Wednesday
May 31
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 31
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o's woes not that hard to figure out


It's not difficult to piece together what's gone wrong with the Orioles over the last three weeks.

Pretty much everything, I'd say.

Last night's 8-3 drubbing by the Yankees -- another one of those games where the teams kind of went through the motions in the last four innings -- was cut from the same cloth as a number of other shellackings of late.

The starting pitching wasn't all that good, the offense couldn't take advantage of some rare early moments of possible prosperity, and when someone needed a big hit to break open an inning, it once again wasn't the Orioles who were doing the deed.

Another 3-strikeout game in last night's 8-3 loss to the Yankees gives Chris Davis 24 K's in his last 11 games.

Manny Machado struck out four times last night. Chris Davis whiffed on three occasions himself. Together in their last 11 games, the two of them have been about as efficient as Jim Carey and Jeff Daniels were in the movie "Dumb and Dumber".

Machado is 7-for-44 with a lowly .159 batting average in that span. He has one home run, 2 RBI and 12 strikeouts in those 11 games.

Davis is worse, if that's possible, going 5-for-43 (.116) with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 24 strikeouts in those 11 games.

It's fair to point out that both of them have performed at their expected level defensively. But the reality is glove-work is about 15% of their quality and offense is 85% of it. No one gets paid $23 million because they're really good at catching ground balls.

And with those two guys essentially being automatic outs over the last two weeks, the Orioles were going to lose a lot of games.

There's no real help in Norfolk, either. Pedro Alvarez is hitting the cover off the ball the last few weeks, but the only way he comes up is if Adam Jones goes to the disabled list. The Birds could keep Joey Rickard in center field as the everyday starter while Jones is out and Alvarez could be brought up to give the Birds another left-handed option at the plate.

Alvarez, I think we know, isn't an answer to the team's offensive woes. The answer is to get the players they have to start hitting more consistently. If they can...

Chris Tillman didn't help matters on Tuesday night, either. He gave up three solo home runs and was chased before the third inning was over, as the right hander saw his ERA balloon up to 5.87 on the year.

Something's not right with Tillman. I'm no doctor or pitching expert, but Tillman just doesn't have the sharpness he displayed at times in 2015 and 2016. Some would argue that he's effectively still in spring training mode, having missed the first month of the season with a shoulder injury.

That excuse worked for a few weeks, but by now, we should be seeing a better version of Tillman than we've seen in his last two starts. He hasn't been very good at all.

So what was once an extremely inspiring start to the season at 22-11 has now morphed into a battle for third place with Tampa Bay and Toronto. The O's are 26-24, just a half-game up on the Rays, and now just two games ahead of the Blue Jays, who started the season 1-10, remember.

New York is surging at 30-19. The Red Sox are starting to find their way, now in second place at 28-23.

And the Orioles are struggling, to say the least.

Behind closed doors, Buck Showalter probably realizes this 4-13 "slump" was to be expected given the loss of Zach Britton and a fatiguing pitching staff that has necessitated a game of musical chairs with the Triple A roster in Norfolk.

When you're relying on Tyler Wilson, Alec Asher and Vidal Nuno to rescue you, you're just asking for trouble.

And when two of your top offensive players have 12 hits BETWEEN THEM in the last 11 games, you're going to be coming up a loser almost every night.

Showalter hasn't had a great month of May, either, it should also be noted. So, there, I noted it.

A win tonight and a series victory would be nice before the Red Sox come to town for four games, sans Dustin Pedroia, who was placed on the disabled list earlier this week.

It's certainly far too early to panic. And now is not the time to start talking about being a "buyer" or a "seller" at the trade deadline, which was what a lot of Orioles fans did on social media last night once New York went ahead 8-0.

Baseball is a season that begs to be evaluated on a quarterly basis. The Orioles were a good team in the first 40 games of this season. If the second quarter doesn't go as well and they're .500 or below after 81 games, it's time to start looking at the end of July and making a plan.

Right now, though, the Orioles don't need to think about July 31. They need to think about May 31 -- and getting a win tonight over the Yankees.

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new information shows woods was in really bad shape on monday morning


The police report of the Tiger Woods arrest on Monday morning in South Florida doesn't paint a very favorable picture of the 14-time major champion.

Woods, by anyone's admission, was in a really bad way, so much so, in fact, that he fell asleep with his car running at an intersection in Jupiter.

Tiger's claim that the arrest wasn't alcohol related is apparently true if you believe the police report, which indicated he twice blew a 0.00 after failing the field sobriety test.

It looks like Woods was under the (heavy) influence of some kind of drug when he fell asleep behind the wheel of his car. Tiger's contention was that he experienced an "unexpected reaction" from prescription medications he has been taking.

The police report from Monday's arrest shows Tiger's $225,000 Mercedes had two flat tires and damage to the rims and fenders. Woods was found asleep behind the wheel shortly after 3 am and later charged with DUI.

As I always like to remind you, I'm not here to make you believe Tiger's story or dismiss Tiger's story. You think what you want to think.

What do I think? I think he has an obvious opiate addiction and he tried to drive on Monday morning despite not being in any condition to do so.

I don't think that's the first time Tiger popped a pill or two too many and then drove home. Do I believe his story that he somehow had an "unexpected reaction" to pain medication? Not in the least.

At one point, officers asked him where he was going and he said, "Orange County". When they asked where he had been, he said, "Golfing in LA".

They then asked Tiger if he knew where he was. "I have no idea," he said to the officers.

We've all probably had a night or two in our lives where we imbibed a little too much and lost touch with our faculties to some degree. But I've never once had so much to drink that I thought I was in California when I was actually in Maryland.

You're in pretty bad shape when you're in Florida but talking as if you think you're in California. There's "under the influence" and then there's something else. Tiger was in "something else" mode on Monday, apparently.

The dashcam footage from the arresting officer's police car will be released today and social media will once again perk up with jokes, puns and memes.

But, like that idiot comedian yesterday who thought it would be funny to hold up a fake-decapitated-head of the President, Woods stumbling and bumbling his way through the field sobriety test is anything but funny. He's very fortunate he didn't injure himself or someone else on Monday morning.

There's nothing funny about driving under the influence, whether you had ten drinks too many or two pills too many.

His July 5th arraignment will come and go with some fancy lawyering and Woods clinging to his "honest mistake" claim. Nothing will come of Monday's incident, of course, because it's impossible to prove that Woods knowingly ingested a bunch of pain medication and decided to go out for a 3 am drive.

By then, let's hope Woods has sought professional help and is in the beginning stages of a recovery program that will keep him and others on the road safe.

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kobe, jimmie johnson square off in today's "ultimate winners" bracket match-up


First-round action in our "Ultimate Winners" bracket contest continues today with an intriguing 8-9 match-up, as champion NBA star Kobe Bryant goes up against NASCAR superstar Jimmie Johnson.

This one is a tough call, admittedly. Both of these guys did some serious winning. Johnson, in fact, is still beating people on the NASCAR circuit.

A 7-time champion in NASCAR's season-long points campaign, Jimmie Johnson has 82 wins and 334 top 10 finishes in 555 career races.

You can find Kobe Bryant's career information here.

You can find Jimmie Johnson's career information here.

Please remember the issue we have with the "voting form" you'll use. It's not particularly "eye friendly", as our operating system allows for a very specific sort of poll to be used and, unfortunately, we're quite restricted with how we use it. This is WAY beyond my pay grade. I turn these sorts of things over to my good buddy George McDowell. He's the brains behind this whole operation.

So, you'll see the voting box below has two names and an "x", "y" and "z". Our poll MUST have five and ONLY five voting options. I know, it's quirky. So, you'll see Kobe Bryant and Jimmie Johnson in the box below, plus x, y and z. You're obviously ONLY voting for either Kobe or Johnson.

It's time to vote. Who are you choosing? The #8 seed Kobe Bryant? Or the #14 seed Jimmie Johnson?



 Drew's Morning Dish

#DMD Poll

Question: What is the Ravens biggest problem thus far in 2017?
Flacco and his QB play
Lack of receivers and playmakers
Key injuries
Offensive and defensive schemes
Harbaugh and his coaching
Name
Email address
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we have two seats left on our london trip to see the ravens!


Anyone interested in seeing the Ravens in London on September 24?

We still have room for two more people on our trip to the U.K.!!

We're flying over on British Airways (non-stop) and staying at the St. George's Hotel Wembley Stadium.

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.



Tuesday
May 30
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 30
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


tiger needs the same life "mulligan" michael phelps once earned


Once upon a time, way back in 2009 when Tiger Woods golfed his ball better than any other human being alive, a little known player named Y.E. Yang bested Woods on the back nine of the PGA Championship and dealt the 14-time major champion his first on-course setback as a professional.

Those close to him suggest that upset win by Yang was the starter-kit for a downward spiral that included an embarrassing, public infidelity saga, the break-up of his marriage, and rumors and side stories about excessive use of pain killers and sleep medications.

He was also connected with doctors both in the U.S. and Canada who were known to dabble in HGH and other types of performance enhancing drugs.

There have always been lots of questions about Tiger, particularly since 2009.

And the answers to those questions have typically been dodged or molded by Woods or his camp to limit the collateral damage that comes along with public famed turned sour.

Unless he can come back and win again on the PGA Tour, Tiger's career swoon will likely be defined by this photo.

None of his past, though, carries the weight and burden of Tiger's arrest on Monday morning in Jupiter, Florida, where the 79-time PGA Tour winner was cited for driving under the influence.

Losing a golf tournament to a guy who has no business beating you is one thing. Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle and endangering not only your life but the lives of others is one of the most morally reprehensible things a person can do.

Let’s first give Tiger’s side of the story, since that’s only fair. The details are sketchy as of early Tuesday morning, but Woods said early Monday evening that his arrest was not for driving under the influence of alcohol, rather a “bad combination” of prescribed medications he is currently taking.

Some, including this writer, tend to look at that sort of explanation the same way we scoff at baseball and football players who test positive for a league-prohibited “substance” and then claim they took an over-the-counter product that they didn’t realize was a violation of league policy.

I predicted on Twitter late Monday afternoon that Woods would use the “prescription medicine” story and, almost right on cue, a few hours later he did exactly that.

Call me a skeptic. Guilty as charged on that one.

Let’s also be fair about this note, because it IS important: That the arresting officers apparently smelled alcohol on Woods’ breath isn’t necessarily indicative he was driving under the influence of alcohol. It is permissible to have a beer, glass of wine or cocktail and then drive your car.

But you can decide for yourself if you want to believe Tiger’s story that “alcohol wasn’t involved”. I’m not here to twist you into thinking one way or the other about his arrest.

I'm a longtime Tiger Woods fan. As such, I've always been hopeful that Woods will someday return to professional golf, regain his competitive quality, and compete for major championships once again.

This development, though, goes far, far beyond golf. Tiger's arrest isn't a sports story. It's more a sad commentary on how far he has fallen since 2009 when Yang knocked him off his pedestal at Hazeltine National in the PGA.

It's a story about a man who has lost his way. A son, a father, a person millions of people have long admired...all of it clouded now by Tiger's arrest.

Tiger isn't the first celebrity-athlete to run his ship aground. Every sport has had a high-profile subject hit the police blotter. It's seemingly a badge of honor in the NFL to get arrested.

Woods, though, is an easy punching bag today because he's fallen so far, so quickly and so publicly. Perhaps this is the lowest of the low points for him, but as we just saw with the tragic death of Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell, you never know what's going on behind someone's front door.

So rich, yet so poor.

So many friends, yet so lonely.

So much to be happy about, yet clearly so troubled.

Demons have chased Woods for a long time. Monday morning in Florida, they delivered the knockout punch.

From this...

All is not lost for Tiger, though. While the comparitive ages and career track are different, Woods need look no further than to Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps to understand that comebacks can be made and supporters can once again be harnessed.

Phelps is a two-time DUI lawbreaker, once when he was under-age, even. A couple of years after that first DUI arrest, he was photographed at a college party with a bong in his hand. Twice arrested, embarrassed by a revealing photo, and yet all Phelps had to do to get back in everyone's good graces was win gold medals again.

Whether you like that about our nation or not, that's the way things play out here. If you win, we'll take you back.

The times are different, yes. Phelps' transgressions were in his late teens and late 20's. Woods is 41 years old. Phelps was still very competitive, swimming wise, while Tiger is clearly in the December of his career calendar.

But age and winning have no bearing on one another when it comes to public acceptance. We're a lot of things in the U.S., but one of our most alarming traits is the way we embrace the comeback story.

If Tiger could win again -- which, personally, I don't think he can -- this latest slip-up would be just that...a blip on the radar screen, the same way it became a footnote in the distinguished career of Michael Phelps.

To this...

Without a return to golfing glory, though, Tiger's career is as close to kaput as it can be without having the ashes scattered on a golf course in Southern California.

I saw a number of people opine on social media that Woods will lose his sponsors and endorsements over this DUI saga. Maybe he will.

But I can't imagine that matters all that much to a guy with an estimated net worth of $740 million. Woods losing his $50 million (or whatever) TaylorMade deal is like you and I getting a $48 parking ticket in Fells Point this week. Ho hum...

If the thought of jeopardizing his lucrative endorsement contracts with Bridgestone, TaylorMade, the watch people, the phone company and anyone else paying him money really mattered, he wouldn't be driving his own vehicle under the influence of something at 3:00 am in the morning.

That's obviously the almost-comical question everyone asked Monday afternoon when the story broke. "Why on earth would Tiger Woods be driving himself around Florida in the first place?"

Doesn't he know you can hire folks to drive you from point A to point B? They have Uber and Lyft in South Florida, right?

I honestly just assumed Woods had a driver who carted him around town. I mean, we would all likely have different luxuries if we were gazillion-aires. You might have a yacht, I might not. You might own a $3.3 million house in Hobe Sound, I might not. I would most certainly not drive myself around, you might like owning a fancy car and getting behind the wheel with the top down and the wind in your hair.

One thing for certain no matter what your level of wealth: Don't get behind the wheel of a vehicle and drive if you're impaired by drugs, prescription or otherwise, or alcohol.

That Woods did that on Monday with everything at his disposal -- money, friends to drive him home, Uber, etc. -- is amazingly stupid.

But he knows that, too. I saw a number of people on social media Monday all use the same casual remark about Woods: "He brought this all on himself."

Of course he did. Name a bad decision you've made in your life. You brought that on yourself. I've made plenty of bad decisions in my life, regrettably. I brought them all on myself.

That you "bring it all on yourself" doesn't lessen the level of empathy or sadness I have for someone who has fallen on hard times. The aforementioned Cornell hung himself two weeks ago. He brought that on himself, but the story is heartbreaking nonetheless.

Woods apparently has a sleep issue that requires him to take medication. He's also undergone four surgeries in the last four years and has obviously had access to pain-relieving medication. Whether you believe his story about Monday's incident being an "unexpected reaction" to prescription medicine, it's worth remembering that it's not just rich people who are sleep deprived and eat pain pills on a daily basis.

That, sadly, can happen to anyone.

None of this excuses Woods for what happened on Monday.

Poised, sharp, on top of the world. This seems like it was so long ago. Almost in another lifetime.

And none of it explains what happened, either.

I have no idea why a guy worth $740 million would be driving his own car, under the influence. I feel like I can piece together most puzzles given time, but that's not one I can complete and safely say I've put the whole thing to rest.

I also can't explain how a guy who was at the very top of his profession would seek to change his golf swing circa 2004, after beating everyone's brains in for the better part of seven years.

It's also mystifying to me that one loss, albeit to a junior varsity golfer like Yang, would have sent Woods off the deep end like it apparently did. It's golf -- everyone loses one here and there. Some guys NEVER win...all Tiger ever did was win.

How and why did it all go so downhill for him?

There's been rampant speculation that the death of his father in 2006 was a setback from which Tiger -- then just 31 years old -- never recovered. I can say, with open-book-honesty, that my mother passing away when I was 24 was a moment in my life that even now, at 54, hasn't ever completely "settled" within me.

When I hear people suggest that his father's passing was a monumental moment that rocked Tiger's world, I can emphathize with that particular issue given my own personal circumstances.

I know all about losing a parent at a young age.

But I don't know anything about having $740 million or winning 79 times on the PGA Tour or being a superstar athlete who long ago wasn't able to lead a "normal" life.

I don't know why Tiger Woods has done the things he's done.

I do know this, though: It's a sad, sad story.

And what Tiger needs now is help. From someone. He clearly can't beat these demons on his own.

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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!


The third visit to the NCAA lacrosse final was the charm for an outstanding group of Maryland seniors as they finally broke through to win their first championship, defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes 9-6 on Monday. This marks John Tillman's first championship in five trips to the final as his squad finally put it together. Here's how the Terps pulled it off.

The Expected:

The predictions were pretty close on several fronts including; a 2 goal score differential Maryland (actual 3 goal victory), an even match-up to a slight advantage to the Terps at the faceoff X (Maryland 11 Ohio State's 8 with Jon Garino taking an impressive 10 of 14 from Jake Withers), Maryland midfielders being able to score with the Buckeyes missing star d-middie Ryan Terefenko ( Terp middies scored 6 of 9 goals) and Maryland goalie Dan Morris making some spectacular saves late in the game to thwart a Buckeye comeback.

The Unexpected:

The game itself played out as a defensive struggle. Some of that should have been foreseen given the quality of both defenses. Also should've checked the weather report as there was some sloppiness with some bad shots and passes and several guys slipping on the wet turf. But not sure anyone predicted both goalies having championship worthy performances with Maryland's Dan Morris saving at 64.7% (11 saves, 6 goals allowed) and Ohio State's Tom Carey saving at 61.9% (13 saves, 9 goals allowed). Maryland's riding was also a significant factor in the 2nd half as they only allowed 6 of 10 clears.

From the offensive standpoint for Maryland, I felt Rambo would've played better. Ben Randall certainly did a great job defending him, but Rambo left a few goals on the field misfiring a few times when he was wide open. Further, he wasn't looking to dish as much, opting to shoot 13 times.

And while I thought the midfield would be the difference, I didn't think Maryland would be getting 3 goals from Tim Rotanz or 2 goals from unlikely hero and 3rd line midfielder Adam DiMillo who scored his 4th and 5th goals of the season!

Credit to Ohio State defense for limiting stars Rambo (1g 1a) and Connor Kelly (1g) and shutting out Colin Heacock. But more credit to Maryland's defense for keeping the Buckeye's stars in check, limiting Tre Leclaire (1g, 1a) and shutting out Eric Fannell. As noted previously, Maryland has star power for sure. But it was their depth and team chemistry that brought home the championship. Congratulations to Maryland for bringing home its first championship since 1975!

Salisbury Brings Home 12th Championship

The Terps aren't the only lacrosse champions from Maryland as the Salisbury Sea Gulls downed the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers, 15-7, to win their second straight title and 12th overall.

Salisbury's offense had 8 different goal scorers including Carson Kalama (Bel Air) (4g, 1a), Kevin McDermott (1g, 3a), Josh Melton and Garrett Reynolds (Archbishop Curley) with 3 goals a piece and Nathan Blondino (St. Marys Ryken) (1g, 2a). The Sea Gull's defense was also tenacious, out ground-balling the Tigers 44 to 26 and benefited from great goalie play as Colin Reymann (Mt. St. Joseph) saved 12 of 19 shots on cage (63.2%). Congrats to Salisbury as Coach Jim Berkman's dynasty continues.

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bundy bails out birds in 3-2 win over yankees


There you go. I told the Orioles would win again at some point this season.

Monday's 3-2 nailbiter over the Yankees snapped a 7-game losing streak and started off a critical 7-game slate against New York and Boston with some good mojo.

The O's now stand at 26-23, 3.5 games behind New York in the American League East.

Another solid effort from Dylan Bundy helped the Birds beat the Yankees on Monday and get back on the winning track.

Dylan Bundy was the streak-snapper on Monday, going 7 innings and allowing just two runs, one of those coming on Aaron Judge's 17th home run of the season.

Jonathan Schoop drove in two of Baltimore's three runs.

And the O's bullpen, for what felt like the first time in a month, held on to a narrow lead in the final two innings, with Brad Brach getting the save after working a perfect ninth inning.

There's still a long way to go to completely erase the stink of losing 12 out of 15 games, but Monday afternoon's win was a good way to start the smell-reducing process. That Manny Machado (0-for-4) and Chris Davis (0-for-4) didn't get a hit and the O's still won is somewhat of a minor miracle, but it feels like Davis hasn't had a hit since Easter, anyway.

Buck Showalter, trying to shake Davis up and get him back on track, moved the first baseman to the second spot in the batting order. That's why Buck manages and I don't. I would have moved Davis to 6th or 7th. Showalter shoved him up to the #2 spot. Then again, Davis went 0-fer on the day. Maybe 6th or 7th would have been better after all.

The O's also won on Monday without the services of Adam Jones, who missed his third straight game while dealing with ankle and hip soreness. Joey Rickard got the start in centerfield and hit lead off, going 1-for-3 on the day and breaking a streak of two straight games with an error in the outfield. Baby steps...

Game two of the series is tonight at Camden Yards, with Luis Severino on the hill for New York and Chris Tillman going for the Birds.

Hughes Mechanical
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we have two seats left on our london trip to see the ravens!


Anyone interested in seeing the Ravens in London on September 24?

We still have room for two more people on our trip to the U.K.!!

We're flying over on British Airways (non-stop) and staying at the St. George's Hotel Wembley Stadium.

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.



Monday
May 29
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 29
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


reeling o's come home bloodied


We can say all the right things about the Astros -- now 35-16 -- being really good and being awfully tough to beat in their own ballpark.

If we do that, we'll skip over the fact that they were swept at home by the Indians in a 3-game series last weekend.

The Astros, in all seriousness, are a really strong ballclub. Right now, it's safe to say they're the best team in the big leagues.

Does that make anyone feel any better about the Orioles going 0-for-Houston over the weekend? Nope, me neither.

Mark Trumbo's 7th home run of the season was one of the few highlight for the Orioles in Sunday's 8-4 loss at Houston.

Sunday, it was Alec Asher's turn to disregard potential prosperity, as he was gifted a 3-0 second inning lead that last all of about 12 minutes. The Astros erupted for six runs in their half of the second inning and Asher never made it to the mound to start the third.

It ended up 8-4 in favor of Houston, but neither team put forth much effort in the game's second half. Once Houston added two runs off Ubaldo Jimenez in the third inning, both sides put in neutral and just tried not to get hurt for the rest of the day.

So that brings the Orioles home with a 7-game losing streak tightening around their throat and the Yankees and Red Sox swinging into town in what could be a "make or break" seven games against their two A.L. East rivals.

New York starts off a 3-game series this afternoon and the Red Sox are in Baltimore this Thursday through Sunday. The O's -- now 25-23 -- need to win three of seven just to stay above .500.

There's nothing mysterious about this losing skid. The Orioles had seven hits on Sunday. I don't have all the fancy statistics in front of me, but I'm guessing if you only muster seven hits against the Astros, you'll lose 90% of the time.

And when your starting pitcher gets handed a 3-0 lead and that's gone before you can finish a mouthful of sunflower seeds, you're probably going to lose that one, too.

The good news for the Birds? They're coming home, where they were very, very good until that recent 3-game sweep at the hands of the Minnesota Twins left them at 15-7 on the season at Camden Yards.

All kidding aside, since right now it looks like the Orioles might not ever win again, they won't be getting swept by the Yankees and Red Sox this week. In other words -- they'll get it back on track in the friendly confines of their ballpark over the next seven days. I'm not saying they're going 6-1 or anything like that, but they're not going 0-7 or 1-6, either.

I know, that sounds pretty optimistic about a team that has lost 12 of their last 15 games. But I expect the Birds to experience a little market correction this week and make up some ground in the division.

I sure hope Chris Davis gets a chunk of that market correction to go his way on the homestand.

Davis struck out three more times on Sunday and went 1-for-12 in Houston. In the 7-game losing streak, he's 2-for-26 with 14 strikeouts. That's not good.

