Monday
May 15
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 15
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jeter was definitely one-of-a-kind


OK, let's get the funny stuff out of the way first.

Last night's pre-game ceremony retiring Derek Jeter's jersey number "2" took longer than a rush-hour train ride from lower Manhattan to the Bronx.

There were more people on the field for the ceremony than in both dugouts, combined.

And ESPN made it into a full-blown, one-hour spectacle, as only they can do for one of their beloved sons.

But, if we're being honest, it was all well deserved for Jeter and more than appropriate for the kid from Kalamazoo, Michigan who lived the dream we all wished we could have lived.

He played professional baseball, for the same team, made $265 million while doing it, and will forever be adored by the organization and the people who supported him and his team.

I'm no Mark Teixeira -- I didn't grow up wanting to play for the Yankees. But when I was growing up and I wanted to be a major leaguer, it wouldn't have mattered to me what team I played for, as long as I got to play.

Ten years in pinstripes, or ten years in Atlanta, Seattle or Philadelphia, even, would have been fine with me. Just let me wear a uniform -- any uniform.

Jeter was very fortunate -- he actually wanted to play for the Yankees and no one else. Alas, he got that wish and then spent nearly two decades doing it. And, most importantly, he did it the right way.

Other than an occasional salacious headline in one of the tabloids and a story or two detailing the odd, almost humorous, post-tryst "gifts" he gave to pretty women he befriended, Jeter was a pro's pro in every sense of the word.

I wrote a few years ago that I hope my son someday grows up to be as spiritual, well mannered and sensible as Tim Tebow. You can add Derek Jeter to that list. For those of you, like me, who have a son, we can only hope they're a chip off of Jeter's block. The $265 million wouldn't hurt, but it's far more about character and a lot less about wealth when it comes to respecting Jeter.

It's not easy to walk the straight and narrow in New York or as a professional athlete. There's seemingly a story every day -- mostly in the NFL season -- about someone, somewhere, who can't stay away from drugs, crime, domestic violence or something else that gets their name in the headlines. The only time you saw Jeter's name in bold print was when he knocked in a key run in a playoff game, made a game-saving play, or was involved in some sort of community project in New York City.

He was a class act, all the way.

The overblown, overproduced retirement ceremony notwitsthanding, everything else about last night's jersey retirement was appropriate. It was Jeter, with his family, and a selection of hand-picked teammates and Yankee greats who came out to show their respect for the future Hall of Famer. That Jeter spoke for only eight minutes was also impressive. I remember once the baseball owner in Baltimore speaking for 20 minutes at the ceremony honoring Cal Ripken on "2131 night".

Jeter said "thank you" to all the right people, kept it short, and helped put the focus on where it should have been the whole time: on his career. He didn't have to speak about it. Anyone who followed baseball from the mid 1990's until 2014 knows all too well what Jeter meant to the Yankees and the game of baseball.

I thought last night while watching the ceremony, "I wonder if the Red Sox will someday retire the number 34 worn by David Ortiz? And if they do, will I make it a point to watch it like I watched the Jeter ceremony?"

I don't think I will. And if I do, I won't watch it with the same level of respect for Ortiz that I have for Jeter. Ortiz was a very good player, a likely Hall of Famer someday. Jeter was an icon of the game.

Ortiz played on winning teams.

Jeter was a winner.

I'm not bringing this up to pick on Ortiz. I respect what he did as a player. The Red Sox didn't start winning until he showed up, the same way the Yankees started winning when Jeter occupied shortstop.

Jeter did it with class. Ortiz did it with passion (and some other help...). Maybe there's not much difference between the two -- after all, winning is winning -- but Derek Jeter is a once-in-a-generation athlete.

We were all very fortunate to see him play and conduct himself the way we should want all of our favorite players to perform - both on and off the field.

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gausman officially a concern after 9-8 loss in k.c.


Is it time to start thinking about another role of some kind for Kevin Gausman?

He wouldn't like it, going from opening day starter to the bullpen, if that's where he wound up, but Gausman is getting worse, not better, with another ineffective outing on Sunday contributing to a 9-8 Orioles loss in Kansas City.

The Birds' starting pitching was pretty decent in K.C. on Friday and Saturday. Sunday, though, was another story.

What are the Orioles going to do with Kevin Gausman after yet another poor outing on Sunday in Kansas City?

Staked to a 5-0 lead in the 4th inning, Gausman never made it to the 5th, as the Royals stormed back to tie the score at 5-5 and send the starter to yet another early shower.

Richard Bleier was the hard-luck loser, giving up three runs himself -- two of them earned -- in the next two innings, and the O's couldn't take advantage of 9th inning rally that had the tying run on third base with just one out.

That's a season-high four losses in a row now for the O's, as they head to Detroit for a Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday series with the Tigers.

Back to Gausman for a second.

The data isn't impressive at all. The 7.19 ERA is awful, the 1.86 WHIP is minor-league stuff, and the 31/21 strikeout-to-walk-ratio is perhaps the most alarming stat of them all. He can't stop putting people on base.

And when he does put them on, they score.

Gausman's issue as a big league tenderfoot was his lack of an out pitch, particularly to right handed hitters. That issue has again reared its head in 2017, as righties are hitting .337 off of him with an on-base-percentage of .406. Think about that one for a second -- if ten right handed hitters face Gausman, four of them get on base. You're not going to stick in the major leagues very long with that level of "stink".

But what to do?

He can't be sent down, unfortunately. Gausman is out of options and another big league team would quickly pick him up if the Birds tried to sneak him through waivers. So, Norfolk isn't an option.

I'm not kidding when I offer this next alternative, even though it's become sort of a standing joke with the O's as they seemingly circumvent the disabled list rules a few times a year. It might be time for the famous "step-in-a-pothole-and-sprain-your-ankle" trick with Gausman. That would get him some time to reboot, make a few minor league "rehab" stats, and see if a fresh beginning might be what he needs for the second half of the season.

Moving him to the bullpen is clearly something Showalter is going to have to consider, but there's no guarantee that's going to work out best for anyone involved.

The Orioles are already struggling with pitcher fatigue and we're not even to Memorial Day. Shuffling a bullpen arm to the starting rotation probably wouldn't help that situation much. And if Buck Showalter did take Gausman out of the rotation, who goes in? Alec Asher? He's been OK, but he's hardly a proven commodity at this point.

Mike Wright? Tyler Wilson? They'll give you an occasional accommodating start or two, but they're not every-fifth-day major league pitchers.

These are potentially dangerous times for the Orioles. Chris Tillman is back, but doesn't look like he's ready to break out with a string of seven inning starts. He's still effectively in spring training, working his way back to major league fitness and durability.

Dylan Bundy is on the verge of being labeled the "real deal". That's one competent starter. And Wade Miley has improved over what we saw last year, but he's no Chris Sale.

That leaves, of course, Ubaldo Jimenez to work every 5th day, plus someone else -- anyone else -- who can get major league hitters out. Right now, that guy isn't Kevin Gausman.

Can Duquette pull off some kind of trade for a reliable arm of some kind? It's an odd time of the year to be wheeling and dealing, and who would the O's trade, anyway? The only three field players they'd move who have any trade value at all are Hyun Soo Kim, Joey Rickard and Welington Castillo.

Kim can hit right handed pitching. Rickard is a decent 4th outfielder type with some speed and he's probably still on the uptick, ceiling wise. Castillo is a productive hitter and a serviceable glove behind the plate. Maybe Caleb Joseph's recent offensive uprising makes Castillo expendable?

Other than that, who would the Orioles trade away from their current 25-man roster?

And what could they get of any substance for any of those three or a combination of two, perhaps?

Gausman isn't the only pitching problem, but he's the most prominent one right now. Half the time he pitches, someone else has to come in by the fifth inning. In his nine starts thus far, Gausman has made it to the 6th inning in just five of them.

Not all of this has been caused by the Zach Britton injury, but it seems like the full derailment started to occur when Britton recently went on the disabled list for the second time.

There are others on the staff struggling, but none to the degree of Kevin Gausman.

It's officially time to start worrying.

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my sports mount rushmore is complete with...


I apologize for letting this one get away from me.

My initial plan was to feature the fourth and final player on my sports Mount Rushmore last Thursday or, at the latest, Friday.

When it didn't happen by Friday, I held it until today.

Honestly, I had a much more difficult time picking my fourth player than I realized I might.

It really did come down to the wire.

Quickly, let me remind you of my three selections thus far: Mike Trout, Tom Brady and LeBron James. Those three truly were "no brainers" for me.

My list of players to fill the final spot included Steph Curry, Serena Williams, Clayton Kershaw, Russell Westbrook and Lionel Messi, although I admittedly decided ahead of time (but didn't announce it) that I would only go with athletes who play in the U.S. or Canada. That, of course, eliminates Messi.

In the end, I could make an argument for Curry, Williams, Kershaw or Westbrook. Any of those four would be a prudent selection, I believe.

I'm going with Kershaw.

He has a bit of Sandy Koufax lore about him in that if he suddenly retired tomorrow, after only ten seasons in the big leagues, he'd likely be a Hall of Famer. Koufax, remember, pitched 12 years in the big leagues but essentially made the Hall of Fame because of the last five years of his career, when he threw 100 complete games (!) and had an ERA of 2.04 or less in each of his last four seasons.

In Kershaw's last full six seasons, his ERA has never finshed above 2.53 and in three of those campaigns, he ended the season with a sub-2.00 ERA.

He's already won three Cy Young awards and one MVP honor, yet the Dodgers have yet to reach the World Series in his career. This year, he's throw 55 innings to date and has struck out more batters (57) than he's allowed hits (45). Oh, and he's walked a grand total of eight hitters in eight starts in 2017.

The only small blemish on his career? He's never pitched for an American League team. We'd likely see his ERA and other metrics go up a smidgen, but just how much? That would certainly be interesting to follow, since National League pitching stats are always 15% to 25% better.

But major league hitters are employed in the National League, too, and Clayton Kershaw has toyed with nearly all of them for the better part of eight years now.

There's no telling how many more great seasons he'll have, but right now, in 2017, there's no better pitcher in baseball than Kershaw.

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orioles-yankees one-day trip
at an amazing price! (only four seats left)


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The trip package includes luxury motor-coach transportation, breakfast from Royal Farms, ice cold DuClaw beer for the trip to New York, lunch from Palmisano's of Baldwin upon arrival, and a "terrace level" game ticket with everyone else who is traveling in our group.

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#dmd comments


DELRAY RICK     October 22
GEORGE---Its more like what are the odds "DRAMA QUEEN" can even make the first tee. Start reading the scores right.

George     October 22
Still waiting for an offer of odds against Tiger Woods winning the 2018 Masters. Don’t need anyone speculating whether I’m a fanboy or sycophant or other irrelevant drivel, nor a reminder that the cops took a mugshot of him like they do of every chump who gets locked up for drunk driving. I’m looking for a financial transaction on a sports proposition. If you think Tiger won’t win the Masters, and have the financial courage of your convictions, quote the odds you offer.

Steve in Hunt Valley     October 21
BJ, the passive-aggressive thing looks good and you play it off well but you never actually write a complimentary word about DMD or the stories. You'll write something vague and play it off a compliment when you're questioned on it but I read your comments and shake my head all the time. You obviously have a personal axe to grind with either Drew or the writers. It comes across loud and clear. But I'm sure Drew appreciates the fact that you visit.

H     October 21
After seeing who the Ravens have on IR and who is currently on the injured list, I am amazed that the Ravens are 3-3.

BJ     October 21
@TG Since you're not trying to pick a fight....I said "I consider #DMD a notch above the 4 letter network". I read #DMD most every day, never read any of the "content" on ESPN. Point being ESPN fawns all over this Ball guy (judging by the headlines I see), I come here to avoid that prattle. But it's ok, CJ/PGAV/MONK needs someone to take some of the heat of off him/them ;)

That Guy     October 21
@BJ, you'd have to point out the "compliment" in your OP. I don't see one. Not trying to pick a fight here with you but you do come across as a DMD hater.

BJ     October 21
@Aaron If you could read and comprehend, that was a compliment. If I was just a hater, I'd not be surprised to read about this Ball guy right?

SOD is tough, some of the same guys saying Pees should shut up and be able to handle criticism without lashing out, are the first to bash anyone who dare post even the mildest of "criticism" out here. Interesting

Aaron     October 21
Been coming here for a year now and still can't ever remember "BJ" writing one complimentary word about the site. Always have to wonder why he/she visits. Must be a plant from the old station, just piling on the hate.

BJ     October 21
No idea if the Lakers won or lost last night, but that seems like it'd be easy to look up?

As for being Ball'd out, whose fault is that? Certainly not the goofy Dad, he can't cover himself. Yup, it's those idiot media types flocking to sh*t like flies. Mentioning his name here is puzzling. Who in Baltimore cares about this clown show? Call me crazy, but I consider #DMD a notch above the four letter network and am disappointed this "story" is being covered at all. All things considered, I'd rather see more video of Tiger practicing in his backyard.

BTW, Holland is as bad , if not worse, than Miley. If CC were cheap, he might be decent space filler (pun intended), but I agree with @Brian M, they need to get younger, not older

unitastoberry     October 21
A one year rental on 37 years old CC is right up the Angelos style I would agree with that. But I think they need a miracle or a new owner to ever win the championship again.

DELRAY RICK     October 21
FAKE NEWS ON THIS SITE. Who ever wrote the LAKERS lost last is WROOONG! What a DUMMIE!

Brian M.     October 21
Drew,

Sorry but I do not want Sabathia here and not because he's a Yankee but in the December of his career and we need youth.

Dave W.     October 20
Not a Tiger fan but I agree with Al. Tiger's mug shot doesn't parallel with his attempted comeback IMHO.

Tom     October 20
@Al, You must be new in these parts. Herman has a very clear disdain for people like Tiger, if you know what I mean.

AL     October 20
I'm still not sure what Tiger's mug shot has to do with his golf game. I see people saying they don't like Tiger and that he's a bad guy but I don't know how that connects to his golf game.

DELRAY RICK     October 20
HERMAN----RIGHT ON BOUT PHONY "DRAMA QUEEN" every month he lets the die-hards know , "i am still around". He will embarrass himself just like the mug shot. He's been on drugs for years and the PGA is really on drug testing this year. Hope he gets caught AGAIN.

clayton     October 20
AL------ I think the term role model has been consigned to the dustbin of history as a quaint and outmoded concept. It has been replaced by “brand,” where the currency among athletes is the ability to get your fans to buy the crap that is identified with you. In case of an unfortunate arrest, there are plenty of spin doctors out there who, for a large fee, will tell the public what to think, and they are very good at what they do.

AL     October 20
What does Tiger's mug shot have to do with his golf game? Half the NFL has a mug shot. Doesn't seem to bother them.

HERMAN     October 20
I'm amazed how quickly the Tiger sycophants climb back onto the bandwagon. Look, he's changed his swing, it's easier on the body, he's coming back, he's coming back! He can play again, oh joy!

Did they forget that mug shot that fast?

Tiger manipulates his public better than anyone. The fanboys jump for joy, articles about how he might now be a contender next April amongst the azaleas, forget that only 10% of majors have been won by golfers past 40.

And apparently, forgetting that awful mug shot.

Steve from Pimlico     October 20
Don't say coaching doesn't matter .Look at the Rams with an offensive minded coach. Goff,called a bust last year,now looks like a rising young star .


Tom J     October 20
I finally figured it out.....after hearing the M and T commercial for the millionth time, The Ravens need to tell Joe that he's going shopping with his Ravens debit card at 1pm on Sundays as that generates way more excitement and passion from him than we ever see on the football field.....also, I'm glad I left my seat Sunday so I didn't have to see that pathetic defensive effort from Loudmouth Pees defense. He's clueless. Way to endear yourself to the fans even further coach. First, the players commenting about the fans, now the coaches.......clueless

Brien Jackson     October 19
The "opinionated players" story has been debunked over and over and was only ever a story that was pushed by Preston and Youness. And no one has ever claimed Ozzie doesn't retain control of roster moves. Ever.

the other that guy     October 19
@Kevin Yeah, cause nothing guarantees a good football team more than some "strongly opinionated players" lol.

And as for leadership "on and off the field", I read everywhere what a great "leader" Eric Weddle is, but he can;t tackle fer crap.

DR (the original)     October 19
Can't agree with everything you said there, Brien.

Todd Heap and Dennis Pitta were excellent players, in each case the security blankets for QBs who didn't have great WRs. Ed Dickson is still a starting player in the NFL. A little too early to totally diss Maxx Williams, no?

I'd argue that Anquan Boldin was a pretty good goal line target. Remember the AFC Championship Game? Yes, he came from somewhere else. Not disputing our poor WR draft choices.

Kevin     October 19
Brien-

The head coach has been largely to blame for the makeup of the roster, changing the attitude, style and leadership both on the field and off. The changes in the types of players in recent "Ozzie's" drafts notably changed with the appearance of the new coach as well. The Ravens have drafted non-strongly opinionated players and great special teamers who cannot reach the level of play that game changers can. Those game changers do not fit the mold of the Harbaugh era, except to win a Super Bowl.

HERMAN     October 19
I didn't know fruit could speak or vote.

MOE     October 19
@Jake Swallowed up?? How so?? The video is still there, as are Drew's insightful comments. Everyone can still go watch and hear for themselves (and enjoy), how does anything in the comments section distract from that, much less "swallow it up"?

I'm thinking people criticize Brien cause his writing is horrible and they wish we had more David and George, and less Brien and Todd. That and the fact Brien overwhelms the comments sections at times with his overzealous attempts to make sense out of his nonsense.

Brien Jackson     October 19
http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Hyperbole+definition

Jake     October 19
It's a shame Drew's outstanding video analysis of Tiger gets swallowed up by all of the Brien bashing. I don't understand why people feel the need to constantly criticize him.

Curly     October 19
Just Another Guy Did you notice they were “different” articles, so he didn’t just read one article thirty-six times, or three articles twelve times each. Syllables, man. The more you can put in your sentences the more authoritative you sound.

just another guy     October 19
“I must have read 3 dozen different articles demanding a new offensive coordinator already this season.”



So what Brien is saying is, there were at least 36 “journalists” out there “demanding” Harbs dump Marty? Call me a skeptic, but I find it hard to believe 36 reporters would a) care enough about the situation to write an article and b) saying “The Ravens should hire a new OC right now” is NOT the same as “demanding”. Why would any reporter, even a local beat writer, “demand” anything?

Unless by “articles” Brien means, I don’t know, facebook posts? Tweets?

This encapsulates very nicely the style and quality we get from this guy. I try to read his stuff because, sometimes, if you read between the oh so many lines, he might make an interesting point, but it gets harder and harder to ignore stuff like the sentence above. Why not just say “some have said” and leave it at that??

And the point is not about grammar, it’s about not throwing crap out there that is clearly not true. Pretty ironic, cause that’s the same issue that guy Brien loves to hate has, and gets ripped for, by the likes of Brien and the other serial fabricator, the Little Fella (you know, the tweeter in chief). This is a common practice by people with zero credibility trying to pretend they have some (and interesting that Brien throws that same accusation at people who “watch film”, yet he does exact same thing).

And yes I know, the core audience does not care, I’ll get shouted down as a hater. After all, this is the blog equivalent of talk radio, why be so picky, right?


Fact Check     October 19
The "expert" is wrong again. He slams folks who say they watch the ALL 22, yet can't refute any of the observations directly.



But for all of the lousy writing and having "Fact Check" fact check his dubious credentials. I've found NO articles with is by-line on NPR, ESPN nor CBS sports, they only 2 things I've found is grass cutter and some writing on some 8th rate website.

Expert???? Micheal Clayton instead of Mark Clayton?? I guess he has urges for George Clooney.



Way out of his depth. Went to the LF school of "good" writing. Just shout a lot and call yourself an expert. Ozzie has 2 Super Bowl rings. If the "expert" would have been running the Ravens? Every single year they would win it all.


Tom J     October 19
Well, I can finally agree with Brien on one thing, Ozzie is a huge part of the Ravens problems. I've been saying this to people for years but no one ever wants to call him out because he seems to get a hall pass for the 96 draft. Yes, he has drafted some incredible players but when was the last great draft? They've had one Pro Bowler from the first 3 rounds since around 08. And to all of the Flacco supporters, read the article in The Sun where his pears voted him the third most overrated QB in the NFL. It's one thing when the "know nothing fans' say this but when you pears speak, that says volumes.

James - Dundalk     October 19
@ STEVE FROM PIMLICO, Remember Ramon Harewood the "O" line guy Ozzie picked at 194. Guess who was picked at 195. Antonio Brown

Bill     October 19
Thanks for the Tiger Woods swing insight Drew. Interesting to say the least. I can definitely see on the last video with the red shirt where, as you say, he's standing taller and not nearly as hunched over as in the 2011 video. I don't know much about the swing but I would assume the 2017 version is putting less stress on his back.

Mike from Reisterstown     October 18
@ ANDYMTH3 sounds like Bob From Parkville in reverse.

Brien Jackson     October 18
@Chris K



I'm 99% sure that Machado isn't even on the Yankees' radar. Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar excelled at Double-A this year and figure to move to 3b/2b. They might be in on Harper since Gardner's getting older (Clint Frazier is their CF'er of the future btw), but like Drew said it's pitching that they really need. In the rotation AND in the bullpen as well.

Tom     October 18
I can make this argument easy.



Popovich is definitely crazy. Ask anyone.



Trump is definitely crazy. Ask anyone.



I don't have a dog in either hunt and I can vouch for both statements. Both of them are nuts.

James     October 18
@Herman. Nicely played sir. Funny stuff.

That Guy     October 18
@Andysmyth3,



I'm not picking on you independently. I see this a lot on internet forums everywhere when someone takes exception with a writer, author, blogger, etc.



I find it funny in a weird way. I wonder if you even know you wrote it.



You wrote: "You somehow can say whatever you want because you are a nobody who nobody really cares what you think."



You're clearly pointing out that you believe the writer is a "nobody" and "nobody really cares what you think."



That's fair and it's your right to make that observation.



If you don't care what he thinks why did you take the time to even respond?



I see that sort of thing a lot and it makes me laugh.



BTW, Popovich is kind of crazy. I think you'd even admit that if you weren't so mad about Drew calling him crazy.

HERMAN     October 18
@Andymth3



Gregg Popovich got where he is due to his white privilege. Didn't you hear Obama? "you didn't build that"!

He should immediately resign his position as he is taking the job of a more well deserving minority who didn't get their job through white privilege. It is almost criminal that he is a white man lording over a black majority team in a black majority league. All due to white privilege.

I call on Gregg Popovich to immediately resign his position, give it to a more deserving minority being held down because Gregg holds the job that the minority deserves more, and further, to contribute the salary he didn't earn to BLM.

Championships? Popovich didn't earn those, it was on the backs of minorities. He should return all his hardware, and resign, allowing for a minority to move up, and apologize for all his white privilege.

interested thrid party     October 18
@Andymth3 Nice post. You must be new, the meat of this site is low brow humor and spitballing, how dare you pay attention to the written word! Be prepared for some lambasting from the SOD. But some of us appreciate well thought responses such as yours.

Andymth3     October 18
Gregg Popovich "crazy"? We all should be so crazy. This is a man that graduated from the Air Force Academy, served his country in the armed forces, in intelligence no less, has been one of the greatest basketball coaches in history winning 5 NBA championships, but he is crazy? Why? Because he had the temerity to call the president what he is, a "soulless coward"? Because he speaks forcefully and eloquently about race, and injustice, and inequity? You're right with your I only graduated from Glen Burnie High School schtick. You are way out of your league taking shots at him. I get it, he is a liberal and you are a conservative, you do not agree politically, but that does not make him crazy. I have read your obligatory free speech references, which I am not sure if you actually believe, but here is someone exercising his right to free speech, and he is doing it an a way that does not interfere with games, or national anthems, or your other precious forums, and yet he is crazy because he expressing his opinion. Is this what America has come to now? You somehow can say whatever you want because you are a nobody who nobody really cares what you think, but when an NBA coach actually says something that you do not agree with, how dare he? It is easy to be patriotic and American when everybody agrees with you, but heaven forbid they have a different point of view, them clearly they are crazy. I thought you were smarter and more broad minded than that. I guess I was wrong. I must be crazy.

DELRAY RICK     October 18
Just heard on the radio HILLARY IN LONDON says it is OK to knee for anthem. She will go opposite of TRUMP no matter what. THATS IT! You now can stand on your head if you want. What bunch of crap.

George     October 18
What odds am I offered against Tiger winning the Masters next year? I wish to put my money where my mouth is.

Brendan     October 18
One theory is that Anderson was not let go because of the other Atheltic Directors that have been fired related to the FBI investigation at other schools. Maryland is free and clear of that landmine, but had Anderson been let go at the same time as those others, accusations would be made. I think it is as simple as Loh does not like him and fundraising issues. But he is getting 6 months paid for the move to the Big Ten, which went well.

JohnInEssex     October 18
THANKS Drew for the write up on the MD AD situation. Good stuff!



Watched the Dodgers/Cubs last night - I laughed hysterically to myself as I watched the Cubs pitcher walk the Dodger pitcher on 4 straight balls with the bases loaded. The batter was doing the old fake a bunt and lean out over the plate thing that we all did in Little League, and it worked! During that at bat, the catcher talked to the pitcher twice and the pitching coach came out once. The color commentator (Ron Darling?) was spot on saying all this talking to the pitcher about pitching to the pitcher was just making matters worse for the Cubs pitcher. He also said there is a difference between pitching in the regular season compared to pitching in the playoffs. The sweet Cubbie fans rained down a thunderstorm of BOOS for their pitcher at the end of the inning.



Earlier in the game, the leadoff guy for the Dodgers (Taylor?) managed to get a triple on a ball hit down the third base line. Don't recall ever seeing that happen.

HERMAN     October 18
@robintowson makes a great point, Korea is golf crazy and starved for a sanctioned event. In addition to the purse I'd like to see the "guarantees" paid out to top players in appearance fees and other opportunities there where they can make a killing. Firms there would easily pay a top player a half million to play with the CEO and attend the big company dinner.

Leadership of the tour should be applauded for what they have done with the schedule. The various "runs" make total sense, opening in Hawaii, a run through California, off to Florida, and so on. This three week Asian run is genius.


Steve from Pimlico     October 18
If the Ravens had an Antonio Brown and a Leveon Bell,Joe would be more than adequate at QB.

Look what he did with Ray Rice and Anquan Bolding.

The modern game of football has passed Ozzie by ,sadly.Three of his beloved Alabama picks Cody ,Upshaw and now Williams have hardly been impactful players.

The QB positions new young stars all have mobility which forces defenses to account for their escapability.

James - Dundalk     October 18
@ Pratt. I always admired the knowledge of Phil Savage when he was director of college scouting. Since he left for the Cleveland GM years ago it IMO our college scouting has dropped off. I've stated before our Undrafted player seem to make more impact then the drafted ones.

-->
Sunday
May 14
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 14
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


happy mother's day!


My mom passed away when I was 24 years old, so Mother's Day is both joyous and sad for me. My wife is an awesome mom to our two children, so I get to share that with her and them, but I'm one of the unlucky ones who can't reach out today and tell my mom how much I love and appreciate her.

But knowing how much she loved sports, I'm guessing my mom is an avid #DMD reader in heaven!

Brooks Robinson was always her favorite Oriole.

Every year when my Little League baseball team handed out uniforms, my mom would always remind me beforehand, "See if you can get number five!"

When I didn't, she would be disappointed. She wanted me to be just like Brooks.

I've said this a lot over the years anytime I reference the move of the Colts from Baltimore to Indianapolis. In my family of three in Glen Burnie, my mother was -- by far -- the most upset of any of us. My dad and I were both crushed when they left, but my mother was out-of-this-world hurt.

She didn't talk to anyone in the house for three days after the Colts lost to the Jets in Super Bowl III. True story. It took her until Thursday to recover from that one.

I remember once Johnny Unitas was appearing somewhere in Anne Arundel County (Brooklyn, I think) and we drove to meet him. When we arrived there were probably 200 people in line. We go out of the car and she saw the Colts' QB sitting at a desk signing autographs. She walked up to front of the line and just stood there for a minute looking at Unitas as he greeted fans and signed things.

Someone from the Colts staff mentioned to her that the line formed "back there" and my mom said, "I'm not here for an autograph. I just wanted to see Johnny U. in person."

After about five minutes, we left. That really was all she wanted to do. She didn't want a signature. She just wanted to see the great quarterback in person, up close and personal.

Maybe that's why I was never much of an autograph hound growing up. I got a few here and there, but by and large I never saw the great importance in having someone's signature on a photo or a piece of paper.

I told Johnny Unitas that story in the late 1990's when I saw him at a charity golf outing at Hillendale Country Club. Telling him about my mom and her love for the Colts was much better than any autograph, anyway.

My mom probably wanted me to win in Little League baseball more than I wanted to win.

We'd get in the car after a game over at Sawmill Park and she'd say, "2 for 5 today -- you're only hitting .338 now. You know that, right?"

Back in Little League, .338 wasn't a great batting average. My mom wanted me to be great. And she would keep all the statistics on index cards. She knew how many RBI and errors I had before I knew how many I had.

