Friday
April 15
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXI
Issue 15
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ravens ticket price hike is a step in the right direction


I'm not sure the Ravens hit the bullseye yesterday when they announced their new ticket pricing formula for 2016, but at least they're trying to make it right.

And that's a good start.

In case you missed it, the Ravens announced on Thursday they've reduced the price of the two home pre-season games by nearly 50% and are raising the prices of regular season games by roughly 12% for the upcoming season.

It all comes out in the wash to equal the same amount of money you spent in 2015 if you're a season ticket holder.

No one should pay "full price" for pre-season games

The new pricing formula is essentially a two-tiered system. One set of prices for the pre-season games, one set of prices for the eight regular season games.

The pre-season games have long been the bee in everyone's bonnet, because the games are so dreadfully disproportionate to the level of play in the regular season that everyone feels completely ripped off for paying "full price" for games that often times don't feature starting players for anything more than a couple of series' at best.

With limited chances for ticket revenue, the Ravens -- and all of the rest of the teams, too -- can't simply downgrade the pre-season games and lower those prices without making it up somewhere else. They just can't.

Conventional wisdom, particularly when it's not YOUR money, says the pre-season games should be half of what a regular season game costs. But when you only have ten chances for ticket revenue and you've been generating "X" for the last 20 years, you can't suddenly take two of those opportunities and chop the money-making element in half absent some other way of gaining it back.

So, hats off to the Ravens for recognizing the peculiar nature of the pre-season games and doing something about it. It's a joke to charge full price for those games and they finally figured out a new way to price them.

It does alter the value of the tickets, though, which hurts folks who donate their pre-season tickets to charity and use that gesture as a tax write-off. I got a couple of e-mails from disgruntled people yesterday who wanted to vent to me and were hoping I'd write about the new ticket policies today.

Well, I am writing about it, but much to their dismay, I'm not going to join along and be angry about the change in pricing for pre-season games just because it adversely affects someone's ability to write-off the donation of Ravens tickets.

For starters, perhaps, I can't sympathize because I'm not a football ticket buyer. Otherwise, I'll just point to the fact that for a long time people have been clamoring for "different pricing" for pre-season games. And rightfully so. Now that they finally get it, they're still not happy about it.

The Ravens don't sell their tickets or formulate their ticket pricing policies based on the notion you're selling them on the secondary market or donating them to charity and using that as a tax write-off. They sell you the tickets and assume you're going to attend the games yourself. So, any discontent with the new structure and how it affects your 2016 taxes is on YOU, not them.

The other part of the ticket price announcement yesterday is, in fact, worth a little more scrutiny.

And while I think the Ravens "got it right" with the pre-season pricing, I'm not so sure about the regular season pricing.

If they were really judging each home game in 2016 on value, based on the team, the rivalry and the assumed quality of the opponent coming to town, here's the way I would rank each of the eight visiting teams this coming season, highest value game/team to lowest value game/team.

1. Steelers (Sun., Nov. 6), 2. Redskins (Sun., Oct. 9), 3. Bengals (Sun., Nov. 27), 4. Bills (Sun., Sept. 11), 5. Eagles (Sun., Dec. 18), 6. Dolphins (Sun., Dec. 4), 7. Raiders (Sun., Oct. 2), 8. Browns, (Thurs., Nov. 10)

It's a pretty flimsy home schedule this coming season, truth be told.

So, in terms of value, the top three games -- Pittsburgh, Washington and Cincinnati -- all have some decent quality, but the other five games are schedule-fillers, to me.

The price of a home game vs. Pittsburgh, Washington and Cincinnati should, in my opinion, be higher than any of those other five. I can see where you might put the home/season opener against Buffalo as a "top-tier" game, pricing wise, which is actually why I made it #4 on the list. But a season ticket holder shouldn't pay the same money to see the Bengals as they should to see the Browns.

Should you pay more to see the Steelers and Bengals?

By the way, this is where I should say -- for the record -- that I loate the idea of "premium opponent" pricing, which has become all the rage in sports these days. My ranking of the home games above and the statement that you shouldn't charge the same for the Bengals as you charge for the Browns is a concession that it's being done already and I'm simply trying to make the best out of it.

On the whole, though, I can't stand charging different prices for different opponents/dates, etc., but I'm well beyond the point of arguing about it. It's here to stay.

Ultimately, what the Ravens tried to do was pretty obvious. They wanted to stay true to their earlier decision to not raise ticket prices, yet also give-in, finally, on the pricing of pre-season games.

If it were my ticket office and my decision, solely, I'd charge 25% more for the Steelers, Redskins and Bengals and 25% less for the Browns, Dolphins and Raiders.

Let's face it, the latter three games are simply "unattractive" opponents, in general, and if the Ravens are somehow not competitive again in 2016, a December home game is about as interesting as listening to Bernie Sanders talk about how he's going to fix the country. You're better off just raking your yard in either case.

Ultimately, the Ravens decided to just price the pre-season games differently than the regular season games. Easy to understand, if nothing else.

And, in the end, this new "multi-tiered" formula generates the same amount of revenue as their budget requires, but cosmetically changes the way you pay for your pre-season tickets.

Other than lower the pre-season prices and keep the regular season prices the same, which they simply weren't going to do and couldn't do, the Ravens did the next best thing, in my opinion.

I get that some people are mad because they just lost a hundred or two hundred bucks worth of a tax write off next April. If that's the worst thing that happens to you in the next 365 days, you're in pretty good shape, Mr. Complainer.

On the flip side, if you're one of those creeps who sells your tickets to Steelers fans (I'm kidding about the "creeps" part, you're only a creep if you're a Caps fan who sells your tickets to a Flyers fan), you just made MORE money for yourself and your family because the price and value of those seats will increase on the secondary market.

This isn't really that big of a deal, if you ask me, but again, as I noted above, I'm not a Ravens season ticket holder, either.

I've long since given up on fighting sport ticket pricing, because teams are always going to try to find or create new ways to get us to pay MORE money for watching the same product. We either pay the freight and go to the games or stop paying it and stay home.

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caps take 1-0 series lead with 2-0 win over philly


Goals from John Carlson and Jay Beagle were more than enough to support an outstanding night in goal for Braden Holtby as the Capitals started their Stanley Cup quest with a 2-0 home win over the Flyers on Thursday night at the Verizon Center.

Game 2 is set for Saturday evening (7 pm) and a busload of #DMD hockey enthusiasts will be on hand to check it all out.

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Jay Beagle's 3rd period insurance goal helped the Caps beat the Flyers 2-0 on Thursday night at the Verizon Center.

Carlson's 2nd period goal put the Caps up 1-0 and Beagle scored late in the third on a nice strip-and-feed from Marcus Johansson.

The story of the night was Philadelphia's inability to connect on the power play. The Flyers earned the game's first three extra-man opportunities but couldn't solve Holtby and the Washington penalty killers. By game's end, the Caps had six power play chances and scored once, while Philly went 0-for-4.

Following their form of the last two months or so, the Caps offense wasn't much to write home about on Thursday evening. Alex Ovechkin only played about eleven minutes of even strength hockey and nineteen minutes overall, and was held without a point, although he did pepper Philadelphia goalie Steve Mason with several bone-rattling shots on the power play throughout the night.

T.J. Oshie failed to cash in on a couple of close-range opportunities and Evgeny Kuznetsov took a team-high seven shots without finding the back of the net.

Holty wasn't called on to do much in the final 40 minutes, but his play in the first period was exceptional, as Philadelphia enjoyed three power play chances but came away empty-handed each time.

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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.


rams/titans trade helps ravens out on draft day


The newly minted NFL franchise in Los Angeles pulled off its first blockbuster Thursday morning, swapping a bunch of picks with Titans that, when all the shuffling is over, means this: the Rams will be picking first overall when the NFL draft commences in two weeks, and that's a big-time positive development for the Baltimore Ravens.

Simply put, the Rams are making the move all the way from 15th up to the top spot to pick a quarterback.

The Ravens may have a lot of needs, but they have their franchise quarterback, which means they won't be picking any signal callers in the early rounds.

So now we more or less know that at least one of the five selections made before the Ravens get their chance will be of a player who Ozzie & Co., for all intents and purposes, don't even have on their draft board. Things get even better when you consider the state of Cleveland's second pick as well.

Cleveland has, go figure, been connected to quarterbacks with this pick pretty much all offseason. They're also said to prefer Cal's Jared Goff to North Dakota State's Carson Wentz, so their preferred option would still be sitting right there for them to gobble up.

They have also, however, been reported to be shopping the pick around pretty heavily, and with plenty of needs and a good quarterback coach at the helm in Hue Jackson, there's some feeling they might wait for the second round to pick a QB, whether they trade out or just pick someone else.

Personnally, I think signing RG3 as a free agent pretty quickly and then cutting Pro Bowl safety Donte Whitner strongly suggests that they're eyeing Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey if they don't make a trade.

But either way, the Ravens win big again. If Goff goes here, either to Cleveland or a team that trades up, it means everyone the Ravens would have been considering slides down again, and Ozzie will have the chance to draft one of the top four players on his board. And if the Browns pick a non-quarterback, then things get really interesting.

That's because the two teams that immediately follow the Ravens in the draft order, the 49ers and Eagles, are two of the other QB needy teams picking early, and both are said to be looking to address the position.

San Francisco hasn't really been connected to any prospects other than QBs yet, and the Eagles were reportedly making an aggressive play to move up to number one for Wentz. If both teams like Goff enough to want to move up a spot or two to get him, it's not hard to imagine the Ravens engineering a bidding war which they would emerge from with a potentially high additional pick for the price of merely moving down a spot or two in the draft order.

That might sound crazy, and it would fly in the face of the holy draft value chart, but in today's game the need for quarterbacks really skews the pricing value of moving around.

If, for example, the Rams pick Goff instead of Wentz and the latter falls all the way down to the sixth spot, it wouldn't make any sense for the Eagles to insist on giving up less to move up two spots than to move up seven. They'd still be getting the same player they wanted for the same price, they'd just be doing it at a different selection. Now they might not be willing to give up so much for Goff, but the point remains that the Ravens have at least two QB-needy teams to play off of each other and potentially get a major return for essentially no cost.

This is all a hypothetical though, obviously, and I don't have a good sense of what's happening with the second pick yet.

But the bottom line is this; today's news significantly increased the odds of the Ravens landing one of the very best prospects in this year's draft class, and adding the sort of player who can be a major upgrade to the roster/meaningful contributor from day one, while also increasing the amount of leverage Ozzie Newsome has to shop that selection around for extra high round picks.

It was a good day for the guys in Owings Mills, in other words, and should only increase the excitement for what hopefully will be a landmark night for the franchise at the end of this month.

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

MATTHEW CARROLL

It looks like we will have our first casualty of the season by the time Matchweek 34 of the Barclay’s Premier League comes to a close this weekend as Aston Villa, who are fifteen points adrift of safety with just five games left to go, are likely to be the first of an eventual three teams relegated before the season’s end. With the top flight fate of two more clubs still yet to be decided, as well as two teams remaining in the hunt for the league’s top spot, be sure to tune in this weekend and catch all of the action live on the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Saturday, April 16 (all times eastern)

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

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Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has never been relegated in his various tenures with five different Premier League teams. That might change this season, though.

With Aston Villa heading down, Newcastle United (25 points), Sunderland (27 points), and Norwich City (31 points) will be battling it out over the final five weeks of the season in the hopes of saving their Premier League lives, and either the Black Cats or the Canaries could help their cause when they kick off the weekend action on Saturday at Carrow Road. Both sides enter the relegation contest on the backs of losses, with Norwich losing for the first time in four games (W2 D1 L1) in a 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace while Sunderland fell for the first time in five games (D4 L1) to Leicester City 2-0.

While the home side enjoys a four point cushion and may be tempted to play simply not to lose, Sunderland have no choice but to attack and go for all three points. Despite having a game in hand, they face a difficult run in that includes matches against Arsenal, Stoke, Chelsea, and Everton before ending the season with a trip to Watford. To have any hope of narrowly avoiding the drop for the third consecutive season, the Black Cats will need to overturn a dismal away record that includes just three wins in their last twenty-seven league matches and none in their last ten trips to Carrow Road (D3 L7).

12:30pm – Manchester City @ Chelsea – Stamford Bridge, NBC

With the second leg of their quarterfinal Champions League matchup against Paris St. Germain pending, which the Citizens won 1-0 to book their place in the final four of Europe’s top club competition for the first time in the club’s history, a much changed Manchester City starting eleven overturned an early first half deficit to claim a 2-1 victory over West Brom and solidify their hold on fourth place in the league table. They will travel to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea in Saturday’s primetime matchup, with the Blues coming off their first loss in the league since December in a 1-0 defeat to Swansea City.

The loss snapped a fifteen game unbeaten run that had turned around what had so far been a dismal season for the defending league champions, and despite fighting their way back into the top half of the table, they are set to miss out on a spot in the top six of the standings for the first time in twenty years. They will face a City squad who has not won in their last five trips to Stamford Bridge and just once in their last seventeen visits, but who are flying high after their mid-week win over the French giants and with only won loss in their last five league games (W3 D1 L1).

Sunday, April 17 (all times eastern)

8:30am – West Ham United @ Leicester City – King Power Stadium, NBC Sports Network

A Jamie Vardy double secured Leicester City’s fifth win in as many games as they overcame an increasingly desperate Sunderland side to officially book their place in next season’s Champions League and continue their title charge in a 2-0 over the Black Cats, which maintained their seven-point lead over second place Tottenham who were 3-0 winners over Manchester United. They will welcome West Ham United to the King Power Stadium for Sunday’s early kickoff, with Andy Carroll’s first hat trick since 2010 bringing the Hammer’s back from two goals down in a 3-3 draw with Arsenal.

The draw effectively ended any hopes of the Gunner’s mounting a late season charge to knock Leicester from their perch, with Tottenham the only team left who could deny the Foxes the first league title in the club’s history. The visit from West Ham, who have not lost in their last seven league games (W3 D4) but with draws in their last three have diminished any hopes of their late season charge to catch Manchester City in fourth, begins a similarly difficult run in to the season’s end as Sunderland, when they will face Manchester United, Everton, and Chelsea in the season’s final weeks.


glory days grill is sending you to fenway park this summer - free!

Our good friends at Glory Days are overflowing with Orioles excitement. So much so, in fact, they're going to send two people to Fenway Park in Boston this June absolutely FREE OF CHARGE!

Glory Days will be sending one lucky winner on our #DMD trip to Boston this June 14-17, and everything associated with the trip is included in the Glory Days give-away. There's round trip airfare from Baltimore to Boston, three nights of lodging at the Buckminster Hotel just four blocks from Fenway, and tickets to all three Orioles-Red Sox games that week.

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Is Fenway Park on your bucket list? If so, Glory Days would like to send you there this June 14-17!!

How do you win this awesome trip?

Show up at Glory Days in Towson this Sunday, April 17, when the Orioles take on the Texas Rangers at 3:05 pm.

We'll be holding a special raffle -- no purchase required to enter -- during the game. You simply fill out a form, drop it in the box, and we'll eventually draw five names out. Those will be our five finalists. One-by-one, we'll draw names and eliminate finalists until we finally get down to the lucky winner.

It's that simple. And the winner gets the FREE trip. The four finalists all get $50 gift cards from Glory Days.

Spread the word to your friends who dig the Orioles that #DMD and Glory Days have a great Sunday afternoon of baseball watching in store this coming Sunday when the O's and Rangers play at 3:05 pm.

And then come on out to Glory Days in Towson (East Joppa Road) and enter to win the contest that might send YOU and a friend to Boston to see the Birds in person this June.


LAST CALL FOR OUR SPRINGSTEEN PARTY ON APRIL 20!!


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
April 14
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXI
Issue 14
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fact and opinion is filled with great stuff (and that's a fact)


FACT: The Golden State Warriors set the NBA's all-time record for wins in a season (73) with last night's 125-104 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

OPINION: We can argue all day about which team is/was better, the Warriors or the team that previously held the record, the '95-96 Chicago Bulls, but what the Warriors did this year was more "impressive". They didn't lose back to back games, didn't lose to the same team twice and had every piece of social media in the country on their back for the last month of the season as they chased the record.

FACT: We're more than a week into the 2016 baseball season and two teams -- Atlanta and Minnesota -- haven't won a game yet. They're both 0-8.

OPINION: The season isn't "over" for either of those teams at this point, but it's awfully darn close. Let's pretend 92 wins is the target for a wild card spot in either league. That's a 92-70 record, or 22 more wins than losses. If you start 0-10, you have to win 32 more games than you lose between here and October. Almost impossible...

FACT: The Ravens 2016 schedule will be released tonight at 8 pm.

OPINION: With the Orioles away on September 11, expect the Ravens to open at home this season. My guess? The Bengals come to town for an AFC North showdown to kick things off.

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After a nice run at the Masters, Bryson DeChambeau begins his professional career this week and starts playing for a paycheck.

FACT: Bryson DeChambeau, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion and low amateur at last week's Masters, makes his professional debut today at Hilton Head.

OPINION: DeChambeau will find the going a little tough at the outset of his career, but he'll be a PGA Tour winner by the time the 2016-2017 campaign concludes.

FACT: The great guitarist Richie Blackmore -- formerly of Deep Purple and later, Rainbow -- turns 71 years old today.

OPINION: Blackmore is right up there with the great modern guitar players of the "classic rock" era; Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) and Jeff Beck (The Yardbirds).

FACT: Kobe Bryant finished his illustrious career with a 60-point effort for the Lakers last night.

OPINION: I wouldn't put much stock in the famous Kobe-Shaq rift, because I doubt that O'Neal was the easiest teammate to deal with, either, but the fact that no premium, elite free agents wanted to play with Kobe in the final few years of his career in Los Angeles is telling.

FACT: I predicted Manny Machado will be the American League MVP this season.

OPINION: The Orioles, as they have showed, can win games without Adam Jones. They can't, however, win without Machado. As long as he stays healthy, all is well. If he gets hurt, though, the O's are in deep doo-doo.

FACT: I offer a full review of the Caps/Flyers playoff series -- which starts tonight -- in today's edition of #DMD.

OPINION: This is not a great match-up at all for Washington. I'm officially nervous. Then again, it's the playoffs. The Caps could be playing The Citadel's club team and I would assume they'd choke away a 3-1 series lead and lose.

FACT: Brad Brach of the Orioles is tied for the A.L. lead in wins with two.

OPINION: The American League will have three 20-game winners this season; Felix Hernandez (Seattle), Chris Sale (Chicago) and Cole Hamels (Texas).

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Steph Curry will be the MVP of the NBA again this season, but can he make it two titles in a row as well?

FACT: Steph Curry needed at least 41 points in last night's regular season finale against Memphis to finish the season averaging 30 points per-game. He poured in 46.

OPINION: Golden State beats Cleveland (again) in the NBA Finals, by the same count (4-games-to-2) as they did last season.

FACT: With any luck, a putt or two falling in for him or a putt or two not going in for Bubba Watson ('14) and Danny Willett ('16), it's very realistic that Jordan Spieth could have won the last three Masters.

OPINION: Because Augusta National is the one course that won't really change all that much -- length wise -- over time, and because he's an out-of-this-world good putter, Spieth will always be a threat there. He'll win five green jackets before his career is over. Yes, five.

FACT: Some kid you've never heard of named Trevor Story has 7 home runs already for the Colorado Rockies.

OPINION: It can't go on like this all season. Story will finish the year with 31 homers.

FACT: The Orioles are 7-1 to start the season after last night's loss to Boston.

OPINION: Not getting greedy or anything, but a 3-1 series win over the Rangers in Texas this weekend would give the O's a 10-2 start and would put them well on their way to reaching at least 90 wins this season.

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a night of firsts: warriors win 73, orioles finally lose


Needing to win their last four games to eclipse the Chicago Bulls of '95-96 and finish at 73-9, the Golden State Warriors did just that, ending things with a 125-104 win over visiting Memphis last night.

They took the drama out of it early, leading by 20 points at the half, as Steph Curry scored 46 points and became the first player in league history to reach the 400 mark in three point field goals (he finished the season with 402).

It's tough to say what's more impressive about Golden State's regular season; 73-9 overall, 39-2 at home, or 34-7 on the road.

The Warriors begin defense of their NBA title with a first-round playoff match-up against the Houston Rockets.

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Chris Davis is on pace to hit 81 home runs this season after belting his fourth homer in eight games last night in Boston.

In Boston last night, the Orioles' bats finally went silent on a cold night at Fenway Park, as the Red Sox overcame an early 2-0 deficit and defeated the Birds, 4-2.

Manny Machado continued his torrid early-season start with a 3-for-5 night to raise his average to .441, but the only other player on the team with a multi-hit night was Caleb Joseph.

Baltimore's only two runs came on a 3rd inning two-run homer from Chris Davis.

The good news for the Birds is that the bullpen got a night off, as Ubaldo Jimenez went five innings and Tyler Wilson pitched the last three. Nice work from Buck Showalter not to cram 3-4 guys in over the final few innings to try and win a game that sorta-kinda didn't matter. Give Wilson three innings of work and take the loss...

Joey Rickard and Mark Trumbo both went 0-for-4, while Hyun Soo Kim was 0-for-2.

The Birds head to Texas for a 4-game series with the Rangers that starts tonight and carries through the weekend. Chris Tillman opposes Cole Hamels this evening.


speaking of fenway park, who wants to go there -- free?

Our good friends at Glory Days are overflowing with Orioles excitement. So much so, in fact, they're going to send two people to Fenway Park in Boston this June absolutely FREE OF CHARGE!

Glory Days will be sending one lucky winner on our #DMD trip to Boston this June 14-17, and everything associated with the trip is included in the Glory Days give-away. There's round trip airfare from Baltimore to Boston, three nights of lodging at the Buckminster Hotel just four blocks from Fenway, and tickets to all three Orioles-Red Sox games that week.

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Is Fenway Park on your bucket list? If so, Glory Days would like to send you there this June 14-17!!

How do you win this awesome trip?

Show up at Glory Days in Towson this Sunday, April 17, when the Orioles take on the Texas Rangers at 3:05 pm.

We'll be holding a special raffle -- no purchase required to enter -- during the game. You simply fill out a form, drop it in the box, and we'll eventually draw five names out. Those will be our five finalists. One-by-one, we'll draw names and eliminate finalists until we finally get down to the lucky winner.

It's that simple. And the winner gets the FREE trip. The four finalists all get $50 gift cards from Glory Days.

Spread the word to your friends who dig the Orioles that #DMD and Glory Days have a great Sunday afternoon of baseball watching in store this coming Sunday when the O's and Rangers play at 3:05 pm.

And then come on out to Glory Days in Towson (East Joppa Road) and enter to win the contest that might send YOU and a friend to Boston to see the Birds in person this June.

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caps and flyers renew playoff rivalry tonight


It's no secret. I'm definitely nervous about this playoff series with the Philadelphia Flyers, mainly because I know the post-season history of the Washington Capitals.

The Caps come in as the #1 seed, which also worries me. They've never been one to deal well with prosperity, as numerous 3-1 series leads they've let get away over the years will prove.

And while they weren't really pressed into doing anything special over the last month of the season, the Capitals weren't all that great in March and April.

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The Capitals need a big post-season from Alex Ovechkin as they pursue their first-ever Stanley Cup title after a record-setting regular season that saw them lead the NFL in points.

