Tuesday
August 15
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Issue 15
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interested birds clobber disinterested mariners, 11-3


Maybe that was the way the Orioles looked last season whenever Yovani Gallardo was on the mound. I don't really remember it that well.

Gallardo's first pitch last night was belted out of the park and the Orioles pounded the erstwhile Baltimore right-hander for seven runs in the first two innings as the O's opened a crucial 3-game series in Seattle with an 11-3 win.

Tim Beckham authored that leadoff homer and had two other hits, while Trey Mancini and Seth Smith also went deep for the Birds, who are now 59-60 on the year. Seattle fell to 59-61 with the loss.

Kevin Gausman continued his fine second half with a win last night in Seattle, working his way out of an early jam while improving to 9-8 on the season.

The game was so out of hand early on that broadcasters Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer essentially did no real play-by-play from the third inning on. They told Earl Weaver stories, Thorne sang a couple of Broadway tunes (pretty well, too, I might add) and the two laughed and giggled for the next couple of hours while the teams went through the exercise of actually finishing the game.

When Seattle left fielder Guillermo Heredia misplayed a fly ball off the bat of Chris Davis in the 2nd inning, Thorne said exactly what I was thinking as I watched the Mariners in action for the first 30 minutes of the game: "They're...just...disinterested."

I'm glad Thorne said it first. I know how touchy people are in Baltimore whenever you don't give the Orioles the credit they deserve. But from the very first pitch, the Mariners didn't look like they gave a hoot. Weird angles to fly balls, the misplay by Heredia, a baserunning blunder that didn't get punished in the opening inning...they looked more like a team playing out the string than a team trying to stay alive in the playoff race.

Seattle probably had good reason to be disinterested, though, based on what Gallardo showed them on Monday night. He was awful, starting with the very first pitch he threw to Beckham. They left him in the game to take his beating like a man and he lasted until Adam Jones tagged him for a leadoff double in the 5th. Too bad he can't pitch again tonight...

Kevin Gausman got off to a shaky start, but worked his way out of a first inning jam where the Mariners had tied the game at 1-1 and had runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs thanks to yet another error by Beckham on a botched play at second base. Once Gausman was able to escape that jam with no further damage, the Birds' offense went to work in the second.

Manny Machado's grand slam extended a 3-1 O's lead to 7-1 and that started the two-hour comedy routine from Thorne and Palmer, who often times do their best work when the game is lopsided. Last night was an example of their greatness. It made staying up to watch a thrashing well worth it.

The Mariners are reeling now. They dropped four straight home games to the Angels last week and lost last night's series opener to the Birds. They've gone from 59-55 and in good shape in the wild card race to 59-61 and slipping quickly.

The Yankees (62-55) and Royals (60-58) were both winners on Monday night. The Angels (61-58) and Twins (59-57) were both idle last night.

Game two of the series in Seattle has Wade Miley on the hill for the O's against someone named Andrew Albers. We can only hope he's as useless as Matt Albers. If so, the Birds will be back to .500 around 1:00 am or so on Wednesday morning.

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tiger should do the right thing and warn others about pain meds


Now we know why Tiger Woods was in a stupor back in late May when he was arrested on DUI charges near his South Florida home.

He had as many drugs in him (five) as Phil Mickelson has major titles.

The police were able to release Tiger’s toxicology report on Monday since his case was adjudicated last week and it’s no longer an “open” investigation. I’m not really sure why any of us would care what Tiger was using on the night of his arrest. It was obvious by the police dash-cam he was on something.

Tiger Woods could take his addiction to pain medication and turn it into a positive -- if he so chooses.

The toxicology report showed traces of THC (likely marijuana, although there are a few other muscle relaxers with the same chemical breakdowns), Vicodin, Ambien, Xanax and Dilaudid in Tiger’s system on the night of his arrest.

Geez, now we know why Tiger can’t break par anymore.

I was given Dilaudid last March when I had my kidney stone episode. I thought I was on Jupiter. I can’t imagine taking it on your own or without medical supervision.

And to think Woods was actually driving on the night of his arrest. Sort of. He was behind the wheel at some point, under the influence of those five drugs, and attempting to drive a vehicle. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

Woods is likely finished as a competitive golfer, although I’m sure at some point in the next few months we’ll read a timeline about his anticipated return to the sport and his continued chase of the all-time major championship record (18) held by Jack Nicklaus.

But no matter if Woods ever tees it up again or not, he owes it to those fans who supported him during his career to initiate a campaign designed to warn folks about the dangers of pain medication addiction and driving under the influence of them.

It’s not Tiger’s nature to put himself in the position of being criticized, which is likely what would happen if he agreed to a promotional campaign centered on his use of pain killers. But he should do it nonetheless.

Lots of people bought golf clubs, clothes, watches and cars because of the influence Woods had over the fawning public.

Those same people would potentially be willing to listen to Tiger’s message about the dangers of pain killers, particularly those not prescribed by a physician.

I can’t imagine the TV networks would object if the Woods camp recorded a PSA and forwarded it to them. The Golf Channel, ESPN, etc. would likely air it. It’s Tiger Woods, after all. He’s still one of the most recognizable figures in the world.

There have long been rumors about Woods and PED use. None of those have ever been confirmed. Thus, it wouldn’t make sense for Tiger to “come clean” on those accusations.

But the pain killer story was also lingering within the golf world for at least two years before his arrest back in May and it turned out to be true. There’s no reason why Tiger shouldn’t meet this challenge head on and author a promotional campaign designed to help others learn more about the dangers of pain medicine.

I realize Woods might not need the public to rally around him and show their support during this dark time in his life. His yacht can provide all the comfort and security he needs, plus those 14 major championship trophies can remind him of his professional achievements and accomplishments.

But if Tiger’s looking to do the right thing and make amends – or try to – for some of his personal failings, a campaign that warns people about abusing pain medication(s) would be a great start.

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from the desk of
brien jackson

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

Much gets made of the Orioles bad farm system.

We've all heard how the system lacks talent and depth, how there aren't any useful trade chips to help the team, or young studs waiting in the wings to lead the next era of Orioles' baseball. But, conversely, a handful of Orioles' prospects are performing at a very high level and generating some real buzz.

Is the worm turning on the system? Let's look at some specific prospects who have reached the high minors (at least Doouble-A) and are excelling as Baby Birds.

2018 could mark the major league debut of Chance Sisco, who has progressed through the O's minor league system and appears nearly ready for his audition at the highest level.

Chance Sisco: The best known prospect in the system, Sisco's stat line has taken a bit of a dive in his first full season of Triple-A ball at .282/.343/.395.

That's not bad, but it's nowhere near his career .315/.392/.426 minor league mark, and the fact that he's already struck out more times this season in 344 plate appearances (87) than he did in 470 with Bowie last season (83) is a sign of how much Sisco is adjusting to the higher level of competition, especially since he's walked less than half as many times.

On the other hand, while Sisco has never been much of a power hitter he's just five doubles shy of his entire 2016 total, and his ISO (isolated power, a metric that isolates extra base hits by substracting batting average from slugging percentage) would currently represent a career best for a full season.

Overall, scouts' impressions of Sisco seem to have risen quite a bit this season, and he vaulted into the top 30 in Baseball America's midseason top-100, in part because of a growing belief that he'll be able to competently handle catching at the big league level. If Welington Castillo declines his $7 million option for 2018, there's a decent chance Sisco will get the opportunity to split time behind the plate with Caleb Joseph next season.

Austin Hays: The only other Orioles' prospect to show up in BA's midseason top 100 (at 99), Hays has established himself as a hitting machine, conquering every level of the minor leagues he's seen so far.

Called up to Double-A Bowie this season at just 21 years old, he's already sporting a .350/.383/.650 slashline with 27 extra base hits including 20 home runs. An athletic enough outfielder, he's played the majority of his minor league innings thus far in centerfield.

Hays could perhaps have a rocket strapped to his back with the way he's hit at the Double-A level so far, the level the O's brain trust regards as the most important in the minors. On the other hand, if Hays does have one weakness it's that he's a bit of a free swinger, a fact that gets obscured by his high contact rates. It's likely that he'll whiff at a lot more of those pitches against big league caliber talent and, as a result, see an increase in his strikeout rate.

But the Orioles clearly don't have a problem with hitters with K:BB ratios of 5-1, or worse, and while I'd bet Hays starts next season in Norfolk, it won't surprise me if the team gives him a legitimate opportunity to win a major league spot in spring training.

Ryan Mountcastle: The Orioles' second best prospect coming into the season according to Baseball America, Mountcastle hasn't seen his stock rise as fast as Hays has this year, but he's more than holding his own thanks to one of the best bats in the minor leagues.

Before his promotion to Double-A a couple of weeks ago, Mountcastle was leading MiLB in doubles and sat just behind 26 year old Christian Walker in combined extra base hits. Still adjusting to the higher level, Mountcastle is hitting just .181 in his first 19 games at Bowie, but he has notched four doubles in that time frame.

Continuing a trend though, Mountcastle doesn't walk much at all, but his power at such a young age speaks for itself. The biggest knock on Mountcastle is his defensive ability, or more specifically, his lack of an obvious position. Drafted as a shortstop, he's already moved to playing third base in Bowie but with a below average arm he's not likely to stick there either.

The consensus is that he'll be relegated to left field or the DH role in the big leagues, something the Orioles have a bit of a glut of right now, actually. That could make him someone the Orioles might look to trade for help in the big league rotation if they remain playoff contenders in 2018-19.

The Orioles do, however, have two rather glaring problems with their system. The first is that there's no real depth to speak of. The three guys above may all be premier prospects at the moment, but even by the time you get to the end of their Top 10 list you're running into guy who don't project to be impact players at the big league level in the best case scenario, and aren't likely to have much trade value at all.

That's a real problem that limits their options when making roster moves, and also hampers their ability to buttress the margins of the major league roster over the course of a season like Buck and Duquette have done at their best.

The second issue is that they're sorely lacking in pitching prospects, and the high minors especially is basically barren. Tanner Scott is "starting" now, but he's being limited to just a few innings per outing and he's walked more batters than he's allowed hits so far. He remains a tantalizing name, but also someone who projects as a big league reliever and not a top pitching prospect.

Chris Lee, who just cracked BA's Orioles' top 10 list before the season, has a 69-49 K/BB ratio at an ERA over 5.55 as a 24 year old in Triple-A. There are some intriguing arms in the low minors in guys like Keenan Aiken and Cody Sedlock, and even Hunter Harvey is pitching again after recovering from surgery, but those guys are all a long way from the major leagues.

So yes, the Orioles still need a lot of help in this area from 2018 onward. With Zach Britton set to make $14-15 million in arbitration this winter, it probably makes sense to take a more aggressive approach to moving him this offseason both to free up additional payroll space AND to add cheap, controllable players to the system.

With Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy under control through 2020 and 2021 respectively, the Orioles have the starting blocks for a good foundation and competitive team for several more seasons, but pushing themselves into the realm of remaining perennial playoff hopefuls rather than just a decent-but-not-good franchise will require a new wave of young talent, and right now they're precariously thin on that front even in the very unlikely event that their best prospects all develop to their full potential over the next 2 or 3 years.

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#dmd comments


mike from catonsville     November 19
While Bucknell is a good team and have played everyone really tough even in losing efforts they are still in the Patriot League which is a notch above the MEAC. It would not have been a "Coppin State" loss of many moons ago but it's never good to lose to a Patriot league team. No knock to those young men and women but truthfully they aren't in the same league. (pun intended). This was a pay for play game that almost cost the Terps as much as they paid to Bucknell to come in to lose. Close to a double loss . Also glad to see the St.Joe grad again play well and was the catalyst in the win.

DELRAY RICK     November 19
Its curtains if the RAVENS lose today. If they use the same BORING CALLS you get the same BORING RESULTS.

English teacher     November 18
So saying you "witnessed" this hole on one is a Fact or an Opinion?? ;)

George     November 18
@Ghost – The #DMD Manual of Usage & Style isn’t issued to mere part-timers. I use the one for National Enquirer writers. It requires “holes-in-one,” because ‘hole’ is the noun being pluralized.

Ghost of JROB     November 18
Is it "hole-in-ones" or "holes-in-one". I say the latter. George will know.

ray ray     November 18
Steve From Pimlico if you dont like the articles and dont like the comments what are you here for, the ads?

Steve from Pimlico     November 18
Screw all this Ricky Fowler and hole in one talk. People are just using this site to write short stories and eventually it seems a novel. Be consise and informative. If golf was this important ,talk radio would pay more attention to it. This site is turning into a country club 19th hole.

J.J.     November 18
@Drew where are your 4 hole in one? Which courses?

DR (the original)     November 18
@Herman not sure, but I do remember specifically that he made one this year at the Players on the 17th hole island green. If you could make one hole-in-one anywhere that would be a good place to do it!

HERMAN     November 18
How many hole-in-ones does Ricky Fowler have?


Fat Frankie     November 18
My hole-in-one story is a long one, so I'm only going to tell one part. My cousin and I were playing in Ocean City. We rounded a turn and there was a pretty young girl is shorts and a t-shirt sitting next to a small table set up on the green of a par-three. It was a "contest" called Million Dollar Hole-In-Oneand the money supposedly went to kidney cancer research. You paid $5, and if you got it on the green you got a sleeve of balls and if you got a hole-in-one you got a trip out to Las Vegas, $1,000 and a chance to play in a tournament out there and one par three was worth $1,000,000. So, to be honest, I thought that I hit through the green, but we couldn't see my ball. So we all went down to the green to look and I went straight for the cup. When I saw my ball at the bottom, I turned to this pretty young girl and said, "Gimme a hug!" She looked at me and went, "eeewwww, No!" True story.

Bob from Hereford     November 18
Should the O's change the dimensions of Camden Yards to make it a legit major league playing field that fair to the pitchers and hitters? I have heard national baseball reporters, current pitchers, and retired pitchers say that they don"think it is fair. Some free agent ptcher may not come to the O's because of the ballpark according to many. This means that the only way to improve the staff is by trade or player development. The asking price for a quality pitcher on trade market is very steep. We have not developed a good pitcher (except Mussina) since the Yards opened. They seem to show pormise in the minors but flame out when they reach the majors. Some have become successful elsewhere after the O's trade or give up on them. Do Camden's dimensions get in their heads or are unable to be successful in a small because of their style, start trying to be too fine with the strike zone and end up with high pitch counts and walks. Camden is 25 years old. Prior to then The O,s developed many pitchers. Is the ballpark a big negative in the development and does iy make it hard to acquire pitchers by free agency? Is the only solution to move the fences back?

George     November 17
@MFC – A few weeks ago, I gave my humble opinion on the pitfalls of ceding one’s own judgment to a computer algorithm that “seems” official [and even calls itself so in its own name]. As is your right, you [obviously] rejected that opinion.

Let’s do an experiment.

Since the inception of the OWGR in 1986, there have been 128 major championships. If, before each of those majors, I had given you the Top Ten golfers on the OWGR just ahead of the tournament, and offered even money that none of the ten would win, would you have accepted or declined the wagers?


mike from catonsville     November 17
@George, the World Golf Rankings are statistically measured and ranked. It has NOTHING to do with hats, social media , followers, hot girlfriends etc. etc. etc. It has EVERYTHING to do with how you play. Statistically he is one of the top players in the world.



Please start picking another topic until RF starts to drop out of the top 25. Then you may have a case.

George     November 17
@Herman -- True. Sorry!

@DF – In the thesis of your piece today, you might just be right. Rickie may break out this year. Hogan floundered around on Tour for the first decade of his career, much like Rickie has floundered around for the first 10 years of his.

My point is – why is there this CONSTANT focus on Fowler, when Nick Watney, Patrick Reed, Ryan Moore, Hideki Matsuyama, Jason Dufner, Jimmy Walker, Henrik Stenson, Bill Haas, Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson, Jason Day, and Rory McIlroy have all had much more success than Rickie, and when Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, who haven’t been around as long as Fowler but have left him in their dust?

I say it’s because of his attire, looks, commercial frequency, and ability to photo bomb, scene bomb, and social-media bomb, and this constant presence is interpreted (wrongly!) as skill in golf. He’s golf’s equivalent of the Kardashians – famous for being famous.

HERMAN     November 17
@George

Brevity is the soul of wit

Chris     November 17
Hate to say it but @George is approaching "Brien status" with his hatred of Fowler. It is very similar to Brien's constant hatred of Flacco.

DF     November 17
@George --



Never once in my piece did I write that Fowler is "good for the game". That sort of stuff is for the birds. If Rickie Fowler finished 120th on the money list two years in a row he wouldn't be "good for the game". Fowler is popular with people because he is successful on the course. Kids wouldn't that goofy orange hat anymore if he suddenly stopped being successful.



Fowler is an extremely competent player no matter what your crazy eyes tell you. The numbers don't lie. He is a top 10 player in the world.

H     November 17
The NFL team that has given up the least amount of points this season is the Rams who have yielded 162 points over 9 games. The 2000 Ravens gave up 160 points in 16 games. Mind boggling,

George     November 17
@DF, DF, DF . . . . – Didn’t choke on my coffee. I’m not really surprised. I’ve been worried about you for some time.

Your BAPIB indicated you’d go off the literary cliff sometime in this quarter, and now that you’re airborne, I just hope you land softly.

I hear you wrote this drivel while in Pinehurst, which is in North Carolina, and North Carolina’s the state where the legislature has banned the citation of scientific statistics from peer-reviewed articles in any report produced by the state that deals with climate change, sea-level rise, species extinction, and air and water quality.

In a similar way, the pap you delivered today on Fowler is bereft of science yet long on soft-headed and self-serving opinion. You state that Matt Kuchar can’t close, and although you at least have the integrity to not write it clearly, you imply that Fowler CAN close.

Did you have your head in the sand during last year’s FedEx Cup playoffs? We with our eyes open saw Rickie collapse on the last day of an early tournament and blow a final-round lead. We also saw where, a few weeks later, when needing something like a 17th-place finish or better to get to East Lake, your boy stunk up the joint and finished near last.

Don’t let facts get in your way: Fowler has closed four times, Kuchar seven.

I note that you and Alert Commenter “Herman,” who appears in other respects to be both reasonable and intelligent, have begun to parrot the latest tagline spun out by the Fowler sponsor consortium – that he’s “good for the game.” I think they put this line in a couple of frames of each of the legion of commercials Rickie does, and the words become imprinted on your brains, to be trotted out in mindless response to some rational person who tells you that Rickie is a no more than a journeyman.

Rickie wasn’t able to earn his way onto the Ryder Cup team last year, but was a Captain’s Pick, even though he had a losing record and had never won a singles match. One of the rationals was that he was “good in the clubhouse.” I shudder to think what this means, but note that many writers and broadcasters parroted this line, so it too must have been embedded in the Fowler commercials.

In last week’s event, Fowler was a shot behind Kizzire starting the final round. Kizzire landed two right hand leads early in the match, and combined with a Rickie stumble, found himself with a four-shot lead. He then cruised to an easy victory.

I tremendously admire Rickie Fowler’s financial acumen. He has parlayed flashy clothes, long hair, boyish good looks, and a [admittedly pencil-enhanced] mustache into sponsorship deals that exceed by whole-number factors the deals struck by much more successful golfers. But you sadly mistake seeing Rickie in a staggeringly high percentage of the commercials shown during golf tournaments [he was also mercilessly inflicted on us during the World Series] for seeing him in the Winner’s Circle. If you saw Rickie finish second last week against a second-tier field, you’ve seen his highest finish of the 2017-18 season.

We who love #DMD and its otherwise excellent insight and opinion are truly worried about you. Perhaps we should set up an intervention.

Tom J     November 17
Annnnnnnddd yes Brien, the O-Line is a huge problem. Not the only problem but you have to win in the trenches. Do you see the stiffs they are trotting out there at guard..?? These guys shouldn't even be in a NFL roster let alone be starting on one.

HERMAN     November 17
@TimD sums it up in once sentence, excellent.

They have drafted playmaker after playmaker. And took Harrison who we cut from our practice squad and made him a superstar. Like New England they seem to be able to take quality athletes and plug-and-play them into their system, making them into high achievers.

Baltimore has always had what I call the "Ray Chester" problem. The Colts got Ray Chester, all pro, from the Raiders. Under our "system" he stunk it up. We let him go back to the Raiders, he was an all-pro the year he went back.

Jason M     November 17
DF used to talk about pedigree with certain organizations, and an expectation of winning. I think the Stillers have that little something extra that organizations like Montreal, NY Yankees have, where everyone has high expectations. It's lots of littler things all tempered by the concept that we're part of something special that is worth fighting for.

Brian from Towson     November 17
Anyone going to Green Bay? If so, where are you hanging out Saturday night or Sunday morning?

TimD in Timonium     November 17
Was thinking the same thing last night - HOW are the Steelers so good? For starters, they've surrounded Big Ben with play-makers. Brown and Bell are arguably the best at their positions in the NFL.



Drafting prowess? No better example than 2010. With the 194th pick, the Ravens selected OT Ramon Harewood. At 195, the Steelers took WR Antonio Brown. Game over.

DR (the original)     November 17
First of all, all jokes aside, the worst franchise in the history of sports is the Phillies, not the Flyers :)

Yes, in the last 3 seasons, the Steelers are a way better team than the Ravens. The Steelers have Ben, Bell and Brown, the Ravens don't. For the seven years before that, they had the same exact record (72-40). If we were wondering how the Steelers are always so good, they were wondering the same thing.

Fireball Roberts     November 17
The Steelers draft better than the Ravens. I could tell you the name of the Penguins GM but not the Steelers. This mystery man is someone special...lol

unitastoberry     November 17
The Stillers have a HOF qb case closed. Remember when Mike Wallace played there? He has not been heard from since.

I too had no idea Captain Who passed away. Alex Hawkins was a good football player and a wildman about town. He could be seen and heard in many local night spots my late father drove a cab so he knew a lot about him. Lombardi drafted him and cut him imagine him and Max McGee out on the town lol. RIP to a truly unique man who would kill you to win a football game.

Brien Jackson     November 17
Aaaaaaaaand we're still sticking with the idea that the Ravens' O-line is a problem. It's amazing how entrenched falsehoods get with this fanbase.

Kenny G     November 17
Add to the fact the Steelers invested in an Oline and the talent you mentioned at some of the skilled positions came later in the draft - ie the Ravens miss on 1st WR Perriman but the Steelers hit with 3rd, 4th and 6th round selections. What really has Campanaro or Moore done as a similar Raven investment? And this disparity has been there for over a decade (Wallace, Sanders, Brown vs Taylor, Clayton, Perriman).

StevenShea     November 17
The difference between the Steelers and the Ravens is that the Ravens largely have cardboard cutouts for an offensive line. Football has always been first and foremost having our fat guys beat the other teams fat guys. Beyond that it’s all about who’s healthy and that was lost before the first tackle in preseason. The real question is why the Ravens have the most injuries year in and year out. Harbaugh has proven he can win with mediocre talent, but no one can win with no talent.

HERMAN     November 17
Fowler is good for the game. And it's great to see him playing consistently at a high level. What has happened to Bubba? Where is Hunter Mahan these days, it looks like he's fighting to save his card after a few years of brilliant play. Brandt Snedeker appears to have lost focus doing a few too many credit card commercials and dropped off the leader boards. But Ricky has maintained a high level of play even while some close friends dropped back into the second tier. The twenty-somethings watch Ricky on social media at Baker's Bay, they follow him on instagram and all those other sites, watching his antics with fellow tour young guns, and he makes them want to play the game.

And that's great for the sport.

Steve in Hunt Valley     November 17
Stomach turning to read but all very true, DF.



Thanks for an insightful article today.

Brien Jackson     November 17
@Eric



Re: Correa; People have been banging this since at least 2012...and they're not wrong. In fact, the Ravens are a mess with that kind of issue in the defensive front. The big question is whether it's a coaching thing or a drafting/front office thing, and it sure looks like it's at least partly the latter. They've got a glut of defensive tackles on the line, then they take rush specialists like Judon and Smith who are really hand in the dirt guys and push them out to the Jarrett Johnson role, and then the OLBs get slid to the inside. Predictably, their linebacking play has been really bad as a result.



And, incidentally, one thing they might consider for the offseason is cutting Suggs and switching to a 4-3 base.