If we won, my mom was joyous. If we lost, the car ride home was silent. My dad, who worked in the car business and sometimes didn't get to see my games, would remind me that he knew right away if we won or lost a game based on the way he was greeted when he walked in the door.

My mom loved sports and she loved her teams to win.

In my early teens, I started playing competitive ice hockey. My mom didn't like that. She thought it was too rough. She would go to the games, but the first time I hit the ice either via a check or a collision with an opposing player, she would go sit in the car and do a crossword puzzle.

She did a lot of crossword puzzles in her car back in those days. I loved hockey, she didn't. But if I played a sport, she drove me to practice or the games and was always interested in what the team did first.

In the old days back in Glen Burnie, the Maryland Gazette was the local, twice-a-week paper that covered all things Anne Arundel County. They covered Little League baseball like it was the Orioles and the major leagues. It was always a big deal to get your name or photo in the paper and my mom kept every clipping of any article that mentioned me or my team.

We once had a kid on my "Dodgers" team, I think I was 10 or 11, who didn't get to play very much. His first name was Jamie -- I forget his last name. But in a game we won handily, 10-2 or something like that, Jamie got two hits when he got a chance to play in the final couple of innings.

Those were his first two hits of the season. We were probably ten or so games into the season by then and he was usually shoved out into right field late in the game, only getting one at bat per-game if that.

When the newspaper came out the next week and the game re-cap was in the Gazette, they mentioned a lot of players on the team but didn't mention Jamie. My mom called the newspaper and asked to speak to the reporter who wrote the story. She told him about Jamie and his first two hits of the season and that he should have mentioned that in his story.

I remember thinking that was a pretty cool mom I had.

So, Happy Mother's Day to all of the "cool" moms out there today. Thank you for your efforts, thank you for your wisdom and thank you for your love. We wouldn't be here, today, without you!

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bats silent, o's lose again in k.c., 4-3


I wrote here at #DMD a couple of weeks ago that it was the Orioles hitting, not pitching, that seemed the most problematic for the team in the early stages of the 2017 campaign.

Well, here we are, nearing the quarter-pole of the season later this week, and the O's offense is still scuffling. The Birds dropped a 4-3 decision to the Royals last night and struck out 15 times in the process. You only get 27 outs in a game, remember.

Making just his second start of the season on Saturday night in K.C., Chris Tillman couldn't make it past the 5th inning in a 4-3 loss to the Royals.

Granted, Chris Tillman wasn't great last night, but he was making just his second start of the season. He had a few minor league rehab starts, yes, but it's still sorta-kinda spring training for Tillman, who worked into the 5th inning before running out of gas and giving way to Alec Asher.

Still, the Birds managed just six hits and three runs on Saturday night, all of them coming via the solo home run. When you get outhit 12-6, you're losing nearly every time.

The 9th inning once again featured an interesting decision from Buck Showalter, as for the second straight night he sent J.J. Hardy to the plate as the potential tying run, facing K.C. closer Kelvin Herrera.

Hardy's barely hitting his weight. Why not pinch hit for him there?

Is something wrong with Ryan Flaherty that we don't know about? Is that the issue? Is there no defensive replacement for Hardy at shortstop?

Why not pinch hit for Hardy and send Hyun Soo Kim to the plate to face the righthanded throwing Herrera?

I wanted Jim Hunter to ask Buck that question after the game, but it was more important for Hunter to talk about how "gutsy" Chris Tillman was in his 85 minutes of work.

Everyone looks at Kansas City's record (15-21) and thinks the O's should be pounding them this weekend, but the Royals have a lot of good hitters on their roster. Pitching is what holds them back, but they can do some damage with the bats on any given night.

And Kauffman Stadium has become a bit of a dungeon for the Birds over the last few years. They're 2-9 in their last 11 games in Kansas City.

Back to Kim for a minute. What is up with Buck's disdain for him? Kim has now appeared in one less game than Joey Rickard, and while he's only hitting .222 on the season, put him in there against a right hander and he can make something happen.

Unless there's something happening behind the scenes injury-wise that we don't know about, Buck's reluctance to involve Kim is puzzling. I assume Kim gets a start today with right-handed Chris Young on the mound for the Royals. I hope he has a productive day.

The good news from last night's loss? The O's only used three pitchers; Tillman, Asher and Donnie Hart. If nothing else, Buck has a fairly rested bullpen to use today in the series finale, then the Birds have an off-day tomorrow before starting a 3-game series in Detroit. If the O's can get a good start out of Kevin Gausman today and not tax the relievers, things should be reset and back to normal for the series in Detroit.

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college lax: towson pulls a stunner, hopkins blasted at home by duke


Joe Seider scored four goals and Ryan Drenner chipped in with two tallies as the visiting Towson Tigers upset #7 seed Penn State, 12-8, in the opening round of the NCAA lacrosse tournament on Saturday afternoon.

Towson will play the winner of today's game between Yale and Syracuse in next week's quarterfinals. That game will be played in Newark, Delaware on the campus of the University of Delaware.

Westminster High School grad Ryan Drenner scored 2 goals in Saturday's NCAA tournament win at Penn State, as Towson beat the Nittany Lions to advance to the quarterfinals.

The Tigers have now won their last two trips to Penn State, the other coming during the 2013 CAA playoffs.

"Another tough win up here against a very strong Penn State team. I thought that second half really showcased who we were. I was a little worried after that first half, but the players really responded," fifth-year Towson head coach Shawn Nadelen said. "I think the senior experience really helped as far as staying focused and dialed in. I'm really proud of the way these guys were able to handle the game and earn that win."

The Tigers out-shot Penn State, 43-23, including double digit shot totals in the first (14) and third (12) quarters.

Meanwhile, at Homewood Field, Johns Hopkins suffered its first home playoff defeat since 1991 on Saturday, as unseeded Duke pounded the Blue Jays, 19-6.

The day started off on a bad note for Dave Pietramala's team when the school announced just before the game that graduate-student transfer Gerald Logan had been ruled academically ineligible and would not be able to start in goal for the Blue Jays.

His replacement, Brock Turnbaugh, didn't have a good afternoon, allowing 11 goals and making just 3 saves in 27 minutes of work before he was pulled in favor of third-string netminder Will Ryan.

"Statistically, it says it all," Coach Pietramala said after a long pause to begin his postgame conference. "We got beat. We got beat by a team that played better than us, that played bigger, stronger, faster than us. They're a very good team, and I give them all the credit, but we didn't help ourselves. You can't have [a season-worst] 20 turnovers, lose the amount of faceoffs that we lost, lose the possession game like we lost. I'll be honest with you — 19-6, it felt like 30-6."

Duke moves on to face the winner of today's game between Ohio State and Loyola University.

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orioles-yankees one-day trip
at an amazing price! (only seven seats left)


Anyone want to go to Yankee Stadium on Sunday, June 11 to see the Orioles and Yankees do battle in the Bronx?

If so, go with us! #DMD has an awesome one-day trip package available now. It's so good, you'll say "What's the catch?" Well, there isn't one.

Game time is 1:05 pm, which makes for a perfect up-and-back bus trip for the baseball lovers in your family. We'll leave Baltimore at 7:30 am sharp and arrive at the stadium by 11:45 or so. Assuming the game ends at 4:00 pm, that puts us back in good ol' Bawlmer by 7:30 or 8:00 pm.

The trip package includes luxury motor-coach transportation, breakfast from Royal Farms, ice cold DuClaw beer for the trip to New York, lunch from Palmisano's of Baldwin upon arrival, and a "terrace level" game ticket with everyone else who is traveling in our group.

And get this, we recently added another great benefit to the package: You pay nothing at the concession stands!! That's right, everyone in our travel group gets access to an unlimited in-game buffet, featuring typical "ballpark food" like hot dogs, sausages, chips, pretzels, snacks, etc., plus water and soft drinks. No more spending $20-$25 every time you go to the concession stand.

What's it all cost? $149 per-person. That gets you EVERYTHING, including the bus driver's gratuity.

If you're looking for a good early Father's Day gift, this is it (Father's Day is the following Sunday)!

If you've never been to Yankee Stadium, we make it easy for you to enjoy a great day of "road baseball", except we do the driving, we supply the tickets, and you'll never go hungry or thirsty when you travel with us.

Please go here to reserve your spots.



Saturday
May 13
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 13
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


another head scratcher from buck as o's drop series opener in k.c.


The Orioles are still in first place.

Yes, even after losing last night in Kansas City, 3-2, the Birds remain ahead of the Yankees and everyone else in the American League East.

So all is not lost, despite another night of confusing decisions from Buck Showalter.

Let's admit one thing right from the start: We never know exactly what's going on in the clubhouse or locker room of any sports team. Injuries are kept quiet, illnesses aren't reported and personal problems are swept under the rug. So, some of Showalter's decisions last night might have had something to do with things that we don't know about "on the outside".

Buck said after the game "a couple of (bullpen) guys weren't available tonight, so we were a little thin back there."

In other words, Showalter's trying to give some relief pitchers an extra day or two of rest.

I sure hope that's true. If not, some of Buck's thinking from Friday night was downright puzzling.

The injury to Zach Britton has disrupted the Orioles previously seamless bullpen "rotation" and is leading to blown leads and tight games getting away from the Orioles.

The Zach Britton injury has forced the manager into scramble-mode, there's no doubt about it. Even last night, with the game tied at 2-2 in the 7th inning, Buck was probably thinking about extra innings or, better yet, who closes the game if the O's take the lead in the 9th, 10th, etc?

The Orioles didn't play on Thursday thanks to a rain out in Washington D.C. Why, then, would Vidal Nuno and his 6.75 ERA be pitching in the bottom of the eighth inning in Kansas City? As soon as he came in the game, I said to no one in particular, "This won't end well."

Alas, it didn't end well at all. Nuno gave up three hits in the inning, including a double that plated the eventual game-winning run.

What does Buck have against Donnie Hart? Hart has thrown just once since May 6, going one inning in Wednesday night's 7-6 loss at Nationals Park.

Hart was well rested last night and a far better gamble than Nuno, the up-again-down-again relief pitcher who has "Norfolk, VA" plugged into his car's GPS system to make the impending trip back to Triple A that much easier.

I get it. Showalter's options are stymied with Britton out. But going with Nuno in the 8th last night was a recipe for failure. And -- it failed.

In the 9th, down 3-2, the O's were due to send up Mancini, Hardy and Joseph against K.C.'s hard throwing closer, Kelvin Herrera.

Game over, right? Right.

But why not go down fighting in the 9th?

Three left-handed hitters were sitting on the bench at that point: Chris Davis, Hyun Soo Kim and Seth Smith. Maybe Buck was thinking ahead to extra innings, but someone needs to remind the skipper that you can't play extra innings baseball until you actually get to extra innings.

I understand wanting Mancini to hit there, even though he'd never before faced Herrera. And Mancini did get wood on the ball but lined out to third base to start the inning.

What happened next was really bizarre.

Buck let J.J. Hardy bat against Herrera. Yep, the guy with the .210 batting average. That J.J. Hardy.

Perhaps Hyun Soo Kim has a 3-week bout with diarrhea still ongoing or he stepped in a pothole somewhere and the team hasn't told us, but allowing Hardy to hit last night with Kim on the bench made zero sense.

And then there's Chris Davis, who was available -- we assume -- to pinch hit in the 9th for Hardy, or anyone, but instead sat next to Kim in the dugout.

Hardy popped out for the 2nd out of the inning, naturally.

And even though Caleb Joseph delivered a half-swing triple that was completely misplayed by the K.C. right fielder, there was certainly an argument to have Kim, Davis or Seth Smith bat for him, too.

Smith, it should be noted, did get the call after Joseph's triple, pinch hitting for Craig Gentry and flying out to end the game.

Buck's 9th inning nap was even more puzzling than using Nuno in the 8th, if you ask me.

I'll reiterate though, one more time, perhaps there's something going on with Kim, Davis and Smith that we don't know about and shouldn't know about.

Heck, Davis is a strikeout waiting to happen every time he's at the plate, so maybe Showalter thought last night, "Why send him up there to swing and miss at three pitches?", but you'd rather have Davis face Herrera than Hardy, right?

It would have been productive for MASN play-by-play man Jim Hunter to ask Showalter about his two late-game decisions in the post-game show, but Hunter is scared to death to ask Buck a question that might get a rise out of the manager.

I completely understand wanting to give players in-season rest and "a night off" here and there. There's value to that. But how much more tired would Chris Davis be today, for example, if he would have pinch hit in the 9th inning on Friday night?"

Kim hasn't played in so long, his shoes no longer fit. Why not trot him out there in the 9th to pinch hit for Hardy or Joseph?

May hasn't been a great month for Buck so far. Injuries have affected his thinking, that's for sure, but some of his decision-making reeks of Sam Perlozzo.

But the Birds are still in first place...

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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.

With Zach Britton possibly on the shelf for as much as two months, there's a lot of pressure on the rest of the bullpen to step up and fill a new role. And there's no one under more pressure than the man tasked with filling in for the game's best closer; Brad Brach.

Unfortunately for the Orioles, Brach hasn't exactly answered the call in the manner they would have liked, and as Drew's article on Thursday shows, there's already some grumbling that he might just not be up to it.

So, what's wrong with Brach?

For starters, it's worth pointing out that his struggles have been overstated to an extent, and basically boil down to the two games in which he's blown saves already.

Between Wednesday night in Washington and back on April 28th in New York, Brach has been dinged for six credited earned runs allowed in just 1.1 innings of work. Not good!

But set those two games aside and Brach has only allowed two earned runs over the entire rest of the season so far, with a 16-5 strikeout to walk ratio. That's pretty good! And rather than obviously struggling to jump into that mystical role of closer, Brach's converted eight of his 10 save opportunities so far, and in five of those saves he's faced just the minimum of 3 batters to close things out.

What's likely dogging Brach is a bias towards recent events: Both of those other two runs have come since May 5th against the White Sox. In other words, if Brach is merely going through the normal rough patch that the vast majority of players face over the course of a season, he's doing it at exactly the moment when everyone is most primed to freak out about anything short of a tippy-top performance. But if Brach pitches the rest of the season like he was pitching before Cinco de Mayo, he'll have another excellent season and most likely end up as one the league's top 10 or 15 relievers once again.

That's not to say everyone should be totally sanguine about Brach's future prospects, and there's a very simple reason why. Relievers, even the best ones, have a notoriously short shelf life before they start wearing out, and Brach's been worked HARD since taking on a bigger role in Buck's bullpen.

Since the start of the 2015 season, Brach is 19th in all of baseball in total appearances, but he's accounted for more total innings pitched than anyone else in the top 58 pitchers in that group. And the guy who comes in at 59th, Brad Hand, has started 12 games.

Brach has more innings pitched in the last 2+ seasons than anyone else in the league who hasn't made at least one start in that time frame, making for a pretty good case that he's carried the heaviest workload in all of baseball in that time frame. And so far this season Brach has already apeared in 19 games...good for the second most in MLB.

And those other two games he's allowed to score runs in over the past week? He also pitched the day before each of them. And that April 28th debacle in New York came two days after the only game of the season in which he pitched more than one inning.

So there's plenty of good reasons that the other shoe will drop for Brach at some point and his right arm is going to run out of bullets, which makes any time spent without Britton that much more precarious for a team that needs their bullpen to play an outsized role in their success if they're going to seriously contend for a pennant.

Thankfully, there's not a ton of other info to suggest that Brach has reached that point yet. His velocity is down a tick from last season, but not enough to even notice on a nightly basis. He's still using his slider to strong effect and the dropoff in his changeup utilization continues a trend from last year, Brach's best as a major leaguer.

So there's no reason to remotely start having serious concern about Brach's physical condition, but at some point Buck Showalter is going to either have to pull back the reins and ease up on the workload he's asking Brach to carry, or be content with the reality that he's almost certainly going to burn out his second best relief option sooner rather than later.

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last chance for that late mother's day gift! give her lady gaga!


We still have a handful of both lower and upper concourse seats available for the September 11th Lady Gaga show in Philadelphia, along with our all-inclusive party bus that's heading to the Wells Fargo Center for a night of great fun.

If you're still scrambling for a late Mother's Day gift, this might be it! Best of all, you don't really have to tag along (if you're the man, buying for her, that is). The bus will be filled with solo Gaga fans, going on their own, so get her a ticket for the trip and send her with #DMD on September 11.

Details are available here.

Hope I helped you with an awesome Mother's Day gift idea!

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orioles-yankees one-day trip
at an amazing price! (only seven seats left)


Anyone want to go to Yankee Stadium on Sunday, June 11 to see the Orioles and Yankees do battle in the Bronx?

If so, go with us! #DMD has an awesome one-day trip package available now. It's so good, you'll say "What's the catch?" Well, there isn't one.

Game time is 1:05 pm, which makes for a perfect up-and-back bus trip for the baseball lovers in your family. We'll leave Baltimore at 7:30 am sharp and arrive at the stadium by 11:45 or so. Assuming the game ends at 4:00 pm, that puts us back in good ol' Bawlmer by 7:30 or 8:00 pm.

The trip package includes luxury motor-coach transportation, breakfast from Royal Farms, ice cold DuClaw beer for the trip to New York, lunch from Palmisano's of Baldwin upon arrival, and a "terrace level" game ticket with everyone else who is traveling in our group.

And get this, we recently added another great benefit to the package: You pay nothing at the concession stands!! That's right, everyone in our travel group gets access to an unlimited in-game buffet, featuring typical "ballpark food" like hot dogs, sausages, chips, pretzels, snacks, etc., plus water and soft drinks. No more spending $20-$25 every time you go to the concession stand.

What's it all cost? $149 per-person. That gets you EVERYTHING, including the bus driver's gratuity.

If you're looking for a good early Father's Day gift, this is it (Father's Day is the following Sunday)!

If you've never been to Yankee Stadium, we make it easy for you to enjoy a great day of "road baseball", except we do the driving, we supply the tickets, and you'll never go hungry or thirsty when you travel with us.

Please go here to reserve your spots.



Friday
May 12
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 12
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


if he's not a winner, is he a loser?


This subject is topical today because on Wednesday night, Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals stood at center ice and shook hands with Sidney Crosby as a losing member of a playoff team that had no business coming up short.

Another Game 7 loss and Ovechkin's subpar play are as connected as Hall and Oates. Where there's one, there's the other.

Ovechkin, plain and simple, is not a winner.

He never has been, really. Great player? Depending on your definition of great, perhaps he is, yes. Let's make it simple so we're not nitpicking over semantics. Whether he's a great player -- or not -- he's had a great career in the NHL thus far. That's a fair compromise.

It's a complicated puzzle the Caps are trying to solve. I'm not new to this party, remember. Anyone who listened to me on the radio circa 2008 knows I've been saying Ovechkin isn't a winner since way back when. It's something I "felt" almost from the very start, or at least once he became a dazzling, prominent player in the league.

That's what winning looks like.

But after 12 years in the league and not one trip to the NHL Finals, I think it's safe to say this: He's not a winner.

Does that, then, make Ovechkin a loser? Well, those are fighting words, particularly with athletes. I always thought Chad Johnson, the former Bengals wide receiver, was the shining example of a "loser". Lots of talent, some impressive stats and personal accomplishments, but never able to lift his team to victory when the important games came around.

After the Ravens signed T.J. Houshmandzadeh back in 2010, I called him a "career loser" on my morning show. The next time I saw John Harbaugh at the team's facility, he made a point of mentioning to me that he was listening that morning and took offense to me labeling his newest player a "loser".

"That's the worst thing you can call a guy," Harbaugh said to me that day, a tone of bitterness in his voice.

I remember saying to the coach, "Well, he's never won anything in his life, John. What's that make him?"

Some folks called Charles Barkley a loser for that same reason, remember. He was a helluva player with lots of All-Star Games, MVP awards and other glitz and glamour, but only once did he play in the Finals and he finished his career without a NBA championship.

A lot of people thought Alex Rodriguez was a loser until 2009 when the Yankees finally captured the World Series.

"Loser" is such a bad, strong word when it comes to sports. It reeks of dishonor. How can someone be judged a "great" player if they're known as a loser?

So, tagging Ovechkin a loser might be too strong. But a winner, he's not.

The issue, though, is why?

Why isn't Ovechkin a winner? Why have his Russian Olympic teams fallen short? Why have the Capitals never once won under his guidance and leadership? Why? Or, why not, in this case?

Oh, sure, the Caps have been "winners" since Ovechkin showed up, but that's only if you equate beating a bunch of teams in November, December and March as "winning". But winning in the regular season and in the playoffs are two different things, as we all know.

No one really cares who wins the regular season title in any sport. It's what happens in the post-season that matters.

If the Caps would have squeaked in the playoffs this spring by the skin of their teeth, then reeled off four consecutive series wins and captured the Stanley Cup, no one would give a hoot that they finished 8th in the Eastern Conference in the regular season.

It's all about winning. Or, more importantly, it's about coming through when the chips are down and your team's season is in the balance. Ovechkin isn't the only high quality pro athlete who seems star crossed in the post-season. I could mention a soon-to-be-wealthy third baseman that we all love here in Baltimore who has a career .174 batting average in his playoff career.

Doing it in the regular season is all well and good. But you have to come through in the big games and you have to lead your team to playoff triumphs -- or all of that other stuff is just eye wash.

I keep going back to this question: Why can't Ovechkin win? Why no gold medals in the Olympics? Why no Stanley Cup rings? It's one thing if the Caps have been a meandering, .500 team all these years or if the Russian teams were middle-of-the-pack, talent wise. You could understand that. It is, after all, a team game.

But Ovi's been on some incredibly gifted teams -- rosters packed full of all-stars and great performers. And he's been the leader. But winning hasn't tagged along with him.

Why not? I tend to think -- you can decide for yourself if this is realistic -- it's just in his sports DNA to lose. He's able to play freely and without stress in the regular season because there's nothing really on the line when the Caps play home against St. Louis or at Columbus. It's just another hockey game.

But when the spotlight shines brighter and he knows the team's fate that night in April or May potentially rests on his contributions, Ovechkin can't get out of his own way. That's a familiar saying in professional golf -- "he can't get out of his own way". It just means you're not able to put aside the importance of the moment and play without all that mental interference you've created for yourself.

It's in Ovechkin's DNA to get in his own way in the playoffs. I don't know why. It just is.

Losing looks like this.

There will be people this week and next who will create a comfortable, protective narrative for Ovechkin. They'll write about injuries, as if no other player on the team was dinged up in the playoffs. "Ovechkin played with a lower body injury against the Penguins," they're already saying. Of course he did. What about the other ten years he frittered away chances to take the Caps to the promised land? Injuries? Yeah, sure.

They'll talk about how his role changed this season and he didn't see as much ice team and, therefore, perhaps wasn't hitting on all cylinders come April and May.

Watch and see -- there will be lots of excuses made for Ovechkin. None of those can disguise the reality that he had an incredibly poor second half of the season and was essentially a role player vs. the Maple Leafs and Penguins.

Ready for these numbers? Take a seat. In the team's last 41 regular season games, Ovechkin scored 12 goals. And six of those were on the power play. He went from January 13 to March 14 scoring ONE even strength goal. Two months -- one goal in the regular flow of play. One more than you and I. Hell, you get me out there for 41 games in even-strength situations and at least one is bouncing in off my skates and I'll deflect another one or two in the net, somehow.

12 goals in 41 games, six of which came with an extra player on the ice. $10 million for that? And you think that guy is a winner?

But let's forgive that statistical outlier for a minute and just look at the playoffs. Ovechkin's career numbers in the post-season aren't bad, by the way. They're actually quite good. But for all the stats he piles up, Ovechkin isn't the guy who gets the big goal. That's not me saying that -- the data says it.

This season, the Caps were involved in six overtime playoff games. They won four of them. Goal scorers in those wins? Tom Wilson, Justin Williams, Marcus Johansson and Kevin Shattenkirk. Ovechkin? Nowhere to be found when the team just needed ONE goal to win a game or advance to the next round.

Excuses will be offered, but those are facts. Any late game heroics? Final minute goals? Overtime thrillers? No, no and no. Not from Ovechkin.

You might not know this, but you and Alex Ovechkin have something in common, hockey wise. Neither of you has ever scored an overtime goal in the NHL playoffs. Tom Wilson has, but Ovechkin hasn't.

But why does all of this happen? That's the question. Why can't he put up a showcase performance when it's needed the most?

And then comes the next BIG question, the one the Caps front office doesn't want to face. Is it time to admit that they can't win with Ovechkin in their locker room?

Could they win without him? Well, they certainly haven't won WITH him, that's for sure. Would the fan base go apopletic if the team parted company with Ovi? They might. But these annual playoff gag jobs can't be endearing area hockey fans to the franchise all that much, right?

I've been waiting for him to rise up in the playoffs and lead the Caps to a title, but he hasn't been able to do it. This year, he was like a horse that was eased at the top of the stretch. He had nothing to give in Game 7, so the jockey stopped hitting him with 500 yards to go.

In the biggest game of his career, and one of the biggest games ever for the Caps, their ten million dollar man was a no-show. He didn't look injured in Game 6 two nights earlier, by the way. But the convenient excuse for his woeful Game 7 effort will be the famous "lower body injury".

It's worth nothing that Ovechkin isn't the only Caps player plagued with can't-win'itis. Nicklas Backstrom looks like he might be cut from the same cloth as Ovi. Terrific in the regular season, half that player in the playoffs. Evgeny Kuznestov was the team's most dangerous offensive player in the first six games against Pittsburgh, then he, too, melted in Game 7.

And remember this, please. Sergio Garcia went nearly two decades without winning a major golf championship and that "L" word was trailing him for the last five years or so. Lots of people thought Garcia was a loser -- right up until he beat Justin Rose in a playoff to win The Masters last month.

Maybe Ovechkin pulls a Raymond Borque and finishes his career somewhere else and someday gets to hoist the Stanley Cup.

I doubt it, but maybe it works out that way for him.

I can't explain it. Sidney Crosby is a terrific player who wins. Alex Ovechkin is a terrific player who doesn't win.

Which one would you rather have on your team? I'm with you. Give me the guy in Pittsburgh, every day. He's a winner.

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john pusateri
on lacrosse

Covering local college lacrosse for #DMD is an important task, and JOHN PUSATERI is more than capable of handling the job! His keen eye breaks down teams, players, tendencies and key statistical data that all fits together for outstanding coverage of college lacrosse. When it comes to covering local lacrosse, #DMD does it better than anyone around!


After a great season with several teams taking their turn as #1, great games and plenty of upsets, it appears parity has struck NCAA men's lacrosse. While there are the usual suspects in the playoffs, all have proven to be vulnerable which should make for a great tournament and a potential first time champion. Let's take a brief look at each of the games this weekend, all of which will be televised on ESPNU.

Towson (#12) @ Penn State (#8) - Sat. 12pm

A classic matchup of great offense vs great defense as the Nittany Lions are putting up 13.7 goals per game while the Tigers only allow 7.4. Towson is led by several first team CAA players including Ryan Drenner (Westminster), CAA Defensive POY Tyler Mayes and a bevy of seniors looking to do build on last years tournament performance by making it to the final four.

Meanwhile, Penn State counters with a young but dangerous offense lead by B1G 1st teamers Nick Aponte and Grant Ament. The Tigers defense and face-off specialist have kept them in games all season and this is the last ride for a great class of motivated seniors. And while Penn State has played up and down, they play really up when they are at home. Unfortunately for the Tigers, their offense seems to sputter on the road. The game should be close with the Nittany Lions taking this one 11-9.

Maryland's Matt Rambo leads the #1 ranked Terps against unranked Bryant on Sunday, as the Terps' quest for a national lacrosse title begins at College Park.

Duke (#6) @ Johns Hopkins (#12) - Sat. 2:30pm

Very interesting seeding to say the least as Johns Hopkins gets a home game but draws one of the hottest teams in the country in Duke. In typical Blue Devil fashion, Duke started out the season slow playing down to the level of their competition, then picked it up just in time for the tournament.

And in typical Blue Jay fashion, Hopkins ducks no one and continues to play one of the toughest schedules, which always gets rewarded come tournament time. But unlike Blue Jay teams of the past, this year's version has been hot and cold in the last month with below average goaltending and inconsistent offense. Meanwhile Duke has been pretty dominant, especially on defense only giving up over 8 goals just once in games after April 1st, and that was in a blowout 20-11 win over UVA.

While the NCAA is relying on the RPI to seed the teams, I'm sticking with the polls that reflect teams' recent play for this prediction, giving Duke a 12-9 win.

Denver (#5) vs Air Force (#17) Sat. 5pm

This game features the rematch of the battle of Colorado, with the first game taking place 3 months ago that resulted in a Denver 14-6 win. Denver took turns as the nations top team this year while Air Force floundered a little before righting the ship in time for conference play.

The Falcons are led by junior attackman Chris Walsch (Gilman), SoCon Offensive POY, and Brendan Jones on defense. The Pioneers are lead by Teewarton finalists Connor Cannizzaro and faceoff specialist Trevor Baptiste. While Denver had a little letdown in the Big East tourney, look for them to dominate the Falcons again at home as the Pioneers take this one 13-8.

