Wednesday
June 15
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIII
Issue 15
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sorry, baltimore and pittsburgh. boston has the best baseball stadium in the country


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We came, we saw, we conquered.

For one night, anyway.

As I told several Red Sox fans leaving Fenway Park last night, the 3-2 Baltimore victory was probably the only one we’ll get in this series. In case you haven’t noticed, the only logical win we can expect these days is when Chris Tillman is on the mound, as he was on Tuesday evening.

Tillman wasn’t great last night. He labored through the early innings and worked out of a couple of jams before settling in nicely through the middle portion of the game. He was outpitched by David Price, who wound up the hard luck loser after surrendering a 2-run homer to Manny Machado and a mammoth solo shot to Jonathan Schoop

But a win’s a win, even when the opposing manager does his part to help you secure it by sending in a couple of stiffs in the bottom of the ninth to face Zach Britton, who must have been giggling inside when John Farrell sent Josh Rutledge and Rusney Castillo to the plate in a last-ditch, desperation move to make things happen.

Adam Jones signing autographs at the Orioles dugout before last night's game at Fenway Park.

Look, I get it, the two guys who were pinch-hit for weren’t exactly lighting it up on Tuesday night, but they at least had seen live pitching for the last two hours and were warm and ready to go. Managers sometimes do goofy things . . . and that was one (or two) of those occasions on Tuesday evening.

Now, about the ballpark.

With due respect to our great stadium in Baltimore and to the one in Pittsburgh that some baseball enthusiasts believe is a notch better than the one we have, neither of those places is superior to Fenway.

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I had been in the stadium before but hadn’t actually seen a game played there until last night, so it was the first time I had experienced baseball being played there.

I’ve never seen anything like it.

Sure, the cosmetic appeal of Camden Yards and PNC Park and even Chavez Ravine is “greater” than Fenway Park, but for actually sitting there and watching baseball—which is why you’re there—those three places don’t hold a candle to the Boston stadium.

I’m thoroughly excited to see the other two games in the series with the 19 #DMD enthusiasts who joined me on this bucket-list trip.

Oh, and that 8th-inning home run that Jonathan Schoop hit last night. It just landed.

Holy cow!

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where are baltimore's 18 toughest golf holes?


We started this feature on Sunday, June 12, as both an ode to local golf and a ramp-up to this week's U.S. Open at Oakmont CC in Pittsburgh.

The concept was simple: Go through a list of 20 different courses in the general Baltimore area and come up with the toughest 18 holes as they're played in their respective orders at the courses. In other words, we're trying to identify the toughest 1st hole, toughest 2nd hole, etc.

For starters, here are the courses we're using: Eagle's Nest, Baltimore Country Club (East and West), Country Club of Maryland, Hillendale, Suburban, Caves Valley, Green Spring, Elkridge, Hayfields, Hunt Valley, Woodholme, Sparrows Point, Rolling Road, Maryland Golf and Country Club, Winter's Run, Mountain Branch, Bulle Rock, Mount Pleasant and Pine Ridge.

Today, we're at holes 10, 11 and 12. We'll add three holes a day until Friday, June 17, when we'll have all 18 holes completed.

Thus far, our winners are: Hole #1 - BCC East, Hole #2 - Maryland Golf and CC, Hole #3 - Woodholme CC, Hole #4 - Woodholme CC, Hole #5 - Bulle Rock, Hole #6 - Rolling Road, Hole #7 - CC of Maryland, Hole #8 – Green Spring Valley, Hole #9, Caves Valley.

The toughest 10th hole in Baltimore

You learn some things as you work through this exercise. One of them is this: There aren’t that many tough 10th holes in the area, for some weird reason.

The 10th hole at Hillendale is “tough,” but only because it’s a dreadfully designed, 360-yard “thing” that isn’t nearly as much fun as it is maddening.

Number 10 at Hayfields isn’t “tough” per se, but it presents a couple of different challenges if you can’t hit your ball in the fairway.

None of those holes, though, or any other 10th hole in the area, can remotely compete with #10 at Baltimore Country Club East. Measuring 445 yards from the back tee, it’s one of the BEST holes in the state, period. Even from the front tee, it still requires a precise drive, with a hazard all the way down the left side of the hole and a hill on the right with long, deep rough that makes hitting the green in regulation nearly impossible unless you’re fortunate enough to draw a fair lie.

The green complex is bordered by water and is as small as the hood of your car. From the back tee, you’re often hitting six- or seven-iron in there. It’s not easy, trust me.

The toughest 11th hole in Baltimore

BCC East gets a mention here again for their 11th hole, a 440-yarder that plays straight uphill for your second shot. If you start the back nine there 4-4, you’re 1.5 shots ahead of the field, at least.

The 11th hole at Bulle Rock isn’t a dream 600-yard test, either. You have to plow a drive out there to avoid the mounds that kick the ball left into the deep rough and there’s a bunker off the right side that must be avoided as well. The lay-up needs to be precise and the green is huge and well undulated. Five is a good score there.

Number 11 at Mount Pleasant is a tough par-3, playing 210 from the back tee and forcing you to carry the ball all the way to the green. Anything short rolls back 30 yards short of the green. Bunkers on the right and left side of the green collect errant shots. And the putting surface itself is very unpredictable. Make three here and run.

But the winner here is clearly #11 at Caves Valley, which plays every bit of 460 yards from tee-to-green, not counting the 15 to 20 yards of elevation you have to add for your approach shot. And because you’re hitting into a blind green of sorts, you have to get the yardage down to the number or you’re left with 40 or 50 feet to negotiate once you’re on the putting surface. The tee shot sets up the hole. Anything right is in the rough and leaves you with a tough shot in. Anything left lengthens the hole by 10 to 15 yards. This is one of the toughest holes you’ll find anywhere. Fair . . . but tough.

The toughest 12th hole in Baltimore

Once again, we have a clear winner, but a few honorable mentions are worth noting.

Number 12 at Sparrows Point—a 430-yard par-4—is no treat, particularly for shorter hitters who find their ball in the middle of a huge slope that runs through the middle of the fairway some 200 yards from the hole. If you can’t clear the slope off the tee, and not many players can, you’re left with a completely blind second shot with bunkers to the left and right. Tough to make par there.

Number 12 at Eagle’s Nest is a 535-yard par-5 that isn’t all that difficult if you can drive your ball right down the middle about 285 yards. But if you pull it left, it’s in the pond and par is almost out the window. If you hit it right, you’re in the trees that border the hole from 250 yards out to the front of the green. It’s not a hard hole as long as you hit two perfect shots. Anything less, it is difficult.

Number 12 at Baltimore Country Club West takes the prize here. It measures similarily to #12 at Eagle’s Nest, a 530-ish par-5, but a hazard runs down the entire right side of the fairway. If you’re in there, you AND your ball might never be found again. If you drive it left, a lay-up is certain. Getting to the green isn’t easy, either. The putting surface is above you on your approach, and a stream that runs just in front of the green gobbles up anything not hit crisply. You can make 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and the dreaded “other” here if you’re not careful. It’s one heckuva golf hole.

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drew's
fantasy golf guide

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


u.s. open preview: look for louis and leishman to battle it out again


Oakmont Country Club is ready.

The players, though, might not be. Then again, nothing is going to prepare them for what they’re about to go through Thursday through Sunday in suburban Pittsburgh.

You just have to get out there, tee it up, and try to make as many pars as you can over four days.

Before I get to my fantasy team and predicted winner, I think the final score for the event will be +4. I know that’s lower than a lot of experts are calling for, but I’m guessing a few guys will get it under-par early then hold on for dear life on Saturday and Sunday.

My fantasy team for this week starts off with a guy that I think has a legit chance to be in the hunt and possibly win: Emiliano Grillo. He’s a straight driver of the golf ball, his iron play matches that accuracy, and the only thing hurting his chances is experience. This kid is a rock star in the making, trust me. He’s a great value this week at just $6,900.

It’s not often you can get a two-time U.S. Open champ at the bargain basement price of $6,300, but that’s where Retief Goosen ranks this week and that’s a primary reason why I’m taking him. He’s had an excellent 2016 campaign thus far and despite his lack of distance off the tee these days, he knows how to move the ball around and navigate his way through tough layouts. His putter hasn’t been great the last few years, either, but it’s been nicely cooperative over the last two months.

I’m going to go back to the Dustin Johnson well this week because I don’t see any way he can’t contend unless his driver completely fails him. And, generally, it doesn’t. He’s expensive, obviously, at $11,000, but all he needs is a decent weekend with the putter and he could be in the winner’s circle. Lots of people wonder if he has the head for this sort of achievement, and I’m betting that he DOES, despite some evidence over the years that points to the contrary. Talent usually wins out at some point. This guy has talent in his toes that he hasn’t even used yet.

I really like the chances of Adam Scott this week. Don’t be surprised if he’s the winner. His formula is almost perfect for the U.S. Open. He drives it long, straight and high. His irons should be able to handle the firm greens. The only question, of course, centers on his putting. If that’s sound, he can win. His price is $10,100.

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Last year at the British Open, Marc Leishman and Louis Oosthuizen hooked up with Zach Johnson in a three-way playoff that saw ZJ win the Claret Jug. I like Leishman and Oosty to repeat that performance at Oakmont. Leishman comes in at $7,300 and Oosty at $8,200, so both are very reasonably priced, given their pedigrees.

I’m taking Oosthuizen to win this week. Something about his driver and his putter matches up well for the difficulties the players will face at Oakmont. He has blitzed St. Andrews in the British Open, nearly won there a second time, and has played very well at Augusta on several occasions, losing once to Bubba Watson in a playoff. Big time golf doesn’t affect him at all. His attitude and patience will stay the same this week no matter how hard Oakmont plays.


golf course musings

On a cold November day in 1994, a USGA official was driving from Golf House in New Jersey to meet his wife on Long Island. He was early and had some time to kill. As he drove, he realized he was near a course he had played often when he was a teenager and young man, but hadn’t played in at least 20 years. He didn’t have time to play, even for nine holes, but decided to stop and walk around the course a little bit, rekindling fond memories.

David fay
David Fay, executive director of the USGA from 1989 to 2010.

The course was a public course, built during the Depression under President Roosevelt’s social welfare programs that provided work, albeit menial, for able-bodied men for whom there were no jobs in the private sector. As he parked his car, he saw that the grounds had a scruffy look, resulting from the tension between high costs of maintenance and demands of the golfers to keep greens fees low. The clubhouse was likewise scruffy, although neat and clean. He walked out to the first tee, passing the sign that always raised in him mixed feelings of pride and fear: “The Black Course Is an Extremely Difficult Course Which We Recommend Only for Highly Skilled Golfers.”

As he walked along the first few holes, memories of the rounds he had played with friends, and the several amateur tournament rounds he had played, returned to induce waves of pleasure. The course had beaten him up, but he had no lingering complaints. The fights had been fair fights.

He headed back toward his car, noticing now the little things that a practiced eye sees as it evaluates a course. He saw wear and tear that would take millions of dollars to remediate. He saw tree and bush growth that had been allowed to encroach. He saw several elements of Tillinghast’s 60-year-old design that would have to be changed to take into account the length that modern clubs and balls allowed.

Number 8 at the Black Course at Bethpage State park, now.
Number 6 at Mt. Pleasant Park, then.

An idea grew in his mind and he couldn’t shake it. As he drove to meet his wife, he questioned his own sanity. Could he bring the U. S. Open to a municipal golf course? Especially one as beat up and beat down as the Black? The task would be difficult. It would take tons of money. It would require state and local government cooperation. And, he realized, the most difficult task of all would to persuade many people that it could be done, and that it would be worth doing.

John Feinstein, in his book Open [Open: Inside the Ropes at Bethpage Black: Little, Brown and Company; Boston, New York, and London, 2003], tells the story of David Fay’s lunatic vision to bring the National Championship to Long Island, and how he persuaded thousands of skeptics and non-believers that it could be done. For those who still read books, we highly recommend it.

Mayor Jackson
The Honorable Howard W. Jackson, Mayor of Baltimore, 1923 to 1927 and 1931 to 1943. The mayor struck the first tee shot ever hit at Mt. Pleasant on its opening day, June 30, 1934.

Mount Pleasant Park Golf Course opened in June, 1934, and will celebrate its 82nd birthday on Thursday, June 30th. I’m certain that Steve will be dispensing free beer and Brian will be waiving greens fees to mark the occasion. I’m equally certain there will be a parade to the course, and that the mayor will be on hand to give a speech, as Baltimore’s Mayor Harold W. Jackson did on that gala opening day in 1934. Or maybe not. Times change.

Mt. Pleasant’s clubhouse, the renovated Taylor Mansion, was dedicated on April 25, 1937, almost three years after the course opened. The dedication ceremony was attended by 1,500 people and a long list of dignitaries, including again Mayor Jackson.

At 1:00 p.m., buglers sounded the call to attention. The Rev. Louis C. Vaeth delivered the invocation. Mayor Jackson gave the keynote address. C. K. Oakley, president of the Mount Pleasant Golf Association, announced that courtesy life-memberships in that organization had been extended to the mayor; Morton McI. Dukehart, founder of the Public Parks Golf Association; C. Markland Kelly, John P. Brandau and Richard M. Baker, members of the Park Board; George Leroy Nichols, general superintendent of parks; Charles A. Hook, superintendent of Clifton District and the architect of the course; James H. Preston and William F. Broening, former mayors of Baltimore; George Weems Williams, J. Cookman Boyd, William I. Norris and George W. Cameron, former presidents of the Park Board; Henry S. Barrett, Dr. J. M. H. Rowland and Dr. James W. Cain, former presidents of the association.

Certificate
The original certificate is in the headquarters building of the Baltimore Municipal Golf Corporation on Hillen Road. In addition to the validating signatures of association officers Gertrude B. McGrath (secretary) and Columbus K. Oakley (president), the document bears the autographs of the four touring professionals who played the exhibition match. Thompson's is on it twice, presumably redone so it wouldn't be obscured by a frame. Click the image to see it full screen.

Gus Hook was not present at this ceremony. Ned Hanlon could not attend. He had passed away eleven days before, at the age of 79, a day after leaving the Park Board offices where he was engaged in planning this dedication ceremony. Hook did not attend the Opening of the course in 1934—why he missed both that and this ceremony is a curious mystery. His life membership certificate was presented this day, according to a Baltimore Sun article, "by mention."

During the ceremony, two rooms on the first floor of the clubhouse were named in honor of dignitaries. One room was named after Mayor Jackson and another was named after the recently deceased Ned Hanlon, former president of the Park Board and widely acclaimed as The Father of Modern Baseball. The Baltimore Sun article reports that a large oil portrait of each man had been commissioned, and each was unveiled and hung in the room honoring its subject.

Four top touring professionals conducted a skills clinic prior to teeing off for their featured better-ball match. Lawson Little, two-time amateur champion of both the United States and Britain, and who would go on to win the U.S. Open in 1940, was paired with Horton Smith, the 1936 Masters champion and winner of the first Masters in 1934. Their opponents were Jimmy Thompson, the 18-year-old long-hitting phenom who would finish second by a stroke to Lawson Little in the upcoming Canadian Open, and Lighthorse Harry Cooper, runner-up in the 1936 U.S. Open and runner-up to Horton Smith, who birdied three of the last five holes, in the 1936 Masters.

Jimmy Thompson recorded the best score of the four in the nine-hole match. He parred the first six holes, then tried to drive over the trees on No. 7 to cut the dogleg. He missed, and wound up with a double bogey, the only blemish on his card.

Cooper needed three shots to reach the greens on Nos. 2, 4, and 7, and couldn’t get up and down on any of those holes.

Smith missed the second, third, seventh, and ninth greens, and likewise couldn’t get up and down. He did record the only birdie of the day for the foursome, rolling in a thirty-foot putt on No. 8.

Little missed the green and two-putted on No. 3, took a double when trying to cut the dogleg on No. 7, and couldn’t get up and down on Nos. 8 or 9. Scores for the par-36 nine holes were:

foursome
Left to right: Lawson Little, Horton Smith, Jimmy Thompson, and Lighthouse Harry Cooper. They are smiling after their ordeal at Mt. Pleasant, but I bet they had bigger grins earlier that year at Augusta National, where they finished T21, First, T17, and Second.

Thompson – 38
Cooper – 39
Smith – 39
Little – 41.

The Mount held up well against this golden foursome who posted an aggregate score of plus-13 and a best-ball score of even par. The longest hitter of the day, Jimmy Thompson, couldn't hit it over the trees on Number 7, nor could two-time U.S. and British Amateur champion Lawson Little. Granted they were using 1937 clubs and balls, but they were also trying to hit over 1937 trees.


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deposits now being taken for our trip to notre dame on september 24


If you go, you can draw a line through that item on your bucket list on September 24, 2016, when #DMD heads to South Bend to see Notre Dame take on Duke.

#DMD's first-ever trip to Notre Dame is brought to you by our friends at Kelly Payroll.

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Never been to the mecca of college football? Join #DMD for a trip to Notre Dame on September 24 as the Fighting Irish battle Duke.

We'll leave on the first flight Saturday morning, arriving in South Bend about 10:00 am. We'll take part in the pre-game revelry, enjoy some ice-cold refreshments and tailgate food, then head to the stadium for the 3:30 pm kick-off.

After the game, the group can remain in South Bend for a few hours to enjoy the post-game festivities before we head to the hotel for a good night's sleep.

Our return flight on Sunday morning will arrive in Baltimore in plenty of time for you to watch the Ravens play at Jacksonville at 1:00 pm.

Just click here and you'll be taken to the information and reservations page. Deposits are accepted now with full payment due in mid-August.

Please note: We're taking only 24 people on this trip. Sixteen of those spots are now reserved. Only eight remain.


Tuesday
June 14
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIII
Issue 14
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we'll be in boston, hopefully winning is there as well


By the time most of you read this on Tuesday, our group of 20 #DMD Orioles enthusiasts will already be in Boston.

We're heading up to Beantown on a 7:20 am flight on Tuesday morning and hanging around Fenway Park for three nights to watch the Orioles and Red Sox do battle in one of the truly great sports facilities of our lifetime.

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One of #DMD's best "bucket list" trips ever is this week at Fenway Park. Three Orioles wins and it will be just perfect for us!

Little did I know last November when I put this bucket-list trip together that on June 14, the two teams would be tied for first place in the A.L. East. But they are, and we're in store for a memorable three days in Boston before returning early Friday morning to BWI.

I'd like to thank our friends at Kelly and Associates for helping us put the Fenway Park trip together. They're also involved in another one of our trips to an iconic sports destination, as we're headed to Notre Dame on September 24th to see the Fighting Irish play football in South Bend.

But, first, we're off to Fenway with a bunch of fun-loving Oriole nuts!

A handful of young children are on the trip, so we'll be heading over to the O's team hotel at some point this week for some pictures and autographs. And our plans are to get to the ballpark early every night and take in batting practice, hoping to snag a fly ball or two at the same time.

If you're watching any of the three games on TV, our group will be sitting together above the Green Monster on Tuesday and Thursday and in the right field corner on Wednesday. Maybe we'll get a little tube-time from our friends at MASN, who knows?

Wheels up, as they say!

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from the desk of
brien jackson

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


orioles-red sox series preview


Every time you play a division rival it's an important series, but when the weather starts to get really warm and you play the Red Sox, in Fenway Park, with identical records sitting at the top of the division, it feels like a particularly big deal.

That's the lay of the land going into this midweek series in Boston, where the 36-26 first place Orioles match up with the 36-26 first place Red Sox.

What makes it even more interesting is how fundamentally similar the two teams are to one another, and the extent to which this really does look like it will be the main battle for A.L. East supremacy this year, even with the Blue Jays beginning to knock at the door.

The first thing that jumps out about the Red Sox is, of course, their incredibly productive offense. Right now, Boston is leading all of MLB in average, on base percentage, runs scored, wOBA, fWAR, and even slugging percentage, despite having nearly 20 fewer home runs than the Orioles.

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Having a monster year thus far, David Ortiz is one of the biggest reasons why the Red Sox are battling the Orioles for first place in the A.L. East.

They run the bases well and play solid defense, too, as they're getting superlative performances from a number of different players. In fact, if the season ended today, Xander Bogaerts, David Ortiz, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Mookie Betts would all have cases to make for the MVP award, and Dustin Pedroia is performing at an All-Star caliber once again.

Also like the Orioles, the Red Sox boast a genuinely imposing bullpen. It might not be the Yankees' three headed strikeout monster, but Craig Kimbrel and Koji Uehara are definitely in the discussion for the best 1-2 punch at the end of games in all of the league, and Robbie Ross and Junichi Tazawa provide an excellent set of middle relievers to bridge the gap to the two relief aces.

With that caliber of relief pitching and defense, the Red Sox are definitely set up as a team that you don't expect to lose very many late leads, nailing down the games that statistics say you "should" win at a sufficiently high clip to be a playoff contender.

But, like the Orioles (are you picking up the theme here, yet?), starting pitching has been their achilles heel. Boston has struggled to get quality outings all year, and have already removed both Joe Kelly and Clay Buchholz from their rotation.

David Price has been quite disappointing so far, though his strikeouts and other peripheral stats remain strong and the better than one run difference between his ERA and FIP strongly suggests we might start seeing some more representative numbers quite soon.

And knuckleballer Steven Wright has emerged as both their most productive starter so far and something of a savior for both the rotation and the team. Hard as it is to fathom, Boston's pitchers are actually, statistically, a little bit worse than the O's.

So that, then, is the landscape of the upper reaches of the A.L. East at the moment; two very similar teams with identical records duking it out for a pennant.

If I'm being honest, though, I don't know how long the Orioles can keep up in the A.L. East race if things stay basically the way they are right now. Boston has almost a half a dozen hitters playing like superstars these days, including three highly touted prospects who are beginning to come into their own.

They've got well established relief aces who strike out a ton of guys, and while their rotation has been a problem, David Price can start pitching like a Cy Young candidate any day now and it's much easier to imagine Rick Porcello or Clay Buchholz figuring things out and becoming a very solid number three starter than it is to see, say, Ubaldo Jiminez or Mike Wright doing that in Baltimore.

Frankly I think Boston has an argument for having the best team/roster in all of baseball.

At this point, I say the Red Sox have the inside track on the American League title, and sooner or later the Orioles will probably have to add to their own roster if they expect to keep pace with the boys from Beantown all summer long.

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where are baltimore's 18 toughest golf holes?


We started this feature on Sunday, June 12, as both an ode to local golf and a ramp-up to this week's U.S. Open at Oakmont CC in Pittsburgh.

The concept was simple: Go through a list of 20 different courses in the general Baltimore area and come up with the toughest 18 holes as they're played in their respective orders at the courses. In other words, we're trying to identify the toughest 1st hole, toughest 2nd hole, etc.

For starters, here are the courses we're using: Eagle's Nest, Baltimore Country Club (East and West), Country Club of Maryland, Hillendale, Suburban, Caves Valley, Green Spring, Elkridge, Hayfields, Hunt Valley, Woodholme, Sparrows Point, Rolling Road, Maryland Golf and Country Club, Winter's Run, Mountain Branch, Bulle Rock, Mount Pleasant and Pine Ridge.

Today, we're at holes 7, 8 and 9. We'll add three holes per-day until Friday, June 17, when we'll have all 18 holes completed.

Thus far, our winners are: Hole #1 - BCC East, Hole #2 - Maryland Golf and CC, Hole #3 - Woodholme CC, Hole #4 - Woodholme CC, Hole #5 - Bulle Rock, Hole #6 - Rolling Road.


The Toughest 7th Hole in Baltimore

This one was tough. But there's a clear cut winner, I'd say. One of the more difficult 7th holes in the area is in Belair at Maryland Golf and Country Club. It's a dogleg right par-4 of roughly 440 yards, but trouble lurks down the entire right side of the hole and the green is actually tucked far enough around the corner that a drive down the right side -- even in play -- is often blocked out from a direct path to the putting surface. If you bail out to the left on your drive, you add 20 yards to your second shot. Like most holes, perfect-and-down-the-middle makes this a much easier hole to negotiate, but even the green itself is trouble-waiting-to-happen if you leave yourself with a putt of any length. Par at #7 at MGCC is a very good score.

The 7th hole at Elkridge is 520 yards of danger. First, it plays much longer than that because the tee-shot is uphill and even the second shot is probably a tad uphill as well. There's a hazard down the entire left side of the hole and the right side is lined with trees and gnarly rough that does bad things to your golf ball if it comes to rest there. Unless you bash two really good shots here, you can't really see the putting surface on your approach to the green. It's tight, tree-lined, dangerous and incredibly unpredictable given that you're hitting both your second and third shots into "blind" areas on the course. Par is a very good score here, too.

But the winner for the toughest #7 hole in the area goes to Country Club of Maryland. Maybe it's just because I think I've only parred this hole about 10 times in 75 career rounds at the Stevenson Lane layout...but this is one tough golf hole. It only measures 410 yards from tee-to-green, but the hole goes out and directly to the right at about the 220 yard mark. There is out-of-bounds the whole way down the right side, so if you're thinking of "cutting the corner" here, you better smash a good one and avoid the trees that linger down the right side. If you happen to hit the dreaded straight ball off the tee, you wind up in the pine trees that border the driving range adjacent to the 7th fairway. Oh, and then you have to hit a small green that's well protected by left and right bunkers. It's one mean golf hole, let me tell you.


The Toughest 8th Hole in Baltimore

There are two eighth holes in the area that stand out above all the rest. Honorable mention goes to #8 at Winter's Run, which can be tricky if you don't hit a good tee shot that avoids the water on the left side.