Brien Jackson     November 17
There was a play in the first half where Roethlisberger took one step and just flipped a back shoulder throw to Brown for a mediumish gain. Nothing fancy, just a short snap-and-go route where the ball gets there as Brown is breaking his route. The announcers immediately start talking about how the Steelers are going to pepper the Titans with plays like that to make them stop blitzing. Now compare that to how the Titans attacked the Ravens two weeks ago, and think about how many times you've seen Flacco throw that kind of quick, accurate timing route.



And there's your answer.

Brien Jackson     November 17
Lol, now we're citing playoff records again. We're gonna stick with lying to ourselves about Flacco forever no matter how bad it gets, aren't we?

eric     November 17
Ravens offered Flacco 100 mil in training camp, 4 game run got him extra 20 but as usual with NFL contracts no player that has signed for 100 mil has ever collected more than 70 mil. Contract gets torn up and player either gets cut or gets a new backloaded deal. I see Correia mom has chimed in ripping Harbaugh and sadly i have to completely agree with her. Why you would draft a guy high to play outside lb and immediately move him inside makes no sense and has had predictable results

Casual observer     November 16
Yea, why can't Ozzie predict the future after the fact, you know, like Brien can....sheesh

George     November 16
Does anyone know why Ben Roethlisberger wears an 82nd Airborne Division patch on the back of his helmet?

Clayton     November 16
I agree with Brien. If something is done and it turns out bad then the only correct thing to do is criticize whoever did the bad thing. Lame excuses are for losers.

Mike From Reisterstown     November 16
@Brien loves TT. Sorry Brien, I have to agree with @Ray Ray. Go look at Flacco's playoff win record leading up to that contract. You would be insane not to sign him. Why would Belichick or any other GM/HC ignore that 5 year run? Can you imagine the blow back in Baltimore if they did not sign him?

Brien Jackson     November 16
@Ray Ray



That's ridiculous. Belichick, for one, would have stayed on whatever number he would offer at the end of the regular season, and wouldn't let four games massively inflate his commitment.

Eric     November 16
So many morons at 105.7....im gueasing either Coleman or other no talent clown Weinmann said that. Terps are loaded but i have zero faith in Turgeon to get the max out of them.

Jason M     November 16
Anyone that talks sports for a living on the air, that says he doesn't want his hometown team to make the playoffs, is a dolt for all the reason DF pointed out, but also because your job will be a lot more interesting, ratings higher if we're playing in January. I stopped listening to sports talk when DF 'left'...it just gives me a headache when ever I hear it. I think it;s hard to do local sports talk 'right', ie. keep it interesting.

HERMAN     November 16
@George

"Captain Who" lived a very colorful life and was quite a character. His book was hilarious, and his stories of working around Baltimore in the off-season take you back to another time. He gained national fame with the whole "That's my story and I'm sticking to it" line that was made into a country song.

Anyone who wants a good read pick up the biography on Alex Hawkins, it's a quick read, but funny.

Ray ray     November 16
And Napoleon should have had a B-52. C'mon Brien! Nobody in the league would have let Flacco get away after the Super Bowl. To even say it is to engage in fantasy.

The truth     November 16
@Brien You just proved my point with your Moore comment: in the NFL, stuff happens. Every game, every season. Thus, all Taylor's stars while in BUF mean nothing (read David's article today on that topic).

I am not arguing Flacco has lived up to his contract, he clearly has not. The two points are at that point in time, you had to pay him (at the market price) and arguing Taylor would have been the way to go is not only revisionist history, it's totally fallible logic.

Your argument is out of the Ken Weiman playbook, which is a subset of the Preston playbook

DR (the original)     November 16
I get the idea that it's a franchise altering mistake, Mile High Miracle or not. The guy has obviously underperformed and is pretty bad now, while at the same time he's taking up way too much $.

But you have to admit...the team taking him in '08 was a franchise altering decision as well, in a good way.

Brien Jackson     November 16
All you really need to know to understand how the Ravens made a franchise altering mistake with Flacco is that they don't even entertain giving Joe the biggest contract in NFL history if Rahim Moore maintains deep coverage.

Brien Jackson     November 16
@The Truth



I'm genuinely curious why people say this. I mean, Taylor has been Buffalo's starter since 2015, and he's had a QBR of 70.3 and 68.4 in the prior two seasons, while Flacco has been 54.2 and 58.4 in 2015-16. Taylor is 27-9 in TDs to INTs, while Flacco is 28-25. Flacco's INT% is twice as high. And Taylor added 1,148 rushing yards in those two seasons. He's clearly been more productive than Flacco, and he's not only been cheaper, but his contract would be much more favorably structured giving the team far more leverage to cut bait and rebuild than they have now (and a team signing him with the non-exclusive tag would have netted two additional high first round draft picks). Instead they're stuck with one of the very worst starting QBs in the entire league for at least another 2-3 seasons.



I get why people worked backwards to defend Flacco in 2011-14 or so, but I don't get why it persists today.

Monday
August 14
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXVII
Issue 14
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davis decision could affect manny, schoop, jones and britton


In the game of baseball, it's rare that a big money contract like Chris Davis signed in 2016 ever truly winds up being a "winner" for the organization.

Most of the time, the player's future performance doesn't even out with the money he was given. That's not a knock on the players, by the way. It's just the way it is -- the money they get simply can't get "evened out" with their offensive production or pitching prowess.

The Orioles, as we know now, are upside-down on that $161 million deal they give Chris Davis a year ago. They'll never recoup their investment with the first baseman, unless he suddenly catches lightning in a bottle.

Chris Davis is now hitting .214 after going 1-for-4 in Sunday's 9-3 loss to the Athletics.

But the bad contract awarded to Davis after a stellar 2015 campaign could haunt the Birds in far more ways than just overpaying him until 2037, which is when he'll see the last of that $161 million deal.

The Davis contract could be a stumbling block for the Birds with four high-profile free agents. Three of those four play the field, with Manny Machado, Zach Britton and Adam Jones all reaching free agency after the 2018 campaign and Jonathan Schoop getting his assumed-big-payday after the 2019 season.

But just how much influence will that awful deal the O's gave Davis influence ownership and management over the next three years?

True, the club will be freeing up a lot of money after this season, as Brien Jackson pointed out here at #DMD last Thursday. But "freeing up money" and "spending money" don't always go hand-in-hand with the Birds. And, in this case, they won't be signing standard free agent deals with the four players listed above -- at least three of them will be seeking "mega-deals" for their position, while Jones still figures to command at least $15 million a year for three or four years to finish up the bulk of his playing career.

I think we all know what the Orioles should do first in this situation. They simply MUST move Davis and that albatross contract of his.

That's easier said than done, of course. Davis has already cleared revocable waivers, a sign that the Birds at least have the wheels in motion to make a deal for the first baseman, but he also owns a limited no-trade clause in his contract, so the Birds can't just shove him off to any team that might want him.

So, step one looks to be in place. The Orioles are willing (and wanting) to give up on Davis after just two seasons of $23 million a year. But that contract is so bad and the no-trade clause is so limiting that they might not be able to make any move at all.

That the Birds are even in this position is all on them. They either greatly misjudged Trey Mancini's ceiling or he's playing over-his-head in this, his first full major league season. In hindsight, with everything being equal, the O's would have let Davis walk prior to last season, patched together a first base platoon of some sort in 2016, then unleashed Mancini as the full-time first baseman in 2017.

It would be interesting to know exactly what did happen in that regard. Has Mancini blossomed more quickly than anticipated? That can happen. The O's obviously didn't think Davis was going to go in the crapper like this, but it's fair to point out they were in a no-win situation when he reached free agency after the 2015 campaign.

If they signed him to a huge contract, odds were he wouldn't justify that expenditure over seven years.

If they wouldn't have signed him, odds were they were going to get raked over the coals by the fan base.

The only way the whole deal made sense long-term was if Davis continued to hit 45 home runs a year and knock in 115 runs while batting .260 or so. That's probably too much to ask, particulary now as we see Davis struggle to hit .220 and strike out at least once a night.

But why they chose Davis and $161 million over an up-and-coming rookie like Mancini is a question worth asking.

At this point, though, that's all water under the bridge. The Birds have Davis on lockdown and unless some Major League team in desperate need of a quality defensive first baseman and occasional power hitter comes along, the team's first base spot isn't up for grabs for quite some time.

And that also means, the O's will be shelling out $23 million to a guy not earning his keep. How does that sit with Peter Angelos and his financial folks when Machado comes along asking for $35 million, Britton asks for $18 million, Jones "only" wants $15 million and Schoop -- if he continues to play like he is in 2017 -- commands upwards of $30 million (in 2020)?

Oh, and they still have to fill out the rest of the 40-man roster, don't forget.

A couple of those guys will have to be told "no", you'd suspect. There's always the chance some other team covets them more than the O's do, of course. Boston is probably foaming at the mouth in anticipation of Machado playing at Fenway and hitting a gazillion home runs into the Boston night. A bunch of teams would take Jones and his extraordinary locker room presence. Britton will be a much sought-after commodity, as top closers generally are, and Schoop, based on 2017 alone, will be highly regarded as well, but that's three years away.

The Orioles will not be able to keep all four, that's for sure.

Just guessing here, but the easiest two to move along would be Jones and Britton. But both are quality -- and popular -- players and their loss would be felt on the field, big time.

I'll say it again, if only to further ram the point home. The Orioles have to figure out a way to rid themselves of Chris Davis and his contract. They might have to make him part of a multi-player deal and the O's would certainly have to chip in and pay some of the remaining monies owed to Davis. But they can't keep paying $23 million a year and having him generate no real production while sucking up a substantial portion of the team's salary budget.

Oh, and here's the other thing: If this season was thought to be an outlier and you could reasonably assume Davis would return to 45 HR/115 RBI in 2018 and beyond, you suck it up and move on, knowing the odds are good you're going to get the better end of the deal for a few years.

2017 isn't an outlier for Davis. He wasn't very good last year and he's actually teetering on being worse this season. It looks more and more like 2015 was the outlier, honestly.

If the Birds have the financial means to suck up the Davis deal and not let it affect the way they pursue the signings of Machado, Britton, Jones and Schoop, that's terrific news. The Yankees shelled out $151 million for Jacoby Ellsbury a few years ago and they're stuck with him through 2021, yet they still seem to be capable of spending money.

I know we can't compare the Orioles and Yankees when it comes to available cash for player payroll, but at least the O's have a working example to learn from and utilize as they try and figure out how to live with a bad contract like the one they gave Davis.

The easiest way to "live with it" is to get rid of it. But I'm not sure any team would be willing to take Davis at this point.

Let's just hope the O's don't punish us for one bad contract and allow four key pieces of their club to sign somewhere else over the next few years.

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thomas wins pga, european ryder cup team officially on notice now


There was a decade or so of dominance from the European Ryder Cup team that included bi-annual wins, chanting and cheering, champagne, and general revelry at the expense of a disinterested and less-talented (apparently) American side.

There will be no such dominance from the Europeans for the foreseeable future, my friends.

That ship has sailed.

With his fourth win of the season at the PGA Championship on Sunday, Justin Thomas moved into the lead for PGA Tour Player-of-the-Year honors.

Justin Thomas captured the first major title of his career on Sunday at Quail Hollow GC in Charlotte, and in the process, further cemented the U.S. as Ryder Cup favorites in Paris next September.

We'll get back to that subject shortly.

Thomas produced a sizzling display of putting on Sunday, including a spectacular birdie on the 221 yard 17th hole, where he rolled in a 12-foot putt to give himself a 3-shot lead heading to the 18th tee. After a safe, routine bogey from the fairway bunker, Thomas was a major champion.

Hideki Matsuyama had the lead late in the opening nine holes, but as is almost always the case with Matsuyama, his putter betrayed him at the worst possible time. He remains one of the game's most powerful players and somewhat of a phenom in terms of the way he swings at the golf ball, but when it comes to closing out tournaments and sealing the deal, the Japanese star can't make the putts he needs to make.

Kevin Kisner battled gamely and was momentarily within one shot of the lead after a nice birdie at the 15th, but he promptly bogeyed #16 at roughly the same time Thomas was rolling in his birdie putt at #17 and that was the end of his quest to claim his first major.

Patrick Reed was right there, too, but a bad tee-shot at the 18th led to a closing bogey that would cost him solo second place. Reed, Francisco Molinari and Louis Oosthuizen all finished at 6-under par, two shots behind Thomas, who now has four wins this season and is the front-runner for Player of the Year honors on the PGA Tour.

In the end, Thomas won the way most guys win major titles. He putted better than everyone else. He rolled in a long putt for bogey on the very first hole, then saved par with another decent-length putt at the second. Time and time again, when faced with a "must make" putt, that's exactly what Thomas did -- he made it.

With three of the four majors in 2017 going to first timers, we've eliminated three players from the old debate, "who is the best player without a major title"?

We now know it's not Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka or Justin Thomas.

The answer is likely Rickie Fowler, who climbed up the leaderboard on Sunday and momentarily got himself in position at 5-under par, but it was too little, too late for Fowler. He has knocked on the door a lot at majors over the last six years, but he still hasn't won one. His time will likely come soon -- he has the game to win any of the four majors -- but it's not easy to play with that label (Best Player Without A Major) attached to your golf bag, as Garcia proved for a long time.

But while Fowler might not have a major title by next fall, he'll be part of the American Ryder Cup team that heads to France to take on the European side. And so will about ten other ass-kickers who are going to make life miserable for Thomas Bjorn's team.

The champagne days are over for a while, lads.

Thomas all but locked up his spot with yesterday's win, while Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Fowler are all as in as they can be without formally having a spot clinched.

Those are six really good players right there. Throw in Reed, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker (who was outstanding at Hazeltine last year) and Bill Haas and you have ten legit rock stars.

We put up with a lot of misery for a long time as far as the Ryder Cup is concerned. But the worm has turned. It's still 14 months away, but the excitement is already building for a romp in Paris.

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only 10 seats left for our bus trip to nyc to see billy joel at the garden!!


If there's one place you simply must see the great Billy Joel perform, it's Madison Square Garden in New York City.

So, let's do it!

#DMD is putting together a one-day mega-trip to the Big Apple on Saturday, September 30, and you're invited to attend!

We're heading up there to see Billy Joel play on the evening of September 30 at the Garden. You have your choice of upper or lower level seating for the concert. The lower level seats we've secured are right next to the stage! You'll love those seats. But if you'd prefer to sit upstairs, we have good seats available there, too.

WE NOW HAVE JUST 10 SEATS LEFT ON THE BUS. IF YOU'RE PLANNING ON GOING, PLEASE PLACE YOUR TICKET ORDER SOON USING THE LINK BELOW.

We'll be leaving the Towson area at 9:00 am on the 30th. Breakfast will be provided by Royal Farms, lunch will be served as we enter New York City, courtesy of our friends at Palmisano's of Baldwin. We'll have ice cold Duclaw beer on the ride to NYC, plus an awesome Billy Joel trivia contest with a $50 cash prize to the winner.

You'll have the bulk of the afternoon to spend in New York City. The concert starts at 8 pm.

If you haven't seen Billy Joel at the Garden, this is a must-check-off item on your bucket list. It's a once-in-a-lifetime show.

We'll be returning right after the show, so those of you with Ravens-Steelers tickets for Sunday, October 1st at Ravens Stadium will have plenty of time for a good night's sleep before cheering on the purple birds on Sunday afternoon.

Everything is included in the pricing below. Round-trip luxury motor coach transportation, food, drinks, concert ticket, etc.

Lower concourse pricing: $395 per-person

Upper concourse pricing: $325 per-person

You can go here to reserve and pay for your tickets to see "The Piano Man" at the Garden with #DMD.

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Sunday
August 13
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXVII
Issue 13
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


this, that and the other


I've seen a lot of baseball games in my day, but that one last night in Oakland where the Orioles scored seven runs in the first inning was one for the ages.

The Birds cranked out eight hits in that opening frame and chased A's started pitcher Sean Manaea after he was able to record just one out.

Seven runs and eight hits before half of the 30,000 who attended the game actually made it to their seats.

Can you imagine running a few minutes late and getting to the ballpark ten minutes after first pitch, striding from the concourse to the seating area and looking up at the scoreboard to see: ORIOLES 7 - ATHLETICS 0?

O's righthander Dylan Bundy improved to 12-8 with an easy win in Oakland last night as the Birds improved to 58-59.

Oakland scratched their way back to 7-3 in the second inning but an Adam Jones double in the 4th made it 9-3 and the O's then tacked on three more runs in the 9th to finalize the scoring at 12-5.

Here's an interesting tidbit from last night's win: The Birds scored 12 runs -- and hit ZERO home runs in the game.

The A's had two themselves, one coming from the Khris Davis who is actually having a solid season. Davis hit his 32nd homer of the year in the first inning off of Bundy. You can insert your own joke here about their Khris Davis and our Chris Davis and who should have the "K" in their name.

The O's will try and reach that elusive .500 mark again this afternoon when they wrap up the series with the A's and then it's on to Seattle for a huge 3-game set with the Mariners, who are right there with the Birds and five other teams in the A.L. wild card race.

There have been rumors floating around that the Orioles and White Sox have been talking about a deal that would involve either Miguel Gonzalez or Derek Holland. Gonzalez, of course, is familiar to Baltimore baseball fans having spent time here before signing with the White Sox prior to last season. The 30-year old Holland spent the first eight years of his career with the Rangers before signing with Chicago in 2017.

I can't imagine the Birds would have to give up much to get either of them, but let's not get all teary eyed with joy if the Orioles land one of the two White Sox hurlers. Holland is having one of the worst seasons of his career with a 5.25 ERA and 1.58 WHIP. He walked seven Kansas City hitters in 5.1 innings on Saturday in a 5-4 loss to the Royals.

Gonzalez is a little better, statistically, but that's not saying much. His ERA (4.85) and WHIP (1.49) are both above the league average. One thing about Gonzalez that could intrigue the Birds, though, is his history against the American League East. Oh, and let's call it like it is. At this stage, both Holland and Gonzalez are probably a better starting risk than Chris Tillman, who has settled into the O's bullpen in virtual anonymity.

Buck Showalter was asked on Saturday if he's feeling any pressure to get Tillman into a game now that the erstwhile starter has been banished to the bullpen for the first time in his career.

"We're trying to win ballgames," Showalter said in reply to that question.

Ouch. I know that's a pretty generic managerial term but Buck didn't sound very enthusiastic about Tillman's role.

If you can handle 3+ hours of fawning over the Yankees and Red Sox, tonight's ESPN Sunday Night Game of the Week features soon-to-be-Cy-Young-winner Chris Sale on the mound for Boston as they wrap up a 3-game series in New York.

Sale, acquired in the off-season from the White Sox, has been everything the Red Sox thought they might get from David Price when they gave the southpaw $217 million in 2016. Sale is 14-4 with a 2.57 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP. Here's his most staggering stat: 229 strikeouts -- and 29 walks. No one likes to see the Red Sox do anything worthwhile, but I wouldn't mind seeing them beat the Yankees tonight to tighten the A.L. wild card race.

I wrote about this subject two weeks ago but it bears repeating now as Aaron Judge continues to struggle in the second half of the season. The Yankees -- and perhaps every other team in baseball with a power hitter -- will think twice next summer about letting Judge participate in the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game.

If you didn't know better, you'd think Judge and O's first baseman Chris Davis were taking the same medication. Both have stunk it up since mid-July in a big way (although it's fair to note that Judge was really good in the first half, Davis has been bad all year).

Judge is hitting just .161 since his power display at the "Derby", going 15-for-93 with only six home runs. He has now struck out at least once in 29 straight games. Joe Girardi has tried everything to unlock his star-in-the-making but nothing has worked at this point. And the Yankees have come back to the pack in the American League playoff race.

Anyone else feel bad for Judge and the Yankees? Yeah, me neither.

And last night in Glendale, Arizona, Raiders running Marshawn Lynch remained seated during the national anthem, prompting lots of attention -- naturally -- in light of the ongoing saga involving former 49'ers quarterback Colin Kapernick.

Oakland coach Jack Del Rio spoke to Lynch after the game: "[Lynch] said, 'This is something I've done for 11 years, it's not a form of anything other than me being myself.' I said, 'So, you understand how I feel. I very strongly believe in standing for the national anthem but I'm going to respect you as a man. You do your thing and we'll do ours. So, that's a non-issue for me," Del Rio said.

That's Del Rio's way of putting football and winning games above everything else in his locker room. As long as ownership and the front office supports that measure of thinking, Del Rio should be fine. If someone above him on the organizational ladder doesn't agree with the coach's position, it could spark trouble.

Lynch is a career malcontent, but the Raiders knew that when they signed him. He is, though, one helluva running back, a fact that probably outweighs his opposition to standing for the national anthem.

Kaepernick, in case you've been on Pluto for the last month, remains unsigned, although a bunch of knuckleheads in Baltimore staged their own protest yesterday by taking a knee and holding up "Sign Kaepernick now!" signs at Ravens Stadium.

The Ravens will likely face even more pressure to sign the former 49'ers quarterback in the wake of Ryan Mallett's performance last Thursday night in the pre-season opener vs. the Redskins.

My guess is this: If they don't sign Kaepernick this week, they're not signing him -- barring a major injury to Mallett, that is. If last Thursday wasn't enough to convince Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh that it might be worthwhile to give Kaepernick the chance to beat out Mallett for the team's back-up job, nothing will.

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webb simpson calls pga championship layout "too tough"


No wonder Webb Simpson doesn't win anymore.

He's turned into one of those guys who thinks -18 should win every golf tournament.

After carding a 1-over par round of 72 in Saturday's third round of the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina, Simpson -- a member at the club -- said the layout was "too tough for a PGA Championship."

Kevin Kisner doesn't think the PGA Championship layout is "too tough". He owns the 54-hole lead at 7-under par.

“I don’t know if the intent was to make it this difficult, but it’s really hard,” Simpson said. “We are dealing with a long golf course, tons of rough, and crazy fast greens. Similar feelings to when I play a U.S. Open. You shoot even par, you have done really well. In past PGAs, even par is not that good. It’s definitely something to get used to.”

Awwwwww, poor guy. He shoots 5-over par for three days in a major championship (a respectable score this week, by the way -- the place IS playing hard) and then whines about how challenging it is out there.

And to think somehow Simpson actually won a major title (U.S. Open) during his otherwise decent career.

Those not whining are Kevin Kisner, who owns a one-shot lead at 7-under par after a disastrous double bogey-par-bogey finish that cramped the leaderboard and left anyone within six shots of the lead with a shot at winning the season's final major today.

Chris Stroud and Hideki Matsuyama are at -6, followed by Louis Oosthuizen and Justin Thomas, both at 5-under.

Pace of play was an issue on Saturday, a fact Kisner brought up in his post-round press conference. The final group finished in just under 5 hours and 45 minutes. "It's nothing new to me," Kisner said afterwards. "That's the way we play just about every week out here. If you guys know me, you know I don't like it, but I can only go as fast as the rest of the guys go."

It's safe to say Kisner isn't a fan of slow play with that dig at his PGA Tour brethren.

Going back to Simpson for a minute -- what on earth was he thinking about saying the course was "too tough"?

It's not Mount Pleasant, Webb. It's supposed to be tough. For crying out loud, you have one guy in the field (Jordan Spieth) trying to become just the sixth player in history to win the Grand Slam. You want him shooting 20-under par to do that? Or wouldn't it be cool for Spieth to have make three pars on that trio of tough holes coming to secure his place among golf's greats?

Spieth's not winning, obviously, but the whole idea that the PGA Championship has a history of playing "easy" isn't a reason for the folks at the PGA of America to try any less to make the championship compelling in 2017.

Here's the thing: Nearly every major championship venue is set up from the start to play difficult. But one thing always determines just how tough it winds up playing: the weather.

If they wouldn't have received any rain in Charlotte earlier in the week and then again on Friday, it's fair to say that even par might have won the tournament, as Phil Mickelson predicted it might on Wednesday before the event began.

When playing firm and fast, like the PGA wanted it to, par would have been a terrific score at Quail Hollow this week. As it stands now, 7-under might very well hold up as the winning total after today's final round.

But "too tough"? That's nonsense. Especially coming from a PGA Tour player and a major champion to boot. Simpson should be ashamed of himself for even thinking that, let alone saying it.

