Wednesday
March 15
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXII
Issue 15
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world baseball classic is a snoozer


Quick, without the aid of Google or any other search engine source, who does the U.S. play in tonight's second round of the World Baseball Classic?

Don't feel bad, no one else knows it's Venezuela.

No one else knows because no one is actually following the WBC.

I can't quite put my finger on it, since I'm a baseball die-hard and by all rights I should be one of those people who do care about the event.

But I haven't watched any of it and don't plan to, either.

One big issue with the WBC? The best American players, like Mike Trout, don't even get excited enough to play in the event.

I did see where a couple of teams won games in extra innings on Sunday, taking advantage of that silly international rule that automatically puts runners on first and second base to start the 11th inning.

Why not just do a quick 3-player Home Run Derby type deal, the way the NHL decides games tied after overtime by using the gimmicky shootout?

Putting runners on first and second to start the 11th inning is dumb. But that's not the reason I haven't gravitated to the WBC this time around.

It's March baseball, for starters. Who can get excited about baseball in March? Answer: Nobody.

I realize they only play it every four years, a la soccer's World Cup, but playing it in March is an interest-killer. The meat of the WBC will go head-to-head with the NCAA hoops tournament in this country and we know who wins that fight.

More people can tell you about the dreaded 5-12 matchup in the four respective March Madness regions than can tell you about the U.S. team in the World Baseball Classic.

OK, here's a quiz.

Who is the manager of the U.S. team?

No, it's not Joe Maddon.

The U.S. team is managed by Jim Leyland, who must be going on 100 by now, but he's unemployed in March and can do the gig without disrupting his major league responsibilities.

I'm not saying Leyland is a bad manager. Not at all.

But what's it say when the U.S. team has to give it's managerial job to a guy who doesn't even run a major league team anymore?

Admittedly, if this event was perched in the middle of the baseball season, it might make a difference in the way we look at it.

Key word in that sentence above: "might"

We'd certainly be more connected to baseball in, say, mid-July, than we are in mid-March.

And our attention would be fully on baseball at that point. Right now, all we care about is our bracket not getting shredded on Friday or Saturday morning of this week.

The pesky, dumb extra innings rule would be OK in July. In mid-March, no rules make sense -- because we aren't conditioned to watching meaningful baseball BEFORE opening day rolls around.

Oh, and what the country needs (and this is speaking only for the U.S.) is LESS baseball, not more. There are already too many games. Hell, I'm worn out on spring training games at this point and the Birds have only played 17 of them.

Perhaps in years of WBC play the Major Leagues should go from 162 to 148 games in order to accommodate a 2-week break in the schedule. I know baseball historians and stat nerds would have a conniption and an asterisk would have to be placed on everything that happens in a 148-game season, but figuring out a way to play the WBC tournament IN-SEASON makes the most sense to me.

Yes, I know, "players might get hurt" in mid-season. Ummm, well, they can (and do) also get hurt in mid-March.

Finally, here's the one biggest reason why I don't think we care all that much about the WBC here in the U.S.

We're already really good at baseball. What do we need to prove, after all?

There's no underdog status for the American public to rally around, which is typically what gets us going the most. Yes, I'm aware the Japan and Dominican teams are really good and they might be better than our U.S. team this season. But if we played all of our best players (Kershaw, Scherzer, Price, Harper, Trout, et al), we'd clobber those two teams and anyone else in our path.

Everyone remembers the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team not because they won, but because they weren't supposed to win.

If the U.S. team was made up of a bunch of Ryan Flaherty's and those underachievers somehow shocked the world and won the WBC, we'd care.

Instead, our very best players don't play in the event. And even though our U.S. roster is solid, we're going at it with only about 60% of the arsenal we could throw at them.

If the two best American baseball players -- Clayton Kershaw and Mike Trout -- don't care about the WBC, why should I?

BARCS banner ad

learning to play golf – part i

by George McDowell


“Geo,” says Drew after a round of golf at Mt. Pleasant one fine Tuesday afternoon around the turn of the millenium, “I think you’re ready. Meet me for breakfast at Clifton 8:00 o’clock Saturday morning.”

“What’s doing?” I ask.

“We’re gonna try to qualify you for the Slam Bang. You gotta shoot no worse than 80 for them to let you join,” he says.

“Eighty!” I exclaim. “I can’t shoot that. I just broke 90 for the first time a few months back.” I’m too stunned to ask what a Slam Bang could possibly be.

“Well,” says Drew, “If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re probably right.”

And off he walks.

“What a rat Communist b*****d he is,” I remind myself.

Because I know well that he’s absolutely right.

I head to a bar for supper, where I do my best thinking. I’m no good at golf, having taken up the game at age 50, about a year ago. But I dearly love the game. There are few pleasures in life that exceed the exquisite satisfaction of a well-struck drive followed by a powerful and accurate iron shot that lands close enough to the pin for a good chance at birdie. But these pleasures are few. And I have to come up with a plan to enable my best round of golf — ever — by far — in just three days.

The 18th fairway and green at Clifton Park

“A man’s gotta know his limitations,” says Country Jim Townley, another frequent golfing partner, one who built a buttery smooth tempo into his golf swing to go with a great short game. “A man’s gotta know his limitations.” [JT always repeats his most profound statements.] I think about Jim's wise words as I munch a burger. My mindset and intention before every round of golf are to hit every fairway and every green, then make every putt to shoot 18 under. Why else would a person play the game?

Then I remember a statement that Hogan made when asked why, in the final round of the Masters, he laid up on the two par-fives on the back-nine on his way to winning the tournament in 1953: “Because I didn’t need an eagle.”

As I relaxed over a post-prandial Guinness, an alcohol-assisted epiphany took shape, formed from a synthesis of these three statements. On Saturday, I didn’t need an 18-under 53, I needed an 80, nine over par. I knew my limitations – I’d never win the Masters – but I was probably right in thinking I could qualify for the Slam Bang [whatever that turned out to be]. The question was how.

Next day, I close the office at noon [OK, maybe it was 11:30] and head to Clifton. Country Jim is the marshall on duty. I bribe him with lunch and off we go to survey the course. I ask him to ride the course backwards from #18 into the tee at #one, because I heard (erroneously, it turns out) that that's how Hogan studied a course. Not sure what I'm looking for, but have a suspicion there is something to be discovered.

I ask Jim, "You think I can shoot 80 on this course?"

He's quiet for a moment, and then replies, "A man's gotta know his limitations."

I wait for it, knowing it's coming.

"A man's gotta know his limitations," he says.

So I play 18 holes, and when Country Jim gets off work, we play 18 more.

And I play 36 more at Clifton each of the next two days, all the while searching for that elusive secret that will allow a score of 80 or better.

On Saturday morning, in Clifton's pro shop and snack bar, it looks like a hustlers convention. I feel like I'm back in Vegas. I hear bets being made and strokes negotiated. I try to pay my entry fee to a guy named Jimmy who looked to be in charge. He wouldn't accept it. "You gotta have a quota before you can be in the money," he says. I nod sagely and wander off.

A "quota" in Slam Bang parlance means the total number of "points" you're charged with, which is essentially like having a handicap. A birdie was worth 3 points, a par worth 2 and a bogey was worth 1. I needed 27 "points", basically, to qualify, but Drew stuck the "shoot 80" goal in front of me because I understood stroke play much better than whatever it was they were playing in the Slam Bang.

Off we go to the first tee. I'm in a foursome with Drew and Rubek and a man with the sourest disposition I've ever encountered in a human being. He claims his name is Walt, but I hear some guys refer to him as "Sunshine."

I'd later become very good friends with Walt, but this day I stay out of his way and try not to laugh out loud as the golf gods torment him mercilessly over 18 holes. He ended up shooting even par, but with the slightest amount of luck it would have been a 67.

I had worked out my grand strategy for the round. It was elegantly simple: avoid double bogey. Three days of intensive, profound study and thought led to this simple conclusion.

I average hitting about 33% of the fairways. Thus, I reasoned, the driver is not your friend, it's your enemy. So I leave it at home. Not in the trunk, where I might be tempted to retrieve it at the last minute, but at home in a closet.

I also leave my credit cards at home, precluding any temptation to buy a driver in the pro shop. The three-wood might also get me into trouble, but its shorter distance would leave me less deep in the woods.

I also swear an oath on all I hold dear: I will not shoot at any pin. I'll go for the center of every green with every full-iron-shot approach. I had played other rounds with this idea in mind, but it is SO easy to disregard, and I had often paid the price for failing to stick with my convictions. I don't remember if I knew the term 'sucker pin' back then, but if I had, I should have realized that ANY pin NOT in the center of a green was a sucker pin for me.

I'll only bore you with a recital of a couple of shots in the round. At #16 I made a 20-foot putt for par that left me at seven-over for the round that so far included no double bogeys. "So bogey bogey and I qualify," I thought. And with that goal in mind, I bogeyed #17.

Six strokes on this par-five and I'm in," I told myself.

There is a feeling that comes within the body at times of stress in athletic events. It is different than the feeling that comes in times of actual danger, but it has many of the same attributes and many of the same effects. The heart rate increases, as does the production of adrenaline.


The extra adrenaline cancels out the natural effect of well being produced by serotonine in the system, which leads to a heightened sense of self. It's the "butterflies in the stomach" feeling, along with a heightened expectation, and fear, of failure. My way of dealing with butterflies is to try to see the larger picture.

I remind myself of two things: that I'd rather be in this position than not be in this position, and that my mother will still love me whether I screw this up or not.

I hit a weak draw off #18 tee, then another three-wood to the top of the hill in the fairway, 140 yards from the pin in the center of the green. Drew and Rubek and Walt had all hit good drives and good woods to just short of the green. They stood looking back at me and I at them and the flag, all framed between the two chestnut trees just off either side of the fairway.

The picture is burned into my mind. God I love this game! My mind saw the future, and all I had to do was swing the seven-iron. A nice high shot that never left the flag.

I'm a sweeper, and my iron-shots all hit and roll a few feet further. Clifton's 18th green slopes back to front, so when my ball hit six feet below the pin, it stopped dead. The putt never had a chance of missing.

After checking our scores in the snack bar, Drew gave me the card and told me to give it to Jimmy, and to make sure he knew that I had qualified. The scores on the card were (translated from the quota points numbers) Walt: 71, Rubek: 69, Drew: 67, Geo: 78. He had circled the 78 on the card. I didn't care a lick that it was the highest score in the Slam Bang that round. I had broken 80 for the first time and qualified for the Slam Bang, all in the same day!

When it was my turn I handed our card to Jimmy, and said, "I'm in, right?"

He looked at me blankly. "What do you mean?," he asked.

"Well, 80 qualifies, doesn't it, and I had a 78," I explain, mystified why the leader doesn't know the rules.

"Nobody has to qualify for the Slam Bang." he says, "If a member invites you, all you have to do is pay the entry fee and you're in."

"Oh," I mumble, "thanks."

Now I begin to wonder why Drew didn't know the rules.

As I turn to our table, Drew, Greg, and Walt, along with a dozen other golfers, are pointing at me and laughing their fool heads off. Then the lights came on. I'd been played! Like a violin. And apparently by a master — I'd never had an inkling that entire week that a qualifying score wasn't needed.

Now was the time to enjoy the ruse. I was so upset that I only bought two rounds for the house. In odd moments of quiet as we sat and talked for the next half hour, I heard that inner voice a few times as the high emotions of embarrassment and elation began to fade. It asked, "Why couldn't he have set 75 as the goal instead of 80?"

Such is golf, I thought, that one is never fully satisfied with a round.

Or maybe it was just that a very perceptive friend had recognized his friend's capabilities as well as his limitations.

KELLY banner ad

march madness challenge


Today's the last day to enter our #DMD March Madness Challenge, presented by Glory Days Grill and Royal Farms.

In our challenge, you do not fill out a bracket. You'll be doing enough of that this week. We offer a different sort of contest here at #DMD.

Below, you will find 12 questions relating to the tournament. Each has a point value. All you need to do is answer the questions and e-mail those answers to us. It takes about one minute of your time.

We do ask that you specifically follow the entry directions that you'll see below, as it makes it much easier for us to keep a running point total if you follow those directions to the letter.

Here are the 12 questions you'll need to answer and their point values.

1. Will Maryland win both of their first two games? - 5 points

2. Will any 1-seed beat a 16-seed by 36.5 points or more? 5 points

3. Will there be more than 2 overtime games in the opening round of 32 games? - 5 points

4. Will a 12-seed beat a 5-seed in the opening round of 32 games? - 5 points

5. Will a 2-seed lose one of their first two games? - 5 points

6. Will any team score 94.5 or more points in a tournament game and lose? - 5 points

7. Who will be the first 1-seed to lose? - 5 points

8. Who is in your Elite Eight? - 5 points for each correct team, 10 point bonus if you have at least 7 of 8.

9. Who plays in the Final? - 10 points for each correct team.

10. Will the team who leads at half in the Final win the game? - 5 points

11. Will the point total in the Final be over/under 152.5? - 5 points

12. Who wins the NCAA title? - 10 points



And here's how you answer and enter:

Send your answers in via e-mail (only): dmdscore@gmail.com

Only one entry per-person is permitted. Multiple entries will be rejected.

Put "Hoops Challenge" in the subject line, please. And include your name somewhere so we know who you are.

Simply list your answers, as you see below:

1. Yes

2. Yes

3. No

4. Yes

5. No

6. Yes

7. Gonzaga

8. Villanova, Duke, Notre Dame, Arizona, Kansas, Louisville, Butler, UCLA

9. Villanova and UCLA

10. No

11. Over

12. UCLA

There you have it. You're entered!

There are 125 possible points at stake, including the potential bonus points that are available.



Prizes are provided by Glory Days Grill and Royal Farms.

1st place -- $250 gift certificate from Glory Days Grill

2nd place -- $150 gift certificate from Glory Days Grill

3rd place -- $100 gift certificate from Glory Days Grill

4th place -- Breakfast/lunch for a month from Royal Farms

5th place -- Breakfast/lunch for a week from Royal Farms

6th-10th place -- $25 gift certificate from Glory Days Grill.

Have fun and good luck!!!

Duclaw banner

join glenn clark and i this thursday at glory days for a terps viewing party


Maryland kicks off their NCAA title hopes this Thursday at 6:50 pm when they face Xavier in Orlando.

If you've never watched a Maryland game with my former radio co-host, Glenn Clark, you'll want to join us this Thursday at Glory Days Grill in Towson.

Clark is a hoot to watch a game with, particularly one involving his beloved Terps basketball team.

Glenn and I will be stationed at Glory Days Grill in Towson and we'd love for you to come out and watch the game with us.

We'll have a food and drink special available for you upon your arrival, so be sure and join us in the bar and watch the Terps take on Xavier in their opening round game.


and here's my "official" bracket


Just for kicks and giggles, I'm publishing my official NCAA March Madness bracket.

I only do one every year. I get it, everyone's entitled to make up a bunch and submit them all, but I stick with just one every March.

This is my best effort.

As you'll see, I have UCLA winning it all.

I do think there are probably ten teams that have the ability to win the whole thing. It's a wide open field.

My preference? I wouldn't mind seeing Gonzaga finally win one. Mark Few has run a good program out there and the 'Zags remind me of my beloved Washington Capitals in that they routinely have a great regular season and then fall apart come tournament (playoff) time.

Obviously, my first preference would be to see Maryland win, but that's not happening. Gonzaga, though, has a real chance.

Below is my bracket for the tournament.

If you're reading #DMD on your phone or a tablet, you might not have a great view of it below. To see the bracket in fullscreen, please go here.



#dmd comments


George     June 29
@DF – Back from the vitamin store and jacked on B-12. Seems it was indeed exactly as you described. Mea culpa. It was one heck of an exhibition at Hayfields. Eger’s caddy had at least a two-shot distraction value, so you should have been low in the foursome that day. The woman caddying for the Sarge in the pro-am was his daughter Kelly. She travelled with him because the family expected him to collapse at any time because of heart problems. A wonderful and loving daughter. I see on Wikipedia he lived for five or six more years after Hillendale.

Thanks for setting me straight on your lowest rounds at various courses: -4 at Mt. Pleasant and -6 at Hayfields.

Josh     June 28
Drew,



Sounds like it's time for a DMD Challenge at The Mount! Something like $75 a golfer. A portion of proceeds to charity

M     June 28
Ball is a jerk of the highest proportion.



I hope his kid gets sent to the D League so we don't have to hear his loud mouth old man anymore.

Mike from Reisterstown     June 28
@DF - let us know who you are caddying for. I'm bringing the boys out on Friday and we'll try to follow you for a couple of holes.



When you shot that 66 at Hayfields, was that from the tips? If so, pretty damn impressive.

Jerry     June 28
DF, thanks for the caddy story at Caves Valley. I signed up. Hope to meet you out there on 7/12.

DF     June 28
Trying to catch up on a few comments directed at me.



@Tim -- No, I'm not PLAYING in the golf tournament at Caves Valley, I'm caddying in the pro am on Wednesday, July 12. You can, too. Information is in today's edition of #DMD (above).



@JR -- Nothing got deleted. A troll'ish attempt to try and create a stir. Nothing more.



@Chris B -- Can't imagine the Ravens are interested in him. If he didn't pass their physical in January how is he going to pass it in July? Just a guess, but I think they'll pass if, in fact, he does return to the NFL.

Chris Bennett     June 28
Hey Drew just curious what you think of the Zachary Orr situation. Any chance we get him back for this season?

JR     June 28
Did the thread get deleted as predicted?

DF     June 28
@George --



My old friend, you better get yourself checked in down there or increase your vitamin intake. Your memory has left you like my left-handed putting acumen left me. Overnight...



You indeed DID caddie for me at Hayfields. You know how I remember that? Two ways -- First, Eger (who was a professional at the time, not an amateur) had a late 20's female on his bag and she walked and you complained that I had you and my bag in a cart. ha ha



Second, the day before, I arranged for you to play in a Pro Am at Hillendale, where you played with Orville Moody and I caddied for you. Oddly enough, Moody also had a young lady of 30 or so on HIS bag. Must have been nice to be a former U.S. Open champ back in those days. ;)



Please note that my low Mount Pleasant score of 67 was a TOURNAMENT low. I shot lower than that just goofing around with you guys. But, yes, of the two (Hayfields and Mount Pleasant), the lower of my two scores would have occurred at Hayfields. But -- you're counting SCORE. Hayfields has four par 5's, remember...Mount Pleasant has two of them. And those Hayfields greens stay relatively the same throughout the day. At Mount Pleasant, you can have a six foot putt at 9:00 break right to left and then at 2:00 pm, it might break left to right. ha ha




George     June 28
@DF – You are getting old and your memory fails. It wasn’t me on the bag when you played with David Eger. I remember the round, so must have been in your gallery. But I KNOW it wasn’t me on the bag because I’d never, even jokingly, call someone who just shot 66 an amateur hack. And I seem to remember that David himself was an amateur at the time, wasn’t he?

This allows a slender opening to segue subtly back to Mt. Pleasant. I note you confessed previously here to a low of 67 in all the hundreds or perhaps thousands of rounds you played there, while you cruised around a course you played only infrequently in 66.

Curiouser and curiouser!

dazed and confused     June 28
I am definitely bewildered by the Brien comments, he did not even post an article today, did he?

Thatguy     June 28
10% of the time Brien has a point, 90% it is so poorly expressed, either cause of word choice, grammar, sentence structure, or just bad writing, hard to discern what he's saying.

Just my 2 cents

BR     June 28
The cheap shots at Brien are really getting old. Find someone else to pick on guys.

Steve in Hunt Valley     June 28
@Clayton, I still don't see what's wrong! But thank you for posting that anyway. I must be missing it.

Bob     June 28
Clayton, thank you. I misunderstood what you all were complaining about. I thought you were upset with bad grammar. I see now. Thanks again.

Clayton     June 28
Rich Bob Lincoln





"At this point it's almost a foregone conclusion that the former Super Bowl starter's career NFL career is over."





"What is unusual though is the passive aggressive campaign that the league, the media, have fans have waged against him in order to dance around the blatant fact that he's being run out of the league for his social activism."





"Tebow was certainly a cultural lightning rod to some, but worse from the perspective of a team he had a legion of obsessed fans and an entire major television network dedicated to trolling them with hyperbolic claims about his talent and constant demands to play him."

Tim     June 28
Drew is it true you are playing in the Senior golf championship at Caves Valley in July? My dad is marshaling and he wanted to know if you know what time you're playing. Good luck!

Lincoln     June 28
Rich, Bob:



There's nothing at all wrong with Brien's article today.



As is typically the case when I see critiques of him, they're off base and over the top.



He's clearly disliked by the masses here for reasons I'm not aware of, but today's article in particular is not worthy of this much complaining.

Bob     June 28
Glad @Rich said it first. I'd like to know what I'm missing with Brien's writing. I read it and it looks fine to me.

Rich     June 28
I will probably regret this but I consider my fairly well schooled and I don't see much of anything wrong with what Brien wrote today. Not trying to pick a fight here but if you're going to come to the site and critique is writing and blame him for being a poor writer you should at least point out the mistakes so we all know you're actually not full of hot air. I've read through it three times now and I don't see what's wrong with it. My 2 cents.

mike from catonsville     June 28
I forgot to mention, about 90% of the parents on "Friday Night Tykes".



Total worthless discussion but still think it's fun to point out knucklehead sports parents.

RJ     June 28
About 3 months ago the owner of DMD said that he was very in tune and was "caring" about the quality on his site. Obviously he was blowing smoke as many many errors still get through. Brien is an embarrassment when it comes to quality, please proof read his content. It is really difficult to get through and deserves the critiques it gets. People who point out the errors should be lauded not banned and censored. Threads will surely disappear today.

CJ     June 28
@Ghost

Right on. I have come to the conclusion that at this point anyone who mentions wrestling, follows it in any manner and is over the age of 16 has latent feelings for men in tights or is a intellectual moron. It shouldn't be something that grown men are into. That whole thing is odd. Fake, homo-erotic and insipid. All things that serious men should avoid. It is not sports. Eric the Midget loved wrestling and he had a IQ of 90.



As some have said there isn't much insight any longer, just spitballing. And Brien's columns are actually getting worse. That dude can't write, makes tons of errors and defends the indefensible. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. And we have yet to have proof that he ever had a byline on his claimed resume.



Who has the best record in the AL East the past 10 games? The Baltimore Orioles(tied). Another good week and do we see the new spit ball come out. "They just might be in this". They are contenders right now. Because their record says so. All of the teams have holes. The O's need their "have done it" guys get into form. We may be seeing signs.

HERMAN     June 28
We've entered that horrible time frame of sports hell where pro football is still in what feels like the distant future, and the distractions of the NBA and NHL championships are all done. All that's left is baseball and with the local team tanking that's nothing but frustration. All that's left is the British Open to distract from the humidity. These are the toughest days to have to crank out a daily column. They need to borrow from Bill Simmons, mix a little pop culture and daily life into the mix, human interest stuff. Keeps things fresh when the sports world runs dry. These are the dog days. Has training camp opened yet.........?

ghost of pgav/monk/ETC     June 28
Did we morph to the dark days already cause of the O’s slump? First the silly “winner contest” and now we get consecutive days of “Serena vs men”, “Kaeperdick” and now a non-story about this Ball guy (which BTW, how is he an “NBA problem”, and why would anyone “root against the Lakers” because his kid happens to play for them??).

Why not a little more on the O’s little streak other than “looks like TOR mailing it in”? They were declared dead long ago and now are just 2 games behind the O’s. Oh yea, O’s aren’t trying either. What happened to “sports insight and opinion”? Guess we’re focusing on opinion now, which would be fine if the topics were actually interesting. I for one would prefer to hear Drew’s take on things that matter, which I generally enjoy reading (esp the golf stuff). Oh well, SOD have at it


Cash Is King     June 28
90% of NBA players wish they had a dad who cared as much as Lonzo's dad. I agree, he is over the top and a blatant self promoter...but at least he was still raising his kids.

mike from catonsville     June 28
DMD needs to set up a contest for the worst parent(s) of all time.

Todd Marinovich

The Williams sisters

Earl Woods

The idiot Ball

Michelle Wie's dad





Looking for help from the DMD- certain there's plenty more these were just top of mind.

unitastoberry     June 28
Vince McMahon is a genious. Well minus his ill fated attempt to play pro football in yet another winter/ spring league with everyone thinking basketball,hockey,baseball etc. Maybe one day a billionaire will start a pro football league in the FALL on SUNDAYS. It worked for the AFL.

Tom J     June 28
Could not agree more about this A$$ Clown Ball. I have never wanted to see someone crash and burn more than him and his kids. It's one thing to be the crazy parent as the kid is the star, it's another when you want to be a bigger star than the kid.

Clayton     June 28
Ray ray: +1 . Probably the worst article ever to appear in print.

Ray ray     June 28
Does NO ONE proofread these articles? Brien Jackson's article is or should be embarrassing to the DMD.

George     June 27
Directors of companies have, by law, the responsibility to stockholders to make business decisions based on the bottom line. Failure to do so [by, e.g., making a decision that is moral but costs the corporation money] opens them to personal liability for breach of fiduciary duty.

Colin Kaepernick started 11 games for the 49ers in 2016. They lost 10 of them.

Forty-niners owner Jed York voiced support for what he mistakenly called Kaepernick’s constitutional right to kneel during the National Anthem, and donated large sums of money to organizations supporting the quarterback’s protests of the unwarranted shooting of civilians by police officers.

Kaepernick demanded a salary of $10 million, far more than other free-agent backup quarterbacks who did sign with teams this year.

The NFL, like the PGA Tour, has subtly incorporated the flag, the military, and the police into its branding, and attempts to portray itself as a “patriotic” entity. Owners and directors need not talk with one another (that is, conspire) to realize that Kaepernick’s presence degrades this brand.