The 8th at Pine Ridge is one of the best par 3 holes in all of Maryland. It's 205 yards from the very back tee and 185 from the standard men's tee and neither are treats, that's for sure. All that faces you on the tee is the Loch Raven Resevoir on your left, trees and "nothing good" on your right, and a green that's about as big as a postage stamp. Oh, and if you're short or left on your tee-shot, you're probably dropping and playing your third shot after a penalty stroke. Make a par here and you're a half-stroke or more better than the rest of the field.

But the hardest 8th hole in the area is definitely at Green Spring. This could be, in fact, one of the hardest holes anywhere. It measures 425 from the back tee, with out of bounds on the left and water on the right. The fairway is narrow and tree lined and anything not hit smack-dab in the middle of it could be penalized with tree trouble or a not-so-great lie. Then, the approach shot has to clear water and stay safely on the green, which isn't all that big in the first place. Words can't describe the difficulty of this hole. It's a major league golf hole.


The Toughest 9th Hole in Baltimore

This one really should be a three-way tie. Or, even, a four-way tie. #9 at Bulle Rock is a complete bear, measuring 475 yards from the back tee. In the Maryland Open thirteen years ago, a former PGA Tour player who was playing in my group said of the difficulty of the 9th hole, "Don't they know we're not all touring professionals playing in this event?". It's a sweeping dogleg right, with water to clear on the tee-shot and a well protected green as well.

#9 at Hillendale is also tough, although not as challenging off the tee as #9 at Bulle Rock. It's long, though, as the green complex is completely nuts. You have to hit a pair of lightning bolts just to get the ball on the putting surface in regulation, and you can be on that green for ten minutes if you're not careful. Make a par and run.

The 9th hole at Woodholme is also very difficult. Your drive almost never leaves you with a level lie and then you're hitting to an uphill putting surface that is among the toughest on the course. It's 435 yards of headache and a tough way to end the front nine there.

But the outright winner here is definitely #9 at Caves Valley. This is absolutely one of the 18 hardest holes in the state, anywhere. It's 450 yards, all uphill, with a stream the entire length of the right side of the hole and bunkers on the left for those of you (us) who bail away from the trouble off the tee. You're hitting to a green complex you can't see at all, and if your shot leaks at all to the right, it's likely wet. This is one of those "trust the caddie" holes. If he says, "Actual is 185 but it's playing 210", hit your 210 club and be happy that you listened to him.

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sizing up the u.s. open field


There are many people who think Oakmont Country Club in suburban Pittsburgh is the toughest layout the players will ever face in major championship golf.

If that holds true, and early reports indicate the place is playing extremely hard, don’t expect a surprise winner on Sunday afternoon. The more difficult the course, the more likely someone with experience and patience will come out on top.

The key statistic at Oakmont is simple: You have to drive your golf ball straight. It’s obviously not possible to do that on all 14 “driving” holes, but you better be hitting 10 fairways a day if you hope to keep your score near even par.

Putting, as always, will be especially important this week at Oakmont, since any missed fairway is likely to result in a pitch and putt par-attempt. You’ll need to make a bunch of five to ten footers this week.

With that, and without giving away my six-man fantasy team and predicted winner (that comes tomorrow, of course), here’s a rundown on the top players this week and a summary of their chances at Oakmont.

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There's no reason at all to think that Jason Day won't be in the hunt this weekend at the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club.

Jason Day -- The #1 player in the world has been battling a cold for the last week and limited his practice time in order to be fully prepared for this week’s grind. Expect him to play well, though. He drives it great and has been a putt-making machine for the last year. And he knows how to win. All he needs to do is stay in the mix for the first two days, then put it together on the weekend. Chances of winning: Excellent

Jordan Spieth -- A win at Oakmont would show that the Masters collapse of April is truly a thing of the past. He can win this week, for sure, based mainly on his putter and supreme iron game. While his driver hasn’t been very cooperative recently, there’s a good chance he can get by with a combination of that tumbling 3-wood he hits and a driver and make it work out. Chances of winning: Very Good

Rory McIlroy -- Seems like he’s just about ready to reclaim golf’s top spot, but then either Day or Spieth wins a tournament and McIlroy is second fiddle again. If he drives it well, that should be enough to get him in contention on the weekend, despite the fact that he’s simply not a great putter. One thing about Rory, though. When he gets hot, everything seems to fall in place for him. This could be one of those weeks. Chances of winning: Very Good

Rickie Fowler -- This one would really establish Fowler as a premier player in the world, but the likelihood that he’ll be hanging around on Sunday is slim. Some experts say that anyone who tames TPC Sawgrass can win anywhere in the world, but the list of no-names who have contended at The Players (and won, even) is much longer than the list of similar players who have contended and won the U.S. Open. This is a course that requires 72 holes of stellar play and I’m not sure Fowler has that in him. Chances of winning: Marginal

Bubba Watson -- Certainly has the length to compete and overwhelm Oakmont, but there’s little chance he has the patience to hang in there for 72 holes. Too many bad breaks, awful lies and treacherous five footers for his nervous approach to the game. Augusta National is a controlled environment. Everything is perfect, the crowds are docile and it’s “easy” for Watson to play there. Nothing about the U.S. Open is easy. He won’t be able to handle it. Chances of winning: Slim

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A 2-time winner already this season, Adam Scott has the goods to win the U.S. Open this week.

Dustin Johnson -- Might be the most talented player to have never won a major championship, although Sergio Garcia would likely argue that point, regrettably. It’s practically a given that he’s going to drive it straight and long this week. The big question, of course, centers on his short game. Can he get it up and down when he misses greens and will his putter cooperate long enough to accommodate his out-of-this-world talent level? He’s going to win one of these someday, for sure. Why not this week? Chances of winning: Good

Adam Scott -- It sure looked his putting woes were fixed back on the Florida swing in late February when he won in back-to-back weeks. If he’s comfortable with the flat stick, he can definitely be a threat at Oakmont. Drives it straight off the tee and hits his irons sky high in the fairway...you can’t ask for two better attributes for the U.S. Open. Don’t be surprised if he’s in the hunt on Sunday. Chances of winning: Very good

Phil Mickelson -- It seems unlikely that Mickelson could win this week, but if par is the optimum score on each hole, the veteran left-hander is awfully good at scraping together a bunch of 4’s and a few 3’s to offset the expected 5’s. In fact, if it’s going to be an over-par tournament – as many believe – that could also help Mickelson’s chances. His downfall? A lack of length off the tee, mainly, and the occasionally balky putter that tends to show up at the wrong time over the weekend. Chances of winning: Marginal

Monday
June 13
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIII
Issue 13
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options few, but birds have to sit jimenez


There's nothing like a good old fashioned "I told you so" column to get things going on a Monday morning.

I'll do my best not to rub it in too hard.

I wrote it back on Sunday, May 29, a day after Ubaldo Jimenez got battered in Cleveland in an 11-4 O's loss to the Indians.

Two weeks later, I'm still here writing the same thing: Jimenez has to go. And yes, this has everything to do with his performance on Sunday in the O's 10-9 loss at Toronto.

My idea back on May 29 was to send Jimenez to the bullpen and let Vance Worley start in his place, at least until Yovani Gallardo was ready to return from his stint on the disabled list.

The O's didn't waver, though, and Jimenez remained in the starting rotation for two more starts before yesterday's debacle in Toronto. Yesterday's effort, I'm assuming, was the coup de grace and should basically put the Birds in a "must-do-something" situation.

Jimenez didn't make it out of the first freakin' inning on Sunday at Rogers Centre, allowing six hits and five earned runs while recording just one out before getting yanked by Buck Showalter. If you're a silver-lining-kind-of-guy, you're at least pleased that Jimenez didn't walk anyone in his 14-minute stint on Sunday. So, he has that going for him...

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It's finally time for the Orioles to make a move with Ubaldo Jimenez. Another awful start on Sunday in Toronto was the final straw.

All joking aside -- and it's hard NOT to make jokes when you write about Jimenez's pitching -- it's time for the Orioles to pull the plug.

I get it, the guy makes $13 million and the O's just aren't tossing that money aside, no matter the performance, but Baltimore's starting rotation is wobbly enough without sending Jimenez out there every 5th day. He stinks.

Yes, yes, I know what you're saying -- "But the Dodgers just sent Carl Crawford packing and they're eating $35 million of his salary" -- but the Dodgers and Orioles don't operate on the same financial landscape. $35 million to the Dodgers is like $350 to you and I.

So, there aren't many options at this point, but the Birds have to utilize one of them. Quickly.

The obvious solution comes next weekend at home when Yovani Gallardo returns from his rehab stint and is ready to go against the Blue Jays. That's all well and good in terms of replacing Jimenez in the rotation, but what will the Orioles do with the much maligned starter? Send him to the bullpen? Come up with an "injury" like they did two years ago and give him a couple of months to try and figure it out away from the every day stresses of major league baseball?

Here's the scary part: We KNOW Jimenez isn't any good. Gallardo might also be in that same category in another two months. He was pretty stinky himself earlier in the season before the -- ahem -- "injury bug" hit him, too, and sent him to the disabled list for about six weeks.

If Gallardo can't get anyone out, and let's face it, he has to be at least marginally better than Jimenez, then the Birds are really in deep doo-doo.

Think about it: Chris Tillman is just about a guarantee to give you a representative performance every 5th day. Kevin Gausman is a 70% bet to give you a decent outing every 5th day. Then what? Tyler Wilson? Mike Wright? Neither of those guys are scaring anyone. They're just throwers at this point, happy to be in the big leagues and trying their best not to get shelled when they take the mound.

Oh, and despite all of this, the Orioles are tied for first place on June 13.

But they won't be there on August 13, you can bet on that, unless something improves with the starting pitching.

It might be Gallardo who steps up and straightens things out, but he can't replace Jimenez, Wright AND Wilson. The Birds are somehow going to have to add another arm somewhere along the line in an effort to keep pace in the A.L. East. But who?

You'll giggle at this one, I know, but two former Baltimore pitchers will be free-agents at the end of the season and will likely be moved at this year's trade deadline. Interested in either Scott Feldman or Alfredo Simon? Yeah, me neither.

There will be other arms available, too, but at what price? And how much of an upgrade, just for example, would Feldman or Simon be over what we have now? Better than Jimenez, yes, but reliable enough to give up something decent in exchange for their 2-3 months of service? Simon just got banished to the bullpen on a really bad Reds team, by the way, so I'd be sending that call to voice mail if the Reds checked in with me about his availability.

The last time we traded for Feldman, the guy we swapped to the Cubs turned out to be Cy Young.

Someone else not in contention at the deadline will make players available, but that brings other teams into the mix at that point.

The Orioles have to figure out something, though -- anything -- to keep Jimenez from crushing them every fifth day.

In the short term, it's hopefully Gallardo who takes his spot. But even then, the Orioles still have a decision to make.

It's not my $13 million, but I say cut Jimenez loose and wish him well. One thing for sure: He's not signing in Boston, Toronto, New York or Tampa Bay and coming back to haunt us in September.

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from the desk of
brien jackson

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


To rip off my favorite opening line a movie, ever (which I'm sure I have used at least twice before), let us be frank at the commencement: Drew asked me to cover this topic. I say that only because, after putting some thought and research into the matter, I'm not sure I have a good answer either way. So what's the question?

Of the two, Tyler Wilson or Mike Wright -- which one most deserves to stay in the Orioles' starting rotation?

Now this is a pertinent question because, fairly soon, Yovani Gallardo isn't going to be able to stay on a rehab assignment and is going to have to pitch in the Majors, and that means someone has to lose their spot. It probably won't be Ubaldo Jiminez, because he's owed a lot more money than either Wright or Wilson and hasn't pitched that much worse, so one of these two will get the short end of the stick.

So which one should it be?

Simply put, there's no right or wrong answer here.

I didn't necessarily expect that to be the case when Drew put the question into my mind.

Based on simple heuristics, I expected to be building an argument that Wright was at least a slightly better big league starer than Wilson, and thus probably deserved the rotation spot more.

After a few hours of looking up stats and game logs, however, I neither think that's obviously the case nor really care which one the Orioles choose to keep running out there because, frankly, neither is really any good at the moment.

So, to not beat around the bush, let's go over the numbers in a nutshell.

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With a 5.31 ERA to date, Mike Wright isn't doing himself any favors in terms of earning Buck Showalter's faith for the second half of the season.

Both pitchers have appeared in 12 games total. Wright has pitched in 61 innings with 11 starts in that span, while Wilson has logged 9 starts and 59 innings. Wilson has a sub-par strikeout to walk ratio of 2.0, while Wright's is an even worse 1.87.

Wilson's ERA is an unsightly 4.73, Wright's is an ugly 5.31. Neither's FIP (fielding independent pitching) suggests that they've been victimized by bad luck or bad defense either. So, if forced to pick, I'd say Wilson is maybe the marginally better pitcher of the two so far but, in truth, neither really deserves to be a Major League pitcher.

And therein lies the ongoing problem for the Orioles; they just don't have a lot of quality starting pitching.

On top of Wright and Wilson, who both barely qualify as useful fifth starters, Ubaldo has turned in a performance worth being dumped from the starting five for as well, and Gallardo hasn't been very good when he's pitched either, and hasn't given anyone any reason to think he'll be any good when he finally comes back from his "injury".

Beyond Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman, the O's starting pitching is just flat out bad. On the one hand, this is a liability and something you'd really want them to look to address ASAP, but on the other hand the Orioles are still winning much more than they're losing because their offense and bullpen have been so good.

It's tempting to say that's a dynamic that can't hold up, because we've been conditioned to accept the truism that starting pitching is everything in baseball, but in truth it theoretically can continue for the rest of the season.

You'd rather it not, but when either Tyler Wilson or Mike Wright really are one of your five best starting pitchers, you just don't have much of a choice but to hope your strategy of winning with anything but the strength of your rotation works out in the long run.

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where are baltimore's 18 toughest golf holes?


We started this feature on Sunday, June 12, as both an ode to local golf and a ramp-up to this week's U.S. Open at Oakmont CC in Pittsburgh.

The concept was simple: Go through a list of 20 different courses in the general Baltimore area and come up with the toughest 18 holes as they're played in their respective orders at the courses. In other words, we're trying to identify the toughest 1st hole, toughest 2nd hole, etc.

For starters, here are the courses we're using: Eagle's Nest, Baltimore Country Club (East and West), Country Club of Maryland, Hillendale, Suburban, Caves Valley, Green Spring, Elkridge, Hayfields, Hunt Valley, Woodholme, Sparrows Point, Rolling Road, Maryland Golf and Country Club, Winter's Run, Mountain Branch, Bulle Rock, Mount Pleasant and Pine Ridge.

Today, we're at holes 4, 5 and 6. We'll add three holes per-day until Friday, June 17, when we'll have all 18 holes completed.

Thus far, our winners are: Hole #1 (BCC East), Hole #2 (Maryland Golf and CC), Hole #3 (Woodholme CC).


The Toughest 4th Hole in Baltimore

It's funny how once you start really thinking about this, certain holes on most course fit in the "hard" category and certain holes fit in the "soft" category. The fourth hole is kind of like that, honestly, in that there just aren't that many tough 4th holes around. But we managed to find three.

The first three holes at Mountain Branch are truly a handshake, but the 4th hole there is anything but friendly. Better pack an extra sleeve of balls for this one, boys. It's a 440 yard par-4 with trouble lurking from tee to green, on both sides, too, so there's almost no bail out area off the tee. A hazard with a gazillion ticks and other forms of unpleasantries faces you on the left, and then a huge pond that borders the entire left side of the fairway is there to capture any sort of errant drive. The right side of the hole isn't a piece of cake, either, with a hazard on the right and a tree lined mess all the way up to the green. If you can't hit it straight here, you're in big trouble. The green isn't all that difficult, especially when the flag is up front, but a pin tucked in the back left corner of the green can lead to big numbers.

The 4th hole at Elkridge isn't a snoozer, either. It plays a little differently from the back tees to the standard men's tees, granted, but either way it's a formidable par-3 because of the green and the fact that your tee shot is all carry. Whether you're hitting a 5-iron in there or a 7-iron, it still requires precision to get on the putting surface with your tee ball. If you're short, you face a delicate uphill pitch for your second. If you're right or left, rough, bunkers and nothing else very good faces you. If the greens are fast -- and in-season, they almost always are at Elkridge -- you simply can't be above the hole here and expect good things to happen. This isn't the longest par-3 hole around, but it's a tough one.

The winner for the hardest 4th hole in the area is easy, though, and Woodholme CC becomes the first course to have two holes on our "Toughest 18" list. This is a beast of a hole, a 450-yard par-4 that plays uphill a club or more for the second shot, into a wildly narrow green that is similar to trying to hit a ball onto the roof of your car and getting it to stay there. The green is probably 30-35 feet wide and only 20 feet deep. Oh, and just to make it more difficult, there are bunkers on the left and right preventing a lousy shot from scooting up to the putting surface. There is a small area between the traps that can be used for the run-up approach shot, but you better be awfully good if you try and pull that one off. Did I mention there's out of bounds on the left side of the hole from tee to green? Well, there is.


The Toughest 5th Hole in Baltimore

This one, now, has contenders all over the place. For some reason, lots of clubs in the area have difficult 5th holes. The 5th at Hunt Valley (Red) is extremely difficult. It's a 410 yard par-4 that features a hazard down the left side and a huge hill about 140 yards from the green that blocks your view of the green from the fairway. Your drive -- if placed correctly, and that's a challenge all by itself -- leaves you with a blind second shot to a green that borders a hazard on the left hand side of the hole. I've heard more than a few people remark "this is just a bad golf hole, plain and simple", but I think it's more tough than bad. You have to play a terrific tee shot, a better approach shot, and then navigate the green.

The 5th hole at Hayfields isn't a walk in the park, either. It's a 540 yard par-5, with a large pond that borders nearly the entire left side of the hole. If you bail out to the right, there's a bunker over there to collect errant shots and a hazard that runs up the entire right side should you be afraid to play your shot down the left side. It's a fairly standard three-shot par-5 hole if you're able to hit two straight shots of about 225 yards each. Your wedge approach shot isn't all that difficult either, unless the flag is in the back left part of the green, and then it can become difficult. The green is large, though, so if your approach isn't on the right level, you're facing a three putt.

But the winner here -- and one of the hardest holes in the state, anywhere -- is number five at Bulle Rock. In the Maryland Open back in 2001 or thereabouts, they played this beast all the way back, making it a 500 yard par-4, with roughly the last 150 yards of that going almost straight uphill. I distinctly recall hitting driver, 5-wood and not getting there in two shots. And that was with a good drive to get things started. And the green is crazy, too. It's about 90 feet long and 30 feet wide. Just getting on isn't good enough. This is one tough, tough hole.


The Toughest 6th Hole in Baltimore

A couple of more standout holes await us here. The 6th at Mountain Branch is a challenge, for sure. The hole's not that long, only about 440 from the back tees, 420 from the standard men's tees, but danger lurks the whole way to the green. A tee ball to the left is in the hazard, a tee ball to the right is in the woods. A couple of years ago, they even put in a fairway bunker on the right side to make things even more challenging. The green is large, too, and can be problematic if you're not on the right level. There aren't many overly difficult holes at Mountain Branch, but this is one of them.

Number six at Winter's Run is a good hole, and a tough one, too. It's a standard par-5 of 550 yards that requires two GREAT shots to reach the putting surface in two, but I've seen it done before. Your second shot has to clear water on the right hand side, though, and your lay-up has to be careful of that same body of water as well. The green is small and treacherous depending on the hole location. This is one of the better holes at Winter's Run in my opinion.

But the clear cut winner as the toughest 6th hole in Baltimore definitely goes to Rolling Road. It's a 440-yard slight dogleg to the left with out-of-bounds (and traffic) the whole way down the left side. A tree-lined right side of the fairway makes par almost impossible if your drive fails to find the fairway. And even if you are in the short grass off the tee, the fun is just beginning. Your second shot is generally from about the 185 to 165 yard area and the green sits up on a small hill, meaning you have to carry it on and keep it on or else it rolls back down the hill and leaves you with one of those dastardly short pitch shots. Oh, and the green...is completely nuts. Any ball left above the hole can be three-putted, whether it's 20-feet, 10-feet or 3-feet above. Ten years ago or so, a competitor in the Baltimore City Amateur six-putted. And he was trying on every putt. He never made it to the 7th tee, instead opting for the long walk in, having been defeated by the diabolical sixth green at Rolling Road.

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penguins claim stanley cup with 3-1 win


This time every year, I watch a team skate around the ice with the Stanley Cup raised above their heads and get shivers at the thought that someday, somehow, the Washington Capitals might participate in that early summer ritual.

Last night, it was twice as hard as to watch the post-game ceremony. Not only did it once again NOT feature the Capitals, but the winners this season were the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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Now a champion for the second time, Sidney Crosby's Hall of Fame career includes the 2016 Conn Smythe trophy as the Stanley Cup Finals MVP.

Pittsburgh got a late 2nd period goal from Kris Letang to go up 2-1 and then added an empty netter in the final 60 seconds to hold off the San Jose Sharks, 3-1, and win the Stanley Cup in six games.

Despite my disdain for the Pittsburgh football team, this edition of the Penguins actually turned out to be a bunch you can actually like and respect.

They played good, wholesome hockey, as did San Jose, and Sunday night's Game 6 featured some of the best action of the series to date. Both goaltenders were superb last night, but in the end, Pittsburgh's dedication to team defense won them the title.

On the empty net goal that sewed up the Cup, Sidney Crosby, the series MVP, blocked a shot at the blue line, gathered in the loose puck, waited for Patric Hornqvist to get in position, then slipped him the biscuit in traffic. Hornqvist was able to take care of business from there, buzzing a 40-footer into the empty cage and the party was on in Pittsburgh.

As I watched Game 6 last night, it occurred to me that I've never seen the Washington Capitals play a game like that. I've never seen them work that hard, fight that much, or play with that sort of passion and committment. It was joyful and painful to watch at the same time.

Sunday
June 12
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIII
Issue 12
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where are baltimore's 18 toughest golf holes?


This one's been on my plate for a couple of years now, and I'm finally going to get it done.

How many times have you played a golf course and had on-going issues with one or more of the holes and said to the others in your foursome, "This is one tough hole!"

The Baltimore area has a lot of great golf courses and some spectacular holes, too.

For the next six days, we're going to pick out the 18 toughest holes in the area, putting them in order based on their current placement on the course. In other words, we'll pick out the toughest first, toughest second hole, toughest third hole, etc.

This will require us to make some tough decisions, like on the 2nd hole, for example, where a number of courses around town boast a difficult second hole.

We'll be ranking the holes according to their difficulty from the men's white tees, with some references to the "back tees" as well, which sometimes greatly changes the difficulty of a hole.

You may have played some of these courses and can offer comment, or perhaps you haven't yet been able to play them all. In that case, we'll prepare you for that day when you do get a tee time and have an opportunity to play the course.

For starters, here are the courses we're using: Eagle's Nest, Baltimore Country Club (East and West), Country Club of Maryland, Hillendale, Suburban, Caves Valley, Green Spring, Elkridge, Hayfields, Hunt Valley, Woodholme, Sparrows Point, Rolling Road, Maryland Golf and Country Club, Winter's Run, Mountain Branch, Bulle Rock, Mount Pleasant and Pine Ridge.

That's 20 courses in the area, which gives up plenty of holes to review and consider. Let's get started today with the toughest 1st, 2nd, and 3rd holes in Baltimore.


The Toughest 1st hole in Baltimore

Funny enough, Baltimore has lots of tough courses and difficult holes, but not many of them are at #1. Nearly every course on our list has a "handshake" for an opening hole, which is the way most course designers want it, evidently.

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Baltimore Country Club's East Course has a number of difficult holes, including the 1st, an uphill par-4 that gets your attention right out of the gate.

No one wants to beat up the players with a whopper of a first hole that leaves people frustrated and disappointed right out of the gate.

Realistically, there are probably only three first holes in the area that would really be considered hard (distances are approximate): Green Spring (215 yard par 3), Baltimore Country Club East (460 yard par 4) and Pine Ridge (425 par 4).

Every other course in town has an opening hole that's easy to negotiate. I'd cast a vote for all 18 to be easy, but that's just me.

Anyway, Green Spring's opening hole is unique because it's a par-3, making it the only course in the Baltimore area with a par-3 starter. It's a tough hole not only because of the distance, and the fact you're just starting your round, but the green is relatively small and pitches dramatically from back to front. A par at the first hole at Green Spring is a great start.

The same can be said for the opener at Pine Ridge. Now, admittedly, equipment and ball improvements over the last 15 years have made this one a little easier to negotiate, but it's still a tough starting hole. The 425-yard dogleg left has trees lining both sides of the fairway, so an errant drive of any kind makes it neary impossible to reach the green with your second shot. Even if you do hit a good drive, you could still be left with as much as 175 yards into the hole, although longer hitters these days just take it over the left corner and smash it out there as far as they can, sometimes leaving themselves with a 9-iron or wedge in for their second. The green complexes at Pine Ridge are fairly big and this one is no different, so once you get it on the putting surface, things are just starting to get interesting.

Baltimore Country Club East gets the honor, though, of having the toughest 1st hole in the Baltimore area. Depending on which set of tees you play, you could be facing an opening test of 440, 465 or 485 yards. There are bunkers on both the left and right side of the Tillinghast-designed hole to collect a tee ball not hit straight enough to make the fairway, and the entire hole goes uphill from about the 215-yard mark. You can't see the putting surface, so knowing where the flag is, precisely, is largely guesswork, even with the yardage lasers everyone uses these days. And then once you're on, you're facing one of the largest greens on the golf course, with slope from back to front. If you par the first hole at BCC East, you're at least a half-stroke up on everyone else in the field. This is one tough starting hole.