I don't have a rooting interest today, but I wouldn't mind seeing Kisner or Thomas win. I don't have anything against Matsuyama, but he has the personality of a picnic table. I do enjoy watching him swing as hard as he can at it, though. I keep thinking his pants are going to burst at the seams.

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only 10 seats left for our bus trip to nyc to see billy joel at the garden!!


If there's one place you simply must see the great Billy Joel perform, it's Madison Square Garden in New York City.

So, let's do it!

#DMD is putting together a one-day mega-trip to the Big Apple on Saturday, September 30, and you're invited to attend!

We're heading up there to see Billy Joel play on the evening of September 30 at the Garden. You have your choice of upper or lower level seating for the concert. The lower level seats we've secured are right next to the stage! You'll love those seats. But if you'd prefer to sit upstairs, we have good seats available there, too.

WE NOW HAVE JUST 10 SEATS LEFT ON THE BUS. IF YOU'RE PLANNING ON GOING, PLEASE PLACE YOUR TICKET ORDER SOON USING THE LINK BELOW.

We'll be leaving the Towson area at 9:00 am on the 30th. Breakfast will be provided by Royal Farms, lunch will be served as we enter New York City, courtesy of our friends at Palmisano's of Baldwin. We'll have ice cold Duclaw beer on the ride to NYC, plus an awesome Billy Joel trivia contest with a $50 cash prize to the winner.

You'll have the bulk of the afternoon to spend in New York City. The concert starts at 8 pm.

If you haven't seen Billy Joel at the Garden, this is a must-check-off item on your bucket list. It's a once-in-a-lifetime show.

We'll be returning right after the show, so those of you with Ravens-Steelers tickets for Sunday, October 1st at Ravens Stadium will have plenty of time for a good night's sleep before cheering on the purple birds on Sunday afternoon.

Everything is included in the pricing below. Round-trip luxury motor coach transportation, food, drinks, concert ticket, etc.

Lower concourse pricing: $395 per-person

Upper concourse pricing: $325 per-person

You can go here to reserve and pay for your tickets to see "The Piano Man" at the Garden with #DMD.

Glory
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Saturday
August 12
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXVII
Issue 12
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it's all about flacco now


If you've followed the Ravens at all over the last decade, you can't possibly be surprised with yesterday's news that Joe Flacco will miss the entire pre-season with a back injury that has kept him sidelined since day one of training camp.

It's gone from "Joe's going to miss the first week" to "he won't play at all this pre-season but we expect him to be ready for the season opener."

Which way would you bet it if Vegas gave odds on Flacco starting and playing on September 10 at Cincinnati? If the betting lines were (-120) that he plays and (+110) that he doesn't, how would you wager?

I know how I'd bet it: I'd take the (+110) side that Flacco winds up not playing on September 10.

But let's talk about reality instead of mythical wagers on player injuries.

I think we can all admit this: Flacco doesn't actually need to play in the pre-season to be able to tee it up on September 10 and look like he knows what he's doing against the Bengals.

When you've been in the league ten years, training camp and all the time-filler that goes with it really is a boring exercise. It's no different for Flacco in that regard. He's mastered the playbook (go ahead and insert your joke here about the chapter dedicated to passing to Dennis Pitta no longer being of value) and can actually benefit more from watching tape of the Bengals, Browns, Steelers, etc. than throwing passes in meaningless practice games.

That's the truth. There's not much about training camp that benefits Joe Flacco anymore. I suspect he feels strongly in that regard.

The Ravens suggested on Friday that Flacco will return to practice at Owings Mills at some point this month but won't play in any of the remaining three pre-season games. If it happens like that, everything else is just eyewash. That's most certainly a best-case scenario for the Ravens.

But.......

Flacco and anyone else coming back from an injury needs to get back in there and "feel the game". I think it's fair to say that back injuries are particularly needy creatures in that the owner of one generally knows that any jarring, twisting or unfamiliar movements can send them right back to the couch. Football being a contact sport and all, it would really help Flacco to take a few cracks in training camp or a pre-season game to make sure he's going to be able to withstand the rigors of a "real game".

And there's an angle in this whole thing that suggests perhaps Flacco could benefit from training camp and live football. Yes, he's a ten-year NFL veteran. Yes, he "knows what he's doing". But no one is confusing Flacco with Aaron Rodgers these days. A little practice wouldn't hurt Joe, that's for certain.

If it's true that Flacco is ONLY going to miss pre-season and then pop up and play on September 10 against the Bengals, I'm OK with that scenario. It's not the best way to go into the season, but it's not the end of the world. It might take a game or two for Joe to knock off the rust, but the second game of the year is against Cleveland. You could quarterback that game and we'd still win 13-10.

There is a small part of me that wonders about Friday's statement, though.

The Ravens didn't mention any of the particulars about Joe's injury and the idea of missing pre-season but being ready for September 10. Other than saying "he's coming along well", they didn't specify why they were taking these measures.

Are they concerned about taking a "bad hit" in a pre-season game and possibly re-injuring his back? If that's the case, the Ravens are in trouble. Flacco is going to take "a bad hit" in a lot of games this year. If he's that vulnerable in mid-August, he's in real danger come mid-October.

Would the Ravens prefer to keep Flacco's true injury status a secret while they privately make a decision internally on what to do at the quarterback situation? Case in point. If the Ravens would have announced yesterday that Flacco is going to miss the first 2-4 weeks of the season, that drives up the price for any competent back-up quarterback who is out there looking for work.

The team recently restructed Jimmy Smith's contract to free up a much needed $5 million in cap space. They need another offensive lineman now after Alex Lewis went down for the season yesterday with season-ending shoulder surgery. They still don't have a "real" center, even. And if Flacco can't start the season, they'll need another quarterback.

Anyone else nervous about the 2017 Ravens season at this point?

The one thing we knew could disrupt them -- injuries -- is doing just that.

And no matter what the truth is about Flacco's injury, it's very apparent there's more to it than "Joe's going to miss the first week". No one's surprised by that, of course. The Ravens have a long history of not being completely forthcoming about injuries and back problems are very, very dicey.

This, of course, will once again light a flame to the Colin Kaepernick fire again this week, particularly in light of Ryan Mallett's sub-par performance against the Redskins on Thursday night.

I'm not an advocate of Kaepernick's, but at least he's healthy. Flacco isn't. And the Ravens' season is up-in-the-air until at least that season opener in Cincinnati, where we get to see first-hand whether Flacco is going to be able to hold up to a long, punishing 16-week season.

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o's blow late lead, fall to a's, 5-4


Any loss hurts, especially in the final quarter of the season, but last night's 5-4 defeat in Oakland was a bad one for the Birds.

In fairness to them, they haven't given one away very often in 2017. They did last night, though.

Jed Lowrie's 8th inning double capped a two-run outburst for lowly Oakland, as the A's beat the Birds (57-59) in the second game of a 4-game series in the Bay Area. Brad Brach was the victim, but a Chris Davis error on a dropped foul ball opened the door for the game-winning sacrifice fly.

The bat hasn't worked for most of the season, but last night in Oakland, it was the glove of Chris Davis that hurt the O's in a 5-4 loss to the A's.

It always works that way, of course. Just when you're about ready to pocket the second out of the inning, a foul ball gets dropped and the hitter essentially gets "a free at-bat". Chad Pinder made good on the O's generosity with a sacrifice fly moments later that plated the game-winning run.

The Birds went down in order in the top of the 9th inning.

Ubaldo Jimenez had another good outing for the Orioles, going 5.1 innings and allowing just six hits while striking out 11 Oakland batters. He deserved a better fate last night.

Speaking of Chris Davis, he was back in the lineup after sitting out Thursday's series opener, but his struggles continued. Davis went 0-for-3 and had the aforementioned defensive blunder in the 8th inning.

Since returning from the disabled list in early July, Davis is hitting .176 (15-for-85). I guess Buck keeps trotting him out there because he makes $23 million and he figures at some point Davis might get hot with the bat, but there's probably an argument the team is better off with Mancini full-time at first base and some combination of Trumbo, Smith, Gentry and Rickard occupying the two corner outfield spots.

The loss pushes the Birds three games behind Minnesota (59-56) in the loss column in the chase for the second wild card spot in the American League. The red-hot Twins beat Detroit last night, 9-4. The Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners are both now 59-58. The Birds are in Seattle this coming Monday through Wednesday for a key series with the Mariners.

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only 12 seats left for our bus trip to nyc to see billy joel at the garden!!


If there's one place you simply must see the great Billy Joel perform, it's Madison Square Garden in New York City.

So, let's do it!

#DMD is putting together a one-day mega-trip to the Big Apple on Saturday, September 30, and you're invited to attend!

We're heading up there to see Billy Joel play on the evening of September 30 at the Garden. You have your choice of upper or lower level seating for the concert. The lower level seats we've secured are right next to the stage! You'll love those seats. But if you'd prefer to sit upstairs, we have good seats available there, too.

WE NOW HAVE JUST 12 SEATS LEFT ON THE BUS. IF YOU'RE PLANNING ON GOING, PLEASE PLACE YOUR TICKET ORDER SOON USING THE LINK BELOW.

We'll be leaving the Towson area at 9:00 am on the 30th. Breakfast will be provided by Royal Farms, lunch will be served as we enter New York City, courtesy of our friends at Palmisano's of Baldwin. We'll have ice cold Duclaw beer on the ride to NYC, plus an awesome Billy Joel trivia contest with a $50 cash prize to the winner.

You'll have the bulk of the afternoon to spend in New York City. The concert starts at 8 pm.

If you haven't seen Billy Joel at the Garden, this is a must-check-off item on your bucket list. It's a once-in-a-lifetime show.

We'll be returning right after the show, so those of you with Ravens-Steelers tickets for Sunday, October 1st at Ravens Stadium will have plenty of time for a good night's sleep before cheering on the purple birds on Sunday afternoon.

Everything is included in the pricing below. Round-trip luxury motor coach transportation, food, drinks, concert ticket, etc.

Lower concourse pricing: $395 per-person

Upper concourse pricing: $325 per-person

You can go here to reserve and pay for your tickets to see "The Piano Man" at the Garden with #DMD.

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#dmd comments


mike from catonsville     November 19
While Bucknell is a good team and have played everyone really tough even in losing efforts they are still in the Patriot League which is a notch above the MEAC. It would not have been a "Coppin State" loss of many moons ago but it's never good to lose to a Patriot league team. No knock to those young men and women but truthfully they aren't in the same league. (pun intended). This was a pay for play game that almost cost the Terps as much as they paid to Bucknell to come in to lose. Close to a double loss . Also glad to see the St.Joe grad again play well and was the catalyst in the win.

DELRAY RICK     November 19
Its curtains if the RAVENS lose today. If they use the same BORING CALLS you get the same BORING RESULTS.

English teacher     November 18
So saying you "witnessed" this hole on one is a Fact or an Opinion?? ;)

George     November 18
@Ghost – The #DMD Manual of Usage & Style isn’t issued to mere part-timers. I use the one for National Enquirer writers. It requires “holes-in-one,” because ‘hole’ is the noun being pluralized.

Ghost of JROB     November 18
Is it "hole-in-ones" or "holes-in-one". I say the latter. George will know.

ray ray     November 18
Steve From Pimlico if you dont like the articles and dont like the comments what are you here for, the ads?

Steve from Pimlico     November 18
Screw all this Ricky Fowler and hole in one talk. People are just using this site to write short stories and eventually it seems a novel. Be consise and informative. If golf was this important ,talk radio would pay more attention to it. This site is turning into a country club 19th hole.

J.J.     November 18
@Drew where are your 4 hole in one? Which courses?

DR (the original)     November 18
@Herman not sure, but I do remember specifically that he made one this year at the Players on the 17th hole island green. If you could make one hole-in-one anywhere that would be a good place to do it!

HERMAN     November 18
How many hole-in-ones does Ricky Fowler have?


Fat Frankie     November 18
My hole-in-one story is a long one, so I'm only going to tell one part. My cousin and I were playing in Ocean City. We rounded a turn and there was a pretty young girl is shorts and a t-shirt sitting next to a small table set up on the green of a par-three. It was a "contest" called Million Dollar Hole-In-Oneand the money supposedly went to kidney cancer research. You paid $5, and if you got it on the green you got a sleeve of balls and if you got a hole-in-one you got a trip out to Las Vegas, $1,000 and a chance to play in a tournament out there and one par three was worth $1,000,000. So, to be honest, I thought that I hit through the green, but we couldn't see my ball. So we all went down to the green to look and I went straight for the cup. When I saw my ball at the bottom, I turned to this pretty young girl and said, "Gimme a hug!" She looked at me and went, "eeewwww, No!" True story.

Bob from Hereford     November 18
Should the O's change the dimensions of Camden Yards to make it a legit major league playing field that fair to the pitchers and hitters? I have heard national baseball reporters, current pitchers, and retired pitchers say that they don"think it is fair. Some free agent ptcher may not come to the O's because of the ballpark according to many. This means that the only way to improve the staff is by trade or player development. The asking price for a quality pitcher on trade market is very steep. We have not developed a good pitcher (except Mussina) since the Yards opened. They seem to show pormise in the minors but flame out when they reach the majors. Some have become successful elsewhere after the O's trade or give up on them. Do Camden's dimensions get in their heads or are unable to be successful in a small because of their style, start trying to be too fine with the strike zone and end up with high pitch counts and walks. Camden is 25 years old. Prior to then The O,s developed many pitchers. Is the ballpark a big negative in the development and does iy make it hard to acquire pitchers by free agency? Is the only solution to move the fences back?

George     November 17
@MFC – A few weeks ago, I gave my humble opinion on the pitfalls of ceding one’s own judgment to a computer algorithm that “seems” official [and even calls itself so in its own name]. As is your right, you [obviously] rejected that opinion.

Let’s do an experiment.

Since the inception of the OWGR in 1986, there have been 128 major championships. If, before each of those majors, I had given you the Top Ten golfers on the OWGR just ahead of the tournament, and offered even money that none of the ten would win, would you have accepted or declined the wagers?


mike from catonsville     November 17
@George, the World Golf Rankings are statistically measured and ranked. It has NOTHING to do with hats, social media , followers, hot girlfriends etc. etc. etc. It has EVERYTHING to do with how you play. Statistically he is one of the top players in the world.



Please start picking another topic until RF starts to drop out of the top 25. Then you may have a case.

George     November 17
@Herman -- True. Sorry!

@DF – In the thesis of your piece today, you might just be right. Rickie may break out this year. Hogan floundered around on Tour for the first decade of his career, much like Rickie has floundered around for the first 10 years of his.

My point is – why is there this CONSTANT focus on Fowler, when Nick Watney, Patrick Reed, Ryan Moore, Hideki Matsuyama, Jason Dufner, Jimmy Walker, Henrik Stenson, Bill Haas, Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson, Jason Day, and Rory McIlroy have all had much more success than Rickie, and when Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, who haven’t been around as long as Fowler but have left him in their dust?

I say it’s because of his attire, looks, commercial frequency, and ability to photo bomb, scene bomb, and social-media bomb, and this constant presence is interpreted (wrongly!) as skill in golf. He’s golf’s equivalent of the Kardashians – famous for being famous.

HERMAN     November 17
@George

Brevity is the soul of wit

Chris     November 17
Hate to say it but @George is approaching "Brien status" with his hatred of Fowler. It is very similar to Brien's constant hatred of Flacco.

DF     November 17
@George --



Never once in my piece did I write that Fowler is "good for the game". That sort of stuff is for the birds. If Rickie Fowler finished 120th on the money list two years in a row he wouldn't be "good for the game". Fowler is popular with people because he is successful on the course. Kids wouldn't that goofy orange hat anymore if he suddenly stopped being successful.



Fowler is an extremely competent player no matter what your crazy eyes tell you. The numbers don't lie. He is a top 10 player in the world.

H     November 17
The NFL team that has given up the least amount of points this season is the Rams who have yielded 162 points over 9 games. The 2000 Ravens gave up 160 points in 16 games. Mind boggling,

George     November 17
@DF, DF, DF . . . . – Didn’t choke on my coffee. I’m not really surprised. I’ve been worried about you for some time.

Your BAPIB indicated you’d go off the literary cliff sometime in this quarter, and now that you’re airborne, I just hope you land softly.

I hear you wrote this drivel while in Pinehurst, which is in North Carolina, and North Carolina’s the state where the legislature has banned the citation of scientific statistics from peer-reviewed articles in any report produced by the state that deals with climate change, sea-level rise, species extinction, and air and water quality.

In a similar way, the pap you delivered today on Fowler is bereft of science yet long on soft-headed and self-serving opinion. You state that Matt Kuchar can’t close, and although you at least have the integrity to not write it clearly, you imply that Fowler CAN close.

Did you have your head in the sand during last year’s FedEx Cup playoffs? We with our eyes open saw Rickie collapse on the last day of an early tournament and blow a final-round lead. We also saw where, a few weeks later, when needing something like a 17th-place finish or better to get to East Lake, your boy stunk up the joint and finished near last.

Don’t let facts get in your way: Fowler has closed four times, Kuchar seven.

I note that you and Alert Commenter “Herman,” who appears in other respects to be both reasonable and intelligent, have begun to parrot the latest tagline spun out by the Fowler sponsor consortium – that he’s “good for the game.” I think they put this line in a couple of frames of each of the legion of commercials Rickie does, and the words become imprinted on your brains, to be trotted out in mindless response to some rational person who tells you that Rickie is a no more than a journeyman.

Rickie wasn’t able to earn his way onto the Ryder Cup team last year, but was a Captain’s Pick, even though he had a losing record and had never won a singles match. One of the rationals was that he was “good in the clubhouse.” I shudder to think what this means, but note that many writers and broadcasters parroted this line, so it too must have been embedded in the Fowler commercials.

In last week’s event, Fowler was a shot behind Kizzire starting the final round. Kizzire landed two right hand leads early in the match, and combined with a Rickie stumble, found himself with a four-shot lead. He then cruised to an easy victory.

I tremendously admire Rickie Fowler’s financial acumen. He has parlayed flashy clothes, long hair, boyish good looks, and a [admittedly pencil-enhanced] mustache into sponsorship deals that exceed by whole-number factors the deals struck by much more successful golfers. But you sadly mistake seeing Rickie in a staggeringly high percentage of the commercials shown during golf tournaments [he was also mercilessly inflicted on us during the World Series] for seeing him in the Winner’s Circle. If you saw Rickie finish second last week against a second-tier field, you’ve seen his highest finish of the 2017-18 season.

We who love #DMD and its otherwise excellent insight and opinion are truly worried about you. Perhaps we should set up an intervention.

Tom J     November 17
Annnnnnnddd yes Brien, the O-Line is a huge problem. Not the only problem but you have to win in the trenches. Do you see the stiffs they are trotting out there at guard..?? These guys shouldn't even be in a NFL roster let alone be starting on one.

HERMAN     November 17
@TimD sums it up in once sentence, excellent.

They have drafted playmaker after playmaker. And took Harrison who we cut from our practice squad and made him a superstar. Like New England they seem to be able to take quality athletes and plug-and-play them into their system, making them into high achievers.

Baltimore has always had what I call the "Ray Chester" problem. The Colts got Ray Chester, all pro, from the Raiders. Under our "system" he stunk it up. We let him go back to the Raiders, he was an all-pro the year he went back.

Jason M     November 17
DF used to talk about pedigree with certain organizations, and an expectation of winning. I think the Stillers have that little something extra that organizations like Montreal, NY Yankees have, where everyone has high expectations. It's lots of littler things all tempered by the concept that we're part of something special that is worth fighting for.

Brian from Towson     November 17
Anyone going to Green Bay? If so, where are you hanging out Saturday night or Sunday morning?

TimD in Timonium     November 17
Was thinking the same thing last night - HOW are the Steelers so good? For starters, they've surrounded Big Ben with play-makers. Brown and Bell are arguably the best at their positions in the NFL.



Drafting prowess? No better example than 2010. With the 194th pick, the Ravens selected OT Ramon Harewood. At 195, the Steelers took WR Antonio Brown. Game over.

DR (the original)     November 17
First of all, all jokes aside, the worst franchise in the history of sports is the Phillies, not the Flyers :)

Yes, in the last 3 seasons, the Steelers are a way better team than the Ravens. The Steelers have Ben, Bell and Brown, the Ravens don't. For the seven years before that, they had the same exact record (72-40). If we were wondering how the Steelers are always so good, they were wondering the same thing.

Fireball Roberts     November 17
The Steelers draft better than the Ravens. I could tell you the name of the Penguins GM but not the Steelers. This mystery man is someone special...lol

unitastoberry     November 17
The Stillers have a HOF qb case closed. Remember when Mike Wallace played there? He has not been heard from since.

I too had no idea Captain Who passed away. Alex Hawkins was a good football player and a wildman about town. He could be seen and heard in many local night spots my late father drove a cab so he knew a lot about him. Lombardi drafted him and cut him imagine him and Max McGee out on the town lol. RIP to a truly unique man who would kill you to win a football game.

Brien Jackson     November 17
Aaaaaaaaand we're still sticking with the idea that the Ravens' O-line is a problem. It's amazing how entrenched falsehoods get with this fanbase.

Kenny G     November 17
Add to the fact the Steelers invested in an Oline and the talent you mentioned at some of the skilled positions came later in the draft - ie the Ravens miss on 1st WR Perriman but the Steelers hit with 3rd, 4th and 6th round selections. What really has Campanaro or Moore done as a similar Raven investment? And this disparity has been there for over a decade (Wallace, Sanders, Brown vs Taylor, Clayton, Perriman).

StevenShea     November 17
The difference between the Steelers and the Ravens is that the Ravens largely have cardboard cutouts for an offensive line. Football has always been first and foremost having our fat guys beat the other teams fat guys. Beyond that it’s all about who’s healthy and that was lost before the first tackle in preseason. The real question is why the Ravens have the most injuries year in and year out. Harbaugh has proven he can win with mediocre talent, but no one can win with no talent.

HERMAN     November 17
Fowler is good for the game. And it's great to see him playing consistently at a high level. What has happened to Bubba? Where is Hunter Mahan these days, it looks like he's fighting to save his card after a few years of brilliant play. Brandt Snedeker appears to have lost focus doing a few too many credit card commercials and dropped off the leader boards. But Ricky has maintained a high level of play even while some close friends dropped back into the second tier. The twenty-somethings watch Ricky on social media at Baker's Bay, they follow him on instagram and all those other sites, watching his antics with fellow tour young guns, and he makes them want to play the game.

And that's great for the sport.

Steve in Hunt Valley     November 17
Stomach turning to read but all very true, DF.



Thanks for an insightful article today.

Brien Jackson     November 17
@Eric



Re: Correa; People have been banging this since at least 2012...and they're not wrong. In fact, the Ravens are a mess with that kind of issue in the defensive front. The big question is whether it's a coaching thing or a drafting/front office thing, and it sure looks like it's at least partly the latter. They've got a glut of defensive tackles on the line, then they take rush specialists like Judon and Smith who are really hand in the dirt guys and push them out to the Jarrett Johnson role, and then the OLBs get slid to the inside. Predictably, their linebacking play has been really bad as a result.



And, incidentally, one thing they might consider for the offseason is cutting Suggs and switching to a 4-3 base.

Brien Jackson     November 17
There was a play in the first half where Roethlisberger took one step and just flipped a back shoulder throw to Brown for a mediumish gain. Nothing fancy, just a short snap-and-go route where the ball gets there as Brown is breaking his route. The announcers immediately start talking about how the Steelers are going to pepper the Titans with plays like that to make them stop blitzing. Now compare that to how the Titans attacked the Ravens two weeks ago, and think about how many times you've seen Flacco throw that kind of quick, accurate timing route.



And there's your answer.

Brien Jackson     November 17
Lol, now we're citing playoff records again. We're gonna stick with lying to ourselves about Flacco forever no matter how bad it gets, aren't we?

eric     November 17
Ravens offered Flacco 100 mil in training camp, 4 game run got him extra 20 but as usual with NFL contracts no player that has signed for 100 mil has ever collected more than 70 mil. Contract gets torn up and player either gets cut or gets a new backloaded deal. I see Correia mom has chimed in ripping Harbaugh and sadly i have to completely agree with her. Why you would draft a guy high to play outside lb and immediately move him inside makes no sense and has had predictable results

Casual observer     November 16
Yea, why can't Ozzie predict the future after the fact, you know, like Brien can....sheesh

George     November 16
Does anyone know why Ben Roethlisberger wears an 82nd Airborne Division patch on the back of his helmet?

