Thursday
March 31
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Issue 31
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troublesome march finally ends for o's


If they can hold on for one more day without something else crazy happening, the Orioles will have survived March, 2016.

But just barely.

As the Birds prepare to head north for Monday's season opener vs. the Twins at Camden Yards, more questions than answers are still on Buck Showalter's desk. And that's not the way he hoped it would be, I think it's safe to say.

Yesterday's news that the club parted company with starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez wasn't knock-me-over-with-a-feather surprising, what with his 9.78 spring training ERA and youngsters Mike Wright and Tyler Wilson knocking on the door, but it's still quite a jolt to have a gaping hole in your rotation six days before the season begins.

If Wilson or Wright don't claim Gonzalez's spot, there's always Vance Worley, a 28-year old righthander who has spent time in Philadelphia, Minnesota and Pittsburgh, seeing moderate success in each place but ultimately not being good enough to stick there.

At one point early in spring training, I confidently bragged the Orioles were going to win a lot of 9-6 games in 2016.

Maybe I should change that thought to "a lot of 11-9 games".

Rickard's hot spring glosses over the Kim fiasco.

On Wednesday, Showalter informed 24-year old outfielder Joey Rickard that he has made the ballclub and everyone expects he'll make his major league debut in left field next Monday at Camden Yards.

It's a great story, for sure. The Orioles plucked Rickard away from the Tampa Bay Rays in the Rule 5 draft this past winter, and his spring training success points to this potentially being one of Dan Duquette's finer moments in unearthing decent talent at bargain-basement prices.

As #DMD columnist Brien Jackson pointed out last week, Rickard's career minor league numbers are more than respectable and the advanced analytics suggest Rickard could duplicate his success at the major league level. I've seen more than one person hint that the Rays wouldn't have given up on him that easily if they saw a diamond-in-the-rough, perhaps, but playing with the 40-man roster is a tricky thing and Tampa Bay is loaded with young talent.

Rickard just happened to be that one guy who got squeezed out by the famous "numbers game" and the Orioles took advantage of it.

But, what if he doesn't stick? What if Rickard has a productive opening month, then slides back to a young player who can't cut it -- yet -- at the major league level?

Who plays left field?

At this point, there's no telling what the club is going to do with Korean newcomer Hyun Soo Kim. It's fairly obvious they're trying to do something with him, meaning either a handshake and return to his native country, an agreement to start the season in the minor leagues, or some other crafty measure that keeps him around but allows the team to head north without him.

Kim's contract doesn't allow for the Orioles to just send him to Norfolk, a move that was likely necessary to pry him away from his Korean team, but one I assume Duquette genuinely regrets now that he's seen how overwhelmed Kim has been at spring training.

There are whispers that his arm isn't close to major-league caliber, which isn't anywhere near the team's chief concern for Kim, but something still worth nothing nonetheless. The left fielder occasionally has to throw the ball, you know.

At the plate, Kim was overmatched from the start of the Grapefruit League season, his Ichiro-like swing failing to catch up with major league pitching -- and spring training pitching, at that -- at an alarming rate over the first two weeks of March. He appeared to be almost-wildly out of shape, as if he wasn't planning to play baseball in the spring and then decided on February 15 he'd give it a go after all.

If Rickard didn't have the sizzling spring he's produced, the Hyun Soo Kim story would be much bigger and even more important for the Orioles.

As it is, it's Rickard and Nolan Reimold (again) who benefit the most, their respective trips to Baltimore locked up for the time being.

Is James Shields a necessity?

The Orioles are loaded offensively and weak in the starting pitching category.

That's not breaking news.

Sure, it's "only" spring training, and there's not much to take from it, unless you're posting a 9.78 ERA like Gonzalez did and the ballclub simply can't keep a straight face and bring you north for the start of the season.

The rest of the starters are what they are...guys with the potential for a sparkling start or two every month, but certainly not Cy Young candidates by any means. And the team's big off-season pitching acquisition, Yovani Gallardo, has been anything but spectacular thus far. His numbers on the radar gun continue to be concerning and the loose talk around baseball that his reduced velocity kept teams from showing interest in the off-season seems reasonable now.

If we reach May 1 and the Orioles starting rotation is Chris Tillman, Ubaldo Jimenez, Gallardo, Wright and Wilson, that certainly spells trouble for the O's. It would mean, of course, that Kevin Gausman didn't return on April 19 as the club believes he will, and it would also mean the Birds better be prepared for a lot of double digit shootouts in 2016.

The rumors that the Orioles are interested in San Diego Padres right-hander James Shields makes a lot more sense now, but the Padres would hold all the cards in a deal for Shields. They know the Orioles pitching stinks and the Orioles know that the Padres know. The price, then, goes that much higher.

Would the Orioles part with Christian Walker or Trey Mancini -- two top prospects they'd have to be prepared to deal -- to get Shields? Maybe. That's the price you pay when your starting pitching isn't up-to-snuff and you have a boatload of offensive talent that just needs "basic" mound success for 162 games.

And, don't forget, while the Orioles bullpen is one of the team's strengths, there's only so much pitching those guys can do for six months. Trotting them out there for three or four innings six days a week isn't going to produce good results in the long run.

At this point, given what we've seen in spring training, Shields seems like a "must have", but let's remember he's merely a good pitcher and certainly not a "turn your season around" kind of guy.

It's been a wild month of March for the Orioles. Thankfully, it comes to an end today.

The only troubling news? April could be even crazier.

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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.


The last few days of Spring Training and final roster decisions usually don't produce much in the way of news. Maybe you have a fifth starter battle or a couple of bench/bullpen spots up for grabs, but those are usually pretty low stakes and, more often than not, everyone already knows how they're going to turn out.

Well, the Orioles turned that notion on its head Wednesday afternoon by releasing starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez.

At first blush, the move is hard to understand. Gonzalez has been a fixture in the Orioles rotation since 2012, and though he's never been an All-Star or someone you can absolutely count on for 6 or 7 innings every night, he's been a pretty solid pitcher for a team that hasn't had a lot of them.

But over the past year, that's started to change a bit. In 2015, Gonzalez logged just 144 innings while pitching to a 4.91 ERA (84 ERA+ for my fellow baseball nerds). So far this spring he's logged a 9.78 ERA over 14.1 innings in five appearances which, while it's Spring Training and all, certainly doesn't make you feel good about where Miggy is after his performance last season.

Not having to pay Gonzalez made him easier to cut.

And then there's the kicker: Money. Because Gonzalez is presently in his arbitration years and his rights are owned exclusively by the Orioles, and thus he's not eligible to file for free agency and sign a free agent contract, Miggy's $5.1 million salary didn't become fully guaranteed until Opening Day. By releasing him now the Orioles only have to pay him 45 days worth of his salary and, thus, will save about $4 million.

I can see the eyerolls from here already. "Yep, that's Peter Angelos, always looking to save every penny," the naysayers will claim. Maybe that's true, but there could also be an argument to be made that the Orioles are beating industry standards by cutting bait with someone who, frankly, doesn't seem terribly likely to be very good this year before they're stuck paying him in full.

More likely, in my opinion, this move is about freeing up budget room for something else. Most of the rumor sites have the Orioles scouting around for some new addition before the season starts, mostly in the outfield. Hyun Soo-Kim isn't going to make the team, and while I've said nice things about Joey Rickard you certainly can't count on the Rule 5 pick to hold his own as an everyday player right away.

David Murphy, in particular, has been tossed around as someone who's "on the radar," as they say, after failing to make Boston's roster.

But Murphy probably won't cost $4 million, which raises the possibility of a bigger move, and one potential target the Orioles have been linked to in the last week that would make A LOT of sense is San Diego's James Shields. Shields isn't the "true ace" he once arguably was, and his first year in San Diego was the worst of his career in fact, but he still pitched to a sub 4.00 ERA and topped the 200 innings pitched mark yet again.

Shields' durability and dependability would go a long way towards helping the Orioles' rotation, especially given the fact that Shields would be their best pitcher altogether. And the bizarre fact that he gave up more home runs at home, at PetCo Park, than on the road suggests the some of his "struggles" might have been rather fluky.

The financials, however, are tricky. Shields is owed $21 million this season, and can opt-out of his deal at the end of the year. If he doesn't hit the free agent market again he'll earn another $58 million for the final three years of the deal. The Padres would have to eat a big chunk of that, obviously, but saving the money that would have gone to Gonzalez could give the Orioles some more leverage in any potential negotiations.

Of course, this is most likely wishful thinking, and there probably won't be any shocking trades between now and Wednesday. The Orioles are probably just dumping salary, and really that's okay. Gonzalez hasn't pitched well for a year now, and he'd apparently lost a rotation spot already.

There's no reason not to save the money if the team doesn't think he's going to be a solid contributor to the big league roster, and cutting bait now at least allows for the possibility of that money being reallocated to someone more productive down the road.

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Drew's Top 10 Masters Preview

One week from today, they'll tee it up at Augusta National for the 2016 Masters. All this week and next, #DMD is previewing The Masters, with this year's predicted "Top 10" plus a video report from Augusta National next week.

So far, #DMD has profiled Brandt Snedeker (#10), Phil Mickelson (#9) and Kevin Kisner (#8). It's time for #7. On a side note, real quick, my weekly Fantasy Golf Guide that was published yesterday for this week's event in Houston included the selection of J.B. Holmes as part of my six-man "starting lineup". Holmes withdrew from the event yesterday, so I've replaced him with Brooks Koepka.

Now...on to my predicted 7th place finisher in this year's Masters.

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Is it time for Sergio Garcia to finally win a major title?

I don't think he's going to win the golf tournament, but let me just say that I wouldn't be shocked if Sergio Garcia does win. I know, I know, his reputation in major championships isn't all that hot, but he's been a contender -- with a legitimate last-day shot at winning -- on several occasions in his career, losing once in a playoff at the British Open and having another near miss or two in the PGA Championship.

He's too good of a player to not win a major title at some point in his career. Then again, Colin Montgomerie never won one, either, and his career was almost as impressive as Garcia's.

Garcia is still a premier ball striker on the PGA Tour. He's not just a "good" player, he's a GREAT player without the benefit of a major championship to stamp himself as one of the game's best. It's odd how failing to win one major title does that to players, but it certainly does.

Lee Westwood has enjoyed a hugely successful career, but without a major title to his credit, there's still something missing from his profile. With his better days behind him, now, Westwood would need one of those "Darren Clarke moments" where, in his 40's, out of nowhere, he ups and wins a British Open in the next few years.

Garcia, though, is still very much on point. At age 36, he's ranked 15th in the world, and can still win significant tournaments, including the one being played at Augusta National next week.

Spaniards have a long history of success at the Masters, with both Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal winning twice at Augusta. Garcia's short game and touch around the greens is still sublime and his once troublesome putting woes have been corrected.

His history at Augusta National isn't great, but he's never been a player who plays well early in the season, for whatever reason. That said, he owns three Top 20 finishes in the last four years, so it's not like he hasn't figured out how to get it around at Augusta National.

I have a feeling he's going to play well this year at the Masters. Honestly? I wouldn't be at all upset if he won the tournament.

If anyone is "due" to win a major next week, it's Garcia. He's good enough to win, for sure, and if you believe at all in the golf gods, don't be surprised if they draw his name out of their hat next week.

I'm not saying he's going to win, obviously. But I think he'll play well and contend.

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men's lacrosse: hopkins uses 8-0 run to turn back umbc

The UMBC men's lacrosse team battled 11th-ranked Johns Hopkins to a near standstill through 30 minutes, but the Blue Jays wore down the Retrievers and prevailed on Wednesday night, 19-7, before a season-high 1,362 fans at UMBC Stadium.

Hopkins led from the start, but the Retrievers closed to 4-3 after one quarter and 7-6 at halftime. UMBC senior attackman Nate Lewnes scored all three of his goals in the first half as the Retrievers converted on six of 13 shots attempts in the first 30 minutes.

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JHU's Ryan Brown scored four goals on Wednesday night in the Blue Jays 19-7 win over UMBC.

Despite the best efforts of junior goalkeeper Ruston Souder, making his first start of the season, the Blue Jays took decided control of the face-off circle in the fourth quarter and outscored UMBC, 8-0, in the frame to earn the decided advantage.

Souder stopped 16 JHU shots, one shy of his career high of 17, which he recorded versus Lafayette in 2015.

Hopkins got out to a 3-1 lead, but Lewnes netted his first goal of the game at the 9:17 mark of the first quarter, converting a Jack Gannon feed, to trim the deficit to one goal. After the Blue Jays re-took a two-goal advantage at the 12:36 mark, Lewnes converted on a slick passing play from junior attackman Max Maxwell off a clear with just 4.4 seconds to play in the period to give UMBC the momentum headed to the second.

UMBC answered the visitors twice in the second quarter, as Lewnes and Maxwell responded with back-to-back goals after JHU struck twice in the first 3:37 of the frame. After Hopkins' Wilkins Dismuke gave Hopkins a 7-5 lead with 6:51 to play in the period, Retriever sophomore defender Billy O'Hara picked up a ground ball on the ensuing face-off, dashed down the alley and netted his first collegiate goal just nine seconds later.

Hopkins built the lead to 10-6 in the third quarter, before freshman attackman Jack Andrews replied on a Maxwell pass with 4:30 to play in the period. But that would be the Retrievers' final score of the night, as Hopkins controlled seven-of-nine fourth quarter draws and scored a pair of extra-man goals to put the contest out of reach.

Maxwell added a goal and two assists for UMBC, while Andrews also scored in double figures, netting a goal and adding a helper. O'Hara led the Retrievers with six ground balls, while causing two Hopkins turnovers. The Blue Jays committed 14 miscues, while UMBC limited its turnovers to 11.

Senior attackman Ryan Brown led JHU with four goals and two assists. Hopkins controlled 21 of 29 draws during the game.

UMBC will compete in another non-conference contest on Saturday, when they travel to Easton, Pa., to take on Lafayette. The opening face-off is set for 1:00 p.m.


Wednesday
March 30
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Issue 30
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i too would be offended if you called me "overrated"

Happy Wednesday! We have lots to cover today, including a huge win for the U.S. soccer team last night in World Cup qualifying, a look at where Golden State now sits with two weeks left in the NBA regular season, plus a look at this week's Fantasy Golf selections and my Masters Top 10 preview rolls on.

But first...here's a mid-week edition of "Overrated and Underrated". There's only one rule to remember. You're either Overrated or Underrated. There's no "fence sitting" allowed.

Melo Trimble, Overrated -- Gee, this is quite a lay-up to start the proceedings, huh? Completely lost his way in his sophomore season, for reasons no one still can figure out. Turns the ball over at an alarming rate (particularly for a good ball handler), throws up bad shot after bad shot, and doesn't seem to have any real floor presence that screams "I'm taking over this game!". Has definitely perfected the art of putting his head down and driving into traffic with hopes of picking up a foul, but even that move lost its luster in the second half of the season.

Jake Layman, Underrated -- Believe it or not, Maryland's going to miss that guy. Never lacked for effort, and although he was prone to the occasional stinker-of-a-game, you could generally count on him to get you a dozen points or so and adequately defend his man. We saw the best of him in the final ten games of his senior season. Overall, he had his ups and downs at College Park, but when all the dust settled after the Sweet 16 loss to Kansas, the career profile of Layman reflects positively for him.

Boston, Overrated -- I'm talking about the band, not the city. Their debut album in 1976 was sensational, no doubt about that. "More Than A Feeling" was an epic song and sound. Then what? It took them a couple of years to come out with "Don't Look Back" and that seemed kind of appropriate based on the popularity of their self-titled album. They were really good, yes, but only for a short amount of time. Over the long haul? Overrated.

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Steely Dan's "Aja" was perhaps the highlight of an illustrious career for the New York-based band that featured Walter Becker and Donald Fagan.

Steely Dan, Underrated -- I could go and on about these guys. Admittedly, I own every one of their albums (the old stuff, not anything they put out over the last decade when they were just trying to make money for the sake of it). I still think "Aja" is one of the ten best albums of my lifetime ("Home At Last" is my all-time favorite Steely Dan song), and "Gaucho" was exceptional as well, although some say it sounded a little too "pop radio'ish". You'd be hard pressed to find a better "Greatest Hits" collection than the one Steely Dan offers.

David Price, Overrated -- Look, I'd take David Price on my team, that's for certain. And I don't even care about the $31 million a year deal he signed. You pay the going rate for premium talent, which is what Boston did. He has a career ERA of 3.09 and an average per-season WHIP of 1.132, neither of which is out-of-this-world good, although it's worth noting he has spent his entire career in the American League. When push comes to shove, though, I don't see Price being all that much better than the pack of pitchers that we label "very good".

Clayton Kershaw, Underrated -- He just turned 28 years old and the Dodgers' lefty already has THREE Cy Young awards and one MVP honor. Granted, his career ERA of 2.43 is affected by his career-work in the National League, but he'd be wheeling and dealing in the American League, too. His 2014 campaign (21-3, 1.77 ERA, 0.857 WHIP) is one of the greatest seasons of the modern baseball era.

Dez Bryant, Overrated -- Another one of those guys I'd take on my team even though he's overrated, but Bryant comes from the same cloth as Brandon Marshall. Terrific player...but never seems to be on the winning end. Could just be that he's diseased by playing with the Cowboys, or it could be the Cowboys are diseased in part because of players like Bryant, who can't seem to do enough to get them over the top. A poor man's version of Terrell Owens.

A.J. Green, Underrated -- He hasn't "won anything" either, but at least his teams have made the post-season regularly, unlike Bryant and the Cowboys. It could just be that I value Green more than I should based on his hammering of the Ravens secondary twice a year. He's definitely the real deal, though. Outstanding speed, quality hands and, get this, he seems like a decent guy off the field, too.

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u.s. earns huge 4-0 win over guatemala


And, just like that, the U.S. men's national team is in great position to advance past the first stage of World Cup qualifying.

Faced with an almost "must-win" game last night in Columbus, Ohio, the Americans scored a pair of early goals and easily disposed of Guatemala, 4-0, in a game that honestly featured more bad play from the visitors than it did good play from the hosts.

Guatemala was dreadful last night, plain and simple.

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U.S. center back Geoff Cameron had a whale of a night for the U.S. in their 4-0 win over Guatemala.

The U.S. now owns 7 points and sits in second place in Group C play, with only Trinidad -- 6-0 winners over St. Vincent last night -- collecting more points (10) at this point.

The Americans need to finish either first or second in the Group in order to advance to the 6-team final qualifying stage. The final two games in Group C play come next September; an away match at already-eliminted St. Vincent and a home contest with Trinidad, who might have their advancement spot locked up by then.

Clint Dempsey rose to the occasion last night for the Americans, getting the party started with a terrific finish from twelve yards out in the 12th minute of play. Michael Bradley's perfect delivery to the head of Geoff Cameron on a corner kick netted the second U.S. goal in the first half, as Jurgen Klinsmann's team took full advantage of a bewildered Guatemalan defensive group.

Graham Zusi, who wasn't even on the roster last Friday night when the U.S. fell 2-0 at Guatemala, put an exclamation point on the win with a goal just twenty seconds into the second half. A turnover by Guatemala late in the game resulted in a Dempsey feed to Jozy Altidore, who finished things off with a one-timer into the net to finalize the scoring at 4-0.

The only bad news of the night? Michael Bradley drew a yellow card -- his second in Group C play -- and will be suspended for the St. Vincent game in September. It shouldn't be a big deal -- St. Vincent is terrible, and that's being kind -- but it's worth noting nonetheless. Bradley made up for a dreadful performance at Guatemala last Friday with a solid effort last night in Columbus. He was still prone to the occasional defensive lapse in the 4-0 win, but he was much more assertive going forward and seemed far more engaged than he did in the 2-0 loss at Guatemala.

There were other bright spots in addition to the scoreboard.

Geoff Cameron had a cracker-of-a-night for the U.S., playing in the center back position that most feel is his best position. Not only did he score a goal, but on the (rare) occasion when Guatemala gathered up enough energy to move into their offensive third of the field, Cameron was on the spot to persuade them differently. It was one of his best performances for the U.S. side in recent memory.

DeAndre Yedlin played in his more familiar right back role and was also on point for ninety minutes. Steady on the ball and full of good decision making, he seems to have settled in nicely as a candidate for a long, successful national team career. Think Eddie Pope, but not quite as prone to being out-manned physically as we occasionally saw happen to Pope in his decade-long tenure.

Two young players came on as subs for the Americans as Klinsmann gave playing time to forwards Ethan Finlay and 17-year old Christian Pulisic, both of whom appear to be almost certain fixtures in the 2018 World Cup if the U.S. can claim a spot for the event in Russia. Pulisic's appearance was especially important, as there were rumors that the Croatian national team had made extensive overtures to him in the last four months and he was undecided which country he favored.

Last night's appearance for the U.S. side cemented Pulisic's future. Once you've played in a game for a national side, you're obligated to that country for the rest of your playing career.

Tuesday evening's win was just what the doctor ordered for the Americans. They needed a "W" and they got it. They needed to score some goals to help with potential tie-breaking scenarios and they picked up four of those. And, they got through the game with no major injuries, a feat in and of itself considering that Guatemala produced a number of late, reckless tackles once the score got out of hand in the second half.

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warriors chase for 73 wins is "official" now

With last night's 104-92 home win over the Washington Wizards, the Golden State Warriors have successfully turned their season long pursuit of the all-time single-season wins record into a 2-week sprint.

They can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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Steph Curry's 26 points helped Golden State close out Washington last night and improve to 36-0 at home thus far in 2015-2016.

The Warriors improved to 67-7 with last night's win and are now 36-0 at home. The Chicago Bulls own the all-time record of 72-10 ('93-94). The Warriors are closing in, quickly.

Golden State gets an immediate chance to get to 68-7 when they travel to Utah tonight to face the Jazz. This isn't "guaranteed win night" for the Dubs. Utah comes in at 37-37 and they play a pesky style of basketball that isn't pretty, but often leaves their opponents frustrated. A win this evening would be huge for Golden State's pursuit of the record, as it would leave them with only two road games remaining in the regular season.

Here's a look at the Warriors' remaining schedule.

TONIGHT at Utah

Fri., April 1 vs. Boston

Sun., April 3 vs. Portland

Tues, April 5 vs. Minnesota

Thurs., April 7 vs. San Antonio

Sat., April 9 at Memphis

Sun., April 10 at San Antonio

Wed., April 13 vs. Memphis

I don't know about you, but the thought of a NBA team (or any team, in any league) going 85-7 -- if Golden State wins out -- is mind boggling to me. At this point, getting to 72-10 or 73-9 would be an amazing feat for the Warriors. I'm all in, and hoping they can pull it off.

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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.


Just in time for The Masters, I'm starting to hit my "fantasy stride", so to speak.

After a woeful February, my March has been much better and I collected far more than I invested in the last two weeks of fantasy golf play.

Let's see if I can keep up the good work this week as the TOUR heads to Houston for the final event before next week's first major of the year at Augusta National.

Patton Kizzire is a name you're going to hear a lot of in the future. He's made 10 of 12 cuts so far this season, with four Top 10 finishes and just a million dollars in earnings so far in 2015-2016. He's a fresh faced "rookie" at 30 years old, but he has plenty of game. He's a nice pick-up this week at $7,400.

Speaking of nice pick-ups at affordable prices, Kyle Reifers is worth grabbing at $6,900. The 34 year-old Wake Forst grad has made 10 of 14 cuts this season and just finished T11 in Puerto Rico last week.

You need a "horse for the course" in fantasy golf, and Cameron Tringale is that guy for me this week. Hasn't finished outside the Top 16 in his last four trips to Houston and owns three straight Top 10's at the Golf Club of Houston. He's a good buy at $8,000 this week.

I'm going back to Freddie Jacobson this week in Houston. He's 10/13 in cuts made with five Top 25 finishes in 2016 alone. I keep waiting for him to put it all together and win or contend on the back nine on Sunday -- this could be the weekend he does that. At $7,500, he's a worthy investment.

It cost me $9,700 to get J.B. Holmes, but GC of Houston is a great fit for him with their four par 5's and I see Holmes putting together four solid rounds down there and being in the hunt come Sunday afternoon. His track record at the course is solid and Holmes tends to feast on courses that play to a par 72.

My projected winner for the week as he preps for Augusta National and the pursuit of a 4th green jacket is Phil Mickelson. He's my most expensive player ($10,500), but well worth the price considering his recent form and the fact that he tends to play well in "lead up" events to the Masters. He won in Georgia a few years back when that event was played the week before Augusta, so history is working for him a little bit as well.

Others to consider -- Gary Woodland, Rickie Fowler, Charles Howelll III, Tony Finau, Jamie Lovemark, Hudson Swafford, Nick Taylor


Drew's Top 10 Masters Preview

As we look ahead to next week's Masters, #DMD is previewing the projected Top 10 finishers each day. #10 was Brandt Snedeker and #9 was Phil Mickelson.

#8 - Kevin Kisner -- From nearby Aiken, SC, Kisner is a great fit for Augusta National. While he ranks in the second half of the driving distance stats (90th, at 290 yards per-drive), he's 8th in driving accuracy (70% of fairways hit) and 27th in greens in regulation (70%). Those two stats bode well for him next week at Augusta.

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A first timer at Augusta, yes, but that shouldn't affect the straight-hitting and solid-putting of Kevin Kisner next week.

He's also 5th on the TOUR in birdies this season, 8th in the "Total Driving" stat, 16th in par-5 scoring and 2nd in the "All Around" ranking in 2015-2016. Kisner is the complete package, albeit inexperienced in major championship golf.

Players who don't have a lot of familiarity with Augusta often find problems figuring out the green complexes as it relates to chipping and pitching the ball. When you hit 70% of the greens in regulation, that tends to help your short game numbers, which is why I'm not overly concerned with Kisner's first-ever trip to Augusta next week. Typically, first timers don't fare well there, but I'm thinking Kisner might be different.

He's having a terrific 2015-2016 to date, currently ranking 4th in the FedEx Cup standings, and has made 10 of 12 cuts.

I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Kevin Kisner's name on the leaderboard on Saturday and Sunday next week at Augusta.

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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.


Tuesday
March 29
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XX
Issue 29
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


u.s. can't afford to lose tonight against guatemala


OK, for starters, tonight's U.S. men's soccer game against Guatemala isn't technically a "must win" situation, because the Americans could lose tonight and still, by a myriad of things working out in their favor, qualify for the next stage of World Cup qualifying.

But, let's call it like it is: Tonight's game in Columbus, Ohio is a "must win" for the United States.

Mind you, this is only the first stage of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Over the last two decades, the American have breezed through this obstacle, brushing it aside with the same calmness you usher a fly away from your hot dog at a baseball game.

From here, advancing teams move on to the final stage of CONCACAF qualifying, where the World Cup spots are officially won and lost.

