Tuesday
January 31
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXX
Issue 31
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fixing the ncaa's problem is actually pretty easy


A friend read Brien Jackson's piece here at #DMD yesterday and called me to chat about it.

"What, exactly, is the NCAA's biggest problem?" he asked. For the record, he's only a so-so sports fan, so his query was legitimately non-biased.

"Oh, that's simple," I replied. "Their biggest problem? Too much emphasis on sports. Period."

That's not to say you shouldn't emphasize sports and athletics in college. Johns Hopkins does a pretty good job of running an athletic department over there on Charles Street, for example.

I'm just singling them out, specifically, because I don't have a dog in the hunt with them. I know a lot of folks at UMBC and Towson. If I published something complimentary about the way they run their athletic departments, folks would say, "You're just saying that because you like them".

Hopkins does a fine job mixing athletics with academics. It can be done.

But, let's face the facts. Hopkins isn't the same as running the basketball program at Kentucky, the football program at Alabama or the baseball program at LSU. Those three schools and their respective programs are just one of hundreds of top-of-the-line college sports teams being run like businesses by their schools.

I don't need to get into the Baylor situation again (you can simply scroll down and read Brien's work) but what's happened there is beyond disgusting. It's morally and legally corrupt and a bunch of folks will lose their jobs over it when the dust settles in 2017.

Here's the thing, though, and I shake my head sometimes at the negligence of the people who are playing judge and jury with these stories like the one that has percolated at Baylor.

Why are the football players themselves not to blame?

I get it. Baylor University gets blame. The Baylor Athletic Director gets blame. The (former) Baylor football coach gets blame. The bastard that created the "Baylor Bruins" and their wink-wink, nudge-nudge "help us get better players" philosophy most certainly gets blame.

If I ran the NCAA, Baylor's athletic program would be shut down for three years. Period. End of story.

Yes, there would be some collateral damage and kids who shouldn't otherwise be punished would feel the brunt of it, but there's no way sports should be part of the landscape of Baylor University for at least three years.

So, yes, deal with Baylor accordingly and give them the so-called "Death Penalty".

But what about the guys who did the raping?

I've looked long and hard for articles calling them out for their CRIMINAL behavior and I don't find any. Everyone's calling out Baylor, the football coach, the administration, etc., but no one is vilifying the young men who did the dirty work.

This wasn't a cult they were joining down there in Waco. They weren't fed a juice drink and told to put on purple shoes and wait for a spaceship to take them away.

They were brought down there for a tour of the school and to visit with their potential coach and they apparently (need to keep ourselves legally straight here...) decided to have non-consensual sex with some females introduced to them, in some part, by the university and they're not getting an ounce of the blame.

Those men committed a crime. And for those of you who think "Aww, what the hell, they're 19 year old boys and girls, they do stupid stuff occasionally", I'd ask you if your attitude would be the same if your 19-year old daughter called you one morning at 5 am and told you six football players raped her at a school-organized recruiting function the night before?

Some dads would be on the first plane to Waco to take a pipe to a football player's head if they could hunt them down.

So, sure, the university gets blame, and rightfully so. They've created the culture at Baylor that the only thing that matters is getting the best athletes. That's on them.

But not holding those football players accountable is equally as reprehensible. They knew what they were doing. They're adults, well versed in the basic nuances of what is and what isn't sexual assault. And -- they're criminals.

How does it all get fixed? Well, that's a very complicated puzzle to piece together, but let this dummy from Glen Burnie High School take a very basic stab at it.

The system needs tweaking and it's not as deliberately simple as just saying, "Look at the way Division III Athletics are run and copy that model" -- but -- "Look at the way Division III Athletics are run and copy that model".

In other words, eliminate the athletic scholarship. Bring in student-athletes who qualify academically at your institution and create some sort of benefits/scholarship program based on their grades, test scores and -- here's the kicker -- obtaining their college degree.

Oh, here's something else to consider. It's a renegade approach, but watch how easy this works: Any Division I athlete representing the school doesn't have to actually attend classes there. How's that for simplicity? They're just football players, wearing the Maryland uniform on a Saturday afternoon.

Pay 'em whatever you want. Or, you CAN pay them with scholarship money if you want, that's fine. On the off chance one of the players actually wants an education, you can swap that out for their athletic services.

But there's a new twist for consideration: You're just a hired gun, playing basketball for Villanova because they made you the best offer.

OK, back to reality for a second.

Division III athletics has done it right. Sure, they're not high profile, and 90,000 people aren't jamming a football stadium in Glendale, Arizona to watch Mount Union beat Bridgewater State.

But 19-year old girls aren't getting raped on the campus of Bridewater State on a Friday night, either. That's a pretty fair trade-off to the fathers of the daughters who attend Bridgewater State, I bet.

Eliminate athletic scholarships at the Division I level.

That's the first step in cleaning up the mess.

That doesn't mean high-profile high school athletes can't attend Kentucky, Duke, Alabama, USC, Michigan, Oklahoma, etc. Those schools can still go out and whore themselves for those 18 year old quarterbacks, point guards and long-stick defensemen.

But they have to pay their own freight or someone else in the community does.

And with that should come a relaxation of certain rules currently in place. If a young man comes to your school to play sports for you and he pays his own way, he should be allowed to sign autographs at the local car dealer on a Saturday afternoon. And if you sell HIS jersey in the school book store, he should get a piece of that profit.

Sure, I know what you're thinking: "Drew, the local car dealer will just write a check to the school for $160,000 for the guy's education."

That's fine. I like it that way. It teaches the young man (or woman) about business, for starters, and also keeps the school out of the process, where, as we know, they're likely to just bend the rules to get the kid in to their school. It might also keep the school from organizing a group of women who "entertain" the players on recruiting visits and then wind up getting gang-raped.

Like I wrote above, it's not just as simple as taking the Division III formula and duplicating it, but Division I athletics would be a whole lot cleaner (and safer) if the D-III model was followed.

Here's a novel idea: Tell those millionaires who run the NCAA that they either adopt a better formula or the whole place gets shut down and they lose their summer homes in Bermuda and their $250,000 boats and you'll see how quickly they come up with a new plan.

Oh, and start holding the young men (and women) accountable who involve themselves in criminal behavior while representing themselves or their colleges.

Stop pacifying them. Stop acting like the schools should get ALL of the blame.

It's no wonder these 20-somethings stand around all day and protest stuff while the rest of the great unwashed goes to work. They've watched everyone else get the blame forever and they think they're entitled to get whatever they want because that's what they've seen happen for a decade.

What those young men did to those women at Baylor University is EVERYONE's fault, but, yes, it's also the fault of the young men who did the deeds.

Like my mother used to say when I told her, "The kids down the street are all going to the Mall...why can't I?"

"If the rest of the kids in the neighborhood wanted to sniff glue, would you do that too?"

In other words, just because that one football recruit in the next room is having sex with a girl doesn't mean you have to as well. Particularly when she didn't consent to it.

These college programs need to wake up. The NCAA needs to wake up. So, too, do the athletes and the prospective athletes.

It's the Wild Wild West out there. Everyone's having fun. And I guess it's all OK unless your daughter makes that call to you at 5 am.

Then -- it's not fun.

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dale williams aims
the terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his third season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in 2016-2017.


will underdog terps pull off another road upset tonight?


It’s been a wild and wacky 2016-2017 Big 10 season for men’s basketball.

The Terps are 7-1, Rutgers (1-8) takes Wisconsin (7-1) into overtime, Northwestern is 7-2, and Indiana is limping (literally) into the midpoint of the conference schedule.

With that in mind, it should come as little surprise when I tell you that I don’t see the Terps making it out of Columbus, and their Tuesday night encounter against 3-6 Ohio State, with a win.

The reasons are numerous.

Ohio State plays well at home, for starters. Although their record in Columbus is only 2-2, the two losses were by a total of three points.

Ohio State big man Trevor Thompson will be a handful tonight for the visiting teams as they look to stay on top in the Big Ten.

They suffered a single point loss to a real good Purdue team and then lost by two points to a probable tournament team in Northwestern. Their home wins were against Michigan State and Minnesota and they also managed to beat Nebraska on the road.

Yes, that same Nebraska team that came to College Park and beat Maryland earlier this month.

The match-ups on the court tonight don’t seem to be in Maryland’s favor either. OSU's big, strong 7 foot center, Trevor Thompson, has shown some aggressive streaks that make me believe he can have a big influence on this game. Damonte Dodd, Michal Cekovsky, and Ivan Bender are going to have a hard time dealing with Thompson’s size in the paint.

State’s Jae’Sean Tate is the toughest 6’4” forward in the country. The 230 pound Tate is most effective when working close to the basket and it’s where he gets most of his team leading 14 points per game. The most likely draw for him defensively is Kevin Huerter, and Tate might be too much for Huerter to handle.

Motivation shouldn’t be a factor either. Almost two years ago to the day, Ohio State did some showboating while handing the Terps a beating by more than 20 points. The next year, Turgeon returned the favor when his Terps ran up the score while hanging 100 points on the Buckeyes, and beat them by 35. Ohio State coach Thad Matta surely remembers that day.

There’s more. The Terps' recent schedule could leave them a bit fatigued.

Maryland just played a hard fought game on the road in Minnesota. After returning home for a short bit, they now turn around and travel to Columbus. That’s not a series of events conducive for winning on the road against a team that has five players averaging double digit points and is capable of playing solid basketball

Next, we have the clincher, and this is big. Maryland just cracked the top 20, coming in at number 18 and yet the books have placed Ohio State as a one point favorite. That’s the dreaded top 20 team, on the road, playing against an unranked home favorite. It doesn't smell good.

Put all of this together and it spells trouble. Winning on the road in college basketball is always hard. The traveling, the noise, and the fact that you’re not going to get the same calls that you expect to get at home all make road wins difficult to come by.

We can just chalk up this 70-67 Terrapin loss as one of those things that frequently happen in college basketball. I see it happening to Maryland as they look ahead to their key matchup this Saturday in College Park against Purdue.

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this weekend in
english soccer


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


With Arsenal the only top six side to match Chelsea in taking maximum points, the Blues have once again opened up an eight-point advantage over the now second place Gunners while at the other end of the table Swansea City jumped from the cellar to outside of the relegation zone when they pulled off the upset of the season so far with a 3-2 triumph over Liverpool. With Chelsea facing a trip to Anfield in Matchday 23 of the English Premier League, followed by a visit from second place Arsenal only three days later, the title race may very well be decided in the coming week with only a five-team fight for the remaining three Champions League places to possibly remain. Can the Blues take a major step towards their second title in the last three years? Tune in to find out with all of the action available live on the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Tuesday, January 31 (all times eastern)

2:45pm – Tottenham @ Sunderland – Stadium of Light, NBC Live Extra

Tottenham battled back from two goals down in the second half to grab a share of the points and keep their seven-game unbeaten run, and their potentially fading title hopes, alive in a 2-2 draw with Manchester City in their weekend showdown. With Chelsea facing a difficult road test, they will hope to gain ground on the league leaders when they travel to the Stadium of Light for a meeting with Sunderland, who remained bottom of the table and three points from safety when they lost for the fourth time in their last five league games (D1) against the once again in form West Brom 2-0.

Time is desperately running short for the Black Cats to mount another “Great Escape” and with points historically tough to come by against Tottenham - Spurs have failed to walk away with points in only five of their thirty-one all time league meetings, taking all three points in twenty-one of those matches and in ten of their last thirteen encounters (D3), although four of the five losses did come at the Stadium of Light which should provide some hope to this week’s relegation favorites – they will have one eye on the weekend when they will square off with relegation rivals Crystal Palace with the loser likely to go down.

3pm – Chelsea @ Liverpool – Anfield, NBC Sports Network

Unthinkably losing three times at home in seven days recently, Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool are in nearly "must win" territory on Tuesday against visiting Chelsea.

Following their 2-0 victory over Hull City, which remained a little too close for comfort until Gary Cahill officially put the game to bed in the 81st minute to send a collective sigh of relief throughout Stamford Bridge, Chelsea can put one hand on the league trophy when they travel to Anfield for a showdown with the reeling Liverpool, with the loss to Swansea only the beginning of their woes in a dreadful week that also saw them crash out of both the EFL Cup and the FA Cup marking their first losses at home in the last twelve months and desperate for answers ahead of their most important game of the season.

Sitting ten points back of Chelsea and with only one win from seven across all competitions since the New Year, anything but all three points against the Blues will leave them with only a spot in the top four to chase for the remainder of the season. Liverpool have managed to avoid defeat in their last four league meetings with the Blues, coming out winners in two of those affairs, however prior to their recent success were winless in their previous eight encounters (L4 D4) and in their last five meetings matchups at Anfield (L3 D2) across all competitions.

Wednesday, February 1 (all times eastern)

2:45pm – Manchester City @ West Ham United – London Stadium, NBC Live Extra

While Manchester City will feel as though they left points on the table, the result with Tottenham was at least a step in the right direction for Pep Guardiola’s side as they continue to navigate a run of poor form that has left them on the outside looking in on the six-team fight for a spot in next seasons Champions League. They will head to the London Stadium for a mid-week clash with West Ham United, now winners of four of their last six league matches following a 3-1 victory over Middlesbrough which moved the Hammers back into the top half of the table for the first time this season.

A visit from Manchester City is not always a welcome sight and indeed West Ham have struggled against the Citizens, running out winners in only three of their previous twenty-four meetings across all competitions although all three victories did come in their visits to the capital, but the matchup will prove a much needed distraction from the daily ongoing Dimitri Payet saga, with the French midfielder who took the league by storm last season refusing to play another game in a West Ham jersey as he tries to force a move away from the club before the January transfer window closes later today.

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Monday
January 30
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXX
Issue 30
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these terps might wind up being really good…like, this season


There’s a lot of basketball left to be played, but in a little over a month the Big 10 will gather for their conference tournament in Washington D.C. and unless something really wacky happens between now and then, Maryland might very well go in as the pre-tournament favorite.

The Terps and Wisconsin are currently tied atop the Big 10 standings at 7-1, but Maryland’s overall mark of 19-2 is a smidgen better than Wisconsin’s 18-3 record.

For those looking ahead to the showdown between the Terps and Badgers, the two schools will meet just once this year and it comes in Madison on Sunday, February 19.

As is the case with most Top 50 programs, the Terps have played far more home games (13) than road games (5), but some would probably consider a neutral site game an “away” contest as well since, of course, you’re not on your home court when you play that one.

Maryland's 19-2 record and 7-1 mark in conference play has a lot to do with Mark Turgeon's ability to close games out in the final five minutes.

It's fair to note, though, that the Terps haven't yet lost any game away from the Xfinity Center, as they're 5-0 on the road and 3-0 in neutral site games. Conference away victories have come at Michigan, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota. Sure, it's not Tobacco Road and you're not beating Duke, North Carolina and Virginia in their buildings but 4-0 on the road in ANY conference is excellent work.

But, even if Maryland’s overall record contains some obvious home cooking, the more I see this edition of the Terps play, the more I’m starting to think they’re going to be playing well into the 2nd weekend of the NCAA tournament in March.

College basketball has changed a lot over the last decade or so. While it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a 7-footer or two on your roster, the evolution of the two guard-system and more emphasis on perimeter play has diminished the value of having a true “big man” in the college game.

And with the frenetic pace these days, there’s only so much running a big guy can do before he’s out of gas.

That's not to say that Damonte Dodd can't play a key role for Maryland moving forward. He nearly single-handedly won the game at Michigan earlier this month. But more and more these days, teams aren't winning the game under the basket, they're winning it with ball control, less turnovers, and efficient shooting from the field.

Guard play is where it’s at these days, which is why Maryland could be a tough out come March Madness time.

They have a solid backcourt duo in Melo Trimble and Anthony Cowan, although Trimble continues to go through stretches where he shoots just for the sake of shooting. All in all, though, when the game is in the balance, you want Melo on the floor and he’s one of the only guys unafraid to take a shot in the big moment.

Cowan is a better ball handler than Trimble, for sure, but his inexperience rears its head once or twice a game, particularly in situations where Trimble isn’t on the court alongside him. The one concern about him could be the fabled “rookie wall” that a lot of freshman hit once they reach that 30-game mark in their first season. Fatigue, especially in a point guard, leads to mistakes.

Maryland’s strengths lie in their ability to compete for forty minutes. They were manhandled earlier in the season from start to finish by Pitt, but that’s one of the rare times in the last few years that they’ve looked rattled from the opening whistle.

As they showed against Minnesota on Saturday when they fell behind by twelve points in the first half, they’re nothing if not a resilient bunch.

Without question, the biggest weakness we’ve seen with these Terps is on the glass. A look through the Big 10 stats shows Maryland at #7 in offensive rebounds and #10 in defensive rebounds.

Basketball coaches like to say rebounding is about effort, but I’m not sure I see a true lack of trying from Maryland when it comes to rebounding. I just don’t think they do it very well, as a team.

They’re not “long” or all that physical, really. Heck, little old Towson beat them up physically in College Park in late November, remember. The nuggets of rebounding (size, strength, positioning) just aren’t a good fit for this Maryland team.

But they’re 7-1 in the conference, even with those rebounding numbers.

How and why? Because their perimeter offense and defense is solid, for starters. Maryland is 5th in 3-point field goal percentage at 37% and they’re 4th in 3-point defense, as the opposition shoots just 32% on the Terps from beyond the arc.

If you’re decent from the field and better than average from 3-point range, and you stop the opposition more times than you score, that’s a pretty good recipe for winning. Maryland has that part figured out.

The Terps defend the perimeter very well, and with the dominant 7-footer becoming a thing of the past in the college game, teams that can stop the opposition’s top shooters have a real chance of winning.

Sure, they could get a bad match-up come tournament time and meet up with a slick shooting team that also has a couple of competent rebounders, but there aren’t many of those around.

Sometimes stats just don't mean all that much.

Rutgers is the best offensive rebounding team in the Big 10 and they can’t beat anyone. Indiana leads the conference in scoring at 83 points per-game and they’re 4-4.

Maryland wins because they do a lot of things well. While they’re not particularly great at any one thing statistically, they are top of the ladder in perhaps the most important part of a game – closing it out.

With the rare exception of the Nebraska game at home this year – which was a complete fluke – the Terps don’t squander leads they own in the last five minutes.

If there’s one thing they’ve done under Mark Turgeon, it’s that. They’ve learned how to win. Turgeon might not be in the same class as Gary Williams when it comes to the in-game X’s and O’s stuff, but he most certainly has figured out a way to maneuver his team through the final five minutes.

The three Maryland freshman have been a joy to watch and there's no telling how good this program might be in two more years if Jackson, Huerter and Cowan are all still at College Park. The only concern in March of this season will be the aforementioned "rookie wall", with those three playing more basketball over the last 4-5 months than they've ever played before.

Cowan is the one who could play the biggest role moving into March as he'll touch the ball 40 times a game bringing it up the court. Huerter could have the biggest impact as he mixes an outstanding basketball IQ with confident, smart passing and decent defense, while Jackson can take over a game with his NBA-prototype skill set, like he did on Saturday at Minnesota.

It's hard to pin a team's immediate fortunes on three kids who just started shaving last semester, but the Terps have found themselves three outstanding young players in those three and that trio could become a national story in March if they can battle through and not miss a beat come tournament time.

I suspect Maryland will drop another conference game or two along the way. Purdue could give them a fight this Saturday in College Park, the away game at Wisconsin will be a featured matchup, and even the contest at Northwestern next month won't be a 2-foot putt.

But when the sun sets at the Verizon Center in early March, I think Maryland has a real chance of being the Big 10 champion and, depending on their March Madness draw, this edition of Maryland basketball might be settling in for a long run.

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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.


I know I’m not breaking any new ground here, but; The NCAA, and NCAA football in particular, truly is just about the most wretched, degraded hive of scumbags, villains, and indecency as you’re likely to find anywhere in the civilized world.

The whole enterprise is so completely rotted to the very core that just when you start to let yourself think that they might actually have found their moral rock bottom, it turns out that you couldn’t even begin to fathom how deep the depravity actually went.

The Dallas Morning Newscame out this week with a report on a new lawsuit related to the out-of-control rape culture permeating the Baylor football program, and the details are simply mind-blowing. According to the filing, 31 different Baylor football players committed 52 separate rapes over a four year period, including five gang rapes.

If you're a Baylor athlete these days, you probably should hang your head.

The suit also accuses the program and university of engaging in the classic hallmarks of an institutional coverup. For example, one of the players the plaintiff accuses of raping her was allegedly involved in a previous incident involving the rape of a female trainer. According to the filing, the school transferred that trainer to a female sports team and offered her free education in exchange for signing a non-disclosure agreement.

The suit also alleges that the “Baylor Bruins,” the school’s all-female “hostess program” for recruiting visits was (go figure) really just a front for rampant sexual misconduct. Underage recruits were allegedly escorted to strip clubs and provided with alcohol, and of course it was understood that they’d be provided with girls to sleep with. It’s claimed that more than one pregnancy resulted from this, and there’s at least a strong implication that the school, or boosters, facilitated abortions as a result.

The accusations aren’t evidence in and of themselves, and the school of course denies it, but it’s hard to take these at face value. For one thing, the school simply doesn’t have any real credibility given what we already know about the nature and scope of the scandal. To put it in perspective, a previous statement from the school concerning the scandal professes to be aware of only 17 reports of sexual assault involving 19 players in that time period.

And while the lawsuit claims that there were five instances of gang rape, Baylor claims to only be aware of...four.

But it’s the denials concerning the hostess program that are the least believable and most galling. Of course everyone, including the program coordinator, denies that there was any kind of on-going sexual misconduct or trading of privileges in exchange for sleeping with recruits.

Don’t worry, I’ll wait here a moment for your uncontrollable laughter to subside.

These denials are so incredible and unbelievable, there’s a near literal “sky is pink” quality to them. For one thing, if the “hostesses” aren’t having sex with the recruits, WHY DOES THE GROUP EVEN EXIST? Seriously, why would you have an all-female club devoted to “escorting” recruits on visits if it wasn’t expected/understood that they’d be having sex with them?

And certainly this exact sort of thing is a long-standing and well documented tradition in the recruiting game, not just at Baylor but at nearly every FBS level program.

This is where the obscene degeneracy of college sports really shines through. The NCAA and it’s defenders love to paint a picture of college sports as good-old fashioned, All-American “amateur” athletics, with enterprising students getting a chance at a free college education while playing football on the side.

This hasn’t been true for at least 40 years, and at this point if you believe that or profess it to be true, you’re either willfully blind to what’s really going on or you’re just a fool, full-stop.

College athletics are big time business that make a lot of people A LOT of money. Coaches, university administrators, corporations like ESPN, Nike, Under Armour and their executives, conference officials, “bowl game committee” members, etc are all making six and seven figures a year as a direct result of the revenues that college football and basketball bring in.

We’re entering an era where even assistant coaches can command millions of dollars a year in salary! And this is all possible because the enterprise is treated purely like a profit seeking business…right up until it’s time to pay the players who provide the bulk of the labor and drive most of those billions of dollars in revenue.

Oh, save me the “they get a free education as payment” nonsense. Anyone who honestly believes that is an ignorant fool at this point. Aside from the well documented lack of any sort of quality in the “education” football and basketball players get, it’s openly stipulated that athletics, not academics, come first.

Players are barred by the terms of their scholarships from scheduling classes that conflict with their obligations to the team, even if those classes are a major requirement, and players are routinely pressured by coaches and advisers to avoid challenging majors that may carry a high workload or cause a struggling player to lose athletic eligibility altogether.

And the 50-60 hours a week schedules that players routinely maintain during the season and training periods of the year are clearly prohibitive of putting in the full amount of time to school work that’s recommended for a full 12-15 credit hour schedule.

There simply isn’t even any pretense anymore: The players aren’t students first who play football as an extra-curricular activity, they’re there to play football for the the school, period, and they merely play-act the part of college student for appearance sake.

What players are really paid with is on-campus “privileges.”

Those benefits include no-show jobs and cash payments in brown bags from boosters. Nice cars they can’t afford and no questions asked as long as you’re somewhat discreet and don’t rock the boat (remember everyone was fine to ignore Maurice Clarett’s sins right up until he openly talked about challenging the NFL’s three year draft ban).

There are “tutors” who do your assingments for you, TAs who lie about your attendance records in class, and coaches and administrators who pressure professors and other faculty members to flat out fabricate your grades if need be.

Let's not forget the female students who get favors, privileges, and even cash from the program and the school for having sex with you. And yes…a program and a university who will clearly do everything they can to hide, excuse, and cleanup your mess if you decide you feel like raping someone one day.

It’s easy to write these things off as the acts of bad apples or isolated incidents, but there’s no denying that’s just not the case at this point.

This is a pervasive problem, and one that stems from the fundamental failing of modern collegiate sports.

Having a multi billion dollar industry that shells out huge salaries to everyone involved and gives nothing to the players is simply untenable. Compensating the players with genuinely worthwhile educations that honestly and truly come before their athletic responsibilities has become incompatible with the needs to keep the money train rolling and ever expanding.

The compromise everyone has decided to settle on is an arrangement where the coaches and administrators get to keep nearly all of the money in exchange for allowing as much impropriety, fraud, sexual assault and gang rape as possible.

Decent people in the community need to demand an end to his NOW, and yes that means calling for players to be paid for their time. Not simply out of a sense of fairness or because divvying out payments to recruits would reduce the dominance of dominant players like Alabama…but because the alternative is simply “paying” the players with the currency to rape at will.

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avoid the 4-letter network and come here for the good stuff


Another outstanding young player won on the PGA Tour on Sunday, but if Jon Rahm is playing in the Ryder Cup someday, it would be for his native Spain, not the U.S. Rahm, who was the #1 amateur golfer in the world after a successful college career at Arizona State, captured the event at Torrey Pines yesterday with a final round 65 that included an eagle-3 at the par-5 finishing hole.

Jon Rahm's 60-foot eagle putt at the 18th hole on Sunday sewed up his first PGA Tour win at Torrey Pines.

The 22 year old Rahm beat Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan by three shots after finishing at 13-under par to capture his first TOUR victory. Keegan Bradley made a Sunday charge and worked his way to within a shot at the lead at one point before setting for a tie for fourth with a host of other players, including third round co-leader Patrick Rodgers.

Rahm is the real deal. It was only a matter of time before he put it all together and won on the big stage, although I'm not sure anyone expected it to happen in 2017, or, at the very least, this early in the season.

How did he win? With alarming accuracy off the tee and in the fairway, that's how. He hit 78% of the fairways over four days (the field's average was 60%) and, here's the whopper stat of the weekend, he hit 89% of the greens in regulation (TOUR average for the week was 73%). He putted well, too, but when you're hitting fairways and greens like that, it's hard not to be in contention come Sunday afternoon.

The Blast played a rare Sunday afternoon home game yesterday and they waltzed to an easy 10-1 win over the St. Louis Ambush. I thought it was strange when the Ambush scored the game's first goal about eight minutes in and the goal scorer showed little to no emotion at all after the ball found the back of the net. Come to find out, he knew it was only a matter of time before the tables would be turned on his team -- and he was right.

St. Louis entered the game with a record of 1-13 and, like I said to former Spirit/Blast player Lance Johnson when I bumped into him at halftime, "How on earth did they win that one?"

The visitors were really bad on Sunday. But the Blast, to their credit, battled through some early offensive woes and got things rolling in the second quarter, leading 5-1 at the half and cruising to the easy 10-1 win to improve to 9-5 on the year.

Vini Dantas led the Blast with three goals. I don't get down there much anymore to see them play, but on the occasion I've made it to a game once or twice a year for the last few seasons, that kid scores goals every time I'm there. He's a good player.

They're expecting 8,000 or more at Royal Farms Arena next Saturday night, February 4, when they host the Milwaukee Wave. That one promises to be a fun night of Blast indoor soccer.

Don't look now, but the Washington Wizards are one of the hottest teams in the NBA, winning 8 of their last 9 overall and four in a row after a 107-94 win at New Orleans on Sunday night.

The Wizards now stand at 27-20 on the year and are 5th in the NBA's Eastern Conference, six full games ahead of 9th place Milwaukee in the early look at the playoff picture.

