Tuesday
March 15
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XX
Issue 15

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hoops contest, caps playoff trip highlight march and april madness at #dmd


Thanks to our friends at Chick fil-A Nottingham Square, someone's going to eat well for 52 weeks!

All you have to do is win #DMD's March Madness Contest and, yes, you get free Chick fil-A food for a year.

Our contest is a little different than the office pool you'll no doubt be completing in the next day or so. You'll use the official tournament bracket to compete in the #DMD March Madness Contest, but as you'll see below where we highlight the details, we're not following the script with our 2016 contest.

We're making one basic assumption with our contest. You're either already filling out a bracket (or more) or you at least know where to locate one on the internet. Google "NCAA Tournament Bracket" if you're unaware of where to find one. That'll do the trick.

Our FREE contest involves a series of predictions and questions that you'll answer. Each has a corresponding point value. There's also the opportunity for you to list your eventual championship game and your winning team.

You'll e-mail your answers to: dmdscore@gmail.com -- and you're in! We'll chart the points, list them occasionally at #DMD, and if you win our March Madness Contest, you get free Chick fil-A food once a week (from Chick fil-A Nottingham Square) for 52 consecutive weeks. There are other ways to earn free Chick fil-A food as well, so pay attention to the rules!

OK, let's get started with #DMD's contest. This will take you about two minutes to complete and e-mail to us. And, please, share today's #DMD with friends via Facebook and Twitter and get as many of them to participate as you can. After all, there's free Chick fil-A food up for grabs!

There's a very specific method required for entering, so please follow these directions closely. You'll see a sample at the end (my personal entry) to show you how to enter.

In your e-mail entry, please list your name first.

Next, provide the names of the teams you believe will be in the "Elite Eight" of this year's NCAA tournament. This means, obviously, the "final eight". For each correct team you list, you receive 5 points.

Next, list the two teams you believe will play in the Championship Game on Monday, April 4. For each correct team you list, you receive 10 points.

Next, list the team that will win the Championship Game on April 4. If you're correct, you receive 15 points.

Next, list ONLY "yes" or "no" as answers to the following five questions:

Will Maryland advance past the first weekend of tournament play? (Meaning the Terps would have to win Friday's opener vs. South Dakota State and then Sunday's game vs. the Hawaii-California winner.)

Will any #2 seed in the tournament lose either of its first two games and fail to advance past the opening weekend?

On Thursday or Friday of THIS week (March 17/18), will any game have a margin of victory of greater than 36.5 points?

Will at least one #12 seed defeat a #5 seed on Thursday or Friday this week?

Will there be at least five (5) overtime games throughout this year's NCAA basketball tournament?

Each of the "yes" or "no" answers are worth 5 points each.

And that's it...

So, the maximum amount of points you could win -- if you ran the table and got everything correct -- is 100 points.

Below is a sample of what your e-mail entry should look like. It's quite easy.

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Name: Schmedley Finklestein

Elite Eight: Oregon, Texas, Michigan State, Purdue, Miami, Kansas, Indiana, West Virginia

Two finalists: Michigan State and West Virginia

Champion: Michigan State

Maryland: Yes

2 seed: No

36.5 points: Yes

5-12 game: Yes

OT games: No

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Here's the prize breakdown from our friends at Chick fil-A Nottingham Square:

25th place to 16th place: Four (4) free Chick fil-A sandwiches

15th place to 6th place: Eight (8) free Chick fil-A sandwiches

5th place to 3rd place: Five (5) free Chick fil-A meals

2nd place: Ten (10) free Chick fil-A meals

1st place: Fifty two (52) free Chick fil-A meals

Tiebreaking procedure for any position: Date/time of receipt of entry in the contest. In other words, get in soon! That's how we do our tiebreaker! First in, wins.

Only ONE entry per-person, please. Multiple entries will disqualify you from the contest.

Send your completed entry following the sample above to: dmdscore@gmail.com

You'll receive a "confirmation reply" via e-mail that your entry has been received.

And that's it!

Yes, it's different than the traditional "bracket contest", but we figured everyone's doing that, so we'll do something a little different here at #DMD.

Please share with your friends via social media so we can get as many contestants as possible!

And thanks once again to our friends at Chick fil-A Nottingham Square for all of their support!

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#dmd trip alert! we're heading to game 2 of the caps first playoff series!!


Opponent unknown, date unknown (sort of), but one thing we DO know here at #DMD: We're going to Game 2 of the Washington Capitals first playoff series in mid-April.

We've secured group tickets for Game 2 at the Verizon Center. Each ticket also includes private lounge access during the game, which features a complimentary in-game food buffet and complimentary beer, wine and soda during the game as well!

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Head down to the Verizon Center with #DMD for Game 2 of the Caps opening playoff series and see if Braden Holtby can lead Barry Trotz's team to victory!

We'll get down to D.C. via luxury motor coach transportation, leaving from the Towson area. We'll provide food and drinks on the ride to D.C., of course.

OK, so when's the game?

Our best guess is it will be played on Saturday, April 16. The 2015-2016 NHL playoffs are expected to begin on Wednesday, April 13. The Wizards play at home that night, so the Caps won't be playing a home game on April 13. That means their series will begin on Thursday, April 14 with Game 1 at the Verizon Center. If that's the case, Game 2 is likely to be on Saturday, April 16.

The dates probably won't be known for another 2-3 weeks, but with the Caps definitely hosting Games 1, 2 and 7 in the opening series, we figured Game 2 (particularly on a weekend) was our best option for a great night of Caps playoff hockey.

We have 30 tickets at this point, so if you're interested in going, please place your order today by e-mailing me directly (drew@drewsmorningdish.com).

The per-person cost for the Caps playoff bus trip is $225, which includes an upper level game ticket (seating with the rest of our group), drinks and food on the bus ride to D.C., the in-game buffet and complimentary beer, wine and soda throughout the game.

It's the only way to go!

We'll also have a Caps trivia contest on the ride down to the Verizon Center with a $50 cash prize for the winner!

To place your ticket order, e-mail me directly: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

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if weddle stays healthy, ravens are better


I like the Eric Weddle signing.

Let's at least get that out of the way before I take a jab at the Ravens for signing another "old guy".

I've always liked Weddle as a player and I think he can definitely help improve what was a pretty lousy Baltimore secondary in 2015.

As long as he can stay healthy, Weddle should be a contributor at the safety position. It would be fair, at least, to make note of the fact that he played nine years in San Diego and will now be moving East to play in Baltimore. Let's just say the November and December weather in those two cities is quite different.

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Former Chargers safety Eric Weddle should solidify a Baltimore secondary that was picked apart throughout the 2015 campaign.

I'm not saying Weddle can't handle it. I'm just pointing out that Weddle played his entire career in San Diego and will now move to Baltimore -- and have to play three road games per-season in beautiful places like Cleveland, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

I put "old guy" in quotes above because 31 isn't REALLY old, but in football terms, it's starting to reach "old" status, particularly for a guy like Weddle who has played nine years in the league and is known as a hard hitting, take-no-prisoners performer.

There's tread left on his tires, but they aren't fresh off the shelf, that's for certain.

Weddle's career profile is impressive, though. He's a three-time Pro Bowl selection and a 2-time All-Pro. He's been known as one of the best safeties in the league for a half dozen years now.

Weddle's signing likely means the end of Will Hill's brief tenure in Baltimore. The Ravens will save $2.84 million by releasing Hill. They can also save about $900,000 by parting company with Kendrick Lewis. Frankly, Weddle's better than both of those players.

My off-season hope for the Ravens was to "get younger", which hasn't happened yet with their two free agent signings, Ben Watson and Eric Weddle.

Still, both of those players are proven veterans in the league who aren't flashy, superstar types, but more in the mold of what John Harbaugh probably appreciates in a football player.

As we often hear at One Winning Drive -- "they play like Ravens".

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umbc women's hoops earn post-season tourney bid


For the third time in program history, the UMBC women's basketball team will head to a postseason tournament. This time, the Retrievers will participate in the WBI (Women's Basketball Invitational) Tournament as the No. 3 seed, hosting No. 6 Fairfield on Thursday night at the RAC.

"I'm extremely excited for our players and especially our seniors to continue our season. This will be a great opportunity for our group of returning players to get a taste of what the post season feels like," head coach Phil Stern said about the team's selection into the tournament.

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UMBC's Taylor McCarley earned first-team America East conference honors in 2015-2016 and will lead the Lady Retrievers into this week's WBI tournament.

The 16-team WBI is in its seventh season and will take place over two weeks with all games being played on campus sites.

This will be the third time that UMBC will participate in a postseason tournament. Most recently the Dawgs played in the 2011 WNIT (Women's National Invitational Tournament) against Florida. UMBC fell, 59-47, in that contest. The other postseason appearance came back in 2007, where UMBC took the America East Tournament crown, earning a date with top-ranked UConn in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament.

UMBC has a 17-13 record entering the tournament, after falling to Binghamton in the quarterfinals of the America East Tournament on March 5. Junior Pandora Wilson scored 19 points, while classmate Taylor McCarley chipped in 13. Wilson earned a spot on the All-Conference Second Team, while McCarley garnered All-Conference First Team and All-Defensive Team honors.

Fairfield sits at 16-14 out of the MAAC, where they fell to Monmouth, 64-46, in the conference quarterfinals.

"I am excited for our women's basketball student-athletes and coaching staff on their selection to the WBI," UMBC Director of Athletics Tim Hall said on Monday. "This honor speaks to the dedication they have had throughout this season."

UMBC and Fairfield will tip-off at 7 p.m. from the RAC, with the winner moving on to the quarterfinals on either March 19 or 20 to play the winner of No. 2 Youngstown State and No. 7 Stony Brook.

Monday
March 14
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XX
Issue 14

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i'd rather have bryce harper running the game of baseball but rich gossage wasn't completely wrong

In celebration of the Orioles finally winning a spring training game on Saturday, let's talk some baseball today.

Let's throw some gasoline on the Bryce Harper-Rich Gossage and see if we can get it from smoldering to full flames again.

If you weren't around last week or you're just not ready to bite the baseball apple in early March, you might not have caught wind of former Yankees relief pitcher (and Hall of Famer) Rich Gossage losing his mind and railing on "baseball nerds", "the new way they play the game" and Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista. Gossage was also reacting in part to a lengthy feature piece at ESPN.com on reigning N.L. MVP Bryce Harper, who criticized baseball for being "tired" and basically tore into the establishment for the game's long list of "unwritten rules".

Look, Gossage definitely made a fool of himself with some of his comments. He's trying to keep the game in the 1970's and 1980's and that's simply a futile effort, let alone not very productive for a sport that has long been criticized for its archaic nature.

Heck, here in Baltimore earlier this month, the Orioles put a halt to Adam Jones' post-game ritual of shoving a pie in the face of the team's hero for the night because it's "too dangerous". Chris Davis stuffing chewing tobbaco in his mouth 162 days a year is acceptable but the pie-in-the-face stunt isn't. Alrighty then...

Baseball, as Harper accurately noted, IS tired. Everything everyone does gets judged. And everyone's expected to adhere to the game's dumb list of unwritten rules, even if you don't believe in them.

You can't stare at the pitcher when he buzzes your chin with a 95 MPH fastball, but someone in YOUR bullpen has to chart and remember that close call for it's his job to "even the score" later on in the game.

Don't run around the bases too quickly after a home run.

But...wait...don't run around too slow, either.

Ahead by seven runs in the top of the 8th inning? Better not steal a base.

Down by ten runs in the bottom of the 9th inning? Hard sliding is not permitted. The game's over, remember?

There are about 25 others I could mention, but I can't find the list anywhere. They'll all dumb, though, I can assure you of that.

Gossage talking about "young players ruining the game" is the same garbage the old timers said about guys like -- you guessed it -- Goose Gossage and anyone else who played in the 70's and 80's. Back then, showboaters like Reggie Jackson were criticized for their role in somehow tearing down the sport, yet Gossage most likely doesn't remember those days.

It's the way sports works. Today's 25-year old male who worships Aaron Rodgers or Cam Newton watches grainy old film of Johnny Unitas and says, "That dude couldn't cut it in today's athletically-super-charged version of the NFL."

Just two weeks ago, Oscar Robertson said a bunch of dumb stuff about Steph Curry in an effort to diminish -- or at the very least, neutralize -- Curry's rise to greatness in the NBA.

The old player scoffing at the new player isn't relegated just to Rich Gossage and baseball. Every former player thinks the younger generation has it too easy, doesn't work as hard, makes far too much money, etc. All you have to do is hear Jim Palmer or Qadry Ismail drop an occasional mention about player salaries during an Orioles or Ravens broadcast and you know how jealous and outraged "the old guard" has become.

I didn't agree with much of anything Gossage said last week, except when it came around to his eruption concerning "baseball nerds". That one, I'll sign off on.

It used to be, a hitter's value was judged on two things. Can he hit? Can he drive in runs? If you could do those two things in the 1970's and 1980's, you were a worthy player.

These days, those same basic skills are still important, but the math wizards who have taken over front offices throughout baseball have discovered that a walk is as good as a hit, a strike-out isn't that harmful and a player's value in the game is now judged on "who would replace him?" and how many fewer wins would his team have if, in fact, they were somehow forced to replace him?

In some ways, Gossage is right. Baseball nerds have fooled around with the grand old game of baseball and made it difficult to understand from a statistical standpoint. I'm trying hard to keep up with the times and learn about WHIP, WAR and BABIP, but it's all become about numbers and less about what your eyes tell you. I don't like that.

But, Gossage's comments were fueled largely by the fact -- in my opinion -- that he's insanely jealous of the money today's players are making. That's where it starts and ends. He sees guys making $15 million a year who aren't honoring the codes of conduct that he respected and followed 25 years ago and it drives him nuts.

And I get that, actually. It's human nature to look at a guy doing the job today that you did two decades ago and say, "Yeah, well, he ain't as good at it as I was, that's for sure."

Baseball isn't the only sport that's gone the way of the computer. Football, basketball, even golf -- they've all given in to the keyboard.

In golf, particularly, data has taken over. I recently had my "numbers" done and had to concern myself with so much abstract information I didn't know where to start. Ball speed, clubhead speed, club path, angle of descent, launch angle, spin rate...it's all there if you have the time and the mental capacity to understand it and, more importantly, be athletically inclined enough to improve on all of it.

So, I get what Rich Gossage was trying to say last week, but it doesn't add up. Time changes. People around us get smarter. Everyone wants to get better. If you're not up-to-date, you're out-dated.

I'm thankful Bryce Harper stepped up last week and bullied baseball a little bit for its archaic nature. Someone needed to do it.

I especially liked the part where Harper stated, simply, "If a guy strikes me out, he SHOULD be excited. I don't mind that he gets amped up about it. That hopefully fuels me a little bit more to get to him the next time we face one another."

That's code word for: "If you don't like the guy pumping his fist after he strikes you out, next time you're up there, don't let him strike you out." Problem solved.

So much was made of the Jose Bautista bat-flip during last year's A.L. playoff series between Texas and Toronto that there's almost no chance it doesn't become a running feud between the two teams in 2016.

The Rangers have to stand up for everyone else, remember, when they "address it" with Bautista at some point either in spring training on during the regular season. You just can't have a guy grandstanding like that after he hit not only the most important home run of his career, but the biggest home run in Toronto Blue Jays baseball since 1993. Right? Wrong...

Bautista didn't do anything wrong.

He hit an important home run and celebrated it.

Big freakin' deal. Next time, the Texas bullpen should figure out a way to retire him without the ball being launched into left field seats. How's that for a solution to Bautista's "grandstanding"?

This won't be the only time I write about baseball's silly set of "unwritten rules" in 2016, that I can guarantee.

People like Rich Gossage will keep the fire burning and "old school" managers will discreetly do their part to make sure the game's tired, old traditions are passed on to the likes of Trout, Harper, McCutchen, Machado, etc.

I'm just hoping those young guys see it all for what it really is. Garbage. Dumb. Outdated.

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terps get punished for late season swoon


We can probably create a pretty solid argument that Maryland perhaps should have a four seed instead of a five, but yesterday's NCAA March Madness bracket announcement wasn't all that surprising to me.

Maryland went from #2 in the country about six weeks ago to getting relegated to the always-dangerous 5-12 match-up, as the Terps head west to Spokane, Washington for a Friday afternoon (4:30 pm EST) contest with South Dakota State. If Maryland wins on Friday, they'll play the Hawaii-California winner on Sunday.

South Dakota State won't be a pushover on Friday, watch and see.

They're a 3-point shooting team, which means Maryland will have to work hard on the perimeter to contest as many long range shots as they can. That means the Terps will have to work hard defensively for 40 minutes.

The words "Terps" and "work hard defensively" don't collide all that often in the same sentence.

You play who they put in front of you, and Maryland's not chopped liver, either, but I'm not particularly thrilled with Friday's first-round opponent.

The dreaded 5-12 seeding match-up doesn't overly concern me, because the playing field has narrowed so much over the last half dozen years that realistically only the #1 seeds are fully exempt from having an upstart knock them off in round one.

As we've seen recently, #2 and #3 seeds can -- and have -- go home early in the NCAA tournament. All you're guaranteed is one game these days.

So, yes, it's OK to recognize that the 5-12 match-up has become the darling of the upset-callers, but it also doesn't promise that a #5 is heading home after the first day of the tournament. From 2008-14, No. 12 seeds actually won 15 of 28 matchups. And, last year was just the fourth time since 1985 that a No. 12 seed failed to win a game (also 1988, 2000 and 2007).

I don't like Maryland's opponent on Friday and I'm not all that happy about the Terps having to dramatically change time zones, either.

Maybe they shouldn't have lost to Minnesota. That might have helped their cause.

I'll spend a lot of time writing about the NCAA tournament the rest of the week, but one thing for sure: It's fun to have the Terps back in the dance and owning a reasonable chance of doing some light-to-moderate damage over the next three weeks.

Talent wise, Maryland's as stacked and stocked as anyone in the field.

Let's see if they can put it all together for six games.

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#dmd travels to boston! and after you read this, you're surely going to want to join us!


Drew's Morning Dish is heading to Boston and Fenway Park for a 3-game series between the Orioles and Red Sox, June 14-17. #DMD reader "George" produced this epic review of Boston for us and asked if I would run it a few times before the group heads to Beantown in June.

It's a terrific overview of Boston and its history. If you're still "on the fence" about our Fenway Park trip, I'm hoping you won't be after you read George's work.

Fenway park 1914
Night game at Fenway.

Dropkick Murphys
The Dropkick Murphys

Sadly, at the time #DMD is visiting Boston, the Dropkick Murphys will be performing in Europe. The Murphys play in Ljubljana (Slovenia) on June 14th and Clisson (France) on the 17th, and don’t return home until mid-August. For the edification of the tragically un-hip, the Dropkick Murphys are the Boston-based Celtic-punk-rock band whose cover of The MTA Song is a beloved Beantown favorite. Some #DMD travelers will be sorry to miss them.

The three games at Fenway are night games, so this little piece will suggest daytime activities. To explore the city, use the subway, known locally as The T. It’s dirty, dark, dank, noisy, smelly, and sometimes crowded—it’s also safe and reliable. After touchdown at Logan, find a kiosk and purchase a Day/Week LinkPass. It costs $19, and is good for a full week of unlimited subway rides as well as rides on buses and some ferries. When you leave, there will still be almost four days of rides on it, and you can maybe sell it to someone just arriving for about half price.

subway map
Know the subway — own the city! Our stop is Kenmore on the B, C, and D Green Lines. (Click to expand.)

Smart modern travelers understand that to know a subway is to own its city. Here’s Boston’s subway map. Note the five lines are color-coded. At both ends of each line are stops printed in bold capital letters. These stops are indicators of the direction of the trains. #DMD is staying at the historic Boston Hotel Buckminster. The nearest T station is Kenmore, a stop on the Green Lines, a short walk (150 yards) to the hotel door. To get downtown, take a Green Line train marked Lechmere. Entering the stairs down to the trains, note the signs. One will point the way to Lechmere trains, the other to trains headed in the opposite direction. Board a Lechmere train and get off at the stop near your downtown destination. The main T station, Government Center (serving both the Green Lines and the Blue Line), has been closed for two years. It is scheduled to re-open in March, 2016, so it will be in operation when you are there. If you’re headed to Boston’s downtown attractions, it’s likely you’ll want to get off at Government Center.

When returning, assuming from Government Center, look for signs indicating where to board the westbound Green Line trains, which will be marked Boston College, Cleveland Circle, or Riverside. Any of these three will take you back to Kenmore. DO NOT board the Green Line Heath train. That veers south after Copley Station, and doesn’t go as far west as Kenmore.

The Green Line Riverside train has a station named Fenway. Coming from downtown to a Red Sox game, it’s better to exit at Kenmore—It’s a much shorter walk to the ballyard. Any of three Green Line trains will stop at Kenmore. Only the Green Line Riverside train goes to Fenway Station, but that’s a crowded madhouse before and after games.

Buckminster
Boston Hotel Buckminster
Kenmore Square, Boston
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Fenway Park. The Buckminster Hotel is between the Coca-Cola and Bud Lite signs. (Click to expand.)
Buckminster
Chick Gandil, ringleader of the Chicago Black Sox, whose lifetime ban continues 46 years past the end of his lifetime.
Buckminster
Arnold Rothstein, fixer of the 1919 World Series.

The Boston Hotel Buckminster is a great joint. Babe Ruth sometimes lived there when he played for the Red Sox. The scheme to fix the 1919 World Series was hatched and (im)perfected in White Sox first baseman Chick Gandil's room, where he met with Arnold Rothstein’s man, Joseph “Sport” Sullivan after the Chicago juggernaut had slaughtered the hapless Red Sox, 3 to 2, in a day game.

During World War II, Italian prisoners of war were held there. During the 1950s, Boston impresario George Wein operated a nightclub in the Buckminster. It was THE place to hear Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Bird Parker, and Dave Brubeck. The hotel is the best place to stay when visiting to see Red Sox games. Exit the front door on Beacon Street, turn right at the corner, walk across the bridge over the Massachusetts Turnpike, and you’re there. Don’t make the same mistake Roger Clemens made when his cab driver pulled up in front of Fenway the first time he was to pitch there. Clemens said, “I want to go the ball park, not some warehouse.”

Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum is responsible for preventing the extinction of the magnificent Dawn Redwood tree. For a rewarding day trip, visit the Arboretum. Take the Green Line Lechmere to Park Street Station, change to the Red Line Mattapan or Red Line Braintree to Downtown Crossing station, then take the Yellow Line Forest Hills to the end of the line. Follow the signs about half a mile to the Arboretum. Ask somebody in the HQ building for directions to the first Dawn Redwood tree planted anywhere in the world outside a small province in China in over two million years. There are many other Dawns planted in the Arboretum—once you see its beautifully distinct shape, you'll never forget it. It evokes the same unforgettable sensation as catching sight of a Baltimore Oriole. Pay close attention to the directions. The first Dawn is hard to locate. [Baltimore's Cylburn Arboretum has a Dawn Redwood. Ask any staff member to point it out.]

Boston Public Garden and Boston Common are must-see parks. Take the Green Line Lechmere three stops to Arlington station, which is directly across the street from the entrance to the Public Garden. Boston Common is adjacent the Public Garden to the east. Many of the first batch of Dawn Redwood seedlings germinated in the Arboretum (1947 to 1949) survive in the park grounds. The first stop on Freedom Trail is located in Boston Common. The Trail is a 2.5 mile walk through downtown Boston on which you'll see historic places such as the Old South Meeting House, the site of the Boston Massacre, the Old State House (where the Declaration of Independence was read publicly for the first time — only the jaded won't get goosebumps!), Paul Revere's house, and the Old North Church. Take the ferry across the Charles River (free if you have a Day/Week LinkPass) and walk up to see the Bunker Hill Monument.

June 17 is Bunker Hill Day, a holiday celebrated only in Suffolk County, the county in which Boston is located. It commemorates the battle between British and American forces skirmishing over the hill which, when occupied, gave control over Boston Harbor. The British won the battle, but only because the Americans ran out of ammunition. The Bunker Hill Monument is 221 feet tall (294 steps to the top). Its cornerstone-laying ceremony was presided over by the Marquis de LaFayette.

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An empty frame at the Gardner.
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Rembrandt's "Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee," which once hung in the frame above.

Boston's Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, both down in the urban parkland of the Fens (designed by Frederic Law Olmsted), are easily reached by taking The T. From Kenmore station take any train bound for Lechmere. Change at Copley Square to the Green Line E train to Heath. Get off at the Museum of Fine Arts station. Both museums are within easy walking distance.

Dropkick Murphys
Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-69)
"Self-Portrait, Age 23"
Not stolen.

The MFA will have a special Picasso exhibit and the Gardner will feature a program on Mrs. Gardner and her method of collecting fine art. The Gardner has not yet rehung paintings in the spots from which 13 masterpieces valued at half a billion dollars were stolen in The Great Art Heist of 1990—the spaces are kept bare in hopes the works will someday be recovered. There is a $5 million reward for information leading to the recovery of the works.

