowl in an attempt to win them money.

We own Stoneleigh Lanes from 6 pm to 9 pm. Your 4-person team bowls as many games as you can in that 3-hour span and we'll take your THREE best scores as your total team score for the night. The top four teams win prize money for their charity. We'll also give prize money to the individual bowling the single-highest game of the night, too.

We'll conduct an optional 50-50 raffle and give half the money to the charity of the winning ticket that we draw at the end of the night and half the money goes to the team with the worst 3-game score for the evening.

Even if your team bowls lousy, you can still win!

Last year, a couple of teams took it upon themselves to get "sponsors" (friends, family, co-workers) to put up a modest amount of money ($1.00, $3.00, $5.00) for each strike their team bowled during the evening. That was a way to raise money for their charity even if they didn't factor in the prize money. That's a great idea, too!

Entry fee is $350 per-team of four, which gets you three hours of bowling, pizza, soft drinks and, for those of you over 21, ice cold Harpoon beer all night along.

Please join us on Saturday, March 26. I promise you'll have an awesome time as we participate in one of Baltimore's great traditions -- duckpin bowling -- and raise money for YOUR charity.

Our friends at Novak's Computer Services have already entered their team. We have 15 spots left.

I promise you'll have a great time.

If you're interested in putting a team in the tournament, you can e-mail me (drew@drewsmorningdish.com) or later this afternoon, you'll be able to register and pay by clicking on "Bowling" in the main header at #DMD. Either way, you're in!


party with #dmd before the springsteen show in baltimore!

If you're going to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band on Wednesday, April 20 at Royal Farms Arena, you might as well go in style, right?

How many more times will "The Boss" come through Charm City?

So, #DMD is hosting a private party on April 20 from 5 pm to 7 pm at the downtown Sheraton (Conway Street) which promises to get you primed for an amazing night with Bruce and the band as they take you "down to the River" in what has turned out to be perhaps his most critically acclaimed tour ever.

X
Heading to the Springsteen show on April 20? Join #DMD's private party at the Sheraton, where parking, food, drink and Bruce music are all included!

Warning: This party is for die-hard Springsteen fans only!!!

Here's the nuts and bolts:

The party is going to be held at the Sheraton, five blocks from Royal Farms Arena. It's an easy, 10-minute walk to the facility. Your admission to our "Bruce party" includes complimentary parking at the Sheraton. Park there for the party, leave your car there for the show!

The Orioles play at home that night against Toronto, so downtown parking will be at a premium. Not for you! You'll have a parking spot in the Sheraton and it's FREE!

Now that parking's taken care of, we have to feed you, right? So, we'll be providing everyone with a full dinner buffet that you can eat at your leisure upon arrival to the party.

Drinks? That's handled, too. Everyone attending our party receives two complimentary drinks (beer/wine), plus unlimited soda, water and tea. We'll also have a "happy hour pricing" bar set-up in the room with our bartender and servers.

Wait, there's a lot more.

We'll be cranking out the Bruce tunes all night long too, with one of Maryland's top DJ's, Billy Legend. He'll be spinning Springsteen music and we'll do our best to feature stuff you likely WON'T hear at the show later in the evening.

Of course, we WILL play Born To Run before we leave and we'll take a video of the whole place singing along!

There's still more. For those who are courageous enough to participate, we'll have a Springsteen karaoke contest from 6:15 pm to 7 pm and award a cash prize to the winning singer! We plan on having a celebrity judge in the house to help us do the scoring!

At 7 pm or thereabouts, we'll shut it down and head to the arena for the concert. Bruce goes on at 8:15 pm.

The per-person cost is $59.00. We're limiting the party capacity, so get in now to guarantee your spot. All you have to do is click on the "Springsteen" tab at the top of #DMD and you can buy tickets right there. And, please, bring some friends or co-workers! The more, the merrier.

BARCS banner ad

ozzie went ahead and did it anyway


Earlier this week I wrote a piece here at #DMD explaining why I wouldn't give a kicker $4.5 million.

Yesterday, the Ravens essentially went ahead and committed that kind of money to kicker Justin Tucker, as they placed the franchise tag on him for the upcoming season. This guarantees him $4.5 million unless the two sides can reach an agreement on a long-term contract by mid-July.

It's a salary cap thing, I realize that. The Ravens don't want to lose their kicker, but they can't make a deal with him yet, either, so this is the next best thing to do.

I still don't like it. One way or the other next season, Tucker's going to be a $4.5 million kicker.

I just don't think paying a kicker $4.5 million is a good idea.

And, if you think franchising Tucker is somehow going to artificially reduce Tucker's value, you're nuts. He'll wind up signing a long term deal for somewhere around $18M to $20M later this spring or summer and he'll become, effectively, a four to five million dollar kicker.

All the franchise tag did was guarantee Tucker will be in Baltimore next season. It most certainly doesn't give the Ravens a chance to pay him less. He's going to get top dollar.

I'll say the same thing I've been saying: I wouldn't pay a kicker $4.5 million in a salary cap era. No cap? Sure, give him $6 million if he's THAT good (which, Tucker wasn't in 2015, you'll recall, but everyone's entitled to an off-year). But when you have a cap of $154 million and you give your kicker $4.5 million of that, you're robbing yourself the chance to use a couple to three million of that money on a starting player or a second string, depth-guy at worst.

As we saw last season, depth was a MAJOR issue for the Ravens. Just not enough good players across the board...

So, it is what it is and Tucker's back in the fold and he'll break the bank sometime later this year when the Ravens finally figure out a way to work up a long term contract with him.

But the Ravens now have themselves one of the most expensive kickers in the league.

I wouldn't have done it that way, but I'm not working at 1 Winning Drive, either.


did o's get penalized for delay-of-game?


People in town are still fuming at the stunt Dexter Fowler pulled on Thursday.

I get that part. No matter who is ultimately to blame, if Fowler called Adam Jones (which, Jones contends he did) and told him he was on his way to Sarasota and excited to be part of the club, then we can most certainly call "bush league" on the 8-year veteran outfielder.

While it might not be legally binding, Fowler's supposed call to Jones represented an admission that, in his mind at least, he had agree to a deal with the Birds.

We know how much Peter Angelos loves a good day in court. So, expect litigation to arise as part of this Fowler-Orioles screw up.

But, how much of this is part-and-parcel of a team -- the Orioles in this case -- waiting until spring training was already underway to add two important pieces to their puzzle?

The Orioles had all winter to sign Fowler and right handed pitcher Yovani Gallardo. Why force yourself into a corner on what effectively was the 18th hole of the off-season and then need EVERYTHING to work out perfectly in order for you to execute both deals?

I understand what the Orioles were doing. They were trying to figure out if they could get someone of equal or better value -- than both Fowler and Gallardo -- and not have to surrender a couple of draft picks while doing so. When they weren't able to pull that off, they gave in and started getting serious with those two. By then, it was mid-February.

Gallardo's physical came up sketchy and the O's had to go back to him and bail out of the original deal, a favorite, sly trick they've used before, but one that still makes them look disorganized at best and downright disingenuous at worst. I can see taking a look at the physical and saying, "We see something we don't like. We're pulling the deal off the table completely." But that trick where they say "We still want you, but at a price less than what we originally promised you" is bush league.

But, that's what you get when you wait until the end of February to sign the guy. Everything gets rushed, people need to get to spring training, someone leaks the signing, the physical isn't done yet, etc. It makes for bad practice and, at some point, you're going to get burned for it.

And, that's likely what happened with Fowler. We'll probably never know the truth on that story. Hell, for all we REALLY know, Jones might have called Fowler to say "welcome to the team" and Fowler might have been assuming a deal had been done, so he engaged in a positive conversation with the O's centerfielder. I don't know what that conversation entailed because I wasn't there, but I can come up with lots of scenarios, that's for sure.

In the end, though, the Fowler fiasco is another prime example of why you don't wait until March to bring in a key piece to your team.

As much as we want to wrap our arms around the Orioles like a mother would lovingly embrace her kid who gets caught stealing a Snickers bar from the local convenience store, a screw up is a screw up. The Orioles, somehow, lost their starting right fielder during spring training. That's not a low blow, it's a fact.

Defend them if you will, but the Orioles should be better than that.

Chase Fitzgerald banner ad

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 in for tough test today at purdue


A lot of things went right for the Maryland basketball team two weeks ago in College Park when they defeated the Purdue Boilermakers by 11 points, 72-61.

Purdue's shooting was exceptionally poor, Maryland enjoyed a massive advantage at the foul line, and the Boilermakers' biggest threat sat out crucial minutes in the second half with foul trouble.

The Terps will need some equally good fortune and a better performance by some of their own key players if they expect to grab a road victory in West Lafayette Indiana toady at 4 p.m.

There are two glaring statistics from the February 6th meeting between these two top 25 teams and both point towards a tougher task this time for the Terps. These two stats won’t even come close to being repeated this time around, forcing the Terps to make up ground in other areas.

The first stat is the Purdue three-point-shooting failure rate. The Boilermakers made only 3 of 25 three-point-shots in game one and that won’t happen again. Their season average is only a modest 36% (equal to Maryland), but the 12% they made against Maryland surely is an anomaly. Coach Turgeon’s Terps worst nightmare would be that Purdue hits more threes and in doing so makes it difficult for the Terp defenders to help inside against the Purdue big men.

Maryland had some success with helping down low during the last ten minutes of the second half in the first meeting but Purdue repeatedly launched off-target threes. This time out, don’t count on Purdue going 3 for 25 from long range, forcing the Terps to stretch their defense a bit.

It’s a two-fold problem for Maryland. Purdue gets more points from the outside while making it easier for them to work on the inside.

There is a second stat from the College Park contest that may not fall in the Terps favor so overwhelmingly this time, and it involves foul shots.

Purdue shot just five of those earlier this month at College Park and made only two. Contrast that to the 27 attempts that Maryland had from the foul line, scoring 24 points, and you have the biggest story of the game.

Yes, the Terps did go to the line ten times in the closing minutes when Purdue was forced to foul, but we all know the home cooking that most teams enjoy (including Maryland) when playing conference games in their own gym. As an example of the home-court advantage, look at the amount of fouls called on Purdue’s A.J. Hammons. In his last seven games, Hammons has been called for an average of 4 fouls per game during road contests, but only 2 per game at home.

It’s only reasonable to assume that the “foul shots attempted” number will be more balanced between the two teams this time around. Simply put, the Terps cannot expect to enjoy a 22 point differential from the foul line on the road at Purdue.

Purdue is going to score down low, count on that. They are the most effective team in the nation when it comes to low post scoring and A.J Hammons is the main contributor to that lofty status. He was 9 for 16 against Maryland on February 6th and is almost unstoppable when he gets position down low.

During the last game against Maryland, he missed crucial minutes after collecting his third foul early in the second half. It’s been a problem for him lately, but only on the road. Although Purdue’s long range game was on tilt in the first match-up, their game inside the arc was very effective as they went 25 for 44 on two point shots (58%).

In today’s game, I expect the Boilermakers to eschew the threes and push the ball inside every chance they can get. Maryland will be forced to counter that strategy.

For the Terps to have any chance of winning this game, they are going to need more production from Melo Trimble and Jake Layman. Those two combined for only two field goals on 15 attempts in the first Purdue game. If they can improve, Maryland can contend.

However, as I said last week, I’m not ready to place any stock on Trimble improving upon his recent 20% shooting funk. Robert Carter Jr did have 19 points in the earlier Purdue game, but 16 of those came off of four 3 pointers, and two driving dunks. Easy points down low for him just were not there.

As a team, the Terps made only 22 shots from the field and that type of production won’t get it done against Purdue this afternoon.

If it seems like I’m singing gloom and doom for the Terp chances today, you're right.

It’s going to take one of their strongest efforts of the year to pull out this victory. Melo will have to regain form, and Hammons needs to be slowed down by foul trouble. Maryland has struggled on the road this year suffering three losses along with grinding out three unexpectedly tight wins in seven Big 10 road games.

The Maryland road blues will continue as the underdog Terrapins come up a bit short. The steady Purdue foul shooters will handle the pressure in the closing minutes and, in a tight game, Purdue hangs on to a 66 -64 win over Maryland.

Royal Farms banner ad

our fenway park trip still has available spots open!

If you haven't been to Fenway Park, #DMD has just the opportunity for you.

X
If you haven't been to Fenway Park, join #DMD for a great 3-game to see the Orioles and Red Sox this June!

We're headed to Boston for a 3-game Orioles-Red Sox series in mid-June, flying to Boston on Tuesday, June 14 and returning to Baltimore on the morning of Friday, June 17. In between, we'll take in three games in historic Fenway Park and sit above the green monster in left field for two of them.

The trip includes round-trip airfare from BWI to Boston, ground transportation, three nights of lodging at a hotel located just four blocks from Fenway Park and tickets to all three Orioles-Red Sox games with the rest of the group traveling on the #DMD trip.

It's a great way to start your summer of 2016!

If you're interested in pricing information, click the link in the header menu at the top of the page that says "Fenway Park Trip". We'd love to have you join us!


Friday
February 26
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 26

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


how could the orioles fowl that up?


Anyone want to buy four great seats to next October's World Series in Baltimore?

Make me an offer.

In a plot twist that likely could only happen to the Orioles, Dexter Fowler showed up in spring training yesterday to meet with the media and discuss how excited he is about the upcoming 2016 season.

But, Fowler was doing it in Arizona. As a member of the Cubs.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Fowler had agreed on a 3-year, $33 million dollar deal with the Orioles. The word got out, no one refuted it, and Fowler was supposedly heading to Sarasota with his right fielder's glove and a bag full of bats.

Then, yesterday, he showed up in Arizona and promptly announced that he had signed a 1-year deal with the Cubs, whom he played for in 2015.

WTF?

OK, let's first beat up Fowler for maybe being one of the dumbest baseball players in major league history. Not that I care, but the dude turned DOWN the $15.8 million dollar qualifying offer last November so he could hit the streets and peddle himself as a free agent.

He "apparently" received an offer from the Orioles for $33 million. And then, yesterday, Fowler signed with Chicago for $8 million in 2016 with a $9 million option for 2017.

I'll always openly admit math wasn't my strong suit at Glen Burnie High School, but aren't those numbers weird? Turns down $15.8 million, gets offered $33 million, decides to take $8 million.

I call that guy "a dummy".

Oh, and the Cubs think they're slick, too, stealing Fowler back from the Orioles, but they already have Jason Heyward, Kyle Schwarber, Ben Zobrist and Jorge Soler hanging around with their sunglasses on ready to shag fly balls.

But Fowler is Chicago's problem now. I don't really care that they have five outfielders and only three positions for those guys to fill.

I care about the Orioles.

So, now, let's shift to them.

First, this MIGHT be what you get when you wait until the end of February to sign baseball players. The Orioles have made a habit of doing this in the past as Duquette dumpster-dives or drags a free along until the price is precisely just to his liking. They did it with Jimenez a few years ago, they clearly did it with Gallardo and, then, with Fowler.

You don't see other teams around baseball getting a pie thrown in their face like this five days before the first spring training game. Just sayin'...

It's hard to feel bad or even defend the Orioles on the Fowler fiasco after that hot-garbage-stunt they pulled with Yovani Gallardo earlier in the week. The Fowler bat-up-the-butt that he gave them yesterday is the price you pay -- in an odd, indirect way -- for leaking out the news about Gallardo's "troubling" MRI that was part of his post-deal physical.

And please, please, please, don't be "that guy" who says, "How do you know the Orioles leaked that out about Gallardo?" Well...who would have leaked out Gallardo's physical information, Donald Trump?

When a dilemma like this comes up and you're searching for "who dunnit?", just go back to that latin term -- Cui Bono. Cui Bono: who benefits?

There would only be one party who would benefit from Gallardo's troubling physical being leaked to the media and it surely wasn't the pitcher. It was, of course, the Orioles.

So, the Orioles "apparently" had a $35 million dollar deal in place with Gallardo and they pushed away from the table and said, "Yeah, not so fast here."

And, then, Fowler "apparently" had a $33 million dollar deal in place with the Orioles and he pushed away from the table and said, "Yeah, not so fast here.

Call it karma, call it paybacks-are-a-b**ch or call Fowler a rat-fink-traitor -- but the Orioles got what they gave yesterday when Fowler catfished them and wound up on the field in Arizona all smiles and wearing a Cubs hat.

The more interesting element of the whole Fowler-goes-to-Chicago story is just how on earth did the Orioles think they had a deal with Fowler, leak it to the media, and then have it blow up in their face? I mean, we all know the Orioles aren't exactly Rhodes Scholar candidates when it comes to matters like this, but they're not even bush league enough to think they had a deal in place with Fowler only to leak it and then find out the deal wasn't done after all.

Fowler's agent, Casey Close, shredded the Orioles yesterday in the aftermath of Fowler's surprising arrival in Arizona. "In my 25 years in this business, never before have I witnessed such irresponsible behavior on so many fronts," Close wrote in a statement posted on Excel Sports Management's Twitter account. "Both the Orioles front office and members of the media were so busy recklessly spreading rumors that they forgot or simply chose not to concern themselves with the truth. The Orioles' willful disregard of collectively bargained rules governing free agency and the media's eager complicity in helping the Orioles violate those rules are reprehensible. Dexter Fowler never reached agreement with the Orioles and did not come close to signing with the club; any suggestion otherwise is only a continuation of an already disturbing trend.

Wow. He even used the "reprehensible" word there. That's not good.

So, Fowler's agent says his client never came close to signing with the Orioles. Why, then, wouldn't he have just said that right from jump street on Tuesday when Fowler's signing was leaked? That one doesn't make sense to me, but I'm not a professional sports agent, so maybe I'm missing a nuance of the industry.

A couple of theories I'll throw out there just for kicks and giggles. Maybe the 3-year, $33 million dollar deal was "done" as far as the nuts and bolts go, but then Fowler and Close threw in an early opt-out clause at the last minute and the Orioles got miffed and decided to leak it just to put pressure on him to get the deal finalized. That wouldn't be un-Orioles-like at all and it's very typical of a sneaky, slimy agent to say, "Great, we have a deal...except for one more small thing."

And that "small thing" turns out to be a clause in the deal that the Orioles aren't willing to accept. So, it's not a small thing after all. And the deal gets fowled up (sorry, had to do it).

Or, did Fowler get spooked by the Orioles in-depth look at the Gallardo physical and think he might get cut open, privately and publicly, with an undisclosed injury or long-term ailment of his own? He's an 8-year veteran with considerable wear and tear on his body.

I don't know, I'm just spitballing here, but maybe Fowler saw what happened to Gallardo and thought, "Hmmmm, that twinge I keep feeling in my throwing shoulder hasn't improved for two years now."

Of course, he'll have to take a physical with the Cubs, too, but my guess is the team re-signing you (insteads of taking you in as a new player) is far more prone to just passing you the way Mr. Hand passed Jeff Spicoli at the end of Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Let me say this, too, so that no one thinks I'm beating up the Orioles for putting Gallardo through the paces and doing a double-take on his physical. As I wrote here a couple of days ago at #DMD, you're darn tootin' the Orioles are going to raise a red flag on a $35 million investment if they see something that looks odd on the MRI. I don't blame them one bit for that.