Bradley Beal had 27 points for Washington on Sunday night in New Orleans and John Wall chipped in 18 points and 19 assists. It's no secret those two don't always compliment one another with their style of play, but if they can put aside those differences and play together like they did on Sunday, the Wizards will be playing post-season basketball again in 2017.

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Sunday
January 29
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXX
Issue 29
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roger, serena, remind us all there's still time left to win


No matter when you happen to read this on January 29, this time tomorrow, I'll be a whopping 54 years old.

I showed up a day late, my mom used to remind me, entering the world at 11:49 pm on January 30, 1963 at Easton Memorial Hospital in Easton, MD. Ex-major leaguer Harold Baines was also born there, if that matters.

I've long since stopped thinking of myself as "young", but I don't think 54 is "old", either. I guess I'm closer to old than young, but not there yet, if that explains it.

Like most people in their 50's, injuries and physical ailments have started to creep in, some a little more serious than others and many just of the nagging type. I still think I can do stuff physically that I once could, but I generally don't try due to fear of some sort of "real" injury that would keep me off the golf course.

I still play a fairly regular spring-summer-fall amateur golf schedule and just last year won a handful of events at Eagle's Nest. I'm still trying to improve, still wanting to win, and still wanting to reach heights that I haven't yet reached over the last two decades.

With a 5-set win over Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open, Roger Federer won a grand slam singles title for the first time in five years.

But as the years come and go, I most certainly view my competitive landscape and wonder if Father Time hasn't claimed yet another victim.

Then I watch Roger Federer and Serena Williams win tennis titles at age 35 and I get engergized again. And I say, "Heck, if they can still win, so can I."

Federer disposed of Rafael Nadal earlier today in an epic 5-set final at the Australian Open, giving the 18-time grand slam singles champion his first "major" since 2012 when he won at Wimbledon. While the two no longer get to every single ball drilled their way like they might have a decade ago, they still produced some stirring tennis in the final and Federer came back from 15-40 at 5-3 in the fifth set to wrestle away the title from Nadal.

Serena -- as expected -- beat older sister Venus on Saturday (which was Friday here) to claim her 23rd career grand slam singles title and lay claim, without question, to the honor of "greatest women's tennis player of the modern era".

Both Federer and Williams are still winning at age 35. In tennis, that's a landmark achievement.

Tom Brady will tee it up next Sunday in the Super Bowl at age 39, but it's not that rare to see quarterbacks play that deep into their 30's.

Professional golfers can play and compete at a high level well into their 40's on the PGA Tour. Jack Nicklaus once won the Masters at age 46, remember.

But, with all due respect to Brady in the Super Bowl at 39 and Jack with another green jacket at 46, what Roger and Serena just did in Australia trumps both of those latter accomplishments.

The golf world welcomed back Tiger Woods this week after a 17-month hiatus due to two back surgeries and months of rehab, setbacks, and recovery. Now, at age 41, Tiger can certainly see Father Time working his magic, no matter how hard he tries to recapture the glory of 2006 when he won most of the time just by getting out of his courtesy car on Thursday.

It was hard to tell how much distance he had lost off the tee this past Thursday and Friday when Tiger played at Torrey Pines. On Thursday, he was hardly ever in the fairway, so generating a comparison between Woods and Dustin Johnson and Jason Day -- his playing competitors -- was difficult. And then on Friday, Woods was in the fairway off the tee and those other two weren't.

But on the rare occasion when all three found the fairway, Woods was rougly 40 yards behind Dustin Johnson and 25 yards behind Jason Day.

That's Father Time's intervention right there. A decade ago, Woods was 30-40 yards ahead of everyone else, which is one reason why he won so much.

There are some -- this writer included -- who think Dustin Johnson is the best driver of the golf ball since Greg Norman circa 1990. And that's why he's always a threat to win when he tees it up in any event. On 10 of the 14 non-par-three holes on the course, DJ typically has 110 yards in or less. It's hard to beat that guy when he has a sand wedge in his hand for four hours and you have a 9-iron in your hand.

The tide has shifted for Tiger, which means he'll either need to get "longer" off the tee (and he probably can't) or he'll have to look at potentially playing different, shorter courses which might reduce the impact of being outdriven by 40 yards on whoppers like Torrey Pines.

Age and injuries have caught up to Woods, the way they also caught up with Federer, who had knee surgery in 2016 and missed the last six months of the tennis season while he recovered.

But Federer, today, is once again a champion.

I wrote earlier this week how much it would warm me to see Woods win again, even if it was "just" a regular PGA Tour event and not a major championship. As I get older, it appeals to me even more to see athletes who were once great -- Woods and Federer are prime examples -- rise again and win, no matter the sport.

Serena hasn't really ever stopped winning, actually. But maybe one of these days at age 40, after a few winless years, she'll win a major tennis title and fit that bill, too.

Tiger and Federer are friends through their Nike connections, so hopefully the champion golfer watched today's tennis and took some motivation from it.

The great ones, the icons who were touched by God at birth and moved to the side for a little extra special "treatment" before arriving on Earth, have always been able to do things no one else could do.

We'd all like to be able to do that, of course, but there are but a chosen few.

In the meantime, though, we can still learn by watching, observing and understanding how it is that as those champions get older, they're still able to be successful, whether that's in tennis, golf, business or parenting.

Bring on my 54th birthday.

I'm ready to tackle Father Time the way Federer and Serena did this week in Melbourne.

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dale williams aims
the terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his third season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in 2016-2017.


jackson, huerter lead terps to win over favored minnesota


When you go on the road for a major conference college basketball game, you can’t expect to win if you play shoddy defense, give up 45 second half points, and refuse to put a body on your opponent to keep them off of the offensive glass.

You won’t win that game unless you do what Maryland did yesterday at Minnesota and get crazy hot from the floor in the closing half. The Terps poured in an astonishing 59 second half points, turning a 7- point halftime deficit into a 7-point victory, 85-78, over the Golden Gophers.

Maryland's second half 3 point-shooting was the difference, as 11 for 18 from beyond the arc can cure a host of ills. It surely did for the Terps yesterday.

Freshman Justin Jackson had the best day of his short Maryland career. His stat line spoke volumes. Jackson was 9-15 from the floor, a perfect 5-5 from the three point line, 5-8 from the charity stripe, and had a team leading 10 rebounds. Those who think Jackson is a potential NBA player were clicking their heels at his performance at Minnesota.

Another freshman, Kevin Huerter, continued his impressive rookie season by adding 19 points on 7-10 shooting from the floor, including 5-7 from the three point line.

The freshman combo of Kevin Huerter and Justin Jackson led underdog Maryland to an 85-78 win at Minnesota on Saturday.

Things looked promising early for Maryland when Huerter made a three at the 16:34 mark to put the Terps up, 8-2. The lead wouldn’t last very long.

With the crowd behind them, Minnesota started a 19-1 run that would span almost 8 minutes. The Terps looked a bit rattled during the streak, going zero for ten from the field and turning the ball over twice. Their 8-2 lead was quickly a 21-9 deficit.

Give credit to the Terps for regaining their composure enough to chisel away at the Golden Gopher lead behind back-to-back Jackson threes, but they still trailed by seven at the break.

During the first 20 minutes, neither team was very impressive shooting from the floor. Maryland managed to hit just 35% while Minnesota was a bit better at 41%.

Oddly enough, three point shooting was a respectable 41% for Minnesota and a solid 44% for Maryland. Both teams had connected on two foul shots, but there was a significant rebounding advantage for Minnesota.

The pace was about as slow as the 33-26 halftime score would indicate. Things would dramatically change in the second half.

The same two teams who combined for just 59 points in the first half, managed to score 104 in the second half. The Terps did their damage by connecting on 65% of their second half field goal attempts including making seven of nine three pointers.

Shots were falling and defense was virtually nonexistent from both teams in the final twenty minutes.

Huerter, Jackson, and Ivan Bender were lighting up the scoreboard from the field, but the Gophers were marching to the foul line and hitting free throws.

When an Anthony Cowan layup with 11:40 remaining cut the lead to just 2 points, it became the first second half bucket made by a Terp guard. Not only were the Maryland guards not scoring, they were getting torched defensively, too.

Akeem Springs had no problems beating Melo Trimble, and, occasionally Cowan as well. Springs lead all Minnesota players with 23 points. Minnesota’s Amir Coffey helped out by distributing a game high 9 assists.

Defensively, Maryland did a nice job collapsing on Coffey (0-5 inside the arc, 3-4 outside it) but he frequently found the open man for good looks.

The Maryland guards started to join in the scoring frenzy, but the Gophers held onto the lead by building up a 10 point advantage in free throws made. Terp coach Mark Turgeon let his feelings about the disparity in foul line trips be known and it seemed like a technical foul on him was inevitable.

Through it all, Jackson and Huerter kept knocking down big shots from long range, and Jackson was also getting it done by driving into the paint and hitting an assortment of nifty close range shots.

Two foul shots from Minnesota guard Nate Mason with 1:47 left tied the game at 76-76, but the hosts would score just two more points.

It was at this point that Huerter converted on the game’s biggest shot. A drive to the basket by Trimble was cut off by Coffey. In doing so, Coffey left his man, Huerter, alone in the left corner. Trimble found him alone and Huerter calmly buried the three to give Maryland a 79-76 lead they would never relinquish.

Terp foul shots in the game's final minute would help seal yet another Big 10 road win.

Maryland continues to overcome whatever deficiencies they may have. Yesterday they overcame the all too familiar poor rebounding game, as well as a rare off night defensively. They did so by shooting well from the field, especially from long range, and staying poised down the stretch.

The win was a solid victory on the road against a good team. They will face Ohio State in Columbus on Tuesday and then return to the XFINITY Center to take on Purdue next Saturday at noon.

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umbc steals double overtime thriller from new hampshire, 105-103


UMBC men's basketball rallied three times in the final 40 seconds of regulation and both overtime periods and pulled off a stunning 105-103 double overtime victory over New Hampshire at the RAC Arena on Saturday afternoon, January 28.

With the win, the Retrievers (14-7, 5-3 America East) tied the Wildcats (14-8, 5-3 AE) for third place in the league at the halfway mark of the regular season.

The final seconds of the game provided a lot of dramatics.

Junior guard Jairus Lyles' pair of free throws with 19 seconds in the second OT gave the Retrievers a 104-103 lead. UNH senior guard Jaleen Smith then missed a runner and Retriever senior guard Rodney Elliott grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 6.6 seconds remaining. Elliott hit the first of two free throws, the visitors grabbed the rebound and drove down the floor, but Smith's attempt from behind the arc came up short, setting off a wild celebration at the RAC Arena.

Former Dulaney H.S. star Will Darley hit a three pointer at the buzzer on Saturday to save UMBC from defeat against New Hampshire.

"New Hampshire was stellar and I thought our guys stepped up to the challenge," said UMBC head coach Ryan Odom. "It was a gritty win. A lot of guys stepped up and elevated their play and made big plays on both ends of the court. That's what college basketball should be all about – a fun, passionate game."

The Wildcats appeared to have the game under control after junior post Tanner Leissner buried two free throws with 2.3 seconds left in the first overtime to give the visitors a 92-89 lead. After a time out, UMBC sophomore forward Joe Sherburne's three-quarter court length pass found forward Will Darley (Dulaney H.S.) and the senior turned and buried a 24-footer just right of the key before the buzzer to send the game to a second overtime period.

Lyles scored 28 points for UMBC, but he had plenty of help. Elliott scored a season-high 22 points, and freshman Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.) sparked a second half rally, knocking down three consecutive treys and amassing 14 points.

Leissner was brilliant for UNH, scoring 36 points, hitting 11-of-17 shots from the floor, four-of-eight from behind the arc and all 10 free throw attempts.

UMBC shot 50 percent from the floor, hitting 36 of 72 field goals. Led by Lamar's season-high four treys, the Retrievers converted 11-of-25 from behind the arc and netted 22-of-28 from the free throw line. They only committed seven turnovers in 50 minutes of playing time.

UNH outrebounded UMBC, 52-38, and outscored UMBC, 24-10, in second chance points. But the Retrievers' bench, paced by Elliott and Lamar, outscored UNH's, 49-5.

The first half was as evenly played as possible, as the Wildcats led for 8:51, while the Retrievers led for 8:37. The initial surge was made by UMBC as Lyles scored 10 points and staked the hosts to a 16-9 advantage at the 13:56 mark. The Retrievers still led, 20-13, when the Wildcats embarked on a 21-9 run to take a 34-29 advantage with 3:22 remaining in the period.

But Elliott, who scored 11 first-half points, drained a trey from the right side to tie the score at 38-all in the final minute and the teams went to the intermission deadlocked.

UMBC has scored more than 100 points three times this season, the most since doing it four times in the 1991-92 season… They improved to 8-2 at home and 7-1 in day games.

The Retrievers start the second half of league play at Binghamton on Wednesday.

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we need one more hero! only one team left in our charity duckpin bowling event on feb. 26


OK, we now need only ONE more team to fill the field at our Charity Duckpin Challenge on February 26th. That's it, just ONE more team and we're full!

I've said and written this a lot since #DMD started on August 25, 2014. Our mission here is greater than just writing about local and national sports and covering the Ravens, Orioles, Terps, etc.

We also strive to stress the importance of giving back to our community and supporting one another in times of need.

As most of you know, I assume, the Malone family suffered a heartbreaking tragedy last Thursday when their home caught fire in Northeast Baltimore, killing six of their nine children.

This is a chance for the #DMD family and the local sports community to get involved and help one of its own.

And we'll have a blast doing it, too.

They are literally starting all over again. And doing so with the heaviest of hearts, having suffered the worst thing imaginable to a parent; losing a child.

We need to help.

Our friends at Unison Business Solutions are stepping up to help the Malone family. Now, we need you to help, too!

Our annual charity bowling event is set for Sunday, February 26 at Stoneleigh Lanes in Towson from 3 pm to 6 pm. Thanks to my longtime friend Shawn Shannon and his company, Unison Business Solutions, we're going to turn the event into a fundraiser of sorts for the Malone family.

The first order of business is selling out the event to maximize the amount of money we can raise.

That's where you come in. Today, we have 12 teams registered for the bowling event. We need 14 to complete the field.

I'm asking all of you reading this to consider putting together a team, but I'm specifically challenging those of you who comment regularly here. You know who you are. You're some of our most active participants, adding your wit, wisdom and opinion to the "Comments" section at the bottom of #DMD.

Now I want you to add something else; your time, energy and support.

I'm not mentioning anyone by name, but if you're a regular commenter here, the challenge is out. Get your team of four together and help us raise some money for the Malone family.

It's time for you to man-up.

And one of our #DMD corporate partners has stepped to the plate with an awesome offer to help us raise even more money for the Malone family.

Unison Business Solutions will donate ten cents for each pin knocked down in the first game of all 14 teams on February 26. #DMD is going to match that pledge. Just in case you went to Old Mill or you're a Flyers fan, I'll do the math for you: If each team averaged a score of "80" per-player in their first game, that's 14 teams x 4 players x ten cents per-pin = $448.

Boom! We're at almost $1,000 and that's just with each team bowling a team-score of 320 in their first game.

But we need 14 teams to reach that level.

Here's the other challenge: I'm asking each player in the field to put up $5.00 for every strike they throw on Sunday, February 26, up to a maximum of 10 or $50.00. That money goes in the kitty for the large-scale donation to the Malone family.

We're still donating the regular bowling prize money to your designated charity, but we're adding the "Malone donation" option for everyone who wants to help this family in need.

It's likely instead of donating cash we'll simply buy them a couple of gift cards -- per their request -- to Target, Home Depot and Amazon. We're in contact with a family member who is organizing all of that and we'll provide more details in the near future.

The first order of business is finding one more team of four to bowl in our event on February 26th. E-mail me this morning if you're willing to field a team: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Your team fee remains $300, which gets everyone three hours of bowling, shoes, pizza, beer, soft drinks and prize money for the top four teams.

Unison Business Solutions will then initiate the "First Game Fundraiser" and will donate ten cents per-pin, per-player in the first game bowled on February 26. #DMD will match that.

And we hope others will, as well.

This is our chance to make a difference in the community and help a family in need.

Join with us on February 26th.

To register your team, just visit the "Charity Bowling" tab at the top of #DMD above.

Saturday
January 28
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXX
Issue 28
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no matter what jim rome says, tiger wasn't a "complete embarrassment"


Never trust anyone who can't break 100 to talk with you about golf.

You can certainly listen to what they have to say, but it's important to keep in mind they have no real idea what they're talking about.

After bowing out of the PGA Tour event in San Diego yesterday with a 2-day total of 4-over par, Tiger Woods headed to the comfort of his private jet and a 17-hour trip to Dubai to prepare for his next tournament.

It was the first time in his 21-year career that Woods missed the cut in any event played at Torrey Pines.

Jim Rome and a bunch of other national sports media members made their hot take a simple one on Friday: "Tiger stunk it up at Torrey Pines."

Rome called his performance "a complete embarrassment".

Not hardly, Jim.

Tiger's first tournament since first 2015 produced a missed cut and rounds of 76-72 at Torrey Pines.

I watched probably 26 of Tiger's 36 holes over the two days he played at Torrey Pines. I can make the following observations about his play.

First, the old Tiger Woods, meaning the guy who used to beat everyone on TOUR with one hand tied behind his back, is long gone. He's not 31 anymore, he's 41 now.

Second, he just played his first "real" event in 523 days. And, no, please, that 4-day hit-and-giggle thing Tiger organized for 18 players in the Bahamas back in December wasn't "real". People (like Jim Rome) who haven't played competitive, tournament golf have no idea how hard it is to play tournament golf on a week-to-week basis, let alone when you haven't played it in 523 days.

On that note, remember Hudson Swafford? He won last week's tournament in Palm Springs at 20-under par for four rounds. Key words: Last week. He just won last week. Guess where he is this morning? He's back home after shooting 70-78 in San Diego and missing the cut.

Swafford "stunk it up" in San Diego and he just played GREAT last week.

Woods actually beat Swafford, missed the cut as well, and he hadn't played a PGA Tour event in 523 days.

Third, Woods missed the cut by four shots. Now, I've missed some cuts in amateur and professional tournaments and I understand that anyone who misses the cut can typically say "If not for that putt at #4, #7 and #9, I would have made the cut." I get that. Everyone can do "shoulda, coulda, woulda" when it comes to missing a cut.

But Woods missed the cut by four shots over 36 holes where he hit 14 of 28 fairways and missed a handful of putts within six feet. And if you saw yesterday afternoon's golf on the South Course, where countless players -- including one of the best putters in the world, Brandt Snedeker -- missed putts within three feet of the cup, you can understand how narrow the margin was between making the cut and missing the cut.

One other thing, if you want to get even more granular about his play: Woods played 30 holes in two under par and six holes in six over par. He made a mess of holes 12 through 17 on Thursday when he played those in six over par. In the other 30 holes he was under par.

In summary: Woods hadn't played a PGA Tour event in 523 days, spanning back to August of 2014, and he lost to Dustin Johnson (+2) by two shots, lost by one to Jason Day (+3), Jimmie Walker (+3) and Rickie Fowler (+3) and he tied the guy, Swafford (+4), who just last week was the best player on the TOUR over a four-day period.

Oh, and Tiger's score of 72 on Friday, albeit on the easier course of the two in the rotation at Torrey Pines, beat the score posted by Johnson and Day, who played alongside him for two days.

Given what he dealt with -- bad end of the tee-time draw, tee-ball issues, flaky greens -- I actually think Tiger played OK.

I don't think he played well. Or, even, "good". I think he played "OK".

Now, this much is for certain: If Tiger's play doesn't improve over the next month, he should be concerned.

If he's still hitting foul pops down the right field line at the Honda Classic in mid-February, he has reason to worry. Somehow, someway, he has to fix his issues off the tee. You just can't play good golf from the right rough on the PGA Tour.

But his short game -- much maligned back in 2014 when he was yipping it from around the greens -- actually looked very strong at Torrey Pines. In fact, he would have threatened to shoot 80 in round one if not for several great chips and pitches on the front nine.

And there were some things about Tiger's swing that actually looked good, particulary on iron shots out of the rough where his surgically repaired back had to withstand some thrashing and torque. He seemingly came out of those two days with no red flags, health wise, which is probably all he really wanted, truth be told.

I suspect he's not thrilled with how he drove the ball at Torrey Pines, but I think privately he's probably a little more excited about his performance than he's willing to let on after shooting 76-72.

Why do I suspect that? Woods stuck around and held a 12-minute press conference after the round yesterday, then headed over to the autograph area and signed for kids for 35 minutes.

Just a hunch, here, but if Tiger was really angry with his play and overly concerned that things didn't "feel right", he would have trunk-slammed the media, issued a statement through his caddie or P.R. guy, and headed off for some sushi and the flight to Dubai.

Sticking around and talking to those creeps in the media for 12 minutes and signing autographs for 35 minutes is an indication to me that Tiger was actually satisfied with what happened on Thursday and Friday. His spirts were good, I guess you could say.

I didn't see Dustin Johnson or Jason Day at the autograph area every time they showed Woods on TV signing for the kids.

Jim Rome has no idea what he's talking about when he calls Tiger's play (or anyone's play who shot three or four over par and narrowly missed the cut) a "complete embarrassment".

He beat a handful of the best players in the world yesterday on his second day back at work and could have easily been playing this weekend if not for a balky driver on Thursday and a few missed short putts.

I don't know what he'll do in his next three events, scattered over four weeks, but I know this: There was lots of good to focus on after Tiger's performance at Torrey Pines.

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dale williams aims
the terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his third season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in 2016-2017.


terps looking to upset, shock favored minnesota today


Make no mistake about it, if Maryland wants to win today’s Big 10 matchup against the Minnesota Golden Gophers, they will need a solid effort from many players. Don’t let the recent Minnesota four game slide fool you, these Gophers have some fight in them.

Minnesota played Purdue tough before falling in overtime on the road.

They also took #16 Wisconsin to overtime before losing, then went on the road to beat a potential NCAA tournament team (Northwestern). The Gophers also had a halftime lead on a real strong Florida State team before faltering in the second half in a game played in Tallahassee.

Minnesota is a respectable team.

Maryland needs a good day under the basket from center Damonte Dodd as they look to win a big road game at Minnesota on Saturday afternoon.

The centerpiece of this squad is Amir Coffey. Coffey isn’t the team’s leading scorer (that title goes to guard Nate Mason) but that’s only because Mason takes way more shots than Coffey. Coffey is a smooth 6’8” freshman forward who has made only 10 less shot than Mason despite having 68 less attempts.

Coffey’s hoops IQ comes from his family’s basketball background. He has two sisters with college experience and his father played in the NBA with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Coffey can hit threes, but needs to improve a bit on his 30% accuracy from long range. He runs the floor well, can finish inside, and has no problem creating his own shot off of the bounce.

No one would be surprised if Coffey's college career never makes it to four years. The Terps can’t afford to lose him too often on the offensive end.

Jordan Murphy and Dupree McBrayer both hit about 45% from the field and neither one has any problems creating their own shot. McBrayer knocks down 37% of his threes while the 6’6” Murphy prefers to work closer to the basket. Murphy is a rugged 240 pounds and leads his team in rebounds.

6’2” junior guard Nate Mason will find himself with the ball on most possessions. While his shooting percentage of 38% leaves little to be desired, he has the second most assists in the Big 10 and his assist to turnover ratio of 3.0 accurately depicts his ball-handling ability.

As a team, Minnesota can play quick and athletic basketball. They are a decent rebounding team, but nothing intimidating. Their overall shooting percentage can hinder their efforts at times, as can some mental lapses on the defensive end.

Defensively, the Gophers are a decent but not great team. Reggie Lynch (6’10”) and Bakary Konate are decent rim protectors but not imposing forces down low.

Maryland can have success by running good, hard offensive sets. Minnesota has shown vulnerability to quick cuts and sharp ball movement. Patience will truly be a virtue for Maryland in this game today.

It’s a no-brainer to say that the Terps must hit shots and play solid defense, but with the home crowd expected to be at capacity, it will be essential for Maryland to stay poised and keep constant pressure on the Minnesota scorers.

From a match-up standpoint, I’m not sure which Golden Gopher can handle the Terps' Kevin Huerter. I look for him to have another solid performance. Damonte Dodd and Michal Cekovsky (depending on his physical status) could pick up some easy buckets inside as long as they stay aggressive and play tough in the paint.

Vegas has pinned the traveling Terps as a five point dog. As we saw last week when Kansas, Villanova, and Kentucky all lost on the road, an energized home court can mean so much to the outcome of a collegiate basketball game.

That being said, Maryland has superior talent at too many positions for me to think they can’t be competitive on the road against the Golden Gophers. Minnesota doesn’t shoot well enough to keep the Terps at bay. Maryland will win a tight game with Huerter knocking down keys shots, Damonte Dodd getting double digit points, and Melo Trimble sealing the deal from the foul line as he has already done numerous times this year.

I see Maryland returning to College Park tonight with a hard fought 67-64 win.

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calvert hall hands mount saint joseph rare home loss


There are big wins and then there are BIG wins, in all caps.

Calvert Hall's victory at Mount Saint Joseph on Friday night was a BIG win for the Cardinals.

After taking top-ranked Mount St. Joseph to overtime in Towson earlier this month, Calvert Hall headed to the west side of town on Friday night and stunned the Gaels with a wire-to-wire run in capturing an impressive win 79-67.

The victory improved Calvert Hall's record in the Baltimore Catholic League to 4-5 while the Gaels fell to 9-2 in the BCL. The game did not count in the MIAA standings, where Mount Saint Joseph still owns a 13-0 mark.

Having a healthy team seemd to be the difference for CHC coach John Bauersfeld. Playing for the first time this season with all five of its projected pre-season starters, the Cardinals got a combined 46 points from Brendan Adams and Logan Curtis.

Calvert Hall led by eight after one quarter and still held a five-point margin at the half. The lead continued to grow in the second half.

Adams scored 16 of his game-high 26 points in the second half and Curtis scored nine of his 20 points in the fourth quarter to help the Cardinals close out the victory.

Calvert Hall point-guard D’Yante Dougty added 12 points and Josh Cornish netted 10.

Jalen Smith led the Gaels with 21 points and Jaden Robinson scored 16 points. James Bishop and Darryl Morsell added 10 points each.

Calvert Hall improved to 11-12 overall while Mount Saint Joseph fell to 23-2.

Some information in this story was provided by our friends at Varsity Sports Network, the area's leader in high school sports coverage. For more information, please visit their website at www.varsitysportsnetwork.com.

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we need one more hero! only one team left in our charity duckpin bowling event on feb. 26


OK, we now need only ONE more team to fill the field at our Charity Duckpin Challenge on February 26th. That's it, just ONE more team and we're full!

I've said and written this a lot since #DMD started on August 25, 2014. Our mission here is greater than just writing about local and national sports and covering the Ravens, Orioles, Terps, etc.

We also strive to stress the importance of giving back to our community and supporting one another in times of need.

As most of you know, I assume, the Malone family suffered a heartbreaking tragedy last Thursday when their home caught fire in Northeast Baltimore, killing six of their nine children.

This is a chance for the #DMD family and the local sports community to get involved and help one of its own.

And we'll have a blast doing it, too.

They are literally starting all over again. And doing so with the heaviest of hearts, having suffered the worst thing imaginable to a parent; losing a child.

We need to help.

Our friends at Unison Business Solutions are stepping up to help the Malone family. Now, we need you to help, too!

Our annual charity bowling event is set for Sunday, February 26 at Stoneleigh Lanes in Towson from 3 pm to 6 pm. Thanks to my longtime friend Shawn Shannon and his company, Unison Business Solutions, we're going to turn the event into a fundraiser of sorts for the Malone family.

The first order of business is selling out the event to maximize the amount of money we can raise.

That's where you come in. Today, we have 12 teams registered for the bowling event. We need 14 to complete the field.

I'm asking all of you reading this to consider putting together a team, but I'm specifically challenging those of you who comment regularly here. You know who you are. You're some of our most active participants, adding your wit, wisdom and opinion to the "Comments" section at the bottom of #DMD.