Truth be told, the offense was sort of stink from February on, but in the playoffs, you can get away with scoring two or three goals a night as long as you're playing solid defense and getting good goaltending.

The Flyers, meanwhile, come in as the proverbial "hot team", garnering 32 of their last possible 46 points and finishing the year on a 15-6-2 run to by-pass Boston on the final weekend of the season and earn a date with the Caps.

While the Caps have a bunch of big-name offensive players, the Flyers are nearly as dangerous offensively thanks mainly to their workmanlike approach. For Washington to win this series, they need to keep Claude Giroux (22 goals) and Brayden Schenn (26 goals) in check. Without those two doing damage, Philly can't win, simple as that.

The Caps edge is clearly in three important areas; goaltending, power play and penalty killing. Each will be a determining factor in this series.

Braden Holtby is coming off of a near-record 48 win season in goal and is far superior to Steve Mason of the Flyers. The Caps have a major advantage in that area.

Washington's power play (top five) and penalty killing (top three) are both head and shoulders better than Philadelphia, so as long as something goofy doesn't happen in this series where Schenn or Giroux catches lightning in a bottle with the extra-man, the Caps should win both of those departments.

It then comes down to 5-on-5 play, and Washington's defense and goaltender own the edge there, even if the offensive units are fairly comparable overall.

What's it all add up to, you ask? Well, the Caps should win this series with relative ease, but they won't, because they're the Caps and the other team is the Flyers. Over the last five years -- granted, the personnel and coaching staffs of both teams have changed throughout that period, as well as the players -- the Flyers are 11-5-1 vs. Washington. There's something about this match-up that doesn't fit well for the Caps.

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Washington's biggest edge in the series with Philadelphia comes in the goaltending department, where Braden Holtby is far superior to what the Flyers have to offer.

Prediction: First off, nothing at all would surprise me. It's playoff hockey, the Caps are the Caps, losing is in their DNA, and because the Flyers are the worst franchise in the history of sports, it would be appropriate for them to somehow pull off this mega-upset just to irritate the daylights out of me.

That said, Washington's not losing this series.

The Flyers will steal one of the first two in D.C. because that's the way it goes with the Caps -- nothing in the post-season is easy -- but Washington will rebound to eventually take a 3-2 series lead and win Game 6 in Philadelphia to sew things up and advance to the next round.

There is an alternate ending though, that only a few people know about. Philadelphia wins in 7 games, capturing the 7th game in Washington, 3-2 in triple overtime, after Alex Ovechkin misses a penalty shot in the first overtime and T.J. Oshie misses a penalty shot in the second overtime.

Don't laugh. You know it could DEFINITELY happen that way.

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LAST CALL FOR OUR SPRINGSTEEN PARTY ON APRIL 20!!


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.


Wednesday
April 13
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXI
Issue 13
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warriors chase for history worth watching tonight


It's not Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak on the verge of being eclipsed, but tonight's regular season finale for the Golden State Warriors is pretty epic stuff when it comes to the world of making sports history.

With a victory over the Memphis Grizzlies -- a team they just beat by one point in Memphis last Saturday night -- the Warriors will finish the season at 73-9 and own the best single-season record in the history of the NBA.

I'll be watching.

I love watching records get broken, for some weird reason. And while this one, tonight, isn't necessarily at the forefront of America's love for all things sports, it's a really cool story because it's the end of a chase that has taken more than six months to complete.

And what makes it even more impressive is Golden State started out the season hoping they'd have this chance, tonight, and lo and behold, here it is in front of them.

A 6-month chase ends tonight, either way

With no disrespect at all to the NFL, which takes its physical toll on players in a different way, the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball are just as much about "the grind" as they are anything else. As the famous saying goes, "It's a marathon, not a sprint".

82 games, in three different time zones, sometimes playing in Denver one night and Milwaukee the next. Long flights, home at 5 am, practice again at noon, and a nagging hamstring injury...those all components of a NBA player's season.

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It's all come down to one game for Steph Curry and the Warriors. A win tonight and they finish at 73-9.

In a way that only maybe hockey players know, the NBA works on you mentally just as much as it does physically. Frankly, I think NHL players are the best "athletes" of any sport, but guys in the NBA aren't that far behind. When they're trying -- and I mean, really trying -- the game of professional basketball is a grueling 48-minute affair.

In Golden State's case, too, you have to keep in mind they're everyone's Super Bowl this season, particularly the East Coast teams they only visit once. When they pull into Washington, Philadelphia, Orlando, Atlanta, Charlotte and so on, they get the very best from those hosts, because it's the one time all season the big, bad defending champions come to town.

That makes the potential for 73-9 even more remarkable. They took EVERYONE'S best shot.

Just stop for a second and really think about it. 82 games. And they might very well win 73 of them. That's some awfully, awfully strong stuff, there.

I've been nothing more than an "average" fan of the NBA over the last decade or so, but I've been "all in" on the Warriors this season. I don't own a Steph Curry tee-shirt or anything, but I've followed them since October because I knew they were interested in doing something special.

When teams or athletes have something good going on, they almost always prefer NOT to talk about it or focus on it. It's the opposite of our human nature, oddly, because we're conditioned to bring up good things going on in our lives, whether that's in conversation or through social media outlets.

In sports, though, players, coaches and fans, even, seem to gravitate in the other direction, wanting to let it happen rather than talk about making it happen.

But the Warriors, pretty much since day one this season, have openly talked about their pursuit of the Chicago Bulls 1995-96 record of 72-10. They wanted it, they chased it, and now, here they are.

Some coaches -- and players -- would downplay the record and warn that focusing on something so far in the future has a way of reducing your ability to focus on something that's happening right now, but the Warriors looked at it differently. They said, "This is where we want to be on April 13...let's go get there."

Anytime a team or an athlete defies common logic, I get interested. The Warriors have done just that with their chase for the record.

Could the record actually hurt the Warriors?

The quest to finish at 73-9 (or better) might very well affect them in the playoffs, by the way. That remains to be seen, but it wouldn't be a complete shock to see the Warriors suffer second-round burnout after essentially playing about six weeks worth of playoff-level basketball in order to position themselves to break the Bulls record.

While they didn't lose back-to-back games all season, Golden State stumbled a bit in the final ten days of the season and lost a couple of home games to teams (Boston and Minnesota) you would have otherwise assumed they would have throttled by twenty points. It looked like the Chase-for-73 was finally catching up to them.

Two wins over San Antonio in four days and that one-point win over Memphis last Saturday have sent them to the 82nd game with a chance to do something no team in the history of the NBA has been able to do: win 73 regular season games.

Admittedly, their focus on winning 73 was made possible by their championship run of a year ago, when the Warriors defeated LeBron and the Cavaliers in six games to win the title. With a ring already on their finger, the Warriors needed to figure out a way to get themselves jumpy for an encore, and the Bulls record of 72-10 in 1995-96 was the perfect narrative for Golden State.

And tonight, with perhaps the largest TV audience EVER for a NBA game, the Warriors will try to do something no team in NBA history has EVER accomplished.

It's well worth staying up late for -- which I'll definitely be doing.

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orioles, hardy, blow up red sox again, 9-5


They weren't exactly mammoth shots over the Green Monster or anything like that, but J.J. Hardy's two home runs on Tuesday night in Boston were part of a 5-RBI night for the shortstop as the O's moved to 7-0 on the season with a 9-5 win at Fenway Park.

Both of Hardy's home runs just ducked inside the foul pole down the right field line. Each of them traveled less than 340 feet. Call 'em "Fenway Homers" if you want, but they both still counted.

Oh, and Buck Showalter's team is off to the best start in Baltimore Orioles history, in case you haven't noticed.

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Two home runs from an unlikely source -- J.J. Hardy -- gave the Birds another win last night at Fenway Park.

Every starter except Jonathan Schoop (0-for-4) recorded a hit on Tuesday night, as the Birds rebounded from early deficits of 2-0 and 3-2. Mark Trumbo hit his second homer in as many games and Matt Wieters added two RBI for the O's, who go for the sweep tonight with Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound against Joe Kelley.

Mike Wright went five innings and earned the win, but it wasn't a classic performance by any means. Like the rest of Baltimore's starters this season, Wright did just enough to hang around and pick up the victory, allowing five hits and four earned runs.

Wright wasn't terrible last night, but the O's will need to get better starting pitching -- from everyone -- once the season really starts chugging along here in another two weeks or so. Right now, with off-days and inclement weather, bullpen arms aren't weary and overused -- yet.

Still, as our columnist Brien Jackson noted yesterday here at #DMD, these wins in April count the same as the ones in September. Winning seven now means you don't have to win seven then...or something like that. In other words, if there's a game to be played, it's better to win than lose, no matter the month.

And Adam Jones still isn't playing. He jumped in again as an 8th inning defensive replacement last night, but it's clear they're concerned about Jones swinging the bat and re-aggravating his ribcage injury. For now, while the other guys are doing damage at the plate, there's no reason at all to urge #10 back out there.


speaking of fenway park, who wants to go there -- free?

Our good friends at Glory Days are overflowing with Orioles excitement. So much so, in fact, they're going to send two people to Fenway Park in Boston this June absolutely FREE OF CHARGE!

Glory Days will be sending one lucky winner on our #DMD trip to Boston this June 14-17, and everything associated with the trip is included in the Glory Days give-away. There's round trip airfare from Baltimore to Boston, three nights of lodging at the Buckminster Hotel just four blocks from Fenway, and tickets to all three Orioles-Red Sox games that week.

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Is Fenway Park on your bucket list? If so, Glory Days would like to send you there this June 14-17!!

How do you win this awesome trip?

Show up at Glory Days in Towson this Sunday, April 17, when the Orioles take on the Texas Rangers at 3:05 pm.

We'll be holding a special raffle -- no purchase required to enter -- during the game. You simply fill out a form, drop it in the box, and we'll eventually draw five names out. Those will be our five finalists. One-by-one, we'll draw names and eliminate finalists until we finally get down to the lucky winner.

It's that simple. And the winner gets the FREE trip. The four finalists all get $50 gift cards from Glory Days.

Spread the word to your friends who dig the Orioles that #DMD and Glory Days have a great Sunday afternoon of baseball watching in store this coming Sunday when the O's and Rangers play at 3:05 pm.

And then come on out to Glory Days in Towson (East Joppa Road) and enter to win the contest that might send YOU and a friend to Boston to see the Birds in person this June.

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Drew's Fantasy Golf Guide

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


The PGA Tour makes its annual stop in Hilton Head, South Carolina this week, for the post-Masters event at Harbour Town GC. It's a luke-warm field at best, with Jason Day serving as the most prominent member of "The Big Four" to tee it up this week.

That gives those of you who play fantasy golf a chance to choose a few guys from "off the radar screen" that might serve you well. I'm here to hopefully help you do that.

Except I'm not going in that direction myself, this week.

I'm "front loading" my roster, meaning I'm spending gobs of money on my top three guys and simply "filling in" from there. And I hit the $50,000 roster limit right on the nose with my six-man lineup that looks like this:

Let's start with a $5,900 guy in Blayne Barber, who has only made 6 cuts in 13 events but has three top 25's in those six "makes". He finished T3 at the Honda Classic a couple of months back, then had two missed cuts in his most recent outings. Much like Jim Herman did in Houston, Barber is a guy who could come out of nowhere to win one of these "middle tier tournaments".

At $6,300, Sung Kang is a nice investment. He's made 8 of 12 cuts this year, including 5 of his last 6, and has 6 Top 25's on the campaign thus far. He won't win this week, but he might be due for a Top 10, which would bode well for those of you who take a flyer on him like I am.

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A win this week at Hilton Head would give Charley Hoffman his 4th career victory on the PGA Tour.

The rest of the guys are prominent players that I hope will rise to the occasion and reward me with a bunch of points. Any of the four can win this week.

I'm going with Charley Hoffman ($8,400), Billy Horschel ($8,900), Kevin Kisner ($9,700) and Paul Casey ($10,800).

Casey, admittedly, might be a tad overpriced at $10,800, but that just shows the general weakness of the field when he's one of the most expensive players available.

Hoffman is coming off of a good week at the Masters, Horschel is much better than he's showed recently, Kisner is a ultra-solid ball striker who lost last year in a playoff in Hilton Head and Casey finished in red numbers at Augusta to earn a return trip there next year.

I'm going with Charley Hoffman to win this week. He tends to play his good golf in quick patches of two or three weeks and I think he'll carry his solid play from the Masters into this week's event at Harbor Town.

Others to consider -- Will Wilcox, Robert Streb, Mark Hubbard, Stewart Cink, Daniel Summerhays, Brian Harman, Roberto Castro, Scott Brown, Jamie Lovemark, Charles Howell III.

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LAST CALL FOR OUR SPRINGSTEEN PARTY ON APRIL 20!!


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.


Tuesday
April 12
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXI
Issue 12
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monday's win in boston just one of many we'll see like that

If you're someone who likes the occasional sports wager, here's a tip from the top when it comes to the Orioles and the 2016 season.

Take the "over".

I know, the first five games of the year were reasonable, low scoring, almost "boring" affairs, but what we saw in Monday's 9-7 win over the Red Sox is more like what we should all expect to see over the next six months.

And it should be lots of fun, particularly if the Orioles win more of them than they lose, which I believe they will.

I'm particulary excited about this 6-0 start to the season because I was one of the rare folks who picked the O's to win the A.L. East this year. And this is exactly how I pictured them doing it, giving up a bunch of runs, but scoring just a little more than a bunch themselves in most of their games.

Monday was the first time all season the bats "erupted", although Friday's 5th inning explosion where Schoop, Reimold and Machado all hit solo home runs was pretty impressive in its own right.

But the 9-7 win over the Red Sox was "BuckBall 2016".

3-run homers make up for a lot of failures

As a team, the O's were 4-for-14 with runners in scoring position, but two of those four hits were three RBI home runs that accounted for six of the club's nine runs on the day. That's one way to make bad numbers look good.

The Birds fell behind 3-0 in the first inning when Yovani Gallardo lobbed a bunch of 87 MPH pitchers in the direction of home plate and the Red Sox feasted on them like Opening Day was doubling as a Monday afternoon picnic, but suddenly, in the third inning, Baltimore erupted for five quick runs and the game was on.

Chris Davis was a strikeout away from collecting his first "Golden Sombrero" of the season -- four strikeouts in a game -- but then became the hitting hero with a 3-run homer in the top of the 9th inning that put the O's back on top, 9-6.

Mark Trumbo only had one hit in five at-bats but it too was a 3-run homer. It's hard to beef with a guy who was 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position when the "1" in the statistic plated three runs.

Manny Machado went 2-for-3 on the day to raise his average to .458 on the young season. I'm not saying he's going to hit .400 or anything like that, but this could very well be a legendary season that Machado is about to record in an Orioles uniform. Watch and see...

There are some negatives, sure. J.J. Hardy is hitting .188 thus far and Matt Wieters is just slightly better at .200. Pedro Alvarez, who was given the day off on Monday, has just one hit in five games, but he'll get hot in a couple of weeks and belt three or four home runs in one home stand and all will be forgotten.

If the pitching is "just OK", that might be good enough

The much-maligned starting pitching has been more-than-decent so far, but only a fool would look at the rotation right now and think they're capable of continiuing this kind of success for the remaining 156 games.

That's why the bats have to stay hot for, oh, about the next six or seven months.

I hope I'm wrong on this, but I can't see any way Yovani Gallardo makes it past August. Something is just not right with him. He's become Mike Mussina, circa 2008, except he doesn't have nearly the location or pitch array that Mussina had at the end of his career when he was lucky to hit 90 MPH on the radar gun.

Kevin Gausman's expected return early next week might help, but let's face it, Gausman hasn't exactly been Cy Young over the last couple of years either. Still, I have to believe he'll contribute more in the long run than Vance Worley, who got the start on Sunday against Tampa Bay and did what we all hoped he would do, which is to say he didn't go two innings and allow seven runs on six hits and three walks.

It's then going to be up to someone like Mike Wright or Tyler Wilson to bridge the gap until the trade deadline when the Birds can hopefully pick up a quality arm or two for the rotation and the final two months of what I expect to be a chase for the American League East pennant.

And all of this puts pressure on the likes of Chris Tillman and Ubaldo Jimenez to have representative seasons on the mound.

Tillman, I trust.

Jimenez, not so much. But I've seen enough of him to know that two times out of five, at least, he's better than what you thought he'd be.

In the meantime, the bullpen will have to be spot-on, too. Thus far, it's been more than up for the challenge through the first six games.

It's not quite a duplicate of what the Kansas City Royals produced in 2014 when they made their games six inning affairs and then turned things over to Herrera, Davis and Holland, but it sure smells a lot like it with Givens, O'Day and Britton taking over in the 7th, 8th and 9th, respectively.

Because it's baseball and weird things happen occasionally, that trio will cough up three or four games this season, but it likely won't be any more than that. If the Birds can take a lead into the 7th inning, the game is just about in the books.

And on nights where they're not ahead after six innings, they still have plenty of baseball left to let their bats get them back in the game.

One final thing: The Orioles are 6-0. And Adam Jones has played in two of the games, not counting yesterday's late insertion as a defensive replacement.

We're going to see a lot of 9-7 games this season, but Baltimore will be winning most of those, I assure you.

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speaking of fenway park, who wants to go there -- free?

Our good friends at Glory Days are overflowing with Orioles excitement. So much so, in fact, they're going to send two people to Fenway Park in Boston this June absolutely FREE OF CHARGE!

Glory Days will be sending one lucky winner on our #DMD trip to Boston this June 14-17, and everything associated with the trip is included in the Glory Days give-away. There's round trip airfare from Baltimore to Boston, three nights of lodging at the Buckminster Hotel just four blocks from Fenway, and tickets to all three Orioles-Red Sox games that week.

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Is Fenway Park on your bucket list? If so, Glory Days would like to send you there this June 14-17!!

How do you win this awesome trip?

Show up at Glory Days in Towson this Sunday, April 17, when the Orioles take on the Texas Rangers at 3:05 pm.

We'll be holding a special raffle -- no purchase required to enter -- during the game. You simply fill out a form, drop it in the box, and we'll eventually draw five names out. Those will be our five finalists. One-by-one, we'll draw names and eliminate finalists until we finally get down to the lucky winner.

It's that simple. And the winner gets the FREE trip. The four finalists all get $50 gift cards from Glory Days.

Spread the word to your friends who dig the Orioles that #DMD and Glory Days have a great Sunday afternoon of baseball watching in store this coming Sunday when the O's and Rangers play at 3:05 pm.

And then come on out to Glory Days in Towson (East Joppa Road) and enter to win the contest that might send YOU and a friend to Boston to see the Birds in person this June.


we have tickets for game 2 of the caps/flyers series!

The Capitals chase for their first-ever Stanley Cup trophy starts this Thursday night when they host the Philadelphia Flyers at the Verizon Center at 7 pm.

The teams split the 4-game series during the regular season, with each winning once at home and once on the road.

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If you're a Caps fan in Baltimore, #DMD is heading down to the Verizon Center to check out Braden Holtby and the Caps in Game 2 this Saturday.

#DMD has a trip to Game 2 of the series this Saturday night and the Caps were able to provide us with some very good upper level center ice seats yesterday, so we've created an additional package for those of you interested in going down to DC for the game with our group this Saturday night.

For $190 per-person, you get an upper level seat, a $25 gift card to Glory Days, the bus ride to/from the game, plus beer, soda and snacks for the ride down to DC. You can use the $25 Glory Days gift card to buy carry out and take with you on the bus or just save it for some other occasion.

We only have six tickets remaining, so if you're interested, reach out to me right away via e-mail: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

The bus will leave from the Towson area at 4 pm on Saturday and return immediately after the game.

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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 Orioles spoiled the Red Sox home opener Monday, hitting two 3-run home runs including one in the top of the 9th to break a six to six tie on the way to cementing the best start in franchise history at 6-0. So everything is swell in Birdland, right?

Well, not so much.

First things first, the Orioles are in the midst of an incredibly hot run right now, and if they can keep it up for another week or two it very well could give them the margin they need in the A.L. East race this year.

They say you can't win the pennant in April, but these games count exactly as much as the games in August and September do, and putting wins under your belt now gives you a big advantage once you move into the stretch run in a few months.

Win a lot now, hold on for dear life later?

A good example: in 2012 the Yankees won ten straight games in June and moved out to a big lead in the division, and even though they weren't anything like a dominant team the rest of the season, that advantage proved to be too much ground for everyone else to make up, and despite the Orioles' best efforts the Yankees didn't spend a single day out of first place after that streak ended.

On the other hand, you can already see that the Orioles' formula for winning this year is going to be a tenuous one, highlighted by nothing so much as the improbability of Monday's victory in Boston.

The Birds spotted Red Sox ace David Price a three run lead early, which is almost always going to spell disaster. Though they ended up taking a lead, they still needed to plate runs off of Craig Kimbrel, arguably the game's best relief pitcher, to break a tie ballgame. If that's going to be the blueprint for racking up wins, well, you should probably expect that ticker on the left side of the margin to slow down rapidly pretty soon.

The main problem area for the team is, as expected, the starting rotation. Though the year's first series provided a tantalizing possibility that we all may have underestimated the starting group, the first week of the season has mostly served as a reminder that much of the team's challenge is going to be finding ways to overcome the shortcomings of this collection of starters, mostly the fact that there isn't really anyone you can truly feel is going to give you a quality start on any given night.

Even if we discount Chris Tillman's weather shortened Opening Day outing, the Orioles have only seen their starter complete the sixth inning once through the season's first six games.

The results haven't necessarily been bad, both Tillman and Yovani Gallardo have had starts where they allowed just one run over five innings, but even allowing that the Orioles starters have been basically effective in every game other than Monday's (where Gallardo gave up five runs on seven hits and a walk in five innings), it puts an impossible strain on the bullpen to fill in the gaps, and that's not something that can be sustained for very long.

Brad Brach, for example, has been fantastic both in terms of results and stuff in relief, but he's now already appeared in five games. Zack Britton, Darren O'Day, and Mychal Givens have all appeared in four games. To put that in perspective, if you tried to expand that rate of appearing in two out of every three games the team plays over the course of the season, it would translate to an unfathomable 108 relief appearances.

Remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint

But for now the Orioles are winning, and given the creativity Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette have always shown with their day to day roster management there's good reason to assume they'll find a way to keep fresh arms around to begin soaking up some of this workload.

The Orioles can win games with their starters only giving them five innings or so, and right now they are, which is what matters most.

Players will have good games and bad games.

Guys who start the season hot will crater in a few weeks, and vice versa.

Teams and rosters will inevitably look different in September than they do now.

But one thing won't change: the Orioles won their first six games of the season. Those games will all count towards the big prize at the end of the season, as will any other wins they manage to rack up during this early season hot streak.

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final thoughts on the masters


In no particular order, here are a bunch of random thoughts in the aftermath of Sunday's Masters at Augusta National Golf Club.

The big question, of course, is whether or not the back-nine collapse authored by Jordan Spieth will haunt him forever. There's a difference between "haunting" and "never forgetting about it".

I lost a couple of amateur golf tournaments early in my "career" that I thought I had in the bag, but none of them "haunted me". That said, I certainly still remember them and can recite for you in great detail how they happened.

Now, admittedly, those losses weren't on a national stage and weren't for the Masters, but it's a round-about way of simply suggesting that Spieth WILL recover from his loss on Sunday, but he'll most certainly never forget it.

And he shouldn't forget it, either.

