Wednesday
August 31
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 31
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simple advice for davis love iii:
"go young"


Now that the eight automatic qualifiers for the U.S. Ryder Cup team have been established and the entire European squad has been finalized, the only thing left on the docket is for captain Davis Love III to make his four add-on selections between now and the end of September.

Love III will make three of those four picks on Monday, September 12, which gives him two more weeks of golf to watch before announcing those selections.

He makes the final pick after the Tour Championship, which concludes on September 25. The Ryder Cup is slated for the following week at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota.

The European team was finalized on Tuesday when captain Darren Clarke added three players that just about everyone assumed he would add: veterans Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer and red-hot Belgian rookie, Thomas Pieters.

For Love III, his four selections might very well be the difference between winning and losing. With longtime veteran Ryder Cup participants Matt Kuchar and Jim Furyk failing to automatically qualify for the team, plus Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson also falling short, this year’s American squad might be in need of an infusion of experience if they’re serious about winning the event for the first time since 2008.

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Coming off a strong week at Bethpage Black, Rickie Fowler might need another solid performance in the next two FedEx Cup events to get the attention of U.S. captain Davis Love III.

Or . . . Love III can follow my suggestion and go away from the established veteran players and sprinkle in some youth among the four picks he’s going to make.

Here’s how I see the four picks and the team in general.

For starters, let’s settle on one issue that’s not worth debating. It’s MUCH easier to give an American rookie his first taste of Ryder Cup action when the matches are on U.S. soil. That means, obviously, that this is a perfect time to throw in first-timers or those who have played in one previous team event like the Ryder Cup or President’s Cup.

Another point that won’t draw much argument from anyone is this: The notion that playing the Ryder Cup is the most nerve-wracking time of a PGA Tour player’s career is grossly overrated. Sure, they are playing for their country, but it’s mainly a team event, which means the pressure to perform is LESS than it teeing it up in, say, The Masters or U.S. Open.

PGA TOUR players are now playing in 30 to 35 events per year, all over the world, with scores of millions of people watching every swing they make on television.

It’s one thing to take a PGA Tour rookie and thread him into the Ryder Cup team . . . he’d be nervous as a burglar. But putting someone like Gary Woodland, Daniel Berger or Kevin Kisner in there? Old hat to those guys.

This is a roundabout way of saying, simply, that the captain’s four picks should go to guys who are well-rounded players and, most importantly, have relationships and on-course synergy with players who have already made the team.

Love III admitted earlier this week that he’s taking input from his four assistant coaches AND all eight of the automatic qualifiers during his evaluation of the four captain’s picks.

That’s a smart move. A very smart move, in fact.

If eight of the guys in the room get on really well with Bill Haas, that might be more important than Haas' performance in previous Ryder Cup or President Cup competitions.

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A solid record in team events like the Ryder Cup and President's Cup should work favorably for J.B. Holmes, who was part of the last U.S. team to win back in 2008 at Valhalla.

I’m not saying Love shouldn’t look at someone’s previous “team event” record and factor it in favor or against him. J.B. Holmes, for example, has a stellar record in the Ryder Cup, President’s Cup, and Walker Cup. Jim Furyk hasn’t performed well in team events.

But should a player’s record in team events be the determining factor in whether he's picked for this year’s Ryder Cup squad? I don’t think so.

I’m clearly leaning in the direction of bringing in new blood with the four picks, although I don’t think you can arbitrarily add four newcomers “just because”.

I also think you have to give strong consideration to the strengths of those on the outside who have previous team-event experience. For example, Bubba Watson drives the golf ball as long as anyone in the world. He’d be a nice partner for any of the shorter hitters on the team . . . as long as they all get along.

The two guys under the microscope the most, I’d say, are Rickie Fowler and Jim Furyk. Fowler is one of golf’s self-appointed “young guns” who hasn’t had a particularly great season, and has never won a match in two previous Ryder Cup appearances.

But in two Walker Cup appearances, as an amateur, Fowler was 7-1.

Here’s the skinny on Fowler: He’s not a closer. Where Tiger Woods was the ultimate closer — when he led going into the final round, it was over before it started — Fowler hasn’t yet figured out to seal the deal with a 54-hole lead. But — you don’t have to be a “closer” to be a great Ryder Cupper. It’s match play, for starters, and four of the five events are played with partners.

The most important thing about being a quality Ryder Cup player? It’s not being a closer, it’s being a great partner.

If the players want Fowler on the team, one of the spots should go to him. He played very well at Bethpage Black last week in The Barclays and basically missed the team as an automatic qualifier because he hit two bad drives on the back nine on Sunday and lost a bunch of points in the final hour.

Some folks think Fowler has more style than substance. I don’t know if I agree with that. He’s a helluva player. Is marketing a big part of his playing personality? Sure. But it’s not HIS fault that Puma wants to give him $3 million a year to wear those gaudy clothes and shoes. What’s he supposed to do, say “no” to all of that free money?

So while his Ryder Cup record doesn’t endorse his selection as a captain’s pick, I’d give Rickie Fowler a spot if the likes of Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka would want him as their partner.

Whereas I think guys like Matt Kuchar and Jim Furyk have had ample opportunity to earn their Ryder Cup stripes, I still feel like Fowler is trying to prove himself in the event. And let’s not forget, the U.S. has stunk it up in this competition for the better part of 20 years. No one has been outstanding for the American side since the Europeans started kicking ass and taking names in 1995.

I’d give a second selection to Bubba Watson, who was one of the few who, from the start, WANTED to play in the Olympics in Rio, and who bleeds red, white, and blue in events like the Ryder Cup. Despite his mercurial personality, Watson is a good soldier in the locker room because he plays with pride when the National Anthem is played on Friday morning. He’s moody, yes, but if things go his way, he can be a dominating figure for three days. It’s the captain’s job to make sure the pairings fit him.

Now, I’ll start thinking outside the box a little bit.

Simply put: I’d leave Furyk and Kuchar off the team. They’ve had their chance – several of them, in fact – and it’s just time to go in a different direction. Furyk will be a Ryder Cup captain someday, so the event will be in his blood for a while, and if Kuchar could ever win a major, he, too, would probably be a captain.

But now, as players? I’d pass on them.

That leaves me with two picks. One of those would go to Justin Thomas, who finished 25th in the standings and was never a threat to make the team as an automatic qualifier. Thomas is GREAT friends with Jordan Spieth and gets along well with Jimmy Walker, Phil Mickelson, and Brandt Snedeker, too. And he’s a terrific young player.

Thomas didn’t have a great season, admittedly, but he played well at Bethpage last week and most certainly is capable of having three solid days at Hazeltine in the Ryder Cup. He’s one of the top six young American players in the game today, just as solid overall as guys like Brooks Koepka, Harris English, Patrick Rodgers and John Peterson.

For my final pick, I’d go with J.B. Holmes, who is part Bubba Watson with his personality and part Dustin Johnson with his ability to bomb and gouge, and a guy that’s well-liked in the locker room. He can smash it off the tee, and would be a nice alternate-shot partner with someone like Zach Johnson or Jimmy Walker — straight hitters who might need a little help distance-wise on par-five holes.

And I like the fact that Holmes has an outstanding record in all of the team events he’s played; not just the President’s Cup . . . but in everything team-related, he’s been a stud.

So, there you have it. I’d add Fowler, Watson, Thomas and Holmes. I think those four are decent locker-room fits and would be welcomed by the eight automatic qualifiers. And they can all play, too.

What’s Love III going to do? Who knows . . . .

I think he’ll likely add Kuchar, who lives near him in Sea Island, Georgia and is one of his TOUR buddies.

I think he’ll add Fowler, too, particularly if he plays well this week at TPC Boston in the second FedEx Cup event.

The other two picks? It might depend on who plays well in the next two weeks.

But my four picks are in. I don’t need to see anything else. I’m sending my four guys into battle with the other eight no matter what they do in Boston and after that.

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four quarters of college football


With the 2016 college football season ready to hit full speed, #DMD continues its coverage of the college scene with a look at four schools that figure to be national-title contenders. This contribution was provided to #DMD by Ken Greeley, who will favor us with his insights and opinions on college football through the coming months.

 

The college football season kicks off this Thursday night, starting what some are calling the best opening-weekend ever. Last week I touched on the local college-football scene. This week I highlight situations impacting several of the top teams in the nation.

First Quarter: Stanford — Christian McCaffrey would have been the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner had the entire nation been able to see him play — almost every Stanford game last year kicked-off after 10:00 pm on the East Coast.

Tune in this year, even if it means staying up late, to see this dynamic back, receiver and returner. The son of former Denver Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, Christian showed he was a threat whenever he was on the field in 2015 — over 2,000 yards rushing, 600+ yards receiving, and 1,200 return yards — to break the single-season all-purpose-yardage record.

But a word of caution on a repeat performance: the Stanford offense will be replacing a lot of talent. Their veteran quarterback will be replaced by a first-time starter, possibly even a freshman. The offensive line loses four starters from a year ago.  And McCaffrey will be the focal point of every defensive scheme against Stanford.

Second Quarter: Alabama — Do you believe in Lane Kiffin’s magic? For the third straight year, Alabama will try to reach the college-football playoffs with a new starter at quarterback.

In 2014, Blake Sims was picked as the Alabama starter just before the first game and lost only once in the regular season, leading the Crimson Tide to the playoffs.

In 2015, Jake Coker landed the starting job in summer camp and led his team to the national championship in January.

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Nick Saban's success at Alabama has been unquestioned, but this year might be the Crimson Tide's toughest test yet, with an inexperienced quarterback and offensive line highlighting their roster.

In 2016, Nick Saban again has a team loaded with talent, especially on defense, but will need offensive coordinator Kiffin to pick the right player as the starting quarterback. The recent trend has been to pick an experienced player to manage the offense early, and open up the offense as the season progresses.

However, there are a few highly-recruited underclassman quarterbacks that he could choose. By all indications, Alabama will play multiple quarterbacks during this week’s opener against USC.

Third Quarter: Clemson — If I told you a sophomore quarterback would lose his top receiving threat in the first game, be protected on his blind side by a freshman left tackle, and had to do this with new offensive co-coordinators, what kind of season would you have predicted for this quarterback?

Clemson faced that scenario in 2015 and their quarterback, Deshaun Watson, had one of the best seasons ever; he finished third in the Heisman race and carried his team to the championship game, where they fell to Alabama.

Watson became the first college quarterback to rush for over 1,000 yards and pass for over 4,000 yards in a season. With eight returning offensive starters, 2016 could be an amazing year for Mr. Watson and the Tigers.

Fourth Quarter: Michigan — Want an easy job this fall? Apply for a position in Michigan's travel department! Jim Harbaugh’s squad plays its first five games at home in The Big House.

Their first road trip is not until October 8th, when they travel to Rutgers. Following their first road-game, the Wolverines play the next three in the state of Michigan: two at home, sandwiched around a road game in East Lansing against Michigan State – a 67-mile trip.

Your workload will increase when Michigan faces two difficult road games (at Iowa and Ohio State) in its final three regular-season contests. The tough part of the job may be arranging the conference title and playoffs travel-schedule at season’s end!

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who wants to see springsteen this thursday night — free?!


#DMD is giving away two tickets to this Thursday's Bruce Springsteen show, plus two seats on our "Bruce Bus", complete with all the concert fixin's -- food, beer, water, trivia, etc.

Too good to be true?

Nope, not at all.

Here's how you win the tickets.

X
Do you want to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band on Thursday night? Free of charge? You can, courtesy of #DMD and Primary Residential Mortgage.

Click on the Primary Residential Mortgage ad you see below. Once you do that, you'll see a box on the right (Apply for a Loan) that includes a "Consultation" option. Click "Consultation" and you'll be taken to a page where you complete some very basic information.

This is NOT a mortgage application. This is simply an information page that you would complete to discuss a mortgage with Primary Residential mortgage expert, Vic Biscoe.

You're under no obligation whatsoever, but by completing the "Consultation" page, you'll be giving Vic some very general information and he'll contact you directly to discuss your mortgage needs.

Everyone who completes the Consultation information page and submits it before Wednesday at 12:00 noon is eligible to win the two tickets to the Springsteen show on Thursday night.

We'll draw the winning name at random (from those who enter) at 5:00 pm on Wednesday and you'll be notified by phone immediately so you can make plans for Thursday night's show.

There's nothing to it. Click on the ad below and complete the Consultation page and you're entered to win. It's that easy.

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COMMENTS
Tuesday
August 30
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 30
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not the way to start a crucial series


Home plate umpire? Awful.

Attendance? Terrible.

Orioles bats? No factor.

The result? Not what the home team needed, that's for sure.

Monday's 5-1 loss to the Blue Jays wasn't a season crusher by any means, but if the O's can't right the ship on Tuesday and Wednesday night, the battle will officially become uphill.

Nothing about Monday night's game was good, save for a couple of J.J. Hardy hits and his 3rd inning home run that gave the Birds a very brief 1-0 lead.

I turned to my buddy Dale Williams in Section 48 as the Blue Jays came to bat in the 4th and said, "This is a really big inning in the game. The top of their lineup is coming around. If we can get through this one unscathed, we might be on to something."

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Toronto 3rd baseman Josh Donaldson quieted the crowd with a 4th inning home run on Monday night as the Blue Jays won the opener of a critical 3-game series in Baltimore, 5-1.

It didn't happen. The Blue Jays scored twice in the fourth inning and never trailed again, as Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista both homered on the night for the A.L. East leaders.

Donaldson raced around the bases like a track star and then put his finger to his lips to quiet the crowd as he touched home plate after his long ball tied the score at 1-1 in the fourth.

The Steelers had Hines Ward back in the day as their chief Baltimore-antagonist and Donaldson is slowly but surely starting to wear that label for the Blue Jays. Don't get me wrong, the kid is one helluva baseball player, but he's about as easy to dislike as a breakfast chef who puts cheese on your egg and sausage sandwich when you specifically said "no cheese, please".

Bautista flipped his bat in the direction of the O's dugout after his dinger in the 6th. I was a little surprised someone didn't buzz one under his chin later on for that little episode, but maybe the O's are more focused on trying to win than trying to even the score with a habitual bat-tosser.

Once a 50-home run guy who was feared with each at bat, the "slim and trim" version of Bautista that we're seeing these days just doesn't have the "pop" in his bat that he had a few years back. Funny how that works...

Oh, and let's not let "Blue" off the hook, either. Home plate umpire Alan Porter was a joke from the opening pitch. He and the rest of the crew must have had 10 pm dinner reservations in Little Italy, because Porter rung up hitters from both teams left and right in the first five innings and there was a questionable strike (or two) in nearly every at-bat for the game's first hour.

The only thing worse than the umpiring and the Blue Jays' theatrics? The freakin' attendance. 15,532 jammed their way into the ballpark and a thousand or so in the house were wearing Blue Jays colors.

I'll save you the excuse-making and list them here: it's too hot, kids are now back in school, no one wants to go downtown on a weeknight, blah, blah, blah. Spare me, please.

The attendance was garbage. In what might be the biggest series of the entire season to date, a Maryland basketball crowd showed up at the ballpark on Monday night. Simply unacceptable.

I realize the entire season's mediocre attendance at OPACY can be attributed to a number of things, some of which are the fault of the Orioles, but this, now, has nothing at all to do with the organization's marketing or sales mistakes. This is about fan apathy, essentially. A crowd of 15,000 for a late season home-stand against the division leaders is VERY telling.

The good news, I suppose, is if you were one of the 28,000 or so who decided not to attend the game, you didn't miss much.

The Orioles generated four hits on the night. Two by Hardy, one from Hyun Soo Kim and one from Nolan Reimold.

You're not winning many games in the big leagues with four hits. Granted, Toronto starter Marco Estrada had his good stuff working on Monday evening. That change-up of his is one of the best pitches you'll see from any starter in the American League, and the mix of 90 mph fastball and 77 mph change-up kept the Orioles off balance all night.

Chris Davis went 0-for-4 but did manage to put a couple of balls in play, I think. Mark Trumbo -- who has 55 at-bats against the Blue Jays this season and doesn't have one home run against them -- was equally futile, although he did walk once. Manny Machado saw 12 pitches in four at bats -- that's how interested he looked at the plate on Monday evening.

It was one of those nights where good pitching beat (supposed) good hitting.

And the Orioles are now four games behind the Blue Jays.

It's evident by now that Toronto has a really solid team. Their starting pitching is much better than what the Orioles possess and their offense is a little more well-rounded, with the Birds clearly packing more home run punch overall. The Blue Jays' bullpen isn't great, but it's not chopped liver, either.

Toronto's going to be a tough out in September, that's for sure.

The Orioles -- dumb statement of the day alert, right here -- just need to win a game tonight. Period. By any means necessary, whether it's 1-0 in 15 innings or 12-10. The Birds simply can't fall five games back with 30 games to play.

Here's the promising news. Alan Porter won't be behind the plate tonight calling balls and strikes. Marco Estrada won't be on the mound for Toronto. And...and...and, well, that's about all the good news I can come up with, I think.

Ubaldo Jimenez gets the start for the Birds against Toronto's J.A. Happ, who is enjoying an outstanding season to date. On paper, this looks like a mismatch. Jimenez stinks and Happ is having a career year.

But the game, of course, isn't played on paper.

It's played on a field. In a stadium. Hopefully more than 16,000 people show up for this one tonight.

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from the desk of
brien jackson

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


o's attendance more about tv than anything else


As just about everyone is aware by now, Orioles' attendance this season is drastically lagging behind expectations for a playoff contending team who has been above .500 for four years running.

Most of the conversation around the issue has centered on some combination of the team's delay in putting out season ticket packages and safety concerns in downtown Baltimore. I have no real argument to make on either one of these points, as I'm not a season ticket holder nor do I feel particularly unsafe myself whenever I'm in the city, but recognize that plenty of people do.

However, I would note that this hand-wringing over attendance goes back to the 2012 season, and I'm here to suggest that there's a much more obvious problem with enticing people to come down to the Yard and spend money on tickets.

It's called: MASN.

Really, the television era presents a two-pronged issue for the Orioles' ticket office. The first, and most obvious, is that it makes the team equally accesible from home. With every single game available on your living room television, you no longer have to buy tickets to actually see the team. Pro sports teams have long been sensitive to the problem of televising home games for just this reason, but these days the money in cable television is good enough to balance out the cost in baseball, to a point.

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One of the best TV broadcast teams in the entire country makes it easy for people to stay home and watch the games rather than head out to the stadium, a scenario the club likely isn't all that upset about since they're reaping in millions more via TV than they would if folks actually went to the games.

The second problem, and one that doesn't get talked about all that much around town, is that MASN broadcasts are really darn good.

Sometimes that seems like an unpopular opinion with the way local fans hammer on their least favorite broadcasters, but take it from someone who has spent the last decade watching A LOT of MLB.TV: The MASN Orioles broadcast team(s) is right up near the top of the ranks when it comes to MLB broadcasts.