Now I want you to add something else; your time, energy and support.

I'm not mentioning anyone by name, but if you're a regular commenter here, the challenge is out. Get your team of four together and help us raise some money for the Malone family.

It's time for you to man-up.

And one of our #DMD corporate partners has stepped to the plate with an awesome offer to help us raise even more money for the Malone family.

Unison Business Solutions will donate ten cents for each pin knocked down in the first game of all 14 teams on February 26. #DMD is going to match that pledge. Just in case you went to Old Mill or you're a Flyers fan, I'll do the math for you: If each team averaged a score of "80" per-player in their first game, that's 14 teams x 4 players x ten cents per-pin = $448.

Boom! We're at almost $1,000 and that's just with each team bowling a team-score of 320 in their first game.

But we need 14 teams to reach that level.

Here's the other challenge: I'm asking each player in the field to put up $5.00 for every strike they throw on Sunday, February 26, up to a maximum of 10 or $50.00. That money goes in the kitty for the large-scale donation to the Malone family.

We're still donating the regular bowling prize money to your designated charity, but we're adding the "Malone donation" option for everyone who wants to help this family in need.

It's likely instead of donating cash we'll simply buy them a couple of gift cards -- per their request -- to Target, Home Depot and Amazon. We're in contact with a family member who is organizing all of that and we'll provide more details in the near future.

The first order of business is finding one more team of four to bowl in our event on February 26th. E-mail me this morning if you're willing to field a team: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Your team fee remains $300, which gets everyone three hours of bowling, shoes, pizza, beer, soft drinks and prize money for the top four teams.

Unison Business Solutions will then initiate the "First Game Fundraiser" and will donate ten cents per-pin, per-player in the first game bowled on February 26. #DMD will match that.

And we hope others will, as well.

This is our chance to make a difference in the community and help a family in need.

Join with us on February 26th.

To register your team, just visit the "Charity Bowling" tab at the top of #DMD above.

Friday
January 27
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXX
Issue 27
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


one time in st. louis, a blast player got lost in a park


Seeing that the Blast plays host to St. Louis in indoor soccer this Sunday sparked some old, fond memories for me yesterday.

Back in 1983-84 when I was the media relations assistant for the team, the Blast won its first MISL title by beating the St. Louis Steamers, 4-games-to-1 in the Championship Series.

Any visit to St. Louis back in those days was a treat because the Steamers played to sell-out crowds of 18,000-plus in the old Checkerdome.

And there was a natural dislike between the two franchises on the field, although we typically only faced St. Louis two or four times a season (based on league size) because they were always in the Western Conference and we were in the Eastern Conference.

If winning the title in '83-84 is my fondest memory, something else that happened in St. Louis ranks near the top of my "funny moments" list in my 17-year career with the local indoor soccer team.

And it also happened in that '83-84 season.

The Blast signed a player in the summer of 1983 named Stan Stamenkovic, who came over to the U.S. from Yugoslavia and played a couple of seasons with the Memphis Americans before we acquired him in Baltimore.

Stan was the best offensive player -- ball skills wise -- in the entire league, earning himself the nickname "The Magician" because of his ability to weave in, through and around defensive players with the ball at his feet.

Stamenkovic was a remarkable player.

He was also remarkably out of shape.

Stan was once told by a Memphis doctor to go on a diet and lose 25 pounds before the season started. When his then-coach Kyle Rote Jr. asked him how he anticipated doing that, Stan said, quite seriously, "I'll just eat one pizza a day instead of two."

The Magician also liked to make beer disappear. In his stomach.

I remember prior to the '84-85 season when he came to town in August for training camp, we had photo day for media guide pictures and we recorded each player's height and weight as well.

Stamenkovic, after a long summer of eating and drinking back home in Yugoslavia and celebrating the Blast's title earlier that year, stepped on the scale -- and it reached 240 pounds.

"Please," Stan said in his broken English. "My weight will be 220 when start season. Can you make weight 220 in book?"

Exercising wasn't Stamenkovic's forte, but I did it anyway for him, assuming he'd eventually get down there near 220.

As it turns out, jogging with the team in a big St. Louis park wasn't in Stan's wheelhouse either.

In that '83-84 season, we stayed at a nice, old hotel in St. Louis called the Chase Park Plaza. As far as hotels went back then, it was easily one of the two or three favorites of everyone on the team who traveled regularly.

It also happened to be right across the street from a huge park -- Forest Park -- on the west side of St. Louis.

On the morning of a road game with the Steamers, coach Kenny Cooper gathered the team for a brief meeting and a stretch session, followed by a 15-minute run through Forest Park.

Our trainer back then, Bob Baldwin, was a daily runner and had already gone across the street to the park and mapped out the route for everyone to take.

Cooper and I, along with Charley Eckman, the team's radio commentator, sat in the lobby and enjoyed a morning coffee while the team took on their 2 mile run through Forest Park.

Thirty minutes later, Cooper realized the team hadn't returned yet. "Where are those guys?" he asked as we got up to go outside and check on them.

Coming our way were Baldwin, Dave MacWilliams and Heinz Wirtz.

"We can't find Stamenkovic," Baldwin said.

"We finished about 15 minutes ago, but he never made it," the trainer said. "The other guys are still back there looking for him."

Eventually a few more players made their way to the street where the park ended. "We looked everywhere for him," said goalkeeper Scott Manning. "We can't find him."

Cooper was, of course, worried. Stamenkovic's English was O.K., especially around contract time, but he was still a little bit like a fish out of water when he was out of his element.

And being lost in a 1400 acre park in St. Louis, Missouri was definitely "out of his element".

By now, all of the players except two, Mike Stankovic and Ray Kunovac, had returned to the hotel. Stankovic and Kunovac were still searching for their fellow countryman.

Finally, three figures could be seen in the distance and one was clearly wearing a red sweatsuit. As they approached the street in front of the hotel, it was Stamenkovic and two Park Patrol officers.

We went out to greet them.

Stamenkovic, embarrassed, nodded to Cooper and headed inside the hotel.

"He wouldn't tell us flat out," said one of the officers. "But it looked like he stopped for a smoke break and the team must have made a turn and he didn't see them."

"We found him wandering around, smoking, and asking people for directions."

Stamenkovic also enjoyed the occasional cigarette in addition to pizza and beer. On that day, while jogging with the team, Stan apparently wanted to sneak in a quick smoke while getting his exercise.

As it turned out, The Magician made himself disappear in Forest Park.

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woods and his uncooperative driver stumble to opening round 76


It has always amazed me that for a guy worth a billion dollars who is the greatest golfer I've ever seen, Tiger Woods can't seem to find a driver that works for him.

Other than a few years when he was working with Sean Foley, Woods has always been an inconsistent driver of the golf ball. Length was never his problem, but accuracy sure was. Foley got the accuracy part improved, but once Tiger left Foley a few years back, the driving woes returned.

In Thursday's opening round at Torrey Pines, Tiger slopped his way to a dismal 4-over par 76, hitting just 4 of 14 fairways on the day. You're not winning the club championship at Eagle's Nest hitting 4 of 14 fairways, let alone competing on the PGA Tour with numbers like that.

There weren't many bright spots for Tiger Woods on Thursday, but a final hole birdie got a slight gesture of happiness from the 14-time major champion.

Sure, as Dustin Johnson noted afterwards, Woods, Jason Day and Johnson got the sticky end of the Thursday-Friday draw at Torrey Pines, as those three played the harder of the two courses (South) on Thursday and got the late tee-time assignment, which made putting the poa annua greens even more difficult.

Those three will get the good draw today, playing in the morning and moving to the easier North course -- which features more reliable bent-grass greens -- but for Woods, at least, it's probably too little, too late. Barring a round in the mid 60's, he won't make the 36-hole cut at a place he's owned since year 2000 or so.

Tiger was fine on the front nine Thursday, shooting 1-over par 37 with a first hole bogey followed by eight straight pars. He quickly moved to 1-under par with back-to-back birdies at 10 and 11, but then the wheels fell off.

Woods went six over par from holes 12 through 16 before a par at 17 and a birdie at 18 semi-rescued his day. Indeed, the soft fist pump after the birdie at 18 and wide smile as he shook hands with Day and Johnson after the round showed more happiness than you think you'd see from a guy who just posted 76.

Tiger, of course, was playing his first competitive PGA Tour round in 523 days. He hadn't officially teed it up in a tournament since August of 2015.

It can likely only get better from here, but Woods is clearly still rusty, particularly with the driver. Missing ten fairways is a recipe for disaster, and if not for a few well holed putts and some sharp iron shots out of the rough, Tiger would have flirted with 80.

Not many of you who voted in our #DMD poll yesterday saw Tiger's poor play coming. 47% of the voters thought Woods would make the cut, in fact. Only 12% of those who responded thought Woods would shoot over par for two rounds and miss the 36-hole cut.

I expected him to play better than 4-over par, that's for sure. I probably didn't give enough consideration to the double whammy he (and his two playing partners) took with the late-day tee time on the harder course with the bumpy, sticky poa annua greens. That's probably a two or three shot difference, particularly when you're not sharp. Even Day, normally an outstanding putter, whiffed on a handful of four footers on Thursday.

I figure Tiger will play better today, moving to the easier North Course, but I don't see him throwing up a 65 or 66, which is probably what it's going to take to make the cut.

One thing for certain: Woods has to improve his play off the tee. If his driver continues to misbehave, he won't be playing on the weekends very often out there.

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lots to do in town this weekend


If you're looking for something sports-related to do this weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday have something to offer.

Mount Saint Joseph puts their perfect MIAA record (13-0) on the line tonight when they host Calvert Hall.

There's a big high school basketball game in town tonight, as #1 Mount Saint Joseph hosts Calvert Hall at 7 pm. The Gaels are 23-1 overall and a perfect 13-0 in conference play.

Calvert Hall is fighting for a playoff spot in the MIAA's Red Division, with a 6-6 record and 10-12 mark overall.

Mount Saint Joseph won the earlier meeting at Calvert Hall, 71-65, back on January 11.

On Saturday at 1 pm, UMBC men's basketball hosts New Hampshire at 1 pm, as the Retrievers look to stay above .500 in America East play.

UMBC is currently 4-3 in the conference after Wednesday's loss at 2nd place Stony Brook.

If you haven't yet seen the Retrievers, do yourself a favor and get out to the RAC to check them out. They feature three outstanding offensive players (Will Darley, Jairus Lyles and Joe Sherburne) and first-year coach Ryan Odom has UMBC playing as well as they've played since back in 2008 and 2009 when they were the best program in the America East conference.

And, as I mentioned above, the Blast are at home on Sunday (4 pm) against the St. Louis Ambush at Royal Farms Arena.

The Blast are 8-5 on the season and come in to Sunday's game on the heels of a very rare 2-game losing streak, having dropped road decisions at Cedar Rapids and Milwaukee last weekend.

All three of those activities this weekend are fun for the whole family and affordable, too.

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we need one more hero! only one team left in our charity duckpin bowling event on feb. 26


OK, we now need only ONE more team to fill the field at our Charity Duckpin Challenge on February 26th. That's it, just ONE more team and we're full!

I've said and written this a lot since #DMD started on August 25, 2014. Our mission here is greater than just writing about local and national sports and covering the Ravens, Orioles, Terps, etc.

We also strive to stress the importance of giving back to our community and supporting one another in times of need.

As most of you know, I assume, the Malone family suffered a heartbreaking tragedy last Thursday when their home caught fire in Northeast Baltimore, killing six of their nine children.

This is a chance for the #DMD family and the local sports community to get involved and help one of its own.

And we'll have a blast doing it, too.

They are literally starting all over again. And doing so with the heaviest of hearts, having suffered the worst thing imaginable to a parent; losing a child.

We need to help.

Our friends at Unison Business Solutions are stepping up to help the Malone family. Now, we need you to help, too!

Our annual charity bowling event is set for Sunday, February 26 at Stoneleigh Lanes in Towson from 3 pm to 6 pm. Thanks to my longtime friend Shawn Shannon and his company, Unison Business Solutions, we're going to turn the event into a fundraiser of sorts for the Malone family.

The first order of business is selling out the event to maximize the amount of money we can raise.

That's where you come in. Today, we have 12 teams registered for the bowling event. We need 14 to complete the field.

I'm asking all of you reading this to consider putting together a team, but I'm specifically challenging those of you who comment regularly here. You know who you are. You're some of our most active participants, adding your wit, wisdom and opinion to the "Comments" section at the bottom of #DMD.

Now I want you to add something else; your time, energy and support.

I'm not mentioning anyone by name, but if you're a regular commenter here, the challenge is out. Get your team of four together and help us raise some money for the Malone family.

It's time for you to man-up.

And one of our #DMD corporate partners has stepped to the plate with an awesome offer to help us raise even more money for the Malone family.

Unison Business Solutions will donate ten cents for each pin knocked down in the first game of all 14 teams on February 26. #DMD is going to match that pledge. Just in case you went to Old Mill or you're a Flyers fan, I'll do the math for you: If each team averaged a score of "80" per-player in their first game, that's 14 teams x 4 players x ten cents per-pin = $448.

Boom! We're at almost $1,000 and that's just with each team bowling a team-score of 320 in their first game.

But we need 14 teams to reach that level.

Here's the other challenge: I'm asking each player in the field to put up $5.00 for every strike they throw on Sunday, February 26, up to a maximum of 10 or $50.00. That money goes in the kitty for the large-scale donation to the Malone family.

We're still donating the regular bowling prize money to your designated charity, but we're adding the "Malone donation" option for everyone who wants to help this family in need.

It's likely instead of donating cash we'll simply buy them a couple of gift cards -- per their request -- to Target, Home Depot and Amazon. We're in contact with a family member who is organizing all of that and we'll provide more details in the near future.

The first order of business is finding one more team of four to bowl in our event on February 26th. E-mail me this morning if you're willing to field a team: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Your team fee remains $300, which gets everyone three hours of bowling, shoes, pizza, beer, soft drinks and prize money for the top four teams.

Unison Business Solutions will then initiate the "First Game Fundraiser" and will donate ten cents per-pin, per-player in the first game bowled on February 26. #DMD will match that.

And we hope others will, as well.

This is our chance to make a difference in the community and help a family in need.

Join with us on February 26th.

To register your team, just visit the "Charity Bowling" tab at the top of #DMD above.

Thursday
January 26
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXX
Issue 26
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


the final chapter of tiger's career begins today at torrey pines


It honestly seems like it wasn't that long ago when Tiger Woods rolled in a 5-foot curler at the 72nd hole at Augusta National to set the scoring record for the Masters (since tied by Jordan Spieth) at 18-under par.

"That's one for the ages!" Jim Nantz exclaimed as the ball fell in and Woods celebrated his first major title.

I remember it like it was yesterday.

I'd be fibbing if I said I thought Woods was going to go on from there to win 13 more major titles in his career, but I knew he was a special player. You don't win three U.S. Juniors and three U.S. Amateurs -- which, by the way, might be even more impressive than 14 professional majors -- without being on the fast track to greatness.

Will the golf world see this smile from Tiger Woods again sometime soon?

Woods, though, hasn't been all that great recently. After winning five times in 2013 and finishing 1st on the money list for the 10th time, Woods went winless in 2014 and 2015.

Tiger going a full golf season without a win is like Manny Machado going an entire summer without making a highlight reel play at 3rd base. In other words: It doesn't happen.

But it has happened to Tiger, and today at Torrey Pines, the final chapter of his great career begins when he tees it up at a venue that has treated him kindly in his career. Some guys don't win eight tournaments in 20+ years on the TOUR -- Woods has won eight times just at Torrey Pines alone, including his most recent major, the 2008 U.S. Open.

Here's something you already know but I'll say it again, just in case you're a newbie here to #DMD: I'm pulling for Woods.

My warmth for Tiger isn't about how great he was (true), or how he changed the game of golf here in the U.S. and globally (he did), or how he made golf cool for young kids (indeed).

I'm rooting for Woods because the older I get, the less inclined I am to want to see people fail who are REALLY trying to come back and achieve success one more time.

I guess I'm getting soft(er) in my early 50's, but I'm just not interested in rooting for someone to fail anymore.

Heck, I don't even care if Tom Brady and Bill Belichick win the Super Bowl next Sunday in Houston. And they've had gobs of success in the last 15 years. I just don't have the energy to root against someone, particularly when they've never done anything to me, personally.

Woods, in fact, has done just the opposite for me, although he doesn't know that. Sure, he gave me great thrills in the 1990's and 2000's while I watched him dominate on the PGA Tour. But the real truth? He made ME a better golfer for sure. I've enjoyed a moderately successful amateur golf career with a bunch of trophies in my basement because, in some ways, Tiger Woods motivated me to work on my game and try to be great.

Frank Kelly III talks to the Calvert Hall students in attendance at Wednesday's FCA huddle.

I had the privilege on Wednesday of participating in a Fellowship of Christian Athletes huddle at Calvert Hall, hosted by Frank Kelly III and Brian Hubbard of Kelly and Associates, where former Calvert Hall soccer star Matt Joseph supplied a packed room of high schoolers, including seniors from my CHC golf team, with his personal testimony of redemption.

After graduating from CHC in 1998, Joseph went on to play college soccer at UMBC, then encountered numerous personal struggles along the way that led him down a path he would later regret.

He talked openly about his fall from grace on Wednesday and how his faith helped him recover from that dark point in his life. And he encouraged those young men in the room not to make the same mistakes he made.

It's pretty hard to root against a guy like that. It's pretty easy to root FOR a guy who stands in front of you and admits his past failures and also takes the time to help you stay on the right track.

Watching Matt share his story in yesterday's FCA huddle reminded me of a meaningful verse from 2 Corinthinans, 4:8-9 -- 8) We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9) persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Woods is returning to the PGA Tour today seeking redemption. This isn't about his personal failings of 2009. Those mistakes -- created by Tiger himself -- are long gone, right up until someone brings them up again, that is.

It's not about money, either. Tiger has more money than me, you and everyone within a 1-mile radius of your house...combined.

He's back on the PGA Tour after a 16-month absence because he would like to be successful and win again.

And there's nothing at all wrong with that. We all wake up every morning wanting to be successful at what we do, successful at managing our personal relationships and, if it fits, successful at raising our children.

Former Calvert Hall soccer player Matt Joseph was the featured speaker at Wednesday's FCA huddle at the school, sharing his personal story with a packed room of students and teachers.

Imagine if we had people at every turn rooting against us. Pretty scare stuff.

If you think about it, sports is all about one thing: Proving people wrong. The other team shows up at your field and they're on hand to beat you. They think their team is better than your team. Your goal is to prove them wrong.

The guy on the 1st tee with you is there to show you he's better than you. Your job is to prove him wrong.

The baseball pitcher has a ball in his hand and says to the hitter, essentially, "You're not going to reach base against me." The hitter is up there to prove him wrong.

People have been saying for a couple of years now that Tiger Woods is finished. He's not a dummy. He has a cell phone, a computer and access to social media. He knows he's been written off.

He's back out there, starting today, to prove people wrong.

As Matt Joseph relayed to us at Calvert Hall yesterday, a bunch of folks in his life gave up on him after he made mistake after mistake. He told them he'd get himself straightened out. He set out to prove them wrong.

Tiger's using golf to do his proving, Matt Joseph used his faith and belief in Jesus -- and his forgiveness of Matt's sins -- to do his proving.

I hope Tiger wins again, in the same way I hope Matt Joseph continues to find peace and happiness in his life after a period of self-inflicted struggles.

Here's how much of a softee I'm becoming: I saw the Flyers beat the Rangers last night, 2-0, and said to myself, "Eh, good for Steve Mason (Flyers goalie), he needed that win."

When I'm no longer grinding my teeth over a Flyers' win, you know I'm starting to see things differently.

At least until the playoffs, that is.

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today's #dmd poll: how will tiger do?


So, Tiger Woods tees it up today for the first time -- in an official PGA Tour event -- since August of 2015.

That's a long time be away from something.

The good and the bad?

The good -- Woods knows the course all too well. He won a bunch of junior tournaments at Torrey Pines when he was growing up in Southern California and he has captured eight professional events at the course in La Jolla, including the 2008 U.S. Open.

He's played well of late in casual rounds, made 24 birdies in four rounds in the Bahamas back in December, and looked sharp in Wednesday's Pro-Am event at Torrey Pines.

The bad? The course is playing long after five days of rain last weekend and into this week. That puts even more pressure on Tiger's driver, which is, by far, his most uncooperative club in the bag.

There's more pressure on Tiger than on anyone in the field. If Woods shoots +6 for two rounds and goes home on Friday night after missing the cut, it's front page news. If anyone else shoots +6 and goes home early, it's a footnote if it's even mentioned at all.

The poll below gives you the chance to vote on what you think Woods will do this week at Torrey Pines.

I think Tiger's tournament goes like this: He responds well in the first two days and finishes at 3-under par to comfortably make the cut. He gathers himself for a weekend charge and eventually gets it to 6-under and on the bottom of the first page of the leaderboard by the back nine on Saturday, but limps in from there and sits at 4-under after 54 holes. He shoots even par on Sunday to finish at 4-under, which gets him a tie for 22nd place.

What do you think happens?

Chime in with your vote below.


 Drew's Morning Dish

#DMD Poll

Question: What is the Ravens biggest problem thus far in 2017?
Flacco and his QB play
Lack of receivers and playmakers
Key injuries
Offensive and defensive schemes
Harbaugh and his coaching
Name
Email address

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umbc hoops split with stony brook


UMBC men's basketball (13-7, 4-3 America East) sliced a 21-point first half deficit to 46-45 midway through the second half on Wednesday, but could not complete the rally and fell at Stony Brook (11-9, 6-1 AE), 83-73, at IFCU Arena.

Senior forward Will Darley (Dulaney H.S.) continued his outstanding campaign with 20 points, while junior guard Jairus Lyles also contributed 20 points for UMBC. Junior guard Rodney Elliott (John Carroll) sparked the second half comeback by tallying all of his 13 points in the final 20 minutes.

But UMBC could not overcome a 34.4% shooting percentage against the defending America East champions.

Junior guard Jairus Lyles scored 20 points in Wednesday's loss at Stony Brook which dropped UMBC to 4-3 in conference play.

Trailing 39-24 at intermission, UMBC quickly sliced into the deficit as Darley scored six points in a 10-4 run which brought the visitors to within 43-34 at the 15:28 mark.

Then Elliott took his turn, scoring eight consecutive points to extend the surge to 18-5 and bring the Retrievers to within 44-42 with 13:48 to play.

After a Stony Brook field goal, sophomore forward Joe Sherburne buried a trey to bring the visitors to within 46-45.

UMBC had a pair of chances to tie or take the lead, but Darley could not convert and Stony Brook responded with a 12-5 answer to lead, 56-47, with 8:53 to play.

The Retrievers could not close the gap down the stretch and dropped their third game in the last four outings.

UMBC returns to the court this Saturday with a 1 pm home game against New Hampshire.

Meanwhile, the UMBC women's team has now won four straight games after Phil Stern's team picked up a 67-61 home victory over Stony Brook on Wednesday afternoon, thanks in part to an all-around performance by senior Taylor McCarley. McCarley finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists as UMBC moved above .500 in the conference for the first time all season.

The win propels the Retrievers to 9-11 overall and 4-3 in America East.

UMBC's Pandora Wilson led all scorers with 18 points, adding seven rebounds. Laura Castaldo was the other Retriever in double figures, totaling 16 points on 7-12 shooting.

Christa Scognamiglio led the Seawolves with 17 points and ten caroms on 7-14 shooting.

The Lady Retrievers hit the road this Saturday for a 12 noon encounter with New Hampshire.

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we only need two more teams for our charity duckpin bowling event on feb. 26


OK, we now need only two more teams to fill the field at our Charity Duckpin Challenge on February 26th. Big thanks to Mark Healy and Brian Hubbard of Kelly Benefits and Payroll for stepping up and joining the field with their teams!

I've said and written this a lot since #DMD started on August 25, 2014. Our mission here is greater than just writing about local and national sports and covering the Ravens, Orioles, Terps, etc.

We also strive to stress the importance of giving back to our community and supporting one another in times of need.

As most of you know, I assume, the Malone family suffered a heartbreaking tragedy last Thursday when their home caught fire in Northeast Baltimore, killing six of their nine children.

This is a chance for the #DMD family and the local sports community to get involved and help one of its own.

And we'll have a blast doing it, too.

They are literally starting all over again. And doing so with the heaviest of hearts, having suffered the worst thing imaginable to a parent; losing a child.

We need to help.

Our friends at Unison Business Solutions are stepping up to help the Malone family. Now, we need you to help, too!

Our annual charity bowling event is set for Sunday, February 26 at Stoneleigh Lanes in Towson from 3 pm to 6 pm. Thanks to my longtime friend Shawn Shannon and his company, Unison Business Solutions, we're going to turn the event into a fundraiser of sorts for the Malone family.

The first order of business is selling out the event to maximize the amount of money we can raise.

That's where you come in. Today, we have 12 teams registered for the bowling event. We need 14 to complete the field.

I'm asking all of you reading this to consider putting together a team, but I'm specifically challenging those of you who comment regularly here. You know who you are. You're some of our most active participants, adding your wit, wisdom and opinion to the "Comments" section at the bottom of #DMD.

Now I want you to add something else; your time, energy and support.

I'm not mentioning anyone by name, but if you're a regular commenter here, the challenge is out. Get your team of four together and help us raise some money for the Malone family.

It's time for you to man-up.

And one of our #DMD corporate partners has stepped to the plate with an awesome offer to help us raise even more money for the Malone family.

Unison Business Solutions will donate ten cents for each pin knocked down in the first game of all 14 teams on February 26. #DMD is going to match that pledge. Just in case you went to Old Mill or you're a Flyers fan, I'll do the math for you: If each team averaged a score of "80" per-player in their first game, that's 14 teams x 4 players x ten cents per-pin = $448.

Boom! We're at almost $1,000 and that's just with each team bowling a team-score of 320 in their first game.

But we need 14 teams to reach that level.

Here's the other challenge: I'm asking each player in the field to put up $5.00 for every strike they throw on Sunday, February 26, up to a maximum of 10 or $50.00. That money goes in the kitty for the large-scale donation to the Malone family.

We're still donating the regular bowling prize money to your designated charity, but we're adding the "Malone donation" option for everyone who wants to help this family in need.

It's likely instead of donating cash we'll simply buy them a couple of gift cards -- per their request -- to Target, Home Depot and Amazon. We're in contact with a family member who is organizing all of that and we'll provide more details in the near future.

The first order of business is finding two more teams of four to bowl in our event on February 26th. E-mail me this morning if you're willing to field a team: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Your team fee remains $300, which gets everyone three hours of bowling, shoes, pizza, beer, soft drinks and prize money for the top four teams.

Unison Business Solutions will then initiate the "First Game Fundraiser" and will donate ten cents per-pin, per-player in the first game bowled on February 26. #DMD will match that.

And we hope others will, as well.

This is our chance to make a difference in the community and help a family in need.

Join with us on February 26th.

To register your team, just visit the "Charity Bowling" tab at the top of #DMD above.

Wednesday
January 25
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXX
Issue 25
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what's next at michigan, will the "hydration coordinator" get $150,000 a year?


I realize we live in a country where you get what you can get.

And I understand the dynamics of college sports at the "big time" Division I level. The schools use their athletic programs as de facto marketing campaigns to lure teenagers to their institution of higher learning.

Why else would anyone go to the University of Alabama, for instance, except to be part of the football culture that Nick Saban has so smartly developed?

So, I get it.

But the University of Michiga has reached an all-time low by reaching an all-time high, as they've agreed to pay three assistant football coaches $1 million a year.

Nothing against "assistant" coaches, either. They're important, I know.

Michigan not only pays Jim Harbaugh $9 million a year, they're now paying his top three assistant coaches $1 million a year, the first public institution to pay assistant coaches that kind of money.

But when your school is paying an assistant coach a million bucks, someone in the decision making process has really lost their way.

Michigan isn't paying just one assistant coach that kind of money, they're paying their offensive and defensive coordinators a $1 million salary plus, wait for it, the freakin' passing coordinator is also getting a seven figure salary.