It’s nice to see an athlete join the likes of Jabbar, Jim Brown, and Ali and to forego the billions of Woods and Jordan. But I don’t want Kaepernick as my team’s backup quarterback even for only seven or eight million dollars, and would not presume to suggest to owners of other teams that they SHOULD want him.

Jason M     June 27
Strong words from Brien J. and I think he's obviously right, NFL: teams don't want the circus coming to town and hijacking their camp or their season. As soon as a team brings in Kap for trainign camp, every single TV camera in the lower 48 will be camping out and requesting credentials. The 24/7 networks will bloviate and the old footage of him kneeling will play over and over with an American flag in the background. Kap has been black balled like Ray Rice, and the NFL has sent a message to all the younger Ray Rice's and Colin Kapernik's out there. While what they did was vastly different, but the net effect was that they brought negative attention to their team and league, and they have the same scarlet letter on them now. Now, me personally, I like to think there are second acts in American lives and someone like Ray Rice could be deserving of another chance, but apparently my thinking runs counter to the prevailing wisdom of the league.

Veritas     June 27
PICTURES. They are the reason that guys get blackballed. WE can't know for sure but maybe guys who have been convicted/charged with abuse hurt their victims more than Ray Rice, but there were no PICTURES of it. And Kaepernick(I think it was the equipment managers around the league who colluded to get him out of the league because his name is hard to spell) was shown on TV with pictures of his stance. If he had just been vocal about it, he may have been Okay. The NFL is in sales, and Kap's "look" was anti sales. Guys like Brien who believe in Russian collusion(how that story is whip snapping back at the accusers is astonishing) believe that evil white man are colluding against Kaepernick. They just don't want the headache about answering questions about him. Kind of like a husband who comes home 40 minutes late and has to answer question after question about where he's been. Franchises just don't want to hear it. Avoiding a confrontation and Kap is not a unreal talent. Dave Kingman hit 35 homeruns in his last year in the cavernous Oakland stadium(half the games), but he was a pain in the butt. Now that was collusion.



We can never know how well any female athlete in a power sport would do against men, but as was pointed out yesterday there is evidence. Just because Serena is a powerful women(against women) she has almost no power in terms of mens tennis. Two things are against her. One, the top 1000 men are faster than her and can get to more balls than her and two the spin that men put on the ball is more intense than any woman. Drew says that one offs could happen. That is nonsensical. Could a 11 year old baseball player ever get a hit off a AAA pitcher? It is just a difference in power. And though Serena is powerful, she is no where near as powerful as any man who plays tennis at the pro level. Not even close. Riggs is inconsequential. He was never a power player, was 55, drunk, bloated and was in bad shape. He destroyed the No. 1 female player in the world (Court) who was a POWER player.



It is all not provable, but basic science and logic tells us that she would not EVER beat a male pro tennis player EVER.

mike from catonsville     June 27
IMO Women can be competitive with men at "non" physical sports such as , bowling, curling, archery and some physical sports as car racing, jockey. Head to head physical sports not so much. The best UCONN women's teams would get blown out by bad D-3 mens teams.

It's an interesting discussion but doesn't mean anything. Enjoy the women athletes for their ability. The women have made such great strides and their sports can be just a riveting as the men. I actually like watching them , especially the golf, because not playing at a reasonably high level, you can identify with the yardage and the clubs they hit, unlike the mens game.



As for Serena how she's ever been able to pass the "juice" test is beyond me. She is unlike about 99% of women athletes. Look at her sister and pics when she was younger. I believe medical science has played a role. I haven't seen many female athletes as jacked as she is.

Davey     June 27
Let's not forget that Bobby Riggs was 55 years old when he played Bille Jean King. And that earlier that year, he had beaten Margaret Court (then the No. 1 woman tennis player) handily. I remember Chris Evert once saying in an interview that her brother, who never rose above being a good college player, could easily beat her even in her prime. It's just a different game that men are playing because of their physical attributes.

Steve from Vero Beach     June 27
@ Herman, Totally Agree with your assessment of Kaepernicks situation, you make your own bed that you sleep in, deal with it !!!

unitastoberry     June 27
Back in the late 1960s early 1970s you would see the occasional fan at Memorial Stadium not stand for the anthem I suppose to protest the Vietnam war? They would be taunted and even spit on as the game would progress and the odds were a fist fight would insue.

I have tons of problems with the US government. And yes they don't listen to us middle class pions and are robbing us blind etc etc. But you stand for the anthem because of the people who died and got dismembered that fought for you no matter how corrupt the government gets. You want change make speeches and write articles and get people to vote especially in local and state elections they are the most corrupt.

HERMAN     June 27
@BJ

Pro sports is first and foremost entertainment. It's best not to antagonize the customer base, go ask the "Dixie Chicks". Kaepernick's stance does not endear him to the paying public, in fact, it antagonizes them. It's all right to take a stand, as long as you are willing to pay the price for it. And now Kaepernick is paying that price. He has made himself toxic, there is no one to blame for his lack of pro football employment past his mirror.

Bill W.     June 27
It was a pleasure meeting you yesterday at Baltimore Country Club. I love your site.

New reader     June 27
This site should go national. The breadth of the articles is outstanding.

Ron Panell     June 26
Drew, nice meeting you today at the Blaise Cook tournament at BCC! Love your website. You have a new daily reader. And congrats again on your great play today!

HERMAN     June 26
@DF



I fully realize that today's players have a work out regimen that would put the 1960's tour pros to shame. And that even some of the smaller guys in stature are just "jacked". They get maximum rotation and turn, get everything out of club arc and club-head speed possible, and that bringing "athletes" into the game has just changed everything.

However, the equipment is also "jacked", particularly the ball. They have to do something to curb the hang time.

And while I am the absolute worst golfer alive who plays regularly, another thing that is bothersome is the club numbers. Pros are tweaking down the loft a few degrees so the 7 iron they are hitting from 200 is the same as a 5 iron from the 1960's. Every club is turned down. It's an ego thing, I used to play weekly with a guy who turned his clubs down a few degrees. He wanted to hit his 7 190.

Better athletes playing the game has helped the distance, but you can't argue the equipment today is just "juiced".

I just wish it would help me. I can't swing at all anymore, no tech change is going to help an awful swing and horrible ball striker.


Chris in Bel Air     June 26
Fact: The O's have now played 78 games and are 37-38.

Opinion: The O's will need to win at least 87 games to make a playoff appearance.

Fact: In order to win 87 games, the O's will need to finish 50-34.

Opinion: Given the way the starting pitching has performed so far, I don't see that happening.

Ghost of JROB     June 26
As a lover of MP, the idea of restoring the course sounds great. I have no idea of how much it would cost but I'm very sure it would require a private/public partnership of which the city of Baltimore is incapable. I also do not believe the community could support the upgraded/renovated facility. Courses are going out of business. Bulle Rock can't hack it. Clubs are struggling. Golf is shrinking. I support George's idea but also believe it would be a great boondoggle.

DF     June 26
Herman....I think I may devote a piece soon to golf equipment and how it has changed the game...but not nearly as much as something else that has made the professionals so much better. Equipment and the ball are second....

unitastoberry     June 26
Fact-Ravens only have one player in the player picked NFL top 100. Yanda

Opinion- The Ravens are not very good especially on offense. No stand out runnng back, no stand out center, no stand out right tackle, no stand out left guard, no stand out tight end, the defense which appears to be decent will be on the field all game. The best offensive weapon could still be the kicker. Please prove me wrong.

DR (the original)     June 26
@Brien this actually happened, in January 1998 at the Australian Open. His name is Karsten Braasch. A (former, now) German professional, once ranked as high as No. 38 in the world. He beat Serena (16 yrs old at the time) 6-1 and Venus (18, maybe?) 6-2. At the time he was ranked No. 203.

Just the Facts     June 26
Hey Brien

You might want to google Karsten Braasch vs the Williams sisters.

He beat them both handily and was drinking before and during the informal matches.

In 2013 Williams said she doubt that she would win a single point against Andy Murray if they played.



Just because people think that top flight women can compete against males doesn't make it so.

Of course Brien gets it wrong again.

Brien Jackson     June 26
"Serena Williams played the 200th ranked man in the late 1990's. After playing a round of golf and smoking cigs and drinking beers during change overs, the man beat her 6-1. It wasn't close and the man was half hearted. If she played someone in the top 100 she might not win a game and would be hard pressed to win points of any kind. Most men in the top 1000 would smoke her and a high probability that the only ones who would lose would be due to nerves. "



LOL. Well done, this is the best parody I've read in weeks!

Tuesday
March 14
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXII
Issue 14
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"show me how you hit that shot" was the start of a great friendship


We might be doing some shoveling today in Baltimore, but that doesn't keep me from thinking about golf.

I have a lot on my plate, golf wise, over the next few months, starting later this week when the Calvert Hall golf team that I coach heads to Pinehurst for annual "spring trip" where we spend four days playing and practicing in preparation for our upcoming MIAA season.

Our season begins on Wednesday, March 29 and runs through mid-May. If we're fortunate enough to reach the conference championship match, our reward is a visit to Caves Valley for the Final in late May.

This weekend, my friend and #DMD behind-the-scenes wizard George McDowell -- an occasional contributor here among the other tasks he handles -- will meet up with us, as Pinehurst is about 90 minutes from his home in North Carolina.

I'm looking forward to having him meet my 2017 team. I think he'll find them interesting and full of zest for golf, which is precisely why I grew to admire George so quickly when we met way back in 1998.

The 17th hole at Mount Pleasant, a 215 yard downhill par-3 that's one of the toughest holes to par on the course.

I was working a twice-weekly shift at Mount Pleasant back in those days, with duties both inside (pro shop) and outside (cleaning and managing the golf cart fleet), all part of a win-win deal that earned me free golf as an employee and put a few extra dollars in my pocket.

I got to "work" for one of the best golf professionals in the area, Jim Deck, although Deck would have probably paid me NOT to come in some days. My quest to play and practice smothered my desire to work hard, that's for sure.

Mount Pleasant is where I met George McDowell.

It was in the summer of 1998. McDowell had taken up golf the summer prior, shooting, as he recalls, a 142 in his first-ever round at a course in New Jersey.

We met on the first tee at The Mount, mostly by accident.

I was heading out for a twilight round at 5 pm, hoping to get in 12 or 14 holes before dark.

Up to the tee came a solitary figure. I had seen him before, but couldn't figure out where.

"Are you a single?" he asked. "Can I join you?"

"Sure thing," I replied.

I was standing at the blue tee markers and could sense some trepidation from my new friend.

"Do you mind if I play from the whites?" George wondered. "I'm a beginner."

"Not at all," I said, snatching my ball from the tee and moving forward. "I'll just play up there with you."

George objected, but I won that debate with him, one of only a few I'd win over the years.

"What's your handicap?," I asked. George didn't seem like the gambling type (never judge a book by its cover applies there) and I thought maybe I could get a $5 nassau out of him.

"I don't really have one," he said. "Whatever par is on the hole, I just try to make that score."

We hadn't teed off yet and I already liked the guy.

"Whatever par is on the hole, I just try to make that score..." I loved that answer.

George's golf game didn't match his wit. Not that day, anyway.

He hit the ball 8 or 9 times before reaching the par-5 first green at Mount Pleasant. As we strolled to the green -- the left one (Mount Pleasant has two greens on the first hole) -- McDowell seemed embarrassed.

"I hope I'm not holding you up. If I am, you can just go ahead and play," he offered.

I rejected that notion immediately. For starters, I would always rather play with someone than not, and something about McDowell intrigued me.

While he hit a variety of off-line shots on that first hole, none of them seemed to bother him. He'd top one 80 yards, calmly pick up his bag, and off he'd walk to the next shot. He didn't slam his club or curse and there were no outward signs of anger or frustration.

I liked George's company right from the start.

On the second hole, I tried to buzz one from left to right and didn't catch it cleanly. I knew the ball was destined for the right trees that intersect #2 and #8 at Mount Pleasant.

"That's going to be ugly," I said as I moved off the tee.

"How do you know?" George asked.

"Because anything in those trees is ugly. There are roots everywhere, it's hard pan...it's not where you want to be."

George hit one reasonably well from the tee and his ball bounded down the fairway. He didn't hit it far, but he hit it straight.

"That should be OK," he said.

"Only if you like them perfect," I replied. I distinctly remember wondering if perhaps his first-hole debacle might have been an effort to lure me into a wager.

After George's approach to #2, he wandered over to where I was in the right trees.

As I predicted a few minutes before, it was ugly in there. I was further back in the tree line than I wanted, with a half dozen or more trees in front of me, scattered 10 or 15 feet apart. The hard pan made contact unpredictable at best, and any of the roots sticking up could catch a ball hit low to the ground.

Having played that shot a lot over the years at #2, I knew what was required. I just had to execute the technique.

I played the ball back in my stance to keep it low, hooded the club just a smidgen to further enhance the low-ball-flight, and aimed out to the right, past a couple of large trees, and tried to thread the ball through there. If I could manage all of that, getting the ball to the green or close to it wasn't all that difficult.

I hit the shot perfectly and the ball whistled down the right side of the hole, turning over nicely along the ground and easily making the putting surface, stopping some 20 feet from the hole.

"Show me how you did that," McDowell said.

"Show me how you hit that shot."

That's when our friendship officially started.

I took out a ball and put it on the ground. I explained to McDowell about hitting it low by playing it back in your stance. I showed him how to hood the club so you get some hook spin out of it if you catch it cleanly.

George threw his own ball down and tried it. His shot hit a root in front of us and caromed off into the 8th fairway.

"I didn't really hood the club there," he remarked. He was a quick learner, my new friend. I could see right away that he was a guy who could process information quickly.

"Hit another one," I suggested.

This time, McDowell pulled off the shot quite nicely, his ball making it well past the tree line and coming up short in front of the green.

We strolled along comfortably in the early evening sun, McDowell asking lots of questions and me answering as many as I could.

I remember on the 7th tee, McDowell hit his best shot of the day, a left-to-right fade off the tee that left him only 170 yards in on the par-4 hole.

"That one will get you coming back tomorrow," I said, excitement in my voice.

"I'm coming back tomorrow no matter what," George shot back right away. "The only way I'm going to get better is by coming back tomorrow."

There are lots of other stories to share about my friend, but that first one is among my favorites. Someday soon, I'll share the story about the time I caddied for George in the Maryland Senior Amateur at a now-closed course in D.C. called Indian Springs.

Today, though, I just wanted you to know a little bit about George McDowell and how it came to pass that we forged a friendship through golf and Mount Pleasant.


a quick note about today's snow and abc rental center of rosedale


As I write this in the early morning hours on Tuesday, I'm still not 100% sure what we're getting out of this snow storm. The overnight totals don't seem that staggering, but there's more on the way later on today, evidently.

I just wanted to remind you that our friends at ABC Rental Center of Rosedale have a variety of rental items on hand that can help you deal with the snow and its aftermath. And best of all, you don't have to buy those things, clean them, store them, etc. Snow blowers, generators, heaters, etc....they're all available at ABC Rental Center of Rosedale.

Check in with Craig Creamer at their location just off the Beltway in Rosedale and tell him #DMD sent you. His number is 410-780-0900.

Check out their website here and see what they have that could help you and your family stay safe during this week's snowstorm.

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march madness challenge


Come one, come all, to #DMD's "March Madness Challenge", presented by Glory Days Grill and Royal Farms.

In our challenge, you do not fill out a bracket. You'll be doing enough of that this week. We offer a different sort of contest here at #DMD.

Below, you will find 12 questions relating to the tournament. Each has a point value. All you need to do is answer the questions and e-mail those answers to us. It takes about one minute of your time.

We do ask that you specifically follow the entry directions that you'll see below, as it makes it much easier for us to keep a running point total if you follow those directions to the letter.

Here are the 12 questions you'll need to answer and their point values.

1. Will Maryland win both of their first two games? - 5 points

2. Will any 1-seed beat a 16-seed by 36.5 points or more? 5 points

3. Will there be more than 2 overtime games in the opening round of 32 games? - 5 points

4. Will a 12-seed beat a 5-seed in the opening round of 32 games? - 5 points

5. Will a 2-seed lose one of their first two games? - 5 points

6. Will any team score 94.5 or more points in a tournament game and lose? - 5 points

7. Who will be the first 1-seed to lose? - 5 points

8. Who is in your Elite Eight? - 5 points for each correct team, 10 point bonus if you have at least 7 of 8.

9. Who plays in the Final? - 10 points for each correct team.

10. Will the team who leads at half in the Final win the game? - 5 points

11. Will the point total in the Final be over/under 152.5? - 5 points

12. Who wins the NCAA title? - 10 points



And here's how you answer and enter:

Send your answers in via e-mail (only): dmdscore@gmail.com

Put "Hoops Challenge" in the subject line, please. And include your name somewhere so we know who you are.

Simply list your answers, as you see below:

1. Yes

2. Yes

3. No

4. Yes

5. No

6. Yes

7. Gonzaga

8. Villanova, Duke, Notre Dame, Arizona, Kansas, Louisville, Butler, UCLA

9. Villanova and UCLA

10. No

11. Over

12. UCLA

There you have it. You're entered!

There are 125 possible points at stake, including the potential bonus points that are available.



Prizes are provided by Glory Days Grill and Royal Farms.

1st place -- $250 gift certificate from Glory Days Grill

2nd place -- $150 gift certificate from Glory Days Grill

3rd place -- $100 gift certificate from Glory Days Grill

4th place -- Breakfast/lunch for a month from Royal Farms

5th place -- Breakfast/lunch for a week from Royal Farms

6th-10th place -- $25 gift certificate from Glory Days Grill.

Have fun and good luck!!!

KELLY banner ad

join glenn clark and i this thursday at glory days for a terps viewing party


Maryland kicks off their NCAA title hopes this Thursday at 6:50 pm when they face Xavier in Orlando.

If you've never watched a Maryland game with my former radio co-host, Glenn Clark, you'll want to join us this Thursday at Glory Days Grill in Towson.

Clark is a hoot to watch a game with, particularly one involving his beloved Terps basketball team.

Glenn and I will be stationed at Glory Days Grill in Towson and we'd love for you to come out and watch the game with us.

We'll have a food and drink special available for you upon your arrival, so be sure and join us in the bar and watch the Terps take on Xavier in their opening round game.


and here's my "official" bracket


Just for kicks and giggles, I'm publishing my official NCAA March Madness bracket.

I only do one every year. I get it, everyone's entitled to make up a bunch and submit them all, but I stick with just one every March.

This is my best effort.

As you'll see, I have UCLA winning it all.

I do think there are probably ten teams that have the ability to win the whole thing. It's a wide open field.

My preference? I wouldn't mind seeing Gonzaga finally win one. Mark Few has run a good program out there and the 'Zags remind me of my beloved Washington Capitals in that they routinely have a great regular season and then fall apart come tournament (playoff) time.

Obviously, my first preference would be to see Maryland win, but that's not happening. Gonzaga, though, has a real chance.

Below is my bracket for the tournament.

If you're reading #DMD on your phone or a tablet, you might not have a great view of it below. To see the bracket in fullscreen, please go here.


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Monday
March 13
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXII
Issue 13
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


sunday bracket drama yields interesting match-ups in ncaa tourney


By the time Greg Gumbel got to the West Region of the NCAA Tournament bracket on Sunday evening, I was definitely thinking to myself, "What if Maryland doesn't get in?"

I get it, someone has to play out West, so there will always be schools that don't see their name until late in the announcement process, but with 75% of the field complete, I got a smidgen nervous.

"Maryland's getting in," I said to myself. "I know they're not getting hosed like that."

Gumbel went through the entire field, save for the last two teams.

I knew Maryland was one of those two teams, but I would be fibbing if I said the thought never crossed my mind that somehow Maryland's February swoon and early ouster from the Big Ten tournament cost them an at-large berth in the tournament.

"If they don't get in, all hell's gonna break loose," I said.

They got in.

It took a while, but "Maryland" finally showed up on the screen and the Terps even got a gift from the selection committee, earning a 6-seed in the tournament despite getting humbled late in the season by back-to-back home blowouts to Minnesota and Iowa and then bowing out meekly to Northwestern in the opening round of the Big Ten tournament on Friday night in D.C.

The video of Maryland's room (below) shows a tense Mark Turgeon sitting through those final seconds. It sure looks to me like Turgeon's face is saying, "Are we somehow not getting in this thing?" before he erupts with the rest of the team when their name appears on the screen. It's interesting theater for those who appreciate the "moment in time" reaction of live video.



#DMD HDTV


The way I see it, we complained for years when Duke would get a favorable draw from the NCAA selection committee, so Maryland getting a 6-seed when they didn't deserve it is just a small measure of payback at a time when the Terps actually need it.

Maryland will play Xavier on Thursday night in Orlando, Florida, then potentially face the winner of Florida State (#3) and Florida Gulf Coast (#14) on Saturday.

Honestly? Maryland could win those two games. Xavier was decent early in the season, lost a key player to injury, fell off the map, then had a decent run in the Big East tournament before falling to Creighton in the semi-finals.

The Terps should beat Xavier.

Saturday's expected match-up with Florida State would be a lot more concerning. The Seminoles are a very good team. But Maryland (and Florida State) has to get there first before worrying about their former friends from the ACC.

The rest of the bracket contained some modest surprises, as North Carolina earned a #1 seed despite losing to Duke in the ACC semi-finals, and Minnesota jumped all the way up to 5-seed via some strong late season play in the Big Ten.

I like the fact that the tournament obviously puts some emphasis on what teams did during the regular season, hence North Carolina's nod over Duke as far as seeding went.

I'm not denying Duke had a terrific late-season run, but putting them at #1 and UNC at #2 just because the Blue Devils got past them in the tournament would have been wrong. The regular season should count MORE than any conference tournament, not less.

Speaking of Duke, they are certainly starting to look like a team capable of reeling off six straight wins and earning another national title for Coach K. I sure hope I'm wrong. But their gritty performances against North Carolina and Notre Dame on Friday and Saturday were very convincing.

I'll reveal my bracket on Tuesday here at #DMD.

In the meantime, as you'll see below, we're once again hosting our own version of the "March Madness Challenge", but we do it a bit differently than the typical "bracket contest".

I hope you'll play along for the chance to win great prizes from Glory Days Grill and Royal Farms.

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march madness challenge


Come one, come all, to #DMD's "March Madness Challenge", presented by Glory Days Grill and Royal Farms.

In our challenge, you do not fill out a bracket. You'll be doing enough of that this week. We offer a different sort of contest here at #DMD.

Below, you will find 12 questions relating to the tournament. Each has a point value. All you need to do is answer the questions and e-mail those answers to us. It takes about one minute of your time.

We do ask that you specifically follow the entry directions that you'll see below, as it makes it much easier for us to keep a running point total if you follow those directions to the letter.

Here are the 12 questions you'll need to answer and their point values.

1. Will Maryland win both of their first two games? - 5 points

2. Will any 1-seed beat a 16-seed by 36.5 points or more? 5 points

3. Will there be more than 2 overtime games in the opening round of 32 games? - 5 points

4. Will a 12-seed beat a 5-seed in the opening round of 32 games? - 5 points

5. Will a 2-seed lose one of their first two games? - 5 points

6. Will any team score 94.5 or more points in a tournament game and lose? - 5 points

7. Who will be the first 1-seed to lose? - 5 points

8. Who is in your Elite Eight? - 5 points for each correct team, 10 point bonus if you have at least 7 of 8.

9. Who plays in the Final? - 10 points for each correct team.

10. Will the team who leads at half in the Final win the game? - 5 points

11. Will the point total in the Final be over/under 152.5? - 5 points

12. Who wins the NCAA title? - 10 points



And here's how you answer and enter:

Send your answers in via e-mail (only): dmdscore@gmail.com

Put "Hoops Challenge" in the subject line, please. And include your name somewhere so we know who you are.

Simply list your answers, as you see below:

1. Yes

2. Yes

3. No

4. Yes

5. No

6. Yes

7. Gonzaga

8. Villanova, Duke, Notre Dame, Arizona, Kansas, Louisville, Butler, UCLA

9. Villanova and UCLA

10. No

11. Over

12. UCLA

There you have it. You're entered!

There are 125 possible points at stake, including the potential bonus points that are available.



Prizes are provided by Glory Days Grill and Royal Farms.

1st place -- $250 gift certificate from Glory Days Grill

2nd place -- $150 gift certificate from Glory Days Grill

3rd place -- $100 gift certificate from Glory Days Grill

4th place -- Breakfast/lunch for a month from Royal Farms

5th place -- Breakfast/lunch for a week from Royal Farms

6th-10th place -- $25 gift certificate from Glory Days Grill.

Have fun and good luck!!!

KELLY banner ad

don't look now, but the caps are suddenly in a dogfight


Well, that got interesting kind of quickly, huh?

Ten days ago, the Washington Capitals had a 9-point lead in the Eastern Conference over both Pittsburgh and Columbus.

This morning, that lead is just one point, as the Caps dropped their 4th straight last night, 5-2 at Anaheim.

Washington leads the Metroplitan Division and the Eastern Conference with 95 points, but Pittsburgh (94) and Columbus (92) have made up ground and both of those teams have played one less game than the Caps.

Without an even strength goal in 18 straight games now, Alex Ovechkin has slumped at the same time as his team, as the Caps have now lost four consecutive games for the first time all season.

We're used to seeing the Caps take a nose-dive in mid-April, not mid-March.

Now, granted, Barry Trotz's team is coming off of a 3-game west coast trip along with a home game against a Dallas team that hasn't lost in Washington in over a decade.

Lots of teams lose four straight games in an 82-game season. But when the Capitals start losing, especially late in the season, it's nail-biting time.

Washington's offense has gone quiet over the last week, scoring a total of eight goals in the four-game losing skid.

Alex Ovechkin hasn't scored a goal in ten games now and hasn't tallied an even strength goal since January.