What I do blame the Orioles for, though, is leaking Gallardo's troubling physical to the media, which immediately diminished the pitcher's value not only with them, but with any other team that might have an interest if the Birds pulled out of the deal. It's not at all uncommon for a player to fail a physical with one team and pass one with another; Tommy Hunter failed his Yankees physical earlier this winter and then passed one -- and signed -- with the Cleveland Indians.

But, once worked leaked out that there was an issue with Gallardo's physical in Baltimore, any other team with interest (assuming the Orioles fully reneged) would have put the right hander through a more in-depth examination, right? I think we'd all agree with that.

In the end, the Orioles still got Gallardo, and much like they enjoy doing, the Birds even got the last laugh by forcing him to take one less year on the deal. Gallardo thought he was getting $35 million and instead got $22 million. Just like that, with a well time leaked to Melewski or Kubatko or someone else affiliated with the team through their work at MASN Sports, the O's saved themselves $13 million.

That was probably $13 million they thought they were giving to Fowler.

Rob from the rich to feed the poor.

Except Fowler pulled his own stunt and wound up passing on a $33 million dollar deal in Baltimore to take a guaranteed sum of $8 million in Chicago.

I wish I would have paid more attention in math back in 1981.

If I would have, maybe this whole thing would make sense.

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

MATTHEW CARROLL


Following a one week break for the fifth round of the FA Cup, the Barclays Premier League returns to action this weekend with Matchweek 27 kicking off a busy three-week period where each club will play five games as we enter the season’s homestretch. As usual, you can catch every game of the weekend live on the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Saturday, February 27 (all times eastern)

7:45am – Sunderland @ West Ham United – Bolelyn Ground, NBC Sports Network

After improbably avoiding the drop the previous two seasons, Sunderland look to be writing the third installment of what has become known in England’s North East as the “Great Escape” following their shocking 2-1 victory over Manchester United in Matchweek 26 at the Stadium of Light. The win gives the Black Cats, who have spent only seven days outside of the relegation zone all season, a chance to climb out of the relegation zone when they kick-off the weekend with a visit to the Bolelyn Ground to face West Ham United, who overcame a 2-0 deficit to salvage a point against Norwich City last time out.

While a win would pull Sunderland out of the relegation zone, the three points are unlikely to come easily, with the Black Cats taking only nine points from their previous nine games and just five points from a possible forty-two against the top half of the table. They have won only two of their last fifteen away trips in the league and will face a Hammers squad, currently in seventh place in the table, that are unbeaten in their last ten home matches (W5 D5) and who have won seven of the last ten meetings between the two clubs at the Bolelyn Ground (W7 D2 L1).

10am – Chelsea @ Southampton – St. Mary’s Stadium, NBC Live Extra

Frasier Forster kept his sixth consecutive clean sheet since returning from injury and Southampton extended their unbeaten run to six games (W5 D1) in a 1-0 victory over Swansea City, which moved the Saints ahead of West Ham on goal differential and just one point behind Manchester United for next seasons Europa League berth. Forster and the Saints will welcome an in-from Chelsea side to the St. Mary’s Stadium on Saturday, with the Blues unbeaten in their last ten games (W4 D6) and striker Diego Costa seemingly scoring at will, tallying seven goals in his last eight league games.

Chelsea have shaken off the miserable start to the season that ended their title defense before it even had a chance to get started and appear to finally be hitting their stride, with successive 5-1 victories dampened only slightly by a 2-1 loss in the Champions League knockout stages last week. The Blues have lost only once in their last seven trips to the St. Mary’s Stadium (W4 D2) and will put Forster and the Saints, who have now gone nine hours and fourteen minutes since they last conceded a league goal, to the test having failed to keep a clean sheet in their last eleven league matches against the Londoners.

Sunday, February 28 (all times eastern)

9:05am – Arsenal @ Manchester United – Old Trafford, NBC Sports Network

X
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will be looking to get his team out of a long funk vs. Manchester United that has seen them win just once in their last nine tries vs. United.

Making his first league appearance in almost a year, Danny Welbeck’s header in the dying seconds of injury time gave Arsenal a 2-1 victory over ten man Leicester City, reducing the gap with the league leaders to two points and keeping their title hopes alive as we enter the seasons stretch run. The Gunners will visit Old Trafford and longtime rivals Manchester United on Sunday, who missed a golden opportunity to close the gap on cross town rivals Manchester City for the final Champion League’s spot when they failed to earn a result on the road at Sunderland for the first time since 1997.

The setback not only left United six points behind City, which is the furthest they have been outside of the top four all season, but also without captain and striker Wayne Rooney for six weeks after he picked up a knee injury in the loss. United have only three wins in their last thirteen matches (W3 D5 L5) and will surely miss Rooney against an Arsenal defense that has kept five clean sheets in their last eight league games, but they can take hope from their recent run of form against the Gunners that has produced wins in eight of their last nine (W5 D3 L1) meetings and six of the last eight at the Theater of Dreams (W6 D2).

SECU banner

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.


Only one person had a worse day than Orioles GM Dan Duquette yesterday.

That would be me -- and my fantasy golf "team" I handed out to all of you on Wednesday.

I do have one very impressive roster-of-six in my daily fantasy game, ranking 777th out of 76,666 contestants. That one includes Ernie Els (+1), Brooks Koepka (E), Rickie Fowler (-4), Sean O'Hair (-1), Jeff Overton (+2) and Michael Thompson (-5). So, that's the good news. I have a REALLY good team in the hunt.

The bad news -- you see how I gave you the good news first? -- is that the team I gave you on Wednesday as my "official" roster of six stunk up the joint on Thursday in the opening round of the Honda Classic in West Palm Beach.

X
Thanks a lot, Scott Piercy. 77? C'mon man...

As the overall scores indicated, conditions were somewhat difficult and only 22 players in the 144-man field shot under 70 on Thursday. At this point, it looks like +3 or +4, even, might make the weekend cut. So, with great sadness, let's look at how my team did for you yesterday.

My two "sleepers" played at opposite ends of the spectrum, as William McGirt put together a nice round of 66 (-4) while Scott Piercy looked more like First Flight material at the Eagle's Nest club championship with a whopping 77 in the first round. He'll need something like 66 or 67 today to make the weekend cut.

I raved about the chances for Luke Donald, but he was a mess, too, with a first-round 75 that leaves him in danger of not playing on Saturday and Sunday as well.

I had another guy post 77, Martin Laird, which is what I get for "admittedly taking a flyer" on him (as I wrote on Wednesday). Lesson learned: Don't go against the trends and take a flyer on a dude who hasn't been on form but your "gut" tells you this might be his week.

I liked Patrick Reed this week, as did 25.7% of the folks in my league who placed him on their roster, but he never got it going on Thursday en route to 74.

My predicted winner, Russell Knox, is in fairly decent shape after an opening round of 70 (even), but he needs to play well today to stay above the cut line and get me four days worth of points.

So, there you have it. I need a few miracles in round two in order to have a decent shot at some weekend money. It's golf. No one said it was supposed to be easy.

Avon banner ad

our fenway park trip still has available spots open!

If you haven't been to Fenway Park, #DMD has just the opportunity for you.

X
If you haven't been to Fenway Park, join #DMD for a great 3-game to see the Orioles and Red Sox this June!

We're headed to Boston for a 3-game Orioles-Red Sox series in mid-June, flying to Boston on Tuesday, June 14 and returning to Baltimore on the morning of Friday, June 17. In between, we'll take in three games in historic Fenway Park and sit above the green monster in left field for two of them.

The trip includes round-trip airfare from BWI to Boston, ground transportation, three nights of lodging at a hotel located just four blocks from Fenway Park and tickets to all three Orioles-Red Sox games with the rest of the group traveling on the #DMD trip.

It's a great way to start your summer of 2016!

If you're interested in pricing information, click the link in the header menu at the top of the page that says "Fenway Park Trip". We'd love to have you join us!


Thursday
February 25
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 25

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


when every dollar counts, don't give the kicker $4.5 million


Time to play closet GM for a while.

I used to laugh (sometimes, awkwardly, right on the air) when a caller to my radio talk show would chime in on Monday morning with criticisms of Cam Cameron and say, with a straight face (I think), "Look, I know it's only Madden, but I make far better play calls in my video games than Cameron did yesterday against the Steelers."

They were dead serious, too. Football fans -- amateur football fans, I should have written -- really believed that coordinating their offense in a video game was akin to coaching live human beings on a field. And at some point during the call, they'd essentially say "If I can see it, on Madden, why can't Cameron see it on Sunday?"

Hilarious.

So, with that said, I'll take a stab at being the Ravens GM this morning. True, I was once the General Manager of a professional soccer team, so I do have experience in the sports management "field", but my job then and Newsome's job now aren't connected in any way at all because his sport of expertise is football and mine (insert joke here) was soccer.

And I've never once touched the controls of a Madden video game, so there's strike two.

But, I've followed the NFL long enough and have a reasonable working knowledge of the salary cap ($154 million in 2016) -- the two must-have connectors if you're going to talk about rosters and player salaries.

Newsome stated yesterday that if the Ravens can't sign kicker Justin Tucker to a long-term deal, they'll use the franchise tag on him for the 2016 campaign. That move would get Tucker $4.5 million next season and would give the team a little more time to either work out a deal with Tucker or see how he reacts to missing a game-winning field goal in the playoffs next January.

It's not my money and it's not my salary cap, but I wouldn't give a kicker $4.5 million. And I'm a card-carrying member of the "Kickers Are Underappreciated" club. I go to all the meetings, pay my monthly dues on time, and send kickers Christmas cards every December, just like the club by-laws say I should.

But giving a kicker $4.5 million is nuts.

And Tucker's one helluva kicker.

Kickers are a lot like golfers. They're always one missed kick away from being crazy. Golfers are like that. One missed green from 156 yards out with a $10.00 press on the line and you're back to the range after the round, alignment sticks on the ground, video camera behind you, swing change enacted.

Ask Billy Cundiff how fragile a kicker's mind is...he missed one kick, albeit a big one (which, don't forget, wasn't actually a "game-winning" attempt), and was pretty much cooked after that.

Now, in some ways, that might point to just franchising Tucker, giving him the $4.5 million, and if he has a great year, that's awesome, and if he goes in the tank after missing a big kick, you're off the hook then, too.

Well, you can't really GM the team like that, hoping, oddly, that the kicker is either really great or really bad. That's not good business.

I say, simply, there's no reason to give a kicker $4.5 million dollars.

Notice on three occasions above, I didn't write, "I wouldn't give Tucker $4.5 million". I'm a couple of hundred words into this and still haven't written that.

I wrote: I wouldn't give a kicker $4.5 million.

And, yes, by extension, that means I wouldn't give Tucker that kind of money, either. It's a silly game to fork over that amount of cash when there are guys hanging around in the parking lot looking for work who can do it for $750,000 or less.

The Steelers lost their rock-star field goal kicker in pre-season last August and traded for veteran Josh Scobee to make sure they had a legit kicker on the property. Four weeks into the season, he was gone after gagging it against the Ravens (with a little help from his goofy coach -- who ALWAYS gags it against the Ravens for some reason). So, what did Pittsburgh do? They brought in Chris Boswell, who kicked in college for Rice and then had a cup of coffee with both the Texans and Giants, both of whom kicked him (pun intended, I guess) to the curb.

What did Boswell do when he arrived in Pittsburgh? He went 29 of 32 on the season and kicked four field goals in their playoff win over the Bengals including the game-winner in the final few seconds.

Guess how many career field goals (in the NFL) Boswell made before last October? The same number as you, me and Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters.

And he went 29-for-32 while playing for the league minimum of $435,000. Poor guy...

Kickers are like doobies at a Dave Matthews Band concert. They're everywhere. You just need to know where to find them (I mean the kickers, not the doobies).

You can give Justin Tucker $4.5 million if you want, but the Steelers are going to pay THEIR kicker $535,000 in 2016 and there probably won't be all that much difference between the two.

I think everyone would agree that Stephen Gostkowski is the best kicker in the NFL. The stats say that, the experts say that and everyone just sort of agrees Gostkowski is the best.

Guess who missed a chip-shot extra point in the AFC title game last month that MIGHT have (emphasis on MIGHT) cost the Patriots a berth in the Super Bowl? Correct, it was Gostkowski, who hadn't missed an extra point since 2006 -- roughly the last time Hillary Clinton said something truthful.

The Patriots signed Gostkowski to a $17.5 million dollar deal last July and he wound up wearing the goat horns in the AFC title game not even a full season later.

I'm not saying Gostkowski is a crappy kicker. Not at all. I'm simply saying I wouldn't give kickers that kind of money because they're always prone to the big gaffe. They're like race horses, kickers are. You never know when they're going to do something goofy, like kick you in the rib cage while you're sponging them off after a race, even though you've done that exact same thing to them a hundred other times.

I don't think Gostkowski is going to fall off the deep end like Cundiff did in 2013 after his epic miss at New England, but I didn't think Cundiff was going to lose his marbles, either.

We're fortunate in that we all don't know how Tucker would react to a significant miss because he hasn't really had one yet. Sure, his 2015 campaign wasn't great, but he picked a pretty good time to have an "off" season. But what happens when Tucker's 44 yard field goal goes wide right next December in the next-to-last-game against the Steelers and it keeps the Ravens from making the playoffs?

It's worth at least keeping in the back of your mind, I think, that kickers are mercurial beasts who are great when they're great and lousy when they're lousy. There's really no middle ground.

I watched enough horrid secondary and wide receiver play in 2015 to know where the Ravens REAL problems lie -- and that's what I would fix with the extra salary cap money the teams are all provided with this year, plus the rest of what I could scoop up by parting ways with some long-in-the-tooth veterans.

And I wouldn't pay the kicker $4.5 million.

Since part of dissecting a problem is offering a solution, mine is simple as it relates to Tucker.

Do your very best to sign him. That's easier said than done, of course, and the whispers I've been hearing from "parts unknown" is that the Ravens have to open up BOTH doors when Tucker walks in the building these days because that inflated opinion makes it tough to squeeze through just one of them. But, he's really good at what he does, so signing him to a deal is FAR better than not signing him to a deal.

But, failing the resolution of a long-term deal, I'd let the kicker who wants a $20 million contract find that elsewhere and then scour the parking lot during training camp for someone else who will do it for $435,000.

By the way, there are always kickers out there who are free agents, looking for work, and have the potential to turn into rock stars.

The Steelers found one last season and paid him peanuts.

You know who else found one once?

The Ravens.

His name was Justin Tucker.

BARCS banner ad

record chasers: caps lose, golden state wins


The two professional teams chasing historic single-season records were both in action last night, with the Caps hosting the Montreal Canadiens and Golden State traveling to Miami to face the Heat.

X
A rare off night from goaltender Braden Holtby was a major contributor in the Caps 4-3 loss to Montreal on Wednesday night.

In D.C., the Canadiens chased Caps goalie Braden Holtby with three goals in the first 21:54 of the game and held on to win, 4-3, as Washington suffered just their 11th loss of the season in 59 games. The defeat puts a brief damper on the Capitals chase for the single-season wins record (63) and points record (132).

Jason Chimera, Andre Burakovsky and Dmitry Orlov scored for the Caps, who trailed 4-1 in the third period before mounting a late rally that nearly saw them tie the game.

The Caps next play on Friday night at home against the Minnesota Wild.

In Miami last night, Golden State outscored the Heat in the fourth quarter, 38-29, and hung on to win, 118-112. The victory pushed the Warriors to 51-5 on the year as they continue their quest to post the league's all-time best single-season record at 73-9. The '95-96 Chicago Bulls own the record at 72-10.

Steph Curry (14 for 29 shooting) finished with 42 points last night and Klay Thompson chipped in with 33 as the Warriors improved to 27-5 on the road this season. The Warriors are in Orlando tonight to face the Magic.

Triangle Limo banner ad

lyles, umbc edge binghamton in ot


Sophomore guard Jairus Lyles led all scorers with 25 points and hit a free throw with 8.3 seconds remaining in overtime to give UMBC an 80-79 victory over Binghamton in final home game of the campaign last night at the RAC.

UMBC snapped a four-game slide and improved to 7-23 overall and 3-12 in league play. Binghamton slipped to 7-21, 4-11. The Retrievers also halted a four-game losing streak to the Bearcats.

Junior forward Will Darley (Dulaney H.S.) added 22 points for UMBC.

The Retrievers played a strong opening 19 minutes of the second half, erasing a one-point halftime deficit in building a 73-66 lead with just 1:01 remaining. But Binghamton's Bobby Ahearn hit a lay-up 11 seconds later, and, after a Lyles turnover, the Binghamton sophomore forward scored again down low to make the affair a one possession game.

Then, UMBC unraveled at the free throw line, missing four in a row in a 12-second span to give the Bearcats two chances to tie the game. Binghamton junior guard Marlon Beck missed the first open try with 12 seconds left, but buried the second from 26 feet with 1.8 seconds left to send the game to overtime.

Both teams managed only one field goal apiece in overtime and UMBC's occurred as Lyles hit a driving layup and converted the free throw to give the hosts a 79-77 lead with 1:41 to play. Binghamton's Everson Davis tied the score with a field goal at the 1:17 mark and then both teams had empty possessions, giving UMBC the ball with 29 seconds left.

Lyles ran down the clock and when the he drove the left sideline, he drew a foul on Ahearn. He made the first of two attempts, giving the Bearcats a chance to win the game with a field goal. But BU's Willie Rodriguez came up short on a jumper in the lane and Darley controlled the carom as the horn sounded.

Lyles hit 10-of-18 shots from the floor, and added five assists and five steals. Jourdan Grant scored nine points and tied a career-high with nine assists.

The Retrievers conclude the regular season at New Hampshire on Saturday at noon.

BARCS banner ad

our fenway park trip still has available spots open!

If you haven't been to Fenway Park, #DMD has just the opportunity for you.

X
If you haven't been to Fenway Park, join #DMD for a great 3-game to see the Orioles and Red Sox this June!

We're headed to Boston for a 3-game Orioles-Red Sox series in mid-June, flying to Boston on Tuesday, June 14 and returning to Baltimore on the morning of Friday, June 17. In between, we'll take in three games in historic Fenway Park and sit above the green monster in left field for two of them.

The trip includes round-trip airfare from BWI to Boston, ground transportation, three nights of lodging at a hotel located just four blocks from Fenway Park and tickets to all three Orioles-Red Sox games with the rest of the group traveling on the #DMD trip.

It's a great way to start your summer of 2016!

If you're interested in pricing information, click the link in the header menu at the top of the page that says "Fenway Park Trip". We'd love to have you join us!


Wednesday
February 24
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 24

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


orioles outspend everyone (the headline you thought you'd never see)

No team in baseball spent more money on free agents than the Orioles just did in the off-season leading up to the 2016 season.

And we all thought Peter Angelos was cheap.

To be fair, let's start this off by acknowledging that for most of the last fifteen years, Angelos kept it more than he spent it. Most of what you'll read below is an editorial fist-bump for the Orioles' majority owner, so it's acceptable to mention there were plenty of off-seasons where the Birds didn't do much of anything to improve the team.

But not THIS off-season, no, no.