Clayton     November 16
I agree with Brien. If something is done and it turns out bad then the only correct thing to do is criticize whoever did the bad thing. Lame excuses are for losers.

Mike From Reisterstown     November 16
@Brien loves TT. Sorry Brien, I have to agree with @Ray Ray. Go look at Flacco's playoff win record leading up to that contract. You would be insane not to sign him. Why would Belichick or any other GM/HC ignore that 5 year run? Can you imagine the blow back in Baltimore if they did not sign him?

Brien Jackson     November 16
@Ray Ray



That's ridiculous. Belichick, for one, would have stayed on whatever number he would offer at the end of the regular season, and wouldn't let four games massively inflate his commitment.

Eric     November 16
So many morons at 105.7....im gueasing either Coleman or other no talent clown Weinmann said that. Terps are loaded but i have zero faith in Turgeon to get the max out of them.

Jason M     November 16
Anyone that talks sports for a living on the air, that says he doesn't want his hometown team to make the playoffs, is a dolt for all the reason DF pointed out, but also because your job will be a lot more interesting, ratings higher if we're playing in January. I stopped listening to sports talk when DF 'left'...it just gives me a headache when ever I hear it. I think it;s hard to do local sports talk 'right', ie. keep it interesting.

HERMAN     November 16
@George

"Captain Who" lived a very colorful life and was quite a character. His book was hilarious, and his stories of working around Baltimore in the off-season take you back to another time. He gained national fame with the whole "That's my story and I'm sticking to it" line that was made into a country song.

Anyone who wants a good read pick up the biography on Alex Hawkins, it's a quick read, but funny.

Ray ray     November 16
And Napoleon should have had a B-52. C'mon Brien! Nobody in the league would have let Flacco get away after the Super Bowl. To even say it is to engage in fantasy.

The truth     November 16
@Brien You just proved my point with your Moore comment: in the NFL, stuff happens. Every game, every season. Thus, all Taylor's stars while in BUF mean nothing (read David's article today on that topic).

I am not arguing Flacco has lived up to his contract, he clearly has not. The two points are at that point in time, you had to pay him (at the market price) and arguing Taylor would have been the way to go is not only revisionist history, it's totally fallible logic.

Your argument is out of the Ken Weiman playbook, which is a subset of the Preston playbook

DR (the original)     November 16
I get the idea that it's a franchise altering mistake, Mile High Miracle or not. The guy has obviously underperformed and is pretty bad now, while at the same time he's taking up way too much $.

But you have to admit...the team taking him in '08 was a franchise altering decision as well, in a good way.

Brien Jackson     November 16
All you really need to know to understand how the Ravens made a franchise altering mistake with Flacco is that they don't even entertain giving Joe the biggest contract in NFL history if Rahim Moore maintains deep coverage.

Brien Jackson     November 16
@The Truth



I'm genuinely curious why people say this. I mean, Taylor has been Buffalo's starter since 2015, and he's had a QBR of 70.3 and 68.4 in the prior two seasons, while Flacco has been 54.2 and 58.4 in 2015-16. Taylor is 27-9 in TDs to INTs, while Flacco is 28-25. Flacco's INT% is twice as high. And Taylor added 1,148 rushing yards in those two seasons. He's clearly been more productive than Flacco, and he's not only been cheaper, but his contract would be much more favorably structured giving the team far more leverage to cut bait and rebuild than they have now (and a team signing him with the non-exclusive tag would have netted two additional high first round draft picks). Instead they're stuck with one of the very worst starting QBs in the entire league for at least another 2-3 seasons.



I get why people worked backwards to defend Flacco in 2011-14 or so, but I don't get why it persists today.

Friday
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"it's only pre-season, but..."


Let's get the main disclaimer out of the way. Last night's 23-3 Ravens win over the Redskins was just a pre-season game.

It means nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch.

That said, we'll go ahead and make something out of nothing here. Some things that happened last night actually were important.

Here are six points I took from last night's game.

An uninspiring pre-season performance from Ryan Mallett last night will likely spark more conversation about Colin Kaepernick this week as the Ravens continue to evaluate their back-up quarterback position.

This Ravens defense has a chance to be really good in 2017, barring any significant injuries to key performers, of course. What's "really good" mean? Well, they won't be caving in down the stretch and late in the fourth quarter like they did so often in 2016.

And you will not be able to run the ball up the middle on the Ravens in 2017. With defensive ends looking to get to the quarterback constantly, it might be feasible for teams to get to the outside and pick up running yards against the Ravens in that manner, but you're not going into the interior of that Baltimore defensive line with the ball in your hand and getting meaningful yards.

Brent Urban had a standout night on Thursday. The oft-injured defensive end looks a sure bet to earn the starting nod as long as he stays healthy, which he's been unable to do in the first three years of his career. He was a wrecking ball last night. Urban had a sack and two forced fumbles and was clearly a menacing presence with his big frame (6'7", 300 lbs) and athleticism.

Anthony Levine had an impressive 2016 as a versatile defensive back with decent coverage and ball-hawking skills and last night again displayed his ability to do a bunch of different things for Dean Pees. He had an early sack of Kirk Cousins and supplied the secondary with his usual Ed-Reed-like coverage abilities. One second he's not in the picture, the next he's there, knocking the ball away at the very last second. He's not a Pro Bowl player, but he's very useful.

It's hard to make any assessment of the Ravens' running game since three projected starters (Yanda, Lewis, Howard) didn't suit up, but I still contend Terrance West can be a productive NFL running back if he has room to work with (which, naturally, can be said about a lot of second-tier backs in the NFL). West showed again last night that he can hit the hole when it's there and he has a style about him that reminds you a little bit of Ray Rice in the way he seems to get a couple of extra yards out of nothing. The former Towson University star just needs to show he can take the pounding for sixteen weeks.

Ryan Mallett wasn't very good, but it's worth noting the same about him as we did about West above. Mallett had no "real" help on the offensive line, so it's not really fair to judge him on last night's performance. Still, when pressed to do anything vs. the Redskins, he struggled. It goes without saying that the Ravens are doomed if Mallett somehow has to play a major role in the 2017 campaign. But we'll say it anyway. They're in trouble if Flacco can't go.

Free agent wide receiver Tim White had a good night, hauling in a 33-yard touchdown catch and looking the part, albeit in a pre-season game and against a non-polished Redskins defense. As we all know, there's always room on the Ravens roster for a good pass catcher. If White continues to shine like he has in camp and in last night's opener, he'll cost someone their job who previously had a spot locked up on the 53-man roster.

This has nothing to do with football, but count me in as a fan of Brian Billick in the Ravens broadcast booth. As expected, he handled the color analyst duties with ease, working well with Gerry Sandusky and adding quality and insight to a broadcast that lacked those kind of special touches in previous years. He didn't go overboard in the least, which has always been a Billick issue, and should definitely be considered for more work by the organization. The tension -- if there can any when you get $18 million of free money after getting canned -- between Billick and the Ravens seems genuinely long-gone. He's an excellent football mind who adds a lot to a broadcast. I hope we see and hear more of him.

There's not much else the first pre-season game showed us that really matters. I think we all know the Ravens are in trouble if Ryan Mallett is the quarterback and we didn't need a "blah" pre-season performance to confirm those feelings. But in Mallett's defense, he had no offensive line and no veteran receivers of note to work with on Thursday evening.

If Flacco is healthy and the likes of Yanda, Lewis, Howard and the receivers all stay healthy, the offense will be good enough to win a bunch of games in 2017. I keep going back to the schedule and thinking to myself that it presents a good opportunity for the Ravens to sniff the 10-win mark if everything plays out the way it looks like it might.

But the one scary thing for John Harbaugh's team is health and overall roster depth. They simply can't afford to get crushed with injuries like they did in 2015. If they can maintain some roster uniformity, they'll be in most games. But if they have to go three and four deep on the depth chart, it's not going to be pretty.

The defense is going to be solid. It's very obvious all of those late-game collapses in 2016 were on Ozzie Newsome's mind in the off-season and in the draft. I suspect, when healthy, the Ravens will have a top 10 overall defense with a chance to creep up near top 5 status.

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o's make it interesting but hold on to beat a's, 7-2


When's a 7-2 win a nailbiter?

When it's the Orioles and they load the bases in the bottom of the 9th and have to bring in Zach Britton for a save.

That's what happened last night in Oakland (by the way, can someone turn on the lights in that ballpark?), as the Orioles won the opener of the four-game series, 7-2, with Trey Mancini hitting a pair of home runs and Adam Jones and Mark Trumbo also adding round-trippers for Buck Showalter's team.

Rookie Trey Mancini continued his outstanding 2017 campaign by joining the 20-home run club in last night's win over Oakland.

Richard Bleier started the 9th for the O's and got the first out, then put two runners on base before giving way to Brad Brach. Brach got the second out of the inning, then he walked the next guy to load the bases.

Last week in a home loss to Detroit, Buck lost his way in the 8th inning and let both Brach and Britton sit in the bullpen while Mychal Givens served up a grand-slam gopher ball to Justin Upton. Showalter was a lot more engaged last night, for sure. As soon as Brach walked his man to load the bases, the skipper went right for Britton, who was able to get Jed Lowrie to fly out to right field to end the game and preserve the 7-2 win.

Showalter has obviously been paying attention to Chris Davis and his offensive woes as well. Davis got the night off in Oakland on Thursday and could see the same fate tonight as Showalter indicated after last night's game that Chris needs a day or two to "get himself going again".

Mancini stepped in at first base and hit two homers and Adam Jones shifted to the clean-up spot and had a 2-for-4 night with 3 RBI. Maybe Davis should ride the bench more often, huh?

Manny Machado's hot run cooled off last night. He went 0-for-5.

And the O's got a decent outing from Wade Miley, who went seven innings and allowed just three hits and one unearned run.

The win puts the Birds at 57-58 on the year. They're only one game in the loss column behind current second-wild-card-claimer Seattle and Tampa Bay (59-57), but there are still a bunch of teams right there with the O's, including Minnesota (57-56), Los Angeles (58-58) and Kansas City (57-57).

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this weekend in
english soccer


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


After a little teaser last weekend, Matchday 1 of a new English Premier League campaign will kick off later today and, save for a handful of international breaks to wrap up World Cup qualifying for Russia 2018 next summer, will run for the next thirty-eights weeks before coming to a conclusion in May. We will get you caught up with what you may have missed this summer as well as take a closer look at our favorites for the upcoming season once the transfer window closes at the end of the month, but until then be sure to tune in just a few hours from now and all weekend long to catch every matchup available live on the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Friday, August 11 (all times eastern)

2:45pm – Leicester City @ Arsenal – Emirates Stadium, NBC Sports Network

While it will still go down in the record books as only a friendly, Arsenal picked up the first available silverware and got their new year started on the right foot when, despite missing both Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil to name just a few, they overturned an early second half deficit to get past Chelsea on penalties in the Community Shield. They will hope the victory will be a springboard to the upcoming campaign when they welcome Leicester City to the Emirates Stadium to kick off their season and the 2017/18 Premier League schedule on a Friday for the first time in the top flights 129-year history.

The Gunners are likely to find themselves undermanned again with Sanchez and Ozil joining a growing list of first teamers on the sidelines for the weekday kickoff although, if history is any indication, it will matter little. Despite losing three of their last four opening weekend fixtures (W1), Arsenal have not lost to Leicester City in the league since 1994 and have lost only one time since in their twenty-three meetings across all competitions, walking away with all three points in fourteen of those fixtures and in the last ten trips the Foxes have made to the capitol.

Sunday, August 13 (all times eastern)

8:30am – Tottenham @ Newcastle United – St. James’ Park, NBC Sports Network

After pushing for the top spot in the table only to ultimately come up just short in the end for the second season running, Tottenham will set out to claim their first ever title of the Premier League era when they travel to what is sure to be a rowdy and raucous St. James Park to kick off the Sunday slate against Newcastle United, who will be making their triumphant return to England’s first division after finishing atop of the Championship table and earning one of the two automatic promotion places after spending only one season down in the second tier.

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez, who previously had held down the same post at footballing giants Liverpool and Real Madrid, humbled himself by sticking with the Magpies after their drop and, despite winning only one of their last nine opening day fixtures (L4 D4), the Spaniard is unbeaten in his previous eight league matches against Tottenham at home (W5 D3) while the Magpies have won three of their last four meetings with Spurs (L1), the last of which a consolation prize when they dismantled Spurs 5-1 on the season’s final day before they dropped down to the Championship.

11am – West Ham United @ Manchester United – Old Trafford, NBC Sports Network

Jose Mourinho and his Manchester United side host West Ham in their 2017-2018 EPL opener this Sunday.

The weekend action will wrap up later in the morning when Manchester United and manager Jose Mourinho, fresh off a mid-week defeat to Champions League winners Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup where the 2-1 final score line was little indication of the dominance that the Spanish side enjoyed throughout against the Europa League holders, kick off a crucial second season of the Portugueses’ tenure with the Red Devils when they welcome Slaven Bilic and West Ham United to Old Trafford, with the Hammers and Bilic similarly entering a make or break season for the east London club.

Following a seventh-place finish in the league and a place in the Europa League after his first year in charge, Bilic and West Ham struggled throughout last year in route to a bottom half of the table finish. As he enters the final year of his three-year contract, any hopes of a renewal will depend on which year the Hammers and the Croatian boss replicate but one thing is for sure, they will not be thanking the schedule makers for their opening matchup, where they have not won in their last nine league visits to Old Trafford (L7 D2) and only once in their last sixteen across all competitions with United (L9 D6).

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Thursday
August 10
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXVII
Issue 10
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does "no flacco" tonight concern you?


Well, here we are. There's a football game in Baltimore tonight. It's only pre-season, yes, but it's still a game nonetheless.

And the Ravens will be without Joe Flacco, who is still nursing a back injury and won't play this evening vs. the Redskins.

What do we make of this?

What's going to happen to Joe Flacco the first time he takes this kind of hit in 2017?

When Flacco was unavailable for the training camp opener two weeks ago, we were told his injury was minor and nothing of great concern. He would miss the first week, most likely, and return ready to go thereafter.

This, of course, is the same organization that thought Breshad Perriman's "bump to the knee" back in 2015 would cause him to miss "a day or two". He didn't play a game in his rookie season.

There's no telling what's really going on with Flacco's back. But it's a cause for concern when we're into the third week of training camp and he hasn't slipped on a pair of shoulder pads and felt any contact whatsoever.

I've recently seen -- both here and in other football-related web forums -- people criticize the Ravens for the way they handle the disclosure of injuries. There are lots of things to nitpick the Ravens on, but their discussion of player injuries shouldn't be one of them.

There is nothing at all, nothing, not one thing, that makes sense about a football team telling the public about player injuries.

I realize that doesn't mean we have to be lied to, as well. It's uncomfortable to find out the team isn't telling us the truth on something.

But the Ravens have no responsibility to accurately report their injuries to the public until the league rules say they do. And, if we're really pulling back the curtain here, I'd even challenge that stipulation if I ran a team and claim we don't have to tell anyone anything at all about who's hurt, who isn't, how bad, will they play, etc.

There's only one reason why the NFL mandates that each team publish a detailed injury report: gambling.

We all know this: The league as a whole doesn't really care if Tom Brady plays in week 4. But the gambling public sure does.

Now, we know only complete derelicts would gamble on a pre-season football game (the Ravens are 1-point favorites tonight, by the way...), so the NFL doesn't care all that much about a team's roster and player injuries in August. The Ravens aren't obligated to really report anything on Flacco other than satisfying the fan base's curiousity, which does count for something, I suppose.

I'll always contend this about professional sports: It's no one's business who is hurt and when they're going to play again. Hell, the Orioles make up injuries out of thin air to hide guys on the disabled list. It's chicanery at its best when it comes to teams (in all sports, not just the Orioles) trying to stash players and avoid having to cut them or place them on waivers.

In Flacco's case, specifically, the Ravens are in a vulnerable position.

With each passing day that he doesn't play, the heat gets turned up on Ryan Mallett, his back-up, and also leads to questions about who might be brought in to back up Mallett in the event Flacco can't play at the start of the season.

There's this guy who used to be good and played in San Francisco and didn't stand for the national anthem and wore a "Fidel Castro t-shirt" in Miami before a game -- you might have heard of him. He's available, in case you've been on Pluto for the last month and didn't catch the news.

With Flacco sidelined, the questions come fast and furious.

"When is he going to start training again?"

"What happens when he has to practice five days in a row?"

"How will he react when he takes that first sack and lands on his back or gets a helmet in his spine?"

There are other questions, but those are three important ones.

It's fair to note here, as a disclaimer, that all of this could be, as the Ravens said from the start, a minor issue that they're simply treating with kid gloves. That definitely could be true.

But we're three weeks in, now, and Flacco hasn't given any indication at all that he's ready to get back at it.

That worries me.

Think what you will about Flacco and whether or not he's "elite", "kind of good", or "half a scrub", but with Flacco at the helm they have a chance to win any game. If he's out, that window of opportunity narrows by, oh, about 60%.

I'm not sure what's going on with our quarterback and his back injury, but the Ravens' history with these things and Flacco's own insistence that he'd be fine "in a week or so" has me concerned. Joe's not one to sit around and watch. If he's not playing, he's hurting.

And if Flacco's not playing come September, the Ravens and their playoff chances are hurting, too.

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from the desk of
brien jackson

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


The Orioles have reinvigorated their 2017 season by climbing back to .500 (briefly) and getting within two games in the loss column of the second wild card position entering play Thursday.

Playoff odds that once sat at under 5% have climbed back to a much more reasonable 10%, and even that number likely understates their chances due to the jumble of teams sitting within a couple of games of the spot. The Orioles do have 3 teams between them and the second wild card spot, by Tampa Bay and Seattle are a mere game ahead of them in the loss column and the O's have plenty of games left against them head to head.

Before the Orioles can do any long-term planning, they first have to figure out their path with Manny Machado.

We're a long way off from planning our post-season ticket purchases, but the Orioles are back in the think of the race as legitimate playoff contenders; a spot that seemed unthinkable two weeks ago.

But while this season is still very much in flux, the question of 2018 and beyond still looms large for a team that, at best, doesn't look built for a deep playoff run even if they do squeeze their way into postseason position. A trade deadline in which they failed to add future value, other than Tim Beckham, has only made the upcoming winter even more crucial to the near and intermediate term future for the franchise.

On a positive note, and a fact that went strangely unnoticed during last month's endless opuses on how badly the team needed to rebuild, is the fact that the Orioles are shedding A LOT of payroll this offseason.

Between Ubaldo Jimenez ($13.5M), Chris Tillman ($10.05M), J.J. Hardy ($12M after paying the $2 million buyout on his player option), and Seth Smith ($7M), the Orioles are set to free up $42.55 million in payroll allocated for this year. If the team declines Wade Miley's $12 million option and Welington Castillo exercise his opt-out, both of which seem more likely than not at this point, that will add another $15.7 million in savings as well.

And with Zach Britton entering his final year of arbitration and looking at earning somewhere in the $13-15 million range, there's a good chance the team takes another run at trading him after the season as well. Arbitration raises will eat into that, naturally, and raises to Adam Jones, Mark Trumbo, and Darren O'Day will cost them $4 million, but altogether the brain trust at the warehouse can expect to enter the offseason working with at least $40 million in payroll space even before budget increases are considered.

That additional payroll flexibility is really convenient, because job number one for Dan Duquette, or whomever is running the show after this season, is to figure out once and for all if Manny Machado can be signed to a long term extension before other teams get a chance to bid on him too.

Manny's future is clearly the lynchpin in how this team will be built for the next 4-6 years, and what kind of moves will be made in their competitive, and financial, interests. It's going to be hard to make any big moves with uncertainty on that front, and so with all of that freed up payroll the first step in the offseason is a pretty obvious one: Figure out how much you're willing to pay Manny, and put that offer on the table ASAP.

If Manny takes it, great: You've locked up an MVP caliber player and you've got budget certainty in knowing what his yearly salary will be. If he won't accept it, then for all intents and purposes you can assume he'll be in another uniform in 2019 and, while not an optimal scenario, you can still at least move forward with a degree of certainty and an ability to plan accordingly.

And thanks to that freed up money, an immediate tear down and rebuild won't necessarily be required if Machado can't be signed.

The upcoming crop of free agent starting pitchers is a reasonably deep one, and if the Orioles are willing to dip their toes in that water they could add one, maybe two, new starters to rebuild a rotation that will likely on return Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman after this season, and take another legitimate run at winning it all next year. Or, failing that, they can look to move Machado and veterans who aren't locked up and start building the next successful era of Baltimore baseball early.

But none of this can happen if they put off the question of what Machado plans to do with his future.

If a serious offer isn't made until Manny is already on the free agent market, then everything is in flux next season. Any big additions will have to be weighed against the possibility that it will eat into budget allocations the front office would prefer to spend on Machado, and it will be easy for the team to stumble into a worst case scenario where few, if any, improvements are made to keep money free for a new Machado deal, only to see Manny leave in free agency anyway.

However the franchise plans on moving forward, it first needs to know if Machado is going to be in Baltimore for the long term or not, and the time to determine that is this winter, not next.

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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.


john and joe


On a cold winter Saturday in January 2008, the 19th to be exact, John Harbaugh was named the head coach of the Ravens.

He was 45 years old and, by all accounts, he wasn’t the team’s first choice.

Jason Garrett may have been a seldom-used backup quarterback in the NFL, but he played for America’s Team, and he was an offensive coordinator, a typical stop on the way to taking charge. Only a team’s diehards know the special teams coach, so unless you were an Eagles fan, you might not have known that Jim Harbaugh even had an older brother.

John Harbaugh might have had a hell of a job interview, and a nice recommendation from Bill Belichick, but he’d be fighting an uphill perception battle the second he left the podium after his introductory press conference.

Fourteen Saturdays later, in New York, the Ravens worked their way around the first round of the draft like fantasy owners, but there was a method to their madness. Finally settling in at the No. 18 spot, they took a chance on Joe Flacco, the second quarterback in what was considered a one-quarterback draft.

He was a Division I-A washout at Pitt who resurrected his career at I-AA Delaware; before the draft process ramped up, the only Ravens’ fans that knew anything about him were ones that lived in Elkton or maybe saw him play a game at Towson. The Ravens had a big quarterback question after a disastrous 2007 season, and the big kid from South Jersey was going to be the answer?

Joe Flacco might have been 6-foot-5 and possessed a cannon for an arm, but he’d be fighting an uphill perception battle the second he walked off the stage after shaking hands with Roger Goodell.

Harbaugh and Flacco. John and Joe. Two plain-spoken guys with plain names, joined by the front office in the hope that perceptions would fade and the reality would make them look like geniuses, or at least not completely incompetent.

Now the 2017 preseason begins, tonight, at M&T Bank Stadium, albeit without an injured Flacco. But don’t let that get in the way of this: 10 seasons of Harbaugh and Flacco, together. John and Joe. Double digits. In the NFL, that’s an eternity. Hell, in life that can be an eternity.

There are two other players (ok, three if you count Sam Koch) on the 2017 roster who were also Ravens in 2008 — borderline Hall of Fame players, actually. But Terrell Suggs and Marshal Yanda predated John Harbaugh’s arrival. They, especially Suggs, were already on a path to stardom before they ever met him.

But not Joe Flacco. He was chosen by, and for, John Harbaugh. A man who had never been in charge of team at any level, a second choice, inextricably linked with another second choice—the second quarterback in the draft, who came from the second level of college football after getting a second chance.

There's lots of "seconds" there, clearly.

How many times has John Harbaugh stood in front of the cameras and recorders, in victory and defeat, and said that Joe Flacco is his guy? How many times has Harbaugh bumped chests in appreciation (he has to jump a little bit) with Flacco as his quarterback left the field?

How many coaches go to the playoffs six times in nine seasons, and have their team in legitimate contention in the penultimate week of two of the other three years? How many quarterbacks play every second of every offensive series for seven full seasons, going to the playoffs in six of them, without ever seeming hurt, let alone injured?

Harbaugh and Flacco. John and Joe. That’s who they are. Their accomplishments speak for themselves, and that’s not fake news.

That’s who the Ravens are, really, right now.

And I guess that’s the problem.

