Friday
July 31, 2015
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Issue 31

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today's the day for duquette to shine — or not

Unless he's out-foxed everyone and the players he's wanted all along are still available, Dan Duquette might not be Baltimore's favorite son by this time tomorrow. For weeks, Orioles fans bickered back and forth on the concept of the Birds "buying" at the trade deadline—or selling off several free agents as an admission of concession that the club's best hopes for future success aren't in the dugout right now.

While several other American League teams have actively endeavored to improve themselves over the last week, the Orioles haven't done a thing. They haven't added anyone and they haven't sent anyone packing, either. That could change today, of course. Duquette still has time to work some magic, albeit with the clock ticking fast, but it's safe to say he's not going to be able to improve the Orioles nearly to the degree the Blue Jays bettered themselves this week with the addition of Troy Tulowitzki and David Price. It's also fair to remember that this time last year, Oakland had a 2-game lead in the American League West and then went out during deadline-week and added pitchers Jeff Samardzija, Jon Lester and Jason Hammel. What happened to them? They bottomed out in September and wound up losing the one-game Wild Card playoff to eventual A.L. Champion Kansas City. In other words: just because you add a quality player or two, there's no guarantee at all you're going to reap the benefits of those moves.

duquette
Is the O's GM going to buy, sell or stick with what he has?

I wrote last week here at #DMD that NOT knowing if you should be buyers or sellers is far worse than knowing which of the two positions you should take. I still think that's been the biggest obstacle for Duquette as he evaluates his team, its future and whether or not they're good enough this year. Every other week, the Orioles look terrible. The "in-between" week displays a different team, one very capable of reeling off five straight wins. When they're busy losing 15 of 20 like they did in mid-to-late July, you're quick—and right—to say, "This team doesn't have the firepower to make the playoffs and contend for the title this year. We need to move some pieces out of here, re-stock the farm system, and go get 'em next April." Then they go a week and only lose one game and you say, "You see, if we just add another decent bat or two and maybe one more reliable left hander in the bullpen, we could be dangerous in September."

There's no telling what has kept Duquette from trying to make deals. Maybe he really DOES believe this current edition of the Orioles is good enough. He might be subscring to the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" theory even though the ballclub has hovered around .500 now for the better part of a month. There's a chance he fielded lots of calls about his players and wasn't able to pry enough quality away from an interested team to make the deal(s). And there's also a chance he wasn't willing to part company with the likes of Mychal Givens, Dylan Bundy or Dariel Alvarez in an effort to land a guy like Carlos Gomez, Ben Zobrist or Yoenis Cespedes. It's also hard to tell whether Duquette and Buck Showalter are working in concert with one another or does one of the two have a different belief than the other? Does Buck think they should stand pat and try to win with this group of players...and Duquette doesn't abide by that theory? Or is it vice versa? Buck's keen on saying, "I like our guys," but he can't possibly be in favor of trying to beat the Yankees and Blue Jays with guys like Nolan Reimold, Travis Snider and Chris Parmelee occupying three roster spots out of the 25 he's dealing with on a daily basis.

Who knows? By the time you read this on Friday morning, Duquette might have pulled off an overnight deal or two and the Orioles could have some new weapons for tonight's game with the Tigers. Perhaps a deal gets pulled off sometime late this afternoon. Or, this might just be what we're going to work with for the rest of the season. It's tough to swallow when you see the Blue Jays and Yankees both adding guys this week, but you can only do what you can do with the parts you have. I would have probably "sold" on guys like Wieters, Davis and Chen, mainly because I'm 95% sure all three are gone this winter via free agency, but I most certainly wouldn't have just given them away for the sake of doing it. But I don't run the team, Duquette does, and I'll still say the biggest hurdle he's faced is not REALLY knowing if the Orioles are good—or not good.

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drew's take: ravens on the pre-season hot seat

As is always the case in training camp, there will be several players on the proverbial roster bubble between now and the end of August when the 2015 53-man roster is set. I can't imagine there will be any earth-shattering personnel moves, but I'll give you three familiar names that need to break a sweat in camp, stay healthy and KEEP their roster spot before someone swipes it from him.

reid
He's dodged a number of pre-season bullets—can Jah Reid do it again?

OL, Jah Reid – In what has seemingly become an annual rite of passage for Reid, he needs to have a solid training camp in order to stick around when the rosters are set. At some point, just "knowing the system" isn't going to be good enough to maintain his employment and I think this might be the year Reid gets the heave-ho. He needs to have a really good camp.

LB, Arthur Brown – It's time for Brown to step up or step out. It's been a learning process for the linebacker over the last two years, but his appearance on the inactive list week after week tells the story. The coaching staff doesn't trust him and, as is often the case with "role players," he's not able to make an impact on special teams, either. Could become a training camp casualty if a guy like Zach Orr has a really good month of August.

DE, Lawrence Guy – Guy actually made a contribution last year, but his role could be limited this season if Brent Urban is healthy and works his way into the rotation. His best bet, and I'm certainly hoping this DOESN'T happen, is an injury to another defensive end during training camp. With his experience and knowledge of the system, Guy is an easy player to keep around as long as there's not more quality elsewhere

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o's lose one the tigers wanted to give them

Talk about a weird game. The Orioles lost last night, 9-8, in a game that felt both like a win and a crushing, heartbreaker of a loss. Down 7-0 and 9-2, the Birds chipped away at a laughably pathetic Detroit bullpen, eventually cutting the lead to 9-8 heading to the 9th inning. Unfortunately, the comeback ended with the meat of the O's order unable to deliver, as Adam Jones (ground out), Chris Davis (strike-out) and J.J. Hardy (fielder's choice) couldn't come through with late-game magic. Hardy's game-ending out came with David Lough on first base representing the tying run.

The goat of the night for the Birds was starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez, who couldn't get out of the 4th inning after allowing 10 hits and five earned runs in 3.1 innings of work. Alfredo Simon got the win for Detroit, but he wasn't all that hot, either. In fact, he was so out of gas by the 5th inning he started throwing 65 mile-per-hour Eephus pitches and actually got hitters out with them. It was like Eddie Harris of Major League-meets-Charlie Brown of Peanuts.


FRIDAY EVENING'S MATCHUP
at
BALTIMORE
B. FARMER
(0-2, 9.22)
W. CHEN
(5-6, 2.88)
7:05 PM
ORIOLE PARK AT CAMDEN YARDS

pga tour: birdies, birdies and more birdies in northern virginia

goosen
After a strong showing at the British Open two weeks ago, Retief Goosen fired a 63 on Thursday.

There for a minute on Thursday, I thought they moved the Quicken Loans National to Clifton Park. Every time I checked the leaderboard, I saw guys at -6, -7, -8 etc. And they're playing at Robert Trent Jones GC down in Northern Virginia, the former site of the President's Cup and a place where I didn't think guys would be firing 63's and 64's like you and I shoot 74's. Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen posted an 8-under 63, as did Ryo Ishikawa of Japan. Ernie Els, Kevin Chappell and Justin Leonard each shot 64 to sit one back after round one.

The golf course was so easy, even Tiger Woods broke par. Woods posted a 3-under-par 68 despite rumors he has parted company with his relatively-new swing coach Chris Como, a story Tiger refuted at the end of the round.

My three picks from Wednesday's edition of #DMD all fared well on Thursday. Justin Rose (-5), Rickie Fowler (-4), and my winning selection, Pat Perez (-4) are all very much in the hunt with 54 holes remaining.

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orioles and ravens trips are now on sale!

I'm excited to announce two upcoming #DMD trips for those of you interested in taking a one-day journey with us to support our Baltimore teams.

yankee
If you haven't been to Yankee Stadium, you have a chance on Sept. 8.

On Tuesday, September 8, we're heading to the Bronx for a late-season battle between the Orioles and Yankees. Game time is 7:05 p.m. It's an "up-and-back" trip. We'll leave Baltimore at 12:30 p.m, arrive in the Bronx at roughly 4:00 p.m., and have time for a pre-game tailgate party (provided as part of your cost) before checking out the game at Yankee Stadium. We'll head back to Baltimore after the game. The per-person price for this trip is $110.00, which gets you an upper reserved seat in the stadium, a safe, relaxing motor coach ride, lunch on the way up to New York, and pre-game food and beverages once we arrive at the stadium parking lot.

heinz
Go into the lion's den with other Ravens fan on Oct. 1 in Pittsburgh.

On Thursday, October 1, we're off to Pittsburgh for a nationally-televised game between the Ravens and Steelers at 8:25 p.m. We'll leave Baltimore at 12:30 p.m, arriving in Pittsburgh at approximately 5:00 p.m. We'll have lunch and refreshments on the bus ride to the game, plus sandwiches for everyone to take with them once we arrive. Due to our drop-off point in Pittsburgh, tailgating isn't always an option, but you'll have plenty of food and drinks available throughout the trip. The per-person price for the trip is $240.00, which includes your game ticket (grouped with others on the trip). We'll return to Baltimore immediately after the game.

We're now taking reservations for both trips. Remember, we're only selling 40 seats per-bus, so once those 40 are gone, we're booked up. If demand warrants a second bus to either New York or Pittsburgh, we'll make that happen, but the best way to ensure you're going with us is to get on the first bus, which is on sale now.

I'll make everyone a special offer for the next two weeks. Beginning today, and running through Friday, August 14, your "early-bird" purchase for the Orioles/NY trip is $99 and the Ravens/Pittsburgh trip is $215. On August 15, we go back to the original, full price of $110 (Orioles) and $240 (Ravens).

How do you register for one or both trips? E-mail me directly—18inarow at gmail dot com—and let me know how many seats you want and for which trip. It's that simple. I'll send you a confirmation e-mail immediately and you're all set.


comments




Thursday
July 30, 2015
twitter logo #DMD facebook logo Volume XII
Issue 30

two great #dmd trips are now on sale

If you would have told me last August -- in the days after I was fired from a local radio station -- that by the summer of 2015 I'd be knee-deep in the "sports travel" business, I would have said, "You're reading the wrong script about me."

Here I am, on July 30, 2015, and guess what? I'm knee-deep in the sports travel business. And I love it.

In the event you've recently discovered #DMD and don't know what we've been doing at Drew's Morning Dish, let me just give you a very brief rundown. I'm doing this mainly so you see that we're not neophytes at the sports travel concept; far from it, in fact. I actually did a lot of sports traveling -- and organized much of it -- when I was in the professional soccer business back in the 1980's and 1990's. Later, while working at a Baltimore radio station, I again got involved, although it was mainly as "traveler" and not as the organizer. Without going into great details, because that's not the point of this, there were lots of things about the travel I did with the radio station that I didn't really care for and/or approve of. Crowded buses -- all 57 seats filled, for example -- game tickets just thrown together on a whim, with no regard for who was sitting where, the occasional movie that I thought might have been somewhat inappropriate for all ages -- and lack of quality food and drink options were among the things that bothered me. But, it wasn't "my" business. So I didn't really say much. I just went along for the ride, so to speak. I did, however, make a lot of mental notes and said to myself on more than one occasion, "If I ever did this...here's how I would do it."

Well, I'm doing it now. And I've instituted a lot of those thoughts and concepts with the #DMD travel portion of this sports website. Since last January, here's where we've been:

Pittsburgh, for Ravens playoff football

New England, for Ravens playoff football

Hershey, PA for AHL hockey game

Philadelphia, PA for Caps-Flyers game

Augusta National Golf Club for Masters practice round

New York City, for Orioles-Yankees series

Since last January, we've welcomed over 350 people on our #DMD trips. Our two football playoff trips to Pittsburgh and New England had the most inexpensive price in town, period. We pride ourselves on putting together the highest-quality trip at an affordable, fair cost to you, the traveler. And we do it all by not "over-selling" the bus, for starters. We will put only 40 people on each #DMD bus, leaving sixteen seats empty so people can stretch out and relax, do work, etc. Your game tickets are always in a group with others on the same bus/trip as you. And our food and drink offerings are fresh and varied.

I'm excited to announce two upcoming #DMD trips for those of you interested in taking a one-day journey with us to support our Baltimore teams.

yankee
If you haven't been to Yankee Stadium, you have a chance on Sept. 8.

On Tuesday, September 8, we're heading to the Bronx for a late-season battle between the Orioles and Yankees. Game time is 7:05 p.m. It's an "up-and-back" trip. We'll leave Baltimore at 12:30 p.m, arrive in the Bronx at roughly 4:00 p.m, and have time for a pre-game tailgate party (provided as part of your cost) before checking out the game at Yankee Stadium. We'll head back to Baltimore after the game. The per-person price for this trip is $110.00, which gets you an upper reserved seat in the stadium, a safe, relaxing motor coach ride, lunch on the way up to New York, and pre-game food and beverages once we arrive at the stadium parking lot.

heinz
Go into the lion's den with other Ravens fan on Oct. 1 in Pittsburgh.

On Thursday, October 1, we're off to Pittsburgh for a nationally televised game between the Ravens and Steelers at 8:25 p.m. We'll leave Baltimore at 12:30 p.m, arriving in Pittsburgh at approximately 5:00 p.m. We'll have lunch and refreshments on the bus ride to the game, plus sandwiches for everyone to take with them once we arrive. Due to our drop-off point in Pittsburgh, tailgating isn't always an option, but you'll have plenty of food and drinks available throughout the trip. The per-person price for the trip is $240.00, which includes your game ticket (grouped with others on the trip). We'll return to Baltimore immediately after the game.

We're now taking reservations for both trips. Remember, we're only selling 40 seats per-bus, so once those 40 are gone, we're booked up. If demand warrants a second bus to either New York or Pittsburgh, we'll make that happen, but the best way to ensure you're going with us is to get on the first bus, which is on sale now.

I'll make everyone a special offer for the next two weeks. Beginning today, and running through Friday, August 14, your "early-bird" purchase for the Orioles/NY trip is $99 and the Ravens/Pittsburgh trip is $215. On August 15, we go back to the original, full price of $110 (Orioles) and $240 (Ravens).

How do you register for one or both trips? E-mail me directly -- 18inarow at gmail.com -- and let me know how many seats you want and for what trip. It's that simple. I'll get you a confirmation e-mail right away and you're all set.


we now have "comments" up and running

You'll notice in today's edition of #DMD that our "Comments" option has returned to the site. You'll find it at the bottom of the page, ready for your commentary, insight, opinion, agreement or disagreement. I apologize for the length of time it took to get it re-installed to the site, but we've had a lot of work to finish over the last couple of weeks and sometimes something has to go on the back burner while other things get finished. Please feel free to comment at your leisure about today's #DMD topics. I don't have many rules here, but there are some that are non-negotiable. Foul language -- from you -- isn't cool. You can have civil discourse here, even get mad if you want, but "f-bombs" and general foul language in your comments will be removed. I'm not a "censoring kind of guy", but I can't have foul language on the web-site. That's just about all I'll worry about. Please also note we're still fine-tuning the comments section now that it's up and running. Allow us a day or three to work out the bugs, if, in fact, we find any.

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boy, the braves really stink

The Atlanta Braves played 29 innings of baseball in Baltimore starting on Monday and ending with last night's 2-0 loss to the Orioles. In those 29 innings, the Braves scored a total of four runs and were shut out in 26 of those 29 innings. That's right, they only scored in three innings -- in three games. That's bad baseball. Frankly, it's kind of hard to laugh at Atlanta. They look just like the Orioles did from about 2005 through 2010. I remember those days. They were tough.

The Orioles needed a win or three to keep pace with the red-hot Yankees, so we'll gladly take that sweep of the Braves -- but the O's are going to need more offense in August and September if they fancy themselves American League playoff contenders. As bad as Atlanta was, the Birds scored two runs on Monday and Wednesday...along with seven on Tuesday evening. The trade deadline is fast approaching and there's still no sign of movement from Dan Duquette. It's fair to say, though, that it would appear the O's are NOT going to be sellers over the next 48 hours. They're either going to buy or stand pat.

Standing pat wouldn't be a terrible decision FOR NOW, but it might haunt the team next winter if the likes of Wieters, Davis and Chen run off to a new team via free agency. If Duquette holds on to those three and decides this team as its currently shaped can make the post-season, he better hope he's right. Not making any moves, failing to make the playoffs, and then losing those three players next winter would not make for a warm, fuzzy fan base in Baltimore. Buying a couple of bats and perhaps another starting pitcher wouldn't be a horrible thing, either, but it's all based on what the O's have to give up in return. There have been whispers that some teams might take a gamble on Dylan Bundy, who has been a complete flop thus far during his organizational tenure with the Birds. That would make for an interesting decision by Duquette. Once thought to be untouchable, Bundy could wind up going somewhere else in the next two days. I wouldn't count on it...but sometimes, where there's smoke, there's fire.

tillman
Another nice outing from Chris Tillman in Wednesday's 2-0 win.

Speaking of pitching, Chris Tillman took advantage of an inept Braves offense to improve his record to 8-7 with last night's 2-0 win. Tillman fell one out shy of a complete game, but his 4-hit, shut-out effort on Wednesday helped set up the Orioles bullpen for an upcoming four-game home series vs. Detroit. Jonathan Schoop and J.J. Hardy contributed solo homers for the O's, who have now won five straight games.

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Bo's headline goes here

No drama, no problem, as far as the Ravens are concerned.

As the Ravens veterans rolled into the Owings Mills complex Wednesday to officially kick off 2015 training camp, a slew of media was on hand to document their arrival. But it was nothing like last year, when the national media descended en masse on Ravens training camp with the Ray Rice controversy percolating -- and that was even before the infamous elevator video surfaced.

No, this year, things are noticeably more quiet as camp begins.

"Last year it was kind of, it was very uncomfortable," linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "A lot of us ain't been in that type of situation like that before, but it’s good to come into camp with no major negative storyline concerning us."

The storm this year is centered over New England, which is just fine with the Ravens.

"You know what? All I can say is it’s fortunate that’s not a Baltimore Raven problem, and we’re going to let them handle it and answer their questions," Suggs said, without ever mentioning the Patriots or his nemesis Tom Brady by name. "We really only focus on Baltimore Raven football and Ravens Nation. So, I don’t really care too much about that."

Oh, sure, there will be a lot of storylines to document in the coming month: Who will return kicks? Will top draft pick Breshad Perriman become a starter right away? Is the secondary better? Will Dennis Pitta play? But as camp opens, here's what the Ravens don't have to deal with: They have no quarterback controversy. There are no raging contract disputes. They return all five starters on the offensive line. There are a whole lot of familiar faces in familiar places.

And they have the same head coach, again. John Harbaugh is entering his eighth season with the Ravens, which already makes him the seventh-longest tenured coach in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately NFL. (And one of those above him, the Saints' Sean Payton, had that whole year-away thing...) Harbaugh appeared tan, rested and relaxed on Wednesday, eager to welcome his players to another camp and excited at the construction of this Ravens roster. The Ravens hit the practice field for their first full workout Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m.

NOTE: Remember that the Ravens will hold their free, open practice at M&T Bank Stadium on Monday night (Aug. 3) at 7 p.m. Lots open at 4 p.m. (cold tailgating only), with gates open at 5:30. The workout will be followed by an autograph session for ages 14 and under as well as a fireworks show.






Wednesday
July 29, 2015
twitter logo #DMD facebook logo Volume XII
Issue 29

are male football players really going to listen to a female coach?

By all accounts, Jen Welter knows football. People who have played with her, worked with her and studied the game with her all say the same thing: she can coach. I don't doubt that, even though I have no personal working knowledge of her football insight. I'll just go with this as my position: Bruce Arians and the Arizona Cardinals wouldn't have hired her -- even for a bottom-rung position like "assistant coaching intern" -- unless they thought she could help them win football games.

Let's pretend for a second that her football acumen isn't questionable. Let's just go with the concept that she's a bright, intelligent football mind who was a worthy hire based on her understanding of football's nuances. Let's say -- for argument's sake -- she's an "8" on the 1-to-10 scale of football intelligence.

welter
Are the Cardinals taking a major gamble with this hire?

Are NFL football players in Arizona REALLY going to take instruction from her? If she comes up to the huddle and tries to explain how the mike linebacker is supposed to sag in and double team the left tackle so the rush end can maneuver his way around the edge and chase the quarterback to his right and into the flat, what sort of response will her teachings receive? NFL players often times don't listen to male coaches, even ones who played in the league themselves. What sort of reaction will they have if the occasion arises where Jen Welter offers them a "pointer" or tries to coach them up?

I don't know the answer to that question. I guess no one does, really, at least not until we see her in action and get some sort of feedback -- either on the record or off -- about her relationship with the players on the team. I think it's a historic hiring by the Cardinals, but I wonder why they did it and whether or not they think she's really the best candidate for the job. I have no idea how many applicants they had and who, if anyone else, received a formal offer from the Cardinals to fill the position. Was Jen Welter their first choice? Or fourth? I don't know.

Understandbly, the biggest argument from a contrarian would simply be: "What would a woman possibly know about football that a guy playing the game doesn't already know?" She can whip out her CV if she pleases, but a player in the NFL will laugh at her if she starts reciting stastical data from her days in the women's professional football league. How, then, is SHE going to teach HIM if there's no immediate circle of trust and respect when she arrives on the scene? I may be completely wrong here. In a lot of ways, I hope I am, simply because I'd rather the whole story be about Jen Welter fitting in WELL with the Cardinals instead of Jen Welter NOT fitting in well. I'm skeptical, though, mainly because I think football players are used to taking instruction from males. Forever.