The Toughest 2nd hole in Baltimore

Oddly enough, while there aren't many courses with tough first holes, a number of area courses have difficult second holes. Some have VERY difficult second holes, which makes the task of choosing the toughest one all that more difficult. Most course designers want to give you a breather on the opening hole, then start to get a little more serious right after that.

It was tough coming up with three "finalists" for this hole, but we narrowed it down to #2 at Baltimore Country Club East (460 yard par 4), #2 at Bulle Rock (575 yard par 5) and #2 at Maryland Golf and Country Club (420 yard par 4).

Someone forgot to give A.W. Tillinghast the "handshake memo" when he was designing BCC East, because the first, second and third holes are all very difficult round-starters. The second hole plays 500 yards from the back tees, with out of bounds on the left side of the hole and a tree lined right side featuring rough that gobbles up your ball should an errant tee-shot find the right side of the hole. The approach shot is one of the toughest in Baltimore golf, on any hole. There's bunkering to the left and right, with a huge false-front run-off area that sends short approach shots back down the hill. Once on the green, you'll face a very difficult two putt no matter where you are.

The second hole at Bulle Rock is a straight away par 5 with a stream running the entire length of the hole down the right side and a lost-ball area all the way down the left. Even if you manage to coax your drive into the fairway there, your job is far from complete. You have to hit a good, clean second to a favorable yardage and then play an uphill third shot to a well protected green that stretches sixty feet or so from left to right and only 20-25 feet from front to back. Make a par on this one and you're playing good golf!

Maryland Golf and Country Club boasts the toughest 2nd hole in the area, though. If you haven't played this one before, you don't know what you're missing. It's a dogleg right that measures anywhere from 410 to 440 depending on the tees, with out-of-bounds (and houses) down the right side and a huge hill that sends balls towards the OB if they're not hit far enough up the right side. For those just happy to hit it straight off the tee, a huge pine tree awaits about 250 yards out that does a great job of collecting tee balls. If you do hit the fairway, which is generally unlikely, your work is just beginning. Your second shot is an uphill approach to a bunker-protected green, one of the smallest on the course, also, and has severe slope from front to back. One year in the Maryland State team matches, my partner and I made a better ball double-bogey six here -- and won the hole! This is one difficult test, for players of any handicap level. Make a par here and you're ahead of the field.


The Toughest 3rd hole in Baltimore

As much as the area has a lot of tough second holes, the third hole at most courses is relatively benign. Only a few courses in the area have what would be considered "really tough" 3rd holes, but we've picked out three that are to considered excellent pars if you can make one there: #3 at Caves Valley (550 yard par 5), #3 at Suburban (410 par 4) and #3 at Woodholme (160 yard par 3).

The third hole at Caves Valley represents a true risk-reward par 5, with water down the right side that can be challenged with the tee ball if you're one of those players who likes biting off the corner in an effort to get another 20-30 yards of distance. If you do go for the green in two, trouble lurks down the entire right side and the fairway pinches in at the 100 yard mark or thereabouts so even a shot hit left of the fairway might find rough. The putting surface is huge and tricky, meaning any ball on the green is still a challenge to 2-putt. This is a hole that requires two well placed shots and a smart approach into the green if you want the best chance at par.

Suburban's third hole is a good, fair, hole, one of my favorites in the area. It's a dogleg right with a tight driving area, requiring you to play something off the tee that's 240 yards or so -- straight -- or you'll be dealing with a small hazard on the left or trees and a bunker on the right. Once you're in the fairway, the fun is just beginning. Your approach shot is uphill to a well protected green with several bunkers and the putting surface can be an issue if you leave yourself with more than 20 feet or so. This is a tough hole, and one you feel good about making par on even though the yardage doesn't necessarily scare you.

Woodholme Country Club has the toughest third hole around for one reason: the putting surface. You're only dealing with a tee-shot length of anywhere from 135 to 160 yards depending on the tees you play, but the shot almost always plays against the wind and you're hitting from a slightly elevated teeing area, which makes judging the actual playing distance of the hole that much more difficult. Once you get on the green, your troubles really come into play. Tip of the day: DO NOT BE ABOVE THE HOLE HERE, EVER. This is a wildly tricky green from back to front and there isn't a safe three foot putt here, ever. Don't be conceding 28-inch putts to your match play opponent, trust me. They can all be missed on this hole. A par on #3 at Woodholme is like a score of 2.5 on the card.

Tomorrow: We look at the toughest 4th, 5th and 6th holes in the Baltimore area.

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u.s. advances in copa america with yucky 1-0 win


We had our final day/night of the Eagle's Nest Member Guest tournament on Saturday, so I'm kind of glad I didn't see this game live. I might have fallen asleep.

As it was, I was able to get home, watch the replay and THEN fall asleep, sort of like the U.S. team did on several occasions during Saturday's 1-0 win over Paraguay that sends the Americans into the quarterfinals of the tournament.

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The U.S. got another key goal from Clint Dempsey in Saturday's 1-0 win over Paraguay that sends the Americans into Thursday's quarterfinals of Copa America.

The U.S. side won't know their Thursday night quarterfinal opponent until later on Sunday when group play concludes, but they'll face either Brazil, Ecuador or Peru in Seattle.

Clint Dempsey scored the game's only goal in the 27th minute off of some nice work from Gyasi Zardes, who botched a relatively easy scoring chance later on but still managed to make an impact with helper on the Dempsey goal.

From there, the U.S. hung on for dear life, playing the final 35 minutes or so with only ten players after DeAndre Yedlin was ejected for accumulating two yellow cards in the game. The first yellow was a little soft, perhaps, but the second one was clearly deserved and he'll now miss the Thursday night quarterfinal match.

Down to 10 men, the Americans did their best to look interested in scoring the game's second goal, but they were mostly just hoping to hang on for a win at that point. John Brooks was superb in the back, shutting down not one, but two, legitimate scoring chances from Paraguay. Goalkeeper Brad Guzan was on point all night as well, making several nice saves to preserve the shutout and the trip to Seattle.

Once again, though, the sputtering U.S. offense did little to distinguish itself against a pleasantly surprising Paraguay squad that needed several things to go right in order to make the knockout stage of the event when it all started last week.

No one stood out at all for the U.S. on offense, with the exception of Dempsey's johnny-on-the-spot goal and some good work from Zardes, who needs lots and lots of polish if he's going to legitimately factor in the team's plans moving forward.

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drew's views on the
baltimore orioles

Covering the Orioles throughout the season is an important part of #DMD's service, so who better to take on the assignment than #DMD's founder? DREW FORRESTER will tell you why the Birds won or lost, who was responsible, and what to look for in upcoming games. It's brought to you by our friends at KELLY, the area's expert in all aspects of payroll service.


o's get clobbered in toronto, 11-6


Baltimore pitching -- or lack thereof -- was the story of the game on Saturday in Toronto, as the Birds allowed 13 hits and 21 total base runners in an 11-6 loss to the Blue Jays that leaves the Birds tied with Boston for first place in the A.L. East.

And to think the O's were actually up 4-3 in the 6th inning in this one.

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Another rocky start from Mike Wright must have manager Buck Showalter concerned. Wright couldn't make it out of the 6th inning in Saturday's 11-6 loss at Toronto.

After falling behind 3-0, the Birds rallied to take the lead on 4th inning homers from Joey Rickard and Chris Davis, along with a 6th inning go-ahead blast from Manny Machado.

The lead didn't last long.

Toronto erupted for five runs in the 6th to go back on top, 8-4, the big blow coming from Edwin Encarnacion, who wallopped a 3-run homer off of T.J. McFarland.

McFarland came on after Mike Wright ran out of gas earlier in the inning. Any exuberance over Wright's performance against Kansas City on Monday night was reversed yesterday, as he once couldn't throw strikes or enough quality pitches to get ahead in the count.

As I wrote on Tuesday after Wright's win over KC, anyone can pitch well against the Royals right now. They stink. Toronto is the varsity, though, and they come at you ready to swing and make contact with just about every guy who steps to the plate.

Wright threw 103 pitches on Saturday and 49 of them were strikes. 49 were strikes. That means more than half of his pitches were balls. You can't compete in the majors with those numbers.

He allowed six hits and walked five in his five full innings of work. Not good enough, I'm afraid.

Every Baltimore starter except Nolan Reimold had a hit on Saturday, with both Rickard and Machado going 3-for-5 on the day.

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springsteen coming to nationals park on sept. 1


I'm a huge fan of the Fall season around these parts, so the Labor Day weekend never bothered me much, but I know there are some who look at it with a twinge of sadness as it sort of marks the proverbial end of summer.

This year, Labor Day weekend will be quite memorable.

That is, if you're a fan of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

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Join #DMD on September 1st and see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Nationals Park!

Springsteen recently announced a series of late summer dates and his tour will touch down in Washington D.C. on Thursday, September 1st at Nationals Park. Yes, the Boss is coming back to the area!

And Drew's Morning Dish will be there!

We have a great event planned for the September 1st show and we'd love for you and your friends to be part of it. We've put together another one of our awesome bus packages for the Nationals Park show, which includes tickets to the concert, food, drinks, trivia and a whole night of great fun. We'll take you down to DC and back to Baltimore in a luxury motor coach with Springsteen music blaring the whole down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

#DMD has tickets in three areas of the stadium; upper level, club level and lower level. All seats are together, so bring a few friends along and enjoy the show with them!

Package prices for the three seating levels are:

$200 for upper level

$275 for club level

$295 for lower level

All packages include the bus ride, ticket, dinner on the way down to DC, beer, wine and soda, plus a "to go" sandwich/snack upon arrival at the stadium.

If you've never seen Springsteen live, this is an awesome venue for your first-ever Bruce show! If you're like me and you've seen him at Nationals Park before, you know that already. It's truly a great place to see a concert.

This will be my 25th time seeing Bruce Springsteen since 1978. It's a milestone of sorts, so I plan to celebrate it with a few special twists on the 1st of September and hope you're there to enjoy it all with me.

I can promise you this: If you attend the show with us, you'll get your money's worth and a lot more. We have some fun stuff in store for everyone.

If you're interested in purchasing one or more spots on our "Bruce Bus", just visit the top of the page here at #DMD and click on the "Bruce" tab. Payment information is there for you.

Any other questions about the trip/concert? You can reach me at: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Saturday
June 11
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIII
Issue 11
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trade trumbo at the deadline? not as dumb as it might seem


I'll admit from the start this wasn't my idea, initially.

So, if it somehow comes to pass that Mark Trumbo gets traded at the end of July, I won't be running around saying, "I called it, I called!".

I might say, "I wrote about that back on June 11th", but I won't be crowing about how I predicted Trumbo would get dealt.

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Is it the craziest idea ever and not even worth discussing or should the Orioles at least consider dealing Mark Trumbo at the deadline this July?

While a bunch of us at Eagle's Nest Country Club were watching the Orioles paste the hapless Royals on Tuesday night, one of my friends said, "They should trade this guy at the deadline and get a haul for him," and pointed to the TV screen, where Trumbo was set to face KC reliever Chien Ming Wang.

Seconds later, Trumbo bombed one over the fence for a home run.

A discussion ensued about Trumbo's value to the team and more than one person cried out, "Trading him would be the dumbest thing the Orioles have ever done!"

Maybe not.

Trumbo, as everyone knows, is a free agent at the end of 2016 season. He's picked a great time to have a great season (thus far) and can expect to earn a whopper of a contract from someone next winter.

What are the chances the Orioles are going to re-sign him?

Can the O's afford another $15 million-a-year player?

With $161 million tied up in Chris Davis, a looming contract situation involving Manny Machado, and other prominent players who will be looking to get paid soon (Tillman, Britton, Wieters among them), is it reasonable to think the Birds are going to pony up $100 million for Mark Trumbo?

Even if he can only scrape together a "Nelson Cruz type deal" and get $60 million from someone, are the O's willing to play in that pool and take on another $15 million a year employee?

I don't think so.

This is the same discussion we had about Wieters this time a year ago. "Keep him? Or trade him and get something for him?"

Wieters, you'll remember, turned the tables on the Orioles and took the 1-year qualifying offer in order to stick around for one more season and earn himself a nice contract this off-season.

Maybe the Orioles tried to deal him at the deadline last year and no one wanted him. That's possible. Or maybe the haul they could get for him wasn't good enough. Or, perhaps they just decided to stick with their team and fight it out until the end.

That very well might be the exact same scenario that faces them in six weeks involving Mark Trumbo.

Except Trumbo, unlike Wieters last off-season, will have plenty of suitors in November and December and won't be accepting some paltry $16.8 million qualifying offer.

Someone's going to fork over a lot of money for Trumbo and it just appears like the Orioles can't fit him in their player budget with all the other financial obligations they either currently have or will have in the next two to three years.

It remains a very real possibility that the Orioles will be in the thick of the American League East pennant race at the end of July. Unless he gets hurt between now and then, Trumbo should be in the mid 30's or so in home runs at that point. Heck, he COULD set the Orioles all-time single season home run mark this season if he's healthy for the entire campaign.

Why on earth would the club even think about trading him?

Easy answer.

We're not exactly stockpiling loads of talent on the farm

The Orioles' farm system is bare. I mean, yes, there are players down there, and a smattering of them look like they might have big league potential at some point, but by and large the team's talent level in Norfolk, Bowie and Frederick isn't earth shattering.

Trumbo could bring in a haul at the deadline.

Someone out there in need of a right handed power hitter might fork over a couple of really nice prospects for Trumbo.

And here's the thing, and you'll think I'm crazy, but I'm saying it anyway: The Orioles might be good enough to win in August, September and October without Trumbo.

Would he help in the final three months of the season? Absolutely. There's no denying he's been a big part of the team's offense thus far.

But the Orioles have enough hitting and power to overcome the loss of Trumbo, or at the very least chug along adequately without him.

I hate to paint the scenario like this, but it's the best way to do it. And answer the question honestly. If Trumbo wrecked his knee tonight in Toronto and was done for the season, would you automatically just assume that ends the O's playoff chances this Fall?

I certainly wouldn't. And that's not really a slap at Trumbo, it's more an examination into how deep the team's offense is in 2016.

In theory, then, trading him away or losing him to a knee injury circle-around to the same result: He's no longer playing for the team.

Look, I'm not saying trading Mark Trumbo is a brilliant idea.

But I am saying it's a discussion worth having if I'm Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter.

Could the Birds get a solid pitching prospect and someone's third base or shorstop prospect as well? How about a quality outfield prospect that can either play left or right?

As we're about to see in Boston -- unfortunately -- over the next five years, their loaded farm system is going to make them a contender for half a decade or more. They have more up-and-comers in Beantown than Justin Timberlake has discarded women's lingerie.

The Orioles need to get younger AND better, a combination not always possible in Major League Baseball.

If trading Mark Trumbo at the deadline helps them get there, it's at least worth talking about, isn't it?

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drew's views on the
baltimore orioles

Covering the Orioles throughout the season is an important part of #DMD's service, so who better to take on the assignment than #DMD's founder? DREW FORRESTER will tell you why the Birds won or lost, who was responsible, and what to look for in upcoming games. It's brought to you by our friends at KELLY, the area's expert in all aspects of payroll service.


birds fall on 10th inning homer, 4-3


At some point, it was bound to happen.

The visiting Orioles finally saw the other guy pound out a game-winning home run, as Edwin Encarnacion belted a Brad Brach pitch over the right field wall in the bottom of the tenth inning last night to give the Blue Jays a 4-3 win in the second game of a four-game weekend series.

The Birds trailed early, 2-0, then eventually went ahead in the sixth inning, 3-2, thanks to a 2-run homer from Chris Davis. The first baseman is hitting a measley .222 on the season, but he now has 14 home runs.

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Kevin Gausman now sports a 3.45 ERA on the year after last night's 4-3 loss to the Blue Jays.

Jonathan Schoop homered in the 5th inning to account for Baltimore's other run. Don't look now, but Schoop has 33 RBI. Davis has 35 RBI.

The Orioles collected just four hits on the night, the second time in three games they've done that. Then again, Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada mows down a lot of people these days.

The loss spoiled an otherwise decent night on the mound for O's starter Kevin Gausman, who allowed ten men to reach base (8 hits, 2 walks) in 6.1 innings of work. Gausman struck out four on the night before turning things over to Mychal Givens, who surrendered just one hit in 1.2 innings himself.

Givens has been very good over the last month or so and will likely continue to play a prominent role while Darren O'Day is on the disabled list.

Brad Brach pitched a scoreless ninth inning before allowing Encarnacion's lead-off homer to start the tenth at Rogers Centre.

The loss, coupled with Boston's win at Minnesota, gives the Birds a one-game lead in the American League East. The O's are headed to Boston for three games next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

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berger leads after 36 holes in memphis


Daniel Berger is winning a PGA Tour event sometime in the not-too-distant future.

It might just be this weekend in Memphis, in fact.

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Making just his 50th career start on the PGA Tour, Daniel Berger is 36 holes away from his first-ever win on TOUR.

Berger sits alone on top of the leaderboard through 36 holes of the FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind, with a 9-under par total (67-64) through two rounds.

The four-year TOUR veteran has been a model of consistency this year, making 15 of 18 cuts in the 2015-2016 campaign and finishing in the Top 25 in eight of those events.

His driver and irons are among the most reliable on TOUR, but his short game has often let him down. It stands to reason that if the 26 year-old can find a weekend where it all comes together, he'll finally reach the winner's circle.

A host of quality players are hanging around chasing Berger, including Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, all of whom are at 5-under par. Tom Hoge sits in second place through two rounds at six under.

Mickelson is a particularly interesting suspect in that he's trying to get his game ramped up for next week's U.S. Open at Oakmont, where the left hander will once again try and complete the career grand slam with a win on Father's Day.

Dustin Johnson hasn't yet won this year, but he's also rounding into solid form at just the right time. DJ has at least one win in eight straight seasons on TOUR, the longest such streak going these days.

Koepka, who lost in a playoff at the Byron Nelson a few weeks back, is another one of the young American players that should be winning more than he does.

A win for Berger this weekend would greatly enhance his chances of making the U.S. Ryder Cup team, too. He's currently in 23rd place in the rankings, but a victory would catapult him close to the Top 10, with a summer's worth of points still available to everyone.

Koepka's in the same boat, but a win for him this weekend would virtually lock up his spot on the team. He's 9th in points right now.

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deposits now being taken for our trip to notre dame on sept. 24


If so, you're going to be able to draw a line through that one on September 24, 2016, when #DMD heads to South Bend, Indiana to see Notre Dame take on Duke.

#DMD's first-ever trip to Notre Dame is brought to you by our friends at Kelly Payroll.

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Never been to the mecca of college football? Join #DMD for a trip to Notre Dame on September 24 as the Fighting Irish battle Duke.

We'll leave on the first flight Saturday morning, arriving in South Bend by 10:00 am or so. We'll participate in all of the pre-game revelry, enjoy some ice cold refreshments and tailgate food, then head to the stadium for the 3:30 pm kick-off.

After the game, the group can remain in South Bend for a few hours and enjoy the post-game festivities before we head to the hotel for a good night's sleep.

Our return flight to Baltimore on Sunday morning will arrive in plenty of time for you to watch the Ravens play at Jacksonville at 1 pm.

Just click the Notre Dame tab at the top of #DMD and you'll be taken to the information/payment page. Deposits are being accepted now with full payment not due until mid-August.

Please note: We're only taking 24 people on this trip and 16 of those seats are now gone, so only 8 remain available.



springsteen coming to nationals park on sept. 1


I'm a huge fan of the Fall season around these parts, so the Labor Day weekend never bothered me much, but I know there are some who look at it with a twinge of sadness as it sort of marks the proverbial end of summer.

This year, Labor Day weekend will be quite memorable.

That is, if you're a fan of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

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Join #DMD on September 1st and see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Nationals Park!

Springsteen recently announced a series of late summer dates and his tour will touch down in Washington D.C. on Thursday, September 1st at Nationals Park. Yes, the Boss is coming back to the area!

And Drew's Morning Dish will be there!

We have a great event planned for the September 1st show and we'd love for you and your friends to be part of it. We've put together another one of our awesome bus packages for the Nationals Park show, which includes tickets to the concert, food, drinks, trivia and a whole night of great fun. We'll take you down to DC and back to Baltimore in a luxury motor coach with Springsteen music blaring the whole down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

#DMD has tickets in three areas of the stadium; upper level, club level and lower level. All seats are together, so bring a few friends along and enjoy the show with them!

Package prices for the three seating levels are:

$200 for upper level

$275 for club level

$295 for lower level

All packages include the bus ride, ticket, dinner on the way down to DC, beer, wine and soda, plus a "to go" sandwich/snack upon arrival at the stadium.

If you've never seen Springsteen live, this is an awesome venue for your first-ever Bruce show! If you're like me and you've seen him at Nationals Park before, you know that already. It's truly a great place to see a concert.

This will be my 25th time seeing Bruce Springsteen since 1978. It's a milestone of sorts, so I plan to celebrate it with a few special twists on the 1st of September and hope you're there to enjoy it all with me.

I can promise you this: If you attend the show with us, you'll get your money's worth and a lot more. We have some fun stuff in store for everyone.

If you're interested in purchasing one or more spots on our "Bruce Bus", just visit the top of the page here at #DMD and click on the "Bruce" tab. Payment information is there for you.

Any other questions about the trip/concert? You can reach me at: drew@drewsmorningdish.com


Friday
June 10
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIII
Issue 10
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best hitter? it's ichiro and that's a fact


FACT: The Penguins had a chance to win the Stanley Cup at home last night and gagged it away in a 4-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks. Game 6 is Sunday night in San Jose.

OPINION: The only thing better than seeing the Penguins fail to clinch at home in Game 5 would be watching them lose Game 7 at home next week. There's only one thing better than seeing the Penguins choke in their only building, and that's seeing the Flyers lose in Philadelphia. Wait, these are all facts, not opinions.

FACT: The Orioles are now 36-23 after last night's 6-5 win at Toronto. With Boston idle, the Birds' lead in the A.L. East is now two full games.

OPINION: I told you this back in March, repeated it in mid-April, and will say it here, again, today: The Orioles are winning the American League East. You can get the banner made right now if you want.

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Sometime in July, Ichiro will reach the prestigious 3,000 hit mark.

FACT: Ichiro Suzuki collected career hit number 2,973 last night in Minnesota. He's now just 27 away from 3,000 hits. I'm happy to do the math for those Philadelphia Flyers fans we have out there.

OPINION: Suzuki is the best hitter I've ever seen, which includes the likes of Rose, Carew, Boggs and Brett. Remember, he also collected 1,278 hits in Japan, playing nine seasons there before coming to the U.S. for the 2001 season. That's 4,251 career hits. Granted, they weren't all in the Majors, but just imagine where he'd rank right now if he showed up in Seattle at age 18.

FACT: Golden State lost by 30 points on Wednesday night in Cleveland. I know they got clobbered by Oklahoma City as well during the Western Conference semi-finals, but that Wednesday night debacle was much more of an eye opener to me.

OPINION: I'm not much for conspiracies or screams of "fixed!", but the performance by Golden State on Wednesday could definitely be labeled "suspicious". The NBA most certainly doesn't want a 4-game series in the Finals, after all. I don't know man, maybe it's just me, but that was a distinctly "odd" effort from the Warriors a couple of nights ago.

FACT: Zach Britton threw just eight pitches in the 9th inning of last night's win in Toronto to earn his 19th save of the year.

OPINION: No one's really saying it because we're not in Boston or New York or Chicago, but right now, in baseball, the best 1-2 relief combination in either league is Zach Britton and Brad Brach. Darren O'Day might be getting Wally Pipp'd out of his 8th inning set-up role right before our very eyes.

FACT: Phil Mickelson played Oakmont Country Club last week and said it will be "the hardest golf course we've ever played." NBC Golf analyst David Feherty, noting that Angel Cabrera won at Oakmont in 2007 with a final score of +5, believes there's a chance +10 might win this time around.

OPINION: I'll eat my shoe if +10 (or higher) is the winning score next week. C'mon man, we're talking about the best golfers in the world, here. It will likely be an over par winning score, though. (Note: I wasn't serious about the eat-my-shoe comment.)

FACT: Yordano Ventura received a 9-game suspension yesterday while Manny Machado was slapped with 4 games in the aftermath of the brawl on Tuesday night in Baltimore.

OPINION: Both penalties are too light. Ventura should have been suspended for 25 games and Machado should sit for a week of baseball, which usually amounts to 6 games, total. The message from MLB should be clear: No one throws at anyone and no one charges the mound. Ever. Period.

FACT: Clayton Kershaw has made 12 starts so far this season. He's allowed 60 base runners. Total. Right now, Kershaw's WHIP (walks and hits allowed per inning) is 0.647.

OPINION: We have lots of time to ponder this, debate it and tear it all down, but Kershaw will be known as "the greatest pitcher ever" when he retires from baseball in a decade. Watch and see.

FACT: I don't know much about him, but that kid Whit Merrifield who is playing 2nd base for the Kansas City Royals these days looks awfully darn good, especially for a rookie. He's hitting .315 in 18 games.

OPINION: He'll probably turn out to be really, really good, and then become almost as unlikeable as the rest of the guys on their team.

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Forget about teaching your kids to swing a club or a bat, teach them how to sing!

FACT: Justin Timberlake is worth $175 million. And he's only 35 years old.

OPINION: His latest song -- "Can't Stop The Feeling" -- might be the best tune I've heard in five years. The next time your son or daughter wants to take a golf lesson or go to a baseball camp, get them a series of singing lessons instead. $175 million...

