Friday
July 15
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIV
Issue 15
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


when a kicker is threatening you, it’s time for a change in scenery


I’ll start off, as always, making the necessary statements about my affection for NFL kickers.

I think they’re underpaid, for the most part.

I believe they’re much more important than do most people who follow football.

And I say when you get a really good one, do what you can to keep him, because, as we saw in the AFC title game back in 2012, they can make you or break you.

But you must also keep kickers in their proper perspective.

X
When your kicker thinks he can pull off the "sign me or I'm leaving" threat, it might be time for a change of scenery for him.

Justin Tucker of the Ravens is huffing and puffing about getting a new contract, one that would make him the highest-paid kicker in the game if he gets his way. And he's saying if it doesn't happen, he'll pack his bags and leave Baltimore in 2017.

"Justin's disillusioned with the process right now and the Ravens' position with him on his contract," Tucker's agent, Rob Roche, said Thursday. "If we don't get a long-term deal done by Friday, Justin will not entertain offers from the Ravens after the season.”

Wow.

I mean, look, Tucker’s one heck of a kicker. No one’s arguing that.

But the “if we don’t get the deal we want now, we’ll go to another team next year” threat is pretty bush league if you ask me.

Even if it’s a negotiating tactic, it’s still a silly thing to threaten the folks who are going to employ you for the next six months at least.

”I’ll work with you all through December but then I’ll be circulating my resume and accepting a new position somewhere else in 2017.”

How would your employer react to that sort of news if, in fact, you announced it tomorrow during your weekly company meeting?

Probably not favorably, right?

Ozzie Newsome might look at it differently than your boss. “Heard this about 20 other times in my career, “ the Ravens GM might be thinking as Tucker’s agent delivers the ultimatum.

Newsome understands how the game gets played. Agents say dumb things, mostly after they've promised the moon to their client.

But Tucker's agent drew a line in the sand yesterday that really puts the heat on Newsome.

If the Ravens give in tomorrow and sign Tucker to a new, long-term deal, how many other agents will take notice of the fact that Ozzie crumbled under the pressure of Tucker's "sign me or I'm leaving" tactic?

It might be time for Tucker to see what life's like in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Dallas or San Diego.

Every time there's an issue with the kicker, I remind everyone that the Ravens found Tucker the way most teams find their kicker these days. He was a free agent, milling around the country looking for a gig after a successful college career.

Kickers aren't quarterbacks, remember. You don't draft one. They come to you.

As good as Tucker has been in Baltimore, and yes, he's been really freakin' good, life would go on without him.

He's not the only guy who can make 50 yard field goals with the game on the line.

If the NFL didn't have a salary cap and you wanted to just throw a bunch of money at the field goal kicker, I'd give that a thumbs-up in a heartbeat and back up the Brinks truck for Tucker.

But we all know the reality of the NFL.

Every million counts.

At this point, though, it's probably not about money anymore, but more about Tucker's threat yesterday to hit the road next season if the Ravens don't comply with a new deal this season.

He's put the team on notice that he's running these negotiations.

Except, of course, he isn't.

He's a kicker, not the quarterback.

And if Ozzie Newsome is smart -- which, we know, he is -- he'll remind Tucker's agent of that simple note today when they continue their discussions.

Quarterbacks can hold the team for ransom.

Kickers? Nope.

BARCS banner ad

three realistic things for the orioles to do in the second half


Baseball starts again tonight, as the "second half" of the season begins for the Orioles in Tampa Bay.

That's a nice place to start for the Birds, who typically play well in St. Petersburg and, in case you haven't noticed, the Rays stink this season.

But at some point the Orioles will play real teams in the A.L. (and N.L.) over the last 70-plus games and they'll need to replicate the quality play we saw from them in the first half if they're going to hold on for their second Eastern Division title in three years.

And how can they do that?

Glad you asked.

Here are three keys for the Orioles to maintain their status as the top dog in the A.L. East.

X
The Orioles need Mark Trumbo to come through with another monster half if they're going to maintain their lead in the A.L. East.

1. Keep Trumbo rolling -- Much like they did with Nelson Cruz in 2014, the Birds stumbled on a gem when they were able to land Mark Trumbo in a deal with the Mariners, who gave him away for towels and a bag of new baseballs last winter.

No one wanted Cruz, mainly because of his PED-related suspension from the previous summer.

The Mariners couldn't get anything meaningful for Trumbo, so they finally just gave him away to the Orioles.

And, thus far in 2016, he's arguably been the team's offensive MVP.

But for the O's to keep their foot on the gas over the next two-and-a-half-months, Trumbo needs to keep on keeping on.

50 home runs, 110 RBI...

If he can pull that off, and at this point it's reasonable to expect he can, the Orioles might very well win the division.

There are others who have to pull their weight at the plate, but Trumbo's continued excellence with the bat is paramount to the O's hopes from here until October.


2. No let up from Tillman -- Without question, Chris Tillman is the team's best starting pitcher. Unfortunately, he's also the team's only truly reliable starter. The rest of them all have (brief) moments of acceptable performance, but none come close to being as steady and consistent as Tillman.

The only issue? The Birds can't afford a slip-up from Tillman in July, August and September.

The heat stays on him.

His first half numbers weren't anything close to Cy Young-material, but they were most certainly good enough to help the O's win the division. If he can finish with 20-plus wins, an ERA around 3.25, and a WHIP under 1.2, they'll be no questioning his contribution at season's end.

Can he do it, though?

And will he do it?

The Orioles need Tillman to have a big second half, essentially duplicating what he did for them in the first half.

He's supremely important down the stretch.


3. Someone, anyone has to step up as a reliable starter. -- Easier said than done, especially since we've seen everyone's act for 87 games, but one of the guys in the rotation other than Tillmam has to step up big-time in the second half.

At this point, there's no way to even make a guess on who that might be, because every one of those guys has been ineffective in various forms since April.

The most likely candidate to fill that role would be Kevin Gausman, but minus a true "out" pitch to right handed hitters, is it feasible to think the former #1 draft pick can suddenly become a dominant force in the offensively-charged A.L. East?

Probably not. But he's been better than all the rest of the guys the O's have trotted out there to start this season.

Could it be Yovani Gallardo who steps up in the second half?

Maybe. If he stops walking guys long enough to do the team some good, that is.

Gallardo has what Gausman doesn't have -- experience.

But he hasn't been all that good this season, although it's fair to note he's been a tad better since he came back in mid-June from his early-season injury.

The others?

It would be nice for one of them to come through with a better-than-expected second half, but that might not be practical.

Mike Wright? Probably not. Doesn't have the goods to go six innings every fifth day and get major league hitters out.

Tyler Wilson? See above.

Ubaldo Jimenez? You have a better chance of winning PowerBall.

Could it wind up being Dylan Bundy? If you didn't hear Dan Duquette earlier this week, he hinted -- strongly -- that the club might be willing to overlook the 75-inning limit previously placed on Bundy as he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery.

Sounds to me like Bundy is going to get a look as a starter in the second half -- something I've suggested a couple of different times over the last two months.

But when he gets that chance, will the former #1 pick be able to do anything with it?

Can Bundy be the team's de facto #2 starter over the last two and a half months?

At this point, he deserves a chance to prove if he can.

One thing for sure: The Orioles need someone to step up to the occasion in the second half and join Tillman as a reliable starter.

KELLY banner ad

only ten seats left on our
springsteen bus
september 1 at nats park


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.

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 D.C. and back to Baltimore in a luxury motor-coach with Springsteen music blaring the whole way down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

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

We have lower-level and upper-level seats left for the show.

Package prices for the two seating levels are:

$200 for upper-level,

$295 for lower-level.

All packages include the bus ride, ticket, dinner on the way to D.C., beer, wine and soda, plus a "to go" sandwich/snack on 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," please go here. Reservation information is there for you.

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

Eagles Nest banner

#dmd comments


dan from virginia     August 18
It feels to me that for the last two months we have all been saying these next 10 games are a big deal for the Orioles. And if they are home for that set of games they finish .500 and if they are on the road they finish .400. That is not a playoff team. Because no other teams can take control of the wild card spots yes the Orioles are still "in it" but I don't think they have made up any ground on the second spot. If the Orioles were not the team we rooted for we would all be saying they don't have a chance.

George     August 18
Why is it disrespectful for Kaepernick to kneel during the National Anthem but perfectly acceptable for the American Solheim Cup team, its staff, and zealous fans to mangle the flag in uniforms and equipment? I even saw one guy at the matches using a real flag to wipe sweat off his face.

Brien Jackson     August 18
I'm........not sure Woodrum isn't a better QB than Mallet.

DELRAY RICK     August 18
@HERMAN---That and DAVIS looking at strikes down the middle.

CJ     August 18
"I've been watching football for 25 years" and then the subsequent comment is the funniest thing on sports talk radio. People are delusional. I was once on a panel discussing sports and there was a question and answer period about football, coaches and GM's in particular. .



A guy in the audience(who was pretty intoxicated) got up and spouted off a bunch of quasi-coach speak. He was upset about this and that and I finally got to ask him a question. It was during the Cam Cameron era. I cornered him and asked. "Could you do a better job than Cam Cameron calling plays?".

He then went to his Credentials.

1. Played High School Football. Did not play in college because he needed to focus on school...but also was not recruited.

2. Been watching football his entire life but had only been to three live games.

3. Excellent "Madden" player.

4. Tapes games.

5. Listens to sports talk radio and a frequent caller.



His answer to the question? "YES, I know I could because I follow the team very closely. Cam Cameron does not know as much as I do."



And now there are folks saying(heard it on radio) that this guy who everyone passed on, has virtually no chance of ever seeing an NFL field on Sunday....not only SHOULD beat out Mallet, but he should be able to beat out JOE.



But I have always found delusion the funniest of human emotions(failings?). Was it Monk who called it the Uncle Rico Syndrome? I might call it the Eric the Midget syndrome. That dude(RIP) was incredibly delusional.

Jason M     August 18
Entertaining comments over the last few days....good analysis from the armchair crowd. I agree with DR on the preseason, 10 years ago it meant little, now it means less. Wheneevr any one at the office starts getting that wild-eyed look and going on about Tim White or this kid from Jerry Fallwell's school, I just drop into my best Allen Iverson and, and say 'You're talking about the preseason??' ..Good ol AI, no poster boy for fiuiscal literacy, but what an amazing player and easily the toughest basketball player pound for pound that I've ever watched. He probably could have rushed for 2,000 yards in the NFL.

mike from catonsville     August 18
Didn't watch every play as I was watching the U S Amateur but were there any Flacco sightings last night. The times that I did watch I didn't see any.

Just wondering.

HERMAN     August 18
I have a small request for DMD. This season could we have a "counter" to the margin showing the number of 3RD down completions that do not result in a first down, and perhaps, even, some comparison to the league average of such plays?

Watching the team last year complete 3RD down passes short of the marker game, after game, after game, came close to giving me an aneurism. If we have to see that again continuously this year I fear that I may spontaneously combust right there in the living room chair. I almost want them to just go ahead and sign Kaepernick, so I can tune them out completely, and extend my life a few more years.

DR (the original)     August 18
Inasmuch as the preseason never meant anything anyway, it means even less now. I mean, it's essentially a bunch of guys running around wearing the colors of your team. I honestly can't pay one bit of attention to it. I hope Joe Flacco is ok, and I wish we had a better backup than Mallett, but what team doesn't wish they had a better backup?

In other news, did anybody see the story about Michigan and its football roster? Harbaugh won't let it be released/published, so NJ.com actually filed a FOIA request to try to get it. Paranoia on multiple sides!

Bob from Hereford     August 18
Watching Mallet last night with the knowledge that Flacco was rated 25th qb and the o-line has only 2 returning players that are proven makes me think that this could be a lomg year.

Confucius     August 18
There are sports talk radio stations that still take phone calls? I thought the new wave format was record yourself droning on and on about, well, mostly yourself, then re-run that all day long, interspersed around expired sponsor ads

Premier League Enthusiast     August 18
Liverpool are a disaster at the back, with the exception of Trent Alexander-Arnold, who looks like he could develop into something special at RB, Lovren is awful, Matip is mediocre, and Moreno is brainless. Henderson looks a shell of himself in midfield and made key errors that led to Watford goals. While still two weeks left in the transfer window, it's mind-blowing that Klopp has not brought in at least one CB at the very least to replace Lovren, Robertson should get games at LB when fit and was good business, but if Lovren-Matip are the first team CB pairing when the transfer window shuts, Liverpool are gonna need to goals galore to win matches. With Mane and Salah flanking Firmino, and Coutinho taking a deeper role in midfield behind the front three (if he stays), the potential is there for a world class attacking display, the polar opposite for which can be said about the defence.

Steve from Vero Beach     August 18
Hey Joe Flunko, Don't rush yourself back from your back injury to soon, the kid from Liberty looks pretty good !!!

Chuck Boemmel     August 18
Since the Orioles have to go 27-14 the rest of the way to get to the "magic" number of 86 wins all they have to do is just lose 1 game in each of the remaining 13 series to get to 87 wins...simple plan IF they can execute it.

pb     August 17
While I wanted Jones to pinch hit for Davis it was pointed out to me by my son that Davis has a higher on base percentage than Jones. So the fact that has to be taken into consideration. I also think that we naturally think if Buck took Ulbaldo out earlier than the next pitcher would have let up no runs and that Jones would have knocked in the winning run. You can not say Buck lost the game because you do not know what would have happened.



Also when Buck sticks with someone and it works we do not remember those outcomes. I am guessing he wins us more games than he loses. We usually win more games than the computers pick us to do so he has to have something to do with that.

Theotherguy     August 17
Over40 having a little trouble with the meaning of SOD. And I am pretty sure Bucks favorite thing is the same thing it is for Harbs: winning. Period full stop

edward     August 17
it is becoming increasingly clear that buck has his favorites and it clouds his thought process buck and brady need to be fired maybe we can package davis tillman and hardy to the tigers for verlander and kinsler ..lol

over40Don     August 17
So I guess we now have the SOB crowd vs the SOD crowd. I'd venture a small wager that more people were pissed that Ubaldo was left in and Jones left on the bench than vice versa.

Davis might be in serious need of a sport psychologists.

casual observer     August 17
This notion that both DMD and Brien are offering up that Buck is somehow asleep, too slow to pull the hook, trying to squeeze innings from the starter, etc, etc is just so preposterous, it’s not even funny, more like sad and pathetic. It’s Little Fella stuff, decide on your agenda and skew the facts to serve the agenda. When the home team fails, not hard to find situations after the fact that could have been different “if only”. Brien gleefully goes to the stats with his grand proclamation that Davis is hitting a “pitiful” .238 vs lefties this year. That’s great except, guess what, his overall avg is .221! I’m no math savant like Mr Stats Head is, but if he is at .221 overall, that means “.238 vs lefties” is way better than he is hitting rightys! Chris brought up the most pertinent point, Davis is their highest paid player. Buck’s job is to get him to play better, so pinch hitting in a crucial situation is a good idea to you people? Yeah, yeah, I know, winning is what matters, and each game counts, yadda, yadda, yadda. Forget Ubaldo (who BTW was on a little bit of what counts as a “good streak” for him), do you really think hiding Davis is the best way for Buck to win games down the stretch? If he can’t get Davis right, which only happens by playing, then their fate is sealed anyway. But regardless of whether or not Buck’s decisions work, this notion that he is sleep walking is as inane as the notion that “SEA was disinterested tonight”. But they sure seemed “interested” the next two games, eh? Do teams have pre-game meetings and vote on whether or not to be interested in any given game? I think we call this saying stuff to say stuff, a cousin of spitballing.

Chris in Bel Air     August 17
"Get those legs moving a little more quickly, guys." They have had all season to get those legs moving. It's not happening. I'll be watching and hoping they prove me wrong but it's just not working this year.

So basically Buck is at the point now where he needs to figure out a way to hide the highest paid pitcher and position player. Fabulous.

Brien Jackson     August 17
Also worth adding, Buck's own subsequent move in the 5th inning calls the logic of leaving Ubaldo in as long as he was into question. He brought the lefty Bleier in to face lefty Ben Gamel, so why not bring him in two batters sooner to face left-handed Yonder Alonso who *just homered off of Ubaldo his last time up?* It's not a matter of not having anyone available, it's a matter of not having a quick enough hook and trying to squeeze Ubaldo through the 5th inning.

Brien Jackson     August 17
@CJ



Buck said before the game that Jones was available to pinch hit. And even if he wasn't, Castillo was on the bench too. Try as you might, there's no defense for letting Davis face a lefty there.

mike from catonsville     August 17
@CJ, great Bad News Bears reference. Has DD scoured the wires for Kelly Leak? Like the Bears, Amanda Whurlizer goes down and they have no pitching left. But at least Kelly swings the bat unlike our own "Crush" Davis. Time to remove that moniker of his to "Frozen" Davis or something else more creative that epitomizes his looking at one down the middle to end the game.

TimD in Timonium     August 17
Yes, I recall rotisserie baseball, and, yes, I enjoy fantasy football. And I bet the NFL loves that millions of people are watching previously meaningless games. Look at RedZone on the NFL Network - pure fantasy football porn. (The O's will enjoy the upcoming home cooking where they're 35-23 so far. Man, was that Davis at-bat painful to see.)

CJ     August 17
@David

We might be in the handful of people left who don't play fantasy sports. I used to play, but found myself rooting for players on other teams. It is ridiculous to be at a Ravens game and seeing one of two things., Incessant looking at YOUR PHONE(for fantasy stats) rather than the action on the field OR people cheering the score board when a prominent fantasy player is having a big day irrespective of whether is hurts the home teams playoff chances. Plus it is pointless and a waste of time. Trolling is more fun. Nothing can be more boring than the guy at the water cooler explaining his fantasy football team. Like grown men who still follow, comment or opine about professional wrestling....it is odd.



The ''realists" are back and they are angry. Just take a look at the teams that the O's are battling. They are all the same. Enough about what they need to do. In this crazy season of middling teams who play well from time to time, all you need is one little run at the right time. I've seen the other teams, the O's have as much talent as any of them. Weird season that hinges on one thing. A hot streak at the right time will SEAL the deal. WHY NOT US? Odd season.



Glad that Brien knew ALL of the health of Oriole pitchers on the days that Buck didn't make the proscribed moves. Glad that all of managers know exactly the health of Adam Jones yesterday. The only "BAD" thing that Buck didn't do was have the Morris Buttermaker/Rudi Stein talk with Davis before his last at bat. "Same thing as Trumbo/Mancini".

pb     August 17
I very rarely disagree or second guess Buck's decisions with pitchers. There are often things that he knows that we are not aware of and he has for the most part kept our bullpen healthy and consistent over the past four years.



In the fifth I was calling for Tillman. I thought it was a good situation to use him as a long man and see could he give us a couple of innings. What truly fired me up was not pinch hitting for Davis. Now even if Jones is injured, we have Castillo as an option. We need to play the last 41 games like they are the last game of the playoffs.



On another note Britton just does not look sharp. Probably I am spoiled from last year.

unitastoberry     August 17
As it was put here a few columns back the Orioles are flawed. Not your 2005 variety but enough to make you realize the gravity of the situation. When Davis struck out with the bases loaded he looked like a statue time for him to go. There's a 161 million reasons for that.

Thatguy     August 17
Yup, its all Bucks fault.



And always love the "They need to spend money on a 'quality' pitcher". You like 217 M for a David Price?



That's not how you 'get" quality P....like, how did the,Dodgers "get" Kershaw, or the Indians "get" Kluber , etc

mike from catonsville     August 17
There was no excuse for Jones sitting in that spot. Buck wanted to give him a day off, so seeing 5-6 pitches would have exhausted him? Really? No excuse as I have maintained for quite sometime buck is a good manager not a great one.



