Saturday
March 31
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issue 31
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we do insight and opinion here and not much "cheerleading"


With the Orioles off last night and only a dismal 4-1 Capitals loss to dissect, I figured today would be a good day for this piece.

It's probably something I should do at the beginning of the baseball season and football season. Twice a year seems right.

Someone published an interesting comment here a couple of days ago that I wanted to address today.

My general philosophy is to allow the comments section to be the home of the reader. Unless specifically asked a question, I tend not to dive in there and join in the fray. Rarely, if there's something in general that I see that rattles me, I might hop in and participate.

My other loose rule -- mostly followed but occasionally broken -- is that I tend not to reply to people who post with silly, troll'ish monikers like "Bit***** Inc." I figure if you don't have the courtesy or fortitude to either post your real name or even your initials, you're not really trying to be interactive. You're just trying to troll.

It might very well be a character flaw of mine, but it is what it is. I would prefer to have this site be a place where REAL sports fans gather to opine on the subject(s) of the day. What your opinion actually is doesn't matter nearly as much as the simple fact that you have one and you want it heard.

Back to "Bit***** Inc." who published a comment here on opening day, March 29.

Part of the comment included this: Since it appears that most on here [including the owner of the site] do nothing but complain about how the team is run...and likely want the Angelos family to FAIL at baseball, they can relish what they are doing by knocking JZ out of the picture.

For those who might be new here, mostly, and to offer a firm-and-clear reminder of the truth, please know this: The site owner (that's me) does a lot more than "complain about how the team (O's) is run."

The "site owner" of #DMD was thrilled to see Dylan Bundy dazzle the Minnesota Twins over 7 innings on opening day.

And for those who need a reminder, I in no way whatsoever "likely want the Angelos family to FAIL at baseball."

If I wanted the Angelos family to FAIL at baseball, I wouldn't give them $500 year a for my mini-plan.

If I wanted the Angelos family to FAIL at baseball, I wouldn't have plunked down $275 for playoff tickets last September when the team was four games out the wild card race.

Frankly, given that I have a wide variety of personal and professional interests, if I really wanted the Angelos family and the Orioles to fail, I probably wouldn't own this website and get up nearly every morning at 5:00 am to produce and publish it.

I do realize that the above-referenced comment was published mainly in trolling fashion. It's that much over the top. But I also know this: you only know what you know. And, on Thursday for instance, the data tells me 7% of the people who came to #DMD visited the site for the first time ever. Thank you and welcome...to those who stopped by that day. The last thing I need on a day of someone's first visit is for him/her to read some kind of stupid comment about how the website owner "(does) nothing but complain about how the team is run and likely want(s) the Angelos family to FAIL at baseball."

I've had a meal or two in my day at a restaurant that I didn't care for. Whether the service was bad, the food was bad, the pricing wasn't right or, in general, it was just a poor experience, I've left a restaurant and said "I won't go back there again."

If I wanted the Angelos family and the Orioles to FAIL, I wouldn't pay money to support their organization.

It's pretty much that simple. What kind of goof hates a restaurant but still goes in there once a week to eat lunch or dinner? Here's who: a goof.

I support the Orioles. I have been going to Orioles games since age 6 and have bought my own tickets since age 16. There are lots of people who can make this claim, so it's not like I'm one-in-a-million, but I've purchased an Orioles ticket every year since 1979. It's now 2018. That's a lot of tickets and a lot of money.

Sure, there have been years where I was dissatisfied with the Orioles and their product and the way they went about their business. It turned out that in some of those years, I was on the radio and was allowed to offer my opinion on the way they did things. Even then, though, I still went to games. I had a press credential for a number of years and still bought the occasional ticket to join friends or take my family.

And now, since 2014, I've owned this sports website and offer "insight and opinion" on the Orioles on nearly an every day basis.

Here's the dirty little secret that I'll share with you today. Neanderthals who post stuff like "the site owner wants the Orioles to FAIL" don't understand this, but maybe you will. If the Orioles WIN, my life gets MUCH, MUCH better.

If the Orioles win, more people are interested in the team. All you have to do is look at what happened to the Ravens this past season. Turmoil, losing, civic unrest -- it all added up to less people in the seats. If the Orioles have turmoil, losing and civic unrest, less people will go to the games.

All you have to do is look back to 2005 or so when the team was terrible and had no direction at all. No one went to the games.

If the Orioles win, not only do more people come to this website, but advertisers and marketing partners are more inclined to jump on and be involved with this site and others like it in town.

It greatly benefits me for the Orioles to win, not lose. There are very, very few instances where the Orioles losing helps me.

All that said, what I do here mainly is "report" on the team. I watch the games and tell you what I see and think. I follow what the team does in the community and off-the-field and tell you what I see and think.

I'm not a cheerleader for the team. Not here, at #DMD, anyway. I definitely was a cheerleader this past Thursday when I sat in Section 77 with my son and watched opening day with him. But my role here is to provide a website that "reports", not "cheerleads".

And that goes for any team, whether that's the Ravens, Orioles, Caps, or any of the colleges in town.

I like them all.

I want them all to win. But they lose -- and when they do, I report on that.

I wrote a piece a few weeks back lauding the Orioles for their "Kids Cheer Free" program. That's what I do. I observe and opine.

I wrote a piece on opening day about the Orioles no longer airing games on free, local, network television. I think it stinks. I observed and opined on that, also.

It doesn't mean I want the Orioles to fail.

It simply means they did something I don't agree with and I have the right -- and the "job", if you will -- to question it.

So that's that.

For those who have been here awhile, you're liking familiar with the policies and philosophies of the site. If you're a newcomer, now you hopefully have a better understanding of the way we do things and the truth about how and why we do it.

Either way, thanks for reading this.

And as the stadium announcer says at the football games ten times a year, if you're coming around here and going to participate with us, we have one basic, simple rule: Don't be a jerk.

Go O's!

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12 days of the masters


The Masters is right around the corner.

I'll be heading to Augusta National this Monday for a one-day trip with 24 other golf fanatics. I can't wait -- it's my 9th trip to the Masters.

Over the last week or so, I've been previewing the 2018 Masters by giving you my 12 "favorites" to win this year's event.

It started on Saturday, March 24, when I listed Bryson DeChambeau at #12. On Sunday, March 25, it was Matt Kuchar at #11. Sergio Garcia was my #10 on Monday, March 26. March 27, I listed Dustin Johnson at #9. March 29, it was hotshot/hothead Jon Rahm at #8. On March 30, it was Justin Rose at #7. Yesterday, March 31, I had Phil Mickelson at #6.

And here we are now, ready to tackle the Top 5.

When I try and predict a final Masters leaderboard, I look at two factors mostly. Former champions in the field and players with great track records at Augusta who haven't yet found the winner's circle.

Having missed 3 of the last 4 years due to injury, it will be good to see Tiger Woods back at Augusta National next week in pursuit of his 15th career major title.

The guy at #5 is going for #5 this year: Tiger Woods.

I don't buy into the theory that Woods should be the betting favorite, but he is. I don't think I'd "bet him", but that's because I think someone else is going to win the tournament. His history at the golf course is remarkable, yes, but that's almost ancient history at this point.

He finished T4 in 2013, but hasn't factored on the Sunday leaderboard since. Heck, he missed the 2014, 2016 and 2017 events because of injuries.

Not only is he the greatest player of this generation, he has a remarkable track record at Augusta. He's never missed the cut, for starters, has four wins, and SEVEN other Top 5 finishes.

When you have a Top 5 finish, it essentially says you had a chance to win the golf tournament. Tiger has won it four times and coulda, shoulda, woulda won it seven other times.

But here we are in 2018. Can Tiger win the Masters this year? Of course. His golf game is on the upswing, his health is clearly improved, and slowly but surely he's actually starting to look a little bit like the Tiger of old.

At age 42, though, he'll have to rely on all of his home-course (sort of) acumen next week. Augusta isn't about power. It's about precision. If you can't hit the ball on the green in the right spot(s), you can't win.

It's a tricky, tricky course. With the notable exception of guys like Larry Mize (1987), Mike Weir (2003) and Danny Willett (2016), there are rarely "fluke" winners at Augusta National. It's almost always a great player who wins the green jacket.

Nothing would surprise me about Tiger Woods next week. Nothing. He could win by eight shots in a triumphant return or he could shoot 74-74 and miss the cut by a shot.

By including him here, though, I'm banking that he's going to play well and be in the hunt. I think he'll be there on Sunday at 2:30 pm when Jim Nantz welcomes you in to the CBS broadcast.

Would I like him to win? Without question. But I think someone else is going to win...stay tuned over the next few days to find out who that is.

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take dad to the u.s. open


#DMD is putting together a special one-day trip to the U.S. Open on June 15 at Shinnecock Hills GC on Long Island (NY) and we'd love for you to be part of it with us!

We're billing it as a "Day with Dad", but you certainly don't have to bring your father along. We just think it will be fun if you do!

Defending champion Brooks Koepka will be in the field at Shinnecock Hills on June 15 when #DMD travels to Long Island for the second round of this year's U.S. Open.

We're heading to Shinnecock Hills to see the second round of the 2018 U.S. Open, departing Baltimore at 5:00 and arriving at the course roughly around 9:00 am. We'll spend the whole day on the course watching the best players in the world play on one of our nation's most iconic golf courses.

If you've never seen Shinnecock Hills in person, this is a must-do opportunity to experience one of our nation's most breathaking and scenic courses.

Our luxury motor coach will be limited to just 40 passengers, giving everyone room to spread out and enjoy the ride to Long Island. We'll enjoy breakfast, drinks and snacks on the ride to the course and we'll have more food and drinks for everyone on the ride home.

Oh, and there's U.S. Open trivia as well! A $100 cash prize is available for our trivia contest, so brush up on those needless facts about the U.S. Open.

Bring Dad along for a truly special day together at the U.S. Open. All of the best players in the world will be there...and the two of you can watch the tournament on Saturday or Sunday with the experience of having just walked the famous layout.

#DMD golf trips like this one are also excellent for employee and client reward. If you have a golfer or two that work in your business or if there's a special client you'd like to treat, we promise we'll great care of them on the trip to Shinnecock Hills!

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#dmd comments


Jonathan     December 10
Not understanding this Weddle vs. Media angle. Can someone explain?

just a fan     December 10
Count me among the few who were entertained by yesterday’s game, as opposed to being miserable because they failed to pull off the upset. Who knows where it will all end, but I’m just glad to have some meaningful football to watch in Dec. Beats the heck out of being a Bills or Jags fan! Wonder if that guy in NE is getting beat up for having Gronk on the field playing D on that last play? He looked like Weddle on that play lol.

While I am not one to normally join the haters, I do have to admit to being puzzled why Mr Weddle gets so many atta boys in the media. Have to agree, it seems more often than not, he shrinks in key moments, and frankly, even on simple basic plays in the middle of a game. He sure seems like Exhibit A to the Little Fella Corollary that says come to one of my self-serving swabbing events, and I will never speak bad about you….ever! Do a phone interview, we’ll be “lifelong pals”, ala Mike Flynn. On D, it's usually not the guy closest to the guy making the play who blew his assignment...in the Ravens case, it's usually Weddle lol!


Marv     December 10
Tippy & Radio Guy He gets it. To change would indicate you are right and he is wrong, an act of which he is incapable.

Jason M     December 10
@ChrisinBelair - 4th and game seems to be our Achilles. I thought the whole team played very well in a tough environment against one of the leagues elite. We cvoulda, woulda and shoulda - but I think if we bring it that way this week and for the rest of the season, then the last chapter has not been written yet on this team.



No one has mentioned the refs yet...and I appreciate that because there's not much to be gained. But on the final play from scrimmage, there was a mugging on Willie Snead and it was ealry and effected his ability to catch the ball. We didn't draw a single PI all game. We had PI called on us, deservedly in the end zone, but the Snead contact was heavier.




Tippy     December 10
@RadioGuy: Someone mentioned it (Superbowl) last week as well. He doesn't get it.

Radio Guy     December 10
Will someone PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE tell @Brien Jackson that Superbowl is NOT ONE WORD. I've seen him do this numerous times. The word is SUPER (first word) BOWL (second word). It has never been spelled as one word scrunched together like that. It's amateur looking if you don't know how to spell the biggest sporting event in our country.



THANKYOU. (see what I did there?)

John L.     December 10
So Drew, what are you hearing about Flacco behind the scenes? You can't throw that out there and then leave us hanging like this!!!

such     December 10
Amen, Madness, amen. My household has been calling for his release for several seasons now. Remember when we all thought it was a coup that we got him instead of Pittsburgh? If only he were a Steeler! He's been the culprit in every critical defensive breakdown the last 3 years. Thank you for the reminder.

No more wiggle room or shoulda woulda coulda the rest of the way now. That's the price paid by yesterday's collapse.

Idiot Caller     December 10
@Madness: Amen, brother! Amen!

BJ     December 10
If Lamar starts the last three games, the Ravens go 1-2.



You heard it here first.

Davey     December 10
I think this summarizes the whole thing, IMHO.



"Make no mistake about it: The Ravens gagged it yesterday. It wasn't anyone's fault in particular, and there are reasons to subscribe to the moral victory opinion if you like, but the reality is the Ravens gave the game away to the Chiefs on Sunday."

Madness     December 10
Very tough loss and I blame ONE guy who always seems to LOSE the game of inches. A guy who is loved by the media because he is quotable and always gives his time to them. He is loved by the fans because he has a "look at me" outrageous look. He promotes himself as a team leader. He is ALWAYS the guy......who misses the play by INCHES. He is an out and out JINX.

He hesitates ever so slightly on his safety blitz on the tying TD....he is the centerfielder on the FOURTH and 9 and gets turned around looking and guarding a guy who is under control of Tayvon Young. Is it "selfish or stupid" that he stays on the wrong side of Hill? That he moves away from Hill on the crucial play is just a testament of his modus operandi. CJ Mosley is a FOUR down linebacker, end of story. "Jinx McBeard" has to be the guy to knock it down on that play. He was out of position......like the Ray Rice Fourth and Twenty NINE, like the Immaculate Extension, Like the Tyler Boyd FOURTH and TWELVE, like the Jordan Howard OT run against the Bears last year......and on and on.



A menace, a season destroyer........a JINX.



But isn't that beard cool? And isn't it cute that he eats ice cream after a win....and isn't he easy for the lazy ass media to talk to....and he is great at slapping guys on the ass.



About 5 inches different in his career and he is close to Ed Reed.

Macki     December 10
I think @Drew hit this one right on the head. Ravens had it in the palm of their hand and couldn't make the big play when they needed it. This is another in a long line of defensive collapses on the last series of the game or overtime. Remember Chicago last year in Baltimore? How about Pittsburgh when Brown stretched out to win the game and end our season? Or last year when the Bengals carved us up on the last play of the game. Same old song and dance.

Mark     December 10
I often wonder if Brien watches the games. I'm thinking he didn't watch yesterdays game in KC.

amused observer     December 10
What happened to the other team tries to? Or they have varsity lettermen as well? Nope, today we get Steelers stink and KC throwing up on themselves. And of course, the overwhelming theme of the comments so far, the Ravens just giving the game away cause their D is “horrible”, with the sub theme of “they’ve never been any good since Ray and Ed left”.

It’s exhausting man, how do you people keep chewing that same bone, like Mike Preston and his alpha male/playmaker syndrome??