You read that right. The. Passing. Coordinator.

How long until Michigan rewards the water boy -- better known as the "Hydration Coordinator" at Ann Arbor -- with a $150,000 salary?

I'm not picking on Michigan because they're Michigan. They're just the public institution in the country to fork over annual salaries of $1 million a year to assistant football coaches. More will follow soon enough, you can bet on that.

Something isn't quite right when you're paying Jim Harbaugh $9 million to coach the football team.

But something is really wrong when you're paying the Passing Coordinator of the football team more than you're paying the top professors who are teaching the students at your esteemed university.

Really, really wrong.

How does that even happen?

Does Jim Harbaugh intitiate it over coffee and bagels one morning in the President's office?

"You know, Jim, I was pretty disappointed we didn't reach the football playoff this year. What can we do about that?" the President wonders.

"Glad you asked," Jim replies. "The biggest thing from my vantage point is retaining our great staff here at Michigan. You know, we brought on Tim Brevno and Don Brown a couple of years back and they've done a great job, but I'm not sure we can keep them around at that $700,000 we're paying them right now. And I'd like to bring in Pep Hamilton to organize our passing game, but he's probably going to need big money, too."

----awkward silence----

Harbaugh takes a look at his watch and sips his coffee.

"OK, Jim, round up those three and have them head over human resources later today," the President says. "Will a million bucks a year keep them here?"

Harbaugh winces, as if a million bucks might not get it done. "I think so. Let me have a chat with them and see. I'd hate to lose them."

The coaches are always to blame in these situations because they're the ones trying to compile the best staff they can (no shame there) without worry of the repercussions or the backlash it might cause when you do something like pay an assistant coach one million dollars a year.

But the truth of the matter is that anyone who touches those assistant coach salaries and doesn't pitch a fit is complicit, too. I don't know how many different people "touch" instituational salaries before they reach their final destination of approval, but if some folks along the way don't question why three football assistant coaches are making one million dollars, then all of them are to blame.

Teachers making $100,000. Football coaches making $1,000,000.

No one sees that as horribly backwards? Perhaps our new President can fix that, too.

Maybe this was inevitable. Remember, two decades ago, college football coaches didn't routinely make one million dollars a year. Now, anyone in a major conference is making that and some are raking in $3 million or more.

Those coaches packing their 80,000 seat stadiums six times a year are bringing in big bucks for the university, not to mention the TV and bowl money revenue schools are making.

One thing I'll admit: Michigan is paying three assistant coaches $1 million a year because they can afford to pay them $1 million a year.

They're not maxing out another credit card in Ann Arbor to afford those pay increases, that's for sure.

Meanwhile, that Hydration Coordinator position is looking awfully enticing, huh?

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dale williams aims
the terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his third season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in 2016-2017.


terps coast to easy win over rutgers


There were few surprises in Maryland’s 67-55 win over the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers in College Park last night.

We predicted several of these things in yesterday's game preview piece here at #DMD. Rutgers shot poorly, the Terps couldn’t keep their opponent off of the offensive glass, and each team turned it over a ton.

The winning side and margin of victory certainly were no surprise either, as Maryland improved to 8-1 in the Big 10 with the victory.

Melo Trimble's 17 points in Maryland's win over Rutgers helped the Terps stay on top in the Big 10 with an 8-1 record.

Coming into the game, it was common knowledge that Rutgers had trouble putting the ball in the basket, so it was no surprise to see them hit a lowly 38% from the field in the first half. That number looked good in comparison to the 30% on which they converted in the second half.

The Scarlet Knights compounded their problems by hitting only 27% of their three point shots while converting just 10 of 24 foul shots (a pathetic 42%).

What kept Rutgers from being blown out were the 22 offensive rebounds they grabbed, which led to a 19-11 advantage in second chance points.

One of the better rebounding teams in the country, it certainly surprised no one that Rutgers held an advantage on the boards, but 22 on the offensive side had coach Turgeon more than a bit upset.

The biggest surprise of the game was seeing Melo Trimble on the floor to start the game. Trimble was listed as questionable while he fought off the flu bug that has been making the rounds.

Not only did Trimble play, but he led the Terps with 17 points on an efficient 5 for 8 from the field. He did commit 5 turnovers, however.

The best all-around game last night was turned in by Kevin Huerter. He filled up the stat sheet with 11 points, a team leading 8 rebounds, and 6 assists (also a team high). He seemed to be everywhere and really played a cerebral game. The freshman continues to impress with his ball handling and defense.

Maryland had a 7-point lead in the first half, 18-11, before scoring only four points over the next five minutes.

With a sputtering offense, Maryland found themselves down by three before getting five points from Trimble and a half ending three from L.G. Gill to put them ahead 34-29 going into the break.

Rutgers was able to cut the lead to three in the second half before the Terps extended it all the way to 17, at 58-41 with 9:20 remaining.

From there the Scarlet Knights were able to get the lead under double digits on just two occasions, but never challenged the superior Terps team.

Maryland next travels to Minneapolis for a 2:15pm tipoff against the upstart Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday in a game that promises to be a real road challenge for the Terrapins.

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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.


2017 orioles will resemble 2016 orioles


After a long languish on the free agent market, Mark Trumbo ended up back where he started, resigning with the Orioles for three years and $37.5 million last week.

That number is far below the four year, $80 million contract that baseball's reigning home run king was said to be seeking when the Hot Stove season began, and for the Orioles it's a downright Raven-esque example of playing to the "right player, right price" philosophy.

Trumbo's struggle to find a "buyer" at his price also suggests that changes are afoot in the way teams approach free agency.

Don't get me wrong, Trumbo is definitely not the sort of player I'd want to devote a $20 million salary too. Even putting aside the struggles he had in 2014 and 2015, Trumbo is a hitter who just doesn't offer you any value once you get past the home runs.

Mark Trumbo figures to give the Orioles another season of home runs, strike outs and, hopefully, a few more wins than they recorded in 2016.

He doesn't walk with the regularity you like to see from well-rounded power hitters, owning an unimpressive career on base percentage of just .303. Trumbo strikes out like a power hitter, though, at a rate of 25% of his plate appearances in his career, but despite the raw power and profile, 2016 was the only time he's reached 35 home runs in a season.

In previous years though, none of that would likely have mattered.

47 home runs is 47 home runs and certainly everyone believes Trumbo has the power and ability to be a 40 home run guy again. And as we've seen many times over, power is a big asset on the open market, as everyone is seemingly always looking for guys who can put balls in the seats.

But over the last two offseasons, Orioles fans have gotten a front row seat to a sea-change in this philosophy amongst baseball's general managers. First it was Chris Davis who languished with no apparent alternative offers before coming back to the O's, and a year later the same has happened to Trumbo.

Teams just aren't willing to spend big money AND forfeit a high draft pick and corresponding pool money to acquire one trick power hitters, it seems.

And now it's the Orioles who benefit.

After a slow start to their offseason, the Birds have ended up in more or less the same spot they seem to have been in at this time every year since 2013: Slowly, patiently, staying in roughly the same place they were in the year before and counting on the chips to fall their way.

That's not a bad thing, by the way. This was a 90 win team a year ago that but for any number of bad bounces or borderline umpire calls could have been hosting the wild card game. Trumbo fills the last remaining major hole in the roster; a regular DH and someone who can replace Seth Smith in right field against left-handed starters, and does so at an entirely reasonable price for what he brings to the table.

Yes, this recommits them to an offense that's going to rely heavily on hitting home runs to put runs on the board, but with Adam Jones, Chris Davis, and Jonathan Schoop all filling spots in the top half of the lineup that was already a given, and there's really no turning away from that fact in the near future.

For the most part, it looks like the Orioles are pretty much done building the 2017 team.

There are some rumors that some coaches want to bring Matt Wieters back to split time at catcher and do some DH'ing and I won't be entirely surprised if that happens. Welington Castillo doesn't have a long track record of health, and Wieters has historically hit lefties well enough that he could take the other end of the necessary platoon with Seth Smith.

But, Trey Mancini is a reasonable option in that role too, so if no more moves come to pass the team won't have much trouble figuring out who is going to do what job.

And yet again, Baltimore counts down the final days before Spring Training with a baseball team that looks pretty good on paper, and with some deft managing, some improvement from young pitchers, and a little bit of luck will find themselves playing meaningful games all the way through September, and challenging for a spot in the postseason.

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we need four more teams for our charity duckpin bowling event on feb. 26


I've said and written this a lot since #DMD started on August 25, 2014. Our mission here is greater than just writing about local and national sports and covering the Ravens, Orioles, Terps, etc.

We also strive to stress the importance of giving back to our community and supporting one another in times of need.

As most of you know, I assume, the Malone family suffered a heartbreaking tragedy last Thursday when their home caught fire in Northeast Baltimore, killing six of their nine children.

This is a chance for the #DMD family and the local sports community to get involved and help one of its own.

And we'll have a blast doing it, too.

They are literally starting all over again. And doing so with the heaviest of hearts, having suffered the worst thing imaginable to a parent; losing a child.

We need to help.

Our friends at Unison Business Solutions are stepping up to help the Malone family. Now, we need you to help, too!

Our annual charity bowling event is set for Sunday, February 26 at Stoneleigh Lanes in Towson from 3 pm to 6 pm. Thanks to my longtime friend Shawn Shannon and his company, Unison Business Solutions, we're going to turn the event into a fundraiser of sorts for the Malone family.

The first order of business is selling out the event to maximize the amount of money we can raise.

That's where you come in. Today, we have eight teams registered for the bowling event. We need 14 to complete the field.

I'm asking all of you reading this to consider putting together a team, but I'm specifically challenging those of you who comment regularly here. You know who you are. You're some of our most active participants, adding your wit, wisdom and opinion to the "Comments" section at the bottom of #DMD.

Now I want you to add something else; your time, energy and support.

I'm not mentioning anyone by name, but if you're a regular commenter here, the challenge is out. Get your team of four together and help us raise some money for the Malone family.

It's time for you to man-up.

And one of our #DMD corporate partners has stepped to the plate with an awesome offer to help us raise even more money for the Malone family.

Unison Business Solutions will donate ten cents for each pin knocked down in the first game of all 14 teams on February 26. #DMD is going to match that pledge. Just in case you went to Old Mill or you're a Flyers fan, I'll do the math for you: If each team averaged a score of "80" per-player in their first game, that's 14 teams x 4 players x ten cents per-pin = $448.

Boom! We're at almost $1,000 and that's just with each team bowling a team-score of 320 in their first game.

But we need 14 teams to reach that level.

Here's the other challenge: I'm asking each player in the field to put up $5.00 for every strike they throw on Sunday, February 26, up to a maximum of 10 or $50.00. That money goes in the kitty for the large-scale donation to the Malone family.

We're still donating the regular bowling prize money to your designated charity, but we're adding the "Malone donation" option for everyone who wants to help this family in need.

It's likely instead of donating cash we'll simply buy them a couple of gift cards -- per their request -- to Target, Home Depot and Amazon. We're in contact with a family member who is organizing all of that and we'll provide more details in the near future.

The first order of business is finding SIX more teams of four to bowl in our event on February 26th. E-mail me this morning if you're willing to field a team: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Your team fee remains $300, which gets everyone three hours of bowling, shoes, pizza, beer, soft drinks and prize money for the top four teams.

Unison Business Solutions will then initiate the "First Game Fundraiser" and will donate ten cents per-pin, per-player in the first game bowled on February 26. #DMD will match that.

And we hope others will, as well.

This is our chance to make a difference in the community and help a family in need.

Join with us on February 26th.

To register your team, just visit the "Charity Bowling" tab at the top of #DMD above.

Tuesday
January 24
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXX
Issue 24
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your opinion holds more weight when the other guy agrees with it


FACT: The NBA is allowing its players to vote for the players who make this year's All-Star Game, the first time that's been allowed. Of the 324 players who submitted a ballot, 128 of them didn't vote for LeBron James and 154 didn't vote for Kevin Durant. Meanwhile, 96 players in the league received exactly one vote, a pretty good indication that a player voted for himself when no one else in the league deemed him worthy of a vote. Golden State coach Steve Kerr lashed out at the players on Monday night for their role in the voting process saying, "They've made a mockery of it."

OPINION: No offense to the players, because they're really good at basketball, but asking them to vote for the NBA All-Star Game is a huge mistake. Too many feelings get in the way. It becomes a process of favoritism and personal agendas and not about selecting the right team. As much as I hate to say it, turn the whole thing over to -- gulp -- the media. Pick an 11-person panel of national folks who follow and cover the league and a handful of beat reporters and bloggers who know the league from front to back. Change the panel every three years. That's the way to do it. Anyone with a vote in the NBA in 2017 who didn't vote for LeBron James is obviously not taking the process seriously.

FACT: In his career vs. Mike Tomlin, Tom Brady has the upper hand. Including Sunday's bashing in the AFC title game, Brady is now 6-1 vs. Tomlin since 2007 and, ready for this, he has thrown 22 touchdown passes and 0 interceptions against the Steelers with Tomlin at the helm in Pittsburgh.

OPINION: I realize Tomlin doesn't play defense for Pittsburgh (but maybe he should) and Brady is generally great against everyone, not just the Steelers, but that's a pretty overwhelming stat staring Tomlin right in the face. If he's trying to figure out how to beat New England, the Pittsburgh coach should start with that in mind: Brady has faced Tomlin's team seven times and he's never thrown an interception, to go along with those 22 touchdown passes he's tossed. In other words, figure out a way to rattle Brady. More cowbell, maybe.

Elena Della Donne is apparently headed back to the mid-Atlantic, as the Washington Mystics are set to acquire the former University of Delaware star from the Chicago Sky.

FACT: My favorite women's basketball player of all time, Elena Della Donne, who attended the University of Delaware, is headed back to the area, apparently. The Washington Mystics of the WNBA are closing in on a deal to bring Della Donne to D.C. in exchange for some player I've never heard of, who will head to the Chicago Sky in exchange for E.D.D.

OPINION: I interviewed Della Donne several times when she was at Delaware and I was on the radio in Baltimore, circa 2010. She was always one of my favorites because she's the one girl who told UConn and coach Geno Auriemma "thanks but no thanks". Della Donne was recruited to UConn and started her freshman year in Storrs, but after just a few days up there she packed it in and headed back home to Delaware, where she played volleyball for a year with the Blue Hens before starring on the basketball team. It's hard for a kid to turn down the glitz and glamour of UConn, but Della Donne did that, mainly to be back home with her special-needs sister. That's a great story.

FACT: The Orioles helped their playoff chances last week when they re-signed Mark Trumbo to a 3-year deal. Yes, I'm aware, the composition of the 2017 roster will be much like the one they had in 2016. They'll rely on the long ball a lot and win when they hit a bunch of them and lose when they don't. There are still rumors floating around that the Orioles are seriously interested in Jason Hammel, the erstwhile member of the Cubs who once toiled in Baltimore -- and pretty much stunk.

OPINION: I don't understand the O's enthusiasm for Hammel. In six American League seasons, he's posted an ERA of under 4.00 just once -- with the Orioles in 2012. Every other year, his ERA was above the league average. Sure, he had two decent back-to-back years with the Cubs in 2015 and 2016, but that's the National League, for starters, and he was with a very solid offensive team. Hammel brings what Yovani Gallardo brought: inconsistency. I'm voting "no" on Hammel.

FACT: After an awful start in CAA play, the Towson Tigers have won their last four conference games to move back to .500 at 4-4. That puts them in the middle of the pack in the conference and two of those four wins have come against lowly Delaware, but 4-4 is way better than 1-7 or 2-6. And Towson gets a chance to flex their conference muscles this Thursday at home when undefeated CAA leader College of Charleston (8-0) visits SECU Arena.

OPINION: Anything can happen come tournament time, but if the Tigers fancy themselves contenders for the CAA title in March, they need to man-up and win Thursday night's showdown with C of C. The last time an undefeated conference team came to town (Northeastern, two weeks ago), the Tigers beat them. They need a similar effort and result on Thursday night.

FACT: The New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers played the first half of the AFC title game on Sunday without having a penalty called against either team.

OPINION: I've said for a long time the better the two teams, the less likely there are for penalties to be called. And the more starters and first stringers who play, the fewer penalties you'll see called. But a football game going 30 minutes without ONE penalty tells me one thing: The refs had adopted a "let them play" mentality. How else can you explain it? I'm not complaing, by the way. I like the idea of letting the players play. Just pointing out that no penalties were called in the first half.

FACT: Tiger Woods tees it up at Torrey Pines in San Diego this week in his first official PGA Tour start since August of 2015. Woods has won at Torrey Pines eight times as a professional, including the 2008 U.S. Open when he hobbled around on leg and beat Rocco Mediate in a Monday playoff for his 14th major title.

OPINION: Given Tiger's birdie making ability at the Hero World Challenge in December (24 of them, second only to the winner, Hideki Matsuyama), it seems his iron play and putting are starting to fall back into place. That, though, was a silly-season money-grab event, where the heat was on, but just enough to get the basement warm. This, starting Thursday, is the real deal. The biggest key for Woods -- as always -- will be his driver. Torrey Pines can be penalizing if your driver doesn't cooperate. I'll offer my prediction on Tiger's play later this week at #DMD, but expect him to play well there. After all, that's why he chose that course to make his return.

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ok, so the washington capitals are winning the stanley cup.....finally


I know, I know, you can't believe I just wrote that headline.

I did.

I'm like Charlie Brown who thinks this is finally the time Lucy doesn't pull the ball away as I approach to kick it through the uprights.

I'm buying in on the Capitals, again.

I know this is wrong. I know it, I know it, I know it.

But I think they're on to something this season.

T.J. Oshie collected his 18th goal of the season last night in the Caps 6-1 win over Carolina.

Our favorite hockey team got the job done again last night, blasting the Carolina Hurricanes, 6-1, at the Verizon Center. That's points in 14 straight games for the Caps and wins in 13 of those 14 games, with the only blemish coming in Pittsburgh last Monday night when the Penguins and the refs beat the Caps, 8-7 in OT.

Washington, after a fairly benign first quarter of the season, has blown through the Eastern Conference and now leads the entire league in points with 70 after last night's win over the 'Canes.

They might very well be on their way to a second straight President's Cup trophy, awarded to the NHL team that garners the most points in the regular season.

That, though, as we saw last season, doesn't mean jack squat. After dismissing the Flyers in round one, the Caps fell to the Penguins in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, once again taking a superb regular season and lighting it on fire in the spring.

I've said this before, granted, but here goes: This season looks different than the others.

At least for now, anyway.

Everyone is contributing on a nightly basis these days. It's not just Alex Ovechkin and one other guy doing the damage on offense. T.J. Oshie is having a great season, so, too, is Justin Williams, who couldn't buy a goal in last year's playoffs.

Andre Burakovsky is having a terrific last six weeks and even Jay Beagle, a worker-bee type that every championship team employs, has already reached career high totals in goals and points.

This team looks like they're championship-caliber.

I'm getting excited. I mean, I'm getting genuinely excited about the Caps' chances in April, May and June.

This feels different. This might be the team that finally gets the job done and reaches the Stanley Cup Final.

I'm starting to believe.

OK, you're right. I'm nuts. We all know what's going to happen in May.

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dale williams aims
the terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his third season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in 2016-2017.


terps should roll over last place rutgers tonight

The Maryland Terrapins take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights tonight in a Big 10 match-up that features the best and the worst records in the conference.

Let’s take a look at the visiting Scarlet Knights:

Looking back – The 2015-2016 campaign wasn’t all that kind to the Scarlet Knights. With a rash of injuries and a roster of Not Ready For Big 10 Players, Rutgers was only able to squeeze out 7 wins. Their lone conference win was a last game meaningless conference blowout of an uninspired Minnesota team.

Almost all of the conference losses suffered by Rutgers last season were by double digits as the Scarlet Knight team were outclassed on a nightly basis. They were clearly the least talented team in the conference as their 1-15 record would suggest.

With Melo Trimble questionable due to illness, expect Maryland freshman Kevin Huerter to step up with a big game tonight against Rutgers at the Xfinity Center.

Key Changes – Perhaps the biggest change for Rutgers is at the coaching position where Eddie Jordan (29-68 in 3 seasons) has been replaced by Steve Pikiell.

Pikiell did a miraculous job in his 11 years as Head Coach at Stony Brook. A winner of only 4 games in his first season, he proceeded to win at least 22 in six of his last seven and capped off 2015-16 with an NCAA Tournament bid by virtue of winning the America East conference tournament.

He promises to bring an upgrade in the culture, facilities, and talent level associated with Rutgers Men’s Basketball.

While the Scarlet Knights graduated two starters and one role player, none were notable and replacements have been easily found.

This Season – 2016-2017 holds vast changes for Rutgers. Kansas State transfer Nigel Johnson is available this year and giving the Knights 11.3 PPG and some ball handling stability.

Team leader Deshawn Freeman has returned from the knee injury that forced him to redshirt last year. He adds 11.5 ppg and a team leading 8.6 rebounds per game. Freeman (a JUCO product) is an energetic athlete at 6’7” and 235 but lacks that next level finesse to his game.

Rutgers also added CJ Gettys, a 7’0” 270lb center transfer from UNC Wilmington. Gettys is starting and chipping in with 8 points and 5 rebounds in almost 21 minutes each game. Another JUCO transfer, Candido Sa has cracked the regular Rutgers rotation as has freshman forward Issa Thiam form Senegal.

Exactly how much progress this team makes may be centered upon the development of sophomore point guard Corey Sanders. Sanders is a freakish athlete capable of Steve Francis-like highlight reel dunks that belie his 6’2” stature. He’s quick and explosive and only needs to improve his jump shooting ability to have a serious chance at a pro career.

Expectations – They may not yet have the goods to get them out of the Big 10 cellar, but the Scarlet Knights are headed in the right direction.

They already have 11 non-conference wins (courtesy of a schedule much easier than last year’s overly ambitious non-conference game schedule) with one of their losses coming to a decent Miami squad. In that game, Rutgers trailed by only four points in the second half until they failed to score for nine straight minutes.

Rutgers had just one lone Big 10 win last year and have already matched that figure with their win last week at home over Nebraska. Perhaps the real measure of the team’s progress won’t be measured in wins but in the competitiveness of the losses they incur.

Rutgers games won’t always be the laughers that most became during the 2015-2016 season. They played Iowa tough on the road and dominated Indiana on the boards although the Hoosiers beat them handily.

Their current team - Rutgers is fourth nationally in rebounds-per-game (42.25), 16th in rebound margin (+7.6), 17th in blocks (5.6) and 19th in field goal percentage defense (39.1).

Rutgers is improved, but they still have a long way to go. They commit far more turnovers than they have assists and their shooting numbers are troublesome. It’s hard to be competitive in a major conference when you shoot 63% from the foul line and 28% from the three point line. Those numbers reflect all games played -- their Big 10 percentages are even worse.

And therein lies the trouble with this Scarlet Knights team, they just can’t score enough to win games.

Their Big 10 scoring average is only 58.3 points per game, a full 21 plus points behind conference leader Purdue.

Rutgers is still looking for their first Big 10 road win but it won’t come in the XFINITY Center at Maryland’s expense.

The Terps will prep for Saturday’s game in Minnesota with a solid performance tonight starting at 7:00pm.

The bettors might want to be careful here as Melo Trimble is questionable with an illness. Dion Wiley might also be a scratch while he nurses a back injury. If Melo is unavailable, the 11 points that the odds-makers have spotted Rutgers might be enough to cover the final margin of victory.

This looks to me like a game where the Maryland lead slowly grows throughout the game. With Anthony Cowan getting his chance to be the premier guard, I look for him to shine. This is also a game where Kevin Huerter can do some damage. Both of those Terps come up big in Maryland's 74-61 win tonight in College Park.

Duclaw banner

we need four more teams for our charity duckpin bowling event on feb. 26


I've said and written this a lot since #DMD started on August 25, 2014. Our mission here is greater than just writing about local and national sports and covering the Ravens, Orioles, Terps, etc.

We also strive to stress the importance of giving back to our community and supporting one another in times of need.

As most of you know, I assume, the Malone family suffered a heartbreaking tragedy last Thursday when their home caught fire in Northeast Baltimore, killing six of their nine children.

This is a chance for the #DMD family and the local sports community to get involved and help one of its own.

And we'll have a blast doing it, too.

They are literally starting all over again. And doing so with the heaviest of hearts, having suffered the worst thing imaginable to a parent; losing a child.

We need to help.

Our friends at Unison Business Solutions are stepping up to help the Malone family. Now, we need you to help, too!

Our annual charity bowling event is set for Sunday, February 26 at Stoneleigh Lanes in Towson from 3 pm to 6 pm. Thanks to my longtime friend Shawn Shannon and his company, Unison Business Solutions, we're going to turn the event into a fundraiser of sorts for the Malone family.

The first order of business is selling out the event to maximize the amount of money we can raise.

That's where you come in. Today, we have eight teams registered for the bowling event. We need 14 to complete the field.

I'm asking all of you reading this to consider putting together a team, but I'm specifically challenging those of you who comment regularly here. You know who you are. You're some of our most active participants, adding your wit, wisdom and opinion to the "Comments" section at the bottom of #DMD.

Now I want you to add something else; your time, energy and support.

I'm not mentioning anyone by name, but if you're a regular commenter here, the challenge is out. Get your team of four together and help us raise some money for the Malone family.

It's time for you to man-up.

And one of our #DMD corporate partners has stepped to the plate with an awesome offer to help us raise even more money for the Malone family.

Unison Business Solutions will donate ten cents for each pin knocked down in the first game of all 14 teams on February 26. #DMD is going to match that pledge. Just in case you went to Old Mill or you're a Flyers fan, I'll do the math for you: If each team averaged a score of "80" per-player in their first game, that's 14 teams x 4 players x ten cents per-pin = $448.

Boom! We're at almost $1,000 and that's just with each team bowling a team-score of 320 in their first game.

But we need 14 teams to reach that level.

Here's the other challenge: I'm asking each player in the field to put up $5.00 for every strike they throw on Sunday, February 26, up to a maximum of 10 or $50.00. That money goes in the kitty for the large-scale donation to the Malone family.

We're still donating the regular bowling prize money to your designated charity, but we're adding the "Malone donation" option for everyone who wants to help this family in need.

It's likely instead of donating cash we'll simply buy them a couple of gift cards -- per their request -- to Target, Home Depot and Amazon. We're in contact with a family member who is organizing all of that and we'll provide more details in the near future.

The first order of business is finding SIX more teams of four to bowl in our event on February 26th. E-mail me this morning if you're willing to field a team: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Your team fee remains $300, which gets everyone three hours of bowling, shoes, pizza, beer, soft drinks and prize money for the top four teams.

Unison Business Solutions will then initiate the "First Game Fundraiser" and will donate ten cents per-pin, per-player in the first game bowled on February 26. #DMD will match that.

And we hope others will, as well.

This is our chance to make a difference in the community and help a family in need.

Join with us on February 26th.

To register your team, just visit the "Charity Bowling" tab at the top of #DMD above.

Monday
January 23
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXX
Issue 23
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


"and...down go the steelers!"

Maybe any game involving the New England Patriots should come with some sort of handicap -- like in golf.

Atlanta should start Super Bowl 51 ahead 13-0, let's say. Then, maybe it's still a game by the fourth quarter.

The Steelers could have been spotted a 13-0 lead on Sunday in the AFC title and they still would have lost 36-30. But the final fifteen minutes would have been interesting, at least.

I now find myself actually semi-rooting for the Patriots in these playoffs.

Yes, I'm well aware how awful that sounds. The only thing worse would be someone saying "I now find myself actually semi-rooting for the Flyers."

But with DeflateGate and all, and the way Roger Goodell tried to paint Tom Brady into some kind of villain, I've just learned to accept their winning and success with a tip of the cap and a whisper of "Well done, guys."

Heck, if they went back to that old Patriots logo with the guy snapping the ball, I might even buy a hat. That's the second best logo in the history of sports, trailing only the old Brewers logo that looked like a baseball glove but was actually an "M" and a "B".