Switching gears, watched the mens amateur last night. Some great matches. Watched this guy Thornberry with interest and the comment made by Azinger.



First, Thornberry has an unusual swing, huge understatement. But like every young gun (and old) hits it a mile and can really play at a reasonably high level. Azingers comment about the swing was perfect. Remembering back about 3-4 weeks ago there were threads about "instruction". Lots of comments. Azinger said last night and I paraphrase as he was going back and forth with Faxon , "I work with a lot of players and I tell them, you want the perfect swing or to be the best player". I thought that captured my sentiment perfectly. Faxon even chimed in that the other player (Niemann?) was the swing to copy if you wanted one and he doubted anyone taught Thornberry to swing like that and laughed about Furyks swing not being copied. Good commentary by both, actually thought they did a great job with their comments on the telecast.

Looking forward to watching again tonight.

Tom J     August 17
Drew, thanks for the clarification.

Tom     August 17
Agree with a lot of what Brien (and Drew) wrote today. Inexcusable that Buck let Davis bat in the 9th with Jones in the dugout.

Boxiron2     August 17
Is Buck still managing in those last 41 games? He is? OK, we can't win 27 of them then.

DF     August 17
@Tom J --



That wasn't Brien's fault today. I'm posting DMD from a mobile server and without boring you with the details, there are some nuances to the keyboard that I'm still learning and occasionally some letters get erased. I "lost" those letters in Brien's piece and was in the process of editing and fixing when you posted your comment about it. Thanks for picking up on it, but that one is on me/DMD, not Brien.

Joe     August 17
In some ways, I think for Buck, it's payback to the GM for signing absolute "stiffs" like Jimenez and Davis. If they are stick me with players incapable of performing under pressure and not use that money to sign one quality pitcher....than I'm going to stick it you and let you see the "fruits of your labor". Can't wait till he runs Hardy out there in a week or two; another player who can't play anymore. Oriole's are mediocre at best.




Tom J     August 17
Brien, agree with your sentiments but for God sake, PROOFREAD your work..!!!!! You set yourself up for all of the criticism. You left out the H in reach!!! You left out the N in Givens..!!! It's really not that hard to PROOFREAD before hitting send.

BJ     August 16
@CJ, define "hit piece".

HERMAN     August 16
Charlottesville has amplified racial strife in our country. The President's response has only enflamed the issue. Yesterday ESPN aired a fantasy draft that had the appearance to some factions of a "slave trade auction" and now fantasy sports have become mired in the argument. Kaepernick now appears a racial justice warrior hero, ahead of his time, and more intend after Charlottesville to follow his lead. The protests will only grow, not pass, and sports as a diversion from the daily strife will instead become a focal point for injustice.



"Are you ready for some football? A Monday night paaarrrtyyy"

CJ     August 16
Another hit piece.

It was amazing to me that many of the pro Baltimore media types have always given a pass to the Ravens on the Westminster Retreat(and just about everything else, so many are "on" for the Ravens and "off" for the O's and there is proof).

I recall DF saying at the time that If it helped the Ravens prepare for the season "better" than fans should be behind it. They won the Super Bowl in the early non training camp years(the first year?). So it proved to be a success. On the field, but that success has never been duplicated.

But they lost a valuable sales chip. No matter how you slice it, the inconvenience(for the team) is minimal, except in the minds of the over controlling coaching staff. We can call them ANTI SALESMAN. They can't be bothered by fan outreach. They are too busy overworking, over thinking and over coaching to be bothered with distractions.



I've always thought it was a fallacy that people couldn't be engaged by both teams at the same time. Maybe for the "head down" generation engaged with their phones 24/7 types, but most of us can read, watch and be engaged at the same time with the O's and the Ravens.

But the annual trip with families to Westminster has passed a half generation away. It bonded and cemented many as life long fans. Trying to get Dad away from the TV(these days) or talk football in that environment(training camp) is lost. It is a not positive thing. In fact I'd go so far as saying is that it is a brand killer.



Controlled message can't be denounced...but if you cover the team that is SOP and no sitting down, no texting, no this, no that. A bunch of silent well behaved robots are what cover the Ravens at "training camp". They get to eat well and some in the media(LF) get to go into the locker room and see well muscled men naked. So there is that.




Chris in Bel Air     August 16
My enthusiasm for the Ravens has diminished over the last few years. I still watch every game but for me, it's not the training camp. The two main factors are the team's level of play and the injuries. It's hard to go all-in on them when they are so inconsistent.

Brien Jackson     August 16
The Beckham situation really is fascinating on all sides:



1. It's pretty obvious that, for whatever reason, the new Rays' braintrust just had no idea what they had in the guy. As Dave Cameron pointed out at Fangraphs, even using last year's numbers Beckham, as a slightly below average hitter (98 wRC+) and slightly below average defensive shortstop is, in terms of value, an above average big league player. But not only were the Rays not playing Beckham as a regular, they went out and added a not all that cheap shortstop who can't hit A LICK to *replace* the guy. It's really an amazing blunder, and I suspect it's a matter of new management viewing him as a bust without having the investment in him that the Friedman regime did more than anything.



2. I get the points about loyalty and wanting to stick by your guys...but it's not like Buck is telling Hardy "hey J.J., the front office traded for out shortstop of the future and we're just gonna go ahead and play him instead of you now." The guy's hitting .484/.500/.855 since the trade. Surely the other veterans would prefer that the hot bat stay in the lineup, and Hardy is experienced/mature enough to understand that Beckham is just playing too well not to keep the job, right? And if not, what's the value of keeping him around for "locker room" reasons? If Hardy's going to be a malcontent about it (which I highly doubt he is), then just DFA him and end the controversy altogether.

Jason M     August 16
Agreed with U2B...if Hardy were not the mature leader he is I'd be concerned, but Hardy knows it's team first, and chances are he'll have some key at bats for us down the stretch filling in.

unitastoberry     August 16
Even if you still had training camp at Westminster its only one practice a day so no one gets hurt LOL and in the morning. Most people used to take off work early for the afternoon practice.But yes its the worst move the Ravens have made since signing Eugene Monroe.

It takes the whole community out of the bonding process and with the league the way it is now a bunch of scum billionares relocating at the drop of a hat they need training camps open to the public.

Hardy is a big boy he knows the drill. Beckam will cool off at some point too.

Kenny G     August 16
As for Raven's training camp, add in the factor the team has missed the playoffs three of the last four years. Add in the fact that there has not been much excitement added to the team - same head coach, same QB, lost some fan favorites - and I think it would still lack excitement if there was the Westminister training camp.

Tom J     August 16
Locker Room popularity doesn't win baseball games and get you into the playoffs. Thanks for the memories JJ. I think Buck would lose more credibility in the locker room by benching Beckham than by telling JJ "it's over Johnny, it's over"...!!!!!! As far as the Ravens excitement, the NFL with their stupid rules and decisions make it hard for me to get excited nowadays, period..!!!!!

David in Werstminster     August 16
Moving training camp from Westminster WITHOUT A DOUBT has affected THIS fan's feelings about training camp. The DUMBEST move the Ravens have ever made.

John In Westminster     August 16
I'd say taking training camp away from the fans has definitely diminished its enthusiasm. Also remember from 2000-2011, the fans were still in the honeymoon phase of getting an NFL team back. One more thing is the reduced participation of the starters due to injury or otherwise. Flacco rarely completes a full preseason and last weeks game in which he and 3 starting receivers didn't even play doesn't exactly have me wanting to check the latest training camp news.

Kerry from Brooklyn Park     August 15
Just a dose of reality and a hope that everyone does this. Navy's outstanding offensive coordinator, Irvin Jasper , found out his son is in need of a heart transplant at the age of 14. He went from being a normal teenager 10 days ago to being coded in the hospital. I hope everyone will offer up a prayer for this young man and hope he gets the transplant he needs. God bless him and his family!

H     August 15
I can't put Joe's contract in the same category as Davis's.

In 2012, Joe turned down the Ravens' initial offer and he rolled the dice that he would have a good enough year to earn a more lucrative deal. He went on a playoff run not seen since another Joe was winning Super Bowls. He had the track record and the moxie to earn his contract. Davis has always been hit or miss (more often miss).

HERMAN     August 15
One incredible thing from this past weekend of golf was how dramatically a little rain changed the scoring. Once the course softened up just a little bit scores started dropping dramatically. It's amazing just how good the top golfers are that given any edge they start a birdie binge. The pro tour boys, especially the top 50 just have another talent level. The top club pros from around the country played the same course and almost all were in the mid-80's, admirable for guys who don't play regularly, but still way behind the top players. And these are the top club pros, the ones out there blistering their home course in the 60's every week.

mike from catonsville     August 15
@George, perhaps my memory is a bit rusty, I was thinking that it what I heard, could be wrong, no doubt you looked it up.



I also looked up the world golf rankings:

December 2015 ranked 6

December 2016 ranked 12

August 2017 ranked 10



Yep he sucks and is just an illusion. As they say, you are entitled to your own opinions but not you own facts. These numbers don't lie.

Thursday
July 14
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIV
Issue 14
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


nba message is solid, but can those guys lead by example?


NBA stars LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony took center stage at last night's ESPY's awards show in Los Angeles and urged for athletes around the nation to lead a campaign for what they deemed "social change" in the wake of several high profile shootings in Orlando, Baton Rouge and Dallas.

Credit to those four for speaking out like they did.

But asking athletes to lead the charge for anything other than playing their respective sports is a slippery slope these days.

We seemingly hardly go a week without someone in sports running afoul of the law, whether that's a drug charge, a domestic violence incident or some other sort of crime.

Just last weekend, NBA star Draymond Green was arrested after getting in an altercation with a Michigan State football player.

Can't talk it unless you're willing to walk it

Granted, there's a significant difference between what we've seen recently in Orlando and Dallas and a bar-room fight between two men, but if the NBA and its star players are going to step into the spotlight and try and usher in change, their athletes have to be ready and willing to lead by example.

And that's apparently easier said than done for them.

It's also fair to point out that the four major sports in the United States roughly employs 4,000 people per-year. Just a tad under 4% of that figure (140) wound up getting arrested in 2015 (not convicted, but arrested) for various crimes.

I could be wrong on this, but it's my guess that a typical company or corporation in the U.S. that boasts an employee base of 4,000 doesn't see 3-4% of them get arrested in a calendar year.

Sure, every company in America has employees who break the law and get caught. But professional sports seems like it has a larger-than-normal figure. And, yes, it's also at least reasonable to point out that athletes might be more prone to arrest because of their high-visibility occupation.

But the country has had enough deceit and disguise from the government over the last eight years. There's no reason at all for us -- the smart folks paying attention -- to not face the facts: Athletes get arrested at an alarmingly high rate, for whatever the reason.

So, while the message of the four players last night was important and perfectly timed, it's up to them to talk-the-talk AND walk-the-walk.

"The system is broken, the problems are not new, the violence is not new, and the racial divide definitely is not new, but the urgency for change is definitely at an all-time high," said Carmelo Anthony during Wednesday night's ESPY's.

He made five points there. All were true.

But if he and the other NBA stars are going to urge a nationwide change, it starts with them.

"The racial profiling has to stop. The shoot-to-kill mentality has to stop. Not seeing the value of black and brown bodies has to stop. But also the retaliation has to stop," echoed Dwayne Wade. "The endless gun violence in places like Chicago, Dallas, not to mention Orlando, it has to stop. Enough. Enough is enough."

He's also right.

Sports can be an effective way to send a message

But can the very athletes who urge the change do it themselves, as an industry?

Can NBA players stop getting arrested and charged with crimes?

Some folks will break down the statistics and draw from them only gun-related crimes, but doing that ignores perhaps the nation's biggest underlying issue.

The country no longer respects authority.

Whether it's firing a weapon, selling drugs, committing violence against your partner...those crimes all violate the laws of the land.

If All Lives Matter, All Crimes Matter, too.

Professional athletes have to stop getting arrested if their message is going to be respected by those they're trying so desperately to reach.

Let's be thankful for those four last night, who stepped up and spoke from the heart and are trying to initiate change.

We can only hope their fellow athletes were listening.

BARCS banner ad

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.


who can help the birds down the stretch?


With the All-Star Game behind us, the focus of the baseball world shifts to the chase for October which, in the near term, means that all eyes are on the non-waiver trade deadline at the end of this month.

Baltimore is certainly no different, with the Orioles knee-deep in playoff contention but needing several pieces all the same.

The biggest of those needs is quite obviously starting pitching, which is a big problem because there probably won't be very many enticing starting pitchers on the move this month. Unlike last year, when David Price, Johnny Cueto, and Cole Hamels all switched teams, this year there just aren't many teams looking to swap top of the line starters for prospects.

Atlanta's Julio Teheran and Oakland's Sonny Gray may be available (though the latter has not been very good this season), but as they are both still under team control for multiple seasons yet, the Orioles probably couldn't afford the prospect package it would take to pry either away from their current homes.

So with that in mind, here are three players who are likely to be available who could definitely help the Orioles right now.

X
Adding another bat might seem almost counter-productive for the Orioles, but if someone is going to get Jay Bruce, why not the O's?

1. Jay Bruce, OF Cincinnati:

Yes it's a little weird to be leading this list with an outfielder given the team's need for pitching and prolific offense, but that's how good I think this fit is.

What makes it really attractive is that a) the Orioles have said to have been talking to the Reds about Bruce for each of he past two offseasons, so presumably a lot of the groundwork here is already laid and b) Bruce has an affordable $13 million option for the 2017 season, giving the O's more cushion to absorb the (anticipated) loss of Mark Trumbo and/or Matt Wieters.

This season, Bruce simply puts another powerful bat at Buck Showalter's disposal. The N.L. All Star is hitting .267/.315/.538 with 18 home runs so far this year which, believe it or not, isn't that much better than Pedro Alvarez (.249/.320/.462) whose numbers are actually nearly indistinguishable from where they were in 2015.

But Bruce is a much better defender than Trumbo or Alvarez in right field, and moving Alvarez to a bench role certainly wouldn't hurt the team any.

If there's a drawback here it's probably that it might prove difficult to keep Bruce, Alvarez, and Joey Rickard all on the 25 man roster, but Showalter and Dan Duquette are creative enough to figure something out until rosters expand in September.

2. Ervin Santana, SP Minnesota:

Here's one I don't know about, for two big reasons. First of all, I've never really been a fan of Santana's, and view him as someone who is always going to be overvalued in a weak market.

Secondly, Santana is under contract through 2018, with a vesting option for 2019, potentially adding another big contract to the team's books, which is a big gamble for an average-at-best pitcher.

And that's basically what Santana is. Sure he has a couple of stand out seasons, first in Anaheim and then in Kansas City, but his 2012 campaign was about as bad as you're ever going to see from someone who pitches 178 innings in a year, and he followed that year in Kansas City by pitching to an ERA+ of 90 (or 10% below league average) with Atlanta on a one year make-good contract in 2014.

That was good enough to net him a new contract from the Twins that guaranteed him four years and $55 million, plus the potential for another $14 million in 2019 if Santana remains healthy and durable.

That contract is a huge hurdle to making anything happen, because the Orioles aren't likely to want to pick up the remaining tab, or even a substantial chunk of it.

Santana is certainly an upgrade to Tyler Wilson or Ubaldo Jiminez, but he could very easily end up simply being a repeat of Ubaldo's conundrum as early as next season. The fit is there, but making a deal happen both in terms of money and prospects will be extremely difficult.

3. Aroldis Chapman, RP New York Yankees:

Well, why not swing for the fences?

If you don't have starters, and don't have a lot of options to get one, a deep bullpen can go a long way to papering over those problems, especially in October when regular off days make it possible to lean heavily on your best relievers, and Chapman is clearly one of the game's elite closers and a strikeout maven with his 100 MPH heater.

Adding him to the mix of Zach Britton and Brad Brach, with Darren O'Day coming back as well, would give the Orioles the league's best corps of relievers and provide a daunting task for teams trying to find runs down the stretch and (potentially) into the playoffs.

Plus, adding Chapman and, in effect, O'Day, would do much to help relieve Britton and Brach of the stress of the workload they're carrying right now.

But can a deal happen? Probably not.

First of all, I have a feeling Peter Angelos will be turned off by Chapman's involvement in a domestic violence incident this past offseason, for which he was suspended at the beginning of the season.

That's just not a good look for a Baltimore sports team, to say the least.

Secondly, no one knows when or if the Yankees will be open for business.

An aging and decidedly mediocre team, the Yankees aren't real contenders in a division with the Orioles, Red Sox, and Blue Jays, but they aren't awful either, and under those circumstances the Yankees have been loathe to sell since their run of contending ended in 2013.

Chapman, who is a free agent after the season, would seem like someone they should obviously want to trade for talented young players in the next couple of weeks, but this team is probably as likely to look to add a player or two as trade anyone away, and if they do put Chapman (or Andrew Miller) out there, they'll likely ask for a very large haul of prospects in return.

So adding Chapman probably isn't happening, but it's fun to dream all the same.

This is all part of the reason the next two weeks are both fun and frustrating at the same time.

Imagining the possible moves and matches is delightful and exciting, but always remember #yourtradeproposalsucks, and no one is trading a Cy Young candidate for Ubaldo and Mancini with Hunter Harvey's good arm thrown in for good measure.

So don't get too attached to any one player, and don't get too upset if not much happens.

We don't know what other teams are asking for, after all, and ultimately it's just as important to not give away too much for a small or short term upgrade to the current roster, both because that's a good way to end up with a truly godawful roster with no options (or simply to miss out on a much better player in the offseason when teams are much more willing to deal bigger contracts and better players), and because it doesn't guarantee anything in September or October anyway.

KELLY banner ad

only four seats remain on our trip to notre dame on september 24


The tickets are in! And we're a little over two months away from going to Notre Dame to see the Fighting Irish take on Duke in football.

Yes, indeed, our tickets arrived this week and it's really happening!! We're going to South Bend on September 24.

And we only have FOUR seats left on the trip. Who wants them?

#DMD's first-ever venture 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 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.

Take a tour of the Notre Dame stadium.

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.


Orlando Products banner ad
Wednesday
July 13
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIV
Issue 13
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


mcilroy’s issue? can’t make money in rio


Rory McIlroy caused quite a stir from Scotland on Tuesday when he addressed his imminent absence from the Olympics in Rio by basically saying the games don’t matter that much to him.

Fair enough.

Some folks care about their country and some really care about their country.

McIlroy then poured gas on the fire later in the same press conference when he also said his role in golf wasn’t “growing the game”, rather he was in the sport to “win championships and major championships.”

Poor spoiled kid.

Well, he’s not poor, obviously, not with the $150 million deal he signed with Nike a few years ago.

And let’s not forget the $40 million or so he’s won playing golf as a professional.

And then there's big bucks from the watch company he endorses as well.

X
"I'm not into golf to grow the game," said Rory McIlroy on Tuesday.

It all adds up to a nice, tidy sum for McIlroy, the kid who came from nothing and now not only never looks at the prices on the menu, but orders two of everything just to make sure he gets enough to eat.

But all that money hasn’t made McIlroy any smarter, as he proved yesterday when he told the media gathered for this week’s British Open, “I didn’t get into golf to try and grow the game; I got into it to try and win championships and win major championships.”

Brandel Chamblee of The Golf Channel raked McIlroy over the coals yesterday, but more for the disprectful comments he made about the Olympics than the “growing the game” sentiments.

I’m the other way around, actually. But I understand Chamblee’s point.

Whether it’s dissing the Olympics in Rio or eschewing his duty to grow the game of golf, McIlroy should be ashamed of his comments on Tuesday.

What’s more, he should really be embarrassed about the root of those comments he made in Scotland.

His decision to skip the Olympics? That’s easy. It’s all about money.

And sponsors.

You see, McIlroy can’t win $1.4 million for his efforts in Rio, if he were lucky enough to scrape together four excellent rounds and win the gold medal, which current form suggests he couldn’t, anyway.