The only problem? The U.S. might not be one of those advancing teams, particularly if they come up short tonight against Guatemala.

A loss this evening wouldn't necessarily spell the end of the U.S.'s qualifying bid, but it would put the effort in grave danger of failure. Losing this evening means the Americans would have to sweep their last two games (in September) against St. Vincent and Trinidad & Tobago. Then, they'd need about six other things to go right, including potentially a goal-different outcome working in their favor, in order to advance to the final stage of qualifying.

A win over Guatemala tonight (7:30 pm, ESPN2) restores everyone's sanity and gives the Americans a "decent" chance of pushing through to the next round. Still not a guarantee they'd make it, even by winning tonight, but their chances are much, much better with a win in Columbus this evening.

How did we get in this position in the first place?

There are four teams in "Group C" of this qualifying stage: The United States, Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago and St. Vincent & the Grenadines. Each team plays the other twice, once home and once away. Teams earn three points for a win, one point for a tie, and zero points for a loss.

Once the six games are played, the two teams with the most points move on to the next (final) stage of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The Americans have a win, a tie and a loss thus far, giving them 4 total points. They beat St. Vincent at home, 6-1, and earned a road draw at Trinidad & Tobago, 0-0. Both of those games were played back in November. This past Saturday night, the U.S. fell at Guatemala, 2-0, setting up this drastic situation tonight in Columbus.

Trinidad & Tobago currently leads Group C with 7 points (2 wins, 1 tie), with Guatemala next at 6 points (2 wins, 1 loss). St. Vincent has been removed for a pinch hitter at this point. They're 0-3.

Given an almost certain win over St. Vincent next September, the Americans might very well need to win tonight against Guatemala and then earn at least a home draw vs. Trinidad in September in order to advance to the final stage of qualifying. They could, of course, draw tonight and then beat Trinidad -- the points are the same -- but beating Trinidad outright isn't nearly as easy as it once was and the Americans would prefer not to put themselves in that situation, obviously.

That's why tonight's game at home against Guatemala looms so important for the Americans.

Even though U.S. soccer officials aren't hinting that coach Jurgen Klinsmann's job is on the line, it's very fair to assume that a loss this evening would put the wheels in motion to end Klinsmann's tenure should the Americans eventually fail to advance out of this group.

Any thought at all that Klinsmann should stay on as the national team coach if the Americans fail to be one of the top two teams in Group C is just downright silly.

This first round of group play is (we thought) the easy stuff, a nuisance more than anything else. You crack through these six games with relative ease, oiling yourself for the contests that really matter later this year and into 2017 as the final stage of group qualifying pits six teams against one another with the top three making the World Cup in 2018.

Suddenly, though, it's not merely a nuisance. The Americans have put themselves in a precarious situation tonight.

So, how do we actually go about winning tonight?

That's a fair question, given that all that really matters this evening is getting that "W". Goals DO matter, so pouncing on Guatemala and winning to the tune of 2-0 or 3-0 would help, but the other critical issue for the Americans is try their best to not allow Guatemala to score a goal. Road goals are used in calculating tie-breakers, so a "clean sheet" tonight against Guatemala would be particularly helpful for the U.S.

Make no mistake about it, though. A win is all the U.S. wants tonight, even if it comes out 4-3 or 3-2.

Klinsmann doesn't have a whole lot of options, line-up wise, this evening in Columbus. Striker Jozy Altidore played sparingly in the 2-0 loss at Guatemala last Saturday night as he recovers from a hamstring injury. That put the onus on Bobby Wood and Clint Dempsey up front and neither were able to find the back of the net. Wood was pretty much useless the whole night and Dempsey squandered two golden opportunities in the second half.

Not wanting to be overshadowed, Altidore himself failed to cash in on a close-range shot in the game's final ten minutes on Saturday night, a staple of his career in red, white and blue, unfortunately.

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Not only would a loss tonight hurt the U.S. chances for World Cup 2018, but the national team career of Clint Dempsey might start winding down as well.

My guess is Altidore starts tonight and Wood subs in for him at the 65 minute mark. Dempsey will get the other starting nod at the forward position, naturally.

Klinsmann fiddled around with the structure of the lineup on Saturday at Guatemala, moving Mix Diskerud into more of a midfield "holding" position and that didn't fit him well at all. DeAndre Yedlin, typically a back player, played right midfield against Guatemala and showed an occasional flash of something special, but by and large had a forgettable evening. Geoff Cameron started at right back against Guatemala instead of his usual center back position.

Some of those moves were made necessary by injuries to other starters. Some of Saturday's line-up changes were made because Klinsmann has a tendency to do goofy stuff when the occasion calls for playing it "normal".

For the U.S. to come out on top tonight, they'll need a big game from midfielder Michael Bradley, who only needed a blanket, pillow and a glass of warm milk on Saturday night at Guatemala and his 90-minute snooze would have been complete. If Bradley can't up his game tonight, the Americans are in trouble.

They'll also need to finish their chances, no matter who gets them and where. Midfielder Alejandro Bedoya had a pair of golden opportunities go by the wayside on Saturday. A player of his caliber needs to convert on both of those. Tonight, any player who gets chances like that needs to put them in the back of the net.

It's pretty simple, now.

A win tonight over Guatemala, and everything's cool for a few months.

A loss, though, could start a landslide for Klinsmann and the entire National Team staff.

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caps clinch nhl's top spot with 4-1 win


It took a few games longer than some anticipated it might, but the Washington Capitals clinched only the second President's Cup trophy in franchise history last night with a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

For those of you unfamiliar with the NHL, the team who earns the most points in the regular season not only earns home ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Finals (should they advance that far), but they earn the distiniction of owning the "President's Trophy" for the next year. It's not a big deal, but then again, it is.

If you're a Caps follower and you see they won at home last night, 4-1, you think, "Holy cow, FOUR goals!!!"

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Now that the President's Trophy is in their grasp, might the Caps give goaltender Braden Holtby some much needed rest over the last seven games of the regular season?

Yeah, well, don't get overly excited. It was 2-1 with five minutes left in the game before Washington got goals from T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom to sew things up for the Caps, who have played in just one Stanley Cup final since joining the NHL in 1974.

Now, officially, the Caps have "nothing to play for" over the last two weeks of the regular season. That's both good and bad, I suppose.

They've played 75 games thus far, leaving seven remaining games before the playoffs begin. How coach Barry Trotz handles those seven contests will be interesting. It's reasonable to think he'd give some of the veteran players a game or two off -- particularly goaltender Braden Holtby -- but you don't want to see the team limp into the post-season, either.

The Caps are -- and I say this with great fondness, since I've been a fan for 40 years now -- the "Charlie Brown" of the NHL. In other words, it's never going to be as good as you thought it might be, because something always gets in the way.

This is the year the Capitals soared to the President's Cup trophy, winning 54 of 75 games in the process of doing so. We should be thrilled, right? Well, we would be if we had any confidence at all that all of that winning will actually matter when the playoffs begin in roughly two weeks.

Unfortunately, winning the President's Cup trophy doesn't guarantee the Caps anything.

Washington still has no idea at all who their opponent will be in the first round of the post-season. The Flyers and Red Wings are locked in a heated duel for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They each have 87 points, although Philadelphia has played one less game. Boston (88 points) or the Islanders (89 points) could also slip back to the 8th spot, although the Islanders have played two less games than everyone else, so it's likely they won't finish 8th.

No matter what the playoff seedings look like in a couple of weeks, all Caps supporters will be on high alert, that's for sure. As we've seen over the last decade, no playoff series or opponent is a walk-in-the-park as far as the Capitals are concerned.

The President's Cup trophy? Nice.

But anything short of advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals will be a failure for this year's edition of the Washington Capitals.

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drew's 2016 masters top 10


You can almost hear the dignified voice of Jim Nantz even now, a full nine days before the greatest golf tournament in the world is held at Augusta, Georgia.

"Hello friends..."

Yes, it's that time of year again. The Masters is almost upon us, which means I need to start figuring out who's going to win this year's coveted Green Jacket. One thing we're almost certain of -- it won't be Tiger Woods.

Woods has a lifetime invitation to the event since he's a 4-time winner, but he hasn't played in a golf tournament in the PGA Tour's 2015-2016 campaign and it's highly unlikely he's playing next week at Augusta. That said, it would be very "Tiger Woods like" for the 14-time major champion to send out a tweet or post something on his website today that says, "Getting prepped for Augusta!".

Even if he does tee it up next week in Augusta, he won't be a threat. That much we know -- for sure.

So, who WILL win the first major of the 2016 campaign? Well, we'll eventually get to that next Wednesday here at #DMD.

In the meantime, let's start today's "Top 10" with players ten and nine, so that we're on pace to unveil the winner next Wednesday, April 6.

By the way, I'll be in Augusta next Tuesday and will be putting together a 3-part video series that you'll be able to see here at #DMD sometime later next week. For those not going to this year's Masters, I'll get you as close as I can.

On we go to this year's Top 10 at the Masters.

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It's been a while since Brandt Snedeker contended at Augusta, but this could be the year he gets back in the hunt for a green jacket.

Number 10 -- Brandt Snedeker

The oft-injured Snedeker has a good history at Augusta, including a final-group pairing in 2008 when he eventually wound up in a tie for 3rd place. Since then, he has two other Top 20 finishes to go with a pair of missed cuts and one DNP due to injury.

Snedeker is having a good 2016-2017 thus far, with a win back in February at Torrey Pines in San Diego. He rose to #4 in the world at one point back in 2013.

Why Snedeker? -- One word: putting. He remains one of the best in the game with the flat stick, which is a monumental premium on the tricking putting surfaces at Augusta National. He's not overly long off the tee (293 yards/average) but length isn't a primary necessity at Augusta. His greens-in-regulation numbers are decent (68%) and he ranks 16th on TOUR in birdies (4.24 per-round) so far this season. Another "why?" for Snedeker...he's good enough to win a major. He has a Top 12 finish or better in all four major championships, including a T8 at last year's U.S. Open. If you're looking for the name of a guy who hasn't yet won a major and is poised to come out of nowhere and do it, Snedeker just might be that guy.


Number 9 -- Phil Mickelson

Don't look now, but Mickelson is one green jacket shy of having as many (4) as Tiger has in his closet.

His form of late has been much improved and Augusta National is always within Phil's grasp, as it was in 2015 when he finished in a tie for 2nd with Justin Rose.

How good has he been at Augusta? In the last 18 years, he's missed the cut just one time (2014). In that stretch, he has ten Top 10 finishes to go along with his four victories. In 14 of the last 18 Masters, Mickelson has finished Top 10 or better.

Why Mickelson? -- Even at age 45, Phil can still win at Augusta. Why? Because he knows the place, literally, better than ANYONE who is teeing it up on April 7. And, yes, that counts for something at Augusta National. Mickelson's play on the four par 5 holes will probably determine his fate in 2016. He's still long enough off the tee to reach three of them in two shots (only #2 is probably ambitious for him) and if his short game is on command, even the ones he doesn't hit in two are still birdie-holes. Realistically, Mickelson should be at least ten under par for the week on the par 5's. If 16-under par is a fair scoring goal for the guys who dream of winning, Mickelson needs to figure out a way to play the 56 holes that aren't par 5's in a mere six under par.

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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.


Monday
March 28
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XX
Issue 28
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


birds trying to end hyun soo kim experiment?

Dan Duquette isn't saying much, predictably, but if the smoke billowing out of Sarasota indicates there's a fire somewhere, the Orioles might be trying to part company with first-year outfielder Hyun Soo Kim.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports first reported the story last Friday and a weekend of inactivity is feasting material for the rumor mill, which has Kim being offered back to the Korean Baseball Organization. The Orioles, naturally, aren't confirming or denying Rosenthal's story, but Kim didn't start either of Baltimore's spring training wins on Saturday or Sunday and isn't on the travel roster for today's trip to Fort Myers to take on the Red Sox.

It's been a woeful indoctrination for Kim, who showed up to camp last month overweight and started the spring going 0-for-16 at the plate. It got better, but then again, it had to. Kim is now hitting .182, with 8 hits in 44 at-bats. All eight of those hits are singles. He has two RBI. It's not good.

This really shouldn't be a surprise.

Duquette is known for his ability to find a diamond-in-the-rough somewhere -- or at least search like a maniac for one -- but even this attempt to quickly mold Kim into an everyday major leaguer was ambitious at best.

The KBO, most scouts and experts say, ranks just slightly higher than Triple-A level baseball here in the U.S. That Kim would come in and find the waters a little rough shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. It's not a walk in the park, particularly for someone seeing MLB's quality of play for the first time and needing to learn a new language in a foreign country.

That the Orioles essentially gift-wrapped the left fielder's job for Kim has raised a few eyebrows, but that's the deal you have to strike in order to pry the player away from his home country and familiar baseball surroundings.

You can't ask a guy to come over here and give him the old "you'll be fighting for a roster spot" speech while you're trying to woo him out of the Korean league.

In addition, the Orioles also had to include language in Kim's contract that precluded them from sending him to the minors.

I know, I know, that's a risky proposition, but it's the only way the Birds could get the guy to sign on the dotted line. And while Duquette had to know there was going to be a rough patch or two along the way, I can only assume it's fair to say he never imagined it would be this awful through 44 at-bats in spring training.

Kim would have to agree to a minor league demotion and that seems highly unlikely, although $7 million is $7 million no matter if you're making it in Baltimore or Norfolk. Still, most people who follow the ballclub assume the Korean outfielder would balk at the suggestion he start the regular season in the minors.

It's one thing if a new player who isn't familiar with the physical demands of the major leagues shows up to his first spring training in dire need of 5,000 sit-ups. A few less soft drinks and doughnuts and an extra helping of vegetables for the next month will help Kim lose what looks to be 15-20 pounds of extra weight he's carrying.

But it's more than fair to be worried about the "other" issue concerning Kim. He can't hit. At least not yet, anyway.

So this is why the Orioles keep Reimold around?

The Orioles aren't saying much at this point, but the silence -- as the saying goes -- is deafening. Buck Showalter merely points to the fact that the club still has roster decisions to make as reasons for his decision(s) to not play Kim as much recently, but the skeptic would assume Showalter is using the likes of Joey Rickard and Nolan Reimold so he can make the right call on one of those two when the Birds send Kim packing.

Rickard, as Brien Jackson notes below, is having a terrific spring. And because he's a Rule 5 selection, the likelihood he stays in Baltimore this season is very high. And that's a "pre-Kim" decision, meaning Rickard was going to be with the club even if Kim hit .400 this spring.

Reimold, for reasons only Duquette and Showalter know, is the fair-haired-boy in Baltimore. He can't stay healthy -- EVER -- and even when he is available for some extended period of time, the results are often only decent enough to get you to wonder, "Gee, if this guy ever spent an entire season with the big-league club, could he be any good?"

Now, with Kim's spring training struggles in full bloom, both Rickard and Reimold are fighting for quality playing time and not just roster spots, charter flights and major league per-diem.

The potential that Kim might be shipped back home leaves the Orioles without a bonafide lead-off hitter, but that debate isn't all that interesting for two reasons.

First, the whole "lead off" hitter concept is really kind of silly. The guy is only guaranteed to "lead off" once per-game. It's like a band fighting over what song goes first on their upcoming album. Who cares? Just put 12 really good songs on there and hit the presses.

Second, just because they signed Kim and annointed him the lead-off hitter doesn't mean he's going to latch on and secure the position. Anyone who thought the Orioles problems in left-field were solved just because they signed a good player from the KBO isn't paying attention much.

The Hyun Soo Kim deal was a gamble from jump street.

My guess? The injury bug is about to hit Sarasota.

Because the Orioles are crafty if nothing else, I don't think they're going to give up on Kim just like that.

They invested a modest amount of money to get him out of Korea and the $7 million they owe him over the next two seasons isn't chump change, even to a major league owner who uses $100 bills for napkins when he or she spills coffee on their desk.

I smell a well-timed "injury" coming up or Kim, and, yes, the word "injury" is in quotes for a reason.

This is a favorite trick of the Orioles and one they've perfected over the last few years. If they created an ankle injury for a veteran like Ubaldo Jimenez (2014), they'll certainly have no problem bringing Hyun Soo Kim in one day this week and explaining to him how his hamstring needs a few weeks of rest.

The money is an issue and, to some degree, Duquette doesn't want the embarrassment of having to ship a player back to his native country after a failed experiment. I'm not sure if either of those issues outweighs the other, but they're both very real, which is why I'm guessing Kim comes up lame by Wednesday or Thursday of this week and, ahem, "unfortunately has to spend some time on the disabled list."

By the time Kim has worked out the kinks during his minor-league rehab assignment in April and May, Reimold will probably be joining him on the trainer's table with his 14th disabled list stint and Rickard will be experiencing some market correction on his hot start to the 2016 campaign.

I'm certainly not saying Kim's going to transform himself into a quality major leaguer. The odds look like they're against that happening at this point. But the Orioles aren't going to give up on him this easily, I don't think.

Plus, if they do send him back to Korea, that would mean Ken Rosenthal wound up being right.

And those of us who have been around for a couple of decades know the Orioles would rather get swept by the Yankees in a 3-game series than to have Rosenthal be right about the story of Hyun Soo Kim.

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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.


rickard may just be the real deal


Opening Day is mercifully approaching, and that means that our baseball attention can, momentarily, shift to something at least marginally important: Who is going to make the Opening Day 25 man roster?

The Orioles don't have a ton of wiggle room here save for maybe a couple of bullpen spots, but one bubble candidate who has absolutely played himself into a ticket North is outfielder and Rule 5 draft pick Joey Rickard.

Rickard was probably always going to make the team to begin the season, as a Rule 5 pick has to remain on the major league roster or his former team (Rays) gets an opportunity to reclaim his rights, but that's a no-brainer now after his scorching hot Spring.

It's only March, but the hits just keep on coming.

As of this writing, Rickard is batting a torrid .388/.444/.571 in 54 Grapefruit League plate appearances, and has easily been the highlight of spring training for the Birds.

That's not to say the team has stumbled into a brand new superstar or anything, as Spring Training results really mean nothing, what with established pitchers all but phoning it in and just getting in shape for the season, and the fact that the O's only have the guy because the Rays weren't willing to give him a 40 man roster spot themselves (though there's a caveat that, a lot of times, teams expose guys they actually want to keep on the thinking that they'll get a chance to get him back and store him in the minors, while adding him to the roster means possibly having to DFA him to make a roster move early in the season).

But Rickard isn't exactly just riding a hot streak in an otherwise unremarkable career either. In fact, his minor league career is actually quite accomplished.

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Yes, it's only spring training, but newcomer Joey Rickard is making a name for himself in Sarasota thus far.

In total, he's a .283/.390/.397 hitter, and he's had success across various levels, while generally remaining below the average age for his level of play.

Last year, in particular, provides a lot of reason for optimism that Rickard may well end up a very productive hitter at the big league level. Playing most of the year at Double-A in the Southern League, Rickard hit .322/.420/.497 before being promoted to the International League where, rather than taking a dip with the higher level of competition, he hit .360/.437/.470 in 104 plate appearances.

He played in the Dominican League for a spell in 2015 as well, producing a .277/.340/.450 batting line in 217 plate appearances.

To state the obvious, those are really good numbers, and they're fairly representative of the rest of his minor league career as well. Rickard has a pretty clear profile both in terms of scouting and numbers at this point: Doesn't have a ton of raw power, but he's good at getting the bat on the ball for solid contact and has a good batting eye as well.

There really isn't any good reason to simply assume that Rickard can't be a good big league player based on his career to this point, and given both his own hot spring and the struggles of Hyun Soo Kim (both at home plate and the dinner plate), who Ken Rosenthal reported the Orioles are considering approaching with a proposal to send back to the Korean League, Rickard has not only earned his roster spot, he deserves to be the regular left fielder, and arguably hit leadoff, until he proves he's not up to the task.

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#dmd's local weekend lacrosse wrap-up


Game of the Week: Maryland 11-North Carolina 8

In this battle of great defense vs great offense, defense won again. Maryland controlled the game most of the way, never trailing and pulling away late to win going away. The old adage of defense wins championships continues to hold and explains why Maryland routinely reaches NCAA finals. Along with great defense, the Terp offense also joined the party making the best of its possessions. On the flipside, the Carolina offense seemed predictable and a bit sloppy at times. And if someone told you UNC would win 13 of 23 faceoffs against the Terps, you would have never thought the Terps would have won by 3. Here were the deciding factors of the game:

Maryland Shuts down UNC Attack - The Terp close defense held UNCs attack of Pontrello, Cloutier, and Goldstock, who've accounted for 50% of their goals, to just 2 goals on 17 shots.

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Four goals from Matt Rambo helped the Terps earn a huge win over North Carolina on Saturday afternoon at College Park.

UNC Inconsistent Offense - While the stats only showed UNC with 2 more turnovers than the Terps (10-8), UNC's turnovers seem to come at the worse times. Quite a few were caused by Tar Heel ball carriers taking it into the teeth of the Terp's D, with bad results. Only 17 of UNC's 41 shots were on cage. Sometimes UNC had great looks, but had a tough time finishing. They seem to be missing the dodging threats on attack of Sankey and Bitter from the past few years.

Goalie Play - Both teams struggled to get shots on cage. But the Terp's Bernlohr played solid, saving 9 and only allowing 8, and the last 2 came with less than 2 minutes when the Terps D knew the game was in hand. UNC's Balkam had a tough day only saving 7 while giving up 11. His D gave up some open looks up top, but there were some long range shots he should have stopped.

Big Games From Terps Stars - Matt Rambo (4 goals) and midfielder Connor Kelly (3 goals, 3 assists) had great games. When Matt Rambo's shots were on cage, they hit the back of the net. Kelly had a career game and the sophomore is starting to emerge as the Terp's best midfielder, taking the place of Colin Heacock who was moved to attack.

The Terps should break into the Top 5 after a solid performance and begin a 3 game road stretch starting with a tough Penn team, then getting into B1G conference play with Michigan and Penn State. North Carolina could fall near the bottom of the polls as it falls to 5-4 before facing the rest of the ACC. They'll most likely need to win 3 of 4 and win at least 1 in the ACC tourney to get an automatic bid.

Other Locals:

Virginia 13-Johns Hopkins 12 OT - Trap game against the Cavaliers with their backs against the wall. Great back and forth game in which the Blue Jays give up the game tying goal with 20 seconds and the game winner in overtime. Unlike the Syracuse game, Virginia clobbered Hopkins on ground balls (46-24) and face-offs (18-10), yet Hopkins was on the verge of winning.

Towson 15-Binghamton 6 - Towson featured 9 goal scorers including 6 points from Ryan Drenner (4g, 2a), while getting great goal tending from Tyler White who made 11 saves on 5 goals allowed.

Navy 12-Lehigh 7 - Navy hands Lehigh its worse loss of the season in their house in a statement Patriot league win.

Loyola 14-Bucknell 3 - Loyola's best performance of the season. Particularly Jacob Stover who stonewalls the Bison with 12 saves while allowing just 1.

Stony Brook 14-UMBC 11 - The Sea Wolves go up big early, then hold off the Retrievers who could only close the gap to 3.

The Big Picture

Upsets Continue - As noted, #11 Duke drops another midweek game to another SoCon opponent in #20 Air Force. But the biggest head scratcher is unranked Penn State taking down #1 Denver 15-10. Key to the victory was Penn State's Billy Lombardi pretty much splitting face-offs with the nation's best FOGO in Denver's Trevor Baptiste, including beating Baptiste 6-0 in the 3rd quarter to help spark a 7-1 run.

Traps Avoided - #3 Yale needed a to shut out unranked Princeton in the final 10 minutes to hold off the Tigers 11-10. #2 Notre Dame holds off a late rally from Ohio State to win 9-8. #19 Hofstra and #20 Air Force get tough wins against lesser teams Vermont and Detroit respectively.

Poll Shuffling To Continue - 6 of the top 15 suffered losses last week with another guaranteed to fall on Tuesday when #8 Villanova faces #4 Brown.

The Best - Notre Dame, Yale, Denver (mulligan), Maryland, Brown or Villanova (depending on Tuesday's outcome)

The #DMD lacrosse wrap-up was written and provided by John Pusateri.

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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.


Sunday
March 27
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XX
Issue 27
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contract extension in the works for turgeon?

It's always easy to offer an opinion or make a stand on an issue that doesn't involve your money, so let's do that today.

While making my weekly appearance on Glenn Clark Radio last Friday, the subject of a contract extension for Maryland basketball coach Mark Turgeon was brought up. Trying our best not to let Thursday night's season-ending loss to Kansas get in the way of our (rational) thinking, Clark and I forged ahead and passionately discussed Turgeon's contract, which currently has three years remaining on the initial 8-year deal he signed with the Terps in 2011.

Because college sports work in four year "terms" if you will, it's always dicey to not have a coach under a contract that runs for four more seasons.

It's a recruiting tool, if nothing else. A college coach can plop down on a kid's couch and say, honestly, "If you come and play for me, you know you'll be there with me for those four years because I have four years, at least, remaining on my contract."

Coaches can be fired, obviously, and that handshake agreement of "come play for me for four years" gets thrown out the window, but a coach with a deal for less than four seasons is always on edge. Well, let's be fair, coaches are generally on edge anyway -- it's their nature -- but the contract-status-issue is an important one, for certain.

Maryland should expect a call from Turgeon's agent.

In the wake of Maryland's 27-win season and modest success in the NCAA tournament, it's a given that Mark Turgeon's agent will be calling Terps' Athletic Director Kevin Anderson sometime soon. The only thing more certain at College Park is that Melo Trimble will turn the ball over six times this afternoon in a pick-up game at Xfinity Center.

Turgeon wants a contract extension.

But, should he get one?

And, does he deserve one?

Keep in mind this is standard-operating-procedure anytime a college coach has a sliver of success that's above and beyond what's been accomplished in recent years. Turgeon heads into the 2016-2017 season with only three years left on his original deal. Maryland's happy with his performance over the last five seasons, right?

I'm sure they are.

How happy are they, though? That's the big question.

Turgeon's 2016-2017 Maryland squad is expected to take a major hit in the talent department with the anticipated departures of Trimble, Robert Carter Jr. and Diamond Stone. If those three would somehow miraculously stay at College Park, a contract extension, right now, probably wouldn't be necessary. The team -- with those three players returning -- would potentially be really good again next season and the contract issue would basically take of itself if Maryland again makes the NCAA tournament next season.

But, it's likely those three are gone.

Next season will be much more challenging than this one was, that's for sure. And, so, Turgeon needs a little help on the recruiting trail. One form of assistance would be a contract extension that would give him the security of bringing kids to College Park who sign on for four years with him just as much as sign on with the school itself.

There's nothing wrong with rewarding a "good" coach.

Turgeon, as noted above with the use of quotes to distinguish emphasis, is a "good" coach.

