Monday
August 15
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 15
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


fact and opinion has plenty of both today


FACT: David Ortiz has struck out 61 times this season. Total. Chris Davis has struck out a whopping 162 times but, get this, 59 of them have come with Davis looking at strike three. The 161 million dollar man whiffed four times on Sunday in the 8-7 win over the Giants and all four were looking. That's an amazing stat, really -- Ortiz has 61 strikeouts on the season, Davis has struck out LOOKING 59 times.

OPINION: Something's wrong with Davis. I guess that's the dumb statement of the day, but something has gone haywire with his swing, his approach at the plate, and his confidence. Davis has two more home runs than you and I since July 10. This isn't a slump. Something's wrong.

FACT: The U.S. men's basketball team narrowly defeated Serbia and France to win Group B at the Rio Olympics. I know a win's a win and all that jazz, but beating those two teams by three points each isn't good.

OPINION: I wouldn't be completely shocked if the U.S. doesn't win the gold medal, but if they had all of the best American players there (LeBron and Curry mainly) they would win in a romp.

FACT: Zach Britton is now 37-for-37 in save opportunities after nailing down the 8-7 win at San Francisco yesterday. There are media folks starting to percolate a story that perhaps Britton should be considered for the Cy Young award.

OPINION: Nothing against Britton, but relief pitchers/closers shouldn't be considered for the award. Sorry. Starting pitchers who throw 200+ innings should get the consideration, no matter how good Britton or any closer might be during a given season.

FACT: The Guess Who only had one #1 hit in the United States -- "American Woman".

OPINION: There are lots of bands and musical artists who can be considered "underrated", but The Guess Who might be the all-time most underrated band. Throw on their Greatest Hits CD and get ready for 75 minutes of greatness. Burton Cummings can sing his butt off.

X
Canada has produced lots of great music over the 50 years, from Rush to Neil Young to Joni Mitchell, but The Guess Who might be the best from our friends to the North.

FACT: Justin Rose won the Olympic golf gold medal yesterday by two shots over Henrik Stenson. American Matt Kuchar closed with a sparkling 63 to grab the bronze medal.

OPINION: There are some in the golf world who suggest that winning an Olympic gold medal should count as a major, but I strongly disagree with that idea. The field in Rio was luke-warm at best. It's a terrific win for Rose, but hardly worthy of being considered a major championship. Sorry, Justin.

FACT: Wade Miley is now winless in three starts with the Orioles. Sunday's debacle in San Francisco was glossed over by Jonathan Schoop's 9th inning 3-run homer, but Miley didn't look very sharp in his 4.1 innings of work, allowing six earned runs along the way.

OPINION: Dylan Bundy's emergence has helped everyone forget that the Birds still don't have a competent, reliable left-handed starting pitcher in their rotation. They've gone this far without one, so I guess it's fair to think they can carry on and win the division without a quality lefty, but you'd sure like to have one in there every fifth day.

FACT: Speaking of pitching and the Cy Young Award, I heard one local sports talk host late last week talking about the best pitchers in the American League this season and he said this about Toronto's J.A. Happ -- "Then you have J.A. Happ of the Blue Jays...he's having a decent season, with a 16-3 record and a 2.96 ERA. But that ERA isn't all that great, really. That's almost three runs a game."

OPINION: Someone should let our broadcasting friend know that an ERA of under 3.00 in the American League is outstanding. In the National League? Not so much. But in the A.L., if you're allowing less than three runs every nine innings you pitch, you're doing very, very well. If you're 16-3 and your ERA is 2.96 in the American League, that's much better than a "decent season".

X
No, this isn't your 11th grade high school gym teacher, this is Maryland's new football coach. And his name is?

FACT: The University of Maryland started football practice last Sunday, August 7.

OPINION: If you walked through Towsontowne Mall today and asked fifty adult males to name the Maryland football coach, six of the fifty would know his name. Maybe five.

FACT: Houston's Jose Altuve is the current Vegas odds leader for the American League MVP at 5-4, but Mookie Betts of the Red Sox is close behind at 3-1. Manny Machado is 8-1.

OPINION: None of the Cleveland Indians are going to threaten the A.L. MVP race, but they have half a dozen starters with OBP's of .350 or so. Mike Napoli is having a monster year thus far. And to think that no one wanted him in the off-season.

FACT: At the beginning of the baseball season, I predicted the Nationals would beat the Astros in the World Series this October.

OPINION: I'm technically more than alive with that pick, as the Nationals are playoff bound and the Astros have a puncher's chance of claiming a wild card spot and about a 20% chance of overtaking the Rangers and Mariners in the A.L. West. Can I have a mulligan in the American League? If so, give me the Blue Jays, who get in as the Wild Card and then make it to the World Series to oppose the aforementioned Nationals.

FACT: The Patriots are starting the season with Tom Brady on the sidelines for four games.

OPINION: New England still figures out a way to start the season 2-2, even without The Golden Boy, and they cruise to a 12-4 regular season and win the AFC East for the 93rd straight year.

BARCS banner ad

schoop's home run saves the road trip


Every team has a game or two along the way they steal -- and they also have a couple that they give away.

Yesterday in San Francisco, the Orioles stole one, as Jonathan Schoop launched a game-winning 3-run home run with two outs in the 9th inning to give the Birds an 8-7 win over the Giants.

The win ended the 10-game road swing at 5-5 for Buck Showalter's team and helped put a band-aid on a woeful 4-game series in Oakland, where the Birds were clobbered 3-1 by a pretty bad A's team.

The Birds still trail Toronto in the A.L. East, but only by a half game, and an 8-game homestand awaits now, with Boston (2 games), Houston (4) and Washington (2) set to visit Camden Yards over the next two weeks.

X
Matt Wieters had a career day on Sunday in San Francisco, going 5-for-5 and -- ready for this? -- even producing a 9th inning triple.

Baltimore's play on the road still remains a mystery. The Birds are 27-34 away from Camden Yards, with 21 games remaining away from home. They'll need to go 14-7 in those games to finish at .500 on the road.

In case you're wondering, two of the six division winners in baseball last season (Toronto at 40-41 and the L.A. Dodgers at 37-44) finished under .500 on the road and still managed to come out on top. Neither of those teams made the World Series, though.

Winning on the road is paramount, both in the regular season and playoffs, and the Birds need to figure out a way to pitch better, hit better and play better away from Camden Yards.

Speaking of hitting better, will someone please give Chris Davis some smelling salts and wake him up? Davis went 0-for-5 on Sunday and struck out looking FOUR times. He's now hitting .220 on the season.

Matt Wieters went 5-for-5 on Sunday and Hyun Soo Kim was 3-for-5, as the Birds took advantage of a sagging Giants bullpen to come back from 7-1 down in the seventh inning.

The loss overshadowed a decent start by Johnny Cueto, who went 6.2 innings for the Giants and allowed eight hits and three earned runs.

Zach Britton nailed down his 37th save in the 9th inning, but it wasn't easy. He gave up a one-out single, then Buck Showalter intentionally walked Buster Posey with two outs so Britton could face Denard Span, who grounded into a game-ending fielder's choice at second base. Ballgame...and an unlikely series win for the O's.

KELLY banner ad

sometimes, the grind is the fun part


For those of you who checked in yesterday here at #DMD, I chronicled my first round of the 2016 Washington County Open (WACO) golf tournament at Beaver Creek Country Club in Hagerstown.

No one likes a guy who just posts the good stuff and forgets about the bad stuff, so I'm back here today to give you a quick rundown of yesterday's action in the second and final round of the tournament.

I started the day three shots behind the leader after I posted an opening round 72 on Saturday. The quick story there -- I didn't hit the ball very well, but putted like a maniac, making nearly everything I looked at for 18 holes.

I played in the second-to-last group on Sunday, joined by two young college kids in my group who were both scared to death on the first tee. My opening tee shot on the 420 yard hole only traveled 240 yards and I hit a horrendous 6-iron from 180 that left me little chance to make a par. I was actually fortunate to make bogey there, rolling in a 3-footer for an opening "5".

X
Chuck Thatcher of Beaver Creek Country Club made birdie at the last hole on Sunday to catpure the WACO at his home club with a two-day score of 70-70.

The first seven holes were a disaster. My putter, again, saved me, just like it did on Saturday. I made a 5-footer for par at #3 and a 10-foot slider at #4 that was probably my best putt of the entire weekend. Those two pars could have EASILY been bogeys. I did manage to bogey #5 from 150 yards out and then hit a horrible 4-iron into the 7th green, stubbed a short-side flop shot, then had to coax home a 30-inch downhill putt just to save bogey.

I played the first seven holes in 3-over. Meanwhile, the leader was at 4-under par.

At that point, not being able to make solid contact with my irons -- for the second day in a row -- I challenged myself to shoot even par the rest of the way. In a honest assessment of my game, that was probably being a tad ambitious, but I figured I could bat it around and still make a bunch of putts and finish at +3 for the day.

So, that's what I set out to do.

After a routine par at #8, I hit three good shots at the par-5 ninth and finally rolled in a birdie putt from about 12 feet. My name was still on the leaderboard at that point, and I immediately played holes 10, 11, 12 and 13 like I knew what I was doing, parring each of those four holes.

The 14th hole at Beaver Creek is a 180 yard par-3. I hit my tee shot maybe -- maybe -- 160 yards. It was my worst shot of the weekend. I was too firm with my pitch and it sailed through the green, then chipped the next one six feet past the hole. Somehow, I managed to sneak the bogey putt in, but dropped back to +3 again.

I parred 15, 16 and 17, making a 15-footer for par at #16, the second time in two days that I managed to do that.

Remember earlier when I said the tee shot at #14 was my worst shot of the weekend? It was. Right up until my approach at #18. After a nice 7-wood off the tee left me with 155 yards in, I flared an 8-iron out to the right and into the greenside bunker. In the old days at Mount Pleasant, I called that shot "a high plains drifter". I hate that shot. Hated it back then, still hate it today. It's a complete whiff, basically, the ball clanging off the club with an awful sound.

With the flag on the middle left part of the green, I had roughly a 15-yard bunker shot. I like to use my pitching wedge out of the bunker for long shots like those; just grip down on it, open up the face and MAKE SURE you hit 2 or 3 inches behind the ball.

I executed it perfectly and left myself with about six feet for par.

Two things were at stake. I needed a par to tie the tournament record for most pars in the 36-hole event. In the 33-year history of the tournament, 29 pars over two days is the tournament record. How do I know that? It's printed on the "stats page" of the tournament booklet they hand all the players on Saturday.

So, a par at 18 would give me 29 pars for the 36 holes. I made 16 on Saturday and needed par at the last for 13 on Sunday.

And a par at the last hole would also mean I would have made good on my promise to play the last 11 holes in even par after my disastrous 3-over start through 7 holes on Sunday.

I made the putt from six feet out to finish with 75 for the day.

I finished the round with 25 putts, two less than I needed the day before, amazingly.

Chuck Thatcher won the tournament, shooting 4-under par for two days. He won the title on the last stroke of the day, rolling in an 18-inch birdie putt after Billy Reed, who basically led the event for two days, made bogey on the final hole.

My final two day total of 3-over par got me a 6th place tie, by far my best finish in the event since winning in 2000. I posted the best score of anyone over the age of 50, if that even matters, and managed to not make one double bogey over the two days of play.

Honestly? I probably should have shot 80-77 instead of 72-75, but my putter literally saved me at least ten shots. I mean that: ten shots.

When we finished, one of the kids in my group said, "Nice grind" as we shook hands. I thought that was a great compliment. That's exactly what it was for two days. A nice grind.

Eagles Nest banner

we have a second bus for the sept. 9 adele show!


In the event you missed out back in the winter when we first offered our September 9th trip to see Adele in concert in Philadelphia, I have some good news.

We've put a second bus on sale!

Adele will be performing at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Friday, September 9th. We'll be leaving Baltimore by luxury motor coach at 4:00 pm. Dinner and drinks will be served on the bus to Philadelphia and we'll do some tailgating with more food and drink upon arrival.

All of our seats are grouped together at the show, so you'll be sitting with others on the trip or, even better, get a friend or two to come along and you can sit with them!

If you're interested in purchasing seats, just go to the "Adele" link at the top of the page and all the payment information is right there.


last call for our
springsteen bus
september 1 at nats park


If you're a Bruce Springsteen fan, come along with #DMD on Thursday, September 1st when we head to Washington DC to see The Boss -- and The E Street Band -- live at Nationals Park.

WE ONLY HAVE TWO SEATS REMAINING ON THE BUS!

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


Saturday
August 13
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 13
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


solo, reed, embarrass themselves in rio


I haven't followed much of the Olympics, admittedly.

The three things I do like though -- Baltimore, soccer and golf -- have captured my attention a wee bit over the last couple of days as the first week of the games in Rio come to a close.

"Baltimore", of course, is Michael Phelps. I don't watch swimming as a habit or routine, but when Phelps is in the pool, I'm all in. I don't know him, per se, but he's a Baltimore guy and I love seeing our native sons (or daughters) succeed in any sport, anywhere.

The other two sports I've watched this week are soccer and golf. I don't watch soccer at all these days -- haven't seen a MLS game in 10 years, couldn't tell you who is in the league and who isn't -- unless it involves our international squads. When the U.S. men's team is playing a pivotal game in World Cup qualifying or any other sort of prominent competition, I'm glued. Same goes for the U.S. women's soccer team. Big game? I'm watching.

The U.S. women's team was shocked on Friday with a penalty kicks loss to Sweden in the quarterfinals of the Olympics. To suggest -- as some have -- that calling it a "stunning upset" or "shocker" is doing a disservice to a good Sweden team is downright silly. The U.S. women's soccer team is the premier side in the world, as suggested by their recent World Cup triumph and their three straight Olympic gold medals.

Losing in the quarterfinals is shocking. Period.

X
Hope Solo's embarrassing outburst following the U.S. loss in women's soccer on Friday was proof positive that the goalkeeper still hasn't figure out how to win AND lose with dignity.

Goalkeeper Hope Solo has long been a lightning rod for the women's team. She's had a terrific career in the net and is one of the reasons why the Americans have dominated at the international level over the last decade.

She's also a crybaby.

And, depending on which side of the story you choose to believe, perhaps even a domestic violence participant.

But this isn't about what may or may not have happened in that story from two years ago.

It's about losing on Friday and refusing to take the loss like a professional and move on.

Twenty years ago, her stupid comments following Sweden's win over her U.S. team probably wouldn't have been a big deal. Millions of impressionable 16-year old girls who currently want to grow up and be the next Hope Solo wouldn't have had Twitter or Instagram back in 1996.