FACT: For the second time in three years, the Ravens didn't make the playoffs in 2015.

OPINION: That won't happen again in 2016, you can bet on that (and you should, too, if you can get that wager in Vegas). The Ravens will be back in the post-season next January. Book it.

FACT: Tiger Woods is missing next week's U.S. Open in Pittsburgh. He wouldn't have won, anyway, which is probably one of the reasons why he decided not to play, but it would have been really interesting to see what Woods would have shot at Oakmont in his return to competition.

OPINION: Tiger won't play in a PGA Tour event this year.

FACT: The Cubs are 41-17. They have a 10-game lead over the Pirates and Cardinals. It's June 10th.

OPINION: Something will go wrong. This is just too good to be true. It's the Cubs, they'll figure out a way to botch this in October, wait and see.

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from the desk of
brien jackson

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


college football: still a wasteland of humanity


Though I must admit to still enjoying it, there is perhaps no venue in sports that's a bigger tire-fire of ethics and basic decency than college football.

That's pretty much baked into the cake from the get-go, with the college aged kids participating in a sport that we know literally takes years, or decades, off of their life without compensation while the old guys running the show as head coaches and athletic directors take home seven and eight figure incomes annually.

Oh wait, I forgot, they get a "quality education" comped by the university.

Well, provided that their coach doesn't think their educational and life goals are too arduous to conform to the time requirements of playing for a big time football program, or their school itself doesn't regard the "student" part of "student-athlete" to be more of a suggestion than the rule, anyway.

When this is the what your enterprise is built on, it stands to reason that the people running it and taking home the big bucks are not likely to be pillars of humanity.

"If you ain't cheatin' in college football, you ain't tryin'"

And yet the sport still doesn't fail to yield stories that leave me able to do little more than shake my head and continue to marvel at how petty and awful its coaches and administrators really can be, even when weighing the interests of the "students" they're supposed to be looking out for. There were even two of them just last week!

First was the admittedly amusing dust-up between Michigan's Jim Harbaugh and Alabama's Nick Saban over what are called "satellite camps."

If you're not familiar, satellite camps are a work around of NCAA rules that limits how far away from campus programs can hold camps for high school and younger players. This had traditionally been a big reason why even the biggest programs mostly recruited regionally, as they got the most exposure to recruits who were close enough to come to them.

As it turns out, however, there's no rule that prevents college coaches and their staffs from serving as "guest" instructors at someone else's camp, and thus the new trend is college coaches doing just that in order to expand their recruiting horizons, and Harbaugh's Michigan staff has been arguably the most enthusiastic program in embracing the loophole.

Saban is participating in the scheme, but apparently isn't happy about it. Calling it the "wild wild west" of college football, and implying that poor coaches are bound to accidentally commit all kinds of recruiting violations because they can't possibly know who they're dealing with in going to these camps. This is adorable, but nonsense of course.

Saban is implying that he's worried schools will arrange some sort of financial compensation package for third party organizers to funnel recruits to them through the camps, but such an arrangement is both totally illegal in its own right and possible under any recruiting system. What Saban is really upset about is the fact that coaches like Harbaugh and Urban Meyer now have an advantage in recruiting high schoolers in the talent rich, warmer, states that have been dominated by the SEC, and Alabama in particular, of late.

Saban has a nasty habit of dressing up naked self-interests in what's "good for college football" or, even worse, its players.

The most galling example of this that should never be forgotten is the way Saban led the charge against an NCAA rule change overturning a ban on multi-year scholarship offers. That's right; for just shy of 40 years, not only were those oh-so-valuable scholarships not guaranteed beyond the current year for "student-athletes," but the NCAA made it a first order offense for any member school to even offer multi-year guarantees.

After a landmark article on the history of the NCAA by Taylor Branch led to Congressional hearings and public pressure, the NCAA changed the rule to allow schools and conferences the option to guarantee players' scholarships for more than one season at a time. That's right, the NCAA was merely allowing schools to decide for themselves whether to offer multi-year scholarships (at literally no cost to themselves in marginal terms) and Alabama joined the 62.15% of members schools who voted for overturning the proposed change, coming up just a few votes short.

And, of course, Saban's reasoning was a half-baked theory about how multi-year scholarships would actually be bad for everyone, including the kids.

Because, you see, if schools handed out multi-year guarantees, than players could go to court and sue if the scholarship was rescinded for disciplinary reasons. Note that Saban implicitly admits that schools could still revoke the guarantee for misconduct, but courts could get involved if guarantees were made. Because why should players have the right to use the courts to enforce contracts by making a coach prove there was actually a disciplinary reason involved, and not just a need for an extra spot for another top recruit that year, right?

The lesson here, basically, is that in a sea of muck and scum, Nick Saban really is a cut above the rest.

Might there be a new sheriff in town?

He better look out though, because brazen, hard charging youngster Kliff Klingsbury looks like a promising threat to the crown in the not-too-distant future.

Now, I don't necessarily have a problem with the brash, youthful exuberance Klingbury brings to the game the way overrated crybabies like Bret Bielma do, but the behavior of Kingsbury and Texas Tech towards Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield has really been something else, even for big-time college athletics.

The issue in a nutshell is this; before Mayfield was a Heisman trophy contender taking Oklahoma to the College Football Playoff last year, he was a walk-on at Texas Tech. After his first year, Oklahoma offered him a scholarship, Texas Tech didn't, and so he transferred. But Big 12 rules require players who transfer within the conference to forfeit a year of eligibility, and Texas Tech refused to provide Mayfield with a waiver.

Because of the unique circumstances, however, Oklahoma petitioned for a rule change removing the penalty for transferring players who were walk-ons. That proposal failed 5-5 (it need 6 votes in favor to pass) and observers marveled at how petty and cartoonishly villainous the whole thing was.

Texas Tech didn't even offer Mayfield a scholarship before he transferred, and ultimately he wasn't going to be hurt much at all, as he still would have been eligible to play in another conference in 2017 as a graduate transfer.

More than one writer had seemingly already prepared their column on Alabama's 2017 National Championship. But realizing how absurd the whole thing was, the Big 12 essentially reconsidered the proposal with a slight tweak (walk ons who were not offered a scholarship by their present team could transfer without penalty) and passed the measure allowing Mayfield to remain eligible to play for Oklahoma in 2017.

Amazingly however, three SEC schools still voted against what you would think would be one of the most common sense votes you could imagine given college football's reported ethos.

But hey, what's tens of thousands of dollars worth of free tuition when you have to protect the integrity of college football? What do these kids want anyway, they already get a free education!

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springsteen coming to nationals park on sept. 1


I'm a huge fan of the Fall season around these parts, so the Labor Day weekend never bothered me much, but I know there are some who look at it with a twinge of sadness as it sort of marks the proverbial end of summer.

This year, Labor Day weekend will be quite memorable.

That is, if you're a fan of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

X
Join #DMD on September 1st and see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Nationals Park!

Springsteen recently announced a series of late summer dates and his tour will touch down in Washington D.C. on Thursday, September 1st at Nationals Park. Yes, the Boss is coming back to the area!

And Drew's Morning Dish will be there!

We have a great event planned for the September 1st show and we'd love for you and your friends to be part of it. We've put together another one of our awesome bus packages for the Nationals Park show, which includes tickets to the concert, food, drinks, trivia and a whole night of great fun. We'll take you down to DC and back to Baltimore in a luxury motor coach with Springsteen music blaring the whole down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

#DMD has tickets in three areas of the stadium; upper level, club level and lower level. All seats are together, so bring a few friends along and enjoy the show with them!

Package prices for the three seating levels are:

$200 for upper level

$275 for club level

$295 for lower level

All packages include the bus ride, ticket, dinner on the way down to DC, beer, wine and soda, plus a "to go" sandwich/snack upon arrival at the stadium.

If you've never seen Springsteen live, this is an awesome venue for your first-ever Bruce show! If you're like me and you've seen him at Nationals Park before, you know that already. It's truly a great place to see a concert.

This will be my 25th time seeing Bruce Springsteen since 1978. It's a milestone of sorts, so I plan to celebrate it with a few special twists on the 1st of September and hope you're there to enjoy it all with me.

I can promise you this: If you attend the show with us, you'll get your money's worth and a lot more. We have some fun stuff in store for everyone.

If you're interested in purchasing one or more spots on our "Bruce Bus", just visit the top of the page here at #DMD and click on the "Bruce" tab. Payment information is there for you.

Any other questions about the trip/concert? You can reach me at: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Thursday
June 9
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIII
Issue 9
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


baseball should follow tennis when dealing with ped users


Maria Sharapova found out the hard way yesterday that the International Tennis Federation isn't messing around when it comes to the subject of performance enhancing drugs.

Although her 2-year suspension was half of the maximum penalty she could have received, it's still the biggest penalty ever handed out by the ITF. That's quite a message.

Major League Baseball would be smart to adopt a similarily tough stance on PED's, but any change in the language of their drug testing policies or penalties would have to be "collectively bargained" and we all know how rare it is that the owners actually stand firm and play hard ball with the Player's Association.

Either way, though, the Sharapova suspension should be looked at long and hard by MLB, the owners, AND the players as well.

Even adorable tennis players need some kind of edge

Sharapova tested positive for Meldonium, the PED of choice for a large number of European athletes these days. It's become particularly popular with distance runners, but also a favorite of tennis players as well. Its primary benefit is increased blood flow.

The tennis champion said all the right things when she was first nailed by the ITF and its governing body on matters such as these, the World Doping Agency. Like baseball players, she had a laundry list of the typical excuses: "I've been taking it for a long time to treat a medical condition", "I didn't know it was on the banned list", and, of course, "I would never knowingly do anything to give myself an advantage in competition."

Sharapova, though, looks guilty as sin when you take into consideration that prior to every tennis tournament over the last decade, she failed to write "Meldonium" on the forms each player completes as part of their drug-testing protocol.

She finally got popped with a positive test this past January at the Australian Open and the ITF handed down its decision yesterday. A two-year ban from all competition, with the right to an appeal, naturally.

No matter what she says now, nothing can change the fact that she was KNOWINGLY taking Meldonium for a decade and never once did she write that down on a pre-tournament testing survey that gives all players a chance to come clean with any medications (over the counter, prescribed, etc.) they're currently taking.

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Maria Sharapova was suspended for two years by the International Tennis Federation after testing positive for a banned substance this past January.

Sorry, Maria, you're a fox and all, but you're also a PED using fox, we've now learned.

Baseball, despite their own efforts to clean up the game over the last dozen or so years, still has a PED problem of its own.

Marlon Byrd of the Cleveland Indians recently earned a 162 game suspension by Major League Baseball for testing positive for HGH. Byrd obviously didn't learn his lesson back in 2012 when he was suspended for 50 games for using Tamoxifen.

Maybe baseball is clean enough these days to not be (overly) concerned with harsher PED penalties.

Perhaps it's all more trouble than it's worth and getting the penalties changed is simply too much hassle for everyone involved.

I could definitely see the players and their representatives dragging their feet on this one. After all, what benefit is it for the PED penalties to be tougher?

And, there's also a bonafide possibility that the owners don't really want PED penalties to be increased. What good is a $23 million per-year baseball player to the owner if he's in the stands in street clothes?

Oh, and here's more news: I'm not 100% sure we even care all that much anymore.

I think fans, by and large, just want to go to the games, eat some hot dogs, have a beer or two, and absorb a little Vitamin D at the ballpark. I'm not all that sure we're even concerned about players and their PED use anymore.

I could be the jadest-of-the-jaded, admittedly, but I assume that a large majority of the players in MLB are using some sort of PED. So, in a weird kind of way, I'm one of those people -- I don't really care what they're using because we're not going to stop them, anyway.

To offer a list of "suspicious players" here would almost be unfair because I'd omit a player or two and that would lead only to, "But what about (player X)? He's taking something! How come you didn't list him?"

But when I see a guy's body change, home run numbers spike, pitch speed increase or age-not-matching-up-with-anticipated-drop-off, I just say to myself, "Another guy on the juice."

Do PED users in baseball really bother us anymore?

Maybe, though, we just shouldn't care.

What's wrong with a guy strolling to the plate and the PA announcer saying, "Now batting, for the Indians, number six, currently using the human growth hormone Ipamorelin, Marlon Byrd..."?

It's a little wordy, I guess, but we're a country that loves information.

Give the people what they want, I say.

Ultimately, players are always going to circumvent the rules because all athletes are not created equal. Everyone's looking for an edge of some sort, as we know by now.

I'd love to see Major League Baseball have a policy similar to the one used by the ITF via the World Doping Agency. "If you test positive for a banned substance/PED, you're gone for two years."

Either that, or let 'em all take whatever they want. Essentially, they're going to take it anyway and either mask it with some other kind of medication or just try and beat the testing program the old fashioned way -- by "ramping up" again the day after their first test of the season and hoping a second test doesn't come too soon.

I'm all for the two-year ban, personally.

In fact, you could make it three years if you want and I wouldn't mind that, either.

Or they could just test every day during the season. Right there at the end of the post-game buffet table is a small cup. And it's not for Gatorade, boys.

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drew's views on the
baltimore orioles

Covering the Orioles throughout the season is an important part of #DMD's service, so who better to take on the assignment than #DMD's founder? DREW FORRESTER will tell you why the Birds won or lost, who was responsible, and what to look for in upcoming games. It's brought to you by our friends at KELLY, the area's expert in all aspects of payroll service.


birds only get four hits, still beat hapless royals, 4-0

Can we petition Major League Baseball to have the Royals move into the American League East?

At least for this season, anyway.

The defending world champs scored a grand total of two runs in their three games at OPACY this week, culminating with last night's 4-0 shutout that saw KC out-hit the Birds, 9-4, but still lose the game.

Kansas City leaves town losers of seven straight games.

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Another strong night from Chris Tillman improved his record to 8-1 as the Birds blanked KC, 4-0, on Wednesday night.

The Orioles scored all four of their runs in the 5th inning off of KC starter Edinson Volquez, who was locked in a pitcher's duel with Chris Tillman until Ryan Flaherty doubled to deep right field with the bases loaded to stake the O's to a 2-0 lead.

The game was over at that point, basically, because the Royals were never going to score two runs in the game, but RBI at-bats from Adam Jones and Hyun Soo Kim extended the margin to 4-0 and no one else crossed the plate for the rest of the night.

The O's have now won four in a row and seven of their last eight and lead the American League East by 1.5 games over Boston, who lost in San Francisco on Wednesday night, 2-1.

Tillman improved to 8-1 with the win, going 7.1 innings and striking out nine hitters along the way.

Buck Showalter even threw a little mud Kansas City's way by allowing Brad Brach to work the final 1.2 innings rather than giving Zach Britton the chance to pitch in the 9th. It was Showalter's way of saying to KC, "We don't even need to throw our closer out there to finish you guys off..."

The Birds return to varsity competition tonight in Toronto with the first of a four-game series against the Blue Jays.

These next four games should be worth watching, for sure. The two teams have had a minor dust-up or two in recent years and there's always some sort of lingering anomosity that could escalate.

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from the desk of
brien jackson

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


blame for ventura/machado lies with mlb


In case you managed to not hear about it yet, things got kind of feisty in Baltimore on Tuesday night when Manny Machado charged the mound and paid his tribute to Muhammad Ali with a nasty right hook on Yordano Ventura, after the Royals' starter planted a 99 MPH fastball in Manny's rib cage.

It was an ugly scene that could have gotten a lot worse than it was very quickly, and while there's a lot of blame to go around a huge chunk of it needs to land squarely at the feet of chief decision makers at MLB headquarters.

First and foremost on the blame train, of course, is Ventura.

There's no acceptable reason to hurl a 99 MPH fastball at another player's body deliberately, least of all because you're feeling petulant about not playing well. That's really all that was going on here: Ventura was rocked early on Tuesday night, hasn't been pitching well at all this year, really, and decided to throw at Machado, repeatedly, for his own amusement.

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Everyone involved gets a slice of blame, but throw most of it on Yordano Ventura and Major League Baseball, please.

Ventura has a well documented history of this stuff, has been involved in multiple instances with some of the game's very best hitters, and is apparently so disliked by his teammates at this point that a) catcher Salvador Perez made no effort at all to impede Machado's movement to the mound, almost as if he decided to let Manny get at least one good swing in before breaking anything up, and b) someone leaked a story to Yahoo's Jeff Passan on Wednesday that the Royals have considered trying to trade Ventura, possibly as a discount, just to be rid of him.

Ventura created the entire combustible situation on his own Tuesday night, then lit the fuse to boot.

And as much as the hometown faithful might be inclined, you can't let Machado off the hook here either.

Charging the mound is never praiseworthy or prudent, and Tuesday night is no exception. I certainly wasn't cheering Manny on as things escalated, and I was mostly just relieved that he hadn't gotten himself hurt in the scrum at the end of it.

Still, I understand the impulse, and I can't really condemn him either. To be blunt, I've never been hit with a 99 MPH fastball, but I'm sure it hurts pretty darn bad. And I'm self-aware/honest enough to know that, if I had been in his shoes, after being thrown at multiple times already in the game, I'd have been inclined to go after Ventura too, maybe bringing my bat along with for good measure.

It's easy for viewers to shrug it off and talk about what he should do, but in reality this is a much more serious matter than those of us who are just sort of seeing it happen allow.

A baseball hurled at that speed can do quite a bit of damage. I'd say it was far more likely Machado could have had a rib or wrist broken by the pitch than that he would have sustained an injury in the fight. That's a guy taking risks with your health, livelihood, and potentially career out there, just because he's a jerk.

I'm not one to resort to "you never played the game" type arguments, but in this sort of situation I think it's best for people who haven't experienced it to refrain from passing judgment on someone else in that moment.

Much as with the big brawl between the Rangers and Blue Jays earlier this season, however, I have to assign a huge part of the blame for the situation to the league itself for continuing to treat pitchers who behave like this with leniency.

The pitcher who set off that situation by blatantly throwing at Jose Bautista wasn't even suspended, and I doubt Ventura would have been either if Machado hadn't charged the mound, in all honesty.

Given the fight, Ventura will certainly be suspended now, but exactly how many games he gets will be interesting. Six games is pretty typical for a starting pitcher, but in particular I'm interested in how many games Ventura is disqualified for relative to Machado.

As a repeat offender who threw at the same batter multiple times in the same game, you couldn't find someone better to make an example out of if you wanted to seriously begin cracking down on this sort of behavior by pitchers.

As it is, I fully expect Machado to be suspended for one or two more games, because it just doesn't seem that MLB really sees any problem with throwing a near 100 MPH fastball at another player.

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springsteen coming to nationals park on sept. 1


I'm a huge fan of the Fall season around these parts, so the Labor Day weekend never bothered me much, but I know there are some who look at it with a twinge of sadness as it sort of marks the proverbial end of summer.

This year, Labor Day weekend will be quite memorable.

That is, if you're a fan of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

X
Join #DMD on September 1st and see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Nationals Park!

Springsteen recently announced a series of late summer dates and his tour will touch down in Washington D.C. on Thursday, September 1st at Nationals Park. Yes, the Boss is coming back to the area!

And Drew's Morning Dish will be there!

We have a great event planned for the September 1st show and we'd love for you and your friends to be part of it. We've put together another one of our awesome bus packages for the Nationals Park show, which includes tickets to the concert, food, drinks, trivia and a whole night of great fun. We'll take you down to DC and back to Baltimore in a luxury motor coach with Springsteen music blaring the whole down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

#DMD has tickets in three areas of the stadium; upper level, club level and lower level. All seats are together, so bring a few friends along and enjoy the show with them!

Package prices for the three seating levels are:

$200 for upper level

$275 for club level

$295 for lower level

All packages include the bus ride, ticket, dinner on the way down to DC, beer, wine and soda, plus a "to go" sandwich/snack upon arrival at the stadium.

If you've never seen Springsteen live, this is an awesome venue for your first-ever Bruce show! If you're like me and you've seen him at Nationals Park before, you know that already. It's truly a great place to see a concert.

This will be my 25th time seeing Bruce Springsteen since 1978. It's a milestone of sorts, so I plan to celebrate it with a few special twists on the 1st of September and hope you're there to enjoy it all with me.

I can promise you this: If you attend the show with us, you'll get your money's worth and a lot more. We have some fun stuff in store for everyone.

If you're interested in purchasing one or more spots on our "Bruce Bus", just visit the top of the page here at #DMD and click on the "Bruce" tab. Payment information is there for you.

Any other questions about the trip/concert? You can reach me at: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Wednesday
June 8
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIII
Issue 8
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


ventura goes from hero to goat in my household in the span of one day


It was hard for me to watch the fight last night between Yordano Ventura and Manny Machado and feel outraged at the Kansas City pitcher.

Yes, he was wrong for the on-field stuff that led to Machado charging the mound in the 5th inning.

As we know, it's not the first time Ventura has plunked someone and then stood there looking to start trouble. On Tuesday night, he found a willing dance partner in Machado, who didn't waste any time charging the mound after a 97 mph pitch drilled him in the hip.

More on Machado in a minute, though.

Ventura, as it turns out, was a hero in my house for roughly 26 hours or so.

On Monday night in Baltimore, he gave my 8-year old son, Ethan, a baseball in the left corner of Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

X
One night a hero, the next night a villain: Kansas City pitcher Yordano Ventura.

We hustled down to the stadium during rush hour, parked, and fast-walked our way from the football stadium lot into the baseball park just as the Royals started batting practice.

Our intention was to either hang out by the Kansas City dugout or go out to left field in hopes of getting a ball. The Orioles, of course, had taken batting practice in their customary slot at 4:00 pm and were no longer available by the time we got to the stadium. It was Royals or bust, for us.

Sporting a Brian Roberts replica jersey t-shirt and an Orioles hat, Ethan stood out like a sore thumb amongst a surprisingly large gathering of Royals fans who made their way to Baltimore for the series.

I figured we didn't have much chance of having a ball given to us at the dugout, so I suggested we go to left field, where the fly balls that land in the seats out there are much more democratic about who is on the receiving end.

Ventura, it turns out, was stationed in the left corner, casually shagging fly balls and talking -- or yelling, as it were -- in Spanish with a couple of other teammates in the outfield.

A handful of fly balls cleared the wall and bounded into the seats around us, but none were close enough for us to grab.

Anytime a line drive or fly ball came in Ventura's direction, he'd grab it, walk towards the warning track, and then pick out a Royals fan screaming his name, point at them, and toss the ball in that direction.

An interesting side note here that I didn't know existed these days: There's a code of honor out there as far as the fans are concerned. If the player points at you and throws the ball, it's YOUR ball, even if you don't catch it.

After about 15 minutes of this, I realized we weren't going to get a ball unless I somehow convinced Ventura to extend his generosity in the direction of an Orioles fan. Ethan was doing a fair bit of yelling and screaming every time Ventura picked up a ball, but his voice -- and presence -- was drowned out by a couple of dozen Royals fans in their replica game jerseys who were begging for a souvenir as well.

A ball came buzzing into the corner and Ventura slowly walked over, some 30 feet or so away now.

Ethan yelled out, "Can I please have a ball?" and his timing was perfect. No one else had yet begged for that one and a ball that cleared the fence some 50 feet to our left had a bunch of people distracted as Ventura looked up with the ball in his hand.

"Please, can I have a ball?" Ethan repeated.

Ventura pointed at him, walked a few more paces to get closer to the wall, and tossed the ball in my son's direction.

It was over his head, and mine, too, but it landed in the row behind us and we easily gathered it in.

The Kansas City pitcher went back to his duties, now stationed about 40 feet directly in front of us, still yapping and laughing with his teammates.

I yelled out, "Hey 30!" (his number).

Ventura turned around. I gave him a thumbs up and yelled, "You're the man! Thanks!" and he pointed at Ethan, smiled, and pounded his chest with his fist.

I remember, quite vividly, the first baseball I ever received from a player. It came from the great Don Money of the Milwaukee Brewers at Memorial Stadium, on the first base side, just as Money came in from a game of catch near the foul line.

Ethan will likely always remember that Yordano Ventura of the Kansas City Royals gave him his first ball, in the left field corner at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 6, 2016.

Like most curious little boys, he wanted to know why Machado and Ventura were fighting last night.

How do you explain to an 8-year old that two grown men making $5 million a year or more are dumb enough to put themselves and their team in jeopardy by throwing punches at each other in the middle of the game?

"They're mad about some things that happened in the game," I said to my son. "It doesn't happen often, but sometimes they lose their temper and do things on the field they shouldn't do."

I certainly didn't want to tell him that Machado was outraged about getting hit by a pitch. The last thing I need is my 8-year old thinking that's a standard reaction in the event he someday gets plunked in a Little League game.

So I just went with the most benign, bland thing I could think of and threw out the "they're mad about some things that happened in the game" line and hoped he bit on it.

Fortunately, he did.

"Well, I still like Yordano Ventura," Ethan said. "And Manny Machado, too."

I felt the exact same way, oddly enough.

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dempsey leads u.s. past costa rica, 4-0


Facing a Costa Rica team that looked mysteriously disinterested, the United States overcame an early scare that nearly gave the Ticos a quick 1-0 lead and rattled off three big first half goals to easily win Tuesday night's Copa America battle in Chicago, 4-0.

The win, coupled with Paraguay's 2-1 loss to Colombia on Tuesday, means the U.S. can advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament with a win or a tie this Sunday in Philadelphia when they conclude first-round play against Paraguay.

Early on last night, the promise of do-or-die match on Sunday wasn't looking all that promising.