With yesterday's signing of free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler, the Orioles have obligated themselves to spending $285 million of "new money" on baseball players. That makes them the off-season's biggest spender, nosing past the Chicago Cubs ($279M), who thought they had the spending title won until the O's swopped in at the end and signed Fowler and pitcher Yovani Gallardo.

The Orioles off-season payout of $285M includes deferred money for Chris Davis and Darren O'Day, but that's splitting hairs when it comes to the discussion point of spending money. It's still money, no matter if it hits your bank account in 2016 or 2036.

The Gallardo signing still needs to be fully ratified by Angelos and the front office. Reports surfaced on Tuesday that club officials saw something they didn't like on a MRI and are still putting the right handed pitcher through the "medical paces" before officially signing off on his $35 million dollar deal. Assuming Gallardo gets his health clearance, the Orioles will indeed be baseball's biggest spender of the off-season.

I saw some people on Twitter yesterday lash out at the Orioles for making Gallardo pass a physical in order to execute his contract. I don't understand at all why you give the Orioles grief for that. My high school golfers at Calvert Hall have to pass a physical in order to play sports at the high school level. If a high school athlete has to pass a physical, shouldn't a guy getting $35 million from your organization have to pass one, too?

The Orioles deserve to get beat up for lots of stuff, but giving a player a physical as a condition of his employment isn't one of them. The trick they pulled last week with National Boh beer or not working with MASN to have all of their spring training games aired on TV (what are we paying for in March?) are issues far more worthy of scrutiny than is making one of their $35 million investments pass a physical before he can start collecting a paycheck.

Now, we get to the really good stuff.

WE'RE GOING BACK TO THE WORLD SERIES!!!

OK, "going back" probably isn't the right term to use when you haven't been there since 1983. Hell, the Miami Marlins could use that term -- going back to the World Series -- and it would fit them much better than it fits the Orioles.

But, you know what I mean.

The Orioles are now poised to buzz through the American League East, erase any playoff opponents in quick fashion, and advance to the World Series for the first time since I was 20 years old.

Holy cow, has it been that long?

Yes it has.

Now, I know being the off-season spending winner hardly ever equates to winning a title. It's akin to having the best record in spring training, which generally doesn't tell you anything at all about what's about to transpire in the six-month regular season (although it's fair note that Kansas City and the Mets won the Grapefruit League and Cactus League "titles" last spring and they faced off in the World Series last October).

The Orioles have done just about everything we wanted them to do in the off-seaason, minus acquiring a stud left-handed starting pitcher (and they'll do that at the trade deadline next July, if it's needed that badly).

They needed a right handed DH bat, and in comes Mark Trumbo.

They needed a competent left-fielder who can hit and get on base, they think they got that with the signing of Korean outfielder Hyun-soo Kim.

A lead-off hitter was on their must-have list, and Dexter Fowler is signed.

And then there's the re-signings of Chris Davis and Darren O'Day, plus the imminent closure on the deal involving Gallardo.

Other than J.J. Hardy and his thinning tread, the Orioles are sporting fresh tires, filled with air, and ready to roll for another 50,000 miles.

A full-season with Matt Wieters and Jonathan Schoop will make a huge difference offensively, which means Hardy can go ahead and bat .225/.267/.335 (again) and it really won't matter. And, yes, I'm well aware the starting rotation is good, not great, but we'll just beat teams 9-6 most nights. The object of the game and the season is to score more runs than the other team 95 times out of 162 games. It doesn't matter if it's by a score of 3-2 or 10-7.

Bring on October baseball!!

I just hope it's the Cubs or Nationals we wind up facing in the World Series. DC would be an easy drive for the away games and Southwest has great deals on BWI-to-Midway airfare.

BARCS banner ad

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.


The Orioles made news Tuesday...twice. One of those were for positive and largely expected reasons, the other for much less positive, though maybe not totally unexpected, circumstances.

First (well really second but let's make the "good news" first), the O's came to terms with free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler on a 3 year, $35 million(ish) contract. This had been expected for a couple of weeks now, and especially so since having already given up a draft pick to sign Yovani Gallardo.

Fowler figures to play right field and bat leadoff, and should be an ideal fit in both roles. Offensively, he's got the speed and baserunning ability (20 stolen bases last season) and on base skills you look for in a prototypical leadoff hitter. Though his on base percentage was down a bit last year from his career average of .363, he made up for that with a career high 17 home runs, and his .250/.346/.411 batting line would certainly play just fine in front of Manny Machado, Adam Jones, and Chris Davis.

Defensively, advanced metrics don't speak very highly of him, and neither do most scouting reports despite his speed and athleticism. However, those negative marks come from playing centerfield, and moving to a corner should make for an improvement in and of itself (and if nothing else he'll be a huge upgrade over Mark Trumbo out there, which is all that matters).

Signing Fowler will cost the Orioles their highest remaining draft pick and push them out of the first round entirely but, unlike the Gallardo signing, I don't think there's any question the cost is worth the reward here.

Fowler fills the Orioles last remaining roster hole, and looking at their lineup, they could end up with above average production from every regular starter. That's a big deal on a team that figures to have a mediocre at best rotation, as the potential combination of a very good offense and defense plus a top bullpen gives them legitimate hope of competing in a crowded A.L. East.

On the other hand, it appears the deal for Gallardo may be in jeopeardy over, go figure, his post-signing physical. This has predictably caused a hearty round of mockery of the Orioles, who of course have a reputation for being very stringent in their medical checkups, but I think this is unwarranted and, frankly, that the Orioles deserve the benefit of the doubt in a big way here.

I won't waste column inches with a detailed account of the Orioles history involving player physicals, since I assume most of you are familiar.

Instead I'll just say this: The team seems to have a pretty good track record of sussing out potential arm injuries (especially shoulder concerns) and avoiding bad deals as such.

The final two years of what would have been a four year contract for Aaron Sele, for example, were pretty darn bad (and the first year was mediocre at best).

Grant Balfour, the most recent example of this trend that produced a whole bunch of grief from fans and the media over the O's medical standards, pitched to a 4.91 ERA in 2014 and made jut six appearances last season. The Orioles, meanwhile, converted Zach Britton into a closer and won the A.L. East by a mile back in 2014 when they passed on the Balfour deal after his failed physical.

So yes, the Orioles seem to be much bigger sticklers when it comes to these post-signing physicals than other teams, but they've also been right in most instances and have avoided some pretty bad deals as a result.

And as for Gallardo, it's not as though there aren't plenty of warning signs that may have led you to conclude something might be going on even without seeing a full medical workup.

As I noted right after the signing, Gallardo went from being one the league's premier strikeout pitchers for most of his career to failing to crack 6 strikeouts per nine innings in 2015. His velocity is also trending downwards, to the extent that this has been a part of the basic narrative surrounding his free agency all winter. These were pretty big red flags and, frankly, I almost remarked that I thought it only 50-50 at best that he'd pass his physical, but didn't want any discussion of the signing to get derailed by what could be perceived as an offhanded comment.

Still, this may all be for naught, as reports as of this writing don't make it sound like there's necessarily any major danger of the deal being voided (or, specifically, of Gallardo going elsewhere as there weren't really any other major suitors), and signing Fowler is the much bigger deal.

With Fowler filling the team's last remaining gap, this team is, if everything goes well, a bona fide contender in the division. Gallardo is icing on the cake, but if his medicals cause the deal to fall through it's not the end of the world either.

And either way...it sure is fun to be talking about baseball this seriously again!

MD Home Sellers banner ad

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 Palm Beach Gardens this week, as the TOUR moves to Florida for the ramp-up session to the Masters April 7-10.

This week's Honda Classic boasts a legit field that includes Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott, Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson. It also marks a switch in putting surfaces, which could play a key role for not only this event, but the rest of the Florida swing as well. Gone are the bumpy, unpredictable poa annua greens on the California stretch of events, and in are the smooth, reliable bermuda grass greens that most players favor.

With Florida still getting unseasonably cool temperatures for this time of year, wind could also play a factor in this week's tournament at PGA National.

Let's get to my picks and help you make some fantasy golf money. I've yet to have a 6-for-6 week, meaning all six of my offerings make the cut. My plan is to change that this week.

I'll start with my "sleeper picks" first. William McGirt is a favorite of mine in fantasy golf because he almost always gets you four rounds of points. He's played in eight events thus far in the 2015-2016 campaign and has made six cuts. And he can play a little, too. McGirt has already made $793,000 this year with two top 10's and five top 25's. I also like Scott Piercy this week, speaking of cut-making machines. Piercy is a perfect 7 for-7 so far this season, with four top 25's. If the wind winds up being an issue, watch him soar.

I'm really liking the chances of Luke Donald this week. His recent play hasn't been all that inspiring, but PGA National might just be what he needs. Donald has four top 10 finishes at the course and this could be the week he breaks through and stays in contention until the final few holes. He WILL win again, someday. It might be this weekend.

I'm admittedly taking a bit of a flyer on Martin Laird this week, but international players have won 6 of the last 9 Honda Classics and Laird's the kind of guy who just up and wins out of nowhere. His '15-16 form isn't awful -- he's made 7 of 8 cuts -- but he hasn't been making much money (just $451K thus far) along the way. For the price, he's a good play this week.

I expect Patrick Reed to be in the hunt on the back nine come Sunday afternoon. Other than a brief battle with an ankle injury last month in Phoenix, Reed is looking a lot like a guy who is going to win an event or two over the next couple of months. He spent his highly-successful college years in the south and is much more comfortable on bermuda than on poa annua. He's pricey for fantasy players, but most certainly one of the better "B" investments you can make.

X
Already a winner this season, Russell Knox might find this week's Honda Classic much to his liking.

I'm going with Russell Knox to win the tournament at PGA National. He fits the narrative here on a couple of points, starting with the fact that he's Scottish and international players tend to fend very well at this course. He played his college golf at Jacksonville University, which means he's familiar with the February wind and the bermuda grass he'll be playing on this week. True, he already has one win this season -- which is why he's 3rd on the FedEx Cup points list -- but that wasn't a fluke and he isn't, either.

So, that's my "official" fantasy roster for this week, although I'll admit I'm playing a half-dozen other teams as well, including Rory McIlroy (the final round 76 last week was an outlier, he looks primed for Augusta), Brooks Koepka, Jonas Blixt, Patton Kizzire, Jeff Overton, Branden Grace, David Hearn, Ernie Els, Charles Howell III and Mark Hubbard.

There are plenty of really good values in that list, including, in particular, Grace, Blixt and Howell III.


umbc plays regular season home finale tonight

The UMBC men's basketball team plays its final home game of the 2015-16 campaign tonight, Wednesday, Feb. 24, when the Retrievers host Binghamton at the RAC. Tip off is 7 pm.

UMBC comes into tonight's game at 6-23 overall and 2-12 in America East, losing their most recent outing last Saturday, 99-54, to visiting Vermont.

Sophomore guard Jairus Lyles scored 15 of his team-high 19 points in the first half of that loss to the Catamounts. Lyles is still the conference leader with 22.7 points per game in league play.

The Retrievers will honor their lone senior tonight in pre-game fesitivities, as Cody Joyce makes his final home appearance in a UMBC uniform. Joyce (8.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg) enters the contest versus Binghamton with 1,040 career points during his tenure at Houston Baptist (2012-14) and UMBC (2014-16). He earned America East Second Team honors last season after averaging career bests in points (13.4) and rebounds (5.8). Joyce is slated to play in his 117th career contest versus the Bearcats.

UMBC junior forward Will Darley (Dulaney HS), who scored a career-high 31 points at UMass Lowell earlier this month, is averaging 10.9 points per contest.

As they did when the two teams met in late January, Binghamton (7-20, 4-10 AE) comes into tonight's contest versus UMBC after a win over UMass Lowell. Binghamton never trailed in a 81-77 home victory last Saturday. Five players scored in double figures, led by junior guard Marlon Beck II, who scored 14 points.

A road-weary UMBC squad posted only 57 points in a 66-57 setback at Binghamton on January 27. It was the sixth consecutive day on the road for the Retrievers, who could not get back to Baltimore from Burlington after the major snowstorm on Jan. 22-23. But UMBC never got untracked against the Bearcats, shooting only 38.8 percent from the floor.

Binghamton has won four in a row in the series to take a 16-12 advantage. UMBC holds an 8-4 edge at home, but Binghamton has won the prior two encounters.

UMBC plays its final regular season contest on Saturday, Feb. 27 when they visit New Hampshire. Opening tip is slated for noon in Durham, N.H.

ABC banner

we've started a second "adele bus"

#DMD has put together a bus trip to Philadelphia on Friday, September 9 to see Adele perform at the Wells Fargo Center. Our first bus sold out in three weeks, so we're now offering a second bus to see Adele in Philadelphia.

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 second 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



Tuesday
February 23
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 23

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


capitals join golden state in pursuit of history


There's a chase for hockey history going on these days in Washington.

And perhaps because it involves the Capitals, no one is actually giving it much attention, but the skaters at the Verizon Center are currently on pace to set a new mark for the best single-season record in NHL history.

Yes, the Caps are that freakin' good thus far in the 2015-2016 campaign.

The NBA has its own history chasing team out in Oakland, as the Golden State Warriors continue their pursuit of a 73-9 regular season record, which would beat the single-season mark of 72-10 set by Michael Jordan and the Bulls in '95-96.

But, people have been talking about the Warriors and their chase for 73-9 all season long. A 24-0 start to the campaign like Golden State enjoyed in November and December will ignite such discussion, obviously.

The Caps are looking at two records, although one came when the league played only 80 games. The 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens established the NHL record for points in a season with 132 when they went 60-8-12, while the Detroit Red Wings of '95-96 set the single-season mark for wins at 63 en-route to a 131-point campaign.

With last night's 3-2 home win over Arizona, the Capitals have 92 points and are now 44-10-4 on the season, although that "4" at the end now stands for overtime losses instead of ties. The Caps have played 58 games to date and have won 44 of them. That's amazing, in any league, but particularly in the grind-it-out-and-wear-you-down National Hockey League, where the eventual winner of the title in June isn't always the best team, but the one with the most heart and intestinal fortitude.

Is anyone really taking notice of what Barry Trotz's team is doing, though?

Everyone's following Golden State's pursuit of the Bulls.

To wit, one look at the website for the "world wide in leader in sports" tells you all you need to know about who is paying attention to what these days.

Golden State won at Atlanta on Monday night, 102-92, pushing the Warriors to a sensational record of 50-5 behind a 36-point outburst from Mr. Wonderful (no, not Paul Orndorff). Steph Curry and the Warriors are the featured front-page story after yet another win, as they've now reached 50 wins faster than any team in league history, including the record setting Bulls of '95-96.

The Caps, meanwhile, squeezed their way past Arizona down in D.C. last night and their win and their pursuit of history isn't anywhere to be found on the front page of the four-letter-network's website.

I get it. The NBA still reigns supreme over the NHL in nearly every measureable way possible. More folks watch it on TV, there are millions more Steph Curry jerseys out there than Alex Ovechkin or Steven Stamkos jerseys, and basketball is an American sport by birth while hockey was born in Canada and moved to the U.S. just before high school.

But even if ESPN isn't taking notice of the Caps and their pursuit of the Canadiens and Red Wings, the rest of us can. And should.

The Caps have 24 games left in their season. If they win out, which they won't, of course, they'd finish at 68-10-4, good enough for the wins record and the points record (140).

I don't think they can do it, but we should at least be looking ahead now and starting to do the math every night to follow along and see if they can. In fact, as much as I think Golden State's pursuit of the Bulls is an improbable chase, I see the Caps' run for the record to be even more difficult. The NHL is more balanced than the NBA, for starters, and "home ice" matters a lot more than "home court", in my opinion.

It's more difficult to win a road game in the NHL, which makes what the Caps are trying to do more of a reach than what Golden State's chasing.

And just for skates and giggles, I checked out the remaining 24 games on the Caps schedule. It's daunting to say the least. While a good portion of their remaining "tough games" are at home, there's a 4-game road trip in early March that will likely be the deciding factor in whether or not the Capitals enter the final three weeks of the season with a chance at claiming either the wins record or the points record.

If they can somehow get through that trek to Boston, Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose unscathed, the chase for 64 and 132 would become very real (assuming they don't hit the skids in the next two weeks). That said, those are four games that could all wind up in the loss column and yield no points, although it's fair (and accurate) to note that Washington hasn't lost back-to-back games in regulation through 58 games this season.

None of this, of course, will matter one iota in mid-April when the playoffs begin. If the season ended today, the Caps would face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the post-season. You play who they send you, I know, but I can think of other teams besides the Penguins I'd rather see the Caps face in April, that's for sure.

You see, no matter what Alex Ovechkin and Company do during the regular season, the playoffs always wind up telling "the real story" about the team. And, as anyone who has followed the Caps since the mid 1970's will tell you, their story usually has a nightmare ending.

Chasing greatness and setting records is wonderful, and I'm not one to poo-poo how important it is to win -- anytime -- but I'd much prefer to see the Caps finish in 4th place in the Eastern Conference and work their way through the playoff bracket and into the Stanley Cup Finals than I would to see them win 65 games, set a couple of records, and then flame out in the second round to the New York Rangers (again).

As it stands now, though, I'm enjoying the winning in the regular season and hoping it leads to greater things this spring.

I'm still a skeptic, of course. I'm guessing the Caps will once again figure out a way to gag away a series lead and lose in some sort of improbable fashion in one of the early rounds of the post-season. I've seen the movie too many times to expect a different ending on this occasion.

But, I'm watching every night and chalking off the wins as they come, hoping the Caps can overcome the Canadiens of nearly forty years ago and a Red Wings team of two decades ago that many believe was the best team to ever lace up the skates in the NHL.

It wouldn't equal a Stanley Cup, but having the Caps stand the test of time over an 82-game regular season schedule and set a couple of NHL records would still be something to cherish.

BARCS banner ad

different stories on tiger's return making headlines

Yesterday here at #DMD, I examined the world of golf WITHOUT Tiger Woods at the forefront.

But the real story remains whether or not the sport has literally seen the last of him in a competitive nature.

That story picked up steam on Monday when Tiger's agent, Mark Steinberg, refuted some TOUR whispers that the 14-time major champion's condition has actually worsened over the last couple of months.

X
The "new" Tiger swing: hands off the club, anguished, pained look on the face.

A Twitter account belonging to @secrettourpro claimed that Woods is barely able to function on his own, walking only 30-45 minutes a day and unable to drive his own car, let alone hit a pitching wedge 100 yards in the air. Longtime golf writer Robert Lusetich, who authored a book about Tiger's 2009 fall-from-grace, echoed those comments on his Twitter account with this: I'm told #TigerWoods condition worsened. He can't move well; painful to sit. Sits in car with seat fully reclined. No forseeable return. Sad.

Steinberg then used Tiger-all-world-defender Bob Harig of ESPN to refute those stories, saying Woods hasn't suffered a setback and claiming anything to the contrary to be "ridiculous and absolutely false".

It's here where I'll remind everyone that Steinberg also called the stories of Woods being involved in a 2009 altercation with his then-wife, Elin, "ridiculous and absolutely false" and we all now know what we know about that incident.

Tiger's slightly discolored front tooth tells the real story on that one.