But those 16-year olds have those social media forums at their dispoal now. And after Friday's loss, this is what they read from Solo: "Sweden dropped off, didn't want to open play. They didn't want to pass the ball around. They didn't want to play great soccer, entertaining soccer. It was a combative game, a physical game. Exactly what they wanted and exactly what their game plan was. They dropped into a 50. They didn't try and press, they didn't want to open the game and they tried to counter with long balls. We had that style of play when Pia was our coach."

And then the coup de grace: "I thought that we played a courageous game," Solo said. "I thought that we had many opportunities on goal. I think we showed a lot of heart. We came back from a goal down; I'm very proud of this team. I also think we played a bunch of cowards. But, you know, the best team did not win today; I strongly, firmly believe that. I think you saw America's heart. You saw us give everything that we had today. Unfortunately the better team didn't win."

Calling a team "cowards" that just ousted you from the Olympics is a bad look in and of itself, but citing them for "lack of courage" as a connection to their style of play after they beat you is even worse.

Sweden's job -- and any team for that matter -- is NOT to play entertaining soccer. The Olympics aren't a movie or a TV series. Their task is to play WINNING soccer, in whatever fashion they deem necessary to do so.

If the American side couldn't figure out a way to break Sweden's tactical efforts, that's on the United States coaching staff and players. It's not Sweden's responsibility to play a brand of soccer that comforts Hope Solo or any of her teammates.

Does that make them cowards? Hardly. It makes them winners, 2-1 in penalty kicks.

Oh, and speaking of Solo, her "performance" in the penalty kick format could have easily been described as -- you know it's coming -- "cowardly".

Her "effort" on each kick basically consisted of standing in the middle of the net and shuffling quickly to one side as the ball was struck. Once, it worked. The other four times, she looked like an amateur in there.

On the 5th and final kick, Solo, like the Sweden team she criticized afterwards, took to an odd "strategy" to try and win the game...or keep the Americans alive, at the very least. With Sweden facing a score-and-win-the-scenario, the goalkeeper took a 60-second "break" to get a different set of goalie gloves brought out to her.

It was nothing short of "icing the kicker" in football, and the Swedish player responded by jamming the game-winner past Solo's half-hearted effort.

Here's the point that drives home how much Solo should be embarrassed over her OWN play. The two kicks that beat her previous to the game-winner went to her left. The only save she managed to somehow make was to her right.

Where do you think the 5th kick was going? To her left, of course. I'm a dummy and I was standing there in the clubhouse at Eagle's Nest saying, "This is going to her left...obviously. I hope she realizes that."

Solo didn't realize it. Or didn't care enough to think about it.

Or she was simply too caught up in worrying about Sweden's "style of play" during the game, a fact she couldn't help but repeat several times after the loss that sent her team home.

Whatever the case, Solo embarrassed herself on multiple levels Friday in Rio.

The U.S. Women's soccer program deserved a lot better.

And so did all of those 16-year old girls out there who think Hope Solo is the cat's meow.

BARCS banner ad

and now, patrick reed...


There are some things I like about American golfer Patrick Reed.

Mainly, it's his golf.

The kid is one helluva player.

The rest of him, though? Not so impressive.

That Reed was implicated in a cheating scandal while playing college golf at Georgia is NOT necessarily one of the things I hold against him now. That happened five years ago. There are two sides to the story. His Georgia teammates say he wrote down the wrong score not once, but twice, in two separate days of qualifying for a collegiate event.

Reed defended himself, said the teammates were by-and-large just jealous of the fact that he essentially walked on to the team and beat them all like a drum, and the cheating story was their way of putting pressure on the coaching staff to choose them over him.

I read enough of the story to know that Reed should have just copped the "Alford Plea" and moved on. There was enough evidence in place to find him guilty, but he wasn't going to admit to it.

What I do hold him accountable for these days, though, is his petulant on-course behavior that particularly riles someone like me, a high school golf coach who is constantly surveying my young men to ensure they're behaving properly on the course.

X
Patrick Reed's on course behavior has long been questionable on the PGA Tour, but Friday's eruption at the Olympics led to an on-air apology from the folks at NBC.

It's a constant battle, frankly, because junior golfers watch their favorite professionals and do just about anything they can to mimic or worship them, ranging from the clothes and clubs they were to the way they react after a 20-foot putt that goes in or a 10-footer that doesn't.

On Friday in the Olympics, Reed, for at least the third time that I know of this golfing season alone, dropped the F-bomb on television while he was playing a shot.

Look, I'm not a prude. The f-word is part of our daily lexicon. I heard it about ten times Thursday night because some drunk clown two rows behind me at Ravens Stadium insisted on using it in every other sentence, despite my 9-year old son sitting there well within earshot.

Reed, though, isn't an over-imbibed goof at a football game.

He's a professional golfer, in this case, specifically, representing his country in the Olympic games.

While preparing for a putt on the 17th green, Reed stood up from his pre-shot routine and spouted off to someone in the gallery, "Would you put the f**king camera down?"

The announcing crew -- Nick Faldo and David Feherty -- quickly hopped in and admonished Reed and apologized on his behalf.

Reed's excuse afterwards, "I had no idea the TV camera was on me" is about as dumb as you saying to the judge at traffic court, "I had no idea the officer was shooting radar when I drove past him on Dulaney Valley Road while he was in the middle of the street waving me down..."

It's the Olympics. It's a golf tournament. That guy over on the side of the green HOLDING A TV CAMERA is pointing it at you as you're getting ready to putt.

You're on live TV, Mr. Reed. People are watching. Kids are watching. We're trying to get them to behave like young, admirable adults when they're 16, not crass, whiny 26-year olds.

It never ceases to amaze me that people like Reed, now at least a 3-time offender this year, can't come to grips with the fact that they're on live television when they're playing in a golf tournament.

Look, when you or I (assuming you're a male here, for a second) need to take a leak while we're playing golf, sometimes the nearest tree works just fine for us. Reed wouldn't think of doing THAT while he plays golf on the PGA Tour, right?

And why not? Because it's NOT the right thing to do, even if he is Patrick Reed, a PGA Tour winner and Ryder Cup player.

So, why drop F-bombs like a madman during a golf tournament when you KNOW people are watching and listening?

I like Patrick Reed.

Sometimes.

But these days, I'm becoming less and less of a fan.

KELLY banner ad

mark your calendars for september 29 and come out for a great day of golf with me!


OK, friends, I need your help.

Once a year, I make this plea. If you’re a golfer, and you have golfing friends, I’d love for you to join me on Thursday, September 29 for my 12th annual Charity Golf Outing at Eagle’s Nest Country Club, presented by Jerry’s Toyota.

This year’s event will benefit the great people at Best Buddies Maryland, who have a special place in my heart because the man who runs the organization, Vince Fiduccia, once worked for me in the indoor soccer business.

To learn more about Best Buddies Maryland and what they do for our community, please visit their website at: https://bestbuddies.org/find-programs/maryland/

This is NOT just a “hit and giggle” charity outing like you’ve probably played a hundred times over the years.

This is a fun, legitimate four-person “Captain’s Choice competition”, with prizes in the gross and net divisions. We have a putting contest with a cash prize for the winner, plus on-course contests for closest-to-the-pin and long drive.

Unlike most outings, who just let you buy as many mulligans as you want (and, therefore, you just keep trying to make that putt until you actually make it), everyone gets the opportunity to buy ONE mulligan before my outing and that’s it. There’s no string, no “throws” or anything like that in this event. It’s a four-person scramble, but it’s a fair, evenly played charity golf outing.

Everyone who has played the event loves it. The pace of play is great – we limit the field to just 24 foursomes – and the prizes and awards are even better.

It’s a handicapped tournament, meaning you can bring a 5, a 10, a 15 and a 20 if you want. You’ll get your shots accordingly and the competition will be fair across the board.

And we’ll be raising money for a great cause!

The entry fee for the tournament is $750, which includes four playing spots and two (2) promotional tee signs for the company or business of the designated team leader. It’s basically $150 per-player and $150 for the signs, the proceeds of which all go to Best Buddies Maryland.

The schedule for the event is: Lunch and practice range access at 11:30 am. Golf begins at 1:00 pm. Awards, prizes and dinner starts around 5:30 pm.

If you’re interested in playing in my 12th Annual Charity Golf Outing, please send me an e-mail: drew@drewsmorningdish.com -- so I can reserve your team a space in the field.

We need all the golfers we can get! I promise you this will be one of the best outings you’ll play in this year!


last call for our
springsteen bus
september 1 at nats park


If you're a Bruce Springsteen fan, come along with #DMD on Thursday, September 1st when we head to Washington DC to see The Boss -- and The E Street Band -- live at Nationals Park.

WE ONLY HAVE TWO SEATS REMAINING ON THE BUS!

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


Friday
August 12
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 12
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


bright spots, dull spots highlight ravens pre-season opener


As we learned last August when the Ravens stumbled and bumbled their way through the pre-season and exposed their alarming lack of team depth, pre-season actually does matter.

The wins and losses kinda-sorta don't matter -- unless you're silly enough to wager on pre-season games -- but the rest of it does.

The Ravens beat the Carolina Panthers last night, 22-19. Who knows how the game ends if Cam Newton doesn't run out onto the field in the first quarter to celebrate a defensive interception return for a touchdown, but that's a story for another day.

Several things stood out on a scorching Thursday evening in Baltimore, most of it good, actually, and the Ravens got through game one of the pre-season without any major injuries, it would appear.

One curious note, just to the naked eye. Last night's game was the first played on the new all-grass stadium surface. The Ravens, admittedly a "slow" team a year ago, looked much quicker and faster as a team last night. Wouldn't you expect a group of athletes to be faster on an artificial surface like the one that was in place last season at the stadium? Or was that "rubbery turf" more like real grass in that scenario? Just a thought...

Wait, there's a second curious note here. I guess I know the answer, but wanted to ask anyway. Why play Darren Waller and Nick Boyle last night? Neither of them can start the regular season with the team, as both are facing suspensions for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Why play either of them? Aren't you taking snaps away from guys who might be able to play in the regular season opener against Buffalo? Boyle, in particular, is a real head-scratcher. I'm not even sure why a two-time violator would still be on the team, but then, facing a 10-game suspension to start the season, why play him at all? I don't get it...

Now, to football, and five key points from Thursday's win over Carolina. Also, instead of mentioning it in every bullet point, let me acknowledge here that everything highlighted below is done so with the obvious caveat in place: It's only pre-season.

X
Ravens Coach John Harbaugh thinking about his team's running game in 2016.

Running game looks solid -- This could very well be the deepest the Ravens have been at running back in a long time. Draft pick Kenneth Dixon looked sharp, as did Terrance West, who scored a couple of touchdowns in front of his hometown faithful. Buck Allen had a little trouble getting any penetration against the Panther's "1's" on defense, but we all know he's legit. As I noted yesterday, I think the running back depth chart will eventually be a battle between Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro. If Taliaferro can stay healthy -- and that's a little bit like saying, "If Nolan Reimold can stay healthy -- he might be able to get the Ravens to consider parting company with Forsett. But, last night's performance from the offensive line and running backs was decent enough to at least suggest that the Ravens' ground game might be an important part of their make-up in 2016.

None of those receivers stood out -- The receiving corps we saw last night in no way resembled what we'll see come September 11. Thankfully, that is. The only guy who COULD potentially be on the field against the Bills is Jeremy Butler and he looked about like he always has...not a great route runner, hands are suspect, and not much downfield speed. Still, he managed 5 catches on 7 targets last night and at least "looked the part", as did the aforementioned Darren Waller. It remains to be seen if the trio of Smith-Aiken-Wallace can get the job done, but one thing for sure: There's not much back-up for them if they can't.

Ronnie Stanley looked decent -- First game and all, but 1st round draft pick Ronnie Stanley looked decent in his limited action at left tackle. Good upper-body strength and nice footwork, which is probably what Juan Castillo and John Harbaugh wanted to see most out of him. Long way to go, of course, but he got a passing grade last night for sure.

X
Harbaugh thinking about his team's secondary in 2016.

The secondary? Uggghhh -- Cam Newton AND Derek Anderson sliced and diced the Baltimore secondary in the first quarter. True, the Ravens are working through some things back there, namely moving Lardarius Webb over to safety and trying to identify another starting cornerback opposite Jimmy Smith. That search will be continuing this morning at Owings Mills, I assume. Shareece Wright -- who apparently was having a very good camp before last night -- got nicked up on several occasions in the opening half. Kyle Arrington -- one of last season's whipping boys -- didn't look a whole lot better last night, then got shaken up in the second half. Smith is an adequate NFL cornerback and we can assume Webb and either Brooks or Elam will do admirable work at safety, but the other starting cornerback and the nickel corner will be vitally important roster spots. It was only one game, yes, but I didn't see anyone stand out back there last night.

Special teams? Not so special -- Lots of moving parts in this one, obviously, as a number of players were running in and out on punts and kick-offs, but the coverage was shaky in both scenarios and it appears the Ravens don't really have anyone to return kicks or punts, yet. Kaelin Clay fumbled a punt, so that's a bad start for him, and while guys like Campanaro and Webb have done the job before, neither of them have stood out enough to warrant being considered the incumbent for kick-off and punt returns respectively. Keenan Reynolds is certainly a candidate, but it appears he's a longshot to even make the team in the first place. The search goes on in that department. There was a late-game fumble-recovery by the Ravens on a punt to midfield, so things ended on a good note, at least, but the absence of a bonafide return man -- at least up to this point -- has to be somewhat concerning.

Overall, Thursday night was a "pass" if we're just doing the standard "pass/fail" grading system. That Carolina buzzed through our defense on that first drive isn't all that concerning, but the Baltimore secondary will definitely be under the microsope when the season kicks off in a month. The draft picks who had a shine to them on Thursday -- Stanley, Correa, Dixon -- look like they'll be on the field a lot in 2016. Back-up quarterback is nothing to write home about, but as we saw a year ago when Flacco went down with a mid-season knee injury, if the starting QB is out, you're losing anyway.

On to week number two of pre-season...

BARCS banner ad

phelps claims 22nd gold medal


There isn't much to be said that hasn't been said already, but I'd feel silly not at least mentioning this morning that Michael Phelps made a laughingstock of the field last night in the 200 Individual Medley at the Rio Olympic Games.

It wasn't quite Secretariat-in-the-Belmont, but Phelps pulled away over the final 50 meters to leave no doubt about his greatness in these games -- even at age 31 -- winning his fourth straight gold medal in the event and his 22nd overall.

X
Besting an Olympic swimming field by two seconds is like winning a horse race by 15 lengths. That's just what Michael Phelps did on Thursday night in Rio, winning the 200 Individual Medley for the fourth straight time.

There are athletic accomplishments and then there are things that Phelps is doing and has done. Perhaps none of them are more impressive than the fact that he won the gold medal in the 200 IM in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. In the sports world, where youth is almost always served and birthdays put you one step closer to being obsolete, what Phelps is offering us now is truly historic.