In fact, next year when he's ahead by three shots on the back nine in Sunday's round and gets to that 12th tee, you can bet he'll be aiming left of the flag, just over the bunker, and he'll make three or four and get out of there. That's called -- "learning from your mistakes".

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Is Justin Rose poised to hold his 2nd U.S. Open trophy at Oakmont CC in June?

Danny Willet will not be a flash-in-the-pan. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him contend at Troon or Birkdale in one of the next two British Opens. He led that event after 36 holes last year and it's inevitable he'll play well there for years to come. My guess? He'll win at least one more major in his career.

I have this weird feeling that Lee Westwood is going to pull "a Darren Clarke" and win a major now that he's in his 40's. The most likely of those, of course, is the British Open, where his suspect chipping and short game is made easier by the flat greens on the courses in England and Scotland. That he routinely contends at Augusta is distinctly odd given his woes in pitching and chipping. If only he could make a few more putts...

Rickie Fowler is a terrific player. He WILL win a major someday, maybe even soon. But his form of 2014, where he finished 5th or better in all four majors, has long since disappeared. Last year he went T12, CUT, CUT and T30 in the majors and his 80-73 performance last week at Augusta was woefully inept. For Fowler to be the world class player he appears to be, his play in the major championships has to return to what we saw in 2014.

Guys like Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama amaze me. Tee-to-green, they're wonderfully gifted players. But on the putting surface, where tournaments are won and lost, they'd lose in a putt-off to Stevie Wonder. It's unreal how bad they are with the flat stick given their respective world rankings. If only they could putt...

I'm officially on the Bryon DeChambeau band-wagon, but speaking of guys who have to get their putting straightened out. He does, for sure. I know he marches to the beat of his own drum, but that "thing" he's putting with now can't possibly be good for him. Here's some advice, kid. Get yourself a real putter and go beat the daylights out of those goes out there. You can tinker around with your clubs and your irons and your golf swing, but you're NOT going to win major championships putting with that mini-toaster you're using now.

The U.S. Open is set for mid-June at Oakmont Country Club in Pittsburgh. I love making early predictions, than changing them later on when I see how things have shaped up over the most recent month or so. Right now, today, my call for the U.S. Open? Justin Rose.


party with #dmd before the april 20 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
April 11
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXI
Issue 11
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spieth's 12th hole fiasco gift wraps the masters for danny willett


Jordan Spieth wanted to do something at Augusta that Tiger Woods had done, once, but instead wound up doing something Tiger never did in his Masters career.

Spieth gave away the green jacket on Sunday with a stunning back nine free-fall that garnered far more headlines than the guy who actually won the tournament.

The defending champion was looking to join Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo as the only players to win the Masters in back-to-back years, and it all looked good until Spieth arrived on the 10th tee on Sunday, five-stroke lead in tow and one arm already in the jacket.

Then it all fell apart.

I guess it wasn't all that surprising that Jordan Spieth coughed up the Masters on Sunday. If you watched any of the coverage over the weekend, he was probably about the fourth best player in the field. Best putter, yes, but certainly not the guy who played the best golf.

And it finally caught up to him.

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Not only did Jordan Spieth throw away the Masters on Sunday, he had to put the green jacket on the guy who actually won.

The benefactor of Spieth's benevolence was a guy you've never heard of from England -- Danny Willett -- who posted a nifty round of 67 on Sunday to win the event, but he himself was far from the best player in the tournament over the 72 hole marathon.

He was just the last guy standing, really, and the one who didn't miss a putt that mattered over the last hour.

Willett made 13 birdies in four days and played the par 5 holes at Augusta National in even par. I won't go as far as to label him a "lucky" winner, but if we're calling it like it is, we'll instead use the word "fortunate" and not be that far off the mark.

Heck, Spieth had seven birdies in fifteen holes on Sunday. Willett made 13 birdies in 72 holes, total. And somehow, he won.

At one point on Sunday, Spieth went the better part of two hours without making a par. After a 5th hole bogey, he reeled off four straight birdies at 6-7-8-9. He then went bogey-bogey at 10 and 11, made quadruple bogey-7 at #12, then birdied #13 before finally making a par at the 14th hole. It was quite a wild ride for the 22-year old.

"The Masters doesn't start until the back nine on Sunday"

There's no need to go into the play-by-play of it all here. If you were even remotely interested, you watched it unfold in high-def TV on Sunday.

As far as golf tragedies go, this was an award winning piece of theater. That Spieth didn't completely unravel and shoot 80 after what happened to him at the 12th hole is a testament to the kid's guts and ability to forge ahead in the wake of perhaps the worst fifteen minutes of his young life.

He was a missed eight foot birdie putt at number 16 from making things really interesting over the last two holes. Hats off to him for battling on after the debacle at 12 and "manning up" as they say.

But losing the 2016 Masters will stick with him for a while, as Spieth admitted without hesitation in the press conference afterwards. I'd suggest he leaves the stitches in there an extra few weeks just to make sure the wound fully heals.

It wasn't quite Roy McAvoy making a fool of himself on the last hole of the U.S. Open in the movie Tin Cup but it sure smelled a lot like it.

That Spieth faced the music in several different sessions with the media afterwards speaks volumes about his character as well, but the spotlight is on his golf, not his demeanor after a heartbreaking loss. We all know what kind of quality he possesses as a young man, so standing there at 8:00 pm and answering question after question about his back nine collapse was admirable, but also expected.

What we didn't expect was three days filled with loose swings.

I knew Spieth was on shaky ground Sunday morning when I was watching the Golf Channel's "pre-coverage" and they showed Spieth's teacher, Cameron McCormick, getting out of a car in the parking lot and making his way to the practice area.

At major championships, Spieth prefers that his swing coach heads back home after the Wednesday practice round. It's an odd quirk, admittedly, but when you're the one writing the check, you tell your employees when to report to work and when to stay home.

Spieth mentioned after Sunday's round that McCormick texted him early Saturday evening and asked if it would be OK to fly in for Sunday's round. By agreeing, Spieth was showing that he was feeling unsteady about his golf swing, which betrayed him on several occasions in the third round including at 17 and 18 where he went bogey-double bogey to make things tight heading into Sunday.

I didn't think it was a good sign that McCormick was on the range with Spieth on Sunday. Turns out, I was right.

No smiles from Kaufman, no big putts from DJ

Spieth's playing partner on Sunday, Smylie Kaufman, entered the day just one shot off the lead, but he did what just about everyone assumed he would do in the final round. He fell apart.

Kaufman birdied the second hole and then shot 10-over par for the rest of the day, finishing at 81 and looking very much out of place in only his second ever appearance at a major championship.

It wasn't a surprise that Smylie couldn't handle the heat, in much the same way no one was shocked that Dustin Johnson hit the golf ball better than anyone over the weekend but couldn't buy a putt unless it was from eight inches away, like three of his kick-in birdies were on par 5 holes in Sunday's final round.

Johnson had 10 feet for eagle at #8 and left it short, 15 feet for eagle at #13 and left that one short as well, and then hit a towering 220 yard shot to within 20 feet of the hole at #15, but his eagle putt slid low of the hole there, setting up yet another tap-in birdie. Three eagle putts...and three putts that weren't hit with enough speed.

And yet another major comes and goes for the supremely talented guy who coulda, shoulda, woulda had four majors under his belt by now.

If ever a course was ripe for the pickin' for one player in particular, it's Augusta National for Dustin Johnson. His 330-yard drives with laser accuracy reduce the place to a par-68 before he even tees off. Then, all he needs to do is avoid a big number or two, eat up those easy par-5 holes, and get fitted for the green jacket.

I wrote before the week when I picked DJ to win that he needed to play the par-5's in 10-under par for the week. He played them in 7-under. And lost by four.

Johnson will always be a bridesmaid if he can't putt, in much the same the way Lee Westwood has been a world class player for almost two decades now but can't win a major championship because the flat stick always betrays him at the worst time.

Westwood -- who claimed a 2nd place tie with Spieth at 2-under -- finished the tournament with 17 birdies and an eagle, plenty enough sub-par scores to win, but couldn't coax home a 4-footer at the 16th hole on Sunday when just moments before at #15, a chip from off the green settled in the bottom of the cup for an eagle-3, drawing him within a shot of Willett. When he missed that short one at 16, Westwood needed a mistake or two from the leader on the last two holes and that wasn't going to happen.

Augusta wins again

It's probably fair to say that a five-shot lead with nine holes to go is a done deal at any of the other major championship venues in professional golf.

But not at Augusta National.

And that's why it's the best golf tournament in the world, bar none.

There are some who say it puts too much emphasis on the short game, hence the lack of rough around the entire golf course, coupled with the wickedly deceptive putting surfaces and closely mowed areas that make chipping and pitching the ball very difficult. But golf is all about scoring, and that's what Augusta National makes you do.

While all the par-5 holes are reachable in two shots, they're almost too reachable, which is a good thing, actually. It makes nearly every player who pounds a solid drive go for the green in two shots, and on the inward nine holes, trouble lurks in front of the green at both 13 and 15 for those who can't produce solid contact under the gun. The prospects for eagle at those holes also make it possible for someone to come from off the pace and make a late run at the green jacket.

And the traditional Sunday pin placements are perfectly placed for a Sunday comeback as well. All you have to do is have the nerve and the golf swing to put the ball on the green in the right spots at holes 13, 14, 15 and 16 and, with precision and luck working in your favor, you can do what Danny Willett did on Sunday and make birdie at three of those holes to ignite a back nine rally.

Ultimately, you can't fake it around Augusta National. If your swing is loose, your putter not cooperative, or your mental game not fully charged, you simply can't win. There's too much trouble to navigate for the player who isn't in complete control.

Spieth had two of the three working solidly in his favor for four days -- the putter and his head -- but he couldn't stop hitting the ball to the right under the gun, which produced a myriad of costly shots on Saturday and Sunday. That he kept his composure after what happened to him at 12 on Sunday is remarkable, perhaps even more worthy of discussing than Willet's win, but when he needed to birdie 17 to climb to within one of the leader, he hit an uncharacteristic low hook off the tee and couldn't find the green from 207 yards away. Game over.

In the end, Jordan will join the likes of Rory McIlroy ('11) and Greg Norman ('96) as notable players who had the green jacket in their grasp but let it get away in mind-numbing fashion. It's something Tiger Woods never once did in his illustrious career, by the way, which is probably why he has 14 major titles and the highly talented "young guns" on TOUR don't have 14 -- combined.

Woods never, ever did what Spieth did on Sunday. Never.

But Spieth has, in fact, done something very Tiger'esque recently. In his last five major championships, he's finished 1st, 1st, 4th (missing a playoff by one shot), 2nd and tied for 2nd. That won't ease the pain of what he did to himself in the 2016 Masters, but there are more major titles on the horizon for Jordan Spieth, you can bet on that.

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orioles still undefeated after 5-3 win on sunday

Manny Machado went 4-for-4 and hit his 3rd home run of the season as the Birds beat Tampa Bay on Sunday, 5-3, at Camden Yards.

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A 4-for-4 day from Manny Machado helped Birds move to 5-0 with a 5-3 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday.

The Orioles are now 5-0 to start the season and the only remaining undefeated team in baseball.

Someone named Vance Worley got the start on the mound for the O's on Sunday, and while he wasn't all that good, he was decent enough to protect an early 4-0 lead, as the Birds scored four times in the bottom of the 2nd on RBI's from Jonathan Schoop and Joey Rickard and a two-run blast from Machado, who's hitting .429 in the season's first five games.

The O's even massaged a hit out of Pedro Alvarez, who went 1-for-3 on the day. He started the season 0-for-12 before finally collecting a hit on Sunday.

And Hyun Soo Kim even got to play, as Buck Showalter trotted out -- almost notoriously now -- his famed "Sunday lineup", and Kim responded with a couple of infield hits in his major league debut. The Korean outfielder also showcased his woeful throwing arm with a less-than-sizzling throw to the plate in the 5th inning that wasn't able to cut a down a runner advancing from second to home on nothing more than a garden variety ball hit to left field.

Adam Jones missed his third straight game with a muscle strain near his rib cage, but Buck Showalter indicated after the game that he expects Jones to return to the lineup soon, perhaps as early as in the series that starts today at Boston.

Pitching match-ups in Boston:

Monday, April 11 (2:05 pm) -- Yovani Gallardo (O's) vs. David Price (Boston)

Tuesday, April 12 (7:10 pm) -- Mike Wright (O's) vs. Clay Buchholz (Boston)

Wednesday, April 13 (7:10 pm) -- Ubaldo Jimenez (O's) vs. Joe Kelly (Boston)


warriors win at san antonio, tie season wins record

And now, it's down to one game.

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His second 37-point game of the season vs. San Antonio helped Steph Curry and the Warriors beat the Spurs, 92-86.

After defeating the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night, 92-86, the Golden State Warriors are just one win away from setting the NBA's all-time single season record at 73-9.

All they need to do is beat Memphis on Wednesday night at home and the record belongs to them.

At the very worst, the Warriors will finish 72-10 and equal the record currently held by the Chicago Bulls team of '95-96. By beating the Spurs on Sunday night, Golden State assured themselves of a spot in the record books. A win on Wednesday and they'll own the record outright.

Steph Curry scored 37 points on Sunday night -- the second time this season he produced that number against the Spurs -- as Golden State became the first team in NBA history to not lose consecutive games in a season.

San Antonio was playing without Tim Duncan (rest) and Boris Diaw (injury), but they were still mostly the team that had won 48 consecutive regular season home games before Curry and Company won a historic game in their building on Sunday night.

But the Memphis Grizzlies won't be a walk-in-the-park on Wednesday night. Golden State had to mount a late-game rally on Saturday night to win in Memphis, 100-99, setting the stage for Sunday's thriller in San Antonio.

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#dmd's lacrosse weekend-in-review


Game of the Week: Towson 11 - UMass 8

In a back and forth game early on, the Towson Tigers makes the necessary adjustments in the 2nd half and pulled away from the Minutemen for a solid road win. As predicted last week, UMass would control faceoffs (16 of 23), but Towson's defense would keep them in the game, limiting the Minutemen to 8 goals. However, because of the face-offs, I figured Towson wouldn't get enough chances to score and UMass's hot freshman goalie would take care of business. But the Tiger offense had other ideas and continued the goal scoring in the 2nd half for a quality win. Here are keys to the game:

Stifling D - The Tigers defense held the Minutemen, who had averaged 34 shots per game, to just 27. They had actually limited UMass to just 13 shots on the first half when they gave up 6 goals with Tyler White only making 2 saves. But the D continued with the pressure, holding UMass to just 2 goals on just 14 second half shots as the law of averages caught up with the Minutemen as White (4 saves on 2 goals allowed) and the rest of the defense stepped up their game in the 2nd half. Several UMass possessions ended up as caused turnovers by both close defense and defensive midfield. Towson's short-stick defensive middies Jack Adams, Dan Carder and Zach Goodrich are one of the best groups in the country and continued pressuring Minutemen middies the whole half.

Consistent Quality on Offense - While the Defense stepped up its game in the 2nd half, Towson's offense continued with effective long possessions that ended up in goals. There was some transition scoring. But for the most part, the Tigers preferred to work the ball and break the defense down for quality shots. As normal, Towson continues to be led by the maturing attack unit of Joe Seider (3 goals), Spencer Parks (3g, 1a), and the offense's QB Ryan Drenner (1g, 2a), who seems to play with more confidence each year. With just over 4 minutes left and a 3 goal lead, the offense left some goals on the field and decided to play keep away. In addition, the offense is getting consistent production from the midfield which is led by Ben McCarty and several others who've been chipping in 4+ midfield goals per game.

UMass Goalie Woes Continue - As noted previously, UMass has played with 3 goalies this season and has recently settled on freshman Sean Sconone who was saving over 60% and played lights out in a close loss to Delaware last week. However, the freshman came back to earth somewhat allowing 11 goals and only saving 8. Not terrible, but not good enough at home in a big conference game.

The Tigers who improve to 10-1 and 2-0 in the CAA continue conference play with Delaware at home next week. A win should secure them a birth in the CAA tournament. UMass, who looked like a contender in the CAA and was ranked just a few weeks ago, has now fallen to 4-6 and, more importantly, 0-2 in the CAA and the road only gets tougher still having to face CAA co-leader Fairfield then CAA contender Hofstra. The Minutemen are in real danger of missing out on the CAA tourney after making the final last year.

Other Locals

Bucknell 15 - Mount Saint Mary's 10 -- The Mount came out with a strong 1st half leading 8-6 aided by 10 Bison turnovers. Then Bucknell came out on fire outscoring the Mount 9-2 in the 2nd.

Maryland 11 - Penn State 10 OT -- As predicted, a tremendous battle between the Top 5 Terps and the hot Nittany Lions. Crazy offense in an 8-8 first half followed by tremendous goalie play from both goalies in the 2nd half. Bryan Cole comes up big again with the game winner, this time in OT.

Navy 16 - Colgate 6 -- The Midshipmen doing what they should against a lesser team.

Loyola 11 - Lehigh 10 -- Another great Patriot League battle goes to the Greyhounds. Loyola was down by 2 late in the 3rd, then went on a 4 goal run late in the 3rd and into the 4th to go up by 2 and eventually hold on to win by a goal.

Johns Hopkins 13 - Ohio State 12 -- The Blue Jays get their first B1G win against the Buckeyes who continue to be snakebit in close games, this time bit by an own goal. Coach Pietramala makes his first game back and Hopkins middies make up for the missing Drew Supinski getting 2 goals each from Holden Cattoni and Kyle Marr. Brock Turnbaugh comes up with a quality game saving 13 even with the Buckeyes taking 40 total shots.

Hartford 10 - UMBC 4 -- Hartford takes down the Retrievers, winning 14 of 17 face-offs and getting 10 saves from goalie Ryan Vanderford

The Big Picture

Great Conference Battles - In addition to the B1G and Patriot League battles involving local schools, ACC and Big East also provided some great games including #1 Notre Dame taking down #13 Duke 8-6 and #4 Denver squeaking out a win at #18 Villanova.

ACC Not as Strong - The ACC is still a powerhouse, but instead of the usual 4 or 5 teams getting into the NCAA tournament, only Notre Dame and North Carolina appear to be locks with Syracuse likely to make it. Duke is on life support and Virginia needs even more help.

The Top 5 - Notre Dame, Denver, Brown, Yale and Maryland

#DMD's lacrosse coverage is written and provided by John Pusateri

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party with #dmd before the april 20 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
April 10
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXI
Issue 10
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spieth stumbles, still leads, but masters is up for grabs

The much anticipated Saturday showdown between Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy instead turned into an afternoon of mistakes that presented a 58-year old 2-time champion and some kid you've never heard of named "Smylie" with legitimate shots at winning the Masters on Sunday.

Spieth holds a one-shot lead at 3-under par, but unless he gets an emergency skype lesson from his swing instructor, Cameron McCormick, the defending champ won't be sporting his second green jacket later today. No one who drives it as poorly as Spieth did on Saturday can win on Sunday unless things get straightened out -- quickly.

McIlroy was never a factor on Saturday, failing to record a birdie en-route to an uninspiring 77, which leaves him at +2 and on the outside looking in with 18 holes to play. It would take a heroic effort from Rory on Sunday and five or six other players to stumble badly in order for him to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National.

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A first-timer at Augusta hasn't won since 1979, but Smylie Kaufman is just 18 great holes from history heading into Sunday's final round.

24-year old Smylie Kaufman, who this time last year was toiling on the Web.Com Tour and trying his best to make ends meet, is entering rare territory on Sunday. Not only would this be the biggest win of his life -- quite the understatement of the day, I know -- but he'd be the first guy to win at Augusta in his debut visit since Fuzzy Zoeller did it in 1979.

It will likely all be too much for Kaufman to handle, but getting there and learning from it is part of growing up as a professional golfer. Let's see how he handles it all.

For 58-year old Bernhard Langer, his dazzling round on Saturday gives him a chance to win for the third time at Augusta National. A champion in '85 and '93, Langer shot 70 to sit at 1-under par through 54 holes and will play in the penultimate group with Hideki Matsuyama (-1) in Sunday's final round. A win for Langer today would make him the oldest major champion in TOUR history and would make the 1986 victory of then 46-year old Jack Nicklaus look like child's play.

Spieth's back nine was ugly

If not for a curling seven-foot putt that just snuck in the left side on the 16th green, Spieth wouldn't have made a par over the last three holes. After that three at 16, he finished bogey-double bogey, clattering two drives into the pine trees right and failing to reach the putting surface in regulation on both occasions. At 17 and 18, his pitch shots from roughly 30 yards out on each hole were poorly hit, mirroring similar efforts at #11 (long) and #13 (short).

Ironically, though, the double at the 18th wasn't the worst moment of his back nine. Spieth's second shot at the 11th hole ended up just seven yards off the green, pin-high, but he somehow wound up taking four more from there, chipping well past the hole and running his par putt four-feet by, where he then proceeded to miss that and barely coaxed in the putt for six thereafter.

If I didn't know better, I'd think Spieth might have picked up a case of the pitching yips, somehow. It's uncharacteristic for any TOUR player to mis-hit short shots so badly, but in particular it's puzzling for Spieth, who's typically excellent with touch shots from 60 yards and in. The chip at #11 looked very "yippy", although it's fair to note the flagstick was only four paces on and Spieth had to hit that shot with refined precision.

Another oddity: If Spieth would have putted better on the back nine, he might have finished at six or seven under par. But -- if he would have putted any worse, he could have finished at one-under par. That's how crazy his putting was on the inward half. Terrific putts at #12, #13, #14, #15 and #16, coupled with sloppy efforts at #11, #17 and #18.

Did Jordan's slow play hurt Rory?

Although he dodged the question in the post-round press conference, it's possible that McIlroy's anticipated Saturday progress was stunted by Spieth's laughably slow pace, which turned their round into a 4-hour and 35-minute affair.

Spieth was like a snail out there, backing off of nearly every iron shot and reading putts for 45-60 seconds before settling in to make his stroke. Spieth's group was put on the clock during Friday's round, and would have been afforded the same treatment on Saturday if not for the fact that they were the last group on the golf course.

But the one-on-one tussle between Jordan and Rory never materialized on Saturday thanks mainly to McIlroy's putter, which simply failed to cooperate when given any opportunity to stand out. He didn't birdie any holes and couldn't build even a smidgen of momentum, looking downcast and out of energy by the time the players reached the 12th tee. There, he ballooned a gorgeous 8-iron to 10-feet and looked ready to start a back nine charge, but Spieth buried a birdie putt first, and McIlroy badly missed the hole with his effort.

It didn't get any better after that.

Rory missed a six-footer for birdie at #15 and an eight-footer for birdie at the closing hole. If he just makes those two and finishes at even par, he's well within striking distance heading into Sunday. But he didn't. And he isn't.

It's weird to see McIlroy fail to rise the occasion like he has so often this season. After two solid opening rounds when he was the only player to shoot under par on both Thursday and Friday, the stage was set for the Irishman to produce something special on Saturday's big stage, but instead he didn't do much of anything, except try a daring shot at the 11th hole that wound up in the pond that borders the green.

Otherwise, McIlroy didn't do much worth talking about.

Lots of players are still in the hunt

Jason Day and Dustin Johnson are both at even par and clearly still "in it", as are guys like Danny Willet (E), Lee Westwood (+1), Brandt Snedeker (+1) and Soren Kjeldsen (+1).