He can’t have his marketing team send Nike an invoice after the games for the TV time he accumulates on their behalf while the cameras zoom in on his hat, shirt, shoes and golf bag.

Players have to wear the approved uniform of their country in the Olympics, in the same way they have to wear the standard gear at The Ryder Cup.

That works against McIlroy’s ability to cash in on his agreement with Nike which pays him handsomely for getting that iconic “swoosh” on TV sets all over the world.

No money for Rory means no interest from Rory, apparently.

What happened to the little kid in the TV commercial?

And while his growing-the-game comments were off-base, those, too, circle back to the same issue as his absence from Rio.

He doesn’t need to grow the game when his deal with Nike is guaranteed for the next umpteen years.

At least that’s what he thinks, and that’s probably what his ironclad deal with the apparel maker suggests as well.

McIlroy knows better, though, if we’re to believe those commercials Nike produced and aired last year that saw Nike-mate Tiger Woods hand over the baton to the youngster from Northern Ireland.

Woods grew the game when he was 27, which is how then-14-year old McIlroy got the golf bug and wanted to follow in Tiger’s footsteps as the sport’s most dominant player.

Tiger’s Nike deal was nearly twice as lucrative as McIlroy’s, but you certainly never heard Woods refusing to honor his role as a builder of the game.

The 14-time major champion made lots of personal mistakes in the third decade of his life, but not-growing-the-game wasn't one of them.

Tiger got paid a lot of money by his own band of sponsor, yes. But he still hung in there and tried to build the game for those behind him, like McIlroy and probably 75% of the other "youngsters" on TOUR these days who are making their living in part because of Woods, who made his money because of Jack, Lee and Arnie, and the cycle goes on and on from there.

Maybe those commercials Nike aired last summer weren’t sincere after all.

Or maybe Rory has changed a lot since then.

Whatever the case, McIlroy needs a refresher course in something called “good fortune”, which reminds those who swallowed the lucky pill “there but by the Grace of God go I.”

McIlroy owes the game of golf, not the other way around.

Once he’s gone, the game will continue, the same way golf still blossomed without Nicklaus, baseball rolled on without Derek Jeter, football still thrived without Joe Montana and basketball didn’t die when Michael Jordan retired.

In the meantime, McIlroy is more than entitled to make all the money he can, since it’s through his hard work and expertise that he’s been able to collect outrageous sums of money.

But with that money comes an obligation to give something back.

We don’t want your money, Rory.

We want you to show some integrity.

And devotion to the game that got you where you are, not the sponsors who fund your follies now -- even while you’re throwing clubs in the water like a brat in the junior club championship.

Get your game together, kid, and play like a professional.

And act like one, too.

BARCS banner ad

how did pete rose get involved?


There wasn't a whole lot of excitement in last night's All-Star Game, won by the American League, 4-2.

Eric Hosmer of the Royals won the MVP award, every Oriole except Brad Brach got to play, and Zach Britton nailed down the save in the bottom of the 9th.

And David Ortiz got a hero's welcome from his A.L. teammates on the field when he was pulled from the game in what is going to be his final appearance at the mid-season classic.

X
From betting on the games while he managed to earning a paycheck through baseball's most celebrated in-season game. Short memories at FOX Sports.

FOX Sports didn't make the whole show about Ortiz, but they gave the big man his due on Tuesday night, that's for sure.

Oh, and they somehow decided to use Pete Rose as an "analyst" in the pre-game and post-game coverage they supplied to the broadcast.

You remember Rose: great hitter, not-so-great-manager, banned from the sport because he bet on games in the 1980's.

Banned from the sport.

And yet, there he was last night, working with FOX, in what is supposed to be baseball's most symbolic game.

The best of the best, playing for all the world to see.

Pete Rose, confessed gambler on the games he was managing -- and others -- in there representing FOX during the broadcast.

It's not the first time someone has used Rose in a promotional capacity, even though Major League Baseball acts like he doesn't exist.

But it was particularly appalling given that MLB made a terrific gesture prior to the game when they named their respective "batting average champions" after Tony Gwynn (N.L.) and Rod Carew (A.L.).

Honoring those two was the right thing to do.

FOX employing Pete Rose for the night -- who was lousy on the air, by the way, if you even paid attention -- was the exact opposite of what baseball did with Gwynn and Carew.

It gave a paycheck and a forum to the sport's most disgraced player of the last fifty years, neither of which is deserved by Rose in 2016.

KELLY banner ad

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.


and your british open winner is...


With the British Open starting tomorrow at Royal Troon in Scotland, we'll kill two birds with one stone here today at #DMD.

I'll complete my "5 players to watch" segment by giving you the predicted winner, which dovetails nicely into this week's six-man fantasy golf team that I'm supplying, courtesy of our friends at Glory Days Grill.

The last six winners at Royal Troon have all been Americans. That's quite a quirk, it would seem, and one that you either completely embrace or completely disregard.

I think I'll embrace it, as the six names below will show.

X
Ryan Moore doesn't have a major title in his pro career, but he won two USGA tournaments as an amateur -- he knows what it takes to win big time golf events.

It's a little easier to get six players into the $50,000 player payroll at an event like the British Open because the field is so large. I'm going with a couple of "tried-and-true" types and then using a few guys that haven't yet won a major but might seize this opportunity to finally capture one.

I like the golf game of Ryan Moore and I really like the fact he's played well on occasion in Europe in addition to enjoying a solid career on the PGA Tour. If it's windy and rainy -- which it apparently will be through at least Saturday -- Moore's short, compact golf swing should bode well for him under those stresses. He's a good value at $6,200 and fits the mold of someone like Justin Leonard, who won at Troon in '97.

At that same $6,200 amount is William McGirt, whom I have crowed about virtually all season as a guy you might look to play every week. He won the Memorial back in early June, contended again a few weeks later, and is very capable of being in the hunt at a major championship, especially one where making a gazillion birdies isn't required.

If you're looking for someone who can beat the ball low and long off tee and chew up the wind that's expected to battle the players on Troon's inward nine, J.B. Holmes might be one of the guys who can solve that puzzle. Holmes is a great ball-striker, but only an OK putter. That doesn't mean, however, he can't win. He just needs to putt well this week -- not better than everyone else -- and he can do some damage at Troon. Win? Eh, that might be ambitious. Make the cut and show up on the leaderboard at some point on Sunday? Very capable of that. Price: $6,500

There's still plenty of golf left in the career of Lee Westwood, as he showed at Augusta and Oakmont earlier this season. At some point, like Darren Clarke did at age 42, Westwood is going to his major title. Right? Well, he's 43 now, and needs to do it sooner rather than later, and what better place than Scotland, where Westwood has competed regularly on the European Tour over the last 20 years. At $8,500, he's a very reasonable investment, and seems like a no-brainer on any team you're posting in DFS. Those nagging woes with his short game and putter didn't really come to a head at Augusta back in April, so you figure if he can play well there, he can play well anywhere. His cost

There's always a train of thought that one of these guys -- Spieth, Day, etc. -- is on the verge of breaking out and dominating for a short period of time. And by "dominating", I mean, winning 3 or 4 major titles in a 2-year span, sort of like Rory did from 2011 through 2013. I think that guy is Adam Scott, but at some point it would be nice if he would prove me right. I'm playing Scott this week because I think the course fits him well. He can use irons off the tee when necessary and drive it long and deep when the wind is giving everyone fits. His iron game is sublime. It's the putter, of course, that either makes him or breaks him. I think it might "make him" this week. I like Adam Scott's chances. Price: $10,600

X
Just go with the hot hand this week at Troon and be glad you did. Dustin Johnson makes it two in a row in 2016.

I hate to take chalk and go along with everyone else, but better to be smart and win than silly and lose. I'm taking Dustin Johnson to win the British Open. I'm in the camp that says all DJ needed was to win one...and he's now off and running. Plus, I like the fact that nothing seems to faze him. Not even those idiot rules officials at the U.S. Open could keep him from playing a great back nine and winning at Oakmont last month. If he can survive that, than the wind and rain at Troon won't bother him at all. He's the best driver of the golf ball in the world right now, and his iron game is as good as you can find anywhere. Short game and putting? Decent, but not much more than that. But, as he showed at Oakmont, he's not a stiff around the greens and those back-nine putts he rolled in showed everyone he can make a big putt when needed. He's $12,000, but very much worth it.

Others to consider (in order) -- Chris Wood, Andy Sullivan, Louis Oosthuizen, Zach Johnson, Shane Lowry, Jordan Spieth, Sergio Garcia, Brandt Snedeker, Matt Kuchar, Martin Kaymer.

ABC banner

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.

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 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.

Take a tour of the Notre Dame stadium.

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
July 12
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIV
Issue 12
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


a new unwritten baseball rule: umpires can be kicked out, too


Somehow, in the midst of preparing DMD’s mid-season grades for yesterday’s edition, I completely brain-farted on one of the absolute worst things to happen in Major League Baseball so far this season.

And it happened right here in Baltimore – at Camden Yards, no less, during Sunday’s game with the Los Angeles Angels.

Look, I don’t think the Angels are coming back to win the A.L. West or challenge for a playoff spot or anything like that. I’m trying NOT to overhype what happened on Sunday with shortstop Yunel Escobar.

But one of their players was ejected from a game for no reason and the game was very much in doubt all the way until the 27th out was recorded by O's closer Zach Britton.

In case you didn’t see it or don’t know the details, Escobar was thrown out of the game in the 7th inning by home plate Tim Timmons because, as you’ll see below, he drew a home plate in the dirt in front of him after O’s first baseman Chris Davis checked his swing on a pitch and Timmons called a “ball”.


#DMD - HDTV


I’m not here to say Escobar was going to hit a game-winning 3-run double in the top of the 9th inning on Sunday – but Escobar might have hit a 3-run double in the top of the 9th inning on Sunday. Until he got chucked for no reason…

Something has to come of this decision by Timmons to toss Escobar from the game for basically standing there and breathing.

Sure, Escobar was momentarily distracted from the actual game while he was busy doing his art work in the dirt at shortstop, but the joke would have been on him if Davis would have ripped a ball in his direction that he was unprepared to field.

It’s not the umpire’s job to keep Escobar’s head in the game.

Throwing him out? Putting the Angels in jeopardy because a guy drew something in the infield dirt?

Really, Timmons? Are you six years old?

And tell me, is there any way at all as Escobar put his finger in the dirt and started to draw that Timmons actually knew what he was drawing?

These umpires have lost their minds in the last couple of years.

The “rules” (apparently) say you’re not allowed to argue balls and strikes. Fair enough. But what, precisely, is “arguing” these days?

”Really? That sure didn’t look like a strike to me…”

Is that arguing balls and strikes?

”Damn, blue, you’re getting awfully liberal with the strike zone tonight, huh?”

Would that be considered “arguing”?

”That wasn’t a strike.” Can you say that anymore or no?

We now know you can’t draw a home plate in the dirt during the game…that’s apparently such an egregious violation of these stupid rules in baseball that you’re now “ejectable” for doing something so heinous.

The fans are paying $50, $60 or even $100 to see the world’s best baseball players play ON THE FIELD and yet, one umpire throwing a hissy fit can not only rob the fans of that privilege but jeopardize a team’s ability to win a game.

And as we saw a couple of years ago when the Rangers and Rays finished with the same record and tied for one of the two A.L. Wild Card berths, one game matters a lot.

One player. One at-bat. One ball hit in the hole.

Imagine if Manny Machado gets the heave-ho on the final weekend of the regular season for doing something completely benign like Escobar did on Sunday…

And the Orioles trail in that game, 3-2, needing a win to stay alive in the A.L. playoff race.

Escobar didn’t pull a Robby Alomar and spit on the umpire.

He didn’t draw a swastika on the infield dirt.

He give anyone the finger.

But he wasn’t allowed to finish the game because the umpire felt like he, the guy NOT playing, was more important than the fellow who WAS playing.

It’s a shame there aren’t some common rules that apply to the men in blue.

Just like a player who runs afoul of the rules during a game and can be suspended for his actions, umpires, too, should be punished if they do something idiotic that gets reviewed and is deemed "out of line" or over the top.

In Timmons’ case, he should sit for a week for that disgraceful episode on Sunday.

BARCS banner ad

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.

Minor league baseball players do not make very much money.

Once you get past the select few high round picks who get nine figure signing bonuses out of the draft, the vast majority of players toiling away at non-descript stadiums across the half dozen or so minor league levels are making shockingly little money, considering that it's the affiliated big league clubs who bear the responsibility of paying labor costs for the minor league clubs.

In fact, when you factor up all of the time devoted to baseball related activities, a rather large number of these players are actually making less than minimum wage.

Players have become increasingly attuned to this, and a group of them filed a lawsuit against MLB and MiLB that seeks to formally extend the protections of the Federal Labor Standards Act to minor league players.

That's the law that establishes the minimum wage and sets a bunch of other requirements for the way employers have to treat their employees, the responsibilities they have to meet, etc.

But not everyone is covered and, unsurprisingly, MLB and MiLB (which is really rich since, again, minor league organizations aren't even responsible for paying player salaries) have come out arguing that minor league baseball players should fall in that exempted class.

They're not players, they're "apprenctices"

Major League Baseball even put out a formal statement a couple of weeks ago which was, frankly, embarrassing and infuriating.

To briefly sum up their argument, MLB compared its minor leaguers to artists and singers who are exempt from FLSA and argued, verbatim, "for the overwhelming majority of individuals, being a minor league baseball player is not a career but a short term seasonal apprenticeship in which the player either advances to the Major Leagues or pursues another career."

This is one of those statements that's not exactly factually wrong, but it's utter hogwash all the same.

For starters, it's not exactly relevant. Just because a job is a dead end one and most people who work it won't make a long term career of it does not in and of itself mean that the workers aren't covered by FLSA or that minimum wage laws and other basic worker protections don't apply.

Secondly, this doesn't actually convey the nature of Major League Baseball's relationship with the minor leagues and its players in any remotely accurate sense.

Here's a pretty uncontroversial premise: MLB needs the minor leagues. It needs that lower level of affiliated competition to develop prospects and prepare new big leaguers, and even players who played college ball almost always need a year or more in the minors before they're ready for MLB.

Additionally, the minor leagues are a place where teams generally stock 5-10 players who represent what we might call "organizational depth:" that is aging veterans or "4-A" players who aren't necessarily good enough to hold down a 25 man roster spot, but are useful to have available if someone else gets hurt.

Between these types of players and the legitimate prospects, you have essentially everyone who's likely to sniff the big leagues at any given point, and the only minor leaguers who are directly relevant to most MLB franchises. Everyone else are what we call organizational filler; guys who will never make the big leagues and are just filling out rosters for however long they stick it out.

Remember: major leaguers were once minor leaguers

But here's the thing: Those guys are crucial to the actual enterprise of Minor League Baseball. Just like McDonald's is a multi billion dollar company that would grind to a halt without the minimum wage workers who actually scoop your fries and put your burgers together, the minors wouldn't be able to fill out their rosters and support as many teams as they have without those guys.

And even that undersells them: Far from being unskilled, if crucial, labor, these "schmucks" still fall in the best 2,000 or so baseball players in the entire world (by way of comparison, the NFL has 32 teams each with a 53 man roster, which equates to 1,696 players in the league before you account for the practice squads and injured reserve list) and it's equally important to MLB that they have a skill level above that of your average Baltimore County high school player so as to actually help the top prospects develop and hone their skills.

So that's a roundabout way of saying that there's simply no way to summarize MLB's treatment of minor leaguers other than to say, flatly, that they're exploiting them.

No matter what any individual's likelihood of making the big leagues, MLB still needs him on that minor league roster, and they can't just pull in some random Joe off the street to give them comparable "production."

What's worse, as Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports observed, these minor leaguers are getting a double-whammy on future returns since most of the time they'll strive for naught in the minor leagues they're at the age when their peers are getting college degrees and/or working at entry level positions that teaches them valuable job skills, so when they do hang up the spikes they go on to those "other careers" at a disadvantage to other workers.

This shouldn't be that complicated: MLB is big business, and it needs the minor leagues and, by extension, relatively talented baseball players to fill the roster spots on those teams. They should be expected to compensate and treat those players at at least the minimum level we require other employers to do for their employees.

KELLY banner ad

for those who like some action: five worthy british open picks


We kicked off British Open week yesterday here at #DMD with the first two of our five picks for the season’s third major of the year, which starts this Thursday at Royal Troon in Scotland.

Yesterday, we suggested you lay a few bucks on Brandt Snedeker and Andy Sullivan, both of whom don’t have a major title in their career but are certainly good enough to win one.

I’ll be giving out the (predicted) winner of the British Open in tomorrow’s edition of #DMD, where I also give those of you who are into fantasy golf a few teams to play in your respective fantasy leagues this week.

Here, now, are two more players to favor this week if you’re inclined to put a few bucks down on a few different guys in hopes of hitting for a reasonably big score.

The weather doesn’t look very good at Troon for the four-day tournament schedule. Now, that can easily change over there – in a heartbeat – but odds are the event is going to at least be weather-affected if not weather-altered.

X
After many a near miss in major championships, could 43 year old Lee Westwood finally break through and win his first on European soil?

With that in mind, it’s probably smart to lean in the direction of someone who has experience playing in that nasty kind of weather and, more importantly, has experienced some success in it as well.

That kind of guy is Lee Westwood, who doesn’t have a major title in his career but has been in the hunt for one about a dozen times.

Most recently, he finished T2 at this year’s Masters tournament and was reasonably competitive in the U.S. Open before fading on Sunday.

If you believe in the golf gods, Westwood is a prime choice this week.

That might be why Darren Clarke won back in 2011, but it wouldn’t be the sole reason Westy wins this weekend.

Westwood can win because he knows how to play places like Troon and short shots around the green don’t have to be precise like they do on American courses, where the greens are more undulating and confusing than those old putting surfaces that dominate the British Open rota.

If pars are critical and birdies are only part of the story, Westwood is a legit threat to win. If it becomes a birdie-fest, which based on the weather, it won’t be, he might not be able to make 20 of those over four days.

X
Another guy without a major but certainly good enough to win one - or more - is American Matt Kuchar, who just needs a Claret Jug to cap off an otherwise outstanding career.

Most of the experts are biting the hook on prominent up-and-comers like Shane Lowry and Branden Grace. Both of those guys can play, of course, and it certainly wouldn’t be a shock to see either of them triumph.

But my fourth guy to watch is another American that’s far overdue for his first major title and the narrative at Troon fits him perfectly. This is precisely the kind of tournament that brings out the best in Matt Kuchar, who just moves along from hole-to-hole and doesn’t let much bother him, including wind, rain, mud-balls and lip outs from ten feet away.

His track record at the British Open isn’t spectacular. But he’s made the cut in five of the last six “Opens” and has a couple of Top 15’s in there.

The leader in the clubhouse of the “He’s Due” group, “Kooch” has enjoyed a highly respectable career and is only missing a major title to get to that “elite” level.

Like the last four Americans to win at Troon who were major-less prior to their victory there, Kuchar would be an unassuming champion if he can pull it off on Sunday. He’s steady, solid on the greens and, much like Westwood, bad weather for three or four days would certainly play in his favor.

ROUSE banner

punters guide to the open championship

For those looking for additional advice on this week's Open Championship, #DMD provides a guest entry from a longtime golfing friend whose humor and eye for a favorable wager are nearly as sharp as his ability to make five foot putts with a $20 Nassau on the line.


Royal Troon
Hole #6 of The Old Course at Royal Troon Golf Club, located in Troon, South Ayrshire, southwest of Glasgow. The body of water in the background is the Firth of Clyde. (Click to expand.)