10 seasons in, nine years older, with two disappointing seasons behind them, we all wonder if John and Joe are the answer. We remember John’s predecessor, Brian, and wonder if John’s message after nine years is as stale as we were told Brian’s was after eight years. Or, at the very least, we wonder if that might be the message we are told at season’s end.

We know now (and probably always suspected) that Joe’s path to stardom had a ceiling, and for many of us it hasn’t been high enough. Is there a chance for a higher ceiling, even for just one season, that might make us feel better? I wouldn’t bet on it, injury or not.

What else do we know? Because of injuries, retirements and the realities of today’s NFL, not a lot. Maybe less than we’ve known since that 2008 preseason, when Troy Smith had a legitimate chance to be the team’s starting quarterback and the franchise was at a serious crossroads.

But a hard look at the Ravens’ roster, now and at the end of the preseason, is a topic for another time and another person.

This is about John and Joe.

John’s record as the Ravens’ coach is 95-64, including 10-5 in postseason games. In his first seven seasons, with his starting quarterback playing every snap, that record was 82-45. I refuse to give Rex Ryan, Ray Lewis or Ed Reed most of the credit for Harbaugh’s coaching record. I definitely refuse to give much credit to Cam Cameron or Marc Trestman.

Being an NFL coach is not about being a genius. It’s about being a manager, and a leader, and the front office’s correct gamble that John would excel in those roles was an important choice in the history of the franchise.

Meanwhile, Joe won more games in his first seven seasons, 72, than any other quarterback in NFL history. He has engineered 21 game-winning drives, and I won’t give him absolutely zero credit for his other 63 wins.

The gamble on Joe is the most important one in team history. Through their first 12 seasons, the Ravens had their moments, capped by an improbable Super Bowl run. But in the nine seasons since, the Flacco-led Ravens have been the kind of consistent winner the team never was before 2008.

None of this means that Harbaugh and Flacco, John and Joe, are beyond criticism. None of it means that you can’t be tired of John’s “mighty men” silliness or Joe’s inability to throw the ball as early as he should.

This is John’s team. This is Joe’s team. They’re bound together in a unique way, and time might be getting short. Then again, we never could have guessed that it would have lasted this long already.

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Wednesday
August 9
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXVII
Issue 9
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"baltimore boys" lived up to the hype


If you remember anything at all about the powerhouse basketball teams Dunbar High School assembled in the early 1980's, you were waiting with great anticipation for last night's debut of "Baltimore Boys" on ESPN.

It was a slam dunk. Pun intended, I guess.

Yes, I know it was "just a TV show", but last night's 90-minute 30-for-30 series on ESPN took any native Baltimorean on a wonderful trip down memory lane. And it also showed us the behind-the-scenes story of Muggsy Bogues, David Wingate, Reggie Williams and Reggie Lewis, four guys from the inner city who beat the odds and made it all the way to the NBA.

I remember those four guys very well. I was not only a 1981 high school graduate in Glen Burnie, but I then worked at the then-named Civic Center for the Blast soccer team starting in 1982. I clearly recall "Dunbar mania" and the stir those Bob Wade coached teams caused back then.

The folks at ESPN did a remarkable job of capturing the bond those four created, with Wingate graduating from Dunbar one year earlier than the other three.

Selfishly, after watching last night's show, you kind of wish the fairy tale ending would have had all four of them attending the same college, but it didn't work out that way. Wingate went to Georgetown, followed shortly thereafter by Williams. Bogues played at Wake Forest while Lewis, the least accomplished of the four in high school, went to Northeastern.

In last night's show, they made a brief mention of another outstanding Dunbar player who was a headline-grabber in the early '80's, Barry Scott, but he turned down a chance to play at Georgetown and fizzled out quickly after a brief run at Idaho State.

I remember Scott very well, though. It would have really been an amazing story to have those five kids go on to greatness.

But what last night's broadcast really did was reaffirm just how special those Dunbar teams were and how remarkable it was for four players from the same team to not only make the NBA, but carve out reasonably solid professional careers.

Think about the chances of that: A typical high school roster has 12-14 players. Wingate, Williams, Bogues and Lewis all played together in 1981-82, leading the Poets to an undefeated season. Two years later, all four were playing Division I basketball. Wingate and Williams led Georgetown to the national title in the 1983-84 campaign.

Every story needs a sad twist, though, and "Baltimore Boys" had one. Reggie Lewis passed away from a heart condition just as his career was starting to blossom with the Boston Celtics. Rumors of drug use followed as everyone scrambled to determine what happened. I remember it well -- and I remember thinking back then, "Why can't they just let this guy rest in peace?"

I thought ESPN did a fair job of making Lewis' death part of the story last night, but not letting it outshine the accomplishments of Baltimore's own version of "The Fab Four".

They were also very fair to Bob Wade, the former architect of those Dunbar teams who later went on to coach at the University of Maryland before being forced out as rumors of NCAA violations finally came to fruition and wrecked the program. Wade was a great high school coach, no doubt. He was a major reason why Wingate, Williams, Bogues and Lewis rose to their respective heights.

Charm City has produced a plethora of outstanding high school and college athletes who went on to great careers in their chosen professional sport.

But none of them could match what those four from Dunbar accomplished. All four played Division I basketball, all four went to the NBA and three -- Williams, Bogues and Lewis -- were first-round selections in the draft.

If you didn't get a chance to see "Baltimore Boys" on the first go-round last night, make it a point to somehow find it and watch it. You'll swell with pride, I promise.

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bridwell comes back to haunt o's in 3-2 angels win


The O's playoff surge took a hiatus in Los Angeles last night, as former Baltimore pitcher Parker Bridwell stymied the O's over seven innings in a 3-2 Angels win.

The Birds sold Bridwell to the Angels back in April and all he's done since is go 6-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 10 starts for the Angels.

He wasn't overpowering last night. But he was really good. The Orioles managed just six hits and one earned run off of him. Bridwell struck out four and walked none.

Jeremy Hellickson made his second straight decent start for the Birds, going six innings and allowing just seven guys to reach base (six hits, one walk). He picked up the loss, though, when the Angels nicked him for two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Caleb Joseph knocked in both runs for the O's last night.

It's a shame the O's (56-57) couldn't figure out a way to win last night. The Yankees, Rays and Royals all got beat on Tuesday evening, so the wild card gap was there to be closed. Instead, both Seattle (58-56) and Minnesota (55-56) picked up a game on the wild card leaders while the Birds stayed 1.5 games behind.

The Angels are right there, too, now sitting at 56-58.

The 3-game series with the Angels ends this afternoon (3:37 EDT) with Kevin Gausman facing Troy Scribner.

The O's then head north to take on the Oakland A's for a 4-game series that starts on Thursday. Win or lose today in L.A., the Birds really need to feast on a bad Oakland team over the weekend. They can make up some much-needed ground in Oakland.

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expect an unlikely winner at the pga championship


The PGA Championship has long been known for producing winners that wouldn't be considered household names (until they won, that is) or guys you'd typically think would capture a major championship in professional golf.

Jeff Sluman, Rich Beem, Y.E. Yang, Shaun Micheel, Keegan Bradley -- there's five right there who weren't on anyone's "hot list" going into the PGA Championship they eventually captured.

Because it's set up a lot like a regular PGA Tour event, you tend to get that kind of "odd" leaderboard activity. Yes, the cream typically rises to the top at some point over the four days, but as those five names above will show you, strange things do occasionally happen at the PGA.

I think something strange is going to happen this week at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina.

But before I get to that, let me tell you will hover around the leaderboard and play well down there in the season's final major.

Lots of folks think Rory McIlroy is set to play well this week, given his outstanding track record at Quail Hollow and the recent uptick in his play at both the British Open and last week's big event at Firestone CC. I'm not picking McIlroy to win, but I do think his stars are lined up right this week and I think he'll be a factor come Sunday afternoon.

The same goes for Jordan Spieth, who needs a PGA Championship title to capture the career grand slam. Spieth is playing too well to be ignored this week. I think there's a very good chance he's in the hunt.

I'm sticking with my British Open pick, Marc Leishman, who finished T6 at Royal Birkdale last month and looks poised to win his first major championship. He'll be on a bunch of my fantasy golf teams this week. His game is as solid as anyone on TOUR.

If you're looking for a longshot or two that might wiggle their way into contention, go with Tony Finau and Brian Harman. Finau is a big-hitting bomber off the tee who is quietly having an outstanding season and Harman is a diminutive bulldog who can compete with anyone in the world when his putter cooperates.

Here's my winner. And I was picking him to win long before I saw him late in last Sunday's round, where he went for the green in two on Firestone's famed 16th hole.

The video below tells a great story about how much Charley Hoffman wants to win.



#DMD HDTV


That's modern day "Tin Cup" stuff right there, except Hoffman didn't need eight balls to clear the water, or whatever Roy McAvoy needed in the great 1990's movie.

I'm taking Hoffman to win this week's PGA. He's had a spectacular season, likely playing his way on to next year's Ryder Cup team with his 2016-2017 performance.

A win this week at Quail Hollow would cement his spot on the team.

He's a gamer and a fiery competitor and, as the video clip above shows, he's trying to win. He gets it. After a while, that $25 million he's made on TOUR gets put on the back burner and "winning" is all that matters.

The PGA Championship is a perfect opportunity for him to finally break through. You have to make a lot of birdies (which he does) and you have to be able to handle the pressure of trying to capture a grand slam event. Hoffman has contended at the Masters and the U.S. Open (T8 this year at Erin Hills) and knows how to deal with everything that comes along with trying to win a major.

It's his time.

I'm going with Charley Hoffman.

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only 12 seats left for our bus trip to nyc to see billy joel at the garden!!


If there's one place you simply must see the great Billy Joel perform, it's Madison Square Garden in New York City.

So, let's do it!

#DMD is putting together a one-day mega-trip to the Big Apple on Saturday, September 30, and you're invited to attend!

We're heading up there to see Billy Joel play on the evening of September 30 at the Garden. You have your choice of upper or lower level seating for the concert. The lower level seats we've secured are right next to the stage! You'll love those seats. But if you'd prefer to sit upstairs, we have good seats available there, too.

WE NOW HAVE JUST 12 SEATS LEFT ON THE BUS. IF YOU'RE PLANNING ON GOING, PLEASE PLACE YOUR TICKET ORDER SOON USING THE LINK BELOW.

We'll be leaving the Towson area at 9:00 am on the 30th. Breakfast will be provided by Royal Farms, lunch will be served as we enter New York City, courtesy of our friends at Palmisano's of Baldwin. We'll have ice cold Duclaw beer on the ride to NYC, plus an awesome Billy Joel trivia contest with a $50 cash prize to the winner.

You'll have the bulk of the afternoon to spend in New York City. The concert starts at 8 pm.

If you haven't seen Billy Joel at the Garden, this is a must-check-off item on your bucket list. It's a once-in-a-lifetime show.

We'll be returning right after the show, so those of you with Ravens-Steelers tickets for Sunday, October 1st at Ravens Stadium will have plenty of time for a good night's sleep before cheering on the purple birds on Sunday afternoon.

Everything is included in the pricing below. Round-trip luxury motor coach transportation, food, drinks, concert ticket, etc.

Lower concourse pricing: $395 per-person

Upper concourse pricing: $325 per-person

You can go here to reserve and pay for your tickets to see "The Piano Man" at the Garden with #DMD.

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Tuesday
August 8
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXVII
Issue 8
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atlee softball team brought harsh punishment on themselves


Last week, girl’s junior golf. This week’s girl’s junior softball. It’s a shame we’re only focusing on those two entities at a time of drama, but it is what it is.

In case you missed it over the weekend, the Atlee (Virginia) 12-14 girl’s softball team was playing in the Junior League World Series, where they (seemingly) defeated the host Kirkland team, 1-0, to earn their way into the championship game.

They never made it to that final contest, unfortunately.

This wasn't the photo that got the Atlee softball team in hot water -- but here they are.

In advance of their match-up with the Kirkland team, a handful of girls on the Atlee squad posted a picture on Snapchat that featured six of them sticking out their middle finger along with a caption that read “watch out host”.

The photo wasn’t discovered until after their 1-0 win over Kirkland. As soon as their coach learned of it, he mandated the photo be deleted and that the girls involved issue an apology to the Kirkland team, which they did.

The following day, the committee in charge of the softball tournament kicked the Atlee team out for violating their published social media guidelines for all players and coaches.

This, of course, has created quite a stir, as the girls had played their way into the championship game, only to have it be taken from them because of an off-field incident that seemed relatively benign at the time.

But in today’s world of cyberbulling and social media pressures, it wasn’t all that benign to the committee in charge.

But was the punishment too harsh? Couldn’t they have figured something else to do to the girls that didn’t ruin all the hard work they had put in to reach the very last game? Anything?

Unfortunately, the committee did what they had to do. If there’s one thing kids need these days as it relates to social media, it’s regulation. They don’t need to be censored, per se, but they certainly need to know what’s allowed and what’s not allowed, either through their parents, school or place of employment. As the girls from Atlee displayed last Friday, giving teenagers the freedom to decide what’s suitable for social media doesn’t always work.

Someone will likely wonder why not just kick the six offenders out for the championship game and allow the rest of the Atlee team to play in the final? They only had 12 girls on the roster. Booting the six finger-givers would have left them with half a team.

Once that Snapchat photo made the rounds and the social media outcry hit full stride, they were done.

I’m already halfway in therapy thinking about what sort of guidelines and restrictions I’m going to put on my 10-year old and 7-year old when they get big enough to navigate the social media terrain. I’m not looking forward to it, that’s for sure.

I think everyone would agree – particularly if you have a 12-year old daughter – that a youngster sticking his or her middle finger out in a photo isn’t very becoming. If their game on that Friday had been televised and a girl came to the plate and gave the opposing pitcher “the finger”, what would have happened to her?

That’s a serious question. I don’t know the answer, but I’m assuming if she did it and it was obvious that she was directing it at the opposing pitcher, she’d either get tossed out the first time or, she’d be warned once and then ejected if she did it again.

In other words, if one of the Atlee girls came to the plate and gave the Kirkland pitcher the finger, it’s likely the Atlee player would have been tossed from the game.

So what’s the difference between the photo the girls posted on Snapchat and that in-game incident I described above? Not much, really. Either way, it’s meant to offend. And in today’s world, that’s going overboard.

On a personal note, I remember – now with fondness and a smile, but back then, not so much – a “middle finger” incident when I was the general manager of the indoor soccer team in Baltimore.

This would have been the 1995-96 season. We had a sponsor pay for 5,000 team photos that were going to be distributed at our final regular season home game.

Predictably, the photos didn’t arrive until late Friday. The game was on Saturday. No one bothered to open the boxes on Friday when they arrived.

On Saturday morning, my assistant walked in to my office with one of the pictures and said, “Have you seen the team photo yet?”

I hadn’t. So she gave it to me to review.

”See anything in there?” she asked.

Suddenly, there it was. In the middle of the picture was one of our team’s star players with his middle finger sticking up in plain view.

How that particular shot made it through the entire process and wound up getting printed was perplexing, but there was no time to worry about that, with the game roughly seven hours away at that point.

I closed my door and put my thinking cap on. Not handing them out that night wasn’t an option. It was the final regular season home game.

Finally, it dawned on me. I had an easy solution.

I called the offending party. “Good morning,” I said. “What are you doing after stretching today?” I asked. The team was coming to the Arena for stretching and a brief meeting at 11:00 am.

”Nothing,” the middle-finger-man said. “Just heading back home to rest.”

”Yeah, well, I have a little project for you when you get here,” I replied. “Stop up at the office.”

When he arrived after stretching, there I was, black sharpie pen in hand.

”Sooooo…that’s a pretty funny stunt you pulled,” I said. “But what would really be cool tonight would be if everyone who got one of these saw your autograph right about HERE…”

I pointed to his middle finger wagging in the air and suggested he put his autograph right over his left arm and middle finger.

”I’m not signing all of those,” he said. “No effing way. I’ll be here for three hours.”

”You’re signing every single one of them,” I countered. “No discussion. No arguing. You made your bed. Start signing.”

He signed them all. There was an occasional grumble or two and lots of under-the-breath-complaining, but he also knew, like I said earlier, that he created the whole situation.

That’s what we did back in 1996 when someone gave everyone the middle finger…and it wasn’t broadcast on social media for the whole world to see.

A bunch of hooligans from Glen Burnie H.S. scaled the fence the night before Old Mill’s 1981 homecoming football game against the Gophers and spray painted “Old Mill sucks!” on the track (I was told…). That was what we – I mean, “they” – did back in the old days to get on the other team’s nerves.

Thankfully, social media didn’t exist back then. Our version of social media was that: Spray painting the track.

Today, you don’t need to leave your bedroom to dig at an opponent or enemy. You can sit right there and do it from the friendly confines of your house, car or school.

The times have changed.

And while the punishment for that girl’s team was probably on the heavy side of “harsh”, it really was the right thing to do. They needed to learn a lesson about the power of the pen. And the power of the camera.

They needed to learn what’s suitable and what isn’t suitable – and 12-14 year olds giving other people “the finger” isn’t what we would consider “suitable” these days.

This isn’t 1981. Sometimes I long for those days, but they’re gone. And in 2017, flipping off the other team on social media is a bad move.

In the end, the Atlee girls needed to learn that what you post on social media is a reflection of you.

They learned a hard lesson, but an appropriate one.

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kaepernick still in the news but time is winding down


Within another week or two, a dozen quarterbacks will be on the market once NFL teams reach into their second level of player cuts.

Nearly all of them will likely NOT be better than Colin Kaepernick, but oddly, most of them have a better chance of joining a team at some point in 2017 as does Kaepernick.

Here we are, five weeks from the start of the NFL season, and the former 49'ers quarterback still doesn't have a job. And if the Ravens wind up passing on him, it's going to take a significant injury (which will occur, of course) to a quarterback in order for Kaepnerick to be considered by another team.

The Ravens and owner Steve Bisciotti remain at the center of the Colin Kaepernick controversy.

That's the threatening element of Kaepernick's continued unemployment. The first team to experience a quarterback injury -- or the next one -- is going to have Kaepernick shoved down their throat, just like the Ravens did two weeks ago when Joe Flacco announced he was nursing a back injury and wouldn't be able to start training camp with the rest of the team.

Kaepnerick, Kaepernick, Kaepernick -- as if he has some sort of divine right to be considered by every team in the league, regardless of their preference for quarterbacking style or chemistry.

I don't understand why it's so hard for people to understand that a business is allowed to hire whomever they want. I mean, the last time I checked, it was the company's responsibility and right to decide that you are right for them -- not the other way around.

Lots of people in town are claiming the Ravens bungled the Kaepernick situation. I've heard and read that a lot, with plenty of shade being thrown the way of Steve Bisciotti and Ozzie Newsome for the way they've handled the whole thing.

I don't get those criticisms at all.

If your point is you think the Ravens should have signed Kaepernick, then you're not upset that they "bungled the situation". You're upset they haven't signed him.

"Bungle" is defined as carrying out a task clumisly.

They haven't "bungled" anything. They didn't want to hire him, so they didn't. Or, haven't, yet.

But they also didn't want to be entirely dismissive of him because at some point in the future, they might want to hire him. But on their terms and their schedule, not his.

If the Ravens did anything wrong, it was saying too much to the media. Rather than go into a full explanation -- which then means every word and phrase gets torn apart and evaluated -- the Ravens should have simply said, "We're happy with who we have at quarterback right now."

That's precisely what Bill Belichick would say if, in fact, he had a quarterback opening and didn't want Kaepernick anyway.

"We're happy with who we have at quarterback right now."

That would have been better than trying to save face with the whole "We think Colin is a very good player and we have an interest in him" statement that led everyone in town to say, "Well, if he's a very good player, why don't you sign him already?"

But the Ravens caved in to league-wide pressure and went overboard in stressing how great Kaepernick is and how highly he's thought of and how "right" he was to take a stand in something he believed in last season.

They should have just said, "We're happy with who we have at quarterback right now."

If Joe Flacco's MRI looked bad in mid-August and they were facing a scenario where perhaps he wasn't going to be ready for the season opener, they could have then opened their internal search for a veteran quarterback. That's precisely what happened to the Dolphins with the Tannehill situation, although the confirmation of his knee injury sped up their signing process, whereas the Ravens are still in "wait and see" mode with Flacco.

Once the Dolphins knew they needed a veteran, they cut a deal with Jay Cutler. Certainly not a great option for them, but it's August, not March.

If Flacco's injury is more serious than initially suspected, the Ravens would then have to make a decision on another quarterback. Maybe that would be Kaepernick. Maybe it would be another cast-off who got the axe before training camp ended.

Whatever happens, though, I'm good with it. If the Ravens don't want Colin Kaepernick on their team or in their organization, that's their call. If they do, I'm OK with that as well.

I've said over and over that I wouldn't employ Kaepernick in my business. But I also wouldn't want to hear The Beatles on the in-house stereo system, either. We like what we like.

If the Ravens don't want to employ Kaepernick, that's their call. They absolutely have the right to say, "We're hiring. But you're not the right person for the job that's posted."

That's the way it works. And you don't have to mention things like the National Anthem, kneeling instead of standing, protesting, activists or anything else like that.

It's a simple issue, made far more complicated than necessary by the media. They've made it into a story about no one wanting Colin Kaepernick. In reality, the story is more about no one needing the inevitable circus that comes along with his employment. And for that, you can also thank the media.

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only 14 seats left for our bus trip to nyc to see billy joel at the garden!!


If there's one place you simply must see the great Billy Joel perform, it's Madison Square Garden in New York City.

So, let's do it!

#DMD is putting together a one-day mega-trip to the Big Apple on Saturday, September 30, and you're invited to attend!

We're heading up there to see Billy Joel play on the evening of September 30 at the Garden. You have your choice of upper or lower level seating for the concert. The lower level seats we've secured are right next to the stage! You'll love those seats. But if you'd prefer to sit upstairs, we have good seats available there, too.

WE NOW HAVE JUST 14 SEATS LEFT ON THE BUS. IF YOU'RE PLANNING ON GOING, PLEASE PLACE YOUR TICKET ORDER SOON USING THE LINK BELOW.

We'll be leaving the Towson area at 9:00 am on the 30th. Breakfast will be provided by Royal Farms, lunch will be served as we enter New York City, courtesy of our friends at Palmisano's of Baldwin. We'll have ice cold Duclaw beer on the ride to NYC, plus an awesome Billy Joel trivia contest with a $50 cash prize to the winner.

You'll have the bulk of the afternoon to spend in New York City. The concert starts at 8 pm.

If you haven't seen Billy Joel at the Garden, this is a must-check-off item on your bucket list. It's a once-in-a-lifetime show.

We'll be returning right after the show, so those of you with Ravens-Steelers tickets for Sunday, October 1st at Ravens Stadium will have plenty of time for a good night's sleep before cheering on the purple birds on Sunday afternoon.

Everything is included in the pricing below. Round-trip luxury motor coach transportation, food, drinks, concert ticket, etc.

Lower concourse pricing: $395 per-person

Upper concourse pricing: $325 per-person

You can go here to reserve and pay for your tickets to see "The Piano Man" at the Garden with #DMD.

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Monday
August 7
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXVII
Issue 7
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west coast foes await as o's try to make september matter


For all the ups and downs of the 2017 campaign, here's the reality for the Orioles with exactly 51 games remaining: They are still in the playoff race.

Your opinion might vary from mine on how far in the race they really are, but whether you think they're a slam dunk to miss it or if you still think they have a puncher's chance, the standings reveal what's going on at this very moment. Right now, the Birds are alive and still capable of playing meaningful baseball in September.

They have some work to do, yes, but the O's have a heartbeat.

Six of the O's next 16 games come against Mike Trout, the 2-time A.L. MVP who has the Angels in the thick of the wild card race with at least five other teams.

But over the next two weeks, we're going to see if that heartbeat is faint, or pounding a mile a minute. The Orioles face a Western Division team not named Houston or Texas for the next 16 games, starting tonight in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels. Visits to Oakland and Seattle follow, with the A's and Angels then coming to Camden Yards once the road trip concludes on August 23rd.

These 16 games will all but determine how interesting September baseball is going to be in Baltimore.

If they can go 6-4 on the road trip and come back at 61-60, it's likely they'll be within one or two games of the second Wild Card spot. And that, of course, can be made up in a weekend.

But if they go 4-6 or worse on the trip and return home no better than 59-62, they're facing an uphill battle.