It's likely that the final score on Sunday will be at least 5-under par, which means the guys at even have to go around in 67 and those behind them have to produce a 66 or 65 to have any hope of winning.

With the weather looking promising for today's final round, it's even possible that six or seven under could be needed to win, which would all but eliminate those not at even or better.

If not for a 3-over par round of 75 on Friday, Lee Westwood might very well be in the lead, posting 71 on both Thursday and Saturday to sit just four shots off the lead heading into the final round.

Lots of players can play the "what if?" game, though.

Bryson DeChambeau has played 52 holes in even par and two holes (#18 on Friday and Saturday) in 5-over par. If he makes four at the home hole on those two days instead of seven and six, he's sitting at even par with a chance to win.

Angel Cabrera, the 2009 champion and 2013 playoff loser to Adam Scott, is currently at +3, but took a nine on the 15th hole on Thursday. A par there, and he's in red figures for the week and very much in the thick of it.

Lost in everything is the fact that Augusta National is playing extremely difficult in 2016. Heading into Sunday's final round, only four players are under par for the tournament and only three competitors who made the cut have improved on their score each day; Smylie Kaufman (73-72-69), Matt Kuchar (75-73-72) and Bill Haas (75-74-72).

Because I like predicting these things, I'm going to say that Spieth, Day and Johnson all finish at 5-under par and head to a sudden death playoff, where Johnson wins it on the first hole with a birdie.

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poulter, bubba lose their cool


One incident happened on the golf course, one happened off of it. In both cases, the players wound up looking kind of foolish.

Bubba Watson went out first on Saturday morning, the only player in the field to shoot 6-over par and make the cut on the number after 36 holes.

After hitting his tee ball down the left side of the 10th hole, Watson found a patron in the area who had somehow made his way past a security rope and was in an area not normally reserved for spectactors.

Just play golf, guys

"Hey, can you do me a favor and move back?" Watson said, sternly. "You're not supposed to be here, anyway."

"Neither is your golf ball," the patron replied smugly.

"Well, the last time I checked, I have two green jackets. Thanks for coming," Watson countered as he pitched out of the woods back into the fairway.

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Instead of letting his golf do the talking on Saturday, Ian Poulter instead took to Twitter to make a case for himself.

I guess if you're going to get into a spat with a spectator at Augusta National, it's definitely worth having that "I have two green jackets, how many do you have?" comment in your back pocket. Still, it would just be better for Bubba if he played golf and let the spectators spectate.

The same goes for Ian Poulter, sort of. Poulter posted an 82 on Saturday and took to Twitter afterwards to fire off some snark at a U.K. sportswriter named Oliver Brown, who on Friday wrote a scathing piece about Poulter's second round play when the Englishman shot 78.

"It must be nice to write s**t about players and keep getting an invite back to the Masters to write more s**t," Poulter tweeted out on Saturday morning once he saw the Friday piece penned by Brown.

While the U.K. writer didn't respond back via social media, several journalists did, including Sports Illustrated's Alan Shipnuck, who took on Poulter in a pretty nifty Twitter fight that lasted the better part of 90 minutes on Saturday evening.

In fairness to Poulter, who has always been a bit temperamental, some of the stuff Brown wrote on Friday was an obvious attempt to engage the golfer.

"Poulter’s game has always been far more than the sum of its parts," he wrote. "It is to his credit that he has been able to forge such a successful career out of it, especially when Butch Harmon, Tiger Woods’s celebrated former swing coach, assesses him as “not that good”. His entire living, Harmon argued, had been based upon his belief in some unseen greatness, despite all impressions to the contrary. Not everybody has bought into the garish Poulter publicity, but all that has mattered, most of the time, is that he has."

A writer making his own opinion about a player's level of play and his obvious fondness for himself -- which, admittedly, Poulter is guilty of --- is mostly reasonable since that's what writers are paid to do. But using the comments of a golf instructor to pile on while you're making rubbish out of a guy who just shot 78 is amateur-hour stuff, if you ask me.

Maybe we'd all react the same way when a guy in the gallery makes fun of us or a sportswriter takes a stab at us -- again -- but if I'm Bubba or Poulter, I'd let my bank account do the talking on both occasions. Watson's worth $50 million and Poulter's worth $40 million. There's no need to say anything else to the spectator or the journalist.

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my worst fear is here: caps will play the flyers in the playoffs


I'm so numb to the Caps losing in the playoffs that nothing really bothers me anymore.

Except, potentially, for what's about to come.

With the Boston Bruins losing at home on Saturday and the Flyers beating the Penguins in Philadelphia, the Flyers have secured the 8th seed in the upcoming Eastern Conference playoffs, which pits them against, yep, you guessed it, the Washington Capitals.

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A 3-goal night in St. Louis on Saturday helped Alex Ovechkin reach the 50-goal mark once again.

The Caps won in St. Louis on Saturday night, 5-1, as Alex Ovechkin reached the 50-goal plateau for the 7th time in his Hall of Fame career. The game didn't mean anything for either team, but it was good to see Barry Trotz's team avenge a 4-0 home loss to the Blues from two weeks back and equally pleasing to see Washington's offense percolate a little bit, albeit with Ovi doing most of the damage.

Washington closes out the regular season with a home game against Anaheim tonight, then gets down to real business later this week when the playoff start against the worst franchise in all of sports; the Flyers.

I'd rather see any combination of Duke, the Steelers or the Yankees win a title before I'd sign off on Philadelphia beating the Capitals. And I mean that. If the Sports Fairy landed on my desk today and said, "I'll let the Caps beat the Flyers in this playoff seriers if you'll let the Yankees win the World Series this season," I'd ask for the pen and the agreement.

Alas, no such offer exists, so I'll just sit back and watch it all unfold myself.

The two teams split 4-games during the regular season, with the Flyers winning in overtime in Washington back on January 27 and then posting a shootout win over the Caps in Philly ten days ago.

The Flyers are a bad match-up for the Caps, for whatever reason. And with Washington's play in the final three weeks being less than stellar, there's even more reason to be nervous now that their first round opponent is solidified.

We have a bus trip going down to the Verizon Center for Game 2, and depending on the dates of Game 3 and 4, I might even try and put together a trip to the Wells Fargo Center if anyone's interested.

I'm a glutton for punishment, obviously.

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party with #dmd before the april 20 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.


Saturday
April 9
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXI
Issue 9
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spieth, mcilroy set for saturday showdown at augusta


This, today, should be lots of fun.

The guy with one green jacket already against the guy who just needs one himself.

Under Armour vs. Nike.

Stylist vs. Bomber.

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The only player in the field with two under-par rounds thus far at the 2016 Masters is Rory McIlroy.

Yes, it's only for day three bragging rights at the Masters, but today's square-off between Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy should be quite memorable.

Spieth's almost-unthinkable round of 74 threw a bunch of players back in the chase, but it was McIlroy with one of the only three rounds under par on Friday who made the most noise and worked his way into the final pairing with the defending champion in Saturday's third round.

They both said the right things on Friday once the pairings were set, but the showdown is very real and the match-up is worthy of all the attention and scrutiny it receives, even if it's only for 54 hole bragging rights.

Why was Spieth rattled on the back nine?

After a 9th hole bogey, Spieth nailed a drive right down the middle of the fairway on #10, but that wasn't enough to keep him from dropping a shot there, bothered enough by the wind to put on an animated 10-second display after his ball came up 15 yards short of the putting surface. Things started to get interesting at that point.

Spieth's group -- including Bryson DeChambeau and Paul Casey -- were timed for slow play on the 11th hole and Spieth openly complained about it to his caddy. If that didn't bother him, DeChambeau's quick birdie run at 11 and 12 might have, as the reigning U.S. Amateur was making an impressive charge. More on him in a bit.

Jordan got the ship righted at 15 with a fabulous 3-iron into the green from 245 yards out, where he then 2-putted for his only birdie of the back nine.

A 3-putt bogey at 16 was followed by a short miss for par at 17 and suddenly, Spieth's lead -- once five shots late on the front nine -- was just one over McIlroy and DeChambeau.

But Spieth was able to save par with a 10-foot putt at 18 and salvaged an unsteady round of 74 to remain one in front of McIlroy.

It was perhaps the worst round in a major we've seen from Spieth in two seasons. He never seemed comfortable with the wind, hit more than a handful of loose shots that left him with difficult up-and-down chances, and, most surprisingly, the putter betrayed him from reasonably close distances.

There have been worse 74's shot, for sure, but at Augusta National, 74 for Spieth is like 78 anywhere else.

Rory is quietly in prime position to complete "the Slam"

Only one player in the tournament thus far has been under par in both rounds.

Rory McIlroy's par-save from the right trees at the 18th hole on Friday gave him that distinction alone, as the 4-time major champion shot 70-71 in the first two rounds to sit at 3-under par and just one shot behind Spieth.

Overshadowed coming into the event by the recent scorching play from Jason Day and the defending champion hype rightfully afforded to Spieth, McIlroy has plodded along nicely to put himself in great position to complete the career Grand Slam with a win at Augusta this weekend.

One look at McIlroy's scorecard over 36 holes tells you why he's likely going to win this golf tournament.

He's played the par-5 holes in 7-under par so far, including a superb eagle-3 at #13 on Thursday when he rolled in a 20-footer for three. Spieth, conversely, is just 4-under on the par-5's. When power meets style, particularly at Augusta, power usually comes out on top.

To win, though, McIlroy will have to swat away the demons that have plagued him this season. He's yet to win a golf tournament, with a couple of Sunday slides in there when he all he needed was a solid final round to claim victory. He has two more majors (4) than Spieth (2), but Spieth's game might be better suited for closing than is McIlroy's.

While both of them downplayed the Saturday pairing when they were interviewed on Friday afternoon/evening, McIlroy, in particular, has a lot to play for in the third round. He won't say it, of course, but over the last year, Spieth has proven to be the better golfer. Forget about rankings, money, and wins...Spieth has just played better golf than McIlroy, particularly in the significant events like the majors and the FedEx Cup.

Saturday gives Rory a chance to turn the tide a little bit in his favor, although the ultimate barometer this week will be who wears the green jacket on Sunday night.

DeChambeau outplayed Spieth over 36 holes

If not for two bad swings at the 18th hole on Friday, the story of the tournament thus far would have been amateur Bryson DeChambeau, who was poised to post the low round of the day on Friday before making triple bogey "7" at the final hole.

His even-par score of 144 leaves him easily within striking distance of Spieth, McIlroy and those ahead of him, but the fallout from 18 will likely wear on him as the weekend goes on.

After coaxing in a 6-foot par putt at 17 to stay at 3-under for the day and 3-under for the tournament, DeChambeau hit a wild hook on the dogleg right home hole and was forced to take an unplayable lie. His second tee-ball (his third shot) was also left-of-left, and after a free drop for an obstruction, he wasn't able to get the ball on the green from there and failed to get it up and down.

It was an awful end to what had been a stellar display of golf from the 22-year old from SMU, who outplayed Spieth (and Paul Casey) for 36 holes tee-to-green, but wasn't very good with the putter on either Thursday or Friday. With any putting success, he'd be ahead by two shots heading into Saturday instead of behind by four. On the back nine alone in round two, he missed three shorties; at 13 for birdie, 16 for par and 18 for double bogey.

Even more odd was the fact that he drove the ball like a rock star for 35 holes, splitting fairway after fairway and using what he calls his "second gear" on several holes on Friday, where he routinely outdrove Casey by 20 yards and was generally even with or a few yards ahead of Spieth as well. Then, out of nowhere, he tried to play a cut off of 18 tee and hit the famous "double cross" that started his cascade down the leaderboard.

There are still plenty of guys who can win the golf tournament, but in 24 of the last 25 Masters, a player from the Top 10 heading into the weekend has wound up winning the event. That bodes well for any of the guys at even par or better, including DeChambeau, and others seeking their first major title like Dustin Johnson (E), Sergio Garcia (E), Hideki Matsuyama (-1) and Brandt Snedeker (-1). Danny Lee and Scott Piercy are two shots behind Spieth at 2-under par 142 for two rounds.

Saturday's going to be memorable. It's the dream pairing -- Spieth and McIlroy -- that everyone wants.

The only thing better would be if they finish tied for the lead after today's round and Sunday is winner take all.

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you can't win all 162 without winning the first four

Only three teams in baseball haven't lost yet and your Baltimore Orioles just happen to be one of those teams.

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Moved to shortstop on Friday due to an injury to J.J. Hardy, Manny Machado belted his 2nd home run of the season in the O's 6-1 win.

The O's joined the Tigers (3-0) and Pirates (4-0) as the only clubs without a loss thus far when they pounded Chris Archer for four home runs on Friday night en route to a 6-1 win at Camden Yards.

Chris Tillman -- who was on his way to an outstanding start on opening day before rain ended things early for him -- struck out five and walked two in five innings of work. The only blemish for Tillman was a 1st inning home run off the bat of Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria.

Davis tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the 2nd with his second home run of the season.

After the O's went ahead in the 4th on a Matt Wieters RBI single, the Baltimore bats exploded in the 5th inning on homers from Jonathan Schoop, Nolan Reimold and Manny Machado.

Rookie sensation Joey Rickard continued his torrid start with a 2-for-4 night to raise his average to .472.

Every starter recorded at least one hit except for Ryan Flaherty, who started at third base, and Pedro Alvarez, who is now 0-for-12 to start the season.

The Birds and Rays clash again tonight at Camden Yards. Drew Smyly (Rays) and Mike Wright (Orioles) will be on the mound.

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warriors chase for the record continues tonight in memphis

Golden State has narrowed it down to just three games now.

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Steph Curry and the Warriors need to win their final three games to finish the season at 73-9 and own the NBA's all-time best single-season record.

In pursuit of the NBA's all-time single season record of 73 wins, the Warriors are sitting at 70 with three games remaining, including tonight's affair in Memphis. Should they win this evening, Golden State takes their chance to San Antonio for a Sunday night encounter with the Spurs, who are 39-0 at home this season.

The Warriors then close out the regular season next Wednesday night at home against Memphis.

Golden State seemingly had the record in hand ten days ago, but promptly lost two of three home games after starting the season 36-0 in their own building. They did handle the Spurs on Thursday night at home to keep the quest for the record alive.

One benefit for Golden State is that neither Memphis or San Antonio has much to play for in this final week of the season. The Grizzlies are playoff bound already and are now merely playing for seeding, while the Spurs have the number two slot locked up in the Western Conference.

That said, if there's any personal pride among NBA players and they'd prefer to not be the team that helped Golden State set the all-time wins record, the Warriors won't find it to be a walk-in-the-park over the last three games.

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One last thing: We'll also send you a special "Adele Concert Mother's Day Gift Card" you can give her on May 8th, complete with details about the trip you purchased for her.

Friday
April 8
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXI
Issue 8
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spieth cruises in round one at augusta but els, fowler and bubba do not


Well, that's one way to begin a title defense.

Jordan Spieth produced a near flawless round of golf on Thursday in the opening round of the 2016 Masters, recording three birdies on each side en-route to an opening round 66 that puts him two shots head after 18 holes.

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Jordan Spieth opened with a 66 on Thursday to take a 2-stroke lead at the 2016 Masters.

There's a lot of golf left, obviously, but Spieth's tidy round to open his defense of last year's Masters title was very Tiger-esque. It put everyone else on notice right away: The defending champion is going to be a prominent player in this Masters as well.

Because driving length only matters so much at Augusta (Spieth averaged just 260 yards per-tee shot on Thursday, as he only hit his driver eight times), the course plays perfectly into Spieth's strengths, which are his wedge game and his putting. When he has the ball within 40-60 yards of ANY hole, he's a virtual lock to get it up and down. Such was the case at #3 and #8 yesterday, where he flipped short shots to within five feet for automatic birdies.

His game's connection to Augusta National in this, just his third Masters, is alarming, really. He doesn't look at all uncomfortable on the greens, which is the biggest reason why he almost won in 2014, did win last year, and might win again this year. No one this young and this inexperienced -- relatively speaking -- at Augusta should be this much at ease in just his 9th competitive round on the golf course, yet there he was, brushing in putts and cruising around like it was a Saturday afternoon at Eagle's Nest instead of Thursday morning on the world's biggest stage.

Unfortunately, it wasn't so easy for a lot of other big names on Thursday.

Did Spieth's early play spook all the big boys?

Rickie Fowler's bid for his first major championship is over, thanks to an opening round 80. Nothing went right for him, starting with a double-bogey six at the first hole. Even though he righted the ship for the better part of one hour, eventually getting it back to one-under after six holes, an embarrassing back-nine score of 44 was the tournament-killer for Fowler.

Dustin Johnson (73) and Bubba Watson (75) both got off to slow starts thanks in large part to their poor play on the four par-5's, where he each of them should be feasting. Johnson was an inexplicable 2-over on those holes, while Watson was 1-under. Given their length, each of those guys should be at least 2-under if not better on the par-5 holes at Augusta National.

Ernie Els wasn't going to win the tournament, so his opening hole travesty doesn't mean much except a few million YouTube views and a bunch of internet putting experts telling him how to get rid of the yips that contributed to a 9" on the first hole Thursday.

It was one of the "stories of the day", though, because 4-time major champions -- and any professional, really -- simply don't 7-putt. And Els was trying on all but two of those seven putts. His one-handed swipe for 8 lipped out and his casual yank at the 1-footer for 9 found the bottom of the cup, but the rest of the time, he was actually trying to make the putt(s). He also missed a 4-footer at 17 and a 2-footer at 18. And still shot 80.

I wrote extensively about "putting nerves" a few months back when the new rules were put in place that prohibited players from anchoring the putter on their body. Yesterday was a prime reason why the new rule is in place.

Putting with a belly putter or the traditional long putter, Els wouldn't have had any issues on that first green. I'm not saying he would have made the six footer for par that he missed -- the one that started the whole fiasco -- but he most certainly wouldn't have missed three other 3-foot putts on that green.

So, give the R&A and the USGA credit. They wanted to put nerves back into putting by eliminating "anchoring" and that's exactly what they did. Unfortunately, Els paid the price for it yesterday and will continue to struggle, I'm guessing, until he figures out some other way to do it that eliminates the "flinch" at impact.

As I wrote in January, the only thing that saved me after I discarded the long putter prior to the 2016 season was putting left handed, so that's what I do now. I definitely don't make as many putts as a southpaw -- yet -- as I did from the right side, but I'm not flinching at it anymore, either. It wouldn't shock me at all to see Els switch to a left handed putting style at some point, if he can tolerate the initial embarrassment.

DeChambeau, Day both shoot 72...but in different ways.

The amateur champion Bryson DeChambeau had a solid opening round of 72, betrayed only by an eagle chip at the 15th green that trickled off the putting surface and into the water, leading to a bogey six that was the only blemish on his scorecard. He made birdie at 2, bogey at 15 and parred the other 16 holes.

Along the way, DeChambeau hit some outstanding shots and was impressively very comfortable in what was a pretty stellar pairing. He played alongside Spieth and Paul Casey, who produced a nice opening round of 69 himself. That he was able to play to that level after three days of intense media scruity as the incoming U.S. Amateur champion and the "weird kid who uses clubs that are all the same length" says something about his intenstinal fortitude.

Jason Day turned 62 into 72 when he crashed and burned on the back nine, shooting an almost unheard of 31-41 en route to his even-par round. But, as even he noted afterwards, if Day would have shot 41-31, everyone would have been talking about how he played his way "right back in the tournament" by going from five-over to even par, so a number is a number. Day shot 72. How he did it really doesn't matter.

But the tournament, thus far, belongs to Spieth, who was able to get out early, make a few birdies and put himself in position to contend on the weekend providing he keeps it in play today in round two and doesn't do anything goofy like 7-putt a hole or play the par 5's in 2-over par.

The weather is looking somewhat iffy over the next three days, which could come into play if the conditions make reaching the par-5 holes more difficult. The bigger the lead for Spieth, the less chance someone has of coming from off the pace to beat him with a couple of weekend rounds of 68-66 or something like that.

It seems weird to say, because this kind of talk was used only for Tiger during his decade of dominance, but the tournament appears to be Spieth's to lose at this point and we're just 18 holes into it. He's in complete control. Another round of 66 today, for example, would be a monumental shout from the pines that the defending champion isn't keen on giving up his title.

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o's rally late, sweep twins with 4-2 win

The Birds got a nice starting pitching effort from Ubaldo Jimenez on Wednesday night and overcame an early 2-0 Minnesota lead in posting a 4-2 victory at Camden Yards.

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It's far too early to get excited about Joey Rickard. Or is it?

The Orioles are off to a 3-0 start and welcome Tampa Bay to town for a 3-game series that starts this evening at Camden Yards.

Joey Rickard hit his first major league home run in the 8th inning on Wednesday night to finalize the scoring for the Orioles, who haven't hit the ball worth a hoot yet in three games and are still undefeated. That's a bad-news-good-news sort of deal, I suppose.

Pedro Alvarez went 0-for-3 and still doesn't have a hit in three games. Where's Hyun Soo Kim, right?

Jimenez went 7 innings on Wednesday night, allowing eight hits while striking out nine and walking none. Those kind of starts are critical for the O's in 2016.

Dylan Bundy (8th inning) and Darren O'Day (9th) finished up for the Birds, who also got RBI's from Manny Machado (6th inning home run) and Jonathan Schoop. One of the O's runs came on a wild pitch.

Here's this weekend's pitching match-ups at Camden Yards:

Friday -- Chris Archer (Rays) vs. Chris Tillman (Orioles)

Saturday -- Drew Smyly (Rays) vs. Mike Wright (Orioles)

Sunday -- Jake Odorizzi (Rays) vs. Tyler Wilson (Orioles)


#dmd's weekend lacrosse preview

Game of the Week: #6 Towson (9-1) @ UMass (4-5)

Unlike last weekend, there are several great conference matchups to choose from. This week, we pick a battle of two of the best in the CAA which could have a big impact on the conference tourney seeding. On one side, you have the very consistent Towson Tigers who usually play to within a goal or two of their expected outcomes. On the other is the wildly inconsistent UMass Minutemen who have dominated Top 20 teams, have been dominated by Top 20 teams and most recently suffered a complete head-scratching loss to a down Delaware team last week. Though UMass is 4-5, they have the #1 strength of schedule. Last year, Towson won the regular season match up at home 6-3 and again at home in the CAA Championship 9-8. Definitely tough to find some key factors that could sway the game, but we'll give it a try:

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Towson lacrosse coach Shawn Nadelen and his Tigers face a key CAA conference opponent on Saturday when they travel to UMass.

Tiger Road Challenges/Minutemen Home Cookin' - Towson has not had many road games and when they have had them, the games are very close including their wins against Loyola and Ohio State and the close game they played against Hopkins (you can ignore the 3 late extra goals by the Blue Jays as Towson pulled their goalie). While UMass has been inconsistent, they've been pretty solid at home easlily beating Ohio State and North Carolina and playing Harvard to a one-goal loss. Their only blemish at home was a 16-4 pasting from Albany.

Target Practice? - In UMass's big wins against Penn State, North Carolina and Ohio State, the opposing goalies had statistically lousy days, saving at a lowly 30.5% Conversely in 3 recent losses to Delaware, Albany and Brown, goalies were on top of their game saving at 67.9% The Minutemen might wanna get some musket practice in as Towson's Tyler White is considered one of the nation's best goalies along with Towson's defense, so chances are they'll be stopping UMass shots at or above 50%.