Yes, you read that right. Alex Ovechkin has now gone 18 straight games (12 in February, 6 in March) without scoring an even strength goal.

In those 18 games, he has just 3 goals overall. Since January 1? The Great Eight has a total of 10 goals and 6 of those were power play tallies.

Concerning? You bet.

Here's what else is bothersome. And this is NOT meant to say the Kevin Shattenkirk acquisition was bad, because it wasn't. He's an outstanding player.

But since Shattenkirk arrived at the trade deadline and stepped into the lineup, the Capitals are 3-4 and they've scored just 15 goals in those 7 games. It's worth noting that he didn't play in last night's loss at Anaheim after being suspended by the NHL for two games on Sunday morning.

When you're losing games in droves, you nitpick at things like that, I guess. I still like the Shattenkirk pick-up, but I wish they'd win a few more games with him in the lineup.

And so, here we go into the stretch run, with the Caps clinging to a one-point lead in the division and conference. Columbus comes to D.C. in a couple of weeks and Washington still has a late-season five-game road trip on their schedule, so lots of things can still happen in the East.

Let's hope Ovechkin gets untracked soon and the wins start piling up again.

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tillman shoulder injury flares up again


OK, now I'm worried.

Chris Tillman took to the mound on Sunday to see what he could get out of his ailing right shoulder.

The results weren't good.

The O's top pitcher ended the throwing session after ten pitches, claiming he still felt discomfort in his shoulder. The Birds summoned team physician Dr. Leigh Ann Curl to travel to Sarasota and take a closer look at Tillman's injury.

O's pitcher Chris Tillman ended his throwing session after just ten pitches on Sunday, complaing once again of discomfort in this right shoulder.

I'm not liking the look or sound of this.

“We think we’ve got a pretty good feel for what the issue is, structurally,” Buck Showalter told the media on Sunday. “I’m still very confident he’ll pitch for us at some point this year. We’ll see what the next few days bring. Just the start of the season is in jeopardy — doubtful. That’s a better word than jeopardy.”

That sounds a lot like a manager who is starting to get nervous himself.

"I'm still very confident he'll pitch for us at some point this year..."

Like, in July, perhaps?

Hopefully it's not that far off, but Tillman's return to the mound is now seriously in question with the club just three weeks away from opening day in Baltimore.

And what's that say for the rotation if Tillman isn't available? He has started 30 or more games in each of the past four seasons. Last year, Tillman went 16-6 with a 3.77 ERA. It was the third time in four years he finished with an ERA below 3.80.

That's not an easy guy to replace. Unless you're the Red Sox, I suppose.

Tillman's absence elevates Kevin Gausman into the team's #1 starter spot. Dylan Bundy, who was rocked for five earned runs in two innings yesterday vs. the Twins, would likely be the #2 man at that point.

Without Tillman, that also means Ubaldo Jimenez is a shoo-in for one of the early-season rotation spots.

You're getting nervous now, right?

Me too.


Sunday
March 12
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXII
Issue 12
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terps became own worst enemy in final month of big ten play


Maryland has a chance to redeem themselves next week when the NCAA Tournament kicks off, but let's be clear on one thing: The Terps stunk it up in the final month or so of Big Ten play.

Nowhere was that odor more stifling than on Friday night at the Verizon Center when a tired, lazy Maryland squad got bounced from the conference tournament by Northwestern, 72-64.

You remember Northwestern, right? They were the team that got shellacked yesterday by Wisconsin, 76-48.

Look, Maryland's basketball lineage doesn't stack up to the likes of Duke or Michigan State and Mark Turgeon's no Mike Krzyzewski or Tom Izzo, for certain, but Maryland has more than a fair chance to become a dominant program in the Big Ten.

Maryland's lack of a true, game-changing big man and the on-again, off-again play of senior Damonte Dodd were contributing factors to a late season decline in College Park.

And yet, they haven't been able to make a footprint in the conference after three years.

This year looked like it might be different, particularly after an impressive January that saw Maryland race out to an 8-1 mark in conference play.

Then something happened.

A home loss to Purdue on February 4 somehow sent the Terps reeling. They dropped two straight, won two in a row after that, then lost three times in succession in late February before finishing the season with two more wins.

Not only were they losing in February, they looked bad while doing so.

Friday night in D.C., Maryland hit a shot right before the halftime buzzer to lead 36-34 at intermission.

Too bad that same Terps team didn't come out for the second half.

It's OK to lose to Wisconsin or Michigan State in the Big Ten tournament. It's not OK to lose to freakin' Northwestern, though. Not in basketball. Not when it matters.

Maryland's downturn in the final month of the regular season and their early dismissal in the Big Ten tourney can be linked to three very obvious items. Whether those three things can be repaired or improved by next Thursday or Friday when the Terps start March Madness is another story.

In no specific order of importance:

First, Maryland's lack of any kind of presence under the basket was a death-dart. Yes, losing Michael Cekovsky to injury in mid-February hurt them, but he's never going to be confused with Dennis Rodman, either. Damonte Dodd offered little rebounding help at all, particularly given his size, and if a big man isn't going to score -- which Dodd doesn't -- then he absolutely must be a rebounding force.

Dodd was rarely a force of any kind.

Maryland finished 11th out of 14 teams in defensive rebounds and 8th in offensive rebounds. Yes, stats can be deceiving. Rutgers, after all, led the conference in offensive rebounding and they lost two out of three to the Little Sisters of the Poor, but Maryland's inability to rebound -- as a team -- was a haunting issue for them all season long.

Basketball coaches and experts will tell you that rebounding is a lot about "want-to", which is code word for "effort". Maryland didn't show much want-to on the boards, and those extra chances they either lost or the other team created turned out to be a Big Ten death-knell for Mark Turgeon's team.

I realize Diamond Stone's departure was meaningful in that it not only cost Maryland a legit big man, it also forced Dodd into playing more minutes, but Turgeon knew when Stone stopped going to class after one semester that he wasn't returning to school in 2016-2017.

Dodd wasn't the answer, clearly. And neither were Cekovsky or Ivan Bender.

College basketball isn't built around having a 7-footer patrolling the paint, but it's helpful to have one who knows what he's doing.

Maryland doesn't have one.

The fatigue factor hit Maryland hard late in the season. Turgeon even recognized it by giving the team a day off last week after a home win over Michigan State and, in his own words, "scaling back some of the running we'd normally do to try and help save some legs", but the dead legs couldn't be revived that quickly.

It wasn't just physical fatigue that rattled Maryland, either. Mental mistakes -- often times caused by fatigue -- crept into Maryland's game. Turnovers are usually the first sign in basketball that a player is getting wobbly, and Maryland gave the ball away in droves in the final month of the season, including on Friday night against Northwestern.

The Terps turned the ball over 415 times in 32 overall games, which ranked them 10th in turnover margin in the conference. Michigan and Wisconsin -- playing for the Big Ten title today -- were ranked #1 and #2 in turnover ratio in the Big Ten this season.

Every time you turn it over, you stop yourself from scoring and give the other team a chance to put the ball in the basket.

Maryland's turnover frequency wasn't all about fatigue, mind you, but mental mistakes are easily traced to tired legs and frazzled minds.

As I've noted here throughout the season, the team's three freshmen (Huerter, Cowan and Jackson) have never been through what they've just been through. Living in a new environment, college classes and schoolwork, a demanding basketball obligation, practice, travel, games, the spotlight -- it can wear anyone out, particularly an 18-year old who hasn't experienced it all before.

Jackson, in particular, suffered through a lousy final stretch of the season. In January, he was outstanding. In February, not so much.

Last, for Maryland, is the biggest intangible of them all.

At times, they looked like they didn't care.

Back-to-back blowout losses to Minnesota and Iowa -- at home, no less -- were the most shocking results of the whole season. Sure, once the dust settled, that early January home loss to Nebraska didn't look all that good, because the Cornhuskers were pretty dismal this season. You could accept a one-point home defeat to Purdue and a road loss at Wisconsin. Those happen to any team.

But getting drilled by fourteen points by Minnesota and Iowa? Having the stands empty with five minutes left in the game? Not good.

It could be that earlier points made -- no big man, lack of energy -- contributed to those two losses, but in both instances, Maryland caved in after falling behind.

I'm well aware the other team tries, too. It's a shame Maryland didn't try as hard as the Gophers and Hawkeyes did when they pounded the Terps in their own barn in February.

They were able to overcome Northwestern's first-half scoring spree on Friday night, but they couldn't deal with the second one, which sealed the game halfway through the final twenty minutes. There was no one there to take over, no one able to hit a bunch of big shots, and no one on the bench who could give Turgeon eight or ten quality minutes and be part of a big turnaround.

One of the reasons why this year's Duke team scares me (anyone but them, please...) is because they'll throw eight guys at you who can all play. Maryland has eight, but none of them managed to take the bull by the horns late in the season.

The internet is filled with people who think Mark Turgeon can't coach. They point to the home loss against Minnesota and Friday night's conference tournament defeat as evidence that he doesn't make in-game adjustments very well.

Interestingly, my opinion on Turgeon hasn't changed at all over the last six years.

I think he's an outstanding recruiter and a good coach.

That's been my stance on him since he came to Maryland in 2011.

I don't think he's a terrible in-game coach. If that were the case, he wouldn't be at Maryland and the team wouldn't be heading to their third straight NCAA Tournament next week.

But he's not one of the game's great strategists like Gary Williams was, that's for sure. He's a good coach, is Turgeon, but nothing more than that.

Still, Maryland didn't fall apart in February because Turgeon suddenly forgot how to coach.

He's responsible in most ways for the on-court product and the players who represent the school, but outside circumstances like injuries and a kid leaving school early aren't things the coach can always control.

The good news for Maryland? Their regular season work was good enough to earn them a spot in the Big Dance.

The bad news? Without some wholesale improvements or changes this week, they won't be on the dance floor long enough to break a sweat.

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a quick note about the imminent snow and abc rental center of rosedale


Who knows what kind of snow we're going to get on Monday night? No disrespect intended to those in the weather-predicting business, but we've seen this act a lot over the years.

They call for 12 inches of snow, suddenly something wacky happens and the storm shifts to the east by 40 miles, and we're left with a bunch of rain and bags of salt in our garage.

This storm, though, looks legit.

It looks legit enough that you might need a snow blower, a generator, a couple of extra heaters, etc.

If you're in need of any of those items, I'd suggest to simply rent them for a couple of days rather than buying them. That's where our friends at ABC Rental Center of Rosedale come in. They have plenty of winter-weather equipment and inventory available. Check in with Craig Creamer at their location just off the Beltway in Rosedale and tell him #DMD sent you in to get prepared for Monday's big storm.

Check out their website here and see what they have that could help you and your family stay safe on Monday and Tuesday.

Here's hoping for that 40-mile shift...but if we get pounded with snow, ABC Rental Center of Rosedale can help you deal with it.

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perry hall wins first-ever state title in high school basketball


Perry Hall, an afterthought in Baltimore-area boys' basketball for decades, won its first state championship Saturday at the University of Maryland. The top-ranked Gators defeated Montgomery County's Quince Orchard, 59-56, in overtime at Xfinity Center.

Senior guard James Rider scored 18 points for Perry Hall (26-2 overall), and Laquill Hardnett added 14 points and 13 rebounds. Tyler Holley finished with 14.

After squandering a 9-point second half lead, Perry Hall rebounded and earned the school's first-ever state basketball title with a 59-56 OT win over Quince Orchard.

After blowing a nine-point fourth quarter advantage, the Gators were able to repel a tenacious Quince Orchard in the extra session, becoming the first Baltimore County team since Towson (Class AA) in 1963 to win a basketball crown in the state's largest classification. The Gators were one of three Baltimore region squads to celebrate on Gary Williams Court Saturday.

It was history for No. 4 Poly, which defeated Prince George's County's Potomac, 64-63, in the 3A finale. Senior forward De'Vonde Perry had 23 points and 16 rebounds and Torrin Stephens finished with 16 for the Engineers (21-7).

Poly relinquished a 10-point fourth quarter lead, rebounding in the closing minutes to become the 10th Baltimore City school to win a state championship. Demetrius Mims had 14 points for the Engineers.

Second-ranked Patterson won the 2A title with a 49-43 victory over 11th-ranked Century, 49-43. Gerald Mungo had 19 points and Christon Adams posted a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Clippers (26-3).

The Baltimore City Division I champions pulled away in the fourth quarter, claiming its first title since 2012 (3A). Senior guard Zach Tucker finished with 16 points for Century (23-3), which has its 21-game winning streak snapped.

No. 20 Edmondson's bid for a third title in five seasons was denied by Prince George's County's Fairmont Heights, 65-52, in the 1A final. Teon Gardner finished with a game-best 18 points for the Red Storm (20-5).

On the girls side, Catonsville won its first-ever 4A state title by beating Walt Whitman, 49-46 in overtime at SECU Arena on the campus of Towson University.

Jasmine Dickey scored 30 points and added 11 rebounds for the Comets, going 18-for-24 from the foul line in the victory.

This story and coverage of Maryland's high school basketball championships was provided by Varsity Sports Network, Maryland's leading source for all high school athletics news, scores and behind-the-scenes stories. Visit their website here.

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get ready for #dmd's march madness contest!


Check back here tomorrow for your chance to enter #DMD's popular March Madness contest, where you'll pick from 12 different NCAA tournament scenarios to create your own "team" and compete against other #DMD readers.

Last year, we had over 500 entries! Let's double that this time around!

The March Madness contest is brought to you by Glory Days Grill and Royal Farms.

Prizes this year include a "Party for Ten" at Glory Days in Towson, free breakfast/lunch for a month from Royal Farms, plus a whole lot more.

Full details will be provided tomorrow here at #DMD.

Saturday
March 11
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXII
Issue 11
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this, that and the other


So, Tiger Woods has announced he's not going to be able to play in next week's Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando. He says his back is still bothering him.

That doesn't bode well for Tiger's hopes of being healthy enough to tee it up at Augusta National on April 6.

By missing next week's event, he leaves himself just two weeks to prepare for the Masters. The tournament on March 23 is one Woods is not eligible for (Match Play Championship) and the week after he'd have to play at a course (Houston) he's never seen before, which seems like an unlikely move for the 14-time major champion.

Unless I'm reading the tea leaves wrong, it looks like Tiger isn't playing in the Masters this years.

That's too bad.

Those other run-of-the-mill tournaments in the first four months of the season were just fine with non-descript personalities winning like Mackenzie Hughes, Hudson Swafford and Jon Rahm. I always enjoy seeing guys win their first event on TOUR.

But the Masters is different.

We need drama there, like last year, when Jordan Spieth gift-wrapped the event to Danny Willett with a back-nine blow-up that made Greg Norman cringe.

Woods at Augusta would have given us some real drama, at least for the first two days.

Instead, we'll have to wait until around 4:30 pm on Sunday afternoon, April 9 to get really interested in the greatest golf tournament in the world.

I don't know how the New England Patriots do it, but there they were on Friday, out-smarting everyone once again.

Heck, Tom Brady might play until he's 50 now, what with 23-year old wide receiver Brandin Cooks heading to Foxborough after the Patriots made a deal with New Orleans yesterday.

New England gave up their first round pick this April to get Cooks, who enjoyed back-to-back 1100 yard seasons in New Orleans.

I sure wish the Ravens put an emphasis on adding a young, proven wide receiver. Actually, I wish the Ravens would put an emphasis on acquiring any kind of legitimate wide receiver.

Is Roger Carr still out there and available?

New England, because they're New England, just keeps on re-tooling. And nearly every smart move they make somehow connects to their all-world quarterback.

Patriots fans were jamming the phone lines of Minneapolis area hotels on Friday night, trying to secure advance reservations for Super Bowl week next February.

Smart move on their part.

I stumbled upon the Arizona-UCLA Pac 12 semi-final last night, and something really weird happened at the end.

Arizona was ahead 86-75 with 0.9 remaining when they called a time-out.

The two teams wearily shuffled to their respective benches and Arizona coach Sean Miller was going through some kind of strategy on a clipboard.

"Oh, they must have the score wrong on the TV screen," I finally figured out. "It must be 76-75, not 86-75. That's why they called a time out."

But then I noticed that UCLA coach Steve Alford wasn't do much of anything in his huddle. The Bruins were all just standing around waiting for the time-out to expire.

It turns out, the score was 86-75 in favor of Arizona. And they did call a time-out.

With 0.9 seconds left in the game.

Later, I learned that back on February 25, with visiting UCLA beating Arizona, 77-72, Alford called a time-out with 1.2 seconds remaining in the game.

So, Miller's late time-out last night was payback for what happened three weeks ago on his home court.

Or was it?

"I didn't mean any disrespect," Miller said after last night's win when questioned about the time-out. "I think Steve told me he was setting his defense up [in last month's game], and I was setting my inbounds play up. We were just trying to play the best we can. When you play UCLA, you're in for a heck of a basketball game. For us, it's a matter of just trying to win the game."

Hilarious. Up 11 points with 0.9 seconds left -- but no disrespect intended.

Yeah, sure.

With yesterday's release of veteran defensive back Lardarius Webb, the Ravens now appear to be in full clean-out mode.

They were able to get Dennis Pitta to re-structure the final two years of his deal, but Webb, who has suffered throughout countless re-structures over the last five years or so, must have finally said "enough is enough".

There's always a chance Webb doesn't find any takers on the open market and winds up coming back to the Ravens at a reduced price, but if this is the end of the road for him, it's worth noting how much of a stand-up guy he was during his 8-year run in purple.

He wasn't a great player, but he was most certainly a great representative of the franchise in the community.

And let's give him his due on the field. Webb enjoyed some solid seasons with the Ravens before injuries started taking their toll a few years back.

But off the field, he was one of the classiest guys you'd meet and his efforts with the local chapter of the United Way and other charitable organizations should be applauded if his time with the Ravens has, in fact, come to a close.

It's easy to beat up guys like Kenneth Dixon who do dumb stuff and get suspended for four games. We need to balance that by respecting the work of people like Webb, who did more than his fair share of good deeds since showing up in Baltimore in 2009.

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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 the 2016-17 season.


terps bounced by northwestern, 72-64


In two previous attempts at a Big Ten Tournament title, the Maryland Terrapins were “one and done”.

In this year’s conference championship, they were simply “done”.

Northwestern took advantage of every Maryland weakness and poor tendency while sending the Terps home with their collective tails between their legs and a 72-64 beating fresh in their minds. "Ugly" is too kind to describe last night's setback.

Kevin Huerter's first season in the Big Ten ended last night with an outstanding 19 point performance in the loss to Northwestern.

The Wildcats' huge 20 to 4 run in the second half sealed Maryland’s fate. The Terps were able to survive a similar run in the first half, but didn’t have the strength, either mentally or physically, to repeat the comeback in the second half.

Maryland took too many bad shots during their second half dry spell, while on the other end of the court they forgot to defend. Anthony Cowan and Melo Trimble took turns turning the ball over (Melo had 6, Cowan 5) and when Maryland did get off a shot, it was of the low percentage variety.

Runners in the lane with defenders draped all over you, rushed three point attempts, and drives to the basket that were strongly rejected were all part of the lackluster offensive arsenal for Maryland.

They stopped cutting hard and failed to crisply execute the same offensive plays that allowed them to hit 11 of 18 shots inside the three point line in the first half. A ten point Terp lead, 44-34, with 16:37 remaining in the second half became a 54-46 deficit at the 7:30 mark. The Terps scored two points in over nine minutes while giving up 20. They simply never recovered from that drought.

Whenever a game that ends in an 8 point margin of victory like this one did, it’s almost ludicrous to state that one foul shot may cost a team the game. Last night, though, that may have happened to Maryland.

With the Terps up by eight points and the highly partisan crowd in a near frenzy, Trimble went to the rim and connected on lay-up. Northwestern was called for a foul and Maryland had a chance for a three point play and an 11 point lead.

After a brief delay for substitutions, Melo put up a foul shot that never looked smooth and lacked his usual intensity. I realize he’s hit only 61% from the foul line in his last 6 games, but I didn’t like the stroke from the minute he started to move the ball. After it missed, I turned to the rather attractive young lady seated to my left (Mrs. Williams) and expressed my displeasure with that shot and my concern going forward.

That shot told me that perhaps someone on the court thought a win was a mere formality.

I won’t take you through the play by play of the minutes following that miss by Melo, but it’s fair to say that immediately afterwards, Northwestern began to score on nearly every possession. They either hit a shot or they rebounded a miss and collected second chance points.

Meanwhile, Maryland tossed up a bunch of prayers and also committed six deadly turnovers in that nine minute nightmare on F Street. A tournament title this year -- in Maryland’s backyard, at the Verizon Center -- was not happening.

Offensive dry spells are a part of college basketball and they occur to every team in almost every game. Many teams can end them by making concentrated efforts to get the ball inside to a big man for an easy look or by pounding the offensive glass. The Terps don’t really have either option.

Damonte Dodd’s combination of limited low post moves, no jumping ability, and inaccurate touch around the basket leave him out as a “go to” guy inside. Justin Jackson’s interior game is a work in progress, and Ivan Bender doesn’t even look to score unless he has managed to free himself for an uncontested layup.

A drought-ending low post bucket is a scarce commodity for Mark Turgeon’s team, especially with Michal Cekovsky sidelined.

There’s no Lonnie Baxter to be found on this team, folks.

Easy put backs off of an offensive rebound aren’t all that plentiful either. In the event an offensive rebound is grabbed by a Terp, the ball is more likely to be kicked out than slammed home. It’s just the make-up of this year's edition of Maryland basketball.

To lay any blame for this loss on Turgeon, and his ability to coach “in-game”, is wrong to me.

Any blame directed his way should be more for assembling a team that doesn’t match up, athletically, on most nights.

It’s why they get beat on the boards so often. It’s why they have long pronounced scoring lapses, and it’s why they are watching the semi-finals of the Big Ten tournament while doing homework in their dorms.

Ultimately, it will be why their season comes to an end while 32 or 16 other squads continue to fight for a NCAA title.

By anyone’s account, the Terps have had a good season.

We have seen the blossoming of several freshmen; including one (Kevin Huerter) that I think will have a special career in College Park.

There have been some nail biting victories and frustrating losses too. Next week they will be one of 64 teams (excluding the play-in losers) who will chase the dream of a national championship. 63 of those teams will see their season end with a loss.

Hopefully Maryland’s loss will come after a small handful of wins. It all depends on the draw.

A six seed would have been nice, but after last night’s loss, a seven or eight is more realistic. That would leave Maryland with a second round game, should they win their opener, against a #1 or #2 seed.

Personally, I’m thinking a seven seed and potential second round hook up with #2 seed Duke sounds rather inviting. Let March Madness begin.

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michigan's win over purdue ends our big ten perfect bracket contest


Well, that didn't take long.

Friday's first quarterfinal game between Michigan and Purdue ended the Boilersmakers' quest for a Big Ten title as they lost 74-70 in OT.

It also ended our "Perfect Big Ten Tournament Bracket Contest", as our two final contestants who were still flawless in picking the conference tournament both had Purdue beating Michigan on Friday.

Last week, our basketball reporter, Dale Williams, sent me a text and asked if I thought it was possible to pick a perfect Big Ten bracket.

"Let's find out," I said.

We found out. It's really hard to do, especially in this year's upset-heavy version of the Big Ten tournament.

Congrats to Lou Carrelli and Ryan Applegate for making it "that far".

And thanks to the 172 others who gave it a try and were sent packing by the time Friday morning rolled around.

We'll have our annual #DMD "March Madness" contest up for everyone on Monday morning, so be on the lookout for that!

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Friday
March 10
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXII
Issue 10
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are the ravens doing it right?


I fully understand the "beggars can't be choosers" philosophy, so keeping Brandon Williams is a signficant move for the Ravens.

But $27.5 million of guaranteed money for a nose tackle?

Didn't Ozzie and Company learn a lesson when they forked over all that cash for Haloti Ngata back in 2011?

What happened to putting an emphasis on players who "touch the ball and touch the quarterback"? That's one of Ozzie's philosophies that makes a lot of sense in today's pass-happy NFL.

Look, I'm not anti-Brandon Williams. Not in the least. He's an excellent defensive player.

One of the league's most sought after free agent wide receivers landed in Philadelphia on Thursday, as Alshon Jeffery signed a one-year, $14 million deal with the Eagles.

But $54 million for a defensive nose tackle seems like something the Browns would do.

It strikes me that the Ravens are still looking for some sort of identity on the field. Let's call it like it is here, since we all knew this was going to be the case anyway. The Ravens haven't been the same team since Ray Lewis left.

That's not to say they haven't had some moderate success, because they have. They beat Pittsburgh on the road in the playoffs in the 2014 season and nearly upset New England in Foxborough the week after.

But missing the playoffs four years out of five with Lewis no longer in purple isn't a coincidence.

They lost their identity when number 52 retired and five seasons later, they're still trying to create a new one.

Ozzie, we know, thinks championship football is created with defense. It was "all defense" back in 2000 when the Ravens won their first Super Bowl and the 2012 team had a good-to-very-good defense that certainly played a key role in helping them earn the franchise's second Lombardi Trophy.

But that was then, and this is now.

The last four teams left standing in January were all primarily offensive-minded teams. Atlanta averaged a whopping 33 points per-game in 2016, Green Bay scored at will, Pittsburgh had a dynamic run-pass combination and New England, well, we know what they have.

Those four teams were all propped up by offense, not defense.

Moving forward, the Ravens need better offensive players, period.

Sure, Danny Woodhead is a nice complimentary piece, but he's the equivalent of buying a really nice belt. It might help put the finishing touches on that suit you just bought, but a belt is a belt.

A 32-year old running back coming off an ACL injury isn't going to be the catalyst for the Ravens to get back to the Super Bowl.

They need to get quicker, stronger and younger.