I guess it's also worth mentioning here that two weeks ago during my 4-day golf trip to West Palm Beach, a couple of folks who run in the circle of the PGA Tour both said to me, independent of one another and on different days, actually, that Woods wasn't even close to returning to the TOUR and might not play at all in 2016. He had tried putting and chipping just after the holidays but was still being bothered by his back and neck. So, if a nobody like me can hear reputable information over a glass of wine, it's not outrageous to think there's some truth to what people "in the know" like Lusetich are reporting.

Steinberg, of course, rushed to Tiger's rescue because, A) Woods can't stand when he's not in control of vital information related to him and, B) the Tiger brand and the associated sponsors and marketing partners don't want him to be forgotten.

I figured all along Woods would play Arnie's tournament at Bay Hill, take a couple of weeks off, then show up at Augusta on April 4 and pursue a 5th green jacket at the Masters.

That's clearly not happening, no matter what Mark Steinberg says to Bob Harig.

The bet now isn't whether Woods will play the Masters in April, but whether he'll play any of the four major championships in 2016.

I'll take the "no" on that one at this point.

And Robert Lusetich is right. It's sad.

Avon banner ad

baltimore catholic league honors bracey, quickley as tourney looms this weekend


One emerged after being an understudy. The other has been part of one of the best backcourts the last couple of seasons.

Daquan Bracey from St. Frances and John Carroll School's Immanuel Quickley were named Baltimore Catholic League co-Player of the Year by the league coaches Monday afternoon. Each received the Jerry Savage Award, named in honor of the legendary Loyola Blakefield coach and BCL stalwart who died last May from complications of a stroke suffered hours after the BCL tourney semifinals last year.

Calvert Hall's John Bauserfeld and Mount Saint Joseph's Pat Clatchey were named Co-Coaches of the Year in voting also announced on Monday. Both of those teams will play in this weekend's Baltimore Catholic Tournament at Towson's SECU Arena, which the Cardinals won a year ago on a last second win over John Carroll.

Quickley, a 6-foot-3 sophomore guard, is the second straight Patriot to claim BCL top player honors. Kimbal Mackenzie, who's played in all 27 games as a freshman at Bucknell University, was the 2015 Savage Award recipient.

Quickley said playing alongside Mackenzie and Elijah Long (Mount St. Mary's) last season as a freshman helped make him ready to become a leader this year. He's the third John Carroll player to be selected BCL Player of the Year (Malcolm McMillian in 2011).

"They definitely maturated me through the whole season last year," said Quickley, who's averaging 17.8 points, four rebounds and 2.8 steals. "They guided me through the do's and the don'ts of a high school season."

The lone returner from last year's All-BCL first-team, Bracey is the Panther to win the Savage Award since RJ Williams, who was co-player of the year with John Carroll's McMillan in 2011. A lightning quick 5-foot-11 guard, Bracey is averaging 17 points, five rebounds and two steals for the east Baltimore school.

He, along with Kurk Lee Jr., formed arguably the area's most dynamic backcourt for the MIAA A Conference champions. Bracey, who will play for Louisiana Tech University next season, said the honor represent hard work the past couple of seasons.

"It was a blessing in disguise, nobody knew we were going to be this good," said Bracey. "I got better my sophomore and junior year, but this year, we got the job done."

The 45th BCL Tournament starts Saturday at Towson University's SECU Arena.

This story was originally published by Varsity Sports Network and edited for use at #DMD. Varsity Sports Network offers Maryland's most comprehensive coverage of high school sports and can be accessed at www.varsitysportsnetwork.com.



Royal Farms banner ad

our fenway park trip still has available spots open!

If you haven't been to Fenway Park, #DMD has just the opportunity for you.

X
If you haven't been to Fenway Park, join #DMD for a great 3-game to see the Orioles and Red Sox this June!

We're headed to Boston for a 3-game Orioles-Red Sox series in mid-June, flying to Boston on Tuesday, June 14 and returning to Baltimore on the morning of Friday, June 17. In between, we'll take in three games in historic Fenway Park and sit above the green monster in left field for two of them.

The trip includes round-trip airfare from BWI to Boston, ground transportation, three nights of lodging at a hotel located just four blocks from Fenway Park and tickets to all three Orioles-Red Sox games with the rest of the group traveling on the #DMD trip.

It's a great way to start your summer of 2016!

If you're interested in pricing information, click the link in the header menu at the top of the page that says "Fenway Park Trip". We'd love to have you join us!


Monday
February 22
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 22

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


is golf surviving without tiger woods?


I ask because I don't know.

I do have my own answer to the question -- is golf surviving without tiger woods? -- but I'm not certain my opinion represents the masses.

The question popped into my head yesterday as I watched the TOUR's most polarizing figure, Bubba Watson, bomb his way to a 9th career victory, a one-shot win over Adam Scott and Jason Kokrak at Riveria CC in Los Angeles.

Tiger Woods has basically been away from the mainstream of golf for the last two years and I know, personally, I've struggled to keep my attention on the week-to-week stories that surround the PGA Tour. Part of that might be due to the fact that I was never much on following the TOUR until golf's "real season" kicked off with the Masters at Augusta National in April. That's not to say I don't pay attention in January, February or March, but my interest certainly increases when I see the players walking the holy grounds at Augusta.

But, I'm wondering how much the rest of the country misses Tiger? If you're going to connect Woods with the actual "playing" of golf, as many experts did from 2000-2005, it's important to note that five-year span averaged roughly 29 million average golfing participants on an annual basis. In the last four years, that number has dropped off to 25 million participants.

There are clearly other factors involved besides Woods, though. Golf is really hard, so lots of people pick up the sport, give it a try, and quickly leave it behind. It's also not readily affordable, and with courses shrinking around the country, some public facilities have seen that as an opportunity to raise prices, making the cost issue even more relevant.

Tiger's emergence was also highly connected to the sport of golf being embraced by minorities, an indirect brand-building mechanism that really helped spike the participation numbers for a decade. Without Woods in the spotlight, less and less people are likely motivated to buy a set of clubs and take up the sport.

So, yes, it's obvious less and less people are playing these days, but I'm not exactly sure how much of that directly connects with Tiger's reduced role in the crosshairs. I'll buy into the fact that some of the decline in golf's participation numbers can be linked to Woods. I'm just not sure how much, exactly.

A better question, though, is this one: Is the PGA Tour thriving without Tiger Woods?

There's a new word in there. I substituted "surviving" with "thriving" for a reason.

The TOUR is doing more than surviving these days, as TV money keeps rolling in and tournament purses keep building and building. In the 1990's, you picked up $144,000 for winning the Kemper Open in Bethesda. Yesterday, Watson collected $1.2 million for winning at Riveria CC. That's all about TV money.

Tiger's people would remind everyone that tournament purses didn't start percolating until Tiger showed up and started winning in the late 1990's. More people watched, more advertisers paid, and more money went directly to the players. That much is pretty unarguable. Players are playing for more money TODAY because of the affect Tiger had on the game a decade ago.

But is the competition on TOUR still worthy of our attention? Is the actual competition we see every weekend at the "thriving" level or "surviving" level?

I'm not sure.

I think the group of players at the top of the world rankings are all tremendous players. Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler (my personal top 5) -- all five are just exceptional players. But none of them hold a candle to Woods and his almost-15-year-run on TOUR when he won basically whenever he wanted to win.

Four years ago when Woods was beginning to physically fall apart, he still won FIVE tournaments in 16 starts on TOUR. He won THREE tournaments in 19 starts the year before, in 2012. There are some outstanding players with lengthy PGA Tour careers who didn't win nine tournaments EVER. The guy who won yesterday -- Bubba Watson -- took 11 years to win nine tournaments on TOUR. In comparison, Woods won nine TOUR events over spring break. It was that easy for him.

Jason Day burst onto the scene last year -- as did Jordan Spieth -- and became a late summer wrecking machine. But I didn't find myself setting aside three hours on Saturday and Sunday because Day going up against Henrik Stenson or Dustin Johnson on the weekend had become "must watch TV" for me.

I'm a Jordan Spieth fan, yes, but there's nothing at all "Tiger like" about the way people gravitate to him as a piece of the spectator pie. Jordan certainly caught our interest last July when he was on the verge of completing the first three legs of the single season Grand Slam at the British Open, but it took him chasing history for us to stand up and take notice. Spieth's an outstanding young man, but as a marketable, brand-building-for-golf kind of player, he's just not at the same level as Tiger.

I always thought Rory McIlroy might be the next player to capture the mainstream sporting public's attention, but he's yet to go on a crazy tear like Woods once did. McIlroy has four major titles, so it's not like he's chopped liver or anything, but he needs two this season and two next season to start generating the kind of interest that Woods did circa 2002-2004 when he began his pursuit of the record held by Jack Nicklaus.

I don't see any of the current players owning the ability to get anywhere near Tiger's current (and likely final) total of 14 major championships.

McIlroy has a good head start on all of them, but history alone says he won't reach double digits. If there's anyone out there who can get to 10 or more, it's Rory, but me sitting here and writing "he'll win ten" and McIlroy actually being better than everyone else in six more majors are two totally different things.

Maybe winning major titles shouldn't be connected to whether or not the PGA Tour is flourishing.

Perhaps the game IS doing OK without Woods in the hunt 15 times a year.

I guess someone like Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson or Rickie Fowler can carry the torch in the United States for the next decade.

Wait a second...who am I kidding? Johnson's personality is about as exciting as a snowman in your front yard, Watson's much more disliked than liked, and Fowler has a blooming career, improving swing and marketable smile -- all while being known more for the clothes he wears than the golf he plays.

None of those three can do what Tiger did, which is to get people of ALL ages to take up the sport of golf and watch it every weekend on TV as well.

Of those three, only Fowler has any long-term appeal and that's more because of his youth and style than anything else. Terrific player and all, but there aren't many 35 year old men putting yard work on hold to watch Rickie Fowler work his way through the back nine at the Bay Hill Invitational the way they did when Tiger was at his zenith in 2006.

I guess I'm answering my own question at this point, although it's admittedly MY answer and my answer only.

The PGA TOUR is doing just fine in 2016, thanks in large part to the contributions of Tiger a decade ago, but the golf itself and the weekly tournament schedule aren't nearly as captivating now that Woods is no longer a fixture out there.

And I'm saying that as a guy who at one time would put yard work on hold to see Tiger finish off a bunch of ne'er do wells with a back nine birdie barrage and an improbable par save on the 17th hole.

These days, I'll likely just go finish the yard work and catch the highlights on The Golf Channel.

BARCS banner ad

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 on for tense, tight win over michigan

It wasn’t easy, but they got it done.

Maryland held on down the stretch on Sunday afternoon at Xfinity Center to claim an 86-82 win against a torrid shooting Michigan team and in doing so, avenged lost month’s three point loss to the Wolverines.

It was the Maryland big men, bench, and foul shooting that proved to be the difference maker. Robert Carter Jr, Diamond Stone, and Jake Layman had 17, 13, and 16 points respectively. The bench chipped in 18 and the Terps shot 17 of 19 from the foul line.

The game was fairly even for the first five minutes and was tied at 12 after Michigan’s Zac Irvin scored at the 14:35 mark. Seven and a half minutes would then pass before Michigan would hit another field goal. By then, the Terps had built a 29-13 lead behind Jaylen Brantley and Carter Jr who each contributed 5 points to the run.

During that 17-1 Maryland spurt, the stone cold Michigan shooters missed 13 shots in a row from the field while Maryland used an assortment of 3’s and layups to take the game’s biggest lead.

The Terps' advantage would still be 16 points (33-17) after Jared Nickens hit his second three point shot of the half, but the Wolverine shooters were about to heat up over the remaining 5:47 of the first half.

Michigan would hit seven of their next nine shots, including five threes. While the Wolverines were lighting up the scoreboard late in the first half, Maryland was turning the ball over. The Terps committed five turnovers in the last 4:33 of the half (including two each by Melo Trimble and Stone) to up their halftime total to 12.

Michigan was not immune to turnovers either. They committed ten of their own and left the court for the halftime break trailing by just five, 41-36.

The first half was quite a contradiction in styles with the Terps getting 20 points in the paint while the Wolverines relied on outside shooting and converting turnovers into points (15 in the first half).

Michigan scored 11 quick points to start the second half and with only three minutes gone had tied the score 47-47. The lead would then change hands several times before Maryland put together a small run to go up by nine with 10:29 remaining.

A 14-2 run then gave Michigan a 3 point lead with 5:47 left. The Michigan offense appeared to be on replay as seemingly every possession would end with dribble penetration and a dump off to Michigan’s wide open Mark Donnal. In the second half, Donnal had 22 points on 9 of 11 shooting as the Terp big men continually lost sight of him.

Down by three with 5:47 left, Carter Jr put Maryland on his back and overpowered the Wolverines. He scored 6 points during a 10-3 Terp run that recaptured the lead for Maryland. He also grabbed four rebounds in the last 4:49 and was clearly the difference maker down the stretch.

The Terps sealed the win by going eight for eight from the foul line in the closing minutes

It was a big win for Maryland, who now enjoy almost a full week off before playing at Purdue next Saturday.

A glass-half-full approach would put focus on the offensive success the Terps enjoyed yesterday. Jake Layman had a very efficient 16 points while taking only six shots from the field. He knocked down five of those six shots with three being from beyond the arc.

Jarod Nickens finally made some threes and finished with six points.

Maryland's emphasis on pounding the ball down low was very rewarding. In fact, offensively, the only trouble spot was the play of Melo Trimble. Melo went 3 for 10 from the floor and only one of four from the three point line.

The sophomore guard committed a whopping seven turnovers against only one assist and had many of his driving shots in the paint rejected. I haven’t been on the bandwagon with the others who suspect he is nursing an injury, but after yesterday’s performance I’m beginning to believe it.

Trimble did make seven of his eight foul shots, but hasn’t been nearly the dominant force that we saw last season.

The glass-half-empty side sees Maryland's poor defensive effort for the last 30 minutes of the game. They frequently got beat on dribble penetration, and when the inside guys stepped up, no one rotated to Donnal. Maryland also gave up 12 offensive rebounds and 13 three point shots.

I will give the Terps a slight pass on failing to protect the three point line because many of those made shots came off of very crisply run plays that utilized multiple screens. When you run those kinds of sets, and then hit the shot, it’s real hard to fault the defense.

Whether your glass from Maryland's triumph is half empty or half full, teams don't win many Big 10 games when they give up 82 points like the Terps did yesterday, but they don’t lose too many when they score 86.

Advanced banner ad

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 turned out to be a decent week for me, but I'm still searching for that elusive 6-for-6 tournament where all six players I give you make the cut and earn points for four straight rounds.

My offerings of last Wednesday here at #DMD were highlighted by the play of K.J. Choi, who has now played the event at Riveria sixteen times in his career and made all sixteen cuts. I mentioned on Wednesday you simply can't ignore that kind of history when evalulating a player's value for fantasy roster use. Choi was more of a lock than Duke getting the benefit of a flimsy call in the final 30 seconds of a March Madness game.

My other three cut-makers fired and fell back on Sunday at Riveria. Justin Rose, Harris English and Brendan Steele all earned points for you Thursday through Saturday, but none of them played worth a hoot in yesterday's final round.

In case you don't remember, I also offered Jordan Spieth and Jimmy Walker last Wednesday and they both missed the cut and failed to play the weekend.

I did make some decent money on a fantasy roster card that included Choi (I played him in all eight of my teams, that's how sure I was he'd be there all four days), Dustin Johnson, Chez Reavie, William McGirt and Matt Kuchar, but Daniel Summerhays failing to make the cut cost me a chance at winning "legit" money over the weekend.

Things hopefully get a little more predictable now that the TOUR heads to Florida, starting with this weekend's Honda Classic.

Wine Merchant banner ad

gately out after two successful seasons with mcdonogh basketball


David Gately, who took over a floundering McDonogh boys’ varsity basketball program prior to the 2014-2015 season and led the Eagles to two consecutive appearances in the MIAA A Conference playoffs was dismissed from his post with the Owings Mills school last Friday.

“They told me it wasn’t a good fit,” said Gately, who won 33 games in his two seasons with the Eagles. “I’m disappointed, but I thank the school for the opportunity and I thank all of players who worked so hard to help us turn the program around. I wish McDonogh and those players success as they move forward.”

Gately was an assistant at Calvert Hall before being hired by McDonogh. Prior to his arrival in 2014, the Eagles were 4-30 in MIAA A Conference league play over the previous two seasons. Under Gately, McDonogh accomplished back-to-back trips to the A Conference playoffs for the first time in 10 years.

Playing one of the top four most difficult schedules in the Baltimore area this season, the Eagles won 18 games, which was the most at the school in the last eight years. In the last two years, the Eagles claimed at least one win against every other A Conference school with the exception of current champion St. Frances. In addition, current senior Bruce Moore received a full ride to Bucknell University and, last year, Evan Fischer received a Division 1 scholarship to Siena University.

Gately’s final game was Thursday night in the Maryland Independent Schools Tournament at Gilman, where the Eagles were defeated by Annapolis Area Christian School.

In a letter to the school’s basketball families, McDonogh Co-Directors of Athletics Mickey Deegan and Matt MacMullan stated, “We are writing to let you know that David Gately will not return as head varsity boys’ basketball coach. We are grateful for his contributions to the program during the past two years.”

Deegan and MacMullan also announced, in the same letter, that junior varsity coach T.J. Jordan, a history teacher in McDonogh’s Upper School, has been named the new varsity head coach.

This story was originally published by Varsity Sports Network and edited for use at #DMD. Varsity Sports Network offers Maryland's most comprehensive coverage of high school sports and can be accessed at www.varsitysportsnetwork.com.



Sunday
February 21
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 21

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


gallardo is another good piece for the orioles

I love it when a beggar tries to choose, in spite of the old adage that says they shouldn't.

You know -- beggars can't be choosers.

The Orioles finally announced the signing of 30-year old right hander Yovani Gallardo last night, pushing the team's payroll for 2016 north of $150 million and essentially making the Birds baseball's biggest off-season spender.

And yet, somehow, people complained.

"He's not Zack Greinke," someone stated on Twitter.

Well, that IS true, particularly since there's only one such individual on the entire planet and he now pitches for Arizona.

But the implication there is that Gallardo's no Greinke, which immediately means the Orioles are getting an inferior product.

That would be like you showing up at the restaurant with your new girlfriend and whispering to me, "Well, what do you think?"

"She's not Jennifer Aniston, that's for sure," I'd reply. And you'd think, "Duh...I know that. But she's plenty good enough for me."

Yovani Gallardo isn't Zack Greinke, that's correct, but he's also not Rick Porcello, either. He's better than him, and better than a lot of other guys like Jeff Samardzjia, Gavin Floyd, Jeremy Guthrie and Cliff Lee, each of whom the Orioles could have signed over the winter and paraded out there as a "quality addition".

As I wrote here a couple of weeks ago, it's bizarre to see the Orioles actually trying to win now. They're clearly in it to win it. As Brien Jackson notes below in his piece -- and I completely agree -- it's playoffs or bust now. Anything less than a post-season berth from this team in 2016 will be framed "an embarrassment" by the fan base and rightfully so.