The next six games at home (after the road trip) are critical either way, but if the O's stumble on the West Coast swing, they'll need something like a 4-2 mark on the homestand to keep themselves afloat. Oh, and then there are three games at Fenway Park.

Here's a simple prediction that we can all follow: The O's are 55-56 today. I say they need to go 12-7 in these next 19 games to make the post-season. That will put them at 67-63 with essentially a month of baseball remaining. To get to 86 wins (and an assumed Wild Card berth) they would need to go 19-13 through the end of September. That's possible.

But they'll have to navigate some pretty dangerous waters in the next 19 games. I think 12-7 is possible, but the West Coast road trip sets it all up. The Angels and Mariners are both alive and well in the playoff race, so you won't get any lay-ups when you face them. Oakland stinks, but their ballpark is quirky and the A's play hard no matter whey they sit in the standings.

A 12-7 record over the next 19 games is crucial for the O's if they hope to make the post-season for the fourth times in six years.

I predicted a 79-83 mark for the O's back in late March. I'm right on target at this point, but like any ticket plan holder who wouldn't mind seeing post-season baseball at Camden Yards, I'm hoping I might have underestimated their win total by seven or eight games.

We'll know a lot more about their playoff chances over the next three weeks.

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with judge struggling, is schoop a possible mvp candidate?


A month ago, it seemed a foregone conclusion that Yankees' right fielder Aaron Judge was going to win the American League MVP award.

Now, it's no longer a conclusion.

With Aaron Judge of the Yankees slipping in the second half, Jonathan Schoop is on the cusp of entering the MVP race in the American League.

With Judge stumbling through a woeful second half, the award is back up for grabs, and you have to think Jonathan Schoop is inching his way closer and closer to being worthy of consideration.

Unless the Orioles make the post-season, it's going to be hard for Schoop to win. That's not a knock on him, or the Orioles, but more like "just the way it is" for anyone in the A.L. not named Mike Trout. In fact, Judge might have to guide the Yankees to the post-season in order for the Home Run Derby champ to claim the MVP honor. That's just the way it works these days.

Schoop is having a MVP type season, though. There's no doubting that. Sure, we get to see him every day and others around the league just hear about the uptick in his production, but if you've followed the Orioles this year, you know the truth: He's been the team's best player, far and away. The difference between Schoop and the 2nd place guy is cavernous.

Trout will always get consideration, but here's the thing: He deserves it. The guy has morphed into the best all around player in baseball -- yes, I know, Bryce Harper would argue that -- and there's no real drop-off in what he does from year to year. If the Angels sneak in as one of the two wild cards, he'll be mentioned, although missing 40-some games with a thumb injury will make it tough for him to win.

Trout is 25 years old and he has 999 career hits. He's a third of the way to the Hall of Fame.

But I digress...

With Trout a longshot this year because of the injury and Judge coming back to earth, that leaves Houston's Jose Altuve as the likely front runner for the MVP award. Not only is he the top player on the best team in the American League, but he's having a remarkable season at the plate. He'll finish with 200 hits for the fourth straight season and might even scare the .360 mark in batting average.

After finishing 3rd a year ago, this might be Altuve's turn to win.

Schoop's season will be somewhat comparable to Altuve's, though, if it continues to play out the way it's looking. He'll definitely have more home runs and more RBI than the Astros' second baseman. Yes, Schoop strikes out more, walks less, and gets on base at a significantly lower pace than Altuve. He's NOT quite in Altuve's category yet -- but Schoop is making strides in that direction.

Judge still has time to reclaim the lead in the race, but it's looking more and more like he reached his 2017 zenith back in mid-June. Because it's New York, all he needs is a blow-away September where he hits eight homers, including an important two or three late in the season, and the voters will be swayed in his direction. If the Yankees make the playoffs and he has a major role in that come September, he's probably going to get the MVP nod.

But that scenario is starting to look improbable based on his second-half numbers to date. And the Yankees are far from a playoff shoo-in, anyway.

Schoop will likely finish top 5 in the balloting, which would be quite an accomplishment for a guy who before this season was mainly considered a complimentary-player at best. He could squeeze his way into strong consideration if he leads an Orioles playoff surge, but there's a lot of things that have to go right for him in order for his play to be enough to overtake Altuve, Trout and Judge.

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only 14 seats left for our bus trip to nyc to see billy joel at the garden!!


If there's one place you simply must see the great Billy Joel perform, it's Madison Square Garden in New York City.

So, let's do it!

#DMD is putting together a one-day mega-trip to the Big Apple on Saturday, September 30, and you're invited to attend!

We're heading up there to see Billy Joel play on the evening of September 30 at the Garden. You have your choice of upper or lower level seating for the concert. The lower level seats we've secured are right next to the stage! You'll love those seats. But if you'd prefer to sit upstairs, we have good seats available there, too.

WE NOW HAVE JUST 14 SEATS LEFT ON THE BUS. IF YOU'RE PLANNING ON GOING, PLEASE PLACE YOUR TICKET ORDER SOON USING THE LINK BELOW.

We'll be leaving the Towson area at 9:00 am on the 30th. Breakfast will be provided by Royal Farms, lunch will be served as we enter New York City, courtesy of our friends at Palmisano's of Baldwin. We'll have ice cold Duclaw beer on the ride to NYC, plus an awesome Billy Joel trivia contest with a $50 cash prize to the winner.

You'll have the bulk of the afternoon to spend in New York City. The concert starts at 8 pm.

If you haven't seen Billy Joel at the Garden, this is a must-check-off item on your bucket list. It's a once-in-a-lifetime show.

We'll be returning right after the show, so those of you with Ravens-Steelers tickets for Sunday, October 1st at Ravens Stadium will have plenty of time for a good night's sleep before cheering on the purple birds on Sunday afternoon.

Everything is included in the pricing below. Round-trip luxury motor coach transportation, food, drinks, concert ticket, etc.

Lower concourse pricing: $395 per-person

Upper concourse pricing: $325 per-person

You can go here to reserve and pay for your tickets to see "The Piano Man" at the Garden with #DMD.

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Sunday
August 6
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXVII
Issue 6
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dodgers, colon doing some record-setting stuff


I knew the Los Angeles Dodgers were playing well. I just didn't know they were playing that well.

With their 7-4 win yesterday over the New York Mets, the Dodgers finished a 50-game stretch of baseball in historic fashion. They equaled a mark initially set by the 1912 New York Giants by going 43-7 in those 50 games.

Amazing, right? 43-7...

Despite not having 3-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw for the last 12 games, the Dodgers still managed to equal a 105 year old major league record with Saturday's win over the Mets.

Let's think of it in acceptable baseball terms. A 30-20 mark in 50 games would be remarkable. That run extended over the course of the regular season would put a team near the 100-win mark.

If you went, say, 35-15 in 50 games, that would be enough to get you a playoff spot if you could just manage to play .500 in the other 112 games. Baseball being what it is -- "everyone wins a third of their games and loses a third, it's what you do in the other third that matters" -- a 35-15 record in 50 games just about puts you over the top.

30-20 in 50 games would be great. 35-15 would be outstanding.

The Dodgers went 43-7.

And they did some of that without Clayton Kershaw, remember, who went on the disabled list back on July 24.

Yu Darvish got the Dodgers within one win of the 50-game record on Friday night with a sparkling debut for his new team, striking out 10 and allowing just 3 hits in 7 innings of work in L.A.'s 6-0 win in New York.

October is still far away, but that's a pretty imposing starting rotation the Dodgers have constructed. As long as Kershaw is able to return -- healthy -- the Dodgers will be the easy favorite in the post-season.

But they haven't done it before, or at least not for a long, long time, anyway. And they've been solid in the regular season several times in recent years and have stubbed their toe come playoff time.

In other words, there's a bit of a monkey on their back out in Los Angeles. They can win 115 games if they want, but that won't mean anything if the Dodgers can't win 11 in October. The funny thing about baseball: You only need to go 11-8 in the post-season to win the World Series.

If the Dodgers went 11-8 right now, they'd probably call in minor league help to shake things up. I guess that's what happens when you go 43-7. Your expectations change...greatly.

One more piece of record context in case you somehow aren't impressed with L.A.'s season to date.

The Houston Astros are having a remarkable campaign. They're 70-40, own a 15.5 game lead in the A.L. West, and, despite some pitching issues that have cropped up over the last month, appear to be as "complete" as any team in baseball.

The Astros are 70-40. The Dodgers are 78-32. If they played in the same division, Los Angeles would be running away with it.


And what about 44 year old Bartolo Colon?

Depending on your current age, you might remember 44 very well. Perhaps you were there once. Maybe you're closing in on it now. I'm sure you can remember when your Dad, Uncle or some other adult close to you was 44 years old.

You're not a fossil at 44. Far from it. But 44 year old guys don't throw complete games in the major leagues.

Bartolo Colon does, though.

The ageless one did it on Friday night in Minnesota, when he beat the Rangers, 8-4.

In doing so, he became the oldest American League pitcher to throw a complete game since 45-year old Nolan Ryan tossed one back in 1992. Oh, and get this, Jamie Moyer once threw a complete game in the National League at age 47.

Colon continues to be baseball's version of a medical miracle. He's not in the best shape of his life, in case you haven't noticed. And yet, somehow, he still keeps churning out special moments like the one he authored on Friday night. And this all happened after he posted a dismal 8.14 ERA in 13 starts with the Braves this season.

It's one thing if Colon somehow finds the fountain-of-youth and puts together some sort of miraculous campaign to close out his career. No, Colon stunk it up most of the year in Atlanta, then somehow found his way to Minneapolis and threw a complete game for the Twins at age 44. You can't make this stuff up.

There will be some lousy starts for Colon in the next seven weeks, you can bet on that. Odds are he won't finish the season in Minnesota. But Friday night's performance will stick out and serve as a gentle reminder of just how good Colon has been throughout his 20-year big league career.

He's not going to the Hall of Fame. But Colon is a warrior, for sure. It's impressive to watch.

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this time, brach and britton help out in 5-2 orioles win


Orioles fans everywhere couldn't help but notice the difference in Friday night and Saturday night at Camden Yards.

On Friday, nursing a one-run lead in the 8th inning, Buck Showalter eschewed typical wisdom and left Brad Brach and Zach Britton in the bullpen while Mychal Givens gave up a game-losing grand slam to Justin Upton.

Buck Showalter casually mentioned on Saturday that J.J. Hardy would be the team's shorstop when he returns from his hand injury later this month.

Give Showalter credit. He bounced right back and got smart again on Saturday, using Brach and Britton in the 8th inning of a 3-2 game and the Birds went on to snap a 2-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Tigers.

Wade Miley got the start for the Orioles and was dreadful, but somehow managed to stay out there for 5 innings and throw 113 pitches while the O's nibbled their way back from a 2-0 first inning deficit. Miley threw -- ready for this? -- 80 pitches in the first three innings alone, but Detroit couldn't chase him from the game.

The Orioles' bullpen came to the rescue, though, with Darren O'Day striking out two in the 6th, and Brach coming in to start the 7th and working into the 8th before giving way to Britton to get the final out in the 8th.

So, Britton couldn't be counted on for a 5-out save on Friday night, but the 4-out save on Saturday night was within his means? OK then.

Let's hope the five or six games Buck has helped give away this season don't come back to haunt the Birds in late September.

Tim Beckham continued his torrid streak since joining the O's, hitting a 7th inning home run that put the O's up for good, 3-2. He's 13-for-20 as an Oriole, with three home runs. The 33,000 in attendance on Saturday night demanded a curtain call after his home run and the newcomer obliged.

But Showalter casually mentioned on Saturday that the starting shortstop position will still belong to J.J. Hardy when -- or if -- he returns to the lineup.

I guess Buck has to say that. Hardy is an extremely popular player in the O's clubhouse and any notion of disrespect wouldn't sit well with his teammates. But I don't see how you tell Beckham to take a seat on the bench if he keeps doing what he's doing.

OK, it's highly unlikely Beckham is going to 13-for-20 for the rest of the season. He'll level off at some point, for sure. And that talk with him would be an easy one, I think.

"Look, you're the starting shortstop here next spring, but we owe it to J.J. Hardy to let him finish his career with the dignity he deserves." I can hear Buck saying that now.

But if the O's somehow finagle their way back into the playoff race -- where some games in September really matter -- I don't see how you use Hardy over Beckham if the latter continues to produce like this at the plate.

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only 14 seats left for our bus trip to nyc to see billy joel at the garden!!


If there's one place you simply must see the great Billy Joel perform, it's Madison Square Garden in New York City.

So, let's do it!

#DMD is putting together a one-day mega-trip to the Big Apple on Saturday, September 30, and you're invited to attend!

We're heading up there to see Billy Joel play on the evening of September 30 at the Garden. You have your choice of upper or lower level seating for the concert. The lower level seats we've secured are right next to the stage! You'll love those seats. But if you'd prefer to sit upstairs, we have good seats available there, too.

WE NOW HAVE JUST 14 SEATS LEFT ON THE BUS. IF YOU'RE PLANNING ON GOING, PLEASE PLACE YOUR TICKET ORDER SOON USING THE LINK BELOW.

We'll be leaving the Towson area at 9:00 am on the 30th. Breakfast will be provided by Royal Farms, lunch will be served as we enter New York City, courtesy of our friends at Palmisano's of Baldwin. We'll have ice cold Duclaw beer on the ride to NYC, plus an awesome Billy Joel trivia contest with a $50 cash prize to the winner.

You'll have the bulk of the afternoon to spend in New York City. The concert starts at 8 pm.

If you haven't seen Billy Joel at the Garden, this is a must-check-off item on your bucket list. It's a once-in-a-lifetime show.

We'll be returning right after the show, so those of you with Ravens-Steelers tickets for Sunday, October 1st at Ravens Stadium will have plenty of time for a good night's sleep before cheering on the purple birds on Sunday afternoon.

Everything is included in the pricing below. Round-trip luxury motor coach transportation, food, drinks, concert ticket, etc.

Lower concourse pricing: $395 per-person

Upper concourse pricing: $325 per-person

You can go here to reserve and pay for your tickets to see "The Piano Man" at the Garden with #DMD.

Glory
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Saturday
August 5
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXVII
Issue 5
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what curry did at web.com event was pretty amazing


Steph Curry teed it up like a professional golfer on Thursday and Friday at the Web.com event in California and guess what happened?

He played like a professional golfer.

Curry didn't make the cut. That was always a major longshot at best. To borrow a familiar marketing phrase, those guys are good, and we're not even talking about PGA Tour players, for whom that slogan was originally adopted 15 years ago.

The Web.com Tour is the PGA Tour's version of minor league golf. But it's really, really good professional golf. It's akin to Triple-A baseball, if you will.

Trading in his sneakers for golf shoes, Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry shot a respectable two day total of 74-74 in this week's Web.com Tour event.

Web.com players are made up roughly of two classes; professionals who previously held status on the PGA Tour -- including major champions, believe it or not -- and professionals who are just breaking into professional golf and will someday soon have a card and be playing on the PGA Tour.

Curry, of course, isn't in either class.

He's a basketball player, in case you didn't know.

He teed it up this week at the Ellie Mae Classic thanks to a sponsor's exemption, dipping his +1 handicap into the waters of a play-for-pay event looking mostly just to see how his game stacked up against those guys who play golf for a living.

It stood up, alright. In fact, it was downright impressive.

He's not ready for the PGA Tour or anything like that. If he played in a regular TOUR event right now, he'd finish dead last for two days. But that doesn't mean he's a slappy who can't play with the professionals. It just means he's not good enough. Not yet, anyway.

For his two rounds in the Web.com event, Curry shot 74-74 to finish at 8-over par for the 36 holes. He beat a select few Web.com regulars who had off weeks, but missed the two-day cut by eleven shots. And that, I can say for sure, should be considered extraordinarily successful for a guy who doesn't play golf for a living.

Curry doesn't even play a high-level summer amateur schedule, which would prime him for significant events like the Web.com stop he just played. Instead, he just beats it around at his club in Northern California and plays a few of the "Celebrity Tour" events where he routinely finishes in the top ten.

He's a true "amateur" in every sense of the word. And he just held his own in a professional tournament.

The guys on the Web.com Tour are a sliver away from being good enough to play on the PGA Tour. Many of them actually split time on the Web.com and PGA Tour, owning "partial status" on the big TOUR. They bomb it off the tee, throws darts at pins from 150 yards and in, and make birdies with the same ease you and I make right turns on red.

The 36-hole leader of the Ellie Mae Classic is Andrew Yun. He shot 65-62 for 36 holes. Curry shot 74-74. See the difference?

And yet, Curry's total of 148 is remarkable given his inexperience. Oh, and he did all of this while being the featured story of the event. It's one thing if he somehow snuck in under an assumed name and a disguise that didn't give away his identity. From the moment he was offered the entry into the tournament and accepted it, he was in the spotlight.

Golf is hard enough to play when it's you and your buddies playing a $5 nassau at the club. It's another thing entirely to be teeing it up with people watching, commenting, cheering and, in the case of some professionals in the event, doubting your ability.

He went from playing in the Saturday morning group at the local country club to having his swing and game dissected by the folks on The Golf Channel, who wouldn't have cared one iota about the Web.com event had Curry not been in the field. He's used to pressure, yes, but this was new territory for the basketball star and he passed with flying colors.

One player in the field, Dawie van der Walt, wasn't all that impressed with Curry's opening round 74 on Thursday. Prior to Friday's round, he told an ESPN reporter, "I'll eat my golf bag if he (Curry) breaks 80 in the second round."

That's code word for calling what the 2-time NBA champion did on Thursday "beginner's luck".

Well, Dawrie, how would you like that golf bag cooked, sir? I hope you have an empty stomach.

Someone asked me on Friday if Curry's play was more impressive than what Annika Sorenstam did back in 2003 when she played at Colonial Country Club in a PGA Tour event and shot 71-74, missing the cut by four shots.

Curry's first foray into professional golf and his 74-74 score was impressive, but it doesn't top what Annika did at Colonial. She played stellar golf on day one and bounced right back with another solid round on Friday; she just couldn't buy a putt over the second 18 holes, which was ultimately what cost her a chance to play the weekend.

Yes, the yardage and the course were favorable for Annika's skill set, no doubt. But she teed it up with the men, and competed with them, too.

Curry's length off the tee was middle of the pack in the Web.com event. He was definitely a club shorter with his irons then most of the others in the field. His putting was decent, but nowhere near good enough to compete out there on a regular basis. He does possess a sneaky-good short game, though. Honestly, without a handful of really impressive up-and-down par saves over the two rounds, he would have shot more like 77-77.

Here's how I would assess his overall ability to compete at the Web.com level. If Curry played five straight weeks on the Web.com Tour, it would be 70/30 against him making a 36-hole cut.

But ultimately none of that "if stuff" matters, because he's not going out there for five straight weeks. This was his occasion to shine on one of the brightest stages in American golf and he acquitted himself admirably.

Already one of the best basketball players in the world, Steph Curry showed on Thursday and Friday that he's a very capable golfer as well. And he handled it all with great diplomacy and appreciation for just how good "the big boys" are in in the professional ranks.

Don't be surprised if he doesn't receive a sponsor's exemption for a PGA Tour event sometime down the road. He'll generate publicity, sell tickets and perhaps put a "fringe tournament" on the map.

And the way he's playing, he might actually hang around for 72 holes one of these days. I definitely wouldn't rule that out.

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brach, britton watch givens implode in eighth as o's lose 5-2


I know what you're going to say. "Buck Showalter didn't throw that pitch to Justin Upton that he hit into the seats for an 8th inning grand slam."

And that's correct. Mychal Givens threw the pitch to Upton that took the O's from a 2-1 lead to a 5-2 deficit, which is ultimately how the game ended last night at Camden Yards.

Why didn't Buck Showalter go with some combination of Zach Britton and Brad Brach in the 8th inning on Friday night with the Birds protecting a 2-1 lead over the Tiger?

But it was Showalter who kept Givens in the game after he loaded the bases. Why not go with Brad Brach there? It would have been unconventional to throw Zach Britton in at that point and ask him to get five outs, but it's not like Britton has been overworked lately.

It's all hindsight, of course, but keeping Givens in there to get lit up by Upton was a Buck-blunder for sure.

From 2-1 ahead to 5-2 behind in one swing of the bat. Game over.

The good? Tim Beckham hit an early home run and recorded four total hits on the evening. He did get thrown out at third base in the 9th inning last night -- although it sure looked like he was safe -- and committed a big defensive blunder on Thursday in the Chris Tillman-meltdown game, but Beckham has been a pleasant addition this week.

Chris Davis struck out four times. He's now hitting .219 on the year. LOL if you want.

The Orioles are now 53-56, and in danger of being swept at home by the Tigers if they don't get their act together on Saturday and Sunday.

Because it's what we do, here's your friendly "Wild Card Reminder". We're assuming it's going to take 86 wins to snag the second American League wild card spot (based on the average of the last five years in the A.L.). The Birds need to go 33-20 from here to the finish line to end the campaign at 86-76.

That's their magic number, if you will. 33 wins from now until the end of the season. It can be done, but it's going to take a lot better baseball than the Birds have played the last two nights vs. Detroit.

And it's going to take some better decisions from the O's manager, too. Anytime a morsel of criticism is levied at Showalter, people in town get their feelings hurt. So the natural disclaimer follows: Buck is a fine manager. I don't want him fired. I don't know of anyone else out there who is unemployed who would be a better fit for the Orioles. But he's had a handful of games this season where he seemingly isn't paying attention.

I know that's an exaggeration. He's paying attention. But he's not quick enough on the draw in a lot of instances, Friday night included. Once Givens loaded the bases with one out, you have to go with Brach there. Or, like I said earlier, roll the dice and see if Britton can get you five outs.

When you need 33 wins to make the post-season, every game counts. Friday night could have trimmed that number down to 32. Instead, the O's are still stuck on 53 wins and continue treading water in the American League wild card race.

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only 14 seats left for our bus trip to nyc to see billy joel at the garden!!


If there's one place you simply must see the great Billy Joel perform, it's Madison Square Garden in New York City.

So, let's do it!

#DMD is putting together a one-day mega-trip to the Big Apple on Saturday, September 30, and you're invited to attend!

We're heading up there to see Billy Joel play on the evening of September 30 at the Garden. You have your choice of upper or lower level seating for the concert. The lower level seats we've secured are right next to the stage! You'll love those seats. But if you'd prefer to sit upstairs, we have good seats available there, too.

WE NOW HAVE JUST 14 SEATS LEFT ON THE BUS. IF YOU'RE PLANNING ON GOING, PLEASE PLACE YOUR TICKET ORDER SOON USING THE LINK BELOW.

We'll be leaving the Towson area at 9:00 am on the 30th. Breakfast will be provided by Royal Farms, lunch will be served as we enter New York City, courtesy of our friends at Palmisano's of Baldwin. We'll have ice cold Duclaw beer on the ride to NYC, plus an awesome Billy Joel trivia contest with a $50 cash prize to the winner.

You'll have the bulk of the afternoon to spend in New York City. The concert starts at 8 pm.

If you haven't seen Billy Joel at the Garden, this is a must-check-off item on your bucket list. It's a once-in-a-lifetime show.

We'll be returning right after the show, so those of you with Ravens-Steelers tickets for Sunday, October 1st at Ravens Stadium will have plenty of time for a good night's sleep before cheering on the purple birds on Sunday afternoon.

Everything is included in the pricing below. Round-trip luxury motor coach transportation, food, drinks, concert ticket, etc.

Lower concourse pricing: $395 per-person

Upper concourse pricing: $325 per-person

You can go here to reserve and pay for your tickets to see "The Piano Man" at the Garden with #DMD.

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Friday
August 4
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXVII
Issue 4
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tillman in serious jeopardy of losing rotation spot


Unless Buck Showalter plans on going with six starters for the last two months of the regular season, someone's going to be cast aside by the O's skipper in the very near future.

That someone is going to be Chris Tillman.

Tillman got clobbered by the Tigers last night, allowing seven runs -- five of them earned -- in two innings of work. Here's a hilarious stat. Well, maybe not "hilarious", but anyway: Tillman recorded six outs in the game. Three of them came on one pitch. The Orioles turned a 5-4-3 triple play in the 2nd inning that bailed the O's right-hander out of a dangerous situation.