That he's a Baltimore guy makes it even more spectacular to watch. And he IS a Baltimore guy, not of the Babe Ruth ilk who was born here, hung around as a kid, and then made his living in another city or two.

Phelps grew up here, went to school in town, trained as a swimmer at the North Baltimore Aquatic Center, bought a house in Fells Point, hung out downtown (yes, I know, not all of that story was great...), and truly calls Baltimore home.

He's OUR claim to fame, literally.

It was also interesting to see the Ravens run Phelps' race on the giant video screen(s) last night. I wonder if the Orioles would have done the same for him?

KELLY banner ad

this weekend in
english soccer


Contributed by #DMD's English Premier League Reporter
MATTHEW CARROLL


Finally we are back! While the Copa America and European Championship helped to ease some of the withdrawal that usually sets in during the long summer months, we can once again focus our full attention back across the Atlantic as Matchday 1 of the Barclay’s Premier League officially gets underway this weekend.

With a full slate of games and some mouthwatering early season matchups in store, be sure to set that alarm for bright and early Saturday morning and catch every game, all weekend long, live on the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Saturday, August 13 (all times eastern)

10 am - Tottenham @ Everton – Goodison Park, NBC Sports Network

Tottenham will hope to finally be rid of the bitter taste that has lingered in their mouths all summer long since the 5-1 drubbing they received on the final weekend last season from the now relegated Newcastle United, which allowed Arsenal to enjoy bragging rights all summer long as Spurs finished below their arch rivals for the twenty-first consecutive season, when they travel to Goodison Park to kick off the new campaign against an Everton side who similarly will be hoping to kick the new year off on a much better foot than where they left last season.

After successive 11th place finishes, their lowest finish in the table over the last nine years, manager Roberto Martinez was shown the door with Ronald Koeman, who guided Southampton to 6th place and their highest finish ever in the League last year, now calling the shots. It could be a difficult opening act for the Dutchman in front of the Goodison faithful, with Everton winless in their last seven League meetings against Spurs (D4 L3) and without starting center back John Stones who, after years of transfer speculation, finally made the big money move to Manchester City only three days ago.

Sunday, August 14 (all times eastern)

11 am - Liverpool @ Arsenal – Emirates Stadium, NBC Sports Network

X
Arsenal had 200 million to spend in the off-season and didn't much with it...a fact even more damaging now that their two starting defenders are out for the season opener.

The Sunday slate concludes with two teams that both believe they will have what it takes to be sitting top of the table come the end of May, when Liverpool visit Arsenal in the opening weekend’s marquee matchup at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal were top at the New Year last season but an inconsistent second half, with injuries once again exposing a lack of depth throughout the squad, left them well off of Leicester’s title winning pace, while Liverpool grew as the year went along, thriving after Jurgen Klopp took over for Brendan Rodgers in October, reaching both the Capital One Cup and Europa League finals.

The Gunners have lost just one of their last nine League meetings (W4 D4) and one of their last sixteen encounters at the Emirates with Liverpool (W8 D7), but find themselves in all too familiar territory with injuries and a lack of cover in the squad leaving them dangerously shorthanded, particularly on the backline, where they are likely to feature a makeshift center back pairing with Per Mertesacker and Gabriel missing out on the early season clash through injury and Laurent Koscileny on the sidelines as he works his way back to game fitness following his extended participation with France at EURO 2016.

Monday, August 14 (all times eastern)

3 pm - West Ham United @ Chelsea – Stamford Bridge, NBC Sports Network

The Monday Night Football (er...Monday afternoon?) card kicks off with a London Derby, when West Ham United travel across town to take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. West Ham and manager Slaven Bilic will be eager to prove that last season’s 7th place finish and subsequent Europa League qualification was no fluke, while Antonio Conte will take charge of his first game for the Blues after taking over this summer following Chelsea’s tumultuous and often tortuous campaign last season, with their tenth place finish and fifty point haul officially the most inept title defense in Premier League history.

Conte, whose managerial resume includes more than successful stints with Italian giants Juventus and the Italian national team, becomes the twelfth big name manager to step into the firing line at Chelsea since Roman Abramovich took over thirteen years ago in 2003. He will look to restore the Blues to the top tier of the table and will have to like his chances of impressing his new boss in his debut, with Chelsea unbeaten in their last seventeen opening day matches (W14 D3) and, in a streak dating back to 2002, their last ten League meetings with the Hammers (W7 D3) at Stamford Bridge.

Orlando Products banner ad

Thursday
August 11
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 11
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


told you we should have picked up a bat or two at the trade deadline


It's far too early for an "I told you so" piece about how the Orioles goofed up at the trade deadline.

There's still 49 games left in the season, after all.

But last night's 1-0 Orioles loss at Oakland was another one of those nights that we've seen all too often recently. And it was a half-a-scrub pitcher -- Ross Detwiler -- who did it to the Birds, another common theme of the last month or so.

The O's actually out-hit Oakland, 7-4, last night. I know, I know, seven hits in a nine inning game hardly serves as a bragging point, but it's at least worth mentioning.

X
Zach Britton got in last night's game in Oakland, but it wasn't the way he expected. Britton worked the 9th inning in a 1-0 loss to Oakland -- his first action since last Friday in Chicago.

Manager Buck Showalter even tried shaking up the lineup a bit on Wednesday evening, moving J.J. Hardy to second and shifting Jonathan Schoop to fifth, while dropping Chris Davis down to sixth and Matt Wieters to seventh.

Reasonable ideas. But they didn't work, either. The boxscore will show Hardy and Schoop both going 1-for-4 and Davis notching two hits on the night, but both were of the "seeing eye" variety against the shift. Wieters went 0-for-3 on the night.

Yovani Gallardo was more than good enough on the mound, except for that third inning uprising with two outs that saw back-to-back doubles from Marcus Semien and Yonder Alonso produce the game's only run.

That's three straight losses to an Oakland team that is not only twelve games below .500 overall (51-63), but seven games below. 500 at home (27-32). Yes, the Orioles are in danger of being swept by an A.L. West bottom feeder.

I opined before the trade deadline that the O's needed another bat or two, perhaps, but that they also needed the bats they already have in place to start clicking on all cylinders again.

Steve Pearce was their answer at the deadline, and he's already hurt and not available. Not that Pearce was any sort of earth-shattering move, but he's good against left-handed pitchers, and would have been in the lineup last night if not for his ailing arm. With Pearce out, that means Nolan Reimold gets to face a lefty. And you know what that means...

And while I also understand they didn't have a lot to give up at the deadline in order to swing a deal for an impact-type player, the fact remains they didn't improve at the moment of truth.

Now, let's come to grips with this. The Orioles aren't going to hit like they're hitting right now for the rest of the season. They're just not.

They've somehow become a bad road team, falling to 24-33 on the year with last night's loss. Unfortunately, unlike the hitting, which WILL see some market correction sometime soon, the Birds might not be able to shift out of the road woes. And if they're going to finish something like 34-47 on the road, they're not going to make the playoffs.

Unless they somehow pick up another bat in August, this is the O's lineup that's going to make them or break them down the stretch.

And that means they need a lot more production from Davis, Trumbo, Wieters and, yes, even Machado, who clubbed three homers on Sunday in Chicago and then went missing in action in Oakland thus far.

The Orioles, as we saw in April, May and June, can win games without the likes of Steve Pearce helping out. They can't win, though, if Davis and Trumbo are going to hit under .200 for long stretches of the season, as they've both done now for the better part of a month. It would help if Caleb Joseph had at least one RBI here and there on nights he's in the lineup. And whomever is in left field on any given night has to be productive, too.

It's most certainly not panic time, because the Birds still have gobs of games left to play at Camden Yarrds, where they've posted the major's best home record so far in 2016. They're also nearly finished with the A.L. West on the road, which bodes well for Buck Showalter's team since they've now lost 12 straight away games against teams from the Western division.

X
Hitting under .200 since the All-Star Break, Mark Trumbo's bat needs to heat up for the Orioles if they're going to stay in the thick of the A.L. East race.

But they still have plenty of work left to do on the road over the last 49 games, including two more trips to New York, where the Yankees apparently aren't giving up even though they barely have any decent players or pitchers left on their roster. They have three games left in Boston, three in Toronto, plus five road games against Detroit (3) and Washington (2).

This "road thing" is going to have to improve if the Birds fancy themselves playoff contenders at the end of the season. They simply can't get in the post-season with only 34 wins away from Camden Yards. At least I don't think they can.

There aren't ever any "must-win" games, really, until the game you're playing on that given day potentially ends your season with a loss. That, then, is truly "must-win".

But this afternoon's game (3:35 pm) in the series finale is one of those "really need to win" kind of outings and it's comforting to know the O's have Chris Tillman on the mound in this one. Unfortunately, Oakland is countering with some guy named Andrew Triggs, who has a 5.35 ERA on the season and is coming out of the A's bullpen to make his second career start.

You know what that means, potentially. You can almost see the headline now: Triggs halts O's with 2-hit, 8 strikeout performance as A's win 3-2 in 10 innings

One day after letting Ross Detwiler pick up his first major league win since 2013, would you be at all shocked to see Andrew Triggs shut down the Birds today?

Yeah, me neither.

Here's the good news, sort of, coming up this weekend in San Francisco. The Birds won't be facing any scrub pitchers, as the Giants send Cain, Bumgarner and Cueto to the mound in the three-game interleague series.

As odd as it seems and sounds, the Orioles have a better chance of doing some damage offensive against guys like that, because they have enough video and data on them to at least have half-an-idea of what to expect at the plate.

I know, it seems like I'm grasping at straws a bit. I probably am.

It comes down to this: The Birds need to do something on the road -- starting today in Oakland -- and get their offense straightened out, sooner rather than later.

If the O's can't get their bats in gear, all that work in the first three months of the season might go down the drain.

BARCS banner ad

three things to look for in tonight's ravens pre-season opener


Football is back, officially, beginning tonight, when the Ravens host the Panthers in the pre-season opener at M&T Bank Stadium.

There are a handful of legitimate roster spots available in August, with guys like Matt Elam, James Hurst and potentially even Justin Forsett all needing to produce quality in the pre-season games or they could be looking for a job in four weeks time.

Here's a look at three things that might matter tonight in the pre-season opener.

Mallet or Johnson as back-up QB? -- This seemed like an afterthought back in February when the Ravens started assembling their depth chart for 2016, but a poor spring in the OTA's and a not-so-impressive training camp thus far have led some folks at The Castle to wonder if Ryan Mallet's job as Joe Flacco's back-up is secure. NFL veteran Josh Johnson is hanging around battling Mallet and will certainly be given plenty of time and opportunity to impress not only tonight, but in the next couple of pre-season games as well.

It would be almost "Mallet like" for him to lose the back-up job to Johnson. There are always flashes of something special with Mallet, but then he reverts back to the same old mistake-prone QB that got him ousted in both Houston and New England. And, let's face it, if Josh Johnson beats you out of a job, you pretty much stink. True, it's "only" the back-up QB spot, but as we saw last season, the guy behind the starter might have to make a contribution at some point this season.

X
Two years removed from a breakout season with the Ravens, Justin Forsett could be in for a roster fight during training camp if Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon continue to impress John Harbaugh and his coaching staff.

Is Forsett's job secure? -- It would take a significant disruption in the Ravens' depth chart to see Justin Forsett on the outside-looking-in at the end of the month, but the Ravens are very keen on two running backs (Buck Allen and Terrance West) who have the same type of profile as Forsett -- and they're younger and cheaper. Oh, and Lorenzo Taliaferro is also still in the mix and the club might need to keep him as their short yardage "power back".

That all adds up to perhaps the running back position as a whole having one more player than available roster spots. It would be a shock to see Forsett get the boot, but if newcomer Kenneth Dixon breaks through, Forsett could be the odd guy out.

Is the Arthur Brown experiment about to end? -- Not that Arthur Brown would be shocked to hear this, but his career with the Ravens might very well rest with his performance in the first three pre-season games. Brown has never blossomed into the player the Ravens thought they might be getting back in 2013 when they drafted him in the 2nd round. This could be the end of the road for him if things don't shake out in his favor over the next few weeks.

The Ravens have three locks at the inside linebacker spot -- Mosley, Orr and 2016 draft pick, Correa. That leaves Brown fighting it out with Anthony Levine for presumably the final ILB roster spot that's available. And Levine has been very good on special teams, so the nod might go to him unless Brown can finally distinguish himself.

There are typically only two pre-season games that really get everyone's attention -- the first one and the third one. The first game is the one that everyone who is healthy gets to play in. It's more of a "knock the rust off" game for the starters, but the 2's and 3's have to start making an impact tonight, right away. The running backs will all get their share of carries tonight, some playing behind the "good" offensive line and some playing behind the back-ups and fringe performers. Either way, though, you have to shine when your number is called.

The same goes for guys like Arthur Brown, Anthony Levine, James Hurst, Matt Elam and, yes, perhaps even veteran Dennis Pitta. Given their chance to show they belong tonight, that's what they need to do. Pitta seems like a reasonable bet to make the team as long as he stays healthy, but John Harbaugh won't keep him around if he can't keep up with game speed once the whistle blows tonight and the ball is in the air in a situation that resembles "real" football.

KELLY banner ad

mark your calendars for september 29 and come out for a great day of golf with me!


OK, friends, I need your help.

Once a year, I make this plea. If you’re a golfer, and you have golfing friends, I’d love for you to join me on Thursday, September 29 for my 12th annual Charity Golf Outing at Eagle’s Nest Country Club, presented by Jerry’s Toyota.

This year’s event will benefit the great people at Best Buddies Maryland, who have a special place in my heart because the man who runs the organization, Vince Fiduccia, once worked for me in the indoor soccer business.

To learn more about Best Buddies Maryland and what they do for our community, please visit their website at: https://bestbuddies.org/find-programs/maryland/

This is NOT just a “hit and giggle” charity outing like you’ve probably played a hundred times over the years.

This is a fun, legitimate four-person “Captain’s Choice competition”, with prizes in the gross and net divisions. We have a putting contest with a cash prize for the winner, plus on-course contests for closest-to-the-pin and long drive.

Unlike most outings, who just let you buy as many mulligans as you want (and, therefore, you just keep trying to make that putt until you actually make it), everyone gets the opportunity to buy ONE mulligan before my outing and that’s it. There’s no string, no “throws” or anything like that in this event. It’s a four-person scramble, but it’s a fair, evenly played charity golf outing.

Everyone who has played the event loves it. The pace of play is great – we limit the field to just 24 foursomes – and the prizes and awards are even better.

It’s a handicapped tournament, meaning you can bring a 5, a 10, a 15 and a 20 if you want. You’ll get your shots accordingly and the competition will be fair across the board.

And we’ll be raising money for a great cause!