"I'm just not picking up the ball out of the pitcher's hand," Davis said after Sunday's strikeout hat trick. "I feel like I was not really recognizing the pitch until it was right in front of me, but at that point it's too late. Anytime I'm taking that many called third strikes, something's going on because I've never been one to really lay the bat on my shoulder."

At least Davis (.228) is hitting better than Manny Machado (.220), who went through another listless day at the plate on Sunday, going 0-for-4 against Houston pitching. Machado did turn in several stellar defensive plays, it's fair to note.

But when Adam Jones is out of the lineup, the pressure is really on Davis and Machado to pick up the slack in the lineup and, on Sunday at least, they didn't pick up much of anything. Jones, by the way, should be returning for today's game with the Yankees after missing Saturday and Sunday with a sore hip and ankle.

Oh, and let's give a golf clap to Ubaldo Jimenez, who saved the Birds from using an already wobbly bullpen by taking over for Asher in the bottom of the third on Sunday and going the rest of the way on the mound, allowing just two runs in six innings of work. Yes, I'm aware Houston was only half-trying once they went up 8-3. But anytime the O's get a representative performance from Jimenez, it's worth highlighting. He was pretty good on Sunday. I'm happy to say that.

These are critical days for the O's and it's only Memorial Day weekend. The Yankees now have a 4.5 game advantage on Buck's team and the 4th place Rays (27-26) are just a half-game behind the O's.

Looking ahead, barring a rain-out involving the Birds, Yankees and Red Sox, the Orioles will see these five starters over the next seven days; Tanaka (Wednesday), Rodriguez (Thursday), Porcello (Friday), Price (Saturday) and Sale (Sunday). That's some tough pitching to beat, friends.

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this, that and the other


Kevin Kisner won for the second time in his PGA Tour career on Sunday, rolling in a five-foot par putt on the 18th hole to win at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. Kisner's 10-under par finish held off a strong Sunday charge from Jordan Spieth (-9) and Jon Rahm (-9), with Rahm missing an 8-foot birdie putt at the last hole that would have forced a playoff. Sean O'Hair also finished at 9-under after a final hole birdie left him one shot short.

Kevin Kisner's five-foot par putt on the final hole Sunday gave him a victory at the Dean & Deluca Invitational in Fort Worth, Texas.

Kisner's win virtually guarantees him a spot on the U.S. President's Cup team and locks up another trip to Augusta for next April's Masters. While he's not quite as well known as some of the other young American hotshots like Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and the aforementioned Spieth, Kisner is a solid ball striker and a steady player who has made 14 of 16 cuts thus far in the 2016-2017 campaign.

Spieth, who nearly missed his third straight cut before rallying on Friday's back nine, climbed up the leaderboard with a bogey-free 65, but couldn't reach the par-4 finishing hole in regulation and didn't have a shot at a tying-birdie in an effort to defend his 2016 title at the event.

Here's why you don't bet on baseball, kids. The Cubs and Dodgers played on Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles. The pitchers were Clayton Kershaw and Jon Lester. You've heard of those guys. They're both really good.

The betting total for the game was 6.5 runs, meaning, for those who don't know, you either bet the "under" (the teams would score six runs or less) or the "over" (more than seven runs).

Even at 6.5 runs, you'd have to strongly consider the under, right? Lester's ERA before the game was 3.50 and Kershaw's was a tick above 2.00. This was going to be a 3-1, 3-2 game, right?

Take the under, take the under, take the under.

The score was 6-1 in favor of the Dodgers in the third inning. Lester gave up six runs all by himself in 3.1 innings of work, while Kershaw was equally as bad, allowing 11 hits and four runs in 4.1 innings. L.A. won the game, 9-4, for those who care.

On second thought, take the over.

The best playoff series in all of sports starts tonight in Pittsburgh, as the Penguins host Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the upstart Nashville Predators, who finished the regular season as the second wild card team in the Western Conference and are now making their first ever appearance in the Finals.

The Predators promptly eliminated the #1 seed Blackhawks in a 4-game sweep, beat the St. Louis Blues in six games, and did the same thing to the Anaheim Ducks in the conference final. And Nashville didn't have home ice in any of those three series wins.

Pittsburgh beat Columbus, Washington and Ottawa en-route to their second straight trip to the Finals.

I like Nashville to win the Finals 4-games-to-2. They have too much speed for the Penguins, who looked ragged at times against the Senators and were forced into a double overtime, 7th game by Ottawa. They are on one of those dream runs that teams make when they don't clinch a spot in the playoffs until the final week of the regular season. Sometimes it's better that way.

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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 filled with several upsets and several teams taking their turns as the nations best, I believe we have the 2 best teams in the country which should provide for a great final game. This is the third time these teams have met this season, each winning once by one goal. So both teams know each other very well and this may be the birth of a new B1G rival in lacrosse. Let's breakdown the game for each team by their match-ups and try to come up with a prediction.

Faceoffs:

Upon first look, you'd think this would be a distinct advantage for Ohio State with Jake Withers being the 4th best FOGO in the country winning 65.8%. But the Terps are much improved over the season and particularly the playoffs where they bested the 2nd best in Albany's TD Ierlan and pretty much split the #1 man in Denver's Trevor Baptiste. The one-two punch of Austin Henningsen and Jon Garino, who's much improved have done a tremendous job. In addition, the Terps successfully employed a double pole strategy of Max Neufeldt and Bryce Young against Denver that helped them to win several 50/50 balls. This will be a great battle for sure.

Maryland Offense vs Ohio State Defense:

As noted before, the Terps have a balanced offense with 6 players who've scored 20+ goals that can beat you including attackman Matt Rambo, who will probably win the Tewaarton award for the nations best player, and sharpshooter Connor Kelly, who overtook Maryland's record books as their all-time leading scorer at midfield with 45 goals this year. Rambo will lead a self-less offense that scores just over half of their goals assisted. However, they are also great at dodging and creating their own shots.

The Buckeye's counter with a stifling, relentless defense that forces low percentage and contested shots and are led by All-American Ben Randall. Notably absent this game is d-middie Ryan Terefenko who suffered a season ending injury in the first round.

Ohio State Offense vs Maryland Defense:

The Buckeye's offense is built on Canadian power led by Eric Fannell (36g, 30a) who creates by bulldozing his defenders and Tre Leclaire (48g, 15a), who possesses a rocket shot with a quick release and is not afraid to shoot from anywhere. He scored on 2 bad angle shots on man down against Towson with pure heat. Johnny Pearson (25g, 7a) is another large Canadian who can back down defenders at midfield.

Maryland counters with a solid and patient defense that is predicated on winning their 1:1 matchups. They are led by All-Americans Tim Muller on close defense and Isiah Davis-Allen at midfield. Goalie Dan Morris has also been exceptional, but necessarily from a save percentage standpoint. Rather, he tends to make the big momentum changing saves that can break an offense's spirit.

Intangibles:

This will be the first time these two have met outside of the state of Ohio. Although it's a neutral field, Maryland should have plenty of fan support this go around. This is Maryland's third time back to the championship 3 years and fifth time back in 5 years, while its Ohio State's first trip ever. Are the Terps a team of destiny or will they play somewhat tight and tenative like they did yesterday?

Will the Buckeye's wilt under the spotlight like they did in the first half against Towson, or will they play loose and free like they are still playing with house money? Another factor evident in Saturday's game is the brand new, and very soft artificial turf at Gillette stadium that has pretty much taken away any bounce shots.

Prediction:

Look for another slugfest between these two in Part III of this series in which the match-ups are pretty much even overall. The Buckeyes won the first two faceoff battles, but I see the Terps keeping this even or possibly taking the advantage. And while Ohio State's defensive midfield was able to hold their own against Towson's midfield, not sure they will be able to do the same against one of the best scoring midfields in the land without Terefenko. I also see Matt Rambo making up for a rather pedestrian performance against Denver. Not by scoring, but by dishing out several assists against Ben Randall. I also see the neutral field as an advantage for the Terps, who should have plenty of fan support to witness their first championship for Coach Tillman and their first in a long time, beating the Buckeyes, 12-10.

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we now only have THREE team openings left for the "nashville cup" in november


If you're a golfer and you'd like to participate in a meaningful three-day golf event that concludes with a Ravens road game, #DMD has the perfect opportunity for you.

Best of all, you get to bring a guest along to play with you. It's #DMD's "Nashville Cup", taking place November 1-5 in Nashville, Tennessee.

This event is only open to 16 total players, or eight, 2-man teams. We have five teams already in, with three openings available.

You and a golfing friend might be coming home from Nashville with this beautiful trophy if you can beat the field in a 3-day event centered around the Ravens-Titans game in November.

We'll play three days of golf down there at a stay-and-play Nashville resort, with a total of eight, two-man teams competing in a match-play, "member-guest" format. You'll need legitimate, USGA handicaps for you and your partner, as this will be a "net" event.

Our travel itinerary is set: Our group will depart on Wednesday evening, November 1 from BWI. We'll play golf Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, we have 16 tickets together for the Ravens-Titans game at 12 noon (central). And we head back to Baltimore early Sunday evening after the Ravens beat up on Marcus Mariota and the Titans.

Everything is included in the package: Airfare, four nights lodging at a cottage right on the property of the golf course where we'll be playing, ground transportation, golf fees and the Ravens-Titans game ticket.

This is identical in nature to the Ravens-Cardinals trip in Arizona that we put together a couple of years ago and the 16 guys who went on the trip had a complete blast.

The price is $1,245 a player. Remember, you MUST sign-up as a two-man team, as this competition over three days will be team-based, not individually scored. A $445 per-person deposit will reserve your space, with the remainder of the money not due until September 15, 2017.

#DMD will cover the whole thing from Nashville as well, so you'll be putting your golfing prowess out there for everyone to see!

If you and your playing partner are interested in playing in our "Nashville Cup", please e-mail me directly: drew@drewsmorningdish.com


we have two seats left on our london trip to see the ravens!


Anyone interested in seeing the Ravens in London on September 24?

We still have room for two more people on our trip to the U.K.!!

We're flying over on British Airways (non-stop) and staying at the St. George's Hotel Wembley Stadium.

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.

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Sunday
May 28
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 28
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orioles lose again, freefall continues in houston


The Orioles are going to win some games again this season.

It's just tough to say when that might happen.

The Birds dropped their sixth straight game last night in Houston, 5-2, as Dallas Keuchel returned from the disabled list to improve to 8-0 on the year for the Astros.

Houston's Dallas Keuchel remained perfect on the season, limiting the O's to just four hits in six innings of work on Saturday night in Houston's 5-2 win.

Wade Miley was OK for the O's, but nothing more than that. He allowed 11 baserunners in five innings of work, giving up two runs in the first inning and two more in the 4th on a George Springer home run. On a night when the Birds desperately needed some sort of magical shutdown night from their starter, Miley couldn't deliver.

The Orioles' offense needed to deliver on Saturday and they couldn't, either. The Birds scratched out seven hits and two runs, but Keuchel struck out eight hitters including Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis three times each. Davis did manage to collect a 7th inning triple, but his night was, again, an exercise in futility. He has now struck out 71 times in 46 games.

Adam Jones missed the game with a sore hip and ankle and it sounds like the O's might rest their centerfielder until at least Tuesday night's home game with the Yankees.

"We needed to back off of him," manager Buck Showalter said. "Hopefully it's only a day or two. We'll see. If it's not better in a couple of days, we'll see if we need to take another step."

Joey Rickard got the start in centerfield and it didn't go well. He got a bad jump on a first inning ball hit his way that helped stake the Astros to a 2-0 lead, then bobbled a ball and was charged with an error in the 7th when Houston extended their lead to 5-2 after the O's scored in the top half of the inning to make it 4-2.

It doesn't appear that Jones' injury is all that serious, but for one night, at least, his absence was definitely felt in the outfield.

So the O's are now 25-22 on the season, with today's finale in Houston, followed by a home series with both the Yankees (now 3.5 games up after beating Oakland on Saturday) and Red Sox this coming week in Baltimore.

It's not getting much better at this point, as if you couldn't tell yourself. Three weeks ago, the Birds were 22-11. They are 3-11 since and are actually closer to the last place Toronto Blue Jays (23-26) than the first place Yankees.

And the worst part? There's not much they can do about it except play better.

There's no one on the farm ready to come up and rescue them. Unlike, say, the Yankees, who have gobs of young talent both on their major league roster and in their minor league system, the O's have one player (Chance Sisco) who might be a major-league contributor at some point in the next 12 months.

The O's are going to sink or swim with this group they currently have in the dugout, notwithstanding Zach Britton, who should return before the All-Star break. They're either going to win with this team they have right now or they won't.

"There's just too much talent to struggle for too much longer," right fielder Mark Trumbo said after last night's game. "It could be tomorrow, it could be the next series, but we're going to start to do better."

Maybe, Mark. Maybe not.

Every major league team has talent. Some have more talent, some have less. It's how teams are built and constructed that matters most, and this O's team, like a few others before it, just relies far too much on hitting home runs and not nearly enough on just putting the ball in play and seeing what happens from there.

Friday night's 8th inning fiasco is probably the most recent documentation available to back up the point made above. With the bases loaded and no one out, the O's first three hitters came to the plate, in Seth Smith, Adam Jones and Manny Machado. Five pitches later, the inning was over with no runs on the board.

In a 2-0 game, all that was needed there was a ball in play that either fell in or was hit far enough to generate a run.

The beleaguered Birds couldn't even do that.

Alec Asher gets the start today, as the Ubaldo Jimenez starting-experiment has finally ended. Asher isn't the answer, obviously, but he's just as likely to be decent as Jimenez would have been. This is what the Orioles have at this point; two good starters (Bundy and Tillman) and then three other guys that might give you a good start or might allow 11 baserunners in five innings, like Miley did last night in Houston.

I agree with Trumbo in some ways. The Orioles have too much talent to keep losing 11 out of 14 games they play. Then again, every team in the major leagues has enough talent to not lose 11 of 14 as well.

The O's just need a win -- of any kind, 1-0, 11-10, etc. -- to reboot their system and get things back to level again. If they can win two of three from the Yankees and three of four from the Red Sox, everything gets balanced out and the Birds are humming again.

But we all know this thing is really teetering at this point. A loss today to the Astros and then series losses to the Yankees and Red Sox would have the O's under .500 and reeling.

Buckle up. This next week is going to be a nailbiter.

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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!


towson squanders 7-3 lead, ohio state will face terps in ncaa lax final


The semi-final round of the NCAA Men's Lacrosse tournament certainly did not disappoint with great finishes in both games. One thing is clear. It looks like we have a new power lacrosse conference in the B1G Ten. The rubber match between Maryland and Ohio State should make for a great championship. Let's review how they got there.

Ohio State 11 - Towson 10

Towson head coach Shawn Nadelen saw his team score just three times in the second half on Saturday after opening up a 7-3 lead at the intermission, eventually falling to Ohio State, 11-10.

While the result was expected, the way the game unfolded was very different, with Towson dominating play in the first half. The Tigers out hustled the Buckeyes in the opening two quarters, winning the ground ball battle 19-10 in the first half and Alex Woodall owning a 7-5 faceoff advantage over Jake Withers.

Towson turned that possession advantage into a 7-3 halftime lead with including 2 goals a piece from offensive leaders Ryan Drenner (3g, 1a) and Joe Seider (3g).

Then the 2nd half came around and the Buckeyes flipped the script, out ground-balling the Tigers 17-8 and Jake Withers won 10 of 13 faceoffs.

The extra possessions seemed to wear down the Tigers as the Ohio State offense went to work, scoring 8 goals in the 2nd half and with 2 goals each from Tre Leclaire and Eric Fannell. Ryan Drenner pulled the Tigers to within one goal with 3 minutes left in the game. The Tigers did get one more chance at the end of the game but were unable to get a shot off.

Injuries to freshman defender Gray Bodden in the 1st half and faceoff-specialist Alex Woodall later in the game took their toll defensively. And poor shooting in the 2nd half (only 5 of 15 shots on cage) and a rare poor half from Matt Hoy (4 saves, 8 goals allowed) sealed the Tigers' fate. However, kudos to Towson lacrosse and their seniors for a great season and getting the program back to national prominence.


Maryland 9 - Denver 8

Another expected one goal result, but an unexpected defensive battle as the Terps limited Denver's high powered offense to just 22 shots all game.

It was expected that the Terps would give Trevor Baptiste his toughest game of the year and they did, only letting him win 11 of 21 faceoffs. If someone told me prior to the game that Maryland would hold their own on faceoffs, I would have predicted a much bigger win for the Terps. However, Denver goalie Alex Ready played well above his season average, saving 12 of 21 shots on goal.

Similar to the first game, Maryland seemed to dominate the first half including the faceoff battle. And the Terps took a 5-3 lead into the locker at half. However, Denver started to trade goals with the Terps and then chipped away at their lead, eventually tying the game 8-8 with 10 minutes left. But Connor Kelly struck yet again with another long range bomb to put the Terps up for good.

In a bizarre ending, Maryland had the ball with a few minutes left when Matt Rambo fought through a double team and found Colin Heacock cutting from behind the cage who caught the pass then dove across the top of the crease to score an apparent insurance goal. However, the goal was waived off after his foot barely touched the crease. One could argue he was pushed slightly. On the ensuing possession, Pioneer midfielder Connor Donahue dodged from behind the goal then cut back to the goal after beating his defender and buried the apparent game tying shot in the final seconds while diving behind the cage. However, his goal was waived off too as he landed in the crease.

Maryland leaders on offense were Connor Kelly (3g) and Dylan Maltz (2g 1a) and Colin Heacock (2g). Denver's defensive game plan on Matt Rambo was solid as the Tewaarton finalist only netted 1 goal and 1 assist. Maryland's defense came up big and were led by All-American defenseman Tim Muller holding Tewaarton candidate attackman Connor Cannizzaro to just 1 goal.

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we now only have THREE team openings left for the "nashville cup" in november


If you're a golfer and you'd like to participate in a meaningful three-day golf event that concludes with a Ravens road game, #DMD has the perfect opportunity for you.

Best of all, you get to bring a guest along to play with you. It's #DMD's "Nashville Cup", taking place November 1-5 in Nashville, Tennessee.

This event is only open to 16 total players, or eight, 2-man teams. We have five teams already in, with three openings available.

You and a golfing friend might be coming home from Nashville with this beautiful trophy if you can beat the field in a 3-day event centered around the Ravens-Titans game in November.

We'll play three days of golf down there at a stay-and-play Nashville resort, with a total of eight, two-man teams competing in a match-play, "member-guest" format. You'll need legitimate, USGA handicaps for you and your partner, as this will be a "net" event.

Our travel itinerary is set: Our group will depart on Wednesday evening, November 1 from BWI. We'll play golf Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, we have 16 tickets together for the Ravens-Titans game at 12 noon (central). And we head back to Baltimore early Sunday evening after the Ravens beat up on Marcus Mariota and the Titans.

Everything is included in the package: Airfare, four nights lodging at a cottage right on the property of the golf course where we'll be playing, ground transportation, golf fees and the Ravens-Titans game ticket.

This is identical in nature to the Ravens-Cardinals trip in Arizona that we put together a couple of years ago and the 16 guys who went on the trip had a complete blast.

The price is $1,245 a player. Remember, you MUST sign-up as a two-man team, as this competition over three days will be team-based, not individually scored. A $445 per-person deposit will reserve your space, with the remainder of the money not due until September 15, 2017.

#DMD will cover the whole thing from Nashville as well, so you'll be putting your golfing prowess out there for everyone to see!

If you and your playing partner are interested in playing in our "Nashville Cup", please e-mail me directly: drew@drewsmorningdish.com


we have two seats left on our london trip to see the ravens!


Anyone interested in seeing the Ravens in London on September 24?

We still have room for two more people on our trip to the U.K.!!

We're flying over on British Airways (non-stop) and staying at the St. George's Hotel Wembley Stadium.

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.



Saturday
May 27
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 27
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this o's "slide" has a bad feeling to it


Don't look now, but the Orioles are suddenly in third place in the A.L. East.

Last night's 2-0 loss at Houston coupled with Boston's 3-0 home win over Seattle moved the Red Sox (26-21) a half-game ahead of the O's (25-21). Tampa Bay (26-25) actually has one more win than do the Orioles at this point.

I'm not sure if you're getting nervous yet, but I'll admit that I am. This isn't looking good.

Kevin Gausman manned-up last night and produced one of his better performances of the season, surrendering just two solo home runs to the best team in baseball. Gausman went 6.2 innings, allowing eight hits, striking out two and walking none. The low strikeout numbers are an issue for Gausman, but I'll take them as long as he isn't walking anyone.

Two more strikeouts for Chris Davis last night in Houston give him 68 for the season thus far...in 45 games.

Unfortunately for the O's -- and Gausman -- the bats once again didn't come through for Buck Showalter's team. Seven total hits were sprinkled between four players, (Machado, Schoop and Hardy with 2 each, Kim with 1) and in the top of the 8th inning, the Birds suffered the indignity of loading the bases with no one out and then failing to score.

Worst of all? The top of the order gagged it in the clutch. Seth Smith struck out and then Adam Jones and Manny Machado both went down on fly outs to leave the bases filled with Orioles.

Game on the line, bases loaded, one big hit changes the whole night -- and the top three hitters in the O's lineup couldn't do anything with it.

That's how you lose five straight games and go from being 22-11 to 25-21 in a matter of two weeks or so.

Now, I realize the other team tries, too. Houston has a very good team, they're playing at home, and the O's are wobbly right now. It all added up to favorable odds for Houston on Friday night. But the O's are becoming their own worst enemy.

And it's starting to look like this might be a season-changing tailspin, the one we talk about years from now when we remembering the 2017 season and we say, "How about a few years ago when the O's started off 22-11, then went 5-25 in their next 30 games and eventually finished at 77-85..."

I hope I'm wrong on that note. I took the O's to finish 79-83 at the beginning of the season. For six weeks, I looked as wrong as wrong could be. Now, I'm not looking all that wrong after all.

There's still a lot of baseball left. And I'm a big believer in this: You're never really as good as you look when you're winning, nor are you as bad as you look when you're losing." I really do put stock in that statement.

So, it stands to reason that the O's team we saw sprint out of the game in the first month or so of the season probably wasn't really who they were, but neither are they this team right now that can't win a game to save its life. They're somewhere in between the two, I'd say.

I also developed a famous phrase when I was working in the indoor soccer business and I've used it a lot over the years: "The hardest thing to do in sports is to stop losing."

I believed that in the 1990's when I was running a team and deeply immersed in the on-field product and I still believe it to this day. If something goes wrong with your car today and you're inclined to perhaps fix it yourself, you can hustle to the library and pick up the Chilton manual for your make and model and give it a whirl. The same goes for your dishwasher. If it stops working this afternoon, there's a "do it yourself" YouTube video you can watch that will take you the process of trying to fix it yourself.

There's no manual or YouTube video for "fixing losing".

You know how you fix it? By winning.

But that's a lot easier said than done, as the O's have showed throughout this five-game losing streak -- and the five-game losing streak before this one. Once you start losing, it inks its way into you like a tattoo. You can't get rid of it.

This isn't to say that Orioles are "finished" or "cooked" for the season. But when you look at the composite make-up of their roster, you see the potential for this sort of topsy-turvy play given the unsteady nature of the pitching staff and the home-run-hungry portfolio of the offense.

Nowhere was the latter more center-stage last night than in the 8th inning. Needing only a couple of sacrifice flies to tie the game, or any kind of hit into the gap to perhaps give themselves a lead, the O's couldn't plate one lousy run.

Chris Davis struck out two more times last night, including once in the 9th inning when every Houston infielder was between 2nd and 1st base, it seemed. With the whole left side of the infield open due to the shift, all Davis needed to do was lazy-arm a bunt in the direction of third base and he would have given the O's a lead-off runner in a one-run game. Instead, he swung for the fences and promptly struck out to start the inning off on a sour note.