And love the “why is Mosely covering Hill”…yea, that was the play call there. Sheesh. Pressure forces Mahomes to scramble, Hill runs around in circles, Mahomes heaves it and, wait for it, Hill makes a play! Nope, can’t say 2 guys made a play, no, no, no, the Ravens failed to execute, and that’s on Wink! And yes, more than likely, back when you had two HoFamers back there, they make the play, not the other team.

To paraphrase the guy who said “just dial up a sack there”, they need to go “get some HoFame players”!

Everyone wrote down KC as a loss in every “get to the playoffs” scenario I heard, everyone. Now that they did lose, after a valiant effort, but an effort not good enough for our local experts, all the sudden, beating Tampa is “almost must win”?? Pretty sure losing to TB was never on anyone’s “how to get to the playoffs” plan, right?

Ravens almost beat the #1 seed in a place that is very difficult on road teams, but now we’re sticking with they can’t go to LA and play a team with no home crowd at all and win there? Which BTW I believe DEN won there, and even the Bengirls just gave them fits.

Guess the good news is since no one goes to games any more, or cares about this team, there are not really all that many of you upset by the hot mess the Ravens have become. The good news is the Harbs and Flacco haters will get their wish soon, so you got that going for ya


Neutral Observer     December 10
Here's how Brien's mind works. When Mahomes makes a great play, it's not the Ravens defense's fault. The QB just made a game saving/changing play.



When Flacco makes a game saving/changing play in the Denver playoff game, the other team's defense failed to make a play.


HERMAN     December 10
They line up on the 25 with two minutes and change, we are up 7, we need that big defensive stop that has eluded us the last 3 years in a row in critical late season games.

I can hear Harbaugh on Monday morning, knowing that Pittsburgh is going to tank in Oakland, "we control our own destiny, that's all you can ask for with three games left".

I can hear him in the press conference, I actually feel good for the guy, this four game win streak has resurrected his career here. The games are exciting, fun, they amaze. We have some stability going into next year, maybe they'll draft a game-changer or two for Harbaugh, instead of a rebuild, we just continue to be in contention late into the season.

And just like that, a 4th and 9. And on, and on, and on.

On any other week I'd be gleeful, giddy, ecstatic over the Squealers kicker ass-planting away the game, reading the PPG to see the comments section where Yinzers bemoan the Ravens taking over first.

But the D has crushed me again, just like 4th and 22, or the year before, or the year before.

And Harbaugh is back on the hot seat, and stability is looking for an exit, and.....


Chris in Bel Air     December 10
Ravens played well yesterday. It's just hard to see them burned by another backyard play on 4th down. As good as Ravens were, the Chiefs were better in the final minutes when it counted. I'm also curious about the Ravens last possessions and why they had Lamar standing in the pocket like a traditional passer. That's not his strength and gave the KC D nothing to think about. They needed to give him a couple roll-outs and options to present the threat of running. Despite the loss I'm still encouraged with their play and believe they can make the playoffs.

Ed     December 10
The Ravens still do not have the QB of the future on their roster. No WR is going to want to play here.

unitastoberry     December 10
I remember Dan Fouts commenting during a game about Mosley a few seasons back. Hes says.....If I'm quarterbacking I'm throwing to whoever he has coverage on.

davehughes123     December 10
@Herman I'm glad you mentioned Mosley because he is abysmal defending the pass. Mosley was also "covering" Williams on the game tying TD. He might accumulate a ton of tackles but he's the team's biggest liability in pass coverage.

Brien Jackson     December 10
"Watching C.J.Mosely chase Tyreek Hill, 5 yards behind, on the big fourth down play is the vision that haunts through Wednesday and into Thursday.



How do we end up with a guy who can't cover anyone in pass coverage at all on their top receiver on the most critical play of the game? Mosely is awful in pass coverage. Why, why, why...."



Because Hill was completely out of the play for any quarterback other than Mahomes or Rodgers. Seriously, that play was the equivalent of Steph Curry burying a 27 foot jumper with two hands in his face. Sometimes you play things well but great players make great plays anyway.

Idiot Caller     December 10
... that CAN'T make a stop...

Idiot Caller     December 10
We can slice and dice the loss to the Chiefs anyway you want, but to me it all comes down to the highly paid defense. By my count, this marks the 3rd year in a row that the defense has blown a late 4th quarter lead in a crucial December game.

That is UNACCEPTABLE. Period.

The Ravens have to stop paying (wasting?) so much cap room on a defense that make a stop when they clearly need to.

HERMAN     December 10
Being a Ravens fan means putting up with soul-crushing losses. Losses that stay with you through Wednesday, and into Thursday. How many third and long, and fourth down conversions can a team give up in a game? For the "league leading" D they sure give up a ton of 19 yard third down plays to keep drives alive.

Watching C.J.Mosely chase Tyreek Hill, 5 yards behind, on the big fourth down play is the vision that haunts through Wednesday and into Thursday.

How do we end up with a guy who can't cover anyone in pass coverage at all on their top receiver on the most critical play of the game? Mosely is awful in pass coverage. Why, why, why....

I couldn't even enjoy the Squealers loss, or the fluke play that beat the evil empire, even though we were supposed to be rooting against Miami.

Delray Rick     December 10
How many games have the RAVENS LOST with 2 minutes left the last 4 years? I count 7-8. Our DB break down at the wrong time


James - Dundalk     December 10
I misses the OT coin toss ,but if The ravens won it why not go on offense run the ball ,eat clock, Score,give D a rest. The D was just out there at the end of regulation. Oh & before the TD to Brown why did Lamar scamper for 2 yards & go out of bounds. Let the clock run. Gave KC too much time to come back.

Unitastoberry     December 10
Most important aspect of a defense is to protect a lead. We still can't do that. If Lamar can't stop fumbling his career in the NFL is going to be very short. Give KC credit their coaching staff adjusted well to stop Lamar on the edge. Mahomes is very good he's the MVP as of today.

Captain Oblivious     December 09
To Briens point, if the Ravens win out and the Steelers don't the Ravens win the division unless the Steelers tie the game they don't win.

J.J.     December 09
@Brien with the hard hitting analysis of the final three weeks of the season. That's good stuff!

Brien Jackson     December 09
The big development of the day is that, if the Steelers lose to New Orleans and New England, the Ravens just have to beat the Bucs and Browns at home to win the division.

Alan     December 09
Crickets.

Tom     December 09
@H,



Lamar should start. But Flacco is going to start. Wait and see.

H     December 09
1 turnover

Clutch plays

Zero delay of game penalties

Zero wasted timeouts

Zero false starts

Zero broken plays

Now tell me who should start at QB next week?

Bill P.     December 09
@Alan: Why, why why would you do that?

Just a guy     December 09
Really enjoyed the game today, lots of drama, excitement, almost beat the likely #1 seed in their house, with a QB not ready for prime time. From where I sit, coaching staff did a helluva job. Really feel bad for all the miserable haters in town who feel the need to vent like 2 year olds who didn't get their way. Its a bad look, at least if you're an adult.

Alan     December 09
I'm going to ask Brien Jackson to do something. I suspect he won't be able to complete this mission but I'm going to pose the question to him anyway.



I'd like for you to break down the game today and list your five "important points" related to how the Ravens lost.

John In Westminster     December 09
In the immortal words of the Fonz, I was "wrrrreeerrrong". Tough not to finish the job against a top opponent. Great game all around...until the last few minutes and OT. Will note the inconsistent officiating had influence. It appears Flacco will be Wally Pipped, unless Lamar's ankle injury is serious.

Brien Jackson     December 09
@That Guy



I am wowed by your tremendous insight into the sport. Make him throw an incompletion. It's amazing that NFL teams pay so much money to coaches to not see that genius.

RJ     December 09
Yea, just sack the QB or make him throw an incompletion, problem solved - Wink is just so, so terrbile

Frank     December 09
I'll have what "That Guy" is having.

RJ     December 09
You people pissed off at Ravens D are the ones who are drunk/high. No doubt you were the ones prior to this game saying KC would light them up for 50+. Yup, the D "blew the lead", "couldn't hold them" and 'just let them drive down the field", yup, that's all that happened on that field today. Good thing the KC offense self-imploded so much, against that kind of defensive effort, no reason they should not have scored at least 60 today, right? You make Ken Weiman so proud

That Guy     December 09
I'll break it down for you Brien you dimwit. It was 4th and 9. If the Ravens sack the quarterback there the game is over. If they force him to throw an incompletion the game is over. If they knock the pass down the game is over. They could have done any of five different things there to win the game and didn't. Please stop acting like you're a football expert. I've read your stuff here for years. You're nowhere near an expert on the X's and O's of football.

Brien Jackson     December 09
Everyone is welcome to show off their immense football knowledge by breaking down the defenses's mistake on that play.



I'll wait.

Jonathan     December 09
That's Brien's way of not blaming the Ravens defense for blowing a late lead and also not blaming Lamar Jackson for only throwing for 150 yards.



You'll notice a trend if you stay here long enough.



It's always Flacco's fault.

Brien Jackson     December 09
Some things are just so predictable. The Ravens play 4th and 9 almost perfectly only to get beaten by a truly unbelievable play that literally no more than 3 guys in the entire NFL are even capable of making. Ipso facto the defense is terrible,\.



I guess I have to at least concede that said dumb criticism at least isn't being used solely to make excuses for Flacco, so there's that.

That Guy     December 09
RJ must have watched a different game than the rest of us.



The Ravens had a 7-point lead with four minutes left and couldn't hold it.



The Chiefs drove down the field in overtime and kicked a field goal to beat us.



I swear some of the people that come here must be drunk by halftime.

Jimmy the Greek     December 09
The question is, how many times has #DMD put 5K down on his own picks lol

StevenShea     December 09
I’m sorry to all the Harbaugh haters, but the obvious reality is that we have an incredible coaching staff with make shift talent. The fact that is we put up 24 points with a single wing offense and defense that holds the Chiefs to 27 in OT. All the experts say we have to make a change if we fail to go deep in the playoffs. Meanwhile the architect of our last ten drafts is getting a promotion. Hayden Hurst has solidified his spot as 4th tight end and Lamar Jackson is the Raven’s version of Tim Teebo. One more busted draft and a future with no legitimate QB, an unknown coaching staff a supporting cast devoid of playmakers.

Geno     December 09
@RJ, Are you serious man? The defense had a lead with four minutes left and couldn't hold it. KC went right down the field in OT and won the game. Are you on drugs dude?

Friday
March 30
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jones saves the day after 9th inning collapse


It's only one game.

So, win or lose yesterday, nothing about the Orioles' 2018 season was going to hinge on the opener with the Twins.

But, wow, that would have been a tough pill to swallow had Adam Jones not saved the day with an 11th home run to give the Birds a 3-2 victory.

The Birds did indeed capture Thursday's opener, sending a near sell-out crowd home -- or to Fells Point and Canton, first -- happy.

Yes, it was a "near" sell-out according to the attendance figures the Orioles released on Thursday. The announced crowd of 45,469 fell almost five hundred seats shy of OPACY's capacity of 45,971. Those who weren't there missed a good ballgame on a warm spring day.

We'll delve into this topic more by early next week, but not selling out opening day is a bit of an eye-opener. How is that even possible? Explanations abound, I'm sure, but it's staggering to think that 45,971 people weren't in the stadium on Thursday.

Those who were there saw a masterful performance from both Minnesota's Jake Odorizzi and Baltimore's Dylan Bundy. Neither factored in the decision, which in some ways is fair given that neither definitely deserved to lose.

The home run trot that sent everyone home happy on opening day...unless you were a Twins fan in Baltimore.

Bundy struck out 7 in seven innings of work, throwing first-pitch strikes to 17 of the 26 hitters he faced. Odorizzi, making his Twins' debut, allowed just two Baltimore hits in six innings.

Once the two starters departed, the fun began.

The Birds scored twice in the bottom of the 7th to take the lead, with Caleb Joseph delivering a crucial triple to the right field wall. You could have won a lot of money at the prop-bet-window if you would have selected "Caleb Joseph, triple" on the wager of: "How will the Orioles score their first run of 2018?"

Darren O'Day came in and set down the Twins in order before a bizarre 9th inning meltdown sent the game to extra innings.

After Brad Brach struck out the first hitter, Chris Davis lost a high bouncing grounder in the lights and suddenly Minnesota had a rally going. A couple of walks and a broken bat flare that fell in between Jonathan Schoop and Adam Jones produced a 2-2 tie and gently reminded the O's of the value Zach Britton brings to the table.

All's well that ends well, though.

Jones deposited the first pitch of the bottom of the 11th into the seats for the O's second consecutive extra-innings opening day win and we know, if nothing else, the Birds aren't going 0-162 in 2018.

It's always gratifying to see anyone in an O's uniform win the game with a dramatic hit, but there's something extra special about Jones doing it -- particularly at OPACY. He was playing in his 11th opening day on Thursday and, based on the cheers during the pre-game orange-carpet-run, he remains the team's most popular player.

"One of the biggest things that Adam’s brought here is he posts up," said manager Buck Showalter afterwards. "One of the first guys I spent some time with when I got here was Adam. So obviously I’ve got a little special affinity for the things he brings. I understand him and the rough edges we all have, but he’s very consistent. Especially with his baseball. You know what you’re getting every night. That’s a lot of games to not ever walk up the runway and not feel like he wasn’t ready to play.”

Jones indeed does "post up". There have been others in orange and black with more talent, for sure, but few have ever matched his game-in-game-out intensity level. He's a free agent at the end of the 2018 campaign, so there's a chance his heroics on Thursday will mark his final contribution to an O's home opener.

"Who knows?" Jones said when asked after the game if he suspected Thursday was his final home opener. "I'm just happy to be here, right now. This is awesome."

It sure was awesome.

A home run by anyone in white would have been just fine, but to have Jones win the game in walk-off fashion was really special.

It wasn't lost on Caleb Joseph, either.

"It was almost like it was scripted from the beginning, and we were just reading the book, right?," the catcher said after the 3-2 win. "He's such a great teammate. He comes to work every day, posts up, never complains. You know what you're going to get out of him. You can trust him. He's a great dad; he's a great teammate. He's a poster child for the Orioles."

There's a lot of baseball left in 2018. But it will be hard to top Thursday's theater at Camden Yards.

The right guy getting the right hit at the right moment.

Baseball is back and the O's are tied for first place in the A.L. East.


welcome "orky" to the #dmd family


As you'll see below, Brian "Orky" Orkmann has joined the #DMD staff and will be offering frequent observations of the Orioles throughout the 2018 season.

I think you'll like his work.

When I first met him for coffee in early March, Brian said, "This team might go to the World Series this year."

Yes, he means the Orioles.

And that was before they got Alex Cobb.

"I'm a big fan of the Orioles," Brian explained as we sat in a Royal Farms on Belair Road in Perry Hall. "My dad and I probably went to 30 games a year from the time I was 6 until I was 13 or 14."

Orkmann works for a Washington D.C. political publishing company, which, he said with a laugh, reminds him of a baseball season.

"There's a new challenge just about every day, it's a lot like baseball," he said during our coffee meeting. "My company is really involved in tracking news and specific stories for political figures in D.C. and there's something good or bad written or said about a politician 18 hours a day, 7 days a week."