But I would much rather go all-in, come up short, and live with the aftershock of having people tear me apart than I would to go at it half-assed in the off-season (circa 2004-2008), lose 95 games, and essentially lay out a minor league product while charging major league prices.

I'll take Yovani Gallardo and be happy at this point.

Could the Orioles have done better with the over the $215 million they've spent collectively on Gallardo, Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and Matt Wieters? Perhaps.

Jordan Zimmermann was an early December steal at $120 million, for starters (no pun intended). I would have taken him over Gallardo in a heartbeat. There were other ways to spend that $161 million that they give Chris Davis, too, but if you look at Davis purely as a "free agent signing" and not a "return piece", the Orioles added one of the three biggest free agents in the off-season.

I won't go on and on about it.

The Orioles have made several decent, quality moves and spent a lot of money in the last two months and I'm happy about it.

Not that they did all of this just to get those of thinking about our season ticket investment to get out the checkbook and renew for 2016, but I'm certainly doing so. If they're going to try this much to win, I'm going to support their efforts by renewing my plan for the upcoming season.

I'm still not sure how it comes to pass that the Orioles add quality pieces and people around town poo-poo them like they've just signed Justin Duchscherer, Garrett Atkins or Derrek Lee, all of whom were washed up when we gave them free money at the end of their respective careers six or so years ago.

True, the Orioles didn't get Zach Greinke, or Justin Upton, or David Price. Those guys went somewhere else. And, let's not forget, you can't sign every really good player that's out there for the taking. The other teams are also trying.

But they've added Mark Trumbo, Chris Davis and Yovani Gallardo, not to mention Korean outfielder Hyun Soo Kim, who showed up in camp earlier this week with his weight rivaling J.J. Hardy's on-base percentage from a year ago, which was .253 if you don't recall.

And they're also signing right fielder Dexter Fowler this week, which means Mark Trumbo can leave his glove in the locker and focus solely on hitting the ball into the gaps and/or out of the park. The Gallardo signing was important, yes, but the addition of Fowler is even more critical in my opinion.

It's uncharted territory for the O's now, since they've never before done this -- spending $150-$160 million in one-season on baseball players -- and, in fact, have almost always been openly opposed to forking over big bucks just to lure free agents to town.

As the Yankees and Red Sox have found out over the years, there's a yin and yang attached to coughing up top dollar for players. You do it in an effort to win, which pleases the fan base. But, if you don't want win, the fan base isn't pleased. And since only one team each year can actually win, you're putting yourself in a very delicate position by being the off-season's biggest spender.

It's truly win or bust for the Orioles in 2016.

But I'm happy with it and I'll take whatever comes from it over the 162-game schedule.

Just like the team, I'm all in.


our night at the palestra was better than upenn's shooting percentage

Our "bucket list" trip to The Palestra in Philadelphia was a "great time had by all" event last night, as a busload of #DMD basketball enthusiasts made the trek to the campus of the University of Pennsylvania to see the Quakers host Yale in an Ivy League conference game.

Yale won 79-58, improving their conference record to 9-1 on the year.

Our trip goers got to see one of college basketball's greatest facilities, along with courtside seats and an invitation from the folks at UPenn to enjoy the Tip-Off hospitality club before the game and again at halftime.

The whole night started off great with delicious food from our friends at Palmisano's of Baldwin, plus ice cold beer from Harpoon.

Thanks to everyone who made the trip to Philadelphia -- we hope to make The Palestra visit an annual journey at #DMD.

BARCS banner ad

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.


We can finally bring ourselves back from the edge of our collective seat: The Orioles have reportedly finalized a contract with Yovani Gallardo worth $35 million over 3 years.

I'm honestly conflicted on this deal, and have been basically since it became clear that it was going to happen sooner or later.

But if I'm being honest, my instincts are to not like it.

On one hand, Gallardo has been a fairly reliable, consistent starter. He's started 30 or more games every year since 2009, and he's had a sub-4.00 ERA in all but one of those seasons.

On the other hand, despite the durability and being the Brewers' ace for a few seasons, he's only gone over 193 innings pitched twice in his career, and there's some clear signs of diminishing performance, particularly in his strikeout rate.

While Gallardo was at one time one the game's premier strikeout pitchers, posting a K/9 of 9.0 or better in all four seasons from 2009-12, he dropped to a decidedly mediocre 7.2 K/9 in 2013, and in 2015 that number was a downright meager 5.9. That might not be a problem if his other peripherals changed for the better as well, but his 3.3 BB/9 last season was dead even with his career average, and his HR/9 was only a very slight tick below.

In other words, he's walking the same amount of guys and giving up basically as many home runs as he did at his peak, but he's striking out 3-4 fewer batters per nine innings. That, my friends, is what you call a red flag.

But even if there are warning signs, I do credit Dan Duquette with making a great deal on the acquisition. Getting a solid starter like Gallardo for less than $12 million with no opt-out clause is a tremendous coup in the contemporary free agent market, and it's definitely a better deal for the team than what Scott Kazmir, Ian Kennedy, or even Jeff Samardzija got earlier.

The wild card here, of course, is that the Orioles had to surrender the 14th pick in the draft and the associated signing pool money in exchange for signing Gallardo.

And that, then, is the rub with a lot of the Orioles recent strategy. It's pretty clear Duquette feels that waiting out players like Gallardo -- who are being devalued by the qualifying offer -- is a new market inefficiency, and he's not afraid to give away draft picks if he feels like he's getting a good bargain on a guy like Gallardo or Ubaldo Jimenez.

That's certainly one way to acquire solid free agents at a bargain price and, well, good on 'em for beating the free agent market. But the tradeoff here in the current system is that punting your first two draft picks away eats up roughly 50% of the money you're allowed to sign picks, which means you have no chance of adding any high ceiling prospects to your system that year.

And this is a strategy that could definitely come back to bite the Orioles in the rear end in a couple of years.

The Orioles system ranks near the bottom of baseball in every major ranking and they didn't place a single player in Baseball America's Top 100 prospects for 2016. Now that's somewhat misleading, as Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman have "graduated" and aren't considered prospects anymore, but it also tells you how far the valuation of Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey have fallen amidst their injury issues, and that the Orioles gave away a bunch of future value in trading Eduardo Rodriguez for Andrew Miller back in 2014.

There's still a possibility that Bundy and Harvey become contributing big leaguers and Gausman and Schoop become really good players, but they also may not. And if Manny Machado hits the open market as soon as he's eligible, with the rest of this core getting well into their 30's, this is a team that could be REALLY bad come 2018-19.

Then again, sometimes you have to trade that future value for wins now.

It certainly worked back in 2014, when the team won the A.L. East going away and played a really competitive ALCS (despite the sweep and all), and it might work again this season.

But that's my biggest concern: I'm not all that confident it will. The Orioles have spent a lot of money this offseason mostly keeping together a .500 team that lost the division by double digits.

The Blue Jays lost David Price, but they still have most of the roster returning from the team that won the division a year ago.

The Yankees added an elite reliever to a playoff team and figure to project right about the same talent level as last year.

The Red Sox have added A LOT of talent to their roster and have a ton of organizational depth to trade from to acquire extra parts at the deadline.

The Orioles, meanwhile, are counting on better production from guys like J.J. Hardy and Chris Tillman to close that gap. Maybe it will happen, but probably not, and frankly I don't think Yovani Gallardo and Dexter Fowler go that far either.

Maybe it pushes them into contention for the wild card game. If things really go well in Baltimore and something goes off track in Toronto, Boston and New York, the O's might win the division. But they definitely aren't favorites to do so and are still more likely to finish last than first in my estimation.

And given the amount of future value the Orioles seem prepared to give away, missing the playoffs in 2016 would be a bona fide disaster for the organization on every level.

SAFFER banner

Terps Spotlight

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


terps need to impress vs. michigan today

Mark Turgeon and his University of Maryland basketball team will play the Michigan Wolverines today in College Park at 1 pm. They are coming off of back to back loses for the first time this year and are beginning a four game stretch that will ultimately determine their NCAA tournament seeding.

After last Saturday’s home loss to Wisconsin, and Thursday’s road loss to lowly Minnesota, the Terps face the real possibility of closing out their regular season with five loses in their last six games.

Today’s game is against a team that already beat them once this year and then the Terps have Purdue and Indiana (both on the road) sandwiched in between a presumed win at home against Illinois.

Michigan, Purdue, and Indiana are all teams that Maryland can beat, but not if the Terps play their “B” game. The Terp Big Dance seeding will be anywhere from two to six, depending upon how many of these last four games they win.

Many might think that a six seed would seem impossible for a team that has spent most of the year in the top 5, but Maryland will be underdogs against both Purdue and Indiana, and Michigan has already defeated the Terps earlier this year, 70-67. A six seed happens if the Terps lose three of the next four and follow that up with a quick exit in the Big 10 tournament.

For those wondering, I think a one seed is still remotely possible, but it only happens with a season ending sweep of the last four games followed by a tournament win in Indianapolis.

The biggest question for Maryland: Where is Melo Trimble?

X
After more than a month of lackluster play, the Terps need "the real Melo Trimble" to step in the final four Big 10 games, starting today vs. Michigan.

He hasn’t been seen in about a month, at least not the Trimble whom we expected to lead Maryland’s championship run. In his place we have the Melo Trimble who can’t shoot, turns the ball over way too much, and has real difficulty finishing drives to the basket. Trimble has never been explosive off of the floor, never finishing above the rim, but he really struggles now to elevate and as a result has to create ways to get his shot off inside. It isn’t working and Maryland is suffering.

Much of the Terps' offense is predicated upon Trimble getting to the basket and/or the free throw line. Last year he attempted 240 foul shots; so far this season he's taken 123 shots. I recognize that the Terps have more scoring options this year, but the fact remains that Trimble is not the scoring threat that he was last year or earlier in this current season, even.

Speculation exists that Trimble is nursing a hamstring injury. That may be true, but he certainly hasn’t been limping around or taken time off. More importantly, and I think you will see this change today, Maryland hasn’t employed a different offensive strategy that would take the weight off of Trimble and any injury that he may be playing through.

Today, that could be a bit different, as Turgeon tries to make the game easier for Trimble.

In the January loss at Michigan, the Terps dug themselves a 37-29 halftime hole. Michigan used a 13-4 run in the last 4:50 of the first half to erase a one-point deficit and surge to their own eight point halftime lead. Maryland’s inability to defend the three point shot was the primary culprit in their first half defensive let down. They gave up 8 three’s including three in a row during that decisive surge late in the half.

Robert Carter Jr was especially ineffective on the defensive end in that game at Michigan, as he often was out of position or responded a step too slowly. Turgeon has often talked about the team’s lack of defensive intensity. That first half in Ann Arbor was the epitome of that concern.

Maryland crawled back into that Michigan game behind Diamond Stone’s inside play. This is where the philosophical change for Maryland will occur today at College Park.

Baskets were easy to come by for Stone in the second half of the game at Michigan. He had 19 points in 17 minutes and I am certain he will be the focal point of the Terps offense this afternoon.

Today, when the Terps don’t get the ball to Stone, I expect Carter Jr to set up shop inside and go to work around the basket. Carter is very efficient inside when the matchup favors him and he’ll have that matchup today against Michigan. If Maryland plays inside out on every possession, they can control the game.

However, if the Terps settle for quick threes (and that includes Carter Jr who has had two good games shooting threes, but managed just 24% outside of those 2 games), recent history says they will struggle to score.

On defense, it’s real clear. Take away the Wolverine three point shots and hustle back on defense after a miss. Michigan is not hard to figure out, but at times they are hard to contain (Duncan Robinson is an elite three point shooter).

The line for this has Maryland a 10-point favorite. All eight Michigan losses this year (including six against top 20 rated teams) have been by double digits, so it wouldn’t be inconceivable for Maryland to bounce back in this crucial contest with a big win.

However until I see Trimble show us the type of play that gained him the reputation as one of the top point guards in college basketball, I can’t go with Maryland as a big winner. They should win this game, but it won’t be by double digits. Terps 71, Michigan 65.

Orlando Products banner ad

umbc hoops: men thumped by vermont, women win on the road

Visiting Vermont shot over the 70 percent mark for much of the game and defeated UMBC, 99-54, at the RAC Arena in men's basketball action on Saturday night.

It was the 18th straight win for the Catamounts in the series with UMBC.

Sophomore guard Jairus Lyles scored 15 of his team-high 19 points in the first half as the Retrievers fell to 2-13 in conference play with the loss.

A Lyles three-point play tied the game at 9-all in the early going, but Vermont's first half misses were few and far between. The Catamounts made 21 or their first 28 shots from the floor and UMBC could not keep pace. UVM built a 55-23 advantage before Jairus Lyles hit a free throw and buried a trey at the buzzer to trim the deficit to 55-27 at the half.

The Catamounts (17-12 overall, 9-5 conference) didn't cool off after the break, hitting six of their first seven shots, thus putting the game away.

Vermont converted 38-of-55 for the game and 9 of 18 from behind the arc. Catamount sophomore guard Cam Ward made all six of his attempts from behind the arc and led the visitors with 24 points.

X
UMBC's Taylor McCarley scored her 1000th career point in Saturday's win at Vermont.

UMBC (6-23 overall) plays its final home game of the season this Wednesday, Feb. 24 when they host Binghamton. The Retrievers will honor senior Cody Joyce in pregame ceremonies, which will begin at 6:55 p.m.

At Vermont on Saturday, the Lady Retrievers continued their impressive late season play with a 74-60 road win. Junior Taylor McCarley scored a game best 26 points and became the school's all-time leader in free throws made and free throws attempted, as well as scoring her 1,000th career point.

The win was UMBC's fourth in a row as Phil Stern's team improved to 17-10 overall and 8-6 in America East play.

UMBC continues their road swing at Binghamton on Wednesday, Feb. 24. Tip-off with the Bearcats is slated for 7 p.m.


Saturday
February 20
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 20

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


another bucket-list item gets crossed off the list tonight

I've been waiting for the evening of February 20 for nearly three months now.

It's finally here.

Part of the ever-growing business model of #DMD is what I've simply termed "Bucket List Trips", which takes people to see things, places and events that have long been on their list of "must-do" except, because life gets in the way, mostly, they haven't yet done.

A bus load of people who've never seen the Palestra in Philadelphia are going to cross that item off of their list this evening when we trek to the campus of the University of Pennsylvania to see the Quakers take on Yale in college basketball.

With all due respect to the teams, it's not about them tonight, although both UPenn (4-4) and Yale (8-1) are enjoying fine Ivy League campaigns. Yale, in fact, had a 12-game winning streak snapped last night at Princeton in suffering their first conference loss of the season. So, basketball wise, tonight should be a good game to witness.

But tonight isn't about basketball, it's about basketball history. Tonight, our #DMD travelers will venture to "The Cathedral of College Basketball" for what becomes a museum tour, a trip back in time, and a college sporting event all rolled into one.

The Palestra has hosted more regular season or post-season NCAA men's basketball games, more visiting teams, and more NCAA tournaments than any other U.S. arena. How's that for a basketball claim to fame?

It is often called "the birthplace of college basketball", having hosted NCAA tournament play in the East regionals six times (most recently in 1980), and the sub-regionals ten times (most recently in 1984). In total, 52 NCAA Tournament games have been played at the gym since it first came to Penn's campus in 1939.

The NCAA's growth and expansion over the last 30 years has made playing a series of tournament games in 8,500 seat gyms an afterthought, but there was a day when you hadn't "made it" in college basketball unless you dribbled a ball on the court at the Palestra.

The Philadelphia Big 5 (Penn, Saint Joseph's, Temple, La Salle, Villanova) originally played all of its games at the Palestra. Today, the intra-city conference still plays about half of its round-robin games there.

St. Joseph's hosts its Big 5 games at the gym, which is larger than its own, the Michael Hagan Arena previously known as the Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse. During the 2008-09 basketball season Saint Joseph's played all of their home games at the Palestra while the then Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse was undergoing an extensive renovation to become the Hagan Arena.

The annual Battle of 33rd Street was also held at the Palestra until 2013, when the series was suspended due to a location dispute. In 2015, the series resumed, however it became a home-and-home series alternating between The Palestra and Daskalakis Athletic Center every year.

X
We'll be visiting "The Cathedral of College Basketball" tonight in Philadelphia.

In addition, parts or all of the 1989-95 Atlantic Ten Conference men's basketball tournaments were contested there, as was the 1985 MEAC Men's Basketball Tournament. The gym has also served as the site of many Philadelphia and PIAA championship games.

Three longtime Philadelphia college hoops coaches offer unique thoughts on the Palestra, including Phil Martelli, who has coached more games in that building than any "non-UPenn" coach.

"The Palestra is unique because it's the only empty building in America that you can go in to and there's sound," he says.

"There's just no place where they play that looks like this," claims Jay Wright, Villanova's coach.

And, fittingly, here's what longtime Temple and Penn coach Fran Dunphy says. "When it's filled, and it's a crazy atmosphere, it's kind of indescribable. I don't think you can ever pinpoint in words what it's like. I think people have to experience it."

"I think people have to experience it."

That's precisely why we're going tonight. Because I want people to experience the Palestra.

This will be my third time in the building, and much like I explain to folks every year when talking about Augusta National and the Masters, I treat visits such as these the same way people treat visits to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.

This IS a museum trip for me tonight -- just like the Masters is every April -- and I'll go as often as I can get people together to do it.

I made two trips to the Palestra with Towson University back in the Pat Kennedy era, traveling up to Philly with the team and getting the privilege of "fly on the wall" status with Kennedy and his team as they played both Villanova and Penn State. I couldn't get enough of the building.

As our trip-goers will see and "feel" tonight, this is a different place. The Palestra simply looks, sounds, smells and stands differently than any other sporting venue you'll find. I've been to Hinkle Fieldhouse at Butler and I've been to Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke (although, admittedly, I didn't see a game at Duke, just got to tour the facility) -- this place, tonight, blows them both away.

So, this is what I enjoy doing these days. That's not to say I don't still follow and love sports, because I very much do. I love writing and opining about sports topics. I am really enjoying the fact that I can bring others on board here (Bo Smolka, Dale Williams, Brien Jackson) and they can "cover the teams" in the expert fashion that they can do, offering their opinions (some of which are opposite of mine, which I genuinely like) and insights into the Ravens, Terps, Orioles, etc.

But I'm loving this part of #DMD just as much as anything else we do. Taking a bus full of people to see Bruce Springsteen, or the Army-Navy game, or the Masters in April...those are the moments I enjoy, because I get to experience THEIR experience with them.

Sports -- and life in general -- is about "experiencing". Going to the ballpark with your mom and dad. Playing Little League baseball or youth softball. Making your first birdie. And so on...

There are still things I'd like to do that are on my personal bucket list. I haven't been to the Daytona 500 yet and someday I'd like to do that. I haven't been to the Big House at the University of Michigan and someday soon I'm going to do that. And I haven't been to see a Notre Dame football game in South Bend, Indiana and someday I'm doing that, too.

In fact -- that Notre Dame visit is going to get scratched off of my list on September 24, 2016, because that's the next #DMD "bucket list" trip that we're planning and announcing very soon.

We'll be taking a group of college football enthusiasts to see Notre Dame and Duke play on Saturday, September 24. Details are coming soon, but I was only able to get 24 tickets, so this will be a "limited edition" bucket-list trip for Notre Dame football.