The video below shows a guided tour of Fenway Park. At the 14:02 mark, the guide talks about the seats behind the Green Monster. He says that during batting practice, a ball flies into the seats on average every forty seconds. If this remains true, it might be worthwhile to bring a glove and show up early.



Please go here to register for the trip.

This tune, The MTA Song, performed here by the Kingston Trio, was written in 1949 as an element of the political campaign of Walter O'Brien, a candidate for mayor of Boston. O'Brien couldn't afford to buy radio time, so he hired musicians to ride around town singing this song in the backs of pickup trucks. The lyrics brought attention to the incumbent mayor's backing of a plan to enrich the private owners of Boston's subway by charging riders an extra five cents (a 50% surcharge) to get off the trains. O'Brien, like all candidates in American politics whose policies would prevent the exploitation of those too lazy and shiftless to become wealthy, was labeled a Socialist. Bostonians, afraid of Socialists (whatever they were) and fearing the chaos that would result if they all had a bunch of extra nickles in their pockets, voted overwhelmingly in favor of the incumbent. Mr. O'Brien finished last (in the field of six) with 1.2% of the vote. He fled to Maine and became a librarian.

In the song, Charlie boards at Kendall Square (now called Kendall/MIT) on the Red Line. He changes trains for Jamaica Plain at what is now named the Park Street station and boards the Green Line E train. Today, the E train of the Green Line doesn't go all the way to Jamaica Plain, it stops short of it at Heath, which is today the end of that line. In 1949, Charlie is stuck on the Green Line E train, shuttling endlessly back and forth between Jamaica Plain (to the south) and Lechmere (the northern end of that line). Charlie's wife hands him a sandwich every day as the train rumbles through Scollay Square, which is today called Government Center.

In 1998, the Boston-based Celtic-punk-rock group called the Dropkick Murphys covered The MTA Song, titling their version Skinhead on the M.B.T.A. The Murphys are most known for their performances at the annual Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival in Las Vegas, but frequently perform at bars and pubs in downtown Boston. As a public service, to inform readers who might find themselves at a Murphys performance after a Red Sox game, #DMD here reproduces the cover, revealing the words to shout during play of the song as well as at what points in the song to shout them. As this is a family site, it was necessary to bleep out the objectionable lyrics.

Now let me tell you a story
of a big ole' skinhead
On a tragic and fateful day
He put 10 cents in his pocket
kicked his wife and family
And went to ride on the M.B.T.A.

[chorus]:
Did he ever return,
no he never returned
and his fate is still unknown
[ALL] Oi! Oi! Oi!
he may ride forever
neath the Streets of Boston
he's a skinhead who never returned.

Skinhead goes down to the Kendall Sq. Station
and he changes for Jamaica Plain,
the conductor says skinhead I need a nickel,
skinhead punches him in the brain.

[chorus]

Now all night long
skinhead drives through the station
Wondering who can I go and see
Can't afford to buy crack in Chelsea
or a bundle in Roxbury.

[chorus]

Skinhead's wife goes to the Scollay Square Station
Everyday at quarter past two,
and through the open window
She hands skinhead a grenade
as the train comes a rumbling through.

[chorus]

Now you citizens of Boston
don't you think it's a scandal
How the skinhead stole the train
What's the big ******' deal,
he'll ******' work for beer
Let skinhead drive that ******' train.

[chorus] . . . .

Dawn Redwood
Dawn Redwood Dawn Redwood
(Left) Composer John Williams and violinist Gil Shaham under the Dawn Redwood near the southwest entrance to Boston Public Garden in 1999. (Top) The tree in 2010. (Right) The tree in 2015.

This Dawn Redwood in Boston Public Garden was long admired for its unique beauty by composer and former Boston Pops Orchestra principal conductor John Williams. In a chance meeting with Harvard botanist Dr. Shiu-Ying Hu, Williams learned it was she who had brought the seed for this tree from China to the Arnold Arboretum in 1947, and that she had transplanted the seedling to this place in the Public Garden when it reached appropriate size. Williams was thus inspired to compose the piece titled "Tree Song for Violin and Orchestra" in 2000. Hu died in 2012 at the age of 102. Several million of her seedlings and their offspring survive her.

Treesong for Violin and Orchestra (Violin Concerto #2), Third Movement:The Tree Sings. Composed by John Williams in 2000. Performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and solo violinist Gil Shaham.

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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.


Sunday
March 13
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XX
Issue 13

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trimble needs to stay in college park


There's still basketball left to be played this season for the Maryland Terrapins, but Saturday's woeful performance from Melo Trimble in the 64-61 loss to Michigan State was hopefully a deal-sealer for the sophomore guard.

He needs more seasoning. A lot more, in fact.

Trimble's play over the last eight weeks -- sloppy, inconsistent, unattractive -- has mirrored Maryland's team performance over that same two-month period. As Trimble has gone, so, too have the Terps.

Melo went 2-for-15 from the field vs. Michigan State and went from potential hero to goat in the waning seconds when he sliced his way to the basket but couldn't deliver the go-ahead bucket.

He wasn't the only one who stumbled and bumbled on Saturday afternoon in the Big 10 semi-finals. Rasheed Sulaimon went 3-for-10 from the field and chipped in with 9 points, a total matched by Jake Layman, the star of Friday's win over Nebraska, who was 2-for-8 shooting and looked rattled after picking up a technical foul during a spat with Michigan State's Eron Harris.

When Trimble, Layman and Sulaimon produce a combined shooting effort of 7-for-33, Maryland might beat Bowie State, but they're surely not beating Michigan State.

So, now, with only a guarantee of one more game on his plate this season, Trimble should be smart about this whole thing and pledge to return to College Park for his junior season in 2016-2017.

These are always confusing days for high quality players who have sniffed the NBA for a year or so and got it in their head that their game is pay-for-play ready. Whether it's the press clippings they read or a family member they trust, someone lodges that thought in a kid's head -- "You're ready for the big time" -- and it's hard to shake it out of there.

Trimble might think he's ready for the NBA, but he's not.

Now, just getting drafted would produce a boatload of money for Trimble (I know what you're thinking...I'm thinking it, too), and maybe that's ultimately what he's trying to do, but another year of college basketball would do him and his draft stock wonders.

That is, of course, unless he comes back next season and fails to correct the blemishes in his game that have become so apparent in his sophomore campaign.

Trimble looks the part, for sure. But, under that disguise is a kid who gives the ball away too much, lacks a sound dribble-create-shoot foundation, and isn't physically ready to go to the next level.

Whether it's a "toughness" issue or just the mere fact that his slight frame needs more substance to it, Melo isn't NBA caliber at this point.

I suppose lots of other players who weren't ready for the league got drafted anyway, but Trimble's setting himself up to make the same mistake Jordan Williams made in 2011 when he left school early and flopped in the NBA.

If you're not ready, you can't "make yourself" be ready. Not overnight, anyway. Trimble should look at these last dozen games of conference play and honestly assess what he's done or, not done, as has been the case.

There have been whispers of an undisclosed injury and/or, perhaps, some academic issues that have bothered Trimble over the last couple of months. Those are the things you routinely hear anytime a quality college player suddenly starts stinking it up. Whether or not those are affecting Trimble's play is unknown at this point, but something has certainly taken him down a couple of notches since mid-January.

All in all, if Melo is able to have a honest conversation with himself, he'll simply see he's not ready for the jump to the NBA.

There's still a sliver of hope that he could turn it on in March Madness and produce some high-quality basketball that catches the eye of a scout or three, but it would take a heroic three weeks for Trimble to undo the poor play he's produced over the last two months.

Maybe that's all the NBA folks need to see from him to restore their faith that Trimble can be a solid guard in "the show". If he can just get back on track, perhaps Trimble can up his stock.

I'm assuming what we've seen of him recently is what we're going to continue to see, and that means, simply, that Melo isn't ready for the next step.

Last year's motto after an explosive freshman season was "Stay Melo".

This year's t-shirt should say, "You need to stay Melo".

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college lacrosse: hopkins delivers cleat-of-reality to towson, 14-8


So much for Towson's undefeated season.

Ten days after an upset of Loyola University on their home turf, the Towson Tigers couldn't pull off the same feat on Saturday afternoon, as Johns Hopkins handed the Tigers their first loss of the season, 14-8, at Homewood Field.

X
A 4-goal, 3-assist game from Shack Stanwick helped Hopkins turn back a spirited Towson team on Saturday at Homewood Field.

Hopkins improved to 3-2 with the win.

The Blue Jays got four goals each from Ryan Brown and Shack Stanwick, as the hosts scored seven times in the fourth quarter to blow open a nip-and-tuck affair. Towson trailed 11-8 late in the game and pulled their goalie for an extra attacker, which resulted in three JHU goals to finalize the scoring at 14-8.

Johns Hopkins improved to 40-4 all time vs. Towson with the win.

The Tigers travel to Columbus, Ohio this Tuesday for a 7 pm match-up with Ohio State. Hopkins hosts Syracuse next Saturday at 4 pm.


caps end road trip with loss at san jose


More offensive woes plagued the Washington Capitals on Saturday night in San Jose, as the Caps could muster only two goals in a 5-2 defeat to the Sharks.

The loss gives Washington back-to-back defeats for the first time since the end of January.

The Caps failed to win a game in regulation on the 4-game road trip that ended on Saturday in San Jose. They beat Boston in overtime last Saturday, then nipped Anaheim in a shootout on Monday evening. An overtime loss in Los Angeles on Wednesday set the stage for Saturday's finale with the Sharks, who broke open a 2-2 game with a pair of goals early in the 3rd period.

Alex Ovechkin failed to score a goal on the road trip and has now gone five straight games without a tally. Ovechkin has just two goals in his last ten games overall.

Philipp Grubauer made 23 saves in goal for Washington, who return home to face Carolina this Tuesday night at the Verizon Center.

The Caps are still on top in the NHL's Eastern Conference with 103 points.

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pga tour: haas leads by one shot


Scoring was more "PGA Tour like" on Saturday at the Innisbrook Resort just outside of Tampa Bay, as the top five players on the leaderboard all shot in the 60's and Bill Haas posted a second consecutive round of 67 to take a one-shot lead through 54 holes of the Valspar Championship.

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Bill Haas is 18 holes away from his 7th career victory on the PGA Tour.

Haas sits at 8-under par, one better than Graham DeLaet and three ahead of Ryan Moore and Charley Hoffman.

Reigning Masters champion Jordan Spieth posted a second straight round of 67 to move to 2-under par for the tournament.

Haas credited his father, Jay, with helping him come up with a swing thought last Tuesday during a practice round that has worked wonders for his game at the Innisbrook Resort through the first three rounds. They decided Bill should try to abbreviate his follow through while still hitting a full shot, a move designed to sync his body and hands a little more consistently.

"So, just that one swing thought, in turn, does something in my swing," Haas said after surveying the leaderboard on Saturday. "Now, I'm not a technical guy so I don't think I do well if I'm thinking clubhead position, but I do well when I'm thinking type of golf shot, if that makes any sense."

It makes sense when you look at the leaderboard and see Bill Haas on top by one shot heading into Sunday's final round.

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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.


Saturday
March 12
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XX
Issue 12

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if maryland can play like that today...


Where has that Maryland team been for the last six weeks?

The Terps erupted for 97 points last night and produced their best offensive game since mid-January in knocking off Nebraska in the Big 10 quarter-finals, sending Maryland to a 3:30 pm match-up with number one seed Michigan State on Saturday afternoon.

Maryland's 97-86 win over the Cornhuskers wasn't nearly that close, although Nebraska did manage to make the game a 2-possession affair at 92-86 with ninety seconds left in the game.

But, honestly, the game was never in doubt from the opening tip.

Jake Layman had 14 points in the game's first seven minutes and finished with 26 on the night. Athletically, Layman is as good as anyone in the Maryland locker room. His toughness has been questioned at times this year, but without a Nebraska defender capable of shutting him down, the senior forward had a night to remember in Indianapolis, going 8-for-13 from the field and eclipsing the 20-point mark for the first time all season.

The task will get much more difficult today for Layman. Michigan State won't let him have his way in quite the same fashion that Nebraska did last night.

Diamond Stone took complete advantage of Nebraska's lack of size under the basket and beasted his way to 23 points, including a couple of rim-bending dunks that bordered on the "scary" variety. With no one able to take him on physically, Stone was able to do just about whatever he wanted for forty minutes.

Michigan State won't be nearly as flimsy in the paint today, though, that's for sure.

Melo Trimble even looked the part last night for the Terps, which is an on-going necessity for Mark Turgeon's team if they hope to do any kind of real damage today and tomorrow in the Big 10 tournament.

Trimble finished the night with 16 points, but it was willingness to penetrate and force Nebraska into double-team situations defensively that highlighted Melo's contribution to the victory. Time and time again, he slashed his way into the paint -- like we saw so often last year when he wasn't starry-eyed and looking to do more than he was capable -- and then dished off a perfect pass at just the right moment.

It was as if Trimble and the entire Maryland team woke up from a 45-day slumber at precisely the same time.

The Terps shot 60% from the field, which, if you've watched them at all this season, is kind of hard to believe. Sure, it came against Nebraska, and the quality of talent between the two teams is VERY obvious, but shooting is shooting. You have to put the ball in the hole in order to win.

The best statistic of the night -- besides the final score, of course -- was Maryland's 36-25 rebounding advantage, including an 11-10 edge on the offensive glass.

Maryland's biggest issue all season has been in the rebounding department, but, for one night, at least, the Terps attacked the glass like a team looking to prove a point.

Yes, I know, Nebraska doesn't have much size, so the numbers are somewhat jaded, but imagine how nuts we'd be going this morning if the Terps somehow DIDN'T out-rebound the Cornhuskers last night.

Maryland's unselfishness with the ball was also a factor, which hopefully means Turgeon has driven that point home in recent weeks. Trimble (8 assists), Rasheed Sulaimon (6) and Robert Carter Jr (4) led the way in dish-offs, with Trimble's work being particularly impressive given his reluctance to break a sweat in the last ten games or so.

Nebraska even mounted a late charge that made the Terps play out the game at the foul line, where Layman and Damonte Dodd hit shots from the charity stripe that sent Maryland into today's semi-final game with Michigan State.

Speaking of Dodd, it's a shame he hasn't developed more in his three years at College Park. Once Stone gets drafted in June, Dodd might get the chance to prove himself (again) next season, but for the most part, now, he's become a defensive specialist and nothing more.

Dodd could play a critical role in today's game with Michigan State, particularly if Turgeon "goes big" against the Spartans in an effort to dirty-up the game a bit and slow down the pace.

Last night's performance gives Maryland supporters a glimmer of hope that the Terps can somehow hang with Michigan State long enough to make it a five-minute contest. That's been a specialty of the Terps for the last couple of years. Keep it close for 35 minutes...turn the game into five minutes of basketball...and come out on top, somehow.

Maryland won't be racing out to a 25-point lead today against the Spartans, that's for sure.

And, while a loss probably won't damage them much, a win today over Michigan State could do wonders for Maryland's seeding in the NCAA tournament.

A victory this afternoon might propel Maryland to at least a four seed and get them away from that pesky 5-12 match-up that history says doesn't bode well for the five seed. A win today and again tomorrow could get Maryland a puncher's chance at a three seed, even.

One thing for certain: Maryland's performance on Friday night was as good as we've seen from them since mid-January.

The key figures all did it their way against Nebraska. Layman shot the lights out of it, Stone was a bruiser, and Trimble was handing out passes the way Rick Pitino distributes envelopes on signing day.

It won't be nearly the same walk-in-the-park this afternoon against Michigan State, though.

Friday night showed us what Maryland is capable of doing.

Saturday afternoon will show us whether or not the Terps are tough enough to do it against a better opponent.

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orioles still don't have a win in 2016


Go ahead and say it with me: "It's only spring training."

Seriously, it's OK to say that.

But it's also acceptable to at least be a smidgen concerned about the Orioles start to the Grapefruit League schedule, which now sees them at 0-10 after a 7-1 thrashing at the hands of the Yankees on Friday afternoon.

Yesterday's loss to the Yankees only included four field players with a chance to make Baltimore's opening day roster (Kim, Flaherty, Reimold, Rickard), while the Yankees trotted out a near-varsity line-up that included Ellsbury, Teixeira, Gregorius, McCann and A-Rod.

But a 7-1 loss is a 7-1 loss.

And 0-10 is 0-10.

The good news? Hyun-Soo Kim picked up his second hit of the spring for the Birds.

The bad news? His batting average (.068) is two hundred points less than his weight.

The O's try to get that elusive first spring training win today when they host the Minnesota Twins in Sarasota at 1:05 pm.


hopkins hosts towson in crucial early-season showdown


Don't look now, but Towson University might be two wins away from an undefeated lacrosse season in 2016.

But those two wins aren't going to come easy.

The #5 Tigers (5-0) travel down the street to Homewood Field today for a 2pm match-up with Johns Hopkins, who are now 2-2 on the season after beating Princeton last Saturday in Baltimore.

Towson then heads to Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday, March 15 for a 7pm contest with Ohio State.

Those two wins would send the Tigers into conference play at 7-0 and give them a very reasonable chance of going undefeated.

Or, it could all come crashing down today on Charles Street when Towson faces Hopkins.

The Tigers have roared to their 5-0 start thanks mainly to a terrific defensive effort, led by 5th year senior goalie Tyler White. White and the Towson defense have yet to allow more than eight goals in a game this season.

Shack Stanwick and Ryan Brown will form a dangerous duo today for Hopkins, who lost last year at Towson and have never been defeated in back-to-back seasons by the Tigers.

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Drew's Fantasy Golf Update

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

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



spieth rallies, scoring still tough at innisbrook


When five-under par leads a PGA Tour event, you expect the players to be contending for a major championship.

They're not playing a major this week in Palm Harbor, Florida.

Will MacKenzie and Steve Stricker share the 36-hole lead of the Valspar Championship at the Innisbrook Resort, with both players sitting at 5-under par. They're up one shot on Bill Haas, Daniel Berger and Graham DeLaet.

Jordan Spieth rallied on Friday and posted a 3-under par round of 68 which puts him at +2 for the tournament. Still not out of it, but a long way from the first page of the leaderboard.

My fantasy team flopped this week.

First, Sean O'Hair withdrew on Thursday after his opening round 77, so that left me with only five potential cut-makers.

For the first time all year, Colt Knost failed to make the weekend, as he finished at +6 for two days of work.

One of my favorites for the event, Freddie Jacobson, wasn't on form in either round, posting +9 before cleaning out his locker on Friday afternoon.

The same goes for Graeme McDowell, but he at least had two representative rounds before ducking out early at +4.

That leaves me with only two cut-makers playing this weekend at the Copperhead course. Jason Dufner shot 72-71 to finish at +1, while my predicted winner, K.J. Choi, is at 1-under par after going 74-67 to start the tournament.

While half the field retreats to the practice range for a weekend of work on their game, I'm doing the same with my fantasy golf offerings.

Back to the drawing board.

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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!



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.


Friday
March 11
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XX
Issue 11

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eckman provided laughs and memories that still tingle...thirty years later

One of the many great treats I enjoyed during my 17-year tenure working for the Baltimore Blast was traveling the country with Charles Markwood Eckman.

I knew Charley long before I realized he was an iconic Baltimore radio figure. I grew up about 3 miles from him in Glen Burnie and played Little League baseball with his nephew, in addition to occasionally raking leaves or shoveling snow at his small home on Georgia Avenue.

So, when I started an internship with the Blast in October of 1981 and was told I'd be working with the radio broadcast team of Art Sinclair and Charley Eckman, I was over-the-moon excited.

For those of you who are old enough to remember Eckman, I don't really need to introduce him at this point. Charley was unforgettable.

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Charley Eckman: The great entertainer, on and off the court.

If you're in your late 30's or younger, you probably don't know much about Eckman. He was both a NBA coach and referee, and to this day, I believe he's still the only man in league history to coach a NBA All-Star Game and referee one as well (and that was back in the day when the All-Star Game was important).

Once his knees went bad, Eckman started working in Baltimore radio. Back in the 1970's, WFBR (1300 am) was the sports radio kingpin in town and Charley did both morning and afternoon sports updates and handled a nightly call-in show as well.

It's hard to even provide a comparison character from today's media because Eckman truly was one-of-a-kind, but it would be fair to say that Stephen A. Smith has a lot of Eckman in him, if that gives you a little bit of a feel for what Charley was like on the air.

Eckman teamed up with Sinclair to provide an outstanding on-air duo for Blast soccer on WFBR. Sinclair was a smooth, high quality play-by-play voice and Eckman was most certainly a "colorful" analyst, or "color guy" as we called that position back in the 1980's. Charley loved the sport of indoor soccer and was particularly fond of then-head coach Kenny Cooper, who relied on Eckman a lot for wisdom on how to ingratiate himself with the city of Baltimore.

Charley also liked to have a cocktail or two. Occasionally, even on the air.

Eckman's fondness for good scotch got him in hot water at WFBR on several occasions. He once told a caller who asked if Twins owner Calvin Griffith was a "good guy" that Griffith "wouldn't pay 25 cents to see Christ come back in the flesh and ride through downtown Minneapolis on a float."

One morning, while launching into a tirade after the U.S. lost to Puerto Rico in an exhibition basketball game, Charley mocked the U.S. coach and said, "Hell, I could go down to Collins Avenue in Miami, grab five black guys off the street, and we could beat that Puerto Rican team."

Let's just the 1970's were a tad more liberal and the rules somewhat more lenient than they are for broadcasters today.

Back to Eckman, the Blast, and his flirtation with good scotch.

The Blast played a road game at the old Met Center in Minneapolis in January of 1985. The Strikers were in the Western Conference of the MISL, so we only made two trips per-season to Minnesota, but those were two too many. It was always frigid-cold out there, and I can distinctly remember staying across the street from the Met Center at a Marriott hotel and having to take cabs or a shuttle bus from the hotel to the arena, which couldn't have been more than 400 yards apart from one another. It was that freakin' cold.

The arena was always cold, too. The Minnesota North Stars were in the NHL back then, so the turf was laid down right over the ice, as was the case in many arenas around the country where hockey and indoor soccer teams shared the same playing facility.

On this particular Tuesday night in January, it was really, really cold, and Charley went to the scotch early in the game, mostly as a mechanism for trying to staying warm.

Sinclair, ever the professional play-by-play guy, was always keenly aware of Eckman's "condition" during a broadcast and could guide the whole production accordingly, mostly based on Charley's mood and ability to provide good, coherent commentary.

The game was a back-and-forth affair that went to overtime, tied at 5-5.

Back in those days in the MISL, if a game was tied after regulation, the teams went to a 15-minute sudden death overtime period. It was extremely rare that a winning overtime goal wasn't scored, but if that did happen, the teams then went to a shootout (similar to what you see in hockey these days) to decide a winner.

I think I can remember three games in the 1980's going to a shootout. That's how rare it was. There was a "penalty shootout", though, that could happen in the course of a game (just like a penalty shot in hockey) and this happened a lot more often than the post-overtime shootout session.

The Blast had a shootout specialist back in those days. His name was Lou Nagy.

Nagy was a Canadian who had a brief fling with Canada's outdoor national team before finally settling in as a decent indoor player in the MISL. He wasn't a starter for the Blast from 1981 through 1985, but his nickname -- "Super Sub" -- was well earned after a series of late, important goals in the '82-83 and '83-84 seasons.

On this particular night in Minnesota, Nagy didn't see the playing field during regulation.

Prior to overtime, Eckman barked into the microphone. "If Cooper has any sense at all, he'll put that Nagy kid in the game here, he'll find a loose ball in the box, he'll stick it in the goal and we can get the hell out of here and go take a hot shower back at the hotel."

Sinclair noted that Nagy hadn't played much recently and that Cooper was likely to stick with the veterans during overtime.

"Well, if you think that's smart, you're as dumb as Cooper," said Charley, winking at me in the broadcast booth as if to say, "That's good radio there, kid..."

With five minutes left in overtime, Eckman again played the Nagy card, urging Cooper to give him a shot at finding the back of the net. "It's amazing that Cooper lets that kid sit on the bench like this. All that boy needs is one chance and he'll end this thing. Cooper must have a few bucks on the Minnesota team with someone back in Highlandtown.

As a quick sidenote, can you imagine in today's world if a radio color analyst called the coach (of the team he worked for) "dumb" or hinted that perhaps the coach might have wagered on the game?

Anyway, the clock finally reached all zeroes and we were headed to a shootout in Minnesota.

Sinclair explained the rules for the shootout (each team uses five shooters) and Eckman, now easily into scotch number four, cried out for Lou Nagy again. "Cooper has to use Nagy in this shootout, right? I mean, that's the kid's specialty. Always has been."

I quickly pointed to the game notes that I had prepared for the Baltimore and Minnesota media and showed Eckman that Nagy was 3-for-3 in shootout attempts in '84-85 and 9-for-10 in his career.

"The Nagy kid is 3-for-3 this year!" Charley yelled. "He's 9-for-10 in his career! I mean, if Cooper doesn't use him here, we'll have to give the coach a saliva test after the game."

Our first shooter was legendary goal-scorer Joey Fink, and his attempt was saved.