DeAndre Yedlin's poor clearing attempt in the 7th minute was almost collected-and-cashed by Costa Rica's Josh Campbell, but he wasn't able to give the visitors an early lead like Colombia secured in their 2-0 win over the U.S. last Friday at Levi's Stadium.

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American Clint Dempsey reached the 50-goal mark in his U.S. Soccer career with a tally against Costa Rica in the U.S. win in Copa America.

Moments later, Bobby Wood was knocked down in the box and the Americans were awarded a penalty kick, which Clint Dempsey buried in the right corner for his 50th career goal as the U.S. went ahead 1-0.

Dempsey helped set up two more goals in the first half, first with some nice individual work in midfield before giving a ball to Jermaine Jones that Jones placed perfectly to the goalie's left from 18 yards out.

Just before halftime, Dempsey fed Wood at the top of the box and the youngster completed a superb turn-and-finish with a ball in the left corner of the net to extend the U.S. lead to 3-0.

Costa Rica barely tried in the second half, with one decent scoring chance in the 75th minute bounding off the goal post accounting for their only moment of interest in the final 45 minutes.

The U.S. got strong performances from nearly everyone on the field Tuesday night, with the possible exception of two of the team's younger players, Yedlin and Gyasi Zardes, both of whom look out of place when the ball is at their feet.

In particular, Zardes spent most of the first half giving the ball to a Costa Rican player every time he touched it. He has good pace and an unwavering energy level, but none of that does any good if you can't keep the ball when it's played to you.

Yedlin has promise, too, but needs a lot more experience before he can assume a starting backfield role for Jurgen Klinsmann's team.

Everyone else had lots of bright moments on Tuesday, including Alejandro Bedoya, who enjoyed a rare solid outing before being replaced in the game's final ten minutes when Klinsmann provided Kyle Beckerman with some charity playing time. Bedoya now knows what it feels like to be replaced by Charlie Brown in a field goal kicking competition.

Sunday's game in Philadelphia now presents the U.S. with a perfect opportunity to advance out of the first stage of Copa America, something that looked seriously in doubt after Friday's 2-0 loss to Colombia.

A duplicate of last night's performance on Sunday and Klinsmann and his team will be headed to the quarterfinals.

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drew's views on the
baltimore orioles

Covering the Orioles throughout the season is an important part of #DMD's service, so who better to take on the assignment than #DMD's founder? DREW FORRESTER will tell you why the Birds won or lost, who was responsible, and what to look for in upcoming games. It's brought to you by our friends at KELLY, the area's expert in all aspects of payroll service.


o's bury hapless royals, 9-1, as machado and ventura duke it out on the mound


Kansas City showed up on Monday evening having lost four straight games in Cleveland and vowed to "right the ship" as their road trip continued in Baltimore.

They need to find someone to do a better job of plugging those holes. Their boat is still taking on water -- and sinking fast.

The Orioles won 9-1 on Tuesday night, extending K.C.'s losing streak to six games, a stretch that has seen them score eight runs TOTAL during that losing skid.

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Not only did Adam Jones belt his 9th HR of the season last night, he said after the game "I'll pick up Manny's fine".

The Royals haven't scored more than one run in their last four games, in fact.

The O's jumped out to a 4-0 first inning lead on Yordano Ventura without the aid of a home run. Any other night, a 4-run lead is nice, but hardly a guaranteed victory. Against the Royals, if you go up 4-0, the game's over.

It was then up to Ubaldo Jimenez to keep that advantage intact, which he did, but not without the customary tension-filled inning or two along the way.

Jimenez walked in a run in the 4th inning and faced a bases loaded, no outs situation but was able to wiggle out of that with no further damage and a 5-1 lead intact. For the night, Jimenez allowed 12 base runners (9 hits, 3 walks), but only of them wound up crossing home plate.

Having thrown an almost-unthinkable 106 pitches in five innings of work, Jimenez gave way to Mychal Givens and Vance Worley, both of whom worked a pair of innings without allowing a run.

Ventura and Manny Machado were ejected in the 5th inning after the K.C. pitcher hit Machado with a pitch and a fight ensued on the pitcher's mound. The two had exchanged words earlier in the game when a Machado fly ball stayed in the park and the two exchanged words as the Orioles star passed the mound on his way back to the dugout.

Both players will likely be suspended by Major League Baseball in the aftermath of Tuesday night's fight.

Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis hit back-to-back home runs later in that 5th inning to push the advantage to 8-1 and Adam Jones provided a solo homer in the 8th to finalize the scoring at 9-1.

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drew's
fantasy golf guide

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


lots of strong fantasy plays highlight pga tour's visit to memphis


On the heels of a solid week that saw five of my six guys make the cut at The Memorial, let's take a look at this week's PGA Tour event at TPC Southwind in Memphis.

I have a good feeling about a number of guys as the TOUR gets ready to head to Pittsburgh for next week's U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club.

You might have even heard of a few of them. A few others, you'll say, "Who the heck is that guy?"

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Is this Dustin's Johnson's week? He's been close all season.

This is the week Dustin Johnson breaks through and gets that victory he's been closing to claiming all season. He's an expensive line-up addition at $12,800, but he's the best player in the field and has a great track record at TPC Southwind. Oh, he's also 11-for-11 in cuts made this season.

I'm going back to the well that's otherwise known as Colt Knost again this week. I've played him five times this year and he's made the cut in four of those five events and has arguably been on one of the TOUR's five most consistent players since January. He's made 17 of 18 cuts in the 2015-2016 campaign, which is why he's priced higher and higher each week. He's a $9,700 investment this week in Memphis.

Don't look now, but two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen is having a pretty nice year for a guy no one assumes can contend anymore. Goosen has made 11 of 12 cuts, but with only one Top 10, which means he's not a threat to win, but he'll get you four days of points. This might be a good week to grab Goosen in the event he puts it all together for four rounds and sniffs the leaderboard on Sunday. Price: $7,600.

Now come the guys you haven't heard of, most likely.

Defending champion Fabian Gomez is a logical play this week, so I'm going with him. True, he's only made 10 of 17 cuts this season, but he won last year's event in Memphis and has played well on numerous visits to TPC Southwind. "Horses for courses" is what they like to say about guys like Gomez. Price: $7,200

The next entry on the team is Greg Owen, a journeyman on the TOUR that pops up every now and then with a good tournament or two to keep his card intact for the following season. Memphis, as it turns out, is where Owen often does just that. He has a good record at TPC Southwind, and because I spent so much money on Johnson and Knost, I have to throw in a player or two at the bottom of the salary ladder. Owen is a nice sleeper pick this week. Price: $6,400

And my last "who the heck is that guy?" pick is Andres Gonzalez a guy only the most ardent professional golf followers have ever heard of, let alone considered for their fantasy roster. Why go with Gonzalez? Simple. He won the U.S. Open qualifier in Memphis on Monday and comes in with a hot hand. Nothing more, nothing less. I need an inexpensive player to fill out the field and he's a nice darkhorse to play well this week at TPC Southwind. Price: $6,300

Others to consider: Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Seung-Yol Noh, Ryan Palmer, John Merrick, Tim Wilkinson, Michael Thompson, Si Woo Kim, Justin Hicks, Andrew Loupe, Michael Bradley

Tuesday
June 7
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIII
Issue 7
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when will the losses eventually catch up to klinsmann?


They're calling tonight's Copa America battle between the United States and Costa Rica a "must win" game for the American soccer side, but just how much of a requirement is it for head coach Jurgen Klinsmann?

He's not getting fired tomorrow morning if the U.S. loses in Chicago tonight.

Sure, it's a "must win" for the team in terms of their chances of advancing past the opening round. If the U.S. gets beat tonight, they're out, no matter what they do on Sunday in Philadelphia against Paraguay in their final opening round contest.

But for Klinsmann, life will go on if the Americans don't get the job done tonight vs. a Costa Rica team that looked listless in a 0-0 tie with that same Paraguay team last Saturday in Orlando.

Shouldn't these bad performances catch up to the U.S. Men's National Team coach at some point? Or are we going to continue to believe the hype and the post-game commentary that "things are improving" even in the wake of yet another disappointing outcome?

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It's put-up or shut-up time for the U.S. men's soccer team tonight in Chicago and Jurgen Klinsmann needs a solid performance from his squad vs. Costa Rica.

Copa America isn't the World Cup, naturally, and therefore it automatically ranks much lower in "the big picture". But it remains an effective barometer by which the progress of our national team can be judged since a number of the teams (Colombia and Mexico, for example) are World Cup-caliber sides.

Speaking of the World Cup, the U.S. is currently in a dogfight just to get out of the opening round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 event in Russia. It's far from a slam-dunk, and with two games remaining in September, it will likely require an outright win at St. Vincent's and no worse than a home tie with Trinidad just to sneak out of this first stage.

Klinsmann's time with the U.S. team will be in serious jeopardy if they somehow don't at least advance to the final stage of CONCACAF qualifying in September. Some think it should be in jeopardy if the Americans don't make it through this opening round of the Copa America tournament.

It's difficult to expel a coach "mid-stream", which is what the folks with U.S. Soccer would be doing if Klinsmann's team loses to Costa Rica tonight. I don't expect it to happen and wouldn't endorse it, even, but at some point the decorated former German national team star has to be held accountable for his team's failings, right?

We haven't seen much good soccer from the Americans over the last two years, but then again, it was a mere twenty years ago that we were thrilled just to qualify for the World Cup, let alone win a couple of games and advance to the elimination stage of the event.

Maybe we're spoiled.

Or, maybe we want more and we're frustrated we can't get it, despite having one of the games (supposed) sharpest minds running the team.

Are American players good enough?

In an interview last week with the Orlando Sentinel, Klinsmann sounded like a man protecting his job when he rattled off actual player names and commented on their lack of development and how, perhaps, they had taken a step backwards in their development as players.

That might be a common occurrence in German and other parts of Europe, where people are more used to direct, public criticism, but a coach calling out players in the newspaper just isn't standard protocol here in the U.S.

It read to me like Klinsmann was basically trying to say, "I don't have enough good players to compete."

He might be right on that note, but it's the coach's job to get the best out of what he's given. I understand, though: You can't make chicken salad out of chicken manure.

The current U.S. side is in transition, which clearly puts Klinsmann under the microscope. He's trying to break in a few new players -- Zardes, Yedlin, Wood, Nagbe and Pulisic, just to name five youngsters who are in the mix for more playing time and a permanent role with the National Team -- while maintaining some level of consistency with regard to performance and expectations.

While those five I just listed are quality young players, the emphasis there should go on the word young, because none of those five would start for a prominent National Team anywhere else in the world. And Klinsmann might very well be tasking those five with helping him reach the 2018 World Cup.

You get the picture?

If there's any silver lining at all here, it's that the U.S. is just a couple of losses away from cleaning house, which might be a welcomed necessity at this point.

We can move on from Michael Bradley and his on-again, off-again contributions in midfield.

Jozy Altidore and his lack of finishing skills can become a thing of the past.

Even Clint Dempsey, one of the all-time best American internationals, can be gracefully replaced by someone with fresh legs.

Of those three, only Dempsey can be counted on game-in and game-out to give a representative performance and, even now, he's being used out of position because the American side doesn't really have a bonafide "up top" forward with Altidore injured yet again.

Tonight in Chicago, the U.S. takes on a very beatable Costa Rica team and the vultures will be there waiting if Klinsmann's squad doesn't come away with a win and three points.

Win or lose this evening, Klinsmann will wake up tomorrow morning as the U.S. National Team coach, but if the American side doesn't come away victorious vs. Costa Rica, it won't be long before the newspaper articles here will start suggesting that the American team has taken a step backwards -- in the same way that the coach recently said some of his former players have done.

On both accounts, those suggestions might very well be accurate.

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drew's views on the
baltimore orioles

Covering the Orioles throughout the season is an important part of #DMD's service, so who better to take on the assignment than #DMD's founder? DREW FORRESTER will tell you why the Birds won or lost, who was responsible, and what to look for in upcoming games. It's brought to you by our friends at KELLY, the area's expert in all aspects of payroll service.


o's rally late to beat royals, 4-1


Mark Trumbo and Matt Wieters hit 7th inning home runs and the Orioles overcame a terrific start from Kansas City's Danny Duffy to win 4-1 on Monday night before 14,000 and some change at Camden Yards.

It was the Orioles fifth win in their last six games and pushes the Birds a half-game ahead of idle Boston in the battle for first place in the American League East.

After a weekend of pounding that hapless New York pitching, the Orioles found the going a tad tougher vs. Duffy on Monday night.

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This combination helped the O's erase a 1-0 deficit in the 7th inning as the Birds won 4-1 at Camden Yards.

The crafty southpaw baffled the Birds through six innings with an outstanding changeup, striking out nine, including Manny Machado on his first three at-bats of the night.

Here's how good Duffy was on Monday night: Through 40 pitches, he had thrown 31 strikes and just 9 balls. For the game, he threw 80 total pitches and only 19 of them were balls.

Yet, he still got the loss.

The Royals went up 1-0 in the 6th on a weird series of events that saw Jonathan Schoop throw the ball off the arm of Kansas City's Cheslor Cuthbert, allowing Paulo Orlando to score all the way from second place on the botched play.

One inning later, Trumbo and Wieters homered and Duffy was a hard luck loser.

Kansas City is reeling right now, having arrived in Baltimore on the heels of a 4-game sweep at the hands of the host Cleveland Indians last weekend. The Royals scored just six total runs in those four games and looked destined to get goose-egged again on Monday night before the weird play involving Schoop led to their only run of the game.

With two key figures from last season's team sidelined -- Mike Moustakas and Alex Gordon -- the Royals aren't nearly the same squad that won the 2015 World Series. Their starting pitching is adequate, most nights anyway, but they just can't produce enough offense without those two in the lineup.

Mike Wright got the start for the Birds last night and was decent enough, going seven innings and allowing seven total base runners on five hits and two walks.

He wiggled out of a couple of early jams and settled in nicely over the middle innings, eventually handing the ball to Brad Brach in the 8th, where Brach promptly struck out the side.

Zach Britton worked a perfect 9th to record his 18th save of the season.

The only Oriole with more than one hit on Monday night was Trumbo. After whiffing in his first three plate appearances, Manny Machado collected his 15th homer of the season in the 8th inning.

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local product mccarthy advances to u.s. open at oakmont


Denny McCarthy birdied the first playoff hole on Monday at Woodmont CC in Rockville and secured a second straight trip to the U.S. Open golf championship, which will be held June 16-19 at Oakmont Country Club in Pittsburgh.

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Silver Spring, MD resident and former University of Virginia star Denny McCarthy will be making his 2nd U.S. Open appearance in two weeks at Oakmont CC.

McCarthy, from Argyle CC in Silver Spring, finished the 36-hole qualifier at 6-under par, along with Chase Parker and Mike Van Sickle. With only three spots available, and former Naval Academy star Billy Hurley collecting one of them by finishing at 9-under, McCarthy, Parker and Van Sickle engaged in a 3-for-2 playoff.

It ended quickly and favorably for McCarthy, the former Walker Cupper who now plays on the Web.Com Tour, when he rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt on the opening playoff hole. Moments later, Van Sickle missed a 4-foot par putt, relegating him to first alternate status and sending Parker to Pittsburgh in two weeks.

McCarthy played in last year's U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, making the cut and playing all four days at the tournament eventually won by Jordan Spieth.

Brad Miller, a Baltimore Country Club member and outstanding young professional player competing on various mini-tour circuits in the south, was at 7-under par with three holes to play but finished bogey, bogey, double bogey to lose ground and miss out on his first Open appearance.

Other local players who played in yesterday's sectional qualifier but failed to make it Oakmont included Matt Bassler of Country Club of Maryland, former Boys' Latin standout Bennett Wisner (now at Loyola University) and Gary Carpenter, Jr. from Crofton CC.

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does your youth sports program need funding? jerry's toyota-scion will help!


Somewhere in Baltimore County right now, there's a youth athletic organization in need.

Whether it's for youth field or facility repairs, lighting, a special once-in-a-lifetime trip for a team, or some other cause that requires financial support -- somewhere, there's a need.

And our friends at Jerry's Toyota-Scion have pledged their support, through a 2-month campaign designed to reward a local youth athletic organization with funding for their special project.

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This type of activity is precisely what #DMD has aspired to become since this venture was launched on August 25, 2014.

With the help of our Jerry's Toyota-Scion, we can finally start to make that footprint in the local community and truly help an organization that has great plans, but simply lacks the resources to get it done.

When I started #DMD almost two years ago, the central theme behind it all was "People helping People".

It's time to put that plan into action.

If you're involved in a local youth athletic organization that has a special project you're undertaking sometime in the remainder of 2016, #DMD wants to hear about it. We'll accept your "story" as an application for funding until July 1, 2016. A team of local sports enthusiasts will form a panel and consider all applications until the winner is announced on Friday, July 15, 2016. Funding will be available within 30 days of that announcement.

What sorts of projects or activities will #DMD and Jerry's Toyota-Scion consider? Anything and everything. Your organization might need $1,000 for scoreboard repairs at the baseball park you currently call home. Maybe you need $2,000 to build a sturdy, top-of-the-line concession stand so you can raise even more money in future years.

Perhaps there's a trip to Canton, Ohio for a youth football tournament and a visit to the Hall of Fame and $1,000 would go a long way in getting the team there.

If your youth organization has a financial need, the Jerry's Toyota-Scion Youth Benefit Fund might be that helping hand you're seeking.

The only real qualifier in this? Your youth organization must be in Baltimore County due to the marketing responsibilities each dealer agrees to within the Toyota family.

How do you submit your application? That's easy. On a PDF file which displays your team or organization's logo or letterhead, e-mail a "letter of application" with your requested funding and CLEARLY spell out your location, along with the financial need, how many people will likely benefit from the proposed activity, and what sort of impact this activity will have on your organization or team as a whole.

You can e-mail the letter (via PDF file) to Drew Forrester (drew@drewsmorningdish.com), at which point you will receive a confirmation reply that lets you know your organization's application has been received and is being considered.

It's that simple.

Youth athletic organizations have mastered the art of fund-raising, with car washes, bake sales, golf outings and much more. We encourage all of you to continue those efforts as you endeavor to enhance not only the activities you provide, but the programs and special events you offer for the young boys and girls in our area.

This is simply another piece of the puzzle, and while it's not possible to give assistance to every organization that applies, we promise to choose someone who will greatly benefit from the funding in 2016.

A special thank you goes out to Jerry's Toyota-Scion for their support of this project. They're eager to help out a local youth athletic organization in need.

Get your letter of application in today!

Monday
June 6
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIII
Issue 6
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ali's biggest victory didn't come in the ring after all


It would be completely disingenuous of me to take you through 2,000 words today on how much I loved or respected Muhammad Ali.

So, I won’t do it.

But a few days of reading about Ali’s life and watching hours of documentaries have certainly taught me something about him that I most definitely didn’t realize when he was alive.

He was a frontiersman.

The precise definition of frontiersman might not specifically fit Ali, but if you’re willing to read between the lines, it summarizes him perfectly.

Frontiersman: A man living in the region of a frontier, especially that between settled and unsettled country.

In the 1960’s, the United States could have easily been defined as “between settled and unsettled”.

Ali was part of that unsettled nature, of course, once he refused to fight for his country in the Vietnam war.

Back then, he was largely vilified for that stance.

In 2016, he’s remembered -- respectfully -- for it.

That’s what happens over the course of 50 years or so when people have an opportunity to learn a little more about critically important things that drive the engines of the world; money, greed, power, religion and an authoritative government.

You can't put yourself in someone else's shoes if they don't fit

The aura of Ali was mainly predicated on three things; he was an outspoken African American, he was in the spotlight and reveled in it, and he chose a religious affiliation that, back then, was even more mysterious than some perceive it to be today.

When I look back at Ali and his anti-war stance and how he not only responded to it all, but defiantly assumed what was thought to be an “un-American position”, here’s how I see it:

I’ve never been called for military duty. I’d be in better position to comment on Ali’s decision to not make himself available for the Vietnam war if I had, in fact, served myself.

I don’t know much about being a Muslim. I’ve never been one.

And I certainly don’t know anything at all about being African American.

So I won’t be judging Ali for being a black Muslim man who refused to fight in the war. I don’t know anything about those three things.

But here’s what I do know: There are groups of people – and “groups” could be the wrong word – who don’t have a microphone or a TV camera in front of them, and they need someone, anyone, really, to stand up for them.

That’s what Muhammad Ali did.

A lot of American men and women didn’t appreciate his efforts, but that’s the way it goes when someone takes on the majority.

Just look at Donald Trump in 2016 for a modern version of "taking on the majority". He's half-nuts, yes, but in a not-so-obvious way, so are the government lifers he's trying to unseat. Whether or not Trump ultimately wins, he's come in during a time where there are definitely "settled" and "unsettled" people and communities and said, flatly, "Our government is doing it wrong."

You don't have to believe in Trump (I don't) to believe in his conviction to change things (I do).

Ask a white male or female how much Muhammad Ali meant to him/her and they’ll likely shrug and say, “Not much.”

Ask a black male or female that same question about Ali and the answer will be almost the exact opposite.

He was their champion, the person who represented them, and the man who was willing to give up everything in exchange for being heard.

He wanted the best for them.

Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan and LeBron James have all been out-of-this-world good in their respective sports but I don’t think any of those three have done anything that affected, potentially, their entire race.

Now, in fairness, Ali had his personal warts and blemishes. Lots of them, in fact.

By his own family’s admission, even, the boxing icon wasn’t the best father, husband or friend.

But mixing his personal life with what he did for a nation and his race is probably not a good recipe. In the grand scheme of things, one of them matters and one of them doesn’t.

2016 is much, much different than 1966

Athletes and celebrities have changed a lot over the years, as our own Brien Jackson noted yesterday in his piece here at #DMD.

These days, the big-timers are worried about their corporate sponsors, how visible their logos appear on TV, and the number of new followers they picked up on Twitter over the last 30 days.

Ali was worried about trying to change the world. Or, at least, the United States of America.

And whether or not you agreed or disagreed with his position back then, you most likely at least respect the fact he was willing to stand up for what he believed in.

My favorite musician of all time, Bruce Springsteen, was also against the Vietnam war and wiggled his way out, although not nearly with the fanfare created by Ali’s public stance.

Rather than openly rally against the war, Bruce used a little known motorcycle injury to keep himself stateside.

”When I got on the bus to go take my physical, I thought one thing: I ain’t goin’”, Springsteen told Rolling Stone Magazine in 1984. He had suffered a concussion at age 17 after falling off his motorcycle and that, together with some creative “crazy” behavior at his induction and a refusal to take the entrance tests earned him a 4F exemption.

Springsteen, like Ali, was classified as a “conscientious objector” back then. Most people called them “chickens, cowards and creeps” who didn’t want to defend their country’s freedom.

A couple of months ago, Springsteen canceled a show in Greensboro, North Carolina in response to a recent law passed in that state that requires people to use the bathroom of their given birthright gender.

My opinion on that law doesn’t really matter. Whether I agree or disagree with Springsteen’s “politics”, I’m still listening to his music today, tomorrow and next year.

I do, though, greatly respect the fact that Springsteen stood up and said, “I don’t agree with the law and I’m willing to do something about it.”

In his case, “doing something about it” was passing on the $1.4 million he and his band would have made that night in Greensboro.

It might be easy to pass on $1.4 million when you’re worth $300 million, but since I’ve never had $300 million, I can’t confirm it.

What I can confirm, though, is it would have been much, much easier for Springsteen to just show up in Greensboro, buzz through a 3-hour show, play “Born to Run”, “Thunder Road” and the rest of his hits to leave the crowd happy, and pick up that $1.4 million check.

Rather than take easy street, Bruce took the hard road.

Our parents told us to "stand up for yourself" didn't they?

Ali, as it turned out, faced something much more difficult.

Our government asked him to pick up a gun and try and kill someone.

And in his heart of hearts, he apparently didn’t believe in it.

It wasn’t about sponsors, social media or cultivating the Ali “brand”. He didn’t believe in the war. So he said, “I’m not going.”

Now, let’s not in any way think less of those who currently serve in our military because they ARE willing to pick up a gun, fire a missile or fly a plane.

We owe them a tremendous amount of respect and gratitude. They’re protecting US.

If we didn’t have those courageous men or women signing up voluntarily for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, etc. in 2016, our country’s safety and freedom would be in jeopardy each and every day.

Their decision to enlist and say “yes” to the prospect of fighting a war (that they likely don’t even understand) is just as important as Springsteen and Ali saying “no” to their calling.

In fact, it's probably more important, truth be told.

I believe in the basic concept of protecting yourself, whether that's the 2nd Amendment or a nation mobilizing troops and being forced to deploy them in an effort to guarantee the safety of our citizens.

That doesn't mean, specifically, that I'm "pro-war". I think each one of our military combat situations over our nation's history are worthy of dissecting on an individual basis to determine if we approved or disapproved of our country's involvement.

I'm also most certainly not "anti-war", either. As history shows, there's a time and place for it, sadly, when a reasonable solution to conflict either can't be used or isn't working.

Sometimes you try and talk sense into your foes and they just don't want to listen. Sometimes they make a decision to come after YOU, and when that happens, you have no choice but to defend yourself.

So, while I'm very much aware that military combat is sometimes a necessity, I'm also in favor of giving everyone the opportunity to make a stand for what they believe in. Some folks believe in picking up a weapon and shooting the enemy to get rid of them and those people are worth hearing. Others say "there has to be a better way to do this" and they're worth hearing, too.

Ali most likely didn’t realize his stance against the Vietnam war would create such a national stir, but at that point in the evolution of our country, the U.S. was highly vulnerable to a guy like Ali who openly questioned authority.