The entry fee for the tournament is $750, which includes four playing spots and two (2) promotional tee signs for the company or business of the designated team leader. It’s basically $150 per-player and $150 for the signs, the proceeds of which all go to Best Buddies Maryland.

The schedule for the event is: Lunch and practice range access at 11:30 am. Golf begins at 1:00 pm. Awards, prizes and dinner starts around 5:30 pm.

If you’re interested in playing in my 12th Annual Charity Golf Outing, please send me an e-mail: drew@drewsmorningdish.com -- so I can reserve your team a space in the field.

We need all the golfers we can get! I promise you this will be one of the best outings you’ll play in this year!

ROUSE banner

last call for our
springsteen bus
september 1 at nats park


If you're a Bruce Springsteen fan, come along with #DMD on Thursday, September 1st when we head to Washington DC to see The Boss -- and The E Street Band -- live at Nationals Park.

WE ONLY HAVE TWO SEATS REMAINING ON THE BUS!

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

Monday
August 8
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 8
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


furyk's 58 caps wild sports weekend


Truthfully, I'm a little surprised it took this long for someone on the PGA Tour to shoot 58 in an event.

As their popular ad slogan says: These guys are good.

Jim Furyk became the first player in TOUR history to record a round of 58 yesterday at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut, and also became the first player to have two sub-60 rounds as well. He was one of a handful of players with a 59 before making history with Sunday's epic performance.

It's worth noting that Shigeki Maruyama posted a 58 a decade or so ago at a U.S. Open qualifier on the South Course of Woodmont CC in Rockville. In other words, 58 has been done before, just not under the bright lights of an official PGA Tour round.

X
A bunch of guys on the PGA Tour have posted rounds of 59 before, but no one ever reached 58...until Jim Furyk did it yesterday.

A bunch of players have posted crazy rounds in recent years, including Tiger Woods, who shot 56 at his home course in Orlando two years ago. Bubba Watson had a 57 at another club in the Orlando area a few years back, too.

But doing it on a Tuesday afternoon at Medalist or Isleworth is one thing; doing it on the PGA Tour, when it counts, with history on the line, that's a whole other story.

I wouldn't say Furyk is an improbable candidate to become "Mr. 58". He was, after all, one of the guys with a 59. But I have to admit I was a little shocked yesterday when I checked my phone for an update on the Alex Rodriguez press conference and saw "FURYK SHOOTS RECORD ROUND OF 58" as the website's main headline.

It's very difficult to put into perspective how amazing a round of 58 is in golf. Obviously, unless you've played the sport, you have little way of comprehending it in the first place. Then, if you play golf, take into account Furyk's playing a course that's stretched out to roughly 7,000 yards. And there aren't any gimmes in Jim's league, unlike that Saturday morning round at Rocky Point where your buddies knock back every four footer you face and say, "That's good. You woulda made it anyway, your puttin' lights out today."

Oh, and Furyk was chasing history, too, much like Phil Mickelson was last month at the British Open when he faced a putt at 18 to become the first player to ever shoot 62 in a major.

Those guys out there -- particularly the veteran players -- are keenly aware of the golfing records available to them.

Furyk knew no one had ever posted 58 in a tournament round. That makes his accomplishment even more special.

X
It's easy to shoot 58 when you make 10 birdies and an eagle...

Some folks on the web have already opined that Furyk's 58 came on a par-70 course and that a 58 on a par-72 course would be "really good".

There are two ways to look at that. Yes, a 58 on a par-72 course would be 14-under par and that, for sure, would be the ultimate "record-breaking" score at this point.

But playing a par 70 course means you only have two par 5's on your scorecard, which greatly reduces the birdie chances in your round. Depending on the length of the course, you could be robbing yourself of two eagle putts by playing a par-70 instead of a par-72. So, while I understand the sentiment about Furyk's record score coming on a par-70 track, it's fair to note he might have actually played a harder golf course -- scoring-potential wise -- yesterday than had he been playing a par-72 layout somewhere on TOUR.

Oh, and Furyk had a lip-out on the 15th hole yesterday or he would have posted 57.

The big news out of New York turned out to be a going-away announcement for Alex Rodriguez, who will play his last game this Friday when the Yankees host Tampa Bay. Rodriguez will play in the game on Friday, then be released from his contract the next day. He'll join the Yankees as an advisor for the 2017 campaign, while they pay out the $20 million they owe him.

Surprisingly, lots of players issued glowing statements of praise for A-Rod on Sunday once the announcement was made.

Maybe it's just guys being nice, but it was interesting to hear/read folks like Derek Jeter, Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr. all fondly remembering Rodriguez for his on-field greatness.

He would have been a sure-fire Hall of Famer if not for the PED scandals and the constant fibbing to the media, but his ex-teammates apparently don't care much about that stuff. And maybe they shouldn't, actually. They're ballplayers, paid to win games "by any means necessary". A-Rod won his teams a lot of games over the years.

I respect the Yankees for what they've done with him this year. In Baltimore, we've been trotting a $13 million player out there every 5th day for the better part of two years now because we don't have the intestinal fortitude to cut him loose, pay off his contract, and say, "We need to win games here, Ubaldo. Sorry."

The Yankees are paying upwards of $25 million to Rodriguez just to get rid of him a year and two months ahead of time.

Sure, they're keeping him around in some sort of "advisory" capacity, but my guess is that's mainly a P.R. move and nothing else. Rodriguez doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who will drive all over Florida and look at 21-year old baseball players and try to help them learn how to hit the ball to the opposite field.

The guy made $300 million in his career. What on earth would compel him to become a roving instructor type who works with players that possess about 1/10th of the talent he had as a player?

It's all eyewash, as they say in the majors. I mean, Rodriguez might actually perform those duties for the Yankees in 2017, but that's because he'll be getting $20 million in return for doing so. Once the Yankees offer him $175,000 to do that same gig in 2018, he'll be long gone, making up an excuse about needing to spend more time with his family or devoting more of his energy to his foundation.

Still, the Yankees did the right thing yesterday. They cut a guy loose who can no longer help them and did so knowing they'd have to pay him more than $20 million as a going away present.

And, I like the fact that they're actually making Rodriguez "work for his money" next year.

What a weekend it was for Baltimore baseball fans. Teixeira, gone. Alex Rodriguez, gone. What's next, Ben Roethlisberger announces his sudden retirement today at Steelers training camp?

BARCS banner ad

phelps pours it on for first rio gold


The years and locations have changed, but one thing stays constant about Michael Phelps.

The man can swim.

Phelps was part of last night's U.S. 4x100 relay team at the Rio Olympics and it was his turn in the water that changed the tide -- no pun intended -- as the Baltimore native picked up another gold medal, along with the rest of his teammates. That's 19 gold medals for Phelps in his decorated Olympic career, in case you lost count.

It was a great start to these Olympic games for the U.S. men's swimming team, as the Americans knocked off favorite France in winning in the 4x100. Swimming in the second leg of the race, Phelps and the U.S. trailed when he left the block, and led when he touched the wall after his portion of the relay was complete.

The Americans didn't give up the lead Phelps handed them.

X
It's now 19 gold medals and counting for Michael Phelps after last night's win in the 4x100 relay in Rio.

Oh, and here's the other thing worth noting. His relay time last night of 47.12 was the best of his career. His best time EVER for that event. And Phelps is 31 years old, now.

Stop and think about that for a second, please. While you're busy trying to imagine how a guy like Jim Furyk could shoot 58, I want you to think about swimming the length of football field (basically) in 47 seconds. You might not be able to walk it in 47 seconds, let alone swim that far in that short amount of time.

The cool thing in these Olympic games, as evidenced by last night's placement in the second leg of the relay, is that Phelps is able to occupy any position within the team. Four years ago, eight years ago, etc., he would have been the anchor guy in the race and would have been the guy responsible for winning it all down the stretch.

Now, he's just sort of "one of the guys", except for a record-breaking time at age 31 and 19 gold medals around his neck.

American female swimmer Katie Ledecky also made history on Sunday in Rio, as she set a world record time of 3:56:46 in the 400 meter freestyle event.

Here we go again. Head out to your local high school track today and make one walking lap. How long did that take you? Three minutes? Four minutes?

Ledecky swam a length around the track in under four minutes yesterday, earning a gold medal as well, obviously.

KELLY banner ad

o's back in first after 10-2 win in chicago


Someone forgot to tell Manny Machado that Sunday was "record breaking day".

The O's third baseman hit home runs in his first three plate appearances, then went cold after that, but the Birds finished off a series win over the White Sox with a 10-2 victory.

Machado homered in the first, second and third innings, and looked like a safe bet to tie the major league record for homers in a game (4) and, perhaps, even reach the 5-home run pinnacle.

It didn't happen.

X
Manny Machado now has 25 home runs on the season after Sunday's 3-homer outburst in Chicago.

The O's led 8-0 after the second inning and any enthusiasm either team had for the game was kind of gone at that point. Machado homered again in the 3rd inning to make it 10-0, and everyone went into cruise control at that point.

Dylan Bundy was again outstanding on the mound for the O's. It's safe to say at this point that the Orioles are actually going to suffer quite a bit if Bundy reaches some of innings limit in September and can't pitch in the stretch run or the playoffs.

He's been that good thus far.

Yesterday, he struck out nine and allowed just four hits, improving to 5-3 on the year. His ERA (3.05) is a little misguided given he pitched the first three months out of the bullpen. He's allowed 13 hits and 5 earned runs in his last four starts with the O's. Yes, go ahead and make a joke about Ubaldo Jimenez allowing 13 hits and 5 earned runs -- in one start.

J.J. Hardy and Chris Davis also homered on Sunday.

It was the first home run for Davis since July 10 and came on a day when the team's home run leader -- Mark Trumbo -- was given the day off by Buck Showalter. Maybe Buck should try that same tactic with Davis, who looks like a guy in dire need of a day or two away from the office.

The game was such a laugher yesterday even Ryan Flaherty made an appearance.

And more good news for the Birds -- both Toronto and Boston lost on Sunday.

Royal Farms banner ad

last call for our
springsteen bus
september 1 at nats park


If you're a Bruce Springsteen fan, come along with #DMD on Thursday, September 1st when we head to Washington DC to see The Boss -- and The E Street Band -- live at Nationals Park.

WE ONLY HAVE TWO SEATS REMAINING ON THE BUS!

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

STECCO banner ad

Sunday
August 7
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 7
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


what's the a-rod press conference all about today?


The Yankees announced early Saturday evening they've scheduled an 11 am news conference today to address the situation involving Alex Rodriguez, who has basically become the Yankees' version of Ryan Flaherty.

He only plays when five other guys ahead of him on the depth chart all have the flu or tickets to see Coldplay that night.

Rodriguez himself was shocked on Saturday when he heard the news of the 11 am press conference. It's always a bit of a stunner, I suppose, to hear that your employer is having a press conference to talk about you, especially when it wasn't your idea to hold said gathering in the first place.

So, what's going to happen today at 11 am in New York?

Here's a list of possible outcomes with percentage chances they occur...

Yankees release Rodriguez from his contract: 60% -- This one seems most likely, even though it would cost the Yankees the remainder of this year's $20 million salary and a $20 million salary next season, in what would be the final year of a 10-year, $275 million contract he signed with the Yankees in 2007.

The Yankees have been hesitant to do this in the past couple of years because the money they owed was just too much to fork over for no return effort on A-Rod's part. Now, owing roughly $6 million in August and September and $20 million next year is a little easier to swallow.

This seems the most likely of all the outcomes that could occur today in New York.

Yankees announce they'll release A-Rod at the end of the season: 25% -- This would be an odd way to go about it, but the Yankees probably wouldn't mind a few nice crowds at the end of the year as the A-Rod run comes to an end in the Bronx. It would give the club the chance to provide him with a proper, fair send-off, and yet maintain their dignity a little bit by cutting him loose in November and ridding themselves of a bunch of questions heading into Spring Training, 2017.

Two things we know for sure at this point: 1. A-Rod can't play worth a hoot this season. 2. A-Rod would be worse in 2017.

It wouldn't shock me to hear Girardi and Cashman stand up there today and announce they're basically firing Rodriguez, effective at the end of the season. He'd still get his $20 million for next season, so he probably wouldn't care at all.

Yankees announce they won't play A-Rod anymore this season but he can come to spring training and "compete for a spot": 15% -- This scenario seems the most outrageous of them all, but if the Club really wants to keep Rodriguez on his toes this winter -- and perhaps coax HIM into retiring and, therefore, forfeiting that $20 million he's due to collect -- they'll tell him he's effectively being "benched" for the rest of this season but they will welcome him to Tampa Bay next February when he can fight for a roster spot in his final season.

This would be the ultimate indigity for a guy who has, at present, 696 career home runs and would be a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer if not for the steroid/PED issues.

"We'd rather let a bunch of young kids play for the rest of this season, but if you want to spend all winter working out, eating right and staying fit, you can come back next February and see if you can beat out any of those kids for one of the 25 roster spots we offer..."

X
Just four home runs shy of 700 for his career, Alex Rodriguez is likely on his way out in New York. An 11 am press conference has been scheduled for Sunday, August 7th.

Can you imagine the Orioles having done that with Cal Ripken Jr. at the end of his career?

It would appear A-Rod's days in New York are over, pending some other wacky announcement today in the Big Apple.

In some ways, it's a shame Rodriguez has to go out like this, shamed and humiliated by not only his statistics and performance this season, but also by the fact that he hasn't realized the candle doesn't have any wick left to burn.

It's been over for him since about 2013, truth be told, but he wanted to forge ahead and play out the string, mainly to try and reach 3,000 hits (which he did) and 700 home runs (not there yet). The prospect of earning another $80 million kept him around in '14, '15 and '16 as well.

He was, of course, a dominant offensive player at his zenith. One of the best we've seen in the game over the last 50 years, if we're being honest.

But all of that greatness -- much like Barry Bonds -- was overshadowed by his (suspected) PED use and then, once caught, by his Pete Rose-like denial that he did anything wrong.

I think most folks who follow baseball would have been more accepting of A-Rod's mistakes had he simply admitted to them in the first place.

The PED use, the lying, the stories, the tear-jerker interviews with ESPN, then more PED use, more lies, a suspension, a court case...it became a circus at the end of the day.

And now, today, the Yankees will likely pull the plug on A-Rod's remaining year and send him off into the sunset, where he'll no doubt leave the scene by uttering those same words many others before him have expressed on the day they were told their services were no longer needed: "I feel like I can still play this game..."

In A-Rod's case, he can't.

It's over.

Everyone knows that but Rodriguez himself, apparently.

BARCS banner ad

drew's views on the
baltimore orioles

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


o's, tillman fall in chicago, 4-2


If you're the type who believes in such things, you're actually happy -- in a weird way -- at how the Orioles lost Saturday night's game in Chicago.