Nothing more, in my opinion.

But it's important to note that coaching at the college level goes far beyond x's and o's, plays, schemes, etc. Recruiting is a major part of college coaching. The college coach -- in any sport -- is also the de facto general manager of his/her team. They scout the players, sign them, AND coach them.

Like nearly every other coach -- college or professional -- Turgeon has in-game strong points and weak points. I'm probably harder on him than most, granted, but I consider him only an "OK" in-game supervisor. Not creative enough in designing plays and set pieces, lack of in-game or halftime adjustments, and a failure to develop a half-court offense. Those have been common complaints about him for five years now.

That's not to say he's an imposter, though. Turgeon is a good in-game coach, but he's light years behind Gary Williams...as most guys are, actually.

Turgeon, some would say, is a "great" recruiter. That's an important distinction for him and one that should carry weight with Maryland as they consider his contract extension.

That said, recruiting at Maryland is MUCH easier now than it was, say, ten years ago in the final stages of Gary Williams' outstanding career at College Park.

I'm not suggesting the Terps are simply handing out "free money" when I write what I'm about to write, but it's certainly fair to say the impact of the Big Ten and the emergence of Under Armour as a significant partner of Maryland athletics has changed the landscape of the entire department. Earlier this month, for example, they tore apart the guts of Cole Field House and commenced the construction of a new indoor football practice facility.

Safe to say, that sort of progress wouldn't have taken place five years ago absent Big Ten money and substantial aid provided from Under Armour.

Turgeon has benefitted greatly from those two "partners", if you will. And, while I'm not saying that's the biggest piece of evidence you could use against his agent when he calls this week and begs for a 3-5 year contract extension, that probably would be the way I'd start the conversation.

"Look, we think Mark has done a very good job here," I'd affirm with his agent. "We're excited to have him as our men's basketball coach. But, let's be clear about one issue so we can talk about the extension in reasonable terms. He inherited an OUTSTANDING situation here at College Park. He might not have inherited an outstanding "team" on the court in 2011, but the Athletic Department as a whole here has offered Turgeon every opportunity to be successful over the last five years."

That's a nice way of saying, "Let's keep both feet on the ground when we're talking about the great job Turgeon has done at College Park. We're the gift that keeps on giving here -- and he's unwrapped a lot of nice presents over the last five years."

Give him two more years because it's the right thing to do.

It's not my money, true, so it's pretty easy for me to throw another $5 million in Turgeon's direction, but I think the fair thing to do for him, now, is add two more years onto the remaining three years of his deal.

That gives him a five-year contract and the necessary security he needs on the recruiting trail.

The extension also gives him two more seasons to keep Maryland at or near the top of the Big Ten before we're back at this point again. He has two more chances to make the NCAA tournament, two more chances to get further than the Sweet Sixteen, and two more chances to make a Final Four.

If Maryland slides backwards over the next two seasons, we'll re-visit this whole thing in 2018 and it might be time to take a harder look at Turgeon's future in College Park.

Right now, if we're being honest, he's been here for five years and the Terps really haven't won anything. They had a good team last year and won a single game in March Madness before getting battered by West Virginia. They had a VERY good team this year and won two games in the NCAA tournament before being sent home for good.

There's evidence of progress, yes, but perhaps not enough to warrant another five years of faith, which is likely what Turgeon's agent will ask for when he makes that inevitable call to Kevin Anderson.

Give Turgeon a two-year extension -- giving him a five-year contract, basically -- and move on to figuring out how to make the football program relevant again.


For those of you who celebrate Easter and the resurrection of Jesus, I hope you have a wonderful holiday today.

Happy Easter to all!

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game of change (by g. mcdonnell)


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Ah, The Sixties. Turbulent and tumultuous times!

The adults of the era were wildly out of control. Most seemed to have lost the capacity of reason.

There were high-profile assassinations and violent demonstrations. Frequent riots left large parts of many cities in burnt, smoking ruin. Leaders of both political parties were rounding up the youth of America, shaving their heads and shipping them halfway around the world to shoot at foreigners, and neither party, then or since, has offered up any rational reason for having done so.

Thank God for rock and folk music, and for the leafy green vegetable matter then slowly making its way up out of downtowns across the country. These things and sports allowed those not yet of voting or drinking age to survive.

The adults of The Sixties, besides condemning the music and outlawing the dope, were trying to screw up sports as well. This is a sports story of the times. Perhaps a moral of this story is that no matter how diligently some men apply themselves to the ruination of sports, an intangible attribute of sports is its innate capacity to thwart them and allow the better natures of both participants and fans to shine through. This is a part of the back story to the most exciting NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament to date, the victory of the Loyola of Chicago Ramblers over the University of Cincinnati Bearcats in 1963.

I won’t dwell on the championship game. It was very exciting. The Ramblers came back from a 15-point second-half deficit to tie the Bearcats in regulation time on a Jerry Harkness jump shot at the buzzer. In overtime, Vic Rouse's put-back of a missed shot by Les Hunter, also at the buzzer, earned Loyola of Chicago the national championship.

Highlights of the 1963 National Championship Game

#DMD TV

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1963 MSU Maroons

For this story, we take a trip down Mississippi way to sympathize long after the fact with the Mississippi State Maroons (now called the Bulldogs), the men’s basketball champions of the Southeastern Conference in 1959, 1961, and 1962.

In each of those years, the NCAA extended an invitation to the university to compete in the post-season tournament to determine a national champion. In each of those years, the university declined the invitation.

Now, hold on to your hat (and remember what I told you about the adults of the era) as I tell you why the invitations were declined. The school administration adhered to the state’s unwritten law that white athletes did not compete with black athletes. [The unwritten {basketball} law outside Mississippi was: "One at home, two on the road, and three when you fall behind."] So the Maroons and their fans, enginers hoist with their own petars, marooned themselves on an island of inherited stupidity in a climate of perpetual hatred.

In 1963 the Maroons again captured the SEC men’s basketball championship. Even though Starkville, the location of the university, was a long way from New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Miami, some of the people in the town and in the state thought that their team should test how it would stand up against national competition. Of whatever color.

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MSU president Dean Colvard
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Mississippi governor Ross Barnett

Dr. Dean W. Colvard was appointed president of Mississippi State University in 1960 after serving as Dean of Agriculture at North Carolina State University. In his third year of service, Dr. Colvard accepted the NCAA’s invitation. Reaction was immediate. The Maroons first game would be against the Loyola of Chicago Ramblers. The Jackson (Mississippi) Daily News printed a picture of Loyola's starters to show that four of them were African Americans.

As a caption to the picture, the editor wrote "readers may desire to clip the photo of the Loyola team and mail it to the board of trustees of the institution of higher learning" to prevent the game from taking place. Mississippi governor Ross Barnett, a loathsome cracker whose supporters crawled from under rocks and out of primeval slime in order to vote for him, stated his official position on Dr. Colvard’s decision, “I feel that it is not for the best interest of Mississippi State University, the state of Mississippi, or either of the races.” M. M. Roberts, a member of the Board of Regents, the governing authority of MSU, put forth a motion demanding Dr. Colvard’s resignation as university president.

But there was pushback. Rabble-rousing long-haired and drug-addled MSU students picketed and demonstrated in support of Dr. Colvard. In a moving show of unparalleled bravery and at great financial risk, 85 commercial businesses in the town of Starkville published their names, in bold capital letters, at the bottom of a petition demanding the team be allowed to compete in the tournament. The Board of Regents, in emergency session, asked for a second of M. M. Roberts’ motion to fire the president. No second was made. The board then voted, 9 to 2 (some accounts have it as 8 to 3), in favor of allowing the team to play.

But things were just getting warmed up. Hatred driven deep into a baby’s head from birth and nurtured throughout life dies hard, if ever. Racist Mississippi State Senator Billy Mitts somehow persuaded a magistrate to issue an injunction, grounded in the “unwritten” law, to be served on either Dr. Colvard or team coach Babe McCarthy, prohibiting the team from playing in the tournament.

After much searching, Mitts had found a compliant magistrate in a town in Hinds County, a place 125 miles from Starkville. With the signed injunction in hand, Mitts raced to Starkville and delivered the injunction to Deputy Sheriff Dot Johnson for him to serve.

Deputy Johnson was a dedicated law-enforcement officer with a long history of valiant service. He knew his duty and performed it well under all circumstances. Although he would have preferred that MSU play in the tournament, he was duty bound to serve the injunction. He set out to perform this duty. But first, he decided, it was time for a doughnut.

Dr. Colvard and Coach McCarthy had anticipated efforts to prevent the team from leaving. The flight was scheduled on a commercial airline. The team’s substitutes were driven on a bus, with much fanfare, to the airport, and boarded the aircraft. The starters were taken surreptitiously to a private airfield outside Starkville and put on a charter plane. Dr. Colvard and MSU’s vice president had driven out of Starkville the previous night, and had safely crossed the border into Alabama. Coach McCarthy and the school’s athletic director had likewise fled the previous night, safely crossing into Tennessee.

Deputy Johnson enjoyed his doughnut so much that he decided to have another. When he had finished his two delicacies, along with several leisurely enjoyed cups of coffee, he set off to the airport to serve the injunction. He arrived at the airport and was told that the flight had just departed. “Damn,” he said, “a damn shame.”

The game between the Ramblers and the Maroons was played before 12,000 fans and a thousand armed F.B.I. and Secret Service agents at the Michigan State University Fieldhouse in East Lansing. The Ramblers were not sure whom their opponent would be until a few hours before the game. It was yet possible that machinations could have been contrived that would prevent the Maroons from playing. In that event, Georgia Tech's team was prepared to take the court. Even when it was clear MSU would play, both teams had more than basketball on their minds. As the captains walked to center court, hundreds of flashbulbs popped, slightly rattling both men.

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The Handshake

Fifty years after the game, Ramblers captain Jerry Harkness was asked how he felt when he and Maroons captain Joe Dan Gold met at mid-court to shake hands.

“Warmth,” he said. “Warmth. Everything I knew and read about Mississippi—how they killed Medgar Evers and the trouble with the Freedom Riders and everything else—it was terrible. That’s all I knew. That was the image I had in my mind going into that game.”

“But when I looked at his (Gold’s) face, looked into his eyes, I just felt this warmth. It was like he was saying,’I’m glad to be here to play you guys. Let’s play some basketball.' ”

The Ramblers won the hard fought and well played game, 61 to 51. Gold broke a finger midway in the game, and although he didn’t come out of the game, didn’t play his best. The Maroons’ best player fouled out with five minutes to go. Coach McCarthy, when he had a ten-point lead, instructed his team to slow the game down, a tactically fatal mistake against a team as good as the Ramblers.

Harkness again: “They tell me it was a good game. But it was just a game. It’s hard to remember games for 50 years. Now the handshake . . . that was something more than a game.”

Joe Dan Gold and his wife Rosemarie became good friends with Jerry Harkness and his wife Sarah. Joe Dan died of cancer at age 68 in 2011. Jerry Harkness drove from Indianapolis to eastern Kentucky to attend the funeral. When he arrived at the church, he hugged Rosemarie Gold, and the two stood by Joe Dan’s coffin. On the coffin’s bier sat the framed picture of Harkness and Gold shaking hands at mid-court. At that moment, as at the moment 48 years before, no words were necessary.

After the loss to the Ramblers, the Mississippi State team flew back to Starkville as a unit. Dr. Colvard, the university vice president, and the school’s athletic director were also on the plane with Coach McCarthy and the full team. The Mississippi State Supreme Court had quashed the injunction the day after it had issued, so no one faced contempt charges. Other than that, no one on the plane knew what to expect on arrival.

As suggested earlier, sports has a capacity to allow the better natures of both fans and participants to come to the fore. And so it was. When the plane touched down, thousands of people were on hand to greet the team and school administrators. They yelled and clapped and cheered, and although in defeat, joyfully showed their support. Even some of the adults.

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A game neither team lost.

Note: Major sports-reporting organizations (ESPN, the Associated Press, the Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, among others) without first-class fact-checking departments such as #DMD has have published the photo on the left below, stating that it is the historic photo titled "The Handshake." In fact the photo depicts MSU's Joe Dan Gold shaking hands with #40, the Ramblers' Vic Rouse, after captains Gold and Harkness had shaken hands in their pre-game meeting with referees. Jerry Harkness wore #15. The photo on the right below (published within the story above) is the historic image of the handshake about which Harkness spoke so eloquently.

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college lax: umbc battles hard, loses to stony brook, 14-11

UMBC senior attackman Nate Lewnes scored a team season-high six goals and spearheaded a furious comeback, but the Retrievers (1-5, 0-2 America East) could not complete the rally and fell, 14-11, to 12th-ranked Stony Brook (6-2, 1-1 AE) in an America East Conference contest yesterday afternoon at UMBC Stadium.

The Retrievers trailed, 10-3, at the midpoint of the second quarter, but got back into the game with a 4-1 surge in the final 6:30 of the stanza. Lewnes scored with five seconds to play in the period to give the Retrievers the momentum heading into the locker room, trailing only 11-7.

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UMBC head coach Don Zimmerman and his Retrievers fought gamely on Saturday before dropping a 14-11 decision to #12 Stony Brook.

The UMBC co-captain would net his fourth of the game to open the third quarter scoring at the 3:47 mark, but Stony Brook answered just eight seconds later and increased its lead to 13-8 seven minutes later.

Despite losing all six third-quarter draws, UMBC closed to within 13-10 after 45 minutes on goals by sophomore midfielder Max Haldeman and Lewnes, who struck with 26 seconds to play in the frame. Senior middie Jack Gannon brought UMBC to within 13-11 just 3:21 into the fourth, bouncing a shot in from eight yards out after a Lewnes pass.

The Retrievers did not win the ensuing draw, but would force six SBU turnovers in the final quarter and took four shots in the effort to trim the deficit to one goal. But freshman middie Pat Clipp was denied with six minutes left and Haldeman's two efforts on goal were stopped by Seawolf reserve netminder Brandon Maciejewski.

Stony Brook junior midfielder Jeff Reh sealed the win for the Seawolves by beating a double-team and scoring into an empty net with 1:13 remaining.

Lewnes' six-goal, seven-point effort is one off of his career best seven-goal, eight-point effort at Vermont in April of 2014.

Gannon and junior attackman Max Maxwell each recorded for points, as Gannon added three assists to his tally and Maxwell tied his career-best with four helpers. Freshman attackman Jack Andrews added a goal and two helpers, while Haldeman scored a pair for the second consecutive week.

Senior attackman Matt Schultz led a balanced SBU effort with two goals and four helpers. Stony Brook junior face-off specialist won 17 of 26 draws and the visitors controlled 19 of 29 in the game.

The Retrievers return to action on Wednesday, March 30 when they host 8th-ranked Johns Hopkins at 7:00 p.m.

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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 26
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XX
Issue 26
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coach k embarrasses himself with failed teaching moment

I was busy writing my post-game Maryland piece early Friday (yesterday) morning, so I didn't get to see the end of the Duke/Oregon contest live, but I've been caught up to speed now and can offer a fair, balanced opinion on the Coach K-Dillon Brooks tete a tete.

Coach K whiffed.

Big time.

Not only did he whiff, he embarrassed himself in the process.

I'll do what I always do when it comes to discussing things in these parts such as Duke, the New York Yankees, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, etc. Let me clearly set the record straight as it relates to Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski: I think he's a terrific coach.

Let's not allow our disdain for the Duke program and our jealousy for what they've done over the last 30 years get in the way of the truth. Coach K is a great coach. He's won (and lost) at the college and pro level, won with great talent, decent talent and teams that probably weren't as gifted as others but somehow figured out a way to win.

I've gushed over him enough, I think, to show that I greatly respect what he's done at Duke. Coach K is a winner.

Coach K is also a whiner.

And the exchange he initiated after the game with Oregon's Dillon Brooks highlights Mike Krzyzewski's maddening, over-the-top aura -- self created, totally -- that he's somehow "on patrol" and directly in charge of monitoring all that's good and not-good about today's version of college basketball.

All of this angst over one basket in a blow-out game.

Here's the quick summary of what did transpire, just in case you don't know. Duke lost to Oregon on Thursday night, as the Ducks moved on and the Blue Devils headed back to Durham. Up by 11 points late, with a five second difference between the shot clock and game clock, Oregon's Dillon Brooks heaved a 30-footer that found the bottom of the net to finalize the scoring at 82-68. And so, the story begins.

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Coach K tried to "coach" the kid from Oregon after Thursday's loss sent Duke back to Durham.

By general sporting standards, what Brooks did was wrong, sure. His team was ahead by 11 points with inside of ten seconds left in the game. His coach, we found out yesterday, instructed the team to run the shot clock down and then shoot the ball so as not to get a shot-clock violation. I guess when you see Northern Iowa barf all over themselves and lose a 12-point lead in 33 seconds, you suddenly start to wonder if even an 11-point lead with six seconds is safe.

Anyway...Brooks did a little celebrating after the 3-pointer, which probably wasn't the classiest thing to do, either, and then Coach K thrust himself into the story during the post-game handshake between the two teams.

Krzyzewski stopped Brooks momentarily in the line and said, "You're too good of a player to do that", then held him there for a second and repeated it again, just to make sure the kid got the full brunt of the legendary coach's finger-wagging-moment.

That was mistake number one. Brooks plays for Oregon. Coach K runs the Duke program. You have no business, none at all, "talking shop" with a kid from the other team.

If the Oregon coach wanted to admonish his own player for the last second three-pointer and gesture in the direction of the Duke bench, that's his right. But, it's not Krzyzewski's place to grill the kid right there on the sidelines in front of the whole country.

You lost, Coach K. It happens. Take it like a man and head to the locker room.

Brooks was the one who shared the conversation with the media afterwards, so he's partly to blame for the firestorm that's raging.

Coach K, though, threw gasoline on the whole saga by initially denying after the game that he admonished Brooks for the late 3-pointer.

"I didn't say that," Krzyzewski said. "You can say whatever you want. Dillon Brooks is a hell of a player. I said, 'You're a terrific player.' And you can take whatever he said and then go with it, all right?"

When in doubt, go to the video tape.

CBS Sports released the audio late Friday night and it supports the picture painted by Brooks during the post-game press conference.

Coach K didn't say, "You're a terrific player", rather he said, clearly, "You're too good of a player to do that".

I wonder if the Duke coach would have been thrilled with Roy Williams or Jim Larranaga admonishing one of the Blue Devils after a North Carolina or Miami loss to the Blue Devils. How would Coach K have reacted if Williams would have stopped Grayson Allen in the post-game handshake and said, "You're too good of a player to be intentionally tripping people like you have a tendency to do"?

No coach, at any level, likes having one of his or her players "coached" by someone other than themselves.

Krzyzewski knows that to be true, of course, but in his self-appointed role as chief custodian of all things righteous, he took it upon himself to offer a teaching moment to Oregon's Dillon Brooks. The only problem? Brooks isn't Coach K's student.

That said, the story got more muddy because the longtime Duke coach didn't tell the truth afterwards. That's REALLY how things got smelly.

Frankly, Coach K absolutely had the right to say something about the late 3-pointer and he even had the right to be miffed about it. But he should have said something in his post-game press conference and he could have done it in a way that was both productive and revealing.

"Look, Oregon had a terrific performance tonight," Coach K could have said. "There were a lot of things about the game I didn't care for. I didn't care for the way we rebounded, I didn't care for the way we turned the ball over...hell, truth of the matter, I didn't care for the late 3-pointer they shot, either, but the reality is we lost by 14 points to a team that played better than we did."

The dig about the late 3-pointer would have been followed up on by the media, for sure, and Krzyzewski could have then proceeded accordingly. But, at least he would have been telling the truth at that point.

Telling the media afterwards he DIDN'T admonish Brooks was a dumb mistake from a veteran coach who should know better. This is 2016, not 1986. A camera or microphone, somewhere, is always "on" and what you do or say can almost always be validated in support of whatever empirical evidence is already in place.

Anyone who watched the end of the game knew Coach K said something to the kid, and it wasn't "How are your grades?"

The video tape would eventually reveal what was said, and it was a moment of embarrassment for a successful head coach who should know better.

You've won enough games, stop worrying about your reputation.

Krzyzewski tried to loosely paint Brooks as a fibber after the game, which was particularly strange since the goofy kid from Oregon played right along with Coach K and admitted after the game "I (he) was wrong. I shouldn't have showed them up like that. I have to learn to respect Duke."

Brooks bought in hook, line and sinker, but Coach K didn't have the fortitude to say afterwards, "Yeah, I scolded him a bit for that late 3-pointer. I'd do the same thing if one of my kids threw one in from 30 feet with an 11-point lead and six seconds were left in the game."

Since that's precisely what happened, Coach K should have just said that to the media after the loss to Oregon.

Instead, probably because he didn't want to confirm to the rest of the country how much of a raging, flaming, whining a-hole he can be after a loss, Krzyzewski tried to make the kid from Oregon into the bad guy.

The bad guy, in this case, was the graceful chief of college basketball himself, Coach Mike Krzyzewski.

First, he elected to take it upon himself to try and coach another team's player, which runs directly against the grain of the standards found in the Coaching 101 manual.

Then, afterwards, he lied about the whole thing, which either directly or in-directly led us to wonder whether or not the kid from Oregon might be a nut job.

Nope...the goofy guy in this saga is the coach, not the kid.

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u.s. world cup hopes in real danger after loss at guatemala


At this rate, U.S. soccer head coach Jurgen Klinsmann won't have to wait until the aftermath of failure at World Cup 2018 in Russia to get canned.

The American side might not even qualify for the next edition of the World Cup.

Guatemala struck for two quick first-half goals last night and won, 2-0, pushing the U.S. side into a virtual "must win" situation next Tuesday night in Columbus, Ohio, when the same two teams meet again in the opening round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

This is serious stuff, now. The Americans might not get through the first stage of qualifying.

Tough to come back from 2-0 down on the road.

Klinsmann was forced to use a structurally different line-up last night due to injuries and a suspension to Jermaine Jones, but that wasn't the story of the game.

It was a tale of two halves, as the U.S. team looked listless and disinterested in the first 15 minutes, allowing a set-piece corner kick goal and then, amazingly, surrendering a goal that started on a goal kick from the Guatemalan 'keeper and somehow found the back of the American net some ten seconds later.

Both goals were trash, but they each counted.

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Two great scoring chances fell on the right foot of Clint Dempsey last night but neither of them found the back of the net in the 2-0 loss to Guatemala.

The second half played out more true to form for the United States, but the country's longtime bugaboo -- finishing chances around the net -- reared its head in the final 45 minutes as Clint Dempsey (twice), Alejandro Bedoya and Jozy Altidore each failed to cash in on glorious scoring opportunities that could have changed the entire complexion of the game and the nation's chances for Russia in 2018.

Dempsey's chance in the 52nd minute was by far the most regrettable of the three failures. A goal there would have quickly put the U.S. right back in the game at 2-1 with almost the entire second half left to be played. Instead, his shot from eight yards out was snuffed by Guatemala goalkeeper Paolo Motta, who was johnny-on-the-spot on that occasion plus seconds later when the rebound found the foot of Bedoya, but he couldn't solve Motta from twelve yards away and the deficit remained 2-0.

Undaunted and carrying the play, the Americans looked more organized and spirited going forward for the next quarter hour, but Dempsey's next failure from twelve yards out was a fitting end to the surge.

Altidore came on as a second-half sub and did what he always seems to do in big games and memorable moments -- he failed to cash in on a great scoring chance. The striker, bothered by a hamstring injury for about the 15th time in his career, collected a nice pass from Dempsey in the 82nd minute and went in alone on Motta from the goalie's left, but his shot nicked off of Motta's leg and skimmed past the far post to keep Guatemala's clean sheet intact.

Those four chances -- all of them buried in the net by world class strikers -- represented not only the U.S. on Friday night, but the soccer program as a whole in this country over the last 25 years.

We always get chances, but can't convert on enough of them.

For all of the outstanding national and international soccer players we've produced in this nation, we still haven't uncovered a dominating forward who gets two chances and converts them both.

Dempsey is a nice player, nothing more, but even a player of his caliber should have put those two opportunities away last night.

Altidore has missed more quality chances in his national team career than you and I have made right turns on red in 2016. Combined.

But, in fairness to those two, at least they GOT a chance or three last night. No one else on the offensive end did much of anything for the Americans. Bobby Wood hardly broke a sweat in the opening half, midfielders Mix Diskerud (played out of place, mainly due to injuries to others) and Michael Bradley offered very little, and Bedoya gave the ball away about once every third trip down the field.

I was yelling at the TV screen hoping Klinsmann would give Chris Wondolowski twenty minutes of playing time in the second half, but it didn't happen. Wondo, like Altidore, always seems to get a chance or two just because he's in the right place at the right time.

The win for Guatemala gives them six points in three games thus far. Trinidad & Tobago (2-0-1) leads the group with seven points. The U.S. (1-1-1) has four points, while St. Vincent has zero points in three games. The top two teams out of the four move on to the final stage of CONCACAF qualifying in 2017 for a shot at earning a trip to World Cup 2018.

The U.S. hosts Guatemala next Tuesday night, then finishes with September games against St. Vincent (home) and Trinidad (away) to conclude this stage of qualifying.

A loss this Tuesday night in Columbus would just about finish off the Americans. It's that critical, now.

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spieth, mcilroy, day all advance in match play event

The organizers of this week's World Match Play championship at Austin CC couldn't have asked for anything better.

Three of the top four seeds -- Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day -- all advanced out of group play and will tee it up today in the "Sweet Sixteen" of the event in Austin, Texas.

The only top four guy to be sent home early was Bubba Watson. I'm as happy as you are about that.

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Ryan Moore beat Lee Westwood on Friday to reach today's "knock out stage" against heralded PGA Tour rookie Patton Kizzire.

The quality of the 64-man field was such that only six players went unblemished in the opening three days of play. Spieth, Day, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas, Louis Oosthuizen and Patrick Reed all went 3-0, with Reed blowing out Phil Mickelson yesterday in perhaps the most surprising result of day three play.

My predicted "Final Four" took a hit yesterday when Charl Schwartzel bowed out after a 5&3 loss to Brandt Snedeker, but I still have two guys alive (Spieth and Ryan Moore) in my Final Four.

Here are today's eight matches and my prediction for who wins and who gets sent home:

Bill Haas vs. Chris Kirk -- Haas steamrolled hot-hand Adam Scott on Friday. He wins today 2-up.

Rory McIlroy vs. Zach Johnson -- McIlroy's match play record is better, but Zach wins this one, 1-up.

Matt Kuchar vs. Brooks Koepka -- Seems like "Kooch" has found something, he wins 3&2.

Jason Day vs. Brandt Snedeker -- I'll take upset here. Sneds wins in 19 holes.

Byeong-Hun An vs. Rafael Cabrera Bello -- Give me Rafa here, 4&3.