And, yes, Williams sort of fits into all three of those categories -- he's only 28 years old, after all -- so in essence his signing makes sense, but I'm wondering if spending $54 million on a defensive nose tackle is a sound business decison?

Maybe more cuts and more salary trimming is on the way and perhaps those moves will pave the way for the Ravens to sign a few other key players, but the free-agent offensive standouts are gone, now.

Brandon Marshall could have been had for $12 million. The Giants got him.

DeSean Jackson signed with Tampa Bay for $33 million for three years.

And Alshon Jeffery inked a one-year contract with the Eagles for $14 million on Thursday.

The Ravens? They gave $54 million to a defensive nose tackle.

And their top offensive free agent, right tackle Rick Wagner, signed with the Detroit Lions.

I don't get it.

And, sure, Marshall, Jackson and Jeffery would have had to sign-off on coming to Baltimore. Maybe Marshall likes big city life in New York. For all I know, DeSean Jackson's sister lives in Tampa Bay and he wants to be closer to her. Perhaps Alson Jeffery is a big fan of Philadelphia's awesome cheesesteaks.

I understand how free agency works. You can want a player, badly, but he also has to want you.

But my guess is that the Ravens had no interest in any of those three wide receivers listed above. Heck, they couldn't even sign Torrey Smith, and you know he was like Private Santiago begging for a transfer in the movie "A Few Good Men". Smith was hoping-beyond-hope he'd wind up back in Baltimore after the 49'ers cut him, but instead he signed with the Eagles on Thursday for $15 million for three years.

How is the Ravens offense going to be any better in 2017?

Seriously. How?

They better start adding some quality players to give Joe Flacco a hand or they'll need to hit the motherlode in next month's NFL Draft.

I'm glad Brandon Williams is back in Baltimore. Really, I am.

But I can't figure out why the Ravens passed on four veteran, competent wide receivers and retained a run-stopping defensive player...and backed up the Brinks Truck for him, to boot.

I'll wait for the dust to settle on this off-season before making any more broad-brush statements, but count me as one of the folks who isn't all that excited with what the Ravens have done thus far in the free agency period.

So, what's your thought on the most significant development for the Ravens this week as free agency kicks in? Go ahead and vote below!


 Drew's Morning Dish

#DMD Poll

Question: Which of these two is the better "winner"?
#1 seed, Tiger Woods
#3 seed, Michael Phelps
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Name
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and then -- there were two


We started on Wednesday with 174 entries in our "Pick the perfect Big 10 Tournament Bracket" contest.

After the two games on Wednesday, we had 7 people left.

Thursday's four game slate reduced that number to 2.

That's it. Only two people are left standing. They are Lou Carrelli and Ryan Applegate.

One of them will definitely be out after today's four games in the Big Ten Tournament, as Carrelli has Maryland losing to Northwestern and Applegate has the Terps advancing.

Of course, they could lose one of the earlier games, too, and be eliminated from the contest by the time Mark Turgeon's team takes the court just after 9 pm.


"the best 34 minutes of the week" returns




PODCAST



After a botched effort last week that eventually fell to the cutting room floor (all my fault), we're back with another edition of #DMD's podcast, "The Best 34 Minutes of the Week".

It almost runs 34 minutes, in fact. I think it comes in around 38 minutes or so, but you'll enjoy the free four minutes we provide you. Actually, it's all free, come to think of it.

My guest and I cover a variety of topics, including Maryland basketball, the Ravens, and lots of other good stuff.

I even confess that I wouldn't want Melo Trimble on my team.

Give it a listen, please.


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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 the 2016-17 season.


terps will tame wildcats in a close tonight down in d.c.


Day one and two of the Big Ten tournament are in the books and while there have been no real big upsets, there were a slew of shocking margins of victory.

All four of Thursday’s winners coasted home, winning by 20 points or more and there was a common theme displayed by every winning team.

The winners continually got easy looks on offense and dominated the glass. The losers in every game had long stretches where they settled for quick, contested jumpers, and never had a chance at the offensive rebound after the inevitable miss.

Northwestern's lineup gets bolstered tonight with the return of Scottie Lindsey, who missed the regular season meeting with the Terps due to injury.

The pattern of contested-jumper and no-rebound repeated itself frequently throughout the first two days. The teams that ran better offensive sets, leading to a higher percentage shot, won every game.

Even though Penn State needed overtime to put away Nebraska, they worked much harder throughout than Nebraska at the offensive end and put the ‘Huskers away 16-7 in the overtime.

Michigan State was about as efficient offensively as I’ve ever seen them. Yes, they did hit 10-22 threes, but they worked some great offensive sets into their 78-51 mauling of Penn State. They also hammered them on the glass 44-29.

Rutgers had 19 offensive rebounds against Ohio State while winning their first Big 10 Tournament game ever. They had 19 rebounds, total, in the 83-61 smack-down handed to them by Northwestern last night. They looked tired and it showed in their shot selection.

Scoring droughts were abundant in the first two days, (Rutgers was done in by a 31-0 run) as every losing team but one (Iowa) had a half where they scored less than 30 points. The main cause of the poor offensive showings was a lack of patience and hard work in running offensive sets. I surly don’t want to take anything away from the defensive efforts of the winners, but the losers all took way too many tough shots.

This leads us to today’s Maryland game against Northwestern.

For the Terps to be successful, they must get more productivity from their sets. If they rely on three point shots and Melo Trimble drives through the lane with the shot clock running out, then Terp fans will be selling their tickets for the Saturday and Sunday sessions.

Maryland handled the Wildcats fairly easily in their game on February 15th.

The Terrapins rode Trimble’s 32 points and a 40-31 advantage on the boards to defeat Northwestern, 74-64. Maryland had a ten point halftime advantage that they extended to 20 before settling in for the ten point win.

Trimble was 12-17 from the floor and 4 for 5 from behind the arc in that game. Don’t expect that to happen again tonight. Also of note is the fact that Scottie Lindsey and his 14 points per game will be returning for Northwestern. Lindsey missed the earlier matchup with Maryland due to an injury. His return will surely help the Wildcat’s chances.

Dererk Pardon was an efficient 5 for 6 against Maryland and I look for him to continue to give our big guys trouble as well as being a little more active on the boards in tonight's contest.

With that being said, I still feel the outcome revolves around which team works harder for high percentage shots. These tournament games take on a little different life than regular season games. Each possession has a greater importance and a team can’t afford to waste even one chance.

I’ll use a golf analogy here. The difference between a conference game and a tournament game in a lose-and-you’re-out setting is similar to the difference between a practice round of golf, and a tournament round with officials and scorecards. Stress levels go way up and staying disciplined is paramount.

Teams that get rattled and stray away from what they do best have little chance for success.

If Maryland runs effective sets for the majority of their possessions, I believe they will win this game tonight. If they get caught in a mode where they launch jumpers with 20 seconds remaining on the shot clock, they then leave themselves open to the cliché, “live by the three, die by the three”.

When they hit, they’re in good shape. When they miss, they lose.

Northwestern’s 83-61 laugher last night against Rutgers gave the Wildcats a chance to rest some players. On a team where 4 guys average 30 minutes or more, only one (Bryant McIntosh) logged over 30 yesterday. It may help offset the fatigue of playing back to back games after tussling with Purdue on Sunday.

Maryland hasn’t laced them up since the exciting Saturday win over Michigan State. They should be the fresher team.

Turgeon will have his troops fired up for their first game of the 2017 tournament. If Maryland fans buy up the tickets being sold by the fans of the losing teams from days 1 and 2, then a home crowd advantage should be theirs. (It’s what happened every year for fans of Carolina schools in the ACC tournament).

Everything is in the Terps favor here.

Play disciplined basketball, enjoy the advantages of playing close to home, and get ready for the Wisconsin/Indiana winner.

I’m calling for a 79-74 Maryland win. Justin Jackson, Kevin Huerter, and Melo Trimble all post double digits in points.

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this weekend in
english soccer


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

With six of the Premier League’s twenty teams tending to their remaining FA Cup responsibilities over the weekend, an extremely abbreviated Matchday 28 of the English Premier League will kick off Saturday morning to officially push us past the three-quarter pole of the season. With the change in schedule, there will be a long list of games to make up over the next three months and will surely lead to a busy and wild last quarter of the season at both the top and bottom of the table. As usual, you can catch all of the weekend action live on the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Saturday, March 11 (all times eastern)

10am – West Ham United @ Bournemouth – Vitality Stadium, NBC Live Extra

Bournemouth put a temporary halt to their gradual descent down the league table when, after going down to ten men just before halftime, held on at Old Trafford to take a hard earned and well deserved point from Manchester United in a 1-1 draw, with the Red Devils missing out on a golden opportunity to make their case for a place in the top four. The Cherries will hope to put any lingering thoughts of a late season relegation fight to bed when they welcome West Ham United, who failed to take points for only the second time in their last seven league games when they lost to Chelsea 2-1, to the Vitality Stadium.

The draw was the first-time Bournemouth had taken anything from their last four games as they continue to sputter since the calendar turned, failing to take all three points since a victory over Swansea City on New Year’s Eve and with losses in five of their last eight league games (D3) to leave them five points clear of the drop zone. Level on points and with the reverse fixture against the Swans next weekend, the Cherries will try to take something against a West Ham side that have won the last two matchups and have lost only one of their previous eight meetings across all competitions (L5 D2).

10am – Swansea City @ Hull City – KCOM Stadium, CNBC

Hull City Manager Marco Silva needs a win this Saturday to help keep his team above the relegation line in the English Premier League.

Swansea City took another step away from the relegation zone when they bounced back from defeat against Chelsea the week before to claim a massive three points when Fernando Llorente headed home for his second of the day to push the Swans past Burnley 3-2. They will travel to the KCOM Stadium to take on a Hull City side that is running out of time to save their place in England’s top flight after they ran into the rejuvenated Leicester City and, after taking an early lead, conceded three goals without reply to likely lose sight of one of the sides they were hoping to overtake to avoid the drop.

Sitting six points clear of the Tigers, the Swans can take a major step to securing their Premier League status for another season if they can find the answers to a Hull City side that have won the last three meetings across all competitions and have lost only twice in their last nine encounters (W5 D2) against the Welsh side, including one of the last six at the KCOM Stadium, a trend that they will to have continue at the weekend or all but guarantee their relegation down to the Championship with another relegation rival for the second consecutive week moving out of sight.

Sunday, March 12 (all times eastern)

12 pm – Burnley @ Liverpool – Anfield, NBC Sports Network

Liverpool made it two wins from their last three (L1) and moved back in to the top four when they grabbed an early lead and then ran away from the reeling Arsenal, who rarely threatened the home side in a 3-1 defeat. With Manchester United failing to capitalize on ten man Bournemouth, the Reds now hold sole possession of fourth place and the final Champions League place for next season when they welcome Burnley to Anfield for Sunday’s only Premier League fixture, with the Clarets hoping to find their first win in their last four league games following the late defeat to Swansea.

Despite the recent dip in form, Burnley and manager Sean Dyche look set for another season in the Premier League with a mid-table finish more than likely as they hope to improve on the leagues worst road record and pull the double over Liverpool after shocking the Reds by taking all three points in the reverse fixture earlier this season, although prior to that victory they had come away empty handed in their previous four league encounters and have only two wins to show against the Reds in their eleven prior meetings across all competitions (L8 D1), including losing their last eight trips to Anfield.



Thursday
March 9
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXII
Issue 9
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it's buyer-beware for ravens as they add woodhead, jefferson to 2017 roster


The NFL has this new rule where unrestricted free agents can't sign with anyone until March 9, but teams can actually negotiate and agree to terms with them on March 8.

I went to Glen Burnie High School, but even I can figure out that free agency looks like it started yesterday.

So, the Ravens got busy. Very busy, in fact.

They lost a couple of players -- apparently -- and added two as well, but both Baltimore newcomers come with warning signs.

First, the departed.

Despite making what they called a "very competitive offer" to offensive tackle Rick Wagner, the Ravens lost out on Wednesday when Wagner agreed to a new deal with Detroit.

Rick Wagner, one of the more coveted free agents in the entire league, agreed to a new deal with the Lions. This one hurts the Ravens, as Wagner had developed into a very reliable offensive right tackle. 2016 draft pick Alex Lewis can slide in and take Wagner's spot, but there's certainly a chance Lewis can't match the production the Ravens received from Wagner over the last few years.

Kyle Juszczyk jumped the fence for greener pastures out in San Francisco, agreeing on a $21 million deal with the 49'ers. I guess Juszczyk either doesn't mind losing or he figures if someone in the league is dumb enough to give a fullback $21 million, why not take it?

So, the Ravens lost two starters on Wednesday, but only one -- Wagner -- will potentially have a significant impact on their 2017 team.

No offense to Juszczyk, who performed admirably in Baltimore, but fullbacks in the NFL are like smoothie shops in Los Angeles. Nearly all of them look the same and the quality of the product just isn't that much different among them.

The Ravens can draft a fullback in the 6th round in April and he'll have every bit as good of a chance of excelling as did Juszczyk.

One thing for sure: Giving a fullback $21 million is nuts. The 49'ers are still trying to get themselves straightened out, obviously.

In an unrelated move, but a departure nonetheless, the Ravens cut ties with Elvis Dumervil on Wednesday.

If you'll tune in to this week's podcast below -- which was recorded yesterday -- I predicted Dumervil would be a cap-casualty, as did many others in town.

By parting company with Dumervil, the Ravens create $6 milion of additional cap space. Yep, even an Old Mill grad or Flyers fan would call that one a no-brainer. Any smart person would.

Dumervil had varying degrees of success in four years with the Ravens, setting the franchise record for sacks in a season (17) in 2014, but totaling just nine sacks in the last two campaigns.

Add to that his one-dimensional contribution as a quarterback-chaser and it made yesterday's decision all the more easier for Ozzie Newsome.

Running back and punt returner Danny Woodhead comes to the Ravens via San Diego, where he was productive with the Chargers until tearing his ACL early in the 2016 campaign.

The two new additions should both help the Ravens in 2017, but both are also risks.

Running back Danny Woodhead comes to town on the heels of tearing his ACL last season, but the Ravens are convinced he's fully healthy and ready to return to his prior status as one of the league's more versatile backfield performers.

He's known as one of the NFL's top pass-catching running backs, which helps ease the loss of Juszczyk, who had become a favorite checkdown target of quarterback Joe Flacco. He can also return punts, something the Ravens always seem to need.

Oh, and I don't think this matters much, but it's worth mentioning. Woodhead once played for the Patriots. Maybe he can help the Ravens figure out a way to beat New England should they meet sometime in the 2017 playoffs.

It's worth noting that Woodhead's knee is the primary concern with his signing. Can he return to form right away in 2017 or will he need a "re-hab season" to get himself back into the flow of things?

The Ravens also improved their defensive backfield by agreeing to terms with Tony Jefferson, late of the Arizona Cardinals. Jefferson, a safety, had a terrific 2016 campaign, which earned him lots of notice around the league.

Ozzie Newsome was one of those who paid attention to Jefferson's 2016 season.

But, there's a little bit of a "lightning in a bottle" look about Jefferson, truth be told. He had a decent career at Oklahoma, that went undrafted in 2013 before eventually signing a free agent deal with the Cardinals.

He had a couple of non-descript seasons with the Cardinals, then blossomed in 2016 before being shut down late in the season with a minor knee injury.

Just keep in mind: The Ravens are getting a player who was undrafted in 2013. Sure, plenty of guys wind up making it big who didn't get drafted. Bart Scott comes to mind, for those of us who remember him from a decade ago.

But the Ravens are getting a player who had one really good season, albeit at age 25.

I like the Woodhead and Jefferson signings, but I'm not convinced the Ravens picked up two game-changing performers. There's a lot more work to be done, I believe.

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"the best 34 minutes of the week" returns




PODCAST



After a botched effort last week that eventually fell to the cutting room floor (all my fault), we're back with another edition of #DMD's podcast, "The Best 34 Minutes of the Week".

It almost runs 34 minutes, in fact. I think it comes in around 38 minutes or so, but you'll enjoy the free four minutes we provide you. Actually, it's all free, come to think of it.

My guest and I cover a variety of topics, including Maryland basketball, the Ravens, and lots of other good stuff.

I even confess that I wouldn't want Melo Trimble on my team.

Give it a listen, please.


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thursday sports with David Rosenfeld

DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.


it really is march "madness"


First off, a comment on the Knicks-Warriors game from Sunday, notable for the fact that the Knicks organization decided to eliminate all music, video and in-game entertainment for the entire first half: The single worst part of going to an NBA game is the constant music that’s played during the game.

It’s funny how Golden State's Draymond Green found the ploy “disrespectful,” considering that he played at Michigan State in front of loud sellout crowds where music was played only at timeouts, and mostly by the band.

NBA teams for years have felt the need to pump constant music to create an entertainment experience because the arenas are antiseptic and the fans somewhat subdued.

I would think Draymond would like being able to play basketball without all the extras, but then again he’s the same guy who committed so many flagrant fouls that he was suspended from an NBA Finals game, which had a lot to do with his team losing the series after being ahead 3-1.

But moving on to the real March Madness...

The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee will announce the matchups for this year’s tournament on Sunday, after having spent the better part of a week in New York City selecting, seeding and bracketing the field.

If it hasn’t already by now, bracketology will jump to No. 1 in Google searches this week. A quick reminder to anybody who’ll put down their $5 on a tournament pool next week: bracketology is an exercise/educated guess in predicting the 36 at-large teams the committee will pick and how it will seed the field, not an excuse for Joe Lunardi to criticize your team’s backcourt.

So calm down, please.

When we talk every year about the “mid-majors” vs. the mediocre power conference teams, or the RPI and its faults, or Ken Pomeroy’s ratings, or even about the make-up of each year’s committee and how it might affect the field, we’re really just asking the same question.

What exactly is the NCAA tournament supposed to be?

I’ve heard Jay Bilas, a talented broadcaster who isn’t nearly as arrogant in person as he seems on TV, say that the NCAA tournament should really be the 64 “best” teams in the country. No automatic qualifiers.

No Florida Gulf Coast.

No Bucknell.

No Northern Iowa.

No chance for Morgan, Coppin, Towson, Loyola and UMBC, unless their programs somehow changed and were on the same level as Kentucky in more than just the modifier “Division I.”

Obviously Bilas knows his idea is not going to happen; the entire NCAA championship model in almost every sport involves member conferences and automatic bids. I doubt that he actually wants it to happen.

He’s just making the point that the tournament has 45 of the best teams and 23 that probably aren’t so great, including a few that really have no chance.

Pomeroy’s rankings are flawed in the sense that they are “power” rankings, based on efficiency and margin of victory as opposed to wins and losses. Oklahoma State was 10-8 at one point this year, and lost to Maryland, but still ranks 19 spots higher than the Terps. Huh?

KenPom gives people a lot of agita, especially when its predictions are wrong (see Baseball Prospectus vs. the Baltimore Orioles, 2012 to 2016). But it’s just a metric, based on the idea that it can be useful to evaluate a team by how it got its results as opposed to just the results themselves.

I don’t think anybody though, including Pomeroy, is suggesting that anything matters more than a team’s results. He’s said many times that what he’s measuring is not really what the committee is using to evaluate at-large teams and seed the field.

And what about the committee itself? Seven of the 10 members of this year’s group are athletic directors at so-called “major” schools. Even if they are conscientious to a fault, will they generally tend to side with an ACC team over a mid-major? And if the numbers were switched, and a majority of members were from mid-major or low-major schools, would the opposite be true?

Would they always want to give the mid-major team the chance?

What is the tournament supposed to be? One answer: as long as there is a committee of humans picking the teams, it’s going to be whatever that year’s committee wants it to be, within the rules.

Here’s another way to think about the question. 75 percent of the games in the NCAA tournament are played on its first four days. For fans, those are the fun days, the ones with all-day basketball, the ones with the upsets and Cinderella stories, the ones that make you want more plucky underdogs.

But you can’t simply forget the other 25 percent of the games. The fact is, in 32 years of the 64-team (or 68-team) tournament, a grand total of nine teams seeded 13 or below have made it to the Sweet 16.

There have been 20 No. 12 seeds to get to the Sweet 16, but nearly half of them played the No. 13 seed to get there, so their second round win wasn’t an upset at all.

In other words, upsets don’t dominate the tournament, no matter how much they dominate the marketing and perception of it.

So what should the tournament be? A showcase for the underdog? A national stage for the big boys? Based on old metrics, or newer ones, or based on very few metrics at all?

The answer, I think, is that the tournament is all of those things. It’s both predictable and unpredictable, flawed yet somehow perfect. And that’s what makes it a great American sporting event.

So enjoy the games, and meet me back here next year for more debate. I heard Lunardi has the Terps as a No. 4 in the East if Trimble comes back for 2017-2018.

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our big ten bracket challenge has seven contestants left standing!


174 of you entered.

And seven of you survived day one of the Big Ten Tournament.

#DMD asked earlier in the week if anyone could possibly pick a perfect Big Ten bracket? Well, two mild upsets on Wednesday eliminated 167 of you right out of the gate, as Ohio State fell to lowly Rutgers and Penn State beat Nebraska in overtime.

Remember when Nebraska came to College Park and beat the Terps back in January? Yesterday, they couldn't beat freakin' Penn State on a neutral court. Then again, Maryland also lost to the Nittany Lions in February.

College basketball is strange like that.

So, seven people picked both Rutgers and Penn State to win yesterday, and, thus, still remain alive in our contest.

Everyone else - including me and our resident college hoops expert, Dale Williams -- took it on the chin on Wednesday.

It should be noted that my Big Ten Final Four is still alive, though. Just sayin'.


i'm not gaga over her
but you might know someone who is


Never let it be said that I'm not a man for the people.

What other explanation can you give when you read the information below about a trip to see Lady Gaga in Philadelphia other than, "Drew's a man for the people"?

Yes, we're going to see Lady Gaga.

Join #DMD on Monday, September 11 when we head to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia to see Lady Gaga, brought to you by Jerry's Toyota.

It wasn't my idea, honestly, but we're doing it.

My friend Anna Lybrook was one of the first to check in. She has previously enjoyed trips with us to see Springsteen and Adele, and a couple of weeks back she rattled my cage about seeing Lady Gaga in Philadelphia.

It doesn't have to be my cup of tea for #DMD to take on a project.

Remember when I first launched the website in 2014? "People helping people will be a central theme at #DMD", I said then.

So, I'm willing to help you see Lady Gaga, or those of you who want to, anyway.

She's one of the hottest acts in music today, and no matter what you think about her wacky attire and "look", the young lady can definitely sing. And fresh off the heels of her Super Bowl appearance in Houston, she's launching a summer tour that will take her to every major venue in America.

If you'd like to see her perform live, we're making it happen for you.

The show is Monday, September 11, at 7:30 pm at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The Ravens will be 1-0 after opening the season with a 24-20 nailbiter over the Colts the day before in Baltimore.

We'll leave Baltimore around 4:00 pm, our luxury motor coach stocked with ice cold DuClaw beer, water and soft drinks, plus delicious subs and sandwiches from our friends at Palmisano's of Baldwin.

We have both upper and lower concourse tickets available for the show. The package that includes upper concourse seats is $200 per-person and the package that includes lower concourse seats is $275. NOTE: As of 2/17/17 at 6:30 am, there are ONLY four (4) lower concourse seats remaining. The rest of the seats are upper concourse.

The $200 and $275 prices are only available to the first 28 customers who purchase their seats in full. We may add seats again once those first 28 are gone, but our bus will travel to Philadelphia with a maximum of 40 concert-goers.

If you're interested in seats on our Lady Gaga bus, just go here.

Wednesday
March 8
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXII
Issue 8
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


ravens need running back help, but it won't come from mixon


Four NFL teams met privately with former Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon on Tuesday in advance of this week's Pro Day where he'll showcase his talents for any team who wants to see them.

The Ravens, of course, were not one of those four teams.

That's too bad.

Mixon is a very talented young man, rushing for 2,027 yards in two seasons with the Sooners and scoring 17 touchdowns along the way.

Four teams visited privately with Joe Mixon on Tuesday as he prepares to showcase his talents later this week at his Pro Day. Mixon was not invited to last week's NFL Combine after a video surfaced of Mixon striking a female in the face back in 2014.

He also punched a girl in the face in 2014 and was suspended for the entire season.

No one found out about that until 2016 when a video surfaced showing the assault, which occurred in a Norman, Oklahoma restaurant after Mixon and an Oklahoma student were involved in a dispute. Mixon claims the girl and a friend used the "N-word" to address him and the tape shows the young lady also struck Mixon during the altercation.

None of that mattered to Oklahoma, who did the right thing at that point and sent Mixon to the sidelines for a season.

But should it still matter today?

Should Mixon be employed in the NFL?

He wasn't invited to the NFL Combine last week because of his domestic violence past even though, technically, what Mixon was involved in back in 2014 was more of an "assault" than "domestic violence". The NFL has a rule that college athletes convicted of felonies or a domestic violence charge can be removed from the invite list to the Combine.

Even though Mixon wasn't convicted -- nor was his crime technically "domestic violence" (he didn't know the young woman he struck) -- Mixon was black-balled from the Combine.

This, of course, hits close to home here in Baltimore, where the Ravens lost a valuable member of their organization a couple of years ago when a video surfaced of Ray Rice striking his then fiancee in an Atlantic City casino.

The connection to Mixon? There was video of his incident as well, although it took much longer to surface than did the one showing Rice striking his fiancee.

Four teams -- the Browns, Bengals, Lions and Saints -- all interviewed Mixon privately on Tuesday and, I'll assume, will take a look at him on the field this week at his Pro Day. It's interesting to note that all four of those teams could have also signed Ray Rice in 2015 or 2016 had they so desired.

Other NFL teams will reportedly be at Mixon's Pro Day, but the Ravens will not be one of them.