Gary Thorne, in particular, is a pro's pro who just knows how to handle a broadcast, and Jim Palmer makes a fantastic compliment on the "A-team." He just has a perfect voice for broadcasting in general, and the Hall of Fame pitcher genuinely brings great insights to the broadcast in a way that's oddly lacking from 95% of former players turned in-game analysts.

Palmer does trend a bit too heavily towards the "back in my day" line of commentary for my tastes, but, hey, at least he's a bona fide Hall of Famer. Even Mike Bordick, who seems to draw a lot of derision, is really pretty good compared to most of the other analysts out there. He trends towards not criticizing the home town boys all that much but, a) you can't expect too much criticism out of people whose job partly entails making viewers want to actually watch the team in question and, b) if you pay close attention to national broadcasts, even, you'll notice that this is pretty typical of more recent former players who are now doing media work.

Generally speaking, former players accentuate the positives of what goes on on the field while demonstrating a more heightened sense of empathy for mistakes. That's not everyone's cup of tea I suppose but, personally, I rather enjoy the occasional reminder that playing professional baseball isn't actually as easy as these guys make it look 99% of the time.

Beyond just the broadcasting insights, the general quality of production is also outstanding. The opening theme is as good as any you'll see from any of the other MLB franchises (Lord knows it's leaps and bounds better than any of the teams who are stuck with Fox's production team), and the product placements and other advertisements manage to blend into the programming rather than sticking out like a sore thumb.

Hearing about the Maryland Lottery Player of the Game is almost a demarcation of time in my kitchen anymore. Likewise, the overall tenor of the broadcast is so consistent and excellent that I find that it often blends seamlessly from background noise to an almost passive state of consciousness sometimes.

Even Bordick, for whatever his flaws are as an analyst, has quickly reached the point as a broadcaster where his voice and demeanor blends in nicely with Thorne. To sum it up, I can honestly say that watching a MASN broadcast has become one of those simple pleasures to me in a way that people of an older generation speak about listening to broadcasts from guys like Ernie Harwell and Jack Buck. Going to a game in person is still an experience, don't get me wrong, but that's basically all it is now, as watching the game on MASN is at least equally good or, depending on the weather and what kind of mood the kids are in, quite superior for actually enjoying the game.

And, as it turns out, it's not just me who thinks this, as the broadcast crew has achieved some national accolades as well. In particular, the blog Awful Announcing recently ran its second poll asking readers to rank all of the broadcast crews around MLB, and MASN did Baltimore proud with a third place finish.

The only broadcasters to finish above the MASN guys (which were primarily defined by the Thorne/Palmer A-team) were Vin Scully, a given, and the Giants broadcast crew of Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow, who have consistently been ranked as the best non-Scully related broadcast in the game for as long as I can remember. The hometown guys also got the lowest number of "F" grades of any broadcast crew sampled.

The good news for the team is that this isn't a problem in any real sense. MLB has been hyper-aggressive at expanding in the cable market place, and to the extent that ticket sales are being lost to television viewership, ownership will recoup it on the other end through advertising rates and carriage fees.

And of course I'm not saying that this explains all of the team's attendance problems, but I certainly do think it's a big part of the issue.

Coming from a Ravens' season ticket holder who finds the stadium-to-living room experience waning year by year, I see the same basic dynamic with the Orioles and MASN, only in this case it's more that the television broadcast is genuinely delightful than that the stadium experience is getting noticeably worse (yes, that's a shot at the Ravens for resting on their laurels when it comes to gameday production).

And if you want a stark contrast in just how much this all can matter when it comes to consuming baseball, just flip the channel on over to MASN's god-awful Nationals' broadcast some time.

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who wants to see springsteen this thursday night -- free?!


#DMD is giving away two tickets to this Thursday's Bruce Springsteen show, plus two seats on our "Bruce Bus", complete with all the concert fixin's -- food, beer, water, trivia, etc.

Too good to be true?

Nope, not at all.

Here's how you win the tickets.

X
Do you want to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band on Thursday night? Free of charge? You can, courtesy of #DMD and Primary Residential Mortgage.

Click on the Primary Residential Mortgage ad you see below. Once you do that, you'll see a box on the right (Apply for a Loan) that includes a "Consultation" option. Click "Consultation" and you'll be taken to a page where you complete some very basic information.

This is NOT a mortgage application. This is simply an information page that you would complete to discuss a mortgage with Primary Residential mortgage expert, Vic Biscoe.

You're under no obligation whatsoever, but by completing the "Consultation" page, you'll be giving Vic some very general information and he'll contact you directly to discuss your mortgage needs.

Everyone who completes that Consultation information page and submits it before Wednesday at 12 noon is eligible to win the two tickets to the Springsteen show on Thursday night.

We'll draw the winning name at random (from those who enter) at 5 pm on Wednesday and you'll be notified by phone immediately so you can make plans for Thursday night's show.

There's nothing to it. Click on the ad below and complete the Consultation page and you're entered to win. It's that easy.

Primary Residential banner

Monday
August 29
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 29
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


orioles playoff chase is simple: they need 17 more wins


The Birds return home tonight to start an important series with the first-place Toronto Blue Jays and, in doing so, can begin a step-by-step process to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

At 71-59 now after Sunday's 5-0 win in New York, the O's are still very much in the driver's seat for either the division crown or one of the A.L.'s two Wild Card spots. They'll play the Blue Jays six times between now and the end of the season, so that right there represents their best chance to overtake Toronto.

But it's even more simple than that for the Orioles.

All they really need to do is win their home games and that gets them into the post-season.

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Kevin Gausman struck out nine Yankees on Sunday and allowed just seven hits in seven innings to help the O's snap a 3-game losing streak and beat New York, 5-0.

The Orioles have 17 games remaining at Camden Yards, where they are 42-22 heading into tonight's opener vs. the Blue Jays. They'll play Toronto and New York three times each this week in Baltimore, then finish up the regular season at home later in September taking on Tampa Bay (4), Boston (4) and Arizona (3).

They're in great shape as long as they keep winning at home.

OK, so we know they're not going 17-0 at home, but they're NOT going 0-15 on the road, either.

94 wins will be enough for the division title and 88 wins might very well be all they need to get in as a Wild Card team. And don't poo-poo that Wild Card thing, either. The Royals and Giants have both recently weaved their way to the World Series after "barely making it" into the playoffs via the Wild Card route. It can happen.

The Orioles have been wildly successful at home this season. There's no reason to think that's going to stop now.

Sure, the starting pitching has been pretty bad over the last two weeks and the bullpen hasn't been much better, but some of that is just a by-product of the ebb and flow of a regular season. Nothing remains constant for an entire season. Remember, every team wins 60 and loses 60, guaranteed.

At this point, the math works something like this: The Orioles need to go 11-6 in those 17 remaining home games. That gets them to 82 wins. They'd need only six more victories away from Camden Yards to reach the 88-win mark. Surely they can win six games from this schedule: at Tampa Bay (3), at Detroit (3), at Boston (3), at New York (3), at Toronto (3).

Right? They can do that, can't they? Bueller? Bueller?

Maybe I'm the eternal optimist, but I'm sticking with the thought that the Birds are good enough for a playoff spot. I'm not giving up their chances for a division title, either, but at the very least, they most certainly have the horses to reach the post-season.

In fact, let's call it like it is: If the Orioles DON'T make the playoffs, it would be a choke job, given that they've been on top of the leaderboard since the start of the season.

I don't see them choking. I see them going at least 11-6 at home and 6-9 on the road to reach that 88-win mark.

And it might even wind up better than that.

Every win matters now, which is why I'm still itchy about giving that game away in Washington D.C. last Thursday night.

Win thirteen at home instead of eleven and suddenly you're at 90 wins and that might be enough for the division title.

Finish the last fifteen on the road at 8-7 instead of 6-9 and that, too, could be the catalyst for an A.L. East crown.

Who knows what Dan Duquette might pull off in the next day or two? There are rumors out there that the O's GM is burning the midnight candle trying to add one more piece before the playoff rosters are set on September 1st.

And, no, I'm not worked up about the Tommy Hunter signing yesterday. I think we all know what he brings to the table. (Hint: It sounds a lot like this: Not much).

But if the O's can bring someone in that helps them and he plays a key role in a couple of September victories, that could be what puts Buck Showalter's team over the top.

Now's not the time for the meek of heart.

These last 32 games are going to be gut-wrenching, starting with this series against the Blue Jays. Trailing now by three games, it's imperative the O's win two of three at the very least.

They then need to do the same thing with the Yankees this weekend. There are three acceptable conclusions to this quick 6-game homestand. 6-0 is perfect, 5-1 would be outstanding and 4-2 would be acceptable.

17 more wins. That's the magic number.

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who wants to see springsteen this thursday night -- free?!


#DMD is giving away two tickets to this Thursday's Bruce Springsteen show, plus two seats on our "Bruce Bus", complete with all the concert fixin's -- food, beer, water, trivia, etc.

Too good to be true?

Nope, not at all.

Here's how you win the tickets.

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Do you want to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band on Thursday night? Free of charge? You can, courtesy of #DMD and Primary Residential Mortgage.

Click on the Primary Residential Mortgage ad you see below. Once you do that, you'll see a box on the right (Apply for a Loan) that includes a "Consultation" option. Click "Consultation" and you'll be taken to a page where you complete some very basic information.

This is NOT a mortgage application. This is simply an information page that you would complete to discuss a mortgage with Primary Residential mortgage expert, Vic Biscoe.

You're under no obligation whatsoever, but by completing the "Consultation" page, you'll be giving Vic some very general information and he'll contact you directly to discuss your mortgage needs.

Everyone who completes that Consultation information page and submits it before Wednesday at 12 noon is eligible to win the two tickets to the Springsteen show on Thursday night.

We'll draw the winning name at random (from those who enter) at 5 pm on Wednesday and you'll be notified by phone immediately so you can make plans for Thursday night's show.

There's nothing to it. Click on the ad below and complete the Consultation page and you're entered to win. It's that easy.

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from the desk of
brien jackson

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


Saturday night's game at M&T Bank Stadium might well have been the most anticipated preseason game I've ever seen.

While reports have abounded about the status of Joe Flacco as he recovers from last year's season-ending ACL injury, nothing can take the place of game action, exhibition game or not. And though the night was a shorter one than you usually expect for the "dress rehearsal" contest, Ravens fans are breathing a sigh of relief after watching their quarterback finally take the field.

The numbers were certainly solid enough, as Flacco threw for 94 yards with 11 completions in 16 attempts.

More importantly, Flacco looked like his old self out there, and wasn't noticeably encumbered in any way. He uncorked a deep ball on his first attempt, and though he overshot an open Mike Wallace, he didn't have any trouble whatsoever driving the ball downfield.

As the game progressed he maneuvered in the pocket as well as he ever had, and even scrambled outside of the pocket to extend a play on one occasion. It was, in short, as good a showing as everyone could have hoped for, and Flacco looks like he's well and has truly put the knee injury behind him.

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Ravens coach John Harbaugh has plenty to be excited about in 2016 -- minus a couple of injuries from Saturday's win over the Lions.

The other most noticeable aspect of Saturday night's game: This offense looks like it has the potential to be really good by the end of the season.

Flacco's timing with his receivers, particularly Mike Wallace and Kamar Aiken, was excellent. Jeremy Butler, leading the NFL in preseason receptions as Gerry Sandusky made sure we were aware, hauled in a gorgeous fade from Ryan Mallett for the team's first touchdown, and has probably played himself into a roster spot, especially with tight end Ben Watson suffering a season-ending Achilles tear.

The offensive line kept Flacco mostly untroubled throughout the game, and rookies Ronnie Stanley and Alex Lewis in particular really stood out in manning the left side of the line. If those guys play like that all season long, you might as well go ahead and pre-order those playoff tickets -- you know, the ones the Ravens mailed out forms for late last week.

Even after Mallett replaced Flacco, the passing game continued to roll right along, and all of this with Steve Smith Sr., Dennis Pitta, and Breshad Perriman not playing, plus Watson getting hurt on the first play of the game.

What stands out most about the offense is the depth it boasts.

In sharp contrast to last season, there's a ton of depth (at least on paper) at every position on the offense. There are four or five useful receivers, three tight ends who could all be very good (or, in fairness, complete non-factors), and the play of Lewis and Ryan Jensen on the offensive line creates the potential for changes there.

Jensen looked like he was going to be penciled in as a starting guard, but Lewis has really done well opposite Marshall Yanda and probably deserves the job. For his part, Jensen played center on Saturday and also did very well. Meanwhile you still have John Urschel, James Hurst, and Jeremy Zuttah in the mix as well.

And then there are the running backs. The running game might be less important to the NFL every year, but you still can't help but be impressed with this group. With rookie Kenneth Dixon shining before leaving with a nasty looking knee sprain on Saturday, the team now boasts four guys who could lay claim to the starting spot at any given time. It's hard to imagine all four actually being carried on the roster, especially since none of them return kicks, but even if you only end up with three of them, that's a lot of fresh legs you can rotate into the game, and all of them have home-run ability.

Plus, Dixon in particular is a legitimate threat as a receiver, both working out of the backfield as a check-down option AND running routes downfield. Honestly he's probably already one of the better third-down backs in the league.

Of course, all of this may not mean anything when the real games start, and not everything was exemplary by any means.

In particular, the fact that the offense only lodged one first-half touchdown, after Flacco had left the game, and continued to rely on Justin Tucker field goals to finish off drives is a problem. Not putting the ball in the endzone enough has continually been arguably the team's biggest problem throughout the Harbaugh era, and could well persist for another season.

And being preseason, all of this happened against a pretty vanilla defensive gameplan from the opponent, which looked nothing like what they'll see when Rex Ryan comes to town in two weeks. But the positives easily outweighed the negatives on Saturday night, and gave everyone plenty of reasons to believe last year's 5-11 debacle is well and truly in the rear view mirror.

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snedeker in, holmes out as u.s. ryder cup team takes shape


Brand Snedeker stole the final U.S. Ryder Cup spot this weekend, as his fine play at The Barclays coupled with J.B. Holmes finishing T41 gives "Sneds" an automatic berth on the team and leaves Holmes hoping for a phone call from captain Davis Love III in a couple of weeks.

That's not a bad swap, honestly, as Snedeker has more "big game" experience than Holmes and is by far the better putter of the two.

Holmes is much longer off the tee, yes, but Snedeker is a more complete all-around player and can easily be paired with a few different guys (Koepka, Reed for example) in the partner-heavy competition at Hazeltine CC the last weekend in September.

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Brandt Snedeker by-passed J.B. Holmes over the weekend at The Barclays and earned an automatic berth on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

With the eight automatic qualifiers now set, all eyes are on Davis Love's four captain's picks. We'll get into that later this week here at #DMD, but you can expect Rickie Fowler to nab one of those spots on the team after his nice play at Bethpage Black this weekend.

True, Fowler's back nine play cost him an automatic berth, but two bad drives on a tough driving golf course wound up being the difference between Fowler making it and not making it. It's hard to hold that against him.

By the way, I'm not saying I would take him as a captain's pick. But I AM saying that Love III is going to take him.

The eight U.S. automatic qualifiers for this year's Ryder Cup were: Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson, Brandt Snedeker, Brooks Koepka and Jimmy Walker.

Love's captain's picks will go a long way in figuring out if the U.S. can win this year's event against Europe. The Americans are just 2-7 in the last nine Ryder Cup competitions dating back to 1995.

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


OK, friends, I need your help.

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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.

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.

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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!

Sunday
August 28
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 28
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by whining about kaepernick, you're giving him the attention he wants


If you would have pressed me for an answer before yesterday, I would have probably guessed that Colin Kaepernick wasn't even in the NFL anymore.

Didn't he get traded to Denver or something like that? Or was that a summer dream I had and not a real-life circumstance?

Now I know, of course, that it must have been a dream, because Kaepernick is, indeed, still in the NFL, hanging around still with the San Francisco 49er's while he tries to beat out another half-a-scrub, Blaine Gabbert, for the 49er's starting quarterback job.

I know this because Kaepernick caused quite a flap on Friday night when he refused to stand for the pre-game national anthem during a pre-season game against the Green Bay Packers.

It's only a story if we make it into one

Suddenly, it's a national story, sparking outrage and criticism both in the media and on social media. The 49'ers even had to distribute their own statement after Kaepernick explained his reasoning for remaining seated during the national anthem on Friday.

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media after Friday's game. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

I wonder what the view is like up there on that high horse?

The 49'ers predictably countered with a soft message of semi-defense for their employee, reminding everyone that Kaepernick or anyone else for that matter has the right to not stand up for the national anthem if they so choose.

Obviously, at the core of it all, the 49'er are right. It's not a crime to remain seated while the national anthem is played. It might very well make you "unappreciative", but it surely doesn't make you a criminal.

I wouldn't be doing my job, I suppose, if I wrote about Kaepernick and didn't offer my personal opinion on the whole thing, so here's the quick summary: I think he's a jerk.

And that has nothing at all to do with Kaepernick's race. Truthfully? I didn't even think he was African American until I read the story yesterday. I thought he was either from a mixed race background or perhaps even from Hawaii or Caribbean descent.

I think he's a jerk because he didn't stand for the national anthem and show support for his country.

The best part? Just like Kaepernick has the right to sit on the bench during the playing of the national anthem, I have the right to think he's a jerk. So, I shall.

That's America.

Thanksgiving is "tradition" and so is standing for the anthem

Here's the skinny on the national anthem, at least in my view. You're standing for it because you live here and you're grateful for the opportunities you've been presented throughout your life that, in some cases, others you don't even know have stood for, fought for and, sadly, died for.

I didn't say "freedoms". I said "opportunities".

Lots of people on Saturday lashed out at a guy with a guaranteed contract of $61 million and asked, "How oppressed are YOU, Colin Kaepernick, Mr. Defender of Fair Treatment?"

I don't know that I subscribe to that theory. Kaepernick gets $61 million to play football because he's good at his job (OK, you can go ahead and giggle at this one) and the economic landscape in his chosen profession calls for a salary of that nature, whether we like it or not.

But Kaepernick is forgetting about the "opportunity" he's been given to earn that salary when he refuses to stand for the national anthem for any reason at all, oppression, governmental dissatisfaction, and so on.

Standing for the national anthem is a sign that you respect the basic history of the United States. I don't think there's anyone in the country right now who thinks everything is perfect here and has been perfect in the past. Not even close to it, in fact. But I think a great number of people in this country do respect the basic growth of the nation and the efforts lots of brave people have put in to make sure our freedom as citizens are secure.

I saw an outstanding video a few months back in which Dinesh D'Souza speaks at Amherst College and takes on the challenge of a freshman (white) student who is trying to get D'Souza to admit that a system of intentional disregard for the promotion of minorities over the last 200 years should somehow be "repaired" by the American government.

D'Souza says to the young man, "There's a simple answer for this. Why don't you go down to the Amherst admissions department tomorrow and give up YOUR seat in this year's class and ask them specifically to reward it to a minority student who wasn't allowed entry this year? I don't want you standing here tonight saying 'In the future, we should be allowing more minority students into Amherst.' I want you to give up YOUR seat right now to a minority student as an indication that you're willing to do whatever it takes to eradicate this poor treatment of minorities you say exists here today."