Common Opponent - Both teams faced and beat the Ohio State Buckeyes. UMass had a huge day back on February 20th, beating the Buckeyes at home 16-9 due to a big 2nd half in which the Minutemen outscored Ohio State 9-3 while holding Ohio State to 24 shots total for the game. Towson squeaked out a 10-9 OT victory on March 15th in Columbus in a Tuesday matchup. The Tigers dominated early into the 3rd, going up 9-2. Then the Buckeyes ran off 7 straight to put the game into overtime before Ian Kirby stroked the game winner. Interestingly, Ohio State goalie Tom Carey has had a respectable season with a 52.5% save percentage including 12 saves on 10 goals allowed against Towson. However, he experienced his worst game of the season against the Minutemen, giving up 16 goals and only saving 6. Minutemen FOGOs pretty much split with Buckeye face-off specialist Jake Withers, going 12 of 25, while the Tigers threw 3 different guys at him to little avail going 6 of 22.

UMass Goalie Found? - The Minutemen have been on a search all season for the right goalie going back and forth between junior DJ Smith and sophomore Dan Dolan. However, they may have found him in freshman Sean Sconone who in his first start in last weekend's loss to Delaware saved 13 goals while only allowing 9 and is 60.6% for the season overall. At 5'11" and 255 lbs, Sconone covers a lot of the cage and might prove to be a tough obstacle for Tiger shooters.

Prediction - As noted, UMass has had a topsy-turvey season which can be expected playing the toughest schedule. The Tigers rely on solid defense and a balanced and conservative but effective offense that always keeps games within reach and winnable and have been on a good streak. However, the Tigers have only had to travel out of state for one game this season, which turned out to be one of their toughest. Although it was last season, the Minutemen still feel the sting of last years CAA Championship loss in the final minute and want some revenge. Given that motivation, a likely face-off advantage, and a hot new goalie, this game has trap written all over it and unfortunately, I see my Tigers falling 9-8 to the unpredictable Minutemen.

Other Local Matchups

Mount St. Marys @ Bucknell (Fri) - Great barometer game for the Mount who are playing well but face a Bison team fresh off a big win against Army.

#5 Maryland @ #14 Penn State (Sun) - Great B1G matchup for the Terps against a suddenly hot Penn State squad who knocked off then #1 Denver just a few weeks ago.

#10 Navy vs Colgate - Patriot League leading Midshipmen should have little trouble with the Red Raiders.

#15 Loyola @ Lehigh - After two bad losses, the Mountain Hawks come up with a big win against a rising Boston U making this a good Patriot League test for the Greyhounds.

#16 Johns Hopkins vs Ohio State - The Blue Jays get another tough B1G opponent in the Buckeyes who've been snakebit in close games. A tough game could get tougher if Coach Pietramala and budding midfield star Drew Supinski can't make the game.

UMBC vs Hartford - The Retrievers are coming off their 2nd win and looking for their first conference win against a solid but beatable Hartford team who needed 3 overtime periods on the road to finally take down a very new UMass-Lowell program.

The Big Picture

Big Conference Match-ups with Big Implications - In the Big East, #18 Villanova faces #4 Denver, attempting to avoid a 3-game skid. In the ACC, #1 Notre Dame faces #12 Duke while #11 UNC faces #20 UVA.

Midweek Madness Continues - This time the mighty #2 Brown Bears come crashing down to another 'unranked' but solid Bryant Bulldog team 11-10 in OT due in large part to the big game in the cage by Gunner Waldt (St. Paul's) who came up with 17 saves.

#DMD's lacrosse coverage is written and provided by John Pusateri.

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

MATTHEW CARROLL

The English Premier League season has entered its penulimate month and there are plenty of games with major implications on the standings, including contests that might determine relegation spots for the 2017 campaign. Let's look at a few of the key weekend games in the EPL.

Saturday, April 9 (all times eastern)

7:45am – Arsenal @ West Ham United – Boleyn Ground, NBC Sports Network

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has only lost twice in his career at West Ham. West Ham, though, haven't lost in the EPL in over two months.

Another in a long line of absolutely redonkulous free kicks from Dimitri Payet looked set to send West Ham United on to their way to a fourth win in five games, but a Cheikhou Kouyate red card, which has since been rescinded, allowed Crystal Palace to eventually draw level and deny the Hammers all three points. They will kick off the weekend action when they welcome Arsenal to the Boleyn Ground on Saturday morning as the Gunners, who have a game in hand, kept their slim title hopes alive and took revenge for an FA Cup defeat just weeks ago in a comfortable 4-0 win over Watford.

West Ham have not lost in the league in over two months (W3 D3) and following their win over Arsenal in the opening weekend of the season, which ended a nine game losing streak against their London rivals, will be looking to pull the double over the Gunners for the first time since the 2006/07 campaign. They are likely to find that to be a difficult task this weekend against an Arsenal side who have won two of their last three league games (W2 D1), and who have not lost at the Bolelyn Ground in over ten years and just twice in their sixteen league visits (W9 D5 L2).

Sunday, April 10 (all times eastern)

11am – Stoke City @ Liverpool – Anfield, NBC Live Extra

After jumping out to a two goal lead shortly after halftime, Stoke City relinquished two soft goals late to drop points in 2-2 draw against Swansea City and dent their hopes of a spot in Europe next season. They will look to rebound with an always difficult visit to Anfield on Sunday to take on Liverpool, who sit just two points behind the Potters in ninth place in the table, and who finally are beginning to hit their stride six months in to manager Jurgen Klopp’s tenure, with their thrilling 1-1 draw with Tottenham last weekend the fifth time in the last six games the Reds have picked up points.

After three successive defeats by the same 3-0 score line, Stoke have lost just once in their last seven league games (W4 L1 D2) but with a historically difficult trip to Anfield pending, where the Potters have not won in their last thirty-six visits (D5 L31), and against a Liverpool side who have won four of the last five league meetings between the clubs, a spot in Europe looks to be too much of an ask for a club who is all but guaranteed a finish in the top half of the table by season's end and who should be in contention for a spot in the top four next season with a smart summer transfer window.

11am – Manchester United @ Tottenham – White Hart Lane, NBC Sports Network

With their draw at Liverpool, second place Tottenham failed to match Leicester City stride for stride for the third time in the last five weeks, dropping seven points behind the Cinderella league leaders with just seven games remaining. With the Foxes facing lowly Sunderland this weekend, they know they will need to take all three points when they welcome Manchester United to White Hart Lane on Sunday, who won for the fourth time in their last five games in a somewhat dull but effective 1-0 victory over Everton, to have any chance of overtaking Leicester by season’s end.

While Manchester United have won just two of their last nine matches on the road across all competitions, they are unbeaten in their last fourteen league visits to White Hart Lane (W8 D6) and enter the matchup with the chance to pull a rare double over Tottenham following their opening day defeat of Spurs, which ended a five match winless run (D3 L2) against the north London club and continued to leave Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino searching for an answer to the Red Devil back line after failing to get on the score sheet for the third consecutive game against United.

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One last thing: We'll also send you a special "Adele Concert Mother's Day Gift Card" you can give her on May 8th, complete with details about the trip you purchased for her.


Thursday
April 7
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXI
Issue 7
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here are all the reasons i like bryson dechambeau so much


It's been a long time since I actually rooted for someone to win a golf tournament the way I'm pulling for Bryson DeChambeau to win this week's Masters.

Throughout the 2000's, I was always hoping Tiger Woods would win, but that ship sailed five years or so ago when his health and personal issues rendered him a middle-of-the-pack contender at best.

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Only five players have won the U.S. Amateur and NCAA Championship in the same year and Bryson DeChambeau is one of them.

There are scores of guys I wouldn't mind seeing win this week at Augusta, ranging from my predicted pick of Dustin Johnson to others like Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Louis Ooosthuizen. If it turns out one of those players wins, I'm cool with it.

But, this year, I'm openly pulling for amateur Bryson DeChambeau to win the green jacket at Augusta National.

Why do I like DeChambeau so much?

Because he's different. And golf needs different.

Is DeChambeau the start of another "new era"?

For starters, let's get one thing straight about the kid from Clovis, California. He's not different in the Happy-Gilmore-was-different kind of way. He's not running up and hitting the ball in some sort of new, unorthodox sort of style. He's not getting into fist fights with other players. He doesn't disrespect the game.

DeChambeau is the kind of golfer I'd like my 8-year old son to grow up emulating. He's a bright, intelligent, wildly talented young man who is doing a lot of new things in golf that are worthy of scrutiny and, if you believe in science, also worthy of your attention.

Here's all you really need to know about his playing ability: There are five golfers in the history of golf to win both the U.S. Amateur and NCAA championship in the same year; Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ryan Moore and --- yes, Bryson DeChambeau.

If you're not a golf follower but you're still curious enough to be here reading this, I'll just tell you that the first three names above are three of the greatest players to ever play the sport and Moore was a decorated amateur who has enjoyed a good career thus after a decade on TOUR.

And DeChambeau is in there among them on that elite list of amateurs who reigned supreme over college golf.

Today, he tees it up in the Masters, and he's not just there to hang out, take some pictures for Instagram, and store away enough memories for a lifetime the way most amateurs do when they play at Augusta National.

DeChambeau wants to win.

The first and most obvious piece of science he brings to the table are his golf clubs. Each of the irons he uses are the same length -- 37.5" -- and the respective weights of each club-head have been altered to provide the exact same weight throughout the set. The club maker didn't come to DeChambeau with this idea. He brought it to them, because he's a former physics major at SMU who uses a wacky math equation to determine the force he needs to use to make the ball go the height and distance he desires it to travel.

I love the fact that DeChambeau is telling the club maker how to make the golf clubs and not the other way around.

A little-known golf book started all of this.

In 1979, a scientist with a love for golf named Homer Kelley published a golf instruction book called The Golfing Machine, and it toiled in obscurity until the 1990's when former Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam and her coach revealed they had used a number of Kelley's swing philosphies in building Annika's swing. She would go on to win 93 tournaments in her career including ten major championships.

DeChambeau has become a devotee of Kelley's book as well, using a large number of the physics-based applications to create his own approach to the game.

And as someone who has studied and read more on golf instruction than I'd care to admit, I appreciate the notion of any golfer looking at the traditional, modern teaching methods and saying, "That's not the only way to do it."

So, DeChambeau does it his own way, with a little help from Homer Kelley.

He uses a simple, basic "one plane swing" theory, which is to say, simply, there's little to no weight shift at all in his first move away from the ball and DeChambeau's arms and upper-body turn against what is a "stacked", solid legs and lower body foundation.

It might sound and, at first blush, even look somewhat odd, but that's only until you see DeChambeau strike the golf ball. Once you see that, there's nothing at all odd about it.

Always remember this: The golf ball laying on the ground in front of you has no idea at all how you returned the club to a square position at impact. It just reacts to the clubhead's position at impact and starts it journey. The ball doesn't know what swing instructor you work with, what books you've read, and what you think about the philosophies of Homer Kelley, David Leadbetter, Sean Foley or any other prominent golf instructor.

DeChambeau, like Annika Sorenstam, figured out what works best for HIM, which is all that matters.

Annika, if you recall, had the distinct "head swivel" as she started her downswing, something David Duval also utilized in the late 1990's during his rise to #1 in the world. For years, instructors told amateur golfers, "You have to keep your head down through impact". Annika actually turned her head toward the target in her downswing, as did Duval, and today, you'll see great players like Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson and Ian Poulter doing the same thing.

DeChambeau, like Annika, isn't bound to conforming to the teachings of the 1990's or 2000's, and that's one of the main things I admire about him.

I also love the fact that DeChambeau is a true student of the game. He recently gained access to two decades worth of Masters TV coverage from play-by-play Jim Nantz and studied those television tapes to learn about pin placements on the greens at Augusta National, the way certain putts broke in particular areas on those greens, and how the time of day affects the speed and contouring of the putting surfaces.

I want a guy like that on my team, that's for sure.

Oh, and nothing at all has been given to him along the way.

Nike wasn't there to splash $43 million in front of him before he ever hit a shot that mattered.

Sure, DeChambeau will announce a large, impressive contract with club-maker Cobra next Monday when he turns professional, but he's telling them how to make golf clubs, ironically.

In the end, Bryson DeChambeau got to where he is today because he worked hard at it. Nothing more, nothing less. He took it upon himself to figure out a better way -- he thinks -- to play golf and for that reason alone, I'm hoping he's wearing a green jacket just after 7 pm this Sunday night.

He will someday, that's almost a certainty.

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two games in, o's pitching has been solid


Someone forgot to tell the Orioles pitching staff they were supposed to stink this season.

Yes, yes, yes, I fully realize we're two games into a 162-game schedule. Hell, the Birds could lose 12-2 tonight to the Twins for all we know.

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52 strikes on 89 pitches was a solid debut for Yovani Gallardo last night as he won his first game in Baltimore, 4-2 over the Twins.

But, so far-so good for the Birds, who stymied the Minnesota offense again last night in a 4-2 triumph at Camden Yards.

Yovani Gallardo -- whose 88 MPH fastball was reliable enough to keep, while Miguel Gonzalez's wasn't -- went five innings, allowing just two hits and one earned run. He struck out four, walked three and threw 52 strikes on 89 pitches. It was, by every account, a more than acceptable debut for Gallardo.

Chris Davis hit the club's first -- and only, so far -- home run of the season in the 3rd inning to give the O's the lead for good.

Once Gallardo was lifted to start the sixth, the Baltimore bullpen went to work, with only Mychal Givens allowing any damage when Trevor Plouffe nicked him for a homer in that sixth inning.

Brad Brach, Darren O'Day and Zach Britton closed the door on the Twins, although Britton made things interesting in the 9th when he put a pair of runners on base before striking out Joe Mauer to end the game and earn the save.

For the second straight game, Buck Showalter's lineup card was clean, meaning he didn't insert one pinch hitter or make any other field substitution throughout the contest. Everyone in the lineup got a hit except for Pedro Alvarez and Mark Trumbo. Alvarez is 0-fer so far in 2016.

The series finale tonight pits Phil Hughes against Ubaldo Jimenez.

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#dmd march madness results are in


It took me about five hours to complete the scoring for the March Madness contest.

It was that tight.

In fact, with over 500 entries, we had 31 people finish tied with 60 points. And that was just for 25th place to 6th place!

So, the tiebreaker, as we stated originally, went to the person who completed and sent in their contest answers first. That's the beauty of the time stamp on e-mails!

Those of you finishing 25th to 6th -- with 60 points -- will get e-mails from me today with your ranking and prize information.

In 5th place, with 70 points: John Rouse. He receives five free Chick fil-A meals from our friends at Chick fil-A Nottingham Square.

There was a tie for 3rd at 75 points: Tim Allen and Tim Connoree both receive five free Chick fil-A meals as well.

In second place with 80 points: Mark Fienarelli. He gets ten free Chick fil-A meals

And our winner, with a whopping -- VERY impressive 85 points -- was Chris Kite, who receives free Chick fil-A for a year from Chick fil-A at Nottingham Square.

Kite had six of the eight teams correct in the Elite Eight (30 points). He had North Carolina and Villanova in the Final (20 points). He had Villanova winning it all (15 points). And he correctly picked four of the five "5 point" questions; Maryland to advance past the first weekend, a team to win by more than 36.5 points on Thursday or Friday, a 12-seed to beat a 5-seed on Thursday or Friday and no more than five games would go to OT in the tournament.

He only missed two Elite Eight teams and the 2 seed losing to a 15 seed question!!!

Thank you to all who played and thanks once again to our friends at Chick fil-A of Nottingham Square for their sponsorship of the contest and their generosity with the prizes for all of our winners.


Wednesday
April 6
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXI
Issue 6
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"fact and opinion" loves the masters -- and that's a fact


FACT: I've had about six hours of sleep total in the last two nights. We arrived back from Augusta close to midnight last night and I was home in bed by 1 am. We had an awesome day at the Masters yesterday. Not a cloud in the sky.

OPINION: As someone on the plane pointed out to me last night, the Augusta trip requires a certain degree of physical training. I'll start in mid-March getting ready next year.

FACT: I wanted to have the results for the #DMD March Madness Bracket Contest up today, but I don't. I'm sorry. My computer ran out of battery last night and the plane on the way back from Augusta didn't have an outlet to use. They WILL be published tomorrow.

OPINION: Every plane should have electrical outlets at each seat.

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Phil Booth joined guys like Carmelo Anthony, Rudy Gay and Kim English as Baltimore guys who had big moments in the NCAA tournament.

FACT: Phil Booth, a 2014 Mount Saint Joseph graduate, was a big time contributor to Villanova's win on Monday night with a career-high 20 points.

OPINION: Baltimore's high school basketball talent might be the highest quality in the country for a city without a NBA team.

FACT: The Orioles won their season opener on Monday without the benefit of one home run.

OPINION: They won't do that 20 times total this season.

FACT: Melo Trimble, Robert Carter Jr. and Diamond Stone are all interested in leaving Maryland and going pro.

OPINION: If they all three do leave, Maryland might actually be better defensively next year with Damonte Dodd and Michal Cekovsky.

FACT: Mike Trout and Bryce Harper both won MVP awards before their 24th birthday.

OPINION: They will both win at least four MVP's before the respective Hall-of-Fame careers conclude.

FACT: The Capitals, who lost at home to the Islanders last night, will finish the regular season with the most points in the league and have home ice advantage for as long as they're in the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs.

OPINION: The over/under on how many playoff games they play this spring is 12.5. I'll take the "under".

FACT: Tiger Woods has 14 major titles in his golf career.

OPINION: He'll never win another one. But he would have won at least 20 if not for his personal issues in 2009 and the myriad of injuries and surgeries since then.

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"Sin City" and "Gimme a Bullet" are two of the best songs on AC/DC's "Powerage".

FACT: AC/DC's best selling album ever was "Back in Black", with 50 million records sold, making it the second most sold album EVER behind Michael Jackson's "Thriller".

OPINION: "Back in Black" wasn't AC/DC's "best" album though. That title would go to "Powerage".

FACT: Duke has already been installed as 9:2 favorites to win next year's NCAA men's basketball tournament.

OPINION: Duke's not winning it all next year. Don't ask me why. They're just not.

FACT: The UConn women's basketball team won their 4th straight NCAA title last night in Indianapolis, beating Syracuse by 31 points to finish the season undefeated.

OPINION: If UConn had a female coach instead of a male coach, this would be a much bigger story. Instead, everyone's asking if UConn's success is "bad for the game"?

FACT: UConn's women's team is going to win the NCAA title again next year.

OPINION: I'm not sure anyone will really care.

FACT: I had a turkey and cheese on wheat sandwich, bag of carrots, apple splices, energy bar and a delicous 16 ounce cup of sweet tea at the Masters on Tuesday and it set me back $8.00

OPINION: Anyone who loves golf should go to Augusta at least once. Wait, that's actually a fact.

FACT: The Philadelphia Flyers have currently played their way into the 7th playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, with four games remaining.

OPINION: No one wants to see the Flyers prosper, obviously. It's like rooting for Duke, the Yankees and the Steelers -- all on the same day -- but I'd much prefer they finish 7th than 8th.

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random thoughts from a day at the masters

There literally wasn't a cloud in the sky yesterday at Augusta National.

I assume the powers-that-be who run the Masters would have somehow had them whisked away even if a few would have appeared at some point during the day.

It was another glorious day at the greatest golf course in the world on Tuesday, as 25 #DMD golf enthusiasts made the trip "down south" for a Masters practice round. We left yesterday morning from BWI at 5:15 am and pulled back onto the tarmac last night just before midnight.

Watching guys hit balls at the practice range can be VERY telling, but is certainly not a pre-predictor of how things might actually go on Thursday when the golf tournament begins.

If practice makes perfect, watch out for Leishman.

You can see first-hand who's hitting it well and who isn't. The guys who are striping it don't have instructors hanging around them, TrackMan isn't set up evaluating all of their "numbers" and they're spraying the ball both left and right -- like Ernie Els was, for example -- on the range.

The aforementioned Els, who hasn't won at Augusta in nearly two dozen appearances, was under the watchful eye of instuctor David Leadbetter, but that didn't seem to do much for "The Big Easy". Players do want the ability to work the ball both right and left, of course, but Els couldn't hit a straight shot yesterday no matter how long he stood there.

Others on the range who didn't have good days included former champion Mike Weir who literally hit a 200 yard half-a-snap hook off the 8th tee, then retreated to the practice area a couple of hours later and put in 90 minutes of work trying to hit his driver straight.

Anirban Lahiri and 2009 champion Angel Cabrera also struggled on the range, and Matt Kuchar hit about 25 shots, studied a few of them on camera, looked frustrated, and then walked to the putting green flashing his trademark smile that I assume was hiding some pre-tournament disappointment.

But there were several guys on the other end of the spectrum, who stood on the range and just pured it for as long as they wanted to. Among them: Marc Leishman, Ryan Moore, Zach Johnson, Chris Wood, Hideki Matsuyama and Bernd Wiesberger. I watched those six for well over one hour. They hardly missed a shot.

Everyone wants to watch DeChambeau.

I spent the better part of three hours keeping an eye on the U.S. Amateur champion Bryson DeChambeau go through his rigorous practice routine. Putting, short game work, bunker practice, more putting, and then finally to the range. He has a unique, interesting one-plane golf swing that offers him a wide variety of shots from which to choose. He can hit it high, how, etc. At least a dozen TOUR players walked past him and stopped to either watch, chat, or take his irons out of the bag and look them over.

Two players who once played in the Masters -- hell, one of them won in 1976 -- were at the range, in the stands with the rest of the fans, watching DeChambeau practice. That's how interested the inner-circle golf world is in the kid who will turn professional next Monday morning after the Masters.

Ray Floyd stood on the back of the range and watched him. When a spectator built up the courage to ask Floyd why he wasn't down there close, he said, "I'm not playing this year. I left my tournament badge back in the room and they won't let me through the ropes. I'll be at the (champions) dinner tonight, though. Just came over to see the kid swing at a few balls."

4-time Masters participant Howard Twitty was also on the grounds, wearing the orange practice round ticket like the rest of the great unwashed. When a spectator approached and asked him if he missed it, Twitty replied, "Of course I do. That's why I'm here. Played in the Masters four times. Wish it could have been forty."

I asked Twitty what he thought of DeChambeau's golf swing. "Fabulous," he replied. "Simple and easy to repeat. I wish I would have known it was that easy."

The amount of players who by-passed well-organized, polite children seeking an autograph was amazing. And sad to see, too. Among those who breezed right past without even thinking about stopping to sign one of the flags or pictures: Danny Willet, Zach Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Davis Love III (he should definitely smile more...what a sour puss) and Keegan Bradley. Bradley's caddie did give out a few balls to kids in the stands, though, if that helps make up for his player's inability to stop and sign an autograph or three.

Marc Leishman and Lee Westwood went through the entire line of about 60 kids, signing every piece that was put in front of them. Westwood in particular was extremely gracious to each one. If he wins this week, it's because the golf gods appreciate him.

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warriors lose again, record now in jeopardy

After not losing a home game in 54 tries, the Golden State Warriors have now dropped two of their last three at home, falling 124-117 in overtime last night to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

That means the Warriors are now at 69-9 with four games remaining. They have to win out to set the all-time single-season mark of 73-10.

It's not going to be easy.

San Antonio comes to town on Thursday night, and the Spurs, believe it or not, could still finish as the #1 seed in the Western Conference if they win out and Golden State fails to win one of their last four games. The Spurs are 65-12.