It's one thing if Annika Sorenstam wants to give you a short game lesson. She won 72 tournaments and 10 major titles. If she can help your chipping, you listen. If Diana Taurasi wants to give you pointers on shooting the basketball, you wouldn't be wasting your time listening to what she had to say. Mia Hamm or Hope Solo would be outstanding teachers of their positions on the soccer field. After all, they both played for world championship teams. I'm pointing out those three examples for a reason. It's proof -- to me at least -- that there are certain situations in sports where women would absolutely be reasonably effective teachers of a skill, technique or style. And there might very well be a fair argument to say the woman can teach it just as well as the man could.

I just don't know if you can say that about the game of football.

The Cardinals did something no other team has done and, for that and that alone, they should probably be applauded. Whether or not it's "right" to hire a female as part of the coaching staff, at least we can all say the Arizona Cardinals will literally do whatever it takes to win. If they think Jen Welter can help them win, they're bringing her on board. That's both noble and, perhaps, one of those outside-the-box kind of decisions that could bring them success in 2015 and beyond.

In the end, though, the players have to buy in. They have to accept her as a REAL coach, not a token or a wrist-band you wear to show everyone you're "with the cause". I'm not sure exactly what her boundaries are in terms of suggesting, teaching, coaching, etc., but my guess is you wouldn't hire her and then give her limited freedoms. You'd hire her and say, "Go coach 'em up...coach."

Will the players listen? Will they respect her? Will they look at her as a coach, not as a female coach? Will they? I don't know. I think it's going to be tough, but I admire everyone for trying.

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can we play the braves 24 more times this season?

It sure didn't look promising in the first inning last night when the Braves touched up Ubaldo Jimenez for a couple of runs. It was only 2-0, but it wasn't a peaceful feeling at OPACY by the time the O's came to bat in their half of the first. It got peaceful rather quickly, though, as Chris Davis pounded a 3-run homer to make it 3-2 after one, then added another round tripper in the 2rd inning to put the Birds up 5-2 over Atlanta. Those two dingers give Davis 24 for the season and should -- assuming the O's want to move him in the next day or two -- make him VERY attractive to someone in need of a left-handed power bat at the upcoming trade deadline.

davis
If the O's are going to trade Chris Davis, his price might be going up this week.

From 5-2, the Birds added solo runs in the 5th and 6th to make it 7-2 before the Braves finalized the scoring with a single tally in the top of the 8th inning. The 7-3 win, Baltimore's fourth straight, pushes the Birds back above .500 at 50-49 and slides them into sole possession of second place in the A.L. East, still seven full games behind the Yankees. In the Wild Card race, though, the Orioles are only three games behind the Twins (in the loss column) and four games behind Houston. Oh, and don't look now, but somehow the White Sox, with a 48-50 record, have thrust themselves into the battle for one of the two available Wild Card spots. Tampa Bay and Toronto (51 losses each) are also in there fighting.

Atlanta stinks, particularly on the road, but this is precisely what the Orioles needed. A visit from a ho-hum, let's-get-the-season-over-soon kind of team who can't hit very well. The Birds, even with their limited offensive prowess, can handle the Braves on just about any given night. Let's hope that mastery extends for one more night, as the series wraps up this evening at Camden Yards.


dealing with Orioles ticket staffers is like pitching to travis snider -- easy

When the front office of a sports team creats a poor policy or mishandles a scenario, they hear about it from the faithful. Whether it's through sports talk radio, the internet message boards or via direct communication with the customer, the club gets an earful when they fail to accommodate their support base.

That's why, today, I'm telling you about a GREAT experience I had with the Orioles ticket office yesterday morning. I won't divulge the young lady's name, other than to say she's a Maryvale grad, but I approached the OPACY box office on Tuesday armed with tickets, tickets and more tickets. I wanted to trade some in for seats to tonight's game with the Braves, swap a couple for a September 11 game against Kansas City, and buy a couple of more for another game. When I tell you the experience went off without a hitch, I'm talking about a "perfect game" from the Maryvale grad. She guided me through the process, explained how much "credit" I had, switched out all the tickets, got me exactly what I needed, and sent me on my way with a smile on my face. And it took about 11 minutes, total.

Sure, you might be saying to yourself, "Wait a minute, Drew, isn't that her job?"

Why, yes it is. It's her job to be polite, courteous and helpful. I also look at it like it's my duty to properly thank her when she pulls off her job so effectively. And for those of you out there who own Orioles season tickets and haven't taken advantage of their liberal trade-in procedures, you're only hurting yourself. Get down to the box office and let the Orioles assist you. You'll thank me down the road.

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it's a weird week on the pga tour

Yes, indeed, this is a strange week on the PGA Tour. The event at Robert Trent Jones GC in suburban Washington DC has a half-hearted field at best and the only folks who have played the place with any regularity are guys with President's Cup experience who've seen it a time or two. It's never easy to pick the outright winner and close contenders when they're playing a familiar course, let alone a place like RTJ where no one has a track record worth trusting.

I'll give it a go, though.

Let's just assume the best player in the field is going to somehow be there when the dust settles on Sunday. That's a good, smart way to make picks. If I'm right, then, Justin Rose will be hanging around when the back nine welcomes the top ten players late Sunday afternoon. Rose is clearly the best of the bunch who have entered the tournament and he's the defending champion of the event, albeit at a different golf course. I love Rose's golf game. He was my pick to win the British Open and he had a puncher's chance going into Sunday's final round but he couldn't get the flat sticking working on the final day. He'll be there this Sunday, too.

As much as "chalk picks" aren't very sexy, you have to like Rickie Fowler's chances this week. He's been on a hot-or-cold kick of late and this is his "hot week", I think. It's a perfect tournament for him in that he really only has a handful of elite players to get past and I'm guessing he's right there come Sunday afternoon.

X
If Tiger can't win, maybe a guy who grew up with him can.

I'm playing a hunch that this is Pat Perez's week to shine. He's having a very solid season, with 18 cuts made in 21 events, including ten straight cuts made overall. There's a small Tiger-connection with Perez in that they grew up playing junior golf against one another in Southern California, so it might just be his time to win. He's not as good as Rose or Fowler, of course, but I'm just taking a stab in the dark at a guy who has played well of late and needs a win to validate his season.






Tuesday
July 28, 2015
twitter logo #DMD facebook logo Volume XII
Issue 28

a bizarre win, but we need it and we'll take it

I think it's time we start adopting a familiar phrase for our battlin' Birds of Baltimore, who once again couldn't hit a lick last night at Camden Yards but somehow stole a 2-1 squeaker over the Atlanta Braves.

"A win is a win..."

That phrase used to satiate the football fans in town back in the early 2000's when Trent Dilfer and Kyle Boller couldn't generate 200 yards of offense but the Ravens defense would hold up their end of the bargain in the inevitable 16-9 win. "A win is a win..."

Zach Britton coughed up a 9th inning home run last night that temporarily put the Braves up, 1-0, but then our old buddy Jim Johnson came in and gave the game away in about three minutes, eventually surrendering a J.J. Hardy sac fly that tied the game at 1-1. Matt Wieters ended it in the 11th with a home run over the centerfield fence and there you have it -- "A win is a win..."

Kevin Gausman pitched his tail off last night, as did some dude from the Braves named Alex Wood, but there were barely enough hits at the ballpark to fill a "Best Of" CD from Hall and Oates. The Orioles, again, simply couldn't generate any offense. That said, when your five (Wieters), six (Hardy) and seven (Snider) hitters are all banging it at under .240, what do you expect? Here's a Tuesday morning snicker for you: The Orioles offense has become so soft and pedestrian that Braves skipper Freddy Gonzalez intentionally walked Chris Davis twice last night -- with the WINNING run at second base -- and it worked both times, as Manny Machado struck out in the 8th and 10th innings after Gonzalez put Davis on first base.

There's no telling how much longer this is going to go on. With the exception of a half dozen games or so over the last month, the O's offense has been in hibernation since June turned to July. How will it improve over the season's final two months? The trade deadline is three days away. There are some bats available, but at what price? And do the Orioles have anything of significance to swap for someone like Jay Bruce or Carlos Gomez? If no deals are made, how will the runs get scored between now and October. Is Travis Snider going to have a whirlwind final fifty games? Nolan Reimold? Matt Wieters? My guess on those three, in order: no, no and no.

The sexy thing to do in town right now is to blame Dan Duquette for a woeful off-season in which the Orioles didn't really add anyone of substance while losing two decent offensive performers in Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis. To borrow a phrase from S.E. Hinton -- "That was then, This is now". If you want to bark and bellyache about what Duquette DIDN'T do last December, knock yourself out. Truth of the matter, his philandering with the Blue Jays for most of the winter might very well have distracted him from his Orioles duties. But, he's had plenty of opportunity in July to improve this team's offense and hasn't yet done anything about it. There's still time, but the clock is ticking."

________________________________________________________________

As we continue to develop the new #DMD and have it up and running on all cylinders by the time football season starts, another feature has been added to the site this morning. You'll note above the availability of a "RSS Feed", which is, simply put, a way for you to have your daily edition of Drew's Morning Dish delivered right to your computer (usually as a bookmarked page) without you having to search for it. This RSS feed will also connect with our #DMD mobile App, which is expected to be working again sometime this week. All of this stuff was part of the change-over we made last month, along with the "comments" page, the Podcasts and a few other odds-and-ends that you don't know about yet but we'll be introducing it all very soon. If you're a daily #DMD reader, the RSS Feed is the way to go. Just click on the link above and it takes about five seconds to finish setting it up.

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it's almost august and we're still arguing about tom brady

I'll admit I usually take a few months off from day-to-day coverage of the NFL. Once the draft comes and goes, I don't keep up with football unless it's news that directly affects the Ravens. I'm always paying attention to them, of course.

So, yesterday when I saw this headline -- Settlement for Brady still up in the air -- I had to hit the "refresh" button on my browser to make sure I was looking at a current story. Sure enough, I was. The last time I heard anything about Tom Brady and DeflateGate, he had been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season. Personally, I thought that was a tad over-the-top, but I didn't make the call, Roger Goodell did, and I figured Brady got four games, that was that, and on we go. Not quite.

The NFL Player's Association is currently representing Brady in settlement discussions with the NFL and Goodell. Their goal is to get the suspension reduced (everyone's opining they'll accept two games if offered) and to have Brady's name "cleared". How on earth would they ever accomplish the latter of those two goals? "Clear" Tom Brady's name from DeflateGate? He IS DeflateGate. He's the guy who instructed the locker room employees to decrease the air pressure of the footballs. "Clear" his name? You have to be kidding.

As for the suspension, it's obviously somewhat out-of-whack to have Brady receive four games and Ray Rice (at the time) only receive a two-game sitdown for his role in the "elevator incident". That's likely the main argument the NFLPA is making on Brady's behalf. Their insistence, though, that the Patriots QB is somehow being treated unfairly throughout this whole process is laughable. Not only did he help orchestrate the whole situation, he refused to comply with the investigation that was launched by the league in its aftermath. And now...are you ready for this? The NFLPA says Brady will admit to "not cooperating" with the investigation if the suspension is reduced.

Watch what happens with all of this. It's like a comedy of errors. The NFL has Brady & Company nailed on this one...lock, stock and barrel. They deflated footballs. Encyclopedia Brown would have figured this one out by page 21. And yet -- I know you hate to read this, but go ahead -- Brady will have his suspension reduced by Roger Goodell and the league will wind up having to admit THEY somehow screwed up in their investigation and/or punishment of the case. Tom Brady is guilty. I can't believe this is still a story, but somehow it still is. Amazing...

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Insert Bo's Eye View intro here

The long offseason is just about over. The Ravens rookies, injured veterans and quarterbacks have already reported. The entire team is due to report July 29, with the first full-team workout set for July 30 at 8:30 a.m. As always, there are a lot of questions entering training camp, with new faces in new places. But optimism always reigns in July. The next five months will determine whether that was justified. We've already looked at three questions facing the Ravens offense and defense as training camp begins. Now it's time for three questions facing special teams.

1. Who will return kicks and punts?

We know it won't be Jacoby Jones.

Jones has taken his dancing shoes -- and his second-best, 30.6-yard kickoff return average last year -- to San Diego, and the Ravens need to replace him. This will be one of the more interesting storylines of the preseason. Two leading candidates are Asa Jackson and Michael Campanaro, both of whom have some return experience. Jackson has had a couple of electrifying returns in preseason play, but suspensions and injuries have taken a big bite out of his three-year career. He has yet to record a return in a regular-season game. Campanaro, like Jackson, had his 2014 season cut short by injuries. He saw a little time as a punt returner, with 17 yards on two returns.

Undrafted rookie DeAndre Carter is a trendy pick, and he had one punt return touchdown at Sacramento State last season. But he needs to show he can make the team as a wide receiver; the Ravens aren't likely to keep him just as a return man. Lardarius Webb was campaigning last month for shot to handle returns, and even veteran Steve Smith fielded some kicks during OTAs. (He has six career return touchdowns but has not returned any kicks since 2010). The Ravens are unlikely to use either veteran regularly in a return role, although the sure-handed Webb has occasionally been used as returner on punts near the Ravens goal line. Special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg last month also mentioned backup running back Fitzgerald Toussaint as a candidate, but he said there will be "a long line" auditioning for the role.

"We'll find out who does it best in those camp situations and go from there," Rosburg said after one OTA workout, "and then divvy up the reps for the preseason games with the guys we think are doing the best in practice. And then we will make a decision based on how they do in preseason."

2. How big a factor will the new extra-point rules be?

Let's face it: NFL kickers should still be able to make every extra-point kick spotted at the 15; it's essentially a 33-yard kick. Justin Tucker has never missed from inside 37 yards. But not every team has Justin Tucker, and the prediction here is that there will be a key PAT missed in some game this season. Keep in mind that a penalty on an extra-point suddenly turns that into a 38- or 43-yard PAT. No gimme, especially in a cold, windy rain.

Of course, an advanced mathematician such as Ravens guard John Urschel will point out that going for the two-point conversion every time is the sensible play. But neither Urschel nor I expect teams to do it all that often.

Coach John Harbaugh said during OTAs that the Ravens would work "a little more" on two-point conversions in practice, but with a kicker whose success rate is 100 percent from the new distance, don't expect much change.

Speaking of kickers...

3. Is this Justin Tucker's last season with the Ravens?

Short answer: Don't bet on it. Through three seasons, Tucker ranks as the most accurate kicker in NFL history, making 89.81 percent of his field-goal attempts (97 of 108). You think the Ravens want him walking out the door? Tucker is set to hit free agency next spring. With Jimmy Smith's contract extension completed, Tucker has to be considered among the top priorities for a new deal, along with guards Marshal Yanda and Kelechi Osemele, who are also set to hit the free agent market in 2016.

The Ravens could use the franchise tag on Tucker next winter. This year, the tag for a kicker was about $4.1 million. (For an offensive lineman, it was almost $13 million, so there are about 9 million reasons it makes more sense to tag Tucker than either Yanda or Osemele.) Of course, the best answer for the Ravens would be working out a long-term deal with Tucker. Even if the Ravens tag Tucker, they would still have about five months to work out a long-term deal before Tucker would have to play under the one-year tag, which players hate to do.

That's exactly what the Patriots did with Stephen Gostkowski this year; he was given the franchise tag in February, but then the two sides worked out a four-year, $17.2 million deal this month; no doubt the Ravens and Tucker's representatives paid close attention to that.

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Monday
July 27, 2015
twitter logo #DMD facebook logo Volume XII
Issue 27


orioles coming home, time to make their move

After taking two of three against Tampa Bay, things are looking up for the Birds as they head home to welcome Nick Markakis back to Baltimore.

As we know, though, the bright spot only lasts as long as the Birds handle their business when the Braves come to town for three games starting tonight.

Not that the recently-completed series with the Rays was make-or-break —or anything close to that— but it was fairly important to win at least two of three in St. Petersburg after that embarrassing three-loss effort in New York earlier in the week.

So, the Birds are now 48-49 and still hanging around in the A.L. East, even with the Yankees winning two of three in Minnesota over the weekend. It’s time, though, for the Orioles to make their move, and there are several tentacles to that statement, starting with the club’s direction at the upcoming trade deadline and extending for the upcoming week when they host Atlanta (3 games) and Detroit (4 games) before heading back to the road for nine games in Oakland, Los Angeles and Seattle.

These next seven games—like every week between now and the end of September—are important for the O’s. It gives them a chance to get back above .500 and steady themselves in the division race while also keeping pace in the Wild Card free-for-all that’s almost certainly going down to the last five games of the season.

It’s almost time to start playing “the numbers game” with regard to the division and wild card races. It’s likely going to take at least 93 wins to win the East and at least 88 to secure one of the other wild card spots. That means, at 48-49, the Orioles need to go 40-25 between now and October to hit that 88-win level. If I’m right—and I can’t see 87 or less being good enough—the Birds are going to need to start stringing together some win/loss runs of 8-2, 11-3 and 15-6 in order to make up the ground they lost during their recent 5-15 tailspin.

The division? It’s going to take much better baseball than that from the Orioles—and a semi-collapse from the Yankees—to win the East for the second straight season. At 48-49, the O’s would need to go 45-20 over the last 65 games to hit the 93-win mark. That’s possible, but even at that rate, New York would still need to stumble their way through the final sixty days of the season.

Yeah, I know. When you look at the numbers—88 wins for a Wild Card and 93 for a Division title—it feels like perhaps more of an uphill climb than the Orioles can manage. But there’s still two full months of baseball left to play and I’ll use the “anything can happen” phrase until the numbers say otherwise. I still think the Birds are going to win the East, but I’ll admit the scenarios I’ve presented above are ambitious to say the least.


I can't imagine Nick Markakis will get anything other than a warm ovation tonight when he returns to Baltimore for the first time as a member of the Atlanta Braves.

Markakis
#givethatmansomeapplausetonight

That's the way it should be.

I understood the animosity O's fans displayed in the direction of Mark Teixeira when he made his Yankees debut back in 2009. It's kind of comical now, seven years later, but back then, it was appropriate to razz him when he approached the plate.

Let's hope tonight's welcome for Markakis is also appropriate for a guy who gave the Orioles all he had and then some during a mostly-laughable era in franchise history. He was exactly what we wanted our baseball players in town to be. Markakis worked his way up through the minor league system, he played the game hard, he bought a home here, opened a charitable foundation in town and, for the most part, looked like a guy who truly enjoyed establishing his roots in Baltimore and Maryland.

He deserves a warm round of applause tonight and, to this guy, a standing ovation from the crowd on hand when he comes to the plate for the first time in the opener on Monday evening. After that, he's just another guy, but at least for a few minutes tonight, I hope Baltimore reminds Nick Markakis of how much they appreciated his efforts while he was in orange and black.


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chen shines again, offense helps out for once

He wasn’t great, but Wei-Yin Chen was plenty good enough to dispose of a sorry Tampa Bay offense on Sunday in the series finale against the Rays, working 5.1 innings and allowing six hits and two runs in the 5-2 win.

Reimold
#threehitsoutofnowhere

It was a much needed start from Chen given the complete unpredictably of the Baltimore offense over the last month. Fortunately for the left-hander, the O’s jumped out to a 3-0 first inning lead and later made it 5-0 before cruising into victory lane from there.

Nolan Reimold—hanging on for dear life in what feels like might be his 11th go-round with the club—went 3-for-3 on Sunday with a 2-run double, while Caleb Joseph got the nod behind the plate and added a home run to help Chen’s effort.

Jonathan Schoop and Adam Jones both had two-hit afternoons for the Birds, who finished the nine-game road swing in Detroit, New York and Tampa Bay at 4-5.



MONDAY NIGHT'S MATCHUP

ATLANTA BRAVES at BALTIMORE
A. WOOD
(7-6, 3.78)
K. GAUSMAN
(1-2, 5.18)
7:05 PM
ORIOLE PARK AT CAMDEN YARDS





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yankees stay hot, handle twins

After a 10-1 thrashing on Friday night in Minnesota, the Yankees faced a 5-0 deficit in the 3rd inning of Saturday night’s game with the Twins. At that moment, it might have been fair to wonder: “Could this be the weekend where New York gets whacked three straight and starts a downfall that thrusts Baltimore, Toronto and Tampa Bay back near the top of the American League East?”

Three home runs from Alex Rodriguez later, the Yankees pulled off an 8-5 win on Saturday night, then blasted the Twins on Sunday, 7-2, and suddenly, New York is 55-42 and still handling their business in the East. They now head to Texas for four games with the Rangers this week, followed by a weekend series against the White Sox in Chicago.

With the trade deadline fast approaching, lots of conjecture still centers on the Yankees and what tricks they have up their sleeve with regard to adding a player or two for the stretch run. There was some thought they might be interested in Johnny Cueto, but he was shipped to Kansas City on Sunday, so that arm is no longer available for Joe Girardi and Company.



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pga tour: it was day's day in canada

If this keeps up, I’m going to have to at least consider taking up residence in Las Vegas during the golf season so I can make a gazillion dollars betting these WINNERS I keep giving out for free.

Jason day
#notamajorbutawinisawin

Talk about aggravating, huh?

For the fourth time this year, I hand-picked the winner of a PGA Tour event, as you might recall last Wednesday here at DMD I tabbed Jason Day as the winner of the Canadian Open. What’s aggravating about that, you ask? I didn’t have a nickel on Day, that’s what.

The Australian won the event with a final round 68 that included birdies at 16, 17 and 18 to edge Bubba Watson by a shot. It wasn’t quite the major Day has been so close to winning over the last three years or so, but it IS the national Open of Canada and to those folks up there, it’s a really, really big deal. David Hearn finished “low Canadian” at 15-under par while my pre-tournament pick for that honor, Adam Hadwin, shot 12-under par for four rounds at Glen Abbey.



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pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, Maryland.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, and bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket-sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.