"That's why you use Nagy," Eckman said. "Fink doesn't know what he's doing. Cooper has to get Nagy in there to get this thing started off on the right foot.

Minnesota scored a goal on their first attempt. Ernie Buriano was next up for the Blast and he, too, failed to connect. "Nagy must have the runs or something," Eckman said. "There's no other explanation for why Cooper won't use him here."

The Strikers failed on their second attempt, keeping the shootout score at 1-0.

Paul Kitson was next for the Blast. He didn't score, either. "I can't figure out why Cooper isn't using Nagy for this...it just amazes me," Eckman declared as he held his hand over the microphone and snuck another sip of scotch while Sinclair set the stage for the next Minnesota shooter.

The Strikers didn't score on their third attempt, and Stan Stamenkovic was next for the Blast. Stamenkovic couldn't solve Minnesota goalkeeper Tino Lettieri, either.

"You know, Cooper deserves this loss," Eckman barked. "Not using Nagy in overtime or this shootout is about the dumbest thing Coops has ever done here."

As Minnesota's fourth shooter approached the ball, I looked down at the Blast bench and saw Nagy take off his sweatsuit and make his way out to the field. If the Strikers didn't score on their fourth shot, Nagy was going to take the Blast's fifth and final attempt, it appeared.

Scott Manning made the save for the Blast and we were now in the final round of the shootout, with the game now in the balance.

"And it looks like Lou Nagy is stretching out for the Blast and he'll take Baltimore's final shot," said Sinclair.

"Well, I guess Cooper finally got smart," Eckman said. "This is the kid who can get the job done."

Nagy had a peculiar but very effective shootout strategy. Rather than take the ball in directly at the goalkeeper, he would often drift over to his right side and instead of shooting on goal, he would play the ball off the boards to himself and then tuck the ball past the confused netminder. It had probably worked five or six times over the years.

The crowd rose to their feet as the game was on the line. If Nagy scored, Minnesota would get a fifth attempt. If Nagy failed to score, the Strikers won.

"Go get 'em Louie!" Charley yelled into the mic as Nagy prepared to take the shootout attempt.

For whatever reason that day, Nagy eschewed his normal shootout routine and instead pushed the ball once, twice, then tried to pound a hard shot past Lettieri. The ball was poorly struck and literally missed the goal by fifteen feet, high to the left, and it actually bounded off the top of the plexi-glass and went into the stands. It was, by every account, just awful.

"I have to tell you," Eckman said, "I have no idea what Cooper was thinking putting that kid in there like that at the end of the game."

Sinclair looked at Charley in disbelief.

"That Nagy kid had no business being in the game. He didn't play at all during regulation or overtime, it's about 10 degrees in this place, he didn't get to stretch out or anything...that was a bad, bad move by Cooper putting Nagy in there when he clearly wasn't ready." With that, Eckman pushed his mic to the side, grabbed his almost empty glass of scotch from the corner of the table, then got up and left.

Sinclair didn't know what to say.

"We're going to take a quick break and we'll come back here to the Met Center and wrap up this disappointing Blast loss for you," he stated.

"What the hell just happened?" Art asked me during the commercial break. "I thought he wanted Nagy in the game."

With that, we watched Eckman slowly make his way through the press box. He was moving quite slowly at that point, sort of wobbling along, and Sinclair and I both chuckled as we watched Eckman fumble with the door that exited the broadcast area.

"What a beauty," Sinclair said with a laugh.

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

MATTHEW CARROLL

With six clubs participating in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup, Matchweek 30 of the Barclays Premier League kicks off the weekend with an abbreviated slate of games, although three of the top four teams and two of the three bottom teams in the league will all be in action as they continue their fight towards the league title or to avoid relegation respectively. It is likely to be another table moving weekend and you can catch all of the action live on the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Saturday, March 12 (all times eastern)

7:45am – Manchester City @ Norwich City – Carrow Road, NBC Sports Network

Following losses in their last three league games, which has seen their title chances wane and their hold on the fourth and final Champions League spot for next season precariously loosen, Manchester City were back in the win column after four unanswered second half goals guided them easily past relegation favorites Aston Villa. They will kick off the weekend action on Saturday morning when they travel to Carrow Road to take on Norwich City, another potential relegation candidate, who remained in the drop zone after a 1-0 setback to Swansea City, their eighth loss in their last nine league games (D1 L8).

Manchester City have won only two of their last ten away matches in the league (D4 L4) but have won a league high forty-one points from a possible forty-five against clubs currently in the bottom half of the table, while Norwich, in the midst of their worst run of form in almost seventy years, have won just two of their sixteen matches against teams in the top half of the league (D4 L10). The Canaries have won only two of their last fifteen league meetings against City (D5 L8) and, like Newcastle below, will likely have to focus on their upcoming meeting with the Magpies and Sunderland to ensure their safety.

Sunday, March 13 (all times eastern)

12pm – Tottenham @ Aston Villa - Villa Park, NBC Sports Network

Tottenham missed a golden opportunity to keep pace with Leicester City and knock their biggest rival out of the title hunt when Alexis Sanchez’ 76th minute strike snatched a 2-2 draw for ten man Arsenal in the North London Derby. They will look to keep the pressure on Leicester when they travel to Villa Park to take on lowly Aston Villa, who eventually succumbed to the Manchester City onslaught following a solid first half showing to remain winless on the road in their last sixteen games, and who have now lost four in a row and five of their last six to remain eight points clear of relegation.

With only nine games left to play and a brutal stretch of matches that, beginning with this weekend’s visit from Spurs, includes Chelsea, Manchester United, and Arsenal along with showdowns against fellow relegation battlers Swansea City and Newcastle United, time is running out for the Villains to turn their season around and avoid demotion from England’s top flight for the first time in almost thirty years. They will likely find the going tough against a Spurs side this weekend who have won six of their last seven matches against Villa and who have lost just once in their last eight league games.

Monday, March 14 (all times eastern)

4pm – Newcastle United @ Leicester City – King Power Stadium, NBC Sports Network

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After spending $110 million on players over the last two years, Newcastle manager Steve McLaren might be looking for a new job if they can't beat red-hot Leiceister City on Monday.

With the draw in the North London Derby and a stunning strike from Riyad Mahrez the difference in a 1-0 victory over Watford, Leicester City moved another step closer to their first Premier League title in the club’s history, five points clear of Tottenham and eight points ahead of Arsenal. They will welcome Newcastle United to the King Power Stadium for Monday Night Football who, following their 3-1 loss to Bournemouth, have taken just seven points from a possible thirty-three in the seasons second half, with their tally of twenty-four points from twenty-eight matches their fewest ever at this stage of the season.

Arsenal were the only side not to win the league with a lead of at least five points after twenty-nine matches played and with only one loss in their last eleven league games (W6 D4 L1), the Foxes will look to continue their title charge against the Magpies who, despite spending over $110 million over the last two transfer windows, have lost five of their last six and remain in a fight to avoid relegation for the first time since the 2008/09 season, with crunch matches against fellow relegation candidates Sunderland and Norwich following their trip to the East Midlands likely to decide their Premier League fate.

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Drew's Fantasy Golf Update

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

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


spieth struggles again, copperhead course shows its fangs

It's hard to say who's struggling more these days; Jordan Spieth with his golf, or me with my fantasy offerings.

Neither of us were worth a hoot in Thursday's opening round of the Valspar Championship just outside of Tampa Bay. Spieth battled high winds and tricky pin positions in posting an opening round score of 76 (+5), as only 24 of 144 broke par in round one.

Spieth is now in danger of missing his second cut this season. Ready for an eye opening statistic? If Spieth misses the cut this week, that gives him two missed cuts in less than one month (he also failed to make the weekend at Riviera CC in February). Tiger Woods went EIGHT YEARS without missing ONE cut.

Keegan Bradley, Ken Duke and Charles Howell III share the first round lead after opening rounds of 67.

As for my team of six that I offered to you on Wednesday here at #DMD, it was a mixed bag to say the least.

For starters, Sean O'Hair withdrew after his opening 77, so that's the end of his contribution for this event. I won't use O'Hair again anytime soon. Creep.

He's ten-for-ten in cuts made this season, but Colt Knost might have to improve on his opening round 73 to make the weekend at Innisbrook Resort. His Thurdsay score of +2 puts him right on the cut line at the Copperhead course.

I thought Jason Dufner would fair well at Innisbrook and his opening round of 72 was decent enough. If he could throw a 67 or 68 up there in today's second round, he might have a puncher's chance over the weekend.

My other three selections, including my predicted winner, all have some playing to do today to make the cut, let alone get back in the tournament. K.J. Choi, Graeme McDowell and Frederik Jacobson all shot +3 (74) on Thursday. I expected more from Choi and Jacobson in particular. It's McDowell's first-ever trip to Innisbrook, so I can accept a untidy opening round from him, but I thought Choi and Jacobson would both rise to the occasion.

Steven Bowditch shot 10-over par 81 on Thursday, marking his 5th consecutive round of 80 or higher (he failed to break 80 in all four rounds last week at Doral). At least I didn't take him on any of my six fantasy rosters this week.

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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.

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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.


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our fenway park trip still has available spots open!

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

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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
March 10
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XX
Issue 10

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what sort of teaching moment are we seeing at yale?


I saw Yale's men's basketball team play at The Palestra on February 20 and was overly impressed with them.

Sadly, though, it's not the quality of their basketball that has the team in the news these days.

And, because I'm always fascinated with "teaching moments", particularly at the high school and college level, I'll dive in this morning and offer up an opinion or two on the hot-button topic of the sexual assault case that has put the Yale basketball team at the center of a sizzling controversy in New Haven, Connecticut.

Would you rather me write about the Orioles getting clobbered again yesterday in spring training?

Right, I say "no thanks" to that, too.

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The ultra-controversial "four fingers" salute that earned Yale basketball the wrath of students and administrators.

Let's talk about Yale basketball, campus "rape", and the idea that once someone is even accused of a crime, you're somehow to supposed to abandon them in what might very well be their biggest time of need.

In case you don't know the story, here it is very briefly. I'll do my best to sum up the important stuff and we'll tackle a few of the important additional details in a little while.

Yale basketball recently finished their Ivy League campaign at 13-1 and has earned a spot in the NCAA tournament for the first time in 54 years.

They'll be playing in March Madness without their captain, Jack Montague, who hasn't played in a game since February 6. Montague has, depending on which urban legend you believe, "left the team", "been suspended from the team", or, "expelled from school".

Because no one is actually speaking on the record, it's hard to chronicle exactly what happened after February 6, but Montague apparently has been accused of sexual assault which led school officials to suspend, then expel, the senior basketball player.

At first, Yale's administration acted as if they had no idea why Montague was no longer on the team. Lawyers were involved, of course, and everyone started walking on egg shells and buttoning up their mouths and keyboards.

Oh, Jack Montague isn't playing in tonight's Yale basketball game? That's weird. We have no idea why that might be. That's essentially what Yale said publicly when Montague missed a big game at Dartmouth on February 12.

Then, word started to leak out that Montague had been dismissed from school as a result of sexual assault allegations and that's when the story starts to get interesting.

Allow me to first offer my own public admission, naturally, that I do not support rape or sexual assault. I assume any level-headed person would understand that I'm entitled to offer an opinion on this story without me having to say that -- on the record -- but I did it anyway.

I have a young daughter and the mere thought of anyone ever harming her and my reaction to that is unimaginable.

What I do support, though, is the right for the Yale basketball team to stand behind their ex-teammate and friend, no matter the situation.

I remember once watching a documentary on serial killer Ted Bundy and they interviewed either his mother or grandmother, I don't recall which one, and she said, "I still love my Teddy. I know he did some bad, awful things, but that's not the Teddy I know. I'm always going to love him just the same."

Ted Bundy might have been one of the most deranged mass murderers of our lifetime, yet there was a family member offering her unconditional love for him. I was blown away by that scene in the documentary.

The Yale basketball story unraveled completely two weeks ago when the team got together and rallied for Montague. They produced several symbolic displays of support for him, holding up four fingers during their pre-game huddle (that was Montague's number), writing his nickname -- Gucci -- on their shoes and/or wrist tape, and publicly claiming their loyalty to their embattled ex-captain.

Someone then produced and displayed posters on campus admonishing the team for showing support for Montague: "Yale Men's Basketball: Stop Supporting A Rapist"

The signs were torn down -- some on campus say they saw basketball players doing the deed -- and others were promptly put back up. The story now wasn't about a campus sexual assault case, it was about Yale's basketball team supporting a teammate and the line they supposedly crossed in doing so.

A week of tension ensued as campus activists demanded an apology from the remaining players on the basketball team, and those same players digging in and showing even MORE support for Montague.

All the while, by the way, no one was yet actually confirming WHY Montague was no longer on the team or in school. There were whispers and rumors -- all of them true, it turns out -- but because everyone was (is) afraid of getting sued, no one was speaking about anything. It's as if Montague went on walk-about like Crocodile Dundee once did and no one had heard from him since.

The Ivy League title was in the balance, which put Yale in the news for their on-court success, but the bigger story was the tug-of-war between the school and the basketball team. The players continued to walk the fine line between supporting their "brother", as they called him, and accepting the pleas from those on campus who wanted the team to be more respectful of the idea that they could be supporting a criminal.

Finally, the men's basketball team issued an apology: “Yale Men’s Basketball fully supports a healthy, safe and respectful campus climate where all students can flourish. Our recent actions to show our support for one of our former teammates were not intended to suggest otherwise, but we understand that to many students they did. We apologize for the hurt we have caused and we look forward to learning and growing from these recent incidents. As student representatives of Yale we hope to use our positions on and off the court in a way that can make everyone proud.”

I understand why the basketball team caved in, but I wish they wouldn't have.

They had nothing to apologize for, in my opinion.

I'm guessing their apology has more to do with basketball and less to do with actually feeling like they really did something wrong that required an apology.

I can almost hear someone in the administration now: "Now listen, guys. You're getting ready to go play in the NCAA tournament and the last thing we need are those pesky reporters asking you about is this situation involving Jack Montague and your support for him. So, let's try and get this thing tidied up. You all apologize, maybe everyone forgets about the story, and we can be appreciated for our basketball program and the fine academic institution we've created up here in New Haven."

They probably threw in a line or two about alumni donations and how negative publicity could damage the pursuit of good things at Yale.

Meanwhile, the whole story stinks and the Yale basketball team isn't learning much about anything.

For starters, Jack Montague isn't a "rapist". He might be a young man accused of a very serious crime -- or he might not be, since no one is actually willing to say exactly why he's no longer in school or on the team.

But, just like those Duke lacrosse players were labeled "rapists" in 2006 and it turned out they weren't, Montague isn't a rapist until a jury or a judge says he is.

So, Yale basketball isn't, or wasn't, "supporting a rapist" when they rallied behind Montague. Any contention that they were is not only wrong, it's unfair to everyone involved.

Yale's administration, though, didn't have the balls to say that, publicly. Because a team of lawyers suggested it, they clammed up, which only made the whole situation more confusing.

When told initially to apologize, the team refused. They then ramped up their support for Montague, making themselves a bigger part of the story than they deserved to be or, for sure, expected to be.

If a crime occurred involving a Yale student, that's the ONLY story that really matters. Yet, because the media needs another angle, the men's basketball team became the story and the alleged crime was the sidebar.

And what about that apology the team finally issued? What lesson did they learn there?

What "teaching moment" occurs when someone says to you, "We're going to do your thinking for you. We know it's your right to support your friend and ex-teammate, but we're going to make you publicly admit that supporting your friend hurt other people."

Maybe the players supporting Montague hurt other people because those people aren't willing to accept the fact that everyone deserves support, especially in their time of need or despair.

Perhaps the folks at Yale who were "hurt" by the basketball team's show of support for Jack Montague should avail themselves of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 11: The burden of proof is thus on the prosecution, which has to collect and present enough compelling evidence to convince the trier of fact, who is restrained and ordered by law to consider only actual evidence and testimony that is legally admissible, and in most cases lawfully obtained, that the accused is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. If reasonable doubt remains, the accused is to be acquitted.

I'm not one of those people who says, "Well, if your feelings are hurt, we need to do something to fix that..." Sadly, that's the main angle of pursuit these days in our country. If something bothers you, it's just assumed you deserve to have that situation remedied to your satisfaction.

Oh, and if it turns out Jack Montague did rape or sexually assault someone -- and that crime is adjudicated by a judge or jury -- then he gets whatever he gets and deservedly so. I kind of think that goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway.

But the on-going witch hunt for the Yale basketball team went over the line.

The players didn't post a social media message that stated, "We're OK with rape as long as it doesn't interfere with our Ivy League season."

They didn't say, "Hey, it's college life in 2016. Everyone has regrettable sex at least once or twice in their four years."

It wasn't like the players wore t-shirts that read, "Kobe Bryant, Mike Tyson, Jack Montague -- three American sports heroes."

The basketball team held up four fingers to ceremoniously honor their ex-teammate, a guy they loved, the way college athletes "love" one another.

They wrote his nickname on their wrist tape.

Yes, they battled the school for a couple of weeks and wore the words E-L-A-Y on a t-shirt (YALE spelled backwards) to show their disdain for the way THEY were made into the story, but how's that different than any other on-campus protest from activist groups who want to be acknowledged?

All in all, though, the men's basketball team simply chose to support, not ignore, Jack Montague.

And for that, they were chastised, vilified and, eventually, forced to apologize.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't see much learning going on there.

What I see is a messy situation from jump street, where the school dismisses a kid and then doesn't acknowledge why he's gone. From there, dormitory whispers create the scene and the basketball player is labeled a "rapist" even though he's yet to set foot in a courtroom and Yale police openly admit they haven't been called to investigate a crime involving Montague. Eventually, everyone just shuts up and all we have left is a vapid comment from the player's father who calls the reason for his son's explusion "ridiculous" but says that's the only comment he'll make.

Now, yes, that might be the father ignoring the fact that his son was involved in some sort of crime. Maybe -- because no one wants to earn the shame of their parents -- Montague hasn't told his Dad the truth. Or, perhaps, Jack Montague isn't actually guilty of sexual assault and/or rape.

Whatever the case, the Yale basketball team got the short end of the stick.

They became the bad guy.

All the players wanted to do was remind their ex-teammate that they were thinking of him, supporting him, and playing for him.

They weren't saying "Rape is OK, we support it."

They were merely showing Montague that he hadn't been forgotten about altogether, something that came all too easily for the folks who run Yale University.

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Terps Spotlight

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


can anyone beat michigan state?

The Big 10 tournament kicked off last night with their version of the play-in games. With those two boring blowouts now over and predictably Illinois and Nebraska moving on, one question looms: Can anyone really expect to beat Michigan State?

Other than Spartan fans and hardcore Big 10 followers, not many people realize just how dominating the Spartans have been over their last 11 games.

Their only loss in that span was a one point overtime road loss to Purdue. The average margin of victory in their ten wins is over 20 points. Big 10 and NCAA Player of the Year Denzel Valentine lived up to all of his pre-season accolades and his Spartan team is on quite a roll.

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With the best player in the conference on their side, is it any surprise that Michigan State is poised for another run to the Final Four?

Valentine averages scoring over 20 points per game and also grabs almost eight rebounds per contest. But there is another stat that is far more impressive than the points or rebounds. Valentine leads the Big 10 with 7.8 assists per game.

To put that in perspective, Melo Trimble leads Maryland with 4.7 and Valentine gets three more per game. And still leads the conference in scoring.

Michigan State also has the Big 10’s leading rebounder in Matt Costello and the leading three point scorer in Bryn Forbes. They are clearly the tourney favorite and my pick to win the Big 10 crown.

There may be only one team that can stop the Spartans.

But, before I tell you who that might be, let’s take a peek at the known match-ups, likely match-ups, and possible upsets.

The top of the bracket gives us Northwestern against Michigan battling for the right to lose to Indiana. Northwestern and Michigan are fairly even teams, so it wouldn’t be an upset if either one prevailed. Indiana handles either of those teams and moves on.

For the record, let’s say that the Hoosiers play Michigan before moving on to the semi-finals.

Underneath that bracket you have Iowa and Illinois playing to see who gets Purdue on Friday. I give the Illini no shot here and if they did win it would be a major upset. I say Iowa moves on to play the same Boilermaker team that they have beaten twice already this year.

But Purdue has had the halftime lead in both games (one lead was by 17 points) and beats Iowa this time out and moves on to play Indiana.

The other half of the bracket starts with Ohio State playing Penn State for the opportunity to lose to Michigan State. Ohio State earned the seven seed and the Nittany Lions are seeded tenth. A win here would be a mild upset, and I say it happens. Penn State wins the tournament’s first “last possession” game and then gets drubbed by Sparty.

The bottom of this bracket gets interesting and not just because it's the local team that’s included here. Nebraska (11) plays Wisconsin (6) with the Terps awaiting the winner.

Upset alert!

Wisconsin beat Nebraska earlier this year by making 61% of their threes and scoring 8 more points at the foul line. Those things even out on Friday and Nebraska gets the biggest upset of the tournament. They lose to Maryland though and the Saturday semi-finals feature the top four seeds.

Semi-final number one is Purdue and Indiana. Purdue put up a valiant battle in the first match-up, but fell by 4, 77-73. However, A.J. Hammons played only 16 total minutes because of foul trouble but still managed to score 16 points. He logs 30 plus minutes in this game, dominates the game and pushes Purdue into the final.

Maryland is the one team that can beat Michigan State in this tournament. In their first meeting, the Spartans were coming off a three game losing streak while Denzel Valentine was getting back into game shape. MSU won that game 74-65 but Maryland never looked overmatched.

The seedings have set it up so that Maryland stands between Michigan State and the finals.

Sorry Terp fans, Michigan State wins and faces Purdue in the final.

And...your champ is Michigan State. They are the best shooting team in the conference, and play the hardest forty minutes of any team in the Big 10, or possibly the country.

So there you have it. I went with the chalk. Your Big 10 tournament champion is Michigan State.

March Madness is among us, let the games begin.

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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.


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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
March 9
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XX
Issue 9

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recent history suggests spring training actually does matter


The Orioles haven't yet won a spring training baseball game, now sporting an 0-8 record after Tuesday's 5-1 home loss to the Red Sox.

There was an opening day tie with Atlanta sprinkled in there, but somehow that gets left off the standings.

I guess when you're 0-8, nitpicking about a tie is acceptable, right?

Anyway, the Birds are 0-for-March, although the game-day rosters thus far have routinely included a handful of guys you and I have never heard of -- and won't hear of during the season, either, unless half of the 25-man roster comes down with a stomach virus on the same West Coast trip this season.

The pitching has been pretty bleak thus far, although the last few starts from the likes of Jimenez, Gausman and Gonzalez have been promising.

The offense hasn't done much, either, scoring four or more runs in the eight games to date. If I didn't know any better, I'd assume the Orioles and Washington Capitals are both drinking from the same water fountain these days.

Alas, it's "only" spring training, and March typically comes and goes without much concern at all for the win-loss record in either the Grapefruit or Cactus League.

The Orioles aren't really playing with their full roster, as recently signed Pedro Alvarez hasn't even swung a bat in anger yet this spring. His signing is discussed at length below by #DMD columnist Brien Jackson, but I'll add my two cents just because I can.

I'm all for adding more offense, especially with the somewhat questionable starting rotation the O's are expected to bring north, plus anyone who can take potential playing time away from Nolan Reimold is a plus-signing in my book. Alvarez, albeit not the most steady guy with a glove, probably spells doom for Reimold's opening day roster chances, especially with the Birds towing along their annual Rule 5 obligation, Joey Rickard.

The Alvarez signing likely means Mark Trumbo gets the nod in right field, which is sort of like giving Matt Schaub the starting gig at quarterback after a Joe Flacco injury. It ain't gonna be pretty, in other words.

First things first, though: What do we make of this 0-8 start to spring training?

Well, there are still 24 spring training games left to play, so we haven't come close to entering "desperate times", but recent history shows a bad spring training record isn't as easy to overcome as we all probably think it is.

Going back to 2006, a 10-year sample size (seems like a nice, round number) shows that the team with the worst winning percentage in spring training didn't fare that well when the real games started in April. In fact, last year's Texas Rangers, who were the worst team in spring training in 2015, became the only team in the last decade to post a winning regular season record after owning the worst spring training mark.

In case you care, here's the data to back it all up. The team listed owned the worst record in spring training and their regular season record follows:

2006 - Nationals 71-91

2007 - White Sox 72-90

2008 - Giants 72-90

2009 - Diamondbacks 70-92

2010 - Pirates 57-105

2011 - Astros 56-106

2012 - Indians 68-94

2013 - Angels 78-84

2014 - Phillies 73-89

2015 - Rangers 88-74

And if you're more about proving that winning teams are built in spring training, here's the last decade of spring training records for the teams that went on to win the American League East in those respective seasons.

2006 Yankees 15-16

2007 Red Sox 15-12

2008 Rays 18-8

2009 Yankees 24-10

2010 Rays 20-8

2011 Yankees 13-15

2012 Yankees 18-12

2013 Red Sox 17-17

2014 Orioles 13-9

2015 Blue Jays 19-13

Notice that trend? Eight of the last ten A.L. East winners had records of .500 or better in spring training and of the two that didn't -- 2006 Yankees and 2011 Yankees -- they were one and two games under .500 respectively.