The Warriors then play in Memphis this Saturday, in San Antonio on Sunday, and then finish with a home game against Memphis next Wednesday.

It's looking like the chase for 73-10 will be all for naught. The Warriors are going to come up a game or two short, I think.

Here's what else I think. If they somehow stumble in the post-season this spring, particularly if they lose in one of the first two rounds, the Warriors will likely blame themselves and the pursuit of the record currently held by the Bulls (72-10). They'll look back and say, "We shouldn't have put so much emphasis on winning every game in January and February."

They might be right about that, too.

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and the masters winner is...

OK, here's some necessary explaining before I tell you who's going to win this week's Masters.

I made my "decision" last week on who I think is going to win and then I promised myself I wouldn't let anything I see at the Tuesday practice round affect that decision.

So, I won't.

But after watching Marc Leishman hit balls on Tuesday and hearing that he shot six-under par in a practice round at Augusta last week, then posted 4-under for 9 holes on Tuesday, I could easily violate my own edict and change my winning pick to Leishman. But, I promised myself...

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Dustin Johnson will finally get that major-monkey off his back this week at Augusta National.

I also watched my predicted winner practice a lot on Tuesday. He was directly in front of me on the range. When he hits his driver on the range, players on either side of him stop to watch for a couple of seconds before realizing they're not going to get much better by watching HIM practice.

My winner for this year's Masters is Dustin Johnson.

Yes, I'm well aware of his shortcomings. Had a chance to close out a couple of U.S. Opens, couldn't do it. Was a peculiar ruling away from being in a PGA Championship playoff with Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer at Whistling Straits. Was in the hunt on the back nine at the British Open a few years back and couldn't buy a birdie on the incoming nine holes.

Dustin Johnson is Charlie Brown, sort of, except he can hit his driver on a string 330 yards.

I have a hunch that's changing this year, though, and Augusta National is the one course where his prodigious length and accuracy can help disguise is one main flaw; DJ's not a great chipper of the ball, which could be an issue at Augusta if a player misses a lot of greens.

But it's hard to miss greens when you have a wedge in your hand most of the day for the approach shot, which is what Johnson will have 75% of the time.

He's trending in the right direction as well, with excellent results at the Match Play two weeks ago and a top 10 finish at Houston last week. He'll eat up the four par-5's at Augusta as well as the short par-4 holes on the front nine. Avoiding big numbers is the key for DJ, like it is for anyone.

Bubba Watson's chipping and putting have always been suspect and he's already won twice at Augusta. There's a theory that says "your short game needs to be on point to win the Masters", but I see lots of players sporting green jackets who weren't known for their wedge-work or putting prowess, including the aforementioned Watson, Charl Schwartzel and Adam Scott, who was so bad with the putter he had to resort to using one of those long ones for a half-a-decade. (Editor's note: I used one, too. I can poke fun, it's allowed).

Dustin Johnson's short game and putting are good enough any other week of the year, so nothing about this week scares me all that much. He spent nearly one full hour on Tuesday just hitting 40, 60 and 80 yard wedge shots. He's aware of his flaws, that's for certain.

Would you rather see a player working hard on his short game or NOT working hard on his short game? Right...

I believe that every elite, world class player simply has "his week" at some point. Over the last five years, guys that you assumed would someday win a major title did, in fact, win one. Webb Simpson, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose and Adam Scott, just to name four.

Dustin Johnson is going to win one, maybe plenty more than that.

Augusta National, in 2016, is the perfect place for him to do it.

So, my predicted Top 10 finishers are: Dustin Johnson (1), Rickie Fowler (2), Bubba Watson (3), Bryson DeChambeau (4), Branden Grace (5), Jordan Spieth (6), Sergio Garcia (7), Kevin Kisner (8), Phil Mickelson (9) and Brandt Snedeker (10).


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.


It's time for my "official" Masters line-up. Fitting six high quality players into the $50,000 roster isn't easy, but I've finally narrowed it down, so here goes.

I'm obviously leading off with my predicted winner, Dustin Johnson. If he can play the par 5's well, which given his length, he should, DJ could easily shoot four rounds of 68 or better.

Under the "horses for courses" file, I'm going with Louis Oosthuizen, who is bound to win another major sometime soon and would have won at Augusta in 2012 if not for Bubba Watson's miracle shot out of the right pine trees on the first playoff hole. Oosthuizen has a terrific golf swing and is rarely ever in trouble off the tee. If he putts well, he's a big time threat this week.

I'm buying into Marc Leishman after watching him in person on Tuesday at Augusta. He showed his ability at last year's British Open, where he was part of the 3-way playoff with Oosthuizen and eventual winner Zach Johnson.

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Ryan Moore has a very good chance to play well this week at Augusta.

I love the golf game of Ryan Moore and was happy to see him playing well on Tuesday during the practice round. He produces extraordinary height on his shots, which is so important at Augusta National, and if his putter can behave for four days, Moore can make a run at the green jacket.

I wrote earlier in the week about the almost mystical attachment South Africans have to Augusta National, so I'm going with two of them in my six-man team. Oosthuizen and Branden Grace, who was in the hunt on the back nine at Chambers Bay in last year's U.S. Open. Like Leishman, he had 90 minutes of excellent practice range work on Tuesday and looks ready to go.

My sleeper for the tournament this week is Rafael Cabrera-Bello, a long-hitting TOUR no name of sorts who just had a great run at the Match Play Championship a couple of years ago and can hit the tee ball a country mile. He had 8-iron in on #11 yesterday. The hole is 500 yards long.

Costs: Dustin Johnson ($10,200), Louis Oosthuizen ($8,800), Branden Grace ($8,600), Marc Leishman ($7,900), Rafael Cabrera-Bello ($7,400), Ryan Moore ($6,800).

Others to consider this week: Rickie Fowler ($10,900), Justin Rose ($9,900), Zach Johnson ($7,600), David Lingmerth ($7,000), Emiliano Grillo ($6,700), Bernd Wiesberger ($6,500), Bryson DeChambeau ($6,500), Chris Wood ($6,400).


Tuesday
April 5
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXI
Issue 5
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orioles, cardinals both open with wins


You'll have to forgive me today if you pick up an error or two in this April 5th edition of #DMD.

I'm working on three hours sleep.

Today's the day two dozen of us make the trek to golf's holy grail, Augusta National Golf Club, so a 5:30 AM flight beckons, which means a 2 am wake-up call to put the finishing touches on today's entry that you're reading now.

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Matt Wieters was your Opening Day hero when he knocked in the winning run in the bottom of the 9th.

And with two opening day victories to re-cap, plus a look at last night's epic college basketball thriller, I should probably go ahead and get things started.

Orioles...Cardinals...where do I kick it off?

Let's go to Camden Yards, where the Birds were 3-2 winners in an Opening Day snoozer over the Twins, who held the Baltimore bashers without a home run but still somehow lost. Matt Wieters delivered the game-winning hit after Chris Davis started a 2-out rally with a walk and was moved to third on Mark Trumbo's fourth hit of the day.

The game took over five hours to complete thanks in large part to a pair of rain delays.

Let's just say there have been more memorable Opening Day wins in Camden Yards history and leave it at that.

I thought the pitching was supposed to stink?

Chris Tillman was great for the two innings of work he was able to put in, striking out five of the six batters he faced and throwing 17 strikes in 22 pitches. He certainly looked sharp, which had to make manager Buck Showalter happy.

Tyler Wilson was also outstanding, subbing for Tillman after the lengthy first rain delay and going three innings himself and allowing only two hits.

Everything was rolling along smoothly until the 7th inning when Mychal Givens put a couple of runners on via a base hit and a hit-by-pitch and they both eventually reached home plate to the tie the game at 2-2.

Darren O'Day allowed a couple of hits in the top of the 8th and the Twins put the go ahead run on third base with two outs, but that was as far as the runner could get.

The game stayed deadlocked at 2-2 until the bottom of the 9th when Wieters, who squandered two earlier chances to produce runs, drove a pitch back up the middle and into centerfield to give the O's the 3-2 triumph.

Joey Rickard (2 hits) and Mark Trumbo (4-for-5) showed off their batting skills. Pedro Alvarez (0-for-3) did not. Hyun Soo Kim stayed in the dugout.

Zach Britton picked up the win for the O's. He looked in mid-season form in his six minutes of 9th inning work, retiring the Twins in order while throwing 12 strikes in 17 pitches.

When the Cardinals also win on opening day, all is well.

I couldn't attend baseball's local version of Opening Day on Monday, but I had a good excuse.

The Calvert Hall Cardinals varsity golf team that I coach had our season opener on Monday as well, and, like the Orioles, "my" Birds also came out on top to kick-off our campaign.

Calvert Hall defeated 2-time defending MIAA A-Conference champion Archbishop Spalding, 13.5 to 7.5, down in Annapolis at the Naval Academy Golf Course. It rained on us for the better part of two hours, but we didn't get drenched like the folks in Baltimore apparently did.

And the rain strengthened our resolve a little bit, as we didn't allow Mother Nature to get in the way of some pretty decent golf over our 12-hole match against the Cavaliers.

Our 2016 squad is young, so Monday's opener was the first varsity action for three of the six players in our lineup. Those three responded with 8.5 of the possible 9 points they could claim individually, which was all a coach can ask for -- and then some.

After two consecutive undefeated seasons -- historic stuff at the high-level quality of play in the MIAA -- Archbishop Spalding is in a rebuilding year after losing four of six starters to graduation. They'll be back, and sooner rather than later, but our play on Monday was good enough to overcome our own opening day jitters and earn a nice road win.

On a side note, it's always a treat to get down to the Naval Academy Golf Course and see scores of Midshipmen (and "Lady Midshipmen"?) playing as part of their required "gym class". It's a lot more fun than kick-ball, that's for sure.

So, my Opening Day 2016 was just perfect, thank you.

The Orioles get a win, albeit in sort of "non-traditional" fashion for what we all think is to come this season, and so, too, does my Calvert Hall golf team.

Let's hope we both win again this Thursday when the Birds host the Twins in the series finale and the Cardinals visit Woodholme CC to take on McDonogh at 3:30.

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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.


In the NFL, opening day comes after just four pre-season games and in only one or two of those do the starters get any sort of significant playing time. This makes "judging" your team difficult after week one, the idea being that teams are rarely as good, or as bad, as they look in the first game, and everyone rushes to make an opinion as though nothing will change the rest of the year because, well, all you have to form your hot takes is that one game sample.

I've always thought this was overstated. For one thing, the first game counts the same as the 8th game and the 13th game and the last game, and in the NFL that means that first game is worth 1/16th of your entire season.

The excuse you'll often hear -- "Our offense hadn't found a rhythm yet" -- doesn't get you any bonus points in January when the difference between 11-5 and 10-6 is winning your division or missing the playoffs altogether.

More to the point, because an NFL season isn't that long in the grand scheme of things and because there's not a lot of statistical/sequential variation or pure luck (think seeing eye ground balls or hitting a line drive directly at an outfielder), you actually can learn a lot about an NFL team in Week One, even if you don't necessarily realize what you're seeing at that moment.

Just thinking back to last year, for example, you can look at the Broncos game against the Ravens on opening Sunday and see a team with a GREAT defense and an AWFUL offense, to say nothing of Peyton Manning looking like he was on his last legs. You couldn't know for certain that would continue for the rest of the season, but ultimately it was an exceptionally good microcosm of what their team was and went on to be.

There's not much time to celebrate in baseball.

Baseball, of course, is nothing like that, and there really are no "lessons" to be learned from Opening Day, or any other day.

Each game is 1/162nd of a season, or about 10% as important as an individual NFL game. Scrubs will have excellent individual performances for every team here and there over the course of the year, and the very best players will make an out in every plate appearance or get chased from the mound in the third inning at some point.

Baseball is all about the incessant grind of an almost unimaginably long season, and the law of averages balancing out for everyone. As the saying goes, you don't really learn anything about a team until roughly 1/3 of the season is in the books.

But it's the nature of fans to go only on what's available to us, and today that means taking our evaluations from Opening Day, especially in light of an exciting win with plenty of reasons available for the optimistic bird lovers in town.

Chris Tillman was limited to just two innings due to the rain delay, but looked downright filthy in that limited time frame and recorded 5 of 6 outs on strikes.

Mark Trumbo took heed of the old saying about first impressions, picking up four hits in his Orioles' debut.

Joey Rickard brought his hot bat North, picking up two hits including a double and more than held his own at the plate in his first big league game. Matt Wieters, who may prove to be the crucial factor in how far this offense can carry the team this season, notched the game winning hit in (naturally) walk off fashion.

The Orioles won a game with three runs and no home runs hit! There was even pie!

None of this means a darn thing when game two rolls around tomorrow. In baseball, momentum really is only worth as much as your next starting pitcher and the bounce of the ball (and sometimes the umpire's strike zone), and in October the pageantry and expectations are long forgotten, and that's just one game out of 162 of them played over the course of the year. That's 0.006% of the baseball that will be played in a season, if you're keeping track at home.

But that's no reason for dampened spirits today in my book.

Baseball is back!

The familiar, warm, nights of having the sounds of the old American game have come around again, and the hometown team is back in the win column. It might not mean it's the first of 90 such fortuitous outcomes, but that doesn't matter. Your old friend has come by for another summer together, and that's reason enough for irrational exuberance today.

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villanova's buzzer beater edges north carolina


That, as you'll hear a lot today and throughout the rest of the week, was simply one of the best college basketball championship games ever.

Villanova claimed their 2nd NCAA title last night with a wild 77-74 win over North Carolina, as Kris Jenkins hit a game-winning three pointer at the buzzer to negate what had been an impressive rally by the Tar Heels.

North Carolina trailed by six points with 1:52 remaining in the game and looked like they had sent the affair to overtime when Marcus Paige drained a 3-point shot with 4.7 seconds remaining to tie things up at 74-74.

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It was a night to remember for Baltimore kid Phil Booth, who had 20 points in Villanova's title winning effort vs. UNC.

That set the stage for Jenkins, who received a nifty underhanded pass from Ryan Arcidiacono and took a couple of steps to the arc before launching the shot heard all over Philadelphia.

As long as it's not the Flyers winning, I'm happy for Philadelphia. It's good to see Jay Wright finally get a title after a lengthy, underrated career at Villanova, and it was very gratifying to see former Mount Saint Joseph standout Phil Booth pour in a career-high 20 points in the biggest game of his life for the victorious Wildcats.

If not for Jenkins' heroics at the end, the story of the game would have been Booth, the unheralded sophomore who went 6-for-7 from the field and hit a huge bucket with just over three minutes left that gave Villanova a 5-point advantage.

The story, though, was Villanova's defense, which "held" North Carolina to just 74 points, including 35 in the second half of play.

On a side note, those of you who completed our NCAA March Madness Bracket Contest should know your fate by Wednesday morning's edition of #DMD. The point totals are in for everyone...I just need to take one hour or so to double check everything and make sure the order of finish is accurate before publishing the results -- hopefully tomorrow, but by Thursday at the latest.

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drew's masters top 10 preview


Well, we're almost there now. Nine down, and only one player to go, as this morning's edition of #DMD contains my predicted runner-up in this week's Masters.

And the only reason Rickie Fowler is #2 is because I think someone else is going to make one more putt than him...

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Two straight Top 15 finishes at Augusta National bode well for Rickie Fowler's hope this week.

Yes, I have Rickie Fowler as the runner-up this week, finishing at 13-under par.

He's going to win a green jacket one of these days, and it could be this Sunday. The course and Fowler's game fit one another like a glove.

Other than an outlier like Trevor Immelman or Zach Johnson, both of whom won at Augusta National nearly a decade ago now, long hitters are the ones propsering at Augusta these days.

That bodes well for Fowler, who ranks 35th on TOUR in driving distance (300 yards) and can reach all of Augusta's par 5 holes in two, with only the second hole being the most problematic for him.

He's second on the TOUR in greens in regulation this year (73%) which is always important at Augusta. The less you have to chip and manage yourself around the complicated green complexes, the better off you are.

He's in the top 30 in virtually every putting category on TOUR this season -- that's arguably the most important part of winning at Augusta National. And Fowler can roll his rock, as they say out there.

Fowler has performed admirably on golf's biggest stage. He's been a Ryder Cup success, has a Player's title, and was in the hunt for last year's FedEx Cup before Jordan Spieth put it away with a win at the Tour Championship.

Oh, and he's also played well at Augusta National in recent years, with a T12 last year and a T5 in 2014.

His time has arrived. Rickie Fowler can win any golf tournament he plays. He might even win this year's Masters.

Alas, he won't win this year's Masters. Because tomorrow here at #DMD, I'll give you the winner.


Monday
April 4
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXI
Issue 4
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hyun soo kim stays, but it's all a mess now

What's Opening Day without some roster drama?

The Orioles kick off their 2016 campaign at home against Minnesota today at 3 pm and guess who will be lumbering down the orange runway in pre-game ceremonies? Newcomer Hyun Soo Kim, that's who.

In a surprising move yesterday, the Birds changed their tune on the former Korean Baseball Organization star outfielder and decided to bring him north with the ballclub after all.

They didn't do that out of the kindness of their heart, though. Kim forced their hand late last week when he -- through his agent -- refused a minor league assignment after the O's tried several different ways to part company with him.

Managing the 25-man roster isn't child's play.

I'm sure Buck Showalter is just thrilled with having one of the 25 roster spots locked up by a guy he literally has no intention at all of playing.

This mess with Kim is all on Dan Duquette and the Orioles. And it's a real mess.

Take it however you like, but over the weekend a Korean newspaper indicated that Duquette and the Orioles offered Kim back to teams in the KBO about ten days ago, before they had even expressed that desire to Kim himself.

That was really bad form from Duquette, who should know better than to embarrass a player in his native country. When word quickly got back to Kim that the Orioles were trying to dump him to a team in the KBO, he brought the story to the Orioles and demanded an explanation.

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Hyun Soo Kim hasn't turned his back on the Orioles...but the Birds have surely turned their back on him.

Then things got even more sticky.

Kim, who signed a $7 million deal in the off-season, stopped seeing spring training at bats. With Rule 5 newcomer Joey Rickard well on his way to locking up the starting left field job, Kim's playing time was greatly reduced and the Birds started looking more closely at Xavier Avery and L.J. Hoes to compete with Nolan Reimold for the 4th outfielder spot.

The Korean outfielder got off to an abysmal Grapefruit League start, going hitless in his first 16 at bats, but started to improve little by little as the games came and went and he became a little more familiar with the speed of American baseball.

Without a doubt, though, the adjustment period for Kim was going to be much more difficult than the Orioles likely first anticipated.

And that's when Kim started riding the bench and something was in the air with regard to his future in Baltimore.

Once the story got out that the O's were looking to ship Kim back to a team in the KBO, Showalter was basically in a no-win situation. Giving Kim playing time risked an injury that might have precluded him from returning to his country. Not playing him only served to anger and frustrate Kim, who certainly wasn't going to get more acclimated to major league pitching by NOT seeing it on a daily basis.

So, Kim rode the bench, occasionally appearing as a pinch hitter or starting a "B game".

Then, the Birds decided to try and convince Kim to accept a minor league assignment and he refused. Remember, in order to pry Kim away from his team in the KBO last December, Duquette had to include language in the contract that prohibited the Orioles from sending Kim to the minors without his approval.

Duquette wanted to send him to Norfolk and asked for Kim's approval. The outfielder, naturally, said "no thanks" to that request.

One week later, Kim's on his way to Baltimore and will trot down the orange runway just after 3 pm today.

But will he play at all in April? That seems highly unlikely, save for some pinch hitting duty or a Sunday afternoon lineup insertion.

I'm sorry, but the player isn't at fault here.

Believe it or not, there are folks in town blaming Hyun Soo Kim for this fiasco.

The only thing you can blame Kim for is not hitting worth a squat in the first two weeks of spring training. He did show up to camp out of shape, no doubt, but given that this was his first-ever experience with American baseball and spring training protocol, you can give him a pass on this episode.

However, you can't give the Orioles a pass for the way they handled the whole thing. Hyun Soo Kim's not at fault here. But the Orioles sure look bad.

They tried to force their hand -- the one they created -- on Kim, by first not playing him, then by offering him back to teams in the KBO without his knowledge, and then, finally, by trying to convince him to take a minor league assignment when it was clearly not something he was interested in doing.

And Kim's the bad guy here?

Not hardly.

This is classic Duquette, although it must also be noted that this all falls in line with his "roster flexibility" mantra, the one that sees the O's routinely go through 40-50 players during the regular sreason due to injuries, call-ups, etc.

Duquette's nothing if not creatively gifted with roster manipulation tactics, but on this occasion, he swung and missed -- badly -- on the Hyun Soo Kim situation.

The Birds could just write Kim a $7 million going-away present and ship him home with a fat wallet and a few commemorative uniforms for his man cave, but we all know they're likely not going to do that anytime soon. This is now just as much about money as it is anything else, and the O's rarely lose those quibbles.

As I wrote last week here at #DMD, think how fortunate it is that Joey Rickard played his tail off in spring training and secured the left field job. Failing that, the Birds would REALLY be in deep doo-doo, forced to perhaps use Kim out there today even though it's obvious he's nowhere near good enough at this point.

Left field's on lock down, for the time being, but the mess with Hyun Soo Kim is still very much up in the air. It's likely to end ugly at some point soon.

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drew's 2016 major league predictions

It's always fun to chart out the prospects for an entire season ahead of time and then look back six months later to see how wrong you were in almost every category.

Well, OK, maybe that's not actually "fun", but it's what we all do at the start of every baseball and football season, right?

So, here's how I think the American League and National League will play out this year, along with predicted Cy Young and MVP winners in each league.


Division Champions

American League East -- Baltimore Orioles

American League Central -- Cleveland Indians

American League West -- Houston Astros

American League Wild Card teams -- Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers


National League East -- Washington Nationals

National League Central -- Chicago Cubs

National League West -- San Francisco Giants

National League Wild Card teams -- St. Louis Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks


World Series -- Houston Astros beat Chicago Cubs, 4-games-to-3


American League MVP -- Manny Machado, Orioles (38 HR, 99 RBI, .297/.367/.524)

National League MVP -- Andrew McCutchen, Pirates (27 HR, 94 RBI, .308/.409/.528)

American League Cy Young -- Chris Archer, Rays (19-6, 2.03 ERA)

National League Cy Young -- Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (22-6, 1.96 ERA)

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#dmd's weekend lacrosse review


Game of the Week: Rutgers 16-Johns Hopkins 9

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Four goals from JHU scoring star Ryan Brown wasn't enough on Saturday night as Rutgers stunned Hopkins, 16-9.

In a bit of a surprise and after a back and forth start, the Scarlet Knights took the Blue Jays out to the woodshed. Rutgers was clearly more fresh, full of energy and motivated to make a statement, which they did. Their offense performed as advertised and at times looked like they were playing man-up when 6 on 6. Eventually, the Blue Jays wore down and seemed apparent that the last Saturday's OT loss and Wednesday's bigger than anticipated challenge from UMBC had taken its toll. Here were the keys to the game:

Rutgers 3-Headed Monster Attack - As noted in Friday's preview, the Scarlet Knight attack trio of Scott Bieda, Adam Charalambides, and Jules Heningburg came up big combining for 9 goals and 8 assists. Of Rutgers 16 goals, an astonishing 13 were assisted with 7 goal scorers total. Just great team offense to watch. It also doesn't hurt to go 3 of 4 on man ups with 3 goals from EMO specialist Ryan Hollingsworth.