In case you didn’t get to check-in to Drew’s Morning Dish in the last few days, you’re seeing some changes in the “look” of the website.

Nothing fancy or earth-shattering per se, but there are some parts of the site that are still in transition; one of those parts is the “Comments” section, which hasn’t yet been submitted by our developer for inclusion in the new format we’re using.

So, if you read something here today and you’d like to comment on it, simply send me an e-mail and I’ll post it on the site at the very bottom. I value your opinions and insight, and most certainly welcome your comments on a daily basis. If you’d like to comment on today’s #DMD, e-mail me (18inarow at gmail dot com).



Sunday
July 26, 2015
twitter logo #DMD facebook logo Volume XII
Issue 26

Not knowing if you should buy or sell is worse than knowing

This could be the strangest situation the Orioles have been involved in since the mid 1990's. I'm referring, of course, to the team's current standing in the American League East and the fact that we can't seem to figure out if they have the goods -- or not -- to compete for the last two months. Just when we think they're starting to move to the front of the pack, they go on a 3-game losing skid or drop 15-of-20 and settle back into mediocrity. Last night's 5-1 win in Tampa Bay only served to further muddy the picture, since we're all understandably excited by a terrific pitching performance from Miguel Gonzalez and a timely grand slam from Chris Davis in the 3rd inning.

For the entire 2000-2009 decade, this scenario the Birds face right now never once existed. "Do we roll the dice and buy?" was never a question the Orioles asked themselves at the trade deadline when they were busy going 68-94 every year. That made the club nearly automatic sellers at the end of each July, but there weren't really all that many players in Baltimore who were coveted late summer additions for playoff-eager clubs. It really was an awful place to be, baseball wise. The team was terrible, so buying wasn't reasonable or necessary. And our players weren't very good, so we couldn't even get rid of them. Oh, and the visiting fans from New York and Boston invaded our stadium 18 times a year and heckled the feathers off of us. Lots of Orioles fans simply stopped going to those games and it turned into a joke, basically, when the Yankees and Red Sox came to town. They took over the ballpark.

Believe it or not, this scenario we're in right now might almost be worse. Emphasis on the word: almost.

Nothing beats winning, so we can't REALLY complain about a trade deadline quandry. But the decisions that will be made by Dan Duquette in the next few days could alter the path of the Orioles for the next half-decade. Good...or bad. Fun...or futile. Winning...or losing. And that's not really a place you want to be. It's the not knowing if you're doing the right thing by buying or selling or doing the wrong thing by buying or selling that creates a stomach ache. You won't know, of course, until you pull the trigger on a deal or pass on one. Last July, Duquette picked up Andrew Miller and he played a key role in the run to the ALCS. To get Miller, though, the O's gave up a young pitching prospect who has put together a nice rookie campaign with the Red Sox. He's not going to be Max Scherzer or anything like that, but Eduardo Rodriguez is doing more for Boston right now than Andrew Miller did for the Orioles for two and a half months last year. You tell me who won that deal.

Wei Yin Chen
Left handed pitchers are a commodity and the Orioles might have one that lots of teams want.

I'd rather be a buyer than a seller any day. Buyers are generally teams that are in the hunt. I know from watching the Orioles during that "decade of despair" that being IN the hunt is better than being OUT of it. I also know, with last year's Miller deal as arguable evidence, that buyers have more of a chance of getting fleeced than do teams who are selling. As I read, listen and observe Orioles fans -- mainly through social media -- I see far more of them demanding the Birds be sellers next week than buyers. I find that data to be interesting to say the least. Here, we've tasted the fruits of playoff baseball twice in the last three years and we have a reasonable chance to do it again this year if we add a few quality pieces next week and folks in town would rather us beg off and play for the future by dealing instead of acquiring. I'm not arguing against that point, either. I do see the rationale in dealing Wieters and Davis and Chen and Norris. You'd get a nice haul for two or three of those guys, I'd bet. But when you're still in the playoff picture and you throw in your cards and say, "I'm out", that's a difficult thing for most fans to accept.

Oddly enough, despite losing 15 of 21, the O's are still a contender. I realize lots of people in town have cast them aside, but I'm not quite ready to do that, yet. Still, my position on the deadline situation hasn't changed since I addressed it here at #DMD for the first time in late June. I'm still of the mindset that Wieters, Davis and Chen are each expendable -- and available -- as long as we're getting legit prospects and help-next-season kind of players. I can't see Wieters re-signing here next year and I can't see the Orioles coughing up $14-$18 million a year for Davis. Chen will also command upwards of $12 million or more a year and that, as we know, gets the Orioles nervous. I think the Birds should try and re-sign Chen, but that's a different discussion for another day. Right now, facing what they're facing with those free agents, I still say move them at the deadline if you can fleece someone.


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Back in the win column, finally

The offense didn't suddenly come to life with one of those 14-hit, 7-run explosions, but seven hits was enough for Miguel Gonzalez on Saturday night in St. Petersburg as the Birds ended their 4-game losing streak with a 5-1 win over the Rays. Chris Davis hit his 5th career grand slam in the 3rd inning and that was all she wrote, as Gonzalez worked 7.2 innings, threw 107 pitches and improved to 9-6 with the win. He lowered his ERA to 3.99 in the process, winning for the third time in four starts and sort of establishing himself, thus far, as the team's most reliable second half starter.

Gonzalez
The Orioles needed a huge start last night and Miguel Gonzalez gave it to them.

For the second straight game, Buck Showalter trotted out a new line-up, with David Lough moving into the lead-off slot and playing left field. Davis hit second on Saturday night, while Ryan Flaherty played first base and hit in the sixth spot. I get the chills when I see Flaherty and his .241 average hitting sixth, but he's having a better offensive season than Wieters, who bats in front of him. Buck sent Travis Snider back out there again, this time hitting eighth and in right field, but he threw up an 0-for-3 goose egg and is now hitting .243 on the season.

Tampa Bay dropped to 49-50 with the loss, while the O's are now 47-49. The Rays are 25-28 at home this season.


SUNDAY AFTERNOON'S MATCHUP
at
TAMPA BAY
W. CHEN
(4-6, 2.86)
M. MOORE
(1-1, 7.23)
1:10 PM
TROPICANA FIELD




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Drew's Ravens Training Camp Preview

Football season is upon us, or at least close enough that I can say "it's here" and not really be putting the cart before the horse. Players have reported, footballs are being thrown and, before you know it, we'll all be sitting at the stadium watching 43 guys we've never heard of play in a pre-season game. With training camp blood getting set to boil, let's look at my three key aspects of what we'll see in Owings Mills over the next six weeks.

1. Flacco and Trestman -- This is the easiest of the "must watch" elements to focus on, because it involves the most important player and the most important coaching department member. How will Joe Flacco and Marc Trestman get along? Which is to say, basically, "Will Trestman make Flacco better?" Some of that question will be answered by those working with and around Flacco. How's Breshad Perriman going to fit in? How will the offensive line hold up? Will Trestman use the running backs as an active part of the short passing game like it's known he prefers to do? Which Justin Forsett shows up? The one who was a crazy-good rags-to-riches story in 2015 or the Forsett who was essentially just a role player in the NFL before his breakthrough campaign in purple a season ago? All of that affects Flacco -- and Trestman. But there is certainly a reasonable question to ask about Flacco and Trestman together. Can they improve the team's offense and get the best out of the quarterback at the same time? That's not the easiest thing to do. It would be like adding Jeff Beck or Joe Bonamassa to your musical group. Can you really have a guitar virtuoso in your band and get the best out of him while he still helps YOUR sound, too? Asia tried that once by having four amazing guys together (Wetton, Palmer, Downes and Howe) and it worked for about three albums until they all realized they were each too good to be in a band that wasn't able to produce GREAT music everytime they collaborated.

Flacco
Let's hope we don't see this "Flacco face" much in 2015.

The Flacco question is crucial because we all know, without him, we're winning five games, tops. That means, for starters, he has to stay healthy in pre-season. You can't shield your quarterback from contact in training camp, but you also can't expose him a lot, either. Then again, Flacco needs all the reps he can get in this new Trestman offense he's learning, so there's the interesting juxtaposition facing John Harbaugh and Company. "How much time do we give our quarterback? You know, the 7-year veteran quarterback who doesn't really NEED pre-season playing time but also DOES need pre-season playing time."

2. Are the wide receivers going to be any good? -- That's a simple, semi-harsh way of asking a pretty important question about the Ravens and their chances in 2015. We know they have a capable quarterback. We know the offensive line, if healthy, should be able to pass block and run block with equal levels of effectiveness. So, what then happens when Flacco throws the ball to someone? With Torrey Smith gone, that means either a 36-year old veteran (Steve Smith) or a daisy-fresh first round draft pick (Breshad Perriman) will be the team's go-to-pass-catcher. Forgive me if I'm not over-the-moon with anticipation about the success of either of those guys. I think Smith can still play, but if his career was the span of Led Zeppelin's album anthology, #89 is "In Through The Out Door". In other words, "All of My Love" is playing and it's just about time for the music to end. Perriman has wowed folks in Owings Mills since his arrival in mid-May, but the issue of his hands continues to be a discussion point with the coaching staff. They're going to work with him, obviously, and to his credit, the kid knows he needs to improve and has worked hard over the summer to try and get better. Still, though, when the games start for real in September and the other team has guys picking up a paycheck, "trying to improve" isn't going to cut it. You have to catch the football if it's thrown your way. Guys like Marlon Brown and Kamar Aiken have a chance to entrench themselves in the line-up, but they also had that chance last year and the year before and couldn't do it then, either. I assume Michael Campanaro is going to be hurt by week three, so anything we get from him is a bonus. This all adds up to a huge question mark for the Ravens in 2015. Will they have enough weapons to get the best out of Flacco and put points on the board? I don't know the answer, but I think we'll know more by the time camp breaks at the end of August.

3. How will Ngata's departure affect the defense? -- This isn't as much about what kind of job Timmy Jernigan or Brandon Williams will do as it is, simply, will Haloti Ngata's absence affect the Ravens' defense -- or not? And when I write "affect" I mean, will the defense suffer without Ngata in there? That's a very fair question, no matter what side of the Ngata fence you rest on or, now, I guess it should be "rested" on, since he's no longer around. There were quarters, halves and games where Ngata was a wrecking ball and a game-changer. Frankly, there were probably more of those games than we gave the guy credit for over the years. Teams would look at film during the week and say, "OK, we know we have to keep Ngata out of the game somehow." That's a sign that you're the real deal. Then again, Ngata, particularly in the last couple of years, has had more "off games" than in previous campaigns. Was this the right time to see if the club is ready to move on without Haloti Ngata? The data will tell that story every Sunday evening. If the Ravens are still holding teams to 100-120 yards rushing per-game, the answer will be "yes". But if they start getting gouged for 175-200 yards every Sunday, perhaps they'll regret that trade with the Lions.

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pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late-afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, Maryland.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, and bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket-sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.

Read the description of the Baltimore Catholic Review/#DMD pilgrimage by former Baltimore Sun sportswriter Paul McMullen here.


In case you didn’t get to check-in to Drew’s Morning Dish in the last few days, you’re seeing some changes in the “look” of the website.

Nothing fancy or earth-shattering per se, but there are some parts of the site that are still in transition; one of those parts is the “Comments” section, which hasn’t yet been submitted by our developer for inclusion in the new format we’re using.

So, if you read something here today and you’d like to comment on it, simply send me an e-mail and I’ll post it on the site at the very bottom. I value your opinions and insight, and most certainly welcome your comments on a daily basis. If you’d like to comment on today’s #DMD, e-mail me (18inarow at gmail dot com).





Saturday
July 25, 2015
twitter logo #DMD facebook logo Volume XII
Issue 25

new york: if you can make it there … (you know the rest)

We have returned, safe and sound.

Speaking only for myself, and not any of the others who went on our trip to New York City this week, I can only say this: The Big Apple is something else.

New York City
They say New York is the city that never sleeps. They're right.

It’s both tolerable and incredibly overwhelming. It’s welcoming and yet, somehow, you’re bound to cross paths with someone who is not at all happy you’re in THEIR space. You can see why people love New York and you can see why people can’t stand it, too. And you can have both of those experiences within about seven minutes of one another.

I can take New York in small batches, which is why this week’s three-day, two-night baseball trip to watch the Orioles and Yankees was perfect for me. We were there just long enough to soak everything in, have fun, experience the massive nature of Manhattan—and get out on Friday morning. It’s really remarkable when you stop and think about it: We’re only about 3 hours and 15 minutes from New York City, depending on what part of Baltimore you’re coming from and how traffic treats you on I-95 North. Anytime I’m in New York, I find myself wondering why I haven’t made the trek up there more often in my adult years. Ten minutes later, some guy on the subway sneers at me and says, “Watch it, bruh” because our arms brushed together and I say, “Oh, right, that’s why I don’t come up here more often.”

One thing I will say that comes across loud and clear when you go to New York. They love their sports teams. We’ve all encountered enough maniac Yankee fans over the years to have a legitimate and rightful slice of disdain for them, but I have to say that this trip to the Bronx—two of them, in fact—included no cat-calls, verbal jousting, swearing, threatening, etc. Everywhere you looked there was a “Jeter 2” jersey or t-shirt, but by and large the Yankee fans I interacted with in the two games we saw were pleasant and hardly even noticeable. It probably helps that their team won all three games against the Birds this week, too.

In the event you’re heading up to New York sometime soon, I can offer you two really strong eating recommendations and a sensible, non-gouging Irish bar with some dude on the guitar who can sing just about anything you throw in front of him.

If you’re looking for a nice, affordable meal in Greenwich Village, you will LOVE a place called Primo 135 on 7th Avenue. It’s a seven-minute walk off the subway through the backside of the village and you will love the menu, the prices and the casual element. It’s kind of a new place, having just opened last November, so you’ll see empty tables at 9:00 p.m. and think, “If this place is so good, how come it’s not a 90-minute wait like everything else here?” but I’m telling you it’s just a matter of time before they’re turning people away at Primo 135. It’s that good.

We had an outstanding late-night (after the Wednesday night game—that kind of late) meal at a cool Irish place called Gabby O’Hara’s, on West 39th Street and 6th Avenue. They have plenty of really good beer, as you’d expect, and all four of us had something different, food-wise, and we each raved about our choices. I had a terrific chicken Caesar salad. I know, you’re thinking, “C’mon Drew, how hard is it to mess up a Caesar salad?” My reaction: “I’ve had some bad ones. So, when I get a really good one, I’m telling you about it.” The corned beef sandwich was a hit, as was the grilled chicken sandwich, I’m told.

And another cool Irish bar was just down the street from our hotel on West 39th Street—it’s called Scallywags. Live music, beer and food specials, clean—just the kind of place you’d go at 12 in the morning to have a couple more pints of your favorite beverage before turning in for the night.

There are a gazillion great places in New York City, obviously. I just gave you three that we experienced that I thought were worth mentioning in the event you’re going up there sometime soon.

A huge thanks to our trip sponsors for helping all 40 of our travelers enjoy their time in New York; Jerry’s Toyota-Scion, Harpoon Beer, Advanced Heating and Cooling and Chick fil-A of Nottingham Square. A special thanks to Steve Pavlosky at Chick fil-A for helping get us off to a great start last Wednesday morning by providing coffee to our travelers before we left Baltimore.


thanks for your help with our sleeping bag project — we're 60% of the way there!

When I kicked off “Sleeping Bag 2” last Monday, I mentioned we needed to raise at least $1,500 through individual donations in order to get $1,500 of matching corporate donations from our #DMD partners.

The goal was to reach $3,000 in total monies before mid-August and I’m very excited to say we are now over the $1,600 in donations and matching donations after this week’s kick-off effort.

We’re doing all of this to try to generate enough donation monies to buy 200 sleeping bags for our friend Van Brooks of the S.A.F.E. Foundation, who will in turn distribute them to Baltimore’s homeless this October. We’re proud to be associated with Van in this effort, which is now in its 2nd year.

We were able to secure $800 in individual donations this week and our friend Shawn Shannon of Unison Business Solutions matched those donations in Week One to give us a little over $1,600 in monies raised. Thank you Shawn for your generosity on behalf of Unison Business Solutions!

We’re going to come back again in a couple of weeks with our final week-long push to raise the remaining $1,400 we need to buy our 200 sleeping bags for Van’s project, so if you didn’t get a chance to donate this time, check out a mid-August edition of #DMD and you’ll have the opportunity to donate at that point.


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buck wrecks the lineup; wrecks the 8th inning, too

Buck Showalter didn’t just “tinker” with the Orioles lineup for last night’s series opener with the Rays in Tampa Bay.

He took a sledgehammer to it.

And then, speaking of hammers, Buck set himself up for a pounding from the peanut gallery by leaving Darren O’Day in to face a left-handed hitter with two outs in the 8th inning—and that whole thing blew up into a 3-run Tampa Bay rally that sealed a 3-1 Rays victory.

The new lineup results weren’t overly favorable. The offense still looked stagnant, with just six hits on the night, but in all fairness, this grouping had a better chance of doing some damage than a couple of those Buck went with at Yankee Stadium. That the new-look lineup didn’t generate a bunch of firepower isn’t nearly as important as just the mere fact that Buck finally caved in and said, “This batting order as it’s now constituted isn’t getting the job done.”

Into the leadoff spot went Jimmy Paredes. That was somewhat curious given that Paredes hasn’t been any good at the plate throughout July, but he does make contact and he has a decent eye, so getting on base is something that comes natural to him. Manny Machado moved to the 3rd spot in the lineup, while Adam Jones slid into the clean-up slot.

Tampa’s Chris Archer might not have been the best guy to test out your new line-up against, but Buck’s probably thinking, “What the heck! That line-up we used in New York sure wasn’t doing any good for us.”

The O’s Chris—Tillman—had another outstanding start, but let’s be fair and at least recognize it came against a woeful offensive club in Tampa Bay. Still, it’s a road game, in the division, and coming off that three-game sweep in New York, it was good to see him work his way through seven strong innings of two-hit ball.

O'Day
After a season of success, Darren O'Day coughed up a game last night.

The mess of the eighth inning started with Chris Tillman issuing a walk. Only at 92 pitches, I assumed he’d get at least one more hitter and, perhaps, a double play could extend him to one more hitter with two outs and no one on. Instead, Buck yanked Tillman after that walk and in came Darren O’Day.

Ten minutes later, it was 3-1 Tampa Bay.

O’Day had one of his worst outings of the last two seasons, giving up three hits—after he had recorded two quick outs—and three runs. The big blow was John Jaso’s single that tied the game at 1-1. With the lefty Jaso at the plate, why wouldn’t Buck pull O’Day there and hand Britton the ball for a four-out save? He got a little work in during the Yankees series, throwing 11 pitches in the bottom of the eight inning of Thursday’s 9-3 drubbing in the Bronx, but by-and-large the O’s closer should be well-rested. Why not turn to Britton there, get Jaso out, and come back for three more outs in the 9th?

Last night’s loss was a bad one. I don’t pile on much during the regular season when it comes to wins and losses. You’re going to have six “walk-off” wins at home each season and six bad, late losses on the road each season. This was just one of those six. But it was a win that turned into a loss and those are never good.




SATURDAY EVENING'S MATCHUP
at
TAMPA BAY
M. GONZALEZ
(8-6, 4.21)
E. RAMIREZ
(8-3, 3.54)
6:10 PM
TROPICANA FIELD



pga tour: chad campbell? is that guy still around?

I’d love to see Chad Campbell win the Canadian Open this week. And he’s halfway to doing that.

Chad Campbell
Chad Campbell doesn't have a PGA Tour win since 2007.

I haven’t heard a thing from Campbell since he bowed out of the Angel Cabrera-Kenny Perry Masters playoff back in 2009 after missing an easy four-foot putt at the first playoff hole.

Seriously—as I started to write this, I said to myself, “Has Chad Campbell won a golf tournament since then?” Better yet, “Has Chad Campbell had a Top-5 finish in the last five years?

My guess—before I went to the internet for confirmation—was “no” and “yes.” I’m guessing Campbell hasn't won a tournament since losing that Masters playoff and I'm guessing he only has four Top-5’s since losing that Masters playoff in 2009.

And the answers are:

He does NOT have a win since that 2009 season. For his career, Campbell is still stuck on four career PGA Tour wins.

And he has ONE Top-5 finish and that was a 3rd-place finish at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis.

Basically, since 2009, Chad Campbell has just hung on. Trying to make cuts, working his way up the money list, keeping his card, and doing enough to at least make the FedEx Cup playoffs and maybe, just maybe, catch lightning in a bottle.

Who knows? This could be his week at Glen Abbey GC, as he leads the Canadian Open at the halfway point with a 14-under-par total (67-63). Brian Harman (-12) is two back, followed by Canadian David Hearn, who is 11-under-par and hanging in there as Canada’s hope for their national Open. My pre-tournament pick to win, Jason Day, is 10-under par through 36 holes.


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bo's eye view

Bo Smolka is a longtime member of the Baltimore-Washington media. He covers the Ravens for #DMD and ComcastSportsNet.

Bo's insights and analyses are presented by Advanced Heating & Cooling, which offers a variety of energy saving, high-efficiency equipment for heating, air conditioning, and geothermal systems.

training camp preview: ravens offense

Bo Smolka
Bo Smolka, #DMD's Ravens reporter, breaks down the team's offensive goals in training camp.

The long off-season is just about over. The Ravens rookies report this week, with the rest of the team arriving over the next few days. Injured veterans report July 24, quarterbacks two days later. The entire team is due to report July 29, with the first full-team workout set for July 30 at 8:30 a.m.