Patton Kizzire vs. Ryan Moore -- Gotta go with Moore, of course. He wins 2&1.

Dustin Johnson vs. Patrick Reed -- Oh boy, this could be good. Reed wins 2-up.

Jordan Spieth vs. Louis Oosthuizen -- Match of the day stuff here. Spieth wins in 20 holes.

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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.


Friday
March 25
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XX
Issue 25
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maryland's last supper didn't taste all that good


If Kansas head basketball coach Bill Self had a sense of humor and even the slightest knowledge of the history of "Holy Thursday", he would have washed the feet of Perry Ellis in front of the whole Jayhawks team after last night's 79-63 win over the Terps.

Self's main disciple -- with 27 points and 5 rebounds -- was that freakin' good in Thursday night's Sweet Sixteen victory.

Maryland put up a valiant effort for twenty minutes or so before finally caving in, but by game's end it was clear for everyone to see -- the uber-talented #1 seed Kansas squad was simply better in every category across the board.

This wasn't a game the Terps threw away, per-se. Kansas just quietly and effectively took it from them, inching out to a five-point second-half lead that eventually became eight, ten, twelve and so on. It was a methodical, almost painless beating.

A win on Thursday night would have sent the Maryland basketball program to a new level, but the loss gets filed away like so many others over the years in the NCAA tournament. It doesn't hurt any more or any less, in my opinion.

Stone and Carter Jr. looked overwhelmed.

Maryland needed vintage performances from Diamond Stone and Robert Carter Jr. on Thursday night and they didn't get them. That's certainly not the entire story from Louisville, but Stone (5 points) and Carter (8) combined for a meager 13 points on the night while their respective counterparts -- Landen Lucas and Ellis -- poured in 41 points between them. Enough said.

The poor outing from Stone wraps up a promising freshman campaign that ended with more questions than answers. It was always assumed he was "one and done", but his play over the last six weeks wasn't nearly good enough to warrant a paycheck in the NBA seven months from now.

It's fair to note that this time last year, the kid was still walking the halls of a Wisconsin high school, but over the last half dozen games or so Stone looked like a race horse who was familiar with the six-furlong distance and was then asked to run a race at the mile-and-a-quarter distance. He didn't have the energy to compete when March rolled around.

I noted in yesterday's #DMD that the key match-up in the game would be Carter Jr. vs. Ellis, and that one-on-one battle was like a Mike Tyson fight in the 1980's -- ugly, lopsided and painful. Ellis won in a knockout.

To Carter's credit, he led the team in rebounds (six), but where Ellis shined in the offensive end with his 27 point night, Carter Jr. limped in with 8 points, which turned out to be two buckets more than the offensive contribution provided by Damonte Dodd.

It's not fair to pin everything on those two, of course. Melo Trimble finished the night with 17 points, a respectable total in today's college game, but his play on Thursday night resembled much of what we've seen from him since early February. Awful shot selection, poor technique, bad decisions with the basketball...that's been Trimble's summary of play for fifteen games now.

Whatever's bugging that young man changed his basketball IQ over the last two months of the season and Trimble's play simply dissolved in the latter half of the 2015-2016 campaign.

So, with Melo predictably following his recent form, Maryland couldn't win on Thursday night without Stone or Carter Jr. stepping up with a monster performance, and neither of them were up for the task. Another season of college basketball would do both of them a lot of good, but the lure of a paycheck in the best pro basketball league in the world will likely be too much for either of them to pass up.

Rebounding and shooting were problems all season long.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that Maryland's season ended on a night when they got out-rebounded 43-28.

Collecting loose balls off the glass has been the bee-in-their-bonnet throughout the season. But all the talk about it and the focus Coach Mark Turgeon placed on it still didn't change the fact the Terps simply weren't a good rebounding team. They just never figured it out.

Maryland's effort on the offensive boards was particularly troubling, albeit hardly surprising. Once again last night, the opposing team feasted on second-chance opportunities, with Kansas (13) doubling the Terps (6) in offensive rebounds. Not that Kansas scored points off of all seven of their additional rebounding conquests, but the 16-point margin of victory was created in large part by their dominance on the glass.

Stone's early foul trouble didn't help and Turgeon even dusted off little used Michal Cekovsky to try and but a bigger lineup on the court to help with the rebounding effort, but all "Ceko" did was look like a fish out of water. He had more fouls (3) than rebounds (2) in his six minutes of work. Credit to Turgeon for trying something different, but Cekovsky looked like a JV call-up.

The Terps started off Thursday's game in decent fashion, leading 14-8 with eleven minutes to go in the first half. While Maryland didn't shoot the ball great themselves early on, Kansas was a woeful 4-for-18 from the field in the opening stages of the contest. A bad shooting night from the Jayhawks was exactly what the doctor ordered for Turgeon's squad, but the numbers balanced out by the time the game reached the second half.

Kansas would end the night shooting 46% while the Terps, predictably, went through a couple of periods of listless shooting from the field to finish the game at 40%. Maryland had two stretches in the second half where they scored one basket from the field over a six-minute period. You can't win like that, not against Kansas, anyway.

Turgeon tried last night, but nothing really worked.

Mark Turgeon still hasn't defeated his alma mater, but last night's loss to Kansas wasn't his fault.

The Jayhawks got premium performances from their significant players and Maryland didn't, really.

As noted above, Turgeon tried to combat the dominance displayed by Ellis coupled with Maryland's lack of rebounding, but the rotation of Dodd and Cekovsky didn't change anything under the boards.

When the Maryland shooters went cold, he even gave some playing time to Jared Nickens (12 minutes) and Jaylen Brantley (4 minutes), but Nickens took four shots and hit one of them, while Brantley didn't attempt a shot from the field. It's interesting to note, though, that Brantley had one fewer defensive rebound than Stone, in 17 less minutes of playing time.

Some of the basketball "experts" on social media were criticizing Turgeon for not trying to slow the game down more and turn it into a half-court affair, but anyone who watched the Terps all season long knows that's a recipe for failure. Maryland -- and in particular Melo Trimble -- played their best basketball when they were running and gunning. See their 14-2 run midway through the second half of last Sunday's win over Hawaii as a prime example.

For all of his in-game warts, Turgeon still got yeoman's efforts out of Jake Layman and Rasheed Sulaimon over the final month or so of the season. While Trimble and Stone looked useless at times in February and March, Layman and Sulaimon buckled up and gave the Terps a chance to win almost every night.

If Turgeon's going to get some of the blame for Diamond and Melo throwing a shoe in the last ten games, he needs to get the equivalent credit for the play of Layman and Sulaimon down the stretch. If the Terps could somehow gain one more year of eligibilty for those two by swapping out Stone and Trimble, my guess is Turgeon would do that in a heartbeat.

Maryland's rebounding woes can't be placed squarely on Turgeon's shoulders. Reports out of College Park as early as early February had the coach making players "run the steps" if they surrendered an offensive rebound in practice. He was keenly aware that his team was deficient in rebounding. Turgeon just couldn't do anything about it, despite that knowledge.

When the dust settled in Louisville on Thursday night, our greatest fears turned out to be very real indeed.

We knew Kansas was better, but hoped the Terps could catch lightning in a bottle -- for one night at least.

We were keenly aware that Maryland's biggest problem (rebounding) could be a feasting point for Kansas.

And we knew, for sure, that our biggest assets (Trimble, Carter Jr., Stone) all had NBA-itis, yet we secretly wished that for at least forty more minutes, they'd forget about that stuff and man-up against Kansas.

Holy Thursday is a night for praying, of course, but even that didn't work for Maryland in Louisville last night.

They just weren't good enough, plain and simple.

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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' basketball season ended last night with their Sweet 16 loss to Kansas, 79-63.

Make no mistake about it, the better team won.

The Jayhawks were way better than Maryland. They beat the Terps in every statistical category, and in a few categories that can’t be measured by numbers.

Shooting percentage favored Kansas 46.8% to 40%. Maryland’s three point percentage was horrendous at 20% (5-25). Kansas hit three of nine three-point attempts (33%). Yes, the Terp three point numbers were skewed a bit by late desperation attempts, but Maryland just plain stunk from the outside. Again.

The Terps were outrebounded 43-28 and were even bested at the free throw line 85.7% to 70%. It was an overall butt whoopin’ administered by the Jayhawks who were stronger, hungrier, and way more poised than Maryland.

It started off OK last night.

The Terps kept it close for a half, and even led for extended periods in the first half, but wilted during the last seven of the opening twenty minutes.

The Terps were up by five, 26-21, at the seven minute mark, but elected to shoot five threes in their last eight shots (all misses), and wound up trailing 36-34 at the half. Rasheed Sulaimon and Trimble combined for 22 of the Terps 34 points.

Perry Ellis abused anyone trying to guard him, mostly Robert Carter Jr, and had 12 points in the first half.

Going into the second half, I couldn’t help but have a bad feeling.

The Terps in the first half played about as well as one could hope, but still trailed to a Kansas team that looked stronger than Maryland. And Kansas clearly hadn’t played their best basketball in the first half.

The hammer was about to fall and fall hard.

Kansas turned up the defensive heat in the second half and Maryland caved in under the pressure. As has been their tendency all year, when the opposing defense stiffens up, Maryland stops working and just jacks threes.

When the Terps needed a bucket, they couldn't buy one.

In the second half, Maryland shot took thirteen 3-point shots and only ten shots from inside the three point line. They lacked poise on offense and got dominated on the boards 16-7. After grabbing 21 rebounds in the first half, Maryland grabbed a measly 7 in the second.

A game deadlocked at 43-43 with 17:36 remaining quickly turned into a 52-43 Kansas lead. Maryland never challenged after that.

They would score only five points over the next seven minutes and made just four baskets in the game’s last 14 minutes. They had a seven minute stretch where they failed to make even one shot. Maryland got manhandled by a physically superior team that had just as much skill as they did.

In essence, this game was a microcosm of the Terps season.

Poor rebounding, bad shot selection, and rough shooting performances by Melo Trimble have been constants for Maryland throughout this 2015-2016 campaign. Trimble scored 17 points last night, but he missed 11 of his 16 shots and only hit 1 of 7 three point tries. He had two assists against two turnovers and his second half was painful to watch.

The Terps, again, were beaten on the boards and as I have been saying all year, they just are not athletic enough to compete at the top level of the college game. As for shot selection, 25 threes for a team that made only 6 of their last 43 three point attempts are way too many.

In the end, it wasn’t coaching, bad luck, or poor officiating that did Maryland in. They just got beat by a team with less holes and better players.

Maryland never played like a top team this year. I can’t remember one game where I watched them and thought, “This team is a final four team.”

The Terps had a nice season this year. Let’s see which eligible players stick around for another campaign with Coach Turgeon.

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spieth, day, mcilroy undefeated in match play thus far

It's unlikely to hold up, but the prospect of a "Final Four" that includes Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day is still a possibility in the World Golf Championships Match Play tournament at Austin CC in Austin, Texas.

All three players are 2-0-0 thus far and each will advance to the weekend's "knockout stage" with a win today.

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With only one win thus far in 2015-2016, a title in the match play event would send Jordan Spieth to Augusta in two weeks on quite a high note.

Spieth takes on longtime friend Justin Thomas, who has already been eliminated and will play the role of spoiler in today's match with the reigning Masters champion. All Spieth needs is a win or a halve (tie) to move on.

Day, who injured his back in Wednesday's opening round and is still undefeated after two matches, can advance to the "Sweet Sixteen" by winning or tying Paul Casey today.

McIlroy takes on Kevin Na, who is also 2-0. If those two play a halved match today, they'll immediately go to a sudden death playoff to see who wins the group and advances to the weekend.

Let's see how my predicted "Final Four" are doing thus far:

I took Jordan Spieth to work his way through his side of the bracket and he's doing just that, but he needs to win or tie Justin Thomas today, as I noted above.

My eventual (predicted) champion, Ryan Moore, advances to the Sweet Sixteen with a win over Lee Westwood this afternoon. There's also a way Moore could advance with a tie, but it's fairly complicated.

Charl Schwartzel (my other Finalist) is 2-0-0 thus far and needs only to beat or tie Brandt Snedeker and he advances to the weekend.

Sad to say, one of my Final Four candidates, Shane Lowry has already been eliminated.

It's been an enjoyable first two days of match play golf at Austin CC. The golf course is perfect for this type of event, with lots of gambling and decision making that makes match play fun. Most of the 2-0-0 players have played well thus far, but you can be 2-0-0 and 1-up with two to play in your final match today, lose those two holes, and head home later this evening. Such are the nuances of match play golf.

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here's an awesome easter weekend wine for you


Just in time for your Easter weekend celebration comes this hot-off-shelf French Rose from the Miraval winery, owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, believe it or not.

I hustled over to The Wine Merchant on Falls Road in Lutherville on Wednesday and asked Joe Ciletti for a bottle or two of something that I could pair with our Easter ham, and he went straight to the shelf and handed me the new Miraval Rose, which is one of the first deliveries from the 2015 grapes.

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Looking for a great Easter weekend wine? The Wine Merchant has it for you!

Unlike your traditional red or white wines, it's best to open your Rose bottle within 6-8 months of its shelf life. So, because I like wine, and because we had turkey for dinner last night, I went ahead and opened up the Miraval Rose and, just as Joe promised, it delivered as a unique partner to a light meat like turkey. I assume it will do the same for your Easter weekend ham, as well.

From the "official" folks who talk about wine for a living -- they're already raving about the new Miraval Rose.

"The 2015 Miraval is a gorgeous pale pink color with soft and shiny reflections. This crisp and precise 2015 has a lovely mineral freshness with delicate aromas of citrus, red fruits and white flowers. On the palate the terroir reveals a pretty balanced and elegant volume along with a very nice tension bringing length. The bouquet of aromas is persistent leading to a long lasting fruity finish with an undertone salty character."

This is a high-quality Rose that everyone in the family (of legal age, of course) can taste and enjoy. It's available for $25 at The Wine Merchant. Look for the special "Drew's Morning Dish Wine Winner!" card when you stop in and you'll see I've tabbed it one of my favorites!


Thursday
March 24
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XX
Issue 24
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a win tonight over #1 kansas and terps owe us nothing else


All it would take is a Maryland victory over the University of Kansas tonight in Louisville, Kentucky, and all of us would forgive the Terps of their past sins.

Or I would, at least.

The blow-out stumble-and-bumble at home against Wisconsin on February 13? Forgotten about, completely, by beating the Jayhawks tonight.

Sleepwalking through an embarrassing loss at Minnesota, who at the time didn't have a conference victory to call their own? Dismissed and forgiven -- if they can send Kansas home.

Late season losses at Purdue and Indiana, both of which sent the Terps reeling to a #5 seed in March Madness and set up this dicey third round game with the #1 team in the nation? Excused, gladly, if Mark Turgeon can finally overcome his alma mater at 9:40 pm this evening in the Sweet Sixteen match-up.

A season that started off with enormous expectations and then snagged itself under the weight of those possibilities can be saved, literally, with a Maryland victory tonight.

Terps need a special performance from Melo.

In reality, the Diamond Stone-Landen Lucas match-up is probably the one favoring Maryland the most tonight, but the Terps need a virtuoso performance this evening from Melo Trimble in order to advance to Saturday's Elite Eight contest against the winner of the Villanova vs. Miami game.

Trimble started the 2015-2016 campaign touted as one of the nation's top college players, but his stock dropped rapidly in February and March. He turned the ball over like a 10th grader, missed more 3-pointers than College Park seizes fake I.D.'s during the school year, and drifted in and out of games like a kid with a lot more on his mind than playing basketball.

All of that gets excused tonight if Trimble leads the Terps to a win over Kansas.

These are rare opportunities presented to a team that has otherwise underachieved. Typically when a season goes like the one Maryland has experienced, they lose early on in the tournament and all hell breaks loose. High expectations coupled with inconsistent results don't mesh well together.

But, for all their warts and blemishes, Maryland is right where they thought they'd be, playing for a chance to perhaps get to the Final Four with a win tonight over Kansas and another victory on Saturday.

Can Turgeon finally master the Jayhawks?

It's not easy to beat your former school, especially when they're loaded with future NBA players and can play offense and defense with the same fervor -- like Kansas will put on display tonight.

Mark Turgeon is 0-4 coaching against Kansas, his alma mater, but this Sweet Sixteen contest certainly represents his biggest opportunity to beat anybody since he took over at Maryland five years ago.

For all the talk about his coaching acumen, Turgeon can earn another three-year pass from Maryland hoops fans by beating Kansas this evening. It's that important.

And, for anyone who thinks coaching doesn't matter, just turn your attention back to last weekend's miraculous win by Texas A&M over Northern Iowa. Nearly everything Northern Iowa did or tried to do in the game's final 44 seconds was wrong. Some of that was the moment, some could be blamed on the players, and some, for sure, gets put on the shoulders of the coach and his staff.

Coaching DOES matter, and if Turgeon wants a summer of no parking tickets and free-everything when he dines in College Park, all he needs to do is engineer tonight's win over Kansas and he won't open his wallet once for the rest of 2016.

How will Turgeon elect to set the tone tonight? Does Maryland come out trying to run-and-gun and get the game into the 80's if he can? Or will he go the more defensive route and seek to have the score not reach the 70's?

That decision affects who plays quality minutes this evening. If the Terps want the up-tempo pace, we might see a little more of Jared Nickens than normal. That's all well and good if he's hitting three or four of the seven 3-pointers he'll attempt, but not so good if the cold-shooting Nickens of February shows up and can't make a basket.

If Turgeon wants to out-defend the Jayhawks, that most certainly means fifteen minutes of action for Damonte Dodd, who couldn't score eight points against Kansas City Community College, let alone the University of Kansas, but his defensive skills have improved dramatically in the last couple of years and he can probably do a better job of defending Lucas than Diamond Stone can -- or wants to, even.

The Robert Carter-Perry Ellis match-up probably favors the Jayhawks by a smidgen, but if Ellis has even a "B" game, Carter can easily be the better player of the two tonight.

Turgeon will need clean, effective performances from Rasheed Sulaimon and Jake Layman as well, but truth be told, those two are probably the least of Maryland's worries this evening. They've been the team's two most consistent players over the three weeks or so.

It's only one game, but it's a big one.

All of the expectations, all of the hype, all of the promise. It comes down to this game, tonight.

It's not for the NCAA Championship, obviously, but the weight of a victory over Kansas this evening would resonate throughout the state like a title would, that's for certain.

A win over Kansas would put the Maryland Terrapins back on the college basketball landscape, as a power, a team and a school to be reckoned with again, even if the expected en masse departure of a large chunk of tonight's starting five might make 2016-2017 a bit of a "rebuilding year" for Mark Turgeon's squad.

It's time for Maryland to stand up and be counted.

All is forgiven if the Terps beat Kansas tonight.

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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.


I've been thinking of the ethics of baseball's "unwritten rules " since recent high profile comments were made by the likes of Bryce Harper and Goose Gossage, and I suppose Drew's article on David Ortiz the other day is the impetus I needed to finally put my thoughts to (digital) paper.

Long story short, I think the code of etiquette is a bunch of crap, but let's unpack things a little bit.

The first thing we need to understand about the "unwritten rules" is that their genesis is a mix of uncertain and, well, revisionist history. While a lot of (frankly) older fans may wax poetic about them, the easiest summation I could probably formulate for their origin is "Bob Gibson is a jackwagon."

Gibson, of course, is notable both for being one of the best pitchers of all-time and one sports all-time biggest jerks. Revisionists now paint Gibson as someone who would brush back hitters who crowded the plate or "showed him up," but in reality the offenses that most riled Gibson involved the unforgivable behavior of hitting home runs or getting multiple hits in a game against Gibson and being anything less than apologetic for having the nerve to not dutifully make an out for Gibson. If you hit a ball too hard off of him, Gibson would take it upon himself to retaliate by hurling a hard core baseball at your body in excess of 90 MPH+.

And Goose Gossage worries that kids are getting the wrong message from bat flips!

Here's the thing; there's no actual code in play here that's anything more than arbitrary, hence the "unwritten" part of "unwritten rules," and that basically by definition makes the appeal to authority therein utter hogwash. As a result, it doesn't take very much to recognize the rampant hypocrisy therein.

Bryce Harper pointed out the most egregious form in his recent comments, that pitchers are allowed to do things like fist pumps and demonstrative clapping after big outs while hitters aren't even supposed to watch their home runs fly for too long, where too long is defined by...well I don't know who, exactly.

The logic here is pretty simple: pitchers are the ones who have the ability to throw the ball at the hitter without severe consequences, so they get away with a lot more. But the hypocrisy also extends to different hitters themselves.

Kirk Gibson, as manager of the Diamondbacks, saw himself as one of the last remaining enforcers of old-school etiquette and wanted his pitchers to throw at batters more often over slights, but as a player he's repsonsible for one of the most iconic moments of all-time: rounding the bases pumping his fist dramatically after hitting one of the most memorable home runs in baseball history.

How many people who lost their minds over Jose Bautista's infamous bat flip smile just a little bit everytime they hear Jack Buck's voice gushing "I don't believe what I just saw!?"

That Bautista's ALDS home run has become the go-to flash point for this controversy really goes to show how ridiculous the Gossage position is in this argument.

Consider the circumstances: A deciding game of a playoff series, at home, for a team that hasn't won a playoff series in 22 years. Bautista comes up and delivers one of the biggest hits in the history of the entire franchise (probably second to Joe Carter's World Series blast, another home run where excessive celebration is deemed perfectly okay) and the home crowd just about blows the roof off of the stadium as soon as the ball hits the bat.

That Bautista home run is the essence of the moment every kid whose ever played T-ball has imagined themselves living dozens, if not, hundreds of times, and when the dream comes through for Bautista, with a sea of pure joy all around him, he's just supposed to...duck his head, jog around the bases quickly, and disappear into the dugout ASAP? Give me a break!

Maybe this is where I differ from others: I think the expression of joy, or satisfaction, in such a tremendous moment, humanizes players, and makes the drama of sports feel real.

This is especially acute in baseball, I think, a game where even the very best of offensive players fail 55-60% of the time. Sure there's a fine line between these kinds of big moments and taunting/simply overdoing it, but I think reasonable people can debate where that line is without scrunching their faces and talking about how the game is missing poor sports like Bob Gibson who would never tolerate such flagrant displays of happiness (from his opponents, of course).

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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 will hang tough with kansas tonight

There are sixteen teams left in the 2016 edition of March Madness and, if they were reseeded, tonight’s Kansas vs Maryland matchup might possibly be a one seed going against a sixteen. And, no, Maryland would not be the one seed.

As we know, a one has never lost to a sixteen in the first round.

Can it hypothetically happen in round three for the Sweet Sixteen game featuring the Jayhawks and Terps at 9:40pm tonight in Louisville Kentucky?

Because the three point shot is far too impactful in college basketball, any team has a puncher's chance if they get hot from beyond the arc. This is true for Maryland’s game against Kansas, but if the Terps shoot 1-18 from behind the three point line like they did on Sunday, they will lose to Kansas by 20 points or more. The Jayhawks have scorers and won’t be anemic on offense like the Rainbow Warriors were against the Terps during that round of 32 debacle.

Kansas is not a big team, like Purdue for example, but they feature skill and toughness at almost every starting position.

Their backcourt duo of Devonte’ Graham and Frank Mason III provide a very stable base for this Jayhawks team. They are both capable ball handlers and they make Kansas very hard to effectively press. Both connect on about 74% of their foul shots, but Graham is the more accurate deep threat (43%). Mason, who at one time committed to Towson University, is no slouch from beyond the arc as he hits 39% of his long range tries. They are both strong defenders and do a nice job setting things up for other Kansas scoring options. Both will attack on the break when the opportunity presents itself.

The leading scorer for Kansas is 6’8” 225 lb. senior Perry Ellis. Ellis tallies almost 17 ppg and connects on 44% of his three point attempts. He is a decent ball handler for his size and can help bring the ball up court if the two Kansas guards are being pressured. He will be a tough matchup for Robert Carter Jr. because of Ellis’s quickness and ability to play on the perimeter. The senior forward grabs nearly six rebounds on average per-game.

Starting at the small forward, or “3”, position is junior Wayne Selden Jr. The 6’5” highlight reel dunker will most likely lock horns with Jake Layman. His 230 pound frame will be used defensively to lean on Jake, but even though Selden can elevate, this might be a spot where the Terps enjoy an advantage when Maryland has the ball. Selden is another 40% shooter from behind the line and he led Kansas with 179 three point attempts and 72 made triples.

The center position for Kansas is handled by a collection of Jayhawk big men. Look for Landen Lucas to start off as the Jayhawk “5”. Lucas, with his 6’10” 240lb body, leads Kansas with 6.5 rebounds per game despite only averaging less than 18 minutes of playing time per contest. He is capable as a finisher inside but won’t do much damage offensively as a post-up player or with mid and long range jumpers. His specialty is to protect the rim, grab rebounds, and body up an opposing center. Like the rest of this Kansas team, he is an aggressive defender and plays a physical style.

There is no definitive or signature style for this Bill Self-led Kansas team but you can count on some tenacious defense and ability to play whatever style is required to gain an advantage. I expect that they will, on occasion, try to beat Maryland down the floor and get some easy looks. They will also attempt to exploit the Terps inability to grab defensive rebounds, and they will hit shots when left open. Pretty standard stuff -- but they are just really good at it.

For Maryland to have any chance at winning tonight, the formula is pretty simple: hit shots, don’t turn the ball over, and rebound.

Kansas has better outside shooters than Maryland, so hitting shots will be paramount for Maryland’s chances. Terp turnovers will be amplified by the fact that Kansas ball handlers are usually extremely steady. As for rebounding, although the Jayhawks are a bit more athletic throughout the lineup, I believe that Maryland can hang on the boards with Kansas, so that leaves shooting and turnovers as the defining factors.

Maryland’s outside shooting is streakier than Chris Davis’ bat. The 1-for-18 Terps (3 pointers vs Hawaii) lose this game in a blowout. The Terp team that shoots 34% from the three point line (UM's average in Big 10 games) loses by a respectable margin. If Maryland shoots threes like they did in the first half against Nebraska in the BIG 10 Tournament, (9 for 10) then they could pull off the upset -- provided Melo Trimble shows up.

I say the Terps shoot the ball well enough to hang around. I can see their rebounding being sufficient also. What I can’t see is Maryland handling Kansas’s defensive pressure and I also can’t see Trimble shooting less, making more, and giving Maryland the quality point guard performance that is needed for them to advance to the elite eight.

Look for a low scoring game that leaves Terp fans thinking “what if”. The likely score is something close to 65-61, in favor of Kansas.

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college lacrosse weekend preview


Game of the Week: #6 Maryland vs #12 North Carolina

Old ACC foes renew their rivalry this weekend as North Carolina comes to College Park on Saturday afternoon to face the Terps in what should be a classic battle of great offense vs great defense.