Because there's simply no way they could EVER lose a game like that again.

The Birds fell 4-2 to the White Sox last night after a bloop hit in the 7th inning nicked the foul line and drove in the go-ahead run. This wasn't just any bloop hit, though.

X
Chris Tillman pitched into the 7th inning on Saturday night in Chicago but wound up a loser for just the 4th time this season as the Birds fell to the White Sox, 4-2.

With the bases loaded and no one out, Omar Narvaez of the White Sox sent a loopy fly ball off the ennd of the bat that was in no man's land between Manny Machado and left fielder Nolan Reimold.

Machado pursued it, and tried to make an over the shoulder catch, but the ball somehow missed his glove and dinked off the turf, shooting left towards the stands.

The umpire ruled the ball foul, and everyone returned to their positions.

Except the White Sox thought, maybe, just maybe, the ball clipped the foul line -- making it fair.

They appealed.

And won.

Fair ball, one base granted for everyone, White Sox lead 3-2.

Oh, and game over, too.

Upon review, it looks like the ball DID just nick the foul line as it missed Machado's waiting glove. I wouldn't bet a million bucks that it did, but I'd bet $100, I guess.

Adam Eaton would then hit an 8th inning home run off Vance Worley to finalize the scoring at 4-2.

The O's managed just six hits on the night, and struck out ten times against four Chicago pitchers. Steve Pearce (0-3), Nolan Reimold (0-2) and Chris Davis (0-2) combined to go 0-for-7 with four strikeouts between them.

J.J. Hardy drove in both Baltimore runs.

Chris Tillman got the start and was decent enough through six innings, then couldn't get anyone out in the 7th and turned matters over to Mychal Givens, who worked his way out of a bases loaded-no outs jam by allowing just that one "foul line" run to score.

Tillman allowed three of Chicago's four runs, falling to 14-4 on the year.

The loss wasn't all that damaging, though, as Toronto, Boston and New York all lost on Saturday.

The Birds remain tied for first in the East with the Blue Jays, who lost 4-2 to the Royals yesterday, while Boston sits two games behind after losing in L.A. to the Dodgers, 3-0 on Saturday.

Dylan Bundy opposes James Shields in today's series finale in Chicago (2:10 pm EST first pitch).

KELLY banner ad

last call for our
springsteen bus
september 1 at nats park


If you're a Bruce Springsteen fan, come along with #DMD on Thursday, September 1st when we head to Washington DC to see The Boss -- and The E Street Band -- live at Nationals Park.

WE ONLY HAVE TWO SEATS REMAINING ON THE BUS!

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

STECCO banner ad

Saturday
August 6
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 6
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


now that it's over, we can say "well done" to teixeira


I realize I might be the only person here today at #DMD who can do this, publicly. I'd like to congratulate Severna Park native and Mount Saint Joseph high school graduate Mark Teixeira on a hell of a caerer.

And I'd like to applaud him for making the right decision, too. At least it seems that way.

Teixeira announced his retirement yesterday, effective at the end of the season, putting the lid on an outstanding 14-year major league career.

He won't go in the Hall of Fame or anything like that, but he'd probably get enough votes to squeeze into the Hall of Very Good someday if they ever decide to build one of those for guys who put up excellent numbers, played the game the right way, and always put in a honest effort.

X
After eight seasons in New York and fourteen overall in the majors, Severna Park native Mark Teixeira is calling it a career after the 2016 campaign.

Teixeira -- as the comments below will show -- isn't the most popular guy in these parts because he played for the Yankees for eight seasons from 2009 through 2016.

I've always had the uncanny ability to not let that kind of stuff bother me, mainly because, in Teixeira's case at least, he did what anyone else would have done when the Yankees offered him $180 million to play baseball in the Big Apple. He took the money.

And he won a World Series there, too, finishing 2nd in MVP voting in 2009 after a monster first season with the Yankees.

I tend to look at those sort of career/life changing decisions and say, "What would I tell my son to do? What advice would I give him if the same opportunity presented itself?"

The answer there, without question: "Son, take that $180 million from the Yankees and go have fun."

I know I've told this story before here, but it bears repeating. I once had the occasion to have a brief conversation with Mark Teixeira's dad while we were both at Chartwell CC in Severna Park. I asked him, simply, where he thought his son would wind up after all the free agent offers were in: "Wherever he gets the most money..." was his quick, honest reply.

That's probably the same answer I'd give my son, with the normal caveats in there about "playing for a solid organization" (Yankees fit that criteria), "trying to win a ring" (Yankees always did/do) and "making sure your family enjoys it there" (New York seems pretty cool to me).

Teixeira is wildly disliked here because he shunned the Orioles for the Yankees in 2009, but anyone with a brain -- yes, even you, my friend -- would have done the same thing back then. The Orioles were awful then and the Yankees were...well...the Yankees. There was no sign, not one, mind you, that the Orioles were on the verge of breaking out and becoming even a consistent .500 ballclub, let alone challenge for a playoff spot or even win a title.

I understand how people work around here. I'm born and raised in these parts. We get offended quite easily, sports wise, and tend not to soften over time, either.

But I never once held anything against Teixeira for his decision to take $180 million and live happily ever after, the same way I didn't begrudge Mike Mussina for leaving the Orioles after they tried to hoodwink him with a "hometown discount" back in 2000.

When someone is a free agent, the most valuable word of that term isn't "agent" -- it's "free". You can go where the money takes you, the titles take you or the girls take you, for all I care. When you're a "free" agent, you're "free" to go to the place of your choosing.

Teixeira's career wasn't overwhelming by any means, but he will leave the game with a couple of legacy notes nonetheless. He ranks 5th in all-time home runs by a switch hitter, trailing only Mickey Mantle, Eddie Murray, Chipper Jones and Carlos Beltran. That's pretty decent company. The first two guys are Hall of Famers, Jones will be, and Beltran will likely get into Cooperstown with his late career surge.

Only nine players in Major League history have 400 home runs and five Gold Gloves, and seven of the nine are in the Hall of Fame (only Barry Bonds and Andruw Jones aren't). Teixeira will be the 10th guy in that category when his career officially ends in October.

I also respect the fact Teixeira got this stuff out of the way in early August, announcing his retirement yesterday and vowing not to be a distraction over the last two months.

"I just want to come to work every day, play the game the way I always have, and try to help the team win as many games as possible," Teixeira said yesterday in New York.

I like hearing that.

It's a shame that injuries robbed him of the last five years of his career, because Teixeira was at least past the first couple of toll booths heading to Cooperstown back in 2009 when he helped the Yankees win the World Series over the Phillies.

But he won't receive any serious consideration for the Hall of Fame now, having failed to play 125 games or more in one season since 2011.

Ultimately, he'll be remembered as a terrific switch hitter and an outstanding defensive player, and he'll be the guy, of course, who took the $180 million to sign with the Yankees.

I don't think Baltimore would despise him nearly as much these days if Teixeira would have signed with the Padres, Dodgers, Mariners, etc. in 2009. But because we like to tell players where they should or shouldn't sign in these parts, we never forgave him for joining forces with the arch-enemy in the Big Apple.

It never bothered me, though. I wouldn't have signed with the Orioles, either, in 2009.

BARCS banner ad

drew's views on the
baltimore orioles

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


o's boot the ball around, but bats come alive in 7-5 win over white sox


It wasn't the prettiest win of the year, for sure, but the Birds kicked off a pivotal 10-game road trip with a 7-5 win in Chicago on Friday night.

The Orioles made four errors in the game, including two by the normally sure-handed Chris Davis. Matt Wieters and Jonathan Schoop had the other miscues for the O's, who remained tied for first in the A.L. East with the Blue Jays, who won 4-3 at Kansas City on Friday evening.

The defensive mistakes didn't come back to haunt the Orioles because they pounded out 16 hits on the night, scoring more than six runs in a 9-inning game for the first time mid-June in San Diego.

Pedro Alvarez homered twice for the Birds, the second time this week he's done that, and Manny Machado delivered a key 2-run double in the 3rd inning as Baltimore jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in support of Yovani Gallardo.

X
Pedro Alvarez had just three home runs in April and May, combined. Last night in Chicago, he hit his 17th and 18th homers of the season in the O's 7-5 win.

Gallardo (4-3) worked six innings, allowed seven hits and two earned runs, but most importantly, only walked one White Sox batter.

Davis didn't just have a bad night defensively, as he was also woeful at the plate, going 0-for-5 with two more strikeouts. It would be fair to mention that Davis made a nice play at first base in the 8th inning that calmed a White Sox uprising, as Chicago scratched out three runs in that inning to cut Baltimore's 7-2 lead to 7-5.

At the plate, though, Davis was useless, as his average dipped all the way down to .218 with the 0-for-5 performance.

Adam Jones, Manny Machado and J.J. Hardy each collected three hits for the Birds.

Brad Brach worked a perfect 7th inning to protect that 7-2 lead, but Darren O'Day came in for the 8th and couldn't do much of anything, eventually giving up three earned runs and forcing Buck Showalter to turn the game over to recent-newcomer Logan Ondrusek.

Zach Britton picked up his 36th save in the 9th inning.

KELLY banner ad

last call for our
springsteen bus
september 1 at nats park


If you're a Bruce Springsteen fan, come along with #DMD on Thursday, September 1st when we head to Washington DC to see The Boss -- and The E Street Band -- live at Nationals Park.

WE ONLY HAVE TWO SEATS REMAINING ON THE BUS!

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

Glory Days banner ad

Friday
August 5
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 5
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


twenty counties from stardom


Thursday. 7:05 p.m. A warm, clear, beautiful, Carolina August 4th evening.

Durham Bulls Athletic Park: Section 100—Row A—Seat number 1.

Allegedly the best seat in the house.

Happy Birthday to me!

By matter of introduction, I'm George McDonnell, an occasional contributor here at #DMD, longtime golfing acquaintance of this website's proprietor, and now living the life of luxury in North Carolina.

The Orioles’ Triple-A farm club, the last-place Norfolk Tides, is in town for a three-game series against the International League South-leading Bulls, the top farm club of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Since #DMD is constantly trying to bring you coverage of sports stories that no one else in Baltimore would lay a hand on, I ventured out for the game and some history. Enjoy!


DBAP
(The new) Durham Bulls Athletic Park in 2013

The usher tells us that our ticket stubs are each good for a $5.00 credit at the concession and merchandise stands. A nice fringe benefit, especially considering that the price of my ticket is less than the cheapest ticket for any seat at any game at any Major League Baseball park except for some obstructed-view seats in the San Diego Padres' and Arizona Diamondbacks' stadiums.


DBAP
(The new) Durham Bulls Athletic Park under the lights

We used to get a nice deal on parking in the garage across the street from the front entrance of the ball yard, too. For some reason that we never figured out, parking a Saturn was free. My wife had a Saturn. We parked for free. Then a few years ago, they changed it to let Kias park for free. I suggested that my wife get herself a Kia, but she opted for a Prius. Now we get robbed for $2.00 each time we park there.

Durham Bulls Athletic Park [DBAP; pronounced "d-bap"] was not the venue for the 1988 Susan Sarandon movie, Bull Durham. The game footage of that film was shot in the Durham Athletic Park [DAP; pronounced "the dap"], which, although abandoned [except for softball tournaments and the World Beer Festival, Carolinas Division], still stands in downtown Durham. The DAP was a victim of its fame – it couldn’t accomodate the crowds that flocked to it after the success of the movie. Durham Bulls Athletic Park was built in 1995, and became the home park of the then Class-A Bulls. The Bulls did play a game in the DAP, in 2010, for purposes of nostalgia. Before a sellout-crowd of 3,911 fans, the Bulls lost to the Toledo Mud Hens, 6-4. In 2011, Minor League Baseball Inc. announced that it would not renew its contract to manage the Durham Athletic Park.

DAP
(The old) Durham Athletic Park in 2008.

The bull that now stands beyond the Blue Monster in left field in DBAP is not the bull that played a supporting role in Bull Durham in the DAP’s right field. The current bull is the third incarnation of this eponymous team symbol. He stands 20 feet tall and 30 feet wide, suspended 18 feet above and a few feet behind the top of the 32-foot-tall Blue Monster—what the left-field wall is called—beyond the foul pole, 303 feet from home plate.

A new bull was designed and installed when DBAP opened in 1995. In 2007, strong and sustained winds tore that bull to shreds. He was sort-of repaired in time for the next game, but it was decided to replace him with a sturdier version. The latest bull was installed, and serves to this day. As was the custom of his predecessors, when a batted ball hits him, the bull (1) blows smoke from his nostrils, (2) turns his eyes a bright red color, (3) wags his tail vigorously, and (4) snorts with a horn-like sound. The original bull that served DAP was for a time displayed on a wall in DBAP's lobby, but has since been relegated to storage to make room for beer-advertising murals. I can't find out what happened to the bull that was ripped apart by winds in 2007.

the bull
The Durham Bull, obverse and reverse.
(click to expand)

It takes a Ruthian clout for a player to win a steak by hitting the bull, and an only slightly less Babe-like poke to win a salad by hitting the grass just beneath the bull. In the 12 or 14 games we’ve seen there, we don't remember a player’s home run hitting the bull, and don't remember anyone ever hitting the grass. The honest friends we ask likewise deny ever seeing a home run hit the bull. I looked on the Bulls’ website to see how many players have hit the bull. Unfortunately, the team’s site is but a subsection of the official Minor League Baseball website, which, in lockstep with the modern corporate trend toward universal homogenization, has no place on it for information that might interest local fans.

DBAP was designed in 1993 and built by 1995. Its capacity is 10,000 fans. It is made of brick, and the cost of construction was $18.5 million. It was designed by Populous, a global architectural firm well known to Baltimorons [under its previous name HOK Sport Venue Event] as the designer of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The firm is recognized for bringing about the new era of baseball-park design. OPACY was the first stadium designed in this new style [in 1988-89], and its near-universal acclaim moved Denver (Coors Field) and Cleveland (Progressive Field) to build their new stadiums in similar style.

Sadly however, even this jewel of a minor-league ball park has its warts. Although not widely known, and publicized only to the extent required by contract, DBAP is also the home field of the Duke University baseball team. Duke's team, of course, stinks — so the stadium only has to put up with the team for a minimum of post-season play. This year, Wake Forest eliminated Duke in the first round of the ACC Baseball Tournament, rendering the hosts of the championship [as Shakespeare would have said, had he known of Duke] a vile and scurvy clump of bitter also-rans. The DBAP DOSO [Director of Stadium Operations] reports that, after each Duke game, the field is immediately sprayed and the seats and concession areas are disinfected.