I knew I liked Brian (please call me "Orky" he said repeatedly during our meeting) when I asked him how many Nationals games he's been to since he works in D.C.

"How long have they been in the league now, ten, eleven, twelve years?" he said. "I've never been to one game at Nationals Park. Seen concerts there and went to the Caps winter game there a couple of years ago but I've never stepped foot in that stadium to see the Nationals play. I'm an Orioles diehard, man."

Orky's work will appear regularly throughout the baseball season at #DMD.

"I can't promise I'll put something together for every game," he said. "But you'll probably get tired of hearing from me by Memorial Day. I watch every game and have an opinion on a lot of things."

Insight and Opinion is what we do here at #DMD. I think Bria, err, "Orky" will fit in just fine around here.

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O'rky's O'pinion

Brian Orkmann is a life-long Orioles fan. He got a taste of the baseball life at a young age — his uncle played for seven years in the Cleveland Indians' minor-league system. and O'rky travelled with his family to Arizona every year for spring training. He will serve as #DMD's witty yet discerning eye and voice in the 2018 season.

Seven thoughts from a thrilling Opening Day win for dem Os, Hon.

1. Who are the two guys on the field during Orioles warm-ups who do all kinds of crazy handshakes with the players after they finish stretching and jogging? They look like dorks.

Tim Beckham at 3rd base? For all 162 games? Might get ugly.

2. A guy next to me in Section 54 bet me a beer that Chris Davis would strike out in his first at bat. I was nervous when Davis had two strikes on him, but that cold beer sure tasted good on a spring day when he flew out for the first out of the game.

3. I know there is nothing we can do about it, but I don't like Tim Beckham at third base. Anyone else nervous?

4. Minnesota has a good team. Is there any way they are this year's Astros from last year? Fernando Rodney might not be a reliable closer but the rest of their squad looks pretty stout to me.

5. That was a great over the wall catch by Craig Gentry. I felt kind of foolish about it since earlier in the game I nudged the guy next to me and said, "Is Gentry related to Buck? How is he on the team?"

6. Maybe it was my opening day taste buds, but the Pizza John's pizza I got behind my section didn't taste the same as the one I get pretty regularly in Essex. Anyone else have a similar experience?

7. Adam Jones is my favorite Oriole. He has been for a while now. It would crush me to see him in another jersey next year.

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john pusateri
on lacrosse

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


weekend college lax preview


Game of the Week: Towson @ Hofstra (1 pm Hempstead, NY)

League play is on in the CAA with the conference's preseason favorites facing each other this weekend.

Both Towson and Hofstra have logged time in the top 20, but neither has played up to expectations out of conference. So, both will need to win the conference tourney in order to make the NCAA tourney and winning this game will put them in the drivers seat to host the conference tournament.

Let's take a look at some key stats that should determine the outcome.

Towson coach Shawn Nadelen and his Tigers face a key CAA game on Saturday at Hofstra.

Defensive Slugfest: If you like defense, this is your game. Hofstra only gives up 7.5 goals per game while Towson's defense has been hot as of late only giving up a total of 27 goals (9 per game) in its last 3 games against #14 Ohio State, #3 Duke and #5 Denver. This will be a long day for both offenses, who average around 9 goals per game.

Faceoffs: Hofstra is winning faceoffs at 57.4% while Towson is winning at 58.2%. This would seem like an even matchup, but Towson's percentage includes last week's domination by Denver's Trevor Baptiste. Alex Woodall should be looking forward to this week after the last week's drubbing. Advantage Tigers.

Penalties: Towson is only giving up 3.6 penalties per game and averaging only 2 minutes 45 seconds. The Pride is giving up 5.7 penalties per game and a whopping 4 minutes and 33 seconds of man-down time. Giving the other team an extra 2 minutes of man-up time in a defensive battle could be a big factor.

Intangibles/Outcome: Towson started out slow this season, but has played very respectable in their last 3 games against the nations best and had late game leads against both Duke and Denver before giving them up. Hofstra has played very average since taking North Carolina to the woodshed earlier this season. The Tigers are trending up while the Pride is trending down and I think those trends continue as Towson holds onto the lead this week, and wins 8-6.

Other Notable Games:

#2 Maryland @ #15 Michigan (Saturday 12 pm Ann Arbor, MI) - The Terps face their old defensive mastermind Kevin Conry who has the Wolverines playing their best lacrosse in the team's short NCAA history. Michigan is no longer the B1G doormat and will give Maryland plenty of fight. But I see the Terps prevailing, 11-9.

Navy vs Holy Cross (Saturday 12 pm Annapolis, MD) - The Midshipmen get one of the few "layup" games in the Patriot League with the Crusaders. Look for Navy to win convincingly, 11-5.

#11 Loyola @ Colgate (Saturday 1 pm Hamilton, NY - No rest for the weary in the tough Patriot League with the Raiders only a game behind the Greyhounds after a big win against Army. Look for Loyola to bounce back against Colgate, but barely, 10-9.

#6 Johns Hopkins @ #9 Rutgers (Sunday 7 pm New Brunswick, NJ) - This B1G conference showdown should be a good one given Rutgers recent success against the Blue Jays. But Hopkins is clicking at the right time. So I see the Blue Jays taking down the Scarlet Knights in a high scoring affair, 13-11.

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12 days of the masters


With all due respect to Christmas, a holiday that I love, this, right now is "the most wonderful time of the year".

It's the lead-in to the Masters, the greatest golf tournament in the world.

They'll tee it up on Thursday, April 5, in pursuit of one of the most coveted symbols in all of sports: the Augusta green jacket.

With the return of Tiger Woods and the recent improved play from the likes of Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy, this year's event has a buzz attached to it that we haven't felt in a long time.

A win earlier this year got Phil Mickelson's 2018 off to a great start, but a 4th green jacket next week would be extra special for the left hander.

Over the next 6 days, I'll continue to lay out my personal (expected) leaderboard, finishing on Wednesday, April 4 with my six man fantasy team and my predicted winner.

It started on Saturday, March 24, when I listed Bryson DeChambeau at #12. On Sunday, March 25, it was Matt Kuchar at #11. Sergio Garcia was my #10 on Monday, March 26. March 27, I listed Dustin Johnson at #9. March 29, it was hotshot/hothead Jon Rahm at #8, and yesterday it was Justin Rose at #7.

When I try and predict a final Masters leaderboard, I look at two factors mostly. Former champions in the field and players with great track records at Augusta who haven't yet found the winner's circle.

My #6 player has won the Masters three times.

He could win a 4th green jacket in 2018. Don't ever count him out.

Phil Mickelson is #6.

While his career won't be as blushingly-spectacular as that of Jack Nicklaus', Mickelson can definitely do what Jack did in 1986...and win another Masters in the December of his career.

That he has played well heading into the tournament is a major plus for Phil, but that's not the reason he's on my list at #6. He's on the list because he knows the nooks and crannies of Augusta National better than nearly everyone in the field, with the possible exception of Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer.

Mickelson is having a great year thus far...no two ways about it.

But he could be missing cuts left and right and he'd still be a threat to win the green jacket.

"Horses for courses" they say. And Augusta National is one of those such places for Phil.

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this weekend in
english soccer


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


With the final four of the FA Cup set and the last international break of the year behind us, Matchday 32 of the English Premier League kicks off the home stretch of the campaign, with seven games left to play and the fight for the last two spots in the top four and against the final two relegation places wide open. Tune in to catch all of the action live across the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Saturday, March 31 (all times eastern)

7:30 am – Liverpool @ Crystal Palace – Selhurst Park, NBC Live Extra

Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool are in need of three points on Saturday when they travel to London to take on Crystal Palace.

Crystal Palace snapped a four game skid and picked up the first win from their last seven (L5 D2) when they got the best of relegation rivals Huddersfield Town 2-0 to move out of the bottom three, two points clear of the drop and only a point and a place now below the Terriers. With seven games left to secure their top flight future, they will welcome Liverpool to Selhurst Park to open up the weekend after the Reds bounced back from their defeat to Manchester United to roll past Watford 5-0 and, for the time being, move up to third in the table two points above Tottenham.

While Palaces’ fight against relegation will come down to the end, the visit to Selhurst Park, where Liverpool have won three of the last four since squandering a three goal lead in the games final eleven minutes to end their title pursuit three seasons ago, begins a crucial ten days for the Reds with the trip to London followed by the mouthwatering home and away against Manchester City in the final eight of the Champions League with the Merseyside Derby against Everton sandwiched in between as they will try to hold on to one of the last two spots in the top four while chasing European glory this year.

10 am – Southampton @ West Ham United – London Stadium, NBC Live Extra

With seven teams near the bottom of the table still battling it out for survival, another potential relegation decider is on the slate as West Ham United, who dropped to just above the relegation zone after they lost for the third week in a row and for the fourth time in their last five to Burnley 3-0, welcome Southampton to the London Stadium, with the Saints booking their place in the FA Cup semi-finals after a 2-0 win over League One side Wigan Athletic but falling in to the drop zone, two points from safety, after losing to relegation rivals Newcastle United their last time out in the league 3-0.

The setback left Southampton winless from their last four in the league and with only one win from their last seventeen (L7 D9) manager Mauricio Pellegrino was handed his walking papers before their FA Cup triumph with Mark Hughes, himself only sacked at Stoke City in January, tasked with saving the Saints from relegation. He will get his first chance to do so against a West Ham side that have lost three in a row and four of their last five (W1), with the matchup the first since Hammer fans invaded the pitch on four separate occasions in the loss to Burnley to display their displeasure with the state of the club.

Sunday, April 1 (all times eastern)

11 am – Tottenham @ Chelsea – Stamford Bridge, NBC Sports Network

A massive London Derby with one of the final two spots in the top four on the line will give you an excuse to sneak away from the family at Easter brunch as Tottenham, now sitting in fourth place but with a game in hand over Liverpool after getting last weekend off to claim their place in the FA Cup semi-finals following a 3-0 victory over Swansea City, travel across the capital for a meeting with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, who sit five points below Spurs but who also have a game in hand after they too grabbed a spot in the FA Cup semis with a hard fought 2-1 victory over Leicester City.

Chelsea have dropped only one of the last seven with Tottenham and only two of the last eighteen across all competitions (W9 D7), failing to walk away empty handed the last eleven times they have entertained Spurs at Stamford Bridge (W7 D4). With the matchup their best chance to cut in to the five point gap and keep their hopes of a finish in the top four alive, the Blues were handed a major boost with the news that striker and the leagues second leading goal scorer Harry Kane will miss the affair and his status for the rest of the year, and Spurs chances to hold on to fourth, in doubt after an ankle injury.



Thursday
March 29
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issue 29
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opening day news and notes


It's here!

No, not spring. That arrived last week, although you wouldn't know it by the winter clothes you've been wearing all this week.

Opening day is here. Today. All over the country.

In Baltimore, our battlin' Birds will take on the Minnesota Twins in a 3-game series that starts this afternoon at 3:05 pm. Dylan Bundy gets the honor of being on the mound for the season opener.

Let's look at some important notes about the game.

If you have cable TV, you're in luck. You'll be able to see today's opener on MASN.

If for some reason you're one of the now 7% of people in the country who don't have cable TV in your place of residence, you won't be able to see the game today.

The Orioles announced earlier this week that for the first time in forever (64 years), none of their 162 games will be aired on "free" TV by a local network. That might be the occasional odd national TV appearance on FOX later on this season, but other than that, no "free" TV appearances are scheduled for the O's this season.

That's a shame.

If you don't have cable television, you won't be able to enjoy another season of Adam Jones and the Orioles in 2018.

As much as we all assume that everyone else has cable TV, that's simply not true. There are still people clinging to the 1970's who don't have it, whether that's by choice, a financial decision or otherwise.

Those people should be able to see an occasional Orioles baseball game.

The club distributed a fairly short, benign, information-starved statement about the decision and simply acknowledged that all games this year will be available on MASN, the regional sports network that coincidentally is owned by the same person who owns the baseball team in Baltimore.

The obvious question here is this: If the Angeles family didn't own MASN, would they be hellbent on having a select number of games on "free" TV for local fans to see throughout the season?

My guess is the answer to that is "yes". Now, perhaps they'd lose that negotiation with MASN (if they didn't own it themselves), but I doubt it. This week's decision is driven mainly by the fact that team is owned by the Angelos family and so, too, is the regional sports network.

There should be a couple of games per-month, including the home opener, on traditional, "free" TV. It's just that simple.

Is it more complicated than we know? Probably. There are likely behind-the-scenes issues that we know nothing about that are driving the decision. But we only know what we know. Absent any published reasons or a full explanation from the Orioles, the fan base can't be criticized for being upset.

The Orioles have done a lot of really good things this off-season. Kids Cheer Free is a nice handshake with the baseball community, lower food and drink prices on select items is a good move as well. Not having a limited number of games on free TV is a colossal fart-in-church.

Shame on the Orioles.

If you don't have tickets to the game, you're in luck. It's not sold-out.

That's sort of a staggering thought, right? Opening Day isn't sold out.

I went on-line this morning at 6:05 am and could still buy seats in both the lower and upper deck. How many seats are still available is unknown, but the fact remains that it's opening day-morning (as I publish this) and you can get tickets to the game at face value.

How is that possible?

The Orioles, along with virtually every other team in MLB, hold back several thousand tickets for opening day as an enticement to get people to buy season tickets or mini-plans. They don't specifically "announce" that when opening day seats go on sale, but it's what they do.

In other words, when opening day seats go on sale, the club will only publish 60% of the available inventory. That will leave plenty of seats for the season ticket holders to purchase and then whatever is left over is simply held aside for people who purchase full or mini plans in February or March.

It's not really chicanery. It's almost a necessity to do it that way so that you have something tangible to dangle in front of folks who are on the fence about buying a 13-game plan, for instance.

The problem arises when you don't sell enough plans to fulfill the opening day inventory, which is obviously what happened this year. And -- here's the nasty little catch -- it's not really something you, as the club, can advertise or promote, because the smart folks will remember it next February or March when it comes time to once again consider buying a mini-plan.

If the Orioles were to announce last Saturday that 3,000 tickets are now available because there's an overage from unsold season tickets or mini-plans, folks next year wouldn't be compelled to buy those plans as a means of getting opening day tickets.

The stunt, if you will, doesn't work with me, because I'm buying a 13-game mini-plan either way. If I get the chance to purchase opening day tickets, that's awesome. But if that option wasn't included, it wouldn't lead me to not buy my mini-plan. What does drive me to buy a mini-plan, in part, is having the option to buy playoff tickets. That's an important element of the mini-plan purchase to me.

This much is true, though: The times have definitely changed. In the "old days", circa 2000, you couldn't get an opening day ticket on the day of the game. It just wasn't going to happen.

Is Chris Davis really going to bat lead-off today in the opener?

Baseball becoming more and more about "stats" and less about tradition, there's a chance Buck Showalter is going to have Chris Davis bat lead-off today against the Twins.

I can't imagine this is a decision Buck made one morning in Sarasota earlier this month. A stat-nerd in the O's organization has likely come up with some sort of mathematical equation that shows someone like Davis -- who strikes out 200-plus times a season -- is far less likely to crush the Orioles with meaningless at-bats if he's hitting number one instead of number five.

It's way above my paygrade, so don't expect me to breakdown the math analysis and argue it one way or the other.