Playing .500 or better baseball in spring training has been a prerequisite for winning the A.L. East since 2006. That's not Drew telling you that -- that's the data telling you that.

Make of it all what you will -- and I'm very much in the camp of "eh, it's spring training, who cares?" -- but the scoreboard doesn't lie, as coaches like to say.

Maybe it's been a decade-long statistical anomaly that will undergo a period of market correction, with the Rangers initiating a new trend in March of 2015. After all, spring training baseball is particularly lopsided in that most teams play their varsity roster at home and take a bunch of ne'er do wells for the road games, particularly those requiring travel distance of 60 miles or more.

But, at some point, winning a game would be nice for the Orioles. They get a good chance today when they play the Phillies, who are off to a 5-3 start in spring training. Side note: Philadelphia baseball fans might not see five wins in all of April, so they better savor each of these Grapefruit League victories.

It's clearly not time to panic, but if you put any stock at all in data and statistics, it would be good for the O's to climb out of the spring training cellar by the time they leave Sarasota at the end of the month.

I'm smart enough (insert joke here) to know these games don't count, but also aware enough to look at what's happened over the last decade and not want to risk having the Orioles be on that list this time next year.

Oh, because you don't look at goofy stuff like spring training standings a week into the "campaign" and I do, it's interesting to see who the second worst team is right now in all of baseball. It's the Chicago Cubs, the media darlings who, depending on which expert you read and follow, might go 130-32 this season.

The Orioles and Cubs, battling it out, just like we all expected.

For last place in spring training, 2016.

As history shows, you can finish next-to-last and be OK. Just don't be the worst team in March, that's all.

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from the desk of

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



alvarez -- not fowler -- makes orioles better


The Orioles finally plugged their last remaining lineup spot, by finalizing the much expected signing of former Pirate Pedro Alvarez late Monday night. Alvarez had been reported as being on the Orioles' radar for several weeks, and when the Dexter Fowler contract fell through it was expected the Orioles would quickly move on to getting something done with Alvarez. Well it wasn't quick, but they did ultimately get the deal done.

As you might imagine for a player who was non-tendered and still sitting on the free agent market weeks after Spring Training began, Alvarez is not without warts. A completely one dimensional player, Alvarez is terrible in the field, said to be rather lazy in practice and preparation, is a career .236 with a .309 on base percentage, and strikes out a ton, including leading the N.L. with 186 strikeouts in 2013, after fanning 180 times the year prior.

But that one dimension is the key: he has legitimate power in that bat. That 2013 season when he led the league in strikeouts? He also led the Senior Circuit in home runs with 36. Last year he hit 27 bombs in just 491 plate appearances. And his pull-heavy left handed power should play up with 81 home games in Oriole Park, which is arguably the friendliest park to left-handed power hitters in all of baseball these days.

And it's that power that makes him a pretty natural fit for the role of everyday DH here in Baltimore.

Simply put, the Orioles now boast a ridiculous amount of home run power top to bottom in their lineup. They already had a baseline as the third most prolific team in that category last year, and now they're adding Alvarez and Mark Trumbo, plus presumably a healthy Matt Wieters behind the plate.

The Orioles starting lineup has well above average power at every position except maybe shortstop, due to J.J. Hardy's recent injuries and left-field, but even here it isn't inconceivable that they'll get okay to above average power output. Even so, the Orioles are definitely the betting favorite to lead baseball in round-trippers right now.

Of course, there's still room for critics to make hay. The signing pushes Trumbo into playing right field everyday, where he'll be merely below average if Buck Showalter is lucky. The corner outfield positions figure to be pretty bad this season defensively, and there's only so much Adam Jones can do to make up for that even on his best days. Plus, this lineup is going to strike out a bunch.

And to that I say: No biggie. Outfield defense, in particular, is nice but not a real necessity to winning.

Remember that 10-15% of all fly balls go over the fence, another 5-10% are infield fly balls, and then a fairly substantial portion are either routine flyballs/cans of corns that any semi-competent Major League player can catch or screaming rockets/deep drives into the alleys that no one (save for maybe the ultra elite) can catch.

So, the difference between a below average, or even bad, defender and an okay one simply isn't that much, and if the O's corner players can produce at the plate as expected they ought to make up the difference well enough.

As for the strikeouts, here's my philosophy on building an offense: Be who you're going to be.

That is, decide how you're going to score your runs, and then craft a lineup that fits that profile. The Orioles are going to hit a bunch of home runs, and have a lineup built around that in many respects.

They have maybe the premier home run hitter in the game right now in Chris Davis, plus big time power hitters in premium positions in Jones, Wieters, Manny Machado, and Jonathan Schoop.

Yeah, maybe you'd like to add a speedy on-base guy to the top of that lineup, but my thinking is (and I don't have any research to back this up, it's just a working hypothesis) that if you're going to live and die with the home run, you want to be as deep as you possibly can be in guys who are a threat to hit the ball out of the park in any given at bat, because you really aren't going to "manufacture" that many runs anyway if Jones, Davis, and Trumbo are your 3-4-5 hitters.

So with that in mind, I think the Orioles ultimately backed their way into the best possible fit for their roster, and did it on the cheap as well.

Especially considering that they won't have to give away a first round pick for Alvarez, and that he adds yet another truly fearsome power hitter, I think it's safe to say the Orioles more or less built the best offensive team they could realistically be expected to construct for the 2016 season.

Now the question is simply how far their pitching will allow them to go.

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Drew's Fantasy Golf Guide

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


I need a good week in fantasy golf the way Rory McIlroy needs a good Sunday finish.

I'm desperate, much more than McIlroy, who has won $30 million playing on the PGA Tour alone over the last decade.

This week's event just outside of Tampa Bay features a fairly weak field, as most of the top players take a pass after getting chewed up by Doral's "Blue Monster" for four days last week.

Jordan Spieth is the defending champion, which means he's playing the Valspar this week, but after that it's mostly middle-of-the-pack guys, although Henrik Stenson puts his streak of 31 straight cuts made on the line at the Innisbrook Resort.

If you're one of those guys (or gals) who likes to play one of the big names in your line-up because they might very well win, you should definitely add Stenson to your lineup. Unless something fluky happens, he's going to give you four rounds of points. He's made 31 consecutive cuts, although a handful of those are WGC events where there isn't a 36-hole cut. Still, if you have the choice between Spieth and Stenson this week, I'd go with the latter.

I'm not playing Spieth this week on any of my cards because I don't see him playing well enough right now to suggest he might win. Yes, the field is slight, but I'm laying off of Spieth until he finally does win again.

Before I give my official team for the week, here are a bunch of names for you to consider, particularly if you play more than one roster. Luke Donald let me down a couple of weeks back when I thought he was primed for a good event at the Honda Classic, but I think we might see something good out of him this week at Innisbrook. The same goes for Graeme McDowell, who might be close to winning again on the PGA Tour. This is precisely the kind of event where a guy like McDowell fends off a couple of Top 100 challengers and wins. I also like Gary Woodland's chances this week.

There are some really good values in the $7,000 to $8,500 range, including Ernie Els, who appears to have fixed his putting woes and might on the verge of putting it all together. The luke warm field at Innisbrook helps Els considerably, so a Top 10 finish for him wouldn't be at all surprising. Andrew Loupe, Seung-yul Noh and Hiroshi Iwata are excellent inexpensive plays this week.

Here is my "starting six" this week:

I'm going for points and a return on my investment, so I'm leaning in the direction of cut-makers this week, which means I'm playing Colt Knost, who is 10-for-10 in cuts made this season. Knost isn't a long hitter off the tee and Innisbrook's Copperheard course matches up well with his lack of big-time length.

I'm banking on Graeme McDowell being close to returning to the winner's circle and this would be a great week for McDowell to best an average field at Innisbrook. McDowell lives in Florida full time now, so this is sort of a home game for him.

Even though Jason Dufner already has a win this season, that's not stopping me from jumping on the bandwagon and using him this week at Innisbrook. He tends to play well on shorter courses.

X
After a strong start at Riveria CC a few weeks ago, K.J. Choi is primed for another good showing this week at the Valspar Championship.

There's also a reason to think that Sean O'Hair might be ready to pull a "Vaughn Taylor" and win out of nowhere. His recent form has been good, he's made 6-of-8 cuts, and he's played the Innisbrook Resort a couple of hundred times as a Florida resident.

That leaves me with two guys and I did the coin-flip-thing again this week to pick my winner, since I feel strongly about both of them. It came up tails, which means Frederik Jacobson gets the runner-up spot for me. He's as solid as anyone out there on TOUR who doesn't own a major title and almost always figures out a way to make himself heard at these events where the field isn't of top caliber. I like his chances a lot this week.

My winner for the week is K.J. Choi, who has a strong history at Innisbrook and is among TOUR leaders this year in both iron play and short game stats. Those two factors will come into play a lot this week in Palm Harbor.

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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.



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!


Tuesday
March 8
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XX
Issue 8

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


peyton's career will be tough to beat

I've never really considered myself a Peyton Manning fan.

I wasn't a hater, but for obvious reasons -- mainly the colors he wore from 1998 through 2011 -- I was never a card-carrying member of the Peyton Manning fan club.

But, now, we can all admit the obvious. Or at the very least, I will.

It's going to be a long time before we see someone come through the NFL and do what Manning did for 18 seasons.

Nearly every passing record that matters in the NFL belongs to Manning, although his critics will point to the advantage he enjoyed by playing the bulk of his career for an "indoor team", meaning at least half of his games each season were unaffected by weather.

That's true, of course, and hardly debatable. Manning's life as a NFL quarterback was made much easier by the fact he would sometimes only have to play eight outdoor games each season. Imagine if Aaron Rodgers enjoyed the same privilege and didn't have to play eight games a year in Green Bay plus the occasional wintry visit to Chicago.

It's very fair to note -- when comparing Manning to his career adversary, Tom Brady -- how much different their respective careers would have been had the two swapped playing facilities; Manning playing in New England and Brady enjoying the cozy comforts of a plush, 72 degree indoor stadium.

But it was never Peyton's fault that he played most of his career indoors. And it wasn't like he stunk it up when he played in an outdoor stadium, either. He set passing records regardless of the opponent, venue or defensive scheme thrown his way.

And when the time came for Manning to leave Indianapolis and finish his career elsewhere, he didn't exactly pick the friendliest place in the world for a 35-year old guy with a bad back and neck to set up shop for the last four years of his journey.

It would have made much more sense for Peyton to take a deal in Miami or Arizona, where the warm weather could have potentially helped his physical condition, but he chose Denver, where games with temperatures in the teens are commonplace.

Maybe it was money, maybe it was the chance to win, or maybe -- who knows? -- Manning wanted to play in a tough weather environment just to have a response in place in case someday, somewhere, some wise-cracking journalist hinted that Manning was ONLY good because he played all of his career home games indoors.

My guess is all three of those elements had something to do with his move from Indy to Denver.

Still, the records almost all exclusively belong to Manning. He always had a slew of quality wide receivers, but it's fair to say he made them more than they made him.

Isn't it always that way with great quarterbacks? Tom Brady has certainly helped the likes of Wes Welker, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola carve out nice careers for themselves, that's for sure.

Peyton also did something Brady and every other quarterback in the league HASN'T done. His play literally helped build a new stadium in Indianapolis. Without Manning showing up in 1998 and setting the league and the city on fire with his spectacular play, there's a decent chance the Los Angeles Colts would have been playing in the NFL circa 2005.

Not many guys can say "I built a stadium" in their career, but Manning can make that claim.

The two most recent off-the-field stories trailing him will be footnotes on his Wikipedia page someday because that's how out society rolls these days, but neither of them will ever gain enough steam to change the way the American public thinks about Peyton.

Did Manning use HGH? Maybe. If you asked me to bet it, one way or the other, I'd take the "no", but I also remember a certain Hall of Fame middle linebacker who tried using deer antler spray to return from a mid-season injury in 2012.

In other words, I can see a player in the December of his career trying anything to get back on the field and end things on his terms.

I'm not saying it's right. I'm saying I can see it happening, just as we saw it happen with Ray Lewis after his torn triceps injury.

The sexual assault case at the University of Tennessee that involved Manning and several other players? It's hard to say what really happened there, other than to acknowledge that Manning was definitely involved in some behavior that was certainly not representative of the way he carries himself now, two decades later.

There aren't many of us who don't have a regret or two from our high school or college days, though. I know I'm thrilled -- in hindsight -- that cell phone cameras, Facebook, Twitter and all the rest of it didn't exist back in the 1980's, that's for sure.

Those two stories will always be part of Manning's history, but neither of them in any way changes what he did on the field, particularly since the HGH claims are just that, "claims", and the Tennessee story occurred before he set foot on a NFL playing field.

I never cared all that much for Manning because I resented the Colts throughout most of the 2000's, just as I had ever since the team left Baltimore in 1984.

But, I went on the radio in January of 2007 and made a pledge prior to the Colts-Ravens playoff game in Baltimore. I said, then, that I was leaving my hatred for the Colts at the door the minute the final whistle blew in that playoff game. Win or lose, I promised to give up hating on the Colts. It had become an unhealthy obsession.

And I did it. In the aftermath of Indy's 15-6 win, I simply stopped being anti-Colts and anti-Peyton Manning. I looked at them like any other team in the league, which is to say I treated the Colts with basic indifference, unless, of course, they were playing the Ravens.

That move also helped me appreciate Peyton Manning more, truthfully.

I watched him with a different level of appreciation as he finally won a Super Bowl with the Colts. I marveled at his ability to carve up defenses as the years went on. I respected the fact that when the Colts traded him in for a younger model in 2012, he simply packed up and headed off to Denver to try and finish things on his terms.

It was particularly warming to hear Peyton mention Johnny Unitas in Monday's farewell press conference. That's the kind of reverence we want all of today's young players to have for the guys who played before them, right?

It also told me something about Manning -- as a man -- when he revealed that he called all of his former head coaches this past weekend, in the order he played for them, to thank them for the role they played in his career. Today's athletes are brought up to believe they're making the coach's career, not the other way around.

I wonder, did Ray Lewis call Ted Marchibroda, Brian Billick and John Harbaugh when he called it quits to thank THEM for what they did for him? Did Brett Favre do that with his former coaches? Has Terrell Owens done that, yet?

Let the Peyton Manning Wikipedia page show that Manning went out a champion this year in more ways than one.

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from the desk of

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



birds need big years from gausman, bundy

The Orioles' once vaunted stock of high end pitching prospects has taken a real beating over the past 12-18 months, but the 2016 season represents a real chance for the two most heralded members of the group to make a real contribution to the big league club and, just maybe, be the difference between a decent team and another playoff run for the Birds.

Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, successive top five picks in 2011 and 2012, respectively, will have to positively contribute at the Major League level if this team is going to stand any realistic shot at winning the American League East.

For Gausman, at least, that's perhaps not a tough hurdle to clear. After working his way up into the rotation in the middle of 2014 he's, mostly been a fixture in the majors ever since, albeit an inconsistent one. In what should have been a step-forward season for him in 2015, Gausman regressed a bit and certainly didn't turn in the kind of performance the people of Baltimore were hoping to see from him, starting just 17 games and pitching to a 4.25 ERA and 4.10 FIP in 112.1 innings.

That said, there were plenty of positives last season as well, most notably in what we call "the peripherals." That is, the component statistics like strikeout and walk rates that go in to those final numbers. Here, Gausman was strong, with an 8.25 K/5 mark that was both a drastic improvement on his numbers from 2014 and a very solid mark in its own right, and a 2.32 BB/9. In nominal totals he lodged over three times as many strikeouts as walks, while maintaining an average velocity on his fastball of just a tick over 95 MPH.

These are all very encourgaging numbers, and while it's not really going out on a limb to predict big things from a former top five overall pick, I think Gausman may be poised for a big breakout this year, finally cementing himself as a true stud in the big leagues. This, obviously, would be a big boost to the Orioles, as that's pretty much exactly what they're missing from their starters.

Chris Tillman probably won't have an ERA that barely misses the 5.00 mark again, but I don't think he'll replicate his 2014 (or even 2013) numbers either. The other three guys in the rotation are all varying degrees of solid, with no one you can look at as a consistently above average performer.

Gasuman can be that elusive "legitimate ace" for this team, and if he becomes that by the time the end of the year roles around the complexion of this roster will change dramatically.

The case for Dylan Bundy, on the other hand, is a lot murkier. Once the consensus top pitching prospect in all of baseball, injuries have really done a number on his stock, and the missed time in the minors and the fact that he's now out of options, and thus has to be included on the 25 man roster lest he have to be passed through waivers, negates the possibility of continuing him on a more regular development track.

Most assume Bundy will start the season on the disabled list to buy a little bit more time for training and workouts, but at some point, and probably sooner rather than later, he's going to have to be activated and put on the 25 man roster.

When (or if, depending on his arm's durability) he does, Bundy figures to factor into the bullpen in order to get him acclimated to the majors. It's more than a little bit disappointing that someone who once seemed as though he was so obviously going to be one of the next GREAT starting pitchers in the game is going to be relegated to trying to learn the ropes as a middle reliever, but on the other hand it's easy to let yourself get irrationally optimistic in March and imagine this working to the Orioles advantage, for the simple reason that it's definitely foreseeable that Bundy could quickly become a dominant reliever.

The simple reason for this is that his stuff is absolutely first rate. Even playing in Low-A ball at Delmarva, he mixed a curveball and changeup that would have graded as plus at higher levels with a fastball that was clocking in at 96 MPH and above. That's the sort of stuff that works great in a major league bullpen, and the guy I've thought of most when imagining Bundy contributing this year is the Yankees' Dellin Betances.

I covered Betances in his Double-A and Triple-A days, and to say he frustrated the Yankees front office would be an understatement.

Completely unable to repeat his delivery, there seemingly wasn't a batter in the International League Betances couldn't walk in 2012, and he simply looked like a prospect who was going to flame out despite tantalizing potential. Then he got converted into a reliever, and the ability to deploy his great fastball-curveball combination in short bursts changed everything, and the guy is one of the most dominant relievers in the game.

There's still time for Bundy to develop into that great starting pitcher, and that absolutely should remain the organization's goal for him, but in the short run there's plenty of ways for him to contribute in the bullpen, which already features one of the best back end duos in the game in Zach Britton and Darren O'Day. If Bundy can become the third leg to that trio, the Orioles could have the same kind of bullpen that the Royals have ridden so hard over the past two seasons (at least if O'Day is able to get lefties out again like he did last season).

If one of these scenarios happen, and the Orioles have the kind of offense they look like they should have on contenders, they truly are legitimate contenders to fight hard for a playoff spot. If both of them happen, they might just be the odds on favorite for the A.L. East, and a team with a roster that typically profiles very well for October baseball.

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same old story: caps offense stinks, caps still win


It's almost starting to be funny, now.

What's next, a string of 1-0 wins for the Capitals?

The Caps scored one goal in sixty minutes of regulation play for the second straight game, yet once again claimed two points in the standings, winning 2-1 in a shootout last night at Anaheim.

Washington won on Saturday night in Boston by the same score, 2-1, although they won that game in overtime rather than the shootout.

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Braden Holtby made 27 stops last night and got back on the winning track in Washington's 2-1 shootout victory at Anaheim.

Last night's win pushed the Caps league-leading point total to 102 and stopped an 11-game Anaheim win streak in the process. Ryan Getzlaf scored one minute into the game for the Ducks and that was the only goal Braden Holtby would allow all night.

Andre Burakovsky scored for Washington in the 3rd period.

In fairness to the Caps, who have struggled on offense for the better part of six weeks now, they were going up against the NHL's leading goaltender (in terms of goals against average) and John Gibson was terrific for the Ducks, turning away 30 of 31 shots.

T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom scored in the shootout for the Caps, who next play on Wednesday night in Los Angeles.

The Caps have now scored three goals or less in nine straight games and twelve of thirteen overall, but have still managed to go 9-4 in those 13 games.

The only disappointing note of the night? The Flyers somehow managed to win, beating Tampa Bay, 4-2. Somewhere, an angel lost its wings right around 10:15 pm on Monday night.

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our fenway park trip still has available spots open!

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

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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!



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.


Monday
March 7
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XX
Issue 7

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no chance you can confuse these facts and opinions

Along the way over the last few weeks, there have been instances where folks have confused facts and opinions here at #DMD.

That won't happen today.

With a nod in the direction of former Baltimore Sun writer John Eisenberg, who produced an occasional column called "Facts and Opinions", I'll do the same here today.

And away we go...

FACT: Golden State's loss to the Lakers was, using the difference in winning percentage as the definition, the biggest upset in modern NBA history. The teams entered the day with a .727 winning percentage difference, with the Warriors at 55-5 and the Lakers at 12-51. Golden State was favored by 18.5 points. The Lakers won by 17, 112-95.

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Yesterday's loss to the Lakers marked the first time this season that Golden State lost on national TV (now 22-1).

OPINION: Golden State's run to the all-time single-season record of 73-9 is on life support at this point. Now at 55-6 after yesterday's loss, they need to go 18-3 to finish the season one game better than the '95-96 Chicago Bulls. They have a six-game home stand on tap that SHOULD get them to 61-6, but they still have road games left at San Antonio (twice), Dallas and Memphis that could be problematic.

FACT: The Orioles haven't won a spring training game yet. They're 0-6.

OPINION: Eh, it's spring training. No one's really trying anyway.

FACT: Hyun-soo Kim is 0-for-16 thus far in spring training. He's the team's projected starting left fielder in case you're wondering.

OPINION: Honestly, because spring training is always in dire need of interesting stories, I'd like to Kim not get a hit for another week or two and run that up to something like 0-for-50. That would at least get us to follow the games in March.

FACT: This was a weekend to bet the underdog. There were major upsets in the NBA and MMA fighting. If you would have bet a $100 parlay -- meaning all three of your wagers have to win -- and taken Miesha Tate (+265 in her fight with Holly Holm), Nate Diaz (+330 in his fight with Conor McGregor) and the L.A. Lakers (+1900 in their game with Golden State), you would have won $31,290.

OPINION: MMA is either rigged or just plain dumb. Nate Diaz didn't know until three weeks ago he was fighting Conor McGregor and yet he still won? That doesn't say much for McGregor. Then again, Clubber Lang somehow lost to Rocky Balboa and anyone who saw their first fight couldn't have pictured that happening.

FACT: Peyton Manning's articulate style and in-depth knowledge of the game will make him a perfect candidate for "color commentary" on NFL TV broadcasts.

OPINION: Manning starts next season at CBS and within five years, he replaces tired, half-senile Phil Simms in the booth, working with Jim Nantz. Go ahead and sing it with me, to the tune of the Nationwide Insurance song: "Peyton and Nantz are one good team..."

FACT: Hofstra and UNC Wilmington will face off tonight in Baltimore in the CAA Championship Game, with the winner advancing to the NCAA tournament. They both finished 14-4 during the CAA's regular season.

OPINION: No one in town knows the games have even been played at Royal Farms Arena. Shame on the CAA for coming here three years ago and half-assing it like they have. It makes Baltimore look bad, when, in reality, it's telling us all a lot more about the CAA and their marketing abilities.

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Before yesterday's win at Doral, Adam Scott was a 12-1 bet to win the Masters next month. This morning, he's 10-1.

FACT: Adam Scott won his 13th career PGA TOUR event yesterday, tying guys like Mark Calcavecchia and Craig Stadler for career victories, although those guys played on TOUR for 22 and 24 years respectively.

OPINION: Scott will win four majors in his career. He'll finish with two Masters, a British Open and a PGA.

FACT: Maryland got run out of the gym yesterday at Indiana, 80-62. The Terps finished the season at 24-7, but were clearly outclassed late in the campaign by the likes of Purdue and Indiana, both of whom are headed to the NCAA tournament along with the Terps.

OPINION: The Terps will lose in the Big 10 semi-finals, earn a 5-seed in the NCAA tournament, and will face San Diego State in the first round of March Madness in Providence.

FACT: Towson University is the current "big dog" of local college lacrosse, sporting a 5-0 record thus far in 2016. The Tigers -- who play at Hopkins next Saturday the 12th -- have yet to surrender more than eight goals in a game.

OPINION: Towson's undefeated run will end on Saturday at Homewood Field. Hopkins wins 9-8 in OT.

FACT: It's looking like the Capitals are going to face either Pittsburgh, Detroit or Philadelphia in the first round of the NHL playoffs. I'd prefer to avoid all three of those teams, honestly. Pittsburgh and Detroit are both teams with winning in their DNA (as opposed to the Caps) and the Flyers would get every call in the series because that's what always happens when they play the Caps.

OPINION: I'd rather see the Yankees win the World Series than the Flyers make the playoffs. In fact, I'd sign off on the Yankees winning back-to-back World Series' if the Flyers would go 0-82 over the course of one season.

FACT: The Flyers are the worst franchise in all of sports.

OPINION: The Flyers are the worst franchise in all of sports.