A black man snubbing the war? In the 60’s, that was the ultimate sign of disrespect.

These days, a voice -- gender and color not important -- screaming “I’m not fighting in any war, anywhere!” wouldn’t be given much of a second thought.

Today, a conscientious objector would be championed as a man (or woman) fighting for the people.

Back in the 60’s, you simply weren’t an American if you weren’t willing to fight for your country’s freedom.

That was 50 years ago, though.

In 2016, thinking for yourself is much more widely accepted than it was in 1966.

And we have – in some small way – Muhammad Ali to thank for that freedom.

We hear voices differently than we did 50 years ago

I was never a huge Muhammad Ali fan. But he championed love, above all, and openly campaigned against war and the use of violence to silence people.

If that’s wrong, I’ll need someone to explain “right” to me.

I remember a few years ago during my daily radio show I wrote a piece on the station website about my adulation for Tim Tebow.

He, like Ali in the 60’s, was trying to be a “different voice” in an era when people just didn’t want to hear it. Tebow used his high profile status to speak about the Glory of God -- as he felt he was responsible for doing.

Not many 22 year olds were doing that back in 2010. I respected Tebow greatly for standing up and doing what his heart told him to do.

I was stunned and extremely disappointed at how many people lashed out at me for supporting “a Bible thumper”.

In the 60’s, I can only assume anyone who sided with Ali was criticized for teaming up with a “draft dodger”.

There’s a lot more to it than that, as I tried to explain to those who were willing to listen when I defended my affection for Tebow.

Ultimately, the legacy of Muhammad Ali goes well beyond the fights, the anti-war position and the cocky, brash kid from Louisville, Kentucky who became a national symbol of freedom.

Ali’s legacy continues with anyone who is willing to stand up for what they believe in, no matter the consequences they face.

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warriors blast lebron and company in game 2

Cleveland actually led last night's NBA Finals clash with Golden State, 21-19, at the end of the first quarter.

That was about the last time anything went right for the Cavaliers.

In one of the most embarrassing performances in NBA playoff history, Cleveland got run out of the gym in Game 2 last night in Oakland, 110-77, as Golden State now leads the best-of-7 series, 2-games-to-0.

If last night's game would have doubled as a championship prize fight, the Cavaliers wouldn't have bothered getting off the stool to start the 4th quarter.

They were done.

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It was Draymond Green, not Steph Curry or Klay Thompson, who punched the Cavaliers in the gut on Sunday night in Golden State's 33 point win.

Instead, because they had to, Cleveland got back in the ring for the final twelve minutes and embarrassed themselves even more, getting out-scored 28-15 and giving up on the basic concept of defense with ten minutes left in the game.

And, no, the Warriors didn't get some wild 57-point night from Steph Curry that accounted for a majority of the beating the Cavaliers took on Sunday night.

Curry only played 25 minutes and scored just 18 points. He had three fouls at the half, picked up his fourth in the third quarter, and played sparingly the rest of the way.

No, it was Draymond Green and his 28-point night who did most of the damage to the Cavaliers.

It was interesting to see Green actually play basketball on Sunday night. Most nights, he's more pest than player, working hard to unsettle the opposition and create as much friction with one or two players as he possibly can.

In Game 2, though, Green showed off a skill set we don't often see from him and actually made a difference in the outcome.

Oh, and the rebounding statistics told a thing or two, also. The Warriors out-rebounded Cleveland, 46-34, which tells you one team was trying and the other wasn't.

Even down the stretch, up by 35 points, Golden State was still in full gear, throwing up three pointers and running plays like they would have been doing if the score and outcome were still in doubt.

That Cleveland didn't get offended or agitated either speaks to their character or the fact they had already packed it in for the night.

In baseball, if a team is winning 12-0 and they try to steal a base in the 8th inning, someone's getting a ball in the thigh before the game's over. That's how it works in baseball. You have to stop trying once you're comfortably ahead, or so say those asinine unwritten rules.

Last night, the Cavaliers didn't seem to mind that Golden State was trying to run up the score on them.

I guess they figured "a loss is a loss" and the result is all that matters.

They'll try and climb back in the series on Wednesday night back in Cleveland, but unless something really, really strange happens in the next week, the Cavaliers are doomed.

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from the desk of
brien jackson

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


kim's success makes for awkward times


Things change pretty quickly in baseball, huh?

It was barely two months ago that Hyun-Soo Kim was already a total bust. He came from Asia and into Orioles' camp out of shape and struggled to catch up to fastballs all spring, struggling to even hold his own and ultimately losing a starting lineup spot to Rule-5 pick Joey Rickard pretty convincingly.

To add to his humiliating transition to the states, the Orioles openly leaked that they were floating the idea of Kim returning to Korea if he didn't want to accept a minor league assignment. Kim flatly rejected the idea, and refused assignment to the minors, and the Orioles backed down, reluctantly putting him on the Opening Day roster rather than releasing him.

Somehow things didn't manage to get much better from there.

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Two months ago, the team tried to squeeze Hyun-Soo Kim out of Baltimore and back to South Korea. Now he's leading the team in hitting.

Despite getting a spot on the roster, Kim apparently hadn't earned the affection of his manager, and April playing time was comically scarce.

Kim didn't make an appearance in a game until the team's fifth contest of the year, and played in just six games in the month of April, with four starts and 17 plate appearances.

Through the first 13 days of May he would only see action in three more games, one as a substitute in the team's double header with Oakland. He played in three games the next week, and then went a full calendar week between May 18th and 25th without seeing the field at all.

Oddly enough, though, Kim managed to produce pretty well throughout this period of semi-exile.

At the end of April he was hitting .600/.647/.667 in that sparse playing time. After the double header he was at .478/.538/.522, and when he earned his week long rest he was still boasting a .379/.455/.414 batting line.

Now that he's forced his way into the regular lineup he's proven one of the team's most productive and consistent hitters, and earned a spot hitting at the top of the lineup ahead of Manny Machado and Chris Davis. He's also driving the ball to the gaps with some authority, and before striking out in a pinch hitting appearance Sunday, was hitting a superb .382/.455/.500.

He also has 8 walks to just 10 strikeouts so far, showing off that his batting eye is as good as advertised when he first signed.

What were Buck and Duquette really trying to do?

While Kim's success is certainly welcome and helpful to the team, it should also, frankly, be producing a lot more hard questions for Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette than it has so far.

Namely, what the heck have they been doing with this guy for the past two months?

Why, after making him one of their more high profile additions this offseason, was Duquette so eager to ship him back to Asia after a bad spring?

Clearly they could afford to carry him on the bench for a little while waiting for him to come around (which didn't take long given his April batting stats).

Were they suddenly convinced that he just wasn't going to hack it in MLB? If so, how in the world do you account for such a drastic change of opinion in your scouting assessments in the time between the signing and the end of Spring Training?

But while that's confusing, it Showalter's intense reluctance to use Kim that really calls for the toughest questions, and raises perhaps the most uncomfortable issues.

Playing Rickard over Kim certainly wasn't much of a controversial decision at the beginning of the year, but Kim was downright persona non grata at times, despite hitting pretty darn well when he was used.

Kim couldn't crack the infamous Sunday "B lineup" most weeks, and was still glued to the pine even as Rickard began to struggle to handle big league pitching himself. Was Showalter holding a grudge because Kim refused assignment? Did he just not trust him for whatever reason, even as he seemed to be holding his own just fine after his spring adjustment period?

Or, perhaps, was it a bit of a concerted effort by the organization to make Kim miserable enough to accept being bought out by a Korean team after all, thus buying the Orioles out of the rest of his contract?

Yes, even asking such a question seems absurd but, well, the way Kim went into forced exile for basically the first two months of the season was absurd in its own right, and a really odd change of character for Showalter. It's worth asking what, exactly, the thought process of the organization was during that time, even if the questions aren't comfortable to bring up.

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deposits now being taken for our trip to notre dame on sept. 24


If so, you're going to be able to draw a line through that one on September 24, 2016, when #DMD heads to South Bend, Indiana to see Notre Dame take on Duke.

#DMD's first-ever trip to Notre Dame is brought to you by our friends at Kelly Payroll.

X
Never been to the mecca of college football? Join #DMD for a trip to Notre Dame on September 24 as the Fighting Irish battle Duke.

We'll leave on the first flight Saturday morning, arriving in South Bend by 10:00 am or so. We'll participate in all of the pre-game revelry, enjoy some ice cold refreshments and tailgate food, then head to the stadium for the 3:30 pm kick-off.

After the game, the group can remain in South Bend for a few hours and enjoy the post-game festivities before we head to the hotel for a good night's sleep.

Our return flight to Baltimore on Sunday morning will arrive in plenty of time for you to watch the Ravens play at Jacksonville at 1 pm.

Just click the Notre Dame tab at the top of #DMD and you'll be taken to the information/payment page. Deposits are being accepted now with full payment not due until mid-August.

Please note: We're only taking 24 people on this trip and 16 of those seats are now gone, so only 8 remain available.



springsteen coming to nationals park on sept. 1


I'm a huge fan of the Fall season around these parts, so the Labor Day weekend never bothered me much, but I know there are some who look at it with a twinge of sadness as it sort of marks the proverbial end of summer.

This year, Labor Day weekend will be quite memorable.

That is, if you're a fan of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

X
Join #DMD on September 1st and see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Nationals Park!

Springsteen recently announced a series of late summer dates and his tour will touch down in Washington D.C. on Thursday, September 1st at Nationals Park. Yes, the Boss is coming back to the area!

And Drew's Morning Dish will be there!

We have a great event planned for the September 1st show and we'd love for you and your friends to be part of it. We've put together another one of our awesome bus packages for the Nationals Park show, which includes tickets to the concert, food, drinks, trivia and a whole night of great fun. We'll take you down to DC and back to Baltimore in a luxury motor coach with Springsteen music blaring the whole down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

#DMD has tickets in three areas of the stadium; upper level, club level and lower level. All seats are together, so bring a few friends along and enjoy the show with them!

Package prices for the three seating levels are:

$200 for upper level

$275 for club level

$295 for lower level

All packages include the bus ride, ticket, dinner on the way down to DC, beer, wine and soda, plus a "to go" sandwich/snack upon arrival at the stadium.

If you've never seen Springsteen live, this is an awesome venue for your first-ever Bruce show! If you're like me and you've seen him at Nationals Park before, you know that already. It's truly a great place to see a concert.

This will be my 25th time seeing Bruce Springsteen since 1978. It's a milestone of sorts, so I plan to celebrate it with a few special twists on the 1st of September and hope you're there to enjoy it all with me.

I can promise you this: If you attend the show with us, you'll get your money's worth and a lot more. We have some fun stuff in store for everyone.

If you're interested in purchasing one or more spots on our "Bruce Bus", just visit the top of the page here at #DMD and click on the "Bruce" tab. Payment information is there for you.

Any other questions about the trip/concert? You can reach me at: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Sunday
June 5
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIII
Issue 5
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


what have we learned in wake of ali's death?


I'm not going to try and convince anyone that Muhamammad Ali was a sports hero of mine.

He wasn't.

But, unlike some other greats before him -- Jackie Robinson, Johnny Unitas, Oscar Robertson -- I can at least say that I grew up during the height of Ali's career and, therefore, have more than a "passing memory" of him.

I can talk honestly about Ali and not have to face the criticism of ever, "Were you even alive when he was boxing?"

Yes, I was alive when Ali was in his prime. And I remember him very well. I remember the draft dodging, the controversy, the return to boxing, the battles with Frazier, the stunner over Foreman and the epic beating he took from Larry Holmes.

But I wasn't a devotee of Ali the way I was for Fred Couples in the 1990's or Bruce Springsteen over the last two decades.

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So, I'm still trying to figure out exactly how Ali's death impacts me, if it does at all.

Our outstanding columnist, Brien Jackson, takes the reins today to start #DMD's coverage of the passing of Muhammad Ali. You can read his thoughts below.

I've probably read a dozen long-form pieces -- from various national and international writers -- on Ali's death since he passed away on Friday night and I'll put Brien Jackson's commentary below up against any of them. It's that good.

We've also provided you with a video clip of Ali's fight against George Foreman, what many still believe to be the former champion's greatest bout ever.

I'll spend one more day reading what others thought about Ali and watching a bunch of TV documentaries before I delve into all tomorrow. This wasn't just a sportsman who passed away on Friday evening. This was someone who made history both on and off the field.

Ten years ago, or five, even, I would have hunkered down with the computer in the immediate aftermath of an icon's passing and produced something right away so I could "give the people what they want", for lack of a better term.

On this occasion, I'm still trying to figure out what to write and how I feel, so I'll take one more day to put it all together.

In the meantime, though, I can assure you that you'll find Brien's opinion and commentary very enlightening.

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from the desk of
brien jackson

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


2016 continues to be an awful year in terms of taking our cultural icons from us, as Friday night Muhammad Ali, The Greatest, joined David Bowie, Prince, and a long list of other entertainment legends who have passed away already this year.

For me, Ali's death hits particularly hard, even harder than Prince's passing, as he was my favorite sportsman ever, both for what he did inside the boxing ring and, even more, what he did outside of it.

“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No, I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.”

There is no argument that Ali is anything but the greatest boxer we have ever seen.

Yes, there have been great champions across the various eras of the sport, but no could do what Ali could do. His foot work remains unbelievable to watch to this day, his punch incomprehensibly fast, his combinations seemingly impossible, and his showmanship the stuff from which legends are made.

Ali's most famous fights are all well known by now, from the rumbles with Foreman and the take down of Liston to the thrillas with Frazier, but if you want a true display of Ali's dominant abilities go watch him reclaim the heavyweight crown from Ernie Terrell.

Terrell had won the vacant title after Ali was stripped of the crown for dodging the draft during the Vietnam War, and in the run up to the fight repeatedly insisted on calling Ali by his given name, Cassius Clay.

Terrell would later claim it was an honest mistake, having known Ali during his amateur days, but Ali didn't accept this explanation, and responded with one of the most brutalizing performances you'll ever see in a boxing championship fight. Ali toyed with Terrell for 15 rounds, and the fight could have been over in half that time but for Ali's obvious desire to drag out the beating of the man who had disrespected him and taken the crown he never lost.

At one point Ali drug Terrell's eye across the ropes, in a move you'd figure yourself more likely to see Ric Flair using, and the fight is famous for Ali repeatedly shouting "What's my name?" at Terrell amidst the ridiculous pummeling he delivered that night. While most of our collective memories of Ali as a fighter revolve around his graceful, unprecedented, speed, endurance, and quickness in the ring, on that night he showed he could be as brutal as Foreman or Tyson when it suited him as well.

"My conscience won't let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America. And shoot them for what? They never called me n*****, they never lynched me, they didn't put no dogs on me, they didn't rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father... Shoot them for what? How can I shoot them poor people? Just take me to jail."

But ultimately, to focus even primarily on Ali the boxer is to sell the man so far short, because Ali transcended the world of sports through his social activism, and it is for these reasons that he is, for so many people, downright synonymous with boxing itself.

In 1960's America, of course, Ali's sense of social justice naturally pulled him towards the Civil Rights Movement, and Ali embraced his blackness and a new role as a prominent example of black success in a way no one really had at that point.

Ali was, to say the least, not humble or apologetic about his abilities or his achievements.

Indeed, Ali's very declaration of himself as The Greatest was conscientiously a bold statement of black power, in a time and place where the full equality of African-Americans remained a matter of great social controversy. This after Cassius Clay had converted to Islam and adopted the name Muhammad Ali in the first place, identifying himself with the black radicalism of Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad, as opposed to the Baptist grounded social activism of Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis, and other Southern, Christian, groups.

For Ali to proclaim himself the best of all time was to clearly assert that there wasn't a white man anywhere, at any time, who could beat him.

While Jackie Robinson had been forced to quietly endure the hurling of slurs and being spat upon in order to break baseball's color barrier not 20 years earlier, Ali threw his greatness in white supremacy's face, happily taking the money of racists who paid for the hope of seeing him lose in the process.

Had Ali been but a regional fighter in the South there's a 100% chance this kind of rhetoric would have gotten him lynched, but the man's talents had earned him a very prominent platform, and Ali embraced that unique opportunity with gusto every chance he got.

Nowhere was this more apparent than in his opposition to the war in Vietnam.

Ali was hardly the only American, celebrity or otherwise, to have misgivings about the conflict, and African-Americans in particular opposed the fighting for a variety of reasons.

Ali, however, centered his criticisms in both racial and class terms that had tremendous resonance, and went a long way towards puncturing the popular narratives of American anti-communism that had persisted in the two decades since the end of World War II. Specifically, Ali gave voice to the perverse nature of drafting mostly poor Americans to fight against a post-colonial people halfway around the world while the children of the rich and middle class were able to secure deferments for a variety of reasons.

More damaging;, Ali went directly for the the central hypocrisy of Cold War American foreign policy; claiming to be fighting for "freedom" in opposing communism abroad while falling drastically short of that ideal in our treatment of blacks and other racial minorities at home.

But Ali not only gave voice to these beliefs, he put action to his convictions as well, maintaining his stance in the face of imprisonment, the forfeiture of his championship, and the loss of God only knows how much money as a result.

Ali was a man who, at the pinnacle of his career and top of his sport, sacrificed tremendously for his own sense of the greater public good and his conception of social justice. That is something that, agree or disagree with the particulars of the stance, I fully believe we should all celebrate and hope to see more of from our top athletes and entertainers today.

Too often there's an admonishment for celebrities to "stick to sports" (or shut up and sing, if you prefer) which I couldn't disagree with more.

Whether I agree with your position or not, I'd much prefer to see individuals who have achieved such a platform using that status to advance something, anything, more than their own bottom line. The modern athlete, thanks to Michael Jordan and, especially, Derek Jeter, is perilously close to being little more than a walking, breathing, brand -- concerned with nothing more than making as much money for themselves and anyone lucky enough to be "invested" in them.

That, to me, is crass and obscene, and an indictment of where we've come as a people that this is what we value in our celebrities, and what we expect people to do once they reach the status level to have a real voice in the public discussion.

Michael Jordan is one of the most famous athletes ever, and he put that status to use selling shoes in order to make even more money, famously refusing to take any public stance on any issue because "Republicans buy sneakers too."

Ali was every bit as famous as Jordan, and he put that fame to work fighting for the interests, as he saw them, of people less powerful than him who needed his help, and who benefited tremendously from his decision to stand up for them.

With Ali's passing the world has lost a great athlete and entertainer, yes, but we've also lost a voice, a conscience, and someone who called attention to our failings and challenged us to be better as human beings.

Muhammad Ali truly was the greatest.

He was the greatest boxer the sport has ever seen, and the greatest American sportsman of the 20th century.

He was also a true, bona fide, hero. That's something we, sadly, can't say of our athletes anymore.


#DMD-HDTV

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more starting pitching woes result in o's losing 8-6 on saturday night


At one point on Saturday evening when the New York Yankees were ahead 7-0, the two guys calling the game for FOX Sports (Matt Vasgersian and Tom Verducci) spent some time in between pitches talking about how impressed they were with Orioles starter Tyler Wilson.

I shook my head and said to no one in particular, "What the hell game have they been watching?"

I didn't see much good in anything Wilson did on Saturday night, other than give a listless New York offense a 4-inning party and further damage an already punctured Orioles bullpen.

New York won Saturday night's affair at Camden Yards, 8-6, holding off a spirited late rally from the Birds who climbed to within one run in the 7th inning on the heels of home runs from Mark Trumbo, Pedro Alvarez and Adam Jones.

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A late 3-run homer from Adam Jones pulled the Birds to within one run but that wasn't enough in Saturday's 8-6 loss to the Yankees.

It's safe to say that throughout Wilson's four innings of work last night, nothing went right for him. Balls found the hole, beat the shift and just got past the outstretched glove of more than one diving defensive player.

That 5-0 deficit Wilson helped create could have easily been only 1-0 or 2-0 if a couple of those "seeing eye" balls were caught.

But, they weren't.

And it all added up to another night where Baltimore's starting pitching just wasn't good enough. The O's bats were up to the task on Friday evening when they rescued Chris Tillman from his poor start. But they weren't good enough on Saturday night against Ivan Nova.

Nova pitched into the 7th inning and, for the first six at least, was nearly untouchable. In the seventh inning, though, he couldn't get anyone out.

The O's nicked him for two home runs, a solo shot from Trumbo and an excuse-me slapper down the left line from Alvarez that just snuck in the second row of seats a few feet from the foul pole.

A few minutes later, with two runners on, Joe Girardi pulled Nova and went with right hander Nick Goody to face Adam Jones.

That one didn't work out too well for Goody. On his second pitch, Jones clobbered a homer to left field and the announced crowd of 33,170 was jumping for joy at the prospect of yet another Yankees meltdown. (Well, 33,170 weren't jumping for joy at that point, since probably half of those folks were New York fans -- but you know what I mean...)

The Birds went quietly in the 8th inning and then the Yankees tacked on an insurance run in the 9th when Alex Rodriguez drove a single up the middle to put New York up 8-6.

In the bottom of the 9th, Aroldis Chapman came on to close things out for the Yankees and when Jones walked with two outs, Buck Showalter inserted Nolan Reimold to pinch hit.

After firing a couple of 100 mph pitches in Reimold's direction, Chapman finished off the win with an impressive 88 mph breaking ball that caught Reimold looking.

Every New York starter had a hit in the game, as the Yankees totaled 16 on the night, including a 3-for-5 night from Starlin Castro.

New York also pulled off a 6th inning double steal already up 6-0, with Jacoby Ellsbury stealing home after Wieters rifled the ball down to second base.

Stealing home with your team up 6-0 probably violated one of those silly "unwritten rules" in baseball.

Maybe that's why Adam Jones pranced a little bit and blew a bubble at the plate as he watched his 390 foot home run clear the fence in the 7th inning.

Back to Tyler Wilson for a second: He threw 70 pitches in four innings of work and struck out one New York hitter. That alone is a recipe for failure, even though we all know how patiet Yankees hitters are at the plate.

These are bad Yankees hitters though. And Wilson couldn't do anything with them.

He surrendered five earned runs on the night and his ERA is now 4.39.

That's not good, even though on most nights if he allows four runs, the Orioles should be able to scratch out at least five runs.

Maybe I was watching a different game than the FOX Sports guys, but I wasn't at all impressed with Wilson. He's just a guy up there throwing, that's all.

He has a long way to go before he's actually a "pitcher".

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deposits now being taken for our trip to notre dame on sept. 24


If so, you're going to be able to draw a line through that one on September 24, 2016, when #DMD heads to South Bend, Indiana to see Notre Dame take on Duke.

#DMD's first-ever trip to Notre Dame is brought to you by our friends at Kelly Payroll.

X
Never been to the mecca of college football? Join #DMD for a trip to Notre Dame on September 24 as the Fighting Irish battle Duke.

We'll leave on the first flight Saturday morning, arriving in South Bend by 10:00 am or so. We'll participate in all of the pre-game revelry, enjoy some ice cold refreshments and tailgate food, then head to the stadium for the 3:30 pm kick-off.

After the game, the group can remain in South Bend for a few hours and enjoy the post-game festivities before we head to the hotel for a good night's sleep.

Our return flight to Baltimore on Sunday morning will arrive in plenty of time for you to watch the Ravens play at Jacksonville at 1 pm.

Just click the Notre Dame tab at the top of #DMD and you'll be taken to the information/payment page. Deposits are being accepted now with full payment not due until mid-August.

Please note: We're only taking 24 people on this trip and 16 of those seats are now gone, so only 8 remain available.



springsteen coming to nationals park on sept. 1


I'm a huge fan of the Fall season around these parts, so the Labor Day weekend never bothered me much, but I know there are some who look at it with a twinge of sadness as it sort of marks the proverbial end of summer.

This year, Labor Day weekend will be quite memorable.

That is, if you're a fan of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

X
Join #DMD on September 1st and see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Nationals Park!

Springsteen recently announced a series of late summer dates and his tour will touch down in Washington D.C. on Thursday, September 1st at Nationals Park. Yes, the Boss is coming back to the area!

And Drew's Morning Dish will be there!

We have a great event planned for the September 1st show and we'd love for you and your friends to be part of it. We've put together another one of our awesome bus packages for the Nationals Park show, which includes tickets to the concert, food, drinks, trivia and a whole night of great fun. We'll take you down to DC and back to Baltimore in a luxury motor coach with Springsteen music blaring the whole down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

#DMD has tickets in three areas of the stadium; upper level, club level and lower level. All seats are together, so bring a few friends along and enjoy the show with them!

Package prices for the three seating levels are:

$200 for upper level

$275 for club level

$295 for lower level

All packages include the bus ride, ticket, dinner on the way down to DC, beer, wine and soda, plus a "to go" sandwich/snack upon arrival at the stadium.

If you've never seen Springsteen live, this is an awesome venue for your first-ever Bruce show! If you're like me and you've seen him at Nationals Park before, you know that already. It's truly a great place to see a concert.

This will be my 25th time seeing Bruce Springsteen since 1978. It's a milestone of sorts, so I plan to celebrate it with a few special twists on the 1st of September and hope you're there to enjoy it all with me.

I can promise you this: If you attend the show with us, you'll get your money's worth and a lot more. We have some fun stuff in store for everyone.

If you're interested in purchasing one or more spots on our "Bruce Bus", just visit the top of the page here at #DMD and click on the "Bruce" tab. Payment information is there for you.

Any other questions about the trip/concert? You can reach me at: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Saturday
June 4
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIII
Issue 4
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


u.s. soccer at a crossroads after 2-0 loss


The optimist will point out this is "only" Copa America, and since I've been a follower of the United States Men's National Soccer Team for about 40 years now, I definitely fall in the "optimist" category.