What would Kaepernick do if his options were unlimited?

I'd say the same thing to Kaepernick, although the scale is much more broad in this case.

Other than not standing for the national anthem, which doesn't actually "do" anything, what is it that you, Colin Kaepernick, can do, personally, to help with this so-called oppression you believe is existing?

If you believe the core of it centers on the actions of police officers in this country, you're always welcome to give up football and apply for a position in any number of police departments around the country. Start off at the bottom, work your way up the ladder, and, who knows, someday you might be the Police Commissioner of Houston, Oklahoma City, Cleveland or any other major city in America.

At that point, you could really make a difference and help change that oppression you're so concerned about.

Until that point, you're just another athlete trying to get a rise out of people by doing something out of the ordinary.

Given that our media feeds the monster, Kaepernick got his wish on Saturday, as the story roared like an inferno throughout the afternoon and evening.

If Kaepernick really wanted to do something out of the ordinary, he'd try going 21-for-32 with no interceptions and three touchdowns in a NFL game sometime this season.

That actually might be more of an accomplishment for him than becoming a police chief someday.

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injuries sting ravens in 30-9 win over lions


Two players that figured to be regular contributors in the 2016 season were hurt in last night's 30-9 Ravens pre-season win over the Detroit Lions.

Unfortunately, that was the headline story out of a game that saw a number of players step up and likely secure their spot(s) on the 53-man roster heading into the season opener vs. the Bills on September 11.

Let's do the bad stuff first.

Tight end Benjamin Watson tore his achilles on the game's first play and is done for the season. Watson would have given the Ravens a nice pass-catching threat out of that position and would have been a nice compliment to Crockett Gillmore. With Dennis Pitta's status still largely unknown, Maxx Williams struggling with an injury and Nick Boyle suspended for ten games, Watson's injury is a depth-chart crusher.

Later in the game, promising running back Kenneth Dixon injured his knee. He'll get an MRI on Sunday to determine the extent of the damage. It didn't look like an ACL injury -- and doctors can typically diagnose an ACL tear right away -- but there's no telling what the MRI might reveal. At the very least, it looks like a garden variety MCL sprain, which would sideline Dixon for 4-6 weeks.

Dixon was enjoying an outstanding training camp and pre-season and would have likely been part of a quality 3-headed running game along with Justin Forsett and Buck Allen. He showed, in a small sample size, the ability to be a number one running back in the league.

He wasn't injured, but we can probably toss cornerback Shareece Wright into the "bad stuff" category. After a few promising games last year (yes, he got torched in San Francisco, but he followed that up with a few decent-to-good outings), Wright has been among the team's most disappointing veterans in the three pre-season games thus far. Don't be surprised if he's a late roster cut, doesn't get picked up by anyone else, and then re-surfaces later this season when a Ravens' defensive back gets hurt.

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Joe Flacco went 11-for-16 in his pre-season debut on Saturday night vs. the Lions.

Now...the good news.

Matt Judon had a tough first half on Saturday night, but acquitted himself more favorably in the final two quarters and continues to be a guy that catches the eyes of the coaching staff.

Yes, it's only pre-season. The opposing defensive coordinators aren't doing any extensive pre-game scouting or scheming. And a lot of Judon's success early on has come against the 2's, 3's and 4's.

But the 2016 5th round pick out of Grand Valley State has all the makings of someone who has the ability to "play like a Raven"...good nose for the ball, quick in pursuit, never gives up on the play.

Anthony Levine Jr. is coming on strong with each game. Once only a special teams performer, Levine is now a hybrid defensive-back/linebacker who has natural speed to get around the corner and chase the quarterback and is more-than-decent in coverage. He's not only a shoo-in for the 53-man roster, he is likely going to be getting 30-40 snaps per-game and figures to play a lot more in passing situations and against teams who rely more on their air game than running game.

First round draft pick Ronnie Stanley continues to impress as well. He told the Ravens on draft day, "You're making a great decision here" and it looks like he's a man who is capable of backing up his words. I could see an elite defensive end giving him problems early on while he's still growing into his body, but the basic skill set Stanley already possesses is more than enough for him to hold his own against the "typical" NFL pass rusher. Once he fills out completely and gets bigger and stronger, Stanley looks like he has the makings of a high-quality offensive left tackle.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago that Jeremy Butler was one of the more interesting "bubble players" in camp and after last night's performance with the Lions, it would appear Butler has his spot on the opening day roster sewed up. The "real games" are much different than the ones played in August, yes, but Butler's hands, a question mark in the past, appear to be much more reliable than they were in 2014 and 2015, when he was a late-camp cut on each occasion.

The final piece of good news? You can actually put this one under the "reall good news" category. Joe Flacco played a quarter and a half last night and didn't get hurt. That he looked "good" (11-for-16) was far less important than the fact that he played and got through the whole thing unscathed in any way.

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birds are starting to have "that look" about them


A loss is a loss, no matter if it's 2-1 or 13-5, but there's something about getting blown out two days in a row that's unsettling, to say the least.

The Yankees tore apart the O's pitching staff again on Saturday, pounding out 18 hits on the day and hitting three home runs in a 13-5 romp that extended Baltimore's losing skid to three games.

For the second straight game, the starting pitcher wasn't any good. On Friday night it was Yovani Gallardo who couldn't get anyone out and on Saturday, it was Dylan Bundy's turn to get clobbered by a revitalized New York lineup that is heating up at just the right time.

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Chris Davis hit his 31st and 32nd home runs of the season on Saturday in the Bronx, but that wasn't nearly enough for the O's, who lost 13-5.

Bundy allowed a whopping ten baserunners in just four innings of work in one of his worst outings of the season. The bullpen? Worse, actually. T.J. McFarland gave up four earned runs in his brief time on the mound in the 5th inning and Mychal Givens surrendered three earned runs himself.

A 5-4 New York lead in the 5th inning was a 12-4 New York lead in the 6th. That's how quickly the game went from "interesting" to a blow out.

For the third straight game, the Baltimore bullpen was victimized. That's why getting someone to step up with a quality starting performance is so critical, like Ubaldo Jimenez did on Thursday night when the Birds lost 4-0 in D.C. With Chris Tillman out, it's imperative that the starting staff buckles down and comes up with a few quality efforts over the next week.

It's never "must win" until the game you're playing that day ends your season unless you win, but we can categorize today's game in New York and the upcoming three games against Toronto as "really, really need to win". The Blue Jays have their full team back, now, and rebounded from an early 5-0 deficit to turn back Minnesota on Saturday, 8-7, scoring twice in the bottom of the 8th to secure the victory.

The Birds need a win today and then need to take at least two of three from the visiting Blue Jays on Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday in Baltimore.

It's not "must win" time yet. But these blowout losses to New York are leaving a bruise, for sure.

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Saturday
August 27
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 27
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orioles got their hats handed to them in the bronx


So, that's why you don't fiddle around in the bottom of the eighth when you're losing 1-0 and trot a couple of stiffs out there on Thursday night at Nationals Park.

Because...you might get smashed 14-4 on Friday night in New York and not need Brad Brach or Donnie Hart.

Yeah, I'm still a little sore about losing that game in DC two nights ago, as if you couldn't tell.

That's what a 14-4 loss to the Yankees will do.

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The only bright spot from Friday night's loss to the Yankees? Manny Machado hit a pair of home runs, his 30th and 31st round-trippers of the season.

Last night's fiasco in the Big Apple was just one of those nights where everything that could go wrong, did. Yovani Gallardo stunk, the Yankees collected nine straight hits in the second inning, and it was over in a New York minute, no pun intended.

"Buck did the right thing," the defenders shouted on Twitter in the aftermath of Thursday's 4-0 loss to the Nats. "He's saving the bullpen for that Yankees series."

"Phooey on that," I replied. "We might not NEED those arms in New York. Who knows what the score of those games is going to be?"

We needed someone, anyone to shut down the Nationals in the 8th inning on Thursday night. Let's be serious: A one-run deficit is incredibly different than a four-run margin. One swing of the bat ties the game in a one-run game.

That was a spot for Brach, Hart, etc. to get the job done and hope our bats got to Mark Melancon in the top of the 9th inning.

Instead, we went with Ondrusek and Wright in that inning and the Nationals blew the game open with three runs in a 4-0 victory.

And then, last night, we got bombed 14-4.

Look, we weren't winning last night's game unless we somehow scored 15 runs.

But that game on Thursday? It was there for the taking with just a couple of balls in play in the 9th inning.

OK, enough on that. The funeral home called and said the horse is ready to be buried now that I've beat it senseless.

The obvious pressing issue from last night's blowout in the Bronx is the health of Adam Jones. If he's out for any period of time, that's a huge hole to fill for the Birds.

Buck said all the right things after the game in his interview with Gary Thorne -- "We'll see how he feels tomorrow" -- but we all know the manager isn't giving one morsel of injury information out after a game. Why would he? Why should he?

It's not impossible that Jones will play in today's 1:05 pm matinee at Yankee Stadium, but it would certainly be a risk to throw him back out there some 18 hours after he had to leave a game because of a tight hamstring. Right? Or am I over-thinking the whole thing?

Dylan Bundy gets the ball on Saturday afternoon. Let's hope he's better -- by a lot -- than Gallardo was on Friday evening. That was one of the worst performances from an Orioles starter in a couple of years. Bundy has been so on-again, off-again over the last two months that it's hard to tell which of his characters shows up on Saturday. I hope it's the "on-again" version.

Oh, and don't look now, but the Yankees are giving off this strange smell like they might -- key word: might -- finagle their way back into the American League playoff race in this final month of action.

I don't think I'd bet on them or anything like that, but there's something strangely interesting about this collection of guys they've put together in New York. I have no idea how they're doing it, but not even a month after sweeping out a handful of veteran players, they're actually playing some of their best baseball of the season over the last three weeks.

And the guys they're doing it with are largely no names that have come up through their farm system.

If nothing else, the Yankees are showing some real promise for, say, 2018 and beyond. And remember, they'll have lots of money to spend over the next couple of off-seasons now that they're mostly out from under the A-Rod contract albatross and Teixeira and his $23 million salary are gone, too.

How weird is this? The Yankees are probably the least disliked team out of the three the Orioles are competing with in the American League.

I'd rather eat a live snail off of my front sidewalk than have the Blue Jays win the division. And if you gave me the option of having Duke win back-to-back NCAA hoops titles or having the Red Sox make the playoffs and the Orioles stay home, I'd take the Duke offer in a heartbeat.

These Yankees? Hell, they're almost admirable at this point. They're sort of doing it with mirrors, yes, but at least we're not losing to pinheads like Nick Swisher, Jason Giambi and the aforementioned Alex Rodriguez.

This is now, officially, man-up time for the O's. Minus their best pitcher and with their star centerfielder battling a terribly-timed hamstring issue, someone has to step up for a week or so and guide this team through some rough seas. Pitching wise, I'm not sure there's anyone who can do that. Offensively, of course, three or four different guys are fully capable of getting hot for five or six games and carrying the team.

As I've said all along, the Orioles are going to make the playoffs because of their offense, not their pitching. A couple of wins in New York this weekend and a couple of more against the Blue Jays next week in Baltimore and we're right back where we need to be.

Those bats need to liven up, though, particularly on the road.

The pitching is what it is, which is to say, it's average at best. But that offense of the Orioles is something special. Most nights...

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four quarters of local college football


With the 2016 college football season kicking off last night, #DMD begins its coverage of the local teams with a look at four schools. This contribution was provided to #DMD by Ken Greeley, who will supply us with content and opinions throughout the upcoming months.

First Quarter: Maryland – Will a new coach create excitement for Maryland football? It might depend on where you look for evidence that Coach D.J. Durkin has changed the team’s direction, which he has to do in year one with the players left from the Coach Edsall era.

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Can first-year Maryland football coach D.J. Durkin identify a quarterback and establish some sort of respectable passing game in 2016?

The first month of the season has four winnable games, even with a one dimensional offense. The roster has some young but inexperienced talent on the offensive and defensive line that hopefully develops during those first four games.

If the Terps are able to run the ball and defend the run as expected, the chances of being competitive improve. Pick up a couple wins after October 1st and this team could be bowl-eligible. However, unless Walt Bell (new offensive coordinator) finds a quarterback and develops a passing game, Maryland will struggle, especially when the brutal part of its schedule arrives late in the season (Michigan State, at Michigan, Ohio State and at Nebraska in a five game stretch).

If several of these games are blowouts, perception will be that nothing has changed from the previous regime. Will fans remember an early successful stretch, the late season blowouts, or continue their lack of interest that has plagued Maryland football for quite some time?

Second Quarter: Navy – Most college football teams never face the personnel changes that are happening with Navy’s offense. Navy needs to replace 10 starters on an offense that requires precision in its option reads and blocking.

And one of those changes is replacing Keenan Reynolds, a special talent at quarterback (one of four Navy players to have his number retired). He was responsible for most of the Navy offense in the last four years and set multiple NCAA Division I records, including most career and rushing touchdowns.

Last year’s offense also helped cover up a weak defense that did not perform well against quality opponents or in their rivalry game with Army. The starting defense also loses three linemen and three defensive backs. Navy’s football team will have a lot of new faces on game day and the replacements will most likely be upperclassmen as service academies do not redshirt their players. Let’s see if Coach Niumatalolo can work his magic again (only one losing record in eight years) and get Navy to a bowl for the 13th time in 14 years.

Third Quarter: Towson – Darius Victor is a name you will hear a lot of in FCS football this Fall. He will try to make it three consecutive years rushing for over 1,200 yards as the workhorse of the Tigers offense. Can he lead Towson back to the playoffs for the first time since 2013, like his predecessor Terrance West?

It will help tremendously if Oregon transfer Morgan Mahalak wins the starting quarterback position and plays close to his four-star recruit status. The defense improved its play as the 2015 season progressed, ending the year as the fourth ranked defense in the Colonial Athletic Conference. Towson will be tested early on the road against #20 Villanova and #4 Richmond. If they can at least split these two games, the playoffs are quite possible this year.

Fourth Quarter: Division III – The state of Maryland is home to some good quality football at this level, starting with Johns Hopkins. The Blue Jays are ranked once again in the top 15 in the nation and are expected to win their eighth consecutive Centennial Conference title. Over on the Eastern Shore, Salisbury has played in the Division III playoffs four out of the last six years and is ranked 23rd in the preseason poll. The newest addition to Maryland D3 football, Stevenson, has increased its win total each year since its inception in 2011 and won 9 games in 2015.

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


OK, friends, I need your help.

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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.

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.

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Best Buddies logo

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!


Friday
August 26
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 26
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too much scherzer, plain and simple


Sure, the Orioles had a runner on 3rd with one out in a 0-0 game and couldn't get him home.

That hurt.

And Buck Showalter made a couple of peculiar pitching decisions in the 8th inning of last night's 4-0 loss in D.C.

But Max Scherzer was the story on Thursday night, as he limited the Orioles to just a pair of hits in eight innings of spectacular work, as the Birds squandered a chance to leap into a 3-way tie for first in the A.L. East with that 4-0 defeat.

Baltimore's starter, Ubaldo Jimenez, was actually good on Thursday. But he was always three batters away from being involved in a slugfest. Those of us who have watched him pitch for three seasons were just waiting for the implosion.

With Scherzer, that sort of inning never looked even remotely possible.

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The Orioles were able to collect just two hits off of Max Scherzer in Thursday's 4-0 loss in Washington, as the Nationals' ace struck out 10 to improve to 14-7 on the year.

He mixes his pitches better than anyone in baseball, for starters, and his ability to change his arm and delivery angle is second to none.

You want the real tale-of-the-tape from the two respective starting pitchers on Thursday night?

Jimenez faced 23 batters and threw a first-pitch strike to 9 of them.

Scherzer faced 26 batters and threw a first-pitch strike to 17 of them.

Jimenez struck out 4, Scherzer struck out 10.

It would have been one of those games that we'd classify a "treat to watch" if not for the fact that Scherzer was shutting down OUR team on Thursday night. Had you just stumbled onto MASN2 last night to see Scherzer do that to, say, the Rockies instead of the Orioles, you would have watched the whole game through.

That man can flat-out pitch.

The Birds had a mini-chance to get to him in the 4th inning when Adam Jones lined a double to left to start the inning. Steve Pearce moved him over to third one batter later and the O's were suddenly in business with Manny Machado and Chris Davis due up next.

But Machado struck out and Davis grounded out to end the inning, and that's as close as the Birds came to scoring, save for a J.J. Hardy drive to the deepest part of the ballpark in the 8th inning that looked for a second or two like it might give the Birds a 2-1 lead.

The Orioles did get a runner to 2nd to lead off the ninth, but couldn't score. By then, it was a moot point anyway, as the Nationals racked up three runs in the bottom of the eighth off of Logan Ondrusek and Mike Wright to extend their 1-0 lead to 4-0.

It was puzzling to see Ondrusek and Wright in the game given two factors. Both of those guys aren't very good, for one, and second, a quick glance at the outfield scoreboard showed the Red Sox had already lost earlier in the day and the Blue Jays were getting blasted by the Angels up in Toronto.

Social media was buzzing about it, with the Buck defenders clinging to the defense of "he's saving the bullpen for the Yankees series", but I was more than surprised Showalter elected to treat that eighth inning like it almost didn't matter.

Maybe he thought Scherzer was coming out for the 9th to mow his boys down 1-2-3 like he had most of the night, but that game -- at 1-0 -- was still very much in the balance. Brad Brach hasn't pitched since Monday night's 4-3 win in Baltimore and he only threw 14 pitches in that outing. Where was he in the 8th inning last night to help keep it close?

Now, if Brach is ailing a bit, has the flu, or clipped a fingernail too close before the game and wasn't available, that's one thing. But "saving him for the Yankees series" isn't a plausible excuse, at least not to me.

These games, now, are all ultra-important. Looking at the overall schedules of the half-dozen teams involved in the Wild Card chase (and given the fact that someone has to win the A.L. East), it's looking more and more like 88 or 89 wins will snag one of those two Wild Card berths. That means the O's need at least 18 more wins. Every game they can win in the direction of that 88-victory total is crucial.

I'm not saying Showalter lost last night's game. Not in the least. Max Scherzer beat the Orioles, plain and simple.

But bringing in Ondrusek and Wright is akin to letting Charlie Brown come out to attempt the game-winning field goal from 44 yards out.

The next six games don't fall under "must win" territory by any means, but it sure would be nice to go 4-2 against New York and Toronto. With the Blue Jays home to face Minnesota for three games this weekend, you have to assume they'll win two of those, at the very least. To keep pace, the Birds need two wins of their own in the Bronx.

And then they can turn the dogs loose next Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday in Baltimore when Toronto makes their final visit of the season to Camden Yards. I know it's not ultra-promising to have Miley, Jimenez and Gallardo on the mound (scheduled) for that series with the Blue Jays, but in case you haven't noticed, the Orioles have been one of the best teams in baseball when playing in their home ballpark this season.