FACT: If I drove around on a suspended driver's license, I'd be petrified of getting pulled over every time I got in the car.

OPINION: I'd bet $10.00 that Terrell Suggs didn't get his license renewed because of a bunch of unpaid parking tickets, speed-camera violations, etc. And the guy has more money than you, me and your two next door neighbors will EVER have, combined.

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Drew's Fantasy Golf Update

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

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


I knew Justin Rose was going to play well at Doral. I just thought it would be for four rounds instead of just one.

Rose was the best player on my fantasy roster yesterday with a final round 67, but it was too little, too late, as he finished the 72-hole event at 1-under par, 11 shots behind winner Adam Scott.

But, hey, at least all six of my picks made the cut this weekend at Doral.

The most surprising of my six guys was Jamie Donaldson, who limped in at +4 after weekend rounds of 76-74. I expected a lot more from Donaldson, who was -3 and in a tie for 3rd place early in his opening round on Thursday.

Two of my other players were respectable enough, with Charl Schwartzel finishing at 1-under par and Kevin Kisner ending the tournament where he started it -- at even par.

My other two? They stunk it up. David Lingmerth didn't break par once in four rounds and finished at +8, while J.B. Holmes was involved in a serious rules incident that must have rattled him en route to a final round score of 80 and a +13 finish overall.

Holmes took a bad drop on the first hole on Sunday and was called on it by a walking PGA Tour official, who cited Holmes for "serious breach of the rules", which means he'll need to further explain himself to the Tour's rules committee at some point in the near future.

Adam Scott survived a shanked bunker shot on the 16th hole and a wild final hole to beat Bubba Watson by one shot at Doral, giving Scott back-to-back victories after not winning on TOUR for almost two seasons.

Scott's final tee shot at 18 wound up tucked behind a palm tree and his approach to the green landed about 10 feet from the water bordering the putting surface, but it somehow stayed up in the rough instead of rolling into the lake.

Scott then flipped a short-side wedge to about six feet and calmly sank the putt for the win, moving him to #1 on the FedEx Cup point standings in the process.

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high school baseball: calvert hall splits with georgetown prep


Calvert Hall and Georgetown Prep christened the 2016 high school baseball season on Saturday, March 6, on the turf at Calvert Hall and each team came away with victory.

Calvert Hall won the opener, 7-6, as Brandon Dorsey drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning with a double, plating Nate Bosse who reached scoring position with a two-out double.

The Cardinals scored twice in the first inning to grab a 2-1 lead. The game was tied 2-2 entering the fourth when both teams scored three times and then both added single runs in the fifth.

Ian Elliott was 2-for-4 with 2 RBI and a run scored for Calvert Hall. Bosse was also 2-for-4 with a RBI and 2 runs scored. In addition, JP Murphy and Garrett Matheny each went 2-for-3.

Matt Hantschel got the win on the mound with three innings of 1-hit relief.

Georgetown Prep scored three times in the top of the seventh to grab the nightcap, 3-1.

Dorsey drove in the Cardinals only run in the first inning. Ben Sedgwick drove in the first run for Georgetown Prep with a double and Michael Depman capped the rally with a 2-run pinch-hit single. Depman was also the winning pitcher, tossing the final two innings, allowing just one hit while striking out two.


high school girls hoops: new town beats chesapeake-bc for 2a north crown


The New Town High girls' basketball team had some difficulty cutting down the net after Saturday afternoon's Class 2A North Region title game. The game, however, was a different story as the eighth-ranked Titans cruised to a 65-32 decision over Chesapeake-Baltimore County in Owings Mills.

Junior Maraiyan Smith led all scorers with 14 points for New Town (21-2 overall), while Paris Thompson finished with nine points and 12 rebounds. Trinity Horton led Chesapeake (14-4) with 11 points.

The victorious Titans will play Prince George's County's Largo in a state 2A semifinal Friday afternoon at Towson University's SECU Arena. New Town lost in the 1A semifinals last year.

Coming into the season, the Titans’ roster included just two seniors, Candis Taylor and Paris Thompson, and none of the previous year’s starting five. The apparent inexperience did not stop New Town (21-2) from dominating the Chesapeake girls with an unrelenting defensive attack.

“This was a long time coming – something we prepared for since the beginning of the season,” Titans coach Gena Young said. “Coming in, we lost five seniors but this is a special group of kids. With their talent and my system, we came away with a regional championship.”

After a shaky first quarter, the Titans employed a full-court trap and shared the wealth on offense. They forced 30 Bay Hawk turnovers and outrebounded the visitors 51-35.

“Coach always says that offense wins games, but defense wins championships,” said Taylor, who finished with 13 points despite being in foul trouble. “It’s all about work. We just had to put in the work.”

New Town entered the second quarter with a modest 13-7 lead, but the defense came alive with 11 takeaways and six different players made at least basket. The Titans outscored the Hawks 19-4 in the period for a 32-11 lead at halftime. Four different reserves saw significant time on the court.

“Our defense was a little slow starting out,” Young said. “Once we got ourselves settled into what we normally do, we were able to pull away.”

New Town’s lead grew to 51-28 by the end of the third. Though this season's cast is different, the goal remains the same.

The Titans have yet to win a state title.

“It’s hard to rebuild after losing five players, but Candis and Paris stepped in as leaders,” Young said. “This is an exciting moment.”

The high school sports stories above were originally written and published by Varsity Sports Network and edited for space at Drew's Morning Dish. For Baltimore and Maryland's best and most up-to-date high school sports coverage, visit www.varsitysportsnetwork.com.


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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.


Sunday
March 6
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XX
Issue 6

subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


terps would help themselves with win at indiana today

Today's visit to Bloomington isn't even remotely close to "must win" territory for the Maryland Terps, but there's no doubt a victory would do them a whole lot of good.

Critics will point to Indiana having not much of anything to play for today -- other than pride -- and suggest that a Maryland win doesn't quite have the cachet that it would if, say, the Big 10 regular season title was at stake.

OK, I'll concede on that point. Without much of anything on the line today for the Hoosiers, it's reasonable to think they might not be as amped up as they typically would be when a conference Goliath like Maryland comes to town.

The Terps are essentially in the same boat, having already secured the double bye in next week's conference tournament in Indianapolis. This one, today, is pretty much just for kicks and giggles.

But that doesn't change the fact that Maryland could do themselves a whole lot of good by beating Indiana at 4:30 this afternoon.

The Terps are 24-6 on the year and some would argue they don't have a "signature win" among those two dozen victories.

That statement might be right.

You play who the schedule says you're supposed to play, though, and it's not Maryland's fault that both of their wins over Ohio State don't matter much. The decent teams in the Big 10, namely Michigan State, Purdue, Iowa and Wisconsin, all fell to Maryland during the Big 10 regular season. The quirky conference schedule kept the Terps from visiting Iowa, but their 4-3 record against those four teams shouldn't be ignored.

Still, folks are going to point to this afternoon's game at Indiana as Maryland's chance to impress the NCAA tournament committee and earn a "marquee" victory at just the right time.

But, can Maryland do it?

The last month hasn't been all that inspiring for Mark Turgeon's team. To say "the've lost their way" would be an understatement given the kind of basketball they played in January in comparison to what we've seen of them over the last four weeks.

A win today would send them into the Big 10 tournament on a nice note and give the March Madness selection committee something else to ponder next Sunday night when the brackets are revealed.

A loss, though, would come against another legitimate opponent that Maryland couldn't beat. It would, basically, put them at 4-4 against the Big 10's "big four" this season.

I don't know what Turgeon has to do to get the Terps to toughen up, but today would be a good day to get out the branding iron and start using it on anyone who gets beat to an offensive rebound. Reports out of College Park two weeks ago had the team "running the stairs" in practice when someone lost out on an offensive carom, but that didn't seem to matter much when Purdue punched the Terps in the mouth after nearly every one of their missed shots last Saturday in West Lafayette.

Someone -- or something -- needs to get Melo Trimble back on track. Today would be a good day for the sophomore guard to return to the style of play that raised eyebrows all over the country just twelve months ago.

And, no, before you say anything about it, I don't consider Thursday night's 18-point effort against Illinois as evidence that Trimble is back on track. I could have had six points in that game. Illinois stinks.

Trimble will go up against Yogi Ferrell today, the ultra-talented senior guard from Indiana who has been a royal pain in Maryland's side over the last two years. That match-up alone should be enough to motivate Trimble, but with nothing otherwise at stake this afternoon, will the two go all-out or just play not to get hurt?

In ordinary times, this game today would be one worth watching, particuarly for Maryland, who haven't really played an arduous road schedule in 2015-2016. A win at Indiana is always a stocking stuffer for any coach, even when you're 24-6 and a lock for the big dance.

A Maryland win today, coupled with a nice run in the Big 10 tournament next week, could propel the Terps to a three or four seed in the NCAA tournament, which matters greatly once the brackets are revealed.

Here's the difference in finishing the season strong or losing today and bowing out early in the Big 10 tourney. A 3-seed might face the likes of Stony Brook, Yale or Hawaii. A 4-seed could get Belmont, Tennessee-Chattanooga or UNC-Wilmington. Easy pickins' there.

A 5-seed might run into Florida State, Butler, Seton Hall or Temple. In the opening round of the tournament.

So, would you rather see the Terps face Stony Brook or Yale in the first round, or, Florida State or Temple in the first round?

Today could go a long way in deciding the difference between those two potential match-ups above.

Ultimately, though, the Big 10 tournament will decide Maryland's final fate. If they get slapped around in the quarterfinals after getting the double-bye, the committee won't think much of them next Sunday when the brackets are announced.

But today's game in Bloomington gives the Terps a chance to post at least one "signature" road win 2015-2016 and might also be the catalyst for a representative showing next weekend in Indianapolis.

It's not a "must win" by any means, but it sure is one of those games you'd like to have go your way.

After what Maryland's been through over the last month, let's just call it a "necessary win" and hope for the best.

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offense still sputtering, but caps win at boston in overtime

The Capitals have played so well this season they've lost back-to-back games only two times.

They avoided that rare occurrence last night in Boston when Matt Niskanen scored in overtime to give the Caps a 2-1 win, recovering nicely from a dreary 3-2 home loss to the Rangers on Friday evening.

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As Alex Ovechkin struggles to score goals, so do the Caps. Ovi now has just one goal in his last seven games.

For the 15th time in their last 19 games, the Caps failed to score more than three goals, but Philipp Grubauer turned in one of his finest netminding jobs of the season with 33 saves as Washington kicked off a 4-game road trip that will also take them to Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose.

Last night's win at Boston looked a lot like most of the wins the Caps have posted over the last three weeks. There wasn't much offense, the passing was off-target, and the power play (0-for-3) wasn't any good.

But, the Bruins weren't able to solve Grubauer and the stingy Caps defense, which certainly resembles "playoff hockey" a lot more than the offense does these days. Washington went 5-for-5 in penalty killing last night, including a critical one-minute kill late in the game when T.J. Oshie went to the sin bin for interference.

Alex Ovechkin's play continues to be puzzling of late. The league's leading goal scorer (41) now has just one goal in the last seven games and could be facing a league-imposed suspension after receiving a 5-minute boarding call that sent Boston's Kevan Miller to the hospital.

It wasn't a vicious hit, but, like most of the work Ovechkin does along the boards, it was reckless enough to warrant a review by the folks at NHL headquarters. It could go either way, I suppose, and whatever gets handed down -- or doesn't -- is fair in my book.

Grubauer, meanwhile, has quietly asserted himself lately as more-than-adequate when called upon to fill-in for Braden Holtby. He's now surrendered just five goals in his last 237 minutes of work, and was primarily responsible for last night's win at Boston and the 3-2 home triumph over Toronto this past Wednesday evening.

In no way is he challenging Holtby for overall playing time, but it wouldn't be all that crazy for Barry Trotz to give Grubauer an extra start or two along the way to keep Holtby fresh and healthy for the playoffs.

Honestly, if you just take their respective last five starts into account, Grubauer has outplayed Holtby. That's reason enough to feel good about playing Grubauer a little more often and, at the same time, giving Holtby both a mental and physical break before the playoffs begin in five weeks.

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Terps Spotlight

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


The Maryland Terrapins (24-6, 12-5) and the Indiana Hoosiers (24-6,14-3) meet up today at 4:30 p.m. in Bloomington Indiana for the Big 10 finale for both teams. It’s a matchup that I believe will bring out the best in both teams.

The consequences of a loss, for either team, aren’t all that great, but a win could prove to be a nice resume builder as well providing some momentum going into the Big 10 Tournament. That being said, for the most part, this game is about pride.

With Indiana having clinched the regular season BIG 10 title, any pressure they may have felt should be alleviated. Likewise, Maryland can finish no better than third in the conference and no worse than fourth.

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Which Melo Trimble will show up today to take on Indiana's all-world guard Yogi Ferrell?

What you do have is a Hoosier team trying to protect its perfect 2015-2016 home court record (it’s also senior day for Indiana) and a Maryland team who could make a statement against a team that captured a crown the Terps feel could easily have been their own. If this was a Big 10 tournament game, I would expect half-court, grind it out, kind of affair.

But under current conditions, this one should be a lively up and down contest in front of a spirited Assemble Hall crowd. I expect college basketball at its best.

For the Terps to be successful, they must use their superior interior play to get good looks inside. The Indiana starting front court duo of Thomas Bryant (6’10”, 245, Fr) and Collin Hartman (6’7”, 215, Jr) is no match defensively for Maryland’s Diamond Stone and Robert Carter Jr.

I anticipate Indiana will give significant minutes to Max Bielfeldt (6’8”, 240, Sr) in an attempt to slow down the bigger Maryland team. The Terp advantage inside must be exploited if they hope to hang with Indiana’s outside firepower. Indiana is only ninth in the BIG 10 in field goal percentage defense and their inability to defend the interior is the reason why.

Offensively, the formula for Maryland is to pound it inside on every possession and hit the three-pointer when Indiana elects to double down low.

Indiana presents problems for opposing defenses because almost every player they put on the court can, and will, hurt you from the outside. To compound the issue, if you play up on them, you subject yourself to a “blow by” with the result being a short jumper or dump off bucket. Setting everything up for Indiana offensively is the leader of that pack, All American candidate, Yogi Ferrell.

Ferrell is lightning fast, has a quick release, and hits 44% of his three point shots. His shiftiness makes him hard to guard and he promises to be a real handful for any potential Maryland defender.

Ferrell averages almost 18 PPG and is as much more the centerpiece of this Indiana team than Melo Trimble is for the Terps.

Another double digit scorer for Indiana is their athletic 6’7” 215 lb Junior forward Troy Williams. While hitting only 30% of his three point shots (he’ll take only about three a game), Williams uses his legs to score in other ways and connects on almost 50% of his attempts inside the arc. He gave Maryland trouble twice last year when he connected on over 54% of his shots and went for 17 points in both games.

Biefeldt is shooting more threes than ever in his career and has responded by knocking down 38% of his long range shots. He deserves respect out there, but it’s his inside play that concerns me even more. He possesses a similar build to Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ, and works in the interior in a “Happ-like” manner. He is thick and rugged inside.

Indiana’s Robert Johnson, a 6’3” guard starting guard, may miss this game to an ankle injury suffered two weeks ago.

The key for Maryland today is patience, both offensively and defensively. When they possess the ball, the Terps must work their sets to get the ball into favorable positions down low.

The Terps must make a relentless and sustained effort to take advantage of Indiana’s suspect interior defense.

Maryland can’t quickly settle for three ball, either. Patience on offense is paramount.

On defense, that same patience comes from knowing that for the entire 30 seconds on the shot clock, the Terps defenders have to work through the many screens that the Hoosiers set. Indiana runs precise sets and Maryland needs to understand that they can’t defend for 25 seconds, only to get burned in the remaining five.

Terp coach Mark Turgeon made some nice adjustments in last year’s second Indiana game (a 75-69 Terps win) by allowing his players to switch on almost every screen. It was an effective strategy for Maryland but they played small most of that game.

Guards Dez Wells, Robert Pack, and Melo Trimble each logged over 30 minutes in that contest. Nickens had 17. Turgeon won’t have that option this year and frankly, I don’t think he should go small.

The Terp bigs will have to work away from the basket on defense and contest some Indiana threes. The return will be that, offensively, those same Terp big men will be a real strain on the Indiana defense. The three point shot is a massive influence on college basketball. Some argue, and I fully agree, that it plays too much of a role in deciding the outcome of games.

If Indiana makes threes (they average 10 made per game), and the Terps can’t match that by making some of their own, then it spells defeat for the Terps.

However, Maryland’s inside game can put them over the top as long as they can shoot somewhat effectively from the outside. It may be comforting for Terp fans to note that Indiana turns the ball over even more than the Terps do.

It’s senior day in Indiana, but Yogi Ferrell and the four other seniors walk off the court for the last time…..as losers. The five point underdog Terrapins play their best game of the year behind a massive effort by Carter Jr. Foul trouble hurts Indiana and Maryland secures a 78–72 win to close out their regular season.

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college lax round-up: hopkins, loyola, towson all win

Junior attackman Wilkins Dismuke tallied four goals while senior midfielder Holden Cattoni added three and sophomore attackman Shack Stanwick finished with two goals and three assists as Johns Hopkins won, 17-7, over visiting Princeton in front of 2,028 fans at Homewood Field on Saturday.

No. 11 Johns Hopkins (2-2) ended a two-game losing skid and rebounded from a 15-11 loss to North Carolina at home one week ago. Princeton falls to 1-2.

Senior attackman Ryan Brown was held without a goal for the Blue Jays, snapping a 37-game streak that went all the way back to his freshman year.

At Towson University, the surging Towson Tigers improved to 5-0 with a 14-6 win over UMBC. The 11th ranked Tigers led 9-0 at the half and cruised from there, as ten different players scored goals for Towson.

Alec Burkley won 14 of 21 face-offs for the Tigers, who have yet to allow a team to score more than eight goals in five games thus far this season.

Towson will travel to Johns Hopkins next Saturday, March 12, for a 2 pm showdown with the Blue Jays at Homewood Field.

On the road yesterday, Loyola held on for a 10-9 win at Holy Cross to get back on track following Wednesday's surprising home loss to Towson.

Nine different Greyhounds scored for Loyola, who led at one point 9-4 before the Crusaders rallied to cut the lead to one goal on two occasions late in the game.

Loyola will host #4 Duke next Saturday (11 am) at Ridley Athletic Complex.


mcilroy in control at doral after third round 68

4-time major champion Rory McIlroy posted his third straight under par round at Doral CC on Saturday, posting 4-under 68 to finish at 12-under par and three shots clear of both Dustin Johnson and midway leader Adam Scott.

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A win today at Doral would put Rory McIlroy in the same company as two other guys who turned out to be pretty good; Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.

McIlroy did his damage on the benign par 5 holes at Doral, making birdie on three of the four of them.

Johnson birdied only two of the par 5's and made bogey at #18, hence the 3-shot difference between his scorecard and McIlroy's.

Scott, who won last week at the Honda Classic, stumbled to a one-over par round of 73 and only birdied one of the four par 5 holes.

Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson and Danny Willet are five shots off the pace at 7-under par.

A win today would give McIlroy 12 career wins at just age 26. The only other two players in TOUR history to accomplish that same feat? Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.


Saturday
March 5
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XX
Issue 5

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arrest for something silly fits suggs perfectly


Anytime you see the words "Ravens player" and "arrested" in the same sentence, you hold your breath for a brief second.

There's no telling what you might read next.

Fortunately for the Ravens -- and Terrell Suggs -- yesterday's news that Suggs had been arrested in Arizona early Friday morning turned out to be about as benign as it could possibly be.

For now, at least.

When word initially leaked out via the celebrity/entertainment website TMZ that Suggs had been arrested, our imagination ran wild, naturally. Domestic violence, drinking and driving, after-hours bar fight, recreational drug possession -- those are the crimes we see mostly associated with NFL players these days.

It was natural to presuppose that Suggs was involved in something along those lines. And that wouldn't have been good.

Yesterday's news out of Arizona was at least his fourth brush with the law, but by far the least significant of the four. He was charged with aggravated assault in Arizona back in 2003 and later had a series of highly publicized incidents in 2009 and 2012 with his then-girlfriend when the two lived together in Baltimore.

About a half-hour after the news got out, we learned that the Ravens linebacker had been arrested for driving on a suspended license, which greatly diminshed everyone's level of concern for the incident. I think a great number of us probably didn't even realize you actually CAN get arrested (in some states) for driving on a suspended license.

Crisis avoided.

Maybe.

The official charging documents show Suggs was arrested for the license expiration AND leaving the scene of an accident. He apparently jumped a curb and struck a wall with his vehicle, then drove off without notifying the property owner of the damage his vehicle had caused.

It's not smacking your girlfriend in a hotel elevator, but you're still breaking the law when you've been involved in an accident and you leave without reporting it.

A police video that has surfaced in the last twelve hours features a calm, cooperative Suggs interacting with officers who continue to press him for answers on why he left the scene of an accident without notifying anyone.

He's "with it" enough to point out that people are going to suspect he's been drinking and he stresses to the police officers several times that he realizes the incident "doesn't look good" but that the only thing he's really guilty of is being tired and being a negligent driver.

And, Suggs admits to the officers at the scene that he's in possession of an expired license.

So, for now, there doesn't appear to be anything else associated with the story. It didn't involve alcohol or drugs and no one got hurt, so all is well.

It's here where people might say, "I expect more from Terrell Suggs".

To which I would reply, "Eh, not really..."

This is actually very typical of Suggs, who has been one of the best players at his position over the last dozen years in the NFL, but a guy with little regard at all for order and falling in line.

I was around Suggs a lot during my radio career and found him to be likeable some of the time.

He actually softened over the years, ranging less in mood swings as his stature in the league grew. Where we once found a guy who was hard to reach, Suggs actually became one of the team's best interviews circa 2010.

There were still moments of frustration with him, like his annoying, childish habit of coming into the locker room and turning on his iPod and speaker system while one-on-one interviews were being conducted (sometimes with the player seated directly next to his locker) and raising the volume up to such a degree that it interfered with the media's ability to do their job.

I remember Steve Davis once saying to him, "Hey, Sizzle, can you lower that for us here?" and Suggs saying, "Y'all m***** f****** are funny. You come into my office and tell me what I can and can't do."

And then he left the volume up as if he'd never been asked the question in the first place.

That was a regular stunt of Suggs' that we all came to expect anytime he was in the locker room and the media was in there trying to get their work done.

It's also something Ray Lewis never did. Not once. Ray was more interested in winning football games than shouting "m***** f*****" while the media was recording an interview.

So, yesterday's arrest for something as relatively insignificant as driving on a suspended license is pretty much what you get with Terrell Suggs. Most of us would pay special attention to that sort of thing and not allow our license to expire in the first place. It's easily monitored, but can also easily be forgotten about if you don't think about it.

Leaving the scene of an accident is by far a more serious charge, as it suggests a willful intent to disregard the law. You can forget to renew your license, but you can't forget to stay at the scene of an accident you've just been involved in and, perhaps, caused.

Suggs, though, has always marched to his own beat.

He's been a terrific football player and might someday even make the Hall of Fame.

It's just a shame he never put as much effort into cleaning up his act, personally, as he did in becoming one of the league's most feared pass rushers.

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caps starting to wobble a bit after home loss to rangers?


First things first, I'm NOT panicking over one Friday night home loss to the New York Rangers.

Washington's 3-2 defeat the Verizon Center last night was just the Caps 13th loss in 64 games this season, so it's not like they suddenly can't get out of their own way.

But over the last couple of weeks, things aren't percolating quite like they were in December and January when the Caps were kicking ass and taking names. Maybe it's the inevitable drop-off, slight as it might be, that every good team has at some point during a 6-month season. The other teams are trying, too, remember, and with the playoffs just around the corner, lots of Caps' opponents are scratching and clawing for every point they can get these days.

All that said -- something doesn't look quite right with the Caps.

The Ovechkin-led offense has been stale over the last eighteen games, as they've scored more than four goals ONE time since January 27.

It gets worse. In those 18 games, they've scored THREE goals or less in 14 of them. In fact, how's this for weird? The Caps have now played five consecutive games with a final score of 3-2, winning -- you guessed it -- three of them and losing two (3-2).

They've been squeezing wins out of nothing for the better part of six weeks now. They did it twice earlier this week, edging both Pittsburgh and Toronto in games that practically mirrored one another. Lackluster play, poor passing, no "sizzle" -- and then a goal at just the right time late in the game that wound up being the margin of victory.

This recent "tailspin" -- if that's what a 7-3 record over 10 games is -- wouldn't be that concerning if not for the fact that those of us who have watched the Capitals since 1974 know something unthinkable is part of the Caps' DNA. If you're a longtime fan of the Caps and you believe they aren't capable of a late-season collapse and first-round playoff exit, you probably also watch the Republican and Democratic debates and think, "You know, those candidates aren't that bad after all."

I'm not saying the Caps are going to free-fall and blow up with a month left in the regular season.

But, I don't like what I've been seeing over the last six weeks, particulary on offense.