As always, there are a lot of questions entering training camp, with new faces in new places. But optimism always reigns in July. The next five months will determine whether that was justified.

As the five-week grind of training camp begins, here are three questions facing the offense:

1. What will be different under Marc Trestman?

The Ravens insist their offense will stay much the same with Trestman succeeding Gary Kubiak as offensive coordinator, and that's probably true. But Trestman will put his own imprint on the team.

Trestman, who has been called "the quarterback whisperer," seems to have gotten off to a good start building rapport with Joe Flacco, who, for better or worse, has plenty of experience working with a new offensive coordinator. Trestman is the Ravens fourth offensive coordinator since 2012.

While the Ravens won't be blowing up the playbook, Trestman's past suggests a few changes. Under Trestman, running backs have played a major part of the passing game. In the past two years, Bears running back Matt Forte had 74 and 102 catches, the two highest totals of his career. When Trestman was offensive coordinator with the Raiders in 2002, running back Charlie Garner had 91 receptions. When Trestman was offensive coordinator with the Cardinals in 2000, running back Michael Pittman had 73 catches. See a trend there?

Justin Forsett had a career-high 44 receptions last season, but Trestman's history suggests Forsett could top that this season. Other running backs might get their number called as well.

Trestman, though, knows he has one of the strongest-armed quarterbacks in the league in Flacco, so expect to see him take his deep shots. That leads to …

2. Is rookie Breshad Perriman ready to step in and replace Torrey Smith?

The Ravens certainly hope so. There's no doubt Perriman has the speed. He posted a blazing 40-yard dash time of 4.22 at his Pro Day, which pretty much cemented his first-round status. He can blow the top off a defense. And in Flacco, he's got the quarterback who can get him the ball deep.

The question is, can he consistently catch the football?

The knock on Perriman has been inconsistent hands, with several drops at Central Florida that he attributed to concentration lapses. He can ill afford that in the NFL, especially with a starting wide receiver job there to be had after Smith signed with the 49ers. In OTA workouts open to the media, Perriman looked strong, with few drops and some impressive catches in traffic. At 6-foot-2, he can elevate over defensive backs.

If Perriman isn't ready, the Ravens will probably turn to Kamar Aiken or Marlon Brown to start opposite the ageless Steve Smith Sr. But neither Aiken nor Brown have the speed or the big-play potential of Perriman.

The Ravens history with first-round receivers has not been good: The only other two wideouts they've taken in Round 1, Travis Taylor (2000) and Mark Clayton (2005), never quite delivered on their first-round status. They are praying Perriman is different.

3. Will Dennis Pitta play, and if not, who is the starting tight end?

The Ravens remain cautiously optimistic that Pitta can return from his second major hip injury, but it won't surprise anyone if he never plays again. It was encouraging to see Pitta on the field doing some individual drills during OTAs, but he has not been medically cleared to return to action.

"A couple things are going to have to happen for him to play, ultimately," coach John Harbaugh said after one minicamp practice. "No. 1, he’s going to have to be cleared by the doctors, and No. 2, he’s going to have to decide he wants to play, because, obviously, there will be some risk involved."

Pitta, who turned 30 last month, spent months recovering from his first major hip injury, sustained during training camp in 2013, only to crumble to the ground without contact at Cleveland last year as his hip gave out again. Pitta has said he wants to return, and he obviously has put in hours and hours of rehab to try to make that happen. But he's not there yet.

If Pitta remains sidelined, Crockett Gillmore and second-round draft pick Maxx Williams should hold a spirited competition in training camp for the starting job. Gillmore, primarily a blocking tight end last season, showed some good hands in OTA workouts and figures to be first in line to earn the starting job. But like Gary Kubiak, Trestman loves using the tight ends, and, if Pitta remains sidelined, Gillmore and Williams could both figure prominently.


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pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late-afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, Maryland.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, and bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket-sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.

Read the description of the Baltimore Catholic Review/#DMD pilgrimage by former Baltimore Sun sportswriter Paul McMullen here.


In case you didn’t get to check-in to Drew’s Morning Dish in the last few days, you’re seeing some changes in the “look” of the website.

Nothing fancy or earth-shattering per se, but there are some parts of the site that are still in transition; one of those parts is the “Comments” section, which hasn’t yet been submitted by our developer for inclusion in the new format we’re using.

So, if you read something here today and you’d like to comment on it, simply send me an e-mail and I’ll post it on the site at the very bottom. I value your opinions and insight, and most certainly welcome your comments on a daily basis. If you’d like to comment on today’s #DMD, e-mail me (18inarow at gmail dot com).





Friday
July 24, 2015
twitter logo #DMD facebook logo Volume XII
Issue 24

last year's ubaldo showed up at the worst possible moment

OK, well, that could have gone better in the Big Apple.

I was hoping for 2 of 3, accepting of 1 of 3, and—umm—we went 0-for-3.

Ubaldo Jimenez
A short outing from Jimenez doomed the Birds on Thursday.

The 2014 version of Ubaldo Jimenez showed up at Yankee Stadium on Thursday on a day when the Orioles desperately needed the 2015 edition of Jimenez to make an appearance.

Instead of going head-to-head with Masahiro Tanaka and somehow keeping the Birds in the game long enough to chip away and squeeze out a much-needed win, Jimenez loaded the bases in the first inning and it was 4-0 before our group of 40 #DMD baseball enthusiasts were half-finished their first beers.

And it’s now officially a HUGE weekend upcoming in Tampa Bay for the Birds, who are 46-48 and seven full games behind New York in the American League East. It's far from over, of course, but we're not going to gain any ground losing three of three.

And with only eight days left until the trade deadline, the pressure builds on Dan Duquette to make a decision about the direction of the ballclub. Buyers? Sellers? Don’t get sucked in and stand pat? Duquette continues to say the O’s are going to buy, but who are they getting and where is he going to play? Carlos Gomez from the Brewers? He’s a center fielder. I know, I know, outfielders are generally able to roam around anywhere out there and play the assigned position, but isn’t that how the O’s got in this position – sort of – in the first place? The outfield, except for Adam Jones, has basically been plug-and-play, with (insert name here) playing left field or right field on any given day or night.

I mentioned this to a couple of guys on our #DMD road trip to New York as we watched the Yankees run around the bases in the first inning of yesterday's 9-3 drubbing.

The Birds basically have FIVE field players playing their true, regular position on a daily basis. The catcher (Wieters/Joseph), Schoop, Hardy, Machado and Jones. How the heck are you going to beat anyone of quality when three other prominent players are basically role players who can play first one day, right field the next day, and left field the day after that? And, let's be honest here, some of those guys -- like Parmelee, Snider and Reimold -- really aren't any good at any of those spots, specifically. The one thing you can say about Ryan Flaherty (who played FIRST base on Wednesday night) is when he DOES play second base, he's a quasi-contributor there. Buck begrudgingly gave Reimold a start in right field on Thursday and he looked lost at the plate, going 0-for-4 while his average dropped to .218. It's almost a miracle the club is 46-48 and still somewhat alive in the A.L. East race with FIVE players who know where they're playing every day.

If the O’s are going to get some help at the deadline, let’s get guys who have a set place to play and stick them in there for the duration of the season. There are rumors that the club is dangling Bud Norris, but my guess is that’s being done only to give Kevin Gausman a comfortable, semi-permanent role over the last 60 games. But if Gausman fails, he can always head back to the bullpen, which would be an easier accommodation if Norris isn’t around to soak up some of those innings.

That said, I don’t see anyone giving us much for Norris. We’d just be giving him away to give him away.

I’ll still contend the one guy who will be easiest to move would be Chris Davis, since teams are always ga-ga over power hitting left handers and he can also play a decent first base. I’m not thrilled at all about Chris Parmelee being the “full-time” first baseman between now and the end of September, but if you can squeeze a solid prospect or two from someone in exchange for Davis, Steve Pearce will do in a pinch for the rest of the season at first base.

This, for me, was a very unsettling series in New York. Perhaps it was because I was there for the Wednesday and Thursday games, but the Birds just didn’t look the part. Missing cut-off guys (Thursday), cutting-off balls they shouldn’t have (Gausman on Wednesday), balls scooting past outfielders (Lough), and guys swinging at first pitches (name just about anyone) instead of digging in and trying to extend at bats and wear out some arms.

Thursday was particularly disturbing given the first two losses of the series and the fact that a series sweep would stick the O’s seven full games behind heading into the last week of July. Jimenez stunk, the bats were once again lifeless, and the Yankees piled on whenever the opportunity presented itself.

It was ugly up here in New York.


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down early, no offense equals a 9-3 loss in new york

Thursday’s game was done as soon as it got to 4-0 in the first inning. I mean, I guess the Orioles COULD have scored five runs and somehow pulled off a miracle, but once it was 4-0, all I could think was, “Well, if we don’t score four by the end of the sixth inning, we’re done. …”

Tanaka
Tanaka struck out seven and walked none yesterday.

And, of course, the Birds only managed three runs—all on solo homers—and five hits on the day, giving them a grand total of SIXTEEN hits in three games at Yankee Stadium this week. In those three games, the O’s scored a total of eight runs. Those are losing numbers, even when your starting pitching gives up seven runs in the first inning on back-to-back nights.

The Yankees are hitting on all cylinders right now. They’re hitting for power, they’re pitching well and, as we saw on Tuesday and Wednesday, they’ve perfected the art of shortening the game to a six or seven inning affair. When you give the ball to Betances and Miller with a lead, it’s all but over. And that’s how you get wrecked when you fall behind 3-0 (Wednesday) and 4-0 (Thursday). It’s just tough to overcome that when you add in the pressure of having to score runs quickly to avoid having those two rock-stars shut you down at the end of the game.

If you’re looking for a bright spot from Thursday—there really wasn’t one. OK, the bullpen was decent, except for Bud Norris, and even he was victimized by David Lough somehow misplaying a ball in left field that allowed two runs to score. Hunter, Roe and Britton were all decent, even though the Yankees had sort of stopped trying by then.




FRIDAY NIGHT'S MATCHUP
at Tampa Bay
Tillman (7-7) Archer (9-7)
7:10 p.m. (July 24th)



a. l. east update

The Yankees are now seven games up in the loss column on everyone in the division after their 9-3 win over the Birds on Thursday afternoon. New York sits at 53-41 (30-17 at home) and heads to Minnesota for a weekend series with the Twins.

Toronto beat Oakland 5-2 on Thursday and slid into second place, 5.5 games behind the Yankees at 49-48. The Jays now head to Seattle for a weekend series.

Tampa Bay (idle) is next, 6.5 back at 48-49, while the Birds are in fourth now at 46-48. Those two teams meet this weekend in St. Petersburg.

Boston stinks, so we won’t bother following them until they creep back to within at least ten games of the division leading Yankees.



Unison banner


pga tour: some guy i've never heard of is leading in canada

Who on earth is Emiliano Grillo?

Emiliano Grillo
This is evidently the guy leading the Canadian Open.

I have no idea, but he’s leading the Canadian Open at 8-under par.

Because I follow golf and I think I should know stuff like “Who is Emiliano Grillo,” I looked him up. He’s from Argentina, he turned professional in 2011, he’s made three starts on the PGA Tour this year (now, four) and he drove his ball on average 309 yards off the tee in Thursday’s opening round at Glen Abbey.

I still don’t really know who he is, but he shot 12-under par for four days in last week’s TOUR event that was played opposite the British Open, so he’s coming in on somewhat of a good note.

Vaughn Taylor, who used to be good a decade ago (he even made a Ryder Cup team once, but those were slim pickins’ back then) is one shot back at 7-under par, along with former Georgia All-American Brian Harman, who also shot 65 on Thursday.

My pre-tournament pick, Jason Day, is nicely positioned at 4-under par after round one, while the other two I selected, Luke Donald (even par 72) and Adam Hadwin (+2, 74) have some work to do on Friday to ensure they play the weekend at Glen Abbey.

The low Canadian thus far is some guy named Adam Svensson, who shot 69 on Thursday in “his” national Open.


we're over $1,000 now in our sleeping bag project

We're very pleased to announce we're now over the $1,000 mark in monies raised this week to help our friend Van Brooks purchase at least 200 sleeping bags to distribute to Baltimore's homeless this October.

Our individual pledges are over $600 and our buddy Shawn Shannon from Unison Business Solutions has matched those pledges this week.

We still have ONE day left, so, please, if you haven't yet pledged, please donate what you can so we can help Van Brooks make the Baltimore winter a little more tolerable for those less fortunate.

Van Brooks
Van Brooks, one of Baltimore's hardest workers.

If you’ve been an active follower of mine from my days on the radio and then here at #DMD, you are familiar with former Loyola Blakefield football player, Van Brooks. Van suffered a spinal cord injury back in 2004 while playing for the Dons, but the resulting paralysis hasn’t stopped him from becoming a special member of the Baltimore community through his S.A.F.E. Alternative Foundation for Education. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Van on a couple of projects, following his lead as he works hard to make Baltimore a better place for everyone.

We once again have a special opportunity here at #DMD to help Van make an impact in our city.

Last October, Van was involved with a local group called “We Care Camp Out.” Their mission was to distribute sleeping bags to Baltimore’s homeless in time for the winter, and Van’s goal was to provide 200 of them. #DMD readers and sponsors stepped up in a big way, as we collected enough donations and contributions to fulfill Van’s hope for 200 sleeping bags.

We’re back at it again, only the time frame has been moved up just a bit to hopefully get the sleeping bags distributed by mid-October this year (instead of mid-November).

Our goal this week is to raise enough money to buy 200 sleeping bags. To do that, we’ll need to raise roughly $2,000. How are we going to do that? Simple – we need to find 100 people to donate $15.00. Here’s the cool part. My friend Shawn Shannon, of Unison Business Solutions, – and like Van Brooks, a graduate of Loyola Blakefield – has pledged to match every $15.00 donation made to #DMD this week. Whatever we raise this week in donations and matched donations from Unison Business Solutions, we’ll simply use for the purchase of sleeping bags to donate to “We Care” in the name of Van Brooks.

I’ll go one better …

If you’ll donate $50.00, I’ll give you either two tickets to the July 30 Orioles home game or the August 1 Baysox home game (your choice).

So, here’s the deal: If you donate $15.00 today or any day this week, Shawn Shannon of Unison Business Solutions will match it and we’ll have $30.00 to go towards the sleeping bag campaign.

If you donate $50.00 today or any day this week, Shawn Shannon will contribute an additional $15.00 AND you get two tickets to the Orioles game or Baysox game.

By the way, if your budget doesn’t allow for a contribution of $15.00, anything you donate under that figure will still be matched by Unison Business Solutions.

As I’ve said (and written) often during my years on the radio and then here at #DMD, part of our mission as a community is to make sure we help people who aren’t as fortunate as us. This is a small but important effort that will benefit a lot of people in Baltimore this winter and it also helps Van Brooks, who is heading up the task of accumulating sleeping bags for the homeless.

We’d like to purchase the sleeping bags by mid-August to ensure delivery by mid-to-late September. I’ll be reaching out to our list of #DMD corporate partners to enlist their support once we get a final total from this week’s effort.

If you’d like to donate via PayPal, please direct those contributions to my PayPal account using the ID: 18inarow@gmail.com

If you prefer to send a check, simply e-mail me (18inarow@gmail.com) and I’ll let you know how we handle that procedure.

Also, if you DO donate via PayPal, I will publicize your name (but NOT your donation amount) unless you specifically ask me not to do that. If you’d rather not have your name publicized, please e-mail me and let me know.

Remember, any donation you make this week will be matched by Unison Business Solutions! Our thanks once again to Shawn Shannon for his support of Van Brooks and the sleeping bag fund-raiser.


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pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis; Bishop of Rome and Sovereign of the Vatican City; Pope of the Catholic Church

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, Maryland.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, and bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket-sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.

Read the description of the Baltimore Catholic Review/#DMD pilgrimage by former Baltimore Sun sportswriter Paul McMullen here.


In case you didn’t get to check-in to Drew’s Morning Dish in the last few days, you’re seeing some changes in the “look” of the website.

Nothing fancy or earth-shattering per se, but there are some parts of the site that are still in transition; one of those parts is the “Comments” section, which hasn’t yet been submitted by our developer for inclusion in the new format we’re using.

So, if you read something here today and you’d like to comment on it, simply send me an e-mail and I’ll post it on the site at the very bottom. I value your opinions and insight, and most certainly welcome your comments on a daily basis. If you’d like to comment on today’s #DMD, e-mail me (18inarow at gmail dot com).





Thursday
July 23, 2015
twitter logo #DMD facebook logo Volume XII
Issue 23

yankees starting to show they're legit

Let’s try something different this morning.

How about we give the Yankees some credit and see if we can—as my old radio buddy Bob Haynie used to say—apply the reverse-schleprock on the Bronx Bombers.

If you go back and look at what I wrote about New York before the season, I wasn’t as quick to dismiss them as did most everyone else in Baltimore who follows baseball closely enough to render a pre-season opinion.

“They’ll never stay healthy,” said the naysayers. “They can’t do it all year long.”

“If they stay healthy,” I countered, “the Yankees could be dangerous.” I thought, and will stick to it for now, that the Orioles would win the A.L. East again this season, but I noted it would go down to the final week before the division was sewed up.

Let’s face some facts this morning on the heels of a 4-3 loss in the Bronx that was witnessed by 40 #DMD Oriole diehards who made the trip to New York yesterday and took in last night’s game—plus we’ll all be there again this afternoon for the series finale.

This Yankees team, the one they have right now, is quite clearly a good team with an outstanding bullpen. If they stay healthy—there, I said it again—they’re going to be in the race until the very end. And you can expect them to buy a key component or two at the deadline next week to beef up what they already have in their locker room.

Let’s work backwards and state the obvious. If you’re losing to the Yankees after six innings, there’s about a 10% chance you’re going to win the game. If you’re losing to them after seven innings, you have roughly a 5% chance, maybe less. If you head to the 9th inning trailing the Yankees, you’re losing. And that’s that.

Their offense is decent because the players on their team who are expected to produce are doing just that. Ellsbury, Gardner, Texeira and A-Rod are contributing game-in and game-out, with the latter two both hitting home runs on Wednesday night in the win over the Birds. Combined, those guys are close to $90 million in payroll, but they’re delivering the goods at a $90 million clip. Throw in Shreve, Betances and Miller and there you have seven players who are all doing their part and more.

Quick, name seven Orioles (without naming a starting pitcher) who are having gung-ho seasons. I’ll play along, since I invented the question: Machado, Jones, O’Day, and Britton. You can throw in Paredes if you want just to try and make it look better, but even then, that’s five guys going above and beyond. Tough to win like that unless you’re starting pitching is lights out, and ours, obviously, is not. It’s good in spots, but not good enough to offset the poor offense we’ve seen from the club over the last fifty games or so.

New York’s for real, folks. If. They. Stay. Healthy.

Teixeira
There's a disdain for Teixeira in Baltimore, but his glove has played a huge role in the Yankees wins on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Bronx.

Teixeira is just outrageously good with the glove at first and he’s on pace to have a rock-star offensive season. A-Rod hit a ball last night that landed in the centerfield seats at CitiField. That’s not all they have offensively, but if you’re getting 60 homers between those two—which looks like a safe bet right now—it’s going to be tough to lose.

And, again, they’re going to be buyers at the deadline. They’ll get better.

Which brings us to the Orioles.

Buyers?

Sellers?

Dan Duquette has reiterated this week that he plans on buying.

Fair enough, I don’t mind any strategy that includes the ballclub clearly trying to win now. We suffered with enough losing teams here from 1998-to 2011. If they want to “go for it” now, I’m OK with that.

But at what price?

I haven’t changed my opinion at all on the “big three” who will be attractive free-agent deadline-meat next week. Chris Davis? Depends on what you can get for him, but by all means, if you scalp another team for a high-level prospect or two, move Davis on and let him strike-out twice a night for some other team. Matt Wieters? Same thing. He’s gone at the end of the year. Everyone knows it. Go ahead and try to pry away a couple of good, young players from someone who wants Wieters around for two months. As for Wei-Yin Chin, I would like to see the Orioles keep him with the hope of re-signing him in the winter. Good, dependable left-handed starting pitchers are hard to find, as evidenced by the fact we only have one of them.

I’m not saying I wouldn’t trade Chen, but I’d have to really be blown away to move him next week. The other two, Davis and Wieters, I’d be OK with shipping out for a solid prospect or two.

On the surface, though, I favor the Orioles BUYING at the deadline instead of selling. I do think they can still win the division. But if they sell, I don’t think there’s much you can expect from two pending free-agent offensive players and one pending free-agent pitcher. If you can make a killing, go ahead and move them. If not, hang on to all three and let’s try to get back in this division race and win it.


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four hits in one game – not nearly good enough

I know it’s happened before, but you’re not winning many major league games with four hits.

You’re also not winning when the first two hitters walk, you bunt them over, and then can’t generate a big hit with either one or two outs in that same inning.

Ryan Flaherty
Ryan Flaherty belted a 2-run home run last night in the 4-3 loss to the Yankees.

The summary of last night’s 4-3 loss to the Yankees? Simple – you can’t fall behind 3-0, you can’t generate four hits, you can’t leave runners on base.

The Orioles did all of that to perfection last night in falling to 46-47 on the year and six full games behind the Yankees in the A.L. East standings.

After a horrendous first inning that saw New York put up a three-spot, O’s starter Kevin Gausman got in a nice routine and was actually pretty representative over his final five innings of work. He allowed all four runs, including the scorched A-Rod bomb in the 6th that turned out to be the game-winning margin, but he permitted just eight base runners in 6.0 innings. I still don’t like the fact he’s not striking out anyone (four strike-outs on Wednesday night), but he battled his way through a rough start last night and kept the Orioles in it.