In fact, my response to the whole thing is pretty simple. You can bat Chris Davis wherever you want, but if he keeps striking out and swinging at bad pitches and hitting .230, he's a bad lineup insertion no matter where you stick him.

It's a given that with power and home runs you also get strikeouts. That's just natural. Well, with the exception of Barry Bonds a couple of decades ago...but that was a freak of nature. Bonds never once struck out more than 93 times in a single-season after striking out 102 times in his rookie campaign (1986).

All other power hitters strike out a lot. Davis, though, is a worldwide leader in strikeouts.

The idea of "lead off hitter" being important is kind of silly, since he truly only bats first once per-game. But the #1 hitter later will typically follow a couple of guys in the bottom of the lineup (the 8 and 9 hitters) who aren't expected to do much damage offensively. A strikeout in that situation might not be as impactful given that the 8 and 9 hitters generally aren't going to be on base or starting some sort of rally.

But by batting Davis in the leadoff spot, you're also taking the bat out of his hands later on in the lineup when men might very well be on base.

It's a catch-22, all rooted in the fact that Davis has become extraordinarily inconsistent and undependable over the last two years.

I'll say this: He might bat lead-off today, but that trick won't last long. Davis is not a lead-off hitter. Give it two weeks, max.

Our Buck Showalter poll yesterday yielded some interesting results. How many wins is Buck worth per-season? That's what we asked yesterday.

Here are the results:

None -- 14%

1-3 wins -- 12%

4-6 wins -- 32%

7-10 wins -- 26%

Over 10 wins -- 16%

Summary? 74% of you think Buck Showalter is a really good manager.

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"The Keen Eye" of 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 Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.


greater than great


You can only judge a team by its true competition.

When you get to the Major Leagues or the NFL, the NHL or the NBA, your true competition is every team in the league. The talent difference between teams, especially over a period of time, is very small.

In college sports, we divide our teams up for competitive purposes. Even within those divisions, though, there are wide competition gaps. Most of the time, no matter what just happened recently, the Terps aren’t really in competition with the Retrievers.

At every level, there are dynasties. Did you know that the men’s swimming and diving team from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, won the NCAA Division III championship 31 years in a row, from 1981-2011? I assume a few Kenyon swimmers who won the championship also saw their own kids win the title, with no interruption in winning between them.

Then there’s the UConn women’s basketball program, a team that has very little true competition; it’s probably five teams, maybe 10 in a good year. You must wait for those rare opportunities when the Huskies play one of them, then hope the stars align for a competitive game.

Geno Auriemma and his UConn women's basketball team have set the standard of play for any sport, really. They're that good.

They didn’t align for South Carolina this past Monday, and they probably won’t align for fellow No. 1 seeds Notre Dame, Louisville or Mississippi State either. Possible? Yes. Probable? No.

It would be better if there were more teams that could compete with UConn, both on the recruiting trail and on the court.

In the meantime, though, can’t we give UConn its due? I don’t think there’s ever been a team that’s so much better than its true competition. When they get the chance to play someone great, it’s shocking how much greater they are than those guys.

I use the term “guys” intentionally. If you listen to UConn coach Geno Auriemma, he always refers to his players as “guys.” It’s a Philly thing, I think. He doesn’t do it with any ulterior motive; it’s just like he came across a group of his friends in the neighborhood and said “hey, what’s up guys?”

The thing is, and I’m being politically incorrect here, his “guys” play like guys.

There was a play during the UConn-South Carolina game on Monday the likes of which I’ve never seen before in women’s basketball.

In the second quarter, UConn’s Gabby Williams stepped into the passing lane and deflected a pass toward the sideline, where her teammate Katie Lou Samuelson gained possession. After the deflection, Williams sped ahead into the frontcourt, and Samuelson threw a pass in her direction. Running full speed, Williams caught the ball with her head facing toward the backcourt about 17 feet away from the basket, even with the foul line. She came down on her right foot, then turned and planted her left foot and sprang toward the rim without dribbling, completing a floating layup while being contested by a South Carolina defender.

I don’t believe more than half of the men’s players in Division I would have been able to complete the play in the way Williams did. They would have dribbled, or perhaps even been called for traveling. They would have lacked the court awareness to decide what kind of play they could make.

Sure, most of them can dunk the ball, but very few would be able to do it successfully from that position. There’d be a lot of embarrassing missed dunks and a lot of yelling from coaches about them.

That brings up another politically incorrect thing. His “guys” play like guys, but without the macho junk that guys usually bring to the table.

Guys dribble too much. The ultimate compliment is when you can “break a guy’s ankles,” when the defender slips or trips or otherwise loses his balance, no matter what the eventual result of the play. There’s even been a commercial about it during the NCAA tournament. Maybe you’ve seen it; everybody in the arena falls, even the peanut vendor. It’s funny.

On Sunday, in the Midwest regional final of the men’s tournament between Duke and Kansas, Grayson Allen had a chance to win the game for the Blue Devils in the final seconds. His shot in the lane almost went down twice before rimming out; Kansas then won in overtime.

After the play, the announcing team of Nantz, Hill and Raftery kept talking about how Duke couldn’t have asked for a better shot than the one Allen got.

I’m not so sure about that. Duke wasn’t rushed. When Kansas hit the tying three-pointer, the clock was stopped with 25 seconds left in the game.

In the final 10 seconds, though, Duke left it up to Allen to make a play. He continually tried to break down his defender with the dribble while four other great players stood and watched. He spun and got into the lane but never really beat his defender; there were three hands in his face when the shot went up. His shot was off-balance, and truthfully it was a “brick” that almost got lucky.

Allen never passed the ball. He never moved the defense. Marvin Bagley, the most talented player to ever play for Coach K, saw his first and only season end at Duke when a senior never even considered throwing him the ball.

Auriemma’s players seem to use the dribble for its actual purpose, to gain an advantage on an opponent, or to make another defender help so that a teammate is wide open for a shot, which they usually make.

That’s another thing. I wish Auriemma and his staff would teach every college team in the country about shooting the ball. There isn’t one player on the Huskies with an awkward release or any wasted motion.

Go ahead and complain about the lopsided scores if you want. It seems worse now because UConn is in the American Athletic Conference, so their margins of victory and dominance are larger than they would be in the ACC or some other power conference, whether they still won every game there or not, which they might.

What I’m talking about is the difference in the quality of play. I enjoy watching a team make things that are hard look easy, and I’m not sure there’s ever been a better example than Auriemma’s program right now.

They’ve made their true competition look like they aren’t competitive at all.

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12 days of the masters


With all due respect to Christmas, a holiday that I love, this, right now is "the most wonderful time of the year".

It's the lead-in to the Masters, the greatest golf tournament in the world.

They'll tee it up on Thursday, April 5, in pursuit of one of the most coveted symbols in all of sports: the Augusta green jacket.

With the return of Tiger Woods and the recent improved play from the likes of Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy, this year's event has a buzz attached to it that we haven't felt in a long time.

A second major championship would be a significant accomplishment for Justin Rose, who has been a top 10 player in the world for the last three years.

Over the next 7 days, I'll continue to lay out my personal (expected) leaderboard, finishing on Wednesday, April 4 with my six man fantasy team and my predicted winner.

It started on Saturday, March 24, when I listed Bryson DeChambeau at #12. On Sunday, March 25, it was Matt Kuchar at #11. Sergio Garcia was my #10 on Monday, March 26. March 27, I listed Dustin Johnson at #9. Yesterday, it was hotshot/hothead Jon Rahm at #8.

When I try and predict a final Masters leaderboard, I look at two factors mostly. Former champions in the field and players with great track records at Augusta who haven't yet found the winner's circle.

My #7 player nearly won last year. His track record at Augusta National is solid. He's going to win a green jacket, I believe, at some point in the next five years.

Maybe even in 2018.

Justin Rose is #7.

Rose played great last year and wound up in a playoff with Sergio Garcia, then hit a lousy drive at 18 on the first playoff hole and Garcia went on to win.

Everything about Augusta National and the Masters fits Rose's playing style with the exception of one detail, but even that doesn't seem to bother him every April when the 37-year old shows up for his quest to win a green jacket.

Rose is NOT a great putter. Terrific driver of the ball? Yes. Excellent iron player? Absolutely. Solid short game? Indeed.

But he's just not a great putter. He's a very good putter, which is why he has a U.S. Open title and 21 professional victories in total, plus an Olympic gold medal in 2016.

A "not great putter" won last year, by the way. In fact, Rose is probably a better putter than Garcia, truth be told. But his work with the flat stick remains the most troubling part of Justin Rose's game.

That said...Justin Rose can definitely win the Masters.

He has figured the place out, as his track record over the last seven years clearly shows: Since 2011, he's gone T11, T8, T25, T14, T2, T10, 2.

Tie for 25th is his worst result since 2011. There are four top 10's in there.

Justin Rose might finally figure it all out this year and win the Masters.

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take dad to the u.s. open


#DMD is putting together a special one-day trip to the U.S. Open on June 15 at Shinnecock Hills GC on Long Island (NY) and we'd love for you to be part of it with us!

We're billing it as a "Day with Dad", but you certainly don't have to bring your father along. We just think it will be fun if you do!

Defending champion Brooks Koepka will be in the field at Shinnecock Hills on June 15 when #DMD travels to Long Island for the second round of this year's U.S. Open.

We're heading to Shinnecock Hills to see the second round of the 2018 U.S. Open, departing Baltimore at 5:00 and arriving at the course roughly around 9:00 am. We'll spend the whole day on the course watching the best players in the world play on one of our nation's most iconic golf courses.

If you've never seen Shinnecock Hills in person, this is a must-do opportunity to experience one of our nation's most breathaking and scenic courses.

Our luxury motor coach will be limited to just 40 passengers, giving everyone room to spread out and enjoy the ride to Long Island. We'll enjoy breakfast, drinks and snacks on the ride to the course and we'll have more food and drinks for everyone on the ride home.

Oh, and there's U.S. Open trivia as well! A $100 cash prize is available for our trivia contest, so brush up on those needless facts about the U.S. Open.

Bring Dad along for a truly special day together at the U.S. Open. All of the best players in the world will be there...and the two of you can watch the tournament on Saturday or Sunday with the experience of having just walked the famous layout.

#DMD golf trips like this one are also excellent for employee and client reward. If you have a golfer or two that work in your business or if there's a special client you'd like to treat, we promise we'll great care of them on the trip to Shinnecock Hills!

For pricing and payment details go here.

Wednesday
March 28
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issue 28
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how many wins is buck worth?


During one of my recent visits to see my friends at Primary Residential Mortgage, Dean Johnson asked me a question.

And no, it wasn't, "Are you here drinking our coffee again?"

"How many wins is Buck worth each season?" Dean asked.

Now that's a great question.

What's the value of a manager in terms of wins and losses? #DMD has a reader's poll that asks you that very question today.

And with #DMD's 2018 Baseball Preview being published today (see below), I figured we should tackle that Buck issue that Dean brought up.

Baseball has a fancy stat called "Wins Above Replacement" (WAR). I have no idea how they really come up with the final number, but a player's WAR is supposed to show their true value. You often hear someone say, "If we didn't have him on the team, we'd be in big trouble." Well, WAR figures out how much "big trouble" is by computing the number of wins the good player gives you over someone who would play in his place.

So, what's Buck's WAR?

I have no idea how a baseball nerd would compute this one, since the manager doesn't really do anything tangible, like hit a ball into the gap with the bases loaded or produce a well-timed sacrifice fly with a runner on third in the bottom of the 8th of a tie game.

But I think we would all agree that a manager does do something. And I think we'd also agree some managers are better than others.

How much is Buck worth?

You can answer for yourself in the poll below.


 Drew's Morning Dish

#DMD Poll

Question: What's the main reason you own Ravens season tickets?
Good seat location
Friendships with others near me
General support of the team
Business use/entertaining
Would sell my PSL, but no buyers
Name
Email address

My answer was "4-6", but I wouldn't argue with you if you selected "7-10".

I'm a Buck Showalter fan, just like I'm a John Harbaugh fan.

Warts? Sure, Buck has a few, just like John does.

But I go around Major League Baseball and make a mythical tour of every dugout and no other manager really sticks out to me as someone I'd immediately take over Buck Showalter.

I said this on the radio circa 2010 when people around town were starting to clamor for Ray Lewis to call it a day and hang up the cleats: "You folks are going to realize how valuable Ray really is to the organization and the team on the field when he's gone."

The Ravens have made the playoffs once since Ray Lewis retired.

And I'll say the same (basic) thing to the Orioles front office about their current manager: "You will regret not having Buck Showalter in the dugout if you let him get away from Baltimore in 2019."

Buck Showalter wins baseball games for the Orioles.

Does he lose a couple along the way as well? Of course.

I won't bring up the Toronto wild card game of 2016 if promise you won't as well. That was a major Buck-blunder.

But he wins a lot more games for the O's than he loses, in my opinion.

Showalter changed a culture in Baltimore.

Sure, good players help do that, but a strong manager is also necessary to help shape the locker room and the attitude of everyone who is in there for 162 games.

Buck Showalter is a difference maker for the Orioles.

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2018 MLB Preview


It all starts tomorrow.

Baseball is back!

And in roughly 20 cities, I'd say, there's some real hope that 2018 might be a special season on the diamond.

They think they can win in Washington D.C.

And in New York (well, at least in the Bronx).

And Boston, too.

Houston, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Milwaukee, Denver, Phoenix, Seattle, Cleveland and Chicago -- they all think there's a possibility that they'll be playing in October.

I don't think we fancy ourselves a World Series contender in Baltimore, but I do think we all can at least say, "If things rolled in our favor and a few other unexpected things happened in the American League, the Orioles could be playing meaningful baseball in late September."

Is this the year it finally all comes together for Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals?

That's how I see the season shaping up, anyway.

My expectations for the Orioles are fairly low.

I think they'll finish above .500, but I'm not expecting them to make the playoffs.

Yes, the pitching appears to have improved. That's a good start.

But I'm still not convinced it's good enough over 162 games to finish among the top five teams in the American League.

And the hitting, while promising with certain players, is also just suspect enough that I can't fully buy in for 2018.

I have the Orioles finishing the season at 83-79.

That means, yes, they will likely be playing games in September that matter. That might not be good if you're one of the people who would like to see them ship Manny Machado somewhere at the trade deadline. But I think the O's will be in the hunt in September.

I'll provide some individual player statistical predictions tomorrow here at #DMD. But here's how I see the rest of baseball shaping up in 2018.

Keep in mind please, when you head to the wagering windows today, that last year I was the guy who called a Dodgers-Astros World Series, although I had the guys from L.A. winning in six games.

American League East -- I don't see much hope at all for Tampa Bay or Toronto. They both stink. The Red Sox will be good -- like they always seem to be -- and the offense in New York might be mind-boggling if everyone in their lineup stays healthy. I'll take the Yankees to win the division with a record of 95-67.

American League Central -- This shapes up to be a two-team race between Cleveland and Minnesota. This might be the year all those hotshot prospects in Chicago start to elevate the White Sox a little bit. Detroit and Kansas City will fight for the cellar. Cleveland wins the division at 94-68 with Minnesota claiming a wild card spot at 90-72.

American League West -- This could be a cracker of a division race, with the Astros forcing everyone to get better -- or else. I'll take Houston to win the West at 97-65, followed by the other wild card team in the A.L., the Angels at 88-74. Seattle hangs around and fades late, just like Texas does. Oakland packs it in by late July.