At DBAP over the years, we've watched several players who would make it to the majors as well as players down from the Rays on rehab assignments. We saw Evan Langoria a few years back. It seems that the stars don't take the minor-league stints as seriously as they could. Evan was struck-out-looking — twice — on low smoke, unarguably strikes, and grounded weakly to second in his third at-bat. We've seen David Price twice, a couple of years apart. Price blew through the oppositions' lineups the first times around, but got roughed up and yanked in the fourth inning in each of his two outings. We came here too late to see Joe Morgan when he played for Durham. A shame, because he is so far the only Bulls alumnus to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

This night we have instructions from DF to carefully watch Trey Mancini, the Tides' first baseman [358 AB, .296 AVG., 11 HR, 41 RBI], who will probably be called up to the O's come September. We also kept an eye on Mike Yastrzemski [250 AB, .232 AVG., 6 HR, 22 RBI], only because he is the grandson of Carl, who had a decent career up in Boston. Neither provided any fireworks, although Mancini worked Bulls pitcher Eddie Gamboa for a walk in the first inning and eventually scored on a base hit. Yastzremski, as the DH, went 0-for-4 and struck out twice. We won't bore you with the video footage.

The Bulls won the game, 6-2.

It wasn't a sellout — there were 552 empty seats in the 10,000-seat stadium.

There were no errors in the game, although three Tides stood around under a high popup and watched it fall among them, and the Bulls catcher allowed two passed balls.

The Bulls' left-handed first basemen hit a long home-run to deep left-centerfield that excited the crowd.

And then came the seventh inning. The Bulls led 4-2. We had moved around to the cheap seats, a row behind the Tides dugout on the third-base side, to sit with friends. Tides pitcher Oliver Drake was facing the DH, right-handed batter J. P. Arencibia. With a man on second and a 2-2 count, Drake threw a fastball. Arencibia turned on it and made solid contact. The crack of the bat echoed solidly through the stands. It was way back there, and it looked for all the world like the kid was going to win a steak. All of us in the yard leapt to our feet and watched the ball's arc in fascination and hope. We each had one of those little men on our shoulders, whispering in our ears, telling us to calm down, that it didn't have a chance, and that that stuff only happens in the movies. But we were all hoping, hoping, hoping these buzz-killing little SOBs were wrong.

Well, here's what happened . . .

#DMDTV


Just before the game started, a young man and young lady came down the concrete aisle and stood next to my seat at the screen, in order to have the field as background. They turned around to have their picture taken. A lady with the photographer explained to everybody in earshot that the couple had come here from Russia, and that they were attending their first baseball game. We gave them an ovation and they waved back to us. When the photographer had composed his frame and was ready to shoot the photo, instead of asking the couple to smile or to say "cheese," he simply said to them, "Say 'America.' "

BARCS banner ad

this weekend in
english soccer


Contributed by #DMD's English Premier League Reporter
MATTHEW CARROLL


english premier league 2016-2017 preview


Following a busy start to the summer, which saw Chile outlast Argentina to retain their Copa America crown and Portugal shock the world and hosts France to claim their first European Championship, we can now once again turn our attention back to club football as the 2016/2017 season of the Barclay’s Premier League officially gets underway this weekend.

Leicester City and Manchester United meet at Wembley Stadium on Sunday in the 94th edition of the Football Association’s Community Shield, the annual kick off to the new campaign that features the previous seasons Premier League and FA Cup champions.

X
Pep Guardiola (left) and Jose Mourinho (right) are now in charge at Manchester City and Manchester United respectively and their public disdain for one another should make for exciting times this season when the two rivals meet in the EPL.

Leicester City, the small market club whose magical run to the Premier League title last season captured the hearts of sports fans across the globe, have taken all three points from Manchester United only once in their last fifteen meetings (D3 L11) and are likely to find themselves a mere foot note as we build towards kick off on Sunday, with the legendary Jose Mourinho set to take charge of his first competitive match since his dismissal from Chelsea less than a year ago and his first as the head man in charge since he was brought in to replace Louis van Gaal following the conclusion of last season.

The appointment of Mourinho, who has succeeded at every stop he has made throughout his often times stormy managerial career, was just one of this summer’s biggest headlines, so let’s get you caught up on what else you may have missed since the Foxes lifted their first Premier League trophy back in May.

We will be back next week with the first installment of our weekly Matchday previews and then again early next month following the close of the transfer window for a closer look at the league’s top sides and who just may be sitting top of the table following the conclusion of Matchday 38 in May.

The Rich Get Richer

Already the wealthiest soccer league in the world, the Premier League just got a little (or a lot) richer with the announcement this past spring of the second most lucrative television contract in all of sports, just behind the National Football League (NFL). The deal, which will generate a combined $13 billion through the sale of both domestic and overseas television rights, will run until the end of the 2018/19 season and will see the profits distributed among all twenty Premier League clubs, making England’s leading clubs even wealthier and changing the landscape of the game across the European continent.

Bigger transfer fees, better players, and higher wages across the board will continue to draw the best talent the world has to offer, leading to a parity and competitiveness from top to bottom that we have never seen before in any professional sports league anywhere in the world. NBC, who has broadcast Premier League games here in the United States since winning the initial bid back in 2013, and who saw one out every eleven people in the States catch a game last year, paid their part and shelled out a cool $1 billion to hold on to the exclusive broadcast rights of all 380 games a year through the 2022 season.

Turnover at the Top

And who will be charged with spending the influx of television cash that is now available? Managers across the Premier League are itching to spend the money that is now burning a hole in their pockets, as they look to follow the blueprint that Leicester City laid last season and turn the also-rans into potential title contenders.

Half of the league’s twenty teams will be starting the season with someone new calling the shots, as eight teams brought in someone new to run the show while another two will be getting their first full season in charge after taking over midway through last season.

Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola will renew their personal rivalry that blossomed while both men were in charge at Real Madrid and Barcelona, with the Spaniard now in charge at crosstown rivals Manchester City. Antonio Conte will look to reinvigorate a Chelsea side who were dismal last season while Claude Puel takes over at Southampton for the departed Ronald Koeman, who filled the vacancy at Everton.

David Moyes makes his return to the Premier League at Sunderland after a disastrous stint at Manchester United just a few years ago, Walter Mazzarrri is in at Watford, Hull City is still looking, and Jurgen Klopp and Francesco Guidolin will enjoy their first full seasons at Liverpool and Swansea.

The Silly Season

And where will all these new managers be spending their new found riches? The combination of money to burn and manager’s eager to put their personal stamps on their squads has led to what has so far been a dizzying summer transfer window, known both affectionately and maddeningly in Europe as the “silly season” for the persistent daily rumor mill that is almost never ending.

X
Manchester United spent big bucks in the off-season and appear on the verge of finalizing a deal for Paul Pogba that will be among the most lucrative in EPL history.

Last year’s record breaking total summer transfer spend of $1 billion is expected to be surpassed this year and end up in the region of $1.3 billion, with increases each summer moving forward a foregone conclusion.

The giants of the league have wasted little coming out wallets blazing, as Mourinho and United have brought in Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, with the likelihood that they will smash the world record transfer fee with a deal for Paul Pogba any day now. City have countered with moves for Ilkay Gundogan, Nolito, and young German LeRoy Sane, while Conte and Chelsea snatched N’Golo Kante and Michy Batshuayi.

Even minnows Bournemouth have put the television money to work with a club record $20 million signing of promising young winger Jordan Ibe from Liverpool.

Sorry Arsenal fans. Despite having a reported $200 million in the war chest for potential transfer, the only bit of business that manager Arsene Wenger has managed to pull off, other than being rebuffed by Leicester’s Jamie Vardy, has been the acquisition of Granit Xhaka, which looks like a solid buy but will not solve their lingering striker deficiencies.

With the transfer window open until the final day in August more big money moves are sure to come, with teams able to adjust accordingly to any injuries or deficiencies in their squads that might surface during the first four weeks of the season.

Next week we'll take a closer look at the biggest games of Matchday 1 as a new English Premier League season kicks off in earnest.

KELLY banner ad

now just four seats remain 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

Glory Days banner ad

Thursday
August 4
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 4
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


market correction finds gausman in birds 3-2 win over texas


For one night, at least, Kevin Gausman got more than he probably deserved.

Gausman was shaky in the first two innings on Wednesday night at Camden Yards, but settled down nicely thereafter and wound up on the good end of a game that he typically would have lost, as the Birds used a 3-run first inning to pull off a 3-2 win over the Texas Rangers.

It didn't look like Gausman would make it past three innings, but he wound up hanging tough for seven and looked like he had the stuff to go eight or even nine innings before Buck Showalter sent him to the showers after the 7th frame.

Here's the skinny: Gausman was good on Thursday -- he wasn't great. He was saved, literally, by a handful of defensive plays and a weird, bloopy half-a-liner in the first inning that somehow escaped the trusty glove of Texas first baseman Mitch Moreland.

X
Another solid home performance from Kevin Gausman on Wednesday night helped the O's beat the Rangers, 3-2. Now, about that road record, Kevin...

But, Gausman has been that good or better on a half dozen other occasions this season and didn't get the benefit of great defense or a timely hit, so the market correction he received last night was both welcomed and fair.

And once he wiggled his way out of the second inning, Gausman was more than impressive, even if the Baltimore bats weren't.

Speaking of those bats...

Granted, the Birds faced two excellent starters on back-to-back nights, but the offense has been relatively benign in the first two games of the Texas series. Tuesday night's 5-1 win featured four solo home runs and last night's 3-2 thriller saw the O's scratch out just four hits all night.

For the most part, the Baltimore bats have been oddly out-of-whack since the All-Star break, even with a 3-game sweep of the Indians mixed in there.

Newcomer Steve Pearce saw his first action last night since being re-acquired on Monday and went 0-for-2 with a couple of strikeouts and a walk.

Nolan Reimold, the guy we assumed Pearce was replacing, also went 0-for-2 last night.

Machado, Davis and Trumbo went 2-for-12 combined, although Trumbo did drive in a run with a first inning ground out.

What's happening with the bats these days?

Fortunately, Gausman settled down after looking completely out-of-sync early on, and Darren O'Day and Zach Britton pitched the 8th and 9th respectively to close the door on the Rangers for the second straight night.

In fairness, it's important to note that Gausman is -- or has been, at least -- a completely different pitcher at home than on the road. He presently owns the 3rd longest road winless streak in major league history (he hasn't won in 23 consecutive road starts) and his numbers away from Camden Yards haven't been all that good.

But in Baltimore, Gausman been very solid.

And when you have a bullpen as effective as the one at Buck's disposal, you only need to go six strong on most nights and that's going to be good enough.

The Birds have a long way to go to look exactly like the Royals did last year en-route to their World Series title, but they most certainly have the same make-up as Kansas City did a season ago.

If the O's can get and keep the lead through six innings, there's a 90% chance the game is over on any given night. Sure, come October and playoff time, there will be some lefty-righty, righty-lefty match-ups that Showalter will prefer, but a Brach (7th), O'Day (8th) and Britton (9th) trio over the final three innings looks a lot like Herrera, Davis and Holland did in 2015 for K.C.

Can the starting pitching get them to that 7th inning, though?

It did on Tuesday night when Dylan Bundy shut down the Rangers, and it did again last night when Gausman gutted it out through seven innings and handed the ball over to O'Day to work the eighth.

Let's see what newcomer Wade Miley does tonight in the series finale, but the O's arms -- unlike the bats -- look like they've found their way over the last month.

I'll say it again today: Over the last two months, I'll bet on the Baltimore bats more than I'll bet on the Baltimore arms. But, there's no doubt if the club can keep pitching like it has over the last 15 games, those bats won't need to be quite as heroic as we all assumed they'd need to be back in April and May.

BARCS banner ad

nike gives up, shuts its golf-equipment-making doors


In a fairly major national sports story, Nike revealed on Wednesday they will get out of the golf-equipment business and focus solely on footwear and apparel from this point forward.

The move came as a shock in the golf and sports industry, as Nike vowed nearly two decades ago to become the nation's "golf supply leader" but failed to do so, despite having Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy -- plus a host of other quality players -- using their equipment over the last twenty years.

Nike's 2015 golf-equipment sales total of $706 million made it their lowest performing division and started the chain of events that led to yesterday's announcement.

Yeah, I know...they sold $706 million worth of golf equipment and couldn't be satisfied. Weird times we live in, right?

X
Nike's signature endorser was Tiger Woods, who helped them rise AND fall with his play over the last 20 years.

While Tiger Woods was a significant reason why Nike sold a lot of equipment fifteen years ago, his fall from the top of the golfing world over the last three years is no doubt one of the reasons why Nike suffered such a drop in sales recently.

McIlroy -- who signed with Nike four years ago -- was basically just an add-on to Woods, although there's a reasonable argument that says Woods has always meant more to Nike's apparel category than their equipment category.

And here's the cold, hard truth about Nike golf equipment: It wasn't any good.

Remember a few years ago when Phil Mickelson took a dig at Nike and Woods by suggesting that Tiger was winning with "inferior equipment"?

Mickelson was right.

Sure, it agitated Woods and the folks at Nike, and Phil's endorser, Callaway, quickly got Mickelson to issue a soft-peddle apology/clarification, but Mickelson was speaking the truth. Nike golf equipment was never any good and it sort of WAS a miracle that Woods could win major-after-major using their stuff.

But the masses who play golf typically don't know a good golf club or shaft from a bad golf club or shaft. They really don't.

High level amateur players and professionals would hit a Nike driver or irons and quickly put them back on the rack with a polite, "No, not for me, thanks..." but the general golfing population only assumed if Woods -- or McIlroy -- had a Nike club in his hand that it must be OK for them, too.

And, that, of course, is what endorsement-marketing is all about.

But Nike couldn't get enough of the pie to forge ahead and become the dominant player in the equipment industry that they set out to be twenty years ago.

Their golf ball wasn't any good, for starters, and no one is ever going to make a better ball than Titleist, anyway, so you might as well give up that fight and save your R&D money.

The driver/fairway wood industry is a battle that's mainly won by Taylor Made, with a smattering of Ping and Titleist competition mixed in there. Nike wasn't EVER going to produce a driver that outsold Taylor Made, that's for sure.

And the iron game -- if you look in the bags of PGA Tour players weekly -- is a toss up between Ping, Titleist and Taylor Made. Nike wasn't going to beat those three in that category, either.

X
Once thought to be "the next Tiger", Rory McIlroy became Nike's new "signature athlete" in 2012 but he failed to ignite club sales the way Woods did circa 2000.

So, they'll stick with footwear and apparel, evidently, although they have two formidable foes in the shoe business (Foot Joy and adidas) and a handful of prominent players in the apparel side of things, including upstart Under Armour, who makes a pretty decent golf shirt at a relatively affordable price point.

Here's the real truth about Nike and golf: They've never really figured out a way to get themselves in there with a go-to product that everyone MUST have. Their clubs were no good, their shoes are just OK and their apparel is pretty bland and unassuming.