Steve Pearce got the—ahem, oblique strain, ahem—well-timed injury yesterday, heading to the 15-day disabled list so Gausman could come up from Norfolk to make the start. Surprisingly, there was no Jimmy Paredes sighting on Wednesday even though the Yankees started right-hander Ivan Nova. And with Travis Snider in the lineup, that’s essentially like batting eight players instead of nine.

It goes without saying this is an important game today. Losing two of three means you just drop one game in the standings. Losing all three? You fall three more games behind. That’s not good.



WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON'S MATCHUP
at New York
Jimenez (7-5) Tanaka (6-3)
1:05 p.m. (July 23nd)



the u.s. lost to jamaica? in soccer? wtf?

I was at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night, so I didn’t see any of last night’s Gold Cup semi-final from Atlanta featuring the U.S. vs. Jamaica. Hence, I can’t say much about the U.S.’s performance. But here’s what I’ll offer on the subject of the Jamaicans’ stunning 2-1 win over the American side.

How much of an underdog was Jamaica? A Las Vegas sportsbook had them at +800 on the money line. Put down $100 on Jamaica to beat the U.S. and if they do, you win $800. In gambling terms, that’s called a sure-fire winner—for the United States team. “We’re not losing to Jamaica, sorry, we’re just not.” The bookmakers believed them. To the tune of +800.

Bradley
The lone U.S. goal-scorer last night, captain Michael Bradley.

We lost to Jamaica in a soccer game that sort-of-kind-of mattered. It’s certainly not the World Cup or anything, but the Gold Cup is a symbolic-enough championship that it gets people’s blood flowing a little bit. No offense to Jamaica, but we shouldn't ever be losing to them in a soccer competition that's important enough that we played nearly all of our veteran, solid players. I get it. The U.S. isn't a top-10 world soccer power, so toe stubs like the one we suffered on Wednesday night will come along occasionally, but losing to Jamaica in soccer in something more than a friendly is a little disturbing.

I did see about 30 minutes of the Mexico/Panama game, but mostly what I witnessed was an embarrassing display of sporstmanship and treatment of the refeeres (by both teams).

Things got heated after the referees CORRECTLY gave Mexico a penalty kick with regulation time running out and Panama up 1-0. All hell broke loose, fights ensued, the referee got chased around the field like it was a J.V. soccer game and, briefly put, “it got a little ugly in the final 20 minutes of play.”

It’s a trademark symbol of the Mexican national team to get bounced out right about now, so last night’s win over Panama will give them lots of confidence this Sunday when they play Jamaica for the title.

Yep, Jamaica is in the title game of the Gold Cup. On U.S. soil no less. And by beating the American team.

Crazy game, that soccer.



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bo's-eye view

* Bo Smolka is a longtime member of the Baltimore-Washington media. He covers the Ravens for #DMD and ComcastSportsNet.


ravens training camp preview – defense

The long off-season is just about over. The Ravens rookies report this week, with the rest of the team arriving over the next week. Injured veterans report July 24, quarterbacks two days later. The entire team is due to report July 29, with the first full-team workout set for July 30 at 8:30 a.m. As always, there are a lot of questions entering training camp, with new faces in new places. But optimism always reigns in July. The next five months will determine whether that was justified. We've already looked at three questions facing the Ravens offense as training camp begins. (You can find them here.) Now it's time for three questions facing the defense:

1. Has the secondary improved?

For an organization whose mantra is often "you can never have too many corners," the Ravens lack of depth at cornerback last season was one of their fatal flaws. No one can predict injuries, but injuries to Lardarius Webb and then Jimmy Smith and Asa Jackson opened a revolving door at cornerback. Chykie Brown, Dominique Franks, Rashaan Melvin and even converted-safety Anthony Levine all started at cornerback at times, and the results were predictable. By midseason, after being torched by Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh, Brown and Franks weren't even with the team any more. There was also disappointing play from former first-round pick Matt Elam, a safety who, like many others, found himself playing some nickel back. Darian Stewart did not add much.

C.J. Mosley
The Ravens defense is solid, thanks in large part to this man, linebacker C.J. Mosley.

How bad was it? Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata tied for the team lead in interceptions, and no defensive back had more than one.

It's clear the Ravens were not going to stand pat in the secondary. As usual, they didn't make any huge free-agency splash, but as Ozzie Newsome always does, he looked for the value play in signing veteran cornerback Kyle Arrington and safety Kendrick Lewis.

The Ravens raved about Elam's play in OTAs, but it remains to be seen whether that translates to the field when the pads come on; Elam's tackling was a major disappointment last season; he led the team with 16 missed tackles, according to Pro Football Focus, despite playing only about 60 percent of the snaps.

If Smith and Webb stay healthy—and that's a big if, considering they have both missed extensive time over the past three years—the secondary is immediately improved. But the Ravens appear to be deeper and better in the secondary this year. Then again, that shouldn't be very hard.

2. How does Life After Ngata look?

Make no mistake, the Ravens would love to still have Haloti Ngata filling the middle of their defense. But when the organization and Ngata couldn't agree on a reworked contract, he was dealt to the Lions. And drafting Brandon Williams and Timmy Jernigan in the past three years was probably done with life after Ngata in mind.

Williams, entering his third season, has Pro Bowl potential after making 48 tackles and a half-sack last season. At the "State of the Ravens" news conference this winter, general manager Ozzie Newsome called Williams "probably as good a nose tackle as there is in the league right now."

Jernigan, the team's second-round pick out of Florida State in 2014, essentially auditioned for a starting role while Ngata served a four-game suspension last season and showed well. His burst and power will create problems. Expect to see him in opposing backfields a lot.

The Ravens also used a third-round draft pick on Iowa defensive lineman Carl Davis, who should be in the mix as well.

The Ravens also appear to be strong at defensive end, with 6-foot-7 veteran Chris Canty and the equally towering 6-7 Brent Urban. Both Urban and Kapron Lewis-Moore are returning from injuries that cost them all of last season, but both appeared to be fully recovered during OTA workouts.

Add DeAngelo Tyson, Lawrence Guy and others, and the Ravens defensive line is in good shape, Ngata or not.

3. Will the linebackers show their age?

Elvis Dumervil set a franchise record with 17 sacks last season, and he and Terrell Suggs (12) combined for 29 sacks, the most of any NFL pair in 2014. But Dumervil turned 31 in January, and Suggs turns 33 in October. In addition, inside linebacker Daryl Smith turned 33 in March.

That's a lot of mileage on three key members of the Ravens defense. To their credit, all three played at a high level last season, and the Ravens will be counting on more of the same. After one minicamp workout in June, Suggs said, "13 years in the NFL is still 13 years in the NFL, even though I’m still a young 32."

John Harbaugh frequently gives veterans the occasional day off from practice during the season, and expect that to continue. That should help all three withstand the grind of the season. But the Ravens will also rely on younger linebackers such as Courtney Upshaw, C.J. Mosley and rookie ZaDarius Smith to do their part.



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pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis; Bishop of Rome and Sovereign of the Vatican City; Pope of the Catholic Church

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, Maryland.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, and bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket-sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.

Read the description of the Baltimore Catholic Review/#DMD pilgrimage by former Baltimore Sun sportswriter Paul McMullen here.


In case you didn’t get to check-in to Drew’s Morning Dish in the last few days, you’re seeing some changes in the “look” of the website.

Nothing fancy or earth-shattering per se, but there are some parts of the site that are still in transition; one of those parts is the “Comments” section, which hasn’t yet been submitted by our developer for inclusion in the new format we’re using.

So, if you read something here today and you’d like to comment on it, simply send me an e-mail and I’ll post it on the site at the very bottom. I value your opinions and insight, and most certainly welcome your comments on a daily basis. If you’d like to comment on today’s #DMD, e-mail me (18inarow at gmail dot com).





Wednesday
July 22, 2015
twitter logo #DMD facebook logo Volume XII
Issue 22

reflecting on st. andrews, johnson and spieth

A few readers of #DMD reached out to me on Tuesday with questions and comments about my “St. Andrews … Still Undefeated” piece published yesterday morning.

I thought their commentary was interesting enough to address here this morning. Sometime soon, those comments will be able to be placed in their appropriate space within #DMD itself, but while our I.T. folks continue to do their work, I’ll give those opinions some play here this morning.

17th hole at St. Andrews
The 17th hole at St. Andrews includes a hotel that needs to be navigated and played around.

Richard Elman reached out with this thought:

How did St. Andrews win, Drew? You mean the course where a guy (Spieth) hit his ball across two fairways and still had a play into the final hole? At Sparrows Point, that tee-shot wouldn’t work on any hole. And when’s the last time you hit a tee-shot over a hotel in order to play the hole? Oh, and then there’s a road next to that same hole, where you occasionally have to play your third shot off a brick wall in order to hit the green. Tell me, please, how St. Andrews is still undefeated?

St. Andrews is still undefeated because it once again hosted a major championship without any sort of artificial enhancements, no tricked up greens and nothing even remotely close to “built for the championship.” It’s the same St. Andrews you’ll find this Sunday if you’re lucky enough to play the course – which, of course, you can. Try calling up to Oakmont next week and asking the guy who answers the phone if you can play there sometime in August.

St. Andrews won – again – because the people who run the British Open understand that the course is there to be played … in whatever condition it presents itself come tournament week. They didn’t panic two months in advance and try to make the greens something they’re not. They didn’t let the rough grow to an extraordinary length because they didn’t want the competitors shooting 20-under par for four days. They didn’t find it necessary to change a couple of the par 5’s to par 4’s just to make the place a par 70 instead of a par 72.

True, they’ve lengthened the course by about 300 yards over the last 15 years, but that’s hardly enough to make a huge difference in the general layout of the course and its scoring difficulty range. A large percentage of the holes haven’t been touched in 50 years!!

As for the hotel, it is what it is. It wasn’t built five years ago as an instrument of interruption for the best players in the world. It’s been part of the landscape in St. Andrews and remains an integral part of the course as it relates to playing the 17th hole. The same goes for the road that runs alongside the 17th green. It’s a road people use to walk around the place – after all, it’s actually a “park” with a golf course built inside of it. Folks walk their dogs there, drink their coffee there and weave in and out of the course as if they have every right to be there. And they do.

St. Andrews is the winner because every player in the field, if given the chance, would take a foursome there next Sunday and play the course “just to be there.”

John Pusateri commented:

Refreshing to see how humbled Zach Johnson was in winning and how much he respected the course and the field he just beat. It was also refreshing to hear Spieth in defeat, offering no excuses other than he just didn't get it done.

Both of those guys are incredibly professional and worthy of any young golfer’s appreciation. That neither of them hit it 320 yards off the tee is why I really respect what they’ve done this year. As someone who teaches high school golfers – many of whom are enamored with length off the tee – it’s always good to see guys prosper who hit it straight, hit it on the green, and make a putt or two.

Johnson’s post-round interview was priceless. It shows how much triumph matters to those guys. Notice I didn’t use the word “winning” there. Triumph is different than winning. Triumph means you overcame everything; the players, the course, the weather, your demons, the folks who said “he won’t win another major” and anyone or anything else that gets in your way as you try to post the lowest score.

It’s hard to explain what it feels like to win a golf tournament, but it’s much different than winning a football game, a soccer game, a baseball game, etc. When you win a golf tournament, it’s far more of a RELIEF than anything else. There’s joy, yes, but when that last putt is holed and you’re the low guy, you’re relieved – more than you are anything else.

In Spieth’s case, what you’re seeing with him is just scratching the surface. As I wrote last week here at #DMD, all that kid has done for the last five years of his life is win. He won as a junior golfer, he won in high school, he won in college and he’s winning as a professional. There’s something about people – like Tiger, and Jordan, and Brady – who are just naturally inclined to win. It follows them around. Are they lucky occasionally? Of course. Do others around them wilt under the gun, handing them games, wins and titles? Sure. But when the dust settles, winners win. Spieth is a winner. He’s not going to win EVERY time, but he’s going to win a lot. Add to that the fact that he knows how to lose and how to conduct himself when things don’t go his way and you have a TRUE champion.


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yankee stadium nail-biter goes to n.y. in series opener

Seven hits against the Yankees is probably not going to do the job, particularly when the game gets turned over to Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller.

Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller shut down the O's in order last night to help the Yankees beat the Birds, 3-2.

The Birds dropped the series opener, 3-2, last night, as New York jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the O’s rallied to tie it up at 2-2 in the 6th inning. That didn’t last long, though, as the Yankees scratched out the eventual game-winning run in the bottom half of the sixth off of Wei-Yin Chen, who fell to 4-6 on the year.

With the loss, the Birds fell five games behind New York and saw their record drop to 46-46 on the year.

While the Orioles’ bats have been better recently with runners in scoring position, there were still wasted chances galore on Tuesday night, including Manny Machado swinging at a ball in the dirt with the tying run on third base with two outs in the 7th inning. In the 8th, Chris Davis somehow managed a hit off of Betances, but Matt Wieters grounded out to end the inning, setting the stage for former O’s pitcher Andrew Miller to come in and close the door with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

A couple of random observations from Tuesday night’s game:

What’s going on with Travis Snider in left field? He was slow to get to two balls that fell in for hits and then he dove at a ball near the warning track that he had ZERO chance of catching. Is he the best option we have out there?

Why is Chris Parmelee playing? Say what you will about the chances that have been afforded to Steve Pearce this season – and yes, he’s had a lot of them – but he’s a MUCH better hitter than Parmelee. Maybe I haven’t paid enough attention to their defensive work, but I don’t see Parmelee being over-the-top better than Pearce with the glove. The next time Parmelee makes a major contribution at the plate, Adam Jones’ two-year-old son will be in Little League.

Mike Bordick is getting in the act as a homer during these MASN broadcasts. There was a Parmelee at-bat where a couple of called strikes were close, and Bordick immediately referred to them as “borderline” pitches that went the way of Yankees’ starter Nathan Eovaldi. Moments later, Parmelee looked at strike three, only to have it called ball two by the umpire. Bordick immediately chimed in, “That’s a nice take …” — C’mon, man.


WEDNESDAY NIGHT'S MATCHUP
at New York
Gausman (1-1) Nova (1-3)
7:00 p.m. (July 22nd)



#dmd in the bronx on wednesday and thursday

Our group of 40 Orioles fans will be boarding a bus at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday and heading to New York City to check out the Wednesday and Thursday games between the Orioles and Yankees.

We’ll be staying in Times Square and doing a couple of nights in the Big Apple before heading home on Friday morning. A handful of our #DMD travelers are doing the New York doubleheader, as they’ll check out the Birds and Yankees on Thursday afternoon and then head to Queens to see the Mets and Dodgers on Thursday night.

Our thanks to Steve Pavlosky of Chick fil-A Nottingham Square for providing coffee for our travelers on Wednesday morning!

Look for us on TV!!!


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your fantasy golf picks are in … north of the border

From the British Open to the Canadian Open – not quite a tournament with as much prestige and fanfare, but a national “Open” nonetheless, played at a terrific course called Glen Abbey GC.

I’m going with a few players who found St. Andrews to their liking last week and should do so again this week at Glen Abbey. You always have to throw in the obligatory Canadian because there’s always one hovering around come Sunday afternoon.

Let’s start with the Canada product. I like Adam Hadwin this week, even though his recent form hasn’t been all that great. He has made 15 of 25 cuts this year, so he just needs a week to put it all together and this could be the one. With only a handful of events left before the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs, Hadwin has to produce a couple of decent finishes to ensure he makes the opening playoff event. He’s ranked 109th in FedEx Cup standings, so this is a great week for him to make a move.

Luke Donald hasn’t been heard from in a long time, but his play in the British Open last week was promising. He picked up ten yards on his driver over the last couple of months and the silky-smooth putting stroke of the late 2000’s has showed up again. I’m not saying he’s headed back to #1 in the world or anything, but I think he’s found some form and it wouldn’t shock me at all if he contends or wins this week.

Adam Hadwin
Adam Hadwin, Canada's own, could be a factor this week at Glen Abbey.
Luke Donald
Is Luke Donald on the comeback trail?
Jason day
Jason Day's form is as good as anyone not named McIlroy or Spieth over the last two years.

I’m going with Jason Day to win the Canadian Open. Day was right there – again – in another major championship before finishing tied for 4th with Jordan Spieth at the British Open. He has his vertigo issues straightened out and as we saw at St. Andrews, his putter is really cooperating. While this won’t make up for losing the British Open by a shot, winning the Canadian Open would be a significant win for Day. And he deserves it.

Dark-horses worth considering – Scott Piercy, David Hearn, Pat Perez, Kevin Chappell, and William McGirt.


a mid-week update on our sleeping-bag project

On Monday of this week, we initiated a project to assist our friend Van Brooks with the purchase of at least 200 sleeping bags for distribution to Baltimore’s homeless this October.

Through just two days, we’ve raised nearly $500 and our friend and #DMD corporate partner Shawn Shannon of Unison Business Solutions pledged to match our donations from this week.

Among those donating this week: Phil Bressler, Pat Simon, Don Leatherwood, “Please Buy It For Me,” Raymond Allen Smith, L.C. Warren, Paul Craft, “Maryland Chapter HDI” and Daniel Murtaugh. Others donated and wished to remain anonymous, but we truly appreciate EVERYONE’S contribution and donation to the sleeping-bag project.

There’s still time for you to get in and help us. And when you do, Unison Business Solutions will match your donation.

Van Brooks
Van Brooks, one of Baltimore's hardest workers.

If you’ve been an active follower of mine from my days on the radio and then here at #DMD, you are familiar with former Loyola Blakefield football player, Van Brooks. Van suffered a spinal cord injury back in 2004 while playing for the Dons, but the resulting paralysis hasn’t stopped him from becoming a special member of the Baltimore community through his S.A.F.E. Alternative Foundation for Education. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Van on a couple of projects, following his lead as he works hard to make Baltimore a better place for everyone.

We once again have a special opportunity here at #DMD to help Van make an impact in our city.

Last October, Van was involved with a local group called “We Care Camp Out.” Their mission was to distribute sleeping bags to Baltimore’s homeless in time for the winter, and Van’s goal was to provide 200 of them. #DMD readers and sponsors stepped up in a big way, as we collected enough donations and contributions to fulfill Van’s hope for 200 sleeping bags.

We’re back at it again, only the time frame has been moved up just a bit to hopefully get the sleeping bags distributed by mid-October this year (instead of mid-November).

Our goal this week is to raise enough money to buy 200 sleeping bags. To do that, we’ll need to raise roughly $2,000. How are we going to do that? Simple – we need to find 100 people to donate $15.00. Here’s the cool part. My friend Shawn Shannon, of Unison Business Solutions, – and like Van Brooks, a graduate of Loyola Blakefield – has pledged to match every $15.00 donation made to #DMD this week. Whatever we raise this week in donations and matched donations from Unison Business Solutions, we’ll simply use for the purchase of sleeping bags to donate to “We Care” in the name of Van Brooks.

I’ll go one better …

If you’ll donate $50.00, I’ll give you either two tickets to the July 30 Orioles home game or the August 1 Baysox home game (your choice).

So, here’s the deal: If you donate $15.00 today or any day this week, Shawn Shannon of Unison Business Solutions will match it and we’ll have $30.00 to go towards the sleeping bag campaign.

If you donate $50.00 today or any day this week, Shawn Shannon will contribute an additional $15.00 AND you get two tickets to the Orioles game or Baysox game.

By the way, if your budget doesn’t allow for a contribution of $15.00, anything you donate under that figure will still be matched by Unison Business Solutions.

As I’ve said (and written) often during my years on the radio and then here at #DMD, part of our mission as a community is to make sure we help people who aren’t as fortunate as us. This is a small but important effort that will benefit a lot of people in Baltimore this winter and it also helps Van Brooks, who is heading up the task of accumulating sleeping bags for the homeless.

We’d like to purchase the sleeping bags by mid-August to ensure delivery by mid-to-late September. I’ll be reaching out to our list of #DMD corporate partners to enlist their support once we get a final total from this week’s effort.

If you’d like to donate via PayPal, please direct those contributions to my PayPal account using the ID: 18inarow@gmail.com

If you prefer to send a check, simply e-mail me (18inarow@gmail.com) and I’ll let you know how we handle that procedure.

Also, if you DO donate via PayPal, I will publicize your name (but NOT your donation amount) unless you specifically ask me not to do that. If you’d rather not have your name publicized, please e-mail me and let me know.

Remember, any donation you make this week will be matched by Unison Business Solutions! Our thanks once again to Shawn Shannon for his support of Van Brooks and the sleeping bag fund-raiser.


BARCS banner ad

pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis; Bishop of Rome and Sovereign of the Vatican City; Pope of the Catholic Church

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, Maryland.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, and bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket-sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.

Read the description of the Baltimore Catholic Review/#DMD pilgrimage by former Baltimore Sun sportswriter Paul McMullen here.


In case you didn’t get to check-in to Drew’s Morning Dish in the last few days, you’re seeing some changes in the “look” of the website.

Nothing fancy or earth-shattering per se, but there are some parts of the site that are still in transition; one of those parts is the “Comments” section, which hasn’t yet been submitted by our developer for inclusion in the new format we’re using.

So, if you read something here today and you’d like to comment on it, simply send me an e-mail and I’ll post it on the site at the very bottom. I value your opinions and insight, and most certainly welcome your comments on a daily basis. If you’d like to comment on today’s #DMD, e-mail me (18inarow at gmail dot com).