Those kinds of instances where big-league ballplayers can't step out of their comfort zone and do something as simple -- and smart -- as laying down a bunt to get on base drive me completely batty. Maybe Davis was waiting for a sign from Showalter there. I'm not sure it's completely necessary for the manager to alert you to the fact that the entire left side of the infield is open, but if so, then give Buck a little blame there.

But I'm not going to blame Buck for failing to give Davis the bunt sign in that instance last night. I'm going to give Davis the blame for not seeing the situation for what it was and failing to get on base.

I will, however, blame Buck for his faux pas on Wednesday, when he started Manny Machado in the aftermath of an embarrassing, heartless effort on Tuesday night in the 2-0 loss to Minnesota. The manager should have brought Machado into his office on Wednesday when the players arrived and said, "Let's look at the video from last night's game so I can show you in high-definition why you're not starting today's game, Manny."

I'm sure Machado would have been pissed off. He might have even sulked for a few days. He's very sensitive to any sort of perceived ridicule, as we saw earlier this month with the Red Sox beanball saga.

But sitting him on Wednesday was the right thing to do, three-game losing streak (at that point) be damned. It's fair to point out, though, that Buck might have had a "conversation" with Machado on Thursday or Friday, because the third baseman responded with a pair of hits last night in the loss at Houston.

One person Showalter did communicate with on Friday was Ubaldo Jimenez. He told the right hander he won't be making his scheduled start on Sunday in Houston; that honor will instead go to Alec Asher, with Jimenez moving to the bullpen.

That's obviously the right thing to do at this point, given that the other significant option (releasing Jimenez) is clearly NOT going to happen on Dan Duquette's watch.

It's not the best remedy for the Orioles as it relates to Jimenez, but moving him to the bullpen means you can pick and choose when you want him in the game. I can't imagine we'll see Jimenez in any kind of high-leverage or critical situations. He'll mainly be a mop-up guy, getting work in when the O's are down 8-2 in the 7th or up 8-2 in the 7th.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. "Do you think we'll ever be up 8-2 in the 7th again this season, Drew?"

Yes, I do. I'm not sure Jimenez can protect that 8-2 lead, mind you, but we'll get a few of them in the next month or so, trust me.

So, that's a wrap on Friday night's debacle, where the O's had the game there for the taking in the 8th inning and couldn't anything with a bases loaded, no out situation.

They're figuring out lots of new ways to lose during this three week skid.

Let's hope they come up with a way to win tonight against Dallas Keuchel, who is 7-0 on the season and returning from the DL for the Astros.

The Birds need a win, badly.

Anyone have a manual on how to break a 5-game losing streak? If so, send it to Buck, pronto.

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phelps blasts brodeur in #dmd's "ultimate winners" bracket contest


Don't feel too bad for Martin Brodeur. He was never going to win his opening round match-up against Michael Phelps in our "Ultimate Winners" bracket challenge. But only getting a handful of votes was akin to getting pulled after giving up four goals in the first 16 minutes of the game.

LeBron James will go up against Roger Clemens next Wednesday in #DMD's "Ultimate Winners" bracket challenge.

It stings a little, I'm sure.

Phelps (95%) provided the most decisive win of opening week, clobbering the former New Jersey Devils goaltender, who received just 5% of the votes that were cast. I admire that 5% for recognizing how much of a winner Brodeur actually was, but the battle with Phelps was one he wasn't going to win.

Thanks to everyone who voted on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The bracket challenge returns next Tuesday, May 30, with Tiger Woods (#1) going up against Annika Sorenstam (#16). Also next week, LeBron James (#7) takes on Roger Clemens (#10) and Kobe Bryant (#8) faces NASCAR superstar Jimmie Johnson (#9).

In case you missed it earlier this week, here are the 16 players in the field and any results so far.

#1 Tiger Woods

#2 Michael Jordan

#3 Michael Phelps

#4 Serena Williams

#5 Tom Brady

#6 Peyton Manning

#7 LeBron James

#8 Kobe Bryant

#9 Jimmie Johnson

#10 Roger Clemens

#11 Phil Mickelson

#12 Derek Jeter

#13 Sidney Crosby

#14 Martin Brodeur

#15 Roger Federer

#16 Annika Sorenstam


Results already in --

Tom Brady eliminated Derek Jeter.

Phil Mickelson eliminated Peyton Manning

Michael Phelps eliminated Martin Brodeur

KELLY banner ad

we now only have THREE team openings left for the "nashville cup" in november


If you're a golfer and you'd like to participate in a meaningful three-day golf event that concludes with a Ravens road game, #DMD has the perfect opportunity for you.

Best of all, you get to bring a guest along to play with you. It's #DMD's "Nashville Cup", taking place November 1-5 in Nashville, Tennessee.

This event is only open to 16 total players, or eight, 2-man teams. We have five teams already in, with three openings available.

You and a golfing friend might be coming home from Nashville with this beautiful trophy if you can beat the field in a 3-day event centered around the Ravens-Titans game in November.

We'll play three days of golf down there at a stay-and-play Nashville resort, with a total of eight, two-man teams competing in a match-play, "member-guest" format. You'll need legitimate, USGA handicaps for you and your partner, as this will be a "net" event.

Our travel itinerary is set: Our group will depart on Wednesday evening, November 1 from BWI. We'll play golf Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, we have 16 tickets together for the Ravens-Titans game at 12 noon (central). And we head back to Baltimore early Sunday evening after the Ravens beat up on Marcus Mariota and the Titans.

Everything is included in the package: Airfare, four nights lodging at a cottage right on the property of the golf course where we'll be playing, ground transportation, golf fees and the Ravens-Titans game ticket.

This is identical in nature to the Ravens-Cardinals trip in Arizona that we put together a couple of years ago and the 16 guys who went on the trip had a complete blast.

The price is $1,245 a player. Remember, you MUST sign-up as a two-man team, as this competition over three days will be team-based, not individually scored. A $445 per-person deposit will reserve your space, with the remainder of the money not due until September 15, 2017.

#DMD will cover the whole thing from Nashville as well, so you'll be putting your golfing prowess out there for everyone to see!

If you and your playing partner are interested in playing in our "Nashville Cup", please e-mail me directly: drew@drewsmorningdish.com


we have two seats left on our london trip to see the ravens!


Anyone interested in seeing the Ravens in London on September 24?

We still have room for two more people on our trip to the U.K.!!

We're flying over on British Airways (non-stop) and staying at the St. George's Hotel Wembley Stadium.

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.

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Friday
May 26
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 26
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


penguins, senators remind us why nhl playoffs are the best


This happens to me every spring, even though my beloved Capitals never have the nerve -- or the talent -- to advance to something as exciting as the Eastern Conference Finals.

Every April, May and June, I watch the Stanley Cup playoffs and I get hooked on hockey all over again.

Last night's Game 7 win for Pittsburgh was one for the ages. The Penguins won in double overtime, which does make it a little less thrilling, knowing that folks in the Steel City are waking up happy this morning. But the game itself was remarkable. Ottawa fought for their lives last night and came out on the short end of the score, but they were hardly losers.

Regular season hockey is captivating too, but it's nothing like playoff hockey. There's a separation there that we don't see in any other sport, in my opinion. I'm not sure why it's that way, but something happens in the post-season that takes the level of play up a notch.

One of the greatest moments in sports; the hockey handshake, which takes place at the conclusion of every NHL playoff series.

You don't see that in football. You don't see it in baseball. You might see it a little bit in the NBA, where their players seemingly pace themselves a little more in preparation for the playoffs.

But it's definitely front-and-center in hockey, where the action gets racheted up two or three notches once the regular season ends.

One suspicion I've always maintained is that the players really ARE playing for a trophy. Without question, the Stanley Cup itself is the most well-known and well-respected of all the sports title trophies.

Most athletes play for the championship ring -- that's their symbol of success. Hockey players play to touch the Stanley Cup and carry it around the ice after they've won the title.

Kids who grew up playing hockey have long had the ambition of someday carrying the Stanley Cup. No kid has grown up wanting to touch the World Series trophy. It's just not embedded in your brain to do that as a 15-year old.

And hockey players are tough, which is another reason why the playoffs take on a life of their own. Those guys play 82 regular season games in six months, then hope to be good enough to play another 25 or 30 games in two months come playoff time.

Hockey players are warriors. Out and out warriors.

Perhaps the best part about the entire playoffs is the post-series handshake. You see something similar in all sports except baseball, where the players retreat to their locker room(s) after a series concludes, but the post-series handshake in hockey is still one of the great moments in all of sports.

Some football players will gather at midfield after a playoff game and basketball has a post-game "meet and greet", but none of those are organized and celebrated quite like the post-series hockey handshake.

Simply put, you don't duck out of the handshake if you're a NHL player. You might hate that guy you're shaking hands with after they just beat you to end your season, but you shake hands with him nonetheless.

I felt such sadness for Ottawa last night as they shook hands with the Penguins in the aftermath of that 3-2 double overtime loss. They had given everything they had -- and then some -- but still came up short and then had to congratulate the guys who defeated them.

It always makes for a remarkable moment in time, one that sets apart the NHL playoffs from anything else we see.

The Penguins will now take on the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Finals. Two things we know for sure about that series: The hockey will be full-tilt, out-of-this-world good and the Flyers, once again, will not be celebrating a hockey title this June.

Those two things make it all worth watching.

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mickelson upsets manning in our "ultimate winners" bracket challenge


We had our first upset of the "Ultimate Winners" bracket challenge on Thursday, as #11 seed Phil Mickelson (54%) nipped #6 Peyton Manning (46%) in opening round action to advance to the second round.

Today, it's a battle between two very worthwhile champions, as swimmer Michael Phelps (23 gold medals) goes up against one of hockey's greatest champion goaltenders ever, Martin Brodeur (three Stanley Cup titles, 2 Olympic gold medals).

Baltimore native Michael Phelps earned the #3 seed in our "Ultimate Winners" bracket challenge. Today he meets up with one of the all-time great winners in the NHL, goaltender Martin Brodeur.

You can find Michael Phelps' career information here.

You can find Martin Brodeur's career information here.

Please remember the issue we have with the "voting form" you'll use. It's not particularly "eye friendly", as our operating system allows for a very specific sort of poll to be used and, unfortunately, we're quite restricted with how we use it. This is WAY beyond my pay grade. I turn these sorts of things over to my good buddy George McDowell. He's the brains behind this whole operation.

So, you'll see the voting box below has two names and an "x", "y" and "z". Our poll MUST have five and ONLY five voting options. I know, it's quirky. So, you'll see Michael Phelps and Martin Brodeur in the box below, plus x, y and z. You're obviously ONLY voting for either Phelps or Brodeur.

It's time to vote. Who are you choosing? The #3 seed Michael Phelps? Or the #14 seed Martin Brodeur?



 Drew's Morning Dish

#DMD Poll

Question: What is the Ravens biggest problem thus far in 2017?
Flacco and his QB play
Lack of receivers and playmakers
Key injuries
Offensive and defensive schemes
Harbaugh and his coaching
Name
Email address
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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 one weekend of fairly close games, followed by a second weekend of mostly beat downs, we are down to the Final Four in the NCAA lacrosse tournament. One thing common about all the remaining teams; no matter who the opponents, when you took plays off or were careless against these teams, you paid the price. Let's dig into some pre-game analysis of tomorrow's semi-final action from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

Ohio State (#3) vs Towson (#12) 12pm Saturday ESPN2

How the Buckeyes got here: 1st Round, defeated Loyola (#10) 7-4. 2nd Round, defeated Duke (#6) 16-11.

Team key: "Oppressive" Defense. Not just dominate. Oppressive. And don't let the 11 goals by Duke fool you. 6 of those came in the 4th quarter against several Buckeye backups.

Ohio State contested every shot or forced teams into bad shots with little or no angle. They dominated possessions with great faceoff play by one of the nations best in Jake Withers. And they did it with a "thunder & lightning" offense that utilizes man-children like Tre Leclair and Eric Fannell who use their size to back down their opponents to create their shots or Jack Jasinski who uses blazing speed and quickness to get to the rack.

Towson University's Ryan Drenner scored 27 goals during the 2017 regular season.

How the Tigers got here: 1st Round, defeated Penn State (#8) 12-8. 2nd Round, defeated Syracuse (#2) 10-7.

Team key: Doing what they do. Win faceoffs and use their senior-laden offense to wear opposing defenses down with long and efficient possessions. Then shut you down with one of the nation's best defenses that frustrate opposing offenses into one and done possessions.

When an unseeded team makes it this far, it's usually because the stars aligned which allowed them to beat an over-seeded team or another unseeded team that upset their previous opponent. Make no mistake. The Tigers earned their way against legitimate competition who gave it their all.

How this game will play out:

The previous match-up was won by Ohio State @ Towson 6-3 back in March in winter weather (24 degrees, 20 mph winds) in which simple passes were challenging. Look for some higher scoring in this game (especially with the better weather), but not much more.

Towson has capitalized on their faceoff advantage so far, but that advantage will sway to the Buckeyes in this game. Especially with Woodall running less than 100%. Can Towson seniors Drenner, Seider and Lynch continue to roll and do what more potent offenses in Loyola and Duke couldn't? Can Ohio State's offense solve the best defense left in the tournament?

Both teams have improved since their first match-up 2 months ago and I believe Towson is ready for this heavyweight rematch. I know I haven't picked my Tigers yet and they keep proving me wrong. So why start now? I'm going with the Buckeyes, who will win 9-8.


Maryland (#1) vs #5 Denver (#5) 2:30pm Saturday ESPN2

How the Terps got here: 1st Round, defeated Bryant 13-10. 2nd Round, defeated Albany (#4) 18-9

Team key: Balance, depth and chemistry. The Terps offensively can beat you with almost any of their starters, can stop you with great team defense and goalie play, and can tangle with anyone on faceoffs (as they did with Albany by dominating the 2nd best FOGO in the nation).

They have 9 All-Americans and a Tewaarton finalist attackman in Matt Rambo who's the total package on attack including dodging, scoring and dishing. And this is the fourth final four in a row for the Maryland seniors. The only team that can probably beat the Terps right now is themselves, as evidenced in the Bryant game. And even then, they still won by three goals.

Maryland's Matt Rambo finished the regular season with 36 goals to lead the Terps to another appearance in the NCAA lacrosse final four.

How the Pioneers got here: 1st Round, defeated Air Force 17-10. 2nd Round, defeated Notre Dame (#7) 16-4

Team key: Keep away and finishing. Tewaarton finalist and nation's best faceoff man Trevor Baptiste simply doesn't let the other team get the ball. In tournament games so far, he's won a combined 44 of 49 for 89.8%! Usually, your tournament average goes down as you face better teams who usually have better wing play. But he's tracking up. And once Denver has the ball, there's a great chance it will end up in the back of the net.

The Pioneers are 5th best in the country scoring 13.8 goals per and and are led by one of the fastest attacks in the game with Cannizzaro, Walker and French, who've combined for 107 goals and 74 assists. Denver's defense is also stout only allowing 8.75 goals per game and is led by All-American defenseman Christian Burgdorf. Although some of that credit goes to Baptiste by limiting other teams' possessions.

How this game willl play out:

This will be an interesting battle which will be a lot higher scoring than the first contest of the day. Baptiste will dominate faceoffs, but he will probably win lower than his season average of 75.7%. Probably something like 60%-65% as the Terps can challenge anyone on faceoffs with their two-headed attack of Henningsen and Garino (and even Bonaparte who started several games last season). I also see the Terp defense playing much better than Denver's first 2 opponents.

And although Maryland will be getting the ball less than they're used to, they should be able to score fairly efficiently, even on Denver's defense, who I think has been helped out by Baptiste. I'm a bit concerned with Pioneer goalie Alex Ready, who's only saving at 48.4% and hasn't seen an offense clicking like this in quite a while. Denver's a great team, but Maryland might be the best team right now, which is why I'm picking the Terps to win 14-13.

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we only have four team openings left for the "nashville cup" in november


If you're a golfer and you'd like to participate in a meaningful three-day golf event that concludes with a Ravens road game, #DMD has the perfect opportunity for you.

Best of all, you get to bring a guest along to play with you. It's #DMD's "Nashville Cup", taking place November 1-5 in Nashville, Tennessee.

This event is only open to 16 total players, or eight, 2-man teams. We have four teams already in, with four openings available.

You and a golfing friend might be coming home from Nashville with this beautiful trophy if you can beat the field in a 3-day event centered around the Ravens-Titans game in November.

We'll play three days of golf down there at a stay-and-play Nashville resort, with a total of eight, two-man teams competing in a match-play, "member-guest" format. You'll need legitimate, USGA handicaps for you and your partner, as this will be a "net" event.

Our travel itinerary is set: Our group will depart on Wednesday evening, November 1 from BWI. We'll play golf Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, we have 16 tickets together for the Ravens-Titans game at 12 noon (central). And we head back to Baltimore early Sunday evening after the Ravens beat up on Marcus Mariota and the Titans.

Everything is included in the package: Airfare, four nights lodging at a cottage right on the property of the golf course where we'll be playing, ground transportation, golf fees and the Ravens-Titans game ticket.

This is identical in nature to the Ravens-Cardinals trip in Arizona that we put together a couple of years ago and the 16 guys who went on the trip had a complete blast.

The price is $1,245 a player. Remember, you MUST sign-up as a two-man team, as this competition over three days will be team-based, not individually scored. A $445 per-person deposit will reserve your space, with the remainder of the money not due until September 15, 2017.

#DMD will cover the whole thing from Nashville as well, so you'll be putting your golfing prowess out there for everyone to see!

We have room for eight teams. Three are already claimed, leaving us with five openings.

If you and your playing partner are interested in playing in our "Nashville Cup", please e-mail me directly: drew@drewsmorningdish.com


we have two seats left on our london trip to see the ravens!


Anyone interested in seeing the Ravens in London on September 24?

We still have room for two more people on our trip to the U.K.!!

We're flying over on British Airways (non-stop) and staying at the St. George's Hotel Wembley Stadium.

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.



Thursday
May 25
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 25
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


it's time someone tells manny the truth


I'm not the first person to address all of this with Manny Machado.

In fact, my bird-on-a-tree who is connected to the Orioles says both Buck Showalter and Adam Jones have had "the talk" with Machado in the few weeks. It apparently didn't sink in with Machado then, which means I doubt this will sink in with him now.

But I'll feel better after writing it, if nothing else.

Manny, let's get the easy stuff out of the way first. You're a terrific baseball player. No one disputes that. I sure don't. I do my best not to use the word "great" much in sports, but you have the potential to be one of the game's all-time "great" players.

So much for being nice.

Let's get to the real issue at hand.

This Roger Dorn impersonation you've been giving off the last month or so needs to come to an end.

Button up your jersey, kid. You're a professional baseball player, not a 15-year old at the rolling skating rink.

Do you know who Roger Dorn was, Manny? He was one of baseball's all-time great "jakers". He didn't actually play in the big leagues. He was a character in the movie "Major League". But he once got chastised by Jake Taylor for not giving 100%.

I see you not giving 100%, Manny. I see it a lot.

I'm not sure what's going on with you. Earlier this month, you went a week or so with your game jersey unbuttoned and some weird looking dog tags bouncing around your neck. You reminded me of a G.I. Joe toy wearing a baseball uniform.

You're not old enough to know who G.I. Joe was -- I'm old enough to remember when baseball players hustled on every play.

Maybe it's the money thing that's bothering you. Mike Trout and Bryce Harper are both due to make more money than you next season. Perhaps that has you agitated.

Well, let's get that issue handled straight away. You're nowhere near the player that Trout is right now, Manny. You're terrific, remember. I reiterated that earlier. But Trout is LeBron James and you're John Wall.

Wall's an outstanding player. But he's no LeBron James. And you're no Mike Trout. Not right now, anyway.

And I know you probably don't like Harper much, but he has a National League MVP award to his credit. You have a .218 batting average thus far in 2017. See the difference?

So, if it is money that's bothering you, I'd suggest you get a grip on that and do your best to overcome it. You're going to get your payday soon enough and it will be a large one, my friend. As it is now, you're a 24 year old kid who has made $18 million thus far in your career. I'm not feeling all that sorry for you, truth be told.

If it's not money, that's bothering you, then what's going on these days? Your effort in the recent Minnesota series was embarrassing. And that's being kind.

Girl troubles? Fair enough. We've all had 'em. They can bring you down, no doubt.

Are you hurting, physically? It doesn't look like it, but athletes are pretty good at hiding that kind of stuff. Do you have an injury we don't know about?

Everything OK with your family back home? I know it's hard to concentrate here in Baltimore if things aren't copacetic back in Miami.

If it's not a girl problem, injury or family strife, then we have an even bigger issue to address.

We need to figure out why you look the way you look. To me, you're starting to border on that Roger Dorn image I mentioned earlier. You look -- you're not going to like this, Manny -- like you just don't care all that much if you play well or not...or if the team wins, or not.

Tuesday night was the cake-topper for me. You misplayed a routine foul ball, then swung at just about every pitch thrown your way, plus several that weren't thrown your way.

You swung at one ball in the dirt in the 9th inning that had Chris Davis wondering what you were swinging at -- and when he questions you, something's definitely wrong.

And you did it all while looking like you just couldn't care less. That's the worst part about this malaise we're seeing from you. We understand baseball's a weird, streaky sport and you can hit .180 in one 10-game homestand and .390 over the next 10 days.

You're struggling. We see that. But you're also not trying hard. And we see that, too. Not giving your all when you're a professional athlete getting paid a gazillion bucks is the ultimate slap-in-the-face to the fans.

You remember us, right Manny? We're the people who pay your salary by going to the games and watching them on TV.

I know you got all worked up a few weeks ago when the Red Sox threw at you. Maybe that rattled your love for the game. I could tell in your voice when you talked about it with the media that you were angry and hurt, almost as if the Red Sox were disrespecting you.

"How dare they throw at me...don't they know I'm one of the game's great young talents?" That's kind of what I heard in your voice in your comments after the beanball saga.

Maybe the Red Sox see what the rest of us have been seeing recently. Maybe they see a 24 year old kid oozing with talent and ability who comes across like he's too good for the game. Maybe that's the reason they chirp at you, the same way the guys in the Minnesota dugout got on your case Tuesday night when you couldn't come up with that routine foul ball right in front of their dugout.

I hate to say it, but people like seeing you fail, Manny. You probably should get used to that, my friend. You ask for it, in a weird kind of way, because you're almost too good for your own good, if that makes sense.

I realize you and Adam Jones might not have the greatest relationship, so it's going to be hard for you to follow his lead, but you really should watch the way Jones plays the game.

Adam never jakes it. He might swing at the first pitch a lot and he'll definitely go through patches during the regular season where he gets in an offensive funk, but you'll never see Jones not hustle or give his all.

I've caught you on several occasions in the last month not hustling, including Tuesday night when you failed to run to first base after a ball got away from the catcher on strike three. You just stood there for a second, then started walking back to the dugout.

That wasn't the first time you haven't run something out. It probably won't be the last, either.

You're better than this, Manny. Or, at least, you should be better than this.

It's time to get back on track.

Tuck your shirt in, button it up like a professional and let's get back to basics and start grinding this thing out.

That .218 average and .309 on-base-percentage is more like Ryan Flaherty than Manny Machado. I know that one stings, but it's the truth. These days, you're looking more like Flaherty than Machado, except Ryan gives 100% on every play -- and you don't.

Stop this amateur-hour routine we've been seeing from you and get your ass in gear, kid.

Show the Yankees or Phillies or Marlins that you're worth that $40 million a year you're going to ask for in the 2018-2019 off-season.

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peyton goes up against mickelson in today's "ultimate winners" battle


We're off and running in our "Ultimate Winners" bracket contest, with Tom Brady (77%) easily beating Derek Jeter (23%) in yesterday's opening round contest. Thanks to all of you who voted on Wednesday.

Today, it's #6 seed Peyton Manning vs. #11 seed Phil Mickelson.

Which one of these guys was the better "winner" during their respective careers?

After two decades competing against Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson has another difficult opponent today when he goes up against Peyton Manning.