Rory McIlroy (6-1): Has to get on a sustained Rory-roll to win. Probably won’t. But even if he does, it might rain. Or there may be reports of a mosquito in the area. Or his wedding day might get closer. Or he might be asked which national anthem should be played if he wins. When a player on whom you're thinking of wagering confesses that the dominant feeling in his mind these days is one of "trepidation," it's time to slip your wallet quietly back into your pocket and tiptoe slowly away from the betting window.

Jason Day (7-1): Too preoccupied with analyzing himself and formulating what he feels the need to inform the public about his inner self to mount a serious challenge. Rumor is that he has retained Matthew McConaughey as his sports psychologist. Has more talent than others in the top rank, and when, and if, he gets his head screwed on properly, he will be a strong factor in every major. But at this point in his self-therapy, because this is a "Major," he'll be too self-torqued-up this week to let it fly freely. [He would benefit from having Crash Davis as his caddy: "Don't think, Meat. You can only hurt the ballclub."]

Jordan Spieth (7-1): Overly aware of the TV cameras constantly on him. Rather than ignoring them, he is playing to them. Because his sponsor compensation is based in part on the amount of time his clothing logos are televised, which time is counted and paid for in tenths of seconds, his play has slowed to a crawl but his earnings have soared. However, if his torrid putting continues, he is, although painful to watch, a solid choice.

X
The Marine Hotel overlooks the 18th green of the Old Course at Royal Troon Golf Club. (Click to expand.)

Dustin Johnson (12-1): Soaring high after his U. S. Open and WGC wins. Too high. Although he powders the ball off the tee, and there are no cracks in his short game, he can’t come down in time to win the Open. Plus, he’s going to smoke the field in the PGA Championship in two weeks. DJ is a high quality player, very high, but nobody can come out of the weeds these days and win four big ones in a row. He'll blow this one.

Justin Rose (20-1): If he plays flawlessly, he might finish three or four strokes back. He’s a superb talent who, inexplicably, blooms way too infrequently.

Rickie Fowler (20-1): Has no chance to win. These odds are better suited to whether he makes the cut. If the UK has a Better Betting Bureau, it should investigate. His odds were longer in the last five majors, in which he missed the cut three times and finished T30 in the other two. But, oh dahling, didn’t he look dashing in his cute little outfits! And now you, too, can sport Rickie-ware. Go to Puma's website where you can order outfits he has pre-selected to wear on each day of the championship. You can purchase them at a markup of only 2,500%. Tip: Smart shoppers are purchasing only the Thursday and Friday ensembles, which, incidentally, can be ordered as a "combo," and come with free shipping. And you can sleep well knowing that out of the $200 or $300 you'll pay for an outfit, about 23 cents has gone to some 11- or 12-year-old in Turkey, China, El Salvador, or Indonesia who played hooky from school to spend a 12-hour-day making it.

Adam Scott (20-1): Train wreck will happen somewhere. Wait for it. Could be a spectacular, high-speed, head-on collision or merely a slow and uninteresting derailment. But it will come. Hear Australia groan. Imagine Stevie rolling his eyes.

Henrik Stenson (25-1): Should be 10-1 or lower. More comfortable over there than back here. He shows up to compete. If his putter is solid, he can win.

X
The Tornado Peppercorn, a steam locomotive that pulls passenger cars to and from Troon Station on the UK rail network. (Click to expand.)

Danny Willett (25-1): It should be obvious, after seeing this guy installed as the 10th favorite, that odds are set according to name recognition rather than the true chances to win. See “Rickie Fowler” analysis above, minus sartorial commentary, and try to recall Mike Weir and Trevor Immelman's accomplishments after they slipped into their green jackets.

Sergio Garcia (25-1): If he’s anywhere near the lead after three rounds, he will search heaven and earth for the excuse for not winning. As always, he'll find it. Hopefully his English as a Second Language has improved enough so that, if he insults the winner, this insult is more elegant than those he has issued in the past.

Branden Grace (33-1): This guy cost whales a ton of money in the U. S. Open, and he might get roughed up by goons of that disgruntled fraternity before the Open begins. If he wins the major after the one where he was backed big, they will probably break his legs.

Louis Oosthuizen (33-1): Also should be 10-1 or lower. Solid choice. Play the overlay in case Spieth, Johnson (Zach), Leishman, or Lowry falter.

Phil Mickelson (40-1): A player for whom a train wreck is equally as likely as a great performance. Maybe he and Adam Scott will collide. If he stays on track, he will be in the hunt until around the 67th hole, where his age becomes a factor. A win, though, would restore the $1,036,000 of which Phil was recently disgorged in settlement of SEC insider-trading charges. ["Disgorged" is a great word, no? Street definition: money paid by the wealthy to avoid indictment, enabling perpetuation of the myth of equal justice for all. — According to government attorneys, Phil is not a "prison-type" person.]

X
The Main Railway Station at Troon. (Click to expand.)

Hideki Matsuyama (40-1): Players have to putt to win the British Open. Sayonara Matsuyama.

Shane Lowry (40-1): Top ten for sure. It would be great if he won, if only for the amusement of the rest of the world on hearing the pitiful groan coming from the Republic of Ireland, caused by the national hangover that results from failing to learn that champagne and Guinness don't mix, which lesson the entire country should have learned, but didn't, after celebrating the night of, and morning after, and afternoon after, Lowry's win at The Irish Open as an amateur in 2009.

Bubba Watson (40-1): Contrary to what 68% of recent American high-school graduates believe, Scotland is not in the United States. There is no Motel 6 near Royal Troon, nor Waffle House in walking distance. The Scots speak English with a foreign accent. The steering wheels of their cars are in the wrong place. They drive on the opposite side of the road. There is little chance Bubba can get comfortable enough to improve on his career-best T23 in this event, and a high likelihood that he will be, as he usually is, on the wrong/opposite side of the cut line.

Zach Johnson (50-1): Yet another golfer who should be 10-1 or lower—maybe even the favorite. It must kill him to watch Fowler and Bradley signifying in all those commercials while he beats both of them with his B-game. [And beats Bradley with his C-game.] In the last round of the WGC at Firestone, Johnson shot 65, the low round of the day, and got almost no air time. Rickie Fowler, who shot 67, got more coverage than Zach and 80% of the rest of the field combined, because Faldo and the other CBS mopes were babbling on ad nauseum about the clam diggers that Rickie wore.

Tiger Woods (66-1): Savvy Limey punters are salivating over the long odds they're offered on the 14-time major champion, and ignoring the pesky fact that he's not playing. All factors considered, though, Tiger is still a better bet than Rickie.

Bryson DeChambeau (80-1): The Scots might like him because his cap sort of looks like Hogan’s. The jury is still out on this guy. Puma and Bridgestone recently made him wealthy. If that doesn't go to his head, he might be a contender in the big ones for a while. He too must surmount a minor hurdle to win this one, however. Like Tiger, he's not entered.

X
Scores of witty captions suggest themselves, but this image is simply described as "The Beach at Troon." (Click to expand.)

Marc Leishman (80-1): This golfer, who finished fifth in 2014 and lost in a playoff last year, is rated as merely an equal of the guy above? Really? Well, what kind of cap does Leishman wear? What lengths are his clubs? Is he smart? Where did he go to college? What was his major? Perhaps, as the Bridgestone commercial says, "Greatness has a new name," and it ain't Marc. We'll see.

Keegan Bradley (125-1): How did this guy even get in the Open? He’s taking a spot Michelle Wie could have had! If you do want to bet on him, Scottish bookmakers lurking in shadow outside the course will give you 2500-1, then treat you to a pint o’ bitter. Sponsors have already written off the millions they invested in him. [Maybe the sports-marketing industry should explore the concept of "disgorgement."] Chances of seeing a meaningless fist-pump from Keegan early in round one or two: 1-125.

David Lingmerth (125-1): I recently lost a $5 bar bet, incorrectly identifying the line, "Ten thousand Swedes crawled through the weeds, pursued by one Norwegian," as from a Shakespeare play. The bearded, bleary-eyed barfly seated next to me, who turned out to be a retired Scandinavian languages professor, proved it to be a work by Norwegian poet C.V. Strangland, the first verse of which translated to English is this: "Ten thousand Swedes crawled through the weeds, pursued by one Norwegian. Ten thousand more fled to the shore, in the battle of Copenhagen." Since the only Viking golfer I know of, Suzann Pettersen, is not entered in the Open, and the Danes in it (the sen family: Ole-, Kjeld-, and Jen-) will not be factors, the Swedes have a chance to prevail. Could the first male Swedish major champion not be named Stenson? Maybe it’s time to break out the pickled herring, meatballs, and lingonberries.

Emiliano Grillo (200-1): I’m going to fire up my Tor browser, log onto Ladbrokes, and get down a ₤100 wager on this guy. I'm not predicting he's going to win, but with so many golfers who can't win having lower odds than he, it's a very reasonable bet. And it's the Open Championship, in which many longer shots have rung the cherries. If he brings it home, we'll throw a party with the 26,553.69 U. S. Dollars that he'll pay.

Royal Troon
Troon Harbour seen over the North Sands and Pan Rocks, with the ferry, the HSC Express, docked at the terminal. (Click to expand.)

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.

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 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.

Take a tour of the Notre Dame stadium.

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.


Monday
July 11
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIV
Issue 11
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


it’s report card time for ‘dem o’s, hon


Baseball’s proverbial “first half” is complete – albeit a few games past the actual mid-way point of the season – and it’s time to hand out report cards to the prominent Orioles and manager Buck Showalter.

To keep it simple, we’re also going to restrict the comments about each player to 18 words or less. Sort of like Twitter, but better.

And, yes, before a bunch of you whine about the grades, I’ll admit up front that I’m tough in that regard, just like my 6th grade English teacher at Glendale Elementary, Mrs. Hanvey.

And away we go.

Manny Machado (A) -- Just keep your cool and run the bases a little better, please. MVP season to date.

Zach Britton (A) -- Hard to pinpoint anything bothersome, other than he’s bound to blow one or two at some point.

Brad Brach (A) -- Any concerns about the O’Day injury have been wiped away by Brach’s excellence.

Mark Trumbo (A) -- Can’t ask for much more than he’s done. But will it continue in the 2nd half?

Jonathan Schoop (A) -- Might be on the verge of becoming a legit star, but operates in Manny’s shadow.

X
22 home runs at the All-Star break saved Chris Davis from an "average" grade at report card time.

Chris Tillman (B+) – WHIP (1.23) and ERA (3.41) need to be a smidgen lower to garner an “A”.

Hyun Soo Kim (B+) -- Not much power and fly balls hit to him are a Keystone Cops episode, but he can hit.

Chris Davis (B) -- Outstanding defensively. If they paid him $100,000 per-strikeout, he'd make $23 million a year. Wait...

Buck Showalter (B) -- Using the bunt more this year, which is good to see. Can he manage the bullpen?

Adam Jones (B) -- Batting average and OBP need work, but he’s all-in every night. Love his energy.

Dylan Bundy (B) -- WHIP is a little high (1.53), but he’s looking more and more like a Wade Davis clone now.

Joey Rickard (B-) -- Slowed down after a torrid first 20 games, but there’s a role for him on the team.

Vance Worley (B-) -- A pleasant surprise given his history. Usually reliable for about 40 pitches and can start if needed.

Kevin Gausman (C+) -- Strikeouts-per-nine is best among starters. Would be nice if the team hit for him.

Matt Wieters (C+) -- Average and power are middle-of-the-road but he’s still awesome defensively.

Mychal Givens (C+) -- Had a rough patch in June but has turned it around apparently. Improving every game.

Nolan Reimold (C) -- Gets a passing grade because he hasn’t spent time on the DL yet. Not much help overall.

X
Only one Oriole received an "E" for the first "semester" of the season.

Ryan Flaherty (C-) -- Decent as a fill-in and a company guy through-and-through, but that’s about it.

J.J. Hardy (C-) -- Looking like a ’98 Camaro that’s on its last legs, but he still gives feisty at-bats.

Tyler Wilson (D) -- Looks OK one game, then awful the next two. Perfect world, he’s in Norfolk.

Yovani Gallardo (D) -- 5.82 ERA, 30 strikeouts, 23 walks, 1.68 WHIP. Nowhere near good enough.

Pedro Alvarez (D) -- Take away his six best offensive games and he’s probably hitting .200. Very disappointing.

Mike Wright (D) -- Just like Wilson, but a tad worse statistically. Not ready to be in the big leagues yet.

Caleb Joseph (D) -- Anyone who sustains that injury and goes back to work a month later should get a medal.

Ubaldo Jimenez (E) -- Stealing money. Nice guy and all, but no longer worth using unless you’re down 9-1.

BARCS banner ad

who can the orioles deal at the deadline?


Here's the conclusion of the piece authored by Josh Michael of Orioles 101.com in which he highlights who might be available to deal at the deadline if the Orioles do, in fact, make a move.

Part one from Sunday, July 9 is available by simply scrolling down past the comments and taking a look at yesterday's edition of #DMD.

It’s no secret the Orioles do not have a deep farm system in terms of pitching.

After all, they keep having to run Ubaldo Jimenez and Mike Wright out there once a week. There are some arms that would attract potential trade partners however, and I could see the Orioles being willing to move them.

Let's be clear: Dylan Bundy isn't going anywhere, and with almost full certainty, the Orioles are not going to trade Hunter Harvey either. So who’s left?

The Orioles have a couple of left handers they will surely be asked about, and I could see them potentially listening.

Tanner Scott is a guy that teams will be interested in, and with good reason. He owns a fastball that has hit triple digits and could end up being a dominant reliever in someone’s bullpen in the not-too-distant future.

Of course, the Orioles would like him to be in their bullpen at some point, but when you can dangle a lefty who throws gas, you do it in hopes of getting back a player that could help you make a run at your first World Championship in 33 years.

Another left hander that Baltimore will be asked about is Chris Lee. He, unlike Scott, is a starting pitcher, but can also throw the heat with his fastball being clocked in the upper 90’s on multiple occasions.

I have talked to a couple of scouts who say he has the best stuff in the O’s minor league system. The biggest issue? He’s on the minor league disabled list with a left shoulder injury, which will certainly not help his stock on the open trade market.

Some may think that Scott and or Lee would be “untouchable,” but I don’t think so.

We have seen the Orioles move pitchers at the trade deadline over the past few years (Brault, Davies, Rodriguez), and outside of Harvey and Bundy, I can see them being willing to do it again this year.

I believe that the Orioles have some players in their system that other teams would find attractive, and the players I discussed here today are guys that I believe the O’s would deem “available” in potential trade talks. The real question is whether or not the right team, with the right piece, will find any of these guys worthy enough to pull the trigger on a deal with the O’s that could push Baltimore over the top.

This contribution was provided by Josh Michael, editor of www.Orioles101.com.

SECU banner

for those who like some action: five worthy british open picks


One of the best golf tournaments in the world takes place this week at Royal Troon in Scotland, and if history repeats itself, an American will be announced as “The Champion Golfer of the Year” early next Sunday evening.

You see, the last six times the British Open has been played at Troon, an American has won the tournament.

Why is that? Who knows, really? Troon is known as a place where “steady” beats “overpowering”, so perhaps it’s simply that.

Or maybe it’s just a quirk in the rotation of courses, where a player from the U.S. is bound to win every couple of years or so.

Whatever the reason, you can play the odds and choose an American or buck the trend and take the field.

I’ll be doing both this week, but I’ll say right now that I think an American is going to triumph again at Troon.

X
Could Troon be the place where Brandt Snedeker finally captures that elusive first major after close calls at Augusta and the British Open in his career to date?

I’ll reveal my winner in Wednesday’s edition of #DMD, but today and tomorrow I’ll give you two players each day that would be worth wagering on if you decide to lay a few bucks (or “quid”, as they save over there) down on the event.

The last four winners at Troon all captured their first and only major there; Tom Weiskopf (’73), Mark Calcavecchia (’89), Justin Leonard (’97) and Todd Hamilton (’04). With that in mind, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to pick an American who hasn’t won a major yet and see if he can’t bring you back a nice payout.

One such candidate would be Brandt Snedeker, who toyed around with winning back in 2012 before finishing tied for 3rd.

His track record at the British Open isn't all that great other than the aforementioned four-days-of-excellence in 2012, but the event is about the course you're playing, not your history in the tournament itself.

Snedeker is cut from the same cloth as someone like Justin Leonard, who won in ’97 by playing the course simply and making a bunch of putts, including several long ones on Sunday in the final round.

Snedeker’s driver hasn’t always been cooperative, but Troon is a place where you can beat it around offline a little bit and not get punished, as long as your putter cooperates sensibly. You could do worse than betting on him, I assure you.

If you didn’t know who Danny Willet was during his back nine charge at Augusta last April, then you’ll be going to Google search next Sunday when Andy Sullivan has a chance to win on the incoming nine.

The Englishman is a fixture on European Tour leaderboards, but is far from a household name in the U.S. Don’t mistake him for a middle-of-the-pack-type, though. The guy can play.

Sullivan doesn’t drive it far, by TOUR standards, but length isn’t all that important at Troon. He hits 70% of the greens, though, and that IS critical in a major championship.

Not having a boatload of major championship experience might be an issue anywhere else but in Scotland, where Sullivan has competed on many occasions.

One of the reasons someone like Sullivan -- or England's Chris Wood or even Lee Westwood, perhaps -- has a puncher's chance when he's never won a major before is that a British Open event played on their home soil feels half like a major and half like a standard European Tour event.

It's the same reason guys like Keegan Bradley, Rich Beem and Shaun Micheel won a PGA Championship.

If Andy Sullivan’s putter gets hot, he can win at Troon.

KELLY banner ad

calvert hall golf's "grad-guest" tournament has two openings for july 18


The annual Calvert Hall Golf "Grad-Guest" tournament is set for Monday, July 18 at Country Club of Maryland.

And we have two openings remaining for teams of two that would like to participate in this great day of golf and support the Calvert Hall golf program.

Here's how it works.

X
Two openings remain for the 2016 Calvert Hall Golf "Grad-Guest" tournament on July 18. Come on out and support the Cardinals!

One of the two players on the team must be a Calvert Hall graduate. The "guest" can hail from anywhere, male or female, as long as they have an established USGA handicap.

The event is an 18-hole "better ball" tournament, played under USGA rules (no mulligans, no gimmes, etc.), with prizes in both the low gross and low net divisions.

Modeled after the traditional member-guest tournament run by most private clubs, there will be a playoff of the four low teams immediately following the completion of "regulation play".

There's also a skins game, a putting contest with cash prizes, and a post-golf dinner with drinks for all participants.

Lunch and check-in start at 11:30 am. Golf begins at 12:30 pm. Dinner is served at the conclusion of the playoff, which should be around 5:30 pm or so.

The per-person entry is $200.

All proceeds from the event benefit the Calvert Hall golf program.

If you'd like to secure one of the two remaining two-person teams, e-mail me ASAP, please: drew@drewsmorningdish.com


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.

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 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.

Take a tour of the Notre Dame stadium.

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.


Sunday
July 10
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIV
Issue 10
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


as orioles reach the halfway mark, these things are true


Tomorrow here at #DMD, we'll hand out "first half" grades to the main Orioles starters, but for today's exercise, we'll simply go through the team and the season and point out some things that have shaped the club's first-place run up through the All-Star break, which begins on Monday.

Most Valuable Player -- Not an easy choice, but that's only if you don't think defense matters. If you consider glovework important, than Manny Machado is the (relatively) easy pick here, although Mark Trumbo's work at the plate would garner him at least some modest consideration. Even then, Machado's offensive numbers are outstanding and better than Trumbos's with the exception of the home run total. Manny is .322/.380/.577, with 19 HR and 53 RBI. In case you need more Machado vs. Trumbo evidence -- and you shouldn't -- Manny has struck out less (65 vs. 99) and walked more (30 vs. 24). Oh, and defensively, Machado is virtually unparelled at his position. Others considered: None

X
Whether with the bat or the glove, Manny Machado has been the team's best player since day one of the 2016 season. And he just keeps getting better...