National League East -- This one could be over with mid-August. The Nationals are clearly the best team in this division and they'll finish with the best record in the National League at 97-65. Everyone else labors through an unpredictable season, although the Phillies will probably start to show small signs of improvement.

National League Central -- I see this race being one of the most competitive in all of baseball, with the Cubs withstanding a season-long scrap with Milwaukee to finish at 93-69 to win the Central in the final week of the regular season. I see the aforementioned Brewers claiming one of the two N.L. wild card spots at 88-74. St. Louis stays in the race for a long time, too, before finally bowing out. Pittsburgh and Cincinnati have teams, but you won't know it by mid-August.

National League West -- I'll go with an upset of sorts here and pick the Rockies to nose past the Dodgers in September and win the West at 94-68. Los Angeles will snag the other wild card spot at 90-72. The Diamdonbacks will be in it, too, before falling short. There's nothing to see in San Diego or San Francisco.

American League Championship Series -- Astros beat Indians, 4-games-to-3.

National League Championship Series -- Nationals beat Rockies, 4-games-to-2

World Series -- Nationals beat Astros, 4-games-to-3.

For #DMD's MVP and Cy Young selections for 2018, please tune in to today's edition of "The Juice" podcast.

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12 days of the masters


With all due respect to Christmas, a holiday that I love, this, right now is "the most wonderful time of the year".

It's the lead-in to the Masters, the greatest golf tournament in the world.

They'll tee it up on Thursday, April 5, in pursuit of one of the most coveted symbols in all of sports: the Augusta green jacket.

With the return of Tiger Woods and the recent improved play from the likes of Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy, this year's event has a buzz attached to it that we haven't felt in a long time.

With victories in both 2017 and 2018 (so far), Jon Rahm has emerged as a top 10 player in the world and will be front and center at Augusta National next week as one of the tournament favorites.

Over the next 8 days, I'll continue to lay out my personal (expected) leaderboard, finishing on Wednesday, April 4 with my six man fantasy team and my predicted winner.

It started on Saturday, March 24, when I listed Bryson DeChambeau at #12. On Sunday, March 25, it was Matt Kuchar at #11. Sergio Garcia was my #10 on Monday, March 26. Yesterday, I listed Dustin Johnson at #8.

When I try and predict a final Masters leaderboard, I look at two factors mostly. Former champions in the field and players with great track records at Augusta who haven't yet found the winner's circle.

My #8 player has only played Augusta once, when he finished T27 in 2017.

But, like three other Spaniards since the 1980's, this guy will one day wear the green jacket. It might even be this year.

Jon Rahm is #8.

Every number in his statistical book is solid except one, and it's honestly the one that probably matters the least at Augusta National.

Rahm is 26th on the TOUR in driving distance at 306 yards. That will serve him well next week.

He's 37th on the TOUR in greens regulation at 69%. That, too, will be a big help next week.

He's 2nd on the TOUR in birdies per-round at 4.93. If we round that up and he makes five birdies per-round at Augusta National next week, he probably finishes somewhere around 12 or 14 under par and has a chance to win.

The only stat that is bothersome for Rahm: driving accuracy. He ranks 151st on the TOUR in that category, hitting just 57% of the fairways. At the U.S. Open, that stat would probably keep him from making anyone's "favorites" list. But there's not much rough at Augusta National. Missing fairways there isn't a big deal.

The only issue for Rahm is whether or not he can keep his cool for four days.

He certainly has the golf game that's required to win there. But when he makes a double bogey early on Sunday when he's one shot off the lead, does he completely unravel and shoot a final round 76 or does he hang tough and make a few birdies to get himself situated for a back-nine charge that would make Seve Ballesteros proud?

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#dmd comments


Jonathan     December 10
Not understanding this Weddle vs. Media angle. Can someone explain?

just a fan     December 10
Count me among the few who were entertained by yesterday’s game, as opposed to being miserable because they failed to pull off the upset. Who knows where it will all end, but I’m just glad to have some meaningful football to watch in Dec. Beats the heck out of being a Bills or Jags fan! Wonder if that guy in NE is getting beat up for having Gronk on the field playing D on that last play? He looked like Weddle on that play lol.

While I am not one to normally join the haters, I do have to admit to being puzzled why Mr Weddle gets so many atta boys in the media. Have to agree, it seems more often than not, he shrinks in key moments, and frankly, even on simple basic plays in the middle of a game. He sure seems like Exhibit A to the Little Fella Corollary that says come to one of my self-serving swabbing events, and I will never speak bad about you….ever! Do a phone interview, we’ll be “lifelong pals”, ala Mike Flynn. On D, it's usually not the guy closest to the guy making the play who blew his assignment...in the Ravens case, it's usually Weddle lol!


Marv     December 10
Tippy & Radio Guy He gets it. To change would indicate you are right and he is wrong, an act of which he is incapable.

Jason M     December 10
@ChrisinBelair - 4th and game seems to be our Achilles. I thought the whole team played very well in a tough environment against one of the leagues elite. We cvoulda, woulda and shoulda - but I think if we bring it that way this week and for the rest of the season, then the last chapter has not been written yet on this team.



No one has mentioned the refs yet...and I appreciate that because there's not much to be gained. But on the final play from scrimmage, there was a mugging on Willie Snead and it was ealry and effected his ability to catch the ball. We didn't draw a single PI all game. We had PI called on us, deservedly in the end zone, but the Snead contact was heavier.




Tippy     December 10
@RadioGuy: Someone mentioned it (Superbowl) last week as well. He doesn't get it.

Radio Guy     December 10
Will someone PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE tell @Brien Jackson that Superbowl is NOT ONE WORD. I've seen him do this numerous times. The word is SUPER (first word) BOWL (second word). It has never been spelled as one word scrunched together like that. It's amateur looking if you don't know how to spell the biggest sporting event in our country.



THANKYOU. (see what I did there?)

John L.     December 10
So Drew, what are you hearing about Flacco behind the scenes? You can't throw that out there and then leave us hanging like this!!!

such     December 10
Amen, Madness, amen. My household has been calling for his release for several seasons now. Remember when we all thought it was a coup that we got him instead of Pittsburgh? If only he were a Steeler! He's been the culprit in every critical defensive breakdown the last 3 years. Thank you for the reminder.

No more wiggle room or shoulda woulda coulda the rest of the way now. That's the price paid by yesterday's collapse.

Idiot Caller     December 10
@Madness: Amen, brother! Amen!

BJ     December 10
If Lamar starts the last three games, the Ravens go 1-2.



You heard it here first.

Davey     December 10
I think this summarizes the whole thing, IMHO.



"Make no mistake about it: The Ravens gagged it yesterday. It wasn't anyone's fault in particular, and there are reasons to subscribe to the moral victory opinion if you like, but the reality is the Ravens gave the game away to the Chiefs on Sunday."

Madness     December 10
Very tough loss and I blame ONE guy who always seems to LOSE the game of inches. A guy who is loved by the media because he is quotable and always gives his time to them. He is loved by the fans because he has a "look at me" outrageous look. He promotes himself as a team leader. He is ALWAYS the guy......who misses the play by INCHES. He is an out and out JINX.

He hesitates ever so slightly on his safety blitz on the tying TD....he is the centerfielder on the FOURTH and 9 and gets turned around looking and guarding a guy who is under control of Tayvon Young. Is it "selfish or stupid" that he stays on the wrong side of Hill? That he moves away from Hill on the crucial play is just a testament of his modus operandi. CJ Mosley is a FOUR down linebacker, end of story. "Jinx McBeard" has to be the guy to knock it down on that play. He was out of position......like the Ray Rice Fourth and Twenty NINE, like the Immaculate Extension, Like the Tyler Boyd FOURTH and TWELVE, like the Jordan Howard OT run against the Bears last year......and on and on.



A menace, a season destroyer........a JINX.



But isn't that beard cool? And isn't it cute that he eats ice cream after a win....and isn't he easy for the lazy ass media to talk to....and he is great at slapping guys on the ass.



About 5 inches different in his career and he is close to Ed Reed.

Macki     December 10
I think @Drew hit this one right on the head. Ravens had it in the palm of their hand and couldn't make the big play when they needed it. This is another in a long line of defensive collapses on the last series of the game or overtime. Remember Chicago last year in Baltimore? How about Pittsburgh when Brown stretched out to win the game and end our season? Or last year when the Bengals carved us up on the last play of the game. Same old song and dance.

Mark     December 10
I often wonder if Brien watches the games. I'm thinking he didn't watch yesterdays game in KC.

amused observer     December 10
What happened to the other team tries to? Or they have varsity lettermen as well? Nope, today we get Steelers stink and KC throwing up on themselves. And of course, the overwhelming theme of the comments so far, the Ravens just giving the game away cause their D is “horrible”, with the sub theme of “they’ve never been any good since Ray and Ed left”.

It’s exhausting man, how do you people keep chewing that same bone, like Mike Preston and his alpha male/playmaker syndrome??

And love the “why is Mosely covering Hill”…yea, that was the play call there. Sheesh. Pressure forces Mahomes to scramble, Hill runs around in circles, Mahomes heaves it and, wait for it, Hill makes a play! Nope, can’t say 2 guys made a play, no, no, no, the Ravens failed to execute, and that’s on Wink! And yes, more than likely, back when you had two HoFamers back there, they make the play, not the other team.

To paraphrase the guy who said “just dial up a sack there”, they need to go “get some HoFame players”!

Everyone wrote down KC as a loss in every “get to the playoffs” scenario I heard, everyone. Now that they did lose, after a valiant effort, but an effort not good enough for our local experts, all the sudden, beating Tampa is “almost must win”?? Pretty sure losing to TB was never on anyone’s “how to get to the playoffs” plan, right?

Ravens almost beat the #1 seed in a place that is very difficult on road teams, but now we’re sticking with they can’t go to LA and play a team with no home crowd at all and win there? Which BTW I believe DEN won there, and even the Bengirls just gave them fits.

Guess the good news is since no one goes to games any more, or cares about this team, there are not really all that many of you upset by the hot mess the Ravens have become. The good news is the Harbs and Flacco haters will get their wish soon, so you got that going for ya


Neutral Observer     December 10
Here's how Brien's mind works. When Mahomes makes a great play, it's not the Ravens defense's fault. The QB just made a game saving/changing play.



When Flacco makes a game saving/changing play in the Denver playoff game, the other team's defense failed to make a play.


HERMAN     December 10
They line up on the 25 with two minutes and change, we are up 7, we need that big defensive stop that has eluded us the last 3 years in a row in critical late season games.

I can hear Harbaugh on Monday morning, knowing that Pittsburgh is going to tank in Oakland, "we control our own destiny, that's all you can ask for with three games left".

I can hear him in the press conference, I actually feel good for the guy, this four game win streak has resurrected his career here. The games are exciting, fun, they amaze. We have some stability going into next year, maybe they'll draft a game-changer or two for Harbaugh, instead of a rebuild, we just continue to be in contention late into the season.

And just like that, a 4th and 9. And on, and on, and on.

On any other week I'd be gleeful, giddy, ecstatic over the Squealers kicker ass-planting away the game, reading the PPG to see the comments section where Yinzers bemoan the Ravens taking over first.

But the D has crushed me again, just like 4th and 22, or the year before, or the year before.

And Harbaugh is back on the hot seat, and stability is looking for an exit, and.....


Chris in Bel Air     December 10
Ravens played well yesterday. It's just hard to see them burned by another backyard play on 4th down. As good as Ravens were, the Chiefs were better in the final minutes when it counted. I'm also curious about the Ravens last possessions and why they had Lamar standing in the pocket like a traditional passer. That's not his strength and gave the KC D nothing to think about. They needed to give him a couple roll-outs and options to present the threat of running. Despite the loss I'm still encouraged with their play and believe they can make the playoffs.

Ed     December 10
The Ravens still do not have the QB of the future on their roster. No WR is going to want to play here.

unitastoberry     December 10
I remember Dan Fouts commenting during a game about Mosley a few seasons back. Hes says.....If I'm quarterbacking I'm throwing to whoever he has coverage on.

davehughes123     December 10
@Herman I'm glad you mentioned Mosley because he is abysmal defending the pass. Mosley was also "covering" Williams on the game tying TD. He might accumulate a ton of tackles but he's the team's biggest liability in pass coverage.

Brien Jackson     December 10
"Watching C.J.Mosely chase Tyreek Hill, 5 yards behind, on the big fourth down play is the vision that haunts through Wednesday and into Thursday.



How do we end up with a guy who can't cover anyone in pass coverage at all on their top receiver on the most critical play of the game? Mosely is awful in pass coverage. Why, why, why...."



Because Hill was completely out of the play for any quarterback other than Mahomes or Rodgers. Seriously, that play was the equivalent of Steph Curry burying a 27 foot jumper with two hands in his face. Sometimes you play things well but great players make great plays anyway.

Idiot Caller     December 10
... that CAN'T make a stop...

Idiot Caller     December 10
We can slice and dice the loss to the Chiefs anyway you want, but to me it all comes down to the highly paid defense. By my count, this marks the 3rd year in a row that the defense has blown a late 4th quarter lead in a crucial December game.

That is UNACCEPTABLE. Period.

The Ravens have to stop paying (wasting?) so much cap room on a defense that make a stop when they clearly need to.

HERMAN     December 10
Being a Ravens fan means putting up with soul-crushing losses. Losses that stay with you through Wednesday, and into Thursday. How many third and long, and fourth down conversions can a team give up in a game? For the "league leading" D they sure give up a ton of 19 yard third down plays to keep drives alive.

Watching C.J.Mosely chase Tyreek Hill, 5 yards behind, on the big fourth down play is the vision that haunts through Wednesday and into Thursday.

How do we end up with a guy who can't cover anyone in pass coverage at all on their top receiver on the most critical play of the game? Mosely is awful in pass coverage. Why, why, why....

I couldn't even enjoy the Squealers loss, or the fluke play that beat the evil empire, even though we were supposed to be rooting against Miami.

Delray Rick     December 10
How many games have the RAVENS LOST with 2 minutes left the last 4 years? I count 7-8. Our DB break down at the wrong time


James - Dundalk     December 10
I misses the OT coin toss ,but if The ravens won it why not go on offense run the ball ,eat clock, Score,give D a rest. The D was just out there at the end of regulation. Oh & before the TD to Brown why did Lamar scamper for 2 yards & go out of bounds. Let the clock run. Gave KC too much time to come back.

Unitastoberry     December 10
Most important aspect of a defense is to protect a lead. We still can't do that. If Lamar can't stop fumbling his career in the NFL is going to be very short. Give KC credit their coaching staff adjusted well to stop Lamar on the edge. Mahomes is very good he's the MVP as of today.

Captain Oblivious     December 09
To Briens point, if the Ravens win out and the Steelers don't the Ravens win the division unless the Steelers tie the game they don't win.

J.J.     December 09
@Brien with the hard hitting analysis of the final three weeks of the season. That's good stuff!

Brien Jackson     December 09
The big development of the day is that, if the Steelers lose to New Orleans and New England, the Ravens just have to beat the Bucs and Browns at home to win the division.

Alan     December 09
Crickets.

Tom     December 09
@H,



Lamar should start. But Flacco is going to start. Wait and see.

H     December 09
1 turnover

Clutch plays

Zero delay of game penalties

Zero wasted timeouts

Zero false starts

Zero broken plays

Now tell me who should start at QB next week?