Every game matters now. We all know the April and May games matter, too, but these, now are the ones in the cross hairs because we can now see the finish line, 35 games away.

The best news of last night? We won't be seeing Max Scherzer again in 2016.

Not in the regular season, at least.


i'll be on q1370 every morning starting september 6


Starting Tuesday, September 6, I'll be handling morning sports on The Rouse and Company Show each weekday morning from 6am to 9am.

The reports will air at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 each morning and I have carte blanche from a content standpoint, meaning I'll be throwing in whatever I want during those three updates.

You'll hear lots of Orioles, Ravens and Terps coverage, obviously, but I'll also give plenty of time to local high schools and to my friends at UMBC. Like I did during my sports-talk hosting days, I promise to give special attention to the big high school soccer, football or basketball game on the schedule, plus keep everyone up-to-speed on results from the important games from the day before.

I'm excited to be joining Steve, Tracy, Maynard and Pat on their show. I'll have a very small role, obviously, but those four are good people and I love their format (rock-n-roll and witty banter amongst the four of them). Mixing in some sports is something Steve Rouse has wanted to do since he started the show on May 14 and I'm proud they've asked me to get involved.

It will also give me a great chance to cross-promote Drew's Morning Dish on the air with them.

I'll also be handling some "extended coverage" of the Ravens on Monday mornings (or the morning after a game, which in a few cases, won't be Monday), doing three 5-minute reports on the Ravens and talking back and forth with Steve, Tracy and Maynard about the game played the day before. It's not "sports talk", per se, which is fine by me, since I don't really have the urge at all to sit around for three or four hours and talk about the Ravens (or any sports team, for that matter) anymore.

If I can hear Springsteen's "Born to Run", talk for five minutes about the Ravens, hear "Lowdown" from Boz Scaggs, give a sports update, talk more Ravens...that's all I need, for sure.

It all starts on Tuesday, September 6 on 1370 AM. Give their show a listen in the meantime, if you haven't already. It's good stuff. Really good stuff.

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from the desk of
brien jackson

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


Zack Britton was a little off his game Wednesday night, despite ultimately heading off what would have been a disastrous comeback for the Nationals after trailing 10-3 at one point, and in the process put an end to history. That's because, up to that point, Britton had tossed 43 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run, the longest such streak in Major League Baseball since earned runs became a recorded stat over one hundred years ago.

So as the streak ends, it's worth pausing for a moment to appreciate just how phenomenal a season the Orioles' closer is having.

The traditional numbers are easy enough to understand: Britton boasts a 0.69 ERA and 10.6 K/9 while leading the leagus in games finished (50) and saves (a career high 38).

His "advanced" stats are equally eye popping. Take ERA+, for example. For you non-baseball nerds, ERA+ is a stat that seeks to contextualize ERA by adjusting for park factors (i.e, adjusting for pitchers parks and hitters parks) as well as league factors (to make for a more direct comparison between the American and National Leagues) on a 100-based scale. So an ERA+ of 100 is league average, and each base point in either direction represents a 1% delineation from league average. So a player with an ERA+ of 90 is 10% worse than league average while a player with an ERA+ of 125 is 25% better than the average of his league.

Britton's ERA+ is 649.

No, that's not a typo. It's 649.

In other words, whichever metrics you like to use, Britton is having a historically great season for a relief pitcher.

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Zach Britton isn't just having a great season by "modern" standards, he's having one of the best seasons any player has ever had, in baseball history.

And that performance has touched off a bit of a debate over whether or not he deserves to be considered a leading contender for either the Cy Young or Most Valuable Player awards. Many knee jerk reactions hold that it's ridiculous to consider a relief pitcher who is only going to lodge somewhere between 60-70 innings pitched on the season for either award. That's fair on one level, but probably a bit oversimplified.

Yes, starting pitchers will end up throwing 3-4 times as many innings as relievers, but top relievers generally pitch in roughly twice as many games as starters. It doesn't even the ledger necessarily, but I do think there's an argument to be made that advanced stats undervalue elite relievers simply because they haven't figured out how to account for their roles. Certainly the idea that relievers are largely interchangeable is long since outdated, and many teams have shown that you can ride a very good, and very deep, bullpen into a very successful postseason run.

Most of all, I think our notions of how we view these awards, especially MVP, are ridiculously rigid and antiquated.

Simply put, people get too hung up on creating some hard and fast definition of "valuable," that inevitably comes with a bunch of entirely arbitrary standards. The most famous of these is that the MVP has to come from a playoff team because, if your team didn't make the playoffs, how valuable can you be?

Well an 8-or-9 win player on a 72 win team is the difference between that and 63 or 64 wins, but the easy way to disprove this is by going to the opposite extreme.

If, say, a team wins 103 games, how valuable is any one player on their team to their ultimate success? Could you really say that, if you took one player away, that team would fall to 85 games and miss the playoffs? That's unlikely, to say the least.

So if we take this seriously on its own merits, we're saying that a 3-win player on a 93 win team (if we put our hypothetical postseason cut line at 90 wins) is equally as valuable as a 10 win player on a 100 win team, and we're essentially limiting the pool of "eligible" players to only those who played on teams who were within a half dozen games or so of missing the playoffs altogether. You have to make the playoffs, in other words, but you can't be a really great team. Of course, no one does this, and so we can see that the playoff "requirement" is much more an arbitrary rule people have concocted and accepted as received wisdom than anything born of real logic.

So how does that all relate to Britton? Honestly; I'm not sure.

If I had an MVP ballot, Britton certainly wouldn't crack my top 3. Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, and Jose Altuve are firmly entrenched in those spots at the moment, and Britton probably isn't even really in the discussion yet.

Cy Young? That's a little more wide open, as no one in the American League is having a truly dominant season so far. Cole Hamels, Chris Sale, or Jose Qunitana might run away with the award over the next month, but right now I could certainly see rationalizing myself into a vote for Britton.

Mostly though, I think we need to be more open minded in how we conceive these awards, and how we think about the game in general. Zack Britton is having one of the best seasons a major league reliever has ever had, one season after the Kansas City Royals won the World Series largely on the back of a dominant bullpen. If we're pre-emptively ruling him ineligible for one of the two major awards for outstanding players, are we really thinking hard about the value relief pitchers bring to a team?

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this weekend in
english soccer


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


Matchday 3 of the English Premier League kicks off this weekend with the close of the transfer window and seemingly endless rumor mill that turns throughout the summer months only days away, and desperate managers knowing full well that they have one final chance to evaluate their squads and address any glaring deficiencies that could send them on their way to eventual relegation by seasons end. Tune in to catch all of the action and see who is on their way in, or on their way out, all weekend long live on the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Saturday, August 27 (all times eastern)

7:30am – Liverpool @ Tottenham – White Hart Lane, NBC Sports Network

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Liverpool gets a shot in the arm this Saturday when they welcome back Daniel Sturridge to the lineup for their big early season test with Tottenham.

After shipping four goals past Arsenal on the opening weekend, the much heralded Liverpool attack found the going more difficult against a compact and organized Burnley side, whom they were unable to breakdown despite enjoying 81% possession and 26-3 shot advantage over the Clarets in a 2-0 defeat. They will hope to do better when they visit White Hart Lane and Tottenham for another early season crunch match, with Spurs picking up their first three points of the season after summer signing Victor Wanyama headed home in the 83rd minute to down a resolved Crystal Palace side 1-0.

Liverpool have not lost in their last seven matches against Tottenham (W5 D2) and, after failing to grab points in their previous five visits to the capitol, are unbeaten in their last three trips to White Hart Lane, winning twice and drawing once while scoring eight goals. They look to be catching Spurs at just the right time to get their offense back on track, with starting goal keeper Hugo Lloris set to miss out for the leagues reigning stingiest defense, while Liverpool are likely to welcome striker Daniel Sturridge and summer transfer Sadio Mane back into the fold after both have overcome early season knocks.

12:30pm – Manchester United @ Hull City – KCOM Stadium, NBC

With all eyes focused on the debuts of manager Jose Mourinho and record summer transfer Paul Pogba it was another debutant who stole the show, with a double from the mercurial Zlatan Ibrahimovic more than enough for Manchester United to sweep aside Southampton in the first Friday fixture of the season. United will travel to the KCOM Stadium for Saturday’s primetime fixture against Hull City who, despite having only thirteen fit players and a caretaker manager, have opened the new campaign with consecutive victories for the first time in their history after pushing past Swansea 2-0.

The surprise start has the Tigers chasing a bit of history at the weekend, when they look to become only the second newly promoted side after Bolton in 2001 to open the season by winning their first three matches. That might be too much of an ask for manager Mike Phelan’s bunch, the former United player and longtime assistant under Sir Alex Ferguson who inherited the squad after Steve Bruce abruptly resigned just before the season’s start, as Hull have never beaten the Reds in Premier League play (D1 L7) with the lone draw only confirming Hull’s relegation from the top flight just two seasons ago.

Sunday, August 28 (all times eastern)

11am – West Ham United @ Manchester City – Etihad Stadium, NBC Sports Network

Manchester City made sure that Pep Guardiola continued to enjoy a perfect start to his time in England as they made short work of Stoke City 4-1 in what has historically been a difficult away trip for the Citizens. They will look to make it three in a row when they welcome West Ham United to the Etihad Stadium for the penultimate fixture of Matchday 3, after the Hammers grabbed their first victory of the season and the first in their brand new home when they christened the Olympic Stadium in London with Michail Antonio’s late header proving the difference in a 1-0 victory over Bournemouth.

It was a crucial three points for the Hammers ahead of their trip to Manchester. Although they have beaten City in each of the last two seasons, they have won only three of their last twenty-two meetings across all competitions (D5 L14) and only once in their last eleven at the Etihad (D1 L9). The task ahead of Slaven Bilic and his side has been made even more difficult as they enter the matchup with a long list of injury concerns, including question marks surrounding key midfield playmakers Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini, who both face a race against time to be fit to earn a place in the starting eleven.

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Thursday
August 25
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 25
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two years later…and we’re still here


There are so many people to thank for this day that’s it’s probably unfair for me to list, thank or recognize them all – because I know, for sure, I’ll leave someone out that I should have otherwise mentioned.

But I’m going to do it anyway.

It’s likely that you know I started this venture after a 12-year radio career was abruptly halted on August 22, 2014.

Well, today marks the two-year anniversary of Drew’s Morning Dish.com. The actual birth of Drew’s Morning Dish was probably sometime in 2012 when I first started writing the blog every morning on my former station’s website as a way to “set the table” for the four hours of sports talk I was about to embark upon.

But the first day of Drew’s Morning Dish.com – this website – was August 25, 2014.

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Celebrating two years today here at #DMD. Thanks for being part of it with us!

I remember someone from the Baltimore Sun calling me late in the afternoon on the day the five of us were fired and asking what I was going to do. “Take the rest of the summer off, play a bunch of golf, and figure out my next challenge,” I said to him.

That “rest of the summer off” concept lasted all of two days.

Fired on Friday, August 22, 2014 – and in business for myself on Monday, August 25, 2014, when 1,700 people visited the inaugural edition of #DMD.

I was over-the-moon-happy with that audience on day one. I honestly couldn’t believe we somehow got 1,700 people to visit #DMD on that first day of operation.

Yesterday, on August 24, 2016, we had 5,481 visitors here.

I owe that first morning of #DMD – two years ago today – to Tony Young, who reached out to me late in the day on "Fired Friday" and said, essentially, “You’re going to roll along with Drew’s Morning Dish on Monday like nothing happened.”

The next day, we met at a local eatery and Tony laid out the guts of the website in front of me and said, “This is what it’s going to look like.”

And just like that, I was in business. About 24 hours after getting fired, I was self-employed, with little idea at all what I was doing, and modestly hopeful that I could somehow turn this idea into a success.

Ten months into #DMD, the need arose for an experienced computer expert, as we changed the platform of the website to fit more capably into today’s smart phones. A great friend, George McDonnell, surfaced to lend his expertise and help guide us through some rocky times as we literally “learned on the fly”.

Without Tony and George…#DMD wouldn’t exist in its present form, that’s for certain.

I’d never be able to say “thank you” enough to those two.

I also owe my old radio buddy, Glenn Clark, a nod of thanks today as well. He’s gone on to do his own thing (Glenn Clark Radio.com) and gives me the opportunity to join him in studio every Friday from 10am to 12pm. It’s been a good partnership and he’s been a steadfast supporter of mine and Drew’s Morning Dish.com and for that, I thank him, too.

In order for ventures like this one to work, you really need three things. One, of course, is content. Something to drive the engine, so to speak.

Two, are people to come and visit the site every day. Without readers, there’s no business model that works.

Three, you need corporate partners who want to align themselves with the website and attach their name and product with the hope that the readers will connect with them on a level that works as a win-win for both parties. The more readers who visit, the more people who see the advertising message(s). The more of those messages there are to be seen, the more effort the website can put into building a better product.

We’ve been blessed here to have those three bases covered from day one.

Content hasn’t been an issue. Not every day has been a grand slam, of course, because that would be like trying to hit the golf ball in the middle of the clubface on every swing. Sorry…it’s just not happening.

But I believe we’ve produced and distributed outstanding content here over the last two years, with special thanks to our regular contributors, Brien Jackson, Bo Smolka and Matt Carroll. Those three guys really know their stuff and each has helped make #DMD special.

We’re now well above 5,000 readers per-day here at #DMD, and climbing slowly but surely month-by-month. I remember when we averaged 2,500 for a month and I thought that was a huge total. Then we averaged 3,000 and I said, “Well, we can’t do much better than that.”

Then came 3,500 per-day, 4,000 per-day and, early in 2016, we reached the 5,000 per-day figure.

I’m done saying, “I think that’s the best we can do…”

I have no idea what’s in store for #DMD. Maybe someday we’ll be doing 15,000 visits per-day. Who knows?

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Thanks to everyone who has been part of our two years. Content contributors, readers and all of our corporate partners, past and present. Thank you!!

But, let me say this. I owe all of you a huge thank you for coming here and visiting the site, whether today is your first occasion to see what we’re all about or you’re a daily, devoted reader. Every person who has checked out #DMD and been a visitor to the website has been integral to our success.

If I could somehow thank all of you individually, I would. I appreciate all of you, though.

Last, but certainly not least, are the advertisers you see here every day. We’ve been eternally blessed to have 35 local businesses who have supported this website over the last two years.

All of them, even those who marketed with us for a period of time and then moved on, are due a special thank you here today.

We’ve had six corporate partners with us from day one (or week one…since it took a few days to get some of ads up on the page): Royal Farms, SECU, UMBC Athletics, ABC Rental Center of Rosedale, Chick fil-A of Nottingham Square and Primary Residential Mortgage. I can’t say “thank you” enough to those six. They believed in the value of #DMD from the very start and have been wonderful partners over the last 24 months.

The Cause Network has been with us for 20 of the last 24 months and we’re thrilled to be associated with such an outstanding organization. They’re doing great work in our community and helping raise money for charities all over the Mid-Atlantic.

My friends at Jerry’s Toyota on Belair Road stepped up early on in #DMD’s existence and became our first “Signature Sponsor”. They were big contributors to our Winter Apparel Collection Drive last December and have been heavily involved in our charity golf outing and other important facets of #DMD. I’m forever indebted to Jerry’s Toyota.

Earlier this year, Kelly Payroll came on board with us and have not only been involved in the promotion of the sports travel element of #DMD, but we’re now involved in projects with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes through my friend Brian Hubbard at Kelly. We owe Kelly Payroll a huge thank you, too.

We’ve had plenty of other outstanding corporate partners along the way; Frank Locke of Chase-Fitzgerald Realty, Saffer Plumbing, Glory Days Grill, Harpoon Beer, Stecco Law, Robbie’s First Base, Varsity Sports Network, Triangle Limousine, and Palmisano’s of Baldwin…they have all been terrific supporters of #DMD.

We owe special thanks to Eagle’s Nest Country Club, The Wine Merchant, Orlando Products, All Seasons Lawn and Landscaping, CSI Bonds, and Maryland Home Sellers. Just another handful of local businesses who have aligned with #DMD and helped us grow over the last two years.

And for all of those former corporate partners…we say “thank you” as well. All of them helped us get started. Without them, we might not be here today. Thank you to Unison Business Solutions, Advanced Heating and Cooling, American Design and Build, Viking Remodeling, The Sunglass Guy Real Estate, King Louie.com, Magic Messengers, Summit Insurance, Doug Gorius Attorney at Law, First Choice Automotive, Mountain Branch Golf Course, Charles Nusinov and Sons Jewelers, Bowie Baysox and The Corner Bakery.

I would encourage all of you reading this today to support any and all of those businesses you see above. They’ve each been supportive of #DMD and are very much a big reason why we’re celebrating our 2nd anniversary today.


And, with that, we have a few announcements to make to kick off year three here at #DMD.

It’s fitting that our newest client, Full Circle Tire and Auto, joins us here today as we celebrate two years of bringing you Baltimore’s best daily sports website.

#DMD has gone “full circle”, if you will, over the last 24 months, starting out as a little website hoping to stand the test of time to a multi-dimensional media entity that produces daily web content and organizes, promotes and operates bucket list sports and entertainment trips all over the country.

Full Circle Tire and Auto is just like #DMD in that their number one priority is to produce outstanding work and provide quality service to their customers. They’re a local business, based in Harford County, who are heavily connected to their community and are dedicated to providing the very best tire and auto care that you’ll find anywhere.

Their current special is too good to be true, but it is. Full Circle Tire and Auto will rotate your tires and change your oil for $29.95. Try getting that deal anywhere else in town.

Whether it’s new tires for the upcoming winter, an oil change, brake work, or engine diagnosis and repair, Full Circle Tire and Auto can do it all. And, best of all, they’re a family-owned, local company that prides itself on doing the job right for you the first time, at the advertised price, with no tricks or gimmicks.

You can reach Full Circle Tire and Auto at (410) 809-2211. Make sure you mention you read about them here at #DMD.

I should mention this just to authenticate it all. Nearly every single one of the corporate partners you see on this website are businesses and products I personally use and endorse. I do my banking at SECU, my mortgage was done at Primary Residential, my plumber of record is Saffer Plumbing, I've rented items from ABC Rental in Rosedale and my wife drives a Toyota. I know the people at Full Circle Tire and Auto. They've worked on both of my vehicles in the past and do OUTSTANDING work. It's not always easy to find a reliable, trustworthy auto repair facility, but you have one in Full Circle Tire and Auto. They're partners here at #DMD for a reason.

And please take a second today to click on their ad on the right side of the page – it will take you directly to their Facebook page, which has more details about their services and some special money-saving offers on your next visit to Full Circle.


More good news, particularly if you’re one of those people who ask me on a somewhat regular basis, “When are you going back on the radio?”

Well, the answer to that, now, is – soon.

In fact, I’m already on the air. Every Tuesday and Thursday at 8:35 am, I visit with Steve Rouse on his popular Rouse and Company show on Q1370 AM.