And, so, here I go: It's only Copa America, friends, there's no need to bite your nails over last night's 2-0 U.S. loss to Colombia.

There, do you feel better?

Yeah, me neither.

It was largely another 90 minutes of uninspiring soccer from Jurgen Klinsmann's team, who now need to right the ship quickly on Tuesday night when they face Costa Rica in Orlando. Good luck with that one, boys.

Friday night's 2-0 loss at Levi's Stadium in California wasn't a drubbing by any means, but it once again featured more of what we've come to expect from the Americans during the Klinsmann era.

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As is usually the case, the only American offensive player to even remotely look the part in Friday's 2-0 loss to Colombia was Clint Dempsey.

There were pockets of good play -- four to six minutes worth here and there -- but more than anything else it was disjointed and off the mark, despite the fact that Klinsmann had nearly everyone of his choosing on the sideline.

Forward Jozy Altidore wasn't available due to a hamstring injury, but he wouldn't have done anything, anyway.

The game started off on a terrible note when defender Geoff Cameron was the victim of a pick in the penalty area on a well-designed corner kick by Colombia, and when his name was able to slither free for just a second or so, the ball was delivered perfectly to his foot and Cristian Zapata one-timed a shot past Brad Guzan from about ten yards out to make it 1-0 in the 8th minute.

When you're a nation that's long been plagued by lack of offense, falling behind 1-0 eight minutes in usually isn't the way to kick things off, and Friday night was no different.

The other Colombian goal was the result of a late first half penalty kick after American defender DeAndre Yedlin handled the ball in the penalty area. The TV announcers and others on social media cried about the call, but it was pretty simple, really. The ball hit the hand of a defensive player in the penalty area and obstructed a possible scoring chance for Colombia. It WAS a penalty kick, and James Rodriguez converted it for the visitors to put them up, 2-0.

And that was that.

The U.S. had a handful of second half scoring chances, and "handful" is the nice guy's way of saying "a few". And even those weren't all that dangerous.

The U.S. runs around a lot, but that's about it

The post-match statistics had the U.S. winning the possession battle, 53% to 47%, but that's because the Americans spent a lot of time playing the ball backwards. We've become very adept at doing that over the last decade, I will say that for our men in red, white and blue.

Watching teams like Colombia -- a quarterfinalist in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil -- one-touch their way down the field always reminds me of what I hoped American soccer would look like by now.

Instead, we're still playing a combination of soccer, hockey and kickball.

We tend to be more physical than most everyone else, which is important since we need to somehow get the other team off the ball at some point during the 90 minutes we're out there.

But there's not much else that's impressive about the soccer being played by the U.S. team these days. It's a soccer game, and that IS soccer we're playing, but there's no flair, no style and very little build-up from a technical standpoint.

Remember when you'd play kickball at recess back in elementary school and the common theme was "kick the ball as far as you could and then run"?

Our soccer program is a tad better than that, granted, but at times we're employing the same concept. Just kick it -- and start all over again.

While it's only Copa America and not connected at all to World Cup Qualifying, the song remains the same, as Led Zeppelin once said. We don't score much, we don't play well from behind, and we need everything to go right in order to have a chance at three points when the final whistle blows.

Oh, and is this the proper time to remind everyone that we're not doing all that well in CONCACAF qualifying for World Cup 2018?

And don't forget -- it's only the first stage of qualifying, which resumes in September. We still have to squeak through the first stage of qualifying just to get to the "real" part of the process.

Here's the player report card for Friday night's 2-0 loss to Colombia. Using the traditional "grading" system, players are rated from 1 (low) to 10 (high).

GK, Brad Guzan (5) -- First goal wasn't his fault, but he's an average GK at best.

D, John Brooks (6) -- Probably played the best of all U.S. defenders.

D, DeAndre Yedlin (5) -- Balanced his poor first half outing with a solid second half.

D, Geoff Cameron (4) -- Largely responsible for the game's first goal.

D, Fabian Johnson (4) -- Hardly knew he was even in the game.

M, Alejandro Bedoya (4) -- Lost the ball too much. Doesn't beat anyone 1-on-1.

M, Michael Bradley (4) -- A bunch of misplayed passes, again, and never looked dangerous.

M, Jermaine Jones (4) -- A half-step slow all night. Not a factor.

F, Gyasi Zardes (5) -- Still loses his man too much, but speed makes up for it.

F, Clint Dempsey (6) -- Gave a representative effort and created a few decent chances.

F, Bobby Wood (5) -- Got involved on a couple of occasions, but needs to do more.

Subs --

Darlington Nagbe (5) -- Looks the part, but has a long way to go.

Christian Pulisic (4) -- Let him play more, I say. Can't be worse than some of the others.

Graham Zusi (4) -- Came on late, broke a sweat, but that was about it.


boxing great ali dead at age 74


I'll have more commentary on the passing of Muhammad Ali in Sunday's edition of #DMD, but news broke early Saturday morning that the boxing great has passed away at age 74.

His family gathered in Phoenix on Friday morning and by early evening, word started to trickle out that his death was imminent.

At one point during Friday night's home game in Miami, the Marlins announced Ali had, in fact, passed away, even though there hadn't been any confirmation of the news from family members or news sources.

It turns out he did pass away, unfortunately.

Feel free to share your Ali comments below. More to come in the next few days here at #DMD.

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drew's views on the
baltimore orioles

Covering the Orioles throughout the season is an important part of #DMD's service, so who better to take on the assignment than #DMD's founder? DREW FORRESTER will tell you why the Birds won or lost, who was responsible, and what to look for in upcoming games. It's brought to you by our friends at KELLY, the area's expert in all aspects of payroll service.


o's rally from 5-2 down to beat yankees


A win is a win, so Friday evening's 6-5 thriller that went in favor of the Orioles is all that matters.

But there for a while, it wasn't looking good.

As I was driving home from Eagle's Nest Country Club on Friday evening, I turned on the radio and the first thing I heard Joe Angel say was, "And that's the third home run the Yankees have hit tonight and we're only in the 5th inning."

"Friggin' Jimenez. That guy stinks," I muttered to myself somewhere on Dulaney Valley Road.

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In one of his least effective outings of the season on Friday night, Chris Tillman didn't even make it through the sixth inning of Baltimore's 6-5 win over the Yankees.

Except it wasn't Jimenez getting knocked around on Friday evening at Camden Yards. This time, it was the usually-reliable Chris Tillman who got victimized by a woeful Yankees offense, as New York built a 5-2 lead on home runs from Carlos Beltran, Alex Rodriguez and Austin Romine.

But the Orioles were far from finished.

The Birds scored three times in the 6th inning, including a fluke 2-RBI single from Matt Wieters on ball four down by his feet that he swung at anyway, and then Manny Machado drove in the game-winning run in the 7th on a gound out to third base.

The Yankees went quietly in the final three innings, although they did get a 9th inning single from Chase Headley to put the tying run on base.

Once again, like they did on Wednesday and Thursday against Boston, the O's battled back from a deficit to win.

With their win on Friday night and Boston's loss at home to the suddenly red-hot Blue Jays, the Orioles are now tied for first place in the American League East.

And with two more home games against the Yankees this weekend, there's a good chance that lead gets extended over the next 48 hours.

Hyun Soo Kim went 3-for-4 on Friday night and was part of the 6th inning uprising with a key single. Don't look now, but the guy Buck Showalter ignored for the first month of the season is hitting .391.

And Joey Rickard -- the Rule 5 pick who has to stay with the ballclub all year -- has become an afterthought and a pinch-runner, all in the same game, apparently.

Mark Trumbo and Matt Wieters each collected two hits as well on Friday night.

After Tillman got nicked for eight hits and five earned runs in 5.2 innings of work, the bullpen allowed only two hits the rest of the way.

Mychal Givens picked up his second win in as many nights and is now 5-0 on the year.

A-Rod's home run off Tillman in the 4th inning was the 694th round-tripper of his career. He'll never catch Barry Bonds, of course, but it looks like Rodriguez will become only the 4th player in baseball history to reach the 700 home run plateau at some point this season.

It's Ivan Nova (NY) vs. Tyler Wilson (Baltimore) tonight at 7:15 pm at Camden Yards.

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steele, kuchar lead crowded memorial leaderboard


Get ready for a 36-hole shootout at Muirfield Village this weekend.

The Memorial will feature plenty of fireworks over the next two days, you can bet on that, as 21 players are within five shots of the lead after the opening two rounds.

Brendan Steele and Matt Kuchar share the lead at 12-under par, with Emiliano Grillo and Gary Woodland one behind at 11-under.

Harold Varner III, Jon Curran, Kevin Streelman and first-round leader Dustin Johnson (64-71) are just three back at 9-under par.

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A second round 66 has Rory McIlroy back in contention at The Memorial.

Rory McIlroy moved into contention on Friday with a second round 66. Jason Day, the world's #1 ranked player, is also at 7-under after stumbling to a 1-under round of 71 on Friday.

The #DMD fantasy team for this week's event in Dublin, Ohio placed five of six players on the weekend.

Jason Dufner, Freddie Jacobson, Jason Day, Roberto Castro and K.J. Choi all made the cut.

The only starter for my team who won't play on the weekend is former Memorial champions Hideki Matsuyama.

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deposits now being taken for our trip to notre dame on sept. 24


If so, you're going to be able to draw a line through that one on September 24, 2016, when #DMD heads to South Bend, Indiana to see Notre Dame take on Duke.

#DMD's first-ever trip to Notre Dame is brought to you by our friends at Kelly Payroll.

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Never been to the mecca of college football? Join #DMD for a trip to Notre Dame on September 24 as the Fighting Irish battle Duke.

We'll leave on the first flight Saturday morning, arriving in South Bend by 10:00 am or so. We'll participate in all of the pre-game revelry, enjoy some ice cold refreshments and tailgate food, then head to the stadium for the 3:30 pm kick-off.

After the game, the group can remain in South Bend for a few hours and enjoy the post-game festivities before we head to the hotel for a good night's sleep.

Our return flight to Baltimore on Sunday morning will arrive in plenty of time for you to watch the Ravens play at Jacksonville at 1 pm.

Just click the Notre Dame tab at the top of #DMD and you'll be taken to the information/payment page. Deposits are being accepted now with full payment not due until mid-August.

Please note: We're only taking 24 people on this trip and 16 of those seats are now gone, so only 8 remain available.



springsteen coming to nationals park on sept. 1


I'm a huge fan of the Fall season around these parts, so the Labor Day weekend never bothered me much, but I know there are some who look at it with a twinge of sadness as it sort of marks the proverbial end of summer.

This year, Labor Day weekend will be quite memorable.

That is, if you're a fan of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

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Join #DMD on September 1st and see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Nationals Park!

Springsteen recently announced a series of late summer dates and his tour will touch down in Washington D.C. on Thursday, September 1st at Nationals Park. Yes, the Boss is coming back to the area!

And Drew's Morning Dish will be there!

We have a great event planned for the September 1st show and we'd love for you and your friends to be part of it. We've put together another one of our awesome bus packages for the Nationals Park show, which includes tickets to the concert, food, drinks, trivia and a whole night of great fun. We'll take you down to DC and back to Baltimore in a luxury motor coach with Springsteen music blaring the whole down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

#DMD has tickets in three areas of the stadium; upper level, club level and lower level. All seats are together, so bring a few friends along and enjoy the show with them!

Package prices for the three seating levels are:

$200 for upper level

$275 for club level

$295 for lower level

All packages include the bus ride, ticket, dinner on the way down to DC, beer, wine and soda, plus a "to go" sandwich/snack upon arrival at the stadium.

If you've never seen Springsteen live, this is an awesome venue for your first-ever Bruce show! If you're like me and you've seen him at Nationals Park before, you know that already. It's truly a great place to see a concert.

This will be my 25th time seeing Bruce Springsteen since 1978. It's a milestone of sorts, so I plan to celebrate it with a few special twists on the 1st of September and hope you're there to enjoy it all with me.

I can promise you this: If you attend the show with us, you'll get your money's worth and a lot more. We have some fun stuff in store for everyone.

If you're interested in purchasing one or more spots on our "Bruce Bus", just visit the top of the page here at #DMD and click on the "Bruce" tab. Payment information is there for you.

Any other questions about the trip/concert? You can reach me at: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Friday
June 3
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIII
Issue 3
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where is everyone?


Let's get the good stuff -- make that the really good stuff -- out of the way first.

The Orioles salvaged a split of their 4-game home series with the Red Sox last night by launching seven rocket ships, including two each from Adam Jones and Mark Trumbo, in a 12-7 win at Camden Yards.

After Boston went homer crazy in the first two games of the series, the Birds waited until the series finale to flex their muscles a bit. And boy did they ever do some flexing on Thursday evening.

It was fun to watch those balls leave the yard, especially in light of the fact that the Orioles scored 13 runs in Wednesday night's win and didn't hit one home run while doing so.

The Birds jumped out to a 4-0 lead last night and Ubaldo Jimenez was buzzing through the Boston line-up with ease until the 6th inning, when he completely unraveled in the span of about 8 minutes and went from leading by four to trailing by one after David Ortiz clobbered a 3-run homer of his own.

The Orioles were just getting started at that point, though. They homered once in the sixth inning (Trumbo), once in the seventh (Machado) and three times in the eighth (Jones, Pena, Alvarez) to finish off the series split and send Boston out of town clinging to a one-game lead in the A.L. East.

That -- minus Jimenez's predictable fall from grace in the 6th -- was the good news.

Lots and lots of empty seats so far

Here's the bad news.

The crowds are down in Baltimore. Big time.

Where is everyone so far this season?

An announced crowd of 21,534 was on hand last night at the ballpark. Through 29 home games thus far, the club is averaging 23,536, or roughly 4,000 per-game LESS in comparison to the 29-game mark in 2015.

That's not good.

You all wanted the ballclub to spend money on players.

You wanted Chris Davis back.

They did their part.

Why isn't the ballpark more crowded?

Someone asked me that question last night and I came up with a couple of answers, but they're the same ones we use every year on the 2nd of June.

"School hasn't let out, the crowds will pick up in another week or two." (But this time last year, 27,500 were coming to the April and May games.)

"The weather in May wasn't all that great." (The weather in May last year wasn't exactly great, either, but 27,500 were to the April and May games.)

"The Yankees and Red Sox have only been in once each so far." (Oh, we're back to that again, where we need the New York and Boston people to perk up our attendance?)

I'll be the first to admit those are the same general excuses we pull out every year at this time when/if the attendance numbers are off.

There's probably some truth to all of them, but the reality is that over 30% of the home schedule is complete and about 115,000 less people have showed up at the stadium so far this season.

So what gives?

Are people afraid to go downtown still?

Are we feeling the after shock of last spring's "civic disturbance" in Baltimore City that garnered some downright rotten national publicity for our beloved home?

I guess that could be a small reason why the numbers this year are down. Maybe the folks in York, PA, Smyrna, DE and Fairfax, VA are still apprehensive about coming into Baltimore after what they saw on TV last year.

But 4,000 people per-game are staying away because of that?

The club raised ticket prices for the 2016 campaign and didn't do so until AFTER they signed Chris Davis in mid-January. Did that tick off people? I don't see how it could.

If you thought the Orioles were going to give Davis $161 million and pay for it all by themselves, you're not thinking very clearly.

Ticket price increases are here to stay, like it or not.

The club went 81-81 last year and needed a heroic performance in the final week of the season just to pull that off.

Did last season's record turn people off to the club?

Maybe a little. But 4,000 less people per-game are coming THIS year...because the team stunk LAST season? I don't think so.

I don't have the answer, by the way.

If I did, I'd package it up to the Orioles and try and sell it to them for a tidy profit.

This year's team is good, they're apparently going to be in the division race and alive for a playoff spot all the way through, and they kept one of their star players around for seven more years in a startling, unprecedented off-season signing.

Why aren't people going to the games?

You can just hear Peter Angelos now, chastising Dan Duquette over lunch: "I told you these people wouldn't help once we signed Davis. They're all talk in Baltimore. We should have just gone with Flaherty at first base and saved the hundred and sixty one million."

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the latest ray lewis story might be his best one ever


Even though he hasn't played since the 2012 season, Ray Lewis still comes along occasionally and gives us wonderful nuggets and stories from the past that are well worth documenting and talking about.

Look, we all love Ray in these parts, but it's easy to admit that he's a tad, ummm, let's see, is "dramatic" the right word to use?

In this latest story, I'd say #52 blew "dramatic" out of the water.

Ray recently served as a guest speaker in the popular TED Talk series, which offers inspirational commentary from experts all over the world. Lewis, as we all know, was an expert at football.

In his TED Talk presentation, Lewis revealed he played in Super Bowl 47 in New Orleans with a torn triceps, having re-injured himself the night before the big game -- somehow.

"The night before the Super Bowl I re-tore my triceps. I couldn't tell anybody. I couldn't go to the doctors. I couldn't go to my teammates. What I was gonna tell 'em? That I can't play?" Lewis said. "I re-tore it. And it was bleeding so bad. And it was so... it was burnin' so bad that I took a shoestring from one of my shoes and I tied it to one of the fire spigots and tied it around my arm to hang my arm up. Just so I could get three hours of sleep."

Never mind that it would be nearly physically impossible to play ANY kind of sport with a torn triceps.

Never mind that when Ray originally tore his triceps in October, he needed surgery to correct the injury.

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Did Ray Lewis play this game in New Orleans with a torn triceps?

Ray Lewis played 60 minutes of football with a torn triceps, apparently.

Look, I don't really believe the story. I'm guessing you don't, either.

But I certainly do believe Ray Lewis tied his arm up and left it dangling in the air so he could get three hours of sleep.

That definitely seems like something he would do. Hell, Ray Lewis tried to use deer antler spray to fix the original triceps injury, so what makes you think he wouldn't tie his arm to a fire spigot so he could get three hours of comfortable sleep?

Now, why he would do that is a whole other story. Since he doesn't mention how he "re-tore" his triceps, it's hard to put much stock in that really happening, but it sure seems like Ray-Ray believes that's what happened.

And, because he was one of the greatest defensive players to ever play the game, maybe he WAS, in fact, able to play Super Bowl 47 with a recently re-injured triceps muscle.

If I were advising him, that's a story Ray should have saved for his Hall of Fame induction next summer in Canton, Ohio. Talk about a legacy...

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Drew's Fantasy Golf Update

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

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



dustin johnson's 64 leads the memorial


Man, those guys really are good, as the commercial says.

They're either really good or Muirfield Village is getting easier. One of the two.

43 players shot in the 60's on Thursday, as the Memorial Tournament opened with a remarkable leaderboard, led by Dustin Johnson's round of 8-under-par 64.

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Without a win yet in 2016, Dustin Johnson is the first-round leader at Muirfield Village in Ohio after an opening round 64 on Thursday.

Johnson is one shot clear of Brendan Steele (-7), with Jason Day, Matt Kuchar and a handful of others two back after they posted 66's in round one.

They won't be shooting 64's and 66's over the next three days, though. The course will get tougher, the pins will be a little more dicey, and scoring will return to its normal state by the weekend.

But round one looked more like the Clifton Park Club Championship -- scoring wise -- than one of the premier non-major events on the PGA Tour.

Let's see how my 6-man fantasy team performed in Thursday's round one.

As I mentioned above, Jason Day is off to a great start at 66. That's just what he needed to get things rolling at Muirfield. A nice, comfortable first round that puts him well in the hunt and takes a little bit of pressure off of him heading into Friday's second round.

I'm happy to see my projected winner, Jason Dufner, getting off to a good start with his opening round of 68 in the books. Like Day, Dufner's first round play takes a little heat off of him today. Just keep it in the 60's today, Jason, and you'll be right there in the thick of it for the weekend.

Another one of my roster members, K.J. Choi had a nice round of 68 on Thursday, so he, too, is in great position thus far.

Roberto Castro is under par also after an opening round of 70. He needs to shoot par or better today to make the cut, it would appear.

I'll need an under par round from Freddie Jacobson today. Jacobson shot even-par 72 on Thursday, so all needs is something in red numbers in Friday's second round and I should be able to get four days worth of points from him. It's looking like 1-under-par will be the cut-line after 36 holes.

That leaves me with one lone straggler, and it's the most surprising score of Thursday's opening round. Hideki Matsuyama, a former champion at The Memorial and a guy 20% of the people played on their fantasy team this week, opened with a puzzling 74 on Thursday. That's two over par, which means he'll need a 68 or 69 in round two to make the cut. Matsuyama is obviously very capable of that, but hell hath no fury like a fantasy roster scorned if Matsuyama fails to play the weekend.

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#dmd announces youth sports benefit fund, courtesy of jerry's toyota-scion


Somewhere in Baltimore County right now, there's a youth athletic organization in need.

Whether it's for youth field or facility repairs, lighting, a special once-in-a-lifetime trip for a team, or some other cause that requires financial support -- somewhere, there's a need.

And our friends at Jerry's Toyota-Scion have pledged their support, through a 2-month campaign designed to reward a local youth athletic organization with funding for their special project.

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This type of activity is precisely what #DMD has aspired to become since this venture was launched on August 25, 2014.

With the help of our Jerry's Toyota-Scion, we can finally start to make that footprint in the local community and truly help an organization that has great plans, but simply lacks the resources to get it done.

When I started #DMD almost two years ago, the central theme behind it all was "People helping People".

It's time to put that plan into action.

If you're involved in a local youth athletic organization that has a special project you're undertaking sometime in the remainder of 2016, #DMD wants to hear about it. We'll accept your "story" as an application for funding until July 1, 2016. A team of local sports enthusiasts will form a panel and consider all applications until the winner is announced on Friday, July 15, 2016. Funding will be available within 30 days of that announcement.

What sorts of projects or activities will #DMD and Jerry's Toyota-Scion consider? Anything and everything. Your organization might need $1,000 for scoreboard repairs at the baseball park you currently call home. Maybe you need $2,000 to build a sturdy, top-of-the-line concession stand so you can raise even more money in future years.

Perhaps there's a trip to Canton, Ohio for a youth football tournament and a visit to the Hall of Fame and $1,000 would go a long way in getting the team there.

If your youth organization has a financial need, the Jerry's Toyota-Scion Youth Benefit Fund might be that helping hand you're seeking.

The only real qualifier in this? Your youth organization must be in Baltimore County due to the marketing responsibilities each dealer agrees to within the Toyota family.

How do you submit your application? That's easy. On a PDF file which displays your team or organization's logo or letterhead, e-mail a "letter of application" with your requested funding and CLEARLY spell out your location, along with the financial need, how many people will likely benefit from the proposed activity, and what sort of impact this activity will have on your organization or team as a whole.

You can e-mail the letter (via PDF file) to Drew Forrester (drew@drewsmorningdish.com), at which point you will receive a confirmation reply that lets you know your organization's application has been received and is being considered.

It's that simple.

Youth athletic organizations have mastered the art of fund-raising, with car washes, bake sales, golf outings and much more. We encourage all of you to continue those efforts as you endeavor to enhance not only the activities you provide, but the programs and special events you offer for the young boys and girls in our area.

This is simply another piece of the puzzle, and while it's not possible to give assistance to every organization that applies, we promise to choose someone who will greatly benefit from the funding in 2016.

A special thank you goes out to Jerry's Toyota-Scion for their support of this project. They're eager to help out a local youth athletic organization in need.

Get your letter of application in today!


Thursday
June 2
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIII
Issue 2
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drama in oregon reminds me that sports can still be great


I'll readily admit that my overall love for big-time professional sports has waned over the last decade or so.

And, frankly, I've soured nearly as much on college sports, too.

I'm not even sure where to start when I try and offer an explanation on why my passion for sports has diminished. It mostly has to do with money, I suppose, since we see the need for greed serving as the dominant force in our universe, let alone on the playing field(s).

And since there's not enough time and space here today for me to chronicle all of the things that bother me about pro and college sports, I won't actually do that.

There ARE still plenty of good parts to sports, which is one of the reasons why I coach high school golf, and one of the reasons why I sit in front of the television and watch it, too.

I liken sports to the new album your favorite artist puts out. There are always three or four "ho hum" songs out of 12 or 13 that actually appear on the CD, but you're still going to buy it and you're still going to listen to it. You take the good with the bad.

Baseball has done a lot over the years to jade my view of things. It starts with nitwit ballplayers making a gazillion dollars a year who refuse to stay off the juice (another one got busted yesterday, in case you didn't see the news), along with that idiotic list of unwritten rules (wait, if they're "unwritten", a list doesn't exist, right?) that leads to a fight or a skirmish every time a guy doesn't drop his bat to the ground the right way.

There's a lot of other reasons to not like baseball these days, but I think you get the picture.

Professional football has soured me, too. On the field stuff drives me nuts and reading about the latest guy to take a swing at his wife or be arrested for a DUI is enough to get me to rake my lawn every Sunday in the Fall.

It seems like each play in the NFL is celebrated like its the game-winning moment of the championship game. Taunting is the new art form in football. If you're not getting under the other guy's skin, you're not doing your job.

It drives me nuts to see Steve Smith Sr. or any other receiver spin the freakin' football on the ground after a 2nd and 9 catch in the third quarter of a game in the middle of October. And you guys call yourselves professionals? Hilarious...

Wait, I said I wasn't going to list all of the things that bother me...

Big-time college football and basketball have also gone downhill over the last decade. Too much money involved, too many kids not actually going to class, too many parents driving around in new, expensive cars and just way too much scandal (see Baylor football) for my tastes. That's why I still go watch basketball games at UMBC, Morgan State, Towson University, etc. It still has a purity to it that I can tolerate and enjoy, even.

Where am I going with this, you're probably wondering by now?