Bill P.     December 09
@Alan: Why, why why would you do that?

Just a guy     December 09
Really enjoyed the game today, lots of drama, excitement, almost beat the likely #1 seed in their house, with a QB not ready for prime time. From where I sit, coaching staff did a helluva job. Really feel bad for all the miserable haters in town who feel the need to vent like 2 year olds who didn't get their way. Its a bad look, at least if you're an adult.

Alan     December 09
I'm going to ask Brien Jackson to do something. I suspect he won't be able to complete this mission but I'm going to pose the question to him anyway.



I'd like for you to break down the game today and list your five "important points" related to how the Ravens lost.

John In Westminster     December 09
In the immortal words of the Fonz, I was "wrrrreeerrrong". Tough not to finish the job against a top opponent. Great game all around...until the last few minutes and OT. Will note the inconsistent officiating had influence. It appears Flacco will be Wally Pipped, unless Lamar's ankle injury is serious.

Brien Jackson     December 09
@That Guy



I am wowed by your tremendous insight into the sport. Make him throw an incompletion. It's amazing that NFL teams pay so much money to coaches to not see that genius.

RJ     December 09
Yea, just sack the QB or make him throw an incompletion, problem solved - Wink is just so, so terrbile

Frank     December 09
I'll have what "That Guy" is having.

RJ     December 09
You people pissed off at Ravens D are the ones who are drunk/high. No doubt you were the ones prior to this game saying KC would light them up for 50+. Yup, the D "blew the lead", "couldn't hold them" and 'just let them drive down the field", yup, that's all that happened on that field today. Good thing the KC offense self-imploded so much, against that kind of defensive effort, no reason they should not have scored at least 60 today, right? You make Ken Weiman so proud

That Guy     December 09
I'll break it down for you Brien you dimwit. It was 4th and 9. If the Ravens sack the quarterback there the game is over. If they force him to throw an incompletion the game is over. If they knock the pass down the game is over. They could have done any of five different things there to win the game and didn't. Please stop acting like you're a football expert. I've read your stuff here for years. You're nowhere near an expert on the X's and O's of football.

Brien Jackson     December 09
Everyone is welcome to show off their immense football knowledge by breaking down the defenses's mistake on that play.



I'll wait.

Jonathan     December 09
That's Brien's way of not blaming the Ravens defense for blowing a late lead and also not blaming Lamar Jackson for only throwing for 150 yards.



You'll notice a trend if you stay here long enough.



It's always Flacco's fault.

Brien Jackson     December 09
Some things are just so predictable. The Ravens play 4th and 9 almost perfectly only to get beaten by a truly unbelievable play that literally no more than 3 guys in the entire NFL are even capable of making. Ipso facto the defense is terrible,\.



I guess I have to at least concede that said dumb criticism at least isn't being used solely to make excuses for Flacco, so there's that.

That Guy     December 09
RJ must have watched a different game than the rest of us.



The Ravens had a 7-point lead with four minutes left and couldn't hold it.



The Chiefs drove down the field in overtime and kicked a field goal to beat us.



I swear some of the people that come here must be drunk by halftime.

Jimmy the Greek     December 09
The question is, how many times has #DMD put 5K down on his own picks lol

StevenShea     December 09
I’m sorry to all the Harbaugh haters, but the obvious reality is that we have an incredible coaching staff with make shift talent. The fact that is we put up 24 points with a single wing offense and defense that holds the Chiefs to 27 in OT. All the experts say we have to make a change if we fail to go deep in the playoffs. Meanwhile the architect of our last ten drafts is getting a promotion. Hayden Hurst has solidified his spot as 4th tight end and Lamar Jackson is the Raven’s version of Tim Teebo. One more busted draft and a future with no legitimate QB, an unknown coaching staff a supporting cast devoid of playmakers.

Geno     December 09
@RJ, Are you serious man? The defense had a lead with four minutes left and couldn't hold it. KC went right down the field in OT and won the game. Are you on drugs dude?

Tuesday
March 27
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issue 27
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is there any scenario possible where manny stays?


Someone asked me this question yesterday and it got me to thinking -- really thinking -- about the answer: Is there any scenario possible where Manny Machado is somehow an Oriole in 2019?

I hadn't even considered that possibility, honestly.

I assumed it was a foregone conclusion that he wouldn't be around next season. Although Manny himself hasn't said that directly, I guess he doesn't need to. Right?

But back to the question...

I'd answer it by first reminding everyone, me included, that Machado did say, a couple of years back, something about it being "an honor" to be the highest paid player in the game.

Frankly, that sounds like something another Miami kid would have said in his day. He played for the Yankeesa and also wore #13.

And to some degree, if Alex Rodriguez did say that to Manny Machado along the way, there's not much to argue about. Being the highest paid "anything" is certainly an honor, particularly if it comes as a result of your ability to do something unique -- like play baseball.

Is there any way possible the Orioles could still snag Manny Machado for 2019 and beyond or is his departure all but a done deal?

Machado seems like the kind of guy who would say to his agent, "What's the highest paid player make per-season? Thirty four million two hundred and fifty dollars? I want to make thirty four million, two hundred and fifty one dollars next season."

That's not a criticism, by the way. It's really not. One might contend there's a lot of greed in that statement, but I don't necessarily see it that way. It's part and parcel of being a competitor, whether you're a quarterback who wants to be the best and be paid like the best or a third baseman turned shortstop who thinks he has a chance to be the first player to ever make $40 million a year.

Baseball's current economic climate being what it is today, though, is it possible that Machado, like a lot of guys found out this past winter, isn't worth as much as he thought he might be, say, two years ago?

And with that climate -- or that other "c" word that rhymes with illusion -- is there any way possible the Orioles might be able to keep Machado around in 2019 and beyond?

Let's first ask this, as far fetched as it might sound since the Birds haven't won a World Series since 1983.

If the Orioles were to win the World Series in 2018, would that be enough to keep Machado in town? Would he be faithfully connected to a growing, improving franchise and theoretically say, "I'll take $25 million a year to stay...I want to be part of this again next season."?

It sounds sort of whacky to say that, I know, but it's worth asking. Could Manny be motivated more by winning than money, is essentially what the question would ultimately be?

Failing that scenario coming to fruition, what other ways could the Orioles keep Manny?

I guess it's fair to paint this possible picture, even though I seriously doubt it happens this season. Machado somehow produces a career-worst campaign in 2018. He struggles with a shoulder injury from May through September after diving for a ground ball in a late April game. Pressed to perform in his walk year, Manny's offensive numbers dip to the tune of .244, 22 HR and 73 RBI.

Those wouldn't be terrible numbers for Caleb Joseph, mind you, but they wouldn't command $35 million a year for Machado or any other player for that matter.

In other words, if Manny has a down year -- a really down year -- could the off-season suitors suddenly start to dwindle?

And what if it just turns out that no one thinks Machado is worth $250 million over 7 years?

Mike Moustakas thought he was a $150 million player for seven years this past winter. It turns out no one else thought the same thing. He's playing for $6 million and some change with Kansas City this season.

I guess there's a possibility the Yankees won't just give Machado a blank check next November and say, "Fill it in."

It's always felt like that's what's going to happen and it still very well might, but I also think there's a chance Manny's real number turns out to be more like $145 million for five years.

(I know, I know...how's he gonna order the 12 ounce filet if he only makes $29 million a year? Poor guy...)

But what if -- just play along here -- it turns out that Machado isn't going to be the highest paid player next winter? What if the market opens, unfolds, and Machado doesn't get four teams bidding and over-bidding for his services? What if he really is just your basic, everyday, $29 million player?

None of this addresses the other critical issue about Machado, which is this: What if he just wants to play in New York? Period.

What if the money actually doesn't matter? I mentioned "winning the World Series" earlier and hypothesized that experiencing winning in Baltimore could be the connector that keeps Manny in Charm City.

But what if the Yankees get to the World Series this October and fall in seven dramatic games to the Dodgers, Nationals or anyone else? What if they Yankees are close -- really close -- and Manny sees himself as the final piece and the white knight who rides in to restore greatness to the Yankees in 2019 and beyond?

What if it's this simple? Manny Machado just wants to be a New York Yankee.

This entire story eventually all comes full circle and falls on the desk of John Angelos and Brady Anderson, the two guys who will be "running the organization" by the time free agency starts in November.

Therein lies the problem.

The Orioles can't wait until November to see how this plays out. I mean, they can wait if they so choose, but they'd be losing extremely value leverage if that's the route they take.

If they know now, as in right now, on March 27, 2018, that they aren't going to pay Machado, say $30 million a year next season, they have to put a plan in place to somehow improve their team and future by moving him on before the July 31 trade deadline.

And even if that somehow impacts the team's chances for the post-season in 2018, it has to be done that way.

The Orioles simply can't let Machado hit free agency next November and get a draft pick in exchange for his departure.

That would be the very worst thing the organization could do.

It will hurt to see Machado leave. No two ways about it.

But it will be more painful in the long-term if Machado leaves and the Orioles don't improve because of it.

The Orioles first order of business should be to keep Machado in Charm City. That goes without saying, but I'll stress it anyway.

Failing their ability to keep him, they have no choice but to move him. Sooner, rather than later.

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with grubauer in goal, caps starting to perk up


It's almost playoff time in the NHL.

If you're a fan of the Washington Capitals, you know what that means. Someone in late April or early May will eliminate the Capitals from the post-season.

But maybe, just maybe, this time around might be different. Sure, I say that every year at this time. You're right. But this year might be different.

The Caps beat the Rangers in New York last night, 4-2. In the past, a late March win at the Garden would be eye-opening, but not in 2017-2018. The Rangers are done, effectively just playing out the string and looking at some younger players who might be vital pieces for them in the future.

Caps coach Barry Trotz handed Philipp Grubauer the starting job earlier in March and he has responded with outstanding play as the Capitals now own a 5-point lead in Metropolitan Division.

But when you're fighting hard for the division title, a win at the Garden on March 26 is huge. And the Caps picked one up last night.

Philipp Grubauer took over as the team's #1 goaltender a few weeks ago during a west coast trip and things have slowly started to improve for Barry Trotz's team. Grubauer has two shutouts in his last six games and is 5-1 in that span. After a shaky February and early March, in which they lost their Metropolitan Division lead at one point, the Caps are now five points ahead of second place Pittsburgh with six games remaining for both teams.

The Caps have been bridesmaids a lot over the last two decades. They've won the President's Cup twice and failed to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals on both occasions. They've had "the best team" in all of hockey several times and haven't been to a Stanley Cup Final since 1998.

Something always goes wrong for the Capitals come playoff time. Usually that "something" sounds a lot like "Pittsburgh Penguins".

I'm a Caps fan, so I go into every post-season suspecting a loss is coming around sooner than expected. It's one thing to master losing in the playoffs. It's another thing to master losing-to-a-team-you-shouldn't-lose-to, which the Caps have done, unfortunately.

This year, though?

I'll go ahead and bite the apple again, like I do every March.

This year might be different. This year could be the year it changes.

And if it does, Philipp Grubauer might be the reason.

I don't think he's actually "better" than Braden Holtby, the erstwhile #1 netminder who has suffered through a hard-to-explain "down" year thus far. But with Holtby's spotty play hurting the team, Trotz made the switch in early March and the team has responded accordingly.

Change is good, sometimes. And in this case, a new goaltender has given the Caps new hope.

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12 days of the masters


With all due respect to Christmas, a holiday that I love, this, right now is "the most wonderful time of the year".

It's the lead-in to the Masters, the greatest golf tournament in the world.

They'll tee it up on Thursday, April 5, in pursuit of one of the most coveted symbols in all of sports: the Augusta green jacket.

With the return of Tiger Woods and the recent improved play from the likes of Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy, this year's event has a buzz attached to it that we haven't felt in a long time.

With one major already claimed, Dustin Johnson can get halfway to the career grand slam with a win at Augusta National next week.

Over the next 9 days, I'll continue to lay out my personal (expected) leaderboard, finishing on Wednesday, April 4 with my six man fantasy team and my predicted winner.

It started on Saturday, March 24, when I listed Bryson DeChambeau at #12. On Sunday, March 25, it was Matt Kuchar at #11. Sergio Garcia was my #10 on Monday, March 26.

When I try and predict a final Masters leaderboard, I look at two factors mostly. Former champions in the field and players with great track records at Augusta who haven't yet found the winner's circle.

The guy at #9 doesn't have a great track record at Augusta National and he's never won the event, but that doesn't mean 2018 might not be his year.

Dustin Johnson is #9.

If ever anyone's tee-to-green game was a perfect fit for Augusta in the "Tiger-proofed" era, it's the game of Dustin Johnson.

He is the best driver of the golf ball since Greg Norman, circa 1993, and there's no hole at Augusta National that he can't overpower. His wedge game has improved dramatically over the last few years and it has showed in his rise to the #1 ranking in the world.

When he hits it close and makes a few putts, he wins. That's the formula a lot of players use to get into the winner's circle, but it's different for D.J. because he'll have a wedge or less in his hands on 9 of the 18 holes at Augusta National in every round -- assuming he drives it well, that is.

What potentially works against him is his status: He's supposed to win the Masters at some point. Maybe even more than once. He was the favorite heading into last year's event until he -- ahem -- "slipped on some steps" -- and hurt his back the day before the opening round. He withdrew prior to teeing off on Thursday.

Healthy, now, and playing well again, there's no reason to think he won't be hanging around the leaderboard on Sunday, April 8. He has every tool a man could want to win at Augusta National.

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#dmd comments


Jonathan     December 10
Not understanding this Weddle vs. Media angle. Can someone explain?

just a fan     December 10
Count me among the few who were entertained by yesterday’s game, as opposed to being miserable because they failed to pull off the upset. Who knows where it will all end, but I’m just glad to have some meaningful football to watch in Dec. Beats the heck out of being a Bills or Jags fan! Wonder if that guy in NE is getting beat up for having Gronk on the field playing D on that last play? He looked like Weddle on that play lol.

While I am not one to normally join the haters, I do have to admit to being puzzled why Mr Weddle gets so many atta boys in the media. Have to agree, it seems more often than not, he shrinks in key moments, and frankly, even on simple basic plays in the middle of a game. He sure seems like Exhibit A to the Little Fella Corollary that says come to one of my self-serving swabbing events, and I will never speak bad about you….ever! Do a phone interview, we’ll be “lifelong pals”, ala Mike Flynn. On D, it's usually not the guy closest to the guy making the play who blew his assignment...in the Ravens case, it's usually Weddle lol!


Marv     December 10
Tippy & Radio Guy He gets it. To change would indicate you are right and he is wrong, an act of which he is incapable.

Jason M     December 10
@ChrisinBelair - 4th and game seems to be our Achilles. I thought the whole team played very well in a tough environment against one of the leagues elite. We cvoulda, woulda and shoulda - but I think if we bring it that way this week and for the rest of the season, then the last chapter has not been written yet on this team.



No one has mentioned the refs yet...and I appreciate that because there's not much to be gained. But on the final play from scrimmage, there was a mugging on Willie Snead and it was ealry and effected his ability to catch the ball. We didn't draw a single PI all game. We had PI called on us, deservedly in the end zone, but the Snead contact was heavier.




Tippy     December 10
@RadioGuy: Someone mentioned it (Superbowl) last week as well. He doesn't get it.