Albany (#4) vs North Carolina (#9) Sat. 7:30pm

This should be the game of the weekend featuring the defending national champs UNC against one the best offenses in the country in Albany. Carolina has been inconsistent and was in danger of missing the tournament altogether. However, just like last season, they pulled it together to win the ACC tourney and finish above .500, reminding us of last year's team that got hot at the right time to win it all.

Albany features probable Tewaarton winner Connor Fields, who's on pace to break Lyle Thompson's scoring records, should the Great Danes go far in the tournament, and TD Erlan, a faceoff specialist winning over 72% of his draws. Albany's only losses were by 1 goal each to #1 teams in Maryland and Syracuse. While UNC is getting hot, look for the home Great Danes who have something to prove to take down the Tar Heels 16-14 in a shootout.

Marquette (#16) @ Notre Dame (#7) Sun. 12pm

Interesting rematch against the always tough Fighting Irish and the upset-minded Golden Eagles, which was decided by one goal just a month ago by Notre Dame at home. Notre Dame is led by Mikey Wynne (St. Paul's), All American Sergio Perkovic and leading scorer Ryder Garnsey. However, Perkovic and Garnsey were injured in the ACC tourney and had to sit out in last week's OT loss to Army.

Meanwhile Marquette is riding high after taking down #5 Denver on its way to winning the Big East. Tough one to call as I'm not sure Perkovic and Garnsey will post. I'm putting the Irish on upset alert, but I think one of their 2 offensive stars return which will be enough to give the Irish a 9-8 win.

Maryland (#1) vs Bryant (NR) Sun. 2:30pm

The Terps have been on a great run and are lead by Tewaarton finanalist Matt Rambo and midfielder Connor Kelly, but have receive balanced scoring all-around. Down the stretch, goalie Dan Morris has played exceptionally well, particularly in the B1G tournament.

The Bulldogs had a rough start to the season but went 6-2 from April 1st on, including winning the NEC. However, Bryant hasn't played anyone near the caliber of Maryland with the exception of an early season win against then ranked #7 Yale. Bryant will play tough, but Maryland will win convincingly, 14-8.

Loyola (#10) @ Ohio State (#3) Sun. 5pm

Should be one of the better games of the weekend. The Buckeyes are enjoying one of their best seasons ever and were very close to winning that heavyweight bout against the Terps in the B1G championship. And their reward is to draw one of the final four teams from last year in Loyola, who really hasn't changed too much. The Greyhounds are lead by Tewaarton finalist Pat Spencer who has the Greyhounds offense peaking for the tournament.

The Buckeyes counter with freshman sensation Tre LeClaire, who almost beat the Terps single handedly in the B1G final and Jake Withers, one of the best faceoff men in the nation. Were it not for a couple of road losses in the Patriot League, Loyola would have been a higher seed and this game might not have taken place until the 2nd round. But Loyola is susceptible on the road, while Ohio State takes it up a notch at home with big wins over Denver and Maryland in the regular season. I see this trend continuing and with a 12-8 Buckeye victory.

Syracuse (#2) vs Yale (#14) Sun. 7:30pm

Think the seeding of this pair should result in a blowout by Syracuse? Think again. The Cardiac 'Cuse might be the shakiest top ranked team of the season with most wins coming by a single goal and usually within the last minute or OT. Yale started out somewhat slow after a 1-3 start to finish 10-5 that included a 1 goal loss to #4 Albany and a pair of 1 goal victories to earn the Ivy League title.

Yale is lead by Tewaarton finalist attackman Ben Reeves and All Ivy League FO Conor Mackie while Syracuse is led by All-ACC first team midfielders Sergio Salcido, Nick Mariano and FO Ben Williams. Great offenses and a great faceoff battle should make for a great game. And while this game will be close, I see Syracuse winning 14-12.

Final Four Prediction: Maryland, Denver, Ohio State, Syracuse

Dark Horses: Albany, Duke

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this weekend in
english soccer


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

The picture from top to bottom throughout the table gained a little more clarity as we head into Matchday 37 of the English Premier League, with Chelsea taking a major step towards the title thanks to a little help from their friends, the top four almost set, and one more team still to face relegation down to the Championship. With only two weeks left to go in the season, tune in to see how it all will play out with every game available live on the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Friday, May 12 (all times eastern)

3pm – Chelsea @ West Brom – The Hawthorns, NBC Sports Network

After three straight titles in Italy, Antonio Conte brought his coaching skills to England in 2016-2017 and he's now on the verge of an EPL championship with Chelsea.

Before they even stepped on to the pitch on Monday, Chelsea were already one step closer to the Premier League title thanks to an unexpected Tottenham stumble against West Ham, and they moved even another step closer when they had little trouble getting past Middlesbrough 3-0. The Blues can officially lock down their second title in the last three years and their fifth overall in the Premier League era when they travel to The Hawthorns for Friday Night Football against West Brom, who were finally on the scoresheet after a five-game draught but could only split the points in a 2-2 draw with Burnley.

After losing only one of their first eight games to start the New Year (W5 D2), West Brom have appeared to pack it in over the season’s final months, losing six of their last nine outings (D2) while barely managing to remedy their offensive deficiencies at the weekend. Three points will do the trick for Chelsea and while they were able to win their first eleven Premier League meetings with the Baggies and four of their last eight overall (L1 D3), but the home side have won three of their last five meetings at The Hawthorns (L1 D1) and manager Tony Pulis and his ragged bunch are unlikely to go quietly.

Sunday, May 14 (all times eastern)

7am – Hull City @ Crystal Palace – Selhurst Park, CNBC

After putting in another inept offensive performance against Chelsea, Middlesbrough became the second team this season to officially be relegated after Sunderland had gone down the week before to make it a three-team race between Swansea City, Hull City, and Crystal Palace to avoid becoming the final team to drop down to the Championship. The latter two will meet to kick off the Sunday slate when Hull City, currently in the final relegation spot one point behind Swansea City, travel to Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace, who sit five points above the Tigers thanks to a superior goal differential.

Despite picking up an impressive twenty-seven points since his appointment in early January, which has given Hull City the hope of Premier League survival after a dismal first half to the campaign, manager Marco Silva and the Tigers will likely look back on their home defeat last weekend to the already relegated Sunderland as their last hope of avoiding the drop, although all hope is not lost just yet as Hull City have taken three points in two of their last three meetings against Crystal Palace (D1) and Palace have lost all three of their home matches this season against teams in the relegation zone.

11:30am – Manchester United @ Tottenham – White Hart Lane, NBC Sports Network

For the first time since the beginning of February, Tottenham were unable to match Chelsea stride for stride and, like their ultimately futile attempt to catch Leicester City at this same stage of the campaign last season, dropped all three points when it mattered the most to move seven points back of the league leaders with only three games left to play. They will welcome Manchester United, who conceded twice to Arsenal in the second half without reply, to White Hart Lane for the final game at the historic grounds before Spurs move into their new NFL ready digs after a one year stay at the new Wembley.

The Gunners kept their fleeting hopes of a top four finish alive and not only ended Manchester United’s twenty-five match unbeaten run but, thanks to a mid-week victory over Southampton, also jumped the Red Devils in the table and moved up to fifth place. While they could still make a late run and sneak into fourth place, United’s full attention has been turned to the Europa League where yesterday they booked their place in the final later this month with the top prize an automatic spot in next season’s Champions League, which would be mission accomplished for manager Jose Mourinho in his first season in charge.

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still need a late mother's day gift? give her lady gaga!


We still have a handful of both lower and upper concourse seats available for the September 11th Lady Gaga show in Philadelphia, along with our all-inclusive party bus that's heading to the Wells Fargo Center for a night of great fun.

If you're still scrambling for a late Mother's Day gift, this might be it! Best of all, you don't really have to tag along (if you're the man, buying for her, that is). The bus will be filled with solo Gaga fans, going on their own, so get her a ticket for the trip and send her with #DMD on September 11.

Details are available here.

Hope I helped you with an awesome Mother's Day gift idea!



Thursday
May 11
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 11
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buck's ninth inning gamble not nearly as bad as brach's pitching


You can't win every time you roll the dice, or else we'd all be rich. Remember, every casino is filled with losers because gambling tilts that way for some reason.

Gambling tilted into a loss for Buck Showalter on Wednesday night, as he went against the grain and intentionally put the winning run on base in the bottom of the ninth inning.

A few minutes later it came back to haunt him when former Oriole Matt Wieters delivered the game-winning single off of Brad Brach to give the Nationals an improbable 7-6 win.

Brach's numbers against lefties (.274) and righties (.140) led to the move, as Showalter intentionally walked Daniel Murphy to get to Anthony Rendon, who promptly singled to load the bases with one out, setting the stage for the Wieters heroics. Showalter was hoping to get a game-ending double play ball when he walked Murphy, which wasn't a horrible idea except for the fact that Murphy was the potential winning run.

In some ancient baseball book stashed away in a dusty old desk, there's a page dedicated to things you don't do. You never drop a catchable foul ball because it will come back to haunt you. You never let a guy get down to first base on a strikeout because it will come back to haunt you. And you don't intentionally put the potential tying or winning run on base because that, too, will come back to haunt you.

Unable to record three outs on Wednesday night without giving up three runs, Brad Brach has now surrendered eight runs in his last seven innings of work.

Then again, Showalter once intentionally walked Barry Bonds with the bases loaded. At that point in Bonds' career, that was a smart move, believe it or not.

Last night's decision was a by-product of Buck's reduced confidence in Brach and the absence of closer Zach Britton. If Britton were in last night's game, Buck wouldn't have walked Murphy and put the potential winning run on base. That's what I think, anyway.

And, while the gamble backfired for Showalter and the O's last night, there's one other question about the 9th inning that hasn't yet been answered. Why didn't Chris Davis field the Wieters shot down to first base? I've watched the reply a dozen times. It looks like a fairly standard major league grounder -- albeit sharply hit -- that scoots past Davis without any problem. Anthony Rendon might have briefly screened Davis from the ball -- that's about the only explanation I can give for why the Birds soon-to-be-gold-glover didn't come up with the game-winning hit.

Meanhile, let's talk about the orange elephant in the room: Brad Brach. Wednesday night's 9th inning meltdown should seal the deal on Brach closing games. The erstwhile set-up man has now allowed runs in three of his last four outings, giving up eight runs in his last seven innings of work. He inherited a 6-4 lead last night, giving up a leadoff home run to Jayson Werth in the 9th and then allowing a double to Bryce Harper, which then set up the decision to intentionally walk Murphy.

The only problem? Who closes games for the Birds? Logan Verrett has been outstanding in his two stints out of the bullpen, but he's probably Brach-waiting-to-happen if he tries to close games. There's Alec Asher, who has a couple of really good pitches, but he, too, has no experience working with ninth inning leads. Darren O'Day is probably next-man-up to close, although Mychal Givens will likely get a chance or two in the future as well.

I don't think anyone is surprised that Brach (or anyone else for that matter) has been unable to duplicate the closing heroics of Britton. I wrote here at #DMD a few weeks back when Britton first went on the DL that it wouldn't take long for the team's new, temporary closer to show just how valuable a quality closer is to a team. And we're seeing it now, in high definition.

So, Buck has now made two curious moves in the last two nights against the Nationals and he and the O's are 1-1 to show for it. Tuesday night in Baltimore, he eschewed Little League managerial wisdom and kept Ubaldo Jimenez in the game in the 8th inning, which was way past the starter's bedtime. That move also backfired when Jimenez gave up a three-run smash to Adam Lind, but Buck was rescued later on when the Nationals' bullpen collapsed in the bottom of the 9th.

Last night's intentional walk to Murphy came back to bite Buck because Brad Brach couldn't get the job done. That's how managing works. Just like gambling, you factor in the odds, go with your gut, and roll the dice or draw another card.

For Showalter and the Birds last night, the dice settled with the wrong numbers showing.

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ovechkin's no-show in game 7 only part of the problem as caps lose 2-0


I guess I wouldn't mind being Alex Ovechkin if his ten million dollar salary came along with it, but Ovechkin is in for a long summer. Make that a loooooonnnggggg summmer, for emphasis.

In perhaps the biggest game of his long NHL career, Ovechkin forgot to set the alarm and slept through a 2-0 defeat to Sidney Crosby and the Penguins in last night's decisive 7th game of the Eastern Conference semi-finals at the Verizon Center.

The Penguins move on to face Ottawa. The Capitals clean out their lockers and answer a lot of appropriate questions about their heart, enthusiasm and inability to get past the Penguins when it matters.

Here are the facts: Over the last two years, the Caps have been better than Pittsburgh in the regular season. But the Penguins have been better when it mattered most -- in the post-season. Why? That's a question worth dissecting.

Alex Ovechkin (right) once again came up empty in his quest to get the better of longtime rival Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Ovechkin is going to get major heat for his Game 7 vacation and rightfully so, but no other offensive players broke a sweat except for Justin Williams and Tom Wilson. Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie both missed easy going scoring opportunities at crucial times in the game and Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury rebounded from a poor Game 6 performance to blank the Caps in Game 7.

Braden Holtby did all he could to stymie the Penguins, but he, too, had a moment of weakness, when he allowed a backhander from Patric Hornqvist to beat him in the 3rd period to take the score from 1-0 to 2-0. Holty certainly held up his end of the bargain in Game 7 despite that soft second goal, but his play in the first two games -- average at best -- helped create that 2-0 hole at the outset of the series.

The other team tries, too, of course, but when you're playing at home, the onus is on you to put in whatever work is required to offset and defeat your opponent. The Caps didn't do that last night. They were soundly outworked by the Penguins from start to finish, particularly in the third period, when the Caps were facing a season-ending 20 minutes of hockey if they couldn't rally and get past Pittsburgh.

Not only did the Caps fail to rally, they failed to impress anyone with their work ethic. Even the players seemed mystified by it in their post-game comments. Nearly every player referenced the team's lack of urgency in a game that meant so much to so many.

Some will call that "choking". That famous sports-word is often times hard to fully describe, but it might work well in this instance. The Caps not only played poorly on Wednesday, they looked like the moment was too big for them, collectively.

Pittsburgh looked settled, calm and wise beyond their years in the second and third periods, particularly. Then again, when you're the defending champs and your franchise is 5-0 in road playoff Game 7's, it's no wonder you're confident.

Head Coach Barry Trotz will get plenty of blame for yet another post-season swing-and-miss. And rightfully so, I might add.

Both Pittsburgh goals on Wednesday night came as a result of an issue that plagued the Capitals throughout their opening series with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Time and time again in that series and again last night at pivotal moments, the Caps were unable to get the puck out of their own end of the ice. Twice, Alex Ovechkin played soft along the boards, once failing to clear a puck that had been shoved to him by Kevin Shattenkirk and once getting beat to a bouncing puck from the stick of Matt Niskanen.

Those behind-the-net situations can be traced to coaching and strategy, as well as intensity and fight along the boards. That the Caps had defensive clearing issues regularly in the Toronto series and didn't clean that up in the Pittsburgh series is, to me, a coaching issue.

Even more eye-opening is how lethargic the Caps looked on Wednesday night. It's not fair to heap all of that on Trotz. Every guy on the Washington roster is on full scholarship -- they should be able to prepare themselves accordingly for a Game 7 at home. But Trotz and his staff were unable to get the Caps percolating on Wednesday. Why not? That's another question that has to be answered quickly.

Me? My opinion? I'd make a coaching change. But I'm saying that without knowing who is out there to take over the gig. So, let's cool our jets on canning Trotz until we see if there's anyone (potentially) better out there waiting in the wings.

On the whole, though, I've seen enough of Trotz in three years to know he doesn't have the special sauce that the Caps apparently need to get over the hump. Three straight years of failing to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals tells me something is wrong, somewhere, and the head coach has to take the brunt of that blame, unfortunately.

Brent Johnson, the former Caps goalie who provides analysis on CSN-Mid Atlantic, came right out and said it on Wednesday night in the aftermath of the 2-0 loss. "The Penguins have more heart," he stated.

Joe Beninati, the Caps TV play-by-play voice, had a great analogy of the Capitals and their Game 7 loss. "In golf terms," Beninati said on last night's post-game show, "the Caps shot 62 on Monday night in Pittsburgh when they won 5-2. That's how well they played. They needed to follow up that 62 with a 68 in the next round, which was tonight's Game 7. Instead, they shot 80."

That's about right, actually. On a night when the Caps needed a tidy round of four under par with a handful of birdies and no major mistakes, they couldn't make a par from the middle of the fairway.

And so, it once again ends too early for the Capitals.

This, of course, was always the way it was going to conclude. As I wrote on several occasions during the regular season, you can always be assured of one thing with the Caps. When they get to the end of the season, there will always be heartache there waiting waiting for them.

Playoff failure is in their veins. It's in Ovechkin's, Backstrom's, Kuznetsov's and Holtby's DNA, sad to say. While they're able to be "winners" in the regular season, they undeniably become losers in the post-season.

There's always next year, of course, only this time around the team might look a little different. We'll know over the next few weeks how they intend to proceed in the wake of last night's loss, but don't be shocked if there are significant player moves and changes this summer.

And don't be shocked if the Caps re-tool this off-season, come back better than ever in 2017-2018, then fail to deliver next spring when the playoffs roll around. Why would you expect anything different, after all?

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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.


the espn purge: personality wins, and we lose


It’s been two weeks since ESPN purged more than 100 employees, including a host of familiar names in sports media. From reports, the dismissals were cold and clinical; an unfamiliar manager reading a prepared statement over the phone, with an HR representative stationed close by. ESPN’s press release was equally detached, filled with industry jargon about the network’s next steps.

The sports media likes nothing more than to talk about itself, so the purge took over the news cycle for 72 hours or so. We heard all about cord cutting, overpaying for rights fees, the viewing habits of millennials, and the somewhat dubious belief that the company is struggling because of ESPN’s liberal agenda, thus leading to these kinds of layoffs.

Then it went away, and we moved on with our lives. The sports world can indeed go on without Jayson Stark’s weekly baseball trivia question on “Mike and Mike” or Andy Katz’s latest scoop on basketball coaching hires.

ESPN certainly has the right to decide what its focus ought to be, and who they want to have on their team. But no amount of belt tightening is going to solve its biggest problem, and it’s not cord cutting. In fact, the layoffs are only going to make the issue worse.

Here’s how I would say it. At a certain point, ESPN became more interested in creating narratives than it was in telling stories.

Ridding yourself of writers and reporters, most of whom are among the most connected in their fields, is the complete opposite of what ESPN should be doing. This is really about the end of journalism, if it every really existed there, and the triumph of entertainment and “personality.” Call me old-fashioned, but I think that stinks.

Just in the fortnight since the ESPN downsizing became news, I’ve seen two items involving the Orioles that illustrate the matter much better than I could ever explain it.

First, the network decided to switch its scheduled Monday night baseball game (I don’t remember what it was) to Orioles-Red Sox. It was May 1, the teams play 19 times this season, and the pennant race is months away. There was only one reason for the switch: ESPN was hoping there would be a bench-clearing brawl during the game.

Honestly, it was like a pro wrestling move. Tune in for the fireworks, they were saying. On ESPN.com and on television, we’ll promote the living daylights out of this silly fight between grown men. The fact that the disagreement involves our pet team in Boston; well go ahead and sign us up!

Then, this Monday, ESPN.com’s Eddie Matz wrote a piece about the Orioles-Nationals “rivalry,” in advance of the four games between the teams this week and the return of Matt Wieters to Baltimore. It was an odd story right from the beginning, with the assertion that the Orioles had been “bullied” by their “big brothers” in Boston, even though the teams had split the four-game series and the Orioles are ahead in the standings. The story continued with a poor explanation of the MASN dispute, followed by a lame attempt to get Matt Wieters to say something bad about his time with the Orioles.

The entire story struck me as an idea from an editor as opposed to the writer. Matz often covers both the Orioles and the Nationals, and he grew up in Baltimore. He knows that there isn’t a rivalry between the teams, and that Matt Wieters is hardly the kind of guy to start controversy, but somebody sent him to write the story anyway.

I shouldn’t say it’s the end of journalism, I suppose. It’s just that it’s really tabloid journalism. It’s the New York Post, not the New York Times. I know the Post has plenty of readers too, but I think ESPN owes us more than that.

Those are just short-term examples; I’ve almost become immune to the long-term narratives. Tim Tebow had one great stretch in a failed NFL career, and ESPN still can’t stop talking about him, even going so far as to hire him back for the SEC Network right after the recent layoffs. Earlier this week, Tony Romo played in local qualifying for the U.S. Open, and ESPN.com sent its Cowboys reporter to the course to follow him around and tweet every hole, linking to the story on its front page.

Duke basketball is a stunningly successful program, but it’s also been an equally successful ESPN narrative. Duke’s entire pre-conference schedule has for years essentially been an ESPN creation…finding teams willing to head to Cameron Indoor Stadium for a nice guarantee and two hours on the network, along with neutral-site tournaments either televised or produced by ESPN.

Every “big-time” program plays most of its preseason games at home. But the ESPN connection makes Duke’s games, and the narrative of their season, seem more important than other teams, even ones that might be having better seasons. I don’t think it’s wrong to say that players have chosen Duke because every Duke game was on ESPN.

Ok, so maybe I haven’t become totally immune to that one. But back to the matter at hand…

The ESPN programming that’s typically called out the most is “First Take,” now featuring Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman, and formerly with Skip Bayless, who now does a similar show on Fox. It is debate for debate’s sake; if there’s nothing interesting to scream about, and Smith WILL SCREAM, then they’ll just find something uninteresting to scream about.

When the company layoffs became news, more than few folks told the world that they wished Smith had been fired instead of Ed Werder or Marc Stein. Smith didn’t like it, and he told the world something too.

He said, basically, that he doesn’t care whether or not you like him, but that you need to respect the work that he put in to get to where he is now. He was referring to his own days as a newspaper beat reporter, columnist and expert, the kind of people that his network felt obliged to jettison just a few days earlier.

The lack of self-awareness there was enlightening, though not surprising. Smith long ago left that world, taking advantage of the fame and money that comes with being a screamer. I guess I thought that ESPN, the Worldwide Leader, would still maintain some of its DNA even when the world around it was changing so much.

I was wrong. And I don’t think people who care about sports, like all of us, are going to be in a better place, no matter what ESPN writes in a press release.

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orioles-yankees one-day trip
at an amazing price! (only seven seats left)


Anyone want to go to Yankee Stadium on Sunday, June 11 to see the Orioles and Yankees do battle in the Bronx?

If so, go with us! #DMD has an awesome one-day trip package available now. It's so good, you'll say "What's the catch?" Well, there isn't one.

Game time is 1:05 pm, which makes for a perfect up-and-back bus trip for the baseball lovers in your family. We'll leave Baltimore at 7:30 am sharp and arrive at the stadium by 11:45 or so. Assuming the game ends at 4:00 pm, that puts us back in good ol' Bawlmer by 7:30 or 8:00 pm.

The trip package includes luxury motor-coach transportation, breakfast from Royal Farms, ice cold DuClaw beer for the trip to New York, lunch from Palmisano's of Baldwin upon arrival, and a "terrace level" game ticket with everyone else who is traveling in our group.

And get this, we recently added another great benefit to the package: You pay nothing at the concession stands!! That's right, everyone in our travel group gets access to an unlimited in-game buffet, featuring typical "ballpark food" like hot dogs, sausages, chips, pretzels, snacks, etc., plus water and soft drinks. No more spending $20-$25 every time you go to the concession stand.

What's it all cost? $149 per-person. That gets you EVERYTHING, including the bus driver's gratuity.

If you're looking for a good early Father's Day gift, this is it (Father's Day is the following Sunday)!

If you've never been to Yankee Stadium, we make it easy for you to enjoy a great day of "road baseball", except we do the driving, we supply the tickets, and you'll never go hungry or thirsty when you travel with us.

Please go here to reserve your spots.

Wednesday
May 10
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 10
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some wins are better than others


Baseball is such a marathon that come September, you can't remember wins in April or May that all counted just the same as any others in August or later.

Last night's 5-4 victory for the Orioles was one worth remembering if they can hang on and get to September with a chance to make the playoffs.

Mark Trumbo's single in the bottom of the 12th inning knocked in the game-winning run and the O's extended their winning streak to six straight games with a 5-4 victory over a shocked Nationals squad at Camden Yards. Washington led 4-1 heading to the bottom of the 8th inning but the Birds wouldn't go away, eventually tying the game in the home half of the ninth on hits from Jonathan Schoop and J.J. Hardy.

Mark Trumbo saved himself from an awful night at the plate with a 12th inning game-winning single on Tuesday at Camden Yards.

The O's were down to their last out before Schoop and Hardy delivered their big hits off of Washington's Enny Romero, who cost Max Scherzer a victory after he was terrific through eight innings, allowing just two earned runs and striking out 11.

The Orioles have it going on right now, seemingly unaffected by the loss of Zach Britton and getting decent-to-better-than-decent starts from everyone on the staff, including Ubaldo Jimenez last night, who was left in a hitter or two too long but still hung in there for 7.2 innings of work. Jimenez surrendered an 8th inning home run to Adam Lind that put the Nationals up 4-1, but other than that, he was on point throughout the night.

I'm not sure what Buck Showalter was thinking about in the 8th inning when he left Jimenez in the game to give up that 3-run gopher ball to Lind. Buck does like the occasional in-game snooze, I think it's fair to say.

Logan Verrett worked the final three innings for the Birds and earned his second win of the season.

Speaking of the playoffs, here's what a 22-10 start does for a club. It stands to reason that somewhere around 90 wins is a lock for the post-season. That means a record of 90-72 is required, or just 18 games above .500 for a season's worth of play.

At 22-10 already, the O's now just need to play six games above. 500 the rest of the way to get to that 90-win mark. Easy peasy, huh? Get the knit hats ready for October, friends.

Oddly enough, Trumbo's game-winning hit saved him from an awful night at the plate. He was 0-for-5 entering his at-bat in the 12th, but all of that failure was quickly forgotten when he roped a single to left field to plate the fifth and final run of the night. In fact, it was a bad night at the dish for Machado, Davis and Trumbo, as they combined to go 3-for-16 off of Nationals pitching.

Scherzer wasn't the hard luck loser, but he was the hard luck guy-who-deserved-to-win-but-didn't. He took a no hitter into the 6th inning before Seth Smith's home run tied the game at 1-1, then worked into the 8th inning and got the first two outs of the inning there before Adam Jones homered to cut D.C's lead to 4-2.

He threw 113 pitches on the night, so Scherzer wasn't coming back out for the 9th, but he handed Romero a two-run lead and he couldn't hold on to it. Such is life for the bullpen-challenged Nationals, who still lead the N.L. East at 21-12.

The Orioles are back on top in the A.L. East, with the Yankees losing in Cincinnati last night, 5-3, to fall a half-game behind Buck Showalter's team.

The series shifts to D.C. tonight, with Wade Miley on the hill for the O's and Stephen Strasburg going for the Nationals.

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a franchise changing game on tap for ovechkin, caps


There's no telling what might happen to the Capitals tonight when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semi-final at the Verizon Center.

A win would push the Caps one step closer to an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals and would exorcise at least one demon in their on-going rivalry with the Penguins.

A loss could start a chain reaction of events that might affect the head coach and several key players.

A win tonight would propel head coach Barry Trotz to the first conference final playoff series in his long NHL coaching career.

It's not the greatest position to be in, obviously, but the Caps put themselves there with shoddy play in the first two games before rallying to send the series to a 7th and deciding contest.

It's all on the line tonight.

If you believe in omens and weird stats, you'll be interested to know this: In the lifetime playoff series between the Penguins and Capitals, Pittsburgh is up 8-1. But the Capitals had somehow won the first game of the series in 8 of those 9 encounters. In other words, the Caps are 1-8 against Pittsburgh when winning Game 1 and the Penguins are 8-1 when losing Game 1.

Moral of the story? Don't win Game 1 in a Capitals-Penguins playoff series.

Guess who won Game 1 of this series? That's right, the Penguins did. So, if history means anything at all, this one's in the bag for the Caps and they're moving on while the Penguins are joining the Flyers on the first tee later this week.

But history doesn't mean anything tonight, I suspect.

Pittsburgh can be had, as the Caps showed in Game 5 and Game 6, but beating them three straight times is a tough task. The Caps haven't been particularly great at home in these playoffs, either, losing one of three to Toronto and two of three to the Penguins. But if ever there was a night where home-ice advantage really does mean something, tonight's the occasion.

A Capitals win sends them on to face Ottawa in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Senators eliminated the Rangers last night at the Garden, 4-2.

A loss? Oh boy, let's not think about what a loss does. It would mark a third Game 7 playoff elimination at home in the Alex Ovechkin era and a second final game ouster at the hands of the Penguins, who blasted the Caps, 6-2, in the deciding contest back in 2009.

Barry Trotz will likely keep his job even if the Caps come up short, but he'd still be looking for his first ever visit to a Conference Final if the Caps can't get the job done tonight. When a longtime coach can't win two playoff series' in one year -- at least once -- that's not a good thing.

The on-ice spotlight will again be on the main principles for both teams; Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Braden Holtby for the Caps, and Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury for the Penguins. Ovi has been relatively quiet throughout the series, but Kuznetsov has been supremely effective for the Caps. He scored the eventual game-winner in Saturday's 4-2 win in Game 5 that staved off elimination and sent the series back to Pittsburgh.