Both teams are in big need of another non-conference quality win to boost their at-large bid resumes given both have a few losses prior to conference play. So even though it's still early in the season, this qualifies as a "must-win" for each team. Both squads have similar records while playing similar levels of competition. And both have also had some uneven play here and there, so this contest is tough to predict to say the least. Here are some things to keep an eye on that could decide the game:

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The Terps need a big game from goalie Kyle Bernlohr on Saturday when they host #12 North Carolina.

Goalkeeping - On first thought, one would think this would be a huge advantage for the Terps, given Kyle Bernlohr is a pre-season All American. But he comes into this game with a solid, but non-All American save percentage of 53.3%. So there could be some goals to be had if UNC can generate its normal barrage of quality shots. Brian Belkam of UNC is making saves at a rate of 48.4%, which is less than stellar. However, he might not be facing as many shots from the traditionally deliberate Terp offense.

Face-Offs - This will be a battle of the steady veteran, with UNC's junior Stephen Kelly, versus the hot shot freshman in the Terps Andrew Henningsen. Both have nearly identical win percentages with Kelly winning 64.1% and Henningsen 64.7%. So this should be a great match-up which could come down to wing play. Overall UNC is getting 34.5 ground balls per game while Maryland is getting 29.3, and Kelly averages 6.4 ground balls to Henningsen's 5.3, which would give UNC a slight advantage on paper. But that's why they play the game.

Offensive Lapses - In two odd losses to Hofstra and UMass, UNC offense only generated 14 goals total. Both teams have decent goalies, with Hofstra's Jack Concannon saving at 56.4% and UMass's Dan Dolan posting a 52.7% save percentage. But against Carolina, they performed like rock stars posting 68.8% and 66.7% save percentages respectively. One would think games against the talented Carolina offense would severely hurt, not help these goalies' stats. If you ignore the games against lesser competition, the Terps offensive output mirrors their opponents goals allowed average. They scored 10 against Albany who averages around 10 allowed and 12 against Drexel who gives up 11 per game. Maryland only managed 9 goals combined against Notre Dame and Yale. But that is somewhat expected since they were both road games against the 2 best defenses in the country. UNC is allowing 9 goals per game, but will 9 goals be enough to beat the Tar Heels?

Predictions - As noted before, this will be a close game with both's strengths (Tar Heel offense v Terp Defense) facing each other along with both teams strong face-off units. Making it even tougher to call is some inconsistency with the Tar Heel offense. UNC's defense including its 10-man ride could be the deciding factor over Maryland's so-so offense, particularly if face-offs are pretty even, given the Tar Heel offense's better efficiency. But the Terps have been the more consistent performer and will be at home, which is who I'll go with in this tossup game to win in overtime. Terps 9-Tar Heels 8

Other Locals

#7 Hopkins @ Virginia - Hopkins is enjoying a 3-game win streak. But all of those were at home and they will be on the road facing an angry Virginia team, fresh off a one-goal loss on the road to Notre Dame. Trap game for Blue Jays? Possibly.

#14 Navy @ Lehigh - Tough Patriot League conference game for Navy, who's riding a 3-game win streak and facing a Lehigh team with only 2 close losses to Army and Duke.

#17 Loyola vs Bucknell - Another good Patriot League contest. After a drubbing by Duke and a game against Navy they let slip away, Loyola switches goalies to Jacob Stover who delivered a 9 save, 7 goals allowed performance in 10-7 victory over Georgetown. The Greyhounds still need to win to keep pace in the Patriot League and will need to do so against a tough out in Bucknell.

#9 Towson vs Binghamton - Trap game for the Tigers against the Bearcats, who just got their first 2 wins over a 1-win UMBC team and a 3-5 Drexel team? Possibly, but not likely.

UMBC vs #13 Stony Brook - Good news? Stony Brook is also 0-1 in the America East conference. Bad news? They're ranked #13 and were 5-1 prior to last week's 16-10 loss to #10 Albany. Chances are they have a red rear from that loss and will be coming to Baltimore with bad intentions.

Big National Games

#5 Syracuse @ #11 Duke - Both teams coming off OT losses makes for a good one this weekend in Durham. Duke had caught fire beating Loyola and Georgetown by a combined 35-12 and seemed to be on their traditional run to the NCAA tourney. Then they suffered a midweek loss to a surging Air Force team in OT. Perhaps the Blue Devils were looking past the Falcons and had their mind on this game. Syracuse is seeking another decent road win after losing to Hopkins in OT. A tough loss to swallow after being up by 2 with a few minutes left in the game.

#8 Villanova vs #4 Brown (Tues 3/29) - Two high-powered offenses should hopefully provide one of the most exciting games of the season.

The #DMD Weekend Lacrosse Preview was compiled and written by John Pusateri.


here's my new "wine winner" from the wine merchant

Just in time for your Easter weekend celebration comes this hot-off-shelf French Rose from the Miraval winery, owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, believe it or not.

I hustled over to The Wine Merchant yesterday and asked Joe Ciletti for a bottle or two of something that I could pair with our Easter ham, and he went straight to the shelf and handed me the new Miraval Rose, which is one of the first deliveries from the 2015 grapes.

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Looking for a great Easter weekend wine? The Wine Merchant has it for you!

Unlike your traditional red or white wines, it's best to open your Rose bottle within 6-8 months of its shelf life. So, because I like wine, and because we had turkey for dinner last night, I went ahead and opened up the Miraval Rose and, just as Joe promised, it delivered as a unique partner to a light meat like turkey. I assume it will do the same for your Easter weekend ham, as well.

From the "official" folks who talk about wine for a living -- they're already raving about the new Miraval Rose.

"The 2015 Miraval is a gorgeous pale pink color with soft and shiny reflections. This crisp and precise 2015 has a lovely mineral freshness with delicate aromas of citrus, red fruits and white flowers. On the palate the terroir reveals a pretty balanced and elegant volume along with a very nice tension bringing length. The bouquet of aromas is persistent leading to a long lasting fruity finish with an undertone salty character."

This is a high-quality Rose that everyone in the family (of legal age, of course) can taste and enjoy. It's available for $25 at The Wine Merchant. Look for the special "Drew's Morning Dish Wine Winner!" card when you stop in and you'll see I've tabbed it one of my favorites!


Wednesday
March 23
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XX
Issue 23
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harbaugh brothers star in "overrated and underrated"


For those of you ancient enough to remember my daily radio show in town, I'd often host a session of "Overrated and Underrated", where I'd arbitrarily pick names and give them a "rating".

There's only one golden rule: You're either one or the other. There's no fence sitting. That's why it's called "Overrated and Underrated".

Overrated - Chris Davis -- Sorry, to start this session off on such a downer. Too many strikeouts, not enough hits, on-base percentage not good enough. If I'm paying someone $23 million a year, I want a premium all-around player.

Underrated - Evan Longoria -- Pretty much a steal at that team-friendly contract of $13 million in 2016. Career average of 30 HR, 102 RBI, .271 average and .348 OBP and .833 OPS.

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Much of what they did was underrated, but Van Halen's "Fair Warning" was SUPER underrated.

Overrated - Andy Dalton -- There's no telling where he'd rank if the Bengals wouldn't have drafted A.J. Green five years ago. Dalton doesn't stink, contrary to what a lot of people think, but if Cincinnati would have given him the same weapons the Ravens provided to Kyle Boller for five years...well, you know.

Underrated - Russell Wilson -- Did you see what he did to that Ravens defense last December in Baltimore? OK, maybe that's not a good barometer. Wilson's the real deal, though. He hasn't exactly had the greatest receiving corps to work with in Seattle, either, but all he does is win.

Overrated - Van Halen: Women and Children First -- It was tough to follow up Van Halen II, which wasn't nearly as good as Van Halen I (then again, how could it have been?) But "Women and Children First" had a few songs worth remembering and the rest were forgettable indeed.

Underrated -- Van Halen: Fair Warning -- What they missed in "Women", they found in "Fair Warning". Short on time, but long on quality. Every song is excellent. "Mean Street" is one of the best kick-off songs to any album of my generation.

Overrated - Bubba Watson -- Very one dimensional, but extraordinarily good -- historically good, even -- at driving the golf ball, which puts him in position to win on any course that favors his right to left ball flight. Putting is the great equalizer for him, though. He loses every time the flat stick decides his fate.

Underrated - Jason Day -- Could be the all-time best Australian when his career is over, but catching Peter Thomson's five majors will require some great playing. He and Adam Scott are cut from the same cloth, except Day is a better putter.

Overrated - Jason Garrett -- Possibly the biggest mystery in the NFL over the last 20 years -- other than "why don't the Browns put a logo on their helmet?" -- is the subject of Garrett's continued employment in Dallas. How on earth does that guy keep his job down there? Very strange...

Underrated - Mike Tomlin -- Other than his proclivity for doing weird stuff against the Ravens and gagging it against his AFC foe in Baltimore, Tomlin, to me, is one of the best coaches in the game today. I'd take him to coach my team, that's for sure.

Overrated - Playing baseball in Cuba -- Eh, who cares? I'm all for trying to talk some sense into their government -- if that's possible -- but using baseball as the conduit seems like a reach to me. Just gives the President another trip that everyone can criticize him for back home.

Underrated - Playing lacrosse in Uganda and Ethiopia -- My friends Brian Hubbard and Frank Kelly III of Kelly and Associates went to Africa in January and ran two weeks worth of lacrosse camps to spread the word of the game to young men and women in Uganda and Ethiopia. That's a trip that means something.

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No doubt about it: Underrated

Overrated - Jim Harbaugh -- His latest Twitter snipe at Ohio State's President is worthy of a Saturday Night Live skit. Look, I think he's a good football coach, but the craziness never seems to stop. I get it, college coaching and recruiting is MUCH different than what he dealt with in the NFL, but Jim is starting to border on "weirdo" territory with some of his antics.

Underrated - John Harbaugh -- I'm a firm believer that every coach has his blemishes, somewhere in his arsenal, but John Harbaugh can coach my football team any day of the week. Not only is he a terrific coach, he's an outstanding man. It's indeed funny when you consider he and Jim are brothers. Polar opposites in so many ways.

Overrated - Philadelphia Flyers -- What? You thought I'd make them "underrated"?

Underrated - Tampa Bay Lightning -- If their goaltending serves them well in the post-season, they're a team that could give the Capitals fits in the playoffs.

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anyone worried about spring training numbers on davis, kim?

Chris Davis has four hits in 29 spring training at-bats.

Hyun-soo Kim started off 0-for-16 and is now 8-for-40 in Grapefruit League action.

Worried?

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Not a great spring thus far for the 161 million dollar man.

I'm not all that concerned about Davis. I'm not hinting that he's jaking it when I say this, but a guy who just signed a $161 million contract in January is probably going to glide into the regular season, don't you think?

Let's be serious for a second -- If your employer just gave you a guaranteed deal of $300,000 a year for the next ten years, how motivated would you be to play on the company softball team this summer?

My guess is Davis will do what he always does once the games start counting in April. He'll hit for a .245 average, strike-out 210 times, hit 46 home runs, and draw the wrath of people who say, "See, I told you he wasn't worth $23 million a year."

In other words: I'm not worried about Davis' crappy spring in Sarasota.

Kim, though, is a concern. Yes, he's 8-for-his-last-24, which is far better than the 0-for-16 start he had in early March. But nothing about him looks "promising" to me. He's not in great shape, for starters, and his swing looks -- I'm searching for the right word -- "odd", I guess? I wonder how he's going to handle the defensive duties in left field, too.

He was a very good player in Korea, no two ways about it. But nearly every baseball expert says that league is fairly comparable to Triple-A here in the U.S...maybe just a tick higher. If that's the case, Kim needs to be extraordinarily above the line of quality the Korean league produces in order to be a decent major league player.

On the flip side, Joey Rickard -- the Rule 5 pick-up -- is having an exceptional spring (.356/.420/.533) and looks like a lock to make the team heading north next month. We all know how the Orioles love their Rule 5 heists, so expect Rickard to be in Baltimore in 2016.

Jonathan Schoop is also having an outstanding spring. I rate him as one of the top three "most important" field players on the roster. If he plays 162 games (or thereabouts) in 2016, expect 25 homers and 85 RBI from the talented second baseman.

So, Davis and Kim are struggling, but Rickard and Schoop are playing well. The regular season will likely see a little market correction (hopefully a lot, actually) with those four players, but each of them could play a prominent role for the Birds in 2016.

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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.


If you thought trying to figure out the Match Play bracket was tough, ranking the field for the Puerto Rico Open is even more difficult.

In case you missed it yesterday, by the way, my Match Play "Final Four" consists of Jordan Spieth, Ryan Moore, Charl Schwartzel and Shane Lowry, with Moore beating Schwartzel in the Final.

Now, back to Puerto Rico. This event is Thursday through Sunday and features all of the TOUR players who didn't qualify for the 64-man match play field. There's a history at the course that's worth noting, as several former champions are in the field this week, including my predicted winner.

I'm not quite as hot as Jason Day's putter, but I'm coming off my best fantasy week of the season, with 5-of-6 making the cut at Bay Hill and two of my players finishing in the top 10 (Stenson and Zach Johnson). So, I'm expecting big things this week.

With a Masters trip on the line if the winner sneaks inside the Top 50 in the World Rankings with the victory, look for players who are itching to return to Augusta to step-up up their game this week.

The two low-end selections for this week are Ty Van Aswegan ($6,200) and Michael Thompson ($6,900). They're both very good ball strikers and have carved out nice seasons for themselves thus far despite not factoring on a weekend leaderboard. Thompson (8 of 10 cuts this season) has won before, Van Aswegan (11 of 14) hasn't.

I'll go with Aaron Baddeley at $7,600 as a nice investment on a good player. His best days are behind him, I'd say, but "Badds" can definitely compete in a watered-down field like the one he'll face in Puerto Rico.

Derek Fathauer was in contention at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week before a final round 74 sent him down the leaderboard. He's a good, young player who is going to win on TOUR someday soon. This event could be just what he needs, and at $7,800, he's a bargain.

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After a couple of close calls in 2015-2016, could this be the week Scott Brown gets back in the winner's circle?

I keep thinking Boo Weekley isn't around anymore, then he pops up on the leaderboard somewhere and I remember he can still play a little bit. He has a GREAT history at this event, with three straight Top 10 finishes at Coco Beach in Puerto Rico. The quality of the field is perfect for him. $9,900 is a little hefty for Weekley, but I think he can win this week.

I'm taking Scott Brown to win the event in Puerto Rico. He comes at high price ($10,900), but that just shows you the quality of the field at this week's TOUR stop. Brown has won in Puerto Rico before, so that's a spike in his favor. He's having a VERY good 2015-2016 campaign, nearly won in San Diego in February, and is perfectly situated to break through into the winner's circle again.

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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.


Tuesday
March 22
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XX
Issue 22
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david ortiz chimes in about baseball's unwritten rules (warning: you might like what he says)

I'm in the minority in Baltimore, but I'd take David Ortiz on my team any day.

At his zenith, Big Papi was one of the most productive left-handed hitters in baseball. Sure, the structurally-favorable confines of Fenway Park aided his Hall-of-Fame career, but Ortiz could hit the cover off the ball. Like him or not, that's without debate.

Like a lot of players these days, the Red Sox DH has an opinion on baseball's chunk of unwritten rules. Some of his opinions resonate with old timers -- like me -- who are sick of hearing about "brushbacks" and "sending a message" and the other garbage that teams and players spew when someone either knowingly or unknowingly violates one of baseball's silly, antiquated rules.

Ortiz, in case you haven't noticed, is what's known in the game of baseball as a "bat flipper". Rarely does he hit a home run without some kind of exaggerated toss or flip of the bat that openly and defiantly says to the pitcher, "You weren't good enough that time, son."

That display of I-just-beat-you has made Ortiz a target of baseball purists everywhere, who loathe the bat flip, slow trot, or emphatic stomp on home plate.

The only thing worse than someone getting worked up about how far a guy tosses his bat after a home run is a Philadelphia Flyers fan. They're at the bottom of the sports-enthusiast-food-chain, if you ask me.

I'd much rather have a guy like Ortiz on my team who tries to get the better of you and then shows off when he does than to have a pitcher who gets pissed off after surrendering a home run and throws one in the rib cage of the next guy who steps to the plate.

I'll take Ortiz, you can have the pansy pitcher.

“This game is competition," Ortiz recently told the Boston Globe in a lengthy spring training interview. "This ain’t no baby-sitting. There ain’t no crying. When somebody strikes me out, I’m not up there crying, like, ‘Boo-hoo . . . this guy’ . . . No, no, no. There’s none of that. There’s no babysitting in baseball. There’s no babysitting. If you’re going to take it like a baby, I’m going to take [you] deep again. How about that? Take it like a man and make better, quality pitches the next time I face you, and then you get [me] out, and then you do whatever the hell you want. This is competition.”

I remember Ortiz taking his bat to a Camden Yards bullpen phone in the Red Sox dugout a few years back. I guess that wasn't "crying", but it sure was an odd response to striking out in a big moment, that's for sure. I also recall Ortiz getting buzzed inside in Game 2 of the 2013 playoffs against Tampa Bay and hitting a home run on the next pitch and taking about four minutes to run around the bases.

In other words, we all have our moments.

Ortiz, though, seems like the kind of guy who appreciates the true nature of baseball's one-on-one showdown. I like that about him.

I'm not sure how much I like his response after someone gets the better of him, but as Martina Navratilova once said, "Show me someone who likes to lose and I'll show you a loser."

“My daddy told me, when I was 7, ‘Even if I am on the mound teaching the game to you, and you are facing me, try to hurt me. This is competition,’ ” said Ortiz. “Respect? Respect my [expletive]. I don’t have to respect nobody when I’m between those two lines. I’m trying to beat everybody when I’m between those two lines. This ain’t no crying. There’s no, ‘Let me be concerned about taking you deep.’ No."

There's indeed a cultural difference between the way young baseball players are brought up in the Dominican Republic and the way they're brought up here in the U.S. Players in the Dominican are urged to learn how to hit home runs -- sometimes "by any means necessary" -- while American players are still brought up to master the basic fundamentals, hitting, fielding, baserunning, etc.

I'm not certain that one baseball philosophy is better than the other. It's like you and I arguing over which is more important in golf, hitting a 300 yard tee-shot or making a 25-foot putt. They both still count as one stroke (for the record, it's putting...).

I am certain, though, that I like Ortiz's approach to the game, which is to say, basically, "If you don't like what I do after I hit a home run, make better pitches and get me out the next time I'm at the plate."

Ortiz definitely doesn't like it when a pitcher gets the best of him. He's put that on full display a lot over the years. But, I can't say I've ever heard him crying about someone fist-pumping him after a strike-out, either. Maybe he has, but that doesn't seem like his nature.

This is his final year in the big leagues before the sun sets on his 20-year career. He'll get into Cooperstown one of these days and that, too, will be met with controversy and derision.

Whispers about steroid use and his in-your-face personality will cloud the way most people chronicle Ortiz's career, but those same two traits can be tagged on lots of players, past and present.

The numbers, though, don't lie: Ortiz will finish with roughly 525 home runs, over 1700 RBI and a career batting average somewhere in the .280 range. And, unless Boston wins the World Series in 2016, Big Papi will also sport two World Series rings.

We won't admit it here in Baltimore, but the guy has been one helluva hitter for a long time.

And even more than that, he's been one helluva competitor, too.

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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.


maryland fans should enjoy this run

Not that I'm telling you anything you don't already know, but the Maryland men's basketball team won a couple of games last week, and now they're off to play in the Sweet Sixteen round against Kansas this Thursday night.

Then again, from reading a good chunk of my Twitter feed Sunday night, I had to double check the result to confirm that Maryland really did, in fact, advance past the first weekend for the first time since 2003.

Now yes, I know, this Maryland team has a lot of of flaws. They're not always the most physical team on the court, and their rebounding skills are almost comically lacking. I mean, I wouldn't have imagined I could ever see a college kid grab an offensive rebound AND lodge an assist from the flat of his back, but that's exactly what a Hawaii player did to Maryland at one point in the second half on Sunday night.

On the other end of things, their offense can go very cold when they aren't shooting well, and they often come up taking an open three-pointer even if they're, say, 0-14 as a team in the game rather than pushing the ball to the basket relentlessly. And yes, they made it this far by beating a 12 seed and a 13 seed.

But, you know what? There are 52 teams who officially made the tournament who ended last weekend looking forward to next year's campaign, and that includes favorites like Michigan State and Kentucky. Through all of those problems, the Terrapins' sheer level of talent proved enough to carry them farther than they've gone in a decade, staving off the classic 5-12 upset and then beating a team who had already knocked off four-seed Cal.

Is any of that really in-depth analysis? Not particularly. Does that mean they aren't going to get waxed by Kansas in their next game? Nope. But for now, what's the point of dwelling on that?

Maybe it's because I'm not a huge Maryland fan, or a big college basketball fan in general, or maybe because Maryland never really looked as good to me as a lot of other people thought they were back in December and January, but I feel like this team is in a pretty good place relative to what could have been expected of them.

Maybe they'll lose by 20-some points when they face Kansas, or maybe they'll put it all together and find a way to notch their first real upset of the year.

Either way, this should be a time for Terps fans to appreciate the accomplishment of making it this far in the first place.

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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!


Sunday night, my wife, kids, and I decided to change things up a bit. Instead of enjoying a college basketball game in the comforts of our own digs, we decided to don our team colors and take in the game at a place where we could have a beverage and some food while being surrounded by a hundred like-minded home team supporters.

The move paid off handsomely as we witnessed one of the best NCAA tournament victories in recent memory. However, we weren’t wearing red, we were wearing maroon, and our location was a bar/restaurant in College Station Texas, not College Park Maryland.

We watched the Aggies come back from 12 points down with only 44 seconds remaining in the game to win a double overtime contest that had the local fans screaming and exchanging high fives with anyone within an arm’s length. Meanwhile, on another TV right next to our table, we also watched the Maryland Terrapins play a horrible game against a mediocre Hawaii team, and emerge with a 73-60 victory and a date with Kansas in the sweet 16.

The Maryland game was just awful basketball.

The Terps were trailing most of way up until the 11:21 mark of the second half when the broke off a 14 point run to capture a 12 point lead they would never relinquish. They looked good during that three minute span but were absolutely horrible during most of the other 37 minutes.

Allow me to give you a few numbers, please.

As a team, Maryland shot an unbelievable 1-18 from the three point line. Jake Layman missed four, Rasheed Sulaimon and Jerad Nickens missed three each, and Melo Trimble was one for six.

Maryland gave up sixteen offensive rebounds to the smaller Rainbow Warriors, and collected only three of their own.

Hawaii shot 33% from the floor, 21% from behind the arc, and missed a third of their foul shots (they were 10-15). It was the foul shot differential that provided the margin of victory for Maryland. The Terps had a 28-10 advantage in foul shots made.

The Terps played with a visible tension on Sunday night. It was evident from the very start when they fell behind 8-2 and had problems connecting on their shots. Part of the issue was their reliance on perimeter shooting. Four of their first six shots were missed threes. But they were not to be deterred, and kept hoisting off mark long range misses until Trimble finally hit one during the fourteen point run in the middle of the second half.

Maryland fell behind 8-2 and didn’t make a field goal until over six minutes had expired in the game. The Hawaii lead was 7 points (13-6) with 10:02 remaining in the half before two Sulaimon foul shots and three Diamond Stone buckets gave the Terps a brief lead. The game remained tight throughout the half and Trimble ended the scoring with four consecutive points as Maryland entered halftime with a slight 28-27 advantage.

In the second half the poor shooting continued for both teams and neither had a lead of more than 3 points until Maryland’s 14 point run that started at the 11:21 mark of the second half and the Terps trailing 41-39.

As a Terps' season ticket holder and longtime supporter of Maryland basketball, it was hard to watch Trimble fall down all over the court only to be bailed out on numerous occasions by some stupid Hawaii fouls or by a questionable call by the ref while being stripped of the ball.

If any NBA executive watched that display vs. Hawaii and still wants to draft Trimble in the first round, they should lose their job. Melo is just not an NBA point guard or even a two man at this point in his development. In a game so dependent upon a strong point guard, Maryland is struggling.

I recently listened to some respected Terp insiders state that Coach Turgeon was a bit miffed at his team’s insistence upon launching threes and playing one on one basketball. One can only infer that most of that is directed towards Melo. Thankfully, Trimble is money at the foul line and can ice a game down the stretch when the other team is forced to foul.

Unless Maryland ups their game on Thursday when they take on Kansas, they will get blown off of the court.

Kansas will suit up the kind of athletes that Maryland does not have and another offensive showing like the one we just witnessed will have the Terps packing their bags and dragging their tails as they suffer a huge one sided defeat.

It’s far too late in the season to change their colors. We have seen what this Maryland team is.

They're a group of highly skilled players with good size. On most nights that can be enough to get the job done. On other nights, they get out hustled by better athletes and if those athletes are also skilled, then the Terps lose.

Unfortunately, Maryland is not going to become a better rebounding team overnight. It’s not in their make-up and they don’t elevate enough to be dominant on the boards.

Mark Turgeon's team has one true warrior in Rasheed Sulaimon, and the rest give streaky effort.

I will say that I have been truly impressed with the late season efforts of Jake Layman. He has really stepped up his game but still has obvious trouble defending dribble penetration.

Maryland has enough raw talent to beat a good team if the Terp threes find the bottom of the net. If the shots don’t fall against a team like Kansas then it will be a long night, and the end of the road, for this 2015-2016 UM team.

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weekend college lacrosse wrap-up


For all of our lacrosse enthusiasts out there, #DMD will be providing weekly college lax coverage throughout the remainder of the 2016 campaign. Here's a look back at last weekend's key game in town plus a quick glimpse at the rest of the country.

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Wilkins Dismuke netted the game-winner in overtime for Hopkins last Saturday as the Blue Jays beat Syracuse in a key college lacrosse contest.

Game of the Week: Hopkins 11 - Syracuse 10 OT

On paper, this appeared to be a 3 goal Syracuse win. However, with Hopkins' improving play, Syracuse facing its toughest road game of the year outside the dome on a cold and rainy day and because...well...its Hopkins v Syracuse, this was expected to be an intense game and it didn't disappoint. Oddly, Dave Pietramala had to sit this game out with a reported back infection. Syracuse dominated play early and had several opportunities to pull away, but didn't. Meanwhile Hopkins never quit. The Blue Jays tightened things up defensively and and started to chip away in the 2nd quarter. In the 2nd half, Hopkins continued the trend tying it up late in the 3rd. Clearly Hopkins had the momentum as it appeared the Blue Jays had figured out Syracuse and would slowly but surely take the lead and win the game going away. But it was just the beginning of a great finish, as Hopkins got an overtime goal from Wilkins Dismuke to beat the Orange, 10-9.