Tuesday
July 21, 2015
Facebook logo #DMD Twitter logo Volume XII
Issue 21

st. andrews wins again … still undefeated

The old golf adage, “Drive for show, Putt for dough,” held up again.

Just like it did at the Masters in April and at the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay last month, a major championship came down to the guy with the best wedge game and the most cooperative putter. That’s how Zach Johnson bested the field at St. Andrews this week, topping it off with a one-under score in the four-hole aggregate playoff that included two birdies and a nice bogey save from a few feet off the 17th green.

Zach Johnson
Only four players in golf have won more than ten tournaments and two majors since 2005. Zach Johnson is one of them, now.

Jordan Spieth won the first two majors of the year by plodding (or plotting) his way through the Georgia pines at Augusta and holing a bunch of key putts on the weekend at the U.S. Open. He didn’t blast it by anyone or overpower the golf course, and neither did Zach Johnson over the last five days at St. Andrews. The power players, guys like Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott, all had solid British Open showings, but when the time came to putt for dough, they had nothing to offer.

St. Andrews presented two tournaments within each round of golf the players played since last Thursday. The outgoing nine holes was a walk in the park, with the downwind aid making almost every hole a birdie possibility and artificially lowering the par from 36 to about 32.5. If you weren’t at least three under at the turn, you were getting by-passed. The incoming nine holes then separated the men from the boys. If you were playing well and had your short game well-oiled, you could muster a 34 or 35, but if you were at odds with your game, your back nine score would likely steam towards 39 or 40. It made for an interesting round of golf, the players all knowing precisely what they HAD to do — and then going about the process of actually trying to pull it off as planned.

With all due respect to the Masters, the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship, nothing beats the British Open when it comes to symbolizing the way a golf tournament is supposed to be played.

At Augusta each year, they wipe the place clean each day with white gloves and nothing, not even a pine cone, interferes with the pristine nature of the golf course and the tournament itself. They won’t even call “the rough,” “the rough” — because, well, they’d prefer it be known as “the first cut,” in the wildly unlikely event you would somehow be offended if you played the tournament and you hit your tee ball 20 yards offline and had a bad lie.

The U.S. Open is like the rock-n-roll band who asks the bar manager, “What’s the health department say the decibel-level limit is?” then intentionally turns up their instruments to exceed the limit. Instead of making the U.S. Open “hard,” the USGA makes the U.S. Open maddening. Some people think that’s fair or funny or deserving, but I don’t. I think it’s silly.

And the PGA Championship, for years the tournament everyone forgot about by mid-August, has gone the route of “we’ll make the course 7,600 yards and see if anyone can shoot in the 60’s all four days…we bet you can’t.” In the end, while it’s improved its stature in recent time, the PGA is the major tournament without a real motto. Guys just show up at a really nice course and tee it up. And someone wins. But their identity, like the event itself, gets overlooked years down the road.

Then – there’s the British Open. Here’s how they prepare for the tournament each year: Game plan — It’s a golf course. The weather will dictate how easy, how hard, how fast, how slow, how everything. If it rains a lot the week of the tournament, expect little roll, slower than usual greens and tucked pins that make it hard for players to just buzz in their 165 yard 8-irons like they're playing the John Deere Classic. If it’s dry leading up to the tournament, you better sharpen your 2-iron skills and learn how to survive without blasting your driver all over the lot. And if you can't impart spin on the ball, the hard greens won’t hold your shots and you’ll be facing a lot of six-footers for par.

The British Open simply says – “Here’s the course as we found it this week. We’ve set it up for you. Go get 'em.”

Sometimes, as we saw last Friday when the R & A completely botched the wind-related scenario in the first two hours of round two, the weather and Mother Nature dictate more of the golf than perhaps they should. Then again, as Lee Westwood accurately reminded us, “golf’s an outdoor sport.”

My favorite tournament is the Masters, but that’s more because it welcomes spring and another golf season than anything else. The best tournament in the world, bar none, is the British Open. Year after year, it produces the best competition, the best champions and the kind of golf you dream of playing, one with flair, imagination, grit and a healthy dose of good and bad fortune.


BARCS banner ad

o's need to take a bite out of new york's lead this week

As I always say, nothing is truly “must win” until you lose a game in the regular season and they put that “x” next to your team’s name with “eliminated from playoff competition” in the footnote below the standings.

Therefore, this week’s three-game series in New York isn’t “must anything” for the Birds, but it would sure help to scratch out a couple of wins (three-for-three is just being a little too greedy) and pick up a game on the Yankees in the A.L. East race.

Chris Davis
This duo could play a key role in the Orioles-Yankees series in New York this week.

The pitching match-ups aren’t out-of-whack by any means. It starts tonight when Wei-Yin Chen opposes Nathan Eovaldi. Advantage Birds in that one. Wednesday night, it’s Kevin Gausman vs. Ivan Nova. If the good Nova shows up, that’s advantage Yankees there. And on Thursday afternoon, it’s Ubaldo Jimenez taking on Mashiro Tanaka. This season? Right now? Jimenez has out-pitched Tanaka, but he’s coming off a miserable start in Detroit last Friday night.

With three right-handers starting for the Yankees, the Birds need some productive games from Chris Davis, Jimmy Paredes, Travis Snider and even Matt Wieters, who is far more efficient and dangerous from the left side of the plate, no matter what the current numbers might indicate. If those four have a couple of good games, the Birds might just snag a couple at Yankee Stadium this week.




TUESDAY NIGHT'S MATCHUP
at New York
Chen (4-5) Eovaldi (9-2)
7:05 p.m. (July 21st)

let's extend our #dmd helping hand to van brooks

With temperatures expected to be near 95 degrees today, I thought it might be the perfect time to start talking about October. And chilly nights. I’m a warm-weather guy, so thoughts of cooler and then downright cold temperatures always get me a tad bummed out, but I have a warm place to stay when the Baltimore winter rolls around.

Van Brooks
Van Brooks, one of Baltimore's hardest workers.

Some people in town aren’t so lucky.

If you’ve been an active follower of mine from my days on the radio and then here at #DMD, you are familiar with former Loyola HS football player, Van Brooks. Van suffered a spinal cord injury back in 2004 while playing for the Dons, but the resulting paralysis hasn’t stopped him from becoming a special member of the Baltimore community through his S.A.F.E. Alternative Foundation for Education. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Van on a couple of projects, following his lead as he works hard to make Baltimore a better place for everyone.

We once again have a special opportunity here at #DMD to help Van make an impact in our city.

Last October, Van was involved with a local group called “We Care Camp Out.” Their mission was to distribute sleeping bags to Baltimore’s homeless in time for the winter, and Van’s goal was to provide 200 of them. #DMD readers and sponsors stepped up in a big way, as we collected enough donations and contributions to fulfill Van’s hope for 200 sleeping bags.

We’re back at it again, only the time frame has been moved up just a bit to hopefully get the sleeping bags distributed by mid-October this year (instead of mid-November).

Our goal this week is to raise enough money to buy 200 sleeping bags. To do that, we’ll need to raise roughly $2,000. How are we going to do that? Simple – we need to find 100 people to donate $15.00. Here’s the cool part. My friend Shawn Shannon, of Unison Business Solutions, – and like Van Brooks, a graduate of Loyola Blakefield – has pledged to match every $15.00 donation made to #DMD this week. Whatever we raise this week in donations and matched donations from Unison Business Solutions, we’ll simply use for the purchase of sleeping bags to donate to “We Care” in the name of Van Brooks.

I’ll go one better …

If you’ll donate $50.00, I’ll give you either two tickets to the July 30 Orioles home game or the August 1 Baysox home game (your choice).

So, here’s the deal: If you donate $15.00 today or any day this week, Shawn Shannon of Unison Business Solutions will match it and we’ll have $30.00 to go towards the sleeping bag campaign.

If you donate $50.00 today or any day this week, Shawn Shannon will contribute an additional $15.00 AND you get two tickets to the Orioles game or Baysox game.

By the way, if your budget doesn’t allow for a contribution of $15.00, anything you donate under that figure will still be matched by Unison Business Solutions.

As I’ve said (and written) often during my years on the radio and then here at #DMD, part of our mission as a community is to make sure we help people who aren’t as fortunate as us. This is a small but important effort that will benefit a lot of people in Baltimore this winter and it also helps Van Brooks, who is heading up the task of accumulating sleeping bags for the homeless.

We’d like to purchase the sleeping bags by mid-August to ensure delivery by mid-to-late September. I’ll be reaching out to our list of #DMD corporate partners to enlist their support once we get a final total from this week’s effort.

If you’d like to donate via PayPal, please direct those contributions to my PayPal account using the ID: 18inarow@gmail.com

If you prefer to send a check, simply e-mail me (18inarow@gmail.com) and I’ll let you know how we handle that procedure.

Also, if you DO donate via PayPal, I will publicize your name (but NOT your donation amount) unless you specifically ask me not to do that. If you’d rather not have your name publicized, please e-mail me and let me know.

Remember, any donation you make this week will be matched by Unison Business Solutions! Our thanks once again to Shawn Shannon for his support of Van Brooks and the sleeping bag fund-raiser.


SECU  banner



bo's-eye view

* Bo Smolka is a longtime member of the Baltimore-Washington media. He covers the Ravens for #DMD and ComcastSportsNet.


training camp preview: ravens offense

Bo Smolka
Bo Smolka, #DMD's Ravens reporter, breaks down the team's offensive goals in training camp.

The long off-season is just about over. The Ravens rookies report this week, with the rest of the team arriving over the next few days. Injured veterans report July 24, quarterbacks two days later. The entire team is due to report July 29, with the first full-team workout set for July 30 at 8:30 a.m.

As always, there are a lot of questions entering training camp, with new faces in new places. But optimism always reigns in July. The next five months will determine whether that was justified.

As the five-week grind of training camp begins, here are three questions facing the offense:

1. What will be different under Marc Trestman?

The Ravens insist their offense will stay much the same with Trestman succeeding Gary Kubiak as offensive coordinator, and that's probably true. But Trestman will put his own imprint on the team.

Trestman, who has been called "the quarterback whisperer," seems to have gotten off to a good start building rapport with Joe Flacco, who, for better or worse, has plenty of experience working with a new offensive coordinator. Trestman is the Ravens fourth offensive coordinator since 2012.

While the Ravens won't be blowing up the playbook, Trestman's past suggests a few changes. Under Trestman, running backs have played a major part of the passing game. In the past two years, Bears running back Matt Forte had 74 and 102 catches, the two highest totals of his career. When Trestman was offensive coordinator with the Raiders in 2002, running back Charlie Garner had 91 receptions. When Trestman was offensive coordinator with the Cardinals in 2000, running back Michael Pittman had 73 catches. See a trend there?

Justin Forsett had a career-high 44 receptions last season, but Trestman's history suggests Forsett could top that this season. Other running backs might get their number called as well.

Trestman, though, knows he has one of the strongest-armed quarterbacks in the league in Flacco, so expect to see him take his deep shots. That leads to …

2. Is rookie Breshad Perriman ready to step in and replace Torrey Smith?

The Ravens certainly hope so. There's no doubt Perriman has the speed. He posted a blazing 40-yard dash time of 4.22 at his Pro Day, which pretty much cemented his first-round status. He can blow the top off a defense. And in Flacco, he's got the quarterback who can get him the ball deep.

The question is, can he consistently catch the football?

The knock on Perriman has been inconsistent hands, with several drops at Central Florida that he attributed to concentration lapses. He can ill afford that in the NFL, especially with a starting wide receiver job there to be had after Smith signed with the 49ers. In OTA workouts open to the media, Perriman looked strong, with few drops and some impressive catches in traffic. At 6-foot-2, he can elevate over defensive backs.

If Perriman isn't ready, the Ravens will probably turn to Kamar Aiken or Marlon Brown to start opposite the ageless Steve Smith Sr. But neither Aiken nor Brown have the speed or the big-play potential of Perriman.

The Ravens history with first-round receivers has not been good: The only other two wideouts they've taken in Round 1, Travis Taylor (2000) and Mark Clayton (2005), never quite delivered on their first-round status. They are praying Perriman is different.

3. Will Dennis Pitta play, and if not, who is the starting tight end?

The Ravens remain cautiously optimistic that Pitta can return from his second major hip injury, but it won't surprise anyone if he never plays again. It was encouraging to see Pitta on the field doing some individual drills during OTAs, but he has not been medically cleared to return to action.

"A couple things are going to have to happen for him to play, ultimately," coach John Harbaugh said after one minicamp practice. "No. 1, he’s going to have to be cleared by the doctors, and No. 2, he’s going to have to decide he wants to play, because, obviously, there will be some risk involved."

Pitta, who turned 30 last month, spent months recovering from his first major hip injury, sustained during training camp in 2013, only to crumble to the ground without contact at Cleveland last year as his hip gave out again. Pitta has said he wants to return, and he obviously has put in hours and hours of rehab to try to make that happen. But he's not there yet.

If Pitta remains sidelined, Crockett Gillmore and second-round draft pick Maxx Williams should hold a spirited competition in training camp for the starting job. Gillmore, primarily a blocking tight end last season, showed some good hands in OTA workouts and figures to be first in line to earn the starting job. But like Gary Kubiak, Trestman loves using the tight ends, and, if Pitta remains sidelined, Gillmore and Williams could both figure prominently.


spieth comes up one shot short, but he's not a loser

A lot of folks who follow golf—and I mean, a lot—were crestfallen on Monday afternoon when Jordan Spieth failed to birdie the 18th hole at St. Andrews, coming up a shot short of joining the playoff eventually won by Zach Johnson.

Jordan Spieth
The fist pump and winning smile will return soon for Jordan Spieth, but the Grand Slam dream has ended.

Spieth’s 14-under-par score robbed him of a chance to win a third straight major championship. Looking into the future, had he won the PGA Championship in a few weeks at Whistling Straits, his loss ended the possibility of the first-ever true golfing Grand Slam.

There are plenty of ways to look at Spieth’s losing effort at St. Andrews. First and foremost, his defenders are going to point directly to the disastrous decision made by the R & A to keep players on the golf course on Friday morning despite winds of nearly 45 mph that were blowing golf balls all over the place, particularly on the 7th and 11th holes. Did Friday’s horrific weather derail Spieth? Sure, in the same way it could have derailed Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and others who were out there at the same time.

That’s NOT why Spieth came up short.

He came up short because the tools he favors the most—his wedges and putter—let him down at the worst moments. He four-putted the 8th green on Monday, albeit from about 90 feet, turning a par into a double-bogey that temporarily sent him three shots behind the leaders. He rebounded nicely with birdies at #9 and #10, and when he miraculously rolled in a putt from Ireland on #16, he was there, right there, tied for the lead with three holes to play. The next two holes exposed his trouble spots this week: he failed to make a six-foot par putt at #17 and inexplicably hit a leaky wedge shot into the 18th green that didn’t get up high enough on the putting surface to stay there and give him an honest-to-goodness putt for birdie that would have sent him into the playoff.

Some will look back at the U.S. Open, and how Dustin Johnson handed it to Spieth on Sunday’s 18th hole, and remark that Spieth might have won the one he shouldn’t have and lost the one he deserved to win. If you look at things in the grand scheme like that, you could be right with that observation. Johnson certainly didn’t play poorly on Sunday at Chambers Bay, but a tour pro doesn’t three-jack from twelve feet — except that Johnson did. On Monday at St. Andrews, Spieth didn’t make any major mistakes until his putting faux pas at #8, but two quick birdies got him back in the thick of things, and it looked like he was going to steal another major title in the last hour of a final round.

Then his putter and wedges betrayed him, ending a heroic quest that would have put him into true legend-status—and at age 21, no less.

He was there, right until the end, which can’t be said for the likes of Adam Scott, who fashioned a back-nine 40 to shoot himself out of the running for the Claret Jug, Dustin Johnson (75-75 over the final 36 holes), and third round co-leader Paul Dunne, the Irish amateur who was petrified on the first tee and yet somehow guided it around in 78 shots on Monday.

One thing is certain: Jordan Spieth isn’t going to win “just” two major titles in his career. He’s going to be there for a long time, in the hunt, winning some, losing some, and chasing history. "You can’t win ‘em all," he pointed out in the aftermath of Monday’s stinging loss, but if he gets there enough times, he’ll win his share.


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pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis; Bishop of Rome and Sovereign of the Vatican City; Pope of the Catholic Church

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, Maryland.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, and bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket-sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.

Read the description of the Baltimore Catholic Review/#DMD pilgrimage by former Baltimore Sun sportswriter Paul McMullen here.


In case you didn’t get to check-in to Drew’s Morning Dish in the last few days, you’re seeing some changes in the “look” of the website.

Nothing fancy or earth-shattering per se, but there are some parts of the site that are still in transition; one of those parts is the “Comments” section, which hasn’t yet been submitted by our developer for inclusion in the new format we’re using.

So, if you read something here today and you’d like to comment on it, simply send me an e-mail and I’ll post it on the site at the very bottom. I value your opinions and insight, and most certainly welcome your comments on a daily basis. If you’d like to comment on today’s #DMD, e-mail me (18inarow at gmail dot com).


Monday
July 20, 2015
Facebook logo #DMD Twitter logo Volume XII
Issue 20

let's extend our #dmd helping hand to van brooks

With temperatures expected to be near 95 degrees today, I thought it might be the perfect time to start talking about October. And chilly nights. I’m a warm-weather guy, so thoughts of cooler and then downright cold temperatures always get me a tad bummed out, but I have a warm place to stay when the Baltimore winter rolls around.

Van Brooks
Van Brooks, one of Baltimore's hardest workers.

Some people in town aren’t so lucky.

If you’ve been an active follower of mine from my days on the radio and then here at #DMD, you are familiar with former Loyola Blakefield football player, Van Brooks. Van suffered a spinal cord injury back in 2004 while playing for the Dons, but the resulting paralysis hasn’t stopped him from becoming a special member of the Baltimore community through his S.A.F.E. Alternative Foundation for Education. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Van on a couple of projects, following his lead as he works hard to make Baltimore a better place for everyone.

We once again have a special opportunity here at #DMD to help Van make an impact in our city.

Last October, Van was involved with a local group called “We Care Camp Out.” Their mission was to distribute sleeping bags to Baltimore’s homeless in time for the winter, and Van’s goal was to provide 200 of them. #DMD readers and sponsors stepped up in a big way, as we collected enough donations and contributions to fulfill Van’s hope for 200 sleeping bags.

We’re back at it again, only the time frame has been moved up just a bit to hopefully get the sleeping bags distributed by mid-October this year (instead of mid-November).

Our goal this week is to raise enough money to buy 200 sleeping bags. To do that, we’ll need to raise roughly $2,000. How are we going to do that? Simple – we need to find 100 people to donate $15.00. Here’s the cool part. My friend Shawn Shannon, of Unison Business Solutions, – and like Van Brooks, a graduate of Loyola Blakefield – has pledged to match every $15.00 donation made to #DMD this week. Whatever we raise this week in donations and matched donations from Unison Business Solutions, we’ll simply use for the purchase of sleeping bags to donate to “We Care” in the name of Van Brooks.

I’ll go one better …

If you’ll donate $50.00, I’ll give you either two tickets to the July 30 Orioles home game or the August 1 Baysox home game (your choice).

So, here’s the deal: If you donate $15.00 today or any day this week, Shawn Shannon of Unison Business Solutions will match it and we’ll have $30.00 to go towards the sleeping bag campaign.

If you donate $50.00 today or any day this week, Shawn Shannon will contribute an additional $15.00 AND you get two tickets to the Orioles game or Baysox game.

By the way, if your budget doesn’t allow for a contribution of $15.00, anything you donate under that figure will still be matched by Unison Business Solutions.

As I’ve said (and written) often during my years on the radio and then here at #DMD, part of our mission as a community is to make sure we help people who aren’t as fortunate as us. This is a small but important effort that will benefit a lot of people in Baltimore this winter and it also helps Van Brooks, who is heading up the task of accumulating sleeping bags for the homeless.

We’d like to purchase the sleeping bags by mid-August to ensure delivery by mid-to-late September. I’ll be reaching out to our list of #DMD corporate partners to enlist their support once we get a final total from this week’s effort.

If you’d like to donate via PayPal, please direct those contributions to my PayPal account using the ID: 18inarow@gmail.com

If you prefer to send a check, simply e-mail me (18inarow@gmail.com) and I’ll let you know how we handle that procedure.

Also, if you DO donate via PayPal, I will publicize your name (but NOT your donation amount) unless you specifically ask me not to do that. If you’d rather not have your name publicized, please e-mail me and let me know.

Remember, any donation you make this week will be matched by Unison Business Solutions! Our thanks once again to Shawn Shannon for his support of Van Brooks and the sleeping bag fund-raiser.


BARCS banner ad

orioles head to new york on a high note

Things didn’t look good for the O’s after Friday night’s 7-3 loss at Detroit, but two days later, all is well for the Birds as they polished off a weekend series win over the Tigers with a 9-3 triumph on Sunday afternoon.

The win puts the Birds back over .500 at 46-45 and into second place in the American League East and sends them to New York with their shoulders back and their chest sticking out just a bit as the Yankees await.

Adam Jones
An Adam Jones first-inning home run was the right start for the O's on Sunday.

Every Orioles starter collected at least one hit on Sunday, with Adam Jones and Jonathan Schoop each hitting home runs. The Tigers pounded out 14 hits on the day, matching the O’s total, but Miguel Gonzalez gave the Birds five innings of decent work and the bullpen trio of Roe, Matusz and O’Day surrendered just one run in four innings.

The weekend started with a dismal performance from Ubaldo Jimenez on Friday night, but Chris Tillman (one hit in 8 innings) and Gonzalez gave the Orioles a chance to win and the bats responded – finally. Also of note: in back-to-back games, the Birds defeated David Price and Justin Verlander.