And please don't litter the Comments section about how much the Patriots "cheat". Lord...every team in the league cheats, whether or not they're having more padded practices (*ahem* - I know a team that's been nailed for that before), more OTA's, or footballs that are inflated or deflated outside of the regulated PSI specifics.

There's an old saying in NASCAR -- "If you ain't cheatin', you must not be tryin' to win."

I assume every team in the NFL tries to skirt the rules as much as they can to win.

A 3-year lacrosse player at Penn State who started his NFL career in Buffalo, Chris Hogan is the latest no-name guy to prosper from Tom Brady's greatness.

The Patriots don't win because they cheat. They win because they have the best quarterback of the last thirty years, at least, playing on their team. And they've figured out a system that plays directly into his strengths.

How else can you explain a guy like Chris Hogan lighting up the Steelers secondary yesterday like the second coming of Jerry Rice?

They do have coaching talent there, too, no doubt about it. That helps. And they shuttle players in and out just enough to wave the (new) carrot of winning in front of them every September.

I enjoy seeing teams or players operating at their highest level of performance. It was fun to watch Michael Jordan, Greg Maddux, Tiger Woods, etc. during their respective careers. They were just way better than everyone else and it was fun to see the chasm between them and the rest of the great unwashed.

It's become "fun" for me to watch Belichick and Brady make mincemeat of the league in that same way, particulary given how the league railroaded them over the deflated footballs saga.

And it was super easy to be on the Belichick-Brady bandwagon on Sunday; they were playing the Steelers, after all. I had no interest in seeing Pittsburgh back in the Super Bowl and having to hear that from their legion of fans for the next two weeks.

I also knew that rooting for New England would most likely not disappoint me. I told anyone who would listen all last week that the Patriots were going to blow out the Steelers and wrote as much here last week at #DMD.

I knew it wasn't going to be close. The Patriots are just too good, for starters, and they're simply not going to get involved in one of those defensive struggles where a team like the Steelers could kick a bunch of field goals and somehow weasel out a 22-20 win in Foxborough.

I called it 35-17 and it turned out to be 36-17. If you're handing out gratuities of any kind, you know how to get a hold of me.

I was a tad disappointed the NFC game didn't yield more drama, but happy for Matt Ryan and the Falcons, who have put the work in over the last couple of years and deserve their day in the sun in Houston in thirteen days, even if they're most likely going to throttled, too.

Atlanta's defense was just too quick for the Packers and once they started to rattle Aaron Rodgers early on, the tide quickly shifted. And the Green Bay defense was torched by Ryan and his band of receiving options.

The Falcons have a good team, don't get me wrong, but keep in mind their 2017 playoff season, thus far, has consisted of two home games. They did manage a couple of impressive road wins early in the season when they won at Oakland and Denver, but other than that, Atlanta didn't beat much of anyone on the road in 2016.

I know, I know, "You can only play the team they put in front of you".

Atlanta won't be mistaking the Patriots for the Panthers on February 5, I can assure you of that.

To win their first Super Bowl, the Falcons will have to step up in class, big time, and beat one of the best teams the league has had in the last decade.


#dmd welcomes duclaw brewing company!


If you've followed me much over the years, you know my tastes tend to lean more to wine than beer or hard liquor.

Last Thursday might have changed that pattern a little bit.

I met up with #DMD's newest corporate partner, DuClaw Brewing Company, and visited their brewery in Rosedale and sampled some amazing beers while I was there.

I even met "Sweet Baby Jesus". More on that in a minute.

Let me first bid farewell to our friends at Harpoon, who were terrific corporate partners for the last couple of years. We drank a lot of great Harpoon beer on various road trips up and down the East Coast and they were always quick to provide us with their newest beer and freshest tasting beer.

You've never had a beer this good. Why did they name it "Sweet Baby Jesus"? Try one and you'll find out.

I know I turned a lot of people on to their Harpoon UFO, which was my personal favorite.

So, we say "thank you" to our friends at Harpoon.

And we say, "Welcome!" to the DuClaw Brewing Company, who will give us an opportunity here at #DMD to participate in more locally-originated events and opens up another marketing path for #DMD at the same time.

We're still trying to find new people to enjoy #DMD every day just like they're always trying to find new people to try DuClaw Brewing Company products every day.

With that in mind, we're a great fit for one another.

Last Thursday, I was able to sample (yes, at 9:30 am, it's "just" a sip or two) several great tasting beers, including the one I've dabbed my "February Favorite", Mysterium, which is a Belgian style beer with some hints of spice mixed in. I was sold from the first taste.

But the real winner of those I tried was "Sweet Baby Jesus", which contains chocolate and peanut butter, and is a "must order" if you're out and about and you see it on anyone's menu.

I know what you're thinking: "Of course it's good, Drew, it has chocolate and peanut butter in it!" But for those who don't think those two mix well with beer, you're dead wrong. It was outstanding.

Thanks to our friends at Bond Distributing and craft beer guru Matt Crow for their help in establishing our relationship with DuClaw Brewing Company. Matt is a fun follow on Twitter if you like a good who tweets about sports and beer -- and who doesn't? You can find him at -- @maltybynature

You'll be hearing and seeing a lot more about DuClaw Brewing Company throughout 2017. We're going to be organzing some events together and for anyone traveling on our #DMD road trips in the future, you'll be tasting some great DuClaw beers as well.

Oh, and if you haven't signed up for our Charity Bowling Challenge on February 26, get in now! We'll have some Sweet Baby Jesus on hand that night to help you roll your best games ever!

Thanks to owner David Benfield and his staff for their warm welcome on Thursday. We're looking forward to this great local partnership with DuClaw Brewing Company.

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"show me the money" wins again!

I sure hope you remember me this summer when you and your family are enjoying a week at that beachfront home you rent in Ocean City.

By now, you should have enough money for a 5-bedroom place up in the high rent district by 130th Street.

I managed to go 3-1 yesterday when you factor in the spread and the total wagering, as my new best friend "Aaron" pointed out in the Comments section below. At least one person seems to be getting rich.

I whiffed on the Falcons-Packers game, but so did about 60% of the rest of the country who gobbled up the Packers and six points. I expected a lot more from Green Bay on Sunday, even though I thought Atlanta was going to win the game.

I did hit on the "over" in that one, though, as it eclipsed the 61.5 point total.

I hit the AFC game right on the button. I came within a point of dinging the score exactly right and had both the Patriots (-6.0) and the "over" of 51.5.

As I only count games against the spread in "Show Me The Money", I'm now 58-52-2 for the season, with only one game left.

The only guy hotter than me in the post season is Matt Ryan.

If can wait a couple of weeks to put down that deposit on the place at the beach, I might be able to get you preferred parking, too.

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remember that name: hudson swafford


Another former college hotshot from the University of Georgia stepped into the winner's circle on the PGA Tour yesterday, but this guy won't be another one-hit wonder like Ryuji Imada or Brendon Todd.

Hudson Swafford is going to win some tournaments out there, watch and see.

Birdies at 15, 16 and 17 in Sunday's final round gave Hudson Swafford a one-shot win over Adam Hadwin, making his first PGA Tour victory.

Swafford won the event in Palm Springs, California this weekend, shooting 20-under par with birdies on three of his last four holes in Sunday's final round capping off a great four days of golf.

With all of the young college players, one theme is common. They just need to win that first time on the big stage and then you'll see what they're made of. Lots of different guys win a college golf tournament. Some win a lot on the collegiate scene.

But winning on the PGA Tour is far different than winning an event against players from Elon, Campbell, Tulane, South Florida and George Washington.

And once you win on TOUR, your confidence level soars. Some guys -- like Imada and Todd, for example -- do it once and that's that.

Hudson Swafford won't be one of those guys.

I'd be surprised if he doesn't win another event along the way this year, in fact.

And when you start thinking about what players from the U.S. are going to be in France in 2018 to give the Europeans a Ryder Cup butt-kicking, you might want to leave a spot for Swafford.

He's the real deal.

Glory
Days banner ad

the malone family needs our help


I've said and written this a lot since #DMD started on August 25, 2014. Our mission here is greater than just writing about local and national sports and covering the Ravens, Orioles, Terps, etc.

We also strive to stress the importance of giving back to our community and supporting one another in times of need.

As most of you know, I assume, the Malone family suffered a heartbreaking tragedy last Thursday when their home caught fire in Northeast Baltimore, killing six of their nine children.

This is a chance for the #DMD family and the local sports community to get involved and help one of its own.

And we'll have a blast doing it, too.

They are literally starting all over again. And doing so with the heaviest of hearts, having suffered the worst thing imaginable to a parent; losing a child.

We need to help.

Our friends at Unison Business Solutions are stepping up to help the Malone family. Now, we need you to help, too!

Our annual charity bowling event is set for Sunday, February 26 at Stoneleigh Lanes in Towson from 3 pm to 6 pm. Thanks to my longtime friend Shawn Shannon and his company, Unison Business Solutions, we're going to turn the event into a fundraiser of sorts for the Malone family.

The first order of business is selling out the event to maximize the amount of money we can raise.

That's where you come in. Today, we have eight teams registered for the bowling event. We need 14 to complete the field.

I'm asking all of you reading this to consider putting together a team, but I'm specifically challenging those of you who comment regularly here. You know who you are. You're some of our most active participants, adding your wit, wisdom and opinion to the "Comments" section at the bottom of #DMD.

Now I want you to add something else; your time, energy and support.

I'm not mentioning anyone by name, but if you're a regular commenter here, the challenge is out. Get your team of four together and help us raise some money for the Malone family.

It's time for you to man-up.

And one of our #DMD corporate partners has stepped to the plate with an awesome offer to help us raise even more money for the Malone family.

Unison Business Solutions will donate ten cents for each pin knocked down in the first game of all 14 teams on February 26. #DMD is going to match that pledge. Just in case you went to Old Mill or you're a Flyers fan, I'll do the math for you: If each team averaged a score of "80" per-player in their first game, that's 14 teams x 4 players x ten cents per-pin = $448.

Boom! We're at almost $1,000 and that's just with each team bowling a team-score of 320 in their first game.

But we need 14 teams to reach that level.

Here's the other challenge: I'm asking each player in the field to put up $5.00 for every strike they throw on Sunday, February 26, up to a maximum of 10 or $50.00. That money goes in the kitty for the large-scale donation to the Malone family.

We're still donating the regular bowling prize money to your designated charity, but we're adding the "Malone donation" option for everyone who wants to help this family in need.

It's likely instead of donating cash we'll simply buy them a couple of gift cards -- per their request -- to Target, Home Depot and Amazon. We're in contact with a family member who is organizing all of that and we'll provide more details in the near future.

The first order of business is finding SIX more teams of four to bowl in our event on February 26th. E-mail me this morning if you're willing to field a team: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Your team fee remains $300, which gets everyone three hours of bowling, shoes, pizza, beer, soft drinks and prize money for the top four teams.

Unison Business Solutions will then initiate the "First Game Fundraiser" and will donate ten cents per-pin, per-player in the first game bowled on February 26. #DMD will match that.

And we hope others will, as well.

This is our chance to make a difference in the community and help a family in need.

Join with us on February 26th.

To register your team, just visit the "Charity Bowling" tab at the top of #DMD above.


ok, the date is set! join us in london for the ravens game on september 24


The NFL announced yesterday that the Ravens-Jaguars game at Wembley Stadium will be played on September 24, 2017.

Too bad we couldn't have bet that, huh? I said all along based on the Orioles schedule I figured September 24 was going to be the date of the game.

So, if you've been waiting to see the game date before making your travel plans, now you're left with no excuses.

And we'd love for you to join us for five nights of fun next September in London.

If you're interested in seeing the Ravens in London next season, #DMD has the area's most affordable trip on the market!

Our group will depart the U.S. on Tuesday evening, September 19 and arrive in London on Wednesday morning.

We'll be staying at a 4-star hotel right near Wembley Stadium, with close access to the tube line, bus stations, etc. Traveling around London is easy and simple and #DMD will give you a free "tube pass" for the week as a gift and a thank you for traveling with us.

You'll also get free breakfast every morning at our London hotel!

And, of course, the package includes game tickets to see the Ravens and Jaguars.

Your price of $2,245 per-person includes round trip NON-STOP airfare, plus five nights hotel, free breakfast, free local ground transportation in London and a Ravens-Jaguars ticket.

It's the best price you'll find anywhere in town for a non-stop flight to London and five nights in the U.K. to see the Ravens and Jaguars.

We're taking a $445 per-seat deposit at this point, with the remainder of the money due later next summer.

If you're interested in securing space on our London trip, please go here to reserve, or send me an e-mail today: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

* * * Please begin the process of applying for or updating your passport now. Under no circumstances will the Department of Homeland Security allow a person without a valid passport to board an international flight. Trying to do so would probably get you clapped in irons and taken away for waterboarding. Here is the website for United States passport information.


Sunday
January 22
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXX
Issue 22
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"i'm going to stay here just in case he somehow misses this kick..."


I wasn't old enough to remember the Colts loss in Super III, but I know it stung. My Dad would later tell me stories of how my Mom didn't cook dinner for a week in the aftermath of that upset loss to Joe Namath and the Jets.

I suffered through the 1979 Orioles World Series collapse at the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates. I was even at Game 6, thinking I was going to be in the presence of a World Series victory at Memorial Stadium, but that didn't happen.

I've labored through April and May blow-ups from the Washington Capitals in what has become their annual rite of passage. You know it's spring when you see the Masters on TV, followed by the Caps losing to someone in the playoffs that shouldn't beat them.

And I was in Pittsburgh the night Daren-freakin'-Stone hit the Pittsburgh player when he was already out-of-bounds after a Steelers punt and the Ravens -- down 16-14 at the time -- went from having the ball around their own 40 yard line to getting pinned back on their own 14.

Joe Flacco threw a pick-six on that series and there went the AFC title game, gift wrapped to the Steelers, all set up by Stone's awful penalty.

Jim Nantz -- "And here's Billy Cundiff, on to try a 32 yard field goal that will send this game to overtime."

But I'm not sure I've ever seen anything like I saw on January 22, 2012 in Gillette Stadium.

Five years ago today.

The Ravens went from winning, to tying, to losing...in the span of, oh, about ninety seconds or so.

As it turned out, I had the best seat in the house for the whole debacle.

I remember it like it was yesterday.

In the week leading up to the game between the Patriots and Ravens, the radio station owner where I was employed worked feverishly at preparing for a massive travel party in Indianapolis, site of Super Bowl XLVI.

Airfare was secured, buses were hired, hotel rooms reserved and parties organized. "If the Ravens win up there," the owner said at a mid-week planning meeting in the station's basement, "we're all going to get rich."

I'm not sure anyone believed that, but we could all do the math and figured, at the very least, we'd get a nice check of some kind for working like dogs throughout Super Bowl week while the station entertained and hosted a couple of hundred fans from Baltimore.

All we needed was a Ravens win in Foxborough.

The press box at Gillette Stadium is oddly situated. When you watch the AFC title game tonight, the TV cameras face the side of the field that shows the New England bench. To the right of your screen, in the "closed end" of the stadium, and just to the right of the goalpost, in the middle concourse, is the stadium press box.

For some reason, the press box has two levels. I think one's the "Blue" level and the other is the "Red". I seem to recall we were stationed in the "Red", which was the upper level of the two.

The game went back and forth and the Patriots would lead 23-20 as the Ravens mounted their final drive.

They were coming directly at us and as I looked down below, I noticed we were directly positioned over the right corner of the end zone, as Joe Flacco saw it for himself on that final drive.

The right corner...directly beneath me.

When Flacco's pass found the hands of Lee Evans in that right corner of the end zone in the final minute of regulation, a station employee grabbed my arm and said, "We just won th --" and that quickly, he stopped, as the ball bounded out of the receiver's hands.

We were that close to getting rich.

With time winding down, Billy Cundiff jogged on the field for the game-tying chip shot field goal.

I remember looking at the field and seeing Sam Koch kneeling near the 22-yard line.

The bathroom in the press box was all the way down at the other end of the room and, I figured, once regulation ended, there would be a mad dash for a quick visit before overtime started.

"I'm gonna take a leak, I'll be right back," I said, as I got up from my seat to beat the others to the bathroom.

Sam Koch's reaction in the background says it all.

Cundiff, I assumed, wasn't missing from 32 yards out. Hell, I could make that kick, I wanted to say.

I got up and then, at the last second, uttered the words I'll never forget: "I'm going to stay here just in case he somehow misses this kick," I said just as the ball was snapped.

A professional sports press box is supposed to be clear and free of any cheerleading, clapping, moans, groans or any other detectable, emotional outburst.

But those rules went out the window when Cundiff missed that kick.

There were audible sounds of varying outbursts -- "Oh no!", "He missed it!", "Yesssss!", and, of course, "He just missed that f***ing kick!" from a few folks in the Baltimore media.

I wasn't getting rich anymore, that's all I knew.

I was in the locker room after the game and remember three scenes quite vividly.

My first stop was to see Matt Birk, whom I had worked with briefly earlier in the year on a project involving his foundation.

"I don't know what to say," I said to him, making sure my voice didn't carry too far.

He had already showered and was putting on his shirt and tie.

"There's nothing to say," Birk replied. "Someone wins, someone loses. This one stings, but it's a loss just like any other loss. All it means is I can't retire. I'll be back."

Ten feet to my left sat Lee Evans. He was still in his full uniform, just sitting there, staring straight ahead. No movement. No words. Nothing.

"He's the one I feel the worst for," Birk said. "As an athlete, you want the game in your hands. You want to make a difference. I feel terrible for him."

It was at least 40 minutes after the final whistle, and Evans was still sitting there, reliving it all. No one approached him. He sat by himself.

I then went over to see Sam Koch, another player I had done some community work with over the years.

"I need to see the tape to figure out what happened," Koch said to three or four of us standing there. "It felt like everything went according to plan. I looked up and the ball was sailing left."

Billy Cundiff then walked up, towel around his waist, and a dozen or more members of the media immediately rushed to his locker.

"Guys, just give me a few minutes, please," Cundiff said. "I just want to get dressed and then I'll talk. No problem...just give me a few minutes."

No one left the area.

A Ravens media relations representative stepped in and tried to get the group of reporters to move back, but his efforts failed.

Finally, Cundiff finished tying his tie and turned around. "I'm ready, guys. Thanks for waiting," he said.

And with that, Cundiff spent the toughest 15 minutes of his life, answering question after question about missing the biggest kick of his career.

"The hold was fine," the kicker said. "I just missed it."

"Nope, no wind to speak of, really. I just missed the kick," he explained.

"I felt like it was a kick I'd make every time," he stated. "It was a 32 yard kick. I make those every time."

Well, unfortunately, not every time.

After the stories were filed and three of us from the radio station were exiting the stadium, we happened to find ourselves at field level.

"Let's go out there," I said. "I want to see for myself where it all happened."

A minute later, there we were, on the 22 yard line.

"Damn, those goalposts look a lot more narrow down here than they do from the press box," was the first thing I said.

I then set up for an imaginary kick, ran up to the 22 yard line and booted the ball.

It split the uprights.

"I can't believe he missed that kick," I said as we walked to the bus.

And to think, I was almost in the bathroom for the whole thing.

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now that, my friends, is a "real" 59


Shooting 59 on the PGA Tour these days is almost as commonplace as schools getting canceled in Baltimore County for bad weather that never really gets to the "bad" level.

It's happening, like, once a week.

Canadian Adam Hadwin became the latest professional golfer to shoot 59 in a PGA Tour event when he did it yesterday at La Quinta CC in Palm Springs, CA, but he did something on Saturday that only three players before him had managed to accomplish; Hadwin posted his 59 on a par-72 course, finishing the round with a score of 13-under par.

Adam Hadwin became the first Canadian to ever shoot 59 on the PGA Tour when he did it on Saturday at La Quinta CC in California.

I feel like I should repeat that just for emphasis and clarity: Adam Hadwin shot 13-under par yesterday. In one round of golf.

That's now a total of nine sub-60 rounds in PGA Tour history. Eight 59's and one 58. There have been a handful of others on the Web.com Tour over the years, as well.

But Hadwin's 59 was a special one.

I'm not trying to diminish a score of 59. It's golf "perfect game", but even more rare than baseball's version, since only 23 pitchers in MLB history have managed to record one. It's actually 24 if you count the one that Armando Galarraga threw for the Tigers in 2010 that was stolen from him by umpire Jim Joyce. But, anyway...

A true "perfect game" in golf would be, of course, 18 birdies in 18 holes, but I don't see anyone ever doing that. I mean, if Tiger Woods couldn't do it, it can't be done, right?

But Hadwin came as close to perfection as one could get on Saturday, with 13 birdies and no bogies in his round at La Quinta CC. He coaxed in a 4-footer at the 18th hole for par to reach the history-making round of 59.

Jim Furyk owns the lowest round in PGA Tour history when he shot 58 at TPC River Highlands in 2016 but Furyk only shot 12-under par on the par-70 layout. Some would argue that posting a sub-60 round on a par-70 course is more difficult than doing it on a par-72 course because there are only two par 5's on a par-70 track. Fair enough.

Furyk also has a 59, too. He's the only player EVER to break 60 twice. But both of his sub-60 rounds were 12-under par efforts.

No offense to Furyk, but I tend to look at the total score in relation to par as the ultimate judgment of the round's greatness.

Four players have now shot 13-under par in a round on the PGA Tour.

Al Geiberger was the first of the original 59 shooters in 1977 at Colonial Country Club in Memphis.

Chip Beck did it next at Sunrise Golf Club in Las Vegas in 1991.

David Duval made an eagle at the 18th hole at PGA West in 1999 to record his 13-under par score.

And Hadwin did it yesterday at La Quinta CC. Hadwin might be happy to know that only Beck failed to win the tournament out of the three before him who shot 59 with 13-under par scores.

The other thing that stands out about the "59 Club"? The names are a mix of quality, with only three players who shot 59 ever winning a major championship in their career: Furyk (U.S. Open), Duval (British Open) and Geiberger (PGA). The others include a couple of obscure guys (Paul Goydos and the aforementioned Adam Hadwin) and players like Beck and Stuart Appleby who contended in majors but never crossed the finish line in first place.

Justin Thomas shot 59 last week in Hawaii en route to winning the Sony Invitational at Waialae CC in Hawaii.

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"show me the money" for january 22


There are only three games left in the NFL season, which means I've guaranteed myself a winning record for 2016-2017 in "Show Me The Money".

I assume I get some sort of trophy from someone, right? Isn't that the new theme for this generation? Everyone gets a trophy...

Anyway, after last weekend's 4-0 walk-in-the-park, I'm at 57-51-2. I'd love to finish the year with three victories against the spread to hit the 60-win mark for the season, something that's never been in #DMD history.

Consider it my version of golf's "59".

I revealed my picks in Saturday's edition of #DMD, but just in case you weren't here and you'd rather not scroll down to see Saturday's piece, I'll give you my picks here, one final time.

GREEN BAY AT ATLANTA (-6.0) -- I'm going to do the same thing I did last week when the Packers visited Dallas. I'm picking the home team to win but I'm taking the Packers and the six points as my wager in the NFC title game. I think it's finally Atlanta's time and I just believe their offense will do a smidgen more damage than will Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay offense. I like the Falcons to win a close one, 34-30.

PITTSBURGH AT NEW ENGLAND (-6.0) -- In the game everyone in Baltimore is dreading, either the Steelers or Patriots will emerge victorious and head to the Super Bowl in two weeks. Ugh. I don't think one is going to be close at all. I'm taking the Patriots to cover the six points and win in a romp, 35-17. I just can't buy stock in Pittsburgh's offense on the road. It's been suspect all season and their inability to reach the end zone will hurt them big-time tonight in the AFC title game. New England wins easily.

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ok, the date is set! join us in london for the ravens game on september 24


The NFL announced yesterday that the Ravens-Jaguars game at Wembley Stadium will be played on September 24, 2017.

Too bad we couldn't have bet that, huh? I said all along based on the Orioles schedule I figured September 24 was going to be the date of the game.

So, if you've been waiting to see the game date before making your travel plans, now you're left with no excuses.

And we'd love for you to join us for five nights of fun next September in London.

If you're interested in seeing the Ravens in London next season, #DMD has the area's most affordable trip on the market!

Our group will depart the U.S. on Tuesday evening, September 20 and arrive in London on Wednesday morning.

We'll be staying at a 4-star hotel right near Wembley Stadium, with close access to the tube line, bus stations, etc. Traveling around London is easy and simple and #DMD will give you a free "tube pass" for the week as a gift and a thank you for traveling with us.

You'll also get free breakfast every morning at our London hotel!

And, of course, the package includes game tickets to see the Ravens and Jaguars.

Your price of $2,245 per-person includes round trip NON-STOP airfare, plus five nights hotel, free breakfast, free local ground transportation in London and a Ravens-Jaguars ticket.

It's the best price you'll find anywhere in town for a non-stop flight to London and five nights in the U.K. to see the Ravens and Jaguars.

We're taking a $445 per-seat deposit at this point, with the remainder of the money due later next summer.

If you're interested in securing space on our London trip, please go here to reserve, or send me an e-mail today: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

* * * Please begin the process of applying for or updating your passport now. Under no circumstances will the Department of Homeland Security allow a person without a valid passport to board an international flight. Trying to do so would probably get you clapped in irons and taken away for waterboarding. Here is the website for United States passport information.


Saturday
January 21
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXX
Issue 21
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and your two super bowl teams are...


There for a while, we got used to seeing the Ravens in the AFC title game, so it was easy to have a vested interest in the conference championship tilt each January.

These days, we have to either feign interest in the game or root against one of the teams playing.

Tomorrow's game in Foxborough is one of those wacky affairs where we, in Baltimore at least, hope neither team wins.

That can't happen, though. So either the Patriots or Steelers are heading to Houston in two weeks to play for the championship of the football world.

I'll be watching tomorrow night, although I don't know that I have any real rooting interest.

This could be one of the worst pictures ever taken in the history of sports.

One part of me wouldn't mind seeing New England win simply because I won't have to listen to smug-Mike-Tomlin for seven days leading up to the Super Bowl.

I like Tomlin as a coach, actually, but there's something about the way he talks that comes across as "we knew we would be here all along" and it grates at me. That said, it probably irritates me more because by listening to Tomlin it means I'm NOT listening to John Harbaugh give the same sort of speech to the media.

I wouldn't mind seeing the Steelers win because that would mean the league's top two chemists, Belichick and Brady, would have to go back to the lab again and figure out a new, better method for earning their fifth Super Bowl ring. I love seeing Belichick get the Cleat of Reality.

In the NFC, either team winning is fine by me.

Atlanta seems like a nice place. Their fans haven't had a championship of any kind since the Braves won the World Series in 1995. The Falcons made it to the Super Bowl in 1999 (1998 season) but lost to Denver in their only appearance in the big game. If Atlanta wins tomorrow, I'm cool with that.

I love everything about Green Bay's team. The logo, the uniform, Aaron Rodgers, the history and heritage. We'll be planning a #DMD road trip for Green Bay next season, so get in with us if you've never been to Lambeau Field and want to cross that one off the bucket list.

If the Packers win tomorrow, I'd be happy.

So, without further adieu, let's get to it, since I know a lot of you are looking to make enough money on these two games to rent the family vacation home in Ocean City this summer.

I'm here to help you enjoy the beach.

The opening game has Atlanta hosting Green Bay at 3:05 pm tomorrow. The Falcons are now a 6-point favorite in this with the scoring total at 61.5 for the game.

Atlanta led the NFL in points during the regular season, averaging 33.75 per-game. That's the way they attack you. They just try to score, score and score again, while perhaps holding you to just score and score.

In case you care about such things, the Falcons hosted the Packers mid-way through the recent regular season and nipped them, 33-32.

The key to Atlanta's chances rest -- obviously -- with quarterback Matt Ryan, who doesn't have much of a pedigree for this type of pressure, but is enjoying his best season as a professional and might finally be to the point where he's ready to break through into the, here it comes, wait for it......."elite" category in the NFL.

His counterpart on the other side, Aaron Rodgers, eats clutch moments for breakfast. There's nothing he seemingly can't do with his limited cast of weapons and he can make a deficit disappear as fast as Shin Lim can change a kind of spades to a six of hearts right in front of you.