Like Tiger Woods -- who just HAD to tinker with his golf swing after humiliating the best golfers in the world for a dozen years from 1996-2008 -- the Caps played around with their roster over the last six weeks and added several new players. Time might prove me different, but thus far, I don't see Mike Richards, Daniel Winnick or Mike Weber adding much of anything on the ice.

I'll remain patient with those three (except for Richards, who might barely be better than Michael Latta at this point), but I'm sure hoping Barry Trotz and GM Brian MacLellan didn't violate the "if ain't broke, don't fix it" theory when they added those three guys to a team that was already scorching the rest of the league.

Weber might actually wind up being a key piece, as the Caps needed some backline help, but the other two are looking more and more like Curtis Glencross every time I see them. In other words: they're looking like bad fits.

I'll do what I always do this time of year when it involves the Capitals.

I'll hold out hope that this year, somehow, is going to be different.

I'm still very unconvinced that the playoffs are going to offer anything different than we've seen in the past. I don't know how, who, or why, but I fully expect something dramatically shocking to happen when the playoffs kick-off next month. That's just my pessimistic nature coming out, but after 40 years of Caps' fandom, I know what to expect every April.

Heartbreak.

I sure hope this year is different. But the last eighteen games of sputtering offense have me concerned.

And prepared.

Nothing will surprise me.

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Drew's Fantasy Golf Update

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

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



adam scott continues to roll at doral


You might consider this a shocking admission, but it's the truth. I haven't watched one hole of the golf tournament at Doral over the last two days. It was on the TV in the dining room at Eagle's Nest last night and I glanced up at it a time or two, but I literally haven't seen one player play a complete hole at the World Golf Championships event.

So, I can tell you that Adam Scott is winning at 10-under par and I can see Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson (-8) are both hot on his heels, but I don't know how any of it happened.

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It looks like the switch from the long putter to the standard, short putter hasn't affected Adam Scott one bit, as he leads at Doral through 36 holes.

Because this week's event is a full 72-hole tournament (meaning, no 36-hole cut), every player on your fantasy roster has a chance to earn points over all four days. That's a good thing, except for the fact that everyone you're going up against has that same luxury.

My "official" team at #DMD isn't doing much thus far, but there's two days of golf left to play. I played six cards this week, and, thus far, only one of them is "in the money" at the halfway point. My fantasy game right now is about as good as Justin Rose's putting...close to terrible.

I picked Justin Rose to win this week and he's currently in 52nd place (out of 65 starters) at 4-over par. Maybe he should have stayed up in Jupiter at Seminole CC, where he won the member-guest last Monday with a round of 63.

I thought J.B. Holmes was a good play this week. I thought wrong. Holmes is so bad, he's losing to Rose, with a 5-over par total through 36 holes.

I also liked the chances of David Lingmerth to play well and make me some points at Doral, but thus far, he's 2-over for the tournament after rounds of 74-72.

My other three players are doing much better, thankfully. Kevin Kisner is at even-par through 36 holes, which likely means he can't win the tournament, but a couple of really good rounds could get him in the Top 15 at least.

Then there's Jamie Donaldson, who is at 2-under par after going 70-72 on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

And Charl Schwartzel is humming along nicely in 9th place after 36 holes of play with rounds of 73-67 for a 4-under par total.

It doesn't surprise me to see Adam Scott continuing his excellent play, although I figured he'd start slow and work his way up through the weekend. I mentioned on Wednesday in my Fantasy Golf Preview, presented by Glory Days Grill, that Dustin Johnson was the "sexy pick" for the week and the defending champion is looking awfully solid thus far with rounds of 72-64.

Phil Mickelson apparently got it to 9-under par at one point on Friday and owned a two shot lead before falling apart in the final hour and finishing with 72 for a two-round total of 5-under par.

This should be compelling golf on Saturday and Sunday, what with the big name leaderboard and the final three holes potentially providing lots of drama.

As much as it pains me to say it, I'm thinking this now looks like an event that Bubba Watson might win. I sure hope I'm wrong, but if I could get a $100 bet right now, with odds, I'd probably take Bubba to win.

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perry hall beats springbrook for first regional title ever


It was a night for history at Perry Hall High School on Friday, as the 10th-ranked Gators surprised many with a thrilling 62-60 victory over perennial 4A powerhouse Springbrook, before a capacity crowd in Baltimore County.

The victory delivered Perry Hall the 4A North Region crown, the school’s first regional boys’ basketball title in its 50 year history. The Gators now advance to the 4A State Semifinals on Thursday (7:00 p.m.) at the Xfinity Center where they will face Eleanor Roosevelt.

The Gators (21-3) were powered by their sophomore twin towers LaQuill Hardnett and Anthony Higgs (both stand 6-foot-7), but junior Darrell Green scored the biggest hoop of the night as he layed-in a perfect feed from Higgs for the winning score with just 4.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter. The Gators then survived as Springbrook’s Darren Galvin got off a 6-foot running one-hander, in the paint, which banked off the glass and hopped off the front of the iron as the final buzzer sounded.

“I saw Darrel run open and I just made the pass,” said Higgs in describing his assist that setup Green’s winning score. “I was confident in my teammate. I knew he would make it.”

Perry Hall seemed in thorough command mid-way through the 4th quarter when sophomore Tyler Holley came up with a steal and raced to the rim for a 1-handed slam that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Cornell Brown added a pair of free throws, seconds later, and the Gators led 53-43 with 5:18 left in the game.

The visiting Blue Devils, however, were just getting started.

With Perry Hall's Hardnett on the bench with four fouls, Springbrook scored 9 straight points to close within one, at 53-52, with just under four minutes to play. Coming out of a timeout, Higgs converted a 3-point play to push the Gators’ lead back up to four. After a pair of Springbrook free throws, Higgs scored a tough basket inside and the Gators’ lead was 58-54.

Upon his return, Hardnett added a clutch score to give Perry Hall a 60-56 advantage with 55-seconds to go. Springbrook got a steal and layup by Galvin and, following a Perry Hall turnover, a tying bucket from Marcus Boyd with 14.3 seconds to play.

Perry Hall's Green then scored the eventual game-winning basket with 4.3 left and the Gators survived a last ditch attempt by Springbrook. Mission accomplished.

Hardnett led all scorers with 19 points and had 11 rebounds for a double-double. Higgs finished with 17 points and snared 8 boards. Reese Wiseman, the quarterback for the Perry Hall football team, came off the bench to score 9 clutch points.

“I’m just so proud of the guys, all 13. We wanted it to be special. We wanted to put up the first banner for a regional championship,” said Perry Hall head coach George Panagetou. “We took their best shot. That’s an amazingly good team, with weapons every where. We took their best shot there in the fourth quarter and we were able to survive by two.”

One of the keys for the Gators was their ability to slow Springbrook star Falu Seck, who scored 41 in the Devils huge win over Howard in the sectional finals. Seck did lead Springbrook on Friday with 16 points, but he never got the opportunity to take over the game. Galvin finished with 15 points and Boyd scored 8 for the Devils.

This story was originally written and published by Varsity Sports Network and edited for space at Drew's Morning Dish. For Baltimore and Maryland's best and most up-to-date high school sports coverage, visit www.varsitysportsnetwork.com.


Friday
March 4
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XX
Issue 4

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baltimore college basketball continues to suffer -- but why?

UMBC fired head basketball coach Aki Thomas on Thursday, prompting longtime #DMD reader Kerry Bruce to drop me an e-mail and ask if I'd address the state of local college basketball in a future edition of Drew's Morning Dish.

Ask and ye shall receive, Kerry.

Truthfully, as soon as I heard the news that Thomas had been relieved of his duties, I knew I was going to write something about it here today. But, Kerry's note reinforced that it's a subject worth sharing with you, even if you're not a huge fan of Baltimore's college basketball scene.

In fact, if you ARE a college basketball fan but you don't get out and watch a handful of local games each winter, you're part of the problem. Basketball being a revenue-generating sport, the local schools rely a great deal on ticket sales to help upgrade their respective programs.

The University of Maryland gets $20 million of "free money" from the Big 10. Morgan State would give their right arm for a $30,000 basketball gate three or four times a year.

Attendance -- or lack thereof -- is really a story for another day, though, so we'll leave that for a future edition of #DMD.

The firing of Aki Thomas yesterday wasn't a surprise. UMBC compiled a record of 28-95 in four seasons under Thomas and was a conference bottom feeder in all four of those campaigns. Unlike players, who are generally measured by easily discernable statistics and analytical data, coaches mostly keep their job by doing one thing -- winning. Sure, there are some ancillary factors involved; academics, fund raising, etc., but if a coach loses 95 of 123 games in four seasons, he's in trouble.

But, the move at UMBC was inevitable as soon as the school announced 18 months ago that a new, state-of-the-art sports arena was going to be built on campus in time for the 2017-2018 basketball season. There aren't many things that give a mid-major school hiring leverage, but a new arena is one of them. Unless Thomas somehow got UMBC back to the top of the America East conference -- a tall task indeed -- the writing was on the wall for him, unfortunately.

So, UMBC will now initiate a national search for a new head basketball coach, and much like what Towson University did in 2011 when they hired Pat Skerry, the Retrievers will use the promise of a new arena and better days ahead as a lure for their next leader.

The real question, though, isn't so much "why can't they win consistently at UMBC?", but on a larger scale, "why isn't college basketball in Baltimore more competitive?"

That's not an easy question to answer, but as one of the rare media folks in town who actually covered college basketball during my 12-year radio tenure, I think I have some unique insight on the subject.

For starters, Towson is the only team that's really any good this season out of the five local Division I schools (UMBC, Loyola, Coppin State, Morgan State and Towson). No, before you ask, I do not consider Navy -- which is in Annapolis, for those of you reading this who went to Old Mill High School -- a "local" school.

Towson has a legitimate chance to work their way through the CAA tournament this weekend and win the automatic bid that goes along with it. It wouldn't be a surprise at all if that happens.

But, none of the other four have a chance of winning their conference tournament this month (in fact, UMBC was eliminated on Wednesday in the America East tournament by top seed Stony Brook).

Why isn't Baltimore college basketball better?

It centers on three topics, in my opinion: One, the ability for the coach to use the school's facility as a recruiting tool. Two, the potential for any player coming through the system to feel he has a chance to play "at the next level". Three, the quality of the head coach and the program continuity he builds.

If you have those three going for you at the mid-major level, you have a puncher's chance of enjoying success.

Unlike a number of people currently doing radio sports talk on the Baltimore airwaves, I've been to every college basketball venue in town and, today, there's only one building in Baltimore that a high school kid in Tom's River, New Jersey, Irwin, Pennsylvania or New Haven, Connecticut would see on a recruiting trip and say, "Damn, I'd totally like to play in that place" and it's SECU Arena on the campus of Towson University.

Coppin State's relatively new indoor athletic complex is a huge upgrade over what they had before, but it's not a recruiting advantage. It's just a place to play basketball.

I adore Hill Field House on the campus of Morgan State University. It has character, charm and a beating pulse. But recruiting leverage isn't part of its appeal, for sure.

Loyola's Reitz Arena is only an "arena" because they call it one. It's really a gym with a bunch of seats in it that they've worked hard to transform into something that can be presentable on game night. Whereas their new lacrosse stadium is a recruiting tool, for sure, the basketball venue is very forgetable.

And then there's UMBC, currently playing in the RAC, but heading away from there in a couple of seasons and moving into something much more modern and appealing.

Is it any surprise, then, that Towson -- with the best building of any of the five schools, by far -- has emerged as the current college hoops kingpin in town?

If you're a decent high school player and a few schools in Baltimore are trying to lure you to Charm City to play four years of college basketball, they'll each woo you with stories of their alumni who have gone on to play basketball professionally.

It's simple marketing, but quite the double edged sword, too.

Every high school player worth his salt who gets recruited at the D-1 level thinks about the prospect of playing "at the next level". These days, that isn't pigeon-holed into thinking only about playing in the NBA. Lots of guys are making a great living playing in Turkey, Greece, Amsterdam and elsewhere throughout Europe.

So, when the schools in town start showing off names like Jerrelle Benimon, Gary Neal, Reggie Holmes, Tywain McKee -- just to name four -- a kid's natural hope is, "Maybe that can be someday, making a couple of hundred grand playing in Belgium."

Well, unless he develops into a very special player -- as those four above did -- he isn't going to be playing in Belgium or anywhere else if he spends four years going 28-95 and then going one-and-out in the conference tournament every year.

In order to convince a kid to pick Loyola or Coppin State or UMBC, the coach has to have enough success stories to show him that there are footsteps in place for him to follow. And that's easier said than done, particularly when you go through a rough patch like we've seen all over town for the last few seasons.

It's also no secret that getting your hands on a quality coach and keeping him at the school long enough for him make his own footprint on the program is largely responsible for the wins and losses.

In my opinion, over the last decade, Baltimore has only had four truly outstanding head basketball coaches.

Ron "Fang" Mitchell (Coppin State), Todd Bozeman (Morgan State), Jimmy Patsos (Loyola) and Pat Skerry (Towson).

It's not a fluke that Coppin State, Morgan State and Loyola all went to the NCAA tournament under the above-referenced coaches. Skerry is the only one without a trip to March Madness, and that's coming sooner rather than later, that's for sure.

You can't win in college basketball without making a major investment in your head coach and then giving him the resources he needs to assemble the sort of coaching and training staff of his choosing.

There's probably no better piece of evidence in town of this "theory" than Loyola University. The Greyhounds were bottom feeders before Jimmy Patsos showed up in 2004. They struggled for a few years until Patsos got the pieces in place that HE wanted, then Loyola became a perennial MAAC title contender before they finally won the conference tournament in 2012 and played in the NCAA tournament.

But Patsos and the administration butted heads, he left for a great job at Siena, and Loyola is now trying to figure out a way to win the Patriot League title.

It's simple: Loyola University basketball hasn't been the same since they let Jimmy Patsos get away.

Towson -- sometimes I think by accident -- has figured it out. They've invested heavily in Pat Skerry, the new SECU Arena is a wonderful recruiting tool, and the CAA is a little more balanced now that the likes of George Mason, Old Dominion and VCU are no longer in the conference. If only people would go to the games at Towson, they'd have themselves a true four-leaf clover.

UMBC is now in prime position to be Baltimore's next "up and comer". While the America East conference has been owned by two schools recently -- Albany and Stony Brook -- it's easy to see the cyclical nature of that mid-major conference. Vermont and Boston University were really, really good for a period of time (ironically, when both schools had excellent head coaches; Mike Lonergan at Vermont, Dennis Wolff at BU), now it's Albany and Stony Brook who reign supreme.

With their new arena on the way, the Retrievers are in great position to enhance their reputation and attract better players to the program. Their first order of business is to find themselves a really good head coach, which is much easier to do when he knows he won't be recruiting with a brochure of the RAC arena in his hand.

Oh, and the new guy at UMBC will be inheriting a VERY decent nucleus of players, assuming they all stay in the wake of the Aki Thomas firing.

Jairus Lyles -- a transfer from VCU -- just set the all-time sophomore scoring record at UMBC, averaging 23 points per-game. Joe Sherburne is a sharp-shooter with a nice touch and a perfect compliment to Lyles and his slash-and-dash style. Rodney Elliott and Will Darley are two local high school products who are legitimately improving players, although some would argue Elliott's role changed and diminished, in fact, with the emergence of Lyles this season. Darley just scored 32 points against Stony Brook on Wednesday night in the conference tournament loss.

The new UMBC coach will start his tenure with some effective pieces already in place.

And a new building in the offing.

If they make the right hire, UMBC has a chance to make some real progress over there on Wilkens Avenue.

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from the desk of

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


nfl draft preview, ranking players 5-to-1


For the end of the week, it's time to wrap up my list of the top 15 (non-quarterback) prospects in this year's draft with the top five.


5. Ronnie Stanley- OT, Notre Dame

Stanley has been linked to the Ravens in a lot of mock drafts, and while that would probably upset a lot of Ravens fans dreaming of getting a new top athlete at a skill position, Stanley is definitely a top talent and someone that can help any team right away. He's a top notch athlete himself, having excelled at basketball in high school, and his reach and foot work are superb.

Stanley has a high motor and finishes his blocks, and can ride most edge rushers up field consistently. He does need to work on run blocking to truly excel at the next level, but pass blocking is of prime importance for a left tackle, and in that case Stanley is a guy who can be plugged in to just about any starting lineup right away and do a great job of guarding the blind side.


4. Vernon Hargreaves II- CB, Florida

Somehow I think Hargreaves is the most underappreciated talent at the high end of this draft. It's probably because the size and athleticism of fellow defensive back Jalen Ramsey is catching everyone's eye, but the real class of this year's secondary group is Hargreaves, without a doubt in my mind.

Everyone acknowledges that he's the best cover corner in the draft, but even that is underselling what he brings to the table. Has incredibly fluid hips that allows him to change direction almost effortlessly, he can execute every technique in the book for corners, and his football instincts are absolutely first rate. When you watch Hargreaves on tape, he's the epitome of a shut down corner who can cover anyone all game long. The knock on him is his size and length, but at some point what these guys are capable of doing on the field has to take precedence over how close to a prototypical body they are or how well they work out in shorts.

No, Hargreaves might not be as big or as long-armed as Ramsey, but his athleticism, instincts, ball skills, and fundamental excellence more than make up for a couple of inches in height. Mark my words; this guy is going to be a stud, and if someone in the top five picks Ramsey ahead of Hargreaves, they're going to really regret it sooner rather than later.


3. Laremy Tunsil- OT, Ole Miss

Now we get into the group that I think is clearly the class of this draft, and a clear cut above everyone else, beginning with the guy just about everyone expects to go number one overall if Tennessee doesn't find a quarterback needy team to swap picks with. Tunsil is perhaps the most pro-ready prospect in the draft, and when he was on the field in 2015 he really looked like a man above boys at times. His footwork is excellent, as is his technique in pass blocking.

He's not always the strongest blocker at times, but that could easily change given some time in an NFL strength program. Injuries have been a bit of an issue, although he was cleared to play this year after getting hurt in a bowl game to end 2014. Some character issues may raise red flags, although no one in the NFL really cares about "impermissible benefits" in college and reports surrounding a domestic assault incident were that he was defending his mother from his stepfather, which would certainly be mitigating circumstances.

On the field, however, there simply aren't many negatives about this guy, and what flaws there are are easily fixable with the physical maturation of growing into his frame.


2. DeForest Buckner- DE/OLB, Oregon

While I can't bring myself to give him the top spot on this list, in Buckner I see the player who probably has the most potential of any player in this draft. At 6'7'' and 290 pounds he's got a prototypical body for a 5-technique lineman, and he should make an immediate and major impact in that role if a 3-4 team drafts him. Strong at the point of attack with great power and hands, Buckner absolutely swallows running backs with his long arms and freakish tackling range from the interior line, and he's athletic enough that his pass rushing abilities should come along quickly as well.

Already collapses the pocket extremely well as a bull rusher, and with the addition of a couple of moves to his arsenal should be able to beat blockers off the snap thanks to those long arms and strong hands as well. Does play really tall at times and needs to put a lot of work in to consistently keeping his pads low, but the upside on Buckner is absolutely tremendous, and he should be a very special player down the road in his career.


1. Joey Bosa- DE/OLB, Ohio State

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Ohio State's Joey Bosa is the #1 player available in this year's college draft according to #DMD's Brien Jackson.

There's been some last minute debate on Bosa's status as the top prospect in the draft in some circles, but I'm not having any of it. This is a guy who was seen as the best prospect in this class as early as midway through the 2014 college season, and there's absolutely no reason for that to have changed.

I've literally seen every single game this guy has played in college, and I'll be darned if I can point you to a serious flaw in his game. The body is there. The hand and foot work is there. The motor is first rate. No, he doesn't have the speed off the edge that Myles Jack or Noah Spence have, but then, there's a reason those guys weren't as productive or highly touted as Bosa in college too.

He's certainly good enough in terms of technique and athleticism to play as a stand-up guy in a 3-4, even if he is more of a bull-rusher than a speed rusher. The idea that he "disappeared" at times this season is laughable: The only time you didn't see him making an impact was when he was being double, or even triple, teamed.

The guy was flat-out unblockable one-on-one, as he showed early in the Fiesta Bowl before being ejected for targeting. Not the hardest hitter in the world, but he's certainly stronger at taking on ball carriers than the other outside linebackers in this draft.

Bottom line: This guy is just an incredibly gifted football player who does basically everything well, and who no one at his level of competition was able to block one-on-one, even as a sophomore. You may need a flexible defensive coordinator to really get max value out of him by giving him some time standing up, sometime with his hand in the dirt, and maybe even some time in the interior line, but there simply isn't any better prospect from a tape/measurables/workout standpoint than Bosa, and anyone who says differently is just trying too hard to prove they're smarter than everyone else.

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Terps Spotlight

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


terps roll over illinois, 81-55


It was senior night last night at the XFINITY Center when the Maryland Terps wrapped up their home schedule against the Illinois Fighting Illini. It was obvious from the start that Terp head coach Mark Turgeon and his team had work to do.

Eschewing the tradition of starting each of his seniors in their last home game, Turgeon left Varun Ram and Trevor Anzmann on the bench and Maryland jumped out to a 7-0 lead on their way to an 81-55 win. The Terps bombed in 14 three point shots and Jake Layman had a strong 18 points for the Terps while Melo Trimble added 18 of his own.

Any hopes that the Fighting Illini had of pulling the upset and ruining senior night for senior starters Jake Layman and Rasheed Sulaimon ended early when Illinois missed their first seven shots.

The Terps, who weren’t particularly sharp offensively in the first half, managed to forge a ten point halftime lead behind eight points by Jered Nickens and seven by Melo Trimble. Nickens gained some extra minutes in the half as Turgeon frequently decided to go small with Diamond Stone logging only nine minutes in the first twenty.

For the half, Illinois shot 9-26 from the field and made only one of seven shots from behind the three point line. The Terps were ahead 31-21 at the break.

The second half was all Maryland. It took them barely over four minutes to extend the lead to seventeen points.

Three pointers by Trimble, Layman, and Nickens gave the Terps a 42-25 lead at the 15:49 mark of the second half. Illinois was able to get the deficit down to 11 at one point, but a Layman three, two foul shots by Jaylen Brantley, and two free throws by Melo Trimble after a technical foul on Illinois coach John Groce pushed the lead to 18.

With 10:41 left in the game. Maryland would never look back. The lead would get as high as thirty and Maryland would wind up with an 81-55 victory.

When the Terps have a half where they hit 10 of 13 threes and 8 of 14 twos, (as they did last night) there aren’t many teams that can stay with them.

Jake Layman was especially impressive last night. His totals were good, with 18 points and seven rebounds, but it was his ability to finish inside that was most memorable. Several times he caught passes close to the basket and with nothing more than a quick hop flushed home a strong dunk. His one handed jam over Illini center Maverick Morgan was highlight reel worthy.

Maryland also welcomed back Melo Trimble’s offensive game last night. Trimble made seven of fourteen shots from the floor, including two of four from the three point line, while pouring in his 18 points. He looked a half step quicker and had a bit more lift on his jumper.

When it was all said and done last night, the Terps did what a good team should do against a mediocre squad having an off night shooting the ball. They blew them out, setting up the regular season finale on the road at Indiana this Sunday at 4:30.

Indiana has already wrapped up the regular season BIG 10 title, while Maryland has earned the double bye for the conference tournament next week.

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

MATTHEW CARROLL

With losses by three of the top four teams in the league, the point that Leicester City earned in their 2-2 draw with West Brom surprisingly provided the Foxes with more breathing room at the top of the table as we enter Matchweek 29 of the Barclays Premier League. There is sure to be more movement at the top following the weekend’s conclusion, when two teams in the top four square off in a massive London Derby that is sure to have repercussions throughout the league table as we head into the final ten weeks of the season. Set the alarm early and catch all of the action live on the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Saturday, March 5 (all times eastern)

7:45am – Arsenal @ Tottenham – White Hart Lane, NBC Sports Network

With a Premier League title in both their sights, one of the most anticipated North London Derby’s in recent memory will kick off the weekend action when Arsenal travel across town to take on Tottenham at White Hart Lane, with substantially more than just local bragging rights on the line this time around. With Leicester City’s draw the day before, Spurs missed a chance to go top of the table when they lost 1-0 at West Ham United on Wednesday, while Arsenal’s third straight defeat across all competitions kept them six points adrift of the league leaders following their 2-1 defeat at home to lowly Swansea City.

This is the first time since 2010 that Arsenal have lost three in a row and the slump in form, which has seen the one-time league leaders earn only two wins in their last eight league matches, could not have come at a worse time, as they have not only stumbled in the league but also trail by a two goal deficit going into the second leg of their Champions League knockout round matchup with Barcelona. It will be all hands on deck for the Gunners against a Spurs side fighting for their first league title in fifty-five years and who have lost only once in their last seven games (W6) and only twice all year at home (W8 L2 D4).