They lived off of the greatness of Tiger Woods for the better part of two decades and hitched their wagon to McIlroy as Tiger's career waned, but McIlroy didn't come close to duplicating Tiger's on-course success and just didn't have the global marketing appeal that Woods provided Nike since 1999.

So, yesterday, very smartly I might add, Nike gave up on their golf-equipment dreams.

I don't know much about big business and high finance, but they probably saved themselves a lot of money with Wednesday's announcement.

And, by getting out of the business, they just added another line item to one of their competitors' bottom lines, because Woods and McIlroy will no doubt surface somewhere else before the end of 2016.

KELLY banner ad

now just four seats remain 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

ROUSE banner

Wednesday
August 3
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 3
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


fact and opinion


FACT: North Dakota State University rescinded their recently established new set of guidelines that would have restricted -- and in some cases, prohibited -- media coverage of their football and basketball programs. The school's President issued a statement on Tuesday calling it "an error in judgment".

OPINION: It's rare that a high-ranking official will tread on a department head publicly like the NDSU President did yesterday, but what's right is right and what's wrong is wrong. Limiting media coverage in any way is foolish. Too bad the Orioles didn't see the same light back in 2010.

FACT: Ravens rookie Kamalei Correa has been a standout in training camp thus far. He was terrific in the open practice at M&T Bank Stadium on Monday and, as one Ravens staffer told me, "You can just tell that he really wants to be a great player in the league."

OPINION: Correa was also involved in a scuffle with Dennis Pitta earlier this week and that, particularly as a first-year player, will not endear him to John Harbaugh. Harbaugh doesn't mind training camp shoving matches, but he bristles at rookies who get involved in scuffles with veterans. Someone should let Correa know he's already made the team...he doesn't have to fight his way onto the roster.

X
Is Sergio Garcia still the best active player without a major golf championship?

FACT: The last five major golf championships have been won by first-time major winners; Day (last year's PGA), Willet (Masters), D. Johnson (U.S. Open), Stenson (British) and Walker (PGA).

OPINION: That still leaves Sergio Garcia holding the title of "Best Player Without A Major", followed by Lee Westwood and, then, perhaps, Matt Kuchar.

FACT: There were 18 trades made prior to Monday's deadline in Major League Baseball.

OPINION: The winner at the baseball trade deadline? Overall, it was definitely the Yankees. Sure, they're gonna stink for the rest of this season, for sure, but they stockpiled some legitimate talent in deals they made with Texas and Cleveland. Of the teams that brought players in, the winner, quietly, might have been the Dodgers, who picked up Josh Reddick and Rich Hill from the A's.

FACT: The Rio Olympics start sometime soon.

OPINION: This is the least anticipated Olympic games of my lifetime. Wait, that's actually a fact.

FACT: Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals is 15-1 so far in 2016 with a 2.63 ERA.

OPINION: If the season ended today, he'd be the Cy Young winner in the N.L., despite having only the 6th best ERA in the league. His WHIP (0.98) would get him the honor.

X
Still poppin' at age 40, David Ortiz might be on the verge of a historic MVP award in the American League.

FACT: David Ortiz drove in two more runs last night in Boston's 5-4 loss at Seattle. That gives him 87 RBI on the year, second only to Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion (90).

OPINION: It's looking more and more like Ortiz is going to be the A.L. MVP, although there's still two months of baseball left on the calendar. He's having an outrageously great season for a 40-year old, or 30 year old, even. He's hitting .316 with a .404 OBP, not to mention 36 doubles and 25 HR.

FACT: There are four pitchers in the A.L. with 14 wins, including Baltimore's Chris Tillman.

OPINION: If the season ended today, none of them would be the Cy Young winner. Instead, I think it would go to Cole Hamels of the Rangers (12-2, 2.84 ERA, 1.26 WHIP). But the season doesn't end today, of course.

FACT: It was easy to pick last year's PGA Tour Player of the Year; Jordan Spieth won two majors and the FedEx Cup. With about six weeks left in the PGA Tour's 2016-2017 campaign, this year's award is up for grabs.

OPINION: At this point, I'd say Dustin Johnson is the leader in the clubhouse, but not by much. Jason Day has also had a terrific season, albeit without a major championship. If Day can hold on to his #1 ranking and win a tournament during the FedEx Cup playoffs and capture the season-ending championship, he might get the nod.

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.


dylan bundy has arrived


The past few years (okay, way more than that) have not been terribly kind to the Orioles' pitching development program.

That the club boasted a quarter of highly thought of prospect three years ago who haven't really done a whole lot for the big league club yet has only made that worse. But with a very impressive start Tuesday night, the crown jewel of that group made a bold statement that had to bring a big smile to the face of everyone associated with the program.

Dylan Bundy is officially a big league pitcher.

It's hard to overstate how impressive Bundy looked for a guy making his fourth career start, against a first place team with a strong lineup, at 23 years old.

Bundy took a no-hitter through 5.2 innings, the second consecutive game he's completed 5.1 innings without allowing a hit, and was simply dominant from start to finish.

He ended the night completing seven innings of work and allowing just two baserunners, one a hit and the other a walk, while striking out seven Rangers. He needed just 88 pitches to get through those seven innings to boot.

X
For the second straight game last night, Dylan Bundy entered the 6th inning with a no-hitter before giving up his only hit of the outing.

Most of all, Bundy had the look and demeanor of a pitcher who was in complete command of both his stuff and the opposing batters all night. It's not the most scientific way to evaluate a guy to be sure, but it's really hard to not notice the presence Bundy projects when he's on the mound, and the clear confidence he has in himself in any situation.

Now, of course, that Bundy was excellent on Tuesday night doesn't guarantee that he's going to catapault himself into the ranks of baseball's best pitchers right away, or even give you a representative outing every start.

Who knows, maybe he'll be Ubaldo-esque in his very next start.

But over the last three games at least, after his shaky starting debut in Tampa, Bundy has definitely proven that he can get big league hitters out as a starter and that, if healthy, he's a bona fide big league player who definitely deserves his place in the team's starting rotation.

After last night's performance versus Texas, he's now given up seven runs in 21 innings as a starter, while striking out 24 batters to just four walks in the same span. And oh yeah, two of those starts have come against the teams who will most likely end up winning the American League's other two divisions.

It's still up in the air just how long Bundy, who has now logged 59 official innings pitched this season, will remain active after so many injuries and limited pitching time over the past two years. Team officials have shied away from the idea that there's a hard cap on Bundy's innings this season, and the general feeling seems to be that deciding when Bundy's arm has had enough will be a matter of watching him pitch and looking for signs of fatigue.

But for now, he's clearly emerged as a hugely valuable addition to the team; someone who has stepped up to give the team a third dependable starting pitcher behind Kevin Gausman and Chris Tillman. And with the A.L. East race looking to be a dog fight, that could be extremely valuable indeed when the story of the 2016 season is written after the fact.

And as a brief aside, let's give an honorable mention to Pedro Alvarez, who hit two more home runs, off of Rangers' ace Yu Darvish last night. Alvarez seems to have gotten more grief than praise this year but really, he's done quite the admirable job of doing what he was brought to town to do.

The important thing is just acknowledging that Alvarez is a complete non-factor against left handed pitching, and accept him as a platoon player. And in that vein, his .258/.318/.500 batting line before last night's game is really good stuff coming from the second half of the lineup, and if Steve Pearce can give you something similar from the other side, the Orioles lineup will have taken a big step forward and represent the kind of lineup that legitimately can carry a team to the World Series.

KELLY banner ad

now just four seats remain 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

Wine Merchant banner ad

Tuesday
August 2
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 2
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


the guys already here will help the orioles win more than the guys they just picked up


I'm not anti-Wade Miley or anti-Steve Pearce.

I just don't see either one of them changing the fortunes of the Orioles between now and the beginning of October.

But if Miley is effectively a replacement for Ubaldo Jimenez and Pearce is going to take the place of Nolan Reimold, those two moves alone appear to be upgrades.

Let's not kid ourselves, though. Miley's American League numbers have been stinky-poo and Pearce was so coveted by the Orioles last winter they actually wound up choosing Reimold over him and allowed the fan favorite to sign in Tampa Bay for next-to-nothing.

So, let's keep their respective acquisitions properly framed, shall we?

Can't get much if you don't give much

Miley's best asset is the fact that he's left-handed. He makes all of his starts, yes, but you could have said the same thing about Jimenez before he finally got benched back in mid-June.

Other than being a southpaw, not much about Miley stands out. If he threw with his right hand, he wouldn't be in Baltimore today, that's for certain.

Pearce has good numbers in Tampa Bay this year, but it's a fairly small sample size, as he's appeared in only 60 games thus far. Yes, he has a good eye. Yes, he's very good against left-handed pitching. Oh, and yes, he can play a variety of positions, both in the infield and outfield.

But let's call it like it is: If Pearce was the next coming of Mike Trout, the Rays wouldn't have given him away for a basket full of fruit and some Southwest Airlines tickets yesterday.

I don't think the Orioles intentionally tried NOT to improve at the deadline. I think they were severely hamstrung by a lack of talent in the farm system and a refusal to give away potential stars like Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman.

And I don't blame them one bit on either account. There's no sense in giving away someone like Trey Mancini or Chance Sisco unless you're getting a legitimate starter who can make an impact both this season and in the future. That criteria doesn't fit Miley or Pearce.

There's no way they should part company with Schoop or Gausman. No way at all.

So, what remains for the club to play deadline-poker with are a bunch of middle-of-the-road minor leaguers, and while teams like Seattle and Tampa Bay might take a gamble on the likes of Miranda and Heim, it's likely going to play out that neither of those guys will become a household name in Major League Baseball.

The Orioles are going to win the A.L. East (or not) because the players they've had here all season are going to come through over these last two months.

Miley will make 12 starts or so between now and the end of the season and my guess, today, is that his ERA will be 4.65 and his WHIP will be 1.325. Neither of those numbers are going to drastically improve the O's chances of playing in the post-season, but Miley could win a game or two along the way that helps get them to the promised land, like Joe Saunders did back in 2012 when he joined the club for the stretch run and helped the Birds make the playoffs for the first time since 1997.

Pearce will play in 45 of the team's remaining 58 games and he'll make 150 plate appearances, hit 8 home runs, drive in 25, and hit .252 with a .332 OBP. Nothing to see there, really, as most of his playing time and damage will come against lefty throwers.

O's have the horses, just need them to run now

What's really going to matter down the stretch for the Orioles will be the play of their prized possessions, like Chris Davis, for instance.

The Mendoza Line called him in late July and offered a 2-for-1 special just so he could come close to hitting .200 for the month.

It's been that bad for Davis over the last 30 games or so. But we all know how he rolls, too. He'll look like Charlie Brown at the plate for six weeks, then go on a 15-day tear and hit .440 with 10 homers and 22 runs batted in during that span.

X
The Orioles didn't give Chris Davis $161 million last January to hit .153 for the month of July with a .273 OBP.

Some folks in the organization feel like he's the ultimate stats-puffer type, but the numbers are the numbers are the numbers, especially when the team is in the pennant race.

The Orioles are going to prevail in the A.L. East because Manny Machado won't duplicate his July performance (.204 average, .288 OBP, 4 HR, 8 RBI) again this season, you can make book on that.

And the same goes for Mark Trumbo, who also had his worst month of the season to date in July. He'll be better in August and September, guaranteed.

I think we're all smart enough to know that if Davis, Machado and Trumbo continue to stink it up, our goose is cooked.

I'd bet that doesn't happen, though. Not with those three, although something tells me that Davis might be more cold than hot for the rest of the season, overall.

Sure, I'll admit there's likely some market correction on the horizon for the starting rotation, who were more than representative for most of last month. But in that same regard, the team's offense is going to shake loose and open up here soon, too.

Who are you going to bet on over the last two months of the season? Machado, Jones, Schoop, Davis and Trumbo? Or Tillman, Miley, Gausman, Gallardo and Bundy? Right, me too, I'm taking the guys with the bats.

And there's also the possibility that guys like Alvarez and Wieters will get it going and produce a stellar month between now and October. I'm not talking about a "decent month", where their numbers are consistent with what's expected of them. I'm talking about a bang-up month where they win A.L. Player of the Week once and go on a tear that carries the team for a homestand.

I wouldn't count on either of those guys doing that, mind you, but I'm here to say it's possible one of the two could pull it off.

We all know this is going down to the wire

Admittedly, I was hoping the O's would make a move that mattered at the deadline, because I think they might need a smidgen of help crossing the finish line. But I'm glad they didn't give away a high-level prospect just on the off-chance they acquired someone decent.

Given what we have, currently, and what we had available to give up down on the farm, I think the right thing to do was hold tight and see if we have enough to win "in house" so to speak.

It's not going to be easy, mind you.

Toronto is going to be really tough to beat and the Red Sox aren't going away because, well, they're the Red Sox, and they always figure out a way to hang around, even when circumstances would lead you to believe otherwise.

But the Orioles have a whale of a manager and three or four players who are primed to have a whopper of a final two months.

The Birds are 59-45 right now. They need to win at least 90 games. That's 31-27 over the last 58 games on their schedule. I'd consider that a lock, frankly.

And once October rolls around, anything can happen. You only need to go 11-8 in the post-season to win the World Series, remember.

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.


Up until Saturday night/Sunday morning, it looked like this year's MLB non-waiver deadline could end up being a real dud. With no major starting pitchers on the market and key potential sellers like the Yankees making a lot of noise about potentially standing pat, it seemed there might be a real chance the deadline would come and go without any genuinely eye raising moves.

And then the dominoes began to fall.

It really started with Cleveland, who traded a quarter of prospects including two of the top three in their organization to reinforce their bullpen by getting Andrew Miller from the Yankees.

They also came to an agreement to acquire catcher Jonathan Lucroy from the Brewers, but Lucroy vetoed that trade and ended up in Texas instead. The Rangers, leading the A.L. West by six games entering play Monday night, also acquired Carlos Beltran and his 21 home runs so far this season from the Yankees, adding two serious bats to their lineup.

In the East, the Blue Jays followed up their earlier trade for Melvin Upton Jr. by acquiring Pittsburgh's left handed starter Francisco Liriano.

X
The O's helped themselves at the trade deadline on Monday by picking up Steve Pearce, who should be a major asset against left-handed pitching for the remainder of the regular season.

Meanwhile, the Orioles picked up left handed starter Wade Miley on Sunday night, then brought back former Oriole Steve Pearce on Monday, likely to serve as a utility man and platoon partner for Pedro Alvarez.

There were moves in the National League too, as well, with contenders getting better, including maybe the two best teams in the league in Chicago and Washington, but the bulk of the major action, and the biggest impacts, came at the top of the junior circuit.