Over the last week, I've been able to watch the Men's and Women's NCAA Division I golf championships and, other than their absolutely absurd pace of play, it might have served as the best sports theater I've seen in a long, long time.

I'm not even 100% sure you have to be a golf nut to have watched it AND enjoyed it.

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The putt that won the NCAA Division I college golf championship for Oregon on Wednesday, June 1st.

My lovely wife, about as much of a non-golfer as exists in the world, honestly, sat on the couch with me last night and watched the final hour of the men's championship. "My heart's fluttering," she said at one point when an Oregon player had a 7-foot birdie putt to win the whole thing.

Yes, those ten kids who teed it up yesterday for Texas and Oregon are on scholarship, but it's likely only a few of them are on complete full-rides to their respective school. They're not driving around campus in a new vehicle that suddenly showed up for them. Their parents flew themselves out to Eugene, Oregon to watch the championship matches this week. They are, truly, college athletes. Heck, they even go to class...

The golf itself was borderline spectacular given how much pressure was on each of them and, by and large, their surroundings on Wednesday were completely foreign.

In its true form, college golf is played in relative anonymity, not all that different from you and I going out to Eagle's Nest Country Club today for a casual round. No one except a handful of parents ever attends a college golf event and there's most certainly not major television coverage like there was this week with the Men's championship in Oregon.

You would have been able to excuse the players on Wednesday if their golf games took a turn for the worse given they were playing in completely different surroundings.

Instead, their golf was better.

And it all went down to the last two players, Sulman Raza, a kid born and raised right there in Eugene, Oregon, and Taylor Funk, the son of 8-time PGA Tour winner Fred Funk, who once coached college golf himself at the University of Maryland.

Over their final six holes of regulation and playoff golf, they each made just one bogey, knowing, by the way, that it was their match that would decide the national championship. Funk made three putts in the five foot range to keep his team alive, but Raza's birdie winner on the 3rd extra hole finally sealed the deal for Oregon.

The Texas players were heartbroken. They cried. They were inconsolable.

Oregon partied like it was 1999, the partisan crowd flowing onto the green the moment Raza's winning putt found the bottom of the cup. The home school, playing at their home course, in front of hundreds of friends, families and supporters -- and a kid born and raised on that golf course, practically, playing the role of hero for his school's first-ever golf championship.

It was a script better served for Hollywood, frankly. It was that good.

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Oregon celebrates their national title.

There wasn't any taunting. No fights broke out because of excessive celebrating. It was "pure", not a contrived slice of athletic theater that we see over and over and over nearly every time we turn on the television these days.

From a golfing purist standpoint, it wasn't ALL great. The pace of play in the college game is dreadfully slow. They don't time that Raza kid from Oregon with a stopwatch -- they use a calendar, instead. Too much conferring with the coach slows things down, for sure.

In last week's women's championship match between Washington and Stanford, a couple of the girls competing in the final round took over one full minute to play a standard 150 yard into the green. I'm all for getting yourself prepared to hit a shot, but they could have taken a commercial break during a couple of the pre-shot routines that were on display in that championship match.

But other than taking too long (and there are fast players, too...), college golf gets it right, completely.

Those young men and women are playing for their school, first and foremost. You won't remember the name of the kid who sank the winning putt for Oregon five years from now, but you WILL remember that some kid from Oregon sank the winning putt, that's for sure.

They're not begging to be paid, they don't secretly hire an agent despite the fact it's against the rules, and they're almost always polite and courteous kids who are just thrilled to be playing golf at a relatively high level and receiving an education in exchange for all of it.

It did me some good to watch college golf this week, which, for the most part, I've never done before.

I was reminded, again, of why sports can be great. As long as its being pursued and played with some integrity and character, it's well worth our time.

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from the desk of
brien jackson

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


With the NBA Finals set to kickoff tonight, most of the focus is going to be centered around the dual between LeBron James and Stephen Curry, the two best players in basketball at the moment.

That's certainly understandable; basketball is a game disproportionately influenced by star players, and these two guys are dominating their respective conferences. But many will try to take this beyond a matchup of the two best players in the game in order to try to make a larger cultural point that is embodied by the battle between the two...even if it doesn't make a lot of sense.

Even Arkansas football coach Bret Bielma got in on the act, when he bizarrely busted out the following response to a question about how he was responding to the sexual assault scandal at Baylor:

“I told our guys [last year during the NBA Finals] here at Arkansas we need to be a little bit more Curry and a little less LeBron,” Bielema said Tuesday at the SEC Spring Meetings. “We’ve got to be a little bit more about the team and working together and the chemistry.”

Now, the first thing that should be noted is how wildly inappropriate this answer is given the context of the question. It literally says nothing about whether Bielma recognizes what his peer(s)at Baylor did wrong in systematically covering up allegations of sexual misconduct by their players, and even allegedly retaliating against victims who did come forward with reports.

But then, Bielma himself ranks somewhere between "total buffoon" and "garbage human being" on the cosmic ranking scale, so it's not as though anyone should expect much more.

But even on its own merits, this is a wildly backwards way of characterizing the playing style of Curry and James.

It's not even that uncommon to hear LeBron being criticized for being "more Magic than Michael," meaning that he passes too much. It's a pretty fair summary of his game, too.

This series is truly "one for the ages"

LeBron really does look to get the rest of his team involved, and seeks to work his own game off of that. It's why he wins when he has a roster that can run an offense built around spacing, with exceptional shooters who can capitalize on the open looks James can get for them.

When he's trying to play an isolation game with someone like Dwayne Wade or Kyrie Irving on the floor with him, his offenses often look like they have no rhythm or, frankly, any idea what they're actually trying to do. LeBron himself generally looks like he'd prefer to drive and dish to an open teammate on the perimeter rather than drive and throw down a dunk on two or three defenders.

Curry, while not nearly as celebrated for his dominance as LeBron, is mostly just the opposite.

At his best, he's the game's absolute best isolation defender, who is generally looking to create his own shot. He's a slash-and-score player on the drive, and dribbles to set himself up on the perimeter. And there's nothing wrong with that!

Again, basketball is a game that is all about the best players, and that's especially true in the NBA game, and Curry is the best pure scorer alive right now.

X
If we're lucky, we'll see these two guys go head-to-head for seven games over the next two weeks.

He takes shots that less than a dozen other players would even attempt regularly and actually makes them at a shockingly high percentage rate. You could, I guess, argue that this is an unfair description because we generally think of this as "selfish" basketball, but at the end of the day all that matters is that it works.

The Warriors have built their team around Curry and his style, and they're the defending champions and winners of 73 regular season games this year.

And yet, the narrative as presented by Bielma is not at all uncommon or foreign to me as a mostly casual basketball fan (at least in relation to the extent I follow baseball and football), and I find it very bizarre given how quickly I can tell how completely wrong it is.

And I can't at all figure out where the genesis is.

Blaming it on "The Decision" doesn't really work, because similar criticisms of LeBron were out there even before he left Cleveland (and these were particularly odd, given how comically bad that era of the Cavs' organization was at building a roster around Lebron).

I'm tempted to say you can pin it on the background, as LeBron was a phenom and physical specimen coming out of high school and consensus number one overall pick in a year where Carmelo Anthony and Dwayne Wade also entered the league, while Curry was a mid-major star who profiled as a shooter and not necessarily much more coming out of college.

Two different backgrounds

But even this is skin deep; take one more step back in history and Curry is the son of another NBA player while James grew up poor and worked his tail off as a kid to hone those physical gifts into tangible basketball talent.

Not that Curry didn't have to work hard himself, of course, which is basically my point. There's no great cultural clash between LeBron and Steph, and attempts to make this series as much are ridiculous, and border on pernicious. I hope and expect for a colossal struggle between the two teams, and stars in these Finals, but that's only because these two guys are clearly the two best players in the world right now.

Their styles and backgrounds are different, but their talent is unquestionable, as is their effort and competitiveness, and that basically guarantees that every game has the chance to be a classic.

Don't try to make it about more than that.

It doesn't need to be about more than that.

While we like to think about big time sporting games in terms of matchups like "Brady vs. Manning" or "Arrieta vs. Kershaw," the truth is that it's only basketball where those one on one matchups really happen in a meaningful way.

So just sit back and watch the two best players in the world go head to head, both knowing that one of them is going to have their heart broken when the dust settles.

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o's finally beat red sox in wild one at camden yards

Down 1-0.

Up 4-1.

Tied at 4.

Up 5-4.

Down 7-5.

Up 8-7.

Get the picture?

That's how it went on Wednesday night at Camden Yards, as the Orioles outlasted the Red Sox, 13-9, ending a two-game losing streak to the A.L. East leaders and giving them hope for a series split in tonight's finale.

It wasn't pretty, that's for sure, but the Birds needed that one last night.

Mike Wright got the start for Baltimore on Wednesday night, and as I tweeted out in the 2nd inning, "I've never pitched an inning in the majors but I can tell you that I'm pretty sure Mike Wright is doing something wrong."

He stunk it up on Wednesday, to put it mildly.

Wright went 2.2 innings and allowed six earned runs, including three home runs, and saw his ERA balloon all the way to 5.88. He's very fortunate the Orioles don't have a worthy starter in the minors or Wright would likely be renting a place in Norfolk by this time next week.

Vance Worley came in and didn't do much better, allowing two earned runs himself in 2.2 innings of work. He walked three guys, by the way, which is why he's not a starter in the big leagues these days.

Fortunately for the Orioles, Boston's pitching was worse on Wednesday night.

The Orioles scored 13 runs and didn't hit one home run in the game.

How's that for weird?

Hyun Soo Kim and Pedro Alvarez both had 3 hits on Wednesday evening. You could have won a bar bet or two if you would have predicted that achievement before the game's first pitch, huh?

Brad Brach, Darren O'Day and Zach Britton closed the door on Boston, although O'Day gave up an 8th inning homer and Britton had to enter the game later that inning to wiggle out of a bases loaded jam by getting Hanley Ramirez to ground out to shortstop.

Ubaldo Jimenez takes the mound for the Orioles tonight.

Oh well, that winning streak was nice while it lasted.

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deposits now being taken for our trip to notre dame on sept. 24


If so, you're going to be able to draw a line through that one on September 24, 2016, when #DMD heads to South Bend, Indiana to see Notre Dame take on Duke.

#DMD's first-ever trip to Notre Dame is brought to you by our friends at Kelly Payroll.

X
Never been to the mecca of college football? Join #DMD for a trip to Notre Dame on September 24 as the Fighting Irish battle Duke.

We'll leave on the first flight Saturday morning, arriving in South Bend by 10:00 am or so. We'll participate in all of the pre-game revelry, enjoy some ice cold refreshments and tailgate food, then head to the stadium for the 3:30 pm kick-off.

After the game, the group can remain in South Bend for a few hours and enjoy the post-game festivities before we head to the hotel for a good night's sleep.

Our return flight to Baltimore on Sunday morning will arrive in plenty of time for you to watch the Ravens play at Jacksonville at 1 pm.

Just click the Notre Dame tab at the top of #DMD and you'll be taken to the information/payment page. Deposits are being accepted now with full payment not due until mid-August.

Please note: We're only taking 24 people on this trip and 16 of those seats are now gone, so only 8 remain available.



springsteen coming to nationals park on sept. 1


I'm a huge fan of the Fall season around these parts, so the Labor Day weekend never bothered me much, but I know there are some who look at it with a twinge of sadness as it sort of marks the proverbial end of summer.

This year, Labor Day weekend will be quite memorable.

That is, if you're a fan of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

X
Join #DMD on September 1st and see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Nationals Park!

Springsteen recently announced a series of late summer dates and his tour will touch down in Washington D.C. on Thursday, September 1st at Nationals Park. Yes, the Boss is coming back to the area!

And Drew's Morning Dish will be there!

We have a great event planned for the September 1st show and we'd love for you and your friends to be part of it. We've put together another one of our awesome bus packages for the Nationals Park show, which includes tickets to the concert, food, drinks, trivia and a whole night of great fun. We'll take you down to DC and back to Baltimore in a luxury motor coach with Springsteen music blaring the whole down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

#DMD has tickets in three areas of the stadium; upper level, club level and lower level. All seats are together, so bring a few friends along and enjoy the show with them!

Package prices for the three seating levels are:

$200 for upper level

$275 for club level

$295 for lower level

All packages include the bus ride, ticket, dinner on the way down to DC, beer, wine and soda, plus a "to go" sandwich/snack upon arrival at the stadium.

If you've never seen Springsteen live, this is an awesome venue for your first-ever Bruce show! If you're like me and you've seen him at Nationals Park before, you know that already. It's truly a great place to see a concert.

This will be my 25th time seeing Bruce Springsteen since 1978. It's a milestone of sorts, so I plan to celebrate it with a few special twists on the 1st of September and hope you're there to enjoy it all with me.

I can promise you this: If you attend the show with us, you'll get your money's worth and a lot more. We have some fun stuff in store for everyone.

If you're interested in purchasing one or more spots on our "Bruce Bus", just visit the top of the page here at #DMD and click on the "Bruce" tab. Payment information is there for you.

Any other questions about the trip/concert? You can reach me at: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Wednesday
June 1
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIII
Issue 1
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on a night where arrieta shines (again), gausman doesn't (again)


For the first time in almost two full years last night, the Chicago Cubs failed to win a regular season game started by Jake Arrieta.

Arrieta could hardly be faulted, though. He tossed seven shutout innings and allowed just two hits before departing and watching the Chicago bullpen implode in a 5-0 loss to the Dodgers.

The Cubs hadn't lost a game started by Arrieta in 23 consecutive starts -- or since mid-July of 2015 -- tying the major league record along the way.

In the 7th inning, Arrieta faced a bases loaded situation with two outs but a strikeout ended the inning and preserved the 0-0 score at that point. It marked the 14th straight time -- going all the way back to last June -- that the former Oriole got out of a bases loaded situation without allowing a run.

And with the no-decision on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field, Arrieta is 20-0 in his last 25 regular season starts, including 9-0 this season with a 1.56 ERA.

In case you haven't noticed, he's turned into one heckuva pitcher.

Gausman still trying to figure it out

Meanwhile, in Baltimore on Tuesday night, a highly prized pitching prospect of the Orioles couldn't get anyone out early on, as Kevin Gausman surrendered three home runs in the game's first two innings in a 6-2 loss to the Red Sox.

The Orioles aren't expecting Gausman to look exactly like Arrieta these days, but they'd prefer he stop resembling Ubaldo Jimenez, too.

I wrote last week here at #DMD that Gausman, while still the team's most promising young arm, has been slow to develop an "out" pitch that serves as his bread and butter in a pinch. He owns a plus-fastball and a better-than-average changeup, but his inability to produce something else reliable enough to get big league hitters out is hurting him, now.

Add to that mix the inability to tease right handed hitters with a breaking ball that goes away from them on the outer portion of the plate and you have a young pitcher who is perhaps in stall mode in this, his fourth big league campaign.

Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia both hit home runs for Boston in the first inning last night, and Betts followed up with a 3-run shot an inning later after Gausman walked the 7th and 9th hitters in the Boston lineup.

Despite settling down for an effective four inning stint thereafter, the narrative on Gausman is starting to look the same start-after-start. He's missing something.

The numbers aren't all that bad in 2016. His ERA is 3.78, more than respectable, and his WHIP of 1.130 is also well within reason. Opposing teams are hitting .235 against him in eight starts this season.

But he's yet to win a game thus far and perhaps the even more startling data comes from the fact that the Orioles don't win that often when he starts, either. The Birds are now 3-5 in games started by Gausman in 2016, although it's more than fair to point out the team has scored two runs or less in three of those five losses.

Those Oriole bats aren't helping matters, either

Arrieta can win a game in Chicago if the Cubs give him one or two runs of support. Gausman, right now, anyway, can't do that.

The Orioles aren't helping the situation with any starting pitcher these days. Their bats have gone cold over the last two weeks and the team that lives and dies by the home run is in one of those ruts where they're not hitting the long ball and, naturally, coming up a loser more times than not recently.

And it certainly doesn't help when they're down 5-0 in the second inning because the other team has just launched three rocket ships in their first ten trips to the plate.

If Jake Arrieta gave up three home runs to the first ten batters he faced, they'd probably bring the MRI machine right out to the mound to examine there and then.

Gausman, unfortunately, is starting to look like a young pitcher who might not have it all figured out yet. There have been some dazzling starts in his big-league career, enough to justify the lofty expectations placed on the former first-round draft pick, but there have also been enough stinky outings to be concerned that his development might take longer than originally anticipated.

Or maybe, like his team in general, Gausman is just in one of rough patches where things don't go his way for a month or two.

It will get better for Gausman, that's for sure.

But the Orioles need that "better" to happen sooner rather than later.

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tiger's u.s. open appearance looking more and more doubtful


June has arrived, which means the U.S. Open golf championship is just around the corner.

They'll be teeing it up at one of the nation's most difficult tests, Oakmont Country Club in suburban Pittsburgh, from June 16 through 19, and while there's still time for Tiger Woods to return to action and compete for his 4th U.S. Open title, it's looking more and more like he won't be there in two weeks.

Tiger hasn't competed in a golf tournament in nearly one full year now and has undergone two back surgeries during that time. Despite the fact that he's practiced -- both publicly and privately -- and talked openly about returning to the game at some point in the future, there aren't any signs that he'll do that within the next fourteen days.

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It would be nice to see Tiger just get back on the course again, let alone smiling like this.

It was revealing when Woods didn't sign up for this week's event at Muirfield Village hosted by Jack Nicklaus. In his heyday, Woods won that tournament with his eyes closed, so it seemed natural for Tiger to tee it up at this week's Memorial Tournament and try for a 6th career win in Dublin, Ohio.

Now, he only has one more event before the U.S. Open comes around, and it's at a place (TPC Southwind in Memphis) that Woods routinely skips on his schedule.

Would Tiger tee it up in Memphis next week for a four-day (or, perhaps, two day) ramp-up session on a course he hasn't seen in tournament play? That seems highly doubtful.

He made a gazillion dollars in his career doing things no one thought he could do, but it also seems very unlikely that Woods would play the U.S. Open without at least one tournament under his belt leading up to the major championship test in Pittsburgh.

That means, unless the tea leaves are wrong, that Woods won't be playing at Oakmont in two weeks. He's simply run out of time.

NBC golf analyst David Feherty said last week that he feels there's a reasonable chance that Woods might not play competitive golf again, ever.

While Tiger and members of his camp have said all the right things over the last eight months, Feherty's opinion might be closer to the truth than we all might otherwise believe.

Tiger still has until this Friday at 5pm to officially register for next week's event in Memphis. He's technically already in the field at the U.S. Open, so he'll have to officially withdraw from that tournament if, in fact, he decides not to play.

Even though he could wait until the morning of the opening round, Thursday, June 16, to pull out of the U.S. Open, it's likely he would do that sometime next week in order for an alternate to secure a position in the field and make his way to Pittsburgh with time to prepare for the championship.

Woods is a lot of things, and dramatic can be one of them, but he also knows that it's important for anyone competing in the tournament to have full access to the course, so expect him to withdraw sometime in the middle of next week if, in fact, he won't be playing at Oakmont.

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drew's
fantasy golf guide

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


spieth, day, mcilroy teeing it up this week


If you're a fantasy golf player, this week's Memorial Tournament has a handful of issues for you to consider, the least of which is who should fill in the back end of your roster.

More importantly, which of the "big boys" do you throw in the mix and can you add one more elite player and not suffer elsewhere in your lineup?

The tournament field at Muirfield Village looks a lot like a major championship, with the likes of Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler all teeing it up at the event hosted by Jack Nicklaus.

This is a rare fantasy golf week where I think you load up with three high-priced prominent players and then do your best to produce three lower-cost performers who make the 36-hole cut and give you four days worth of points.

Easier said than done, but let's give it a go, shall we?

They say Muirfield Village is a "second shot" golf course, which means ball striking and iron play are premiums to consider when choosing your players. I'm leading off with the guy who many TOUR observers feel is one of the best iron players in the game, Hideki Matsuyama. He's a former champion at Muirfield, so we're not taking a shot in the dark here, and his form in 2016 has also been very solid. He's made 10 of 12 cuts this season, so four days of play in Dublin, Ohio seems all but automatic. Cost: $10,600.

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How do you put together a fantasy golf roster these days and not have Jason Day on your team? He's on #DMD's official team this week.

It's hard to see Jason Day playing in a tournament and intentionally pass on him -- so, I won't. He's expensive, but unless something wacky happens, you have to assume Day will be in the hunt come Sunday afternoon. His track record at Muirfield Village isn't great, but he'd never played all that well at TPC Sawgrass before winning there a few weeks ago. Cost: $12,400.

I've been on the Jason Dufner bandwagon for a couple of weeks now and this seems like a great time to ride him -- so, we'll add him to the roster. "Duf" has made 14 of 17 cuts in 2015-2016 and just needs four good days with the putter to get himself in contention. He does everything else well, but the flat stick is either hot or cold with him. If it's hot this week, he could make some noise. Cost: $8,400.

With only $18,600 left to spend, now the fun begins.

I really like the golf game of Roberto Castro and this might be one of those events that feels like a major and a guy who is on the cusp of breaking through winds up winning it. That could be Castro, who lost in a playoff in Charlotte a few tournaments back and remains one of the TOUR's steadiest players and best ball strikers. Cost: $6,600.

I'm down to $12,000 left to spend on two players.

If you're going to take a $6,000 player and you can find one who also has a win at Muirfield Village, I feel like you should take him. So, I will. I'll add K.J. Choi to the lineup and hope he can duplicate the mastery he displayed back in 2007 when he won the Memorial. Cost: $6,000.

I don't think he can win the tournament, but the event strikes me as one that could favor someone like Freddie Jacobson, who doesn't shy away from any event and has the experience at Muirfield Village to put up four days of decent numbers. If we get weekend play from Choi and Jacobson, this team might perform decently. Cost: $6,000.

Oh, and for the record, I'm taking Jason Dufner to win this week's event.

Others to consider: Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Charles Howell III, Bill Haas, Cameron Tringale, Davis Love III, Luke Donald, Andrew Loupe, David Lingmerth, David Hearn.

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deposits now being taken for our trip to notre dame on sept. 24


If so, you're going to be able to draw a line through that one on September 24, 2016, when #DMD heads to South Bend, Indiana to see Notre Dame take on Duke.

#DMD's first-ever trip to Notre Dame is brought to you by our friends at Kelly Payroll.

X
Never been to the mecca of college football? Join #DMD for a trip to Notre Dame on September 24 as the Fighting Irish battle Duke.

We'll leave on the first flight Saturday morning, arriving in South Bend by 10:00 am or so. We'll participate in all of the pre-game revelry, enjoy some ice cold refreshments and tailgate food, then head to the stadium for the 3:30 pm kick-off.

After the game, the group can remain in South Bend for a few hours and enjoy the post-game festivities before we head to the hotel for a good night's sleep.

Our return flight to Baltimore on Sunday morning will arrive in plenty of time for you to watch the Ravens play at Jacksonville at 1 pm.

Just click the Notre Dame tab at the top of #DMD and you'll be taken to the information/payment page. Deposits are being accepted now with full payment not due until mid-August.

Please note: We're only taking 24 people on this trip and 14 of those seats are now gone, so only 10 remain available.



springsteen coming to nationals park on sept. 1


I'm a huge fan of the Fall season around these parts, so the Labor Day weekend never bothered me much, but I know there are some who look at it with a twinge of sadness as it sort of marks the proverbial end of summer.

This year, Labor Day weekend will be quite memorable.

That is, if you're a fan of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

X
Join #DMD on September 1st and see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Nationals Park!

Springsteen recently announced a series of late summer dates and his tour will touch down in Washington D.C. on Thursday, September 1st at Nationals Park. Yes, the Boss is coming back to the area!

And Drew's Morning Dish will be there!

We have a great event planned for the September 1st show and we'd love for you and your friends to be part of it. We've put together another one of our awesome bus packages for the Nationals Park show, which includes tickets to the concert, food, drinks, trivia and a whole night of great fun. We'll take you down to DC and back to Baltimore in a luxury motor coach with Springsteen music blaring the whole down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

#DMD has tickets in three areas of the stadium; upper level, club level and lower level. All seats are together, so bring a few friends along and enjoy the show with them!

Package prices for the three seating levels are:

$200 for upper level

$275 for club level

$295 for lower level

All packages include the bus ride, ticket, dinner on the way down to DC, beer, wine and soda, plus a "to go" sandwich/snack upon arrival at the stadium.

If you've never seen Springsteen live, this is an awesome venue for your first-ever Bruce show! If you're like me and you've seen him at Nationals Park before, you know that already. It's truly a great place to see a concert.

This will be my 25th time seeing Bruce Springsteen since 1978. It's a milestone of sorts, so I plan to celebrate it with a few special twists on the 1st of September and hope you're there to enjoy it all with me.

I can promise you this: If you attend the show with us, you'll get your money's worth and a lot more. We have some fun stuff in store for everyone.

If you're interested in purchasing one or more spots on our "Bruce Bus", just visit the top of the page here at #DMD and click on the "Bruce" tab. Payment information is there for you.

Any other questions about the trip/concert? You can reach me at: drew@drewsmorningdish.com


please click here to see previous issues of #dmd.

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

breakfast bytes

NHL: Chiasson's two goals lead Caps to 5-3 win in Boston.

NBA: LeBron, Cavs win first showdown with Lakers and Ball, 121-112, as James records 59th career triple-double.

NFL: Broncos outlast Colts in Indy, 25-13, in Thursday Night snoozer.

MLB: Twins sign veteran closer Fernando Rodney to 1-year deal.