10am – Stoke City @ Chelsea – Stamford Bridge, NBC Live Extra

A Kenedy strike just thirty-nine seconds in, the fastest goal in the top flight this season, sent Chelsea on their way to a 2-1 victory over Norwich City to move the defending league champions back into the top half of the table for the first time since August while the loss, coupled with Sunderland’s draw with Crystal Palace, moved the Canaries back into the relegation zone. With ten games remaining, the Blues will look to continue their steady rise up the table when they welcome Stoke City, who picked up their third win a row with a 1-0 mid-week victory over Newcastle United, to Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Chelsea have now won three straight league matches for the first time since April of last year and enter the weekend matchup in a much place then they were when the sides met in the reverse fixture in November, when Stoke took all three points from the Blues for just the second time in their last fifteen league meetings. Three points ahead of the Blues and with their eyes set on a place in Europe next season, the Potters have been outscored by a sixteen goal margin (18-2) in their last seven league matches at The Bridge, failing to take any points in the trips to the capital.

Sunday, March 6 (all times eastern)

8:30am – Liverpool @ Crystal Palace – Selhurst Park, NBC Sports Network

Liverpool pulled the season double to enact a measure of revenge for Sunday’s Capital One Cup final setback in a convincing 3-0 victory over Manchester City. The win moved the Reds up to eighth place in the table on forty-one points and all but crushed City’s title hopes, as the Citizens sit ten points back of Leicester even with a game in hand. Liverpool will look to avoid any hangover when they travel to Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace in Sunday’s early kickoff, with Palace looking to build on their 2-2 draw with Sunderland, just the second time they have earned points in their last nine games (D2 L7).

Crystal Palace have not won since a mid-December victory over Stoke City and while the draw mid-week and their progression past Tottenham in the FA Cup are positive signs for a side that has too often been grasping at air in the seasons second half, they remain the only Premier League club yet to win a league match in 2016, a run that has curtailed a once promising start to the campaign, dropping them from fifth place in the table all the way down to fourteenth. That could change this weekend against a Liverpool side who they have beaten in three of the last four, losing just once in the last seven at Selhurst Park.


Thursday
March 3
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Issue 3

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a hint for new parents: teach your kid to throw a football


There was a time, not that long ago, when a torn ACL was career threatening. Joe Flacco tore his ACL in November and picked up a $40 million check yesterday.

Medicine, athletes, money -- it's all changed a lot over the last 25 years, as Flacco can attest now that his new contract has been announced and we learn he just set a record for the highest signing bonus ($40M) in league history.

And how's this for funny? Flacco's new deal called for $44 million in guaranteed money (the signing bonus plus a $4 million guaranteed salary in 2016) and when presented with its final structure on Tuesday, the veteran quarterback told his agent and Ozzie Newsome, "OK, thanks. I'm going to go home and sleep on it."

Because that's what makes Flacco the curious, interesting guy that he is, Joe did indeed do just that.

Then he called Joe Linta on Wednesday morning and accepted the new deal.

Sure, it was all as predictable as the sun rising in the East this morning, but the marriage between the Ravens and Joe Flacco appears stronger than ever.

When your "attachments" over the last 15 years have included the likes of Kyle Boller, Anthony Wright, Chris Redman and Troy Smith, not to mention a watered-down, half-priced version of Steve McNair, it's easy to renew your vows to Flacco AND give him gobs more money to stick around for the next six years.

All Flacco has ever done in Baltimore is win.

His detractors will point to 2015, naturally, since that's the only time in eight seasons under Flacco the team DIDN'T win, but they'll fail to recognize the other seven as success stories tied to the quarterback.

The realist looks at Flacco for what he became and what he still is, frankly: A franchise changer.

Before Flacco, the Ravens were a quarterbacking mess. Except for Vinny Testaverde, who was pretty decent in '96 and 97, the Ravens quarterbacking roster has resembled a Peanuts cartoon. Charlie Brown, Linus, Schroeder -- they all gave it a shot and failed miserably.

And even when they finally did convince someone of quality to come here -- Elvis Grbac in 2001 -- he threw a shoe and had to be eased over the final furlong.

Then Flacco got drafted in 2008 and everything changed for the better.

Newsome clearly agrees, saying about Flacco at yesterday's press conference, “On his shoulders stands the success of this organization over the last eight years."

True that.

If there was any doubt at all that Newsome and the Ravens should count their blessings with #5 behind center, the general manager was reminded of how daunting the search can be for a legit quarterback during the recent NFL combine. “In spending time with numerous GMs over the last week over at the combine, they all dread the day when they don’t have a quarterback, and what you do to have to go and get one," Newsome said. "We’re fortunate to have one. In my mind, having Joe for the next six years, I think his best football is still ahead of him.”

This all started as a result of the contract Flacco signed after the Ravens won the Super Bowl in February of 2013. The two sides were one million apart prior to the 2012 campaign when Flacco now-famously told Steve Bisciotti, "You know what...no thanks. I'll be back after we win a Super Bowl and then you'll have to pay me a lot more."

That turned out to be the worst one million dollar mistake of Bisciotti's historically strong business career. Flacco went from turning down $92 million to winning a Super Bowl, getting a new $130 million dollar deal (including $29M up front), then re-doing the deal at the half-way point and picking up another $44 million in guaranteed cash for that effort.

I went to Glen Burnie High School so I'm not going to fool you with fancy math because I don't know any. Most of my math skills are centered on this theme -- "OK, I hit it in the right rough off the tee, hit 7-iron to the front of the green, putted it five feet past the hole, made the putt for par. That adds up to four shots."

But even with my limited math abilities, I know this much: Bisciotti cost himself a lot of money by not just handing over that extra million bucks to Flacco in 2012.

Helping the Ravens save six million dollars on their 2016 salary cap cost the Ravens some immediate cash, but it also evened out the initial contract's impact over the next few years, which was the whole idea for doing this exercise in the first place.

So, everyone wins here, which is also the sign of good deal done well.

The Ravens keep their elite quarterback, Flacco can afford the really good seats at the Coldplay concert in Philly this summer, and the fans in Baltimore can rest easy knowing that the Ravens aren't going to look like the Bills, Rams, Jaguars or Browns anytime soon.

All the team needs to do now is get the quarterback some much needed help at the wide receiver position and they might be cooking with fire again sometime soon. It might be a little too ambitious to think the Ravens can hop right back into the playoff fire in 2016 -- they have more holes than Leon Spinks' teeth -- but it won't be long before a revamped Ravens roster is once again playing January football.

Thanks to Flacco's new deal, the task of getting back to the post-season got some much needed help yesterday.

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from the desk of

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


nfl draft preview, ranking players 6-10


Before I get into the next five prospects on my top 15 (non-quarterbacks) Big Board, I suppose I ought to offer up a word on the big news that the Ravens and Joe Flacco reached an agreement on a contract extension/re-structuring that lowers his 2016 cap number from $28.5 million to somewhere around $22 million.

The thing is; I don't have much to say that hasn't already been said. The Flacco saga has never interested me, mostly because there was never any question this was going to get done, in basically this fashion.

It was 100% baked into the cake the second Flacco signed the original contract, with the structure of cap dispursement it had, and it's just part of the deal teams have with "franchise quarterbacks" these days. The players get big money, no doubt, but they also become intrinsically linked with the franchise itself and thus have to play ball on moving around cap hits and making the financials work for everyone.

All of the "elite" quarterbacks do it, and Flacco is certainly in that broad group now.

Going forward, however, things are different. The new deal eschews the possibility of YOOOOGE, to borrow a phrase, cap savings this year in favor of a much flatter structure that presents much less liability in the future.

The Ravens will actually save money against the cap if they cut Flacco beginning in the first year of the extension, and none of the money owed in the final year of the contract is guaranteed, meaning the team could cut him and save the entire $24 million he'd be owed that season.

He'll be 34 that year, and this certainly suggests the Ravens aren't (necessarily) looking to make a commitment to Flacco deep into his 30's at this point, but they are prepared to build around him for the next three or four years and, as John Harbaugh said, he's in large part a partner in the franchise building at this point.

That's the nature of being a franchise quarterback in the NFL these days.

Brien's Top 15 NFL Draft Prospects: 6-10

Yesterday I busted out the bottom third of my top 15 available NFL prospects (exlcuding quarterbacks), and it was 100% comprised of defensive front seven prospects. Today we actually get some offensive players in the mix, though that's evenly balanced with MORE defensive linemen (are you getting an idea of where the depth in this class is?).

10. Robert Nkemdiche- DE/DT, Ole Miss

Another guy who has everything you want in a football sense, but may be drug down by off field issues.

In December, Nkemdiche got drunk in an Atlanta hotel room, fell out of a fourth floor window, and subsequently got busted for pot possession. He now claims he was only drunk, not smoking, and only got pinched because the hotel room was in his name and no one else would own up to having the illegal substance. It's not clear anyone really buys this story, however, or that anyone thinks simply getting drunk and falling out of a hotel window is significantly less bad than having some pot on you.

As far as the athletic measurables go, however, Nkemdiche checks all of the boxes. He's extremely lean and athletic, and possesses a quick move that makes him hard to block in the interior or rushing from the defensive end position in a 4-3 set. He's fundamentally sound against the run and, in many ways, nearly a prototypical defensive lineman for the modern NFL.

And yet, for all of that, the former top high school prospect has really underwhelming numbers in his college career, and accusations of a poor work ethic dog him. I'm always a guy who sees "effort concerns" as a major red flag, so I'm probably even extending myself here, but if he gets that straightened out Nkemdiche looks like a sure fire Pro Bowler for many years to come.


9. Myles Jack- OLB, UCLA

Jack has the inside line on the title of "best athlete" in this draft, in my opinion, and it won't surprise me at all if he has the best career of any player drafted in 2016. Primarily a linebacker, he got time as a running back at UCLA as well and actually won Defensive AND Offensive Rookie of the Year awards in the Pac-12 in 2013.

He has elite speed that allows him to rush off the edge and chase route runners over the middle of the field, and if allowed to play loose in a 3-4 system could make a huge impact right away. I've even seen people suggest he could play anywhere from DE in a 4-3 to safety or even running back at the NFL level as well. He doesn't have the kind of length you like to see in an edge rusher, however, though his athleticism mostly makes up for it.


8. Laquan Treadwell- WR, Ole Miss

Here's the guy I don't know how to rank. I really like Treadwell and see an awful lot in him to make me think he's going to be a darn good NFL receiver. He's a plus route runner with size and physicality who shows the kind of fight for contested balls that's going to make him a great red zone threat at the next level.

He gets compared to Brandon Marshall a lot, and that's a comp that I really see. The question about him is speed. He doesn't flash burner top speed at all, and he opted not to run at the combine, preferring instead to train further and run the 40 at his pro day next month.

I personally don't think you need to know 40 times when you see a playmaker like this on tape, and indeed there are plenty of receivers who ran 4.6 or 4.7 times who turn into premier playmakers relative to the burners once you put them in pads and line them up across from someone who wants to hit them. Treadwell is a top ten prospect either way in my book, but if he runs in the 4.5 range he may move up into the top five.


7. Ezekiel Elliot- RB, Ohio State

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"The best running back prospect to leave college since Adrian Peterson" - #DMD's Brien Jackson.

Easily my most conflicted pick, if only because I'm worried the homer-factor might be causing me to overrate him a bit. And let me be clear; I absolutely think running backs are generally wildly overvalued by most evaluators and fans and that, for the most part, they're the definition of a dime a dozen in the NFL.

But as far as offensive playmakers go, it's really hard to see what "Zeke" is lacking. He's got great agility that lets him make quick cuts, elite breakaway speed once he gets into the open field AND enough physicality to break tackles in the second level. And he's a fantastic pass catcher and good at blitz pickup to boot.

All in all, he's probably not worth a top 12 pick just because of the position, but by 14-17 some team is going to get a really good value and a great offensive weapon by picking the guy who is, in my view, the best running back prospect to leave college since Adrian Peterson.


6. Jalen Ramsey- DB, Florida State

This ranking may be controversial, because most people see Ramsey as one of the elite talents in the draft, but I just don't see it myself, and I think I might even be overvaluing him just because everyone else thinks so highly of him.

First, the positives. Yes, he's a world class athlete with splendid size and length. At his best, he can run down anyone, run over open field blocks, and absolutely lay the wood on receivers and running backs in the open field. That length makes him difficult to overcome in zone coverage as well, with his long wingspan closing off throwing lanes and giving Ramsey a large coverage area.

But once you get past that raw athletic ability, there's not a whole lot else about Ramsey that even looks like a top ten pick. His natural instincts in coverage are lacking, and he relies heavily on that athletic ability to make up for it, something that will hurt him at the professional level where the athleticism gap is much smaller between even the best and worst athletes.

Even many of Ramsey's boosters seem to recognize this, touting the fact that he's an excellent safety prospect as well as a cornerback of proof of his "versatility," except that if he's actually a capable corner this is irrelevant since no one is going to take a lockdown corner and ask them to play safety.

With only 3 interceptions in his college career he hasn't shown plus ball skills, and reminds me a lot more of Kenny Vacarro or Mark Barron than Eric Berry and Ed Reed. He also clearly takes plays off at times, especially when a play goes long to the opposite side of the field, which is as big a turnoff for me as anything a college player can do.

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umbc scares top-seeded stony brook before falling in america east tourney

UMBC junior forward Will Darley (Dulaney H.S.) tied a school record by converting eight 3-point field goals, but the Retrievers were outscored, 27-9, from the charity stripe and dropped an 86-76 decision to top-seeded Stony Brook in the America East playoff quarter-final round last night at IFCU Arena.

Sophomore guard Jarius Lyles scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half and added a team-high 10 rebounds and six assists to complement Darley, who contributed a career-high 32 points in the season-ending defeat for the Retreivers.

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Former Dulaney High School standout scored a career-high 32 points in UMBC's loss to Stony Brook in last night's America East conference tournament.

Three-time America East Player of the Year Jameel Warney had a monster game for the Seawolves, scoring 27 points and adding 23 rebounds.

UMBC (7-25) was whistled for 31 fouls, tying a season-high and three Retriever post players fouled out . Stony Brook (24-6) had 50 opportunities from the line and converted 27, while UMBC was 9-of-17. The Retrievers, who employed a zone defense, entered the game with 70 more attempts at the line than their opponents.

Darley took over the contest at the 11:04 mark of the first half, hitting his initial trey to tie the game at 17-all. He scored 13 consecutive Retriever points and converted an amazing six consecutive threes to give UMBC a 43-35 lead with 3:45 to play in the stanza. But SBU rallied, blanking UMBC in the final 3:45 and scored the final nine points of the half to take a 44-43 lead into the break.

The second-half was a back and forth affair with Stony Brook eventually pulling out to a 68-62 advantage with just under six minutes remaining in the game.

UMBC wouldn't quit, though, and Darley swished his final trey of the night to cut the deficit to 72-71 with 3:49 to play. Warney would score on the next two SBU possesions and the Retrievers could not rally down the stretch.

Lyles set a school record by finishing the year with a 23.0 scoring average. Rick Moreland held the previous mark at 22.6 points per game in 1982-83.


towson shocks loyola in college lax showdown

Six different Towson Tigers scored goals, including a five-point day from junior attackman Joe Seider (4g, 1a), as the 11th ranked Tigers (4-0) ended an 8-game losing streak to Loyola by defeating the host Greyhounds, 10-8, on Wednesday afternoon at Ridley Athletic Complex.

Loyola was ranked 5th in the country with early-season wins over Virginia and Johns Hopkins, but Towson's balanced attacked was the story of the day as the Tigers beat Loyola for the first time since 2007.

Ben McCarty had two goals for the Tigers while Ryan Drenner had three assists and now has 10 points in Towson's last two games.

Towson has yet to allow more than eight goals in any of its four games played to date.

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drew's new "wine winner" is available at the wine merchant

I always say this: It doesn't have to be a $40.00 bottle of wine that lights up your meal -- or your night.

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Yet another great value that you can find at The Wine Merchant on Falls Road in Lutherville!

I found a $12 bottle at The Wine Merchant that's just awesome and wanted to share it with you today.

If your someone who doesn't like to bowled over with the impact of your wine -- and there are LOTS of people like that -- then La Maialina Chianti is perfect for you!

It's an awesome fit for just about any pasta dish you cook up and I found it goes great with a fresh salad and strawberries. If you're able, you might even detect a hint of cherry or strawberry when you take that first sip of this outstanding, well-priced Chianti that's available from our friends at The Wine Merchant.

I love discovering wine gems. Sure, I'm a fan of the big, bold Cabernet bottles and there's always excellence to be found in a $40 bottle of wine, but you can truly spend $10-$15 and get a GREAT bottle of wine, too.

That's why I'm always hanging around The Wine Merchant on Falls Road! That place is filled with wine gems.

And I really found one with this La Maialina Chianti. If you get in there, you'll see our #DMD promotional card on the box, proclaiming La Maialina Chianti this week's "Wine Winner".

Take it home (well, buy it first, then take it home), open it up, give it about 20-30 minutes, and then pour yourself a nice glass or two. And e-mail me to tell me how much you like it and I'll use your review in a future edition of #DMD.

Wednesday
March 2
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Issue 2

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even with their blemishes, i still say birds are division champs


I'm calling it today: Warts and all, the Orioles are winning the American League East in 2016.

I wanted to call it yesterday -- as the Grapefruit League season opened for the Birds -- but I got wrapped up in the Oscar-Robertson-had-too-much-Nyquil-and-said-some-dumb-stuff story.

I'm back today, though, making the call on March 2nd.

The Orioles are winning the American League East.

Baseball nerds with their calculators and fancy math equations are going to disagree, I'm sure. Heck, our own baseall expert, Brien Jackson, wrote here last weekend that he sees the Orioles more of a last place team than first place team.

I'm buying in.

Buying into the bats. The offense. The defense. And the bullpen.

Is it odd to not have a left-handed starting pitcher in the rotation, as the Orioles don't?

Sure, that's definitely a quirky part of their roster that seems like something that could hold a team back. I mean, if the Orioles come across a team with four or five good left-hitters, you'd assume the roster with the lefties has an advantage in that series.

But, just because you start the season without a southpaw in the starting rotation doesn't mean you end the season without one. Once they try it the cheap way, aka Brian Matusz, and that doesn't work, they'll figure something out. Maybe they'll grab a lefty at the trade deadline.

Who knows, maybe one of Duquette's dumpster diving missions will unearth someone like Rich Hill, who stunk four years ago and looked like a world beater at times last season.

Either way, I'm concerned about the absence of a lefty starter, but not enough to change my mind.

I'm not overly thrilled at the thought of Mark Trumbo running around in right field, either, because it brings two issues into the equation. One, Trumbo isn't that great with the glove and he might be the kind of guy who suffers at the plate when he suffers in the field. Two, Nolan Reimold might earn his 11th of 9 lives with the ballclub.

Mark Reynolds was kinda-sorta like that when he patrolled third base for the Orioles circa 2011. He couldn't field worth a lick. And the more his glove embarrassed him, the more he seemed to press at the plate. Once Buck got tired of seeing him muff two grounders a game and strike out three times, he smartened up and moved him to first base.

It wasn't a "career changer" for Reynolds, per se, but the move to first base seemed to help his overall baseball-esteem, which got his bat in working order again. Or so it seemed to me.

Once Trumbo shows he can't do it in right field to Buck's liking, maybe he goes to first base and Chris Davis slides out to right field. That's an acceptable thought.

Nolan Reimold being the right fielder is NOT an acceptable option, and that's the other issue I see cropping up as a result of the Orioles failing to add a qualified right fielder in the off-season.

Because Buck likes who Buck likes, there's a pretty good chance Reimold is running down that orange carpet on Opening Day, April 4.

I don't get it. The guy has had more failed comebacks than David Lee Roth. But, somehow, Reimold hangs around.

Either way, though, the O's can survive, even with no right fielder and no real lead-off hitter of note.

I've always thought the lead-off hitter concept is sort of overstated. As far as I know, unless you're playing a doubleheader, you can only actually lead-off the game once a day.

I get the concept of what a good lead-off guy is supposed to bring to the table; speed, on-base percentage, a good eye at the plate, the ability to get things going.

Well, I agree with that, but isn't that what virtually EVERY player with a bat in his hand is supposed to do? To me, it doesn't matter if he bats first or fifth. Standing up there and striking out impacts me the same no matter where you bat in the lineup.

So, the "no lead-off hitter" issue isn't that concerning to me. Someone will bat in the number one slot and he won't be a scrub, unless Showalter puts J.J. Hardy in there just to get the game started off with an out every day.

I know what you're thinking by now: "Gee, Drew, for a guy who thinks the Orioles are winning the division, how come you haven't praised them yet?"

Fair question.

I wanted to get the bad stuff out of the way, first.

The Orioles are going to win the division because they'll score more runs than everyone else.

Yes, I realize they have to allow less, too, and they will, but the difference between the Orioles and the rest of the teams in the A.L. East will be offense. The O's have it -- a lot of it, in fact -- and the others don't have nearly as much.

Toronto is potent offensively, I recognize that. I'm simply buying stock in the old "market correction" theory as it relates to the Blue Jays.

Just like Jordan Spieth isn't winning the Masters next month because he's not winning two years in a row, the Blue Jays aren't having back to back blow-the-cover-off-the-ball years in the A.L. East.

Much like most of Toronto's line-up could sting you in a variety of ways a year ago, so, too, can the Orioles in 2016. With the exception of Hardy, and Reimold when he plays, the rest of the guys in the lineup are actually (potentially) productive major league hitters.

Well, OK, let's at least be honest and admit we don't REALLY know what Hyun Soo Kim is going to do in left field. He could light it up or he could flop like a Duke basketball player with five seconds left in a two point game.

I'm not someone who automatically buys into players coming over here from Korea, Japan, etc., and automatically transferring their prowess from one league to the other. The fact that Kim showed up here looking like the little brother of ex-WWE wrestler Yokozuna was definitely a concern. It shows, among other things, that he might not realize how athletic you need to be to play at the major league level for six straight months.

Now, back to the good stuff.

Offense, offense, offense.

The Birds will score more than enough runs to beat everyone else. Our starting rotation doesn't look all that imposing, granted, but they don't need to pitch to an E.R.A. of 3.25 in order for the Orioles to win.

Just tune up the bats, get everyone the playing time they need so their fragile egos aren't damaged, and off we go.

The bullpen is terrific, the defense is more than adequate (just don't hit it to right field, please) and we have one of the best half dozen managers in the big leagues.

And I just renewed my mini-plan for the season, so there's two more seats in the stadium that they've filled without trying.

Bring on the rest of the weaklings in the American League East.

It's time for these Birds to fly.

I'll see you on that top perch in October.

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from the desk of

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


brien's top 15 nfl draft prospects: 11-15


The Ravens organization is widely viewed as being one of the best in all of football when it comes to managing and navigating the draft, and that's arguably the main reason they continue to be one of the top contenders in the league year in and year out.

Recent drafts, however, haven't produced a ton of truly high end talent for the team, mostly because they've consistently been picking at the end of the first round. The one year they've selected in the top 20 since drafting Joe Flacco they ended up with C.J. Mosley who, though I still think was an underwhelming pick, sure looks like the best player on the board at that spot by quite a ways.

This year things are much different.

With the sixth overall pick, Ozzie Newsome has a chance to parlay Draft weekend into a franchise defining event for the next several years to come. Whether they make a pick at number six and add a perennial Pro-Bowler/All-Pro talent or they trade back a few spots and add substantial depth to the roster (which would be totally defensible, given the depth of this draft through the early parts of the third round), the team's fortunes can be turned around in a matter of a few days, and it's absolutely crucial that they nail this year's selections.

With those stakes in mind, and with the NFL Combine in the books, it's time to begin my draft coverage in earnest.

Over the next several weeks I'll be approaching the draft from several different angles, and up first we'll get the basics out of the way: Who I think are the very best prospects available. I'll list my top 15 in groups of five over the next three days, with one caveat: I'm not including any quarterbacks. There's a few reasons for that, but mostly it's because I'm approaching this from a Ravens-centric perspective, the Ravens aren't going to draft a quarterback in the first round, and so I haven't really devoted very much time to watching the group of first round quarterbacks and so don't have a good sense of where they'd really fit on this board.

My 11-15 player rankings:

15. Shaq Lawson- DE/OLD, Clemson

Here's one way in which I differ from a lot of guys on TV who talk about draft picks: I generally value guys who produce at a high level in college more than those guys do, and Lawson is a great example.

In terms of typical pro evaluations, Lawson gets dinged for a lack of athleticism and flexibility that limits his pass rush on the edge. He's mostly seen as an edge setting linebacker, and gets compared to Courtney Upshaw quite a bit.

I don't see that: Lawson certainly isn't the most gifted edge rusher in this class by any stretch, but he did have 12.5 sacks last year, his first as a starter in a very good program for defensive linemen, and he's got really good natural instincts when he's pressuring quarterbacks. He's also very strong in the legs and core, which gives him great power at the point of attack and makes him an effective bull rushers. There's plenty of starting tackles in the NFL that are going to have trouble blocking Lawson for a full game.


14. Sheldon Rankins- DT, Louisville

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If the Ravens opt for a defensive lineman in the first two rounds, Sheldon Rankins of Louisville could be an attractive option for them.