The O’s now head to New York for a Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday series in the Bronx, with 40 #DMD baseball fans making the trip for the Wednesday and Thursday games. We’ll be reporting live from New York starting on Wednesday. If you’re heading up to the Bronx on your own and you’d like to hang out with the #DMD gang, send me an e-mail and we’ll get it organized (18inarow@gmail.com).



a. l. east re-cap

Mark Teixeira continued his exceptional 2015 with an 8th inning home run off of Fernando Rodney and that held up as the Yankees edged Seattle, 2-1, on Sunday afternoon in the Bronx. C.C. Sabathia and Felix Hernandez both allowed just one run on the day, as Sabathia had one of his better starts of the year (seven strike-outs, six hits allowed in six innings). The victory gives the Yankees (50-41) a 4-game lead over the Orioles in the East.

In Toronto, Chris Colabello and Jose Bautista both hit two home runs for the Blue Jays as they beat Chris Archer and the Rays, 4-0. Marco Estrada was terrific on the mound for the Jays, going eight innings and allowing just three hits on the day. The two teams are each now 47-47 on the season.


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they're not going to let an amateur beat them at st. andrews

Within the last decade, the British Open has produced a couple of ultra-compelling stories, but on both occasions the dream fizzled out before it could become reality. Back in 2008 at Royal Birkdale, 53-year old Greg Norman held a two-shot lead heading into the final round, but a Sunday score of 77 helped hand the Claret Jug to Padraig Harrington.

The following year at Turnberry, it was an even better (potentially) story, as Tom Watson needed only to make a par at the final hole on Sunday to secure the championship. His missed eight foot putt at the 72nd hole sent Watson to a playoff with Stewart Cink, where the younger and more fit Cink prevailed for his first and only major title to date.

Paul Dunne
Paul Dunne, an amateur, is a third-round co-leader at St. Andrews .

Today at St. Andrews, a bigger story and bigger dream will present itself in the form of Irish amateur Paul Dunne, who played his college golf at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Dunne currently stands at 12-under par and shares the 54-hole lead with Louis Oosthuizen and Jason Day, with Jordan Spieth lurking just one shot behind after a superb 66 in Sunday’s third round.

Should Dunne win, he’d become the first amateur to win the British Open since Bobby Jones did it back in 1930.

OK, I’ll say it: He’s NOT winning. I’m not rooting against him, me being an amateur golfer and all, I’d LOVE to see an “am” win a major title, but it’s too much to ask, I’m afraid.

Dunne’s position on the leaderboard isn’t a fluke. He qualified to get in, he’s the 80th ranked amateur in the world, and he can play the game of golf. But “playing the game of golf” and winning the British Open – as an amateur – are two totally different things.

He’s not winning today.

So, who will?

Well, my pre-tournament pick, Justin Rose, remains in solid position to win at 9-under par, but he’ll need a massive effort on Monday and the others ahead of him would have to all collectively falter with even par (or thereabouts) rounds.

Oosthuizen has the major title monkey-off-his back, already owning a British Open title at St. Andrews. Day doesn’t have a major, but he’s been in position enough to know what it feels like to have a shot or two make the difference between winning and losing. It could be Day’s time on Monday.

The guy to watch, obviously, is Jordan Spieth, who would be leading the event if not for a so-so second round that started on Friday morning, ended on Saturday evening, and included forty-five minutes of playing in near impossible, unfair conditions early Saturday. Spieth knows how to win. He’s done it both ways in his major title victories this season, owning the lead from day one at the Masters and managing his game like a 10-year veteran rather than a 21-year old. At the U.S. Open, he battled Dustin Johnson on the back nine of Sunday’s final round and made a final hole birdie to win by a shot after D.J. three-putted from 12 feet to lose.

If anyone on the leaderboard has the pedigree, right now, it’s Spieth, who is trying to become the first player in golf history to win the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship in the same year.



DREW’S “CHANCE TABLE” FOR TODAY’S FINAL ROUND

Paul Dunne (-12) – Slight chance of winning. Key: Get off to a good start over the first six holes. If he steadies himself early, he could be a factor.

Louis Oosthuizen (-12) – Very good chance of winning. Key: Drive it well off the tee. When his driver behaves, so, too, does his putter.

Jason Day (-12) – Good chance of winning. Key: Make putts. In his failed attempts at final round major glory, Day’s putter usually goes quiet.

Jordan Spieth (-11) – Great chance of winning. Key: Fairways and greens. If he hits it straight and finds the greens, his putter will be the difference.

Padraig Harrington (-10) – Good chance of winning. Key: Putting, putting, putting. He missed a short one at #18 on Sunday. Those are the ones he needs to make.

Sergio Garcia (-9) – Slight chance of winning. Key: Has to jump over a bunch of guys, so he’ll need something like 65 or 66 to win.

Adam Scott (-9) -- Slight chance of winning. Key: Make some putts early, get near the lead at the turn, and fire 32 on the back. Needs 65-66, most likely.

Justin Rose (-9) – Slight chance of winning. Key: Hasn’t putted all that well this week and still sits at 9-under par. If he can throw a 31-32 at them on the front nine, he could get in the back-nine shootout and then – who knows?


"bo's eye view" begins tomorrow at #dmd

It’s almost football season, yes, but #DMD can’t wait any longer. We’re getting started tomorrow with our first official contribution from our new Ravens reporter, Bo Smolka. Bo’s Eye View will appear on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the season, with additional commentary as part of the Sunday Game-Day edition of Drew’s Morning Dish.

This week, you’ll get Bo’s training camp look at the offense and the defense, and next week he’ll tackle special teams and the rookie/free-agent crop.

Once training camp begins in earnest, Bo will follow the day-to-day news coming out of Owings Mills and we’ll feature his thoughts and opinions via #DMD on Twitter plus here at the Morning Dish.


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pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis; Bishop of Rome and Sovereign of the Vatican City; Pope of the Catholic Church

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, Maryland.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, and bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket-sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.

Read the description of the Baltimore Catholic Review/#DMD pilgrimage by former Baltimore Sun sportswriter Paul McMullen here.


In case you didn’t get to check-in to Drew’s Morning Dish in the last few days, you’re seeing some changes in the “look” of the website.

Nothing fancy or earth-shattering per se, but there are some parts of the site that are still in transition; one of those parts is the “Comments” section, which hasn’t yet been submitted by our developer for inclusion in the new format we’re using.

So, if you read something here today and you’d like to comment on it, simply send me an e-mail and I’ll post it on the site at the very bottom. I value your opinions and insight, and most certainly welcome your comments on a daily basis. If you’d like to comment on today’s #DMD, e-mail me (18inarow at gmail dot com).


Sunday
July 19, 2015
Facebook logo #DMD Twitter logo Volume XII
Issue 19

R & A's call to start saturday was the wrong one

Well, so much for the Scots bellowing “we’ll play golf in anything, laddie …”

They waved the white towel at St. Andrews on Saturday because of a little wind and some complaining players.

You don't see this sign often at the British Open.

OK – it wasn’t a “little” wind and the players had every right to complain, but it still seemed distinctly odd that play at “the home of golf” was suspended for the better part of Saturday because of high winds. As Lee Westwood tweeted out mid-morning, “Golf’s an outdoor sport, remember.”

There are two positions you can take with regard to what transpired on Saturday in round three of the British Open. You can share Westwood’s opinion and wonder why the R & A didn’t just forge ahead and try to keep playing all day or you can side with Paul Azinger and wonder why they ever started to play in the first place.

There’s really not much in between, although I guess you COULD adopt the position of the governing body and say, “When we started, the wind levels were acceptable, but they quickly got out of hand and then it took us a while to get all the parts in place to delay play.”

I’m with Azinger on this one.

But I see Westwood’s point, too.

Golf IS an outdoor sport and the tee-time draw – for any tournament, but particularly one in Scotland in mid-summer – is a critical element to the event itself and has a great bearing on those who score well and those who don’t. Westwood, as nicely as he could, was simply saying, “It’s too bad you guys out there on Saturday morning have to play in this, but that’s the luck of the draw …”

When the ball won’t sit still on the putting surface, there’s no use in playing. In fact, it’s unfair to ask anyone to try and putt on a green that’s so affected by the wind that a putt from 18 inches blows away and comes to rest seven feet from the hole. That happened to Louis Oosthuizen on Saturday.

I understand the dilemma the R & A faced once they lost three hours or so to the FIRST wind delay. Their number-one priority was to figure out how to get play finished by Sunday evening. No one wants a Monday finish, particularly for a major championship. So, when they pulled the golfers off the course at roughly 2:30 am on Saturday morning, they still had hopes of crowning a champion on Sunday. In a way, that’s why they started in the first place, even though winds were starting to top out at 25 mph and gusts of 35 mph were forecasted for the 8-10 a.m. EDT time range. They were probably going to try and patchwork the round together, with three or four two-hour segments, perhaps, with occasional wind delays.

That was a mistake. The winds quickly picked up to 30 mph with sustained gusts in the 40’s and balls started floating off the greens. Players were confused, rules officials were involved in a half-dozen interpretations, and the whole thing was a complete mess. Par was a really good score, bogey was acceptable and double bogey wasn’t out of the question on virtually any hole you played.

Golf’s an outdoor sport – Westwood WAS right about that. And there’s a certain element of that fact we all understand to be something called “rub of the green” which means, of course, “sometimes you’re the bug, sometimes you’re the windshield.” Or, “sometimes you play when the weather is perfect and sometimes you play when it’s downright nasty.”

A couple of players, Dustin Johnson included, fell victim to the outrageous decision to start play on Saturday morning. There’s little doubt a large number of those players will have their position in the tournament affected when the final scores are posted on Monday afternoon. Let’s hope it doesn’t somehow wind up affecting the outcome of the event. If it does, the R & A will know in their heart their decision on Saturday morning might have changed the course of the 2015 British Open.


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tillman, o's one-hit tigers in 3-0 win

One stinkin’ hit. Just one. That’s all Chris Tillman allowed in eight innings of work on Saturday night, as he dazzled his way to one of his best pitching performances of the last twelve months, allowing just one hit in a 3-0 O’s triumph over the Tigers.

Tillman's second half off to a one-hit start in Detroit.

Tillman allowed a first-inning hit to Ian Kinsler and later walked Victor Martinez in the first before retiring the next twenty three guys he faced. Baltimore got a 3rd-inning home run from Manny Machado (#20) and a two-run dump into shallow center field off the bat of Caleb Joseph in the ninth inning that finalized the scoring. The Birds woes with runners in scoring position continued on Saturday, saved only by Joseph’s single that plated a pair of runners. They’re now 9 for their last 102 with runners in scoring position, but that stat didn’t mean a hill of beans on Saturday once Machado staked Tillman to the 1-0 lead.

David Price was outstanding for the Tigers, striking out twelve and allowing only Machado’s home run.

Tillman, though, was better, starting 20 of the 26 hitters he faced with a strike and allowing two base runners in eight innings.


SUNDAY AFTERNOON'S MATCHUP
at Detroit
Gonzalez (7-6) Verlander (0-2)
1:08 p.m. (July 19th)


a. l. east re-cap

First-place New York fell to Seattle on Saturday afternoon in the Bronx, 4-3, as Robinson Cano hit two home runs for the Mariners. Michael Pineda got the loss for the Yankees, who fell to 49-41 on the year. Brian McCann hit his 15th home run of the year for New York.

In Toronto, the Tampa Bay Rays got solo home runs from Brandon Guyer (7th inning) and Curt Casali (8th inning) to squeak past the Blue Jays, 3-2. Tampa Bay is now 47-46 while the Jays are 46-47. Jose Bautista hit his 18th homer of the season for Toronto.


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after two rounds at st. andrews – dustin on top, tiger on the way home

In what turned out to simply be a day of survival, Dustin Johnson did just that, battling the wind and seven hours of delayed play before finally rolling in a birdie at the 18th hole on Saturday that staked him to a one-shot lead at 10-under par after two rounds of the British Open at St. Andrews.

Danny Willett
Danny Willett of England sits one shot back after two rounds at St. Andrews.

Johnson leads Englishman Danny Willett by one, Paul Lawrie by two and six different players at seven under trail the U.S. Open runner-up by three shots heading into Sunday’s round.

Jordan Spieth shot even-par 72 in round two and is still in the tournament at 5-under par, but he’ll need to put on his rallying shoes if he’s going to maintain the possibility of capturing a third straight major championship.

Among those heading home early: Bubba Watson, who won three weeks ago, Danny Lee, who two weeks ago, and Tiger Woods, who won two years ago. Woods went 76-75, slapping it around to the tune of seven over par and finishing AHEAD of only seven players, three of whom (Tom Watson, Mark Calcavecchia and Nick Faldo) play on the Champions Tour now. The other four players he beat were guys you’ve never heard of; Gary Boyd, an amateur named Ben Taylor, Jonathan Moore and Rod Pampling. In other words, Woods pretty much finished in last place among “real” players in the field.

Even though it’s only a one-shot lead – and yes, I watched the final hole at Chambers Bay last month – this is a tournament Dustin Johnson has in his crosshairs now. He’s not able to smell the finish line or anything – it’s far too early for that kind of talk – but any hangover from his 72nd hole brain fart in the U.S. Open has long since passed. He can win this tournament. He knows it, the rest of the field knows it, and now he just needs to go out and finish the job.

But there’s a lot of golf left and some pretty decent players are on Johnson’s heels, including Louis Oosthuizen (-7), Jason Day (-6), Justin Rose (-5) and Spieth, who hasn’t looked all that sharp since a five-birdie barrage in the first seven holes of Thursday’s opening round. Perhaps he got his “so-so round” out of the way on Friday-Saturday and is poised to make another one of his weekend runs and wrestle the Claret Jug away from D.J.

I picked Justin Rose to win back on Wednesday, so I’m sticking with him at this point. But he’s going to need to play mistake free for the next 36 holes if he wants to catch and surpass Dustin Johnson.

It’s D.J.’s tournament to lose, now. I know what you’re thinking.…


#dmd gets catholic review's "review"

As you are probably well aware, #DMD is involved in a pilgrimage to Philadelphia on September 27 to celebrate mass with Pope Francis, who will lead the way at 4:00 p.m. as part of the World Family of Meetings conference.

In yesterday’s edition of the Catholic Review, our role in the trip was profiled by former Baltimore Sun sportswriter Paul McMullen.

If you’d like to read the story about #DMD’s involvement with the Pope’s visit, just go HERE.

Details about how you can travel with #DMD and the Catholic Review on September 27 can be found HERE.


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pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis; Bishop of Rome and Sovereign of the Vatican City; Pope of the Catholic Church

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, Maryland.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, and bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket-sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.


In case you didn’t get to check-in to Drew’s Morning Dish in the last few days, you’re seeing some changes in the “look” of the website.

Nothing fancy or earth-shattering per se, but there are some parts of the site that are still in transition; one of those parts is the “Comments” section, which hasn’t yet been submitted by our developer for inclusion in the new format we’re using.

So, if you read something here today and you’d like to comment on it, simply send me an e-mail and I’ll post it on the site at the very bottom. I value your opinions and insight, and most certainly welcome your comments on a daily basis. If you’d like to comment on today’s #DMD, e-mail me (18inarow at gmail dot com).


Saturday
July 18, 2015
Facebook logo #DMD Twitter logo Volume XII
Issue 18

someone tell the bats the all-star break is over

The Orioles showed up in Detroit on Friday, fresh off a four-day break from the rigors of a 162-game schedule that is now well into its second half.

Unfortunately, their bats didn’t make the flight into the Motor City.

Picking up where they left off last weekend when they lost two of three at home to the Nationals, the O’s were a woeful 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position in last night’s 7-3 loss to the Tigers. One. For. Fourteen.

Matt Wieters
Matt Wieters had two hits in Friday's 7-3 loss at Detroit.

Ready for some stats? You’ll love these. In six of the nine innings last night, the O’s lead-off hitter got on base. It gets better. In three of the nine innings, the first TWO batters got on base before an out was recorded. Scoring total for the game? Three runs. Ubaldo Jimenez got the post-All-Star-Game-break version of the opening day start and gave up three “different” home runs – a solo shot, a 2-run homer and, naturally, a 3-run dinger. Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking: At least he didn’t give up a grand slam.

The pitching, with last night being a notable exception, has NOT been the problem with the Orioles during this stretch of games that has seen the club go 3-11 and fall from 41-34 to 44-45 following last night’s loss. As much as Jimenez stunk last night, the bullpen was more than adequate, with Brach, Hunter and Matusz all holding Detroit scoreless. The hitting is the issue, with the main thorn in their side coming when men are on either second or third base. The Orioles simply can’t drive in base runners, for some weird reason.

I wrote about this briefly yesterday here at #DMD: This is a big series for the Birds. They’re not going to lose the A.L. East or anything like that this weekend, but this “back to work” series either gets them in a good way heading to New York for a 3-game showdown with the Yankees next week or it sends them to the Bronx in almost “must win” territory. It’s a little too early, perhaps, to be typing those two words – must win – but trailing New York by five games now, the Orioles have to try and keep that margin as narrow as possible and not allow the Yankees to start distancing themselves from the pack.

Regrettably, the Birds’ best chance to win in Detroit might have come last night against Anibal Sanchez. They now face David Price and Justin Verlander over the next two games in Motown.


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jimenez rocked in 7-3 loss at detroit

Jimenez
Jimenez gave up seven earned runs on Friday night.

That wasn’t the start Ubaldo Jimenez imagined it would be on Friday night in Detroit, as he allowed seven earned runs in 4.2 innings of work and the O’s dropped the series opener, 7-3. Jimenez’s woes can be easily traced to one stat; he faced a total of 22 hitters and started them off with a strike just 9 times. That tells his story, unfortunately. Got behind hitters, had to throw strikes, got knocked around.

As I chronicled above, the Baltimore bats remained silent, even though the O’s out-hit the Tigers 10-8 on the night. Adam Jones, Matt Wieters and Jonathan School each had two hits, while Schoop, Chris Parmelee and Chris Davis collected the three O’s RBI on the night. It’s worth noting, though, that Parmelee and Davis both drove in runners with ground-outs.



SATURDAY EVENING'S MATCHUP
at Detroit
Chris Tillman (6-7) David Price (9-2)
7:08 p.m. (July 18th)


around the a.l. east

Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez hit a game-winning 7th inning homer on Friday night in New York.

Alex Rodriguez hit his 19th home run of the season in the bottom of the 7th inning and the Yankees won at home over Seattle, 4-3. Masahiro Tanaka picked up the win to improve to 6-3 on the season. The Orioles will see him this Wednesday night in New York in game two of the series with the Yankees. New York improved to 49-40 with the win.

In Toronto, the Blue Jays scored five times in the 5th inning to beat the Rays, 6-2. Josh Donaldson hit his 22nd home run of the season as Toronto (46-46) ahead of the Orioles with the win.

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second round incomplete, but british open is anyone's game

They weren’t able to complete play on Friday at St. Andrews due to early morning rains that flooded the place, but they got enough golf in to give a pretty accurate picture of what’s in the offing at the British Open.

Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson has 23 holes to play on Saturday at St. Andrews.

It’s going to be a dogfight.

Dustin Johnson is the leader, presently, but he has five more holes to play at 7:00 a.m. Saturday. Johnson is three under par for his second round and ten under overall, holding a one-shot lead over Danny Willett, who backed up his opening 66 with a 69 in much tougher weather conditions on day two. One of Johnson’s playing partners played GREAT on Friday and one played just OK; and it’s probably not what you think. Reigning Masters and U.S. Open champ Jordan Spieth was the “OK guy” out of the group, shooting even par for thirteen holes on Friday and treading water at five under par. He’s not out of it, obviously. Not in the least. But Spieth has to start playing better if he fancies a chance at winning on Sunday afternoon.

Hideki Matsuyama vaulted himself into contention on Friday and, like D.J. and Spieth, he only played thirteen holes. The Japanese star is six under par in round two and six under overall, so he’s right back in the thick of things after a pedestrian opening round 72.

Even though round-two play isn’t yet complete, plenty of big names are already back home, having completed THEIR second rounds and being far enough outside the cut line that leaving early wasn’t at all a risk. Danny Lee (+3), Keegan Bradley (+3) and Charley Hoffman (+6) all missed the cut, with Tiger Woods (+5 through 11) needing to play extraordinary golf over the remaining seven holes in order to play the final 36 holes over the weekend.

Right now, albeit only through 31 holes, Dustin Johnson looks like the man to beat. He’s driving the ball as well as anyone has driven it in a decade and the greens are a perfect test for him. They’re rolling at “10” each day, which is to say they’re quick, but nothing like the players found at Chambers Bay. D.J. isn’t a great putter, so it serves as an advantage to him when the greens aren’t as problematic as they were at the U.S. Open.

Tiger Woods
Tiger will need some heroics on Saturday just to make the cut at St. Andrews.

Much is going to be made over the next two days about Johnson’s lack-of-a-major title and the fact he threw away a prime chance to win at Chambers Bay by three-jacking from 12-feet on the 18th hole. None of that matters now. Dustin is simply not the guy who frets over stuff like that. That’s perhaps one reason why he might not win as much on TOUR; he doesn’t let stuff like missed cuts and rounds of 74 bother him, hence what appears to be a carefree, ho-hum attitude. And it’s easy to see this week, in his body language, just how relaxed Johnson appears to be. Paul Azinger said in Thursday’s broadcast that D.J. “moves around like a panther” and I thought that was a really cool analogy. He does have a bit of a prowling sort of walk, and a “sneak up on you” quiet about himself. Dustin Johnson is winning a major title or three in his PGA Tour career, you can bet on that. You have to like his chances this week, pending wind, rain and any other weather that comes calling to St. Andrews over the weekend.