Least Valuable Player -- For what they needed coming in and what he supposedly could supply, this one has to be Pedro Alvarez. Like many before him who have feasted on National League pitching and starved when coming over to the American League, Alvarez has stunk it up in his first season in Baltimore. He only has 18 extra-base hits in 169 at-bats and at this point has largely been forgotten by Buck Showalter. His offensive line of .237/.311/.450 isn't all that different than his career average(s), actually, but more was expected of him. Don't be completely shocked if the O's try and run him through waivers in August and, as much, don't be stunned if a N.L. team with a power need takes a gamble on him. Others considered: J.J. Hardy

Most Valuable Pitcher -- This one is a true toss-up. Could be Chris Tillman, could be Brad Brach, could be Zach Britton. All three have been outstanding. Tillman is 11-2 with a 3.55 ERA, although he hasn't been all that great over the last month or so. Still, he's on pace to sniff the 20-win mark in 2016 and could finish the season with a 3.25 ERA or lower if he puts together a solid second half. Brach has been superb in a mixed role this year, most recently taking over for Darren O'Day as the set-up guy for Britton. If you're a stats geek and believe in such things as WAR and WHIP, Brach's WAR is 2.7 to Britton's 2.0, and his WHIP is 0.81 while Britton's is 0.82. Britton's ERA is a tad better, though. While this one is razor-thin close, the nod here goes to Brach, who has thrown 12 more innings than Britton and surrendered just five more base hits. Others considered: None

Least Valuable Pitcher -- We're just piling on now. It's Jimenez, obviously. It probably won't be him in the second half, though. My guess is there's "shoulder discomfort" on his horizon. Others considered: None

Biggest Surprise -- Has to be Hyun Soo Kim, right? He's hitting .331 in 151 at-bats and has almost as many walks (18) as strikeouts (22). True, he doesn't have much power (3 HR) and doesn't really drive anyone in (11 RBI), but the man gets on base (.413) and can hit to both sides of the field. His defense is shaky, but he gets to more balls than his style might lead you to believe he does. Oh, and back in late March, the Orioles tried to get rid of him and he buckled down and made it happen. Heck, the sellout crowd on opening day boo'd the guy because he refused a minor league assignment to Norfolk at the end of spring training. Now, he's on the verge of cult-hero status in town. Others considered: Joey Rickard

How do the Orioles cruise to the division title? -- Get a good, reliable starter at the deadline, for certain. Add a quality left-handed relief pitcher, too. If available, perhaps get one more left-handed bat with power. Keep on hitting and fielding the way they did in the first half.

How do the Orioles stumble and miss the playoffs? -- Fail to get another starter at the deadline. Lose Trumbo or Davis to injury. Bullpen wears down after a fairly busy first half.

BARCS banner ad

who can the orioles deal at the deadline?


The Baltimore Orioles are in a battle for the top spot in the AL East and like many of their counterparts, they will be looking to make some moves at the MLB trade deadline to better their chances at capturing a division title.

The biggest question surrounding the Orioles and potential moves they could make are whether or not they have the minor league assets to pull off any deal of substance, and who would be available to be traded?

It’s no secret, the national “analysts” are not high on the Orioles’ farm system or any particular prospects in their system. Let’s not forget that the Birds were ranked as having the fourth worst farm system in all of baseball entering the 2016 season according to Sam Dykstra of MiLB.com and had just one prospect (Hunter Harvey) in MLB Pipeline’s top 100 prospects list entering the season.

That’s not good.

Do the Orioles have any pieces that other teams may find attractive enough to work out a deal with the Birds?

X
Among the most interesting trade prospects for the Orioles might be catcher Chance Sisco, who has been extremely productive at the plate for AA-Bowie in 2016.

I believe so, and it starts behind the plate.

Baltimore may not have a stockpile of “guaranteed” future MLB stars, but they certainly have a host of quality catchers in their minor league system. The Orioles’ four full-season affiliates: AAA Norfolk, AA Bowie, High-A Frederick and Low-A Delmarva, have either already had their All-Star games, or have at least had the teams announced, and the Orioles saw five catchers make their respective All-Star teams: Audry Perez (AAA), Chance Sisco (AA), Jonah Heim (High-A), Yermin Mercedes (Low-A) and former Calvert Hall star Alex Murphy (Low-A).

The biggest name among those is undoubtedly Sisco.

Currently ranked as the third best prospect in the O’s system, Sisco continues to swing the bat well and was named to both the Eastern League All-Star Game as well as to the U.S. Roster for the MLB Future’s Game.

The biggest knock on Sisco has been his defensive abilities behind the plate, but he has made tremendous strides defensively this season, and his current caught stealing percentage is the best of his career. There has been nothing I have heard or read that would indicate the Orioles’ are unwilling to move Sisco if the right deal presented itself, and with their stock of quality catchers in their system, as well as having a very capable big league catcher in Caleb Joseph, it makes Sisco available to be traded.

You could argue that Baltimore would not want to move Sisco with Matt Wieters being a potential free agent at the end of the year, but having an offensive minded catcher in Sisco opens a lot of doors for the Orioles on the trade market.

With the abundance of quality catchers in their system, I could easily see the Birds being willing to use any one of their minor league backstops in potential trade talks. After all, finding quality catchers is not an easy thing to do and the Orioles have an excess that they can dangle at the end of the month.

While you don’t see his name on many prospect “lists,” one guy that is surely to be talked about as trade bait is the reigning Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of the Year, first baseman Trey Mancini.

At 24-years old, Mancini is still young with plenty of upside and when you put up the offensive numbers that he has, Major League teams are going to want to talk about him as a trade condition.

We are talking about a guy who had 70 extra base-hits in 2015 in 136 games played. Oh, and let’s not forget that he also hit .341 and struck out fewer than 100 times (93).

Mancini began 2016 with AA Bowie due to Norfolk not having an opening at first base, but his bat forced the Orioles’ hand after just 17 games.

Mancini has continued to hit for extra-base power in AAA and I believe that a guy who owns a career batting average of over .310 in parts of four minor league seasons is going to be attractive to other teams. He might remind people of Joey Rickard, who did the same thing in the Tampa Bay system a season ago before the Orioles plucked him off the Rule 5 list in the off-season.

The biggest reason I would consider Mancini available to be traded is the fact that he is blocked at first base in Baltimore by Chris Davis for the next six and a half years, and with fellow farmhand Jomar Reyes likely moving to first base in the future, Mancini is the perfect candidate to be moved in a trade.

Having good position players is great, but what do all "sellers" look for at the deadline? Young pitching.

And the Orioles have some decent young arms to shop at the deadline.

We'll go through a few of those names tomorrow here at #DMD.

This contribution was provided by Josh Michael, editor of www.Orioles101.com.

KELLY banner ad

calvert hall golf's "grad-guest" tournament has two openings for july 18


The annual Calvert Hall Golf "Grad-Guest" tournament is set for Monday, July 18 at Country Club of Maryland.

And we have two openings remaining for teams of two that would like to participate in this great day of golf and support the Calvert Hall golf program.

Here's how it works.

X
Two openings remain for the 2016 Calvert Hall Golf "Grad-Guest" tournament on July 18. Come on out and support the Cardinals!

One of the two players on the team must be a Calvert Hall graduate. The "guest" can hail from anywhere, male or female, as long as they have an established USGA handicap.

The event is an 18-hole "better ball" tournament, played under USGA rules (no mulligans, no gimmes, etc.), with prizes in both the low gross and low net divisions.

Modeled after the traditional member-guest tournament run by most private clubs, there will be a playoff of the four low teams immediately following the completion of "regulation play".

There's also a skins game, a putting contest with cash prizes, and a post-golf dinner with drinks for all participants.

Lunch and check-in start at 11:30 am. Golf begins at 12:30 pm. Dinner is served at the conclusion of the playoff, which should be around 5:30 pm or so.

The per-person entry is $200.

All proceeds from the event benefit the Calvert Hall golf program.

If you'd like to secure one of the two remaining two-person teams, e-mail me ASAP, please: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Triangle Limo banner ad

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.

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 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.

Take a tour of the Notre Dame stadium.

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.


Saturday
July 9
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIV
Issue 9
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


here’s your week-by-week
breakdown of ravens 2016


It’s July 9.

The temps should be around 90 degrees in Baltimore again today.

We’re less than a month from the start of Ravens training camp.

What better time than now to go through the regular-season schedule for John Harbaugh’s team and pick out the wins, the losses, and the dreaded “swing” games that either keep the team home in January or send them to the post-season?

So, let’s do it.

Game 1, 9/11 vs. Buffalo -- A lot will be made of this one, naturally, with the Ryan brothers coming to town and Tyrod Taylor (presumably) facing his old team in Baltimore. Buffalo might be improved again this season, but they’re not coming to Ravens Stadium on opening day and winning. Ain’t happenin’. Chances for a Ravens win: 60%

Game 2, 9/18 at Cleveland -- Who knows how many games Cleveland is going to win in 2016? Might be 2, 4 or 6. The Ravens haven’t played all that well in Cleveland over the last few years, but they generally figure out a way to win, like they did last year when Will Hill returned a potential game-winning (blocked) field goal for a TD in overtime. Expect the same result in this one. Ravens look average at best, still figure out a way to win. Chances for a Ravens win: 66%

X
Blake Bortles beat the Ravens in Baltimore last season. Can the Ravens turn the tables on him in Jacksonville on September 25?

Game 3, 9/25 at Jacksonville -- Believe it or not, this is one of those “swing games” on the team’s 2016 schedule. Jacksonville is improving and their quarterback and his receiving corps are semi-legit. If the Ravens start the season 2-0, this is one of those letdown games the bookies love to see come around. If the Ravens are somehow 1-1 heading into this one, it changes things. I say they’ll be 2-0 after two weeks, so this one goes to the home team. Chances for a Ravens win: 54%

Game 4, 10/2 vs. Oakland -- Because they’re in the AFC and looking much improved, this one is also a playoff “swing game” for Baltimore. We all remember the fiasco in week 2 last September at Oakland, but then again, the Ravens actually “won” that game if not for a horrific, bogus call on Will Hill in the final minute of the game. Expect this one to be a shootout, and this time the football gods smile on the Ravens at home. Make no mistake about it, though, the Raiders are not a walk in the park anymore. Chances for a Ravens win: 55%

Game 5, 10/9 vs. Washington -- Who knows what Redskins team we’ll see in 2016? If they can improve on what they did a season ago en-route to a shocking NFC East title, they could be a tough out this season. But the Ravens and Harbaugh are historically really good at home against NFC teams and that won’t change in 2016. This one goes to the “695” instead of the “495”. Chances for a Ravens win: 60%

Game 6, 10/16 at New York Giants -- There’s no telling what the Giants are going to do in 2016. We know they can score some points, but can they stop anyone from doing the same to them? Just because it’s hard to start 5-1 in the league unless you’re a really good team (and right now, there’s no way to know that about the Ravens), let’s chalk this one up to “one of those days” on the road in the NFL and give Harbaugh’s team the “L” here. Chances for a Ravens win: 48%

Game 7, 10/23 at New York Jets -- The third of four “swing games”, as the Jets figure to be competitive enough in the AFC to hang around in the wild card race in 2016. The Ravens have historically been very good against the J-E-T-S, and this year is no different. Plus, they’re not losing in back-to-back weeks in the same road stadium, are they? Nah… Chances for a Ravens win: 53%

Game 8, 11/6 vs. Pittsburgh -- Maybe the football gods will smile on the Ravens again this year when they face the Steelers. Last year in Pittsburgh, the Ravens didn’t have to face Roethlisberger and then, in Baltimore, the Steelers were without Le’Veon Bell. This time around, though, if Big Ben and Bell are healthy, this game becomes a true toss-up. The Ravens aren’t going to go 8-0 at home, so let’s make this “the one that got away” and give Pittsburgh a last minute win. Chances for a Ravens win: 52%

Game 9, 11/10 vs. Cleveland -- Nothing beats the schedule maker’s gift, especially at the mid-season point, as the Ravens get Cleveland on a Thursday night at home just four days after what we expect to be a bloody battle with the Steelers. This one is such a lock, they’ve thrown away the key. Over/under on how many yards the Browns’ offense produces is 154 ½ . I’ll take the “under”. Chances for a Ravens win: 67%

Game 10, 11/20 at Dallas -- The other benefit of a cruise-through on the Thursday night home game is a ten break before traveling to Dallas. Thank you schedule guys. The Cowboys appear to be improved in 2016, but that’s all based on who is healthy and who is on the field by week 11. It’s a little early for a Thanksgiving Day feast, but the Ravens chew up the Cowboys behind a big day from Flacco. Chances for a Ravens win: 49%

X
The biggest nemesis to the Ravens over the last four years has been Cincinnati wide receiver A.J. Green. No one has done more damage in big game situations.

Game 11, 11/27 vs. Cincinnati -- The Ravens “Daddy” comes around late this year, as the Bengals don’t meet up with Baltimore until after Thanksgiving. We all know the Cincy game plan when they face the Ravens. It sounds like this in the offensive huddle: “OK, we’re going to throw it to A.J. Green on every play in this series…on 3…break!” Let’s hope Jimmy Smith gets plenty of rest the night before this one. I’m going to call for a break in the domination here and go with a Baltimore win on a last second Justin Tucker field goal. But I know what else could happen… Chances for a Ravens win: 51%

Game 12, 12/4 vs. Miami -- The Dolphins are probably going to be just average enough to come to town with a chance for the playoffs, but in this “swing game”, the Ravens put Miami out of their misery with a (predictable) victory that all but seals the Dolphins’ fate. The Ravens aren’t losing at home to the Dolphins. They just aren’t. Chances for a Ravens win: 58%

Game 13, 12/12 at New England -- The schedule makers giveth and they taketh away, too. A Monday night in December, in New England? No thanks. Brady and Company roll in this one, sadly, as the Ravens stumble again in Foxborough. Chances for a Ravens win: 43%

Game 14, 12/18 vs. Philadelphia -- This one is scary, not because it’s Philadelphia or anything, but because the Eagles are either going to be in the NFC East race and need this one or they’ll be completely out of it and everyone will be playing for next season. Either way, the Ravens win a close one as Harbs beats his former employer. It won’t make up for the loss up there four years ago when the refs stole the game from Baltimore, but it’s a big late season win nonetheless. Chances for a Ravens win: 57%

Game 15, 12/25 at Pittsburgh -- The Ravens gave Baltimore a Christmas gift last year when Ryan Mallett and Company stunned the Steelers in Charm City during the holiday season, but don’t expect Santa Claus to be so generous this time around. That is, unless the Black and Gold are missing Big Ben and Bell again. This one goes a long way in deciding who wins the AFC North, and sadly it’s Mike Tomlin smiling at game’s end. Chances for a Ravens win: 46%

Game 16, 1/1 at Cincinnati -- New Year, same result in Cincinnati, I’m afraid, as the Ravens and Bengals battle it out and Cincy pulls off a last minute win. This one gives the Bengals a 9-7 record, but they fail to make the playoffs later in the day when Oakland wins their regular season finale. The Ravens, meanwhile, are headed back to the post-season with a 10-6 record, although the loss in Cincy gives Pittsburgh the division title at 10-6. Chances for a Ravens win: 45%

Swing games the Ravens need to win: at Jacksonville, vs. Oakland, at NY Jets, vs. Miami.

Three teams the Ravens face who we think are going to be good who might not be all that good, actually: Oakland (because they’re the Raiders), Dallas (Jason Garrett is still their coach, right?) and Cincinnati (they have to stink one of the seasons…)

Three teams the Ravens face who we think are going to stink who might not stink, actually: Buffalo (pretty good a year ago, wouldn’t be a shock to see them threaten double digits in wins this season.), Miami (you just never know with these guys, they look the part, but always stink when it matters most), Philadelphia (look at last year’s crazy NFC East – this year’s Eagle’s team could be last year’s Redskins squad that shocked everyone).

BARCS banner ad

calvert hall golf's "grad-guest" tournament has two openings for july 18


The annual Calvert Hall Golf "Grad-Guest" tournament is set for Monday, July 18 at Country Club of Maryland.

And we have two openings remaining for teams of two that would like to participate in this great day of golf and support the Calvert Hall golf program.

Here's how it works.

X
Two openings remain for the 2016 Calvert Hall Golf "Grad-Guest" tournament on July 18. Come on out and support the Cardinals!

One of the two players on the team must be a Calvert Hall graduate. The "guest" can hail from anywhere, male or female, as long as they have an established USGA handicap.

The event is an 18-hole "better ball" tournament, played under USGA rules (no mulligans, no gimmes, etc.), with prizes in both the low gross and low net divisions.

Modeled after the traditional member-guest tournament run by most private clubs, there will be a playoff of the four low teams immediately following the completion of "regulation play".

There's also a skins game, a putting contest with cash prizes, and a post-golf dinner with drinks for all participants.

Lunch and check-in start at 11:30 am. Golf begins at 12:30 pm. Dinner is served at the conclusion of the playoff, which should be around 5:30 pm or so.

The per-person entry is $200.

All proceeds from the event benefit the Calvert Hall golf program.

If you'd like to secure one of the two remaining two-person teams, e-mail me ASAP, please: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

KELLY banner ad
Friday
July 8
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIV
Issue 8
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


is serena the best we’ve
ever seen – at any sport?


Saturday at Wimbledon, Serena Williams will look to record her 22nd career major singles title when she faces off against someone named Angelique Kerber.

In case you don’t know – and let’s face it, it’s women’s tennis, you probably don’t – Serena is one title away from tying Steffi Graf for 2nd on the all-time list. She thought she had win #22 earlier this year but lost in the Australian Open final to the same Kerber she’ll face on Saturday, then stunningly lost in the French Open Final after losing only one set prior to the championship match.

But all of that is behind her now, and the only two people in her way to the women’s all-time record are Graf and Margaret Court, who finished her amazing career with 24 Grand Slam singles wins.

This much we know: Serena is on her way to being the greatest women’s tennis player of the “Open era”, which is what you and I would call “our generation”.

But here’s something else to consider: Is Serena Williams better at her sport than anyone else – man or woman – we’ve ever seen?

Maybe.

She’s 34 years old now, and dusting 19-year-olds, 22-year-olds and 26-year-olds like she’s the Bionic Woman.

It’s here where we should note that Graf retired at age 30 after winning her 22 Grand Slam titles. Williams only has 21 and she’s four years older than Graf was when she called it quits.

But does it say more about Graf winning 22 titles by age 30 or Williams still buzzing through the woman’s field at age 34?

That’s a tennis experts' debate, I guess, but when you see people like Serena and Roger Federer still playing elite tennis in their 30’s, that’s something to behold and treasure.

X
A familiar scene for Serena Williams — winning at Wimbledon — could be repeated on Saturday when she takes on Angelique Kerber in an attempt to win her 22nd career Grand Slam singles title.

Back to the other debate.

Is Serena better at tennis than Federer, Sampras, Agassi, et al?

And is she better at her sport than, say, Michael Jordan was at his?

Is she better than Gretzky was as the unarguable greatest hockey player we’ve ever seen?

Jack Nicklaus won 18 major titles in his career. Tiger Woods has 14 and counting, although I think most people agree the “and counting” tagline can be ended.

Is Serena more dominant at tennis than Jack and Tiger were at golf?

It’s hard to tell who the greatest football player of all time is, but is Serena better than the likes of Montana, Brady, Manning, Rice, etc.?

No tennis player except Serena Williams has won 10 Grand Slam singles titles in two different decades.

If longevity counts for something, Williams is the “one and only” in the world of professional tennis. All she’s ever done is won.

I could go on and bore you with all the stats on Serena to prove the point that she should at least be considered “the best ever” at any sport, let alone tennis.