Holtby didn't have much to do on Monday night in the Steel City, but his third period play in Game 5 might have shifted the momentum of the entire series. He's a critical piece to this evening's game.

Crosby and Malkin were no-shows in the last two games. Fleury was terrific through 40 minutes of Game 5, then gave up three goals in the last twenty minutes of that 4-2 loss. He was soundly beaten on Monday night in Pittsburgh. An early goal or two for Washington tonight could rattle Fleury enough to blow the lid off the game.

Before the series started, I said the Caps would win in 7 games. I also predicted Game 7 would go to overtime with Andre Burakovsky netting the game-winner. I can't find a place to take that bet, but I sure would like to lay one down at this point. Caps win tonight, 3-2, with Burakovsky providing the heroics.

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calvert hall rallies late to stun boys' latin in key lacrosse showdown


In a dramatic battle that underscores the excellence of MIAA A Conference lacrosse, top-ranked Calvert Hall and No. 2 Boys’ Latin went toe-to-toe in a double overtime thriller, Tuesday afternoon in Towson, before a goal from senior midfielder Brendan Curry delivered a sudden, 11-10, victory for the Cardinals with 2:06 left in the second OT.

The game-winner came on a play that Curry and junior Jacob Kelly had been trying to work all afternoon.

Brendan Curry (left) and Jacob Kelly (right) teamed up for the game-winning double overtime goal on Tuesday that lifted Calvert Hall past Boys' Latin.

“We had a play ready,” said Kelly, who had three goals and four assists in the victory. “We ran it a few times earlier and it didn’t really work out, but I knew Brendan was going to be there. I am glad he was able to can it and I could get it to him.”

Similar to the winning goal, Calvert Hall (13-2, 7-0 MIAA A) had to work for everything it got on Tuesday afternoon. Although the game was tied five times, the Cardinals never led until they claimed the win to take sole possession of first place in the MIAA and, in the process, clinch a first round bye for the playoffs.

Basil Aburn scored early in the first quarter to give the Lakers (12-4, 6-1 MIAA) a quick 1-0 lead and the teams traded goals for the entire opening quarter, which ended in a 3-3 tie. The game was tied at 4-4 in the second when BL got back-to-back tallies from Reagan McNemar and Greg Ey to open the game’s first two goal lead at 6-4, and the Lakers led 7-5 at intermission.

In the third quarter, Kelly, with an assist from Curry made it a one goal game once again, but Boys’ Latin answered with scores from Ey and freshman Brendan Grimes to take it’s biggest lead of the game at 9-6, with 10:52 to play in the quarter. Kelly fed his brother Daniel Kelly for a Calvert Hall score to bring it to 9-7 and it stayed that way until the end of third quarter. A pushing call with one second to go in the third, however, led to an extra-man goal by Boys’ Latin, early in the fourth quarter, as the Lakers re-established a three-goal advantage.

The Lakers would not score again.

The Cardinals then rallied from that 10-7 deficit with three goals in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime.

“We gave up a few easy goals for them, losing guys in the middle of the field,” said Kelly of the Cardinals second half deficit. “Once we cleaned that up, our attack was able to get some rides back, we got some transition goals and it really helped us.”

Both goalkeepers had outstanding days and Calvert Hall’s Liam Darragh was especially tough in the four quarter when he made four of his 10 saves, including a point blank stop against Grimes with 8:13 remaining in regulation.

“He just bore down,” said Calvert Hall coach Bryan Kelly of Darragh, who finished with 10 saves. “He’s getting to his spots, which is key. He’s been playing really well for us and I think he does a really good job in the clearing game.”

In addition to Jacob Kelly and Curry, Calvert Hall two goals from J.T. Bugliosi and and Collin Allen, one goal and one assist from Daniel Kelly and a goal from Jack Sawyer.

Ey led the Lakers with a hat-trick. Matt Brandau had a goal and two assists, Garret Voigt had two scores and Basil Aburn and Raegan McNemar each had a goal and an assist. In addition, Konnor Caplin and Brendan Grimes each netted a BL goal, while Luke Shilling produced an assist.

“I felt our kids grinded it and they grinded out a win against a great team,” said Coach Kelly. “We have some good kids that compete. We kept our composure."

With the victory, Calvert Hall has clinched a first round bye in the playoffs. The Cardinals now have a one game lead on BL and two game lead on both McDonogh and St. Paul’s, which visits Calvert Hall on Friday night.

Calvert Hall can finish no worse than tied for second-place and because of its head-to-head tie-break advantage over Boys’ Latin and McDonogh, the Cardinals will go directly to the league semifinals at Johns Hopkins. The Lakers still have a little work to do to lock up that second seed. They play at Gilman on Friday before closing at arch-rival St. Paul’s next Tuesday.

This story was originally published by Varsity Sports Network, the area's leader in high school sports coverage. Please visit their website for complete coverge of all MIAA and Maryland high school athletics at www.varsitysportsnetwork.com.

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lebron joins trout, brady on mount rushmore


There's no way around it.

Any present day Mount Rushmore in the world of sports must include LeBron James. In fact, when I started this series on Monday, I claimed no one out of the four ranked higher than any of the others.

That's not true.

If we were seeding the four who made my Mount Rushmore, James would be number one.

His Cavaliers are a series win away from making a return trip to the NBA Finals. They'll face either Boston or Washington next, and while I don't think they'll sweep either of those teams, I'd be shocked if Cleveland doesn't win the series. The Celtics or the Wizards aren't beating LeBron James when the chips are down.

Here's an amazing stat about James. He has three championship rings, yes. Two with Miami and one with Cleveland. But if the Cavs advance to this year's NBA Final, it will make seven straight seasons that James has played in the Finals.

That's more than "one heckuva run". That's legendary stuff right there. Seven years in a row in the Finals.

I guess I could rattle off all of his career accomplishments, but you probably don't have 30 minutes to spare. Simply put, he's done it all.

LeBron's critics point to the fact that he's always asked for -- and been blessed with -- key players around him in both Cleveland and Miami. I don't seem to remember Michael Jordan doing it all by himself. Scottie Pippen was pretty good. So, too, were Horace Grant and Dennis Rodman. Kobe was great. Shaq wasn't chopped liver, though.

The on-going debate about the NBA's best player isn't really a debate at all. It's James, period. Steph Curry? Amazing. Russell Westbrook? Terrific. James Harden? Outstanding. But they're not LeBron James. If he can win a 4th title this year and start closing in on Michael Jordan's career title mark (6), maybe then we can actually engage in a real debate -- who was better? MJ, or LeBron?



Tuesday
May 9
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 9
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all i did was carry the bag...george was the one who hit the shots


In my occasionally successful amateur golf career, I've done some memorable things. I won't list them here, but I have a few special moments that mean more to me than just those "ordinary" instances of success or happiness.

One of them involves a round of golf in which I wasn't even the participant. But it's on my short list of great golf memories.

Circa 2000 or so, I met George McDowell. You know him around here as "George". He's long gone from Baltimore, sad to report, but he's only an e-mail or phone call away whenever I need assistance with a technical aspect of #DMD. I lean on him a lot. And he delivers.

When I first met George nearly two decades ago, he was a golfing neophyte. Much like Ellis "Red" Redding took an immediate liking to Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption, I saw something in George I liked the first couple of times we played together at Mount Pleasant. Mostly, he wanted to learn, and I appreciated that about him.

On one summer day in 2004, a couple of guys from Baltimore were like Spieth and Greller at Indian Spring Country Club in D.C.

He also liked to gamble -- modestly -- and would routinely sniff out a match for me and my buddy Greg Ruark in the late afternoon. If a couple of eager beavers reported to the starter's shack around 3:00 pm, George would inquire if they'd be interested in pairing up with another twosome around 3:30 or so and, naturally, he would hint that a wager might be available if they were into that sort of thing.

So, not only was George becoming a golfing friend, but he was loosely in charge of helping me make a little summer spending money. I liked him even more for that.

A couple of years into his golfing "life", George signed up for the Spring Publinx. I don't remember the exact details of his score, but that doesn't really matter, anyway. What's important is that George enjoyed playing competitive golf for the first time. We talked about it one afternoon at Mount Pleasant while we were waiting for 25 minutes to play the 6th hole.

"I played with a couple of guys that had no idea what they were doing," I remember him saying as we sat in the cart and baked on a late June day. "And that made me realize I'm not that far away from competing. Those two had been playing tournament golf for ten years and they were lost."

And on he went, playing, practicing and entering local tournaments. George was, as we'd affectionately call folks like him, a "gamer". That means what he lacks in brilliance and technique he makes up for in determination and heart. George wasn't conceding anything until the final putt had been holed -- by someone.

In the summer of 2004, I played with George at Clifton Park and he shot even par 71. To some, that wasn't a big deal. But to me, that day, it was a sign. Geo was ready to step up in class.

Like a race horse who goes from six furlongs to a mile-and-a-quarter, it was time for George to see if he was ready for a bigger challenge.

"There's an event in another month that you're going to play in," I said to him in mid-July. "It's the Maryland Senior Amateur. 55 years and older. You're going to enter it."

"What?," George said. "I'm not ready for something like that. Who plays in that tournament?"

I rattled off legendary Maryland senior golfers, including Marty West, who would surely be in the field.

"Marty West played in the Masters," George said. The man was a quick study on local golf, I came to find out. "I can't play with him."

"You're playing," I demanded. "Go in the pro shop and print out the registration form and send it in. This is the only way you're going to get better. You're ready for this."

Six weeks later, we were headed to D.C. and Indian Spring Country Club, which has since been leveled and is no longer there.

I'd never seen the place before. Neither had George.

"What's wrong with you, are you nervous?" I said to Geo on the practice putting green as he looked out of sorts."

"Yes, I'm nervous," he said.

"Good, you should be nervous," I shot back. "If you're not nervous playing in this event, then you shouldn't be playing. Let's get to the first tee, put the peg in the ground, hit a good one, and get going."

And it worked just like that. I remember Geo's two fellow playing competitors striping their opening tee shots right down the middle -- and long. I hoped -- under my breath -- that George wasn't paying much attention to them.

He nailed a good one down the middle, too, and off we went.

Three holes in, George was humming along nicely. He looked like he knew what he was doing. My only role was coming up with the right yardage and uttering something semi-positive to him; George was pulling the clubs and hitting the shots. And succeeding.

He made birdie on the fourth hole. Then a bogey. Two holes later, another birdie. He wobbled a bit late in the opening nine holes, but we made the turn at 1-over par, quite an accomplishment for a relative newcomer to the tournament golfing scene.

Geo three putted a hole somewhere early on the back nine. I remember thinking to myself, "This might be where he starts to wobble."

On the next tee box, a par 3, I decided to give Geo another test. I left him all alone. Having just made bogey, I thought this would be a good occasion for George to figure things out without the aid of his trusty caddie.

"I'll be right back," I said. The group in front of us was still on the green. George thought, I'm sure, that I'd return in plenty of time to go through his club selection for the par three tee-shot.

Instead, I headed off to a grove of trees forty yards away, where I did what guys occasionally do when they find a tree on a golf course. And, intentionally, I stood deep in the trees and watched George on the tee.

He looked around feverishly when it was his turn to hit. "Where is this idiot?" I figured he was saying to himself, about me.

I saw his swing and I watched George quickly pick up his tee and his bag. I ran toward him. "Whoa, whoa, I got that," I said. "Leave the bag there."

"Where the hell were you?," he asked with a twinge of anger in his voice. "I thought you were coming right back."

"I had to visit the little boy's room," I said as I looked at the green and saw three balls scattered around the pin. "Plus, you didn't need me. You're all three on the green."

George swept in a 15-footer for birdie there.

After the next tee shot, we walked down the fairway together. "You son-of-a-b**ch, you left me back there by myself on purpose, didn't you?" George asked.

I thought about denying it, but George is an attorney, among other things. It didn't take him long to figure out what I had done, so I admitted to it as we strolled along. I remember at one point late in the round looking at over at the other two guys in the group, both on their way to shooting 80. They each were clearly the victim of a beating administered to them by tournament golf. Their walk had slowed to a snail's pace, shirt now untucked and flapping above their right hip and golf swings lazy and out of rhythm.

My guy, meanwhile, had more energy with three holes left than when he teed off a few hours earlier. I always felt like that was a sign I had played solid, meaningful tournament golf. If I had more energy late in the round than I had earlier on, I was likely playing well.

George could have played a second 18 holes that day, if the sun would have allowed for it.

He made bogey coming in, arriving at the final tee box at plus two for the day. I wasn't about to say it and tempt the golf gods, but a round of two over -- if he could make par at the last -- would likely put him in the top five or so heading into the next day's second and final round.

I also didn't want to mention to him how wildly impressive it was for a guy who only really started playing tournament golf a couple of years prior to be standing on the 18th tee of a course he'd never seen before at two over par with just one hole left.

So, I handed him the driver and said, "All you have to do is make one more good swing and this thing is over." That wasn't quite true, of course. He'd still need to get the ball onto the green if he did manage to hit a good one, but I could tell he was feeling anxious.

My guy striped one right down the middle. It was, without question, his best drive of the day. It was hit so well, so alarmingly well, that I let an audible, "Holy s**t Geo, that's a great ball," as I collected his driver from him.

"Thanks," he replied. That's all he said. "Thanks."

As the three players and caddies left the tee box, George and I lingered behind for some reason. It was time for another one of my tricks. I let my stride slow just a bit so George got 5 yards ahead of me. Then, I stopped. He got 10 yards ahead. I wiggled out of my left shoe and called out to him.

"I'll catch you in a second, I've got something in my shoe," I said. I bent down to fiddle with my shoe while George walked on. I at least wanted to look legitimate if he happened to turn around and check me out. I got my shoe back on and watched as George strolled up the fairway, some sixty yards ahead of me by now.

It wasn't quite the picture of the Hogan 1-iron (or 2-iron?) at Merion, but it was awfully darn close. There was George, walking up the 18th fairway to his ball, having conquered -- no matter what happened on the rest of the hole -- tournament golf in the biggest event he'd ever played.

I remember watching him walk and thinking he was almost floating as he put one foot in front of the other. I've never seen someone stride so confidently, ever.

George wound up making 9 on that hole...

I'm kidding. George hit a flush 9-iron to 25 feet, two putted, and ended with a remarkable round of 73 to open the 2004 Maryland Senior Amateur. Work obligations kept me from making the second round the following day, but if memory serves me correct, he posted 79 in round two and finished in the top 15.

That first round at Indian Spring is still one of the most memorable golfing days of my life. One thing for certain: I had more energy when I left than I had when I arrived. I guess that's a sure sign your player did well that day.

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no monday blues for birds, caps


That's a great way to start off the week, huh?

The Orioles hit three home runs in the first inning last night to jump on Gio Gonzalez early, then cruised in from there to win 6-4 at Camden Yards.

Joey Rickard, Mark Trumbo and Trey Mancini went deep for the Birds, who are now 21-10 on the season, but still trail the scorching-hot Yankees by a half game in the A.L. East. New York battered Cincinnati, 10-4, last night.

Mark Trumbo finally connected for his third home of the season last night in the O's 6-4 win over the Nationals. Trumbo is now hitting .234 on the season.

The early 4-0 lead was all Kevin Gausman needed. He worked seven innings and struck out eight while walking just one. It's been a hot-and-cold start to the season for Gausman -- mostly cold -- but last night was just what the doctor ordered for the team's opening day starter.

The Nats trailed 6-0 before chipping away and eventually closing the gap to 6-3 heading to the 9th. Brad Brach came in to close things out and allowed a run before sealing the deal.

The best thing to see all night was Trumbo's first inning home run, giving him three now on the campaign. The joyous moments have been few and far between thus far for last year's A.L. home run leader, but his round-tripper last night brought an obvious sigh of relief to his face as he crossed home plate.

Oh, and Caleb Joseph had four hits last night.

Yes, that Caleb Joseph, the one who plays for the Orioles. You're probably thinking, "The Nationals have a Caleb Joseph the same way both the Orioles and A's have a Chris (Khris) Davis?"

No, the Nationals don't have a Caleb Joseph. The Caleb Joseph who plays for the Orioles had four hits in the game last night. That's why you never bet on sports, kids.

The key to the game for the O's? They only struck out four times all night. I'd like to know their record in the last five years when the O's strike out five times or less in a game. I bet it's crazy good, whatever it is.

The quick 2-game series in Baltimore ends tonight, with Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound for the O's and Max Scherzer going for the Nationals.

The Washington Capitals have made it all the way back to a 3-3 series tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins after last night's 5-2 thrashing of the Pens in the Steel City.

Washington lost the first two games of the series at home, but rebounded to win Game 3 in Pittsburgh, Game 5 in D.C. and then last night's big one as well, where they went up 2-0 after two periods and poured it on from there, eventually leading 5-0.

Best of all? For the second straight game, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were no factor at all in the game. If last night's contest doubled as a court case, both Crosby and Malkin would have been cited for failure-to-appear and a bench warrant would have been placed on the two of them.

Crosby had a meaningless assist late in the game and Malkin netted a goal in the final two minutes, but when it mattered most last night, those two stunk it up. In fairness, so, too, did everyone else in black and yellow.

It was the most comprehensive, complete performance for the Capitals in this playoff season and it sets up Game 7 in D.C. tomorrow night.

Someone asked me last night via social media why I wasn't excited about the win. Before I had a chance to answer, he did it for me. "I know what you're going to say...they haven't won anything yet."

Bingo.

Last night was great and all -- and far better than losing, obviously -- but the Caps still have to win on Wednesday night to continue their season. There's nothing to get excited about in the playoffs except advancing to the next round. If the Caps win tomorrow (and I think they will) then I'll get excited.

Here's a quick look at the schedule of area teams over the next couple of days:

Tuesday -- Nationals at Orioles, Mariners at Phillies (MLB), Wizards at Celtics (NBA)

Wednesday -- Orioles at Nationals, Mariners at Phillies (MLB), Penguins at Capitals (NHL)

October 15 -- Flyers at Carolina (NHL)

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add brady to my present-day mount rushmore


As I wrote here yesterday when I introduced this week's "Mount Rushmore" theme, three of my selections were no-brainers. Mike Trout was an easy pick and so, too, is today's selection and tomorrow's as well. I'll save the difficult one for Thursday when I complete the task.

Tom Brady is the second face on my present-day sports Mount Rushmore.

The position of quarterback in the NFL is the most high profile job in all of sports in my opinion. No one more directly influences the outcome of a team sport like the quarterback does in football. If he plays well, your team has a great chance of winning. If he plays poorly, you're likely going to lose.

Brady has played the game at an amazingly high level for the last 15 years. With five Super Bowl rings now, he's certainly in every conversation that involves the question of who is the best quarterback to ever play in the NFL. If he needed an exclamation point on an already-great career, he provided it last February when he engineered the Patriots from a 28-3 deficit to beat the Falcons in the Super Bowl.

The best thing about Brady and his spot on Mount Rushmore? I don't have to dig up any stats or data. I just write "Tom Brady" and that's enough evidence to support his selection.

It's nearly impossible to decide who the best quarterback of all time is -- different rules, different players, different styles of play make it extremely difficult to say Brady is better than Unitas, Montana, Elway, etc.

But I can say, without a doubt, that Brady is the best quarterback I've had the pleasure of watching.

Oh, and he's a winner, too. In the truest sense of the word, Brady's a winner. That's all he's done for the last 17 years.

So that's Trout and Brady thus far on my Mount Rushmore, with two more to go this week.

Now, how about your four?

List your choices in the "comments" section below. Everyone who does will get a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to Glory Days Grill. This Friday, I'll take the name of everyone who plays along and provides their four Mount Rushmore choices and throw them all in a hat. If I draw your name, you win.

The winner will be announced in Saturday morning's #DMD.

I'll have my remaining two on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

STECCO banner ad

orioles-yankees one-day trip
at an amazing price! (only seven seats left)


Anyone want to go to Yankee Stadium on Sunday, June 11 to see the Orioles and Yankees do battle in the Bronx?

If so, go with us! #DMD has an awesome one-day trip package available now. It's so good, you'll say "What's the catch?" Well, there isn't one.

Game time is 1:05 pm, which makes for a perfect up-and-back bus trip for the baseball lovers in your family. We'll leave Baltimore at 7:30 am sharp and arrive at the stadium by 11:45 or so. Assuming the game ends at 4:00 pm, that puts us back in good ol' Bawlmer by 7:30 or 8:00 pm.

The trip package includes luxury motor-coach transportation, breakfast from Royal Farms, ice cold DuClaw beer for the trip to New York, lunch from Palmisano's of Baldwin upon arrival, and a "terrace level" game ticket with everyone else who is traveling in our group.

And get this, we recently added another great benefit to the package: You pay nothing at the concession stands!! That's right, everyone in our travel group gets access to an unlimited in-game buffet, featuring typical "ballpark food" like hot dogs, sausages, chips, pretzels, snacks, etc., plus water and soft drinks. No more spending $20-$25 every time you go to the concession stand.

What's it all cost? $149 per-person. That gets you EVERYTHING, including the bus driver's gratuity.

If you're looking for a good early Father's Day gift, this is it (Father's Day is the following Sunday)!

If you've never been to Yankee Stadium, we make it easy for you to enjoy a great day of "road baseball", except we do the driving, we supply the tickets, and you'll never go hungry or thirsty when you travel with us.

Please go here to reserve your spots.

Monday
May 8
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 8
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


so who is on the present day -- right now, this minute -- mount rushmore of sports?


We can have a healthy debate with this topic.

We're going back to the Mount Rushmore theme again, only this time we're going to construct it with four faces of athletes who are playing today. Not as in, today, May 8th, but as in "today", like 2017.

And you can include a NFL football player even though none of them have played a regular season game in 2017.

So, who is on your personal present-day Mount Rushmore of sports, be it a standout in a team sport or an individual sport?

I have my four. The first three were easy. The fourth one required a 5-for-1 playoff, which meant I had to sit down with a glass of Silver Oak and do some deep thinking before I awarded my fourth and final spot.

I had eight people on my short list. But I only could keep four, which meant four amazing athletes and competitors didn't make the final cut. Those four might wind up being your first four for all I know.

In reality, there are probably a dozen people who deserve serious consideration for this honor. The talent pool in the four major sports is that deep and there are some seriously talented "individual sport" athletes who are dominating the landscape.

Last month, I produced the coaching Mount Rushmore, you might remember. There, I chiseled in Bill Belichick, Gregg Popovich, Joe Maddon and Nick Saban. There's some real coaching greatness there.

I'll go ahead and give you the first face on my "present day" Mount Rushmore of athletes. These are not in any order at all. No one is more important or relevant than the other three. I just arbitrarily decide who goes today and, bam, up he or she goes, etched in stone.

There is little doubt who the best baseball player is in the game today. Granted, we have a pretty extraordinary one here in Baltimore gracing third base for our Birds, and there's a left-handed pitcher in Los Angeles who's pretty freakin' good and a talented guy down in D.C. as well, but no one is better at baseball right now than Mike Trout and it's more than fair to say there aren't many athletes in the world better at what they do in their own sport in comparison to what Trout does in his.

Mike Trout is on my present day Mount Rushmore.

He is in his 6th full major league season. In his first five full years, here's how Trout finished in the MVP voting. 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 1st. And he's not yet 26 years old. See that? Mike Trout, in five full big league season, has never finished lower than 2nd in MVP voting!

Here are his annual averaged stats over a 162-game season: 34 HR, 100 RBI, 29 stolen bases, .308/.407/.562 and -- ready for this? -- five straight years of leading the American League in wins above replacement (WAR).

All of those are important, but the stolen base and WAR stats are staggering. This guy clobbers 34 home runs a year AND steals 29 bases too? Holy cow.

And the fact that he doesn't play in Boston or New York (yet) means the accolades and spotlight he garners come to him fair and square. Can you imagine if Trout played for the Yankees?

Alas, he toils in medium-well anonymity in Los Angeles. I mean, we certainly know who he is and all, but nearly 50% of his action comes when the East Coast is fast asleep.

This kid is a once-in-a-generation find and, as his numbers show, he can do it all at the plate. And for those who care about defense, his is perfectly acceptable. He doesn't have a gold glove yet, and might not ever win one, but all of his fielding metrics are more than solid. In fact, back in 2015, he didn't record one error in 435 defensive chances. That seems pretty useful to me.

Clayton Kershaw is remarkable, yes. So, too, are Harper, Machado and Arenado.

But none of them have done what Mike Trout has done -- and continues to do. He's one of the four best athletes we have the privilege of seeing perform in 2017.

Now, how about your four?

List your choices in the "comments" section below. Everyone who does will get a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to Glory Days Grill. This Friday, I'll take the name of everyone who plays along and provides their four Mount Rushmore choices and throw them all in a hat. If I draw your name, you win.

The winner will be announced in Saturday morning's #DMD.

I'll have my remaining three on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

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still no room for error for caps


It's hard enough to play mistake-free hockey when one or two critical errors won't end your season.

Tonight in Pittsburgh, the Caps are one bad mistake away from being on the first tee Wednesday morning.

They've put themselves in this 3-2 series hole, obviously, so they can't blame anyone else for their predicament. After dropping the first two games of the series in D.C., the Caps have rallied to win two of the last three, including Saturday's come-from-behind 4-2 win at the Verizon Center that featured a nice change of pace for Barry Trotz's team.

Washington's big guns came through when it mattered most and Pittsburgh's top names didn't break a sweat in the final twenty minutes. If only that same scenario were to play out tonight in the Steel City.

For the Caps to succeed this evening, they have to continue with the same formula they used to perfection in the third period of Game 5 on Saturday. Get the puck up ice quickly from their defensive end, put it on net, and crash the offensive zone lurking for a meaty rebound or a weird hop or deflection. The Caps are at their best when all five players are within forty feet of the goal. Sure, they give up the occasional odd-man rush that way, but there's no denying that a faster paced game favors Washington.

T.J. Oshie has been quiet in the Caps-Penguins series but figures to play a prominent role in tonight's do-or-die 6th game in Pittsburgh.

They'll need Braden Holtby to be on-point tonight as well. He was remarkable in the third period on Saturday night, keeping the score at 2-1 early on before Nicklas Backstrom tallied to knot the score at 2-2. Holby then made a couple of great saves to keep the game deadlocked and the Caps rewarded him with a pair of goals within a half-minute of each other to secure the 4-2 victory.

Holtby hasn't been at his best in the playoffs thus far. He was on-again, off-again against the Maple Leafs and wasn't sharp in Game 1 and Game 2 of the Penguins series. When he's dialed in, Holtby is as good as anyone in the NHL. Let's hope tonight is one of those "dialed in" moments for the veteran netminder.

There's pressure all around tonight, as both teams have lots to lose this evening if they came up on the short end of the scoreboard. Pittsburgh would love to end this series tonight and avoid a Game 7 trip back to D.C., where anything could happen. There's a market correction between the Penguins and Capitals that has to occur at some point in the rivalry, one would think. Pittsburgh is 8-1 lifetime vs. Washington in post-season play, including a 4-2 series win last year and a 7th game victory in D.C. back in 2009.

At some point, just because the hockey gods can't be that miserable, the Capitals have to turn the tide on the Penguins. A win tonight would give them a golden opportunity to advance on Wednesday night at home in front of what will be a delirious crowd at the Verizon Center.

The Caps, though, have plenty to lose themselves tonight. A defeat this evening would mark the second straight year they owned home ice throughout the playoffs by virtue of winning the President's Trophy and, yet, lost in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. It would once again deny the franchise a potential second Stanley Cup Finals appearance and would keep Alex Ovechkin from playing in his first ever Finals.

A loss would also mean that head coach Barry Trotz, brought to D.C. to get the Caps "over the hump", would still be looking for his first two-win playoff campaign in Washington D.C.

Clearly, a defeat on Monday night would be devastating for the Caps on a variety of levels. A loss by Pittsburgh would hurt the Penguins, but they'd play on at least once more even if they come up short tonight.

It's a "must win" situation for the Caps tonight. As is always the case in the post-season, there's no telling what to expect from them when the puck drops. Nothing would surprise me.

I called a 4-3 win in Game 5 on Saturday night and was in the neighborhood of hitting that one spot-on.

I said from the outset of the series that Washington would win this series in 7 games, with Andre Burakovsky getting the OT game winner in that seventh game. So, I obviously have to call a Capitals victory tonight in order for them to fulfill my series triumph prediction.

It goes to overtime again tonight, with T.J. Oshie netting the game-winner to send the two teams back to D.C. on Wednesday night. Caps win this evening's Game 6, 3-2.

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brigade got bad scheduling break for yesterday's home opener


As someone who once lived-and-died by the availability of arena dates, I know all too well what happened to the Baltimore Brigade on Sunday.

They busted their tails to put on a good performance -- on and off the field -- but the scheduling gods conspired against them and the crowd wound up being more than disappointing.

The city's new indoor football team announced 5,200 and some change, but reports from those who were there say not even half that many people were actually sitting in seats watching the action.

Even if we give them a few hundred more in a benefit-of-the-doubt gesture, that's still "only" 3,000 people at their first-ever home game.