If you'd like to get on the "early bird" list for the Notre Dame trip, e-mail me: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

In the meantime, tonight's the night a bunch of people from Baltimore will get to see the Palesta for the first time ever. We'll be heading to Philadelphia in the late afternoon, loaded with ice cold Harpoon beer, plus dinner from our friends at Palmisano's of Baldwin. We have courtside seats for the game. It's going to be a memorable night.

BARCS banner ad

umbc men's lacrosse, basketball, both at home today

After a one-week delay, the UMBC men's lacrosse team will open its 2016 season today, February 20, when they host the Richmond Spiders at UMBC Stadium. The opening face-off is set for 12:05 p.m.

UMBC's scheduled opener versus Johns Hopkins last Saturday was postponed and will now be played on Wednesday, March 30. The opening face-off at UMBC Stadium is slated for 7:00 p.m. The contests at Ohio State (Fri., Feb. 26, 5 p.m.) and Mount St. Mary's (Tues., Apr. 12, 7 p.m.) have also been altered.

UMBC, which finished the 2015 season at 5-8 and 1-5 in America East, did not qualify for the America East Tournament for the first time in 12 league seasons. The Retrievers suffered a pair of one-goal losses in back-to-back weeks, as they fell, 9-8, in overtime at Hartford on April 4, then saw a five-goal second half lead slip away in an 11-10 setback to Vermont on April 11.

Head Coach Don Zimmerman enters his 23rd season at UMBC and his 30th as a collegiate head coach. Amongst Division I head coaches, the Retriever mentor stands eighth with 233 victories and is 17th in winning percentage at .591 entering the 2015 campaign. In the all-time coaching annuals of Division I lacrosse, Zimmerman is 26th in total victories.

Five teams on the Retriever schedule were ranked in the USILA pre-season Top 20. Johns Hopkins (5th), Ohio State (11th) and Towson (16th) are ranked non-conference foes, while defending America East champion Albany (12th) and Stony Brook (20th) were also tabbed in the coaches' poll. Without playing a game, UMBC received votes in the Week 1 Cascade/Maverik media poll, while Richmond received votes in the USILA/Nike coaches' poll.


A few hours after today's home lacrosse game ends, the UMBC men's basketball team hits the court for a 7:00 p.m. tip-off vs. Vermont.

In their most recent America East outing, UMBC fell 88-65 at Hartford this past Wednesday night, dropping to 6-22 overall and 2-11 in conference play in 2015-2016. Hartford buried 15-of-25 shots from behind the arc and pulled away late to complete the season sweep of the Retrievers. UMBC junior wing Will Darley and sophomore guard Jourdan Grant led the visitors with 15 points apiece.

X
UMBC will need a big night from leading scorer Jairus Lyles if they hope to end Vermont's 17-game winning streak over the Retrievers on Saturday evening at the RAC.

Sophomore guard Jairus Lyles (22.9 ppg) has scored 24 or more points in 12 of his first 14 outings, but the conference leader in scoring in league games tallied a season-low five points at Hartford.

In his return after missing the 2014-15 season due to injury, red-shirt sophomore guard Rodney Elliott is averaging 13.1 points. He scored 20 points in the loss at UML last Sunday, but suffered an injury late in that game and did not dress at Hartford.

Darley, from Dulaney High School, scored a career-high 31 points at UMass Lowell last Sunday and is averaging 11.1 points per contest.

Vermont (16-12, 8-5 AE) recently won two straight at home after a pair of road setbacks. The Catamounts pulled away down the stretch in a 78-64 triumph over stubborn Binghamton on Wednesday. UVM produced a balanced attack with four players in double figures, led by sophomore guard Cam Ward's 16 markers. Vermont shot 50.8 percent from the floor in the game and are up to 47.7 percent on the year from the field.

Vermont has won 17 straight in the series and leads, 27-4 overall. UMBC swept three games from the Cats in the championship season of 2007-08, but have not won since. UVM is 9-2 at the RAC Arena.

UMBC plays its final home game of the season on Wednesday, Feb. 24 when they host Binghamton. The Retrievers will honor senior Cody Joyce in pregame ceremonies, which will begin at 6:55 p.m.

SECU banner

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 hit on four of my six Wednesday picks for this week's Northern Trust Open, but two guys that I assumed were locks to make the cut at Riveria won't be playing on the weekend.

Let's start with the good stuff, first.

My pre-tournament predicted winner, Justin Rose, is well-positioned through 36 holes at 5-under par after rounds of 69-68. He trails midway leader Jason Kokrak by five shots, but that's akin to trailing me by five shots. Kokrak's not winning, and neither am I. A solid round of 68 or 67 today would put Rose right in the hunt heading into Sunday.

X
He wasn't on my "play" list, but you're pretty happy if you have Jason Kokrak on your fantasy roster after his 10-under par total through 36 holes at Riveria CC.

I told you K.J. Choi was a cut-making machine at Riveria, and his two-day total of 6-under par is more than enough to get his name among those who are mentioned as "players to watch". Choi is now 16-for-16 lifetime in playing the weekend at Riveria CC. That's a big part of playing fantasy golf. The PGA Tour is very much a "horses for courses" circuit. It's a philosophy that doesn't always work, but it's on point more often than not. Choi was a more-than-solid-bet to make the cut this weekend and he made it.

My two "dark horse" players both made the cut as well, with Brendan Steele (-5) and Harris English (-4) still hanging around the bottom fringes of the leaderboard. They'll both get you points all weekend if you played them.

Unfortunately, Jordan Spieth and Jimmy Walker will be watching the rest of the tournament on TV, like you and I. Spieth fashioned a nice round of 68 yesterday, but an opening 18 hole score of 79 on Thursday was too much to overcome. Walker made bogey at the last hole on Friday from 185 yards out (in the middle of the fairway, no less) and missed the cut by one shot.

The leaderboard at the Northern Trust Open has several players of prominence within a few shots of the lead, including Dustin Johnson (-8), Bubba Watson (-8), Adam Scott (-6), Rory McIlroy (-6) and Charl Schwartzel (-6).

Fenway trip banner ad

we've started a second "adele bus"

#DMD has put together a bus trip to Philadelphia on Friday, September 9 to see Adele perform at the Wells Fargo Center. Our first bus sold out in three weeks, so we're now offering a second bus to see Adele in Philadelphia.

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 second 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



Friday
February 19
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 19

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


now we'll find out what turgeon, trimble really have under the hood

There's a great scene in the movie The Karate Kid III when Mr. Miyagi comes face to face with John Kreese, the head instructor of the Cobra Kai karate school and chief antagonist of Daniel LaRusso, played by Ralph Macchio. As Miyagi gets set to square off with Kreese in a one-on-one battle, Kreese sneers at him and says, "C'mon little man, let's see how good you really are."

In case you didn't see the movie, Miyagi kicks the daylights out of Kreese and a can of paint winds up falling on the instructor's head. But it was that line from Kreese that kept popping into my head last night as I stirred in bed and thought about Maryland losing to lowly Minnesota on Thursday evening in Minneapolis.

Now, we're going to get see just how good Mark Turgeon really is -- along with his rapidly free-falling superguard Melo Trimble.

Maryland's loss last night probably isn't all that staggering when you take into account they've definitely lost their strut over the last couple of weeks, Trimble hasn't played worth a hoot in over a month now, and Diamond Stone was suspended for a game and out of the lineup against the Golden Gophers.

Couple those factors with Minnesota's 0-13 conference record before last night's triumph and you have the makings of upset city. The fancy word for is "market correction". Minnesota HAD to win a game at some point, and a series of recent close losses at home pointed to that victory coming sooner rather than later. Mix in Maryland's penchant for winning nearly every game they've played in the last two years that comes down to the last five minutes and -- voila!! -- all of the ingredients are in place for a shocking one-night role reversal.

Let's start with the good stuff and get that out of the way. Hold your laughter...

Maryland lollygagged through the opening 20 minutes last night and trailed at the half, 40-29, but eventually scratched their way back to a 60-59 lead with just over three minutes left in the game.

So, there's that.

A loss is a loss is a loss, but at least the Terps didn't fold up shop after getting drilled by the worst team in the conference in the opening half. They battled and showed some guts, despite clearly not having their best stuff. Those are qualities of a good team.

But they lost to Minnesota, which is sort of like losing to the Cleveland Browns. Someone's going to lose to them a few times a year -- you just hope it's not you.

From last night's loss comes opportunity, though, and the spotlight falls on two men at this point: Coach Mark Turgeon and guard Melo Trimble.

Trimble has been in a funk for about six weeks and last night was no different. It started off nicely for the sophomore, as he drained a 3-pointer on his first shot attempt of the night, but over the last 38 minutes his shooting stroke resembled an unfolded lawn chair (I'll admit -- I don't really know what that means, but that's what Roy McAvoy said his golf swing resembled in the movie Tin Cup and it felt appropriate to throw in when describing Trimble's recent woes).

On a night when Maryland needed someone to have an over-the-top big night to help make up for Stone's absence, Trimble couldn't make it happen. It's here where we should also note that Stone's replacement for the night, Damonte Dodd, wasted a perfectly good opportunity to showcase his talents and make a contribution. Dodd played 32 minutes and had FOUR more points than you and I had last night.

Whatever's going on with Trimble needs to be sorted out and corrected. Because these are teenagers and still-maturing-young-adults, there are always possibilities that what's bothering them has nothing at all to do with basketball. Could be "girl troubles", an undisclosed nagging injury, academic issues, too many parking tickets and, perhaps, it could be high-level basketball burnout, which happens when you're suddenly "the man" and the expectations outweigh your ability to deliver them.

Trimble could also be suffering from "I'm going to the NBA-itis", which plagues a lot of kids his age who suddenly think they're ready to trade in their school books for a paycheck in the show. Lots of kids think they're ready. And lots of them find out -- quickly -- they're not. Trimble might be learning that lesson these days.

If he's the player his pedigree says he is, Trimble will bounce back over these next six weeks and lead Maryland back into the NCAA spotlight. The ever-important Big 10 tournament looms in three weeks time and then the Terps will move into the NCAA tournament with what most of us think is a legitimate shot to make some REAL noise throughout March Madness.

But Maryland will likely go as far as Trimble takes them. He's that good and that important.

The man charged with extracting that goodness from Trimble is Mark Turgeon, and you can gather from his post-game comments the last couple of times out that he's not quite sure what to make of his team at this point. There's the obvious stuff: the team's shooting touch is off, offensive rebounding is a sore spot, and it's probably even fair to say the Terps need to be a little tougher, physically, than they've displayed in recent weeks.

A couple of those things are areas Turgeon and his staff can address in practice. Some of Maryland's deficiencies are about the kid, though, and not about the work they're putting in. This is where Turgeon has to hope they come through for him when the moment calls for it. You can "practice" being physical and tough until you're all out of Gatorade, but when the game starts and there's another player and team challenging you, that's when the evaluation gets made.

I've never really thought Turgeon was an outstanding "in-game coach", but for the last couple of years, at least, he was getting the last laugh. Maryland almost couldn't lose a game that they could whittle down to a five-minute affair, and that's when a quality head coach puts in his best work. Time and time again, Turgeon's team would turn a 51-51 game into a 67-62 win, and it looked like the coach knew what he was doing when the game was on the line.

And while I'm certainly not ready to jump up and down and say, "See, I told you Turgeon can't coach!" after one bad road loss in the Big 10, I think we'd all agree we'll learn a little bit more about his coaching acumen over the next 4-6 weeks.

Maryland's 22-5 and 10-4 in the conference. Those are numbers Gary Williams would have died for in 2008 when Boston College was bouncing Maryland out of the ACC tournament and the Terps couldn't even win two games in the NIT tournament. 10-4 in the Big 10 isn't chicken feed, folks. But, laying an egg at Minnesota isn't good, admittedly.

These moments are why Turgeon makes $2 million a year. It's his job to get Maryland back in their groove and back on track. I think all of us would agree the horses are in place, mostly. On any given night this year (other than the recent Wisconsin home loss and last night's stunner in Minneapolis), the Terps have looked as good as any team in the country. But they're sliding now, and it's the coach's job to turn them around.

It isn't completely in the lap of Mark Turgeon and Melo Trimble to take Maryland to the promised land next month, but those two are in the crosshairs more than anyone else. The coach can only prepare the players and the players can only do what they can do, but in both cases, Turgeon and Trimble have to ramp it up now.

The only question? Do they both have what it takes?

We'll know soon enough.

BARCS banner ad

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.


In case you weren't aware, in the not-so-distant past I wrote for a blog that covered the New York Yankees. It was my first real gig in baseball writing, gave me some fun opportunities to do pieces at ESPN and radio spots, and as someone who takes a keen interest in the economics and business of sports, there were some moments that really meshed with my idiosyncratic focus during my tenure there.

One of those, towards the end of my tenure, was the launch of the Yankees' own ticket exchange service, a foray into the secondary market for tickets that was established as a competitor to StubHub.

And I mean that explicitly: The Yankees were very upfront with the fact that they HATED StubHub, mainly for the fact that you can get incredibly cheap tickets there if you're the sort of person who's willing to wait until the last minute to buy a ticket to a weeknight, non-premium game. Tickets to see the Royals on a Tuesday night were going for around $3 at that point in time, and the team was absolutely furious about it.

So the Yankees launched their own competing service, and instituted a controversial price floor system as part of it. In other words, you could sell the season tickets you couldn't use through the Yankees directly, but you couldn't offer them for less than face value. Cynics like me regarded this as an attempt to choke off the supply of cheap tickets hitting the secondary market, thus making it somewhat more worthwhile to just buy the tickets from the team at box office.

In theory, Yankees' season ticket holders benefitted from this de facto price fixing system as well, knowing that their asking price wouldn't be undercut by someone else.

This week, however, the Yankees have taken the battle to a new, very disturbing front, making clear along the way that this is entirely about eliminating the cheap ticket market altogether. If you're going to a game at Yankee Stadium this year, you can no longer print your ticket at home and have it accepted at the gate. Instead, you either need the original ticket or a barcode sent directly from the Yankees.

There is a StubHub kiosk across from the stadium that is able to print acceptable bar codes, but that's a big departure from the site's normal business model, and in any case the shot across the bow is still incredibly clear.

To add insult to injury, the Yankees are barely even hiding that this is about eliminating the ability of people who can't afford the notoriously high sticker price of their tickets to be able to get cheap alternatives anywhere else.

Yankees' COO Lonn Trost even put in a strong application for the Jackwagon of the Year Award Thursday when he said, "The problem below market at a certain point is that if you buy a ticket in a very premium location and pay a substantial amount of money. It’s not that we don’t want that fan to sell it, but that fan is sitting there having paid a substantial amount of money for a ticket and [another] fan picks it up for a buck-and-a-half and sits there, and it’s frustrating to the purchaser of the full amount."

Trost then went on to strongly imply that the Yankees very much do not want the Wall Street crowd that can afford to pay full price for premium tickets to have their experience sullied by being in close proximity to the kind of people who can only afford those seats if they find a good bargain on the secondary market. I'm pretty sure Bernie Sanders is making a campaign ad out of this as I type.

Now I know just about everyone reading this already hates the Yankees, and I also know Yankee Stadium policies probably don't seem all that relevant to fans in Baltimore. But this is a worrisome development for anyone who buys tickets to a professional sporting event.

For one thing, there's absolutely no pro-consumer justification for the Yankees' new policy. They, of course, couch it in "anti-fraud" language, but let me tell you: I've printed tickets to professional sporting events from StubHub many dozens of times and have literally never once had a problem with the product being fraudulent. And that makes perfect sense when you remember that StubHub is a big company that invests a lot of money in making sure their customers trust that they're not getting sold fake tickets.

I've seen people buy from street scalpers at Ravens games only to find out the tickets were fakes, and this is basically the exact reason people choose to deal with StubHub instead of the ticket hawkers on the corner.

But in an era where baseball, in particular, sees less and less value in appealing to fans in the lower middle class income brackets, the possibility of other teams adopting this policy should really concern us all. The Yankees are in something of a unique spot given their brand and location, and maybe this is all about making sure the rich people inside the moat remain sequestered from the 20 somethings from Harlem and Queens, but there's nothing stopping the Brewers, or Rockies, or Orioles from seeing this simply as a good way to fix ticket prices and stamp out your ability to dig around for good bargains.

That's bad for you as a ticket buyer, and it's also bad for you as a season ticket holder if you can't make a certain game and figure you're well served by dumping your tickets for a fraction of the cost than eating a total loss.

What the Yankees are doing is also a clear example of horizontal integration; a form of monopoly building and not that dissimilar to what got Microsoft in trouble with federal officials in the 1990's. To that end, I very much think the Justice Department should begin investigations into the Yankees' policy, and at the very least subject the clear attempt to fix prices and use the Yankees' franchise to materially hurt a competitor of Yankee Ticket Exchange.

I don't know nearly enough about anti-trust law (and frankly no one knows much of anything about that topic where it intersects with Major League Baseball and its most abstract anti-trust exemption) to know if the Yankees are even arguably breaking the law, but at the very least government scrutiny will send a clear message that regulators and law enforcement are looking to protect consumers of sporting entertainment, and maybe make any other franchise tempted to follow the Yankees' lead think a little harder about the cost-benefit impact of doing so.

Eagles Nest banner ad

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 stunned at minnesota, 68-63

Sometime back in December, while I was returning from a Maryland home game, your #DMD host, Mr. Forrester himself, asked me a question regarding Maryland's upcoming basketball season.

His question was simple. “How many conference games does Maryland lose this year?"

“They barely beat Georgetown, they could lose as many as five”, was my response.

Well, I never thought, for one second, that one of those loses would come against the last place Minnesota Golden Gophers. But Maryland did just that as Minnesota gained their first conference win last night when they beat Maryland 68-63.

Despite Rasheed Sulaimon’s career high 28 points, the Terps couldn't overcome the combined 6 for 23 shooting from Robert Carter Jr and Melo Trimble as well as the 9 turnovers committed by those two.

The game was tied early in the first half when a 3 pointer by Joey King put Minnesota up 13-10 at the 15:05 mark. Following King’s bucket, Maryland played from behind for all but 1 minute of the rest of the game. The Golden Gophers lead 40-29 at the break as they knocked down 7 of their 13 first half three point attempts.

The Terps defense in the first half was abysmal, and that may be a kind assessment. They continually missed assignments and were slow to cover on switches. Robert Carter Jr was especially ineffective defensively and on the offensive end, Melo Trimble was a turnover machine (three in the final 2:51 of the half) while almost every Terp was guilty of poor shot selection.

Maryland picked up the defensive intensity in the second half and Minnesota began to miss shots. However, the combination of poor Maryland shooting and multiple Terp turnovers left the nation’s #6 ranked team behind by 12, 48-36, with 12:31 to go in the game. During one four minute span, from 16:35 to 12:35, the Terps had just two points -- but five turnovers.

Seven quick Maryland points cut the lead down to five with 9:28 left. Rasheed Sulaimon was a lone bright spot for Maryland offensively and behind his continued hot hand, Maryland was able to grab a one point lead, 60-59, with 3:04 left.