Here’s one of those quiet accomplishments that really proves her worth: She’s been the #1 ranked female tennis player for 178 weeks in a row now and seems a lock to break Graf’s all-time record of 186 consecutive weeks at the top spot.

You know – unless you went to Old Mill or any high school in Philadelphia – there are 52 weeks in a year. Serena has been ranked #1 – in her early 30’s, remember – for more than three straight years now. That’s a note worth noting, huh?

There will be some who will point to the short list of high quality players who were in Serena’s way for the bulk of her career and say “she didn’t face great competition”.

Yeah, they used to say the same thing about Woods, too.

You know why the competition wasn’t so great during Serena’s heyday? Because she beat them like a drum every week, just like Woods did with the pretenders he would trounce at nearly every major championship from 2000 through 2008.

Oh, and if you care about doubles titles in Grand Slam events – and most non-tennis people don’t, but the tennis crowd does – Serena has 15 of those to add to her storied resume.

But the big record is the one she’ll try to continue chasing on Saturday when she takes on Kerber in the Wimbledon final. It’s been nearly a year since Williams won a Grand Slam singles title, as she breezed her way to the Australian, French and Wimbledon championships in 2015 before being shocked in the U.S. Open semi-finals last September.

Add in the losses in the Australian and French Open finals earlier this year and you have a three-final losing streak for Serena, which is obviously hindering her pursuit of both Graf and Court.

She’ll have to win on Saturday to tie Graf, then take dead aim on the U.S. Open in September, where she could get to 23 career major singles titles and within one of tying Court’s record.

The sports world got robbed of some dramatic theater in golf a few years back when Tiger Woods – who had 14 career major titles at age 32 – went through a series of personal and health injuries and was unable to catch Jack Nicklaus and his record of 18 career majors.

Serena won’t face those same unfortunate circumstances.

She’ll have a great opportunity to catch and pass Court sometime in 2017, then slip off into the sunset as the all-time Grand Slam singles leader.

Once that happens, maybe then we can re-open the discussion about Serena’s greatness and where it ranks against the likes of Jordan, Gretzky, Montana and Nicklaus.

BARCS banner ad

nary a scratch


#DMD - HDTV


Three-time world surfing champion Mick Fanning of Australia was unharmed and unmarked after surviving an attack by a great white shark. On July 19, 2015 Fanning was competing in the World Surf League's J-Bay Open in Jeffrey's Bay, Eastern Cape, South Africa when the shark surfaced and struck him from behind. Fanning managed to keep his board between himself and the shark's jaws. After about 10 seconds, the shark broke off the attack. Fanning swam toward shore and was intercepted by an event water-scooter and brought safely aboard.

The shark did bite through the cord connecting the surfer's board to his ankle. Fanning can be seen in the video showing the cut cord to those who came to his rescue.

The only other competitor in the water at the moment of the attack was another Aussie, Julian Wilson. Wilson saw the shark's fin behind Fanning and immediately started screaming and swimming toward Fanning (and the shark). Wilson was also intercepted and brought aboard a water scooter. The Finals of the event were cancelled because of the attack.

X
Julian Wilson (red shirt) and Mick Fanning on shore after the shark attack. (Click to expand.)

Organizers of the J-Bay Open and officials of the World Surf League, after lengthy discussions, decided that this year's event would not be cancelled, but that additional safety measures would be put in place. These measures include the requirements that there be at least one water scooter on station for each competitor in the water, that a fleet of camera-equipped drones patrol the area over the competition, and that shark-detecting sonar units be deployed and operational during all times of competition.

The J-Bay Open competition is streamed live (Jeffreys Bay is six hours ahead of Baltimore time) on the World Surf Tour's website. The camera work of both the telephotos on shore and the GoPro's in chase boats is superb, the setting is beautiful, and the surfing is world class. The website also displays re-play videos and some wonderful still photos, both color and black-and-white, of the competition, the beach, and the town.

Jeffreys Bay is at the bottom of Africa and about 15 miles southwest of St. Francis Bay (setting of the 1966 surfing documentary, The Endless Summer). Jeffreys Bay was at one time a fishing village. In the 1960s it became a popular spot for hippies and other young people out traveling the world. Today, because of its moderate climate, it is a desirable place for Africans and Europeans to build second homes for winter use. The J-Bay Open is popular, and the town's population doubles during the 12-day event.

In keeping with the oft-repeated assertion that surfing is an addiction, not a sport, the first entry in the first heat at this year's J-Bay Open was 2015 shark-attack survivor Mick Fanning.

KELLY banner ad

anyone up for a trip to new york
for orioles-yankees?


We were pretty good luck for the Orioles in Boston last month when 20 #DMD baseball enthusiasts went to Fenway to see the Birds take two of three from the Red Sox.

X
The new Yankee Stadium

Should we roll the dice on a one-game trip to New York on Wednesday, July 20 to see the O's and Yankees?

#DMD has the ability to put a trip together for the 20th, with outstanding lower-level seats in left field at Yankee Stadium. We'd leave Baltimore at 12:30 pm for the 7:05 pm game, with lunch, beer, soda and water on the ride up to the Bronx, and a pre-game tailgate with dinner on arrival in New York around 4:30 pm.

As we always do on our luxury motor-coach trips, we'll limit the number of passengers on the 56-seat bus to 40, giving everyone space to stretch out and relax.

We need at least 24 people to make this trip happen.

The per-person price is $165 plus $10 bus-driver gratuity.

Our seats in Yankee Stadium would be awesome, in home-run territory in left field. If you haven't been to the new Yankee Stadium yet, this is a great chance to do so without worrying about driving, parking, eating, drinking, etc.

If you're interested in reserving a seat — or seats — on the trip, please send me an e-mail ASAP (drew@drewsmorningdish.com) so we can put the list together and see if we can get 24 people to go on short notice.


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.

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 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.

Take a tour of the Notre Dame stadium.

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.

Chase Fitzgerald banner ad
Thursday
July 7
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIV
Issue 7
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


winning in 14 innings is better
than losing in 14 innings


OK, it was only one game.

Just one of the 95 that the Birds are hopefully going to win this season.

But that was a “nice win” yesterday in Los Angeles, as the O’s closed out a nine-game road trip with a 14-inning win, 6-4.

After winning two in San Diego and getting punched in the mouth four straight games in Seattle, winning two of three at Chavez Ravine was a welcome sight.

Of course, the Birds got a nice break from the disabled-list gods when Clayton Kershaw missed his scheduled start due to a back injury.

X
Is Dylan Bundy a natural addition to the Orioles starting rotation?

But a win is a win is a win.

The game also showcased a possible solution to the Ubaldo Jimenez “issue”, as Dylan Bundy mowed down seven Dodgers in 2.1 innings of work and extricated the O’s from a bases loaded situation in whatever-inning-that-was around 5:30 pm or so.

The O’s have to figure something out with regard to Jimenez. Bundy might very well be the answer.

At least temporarily.

Bundy is 38 innings-pitched into what will supposedly be a 75-inning limit on him this season as he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery in 2013.

Even if that’s the case and the Orioles intend to follow that 75-inning restriction, that leaves their former #1 pick with 37 innings or thereabouts before shutdown time.

By my account, Bundy can make five or six starts before he chews up those innings, assuming he goes five or six innings per start.

I’m betting he’d be better than Jimenez, even if you said to him, “Dylan, just give us four good innings tonight and we’ll take it from there.”

You’d be losing Bundy for September and the playoffs by making that decision, but he’s likely not going to be available in the post-season if you keep him in the bullpen over the final two and a half months of the campaign.

The O’s are also going to be looking for a trade-deadline pitcher, so perhaps this brief experiment with Bundy only lasts through July and early August. Maybe he gets to 55 innings and can still be used in relief into September.

Lots of options exist, but one that should be taken off the table is Jimenez starting anymore.

At some point, Bundy is going to be a starter for the Orioles. It’s likely he’ll be groomed to start as early as next season, but why not give him a toe-in-the-water in 2016 and let him make five or six starts and limit his innings in that fashion?

Or, you can keep trotting Jimenez out there and get beat like a drum every fifth day.

Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Let Bundy make a handful of starts, get through July, and see who we can acquire at the deadline.

Anybody but Jimenez.

BARCS banner ad

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.

In one of the biggest free-agency developments in the history of sports, former Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant left the Thunder for the greener pastures of Golden State, where he'll play on a one-year contract with a player option for a second year.

If you're keeping score at home, that's a 73-win team and the 2014-15 NBA champions adding one of the top three players in the league to a roster that already features another member of that trio and a second elite shooter.

It's a scary roster that very well could eclipse that 73-win record and easily could become the best offensive team in NBA history.

X
Kevin Durant joined the team that beat him three straight years in the playoffs. Fans and media alike blew a fuse tripped a circuit breaker.

People are not happy about it.

Thunder fans responded like idiots because that's what fans do nowadays, and we can't expect any kind of maturity or self-awareness where major-sports fandom is concerned.

This demonstration of displeasure was a particularly galling example, given that Durant only peddled his trade in Oklahoma City because the franchise relocated from Seattle after his career had begun. The franchise move was the most noxious example of the theft of a team from a city in American professional sports history. [The Baltimore Colts have an argument on the basis of owners acting badly, but the Sonics/Thunder situation outdoes them due to the complicity of the league itself in conspiring to make an example of Seattle and the state of Washington for refusing taxpayer-funding for a new arena.]

For fans to burn the guy's jersey because he signed with another team after his contract expired is appalling, even in this era in which fans loudly express their senses of entitlement to a professional athlete's labor.

Sports fans acting like spoiled six-year-olds en masse is to be expected now, but we could expect more from the professionals in the sports media, right?

Ha!

Do a quick Google search for "#hottake" before wading through the commentary on Durant's move. Boy, are these takes scorching!

Durant has been called weak and soft for moving to a team that is already a championship contender, especially one that his own team was just one win away from eliminating in the conference finals.

The obvious comparison is to LeBron James leaving Cleveland for a Miami team that already had Dwayne Wade and a title.

This just isn't how things are done! Teams are built around star players, who lead their teams to victory.

They don't go to play for someone else's team to get a cheap ring!

This is nonsense, of course. Let's examine LeBron and Durant's circumstances to see why.

It's important to remember that, for all the hand-wringing over LeBron's departure from Cleveland, he was leaving a hot mess of a situation that was being papered over only by his own unfathomable talent.

LeBron's starting group in Cleveland was hot garbage. While the Thunder will likely make the playoffs as a lower seed — as the Heat did post-LeBron — the Cavaliers immediately went from a perennial top-seed in the East to one of the worst teams in the league on James' departure.

Worse, the Cavs' performance had consistently demonstrated that the front office had no idea what it was doing in trying to build around LeBron, desperately flailing about for guys like Shaq, Mo Williams, and Antwan Jamison as management-described major additions.

Moreover, the overall situation in Cleveland was deteriorating, with fan and media anger at the team's inability to beat the Celtics and Magic directed straight at LeBron. This was shamefully demonstrated when James was booed while playing with an injured elbow in his final playoff series in the Cavaliers' initial run.

It was an impossible situation. Lebron needed to get out for his own good (and the city's). Had he stayed, the Cavs might still be looking for their first ring (or even a first Finals appearance). LeBron's departure forced the Cavaliers into their total reboot.

Durant's situation in Oklahoma City was not as dire.

He had a top-ten player as his sidekick, Russell Westbrook, plus a nice cast of role players (including recently-added Victor Oladipo) and a multi-NCAA-tournament-champion in Billy Donovan as his coach.

Oklahoma City, with Durant, had one of the three best rosters in the NBA and stacked up on the shortlist of legit championship contenders going into the 2016-17 season.

On the one hand, it's easy to see why people are upset that the Thunder, one of the bigger threats to the Warriors and Cavs, will fall by the wayside, while the Warriors become an even greater super-team. On the other hand, people are suddenly ignoring problems with the Thunder that, heretofore, we've paid significant attention.

Specifically, Durant and Westbrook never played well together. Until Monday morning that was the defining feature, both of the Thunder as a franchise and of Durant as a player.

The Thunder had a perennial All-Star who didn't complement their bona fide MVP candidate on a night-in, night-out basis.

While Durant is a highly efficient scorer who's more comfortable moving without the ball and scoring in space than he is taking an opposing player one-on-one (though he certainly can do that) or firing up a three with a hand in his face (that too), Westbrook is more of a volume scorer who, as a point guard, exists solely in an isolation offense.

Westbrook is a good passer, but he requires the ball in isolation to run his game, and that often left Durant standing around waiting for the ball while Westbrook dribbled around hopelessly searching for a crease.

According to one report, Durant was immensely frustrated by this and wanted the offense to change, and the lack of change fueled his desire to leave. This makes sense — Durant is here in a similar (and maybe worse) situation as LeBron: he's dealing with a major management-failure that leaves the team not living up to its potential, and for which he is shouldered with a drastically disproportionate share of the blame.

That can't be fun.

Durant might have already won a ring, or several, but for the Thunder's decision to trade James Harden in 2012 for financial reasons.

With Harden, the Thunder would have had another top-10 offensive player, and thus a really good chance at winning at least one ring in those years. What's more, with this year's salary-cap explosion, the franchise would have been able to keep their Big Three together and may well have been in the midst of their own dynasty, depending on the supporting cast they rolled out and if they managed to find someone to play defense.

But Thunder owner Clayton Bennett, beneficiary of a practice facility built entirely with public money and a bunch of other goodies in the relocation deal, didn't want to pay the luxury tax and so dealt Harden for not much of anything. That marked the beginning of the Thunder being a perennially very-good-but-not-great team. To question Durant's loyalty to the franchise and owner while ignoring these facts is indefensible.

So Durant's move makes a ton of sense.

He's going to a team that runs exactly the kind of offense he wants to run, with a good coach committed to ball movement and spacing on offense.

It's a drag that Durant's move lowers the number of real contenders in the league, but that's the fault of the CBA and the NBA's compensation model. The structured contracts the league mandates require that every team tender essentially the same contract. It's the "intangible" factors that ultimately validate or discredit decisions, and for a superstar like Durant nearing the end of his prime, picking a team with a good chance of winning it all is going to play a big part in the long-term analysis of his decision.

If the league wants to change that, it must liberalize its labor-market rules and give teams more flexibility in signing free agents.

I'm not sure what is less likely to happen: that, or fans not acting like complete fools when players decide to take the label "free agent" seriously.

KELLY banner ad

anyone up for a trip to new york
for orioles-yankees?


We were pretty good luck for the Orioles in Boston last month when 20 #DMD baseball enthusiasts went to Fenway to see the Birds take two of three from the Red Sox.

X
The new Yankee Stadium

Should we roll the dice on a one-game trip to New York on Wednesday, July 20 to see the O's and Yankees?

#DMD has the ability to put a trip together for the 20th, with outstanding lower-level seats in left field at Yankee Stadium. We'd leave Baltimore at 12:30 pm for the 7:05 pm game, with lunch, beer, soda and water on the ride up to the Bronx, and a pre-game tailgate with dinner on arrival in New York around 4:30 pm.

As we always do on our luxury motor-coach trips, we'll limit the number of passengers on the 56-seat bus to 40, giving everyone space to stretch out and relax.

We need at least 24 people to make this trip happen.

The per-person price is $165 plus $10 bus-driver gratuity.

Our seats in Yankee Stadium would be awesome, in home-run territory in left field. If you haven't been to the new Yankee Stadium yet, this is a great chance to do so without worrying about driving, parking, eating, drinking, etc.

If you're interested in reserving a seat — or seats — on the trip, please send me an e-mail ASAP (drew@drewsmorningdish.com) so we can put the list together and see if we can get 24 people to go on short notice.


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.

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 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.

Take a tour of the Notre Dame stadium.

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.

SAFFER banner
Wednesday
July 6
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIV
Issue 6
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


fact: orioles starting pitching isn’t that good
(but you’re welcome to your own opinion)


Fact: -- The Orioles are the only first-place team in the majors who currently have a losing road-record.

Opinion: -- They’ll need to finish at least 40-41 away from Camden Yards to win the division. The home games will take care of themselves; but the Birds have to get it going on the road in the second half.

X
Has Carlos Beltran done enough in three seasons with the Yankees to earn entry into baseball's Hall of Fame?

Fact: -- Assuming he retires after this season, 39-year-old Carlos Beltran is going to finish his career with 2,500-plus hits, 420'ish home runs, and somewhere around 1,500 RBI. And his career OBP will be over .350.

Opinion: -- Those numbers might be worthy of Hall of Fame selection for Beltran. Jim Rice made it to Cooperstown with fewer hits, homers and RBI, although he played 16 years and Beltran is in his 19th season.

Fact: -- The Ravens schedule in 2015 was brutal. They’d never say it because it would be “excuse making”, but no team was making the playoffs with that sort of travel slate. Losing 75% of their good players to injury didn’t help, either.

Opinion: -- Their 2016 schedule seems easier just based on the fact their longest trip will be to Dallas; but this might not be the year you want to face the NFC East AND the AFC East. Those two divisions might be pretty decent.

Fact: -- Manny Machado hit a mammoth 453-foot home run in the fifth inning of last night’s game in Los Angeles.

Opinion: -- If Machado stood and admired a long homer for three seconds against the Blue Jays like he did last night against the Dodgers, he’d get plunked twice in the same series for that violation of baseball’s silly unwritten rules.

Fact: -- It wasn’t that long ago – this time last year – that Rory McIlroy was the #1 golfer in the world. He’s now #4 and lucky that no one in the 5, 6 or 7 slot is pressing him or he’d be further down the list.

Opinion: -- McIlroy would be in much better position to regain his #1 world ranking and capture another major or two if he committed to the PGA Tour full-time instead of hopping around the world and playing a patch-work schedule on the European Tour in addition to the dozen or so events he plays in the U.S.

Fact: -- That Corey Seager kid with the Dodgers is awfully, awfully good. He has an 18-game hitting streak in this, his first full season in the big leagues. And he’s hitting over .300. And he has 17 HR’s.

Opinion: -- Folks in DC might argue, but he looks like a Bryce Harper clone who hustles and gives a representative effort in every at-bat. Not saying he’s going to be an MVP in four seasons like Harper was, but don’t be surprised . . . .

Fact: -- Matt Wieters got thrown out at second on a force play last night in the second inning. “So what?” you say. Well, the force out came from a throw by Yasiel Puig—in right field.

Opinion: -- Jim Palmer must have been put on notice by the O’s after some on-air lashings applied to Manny Machado back in June. Palmer treated the Wieters base-running blunder last night with kid gloves, basically saying, “Matt got a bad read on that one . . . ” and moving on to talking about some game he pitched in 1968. Had Machado committed that faux pas, Palmer would STILL be raking him over the coals (and rightfully so, perhaps).

X
Chris Sale (14-2) seems almost a lock to finish the season with at least 25 wins and earn the A.L. Cy Young award in 2016.

Fact: -- Chris Sale has 14 wins thus far in 2016, with one more start scheduled before the All-Star break.

Opinion: -- Assuming he’ll make 16 more starts after the break, Sale could easily eclipse 25 wins en route to the Cy Young award in the American League. Those who think David Price is the best left-hander in the A.L. are advised to look at Sale’s numbers.

Fact: -- An American has won the British Open the last six times it has been contested at Royal Troon (Palmer, Watson, Weiskopf, Calcavecchia, Leonard and Hamilton)

Opinion: -- I don’t want to give away my winning pick 10 days ahead of time, but an American is going to win again this year at Troon, too.

Fact: -- ESPN’s “Body Issue”, which is published today, July 6, contains (basically) naked pictures of prominent male and female athletes, including NFL player Vince Wilfork, who checked in at 325 pounds for his photo shoot.