I don't think defense is going to be the theme of the day on Sunday in Atlanta.

I think Atlanta is winning the game, 34-30, but in "Show Me The Money", I'm taking the Packers plus the six points. Yes, though, I think the Falcons are winning and heading to the Super Bowl.

I know it's against the grain to pick against the Packers (to win) these days. It's like turning off the Billy Joel Channel when Zanzibar comes on, it's just not smart to do. Green Bay was 4-6 at one point, ran the table in the regular season, then beat the Giants and Cowboys en-route to this title contest with the Falcons.

Green Bay is red, scorching hot.

But, I think it's Atlanta's time. Too much offense, too many weapons, and playing at home add up to 34-30 Falcons victory. But if you're trying to get that nice beach house on 141st "downey Ocean", take the Packers and those six points. And, in case you went to Old Mill or you're a Flyers fan, I'll spell out the other wager. The betting total is 61.5. A 34-30 score adds up to 64 points. Bet the over.

Now, we head to Foxborough.

I won't keep you in suspense very long.

New England is going to blow out the Steelers.

Yep. It's not going to be pretty.

The Patriots are a 6-point favorite in this one and the betting total is 50.5 points. Take New England and the over.

I'm not sure what's happened to Ben Roethlisberger on the road, but his inability to get the team in the end zone is finally going to come back to haunt the Steelers.

It didn't haunt them late in the season when they snatched a key win from the Bengals in Cincinnati by kicking six fields and finding the end zone just once in a 24-20 win.

They figured out a way to hold off a semi-sorry Chiefs team in K.C. last Sunday night by again kicking six fields in an 18-16 victory.

If the Steelers kick six field goals tomorrow night in New England, they're losing 36-18.

The Patriots are winning the game tomorrow, 35-17. Pittsburgh's offense simply isn't good enough to go toe-to-toe with Tom Brady and Company. If the game took place at Heinz Field, the Steelers would have a legit chance. Alas, it's not there.

The model for the Steelers to follow is pretty simple: Run the ball a lot, use Le'Veon Bell as much as possible, and, in doing so, limit the amount of time Tom Brady spends on the field.

If Brady and the Patriots can be limited to, say, twelve offensive possessions, perhaps the Steelers have a chance. But if Pittsburgh comes out flinging the ball around and the game expands because of incompletions, turnovers, etc. -- and Brady and Company see the field four times per-quarter -- they'll start stacking points up on Pittsburgh.

I'm completely unsold on Pittsburgh's ability to get in the end zone on the road. Look at the stats. They'll tell you the story. For whatever reason, the Steelers move the ball fluidly between the 20's but they can't punch it in on the road.

So, there you have it.

It will be New England and Atlanta in the Super Bowl, but the Sunday wagers are going on the Packers and the Patriots.

Enjoy Ocean City next summer. Raise a glass to me...

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and #dmd says the nfl mvp for 2016 is...


On Thursday and Friday, we gave our #DMD readers the chance to vote for the NFL's 2016 Most Valuable Player.

Add another award to the trophy case of Aaron Rodgers. The Packers QB has been named #DMD's MVP for the 2016 season.

While the league uses the Associated Press's selection as their official MVP, the Professional Football Writers' Association (PFWA) announced their winner on Thursday and it was Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan winning their honor.

Ryan was one of five candidates you could have voted for this week here at #DMD, joining Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Derek Carr and Ezekiel Elliott as finalists.

And the #DMD winner is...

With 41% of the vote, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is the #DMD winner for 2016 MVP.

Matt Ryan received 21% of the vote.

Derek Carr received 18% of the vote.

Tom Brady received 12% of the vote.

Ezekiel Elliott received 9% of the vote.

Thanks to all of you who voted this week!!

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ok, the date is set! join us in london for the ravens game on september 24


The NFL announced yesterday that the Ravens-Jaguars game at Wembley Stadium will be played on September 24, 2017.

Too bad we couldn't have bet that, huh? I said all along based on the Orioles schedule I figured September 24 was going to be the date of the game.

So, if you've been waiting to see the game date before making your travel plans, now you're left with no excuses.

And we'd love for you to join us for five nights of fun next September in London.

If you're interested in seeing the Ravens in London next season, #DMD has the area's most affordable trip on the market!

Our group will depart the U.S. on Tuesday evening, September 20 and arrive in London on Wednesday morning.

We'll be staying at a 4-star hotel right near Wembley Stadium, with close access to the tube line, bus stations, etc. Traveling around London is easy and simple and #DMD will give you a free "tube pass" for the week as a gift and a thank you for traveling with us.

You'll also get free breakfast every morning at our London hotel!

And, of course, the package includes game tickets to see the Ravens and Jaguars.

Your price of $2,245 per-person includes round trip NON-STOP airfare, plus five nights hotel, free breakfast, free local ground transportation in London and a Ravens-Jaguars ticket.

It's the best price you'll find anywhere in town for a non-stop flight to London and five nights in the U.K. to see the Ravens and Jaguars.

We're taking a $445 per-seat deposit at this point, with the remainder of the money due later next summer.

If you're interested in securing space on our London trip, please go here to reserve, or send me an e-mail today: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

* * * Please begin the process of applying for or updating your passport now. Under no circumstances will the Department of Homeland Security allow a person without a valid passport to board an international flight. Trying to do so would probably get you clapped in irons and taken away for waterboarding. Here is the website for United States passport information.

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the malone family needs our help


I've said and written this a lot since #DMD started on August 25, 2014. Our mission here is greater than just writing about local and national sports and covering the Ravens, Orioles, Terps, etc.

We also strive to stress the importance of giving back to our community and supporting one another in times of need.

As most of you know, I assume, the Malone family suffered a heartbreaking tragedy last Thursday when their home caught fire in Northeast Baltimore, killing six of their nine children.

This is a chance for the #DMD family and the local sports community to get involved and help one of its own.

And we'll have a blast doing it, too.

They are literally starting all over again. And doing so with the heaviest of hearts, having suffered the worst thing imaginable to a parent; losing a child.

We need to help.

Our friends at Unison Business Solutions are stepping up to help the Malone family. Now, we need you to help, too!

Our annual charity bowling event is set for Sunday, February 26 at Stoneleigh Lanes in Towson from 3 pm to 6 pm. Thanks to my longtime friend Shawn Shannon and his company, Unison Business Solutions, we're going to turn the event into a fundraiser of sorts for the Malone family.

The first order of business is selling out the event to maximize the amount of money we can raise.

That's where you come in. Today, we have eight teams registered for the bowling event. We need 14 to complete the field.

I'm asking all of you reading this to consider putting together a team, but I'm specifically challenging those of you who comment regularly here. You know who you are. You're some of our most active participants, adding your wit, wisdom and opinion to the "Comments" section at the bottom of #DMD.

Now I want you to add something else; your time, energy and support.

I'm not mentioning anyone by name, but if you're a regular commenter here, the challenge is out. Get your team of four together and help us raise some money for the Malone family.

It's time for you to man-up.

And one of our #DMD corporate partners has stepped to the plate with an awesome offer to help us raise even more money for the Malone family.

Unison Business Solutions will donate ten cents for each pin knocked down in the first game of all 14 teams on February 26. #DMD is going to match that pledge. Just in case you went to Old Mill or you're a Flyers fan, I'll do the math for you: If each team averaged a score of "80" per-player in their first game, that's 14 teams x 4 players x ten cents per-pin = $448.

Boom! We're at almost $1,000 and that's just with each team bowling a team-score of 320 in their first game.

But we need 14 teams to reach that level.

Here's the other challenge: I'm asking each player in the field to put up $5.00 for every strike they throw on Sunday, February 26, up to a maximum of 10 or $50.00. That money goes in the kitty for the large-scale donation to the Malone family.

We're still donating the regular bowling prize money to your designated charity, but we're adding the "Malone donation" option for everyone who wants to help this family in need.

It's likely instead of donating cash we'll simply buy them a couple of gift cards -- per their request -- to Target, Home Depot and Amazon. We're in contact with a family member who is organizing all of that and we'll provide more details in the near future.

The first order of business is finding SIX more teams of four to bowl in our event on February 26th. E-mail me this morning if you're willing to field a team: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Your team fee remains $300, which gets everyone three hours of bowling, shoes, pizza, beer, soft drinks and prize money for the top four teams.

Unison Business Solutions will then initiate the "First Game Fundraiser" and will donate ten cents per-pin, per-player in the first game bowled on February 26. #DMD will match that.

And we hope others will, as well.

This is our chance to make a difference in the community and help a family in need.

Join with us on February 26th.

To register your team, just visit the "Charity Bowling" tab at the top of #DMD above.

Friday
January 20
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXX
Issue 20
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maybe now the folks in cleveland can finally move on


The death of former Ravens (and Cleveland Browns) team President David Modell last week stirred up a lot of emotions in Cleveland.

It led to several members of the media in Northeast Ohio -- Bill Livingston and Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer to name two, specifically -- publishing articles about the life and times of David Modell and raking him over the coals one more time while people here in Baltimore gathered for his funeral.

With that media frenzy came input from sports fans in Cleveland, who also took the opportunity to heap personal criticisms on the younger Modell, who passed away from lung cancer at age 56 on January 13.

I get it.

People in Cleveland are still mad about the Browns' departure in 1995 and their subsequent move to Baltimore.

I'm not even going to chastise those folks for their heartless digs at Modell in the wake of his passing last week. Livingston and Pluto should know better, but their job these days is to stir the masses. It's about website clicks, not writing poignant, connecting columns that make people consider both sides of the story.

In Cleveland, there's only one side of the story. Art Modell was a bum. And so, too, was his son, David.

So, while I won't beat up Clevelander's for writing some pretty mean stuff about David Modell's death last week, what I will do is tell them to use Modell's passing as closure on the Browns' move to Baltimore 22 years ago.

Let it go, now.

There's no one else to roast, folks, unless you're someday going to jump for joy and write columns of glee when Ozzie Newsome passes away.

The Modell family is gone.

We know all too well about football teams leaving and the pain it causes. We also know about saying and writing mean things about the owner who did the deed and ordered the moving vans and we also know about getting a team again and starting all over.

Baltimore was a jerk about Bob Irsay well before Cleveland was a jerk about Art Modell.

I don't know that our city is particularly proud of the things we said and did in the aftermath of Irsay's death, but then again, some folks get a perverse sort of glee from people passing away in all walks of life.

There was a time when someone at the radio station I formerly worked at suggested he would go to Bob Irsay's grave and urinate on it when the Ravens made a trip to Indianapolis to play the Colts.

I objected to that idea and said as much during my morning radio show. It led to some tension at the station, amid suggestions that I wasn't a "team player".

Later, when a fan dressed in a Ravens jersey did, in fact, carry out that action and went as far as to post pictures on social media, I took him to task on the air and was criticized by listeners who claimed "you (I) don't get it".

No, friends, I get it. The team was special to everyone in Baltimore -- including me -- and the guy who pulled the plug and moved the team to Indianapolis was a community villain -- forever. I get it.

But jumping for joy at his death and urinating on his grave? That's probably not one of the things I want on my list when my day of judgment comes and I'm asked about my involvement in those events.

I lost my mom in 1987 and my dad in 2003. When you've lost a parent, you see people differently, I think.

When it was suggested that folks from the radio station make a stop at the gravesite of Bob Irsay, I didn't see him as the owner of the Colts who moved the team from Baltimore to Indy. I saw him as the father of a son (Jim Irsay). I wanted no part of that degradation.

Some clown from Cleveland did the same deed to Art Modell's grave in Pikesville a few years ago, and because people are always looking for their 15 minutes of fame, he, too, showcased his work on social media.

He was easily identified, arrested and faced his day in court back in Baltimore.

I don't remember Livingston or Pluto writing anything about that incident. A quick Google check didn't show anything, but maybe I didn't look hard enough. Or maybe they didn't have the gumption to criticize one of their own for something as hideous as peeing on another man's grave.

And, for what it's worth, I don't see how public urination on Art's grave changed anything about anything.

Just like I don't see how writing damning pieces about David Modell in the wake of his death does any good, either.

The team is still gone, the men you despise are still dead, and you haven't really altered the course of history at all by being frustrated and angry, still.

Maybe this, now, will finally settle the score for the people of Northeast Ohio. Perhaps they'll all rest a little easier in 2017 knowing that the two men who engineered the move of the Browns to Baltimore are no longer living on this Earth.

If nothing else, Bill Livingston and Terry Pluto will have to find new things to write about that stir up the football fans of Cleveland.

I'd suggest they simply cover the Browns more extensively, but how many ways can you dissect 1-15 and a last place finish in the AFC North?

And as for the folks in Cleveland still harboring resentment, I can assure them, having experienced it here ourselves, that they'll wake up one day and feel differently about it all.

They'll figure it out like we did. Just move on and celebrate what you have...

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trumbo gets the cleat of reality, o's get their power bat


Mark Trumbo learned what Chris Davis learned last off-season.

Just because you think you're worth it doesn't mean you're actually going to get it.

Trumbo started the off-season looking for $85 million.

Yesterday he wound up getting $37.5 million from the Orioles.

The Orioles solved their right-handed power bat issue on Thursday when Mark Trumbo re-signed with the club for three years.

The Cleat of Reality is a lot like Father Time. He doesn't care who you are.

Trumbo signed a 3-year deal with the O's on Thursday, returning to Baltimore on the heels of a successful 2016 campaign that saw him lead the majors with 46 home runs.

It was a tale of two halves for Trumbo in 2016. He scorched the American League in the first half, then hit the ground with a thud in the second half.

In the first half (by "half", we're talking up to the All-Star break), he hit .288 with a .341 on-base percentage.

In the second half, he hit a measly .214 with a .284 on-base percentage. No need to check to see if those numbers are right. They are.

The Orioles are hoping the first half Trumbo shows up for both halves in 2017.

Critics of the deal contend the Orioles still have an issue in left and right field on days when they face left-handed pitching. Both Hyun-soo Kim and newcomer Seth Smith are awful against lefties, and if Trumbo plays right field when the O's face a southpaw, who's the right handed DH?

Others are hinting that Trumbo's $37.5 million haul is more proof that the O's aren't going to even step to the plate with Manny Machado and Zach Britton in 2018, but no one knows if that's true except Peter Angelos.

There's logic there, particularly after giving Chris Davis $161 million last January, but it's not like the Orioles aren't going to make MORE money in the next two years to help absorb the new contracts, potentially, of Machado and Britton.

Back to 2017 and how yesterday's news impacts the Birds.

Trumbo playing right field at all is somewhat concerning given his limited range, but the club will have almost no other choice but to play him out there when they face a left handed starter.

Still, Trumbo in Baltimore makes the Orioles a better team.

And, like Davis found out last year when his $250 million hope turned into a $161 million reality, Trumbo's value is probably much closer to what he got ($37.5 million) than what he wanted.

The Orioles improved themselves on Thursday and it didn't cost them a gazillion dollars or a draft pick.

Every once in a while, the Cleat of Reality does good work.


who is the nfl mvp for 2016?


We love polls around here and we love getting your input.

Today is your final chance to tell the world who should be the NFL MVP for the 2016 season. We had a busy day of voting on Thursday and we'll reveal the winner of the #DMD poll in Saturday's edition.

The NFL traditionally recognizes the winner of the award as voted on by members of Associated Press (A.P.).

Could this Cowboys star be both the NFL MVP and Rookie of the Year?

Yesterday, the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) named Falcons QB Matt Ryan as their league MVP and Offensive Player of the Year, and tabbed Oakland's Khalil Mack as the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year.

But the vote conducted by the A.P. is the big one. That's the one that carries the most weight.

We'll give you the chance today to vote for any of five players:

1. Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers

2. New England QB Tom Brady

3. Atlanta QB Matt Ryan

4. Dallas RB Ezekiel Elliott

5. Oakland QB Derek Carr

Yes, four of the five choices are QB's. It's almost always that way.

Here's a quick reason why you COULD cast your vote for any of the five players above.

Rodgers is, of course, starting to fully emerge as one of the game's best quarterbacks of the last three decades. He has a Super Bowl ring already and could very well be on the verge of earning his second this season. When the Packers were 4-6 back in November, he stood at the podium and said, "With all due respect to the teams we have left on the schedule, I really feel like we can run the table." And, up to now, they've done just that. Without Aaron Rodgers, the Packers go 4-12.

Brady remains a marvel both because of his age (39) and the fact that year after year, his supporting cast is decent at best, constantly injured, and yet, Brady still finds a way to propel the Patriots to a wildly successful season. This year, it was Brady himself who missed four games due to a laughably inappropriate suspension, yet he still managed to post an 11-1 record as a starter and breezed through the regular season like a 26 year old.

Ryan has been maligned throughout most of his 9-year career, yet he produced a remarkable season in 2016 and has the Falcons one game away from a trip to the Super Bowl. His Atlanta offense averaged a whopping 33.75 points-per-game and Ryan threw for 38 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions on the year. And he's tough, too. Ryan was sacked 37 times during the regular season, yet still put up 4,944 yards in the air and led Atlanta to the NFC South title.

Elliott burst on to the NFL scene after being selected 4th in the NFL draft last spring. He led the league in total rushing yards (1,631) and average yards-per-game (108.7) and helped the Cowboys finish 13-3 and own the best record in the entire NFC. Dak Prescott was a valuable rookie as well, but Elliott's emergence gave the Cowboys a new dimension offensively.

Carr might have the best case of all even though his numbers don't warrant a first place vote. With Carr in the lineup, Oakland was 12-2 and poised to make a legitimate run at the top spot in the AFC and, perhaps the Super Bowl. He missed the final two regular season games after breaking his leg on December 18 and the Raiders promptly lost both of those games, fell to 2nd in the AFC West, then lost to a fairly inept Houston team in the first round of the playoffs. With Carr, Oakland had a puncher's chance of playing in the Super Bowl. Without him, they wouldn't have won six games all season. That's a case for MVP honors if there ever was one.

I think you can make a case for any of those five players. Rodgers has led the Packers back from despair, Brady is the King of Everything, Ryan had an amazing year and Elliott made everyone who said, "It's a passing league" see things differently, for once. Derek Carr showed first-hand how valuable he was -- once he left the lineup, Oakland turned into the Cleveland Browns.

My vote? It's boring, I know. I'm going with Tom Brady.

I've sold my soul.

What he does year after year (besides "winning") just amazes me. There's something almost mystical to the way Brady gets it done. I keep watching and hoping this will be the season when it finally all falls apart, like an old car that gives in after 17 years and just stops running one cold January morning.

Instead, he seemingly keeps getting better.

The good news? You can't vote for any of those five names you see below.

"Have at it", as Coach Billick used to say.
 Drew's Morning Dish

#DMD Poll

Question: What is the Ravens biggest problem thus far in 2017?
Flacco and his QB play
Lack of receivers and playmakers
Key injuries
Offensive and defensive schemes
Harbaugh and his coaching
Name
Email address

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dale williams aims
the terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his third season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in 2016-2017.


another road upset for maryland as terps beat favored iowa by eight


The Maryland Terrapins went into Iowa City and wrestled away an 84-76 victory from the Iowa Hawkeyes last night in a game that left far more in doubt than the eight point final margin may indicate.

Led by Melo Trimble’s 20 points, the Terps had four starters (Trimble, Anthony Cowan, Justin Jackson, and Damonte Dodd) score in double figures -- along with one reserve player (Jaylen Brantley). It was a special road win for Maryland in that they let a large lead slip away, only to regain it and win going away.

Melo Trimble's 20 points helped Maryland get past Iowa last night and improve to 5-1 in the Big 10 conference.

Maryland built a big 15-point first half lead behind some great ball movement and solid shooting. Ten of the Terps' first eleven baskets included smart passing and assists.

For the half, they had assists on 14 of their 16 first half made shots. Justin Jackson had four of those assists and Anthony Cowan had three.

The Terps were getting good looks inside with Damonte Dodd and Ivan Bender receiving sharp passes that were easily converted into points. Both big men finished the half with three buckets.

While the Terps were hitting on 57% of their shots from the field, Iowa could only manage 29%. The half ended with Maryland up nine points, 41-32. The Terps interior passing allowed them to hold a decisive advantage in points-in-the-paint, 22-6.

In the second half, Maryland was able to maintain their double digit lead until the 13:02 mark when an Ivan Bender turnover lead to an Iowa field goal by Ryan Kriener that made the score 54-45.

During that span, two significant events occurred. One was Damonte Dodd heading to the bench with his third foul and the other was Iowa was staying in a 1-2-2 zone that slowed down the Maryland attack.

Dodd re-entered the game with 11:02 left, but the lead was down to three points.

The lead was still three points when Dodd returned to the bench after picking up foul number four. One and a half minutes later the game was tied and the Hawkeyes had all of the momentum.

The Terps were getting destroyed on the glass in the second half and it had cost them their lead. For the game, Iowa had an astounding 20 offensive rebounds. The Terps seemed to play better interior defense with Dodd on the court despite the fact that he had only one rebound.

What happened next is why I'm calling this win "special".

With everything seemingly going against them, Maryland came back.

Being on the road with three freshmen getting major minutes, it would have been easy for the Terps to succumb to the environment and have this game get away from them.

But they were able to get a few stops while Jared Nickens hit a three and Trimble buried back to back three pointers to recapture a lead that the Terps would not relinquish.

The Terps won this game with outstanding ball movement in the first half, and stellar shooting from beyond the arc throughout the entire game.

The addition of Cowan as a second ball handler has also been essential to the Terps surprising 5-1 start in Big 10 play. He has added speed and persistent defense to this backcourt.

The Terps are hard to press when he and Trimble are both in the game. Cowan may have tried to play too last night though, and often found himself surrounded with no easy escape route. He had eight turnovers in the game.

In November and December, while the Terps were adding one and two point Houdini type wins to their resume, Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon kept stating that his team was a good shooting team despite their early season shooting woes.

Last night they proved him right and, in doing so, claimed a solid Big 10 road win. The Terps now head home for a Tuesday night game against Rutgers.

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this weekend in
english soccer


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

While the top of the table continues to battle week in and week out, the biggest mover and shaker from the weekend was at the bottom of the table, where Hull City picked up their first win in the last ten league matches and just their second since the opening month of the season to jump from the table cellar to the fringes of the relegation zone as we enter Matchday 22 of the English Premier League. With a visit to league leaders Chelsea pending will the three points be for naught? Tune in this weekend to find out with all of the action live on the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Saturday, January 21 (all times eastern)

7:30am – Swansea City @ Liverpool – Anfield, NBC Sports Network

Swansea City will have to hope their relegation rivals do not pull off the seemingly impossible when they travel to Chelsea as they now find themselves at the bottom of the table following the Tigers victory over Bournemouth last weekend and their own 4-0 setback against Arsenal, with a similarly daunting road trip pending to kick off the weekend action and a visit to Anfield and Liverpool, who dropped points late and dropped to third place in the table when Zlatan Ibrahimovic equalized in the 84th minute to share the points in their showdown with Manchester United 1-1.

You can count on one hand the number of teams that have been able to stymie the Liverpool offense so far this season but United were able to do just that, although the Reds will fancy their chances of getting the league’s most prolific offense (49 goals) firing against the Swans league worst defense (49 goals), and where they have an enjoyed an impressive history against the Welsh club, running out winners in four of their last five Premier League matches (L1) and in six of their eleven all time league meetings (D3 L2), including seven of their last nine across all competitions at Anfield (D1 L1).

10am – Manchester United @ Stoke City – bet365 Stadium, NBC Sports Network

The draw with Liverpool may have ended Manchester United’s nine game winning run across all competitions, along with any lingering hopes of a late season title charge, but the point kept them well in the race for a top four spot ahead of their trip to the bet365 Stadium to square off with Stoke City, where former Red Devil Mark Hughes has once again guided the Potters back to their all too familiar ninth place position in the table with a brace from Marko Arnautovic getting them started before Peter Crouch added one more before the halftime whistle to easily move them past Sunderland 3-1.

After finishing in ninth place the last three seasons, Stoke City had hoped to get over the hump this year and, following an up and down start to the current campaign, look well on their way whey they play host to United, whom the Potters have taken all three points from in two of the last three league meetings at the bet365 Stadium (D1) although prior to their recent run of good home form had lost twelve of their previous thirteen head to head meetings across all competitions (D1), which included losing streaks of five and seven games respectively on either side of the shared points.

12:30pm – Tottenham @ Manchester City – Etihad Stadium, NBC

A 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Everton leaves Pep Guardiola and Manchester City in almost "must-win" territory this Saturday against Tottenham.

While the picture continues to look rosy on the red side of Manchester, Pep Guardiola and Manchester City endured the worst loss of his legendary managerial career as they fell for the second time in their last three games when they were absolutely dismantled by a so far this season up and down Everton side 4-0. It will not get any easier for the preseason title favorites when they welcome Tottenham to the Etihad Stadium in what is now a must win game against the high-flying Spurs, who moved into second place in the table after they made it six wins in a row when they easily moved past West Brom 4-0.

Guardiola is learning first hand why the English Premier League is the toughest league in the world from top to bottom and, with their title hopes for this season now come and gone will have to take something against Spurs who, after losing eight of their previous nine league meetings with City (W1), have won the last three matches including a convincing 2-0 win earlier this season and in this same fixture last season, though their recent visit was the only time they have left the Etihad Stadium with points in their last five trips to the Northwest of England, if they want to keep their top four hopes alive.


Thursday
January 19
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXX
Issue 19
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i love that bonds, clemens are facing an uphill battle


So, two guys thought to be steroid users were announced as 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame selections on Tuesday.

That's fine. Two guys who were known PED users didn't get in.

I'll take that trade.

Oh, and Tim Raines finally got in, too, but his only vice was cocaine. In the 1980's, athletes used cocaine the way 19-year olds these days get tatted up as college freshmen.

I'm OK with Jeff Bagwell and Ivan Rodriguez getting in, although there's plenty of evidence to at least suggest they were likely on the juice during their careers.

People will quickly use the old excuse -- "They never tested positive" -- and I'd quickly remind those folks that, technically, neither did Barry Bonds.

Bonds and Roger Clemens both fell substantially short of selection on Wednesday, although each creeped over the 50% mark in total votes received. They'll need to get 75% of the vote in order to get elected. It's by no means a slam-dunk that either of them ever see their plaque at Cooperstown.

And that's the way it should be, I think.

A superb 21-year career in the big leagues provided Ivan Rodriguez with the ultimate reward on Wednesday when he became just the second catcher ever to be named to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

I'll reiterate this again in case you weren't around for Wednesday's edition of #DMD.

If you're casting your vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame, you follow your gut. You don't read other people's opinions, you certainly don't listen to some other ne'er do well tell you how to vote and, above all, don't worry about criticism that you're either an old fuddy duddy or a new age stats geek.

If you're voting, vote how you want, for the reasons you want. Period.

I wouldn't vote for anyone that I know used steroids. I wouldn't vote for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. They used steroids.

There's a long laundry list of guys that I think used steroids. Truth? I'm one of those skeptics that thinks everyone was on the juice in the 1990's. I'm a bad guy like that.

But, the reality is that the list of players I suspect used steroids probably trails well into triple digits, if I sat down and mapped it all out, team by team.

I suspect Jeff Bagwell used steroids. I highly suspect Pudge Rodriguez used steroids. But I'm OK with them getting in because they don't fall into my "I know" category.

At some point, as I wrote yesterday, you have to draw a line and say, "This is where I stand..."

And where I stand is simple: Bonds, Clemens, Palmeiro, A-Rod - no, no, no and no. You guys can't get my vote for Cooperstown.

Alas, I don't have a vote. So I'm just another guy writing about it and laughing at Bonds and Clemens for being forced to spend another 364 days wondering if the baseball writers will ever officially and completely forgive them for their past juicing sins.

Neither of those guys probably care all that much. They don't need the extra money you can make by writing "Bonds (Clemens) H.O.F. 2017" on a baseball or a picture. It's a status symbol, really. Nothing more. Your money still spends at the Loews Hotel in South Beach whether you're in Cooperstown or not.