Goalie Play - Both goalies came into the game playing pretty average, so someone needed to play big. Rutgers Kris Alleyne answered the call making several great saves. He faced 46 shots in all and made 13 saves on 9 goals allowed (61.9%) with the last 2 coming in mop-up time in the last 2 minutes. The Blue Jays Brock Turnbaugh made some decent saves while facing a similar barrage of shots (48), but had a tough night in which his defense didn't do him many favors. Turnbaugh's totals were 12 saves on 16 goals allowed (42.9%).

Hopkins Midfield AWOL - One of the keys to Hopkins better play recently had been the increased productivity from their midfield. Last night, the Scarlet Knights were able to hold the Blue Jay midfielders in check, only allowing 2 goals from John Crawley and shutting out Drew Supinski. On a bad note, Supinski went down in the 2nd half after injuring himself on what appeared to be him just changing direction and didn't return. Hopefully, a week's rest makes things better. Not to mention the Blue Jays not needing another absence at midfield already down 2 starters (Connor Reed - injury, Joel Tinney - NCAA rules violation).

Both teams continue their B1G schedule. Later this week, Ohio State comes to Homewood Field to face Hopkins after a tough 1-goal loss to Penn State while Rutgers faces a Michigan fresh from a tough 1-goal loss to the Terps. At 8-2 Rutgers should make a solid debut in the Top 20 with several teams in the lower portion of the Top 20 losing. Hopkins will most likely fall out of the top 10 to #12 or #13. However, Hopkins is supposed to get Dave Pietramala after missing the past 4 games with a back infection.

Other Locals:

#5 Maryland 8-Michigan 7 - A gimme game for the Terps turned into a snowy thriller requiring a last minute goal by Bryan Cole. Looks like there are no gimme's in the B1G after all.

#8 Towson 11-Drexel 7 - As noted, this turned out to be a tougher game than what appeared on paper. But the Tigers finally awoke in the 4th quarter with 6 goals. Part of Towson's struggles was the big day for Drexel goalie Jimmy Joe Granito, who made 16 saves.

#13 Navy 12-Holy Cross 3 - Tough year continued for the 1-win Crusaders on Saturday in Annapolis who did not score 5 goals against Navy.

#16 Loyola 12-Colgate 4 - After an hour snow delay, the Greyhounds continued their winning ways behind a strong offense featuring 6 different scorers and another big outing from goalie Jacob Stover who made 10 saves.

UMBC 13-Lafayette 8 - The Retrievers double their win total and move to 2-6.

Mount St. Marys 19-Sacred Heart 16- The Mount moves to 5-3 in a defense optional game at Sacred heart.

The Big Picture:

#2 Notre Dame 17-#7 Syracuse 7- Notre Dame's offense finally has a big day while the Orange are ice cold and on a 3-game skid.

#17 North Carolina 17-#11 Duke 16 OT - Carolina gets a big win after giving up the lead in the final minute.

Marquette 11-#6 Villanova 3 - The Wildcats formerly potent offense has scored only 11 goals in the past 2 games. Tough week 2 loss week for Villanova who was undefeated just a week ago.

Upsets and Upstarts Not Done Yet - "Unranked" Marquette dominates #6 Villanova. Rutgers easily handles #9 Johns Hopkins. Michigan takes the #5 Terps to the wire.

More Big Movements in the Polls - 7 of Top 20 take big losses and should shake up the polls once again. Towson could jump to #6 through attrition.

The Top 5 - Brown, Notre Dame, Denver, Yale, Maryland

Note: #DMD's lacrosse coverage is written and provided by John Pusateri.

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drew's top 10 masters preview

And then there were three.

Yes, that was a terrific album from the band Genesis, but there are also three players remaining in Drew's Masters Top 10 for 2016. Here's his predicted order of finish thus far: Brandt Snedeker (#10), Phil Mickelson (9), Kevin Kisner (8), Sergio Garcia (7), Jordan Spieth (6), Branden Grace (5), Bryson DeChambeau (4).

After two days of picking "wild cards", so to speak, today's entry is a little more true-to-form.

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With two green jackets already, Bubba Watson is a threat to win every time he tees it up at Augusta National.

#3 -- Bubba Watson

This much is a certainty: Bubba Watson could run away and hide this week at Augusta en route to his 3rd green jacket. He won in 2012 and again in 2014, so the natural cycle points to him winning again this year.

Watson could win a half dozen green jackets before it's all said and done.

He's that good and the course fits him that well.

Even at age 37 now, Watson is still among the most formidable players on TOUR and it's not just because he hits the tee ball 330 yards on command. His iron play continues to be a strength and even his once-maligned short game has dramatically improved over the last five years.

Putting continues to be an issue for the left-hander, but at Augusta National in particular, he makes such a laughingstock of the Par 5 holes that he's literally almost 10 under for the week before he tees it up on Thursday.

If Bubba wins this week, he'd have as many Augusta titles as Mickelson and one less than Woods.



warriors get back on track, now 69-8

With every win now, the Golden State Warriors are that much closer to making history.

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Steph Curry's 39 points led the Warriors past Portland on Sunday night and puts Golden State at 69-8 on the year.

Two nights after a stunning home loss to the Boston Celtics decreased their wiggle room by one game, Golden State bounced back with a 136-111 home win over Portland on Sunday night.

The Warriors are now 69-8 on the year, with five games remaining on their schedule.

Golden State is trying to set the NBA's all-time mark for most wins in a season, currently held by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, who finished an amazing 72-10 en route to the NBA title that year.

The Warriors can lose one more game and still set the record, but they have a couple of serious challenges ahead of them over the next ten days.

They host Minnesota on Tuesday night and then San Antonio comes town for a Thursday night date with the Warriors at Oracle Arena.

Steph Curry and Company then play Memphis on the road this coming Saturday and visit the Spurs in San Antonio on Sunday before wrapping up the regular season at home vs. Memphis next Wednesday, April 13.

Sunday
April 3
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXI
Issue 3
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expect our birds to fly high in 2016

It all starts tomorrow.

Six months of games, fun, high-fives, more games, sunny afternoons and hot, humid evenings at the ballpark.

I know the calendar said spring arrived a couple of weeks ago, but in Drew's book, spring officially takes hold just after 3 pm tomorrow when the first pitch is thrown at Camden Yards.

With any luck at all -- and decent-enough pitching to compliment the offensive arsenal -- the Orioles will turn spring and summer baseball into something that bleeds over well into the fall. Wouldn't that be just what the doctor ordered?

Even with the memory of that 4-game beating the O's took at the hands of the Royals in the ALCS back in 2014, was there anything better in recent memory than having out football team AND baseball team playing meaningful games in the month of October? I can't think of anything.

So it's with that kind of blessing in mind that I forge ahead to tomorrow's opening day against the Twins, full of high hopes for the 162-game schedule that lies ahead of us.

I'm in the minority, for sure, when I say this: The Orioles are winning the American League East.

I spent a lot of time on Saturday night looking at as many pre-season prediction pieces as I could find on the web, and nearly every "expert" -- with their analytics and data on display -- picks a team OTHER than Baltimore to win the A.L. East.

"No starting pitching, no chance of winning half their games..."

"Bullpen burnout is inevitable with Buck's group in 2016. It won't end well for the Birds."

If the power bats go limp, it could get really ugly in Baltimore."

"Nothing about their team is complete-enough. Even the power hitters have holes in their game."

Last time I checked, you have to score runs to win.

I love how all of the experts focus solely on the O's starting pitching but don't give equal emphasis to their hitting possibilities.

If the O's rotation included Felix Hernandez, Yu Darvish, and Corey Kluber, but the team's offense was built around punch-and-judy type hitters, would the O's win with that kind of roster? I mean, is pitching so critical as to predict the team would win lots of 2-1 games? But you can't do the same thing and predict a bunch of 7-5 wins with our offensively charged 2016 club?

I'm buying stock in the Orioles' offense, plain and simple.

They're gonna wear teams -- and pitching staffs -- out this season.

I know, I know, go ahead and say it: "Pitching wins championships."

Actually, really good teams win championships. Occasionally, an outlier comes along, like this year's Denver Broncos team, who rode the coattails of a superb defense in the playoffs and won the Super Bowl. But, mostly, teams have to be able to produce offense AND defense in order to win titles.

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The Orioles will need a big year from Chris Davis in 2016, but is there any reason at all to think he won't produce one for them?

The Orioles are going to mash their way to the division crown this season, watch and see.

Yes, they'll need some level of acceptable starting pitching in order to win more than half their games. I'm certainly not saying that starting pitching ISN'T important.

But what they lack in pitching they'll make up for -- and then some -- in offense and a sound, reliable bullpen.

Here's one way I'm looking at it over a six-month period. If you had to take a guess right now, out of 162 games, how many times will the Orioles give up seven or more runs? Here's a hint, last year they did it 32 times.

If they did it 32 times a year ago -- with Wei Yen Chen and Miguel Gonzalez on the roster -- how many times will they allow seven or more runs in 2016? I don't know the number, but I know the answer, if that makes any sense. As long as they don't do it more than 32 times this season, they're going to greatly increase their win total from the 81 of a year ago simply because their offense is much better than it was in 2015.

And even if they DO allow seven or more runs in 37 games, instead of 32, that's still not enough to convince me they can't win the A.L. East.

The Orioles were 81-81 a year ago -- albeit with a fortunate season-ending winning streak to get there -- and scored 713 runs. That's 4.4 runs per-game.

If they can score 100 more runs this season, and they should easily be able to do that with the addition of Trumbo and Alvarez and full seasons (hopefully) from Wieters and Schoop, that would put them at 813 runs, which would have been 2nd most (behind Toronto) last season.

Speaking of great offense and only so-so starting pitching, how about those 2015 Blue Jays? Remember them? They did OK for themselves.

There's no reason at all why the Orioles can't be this year's version of last year's Toronto team. None at all.

And if they do score 813 runs or more in 2016, that puts the Birds at an average runs-scored of 5 per-game. That's another dozen or so wins in 2016. Suddenly that 81 from 2015 turns into 94 in 2016.

Sure, we're probably going to be giving up more runs this year than we did in 2015, but is the pitching really going to be THAT much worse than it was a year ago? I don't see how it can be, frankly.

Conservatively, right now, barring injury, there are seven guys on the team who will hit 25 or more home runs. Davis, Jones, Trumbo, Alvarez, Wieters, Schoop and Machado. Even if we throw one of those out "just because", that's still six guys with 25 or more and you just know Trumbo and Davis are going to combine for something closer to 80 rather than 50.

You can try and win a bunch of games 1-0 or 2-1, or you can load up on offense and win 9-7 or 8-6 a lot of nights.

What's that old saying? Dance with who brung ya...

Here's what I know: you can't change the way the team is built at this point. The Orioles are an offense-first, pitching-second squad in 2016. That's just the way the team has been constructed.

Better off going with the flow than fighting it, in my mind.

Defense isn't going to be an issue, we also know that to be true. Yes, the left field position is a question mark and so, too, is right field, but if Trumbo stumbles and bumbles too much out there, Buck Showalter will simply slide Chris Davis to right and Trumbo will play first.

Overall, though, when the ball is hit to an Oriole in 2016, he's going to field it and make a play. That's the least of our worries.

Getting decent enough starting pitching is most certainly going to be key, what with no one in particular standing out as the team's "stopper". When the debate about "who's your best starting pitcher?" centers on whether the answer is Chris Tillman or Ubaldo Jimenez, you definitely MIGHT be in trouble.

But if Gausman returns later this month and his arm troubles are behind him, he could win up being the team's top hurler in 2016. I guess Yovani Gallardo could, too, but the early returns on his velocity in spring training aren't all that favorable.

My guess is the Orioles won't wait long -- late May, maybe? -- to pull the trigger on a deal for James Shields. He would come with a hefty price tag ($22 million), but I think the Padres would chip in for a large chunk of that, especially if they get one of the much-talked-about Baby Birds in return like Christian Walker or Trey Mancini.

Other arms will be available in July, or earlier, and if the team's starting pitching is that bad, they'll get a starter or two if they're in the race.

And they WILL be in the race at the end of July.

Unless Jones, Davis, Trumbo, Machado, Wieters, Alvarez and Schoop all suddenly throw a shoe in the final half-furlong, there's no stopping the Baltimore offense in 2016. It might not be the traditional kind of winning the purists like to see, but we'll be on the good end of a lot of 10-7 wins.

Am I overly optimistic? Sure, maybe. But I'm buying stock in the offense, like I said earlier.

We're going to wear a lot of teams out in 2016. Watch and see.

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drew's top 10 masters preview

And now, comes the surprise on my predicted Top 10 finishers at next week's Masters.

Granted, yesterday's inclusion of little-known Branden Grace could have been deemed a surprise as well, but someone you've never heard of always seems to lurk around the Augusta leaderboard over the weekend, and this year I think Grace might just be that guy.

Today's player at #4 is most definitely a surprise, but only if you're unaware of this kid and just how good he is now, and will be in the future.

#4 - Bryson DeChambeau

Before I make a Masters prediction, I'll make a bigger, bolder prediction about DeChambeau. He'll win more majors in his career than will Jordan Spieth or Rickie Fowler.

He's that legit.

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It's his goal to win the Masters as an amateur. Bryson DeChambeau gets his one chance next week at Augusta National.

And do not be at all surprised if he wins the Masters next week. I'm telling you now -- he has the game and ability to win the tournament.

He won't, though, because only three first-timers have ever done it and a rookie Augusta visitor hasn't won the green jacket since Fuzzy Zoeller did it in 1979.

But DeChambeau's amateur pedigree makes him more of a bet to win next week than Zoeller was to win in his debut appearance back in '79.

And don't forget, Jordan Spieth won last year's Masters and that was only his SECOND year in the event. There's not really that much difference between year one and year two at that golf course.

If you're wondering who DeChambeau is, his story is this: He was a physics major at SMU who applies math and science to nearly everything he does on the golf course. His irons are all cut the same length (the equivalent of a standard 7 iron for most of us), he developed his own green-reading formula and he uses a mathematical equation based on the length of a putt to establish a "stroke clock" that times the length of his putting stroke with the distance the ball needs to travel to the hole.

And he wins. A lot.

He steamrolled everyone in the field at last summer's U.S. Amateur, which is how he qualified for the Masters next week. He's already played in a handful of professional events -- and acquitted himself well -- in the last four months, still as an amateur, though, and will turn professional on the Monday after the Masters to begin his hopefully-successful PGA Tour career.

This kid will make a lot of money and win a lot of golf tournaments over the next three decades.

And I think he'll be firmly in the hunt next week at Augusta.

Ambitious to think an Amateur can contend?

Sure -- but only if that amateur's name wasn't Bryson DeChambeau, that is.

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nova, unc to meet for ncaa hoops title

In one of the greatest offensive performances in the history of the NCAA tournament, Villanova routed Oklahoma last night, 95-51, scoring more points in the second half alone (53) than the Sooners could muster for the entire game (51).

Villanova shot a scorching 74.1% from the field, making an unheard of 35 of 49 shots. At one point, they made a basket from the field in 11 out of 12 trips down the floor.

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Villanova's Josh Hart had a game-high 25 points in Saturday night's semi-final win over Oklahoma.

Their rise to Monday's championship game marks the first ever visit to the Final for longtime Villanova coach Jay Wright. Baltimore high school star Phil Booth (Mt. St. Joe) played 19 minutes on Saturday night vs. Oklahoma and chipped in with 10 points as he, too, makes a trip to the championship game.

The Wildcats will face a North Carolina team that took a few punches early on from Syracuse last night and then ran away in the final twenty minutes en route to an easy 83-66 win that sends the Tar Heels back to the Final with hopes of handing coach Roy Williams his third national title in Chapel Hill.

Villanova can't possibly shoot 74% on Monday night in the championship game.

But North Carolina will have to step up their offensive game if they expect to overcome a tenacious Villanova defense that prides itself on suffocating opposing scoring threats.

Oklahoma's tournament-wonder-boy, Buddy Hield, found that out first-hand last night in Houston. He finished the game with 9 points after averaging 25 per-game in the four prior Oklahoma contests. A 46% shooter from 3-point range, Hield went 1-for-8 outside the arc on Saturday night.

North Carolina will have to play hard -- and well -- at both ends of the court on Monday night to beat Villanova.

Saturday
April 2
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXI
Issue 2
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weird friday: warriors lose at home, woods says "no" to the masters

I'm sure you see that headline and you probably think, "Yeah, another one of Forrester's April Fools pranks..."

Except it's no joke.

Cruising to a record season in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors merely needed to win their five remaining home games and they would secure the single-best regular season record in league history.

But the Boston Celtics got in the way of that on Friday night, winning at Golden State, 109-106, ending the Dubs 54-game home winning streak and putting the chase for 73-9 in serious jeopardy.

Yes, it happened on April Fools Day, but it wasn't a prank gone bad.

If the Warriors can just go 5-1, they'll own the record.

Golden State now has six games remaining and with their record now at 68-8, they'll need to win five of those to set the record. Don't look now, but two of those five come against the San Antonio Spurs, who are 63-12 on the year and certainly not in "chopped liver" category themselves.

The Celtics, by the way, aren't a walk-in-the-park. Last night's shocker moves them to 44-32 on the season and even though they're not quite ready to be mentioned among the league's elite teams, former Butler coach Brad Stevens has done a whale of job there over the last three seasons.

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Even with a 29-point effort from Steph Curry, the Warriors still couldn't avoid their first home loss of the season on Friday night.

It was always inevitable that Golden State would lose a home game, but watching it happen on television was almost surreal. You could see desperation in the faces of the Warriors' players as the game clocked worked its way down. They made it a one-possession game on a couple of occasions in the final minute of regulation, but when both Steph Curry and Harrison Barnes missed 3-pointers in the last five seconds, the home streak was cooked.

And, suddenly, the season-long chase for basketball immortality was also in jeopardy.

It was always going to be a dogfight to finish at 73-9 or better. That's just too good, honestly. Frankly, unless you're just daydreaming, it's hard to fathom a team making a serious run at finishing the year with a single-digit loss total.

There they are now, though, even with last night's loss, still very much in control of their own destiny. The Warriors host Minnesota this Sunday, Portland on Tuesday and then San Antonio comes to town next Thursday for a big Western Conference showdown. Golden State then finishes the campaign with road games at Memphis and San Antonio before finishing with Memphis at home on April 13.

They can lose one of those games, but that's it.

The funny thing about Golden State's pursuit of the record is this: If they don't finish 73-9, what's that going to do to them come playoff time? They've been very open all year about the record and how much it means to them, both individually and as a team.

Some teams, when in pursuit of a historical mark of some sort, will shy away from the questions and the media hype, but not the Warriors. Ever since they started the season 24-0, their focus has been on beating the Bulls record of 1995-96. They've talked about it, hoped for it, and played like it was important to them.

What happens if Golden State gags it?

If they come up short, particularly in one of the final few games of the season, will they be able to put that disappointment behind them come playoff time or could the chase for the streak be a "winner takes all" kind of deal?

Losing at home, per se, isn't that big of a deal for the Warriors, who hadn't lost a regular season game at Oracle Arena since January 27, 2015. In fact, the Dubs are probably better served in the long run losing one at how, now, rather than in the playoffs.

San Antonio is a perfect 38-0 at home this season, with three games remaining in their arena. If I'm them, I might want to drop one of those just to get it out of the way.

It's crazy to think that Golden State is starting to "wobble" a bit just because they finally lost a home game last night and dropped -- if that's possible -- to 68-8 on the year. But, perhaps they are. There have been other close calls this season, other home overtime wins, in fact, and just two nights ago in Utah, the Warriors ralled from a late 8-point deficit to steal an overtime victory from a spirited Jazz squad that might very well face the Warriors in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

There's an old sports saying I love to fall back on: "You're never as good as you look when you're winning and never as bad as you look when you're losing.

I think Golden State's an outstanding team, don't get me wrong. They've won 68 of 76 games for cryin' out loud.

But, is it possible for a team to be this good? Two years in a row? We just don't see legendary stuff like this all that often, and when we do, it's hard to accept as reality.

Maybe, like the saying goes above, they're not "as good as they look".

You see what losing one game does to people?

I can only hope last night's loss to the Celtics doesn't rattle the Warriors like it rattled me.

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tiger makes it official: he's staying home next week

Weeks of speculation and a bad mid-week rumor were squashed by Tiger Woods on Friday when he announced via his web-site that he won't be playing in this year's Masters tournament, which starts next Thursday, April 7 at Augusta National Club.

Not that Tiger would have been among the favorites or anything like that, but his absence at Augusta means he'll remain at 14 major championships for his illustrious career, still four behind all-time leader Jack Nicklaus.

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Once a permament fixture on the Augusta National leaderboard, Tiger Woods announced on Friday he'll miss this year's event.

Woods hasn't played on TOUR this year after undergoing two neck surgeries in 2015.

Yes, the game of professional golf has plowed along nicely without Woods in tow over the last couple of years, but if only because no one out there is great enough to beat everyone in sight like Woods basically did from 2000 through 2008.

Jason Day? Great swing, great player, going to win a lot of tournaments, but he's not winning 79 "regular" TOUR events or 14 majors, that much is for certain.

Jordan Spieth? His success isn't a fluke by any means, but he's not capable of dominating like Tiger did in that span.

Rory McIlroy? Has more talent than Day and Spieth, but something's holding him back. Then again, when Nike gives you $250 million just to play the sport, why does winning matter all that much?

Fowler, Bubba, Dustin Johnson -- remarkably talented players, each with a different swing and different approach, but none of the three are clones of Tiger.

Ready for an eye-opener? Woods won 14 career major titles by age 33. Day, Spieth, McIlroy, Fowler, Bubba and DJ have nine major titles between them. The interesting chase won't be to see whether those six will combine for more than 14 (they will), but whether they can get to 14 COMBINED by the time they all reach age 33.

Golf would be better if Woods returns.

Whether you're a Tiger fan or a Tiger hater (and nearly everyone falls into one of those categories), it's hard to argue this point: Golf would be better if Woods could get his act -- and body -- together for one more run of some kind. I'm not suggesting the PGA Tour stinks right now without Tiger playing 15-20 times a year. I'm merely saying if he could come back and give it a go and be somewhat competitive, the sport would benefit greatly from his return.

No Tiger at Augusta next week leaves a hole in the tournament that simply can't be filled.

Even in his current state, Woods could always bump it around Augusta National and throw up a 67 or 68 and put his name on the leaderboard.

And isn't that really all we want anymore? Just a chance to see if, in fact, there's anything still there?

Nicklaus won the Masters at age 46 and was competitive again in his late 50's, but even the 1986 Masters was semi-gift-wrapped for him. Seve Ballesteros owned a 3-shot lead after the 13th hole on Sunday, but promptly coughed it up with a horrendous 5-iron into the pond at 15. Greg Norman was tied for the lead in the 18th fairway before blasting a shot into the right gallery and making bogey at the final hole. And Tom Kite needed a 10-foot birdie putt at #18 to force a playoff, but couldn't stomach the moment and missed it badly.

Yes, I know all about Jack's back nine birdie barrage and the eagle at the 15th hole on that memorable April Sunday in 1986. It was GREAT golf. But his 6th Masters victory wouldn't have been possible without the aid of some well-timed choking from a few great players like Seve, Norman and Kite.