Manning, of course, was a 2-time Super Bowl champion and a future first-ballot NFL Hall of Fame selection. Before he got to Indianapolis, the Colts stunk. Once he showed up and figured out the pro game, all the Colts did was win. It was mostly because of him.

Mickelson, at age 46, is still one of golf's most talented players, but his best days are in the rear view mirror. He has 42 career wins on the PGA Tour, plus five major championship victories and a whopping six runner-up finishes in the U.S. Open, the only major he's still yet to win in his career.

You can find Peyton Manning's career information here.

You can find Phil Mickelson's career information here.

Please remember the issue we have with the "voting form" you'll use. It's not particularly "eye friendly", as our operating system allows for a very specific sort of poll to be used and, unfortunately, we're quite restricted with how we use it. This is WAY beyond my pay grade. I turn these sorts of things over to my good buddy George McDowell. He's the brains behind this whole operation.

So, you'll see the voting box below has two names and an "x", "y" and "z". Our poll MUST have five and ONLY five voting options. I know, it's quirky. So, you'll see Peyton Manning and Phil Mickelson in the box below, plus x, y and z. You're obviously ONLY voting for either Manning or Mickelson.

It's time to vote. Who are you choosing? The #6 seed Peyton Manning? Or the #11 seed Phil Mickelson?



 Drew's Morning Dish

#DMD Poll

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

we only have four team openings left for the "nashville cup" in november


If you're a golfer and you'd like to participate in a meaningful three-day golf event that concludes with a Ravens road game, #DMD has the perfect opportunity for you.

Best of all, you get to bring a guest along to play with you. It's #DMD's "Nashville Cup", taking place November 1-5 in Nashville, Tennessee.

This event is only open to 16 total players, or eight, 2-man teams. We have four teams already in, with four openings available.

You and a golfing friend might be coming home from Nashville with this beautiful trophy if you can beat the field in a 3-day event centered around the Ravens-Titans game in November.

We'll play three days of golf down there at a stay-and-play Nashville resort, with a total of eight, two-man teams competing in a match-play, "member-guest" format. You'll need legitimate, USGA handicaps for you and your partner, as this will be a "net" event.

Our travel itinerary is set: Our group will depart on Wednesday evening, November 1 from BWI. We'll play golf Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, we have 16 tickets together for the Ravens-Titans game at 12 noon (central). And we head back to Baltimore early Sunday evening after the Ravens beat up on Marcus Mariota and the Titans.

Everything is included in the package: Airfare, four nights lodging at a cottage right on the property of the golf course where we'll be playing, ground transportation, golf fees and the Ravens-Titans game ticket.

This is identical in nature to the Ravens-Cardinals trip in Arizona that we put together a couple of years ago and the 16 guys who went on the trip had a complete blast.

The price is $1,245 a player. Remember, you MUST sign-up as a two-man team, as this competition over three days will be team-based, not individually scored. A $445 per-person deposit will reserve your space, with the remainder of the money not due until September 15, 2017.

#DMD will cover the whole thing from Nashville as well, so you'll be putting your golfing prowess out there for everyone to see!

We have room for eight teams. Three are already claimed, leaving us with five openings.

If you and your playing partner are interested in playing in our "Nashville Cup", please e-mail me directly: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Full Circle banner ad

we have two seats left on our london trip to see the ravens!


Anyone interested in seeing the Ravens in London on September 24?

We still have room for two more people on our trip to the U.K.!!

We're flying over on British Airways (non-stop) and staying at the St. George's Hotel Wembley Stadium.

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.



Wednesday
May 24
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 24
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


16 points to ponder


You may agree with some of these, might think I'm crazy with a handful of them, and perhaps you'll even add your own opinion in the "Comments" section below.

Whatever the case, here are 16 quick-hits for you to ponder.

1. The Orioles did their best Sara Bareilles impersonation last night and produced just two hits in a 2-0 home loss to the Twins. Two. Lousy. Hits. Gotta give Buck credit, though. He's nothing if not infatuated with J.J. Hardy and his lowly .199 batting average. Down 2-0 in the bottom of the 8th, he sent Hardy back up to the plate to face Ervin Santana, who was cruising with a 2-hit shutout at that part. Why not pinch hit there (Hyun Soo Kim is still on the team, despite what Showalter must think) and let Paul Janish finish the game at shortstop?

2. Bareilles, by the way, is one heckuva singer. If you haven't heard her (you probably have and you just don't know it), hustle over to iTunes and download "Love Song" and "King of Anything". You'll be impressed.

3. The NFL got it right on Tuesday when they announced a relaxation of the "celebration" rules after touchdowns. You still can't do the throat-slash or shooting guns gesture -- which is a good thing, needless to say -- but you can once again use the football as a prop, have a planned "skit" with your teammates and even draw snow angels in the ground, with or without snow, I assume. Roger Goodell finally understands that "fun" should be part of the game. At least for now...

Clayton Kershaw threw another gem on Tuesday night and now has 72 strikeouts and 8 walks in 10 starts this season.

4. Mike Trout is having a MONSTER season for the Angels. He clobbered his 15th home run last night, raising his average to .342 along the way. Trout has 35 RBI on the season and his on-base-percentage is .465. That's what a $34 million a year player should do.

5. Clayton Kershaw did it to himself last night in Los Angeles, as the 3-time Cy Young winner carried a 1-0 lead into the 9th inning, then threw a wild pitch in the Cardinals' final at bat that led to the tying run. The Dodgers went on to win the game in 11 innings, 2-1. Kershaw had 10 strikeouts and no walks in nine innings of work, lowering his ERA to 2.01 on the season.

6. I love hockey players. Throughout last night's Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins fought, bit, scratched and did just about anything else they could to irritate the opposing player(s). In baseball, if a guy runs around the bases too fast, the pitcher is looking to fight. In hockey, they put their fingers in each other's eyes and keep playing as if nothing happened.

7. From the "call it like you see it" department -- there were a couple of at-bats last night, the 9th inning "effort" in particular, where Manny Machado went through the motions. Yep, I'm talking about "jaking it". I'm not sure what's happening with #13, but his level of engagement recently has been questionable to say the least. I get it, his eyes (and heart) are on that big pay day down the road, but he's not making $550,000 anymore. It's time to earn that $11.5 million, or at least look like you're interested.

8. I'm all for a competitive NBA Finals between Golden State and Cleveland. Last June's 7-game series where Cleveland came back from 3-1 down to win in seven games was really good. But at this point, since they're already 12-0 in the post-season, I wouldn't mind seeing the Warriors sweep Cleveland and finish 16-0 in the playoffs. That would be a great story.

9. We're two weeks away from a pair of critical games for the United States men's soccer team as they attempt to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The U.S. plays Trinidad and Tobago at home on June 8, then travels to Mexico on June 11. The U.S. needs to do the same thing they did back in November against Honduras (home) and Panama (away): win the home match with Trinidad and draw (at the very least) in Mexico. A win and a loss wouldn't be crushing. Anything less than that might be.

10. Ervin Santana, who shut down the Birds on two hits last night, is definitely an early Cy Young candidate. He's now 7-2 on the season with a 1.80 ERA. And the folks in Minnesota who cover the Twins say he's the team's second best pitcher. Jose Berrios, who goes today for Minnesota in the series finale at Camden Yards, is the young arm everyone's howling at the moon over in the Twin Cities.

11. I'm still trying to figure this one out. Who are the Ravens going to throw the ball to in 2017? If you call Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman "quality", the club only has two quality wide receivers on their roster at this point. It's almost June. Where are the pass catchers, Ozzie?

12. Earlier this week, someone asked me to name the toughest golf hole in Baltimore. I still say, from the back tees, #2 at Maryland Golf and Country Club in Bel Air is the toughest hole to make par on in the area. I don't know the exact yardage these days, since they've built/extended the teeing area over the years, but it's probably about 425 from all the way back, a dogleg right with OB down the right side. Your second shot plays 10 yards uphill to a green the size of the hood of your car. If you play it five times and par it twice, you're ahead of the field.

13. I'd take Brad Stevens of the Celtics to coach my team any day. Loved the job he did at Butler and happy to see he's made the successful transition to the NBA. The Celtics will win a title under Stevens someday. Boston, remember, has the #1 pick in this summer's NBA draft.

14. The U.S. Open golf championship is less than a month away now. They'll be playing at Erin Hills in Wisconsin, a new course on the U.S. Open rotation, and one that was built specifically for hosting major championships. Because no one will have much, if any, "history" at the course, it perhaps lends itself to a surprise winner. "Off the radar screen" names to watch: Kevin Chappell, Bernd Wiesberger and Ryan Moore. Wanna make some big bucks with a gutsy bet? Put $100 down on amateur Maverick McNealy, the top player in college golf in 2017.

15. Why are people still talking about Aaron Hernandez? I'm missing something. One of the national news outlets dedicated a 1,500 word story yesterday to the "tough life" Hernandez made for himself while in prison in Massachusetts. And.......at this point, who cares?

16. I was at a function on Monday and a guy -- a few beers in to his afternoon, I think -- came up to me and said, "I miss hearing you on the radio. Too bad about what happened to the station." As we went in different directions, he said to a friend, "He used to be on 1590. I turned over there the other day and all I heard was static." I wanted to tell him it was actually 1570, not 1590 (although I once was on 1590 -- WJRO in Glen Burnie), but I thought that might have confused him.

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let's start the "ultimate winners" contest with the dreaded 5-12 battle


The players have been seeded and it's time to start our bracket contest, where #DMD will endeavor to choose the greatest "winner" in American sports over the last 25 years.

Two quick notes: Dave F. yesterday made note of the fact that Lance Armstrong's seven Tour de France wins were actually vacated in the wake of his PED scandal. I took that issue to the four-person committee who came up with the 16 seeded contestants and they agreed.

Can #5 seed Tom Brady kick off the "Ultimate Winners" contest with a triumph over #12 seed Derek Jeter?

They deliberated replacing Armstrong with Steph Curry (NBA, Warriors) and Martin Brodeur (New Jersey Devils goalie). I told them to choose someone by 9 pm last night. They picked Brodeur, which now gives us two hockey players out of the 16-person field.

I'm fine with it. Brodeur was a huge winner in the NHL.

The second note concerns the "voting form" you'll use. It's not particularly "eye friendly", as our operating system allows for a very specific sort of poll to be used and, unfortunately, we're quite restricted with how we use it. This is WAY beyond my pay grade. I turn these sorts of things over to my good buddy George McDowell. He's the brains behind this whole operation.

So, you'll see the voting box below has two names and an "x", "y" and "z". Our poll MUST have five and ONLY five voting options. I know, it's quirky. So, you'll see Tom Brady and Derek Jeter in the box below, plus x, y and z. You're obviously ONLY voting for either Brady or Jeter.

Now, on to the contest.

Throughout this next month or so, I'm not going to opine on any of the candidates or offer any sort of personal analysis on the match-up you see that day at #DMD. I don't want my vote or my position to influence those of you who want to vote and participate in this bracket contest.

When it's over, though, I'll take you through my personal bracket so you can see who I would have voted for in each instance.

We'll use Wikipedia as a starter kit for the voting. You can, of course, do your own research as well.

The task here, is simple. You're asking yourself, "Who was/is more of a winner -- Tom Brady or Derek Jeter?" That's the only question you're pondering and voting on.

You can find Tom Brady's career information here.

You can find Derek Jeter's career information here.

It's time to vote. Who are you choosing? The #5 seed Tom Brady? Or the #12 seed Derek Jeter?


 Drew's Morning Dish

#DMD Poll

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

By the way, if you'd like to get your studying done early, tomorrow's match-up is #6 Peyton Manning vs. #11 Phil Mickelson. Friday, it's #3 Michael Phelps vs. #14 Martin Brodeur.

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we only have four team openings left for the "nashville cup" in november


If you're a golfer and you'd like to participate in a meaningful three-day golf event that concludes with a Ravens road game, #DMD has the perfect opportunity for you.

Best of all, you get to bring a guest along to play with you. It's #DMD's "Nashville Cup", taking place November 1-5 in Nashville, Tennessee.

This event is only open to 16 total players, or eight, 2-man teams. We have four teams already in, with four openings available.

You and a golfing friend might be coming home from Nashville with this beautiful trophy if you can beat the field in a 3-day event centered around the Ravens-Titans game in November.

We'll play three days of golf down there at a stay-and-play Nashville resort, with a total of eight, two-man teams competing in a match-play, "member-guest" format. You'll need legitimate, USGA handicaps for you and your partner, as this will be a "net" event.

Our travel itinerary is set: Our group will depart on Wednesday evening, November 1 from BWI. We'll play golf Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, we have 16 tickets together for the Ravens-Titans game at 12 noon (central). And we head back to Baltimore early Sunday evening after the Ravens beat up on Marcus Mariota and the Titans.

Everything is included in the package: Airfare, four nights lodging at a cottage right on the property of the golf course where we'll be playing, ground transportation, golf fees and the Ravens-Titans game ticket.

This is identical in nature to the Ravens-Cardinals trip in Arizona that we put together a couple of years ago and the 16 guys who went on the trip had a complete blast.

The price is $1,245 a player. Remember, you MUST sign-up as a two-man team, as this competition over three days will be team-based, not individually scored. A $445 per-person deposit will reserve your space, with the remainder of the money not due until September 15, 2017.

#DMD will cover the whole thing from Nashville as well, so you'll be putting your golfing prowess out there for everyone to see!

We have room for eight teams. Three are already claimed, leaving us with five openings.

If you and your playing partner are interested in playing in our "Nashville Cup", please e-mail me directly: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

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we have two seats left on our london trip to see the ravens!


Anyone interested in seeing the Ravens in London on September 24?

We still have room for two more people on our trip to the U.K.!!

We're flying over on British Airways (non-stop) and staying at the St. George's Hotel Wembley Stadium.

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.



Tuesday
May 23
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 23
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rock bottom


I guess it's silly to think what happened on Monday night is the lowest of the low points for the Orioles pitching staff in 2017. I mean, it could get worse, I suppose.

But that was about as bad as it gets, with Minnesota pounding out 21 hits on their way to a 14-7 thrashing of the O's that even had team-apologists Jim Hunter and Mike Bordick searching for positives during the TV broadcast.

It's tough when the on-air guys can't blame the umpires (Detroit series), the way the sun sets on the infield (Kansas City) or the lucky bounces (New York). Last night, the only blame was on the O's pitchers.

Yes, Buck left Tyler Wilson in for too long in the 6th inning uprising that saw the Twins go from a 6-6 tie to a 12-6 lead. But Showalter brought Wilson back to Baltimore for a reason and it wasn't to go up against some other team's right handed hitter in a key situation. Wilson was in Baltimore to pitch in situations like the one afforded to him last night. And he was torched.

A 7.17 ERA in 2017 tells most of the story for Ubaldo Jimenez, who once again couldn't hold a lead on Monday night in the O's 14-7 loss to the Twins at Camden Yards.

I suspect we've seen the last of Ubaldo Jimenez in an Orioles uniform. As if the O's needed any more evidence that Jimenez can't be trusted, last night was the final straw. It should be, that's for sure.

No general manager likes to go to the owner and say, "We need to cut loose one of our $13 million employees and pay him about $9 million for doing nothing over the next four months" but that's what Dan Duquette should be doing sometime today.

If Duquette is the only one still clinging to Jimenez, it's time to start questioning the GM's acumen and decision making. Staked to a 5-0 lead last night, Jimenez couldn't even keep that advantage intact.

"They just came out swinging," Jimenez said afterwards. "It was one of those nights where everything you threw, they just found a way to put a good at-bat on it and find a hole." I'm not sure if Ubaldo knows this, but he could cut and paste that statement and use it just about every single time he starts.

It's time to bid farewell to Jimenez. I know the O's like him and he's a popular guy in the clubhouse and all, but this isn't the CYO where all the kids get to play and everyone gets a snowball after the game. If the Orioles aren't willing to part ways with him, they deserve to lose.

Chris Davis is now for 1-for-17 on the homestand and has struck out 10 times in those four games. Last night -- albeit with the game completely out of hand -- he was given the ultimate kick to the jewels when Buck sent Caleb Joseph in to pinch hit for the first baseman in the bottom of the 9th. Joseph then knocked in the team's 7th run, which, I think we all know, is more than Davis would have done in that at-bat.

I saw a note from our resident baseball statistical guru, Brien Jackson, who mentioned in yesterday's comments section that this, so far, is Davis' most well rounded offensive season. Maybe he means Khris Davis of the Oakland A's, who has 13 HR and 25 RBI thus far. All our Chris Davis does is strike out or hit a home run. And the strikeouts (64) far, far outnumber the homers (9).

$23 million for this kind of performance at the plate? He should be wearing a bandit's mask.

Getting pinch hit for is one thing. But when the skipper thinks Caleb Joseph is a better bet than you at the plate, it's time for some soul-searching. That would be like Charlie Brown coming in for a late game field goal ahead of you.

Let's hope Davis ate some bad food before the game and had a stomach ache in the 9th inning.

Last night, though, wasn't about Chris Davis stinking it up (again) or the Orioles offense failing to finish off a struggling Kyle Gibson, the Minnesota pitcher who was called up from Triple A to make last night's start.

Monday night was about Ubaldo Jimenez failing to do anything with a 5-0 lead, Tyler Wilson getting lit up, and the Orioles starting to look like a team that might not be able to stay afloat much longer with this group of pitchers.

Yep, they're still in second place.

Indeed, they're 25-18 and it's not time to panic.

But game after game now, the O's pitching staff can't stand prosperity. Whether it's a starter who can't hold a 3-0, 5-0 or 7-1 lead, or a bullpen that bottoms out in the late innings, the Birds are a disaster-waiting-to-happen on the mound these days.

I realize one game does not a season make, but this all seemed to go south in the wake of that embarrassing 14-11 loss in New York back on April 28, when the O's had a late 11-4 lead and couldn't hang on to win. Something happened that night and the O's pitching staff hasn't recovered from it.

That loss dropped the Birds to 14-7 and here they are, now, still seven games above .500 at 25-18. But this is not the same team -- or close to the same pitching staff -- that we saw at Yankee Stadium in the opener of that series.

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the "ultimate winners" field is here


It's time to get moving with our "Ultimate Winners" bracket challenge, where #DMD readers are going to wittle through a field of 16 "winners" of the last 25 years until we eventually decide who is the greatest "winner" in sports since 1992.

Remember, in order to make the field, you have to have played on a championship team or won an individual title in a sport such as golf, tennis, auto racing, swimming, etc.

Tiger Woods is the #1 seed in the #DMD "Ultimate Winners" bracket challenge.

Last week, the four #1 seeds were revealed here at #DMD. I gave those four names to a small panel of sports folks in town and asked for their input and here's who they came up with. I recused myself from the voting, making it completely fair in terms of seeding.

The overall #1 seed is Tiger Woods, who captured 79 career PGA Tour events and 14 major championships from 1996 through 2017.

Michael Jordan is the #2 seed, with 6 NBA titles to his credit.

Michael Phelps is the #3 seed, 23 Olympic gold medals doing the trick for Phelps.

And Serena Williams is the #4 seed, with her 23 major tennis titles earning her a spot in the top four.

Side note here: If I had a vote, Jordan would have been #1, Woods #2, Serena #3 and Phelps #4. Honestly, I would have had Tom Brady at #4 and Phelps wouldn't have made my top four -- but I left it up to #DMD readers to form the final four.

The remainder of the field was also cultivated through discussion with those who helped rank the top four seeds. I didn't give them any special instructions, other than I didn't want to see David Ortiz or anyone who ever won a title for the Flyers in the field of 16. As you'll see below, they followed my instructions.

On second thought, no one from the Flyers would have qualified. They haven't won jack squat since 1992. Losers...every single one of them.

Ortiz, by the way, might actually be "a winner". But I know how easily we get off topic in the Comments section and I decided to leave him off the ballot for group-sanity sake.

Listed below are the remaining 12 "winners" in the bracket.

They are --

Tom Brady

Peyton Manning

LeBron James

Kobe Bryant

Jimmie Johnson

Roger Clemens

Phil Mickelson

Derek Jeter

Sidney Crosby

Lance Armstrong

Roger Federer

Annika Sorenstam

Yes, the list doesn't include Lionel Messi or any other international soccer star. I made a corporate decision that only players/athletes who performed their craft in the U.S. or were born in the U.S. and competed "internationally" (Armstrong, for example) would be eligible. That's why Sorenstam (93 wins on the LPGA Tour, 80% of them coming in the U.S.) and Federer made the list, for example, and Messi didn't.

So there are your 16 participants in the bracket challenge.

You'll see voting polls up throughout the remainder of this week here at #DMD as we kick-off the challenge with first round action.

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calvert hall and mconogh to meet in miaa lax final


While waiting to depart for Homewood Field on Monday evening for a date with arch-rival Loyola Blakefield in the MIAA A Conference lacrosse semifinals, the top-ranked Calvert Hall Cardinals found themselves stranded as the bus scheduled to transport them was a no show.

The mix-up sent Cardinals coach Bryan Kelly and his staff scrambling to commandeer several of the school’s mini-buses to get the squad to the Johns Hopkins campus on time.

Despite their late arrival, the Cardinals (15-2) got off to a fast start against the Dons (8-8), racing to a 7-1 first quarter lead and nailing down their spot in Thursday’s championship game with a 12-8 victory.

Calvert Hall will face McDonogh in the title game, as the Eagles held off a spirited rally from Boys' Latin on Monday, winning 11-8.

For Calvert Hall, the pre-game travel snafu didn't seem to faze them.

Area high school lacrosse powers Calvert Hall and McDonogh will face off for the MIAA A-Conference title this Thursday night at Homewood Field.

“I’m just glad we got here. We didn’t have a bus,” Kelly quipped. “The bus company got mixed up, so we got five mini-buses and had the coaches driving.”

In the opening seconds of the game both teams had a quality shot saved by the opposing goalkeeper, but Calvert Hall broke the ice shortly thereafter and then turned on the gas.

Senior PJ Peters got free in space in the middle of the field and slipped the ball out to the left to a streaking JT Bugliosi, who buried an over-head blast to put the Cardinals up, 1-0, with 9:34 to play in the opening quarter. The second Calvert Hall goal did not take nearly as long to produce.

Senior Michael Autry won the ensuing draw and roared to the net, scoring unassisted, just six seconds removed from Bugliosi’s strike and the Cardinals led, 2-0.

Loyola countered with a score from junior Liam Bateman, who converted a feed from freshman Jack Koras, at 8 minutes, 36 seconds, cutting the Dons’ deficit to one, temporarily.

Following the Bateman goal, Calvert Hall reeled off five consecutive unassisted goals to close out the first quarter. In the run, Bugliosi scored twice to complete an opening quarter hat-trick. Junior Jacob Kelly also scored twice and junior Zach Green scored once, as the Cardinals built a commanding 7-1 lead.

“We knew we had to come out and get on them quick, just like we did Tuesday and we got a pretty good lead on them,” said Bugliosi, who's headed to national Division I semifinalist Ohio State University.

Brendan Curry continued the burst, with an unassisted tally at the 11:18 mark of the second quarter, and Calvert Hall had scored six goals in a span of 7 minutes and 9 seconds, to lead 8-1.

Alex Reid finally got Loyola back on the board at the 3:33 mark with an unassisted tally, but Green scored his second for Calvert Hall, with an assist from Cole Herbert, with 2:52 remaining in the half and Calvert Hall took a 9-2 lead into the intermission.

Despite the big halftime lead, Kelly warned his team the Dons would make a run, just as they did in the regular season finale between the two teams last Tuesday.

“I told them at halftime, we have to weather the storm,” said Kelly. “Loyola is going to come out and give us everything that they have. I thought our kids weathered it well and kept their composure, better than we did on Tuesday.”

Loyola coach Ben Rubeor feared a slow start by his squad, an unwanted trademark the Dons have carried this season.

“I thought we did need to start faster. That’s the second game in a row against them we went down four goals early,” said Rubeor. “They are a really good team, very athletic, and we knew we were going to have some match-up problems. I give a lot of credit to them for making some plays."