Game deciding factors:

Goalie Play - Probably the biggest factor for Syracuse losing was the poor play of Warren Hill, who allowed 11 goals while only stopping 5 shots on the day. Certainly credit Hopkins offense and some poor Syracuse defense with little slide help on Hopkins' dodging midfield, but the goalie has to make some saves. On the flip side, Hopkins' Brock Turnbaugh started slow, but stepped it up in the 2nd half. Particularly in the 3rd quarter, he helped spark Hopkins comeback with some quality saves, holding the Orange to just 1 goal in the 3rd quarter. He finished with 10 saves and 10 goals allowed.

Hopkins Midfield - Syracuse's obvious defensive strategy was to shut down Brown and Stanwick and dare the rest of the Blue Jay offense to beat them. The Syracuse D did hold Brown and Stanwick to 1 goal and 3 assists combined. However, unfortunately for Syracuse, the rest of Hopkins offense, including a modified midfield with attackman Drew Supinski, was up to the challenge.

Face-Offs - Ben Williams is one of the best in the country and was a clear advantage for Syracuse going into the game. But the two-headed monster of Madarasz and Moreland got Ben off his game in the 2nd half, as evidenced by Ben getting his 3rd violation late in the game. Moreland, who ended up 7-12 and may very well be granted the starting job going forward, was particularly effective for JHU.

Overall summary - Big win for Hopkins who needed another quality out of conference win to help secure an at-large bid to the tournament. They'll travel to Virginia who's coming off another tough 1 goal defeat and will be desperate for a win. No shame in Syracuse losing to a top 10 opponent on the road, but the season doesn't get any easier as they travel to Duke to face one of the hottest teams in the country.

Other Locals

Navy 10-Loyola 9 -- A hot start by Navy forced a goalie change early for Loyola. Similar to the Hopkins-Syracuse game, Loyola was able to come back and take the lead in the 4th but Navy was able to come up with the game tying and winning goals in the last few minutes. The result should push Navy into the top 10, but the Greyhounds drop out.

Towson 15-Furman 6 -- After tough back to back games against ranked opponents, the Tigers got a breather and dominated the winless Paladins, as a good team should do.

Binghamton 16-UMBC 10 -- The tough season continues for the young Retriever pups who fail to continue the win streak as they overlook formerly winless Binghamton.

The Best In The Country (this week) - Denver, Notre Dame, Duke, Yale, Brown

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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.


pga tour's match play format is a complete crap-shoot

Trying to fill out a bracket in the World Golf Championships "Match Play" event this week is so much harder than putting your NCAA basketball bracket together.

Literally, any of the 64 players in the golf event could work their way through to the Final Four. There are probably only 30 teams out of 68 in the NCAA that are capable of making the same claim about their March Madness Final Four hopes.

Honestly, I haven't had much time to look at the Match Play bracket in-depth. It just got released tonight and play begins tomorrow, so I wanted to get something up for you today here at #DMD in case you're a fantasy golf player and needed a few names to ponder.

The one thing about Austin CC, site of this week's event: No one really has any tournament experience at the place. Sure, Jordan Spieth is very familiar with it from his days playing college golf at the University of Texas, but no professional tournaments have been held there and anyone could find the course to their liking (or not).

One note when looking over the 64-man field and the bracket. Austin CC is a short golf course by TOUR standards and will likely favor the straight hitter over the bomber. That said, some folks are saying that the likes of Bubba Watson, J.B. Holmes and Dustin Johnson can drive it on or very close to four of the par 4's at Austin CC. That's quite an advantage.

Here's my projected Final Four:

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Match play has long been a favorite of Ryan Moore, which should serve him well in this week's event at Austin CC.

I'll play the local angle and take Jordan Spieth to reach the Final Four, beating Kiradech Aphibarnrat to get there. The lack of length at Austin CC helps Spieth, for sure, and since putting is his game, the knowledge he has on the greens there will surely help.

On that side of the bracket, Spieth will face Ryan Moore in the semi-finals. Moore has six Top 11 finishes on TOUR this year and is both a U.S. Amateur and U.S. Public Links champion, both of which were match-play events. Moore isn't the longest guy on TOUR by any means, so the distance issues at Austin CC will work in his favor as well.

The hot-hand of Charl Schwartzel is too hard to pass up, so I won't, and he's one of my other Final Four selections. Schwartzel has three wins in the last five months, including a couple of weeks ago in Tampa Bay. When he's on, he's as good as anyone in the world. Recently, he's been "on". Let's see if it extends for one more week, at least.

There's always seemingly an upstart in this event (Gary Woodland last year, Victor Dubiusson the year before), so I'll play that card this week and go with Irishmen Shane Lowry as my other Final Four selection. He's a really nice player with a terrific short game and growing up in Ireland should help him with the wind that figures to play a role in this week's event in Texas.

I'm taking Ryan Moore to beat Charl Schwartzel in the Championship Match on Sunday.


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.


Monday
March 21
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Issue 21
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never let the facts get in the way of a solid opinion


FACT: Six of the remaining sixteen teams in the NCAA basketball tournament hail from the ACC. Duke, Virginia, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Miami and Syracuse are all still dancing.

OPINION: The ACC is still the best basketball conference in the country. (Wait, isn't that actually a fact?)

FACT: Northern Iowa led Texas A&M by twelve points with 33 seconds left last night. And freakin' lost.

OPINION: Forget about what happened to Michigan State or Purdue in their opening games. The choke job of THE CENTURY (thus far) belongs to Northern Iowa. They gave away a 12-point lead in the final thirty three seconds of regulation on Sunday night and lost to Texas A&M in double overtime.

FACT: Richard Sherman is yapping about Commissioner Goodell again, stressing that he's never "played the game" and shouldn't be such position of power.

OPINION: Sherman almost always makes good, solid points when he talks, but the tone of his criticism is so personal that it often diminishes how much respect he gets.

FACT: The Orioles are now 5-12 after that horrendous 0-10 start in spring training.

OPINION: The 94 regular season wins the Birds will accumulate in 2016 will make us all forget about spring training.

FACT: The Washington Capitals have played 71 games thus far this season and have yet to lose consecutive games in regulation. That's a pretty impressive stat.

OPINION: I'm not liking what I'm seeing over the last month. Ovechkin isn't doing anything, Backstrom has vanished and Kuznetsov has tailed off. Those three guys have to show up in the playoffs or the Caps will face another early post-season exit. Jay Beagle, Mike Richards and Justin Williams aren't beating someone 4-games-to-3 in the playoffs, trust me.

FACT: Golden State sits at 62-7 in pursuit of the all-time best single-season record (72-10) in NBA history. They need to go 11-2 in their final 13 games to set the mark.

OPINION: The Warriors will be 71-9 when they visit San Antonio in the next-to-last game of the season on April 10. What happens then? Tune in and find out...

FACT: Jason Day's win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational yesterday means three of golf's "Big Four" have a win in 2016. Day, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler have all visited the winner's circle in the last three months. Who hasn't? Rory McIlroy, that's who.

OPINION: One of those four is going to win The Masters next month.

FACT: Charles Barkley called Melo Trimble, "Trumble", throughout last night's pre-game, in-game and post-game shows on TBS.

OPINION: Ultimately, that's Barkley's fault for not knowing a star player's name, but there's a higher power at TBS who deserves the blame. Someone needs to come out during a break and say, "Charles, it's actually pronounced TRIM-bull, not TRUM-bull."

FACT: The disparity between the "charging" and "blocking" thus far in the NCAA tournament is 82% to 18%. 82 out of 100 times, "blocking" gets called.

OPINION: I see far more charging calls that are missed than blocking calls that are missed. And there's way too much, "just drive the lane and hope for a foul" going on in today's NCAA game, as well. Melo Trimble would be an Eagle Scout if they distributed merit badges for picking up ticky-tack fouls.

FACT: Reigning U.S. Amateur champion Bryson DeChambeau shot a final round 66 yesterday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational to finish at 6-under par for the tournament, which is the same score Rory McIlroy posted for his four days of work in Orlando.

OPINION: DeChambeau will win a major on the PGA Tour before McIlroy wins another one.

FACT: The longest road trip for the Ravens in 2016 will be Dallas. Their other seven road games will all be east of Texas. Last season, the Ravens had four road games further than Dallas; Denver, Oakland, San Francisco and Arizona.

OPINION: The whole idea of "how far a team travels" in the season is noteworthy, but overrated. If you have really good players, you can beat anyone, anywhere.

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terps outclass hawaii to reach sweet sixteen

It wasn't pretty, except for that sensational 14-2 run midway through the second half that put the game away, but Maryland overcame themselves -- again -- and scooted past Hawaii last night, 73-60, in Spokane, Washington.

The victory sends the Terps to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2003 and puts them in the crosshairs this Thursday night when they take on #1 seed Kansas in Louisville, Kentucky.

Melo Trimble had another disastrous night shooting the basketball from anywhere except the foul line, yet it was his 3-point bucket just inside the ten minute mark of the second half that staked Maryland to a 48-41 lead and finished off the spirited Rainbow Warriors.

Trimble was 5-for-14 in field goal shooting (1-for-6 on three's) and the Terps as a team were a dismal 1-for-18 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc. It was the worst night of shooting from 3-point range (5.6%) for a team that won a game -- and attempted at least ten three's -- in the history of the NCAA tournament.

And yet, the Terps still won. Easily, in fact.

It took Maryland thirty minutes to figure out that chaos, running, and attacking the basket were three ways to solve Hawaii's stuffy defensive effort. Once the Terps started breaking a sweat offensively, the Rainbow Warriors melted.

Truth be told -- and no one wanted to say this when the tournament bracket was released last Sunday night -- Maryland had a cakewalk to the Sweet Sixteen. Of the teams who advanced past the first weekend, the Terps easily had the softest two opponents.

You still have to win the games they put in front of you, yes, but Maryland had to beat wrestling's equivalent of The Brooklyn Brawler...twice. I know California lost their best player on Wednesday and they bowed out before earning a date against the Terps, but Maryland would have dusted them, too. Sometimes the schedule makers hurt you, sometimes they help you. This year, they gifted Maryland a trip to Louisville.

Four Terps scored in double figures on Sunday night, including Rasheed Sulaimon and Diamond Stone, each of whom had 14 points. Sulaimon played a pivotal role in the second half run that salted away the game, while Damonte Dodd produced a solid defensive effort, although he somehow managed to only grab one rebound in 17 minutes of work.

Rebounding once again plagued the Terps, as the undersized Rainbow Warriors out-rebounded Mark Turgeon's team, 42-36, including -- get this -- a 16-3 margin in offensive collections.

I don't have the all-time tournament statistics in front of me, but I'd be shocked if you find more than a half dozen games over the last decade where the winning team was minus-13 in the offensive rebounding category and still won.

Yet, that's how Maryland rolls.

Nothing, it seems, is conventional with these Terps.

Maryland certainly hasn't been overly impressive in the first 80 minutes of this year's NCAA tournament, yet there they are, moving ahead to the second weekend while the likes of Michigan State, Kentucky and Xavier are back in class today (insert punch line here).

Everyone has contributed thus far in the two games, or, should I say, the seven guys who play the most have contributed. Even Jared Nickens has helped. He bailed out Trimble in Friday's opening win over South Dakota State and had more rebounds yesterday (3) in eleven minutes of action than Diamond Stone (2) had in twenty five minutes of playing time vs. Hawaii. I don't know if that says more about Nickens or Stone.

Things get a little more dicey with Kansas in the date book for this Thursday night at 9:40 pm. In some ways, this could be what Maryland needs.

Although they didn't really have a "signature win" over a meaningful opponent in 2015-2016, the Terps held their own at North Carolina in December and battled Michigan State tooth-and-nail in the Big Ten conference semi-finals. They typically step-up-in-class when they go up against an opponent worthy of their respect.

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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.


day saves par and the tournament with 18th hole magic


I have a saying that I use with the members of my Calvert Hall Golf team after a wayward drive or off-line approach shot into the green: "You can make a par from there".

That's exactly what I said yesterday -- while watching the 18th hole at Bay Hill on TV -- when Jason Day first hit his tee-ball in the right rough and then hit his approach shot into a greenside bunker. And, lo and behold, that's precisely what Day did, hitting a fabulous bunker shot to five feet and then rolling in the putt for a 1-shot victory over Kevin Chappell at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Day now has more wins -- seven -- than anyone else on TOUR since the 2013-2014 season.

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Tied for the lead on the 18th tee, Kevin Chappell's first PGA Tour win fell out of his grasp when he couldn't par the 72nd hole at Bay Hill.

The victory by Day spoiled a valiant effort by Chappell, who couldn't do what the winner was able to do at the 18th hole. Tied for the lead on 18 tee, Chappell hit his ball into the right rough and had to lay up some 90 yards from the green. His third shot was just so-so, leaving him 18 feet for par, which he couldn't convert.

Day's win also overshadowed an impressive back-nine rebound from Troy Merritt, who made double-bogey at the 9th hole to fall five shots out of the lead. But, Merritt ran off five straight birdies to tie Day and Chappell, only to make double-bogey six at the final hole while Day used his up-and-down magic from the bunker to win.

It took me a while, but I finally cashed in nicely in Fantasy Golf, thanks to a solid final day from a couple of guys in the middle of the pack.

My predicted winner of the event, Henrik Stenson, was a factor throughout the final round until a bogey-six on the easy par-5 16th hole did him in. Stenson finished in a tie for 3rd at 14-under-par.

I was thrilled to see Zach Johnson light it up in the final round. His 68 on Sunday moved him well up the leaderboard to a 12-under par finish.

Scott Brown shot 70 on Sunday, while both Charles Howell III and Brendan Steele had 74's in the final round.

I'm still searching for that elusive "all play" weekend where each of my six players makes the 36-hole cut, but 5-of-6 usually gets you a decent payday if you have two guys in the Top 10 and that's how it played out for me at Bay Hill.

This week's PGA Tour action includes TWO events; the WGC Match Play and the "second tier" tournament in Puerto Rico for all the players who didn't qualify for Match Play in Austin, Texas.

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we've started a second game 2 caps playoff bus!

If you're looking to attend Game 2 of the Caps upcoming first playoff series at the Verizon Center, we can make it happen at #DMD!

Our first block of 30 tickets for Game are long gone, but we've second an additional group of tickets for Game 2 and they are now on sale.

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Could this be the year the Caps finally break through and win the Stanley Cup? If so, Branden Holtby will play a key role.

Here are the details:

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!

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.

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


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 20
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XX
Issue 20
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lack of a true "home court" highlights quality of march madness


Even if you're not a huge fan of college basketball in general, the post-season NCAA Tournament captivates you.

It grabs you in a way that college football doesn't, even though your state school, hometown college or alma mater, even, might be playing in a significant game.

And, no, it's not all about filling out a bracket and having a rooting interested that could be connected to winning a few bucks, but that does play a small role, for sure.

I get wildly interested in watching college basketball every March, partly because I enjoy the game and partly because I know there's a chance I'll see something special.

The best feature, by far, of March Madness, is that no one plays on their home court.

Everything starts and ends there. Sure, some teams with high seeds get the benefit of playing in their home state or in an arena close to their campus, but no one gets to play in the cozy confines of the gym they used during the regular season.

And that's why teams like Middle Tenneessee State beat Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament.

It's called a "neutral court" for a reason: It neutralizes the advantage one team would have over the other if they played the game in their own gym.

I'm not sure exactly why some of the mid-majors insist on doing their conference tournament differently, but the likes of America East and Patriot League -- just to name two -- insist on having the tournament proper and/or the championship game played on home courts instead of at a neutral site. I'm sure it has something to do with money, but the conferences who don't have a true, neutral site conference tournament are robbing themselves of truly identifying the best team to represent them in March Madness.

Having teams show up and play one another on a netural court is the only way to go.

This goes for every other sport, too, but the only one of the "Big Four" smart enough to have a championship game at a different venue each year is the NFL and we all know why the Super Bowl is played in a different location. It's a huge cash cow for the league and its owners.

I'm anxious to see Golden State and San Antonio tee it up in the Western Conference Playoffs in a couple of months, but what would really make the series compelling would be a 5-game series at a neutral location instead of a 7-game series that allows Golden State to potentially host four games and San Antonio only hosts three.

I understand it renders the regular season almost useless if the reward at the end of the campaign is something OTHER than home court advantage in the playoffs. I mean, what would be driving Golden State (now 62-7 after last night's loss at San Antonio) to keep playing hard every night if the only benefit to winning was just to say "we had the best record in the regular season and you didn't".

The NCAA has figured it out, obviously, by creating a regular season that matters (your conference tournament and NCAA tournament seeding is based in great deal on what you did in the regular season) and then having a conference tournament that allows for teams who stubbed their toe in the regular season to get hot over a three or four day period and earn their way into the Big Dance.

But then, once they get in the NCAA Tournament, the playing field is totally level and it truly becomes "may the best team win".

It's hard to argue that the NFL's Super Bowl Champion isn't the best team, since they beat the runner-up at a neutral site venue. Even better, like the NCAA basketball event, pro football employs the "one and done" theme to their playoff system. Win and you keep playing - lose and you go home.

And at the end, it's one game in a winner-take-all setting on a neutral field. There isn't a better way to determine a champion.

Major League Baseball won't do it, of course, because teams often times build their roster and lineup around their home stadium. It would also negate the impact the fans can create as both an advantage for the home team and a disadvantage for the away team.

Lack of a true "home field" also helps golf and tennis fairly and accurately determine their major champions. Sure, some guys with lifelong exemptions to the Masters (a winner gets invited back forever) might have an advantage over a first-time entrant, but they're only seeing the course anywhere from six to ten times as a lead-up to the tournament in April. They're not getting much more of an advantage over a guy who gets to Augusta on Monday and sees the place for three days before teeing it up in the tournament proper on Thursday.

When the U.S. Open heads to Oakmont CC in Pittsburgh this summer, most of the players who played in the event at that course back in 2007 will be confronted with several recent changes, enough that much of what they learned in '07 won't matter much nine years later.

Without a true "home field", golf always rewards the best player, that week, as does tennis.

The NCAA Tournament is still about quality and level of play, and the tried-and-true like Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan State still find themselves with Final Four potential nearly every spring. Once March Madness begins, the top dogs do their best to avoid that one-game stinker where someone like Middle Tennessee State pops up out of nowhere and sends them home.

As Michigan State found out on Friday, one game can change your season.

Would Middle Tennessee State win in East Lansing on Michigan State's home court? Highly unlikely. But that's why March Madness is great. It's all about basketball at this point and less about travel, unfamiliar settings and a raucous crowd making it hard for the visiting team to breathe, let alone play well.

The other sports and pro leagues should watch and learn.

Nothing beats the NCAA Tournament.

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Terps Spotlight

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


terps need to respect hawaii tonight


I imagine Mark Turgeon has done this ad nauseum over the last 48 hours, but Maryland needs to take Hawaii very seriously tonight at 7:10 pm when the two teams match-up in Spokane, Washington.

Much of what Hawaii does well contrasts with a few of Maryland's weaknesses, and the Terps could find themselves watching the rest of the tournament from College Park if they're not willing to go to work tonight and play hard.

The Rainbow Warriors run their offense through 6'11" Serbian junior Stefan Jankovic, who scored 16 points in their Friday win over Cal and averaged 15.7 per-game in the regular season. He's their version of Robert Carter Jr., but more impactful offensively. Jankovic averages 6.6 rebounds per-game, Carter averages 6.8 per-game.

Roderick Bobbitt is to Hawaii what Melo Trimble is to Maryland. Bobbitt, a 6'3" guard, averaged 13.4 points in the regular season and popped for 17 points in Friday's victory over Cal. He averages slightly more assists (5.5) per-game than does Trimble, but clearly plays against inferior competition throughout their conference schedule.

Hawaii has another Serbian player, 6'11" forward Stefan Jovanovic, who doesn't have the scoring ability of Jankovic but is just as skilled defensively. Expect him to get a lot of time tonight as the Rainbow Warriors try to minimize the duo of Carter Jr. and Stone down low.

Hawaii's skill set as a team is easy to identify: They work hard at both ends of the court, use their bench early and often, and basically try to force the opponent out of their game plan.

The Rainbow Warriors clearly don't have the overall quality of Maryland on a player-for-player basis, but what they lack in talent they more than make up for in basketball intelligence.

Overall, what Hawaii does best is NOT a formula that bodes well for Maryland. The Terps have developed a reputation as a team that plays within the system for 20-25 minutes a game but then somehow loses their way at the worst time possible.

All it takes in the NCAA is a bad 10-minute stretch and your title hopes are on the plane heading back home.

The Rainbow Warriors averaged 77 points per-game in their 2015-2016 campaign and Maryland averaged 76, but, again, they were playing against two different levels of competition in eighteen or so of those contests.

Maryland SHOULD win this game today, no doubt.

But Hawaii does things well that should concern Mark Turgeon as he prepares for the 7:10 pm contest.

The Terps will need a performance more like what we saw from them in the Michigan State loss in the Big 10 conference semi-finals. Staunch defense, better rebounding, smarter shot selections...those are the line items that Maryland will need to showcase against the Rainbow Warriors.


after today, only 16 teams remain

I went for a few upsets on Saturday and came up empty, going 5-3 while improving my overall record to 27-13. My bracket (with a Michigan State-West Virginia final) has long been busted, so I'm just watching the games to watch the games, now. Other than rooting for Maryland, obviously, I no longer have a dog in the hunt.

If Maryland should fall tonight to Hawaii, I'd probably root for Virginia or Miami moving forward, but overall I couldn't care less who wins if the Terps somehow get sent packing.

Here's a look at today's games along with the related predicted outcomes:

Villanova over Iowa -- This is right around the time a Jay Wright-coached team gags it and goes home early, but it seems like this year's Wildcats squad is built for the long haul. 'Nova wins by three.

Stephen F. Austin over Notre Dame -- Maybe it's the way they dismantled West Virginia on Friday or perhaps I'm just buying into "an upstart always makes the Sweet 16", but I'm taking SFA to knock off the Fighting Irish today. SFA wins by six.

Oklahoma over VCU -- How weird would it be if VCU gets to the second week of March Madness while Shaka Smart and Texas watch them play from their couch in Austin? It won't happen. Sooners win by ten.

Middle Tennessee State over Syracuse -- MTSU is this year's Cinderella story. After today's win over Syracuse (by eight), no one will want to play them moving forward.

Maryland over Hawaii -- I don't think this will be a walk-in-the-park for the Terps, but their quality will shine through when it matters most. Terps trail by two at the half, lead by five with five minutes left, and eventually win by nine to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

Texas A&M over Northern Iowa -- TAMU could be dangerous if they can get past Northern Iowa today. I'm calling this one an Aggies win in overtime.

Wisconsin over Xavier -- Not sure why. I know Xavier's decent. Wisconsin clearly isn't as good this year as they were in 2015. But they'll do to "X" what they did to Pitt on Friday. They'll bore them to death with their plodding offensive system and win by five.

Oregon over St. Joseph's -- Like Villanova, this is right around the time when Oregon lays an egg and bows out early, but I don't see that happening today against St. Joe's. Ducks by fourteen.

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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.



final round excitement looms at bay hill

Jason Day is 18 holes away from a rare "wire to wire" win on TOUR and I'm 18 holes away from a pretty nice Fantasy Golf payday if my remaining roster of five plays as well on Sunday as they did on Saturday.

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Jason Day is 18 solid holes from doing this on Sunday afternoon at Bay Hill CC in Orlando.

Day -- who has led the tournament since Thursday -- posted his third straight under-par round on Saturday, shooting two-under par 70 to move to 15-under overall. He leads Henrik Stenson, Troy Merritt and Kevin Chappell by two shots each heading into today's final round at Bay Hill in Orlando.

Derek Fathauer and Justin Rose are four behind at 11-under par.

It's officially "Masters lead-up time" on the PGA TOUR and a win for Day at Bay Hill would certainly give him a huge boost of confidence as Augusta National looms in the not-too-distant future. The same goes for Stenson, who has yet to win a major title in his career.

Chappell and Merritt are just good players making a nice living on TOUR who would love to win a significant event like the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

My #DMD Fantasy Golf roster has five players still playing, with only 2-time defending champion Matt Every failing to make the weekend cut for me.

The aforementioned Henrik Stenson was my predicted tournament winner and has a shot at doing that today. He's been piling up fantasy points for me over the last three days.

So, too, has Zach Johnson, who sits at 8-under par after rounds of 70-70-68.

Both Charles Howell III and Scott Brown posted 68's for me on Saturday that helped me climb up the DFS leaderboard.

My only stinker on Saturday was Brendan Steele, who shot 2-over par 74 to drop back to 5-under par.

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umbc women fall in post-season tourney

UMBC women's basketball saw their season come to an end with a 67-48 loss to Youngstown State in the WBI Quarterfinals on Saturday. The Retrievers got 16 points from junior Taylor McCarley to go along with five rebounds and four assists. UMBC ends their season at 18-14.

McCarley finished with a team high 16 points on 5-19 shooting, including 3-9 from beyond the arc. Classmate Pandora Wilson chipped in nine points and six rebounds while Amanda Hagaman added three points and a team best nine boards.

The host Penguins (21-12) found themselves behind early, but went on a run late in the first half to take a 31-26 lead at the break. Youngstown State went on a 9-2 run over the final three minutes to take the lead for good.

UMBC would cut into the deficit in the third, but Youngstown State kept the Retrievers at bay for most of the stanza till Emily Russo drilled a triple to cut it to 41-36 at the end of three periods.

Youngstown State would extend their lead in the fourth, pulling away from the Retrievers mid-way through after a three by Nikki Arbanas gave the Penguins their largest lead at 59-45. The Penguins would hold on from there to win 67-48 to move on to the WBI Semifinals.

Arbanas led all scorers with 18 points, while Kelsea Newman added 15 points and ten rebounds off the bench for the Penguins.


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 19
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XX
Issue 19
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terps win despite turgeon, trimble

I'm sure there are other schools with the same maddening ability to abandon all solid basketball sense like the Maryland Terrapins do, but I'm not certain I know their identity.

To go along with that issue, is there a good team in the country with a head coach and a star player as vulnerable in the big moment as Maryland?

Both of those elements forced the Terps to hang on for dear life and edge a spirited South Dakota State team on Friday. Somehow, despite Mark Turgeon and Melo Trimble, Maryland advanced to Sunday's second round and a match-up with Hawaii in Spokane, Washington.

Maryland's 79-74 win over the Jackrabbits was engineered by Jake Layman's 27 point effort and a gritty 14-point night from Jared Nickens, who was forced into a more prominent role when Trimble fell apart in the second half. The fact that South Dakota State didn't go to the foul line once in the first half helped matters, too, but that's what happens when you don't take the ball inside and challenge the other team.