But I’m about to expand my on-air work. And on Tuesday, September 6, you’ll be able to hear me every day, Monday through Friday.

Where? Let’s save those details for another day. But I’ll get you the information soon…

Thank you for sticking through this and reading it all. If you’ve made it this far, you’re a trooper!

We covered lots of ground today on our 2-year anniversary, but the simplest, easiest thing for me to say – to EVERYONE – is thank you.

Thanks for the two years of support. It’s been a great ride. I hope we have many more miles to travel together.

And I would be completely remiss if I didn’t thank my awesome wife (she’ll love that description…it’s an inside joke, sorry) and two wonderful children, all of whom have been incredibly supportive of my venture over the last two years.

I’m up early every day, roaming around the house, waking them up in the process, trying to get #DMD published – and there’s never a complaint from them.

I’m busy writing at night, I watch sports on TV, and I’m occasionally traveling the country going to sporting events, concerts, etc. In other words, I’ve asked them to sacrifice over the last two years while I focused on #DMD and they’ve been more than great about it. I don’t know where I’d be without their support. They’re the best family a guy could have.

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drew's views on the
baltimore orioles

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


turns out, all the birds needed was four (maybe three) games with nationals


Funny the way it is, as Dave Matthews sings.

After Sunday's loss to the Astros, social media all around town was filled with baseball enthusiasts throwing in the towel on the Orioles and their 2016 playoff hopes.

Here we are today, just four days later, and those same folks are talking smack and reveling in three straight wins over the Nationals that have brought the Birds back to within one game of first place in the American League East.

Funny the way it is.

X
His streak of consecutive appearances without allowing an earned run ended last night at 43, but Zach Britton got the big double play ground-out to end the game and help the Birds turn back the Nationals, 10-8.

Last night's 10-8 win in D.C. was a blow-out, got tight, went back to a blow-out, and then wound up being a complete nailbiter in the bottom of the 9th inning when the Nationals rallied for five runs and brought the tying run to the plate before Zach Britton got Ryan Zimmerman to hit into a double play to end the game.

It wasn't pretty at the end, but a win's a win. And with Boston and Toronto both losing, the O's are now just one game back.

The big story of the night, oddly enough, wasn't that the Birds won, but that Zach Britton gave up an earned run, ending his streak of 43 consecutive appearances without doing so. It's the best mark of its kind in over one hundred years in Major League Baseball.

Britton shouldn't have even been in the game, but Buck Showalter tried to give Parker Bridwell an inning of mop-up work after Baltimore headed to the 9th inning ahead 10-3. A grand slam by Daniel Murphy made it 10-7 and Showalter hustled out to give the rookie pitcher the hook. In came Britton, the Nats scored one more run, and it was a nervous few moments before Zimmerman's double play grounder.

Washington starter Tanner Roark hit three of the first 14 hitters he faced on a night when he said he had little command. Birds starter Wade Miley, who has a terrific history at Nationals Park for some reason, did what he was supposed to do in the aftermath of that episode -- he hit Jayson Werth with a pitch. But little came of it, other than the O's looked a little more exuberant than usual during a five-run eruption in the top of the 8th inning that included a 3-run homer by Matt Wieters, who was one of those dinged by Roark earlier in the game.

Manny Machado went 4-for-6 on the night and clubbed his 29th home run of the season.

The win was especially important for the Orioles because tonight's series finale tilts heavily in favor of the Nationals. They send Max Scherzer to the mound while the Orioles counter with Ubaldo Jimenez. Sure, stranger things have happened, but there aren't many folks expecting a Baltimore win tonight.

And then, a pivotal series with the surging Yankees takes the Birds to New York this weekend before first place Toronto comes to town next Monday through Wednesday.

It's been a wild ten days in Birdland.

There was a memorable comeback in San Francisco back on Sunday, August 14, that had the whole town buzzing.

The O's then lost two straight to Boston at Oriole Park, and dropped three of four to Houston. "It's over" was heard a lot on Monday morning this week.

And here we are now, on Thursday, just a game back and looking like the cat's meow.

Who knows? Maybe Jimenez does something tonight that's worthy of his $12 million salary.

I'm not holding out hope.

But baseball's a wacky game. Just ask the Nationals, who have stumbled and bumbled their way around the field for the last three nights, looking like anything BUT a World Series contender despite the fact they own a 7-game lead in the National League East.

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springsteen just played four hours in new jersey! are you going to miss next thursday's show in nationals park?


If you're a Bruce Springsteen fan, come along with #DMD on Thursday, September 1st when we head to Washington, D.C. 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.

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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


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


OK, friends, I need your help.

X

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.

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.

X
Best Buddies logo

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!


Wednesday
August 24
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 24
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


story about crazy radio caller in philly reminds me of…


A story circulated recently about a sports radio caller who chimed in regularly at 97.5 FM in Philadelphia. He was “Dwayne from Swedesboro” and his contributions on the air were mainly targeted at mid-day host Mike Missanelli.

Missanelli was evidently the last guy to know the whole thing was an inside job. More on that in a minute.

Sports talk radio has always drawn its fair share of rational, thoughtful callers, and nutty, off-the-waller callers.

In my 12 years on the air in Baltimore, I welcomed all of them.

It's not fun just talking to yourself on the air

My personal philosophy – and, admittedly, there are program directors all over the country who would disagree with this – was to treat my show like the neighborhood bar.

Everyone was welcome to come in and have a beer. Or two. Or three, even. You could stick around for a while as long as you remained sensible and reasonably cogent when you spoke.

But once you stepped over the line, you were gone.

I evaluated every caller the same way by asking myself this: “Is there anything he/she is saying that violates any FCC rules or regulations or would offend one of our sponsors?”

If the answer to that was “no”, I saw no reason at all to cut them off, hang up on them or otherwise prohibit them from contributing to the show.

It’s called “talk radio” for a reason, I reminded myself. The announcer talks, the guests talk and the callers talk.

The story about “Dwayne in Swedesboro” was, apparently, a radio station employee who was so carefully “in” on the whole thing that even the host didn’t know.

Well, here’s what I know now. And knew, then.

All of the “unique” callers at my former station were legit.

As in, legitimately unique. None were employed by the station. They weren’t my friends or anyone else that I put up to their on-air shenanigans.

Well, except for one. I won't out him here at #DMD, but a friend of mine would call a few times a year as "Jack from Parkville", talk sports for a minute, and at the end, he'd always ask if he could "plug my local company" and when I said yes, he'd quickly throw in a quick advertisement for the "Beecher Meat Company". Think about it...

That was, however, the only one of those crazies that I actually knew, and he almost didn't count because he wasn't a regular caller to the show. He'd just call in on a whim when he was driving to an appointment early in the morning.

We had some Hall of Fame radio callers back in the day

The most famous of them all, of course, was Merton in Indianapolis, who was a regular caller once or twice a week during football season. He was aggravating as all get out and I’ll admit there were several occasions when I was honestly miffed at his offerings, but I had to remind myself about the “neighborhood bar” theory that I was cultivating.

Merton’s shtick, if you will, was to call in as a fan of the Indianapolis Colts and harass me and the listeners with tales about the move from Baltimore to Indy and the greatness of Peyton Manning, all while taking subtle and not-so-subtle digs at former Colts, the Ravens and Baltimore sports fans.

I’ve never met Merton. Frankly, while I was on-the-air, I didn’t want to meet him. I thought it might ruin the bit. Now? I wouldn’t mind having a beer or two with him just for kicks and giggles.

There were folks back then who swore up and down that I knew he was and/or that he was a “plant” designed to kick-start calls on a slow news day, but both of those statements are patently false.

I never once met Merton. And he wasn’t an employee, a producer, an intern, etc.

I’ve heard from some people around town that he used to call in to sports shows back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, but I have no way to verify that. If so, Merton’s been at it for a long, long time.

By the way, it’s my belief that Merton is NOT in Indianapolis. I don’t know that, but believe it to be true. He’s much more likely to be from Parkville, Dundalk or Perry Hall than he is from Indianapolis.

I found Merton to be funny. It was a skit. A gag. There are people who belly up to the bar and relate their personal woes to the bartender and then there are those who offer a joke or two whenever they visit. Merton was the jokester.

Rick in Reisterstown is legitimate, that’s for sure. He came in to the studio often, usually after a night of losing all of his money at the casino.

He would also come in and call the three Triple Crown races every spring. His love for horse racing was evident with those calls, but his timing wasn’t all that great. He’d routinely call a two-minute horse race in three or four minutes.

But it was fun.

Bob in Parkville wasn’t a skit, that's for sure.

He was – and still is – a passionate sports fan with lots of old school thoughts and values.

Did he ramble too long on occasion? Sure.

Was he “behind the times” with some of his rants? Yep.

But just keep that “neighborhood bar” theory in mind and Bob was just fine, a welcome addition to the on-air family.

Truthfully? I always thought of Bob as an extended version of my father. I could hear a lot of my Dad’s antiquated sports views when Bob called in…so I’d give him a little bit longer leash.

Always remember...it's just a radio show

I hear some of the “wacky callers” on the FM station in Baltimore these days and I can tell right away if they’re calling in to make a salient point or if they’re just trying to hear themselves on the radio.

Either way, they’re worth having on the air, but only if you keep that neighborhood bar theory in mind. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone has the right to broadcast that opinion, too, as long as they do so within the rules and guidelines of the hosts and/or station.

In my case when I was on the air, I definitely let anyone and everyone on the show. There were probably times when that philosophy was damaging from a content standpoint, but I’d rather be wrong once in a while than keep people off the show because of a controlling, it’s-my-way-or-the-highway attitude.

Merton, Rick, Bob…they were all just guys who wanted to have a beer at the bar and needed someone to serve them. And if you’re not selling beer at a bar, why are you even in business?

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drew's views on the
baltimore orioles

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


please explain how the nationals are in first place?


Yes, I know, it's a pretty small sample size, these two games in Baltimore.

But color me completely unimpressed with the Washington Nationals.

Base running mistakes out the wazoo, fielding blunders, lack of situational hitting...we saw it all in the two games at OPACY this week, particularly in last night's 8-1 Orioles win.

Look, I'm smart enough to know the Orioles aren't exactly world beaters on the road this season. They're 27-34 away from Camden Yards, which is the basic reason why they're two games behind Toronto and Boston in the A.L. East.

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Chris Davis hit his 30th home run last night as the Birds beat up on Washington, 8-1, to win the first two games of the mid-week series.

And, yes, we could definitely go down to D.C. and look like hot garbage the next two nights with base running issues and lack of situational hitting as two main reasons.

But that Nationals team we just saw didn't impress me at all. Just sayin'.

Now, the big news out of the ballpark on Tuesday wasn't the 8-1 win over D.C.

Chris Tillman had a setback in his side throwing session earlier in the day and the O's ace revealed after the game he received a cortisone injection earlier in the day to treat his ailing shoulder.

That means he's headed to the disabled list, where he'll have to miss at least the next eleven days, since the O's can back-count the days he didn't pitch and take those off the 15-day requirement.

This spells trouble for the Birds, most likely.

He may only miss two starts, three at the most, but those are critical games for the O's. In his 26 starts this season to date, the Orioles are 20-6. In the games he doesn't start, they're basically a .500 team.

Playing .500 baseball over the last month of the season isn't going to get the job done.

Ubaldo Jimenez will start on Thursday night in D.C.

Yeah, I know. Take the Nationals and the "over" in that one for a nice, easy parlay win.

The Tillman news broke the spirit of an otherwise healthy win over the Nationals, as the Birds cracked 13 hits on the night and got a decent starting effort from Kevin Gausman, who went six innings and allowed six hits. He didn't have great stuff and fell behind in a lot of counts, but when the other team doesn't score a run, you've done what you set out to do.

If Tillman's injury lasts longer than eleven days, though, Gausman and the others will have to yeoman's work to keep the Birds in the A.L. playoff race.

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


OK, friends, I need your help.

X

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.

X
Best Buddies logo

To learn more about Best Buddies Maryland and what they do for our community, please visit their website.

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!

Tuesday
August 23
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 23
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


don't let the bastards get you down...


I wasn't going to write about this at all until I saw an article yesterday where Sports Illustrated laid off 40 employees, including one of their outstanding NFL reporters, Don Banks.

Monday, August 22, 2016 was the two-year anniversary of my dismissal from a local radio station. Those dates, you don't soon forget.

On Friday, August 22, 2014, I was one of five people summarily dismissed. The other four were terrific co-workers and people who put the station's needs and reputation first and themselves second. They didn't deserve to be fired any more than those 40 folks did who got canned by Sports Illustrated recently.

"S**t happens" is a famous saying that comes in handy when you're the odd guy (or girl) out and no amount of reasonable logic could have predicted your dismissal nor reasoned it once it took place.

It sounds like a roundabout way of saying, "You're not in control" and that's not all wrong, actually. Stuff happens in life that you don't expect, don't want and don't deserve. You have to deal with it and move on.

Truthfully, though, I had no intention at all of bringing this up until I saw the S.I. news.

And it hit home again, for me, even though I haven't been fired in two years now (one of the saving graces of working for yourself, right?)

Why bring it up today, you're wondering?

Because, unfortunately, odds are that one of you reading this today is going to get fired at some point in the not-too-distant future.

It will likely be through no real fault of your own.

"Budget cuts" they'll tell you.

"Mandate from corporate" is another line you might hear.

"We're not making as much money as we used to" could be the story you're told.

Whatever the case, someone reading this today will get canned within six months.

And you'll do the same thing I did at 10:30 am on Friday, August 22, 2014, when I was fired without notice, warning or discussion. You'll get in your car, head spinning, anger percolating, and you'll quickly say to yourself, "What the hell am I going to do now?"

My inner conversation took place in the Calvert Hall High School parking lot. I got in my car after hearing the news and drove off. I didn't know where I was going, but I knew it wasn't smart for me to stick around the radio station at that moment.

So, I went to Calvert Hall and sat in a mostly empty parking lot. The football team was practicing and life was about to start again for those kids in the red and gold shirts.

"What am I going to do with MY life, now?" I asked myself while sitting there.

You'll ask yourself that same question, just like Don Banks probably did when he got his pink slip from Sports Illustrated or Steve Davis did a few weeks back when he was let go by the local FM sports station in town.

"Now what?"

Here's why I'm offering this today.

I'm telling you the sky is the limit for you and what you might be able to accomplish.

This is what I'd tell Don Banks today -- and any of the other 39 people who got canned.

"Find something else to do, and go kick some ass."

Trust me, I had no idea on August 22, 2014 that today I'd be two years into owning my own modestly-successful business, with better hours, better pay and better treatment working for myself than I ever had before.

And I'm still in April or so of my "career calendar". I have lots left to do and accomplish, some of which I don't even know about yet.

The same goes for you.

If you're one of the unfortunate ones who gets the heave-ho in the future, don't suffocate yourself with pity or doubt. That gets you nowhere.

Find a new challenge. Go work for your old company's competitor. Start your own business and compete with your former employer (if your termination agreement allows for it...read the fine print). Pick out something you've always wanted to do and say, "Now's the time to fly".

I ran into someone about a month ago who knew me from my radio days but, sadly, we've fallen out of touch a bit since I've been off the air on a daily basis.

"The best thing that ever happened to you was getting away from (that place)," he said. "It was holding you down."

When I asked how he could tell it was holding me down, he replied with higher volume in his voice: "Because look where you are now! You're UP HERE now. Before, you were down here. Now, you're UP HERE!" He raised and lowered his hands to emphasize my rise...it was a cool moment and one that gave me some inspiration on a day that I needed a shot in the arm.

I don't know all of you reading this, but I know how human nature works and just about everyone reading this today wants to be the best at their place of employment.

That's great. You should have that goal. But if you're one of the unfortunate ones who becomes the odd guy out, don't let it wreck you.

Don't stay on the canvas for long.

Get up, get going and get great again.

You can do it.

I did it. Or, at least, I'm trying to do it. And if I can, you can.

I'll never forget the story of Nick Faldo and Greg Norman embracing on the 18th hole after the 1996 Masters, the one Norman threw away with a back-nine blow up for the ages.

Faldo didn't know what to say, really, after Norman frittered away a 6-shot lead heading into the final round and eventually lost by five shots.

So, he said the simplest thing he could, knowing what was about to come along for Norman in the next few days: "Don't let the bastards get you down..." Faldo whispered as he hugged Norman and held him a little tighter than you'd normally hug someone after a golf tournament.

"Don't let the bastards get you down..." was a dig at the media, of course. But we can all use that phrase, too, particularly when someone comes along and upsets our apple cart without reason.

"Don't let the bastards get you down."

I didn't.

Neither should you.

Get up, get going and get great again.

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drew's views on the
baltimore orioles

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


o's nip nats, 4-3, losing skid ends


It wasn't a benchmark victory and nothing stood out, really, but a win is a win is a win.

The Orioles needed a win on Monday night and they got one, thanks in part to a mid-day pitching change by the visiting Nationals and home runs from Jonathan Schoop and Mark Trumbo.

The 4-3 victory pushes the Birds to within two games of idle Toronto and now-tied-for-first Boston, who won 6-2 at Tampa Bay on Monday evening.

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Zach Britton is now 38-for-38 in save opportunities this season after nailing down last night's 4-3 win over Washington. He hasn't allowed an earned run since May 5.

Dylan Bundy improved to 7-4 on the season with a decent outing, allowing two runs in six innings of work. He struck out four but walked four as well, and threw 94 pitches on the night.

Bundy's counterpart from D.C., A.J. Cole, was called up from Syracuse earlier in the day after Stephen Strasburg, the scheduled starter on Monday night, was placed on the disabled list with an elbow injury.

Cole was actually fairly efficient in his 2016 debut, striking out eight and walking just two over seven innings, but the long balls from Schoop and Trumbo did him in.

The Orioles made a somewhat surprising move themselves on Monday, sending light-hitting back-up catcher Caleb Joseph to Norfolk. The club had to make a move with either Joseph or Francisco Pena when Matt Wieters returned from paternity leave, and it was Joseph who drew the short straw and hit the road to Virginia.

A number of Orioles starters actually prefer to have Joseph catching for them over Wieters, but when Joseph is in the game it's essentially like being a National League team, because he can't hit a lick.

Still, Buck Showalter must know his pitcher's preferences, so going with Pena over Joseph at this point in the season is quite a gamble. Unless...Showalter knows something that we don't about either Joseph, Pena or Wieters.

On a night when the Orioles just needed to grind out a win -- of any kind -- that's precisely what they did. It was a win like they piled up back May and June, where the starting pitching was decent, a couple of guys clubbed home runs, and Brach and Britton came in to put the whole thing to rest with solid work in the 8th and 9th innings.

The Birds are 17-20 since the All-Star break. That's not good, to say the least.

But last night they got themselves back on track and a couple of more wins in this series with D.C. gets them primed for a weekend against the Yankees and then a huge home series vs. Toronto next week.

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pitta's finger injury keeps him sidelined


Dennis Pitta can't win for losing.