Then again, the Orioles had 31,000 at Camden Yards for their Sunday afternoon encounter with the White Sox. I'm not saying more local sports fans would have opted for indoor football had the Birds not been home yesterday, but perhaps the Brigade would have drawn more people if not for the baseball conflict 800 yards away.

Oh, I almost forgot. The Brigade lost to the Tampa Bay Storm, 62-55, to fall to 1-3 on the season.

The bigger story, unfortunately, was the crowd -- or lack thereof. While it appeared the action on the field was exciting enough and the in-game hoopla and bells and whistles kept the kids entertained, the opening game attendance was anything but dazzling. D.C. sports mogul Ted Leonsis owns the Baltimore team (and the D.C. team), which certainly gives the Brigade a leg-up when it comes to putting together a solid in-game activity and entertainment schedule. Leonsis and his staff know how to throw a sports party, that's for sure.

But will Baltimore connect with yet another indoor football team? There have been others in the past, failures at every turn, and with the Orioles now a perennial contender in the American League, the most important thing the new football team can do is avoid playing at home on the same day/night as the baseball team.

Their next two home games -- May 27 vs. Cleveland and June 23 vs. Washington -- present no conflict with Orioles baseball. The Birds are in Houston on May 27 and at Tampa Bay on June 23. Let's see how they draw in those two home contests, with a few weeks of promotion and advertising to work with and an empty downtown sports schedule on those nights as well.

STECCO banner ad

orioles-yankees one-day trip
at an amazing price! (only ten seats left)


Anyone want to go to Yankee Stadium on Sunday, June 11 to see the Orioles and Yankees do battle in the Bronx?

If so, go with us! #DMD has an awesome one-day trip package available now. It's so good, you'll say "What's the catch?" Well, there isn't one.

Game time is 1:05 pm, which makes for a perfect up-and-back bus trip for the baseball lovers in your family. We'll leave Baltimore at 7:30 am sharp and arrive at the stadium by 11:45 or so. Assuming the game ends at 4:00 pm, that puts us back in good ol' Bawlmer by 7:30 or 8:00 pm.

The trip package includes luxury motor-coach transportation, breakfast from Royal Farms, ice cold DuClaw beer for the trip to New York, lunch from Palmisano's of Baldwin upon arrival, and a "terrace level" game ticket with everyone else who is traveling in our group.

And get this, we recently added another great benefit to the package: You pay nothing at the concession stands!! That's right, everyone in our travel group gets access to an unlimited in-game buffet, featuring typical "ballpark food" like hot dogs, sausages, chips, pretzels, snacks, etc., plus water and soft drinks. No more spending $20-$25 every time you go to the concession stand.

What's it all cost? $149 per-person. That gets you EVERYTHING, including the bus driver's gratuity.

If you're looking for a good early Father's Day gift, this is it (Father's Day is the following Sunday)!

If you've never been to Yankee Stadium, we make it easy for you to enjoy a great day of "road baseball", except we do the driving, we supply the tickets, and you'll never go hungry or thirsty when you travel with us.

Please go here to reserve your spots.



Sunday
May 7
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 7
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


birds are in trouble if britton can't go


File this one under the "tell me something I didn't already know" category.

The Orioles are in trouble if this Zach Britton forearm injury is going to linger into a season-long issue.

I mean, enough trouble that it will keep them from challenging for a playoff spot in the American League. They can't win without him.

Sure, they've mostly been without him thus far in 2017 and they're 19-10 after last night's 6-5 win over the White Sox, but the longer Britton stays out the more trouble it's going to cause. The Birds placed Britton on the disabled list again yesterday after his forearm tightened following Thursday's one inning of work at Fenway Park.

It's not that guys like Brach, O'Day, Givens et al can't perform well under the gun. They can. O'Day looked good in the 9th inning last night closing out that win, striking out two Chicago hitters while posting a clean sheet to pick up the save.

How much winning can the Orioles do if Zach Britton's forearm injury is a long-term issue?

Without Britton, though, there's no true order for Buck Showalter to work with and it becomes more of a match-up effort than anything else. And while I trust Showalter to work those situations to perfection, I think it's clear to anyone who has seen the team over the last few years that an O-Day (7th), Brach (8th), Britton (9th) three-inning rotation gives the Birds their best chance to win.

Now, with Britton out, there's nothing of the sort available in the bullpen. Brach closed out games a couple of weeks back, got nicked up in New York, and now O'Day gets the call in the 9th against the White Sox.

At some point, if Britton's forearm injury is serious, this hodge-podge late-game bullpen situation is going to come back to haunt the Birds. That is, unless Buck comes up with a more permanent routine of sorts in the final couple of innings and it turns out to be successful.

But the manager can't make his pitching staff throw strikes and he certainly can't make them throw a 95 mph sinker that no one in the league can hit. Let's be honest here: Britton is nearly an automatic save every time he takes the mound with a lead. Last year, he WAS automatic. I don't think he'll go perfect this season, but he won't blow more than two or three saves, max.

Do you have faith in any other relief pitcher to duplicate Britton's level of success in closing out games? I sure don't.

So, this whole thing IS about Britton and, yet, it ISN'T, as well. Part of the reason why Britton was so effective at slamming the door was because O'Day and Brach would routinely come in and keep the game tidy for Britton. If Baltimore led 4-2 heading into the 7th, Britton would generally get the game at 4-2. O'Day and Brach weren't quite as slam-dunk perfect as Britton in 2015 and 2016, but they were pretty darn close.

Think back to the Kansas City Royals in 2014 and 2015 when they won back to back American League titles. If K.C. led the game after six innings it was over. That back-end combination of Herrera, Davis and Holland was untouchable. The Orioles haven't won any league pennants, granted, but O'Day-Brach-Britton is (was) just as reliable as the K.C. trio in my opinion. Maybe not as overpowering -- but just as effective.

There's no telling what's wrong with Britton, but it sounds like it's an inflammation issue, and those can be very tricky. Anyone that's ever had a serious case of tendonitis knows what he's going through right now.

Circa 2007, I had an elbow tendonitis issue that flared up and I begrudgingly visited a specialist to get his opinion. "It's probably just garden variety inflammation in there," he said matter of factly. "Ninety percent chance we can just treat it with rest, ice and maybe some cortisone."

"What about the other ten percent?" I asked.

"Surgery," he replied. "But that's very rare. We'll get it better the old fashioned way, don't worry."

Nine months later I had surgery.

The good news for Britton, according to what he said on Saturday anyway, is that an MRI revealed no surprises with his elbow. He just has a significant amount of forearm inflammation that they can't seem to calm down. The closer even admitted to "coming back too soon", but that's how inflammation cases work, if my history can be used to shed any light on the situation. You can treat it, rest it and get the swelling down to the point where you think you're fine. But once you resume that activity again, the whole cycle starts over and you're dealing with the pain and discomfort just as you were before.

Let's hope it's not a season long issue for him.

I can't see the Orioles maintaining this sort of winning pace if they don't have Zach Britton in 2017. I think they'll still win games, mind you, but playing without Britton will force Buck to come up with something very creative if he hopes to establish any kind of rhythm or routine in his bullpen.

It looked like he was going to just elevate Brach to the closer's spot right up until the Yankees torched him in New York last Friday night. Now, maybe he's giving O'Day a chance to earn that promotion. If O'Day gets knocked around this week and blows a save or two, then what? Mychal Givens? Logan Verrett?

Let's just hope this latest injury issue comes and goes quickly for Britton and they get him back sometime this month. The Birds can survive another twenty days without him, I suppose. But they can't survive the season without him.

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caps show some grit, force game six with pittsburgh


Mark down that third period of last night's Caps-Penguins game at the Verizon Center and remember what happened.

The big boys from Pittsburgh no-showed on the Penguins.

The big three from the Caps made a stand and kept their team's season alive with a 4-2 win in Game 5 of the series.

With Washington trailing 2-1 heading into the third period, it was do-or-die time for the Caps. And they needed someone on the team to show up besides Tom Wilson and Justin Williams, who were the only two offensive players that seemingly cared in the first two periods of the game.

After a ridiculously quiet first 40 minutes, Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alexander Ovechkin all came through with goals in the third period to pull the Caps back into the series and send the teams to Pittsburgh for Game 6 on Monday night. For once, anyway, the three main offensive players came through for Barry Trotz.

And Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were nowhere to be found for the Penguins.

Caps goaltender Braden Holtby came up big in the third period on Saturday night as Washington rebounded from a 2-1 deficit to win 4-2 and force Game 6 in Pittsburgh.

So, the Caps are still alive, bouyed by the fact that they can get the series back to Washington for a 7th and deciding game if they just figure out a way to pull off a win tomorrow night. You'd have to like their chances if Ovechkin and Company can steal Game 6 and get to Game 7.

Braden Holtby was outstanding in the third period last night, changing the game with two huge saves when the Caps trailed 3-1 and then shutting the door on the Penguins once Washington went ahead. And, even better for the Caps, Pittsburgh netminder Marc Andre Fleury allowed a couple of soft goals to Backstrom and Kuznetsov that turned the tide in Washington's favor. Nothing helps a team collapse in the playoffs more than a rattled goaltender, remember.

But last night was about Pittsburgh's big guns failing to appear in the third period and Washington's top guys finally doing something right.

Kuznetsov, in fairness, now has a goal in four of the five games in the series, but he was nowhere to be found in the first two periods. Backstrom hadn't done much in the first four-plus games and Ovechkin had just one goal in the series prior to last night before being shoved to the third line by Barry Trotz for a period and a half in an effort to both embarrass the perennial MVP candidate and get him a different match-up or two.

Give Ovechkin credit. Following another lackluster performance in Game 4 in Pittsburgh, he admitted he didn't play well. Not many professional athletes are good with self-heat, but Ovi gave himself some after that 3-2 loss on Wednesday night. Sure, we've heard him say it a lot in the past ("I wasn't on my game tonight. I have to do better next time.") but he said it and then backed it up in the third period last night.

I guess I'd be OK with facing playoff hockey pressure for ten million bucks, but Ovechkin knows this could potentially be a career-defining series for him if the Caps can't get past Pittsburgh. This would mark the third time in his career that the Caps secured the top spot in the playoffs via the President's Trophy and yet didn't make it to the Stanley Cup Finals. And most people would put the onus on him, as the team leader and the guy with the most money in his bank account.

Last night, in the third period at least, Ovechkin backed up his promise to play better in the wake of Wednesday's miserable performance in Pittsburgh.

Now, he just needs to do it again on Monday night in the Steel City.

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always dreaming gets perfect trip from velazquez to win derby


They say the Kentucky Derby is always about "the trip". The horse that gets in the best position in what is routinely a field of 18-20 usually winds up on top.

Such was the case yesterday for Always Dreaming, who won the Kentucky Derby yesterday after a perfect ride from veteran jockey John Velazquez.

Here's a quick look at how each horse fared in the season's first of three Triple Crown races.

1. Lookin at Lee -- Held off until the final quarter mile, then rallied gamely to claim second.

2. Thunder Snow -- Wanted no part of racing yesterday. Bucked out of the gate and quit.

3. Fast and Accurate -- Showed some early spunk but eventually gave way to better horses.

4. Untrapped -- Settled in nicely at the halfway point and looked like he might have something, then flattened out.

5. Always Dreaming -- Did everything right, angling in to the rail, saving ground, bursting in front and responding well to the whip. Won easily.

6. State of Honor -- Set the pace and was very much involved until the final quarter mile when he slowed to a Manny Machado home run pace.

7. Girvin -- One of several horses who got jammed up early and never really got into stride, failing to ignite.

8. Hence -- Had a chance with a quarter mile to go but when asked to run, decided he wouldn't.

9. Irap -- Nice looking horse who was just there to be seen. Should have been a model instead.

10. Gunnevera -- Another one who got pinched in that early traffic jam and didn't have any energy in the final quarter mile.

11. Battle of Midway -- Impressive performance, finishing third under a strong final half-mile.

12. Sonneteer -- Nothing to see here.

13. J Boys Echo -- Looked disinterested.

14. Classic Empire -- Got bounced around in the first 50 yards, never made a serious run at the leaders, but finished fourth.

15. McCraken -- Crowded in early on and didn't get to the rail quickly enough and couldn't get past the others.

16. Tapwrit -- Couldn't or wouldn't show enough energy to make it interesting.

17. Irish War Cry -- Another victim of that early mess on the outside and he never looked like a serious contender.

18. Gormley -- Looked strong well into the far turn but then lost interest and walked in from there.

19. Practical Joke -- Finished fifth and was eagerly running hard at the end.

20. Patch -- Inspirational horse with an uninspiring performance.

Full Circle banner ad

orioles-yankees one-day trip
available at an amazing price!


Anyone want to go to Yankee Stadium on Sunday, June 11 to see the Orioles and Yankees do battle in the Bronx?

If so, go with us! #DMD has an awesome one-day trip package available now. It's so good, you'll say "What's the catch?" Well, there isn't one.

Game time is 1:05 pm, which makes for a perfect up-and-back bus trip for the baseball lovers in your family. We'll leave Baltimore at 7:30 am sharp and arrive at the stadium by 11:45 or so. Assuming the game ends at 4:00 pm, that puts us back in good ol' Bawlmer by 7:30 or 8:00 pm.

The trip package includes luxury motor-coach transportation, breakfast from Royal Farms, ice cold DuClaw beer for the trip to New York, lunch from Palmisano's of Baldwin upon arrival, and a "terrace level" game ticket with everyone else who is traveling in our group.

And get this, we recently added another great benefit to the package: You pay nothing at the concession stands!! That's right, everyone in our travel group gets access to an unlimited in-game buffet, featuring typical "ballpark food" like hot dogs, sausages, chips, pretzels, snacks, etc., plus water and soft drinks. No more spending $20-$25 every time you go to the concession stand.

What's it all cost? $149 per-person. That gets you EVERYTHING, including the bus driver's gratuity.

If you're looking for a good early Father's Day gift, this is it (Father's Day is the following Sunday)!

If you've never been to Yankee Stadium, we make it easy for you to enjoy a great day of "road baseball", except we do the driving, we supply the tickets, and you'll never go hungry or thirsty when you travel with us.

Please go here to reserve your spots.



#dmd comments


DELRAY RICK     October 22
GEORGE---Its more like what are the odds "DRAMA QUEEN" can even make the first tee. Start reading the scores right.

George     October 22
Still waiting for an offer of odds against Tiger Woods winning the 2018 Masters. Don’t need anyone speculating whether I’m a fanboy or sycophant or other irrelevant drivel, nor a reminder that the cops took a mugshot of him like they do of every chump who gets locked up for drunk driving. I’m looking for a financial transaction on a sports proposition. If you think Tiger won’t win the Masters, and have the financial courage of your convictions, quote the odds you offer.

Steve in Hunt Valley     October 21
BJ, the passive-aggressive thing looks good and you play it off well but you never actually write a complimentary word about DMD or the stories. You'll write something vague and play it off a compliment when you're questioned on it but I read your comments and shake my head all the time. You obviously have a personal axe to grind with either Drew or the writers. It comes across loud and clear. But I'm sure Drew appreciates the fact that you visit.

H     October 21
After seeing who the Ravens have on IR and who is currently on the injured list, I am amazed that the Ravens are 3-3.

BJ     October 21
@TG Since you're not trying to pick a fight....I said "I consider #DMD a notch above the 4 letter network". I read #DMD most every day, never read any of the "content" on ESPN. Point being ESPN fawns all over this Ball guy (judging by the headlines I see), I come here to avoid that prattle. But it's ok, CJ/PGAV/MONK needs someone to take some of the heat of off him/them ;)

That Guy     October 21
@BJ, you'd have to point out the "compliment" in your OP. I don't see one. Not trying to pick a fight here with you but you do come across as a DMD hater.

BJ     October 21
@Aaron If you could read and comprehend, that was a compliment. If I was just a hater, I'd not be surprised to read about this Ball guy right?

SOD is tough, some of the same guys saying Pees should shut up and be able to handle criticism without lashing out, are the first to bash anyone who dare post even the mildest of "criticism" out here. Interesting

Aaron     October 21
Been coming here for a year now and still can't ever remember "BJ" writing one complimentary word about the site. Always have to wonder why he/she visits. Must be a plant from the old station, just piling on the hate.

BJ     October 21
No idea if the Lakers won or lost last night, but that seems like it'd be easy to look up?

As for being Ball'd out, whose fault is that? Certainly not the goofy Dad, he can't cover himself. Yup, it's those idiot media types flocking to sh*t like flies. Mentioning his name here is puzzling. Who in Baltimore cares about this clown show? Call me crazy, but I consider #DMD a notch above the four letter network and am disappointed this "story" is being covered at all. All things considered, I'd rather see more video of Tiger practicing in his backyard.

BTW, Holland is as bad , if not worse, than Miley. If CC were cheap, he might be decent space filler (pun intended), but I agree with @Brian M, they need to get younger, not older

unitastoberry     October 21
A one year rental on 37 years old CC is right up the Angelos style I would agree with that. But I think they need a miracle or a new owner to ever win the championship again.

DELRAY RICK     October 21
FAKE NEWS ON THIS SITE. Who ever wrote the LAKERS lost last is WROOONG! What a DUMMIE!

Brian M.     October 21
Drew,

Sorry but I do not want Sabathia here and not because he's a Yankee but in the December of his career and we need youth.

Dave W.     October 20
Not a Tiger fan but I agree with Al. Tiger's mug shot doesn't parallel with his attempted comeback IMHO.

Tom     October 20
@Al, You must be new in these parts. Herman has a very clear disdain for people like Tiger, if you know what I mean.

AL     October 20
I'm still not sure what Tiger's mug shot has to do with his golf game. I see people saying they don't like Tiger and that he's a bad guy but I don't know how that connects to his golf game.

DELRAY RICK     October 20
HERMAN----RIGHT ON BOUT PHONY "DRAMA QUEEN" every month he lets the die-hards know , "i am still around". He will embarrass himself just like the mug shot. He's been on drugs for years and the PGA is really on drug testing this year. Hope he gets caught AGAIN.

clayton     October 20
AL------ I think the term role model has been consigned to the dustbin of history as a quaint and outmoded concept. It has been replaced by “brand,” where the currency among athletes is the ability to get your fans to buy the crap that is identified with you. In case of an unfortunate arrest, there are plenty of spin doctors out there who, for a large fee, will tell the public what to think, and they are very good at what they do.

AL     October 20
What does Tiger's mug shot have to do with his golf game? Half the NFL has a mug shot. Doesn't seem to bother them.

HERMAN     October 20
I'm amazed how quickly the Tiger sycophants climb back onto the bandwagon. Look, he's changed his swing, it's easier on the body, he's coming back, he's coming back! He can play again, oh joy!

Did they forget that mug shot that fast?

Tiger manipulates his public better than anyone. The fanboys jump for joy, articles about how he might now be a contender next April amongst the azaleas, forget that only 10% of majors have been won by golfers past 40.

And apparently, forgetting that awful mug shot.

Steve from Pimlico     October 20
Don't say coaching doesn't matter .Look at the Rams with an offensive minded coach. Goff,called a bust last year,now looks like a rising young star .


Tom J     October 20
I finally figured it out.....after hearing the M and T commercial for the millionth time, The Ravens need to tell Joe that he's going shopping with his Ravens debit card at 1pm on Sundays as that generates way more excitement and passion from him than we ever see on the football field.....also, I'm glad I left my seat Sunday so I didn't have to see that pathetic defensive effort from Loudmouth Pees defense. He's clueless. Way to endear yourself to the fans even further coach. First, the players commenting about the fans, now the coaches.......clueless

Brien Jackson     October 19
The "opinionated players" story has been debunked over and over and was only ever a story that was pushed by Preston and Youness. And no one has ever claimed Ozzie doesn't retain control of roster moves. Ever.

the other that guy     October 19
@Kevin Yeah, cause nothing guarantees a good football team more than some "strongly opinionated players" lol.

And as for leadership "on and off the field", I read everywhere what a great "leader" Eric Weddle is, but he can;t tackle fer crap.

DR (the original)     October 19
Can't agree with everything you said there, Brien.

Todd Heap and Dennis Pitta were excellent players, in each case the security blankets for QBs who didn't have great WRs. Ed Dickson is still a starting player in the NFL. A little too early to totally diss Maxx Williams, no?

I'd argue that Anquan Boldin was a pretty good goal line target. Remember the AFC Championship Game? Yes, he came from somewhere else. Not disputing our poor WR draft choices.

Kevin     October 19
Brien-

The head coach has been largely to blame for the makeup of the roster, changing the attitude, style and leadership both on the field and off. The changes in the types of players in recent "Ozzie's" drafts notably changed with the appearance of the new coach as well. The Ravens have drafted non-strongly opinionated players and great special teamers who cannot reach the level of play that game changers can. Those game changers do not fit the mold of the Harbaugh era, except to win a Super Bowl.

HERMAN     October 19
I didn't know fruit could speak or vote.

MOE     October 19
@Jake Swallowed up?? How so?? The video is still there, as are Drew's insightful comments. Everyone can still go watch and hear for themselves (and enjoy), how does anything in the comments section distract from that, much less "swallow it up"?

I'm thinking people criticize Brien cause his writing is horrible and they wish we had more David and George, and less Brien and Todd. That and the fact Brien overwhelms the comments sections at times with his overzealous attempts to make sense out of his nonsense.

Brien Jackson     October 19
http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Hyperbole+definition

Jake     October 19
It's a shame Drew's outstanding video analysis of Tiger gets swallowed up by all of the Brien bashing. I don't understand why people feel the need to constantly criticize him.

Curly     October 19
Just Another Guy Did you notice they were “different” articles, so he didn’t just read one article thirty-six times, or three articles twelve times each. Syllables, man. The more you can put in your sentences the more authoritative you sound.

just another guy     October 19
“I must have read 3 dozen different articles demanding a new offensive coordinator already this season.”



So what Brien is saying is, there were at least 36 “journalists” out there “demanding” Harbs dump Marty? Call me a skeptic, but I find it hard to believe 36 reporters would a) care enough about the situation to write an article and b) saying “The Ravens should hire a new OC right now” is NOT the same as “demanding”. Why would any reporter, even a local beat writer, “demand” anything?

Unless by “articles” Brien means, I don’t know, facebook posts? Tweets?

This encapsulates very nicely the style and quality we get from this guy. I try to read his stuff because, sometimes, if you read between the oh so many lines, he might make an interesting point, but it gets harder and harder to ignore stuff like the sentence above. Why not just say “some have said” and leave it at that??

And the point is not about grammar, it’s about not throwing crap out there that is clearly not true. Pretty ironic, cause that’s the same issue that guy Brien loves to hate has, and gets ripped for, by the likes of Brien and the other serial fabricator, the Little Fella (you know, the tweeter in chief). This is a common practice by people with zero credibility trying to pretend they have some (and interesting that Brien throws that same accusation at people who “watch film”, yet he does exact same thing).

And yes I know, the core audience does not care, I’ll get shouted down as a hater. After all, this is the blog equivalent of talk radio, why be so picky, right?


Fact Check     October 19
The "expert" is wrong again. He slams folks who say they watch the ALL 22, yet can't refute any of the observations directly.



But for all of the lousy writing and having "Fact Check" fact check his dubious credentials. I've found NO articles with is by-line on NPR, ESPN nor CBS sports, they only 2 things I've found is grass cutter and some writing on some 8th rate website.

Expert???? Micheal Clayton instead of Mark Clayton?? I guess he has urges for George Clooney.



Way out of his depth. Went to the LF school of "good" writing. Just shout a lot and call yourself an expert. Ozzie has 2 Super Bowl rings. If the "expert" would have been running the Ravens? Every single year they would win it all.


Tom J     October 19
Well, I can finally agree with Brien on one thing, Ozzie is a huge part of the Ravens problems. I've been saying this to people for years but no one ever wants to call him out because he seems to get a hall pass for the 96 draft. Yes, he has drafted some incredible players but when was the last great draft? They've had one Pro Bowler from the first 3 rounds since around 08. And to all of the Flacco supporters, read the article in The Sun where his pears voted him the third most overrated QB in the NFL. It's one thing when the "know nothing fans' say this but when you pears speak, that says volumes.

James - Dundalk     October 19
@ STEVE FROM PIMLICO, Remember Ramon Harewood the "O" line guy Ozzie picked at 194. Guess who was picked at 195. Antonio Brown

Bill     October 19
Thanks for the Tiger Woods swing insight Drew. Interesting to say the least. I can definitely see on the last video with the red shirt where, as you say, he's standing taller and not nearly as hunched over as in the 2011 video. I don't know much about the swing but I would assume the 2017 version is putting less stress on his back.

Mike from Reisterstown     October 18
@ ANDYMTH3 sounds like Bob From Parkville in reverse.

Brien Jackson     October 18
@Chris K



I'm 99% sure that Machado isn't even on the Yankees' radar. Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar excelled at Double-A this year and figure to move to 3b/2b. They might be in on Harper since Gardner's getting older (Clint Frazier is their CF'er of the future btw), but like Drew said it's pitching that they really need. In the rotation AND in the bullpen as well.

Tom     October 18
I can make this argument easy.



Popovich is definitely crazy. Ask anyone.



Trump is definitely crazy. Ask anyone.



I don't have a dog in either hunt and I can vouch for both statements. Both of them are nuts.

James     October 18
@Herman. Nicely played sir. Funny stuff.

That Guy     October 18
@Andysmyth3,



I'm not picking on you independently. I see this a lot on internet forums everywhere when someone takes exception with a writer, author, blogger, etc.



I find it funny in a weird way. I wonder if you even know you wrote it.



You wrote: "You somehow can say whatever you want because you are a nobody who nobody really cares what you think."



You're clearly pointing out that you believe the writer is a "nobody" and "nobody really cares what you think."



That's fair and it's your right to make that observation.



If you don't care what he thinks why did you take the time to even respond?



I see that sort of thing a lot and it makes me laugh.



BTW, Popovich is kind of crazy. I think you'd even admit that if you weren't so mad about Drew calling him crazy.

HERMAN     October 18
@Andymth3



Gregg Popovich got where he is due to his white privilege. Didn't you hear Obama? "you didn't build that"!

He should immediately resign his position as he is taking the job of a more well deserving minority who didn't get their job through white privilege. It is almost criminal that he is a white man lording over a black majority team in a black majority league. All due to white privilege.

I call on Gregg Popovich to immediately resign his position, give it to a more deserving minority being held down because Gregg holds the job that the minority deserves more, and further, to contribute the salary he didn't earn to BLM.

Championships? Popovich didn't earn those, it was on the backs of minorities. He should return all his hardware, and resign, allowing for a minority to move up, and apologize for all his white privilege.

interested thrid party     October 18
@Andymth3 Nice post. You must be new, the meat of this site is low brow humor and spitballing, how dare you pay attention to the written word! Be prepared for some lambasting from the SOD. But some of us appreciate well thought responses such as yours.

Andymth3     October 18
Gregg Popovich "crazy"? We all should be so crazy. This is a man that graduated from the Air Force Academy, served his country in the armed forces, in intelligence no less, has been one of the greatest basketball coaches in history winning 5 NBA championships, but he is crazy? Why? Because he had the temerity to call the president what he is, a "soulless coward"? Because he speaks forcefully and eloquently about race, and injustice, and inequity? You're right with your I only graduated from Glen Burnie High School schtick. You are way out of your league taking shots at him. I get it, he is a liberal and you are a conservative, you do not agree politically, but that does not make him crazy. I have read your obligatory free speech references, which I am not sure if you actually believe, but here is someone exercising his right to free speech, and he is doing it an a way that does not interfere with games, or national anthems, or your other precious forums, and yet he is crazy because he expressing his opinion. Is this what America has come to now? You somehow can say whatever you want because you are a nobody who nobody really cares what you think, but when an NBA coach actually says something that you do not agree with, how dare he? It is easy to be patriotic and American when everybody agrees with you, but heaven forbid they have a different point of view, them clearly they are crazy. I thought you were smarter and more broad minded than that. I guess I was wrong. I must be crazy.

DELRAY RICK     October 18
Just heard on the radio HILLARY IN LONDON says it is OK to knee for anthem. She will go opposite of TRUMP no matter what. THATS IT! You now can stand on your head if you want. What bunch of crap.

George     October 18
What odds am I offered against Tiger winning the Masters next year? I wish to put my money where my mouth is.

Brendan     October 18
One theory is that Anderson was not let go because of the other Atheltic Directors that have been fired related to the FBI investigation at other schools. Maryland is free and clear of that landmine, but had Anderson been let go at the same time as those others, accusations would be made. I think it is as simple as Loh does not like him and fundraising issues. But he is getting 6 months paid for the move to the Big Ten, which went well.

JohnInEssex     October 18
THANKS Drew for the write up on the MD AD situation. Good stuff!



Watched the Dodgers/Cubs last night - I laughed hysterically to myself as I watched the Cubs pitcher walk the Dodger pitcher on 4 straight balls with the bases loaded. The batter was doing the old fake a bunt and lean out over the plate thing that we all did in Little League, and it worked! During that at bat, the catcher talked to the pitcher twice and the pitching coach came out once. The color commentator (Ron Darling?) was spot on saying all this talking to the pitcher about pitching to the pitcher was just making matters worse for the Cubs pitcher. He also said there is a difference between pitching in the regular season compared to pitching in the playoffs. The sweet Cubbie fans rained down a thunderstorm of BOOS for their pitcher at the end of the inning.