The one-point advantage was short lived as Carter Jr found himself out of defensive position and in the air when he fouled Joey King. King made both ends of the one and one and Minnesota reclaimed a lead that they would never relinquish.

Maryland’s next four possessions would yield just one single point. The first possession ended with a Trimble air ball of a wide open jumper from the right elbow.

Damonte Dodd’s sixth blocked shot of the game gave the Terps another chance to retake the lead but his time Trimble dribbled himself into trouble under the basket and turned it over when he stepped on the baseline.

After beating a lackadaisical Carter Jr for an offensive rebound, Minnesota’s Jordon Murphy was fouled and connected on one of his two foul shots. The Golden Gopher lead was two, 62-60 and there were only 53 seconds remaining in the game.

Sulaimon was then fouled while shooting but missed his chance to tie by converting on only the second of his two free throws.

Maryland had one more chance to win this game, but it ended with another Trimble turnover.

After a Sulaimon foul shot cut the Minnesota lead to one, Maryland pressed and Jake Layman knocked the ball away and right into the hands of Trimble. Maryland now had a chance to take the lead and potentially win the game, but Trimble drove the ball quickly to the left elbow and then threw it directly into the hands of Minnesota’s Dupree McBrayer while trying to find Jake Layman. It was Trimble’s sixth turnover of the game and it sealed Maryland’s fate.

You almost have to hope that Melo Trimble is suffering from some unreported physical ailment because you would hate to think he could be this ineffective (bad) and be healthy. He has connected on only six of his last 37 shots in conference play and 1 of his last 10 three pointers. He has also surrendered 11 turnovers in his last two games and has made three field goals or less in 8 of 14 Big 10 games.

Maryland is thin at guard as it is and simply can’t overcome a poor performance by Trimble on a night where Carter Jr struggled to score and Diamond Stone was unavailable due to a team imposed suspension.

Shot selection was a real issue tonight as the Terps threw up wild, off balance, shots way too often. Carter Jr was perhaps the biggest offender but the entire team was guilty at times.

The much smaller Golden Gophers picked up 11 offensive rebounds and several of those were balls that literally were “up for grabs” and they out-jumped the Terps would-be rebounder.

Maryland has enough talent throughout their lineup to be a real good team and potential title contender as long as Melo Trimble is living up to his preseason hype. When he plays like did in the last three games, Maryland becomes very average. During the last week, they certainly have been just that.

This Sunday in College Park, Maryland will look to avenge an early loss to Michigan. It could be a pivotal game for the Terps because losing there would send them to Purdue with a three game losing skid -- which could easily become four.

ABC Rentalbanner

last call for our palestra trip this saturday

If you're a college basketball junkie and you've never seen the Palestra in person, we can make that happen for you this Saturday night, February 20.

X
Join us this Saturday night for a "bucket list" trip to the Palestra on the campus of the Univesity of Pennsylvania.

A busload of #DMD readers are heading to Philadelphia to see "The Cathedral of College Basketball" as Penn takes on Yale in an Ivy League battle at 7 pm. Our crew will have courtside seats and you can still join us!

I can't do justice to how great the Palestra really is...you simply have to see it for yourself.

The basketball will be fun, but the experience of being in the building will be what matters most. It's literally like walking through a college basketball museum. And then you get to see a game on top of it.

Our bus will be leaving at 4 pm. We'll have dinner on the ride up, plus beer, soda and water. Oh, and in case I haven't mentioned it, we also have courtside seats for the game.

If you're interested in going, just head to the top of the page and click on "Palestra Trip" and you'll see all the information plus method of payment options.



Thursday
February 18
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 18

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


20 years later, should we care this much about peyton manning's butt or should we be chasing another story at tennessee?


This is sort of awkwardly rare, but I'm writing something here at #DMD and don't actually have an answer to the question I'm posing.

It doesn't happen often.

Since last Saturday, I've taken some time on a daily basis to "read up" on the allegations surrounding Peyton Manning's "mooning incident" back in 1996 when he was the University of Tennessee.

I think I've seen every extensive national piece that's been posted, from Shaun King's work at the New York Daily News to Christine Brennan's predictable effort at USA Today and even stuff at Deadspin and Bleacher Report, both of whom actually produced reasonable, well-constructed overviews of the 20-year old incident.

After reading the court documents that have become the bread-and-butter of the story, I understand what happened back on February 29, 1996. Peyton Manning exposed his butt to a female athletic trainer (Jamie Whited). It wasn't the first time she had been involved in what Manning says was a "prank gone bad", but it was the ugliest one of them all. Manning claims he exposed his rear end to her completely by accident, that he was actually trying to show off his hind quarters to a fellow teammate. Whited claims Manning's butt and genitalia touched her face during the "mooning".

That happened in 1996.

It's now 2016 and here we are again, re-opening the wound and raking Manning over the coals.

Deserved? I don't know. Like I wrote above, I'm asking the question: Deserved? And I don't know that I have an answer.

In some ways, the whole Manning-mooning-story is just how we roll in the U.S. In 1996, an incident takes place that is largely overlooked at first, then swept under the rug, then litigated and resolved. In 2016, we bring it up again and activist groups storm the headquarters of pizza makers and insurance companies asking them to cut ties with an alleged criminal.

I don't know if we should be outraged at Manning or not. It looks to me, based on everything I've read, like Peyton Manning was an obnoxious, entitled jerk in college. In other words, he wasn't able to represent himself any differently than perhaps 50% of the other football players at Tennessee back in those days.

Rather than involve himself in rape (Nilo Silvan), assault (Brent Gibson), forgery (Chuck Webb) or shoplifting (Jamal Lewis) -- like some of his Tennessee teammates -- Manning resorted to what some would consider sexual harrassment. True, it's not as harmful as rape, but the entire episode caused Whited incredible mental anguish, enough so that she eventually accepted a $300,000 settlement from the school and resigned her employment there.

Some have opined that Jamie Whited simply worked the system. By her own admission, the incident on February 29, 1996 wasn't that first time she had been in and around football players mooning one another, exposing themselves to each other, etc. Why, then, was that specific occasion with Manning the one that pushed her over the top?

So, there's that part of the story. Manning was a college football player who doubled as a punk with a million dollar arm. Whited was a female athletic trainer working in a men's locker room who wound up being "one of the guys" even though she didn't want it to be that way. Over the course of several years, she was subjected to what any of us would likely consider "sexual harrassment", from the head football coach (Phillip Fulmer) all the way down to players, assistant coaches and other athletic trainers.

I've seen and heard some folks claim "that's what you get when you're a female trainer working with a men's team." Maybe. Maybe that IS what you get. But that doesn't make it right, anymore than when you work at a bank, you're doing so with the knowledge (remote as it might be) that some guy with a mask might stick a gun in your face someday and ask you to empty the register into a bag he's holding out for you.

Would you say: "Hey you dummy, you signed up to be a bank teller...you know there's a chance you'll get robbed someday"? I doubt it.

But the Manning and Whited story is really only a smidgen of the whole saga. And I'm not trying to downplay what happened between those two. Like I've written twice already, I really don't know what to think about Manning and his pizza partner and insurance friends and the whole "Manning's legacy is tainted" stuff we're seeing these days.

If you forced me, right now, to pick a side, I'd probably side with Jamie Whited. But you're not forcing me to and I'm not ready to choose one over the other because, honestly, her story and the allegations she brought forth changed over the years. It's complicated, to say the least.

What isn't complicated, though, is what a collosal mess the athletic department was at the University of Tennessee in 1996.

There's wiggle room to make an argument in Manning's defense and wiggle room to support Jamie Whited.

There isn't a sliver of wiggle room to in any way at all endorse how the whole thing was handled by the school and, in particular, the football progam in Knoxville.

If you're looking to make someone walk the plank twenty years later, go find Phillip Fulmer. He's the guy back in 1996 who wrote at the top of a lengthy report on the academic failings of his players: "11-1, that's all anyone cares about".

That's some coaching there, huh?

When provided with information suggesting that the kids representing HIS football program were in need of improved academic tutoring, the head coach ignored it and instead simply pointed to the team's record as a measure of their success. Forget the school work. Just get in the end zone on Saturday afternoon.

If you're looking for reasons why a dumb jock like Peyton Manning would rest his genitals on the head of a female athletic trainer during a supposed "mooning prank", there's Exhibit A for you. The head football coach didn't care about anything except the team's record. And the star quarterback didn't care about anything except the team's record. And so it went...

If you read through the pages of evidence, the depositions in the case, and the settlement documents, one thing stands out. And it's not Peyton Manning or Jamie Whited.

What stands out is that the University of Tennessee's football program in 1996 was a train wreck. Filled with amateur-hour criminals, underage drinking, assaulting police officers and just about anything else you can think of, those kids in Knoxville were simply running amok, waving their "I play football for Tennessee" card whenever their behavior warranted law enforcement intervention.

Fulmer knew all about it, which is the most damning thing of all, to me. In the very community that supported him -- the people who were largely responsible for his $2.4 million salary -- Fulmer allowed his players to steal from them, rape their daughters, assault their neighbors and essentially run around blind to the law.

I'm not sure what to think of Peyton Manning, circa 1996.

But I sure do know what to think of Phillip Fulmer and the staff he had working for him back then. They all made sexually-charged remarks to Whited at time or another. And when she reported it, the predictable "boys will be boys" response was offered to her in return. And when it finally reached the higher-ups at Tennessee, their first thought, naturally, was "don't let the press find about this."

So, they gave Jamie Whited a $300,000 going away present and asked her to forget it all happened. And she did, right up until Manning himself brought the whole thing up again in a book he wrote a decade ago.

Ironically, the woman who was victimized let the story die, but the guy who rested his genitals on her head couldn't leave it in its grave.

Now, we get to read about it again, only this time, in much greater detail. And we see, finally, how corrupt and dysfunctional the University of Tennessee football program was back then.

Fast forward to 2016 and you just know this stuff still goes on today. You know it and I know it. Nothing's changed, only the characters and the names and the mascots are different.

But as long as the football team goes 11-1...

BARCS banner ad

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!


even without stone, terps should handle minnesota tonight

The 0-13 Minnesota Golden Gophers surely will beat someone in the Big 10 this year. Tonight at 8 pm, the visiting Maryland Terrapins hope to do all they can to ensure that the first Gopher conference victory comes a little later in the season.

While the Terps have been on the winning end of their close games, Minnesota hasn’t fared as well when the games are tight. They've dropped all eight of their games that were decided by eight points or less. Five of those loses have been two possession games. Most recently, they played Iowa to a tight 75-71 game that was every bit as close as the final score would indicate.

The book on Minnesota is simple: They manage to stay within striking distance, but their lack of offensive consistency, and a “go to” guy prevents them from coming out on top.

Minnesota’s leading scorer, guard Nate Mason, is sort of Melo Trimble-lite. He does some of the same things for his Golden Gopher team that Trimble does for Maryland, just not as well or not as consistently (although with Melo’s recent two game slump, consistent might not be an appropriate term for him either).

Mason is the only Minnesota player to have started all 25 games and he logs about 32 minutes per game on a team that plays many players and countless combinations.

Freshman forward Jordan Murphy leads his team in rebounds with 7.7 per game and he may need to corral a few more now that Carlos Morris and his 3.7 rpg have been dismissed from the team. Murphy is fairly effective patrolling around the basket but shoots a poor percentage from outside of the lane and connects on less than 27% of his three-point attempts. In fact, the entire Golden Gopher team has trouble knocking down the three as only one player, Joey King, shoots better than 31% from behind the line.

The athletic 6’11” center, Bakary Kanate, works the middle for Minnesota. He is long and fairly nimble, but lacks skill and polish and therefore doesn’t present too much of an offensive force.

As a team, the Golden Gophers are fairly bland without a real signature style. They will go hard after rebounds and could give the Terps problems on the offensive glass. The Terps, even without Diamond Stone (team imposed suspension), should still be able to handle Minnesota, but Maryland must play hard and take advantage of the numerous mismatches that they will enjoy on the offensive end.

In fact, I can’t think of one Maryland starter that won’t have either a size or speed advantage over their potential Minnesota defender.

I look for big games from Jake Layman and Robert Carter Jr. Their combination of size and finesse should enable both to score almost at will.

I think this is also a perfect opportunity for Maryland to break out of their offensive funk and put up some decent numbers. They'll break the 80 point barrier and come away with an 81 – 72 win that pretty much mirrors the 9 ½ point number that the odds-makers have assigned to this game.

While the upset bug hit league leading Iowa last night with their loss to Penn State, it won’t infect the Terps as they prep for Sunday’s home rematch with Michigan.

Saffer banner ad

umbc hoops: men lose at hartford, women win at home

Hartford buried 15-of-25 shots from behind the arc and pulled away late, defeating UMBC, 88-65, on Wednesday nighht at Chase Family Arena.

Junior wing Will Darley (Dulaney H.S.) and sophomore guard Jourdan Grant (Archbishop Spalding H.S.) led the visitors with 15 points apiece.

Hartford (8-20 overall, 3-10 in America East) hit their first treys of the second half, but a Darley trey with 12:55 remaining in the second half cut the deficit to 50-45. A 7-0 run by the Hawks put the Retrievers down by 12, but UMBC responded with five straight points, including a trey by junior Ben Grace (The Gilman School), which trimmed the gap to 57-50.

A three-point play by UMBC senior post Cody Joyce kept UMBC within striking distance at 70-60 with 6:11 to play. But the Hawks went on an 11-0 run to put the game out of reach down the stretch.

Joyce added 13 points for UMBC, while Grace hit 3-of-4 from behind the arc (9 pts.) and added three assists.

UMBC (6-22, 2-11 AE) never led in the first 20 minutes, as Hartford kept the Retrievers at bay by hitting 6-of-13 shots from behind the arc. The Hawks built a 17-10 lead just shy of the midpoint of the half, but the Retrievers got as close as 26-25 on Grace's trey at the 3:15 mark. However, Hartford freshman George Blagojevic converted from behind the arc just before the horn to give the hosts a 36-30 advantage at the break.

UMBC returns home to entertain Vermont in a Saturday 7:00 p.m. clash at the RAC Arena.

Meanwhile, at the RAC on Wednesday night, junior Taylor McCarley scored a game high 19 points to lead the UMBC Lady Retrievers to a 58-51 win against Hartford. UMBC moves to 16-10 overall and 7-6 in conference play after winning their third in a row.

UMBC opened the game with back to back layups from junior Amanda Hagaman. McCarley then nailed a triple to increase the Retriever run to 7-0 before a Hartford bucket quelled the run. McCarley would strike again later in the quarter, followed up by a Pandora Wilson jumper to give UMBC a 15-10 lead late. With time winding down in the quarter, junior Emily Russo knocked down a triple to give UMBC a 20-13 lead after one.

Hartford came out swinging in the second, hitting a three to open the stanza. Capree Garner (Silver Spring, Md./Springbrook) had the answer, coupled with a Wilson jumper giving UMBC their largest lead of the half at 24-16. The Hawks answered with a scoring run of their own to cut the lead to just two after a Lindsey Abed triple. UMBC would have the last laugh, hitting a three at the buzzer, thanks to McCarley to give UMBC a 33-28 lead at the break.

The second half opened with a pair of free throws from sophomore Laura Castaldo (West Nyack, N.Y./Clarkstown South). Hartford would find their groove; drilling back to back three's to cut the Retriever lead to 37-36. Wilson would answer the bell with a layup that sparked a 5-0 run to end the stanza. Garner would hit a lay-up on the run to give UMBC a 42-36 lead heading to the fourth.

McCarley finished with 19 points on 6-13 shooting. She added two assists and four steals in the contest. Hagaman and Wilson each chipped in 12 for UMBC, with Wilson adding nine rebounds. UMBC shot 46 percent from the field, including 93.3 percent from the foul line.

Phil Stern's team returns to the hardwood on Saturday, Feb. 20 at Vermont. Tip-off with the Catamounts is set for 1 p.m.

CSI Bonds banner ad

last call for our palestra trip this saturday

If you're a college basketball junkie and you've never seen the Palestra in person, we can make that happen for you this Saturday night.

X
Join us this Saturday night for a "bucket list" trip to the Palestra on the campus of the Univesity of Pennsylvania.

A busload of #DMD readers are heading to Philadelphia to see "The Cathedral of College Basketball" as Penn takes on Yale in an Ivy League battle at 7 pm. Our crew will have courtside seats and you can still join us!

I can't do justice to how great the Palestra really is...you simply have to see it for yourself.

The basketball will be fun, but the experience of being in the building will be what matters most. It's literally like walking through a college basketball museum. And then you get to see a game on top of it.

Our bus will be leaving at 4 pm. We'll have dinner on the ride up, plus beer, soda and water. Oh, and in case I haven't mentioned it, we also have courtside seats for the game.

If you're interested in going, just head to the top of the page and click on "Palestra Trip" and you'll see all the information plus method of payment options.



Wednesday
February 17
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 17

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


i love when baseball nerds get mad at baseball nerds


Baseball nerds in Baltimore are angry.

I, for one, love it.

The pre-season predictions have come out and a lot of the so-called experts have the O's taking a dive in 2016. And the very people who cling to that analysis when it's good for their team are now dismissing it when it shows the Orioles taking a step back in 2016.

Oh, the irony.

It used to be that we would just take a look at a team's roster, see how many good players were on it, and offer our pre-season thoughts and analysis by picking the really good teams to finish ahead of the good teams and the good teams to finish ahead of the mediocre teams and the mediocre teams to finish ahead of the bad teams.

That was the way we did it in 1986.

Then the stupid computer came along and we let that thing do all of our thinking for us and it led to a new era of analyzing data, including trying to figure out which baseball team was better than the rest -- before the season even started.

Baseball nerds love to point to all of these new terms -- wins above replacement (WAR), batting average on balls in play (BABIP), fielding independent pitching (FIP), just to name three -- and use them to carefully analyze both what a player did last season and then project what that player might very well do next season.

And they cling to that stuff the way Bernie Sanders clings to his "no one should pay for college" theory.

Both are hilariously silly.

So, it's almost gleeful to see the local baseball nerds go batty these days after the recent PECOTA projections came out and have the Orioles finishing the 2016 campaign at 72-90.

PECOTA, you ask? What the hell is a PECOTA? It stands for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm and it's used to forecast the performance of MLB players. Translate those individual performances into a massive statistical chart and you come up with how a team is going to perform in the upcoming season.

You and I used to look at the roster and say, "We're gonna be pretty daggone good this year."

These days when you say that, the baseball nerds say, "Oh, no...no, no, no. Your team can't possibly be any good with that BABIP your top five players are projected to have."

I do understand there's a time and place for statistics. They ARE valuable. But they're typically valuable while the season is on going, not as a mechanism for figuring out what's going to happen six months from now.

The PECOTA projections -- produced by the folks at Baseball Prospectus -- have the Orioles finishing at 72-90.

Here's a team that hasn't had a losing season since 2011, with what we all consider a modestly improved roster from a year ago, and those nerds at Baseball Prospectus have them going 72-90.

I'm not nearly smart enough to dive into the data and figure out why they're saying that. And, honestly, I don't have six hours of free time to devote to it, either.

But I know this: The Orioles aren't going 72-90 in 2016.