Green, a bit of an unsung hero for the Cardinals, completed a hat-trick early in the final quarter, before the Dons battled back to within four down the stretch.

Kelly praised Green for his often unheralded work in the offense.

“We stress the hockey assist (the pass before the assist),” said Kelly. “We keep hockey assist stats and Green may not be in the paper much for goals and assists, but he’s done a great job of getting hockey assists for us.”

For his part, Green is thrilled to contribute and have an opportunity to play for a championship.

“I’m really excited,” said Green. “During my time at Calvert Hall, I’ve never been to a championship game and I’m just really excited to get out there.”

Loyola senior Phil Wies, who will play for national Division I semifinalist Towson University next spring, closed his high school career with a flurry, netting a fourth quarter hat-trick, with Bateman assisting on two of them, and Alex Reid also scored for the Dons. Calvert Hall also got a fourth quarter goal from Jacob Kelly, as he became the third Cardinal with a hat-trick in the contest.

Calvert Hall and McDonogh will meet at Homewood Field at 7:30 pm this Thursday night for the conference championship.

This contribution was provided by Varsity Sports Network, the area's leader in high school athletics coverage. For full coverage on all Maryland spring sport championships and playoffs, please visit www.varsitysportsnetwork.com

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join #dmd for the "nashville cup" in november


If you're a golfer and you'd like to participate in a meaningful three-day golf event that concludes with a Ravens road game, #DMD has the perfect opportunity for you.

Best of all, you get to bring a guest along to play with you. It's #DMD's "Nashville Cup", taking place November 1-5 in Nashville, Tennessee.

You and a golfing friend might be coming home from Nashville with this beautiful trophy if you can beat the field in a 3-day event centered around the Ravens-Titans game in November.

We'll play three days of golf down there at a stay-and-play Nashville resort, with a total of eight, two-man teams competing in a match-play, "member-guest" format. You'll need legitimate, USGA handicaps for you and your partner, as this will be a "net" event.

Our travel itinerary is set: Our group will depart on Wednesday evening, November 1 from BWI. We'll play golf Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, we have 16 tickets together for the Ravens-Titans game at 12 noon (central). And we head back to Baltimore early Sunday evening after the Ravens beat up on Marcus Mariota and the Titans.

Everything is included in the package: Airfare, four nights lodging at a cottage right on the property of the golf course where we'll be playing, ground transportation, golf fees and the Ravens-Titans game ticket.

This is identical in nature to the Ravens-Cardinals trip in Arizona that we put together a couple of years ago and the 16 guys who went on the trip had a complete blast.

The price is $1,245 a player. Remember, you MUST sign-up as a two-man team, as this competition over three days will be team-based, not individually scored. A $445 per-person deposit will reserve your space, with the remainder of the money not due until September 15, 2017.

#DMD will cover the whole thing from Nashville as well, so you'll be putting your golfing prowess out there for everyone to see!

We have room for eight teams. Three are already claimed, leaving us with five openings.

If you and your playing partner are interested in playing in our "Nashville Cup", please e-mail me directly: drew@drewsmorningdish.com


who wants the last two seats on our orioles trip to new york on june 11?


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! Note: We are down to our last two seats on this trip.

#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 22
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 22
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o's mvp thus far is an easy call


FACT: Dallas Keuchel is the only seven game winner in the American League thus far in 2017. And he leads all starters in the major leagues with a 1.84 ERA. There's still three-quarters of the season remaining, remember, and Keuchel is currently on the disabled list with what appears to be a very minor ailment (missing just one start, most likely), but when you go through 25% of the season in the American League with a sub-2.00 ERA, that's something to brag about.

OPINION: The funny part? Keuchel isn't the best left-handed starter in the American League. That honor goes to Boston's Chris Sale, who tied a modern record on Friday night by compiling ten or more strikeouts in his eighth consecutive start. Sale has 95 strikeouts in nine starts. Next closest? Chris Archer of Tampa Bay with 77 -- in 10 starts. Keuchel's having a great season, but Sale's a great pitcher.

FACT: The Cleveland Cavaliers dismantling of the Boston Celtics was put on hold last night with their Game 3 home loss in the Eastern Conference Finals. Cleveland had played 11 post-season games without a loss this spring before squandering a 21-point lead last night.

OPINION: Nothing is more dreary than a lopsided playoff series, and both Golden State and Cleveland have given new meaning to "lopsided" with their respective performances in the 2017 NBA playoffs. But when they meet in the Finals, it will truly be worth following and watching. Golden State won in 2015, Cleveland came back from 3-1 down last season to win, and now we're on the verge of the third meeting between the two. Some folks want parity, but I'll take these two monsters going up against one another again. It will be great theater.

FACT: Towson's men's lacrosse team is headed back to the NCAA Final Four for the first time in 16 years after yesterday's 10-7 win over Syracuse at Delaware. The Tigers will take on Ohio State next Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

OPINION: The Tigers have a great chance to beat the Buckeyes next Saturday and advance to Monday's championship game against the Maryland-Denver winner. While Towson's regular season wasn't nearly as good as the campaign Loyola had when they won the title in 2012, there are similarities in both style and their "under the radar screen" movement through the tournament field. Towson's success, though, might cost the school its lacrosse coach. The next high-profile job to open up will almost certainly be offered to TU's Shawn Nadelen.

Adam Jones has been the Orioles best all around player thus far in 2017.

FACT: The Orioles are now past the quarter-mark in the season (see the report card below), sitting in second place in the A.L. East at 25-17 on the year, and a very impressive 15-4 at home.

OPINION: Through 42 games to date, there's no doubt who the team's MVP is: It's Adam Jones. He's striding along almost on cue offensively, hitting .276, with 7 home runs and 18 RBI. His defense remains as solid as any centerfielder in the game and his leadership in the clubhouse is perhaps his strongest attribute. If Jones gets hurt tonight and can't play for 30 games, the Birds would be in a huge hole. Joey Rickard would run around out there in centerfield and catch some balls hit his way and even contribute a meaningful hit or two once a week, but in no way would he be able to replace Jones and what he does for the Orioles.

FACT: We have two seats left on our trip to New York on June 11 to see the O's take on the Yankees. For $149, you get round trip bus transportation with no worries about tolls, parking, gas, etc., a terrace level ticket to the game, all the food you can eat during the game and you get to see one of the game's most iconic (new) stadiums.

OPINION: You should buy the last two tickets we have available so I can post the "sold out" sign on this trip and get it off my plate.

FACT: My pre-season prediction of a Houston-L.A. Dodgers World Series is still very much a possibility. Houston (29-15) has the best record in all of baseball and should cruise to the A.L. West title, while the Dodgers are just two games behind Colorado in the N.L. West.

OPINION: The Milwaukee Brewers have to be baseball's most surprising team thus far, as they lead the defending champion Cubs and the rest of the N.L. Central with a 25-19 record. I doubt the Brewers hold over the last 3/4 of the season, but they're clearly an improved club in 2017 and might be a "buyer" at the trade deadline if this success keeps up through July.

FACT: The Pittsburgh Penguins are just one win away from a return to the Stanley Cup Finals after a 7-0 thrashing of Ottawa on Sunday in Pittsburgh.

OPINION: Don't be so quick to think the Penguins are going to waltz to a second consecutive title. If Nashville gets past Anaheim (Predators lead 3-2), they'll be quite a challenge for Sidney Crosby and Company in the Finals. It's such a shame the Caps couldn't man-up and get past Pittsburgh and then Ottawa to set up a series with the Predators. Barry Trotz going up against his old team would have made for some interesting drama.

FACT: Jordan Spieth missed the cut this past weekend at the Byron Nelson Invitational in Dallas, marking just the 17th time in his five "full time" years on TOUR that he's failed to play the weekend. Pretty good, huh? Spieth has played 108 events as a card-carrying professional and made the cut in 91 of them.

OPINION: That's a nice run from Spieth, but someone else was much more efficient at his zenith. Tiger Woods started playing the TOUR full-time in 1997. He played 314 PGA Tour events from 1997 through 2017. Guess how many cuts he missed? Sixteen. Spieth's missed 17 cuts in 108 tournaments; Tiger missed 16 in 314 tournaments. As Joe Pesci said to the judge in My Cousin Vinny, "I'm finished with this guy..."

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most o's get high marks through campaign's first quarter


It's report card time for the Orioles, as the Birds have reached the quarter mark of the 2017 campaign.

We'll handle the field players today and grade the pitchers in tomorrow's edition of #DMD.

Welington Castillo, A -- Has filled in quite nicely for the departed Matt Wieters. Grade admittedly got a boost with his three home runs in the Toronto series, but even before then he was playing well.

Chris Davis, C -- One dimensional offensively for the most part. Such a shame he can't hit for average, because if he could, he'd be one of the best all around players in the A.L. Terribly slow start was saved with a huge series in Detroit.

Jonathan Schoop, A -- Stands to make a lot of money in a few years when he becomes a free agent. Does everything well.

Off to a slow start at the plate, average wise, Manny Machado still leads the team in home runs (10) through the first quarter of the season.

J.J. Hardy, D -- Hardy's lucky the track veterinarian forgot his medicine bag. A woeful .194 average and .237 on-base-percentage tell the story.

Manny Machado, C+ -- Only his home run total (10) is saving him. Hitting .221. $40 million players don't hit .221.

Seth Smith, A -- It would be interesting to see what numbers he would post if he played every day, but for what we've seen, he's been terrific.

Adam Jones, A -- The O's will have quite a decision on their hands after next season when Adam's contract expires.

Trey Mancini, A -- Like Smith, it would be interesting to see what Mancini's numbers would look like if he played every day, but .300/.333/.560 is good enough for now.

Mark Trumbo, B- -- Off to a slow start, but started to pick it up in the last 10 games. Still not getting on base enough (.310), but expect his numbers to improve through June and July.

Hyun Soo Kim, C- -- It's almost unfair to grade this poor guy, as Buck hardly ever plays him anymore. Not sure what he did to earn a spot in the Showalter's doghouse, but he's in there.

Craig Gentry, D -- Could run fast, but that was about it. Currently not on the 25-man roster.

Caleb Joseph, B- -- Let's not get fooled by his uptick in the home run category. His on-base-percentage (.267) is still awful. But when Castillo was out for two weeks, Joseph stepped in and played well in his absence.

Ryan Flaherty, C- -- Like Kim, it's tough to grade a guy who hardly plays. Currently on the disabled list with shoulder tendonitis.

Joey Rickard, C -- What you see is what you get. He's not an everyday player, but when he plays, he gives you a representative effort.

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who wants to join #dmd for the "nashville cup" in november?


If you're a golfer and you'd like to participate in a meaningful three-day golf event that concludes with a Ravens road game, #DMD has the perfect opportunity for you.

Best of all, you get to bring a guest along to play with you. It's #DMD's "Nashville Cup", taking place November 1-5 in Nashville, Tennessee.

You and a golfing friend might be coming home from Nashville with this beautiful trophy if you can beat the field in a 3-day event centered around the Ravens-Titans game in November.

We'll play three days of golf down there at a stay-and-play Nashville resort, with a total of eight, two-man teams competing in a match-play, "member-guest" format. You'll need legitimate, USGA handicaps for you and your partner, as this will be a "net" event.

Our travel itinerary is set: Our group will depart on Wednesday evening, November 1 from BWI. We'll play golf Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, we have 16 tickets together for the Ravens-Titans game at 12 noon (central). And we head back to Baltimore early Sunday evening after the Ravens beat up on Marcus Mariota and the Titans.

Everything is included in the package: Airfare, four nights lodging at a cottage right on the property of the golf course where we'll be playing, ground transportation, golf fees and the Ravens-Titans game ticket.

This is identical in nature to the Ravens-Cardinals trip in Arizona that we put together a couple of years ago and the 16 guys who went on the trip had a complete blast.

The price is $1,245 a player. Remember, you MUST sign-up as a two-man team, as this competition over three days will be team-based, not individually scored. A $445 per-person deposit will reserve your space, with the remainder of the money not due until September 15, 2017.

#DMD will cover the whole thing from Nashville as well, so you'll be putting your golfing prowess out there for everyone to see!

We have room for eight teams. Three are already claimed, leaving us with five openings.

If you and your playing partner are interested in playing in our "Nashville Cup", please e-mail me directly: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

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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!


weekend ncaa lacrosse round-up


As exciting as the 1st round was with close games and upsets, the 2nd round featured mostly dominant performances by the winning teams wire to wire. Good news is there will be two local teams headed to the Final Four who could face each other in the final if they can take care of their business in the semis.

Ohio State 16 - Duke 11

The final score is a bit deceiving as the Buckeye's dominated all phases of the game for 3 quarters, going up by as much as 8 heading into the final quarter. Big senior attackman Eric Fannell was a man among boys, muscling his way to 5 goals and 2 assists for Ohio State. Jake Withers out-dueled Duke's Kyle Rowe at the face-off X, going 17 of 28.

And when Duke had the ball, Ohio State's defense applied non-stop pressure which forced the Blue Devils into low percentage shots that resulted in 14 saves for Buckeye goalie Tom Carey. Jack Bruckner (3g, 1a) and Justin Guterding (2g, 2a) led Dukes offense.


Denver 16 - Notre Dame 4

Tewaarton finalist Trevor Baptiste stole the show winning an astonishing 21 of 22 faceoffs and proving that the best defense can sometimes come from not letting the other team have the ball in the first place. Denver was so dominate that the Irish only took 16 shots the whole game. And when the Pioneers won the ball they were extremely efficient on offense scoring 16 times on just 27 shots.

Denver's potent attack did most of the damage with Connor Cannizzaro (2g, 2a), Austin French (4g, 1a) and Ethan Walker (3g, 3a) leading the way. Notre Dame's Mikey Wynne (St. Pauls) led the Irish 3 goals.


Towson 10 - Syracuse 7

In the "closest" battle of the weekend, the Tigers jumped out to a huge 6-0 1st quarter lead before the Orange knew what hit them. Then Towson pretty much traded goals with Syracuse the rest of the game until later in the 4th quarter when the Orange started on one of their patented comebacks. But the effort was too little, too late. As expected, Towson's midfield defense of Jack Adams, Zach Goodrich and Tyler Mayes came up big holding All-American's Sergio Salcido and Nick Mariano to just 1 goal and 1 assist combined.

The star of the defense was goaltender Matt Hoy, who was on point making 12 saves including some on the door step. On the offensive side, Towson used their usual patient, but efficient, style relying on long possessions to wear down and eventually break opposing defenses. The Tigers were led by seniors Joe Seider, who was a marksman scoring 4 goals, and Ryan Drenner, who dished out 4 assists.


Maryland 18 - Albany 9

What figured to be one of the best games of the weekend, turned out to be another lopsided affair with the Terps looking like men among boys in taking down the Great Danes. Maryland was clearly on a mission as it's defense forced pace of play which forced turnovers and led to early transition goals. Then Tewaarton finalist Matt Rambo took over as he backed down or ran by his defenders scoring goals to help build Maryland's early lead. And when they started to double him, Rambo found open teammates to extend the lead.

Rambo finished with 4 goals and 4 assists to lead the team while Connor Kelly ended up with 5 goals. One of the biggest surprises was backup Terp faceoff specialist Jon Garino who took 12 of 14 faceoffs from Albany's superstar TD Ierlan, who has the 2nd best faceoff percentage in the country. Tewaarton finalist Connor Fields paced the Great Danes with 3 goals and 1 assist including a SportsCenter Top10 goal set up with a behind the back pass fake that had Terp defenders chasing air as he scored with ease.


who wants the last two seats on our orioles trip to new york on june 11?


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! Note: We are down to our last two seats on this trip.

#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 21
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 21
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it's better to win than lose at the track, but which is more memorable?


I scored a nice little victory yesterday at the Preakness.

If you remember back on Thursday here at #DMD, I mentioned my "track-niks" were giving a lot of heat to the #2 horse, Cloud Computing. Their praises eventually led me to putting some money on him yesterday, both on win, place and show wagering and an exacta bet with a couple of others, including Classic Empire.

And when Cloud Computing scooted past Classic Empire in the final 50 yards yesterday, I was a winner. I'm not retiring or anything like that, but if we go out to dinner tonight at the fanciest place in Baltimore, I'd order without worrying about the price. Let's leave it at that.

But I can almost guarantee that ten years from now, the memory of the 2017 Preakness will have faded a bit from my memory, while the 2011 Preakness will still be there, front and center, with the details as clear as if the race had been run the day before.

May 21, 2011...the day I lost $8,000 in almost the identical way I won yesterday. But losing will always be more memorable than winning. I'll take you back through it now, painful as it might be, because you'll likely get a good laugh from it all.

I was still on the radio back in 2011 and dedicated a lot of my morning radio show to the Preakness. We'd have trainers and jockeys on, horse racing experts would call in, and I did my very best to promote the race as much as I could. Tom Chuckas, the former President of the Maryland Jockey Club, was a regular guest on my show.

Animal Kingdom (left), Shackleford (center) and Astrology (right) made for a dramatic finish at the 2011 Preakness -- and a costly one for "some people".

While most of the other morning sports guys couldn't find Pimlico with a GPS system, I would almost go overboard with my Preakness coverage.

So, over the years I made a friend or two within the inner circles of the racing industry. I was also fortunate that a very good friend of mine, Mike Gathagan, was the Communications V.P. for the Jockey Club and ran the entire media operation for the Preakness. Those two facts came into play on May 21, 2011.

For a reason I don't recall, other than curiousity, perhaps, I made a decision a few weeks before the Preakness to spend the entire day at the track.

I called Gathagan on the phone in early May. "Gathy, I want to come out to Pimlico on Preakness Saturday and spend the whole day there," I said. "I mean, I want to get there at 6:00 am and be there from the time the horses wake up until the time the track goes dark."

Gathagan, who had worked for me as my media relations guru in the indoor soccer business, was quick to comply and was excited to have me around. "You won't see much of me that day," he said. "But I'll get you all set up and we'd love to have you here."

So, at 6:00 am or so on Preakness Saturday, I pulled in to Old Hilltop and set up shop.

Earlier that week, my "track-nik" reached out to me with a message about a horse he was watching train during the week. "The best horse out here right now is Shackleford," he said via text.

He followed that text up with a couple of others during the week, always singing the praises of the Dale Romans trained horse. "Shackleford is going to win the race going away," he wrote to me on Friday, the day before the big race.

Around 5 pm on Saturday, I headed to the betting window in the press box at Pimlico. As a side note, how on earth could you be a media member of the horse racing industry and not be completely broke if they have a betting window INSIDE the freakin' press box? I couldn't get over that little detail.

Shackleford was a 12-1 horse when they entered the starting gate around 6:40 pm that day. I put $25 on him "across the board", plus I played a $25 exacta on Shackleford and Astrology, a 15-1 horse ridden by Mike Smith and trained by Steve Asmussen.

I was torn between putting Astrology -- the #1 horse -- in the "place" position or another horse named Dance City, who was ridden by Ramon Dominguez, a former big time winner at Pimlico. I decided Smith was the better bet at the last minute and placed my wager. "And give me a $25 exacta on 5 and 1" I told the nice, older lady who took my money at the window.

I sent my "insider" a text around 6 pm and gave him the details of my wagering. Around 6:30, he sent me a message and said based on the amount of money the $2 exacta would pay on the 5-1 finish I'd stand to win more than $8,000 if those two horses finished the race one-two.

At race time, I walked all the way down to the end of the press box viewing area, which was a small, tight cut-out that put you outside and overlooking the track below. I was stationed about 100 yards away from the finish line, I'd say.

And off they went...

At this point, I'd suggest you watch the video below as I tell the rest of the story. You'll be able to watch the entire race while reading my account of what happened.



#DMD HD-TV


Shackleford jumped in right away and was near the lead with Flash Point, the horse everyone (correctly) assumed would set the early pace.

Astrology settled in nicely around the first turn and I watched from the press box with a lot of enthusiasm.

Animal Kingdom, the Kentucky Derby winner, was hardly mentioned in the first 35 seconds of the race. That's important for a reason...

If you're following the video at this point, you'll see that Shackleford is in complete command of the race almost from the start, as my insider told me he would be, and eventually Astrology moves up to contend.

"Holy crap," I said to myself, "I'm gonna win eight grand if these two friggin' horses hold on here."

As the horses reached the stretch, you'll hear the TV announcer gleefully call out "Shackleford on the outside is the leader and Astrology is coming up the rail!"

With 300 yards left in the race, roughly about how far I can drive a golf ball, Shackleford was a length ahead of Astrology and Animal Kingdom was three lengths or so behind those two.

I nearly peed myself as the horses approached the finish line. "I'm gonna win eight thousand bucks!" I said as they ran the final ten seconds of the race.

My mind quickly started racing to all the things I might do with the eight grand, including a couple of personal gifts. "Gonna go play Pebble Beach, for sure!" I said to myself. "Maybe get a new set of irons, too."

And then -- Animal Kingdom -- as you see in the video -- sprints past Astrology in the final 100 yards of the race to finish second.

It was all kind of a blur right then. "Did that just happen?" I said to no one in particular. "Wait...what the hell just happened down there? Did Astrology not hold on to second?".

The tote board in the infield flashed the results -- 5-11-1. 5-11-1. 5-11-1. Shackleford won, Animal Kingdom was second and Astrology finished third.

Eight grand. Gone.

And not just "gone" because one of the two horses stunk or got a bad trip. No, no, no.

Eight grand was gone because the horse I needed to finish second got passed with about 80 yards left in the race.

I did win a nice little sum on the Shackleford win-place-show wager I made, but it wasn't eight thousand dollars "nice", that's for sure.

But wait -- the story gets much better.

I headed downstairs to be part of the post-race press conference and all the associated things that go on with the Preakness. Despite my heartbreak, I had pledged to stay at the track for the entire day and I made good on that promise.

Finally, around 7:45 or so, I gathered up my stuff, bid farewell to my buddy Mike Gathagan, and headed for home.

As I made a right turn out of the Pimlico parking lot and merged on to Northern Parkway, traffic was still congested, moving at a snail's pace.

I got in the right lane and nudged along slowly.

Suddenly, to my left, a black limousine inched up and was side-by-side with me. Like you, I guess, I often see a limousine and wonder "who's in there?" There's always a bit of a fascination with the possibilities of who could be behind those tinted windows.

I inched along for 50 yards or so, starting, stopping, and the limousine countered my pace. I looked to my left and noticed the right passenger window coming down.

In a matter of seconds, Mike Smith, the jockey of Astrology, blew cigarette smoke out of the open window. Mike-freakin'-Smith, the guy who couldn't keep Astrology in second place FOR THE LAST 100 YARDS OF THE RACE!

I was 15 feet away from Mike Smith. He looked like he didn't have a care in the world as he sat there, freshly showered, smoking, probably headed to The Prime Rib or Petit Louis for a nice, post-race dinner. He had, after all, earned Astrology's owner $110,000 with that third place finish in the race. I'm sure Smith wasn't buying his own dinner that night.

Meanwhile, the guy to his right lost $8,000.

Well, I didn't really lose eight grand. I never had it to begin with, actually.

But with 200 yards left in the Preakness, I had it. Right there, in my hands. It was a done deal.

It was a done deal right up until I heard "...and here comes Animal Kingdom down the center of the track!"

And then, directly beneath me, almost, Animal Kingdom nosed past Astrology and took my eight grand away.

Yesterday's nice payday with Cloud Computing was appreciated, naturally, but it doesn't come close to wiping away that memory of the 2011 Preakness. Nothing, I suppose, ever will.

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castillo does it again as birds beat toronto

It's too bad the Orioles didn't have Welington Castillo last October. That wild card playoff loss to Toronto might have concluded with a different outcome.

The Birds have apparently found their Blue Jays-killer.

Still struggling to put together a stellar start, Kevin Gausman went six innings last night but allowed eleven Toronto base runners in Baltimore's 7-5 win at Camden Yards.

Friday night, Castillo hit a pair of two-run homers, including the game-winning blast in the bottom of the tenth inning.