Earlier in the game, the leadoff guy for the Dodgers (Taylor?) managed to get a triple on a ball hit down the third base line. Don't recall ever seeing that happen.

HERMAN     October 18
@robintowson makes a great point, Korea is golf crazy and starved for a sanctioned event. In addition to the purse I'd like to see the "guarantees" paid out to top players in appearance fees and other opportunities there where they can make a killing. Firms there would easily pay a top player a half million to play with the CEO and attend the big company dinner.

Leadership of the tour should be applauded for what they have done with the schedule. The various "runs" make total sense, opening in Hawaii, a run through California, off to Florida, and so on. This three week Asian run is genius.


Steve from Pimlico     October 18
If the Ravens had an Antonio Brown and a Leveon Bell,Joe would be more than adequate at QB.

Look what he did with Ray Rice and Anquan Bolding.

The modern game of football has passed Ozzie by ,sadly.Three of his beloved Alabama picks Cody ,Upshaw and now Williams have hardly been impactful players.

The QB positions new young stars all have mobility which forces defenses to account for their escapability.

James - Dundalk     October 18
@ Pratt. I always admired the knowledge of Phil Savage when he was director of college scouting. Since he left for the Cleveland GM years ago it IMO our college scouting has dropped off. I've stated before our Undrafted player seem to make more impact then the drafted ones.

Saturday
May 6
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we're starting to hear "break up the caps" if they lose tonight


For the record, I think the Capitals will muster up enough gumption tonight to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semi-final playoff series.

I just can't see the Caps rolling over and playing dead en-route to a 4-games-to-1 defeat to Pittsburgh. But, it goes without saying -- but you always wind up saying it anyway, even after you preface it -- that it wouldn't be a shock to see Washington lose tonight.

I just don't think it's going to happen. Call it 4-3 for the good guys in red, white and blue.

But if it doesn't go their way and the season ends for Barry Trotz's team tonight, the organization is going to be faced with some real pressing issues and questions moving forward.

There are even respected hockey journalists suggesting it might be time for the Caps to "blow it up" and start all over again, keeping some key cornerstone pieces in the process, but willingly giving up on this Stanley Cup dream for the time being.

If the Caps can't bounce back and beat the Penguins in their NHL playoff series, should Barry Trotz be on the proverbial coaching "hot seat"?

If fan reaction and social media clammer counts, there's a groundswell starting to build for the same thing. "If we can't beat these guys this year, it's time to rebuild and start over." I've seen that opinion on a number of occasions since Wednesday's 3-2 loss to the Penguins -- sans Sidney Crosby.

I'm not sure how that works, exactly. I mean, I know how it works. You try and trade a few of your valuable pieces and good contracts for some younger, fresh talent and you let a few of your big money free-agents-to-be head off to greener pastures.

But would it be successful? Would rebuilding provide better results than what we've seen over the last decade?

I was involved in an intentional rebuilding of sorts when I ran the local indoor soccer team. It was done with the best of intentions, but it didn't work out on the larger scale. Without getting into great detail because it was then, and still is, a private matter, the owner of our team at the time suddenly ran into some potentially serious financial issues in the summer of 1997. There was no way to sell the team at that point and, with the season only three months away, we had to think on our feet to make sure the organization stayed afloat.

"You'll need to cut $250,000 out of the player payroll," he said to me in mid-July. That was roughly half of what we were paying in total team salaries back then. As you can only imagine, that decision decimated our roster.

But we plowed on, let a few key pieces go, reworked a contract or three, and pledged to draft smarter, give younger players a chance and, hopefully, catch lightning in a bottle.

It didn't work out. The team went 12-28 that season and our attendance dipped as the team's competitive abilities re-booted.

I bring that up just to point out that "blowing it up and starting over" is a last ditch effort when things go south. It fails far more often than it succeeds.

I'll admit another playoff loss to the Penguins and a third straight early ouster from the post-season is potentially crippling to the Capitals. This act has now, officially, grown tiresome. That's why tonight's game is ultra-critical for Alex Ovechkin and Company. It's "must win" in about 10 different ways.

But if they fail tonight -- or in Game 6 or Game 7 -- is "blowing it up" the right thing to do?

It's fair to look at both angles, that I will admit.

This group they currently have isn't getting any younger. Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams will all be in their 30's next season, with Williams approaching the November of his career now at age 35. Oshie and Williams will both be free agents at the end of this season and despite two straight playoff failures in Washington -- assuming the Caps don't come back to win this series -- they will be coveted by plenty of teams this summer.

A decision to "blow it up" by Ted Leonsis and his execs would likely start with the club not re-signing Oshie and Williams. There's always the prospect of trading one or two big names as well, although I don't see any way the Caps would entertain the thought of dealing Ovechkin to a new team. They have too much invested in him and the organization is tied to the hip with him, for better or worse.

The Capitals have become one of Washington's hottest entertainment tickets for one main, basic reason: They've become a consistent winner. Yes, they are almost more well known for their playoff losses than anything else, but on a Friday night in November when you bring clients to town and you get your hands on four great tickets to a Caps game at the Verizon Center, your guests don't really care that the home team can't win a meaningful playoff series.

If there is an internal decision made to rebuild and the losses start piling up and the fans stop showing up 18,000 strong every night, what happens at that point? It's easy to hit the league's salary cap ceiling when you're doing $1.5 million at the gate forty one nights a year. Start seeing those crowds dip to 15,000 or so and suddenly the free-spending nature of the club might start to subside.

I think the more pressing, worthwhile question to ask if the Caps lose tonight centers on the head coach. Would they make a move with Barry Trotz, despite 156 wins over the last three seasons and back-to-back President's Trophy triumphs?

Would they? Should they? It's a question worth posing, I believe, and I'm probably as anti "fire the coach" as anyone you'll find anywhere. I've never been a coach killer, even though I had to fire one myself once in the middle of the season (which worked out for us, it should be noted, but I still hated to do it).

For all his successes in Washington, Trotz hasn't been able to get this group to do anything that Bruce Boudreau, Dale Hunter or Adam Oates couldn't get them to do. All three of those guys had success behind the Washington bench and, like Trotz, couldn't sniff a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. It's a little like shooting 65 in a practice round for a significant golf tournament. If you can't shoot that number in the actual event itself, it doesn't really matter. If you can't parlay a President's Trophy into a Stanley Cup Finals appearance, who cares about the regular season, really?

Trotz, if the Caps fail in this series, probably deserves to be on the hot seat. Should he be fired? That might be a tad too knee-jerky, but if it happened after yet another playoff failure, I wouldn't call it an awful decision by any means.

Three years ago when Trotz was hired, he came to D.C. tasked with getting the team to the Stanley Cup Finals. It hasn't happened. In fact, the Caps haven't come close, really. That's the truth, as harsh as it might sound.

The other blazing-hot spotlight will be cast upon Alex Ovechkin if the Caps fail to advance past the Penguins in this series. All that money -- $10 million a year, plus whatever endorsements the Caps gift him -- and nothing to show for it. Again.

I wrote my piece on Ovechkin earlier in the week. And while it's pretty well documented what I think about him as a player, I'm also realistic enough to know it would be incredibly difficult for the Capitals to part company with him. He's their Cal Ripken Jr. Ovechkin coming into D.C. next December as a member of the Dallas Stars simply wouldn't be something the hockey fans in D.C. could accept and understand. It's a marriage. And, for better or worse, Ovi and the Caps are going to stay together.

But that doesn't mean they can't tear the team apart a little bit if they lose tonight. Ovechkin stays, but a number of other key components don't. They vow to get younger, faster and a little less predictable offensively, perhaps. They'll have a decision to make with goaltender Braden Holtby, too. There's an expansion draft lurking to help stock the new Las Vegas team and Holtby could certainly be dangled as trade bait. Plenty of teams would line up for a chance to acquire Holtby, who is a perennial Vezina Trophy candidate.

I'm not suggesting they trade Holtby, but I am saying no one should be safe if this thing crumbles tonight in D.C. and the Caps are cleaning off their golf clubs Sunday morning.

Just keep in mind: Crushing a team that has won more games than anyone else in the league over the last three years seems smart when you're angry and agitated and the Penguins are moving on and the Caps are sitting home, but it's easier to deal with playoff heartache than a 29 win season in 2017-2018 and a dark Verizon Center in April and May.

All of this, of course, could be avoided if just once in a while the Caps would actually come close to duplicating their regular season play in the post-season. If they would man-up occasionally and beat someone of substance in the playoffs, we wouldn't be discussing all of this stuff.

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don't look now, but the orioles are getting good pitching


For the last couple of off-seasons, a familiar cry has been heard around Baltimore when it comes to discussing the team's chances for post-season glory.

"If the O's pitching holds up, they might actually be pretty good."

News flash: It held up fairly well last season but the team's "homer or bust" offensive philosophy didn't. And, thus far through a month of the 2017 regular season, the same thing can said about this year's edition of the Orioles. The pitching has been pretty effective, but the bats have let the club down.

Last night's 4-2 win over the White Sox pushes the Orioles to 18-10 on the season. It was won with pitching, though, not hitting. That's the way it's been throughout the season thus far, although it's fair to note that an annual rite of passage in major league baseball is pitching beating hitting in the first 30-45 games of the season.

Six quality starts and a 1.82 ERA in 2017 thus far from Dylan Bundy. What more could you want from the O's starter?

The Orioles rank 12th out of 30 teams in overall team pitching. They rank 20th in overall team hitting. If you do a deep dive -- and a stats nerd, I'm not -- you'll find the O's pitching has been more than acceptable over the last couple of years while the hitting hasn't lived up to expectations.

Everyone sees Ubaldo Jimenez throw 3.2 innings and walk five while giving up six runs and screams, "Our pitching stinks!". That cry should be saved for the likes of erstwhile "slugger" Chris Davis, who last night managed to hit his 4th home run of the season and drive in his 7th run in the process. If the fans were as hard on J.J. Hardy (.188 now after an 0-for-4 night on Friday) as they've been on Jimenez, perhaps the shortstop would be in the crosshairs -- fairly, I might add.

Sure, Kevin Gausman looks rattled these days and Jimenez is a complete coin-flip, but just look at the names of Orioles pitchers who have delivered quality performances this season out of nowhere. Gabriel Ynoa, with six shutout innings last night in relief of injured Wade Miley, Alec Asher, Jayson Aquino, Logan Verrett and Tyler Wilson. Cy Young candidates? Of course not. But part of the solution and not part of the problem? You bet.

The Orioles might very well get hot with the bats once the weather warms up. I believe that. Am I worried that Manny Machado is hitting a paltry .224 as we close in on the quarter point of the season? Not at all. Am I concerned about Davis and Trumbo as they both labor through a power failure early in the campaign? Not really. They'll both wind up hitting 30 or more home runs.

But saying "they'll hit better soon" and it actually happening are two different things. Trumbo hit a home run back on April 3rd and has just one round-tripper since then. Davis went 3-for-3 last night to raise his average to .250, but don't kid yourself. He's far more liable to strike out three times in a game than he is to produce a couple of key hits. If those two can come around and start earning their keep, the Baltimore offense won't be such a liability.

Right now, the pitching is holding up their end of the bargain. The offense isn't.

And that's not the way we thought it would be in 2017.

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it's shaping up to be a wet derby
with lots of possibilities


Today's running of the Kentucky Derby kicks off the annual Triple Crown series in horse racing, and it's truly a wide open field as everyone gathers at Churchill Downs.

The morning line reveals several well-thought-of horses, as four of the projected 20 starters are currently at 6-1 or better.

Could Irish War Cry become the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby starting from the #17 post position?

Rain is in the forecast for Saturday in Louisville, and that always changes things since some of these 3-year-olds haven't ever run on an off track or, perhaps have, and didn't respond well to it.

Here's a look at the field, with the jockey listed first and trainer second.

1. Lookin at Lee (20-1), Corey Lanerie/Steve Asmussen

2. Thunder Snow (20-1), Christophe Soumillon/Saeed bin Suroor

3. Fast and Accurate (50-1), Channing Hill/Michael Maker

4. Untrapped (30-1), Ricardo Santana Jr./Steve Asmussen

5. Always Dreaming (5-1), John Velazquez/Todd Pletcher

6. State of Honor (30-1), Jose Lezcano/Mark Casse

7. Girvin (15-1), Mike E. Smith/Joe Sharp

8. Hence (15-1), TBA/Steve Asmussen

9. Irap (20-1), Mario Gutierrez/Doug O'Neill

10. Gunnevera (15-1), Javier Castellano/Antonio Sano

11. Battle of Midway (30-1), Flavien Prat/Jerry Hollendorfer

12. Sonneteer (50-1), Kent Desormeaux/Keith Desormeaux

13. J Boys Echo (20-1), Luis Saez/Dale Romans

14. Classic Empire (4-1), Julien Leparoux/Mark Casse

15. McCraken (5-1), Brian Hernandez Jr./Ian Wilkes

16. Tapwrit (20-1), Jose Ortiz/Todd Pletcher

17. Irish War Cry (6-1), Rajiv Maragh/Graham Motion

18. Gormley (15-1), Victor Espinoza/John Shirreffs

19. Practical Joke (20-1), Joel Rosario/Chad Brown

20. Patch (30-1), Tyler Gaffalione/Todd Pletcher

How #DMD sees the race: There are lots of betting options in this one and it's almost anyone's race. I see Sonneteer at 50-1 with Desormeaux and Desormeaux involved and wonder, "Why on earth would those two guys have a jogger in the biggest race of the year? Then I remember two things: 1. Those guys both need the money. 2. They wouldn't be toying around with a horse that didn't have some sort of quality.

I have a friend who follows the racing game very closely -- his nice house and awesome built-in swimming pool confirm it -- who tells me it's Girvin and McCraken, although my buddy wishes someone other than Brian Hernandez Jr. was in the irons on McCraken.

I realize no horse has ever won from the #17 post position. Sergio Garcia hadn't won a major golf championship until he captured the Masters last month. There's always a time for a "first" and I think we're going to see that tomorrow with Irish War Cry coming out on top. I'll buy some Girvin stock for a second place showing and we'll go with Gormley third.

That's a 17-7-18 ticket if you're playing at home, or anywhere else for that matter.

Look for Classic Empire to be the one notable horse that gets the dreaded "bad trip". He will then come back in two weeks at Pimlico and beat a smaller, watered down field. I liken Classic Empire to another one of those past "bad trip" recipients, Point Given. He never factored in the 2001 Derby, then won the Preakness and Belmont. Classic Empire could do the same.

Want a longshot or two on Saturday? State of Honor could get you a nice payout, as could Tapwrit or Practical Joke. All three have high-quality jockeys on board. If I'm forced to pick one of those, I'll go with Todd Pletcher's Tapwrit.

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we only have two seats left on our london trip to see the ravens!


Anyone interested in seeing the Ravens in London on September 24?

We now only have room for two more people on our trip to the U.K.!!

We're flying over on British Airways and staying at the St. George's Hotel Wembley Stadium. Our flights to and from England are both direct, by the way. That's an important thing to remember when you're traveling over there. We're flying non-stop.

Our game tickets at Wembley Stadium are in the lower concourse, I might add. And most of our group of 34 are sitting together and/or on in the same section.

The trip details are simple: We're leaving on Tuesday, September 19 and arriving (via direct flight) in London on Wednesday, September 20. We'll spend five days in the U.K., take in the Ravens-Jaguars game on Sunday, and return to Baltimore on Monday, September 25.

It's $2,445 per-person, which includes the airfare, five nights hotel, the Ravens-Jaguars lower concourse ticket, a week long complimentary "tube pass" and full English breakfast every morning at the hotel.

To reserve your space on the trip, all you have to do is go here.



Friday
May 5
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 5
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showalter might be my favorite
baltimore coach — ever


I guess I should really think this one through before making such a bold statement -- hence the use of the word "might" -- but I'm now starting to think that Buck Showalter might very well be my favorite Baltimore coach, ever.

Earl Weaver was terrific. I "grew up" with him, so to speak, as he was the skipper of those great O's teams of the 1970's. His style was full-on Baltimore. Angry, feisty, in your face, and, of course, filled with great baseball acumen and wizardry in the dugout.

I like Showalter more, although admittedly I think I'm more aware of the role a manager plays these days and since every game is televised, we see more of what goes on in terms of strategies and we learn more about roster juggling, bullpen use, etc.

I covered both Brian Billick and John Harbaugh extensively when I was on the radio. Billick had some Earl Weaver in him, actually, but he used a thesaurus instead of a cigarette lighter. Brian was just what the doctor ordered when he showed up in Charm City in 1999.

Lots of people say the Ravens became the Ravens the day Billick got hired. Ray Lewis and Jon Ogden were both on the verge of being all-world players before Billick arrived but they didn't win anything until he showed up here.

And I have great admiration for John Harbaugh, who is most certainly my favorite "person" that I ever covered in my twelve years on the air. John is a world-class human being. And he's a terrific coach as well.

Remember earlier when I wrote "I guess I should think this one through..."? The more I do that, the more I might have to call this one a tie between Harbs and Buck. But let's continue.

I only briefly covered Showalter during the last few years of my radio job and we had a "full time" beat reporter covering the team in those days so it wasn't necessary for me to go down to Camden Yards regularly -- so, I didn't. But I do remember one scene in Buck's first full spring training (2011) that still sticks with me.

My former radio producer Glenn Clark joined me for spring training in Sarasota and we aired the 6am-10am show from a trailer in the parking lot at Ed Smith Stadium. On the first day we arrived, Clark and I ventured out to the field(s) to watch the action. Wouldn't you know it, but we found ourselves standing right next to the O's manager as he walked up to watch some of the action.

After a brief introduction, it was small-talk time.

"Do you have a good feeling about these guys?" I asked.

"I do," he said with a slight smile. "I really do."

Then, without another question thrown his way, the skipper continued. "We're going to do the smart thing and just lay low this spring. Like a snake in the weeds. We don't want anyone to know we're here. But if they step on us, they'll find out we're pretty mean."

I loved that analogy.

The Orioles weren't all that mean in 2011, as they went 69-93 and finished in last place in the A.L. East.

But Showalter was laying the groundwork, both on the field and philosophically, for a return to glory for our beloved baseball team.

This week's series in Boston reinforced in me – as if I really needed it – how fortunate we are in Baltimore to have Showalter at the helm of the Orioles.

While the Red Sox continued to embarrass themselves with silly beanball antics and bad blood as a result of a tiff with Manny Machado, the Birds remained professional at all times, the Dylan Bundy pitch notwithstanding on Monday night.

Most or all of the O's impressive behavior, as a team, can be traced directly to their manager. It can also be said, safely I think, that most or all of the stupid stuff we've seen or heard from the Red Sox over the last two weeks can be linked directly to their manager as well.

Maybe Showalter is far, far more crafty than we give him credit for and perhaps he gave Bundy "the wink" on Monday night when he hit Xander Bogaerts, but I'd bet my brand new Titleist driver that he didn't.

I don't think Buck plays that way.

He's old school baseball, yes, but I think Showalter hates all of those idiotic unwritten rules and the self-policed punishments that go along with them. He'd rather lose 10-2 then tell Dylan Bundy to throw at a Boston hitter because he ran around the bases too slow -- or too fast.

I'm the same way. Maybe that's why I like him so much. I'll lose 12-1 before I'll get pissy about a guy flipping his bat after a home run or stealing second base when it's 8-2 in the top of the 9th inning.

If you could get a couple of glasses of Silver Oak in Adam Jones, that truth serum would reveal that Showalter is largely responsible for Adam's rise as one of the game's best all-around players. Sure, he's extraordinarily talented and his own hard work has groomed his career, but Jones wasn't going to become a great player hanging around Dave Trembley. I don't know much, but I know that.

I think it's also fair to say the same thing about Machado, and the jury is still out on him in terms of his composure and his ability to think "team first", but that's only because he's 24 years old. All you have to do is look at what has transpired over the last year. In 2016, Machado was hit by a pitch, charged the mound, started a fight and got suspended. In 2017, Machado was hit by a pitch and he unsnapped his protective leg pad and walked to first base.

If I'm betting it, I'm betting it was Showalter and his work with Machado over the last twelve months that got #13 to stroll to first base when Matt Barnes threw at his head.

We're lucky to have Showalter. The owner, remember, wanted Bobby Valentine. The owner also once hired Lee Mazzilli. That didn't go so well. But they got it right with Showalter, who has been the single most important piece of the organization since 2010.

Yes, Buck has some blemishes. There's no hiding the fact that he's never managed a World Series game. He had a chance to do that in 2014 but the Birds got swept by the Royals in the ALCS. That's part of his DNA, so it can't be ignored.

He's seemingly loyal to a fault. Nolan Reimold, Ryan Flaherty . . . two quick names that come to mind as evidence that Showalter occasionally clings to one of his favorites despite minimal "real" production from them.

But if those are his warts, I'll gladly take them.

The rest of the stuff far outweighs those minor issues.

I wrote yesterday that I'm not sure Manny Machado is a winner because -- wait for it, it's very philosophical -- he's never won anything.

Well, Buck hasn't won anything, either. And yet I know for sure he's a winner.

It's weird how sports works like that, isn't it?

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it's shaping up to be a wet derby
with lots of possibilities


Tomorrow's running of the Kentucky Derby kicks off the annual Triple Crown series in horse racing, and it's truly a wide open field as everyone gathers at Churchill Downs.

The morning line reveals several well-thought-of horses, as four of the projected 20 starters are currently at 6-1 or better.

Could Irish War Cry become the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby starting from the #17 post position?

Rain is in the forecast for Saturday in Louisville, and that always changes things since some of these 3-year-olds haven't ever run on an off track or, perhaps have, and didn't respond well to it.

Here's a look at the field, with the jockey listed first and trainer second.

1. Lookin at Lee (20-1), Corey Lanerie/Steve Asmussen

2. Thunder Snow (20-1), Christophe Soumillon/Saeed bin Suroor

3. Fast and Accurate (50-1), Channing Hill/Michael Maker

4. Untrapped (30-1), Ricardo Santana Jr./Steve Asmussen

5. Always Dreaming (5-1), John Velazquez/Todd Pletcher

6. State of Honor (30-1), Jose Lezcano/Mark Casse

7. Girvin (15-1), Mike E. Smith/Joe Sharp

8. Hence (15-1), TBA/Steve Asmussen

9. Irap (20-1), Mario Gutierrez/Doug O'Neill

10. Gunnevera (15-1), Javier Castellano/Antonio Sano

11. Battle of Midway (30-1), Flavien Prat/Jerry Hollendorfer

12. Sonneteer (50-1), Kent Desormeaux/Keith Desormeaux

13. J Boys Echo (20-1), Luis Saez/Dale Romans

14. Classic Empire (4-1), Julien Leparoux/Mark Casse

15. McCraken (5-1), Brian Hernandez Jr./Ian Wilkes

16. Tapwrit (20-1), Jose Ortiz/Todd Pletcher

17. Irish War Cry (6-1), Rajiv Maragh/Graham Motion

18. Gormley (15-1), Victor Espinoza/John Shirreffs

19. Practical Joke (20-1), Joel Rosario/Chad Brown

20. Patch (30-1), Tyler Gaffalione/Todd Pletcher

How #DMD sees the race: There are lots of betting options in this one and it's almost anyone's race. I see Sonneteer at 50-1 with Desormeaux and Desormeaux involved and wonder, "Why on earth would those two guys have a jogger in the biggest race of the year? Then I remember two things: 1. Those guys both need the money. 2. They wouldn't be toying around with a horse that didn't have some sort of quality.

I have a friend who follows the racing game very closely -- his nice house and awesome built-in swimming pool confirm it -- who tells me it's Girvin and McCraken, although my buddy wishes someone other than Brian Hernandez Jr. was in the irons on McCraken.

I realize no horse has ever won from the #17 post position. Sergio Garcia hadn't won a major golf championship until he captured the Masters last month. There's always a time for a "first" and I think we're going to see that tomorrow with Irish War Cry coming out on top. I'll buy some Girvin stock for a second place showing and we'll go with Gormley third.

That's a 17-7-18 ticket if you're playing at home, or anywhere else for that matter.

Look for Classic Empire to be the one notable horse that gets the dreaded "bad trip". He will then come back in two weeks at Pimlico and beat a smaller, watered down field. I liken Classic Empire to another one of those past "bad trip" recipients, Point Given. He never factored in the 2001 Derby, then won the Preakness and Belmont. Classic Empire could do the same.

Want a longshot or two on Saturday? State of Honor could get you a nice payout, as could Tapwrit or Practical Joke. All three have high-quality jockeys on board. If I'm forced to pick one of those, I'll go with Todd Pletcher's Tapwrit.

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this weekend in
english soccer


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

With only three weeks left to go, Matchday 36 of the English Premier League kicks off with everything still to play for throughout the table, as the title race remains up in the air, a four team slugfest for the final two Champions League places next season, and still two more teams to face relegation down to the Championship. Tune in as the season begins to wind down but with plenty of action left to come and every game available live on the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Friday, May 5 (all times eastern)

3 pm – Tottenham @ West Ham United – London Stadium, NBC Sports Network

After missing several chances to go ahead early in the final North London Derby at White Hart Lane, two goals in a one minute and seventeen second span early in the second half was more than enough to get Tottenham past an overmatched Arsenal and, for the first time since 1995, ensured that Spurs will finish above their arch rivals in the table. More importantly, they kept the pressure on Chelsea and with the Blues not playing until Monday, Spurs could trim their advantage to just a single point when they will take on West Ham United at the London Stadium in their third London Derby in as many weeks.

The Hammers played to a scoreless draw with Stoke City and, now unbeaten in their last four league games (W1 D3), sit just one point shy of the forty-point threshold, the target for most clubs to guarantee their safety and another season in England’s top flight. They will likely have to wait for their next matchup to reach that mark, however, as Tottenham took all three points in the reverse fixture earlier this season and have lost only one time in their last five meetings against the Hammers (D1), who have lost all four of their previous meetings this season against teams in the top six at the London Stadium.

Saturday, May 6 (all times eastern)

7:30 am – Crystal Palace @ Manchester City – Etihad Stadium, NBC Sports Network

Crystal Palace remained a point behind West Ham in the table and two points shy of the forty-point mark when they came away empty-handed for the second consecutive week in a 2-0 setback to Burnley. With a seven-point cushion on the bottom three and just three games left to play, they will know their status in England’s top flight is relatively safe when they head to the Etihad Stadium to kick off the Saturday slate against Manchester City, who twice battled back from one-goal deficits to eventually split the points with Middlesbrough in a 2-2 draw to maintain their one-point edge over Manchester United.

City were lucky to hold onto fourth place after United suffered a similar fate against a bottom club, and they will be confident of opening up some breathing room over their neighbors, having won the last five meetings with Palace and only one loss in their last thirteen across all competitions, coming away with all three points in twelve of those encounters and in the last seven meetings at the Etihad Stadium, although the Eagles will be looking for their next big scalp, having already taken down Chelsea and Liverpool, both on the road, as well as Arsenal, all within the last thirty days.

Sunday, May 7 (all times eastern)

11 am – Manchester United @ Arsenal – Emirates Stadium, NBC Sports Network

In what has become one of the EPL's most heated coaching rivalries, Arsene Wenger of Arsenal (left) and Jose Mourinho of Man United (right) square off on Sunday.

Manchester United looked well on their way to picking up three points for the fourth time in their last five leagues games until Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free kick eleven minutes from time canceled out Wayne Rooney’s long awaited return to the score sheet and, already aware of their result, unable to capitalize on Manchester City’s draw with Middlesbrough. They will travel to Emirates Stadium to wrap up the Sunday action against longtime rival Arsenal, who are likely to throw everything they have at United following their flat and uninspiring performance in the North London Derby last weekend.

This will be Arsenal’s final chance to start cutting into the six-point gap they will need to overcome to jump both Manchester United and Manchester City in the table for next season’s final Champions League spot. With a game in hand over both United and City, and the Red Devils facing a trip to second place Tottenham next weekend, Arsenal has a shot but will have to do so against a United side that have lost only one of their last eleven league meetings with the Gunner (W6 D4) and just three of their last twenty get togethers across all competitions (W12 D5).

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orioles-yankees one-day trip
available at an amazing price!


Anyone want to go to Yankee Stadium on Sunday, June 11 to see the Orioles and Yankees do battle in the Bronx?

If so, go with us! #DMD has an awesome one-day trip package available now. It's so good, you'll say "What's the catch?" Well, there isn't one.

Game time is 1:05 pm, which makes for a perfect up-and-back bus trip for the baseball lovers in your family. We'll leave Baltimore at 7:30 am sharp and arrive at the stadium by 11:45 or so. Assuming the game ends at 4:00 pm, that puts us back in good ol' Bawlmer by 7:30 or 8:00 pm.

The trip package includes luxury motor-coach transportation, breakfast from Royal Farms, ice cold DuClaw beer for the trip to New York, lunch from Palmisano's of Baldwin upon arrival, and a "terrace level" game ticket with everyone else who is traveling in our group.