We'll get to the ugly stuff in a second, but the play of Layman and Nickens was worth the price of admission on Friday afternoon. Without those two, the Terps would have been home today watching the rest of the tournament like Tom Izzo, Bob Huggins and Shaka Smart.

Now, let's figure out why Maryland almost gagged away an 18-point second half lead against a team that looked more worthy of playing in the NIT for thirty of the game's forty minutes.

It's almost laughable how much Trimble has regressed over the last eight weeks. I'm not suggesting at all that he's playing poorly on purpose, but it sure looks like he is at times.

Turgeon isn't in need of the paperback version of "Basketball for Dummies", but he's simply not a good in-game coach. Or, if you think that's too harsh, I think we can all agree that he's been in a slump for the last month or so.

After seeing Maryland run roughshod over South Dakota State in the first half -- mainly because South Dakota State couldn't make a shot -- Turgeon's team lost their marbles in the second half and rendered Diamond Stone, Robert Carter Jr. and Damonte Dodd nearly useless in the final twenty minutes.

Stone was hardly a factor in the game, picking up four measley points in the second half, as the Terps turned an 18-point laugher into a one possession game with ten seconds remaining.

Carter Jr. had seven points. He wasn't able to do more because he couldn't get his hands on the ball in the offensive end.

Dodd didn't score a point and obviously can't play a lick offensively, but this wasn't Purdue or Michigan on Friday, it was South Dakota State. Even a "B player" like Dodd should eat those guys up.

This, though, is where Turgeon has to take the brunt of the blame. It should be his explicit demand to get the ball inside to Stone or Carter Jr. come hell or high water. Yes, South Dakota State knew that's what Maryland was going to do, but that shouldn't change the way Turgeon coaches.

Every Maryland possession in the last ten minutes of the game should have been drawn up to isolate Stone, Carter Jr. or Dodd, when he was in there. I realize Stone and Dodd both have undependable hands -- particularly Dodd -- but just getting the ball down low would have likely resulted in a trip to the foul line at the very least.

Instead, as they have a habit of doing, the Terps got away from what earned them an 18-point lead and started doing goofy stuff with the basketball. I understand that coaches coach and players play, and sometimes college kids don't have their listening ears on, but I pin a lot of Maryland's woeful play in the final ten minutes directly on Turgeon.

It's his job -- along with his staff -- to predict what lies ahead with his team and make the right moves BEFORE trouble comes calling. It's a lot like chess. The good players move a piece in reaction to what their opponent just did. The great chess players make a move that's two steps ahead of what their opponent might do.

Anyone who has watched Maryland basketball over the last eight weeks knows how it's all going to crumble. They'll start taking low-percentage shots, get beat on the glass, and commit an unnecessary foul (or three) that keeps the opponent's hopes alive.

If a dummy from Glen Burnie can pre-predict how it will likely happen, surely Turgeon and his $3 million paycheck can see it much more clearly than I can.

So, it's his job to fix it BEFORE it breaks.

Now, let's talk about the star player and his uncanny ability to do things that are completely uncharacteristic of player that's supposed to be All-American caliber.

Trimble just doesn't get it.

I'm monitoring myself here to make sure I don't leave an open wound on a young man who is "just a kid playing college basketball", but Melo's performance over the last two months has bordered on awful, especially when you remember he's a guy some thought was a "Player of the Year" candidate back in November.

I'm not questioning the performer. I'm questioning the performance. It's not been very good, and that's being kind.

After a 15-point first half on Friday, Melo crumbled in the second twenty minute session. Dumb fouls, shots that only Steph Curry could dream of, and just a general lack of court and game awareness highlighted his puzzling second half performance.

Trimble has played like that a lot over the last two months, so it surely wasn't a surprise to see him go off the deep end, but it somehow has to get corrected if Maryland wants to beat the likes of Kansas and other teams over the next two weekends.

Maybe Maryland needed that yesterday. A blow-out win rarely builds character. Gutting one out and winning despite yourself can sometimes do a team lots of good. That's the way an optimist would see it, anyway.

Or, perhaps Maryland won't get much benefit out of coughing up a walk-in-the-park and having to sweat out a game that was in their back pocket for most of the night. No matter what anyone says about how gutty and gritty and spirited South Dakota State was, let's all call this one like it is: Maryland should knock out teams like that by the 4th round.

As Michigan State and West Virginia found out on Friday, games in March, played on a neutral court, are far more challenging than playing a bottom feeder in your own building in mid-January.

That's how teams like South Dakota State hang around with quality teams like Maryland even though they have no business doing so. In College Park, the Terps would have won Friday afternoon's game by 25 points. At a neutral site, though, where no one has a decided advantage, the potential for a tighter game increases greatly.

Moving forward, the Terps should handle Hawaii with ease. I know, I know, that's a scary thought. But everything about the match-up favors the Terps. Everything.

Somehow, though, Maryland will likely not cruise to victory on Sunday. They should. But they won't.

In what has become a sad, almost mystical ritual since mid-January, the Terps will probably fart around after building a 16-point second half lead and Hawaii will have the ball in their hands with a chance to take the lead with thirty five seconds left in the game.

I haven't seen the script or anything, but I'm sure Hawaii's comeback will somehow be connected to Trimble taking ill-advised shots and fouling people outside the 3-point arc when the Rainbow Warriors are trailing by five points and in dire need of a miracle.

The late collapse on Sunday will also be constructed in part by the Terps eschewing easy baskets in the paint. That seems to be a consistent theme with this year's team. For some reason, they become allergic to getting the ball down low or taking it inside themselves.

Have no fear, Maryland will hang on to beat Hawaii on Sunday, but it won't be a cakewalk.

When your best player and your head coach aren't paying attention in the second half, it's hard to produce high quality basketball.

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laroche: "i had an agreement with kenny williams and the white sox"


If you believe Adam LaRoche, the central theme behind his sudden retirement on Wednesday stems from the fact that he and the White Sox had a previous agreement in place concerning how much time his son, Drake, could spend with the ballclub.

When White Sox Vice President Kenny Williams told him this week not to bring Drake around anymore, LaRoche cleaned out his locker and headed home. For good.

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LaRoche issued a statement on Friday that included the first disclosure of an "agreement" between the 12-veteran and the team. "Prior to signing with the White Sox, my first question to the club concerned my son’s ability to be a part of the team," LaRoche wrote. "After some due diligence on the club’s part, we reached an agreement. The 2015 season presented no problems as far as Drake was concerned. (My bat and our record are another story!)"

He added: "With all of this in mind, we move toward the current situation which arose after White Sox VP Ken Williams recently advised me to significantly scale back the time that my son spent in the clubhouse. Later, I was told not to bring him to the ballpark at all. Obviously, I expressed my displeasure toward this decision to alter the agreement we had reached before I signed with the White Sox. Upon doing so, I had to make a decision. Do I choose my teammates and my career? Or do I choose my family? The decision was easy, but in no way was it a reflection of how I feel about my teammates, manager, general manager or the club’s owner Jerry Reinsdorf."

So, there you have it.

The two parties apparently had an agreement and the White Sox reneged on it in spring training.

I wrote a lengthy piece on Thursday regarding LaRoche and his abrupt retirement. Since then, I've read as many articles and commentaries as I can, absorbing the wide range of opinions that have come with all of those stories.

I see a lot of people commenting that no one's child belongs in the locker room. Says who? You? Me? Your blogging friend?

There's only one group of people who truly "matter" when it comes to the issue of Drake LaRoche spending time in the White Sox locker room. That group, of course: the other 24 players on the team.

If they don't mind, that's all that matters.

The White Sox, to a man, clearly didn't mind have Adam LaRoche's son in their "office". They liked having him around, in fact. And LaRoche, the father, obviously didn't mind exposing his young son to a culture that's far advanced for what kids his age normally experience.

We can think it's strange, odd, out-of-place or "unprofessional", but we're not the ones in the locker room and we're not the ones who have a fondness for LaRoche's son.

And while we're at it, we should probably stop criticizing a father and mother for the way they educate their child. I don't know much about the rules and regulations surrounding "home school". It's so overly opposite of what we're all used to that I simply can't fathom how it works in the first place.

But, I certainly agree with the fact that a parent has the right to raise their child in the manner they believe in the most.

I'd never tell someone how to raise their child, just like I wouldn't expect anyone to tell me how to raise mine.

If the LaRoche family wants to home-school their son, so be it.

This story now comes down to two things, really, and neither of them have much at all to do with Adam LaRoche.

The locker room is the player's sanctuary, that much is true. So, if we'll concede that it's their sanctuary, and if the White Sox are comfortable and content with a 14-year old boy hanging around as if he's their 26th man, then the team and its management should yield to that decision.

It's not like they're bringing an alligator or a rattlesnake into the clubhouse and letting it roam around just for kicks and giggles. Then, you'd probably have to say, "You know what guys, I know the clubhouse is your safe haven and all, but you can't have an alligator in here. It's dangerous for everyone...you, the staff, the media, etc. Sorry, the alligator has to go."

And, finally, if Kenny Williams struck a deal with Adam LaRoche prior to signing his 2015-2016 contract signing, Williams is obligated to honor that agreement. Short of Drake LaRoche stealing money from Chris Sale's locker or putting Tiger Balm in Robin Ventura's underwear, Williams has to let the kid hang around because that's what he agreed to do when he signed LaRoche last winter.

Perhaps if Williams listened to his players more, he'd be hearing what they've been saying all week.

Drake LaRoche isn't a problem. But, Kenny Williams evidently is.

At least that's what the White Sox have indicated this week.

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Terps Spotlight

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


terps hang on despite bad second half


It wasn’t as easy as it could have been, but the Maryland Terrapins avoided the upset bug that has plagued this year’s NCAA Tournament by grinding out a 79–74 win over the South Dakota State Jackrabbits on Friday afternoon to move on to the round of 32.

The Terps were led by Jake Layman’s career high 27 points which included a stellar 5 for 8 on three point shots and a perfect 8 for 8 from the foul line. Melo Trimble added 19 points for the Terps, who were ahead by 18 points with less than nine minutes remaining in the game.

The first half was just plain ugly for both teams. The Jackrabbits put only 22 points on the board largely due to their inability to make shots. They connected on only 26% from the floor and made only 4 of 17 three point attempts.

The Jackrabbits didn't get to the foul line in the opening 20 minutes while the Terps made all nine of their tries from the stripe.

The Maryland halftime lead of 34-22 could have been even greater had the Terps not committed nine turnovers and if they had any success at all getting the ball inside to Robert Carter Jr and Diamond Stone. Stone missed his lone attempt in the first half and Carter Jr had only two tries. Carter Jr did manage to make one of those.

Maryland built an 18 point lead in second half by knocking down three point shots. They made six triples in six minutes and led 62-44 with 10:22 left.

However, the Terps surrendered as many points in only 9:38 of the second half as they gave up in the entire first half. South Dakota State was scoring, but Maryland was scoring more. Maryland did most of their scoring with Melo Trimble on the bench with three fouls.

When Melo returned to the game, two things happened. For one, the Terp offense stalled as Trimble spent way too much time pounding the ball into the court. Second, the Maryland perimeter defense failed and South Dakota State knocked down four straight three pointers.

When Trimble committed personal fouls number four and five, he had not only fouled out of the game, but he handed five points from the foul line to the Jackrabbits, and the once hefty 18 point Terp lead was down to two points.

The Terps would not secure victory until South Dakota State’s final possession. That ended with a Maryland steel and Rasheed Sulaimon dunk that extended the Terp lead from three to five as the final horn sounded.

If Maryland hopes to take advantage of the gift that Cal presented them by losing yesterday to 13-seed Hawaii, then they must get better, and less selfish, play from Trimble.

Despite his 19 points (9 for 9 from the foul line), Melo's inability to run an offense, his propensity for controlling the ball, and his poor defense are really hurting the Terps.

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Foul trouble and a four-point second half put Melo Trimble in the spotlight once again as Maryland nearly squandered an 18-point second half lead yesterday.

He may be a somewhat effective scorer at the college level, but Trimble's abilities as a floor general are suspect at best. Coach Turgeon doesn't really have any other options, but the Maryland offense surely looked better yesterday without Melo controlling the action and the ball. His 3 turnover, 2 assist performance just doesn’t cut it as a point guard trying to guide his team on a championship run.

I think the Terp offense failed greatly by not pounding the ball inside at every occasion. While I do give credit to the South Dakota State interior defenders, I still feel that Maryland lacks the kind of floor leadership that would insist they run through their sets and get the ball down low where it needs to go.

The Terps relied heavily on the three ball yesterday, and that spells trouble if those threes fail to hit their mark. But, Maryland did put 78 points on the board on Friday. The game got tight because defensively they gave up an astounding 52 points in the second half.

This is NCAA tournament time. If you can’t find a reason to give 100% now, perhaps a deep run is not in your future. I get it that the other team is trying too and sometimes it’s easy to relax when you have a big lead, but at this time of the year you need to play harder for longer stretches or else your next opponent might not commit a careless turnover with seconds remaining in the game and you could be going home.

The Terps next test comes on Sunday at 7:10 pm against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.

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sweet sixteen berths up for grabs today


Like virtually everyone else in America, my bracket went into the shredder around 9 pm on Friday night.

I had Michigan State winning it all. They're done.

Texas and West Virginia are also heading home today, which probably hurt about 90% of the brackets out there.

I went 9-7 on Friday. That puts me at 22-10 through 32 games in the tournament. Any other year, that would be horrible. This year, it's probably acceptable.

Here's a look at today's schedule and predictions.

Miami over Wichita State -- I know the Shockers are on a bit of a roll, but this experienced Miami team just might be for real. Hurricanes win by five.

Yale over Duke -- I wanted to take Yale in their opening game against Baylor but I chickened out. Having seen them in person less than a month ago, I can say without question that Yale is legitimately dangerous. Duke's going to find that out this afternoon. Yale wins by six.

Kentucky over Indiana -- You know how this one goes. Calipari brings a wheelbarrow full of money into the locker room before the game and says, "Here you go boys...win and you can have it." Wildcats make it easy with a 12-point win.

Arkansas-Little Rock over Iowa State -- Just because someone like A-LR does this every year. They win by eight.

Virginia over Butler -- The Cavaliers get a scare as the Bulldogs take them to overtime, but UVA holds on and wins by two.

Kansas over UConn -- Truthfully, I have this weird feeling that UConn might win. But, for the record, I'm taking Kansas to win by four.

Gonzaga over Utah -- How funny would it be if this is the Gonzaga team that works its way through the bracket and makes it to the Final Four? They win by ten today over Utah.

North Carolina over Providence -- Would love to see some more late-game magic from ex-Calvert Hall star Drew Edwards, but I think the Friars' run ends tonight. Tar Heels by twelve.


Friday
March 18
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XX
Issue 18
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"it's like the luck of the irish . . .
only i'm not irish"

So many good things are happening here at #DMD that I have to consider myself just downright lucky.

The quote in the title above seems quite fitting given yesterday's St. Patrick's Day celebration. It comes from the outstanding movie White Men Can't Jump, where Woody Harrelson hits shot after shot in a playground one-on-one battle with Wesley Snipes and explains it all by saying -- "It's like the luck of the Irish...only I'm not Irish."

We have some great news to share today on several fronts.

There are companies in Baltimore that I consider "iconic" in nature. Everyone knows who they are, for starters, and the work those companies have done to build their brand is second only to the effort they've put in to improve our community.

KELLY is one of those iconic Baltimore companies.

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Not only are they a tireless contributor in our community, KELLY is one of the nation’s largest providers of benefits administration and technology, broker and consulting services, and payroll and workforce management solutions.

Chances are really good that if you work for a Baltimore based business, KELLY directly or sometimes even indirectly manages some aspect of your employer's benefits, insurance or payroll elements.

I'm a satisfied KELLY customer. They handle all of #DMD's payroll services and as we contine to grow, they'll be even more involved with us.

And today, I'm proud to say, they've joined with #DMD as one of our "Signature Corporate Partners". You'll start seeing the KELLY logo and ads prominently featured here at #DMD. They'll be the exclusive presenters of our Orioles coverage in 2016 and we have some fun, creative contests coming your way in the coming months that will reward YOUR charity through the generosity of KELLY.

KELLY will also be sponsoring several of our #DMD "Bucket List" trips that take place in 2016. We'll be announcing a couple of those in the next few weeks.

One of the benefits (no pun intended) of hanging around the great people at KELLY is that you get to meet other awesome people with whom KELLY is connected -- and you find yourself wanting to help their cause. Remember -- those of you who were with me when #DMD was born on August 25, 2014 -- the #DMD philosophy I presented to all of you 19 months ago?

People helping people.

So, in addition to KELLY coming on board, I'm also excited to announce that #DMD now has a unique partnership with The Fellowship of Christian Athletes. KELLY and FCA have been longtime partners and share the same basic commitment: They both want to make our community better.

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I was privileged to attend the FCA's 2016 Celebration Dinner this past Monday in Baltimore and not only got to hear the great Lou Holtz speak about his life, but was able to see first-hand how KELLY and FCA work together to improve the lives of high school athletes all over the country.

I'll be working with Brian Hubbard and some others at KELLY in 2016 to create a #DMD-FCA relationship, using golf as the main catalyst for spreading the word about the great work they're doing with the Maryland chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Please welcome aboard our friends at KELLY. They're truly one of Baltimore's iconic companies and we're thrilled to have them on our side!

Speaking of friends, there's not much better than putting together two people you know and admire and seeing them hit it off like longtime pals, but I had that great fortune yesterday.

I took Craig Creamer of ABC Rental Center of Rosedale downtown to meet my buddy Van Brooks and tour his new SAFE Center on West Lexington Street. It felt a little bit like the "Turkey Bowl" in there, what with Creamer and Brooks being Loyola Dons supporters and me wearing my Calvert Hall Golf hat, but my goal of getting Craig and Van to meet and become friends took all of about five minutes to accomplish.

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Craig Creamer (left) and Van Brooks (right) at Van's SAFE Center in downtown Baltimore.

Van, like I mentioned about KELLY above, has truly become an iconic figure in Baltimore with his charitable endeavors and the development of his SAFE Center, which brings 15 inner-city middle school students into his building every day after school for four hours of supervised mentoring, including homework, additional teaching and education, and learning how to be a contributing member of the community.

A lot of you who support #DMD have contributed to numerous fund-raisers and events that we've held over the last two-plus years to support Van and his efforts. Throughout the generosity of #DMD readers and our friends at Jerry's Toyota-Scion, we've donated 200 sleeping bags in each of the last two years in support of Van's campaign to help Baltimore's homeless get through the winter months.

Yesterday, Craig Creamer got to see for himself how special of a man Van Brooks is and the two of them quickly forged a friendship that will go well beyond me and #DMD.

So, good luck continues to find its way to me. KELLY, Craig Creamer, Van Brooks -- we're fortunate to have those people working in OUR community and I'm blessed to know them and have a friendship with each, as well.

Oh, and one final thing. We had over 500 entries in our #DMD March Madness contest presented by Chick fil-A of Nottingham Square! Thanks to each and every one of you who took the time enter.

I'm telling you...if I didn't know better, I'd swear I'm Irish.

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meet me at glory days today for terps "madness"

It sure seems like a good day to cut out of work around 3 pm and settle in to watch Maryland take on South Dakota State in the NCAA tournament.

If you're planning on doing that, how about joining me for some good food and refreshments at Glory Days Grill in Towson!

I'll be watching the Terps and Jackrabbits do battle at Glory Days and if you get there early enough, some of the 100 chicken wings I'm going to buy might still be left for you. I'll put out a bunch of wings and some other food around 4 pm for those of you who want to come out and say "hi" and watch the game.

I went 13-3 yesterday on day one of "March Madness", missing only Duke, Baylor and Arkansas-Little Rock. Yes, yes, you can go back and check, I had Wichita State beating Arizona, Providence over USC and Gonzaga getting past Seton Hall. Look it up in yesterday's #DMD!

Here's how I see day two:

Dayton (7) over Syracuse (10) -- I know people made a big deal about Syracuse's play with Jim Boeheim and without Jim Boeheim, but the bottom line is they're an inconsistent team. Dayton send them home today.

Villanova (2) over UNC-Asheville (15) -- Could this by Jay Wright's year, finally? I'd like that. Keep your eye on Phil Booth, the ex-Mount Saint Joe star who has turned into a nice piece for this Villanova team.

VCU (10) over Oregon State (7) -- I'm hedging on this one a bit, because I didn't think VCU would prosper without Shaka Smart, but they have rolled right along without him. I really want to take OSU here, but I'll stick with the Rams for at least this opening game.

California (4) over Hawaii (13) -- Hawaii is the sexy pick with the recent news that Cal lost their starting point guard to a broken hand in practice on Wednesday, but I think Cal holds on for an overtime win and lives to fight another day.

Michigan State (2) over Middle Tennessee State (15) -- The Spartans are my pick to win it all in 2016. Step one of six starts today.

Temple (10) over Iowa (7) -- Temple playing in New York is almost like a home game for the Owls. Iowa was strong early on in Big 10 play, but their best play was in January. Temple wins a close one.

Oklahoma (2) over CSU-Bakersfield (15) -- For those of you who answered "yes" to the question of whether there will be a margin of victory of 36.5 points or more, this one should get you five points in the #DMD contest. Sooners in a romp.

Maryland (5) over South Dakota State (12) -- I wouldn't be shocked to see the Terps lose, because I watched them play enough in February and March to know they're nothing if not unpredictable, but when the dust settles, the Terps will get a big game from Robert Carter Jr. and Diamond Stone and pull away late to win 81-66.

Wisconsin (7) over Pitt (10) -- If the Wisconsin team that throttled Maryland at College Park back on February 13 shows up tonight in St. Louis, Pitt's in big trouble.

West Virginia (3) over Stephen F. Austin (14) -- Watch out for SFA in this one. I have West Virginia going to the Final (just because I felt like doing something different), but the Mountaineers definitely have their hands full in this opener.

Texas A&M (3) over Green Bay (14) -- A&M could be a real sleeper in this tournament. They win easy in their opener tonight.

Oregon (1) over Holy Cross (16) -- Holy Cross's improbable ride ends tonight against Oregon, but it's a heckuva story that college coaches everywhere will be using for a long time just prior to their conference tournament. The Crusaders didn't win a conference road game all year, then won four straight on the road in the Patriot League tournament and also won the play-in game to earn the right to lose by 30 to Oregon tonight.

Xavier (2) over Weber State (15) -- Where the heck is Weber State even located? I have no idea. Tennessee maybe? Texas? Wherever it is, that's where they'll be sometime Saturday afternoon.

Michigan (11) over Notre Dame (6) -- Trying my best not to let my Big 10 bias show. How am I doing?

Texas (6) over Northern Iowa (11) -- Let's see if the Shaka Smart tournament-magic can work in Austin the way it worked for him in Richmond during his VCU days. I say it will.

St. Joseph's (8) over Cincinnati (9) -- The Hawks hit a late three pointer to tie it, then win in overtime.


umbc women win tournament opener at home


The UMBC women's basketball team kicked off play in the Women's Basketball Invitational on Thursday night and used solid defense in a 61-49 win against the Fairfield Stags at the RAC.

The win marks the Lady Retrievers first ever win in a post-season game.

UMBC was led by another solid effort from Pandora Wilson, who scored 26 points to go along with eight rebounds, as UMBC improved to 18-13 on the year. The hosts also got another big performance from All-America East first team member Taylor McCarley, who added 18 points and six rebounds in the win, as she helped spark the run that distanced the Retrievers from the Stags.

Phil Stern's team jumped out to a 31-16 halftime lead against Fairfield and held on from there.

The second half saw the Stags start a run, as they cut the Retriever lead to fewer than ten at 41-33 midway through the third quarter. However the run would stall, as UMBC kept the Stags at bay the rest of the way, keeping the lead at double digits the rest of the way, winning 61-49.

UMBC shot near 50 percent from the field, as the Retrievers kept the Stags off the free throw line, holding them to just one foul shot all game.

The Lady Retrievers will face Youngstown State in the quarterfinals on Saturday, March 20. Tip-off with the Penguins is set for 2 p.m.

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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 win in a breeze today


Let’s get one thing straight right from the start. While the 12-5 matchup is the darling of March Madness upsets, it’s not happening on Friday at 4:30 in Spokane Washington when the Maryland Terrapins take on the Summit League champion South Dakota State Jackrabbits.

The Jackrabbits earned their way in by running off three close wins to capture the Summit Tournament and a date with Maryland. Despite the fact that ESPN writer Myron Medcalf predicted a Terp loss, I give South Dakota State very little shot of pulling off this upset. Let’s meet these Jackrabbits.

Almost everything that South Dakota State does offensively goes through senior guard George Marshall. Marshall is a 6’1” 194 lb. transfer from Wisconsin who averages 14.9 ppg on 40% shooting from the field including 37% from behind the three point line. He is most dangerous when going to the basket and is a real effective scoring when getting to the rim. As a ball handler, he is more than adequate, as his 2 to 1 assist to turnover ratio would suggest. Keep your eye on number 11, he drives this team.

The Jackrabbits leading scorer is freshman forward Mike Daum. Daum, wearing #24, uses his big 6’9” 245 lb. frame to navigate around the basket, where the bulk of his 15.2 ppg are scored. He has a great 3 point percentage (45%) but only shoots one or two a game from long range. He possesses an solid all-around game, grabs a team high 6.1 rebounds per game, but stands to get a real lesson on playing inside whole trying to contend with the Terp bigs. Oddly enough, Daum has been coming off of the bench.

Deondre Parks is the Jackrabbits' third leading scorer at 14.7 ppg. After playing at Iowa Lakes Community college for two years, and earning JUCO All-America awards, he took his slashing penetrating style to South Dakota State. Getting to the basket is his forte; outside shooting is not (41% from the field, 32% from 3). Parks has an aggressive, quick, style that has served him well in the Summit League. He sports the number “0”.

Senior guard, Jake Bittle, is also worth keeping an eye on. He dropped 25 points on Minnesota earlier this year and posted 21 against North Dakota, but since then has been in a shooting slump that makes Melo Trimble’s troubles look small. He can be dangerous at times though, and deserves a defenders full attention. He’ll wear the number four.

Sophomore forward Ian Theisen and 6’6” guard Reed Tellinghuisen round out the starting lineup. Theisen gives the Jackrabbits some size at 6’9” and 235 lbs., but he is no factor on the low blocks at all and I expect his points in the paint to be very limited. He is awkward with the ball but can occasionally step back and hit a three. I can’t see him defending any Terp in the post and expect him to get into early foul trouble trying to deny points and entry passes on the low blocks. Surely #42 will struggle mightily today.

Tellinghuisen is another solid but unspectacular South Dakota State piece. Not a great shooter, he will put up about 5 three point attempts each game and connects on 37%. When you put these pieces together, it spells a long forty minutes for the 9-point underdog South Dakota State squad.