Last night before a sold out crowd at Camden Yards, the catcher did it again, although this time not in walk-off fashion, as his 3-run round-tripper in the bottom of the seventh gave the O's a 7-5 victory and, with New York's loss in Kansas City, pushed the Birds a half-game ahead in the American League East.

We'll do first-quarter-of-the-season report cards here at #DMD tomorrow, but I'll give you one early grade: Castillo will be getting an "A".

He's now hitting .364 on the season, with a .391 on-base-percentage. What was the name of that guy that used to catch for the Orioles? The fan favorite. Matt something-or-other?

Castillo's home run saved the Orioles from the ultimate indignity; having a 3-run home run from Jose Bautista beat you.

Bautista smashed a homer off of Mychal Givens in the top of the 7th that sent the Blue Jays from a 4-2 deficit to a 5-4 lead. Because baseball is weird, Givens went from goat-to-hero in the bottom of the winning when Castillo homered, making Givens the "winner" for a second straight night.

Kevin Gausman again had a scratchy start, going six innings and putting 11 men on base, as Toronto belted ten hits off of him, including Justin Smoak's sixth inning home run.

It's tough to be a good major league starter when you put 11 guys on base in six innings.

Darren O'Day (8th) and Brad Brach (9th) were perfect in their respective efforts, each recording a strike-out and allowing no one to reach base.

In this afternoon's series finale, Marco Estrada starts for Toronto and Wade Miley goes for the Birds.

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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!


towson looking to upset syracuse today in ncaa lacrosse tournament

With Towson the only remaining Baltimore school alive in the NCAA tournament, all lacrosse eyes in the area will be on Shawn Nadelen's Tigers today, as they look to pull off the upset over #2 Syracuse in Newark, Delaware. And the Terps then play the second game of the day at Delaware, giving those in attendance the opportunity to see both of the state's schools in back-to-games.

Here's a preview of what to expect this afternoon:

Syracuse (#2) vs Towson (#12) - 12:00pm @ U of Delaware, ESPN2

Why the Orange will win:

Towson needs a big day from Ryan Drenner (27 goals) this afternoon when the Tigers face the nation's #2 team in the quarterfinals of the NCAA lacrosse tournament.

Syracuse offense has 5 starters with over 30 points each including All American midfielders Sergio Salcido (17g, 33a) and Nick Mariano (34g, 15a). Offense scores 12.4 goals a game and knows how to share the rock as they average 8.3 assists per game. All-American defender Scott Firman will bounce back after getting toasted by Yale's Ben Reeves last week, taking his anger out on Towson's Ryan Drenner.

This team is very comfortable in the spotlight and loves to grind out 1-goal wins, just notching their 9th one last week against Yale. Tigers stud faceoff specialist Alex Woodall left last week's contest early due to a leg injury and did not return. So Ben Williams of Syracuse, a face-off stud in his own right, could be giving a potent offense a lot more possessions.

Why the Tigers will win:

One of the best defenses in the land (allowing only 7.5 goals per game) led by arguably the best midfield defense in the land in Jack Adams (Hereford), Zach Goodrich (Kent Island, and CAA DOY Tyler Mayes (Calvert Hall) could very well negate Syracuse's potent midfield. Towson's senior class including offensive leaders Ryan Drenner (27g, 24a), Joe Seider (28g,10a) and Mike Lynch (19g, 6a) intent on getting Towson back to Final Four after 20+ years.

Syracuse goalie Evan Malloy plays big at home, but has trouble on the road, saving only 44.0% in the 6 away games after April 1st. Take away non-tournament opponents Hobart and Colgate, and his save percentage drops to 37.5% (UNC twice, ND, and Duke).

Prediction: Syracuse 10 - Towson 9

Note: I can see this game going either way and could get to overtime. Just not sure if Alex Woodall will be 100% healthy and Syracuse just knows how to win these close ones.


Maryland (#1) vs Albany (#6) - 2:30pm @ U of Delaware, ESPN2

Why the Terps will win:

Matt Rambo and the Maryland offense will go head-to-head today with one of the nation's stingiest defensive squads, as the Terps face off against Albany in Newark, Delaware.

As NCAA finalist the past 2 years, the Terps haven't lost very much in the lineup. And who they have lost, they've replaced. Led by Tewaarton finalist Matt Rambo (36g 38a) and midfielder Connor Kelly (37g, 11a), the Terps have 6 starters on offense that can beat you. Just as last year, pick your poison. In their first meeting, Maryland had an answer for Albany faceoff sensation TD Erlan (covered more below) in Jon Garino who faired pretty well going 9 of 20.

Is Albany ready for the spotlight? During the regular season, Albany faced just 3 tournament qualifiers going 1-2, including a home loss to the Terps a month ago. And against North Carolina last week, after jumping out to an 11 goal lead at half, the Great Danes were outscored 9-1 in the second half, just barely hanging on to survive.

Albany and Maryland both only allow 9.0 goals per game on average. But Albany has done that against much weaker competition than the B1G, who have had 5 out of 6 teams logging time in the top 10 this year.

Why the Great Danes will win:

Albany has the best offenses in the country (15.8 goals per game), led by probable Tewaarton winner, Connor Fields (52g, 61a) just continues to produce even when he's the primary focus of opposing defenses. He recorded 3 goals and 5 assists in the first game against the Terps. TD Erlan is the next king of the faceoff (72.5%) after Denver's Baptiste graduates this year. He should win a comfortable majority of possessions for Albany.

Great Dane goalie JD Colarusso, who has a season save average of 55.1%, had a statistically bad game against the Terps in their first meeting, only saving 8 of 20 shots on cage (40%). Chances are he's going to make up for that previous performance this weekend.

Prediction: Maryland 13 - Albany 12

Note: In a game that should be played in the Final Four, I give the edge to the Terps who've played more big games against better opponents than the Great Danes. However, wouldn't be surprised if Albany breaks through this game to advance to their first Final Four.

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who wants the last two seats on our orioles trip to new york on june 11?


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! Note: We are down to our last two seats on this trip.

#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 20
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 20
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


1,000 days in a row is worth noting


There are always going to be certain days that stand out among others for me. And I'm not talking about birthdays, anniversaries, etc. of those folks who are in your life. Those are easy to remember. Those, you should and better remember.

I'm just talking about days that come along that have some sort of personal or historical importance to you. Jim Morrison was born on December 8, 1943. Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys passed away on May 4, 2012. I remember those, easily.

The date of June 4, 1988 is always indelibly etched in my brain. On that date, I broke par for the first time in my life, shooting 69 at Fort Meade Golf Course (the Applewood course, for those who remember there were two 18 hole courses on the property, Applewood and Parks).

August 25, 2014 will always be important to me. That's the start-up date for this project, Drew's Morning Dish. And we haven't missed a day of publication since.

I honestly haven't been following the consecutive days count. Credit there goes to my buddy George McDowell, who sent me an e-mail last week and reminded me that May 20, 2017 would mark the 1,000th consecutive day of publishing for #DMD.

"That's worth noting," I said to myself as I read the e-mail. Then, I forgot about it, completely, until last night while I was watching LeBron James and the Cavaliers manhandle the Boston Celtics in Game 2 of their NBA Eastern Conference playoff series.

And so, here we are.

1,000 consecutive days of publishing something new, fresh and, hopefully, worth reading. Every day since August 25, 2014, we've been here.

If you go 3-for-10 as a baseball hitter and you can do that throughout your entire career, you're a likely Hall of Fame player. In other words, you can make 7 outs every 10 times you get to the plate and that's in no way considered "failure".

If we hit .300 at #DMD, there wouldn't be much to brag about today.

I don't know exactly what we're "hitting" here, per se, but we've published 1,000 straight days and that IS worth bragging about, I believe.

You can be judge of the content, the writers, the "experience" of visiting here every day, just like I judge the websites I visit on a daily basis. I go to the Golf Channel and GolfWeek websites every day, religiously almost. If I didn't like what they wrote, I wouldn't be there.

I guess it's fair to surmise that if you didn't like #DMD you wouldn't be here reading it, but I try not to worry myself with that sort of stuff.

We publish the content every day and hope you find something worth reading and, almost as importantly, something worth taking with you to the water cooler for discussion with your friends, co-workers, family members, etc.

A friend of mine reached out to me via Facebook on Thursday morning to comment about the piece I wrote regarding Calvert Hall's loss to Loyola in the varsity golf playoffs on Wednesday. He made specific reference to the part of the story where I mentioned that my #5 player at Calvert Hall, striving only to record a half-point on the "back six" of Wednesday's match, studied a 6-foot putt on the last hole as if he was trying to win The Masters.

"I read that part of your article to my son," my friend said. "I wanted him to hear about the last putt for your player who was still grinding it out and still trying to perform at his best even though the match was over and all that was left for him was just one final putt."

That made the whole thing worth writing. I wasn't particularly proud about losing 19-2 on Wednesday, but there was no sense in ducking it and NOT writing about it on Thursday morning. I could only hope somehow, someone would read the piece and learn something from it.

That Facebook note made my day. Someone learned something or, at the very least, passed along some potentially helpful information to their golf-playing son.

My hope is that occasionally you find something here at #DMD that fits the same criteria for you. It doesn't have to be every day, obviously, but if once in a while you come upon some content here that is helpful to you, your son, your daughter or a friend, we've done our job.

If we haven't done that yet for, maybe we will over the next 1,000 days.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed content for us since August 25, 2014. Thanks to all of you have visited and read the website and thanks to all of you who have patronized our marketing partners and advertisers.

And, most of all, thanks to all of our marketing partners, past and present, who have made #DMD a possibility. Without their support, #DMD wouldn't exist.

Thank you -- to all of you who have helped me make Drew's Morning Dish successful.

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this, that and the other


Today's 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes will once again be met with lots of interest, fanfare and, as always, a discussion about whether or not the race is nearing the end of its lifespan at Old Hilltop.

I'm sure the powers-that-be associated with the Maryland Jockey Club would love to shift the race 30 miles down the road to Laurel Park. But if the Baltimore political higher-ups ever allow that to happen, they should all immediately be fired. Every single one of them.

If they can still play baseball at Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, they can still run a horse race at Pimlico.

I like Classic Empire in today's race, with Always Dreaming right there at the end. Lookin at Lee is worth looking at too, pun intended.

I haven't been to the Preakness since 2011 when jockey Mike Smith (on board "Astrology") cost me about $8,000 because he forgot how to ride his horse in the final quarter mile of the race. I'm saving that story for tomorrow's edition of #DMD, but you'll want to come back for that one.

It's a good, funny story -- except to the guy who lost the $8,000.

The Orioles needed a win last night and since no one else on the team could do anything offensively, Welington Castillo and Mark Trumbo took over and got it done themselves.

Castillo hit a pair of two-run homers, both with Trumbo on base, including the game-winning knock in the bottom of the 10th, as the Birds beat the Blue Jays, 5-3, on Friday night at Camden Yards.

Toronto's awful bullpen actually performed well last night until Jason Grilli gave up the Castillo homer in the 10th.

Two home runs from Welington Castillo pushed the Birds to a 5-3 win over Toronto last night at Camden Yards, just the second win for the O's in their last eight games.

The O's bullpen was superb after Chris Tillman worked six solid innings, striking out four and allowing just five hits in his third start of the season.

It all came down to Castillo and Trumbo, both going 3-for-5 on the night and combining for six of Baltimore's nine total hits. Interestingly, the Birds' top four hitters (Schoop, Jones, Machado, Davis) went 0-for-18 in the game and the O's somehow still won.

Chris Davis earned the Golden Sombrero with four strike outs on the night. It's always feast or famine with Davis. He's either going 2-for-4 with a home run, a RBI single and a walk, or he's striking out multiple times and contributing nothing with the bat. In Detroit, he feasted. Last night, it was famine.

Manny Machado went 0-for-4 last night and is now hitting .218 on the season. He's one hot homestand away from hitting .260, so his batting average at this point isn't a major concern, but we're now a quarter of the way through the season and Manny has the second lowest batting average among all Oriole starters.

Have no fear, though, because Castillo and Trumbo came through when it mattered most on Friday night, pushing the Birds to 24-16 on the season and moving them within a half-game of the Yankees in the A.L. East, as New York lost in Tampa Bay, 5-4.

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers have now played 10 playoff games in this spring's NBA post-season and they have not yet lost a game. Not one. Last night in Boston, Cleveland absolutely embarrassed the Celtics, leading 72-31 at the half and cruising from there to a 130-86 win in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Finals.

That wasn't a typo above. It really was 72-31 at the half. Cleveland led by 41 points after 24 minutes of basketball.

And Boston's supposed to be good, remember. Really good, in fact. They wound up as the East's #1 seed, mostly because Cleveland didn't really care that much at the end of the season about where they finished in the standings.

Snubbed as a finalist for the MVP award earlier in the day, LeBron took it out on the Celtics Friday night in Boston.

LeBron finished the game with 30 points, but his play in the first half single-handedly dismantled the Celtics. James still has a long way to go to eclipse the greatness of Michael Jordan, but he's definitely stepping in MJ's footsteps now. James is the best basketball player alive today, there's no doubt about it.

It's a shame the Wizards didn't get past Boston in the previous round, won in seven games by the Celtics. I don't think Washington would have won a series with the Cavaliers, but I also don't think they would have lost by 46 points at home to LeBron and his cast, either.

The Wizards would have been much more competitive against Cleveland than Boston, in my opinion.

If you're a fan of the NBA -- and sports in general -- a Golden State-Cleveland rematch in the championship series would be must-see TV. It's looking that way right now, but the Warriors still have to get past San Antonio, which won't be quite as easy as Cleveland has it with Boston in their series.

It took a late rally for Coach Lou Eckerl and his Cardinals, but top-ranked Calvert Hall scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, Friday, erasing a 3-2 deficit and going on to defeat second-ranked Archbishop Spalding, 7-5, in the MIAA A Conference Baseball Tournament.

The win advances the Cardinals (26-3) into the MIAA finals where they will have to defeat arch-rival Loyola twice to win the title. The loss ends Spading’s run of consecutive league championships at three.

Calvert Hall took an early 1-0 lead on a solo home run by JP Murphy in the bottom of the first inning, but Spalding responded with three runs in the top of the second. Alex Green doubled in the first run for the Cavaliers, the second one scored on an error and Green scored the third when Matt Palumbo drew a bases loaded walk.

Calvert Hall moved within one run of the lead, in the fourth, when Gabe Nieto hit a leadoff double, moved to third on a fielder’s choice and scored on a squeeze bunt by AC Chavis.

In the sixth, Nieto again ignited the rally with a single and, later, Jose Torres pushed the Cardinals in front with a two-run double. Murphy followed the double with a walk and catcher Garrett Matheny crushed a three-run home run.

Loyola, which pushed both Calvert Hall and Spalding into the elimination bracket, will be well rested for Sunday’s battle at Harford Community College (4:00 p.m.). Calvert Hall needs to win on Sunday to force a decisive “if game” on Monday. Loyola can win its first championship since 1946 with just one win.

To follow Sunday's baseball action and all of the other spring sports in area high school athletics, visit www.varsitysportsnetwork.com.

KELLY banner ad

who wants the last two seats on our orioles trip to new york on june 11?


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! Note: We are down to our last two seats on this trip.

#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.

Hughes Mechanical
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Friday
May 19
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 19
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


rock-n-roll loses one of its best ever


It takes a significant non-sports story to move me to dedicate this space to anything except something involving a ball, stick, puck, club, etc.

Chris Cornell’s death gets the lede here at #DMD today.

I’m beyond stunned. And so saddened. Cornell’s powerful voice – both in texture and meaning – was touched by God the same way Jordan, Woods, Brady and countless other superstar athletes were born with that little something extra.

That the 52-year old singer apparently took his own life late Wednesday night following a show in Detroit makes it all that much more difficult to understand and accept.

How could someone adored and respected by so many people not be fulfilled enough to want to keep living?

Without knowing the details of his death, it’s impossible to know what it was, exactly, that led Cornell to end his life. So, I won’t comment on the speculation that it was depression-related other than to say, “Help is always just a phone call away.”

The music will live on and, sadly, the legacy he established as one of music’s most dynamic voices will be heightened now that he’s gone. It went that way for some of rock-n-roll’s other great singers who left us too soon through their own decision making; Jim Morrison of the Doors, Layne Staley of Alice and Chains and Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots.

All three of the vocalists above were extraordinarily talented, but none could match Chris Cornell. He was the king of the Seattle grunge sound, the gold glove third baseman who made the hard plays look easy, or the major champion golfer who fired 180-yard 7-irons into greens the size of the hood of you car.

Cornell's work as a vocalist went beyond his great contributions to bands like Soundgarden and Audioslave. He was also a master of covering tunes outside of his rock genre, one of which I've highlighted below. Not many rock-n-roll singers could pull off Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing compares 2 u", which was originally written by Prince. Cornell didn't "pull it off". He crushed it.



#DMD HD-TV


But if he was the best Seattle had to offer, what was so empty inside of him that he needed take his own life? I don’t understand it.

Someone a long time ago said something to me about human conflict, stress and strife. “Knock on any door in your neighborhood,” he said. “Behind that door, there’s an issue, past or present, that caused heartache. But you can’t see it from the outside. You have to get inside to learn about it.”

There was something behind Chris Cornell’s front door, evidently. Maybe those close to him had an inkling but either couldn’t help with it or tried to help him and were unsuccessful in those efforts.

Or maybe the Soundgarden singer didn’t want anyone to know. Perhaps no one knew he was a bothered soul.

We know now. But it’s too late.

And the music industry will move forward, like it always does in times like these, but Cornell's death creates a hole that can't be immediately understood or repaired.

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baseball, preakness and our "ultimate winners" top four seeds

There's no need to re-hash that Orioles loss in Detroit on Thursday. Same day, different cast of characters. This time it was Dylan Bundy who couldn't stand prosperity, as the Birds staked him to a 3-0 lead and he couldn't navigate his way home from there.

The O's went on to lose 6-5 on Thursday to finish their 7-game road trip (one game in D.C. was rained out) at 1-6.

But the O's lousy road trip and Thursday's loss wasn't the big story in Major League Baseball.

Another idiot pitcher threw at a batter yesterday because he "flipped his bat" after a home run on Wednesday night -- with his team trailing by five runs.

Jose Bautista was hitting under .200 for most of the spring and no one seemed to care about him. But when he hits a home run and is happy about it, someone throws a baseball at him the next day.

The victim? None other than Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays, who smashed a home run on Wednesday night in Atlanta and tossed his bat high in the air at home plate as the ball sailed out of the park.

As Bautista rounded first base, he was shouted down by some clown from the Braves. When he got to home plate, the catcher mouthed off as well. These are (supposedly) grown men we're talking about here, let me remind you.

And then, right on cue like the sun setting in the West, Atlanta pitcher Julio Teheran plunked Bautista with a pitch in the first inning of last night's game in Atlanta.

The Atlanta relief pitcher who got nicked for the home run and bat toss on Wednesday night specifically mentioned the 5-run deficit as a reason for Bautista being out of line. Wait a sec -- if Toronto was AHEAD by five runs would it then be OK to flip his bat in the air?

We all know the answer to that. It wouldn't be cool in the least. "They're up by five runs and that guy is flipping his bat like that?" You can hear the pitcher whining now, can't you?

Baseball players are always one dumb thing away from losing their minds. It's hilarious how fragile they've become.

It never ceases to amaze me. Pitchers are allowed to pump their fists after a strikeout. Players can high five one another and dance around like Kevin Bacon in Footloose in the dugout AFTER a home run and Manny Machado and Yasiel Puig can take half-an-hour to round the bases after a round tripper -- and that's apparently acceptable. But hit a home run and flip the bat -- and you get thrown at the next day.

What is it about bat flipping that enrages pitchers so much?

These guys behave worse than 8-year old kids who aren't allowed to have marshmallow on their snowball. They're clowns.

Tomorrow's 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes is setting up to be a pretty competitive race, I believe.

Everyone is plunking down money on the Derby winner, Always Dreaming, but I'm going to stick with what I said immediately after the race two weeks ago when I saw the trip Classic Empire got at Churchill Downs.

The best horse didn't win at the Derby. The horse that got the best trip won the race.

Classic Empire will greatly benefit -- as will everyone else, admittedly -- from the smaller, 10-horse field tomorrow at Pimlico. And he'll be in the lead at the finish line tomorrow.

I think Always Dreaming is a good horse who will hit the board. I like Lookin at Lee, the 2nd place finisher at the Derby, and my track-niks tell me Cloud Computing is getting some "inside heat" as a horse to watch on Saturday.

If you're someone who values the jockey in the Triple Crown Series, Cloud Computing has Javier Castellano in the irons and he's one of the best in the game. The others in the field aren't chopped liver, of course. But the jockey does matter, remember.

I'll be playing a 5-4-2 combination in the exacta and triple wagering and probably throw a 5-4-9 bet in there at some point as well. Obviously, I'm hitching my wagon to some combination of Classic Empire and Always Dreaming. If they don't come in as the top two finishers, I'll be eating Ramen Noodles next week.

Our "Ultimate Winners" bracket challenge will start next week and after two days of voting on Wednesday and Thursday, we've identified the top four seeds and moved one all time great to second-seed status.

We allowed #DMD readers to eliminate ONE name out of these five: Michael Jordan, Michael Phelps, Tom Brady, Serena Williams and Tiger Woods. The four remaining names would be the top seeds.

And your votes eliminated 5-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, so the New England quarterback will be the top second-seed in our contest. That means Jordan, Phelps, Serena and Tiger are the four #1 seeds in our contest.

The full 16 person field will be revealed on Monday and voting in first round matches begins on Tuesday, May 23.

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ninety percent of success
is just showing up


The title of this piece is an adage often repeated by my favorite sports philosopher and revered former mentor, our own Drew Forrester. I looked up (in QuoteInvestigator.com) its first recorded use. The earliest close match was printed in The New York Times in 1977. The words were spoken by Marshall Brickman, co-author of the screenplay for Annie Hall, in an interview with Susan Braudy. He said:

”As Woody [Allen] says, ‘Showing up is 80 percent of life. Sometimes it’s easier to hide at home under the bed. I’ve done both.'”

Following his own advice is perhaps why DF signed up to qualify for this year's U. S. Senior Open, a championship that has never, in its 36-year history, been won by an amateur. And it will never be, if the amateurs all hide at home under their beds in deference to and fear of the perceived dominance of the professionals. If DF qualifies, I'll put in an application to carry his bag in Peabody, hoping for the chance to achieve a lifelong dream of conversing with Paul Goydos, who will no doubt be there. But that story will be written as it plays out, on down the road. This story is about Ian Poulter.

"Showing up is 80 percent of life. Sometimes it’s easier to hide at home under the bed. I’ve done both."

Poulter is one of the top 100 or 200 golfers in the world. He has been a member of the European Tour and the PGA Tour. He has been ranked as high as #5 in the OWGR. In 20 years as a pro, he has ten victories in Europe and two in the U.S. and some top tens in the majors. He has, however, like Doug Sanders before him and Rickie Fowler after him, been acclaimed more for his outlandish and clownish golf costumes than for his results in golf tournaments and championships. His most famous creation, which he wore at both the 2005 and 2006 British Opens, was a pair of trousers with hundreds of little Claret Jugs printed on them. [Seve remarked on TV that that was as close as Ian would ever get to the Jug.] I confess to a moment of Schadenfreude on hearing that Poulter's clothing company had gone out of business.

In penance for that shameful pleasure, we pay tribute to Ian Poulter. In 2015-16 he was limited to 13 starts because of a foot injury. Thus, playing under the terms of the Major Medical Extension, he was allowed 10 events in 2016-17 to earn $347,634, which would have allowed him to remain a member of the Tour to the conclusion of this season. If in addition he were to earn 218 FedEx Cup points, he would be eligible for the The Players Championship. He fell short on both quests, wasting his last chance for money and points when he missed the cut at the Valero Texas Open on April 21, 2017.

Poulter declared that he would continue to try to play Tour events by asking for sponsor exemptions and, when he didn't receive them, by attempting to Monday qualify. To his credit, he was not going to hide at home under his bed, but was going to show up and compete.