In the aftermath of the Ray Rice incident and the stumbling-bumbling mess made by the Ravens once they learned of it, owner Steve Bisciotti publicly stated the Ravens would no longer employ players with domestic violence in their past.

That's quite a broad brush with which to paint, but at the time, Bisciotti likely felt the need to emphatically express how disappointed the Ravens were in Rice and how dedicated they were as an organization to help stamp out domestic violence within the NFL.

So, Joe Mixon isn't on the Ravens' radar this week.

Just like with Ray Rice, there will be no second chance for Joe Mixon as far as the Ravens are concerned.

No one would argue that what Mixon did was wrong. Whether he was antagonized with a racial slur or not, punching a woman -- or anyone, for that matter -- in the face is wrong. It's a crime. It deserves a punishment of some kind, which Mixon received from the school when he was suspended for the season.

But should that one mistake cost Mixon the chance to play professional football?

Ray Rice's career ended the day that video surfaced.

Without video evidence, Rice would have played for the Ravens in 2014 after serving his 2-game suspension. That's a certainty.

The video changed everything.

In Joe Mixon's case, the video evidence of his incident becomes a scarlet letter for the rest of his career -- if it even gets off the ground.

Oh, sure, some team will take a chance on Mixon, because he's fast and can avoid would-be tacklers. He might not get picked until the 6th or 7th round, but a team out there will select him and then prepare a carefully-worded statement about how they don't condone domestic violence.

Fans and support groups will stage protests at training camp next August when Mixon shows up with his new team.

And he'll have an uphill battle on his hands from day one, no matter where he goes, because he'll always be the guy you can watch on video slugging a woman and knocking her to the ground.

Juxtaposed against some of the deplorable (yes, I guess there's a pun in there somewhere) things our current President has said and done in his past, it seems more than reasonable to give Joe Mixon an opportunity to play in the NFL.

It all gets filed under the same category: Everyone deserves a second chance.

I personally wouldn't have any problem with the Ravens drafting Mixon, but unless there's a wholesale change in their own self-created policy, I don't see that happening. But, in case they're taking a straw poll over in Owings Mills, let it be known I'd be fine with Mixon coming to Baltimore in 2017.

I understand the severity of what Mixon did back in 2014.

I have a daughter. I would never want to see her struck in the face like that. I'd be outraged, at a minimum.

I also hope my daughter never uses the "n-word".

But no matter the circumstances of how and why it all happened that night in the restaurant in Oklahoma, Joe Mixon deserves another opportunity to prove himself.

Ray Rice deserved that chance, too, and never got it.

And while Mixon won't get his opportunity in Baltimore, I'm hoping some team sees fit to give him a chance.

Without question, it's the last one he's getting.

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mount saint mary's headed to the dance


They're certainly not Baltimore-based, but Mount Saint Mary's is, at the very least, a Maryland school that's heading to the NCAA tournament next week.

The Mountaineers earned their trip to the Big Dance with a 71-61 home win over Saint Francis last night to claim the Northeast Conference title.

Former John Carroll H.S. star Elijah Long led the Mount with 24 points last night as they clinched a trip to the NCAA tournament.

Saint Francis led 31-23 at the half, but endured a strange sequence in the second half where they missed 10 of 17 foul shots and seven straight attempts from the 3-point arc.

Once the Mount moved ahead five minutes into the 2nd half, there was no stopping them.

John Carroll High School graduate Elijah Long finished with 24 points for Jamion Christian's team, who also won the NEC title and played in the NCAA tournament back in 2013-2014.

"It's just really special to be able to do it here in front of your fans with a great group of guys who you love," Christian said.

Like many of the smaller conferences, the NEC allows the top seeded team left remaining to host the championship game. That was a perfect fit for Mount Saint Mary's, who have long been known for having raucous crowds at meaningful home games in Emmitsburg.

"We just weren't going to let them go home disappointed," Long said of the fans who jammed their way in to see the championship game. "Even at halftime, we weren't nervous or afraid. We just kept on coming at them until we were able to get on top."

Most tournament experts believe Mount Saint Mary's will play in one of the "play-in" games (the NCAA doesn't like that term, but that's what they are) early next week, but that doesn't faze Christian or his team.

"They can put us wherever they want," he said as his team cut down the nets last night. "We'll go wherever they send us and we'll be ready."

Baltimore still has one team left standing with a chance to play in the NCAA tournament. Morgan State (12-4 MEAC) will play Howard tomorrow night in the MEAC quarterfinals in Norfolk, Virginia.

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today is your last chance to pick a perfect big ten tournament bracket


OK, so we know it's impossible to pick a perfect NCAA March Madness bracket.

It just can't happen.

But what about the Big Ten tournament? Can you run the table there? Do you think you can pick a perfect Big Ten Tournament bracket?

Our Maryland basketball reporter, Dale Williams, is willing to take you and a guest to a Maryland game next season (and I'll be joining you, as will Dale) if you can pick a perfect Big Ten bracket. The four of us will have dinner before the game, talk some hoops, and take in a Terps home game in November or December of 2017 if you're the winner of the contest.

We have received almost 150 entries thus far. Keep 'em coming, but please get them in before 4:30 pm today when the first game kicks off at the Verizon Center.

NOTE: If multiple contestants pick the perfect bracket, the winner will be the one who submits their perfect bracket the earliest via e-mail.

You can go here to print out a bracket and get in the contest.

Please print your name on the top left, complete the bracket, and scan/e-mail it to: dmdscore@gmail.com

It's that simple.

One bracket per-person. Multiple brackets will be disqualified.

OK, so I'm doing mine in a little bit of a peculiar manner, but bear with me, please.


Here's how I see this week's Big Ten tournament play out:

Wed., March 8 -- Nebraska beats Penn State and Ohio State beats Rutgers.

Thurs., March 9 -- Illinois beats Michigan, Michigan State beats Nebraska, Iowa beats Indiana and Northwestern beats Ohio State.

Fri., March 10 -- Purdue beat Illinois, Michigan State beats Minnesota, Iowa beats Wisconsin and Maryland beats Northwestern.

Sat., March 11 -- Michigan State beats Purdue and Iowa beats Maryland.

Sun., March 12 -- Michigan State beats Iowa, 77-70.


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Tuesday
March 7
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXII
Issue 7
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is a flacco-torrey reunion in the works?


Dannell Ellerbe.

Paul Kruger.

Ed Dickson.

And now, you can add Torrey Smith to those three names.

Smith was cut by the San Francisco 49'ers yesterday after two mostly disappointing campaigns, joining the aforementioned three names above -- plus numerous others -- who thought the grass was greener elsewhere and found out it wasn't.

Ellerbe left the Ravens after the 2012 Super Bowl season, signed with the Dolphins, stunk it up there, and is now a part-timer in New Orleans.

Kruger chased a big money offer from the Browns after that same 2012 campaign, lasted all of three seasons there and is now a teammate of Ellerbe's with the Saints.

Dickson, who once caught 54 passes in a single season for the Ravens, left after the 2013 campaign to sign with the Panthers and has just 37 total catches in Carolina over the last three years.

For whatever reason, when guys leave 1 Winning Drive, they don't seem to up-their-game somewhere else.

Could Torrey Smith find his way back to Baltimore after two less-than-productive seasons in San Francisco?

Don't ask me why. It just seems to happen that way.

Torrey Smith found that out during his brief stint in San Francisco. The team stunk, for starters, and without a real quarterback to deliver him the ball, Smith's presence in the Bay Area provided minimal impact. He caught just 53 balls in two seasons with the 49'ers.

With the team floundering and in need of cap space, Smith was an easy cut on Monday.

And, almost immediately, Ravens fans went to social media to clamor for Smith's return.

It makes sense on several levels. Torrey grew up in Virginia, attended the University of Maryland, and spent four seasons with the Ravens, averaging 52 receptions per-season and earning a Super Bowl ring in 2012.

And, while the Ravens rarely consider signing a player because of fan-base fondness for him, Smith would certainly be well-received in his second stint in Charm City. He was most certainly a fan favorite during his four years with the Ravens.

He was also a favorite target of Joe Flacco's while wearing purple.

Thomas Wolfe once wrote, "You can't go home again". But maybe Smith can.

The Ravens, I'm told, are at least interested enough to avoid saying, "We're not interested".

"It depends on a couple of things," a team source told me on Monday. "One, of course, is the money. We'd have to look at that one very carefully. But, we've always liked Torrey and it would be good to talk with him about returning if he's interested."

Those "couple of things" probably include whether or not Mike Wallace returns for a second season or if the Ravens are successful in signing a free agent wide receiver like Alshon Jeffery or Pierre Garcon. Wallace will likely be offered a pay reduction -- or be waived -- and Jeffery is expected to command a big chunk of change in his first foray on the open market.

If the Ravens can't re-do a deal with Wallace, they could let him go, but even that would cost the team money on the salary cap.

Smith is probably not in the position to demand a big-dollar contract, what with a bunch of other decent-to-good receivers available, including Garcon, Terrelle Pryor and Kenny Britt.

He'd have to swallow his pride and most likely sign a 2-year deal with the Ravens, and a contract in Baltimore would probably have to be favorable to the team, not the player. Perhaps, at age 28, Torrey Smith feels like he should be on the receiving end of the good contract, no pun intended.

There's an argument that Smith doesn't really fit with what the Ravens need these days, particularly if Wallace is brought back for a second campaign. Wallace, along with Breshad Perriman, would give Flacco the deep-threat option at the receiver position.

What John Harbaugh and Marty Mornhinweg really need is a possession receiver (Brandon Marshall comes to mind) who can move the chains. They need someone who reminds you of Kamar Aiken or Steve Smith Sr., only better than Aiken and younger than Smith.

If you're filing the pursuit of Smith under "You can't teach an old dog new tricks", asking him to come to Baltimore and become a possession receiver makes little sense. He still has something to offer, particularly to a team with a quarterback who likes to go downfield.

Flacco, we know, loves to throw the deep ball. But the Ravens might not be able to fit Smith in from a cap standpoint and, why add him when you already have Wallace and Perriman?

And everyone expects the Ravens to draft a receiver or two in April.

Torrey Smith wouldn't be a terrible pick-up for the Ravens. He'd probably come right back in and look like he never missed a day with Flacco.

But, in fairness to everyone, both parties can probably do better if they really try.

The Ravens can upgrade their receiver position by pursuing some younger options on the free agent market and Smith, frankly, can probably find a better fit for his skills -- and his wallet -- by going to a team more receiver-starved than the Ravens.

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hey pal, what club did you hit?


Telephone: Ring . . . . ring . . . . ring . . . .

Merion Golf Club Pro Shop Employee: Good afternoon. Merion Golf Club.

Random Person: Hi! I was just calling to ask about the club Ben Hogan hit . . . .

Merion Golf Club Pro Shop Employee: It was a one-iron.

Random Person: Yeah, thanks, I’ve read that. But I’ve also read . . .

Merion Golf Club Pro Shop Employee: Sir, it was a one-iron.

Random Person: Thanks again. But Hogan himself wrote that he hit a two-iron, and so did Herbert Warren Wind, the greatest golf writer all time . . . .

Merion Golf Club Pro Shop Employee: Trust me, sir. It was a one-iron. Anything else I can help you with today?

Random Person: “Else?”

Telephone: Click.

{Note to #DMD commentor Tom – The following are my reasons for believing that Hogan hit a two-iron at Merion's 18th hole on the last round of the 1950 National Open. I fully realize my analysis could be wrong, and, as a Hogan afficianado, would much appreciate discussion of other evidence, or any weaknesses in the evidence on which I base my own opinion. It would be really nice to know, for certain, what club he did indeed hit!}

Reigning National Open and P.G.A. Champion Ben Hogan's Cadillac was smashed by speeding bus as Hogan was on his way home to Ft. Worth after losing a playoff to Jimmy Demaret in the Phoenix Open in February, 1949.

He suffered a concussion and a half dozen broken bones. It was only after doctors stabilized him at hospital that he faced his gravest medical crisis. Blood clots forming in his busted-up legs were slowly making their way up his veins, and if one large enough reached his lungs, it would kill him.

An Air Force general and golfing buddy of Hogan’s ordered a B-24 Liberator bomber to fly from Texas to Louisiana to pick up the world’s foremost expert on pulmonary edema and bring him back as fast as possible.

The doctor determined there was but one procedure that would save Hogan’s life [Texas didn’t have blood thinners in those days] – that was to tie off the vena cava, the major vessel that returned blood from the lower torso to the heart and lungs. Tying off this major vessel would require the scores of tiny auxiliary vessels in Hogan’s legs to pick up the slack and carry the blood. These vessels were not large enough to permit a clot that would kill the patient, but they also were not large enough to carry the flow of blood that the legs would normally require.

The doctor predicted that, if the operation were successful, Hogan would be in constant pain the rest of his life, and his legs would probably become useless, possibly requiring amputation.

Ben Hogan’s recovery and return to golf are legend: They said he might die, but he lived; they said he’d never walk again, but he did; they said he never play golf again, but he did; they said he’d never win again, but he did; and they said he’d never win another National Open, which brings us, sixteen months after that terrible accident, to Merion Cricket Club in 1950.

Hogan’s legs were indeed in constant pain. But Hogan eschewed painkillers, on his belief that they would dull his highly competitive spirit. Instead, he permitted himself one full-strength aspirin in the mornings and two "clears" (aka "see-throughs," or usually, Martinis) in the evenings. Each day he wrapped his legs in Ace bandages from heel to crotch, and when he returned home each day he lay with heels higher than his heart for a while then soaked in a tub of hot water and Epsom salts.

The National Open was different back in the old days. The schedule required golfers to play a round on Thursday, a round on Friday, and then those who made the cut were required to play the last two rounds on Saturday.

When Hogan played a round of 18 holes after the accident, it exhausted him.

He would often have his caddie set up his ball for him on the tee boxes, and just as often have him pick the balls out of cups when he holed out. When he read putts, he would not bend his knees, fearing he wouldn’t be able to re-straighten them, and instead leaned over at the waist, using his putter to maintain his balance.

Hogan often became dizzy during rounds, and sometimes required steadying by his playing partners or gallery members. When he waited his turn to play, Hogan adopted the habit of resting most of his weight on one leg, using his arm and club to carry the rest of his weight, thus allowing the other leg to relax for a while, then he would shift the weight to the other leg. This led to the establishment of the iconic Hogan Stance, which was copied by just about all of the golfers of his era.

However, in all the accounts of Hogan’s play I’ve read, never once was it reported that Hogan fell to the ground or required that play be slowed because he was holding it up. Hogan was in fact a slow player, but he was a slow player before the accident as well as after.

Hogan played reasonably well on the treacherous Merion course [which, unless the editors at #DMD delete this because irrelevant, I must add, was 176 yards shorter than Mt. Pleasant. – Sorry! – We cut to the chase:] After 27 holes on Saturday, Hogan held a three-shot lead over Lloyd Mangum and George Fazio, his closest competitors. Both Mangrum and Fazio had completed 36 holes and were in the clubhouse.

But the tough 27 holes had taken their toll. Hogan was in a red and gray fog of pain. After a near-birdie and a tap-in par on #11 (Hogan's 29th hole of the day), golf historian Jim Finegan, who was in Hogan's gallery, wrote:

"By now, every step had become agony. Hogan was managing to put one foot in front of the other, to advance down the fairway on a straight line — but here, obviously, was a man whose legs were near to buckling under him."

Hogan's spikes failed to hold on his tee shot on #12, and he staggered and nearly fell. He grabbed on to a spectator, and several spectators nearby reported that he said, "My God, I don't think I can finish."

Cary Middlecoff, playing with Hogan, said later, "I thought he was going to collapse."

Bill Campbell, a legendary amateur golfer who was in the gallery said, after Hogan had somehow managed a bogey at #12, "Ben looked nearly finished. He couldn't even bend over to pick up his ball."

Hogan's lead was down to two strokes. On the way to the thirteenth tee, Hogan's legs seized up again. After he and his caddie rubbed them for a minute, Hogan was able to tee off on the par-three hole. His shot stopped ten feet from the pin, and he barely missed a birdie. When his caddie picked the ball out of the hole and brought it to him, Hogan said with eyes closed, "That's it. I'm through. I can't go any farther."

But only Hogan and his caddie remained near the green – everyone else had rushed madly to the 14th tee. The caddie, under normal circumstances risking a five-iron upside the head for insubordination, said, "No quitting. See you on the 14th tee." And off he went.

I sometimes feel a perverse sense of comedy when I consider this scene. Here's Hogan, who wants to retire from the match, but there's nobody around to accept his resignation! So onward he trudged. Perhaps he realized he would have to walk in from where he was whether he resigned or played, and since the distances were roughly the same, he played on.

Hogan hit the fairway and green of #15, and lay eight feet for birdie. With visibly shaking legs, it took him three putts to get down, and his lead was now one stroke.

Ben got up-and-down for par on #16, and bunkered his tee shot on the par-three 17th. He blasted out but missed his six-foot par putt. His lead was gone and he was now tied with Mangrum and Fazio with one hole to play.

The tee shot on Merion's 18th hole required a 220-yard carry to reach the top of a small hill. In the morning round, Hogan had easily made the carry, and had hit six-iron to the center of the green. With no strength left in the afternoon, he hit a weak drive to the left side of the fairway that left him about 200 yards from the center of the green. The pin was cut far back right, and the green was guarded by a deep bunker, also on the right side. Past the green on a line to the flag lay deep rough. [Merion, which usually had baskets atop the flagsticks, used flags for the National Open.]

Hogan's only sane option lay in hitting the middle of the green, then two-putting for par for a tie. He hit the shot, immortalized by Hyman Peskin's photograph, with either a one-iron or a two-iron [about which more later]. It landed and stopped right where he aimed.


The most re-produced photograph ever taken. It was shot by Hyman Peskin [who later changed his name to Brian Blaine Reynolds] for Sports Illustrated. My hope is that one day science will be able to determine, from the data contained in the image combined with accurate historical data on the specs of Hogan's clubs, whether it was a one-iron or a two-iron.

Hogan two-putted for the tie. Skee Riegel, a fellow competitor, said Hogan "looked completely beaten, as bad as I've ever seen a man look after a tournament. I wouldn't have bet you a buck he was capable of playing any more golf that week." Hogan found his wife Valerie, they drove to their hotel, where Hogan collapsed and slept for 13 hours.

In the 18-hole playoff the next day, a rested but still shaky Hogan played well and Mangrum and Fazio did not. Hogan beat Fazio by four shots and Mangrum by six. Red Smith, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer for the New York Herald Tribune wrote after Hogan's win what for me is the most powerful sportswriting paragraph ever composed:

"To say there never has been another achievement in competitive sports comparable to Ben Hogan's victory in the National Open golf championship is not mere understatement; it is practically an insult to language. We shall not live to see anything like it again."

There was no question that Hogan had hit anything other than a two-iron on Merion's 18th hole for many years. Hogan wrote, in his book Five Lessons, published in 1957: "I went with a two-iron and played what was in my honest judgment one of the best shots of my last round . . . " George Fazio, out on the course after his round and watching Hogan, said he was certain that Hogan had hit a two-iron. So did New York sportswriter Al Laney, who was standing close by. Years later, members of Shady Oaks, Hogan's home club, recounted many instances when Hogan had said the shot was made with a two-iron.

Thirty-three years after Hogan hit the shot, a golf-club dealer [whatever that is] bought from an old man a bag of clubs for $150. In it he found a one-iron marked "Hogan Personal Model." He described the face of the club as having a "dime-size wear mark at the sweet spot."

The dealer, wondering if it might have been a club used by Hogan himself, asked his friend Lanny Wadkins, who knew Hogan, to take the club to Hogan and ask him if he recognized it. When Wadkins showed Hogan the club, Hogan, never one to let facts get in the way of a good story, said that it was not only his club, but was in fact the club he used from the fairway on the 18th hole at Merion.

Despite the glaring problems with the factual sequence, the story grabbed the imagination of the golfing world, and soon "Hogan's Famous One-Iron" was ensconced as an exhibit in the USGA's museum, Golf House.

Who knows what the employees of Merion's pro shop believe about the club Hogan hit in 1950? But it's clear you'll get the party-line answer if [like me, the "random person" at the beginning of this piece] you too call the pro shop for discussion of the question.

It's an interesting question. Two pieces of evidence persuade me that Hogan hit a two-iron.

The first is that Hogan wrote Five Lessons with Herbert Warren Wind as co-author. Wind was a Yale graduate, a low-handicapper, and an astute observer and student of the game of golf. In writing the book with Hogan [a ninth-grade dropout], and on reaching the place where the Merion shot was described, I feel, deep within me as a fellow [although much lesser a] writer, that Wind would have discussed, at length, the shot with Hogan. In fact, the shot and its importance formed a major part of the beginning of the book. Here is the full citation:

"However, having worked hard on my golf with all the mentality and all the physical resources available to me, I [Hogan] have managed to play some very good shots at very important stages of major tournaments. To cite one example which many of my friends remember with particular fondness – and I, too, for that matter – in 1950 at Merion, I needed a 4 on the 72nd hole to tie for first in the Open. To get that 4 I needed to hit an elusive, well-trapped, slightly plateaued green from about 200 yards out. There are easier shots in golf. I went with a two-iron and played what was in my honest judgment one of the best shots of my last round, perhaps one of the best I played in the tournament. The ball took off on a line for the left-center of the green, held its line firmly, bounced on the front edge of the green, and finished some 40 feet from the cup. It was all I could have asked for. I then got down in two putts for my 4, and this enabled me to enter the playoff which I was thankful to win the following day.

"I bring up this incident not for the pleasure of retasting the sweetness of a "big moment" but, rather, because I have discovered in many conversations that the view I take of this shot (and others like it) is markedly different from the view most spectators seem to have formed. They are inclined to glamorize the actual shot since it was hit in a pressureful situation. They tend to think of it as something unique in itself, something almost inspired, you might say, since the shot was just was what the situation called for. I don't see it that way at all. I didn't hit that shot then – that late afternoon at Merion. I'd been practicing that shot since I was 12 years old. After all, the point of tournament golf is to get command of a swing which, the more pressure you put on it, the better it works."

I find it utterly inconceivable that, after the obviously extensive and profound conversations that Hogan and Wind must have engaged in to collaborate in crafting these two extraordinarily important paragraphs, that Hogan, some 26 years later, would suddenly remember that it was a one-iron that he hit and not a two-iron.

The second is the assertion that has been accepted, without critical analysis or principled discussion, that the miraculously-recovered one-iron had "wear around the sweet spot" the "size of a dime." This raises in me two objections. The first is that Hogan, the premier professional of his time, would compete in a competition for the national championship with a club that had marks of wear.

I myself, who but three [albeit glorious] times in a 16-year career, scored lower than par, would not dream of entering any competition, even a Slam Bang at Clifton on a weekend morning, with a club that had marks of wear. To think that Hogan would play with a club that had wear marks is absurd.

The second objection I have is to the characterization itself, that the wear marks were "around the sweet spot," and "the size of a dime." See the image of the recovered club above-left and judge for thyself. I do not believe the wear marks are around the sweet spot, nor do I accept the assertion that the wear marks are the size of a dime.


This contribution was provided to #DMD by our all-world right-hand-man, George McDowell, who plans on publishing his own "teaching" series about golf right here at #DMD later this month.

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can you pick a perfect big ten tournament bracket?


OK, so we know it's impossible to pick a perfect NCAA March Madness bracket.

It just can't happen.

But what about the Big Ten tournament? Can you run the table there? Do you think you can pick a perfect Big Ten Tournament bracket?

Our Maryland basketball reporter, Dale Williams, is willing to take you and a guest to a Maryland game next season (and I'll be joining you, as will Dale) if you can pick a perfect Big Ten bracket. The four of us will have dinner before the game, talk some hoops, and take in a Terps home game in November or December of 2017 if you're the winner of the contest.

NOTE: If multiple contestants pick the perfect bracket, the winner will be the one who submits their perfect bracket the earliest via e-mail.

You can go here to print out a bracket and get in the contest.

Please print your name on the top left, complete the bracket, and scan/e-mail it to: dmdscore@gmail.com

It's that simple.

One bracket per-person. Multiple brackets will be disqualified.

Me? I'll post mine on Wednesday morning here at #DMD.

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Monday
March 6
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXII
Issue 6
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if you play for u.s. soccer, you stand for the national anthem


It took a while, but a professional sports entity in the U.S. finally got the courage to stand up, no pun intended, for the American flag and the national anthem.

And I love it.

Effective immediately, U.S. Soccer says everyone will stand for the national anthem in games that are played as part of the "national team" program.

She will kneel no more, says U.S. Soccer, who recently passed a policy that all players - including Megan Rapinoe - stand for the national anthem while playing in a game representing the U.S.

"All persons representing a Federation national (soccer) team shall stand respectfully during the playing of national anthems at any event in which the Federation is represented."

That means you Megan Rapinoe. And anyone else who followed your publicity stunt back in 2016 when you took a knee while representing the United States during a women's national team game.

The new policy was passed by the United States Soccer Federation back on February 9, but word is just starting to get out now that the U.S. Men's team is set for a big couple of qualifying games later this month.

It's a treat to see a sports "league", if you will, finally come to their senses.

The Federation hasn't announced what the punishment is or would be for those violating the policy, but you know someone, somewhere is going to challenge it.

After all, what good is a policy or a rule if there isn't a renegade out there pushing the envelope to see what the penalty is for violating it?

The main thing, though, is that U.S. Soccer realized the hypocrisy of someone playing for their country but not standing for the national anthem of their country.

"You're not going to have it both ways", the Federation seems to be saying. You can't play for the country, then disrespect it at the same time by not standing during the playing of the anthem.

Bravo, soccer people. Bravo.