The fact that it might piss them off for a week or two tickles me a little bit. They don't belong in there based on the shame they brought the game of baseball, just like Pete Rose doesn't belong in there.

Bagwell was a terrific player, probably the most productive first baseman of his era other than Albert Pujols. And Rodriguez was a trend-setter as a catcher and yesterday became just the second catcher ever (Johnny Bench was the other) to earn selection in his first year of eligibility.

Jose Canseco told everyone that would listen "Pudge" used steroids and the eye test certainly confirmed that accusation. But the voters didn't seem to mind yesterday.

Trevor Hoffman came up one percent short, which means he'll get in soon, probably next year, in fact. Vlad Guerrero came up four percent short which means he's a lock as well.

I would have voted for Edgar Martinez yesterday, but soup to nuts, Rodriguez had a more distinguished career than did Martinez.

Those were three reasonable selections yesterday.

All three guys were the best at their position for a long time.

So, too, were Bonds and Clemens. But the voters aren't ready -- not yet, anyway -- to lower their standards enough to let those two grace the halls of Cooperstown.

I love it, personally. Let 'em wait...

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who is the nfl mvp for 2016?


We love polls around here and we love getting your input.

Today is your chance to tell the world who should be the NFL MVP for the 2016 season.

The NFL traditionally recognizes the winner of the award as voted on by members of Associated Press (A.P.).

Yesterday, the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) named Falcons QB Matt Ryan as their league MVP and Offensive Player of the Year, and tabbed Oakland's Khalil Mack as the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year.

But the vote conducted by the A.P. is the big one. That's the one that carries the most weight.

We'll give you the chance today to vote for any of five players:

1. Green Bay QB Aaaron Rodgers

2. New England QB Tom Brady

3. Atlanta QB Matt Ryan

4. Dallas RB Ezekiel Elliott

5. Oakland QB Derek Carr

Yes, four of the five choices are QB's. It's almost always that way.

Is leading the Packers back from a 4-6 start to a 10-6 record and the NFC North title enough to earn Aaron Rodgers the league's MVP award for 2016?

Here's a quick reason why you COULD cast your vote for any of the five players above.

Rodgers is, of course, starting to fully emerge as one of the game's best quarterbacks of the last three decades. He has a Super Bowl ring already and could very well be on the verge of earning his second this season. When the Packers were 4-6 back in November, he stood at the podium and said, "With all due respect to the teams we have left on the schedule, I really feel like we can run the table." And, up to now, they've done just that. Without Aaron Rodgers, the Packers go 4-12.

Brady remains a marvel both because of his age (39) and the fact that year after year, his supporting cast is decent at best, constantly injured, and yet, Brady still finds a way to propel the Patriots to a wildly successful season. This year, it was Brady himself who missed four games due to a laughably inappropriate suspension, yet he still managed to post an 11-1 record as a starter and breezed through the regular season like a 26 year old.

Ryan has been maligned throughout most of his 9-year career, yet he produced a remarkable season in 2016 and has the Falcons one game away from a trip to the Super Bowl. His Atlanta offense averaged a whopping 33.75 points-per-game and Ryan threw for 38 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions on the year. And he's tough, too. Ryan was sacked 37 times during the regular season, yet still put up 4,944 yards in the air and led Atlanta to the NFC South title.

Elliott burst on to the NFL scene after being selected 4th in the NFL draft last spring. He led the league in total rushing yards (1,631) and average yards-per-game (108.7) and helped the Cowboys finish 13-3 and own the best record in the entire NFC. Dak Prescott was a valuable rookie as well, but Elliott's emergence gave the Cowboys a new dimension offensively.

Carr might have the best case of all even though his numbers don't warrant a first place vote. With Carr in the lineup, Oakland was 12-2 and poised to make a legitimate run at the top spot in the AFC and, perhaps the Super Bowl. He missed the final two regular season games after breaking his leg on December 18 and the Raiders promptly lost both of those games, fell to 2nd in the AFC West, then lost to a fairly inept Houston team in the first round of the playoffs. With Carr, Oakland had a puncher's chance of playing in the Super Bowl. Without him, they wouldn't have won six games all season. That's a case for MVP honors if there ever was one.

I think you can make a case for any of those five players. Rodgers has led the Packers back from despair, Brady is the King of Everything, Ryan had an amazing year and Elliott made everyone who said, "It's a passing league" see things differently, for once. Derek Carr showed first-hand how valuable he was -- once he left the lineup, Oakland turned into the Cleveland Browns.

My vote? It's boring, I know. I'm going with Tom Brady.

I've sold my soul.

What he does year after year (besides "winning") just amazes me. There's something almost mystical to the way Brady gets it done. I keep watching and hoping this will be the season when it finally all falls apart, like an old car that gives in after 17 years and just stops running one cold January morning.

Instead, he seemingly keeps getting better.

The good news? You can't vote for any of those five names you see below.

"Have at it", as Coach Billick used to say.
 Drew's Morning Dish

#DMD Poll

Question: What is the Ravens biggest problem thus far in 2017?
Flacco and his QB play
Lack of receivers and playmakers
Key injuries
Offensive and defensive schemes
Harbaugh and his coaching
Name
Email address


and the results for our steelers/orioles poll are...


On Tuesday of this week, we gave you the chance to pick one achievement by the Orioles that would be worth a major sacrifice on your part.

Namely, you'd sign off on allowing the Pittsburgh Steelers to win back-to-back Super Bowl titles in exchange for one of four things happening with the Orioles.

1. The Orioles win the 2017 World Series.

2. Manny Machado signs a 10-year deal with the Orioles.

3. The Orioles acquire Mike Trout in a trade with the Angels.

4. Peter Angelos sells the team to a local group headed by Cal Ripken Jr.

And there was a 5th choice -- I wouldn't agree to any of those four. I don't want the Steelers to win anything.

And the winner was...

44% of you chose #5, saying, basically, you wouldn't agree to letting the Steelers win back-to-back Super Bowls in exchange for any of those four things happening in favor of the Orioles.

39% of you chose #1 - the Orioles win the 2017 World Series.

12% of you chose #4 - Peter Angelos sells the team to a local group headed by Cal Ripken Jr.

5% chose #2 and #3 - Machado signs long term and Trout becomes an Oriole.

I voted for #1, by the way. I would sign off on just about anything (except the Flyers winning the Stanley Cup) to have the Orioles win the World Series. Hell, truth be told, I'd probably sign off on the Flyers winning the Stanley Cup if it meant the Orioles would win the World Series. I can't believe I just wrote that. I'll probably edit this out later on when I come to my senses. But there's nothing I'd want more -- sports wise -- than to see the Orioles win the World Series again in my lifetime.

Thanks to all of you who voted!

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underdog terps hope to upset favored iowa tonight on the road


The Maryland Terrapins travel to the Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa to take on the Hawkeyes in game that puts their #1 spot in the Big 10 and their #25 ranking nationally on the line.

Iowa is undefeated at home in conference games (3-0) while losing all three of its road contests. For the year, they are three games over .500 at 11-8.

Iowa head coach Fred McCaffery has 10 players that average at least 10 minutes of playing time and five of those players are freshmen.

However, this team depends highly on one guy and that’s their star senior guard Peter Jok.

Iowa's Peter Jok is not only Iowa's star player but a Big 10 Player of the Year candidate as well.

The 6’6” Jok leads the Hawkeyes in points (22 per game) and is tied with Nicholas Baer for the team lead in rebounds (6.2 per game).

The athletic, but slender, Jok favors the perimeter but will slash when the opportunity presents itself. He hits almost 40% of his 3 point shots but overall only knocks down 44% of his attempts. At times he has a bit of a quick trigger preferring to launch a shot from his current location instead of working for something that might produce at a higher success rate. Regardless, he is a legitimate first team All Big 10 candidate and potential conference Player of the Year.

Besides Jok, the only real Hawkeye threat to beat you off the dribble is 6’5” freshman guard Isaiah Moss. Moss had shown flashes of brilliance in his first year. He pumped in a career high of 21 points against Stetson and carded 15 first half points recently against Nebraska.

Moss averages only 7 points a game but could easily exceed that tonight against some smaller Terp defenders.

Nicholas Baer is an important piece for Iowa in his role as a “do whatever it takes” guy. You’ll find him scrapping for loose balls, setting solid picks and running good sets on offense, as well as hitting the boards.

He leads the team in offensive rebounds and steals. Baer is a long and lanky 6’7”, 205 lb forward who uses his wing span well.

Cordell Pemsl and Tyler Cook make up the starting front court. Of the two freshmen big men, Cook is the more versatile player while Pemsl is a more physical type, but he lacks a delicate touch around the basket. At 6’8” and 6’9” respectively, they have decent size but won’t dominate the interior.

Iowa’s most recent game was a 35 point blowout loss to Northwestern on the road.

Baer came off the bench in that game and it will in interesting to see what lineup coach McCaffrey starts with tonight.

Whoever he chooses had better bring some defensive intensity and rebounding skill. Iowa is last in the Big 10 in scoring defense (82.3 ppg) and 10th in rebounding margin. Making things even harder, I have also seen the Hawkeyes give the ball away far too many times.

I still feel physical teams, especially ones that can dominate inside, are the teams that will give the Terps the most trouble. Maryland has faced a few solid individual post players, but no team that features interior play as their offensive focus. When they do, Maryland better hope that Damonte Dodd has another great defensive performance.

Tonight, however, Iowa is not one of those teams. Jok is a great scorer, Moss can be trouble, and Baer can play on my team any day. That being said, Iowa’s overall defensive weaknesses make me think that the Terps are in a good position to break the Hawkeye’s string of home conference wins.

I expect the Terp guards to be too fast, getting to the rim with regularity and looking to dish when they get there. Justin Jackson scored in double figures in seven of his last nine games before getting blanked by Illinois. That left a bitter taste in his mouth, more so than that 35 point loss that Iowa just suffered left in their most recent outing.

I like Jackson to break out tonight along with a strong game by Dodd. Dodd will be the biggest guy on the court and I expect him to throw his weight around a bit.

Maryland opened as a 1.5 point favorite but they have been bet down to a 1.5 point underdog now.

An unranked home favorite against a ranked underdog is usually a strong play for the home team (especially if the ranked team is in the top 10). But I say the Terps buck that trend and come out with a 79-77 victory behind double digit performances from Melo Trimble, Anthony Cowan, Jackson, and Dodd.

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we need four more teams to fill our charity duckpin bowling event!


One of my favorite events on the #DMD charity calendar is set for Sunday, February 26 and you and your bowling friends are invited to participate!

It's our annual "Charity Duckpin Challenge", where you and your team of four bowlers can earn money for YOUR favorite charity.

Most charity golf events you play in have a pre-designated charity that everyone in the field is helping raise funds for, but this bowling event we offer is exactly the opposite.

You designate YOUR charity ahead of time, then bowl against 13 other teams for valuable prize money and a donation check at the end of the night!

This year's event will be held on Sunday, February 26 from 3 pm to 6 pm at Stoneleigh Lanes in Towson.

The team entry fee is $300.00 and all four bowlers receive the following:

Three hours of bowling, with shoe rental (each team must turn in at least three scores...bowl as many games as you like and take your best three)

Complimentary beer, soft drinks and pizza for everyone.

Participation in our "Deck of Cards" contest where you can win up to $100 cash just by throwing a strike!

We also offer free child care and bowling and pizza for them as well, so bring the kids if you'd like!

First place pays $850!

Imagine handing over a check for $850 to your favorite charity!

We'll also pay the teams finishing in 2nd, 3rd and 4th place, so just about 30% of the field gets a donation check.

To register your team, just click on the "bowling" tab at the top of #DMD and get your team a spot in the field of 14.

As of January 18th, ten teams have registered, leaving us with four spots to fill.


the malone family needs our help


I've said and written this a lot since #DMD started on August 25, 2014. Our mission here is greater than just writing about local and national sports and covering the Ravens, Orioles, Terps, etc.

We also strive to stress the importance of giving back to our community and supporting one another in times of need.

As most of you know, I assume, the Malone family suffered a heartbreaking tragedy last Thursday when their home caught fire in Northeast Baltimore, killing six of their nine children.

This is a chance for the #DMD family and the local sports community to get involved and help one of its own.

And we'll have a blast doing it, too.

They are literally starting all over again. And doing so with the heaviest of hearts, having suffered the worst thing imaginable to a parent; losing a child.

We need to help.

Our friends at Unison Business Solutions are stepping up to help the Malone family. Now, we need you to help, too!

Our annual charity bowling event is set for Sunday, February 26 at Stoneleigh Lanes in Towson from 3 pm to 6 pm. Thanks to my longtime friend Shawn Shannon and his company, Unison Business Solutions, we're going to turn the event into a fundraiser of sorts for the Malone family.

The first order of business is selling out the event to maximize the amount of money we can raise.

That's where you come in. Today, we have ten teams registered for the bowling event. We need 14 to complete the field.

I'm asking all of you reading this to consider putting together a team, but I'm specifically challenging those of you who comment regularly here. You know who you are. You're some of our most active participants, adding your wit, wisdom and opinion to the "Comments" section at the bottom of #DMD.

Now I want you to add something else; your time, energy and support.

I'm not mentioning anyone by name, but if you're a regular commenter here, the challenge is out. Get your team of four together and help us raise some money for the Malone family.

It's time for you to man-up.

And one of our #DMD corporate partners has stepped to the plate with an awesome offer to help us raise even more money for the Malone family.

Unison Business Solutions will donate ten cents for each pin knocked down in the first game of all 14 teams on February 26. #DMD is going to match that pledge. Just in case you went to Old Mill or you're a Flyers fan, I'll do the math for you: If each team averaged a score of "80" per-player in their first game, that's 14 teams x 4 players x ten cents per-pin = $448.

Boom! We're at almost $1,000 and that's just with each team bowling a team-score of 320 in their first game.

But we need 14 teams to reach that level.

Here's the other challenge: I'm asking each player in the field to put up $5.00 for every strike they throw on Sunday, February 26, up to a maximum of 10 or $50.00. That money goes in the kitty for the large-scale donation to the Malone family.

We're still donating the regular bowling prize money to your designated charity, but we're adding the "Malone donation" option for everyone who wants to help this family in need.

It's likely instead of donating cash we'll simply buy them a couple of gift cards -- per their request -- to Target, Home Depot and Amazon. We're in contact with a family member who is organizing all of that and we'll provide more details in the near future.

The first order of business is finding SIX more teams of four to bowl in our event on February 26th. E-mail me this morning if you're willing to field a team: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Your team fee remains $300, which gets everyone three hours of bowling, shoes, pizza, beer, soft drinks and prize money for the top four teams.

Unison Business Solutions will then initiate the "First Game Fundraiser" and will donate ten cents per-pin, per-player in the first game bowled on February 26. #DMD will match that.

And we hope others will, as well.

This is our chance to make a difference in the community and help a family in need.

Join with us on February 26th.

Wednesday
January 18
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXX
Issue 18
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today's the day we see who reaches hall of fame status in baseball


Today is one of those annual historic days in sports in our country.

It's the day the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) announces their selections for the 2017 class of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

In the event you don't know the rules, they're fairly simple. A player must receive at least 75% of the vote to gain entry into the Hall of Fame. Anything less than 75% and you go back in the hopper for the following year. However, if you appear on less than 5% of the returned ballots, you're off the eligibility list for the next voting year.

Today's the day we learn who gets in and who gets left behind.

The two most prominent names are Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, both of whom were in the mid-40% range last year and far from being selected.

Baseball's all-time home run leader is eligible for Hall of Fame induction for the fifth time in 2017. Could this be the year Barry Bonds is enshrined?

Jeff Bagwell earned 71.4% of the vote in 2016 and narrowly missed joining Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza, who earned selection last year.

Bagwell is among the favorites to be selected today when the 2017 honors are released.

We'll have a poll tomorrow here at #DMD once we see who gets in and who doesn't, but in the meantime, I'm ready to fill out my ballot for this year's Hall of Fame class.

Let's get to the white elephant in the room, which, of course are the two most prominent names; Bonds and Clemens.

I would NOT vote for either one of them.

Why?

Well, I think that's obvious. They were both steroid users.

I understand the dilemma national baseball writers face today. They're still struggling with the measurement of the performances provided by guys like Bonds and Clemens, and how they're to be judged up against others in their peer group who played at the same time and weren't nearly as scrutinized for PED use -- even though they very well MIGHT have used them without detection.

It's a slippery slope.

My best answer to the whole thing is pretty simple.

You, as a baseball writer and follower of the game at a fairly granular level, have to make up your own mind, go with what your gut tells you, and take a stand for what you believe is the truth and what might be either urban legend or an embellishment of the facts.

This is NOT something you should seek counsel on or allow for an alternate opinion to sway you what from your heart or intuition tells you to do.

Voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame should come down to whether or not you believe that player deserves the honor based on his career and the merits of "the way" his statistical career was produced.

I'll pause for a second to add this nugget about my own beliefs. I would NOT have voted for Gaylord Perry, who entered the Hall of Fame in 1991. Perry was, by his own admission, a spitballer. In other words, he cheated. And the obvious connection between a PED user (cheater) and a pitcher who doctored the baseball (cheater) shouldn't be casually dismissed.

And, no, before you say it, doctoring the baseball and throwing a spitter wasn't "chicanery" or "trickery". It was an act that, still to this day, is illegal and would get you thrown out of the game if caught by the umpires. Throwing a spitball was and still is, cheating.

But Perry's in, so I can't fight that fight.

I would, though, fight the fight on Clemens and Bonds and simply say, "No, I'm not voting for them."

By the way -- I think both of them are getting in, maybe even today. And on the basis of what they accomplished on the field, both clearly deserve Hall of Fame status.

And I should also point out the silly commentary about guys like Bonds, Clemens and, in the future Alex Rodriguez -- "They put up Hall of Fame numbers before they started using steroids." A) You have no real idea when they started using them and, B) That doesn't really matter.

Pete Rose was a Hall of Famer all the way up until he started gambling on baseball games that he was involved in as a manager. Once that happened, Rose was a Hall of Fame no-go.

I'd also politely ask you to refrain from making a fool of yourself here and trying to deny that Clemens and Bonds weren't PED users. Don't go there. You know they were. End of story.

You're allowed to vote for ten players on your Hall of Fame ballot.

I've always looked at Hall of Fame voting -- for any sport -- with this question in mind. Can you write the history of the sport and devote a chapter or two to the era a player played in and NOT mention his name as a prominent player during that time span?

If the answer is, "Yes, I can write a chapter or two about his era and not mention him"...then he's not a Hall of Famer in my opinion.

There are some twists and turns to that statement and it's not 100% etched in a stone as the be-all, end-all of H.O.F. voting, but I'm sticking with that philosophy as the starting point for my decision on who to vote for and not to vote for.

Then, I throw in the PED and steroids issue. And I make my vote accordingly.

One of the most consistent hitters in baseball throughout his career, Edgar Martinez is expected to receive significant consideration for selection to the Hall of Fame in 2017.

I'd vote for three players this year.

My first vote would go to Jeff Bagwell. I'll say this from the start. There's definitely a chance Bagwell was on the juice. But, going back to my "take a stand" comment above, I'm not sure if Bagwell used steroids or not. I know Bonds and Clemens did. Bagwell? I'm not sure. So, I'd give him the benefit of the doubt.

He nearly hit .300 for his career (.297), totaled 2314 hits and, almost as importantly, walked 1401 times. His on-base percentage was a whopping .408. He also hit 449 home runs. He won a National League MVP award and was one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball throughout the mid '90's.

I'd vote for Bagwell.

I would also vote for the second best lead-off hitter of the '80's and '90's, Tim Raines. Yes, yes, Raines had a cocaine problem. He admitted to having cocaine in a vial, in his pants, while playing in games.

Some people might consider cocaine "performance enhancing".

I consider it dangerous, more than anything else.

Raines was a prolific lead-off hitter and base-stealer, back when guys would routinely steal 70 or 80 bases a year.

If he got on base, which he did at a .385 clip in his 23-year career, Raines was likely going to get in scoring position before the inning was over.

He wasn't a Gold Glove outfielder, but he sure was one heck of an offensive weapon.

My third and final vote in 2017 would go to Edgar Martinez, the former DH for the Seattle Mariners who spent 18 years in the majors and hit .312 for his career with an on-base-percentage of .418.

To me, a .300 career hitter (given a 15-year career or something of that nature) should almost always be a lock for the Hall in the same way a pitcher with 300 wins or a hitter with 500 home runs should be a shoo-in, as well.

As long as they weren't on the juice...

Martinez had little impact at all in the field, as he played only 560 games in a defensive position for the Mariners.

But his bat did the talking. And boy, did it ever.

Martinez was also decent in the post-season as well, although his playoff numbers didn't quite match those he produced in the regular season. Still, he was a .266 hitter in October with a .365 on-base-percentage. Lots of guys would take those numbers and run in the regular season, let alone the playoffs.

I'd also consider voting for Trevor Hoffman, Vlad Guerrero and Larry Walker, too. Walker was probably the most underrated of those three players but he toiled in the obscurity of Colorado for the meat of his career and some will say the thin Rocky Mountain air was for him what the needle was for guys like Bonds, A-Rod and others. In other words, it artificially sweetened his numbers.

I think Mike Mussina was a really good pitcher. Same with Curt Schilling. If Paducah, Kentucky built a "Hall of Very Good" for baseball, I'd put those two in there on the first ballot.

I don't consider either of them Hall of Fame pitchers, but I'll also admit my standards for admission are probably a little higher than reality should accept.

I've always thought about the Hall of Fame like this: If someone asks you if so-and-so is a Hall of Famer and you don't immediately say, "Oh, hell yes, absolutely", then you're probably making a pretty good argument against their inclusion based simply on your hesitation.

Look, I get it. The cat's out of the bag at this point when it comes to steroids, PED's and the like. It was part of baseball's history in the 1990's. I'd probably relent on guys like Bonds, Clemens and A-Rod if they'd allow a notation on their plaque that indicated, in some way, they were connected to steroid use either through a Federal investigation, the Mitchell Report or, in A-Rod's case specifically, flat-out admission.

But those players would never allow for that permanent stain on their Cooperstown plaque, so that point's not even worth bringing up.

In the end, this year at least, I'd put Bagwell, Raines and Martinez on my ballot.

There's no telling what my heart and gut will tell me to do next year.

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you have one more day to keep machado in baltimore for ten years!!


Yesterday here at #DMD, we launched this fun little exercise to see just how far you're willing to go for the Baltimore Orioles.

We had a whopping response to the poll on day one, and the early results, I'll hint, are VERY interesting.

Today's the final day for you to get your vote in -- and we hope you do.

On Sunday prior to the Caps-Flyers game (which, in case you don't know, was a 5-0 Caps thrashing of those toddlers from Philthy), I threw a poll out on Twitter that I've done numerous times before.

It's a mythical scenario, of course, but it tests the limits of our fandom, I suppose. It's one of those "what price would you pay?" kind of questions.

You're in control of bringing Mike Trout to the Orioles. But it comes with a hefty price. Would you do it?

It went like this: In exchange for the Flyers going 0-82 one season, which of these other instances would you allow? Steelers winning the Super Bowl, Yankees winning the World Series, or Duke winning the NCAA hoops title.

Me? I'd allow ALL THREE to happen in the same year if the Flyers went winless over the course of the entire season. Yep, I'm a bad guy.

So, that brings me to a new question today, and I'd like your HONEST input.

Let's pretend the sports fairy lands on your shoulder this afternoon and says, "I'm going to allow you to control a significant development in the history of the Orioles franchise if you'll sign off on the Steelers winning this year's Super Bowl AND next year's Super Bowl."

I know, I know: The Steelers repeating as Super Bowl champions is about as appealing to you as having to watch Meryl Streep on stage blathering on about the government right before she heads back home to her $4.5 million home in Marina del Rey.

Play along, though, this is just fun and games here at #DMD.

The poll below gives you five options from which to choose. Remember, you're signing off on allowing the Steelers to win back-to-back Super Bowls, but you're in control of one of those five scenarios that would greatly benefit the Orioles.

I'm anxious to see the results.

My vote? That's easy. We haven't won a World Series here since 1983. That's a no-brainer for me. I chose #1.


 Drew's Morning Dish

#DMD Poll

Question: What is the Ravens biggest problem thus far in 2017?
Flacco and his QB play
Lack of receivers and playmakers
Key injuries
Offensive and defensive schemes
Harbaugh and his coaching
Name
Email address

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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.

There was a time, not all that long ago, that the annual question of who made the Baseball Hall of Fame really got me going.

Somewhere along the way, however, I just stopped caring.

Not so much about voting results, per se, but about the sturn un drag of the debate year in and year out. It’s the same thing every year, and anymore it’s become a really disgusting spectacle of crusty old “traditionalists” whining about “stat geeks” because, good golly, Bert Blylevan got elected, Jack Morris fell just short (even though his vote total shot up in the last couple of years he was eligible), and people aren’t universally outraged by the same things that get the goat of washed up hacks like the pathetic Blogger Murray Chass.

And yet, the Hall seems to be making process.

The ridiculous outcome from a few years ago in which NO ONE was elected despite a plethora of worthies populating the ballot seems to have spurred a wake up call from the Hall’s governing body. Yes, that’s probably at least partly driven by crass financial concerns: Induction weekend is crucial to the Hall’s bottom line, and having no living inductees being honored costs them A LOT of operating revenue, but it was still the right thing to do.

And by all available information, it sure seems like culling the voting rolls to remove voters who hadn’t actually covered baseball in many years has made a big difference. There’s still more needed reforms, notably removing the rule that only allows voters to vote for a maximum of 10 candidates, which is having a significantly negative effect on the process these days. But on the whole, things seem to finally be moving in the right direction.

Roger Clemens is eligible for a 5th time in 2017; Will this be the year "The Rocket" finally gets his spot in Cooperstown?

So with that, I’ll return to the annual tradition of casting my own hypothetical ballot.

For the sake of disclosure, I’m a “big hall” guy, by which I mostly mean that I see the Hall as a museum first, and tend to think that anyone who garners a significant level of support (another change I’d like to see made is dropping the threshold from 75% to just a 2/3 share of the vote) ought to be enshrined for posterity.

And since this is being treated as a full out hypothetical ballot, there’s some tactical voting involved, the meaning of which will become clear later.

So with that, my picks:

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez, and Sammy Sosa: Might as well get the big ones out of the way to begin, eh?

These are, obviously, the “steroid guys,” the candidates whose candidacies are largely woven in with the question of how voters should treat players who are credibly linked to performance enhancing drug use.

I have been vocal in my opinion that the Hall shouldn’t consider this at all, especially for players from the pre-testing era in which use of these drugs was for all intents and purposes condoned by the sport.

I have been sympathetic to the idea that the writers didn’t really know what to do and needed “guidance” from the Hall itself, though. Well that guidance came this year, when the Veterans Committee saw fit to elect former Commissioner Bud Selig, the man who presided over the deepest part of the “steroid era.”

If Selig can go in despite turning a blind eye to steroid usage in the sport until he absolutely couldn’t any longer, than keeping out the users, confirmed or suspected, is just perversely unfair.

So Clemens and Bonds absolutely must go in if nothing else.

Manny might find himself waiting a couple of years, however, if only for the glut on the ballot, and Sosa seems to be a tough sell even to people who don’t care about steroids that much. I get it: His non-home run stats aren’t super impressive. That said, he DID hit over 600 home runs, had more 60+ home run seasons than anyone else in history, was one of the 3 or 4 most famous players in the world for over a decade, and along with Mark McGwire saved the sport from a post-strike malaise and pushed the industry towards the boom period it’s in today. Sosa deserves a spot, to be sure.

Oh, that reminds me: Another “reform” the Hall ought to make in the wake of Selig’s induction is to convene a special committee for the express purpose of enshrining McGwire, who has already fallen off the ballot due to lack of voter support. That’s a travesty that needs to be rectified post-haste.

Jeff Bagwell: Bagwell somewhat falls into the first category, as (wholly unfounded) rumors of steroid usage have derailed his candidacy since he became eligible.

However, I also think at least some of his problem has involved a general lack of appreciation for how good he was. And having grown up in Cincinnati spending many nights at the ballpark watching the Astros when they were in town, let me promise you; there was no one you more wanted to see, and feared coming to the plate, than Bagwell.