Opinion: -- Having seen my fair share of athletes in various forms of dress and undress in a locker room setting, the 2016 ensemble doesn’t necessarily grab my curiosity. But WNBA player Elena Delle Donne appears in this year’s edition of the “Body Issue”, so perhaps I’ll sneak a peek.

BARCS banner ad

now schmuck floats idea about trumbo
being dealt at deadline


I won’t link his work here because his employer hasn’t ever linked any of mine, but Peter Schmuck of The Sun authored a piece on Tuesday that called for the Orioles to look at trading Mark Trumbo at the deadline if they could pick up a formidable starting pitcher in exchange for the team’s leading home-run hitter.

It’s something I brought up here at #DMD a month ago and again over the weekend, as the Orioles continue to lose ground in the American League East because the team’s starting pitching is about as reliable as Johnny Manziel promising to show up sober at a casino.

X
If the Orioles aren't going to be able to afford Mark Trumbo in the off-season, is it reasonable to shop him at the trade deadline later this month?

There are really three obvious questions with regard to Trumbo, and I think we can answer two of the three honestly.

1. Are the Orioles going to be a player for Trumbo in the off-season when he’s a free agent and likely seeks a contract somewhere around the $16-$18 million per-season range? I think we all know the answer to that one given the mega-deal they just signed Chris Davis to and the pending money haul they might have to give to Manny Machado. “No”.

2. Are the Orioles going to be able to hold on to their American League East lead for the final two months of the regular season with a rotation featuring Tillman, Gausman, Gallardo and any of the other two scrubs they trot out there from week-to-week? “No”.

3. Would the team’s offense suffer irreparable damage if they parted company with Trumbo in late July and had to play the final 60 games without him? “Not sure”.

Schmuck went as far as to suggest a couple of potential trade-partners for Trumbo, including the Nationals (Gio Gonzalez) and Astros (Doug Fister/Scott Feldman).

Given the testy relationship between the Orioles and Nationals with regard to the MASN contract fiasco, it seems highly unlikely the two would enter into a trade that could benefit one or the other and adversely affect one as well.

It is odd, of course, that the Orioles don’t have a left-handed starter in their rotation. Gonzalez would fit that bill, but he’s not having the best of seasons and his contract ($12 million a year through 2018) might be more than the O’s are looking to bring on.

Fister and Feldman? Meh. Nothing to see there, certainly not as a swap for Trumbo, who should command something much more impactful than either of those guys, even if he’s going to be a free agent in November.

I’m not picking on Schmuck. I get it, you have to look at teams in need of a power hitter and figure out if any of them have a decent pitcher they’d give away in a trade.

But you can’t give Trumbo away for an average pitcher. The Orioles don’t need an “average” starter. They need someone who can step in as the #2 or #3 guy and get American League hitters out under the gun in August and September.

That pitcher might not be available in late July.

Now, if the O’s want to part company with Trey Mancini or some other reasonably attractive prospect for a guy like Gonzalez or Fister, I might sign off on that move.

As it is, I’ll say the same thing today I said last month and again last weekend.

If you’re not going to be able to re-sign Trumbo this winter, at least make the phone calls and have some serious conversations with teams about his availability at the deadline.

Just don’t give him away, that’s all.

KELLY banner ad

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.

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 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.

Take a tour of the Notre Dame stadium.

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.

Royal Farms banner ad
Tuesday
July 5
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIV
Issue 5
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


america’s greatest athlete strikes again

Every July 4th I watch and shake my head in amazement.

And every year I say the same thing: “How on earth does he do it?”

Sports are funny.

We watch the greatest athletes in their respective sports operate at the highest levels possible, yet nearly all of their accomplishments are things we too could do.

Jordan Spieth can make a 50-foot putt.

So can you. Your grandmother could, too.

Steph Curry can throw a basketball through a hoop from 28-feet away.

You and I can both do that.

Justin Tucker can kick a football through the goalposts from 35 yards away.

With a couple of days of practice, you could do that as well.

Most of the American League can’t make contact with a Zach Britton sinker, but you could. You might not hit it that far, but you could make contact with it, just like the big boys do.

X
Not looking so good here . . . but how would you look with 70 hot dogs in YOUR stomach?

But you can’t eat 70 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

Joey Chesnut can.

But you can’t.

Neither can I.

In fact, no one else in the world but Chestnut can do it.

It’s the greatest sporting accomplishment our country has ever seen, other than DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak.

Chestnut wolfed down 70 hot dogs (and the buns) in TEN FREAKIN’ MINUTES yesterday during the annual 4th of July contest on Coney Island in Brooklyn.

I want you to be honest, now.

How many hot dogs could you eat in ten minutes?

I think I could eat six in ten minutes, but the last two might be a challenge.

Remember, you’re out of the contest if you suffer a “reversal” at any point in the ten minutes. I think you know what “reversal” means, right?

Let’s pretend you can eat ten hot dogs in ten minutes. Or fifteen, even.

That’s amazing in its own right.

Chestnut ate 70 yesterday.

These competitive eaters—as they’re called—are like golfers on the state circuits. They’ll go anywhere and eat anything for a paycheck.

Yesterday’s contestants at the hot dog eating contest included a dude who ate 48 dozen oysters in 12 minutes.

Chestnut himself once ate 12 pounds of asparagus in 12 minutes.

Some dude who looked about 5’8”, 165 ate 293 Buffalo wings in 12 minutes last year, then decided it wasn’t challenging enough and moved over to the hot dog eating contest in 2016.

The only thing close to Chestnut’s amazing record of 70 hot dogs in ten minutes was Cool Hand Luke eating 50 eggs. But that was a movie . . . .

X
The look of a winner: Championship belt, American flag and Pepto-Bismol.

I don’t know he does it.

When do you feel hungry again after gobbling down 70 hot dogs?

A week from Wednesday, maybe?

What do you eat at the next baseball game you attend?

I assume hot dogs are not on the menu.

At the qualifier for the July 4th event a few weeks back, Chestnut devoured 73 hot dogs to set the all-time record.

Yesterday, he slumped and could only manage to eat 70.

In case you were wondering, the next closest maniac to him was Matt Stonie, who put away 52 of them.

Stonie ate 52 hot dogs and finished second. By 18.

We’re halfway through 2016 and Sports Illustrated already has their Sportsman of the Year.

He’s the guy who ate 70 hot dogs yesterday on July 4th.

His name is Joey Chestnut.

You can just call him “Our Greatest American Athlete” if you prefer.

BARCS banner ad

why all the hate for kevin durant?


I understand why people were aggravated when LeBron James left Cleveland for Miami in 2010 and engineered a made-for-TV announcement out of it.

It wasn’t that James exercised his right to leave the Cavaliers for the Heat.

It was the way he did it that smelled bad.

Kevin Durant announced his departure from Oklahoma City yesterday and people in the media and throughout social media crushed him for his decision to sign with the Golden State Warriors.

X
Durant, Curry and Thompson—pretty strong nucleus for the Warriors in 2016-17.

So, what’s the issue this time?

Durant is a free agent.

The most important word in that sentence? Free.

He’s eligible to sign with anyone he wants and for whatever price he wants.

Players work their whole careers—or a substantial part of them—to earn the privilege of free agency and are then FREE to move wherever they want.

I never once said anything negative about Mike Mussina leaving the Orioles for the Yankees in 2000.

Baltimore baseball fans were outraged that Mussina signed with the city’s arch-enemy, but the Yankees were (are) OUR villain, not Mussina’s.

If the Ravens cut ties with Joe Flacco someday and he finishes his career in Pittsburgh, that’s the way it goes.

Hell, we got mad in Baltimore when Mark Teixeira signed with the Yankees even though New York offered him about $70 million more than the Orioles.

Back to Durant, now.

People were cheesed off yesterday because he signed with the Warriors, effectively taking the stance of “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”. His Oklahoma City team has been eliminated by the Warriors three straight years.

Who cares?

Was he supposed to turn down $54 million from Golden State because he lost to them in 2014, ’15 and ’16?

All you have to do is put yourself in Durant’s shoes on a relative scale and have a moment of honest reflection with yourself.

You’re making $100,000 a year selling widgets for the Acme Widget Company.

The Campbell Widget Company comes along and offers you $300,000, for doing the same basic job for them that you were doing for Acme.

Where are you going to be working in three weeks once you give your notice?

Campbell, that’s where.

National media “experts” Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless lashed out at Durant yesterday, yet those two goofs have worked for a bunch of different people in their respective careers. Smith, in fact, has had more gigs than Chinese restaurants have appetizers.

I even thought the way Durant did it yesterday was pretty cool. He used Derek Jeter’s website, The Players’ Tribune to break the news, eschewing the normal way (a player’s Twitter account), the “LeBron way” (securing a studio and broadcasting it to the world) or the soon-to-be-normal way (on his own website).

Durant penned a short, well-reasoned explanation on why he chose the Warriors and how he came to the decision.

And that was it.

Now, it’s time for him to get back to playing basketball and trying to win that elusive championship with his new team.

That’s the joy of being a free agent.

If you’re wanted by a great franchise, you’re free to pick them as your new employer.

Sort of like moving from the Acme Widget Company to the Campbell Widget Company.

KELLY banner ad

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.

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 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.

Take a tour of the Notre Dame stadium.

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.


Wine Merchant banner ad
Monday
July 4
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIV
Issue 4
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


in season of streaks, o’s suddenly
hit a bad patch in seattle


In all fairness, there’s probably more good news than bad news this morning when it relates to the Orioles.

You just have to dig beneath the surface to find the good stuff.

The Orioles were blasted in Seattle again yesterday, losing 9-4, and suffering an embarrassing four-game sweep at the hands of the Mariners over the long weekend.

That’s bad news, for sure.

But the Birds don’t play Seattle again this season, which is particularly thrilling when you realize the Mariners are 6-1 against Baltimore in 2016.

X
Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette have some tough decisions to make, as the Birds continue to battle starting-pitcher issues in the wake of a four-game sweep at the hands of Seattle over the weekend.

There, you wanted good news.

Ubaldo Jimenez got the start yesterday in Seattle.

He wasn’t very good, as we’ve come to expect this season.

He won’t start in any of the next four games.

More good news, just like I promised you.

And even with a four-game losing streak heading south to Los Angeles with them for a three-game series with the Dodgers, the Birds (47-34) are still in first place in the American League East.

Another dose of good news for you, there.

Look, there was some inevitable market correction due to come the Orioles way if we’re being honest about things.

They just played the Padres, Rays, and Padres again in an eight-game stretch that saw them feast on those two losers to the tune of a 7-1 mark. Eventually, we had to play a decent team again.

The Mariners are a weird club, not that unlike the Orioles, actually. Seattle started slow, got red hot in May, then cooled off again in June. Their 43-39 record tells the story.

One night they’re good, the next night they’re not.

Except they were good—make that, really good—against the Orioles for those four long nights, as Baltimore led in just three innings, total, in Seattle.

It’s been a quirky season of runs for the Orioles, so this current four-game skid shouldn’t be all that surprising.

If you take their four best streaks of the season (8-1, 7-0, 7-0, 7-0) and weave them together, that’s 29-1.

The rest of the season? The Birds are a lowly 18-33.

I’m not one to say “take away those seven game winning streaks” because the whole object of the season is to win as many games in a row as you can. Instead, I think it’s worth remembering that the Orioles produced one lengthy stretch of baseball this season where they went 29-1, albeit with those 30 games scattered over the better part of three months.

You can go 11-8 in October and win the World Series, so 29-1 is pretty daggone good if you ask me.

But let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that what happened in Seattle was a fluke, either.

The Orioles are very susceptible to a losing streak if Tillman and Gausman stink it up like they did on Thursday and Friday at Safeco Field.

Even the most ardent O’s optimist would have looked at the series in Seattle and said, “Win, win with Tillman and Gausman, lose the next two with Wilson and Ubaldo.”

When Thursday and Friday were both losses, you knew we were in trouble.

As I wrote a couple of times last month, the Orioles must—make that MUST in all caps—add a decent starting arm or two at the trade deadline, or before, in order to finish what they started in the American League East.

They have the offense to get the job done, that we know.

But the starting pitching just isn’t good enough. They need help.

I don’t even blame Jimenez for his failings anymore. The club has trotted him out there to start three times recently—twice against the Padres—after he was banished to the bullpen prior to the series in Boston back in mid-June.

In other words—Jimenez isn’t inserting himself in the lineup. Buck and Duquette are the ones to blame if Ubaldo continues to start, which I suppose he might, since there’s not much else down on the farm worth bringing up.

At this point, I might give Dylan Bundy a start or two with instructions to give everything he has for 50 pitches . . . and then we’ll patchwork something together from there.

Or do the same with Vance Worley, who seems reasonably adequate until the lineup gets to see him a third and fourth time. See if you can’t coax 50 to 60 decent pitches out of him for a few starts.

There are worse options than those two. Like starting Jimenez again, for one.

Back to deadline talk: The Orioles don’t have much trade bait to offer, either, which is a big reason why making a deal in July is going to be as difficult as it is needed.

I broached the subject early in June that the team has two commodities worth considering when it comes to making a deal: Mark Trumbo and Matt Wieters.

Both are free agents at the end of the season, which is the ONLY reason you’d consider moving either one of them. Trumbo would fetch you more than Wieters, but can you realistically expect the offense to carry on without Trumbo?

Of the two, I’d move Wieters first if I could, handing over the catching reins to the duo of Joseph and Pena for the rest of the season. That’s a pretty weak combination, admittedly, but someone has to bat ninth.

I don’t see anything else of value at the major-league level the Orioles could part with and reasonably expect something of equal or greater value in return.

I’m not advocating actively shopping Trumbo or Wieters, but I’m looking at the Orioles 40-man roster and I just don’t see much there that will be attractive to sellers at the deadline (other than guys we’re not trading; Machado, Schoop, Davis, Jones, et al).

And we won’t survive July, August, and September with these scrubs who currently make up the majority of the starting rotation.

That’s not a low blow, it’s a fact.

BARCS banner ad

dustin johnson wins again to cement
“best american” status


Golf is a funny game, so Dustin Johnson better enjoy this lofty status while he has it.

Right now, on July 4, 2016, DJ is the best American golfer anywhere—period.

Johnson went 66-66 on the weekend to rally from +2 on Saturday morning to -6 on Sunday evening, winning his third World Golf Championships title with a one-shot win over Scott Piercy at the Bridgestone Invitational.

It was his second consecutive victory, having captured the U.S. Open, his first major title, on June 19 at Oakmont Country Club.

For perspective on his win at Firestone CC yesterday, look at this: DJ now has three career WGC wins. Impressive stuff, especially when you consider the strength of each field is “major worthy”.

X
Dustin Johnson's second-straight win moved him to #2 in the official world golf rankings, just a few points ahead of fellow American Jordan Spieth.

Tiger Woods has 18 World Golf Championships victories in his career.

But Johnson is the guy with the hot hand these days, not Tiger.

Here’s what DJ has done in his last 11 starts on TOUR: 1st, 1st, 5th, 3rd, T12, T28, T4, 3rd, T5, T15, 4th.

Um, that’s pretty good.

Jason Day squandered a chance to win his fourth title of the season when he bloodied himself on the par-5 16th hole and made double-bogey seven to fall three shots behind DJ, who made birdies at 13, 14 and 17 coming in before finishing with a bogey at the final hole.

Piercy’s 18th-hole birdie gave him solo second at five-under par, the second straight tournament he’s played where the only guy in the field to outright beat him was Johnson.

DJ’s win on Sunday not only moves him to the top of the FedEx Cup standings, it essentially guarantees him a spot in the Tour Championship no matter what he does from here on out (assuming he plays in four more events between now and the playoffs, which it’s likely he will).

It also gives him a pretty strong edge in the race for PGA Tour Player of the Year. Day has three wins, but Johnson has a major and a WGC victory to his credit.

This time last year, Jordan Spieth was the darling of the golf world, having won the Masters and U.S. Open and later nearly capturing the British Open in late July.

Times sure have changed.

Spieth won the season opening event in Hawaii, then threw away the Masters in April and wasn’t a factor at the U.S. Open last month.

Johnson, meanwhile, has suddenly surged to the top of the TOUR leaderboard as that 11-tournament run listed above easily proves.

Under the gun—in major championships and significant moments—two things have always haunted DJ: An iffy wedge game and balky putter.

Those blemishes never surfaced on the back nine at Oakmont and weren’t present on the incoming nine at Firestone yesterday.

If he’s finally figured it all out, as it looks like he might have, everyone else is on notice—officially.

It won’t be long before Dustin Johnson is #1 in the world.

KELLY banner ad

#dmd celebrates independence day



In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776


The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

. . . .

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

signing

"Gentleman," Benjamin Franklin said to the delegates assembled to consider the document, "We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." John Hancock, considered by his countrymen to be a merchant and trader, and by King George and the British authorities to be a freeboooter and smuggler, signed first. He writ his name large, he explained, ". . . so the sons of b*****s are not troubled in reading it."

And thus, 240 years ago today, began mankind's most ambitious and far-reaching experiment in self-government, with the recognition of the inalienable rights of the individual and a pledge that the duty of government is to respect and protect those rights. To date, 117 countries have followed with similar declarations, the latest the Republic of Crimea, which declared its independence from the Ukraine on March 11, 2014.

Let's celebrate this magnificent legacy with music as well as fireworks. Here are some old tunes. They should be played loud—only a few decibels lower than what would get you arrested!

Medley of the marches of the United States military services: (1) U. S. Field Artillery March, 1917 by John Philip Sousa; Army (2) Anchors Aweigh, 1906 by Charles A. Zimmerman, lyrics revised 1997 by John Hagan; Navy (3) Semper Paratus, 1943 by Homer Smith; Coast Guard (4) The U.S. Air Force, 1939 by Robert Crawford; Air Force (5) Semper Fidelis, 1888 by John Philip Sousa; Marine Corps.

The Stars and Stripes Forever, Christmas Day 1896 by John Philip Sousa. By a 1987 act of the U.S. Congress, it is the official National March of the United States of America.

National Emblem March, 1902 by Edwin Eugene Bagley. John Philip Sousa, of towering ego, was once asked to name the three most beautiful marches ever written. Not surprisingly, he gave two of his own compositions the top spots, and conceded that Bagley's National Emblem March was the third.


only ten seats left on our
springsteen bus
september 1 at nats park


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.

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 D.C. and back to Baltimore in a luxury motor-coach with Springsteen music blaring the whole way down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

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

We have lower-level and upper-level seats left for the show.

Package prices for the two seating levels are:

$200 for upper-level,

$295 for lower-level.

All packages include the bus ride, ticket, dinner on the way to D.C., beer, wine and soda, plus a "to go" sandwich/snack on 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," please go here. Reservation information is there for you.

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



Sunday
July 3
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIV
Issue 3
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


hard to admit in baltimore,
but 2016 has cemented ortiz’s
trip to cooperstown


For all I know, David Ortiz was going into baseball’s Hall of Fame even if he had produced a stinker of a 2016 campaign.

He was already in the 500-home-run club before the season started, but as we saw with Rafael Palmeiro, that feat alone no longer guarantees entry into Cooperstown’s hallowed halls.

But with what he’s done to the halfway point of the 2016 season, Ortiz’s spot in Cooperstown is all but locked up.

I guess this is where I need to state the obvious: Please don’t pipe in about his PED/steroid use and try to use that as a mechanism for keeping Ortiz out. Unless he somehow tests positive between now and October, his record—as far as the voters go, which is all that matters—is unblemished.

X
Headed to Cooperstown, despite his status as one of Baltimore's arch-enemies.

Now, do I think Ortiz used PED's? Of course. But I’m the same guy who thinks they’re all STILL using them, including a bunch of guys on our beloved team in Baltimore.

I gave up fretting over PED's a long time ago. I just don’t care anymore. The players have all figured out a way to beat the system and there’s simply no use in spending a bunch of time worrying about it.