The A.L. West race, for example, might well be over at this point. The Rangers already had a large lead over the Astros and Mariners and seemed to be the clearly superior team, and now they've added two of the best available hitters.

The Indians have a comparably small 4.5 game lead over Detroit but, again, feel like the better team with arguably the best rotation in baseball, and now they've got two very good relievers backing those starters up late in games. It's not mathematically impossible, of course, but no one else in either of those divisions looks like they've got the juice to put together a run to overtake either Texas or Cleveland right now.

Which leaves the big action in the East, where third place Boston is only 1.5 games behind the first place Orioles....and a single game up on Detroit for the second wild card spot. That's the margin between a pennant and missing the playoffs entirely right now, and the final two months of the season figure to be a real dogfight between three of the top four American League team's in run differential.

Believe it or not, while the Orioles action looks somewhat muted on paper, it's not that hard to make an argument that they did as well or better than anyone in adding useful pieces.

Texas and Cleveland arguably overdid it a bit given how likely they already were to win their division.

Cleveland at least focused on a real area of need with a player (Miller) under control past this season, but Texas is betting a lot on the chance Beltran and/or Lucroy has an October hot streak in them to make those deals worth the cost.

The Orioles, meanwhile, actually addressed some areas of need without overpaying too drastically. They did give away one of their own real catching prospects to bring Pearce back, but in doing so upgraded their bench by, presumably, swapping in Pearce for Nolan Reimold and, assuming Pearce platoons with Alvarez, took one of their lineup's biggest liabilities (Alvarez against left-handed pitching) and turned it into a strength.

And while Miley's numbers don't wow you by any means, he is a) a former All-Star and promising young pitcher and b) a legitimate upgrade over Tyler Wilson/Ubaldo Jimenez who's also team controlled at a very low rate for two more seasons.

In other words, the Orioles basically made the best moves they realistically could have given their needs and market costs.

A team with one of the league's best offenses and three quality arms at the back end of the bullpen simply couldn't justify giving away a ton to bring in another bat or, especially, a big time reliever. And while the team definitely needed a better starter than Dan Duquette was able to wrangle, there simply wasn't a starter who clearly fits the bill of being a major upgrade traded this year, and you can't go out and buy something that's not there to be had.

The better news is that the Orioles likely aren't done yet, as they're uniquely well set up to take advantage of the August trading period. They could still use a left handed reliever, but you can find effective LOOGY's who make it through waivers.

Ditto for live bullpen arms and upgrades/tweaks to your bench. They aren't going to upgrade their rotation anymore than they've been able to already, but they can find ways to bolster a bullpen that needs to gobble up more innings, and simply out-mash the other team when all else fails.

It's not the style of play that the conventional narrative holds out as the superior method of roster building, but it's been enough to keep them in first place after four months of baseball, and that's all you can ask for, right?

Royal Farms banner ad

now just four seats remain 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


Monday
August 1
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 1
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


someone needs to remind the folks at north dakota state university that they're north dakota state university


Every once in a while, a sports story comes along that makes you shake your head and say, "There's just no way this is accurate."

In the case of North Dakota State University, though, the story is, in fact, real.

And amazingly short-sighted, too.

Late last week, the NDSU Athletic Department released a new set of media guidelines that will go into effect with the start of pre-season football training camp later this month.

They are, for the most part, essentially telling anyone in the media who is not a rights holder to stop covering North Dakota State University athletics.

At the very least, they're demanding you cover the team the way they want it covered, or don't stop by campus.

Either way, it's an awful exercise of control by a middle-of-the-pack state school who should be embracing the media, not chasing it away.

Would they be doing this if the football program stunk?

For starters, here's the skinny on how NDSU decided to flex its muscles in this fashion.

Their football program is the elite of the elite in FCS. They've won 13 National Championships, including the last five in a row, and currently own the longest winning streak in FCS footall history (33 games, from 2012 through 2014).

In the world of second-tier, FCS football, they are the University of Alabama times five. No one beats them.

Their men's basketball program is also strong, although not nearly at the same level as the football team. The Bison made the NCAA Tournament in 2009, 2014 and 2015.

Oh, and because nothing else is really going on in North Dakota, they are sports in North Dakota. If you don't root for them, you get chased out of town.

Starting this season, though, folks in North Dakota will be getting their media coverage from only a few narrow choices thanks to the new rules just put in place by the school's Athletic Department.

Here's what the geniuses have decided to do at NDSU.

With the exception of those media entities who have entered into contractual broadcast/media agreements with NDSU, all state media outlets must now abide by the following:

They cannot show or air extended game highlights on "NDSU specific" TV shows that aren't part of daily/nightly newscasts.

They cannot broadcast, air or stream live, any NDSU press conference.

They cannot air any sort of pre-game, in-game or post-game show from the school's premises, including any arena or "playing area" in which games are held.

They cannot "live blog" any NDSU game, home or away.

They cannot conduct any one-on-one interview with a NDSU football or basketball coach without the permission of the NDSU Athletic Department.

That about covers it.

The people at North Dakota State have clearly lost their friggin' minds.

Now, here's some clarity on the new rules at NDSU.

This sort of restrictive practice has been going on in big league sports for well over a decade now, as more and more teams own their own radio and TV rights and produce much of their own media in-house, not to mention using the team's website to distribute information on a daily basis.

The new thing is to tell the media how to do their job

Our two teams in town have been doing it for quite a while, although the Orioles have always been far more restrictive than the Ravens.

It's been well over a decade since the Orioles unveiled their policy of not allowing players to speak to the media in a one-on-one setting unless the station or outlet they were talking with is a club-rights holder. The Ravens, as of yet, don't have that policy in their book, but the Orioles have been chasing after talk-show hosts and producers since the mid 2000's, reminding them they aren't allowed to arbitrarily interview players without the team's permission.

In case you're wondering, that permission is NEVER granted.

The Orioles once threatened to punish pitcher Miguel Gonzalez if he appeared on the station I formerly worked for circa 2010. Gonzalez would routinely appear on shows with us and the club naturally pulled our station credentials once we didn't cave in to their demands and they even told Gonzalez he would be punished if he continued to call in without their permission.

There was a time, back in the late 1990's and even into the 2000's, when you could — as a radio reporter working for one of the local stations — call in from the baseball stadium during an afternoon-drive radio show and chit-chat with the announcer(s) in studio about the game about to be played.

Those days are long gone. Your credential would be immediately revoked if you tried to pull that stunt behind home plate at 5:10 pm tomorrow night when the Rangers were set to take on the Orioles in Baltimore.

There are lots of teams in sports around the country who put a noose around the neck of the local media, but they can do it because they're big time and, they figure, no longer in need of media saturation in this day and age.

The teams assume they no longer need the local TV station or the local sports talk hosts or the local newspaper writers. They'll just write the stories themselves, air the content on their own website, and tweet out the information on their Twitter account.

But North Dakota State University doesn't swing the same hammer as, say, the Yankees do. Or the Red Sox. Or the Steelers. Or the University of Alabama, even.

They're North Dakota State, for cryin' out loud.

They should be begging for people to come out and cover their teams.

Instead, they're basically saying, "Pay us and we'll let you cover us."

Yes, that's the same trick the Orioles and lots of other pro teams have done for a long time, now.

But it would be a good idea for North Dakota State to remember that they're NOT the Orioles. Or the Packers. Or any other major league team for that matter.

Turning themselves into some sort of college sports conglomerate has made those folks in Fargo go nutty, I'm afraid.

Is the money you get worth it, really?

Whatever amount of money they're getting from TV station KVLY in Fargo can't possibly be enough to cut off the other various forms of media who would LOVE to promote and market NDSU sports. I very much understand the whole idea of having rights holders and I understand they're paying a premium for special perks and pleasures, but not allowing the rest of the media in town to appropriately cover their teams is a huge mistake by the people in charge at NDSU.

The quote from NDSU's Director of Sales and Marketing is the most hilarious thing of all: "We're just trying to protect our rights holders and ourselves," said Jeremy Jorgenson. "We've grown so much that we need to protect our brand."

Oh, boy, there's that "brand" word. What "brand" does North Dakota State University really have? Is it that important to protect their brand that radio stations and newspapers across the state can no longer cover football or basketball at the school without forking over money?

Jorgenson ended with, "This is nothing out of the ordinary. Most schools are doing this."

Actually, they're not.

Big time schools who dominate the Division I athletics landscape might be doing it, but FCS schools who know their place in the college sports infrastructure are thrilled to have ANY coverage, from ANY source, on ANY station, at ANY time.

North Dakota State University evidently forgot who they are and where they'll be this upcoming football and basketball season.

They'll be right there, in Fargo, playing for the only people who really care about them: The folks who live in North Dakota.

It's a shame those people will get limited coverage of their state school because a couple of stuffed suits with marketing degrees are worried more about "branding" than embracing the community that has supported them during their historic run of the last two decades.

BARCS banner ad

pga yields another first-timer as walker hangs on to beat day by one stroke


Add Jimmy Walker's name to the list of guys holding up the Wanamaker Trophy who would have definitely been considered "longshots" at the beginning of PGA Championship week.

Just since 2000, there's been Keegan Bradley, Y.E. Yang, Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel and, now, you can add Jimmy Walker, who was enjoying a decent season with 14 cuts made in 19 events and nearly $1.5 million in earnings before breaking through with his first major triumph on Sunday.

Walker's not a fluke, mind you, but there were no signs, none at all, this was going to be his week when the final major of the year was contested at soggy Baltusrol GC in Springfield, New Jersey.

It turned out to be his week, though, thanks to a hot putter that kept him on top of the leaderboard from day one through the conclusion of play late Sunday evening. In the end, his 14-under total was one shot better than defending champion Jason Day, who eagled the par-5 18th hole to force Walker to make an unsteady par at the home closing hole.

X
Capturing his 6th career PGA Tour win, Jimmy Walker fired a final 67 to hold off Jason Day and win the PGA Championship on Sunday at Baltusrol.

Day's miss from twelve feet at the 17th hole, coupled with Walker's slippery ten footer for birdie at that same hole just a few minutes later, turned out to be the deciding stroke.

That birdie gave Walker a 3-shot cushion, although Day was on the green in two at the 18th hole just as Walker was preparing to knock home his birdie putt at 17.

When Day made eagle, it reduced the lead to one and forced Walker to make a par, at worst, in order to win the event outright. After hitting his second shot right of the green, Walker smartly flopped his 3rd shot some 25 feet past the hole and needed just two putts for the win.

His birdie try went by the hole some 33 inches, but Walker calmly rolled in the par putt to secure his 6th career PGA Tour victory.

It wasn't quite the Stenson-Mickelson shootout we saw at Troon two weeks ago, but the final hour provided some outstanding golf from both players.

Baltusrol didn't play overly difficult throughout the week, but it still required precise driving and dialed-in iron play in order to provide for scoring opportunities on greens that weren't all that good, frankly.

The quirky nature of Baltusrol is such that the course doesn't have a par 5 hole until 17, and then it finishes with two straight par 5's, although 17 isn't reachable in two and 18 is easily reachable with two well struck shots.

Along the way, it's par 4 after par 4, with plenty of water and trouble not far off the fairway(s) for the guys who can't hit it straight.

Walker hit it straight for four days and putted the lights out of it, which is why he won.

That ends the 2016 "major season" on the PGA Tour, with four first-time winners and a pair of players everyone thought would someday win a major (Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson) along with two that can only fairly be labeled surprises (Danny Willet and Jimmy Walker).

All four of those players will be competing in this year's Ryder Cup, with Walker perhaps needing the biggest confidence boost heading into the matches at Hazeltine CC in late September.

KELLY 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.


After weeks of speculation and rumors, the Orioles finally made a trade deadline move to bolster their starting rotation, adding left-hander Wade Miley from the Mariners on Sunday afternoon.

Miley made a name for himself when coming up through the Diamondbacks' organization, finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting in the National League during the 2012 season.

After posting a 3.79 ERA in 638.2 innings in Arizona, Miley was traded to Boston prior to the 2015 season, and then passed on to Seattle prior to the current calendar year. Suffice it to say, the American League has not been particularly kind to the southpaw.

This season, Miley has an unsightly 4.98 ERA in 112 innings over 19 starts.

That his home games have been pitched in the friendly confines of Seattle's Safeco Field does not exactly lend confidence to the notion that Miley has a second half turnaround in him, nor does the fact that his FIP (fielding indpendent pitching, a number that seeks to scale "true" pitching performance while factoring out "luck") stands at 4.75, suggesting that the underlying performance Miley has turned isn't much better than the results he's seen through the end of July.

On the other hand, Miley has been better of late, pitching to a very solid 3.55 ERA in July, and turning in a seven inning, one hit performance against the mighty Cubs, in Wrigley, in his last start on Saturday, July 30.

In other words, Miley isn't exactly the sort of acquisition that makes you leap for joy, in the way that Cleveland fans are likely excited after acquiring Andrew Miller over the weekend, but this is probably about the best Baltimore could hope for...and that's not a bad thing.

Realistically, the Orioles simply don't need any significant reinforcements outside of the starting rotation, and the available starters on the market just aren't very good.

Miley, with his recent strong performance and solid track record, certainly offers some hope of being better than Tyler Wilson/Ubaldo Jiminez/Yovani Gallardo. And with one year of his contract remaining, Miley can contribute next year or, with less than $10 million in guaranteed money left on his deal, the team could easily try to flip him for some prospect value in the offseason if they see fit.

Ultimately, there's not much more to say about this deal because, well, it's not exactly a big move.

Miley might be really good down the stretch, or he might be a disaster.

Then again, he might just be the same kind of starter that they already have -- someone who can give you five innings and a 4.50+ ERA.

At the end of the day, the O's didn't give up much to get him and, most importantly, they're still a team that owns the first place position in one of baseball's tougher divisions, despite losing five straight games during the past week.

That's the key thing to remember here; this is a really good team trying to smooth off the rough edges of their roster to push their way into October, where the only thing that will matter is which team is playing their best baseball at the right time.

ABC banner

now just four seats remain 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

STECCO banner ad

please click here to see previous issues of #dmd.

O's SCOREBOARD
Sunday, October 1st
Orioles
0

Rays
6
WP: B. Bell (5-7)

LP: K. Gausman (11-12)

HR: Casali (1)

RECORD/PLACE: 75-87, 5th place

breakfast bytes

Astros blank Yankees in Game 7, 4-0, earn World Series trip vs. Dodgers that starts Tuesday in L.A.

College football: Maryland trounced at #5 Wisconsin, 38-13; Towson falls to 0-4 in CAA play with 40-17 loss at New Hampshire.

PGA Tour: Justin Thomas beats Marc Leishman on first playoff hole to win CJ Cup in Korea.

NHL: Caps offense continues to sputter in 4-1 home loss to Florida.