Not only did the guy hit 449 home runs, many of them in the cavernous Astrodome, he also stole 202 bases and played an excellent first base. An all around great player whose peak has largely been forgotten because it encompassed the strike shortened years, but who absolutely deserves his spot in Cooperstown.

Tim Raines: Like the aforementioned Blylevan, Raines has become a bit of a cause celebre for “stat nerds,” and that’s a real shame because the merits of his case really ought to be blindingly obvious.

A .294 batting average, .385 on base percentage, and 808 stolen bases over the course of 8,872 a bats really ought to speak for themselves, but ironically Raines is merely living proof that it’s the “traditionalists” who are truly obsessed with statistical accomplishment. Put him in the 3,000 hit club with the same numbers I just quoted, and he’s a first ballot guy (indeed, his .388 OBP is exactly equal to Tony Gwynn’s).

But because he only reached base via a hit, rather than a walk, 2,605 times he languishes in his final year of eligibility with his chances very much in doubt.

Edgar Martinez: Another player whose qualifications speak for themselves, but who finds himself a victim of voting prejudice, so to speak.

Martinez is, without exaggeration, one of the absolute best hitters of his generation. A .312/.418/.515 hitter, the .300/.400/.500 status alone puts him in rarefied air in baseball history.

The only knock against Martinez is that he was most often penciled into the lineup as a designated hitter, and many voters are expressing their disdain for the DH rule by way of Martinez’s candidacy. No matter what you think about the DH, that’s absolutely indefensible. Martinez played his career at a time when the DH was a thing and for a team whose manager felt that’s where he most helped his team in the lineup.

He could have played first or third base, and while he wouldn’t have been good there are plenty of great hitters in the Hall who were atrocious fielders, including such well known names as Reggie Jackson and Ted Williams. The idea that Martinez would have a stronger case if he’d played BAD defense rather than no defense, given the circumstances, is just flat out absurd. Another guy the Hall may need to take it upon themselves to put in, no matter what the moron caucus of the BBWAA thinks.

Ivan Rodriguez: Now we start to get to the glut of the ballot, with many worty candidates who don’t really set themselves apart from one another.

Pudge gets my vote in year one simply because for roughly a decade he was either the best or second best catcher in the game. He did it all: hit, hit for power, and did an excellent job behind the plate. He also won everywhere he went, which is somewhat overrated but seems oddly relevant here, and won an MVP award with Texas.

Vladimir Guerrero: There’s a pretty strong statistical argument that Vlad doesn’t even merit enshrinement in a vacuum, let alone over guys like Mike Mussina and Curt Schilling, but I just can’t bring myself to endorse it.

At his peak, Vlad was the most incredible baseball player I’d ever seen. He wasn’t always pretty or graceful, but it sure didn’t seem like there was anything he couldn’t do on a baseball diamond. Throw a rope from the warning track to third and nail a runner by a step? Absolutely. Score from first improbably on a seemingly not all that well hit ball? Ayup. Take a pitch that BOUNCED before the plate and lace it to the wall on one hop? Saw him do it on live TV.

Injuries wrecked Vlad later in his career, but a player this good at his peak, and such a bona fide marvel to watch for so many years, absolutely belongs in Cooperstown.

Larry Walker: And here’s where tactical voting come in: I don’t really think Walker is the 10th most deserving candidate on the ballot, but you’re only allowed to vote for 10 guys, and if anyone fails to get 5% of the vote they can’t appear on the ballot again.

So, out of fear that Walker would otherwise see his hopes dashed until he was eligible for the Veteran’s Committee, he’d get my final available vote if this was a real ballot.

The knock on Walker, frankly, is that he was a product of Coors Field before the humidor was a thing, but that simply isn’t fair.

Walker was a .278/.370/.495 career road hitter which admittedly isn’t as good as he hit at Coors, but is still pretty darn good on its own. He also hit .286/.387/.520 as a Cardinal in the last two years of his career.

Like Martinez, he was a .300/.400/.500 guy long regarded as one of the game’s best all around hitters, and he deserves his place among the immortals.

And because this is a year where there are easily more than 10 guys who deserve to be enshrined one day, I’ll add a plug for Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling, Trevor Hoffman, and Jeff Kent as players I’d also vote for if not for the ten player limit.

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we need five more teams to fill our charity duckpin bowling event!


One of my favorite events on the #DMD charity calendar is set for Sunday, February 26 and you and your bowling friends are invited to participate!

It's our annual "Charity Duckpin Challenge", where you and your team of four bowlers can earn money for YOUR favorite charity.

Most charity golf events you play in have a pre-designated charity that everyone in the field is helping raise funds for, but this bowling event we offer is exactly the opposite.

You designate YOUR charity ahead of time, then bowl against 13 other teams for valuable prize money and a donation check at the end of the night!

This year's event will be held on Sunday, February 26 from 3 pm to 6 pm at Stoneleigh Lanes in Towson.

The team entry fee is $300.00 and all four bowlers receive the following:

Three hours of bowling, with shoe rental (each team must turn in at least three scores...bowl as many games as you like and take your best three)

Complimentary beer, soft drinks and pizza for everyone.

Participation in our "Deck of Cards" contest where you can win up to $100 cash just by throwing a strike!

We also offer free child care and bowling and pizza for them as well, so bring the kids if you'd like!

First place pays $850!

Imagine handing over a check for $850 to your favorite charity!

We'll also pay the teams finishing in 2nd, 3rd and 4th place, so just about 30% of the field gets a donation check.

To register your team, just click on the "bowling" tab at the top of #DMD and get your team a spot in the field of 14.

As of January 17th, nine teams have registered, leaving us with six spots to fill.


Tuesday
January 17
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXX
Issue 17
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the malone family needs our help


I've said and written this a lot since #DMD started on August 25, 2014. Our mission here is greater than just writing about local and national sports and covering the Ravens, Orioles, Terps, etc.

We also strive to stress the importance of giving back to our community and supporting one another in times of need.

As most of you know, I assume, the Malone family suffered a heartbreaking tragedy last Thursday when their home caught fire in Northeast Baltimore, killing six of their nine children.

This is a chance for the #DMD family and the local sports community to get involved and help one of its own.

And we'll have a blast doing it, too.

They are literally starting all over again. And doing so with the heaviest of hearts, having suffered the worst thing imaginable to a parent; losing a child.

We need to help.

Our friends at Unison Business Solutions are stepping up to help the Malone family. Now, we need you to help, too!

Our annual charity bowling event is set for Sunday, February 26 at Stoneleigh Lanes in Towson from 3 pm to 6 pm. Thanks to my longtime friend Shawn Shannon and his company, Unison Business Solutions, we're going to turn the event into a fundraiser of sorts for the Malone family.

The first order of business is selling out the event to maximize the amount of money we can raise.

That's where you come in. Today, we have eight teams registered for the bowling event. We need 14 to complete the field.

I'm asking all of you reading this to consider putting together a team, but I'm specifically challenging those of you who comment regularly here. You know who you are. You're some of our most active participants, adding your wit, wisdom and opinion to the "Comments" section at the bottom of #DMD.

Now I want you to add something else; your time, energy and support.

I'm not mentioning anyone by name, but if you're a regular commenter here, the challenge is out. Get your team of four together and help us raise some money for the Malone family.

It's time for you to man-up.

And one of our #DMD corporate partners has stepped to the plate with an awesome offer to help us raise even more money for the Malone family.

Unison Business Solutions will donate ten cents for each pin knocked down in the first game of all 14 teams on February 26. #DMD is going to match that pledge. Just in case you went to Old Mill or you're a Flyers fan, I'll do the math for you: If each team averaged a score of "80" per-player in their first game, that's 14 teams x 4 players x ten cents per-pin = $448.

Boom! We're at almost $1,000 and that's just with each team bowling a team-score of 320 in their first game.

But we need 14 teams to reach that level.

Here's the other challenge: I'm asking each player in the field to put up $5.00 for every strike they throw on Sunday, February 26, up to a maximum of 10 or $50.00. That money goes in the kitty for the large-scale donation to the Malone family.

We're still donating the regular bowling prize money to your designated charity, but we're adding the "Malone donation" option for everyone who wants to help this family in need.

It's likely instead of donating cash we'll simply buy them a couple of gift cards -- per their request -- to Target, Home Depot and Amazon. We're in contact with a family member who is organizing all of that and we'll provide more details in the near future.

The first order of business is finding SIX more teams of four to bowl in our event on February 26th. E-mail me this morning if you're willing to field a team: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Your team fee remains $300, which gets everyone three hours of bowling, shoes, pizza, beer, soft drinks and prize money for the top four teams.

Unison Business Solutions will then initiate the "First Game Fundraiser" and will donate ten cents per-pin, per-player in the first game bowled on February 26. #DMD will match that.

And we hope others will, as well.

This is our chance to make a difference in the community and help a family in need.

Join with us on February 26th.


and speaking of donating...#dmd introduces a new partner, myridemycause.org


Our friends at The Cause Network continue to develop wonderful programs designed to help YOU raise money for YOUR favorite charity, and their newest effort gives you the opportunity donate a vehicle to the charity of your choice so they can reap the reward of your generous donation(s).

You can now donate your vehicle to your favorite cause --- there are over 950,000 501C3’s to choose from -- and you'll receive a tax credit for the full resale value of the vehicle while your charity gets the proceeds (net of costs to sell) as a donation.

They'll take anything that moves (or not, actually): cars, boats, motorcycles, RV's, tractors, etc. If it has an engine, they'll take it! And, seriously, even if it no longer runs, there's still a value in the the vehicle for parts, equipment, seats, etc.

Just visit www.myridemycause.org and fill out the donation form. A staff member from myridemycause.org will contact you within 24 hours to schedule the pick up of your vehicle and they'll help you complete the paperwork for your donation and your tax credit.

And by all means, please visit The Cause Network's main website -- www.causenetwork.com -- to learn more about how you can earn money for your charity via things you do every single day, like on-line shopping, travel, etc.

We're proud to be associated with The Cause Network and, now, MyrideMyCause.org and hope you'll take a few minutes today to learn more about them by clicking on the ads you see on the right side of #DMD and directly below.

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tom crean is my new favorite coach


I'm always looking for a coach to do something special and jump into my folder of favorites. And Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean did just that on Sunday afternoon after his Hoosiers dismantled a woeful Rutgers team, 76-57.

With his team ahead by 19 points and the clock winding down, freshman Devonte Green decided to throw up an alley-oop for a teammate, who (fortunately) missed on the slam dunk attempt as the buzzer sounded.

Crean, as you'll see below, wasn't too pleased.



#DMD HDTV


I love it.

Some folks will say the coach rushing out into the middle of the court to openly berate his player was stepping over the line more than the kid's mistake of trying to run up the score, but no, no, no, that's not at all the case.

Someone has to try and maintain a morsel of decency with these kids who think, at a relatively young age in this day and age, that humiliating the other guy is part of the competition.

The players don't know what the coaches all know: Everyone is busting their ass to try and be successful. That's why you'll almost never see a coach try and embarrass or humble another coach, no matter the opponent, the moment or the stakes.

In fact, if you look at that video above carefully, it's the first thing Crean says to the Rutgers coach as they meet for the handshake: "Hey, I'm sorry about that idiot on my team trying an alley oop against you up nineteen points with two seconds left in the game."

Crean knows, despite the result, that the Rutgers coach and his staff worked just as hard preparing for that game as did the Indiana coaching group. Crean also knows -- because he's been on the other end of it -- that getting your ass handed to you by 19 points isn't any fun.

Every coach knows, also, that no matter how hard they work, their livelihood is in the hands of the guys and girls who do the playing. Their reputation, too, is at stake, which is why a goofball trying to win by 21 instead of 19 bothers them so much.

It's always the coach who looks at the clock, sees his team up by 24 points with two minutes left, and signals to his guys not to take another shot until the shot clock gets down to one second remaining.

What? You think the kids themselves would pull back like that? Not a chance. They'd win by 39 instead of 19 if it were left up to them.

That young man at Indiana doesn't know anything except what he's learned by watching the pro game, which is to preen after every made shot and go out of his way to make sure everyone in the building knows his name and number by the end of the game.

Crean, like me, frankly, is "old school" in that running up the score is completely unnecessary and, even worse, likely to come around two-fold sometime in the future.

And that's why he blasted Green in the middle of the court in front of the whole arena.

Plenty of people will rush to the young man's aid ("by golly, he's just a kid"), but these are hard lessons to be learned, and sometimes, in the same way the freshman tried to show up the Rutgers team, he, too, needs to be "dunked on" by the coach at mid-court.

Tom Crean for Coach of the Year.

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so...machado stays in baltimore, but at what price to you?


Let's have a little fun this morning here at #DMD.

On Sunday prior to the Caps-Flyers game (which, in case you don't know, was a 5-0 Caps thrashing of those toddlers from Philthy), I threw a poll out on Twitter that I've done numerous times before.

It's a mythical scenario, of course, but it tests the limits of our fandom, I suppose. It's one of those "what price would you pay?" kind of questions.

You're in control of bringing Mike Trout to the Orioles. But it comes with a hefty price. Would you do it?

It went like this: In exchange for the Flyers going 0-82 one season, which of these other instances would you allow? Steelers winning the Super Bowl, Yankees winning the World Series, or Duke winning the NCAA hoops title.

Me? I'd allow ALL THREE to happen in the same year if the Flyers went winless over the course of the entire season. Yep, I'm a bad guy.

So, that brings me to a new question today, and I'd like your HONEST input.

Let's pretend the sports fairy lands on your shoulder this afternoon and says, "I'm going to allow you to control a significant development in the history of the Orioles franchise if you'll sign off on the Steelers winning this year's Super Bowl AND next year's Super Bowl."

I know, I know: The Steelers repeating as Super Bowl champions is about as appealing to you as having to watch Meryl Streep on stage blathering on about the government right before she heads back home to her $4.5 million home in Marina del Rey.

Play along, though, this is just fun and games here at #DMD.

The poll below gives you five options from which to choose. Remember, you're signing off on allowing the Steelers to win back-to-back Super Bowls, but you're in control of one of those five scenarios that would greatly benefit the Orioles.

I'm anxious to see the results.

My vote? That's easy. We haven't won a World Series here since 1983. That's a no-brainer for me. I chose #1.


 Drew's Morning Dish

#DMD Poll

Question: What is the Ravens biggest problem thus far in 2017?
Flacco and his QB play
Lack of receivers and playmakers
Key injuries
Offensive and defensive schemes
Harbaugh and his coaching
Name
Email address

Primary Residential banner

we need six more teams to fill our charity duckpin bowling event!


One of my favorite events on the #DMD charity calendar is set for Sunday, February 26 and you and your bowling friends are invited to participate!

It's our annual "Charity Duckpin Challenge", where you and your team of four bowlers can earn money for YOUR favorite charity.

Most charity golf events you play in have a pre-designated charity that everyone in the field is helping raise funds for, but this bowling event we offer is exactly the opposite.

You designate YOUR charity ahead of time, then bowl against 13 other teams for valuable prize money and a donation check at the end of the night!

This year's event will be held on Sunday, February 26 from 3 pm to 6 pm at Stoneleigh Lanes in Towson.

The team entry fee is $300.00 and all four bowlers receive the following:

Three hours of bowling, with shoe rental (each team must turn in at least three scores...bowl as many games as you like and take your best three)

Complimentary beer, soft drinks and pizza for everyone.

Participation in our "Deck of Cards" contest where you can win up to $100 cash just by throwing a strike!

We also offer free child care and bowling and pizza for them as well, so bring the kids if you'd like!

First place pays $850!

Imagine handing over a check for $850 to your favorite charity!

We'll also pay the teams finishing in 2nd, 3rd and 4th place, so just about 30% of the field gets a donation check.

To register your team, just click on the "bowling" tab at the top of #DMD and get your team a spot in the field of 14.

As of January 17th, eight teams have registered, leaving us with six spots to fill.


Monday
January 16
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXX
Issue 16
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


finally . . . some nfl playoff drama


I had to look up the word "drama" just to make sure I was using it correctly in the headline, but we finally got some games that brought us to the edge of our seats on Sunday as the NFL whittled its way to the final four teams of the 2016 season.

Green Bay and Dallas provided an instant classic.

Pittsburgh and Kansas City might not have been a "classic", per se, but it came down to one or two key plays late in the game and both went the way of the Steelers.

For all of the talk about Dak Prescott's play this season and on Sunday (and he was good, no doubt about it) his rookie mistake on the Cowboys' final drive might have given the Packers that sliver of hope they needed for a last second desperation play.

More on that in a minute.

Don't ever count this guy out. And don't leave 35 seconds on the clock, either, or he'll make you pay.

Green Bay is headed to the NFC title game because they have one of the most special players the league has seen in three decades. Aaron Rodgers showed again on Sunday why he's the second best quarterback in the world, hitting Jared Cook with a 36 yard strike on the sideline that set up Mason Crosby's last second 51 yard field goal, and Green Bay upset the favored Cowboys, 34-31.

The Packers squandered a 21-3 lead and it looked like Dallas was going to host next Sunday's NFC title game when the Cowboys were driving late in the game and shredding a tired, depleted Green Bay defense.

But after hitting Jason Witten with a first down pass at the Green Bay 40 yard line with 49 seconds remaining, Dak Prescott made a mistake that would potentially haunt Dallas for the rest of the off-season.

Armed with one time-out still, Prescott should have simply moved into a quick huddle to continue the series or called a play at the line of scrimmage. Instead, he spiked the ball to kill the clock.

And that, as it turned out, was a bad move.

Now faced with 2nd and 10 and needing some yards to move into reliable field goal territory, Prescott found a receiver on the next play for seven yards, but he ran out of bounds and the clock stopped with 44 seconds remaining.

The next play was an incomplete pass, which set up Dan Bailey's 51-yard field goal, tying the game at 31-31.

But they left Aaron Rodgers with thirty five seconds on the clock.

A few seconds too many, as it turned out.

Some will use the old argument, "you can score whenver you can and let the defense do the rest", but last night's scenario in Dallas wasn't anything like the scene in Pittsburgh on Christmas night when Kyle Juszczyk of the Ravens rumbled into the end zone with 1:18 left in the game.

Juszczyk had to score a touchdown there because the Ravens were trailing by four points, not three, and thus couldn't "milk" the clock and take whatever the Steelers gave them. Plus, first and goal from the two yard line can turn into 3rd and 12 if you don't get in on first two plays and Jeremy Zuttah holds James Harrison on 3rd down.

Juszczyk needed to score a touchdown.

Prescott didn't need to spike the ball to kill the clock.

He had 49 seconds left in the game when Witten made that catch at the Green Bay 40 yard line.

49 seconds and a time-out add up to an eternity in the NFL game.

By spiking the ball, and having just one-time out remaining, Prescott set up a 2nd and 10 situation, which likely meant they weren't going to give Ezekiel Elliott the ball on 2nd down.

And, on third and three from the 33 yard line, they could have given it to Elliott there and hoped for a first down, but they didn't call that play and the incomplete pass that followed set up Bailey's game-tying field goal.

By spiking the ball on first down, they essentially eliminated the chances of involving their all-world running back on the next two plays, even though an argument can be made that the third down play call (a pass) was a bad move given Elliott's ability to get three yards, potentially, and keep the driving going while also keeping Aaron Rodgers off the field.

Clock management and how you control the game is something Prescott will learn with time, but that was a fairly insignificant-looking but big-time-significant mistake the Dallas rookie made on that final series.

Then again, much like the Ravens in Pittsburgh on December 25, if the Dallas defense makes a stop at the end of the game, the teams would have gone to overtime and the Cowboys might have pulled off an improbable win.

In Kansas City, the Chiefs are still howling at the moon over the holding call on Eric Fisher on K.C.'s two point conversion try with 2:43 remaining in the game.

Le'Veon Bell ran for 170 yards on 30 carries and helped the Steelers hold off the Chiefs in Kansas City and advance to the AFC title game in New England next Sunday.

Pittsburgh, without the aid of a touchdown, patched together just enough offense and a championship-style defensive effort to turn back the Chiefs, who apparently tied the game at 18-18 on a successful two-point try, only to have it called back for holding when Fisher took James Harrison to the ground as he tried to get to Alex Smith on the throw.

I saw lots of "you can't make that call there" tweets from folks (presumably Chiefs fans) in the aftermath, but here's the deal: If the refs are going to try and make the game as fair as possible (and boy, that's a stretch), then calling holding on the game's biggest play is perfectly fine -- as long as it was, indeed, holding.

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce moaned afterwards that the game shouldn't "come down to one call like that", but the Steelers would be saying the exact same thing only they'd have the word "non" in there if it worked against them -- "The game shouldn't come down to one non-call like that..."

I'm typically a fan of the refs swallowing the whistle in the final few minutes of a playoff or championship game, by the way. I love how they handle the Stanley Cup playoffs, for instance. If you're not bleeding or in need of a knee replacement, that wasn't a penalty.

But I'm only in favor of that sort of open philosophy if the mantra for the whole game has been "let them play".

As I saw it, that was holding on Fisher on the 2-point conversion.

It came at a terrible time, yes, and it certainly altered the outcome of the game, but holding is holding is holding.

Now, if your argument was that it was a "bad call", that's a different discussion than "should he have called it there?"

Oh, and much like the Cowboys in their loss, Kansas City couldn't stop the Steelers on the ensuing drive when Pittsburgh needed a first-down to ice the game.

It probably didn't help that K.C. only had one time-out left when Pittsburgh got the ball back with 2:43 remaining, but Andy Reid tends to use those up long before he actually needs them.

If the Chiefs could have stopped Pittsburgh there, they would have had a chance to march 30 or 40 yards and potentially kick a game-winning field goal. But they couldn't stop the Pittsburgh offense at the most critical time in the game.

They were terrific games on Sunday, both filled with some good play, drama, and off-season discussion points for fans of the Cowboys and Chiefs.

Meanwhile Green Bay's improbable 8-game winning streak has them heading to Atlanta to take on a Falcons team that seems almost destined for a trip to the Super Bowl and Pittsburgh takes their own winning streak (9 games) to New England to try and somehow derail the Belichick-Brady train.

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holy cow, a perfect 4-0 record in "show me the money"!


As Wesley Snipes said after beating up another duo on the basketball court in "White Men Can't Jump" -- "I do believe I detect the smell of cash...in the air."

Aided by that Sunday night Steelers win in Kansas City, I went 4-0 against the spread this weekend, and had three of the four outright winners correct as well.

The 4-0 weekend romp puts me at 57-51-2 for the season and 6-2 for the 2017 post-season.

I'm thinking about charging $1.99 for the picks next weekend. I mean, if you're going to get rich off of me, shouldn't I at least get a little piece of the wealth for my kids' respective college educations?

By the way, the Falcons are 4.0 point favorites at home vs. Green Bay on Sunday afternoon and the Patriots are 5.5 point favorites in Foxborough vs. Pittsburgh.

I suspect the early money this week goes on Green Bay and Atlanta finishes at a 2.5 point favorite by next weekend. New England, meanwhile, will likely stay right where they are, perhaps up a half-point, in their battle with the Steelers.

Who do I like?

I already know the answer, but you'll have to come back later in the week for those nuggets of intel.

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Some players just don't get it. Antonio Brown of the Steelers is one of those players, apparently. Moments after his team narrowly escaped Kansas City with a win, Brown streamed coach Mike Tomlin's post-game discussion with the team on Facebook Live.

It included, among other things, Tomlin referring to the Patriots as "a--holes" and trying to stir up the Steelers by reminding them that the Patriots had a day and a half head-start on next Sunday's game (even though they didn't...both teams played the late game).

Why on earth would a player ever record something as private as a coach's discussion with the team and broadcast it to the world for everyone to see?

Especially after a win...

It's one thing if the Steelers lost and Brown wanted to show the whole nation what kind of great leader Tomlin is during Pittsburgh's grandest moment of distress, but his team had just won a huge game and Tomlin was addressing THE NEXT GAME in the locker room discussion.

During the post-game meeting, one Steelers player can be heard shouting, "Keep cool on social media. This is about us, man."

Someone should have mentioned that BEFORE Antonio Brown hit the "record button" on his iPhone.

Do you know what's better than shutting out the Philadelphia Flyers 4-0? That would be shutting them out 5-0, which is what the Washington Capitals did on Sunday afternoon at the Verizon Center, as the Caps recorded their second straight white-washing and their 5th in the last 7 games.

The Caps have now won nine straight times and have the most points in the Eastern Conference (63) with one more game played than second place Columbus (62 points).

Washington's defense (as evidenced by the five shutouts in seven games) has been outstanding over the last month, as they now lead the league in goals-against per-game.

The win streak gets put to a serious test this week, as the Caps are in Pittsburgh tonight, at St. Louis on Thursday and at Dallas on Saturday.

And it's always good to see the Flyers roll over like they did in the third period on Sunday. The Caps led 1-0 after forty minutes, but it was 5-0 before the seven minute mark of the third period.

Justin Thomas actually looks a lot like his best friend on the PGA Tour, Jordan Spieth, and Thomas is playing like him, too, as Thomas won again on Sunday in Hawaii, finishing off an amazing two week stretch with a record-score of 27-under par and winning the Sony Inviational.

The victory was the second straight win for Thomas, who at 23, became the youngest player to shoot 59 in a PGA Tour round last Thursday. Thomas set the scoring record with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 finishing hole yesterday at Waialae Country Club, although it's almost unfair to call it a par-5 when guys (like Thomas) are hitting 9-irons into the green for their second shot.

Justin Rose, using the claw grip after a bout with the putting yips last Fall, finished solo 2nd at -20 while the aforementioned Spieth collected his second straight 3rd place finish at -19.

And don't look now, but some national reports surfaced on Sunday that indicate the Orioles are talking to -- Jose Bautista, the former Blue Jays outfielder who earlier in the off-season was dismissed by O's general manager Dan Duquette because he was concerned the fans in Baltimore would be angry if Bautista came to town.

My guess? The Orioles conveniently floated the Bautista-to-Baltimore rumor to put Mark Trumbo on high-alert.

I don't think Duquette is interested in Bautista in the least, but I do think someone needs to get Trumbo's butt in gear, and what better way to do that than circulate a juicy story that Baltimore might be in pursuit of the erstwhile Blue Jays slugger?

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we need eight more teams to fill our charity duckpin bowling event!


One of my favorite events on the #DMD charity calendar is set for Sunday, February 26 and you and your bowling friends are invited to participate!

It's our annual "Charity Duckpin Challenge", where you and your team of four bowlers can earn money for YOUR favorite charity.

Most charity golf events you play in have a pre-designated charity that everyone in the field is helping raise funds for, but this bowling event we offer is exactly the opposite.

You designate YOUR charity ahead of time, then bowl against 13 other teams for valuable prize money and a donation check at the end of the night!

This year's event will be held on Sunday, February 26 from 3 pm to 6 pm at Stoneleigh Lanes in Towson.

The team entry fee is $300.00 and all four bowlers receive the following:

Three hours of bowling, with shoe rental (each team must turn in at least three scores...bowl as many games as you like and take your best three)

Complimentary beer, soft drinks and pizza for everyone.

Participation in our "Deck of Cards" contest where you can win up to $100 cash just by throwing a strike!

We also offer free child care and bowling and pizza for them as well, so bring the kids if you'd like!

First place pays $850!

Imagine handing over a check for $850 to your favorite charity!

We'll also pay the teams finishing in 2nd, 3rd and 4th place, so just about 30% of the field gets a donation check.

To register your team, just click on the "bowling" tab at the top of #DMD and get your team a spot in the field of 14.

As of January 16th, six teams have registered, leaving us with 8 spots to fill.


please click here to see previous issues of #dmd.

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

NHL: Chiasson's two goals lead Caps to 5-3 win in Boston.

NBA: LeBron, Cavs win first showdown with Lakers and Ball, 121-112, as James records 59th career triple-double.

NFL: Broncos outlast Colts in Indy, 25-13, in Thursday Night snoozer.

MLB: Twins sign veteran closer Fernando Rodney to 1-year deal.