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Thursday
May 4
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 4
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machado, ovechkin both trying to prove they're "winners"


It's fair to point out that neither Orioles third baseman Manny Machado or Caps winger Alex Ovechkin have ever won anything in their professional lives.

Money? They have gobs of it.

Adoration? If the #13 and #8 jerseys you see worn in Baltimore and Washington are an indicator, they have lots and lots of that, too.

Championships? None of those.

Interestingly enough, both were saddled with the prospect of playing for franchises who hadn't won anything in forever when they were drafted, Ovechkin first in 2004 and Machado next in 2010. The Capitals were without a title at all from their inception into the NHL in 1974, so they literally hadn't won in forever, while the Orioles hadn't won -- and still haven't -- since 1983, so it just seems like forever for long suffering fans of Baltimore baseball.

In the Caps' last five playoff games, Alex Ovechkin has one playoff goal. He was held scoreless again last night as the Caps lost in Pittsburgh, 3-2, to now trail 3-1 in that series with the Penguins.

Semantics aside, both franchises were perennial longtime losers who saw light at the end of the tunnel by drafting supremely talented players.

Machado has been in the spotlight this week in Boston after an incident on Tuesday night sparked an expletive-laden tirade following a 5-2 loss to the Red Sox and yet another pitch thrown at him by a Red Sox player. It would be fair to say that Manny finally "snapped" after at least three occasions in the last two meetings with Boston included one of their pitchers trying to hit him with a ball.

Ovechkin, meanwhile, has labored through a pair of tough playoff series' thus far in April and May, as he and the Caps were extended to six games by the lucky-to-get-in-the-playoffs Toronto Maple Leafs and they now trail the Penguins 3-games-to-1 after last night's 3-2 defeat in Pittsburgh.

In that series vs. the Maple Leafs, five of the six games went to overtime. The list of the players who came up big with potentially season-saving goals for the Caps were Tom Wilson, Justin Williams and Marcus Johansson. Ovechkin didn't score in overtime, but those guys did. In fact, in his career, Ovechkin has never once scored a playoff overtime goal.

Machado has had just three chances to perform in the post-season thus far, as he missed the Orioles' rise to the American League Championship Series in 2014 after suffering a regular season knee injury. In seven post-season games, Manny is hitting just .174 with an on-base-percentage of .240. Ryan Flaherty saw those numbers and giggled at them.

Ovechkin has not been a "bad" playoff performer in his career. Far from it. His post-season numbers match or exceed his regular season production in most of the important categories. But two things about Ovechkin's play in the post-season are unarguable. He's never had a scoring spree in a playoff series where it can be said "he put the team on his back and carried them", the way you might see some of the other greats in the NHL do (Kane, Crosby -- to name two current guys) and the Capitals, as a team, haven't won a truly significant series in the Ovechkin era.

Machado has a much smaller sample size to dissect than Ovechkin, but he, too, hasn't performed well in the playoff spotlight and the Orioles, with him on the field and active, haven't done anything of note in the post-season.

Are either of those guys really "winners"?

Going all the way back to my days on the radio, circa 2008 or so when Ovechkin's prominence in the league took full-flight, I assessed that Ovechkin wasn't "a winner". I definitely understand how narrow the eyehole is to look at a player in a team sport -- one that he can't possibly win all by himself -- and say, "that guy's not a winner".

It's easy to do in an individual sport. Serena Williams? Talented and a "winner". Tiger Woods? Talented (was) and a "winner". Some athletes have "it" when it comes to winning. Those did fit that label.

There's never been anything I've seen from Ovechkin that tells me he has "it".

I actually think Machado might have "it". I wouldn't bet my house on it, but if you forced me to make a call, right now, on whether Machado wins a ring or doesn't in his career, I'd bet that he does. It might not be in Baltimore, sadly, but Machado will likely win one someday.

Ovechkin, to his credit, manned up last night in the aftermath of his woeful performance in Pittsburgh and took the blame. "I didn't play my game tonight. Me personally, I have to play much better," he said. "I didn't control the puck well. I make stupid decisions. Unfortunately, it happened."

It's happened to much to Ovechkin, unfortunately, since he stepped into the spotlight in Washington. He has 45 career playoff goals in 95 games. Nothing to sneeze at there, for sure. But those goals have been scattered alongside a career path that has never once included Ovi carrying the Capitals past a team or two on their way to the Stanley Cup Finals.

To say the Capitals haven't had the teams to compete for a championship would be inaccurate. Honestly, far less talented teams have reached the Finals during Ovechkin's 12-year career. The Capitals, for some reason, have always petered out in April or May during the Ovechkin era.

It would be think if Ovechkin was in hockey what Joe Thomas of the Browns has been in the NFL. If you saw Thomas at a charity golf outing this summer and chided him about his career playoff accomplishments he'd look at you and say, "Dude, really? I play for the freakin' Browns, man."

Ovechkin has been part of the NHL's winningest franchise for the last decade, partially due to his terrific regular season play, mind you. But he's also been part of a team that annually falls flat in the playoffs. And when you're paid $10 million a year in the NHL, it's incumbent upon you to figure out how to get your team over the top.

One way for Ovechkin to get his team over the top would be to stop farting-in-church like he did last night in that ultra-critical fourth game, with the Caps already trailing in the series, 2-1. Oh, and one of the reasons the Caps were down in the series? Ovi came up empty in Game 1 in D.C. and empty in Game 2 in D.C.

Machado is off to a slow start in 2017. The whole beanball thing with Boston might be conveniently overshadowing his lousy start to the campaign, where he's hitting just .214 through 26 games. His home run totals are more than respectable now (6 on the season) after two dingers at Fenway Park this week, and his defensive work at third base has been, as always, nothing short of sensational, but it's fair to say he hasn't hit the ball well thus far.

The saga with the Red Sox has cast a bright light on Machado and, to me at least, he's handled it about as well as anyone would have or could have handled it. The whole s**tshow started in Baltimore on a benign play at second base that turned into the second edition of Pete Rose running over Ray Fosse and ruining Fosse's career. From there, Boston pitchers have targeted Machado on an open basis, so much so that Major League Baseball yesterday finally directed the two teams to tone it down and stop trying to injure one another with thrown baseballs.

Machado went 0-for-5 last night in the 4-2 loss at Fenway, but in the first two games of the series he clobbered long, impressive home runs into the Boston night and then jogged around the bases slowly enough to warrant perhaps even more retaliation from outraged Red Sox pitchers.

That's what "winners" do, I say. The half-effort run around the bases notwithstanding, Machado's answer in the first two games of the series was to take matters into his own hands and put his team on the scoreboard with home runs. I'd spotlight his spectacular defensive work in Monday's first game, but that's part and parcel of Machado's game most every night.

Machado has a lot of the season left to prove he's truly a winner. All he's proven thus far in his career is that he's a sensational player with a decade or more of greatness ahead of him and something like $300 million waiting in the wings when he becomes a free agent in 2018.

Hey, let's be honest. If you give me $300 million and I don't ever "win anything", I'll think I still came out OK. But you know what I mean, here. Derek Jeter made $265 million in his career and everyone who has a respected opinion on the subject believes Jeter to be one of the game's great "winners" of all-time. Alex Rodriguez? Not a winner. Derek Jeter? Winner, flat out.

Machado might be a winner, with an emphasis on the word, "might". I like that he boiled over this week and got pissed off with the Red Sox. That shows me something. I hope he can carry that enthusiam for the next five months of the regular season and into the playoffs so we can see if is, in fact, "a winner".

I'd like to see Ovechkin do it, too, although his time is now, not five months from now. The Capitals are back home on Saturday night, down 3-1 in the series. They lost last night to a Penguins team that played without the best player in the league, Sidney Crosby, who might also be out for Game 5 in D.C.

This is when Ovechkin needs to shine. Now. Not next October in the regular season opener when he scores two goals in a 5-2 pasting of the Islanders. Not next February in the Olympics when he guides the Russians to a gold medal (unlikely, by the way, but it's possible). He needs to put the Capitals on his back now. In this series.

And then, if Ovechkin can somehow wiggle the Caps out of this 3-1 hole and get them past the Penguins, he'd have to do it all over again in the next series against the Rangers or Senators. Then, at least, his team would be making a trip to the NHL Finals. For the first time ever in his career.

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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.


when a loss is just a loss…


For the Orioles, it’s now been six seasons in which the New York Yankees, honestly, are just another baseball team. Sunday’s extra-inning win in the Bronx was the 100th regular-season game between the teams since 2012, and the Orioles are 54-46 in those 100 games.

Even the lone playoff meeting between the teams in that time was a tight one, with the Yanks taking a Division Series meeting in the full five games in 2012. And it’s been well advertised that, simply by record alone, the Orioles have been the better team in that time, and frankly at a cheaper price.

So, I really don’t think last Friday’s 14-11 debacle in the Bronx is some kind of harbinger of things to come. If Zach Britton was healthy, the Orioles probably would have taken two out of three against the Yankees for the second time this season. They would have won a shootout and a close one, and lost handily in a game started by Ubaldo Jimenez. Sounds right to me.

The Yankees are talented but young; it remains to be seen if they can maintain this level of play throughout a six-month season. The Orioles are very much the same team they’ve been since 2012; it remains to be seen if that means another playoff appearance, though the signs are encouraging. One game doesn’t change those things.

Still, it was hard to watch that game, or even the comeback on Sunday that led to extra innings, without feeling chills, like the world had reverted back to a time when the Yankees seemed to win 20 games a year like that and the Orioles were powerless to stop them. When a certain victory-turned shocking defeat actually did mean something; namely, that they were good and you weren’t.

Like, say, 17 years ago, almost to the day.

Friday, May 5, 2000. Yankee Stadium. The old one. Orioles-Yankees. I picked up a friend in Princeton and we took the NJ Transit train to Penn Station, where we then connected with the subway for the trip up to the Bronx. It was an unseasonably warm night, with temperatures in the 80's. (Which reminds me, don’t let anybody on TV or the internet fool you into believing that having hot weather in the Northeast near the beginning of May is some kind of unprecedented occurrence that demands immediate climate action, whatever that means.)

But back to the game, probably the most devastating defeat I’ve ever seen the Orioles take in person.

The start was pretty typical for a game featuring the two-time defending World Series champions and the Orioles. Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez and Jorge Posada all had early hits against Scott Erickson, and the Yankees led 3-0 after one inning.

So Erickson didn’t really have it, but neither did Orlando Hernandez, “El Duque,” who was listed at age 34 but might have been 44. 39-year-old Cal Ripken hit a solo home run in the 2nd, and Hernandez’s wild pitch allowed the Orioles to tie the game in the 3rd. In the fifth, B.J. Surhoff and Harold Baines both crushed balls into the famous right field upper deck, and El Duque hit the showers down 7-5.

The Yankees were never really out of a game back then, and when Bernie Williams hit one deep against the immortal Buddy Groom, the game was tied at 8-8. But the Orioles weren’t done themselves, responding immediately with a go-ahead double and a sacrifice fly, and held a 10-8 lead headed into the bottom of the 9th.

Then came the devastation.

Manager Mike Hargrove went to Mike Timlin, who immediately gave up a solo home run to O’Neill. After Williams singled, Hargrove went to B.J. Ryan, who walked Martinez. Then, on the first pitch, Posada crushed a no-doubter into the left field bleachers, and the Yankees walked away with a 12-10 win.

As stunned as I was, what happened after the game was even more bothersome.

My friend and I were forced by the scarcity of personal space on the “B” train into a conversation with a couple, who must have seen my Orioles hat but still had the gall to ask me how great I thought the game was.

The guy then told me that he too was from Baltimore, and had grown up attending Orioles games at Memorial Stadium. But somewhere along the way, he said, the Orioles had stopped meaning anything to him, and he had become a Yankee fan during their run to the 1996 World Series championship.

You know, the one where the Yankees might not have even made it to the World Series if it wasn’t for some snot-nosed kid from New Jersey reaching over the fence and stealing a “home run.” That one… It was the closest I’d ever come to starting a fight in public. If I had been alone, or drunk, or just a little stupid, I would have at least gotten in a few choice words.

There was actually a person in the world who grew up attending baseball games at Memorial Stadium and turned into a Yankees fan. 17 years later, it’s still as lame as it seemed then.

17 years later, it’s a lot more fun to watch the Orioles play the Yankees. The future Hall of Famer on the field is (for now anyway) playing on the left side of the Orioles infield, not at shortstop for the Yankees. With the exception of the monstrous Aaron Judge, there isn’t one player who started Friday night’s game for the Yankees that I’d be dying to have.

The enthusiasm in the Stadium crowd from 17 years ago? It doesn’t exist. The Yankees can no longer depend on it, and even if they could, I’m not sure they’re good enough to fully take advantage of it. Maybe for one game, but it’s a long way from what it used to be.

I’m going to enjoy that, for as long as it lasts. A loss to the Yankees will mean nothing more than a loss, and a win will just be another one on the way to 90 or more of those.

And maybe Manny Machado will choose the Marlins instead for 2019.

Primary Residential banner

help us improve #dmd


The Ravens got their chance to improve last week when they selected a bunch of new players in the NFL Draft. Time will tell if their research and due diligence yields improvement.

We're creating our own improvement opportunity for the next two weeks here at #DMD in the form of our first-ever reader's survey that will provide us with extraordinary information on you and your reading habits.

We ask that you please take two minutes today to complete the survey you see below and submit it to us.

It's completely anonymous.

You're not required to register, provide an e-mail address or anything else that could connect you with the answers you provide. This is merely an information-seeking effort that we'll use to learn more about your reading/visiting habits, plus some other nuggets that we're interested in knowing about you.

You won't be contacted, chased or "spammed", of course. We're not collecting names and e-mails here. We're collecting data.

The sports media landscape -- and media in general -- is constantly evolving, as we just saw last week when ESPN cut over 120 jobs in an effort to better streamline what they do. We're in the process of adding employees here at #DMD, not subtracting them, but that doesn't mean we're unaware of the changing world around us. The big boys are getting smaller and the little guys are trying to get bigger, I'd say.

These are interesting times.

By learning more about your reading habits, for example, we can determine if #DMD should remain a stand-alone, once a day entry website (we publish at 7:10 am, and the content doesn't change that day) or perhaps, as we've been contemplating for a while, #DMD should be updated on an ongoing basis throughout the day as stories sprout up in the afternoon and evening.

For those old enough to remember, there was once a Baltimore Morning Sun and a Baltimore Evening Sun, complete with different writers, editors, etc. for each one. The Morning Sun tended to be more of the overnight-news-reported-in-the-morning paper while the Evening Sun was a little more "feature-driven", although they too covered local news and sports with a "next day" theme.

Maybe someday they'll be a "Morning #DMD" and an "Evening #DMD". That's what some of the information we're seeking might tell us.

We'd like to know what local teams and sports in general you most enjoy reading about when you visit #DMD.

We'll cover and write about any team or sport, as long as we know there are people out there interested in those things. And we don't know what we don't know.

Example: I didn't know there was a huge English Soccer following in Baltimore. I didn't know if having a Friday piece here at #DMD would attract readers. When Matt Carroll came on board a couple of years ago to start providing us with a weekly column previewing the key games in English Soccer, it was my first real brush with the community's connection to the sport and the teams in the EPL. A couple of months in, there was a Friday where a technical glitch kept us from posting Matt's EPL piece until later in the day. I received a handful of e-mails in the first hour after we published from people asking "Where's the soccer column we see every Friday?"

By noon, several more came in. Eventually, we got the EPL piece up and everyone was happy, but that situation told me -- by accident, almost -- that our EPL coverage is important to folks in town who follow along with a specific team or the league in general.

The English Premier League isn't my cup of tea, personally. I couldn't name five players in the league. Maybe not even three. But if people want us to cover the EPL here at #DMD, we'll do it.

So, in the survey you'll see below, we ask you which local teams/sports you most like us to cover here at Drew's Morning Dish.

We ask 25 questions in all, and would kindly request that you take the survey seriously. The information we glean from the survey is only useful to us if you're honest in your answers.

The local company we used to help us put this together recommends we survey everyone again in six months once we've digested the information in today's survey and learned a lot more about your reading/visit habits. So, we might be coming back at you again in November with some more questions as we continue to evaluate how we're going to structure #DMD in the future and what changes, improvements, etc. we plan on instituting, if any.

For now, these 25 questions will give us an idea of your reading habits, what you like, when you like it and how interactive you currently are with the website.

I originally produced 37 questions for the survey. I was told by the experts "25 is the limit". Shows you what I know about surveys.

I hope you'll take a couple of minutes today to fill out the survey. It's important to us.

And, finally, if you have any individual, private comments you'd like to share about #DMD, I ask that you e-mail me directly. I will carefully read and consider anything submitted to me by e-mail. You can reach me at: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Thank you to those of you who take the time today to answer our survey. We appreciate it greatly here at #DMD.

The survey is below. It's filled out right here on the page itself. Just scroll down to each question, answer, and proceed to the next one.



we only have two seats left on our london trip to see the ravens!


Anyone interested in seeing the Ravens in London on September 24?

We now only have room for two more people on our trip to the U.K.!!

We're flying over on British Airways and staying at the St. George's Hotel Wembley Stadium. Our flights to and from England are both direct, by the way. That's an important thing to remember when you're traveling over there. We're flying non-stop.

Our game tickets at Wembley Stadium are in the lower concourse, I might add. And most of our group of 34 are sitting together and/or on in the same section.

The trip details are simple: We're leaving on Tuesday, September 19 and arriving (via direct flight) in London on Wednesday, September 20. We'll spend five days in the U.K., take in the Ravens-Jaguars game on Sunday, and return to Baltimore on Monday, September 25.

It's $2,445 per-person, which includes the airfare, five nights hotel, the Ravens-Jaguars lower concourse ticket, a week long complimentary "tube pass" and full English breakfast every morning at the hotel.

To reserve your space on the trip, all you have to do is go here.


orioles-yankees one-day trip
available at an amazing price!


Anyone want to go to Yankee Stadium on Sunday, June 11 to see the Orioles and Yankees do battle in the Bronx?

If so, go with us! #DMD has an awesome one-day trip package available now. It's so good, you'll say "What's the catch?". Well, there isn't one.

Game time is 1:05 pm, which makes for a perfect up-and-back bus trip for the baseball lovers in your family. We'll leave Baltimore at 7:30 am sharp and arrive at the stadium by 11:45 or so. Assuming the game ends at 4:00 pm, that puts us back in good ol' Bawlmer by 7:30 or 8:00 pm.

The trip package includes luxury motor-coach transportation, breakfast from Royal Farms, ice cold DuClaw beer for the trip to New York, lunch from Palmisano's of Baldwin upon arrival, and a "terrace level" game ticket with everyone else who is traveling in our group.

And get this, we recently added another great benefit to the package: You pay nothing at the concession stands!! That's right, everyone in our travel group gets access to an unlimited in-game buffet, featuring typical "ballpark food" like hot dogs, sausages, chips, pretzels, snacks, etc., plus water and soft drinks. No more spending $20-$25 every time you go to the concession stand.

What's it all cost? $149 per-person. That gets you EVERYTHING, including the bus driver's gratuity.

If you're looking for a good early Father's Day gift, this is it (Father's Day is the following Sunday)!

If you've never been to Yankee Stadium, we make it easy for you to enjoy a great day of "road baseball", except we do the driving, we supply the tickets, and you'll never go hungry or thirsty when you travel with us.

Please go here to reserve your spots.



Wednesday
May 3
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 3
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


caps fans need to stop whining


My Dad used a familiar phrase on a few occasions when I was growing up in Glen Burnie and he was forced to discipline me, which, in the old days, was a little more "punishing" than what is acceptable in today's society.

"This is going to hurt me a lot more than it hurts you," he would say. I get it now. It's not easy to discipline your children and it does, for sure, hurt you as much or more than it hurts them.

I feel like what I'm writing here today hurts me more than it hurts fans of the Capitals, because I'm one of them. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool, long suffering fan of the franchise, buoyed over the last decade by the team's rise to the upper echelon of the NHL, but still capable of remembering the dark days when the team would routinely get run out of the gym 50-60 games a season.

But here goes...

There's a significant portion of the Caps fan base who have lost their way. Big time. I have no way of knowing what the percentage is, but my social media timeline is filled with whiners every time the team takes the ice.

I don't think it's a new thing. It probably started last year or maybe even in 2015, but I can't remember the whining ever reaching the level I've seen recently.

Want me to call it like it is? It's embarrassing.

I get it. As the pressure for a Stanley Cup increases with the organization and the team on the ice, the pressure on the fan base gets racheted up as well. It's hard to root for a team who annually folds up come playoff time. You get tired of answering the same questions year after year about your team and why they can't close the deal in the post-season.

But instead of admitting the truth, Caps fans have gone the way of some of the most entitled fan bases in the country -- in any sport. They've taken to blaming the refs, the other team and their "dirty play" or "lucky goal", and just about anything else they can come up with as a mechanism for avoiding the truth about the Capitals and their playoff failings.

Oh, and it's very fair to point out that it's not just the fan base who is guilty of this entitled state. The D.C. media is right there with them, whining away, complaining about every bad call, every bad break, and every piece of luck that doesn't go the Caps way.

Maybe that's where the fans get it from, come to think of it.

Whatever the case, I've never seen a group of fans show this level of entitlement for a team that hasn't won jack-squat -- ever. They've made one lonely trip to the Stanley Cup Finals, back in 1997-98, and were promptly flushed out in four straight games by Detroit. Other than that, it's been a bunch of early exits for the Caps come April or May each year.

Yet, the fan base seems to think the Caps are 4-time Stanley Cup champs who deserve preferential treatment from the league because of the value they bring to the NHL.

The Caps don't have any real value in the league, truth be told. They're just a team. Sure, they have one of the game's best players in Alex Ovechkin, and they're always "in the hunt" come playoff time, but in no way are the Capitals even close to being an iconic franchise in the NHL.

But to read or hear the fans, you'd think the Capitals are the Montreal Canadiens.

Follow your social media feed tonight when the Caps and Penguins face off in Game 4 in Pittsburgh. The first time an "apparent" penalty isn't called, Twitter will light up with fans moaning and complaining. It will continue like that throughout the night. The Penguins will NEVER get a call that goes against them (except that penalty in overtime on Monday night) and the Capitals will ALWAYS get a call that goes against them.

The whole act from the fan base has become almost as tiring as seeing the Caps fire and fall back in the post-season.

The Capitals need to earn their good fortune. They're not entitled to it. Not in the least.

We moan in these parts about how "entitled" they are in Boston and New York -- and they most certainly are. But their teams have earned that "good fortune" distinction because they've won. And the fans, then, just naturally assume they should win every year. It doesn't work that way, of course. But they feel the way they feel because their teams have earned their glory.

The Capitals haven't earned anything.

They've melted down year after year in the post-season and their fans have been left holding the bag.

I know the post-season losing has worn people down. I'm one of them. I've been there since the team's second season. My Dad and I were season ticket holders in 1976-1977 at the old Capital Centre. I named my dog "Bernie" after goaltender Bernie Wolfe. I might still have a Ryan Walter #9 jersey in a box, packed away somewhere. I sure wish it still fit me.

I'm "all in" on the Capitals, every year, but I'm embarrassed to see the fans complaining and whining about every single thing that doesn't go in favor of the Capitals.

Remember this: It's not supposed to be easy, folks. It should be a grind. It should be hard. It should be unfair, at times. That's how you get better, by overcoming those things and winning despite all the obstacles.

The Caps have a golden opportunity to get back in the series tonight in Pittsburgh. They've knocked Sidney Crosby out -- at least for now -- and if he can't return in the series, the Caps have a great chance of advancing.

But they're going to have to earn it.

And the fan base, too, needs to "earn" their entitled nature. They're supporting a franchise -- make that, "we're" supporting a franchise -- that hasn't ever won a thing. Until the Caps have won, there's nothing else to say.

Stop whining, people. Start watching the games and complaining about what's really important, like missed defensive assignments, forwards who can't score big goals in big moments, and a coach who hasn't yet figured out how to draw up a plan to have his team move out of their own end of the ice without turning it over 20 times a night.

The Caps don't win in the playoffs because they don't play well enough. Period.

The rest of it -- whining and complaing about the refs and bad calls and late hits and that other garbage -- is just glossing over the truth. The Capitals haven't earned anything. Yet.

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machado sounds off after o's loss


Maybe that's what the Red Sox wanted.

Perhaps they were trying to get Manny Machado to snap.

Well, he did after last night's 5-2 loss at Fenway, that's for sure.

Machado was irate after a first-inning pitch from Chris Sale buzzed just behind his knees. Both benches were warned and the game was played without further incident. But Machado, clearly, wasn't ready to let it go after the game.

It all started with this play in Baltimore. Ten days later, the "men" are still fighting about it like 12 year olds.

"I mean, if you're going to f---ing hit me, hit me. Go ahead. F---ing hit me," Machado said. "Don't let this s--- keep lingering, f---ing around and keep trying to hit people. It's f---ing bulls---."

Sale contended -- of course -- that he wasn't trying to hit Machado. "Not losing any sleep over it tonight," he said after his 11-strikeout performance.

"F---ing bulls---," Machado barked. "F---ing p---y s---. Coward stuff. I mean, that's the stuff you don't f---ing do. But I mean, I'm not on that side. I'm not in that organization. They're still thinking about that same slide that I did. There was no intention on hurting anybody, and I'm still paying. I'm still trying to get hit at, get thrown at on my f---ing head. They're f---ing throwing everywhere."

Because no one ever talks "on the record" about the asinine unwritten rules in baseball, it's unclear why Sale threw at Machado, assuming he did, of course. It could have been in retaliation for Machado's 30-second home run trot on Monday night or it could have been a payback for Dylan Bundy hitting Boston's Mookie Betts in that same game.

Bundy, of course, was hitting Betts in retaliation for Machado nearly getting beaned in Baltimore ten days ago.

Get it? Yeah, I know, it's amateur hour stuff, but that's what big league ballplayers do, apparently.

Even O's broadcaster Jim Palmer got in on the discussion during Tuesday's broadcast from Fenway, flat out accusing both Bundy and Sale of throwing at hitters but talking about it as if it's just the way it is.

"And Manny takes another leisurely stroll around the bases after a home run," Palmer said as Machado reached home plate on Tuesday night. "In the old days, that kind of stuff would get you thrown at..."

In his post-game comments, Palmer didn't pull any punches. "There's no telling when it's going to stop. You had Bundy throwing at Betts on Monday and then Sale throwing at Machado tonight. We'll have to see if the Orioles respond tomorrow or will they just let it go?"

One thing for sure: Machado's had enough of it. And rightfully so, by the way. Sure, the home run trots have been a little longer than necessary, but this whole thing stems from an incident in Baltimore that really got blown way out of proportion. Machado isn't the easiest guy in the world to like, admittedly, but this has now reached "bush league" level in Boston.

If John Farrell can't put a stop to it, tonight, maybe he needs to sit out five games.



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.


it's time for jimenez to go


It's a perennial question for the Orioles: What do you do with Ubaldo Jimenez? Now, finally, there's a definitive answer.

Get rid of him.

I know that's a reactionary answer that's been the easy go to for every drunk on a barstool since Ubaldo first got here in 2014, but at this point there's really no good counterargument against it, and it's high time for Dan Duquette to finally pull the trigger on the move and stop wasting a roster spot already.

Let's start with the simplest fact: Ubaldo isn't helping this team win.

Yes, he turned in a great start in Cincinnati, but it's already clear that was an aberration. In his other four starts so far in 2017, he hasn't completed the 5th inning one time and has a 13-11 strikeout to walk ratio. Even when you throw the start against the Reds into the mix, Ubaldo's overall season numbers are terrible: His ERA is 7.43, his FIP is 6.98, and even his xFIP, which "normalizes" FIP by regressing a pitcher's HR/FB ratio to league average, is 5.61.

Though it's only a five game sample, Jimenez has struck out just one more batter than he's walked, and his current strikeout and walk ratios would actually be the worst of his career. It's tempting to assume that he pretty much has to get better from here but, again, keep in mind that this sample already includes what will almost certainly be one of his three or four best outings of the entire season.

Secondly, Chris Tillman's looming return from the disabled list creates the impetus for a roster move that the front office won't be able to put off. It's one thing to keep running a pitcher out there every five days out of simple inertia and a desire to avoid any major roster moves. You can't option Ubaldo to the minors, and every GM is afraid of releasing a veteran only to have them turn into a useful player somewhere else while YOU are still paying the majority of his salary.

Thankfully, there's very little chance of that happening with Ubaldo, and the reality of the roster crunch means you have to jettison someone. Yes there are pitchers with options on the big league roster, but at the same time Alec Asher and Jayson Aquino have both already turned in starts better than the average Ubaldo outing, and there's every reason to think the team will be more competitive with them taking the ball in the rotation.

With the American League looking like it will see a tough competition for playoff spots, the Orioles could do a lot of damage to their chances if they continue to insist on sticking with Ubaldo in the continued hope that he'll turn things around after four years or occasionally turn in a good start.