Plenty of guys who used steroids are already in Cooperstown and gobs more who dabbled with them will be in someday in the future. It’s just the way it is.

Back to what’s going on now: Somehow, at 40 years old, Ortiz is as locked in as ANYONE ever has been at his age.

He even has one triple this year. Manny Machado doesn’t. Neither does Bryce Harper! How’s that for a bar-bet-waiting-to-be-won? Who has more triples this year . . . Ortiz, Harper or Machado?

And where on earth was the ball hit that enabled Ortiz to lumber around the diamond and record a freakin’ triple?

Anyway . . . his numbers are almost miraculous thus far in ’16. Prior to last night’s game against the Angels, he was hitting .342—with an unthinkable .435 on-base-percentage, the highest right now in the entire American League.

True, his only value at all is as a designated hitter, and it’s been that way for about a decade now.

But it’s not his fault the American League plays an odd brand of baseball that doesn’t require all of the players who bat to also play a position in the field.

I was sort of on the fence in ’14 and ’15 when it came to the subject of Ortiz entering the Hall of Fame. But I’m not there anymore.

He’ll finish his career with somewhere around 2,450 hits, so the magic number of 3,000 hits will be far out of his reach when he calls it a day after this season. In case you’re wondering about guys failing to reach 2,500 hits and still making the Hall of Fame, Frank Thomas is in Cooperstown with roughly the same number of hits (2,468) in his 19-year career.

Speaking of “The Big Hurt,” here’s another bar bet you can win. True or false: Frank Thomas had more walks than strikeouts in his career? (True. As crazy as that sounds. He walked 1,667 times and struck out only 1,397 times. Crazy, right?)

Ortiz will wind up with a career batting-average of somewhere in the .285 range and should finish with 535 to 540 homers. Those numbers will get most guys in, but then take into consideration he also has three championship rings, and media members who foam at the mouth over anything the Red Sox do will stamp his Cooperstown passport based on that alone.

Oh, and go take a look at those playoff numbers if you can stomach it. Ortiz came to play in those three Red Sox World Series runs in ’04, ’07 and ’13.

Let’s just hope we don’t have to endure another Ortiz playoff run this October. If you thought Derek Jeter got the royal treatment from the national media as his career wound down two years ago, wait until you see what they do for Big Papi if the Red Sox somehow wind up in the post-season.

Either way, though, he’s headed to Cooperstown.

The guy has been one helluva hitter over the last 20 years.

BARCS banner ad

when will soccer get it right?


I watched my first twenty minutes of the European Cup on Saturday as Germany and Italy faced off in the quarterfinals.

It took me twenty-one minutes to get aggravated.

I tuned in to the game in the 100th minute, which was ten minutes into the overtime, after the teams had played to a 1-1 regulation draw.

Once they finished 120 minutes still deadlocked at 1-1, they went to penalty kicks to decide the winner.

And that’s how they decided one of the biggest games on soccer’s world stage in 2016

In fact, that’s how they decide World Cup games too, once they reach the knockout stage after group play is completed.

It’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.

Oh, in case you care and don’t yet know, Germany prevailed in the gimmick session and “technically” won the game, 2-1, to advance to the semi-finals.

Let me know who wins, will you? I watched my first and last game yesterday.

Imagine Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson being tied after 72 holes at the British Open in two weeks. They go out and play a four-hole playoff. Nothing gets decided there, either.

Then, instead of continuing to play golf, they simply go out to the 18th green and both get to try five 15-foot putts from the same spot. Spieth makes three of them, Johnson makes two—and Jordan gets the Claret Jug.

X
This is how soccer decides the outcome of their biggest international games. With 20 of the 22 players on the field standing around watching . . .

Dumb, right?

Yep. And so, too, are penalty kicks when they’re used to determine a winner.

What’s my solution? Here’s a novel idea. Let them keep playing soccer until someone scores a goal and wins the game.

”But that might take all night,” someone will say.

Yep, it might. I’ve seen NHL playoff games routinely go to three overtimes, even four, before someone shoves a puck in the net to end the game.

Give the NHL credit. They use the dreadfully dumb “shootout” to decide regular season games, but even they know that’s no way to crown a winner of a playoff game, so they make the guys play hockey until there’s a winner.

I’ve never figured out why soccer doesn’t do the same thing.

”But those guys could be running for hours and hours,” someone will cry.

”That’s correct,” I’d say in reply. “Maybe they should try scoring a goal once every couple of hours.”

Using penalty kicks to decide the winner of a significant soccer championship is like making NFL kickers attempt field goals from 40 yards out to win a playoff game.

I’m a soccer guy—for the last 30 years—and I think it’s stupid.

Imagine what non-soccer folks think about it.

And however dumb they think it is, they’re right.

Why don’t they change it?

The solution is simple.

Just have them keep playing soccer.

KELLY banner ad

red-hot piercy gets another chance
to win a big one


If you thought Scott Piercy’s tie for second at last month’s U.S. Open at Oakmont was a fluke, he’s on the verge of proving you wrong.

Piercy sits at five-under after three rounds of the World Golf Championships event at Firestone Country Club, deadlocked with the world’s #1 player, Jason Day, and one shot ahead of Sweden’s David Lingmerth.

The only guy in the U.S. Open field to outright beat Piercy at the U.S. Open, Dustin Johnson, lurks three shots behind at two-under par.

X
A three-time winner on the PGA Tour, Scott Piercy is in position to capture his biggest victory to date at Firestone CC on Sunday.

Piercy will have his hands full on Sunday, though.

Jason Day is putting like a man possessed, and only needs one ultra-solid round of ball striking and short-game wizardry to put it all together and pick up his fourth win of the season.

Day has made six par putts of over 15 feet in the first three days of the tournament, in addition to a handful of lengthy birdie putts.

If Day’s putter stays hot, Piercy might not have much hope on Sunday.

But Piercy’s no slouch with the flat-stick himself, as we saw at the U.S. Open where he putted as well as anyone under the gun in Sunday’s final round.

A victory for Day would easily maintain his top ranking in the FedEx Cup point standings and further cement his status as the world’s #1 player. He’d have four wins, too, to go with 12 of 13 cuts made and eight Top 10's in those 13 events.

It’s not a “Tiger run,” but it’s awfully, awfully strong for a guy who just last year burst onto the scene with five wins and a major championship victory at the PGA.

Piercy’s also having a banner year thus far, with 15 cuts made in 17 attempts and over $1.7 million in earnings. He has three career wins, but a victory on Sunday in the WGC event at Firestone CC would be his most significant triumph to date.

STECCO banner ad
Saturday
July 2
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIV
Issue 2
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


woods out at royal troon
could miss all of 2016

Not that it was a surprise, but roughly two weeks before the British Open (or, as those pretentious European folk demand we call it, “The Open Championship”) kicks off at Royal Troon, Tiger Woods has pulled out of the tournament.

It marks the first time in Tiger’s career he’s missed three major championships in a row.

Woods hasn’t played in a PGA Tour event since last August, and now looks like a solid bet to also miss the PGA Championship at Baltusrol in late July. This year’s final major on the golf calendar moves up three weeks to allow for the world’s top golfers to compete in the Olympics in Rio.

X
With Tiger's announcement that he'll miss this year's British Open at Royal Troon, he has now gone 32 consecutive major championships without winning.

Tiger insists he’s making progress and, for a guy with easy-to-read body language, it sounds and looks like he’s telling the truth when he makes public comment on his health like he did last Sunday on CBS.

But he also says he’s not 100% sure he’ll play at all in 2016.

I’d bet on the latter, if I had a couple of bucks to spare and a legal wager to be made.

If Woods does in fact miss the PGA Championship, why come back at all in 2016? Sure, he’s probably itching to play and has sponsors to appease, but why rush back to play a meaningless event in August or September?

He’d probably have to win a tournament to get in the FedEx Cup playoffs, and as much as he insists he’s capable of doing that, nothing in his form over the last two years indicates he’s close to claiming career win #80.

Since he finally seems to be taking this injury rehab seriously—and smartly—why not just bag it for the rest of the 2016 season and play at The Hero World Challenge—the event his foundation runs—in early December in the Bahamas?

Woods was once a great player, but he’s still a great marketer. What kind of media gathering and TV audience could he draw to the event he hosts if it’s his debut after a 16-month layoff?

Speaking of Tiger’s sponsors, that’s the best reason I can come up with for why he hasn’t announced he’s sitting out all of 2016.

Not that any of those companies—Nike, chief among them—are hurting for money, but they’re paying Woods handsome sums for wearing and sporting their logos in front of millions and millions of TV watchers.

They want him to play, you can bet on that.

And Woods knows another season of no tournament action might start to get those folks itchy. In that regard, it makes sense for Tiger to leak out a snippet or two about his progress every couple of weeks. It keeps his corporate sponsors happy, as they see light at the end of the tunnel with their marquee athlete’s impending return.

Who knows what Tiger is really thinking about this whole thing?

There’s no doubt he has taken this rehab period much more seriously than any of the others. He probably looks at both the calendar on his fridge and the career calendar on his Wiki page and realizes, maybe for the first time ever, “This is it.”

This comeback, this return, this attempt at reviving his career—all comes down to how he recovers from last September’s back surgery. In the past, Woods would have blown through a nine-month rehab in six months just because he thought he was different than everyone else.

Finally, he smartened up and said, “Nope, I’m not playing until I’m 100% ready.”

And he continues to emphatically plead that he’s going to come back, compete, and win once he’s ready to tee it up again.

Maybe he looks at what’s happened in golf since he stepped away last August. Jason Day got red hot for a few months and rose to #1 in the world, but no other players have established themselves as dominant threats on a week-in-week-out basis.

Woods might have watched Jordan Spieth throw away the Masters with 50 minutes of 10-handicap golf and said to himself, “Really? That’s our best American player?”

He might have followed along in the final hour of the U.S. Open when Shane Lowry couldn’t make a par and coughed up his back-nine lead and thought, “Geez, what is it with these hacks who can’t hold on to a lead on the incoming nine on Sunday?”

Maybe Woods watches golf these days and doesn’t see anyone that overly impresses him.

After all, he has 14 major championships and Rory (4), Spieth (2), Bubba (2), DJ (1) Day (1) and Adam Scott (1) don’t—combined.

Tiger definitely wouldn’t come back if he didn’t think he could beat those guys.

But I don’t think he can come back and win again.

I can see Woods watching the PGA Tour on TV and saying to himself, “If I can get my health back, I can dust these guys.”

Maybe.

Or maybe he’d rather not watch it, knowing that his day is done.

BARCS banner ad

birds do it to gausman again
lose 5-2 in seattle


What's going on in Seattle?

After rattling off seven straight wins, including two thumpings of the Padres in San Diego, the Birds have suddenly gone cold at the plate, losing for the second straight night to the Mariners on Friday, 5-2.

Chris Davis hit a second-inning home run and Jonathan Schoop's RBI single in the third accounted for the two Baltimore runs.

X
Another start, another night of no help from the offense for Kevin Gausman. He struck out seven and walked none last night, but fell to 1-6 on the year in the 5-2 loss at Seattle.

The loss went to Kevin Gausman (1-6), who gave a representative performance only to see the O's muster just five hits on the night. Gausman allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings of work, striking out seven and walking none.

Relief pitcher Chaz Roe gave up a two-run homer in the bottom of the 8th inning that sealed the deal for the Mariners.

Wade LeBlanc (1-0) went six innings for the Mariners and allowed just three hits and two earned runs.

The Birds struck out 11 times on the night, including two each from Jones, Davis, Machado and Wieters.

Elsewhere in the American League East --

Red Sox 5 - Angels 4 -- David Ortiz hit his 522nd career homer run as the Red Sox jumped out to an early 5-0 lead and held on for a 5-4 win over the Angels in Boston. C.J. Cron hit a grand slam for Los Angeles, who have lost 10 of their last 11 games. Steven Wright (9-5) got the win for the Red Sox.

Indians 2 - Blue Jays 1, 19 innings -- Cleveland won their 14th straight game when Carlos Santana hit a home run off infielder Darwin Barney in the 19th inning to give Cleveland a 2-1 win. Trevor Bauer, who was supposed to start for Cleveland on Saturday, threw five shutout innings to get the win for the Indians, who now lead the Central Division by seven games.

KELLY banner ad

only ten seats left on our
springsteen bus
september 1 at nats park


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 D.C. and back to Baltimore in a luxury motor-coach with Springsteen music blaring the whole way down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

We have lower-level and upper-level seats left for the show.

Package prices for the two seating levels are:

$200 for upper-level

$295 for lower-level

All packages include the bus ride, ticket, dinner on the way to D.C., beer, wine and soda, plus a "to go" sandwich/snack on 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," please go here. Reservation information is there for you.

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



Friday
July 1
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXIV
Issue 1
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


so...who's better in your book?


Who's better?

Madison Bumgarner -- or -- David Price? -- Bumgarner's 26, Price is 30, for those who care about age. And with pitchers, tread wear matters. Bumgarner, of course, has never pitched in the American League, so his career ERA of 2.95 is terrific but also aided by throwing to N.L. hitters for all 8 years of his career. Price has only pitched in the American League, where he owns a Cy Young Award (2006, 20-5 with Tampa Bay) and two runner-up finishes in that category as well. He's not off to a great start in Boston, with a 4.74 ERA after 17 starts in 2016. DF says: Bumgarner is better.

Andrew Luck -- or -- Russell Wilson? -- Both have played four years in the NFL, with Wilson winning a Super Bowl and coming within the dumbest play-call in the history of sports from winning a second, while Luck hasn't had much of it (luck) in Indianapolis, making just one trip to the AFC title game, where Tom Brady and his deflated balls put an end to Indy's dreams of a Super Bowl visit. Wilson has played in 64 regular season games with a completion percentage of 64.7 and a TD/INT ratio of 106/34. Luck has appeared in 55 games, with a 58.1 completion percentage and 101 TD's and 55 INT's. DF says: Luck is better.

X
Would you take Jordan Spieth and his short-game magic over Dustin Johnson's bomb it and find it style of play?

Jordan Spieth -- or -- Dustin Johnson? -- This one matches brains vs. brawn, power vs. finesse, bomb-it-and-see-what-happens vs. move-it-from-point-to-point-and-make-the-putt. Spieth is the 2-time major champion with one of the best putting strokes of the last 20 years. What he lacks in length off the tee he more than makes up for with short game wizardy from 100 yards and in. Driving the ball is his only weakness (and taking too long to play). Johnson hits it longer and straighter off the tee than anyone since Greg Norman, but his short game and work around the greens needs improving, as does his putting under the gun. He just won his first major at the U.S. Open three weeks ago. DF says: Johnson is better.

Adam Jones -- or -- Chris Davis? -- Here's a curveball for you. Two teammates...and you have to choose one. Both are 30 years old, but Jones has played two more big-league seasons than Davis and has appeared in 300+ more games than Davis. Adam's career batting average is .278, Davis' is .254. Jones has a career on-base-percentage of .319, Davis' is .332. Jones averages 127 strike-outs per-season, Davis averages 202 K's. Davis averages 62 walks per-season, Jones averages 30. Home run power goes to Davis. Both are excellent defensive players, although Davis still hasn't won a Gold Glove for his work at first base, while Jones has 4 of them. DF says: Jones is better.

Mike Trout -- or -- Bryce Harper? -- Trout is one year older and has played six big league seasons while Harper has played in five. Trout has spent his entire career in the American League, with an average split of .306/.400/.560, while Harper has been in Washington for his entire career and has a split of .285/.387/.514. Both have a Rookie-of-the-Year and MVP award thus far in their career and neither has won a Gold Glove. Trout averages 35 HR, 100 RBI and 27 stolen bases per-season, while Harper averages 31 HR, 81 RBI and 13 steals. DF says: Trout is better.

So, what do you say about those five listed above? Fill in your quick reply in the comments section below.

BARCS banner ad

birds set june homer record, but lose in seattle, 5-3

If I would have told you yesterday that I saw the script for last night's game in Seattle and that the O's set the home run record with one round-tripper in the game, who would have been the most unlikely guy to hit the record-setting dinger?

You might have knee-jerked a quick "Pedro Alvarez" as your response and you wouldn't have been off base by much on that one. But there's someone else.

Hyun Soo Kim.

While he's been excellent at the plate over the last two months, he only had two HR's going into last night's game in Seattle.

Well, guess who hit the record setting 56th home run in the month of June for the O's?

Mr. Kim, that's who.

X
Chris Tillman made his second shortest start of the season on Thursday night in Seattle, allowing nine baserunners in just 4.2 innings of work.

It's a cool record and all -- 56 home runs for the Birds in the month of June -- but it won't mean a hill of beans in October if the Royals or Astros knock the O's out of the playoffs in the first round. But it was still kind of neat to see the reaction after the record-setting homer by Kim in the 7th inning of last night's 5-3 loss at Seattle.

Chris Tillman took the loss, breaking his 9-game winning streak, and made his second-shortest start of the season, lasting just 4.2 innings while allowing six hits and walking three. Tillman surrendered four of the team's five earned runs against last night.

Seattle led 4-0 before the O's got on the board with Kim's homer in the 7th and a two-run effort an inning later on RBI singles from Kim and Manny Machado.

Trailing 5-3 in the 9th, Baltimore put the tying run at the plate after Mark Trumbo led off with a single, but Wieters (strikeout), Schoop (foul pop out) and Alvarez (strikeout, naturally) didn't put a ball in play to end the game, as the O's saw their 7-game win streak come to an end.

The Birds collected only eight hits on Thursday, with Machado and Kim both recording two on the night.

Kevin Gausman faces Wade LeBlanc in tonight's game in Seattle.

The O's currently only have one left-handed relief pitcher in the bullpen (Britton), as T.J. McFarland (knee) was placed on the disabled list yesterday.

KELLY banner ad

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.



mcgirt opens up 3-shot lead at firestone


I told you on Wednesday that William McGirt was a guy to watch this week at Firestone CC.

Hopefully you listened -- and hopefully he continues to play well over the next three days.

A winner at the Memorial Tournament in early June, McGirt fired an opening-round 64 yesterday at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, and leads the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational by three shots after day one.

McGirt made six birdies and no bogeys on Thursday.

X
The reigning U.S. Open champion, Dustin Johnson sits five shots off the lead at Firestone after an opening round 69 on Thursday.

A host of players are three back at 3-under 67, including Emiliano Grillo, Jason Day and Jimmy Walker. McGirt and Grillo were two of six starters on the fantasy team I published here on Wednesday.

My other four weren't so hot, although with no 36-hole cut this week, every player can get you points on all four days.

Dustin Johnson is still very much in the tournament after a one-under par 69 on Thursday. Kevin Kisner is right there with him at one-under par.

My predicted winner, Bubba Watson has some playing to do over the next three days after he kicked off the tournament with a two-over par round of 72 on Thursday.

Oh, and there's Danny Lee, who fired a 78 on Thursday and needs to get his rear-end in gear for me and my fantasy team.

McGirt is one of those late bloomers in the same mold of a guy like Zach Johnson. He hits it straight, flushes his irons and can put up some red numbers if his putter cooperates.

Don't be surprised if he wins this week.

Eagles Nest banner

only ten seats left on our springsteen bus, sept. 1 at nats park


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.

We have lower level and upper level seats left for the show.

Package prices for the two seating levels are:

$200 for upper 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
Wednesday, August 16th
Orioles
6

Mariners
7
WP: T. Zych (6-3)
LP: U. Jimenez (5-8)

HR: Beckham (17), Alonso (23), Martin (3)

RECORD/PLACE: 59-62, 4th place

breakfast bytes

A.L. East: Yankees sweep Mets, win 7-5.

A.L. Wild Card -- Twins split doubleheader with Indians, Rangers win.

Kevin Durant won't visit White House with rest of Warriors.

PGA Tour: Matt Every (-9) leads in Greensboro; Stenson one shot back.