Radio Guy     December 10
Will someone PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE tell @Brien Jackson that Superbowl is NOT ONE WORD. I've seen him do this numerous times. The word is SUPER (first word) BOWL (second word). It has never been spelled as one word scrunched together like that. It's amateur looking if you don't know how to spell the biggest sporting event in our country.



THANKYOU. (see what I did there?)

John L.     December 10
So Drew, what are you hearing about Flacco behind the scenes? You can't throw that out there and then leave us hanging like this!!!

such     December 10
Amen, Madness, amen. My household has been calling for his release for several seasons now. Remember when we all thought it was a coup that we got him instead of Pittsburgh? If only he were a Steeler! He's been the culprit in every critical defensive breakdown the last 3 years. Thank you for the reminder.

No more wiggle room or shoulda woulda coulda the rest of the way now. That's the price paid by yesterday's collapse.

Idiot Caller     December 10
@Madness: Amen, brother! Amen!

BJ     December 10
If Lamar starts the last three games, the Ravens go 1-2.



You heard it here first.

Davey     December 10
I think this summarizes the whole thing, IMHO.



"Make no mistake about it: The Ravens gagged it yesterday. It wasn't anyone's fault in particular, and there are reasons to subscribe to the moral victory opinion if you like, but the reality is the Ravens gave the game away to the Chiefs on Sunday."

Madness     December 10
Very tough loss and I blame ONE guy who always seems to LOSE the game of inches. A guy who is loved by the media because he is quotable and always gives his time to them. He is loved by the fans because he has a "look at me" outrageous look. He promotes himself as a team leader. He is ALWAYS the guy......who misses the play by INCHES. He is an out and out JINX.

He hesitates ever so slightly on his safety blitz on the tying TD....he is the centerfielder on the FOURTH and 9 and gets turned around looking and guarding a guy who is under control of Tayvon Young. Is it "selfish or stupid" that he stays on the wrong side of Hill? That he moves away from Hill on the crucial play is just a testament of his modus operandi. CJ Mosley is a FOUR down linebacker, end of story. "Jinx McBeard" has to be the guy to knock it down on that play. He was out of position......like the Ray Rice Fourth and Twenty NINE, like the Immaculate Extension, Like the Tyler Boyd FOURTH and TWELVE, like the Jordan Howard OT run against the Bears last year......and on and on.



A menace, a season destroyer........a JINX.



But isn't that beard cool? And isn't it cute that he eats ice cream after a win....and isn't he easy for the lazy ass media to talk to....and he is great at slapping guys on the ass.



About 5 inches different in his career and he is close to Ed Reed.

Macki     December 10
I think @Drew hit this one right on the head. Ravens had it in the palm of their hand and couldn't make the big play when they needed it. This is another in a long line of defensive collapses on the last series of the game or overtime. Remember Chicago last year in Baltimore? How about Pittsburgh when Brown stretched out to win the game and end our season? Or last year when the Bengals carved us up on the last play of the game. Same old song and dance.

Mark     December 10
I often wonder if Brien watches the games. I'm thinking he didn't watch yesterdays game in KC.

amused observer     December 10
What happened to the other team tries to? Or they have varsity lettermen as well? Nope, today we get Steelers stink and KC throwing up on themselves. And of course, the overwhelming theme of the comments so far, the Ravens just giving the game away cause their D is “horrible”, with the sub theme of “they’ve never been any good since Ray and Ed left”.

It’s exhausting man, how do you people keep chewing that same bone, like Mike Preston and his alpha male/playmaker syndrome??

And love the “why is Mosely covering Hill”…yea, that was the play call there. Sheesh. Pressure forces Mahomes to scramble, Hill runs around in circles, Mahomes heaves it and, wait for it, Hill makes a play! Nope, can’t say 2 guys made a play, no, no, no, the Ravens failed to execute, and that’s on Wink! And yes, more than likely, back when you had two HoFamers back there, they make the play, not the other team.

To paraphrase the guy who said “just dial up a sack there”, they need to go “get some HoFame players”!

Everyone wrote down KC as a loss in every “get to the playoffs” scenario I heard, everyone. Now that they did lose, after a valiant effort, but an effort not good enough for our local experts, all the sudden, beating Tampa is “almost must win”?? Pretty sure losing to TB was never on anyone’s “how to get to the playoffs” plan, right?

Ravens almost beat the #1 seed in a place that is very difficult on road teams, but now we’re sticking with they can’t go to LA and play a team with no home crowd at all and win there? Which BTW I believe DEN won there, and even the Bengirls just gave them fits.

Guess the good news is since no one goes to games any more, or cares about this team, there are not really all that many of you upset by the hot mess the Ravens have become. The good news is the Harbs and Flacco haters will get their wish soon, so you got that going for ya


Neutral Observer     December 10
Here's how Brien's mind works. When Mahomes makes a great play, it's not the Ravens defense's fault. The QB just made a game saving/changing play.



When Flacco makes a game saving/changing play in the Denver playoff game, the other team's defense failed to make a play.


HERMAN     December 10
They line up on the 25 with two minutes and change, we are up 7, we need that big defensive stop that has eluded us the last 3 years in a row in critical late season games.

I can hear Harbaugh on Monday morning, knowing that Pittsburgh is going to tank in Oakland, "we control our own destiny, that's all you can ask for with three games left".

I can hear him in the press conference, I actually feel good for the guy, this four game win streak has resurrected his career here. The games are exciting, fun, they amaze. We have some stability going into next year, maybe they'll draft a game-changer or two for Harbaugh, instead of a rebuild, we just continue to be in contention late into the season.

And just like that, a 4th and 9. And on, and on, and on.

On any other week I'd be gleeful, giddy, ecstatic over the Squealers kicker ass-planting away the game, reading the PPG to see the comments section where Yinzers bemoan the Ravens taking over first.

But the D has crushed me again, just like 4th and 22, or the year before, or the year before.

And Harbaugh is back on the hot seat, and stability is looking for an exit, and.....


Chris in Bel Air     December 10
Ravens played well yesterday. It's just hard to see them burned by another backyard play on 4th down. As good as Ravens were, the Chiefs were better in the final minutes when it counted. I'm also curious about the Ravens last possessions and why they had Lamar standing in the pocket like a traditional passer. That's not his strength and gave the KC D nothing to think about. They needed to give him a couple roll-outs and options to present the threat of running. Despite the loss I'm still encouraged with their play and believe they can make the playoffs.

Ed     December 10
The Ravens still do not have the QB of the future on their roster. No WR is going to want to play here.

unitastoberry     December 10
I remember Dan Fouts commenting during a game about Mosley a few seasons back. Hes says.....If I'm quarterbacking I'm throwing to whoever he has coverage on.

davehughes123     December 10
@Herman I'm glad you mentioned Mosley because he is abysmal defending the pass. Mosley was also "covering" Williams on the game tying TD. He might accumulate a ton of tackles but he's the team's biggest liability in pass coverage.

Brien Jackson     December 10
"Watching C.J.Mosely chase Tyreek Hill, 5 yards behind, on the big fourth down play is the vision that haunts through Wednesday and into Thursday.



How do we end up with a guy who can't cover anyone in pass coverage at all on their top receiver on the most critical play of the game? Mosely is awful in pass coverage. Why, why, why...."



Because Hill was completely out of the play for any quarterback other than Mahomes or Rodgers. Seriously, that play was the equivalent of Steph Curry burying a 27 foot jumper with two hands in his face. Sometimes you play things well but great players make great plays anyway.

Idiot Caller     December 10
... that CAN'T make a stop...

Idiot Caller     December 10
We can slice and dice the loss to the Chiefs anyway you want, but to me it all comes down to the highly paid defense. By my count, this marks the 3rd year in a row that the defense has blown a late 4th quarter lead in a crucial December game.

That is UNACCEPTABLE. Period.

The Ravens have to stop paying (wasting?) so much cap room on a defense that make a stop when they clearly need to.

HERMAN     December 10
Being a Ravens fan means putting up with soul-crushing losses. Losses that stay with you through Wednesday, and into Thursday. How many third and long, and fourth down conversions can a team give up in a game? For the "league leading" D they sure give up a ton of 19 yard third down plays to keep drives alive.

Watching C.J.Mosely chase Tyreek Hill, 5 yards behind, on the big fourth down play is the vision that haunts through Wednesday and into Thursday.

How do we end up with a guy who can't cover anyone in pass coverage at all on their top receiver on the most critical play of the game? Mosely is awful in pass coverage. Why, why, why....

I couldn't even enjoy the Squealers loss, or the fluke play that beat the evil empire, even though we were supposed to be rooting against Miami.

Delray Rick     December 10
How many games have the RAVENS LOST with 2 minutes left the last 4 years? I count 7-8. Our DB break down at the wrong time


James - Dundalk     December 10
I misses the OT coin toss ,but if The ravens won it why not go on offense run the ball ,eat clock, Score,give D a rest. The D was just out there at the end of regulation. Oh & before the TD to Brown why did Lamar scamper for 2 yards & go out of bounds. Let the clock run. Gave KC too much time to come back.

Unitastoberry     December 10
Most important aspect of a defense is to protect a lead. We still can't do that. If Lamar can't stop fumbling his career in the NFL is going to be very short. Give KC credit their coaching staff adjusted well to stop Lamar on the edge. Mahomes is very good he's the MVP as of today.

Captain Oblivious     December 09
To Briens point, if the Ravens win out and the Steelers don't the Ravens win the division unless the Steelers tie the game they don't win.

J.J.     December 09
@Brien with the hard hitting analysis of the final three weeks of the season. That's good stuff!

Brien Jackson     December 09
The big development of the day is that, if the Steelers lose to New Orleans and New England, the Ravens just have to beat the Bucs and Browns at home to win the division.

Alan     December 09
Crickets.

Tom     December 09
@H,



Lamar should start. But Flacco is going to start. Wait and see.

H     December 09
1 turnover

Clutch plays

Zero delay of game penalties

Zero wasted timeouts

Zero false starts

Zero broken plays

Now tell me who should start at QB next week?

Bill P.     December 09
@Alan: Why, why why would you do that?

Just a guy     December 09
Really enjoyed the game today, lots of drama, excitement, almost beat the likely #1 seed in their house, with a QB not ready for prime time. From where I sit, coaching staff did a helluva job. Really feel bad for all the miserable haters in town who feel the need to vent like 2 year olds who didn't get their way. Its a bad look, at least if you're an adult.

Alan     December 09
I'm going to ask Brien Jackson to do something. I suspect he won't be able to complete this mission but I'm going to pose the question to him anyway.



I'd like for you to break down the game today and list your five "important points" related to how the Ravens lost.

John In Westminster     December 09
In the immortal words of the Fonz, I was "wrrrreeerrrong". Tough not to finish the job against a top opponent. Great game all around...until the last few minutes and OT. Will note the inconsistent officiating had influence. It appears Flacco will be Wally Pipped, unless Lamar's ankle injury is serious.

Brien Jackson     December 09
@That Guy



I am wowed by your tremendous insight into the sport. Make him throw an incompletion. It's amazing that NFL teams pay so much money to coaches to not see that genius.

RJ     December 09
Yea, just sack the QB or make him throw an incompletion, problem solved - Wink is just so, so terrbile

Frank     December 09
I'll have what "That Guy" is having.

RJ     December 09
You people pissed off at Ravens D are the ones who are drunk/high. No doubt you were the ones prior to this game saying KC would light them up for 50+. Yup, the D "blew the lead", "couldn't hold them" and 'just let them drive down the field", yup, that's all that happened on that field today. Good thing the KC offense self-imploded so much, against that kind of defensive effort, no reason they should not have scored at least 60 today, right? You make Ken Weiman so proud

That Guy     December 09
I'll break it down for you Brien you dimwit. It was 4th and 9. If the Ravens sack the quarterback there the game is over. If they force him to throw an incompletion the game is over. If they knock the pass down the game is over. They could have done any of five different things there to win the game and didn't. Please stop acting like you're a football expert. I've read your stuff here for years. You're nowhere near an expert on the X's and O's of football.

Brien Jackson     December 09
Everyone is welcome to show off their immense football knowledge by breaking down the defenses's mistake on that play.



I'll wait.

Jonathan     December 09
That's Brien's way of not blaming the Ravens defense for blowing a late lead and also not blaming Lamar Jackson for only throwing for 150 yards.



You'll notice a trend if you stay here long enough.



It's always Flacco's fault.

Brien Jackson     December 09
Some things are just so predictable. The Ravens play 4th and 9 almost perfectly only to get beaten by a truly unbelievable play that literally no more than 3 guys in the entire NFL are even capable of making. Ipso facto the defense is terrible,\.



I guess I have to at least concede that said dumb criticism at least isn't being used solely to make excuses for Flacco, so there's that.

That Guy     December 09
RJ must have watched a different game than the rest of us.



The Ravens had a 7-point lead with four minutes left and couldn't hold it.



The Chiefs drove down the field in overtime and kicked a field goal to beat us.



I swear some of the people that come here must be drunk by halftime.

Jimmy the Greek     December 09
The question is, how many times has #DMD put 5K down on his own picks lol

StevenShea     December 09
I’m sorry to all the Harbaugh haters, but the obvious reality is that we have an incredible coaching staff with make shift talent. The fact that is we put up 24 points with a single wing offense and defense that holds the Chiefs to 27 in OT. All the experts say we have to make a change if we fail to go deep in the playoffs. Meanwhile the architect of our last ten drafts is getting a promotion. Hayden Hurst has solidified his spot as 4th tight end and Lamar Jackson is the Raven’s version of Tim Teebo. One more busted draft and a future with no legitimate QB, an unknown coaching staff a supporting cast devoid of playmakers.

Geno     December 09
@RJ, Are you serious man? The defense had a lead with four minutes left and couldn't hold it. KC went right down the field in OT and won the game. Are you on drugs dude?

Monday
March 26
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issue 26
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opening day has arrived


Later this week at Camden Yards, the Orioles and Twins will gather for the season opener.

There's something very special about opening day.

I'm fortunate in that I get two of them this week.

I'll be at the ballpark on Thursday when the O's and Twins do battle.

But it's another opening day that has my attention today, as the Calvert Hall High School golf team that I coach kicks off our 2018 season at Rolling Road Golf Course vs. Mount Saint Joseph.

It's easy for me to admit that I'm more excited about today's events than the one I'll witness on Thursday at Camden Yards.

We've been working hard since the guys got back from Christmas break in early January. It all started with three weeks of exercise and stretching, followed by another few weeks of loosening up and hitting balls at our indoor training room in Towson.

We hit the course in mid-February and have practiced outside -- on the course -- as much as the weather would allow us.

Our home venue for this season is Eagle's Nest Country Club. Calvert Hall typically calls Country Club of Maryland home, but the Stevenson Lane facility renovated their greens over the winter and they're not yet open for play.

We're very fortuante to have been welcomed with open arms by Eagle's Nest. Special thanks to general manager Thomas Saathoff and PGA golf professionals Nick Miller, Frank Olszewski and Alex Lively for their support of our program this season. And we greatly appreciate the Eagle's Nest members allowing us to practice and play there this season. It helps a lot when you feel welcomed like we have at Eagle's Nest this spring.

The 9th green and the clubhouse at Rolling Road, site of today's season opener between Calvert Hall and Mount Saint Joseph.