And for those out there already plotting the way they're going to circumvent the rule, U.S. Soccer has mapped out what IS and ISN'T "standing respectfully". Taking a knee, turning one’s back to the flag, making a derogatory gesture or any number of other actions would also violate the policy and any punishment could depend on the way in which a person does not “stand respectfully".

Here it is in simple chapter and verse: When the flag is raised and the anthem is played, just stand there and remain still for 90 seconds or so. It's not that hard, really.

No more showboating or taking a knee. Not if you're a U.S. soccer player, anyway.

Whether any of the country's professional leagues have the intestinal fortitude to create a similar policy is still unclear, but you can bet if they tried it in baseball, the Player's Association would go crazy until they got the rule written the way they wanted it or received money from Major League Baseball owners in the next collective bargaining agreement in exchange for the policy being written into the books.

It won't be quite as easy in the NFL, NBA, NHL or MLB to get a "stand policy" passed because there are simply too many lawyers in place looking for a new summer home in the Hamptons. Someone will challenge it, for sure.

Megan Rapinoe might even challenge it the next time she's able to play for the U.S. Women's National Team. But if she does, she'll do so knowing it's against the rules. And if she does, it probably just shows she was in it for the pictures and ESPN highlights in the first place.

Rapinoe, remember, was taking her knee to show support of San Francisco 49'ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started doing so in 2016 as a sign of protest.

Kaepernick changed his tune last week when he revealed he intends to stand for the national anthem in 2017. How nice of him.

It's kind of funny how that protest lasted right up until he became a free agent. Suddenly, Kaepernick decided the country had been fixed and taking a knee during the anthem was no longer needed.

Either that or Kaepernick's agent said to him, "Look, I love your enthusiasm, but the taking-the-knee thing probably needs to come to an end if you want to get a job in the NFL in 2017. Teams want a quarterback, not a conscientious objector."

There will undoubtedly be push-back from folks who start crying about civil rights being violated and an employer overstepping their bounds. No one is mandating that YOU have to stand for the anthem. This only affects soccer players representing the country as part of the U.S. National Team program(s).

Admittedly, there's a difference in playing for the Buffalo Bills and playing for a team in the U.S. Soccer Federation. With the Bills, you're simply playing for your employer, who happens to be in Buffalo. Yes, Buffalo is in the U.S., I know, but playing for a U.S. national "team" in an official capacity should require you to stand respectfully during the playing of the anthem.

That's what I think, at least.

I also believe anyone IN the country -- living here, working here, surviving here -- should stand respectfully during the playing of the national anthem or the raising of the flag. If you can't stand up for it, go find someplace else to live.

The U.S. Soccer Federation didn't get quite that radical with their new policy, but they made it abundantly clear: Stand for the anthem and show your respect.

It's about time someone finally came to their senses.

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towson's quest to reach ncaa tourney falls short in caa semi-finals


Towson University basketball will have to wait another year, unfortunately.

The Tigers haven't made the NCAA touranment since 1991, under then-coach Terry Truax, and the Tigers won't be making it in 2017, either, after losing to the College of Charleston last night, 67-59 in the CAA semi-finals in Charleston.

Towson led 26-21 at the half, a pace which definitely favored Pat Skerry's team.

A friend texted me during the intermission and said, "What do you think?"

"If Towson can hold them under 60, Towson wins," I replied.

Towson's top offensive player, Mike Morsell, managed just six points in Sunday's season-ending loss to College of Charleston.

As it turned out, holding Charleston to under 60 would have provided at least overtime, if not an outright win, but Towson's rock-solid defense started to crack in the second half and their season-long blemish -- poor shooting -- turned out to be their undoing down the stretch.

Mike Morsell finished with 6 points for the Tigers. That was also part of their undoing. When your star offensive player scores six points, you're probably not winning.

Towson started the game 0-for-10 from the field. It's hard to win when you produce that kind of start, particularly against a quality team.

Still, there they were, leading the game with 5 minutes remaining. And even with 1:30 left, it was 55-54 and the Tigers were at the foul line with a chance to tie the game.

That's as close as they would get. After the foul shot miss at 55-54, back to three pointers from Charleston made it 61-54 and then a turnover and a lay-up put the Tigers in a 63-54 hole. That was all she wrote.

Towson's defeat leaves the Baltimore area with only two remaining chances to be represented in the NCAA tournament. Morgan State and Coppin State will take part in the MEAC tournament this week, with the winner receiving an automatic bid to the Big Dance.

Coppin State (7-9 MEAC) plays tonight in their conference tournament opener, while Morgan State (11-5) waits for their quarterfinal opponent to be determined.

For Towson, despite a second straight 20-win season, it was a campaign filled with promise that ended in disappointment. After struggling out of the gate at 0-4 in conference play, the Tigers won 10 of their next 11 and looked to be a legitimate threat to top seed UNC-Wilmington in the CAA tournament.

But they couldn't overcome a Charleston team who defended a bit better and made more key shots down the stretch on Sunday.

Towson should be a pre-season favorite in the CAA in 2017-2018, as they return nearly all of their roster. Maybe 2018 will be the charm for Pat Skerry, who has done a masterful job of turning the program around over the last half dozen years.

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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.


Most of the time, I'm not inclined to participate in the parlor game of picking out free agents that any one team might sign, or declaring that the Ravens/Orioles need to get so and so individual player.

There are simply so many moving pieces, from salary cap concerns to draft plans to where the player themselves want to go, that getting too deep into the weeds on that topic is a pure waste of time.

But I'm making an exception for Brandon Marshall.

Just released by the Jets, Marshall has been arguably the NFL's most prolific possession receiver since breaking out for 102 catches with Denver in 2007.

Last season was a bit of a down year for him with just 788 yards on 59 catches, his lowest mark since his rookie season, but this can almost certainly be attributed to a Jets offense that was atrocious across the board.

In 2015, with Ryan Fitzpatrick managing a season long impression of a competent NFL quarterback, Marshall caught 109 passes for 1,502 yards and a career high 14 touchdowns. Considering that he was healthy enough last year to play in 15 games, there's no reason to think he won't increase his productivity with a better quarterback and supporting cast around him.

With Steve Smith Sr. retiring and Kamar Aiken almost certainly playing somewhere else next season, the Ravens don't have this kind of go-to possession receiver on the roster, and it's going to be hard to find a better outside playmaker than Marshall.

Best of all, Marshall profiles as exactly the kind of big, strong receiver the Ravens have lacked and desperately needed since Joe Flacco arrived in town.

At 6'4" and 230 pounds, Marshall is still one of the best in the game at out-bodying defensive backs one-on-one and is a tremendous target on the outside in a goal line offense. This has long been the Ravens' most glaring weakness, as the closest they've come to a similar receiver has been Anquan Boldin, but getting jump balls on the edge has never been one of his strengths.

And without that outside threat, defenses have been able to cheat in the middle with their backs to the endzone, a major reason why the Ravens so often find themselves settling for field goals rather than earning touchdowns on drives.

And to top it all off, acquiring Marshall would fit Ozzie Newsome's preferred method of offseason maneuvering perfectly. Because he was cut, signing him won't count against the team that signs him when next year's compensatory draft picks are doled out.

You couldn't possibly construct a better fit for the Ravens' needs and philosophy right now than Marshall.

Because of that, I'm willing to say that Marshall's free agency represents a real test of how well Ozzie and the other decision makers understand this team's needs, and/or how willing they are to address them aggressively. Ozzie gets unfairly maligned for the most part when people say that he doesn't value receivers, but it's true enough that he's never really been able to find a receiver like Marshall.

Boldin and Smith were veterans and prolific possession guys, but both were better suited to working the middle of the field. Breshad Perriman has the size to play on the outside and he's shown some flashes of real potential, but he's still a work in progress and isn't as sure handed or experienced as Marshall.

In today's NFL, it's awfully hard to go deep in the NFL playoffs without that kind of receiver, and failing the possibility of adding both a top tier pass rusher and cornerback this winter, will be a major factor in whether or not the team can improve back to the 10-12 win range and make a solid postseason push.

Considering all of the above, the Ravens simply must make a play for Marshall in free agency. I'm not going to go so far as saying they have to get him no matter what, as there are still all of those factors I mentioned in the first paragraph, including the fact that Marshall himself may decide he'd rather play somewhere else.

But if the Ravens simply take a pass on Marshall, or decide they'd rather have Mike Wallace stick around, it will seriously call into question their judgment of their own roster, and what it takes to have the kind of offense that can carry you game-in-game out in today's game. As I said last week when discussing salary cap moves, getting this team beyond the 8-9 wins mark is going to take some hard decisions in order to add more productive players.

Replacing Wallace with Marshall would be a strong step in that direction.

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can you pick a perfect big ten tournament bracket?


OK, so we know it's impossible to pick a perfect NCAA March Madness bracket.

It just can't happen.

But what about the Big Ten tournament? Can you run the table there? Do you think you can pick a perfect Big Ten Tournament bracket?

Our Maryland basketball reporter, Dale Williams, is willing to take you and a guest to a Maryland game next season (and I'll be joining you, as will Dale) if you can pick a perfect Big Ten bracket. The four of us will have dinner before the game, talk some hoops, and take in a Terps home game in November or December of 2017 if you're the winner of the contest.

NOTE: If multiple contestants pick the perfect bracket, the winner will be the one who submits their perfect bracket the earliest via e-mail.

You can go here to print out a bracket and get in the contest.

Please print your name on the top left, complete the bracket, and scan/e-mail it to: dmdscore@gmail.com

It's that simple.

One bracket per-person. Multiple brackets will be disqualified.

I'll post mine on Tuesday for everyone to see.


Sunday
March 5
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXII
Issue 5
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this, that and the other


If that was Melo Trimble's last home game in College Park yesterday, he sure knows how to leave them wanting more.

Trimble's deep 3-pointer as time expired gave the Terps a much-needed 63-60 win over Michigan State. You can read the in-depth review below as provided by our outstanding college hoops reporter, Dale Williams.

Maryland's big win over Michigan State on Saturday included a late 3-pointer from Melo Trimble, who hinted afterwards he might be leaving College Park a year early to pursue his professional career.

For Trimble, who labored through a ragged game otherwise, it once again showcased his talents as a player never afraid to have the ball in his hands with the game on the line. Those occasions don't always provide the level of drama that Saturday's last-gasp shot did, but there's something to be said for a guy who is willing to put the team on his shoulders, win or lose.

Trimble isn't afraid of the big moment.

It still looks like Maryland isn't quite ready for Big Dance prime-time, but we'll learn more about them this coming week when the Big 10 tournament takes place at the Verizon Center in D.C. The Terps are assured of the #3 seed, which means they won't play until Friday, the double-bye secured yesterday afternoon when Trimble's shot found the bottom of the net and Michigan State's breathtakingly close 3-pointer at the buzzer clanged off the front of the rim.

The Terps figure to be something like a seven or eight seed in the NCAA tournament. Both of those spots will yield a tough opponent right out of the gate instead of a half-a-layup that you get when you're the four seed and you play a thirteen in round one. Joe Lunardi, the master of bracketology at ESPN, has the Terps as a seven-seed playing Seton Hall in the first round, then, if they advance there, taking on the winner of Baylor (2 seed) and South Dakota (15) in the second round.

But Maryland's Big Ten tournament play could go a long way in scooting them up a spot or two and giving them momentum heading into March Madness. And as we've seen time and time again over the years, the "hot" teams coming in are often the ones to keep your eye on.

One final note about yesterday's game at Xfinity Center: Let's hope that Nick Ward is one-and-done for Michigan State. Holy cow. If he's around for four years (which, he won't be, but "if") he'll demolish the whole conference. Wow...

For the second straight home game last night, the Washington Capitals scored just one goal in regulation, but they won yet again, beating the worst franchise in all of sports, 2-1 in overtime.

I took little consolation in "only" beating the Flyers by a 2-1 count last night. Yes, beating them is much, much better than losing to them, anytime, anywhere, but even allowing them a point by virtue of a regulation tie was too much good-fortune to give the visitors from Philadelphia.

Nicklas Backstrom scored the game-winner for the Caps on the power play, one of the rare occasions in my 40 years of watching the Capitals and Flyers that a bad break actually went against Philadelphia. Not that I minded or anything. The story of the game was Washington's penalty killing unit, which squelched all six Philadelphia power play chances on the night.

As I noted on Twitter last night, these last two games are precisely what the Caps wind up looking like every year in the playoffs. Their offense somehow stalls in the post-season, they still get a win or two because of outstanding defense and a timely goal or two, but they wind up going home in late April because they suddenly can't put pucks in the net.

I'm not worried per se about these last two games, but I always take note of trends that start to poke through the clouds, particularly when they come around at the wrong time(s).

And while I don't think being the top seed in the conference guarantees a team much of anything, it very well might be a big deal to the Caps this season, as they've now won 15 straight games at home to set a new franchise record. Washington (95 points) currently owns a 9-point lead in the East, but they've played one more game than both Pittsburgh and Columbus (86 points). If the Caps finish up the top seed in the East, that helps their chances dramatically this spring, I think.

If Towson University is going to make their first NCAA appearance since 1991, it looks like they'll have to pull off the double-whammy in the CAA tournament. The Tigers reached the semi-finals last night with an 82-54 thrashing of Northeastern in last night's CAA opener in Charleston, S.C.

Pat Skerry's team will take on College of Charleston today at 4:30 pm. Should they win there, Towson will likely face top dog UNC-Wilmington tomorrow night in the Final. The Seahawks play William and Mary in today's other semi-final.

Since starting the season at 0-4 in conference play, Towson has been as good as anyone in the conference, finishing the campaign at 11-7 in the CAA. One of those conference losses was to UNC-W late in the season, but it was a six point defeat that wasn't decided until the Seahawks hit a bunch of foul shots down the stretch.

Towson is the biggest, strongest team in the conference. They're not the best shooting team by a long stretch, but if they can play defense today against Charleston like they did on Saturday against Northeastern, the Tigers can get away with their occasional lack of offense.

One thing about College of Charleston that might not bode well for Towson: They've been a bad match-up for the Tigers over the last few years. Towson did split with them this season, but all in all Pat Skerry would have preferred to not see them on Sunday afternoon in the semi-finals.

A two-shot lead turned into a one-shot deficit yesterday when Dustin Johnson's approach shot at the 16th hold landed in a tree and didn't come down in time for him to play his next shot.

The final round of the PGA Tour event in Mexico City has an amazing leaderboard that promises to deliver high drama this afternoon, with the likes of Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Lee Westwood all having a chance to win today.

Thomas leads the event at 12-under par, with McIlroy, Mickelson and Johnson two back at 10-under.

Johnson looked in control until the 16th hole yesterday, when, with a two shot lead, his approach at the 16th hit a tree and didn't come down. After a 5-minute search -- and wait -- Johnson dropped, hit his 4th to 10-feet, then made the putt for bogey to only lose one shot there.

And while he was walking to the green, his ball fell out of the tree.

Thomas made a hole-in-one en-route to his 66, while Mickelson went on a back-nine birdie barrage that had him just one shot out of the lead until a sloppy bogey at the finishing hole left him two behind with eighteen holes to play.

McIlroy had a rather tepid round of one-under par 70 on Saturday, but he's still very much in the mix.

The golf world was buzzing on Saturday with rumors that Tiger Woods was seen practicing at his club in Florida, but, as we've seen in recent months with Tiger, a casual round of 66 at Medalist in Jupiter doesn't translate to a 66 on the PGA Tour.

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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 the 2016-17 season.


trimble's heroics lift terps to huge win and double-bye in big ten tourney

It’s what college basketball is all about.

Two good teams, with something on the line, playing their hearts out in a game decided by a single shot with just a second remaining. It was only fitting that the home team’s star player would sink a three pointer with one second remaining to send his team into the locker room with a narrow 63-60 victory in a game that was perhaps his last in his home gym.

Maryland's Melo Trimble would just not be denied.

Maryland coach Mark Turgeon saw his Terps finish the Big 10 regular season at 12-6, good enough for the three seed in the upcoming conference tournament at the Verizon Center.

As “fairy tale” as it may have seemed, Trimble’s likely last shot as a Terp in the Xfinity Center was a game winner against the iconic Tom Izzo and his Michigan State Spartans.

It came after Michigan State center Nick Ward, with the game tied, mishandled an easy entry pass about two feet from the basket after a pick and roll at the top of the key. The Terp defenders were a bit confused on that play and Ward found himself all alone beside the basket for what surly would have an easy basket and two point lead had Ward been able to secure the pass.

As it stood, the ball flew out of bounds and Maryland had possession under its own basket with 6.3 seconds remaining and the score tied at 60 all.

It is worth noting that Ward may have been a bit rushed because it was going to be “iffy” as to whether his potential shot would leave his hand before the shot clock expired. As it was, the ball landed out of bounds setting up Trimble’s winning shot.

After the turnover and a Terps time out, with the crowd on its feet, Trimble inbounded the ball to Justin Jackson, who immediately returned it to Trimble. Melo, without hesitation, dribbled to the left side of the top of the key and launched a three that found the bottom of the net.

He knew it was in the whole way. The crowd went crazy and Maryland now had a three point advantage with 1.1 seconds remaining. Michigan had one last chance to send the game into overtime, and it almost happened.

After a significant delay during which the officiating crew determined the exact amount of time to be put on the clock, Michigan’s Kenny Goins floated a pass three quarters court that found the Spartans star, Miles Bridges. Bridges, who had hit three of his previous ten three point attempts, missed the potential game tying three with Damonte Dodd’s hand in his face and the Terps had secured the 3 seed in the Big 10 tournament.

It was a wild ending to a tight, hard fought game.

The afternoon started out with both teams scoring at a decent pace. The Terps were able to get inside with some crisp passes while Michigan State knocked down a couple of threes to go along with a Bridges driving layup. Bridges, who took some questionable shots throughout the game, finished with 18 points on 6 of 16 shooting.

The first half remained close, but scoring came to a standstill as both teams missed shot after shot. There was a media timeout with 7:04 remaining in the first half and the score was knotted at just 17- all. The Terps had hit only 2 of ten three point attempts while Michigan State hit three of six triples, but only had connected on 33% from the field overall. It wasn't "ugly", but it wasn't "pretty", either.The half ended with Maryland down 29-28. The Spartans finished the opening twenty minutes connecting on 6 of 11 three point shots, but they failed to get to the foul line even one time. Both teams shot 34% from the floor and the rebounds were almost dead even.

The second half started with the Terps accumulating four fouls in the first 2:30. By the first media time out of the second half, Maryland had a 5-point lead. In an unforgettable moment after the horn sounded signaling the timeout, Terp coach Mark Turgeon made his way across the court and emphatically waved his hands in the air in an effort to pump up the crowd.

I've attended almost every home game this year (for that matter, almost every home game during Turgeon’s tenure in College Park) and I have never seen him so fired up and so demonstrative in his attempt to lead the home crowd. It was quite a sight.

After the timeout, Trimble hit a three and the Terps had an 8-point lead with 13:26 left. Michigan State’s offense consisted of only two options. The first option was Bridges, usually in an isolation situation where he could create his own shot or shoot a quick three pointer. The second option was Ward down on the low blocks.

Simply put, Ward was a beast.

He tallied 24 points on 8 for 18 shooting and grabbed 16 rebounds. Maryland had no answer for him. Dodd occasionally slowed him down, while Ivan Bender and L.G. Gill had no chance. Together, Ward and Bridges accounted for 40 of Michigan State’s 60 points and they were responsible for most of a 9 to 0 run that got State a one point lead, 46-45 with 10:01 remaining in the game.

The teams traded punches for a few minutes with Justin Jackson hitting two big three point shots while Ward scored nine straight Spartan points. The last of those nine points tied the game at 60-60 with 3:11 left. Those would be the last points that Michigan State would score in the game.

In the closing minutes, each team missed three shots and Anthony Cowan also missed the front end of a one and one. That set up the closing sequence of the fumbled pass by Ward and the Melo game winner.

That three for Trimble was just his second connection in six attempts from beyond the arc.

The physical nature of the game had as much to do with the low offensive output as did poor shooting.

Both teams scrapped hard defensively for 40 minutes.

I thought Justin Jackson did a nice job on Bridges, allowing the Spartan freshman only two made field goals inside of the three point line. The Terps guards defended well the entire game and Kevin Huerter, despite only hitting one of seven shots, continues to impress with his heady floor game and defensive rebounding.

In the end, Melo Trimble would not be denied, but he did make one glaring mistake. In his post-game interview, he stated that he wanted a win “In my last home game”. He did quickly change the “my” to “our”, but the cat was out of the bag.

Barring some unforeseen change, Trimble won’t see a senior season in College Park.

Let’s hope he continues to make big shots for the next three weeks.

Maryland will get two byes in the Big 10 tournament and will next play at about 9:00 pm on Friday at the Verizon Center in D.C.

Let the fun begin in what promises to be a wide open championship.

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i'm not gaga over her
but you might know someone who is


Never let it be said that I'm not a man for the people.

What other explanation can you give when you read the information below about a trip to see Lady Gaga in Philadelphia other than, "Drew's a man for the people"?

Yes, we're going to see Lady Gaga.

Join #DMD on Monday, September 11 when we head to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia to see Lady Gaga, brought to you by Jerry's Toyota.

It wasn't my idea, honestly, but we're doing it.

My friend Anna Lybrook was one of the first to check in. She has previously enjoyed trips with us to see Springsteen and Adele, and a couple of weeks back she rattled my cage about seeing Lady Gaga in Philadelphia.

It doesn't have to be my cup of tea for #DMD to take on a project.

Remember when I first launched the website in 2014? "People helping people will be a central theme at #DMD", I said then.

So, I'm willing to help you see Lady Gaga, or those of you who want to, anyway.

She's one of the hottest acts in music today, and no matter what you think about her wacky attire and "look", the young lady can definitely sing. And fresh off the heels of her Super Bowl appearance in Houston, she's launching a summer tour that will take her to every major venue in America.

If you'd like to see her perform live, we're making it happen for you.

The show is Monday, September 11, at 7:30 pm at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The Ravens will be 1-0 after opening the season with a 24-20 nailbiter over the Colts the day before in Baltimore.

We'll leave Baltimore around 4:00 pm, our luxury motor coach stocked with ice cold DuClaw beer, water and soft drinks, plus delicious subs and sandwiches from our friends at Palmisano's of Baldwin.

We have both upper and lower concourse tickets available for the show. The package that includes upper concourse seats is $200 per-person and the package that includes lower concourse seats is $275. NOTE: As of 2/17/17 at 6:30 am, there are ONLY four (4) lower concourse seats remaining. The rest of the seats are upper concourse.

The $200 and $275 prices are only available to the first 28 customers who purchase their seats in full. We may add seats again once those first 28 are gone, but our bus will travel to Philadelphia with a maximum of 40 concert-goers.

If you're interested in seats on our Lady Gaga bus, just go here.

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Saturday
March 4
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXII
Issue 4
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here's how you get better


I see in the Comments section below a discussion ensued on Friday about improving one's golf game.

My buddy George hopped in with his two cents, a precursor, I believe, to something he'll write next week, which I'm most looking forward to reading myself. I won't embarass George here and now with stories of his improvement, but I will follow-up next week and adequately showcase how he got better back in the late 1990's when I saw it all first-hand with my own eyes.

The game of golf is tricky in that improvement and lower scores simply can't be bought.

Oh, sure, you can purchase lessons from a PGA Professional and those will, without question, help you. I've had the pleasure of working with some of the area's very best teachers over the years, each of whom made some kind of indelible impression on me and my golf swing, including Ted Sheftic, Wayne DeFrancesco, Mark Evenson and Pat Coyner. Each of those guys taught me something different, as my visits with them came at varying times in my amateur golf career.

But just giving them money and showing up for a 60-minute lesson wasn't a guarantee I'd pick up their teachings and improve to an acceptable level.

You can't "buy" a better golf game.

I used to giggle during my caddie days at Caves Valley when I'd be lugging the bag of a multi-millionaire who couldn't break 110 on his best day. I knew he'd give up half of that fortune of his if the scorecard read 78 instead of 118 at the end of the round, but his wealth and status meant nothing at all to the 14 clubs in his bag and the ball on the tee.

It probably was, I mused, one of the rare times in his adult life that throwing money at something wouldn't guarantee his satisfaction.

So, when I saw "Grumpy Golfer" check in with some back-and-forth about improving one's golf game in the Comments section, it kicked my memory into gear on how I improved, how George improved and how others didn't improve. I'll let George's piece later next week do all the smart talking on this subject. I'll just give the nuts and bolts of it.

Oh, and yes, age and health are important parts of this discussion. If you're in your 60's or you have some mobility issues due to bad hips, knees, etc., your level of improvement won't have nearly the range of a 27 year old who picks up the club for the first time and has his or her whole life ahead of them.

Golf is mean, though. Make no mistake about that. It doesn't care if you're 27 or 57. It's going to take you 5-to-10 years to get really good at golf, unless you're one of those rare people who picks it up in May, shoots a legitimate 94 your first time out, then two years later shoots 72.

Those stories are few and far between, though.

To me, there's only one way to get better at golf.

And when I write this below, please understand I'm suggesting you do all of this under the watchful eye of a PGA Professional who knows the golf swing and, most importantly, can look at you and your body type and see what you're capable of and not capable of from a "movement" standpoint.

But once you decide you'd like to get better at golf, there's only one way to do it.

Ben Hogan figured it out. To get better, "you dig it out of the dirt".

There are some philsophical theories tied into those seven words and some literal applications as well, but in order to get better at golf, "you dig it out of the dirt".

I always loved that saying from the very first time I heard it back in the early 1990's.

You can get all the lessons and teachings you want, watch as many YouTube videos as you can, and study the swings of McIlroy, Day, Spieth, Woods, etc., but nothing, none of it, will replace simply putting a club in your hand and hitting golf balls.

If you get a lesson tomorrow but don't go out and hit balls for three weeks to work on what you learned, you'll show no improvement the next time the lesson schedule calls for you to see your teaching professional again.