Did Chris Tillman make his final start of the season last night vs. the Tigers?

He didn't get the same kind of fortune in the third inning. In fairness to him, Tim Beckham let a routine grounder go through his legs with the bases loaded that blew the inning wide open. If Beckham snags that grounder and completes the easy double play, it's 3-0 with two outs and no one on.

There's no sugar coating things. Beckham's error hurt, yes, but Tillman's ineffectiveness was far more damaging. He gave up two first inning home runs, then walked two batters in the third before getting shelled and exiting with an 8.10 ERA.

Tillman won his first start of the season back on May 7. He hasn't won a game since then. Fourteen straight starts without a win for a guy who is set to a free agent this winter isn't a great way to command big bucks in the off-season.

And now, you can expect Showalter to have the tough talk with Tillman. He can't keep making starts, unfortunately. The Birds will either have to shove him to the bullpen (unlikely) or come up with one of their famous "injuries" (likely) in order to move him to the disabled list and out of the rotation.

It's hard to believe that Ubaldo Jimenez has survived longer in 2017 than Tillman, but he has. So, too, has Wade Miley.

Showalter and the O's will take Tillman out of the rotation before they'll remove Jimenez or Miley. That's saying something.

There's lots of speculation around town that Tillman is injured and still smarting from an early-season shoulder ailment that caused him to miss the month of the season. Tillman has continually denied that, though, and maintains he's healthy and feeling fine. The statistics say otherwise.

Thursday night's loss wasn't nearly as eye-opening as was Tillman's terrible outing. Having won five straight games, the Orioles were due a slice of market correction. They can't win every game, after all. But Tillman's fiasco on the mound wasn't market correction in the least. It's become the norm for him. He's allowing eight earned runs per nine-innings pitched.

Truth? Tillman is having one of the worst seasons of any starter in the big leagues who has made a dozen starts or more in 2017. It's not getting better, either.

If the Orioles can continue to get stellar work from Gausman, Bundy, Jimenez, Miley and newcomer Jeremy Hellickson, they can squeeze their way back into the wild card race. That's a big "if", of course, but the last two weeks have been remarkably uplifting for the Birds as far as their starting pitching goes.

Tillman's been the one outlier of the group, though. 14 straight starts without a win tells it all.

He can't be used as a starter anymore. Not now, anyway. And it's up to Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette to figure out what to do with him and how to get him back on track before the end of the season.

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eugene monroe still blaming the nfl


Eugene Monroe is still complaining.

The former Raven authored a piece on The Players Tribune yesterday that once again tried to blame the NFL for his myriad of health issues.

Monroe has become an advocate for marijuana use by NFL players who are dealing with pain and discomfort as a result of their days on the football field. That's a story for another day though.

After seven years in the NFL, Eugene Monroe has taken on a new foe: Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league itself.

The on-going saga created by Monroe is rooted in his contention that the NFL is somehow to blame for his various ailments.

John Urschel just retired from the Ravens and the NFL after a brief career. He made the decision, on his own, to no longer subject his body and brain to the damage that accompanies playing professional football.

Why didn't Monroe make that same decision nearly a decade ago when he first broke into the NFL? He could have, of course. The choice was his to play and the choice was his to retire, too.

His piece at The Players Tribune reads like a jilted lover. It's kind of like that old song from "No Doubt" that includes the lyrics -- "I kinda always knew I'd end up your ex-girlfriend".

You can read Monroe's work here.

Monroe knew what he was getting into when he joined the ranks of the NFL. He admitted as such in the column he wrote yesterday. So why pin the blame on the league?

Every guy who plays in the NFL knows the associated risks of doing so. You're going to get concussions, torn ACL's, back injuries and turf toe. You can count on that happening.

Where's the personal accountability for a professional who knows the risks going in, yet elects to complain about them once those risks become a reality?

This isn't about how much money Monroe made, either. Some folks will say, "Who cares? He made $25 million playing football. He and his family are set for life."

That's not really part of this discussion. There's no price tag that can be put on one's health, as we all know.

But blaming the NFL for the injuries doesn't add up. The players are also going to try and point the finger at the league for the whole "pain killer" story, but again, how many players in the NFL had a gun put to their head in advance of being forced to swallow a bunch of Percocets?

Answer: none

This is not meant to be dismissive of NFL players who have experienced significant brain injuries or trauma during their careers. Those circumstances are VERY real and the NFL needs to continue their work in making the profession more safe for those who work for them.

But the players have to share in the responsibility for their well being, or lack thereof. They made a decision to play professional football. It wasn't made FOR them. They decided to do it.

Monroe's marijuana advocacy has merit. It's certainly a more beneficial form of coping with pain and trauma than opioids. No one disagrees with that stance.

But this constant haranguing of the league by Monroe for the injuries he sustained while playing football is laughable. Of course you have memory loss. You banged your head into someone else's head for more than 10 years (including college). You're supposed to be forgetting things at this point.

At all times, though, please remember: You signed up for this. It's like I tell my Calvert Hall golfers when they have a bad day on the course and show obvious signs of frustration at the end of the round: "You came to the sign-up meeting voluntarily. I didn't pull you out of class and force you to play golf."

Every NFL player "signed up" for that line of work. This isn't 1964 anymore. Everyone these days knows the inherent dangers that are part and parcel with playing football.

If you want to stop geting football-related injuries, the remedy is simple: Don't be a football player.

How's that old country song go? "Mama, don't your babies grow up to be cowboys".

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this weekend in
english soccer


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


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Sunday, August 6th

9am – Chelsea vs. Arsenal – Wembley Stadium, Fox Sports 1

After an almost three month wait, which seemed sometimes more like an eternity after suffering through the opening rounds of the Gold Cup and a few of the preseason friendlies in the International Champions Cup that were essentially glorified training sessions, we can once again turn our attention across the Atlantic on Sunday morning when the English Premier League returns to action for the Community Shield, the annual campaign curtain raiser that will see defending league champions Chelsea take on FA Cup holders Arsenal at Wembley Stadium with the first trophy of the season on the line.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger begins his 21st season with the Gunners on Sunday when they face Chelsea at Wembley Stadium.

With their worldwide preseason tours just concluded, the cross-town rivals will be far from midseason form but both eager to head into Matchday 1 with silverware already in their pocket, particularly the current title holders, who will be looking to avoid a repeat of their performance following their title winning season two years ago, when they found themselves only a point above the relegation zone at Christmas before settling the season mid-table, and manager Antonio Conte, who won’t want to be the third manager in as many years to be fired less than a year after finishing top of the league.

The Italian will recognize a familiar face when he looks down the touchline on Sunday, one that has endured endless questions about his own future, as Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger begins his twenty-first campaign in charge of the Gunner’s after the Frenchmen put pen to paper on a new two year extension in May (which we were wrong about) despite missing out on a spot in next seasons Champions League places for the first time in his two-decade reign (which we were right about), an extension that may be short lived if Wenger and the Gunner’s stumble in the season’s opening months.

While Wenger and the Gunners may have gotten the better of the reigning Premier League champions in the FA Cup final last May to set up the weekend matchup, they remain underdogs at the weekend with only one win in their previous four meetings with their London rivals in the league and only two of their previous thirteen across all competitions, walking away empty handed in eight of those encounters including their summer friendly last month in the kickoff to their Far East excursion when they were unable to breakdown Chelsea’s backline in a 3-0 defeat.

Both managers will face selection dilemma’s ahead of the encounter, as Conte will be without Eden Hazard and Diego Costa, the former still recovering from an ankle injury and the latter informed that there will no place for the team’s top goal getter last season that their will be a place for him in the Blues title defense. Wenger and Arsenal meanwhile are likely to be without Alexis Sanchez who only recently returned to training after his participation with his country at the Confederations Cup and with rumors continuing to swirl about his future at the Emirates.

See you all next Friday for the first of thirty-eight weekly rundowns of the top matches beginning with Matchday 1 and to be followed by our projected top six team previews once the transfer window closes.

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Thursday
August 3
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXVII
Issue 3
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this, that and the other


And suddenly, the Orioles can pitch again. Who knew, right?

It's one thing to sweep the stumbling, bumbling Texas Rangers in Baltimore, which the Orioles did two weeks ago. It's another thing entirely to take three of three from the red-hot Royals, who scored a grand total of three runs in that trio of games this week.

Caleb Joseph remained red hot at the plate last night with a 2-run homer in the O's 6-0 win over K.C. Should he be the team's starting catcher over Welington Castillo in the season's final two months?

Newcomer Jeremy Hellickson made his Orioles debut last night and for a guy who confessed on Tuesday that he "hated pitching in this place", Camden Yards surely was kind to him in Wednesday's 6-0 drubbing of the Royals. Hellickson worked seven innings and allowed just five hits before giving way to Mychal Givens and Darren O'Day to clean up the 3-game sweep.

It's been mostly about the starting pitching in this five-game winning streak, but the bullpen has done the job as well. The O's have allowed a total of nine runs in the last five games. Earlier this year, they gave up at least five runs in 20 straight games. Baseball's weird, huh?

Tim Beckham has looked solid in his first two games in orange. While his glove and arm are clearly "just OK", his work with the bat and his speed on the basepaths have added a dimension to Buck Showalter's lineup that both J.J. Hardy and Ruben Tejada were unable to provide. Beckham does strike out a lot, though, so be prepared for that.

After this four game series with the Tigers that starts tonight in Baltimore, the Birds head west to take on the Angels (3), Athletics (4) and Mariners (3). The Birds will then return home to face the Angels (3) and A's (3) again. That's 16 straight games against Western Division teams, in case you're a Flyers fan or an Old Mill H.S. grad and you need math help.

I'd say those 16 games are a good time for the Birds to fatten up, but both the Yankees and Red Sox had trouble on the same west coast swing earlier this summer. It's never easy to play out there, particularly given that both the Angels and Mariners are in the thick of the wild card race with the O's.

One check of your Twitter timeline every night this week tells you the city is excited again about the O's. Winning can do that.


It just won't go away, will it? I'm talking about the Colin Kaepernick saga, which featured a new twist on Wednesday when ESPN reported that Steve Bisciotti is the dissenting voice in the Ravens apparent interest in the former 49'ers quarterback.

The Ravens quickly churned out a press release which contained a vehement denial from GM Ozzie Newsome. Ozzie, to no one's surprise, says the club has not made a decision on Kaepernick yet and that Bisciotti hasn't issued any sort of mandate against signing him.

This whole thing has become a fiasco, really. With no disrespect intended to Kaepernick, this is another reason why it's just not worth signing him. It becomes so much more than just football. He brought some of this on himself, of course, but when you're the Ravens and you have Ray Lewis snap-chatting crazy stuff and Shannon Sharpe on national TV saying the owners of NFL teams need to help clean up the inner cities and fans threatening to boycott if you sign a certain player...it's just not the path you want to be on a month before the season gets ready to start.

And then, worst of all, if you do bring him in and he winds up not helping the club, getting rid of him will be a major headache.

I'm still of the mindset that Ryan Mallett controls the whole situation. If his play improves and he steadies himself as the back-up to Flacco (or potential starter, even), the Kaepernick signing will blend its way into the background.

But if Mallett stinks it up and Flacco's back doesn't improve in the next week or so, the Ravens might not have a choice but to bring Kaepernick on board.

It's a mess, though. It's one thing if you're adding Aaron Rodgers and you have these headaches. But it's not Aaron Rodgers. It's the league's most celebrated back-up quarterback that we're talking about. I don't know if he's worth the trouble, honestly.


A lot has been made over the years about the Home Run Derby and the mysterious impact it occasionally has on hitters who compete in the swing-for-the-fences event.

You'll have to forgive the New York Yankees if they pull the plug on Aaron Judge's attempt to defend his "Derby crown" next July at Nationals Park in D.C.

It might be coincidence, sure, but Judge has been a mess since the All-Star break.

He's hitting just .164 since the Yankees returned to action on July 14. Judge has struck out in 21 straight games overall, and he's hit just four home runs in the last 17 games.

So what's going on? Just a mid-season slump? Or does the "Derby curse" have another victim?

It's hard to say what, exactly, would be going wrong with Judge's swing that has any connection at all to the Home Run Derby. In the past, some major leaguers have suggested that the pace of the ball thrown at the Derby (60 MPH or so) throws off a hitter's timing when they return to the 90 mph-plus stuff they see at the big league level.

I haven't played in the majors, so I'll just sign off on that and say, "I guess that could be a factor."

Here's where I'll add some golf experience to the discussion -- as it relates to timing and such -- in an effort to make a connection between the difference in pitching speeds.

Anytime I play in a charity scramble golf event, where everyone in the group hits a drive and then the team picks the best one and plays in from there, I inevitably wind up needing a round or two of "regular golf" to get my driver back on track.

What winds up happening in a scramble event is everyone tries to drive the ball as far as they can -- for 14 holes (assuming the course has four par 3's). And when you try and hit it the ball as far as you can, you wind up overswinging. You get into a bad habit, which can happen in the snap of a finger in golf.

I'm more aware of it now than I was in the past, so these days in a scramble, I won't even bother driving off the tee if someone else in the group has already pounded one out there that my team can use. It's just a way of trying to lessen the chances that my timing will go bad because I get up there and swing like a maniac at the ball instead of using my normal golf swing.

I have no idea if that's what has happened to Aaron Judge. But I do see where a guy standing at home plate who only tries to hit home runs for 45 minutes could severely alter his normal, well-rehearsed rhythm.

Yes, there's definitely a chance the league might be catching on to Judge. In some cases, teams are now seeing him for the second and third times this season.

But I'm starting to believe there might very well be something about the Home Run Derby that has also caught up to Judge.

One thing for sure: If Judge continues to slide and finishes the season with a .265 average and, say, 12 home runs after the All-Star Break, the Yankees front office will be trying to figure out the nicest way possible to inform their MVP-candidate that next year's Derby will come-and-go without his participation.

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from the desk of
brien jackson

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

If there's a cloud looming over Camden Yards and the brain trust of the Baltimore Orioles right now, it's not the decision to hold onto Zach Britton and Brad Brach at this year's trade deadline; it's the perception that pitching prospects routinely go on to success elsewhere once they leave the organization and go elsewhere.

Dating back to at least Jake Arrieta's breakout in Chicago, it's almost taken as a given that the O's development system is a train wreck, and that Dan Duquette gives away talented youngsters at a discount, only to watch them become quality pitchers in other cities.

How true is that though? Let's take a look at the four most often cited examples other than Arrieta. The players are presented in the chronological order in which they were sent packing, and I've left Eduardo Rodriguez off the list since he was a consensus top 100 prospect when he was traded for Andrew Miller.

Josh Hader: Traded to Houston as part of the deal to acquire Bud Norris in 2013, Hader made his Major League debut for Milwaukee this year and has been on a tear working out of their bullpen.

Through 20 innings over 14 appearances, Hader has an astounding 0.90 ERA and has a stat line reminiscent of Joba Chamberlain in 2007. Except for the walks. Always plagued with control issues, Hader hasn't quite figured that out yet, walking 12 batters in those 20 innings. Luckily for him he's stranded over 97% of the base runners he's allowed, but suffice it to say that's not sustainable, and if Hader keeps issuing free passes like he has for the vast majority of his pro career he's eventually going to settle in as a middle reliever and not much more.

The Orioles have little trouble shifting through those players these days, and considering that Norris was an important part of the team's run to the 2014 ALCS I can't fault them for parting with a Single-A pitcher with control problems.

Zach Davies: Traded to Milwaukee for Gerardo Parra in an ill-fated attempt to be deadline buyers in 2015, Davies is going to be the biggest clear miss in this list.

After a decent early minor league career, Zach Davies has blossomed into an reliable major league starter with the Brewers.

In 321.2 innings pitched for the Brewers, Davies has an ERA of 4.11 and FIP (fielding independent pitching) of 4.18. That's not Cy Young caliber performance by any stretch, but it's definitely the stuff of a legitimate big league starter, and even in a bit of a down year this season Davies would easily be one the Orioles' 3 or 4 best starters.

Plus, and this is going to become a theme here, Davies is extremely cheap given that he's not even arbitration eligible yet, pulling down a $500,000 salary this year. To really make matters worse, though, Davies was far from a non-prospect in the Orioles' system, and in fact was consistently successful in his minor league career. His FIP at Double-A Bowie was a very good 3.30, and in 101.1 innings for Norfolk it was an even better 3.08 (I prefer to use FIP when judging minor league performance both because it's more predictive of future performance than ERA and because the volatility of minor league parks and defenses makes creates a lot of statistical noise in ERA.)

Given that the return was a defensive specialist corner outfielder having a career year at the time, I'd say that trading Davies away was likely the worst roster decision Dan Duquette has made in his tenure as O's GM.

Ariel Miranda: Traded for Wade Miley at the deadline last year, Miranda has become a cause celebre for the growing ranks of Duquette haters in town.

Miranda has come down to Earth a bit since a very strong start to the season, but even then his ERA currently sits at 4.31 through 121 innings for Seattle. The problem with Miranda is that he gives up a ton of home runs and, for now, it looks like those numbers are pretty heavily cushioned by pitching in the spacious confines of Safeco Field.

In fact, in road games this year Miranda's ERA is a much less appealing 5.77, with a whopping HR/9 rate of 2.42. Even in the most generous analyses, it's incredibly difficult to imagine Miranda would be enjoying much success playing his home games at Camden Yards. The counterpoint would be that Miley has been terrible in Baltimore, which is fair, but also isn't an ex ante evaluation of the move at all. Unlike the Parra deal in 2015, the Orioles were clear playoff contenders last season and needed to find at least a backend pitching option in a thin deadline market.

Some trades just don't work out. But again, what really hurts the Orioles here is cost: Miranda might not be much better than Miley in Baltimore, but he'd provide them with payroll and roster flexibility if nothing else.

Parker Bridwell: Released by the O's this past April to free up a 40 man roster spot and then signed by the Angels, Bridwell has made 8 starts for Los Angeles and owns a 2.83 ERA in 54 innings pitched.

The latest in a string of Orioles' cast-offs to find early success somewhere else, just about everything below that top line number suggests Bridwell is coming back to Earth at some point. His home run rate is a tick below average, and while his walk rate is more than respectable, his K/9 rate of 5.67 is decidedly not good. Those defense independent factors work out to an FIP of 4.90, or over 2 runs a game higher than his ERA. The biggest number that leaps out at you though is his stranded runner rate of 89.9%. To put that in context, Clayton Kershaw's career rate is 79%. Greg Maddux stranded 72% of runners who reached base on him in his career, and in his brilliant 1996 season stranded 71% of all baserunners.

So, suffice it to say, Bridwell is probably benefitting from a lot of "luck" at the moment, and his ERA is going to come up just from balancing that out. Still, if he can keep the walks down and pitch to an ERA of around 4.50, he can still be a respectable (and cheap!) backend starter in the big leagues.

On the whole, I think it's fair to say that the narrative that pitchers are finding success once the Orioles jettison them time after time is at least a little bit overstated, mostly resting on the unsustainable ERA's Miranda and Bridwell posted in their first dozen or so starts. Davies is the real "one who got away" here, but that's not surprising in hindsight and that trade was always a misguided one for the O's.

What does hurt, though, is the pattern of using crappy and expensive veterans over potentially crappy youngsters. Cutting Bridwell or trading Miranda for Miley isn't self-evidently bad (although clearly the move ended up being a terrible one for Baltimore); the problem is signing Ubaldo Jimenez and Yovani Gallardo to expensive free agent deals and handing them rotation spots in the first place.

If it weren't for those kind of veterans who a) no one else seemingly wanted at the time because b) they came with some obvious and glaring red flags, it might have been easier to give some fringey young players a chance here and there. At the very least they'd have more payroll and roster flexibility that way, and that alone is more value than Ubaldo and Gallardo have provided during their time in Charm City.

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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.


After seven full seasons away from the ballclub, at the age of 40, Eddie Murray returned to the Orioles on July 21, 1996, in a trade with the Indians. 13 years after crushing two home runs off the Phillies’ Charles Hudson in Game 5 of the 1983 World Series, Murray was back with the Orioles as they ended a playoff drought that dated back to that 1983 season.

He even hit a home run off Andy Pettitte in Game 5 of the 1996 ALCS against the Yankees, though it was too little too late.

That was some sports day for Baltimore, wasn’t it? First pitch for Orioles-Yankees that Sunday, October 13, was 4:07 p.m. at Camden Yards, but the game, and the series, was essentially over by 5:07 p.m., after the Yankees hit three home runs and took advantage of a Roberto Alomar error to score six runs in the third inning.

Ichiro Suzuki collected 200 or more hits in each of his first ten seasons in the big league!

Meanwhile, the first-year Ravens kicked off on the road a few hours later and lost on national television to, of all teams, the Colts. Yuck.

That would have been one hell of a Monday morning for content and comments at #DMD. But I digress…

In light of Adrian Beltre’s 3,000th hit this past Sunday, I thought back to those 1996 Orioles, who had three members of the 3,000-hit club in their lineup on that final day of the season. A full one-third of the lineup!

Rafael Palmeiro, still in the prime of his career, hit cleanup. Cal Ripken and Eddie Murray, well past their primes, batted sixth and seventh, back to back as they had years earlier.

Has any other team in baseball history started three eventual members of the club (in 1996 only Murray had reached the mark) in the same game?

The Yankees lineup that day had lots of great hitters, but only two of them, Derek Jeter and Wade Boggs, reached 3,000 hits.

Meanwhile, the Orioles’ lineup also featured the Hall-of-Famer Alomar, a .300 lifetime hitter with 2,724 career hits, and Bobby Bonilla, who had 2,010 hits and the wherewithal to sign a contract with the Mets that will pay him $1,193,248.20 every July 1 through 2035.

Has any other team in baseball history started four members of the 2,500-hit club, or five members of the 2,000-hit club, in the same game? I’m guessing yes on the latter.

In looking through the list of the now 31 members of the 3,000-hit club, there have been three “pairs” of players who played together for significant periods of time.

Paul Molitor and Robin Yount played together with the Milwaukee Brewers for 15 seasons, from 1978 through 1992. Jeter and Alex Rodriguez made up the left side of the infield for the Yankees for 10 seasons, from 2004 through 2013. Ripken and Murray were Orioles together at first from 1981 through the 1988 season, after which Murray was traded to the Dodgers.

I suppose you could throw Beltre in there with Ichiro Suzuki, with whom he played five seasons in Seattle, though Beltre has moved around to the point where he’s hardly associated with the Mariners.

So Baltimore fans were certainly fortunate to watch two members of the club play together for so long. The final series of the 1982 season at Memorial Stadium, when the Orioles won the first three games to tie the Brewers in the standings only to lose the season finale, was a special one. 22-year-old Ripken, the Rookie of the Year, joining in-their-primes Murray, Yount and Molitor on the same field.

There I go talking about tough losses again. I’ll move on…

I consider Stan Musial the first “modern” player to reach 3,000 hits. Though his career began before World War II, the bulk of it was played after the war. He reached the milestone early in the 1958 season.

Amazingly, it would be 12 years until another player, Hank Aaron, reached the mark. But it was only two months after Aaron got there that Willie Mays got hit number 3,000 in July 1970.

Some might consider Aaron and Mays to be the two best baseball players of all time, and they reached 3,000 hits within two months of each other.

Meanwhile, there was another large “drought” in the club in the 1980s. Between September 1979, when Carl Yasztremski reached 3,000 for the Red Sox, and September 1992, when Yount reached 3,000 with the Brewers, there was only one player who got there. That was Rod Carew, who did it in his final Major League season with the Angels in 1985.

There are other oddities and interesting factoids among the group. Tony Gwynn and Wade Boggs played in different leagues but were very much associated with each other: left-handed singles hitters who tended to slap the ball the other way. Almost as if ordained by a higher power, they reached the 3,000-hit mark on consecutive days, August 6 and 7, 1999.

Boggs, of course, is one of only three players among the group to have hit a home run for his 3,000th hit. One was Jeter, hardly known as power hitter himself, and the other was Rodriguez, the second-best power hitter of his generation.

Ripken, not surprisingly, has the lowest batting average among members of the group at .276; after his 1991 MVP season, he really wasn’t much of a hitter. In the modern era, Gwynn’s .338 tops that list. But let’s give Ripken some props sabermetrically. He ranks 37th all-time in Wins Above Replacement, while Gwynn doesn’t even crack the Top 100.