Trying to rebound from a second hip injury that sidelined him for all of 2015, Pitta has yet to play in one of the Ravens two pre-season games because of a finger injury suffered during a training camp scuffle with rookie Kamalei Correa.

John Harbaugh revealed yesterday that Pitta actually has a broken finger and that doctors have urged the tight end to stay away from contact while the injury heals.

"One hit to that finger and they might have to put a screw in it," Harbaugh told the media. "It's ridiculous. It's disappointing. Everyone's frustrated, including Dennis," Harbaugh continued, "but we have to be smart about it and make sure it heals properly."

Pitta can't even catch a football at this point, so there's not much he can do except stand around watch as training camp rolls on and the season draws near.

At least this absence from training camp isn't connected to his hip injury, which threatened to end his career twelve months ago.

X
While Ravens coach John Harbaugh lamented the absence of Dennis Pitta on Monday, he also announced that former first round pick Breshad Perriman is ready to begin practicing with hopes of being ready at some point early in the season.

But it also spotlights how dangerous training camp scuffles can be, even though they happen in every city, every August. The game is tough enough already without having two teammates go at it and expose one another to injury.

Speaking of injuries, the Ravens got a dose of GOOD news on Monday when Harbaugh revealed that Breshad Perriman has been removed from the PUP list and will begin practicing.

Harbaugh was careful to point out that Perriman will be brought along slowly, but the timetable is certainly in place for the speedy wide receiver to practice hard for a few weeks and be available for the September 11 home opener vs. Buffalo.

The team's first round pick in 2015, Perriman missed all of last season with a knee injury he suffered on the first day of training camp. At the time, Harbaugh noted to the media that it was "just a knock" and that the wide receiver would be "out a few days", but he never saw the field at all in his rookie season and hasn't yet practiced in the 2016 camp.

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Monday
August 22
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 22
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”houston, we might have a problem”


Remember last Monday? The whole town was buzzing over Jonathan Schoop’s 3-run home run with two outs in the top of the 9th at San Francisco on Sunday afternoon.

”A season saver!” people on the internet bellowed after that win over the Giants.

Well, here we are a week later.

There’s not much buzz around town this morning, unless you’re one of those complaining about Chris Davis’ two-run gaffe in right field on Sunday that paved the way for another Houston win and a 3-out-of-4 series triumph at Camden Yards.

X
Mark Trumbo hit his 37th home run of the season in Sunday's loss to the Astros, but he continues to struggle at the plate. His last six hits over the most recent week of play have all been homers.

The 5-3 loss on Sunday dropped the Birds to 11 games over .500 for the first time since June 22 and kept them 2.5 games behind first-place Toronto in the A.L. East.

And it won’t get any easier this week, as the O’s play the Nationals four straight nights and then head to New York for a 3-game weekend series with the still-breathing Yankees.

Sunday’s loss was aided by the aforementioned Davis blunder in right field, which the official scorekeeper graciously scored a hit instead of an error. A major league player makes that catch, or at least, should make that catch. But those scorekeepers…they just don’t want to make anyone mad in the home dugout.

Buck Showalter then made a peculiar decision in the 8th inning, going with Parker Bridwell in relief of Yovani Gallardo. If you haven’t heard of Bridwell, that’s because he was making his major league debut on Sunday. After two quick outs, he surrendered a home run to left field that staked the Astros to a 5-2 lead.

I realize the relief staff has been working overtime recently, but the Birds are still in a pennant chase and with the Blue Jays, Red Sox and Yankees all losing on Sunday, it would have been a great day to snatch a victory and pick up a game on all all of them. I’m not sure that was the spot for Bridwell to pitch, is what I’m basically saying.

Jonathan Schoop and Mark Trumbo hit home runs for the O’s on Sunday. Don’t let Trumbo’s home run total (37) fool you, he’s been struggling mightily at the plate over the last two weeks. His last six hits? All home runs. Nothing else in between.

The same can be said for Davis, who either hits a home run or strikes out three times in a row, it seems. His final at-bat of the game included perhaps the worst pitch he’s swung at all year, a ball that bounced about six inches or so in front of the plate. Whatever’s happening with him, it’s not good. But I’ve been saying that for the better part of two months now.

Still, the Orioles are well in the division and playoff race and now’s not the time to panic.

They just need to do everything just a little better.

Starting pitching hasn’t been terrible since the All-Star break, but it needs to be a tick better across the board. Wade Miley is the latest example, having been staked to a 5-1 first inning lead on Friday night but immediately giving up five runs of his own to Houston in the top of the 2nd inning.

X
Chris Tillman's typical role as "losing streak stopper" wasn't fulfilled on Saturday when he threw just two innings and allowed six earned runs in a 12-2 loss to the Astros.

Then there was Chris Tillman’s stinky showing on Saturday night. We’ll call that one an “outlier” and just assume, without hesitation, that he won’t pitch like that on Thursday night in D.C. when faces the Nationals and Max Scherzer.

The bullpen has started to show signs of wear and tear lately, but once the rosters expand to 40 players in ten days time, they’ll get a chance to spread out the workload a little bit.

The offense? Really good on Thursday and in the first inning on Friday, pretty much dreadful for the rest of the series against the Astros.

With runners in scoring position, the Orioles have been ineffective for most of the season, but their recent woes in that department have contributed to a slide that now has them in third place and involved in a fight with Seattle, Houston, Detroit and Boston for one of the A.L. wild card spots.

There were cries all over Twitter and Facebook on Sunday evening from folks declaring “the season is over”. I’m sure glad those soft-souls don’t play for the team.

The season is FAR from over. It’s not going to be a cakewalk, apparently, because the Blue Jays and Red Sox are both on green while the O’s are now, temporarily, we hope, on yellow.

But a 2.5 game deficit with 39 games left isn’t insurmountable at all. The O’s still have a home-and-away series with the Blue Jays and Red Sox. That’s good news. And they’re done with Seattle and Houston. That’s also good news, since they can’t beat either one of those teams consistently.

I’d prattle on here about how important these seven games are this week against Washington and New York, but that would be doing the recent four games vs. Houston a disservice, as they, too, were critically important.

They’re all important in late August.

And that’s why the right fielder has to catch that ball, and the team’s best offensive players have to drive in those runners from second and third, and the manager has to make the right decisions at the right times.

It’s all important now.

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from the desk of
brien jackson

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


gawker case has grave lessons for media


A major news development that passed with surprisingly little commentary last week was the demise of Gawker.com and the announced transition of various Gawker Media properties to Univision, as the latter company officially goes out of business amidst a flurry of litigation and a landmark defeat in court.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, here's the short version of the story. Gawker.com is an internet based tabloid that also owns a lot of other popular websites including Deadspin and Jezebel among others. Back in 2012, Gawker editor A.J. Daulerio published an extracted clip from a sex tape involving WWE legend Hulk Hogan and Heather Clem, the wife of Hogan's friend and radio personality "Bubba the Love Sponge." Hogan had claimed that the tape was made by the Clems without his knowledge or consent and, as a result, sued Gawker for publishing it on their site.

After a long series of legal twists, several of which were won by Gawker, Hogan ultimately prevailed in court and won a staggering jury award that totaled $140 million altogether.

Who decides when the lawsuit is "too much"?

Virtually everyone agreed that the award was far too large (among other things, the jury awarded Hogan in excess of $50 million on the grounds that the tape violated his privacy AND that by releasing the tape Gawker had infringed on his rights to market it simultaneously), but it was devastating to Gawker, who had to file bankruptcy and sell its properties to Univision.

The saga partially concluded with the shuttering of the enterprises flagship site, but you can expect the legal battle to continue playing out for at least a bit longer.

While somewhat silly and obviously lurid, Bollea vs. Gawker may well go down as a landmark case in First Amendment law and how media enterprises operate.

To state the obvious, it certainly gets your attention that a single lawsuit was essentially able to run a major media publishing brand out of business. It's extra skeevy when you factor in the involvement of PayPal founder, Facebook board member, and all around distasteful billionaire Peter Thiel. Thiel has been nursing a grudge against Gawker since a 2007 article in one of its properties outed him as gay, and he made no real secret of his desire to kill the company through litigation.

The notion that billionaires can run media outlets out of business through financing costly lawsuits against it has been called "chilling" for the first amendment by many in the wake of the case, and it's not hard to see why.

This is especially chilling in the sports media world, because the notion of a free press is already a bit of a tenuous one. That's because we're all covering private companies in a way that largely requires their cooperation to various extents, and sports leagues are free to respond to negative coverage in a way that really hurts outlets whose coverage they don't like.

The most famous example of this is the NFL forcing ESPN to cancel the highly rated and widely acclaimed show Playmakers because it didn't like its portrayal of the inner working of the league and its players.

Teams and leagues themselves are now part of the media

Locally, the Orioles certainly tried to make life hard for Drew's former place of employment because they didn't like the way they were covering the team. And with the internet giving rise to multiple outlets and social media platforms, plus the leagues getting deeper and deeper into owning and operating their own media ventures, it's easy as pie for leagues, team officials, and even players to freeze out companies and writers they don't like without suffering any real harm if they so choose.

Even with television rights in play, the networks largely need the leagues (especially the NFL) more than the leagues need (any one of) them. The idea that a court has green lighted and billionaire executive and millionaire celebrity running a major media publisher out of operation is understandably chilling to a bunch of writers and journalists, especially as the number of paid writing jobs continues to dwindle and the cost of writing or saying something that offends the wrong people increases.

All of that said, it's important to not lose sight of the fact that Gawker's actions in this case really were deplorable and, size of the judgment aside, they really did deserve to lose their court battle with Hogan.

There are two big problems with Gawker's position. The first is that publishing clips of the video itself served no direct newsworthy purpose, a fact that Dalueiro ultimately conceded in his deposition. Simply put, Gawker could have easily reported on the existence of the tape and any newsworthy details of the tape without actually publishing clips of the video, just as many other newsmedia outlets did, without sacrificing any critical news value.

The only purpose of publishing the actual video clips themselves is pure titillation and a desire to drive web traffic as a result, and Dalueiro didn't exactly help Gawker's claims to editorial judgment when, asked if there are any cases in which he wouldn't consider a celebrity sex tape newsworthy enough to require publishing, the best exception he could come up with was in a case in which the celebrity was under four years old. He was being flippant, obviously, but the mere act of responding so dismissively and offensively to a question that gets right to the crux of where the line between a free press and individual rights to privacy falls did not foster the impression that Gawker was approaching that question in a serious, cautious, manner.

Secondly, and maybe most crucially, Hogan's consent to even having the tape made is disputed at best. At the very least, no compelling evidence has emerged to contradict Hogan's claims that he didn't know he was being recorded and never consented to being videotaped in these acts. The fact that he's a celebrity certainly shouldn't trump his rights to even the most basic forms of privacy rights.

Was Gawker's behavior criminal, perhaps?

In fact, I'd go so far as to argue that making a sex tape of a person without their knowledge or consent is an outright form of sexual assault, and a media outlet broadcasting the tape to the world only furthers the violation. If the celebrity in question wasn't a middle aged male who was once a universal symbol of machismo but, rather, a 16 year old female star of whatever the hit Disney Channel show de juor is, I think you'd see a A LOT more discomfort with the idea that simply being a media/news company gives you the right to publish the material with legal impunity.

This was rather obviously the attitude that Dalueiro and Gawker CEO Nick Denton exhibited during the litigation process, and it's every bit as concerning as whatever first amendment issues arose in the case.

Ultimately, it will take years to see what effect this case will have on the judicial system, and how it will be applied as precedent. In the near term, the fact that the contours of the case were so difficult and that there were distasteful actors on both sides makes it difficult to really identify who the "good guys" were.

But however else the ramifications of Bollea vs. Gawker play out, let me predict this: In the next two to three years it's going to greatly embolden the various professional sports leagues to become even more agressive in going after hostile media outlets, and that may even include suing them with the goal of financially ruining them, or at least wielding the possibility of such to stamp out critical and unfriendly coverage.

Whether it's local news coverage of shady stadium financing arrangements, outlets critical of ownership or front office decisions, or what have you the combination of disparate resources to wage litigation with (and the benefits that could accrue from winning to boot) as well as the potential to use the case to mount a newly compelling legal argument, a worrying new fault line has been opened up between major sports leagues and the media that covers them.

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This one might be fun.

One of our newest features at #DMD that we hope to have up and running here sometime soon is a Daily Poll that will allow you to post your answer(s) and see how it compares to others who reply as well.

This topic, Baltimore’s Sports Mount Rushmore, would be perfect for that daily poll.

X
Baltimore's Mount Rushmore might include a baseball player, basketball player, football player AND swimmer. Who are your four selections for Baltimore's honor?

But wait, let me explain what I mean by Baltimore’s Sports Mount Rushmore. We’re not talking about those who PLAYED in Baltimore. We’re talking about those who grew up here. And by “here”, we’ll include someone who attended high school in the general Baltimore metro area.

For those who are going to ask…yes, Cal Ripken Jr. constitutes a “Baltimore guy” even though he was from Harford County. He’s from “around here”.

This is truly about identifying the four athletes from Baltimore who would make up our mythical “Mount Rushmore” here in Charm City.

So, who are your four? Male, female, young, old…who are the four athletes on Baltimore’s Sports Mount Rushmore?

I’ll give you mine starting on Tuesday. I intended to give you my four today, but then the Orioles bottomed out against the Astros and Brien contributed that awesome Gawker media piece, so I'll be back tomorrow with my four "Mount Rushmore" picks.

In the meantime, let’s see your four via the “Comments” section below.


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


I f you missed out back in the winter when we first offered our September 9th trip to see Adele in concert in Philadelphia, I have 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, please go here.

Primary Residential banner
Sunday
August 21
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 21
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


tillman’s shoulder bigger concern
than o’s bats


If something’s wrong with Chris Tillman, the Orioles are in trouble.

Tillman was wildly ineffective last night against the Astros, walking five guys in two innings of work and allowing six earned runs. He was supposed to start on Tuesday night against the Red Sox but was pushed back to Saturday vs. Houston because of shoulder soreness.

X
The Orioles were hoping for Chris Tillman to continue his masterful season as the team's "stopper" last night vs. Houston, but it didn't happen, as he walked five and allowed six earned runs in just two innings of work.

There was no word afterwards if Tillman experienced any kind of discomfort or if last night’s poor performance was just one of those nights. If his shoulder is still bothering him, that’s a dangerous issue for the Orioles to inherit as September draws near.

It probably shouldn’t be a big deal to lose 12-2 to Houston, unless you also lost to them the night before, 15-8.

Baltimore’s offense wasn’t good last night, but the pitching couldn’t do anything worth a hoot in the first three innings, either. It was 6-0 before you finished your first beer.

That’s now 27 runs allowed in the last two games.

The bats got off to a good start in the Astros series, with a win on Thursday and a first-inning eruption on Friday that saw the Birds hit four home runs.

But, ever since that first-inning home-run episode on Friday night, the Orioles offense has pretty much gone on walk-about. They scored five times in the first inning on Friday and have scored just five times in the 17 innings since then.

The Orioles need a healthy Chris Tillman in order to keep pace with Toronto and Boston.

They also need Dylan Bundy to pitch above his head a little bit over the last five or six starts he makes this season.

And it would help if Yovani Gallardo would put together a month’s worth of good starts instead of that “good one, bad one, bad one” routine he seems to be buried in this season.

Tillman’s health is critical, though. He’s been nearly an automatic win this season and the Orioles offense seems to respond to him as well. Saturday notwithstanding, that is.

Sunday’s series finale with the Astros now takes on a little bit of added importance, as the Birds try to at least keep pace with what Toronto and Boston have been doing recently . . . winning.

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This one might be fun.

One of our newest features at #DMD that we hope to have up and running here sometime soon is a Daily Poll that will allow you to post your answer(s) and see how it compares to others who reply as well.

This topic, Baltimore’s Sports Mount Rushmore, would be perfect for that daily poll.

X
Baltimore's Mount Rushmore might include a baseball player, basketball player, football player AND swimmer. Who are your four selections for Baltimore's honor?

But wait, let me explain what I mean by Baltimore’s Sports Mount Rushmore. We’re not talking about those who PLAYED in Baltimore. We’re talking about those who grew up here. And by “here”, we’ll include someone who attended high school in the general Baltimore metro area.

For those who are going to ask…yes, Cal Ripken Jr. constitutes a “Baltimore guy” even though he was from Harford County. He’s from “around here”.

This is truly about identifying the four athletes from Baltimore who would make up our mythical “Mount Rushmore” here in Charm City.

So, who are your four? Male, female, young, old…who are the four athletes on Baltimore’s Sports Mount Rushmore?

I’ll give you mine starting on Monday.

In the meantime, let’s see your four via the “Comments” section below.

KELLY banner ad

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


I f you missed out back in the winter when we first offered our September 9th trip to see Adele in concert in Philadelphia, I have 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, please go here.

Primary Residential banner
Saturday
August 20
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 20
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


thanks, sally!
you said it better
than all of us


T here are times when I see a story and say to myself, “I can’t wait to sit down and write about that.”

The Ryan Lochte “robbery story” out of Rio was just that story.

How improbable was it—but not all that hard to believe—that a group of American swimmers were victims of a robbery in Rio after they left from an after-hours party hosted by the French Olympic Federation? Every U.S. athlete had been given ample warning that they were potential targets for robbers, thieves and pick-pockets while in Brazil.

And, as fate would have it, they were victimized.

Except, ummm, they actually WEREN’T victimized after all.

Lochte, from the cozy confines of someplace hidden in the U.S. apologized yesterday for his “role” in the now-wide-open story that actually wasn’t a story. It turns out that the American swimmers weren’t robbed. But they did vandalize a bathroom at a gas station, if that matters.

As it turns out, the story has blown up in Brazil and two of the four swimmers were pulled out of the airport minutes before departing for the U.S., to be detained and questioned by authorities in Rio.

And now, I tell ya, I’m ready to write.

Ready to write about how much of an entitled brat Ryan Lochte been for years now, only confirmed—completely—by this incident in Rio that he engineered.

Ready to write about how the American athletes who DID go to Rio and who behaved like sane, normal people should be the ones we brag about and put on a pedestal.

And ready to write about the real apology Lochte and the others owe the people they offended most with this silly charade—the people of Rio de Janeiro and Brazil, plus the thousands of folks who worked to put the Olympics together and did their best to guarantee the safety of all the athletes competing there.

But . . . I don’t have to write anything.

X
Now in her second stint with The Washington Post, Jenkins penned a remarkable piece about the idiotic behavior of Ryan Lochte at the Rio Olympics.

Because no matter what I write, nothing could come close to the tomahawk Sally Jenkins of The Washington Post crashed through Lochte’s spoiled brain in Thursday’s edition.

Jenkins hit a grand slam.

Everything or anything that we’ve thought about Lochte, she figured it out, too. And wrote it.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read something THIS perfect. This spot-on. This poignant:

The Washington Post
Sally Jenkins, Columnist

Nothing I could write could top the work of Jenkins.