What I'm saying is this: Even though Woods, at age 40, might need the same sort of "help" that Jack got in 1986, it would still be fun to watch it all unfold just to see if, in fact, there's some fight still left in the one time phenom.

Sadly, we won't see it next week.

Woods continues to contend (no pun intended) that he can still compete if he gets completely healthy.

I agree with that statement in theory, but I don't think he can get healthy again. Therein lies the rub.

I've said all along, since all of this "non-winning" started for Woods in 2009, that his biggest impediment was health. Elite, high-quality golf is nearly impossible to play when you're healthy and hitting on all cylinders. Just ask PGA Tour player Morgan Hoffmann, who went 65-80 at this week's event in Houston. 65 on Thursday. 80 on Friday. Same guy. Same clubs. Same golf ball.

If he could get healthy again, I think Woods could make some noise.

But I don't think he'll ever be healthy again.

This time, at least, Tiger appears to be heeding the advice of his medical team and giving this latest surgery all the time it needs to prove who's boss. Woods has notoriously ignored his doctors and played on, anyway, like the time in 2008 when he beat Rocco Mediate with a torn ACL in his left leg.

Neck surgery, though, and a second one at that, isn't anything to fiddle around with, so Woods is doing the smart thing next week and skipping the Masters.

He wasn't going to win, anyway, but it still would have been nice to see Woods strolling the fairways of Augusta one more time and giving us hope that someday soon, perhaps, he'll be back in the hunt for another green jacket.

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drew's top 10 masters preview

So, we've finally reached the Top 5.

Over the last five days, #DMD has previewed the 2016 Masters, with Drew's top 10 predicted finishers. Here's who has been profiled thus far: Brandt Snedeker (#10), Phil Mickelson (9), Kevin Kisner (8), Sergio Garcia (7), Jordan Spieth (6).

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South African Branden Grace is poised for a breakthrough on the PGA Tour. Could it come at next week's Masters?

#5 - Branden Grace

For whatever weird reason, South African golfers have taken to Augusta National like bees to honey.

There are several South Africans playing this year's Masters and any of the three could win. Charl Schwartzel (2011) already has one Masters green jacket, while Louis Oosthuizen lost in a playoff to Bubba Watson back in 2014. Trevor Immelman won at Augusta back in 2008 before injuries and bad putting stunted his career. A long time ago, the best of them all, Gary Player, won three times at Augusta.

Even guys like Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Rory Sabbatini had brief spells of good play at Augusta, though none of them ever won a green jacket.

It's hard to explain, but the Masters and South African golfers have a thing, if you will.

And, if you look at recent Augusta history, someone you wouldn't think would be hovering around the leaderboard finds their way there over the weekend.

This year, that player might very well be Branden Grace, who comes in at #5 on my list of Augusta finishers in 2016.

Grace is best known, at this point, as the guy who was tied for the lead at last year's U.S. Open before hitting his tee ball out of bounds at the 16th hole on Sunday.

He'll erase that faux pas with a bunch of big wins in his career, you can bet on that. It might even come next week at Augusta National.

He's won seven tournaments on the European Tour since 2012, and while conventional wisdom suggests he needs to win once or twice in America before taking dead aim on the Masters, it's easy to point to last year's U.S. Open and say, "He nearly won that one..."

Grace has made 5 of 6 cuts this season on the PGA Tour, with four Top 25's along the way. He's the real deal, just needing a win to cement his place among a crop of good European Tour players who are also capable of winning here in the U.S.

There's something about South Africans and Augusta National that's worth watching next week. Keep your eye on Branden Grace.

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umbc will introduce new hoops coach next week


UMBC will introduce their new head basketball coach, Ryan Odom, at campus and community event next week. Odom, the ninth head men's basketball coach in school history, replaces Aki Thomas, who was relieved of his duties following the Retrievers first-round exit from the America East conference tournament last month.

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Ryan Odom is the new men's basketball coach at UMBC.

Odom served as head men's basketball coach at Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C.) University for the 2015-16 season. The Bears (21-10) advanced to the NCAA Division II Regional Finals for the first time in school history and won 20 games in a season for the first time in eight years. Lenoir-Rhyne improved by 10.5 games from the previous campaign, led the nation in 3-point field goals made per game (12.4), and finished ninth in the country in scoring at 90.1 points per game.

Prior to earning the position at Lenior-Rhyne, Odom coached at UNC Charlotte, 2010-15. The 49ers earned a bid to the NIT in 2013. In May of 2014, the Durham, N.C. native was elevated to associate head coach and on January 6, 2015, Odom was named interim head coach at Charlotte for the remainder of the season.

Odom led the 49ers to eight victories (8-11) as mentor and coached Torin Dorn to Conference USA Freshman-of-the-Year honors and Pierria Henry to third-team all-league accolades.

"I am pleased to announce Ryan Odom as our new head men's basketball coach. Ryan is the right fit due to his training and temperament," UMBC Director of Athletics Tim Hall said. "He has enjoyed success in all facets of his career thus far. Above all, Ryan is a teacher who has a strong commitment to academic success and the welfare of his athletes. I am confident that Ryan will move us towards a more comprehensive level of success with our men's basketball program."

Prior to his tenure in Charlotte, Odom spent seven years on the coaching staff at Virginia Tech as an assistant and was part of a Hokies' team that earned a berth to the NCAA Division I Tournament in 2007 and beat Illinois in the first round.

Odom was also an assistant coach at American (2000-03), UNC Asheville (1999-00), and Furman (1997-99), and served one year as an administrative assistant at South Florida (1996-97).

Odom graduated from Hampden-Sydney in 1996 with a bachelor's degree in economics and was a four-year starting point guard on the men's basketball team. He served as team captain his senior season and led Hampden-Sydney to an 80-30 record during his playing career, including two berths in the NCAA Division III Tournament. In addition, Odom finished his career as the school's all-time leader in three-pointers made and placed fourth in assists.

Ryan is the son of Dave Odom, who retired in 2008 as the head coach at South Carolina. The elder Odom earned SEC Coach of the Year honors 2004 and ACC Coach of the Year honors in 1991,1994 and 1995, while at Wake Forest University.


Friday
April 1
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXI
Issue 1
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soccer wage fight is sticky, but women definitely deserve better


I don't think you have to be a soccer enthusiast or a supporter of the U.S. women's national team to sink your teeth into their wage-discrimination lawsuit and form an opinion.

It's a very interesting story, even for the casual observer.

The quick version to catch-up the uninitiated is this: Five members of the U.S. Women's soccer team filed a lawsuit this week against their employer, the United States Soccer Federation, claiming, among other things, that the wage disparity between the women's team and the men's team is unlawful.

There's a lot more to it, but at every turn, in nearly every wage-earned category, the men's team makes more money or has the potential to make more money than their female counterparts.

All the women have done for two decades is win.

It's a troubling situation for the USSF because they've been riding on the coattails of the women's national team for well over a decade now, going back as far as 1999 when the U.S. Women won the World Cup in Los Angeles. They've used money gained from the success of the women's program and funneled it to the men's team (and vice versa), which is all well and good since the goal of the Federation is to field two world-class soccer programs.

But why aren't the women paid the same salaries as the men? Why is their travel per-diem different? Why are their win bonus amounts not the same?

The USSF hasn't commented directly on the charges filed against them with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but their general response, naturally, sounds something like this -- We've treated the women's team very fairly over the years. We're going to continue to look at the revenue they generate and make sure it's in line with the payroll figures we can support for all aspects of their operation.

That's code word for: We think men should be paid more than women to play professional soccer in this country.

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Hope Solo (L) and Carli Lloyd (R) are two of the five players named in the lawsuit filed by the U.S. women's soccer team this week.

Among the most alarming disparities between the teams is this nugget. If the U.S. Women's team wins 20 "friendly" (exhibition) matches in one calendar year, each player is eligible to receive a $99,000 bonus (providing she's on the roster for all of the winning matches). If the Men's team wins 20 friendly matches, each of their players receives $263,320.

Wait, though, because there's a real bra-strap-snap coming for the Women's team and it's painful, not to mention embarrassing for the USSF. If the Women win 20 friendly matches, they get $99,000 each. If the Men were to LOSE all 20 of their friendly matches, the per-player "bonus" drops from $263,320 to $100,000.

That's not an April Fool's joke. The men get $100,000 for playing in 20 friendlies and losing them all; the women get $99,000 if they play in 20 friendlies and WIN them all.

I'm no lawyer, but I think I'd be able to win that part of the case for the U.S. women's team. That's blatant favortism there.

It gets worse, sadly. The U.S. Women won the World Cup last summer. The USSF paid the program a $2 million bonus for doing so, which was then distributed amongst the players and staff.

The U.S. men went 1-2-1 and were knocked out in the Round of 16 in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and they received a team bonus of $9 million for their work.

A couple of lawyers are going to be able to buy a much bigger house when this thing gets settled.

More people follow the men's game, that's just a fact.

Now, the one major point the USSF can use to support the fact they pay their men's team more than their women's team is that the country by-and-large cares far more about professional men's soccer than professional women's soccer. That's not hyperbole, speculation or favortism. It's the truth.

Whether it's through advertising and stadium revenue, ticket sales, merchandise sales or any item related to the men's and women's team has some sort of price tag on it, the men out-gain the women in a big way.

TV ratings for men's games are "substantially higher" than women's games, attendance at men's national team games exceed women's games, and here's the real kicker, no pun intended -- the men's league in the U.S., Major League Soccer, is now in its third decade and continues to grow. There hasn't been a women's league that has worked in this country in, well, forever.

Loosely translated, it goes like this: The soccer people in this country value men's professional soccer far, far more than they value women's professional soccer in every aspect EXCEPT the World Cup for each of the two programs.

If you factor in World Cup support, ratings, revenue, etc., the gap gets closed greatly. In fact, because of their World Cup success last year, the U.S. Women's team generated $20 million in revenue in 2015 and the men generated $5 million (a non-World Cup year).

But, in non-World World Cup years, the numbers almost flip-flop and the men's team becomes the revenue-generating winner.

So, yes, 2015 was an outlier, but the fact remains that in that year, specifically, it was the women's team bringing home the bacon while the men's team stayed home, barefoot and pregnant.

Since attendance figures are always used to determine if the community at large "really" cares about something, here's a quick snapshot of those figures for the last five years.

Attendance at men's national team games hosted in the U.S. from 2011-2015 averaged 29,781 per-game, while the women's team averaged 16,229 in that same time period.

There's enough proof in place to say, without damning what the U.S. women have done for soccer in this country, that those people in America who truly "care" about soccer are more interested in the men's side of the sport than the women's side of the sport.

But does that mean the women should be paid less for doing the same work? That's the true nuts-and-bolts of their lawsuit. They simply want equal pay and equal opportunity.

Little things, like a $12.00 per-day difference in per-diem, can easily be ironed out. The USSF will likely give in on those kind of small demands.

Others though, might not be as simple. The U.S. men get a $17,000 per-player bonus for beating Mexico in ANY game, while the women only get $1,300 for beating Mexico. The structure of the CBA for the men's team can't be changed, so reducing their bonus (to create a more level playing field) for beating Mexico isn't an option. And is the Federation really willing to give the women's team a $16,000 per-game raise if they beat Mexico, a rivalry that in no way comes close to being as important as the one that exists between the men's teams of the two countries?

I think we all know how this is going to end. The EEOC is going to find fault with the salary and wage scale currently in place for the women's national team and they'll rule that the Federation must make changes to more favorably compensate the women in light of the pay scale currently in place for the men's team.

But, just how fairly is the USSF willing to treat the women's team? Can they bring themselves to do it, or will a higher court have to make a landmark decision on this case?

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an april fool's joke remembered

Every April 1, I can't help but remember the April Fool's joke that me and my former radio partner, Terry Ford, pulled on the listening audience AND the Ravens back in 2003.

We created a fake trade between the Ravens and the Browns, one that sent Baltimore's first round pick in the upcoming 2003 draft to the Browns in exchange for quarterback Tim Couch.

What started as a simple on-air prank quickly turned viral, as other radio stations in Baltimore started reporting it, stations in Cleveland started reporting it, and in the wildest scene ever, the "trade" appeared on the scroll of ESPN's morning sports show.

That's when we knew the joke had gone a little too far.

Even the Ravens fell victim to it...and they were the ones who KNEW there wasn't a trade in the first place.

Ravens Vice President Kevin Byrne: "I took a call in the office and went looking for Ozzie. At first, I wasn't too pleased with him. Our offices are right next to each other. He could have just told me about it from the beginning. Then, I was kind of happy that maybe we had finally solved our quarterback issue. Finally, I don't remember how, I realized it was April Fools Day and it all made sense at that point. I applauded you two guys for pulling it off so perfectly."

The highlight of the whole thing wasn't ESPN, though. It was learning that the WBAL Radio general manager woke their sports director, Steve Stewart, from a sound night's sleep at 8:00 am and screamed at him to get dressed and hustle into work because "we (they) just got beat on the biggest story of the year by that rinky-dink station down the dial".

No other April Fool's joke could ever come close to that one, I'm proud to say.

We got some grief for it, good natured and, ummm, not so good natured, from people that got "had" by the prank. By and large, though, everyone got a huge chuckle out of it.


#dmd's weekend lacrosse preview


Game of the Week: #9 Johns Hopkins @ Rutgers

Johns Hopkins (5-3) travels to New Jersey this week for its first B1G conference game versus a Rutgers team with a surprising 7-2 record, best of any B1G member.

The Scarlet Knights started off the season hot at 5-0 with quality wins over Army and Fairfield (another surprising team). But they became the hunted and experienced consecutive losses to #12 Stony Brook and a down Princeton team.

However, they had some "get-well" games with wins against NJIT and Delaware and now face the Blue Jays who are coming to town after a heartbreaking loss in OT to a desperate Virginia and a mid-week victory over UMBC, who pushed them well into the 3rd quarter. With the exception of Michigan, there are no other teams in the B1G that can be taken for granted so this should make for a good game. Here are some things to watch for that could decide the outcome:

Goalie Play - The Blue Jays Turnbaugh is saving at 50.6% on the season, but in the last 3 games against better competition (Towson, Syracuse, Virginia), he saved 25 of 56 shots on goal for a pedestrian 44.6%. In a loss to UNC earlier in the year, he allowed 15 goals only saving 8. Rutgers started the season with Maryland native sophomore Max Edelman (CCBC Essex, Middletown HS), but then switched to senior Kris Alleyne who has a 54.3% save pct. after 6 starts. Similarly to Turnbaugh, in Rutgers 2 losses, Kris's save percentage dips below 50% to 45.0%. Both goalies will need to step it up this game given their opponents' offensive capabilities, which leads us to the next factor.

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Wilkins Dismuke leads a talented JHU offense against Rutgers on Saturday in a key Big 10 match-up.

Offensive Efficiency - Rutgers generates a respectable 41.6 shots per game with a real respectable 60.7% shots on goal and averages 12.8 goals per game. They feature a 3-headed monster on attack in Scott Bieda (17g, 20a), Adam Charalambides (25g, 11a), and Jules Heningburg (20g, 10a). And when these guys aren't scoring, their dishing. In their 2 losses, opposing goalies were on fire saving at 64.9%. The Blue Jays are taking 38.6 shots per game, but are making 33.7% of their shots and average 12 goals per game. Both teams can put the ball in the back of the net when they get it, so possessions will be key.

Prediction - Rutgers is having a great season so far, but will face its toughest test of the year against a Hopkins team that traditionally plays the toughest schedules. Rutgers appears to have key statistical advantages, but those were against weaker foes. This game will come down to possessions. And while the Blue Jays may be a little weary playing their third game in seven days, they should win most of the face-offs and come away with a 12-8 win over the Scarlet Knights.

Other Locals:

PNC Invitational - Tonight (Friday Night), Loyola University hosts 2 high school games of the nations best as #12 Boys Latin takes on #9 Bullis at 5:30pm followed by #7 Calvert Hall vs. Conestoga at 7:30pm. Great opportunity to catch some quality high school lacrosse.

#5 Maryland @ Michigan - The Terps, who are hitting their stride, should continue their win streak by extending Michigan's current losing streak to 4 in the first and only gimme B1G conference game.

#8 Towson vs Drexel - On paper, this looks like a game that should be controlled by the Tigers. But the Dragons have made this a tough matchup in recent years.

#13 Navy vs Holy Cross - Tough year for the 1-win Crusaders continues on Saturday in Annapolis who might not score 5 goals against Navy.

#16 Loyola @ Colgate (Sun) - Colgate's 3-6 record might not show it, but they've played competitively throughout the season.

UMBC @ Lafayette - 1-6 Retrievers vs 1-7 Leopards. Someone's gonna double their win total come Saturday night.

Mount St. Marys @ Sacred Heart - The Mount at 4-3 is making strides after a tough 5-10 season last year and should handle Northeast Conference foe Sacred Heart.

The Big Picture:

#7 Syracuse vs #2 Notre Dame - After 2 OT road losses to Hopkins and Duke, the Orange get to come home and face the toughest defense in the land vs Notre Dame.

#11 Duke vs #17 North Carolina (Fri) - Carolina needs another signature win while Duke needs to show some consistency.

#6 Villanova @ Marquette - Doesn't get much easier for the Wildcats facing a 6-1 Marquette team who beat them last year in their house.

Mid-Week Mania - No crazy mid-week upsets this week, although unranked Harvard took #10 Albany to the wire, losing 10-9. But there are definitely some teams that would just rather stay in their dorms on Tuesdays and Wednesdays than be on the field. We knew there'd be at least 27 goals scored between #3 Brown and #6 Villanova. We just didn't think Brown would have 19 of them. Lehigh is a pretty respectable team, but not sure anyone saw them losing by 10 to #12 Stony Brook, 16-6.

Unranked? - Virginia, Harvard, Penn, Richmond, Marquette, Rutgers are all teams outside the top 20 that no teams want to face. Just ask Duke or Johns Hopkins.

The #DMD local lacrosse preview was compiled and written by John Pusateri.

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Drew's Top 10 Masters Preview


So far, my predicted Top 10 finishers for next week's Masters are: Brandt Snedeker (10), Phil Mickelson (9), Kevin Kisner (8) and Sergio Garcia (7).

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Can Jordan Spieth claim his 3rd career major and second green jacket next week at Augusta National? #DMD says "no".

Number six is another former champion who figures to be in the hunt but won't be sitting with Jim Nantz in Butler Cabin on Sunday night.

#6 -- Jordan Spieth

There are a number of factors working in Spieth's favor next week and a repeat of his 2015 title certainly isn't out of the question. The golf course isn't overly long, for starters, so that helps him out dramatically. Even with his modest length, he can still reach the two back-nine par 5's in two and with a good drive and the proper draw-spin roll, he might be able to on or close to the two par 5's on the front as well.

His short game and putting, as we saw last year with his 18-under performance, is what separates him from the rest of the pack at Augusta National. If he's able to duplicate that work on the greens again this year, he can win, for sure.

I'm guessing he WON'T win this year, though. It's tough to repeat, for starters, and his form in 2016 just hasn't been all sharp, save for his year-opening victory at Kapalua. Other than that, he's been "just OK" and nothing more thus far in 2016.

His par-5 play is critical next week. If he can play the four par 5's in 10-under for the week, he has a definite chance of posting something in the 16-under range, which is likely what it's going to take to win (weather not withstanding). If his performance on the par 5's isn't strong, he can't win. There are just too many big hitters who chew up the par 5's...and in order to keep pace with them, Spieth has to be as good or just slightly below them in par 5 efficiency.

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

MATTHEW CARROLL

With the final international break along with the Russia 2018 World Cup Qualifying and pre-EURO 2016 friendlies now behind us, players and clubs alike can turn their full attention to the final eight weeks of the Barclays Premier League season as we kickoff Matchweek 32. The top four and bottom three positions in the league table remain unchanged following the results of Matchweek 31, and it looks increasingly likely that we can expect both the fight for the league title and the battle to avoid relegation to come down to the final weeks of the season. As usual, you can catch all of the weekend action live on the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Saturday (all times eastern)

10am – Newcastle United @ Norwich City – Carrow Road, USA

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Manager Rafa Benitez is 3-0 vs. Norwich City, but his Newcastle United team desperately needs to make that 4-0 on Saturday.

Aleksandar Mitrovics’ header in the 83rd minute saved a point and just maybe the season for Newcastle United, as they came from behind in a 1-1 draw with Sunderland to grab their first points since early February in the survival Tyne-Wear Derby. They will face another relegation battle on Saturday when they visit Carrow Road and Norwich City, who ended a ten match winless streak in the top flight with a 1-0 victory over West Brom to earn a massive three points which, for the time being, has pulled the Canaries out of the drop zone, two points clear of the Black Cats and three points ahead of the Magpies.

While the shutout victory over the Baggies, their first clean sheet on the road this season, gave Norwich some much needed breathing room at the bottom of the table Newcastle, who have not won in their last five league games (D1 L4) or at Carrow Road since January of 1994 (W3 D2), could pull level with the Canaries on points and ahead on goal differential with a repeat performance of the reverse fixture earlier this season at St. James’ Park, when they scored six goals from just six shots in an efficient 6-2 drubbing that notched their fourth win in the last six meetings (W4 D2) with Norwich.

12:30pm – Tottenham @ Liverpool – Anfield, NBC

With two games in hand, Liverpool missed a golden opportunity to continue their late season charge and their claim for a spot in the top four when they squandered a two goal halftime advantage and lost for the first time in their last nine games in a 3-2 setback at Southampton. They will welcome second place Tottenham to Anfield for primetime football on Saturday with Spurs once again keeping pace with Leicester City courtesy of a brace from Harry Kane, which moved the England international atop of the league scoring charts on twenty-one goals, in a convincing 3-0 win over Bournemouth.

While most clubs would not see a visit from the in-from Tottenham, who have lost only once in their last ten league games (W8 D1 L1) and in one of their last fourteen away matches in the league (W8 D5 L1), as a viable bounce back opportunity after their heartbreaking defeat the last time out, but Liverpool should welcome the site of the Londoners making their way in to historic Anfield, where they have won just once in their last twenty-one visits (W1 D6 L14) and who the Red’s are unbeaten against in their last six meetings, scoring eighteen goals on their way to three points in five of those encounters.

Sunday (all times eastern)

11am – Everton @ Manchester United – Old Trafford, USA

At just eighteen years of age, Marcus Rashford became the youngest goal scorer in the 135-year history of the Manchester Derby with his 16th minute strike enough to see Manchester United past the fading Manchester City, which moved the Red Devils, along with West Ham United, to within a single point of their rivals for the final Champions League place for next season. They will look to overtake their neighbors when they welcome Everton, who continued the maddening form that has so far defined their campaign to date in 2-0 loss to Arsenal, to Old Trafford on Sunday to cap off the weekend action.

After starting the campaign with hopes of European football by season’s end, the up and down Everton have now lost two in a row and three of their last four to slump to twelfth place in the bottom half of the table. They are likely to be relishing the visit to the Theater of Dreams as an opportunity to finish the campaign strong against a United side who were winless in their previous four games across all competitions before their triumph against City, and who they have beaten in four of their last seven meetings (W4 L3) after tallying just four wins in their previous forty encounters (W4 D7 L29).


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O's SCOREBOARD
Sunday, October 1st
Orioles
0

Rays
6
WP: B. Bell (5-7)

LP: K. Gausman (11-12)

HR: Casali (1)

RECORD/PLACE: 75-87, 5th place
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.