"Have you hit any balls at all to work on the things we went over last time we met?" he or she will ask you right away.

If you say, "No, I haven't," you're likely going to hear this: "How do you expect to get better if you're not not practicing what we worked on?"

"Digging it out of the dirt" is, partial-code-word for "practice".

The abstract routine of just standing there and hitting a ball into an open practice range field, then raking another ball over and repeating the exercise, is not all that easy to do...well.

I've found one thing over the years as I teach and coach young high school golfers.

They love to hit golf balls, but don't know how to practice. Or, perhaps, they simply don't derive any joy from practice, because golf is the one sport where your practice time (on the range, that is) doesn't mimic real golf on the course.

In football, soccer, basketball or baseball, your practice time is often spent actually playing the sport against other team members. It doesn't feel like practice.

Standing at the driving range with a bucket of 120 balls in front of you and trying to get better -- that's actually practice. Come to think of it, not only do my high schoolers sometimes have difficulty grasping the concept of "practice", so, too, do a lot of adults.

But you'll never get better at golf unless you can embrace practicing whatever it is that you're working on and trying to master it.

I've been playing competitive golf since 1993. The first tournament I ever played was at Mount Pleasant and Clifton Park and I shot 77-79 to finish somewhere around 20th place out of 40 or so players. I laughed to myself yesterday when I saw George's note in the comments that most players have the same game at 50 that they did at 16.

So true, that is. Except our expectations change over the years. When I shot 77-79 in my first tournament in 1993, I was over-the-moon with excitement. If I shot 77-79 today, I'd be extremely disappointed. Oh, and because golf is golf and my skills in some ways have declined over the last decade, I'm still very capable of shooting 77-79 at those two venues, although a "79" at Clifton would probably send my clubs right to eBay.

My point is this: Where you start and where you finish aren't typically all that different. I played in an event at Clifton Park last weekend with my friend Dale Williams. For whatever reason, after roughly 250 career rounds at Clifton Park, I've still never figured out the 9th green there.

It's an easy, 350 yard uphill hole. I hit the green with a lob wedge last Saturday. But the shot left me with 20 feet to the pin. I read the putt to go right a ball or so, but it instead went left a ball or so. I swear I could go back there today, hit the same putt, and it would go right this time.

When I first started playing Clifton, the 9th green was a mystery and today, it still is. Where you start and where you finish aren't typically all that different.

If you tend to hit a hook under pressure, you're always going to hit a hook under pressure. What's going to stop you from doing it is actually admitting your own vulnerabilities and being aware that "this moment, right now" is when you tend to get quick and hit a hook.

You can practice all you want, but if you can't identify your weaknesses and accept them -- while also trying to improve them -- you can't get better.

I'll let George handle the heavy lifting on this subject later next week because his story is so gratifying to a guy like me, who watched in great admiration how much he ENJOYED getting better, that I couldn't do it justice. You'll be able to read it for yourself and, feel it, too, I believe.

One thing I know for sure, because I was there. George got better first and foremost because he was willing to "dig it out of the dirt".

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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 the 2016-17 season.


terps and spartans face off in big ten "biggie" today


Michigan State and Maryland wrap up their Big Ten regular seasons today at the XFINITY Center in what promises to be an outright war.

Both teams have a lot on the line, with a double bye and # 3 seed in the BIG Ten Tournament going to the winner. Should the Terps lose, it would take a Wisconsin win over Minnesota for Maryland to get the 4 seed. Otherwise, they’ll be the 5-seed.

Also, while the Terps are pretty much assured of a NCAA Tournament bid, should the Spartans lose today and have an early exit in the BIG Ten Tournament, Tom Izzo's team may find themselves on the outside of the bubble.

Let’s get to know Sparty a little better.

Tom Izzo and Miles Bridges might be in need of at least one more "impressive" win to earn their spot in the upcoming NCAA tournament. Could they get that win today in College Park?

Everything revolves around this outstanding group of freshmen that Izzo has assembled. The leader of the rookie pack is clearly Miles Bridges. Bridges, the likely Big Ten Freshman of the Year, has had a sensational first (and probably last) season in East Lansing.

He is the only Spartan player who logs more than 30 minutes per game and leads the team in both points per game (16.5) and rebounds (8.3). At 6’7” and a sturdy but fluid 230 pounds, Bridges can burn you inside or from the perimeter. He is connecting on almost 50% from the floor and 41% from the three point line.

Those numbers are solid for anyone, but when you are a physical 6’7” player, the 3 point percentage is noteworthy. Oh, and he's a freshmen, remember.

Bridges scored in double figures in seven of eight games before he missed seven games with an ankle injury. He came back slowly, but since has posted double digit points in 13 straight games. He is a force and Justin Jackson will have his hands full trying to defend him.

Michigan’s center is another freshman that promises to give Maryland a tough time today. 6’8”, 250 pound Nick Ward uses his body exceptionally well on the low blocks. He has decent moves down low, converts on 60% of his attempts, and grabs 6 rebounds per game.

His physical style will be hard for the Maryland bigs to defend. Ward put up 22 points on 9 for 12 shooting against Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ and I expect him to feast on Ivan Bender and L.G Gill. Damonte Dodd’s height and wing span may present an obstacle for Ward, but that’s assuming foul trouble doesn’t limit Dodd’s playing time.

I expect Gill to get some minutes in relief of Jackson on Bridges, thus limiting his time guarding Ward. The match-up of Dodd and Ward may not get the attention of Bridges/Jackson, but keep your eye on the post players; it’s a crucial area in this game.

Michigan’s table setter, point guard Cassius Winston, (another freshman) has accumulated 161 assists to lead Michigan State in that category.

His 5.4 assists per game are accomplished in only 20 minutes of playing time per game, and he came off of the bench in Michigan’s last contest against Illinios. He can occasionally hit the open jumper, but is only average from the field (42%) and from the three point line (36%). Obviously, with assist numbers like he has, Winston's strength is finding the open teammate.

Joshua Langford, a 6’5” 210 pound guard, and yet another freshman, has a game that at times reminds me of former Terp Laron Profit. At 6’5” and having just a tad more bulk than Profit, Langford can pull up at any moment to shoot a jumper. He can also slash when he’s not hitting 41% of his three point tries.

Also, like Profit, Langford has a series of highlight dunks that date back to even his high school days. He is a nice addition to the rotation, and someone who I believe will have a solid four years at Michigan State. I expect him to lock horns with Kevin Huerter today.

Lourawls (Tom Tom) Nairn Jr not only has the best name on the floor, but he’s the quickest guy playing in this game. He loves to push the tempo, but doesn’t finish well and is not much of a threat on the offensive end.

Matt McQuaid is a streaky shooter for coach Izzo’s team and when hot can provide instant offense.

Man for man, it’s my opinion that this young Michigan State team is as good as anyone in the conference and with the addition of some size coming in as part of their current recruiting class, the future is bright in East Lansing.

However, right now, they do lack a true rim protector and recently lost guard Eron Harris for the season with a knee injury. They turn the ball over way too much and are not the rebounding force, offensively, that we are used to seeing from the Spartans.

For Maryland to be successful tonight they must play exceptional transition defense.

They simply cannot allow Michigan State to get easy looks, and points, from their own transition game. The Spartans are the second best field goal percentage team, and three point percentage team, in the Big 10. If Maryland also allows them easy points in transition, it will put way too much pressure on the Maryland offense.

When Maryland has the ball, I’d like to see Coach Turgeon go right after Bridges with Justin Jackson. The stats will say that Maryland is most efficient when running the high pick and roll, but they really need to go after Bridges early. Make him defend Jackson on every possession.

Plus, I think Jackson’s length can hold up against his beefier foe.

Michigan State will push the tempo when they can, but I doubt the Terps will try to match it. Our guard rotation isn’t as deep as State’s. Perhaps the reason for the Spartans late season push is the fact that outside of Bridges, none of Izzo’s freshmen get more than 20 minutes of playing time per game.

Compare that to the Terps who have Anthony Cowan and Huerter getting 29 minutes per game while Jackson logs 27. The disparity in accumulated minutes certainly could be a factor in State’s late season spurt and Maryland’s struggles.

In other words: Michigan State might be less fatigued than Maryland at this point in the season.

While I probably wouldn’t like to see Michigan State anywhere in next week’s Big 10 tournament, today is a different story, as the Terps will honor their seniors. After four years, this is the last home game for Damonte Dodd. He has a key match-up with Ward and I expect a super effort from him. L.J. Gill will also play his last home game for Maryland. It may not be as emotional, with him transferring here for one year, but I expect a charged up effort from him also.

And that leaves us with Melo Trimble. Melo currently sits at number 45 in the 2017 mock draft at nbadraft.net. He jumped onto the national radar after a stellar freshman season that saw him take an astonishing 240 shots from the foul line. While that number has dropped by 33%, his scoring average is up two points per game from last year and .7 points from his freshman year.

At this point, I’m not sure what he has to gain, professionally, by staying another year. Melo likely recognizes that this could be it for him here in College Park. While he has had his ups and downs, especially shooting the ball, the guy is true competitor and there is no way he’s losing this game.

If the Terps were facing North Carolina, Kansas, or some other top five team they might not win his last home game. But it’s Michigan State. It’s a good Michigan State team too, but not one that will deny this crew a proper send-off.

Vegas has Maryland a 4-point favorite. The Terps post an emotional victory, 78-72.

KELLY banner ad

i'm not gaga over her
but you might know someone who is


Never let it be said that I'm not a man for the people.

What other explanation can you give when you read the information below about a trip to see Lady Gaga in Philadelphia other than, "Drew's a man for the people"?

Yes, we're going to see Lady Gaga.

Join #DMD on Monday, September 11 when we head to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia to see Lady Gaga, brought to you by Jerry's Toyota.

It wasn't my idea, honestly, but we're doing it.

My friend Anna Lybrook was one of the first to check in. She has previously enjoyed trips with us to see Springsteen and Adele, and a couple of weeks back she rattled my cage about seeing Lady Gaga in Philadelphia.

It doesn't have to be my cup of tea for #DMD to take on a project.

Remember when I first launched the website in 2014? "People helping people will be a central theme at #DMD", I said then.

So, I'm willing to help you see Lady Gaga, or those of you who want to, anyway.

She's one of the hottest acts in music today, and no matter what you think about her wacky attire and "look", the young lady can definitely sing. And fresh off the heels of her Super Bowl appearance in Houston, she's launching a summer tour that will take her to every major venue in America.

If you'd like to see her perform live, we're making it happen for you.

The show is Monday, September 11, at 7:30 pm at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The Ravens will be 1-0 after opening the season with a 24-20 nailbiter over the Colts the day before in Baltimore.

We'll leave Baltimore around 4:00 pm, our luxury motor coach stocked with ice cold DuClaw beer, water and soft drinks, plus delicious subs and sandwiches from our friends at Palmisano's of Baldwin.

We have both upper and lower concourse tickets available for the show. The package that includes upper concourse seats is $200 per-person and the package that includes lower concourse seats is $275. NOTE: As of 2/17/17 at 6:30 am, there are ONLY four (4) lower concourse seats remaining. The rest of the seats are upper concourse.

The $200 and $275 prices are only available to the first 28 customers who purchase their seats in full. We may add seats again once those first 28 are gone, but our bus will travel to Philadelphia with a maximum of 40 concert-goers.

If you're interested in seats on our Lady Gaga bus, just go here.

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Friday
March 3
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXII
Issue 3
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


fact and opinion returns for friday fun


FACT: David Price is leaving spring training and going for a second opinion on his sore left forearm. This has caused panic in Boston, where Red Sox fans are fearing the worst.

OPINION: It's better than having elbow damage that might require Tommy John surgery, but forearm tightness could be a tendon issue, which is often a difficult injury to treat and requires rest more than anything else. "Rest" and "30 million dollar pitcher" don't sound like a good combination. Price had a MRI completed earlier this week and is now seeking a second opinion. That must mean the first opinion wasn't packed with good news.

FACT: Wisconsin suddenly looks very beatable in the Big 10, as they lost again last night, at home no less, to Iowa, 59-57. That gives the Badgers the same conference record as the Terps (11-6) although Wisconsin does own the tiebreaker after beating Maryland in Madison last month.

OPINION: Last night's Iowa win at Wisconsin eases some of the angst from the Hawkeyes coming into College Park last Saturday and taking the Terps out to the woodshed for a beating. But it also adds another team to the mix for the upcoming Big 10 tournament in Washington D.C. Throw Northwestern in there as an outsider-with-potential and there are at least six teams capable of winning the tournament next week. Yes, Maryland is one of them.

FACT: Baylor women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey issued a tearful apology on Thursday after making comments recently that suggested anyone who questions whether Baylor is safe for their daughter to attend should (get) "knocked right in the face".

OPINION: I get it. It's 2017. We're not really allowed to say anything anymore without every single word being carefully reviewed for political correctness. And a high-profile coach in college sports has to be even more careful of his/her words. But enough is enough already with raking this woman over the coals. Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones once told Baltimore baseball fans who didn't like Yankees fans to "punch them in the face" and I don't remember this sort of widespread panic. This country sometimes...

On the leaderboard after round one in Mexico City, is Phil Mickelson priming himself for a 4th green jacket at Augusta National next month?

FACT: The New York Jets released wide receiver Brandon Marshall on Thursday, bringing his Big Apple run to an end after 168 catches and 17 touchdowns in two seasons.

OPINION: I know Marshall has baggage. He's had more clubs than Fred Couples in his 11 year NFL career. I also realize he's 33 years old. And the tread on his tires might be starting to wear down. But he's a guy I would take on the Ravens because I think his "chip" is perfect for the AFC North. If they could fit him in, salary cap wise, I'd love to see the Ravens bring Marshall to Baltimore, warts and all.

FACT: The Washington Capitals earned a 1-0 home win over New Jersey last night, giving the Capitals a franchise-record 14 straight home wins. Jakub Vrana scored the game's only goal, as Washington extended their NHL points lead (93) in the process.

OPINION: I like Vrana. I realize he's only playing because of injuries to other starters, but I wouldn't mind seeing the Caps give him an extended look in training camp next Fall. The 21 year old Czech is crafty around the net and looks a little bit like a young Jaromir Jagr with the way he moves in and out of the play. He has a long, long way to go to draw any real comparisons to the great Jagr, but by style alone, they look similar to me.

FACT: UMBC's hoops season came to and end on Wednesday with a first-round loss at New Hampshire, but the Retrievers bounced back in a big way in 2016-2017, earning an 18-12 mark under first year head coach Ryan Odom.

OPINION: The Retrievers were much-improved this season and should be a top four team in the pre-season America East rankings next season. They return all of their key players except Will Darley. I thought UMBC was capable of winning a game or two in the conference tournament, but with the new format that offers home games throughout the tournament instead of the one-location tournament played by most colleges, it was up to UMBC to play well enough to get a home game and they couldn't do it. Still, they had a heckuva season over on Wilkens Ave.

FACT: Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood are among those on top of the leaderboard at 4-under par after the first round of the PGA Tour event in Mexico City this week.

OPINION: I recently published the early odds for the 2017 Masters and gave my commentary not only on those odds, but some players in the field that I think are going to compete for the green jacket next month at Augusta National. Two of my five "favorites" are Mickelson and Westwood. Mickelson has won the Masters three times already and Westwood has sniffed around a couple of times himself but still hasn't won that elusive first major title. I like both of their chances at this year's Masters.

FACT: The Los Angeles Angels are 6-0 in spring training baseball. The Yankees are 7-1. It's early March and we have nearly a month remaining of games, but they are your two early leaders for the unofficial champion of Cactus and Grapefruit League action, respectively.

OPINION: If you're one of those folks who say "spring training doesn't matter" (I'm one of them), here's a reminder of the top four teams from last year's spring training schedule: Washington (19-4), Arizona (24-8), Los Angeles Angels (19-8) and Toronto (17-8). One more point: The team that won the World Series last year (Cubs) finished 11-19 in spring training in 2016. I'll say it again. Spring training doesn't matter.

FACT: There were a lot of high school basketball tournament games in the area last night. So many so, in fact, that I'll just pick one out of the hat and profile it here, because there are far too many to review in full. (Draws a piece of paper from a hat): Meade beat Old Mill in the 4A Final last night, 50-46, at Old Mill.

OPINION: Any time Old Mill loses at home in an important sporting event, an angel gets a new pair of wings. If only the Flyers would have lost last night...two angels would have new wings this morning. Alas, Philadelphia stumbled and bumbled their way to a lucky 2-1 shootout win over the Panthers.

FACT: Golden State lost their second straight game last night, falling in Chicago to the Bulls, two nights after losing to the Wizards in Washington. They were without Kevin Durant last night, who is out for the rest of the regular season with a left knee injury.

OPINION: The Warriors will figure out a way to overcome Durant's injury and still hang on to the top spot in the Western Conference (barely), but if Durant can't return for the post-season or is hobbled in May and June, Golden State can't win the title.

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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.

The NCAA is at it again.

The governing body of college sports recently announced suspensions for five Richmond Spiders baseball players to start the season. They've been ruled ineligible for competition, effectively an indefinite suspension that won't be lifted until the reinstatement process is finished. Last week, the Richmond Times-Dispatch found out what these players did to earn such a severe punishment.

They played fantasy football.

No, I'm not making that up. NCAA rules classify fantasy sports games with entry fees as sports wagering, and thus participation in a money league has gotten these five young men parked on the bench indefinitely, in what may rank as one of the most humorously tone deaf decisions the NCAA has handed down in recent memory.

I'm aware that there is somewhat of a debate over whether or not these fantasy games are gambling, and that's only become more pronounced since the rise of DraftKings, FanDuel, and other forms of daily fantasy sports games.

Some people think that putting money on the performance of players is pretty clearly gambling, while others think that there's enough independent action by the fantasy sports player to make it a game of skill. You aren't just placing a wager on one side of a betting line formed by someone else and then waiting to see what happens, you're actively "building" a roster within a set of rules shared by every player.

I've never found the idea that these kind of games are gambling in the strictest sense, and here's why. I grew up on a farm, and as a kid I participated in 4-H primarily showing cattle. From February to June, I'd go to a number of different shows each year, and every one of them offered cash prizes for the top finishers while requiring everyone to pay an entry fee to be part of the show.

These shows were mostly put on by non-profit groups and the primary purpose of the fees were to offset the cost of putting on the event, but regardless the same basic framework of paying to play and winning monetary prizes for the top performers was in place.

If pay-to-play fantasy sports (or poker tournaments, to bring back the previous incarnation of this argument) is gambling, then so are those cattle shows which no one has ever objected to on these grounds. Arguments that fantasy sports are "gambling" are primarily arguments in favor of regulating them and, what else, taxing them as such.

And that's all well and good, but it doesn't change the fact that the NCAA treating half a dozen kids playing fantasy football like a bazillion other people as though they were shaving points or something is absurd, as is the fact that the situation would have been handled much more gingerly and probably with less severity if they'd been accused of academic fraud or gang rape. If there are any certainties in life beyond death and taxes, it's the NCAA having its priorities straight!

To cap it all off, the timing of the decision couldn't be any more facepalm worthy, could it?

After all, in just a few weeks, tens of millions of people will print out brackets and toss a few bucks into pools hosted at their office, media outlets, and....fantasy sorts sites, all betting that they can pick the winners of a bunch of basketball games involving teams they've mostly never watched play better than their coworkers or thousands of other people across the world.

The NCAA will of course egg this on with gusto, because it plays a huge role in driving interest in the tournament itself, especially the first two rounds.

That this is literally no different than pay-to-play fantasy baseball leagues and, if anything, is far closer to traditional gambling and less skillful than fantasy sports likely hasn't occurred to anyone in Indianapolis, but if it did it wouldn't make a difference anyway. Hypocrisy and unfairness aren't vices for the NCAA, they're prerequisites!

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this weekend in
english soccer


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

Matchday 26 provided some clarity to the relegation situation with a familiar bottom dweller once again teetering on the edge while at the top of the table the fight for the top four remains closer than ever, with five teams separated by only five points as we enter Matchday 27 of the English Premier League. With all of the long weekend action available live on the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra, tune in to see where each side will stand as we come up on the final quarter of the season.

Saturday, March 4th (all times eastern)

12:30 pm – Arsenal @ Liverpool – Anfield, NBC Sports Network

Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp and Arsenal's Arsene Wenger showcase their two teams in the EPL's biggest game of the weekend on Saturday at 12:30 pm.

Following a sixteen-day layoff and a trip to Spain to prepare for a crucial stretch run that will determine their Champions League fate for next season, Liverpool looked lethargic and out of sorts as two first half goals left them a deficit they were ultimately unable to overcome in a 3-1 defeat against a Leicester City side fighting for their Premier League lives and with a point to prove after the dismissal of manager Claudio Ranieri. They will have a chance to make their case for Europe’s top club competition when Arsenal, who sit just a point above the Reds in fourth place, visit Anfield on Saturday in primetime.

The Gunners may have managed to end a two-game losing streak in the league when they pushed past a resilient Hull City side 2-0 but, in what is becoming an annual tradition, were then overmatched in a 5-1 defeat against Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League showdown. After an unconvincing performance against League One side Sutton United in the FA Cup, they will look to consolidate their hold on a top four spot against a Liverpool side they have beaten in just one of their last six league meetings (L2 D3) but have lost just one of their last eight trips to Anfield (W3 D4).

Sunday, March 5 (all times eastern)

11 am – Manchester City @ Sunderland – Stadium of Light, NBC Sports Network

Manchester City continue to look the side most likely to challenge Chelsea until the end of the season, with the Citizens successfully navigating a potentially difficult away trip at Bournemouth before storming back against Monaco to claim a thrilling 5-3 victory in the first leg of their Champions League knockout stage clash. A mid-week thrashing of Championship side Huddersfield in their 5th round FA Cup replay continued their momentum ahead of the trip to the Stadium of Light to face the bottom of the table and increasingly desperate Sunderland following their 2-0 defeat to Everton.

After barely surviving the drop the last three seasons the Black Cats, currently four points from safety and two points back of nineteenth place Hull City, will have to pull off their greatest escape to date if they hope to stay in England’s top flight, with points more than likely difficult to come by on Sunday against a Manchester City side they have dropped the last six meetings to across all competitions although the little success they have had against the Citizens has been at the Stadium of light, where they had won four of the previous five matchups (D1) before the recent losing streak.

Monday, March 6 (all times eastern)

3 pm – Chelsea @ West Ham United – London Stadium, NBC Sports Network

Chelsea took advantage of the time off City has enjoyed recently to extend their lead at the top of the table to eleven points as they had little trouble getting past the in-form Swansea City despite the teams entering the half time break level at a goal apiece, with two second half goals putting the result beyond a doubt. They will make the short trip across town for a London Derby with West Ham United, who remained unbeaten in their last three league games and with just one loss in their last six when summer signing Andre Ayew finally came good to earn the Hammers a share of the points against Watford.

The draw moved the Hammers back in to the top of the table, a more than respectable spot considering their slow start to the campaign and the early season injuries they were forced to work around, not to mention the Dimitri Payet saga which they have seemed to overcome ahead of the visit from Chelsea, who have managed to take all three points from West Ham in only one of their last four meetings across all competitions (L2 D1), however prior to their recent stumbles had lost just one of their previous nineteen meetings, running out winners in seven of the last nine trips across town (L1 D1).

ABC banner

i'm not gaga over her
but you might know someone who is


Never let it be said that I'm not a man for the people.

What other explanation can you give when you read the information below about a trip to see Lady Gaga in Philadelphia other than, "Drew's a man for the people"?

Yes, we're going to see Lady Gaga.

Join #DMD on Monday, September 11 when we head to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia to see Lady Gaga, brought to you by Jerry's Toyota.

It wasn't my idea, honestly, but we're doing it.

My friend Anna Lybrook was one of the first to check in. She has previously enjoyed trips with us to see Springsteen and Adele, and a couple of weeks back she rattled my cage about seeing Lady Gaga in Philadelphia.

It doesn't have to be my cup of tea for #DMD to take on a project.

Remember when I first launched the website in 2014? "People helping people will be a central theme at #DMD", I said then.

So, I'm willing to help you see Lady Gaga, or those of you who want to, anyway.

She's one of the hottest acts in music today, and no matter what you think about her wacky attire and "look", the young lady can definitely sing. And fresh off the heels of her Super Bowl appearance in Houston, she's launching a summer tour that will take her to every major venue in America.

If you'd like to see her perform live, we're making it happen for you.

The show is Monday, September 11, at 7:30 pm at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The Ravens will be 1-0 after opening the season with a 24-20 nailbiter over the Colts the day before in Baltimore.

We'll leave Baltimore around 4:00 pm, our luxury motor coach stocked with ice cold DuClaw beer, water and soft drinks, plus delicious subs and sandwiches from our friends at Palmisano's of Baldwin.

We have both upper and lower concourse tickets available for the show. The package that includes upper concourse seats is $200 per-person and the package that includes lower concourse seats is $275. NOTE: As of 2/17/17 at 6:30 am, there are ONLY four (4) lower concourse seats remaining. The rest of the seats are upper concourse.

The $200 and $275 prices are only available to the first 28 customers who purchase their seats in full. We may add seats again once those first 28 are gone, but our bus will travel to Philadelphia with a maximum of 40 concert-goers.

If you're interested in seats on our Lady Gaga bus, just go here.

Thursday
March 2
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXII
Issue 2
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


golf's proposed rule changes are great for the sport


The R&A and USGA are finally starting to get it right.

It took a while, like a round of golf these days, but the sport's governing bodies caved in on a number of topics yesterday when they announced a series of proposed rule changes that are likely to go into full effect on January 1, 2019.

They still didn't change the big one -- relief from a fairway divot if your ball unfortunately ends up in one -- but they had the foresight to make a bunch of positive changes that will not only speed up the pace of play, but create less confusion on the course when it comes to the rules and the application of penalty strokes.