It’s like shooting 70, coming in, and hearing the guy you needed to beat shot 65. You left a few out there, but not five of them. Hats off . . . .

Jenkins shot 65 on Thursday with her piece on Lochte.

So rather than sit here and bore you with three minutes of what I think, I’ll just say this: Whatever Sally wrote, I agree with!

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who needs to shine tonight
for the ravens?


I t’s probably too early for a “season-defining” moment for anyone on the Ravens pre-season roster.

Those who are going to get the heave-ho as part of the early cuts have probably already been agreed upon by the Ravens coaching staff.

Those in a fight for the last few roster spots available likely won’t get cut after tonight, no matter what they do against the Colts.

This evening’s game in Indianapolis will, though, give a couple of players on the outer edge a chance to squeeze their way into “bubble status”, if nothing else.

Jeremy Butler has been hanging around Owings Mills for a few years now, but the wide receiver can’t ever do enough to latch on and make some sort of meaningful impact.

He’s always been one of the last cuts made, never making it from pre-season to regular season with the club despite a couple of promising camps.

He gets that chance to impress again tonight.

One issue involving Butler isn’t really connected to him at all. If the season started today, Butler would probably lose out to Chris Moore and Breshad Perriman.

Perriman, of course, remains the Ravens’ mystery man. You’ve played as many snaps as he has since being the team’s first round draft pick in 2015.

If Perriman is somehow not ready for the season opener, that could pave the way for Butler to make the roster on September 11. But he needs to perform well when given these opportunities in pre-season.

One thing working in Butler’s favor is the recent emergence of Kamar Aiken, who also battled drops and bad rout running in his initial foray into the NFL.

Aiken blossomed last year and was particularly impressive once Steve Smith Sr. went down at mid-season and someone, anyone had to take over the prime spot in the receiving corps. Aiken did that and more.

So, in the back of John Harbaugh’s mind, he might see a little of Kamar Aiken in Jeremy Butler. Or, at the very least, he knows the situation is similar with Butler, and a team can never have enough emerging receivers who just need a break or two to make their impact.

X
After an outstanding college career at Navy, Keenan Reynolds is trying to land a job with the Ravens, but he's no now trying his hand at wide receiver in addition to returning kicks and punts.

Former Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds is trying to make it with the Ravens as a wide receiver/kick returner, but that doesn’t look very promising at this point. The wide-receiver portion of that equation is almost a definite no. He just doesn’t have the size or the pass-catching acumen to stick with a team that’s relatively deep at that position.

But there’s always a need for a game-breaking kick returner, and if Reynolds could fill that role, he’d have a job in the league this season. But he hasn’t showed the ability to hit the hole on kick returns and a couple of fumbles in training camp haven’t helped the coaching staff’s confidence level in him.

Michael Campanaro will likely serve as the team’s kick returner at the start of the season, but that will last only until the diminutive receiver from Wake Forest goes on the disabled list, which seems almost inevitable, unfortunately.

If Reynolds could be trusted to returns kicks and, possibly, punts, it could be Campanaro in trouble—roster-wise—but that’s just not going to happen based on what we’ve seen for the last three weeks.

Still, that’s why they play these pre-season games. As bland and benign as we consider them, a handful of players are playing for their careers, literally, and every opportunity they get needs to be turned into a productive piece of evidence that showcases their talents to the coaches.

Reynolds would be a nice story, obviously. He was sensational at Navy, but everyone in the NFL knew his future wasn’t at quarterback. The Ravens—and particularly John Harbaugh—have a fondness for players like Reynolds, who has more heart than skill at this level.

If I had to make a friendly wager, I’d bet Reynolds sticks with the team, in some fashion. Harbaugh wouldn’t keep a player just because he went to a military school, but it works in Reynolds’ favor that he’s a terrific young man and a decent enough player . . . oh, and he also happened to attend the Naval Academy.

Unless something happens to Campanaro in the next three pre-season games, my guess is Reynolds winds up—borrowing a trick from the Orioles—on the injured-reserve list with some sort of weird “knock” towards the end of training camp.

The benefit for Reynolds is he gets some money for being a pro football player in 2016 and the Ravens benefit by not exposing him to other teams via the practice squad.

With some more seasoning and a year in the weight room, who knows where Keenan Reynolds might eventually fit in with the Ravens?

KELLY banner ad

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


I f you missed out back in the winter when we first offered our September 9th trip to see Adele in concert in Philadelphia, I have 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, please go here.



Friday
August 19
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 19
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


my favorite charley eckman story


I'm not sure why the mood struck me to offer this to you today.

During a melancholy moment recently—we all have those, don’t we?—I got to thinking about my days in the soccer business. My thoughts drifted back to times of traveling around the country with the great Charles Markwood Eckman.

If you’re too young to remember Charley’s impact on the local sports-broadcasting scene, all I can say is, “You've no idea what you missed.”

Eckman was a legendary sports-personality in Baltimore. I was privileged to travel with him when I worked for the Blast and Spirit indoor-soccer teams. Charley traveled with us off and on from 1981 through 1992, serving as both radio and TV color-commentator for both franchises.

I could give you a story a day—for a month, honestly—but the Orioles are in a pennant race and the Ravens are four weeks from playing for real.

So I’m picking my favorite Charley story and sharing it with you today.

It was the 1983-84 season. The Blast were playing in Phoenix on a Friday night. I think we might have played in Los Angeles earlier in the week. I remember the team playing a game on a Tuesday—somewhere—and then we traveled to Phoenix on Wednesday for a little R&R before the game on Friday night.

On that Thursday morning, three of us, team coach Kenny Cooper, his player/assistant Dan Counce, and I, were headed out for a day in The Valley of The Sun. Eckman met us at breakfast and said, “It’s too hot out there for me. I’m going to stay here, have a drink or two, and I’ll see you guys when you get back.”

We told Charley we’d return around 5:00 p.m. and that we’d have dinner at 6:00. We agreed to meet him in the bar just before 6:00 p.m.

For reasons I don’t remember, we were late getting back to the hotel. We called the front desk and had them page Charley. He answered the phone, said that he was hungry, and that he didn’t want to wait for us.

And now, the story begins.

Eckman ventured into the restaurant of the Phoenix Hyatt and got himself a table for one.

Five minutes after Charley sat down, a middle-aged guy came in, alone, and sat at the table next to him.

The waitress came to take Charley’s drink order. “Give me a Scotch, whatever you've got that’s not gonna make me go broke,” he likely said.

She brought Eckman a Scotch, then went over to the other man who had sat down at the table next to Charley's. He ordered a drink for himself and told the waitress to get Eckman another drink.

When she came back, she served Charley his complimentary cocktail and told him it was from the guy at the next table. Five minutes later, the man was sitting with Eckman.

”I’m just happy to have someone to share a few laughs with,” the visitor send to Charley. When the waitress came for their next drink order, the man, a rug salesman said, “Put this all on my check. I’ll take care of dinner.”

That was music to Eckman’s ears. He loved a free meal.

The two enjoyed a laugh-a-minute dinner, with Charley relating stories of coaching and refereeing in the NBA and his new friend telling him about traveling around the country selling Persian rugs and his encounters with women in every city who were interested in welcoming a visitor in their own special ways.

Eckman, a connoisseur of good stories, especially if they involved women, told his own war tales through appetizers, entrées, desert, and after-dinner drinks.

When the waitress came over to present the check, she said, “Can I get you guys anything else?

Sensing he had a new friend and a wealthy one at that, Eckman quickly ordered another Scotch.

”Just add that to the bill,” Charley’s new friend said.

As they sat there, solving the world’s problems, the rug salesman said to Eckman, “I’m gonna pay the check now. What do you say we go in for a nightcap and see if there are any pretty girls in the place?”

Eckman agreed, and made his way to the bar.

Fifteen minutes later, the waitress from their table appeared at Eckman’s side and said, “Are you guys going to take care of the bill?”

“My buddy’s taking care of it,” Charley said, pointing back to the restaurant.

”He’s gone,” the waitress explained. “There’s no one in the restaurant. We checked the bathrooms, too. He’s not there. There’s no one there.”

Charley’s heart sunk. He had been had. The check sat on the table, still, as Eckman walked back to the bathroom to see for himself if his new friend, had, indeed, walked out.

Eckman wound up paying $150 for dinner (1983 prices, remember) and getting the wool pulled over his eyes in a way that made him sound almost proud when he related the story to us when we got back to the hotel.

”This guy was perfect,” Charley said. “He got me hook, line, and sinker. I never thought he was scamming me. Not once. What a performance!”


----------
Charles Markwood "Charley" Eckman
Sep. 10, 1921 — July 3, 1995
----------

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this weekend in
english soccer


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


matchday 2 preview


Matchday 2 of the English Premier League will get under way a little earlier than usual this weekend when, following the lead of other domestic leagues in Europe and the National Football League’s attempts to maximize revenue by making sure there is a game played on almost every day of the week, the first of twelve Friday kickoffs spread throughout the year gets the weekend action underway.

Tune in early and often throughout the weekend and, as usual, catch every game live on the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Friday, August 19 (all times eastern)

3pm – Southampton @ Manchester United – Old Trafford, NBC Sports Network

The Jose Mourinho era at Manchester United got off to a flying start on the opening weekend, with the Red Devils easing to a comfortable 3-1 victory away at Bournemouth.  Mourinho will take his place in the home dugout at Old Trafford for the first time when they welcome Southampton to the historic footballing ground, with the Saints entering the weekend matchup up on the backs of a 1-1 draw with Watford, thanks to summer signing Nathan Redmond’s second half equalizer to give the Saints and manager Claude Puel a share of the spoils in his first game in charge of the south coast club.

X
Paul Pogba returns for Manchester United four years after he left them as a free agent, with United hosting Southampton this Friday.

While Mourino’s first home match would likely be enough to garner all of the headlines, he will not mind being trumped by the likelihood that we will see the first appearance of Paul Pogba following his world record $115 million transfer last week, with the Frenchman set to make his United return after leaving four years ago on a free transfer.  They are likely to have their work cut out for them against a Southampton side who, after failing to beat United in their previous sixteen meetings (L14 D2), have not lost at Old Trafford since 2013, taking all three points in two of their last three visits.

Saturday, August 20 (all times eastern)

7:30am – Manchester City @ Stoke City – bet365 Stadium, NBC Sports Network

Manchester City were much less convincing than their cross town rivals in their opening fixture, but a late own goal from Paddy McNair, who somewhat ironically had joined Sunderland just days before from United, made it six consecutive victories for City on the opening day of the season to ensure that Pep Guardiola’s long awaited debut in England ended on a positive note.  They will travel to the bet365 Stadium on Saturday to take on Stoke City, who shared the points with newly promoted Middlesbrough when Xherdan Shaqiri’s free kick overturned a first half deficit.

The draw kept Stoke winless on the seasons opening day since 2007, but manager Mark Hughes will be happy with the away point ahead of their early season showdown against the club that controversially gave him the boot in 2009 despite laying the groundwork for their European renaissance.   City have failed to take points from Stoke in just three of their last sixteen meetings since the Potters returned to the Premier League back in 2008 (W8 D5 L3), but have managed only one win in their last eight trips to the grounds now formerly known as the Britannia Stadium (L2 D5).

12:30pm – Arsenal @ Leicester City – King Power Stadium, NBC

Leicester City may have shocked the world with their improbable run to the title last season, but they were delivered a shock of their own on the opening weekend when they lost to the newly promoted and manger-less Hull City, their first loss in the League since February of last season and the first defending champion to ever lose on the opening day of the season.  They will welcome Arsenal to the King Power Stadium for Saturday’s primetime matchup with the Gunners still licking their wounds following a 4-3 defeat at home to Liverpool that has only increased the growing pressure on manager Arsene Wenger.

Already beset by injuries and with a lack of definitive action in the summer transfer market to adequately address their deficiencies up front and at the back, Wenger cannot afford to start the season with consecutive defeats.  Despite the tough matchup he will like his chances to avoid that fate, with a trio of returning stars in Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud, and Laurent Koscienly set to return for the early season crunch meeting, and the Gunners unbeaten in their last nineteen encounters with Leicester (W13 D6), including handing the Foxes two of the three defeats they suffered the whole of last season.

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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, D.C. 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


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


OK, friends, I need your help.

X

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.

X
Best Buddies logo

To learn more about Best Buddies Maryland and what they do for our community, please visit their website.

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!


Thursday
August 18
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 18
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


survey shows orioles' attendance woes
mostly connected to safety


Earlier this summer, the Orioles commissioned a local company to conduct a survey of fans and ticket holders, and those who no longer attend games, to learn more about attendance habits in the wake of a disappointing season at the gate for Baltimore’s major-league team.

#DMD was provided the results of the survey, which was conducted after season-ticket sales and regular-season sales were lower than expected in the wake of four competitive campaigns in succession and the January signing of Chris Davis.

X
It's not quite this bad any more, but the Orioles have been so concerned about their 2016 crowds that they commissioned a survey to learn more about their fans' attendance habits.

The Orioles currently rank 10th of 15 teams in American League attendance, nearly 2,500 per-game below their 2015 average.

This week, the Birds drew 53,000 to a pair of home games with the Red Sox, and reports from those in attendance on Tuesday night indicated there were fewer bodies in seats than the announced attendance of 26,000.

The company that completed the survey asked a variety of questions of those polled: Number of games attended in previous years, number attended this year, reasons for attending or not attending, how many home games watched on television, and general questions about lifestyle and sports-spending habits.

The company pinpointed a handful of reasons why fewer people are attending games this season than in previous years.

Lingering discontent — A significant percentage of those polled admitted to having a general lack of interest in the team, a result of the club’s decade of losing that ended in 2012 when the Orioles captured the A.L. East title.

Overall cost of attendance — Those polled cited the overall per-game cost, including prices of tickets, parking, food, drinks and souvenirs.

Television access — With all home (and away) games televised on the team’s regional sports network (MASN), those polled indicated they are attending fewer games due to the convenience of the team’s broadcast package.

Off-season ticket delay — During the protracted period when the club was negotiating contract terms with free-agent Chris Davis last winter, the front office was mandated by ownership not to establish or distribute season-ticket or group-sales information. With Davis not signed until January 19, the team wasn’t able to set its pricing for 2016 until roughly ten weeks prior to the start of the season.

Of particular concern were the price increase that occurred after the Davis signing and the fact that the club’s sales department wasn’t able to make progress selling group tickets for individual games until the season-ticket and mini-plan sales efforts were completed in late March.

But the number-one concern of those polled was deemed “individual safety”, and a significant percentage of those who offered replies indicated they were attending fewer games based solely on this concern.

So what does all this mean?

For starters, none of the information comes as a surprise. A ballgame is, after all, an expensive event to attend when you factor in a ticket ($20), parking ($10), beer/soda ($8), food ($10), etc.

All the games ARE on TV. That’s a fact. And if you get home after a long day at work and a buddy checks in at 5:15 pm and asks you to go to the ballpark, knowing that the game is televised on MASN makes it easy to say “no thanks” to your friend.

I don’t know how much stock I put in the “lingering discontent” angle, but that’s what the survey says, so I’ll make comment on it. I know a number of people, personally, who haven’t been to a baseball game in Baltimore in over a decade. They follow the team from afar, watch a game here and there, but have vowed not to go a game until the team’s ownership changes. In 2000, they were rabid fans with season tickets and mini-plans. Now, they don’t go to the games at all.

The safety issue was what the Orioles believed the survey would indicate. They turned out to be right. Some people associated with the team believe the club’s late start in selling tickets for the 2016 campaign is the biggest factor, but individual safety was the one mentioned most often in the survey.

As someone who walks from Lot G to the stadium when attending games on my 13-game plan, I have a heightened sense of awareness of my surroundings and who is in my general vicinity. I try to walk along with a large or expanded group of people if it’s at all possible.

But am I “scared” to go to a game at Camden Yards? Absolutely not. Am I on alert when I’m downtown? You bet.

The Orioles expected their average attendance this season to eclipse the 2014 average of 30,426, but it’s likely they’ll come up about 3,000 per-game shy of that total when all the dust settles in late September.

At an average ticket-price of $17, that’s $51,000 per-game short of their expected goal, or about $4 million in lost revenue over what they anticipated in 2016.

And, with fewer people buying tickets, that’s fewer parking spots sold, decreased beer and food sales, and fewer hats and shirts sold.

There are some involved in city government who are anticipating the Orioles asking the city and state for some sort of relief on tax monies owed based on the results of the survey and factors they’ll deem “out of their control”.

”This wasn’t a panic move by the Orioles,” said a city official who requested anonymity. “They have some legitimate concerns about their attendance, particularly in light of the fact they’ve been good on the field over the last few years and this year’s team is as exciting as any in the American League.”

A long-time associate of the team cited the delay in distributing ticket information as the biggest reason for this year’s drop in attendance. “They didn’t send out information until late January. The season starts in April. They cost themselves a month and a half by waiting that long. Lots of people would buy mini-plans as Christmas gifts, but they couldn’t do that this year.”

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from the desk of
brien jackson

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


hey, look:
the ncaa is still a sham.


The college football season is just around the corner, but lately the biggest players in the game, namely Nick Saban and the SEC, have been in the news for the wrong reasons.

If you haven't been following the saga of Maurice Smith, here's the quick summary: The Alabama defensive back wanted to transfer to Georgia as a graduate student, following former Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, who's entering his first year as head coach of the Bulldogs.

NCAA rules generally permit graduate-student transfers without the sacrifice a year of eligibility (Smith only has one year remaining), but SEC rules prohibit transferring within the conference without sitting out a year unless a waiver is granted.

X
Did Nick Saban's fear of Georgia in 2016 cause him to deny an Alabama transfer's opportunity to play for the Bulldogs?

Simple enough, except that Saban refused to grant Smith a release to transfer to Georgia. That isn't the be-all and end-all of it, as final authority rests with the conference president. But it was certainly a complicating factor that the team was fighting the transfer, and the fact that the SEC drug its feet on the matter until Saban finally relented—amidst a flurry of bad press—strongly suggests that the SEC wasn't going to rule in Smith's favor had Saban maintained his objection.

The whole fracas was outrageous, and goes as far as anything in recent memory in exposing what a crock the NCAA's "student-athlete" garbage really is.

Now to be fair, let's stipulate the (mostly) obvious: Smith almost certainly isn't transferring for academic reasons. He wants to take advantage of a window to change schools to stick with a coach he knows and with whom he is comfortable. The quality of graduate programs that the University of Georgia offers doesn't make a whiff of difference to him.

But . . . so what?!

None of that changes the fact that Smith has graduated from Alabama (in three years, no less) nor provides any compelling reason why he shouldn't be allowed to attend the graduate school of his choice, for whatever reasons, just like any other student.

Furthermore, rules aren't just about responding to individual cases. What if the next time this happens, it isn't a guy who's going to start for a National Championship contender, but a backup or special-teams player who really does want to further his education in another university's graduate program while still retaining his eligibility to play football?

Now let's be equally honest and stipulate that Nick Saban is full of crap.