One thing that's going to become very apparent very quickly; the top of this draft is ridiculously deep in terms of defensive front seven players, and almost all of these guys have a ton of versatility. Rankins is a great example of that as, at 299 pounds and with tremendous athleticism, he can play either 5-technique or 3-technique in the interior line.

On the other hand, he's a bit undersized for the position, and doesn't play with a ton of leverage. There's a good chance he's going to struggle to begin with as a pass rusher as he adapts to working against NFL offensive linemen, but there's a ton of raw ability and athleticism to mold here, and in a few years Rankins could easily be one of the scariest interior rushers in the entire league.


13. Reggie Ragland- LB, Alabama

As far as production and accolades go, it's hard to top Ragland in this class. The reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year and unanimous All-American selection, Ragland represents another highly touted linebacker coming out of Nick Saban's profile at Ozzie's alma mater.

On the other hand, Ragland is the kind of player I don't particularly like all that much in the modern NFL, and a C.J. Mosley clone in some of the worst ways. He's not fast enough to keep up with quality tight ends in the NFL, nor is he a good blitzer who gets to the quarterback consistently when called upon.

He is extremely stout against the run, but his block shedding technique leaves a lot to be desired. At 245 pounds he was able to run through a lot of SEC linemen in a way he's not going to do at the NFL level, and between that and the fact that he doesn't play especially fast, I'm not even sure I want to put him this high. The production, instincts, and fundamentals are all there though, and I thought Mosley was going to be a much less productive player than he has been too, so I figure I owe Ragland the benefit of the doubt to some extent.


12. Noah Spence- DE/OLB, Eastern Kentucky

Full disclosure time; I'm an Ohio State fan, and Spence may be my very favorite player in this entire draft.

At one point I thought this guy was going to go down as maybe the best defensive player in Ohio State history, and I was in awe of his ability to rush the passer. If you don't know his story by now, here it is in a nutshell; Spence failed two drug tests for ecstasy, got a permanent ban from the Big Ten conference, and then sat out Ohio State's national title season before finishing his college career at Eastern Kentucky.

The drug issues have gotten the most press, naturally, but I don't think they're going to affect his draft stock much at all, and they aren't affecting my ranking either. Spence has been clean since the last test while getting tested regularly, he's owned his mistakes and outwardly committed to changing, and his coaches speak very highly of him. Mostly he seems like someone who got carried away with partying as a 19-20 year old, but who's gotten hit with reality earlier than most in his situation and realizes he's got to grow up now.

On the other hand, he's certainly not a perfect NFL prospect either, mostly because he lacks the strength most of the other edge players possess. He's not particularly strong at the point of attack, and he's likely to get pushed around by NFL tackles at times. He's extremely quick off the ball, however, with great speed to the edge, good pass rush moves, and great athleticism. He might not be an every down player on day one, but he's also probably the best pure edge rusher in the draft.


11. Jaylon Smith- OLB, Notre Dame

Smith didn't participate in the Combine due to a severe ankle injury suffered in the Fiesta Bowl, so this ranking is all a matter of measurables and college scouting.

Smith is long, lean, and super flexible. He sinks his hips on the edge as well as anyone, and that's going to help him get around tackles at the next level. Changes direction fluidly and has a knack for finding the ball, which is why he's recorded 225 tackles over the last two seasons.

On the other hand, the major knock on Smith is that he's not aggressive in attacking the play, and with more linemen getting to the second level that's something he'll absolutely need to correct if he doesn't want to get shoved out of the play at the next level. At under 230 pounds he's another guy who isn't as physically strong in his rush either, and will rely heavily on his athleticism and motor, as he won't be able to shake many blocks if tackles can get in on his body. He may ultimately be best suited to moving inside, where his quickness and length would be a tremendous asset in underneath zone coverage.

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Drew's Fantasy Golf Guide

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


Well, there's one good thing about this week's event at Doral if you're a fantasy golf enthusiast. All six of your players are going to get you points for all four rounds of the World Golf Championships event. There's no 36-hole cut for this tournament.

There's bad news that comes with that, though. Everyone else you're going up against gets the same advantage.

So, unlike regular weeks on TOUR when I'm trying to give you six players who are going to play all four rounds (harder to do than it looks), this week you're literally trying to pick the players who will finish 1 through 6 on the leaderboard.

Now -- that's harder than trying to watch either the Democratic or Republican debates we've had to endure over the last six months.

On we go...

The safe, sexy pick this week would be Dustin Johnson, but I only played the defending champ in one of my six "cards" and he's not on my "official team" that I'll present below. While it's obvious that Doral favors the long hitter, plenty of guys not in Johnson's length category have fared well at the Miami layout over the years. It's still a putter's game, and I don't see D.J.'s flat stick cooperating all that much this year so far. I played him on one card just to do it, but I'm not confident enough to make him a "must play".

The more I watch David Lingmerth, the more I really like his game. He reminds me of Henrik Stenson, only with heart. At some point in 2016, Lingmerth is going to win a "significant event". Could be a major, could be the Players, or it could be a WGC event, like this one at Doral. So, he's on several of my cards this week and leads off my "official team" at #DMD.

I think Kevin Kisner could be a factor this week as well and he's a middle-priced player with good value on your fantasy salary-fee schedule. He hits it straight, which bodes well on the back nine at Doral, and hits it close enough a half dozen times a round to kick in a few birdies. Putting is what makes him or breaks him. If it "makes" him this week, he could win.

I'm playing Jamie Donaldson this week, who has made his way over to the U.S. to begin his pre-Masters prep-work. He got his feet wet with a decent showing last week at the Honda Classic and has played well at Doral in the past. I think he cost me $7,000, which I thought was a steal for a guy who could easily be a Top 10 player this week.

No matter how many cards (rosters) you play for this event, you have to put one of the long hitters in there just because it's almost a guarantee that one of them will be lurking around on Sunday. With that in mind, I'm playing J.B. Holmes, who contended at Doral in the past and can make easy work of the par 5's if his putter cooperates. Holmes needs one of these WGC wins to cement himself as a Top 25 player. This would be a good one for him.

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This could be a big week for the former Masters champ, Charl Schwartzel, who should take nicely to Doral CC.

It's literally a toss-up for my eventual winner this week, so I flipped a coin. It came up tails. So, I'm taking Charl Schwartzel to finish as the runner-up at Doral. Like Donaldson, he's now here for the duration through the Masters and is working hard on his game. Schwartzel's not a guy who blows out of the gate and wins right away, so it takes a couple of weeks for him to get his game sharp enough to contend. Doral is a good fit for him. Just needs that putter to cooperate...

The coin came up heads, so I'm going with Justin Rose to win this week's WGC event. He just blistered Seminole CC on Monday in their member-guest tournament (don't laugh, everyone who is everyone in golf plays in it; Fowler, Scott, Day, Mickelson, etc.) and this is the time of year when Rose puts the pedal down and starts grinding for the big tournaments. I'll admit, I'm a card carrying member of this guy's Fan Club, but that's because everything he does is spot-on. Drives it straight, hits it on the green, and makes a bunch of putts. His short game might be "just OK" by TOUR standards, but he doesn't miss enough greens to worry about it.

[A few other names to sprinkle in for you, both on the high end and low end of the salary-fee schedule. It wouldn't shock me at all to see Phil Mickelson be in the hunt or win this week. I played him on several of my eight cards, in fact. What he lacks in length, he more than makes up for in short-game wizardry. I don't think it's outrageous to think that Adam Scott can hang around again this week. I tend to buy into the post-win-blues theory that seems to trail guys who win a tournament and then tee it up again the following week, but without a cut in this event, I can see Scott doing something like 74-69-65-66 to backdoor his way into the Top 10. At this point, Rickie Fowler has to be on your radar every week, although his history at Doral suggests otherwise. If you want a couple of very fairly priced back-end guys, go with Daniel Berger, Danny Lee and Emiliano Grillo. And, yes, before you ask, I'm laying off of Jordan Spieth this week. Doral's never been a good fit for him. I literally didn't play him on one of my six cards.]

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umbc faces top-seeded stony brook tonight in conference tourney opener


The UMBC men's basketball team opens play in its 13th America East post-season when the eighth-seeded Retrievers travel to top-seeded Stony Brook in the league quarterfinals tonight at 7:00 p.m.

UMBC -- 7-24 overall, 3-13 in conference -- snapped a four-game losing skid with an 80-79 overtime win over Binghamton in the Retrievers' final home game on Feb. 24, but suffered a 78-69 loss at the hands of host New Hampshire on Saturday. The Retrievers rallied from 19 points down and came within three points of the Wildcats down the stretch, but UNH finished the game 10-11 from the foul line to hold on to triumph, 78-69.

Sophomore Jairus Lyles led UMBC with 27 points on Saturday at New Hampshire and set UMBC's sophomore season scoring record (460 points) in the process.

Lyles, who earned America East Second Team honors, led the conference leader with 22.1 points per game in league play. Despite missing the first 11 games of the season, he also set a sophomore mark in field goals made (160) and has tied UMBC's record with 53 steals.

After missing a year due to injury, backcourt mate and classmate Rodney Elliott averaged 13.1 points per game and was one of the conference's top playmakers (3.5 assists per game), but missed the final four games of the regular season with a lower body injury.

Junior wing Will Darley is averaging 11.2 points per contest and is seventh in America East in 3-pt. field goal percentage at 40.6 percent.

Freshman wing Joe Sherburne was the lone Retriever to start all 31 games and earned America East All-Rookie Team honors. Sherburne is UMBC's top three-point threat with 59 treys, the third-most ever for a Retriever freshman.

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If UMBC hopes to stun host Stony Brook tonight, they have to figure out a way to stop the America East 3-time conference Player of the Year, Jameel Warney.

Stony Brook (23-6, 14-2) won 18 straight games from December through February and sewed up the AE regular season title on February 21 with a 75-56 win at Maine. The Seawolves did stumble on Senior Day at IFCU Arena, falling, 76-62 in the finale versus a red-hot Vermont squad.

Senior post Jameel Warney just earned his third consecutive America East Player of the Year award. Also the league's Defensive Player of the Year, Warney leads SBU with 18.7 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.2 blocked shots per game.

Classmate guard Carson Puriefoy, also an America East First Team honoree, adds 14.5 points per game and leads the Seawolves with 71 treys.

Stony Brook swept the season series from UMBC in 2015-16, earning an 86-74 victory at IFCU Arena on Jan. 13 and defeating the Retrievers, 75-52, at the RAC Arena on Feb. 11. UMBC trimmed a 17-point deficit to three points midway through the second half, but could not complete the rally on Long Island in mid-January. Jairus Lyles led the way with 24 points and UMBC outscored SBU, 14-8, on second-chance points. UMBC shot a tepid 14 percent (4-of-27) in the first 20 minutes in the return engagement and trailed by 20 points at the half. Lyles led UMBC with 13 points.

UMBC has dropped 16 straight to SBU and trail the all-time series, 21-8. UMBC's last victory over Stony Brook occurred in the 2008 America East quarterfinals. The two squads have met three times in post-season play, with the Retrievers holding a 2-1 edge.


Tuesday
March 1
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Issue 1

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i know how you feel, oscar robertson (it's tough seeing young kids who are better than you were)


For all I know, Oscar Robertson might have wanted it this way.

Maybe he's a spotlight-craver who wants everyone to remember how terrific he once was. We all know people like that. Heck, we might have even worked for one at some point.

Or, as it happens quite often these days, one of those rat-fink media members might have caught "The Big O" at some sort of NBA-function, handed him a cocktail or two, and then asked for his opinion on the state of the game of basketball.

Either way, Robertson made a fool of himself recently when he suggested that reigning league MVP and NBA wonderboy Steph Curry is more a product of the way he's defended and that different defensive formations would potentially negate the sharpshooter's greatness.

It was a nothing statement, really, just giving websites, sportswriters and talk show hosts something to do for a couple of days while baseball's spring training got underway and NHL teams traded away a bunch of no-names.

But, much like the "is golf a sport?" argument that was launched here a couple of weeks ago, it's a tired, crusty game that we dust off the shelves every year or so when one of those old codgers takes umbrage with something the younger generation does.

We're familiar with that game in Baltimore, because it's the one we play here with regard to Johnny Unitas. You say Peyton Manning is the best ever, I say Joe Montana was, and my Dad, if he were still alive, would fistfight you in a Glen Burnie bar if you even thought about not claiming that Johnny U was the best ever.

Unitas defenders will point to the rules of the 50's and 60's as their main source of defense, no pun intended. Unitas got more out of the then-defensively-friendly league than anyone else did, ever.

Montana's camp will just point to his championship rings and say, "Played in four Super Bowls, never lost one. Next..."

Peyton's people will point to stats, yards, completions, touchdowns and playoff appearances.

None of those arguments are wrong, really. I mean, the Unitas folks have a point. The league was insanely tolerant of physical contact back then and a completion in those days REALLY was a completion. It was hard to catch the ball with the other punching you in the face as the ball came your way.

Montana was incredibly efficient and composed. The bigger the game, the more he got the job done.

Manning's full body of work might not be done, but we've seen the best of him, for sure. In his halcyon days, Manning was a professional surgeon moonlighting as a quarterback. He sliced you up, made you bleed, and neatly put you back together after his team beat you 38-21.

Different eras, different needs, different rules and different players, too.

The same goes for Oscar Robertson and his assessment of Steph Curry.

Robertson watches today's NBA and sees a game built on athleticism, mainly, and compares it to his era, which was clearly built more on technique.

Today's NBA players are bigger, faster and more athletic than guys were in the 50's, 60's and 70's. Guess what? Nearly every industry is the same way. Today's "people" are dramatically different than those of forty years ago.

I didn't say today's NBA players are BETTER. I said they were different.

That said, Steph Curry's current success has little to do with the fact that no one defends him and far more to do with the fact that Curry is better than everyone else.

Robertson claimed that Curry is a product of the system most NBA coaches elect to employ these days and that Curry's success would be diminished if coaches defended him differently.

"I just don't think coaches today in basketball understand the game of basketball," Robertson said. "They don't know anything about defenses. They don't know what people are doing on the court. Curry has shot well because of what's going on in basketball today."

Robertson went on: "When I played years ago, if you shot a shot outside and hit it, the next time I'm going to be up on top of you. I'm going to pressure you with three-quarters, half-court defense. But now they don't do that. These coaches do not understand the game of basketball, as far as I'm concerned."

Well, he's entitled to his opinion. And, respectfully, as one of the game's greatest players ever, he might even be right.

But he's not right.

If Robertson watched the games every night, he'd see a kid in Curry who makes a half-dozen or more buckets a night from the most improbable of angles, with plenty of defensive pressure and hands in his face from opposing players.

Sure, he scoops in a few easy points in the paint on any given night because all great scorers do that, but to suggest in any way that Steph Curry doesn't work for his production is silly. In fact, teams this year -- as I watch the games, and I watch Golden State a lot -- are doing all they can to make sure it's not Curry who beats them...and yet, he still does.

So far this season, Curry has attempted 615 three-point shots. He's made 288 of them. Don't bother getting out your calculator -- that's a whopping 46.8 percent from 3-point range.

Here's how much the NBA game has changed in the last 25 years. Magic Johnson made 325 3-pointers in his career. Steph Curry has 288 this freakin' season.

Robertson said on a national radio show that Curry shoots well "because of what's going on in basketball today."

Poor old Oscar. He should take an afternoon nap and stay up later to watch the games on TV. If he did, he'd see what the rest of us see: Curry shoots well because he's the best shooter in league history.

That doesn't mean he's the best "player" in league history. He has 10-12 years left to earn that title. But as far as the simple act of shooting the ball for success during a NBA game, no one has ever done it better than this kid, right now, does it.

Hey, look, I get it. I know what Roberston feels like.

I'm around high school and college golfers nearly every day who hit the ball off the tee 50 or more yards further than I was ever able to hit it. On holes where I was happy to have a 6-iron into the green back in 2000, they're hitting 9-irons and wedges in today.

I know the improvement of the golf ball and driver shafts have helped younger players hit it longer and straighter, but I have those same equipment advantages and it's helped me some, but not nearly enough to keep up with them.

I watch some of my former Calvert Hall champions like Jimmy Grem and Nick Smearman play for Towson University and think to myself, "If I had their golf swings, Lord only knows how much I would have won in the 1990's and 2000's."

But, golf isn't about "the swing". It's about getting the ball in the hole in the least amount of strokes. Nothing else matters, really.

So, then, while watching the high schoolers that I coach hit it 300 yards off the tee, I remind myself I won a bunch of amateur golf tournaments in my "career" and couldn't hit it out of my shadow off the tee.

Turns out, for the era I competed in, I did OK for myself.

I don't like getting close to "codger-territory", where Oscar Roberston currently resides, but I'll be there soon enough. Hopefully I'll be able to still see things as clearly as I do now.

Kids today hit it further, straighter, higher and "better" than I ever dreamed of hitting it. That's just a fact.

And, yes, their swings are better than mine ever was and, to sew up the argument, their potential is probably greater, too.

But golf is all about winning, not looking pretty.

Oscar Roberston should remember that, too, when he runs his trap about how players today aren't "tough enough". They're as tough as they need to be given the pressures and conditions in their current environment.

The NBA game has changed. This isn't 1966. It's 2016. Different time, different people, different world.

Steph Curry shoots the basketball better than anyone else because he's worked at it and God gifted him with a talent that few others have ever received.

Is he a better player than Oscar Robertson was? There's no simply way to argue that. Fifty years has passed. Curry plays today, Robertson played yesterday.

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stecco law joins #dmd family

We're very excited to add a new partner to the #DMD family, as Stecco Law joins us as our "Official Legal Team" here at Drew's Morning Dish.

As a local business owner and supporter of various community causes, Stecco Law is a great fit for us here at #DMD.

Carlos Stecco is a 1983 Calvert Hall graduate who completed degree work at both Loyola University and the University of Maryland before beginning his legal career over 15 years ago.

Stecco started as a defense attorney for hospitals, physicans, nurses and other health-related occupations in Maryland and Washington D.C. Today, he represents "the other side". His practice now focuses solely on representing victims of medical malpractice and nursing home negligence/abuse.

"I formerly defended doctors and hospitals," Stecco says. "Now I only represent victims and their families. As a former defense attorney, I know how to fight for the rights of victims of medical negligence."

His prior experience defending health care providers has provided Stecco with valuable insight regarding the preparation and pursuit of medical malpractice and nursing home cases. "I'm like the middle linebacker who gets traded away in training camp and gets to face my old team twice a year," Stecco offers, as a comparison to the advantage he brings today in representing victims of medical malpractice. "I know all the plays, all the tricks, all the angles that my 'old team' likes to use. That gives us a better chance to win, I believe."

Stecco even has good taste...he's a daily #DMD reader!

"As a former listener of Drew’s radio show and an avid reader of Drew’s Morning Dish, I’m excited to become a corporate partner," Stecco says. "I’ve lived in this community my entire life and I appreciate the fact that Drew's website is way more that “just a sports blog.” Drew’s Morning Dish really strives to do things that make a difference in the community. Along the same lines, I consider myself very fortunate to have a legal practice that is able to truly make a difference in people’s lives."

You can always reach Stecco personally by clicking on the ad on the right side of the #DMD main page, or by visiting his website directly: www.medlegalteam.com

Welcome to the family, Stecco Law, and thank you for your work in our community and for supporting Drew's Morning Dish.

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

MATTHEW CARROLL

The push for the Barclays Premier League title is starting to look more and more like a two horse race as we enter Matchweek 28, with Leicester City continuing to set the pace and Tottenham keeping stride while Arsenal and Manchester City fall back towards the pack. With a full slate of games at the mid-week, you can catch every game live online at NBC Live Extra if you are stuck at the office or on the NBC family of networks if you are lucky enough to be home in front of the television.

Tuesday, March 1 (all times eastern)

2:45pm – Everton @ Aston Villa – Villa Park, NBC Live Extra

Following the postponement of their Matchweek 27 matchup with local rivals Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby, which was moved to accommodate the Reds participation in the Capital One Cup final on Sunday, Everton will return to Premier League action after enjoying a ten-day break and a mid-season training visit to Dubai when they visit bottom of the table Aston Villa on Tuesday. The Villains were unable to trim the gap with fellow table bottom dwellers Sunderland and Newcastle against Stoke City in a 2-1 loss, which has left them eight points adrift of safety with only eleven games left to go.

Aston Villa are now winless in their last fifteen games on the road (D4 L11) and while they have fared slightly better at home as of late with only one loss in their last five games (W2 D2), they will look to put in a better performance than their previous effort at Villa Park when Liverpool dropped a six spot on them in a 6-0 defeat, their worst loss at home in eighty-one years. They are likely to find the going tough against an Everton side who have lost just one of their last thirteen away trips in the league (W5 D7 L1) and only once in their last ten meetings with the Villains (W5 D4 L1).

Wednesday (all times eastern)

2:45pm – Tottenham @ West Ham United – Bolelyn Ground, NBC Live Extra

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West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic will find out if his team is for real when they take on Tottenham on Wednesday, March 2nd.

Michail Antonion’s curling effort thirty minutes in was enough to see West Ham United past Sunderland and move the Hammer’s in to sole position of fifth place in the league just four points behind Manchester City, who have a game in hand, for the final Champions League place. They will welcome Tottenham to the Bolelyn Ground on Wednesday afternoon with the Spurs once again overcoming an early deficit to down Swansea City 2-1 and keep pace with league leaders Leicester, while the Swans remained dangerously close to the relegation zone in the bottom quarter of the table.

Tottenham has now won six in a row and five of the ten games when they have fallen behind this season for a league leading seventeen points from a losing position. West Ham have made their best ever start to a Premier League campaign with forty-three points after twenty-seven matches but have won only three of their last seventeen meetings with Spurs (W3 D3 L11), and will have to focus on shutting down striker Harry Kane (16 goals) if they hope to turn the tables on their London counterparts, with the England international scoring three goals and grabbing an assist in four meetings with the Hammers.

3pm – Manchester City @ Liverpool – Anfield, NBC Sports Network

After meeting in the final of the Capital One Cup only three days before, Manchester City and Liverpool will quickly renew acquaintances when they meet at Anfield in the final game of Matchweek 28. With losses in their last two league games against the top two sides in the table (Leicester City, Tottenham), Manchester City will be looking to solidify their grasp on a place in the top four, while Liverpool’s 6-0 thrashing of Aston Villa the last time out has the Reds sights set on a place in Europe next season, with the Europa League definitely within reach and an outside chance for Champions League qualification.

A late Liverpool equalizer took Sunday’s final to extra time where City eventually lifted the season’s first piece of silverware after playing the fill one hundred and twenty minutes, with the grueling display combined with the quick turn-around time likely to force the hand of both managers to make changes to their respective starting eleven. Following a run of just one win in ten league matches against City (W1 D6 L3), Liverpool have won three of the last four meetings in the league between the two sides (L1) while City have not won in their last twelve top-flight trips to Anfield (W0 D4 L8).

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drew's new "wine winner" is available at the wine merchant

I always say this: It doesn't have to be a $40.00 bottle of wine that lights up your meal -- or your night.

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Yet another great value that you can find at The Wine Merchant on Falls Road in Lutherville!

I found a $12 bottle at The Wine Merchant that's just awesome and wanted to share it with you today.

If your someone who doesn't like to bowled over with the impact of your wine -- and there are LOTS of people like that -- then La Maialina Chianti is perfect for you!

It's an awesome fit for just about any pasta dish you cook up and I found it goes great with a fresh salad and strawberries. If you're able, you might even detect a hint of cherry or strawberry when you take that first sip of this outstanding, well-priced Chianti that's available from our friends at The Wine Merchant.

I love discovering wine gems. Sure, I'm a fan of the big, bold Cabernet bottles and there's always excellence to be found in a $40 bottle of wine, but you can truly spend $10-$15 and get a GREAT bottle of wine, too.

That's why I'm always hanging around The Wine Merchant on Falls Road! That place is filled with wine gems.

And I really found one with this La Maialina Chianti. If you get in there, you'll see our #DMD promotional card on the box, proclaiming La Maialina Chianti this week's "Wine Winner".

Take it home (well, buy it first, then take it home), open it up, give it about 20-30 minutes, and then pour yourself a nice glass or two. And e-mail me to tell me how much you like it and I'll use your review in a future edition of #DMD.


john carroll beats the buzzer to earn catholic league title

Sophomore Immanuel Quickley hit a three-pointer with 1.4 seconds left in the game to give John Carroll a thrilling 51-50 win over Mount Saint Joseph in the Baltimore Catholic League championship game at SECU Arena.

Quickley, who was named the BCL's Co-Player of the Year for the regular season, scored a game-high 16 points and was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.

Mount Saint Joseph led last night's title by ten points early on, but the score was tied at half and stayed close throughout the final two quarters.

The Gaels' Jalen Smith gave St. Joe a 2-point lead when he scored with 28 seconds left in the contest.

Quickley then worked hard for free space before launching his game-winning three pointer, helping John Carroll avenge last season's heartbreaking loss to Calvert Hall when Cardinals' junior Justin Gorham tipped in a shot at the buzzer to give Calvert Hall a 53-52 win.


our fenway park trip still has available spots open!

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

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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!


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.