Here are the most important changes proposed yesterday:

Under a proposed rule change in golf, this would no longer be a penalty as of January 1, 2019. Players will be allowed to putt out with the flagstick still in the hole.

Putting to an unattended flagstick on the green -- This is significant, mostly from a pace of play standpoint. Players will no longer have to remove the flagstick from the hole before putting. That said, you're leaving yourself vulnerable to a bad break if your putt hits the stick and bounces away from the cup, but you might also putt one that clangs off the stick and drops in, too.

Repairing spike marks on the green -- With nearly every golf course in American now imposing the "plastic spikes only" rule, this one isn't all that critical, but you can now tap down spike marks or any other blemish on the green before putting. While some fear this could actually hurt pace of play, I think it's reasonable to allow the player to have the same putting surface conditions as those who played the hole before him.

Removing loose impediments from bunkers/touching the sand -- This is a big one. Players will now be able to remove stones, pebbles and any other loose impediments in the bunkers and a player may now unintentionally touch the sand with his/her club during the normal course of playing a shot in the bunker and will not incur a penalty. In other words, as part of your actual golf swing in the trap, your club can brush or graze the sand without penalty.

Trusting a player's "integrity" -- If this rule passes, you can expect it to be known as "The Tiger Rule". Under the new rule, a player's "reasonable judgment" is accepted when estimating or measuring a spot, point, line, area or distance when making a stroke after a penalty, even if video evidence later shows it to be wrong. This goes back to the 2013 Masters when Woods was assessed a 2-stroke penalty on the 15th hole of round three for dropping his ball roughly five feet further from the hole than he should have. Woods maintained he believed the drop was legal. Under the new rule, it will be assumed the player believed he/she was making a correct drop even if evidence later on proves they didn't.

These are the main four rules that were proposed, but there are others that will also help potentially speed up play.

Some members of the PGA Tour didn't care for them and have suggested over the last 24 hours that perhaps there should be a "professional" set of rules and an "amateur" set of rules. That might not be a bad idea, actually.

If professional players don't want to tap down spike marks, so be it. If they don't want the option of putting to an unattended flag stick, that's fine.

Amateur golfers, out on a Saturday for a casual round of golf, would like to get done within five hours and would also like to derive maximum enjoyment from their experience. As someone who essentially left the public golf scene first and foremost because of pace of play issues, I love the "play more quickly" theme.

The one other rule in golf that I'd still like to see considered for change is the stroke and distance rule for out-of-bounds. If you hit a 300 yard drive that ends up two inches out of bounds, you go back to the tee, add two shots, and hit your 3rd from the tee box. If you swing and miss at it on the first tee...a complete whiff...you're hitting your second shot off the tee. That one doesn't make sense to me.

The proposed rule changes show some movement from a couple of governing bodies that have long been hesitant to make changes. Most of the rule changes are by-products of tournament situations that begged for the rules to be tweaked, such as Dustin Johnson's club barely touching the sand in the PGA at Whistling Straits in 2010.

Or the aforementioned "bad drop" that Woods took in the 2013 Masters.

Or last year's U.S. Open where Johnson was assessed a 2-stroke penalty because his ball accidentally moved on the putting green during the fourth round. The new proposed rule does not penalize a player whose ball moves accidentally or without intention of hitting it.

Congrats to the R&A and the USGA. It took a while, but they're finally coming around.

Now...about those fairway divots.

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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.

As the start of the NFL league year and free agency looms on the horizon, there's one fact that should ring as indisputably true in Owings Mills: The Ravens need a salary cap purge.

Of course, that's easy to say, and much harder to actually do. In the abstract, the idea of having more cap space is clearly a huge plus, but actually generating that space means also cutting the players who present a poor cost-benefit proposition to the team, and that's neither easy to tell at the margins nor easy to sell when those guys are popular with the fan base.

Some cuts are easy enough to make. Guys like Elvis Dumervil ($6.0 million in cap savings with a cut), Jeremy Zuttah ($2.39M), and Kyle Arrington ($2.1M) clearly haven't produced up to their cap hit lately and aren't worth the additional costs of keeping them around.

But they also don't necessarily represent a large enough savings against the cap to give the team much room to retool once you factor in raises for everyone else, the rookie allowance, and the base salary replacing them with a generic roster spot holder would account for. Generating that kind of room requires the kind of drastic action that could put someone like Lardarius Webb ($5.5M), Ben Watson ($3.0M), Mike Wallace ($5.75M), and even Dennis Pitta ($3.3M) in serious jeopardy of being sent out of town.

And this is where these decisions get tricky, because you can certainly build an argument that these guys are productive players and that the Ravens won't be able to replace their production in 2017 if they're let go.

Mike Wallace led the Ravens in receiving in 2016, but his $5.75 million salary in 2017 might be too much for the Ravens to handle if they want to improve their roster with new free agent additions.

Webb turned into a very solid free safety, and the Ravens have struggled for years to plug competent players into that position. Wallace was arguably their most productive receiver and certainly they're biggest big play threat last year, and it's far from a sure thing that Breshad Perriman can replace even his limited repetoire.

Pitta is a favorite of both fans and Joe Flacco, and the team's best security blanket and possession receiver. He might lack explosiveness, big play ability, and blocking skill, but Crockett Gilmore and Maxx Williams haven't established themselves as players who can be productive and healthy for a full year. But it's also safe to say that none of these players are producing at their cap numbers, and none of them would get that kind of pay level as free agents.

The tradeoff, though, is that the team needs cap space to retain other, more impactful players and to have the flexibility to retool the roster in such a way that an 8-8 team can move back into the 10-12 win range and have a legitimate shot at making a deep playoff run.

That's what motivated the last big purge in 2011 that saw guys like Derrick Mason and Todd Heap sent packing and replaced by Torrey Smith and Pitta. Those weren't easy decisions and a lot of fans were upset at seeing those guys go, but it also helped free up money to re-sign Haloti Ngata and bring in free agents like Matt Birk, Corey Redding, Bernard Pollard, and Bryant McKinnie.

Now the team is in a similar position, and unlike the 2011 edition which was coming off a 12-4 season and three straight playoff appearances, this group was 8-8 last year and has just one winning season in four years.

Clearly they need to find some of those veteran upgrades that were the hallmark of their 2010-2012 seasons to improve the roster at the margins, but they also need to be better able to retain their own free agents who provide the biggest bang for their buck. While the departure of Gary Kubiak as offensive coordinator played a big part in the narrative of why the team couldn't build on the success of the 2014 season, shockingly little attention is paid to the impact losing Pernell McPhee had on the other side of the ball.

McPhee was the most dynamic pass rusher on a unit that was very good at getting to the quarterback that season, often papering over some significant issues in the secondary. But thanks to a cap crunch, the Ravens couldn't even make McPhee a representative offer and he left as an unrestricted free agent. McPhee would go on to grade out as the best pass rusher in the league according to PFF, while the Ravens' unit took a massive step backwards, especially once Terrell Suggs was lost for the season in Week One of the 2015 campaign.

These things happen in the cap era, but being unable to even make an effort at keeping a player as good as McPhee at a position as important as edge rusher is the sort of thing that just does not happen to the franchises who are consistently good for a long period of time, and represents a colossal failure of foresight and cap management by Ozzie Newsome and company.

They can't afford a repeat of that mistake, and this year that means making re-signing Ricky Wagner a priority. Wagner has graded out as one of the league's better right tackles since 2014, and locking him up to team with emerging stud Ronnie Stanley would give the team a pair of young bookends to anchor what could be one of the best lines in the game.

Given Wagner's talent level, the importance of the position, and his likely replacements it's easy to build a case that he's worth more to the offense than Wallace AND Pitta combined. To a lesser extent keeping Branden Williams would be nice as well, but even nose tackles as good as he is aren't super valuable in today's pass oriented league, and the Ravens have been very good at finding and developing interior linemen so there's a good chance they can replace him internally.

But one way or another big changes need to come in Baltimore.

It's not enough to hope everyone will suddenly play up to their cap number and get the team to 11 wins, and without resetting the team's cap situation their hands will be tied in making upgrades. They made the tough decisions in 2011 and generated the best two year run in franchise history.

The time has come for another purge, and a tough look at who really is the right player...at the right price.

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thursday sports with David Rosenfeld

DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.


nostalgia

About once a year, on my way home from somewhere close by, I skip a few exits on the Beltway and drive by my childhood home.

It’s not a trip I plan in advance, or one I make for any specific reason. I just roll through the old neighborhood, slow down a bit when I pass the house, look around for a minute and continue on my way.

I suppose on some level I’m comforted by the fact that the place is still there and pretty much looks the same, but that’s about it. I have plenty of memories, mostly good ones, but I don’t need to be there to remember them. The truth is that I’ve never experienced one bit of nostalgia, or felt one bit of sadness at the fact that I can’t go back there.

Sports and nostalgia certainly go together, but I’m not sure they’re such a great couple. Who doesn’t remember that time that Al Bundy scored four touchdowns for Polk High, but isn’t Al’s reliance on that memory a big part of the reason he’s miserable selling women’s shoes down at the mall?

When it comes to sports, we’re just overly prone to nostalgia. It’s a killer, and it’s not fair to us or to the athletes we now watch play.

Here’s one problem: we respond to results we don’t like by insisting that it used to better.

Back in December, Louisville women’s basketball coach Jeff Walz went on a semi-epic rant after his team’s close loss to Maryland. You probably remember it. Lots of talk about the horrors of participation trophies and AAU basketball, insisting that he and his players hadn’t just lost the game but were actually “losers.”

Not surprisingly, the monologue went viral, and not surprisingly every middle-aged guy who coaches his 12-year-old nodded in agreement.

As impassioned as his rant was, and as much as he believed it, and even though I thought some of it was probably right, I instantly hated it. Part of that was because I thought the postgame press conference was the wrong setting for his philosophizing.

But most of it was that he was just being nostalgic, feeling bad for himself that he can’t coach players from some time in the past where they didn’t give participation trophies.

What was the point of that? You can wish your players didn’t grow up with smartphones or didn’t have ESPNU televising their signing day press conferences, or you can leave that fantasy and deal with reality.

Our greatest coaches — famous ones like Krzyzewski and Belichick — and our best teachers, most of whom are anonymous, can write books on leadership and attitude and toughness and perseverance. But they have absolutely no use for wondering why this year’s team can’t be more like last year’s team. They are famously adaptable, and always trying to make the next play or team better. Their focus on that aspect of their job is probably why so many of them can be so grating on a personal level.

There’s an issue in our politics when it comes to this as well, one that doesn’t really have anything to do with who the President is. The narrative of the “right,” especially on social issues, is sometimes a yearning for a return to a past that never really existed. The narrative of the “left,” especially on environmental issues, is to sometimes obsessively worry about whether the progress we’ve made was worth the presumed costs.

There’s also a second problem, the Al Bundy dilemma, which is slightly different: holding onto something we need to let go.

As a city, we experienced that with the Baltimore Colts, who moved to Indianapolis on my 11th birthday.

As I got older, and more nuanced as a sports fan, I really started to dislike the nostalgia for the Colts. Some of it was my age; by the time they played that last game against the Houston Oilers on December 18, 1983, the Colts had ceased to be what my father’s generation remembered.

Mostly, I just didn’t think the kinds of things we were remembering were particularly useful to us in the present. It was great that seemingly all the old Colts lived in the community and worked jobs in the offseason and you could run into them at the grocery store.

It was enlightening (to me) that the Memorial Stadium where I’d watched the 1983 Colts lose 30-7 to the Buffalo Bills was once known as “The World’s Largest Outdoor Insane Asylum.” It was awesome that Johnny Unitas was considered the best of all time. It was unique (and eventually the subject of a Barry Levinson documentary) that the Colts band never disbanded after the team left.

But none of it was helping, really. The NFL was about to become the 300-lb. bully it is today, the stadium was crumbling and Johnny U. was looking a lot older than he actually was.

I actually think what happened with the band was just about perfect. Their bridge to the past is subtle, and it would be easy for a younger person not to have any idea of its connection to the Colts.

I’ve never thought it was fair to dislike the city of Indianapolis, or the players on the team at the time that had to play in another city the next year. Which brings me to another problem of sports and nostalgia; that the connection can be really unfair to the players taking the fields and courts today.

Every time I watch a Maryland basketball game with my father, he can’t help but mention how much better college basketball was when players stayed for four years. My response is always the same, which is that I never spend one minute of those two hours thinking about that. Even if Melo Trimble had only played 30 games in a Terp uniform instead of more than 100, I still would have had the joy of watching him play.

Also, I get it. It seems like more players were like Adam Jones and actually ran hard to first base. And who ever threw their bat in the air like Jose “I’d Never Sign Him Because Our Fans Don’t Like Him” Bautista? But last year I got the chance to watch Zach Britton completely dominate 95 percent of the batters he faced.

I was less upset that the Orioles lost the wild card game (it’s a one-game playoff, after all) and more upset that the manager unfairly never let him pitch.

We ought to be more fair to today’s athletes, mostly by remembering to stop blaming them for problems that have everything to do with ourselves.

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Wednesday
March 1
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXII
Issue 1
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ravens need help, but no need to explore revis, peterson


Just moments after news broke that Adrian Peterson's option was not being picked up by the Minnesota Vikings, folks in Baltimore lit up social media with urgency, advising Ozzie Newsome to bring the once-talented running back to Baltimore.

Later in the day when the Jets cut cornerback Darrelle Revis, there was more clamoring for Newsome to get to work and add Revis to the Ravens defense.

I sure hope Ozzie doesn't pay attention to social media or give in to the pressure of adding big names just for the sake of doing it.

The Ravens need quality players and it wouldn't hurt to add some new talent at cornerback and/or running back, but Peterson and Revis, specifically, should be ignored by the Ravens.

There's no need to bring either of them to Baltimore.

And this isn't about Peterson's "child discipline" case from a couple of years ago or Revis' recent brush with the law after getting into a fight in Pittsburgh earlier this month.

It's about getting diminishing returns on a player who will still likely command a big paycheck without the ability to perform at a deserving level. Peterson has dropped off significantly over the last few years, with injuries stripping him of his burst and ability to find the slightest of holes through which to accelerate. And we all know how quickly it ends for running back in the NFL, elite or not.

Take a second to snap your fingers while you're reading this edition of #DMD.

That's how quickly a running back goes from useful to useless in the NFL these days.

After a decade in Minnesota, the Vikings are going to part company with Adrian Peterson. The Ravens might be tempted to take a look at the perennial Pro Bowl running back.

Revis was really good in 2015 with the Jets, then suffered through a dismal 2016 campaign that had the New York media feasting on him every seven days.

Like Peterson, he was once the king of his position, but those days, too, appear to be in the rear view mirror.

Peterson and Revis were once great players. They're great no more.

The Ravens could use another quality running back and they certainly need some help in the secondary.

They might be tempted to give either of those veterans a late-career-reboot in Baltimore. I hope they don't.

If I'm Newsome, I look to the draft and make those positions somewhat of a priority. Everyone has an opinion on the importance, positionally, of drafting order, but it's fair to say the Ravens need a cornerback and a running back within the first four rounds.

History will show that elite cornerbacks typically go in the first round or two, while a solid, contributing running back can be found further down the draft board. Sure, Ezekiel Elliott went to Dallas with the fourth overall pick last year, but he was a special talent and Dallas went out of their way to get him even though running backs rarely go that high in the draft.

I've changed my tune a little bit on the running back spot over the last couple of years, perhaps more to try and find a way to unlock the talents of quarterback Joe Flacco. But this much I believe: The Ravens -- despite the NFL's growing trend to throw the ball 40 times a game as a recipe for success -- actually need to figure out a way to reduce Flacco's passing attempt totals, not increase them.

A good, dependable running game would help them do that.

Perhaps Kenneth Dixon is their guy moving forward, but my bird-on-a-tree in Owings Mills tells me the Ravens are concerned about his toughness and ability to sustain his power for sixteen weeks.

No matter what happens with Dixon, the Ravens could still use someone else to carry the ball and create more balance in their offense.

I just hope that "someone else" is a young draft pick with fresh legs and not a worn down, treadless Adrian Peterson.

Flacco had a terrific 2014, remember, which just happened to be the year Justin Forsett came out of nowhere to enjoy the best season of his career, gaining over 1,200 yards as the Ravens came within a whisker of beating the Patriots in the playoffs and advancing to the AFC title game.

Sure, that was the one and only season for Gary Kubiak in Baltimore, and his presence might have also helped Forsett and the offense, but the main point there is that running the ball effectively, no matter the carrier, also played a part in Flacco's solid performance.

I know Flacco likes to throw the ball 45 or more times in a game -- as do all quarterbacks -- but that's not a tonic for success with him, no matter what he thinks. Joe's at his best when he's throwing the ball 30 times. It's not sexy and fantasy owners will gripe, but that's the blueprint for winning in Baltimore.

Flacco throws it 30 times, the offense runs the ball another 30 or so, and chances for a victory increase.

When Flacco is throwing it all over the place like Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite, the Ravens tend to underachieve.

This is not an indictment on Flacco. He doesn't have the throwing options available to be compiling 40 and 50 attempts per-game. He's at his best, as is the team, when he's throwing it 30 times.

Hence, the need for a better running game in Baltimore.

The fewer times Flacco throws the ball, the better chance they have to win. And that's not because Joe is a liability when he does throw it. It's a "quality over quantity" thing. And the data proves that out, too. Flacco's best games are the ones when he's 21-for-29 with 277 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Another high profile free agent set to hit the market is former Jets and Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis, who will turn 32 prior to this coming season.

By running the ball more effectively, the Ravens can generate the balance they need on offense. That theory might not work in Green Bay, for example, where their Hall of Fame quarterback seems to prosper when he throws it 45 times, but it does work, say, in Pittsburgh, where their Hall of Fame quarterback has most certainly reaped the benefits of an all-world running back AND an all-world wide receiver.

As for Revis and the cornerback issues, that position also tends to see a quick drop-off in talent, although perhaps not quite as quick or evident as the running back spot.

The Ravens, right now, have Jimmy Smith and Tavon Young returning for certain, and everyone else is either a liability or on their way out the door. After the tongue lashing Shareece Wright received from Steve Bisciotti at the end-of-season press conference, we can all assume he'll soon be a "former Raven". There's not much in the cupboard for Dean Pees at this point.

That's yet another reason why drafting a cornerback in the first two rounds is critically important for Newsome and Eric DeCosta. That position is 75% speed and 25% acumen. Speed comes with youth. As the saying goes -- "you can't teach quickness".

Skill and acumen can be taught, though.

Drafting a cornerback is the way to go for the Ravens at this point. There are several to be had early on, and even more available to them in the first 60 picks.

Revis, who will be 32 when the 2017 season starts, will someday be a Hall of Fame finalist. It remains to be seen if he gets in, but his career body-of-work will garner him consideration for Canton.

That said, the time isn't right for him in Baltimore based on what the Ravens need. If John Harbaugh's squad was loaded with secondary talent and the Ravens had themselves two outstanding young corners and Revis could perhaps come in and play the nickel spot 15 times a game, that might be worth considering...if his ego would allow for that.

But bringing him in to start and play a prominent, important role next season? Not a smart move.

Perhaps the Ravens are more than a year away from returning to their erstwhile spot as one of the league's dominant teams.

As we saw with the Orioles from 1998-2012, once you fall off the map, it's not easy to get back on your feet and contend.

Maybe this Ravens re-birth will take all of 2017, which, of course, might cost the head coach his job.

One thing for sure: The way for the Ravens to get back to the promised land isn't by bringing in guys who have reached Thanksgiving on their career calendars.

Get younger. And faster. That's the only way the Ravens are going to improve moving forward.

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


As I said on my morning sportscast on Q1370 today, if not for the Orioles losing to the Phillies on Tuesday, the area would have enjoyed a perfect record, sports-wise.

The Birds fell to 2-3 in spring training when Cody Sedlock gave up four runs in the bottom of the 8th inning to the Phillies. It was by anyone's standards a "JV lineup" for the O's, with no one of note starting for Baltimore as Buck Showalter gave the real team the day off.

Adam Jones, for example, ventured up to Durham to take in last night's Duke-Florida State basketball game.

Trey Mancini continued his fine early spring play with a 2-for-3 day to raise his average to .364.

But everyone else around here won on Tuesday night.

Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors lost 9 games all of last season. With Tuesday's defeat in Washington D.C., the Warriors have now lost 10 games in 2016-2017.

Loyola University men's basketball opened Patriot League tournament play with a 67-64 home win over Lafayette. They'll now travel to Boston University on Thursday night in the quarterfinals.

Maryland, as Dale Williams details below, earned their expected blow-out win at Rutgers on Tuesday night, 79-59. That victory probably doesn't do much to increase Mark Turgeon's quality of rest at night, but it's much, much better than losing to the woeful Scarlet Knights. We'll see if the Terps have truly rebounded from that 3-game losing streak when Michigan State visits College Park this Saturday.

The Capitals earned a nice win in New York last night, beating the Rangers, 4-1. That victory gives the Caps 91 points on the season -- most in the NHL at this point -- and extends their lead over second place Columbus and Pittsburgh to seven points. The Rangers have now played two more games than Washington and trail the Caps by nine points. Their hopes for a division title are long gone.

The game marked the debut of recently acquired defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who came over from St. Louis on Monday just prior to the trade deadline. He was on the ice for the Rangers only goal, if that matters, but was active at both ends of the ice and checks in as a better version of Caps blueliner John Carlson, which is certainly a big statement.

The Wizards picked up a huge home win on Tuesday, beating Golden State 112-108, in a game that included a wild finish with several lead changes in the final two minutes and a crazy, off balance shot from Step Curry late in the game that could have put the Warriors on top.

The big news of the night, though, was Kevin Durant's first-quarter knee injury that forced him out of the game. Durant suffered what the Warriors are saying now is a hyperextended left knee, but it sure didn't look good as he was helped to the dressing room by team trainers and personnel.

If Durant is out for an extended period of time, Golden State's path to the top seed in the Western Conference just got a lot more difficult.

The Dubs currently sport a 50-10 record, good for a 4-game lead over San Antonio (45-13).

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terps roll past awful rutgers team


I wasn’t privy to what was said to Damonte Dodd in between halves of Maryland’s 79-59 win over Rutgers last night, but I hope someone recorded that speech so they can replay it before every game of whatever is left of the senior center’s career.

Dodd, a total non-factor in the first half, busted loose with 9 second half points and 7 second half rebounds (4 offensive). He played with aggression and energy and was the engine behind the second half dominance that saw the Terps outscore the Scarlet Knights, 47 -31, in the final 20 minutes.

The Terps had an incredible balance of scoring. Seven Maryland players scored eight or more points and no one had more than Melo Trimble’s 11.

Damonte Dodd's productive second half on Tuesday night helped Maryland snap a 3-game losing streak with a 79-59 win over Rutgers.

Trimble again struggled from the outside, going 1 for 4 from the three point line. However, he did have some success getting inside and the one three that he did make gave Maryland a ten point lead early in the second half. That shot came right after a Kevin Huerter three and forced first year Rutgers coach, Steve Pikiell, to call a timeout in an effort to break Maryland’s momentum.

The first half looked like it would conclude with neither team topping 30 points, but a late scoring binge pushed the score to 32-28 at intermission. The Terp bench was the story of the half as they outscored their Scarlet Knight counterparts 15 to 2.

After a rather boring and lackluster first half, the second half seemed like it was being played on fast forward.

Rutgers scored first in the second half, then the Terps got a layup from Dodd and the aforementioned back to back threes from Huerter and Trimble. The lead was quickly up to ten points, and with Rutgers’ lack of offensive firepower, the outcome was inevitable.

The fact that Maryland also got hot from outside and pushed the lead to 20 points midway through the second half only further solidified the certainty of a Maryland win.

The trio of big men, Dodd, Ivan Bender and L.G were all very effective offensively. Gill and Bender each had 10 points while Dodd had his 9. The most impressive part of their combined stat line is that they were a collective 13 for 15 from the field. The Terps need that sort of collaborative effort from those three with Michal Cekovsky sidelined with his ankle injury.

The bench point totals were solidly in Maryland’s favor as the Terps held a big 36-14 advantage in that category.

As I wrote here yesterday, we were keeping an eye on the rebounding and turnover statistics because of the horrible numbers posted by Maryland in their first game with Rutgers. The Terps excelled in both areas this time around. They out-rebounded an exceptional rebounding Rutgers team, 32-31, and produced only 10 turnovers. Both were dramatic improvements from the first meeting in January when Maryland got handled on the boards and turned it over 18 times.

In the end, Maryland’s superior shooting, strong bench play, and Damonte Dodd’s lead role in the second half were too much for the poor shooting Scarlet Knights.

The Terps hit 54% from the field and 40% from long range. True to form, Rutgers connected on only 41% from the field and hit only 23% of their three point attempts. Foul line points were really not much of a factor for either team.

After getting their expected win, the Terps now head back to College Park where they will play Michigan State on Saturday. It’s their last game before the tournament season starts later next week.

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RETRIEVER ROUND-UP

UMBC baseball fell to in-state rival Maryland, 6-2 on Tuesday afternoon in College Park. The Retrievers fell behind early, but got a two-run home run from Hunter Dolshun to take the lead. However the Terps scored four runs in the sixth to take the victory.

The Retrievers fall to 18-20 on the year while Maryland improves to 32-15 in 2017.

breakfast bytes

A.L. East: Yankees give up two runs in bottom of the 9th, lose to White Sox, 4-3.

Red Sox move into first place with 9-2 win over Minnesota; Rays win 4-2 at Pittsburgh.

NBA: Phil Jackson/Knicks to part ways today.

Nationals steal team-record 7 bases off of Arrieta/Montero as Cubs lose in D.C., 6-1.