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pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis; Bishop of Rome and Sovereign of the Vatican City; Pope of the Catholic Church

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, Maryland.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, and bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket-sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.


In case you didn’t get to check-in to Drew’s Morning Dish in the last few days, you’re seeing some changes in the “look” of the website.

Nothing fancy or earth-shattering per se, but there are some parts of the site that are still in transition; one of those parts is the “Comments” section, which hasn’t yet been submitted by our developer for inclusion in the new format we’re using.

So, if you read something here today and you’d like to comment on it, simply send me an e-mail and I’ll post it on the site at the very bottom. I value your opinions and insight, and most certainly welcome your comments on a daily basis. If you’d like to comment on today’s #DMD, e-mail me (18inarow at gmail dot com).


Friday
July 17, 2015
Facebook logo #DMD Twitter logo Volume XII
Issue 17

woods wrote a check his mouth can't cash

Paul Azinger won the British Open on Thursday morning before half the field had even teed off. And he wasn't even playing.

Azinger was part of the ESPN broadcast crew at the British Open and he spent a large portion of Thursday's coverage slicing apart the golf game of Tiger Woods. At one point during Tiger's battle with the tenth hole, Azinger quipped, " … he's basically become a middle-of-the-pack hack."

Tiger Woods
Another major comes and goes for Woods – without winning.

As Woods staggered through his back nine, Azinger and Mike Tirico bantered back and forth about Tiger's fall from grace and how much of it, Azinger opined, was in Tiger's head.

"It wasn't that long ago," Azinger said, "when everyone wanted to swing like Tiger … except Tiger."

You can tell that former players like Azinger, Curtis Strange, and Andy North have soft spots for Woods simply because those three all won major championships and they know to a man just how dominant Woods was for a ten-year period. Like him or not, watching Tiger struggle like he has is difficult for anyone who has ever loved the game of golf.

"Middle-of-the-pack hack," said Azinger.

Wow!

Another low blow. True, but low nonetheless.

With Woods out of it already following a first-round 76, everyone’s attention can turn to the players that matter, namely first-round leader Dustin Johnson and Mr. Major himself, Jordan Spieth. Johnson breezed the opening nine holes at St. Andrews in 31 and rolled through the home of golf at 7-under-par 65. A month ago, he three-jacked the final hole of the U.S. Open from twelve feet to gift-wrap the title to Spieth, but Johnson looked like a guy with a short memory on Thursday. He pounded his driver 320 yards on average, flipped short wedge shots close, and putted like a guy who hasn’t missed a ten-footer in a year.

Spieth waltzed through the opening seven holes in five under par, then played the final eleven in even, but rolled in a 15-footer for birdie at eighteen that offset a bogey at seventeen the hole before. He looked fatigued coming in, losing tee shots to the left, hitting a few loose irons and not getting his putts to the hole. The final-hole birdie probably made him sleep just a little better last night.

While Johnson and Spieth were blitzing the front nine, Woods was hitting shots more befitting a 10-handicap playing in the Edinburgh Wednesday night men’s league. It started horribly at one where Tiger fluffed a drive to the right, then came up short with his approach and found the burn in front of the green. He was the ONLY player in the field as of the moment he played that made bogey at #1 and #2 on Thursday. He would later mishit a 50-yard shot, stub a chip, and miss more short putts than Rod Stewart had wives. And that was on the front nine.

In England and Scotland, they call what Woods said on Tuesday at his press conference “cheeky.” It’s a code word for “smarmy” or “smart ass,” which is what Tiger sounded like when he started reminding the media members of his improved play at The Greenbrier two weeks ago. “I’m not ready for my AARP card just yet …” he’d go on to say. “I know some of you guys have me dead and buried, but I have a lot of good golf left to play.”

I guess that good golf is going to start on Friday in round two.


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orioles in detroit this weekend

The second half of the 2015 season starts tonight for the Orioles, and things are going to be very interesting right away for Buck Showalter’s team. The Birds are in Detroit for a weekend series with the Tigers, where they’ll face two of the league’s best pitchers. They'll then head to New York for three games with the division-leading Yankees next week. Six road games against the Tigers and Yankees. We'll see what the O's have under the hood between today and next Thursday.

David Price
David Price faces the O's on Saturday

In Detroit, the Birds will face Anibal Sanchez, David Price, and Justin Verlander. Runs could be at a premium this weekend, so the Orioles will need some strong pitching of their own from Jimenez, Chen, and Gonzalez.

Both teams are 44-44 at the All-Star break, but things are much different for the Orioles. The Tigers currently sit NINE games behind first-place Kansas City in the A.L. Central, while the Orioles are a much more comfortable four games behind the Yankees in the East. That doesn’t change the importance of this series for the Birds, though. They can ill afford to head to New York trailing by, say, six games, and then present the Yankees with a chance to extend that cushion during the three-game series in the Bronx.

This is a big series in Detroit. It gets the Birds off on a good note if they can win at least two of three and sends them to New York with their shoulders back and their chest puffed out a little bit.



FRIDAY EVENING'S MATCHUP
at Detroit
Ubaldo Jimenez (7-4) Anibal Sanchez (8-7)
7:08 p.m. (July 17th)

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quick takes from the british open leaderboard

Dustin Johnson (-7) – Doesn’t look like he’s going to be a one-round wonder this week. Has his game face on. Odds on winning after round one: 7-1

Dustin Johnson
St. Andrews waved the white towel on Thursday when D.J. was finished.

Robert Streb (-6) – Good American player, but not the guy who is going to win this week. Could finish top 15, though. Odds: 40-1

Retief Goosen (-6) – Two-time major champion with some past success at St. Andrews. If he has a good 2nd round, watch out for him. Odds: 20-1

Jason Day (-6) – This could be his week. Just keeps making birdies, keeps shooting under par, just keeps giving himself chances. He’ll win one soon. Odds: 12-1

Paul Lawrie
Could Paul Lawrie duplicate his '99 Carnoustie shocker at St. Andrews this week?

Paul Lawrie (-6) – Some guy you didn’t expect to have a revival always seems to do that at the British Open. This week, it’s Lawrie. He’ll be a dew-sweeper by Sunday morning. Odds: 40-1

Zach Johnson (-6) – He will benefit greatly if the weather plays a role over the next couple of days and keeps the course soft. Can grind it out with the best of them, but only if his putter cooperates. Odds: 15-1

Danny Willett (-6) – Don’t be surprised if he’s in the hunt come Sunday morning. This guy is a very under-rated player. Odds: 25-1

Jordan Spieth (-5) – Certainly can’t be disappointed with an opening round 67 but it could have been better. Has to stay within striking distance on Friday, then make his move on Saturday. Still the favorite. Odds: 5-1

Charl Schwartzel (-5) – Needs another major title to prove that Masters win from a few years back wasn’t a fluke. This could be his week. Drives it straight enough, just needs to get the putter working. Odds: 15-1

Sergio Garcia (-2) – I keep waiting for him to put together something special at a major and I thought this might be it, but Thursday was a sloppy round of 70, if that’s possible. Odds: 40-1

Phil Mickelson (-2) – Actually played rather decently on Thursday considering he got the raw end of the morning/afternoon weather switch. A Friday round of 66 or 67 will get him in contention. Odds: 35-1

Justin Rose (-1) – Went out in 32 and looked like he might challenge for first-round lead on Thursday, then wilted on the back and finished the day at 71. Needs a strong Friday to get himself back in contention. Odds: 35-1


#dmd sponsor spotlight


orlando products, inc.

One of #DMD’s most ardent supporters over the last eight months has been Orlando Products, Inc., a Baltimore-based company specializing in innovative packaging solutions for virtually any shipping or storage need(s).

Orlando Products logo

Orlando has recently undergone significant upgrades in their logo and brand-recognition efforts, and continues to be an area-leader in employee benefits and team building.

They recently held a company-wide contest designed to improve the health of their employees, and rewarded a number of people in the Orlando Products family with cash prizes for their weight-loss and fitness improvements.

Here are the results, along with photos of the winning Orlando employees. Congratulations to everyone who participated in the contest and thanks to Joe Orlando and his sons Matt and David for their continued support of Drew’s Morning Dish!

please click images to expand them
Sau Nguyen captured first place for losing 18.25% of her body weight. She won the Orlando Products, Inc. top prize of $500.
Everett Christopher won $300 for finishing second (shedding 10.37% of his body weight). Jeffrey Quick took third with a loss of 7.24% (cashing for $100).

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pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis; Bishop of Rome and Sovereign of the Vatican City; Pope of the Catholic Church

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, Maryland.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, and bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket-sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.


In case you didn’t get to check-in to Drew’s Morning Dish in the last few days, you’re seeing some changes in the “look” of the website.

Nothing fancy or earth-shattering per se, but there are some parts of the site that are still in transition; one of those parts is the “Comments” section, which hasn’t yet been submitted by our developer for inclusion in the new format we’re using.

So, if you read something here today and you’d like to comment on it, simply send me an e-mail and I’ll post it on the site at the very bottom. I value your opinions and insight, and most certainly welcome your comments on a daily basis. If you’d like to comment on today’s #DMD, e-mail me (18inarow at gmail dot com).


Thursday
July 16, 2015
Facebook logo #DMD Twitter logo Volume XII
Issue 16

baseball's all-star game is still bonafide theater

I didn’t watch that “ratings grabber” last night on the four-letter sports network, but I did watch something else this week that gave me some re-assurance that not all is lost with the sporting universe.

For the most part, I’m not a fan of All-Star events in any sport, whether it’s the Pro Bowl in football or the NHL All-Star Game, but Tuesday night’s Major League Baseball game was, again, the only one of its kind where the performance was actually representative of what the players are capable of doing on any given day.

The Pro Bowl is a joke. It’s a bunch of guys running around AFTER their season is complete and they have ONE goal in mind for the game: Don’t. Get. Hurt. If their side loses 40-0 but they didn’t get hurt, it’s a win. If they drop the game-winning touchdown pass with four seconds left, but they didn’t get hurt, they won. If their guy beats them on a run over the middle to set up the deciding field goal, all is well as long as they’re not leaving the stadium on crutches.

The NBA and NHL versions of their respective “mid-season classics” are nothing at all like a “real game” in either league, other than the basketball players wear sneakers and the hockey players wear skates. Other than that, it’s 157-144 and 13-10 and everyone dunks, shoots, scores, and has a great time.

I suppose the fans don’t really care, as those in attendance are just happy to have scored a ticket and anyone watching is a true die-hard and they don’t care what the score is or who wins and loses.

Baseball, though, is different. My general summation of why baseball’s All-Star Game is a different animal is because it’s the only sport of the “big four” that features two people going head-to-head as the primary focus of the actual competition itself. It all starts with the pitcher and hitter. Sure, the defensive players – particularly the catcher – have unique and important roles, but realistically, the game of baseball can be played with three people ONLY; the pitcher, hitter and catcher. Not that a pitcher would ever go 27-for-27 in strike-outs, but it’s at least a remote, remote, remote possibility.

So, the baseball All-Star Game features two people who do THEIR thing with one common principle in mind: Don’t. Get. Embarrassed. That’s why pitchers still throw 95 MPH fastballs and nasty sliders, albeit only to a few hitters. And every guy who stands at the plate wants to do SOMETHING. He’s certainly not going to go up there with the bat on his shoulder and have Felix Hernandez or Zack Greinke make him look like a chump. And when someone sizzles a grounder to Manny Machado’s left, he’s looking to show off and make a play people will talk about because it actually saved a run, not because he gets to stand there and taunt the other players after he slam dunks one over a bunch of guys who weren’t really trying in the first place.

Not everything about the All-Star Game is legit. The Home Run Derby is a joke, mainly because it’s not “real” baseball. No one (except maybe for Bud Norris) throws 60 MPH and allows guys to just hit home runs for the sake of hitting them.

Mike Trout
Another All-Star Game MVP for Angels superman, Mike Trout

But that game on Tuesday night was REAL baseball. Mike Trout went to the plate in the first inning and had one thing on his mind; “I’ll show Greinke and everyone else watching that no one can beat me at this game.”

I’ll confess that I don’t actually watch the Pro Bowl or the All-Star Games in basketball or hockey anymore. I sniffed those out for what they are a decade ago and vowed to simply TRY to not pay attention if the players themselves were also NOT trying. So far, my efforts have been successful. I see the final score, watch a highlight or two and say, “Yep, they’re still going through the motions in those All-Star Games.”

Baseball, though, is NOT going through the motions, which is why I watch. They’re still trying, still throwing hard, still hitting, running and fielding. They’re actually giving the paying customer their money’s worth, which is all you can ask for these days.


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like everyone else, #dmd eagerly awaits football season

Two weeks ago now, we published the new-look edition of Drew’s Morning Dish, which, if you recall, was largely put in place to make the web-site fully accommodating to all devices, computers and phones. We’ve been doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work since then – most of it, frankly, over MY head – to get #DMD properly prepared for the start of football season. Little by little, we’re getting there.

Starting next week, you’ll be reading regular contributions from our Ravens reporter, Bo Smolka, who will cover the team for #DMD during the 2015 campaign. I’ll also be writing regularly and we’ll have other occasional pieces from members of the media throughout training camp and the regular season.

We’re going to have weekly Q & A sessions with out-of-town reporters who cover Ravens’ opponents and, like last year, we’ll bring you Ravens Game-Day, an extensive, football-only edition of #DMD that will be published every Sunday.

Our goal is to cover the Ravens as well as anyone in town, offering insight, opinion, commentary and complete reviews of every game. We’ll let you judge whether or not we’re doing the job, but we’re confident you’ll appreciate our football coverage.

One special feature we’re starting in August will be a “Sit with Drew” podcasting opportunity in which you, the #DMD reader, get to sit in on a weekly podcast with me. You’ll prepare a handful of questions, we’ll meet a convenient location for the podcast, and away we go. Once it’s done and edited, it goes up on the site in the regular rotation of podcasts. If you’d like to be a guest and “Sit with Drew” in a future podcast, just e-mail me: 18inarow at gmail dot com

Our Fall editorial plans call for increased coverage of local, Baltimore area high school football and soccer. The community is blessed with a large number of highly ranked teams in both sports and we’re going to cover them on a weekly basis to make sure they’re receiving the sort of recognition they so richly deserve.

We’re upgrading things at Drew’s Morning Dish. Some of it you can see – hopefully – and some of it you can’t. The last month has been busy with a lot of the “you can’t see it” stuff, but it’s all being done to make the website better in the long run.

Last but not least, a number of you have reached out about the status of the “Comments” section of #DMD. We are NOT handling the development of that ourselves. The group we’ve contracted to get that up and running for us is working hard to get it finalized and we’re hoping to have something for you within the next few days. Thanks for your patience. It’s important to me to allow for reader commentary, questions and opinions…and it’s a priority to get the situation resolved as soon as we can.

Thank you for your continued support of our site and the corporate partners who help make #DMD part of your daily routine. We had 15,300 different, unique visitors to the site in June and over 114,000 total visits. That was our second best month since #DMD started on August 25, 2014. We appreciate you!


remember this name, golf fans: denny mccarthy

Over the last twenty years, I’ve heard this comment a lot within the Maryland golf community:

“That kid (insert name here) can go out on the pro golf tour and make a lot of money.”

I’ve heard it about 35 times, I’d say. And I think, on each of those 35 occasions, I’ve muttered to myself, “If he goes on the pro tour, he better like Ramen noodles because that’s all he’ll be able to afford if he’s playing golf for a living.”

Three-time Maryland Open champion Denny McCarthy of Argyle CC

Well, I won’t be saying that about a young man named Denny McCarthy.

Remember the name, friends. He’s going to make A LOT of money on the PGA Tour in the not-too-distant future.

McCarthy, an Argyle CC member from Silver Spring who just graduated from Virginia in May, won his 3rd Maryland Open Championship yesterday at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase. Yes, you read that right, a “college kid”, essentially, has now won the state Open three times in the last five years. The good news? I’m 95% sure he won’t be playing the event next year or anytime after that. Guys making a million bucks on the PGA Tour generally don’t come home to compete for the $9,000 first prize awarded to the low professional at the Maryland Open.

McCarthy finished his three days at Columbia with a 6-under par total, firing 70-67-67 to win by two shots while also finishing as the event’s low amateur.

He played all four rounds of the U.S. Open last month at Chambers Bay, a sure sign he’s ready for the big time. Next month, he’ll try and improve on last year’s performance at the U.S. Amateur, where he lost in the semi-finals and missed a shot at playing in the 2015 Masters by losing in that penultimate match. It’s expected he’ll be named to the Walker Cup team in the next few weeks, a selection that gets him a spot in next year’s U.S. and British Open(s).

Denny McCarthy is the real deal.

I’ve only played with him once, roughly five years ago, in a Maryland Open qualifier when he was 14 or 15 years old. You could see, even at that age, that McCarthy had a special quality. He was as good as anyone in the field at that point and simply needed to grow, physically, and learn more about golf – and the world would be his oyster at that point.

Well, he’s grown and he definitely knows a lot about playing golf. The time has come. Denny McCarthy is going to make a lot of money. Now, when someone says that, I simply say: “You’re right about that.”


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the lean months

An occasional story from the lighter side of Drew’s time in the soccer business, 1981-1998.

This story actually weaves both soccer and professional wrestling together, so I figured anytime you can do that, it’s a winner. It’s short, but sweet.

In the mid 1980’s – maybe 1984 or 1985 – the Blast had a Saturday night home game against the St. Louis Steamers. It just so happened that the night before at the then-called Civic Center, professional wrestling had a huge card that included Paul Orndorff and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper facing off against one another in a steel cage match.

The two had promoted the big battle for weeks on end during the famous Saturday morning “pro wrestling” show that would air on Channel 45 in Baltimore.

I wasn’t a huge wrestling fan at the time, but I knew enough to recognize the wrestlers, their names, etc.

Anyway, the Saturday night indoor soccer game between the Blast and Steamers was going to be televised back to St. Louis and the team and their announcing crew came in a day early, as usual, and they were staying at the Omni Hotel, right across the street from the main entrance of the arena.

Bob Carpenter – who now calls Nationals games for MASN TV – was the play-by-play voice for the Steamers back then and he called me early in the day on Friday and asked if I would have the game notes for Saturday’s game waiting for him at the hotel so he could get to work on his pre-game prepation for the broadcast.

He said the Steamers were landing at the airport at 5:30 p.m. and would be at the hotel by 6:30 or so.

Around 4:00 p.m. on Friday, I put the game notes together and headed over to the Omni to drop them off for Carpenter.

As I approached the front door, there were hundreds of people streaming out on the sidewalk and the entrance was jam packed. I inched my way through and got into the main lobby area and approached the front desk to leave the notes for Bob Carpenter. The lobby was SWARMING with people. As I looked around, I noticed Cowboy Boy Orton, a wrestler. He was signing autographs. A few feet to his right was Tony Atlas, another wrestler. Then, it dawned on me. The wrestlers were all staying at the hotel and were probably heading over to the arena to get ready for the night’s event.

"Hot Rod" Roddy Piper

As I turned to leave, Roddy Piper literally walked five feet in front of me, almost out of breath, face reddened, looking like he just rolled out of bed.

On the contrary, his plane had been late getting in to BWI and he was just now making it to the hotel.

Then, I heard this.

“Hey s**t-head, we’re in Room 304, let’s drop these bags off, grab some food and get over to the building.” As he said that, he tossed a room key to – Paul Orndorff.

Piper and Orndorff were wrestling one another in the steel cage around 9:00 p.m. that night in front of 12,000 people who thought the two wrestlers hated one another. They were also rooming together at the Omni Hotel.

That’s right about the time I figured out maybe “wrasslin’” wasn’t completely on the up-and-up.


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pope francis bus trip seats on sale now

In conjunction with the Baltimore Catholic Review, Drew’s Morning Dish is pleased to be organizing a one-day bus trip to Philadelphia on Sunday, September 27 to be part of Pope Francis’ visit to America. Pope Francis will conduct a late afternoon public mass on the 27th, and our buses will arrive in Philadelphia in mid-morning to give our pilgrims a chance to get settled in before mass.

Pope Francis waving
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis; Bishop of Rome and Sovereign of the Vatican City; Pope of the Catholic Church

Buses will depart from various places in and around Baltimore, including as far away as Frederick and Davidsonville, Maryland.

Pilgrims making the trip with the Baltimore Catholic Review and #DMD will receive a seat on a luxury motor coach to and from Philadelphia, a commemorative hat and rosary, and bottled water while on the bus and on location in downtown Philadelphia.

If you are interested in purchasing seats on our Philadelphia bus to see Pope Francis, go here → www.francisinphilly.org – You will see general information about the trip and a ticket-sales link (www.regonline.com/papalvisit). That sales link is the only way you can purchase tickets for the Pope’s visit through The Catholic Review and Drew’s Morning Dish.


In case you didn’t get to check-in to Drew’s Morning Dish in the last few days, you’re seeing some changes in the “look” of the website.

Nothing fancy or earth-shattering per se, but there are some parts of the site that are still in transition; one of those parts is the “Comments” section, which hasn’t yet been submitted by our developer for inclusion in the new format we’re using.

So, if you read something here today and you’d like to comment on it, simply send me an e-mail and I’ll post it on the site at the very bottom. I value your opinions and insight, and most certainly welcome your comments on a daily basis. If you’d like to comment on today’s #DMD, e-mail me (18inarow at gmail dot com).


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