And here’s a question: among the 24 modern-era players to have reached 3,000 hits, who was the best defensive player?

You could go by Gold Gloves, I suppose. In that definition, the outfielders on the list win out. Both Clemente and Mays won 12, while Baltimore native Al Kaline won 10.

For some on the list, part of the longevity that allowed them to reach 3,000 hits came from position changes during their careers. Much credit for that has to go the emergence of the designated hitter, but there were other big adjustments as well. Would Craig Biggio have reached the mark playing catcher his entire career? Probably not.

At my age, I can’t really speak to anyone before Yount. Among those 15 guys, in their primes, I’d put Ripken and Rodriguez playing shortstop at the top of the list. At their size, playing the toughest position on the field, they made difficult plays look routine.

Who is next to make the 3,000 hit list? Certainly Albert Pujols, likely early next season. He’ll be only the 32nd player among the 19,000 people to have played in the major leagues to get there.

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only 16 seats left for our bus trip to nyc to see billy joel at the garden!!


If there's one place you simply must see the great Billy Joel perform, it's Madison Square Garden in New York City.

So, let's do it!

#DMD is putting together a one-day mega-trip to the Big Apple on Saturday, September 30, and you're invited to attend!

We're heading up there to see Billy Joel play on the evening of September 30 at the Garden. You have your choice of upper or lower level seating for the concert. The lower level seats we've secured are right next to the stage! You'll love those seats. But if you'd prefer to sit upstairs, we have good seats available there, too.

WE NOW HAVE JUST 16 SEATS LEFT ON THE BUS. IF YOU'RE PLANNING ON GOING, PLEASE PLACE YOUR TICKET ORDER SOON USING THE LINK BELOW.

We'll be leaving the Towson area at 9:00 am on the 30th. Breakfast will be provided by Royal Farms, lunch will be served as we enter New York City, courtesy of our friends at Palmisano's of Baldwin. We'll have ice cold Duclaw beer on the ride to NYC, plus an awesome Billy Joel trivia contest with a $50 cash prize to the winner.

You'll have the bulk of the afternoon to spend in New York City. The concert starts at 8 pm.

If you haven't seen Billy Joel at the Garden, this is a must-check-off item on your bucket list. It's a once-in-a-lifetime show.

We'll be returning right after the show, so those of you with Ravens-Steelers tickets for Sunday, October 1st at Ravens Stadium will have plenty of time for a good night's sleep before cheering on the purple birds on Sunday afternoon.

Everything is included in the pricing below. Round-trip luxury motor coach transportation, food, drinks, concert ticket, etc.

Lower concourse pricing: $395 per-person

Upper concourse pricing: $325 per-person

You can go here to reserve and pay for your tickets to see "The Piano Man" at the Garden with #DMD.

Wednesday
August 2
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXVII
Issue 2
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ravens have an injury issue that needs investigating


I'm not a doctor. I don't even play one on TV.

But something is going on with the Ravens and their injury list.

I'm not telling them anything they don't already know, obviously. Anytime a player is lost to a significant injury, particularly out-of-season, there's a sequence of events that serve as a follow-up to the incident.

Was contact involved?

Was another player involved?

Was the injured player in pads?

Had he previously suffered an injury to the same part of his body that was injured this time around?

At what point in practice did the injury occur? Early? Late?

John Harbaugh said on Tuesday he isn't concerned with the team's two month rash of significant injuries, but the Ravens' 53-man roster is taking quite a hit so far in 2017.

Everything about the player and the injury needs to be dissected accordingly. I'm sure the Ravens are doing that. They're paying their medical folks a lot of money to provide the best possible treatment and training programs.

But something's not right at Owings Mills.

The team has now lost five players FOR THE SEASON since June 1st. It's August 2nd, folks. They're dropping like flies.

Tavon Young, Dennis Pitta, Kenneth Dixon, Crockett Gillmore, Nico Siragusa -- all of them out for the year.

Dixon might be the one that's worthy of striking from the list. He injured himself while lifting weights in Louisiana, and was apparently not following the team-provided training program while doing so. It's kind of hard to blame the Ravens for that one.

In fairness, it's hard to blame the Ravens for ANY injury, but something just doesn't seem right. Joe Flacco is sidelined for an undetermined period of time with a back injury. Tony Jefferson (groin) missed time in training camp. Others are no doubt nicked up too.

Let's get the obvious out of the way: Every team has players on the injury list, even on August 2nd. It's not just the Ravens who are having these problems.

But they're either the unluckiest team in the league or something needs to be looked into a little more carefully about the way the team trains.

This many injuries -- especially season-enders -- two weeks into training camp spells trouble. What's going to happen when they have to play four pre-season games between now and Labor Day?

John Harbaugh said on Tuesday that he's not concerned about the team's injuries. I can't imagine that's 100% true. I assume he's concerned about losing players -- this many, this soon -- and "why" the team is getting wrecked with so many injuries in 2017.

Let's hope Harbs was just posturing a bit yesterday. I get it, he doesn't want to show panic . And he also doesn't want the incoming players who are replacing the injured ones to think the head coach is mortified by their inclusion on the roster.

But, privately, you have to figure Harbaugh wants answers. This, after all, is likely a "make or break" season for him. He needs to win games and it's easier to try and do that with a relatively healthy 53 man roster. If the head coach isn't concerned with his team's injuries, something's wrong.

Everyone should be working hard at Owings Mills to try and come with a reason or two as to why so many players are getting hurt. It's worth repeating that this could very well just be bad luck. And there's not much anyone can do about that, just like you can't do anything about the dealer having a ten and pulling an ace. S**t happens, as the bumper sticker says.

But there's also a possibility that there's something else going on within the organization that is somehow contributing to this awful run of serious injuries.

The Ravens need to work overtime to figure out what's going on.

There might very well be more to it than meets the eye.

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we'll probably never know the truth, but......


A day after the trade deadline came and went and the Orioles were unable to move Zach Britton, a report out of Houston surfaced that indicated the Astros and O's had a deal in place for the left-handed closer and it was nixed at the last minute by -- the Orioles.

There's nothing concrete to say it was Peter Angelos specifically who squashed the deal, although MASN Sport's Roch Kubatko reported on Tuesday that three deals reached "ownership" on Monday without receiving approval.

This, of course, is where you put one and one together and come up with -- yes, it was Peter Angelos who likely killed the Britton deal and the other two.

Did Peter Angelos nix a last-minute deadline deal involving Zach Britton and the Houston Astros?

Angelos has a history of meddling. To be fair, he's the owner. He has the right to interfere. That doesn't mean it's the best way to run your business, mind you, but owning and meddling have long gone hand-in-hand as far as Angelos goes.

There's always a possibility that it was Angelos and Brady Anderson who sat down at the moment of truth, reviewed the offers in hand, and collectively made the decision to cancel the deals. It's not at all far fetched to imagine that scenario taking place given Angelos' trust in and fondness for Anderson.

And, sure, the Astros could be fibbing here too. They have a pretty disgruntled fan base on their hands right now after they failed to obtain a quality bullpen arm and instead had to settle for nearly washed-up Francisco Liriano.

But history always repeats itself. And the odds are much better that Angelos nixed the Britton deal than the Astros aren't telling the truth about the whole thing.

In a related scenario, if the story is true that Angelos nixed three deals on Monday, you have to wonder how much longer Dan Duquette is willing to hang around and get the owner's coffee for him.

In addition to the rumored Britton deal, there are whispers that one of the other vetoed trades involved the Washington Nationals.

I actually understand that one, though. Why would the Orioles be interested in potentially helping the Nationals when the two remain embroiled in a 5-year-running lawsuit that has cost both organizations tens of millions in legal fees? Angelos is a mercurial man, yes, but there aren't many people in this world who would say, "Sure, I'll try and help that guy who is suing me."

But nixing the Britton deal, if that happened, is a shameful act by the Orioles owner.

You can't fault Duquette for wanting to bolt at the end of the season if he took three deals to the table that were X'd by the owner. We have to assume, of course, that the trades were worth making, but Duquette isn't in the business of taking bad deals to the finish line.

This is always the sort of situation that rears its head in Baltimore. No one is exactly sure what did transpire on Monday because the owner never speaks to the media, either on or off the record. So, what you wind up getting are a bunch of "reports", rumors, speculation and loose lips.

There's also the legendary style of Angelos that anyone who has worked for him has seen play out time and time again. Nothing is ever done in a timely fashion. It's the oldest trick in the lawyer's bible. Stretch out and wait. Never be in a hurry. The longer it takes, the more money you make.

Angelos has long been known as the King of the Delay Tactic. It's not at all unwise to think that's what happened with the Britton deal. The Astros called at 2 pm to get the whole thing sewed up. And two hours wasn't enough time for Peter to make a decision. So, he simply said, "Tell 'em no."

There are occasions when you might want to take up for Peter Angelos. "He can't be as bad as everyone makes him out to be," you might think. And you're probably right. You remember that old saying, "The opera -- it's better than you think it is. It has to be."? That's Angelos. He's better than you think he is. He has to be.

But then these situations flare up where something goes haywire at the last minute. The Astros thought they had a deal done, only to find out the Orioles owner jumped in at the last minute and threw cold water on the whole thing.

You can't be surprised by it. But it's still disheartening.

If only we actually knew the truth...

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only 16 seats left for our bus trip to nyc to see billy joel at the garden!!


If there's one place you simply must see the great Billy Joel perform, it's Madison Square Garden in New York City.

So, let's do it!

#DMD is putting together a one-day mega-trip to the Big Apple on Saturday, September 30, and you're invited to attend!

We're heading up there to see Billy Joel play on the evening of September 30 at the Garden. You have your choice of upper or lower level seating for the concert. The lower level seats we've secured are right next to the stage! You'll love those seats. But if you'd prefer to sit upstairs, we have good seats available there, too.

WE NOW HAVE JUST 16 SEATS LEFT ON THE BUS. IF YOU'RE PLANNING ON GOING, PLEASE PLACE YOUR TICKET ORDER SOON USING THE LINK BELOW.

We'll be leaving the Towson area at 9:00 am on the 30th. Breakfast will be provided by Royal Farms, lunch will be served as we enter New York City, courtesy of our friends at Palmisano's of Baldwin. We'll have ice cold Duclaw beer on the ride to NYC, plus an awesome Billy Joel trivia contest with a $50 cash prize to the winner.

You'll have the bulk of the afternoon to spend in New York City. The concert starts at 8 pm.

If you haven't seen Billy Joel at the Garden, this is a must-check-off item on your bucket list. It's a once-in-a-lifetime show.

We'll be returning right after the show, so those of you with Ravens-Steelers tickets for Sunday, October 1st at Ravens Stadium will have plenty of time for a good night's sleep before cheering on the purple birds on Sunday afternoon.

Everything is included in the pricing below. Round-trip luxury motor coach transportation, food, drinks, concert ticket, etc.

Lower concourse pricing: $395 per-person

Upper concourse pricing: $325 per-person

You can go here to reserve and pay for your tickets to see "The Piano Man" at the Garden with #DMD.

Tuesday
August 1
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXVII
Issue 1
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


ravens closing in on kaepernick?


Joe Flacco's health might not even matter at this point. It's looking more and more like Colin Kaepernick is going to wind up in Baltimore..

The Ravens continue to explore the possibility of adding the former 49'ers quarterback, with owner Steve Bisciotti even reaching out to Ray Lewis to gather his insight on Kaepernick as both a player and a man.

You know when you ask Ray a question that you'll get an answer that's not sugar-coated or soft-peddled. He might take a while to get his full point across, but Lewis is definitely going to answer your question.

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti appears to be taking plenty into account with regard to the Ravens' exploration of signing Colin Kaepernick.

If Ryan Mallett's play was solid enough, the Ravens wouldn't have much reason to talk with Kaepernick. By every account from those who have seen him in the first week of camp, the back-up to Flacco has been wobbly at best.

So, either way, Kaepernick is starting to make more sense for the Ravens. If Flacco is healthy in a week or two, Mallett might simply get replaced by Kaepernick. An upgrade, if you will. And if Flacco's injury is serious enough that it carries into September, the Ravens might not want Mallett behind center on opening day.

Yes, there's still the lingering "political issue" surrounding Kaepernick. That's not going away anytime soon. And while the fan base has made it clear via sports radio and other non-scientific methods that they'd prefer the team not sign him, the truth of the matter is the Ravens might not really have a choice at this point.

The league is filled with a bunch of no-names and has-beens at the back-up quarterback position. Kaepernick is no longer considered a viable starting option in the league, but he should be more than adequate as a back-up provided that the team's system is flexible enough to meet the style Kaepernick employs.

Who knows how he'd fit in with the Ravens if it came to pass he was needed for game action, but it's more about Mallett and less about Kaepernick at this point. If Mallett continues to flounder, the Ravens won't hesitate to make a move.

The biggest obstacle for the Ravens is likely head coach John Harbaugh. And by the tenor of his comments last weekend, Harbaugh has had enough conversations with Kaepernick that it appears he'd be willing to sign off on his acquisition. While Bisciotti is very much about winning, his respect for Harbaugh is such that I don't think he'd sign Kaepernick if Harbaugh dissented. Once Harbs says "I'm good with it", the Ravens are on their way to adding Kaepernick to their roster.

This, of course, is the second high-profile player decision the Ravens have faced over the last three years. In the wake of his domestic violence case and the video evidenced that accompanied it, the club elected not to keep Ray Rice around. Bisciotti took plenty into account in that situation and eventually decided winning games wasn't as important as sending the proper message about the club's position on violence and bullying.

They've done the same sort of internal pondering on Kaepernick, albeit for a different reason, only this time, the result might be the opposite of the Rice situation.

A week ago, I suspected Kaepernick wouldn't sign with the Ravens. But that was before Mallett started stinkin it up in practice.

My personal stance on Kaepernick hasn't changed. If I owned or ran the team, we wouldn't sign him. But the Ravens have made it clear they've discussed it internally and it's my belief they wouldn't share that sort of information with the media and the fans unless they had serious intentions of pursuing him.

That's right out of Chapter 1 in the P.R. handbook. Don't take on an issue if you don't need to take it on. If the Ravens weren't interested in Kaepernick they would have just said that from jump street and avoided the potential collateral damage that comes with any discussion involving him. Just the mere mention of him and their confirmation they're interested is enough to tell me they're very serious about signing him.

And who knows? He might be better than Ryan Mallett after all.

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as expected, birds stay on their perch


Just after 4 pm yesterday, once the Orioles hadn't done much of anything to improve their 2017 playoff chances or stockpile a garage full of decent prospects, the vitriol on the internet kicked in.

Scores of Orioles enthusiasts were upset that Dan Duquette didn't make any significant moves at the trade deadline. I'm not sure what those people expected from Duquette. He told a season ticket holder's forum ten days ago that the club was likely not going to deal any of their prominent veteran players.

Concerns about Zach Britton's healthy were enough to keep teams from making an over-the-top, too-good-to-be-true offer for him on Monday.

I certainly didn't think they were going to do anything of note yesterday. It's just not what the Orioles do, for starters, plus they didn't have anything of substance to trade away.

The acquisition of shortstop Tim Beckham yesterday was a marginal improvement over the combination of J.J. Hardy and Ruben Tejada. Yes, he was a former 1st draft pick. But that was in 2008. That's akin to touting the football prowess of Tim Tebow by reminding everyone that he was once a Heisman Trophy winner.

Beckham is an OK player. Nothing more. His biggest attribute? That's easy -- think of the three favorite words in the Warehouse: Under Club Control.

The erstwhile Tampa Bay Rays shortstop is signed through 2021, although he'll be arbitration eligible in 2018 and won't be raking in $900,000 anymore. But he IS under club control for four more seasons. To the Orioles, that's vitally important.

He's having a decent season power-wise (12 home runs) but his overall offensive numbers are average and his defensive work is acceptable but nothing more than that.

Beckham isn't going to remind anyone of Jonathan Schoop, that's for sure. He'll get some playing time, do some good things, do some bad things and wind up being about as forgettable as, say, Ryan Flaherty.

But the O's didn't really give up anything to get him yesterday. They shipped a Single-A pitcher, Tobias Myers, to Tampa Bay for Beckham, who became expendable with the Rays after they gave up on him in June and acquired Adeiny Hechavarria from the Marlins.

I'm disappointed the Orioles didn't try harder at the trade deadline, but the reality is the Orioles picked up a veteran player for a bag of balls and some Gatorade yesterday. Beckham will play two or three more years before Myers even sniffs the big leagues. If Myers turns into a Cy Young winner, we can howl at the moon at that point. Don't count on that happening, though.

There's also the addition of starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson to consider. I know, I know, "what's to consider?" you ask. Probably not much.

But, like Beckham, they didn't have to give up a whole lot to bring Hellickson to Charm City. They were done with Hyun Soo Kim, so that wasn't much of a damaging departure. But Hellickson's near 5.00 ERA in the National League won't translate well to the American League and there's widespread speculation he won't be a good fit in Camden Yards.

Truthfully? Those are the kind of deals the Orioles make. They give up a middle of the road prospect for someone who has worn out his welcome elsewhere or who saw their performance wane to the point they were more than expendable come deadline time.

The Yankees get Sonny Gray. The Dodgers get Yu Darvish. The Orioles get Jeremy Hellickson and Tim Beckham.

It just is what it is. The widespread panic we saw on social media and the internet yesterday just doesn't jive with the expectations the Orioles have created over the years.

Did you really, in your heart, think the Orioles were going to make any kind of blockbuster, eye-opening moves yesterday? It's just not the way they do business. The Birds could have parted ways with four to six players. But that's simply not their style.

It's likely Hellickson won't be on the team next season. Beckham likely will be, although whispers of a bad attitude in Tampa Bay will not endear him to Buck Showalter in 2018 and beyond.

In the end, the Birds acquired two potentially useful pieces for the final two months of this season. They didn't lose much to get either of them. The prospect for reward far outweighs the risk, which was negligible, really.

I knew the Orioles weren't going to do anything yesterday.

That's the biggest reason why I wasn't upset when 4 pm came and went and Dan Duquette didn't do anything of substance.

The Orioles just don't play that way. I knew it. You knew it, too.

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from the desk of
brien jackson

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


The best laid plans rarely survive first contact with the enemy, a fact Orioles' fans re-learned in a big way when MLB's non-waiver trade deadline officially passed Monday afternoon.

For weeks, Baltimoreans have been dreaming of trading away assets like closer Zach Britton for a Titanic haul of prospects in what seemed to be the obvious move for Peter Angelos and Dan Duquette amidst a disappointing season in which the team's playoff odds currently sit around 5%. But the thing about "selling" is that you have to have a willing buyer at any given price, and that's where the O's perfect scheme went awry last month.

In theory, the Orioles should have been in a good position to rebuild/reload by moving some valuable veterans for top notch young prospects. The team wanted to sell off some value from this team and reload for next year, ideally by dealing Britton for a top notch, upper level starting pitching prospect.

True to his word to season ticket holder's last month, Dan Duquette stayed the course on Monday and kept the Orioles intact as they pursue a playoff spot for the fourth time in six seasons.

And given what other elite relievers have been fetching on the market recently that seemed like a realistic option and, for the most part, fans sunk their teeth into the idea and loudly pushed the front office to be sellers. But the reality of the situation is that the loudest portion of this crowd has simply been ignoring the reality of the market for weeks, preferring instead the narrative of an easy sell off and quick rebuild with premium young talent in abundance.

At least by July 21st, it was apparent that the Orioles probably weren't going to find any matches for the players the team and fanbase were willing to move on from. That's when the New York Post's Joel Sherman reported that other teams were concerned about Britton's health status, and that rival scouts saw Britton's command and performance to be well below what it had been in 2015 and 2016.

From the minute Britton's name was connected to the Dodgers earlier in the month, the consensus was that interested teams weren't willing to part with their best prospects, and while that might have been easy to write off as early posturing, the picture never changed and Sherman's report brought the O's position into clear focus for anyone paying attention.

So ultimately the Orioles still have Britton, and Brad Brach, and the truth is that's just fine.

For all of the hand-wringing about how standing pat was supposedly the worst thing the team could have done right now, that's just emblematic of the fan/media bias towards doing something at any given time. The fact of the matter is that the worst thing the front office could have done is to sell low on their most valuable assets, giving away players who might help them next year for cents on the dollar.

At times over the past week it seemed like a lot of people forgot that Britton isn't a free agent until after next year, which means there's more time to trade him away if that ends up being what needs to be done. The Orioles aren't in the position that, say, the Rangers were in when they agreed to send ace Yu Darvish to Los Angeles for a package that didn't include any of the Dodgers' top 3 prospects.

Texas needed to accept the best deal they could get for the impending free agent; the Orioles can wait until the offseason or even next year's deadline. If Britton is healthy and returns to his dominant form, it's quite likely that the offers they get for him will be even better in the future than they were over the past couple of weeks.

Beyond Britton, the fact is that the local media and fans pretty consistently overvalued the pieces the Orioles had to trade. The next best non-Machado asset was Brad Brach, but while people in this town were dreaming of another multi-prospect haul for him it was pretty clear that perception of him outside of Baltimore was never that high, and there was no way Brach was going to be the target of an Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman type of trade.

Considering that Brach too is under team control for 2018 and that his salary will probably only be in the $5-7 million range after arbitration, it was clear early on that he was likely more valuable to Baltimore than to anyone else and that matching up on a trade was going to be hard. Beyond that, possible trade chips like Chris Tillman, Darren O'Day, Welington Castillo, and Seth Smith just haven't actually been that good, and of those only Smith will return nothing in 2018 (Tillman will return a draft pick at rejecting a qualifying offer, and Castillo may well exercise his player option at this point).

The Orioles didn't do nothing at the deadline by any means, though the moves they did make generally left observers somewhere between confused and enraged.

Just before the deadline yesterday they sent Low-A pitcher Tobias Myers to Tampa Bay for shortstop and former first overall draft pick Tim Beckham. Myers is an intriguing young pitcher who's striking out a lot of guys this year, but he's also just 18 years old and was a 6th round pick in 2016. He has a long way to go before he's anywhere near big league ready, in other words.

In exchange they got Beckham, an average hitter and average defender in limited playing time who isn't eligible for free agency until 2021. While a lot of people rushed to deride the Orioles for being "buyers" in their position, the truth is that this trade was likely less about getting better in the next two months and more about acquiring a useful shortstop who can slot in to a starting role for multiple seasons to come given that this is almost certainly J.J. Hardy's last year in town.

They previously acquired Phillies' pitcher Jeremy Hellickson which....okay, that one was a real head scratcher. Hellickson hasn't been good this year and he's a free agent after this season, so there's really no logic to the move at all.

Personally I suspect that Hellickson is being positioned to take Dylan Bundy's rotation spot if the team decides they need to cap the struggling youngster's workload in the coming weeks, or that Duquette sees a possibility to flip Hellickson in an August trade if the former Ray can turn in a couple of decent starts. In any case the move cost the team essentially nothing.

Of course, it just wouldn't be the Orioles if some international signing pool money wasn't traded. This time it went to the Yankees for Double-A right-hander Yefry Ramirez. Ramirez hasn't shown up on anyone's rankings of New York's top 30 prospects, but he has made 18 Double-A starts with a 23.7% strikeout rate and a 3.93 FIP. Walks are a problem for him, but I definitely won't be surprised if he isn't another very solid bullpen arm for the Orioles in the near future.

At the end of the day, the trade deadline was a massive disappointment for the Orioles and O's fans, but that doesn't mean that they did anything wrong.

Ultimately the prospects and deals everyone has been hoping for for weeks just weren't on the table, both because Britton isn't at the top of his game and, in general, contenders just weren't interested in the kind of deals we saw last year. Even the big budget and playoff bound Dodgers, who have a loaded farm system and were connected to a number of players who could help them out in October, were clearly willing to pass on top names if it meant giving away Walker Buehler, Yadier Alvarez, or Alex Verdugo.

No one dealt away a starting pitcher in the top 50 or 60 prospect range, in fact. The market the Orioles wanted for Britton just never materialized (and the national rumor mill reporters continually told us it wasn't developing) and with the luxury of having another year of Britton on his side, Duquette wisely decided to hold on to his assets in the hopes that prices will go up in the near future.

That's frustrating when you're a fan hoping for things to happen immediately, but it's without a doubt the right move for the Orioles' future.

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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

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