It's important to the rest of this story to note here that Poulter and his posse are English, a race notoriously inept at cooking, sex, and [with the exception of Sir Isaac Newton] arithmetic.

Brian Gay found himself in a position similar to Poulter's due to a back injury that kept him out the entire 2014-15 season and all but 13 events in the 2015-16 season. This year, playing on a Major Medical Extension, Gay had earned enough cash to play for the rest of the year, but hadn't won enough FedEx Cup points to gain entry into The Players.

Bristling at the exclusion, Gay investigated. He discovered that the PGA Tour had, within the previous 12 months, re-worked the formula for determining the number of FedEx Cup points required for players on MMEs to earn invitations to The Players. [This formula also altered the amount of earned money required for continued Tour membership.] Under the old rules, he was in — Under the new rules, he was out. Gay appealed to the PGA Tour, claiming that it was unfair (and perhaps illegal {and thus actionable}) to change the rules in midstream. The Tour's lawyers caved quickly. Gay was invited to The Players.

Brian & Ian

Gay's people, knowing Poulter was in the same boat, got in touch with Ian's people, who then contacted the Tour and asked if Poulter would have been eligible for a card for the rest of the year and an invitation to The Players under application of the old rules. Indeed he would have been, the Tour calculated, and his card was restored and an invitiation to The Players extended.

Brian Gay, knowing Poulter's sponsorship by NetJets allowed him some free flights, said he expected that Ian would invite him aboard on some trips when they played the same events. Poulter said that he would send Brian "a proper bottle of wine."

In The Players, Gay shot 74-76 and missed the cut by four shots. [Our German friends call this eine Ungerechtigkeit; literally, an unfairness or injustice.] Presumably Brian packed his bags, hitchhiked to JAX, and flew commercial to DFW to get ready for the Nelson.

Poulter capitalized on his serendipity. He entered the weekend at five-under-par, shot one-under on both Saturday and Sunday, and ended up tied for second with Louis Oosthuizen, three shots behind the winner, Si Woo Kim. He walked off with almost $1 million and about 400 FedEx Cup points.

Ian Poulter had previously been granted a sponsor exemption to the A.T.&T. Byron Nelson that will be played next week in Irving, Texas. It will be interesting to see if he shows for the tournament, now that he can pick his spots the rest of the year. If he does show, he'll probably have his NetJets flight land at Love Field rather than DFW. DFW is insufferably crowded, and many people looking for a handout walk its halls.

This contribution was provided to #DMD by our friend and right hand man, George McDowell.

Glory
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this weekend in
english soccer


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


Chelsea left it late but, thanks to Tottenham’s slip up the week before, emphatically claimed their second Premier League title in the last three years, a fifth in the Premier League era and the sixth in the club’s history, and the fourth consecutive domestic title for manager Antonio Conte in his first year in charge of the Blues.

With Hull City putting up a valiant but ultimately futile effort to avoid relegation and become the third and final team to drop down to the Championship, we are now left with a three-team fight between Manchester City, Liverpool, and Arsenal for the final two Champions League places as we enter Matchday 38 and the final weekend of the English Premier League. It will be a simultaneous kick off with all games starting at the same time and available live across ten different channels on the NBC family of networks and online at NBC Live Extra. Thank you all for another great season and I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse each week into the world’s top soccer league!

Sunday, May 21 (all times eastern)

10am – Manchester City @ Watford – Vicarage Road, USA Network

Manchester City have finally started to look like the team week in and week out that many had expected them to be when manager Pep Guardiola took the reins this year, dominant and creative in possession and high pressing and relentless without, all of which were on display in the mid-week as they put in one of their most complete and dominant performances of the season in a 3-1 win over West Brom to move up to third place in the table.

They will travel to Vicarage Road on the final weekend to take on a struggling Watford side, who fell for the sixth straight game in a wild 4-3 affair with Chelsea. Manchester City have the most wiggle room to play with to secure one of the two final spots in the top four, with a two-point edge over fourth place Liverpool and a three-point advantage over fifth place Arsenal meaning that any result other than a loss will see them at the very worst finish in fourth place, a task that should be more than doable given their form and as winners of the last three encounters with the Hornets, going unbeaten in their five all-time top flight matchups (D2), and failing to walk away empty handed in their last ten meetings across all competitions (W8 D2).

10am – Middlesbrough @ Liverpool – Anfield, NBC Sports Network

Just like Manchester City, Liverpool will enter the final weekend of the season with their fate in their own hands and in top form after they remained unbeaten in their last three league games and with only one loss in their last eleven when they cruised past West Ham United with little trouble 4-0. The victory helped the Reds maintain a slim one point advantage over Arsenal and a visit from the already relegated Middlesbrough at Anfield to wrap up the campaign will be a welcome site for the Liverpool faithful dreaming of a return to European week nights after a two-year absence.

Liverpool has less room for error compared to Manchester City, with a win guaranteeing the Reds either a third or fourth place finish while a draw could potentially open the door for Arsenal to overtake them in the season’s final hours, although anything less than three points at home against a Middlesbrough side that have won only time since the New Year, have taken three points against the Reds in just one of their last eleven meetings across all competitions (L6 D4), and have not won in their last five trips to Anfield would be one of the biggest shockers of the entire campaign with all that is on the line.

10am – Everton @ Arsenal – Emirates Stadium, NBC

It was far from convincing and a little nerve wracking at times for Arsenal fans, but a second half brace from the always clutch Alexis Sanchez gave the Gunners a deserved 2-0 victory over the already relegated Sunderland to keep alive their slim hopes of qualifying for the Champions League for the 21st consecutive season. They will face the toughest road and likely matchup of the three sides trying to lock down a place in the top four when they welcome Everton to the Emirates Stadium, who after failing to win any of their previous three games finally put in a positive effort to get past Watford 1-0.

After wrapping up a place in next seasons Europa League in early April, Everton have taken their foot off the gas which could bode well for Arsenal as they will need to take all three points and then hope Liverpool or Manchester City slip up, although they would need to make up a five-goal differential on the latter if they hope to jump them in the table. There best bet is to beat a Toffee side that has won only two of their last nineteen league meetings with the Gunners (L11 D6) and just one of their twenty-four top flight visits to the Emirates Stadium (L18 D5) and get a surprise result to make it through.

Thursday
May 18
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 18
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occasionally the scoreboard lies – yesterday, it told the truth


High school golf in the MIAA has a strangely configured scoring format that often times doesn’t provide an accurate reflection of the way a match between two schools was really played.

I won’t bore you with the details of the scoring system, but it’s match play with both individual and two-man “partner” points available. A total of 21 points are up for grabs, meaning the team that can get at least 11 of them is the winner.

Because of the scoring nuances, you can lose a match, say, 15-6, and realistically be within three holed putts (or won holes) of the final score being 11-10 in your team’s favor.

We lost a match earlier this season, 12-9, where a missed two footer and a missed three footer cost us an 11-10 victory.

The final score and the scoreboard don’t often reveal the truth.

Yesterday, though, the scoreboard didn’t lie. And it didn’t make Calvert Hall’s semi-final playoff match “feel” any different to my Cardinals.

We lost to Loyola, 19-2, on Wednesday.

And it was, in fact, a 19-2 loss.

Sometimes, 19-2 can be really be more like 13-8 or 14-7. A putt goes in, a 3-footer gets missed, a sand shot gets holed out. Three shots change things dramatically. Not yesterday. What you see is what you get.

As I told my disappointed team afterwards, “They (Loyola) deserve a lot of credit. They knew we were capable of beating them and when the bell rang, they put it to us.”

It’s true we didn’t play our best golf on Wednesday. Far from it, in fact. There was nothing in our pre-match warm-up that gave me any inkling we might be in store for an off-day. Our opening tee shots at the first hole were, for the most part, well struck and playable.

But on the day we played below our level, for sure, and Loyola played at a different level all together.

They beat us, fair and square.

I’m no less proud of my Calvert Hall team in losing than I would have been had we won and advanced to Saturday’s final at Caves Valley, which will now be a rematch of last year’s title match between St. Paul’s and Loyola.

I loved the way we competed on Wednesday, even as the last group came in and the joyous high-fiving and laughter from the Loyola team gave away the result that had already been sewed up by the Dons.

Our #5 player had a 6-foot putt at the 12th hole – our last of the day – to gain a half-point on the “back six” (we play two six hole “sides” instead of nine holes). It was the difference between losing 19-2 or 18.5-2.5. He studied the putt from both sides, conferred with his playing partner, and gave the putt the utmost attention.

That he missed it mattered none. That he putted it as if the match was on the line mattered a lot. When you lose 19-2, you take what you can from it and showcase the positives, the few that you might have at that point. That was a major positive for me. Grinding until the end, striving for a half-point.

Taking it personally. Accountability. Wanting to have something to show for the effort he put in over those 12 holes. Those are the benchmarks of a young man who battled and came up short, yet gave attention to every single shot in front of him.

In our team prayer before every match, there’s a line in there that says: ”We ask you, Father, to grant us the ability to handle victory or defeat with equal degrees of humility.”

We got humbled on Wednesday. But we handled it all with grace. No one threw a club (there’s none of that when you play for Calvert Hall Golf – you throw a club, you’re a “former member of the team”), no one cursed, no one showed any anger or outrage over their play.

We showed up, on time, had a great warm-up, went to the tee ready to compete, and Loyola was better than us yesterday. As Charley Eckman used to say, “It’s a very simple game…”

When it was over and the result was final, we kept our heads up, shook hands with the winners, and congratulated them on a well played 12 holes. We don’t like losing, but it’s part of golf – and sports.

My assistant coach and I enjoyed a private refreshment afterwards at Hunt Valley and did what coaches always do after a loss. We questioned ourselves, talked about what we could have or should have done differently and lamented a wasted opportunity to compete for a conference title on Saturday.

I say this all the time about coaches in the NFL, MLB, etc. With no disrespect at all intended to anyone who plays for the Ravens or Orioles, the coaches want to win more than the players. That’s only my opinion, naturally, but it’s something I believe in strongly after being around the likes of John Harbaugh and Brian Billick, to use two personal examples.

Sometimes, the coaches might want to win too much, in fact.

”Maybe we should have played (insert name here),” we said to ourselves yesterday.

”Should we have practiced harder on Monday and Tuesday this week? Or did we practice too hard?” was another topic of discussion.

In the end, though, it’s all eye wash. We have no idea if anything would have made a difference. But coaches are always trying to figure out “why” a loss happened.

The other team tries, too, I reminded my guys after the defeat on Wednesday.

And, like us, the other guys have pride.

We lose eight seniors to graduation but our five returning players – three of whom were 9th graders this season – will be much better for what happened to us on Wednesday. They were there, playing in it, experiencing it and, hopefully, not liking it all that much.

Calvert Hall Golf will be back, and sooner rather than later. You can make book on that.

Congrats to Coach Bill McLean and the Dons and to Coach Rick Collins and St. Paul’s on their Wednesday victories. May the best team win on Saturday at Caves Valley in the championship match.

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show up, keep up, and shut up —
and don't keep your caddie waiting


George: Wow! You flew all the way to the UK to watch the British Senior Open?

Fellow Competitor #1: No, actually we flew all the way to the UK to compete in the Senior British Open.

George: Oh.

The conversation above took place on the first tee of the tournament Drew wrote about here on May 9th, before the first shot had been struck. By asking that stupid and naive question, I had put myself squarely at the bottom of the threesome's pecking order, thus making my caddie’s job even more difficult.

Indian Spring Country Club, now a Montgomery County housing development.

Curious amateur golfers sometimes ask how much difference the guidance of an experienced caddie can make in a round. That’s a difficult question to address. There are many, many gray areas in the equation.

Memories can fade, or differ, especially when you are old, like Drew is, or really old, like I am. Or maybe Drew left out some things in his piece out of kindness. But there were a couple of semi-trainwrecks in the round that in fairness should be reported. It was how we dealt with those wrecks that illustrates the value of an experienced caddie.

Drew had offered to caddie for me. I had declined, several times, on the ground that it simply wasn’t right. It wasn’t the way things ought to be. — I was once offered the chance to ride Kauai King, a magnificent horse who won the 1966 Derby and Preakness and who missed the Triple Crown by two lengths in the Belmont. But the offer was somehow wrong, and I declined. I was happy just to share my apple with the great horse. — It was sort of the same with Drew carrying my bag. It just wasn't right. But he persisted and because he did I was more than happy to relent. I made a vow that I would follow his guidance under all circumstances; that I would do as told and let the balls fall where they may.

That good intention lasted about five or six holes. When you’re streaking along at two-over, you begin to feel like you know what you’re doing on a golf course, and that the sky is the limit. Hubris, I think, is what they call the feeling.

We come to a short par-four, dogleg to the right. My fellow competitors both hit long irons to the fairway, each about 100 yards out from the flag. Drew hands me the five-wood.

“I’m thinking driver here. What do you think?” I ask tentatively.

“Five-wood,” he says without hesitation.

I give him all the reasons driver is the right club. I can feel he disapproves, but he defers, and hands me the big dog. I hit it left of left, left of a grove of trees and a bunker left of the green.

I kick myself mentally and, as we go to search for the ball, start to apologize profusely. I suddenly realize that I want to play well more for my caddie than for my own sake.

Drew says, “Don’t worry about it. We’ve got a problem here. Let’s go solve it.”

Both fellow competitors hit wedges into the green, one ten feet from the hole, the other about eight feet. When we get to my ball, I see I’m left with a 30-yard flop shot over some forty-foot trees that will put me near the cup.

Drew hands me a nine-iron. “Chip onto the fairway short of the green, then pitch close to the hole and make the putt. Let’s get out of here with no worse than bogey.” I didn’t even think about arguing, even though there were three chances out of ten I could get the flop shot close. Okay, maybe two chances.

I dutifully chip out to the fairway. I’m reminded loudly and a little too quickly by a fellow competitor that I haven’t lost my turn. Drew and I discuss the mechanics of the remaining 80-foot chip shot that will hit onto the green, climb to the second tier in the back, and curve about 30 feet to the right on its long and slow journey. Drew is unhurried, not at all flustered, and takes all the time we need to assess the shot and get me comfortable with hitting it.

I hit the ball squarely. It lands reasonably close to where we determined it should, and climbs and begins to curl and 30 seconds later on its last rotation it plops into the hole for a birdie. Both of my FCs miss their short birdie putts. Drew and I do our best to choke back laughter, like little schoolgirls, over this undeserved gift from the golf gods. But behind my smothered laughter, I vow never to disregard another instruction or piece of advice. Never ever ever never.

Except for the infamous five-wood/driver controversy, we never discuss what club to hit. My sense is that Drew has only a vague notion of what distances I hit my clubs. Why should he care? Our discussions center on finding the optimal target for the next shot that we can get to safely. Once we identify that spot, we figure the yardage to it, and I hit the club that will get us there. It dawns on me, somewhere late in the back nine, that we are indeed playing the game as the experts say to play it – one shot at a time.

On that glorious day, on the 18th hole after my drive hit the fairway and it was clear I’d make the cut, Drew put the icing on a delicious cake. “Geo,” he says, “one hundred guys showed up for this clambake. Tomorrow you and 19 other guys are playing for the trophy. The other 80 are going home. Go walk up the fairway and savor the applause.” He lingers and lets me walk on ahead.

I guess there was a reason that Drew was on the radio and not on TV. There was exactly one person on the side of the 18th fairway. He was sitting in an Adirondack chair atop a small hill to the right. I angled towards him and tipped my cap and waved to him. He didn’t wave back. As I get closer, I could see that he was asleep.

I slipped to 79 on the second and final day, without Drew, falling from fifth place to finish T14. Although no one is ever satisfied with his score after a tournament, I was as close as possible to satisfied with a 12-over-par 152.

The difference the caddie made in this instance was six shots a round. I think that's the high side. Most players in this level of tournament play will have greater golfing skills, and would benefit primarily from the superior skills of the caddie in identifying the optimal spots to place shots and the caddie's calming influence in avoiding full-tilt panic when crash-and-burn time looms.

The five-wood – club of choice of top-15 amateurs everywhere.

I recall that my level of confidence in decision-making was lower on the second day. I would think I had made the right decisions, but without Drew's confirmation or correction, there was that nagging doubt that sometimes manifests itself in the execution of a swing. I found that there is a huge difference between being 99% certain and being 100% certain.

When my threesome got to #7, the short par-four where we had hit driver when we shouldn't have the day before, one fellow competitor asked us other two what we had scored on the hole yesterday. The second fellow competitor quickly replied, "Birdie."

Pretending to search my memory, I replied, "Yeah, I think I birdied it, too."

When it was my turn to hit, there was no hesitation in taking the headcover off the five-wood. Even though I was 99% certain I could hit the green with driver.

This contribution was provided to #DMD by our friend and right hand man, George McDowell.

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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.


kevin gausman is broken, and there’s no obvious way to fix him


I’m certainly not the first to make note of the Orioles’ opening day starter’s awful season thus far, but most of them haven’t gone nearly far enough in detailing the problem. It’s typical for commentators to want to avoid too many “hot takes” about baseball, knowing that “it’s a long season” and “one game can turn everything around,” but in Gausman’s case the situation is so dire that there’s no reason to believe things will turn around without some drastic action being taken.

Drew ran down the headline numbers on Monday and there’s no point in repeating them, so let me add a few more instead. Gausman’s strikeout rate is down 8% from last year's, and his walk rate has grown by ⅔ to a full 10%. His strikeout-to-walk ratio isn’t just an abysmal 1.48, that number has decreased by more than half of what it was in the last two seasons.

And while Drew isn’t wrong that Gausman is still in need of an out pitch that isn’t his fastball, at this point he needs to worry about finding ANY pitch that can stay away from the fat part of the bat as his batting average on balls in play is a whopping .353.

Worst of all: There’s no obvious explanation for any of these numbers.

According to Fangraphs’ data, his line drive and “hard contact” rates are nearly identical to what they were last season, and his home run to fly ball ratio is actually lower.

His average velocity is right in line with last season as well, and in fact on everything but his fastball there’s been a noticeable increase thus far. And despite the drastic increase in the number of walks he’s allowed, his total number of pitches in the strikezone has only decreased by about one half of one percent.

On all of the “usual suspect” counts to explain sudden pitcher struggles, Gausman checks out as fine on literally everyone.

Where Gausman’s numbers have taken a big turn, however, is in the way batters are reacting to him. For example, last season batters swung at 34.8% of the pitches that Gausman threw out of the strikezone. This year that numbers down to 27.7%.

However, when opponents swing at those pitches they’re making contact 68.9% of the time, compared to 61.2% in 2015. That should be a good thing; contact on outside pitches is generally weaker than contact on pitches in the zone, and should translate to more batted ball outs. But as the numbers clearly tell us -- this season, at least -- that's just not the case.

The main areas of concern are below the strike zone and the section that would be middle in to right-handed hitters/middle away to lefties. In theory, these are places where you should be inducing weak contact off the end of the bat or jamming guys on the hands Instead hitters are over .300 on balls in play in each of them.

So now at least we can build a theory for Gausman’s struggles: he’s not fooling anyone. Hitters are seeing his offerings exceptionally well, and they’re swinging at the pitches they know they can hit.

This at least provides some possible explanations. Gausman could be tipping his pitches, for example. But you’d think that a dugout full of big league coaches would have already considered that and looked for signs.

Another, perhaps more plausible possibility is that he’s not getting the movement on his pitches that he wants. This would explain why swing rates have gone down on non-strikes AND why hitters are squaring him up more, even as Gausman's velocity hasn’t declined at all. And in this case, the most likely culprit is mechanics, which can be fixed.

But again, I’m not re-inventing the wheel here, and the professionals have no doubt already thought of that and looked into every mechanical issue and remedy they could consider.

So with that in mind, I’m going to second Drew’s recommendation and say that Gausman desperately needs a stint on the DL.

And it might not even be a true case of a phantom injury. Gausman has simply been too good, or at least too much better than he has been this season, for these results to not have some kind of deeper cause. You don’t go from a 3.70 K/BB ratio in 179.2 innings in one year to suddenly forgetting how to pitch in one year for no reason whatsoever.

There may not be anything horribly wrong that’s gotten anyone’s attention so far, but joints get damaged and inflamed all the time, especially by repetitive actions as stressful as throwing a baseball 95+ MPH, and it doesn’t take much of that sort of damage and inflammation to impair the ability to repeat the mechanics of a delivery in the kind of detail it takes to have big league success.

In other words: It’s quite likely that what Gausman needs more than anything right now is a couple of weeks for his body to rest and heal up any minor damage that may be causing problems with his performance, if not his ability to actually go out there and play on schedule.

Pro sports teams are surprisingly unlikely to take that sort of pre-emptive caution in these cases, but with Gausman, the sheer fact that just about anyone else on the Orioles’ roster is a better bet to give them a quality start right now makes it an even clearer course of action.

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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.


captain obvious makes an appearance


Captain Obvious has a few random sports thoughts on his mind. These opinions are so mind-numbingly obvious that you can’t possibly disagree with them. I am definitely right about these things; don’t even try to say otherwise. Comments are closed….oh, wait, I don’t have the power to do that? Oh well…

There has to be a shot clock in college men’s lacrosse --

Here’s why…because most of the game, at high levels, is a game played in the six-on-six half-field setting. It’s really half-court basketball, on a slightly larger scale.

There are set plays, screens, man-to-man and zone defenses. Some players are better outside shooters, and others are better closer to the target. The terminology is different: “driving” to the basket is “dodging” to the goal, “helping” off your man is “sliding” to him, but those are just semantics.

Sure, there’s a lot of hockey in men’s lacrosse as well. There’s the physical, padded part of it, and the fact that an illegal play gets you sent off the field and can leave your team a man short. There’s also the ability to play from behind the goal, which doesn’t exist in basketball.

But hockey is not a game about possession; the puck bounces haphazardly, the ice is crowded. The entire nature of the game, and its substitution patterns, is back-and-forth.

Like basketball, lacrosse is about the skill to turn possession into points, and the defensive skill to keep that from happening. It’s been more than 30 years since we decided that college basketball players were good enough to play with a shot clock; now’s the time for lacrosse to follow suit.

The current 30-second “timer on” scenario puts one more decision in the hands of the officials, who are forced to interpret a team’s intent when enforcing the rule. It’s handled inconsistently from game to game, and it doesn’t work.

But here’s how it could work: a 60-second shot clock, the moment a player crosses midfield. Once gaining possession on their defensive half of the field, teams have 20 seconds to clear the ball across the midfield line. The clock resets and holds when a shot hits the post/crossbar or is saved by the goalie; it starts down again from 60 immediately if the offensive team regains possession. There is no restraining area.

I didn’t just make these rules up. They are basically the rules of Major League Lacrosse. I’m sure that a few tweaks could be made here and there to best adapt it to the college game. At the very least, let’s try it in Division I starting next season.

You should not be able to call in a violation of golf rules --

I once saw a clip of an interview with Rudy Duran, the Southern California pro who worked with Tiger Woods in his earliest golf prodigy years. He told a story about taking Tiger to the L.A. Open at Riviera Country Club sometime in the early 1980s, when the Woods was around 6 or 7 years old.

They went to the driving range and watched Nicklaus, Watson and Trevino for a bit. Then they spent a little time on the course watching the players. At some point, Duran asked Tiger how he was doing, and Tiger said something to the effect of “this is great, but can’t we go PLAY golf now?”

In other words, golf is a participation sport, not a spectator sport.

The participation aspect of golf extends to enforcing the rules of the game. It’s incumbent upon you as the player to know and understand the rules, to follow them properly, and possibly even to call a penalty on yourself in case of a violation.

There may be a case for a playing partner or a competitor to question you; he or she is also a participant. But there is no case for a spectator to be involved, whether he is standing 10 yards away behind gallery ropes or 3,000 miles away in front of a television screen.

This isn’t about whether or not Lexi Thompson should mark her ball on the green properly or Tiger ought to drop a ball according to the rules. Of course they should; as professionals, in fact, they ought to be experts.