As Ben Affleck said in Good Will Hunting: I don't know much...but I know that.

How in the hell can a bunch of people sit around, throw some statistics into a computer, and possibly tell me if the wind is going to be blowing out (or in) when the Orioles play in San Francisco next August? How do they know if David Price is going to stay healthy? What if he accidentally gets shoved in front of a cab outside of a Chicago hotel when the Red Sox are in the Windy City and has to miss four weeks of the season? What if Jose Bautista hurts his shoulder running into a wall and doesn't play in June and July?

I understand that projections are typically made with the "perfect world" scenario in mind.

But, no team in baseball will go through the season "perfectly" in 2016. Players will get injured, have down years, get traded, etc.

On the flip side, sabermetrics takes into consideration everything about a player. Health, age, stadium dimensions, and so much other stuff it would make your head spin.

It's if they know -- right now -- just how many games J.J. Hardy is actually going to play in 2016. He might play 76 or 136. No one knows.

What if Adam Jones hurts his shoulder on April 30 and is bothered by it for the rest of the season? What then?

So, I see these PECOTA projections and folks at USA Today claiming the Orioles are going to finish in last place and I wonder what on earth they're seeing that I'm not?

Tell me, are the Orioles really going to go 72-90 because they lost Wei-Yin Chen and didn't adequately replace him (yet)?

Really?

The rest of the division is that much better?

OK, then.

I'll stick with my way of doing it, which is to look at the rosters of all the teams and see who has good players and who doesn't. I do that every year, in all sports, and it's generally been a fairly reliable formula.

While everyone was picking the Ravens to go 12-4 or 11-5 in 2015, I was the guy who said, "Eh, I don't see it. I'm thinking 9-7 and no playoffs for the Ravens this season." Turns out I was right, sort of. They had a down year and missed the playoffs. Didn't go 9-7, but my hunch was correct...they didn't have enough good players.

I'll do the same for the Orioles in a couple of weeks when I make MY predictions for 2016. I'll look at their final roster, compare it to the others in the American League, look closely at the other teams in the A.L. East, and make my call.

I don't need a bong, Pink Floyd's Welcome To The Machine and a computer to generate my data and analysis for me. I can do it just fine with my eyes and my intuition.

Although I wouldn't mind some Pink Floyd playing in the background while I'm doing it, I'll admit that.

BARCS banner ad

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.



is ozzie on the hot seat (or should he be?)

Here's something you aren't hearing as much these days: "In Oz We Trust."

The once ubiquitous phrase used to signal faith in the Ravens' GM is much less en vogue after a 5-11 season in which it became clear the Ravens have quite a few areas of concern on their roster, and headed into an offseason where a tough cap situation makes it anything but certain that even The Wizard of Oz can engineer a quick turnaround.

In truth, the phrase was always pretty meaningless. At best, it was just a way of saying "Ozzie Newsome is one of the league's better GMs" which, duh, while at worst it was a way for the "Kool-Aid drinkers" to treat any critical analysis of the team's roster decisions as the sole realm of the less-than-hinged callers on talk radio.

In fact, the last time I can remember hearing it was in Lot O before the Browns game when an eavesdropping fan parked next to my group took way too much offense to my prediction that the Ravens would end the season....5-11. After asserting that I clearly wasn't a season ticket holder (I am) or must be a bandwagoner (tickets have been in the family since 2003), his parting shot was "any real fan has to have faith in Ozzie."

To be blunt, a lot of Ravens fans have reached the point of reflexively overrating Newsome's wizardry. Don't get me wrong; as I said above he's definitely one of the better, more level headed GMs in the league, and that's reflected in the consistent success the Ravens have had since he's been paired with John Harbaugh (and Joe Flacco).

But Newsome also has his flaws, and a big reason for the current state of the roster and cap is that those tendencies have piled up without working in the last few years.

The most obvious problem with the team's roster construction over the past several seasons is the continued overvaluation of the running game, and running backs in particular. Here's a pretty striking fact: Since 2008, the Ravens have taken as many running backs in the first four rounds (4) as wide receivers.

Now in fairness they did take three tight ends in that span, but they also went three consecutive drafts from 2012-14 without taking ANY receivers in rounds 1-5, a) drafting both Bernard Pierce and Lorenzo Taliafarro (neither of whom is likely to play for the team in 2016), and b) taking run defenders over available receivers like Alshon Jeffrey, Allen Robinson, and Jarvis Landry. And of those four receivers they did take, only Breshad Perriman is still with the Ravens.

If the team is evaluating why they consistently lack playmakers on the perimeter of their offense, there's your answer right there. It's in the draft.

But if the Ravens have been negligent in picking receivers, they've been downright bad at evaluating defensive backs.

The unit has been a pretty steady issue of concern for the team since Chris McAlister declined from his Hall of Fame worthy peak, and has never really been an obvious strength despite the investment of plenty of resources. Counting from 2008 again, the Ravens have spent seven picks from rounds 1-4 on defensive backs, with two of them being first rounders, and for that investment the unit is clearly the worst on the team.

Some of that has been due to injuries, sure, but here's a pretty damning observation: Of the countless safeties who have shuffled through Baltimore in the last 10-15 years, how many of them other than Rod Woodson and Ed Reed have actually been really good? Maybe I'm just drawing a blank, but I can't actually name one.

Whatever it takes, the Ravens absolutely MUST improve significantly when it comes to evaluating and finding defensive backs if they want to return to having a dominant defense in the modern NFL.

And even in the areas where the Ravens traditionally receive high marks, the recent returns are pretty mixed.

I think it's fair to say that the front office does a very good job evaluating and drafting players in the defensive front seven, but consider this: Of the 19 picks between rounds 2-4 in the last five drafts. 7 selections have been spent on defensive linemen or edge linebackers, and yet there are credible arguments being made that the Ravens need to spend the 6th overall pick on a pass rusher. That's completely unacceptable given a) the investment the team has made in this area and b) that my arbitrary cutoff point actually excludes the picks spent on Paul Kruger, Terrance Cody, and Sergio Kindle.

And while the Ravens have generally gotten good marks for retaining their own players, I think they've approached that with some odd assumptions and evaluations in recent years as well.

Consider that Lardarius Webb, who's never been a great cornerback, will have a cap number in excess of $9 million this season, Dennis Pitta will be over $7 million (until he's cut anyway), and even Daryl Smith will be over $4 million after being signed to a 4 year deal in his 30's. Then there's the ridiculous contract given out to Ray Rice at a point it was more than clear that productive running backs were a dime a dozen in the NFL.

And yet, the team couldn't even make a perfunctory attempt to keep Pernell McPhee, who graded out as one of the very best pass rushers in the leage in 2015. If I'm Steve Bisciotti and I'm asking tough questions headed into this offseason, that's the very first explanation I'd like on my desk. Why did we let McPhee get away?

Now, I realize that this probably sounds harsh, but none of this should be read as a demand for heads to roll or anything like that.

Results still mean a lot, and this franchise's results speak for themselves. Warts and all, the Ravens have been to the playoffs in all but two seasons since 2008. They've had only one losing season in that time frame, and won a Super Bowl in 2012.

I'm absolutely not trying to argue that this group can't turn it around and that someone has to be fired if the Ravens are going to get better.

But while there's plenty of available explanations for it, the results of a 5-11 season count too, and I do wonder if the routine praise from both the media and the fans haven't altered everyone's perception of the front office too much, including their own.

When I see a team relying on an undrafted free agent like Marlon Brown to be a major contributor in his third season, I see a management team that has way too much confidence in their ability to outsmart everyone else drawing a paycheck for doing the same work.

The Ravens need big changes to their roster to truly acclimate to the contemporary NFL, and that's going to require big changes in the way the front office values and evaluates the players who play a key role in the passing game, on both sides of the ball.

Chase Fitzgerald banner ad

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.


Like a guy on the leaderboard making back-to-back bogeys, I need to rebound this week.

I was downright crappy last week at Pebble Beach, but as I wrote on Sunday morning here at #DMD, that event in the Monterey Penisula is one of the more difficult ones to handicap because of the format (three different courses) and the wacky weather possibilities (foggy and drizzly at one course, sunny and breezy at the other two).

So, with a bad week in the rear view mirror, I'm moving on -- confidently -- to Riveria CC and this week's event in Los Angeles.

If you're a fantasy golf enthusiast and you don't play K.J. Choi this week, I don't know what to say to you. Choi is 15-for-15 lifetime at Riveria. Yep, he's played the event 15 times and has made the cut in all 15. And he's not only a cut maker, but he's a leadboard chaser as well. Play him this week, for sure.

This is probably a good week to spend some money on Jordan Spieth as well. He had problems on the greens last week in the Monterey Penisula, but he won't find the putting surfaces at Riveria to be anything less than spectacular. Riveria is a traditional course, which suits Spieth's game perfectly. I'm playing him this week in all of my rosters, that much I'll say.

It's also a good time to hop on the Jimmy Walker train and see how far he takes you. He's finished in the Top 15 in four straight events and looks like he's on the verge of putting together a big week. Like Spieth, he'll take to the more traditional setting at Riveria. I like his chances this week.

I always offer a couple of dark horses since you likely need a couple of less-costly players to even out your roster. Let's go with Brendan Steele and Harris English this week in L.A. Both are solid ball strikers -- a necessary asset at Riveria -- and both are guys who play tougher courses well.

X
Coming off of a good finish at Pebble Beach, look for Justin Rose to break through this week at Riveria CC.

My winner for the week is Justin Rose. He lurked on the leaderboard at Pebble Beach and is playing for the third time in four weeks. That's the kind of routine you need to get your golf game in sync and my guess is Rose is ready to bloom at Riveria. He's my projected champion.

If you're a multiple-roster player like me, it wouldn't hurt you to play the likes Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Justin Thomas, Aaron Baddeley and perhaps even Paul Casey. Sprinkle those guys in along the way and see if you don't get some money out of them.

Jerry's banner ad

last call for our palestra trip this saturday

If you're a college basketball junkie and you've never seen the Palestra in person, we can make that happen for you this Saturday night.

X
Join us this Saturday night for a "bucket list" trip to the Palestra on the campus of the Univesity of Pennsylvania.

A busload of #DMD readers are heading to Philadelphia to see "The Cathedral of College Basketball" as Penn takes on Yale in an Ivy League battle at 7 pm. Our crew will have courtside seats and you can still join us!

I can't do justice to how great the Palestra really is...you simply have to see it for yourself.

The basketball will be fun, but the experience of being in the building will be what matters most. It's literally like walking through a college basketball museum. And then you get to see a game on top of it.

Our bus will be leaving at 4 pm. We'll have dinner on the ride up, plus beer, soda and water. Oh, and in case I haven't mentioned it, we also have courtside seats for the game.

If you're interested in going, just head to the top of the page and click on "Palestra Trip" and you'll see all the information plus method of payment options.



MASTERS TRIP
(click for details)



Tuesday
February 16
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XIX
Issue 16

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


the tired old "is it a sport?" argument still has life

In the aftermath of yesterday's piece here at #DMD that reveled in Vaughn Taylor's PGA Tour win, reader "Chris" kick-started a decent discussion that got us through an otherwise uneventful Monday.

Using my reference of golf as a "game", Chris tried to stir up controversy by claiming golf isn't a "sport". He'd later admit to doing so just to "start a debate", which by and large isn't a bad thing as long as everyone participates in a civil manner.

What we do here isn't that different than talk radio, really. Someone on the #DMD staff offers insight or their opinion and others then react and offer their thoughts on the subject at hand.

Chris even got ME to react.

I didn't jump back into the conversation to defend golf, per se, but I put up a defense the Denver Broncos would be proud of when I saw Chris claim golf isn't a sport. I would have been just as vigorous defending cycling, tennis or auto racing, for those three are also "sports".

So, it wasn't about golf and it was about golf.

Chris' definition of sports had something to do with the unique combination of physical exertion and someone "defending" you as the main factors he considers when evaluating whether or not something is, in fact, a "sport".

That's an interesting theory. Completely wrong, but interesting nonetheless.

I went to the internet (naturally) for a definition and this is what I found from Merriam-Webster: "A contest or game in which people do certain physical activities according to a specific set of rules and compete against each other".

That was good enough for me.

I especially liked the part that said: compete against each other. That's the true essence of sports, I suppose. You want to win and I want to win -- so let's go out on whatever field of play it is and find out which one of us wins. That's sports.

How much you sweat, how many muscles you use and how much body fat you have shouldn't really come into play when evaluating whether or not something is a sport.

I've been in many NFL locker rooms and can tell you, for certain, there are a lot of overweight guys in there. But they're overweight AND in shape, if that makes sense. I've definitely seen guys and thought to myself, "How the hell is he playing in the league?", only to remember -- quickly -- that he's playing in the league because he's an extraordinary athlete.

So, we've sort of established you don't have to be a physical specimen to play in the NFL. And I've been in enough baseball locker rooms to know a large percentage of those guys aren't in their optimum physical condition, either. Hell, there are baseball players who smoke cigarettes for crying out loud. What world class athlete smokes? Answer: More than you realize.

Those truths bring us back to the question of "what's a sport?" and allows us to fully examine what matters and doesn't matter as it relates to coming up with an answer.

We know that it isn't necessary to have a 4% body-fat count in order to be an athlete. That's evident any time you see a locker room in the NFL or Major League Baseball.

What comes next?

We'll probably start going back and forth about the term "physical exertion", which was one of the definitions Chris used yesterday.

Well, I know we'd all agree on this: A cyclist who bikes at 25 mph for 50 consecutive miles exerts a helluva lot more energy than any football player does over a 60-minute game. Right? Right.

Does anyone really not believe that sitting in a race car for five hours and driving close to 200 mph throughout that duration doesn't require "physical exertion"? True, it's mentally grueling as well, but commandeering a large hunk of metal around a track 500 times with someone literally three feet in front of you is absolutely a "physical exertion".

Get in your car today and drive 500 miles somewhere, even at 65 mph, without as much as one pee break, and tell me how you feel when the trip concludes.

Cycling and auto racing are both sports. And those who participate are indeed athletes. High-caliber athletes at that.

Golf is a sport in the same way rap is music. They both fit snugly within their category. Golf requires "physical activity", has a "specific set of rules" and you can "compete against each other" as well.

And to the point Chris made, golf actually DOES have defense, but it comes from the elements and nature -- and not from the creation of rules or other players. Golf's defenses are easy to spot: they're called trees, ponds, streams, wind, bunkers, uphill shots, downhill shots and anything else that gets in the way.

#DMD reader "Jack" appropriately pointed out yesterday in the "comments" section that cycling does, in fact, have defense: Hills, heat, wind and bad weather. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Oh, and there's no doubt that PGA Tour players like Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koekpa are high-level athletes and in the kind of "shape" that baseball players could only dream of.

People (and Chris did this yesterday) like to point to Craig Stadler and smugly say, "Yeah, golfers are athletes...tell me again what's athletic about that Stadler guy?"

Well, for starters, Stadler's career spanned mainly from the 70's through the mid 90's and that was, admittedly, a time when fitness and exercise weren't major factors on the PGA Tour. But times change. And these days, you might see one or two guys on TOUR who are obviously overweight to the extent that Stadler was in 1982. No more than that.

Using Craig Stadler as the poster child for why golfers aren't athletes would be like me showing you a picture of William "Refrigerator" Perry from the late 1980's and saying, "See, those fat football players can't possibly be considered athletes."

That was then...this is now.

And now, in 2016, golfers who are trying to make a living on the TOUR are in better shape than me and you, for sure, and likely just about anyone else you know.

All of this adds up to much ado about nothing, really. It's just discussion for a snowy February day. But, occasionally in these parts, we come up with a subject that tickles the fancy of people who read this site and it makes for some interesting back and forth.

As I've said since the start of #DMD, your opinion matters here. It gets promoted, read, and discussed. I enjoy the fact that we can all get along and yet, not always agree on everything.

BARCS banner ad

with or without gallardo, orioles will be good

I'm starting to see a lot of social media angst as it relates to the Orioles and their pursuit of free agent pitcher Yovani Gallardo.

My guess? The deal is all but done.

Perhaps they're still fighting over an opt-out year (O's want it be after the 3rd year, Gallardo wants it to after the 2nd, as an example) or maybe there are some bonus money provisions still getting hammered out.

It could also be that the two parties are further along than we know and something came up in Gallardo's physical that gave the Orioles reason for concern.

I'm assuming Gallardo is an Oriole until I hear otherwise.

Either way, though, the Birds are going to be just fine. Sure, Gallardo gives them a decent, bonafide major league starter, which is why they're pursuing him in the first place. He'd likely be the team's #3 starter, behind Tillman and Jimenez. That leaves Gausman (#4) and Gonzalez (#5) to round out the rotation.

Look, I get it. Tillman, Jimenez, Gallardo, Gausman and Gonzalez...not exactly the 1995 Atlanta Braves. But still decent enough to get the job done, in my opinion.

Yes, without Gallardo on their roster, the O's will have to cook up a 5th starter between now and April and it's very likely that person won't be as good or experienced as Gallardo. That's easy to understand.

In much the same way that Ozzie Newsome gets a blanket of good-faith trust in these parts, I'll probably give Dan Duquette the same sort of artistic freedom. After all, Duquette showed up here four years ago and the team has twice made the playoffs. He knows what he's doing.

If the O's somehow don't get Gallardo, Duquette will likely figure something out that is appropriately acceptable.

We might have to trade someone to get a decent starting pitcher. We might have to take the pitching version of "Crash Davis" from the movie Bull Durham, an aging veteran looking for one more stab at glory -- like Cliff Lee. We might have to -- gulp -- give Brian Matusz or T.J. McFarland the ball in spring training and tell them to give five innings or so for 30 starts.

With Gallardo in the rotation, all that's left to do is hope the Orioles get good work from him and that he compliments the other four starters.

Without Gallardo, the slope gets a little more slippery. We wouldn't need a "miracle", but we'd need more good fortune than we probably deserve.

MD Home Sellers banner ad

last call for our palestra trip this saturday

If you're a college basketball junkie and you've never seen the Palestra in person, we can make that happen for you this Saturday night.

X
Join us this Saturday night for a "bucket list" trip to the Palestra on the campus of the Univesity of Pennsylvania.

A busload of #DMD readers are heading to Philadelphia to see "The Cathedral of College Basketball" as Penn takes on Yale in an Ivy League battle at 7 pm. Our crew will have courtside seats and you can still join us!

I can't do justice to how great the Palestra really is...you simply have to see it for yourself.

The basketball will be fun, but the experience of being in the building will be what matters most. It's literally like walking through a college basketball museum. And then you get to see a game on top of it.

Our bus will be leaving at 4 pm. We'll have dinner on the ride up, plus beer, soda and water. Oh, and in case I haven't mentioned it, we also have courtside seats for the game.

If you're interested in going, just head to the top of the page and click on "Palestra Trip" and you'll see all the information plus method of payment options.

Triangle Limo banner ad

we've started a second "adele bus"

#DMD has put together a bus trip to Philadelphia on Friday, September 9 to see Adele perform at the Wells Fargo Center. Our first bus sold out in three weeks, so we're now offering a second bus to see Adele in Philadelphia.

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



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



MASTERS TRIP
(click for details)



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.