He has no reason to refuse Smith's release.

He's not "sticking up for the rules" as he claims, because the rule itself is explicitly not ironclad and overtly allows for exceptions to be made.

It's completely within the bounds of "the rules" for Saban to give Smith his release and state plainly that he thinks the case warrants a waiver, if he so chooses. No, Nick Saban is doing this for the only reason Saban does anything: To win football games and compete for championships.

Georgia is a threat to Alabama in the SEC Championship game and the BCS football playoffs, and Saban is trying to do what he can to prevent them from getting better (coaches also have a weird hangup about letting players leave to play for one of their old coaches).

All of this would be defensible if Saban and Alabama dropped the facade that big-time college athletics has anything to do with higher education, and admitted the obvious:

Nick Saban is paid to win football games, not to be a teacher or mentor or to "mold young men."

If he accomplishes any of those things, it's fortuitously incidental.

Let's not pretend this has anything to do with academics. Preventing graduates from selecting where they will pursue post-secondary studies serves NO academic purpose.

The only purpose it serves in fact is the same purpose that the NCAA's various other draconian rules serve: to minimize the agency of players, even in cases where further education is the ultimate goal, while maximizing the power that coaches—and school and league administrators—have over them. ("Draconian" is not an unfair characterization. The scope of the NCAA's definition of "amateurism" is FAR more restrictive than any other amateur league in the world.)

That in itself is bad enough, but to add to it by insulting our intelligence by insisting that Nick Saban and NCAA and SEC officials—who are getting fat off television-rights contracts—are only doing the things they do because they care about academics is downright obscene.

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.

X

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.

X
Best Buddies logo

To learn more about Best Buddies Maryland and what they do for our community, please visit their website.

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, D.C. 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

Wednesday
August 17
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 17
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


comeback foiled, orioles lose
tough one to betts


Rick Dempsey thinks he has it all figured out.

In last night's post-game show on MASN, Dempsey said, "You have to stop pitching to Mookie Betts. It's that simple."

I'm not ready to go that far, but it's probably an idea Buck Showlater should at least consider after Betts homered twice last night to give the Red Sox a 5-3 win over the Orioles in the first of a two-game series at Camden Yards.

Betts has enjoyed an almost surreal season against the Orioles in 2016. Last night's outburst gives him 12 HR and 18 RBI in 11 games vs. Baltimore this season.

Want some perspective? Matt Wieters has 10 home runs. In 88 games. So, there's that...

X
Mookie Betts now has 28 home runs this season and 7 of them have come in Camden Yards.

Betts homered off of Yovani Gallardo in the 5th inning, then belted a 2-run dinger off of Brad Brach in the 8th. The Birds had to pitch to Betts in the 5th. There were runners on 1st and 2nd in a scoreless game.

But, in the 8th? With David Ortiz at first base? Maybe putting Betts on via intentional walk would have been the more prudent move.

The loss spoiled an insipiring comeback from the Orioles, who were no-hit through six innings but then not only broke that up in the 7th, but clicked for three runs via a bunch of walks and a 2 RBI single from Matt Wieters.

All was looking promising until Ortiz led off the 8th with a single and Betts clobbered his 7th home run of the season in Camden Yards moments later.

Gallardo battled through his five innings of work, but it was once again the free pass that got him in trouble. He walked five more batters to push his season total to 46 in 16 starts, and allowed three earned runs to push is ERA to 5.18 on the season. Those are hardly numbers the Orioles thought they'd be getting back in March when they inked him to a 2-year deal. But he's still better than Ubaldo Jimenez.

A not-so-great crowd of just over 26,000 saw the action on Tuesday, and a large number of those in attendance were Boston supporters. The crowds continue to be concerning as the Birds officially enter "the pennant race", but the club expects huge numbers at the turnstiles this weekend when the Astros are in town.

Chris Davis went 0-for-2 on Tuesday night with two more strikeouts, but he did walk twice, which is now becoming the only way you can expect him to get on base during a game.

Adam Jones (0-3), Mark Trumbo (0-3) and Jonathan Schoop (0-4) also went hitless on Tuedsay evening.

The Orioles are now tied for second with the Red Sox and both teams trail Toronto by a full game in the American League East. The Blue Jays came back from an early 6-0 hole in New York on Tuesday to win 12-6.

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captain davis love iii facing important ryder cup calls


One of the best things about golf's Ryder Cup is the new player selection format that has been adopted this year by the PGA of America.

For the first time in, well, forever, the Captain will actually get to choose a player right before the competition begins, giving him the opportunity to select "the hot stick" instead of making his captain's picks in mid-August and then waiting around six weeks to see which of the guys on the team actually plays worth a hoot in the competition against Europe.

Davis Love III is back for his second go of it as a Captain. He led the team four years ago when they collapsed on the final day at Medinah and squandered a 9-7 lead en route to a 14.5-13.5 defeat.

The powers-that-be gave Love another captaincy and tweaked the add-on process at the same time, as Love gets to make three selections on Sunday, September 11, immediately following the BMW Championship, which is part of The FedEx Cup. He then makes his final captain's pick two weeks later, on Sunday, September 25. The Ryder Cup takes place the following weekend at Hazeltine CC in Chaska, MN.

The United States used to chew bubblegum and kick ass in the Ryder Cup, all the way up until 1995 when Europe went on a run that has seen them lose just two times since then. That's not a misprint, by the way. Europe won in '95, '97, '02 (the '01 edition was postponed due to the 9/11 attacks), '04, '06, '10, '12 and '14. That's 8 of the last 10 for Europe.

This year, though, should be different for the United States, as a core of young players appear poised to battle and beat the best Europe has to offer. But the four players Captain Love chooses could be what makes -- or breaks -- the American team.

Here's a look at the top eight currently, and a quick comment on their chances for making the team. Those following the top eight are on the outside looking in, but Love III will most likely choose from the list you'll see below.

1. Dustin Johnson -- Status: Lock to make the team. The only question is whether or not the Ryder Cup really, really means anything to him. We'll find out.

2. Jordan Spieth -- Status: Lock to make the team. Putting usually dominates the Ryder Cup, which fits Spieth's arsenal perfectly.

X
It looked like Phil Mickelson might have to be a Captain's pick, but his play at the British Open solidified his spot on this year's U.S. Ryder Cup team.

3. Phil Mickelson -- Status: Lock to make the team. His summer play lifted him from the bubble to automatic. Play has been spotty over the years in the Ryder Cup, but you want him on the team.

4. Jimmy Walker -- Status: Lock to make the team. Don't be surprised if he grinds his way to some valuable points. When he's on, like he was at the PGA, he's as good as anyone.

5. Brooks Koepka -- Status: Likely to make the team. Just needs a decent finish in one of the early FedEx Cup events to lock up his spot. Bombs it off the tee but his short game will be under the microscope if he makes it.

6. Zach Johnson -- Status: Likely to make the team. In the same boat as Koepka. He's likely "in", but needs a top 20 finish to secure his spot. Loves the Ryder Cup. If he somehow falls out of the top 8, he'll be a Captain's pick for sure.

7. J.B. Holmes -- Status: Probable to make the team. Has quietly had a very solid season and should make the team on points as long as he doesn't fizzle in the FedEx Cup and bow out early.

8. Patrick Reed -- Status: Might make the team. Could be the odd guy out if someone just below him in the standings sneaks in, but Love III will almost certainly pick him if he falls outside of the top eight. He's the guy most likely to get in a fist fight with one of the European players.

------on the bubble-------

9. Brandt Snedeker -- Status: Breathing down Reed's neck. When his putter is "on", he's as good as anyone in the game with the flat stick. Erratic off the tee could hurt him in the alternate shot format at Ryder Cup, but don't be shocked if Love III takes him.

X
While he still might make the U.S. team via the points standings, Bubba Watson is a virtual shoo-in to be a Captain's pick.

10. Bubba Watson -- Status: Will be a Captain's pick. Unless he blows up in the FedEx Cup and goes home early, Watson's going to play at Hazeltine. Too long off the tee to keep home, and beneath that goofy, country boy attitude is a guy who wants to play for his country and beat Europe like a drum.

11. Matt Kuchar -- Status: Will get strong consideration. Helped himself big time with a bronze medal performance in the Olympics and the fact he and Love III live in the same town in Georgia certainly won't hurt him. If the 1-8 rankings as they are today stay that way, he'll be one of the four add-ons.

12. Rickie Fowler -- Status: Needs to step up and win an event. Hasn't played well enough over the last 4-6 months to warrant a selection by Love III, so he'll need to get in by winning an event or two in the FedEx Cup and sneaking through on points.

13. Scott Piercy -- Status: Needs a miracle. Had a nice run at the U.S. Open and was red-hot for a few weeks in June and July, but his pedigree isn't that of a Ryder Cupper. Will need some major help to get in, since it's highly unlikely Love III would select him.

X
Bill Haas is a birdie-making machine when his putter cooperates, plus his father and Captain Davis Love III have a long history together. Could that work in Haas' favor when the Captain's picks are made next month?

14. Bill Haas -- Status: Wouldn't be a bad selection at all. Was the man of the hour in the President's Cup last winter, winning the final match to secure the victory for the U.S., and has the kind of nerve and approach to the game that makes him valuable in the Ryder Cup. Putter might be too hot and cold, but there would be worse choices.

15. Daniel Berger -- Status: Needs to do something special. One of the hottest American players over the last few weeks, a win in one of the early FedEx Cup events might get him enough points to make it, or, at the very least, would probably force Love III to take him. Might not be ready for the heat of the Ryder Cup, but you have to start somewhere.

16. William McGirt -- Status: Needs a win badly. Much like Berger, he probably needs a win and a high finish in another event to sneak in. Sound short game would fit well with the Ryder Cup, but he has little "major event" experience in his career.

17. Kevin Chappell -- Status: Needs a lot to go right. Would have to do what Billy Horschel did two years ago and win the FedEx Cup out of nowhere in order to press Love III to take him with that final pick the week before the event.

18. Jim Furyk -- Status: If he has a decent FedEx Cup, he's in. That little "58" he posted a couple of weeks back was proof enough that he's healthy and ready to compete again and win. Providing he has a couple of decent FedEx Cup showings, he's going to be added to the team by Love III.

Drew's predicted Captain's picks as of 8/17/16 -- If the top 8 stay as they are now (which is actually unlikely), look for Love III to add Snedeker, Watson, Kuchar and Furyk.

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!

Chase Fitzgerald 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



Tuesday
August 16
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXV
Issue 16
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from all of us in charm city to cam newton: we say "thank you"


A non-descript pre-season opener last Thursday night in Baltimore actually turned into a really cool story some four days later.

The Carolina Panthers were in town to take on our Ravens and in the first series of the night, Carolina QB Cam Newton engineered an impressive opening drive that resulted in a field goal and a 3-0 lead.

But that was far from his best moment of the trip to Baltimore.

The Panthers arrived in Baltimore on Wednesday afternoon and a group of players dined at a downtown steakhouse shortly after 6 pm. Newton was among those players.

As the group walked back to their Inner Harbor hotel, Newton carried with him a full meal that he ordered for carry-out from the steakhouse. Upon seeing a homeless man with a sign asking for food, Newton quietly slipped away from the group, handed the man the full bag of food, and got right back in step with his teammates.

The whole thing took about six seconds.

X
This was the photo taken by Candace Gregory of Charlotte, who witnessed Panthers QB Cam Newton drop-off food to a Baltimore homeless man last Wednesday night. That's Newton on the left, in the white shirt and maroon colored hat.

A couple from Charlotte who were in town for the game saw Newton and the rest of the players leaving the hotel and followed along behind, careful not to bother them but intrigued at the thought of following in the footsteps of their sports heroes.

When Newton moved over to give the homeless man the food, the woman following behind was able to snap a quick picture just seconds after Newton did his good deed.

Athletes are always doing good things in the community. Nearly every time, though, it's in THEIR community, and often times there are cameras and reporters hanging around to chronicle their work and convey it all back to the general public.

Newton wasn't in his community last Wednesday night. He was in Baltimore. And even though he does have a special connection to Charm City through his endorsement contract with Under Armour, nothing about the town mandated that Newton hand $100 worth of food to a homeless person on the sidewalk.

And spare me the comments about Newton's status as a millionaire football player making it easy for him to afford $100 worth of food. You can afford the same type of gesture. When's the last time you ordered $25 worth of carry-out, and dropped it off to a homeless person?

They say class is defined by what you do when you don't think anyone is watching you.

In Newton's case, teammates have quickly jumped in to say his display last Wednesday night in Baltimore is a fairly common occurrence. He evidently does that sort of thing all the time, both in Charlotte and other cities the Panthers are visiting.

Cam Newton had a checkered past, to say the least, before entering the NFL. He was kicked out of the University of Florida amid a stolen computer scandal and later surfaced at Auburn where a story circulated that his father once asked Mississippi State for $180,000 in exchange for Newton going to school there and playing football for the Bulldogs.

Everyone is free to believe what they want, of course, but all signs pointed to Newton being "pay for play" when he was in college. I was particulary critical of him back in the old days when I was on the radio and those stories about Newton percolated.

I'm here, now, to say it looks Cam Newton has cleaned up his act. Not only has he developed into an outstanding NFL quarterback, but he is evidently very mindful of the blessings he's been given as a result of his athleticism.

It's one thing if Joe Flacco stops at the corner of Light and Pratt Streets to give a homeless man some food. It's an even better story when a guy with no need to embrace Baltimore goes ahead and does it anyway...with his own money, to boot.

If you're not a Cam Newton fan today, I don't know what else to say to you.

BARCS banner ad

could a davis dive affect machado's deal in baltimore?


Sure, you can file this one under "jumping the gun" if you wish.

But here's what I'm wondering today, in the wake of year number one of Chris Davis' 7-year deal with the Orioles, which, admittedly, is far from complete.

What if -- read that word there, "if" -- Davis continues with disappointing seasons in 2017 and 2018? Is there any way those two bad seasons could affect the Orioles thinking when it comes to signing Manny Machado to a long-term deal in the winter of 2018-2019?

It's much more complicated that, of course.

For starters, Machado isn't going to sign just any old long-term deal. There's a chance, a very real one, in fact, that Machado's contract entering the 2019 campaign might be the most lucrative in MLB history, approaching or topping the $400 million mark.

That's what the experts are saying now, and it makes perfect sense. By the time Machado reaches free agency, Mike Trout will be making $34 million a year with the Angels. It stands to reason that will be Machado's starting point for a deal, and factoring in everything else about the league's expanding revenue streams, it's easy to see where some player, somewhere, will garner a $40 million per-year contract.

X
Would it hurt Manny Machado's chances for a mega-contract from the Orioles in 2019 if Chris Davis struggles over the next two or three years?

Are the Orioles prepared to pony up that kind of money for Machado when he becomes a free agent after the 2018 campaign? I went to Glen Burnie High School where gym was more important than math -- at least for me -- but a 10-year deal at $400 million total is $40 million per-season.

And to think the Birds nickel-and-dimed Chris Davis during his $161 million haul in the off-season, making Davis take a large chunk of the money on a deferred basis.

There won't be any gimmicks or games when it comes to the Machado contract. Pay the man, or someone else will, his agent will say.

But what if Davis stinks it up for the next few seasons and the Orioles are left with one of those albatross contracts that strangles the team's payroll? They forked over $85 million for Adam Jones a few years back but he's earned every penny of that money and then some. Davis, though, is in a much different category, as he's now making $23 million a season and will do so for the next six seasons.

Who knows how much longer Peter Angelos will own the Orioles, but you can just hear him now, can't you?

"Look, we caved in and paid Davis $161 million and it has blown up in our face. I like Mr. Machado, he's a fine young man and all, and a terrific ball player, but that's a gamble I'm not taking. I did it with Davis and got burned."

And, let's be honest, if Mr. Angelos actually DOES feel that way, he could very well be on target. Is it reasonable, even now, to think that a baseball player -- Machado, Harper, Trout et al -- could actually be worth $40 million per-season? I'm a skeptic on matters such as these, admittedly, but I don't see how it's possible.

The Orioles have been such rare participants in big money deals over the last twenty years that their experience level is still very raw. They weren't willing to pay Mike Mussina the money he wanted, signed Miguel Tejada for $72 million (at the time, their richest contract ever), backed away from the table almost immediately in the Mark Teixeira negotiations, then signed Adam Jones to an $85 million deal.

All of that, though, was chump-change compared to what they gave Davis last January. For the first time ever, the O's went to the big-boy table and played a hand. And won.

Is it reasonable to pay Manny Machado $40 million a season? Hell, a decade ago, the team's payroll for the entire roster for one season was just above $90 million, total.

And remember, in Machado's case, there won't be any jerking him around like the club was able to do with Davis last winter, when they convinced him to take $42 million of deferred money over the next 21 years.

Either pay Machado his money, or he heads to New York, Washington, Chicago, Boston or some other place who WILL pay him.

By means of comparison, is it safe to say that the free-spending Yankees, of all teams, calmed themselves down after spending $400 million on Sabathia, Teixeira and Burnett in 2009? They won a World Series, yes, but that's about all they got out of that big off-season spending spree.

The Orioles might find themselves in the same boat, particularly if they throw some big bucks at Mark Trumbo this winter. Oh, and Chris Tillman is also a free agent in the not too distant future. So, too, is Adam Jones.

Signing Machado will be a priority, obviously, but who has $400 million laying around for a baseball player? The economics of the game might indicate the Orioles and virtually every other team can afford to cough up that kind of money, but the reality is giving a player -- ANY player -- $400 million of guaranteed income is a whopper of a gamble, with no offense intended to anyone involved.

And in the case of the Orioles, if Chris Davis turns out to be a mega-contract bust, how eager will the owner and the organization be to get themselves involved in an even bigger game of high-risk poker with Manny Machado?

It's a fair question, I think.

Let's hope Chris Davis turns it around for a variety of reasons, including, perhaps, provding an example to Orioles ownership that long-term investments on players are both wise and worthy.

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!

ABC 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



please click here to see previous issues of #dmd.

O's SCOREBOARD
Tuesday, June 27th
Orioles
3

Blue Jays
1
WP: K. Gausman (4-7)
LP: J. Biagini (2-7)

HR: Tulowitzki (4)

RECORD/PLACE: 38-38, fourth
RETRIEVER ROUND-UP

UMBC baseball fell to in-state rival Maryland, 6-2 on Tuesday afternoon in College Park. The Retrievers fell behind early, but got a two-run home run from Hunter Dolshun to take the lead. However the Terps scored four runs in the sixth to take the victory.

The Retrievers fall to 18-20 on the year while Maryland improves to 32-15 in 2017.

breakfast bytes

A.L. East: Yankees give up two runs in bottom of the 9th, lose to White Sox, 4-3.

Red Sox move into first place with 9-2 win over Minnesota; Rays win 4-2 at Pittsburgh.

NBA: Phil Jackson/Knicks to part ways today.

Nationals steal team-record 7 bases off of Arrieta/Montero as Cubs lose in D.C., 6-1.