It’s really a question of what constitutes a participant in a golf match. Having every one of your shots televised is a good thing; it often means you’re near the lead. It also offers scrutiny, which the top players should actually want. But it really doesn’t, and shouldn’t, offer the viewer the chance to participate.

The Orioles have 286 games left with this winning crew --

I woke up in a cold sweat a few nights ago thinking about what the Orioles might look like two years from now.

Here’s a scenario: The most talented player in team history, in the prime of his career, now playing for a bitter rival…the veteran All-Star centerfielder and team leader gone…the bullpen now way past its prime, or playing somewhere else, the first baseman with the ridiculous contract who continues to decline, a pitching staff not unlike the end of the Mussina era, only this time with Dylan Bundy as the guy who finishes with 15 losses for a 71-91 team…a manager in his 10th season with the club, maybe at the end of the line.

Here’s another scenario: The most talented player in team history, in the prime of his career, signs a huge deal to stay in town, then moves full-time to shortstop. The second baseman becomes an All-Star. The front office finds another mediocre starting pitcher to convert to shutdown closer, and continues to find the right fits for fill-in bullpen and even starting arms. Finally, somebody in the minors comes up and plays a decent centerfield and/or third base, or one of the few prospects in the organization is trade bait for a solid player at those spots.

Unfortunately, my bet’s on the first scenario.

And either way, don’t worry…Ryan Flaherty will still be around.

124 games left this season. 162 next year. Barring catastrophic injury, they’ll probably be pretty good ones. 146 of those games are at home, so head out to the ballpark, have a couple beers and enjoy them.

Wednesday
May 17
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 17
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it's safe to say no lead is safe with our orioles


You can file that one away as a win last night, but there's almost no doubt a regular 9-inning loss would have been just as effective for the Orioles.

Instead, they wore out an already-gasping-for-air bullpen and went 13 innings before Chris Davis rescued them yet again with a two run home run in a wild 13-11 victory over the Tigers.

It's very apparent at this point that this Baltimore pitching staff is on life support. Last night, they burned through all six relief pitchers currently on their roster, with Richard Bleier getting the win after taking over for Donnie Hart, who was lit up by the Tigers in the bottom of the 12th inning.

May has not been a good month for Buck Showalter and he was shredded on social media last night for leaving Hart in the game in the 12th, as the O's gave back a 3-run lead they had built in the top half of the inning.

This time, though, I don't think Showalter had much choice but to stick with Hart, despite the Detroit offensive uprising.

Brad Brach's woes continued last night in Detroit when he surrendered a grand slam to J.D. Martinez in the 7th inning that temporarily gave the Tigers an 8-7 lead.

For all we know, Buck might have secretly hoped that the Tigers would win it right then and there and end the misery and, at the very least, save Bleier's arm.

But leaving Hart in there to get smashed prompted lots of social media outrage. I'm one of the few who thinks Buck did all he could once the game went to the 12th and 13th innings.

It's one thing for Buck to misuse the bullpen in a 9-inning game, which he's done a few times this month. It's another to see the game go to the 11th, 12th and 13th innings and then be forced to make decisions that potentially affect this series and even the upcoming weekend home clash with the Blue Jays.

I don't think Buck's been hitting on all cylinders over the last three weeks, but last night really wasn't his fault.

If you want to blame someone or some "thing" for the bullpen disaster we're seeing these days, blame Duquette's insistence on giving Showalter six relief pitchers while they carry THREE catchers on the 25-man roster.

They're obviously reluctant to send Francisco Pena to Norfolk since he's out of options and a team could snag him off the waiver wire. Maybe they know something about Pena I don't, but aren't there third string catchers waiting tables in New York City somewhere? I assume they're a dime a dozen.

I know Buck has affection for all of his players -- "I like our guys" is one of his most simple, yet telling phrases -- but carrying six relief pitchers and getting lit up isn't a fair swap for a journeyman catcher, particularly when you already have two of them in the dugout.

And I thought longtime Baltimore sports media member Stan Charles of Pressbox made a great point last night on Twitter: @StanTheFan - This really started with the O's outsmarting everybody with Ynoa going down with an "AHEM"...injury. Should have been carrying 7 relievers.

They'll have to make a roster move or two today to make up for what happened last night. I assume Alec Asher will go back down to Norfolk as will, perhaps, Bleier or maybe even Donnie Hart. Expect Mike Wright, Logan Verrett and/or Tyler Wilson to re-join the team in Detroit, where the O's have Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound this evening.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. It's probably not the best night to have Jimenez making a start, what with our bullpen already frazzled.

In case you didn't stay up until 12:36 am, here's the nuts and bolts of what happened last night/this morning.

The Orioles led 7-1 in the third inning. That seems like 50 hours ago at this point.

The Tigers chipped away, stayed in it, and J.D. Martinez gave Detroit an 8-7 lead when he blasted a grand slam off of Brad Brach in the 7th inning. The villain in the 7th wasn't Brach, though, it was Mychal Givens, who loaded the bases before Brach came in and gave up the gopher ball.

Mark Trumbo then hit a solo home run with two outs in the top of the ninth to tie the game at 8-8.

Alec Asher pitched well in the 9th and 10th innings for the Birds, then put runners on 2nd and 3rd with just one out in the 11th. After getting the second out, Asher was lifted for Donnie Hart, who promptly sent the game to the 12th by recording the final out of the inning.

The Orioles then exploded for three runs in the top of the 12th. Davis hit a solo home run, they plated two more insurance runs, and we could all go to bed. Right?

Wrong.

We're now seeing and learning that no lead is safe with the Orioles. The Tigers scored three times in the bottom of the 12th off of Hart and had the game-winning run at 3rd base with two outs but Bleier got a ground out to end the inning and keep the game alive.

The Birds then went up 13-11 in the 13th when Chris Davis hit a ball to Toronto off of Francisco Rodriguez, who can now officially be listed as a "formerly solid major league pitcher". K-Rod is Done-Rod. His arm is completely shot, as his 8.16 ERA and 1-5 record so indicates.

Detroit did, of course, bring the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the 13th, but Bleier was able to escape the inning with no further damage and the O's finally won, 13-11.

It's a win that felt like a loss and, honestly, might have been better off being a loss if it would have occurred in the 9th inning.

But if the Orioles wind up winning the A.L. East by one game...

Let's see how the big brass responds today and what roster moves are made. These are interesting times for the Orioles and a puzzling decision with a third-string catcher has really put the heat on the team's starters AND bullpen -- and we're only in mid-May.

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help us select our four number one seeds for the "ultimate winners" bracket contest


We're putting together a fun bracket contest that will take us through the rest of May and June, but we first need to establish the four number one seeds.

We'd like YOU to help us do that.

Is Tiger Woods a #1 seed in our "Ultimate Winners" bracket contest?

A quick note, though. In yesterday's edition of #DMD, we outlined plans for a 32-person field for our "bracket contest", but technical limitations on our polling are going to make it much easier and timely if we reduce the field to just 16 participants. And, honestly, the more I looked at it, 16 seemed like it will provide for a lot more competitive match-ups through and through. For example, Tom Brady might have wound up facing off with baseball's Greg Maddux in the first round, assuming Brady was a top four seed and Maddux was in the low 30's.

Brady, much like a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament beats the #16 like a drum every March, would have won that match-up going away. Now, with 16 participants, Brady might very well wind up meeting the likes of Kobe Bryant in the first round. I'm just using that Brady-Kobe possibility as an example but that, I think you'd agree, would be much more compelling.

And we're limited with how many options we can provide each day with our polling technology, so we'll wittle down our final 16 and have at it.

But our first order of business is determing who the top four seeds are in our contest, which is where you come in.

Below you'll see the poll with five candidates listed. This is very important so please take note: We'd like you to vote for the one candidate who should NOT be a #1 seed.

Once we've tabulated all the votes (we'll run this on Thursday as well...two full days for voting), the person with the most will be OUT and the other four will be our top four seeds.

Please only vote for the person you think is NOT a top four seed.


 Drew's Morning Dish

#DMD Poll

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

We'll have the full 16-person field published in this Friday's edition of #DMD and the bracket contest will kick-off with the first round next week as we determine the greatest "winner" of the last 25 years in professional sports.

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a spot in the title match is at stake today for calvert hall golf


It's been quite a week thus far for the Calvert Hall-Loyola high school sports rivalry.

On Monday, Loyola baseball stunned the top-ranked Cardinals, 2-1, in the MIAA playoffs, but Calvert Hall remains alive in the double-elimination format and yesterday sent Gilman home with their second loss.

Yesterday at Blakefield, Calvert Hall's number one seeded lacrosse team ended the regular season with a dramatic 9-8 win over the Dons, scoring the game-winning goal with a half-second remaining in the contest.

And today at 3:30 pm, the varsity golf team I coach takes on Loyola at their home course, Hunt Valley, with the winner earning a trip to the championship match on Saturday at Caves Valley. Today's winner faces the St. Paul's-Gilman winner, which is also being played this afternoon.

So, here we are. It's been a good season for us to date, but our outlook on 2017 will likely be identified by today's result. A win and a spot in the championship match would be a great reward for all the hard work we've put in since January. A loss would leave a bad taste, for sure.

We didn't beat Loyola in the regular season but we played them hard and shoulda-coulda won both times we faced them. They beat us 12-9 at Hunt Valley in early May (in golf terms, that's like losing a football game by one point on a last second field goal -- he makes it you lose, he misses it you win), then last week at our home course, Country Club of Maryland, we ended up in a 10.5-10.5 tie after a Loyola player rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt on the last hole.

The other team tries, too, I always remind my guys. And Loyola didn't earn the #2 seed this season by accident. They have a very good team.

But we enter today's match with a lot of confidence, knowing we played them tough in both regular season encounters. Loyola finished the season at 10-1-1 (we were 6-5-1) but we were right there with them, shot for shot, twice earlier this month.

I can't reveal our lineup we're using today, but we've used three freshmen throughout the season, which is a rarity in MIAA golf. In 10 of our 12 regular season matches, we had two ninth graders playing in our six-man lineup. That bodes well for us in the future, no doubt, but we need continued solid play from them this week in order to get past two outstanding teams.

I didn't go to Calvert Hall, obviously, but I'm in my 5th season coaching the Cardinals and I know the lingo: "Roll the Dons!"

If you're a Calvert Hall or Loyola grad -- or someone that just likes to watch good, competitive high school sports, come on out to Hunt Valley today and follow the action. We play 12 hole matches, so expect about a 3-hour competition.

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who wants the last two seats on our orioles trip to new york on june 11?


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! Note: We are down to our last two seats on this trip.

#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 16
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXIV
Issue 16
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so, just who is the greatest "winner" of the last 25 years?


This should make for some interesting water-cooler discussion and #DMD fodder over the next month or so.

Everyone loves a good bracket challenge, right? Heck, the NCAA tournament consumes most of sporting America for three weeks every March and it's mainly because everyone has a bracket or two filled out and a few bucks riding on their outcome.

We won't have any money involved with our bracket, but it should be fun nonetheless, particularly since you'll be helping to decide the winners.

Starting on Thursday, we'll kick-off the #DMD Winner's Bracket Challenge, which will pit 32 "champions" against one another in a bracket-type format where you will vote for the winner each day.

One by one, you'll see the daily match-up at #DMD and you'll be able to vote for which of the two was the better "winner". #DMD readers decide the eventual champion based solely on voting.

Is Michael Phelps more of a "winner" than Michael Jordan or Tom Brady? Your vote will count in our #DMD Winner's Bracket Challenge.

Oh, and you might be wondering -- "what's the definition of a winner"? Well, that's up to you to decide, as you vote. Use your own criteria for that and choose accordingly.

The only stipulation for a player appearing in the bracket? He or she had to play on a professional championship team (meaning league title), had to have won a "major" in golf or tennis, or won either an individual world (or season) title or a gold medal in boxing, swimming, auto racing or any other sport. And it all had to occur within the last 25 years -- 1992-2017.

So, that will leave out some really good athletes, unfortunately, but we're trying to come up with the best "winner" of the last 25 years. No Trout, no Harper, yes, even no Machado, unfortunately. No Kevin Durant, either. No Alex Ovechkin, of course, unless you count three Game 7 losses at home in the playoffs as "winning".

It also eliminates Danny Briere and anyone else who played for the Flyers since 1992. They haven't won anything up there in forever, hockey wise. They came close a while back, only to choke at home in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals and lose in overtime in the Wells Fargo Center to Patrick Kane and the Blackhawks. So -- you won't be seeing any Flyers on the list of 32.

You get the idea. If you're a champion of some kind, you're eligible. If you haven't yet captured a title, you'll have to wait until we do this again in another 10 years.

This will certainly be quite interesting, particularly once we get down to the Elite Eight, as they call it every March.

Think of the baseball names who might be on the list and competing against one another at some point: Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux -- who was the best "winner" of those three pitchers? Then there's Jeter, Ortiz and Bumgarner, to throw three others out there for consideration.

In football, you have John Elway, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger -- and a few others, including a certain linebacker who played in Baltimore.

In basketball, there's Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Steph Curry.

There's also Tiger Woods (golf), Annika Sorenstam (golf), Serena Williams (tennis), Roger Federer (tennis), Sidney Crosby (hockey), Michael Phelps (swimming) and Jeff Gordon (NASCAR).

Who are we leaving out?

We have about 25 contestants thus far, internally, so we're still sifting through the stats and data to come up with the final seven. We'll then set the bracket as fairly as we can, trying to provide the best possible match-ups along the way.

Here's where you can start helping today. Use the "Comments" section below to add a name you haven't seen above as a possible contestant for our top 32. We'll consider anyone that we see in the comments below, providing they fit the criteria we outlined above.

You can also chime in with who you think the four #1 seeds should be in our bracket.

At this point, we're considering Brady, Woods, Jordan and Phelps as the top seeds, but that's only a rough first draft. We'll spend today chiseling away at this and we'll have the bracket ready to go by Thursday.

Help us find the rest of our "winners". Use the Comments section below to throw in a few names you haven't already seen mentioned above.

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o's start important 3-game series in detroit tonight


Let's categorize this series in Detroit for what it is: A mid-May three-gamer that most certainly won't decide who wins the American League East in September.

But that doesn't mean it isn't an important series for the Orioles. It's very important, actually.

The Birds limped into Detroit late Sunday night and spent Monday licking their wounds on the heels of a 3-game sweep at the hands of the Kansas City Royals. The Orioles hadn't been swept in K.C. since 2000, by the way. But in their last 12 visits to Kauffman Stadium, the O's are now 2-10.

The O's are visiting Detroit at a good time, it would seem. The Tigers lost five of their last eight on a west coast road trip and stand at 18-18 on the season. The top part of their lineup has been struggling and Miguel Cabrera -- one of the most productive offensive players in baseball over the last five years -- is hitting just .238 and hasn't homered in ten games.

Eight extra-base hits in 36 games isn't what the Orioles thought they'd be getting when they signed Mark Trumbo to a new 3-year contract in the off-season.

The Tigers aren't exactly sending Glavine-Maddux-Smoltz to the mound in this series, either. Tonight it's Matthew Boyd who gets the start for Detroit, with Michael Fulmer (Wednesday) and Jordan Zimmermann (Thursday) throwing later in the week.

Baltimore's 22-14 record is good enough for second place in the A.L. East, just a half-game behind the Yankees, but it's been a rocky ride over the last ten days or so. The offense hasn't been very productive and the bullpen -- already taxed, apparently -- hasn't been good, either. With Toronto coming to town for their second visit of the season this weekend, the O's need to right the ship in the Motor City.

The good news for the Birds? Chris Davis appears to be waking up after a miserable first 30 games. He homered twice in the K.C. series and reached base five times in Sunday's 9-8 loss to the Royals. While he only has 11 RBI in 36 games (that's a 50'ish RBI total for the season, averaged), Davis is now hitting .252 and his on-base-percentage is an impressive .368. And he continues to flash the glove defensively at first base.

Seth Smith has quietly put together a very good start in this, his first season in Charm City. Smith is now hitting .301 with an OBP of .395 and his defense in right field has been acceptable. He's no Adam Jones out there, but if it's hit his way, he looks like he knows what he's doing.

And Caleb Joseph suddenly learned how to hit again, but his time as a starter is likely coming to an end with Welington Castillo set to re-join the team on Tuesday after a stint on the disabled list. If nothing else, Joseph is no longer an automatic out when he gets that once-a-week start or -- can't believe I'm saying this -- Buck uses him as a pinch hitter.

But there's probably more bad news than good when it comes to the Orioles and their offense.

Mark Trumbo is off to a woeful start, with just eight extra-base hits in 146 at bats thus far in 2017. Not only is his average not good (.233) but his on-base-percentage is J.J. Hardy-like at .282. It's one thing if Trumbo's hitting .230 with 10 home runs. But we're nearly a quarter of the way through the season and he has 4 HR and 17 RBI. That's roughly an 18 home run, 72 RBI pace, kids.

And Manny Machado continues to struggle as well, but his home run total (9) is saving him from any deep scrutiny. Machado is now hitting just .221 and his OBP is .313. Hardly the numbers of a guy who might be trying to command upwards of $40 million a year eighteen months from now.

But the best news of all clearly outshines the worst news. The Orioles are in great shape, record wise, as they near the quarter pole. They're well in the hunt in the American League East and don't figure to be far off the pace throughout the summer. Once the bats get going at full speed, Buck Showalter's team should be just fine.

KELLY banner ad

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!


ncaa lacrosse tournament round one re-cap


It was a big weekend in college lacrosse as the first round of the NCAA tournament played out mostly as expected. Here's a brief recap of each game that took place last Saturday and Sunday.

Towson 12 - Penn State 8

When this game started out out as a defensive struggle, it was apparent it was going to be Towson's kind of game. And it was as the Tigers, led by one of the best defenses in the country and Joe Seider's (Hereford) 4 goals and 2 assists, took down the Nittany Lions on the road with a strong second half. Towson had several shots in the first half, out shooting Penn State 43 to 23 for the game, and relied on long possessions that eventually wore down the Penn State defense.

All CAA faceoff specialist Alex Woodall was having a strong game and scored off a faceoff midway through the 3rd. However, he appeared to have pulled a muscle on the effort and did not return. His backup, Connor Harryman started slow but finished admirably going 6-11 helping Towson secure the victory.

Penn State was lead by attackmen Grant Ament (3g, 1a) and Mac O'Keefe (3g). Goalie Colby Kneese also had a big game with 16 saves. Helping the Tiger offense besides Seider were seniors Ryan Drenner (2g, 2a) and Mike Lynch (2g, 1a).


Duke 19 - Johns Hopkins 6

There was a thought that this could be a perfect storm with Duke playing strong up to the tournament and Johns Hopkins struggling down the stretch. But I don't think anyone had predicted this lopsided of an outcome. The Blue Jays started out strong winning the first few faceoffs and taking a 2 goal lead. Then the Blue Devils woke up and took control, eventually taking a 12-5 lead into half behind Justin Guterding's 2 goals 6 assists in the half (4g 6a total).

Underrated faceoff specialist Kyle Rowe was stellar winning 18 of 24 draws. The 3 to 1 possession advantage took its tool on the Blue Jays defense whose goalie troubles were further exasperated when starting goalie Gerald Logan was declared academically ineligible. Turnbaugh started in the net but eventually was pulled for Will Ryan who was also having issues. Hopkins goalies only made 9 saves on the day.

Other Duke offensive leaders included Joey Manown (4g 1a) and Sean Lowrie (3g 1a). Hopkins offense was lead by Kieran Eissler (2g) and Shack Stanwick (1g 1a).


Denver 17 - Air Force 10

A similar result to the first meeting between the two teams 3 months ago. Trevor Baptiste (2g) was virtually unstoppable going 23 of 27 from the faceoff X which led to the Pioneers outshooting the Falcons 46-23. Air Force only put shots 14 on cage which speaks further to the possession dominance. Denver's defense also keyed on Air Force's star Chris Walsch, holding him to just 2 assists.

The Pioneers received balanced scoring with 8 different goal scorers includng Connor Cannizzaro, Austin French, and Max Planning each with 3 goals and 1 assist while Ethan Walker netted 2 goals and 2 assists. Air Force scoring was led by Grand Gould with 3 goals and Chet Dunstan and Matthew Schwartz, each netting 2 goals.


Albany 15 - North Carolina 12

This highly anticipated match-up played out rather odd as a dominant first half by the Great Danes outlasted a dominate second half by the Tar Heels. In a way, the game was a microcosm of UNC's season in which they started off very poorly but finished very strong. Albany appeared to be unstoppable at times in the first half as they put on an offensive clinic behind Connor Fields (1g 5a), Adam Osika (3g 2a) and Bennett Drake (5g), taking a 14-3 lead into the locker room.

Freshman TD Ierlan was their catalyst winning 15 of 19 faceoffs in the first half, and 23 of 30 for the game. However, the script flipped in the 2nd half as Carolina woke up. UNC's offense, led by Chris Cloutier (5g 1a) scored at will and their defense shut down the Great Danes, holding them to just 1 goal behind Brian Balkam's 5 second half saves. But UNC's 9 goals in the second half wasn't enough.


Notre Dame 15 - Marquette 9

This game started out as a close game as expected. However, after a 4-4 tie midway through the 2nd quarter, Notre Dame pulled away and never looked back. The Irish got their offensive stars Sergio Perkovic and Ryder Garnsey back for the tourney. But it was attackman Brendan Gleason who stole the show with 5 goals and an assist to lead Notre Dame past Marquette.

Notre Dame's defense also had a good day behind defenseman Garrett Epple's (Calvert Hall) 3 ground balls and 2 caused turnovers and goalie Shane Doss's 12 saves. Marquette was led by Tanner Thompson (1g 3a) and John Wagner (3g).


Maryland 13 - Bryant 10

I figured the Terps would have a little letdown after 2 intense B1G tourney games and thought they'd play good enough to win. And this seemed to be how the game went. The Terps took a 6-4 halftime lead as Bryant seemed to play with them for 2+ quarters. Then, midway through the 3rd, Maryland went on a 7-1 run, taking a 13-5 lead and coasting the rest of the way.

Matt Rambo led the Terp offense with 2 goals and 6 assists with Tim Rotanz netting 5 goals. Tucker James paced the Bulldogs with 4 goals while Cam Ziegler added 3 goals.


Ohio State 7 - Loyola 4

We know the Buckeyes can play some defense. But this was rather unexpected and it wasn't for not trying as the Greyhounds took plenty of shots (44 total). Unfortunately, they only put 16 on cage and Ohio State's Tom Carey saved 12 of them.

Loyola got their looks, but it was just one of those days. The Buckeye's defenseman Ben Randall did an outstanding job on Tewaarton finalist Pat Spencer, holding him to just one goal on the afternoon.


Syracuse 11 - Yale 10

By far, the best game of the weekend as the Cardiac 'Cuse do it again with another thrilling one goal win. Yale dominated possession, winning 18 of 22 faceoffs and out shooting the Orange 42-29. But Syracuse goalie Evan Malloy came up big with 15 saves, outplaying his counterpart from Yale, Phil Huffard, who only made 5 saves, which was the difference in this one.

Tewaarton finalist Ben Reeves was the man for the Bulldogs with 4 goals and 2 assists. Syracuse was led by Nick Mariano (2g 1a) and Jordan Evans (1g 2a) which included the game winning assist to Stephen Rehfuss with 2 minutes left to break a 10-10 tie.

The Orange now face Towson University in Newark, Delaware this Sunday, May 22nd, in the NCAA quarterfinals.

Duclaw banner

orioles-yankees one-day trip
at an amazing price! (only four 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.



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

NHL: Chiasson's two goals lead Caps to 5-3 win in Boston.

NBA: LeBron, Cavs win first showdown with Lakers and Ball, 121-112, as James records 59th career triple-double.

NFL: Broncos outlast Colts in Indy, 25-13, in Thursday Night snoozer.

MLB: Twins sign veteran closer Fernando Rodney to 1-year deal.