Scoring inside against the Terp defenders will be troublesome because of Maryland's size. I expect Marshall to be neutralized by Rasheed Sulaimon and Jake Layman’s length will be hard to handle for whomever he is assigned to guard.

Offensively, Maryland should have a field day inside against the overmatched Jackrabbits' front court. As long as Maryland runs their offense through the bigs, points should be easy to come by. The 12-5 matchup is the most upset prone combination in the tournament, but not this game. This should be a Terps romp that could approach twenty points. The Terps move on to a date with California (who just lost their point guard to a broken hand) by cruising past South Dakota State 78-61.

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

MATTHEW CARROLL

Leicester City continued to set the pace atop the Barclays Premier League with their 1-0 victory over Newcastle United on Monday, maintaining their five-point lead over second place Tottenham and eleven points ahead of third place Arsenal, who now have a game in hand, as we enter Matchweek 31. This weekend is loaded with mouthwatering Derbies at both the top and the bottom of the table, so be sure to tune in and catch all of the action live on the NBC family or networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Saturday, March 19 (all times eastern)

8:45am – Arsenal @ Everton – Goodison Park, NBC Sports Network

Arsenal will try to salvage what has so far been a miserable week when they visit Goodison Park to kick-off the weekend action early Saturday morning against Everton. With a loss to Watford in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup, which ended both their thirty-seven-month unbeaten run and hopes of lifting the trophy in the world’s oldest football competition for the third consecutive season, and to Barcelona in the Champions League, which sealed their exit from the prestigious club competition in the knockout rounds for the sixth consecutive season, they have only the Premier League title left to chase.

Those hopes appear to be dwindling as well however, with a poor run of domestic form that has left them without a win in their last three league games (D1 L2) as they have slipped from the top of the league table to eleven points adrift. They have failed to win in their last three league trips to Goodison Park (D2 L1) and will face an Everton side who, unlike the Gunner’s, punched their ticket into the FA Cup semi-finals and a trip to historic Wembley Stadium with a 2-0 win over Chelsea, although they have taken all three points from the North London club just once in their last eighteen meetings (D6 L11).

Sunday, March 20 (all times eastern)

9:30am – Sunderland @ Newcastle United – St. James’ Park, NBC Live Extra

Only hours after noting in our preview last week that his time at the club could be running short, the Newcastle United brass made the move official sacking manager Steve McClaren less than a year into his tenure at the club, with only six wins from twenty-eight league matches this season to show for his efforts. Rafa Benitez, who has enjoyed previous stints as the head man at fellow Premier League clubs Liverpool and Chelsea but who was sacked himself only months ago at Real Madrid, will take charge when the Magpies welcome local rivals Sunderland to St. James’ Park for Sunday’s early kick off.

Separated by only twelve miles, the two sides will meet in the most important Tyne-Wear Derby in recent memory as both club’s continue to try and fight off relegation to the Championship by season’s end. Newcastle have won just one of their last seven league fixtures and have managed only two wins from their last thirteen league games, while Sunderland have failed to build on back to back wins to open the New Year and have won only one of their last eight league games (D3 L4), but enter the crucial survival derby with wins in their last six meetings in the league against their bitter rivals.

12pm – Manchester United @ Manchester City – Etihad Stadium, NBC Sports Network

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It's always quite a sight to see half the stadium in Man United colors and have the stadium in Man City colors.

And speaking of local derbies, one of the biggest of them all will cap the weekend when Manchester United makes the short trip across town to take on Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday. City’s quest for a third Premier League title in the last five years was effectively ended when they failed to pick up all three points against lowly Norwich City in a 0-0 draw while United, who sit four points behind the Citizens in the table, will need to take all three points if they have any hopes of nipping their rivals for the final Champions League spot after crashing out of the Europa League mid-week.

While City have struggled domestically, with losses in three of their last five league fixtures and eight out of their thirteen matches against teams in the top half of the table, it is not all doom and gloom as they were finally able to get over the hump by clinching their spot in the Champions League round of eight for the first time in the clubs history in a dull 0-0 draw with Dynamo Kiev on Tuesday. They will look to build on that accomplishment and finish the season strong against a United side who have lost four of their last six meetings with the Citizens, including their last two trips to the Etihad Stadium.


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.


Thursday
March 17
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XX
Issue 17

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white sox have a messy situation on their hands

Chicago White Sox President Kenny Williams is right when he says, "You tell me, in this country, where can you bring your child to work every day?"

But, the story involving now-former White Sox slugger Adam LaRoche isn't nearly that simple, particularly since the White Sox have in the past allowed players to bring their children to spring training and into the clubhouse with the team.

LaRoche abruptly retired on Wednesday after Williams told him earlier in the week that his 14-year old son, Drake, is no longer permitted at the team's spring training facility on a daily basis, asking LaRoche to "dial it back a bit".

Baseball players have long enjoyed the flexibility of having their children -- boys in particular -- hang out with the team. Whether it's picking up baseballs scattered around the outfield, collecting bats and other equipment and storing it, or helping clean up the locker room after games and practices, youngsters have forever been the fabric of major league locker rooms.

It's how Cal Jr. and Billy Ripken grew up, just to highlight two major leaguers who were "ballpark rats" when their dad, Cal, was involved in the game in the 1970's.

And now, the White Sox say Adam LaRoche can't bring his kid to the ballpark on an everyday basis.

Shame on them.

It's one thing if LaRoche's son is either a distraction or somehow gets in the way. If that's the case, though, wouldn't ALL children be potential distractions? What's the difference between having your son in the clubhouse twice a week vs. six days a week?

Williams did his best on Wednesday to clarify his decision regarding LaRoche's son, but all he did was muddy the waters even more.

"There has been no policy change with regards to allowance of kids in the clubhouse, on the field, the back fields during spring training," Williams told Fox Sports. "This young man that we're talking about, Drake -- everyone loves this young man. In no way do I want this to be about him."

Well, Williams might not have "changed the policy", but that's because there isn't really a policy in the first place. I'm shocked no one has pointed that out in an effort to show the White Sox President how convoluted this whole thing has become.

And, despite his assertion to the contrary, Williams has "made it about him (Drake)", obviously. He told his Dad, specifically, to "dial it back a bit" in terms of bringing his son to the ballpark.

Williams stuck more of his foot in his mouth later on. "I don't think he should be here 100 percent of the time. And he has been here 100 percent, every day, in the clubhouse. I said that I don't even think he should be here 50 percent of the time. Figure it out, somewhere in between."

This is where someone should tell Kenny Williams it's his job to "figure it out". He runs the ballclub.

If Williams doesn't think children should be at the ballpark 100% of the time, then it's HIS job (or someone's within the organization) to come up with a policy that outlines when it's appropriate to bring your child to work. The players certainly aren't responsible for creating team rules and policies.

Make no mistake about it here, Kenny Williams is the bad guy in this story. If he had a string of e-mails or anonymous letters from players and staffers complaing about Drake LaRoche or children in general hanging around the team, he'd have -- at the very least -- enough evidence in place to at least broach the subject with LaRoche and the rest of the team.

That evidence doesn't exist, though. Williams is likely responding to the pressure of having a losing record for over a decade now, while the other team in town, the Cubs, have shot to the top of baseball's power rankings. Get better players or kick a 14-year old out of the locker room? It's evidently much easier to give the kid the heave-ho.

"We all think his kid is a great young man," Williams said. "I just felt it should not be every day, that's all. You tell me, where in this country can you bring your child to work every day?"

It's true, there aren't many places in the country where employees can bring their children to work every day. There also aren't many places in the country that guarantee an employee's salary without any regard whatsoever for the production they provide, but Major League Baseball does just that.

Someone should remind Kenny Williams that nothing about baseball is "real" except the money that gets direct-deposited into everyone's account. The rest of it is all a fairy tale.

You often hear players utter this remark: "It's amazing we get paid for playing a kid's game". They say that as a reminder, mostly to themselves, that they're hitting a virtual home run every morning they wake up and they're still employed as a big league ballplayer. An average salary of $3 million, $100 of daily per-diem, chartered planes, the best hotels, special privileges at country clubs all over the country, not to mention daily worship from fans of all ages, pretty girls and corporate America who gives them more money on top of the more money they already possess.

Baseball is NOT the real world, which speaks in direct contrast to Williams' question of "Where (in this country) can you bring your child to work every day?"

If the White Sox -- and baseball in general -- felt that strongly about Drake LaRoche or any other child hanging around the field, the clubhouse, etc., they'd have a specific rule in place to clearly identify what's allowed and what isn't allowed.

There's a sign in every locker room in professional baseball warning the players about gambling on sports. It's right there, for everyone to see. There's no "gray area" or questions about baseball's position on gambling.

If no such sign or policy exists for children, one needs to be constructed. Or not.

LaRoche walked away from $13 million in 2016 and left the White Sox in a lurch at the same time yesterday when he announced his sudden retirement.

Frankly, though, that's not cool, and LaRoche isn't necessarily being fair to his teammates by retiring two weeks before the season starts.

In the end, we all know this: Blood's thicker than water. When you're faced with a decision that somehow involves your children, rarely are you ever going to do something that works against the grain of having them involved with you.

So, LaRoche decided to make a stand, which is kind of easy to do when you've made $58 million in your career to date. And it wasn't like he was walking away from a lot of future earnings, either. At age 35, and coming off of a down season in Chicago a year ago, the writing was on the wall for the 12-year veteran.

But it's still warming to see a guy say "no thanks" to 13 million bucks and tell the ballclub, "You know what, keep your money. I'll just go hang out with my son on my own terms and watch you guys go 70-92 again."

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and the madness begins

Other than four days in early April that bring the best golfers in the world to Augusta, Georgia, these next 96 hours are the best four days in all of sports...every year.

Nothing -- except the Masters -- beats the drama and excitement of the first two rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament.

Please note: I'll be watching the Maryland-South Dakota State at Glory Days Grill in Towson on Friday. Tip off is right around 4:30 pm. Come on by, introduce yourself, and I'll have a table full of chicken wings and other great food for you to munch on, compliments of #DMD.

Before I jump in on today's first round of NCAA men's action, let me also mention that there's NCAA post-season tournament action in the area tonight, as the UMBC women's team hosts Fairfield in the first round of the Women's Basketball Invitational. Tip off is 7 pm at UMBC's RAC Arena. The Lady Retrievers are coming off of an outstanding regular season in the America East conference, so if you're looking to see some hoops LIVE after an afternoon of watching it on TV, head to the RAC for tonight's WBI battle.

Now, to the NCAA men's tournament.

March Madness is already off to a whopper of a start, as Holy Cross won their "play in" game last night, earning their 5th straight victory along the way. Holy Cross didn't want a road conference game in the Patriot League all season, then promptly went on the road and beat four teams in their conference tournament to snag a spot in the big dance. They're now in the tournament proper after Wednesday evening's 59-55 win over Southern.

And that's why the NCAA tournament is great. If you just get hot in early March, there's no telling what you can accomplish.

So, with a full slate of 16 games on tap in today's opening round, here's how I see day one playing out:

X
First game of the tournament and Duke is heading home. We can all dream, right?

UNC-Wilmington (13) over Duke (4) -- I'm not calling this upset because I'm anti-Duke. I'm calling it because UNCW is good enough to win this game and Duke was on-again, off-again enough in the regular season to feel this one coming.

Butler (9) over Texas Tech (8) -- It's tournament time, which means Butler's liable to do something special.

UConn (9) over Colorado (8) -- I don't like the way Connecticut looks. After a flimsy regular season, they turned it on in their conference tournament -- albeit with the help of a 65-foot buzzer beater -- and now look like they could be dangerous in March. Again. Yes, I'm anti-UConn. Proudly.

Iowa State (4) over Iona (13) -- Finally, I go with a lower seed to win. Iowa State's a team to watch.

Baylor (5) over Yale (12) -- I'll admit, I want Yale to win this game and make a mini-run in the tournament, but I can't see them beating Baylor today.

Virginia (1) over Hampton (16) -- Don't underestimate Hampton in this one. I don't think Virginia's losing, but I'm not going to be surprised if this is single digits after 35 minutes.

Kansas (1) over Austin Peay (16) -- This one's going to be ugly. Kansas wants to win by 50 just to set the tone for their remaining five games.

Purdue (4) over Arkansas Little-Rock (13) -- I really like Purdue's team. With competent guards, they'd be a one or two seed. A-LR is pretty decent, too. My 5-year old daughter, Lucy, has A-LR going to the Elite Eight, by the way.

Miami (3) over Buffalo (14) -- I've seen some experts touting this one as a possible upset-in-the-making, but I don't feel that at all. Miami has too many seniors and too much experience to let this one get away.

Indiana (5) over Chattanooga (12) -- Can't see the Hoosiers losing this one, although their early exit from the Big 10 tournament might have been telling.

North Carolina (1) over Florida Gulf Coast -- No upset here. Expect a thrashing.

Utah (3) over Fresno State (14) -- I'll call this one an overtime win for Utah.

Wichita State (11) over Arizona (6) -- Upset alert! I know some folks are saying Sean Miller's team could be a sleeper in this tournament, but I'm taking the Shockers, here, after their "play in" win on Tuesday night.

Kentucky (4) over Stony Brook (13) -- This one isn't going to be a walk-in-the-park for Kentucky. Wildcats win by five in a barnburner.

Providence (9) over USC (8) -- Keep your eye on freshman Drew Edwards of Providence, a former Calvert Hall Cardinal.

Gonzaga (11) over Seton Hall (6) -- I know, this isn't a typical Gonzaga team, but Seton Hall fluked their way to a 6-seed. The Pirates are heading home early.

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get your entry in before 12 noon today for #dmd's ncaa hoops contest!


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.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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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only four seats left on our game 2 caps playoff bus!

If you're looking to attend Game 2 of the Caps upcoming first playoff series at the Verizon Center, you need to get in today or you'll miss out.

We've sold 26 of our 30 tickets thus far, so with only four seats left, I suspect they'll go rather quickly today.

X
Could this be the year the Caps finally break through and win the Stanley Cup? If so, Branden Holtby will play a key role.

Here are the details:

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!

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.

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


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.


Wednesday
March 16
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XX
Issue 16

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ozzie, harbaugh showing the heat is on in owings mills


The Ravens are clearly not happy with how things went in 2015.

And whether or not you like their three recent free-agent signings, it's apparent that Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh and the rest of the powers-that-be at One Winning Drive are going to upgrade and improve their roster heading into the 2016 campaign.

Did owner Steve Bisciotti tongue-lash Ozzie and Company into making changes? Maybe. But it wasn't necessary, even if he did.

Anyone who watched the games last season knew the truth. The Ravens had little to no wiggle room when it came to depth on either side of the ball, so when the injuries started to pile up, so, too, did the losses.

Heck, the team got off to a 1-6 start when they had the bulk of their team in place last season, remember? It was just "one of those years" where week-by-week, something else bad happened that further decimated the roster and squelched any hope for a turn-around.

Yesterday's signing of veteran wide receiver Mike Wallace gives Baltimore three significant acquisitions in the last two weeks. Ben Watson (tight end) and Eric Weddle (safety) were already added to the mix, and a betting man would wager that Newsome isn't finished tapping into the free agent market.

How much will those three new additions help, though?

Wallace was a budding star in Pittsburgh a few years ago before jumping ship to Miami for a big contract. He quickly fizzled out there and headed to Minnesota, where it somehow turned out worse for him.

Once considered a premier deep threat in the league, Wallace no longer carries that sort of cachet. At best, he's potentially a more reliable version of Jacoby Jones. At worst, he's a notch better than Chris Givens, whom the Ravens trotted out there for a month at the end of last season when they just needed a warm body at wide receiver.

The one thing Wallace has now that he didn't have in Minnesota or Miami? A real quarterback. Ryan Tannehill and Teddy Bridgewater are decent-enough, but neither has the acumen of Joe Flacco. If Wallace still has "burner speed" like he did in Pittsburgh circa 2012, Flacco has the right arm to compliment those wheels. It could be a good marriage between the two.

It remains to be seen if Wallace still has what it takes to be an 85-catch per-season performer, but the 39 receptions he produced in Minnesota last year have to be an outlier. He's better than that, for sure.

The Ravens' receiving corps now includes Steve Smith Sr., Kamar Aiken, Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman, who failed to play a snap last season after suffering a training camp knee injury.

They'll obviously draft a receiver or two in April, but the four names above at least represent a competent group of pass catchers, assuming that Perriman actually plays and is worthy of his selection in the first round back in 2015.

It's not a knock-out receiving corps, but it's an improvement over the 2015 ensemble that Flacco had at his disposal.

Wallace, like Watson and Weddle, will be in his 30's when the season starts next September. While the youngest of the trio at age 30, he's entered into "he's no spring chicken" territory for a player in the NFL. Weddle (31) and Watson (35) aren't getting any younger, either, but the Ravens weren't signing them to be here in 2019 or 2020. They need to rebound and win now.

I championed the "get younger" theme prior to the start of the off-season and the Ravens have actually done just the opposite. Typically, though, younger free agents (see Kelchi Osemele) cost a lot more money than the older group who are just looking for another nice contract to compliment their career cash haul.

And, even with Joe Flacco's gentlemanly contract re-structure that paved the way for the club to sign the likes of Wallace, Weddle, Watson, etc., the Ravens had to be smart with the money they threw around in free agency. It's tough to get younger and add quality at the same time unless you have big bucks to burn, and the Ravens don't fit that criteria.

Most importantly, the signings of Wallace, Weddle and Watson are significant improvements over the players they're likely replacing.

Wallace's signing probably means the end has come (in Baltimore, at least) for Marlon Brown, who showed promise a couple of years ago but fell out of favor in 2014-2015 because he couldn't hold on to the ball when it was thrown his way.

Weddle's arrival means the Ravens can part company with Kendrick Lewis (and save $900k in the process) and, even, potentially cut Will Hill as well, which would save the team $2.3 million in salary cap space.

And, Ben Watson effectively replaces Dennis Pitta and also gives the club some insurance in case Crockett Gillmore is slow to recover from off-season shoulder surgery.

While they certainly didn't get younger with their first three free agent signings, the Ravens definitely got better. As long as the three newcomers stay healthy, they're a roster upgrade over those they're replacing from the 2015 team that stunk it up.

Now, Ozzie..about that offensive left tackle position.

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get your entry in for #dmd's ncaa hoops contest and win free chick fil-a food!


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.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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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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.


improving cap situation greatly assists ozzie's off-season efforts


After scratching a potential new contract for Kelechi Osemele and a re-working of Joe Flacco's onerous cap situation off of their to-do list, the Ravens have begun setting about using some of their newfound cap space with a couple of semi-high profile moves this week, signing former Chargers' safety Eric Weddle (4 years, $26 million) and Steelers/Dolphins/Vikings receiver Mike Wallace (2 years, $11.5 million) to contracts.

The moves have added a rather unusual bit of March enthusiasm to a Ravens fanbase not used to seeing the team add such household names, at least not at this point in the offseason, and it's not hard to see why. Though both Weddle and Wallace have probably seen their best days, there's plenty of reason to think that there's still a lot of gas in the tank, and that both can be very productive players in the team's offensive/defensive system.

Weddle fills a rather gaping hole at safety with a player who was one of the very best at the position fairly recently, enters the offseason with something of a chip on his shoulder after feeling disrespected by San Diego, and reportedly turned down at least two larger contract offers in choosing to sign up with the Ravens.

Wallace had a really down year last year, with just 39 catches and 443 receiving yards, and was generally a bad fit in Minnesota, with a team that liked to call a conservative game and a quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater who isn't known for top notch arm strength and throwing the deep ball.

In Baltimore he'll be a constant vertical threat on the outside for Joe Flacco, will provide an insurance policy for Breshad Perriman, and his speed should serve him well in Marc Trestman's offensive system, which is heavily based on designing routes to get his receivers open in the middle of the field and letting them work in space after the catch.

On a different level, the combination of the moves provide the additional benefit of giving the Ravens much more flexibility at two of their biggest positions of need than they had this time last week. Wallace, in particular, really fits this bill.

The Ravens now have a very solid, pretty deep, and well balanced group of pass catchers, with Wallce/Perriman as the speed threats, Steve Smith Sr. and Kamar Aiken as "possession receivers," and Crockett Gilmore and Maxx Williams (who I believe is going to take big steps towards becoming one of the premier tight ends in the league in 2016) at tight end. That's a group I think you'd be okay with going into the season with, all else being equal, and suddenly the Ravens are under no pressure to pick a receiver in the first two rounds of the draft.

Weddle adds another layer to that equation, as his ability to play either free or strong safety (at least compared to the incumbents) gives the Ravens the option to cut Will Hill or Lardarius Webb for additional cap savings or, if they're as open to keeping Webb as they seem to be, maybe pegging him as a nickel corner, which he's more accustomed to playing than safety.

Of course, the team's biggest apparent need remains a dangerous cover cornerback, and Vernon Hargreaves is still an amazingly obvious fit in my opinion, but if he plays to form, Weddle adds enough talent that the Ravens could justify passing on a defensive back early for a front-seven defender or offesive tackle if they feel they have a franchise cornerstone caliber player sitting in their lap at the sixth overall pick, or even taking a gamble and trading down quite a ways in the first round if someone like, say, the Jets want to make a big move up to draft a cornerback, picking up a huge haul of additional picks in the process.

I may have some quibbles with the way Ozzie Newsome allocates resources to certain positions, but there's legitimately no one in the league better at managing draft position and value than he is, and the prospect of him sitting at six and dangling that line out there to QB needy teams while having no MAJOR needs at any premium positions himself is truly exciting.

Most of all, though, the signings simply fit the way the Ravens do business. At the end of the day, Ozzie went out and got a couple of talented veterans who were cut by their former teams at a good price, on the hope that they're going to come into this season motivated and looking to recapture a big piece of their peak production.

It's worked a bunch of times before (Daryl Smith and Elvis Dumervil most recently) and sometimes it hasn't but, again, the Ozzie/Harbaugh Ravens are just about as good as anyone save, probably, the Patriots, at going out and stockpiling veteran free agents like these guys and making it work to the tune of a winning record and postseason appearance.

If nothing else, it's good to see that the cap situation was ironed out enough to let the team's decision makers work their magic (mostly) unrestrained, and when the June cap hits come we should expect even more reinforcements to be on the way.

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caps offense stalls again, but ovechkin nets overtime winner


Alex Ovechkin picked a great time to end his 5-game streak without a goal.

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Alex Ovechkin's OT game-winner last night secured a playoff berth for Washington and ended a 2-game losing streak as well.

Ovechkin tallied early in overtime on Tuesday night to give the Caps a 2-1 win over the visiting Carolina Hurricanes, officially securing a playoff spot for Barry Trotz's team.

Justin Williams also scored for the Caps, who have now scored only one goal in regulation play in three of their last five games. For a broader sample size, the Caps have now scored three goals or less in each of their last twelve games. That's not good.

If you're feeling wobbly about the Washington offense, don't worry, so is Barry Trotz. The Caps' head coach did some line juggling on Tuesday night to try and snap his team out of their offensive funk, but Ovechkin's game winner notwithstanding, it didn't seem to help. Ovi played with Jay Beagle and Nicklas Backstrom vs. Carolina, while T.J. Oshie (who has basically been a non-factor for the last month, honestly) was connected with Andre Burakovsky and Evgeny Kuznetsov. The third-line of Justin Williams, Jason Chimera and Marcus Johansson is respectable, but not much more than that.

Braden Holtby set a Caps record with his 42nd win of the season in goal on Tuesday night, making 25 saves along the way. Some in the D.C. media have started chirping about Holtby's play over the last six weeks, but when your team is scoring one and two goals a game and you're STILL winning, somehow, I don't see how much of the blame can be placed on the netminder.


our caps playoff bus is almost sold out!

If you're looking to attend Game 2 of the Caps upcoming first playoff series at the Verizon Center, you need to get in today or you'll miss out.

We sold 24 of our 30 tickets yesterday, so with only six seats left, I suspect they'll go rather quickly today.

In case you missed yesterday's news, here are the details:

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!

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.

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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Drew's Fantasy Golf Guide

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


OK, I'm putting everyone on notice.

I'm back.

Hopefully.

After a woeful three weeks, I think I'm on to something this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill CC in Orlando.

Without going into great detail, let's just say I've "upped the ante" with regard to my personal Fantasy Golf plays this week. I'm in it to win it, as the saying goes.

Let me see if I can marry my roster enthusiasm with the money I've plunked down this week. If so, drinks are on me this Sunday night.

For starters, it's impossible to ignore what Matt Every has done at Bay Hill, so I won't. He won this event in 2014 and 2015, and, while his form over the last year hasn't been good, I just can't bring myself to leaving him out of my starting six. Every has dealt with over-the-ball "blackouts" as he calls them, but some recent work with a psychologist has helped -- or so Every says. I don't rate him much, from week-to-week, but a 2-time defending champion can't be left off the team. Even at $7,500, Every's a sold investment at Bay Hill.

I think Brendan Steele is solid investment as well at $7,700. He's playing the event for the 6th time, so the course is starting to become familiar to him. This season, he has four Top 20's and a tie for 14th at the Honda Classic a few weeks ago.

Another good value at $7,400 is Scott Brown, who has a pair of Top 10's on this Florida swing and led the TOUR in putting last week at the Valspar Championship. I always like to take the hot putter, and Brown clearly likes the greens in Florida. His only other appearance at Bay Hill resulted in a solo 13th in 2013.

At some point soon, Charles Howell III is going to win a golf tournament. Watch and see. It might even be this week in Orlando. He's made 11 of 12 cuts so far in 2015-2016 and has lingered around the Top 15 in nearly event over the last two months. At $8,000, he's a "must play" this week, I believe.

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After a solid outing at last week's Valspar Championship, Henrik Stenson is set to move into the winner's circle in Orlando.

That leaves me with two roster spots to fill. Zach Johnson has five Top 12 finishes at Bay Hill over the last decade, plus a T9 last year at this event. He has the perfect profile for Bay Hill. Drives it straight, hits his irons on the green, and putts it decent enough to be in contention. I assumed the $8,300 value on him was wrong, so I jumped on it before it was corrected. He's a steal at $8,300.

That brings to my final, most expensive player on the roster this week, and the guy I think is going to win. I'm on the Henrik Stenson bandwagon at Bay Hill, even at the cost of $11,100. He hasn't finished outside of the Top 15 in his last four appearances at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and is coming off of a T11 finish at the Valspar where he led the field in par-5 scoring and was 4th in greens in regulation for the tournament.

Others to consider: Hideki Matsuyama, Kevin Kisner, Jason Kokrak, William McGirt, Bryson DeChambeau, Ben Martin, Hudson Swafford and Smylie Kaufman.


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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.