But the best argument for a change of direction is simply that the financial reality between Ubaldo and the Orioles has changed. If anything has kept Ubaldo in Baltimore no matter how bad he's pitched over the past three years, it's the fact that the Orioles still owed him millions of dollars regardless.

There's an argument to be made that baseball executives are too reluctant to recognize the reality of a sunk cost where players are involved, but there's an understandable logic to everyone's reluctance to burn through future commitments. You don't save any money in your budget AND you have to go out and find someone else to fill that roster spot...with less money to play with. And the extra money you have to spend on the replacement tightens things up elsewhere.

Besides that, you're paying these big league coaches a lot of money too, and there seems to be strong belief that a coaching staff ought to be able to straighten out or find a way to get value out of just about anyone, so when you've already invested $50 million in a player either way the temptation to try to get something in return rather than simply adding another expenditure is no doubt strong.

But that isn't the case anymore. Ubaldo's deal is up after this year, so the Orioles simply owe him the remainder of his salary for this season and then he's off the books. There's no 2018 commitments and no future drag on the team's payroll budget or cash flow situation. The only question now is whether the guy is one of your best pitching options, or if he's likely to be a positive contributor at some later point in the season.

The answer to both of these questions is a resounding NO!, and that means it's time for Duquette to admit what everyone else in town sees and stop devoting precious roster space to Ubaldo Jimenez.

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help us improve #dmd


The Ravens got their chance to improve last week when they selected a bunch of new players in the NFL Draft. Time will tell if their research and due diligence yields improvement.

We're creating our own improvement opportunity for the next two weeks here at #DMD in the form of our first-ever reader's survey that will provide us with extraordinary information on you and your reading habits.

We ask that you please take two minutes today to complete the survey you see below and submit it to us.

It's completely anonymous.

You're not required to register, provide an e-mail address or anything else that could connect you with the answers you provide. This is merely an information-seeking effort that we'll use to learn more about your reading/visiting habits, plus some other nuggets that we're interested in knowing about you.

You won't be contacted, chased or "spammed", of course. We're not collecting names and e-mails here. We're collecting data.

The sports media landscape -- and media in general -- is constantly evolving, as we just saw last week when ESPN cut over 120 jobs in an effort to better streamline what they do. We're in the process of adding employees here at #DMD, not subtracting them, but that doesn't mean we're unaware of the changing world around us. The big boys are getting smaller and the little guys are trying to get bigger, I'd say.

These are interesting times.

By learning more about your reading habits, for example, we can determine if #DMD should remain a stand-alone, once a day entry website (we publish at 7:10 am, and the content doesn't change that day) or perhaps, as we've been contemplating for a while, #DMD should be updated on an ongoing basis throughout the day as stories sprout up in the afternoon and evening.

For those old enough to remember, there was once a Baltimore Morning Sun and a Baltimore Evening Sun, complete with different writers, editors, etc. for each one. The Morning Sun tended to be more of the overnight-news-reported-in-the-morning paper while the Evening Sun was a little more "feature-driven", although they too covered local news and sports with a "next day" theme.

Maybe someday they'll be a "Morning #DMD" and an "Evening #DMD". That's what some of the information we're seeking might tell us.

We'd like to know what local teams and sports in general you most enjoy reading about when you visit #DMD.

We'll cover and write about any team or sport, as long as we know there are people out there interested in those things. And we don't know what we don't know.

Example: I didn't know there was a huge English Soccer following in Baltimore. I didn't know if having a Friday piece here at #DMD would attract readers. When Matt Carroll came on board a couple of years ago to start providing us with a weekly column previewing the key games in English Soccer, it was my first real brush with the community's connection to the sport and the teams in the EPL. A couple of months in, there was a Friday where a technical glitch kept us from posting Matt's EPL piece until later in the day. I received a handful of e-mails in the first hour after we published from people asking "Where's the soccer column we see every Friday?"

By noon, several more came in. Eventually, we got the EPL piece up and everyone was happy, but that situation told me -- by accident, almost -- that our EPL coverage is important to folks in town who follow along with a specific team or the league in general.

The English Premier League isn't my cup of tea, personally. I couldn't name five players in the league. Maybe not even three. But if people want us to cover the EPL here at #DMD, we'll do it.

So, in the survey you'll see below, we ask you which local teams/sports you most like us to cover here at Drew's Morning Dish.

We ask 25 questions in all, and would kindly request that you take the survey seriously. The information we glean from the survey is only useful to us if you're honest in your answers.

The local company we used to help us put this together recommends we survey everyone again in six months once we've digested the information in today's survey and learned a lot more about your reading/visit habits. So, we might be coming back at you again in November with some more questions as we continue to evaluate how we're going to structure #DMD in the future and what changes, improvements, etc. we plan on instituting, if any.

For now, these 25 questions will give us an idea of your reading habits, what you like, when you like it and how interactive you currently are with the website.

I originally produced 37 questions for the survey. I was told by the experts "25 is the limit". Shows you what I know about surveys.

I hope you'll take a couple of minutes today to fill out the survey. It's important to us.

And, finally, if you have any individual, private comments you'd like to share about #DMD, I ask that you e-mail me directly. I will carefully read and consider anything submitted to me by e-mail. You can reach me at: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Thank you to those of you who take the time today to answer our survey. We appreciate it greatly here at #DMD.

The survey is below. It's filled out right here on the page itself. Just scroll down to each question, answer, and proceed to the next one.



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we only have two seats left on our london trip to see the ravens!


Anyone interested in seeing the Ravens in London on September 24?

We now only have room for two more people on our trip to the U.K.!!

We're flying over on British Airways and staying at the St. George's Hotel Wembley Stadium. Our flights to and from England are both direct, by the way. That's an important thing to remember when you're traveling over there. We're flying non-stop.

Our game tickets at Wembley Stadium are in the lower concourse, I might add. And most of our group of 34 are sitting together and/or on in the same section.

The trip details are simple: We're leaving on Tuesday, September 19 and arriving (via direct flight) in London on Wednesday, September 20. We'll spend five days in the U.K., take in the Ravens-Jaguars game on Sunday, and return to Baltimore on Monday, September 25.

It's $2,445 per-person, which includes the airfare, five nights hotel, the Ravens-Jaguars lower concourse ticket, a week long complimentary "tube pass" and full English breakfast every morning at the hotel.

To reserve your space on the trip, all you have to do is go here.


orioles-yankees one-day trip
available at an amazing price!


Anyone want to go to Yankee Stadium on Sunday, June 11 to see the Orioles and Yankees do battle in the Bronx?

If so, go with us! #DMD has an awesome one-day trip package available now. It's so good, you'll say "What's the catch?". Well, there isn't one.

Game time is 1:05 pm, which makes for a perfect up-and-back bus trip for the baseball lovers in your family. We'll leave Baltimore at 7:30 am sharp and arrive at the stadium by 11:45 or so. Assuming the game ends at 4:00 pm, that puts us back in good ol' Bawlmer by 7:30 or 8:00 pm.

The trip package includes luxury motor-coach transportation, breakfast from Royal Farms, ice cold DuClaw beer for the trip to New York, lunch from Palmisano's of Baldwin upon arrival, and a "terrace level" game ticket with everyone else who is traveling in our group.

And get this, we recently added another great benefit to the package: You pay nothing at the concession stands!! That's right, everyone in our travel group gets access to an unlimited in-game buffet, featuring typical "ballpark food" like hot dogs, sausages, chips, pretzels, snacks, etc., plus water and soft drinks. No more spending $20-$25 every time you go to the concession stand.

What's it all cost? $149 per-person. That gets you EVERYTHING, including the bus driver's gratuity.

If you're looking for a good early Father's Day gift, this is it (Father's Day is the following Sunday)!

If you've never been to Yankee Stadium, we make it easy for you to enjoy a great day of "road baseball", except we do the driving, we supply the tickets, and you'll never go hungry or thirsty when you travel with us.

Please go here to reserve your spots.



Tuesday
May 2
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 2
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


help us improve #dmd


The Ravens got their chance to improve last week when they selected a bunch of new players in the NFL Draft. Time will tell if their research and due diligence yields improvement.

We're creating our own improvement opportunity for the next two weeks here at #DMD in the form of our first-ever reader's survey that will provide us with extraordinary information on you and your reading habits.

We ask that you please take two minutes today to complete the survey you see below and submit it to us.

It's completely anonymous.

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The sports media landscape -- and media in general -- is constantly evolving, as we just saw last week when ESPN cut over 120 jobs in an effort to better streamline what they do. We're in the process of adding employees here at #DMD, not subtracting them, but that doesn't mean we're unaware of the changing world around us. The big boys are getting smaller and the little guys are trying to get bigger, I'd say.

These are interesting times.

By learning more about your reading habits, for example, we can determine if #DMD should remain a stand-alone, once a day entry website (we publish at 7:10 am, and the content doesn't change that day) or perhaps, as we've been contemplating for a while, #DMD should be updated on an ongoing basis throughout the day as stories sprout up in the afternoon and evening.

For those old enough to remember, there was once a Baltimore Morning Sun and a Baltimore Evening Sun, complete with different writers, editors, etc. for each one. The Morning Sun tended to be more of the overnight-news-reported-in-the-morning paper while the Evening Sun was a little more "feature-driven", although they too covered local news and sports with a "next day" theme.

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We'll cover and write about any team or sport, as long as we know there are people out there interested in those things. And we don't know what we don't know.

Example: I didn't know there was a huge English Soccer following in Baltimore. I didn't know if having a Friday piece here at #DMD would attract readers. When Matt Carroll came on board a couple of years ago to start providing us with a weekly column previewing the key games in English Soccer, it was my first real brush with the community's connection to the sport and the teams in the EPL. A couple of months in, there was a Friday where a technical glitch kept us from posting Matt's EPL piece until later in the day. I received a handful of e-mails in the first hour after we published from people asking "Where's the soccer column we see every Friday?"

By noon, several more came in. Eventually, we got the EPL piece up and everyone was happy, but that situation told me -- by accident, almost -- that our EPL coverage is important to folks in town who follow along with a specific team or the league in general.

The English Premier League isn't my cup of tea, personally. I couldn't name five players in the league. Maybe not even three. But if people want us to cover the EPL here at #DMD, we'll do it.

So, in the survey you'll see below, we ask you which local teams/sports you most like us to cover here at Drew's Morning Dish.

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The local company we used to help us put this together recommends we survey everyone again in six months once we've digested the information in today's survey and learned a lot more about your reading/visit habits. So, we might be coming back at you again in November with some more questions as we continue to evaluate how we're going to structure #DMD in the future and what changes, improvements, etc. we plan on instituting, if any.

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The survey is below. It's filled out right here on the page itself. Just scroll down to each question, answer, and proceed to the next one.



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this, that and the other


With all due respect to Dylan Bundy, who was outstanding on Monday, Fenway Park became "Manny-Land" for a few hours last night.

The Orioles won the series opener with the Red Sox, 5-2, and Machado was the story of the game both with the bat and the glove. He launched a mammoth home run that might have bounced off the Buckminster Hotel and flashed the leather a half-dozen times during the game, making several superb defensive plays to rob the Red Sox of runs and potential big innings along the way.

Dylan Bundy shut down the Red Sox on Monday night at Fenway Park, allowing just five hits in seven innings of work and surrendering just two runs in a 5-2 victory.

All of this, remember, a week after Machado was nearly beaned by Boston relief pitcher Matt Barnes in retaliation for Machado injuring Dustin Pedroia on a slide into second base at Camden Yards.

Machado, while he probably won't admit it, loves the heel role. He whined a little in the aftermath of last week's incident in Baltimore about how "it's always Manny", but the reality is he enjoys the spotlight and thoroughly relishes the opportunity to quiet opposing teams and their fans.

His home run trot last night took 30 seconds. I joked on Twitter that the length of that "jog" most certainly must be a violation of baseball's unwritten rules and wondered if there's a chance Machado will be "handled" for that over the next three nights.

But I wasn't joking, really.

I can't imagine the Red Sox were all that thrilled with Manny's half-minute tour around the bases after he cleared the green monster in left field. But last night, with a 2-0 game into the top of the 8th inning, wasn't the time to do anything about it.

The game also apparently contained an ugly incident between O's centerfielder Adam Jones and some fans behind the team's dugout. Jones told USA Today afterwards that he was the subject of racial taunts and had things thrown at him in the on-deck circle.

"A disrespectful fan threw a bag of peanuts at me,'' Jones told the newspaper after the game. "I was called the N-word a handful of times tonight. I heard there was 59 or 60 ejections in the ballpark. It is what it is, right. I just go out and play baseball. It's unfortunate that people need to resort to those type of epithets to degrade another human being. I'm trying to make a living for myself and for my family."

Jones even suggested that Major League Baseball look more closely at the way they handle fan ejections. "It's called [being] a coward," Jones said. "What they need to do is that instead of kicking them out of the stadium, they need to fine them 10 grand, 20 grand, 30 grand. Something that really hurts somebody. Make them pay in full. And if they don't, take it out of their check. That's how you hurt somebody. You suspend them from the stadium, what does that mean? It's a slap on the wrist. That guy needs to be confronted, and he needs to pay for what he's done."

Bundy, meanwhile, scattered five hits over seven innings of work, walking four and striking out two. He started the eight inning but was nicked for a lead-off double and a follow-up single that contributed to Boston's two runs. Bundy improved to 4-1 on the year and lowered his ERA to 1.82.

The Birds are now 16-8 and sit alone in first place in the American League East after New York got shellacked at home last night by the Blue Jays, 7-1.

In Pittsburgh last night, the Washington Capitals got back in the series with the Penguins by virtue of a 3-2 overtime win, as Kevin Shattenkirk scored the game-winner on a power play early in sudden death.

The Penguins lead the series, 2-1, with Game 3 set for Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.

The game was marred by an unfortunate injury to Sidney Crosby, who was hit in the head with a crosscheck by Caps defender Matt Niskanen in the first period. Crosby did not return and his status for Game 3 is still unknown. He's had a history of concussions and missed the first six games of the recent regular season after suffering a concussion in a pre-season game.

Niskanen was penalized five minutes for the hit and ejected from the game. The NHL could impose a further penalty on him as early as today.

Without Crosby on the other side, the Caps jumped on the chance to get back in the series, then almost gave it all away with a disastrous two minutes at the end of the game.

Ahead 2-0 with three minutes left, Washington merely needed to hold on and secure the win -- but they couldn't do it. Pittsburgh scored twice in 48 seconds with the goalie pulled to knot the score at 2-2 and send the game to overtime.

Nicklas Backstrom had a glorious chance to seal the deal with the Caps ahead, 2-0, but his center-ice shot at an empty Penguins net went wide with 2:30 remaining in the game. He also had Alex Ovechkin open 30 feet to his left for an even better chance at the empty net but the play never materialized.

The Caps got an impressive performance from Braden Holtby in goal, who blanked Pittsburgh for 58 minutes and looked like he was going to pitch a shutout until Evgeny Malkin's goal beat him to the short side with just under two minutes left.

The game-tying goal deflected off of T.J. Oshie's stick, and the Penguins were one goal away from a surprising victory and a commanding 3-0 series lead.

But they didn't get it either of those things. After Marcus Johansson was pulled down on a goal-scoring opportunity, the Caps made quick work (see video below) on the power play, as Shattenkirk's wrist shot from 40 feet out beat Marc-Andre Fleury.

The story of the game -- and the series, potentially -- was the injury to Crosby. If for some reason he's unable to return for the final four games, the momentum clearly shifts to the Capitals, who will host Game 5 this Saturday (time TBA) in D.C.



#DMD HD-TV


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we only have two seats left on our london trip to see the ravens!


Anyone interested in seeing the Ravens in London on September 24?

We now only have room for two more people on our trip to the U.K.!!

We're flying over on British Airways and staying at the St. George's Hotel Wembley Stadium. Our flights to and from England are both direct, by the way. That's an important thing to remember when you're traveling over there. We're flying non-stop.

Our game tickets at Wembley Stadium are in the lower concourse, I might add. And most of our group of 34 are sitting together and/or on in the same section.

The trip details are simple: We're leaving on Tuesday, September 19 and arriving (via direct flight) in London on Wednesday, September 20. We'll spend five days in the U.K., take in the Ravens-Jaguars game on Sunday, and return to Baltimore on Monday, September 25.

It's $2,445 per-person, which includes the airfare, five nights hotel, the Ravens-Jaguars lower concourse ticket, a week long complimentary "tube pass" and full English breakfast every morning at the hotel.

To reserve your space on the trip, all you have to do is go here.


orioles-yankees one-day trip
available at an amazing price!


Anyone want to go to Yankee Stadium on Sunday, June 11 to see the Orioles and Yankees do battle in the Bronx?

If so, go with us! #DMD has an awesome one-day trip package available now. It's so good, you'll say "What's the catch?". Well, there isn't one.

Game time is 1:05 pm, which makes for a perfect up-and-back bus trip for the baseball lovers in your family. We'll leave Baltimore at 7:30 am sharp and arrive at the stadium by 11:45 or so. Assuming the game ends at 4:00 pm, that puts us back in good ol' Bawlmer by 7:30 or 8:00 pm.

The trip package includes luxury motor-coach transportation, breakfast from Royal Farms, ice cold DuClaw beer for the trip to New York, lunch from Palmisano's of Baldwin upon arrival, and a "terrace level" game ticket with everyone else who is traveling in our group.

And get this, we recently added another great benefit to the package: You pay nothing at the concession stands!! That's right, everyone in our travel group gets access to an unlimited in-game buffet, featuring typical "ballpark food" like hot dogs, sausages, chips, pretzels, snacks, etc., plus water and soft drinks. No more spending $20-$25 every time you go to the concession stand.

What's it all cost? $149 per-person. That gets you EVERYTHING, including the bus driver's gratuity.

If you're looking for a good early Father's Day gift, this is it (Father's Day is the following Sunday)!

If you've never been to Yankee Stadium, we make it easy for you to enjoy a great day of "road baseball", except we do the driving, we supply the tickets, and you'll never go hungry or thirsty when you travel with us.

Please go here to reserve your spots.

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Monday
May 1
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 1
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


fact and opinion can't top what rendon did yesterday


FACT: -- The Wizards are down 1-0 after dropping the series opener in Boston yesterday, 123-111. Washington led 38-24 after the first quarter but couldn't hold on to the lead.

OPINION: -- This will wind up being a rivaly-creating series when it's all said and done. Someone asked me yesterday, "Who is Washington's biggest rival?" and I couldn't really think of any team that fits that bill. This Celtics series will include a skirmish or three, some goofy stuff said on social media and a rivalry will be born. Boston wins in seven games, by the way.

FACT: -- Dallas Keuchel is on fire in Houston. He's made six starts thus far in 2017 and here's what he's done. Record: 5-0, ERA: 1.21, WHIP: 0.81. He's only allowed two earned runs in one of his six starts to date.

OPINION: -- Maybe it's me, but when a left-handed pitcher is dominant (see our own Zach Britton), they are MORE dominant than a righty, for some reason. Right now, baseball has three lefties that are better than any righty -- Kershaw, Sale and and Keuchel. There's probably nothing to it, but it does seem odd.

There's a lot of baseball left, but Chris Davis is on pace to knock in just shy of 40 runs this season.

FACT: -- Chris Davis didn't start Sunday's game in New York due to a sore elbow. He did come in for defensive work in the bottom of the 11th inning in yesterday's win, though, and is likely to be in the lineup tonight when the O's face the Red Sox at Fenway.

OPINION: -- The Orioles have reached the 23-game mark and Davis has a grand total of 5 RBI on the season. That averages out to roughly 38 RBI for the season. I imagine Davis will wind up with far more than 38 RBI in 2017, but his slow start is bothersome at this point. Caleb Joseph has 2 RBI this year, Davis has 5. That's not a good stat for the power-hitting first baseman.

FACT: -- The PGA Tour tried something new this past weekend in New Orleans and it worked well. For the first time since 1981, the TOUR had on its schedule a two-man team event, with both alternate-shot and better-ball formats in play, a la the Ryder Cup. Kevin Kisner chipped in on the 18th hole Sunday to pull his team (with Scott Brown) into a playoff this morning against Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith, who also finished at 27-under par for the four-day event.

OPINION: -- This is yet another way the U.S. team can narrow the gap with the Europeans in terms of Ryder Cup preparation and success. Yes, the event can also include European Ryder Cuppers, but the more "team golf" the Americans play under pressure, the better off they'll be in Paris in 2018. If I'm Jim Furyk, I'm paying attention to who plays well (and with whom) this week and in the future.

FACT: -- Anthony Rendon of the Nationals had himself quite a day on Sunday. He went 6-for-6 and drove in 10 runs in the Nats' 23-5 win over the Mets in D.C.

OPINION -- The Nationals got some really bad news over the weekend when they learned that Adam Eaton is done for the season with a torn ACL. They can make up for that if Rendon (and others) offer those kind of performances like he gave on Sunday, but the reality is losing Eaton really hurts the Nationals. They will still win the N.L. East, but their path to the World Series will now likely mandate a trade-deadline deal to replace Eaton's production and defensive work.

FACT: -- The Ravens selected seven players in the recent NFL Draft, five of which were on the defensive side of the ball. Ozzie Newsome has made it clear. The Ravens feel they didn't make the playoffs last year because their defense wasn't good enough, particularly in the secondary, where lack of talent and depth hurt them in late losses to Washington, Oakland, the Giants and Steelers.

OPINION: -- Maybe Newsome is right. Perhaps he looks at the offenses in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati and figures there's no way his offense can be better that what they there, so why not try to stifle them with defense? But for the first time in team history, the Ravens failed to select a running back or wide receiver in the draft. Keep Justin Tucker happy, that's all I can say.

FACT: Prior to the season, my six baseball division winners were Boston, Cleveland, Houston, Washington, Chicago and the L.A. Dodgers. I have the Yankees and Mariners as A.L. Wild Card teams and the Cardinals and Mets in the N.L. I have Houston beating the Dodgers in the World Series.

OPINION: It's early days yet, but I'm looking pretty solid with my division winners and potential World Series pairing. Those Mariners and Mets picks as Wild Card teams might not flush out accordingly, but so far, so good. By the way, I had the Orioles finishing at 79-83 this season. With a 15-8 start to date, they'd have to do some pretty serious collapsing to finish four games under .500, but there's still five months of baseball left.

FACT: -- Remember Christian Walker, the former 4th round Orioles draft pick who essentially got blocked to the big leagues by both Chris Davis and Trey Mancini, prompting his release in February? He was initially picked up the Braves and dumped, picked up the Reds and dumped, then signed on with the Diamonbacks prior to the season. He's hitting .299 at Triple-A Reno, with 7 home runs and 25 RBI in 22 games played to date.

OPINION: -- It was probably too much to ask that the O's give both Mancini and Walker free passes to the big leagues this season (or at some point in the season) but if Walker turns out to be another Mancini (or vice versa) that one will sting a little bit. We've been shorthanded enough with home grown major league quality players -- giving one away for nothing hurts more than if you traded one away for a veteran at the deadline.

FACT: -- Anaheim cut into Edmonton's series lead last night in the NHL playoffs, winning in Edmonton, 6-3, making the series 2-1 in favor of the Oilers. Edmonton previously won the first two games in Anaheim before dropping last night's all-important 3rd game.

OPINION: -- I hope the Caps are paying attention, because they need to follow Anaheim's path tonight in Pittsburgh, where the Caps are down 2-0 after dropping the first two games of the series in D.C. I assume Barry Trotz is starting Braden Holtby in goal tonight, despite the fact he was pulled from Saturday's 6-2 loss after giving up three goals in the second period. Holtby better be starting, that's all I have to say on that. A win tonight for the Caps and the series is almost brand new again. It ain't over 'til it's over.

FACT: -- The Orioles optioned left-handers Vidal Nuno and Jayson Aquino to the minors yesterday and recalled Logan Verrett (RHP) and Richard Bleier (LHP). Verrett paid immediate dividends, after almost giving the game away with a dumb move in the bottom of the 10th, as he picked up the win in the 7-4 victory over the Yankees.

OPINION: -- I don't know much about Bleier, but let's hope he's better than Nuno, the former Mariners cast-off who was rocked twice in the New York series. As Jim Palmer noted in the telecast on Saturday (I think), "Nuno has a bunch of pitches, but none of them are good enough to scare a quality major league hitter". I love when Palmer offers real analysis like that.

FACT: -- Most people watch sports from a comfortable chair or couch, unless you're on site watching the event in person.

OPINION: -- I wonder where the Flyers are watching the NHL playoffs from this spring? Probably their couch...or a comfortable chair. I know, for sure, they're watching, though.

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calvert hall grad kelly helps unc win acc lax title


University of North Carolina senior Stephen Kelly (Calvert Hall) won 10-of-11 face-offs in the fourth quarter and the Tar Heels outscored the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 6-4 in the final quarter to pull away for a 14-10 win on Sunday to capture the ACC lacrosse championship.

The defending national champions finished at 8-7, but are now NCAA tournament eligible by virtue of their conference championship victory.

Former Calvert Hall standout Stephen Kelly had a huge fourth quarter at the face-off X on Sunday as UNC beat Notre Dame, 14-10, to win the ACC lacrosse title.

Chris Cloutier, who had three goals and two assists in the championship game, was joined on the all-tournament team by senior attackman Luke Goldstock, senior long-stick midfielder Jack Lambert and sophomore attackman Andy Matthews.

The Tar Heels jumped out of the gate with four straight goals in the first quarter and held at least a two-goal lead the rest of the game. After that initial scoring run by the Tar Heels, the closest the Fighting Irish could get was 4-2 early in the second frame and 8-6 heading into the fourth quarter.

Luke Goldstock led the Tar Heels with four goals, all coming in the fourth quarter. The four goals for Goldstock give him 118 career goals. He is now fifth all-time in Tar Heel history.

Kelly's performance at the face-off X was particulary critical for UNC as Notre Dame tried to climb back into the game in the second half. Kelly came back from a rough first half to end the game with 11 ground balls and a 14 of 26 performance at the X. He won 10 of 11 face-offs in the fourth quarter, allowing the Tar Heels to dominate possession and protect and extend their lead. The former Calvert Hall and MIAA standout has now won 711 face-offs in his career (12 behind career leader Shane Walterhoefer who had 723 from 2006-09). Kelly has 374 career ground balls, the third most in UNC history.

UNC will now wait to see if it claims a spot in the NCAA tournament field. Selection Sunday is May 7 at 9 p.m. on ESPNU.

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we only have two seats left on our london trip to see the ravens!


Anyone interested in seeing the Ravens in London on September 24?

We now only have room for two more people on our trip to the U.K.!!

We're flying over on British Airways and staying at the St. George's Hotel Wembley Stadium. Our flights to and from England are both direct, by the way. That's an important thing to remember when you're traveling over there. We're flying non-stop.

Our game tickets at Wembley Stadium are in the lower concourse, I might add. And most of our group of 34 are sitting together and/or on in the same section.

The trip details are simple: We're leaving on Tuesday, September 19 and arriving (via direct flight) in London on Wednesday, September 20. We'll spend five days in the U.K., take in the Ravens-Jaguars game on Sunday, and return to Baltimore on Monday, September 25.

It's $2,445 per-person, which includes the airfare, five nights hotel, the Ravens-Jaguars lower concourse ticket, a week long complimentary "tube pass" and full English breakfast every morning at the hotel.

To reserve your space on the trip, all you have to do is go here.


orioles-yankees one-day trip
available at an amazing price!


Anyone want to go to Yankee Stadium on Sunday, June 11 to see the Orioles and Yankees do battle in the Bronx?

If so, go with us! #DMD has an awesome one-day trip package available now. It's so good, you'll say "What's the catch?". Well, there isn't one.

Game time is 1:05 pm, which makes for a perfect up-and-back bus trip for the baseball lovers in your family. We'll leave Baltimore at 7:30 am sharp and arrive at the stadium by 11:45 or so. Assuming the game ends at 4:00 pm, that puts us back in good ol' Bawlmer by 7:30 or 8:00 pm.

The trip package includes luxury motor-coach transportation, breakfast from Royal Farms, ice cold DuClaw beer for the trip to New York, lunch from Palmisano's of Baldwin upon arrival, and a "terrace level" game ticket with everyone else who is traveling in our group.

And get this, we recently added another great benefit to the package: You pay nothing at the concession stands!! That's right, everyone in our travel group gets access to an unlimited in-game buffet, featuring typical "ballpark food" like hot dogs, sausages, chips, pretzels, snacks, etc., plus water and soft drinks. No more spending $20-$25 every time you go to the concession stand.

What's it all cost? $149 per-person. That gets you EVERYTHING, including the bus driver's gratuity.

If you're looking for a good early Father's Day gift, this is it (Father's Day is the following Sunday)!

If you've never been to Yankee Stadium, we make it easy for you to enjoy a great day of "road baseball", except we do the driving, we supply the tickets, and you'll never go hungry or thirsty when you travel with us.

Please go here to reserve your spots.

SAFFER banner


please click here to see previous issues of #dmd.

O's SCOREBOARD
Sunday, October 1st
Orioles
0

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

LP: K. Gausman (11-12)

HR: Casali (1)

RECORD/PLACE: 75-87, 5th place

breakfast bytes

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

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

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

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