Our season was supposed to begin last Thursday against Gilman at Elkridge CC, but mother nature didn't cooperate. Thus, our season will kick-off today at Rolling Road vs. a Mount Saint Joseph program that has been a championship contender on several occasions over the last decade.

I have a young but enthusiastic team this year. Today, we'll start one senior, four sophomores and one junior vs. Saint Joe. Our roster of ten only includes two seniors, total.

The MIAA A-Conference golf season consists of 12 matches. There are seven teams in the conference: Calvert Hall, Mount Saint Joseph, Gilman, Loyola, Archbishop Spalding, McDonogh and St. Paul's. We play each team twice in the regular season; one home and one away.

This marks my sixth year at Calvert Hall. I always enjoy the trip over to Rolling Road for several reasons, most of them connected to the Bassler family. In fact, I took my very first golf lesson on the 13th fairway at Rolling Road from Bill Bassler, Sr.

I still remember it today, with great fondness.

It was 1988 or so. Bill Sr. and his son, Billy, were big Baltimore Blast fans and we held our annual Blast golf outing at Rolling Road several times in the 1980's. I stuck up a friendship with the two Basslers

"Come with me," Bill Sr. said to me, strapping my golf bag on the back of a cart at Rolling Road. His back was already on the cart and ready to go.

We drove over to the 13th fairway. Bill scanned the 12th hole to make sure no groups were coming up on us. The pool to our left was lively on a hot summer day.

Bill took a ball out of his pocket and threw it down on the ground. I can still close my eyes today -- right now -- and remember what he was wearing: perfectly pressed khaki golf pants, brown golf shoes, and a bright, white golf shirt. His summer tan was a perfect compliment to the whole kit.

"Now listen to me," he said. "This is how you play golf."

I will never forget what he told me next.

"For the rest of your life, you're going to hear a bunch of bull**t from people trying to tell you about the golf swing. You're going to hear stuff about the shoulders and hips. You'll hear about pointing your left knee at the ball. You'll hear about everything except what's important."

"Golf is a hands game," he said. "You don't hit the club with your shoulders or your hips or your knees. You hold the club in your hands -- the way he said "in your hands" -- still resonates with me today.

He took a swing with the club. The top of the backswing barely reached his right shoulder, but the power he exhibited was remarkable. The ball came off of his 7-iron with a whistle and it hovered about 75 feet in the air with a gorgeous trajectory, bounding out near the 150 yard marker I could see in the distance.

"It's a hands game..." he repeated.

"Don't ever forget that."

That ended the lesson.

He saw me hit several balls, corrected me on a couple of occasions, and got me to quickly understand what he was trying to teach.

Even today, some thirty years later, anytime I go through a patch where my golf swing doesn't cooperate, I go back to where it all started. I'll dump out a bucket of balls and repeat those famous words I heard Bill Bassler, Sr. tell me: It's a hands game.

At some point today, in fact, I'll ride over to that exact spot on the 13th hole at Rolling Road. I do it every year we play Mount Saint Joseph. Just for a few seconds, I'll stop the cart and look around and remember the day I took my first golf lesson.

I went on to be very good friends with Bill's son, Billy, and Matt Bassler, a former All-Conference player at Mount Saint Joseph himself and a Maryland Open champion a few years back. Matt is now running the Baltimore First Tee program and doing an outstanding job teaching young men and women all about the great sport of golf.

Outstanding golf instruction obviously runs in the Bassler family.

I'm excited about the 2018 golf season for Calvert Hall. We've worked very hard over the last two months to get ready for moments like the one we're going to face today at Rolling Road.

My message to the team today will be simple: "Go have fun."


#dmd podcast with carlos stecco


I sat down with longtime #DMD marketing partner Carlos Stecco last Monday and spent an interesting 35 minutes with him, talking about the Ravens, Orioles, college basketball and, his main area of law expertise, medical malpractice.

You'll hear an occasional reference to Alex Cobb and Mike Wallace in the podcast. When we recorded it, Wallace was still a Raven (he isn't any longer) and Cobb was still a free agent (he isn't any longer).

I hope you find Stecco's discussion about medical malpractice to be interesting and informative. It's largely a subject we're all naive to. It's also one of those things you never hope you encounter, but when you do, you need someone on your side who knows what they're doing.

And Carlos knows sports, too. I hope you enjoy our conversation.



#DMD HD-RADIO


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"The Keen Eye" of 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 Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.


You can’t get the whole story without asking the 5 Ws: Who? What? When? Where? and Why?

Thursday through Monday Edition

Who?

Me

This Thursday, March 29, is my 45th birthday.

Having reached middle age, I thought back to all those great Orioles’ memories on my birthday and I had to keep thinking because I’m losing my memory and then I realized…

Oh, right. This is the earliest Opening Day in Major League history, a result of the new collective bargaining agreement, which made the season longer by giving each team three or four extra off days for more rest and easier rescheduling options for postponed games.

When the Orioles and Twins play at 3:05 at Camden Yards this Thursday, some of the 44,000 or so that head to the game will still have a little snow on the shady part of their backyards when they leave the house.

After a brief warmup this week, it looks like relatively cold weather will return to the northern part of the United States for the first 10 days of April. By the way, the Pirates, Yankees, Tigers and Reds, all owners of lovely outdoor stadiums, are playing home games in early April.

There’s a reason the most important local sports memory on my birthday is the Colts’ leaving town in the snow in 1984. The Orioles did open at home four days later against the White Sox but had their second game of that series postponed because of the weather.


Where?

Top of the lineup?

This Sunday, April 1, is, of course, April Fools’ Day.

Who puts a 200-plus strikeout hitter in the leadoff spot? Buck Showalter might...that's who.

Apparently, the Orioles decided to celebrate early by giving us the news that Chris Davis might bat in the leadoff spot this season.

I get it. The world has changed. The idea that the leadoff hitter ought to be some guy who makes a lot of contact and slaps the ball the other way is a relic from a different era.

And I get it. Most of the time, one out is one out, whether it’s a strikeout, a weak grounder to second or a long fly ball to center. Maybe more of Chris Davis’s strikeouts would come with the bases empty.

And sure, Chris Davis is a guy who’s spent most of his career taking a pretty selective approach to hitting. He may miss the ball quite a bit, but not because he’s swinging at pitches he shouldn’t be attacking.

Still, the whole thing smacks a bit of desperation, doesn’t it?

In 2017, Chris Davis was just lost. There was no position in the lineup in which he would have helped the team.

There’s a leap of faith by Buck Showalter if he thinks that Davis ought to get more at bats than Manny Machado or Jonathan Schoop. I give that a “wow.”

Then again, Adam Jones did spend quite a bit of time as a leadoff hitter in 2016, and that decision by Showalter led to an offensive explosion by the Orioles. So maybe it’s not a joke.


What?

Holidays

This Friday, March 30, is a dual holiday—Good Friday on the Christian calendar and the first day of Passover on the Jewish calendar.

I hope you can forgive me for a moment as I briefly leave the world of sports…

Dinner on the first night of Passover (and the second night, for many people) is a ceremonial occasion known as the Seder, which is Hebrew for “order.” Every year, before the meal, we ritually retell the story of the Exodus, when the Israelites who were slaves in Egypt were liberated.

Almost all who are present at the meal, from young children to old men, help with the storytelling.

The leader of our yearly ritual for my entire life was my father, who actually began leading his family’s Seder in his teens, many years before I was born. He did it for nearly 60 years, I believe.

That responsibility, for now, is going to lie with me and with my brother, who will hopefully take everything we heard from my Dad and do it a tiny bit of justice.

When I write something for this site, I hope it’s good, but I’m usually pretty comfortable doing it. Leading the Seder will be a much more emotional and uncomfortable experience, one for which I used to be comforted by the fact that somebody else would make it good.


When?

1963

This Saturday, March 31, is the day of the NCAA semifinals in San Antonio.

The interloper in the Final Four—though not exactly a Cinderella—is Loyola University Chicago—the Ramblers.

Fifty-five years ago, Loyola won the NCAA championship; notably, that team was one of the first in college basketball to regularly start three or four African-American players.

While there are nearly 200 Catholic universities in the United States, only 28 of them are Jesuit institutions. Thanks to Loyola’s great run this year, it’s the second straight season that one of them has reached the Final Four. Gonzaga made the trip a year ago.

Of the 28 Jesuit schools, four are named Loyola, and in their local areas they are all referred to simply as “Loyola.” Besides our Loyola University and the one in Chicago, there is Loyola University New Orleans and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Earlier this year, I was watching the Loyola Greyhounds play basketball against Lafayette on the CBS Sports Network. During a commercial at halftime, the network played an institutional spot for the wrong Loyola—the one in Chicago—which made no sense because CBS-SN does not televise any Missouri Valley Conference games.

I think it’s only fair, then, that TBS play the institutional spot for Loyola University Maryland during the Final Four to make up for the error. Perhaps Sister Jean can make that happen.


Why?

Bucket list

Next Monday, April 2, is the first official practice round of the Masters Tournament, and I’ll be there.

Now that I’ve reached 45, I think the trip to the Masters is the start of a golf bucket list.

Next up, I think, will be a trip to Pebble Beach, though you’ll never convince me that paying more than $500 for a round of golf isn’t completely insane.

After that, in my dreams, I’d like to make a trip to Scotland and the Old Course at St. Andrews, not as expensive a round as Pebble Beach but in some ways harder to procure.

As a spectator, I’ve only been to one official professional golf event, the second round of the 2005 PGA Championship played at Baltusrol in New Jersey. It was a scorching day, nearing 100 degrees, and I was lucky to have a VIP pass to an indoor area with good food and better air conditioning.

I think attending a golf tournament is a strange experience for a fan. There are a lot of options for viewing, and yet none of them are particularly satisfying.

Plus, I wouldn’t want to try to follow Tiger Woods if you gave me money to do it. How much fun can that be?

I’m looking forward to Augusta more for the course than I am for the players, which I’m guessing is a typical sentiment for most on their first time.

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on lacrosse

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weekend college lax review


The term "March Madness" not only applies to basketball, as its a time when most lacrosse teams try to establish themselves. Thankfully I'm not a betting man or the man would've have taken me down this week. Let's take a look at the results from this weekend.

Game of the Week: #9 Johns Hopkins 15 - #10 Virginia 13

Speaking of "madness", this game was a tale of two halves as the Blue Jays, who were down 7 goals in the 1st half, gobbled up most of the lead in the 3rd quarter and kept on rolling to win the game in the final period.

Hopkins basically stunk it up all over the field in the first half and Virginia pounced on the opportunities. And it all seemed to revolve around who controlled the faceoffs, as Virginia's Justin Schwenk dominated Hop's Hunter Moreland in the first two quarters, winning 10 of 13.

It also helped that the Cav's freshman goalie Alex Rode (St. Paul's) was on fire saving 7 of 9 shots on cage. Virginia's offense capitalized, racing out to a 9-2 halftime lead paced by Cav's Michael Krause 3 goals and 3 assists and Dox Aiken also scoring 3 goals. Nobody would've have blamed you if you turned this game off after 2 quarters.

But in the 2nd half, the Blue Jays came out with a renewed purpose, making you wonder what "magical" halftime words were spoken by Coach Pietramala.

Hunter Moreland figured things out at the faceoff X and the Blue Jay offense figured out Alex Rode and the Cav's D, outscoring Virginia 7-2 in the third to cut the lead to 2 by the end of the period.

Hopkins became the team who was outhustling the other as indicated by their 21-12 advantage in groundballs in the 2nd half. And with their extra possessions, Blue Jays Kyle Marr (4 goals, 1 assist), Joel Tinney (2 goals, 3 assists), Cole Williams (3 goals), and Conor DeSimone (3 goals) continued the offensive barrage, scoring 6 more goals in the 4th period to complete the comeback for the win.

It was a crucial win for the Blue Jays against a quality opponent which should help them with an at-large NCAA tourney bid. Stock is definitely up for Johns Hopkins heading into B1G conference play.

Charley Toomey and the Greyhounds suffered a bad loss on Saturday at home, falling to unranked Patriot League foe, Bucknell, 12-11.

Other Notable Games:

#2 Maryland 11 - #20 North Carolina 7 -- An error on my part as this game was played late Saturday night in California (not College Park, MD) in the Pacific Coast Shootout. As expected, the Terps relied on their usual recipe for success by dominating faceoffs (Justin Shockey 16-20) and running an efficient offense led by Connor Kelly (4 goals) and Jared Bernhardt (3 goals, 1 assist).

Bucknell 12 -- #8 Loyola 11 - Some madness in the Patriot League as Bucknell put the conference on notice with an upset of the Greyhounds in Baltimore.

The Bison played even with Loyola through 2 periods, but built up a 4 goal lead midway through the 4th. Loyola staged a furious comeback in the final 6 minutes of the game, cutting the lead to 1.

But Bucknell fought them off for the remaining 3 minutes to seal the victory. Somewhat of a rough outing for Loyola's goalie Jacob Stover allowing 6 of 9 shots on cage to score in the 2nd half. The Bison also held Greyhound's star attackman Pat Spencer in check, limiting him to just 1 goal and 2 assists. Aiden Olmstead led the way for Loyola with 2 goals and 4 assists.

Navy 10 - #12 Lehigh 7 -- More madness with another Patriot League upset by the Midshipmen who are now tied atop the conference with 4 others (Lehigh, Bucknell, and Loyola). Christian Daniel paced the Navy offense with 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists). But the star of the game was Navy goalie Ryan Kern who made a phenomenal 18 saves and should garner national player of the week honors.

#5 Denver 11 - Towson 10 OT -- Still more madness as the Tiger almost captured that signature win. In the upset that didn't quite happen, the Tigers went up 5-1 early in the 3rd behind solid defense and steady offense. But eventually the Denver offense took advantage of an almost perfect day at the faceoff X by Denver's Trevor Baptiste (21 of 24 draws) and capitalized on the extra possessions to take a 10-8 lead late in the 4th.

But the Tigers struck back with goals by Jean-Luc Chetner with 4 minutes remaining, and then Matt Sovero with just 29 seconds left to send the game into overtime.

Unfortunately, an unassisted goal by Pioneer Colin Rutan sealed the game in the extra period. 6 different Tigers contributed to the 10 goals while defensive midfielder Zach Goodrich gathered 5 ground balls and forced 4 turnovers. Goalie Shane Brennan continues to play big in big games for Towson, making 13 saves.

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12 days of the masters


With all due respect to Christmas, a holiday that I love, this, right now is "the most wonderful time of the year".

It's the lead-in to the Masters, the greatest golf tournament in the world.

They'll tee it up on Thursday, April 5, in pursuit of one of the most coveted symbols in all of sports: the Augusta green jacket.

With the return of Tiger Woods and the recent improved play from the likes of Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy, this year's event has a buzz attached to it that we haven't felt in a long time.

Sergio Garcia looks for his second consecutive Masters win in 2018 after defeating Justin Rose in a playoff to win the green jacket in 2017.

Over the next 10 days, I'll continue to lay out my personal (expected) leaderboard, finishing on Wednesday, April 4 with my six man fantasy team and my predicted winner.

It started on Saturday, March 24, when I listed Bryson DeChambeau at #12. On Sunday, March 25, it was Matt Kuchar at #11.

When I try and predict a final Masters leaderboard, I look at two factors mostly. Former champions in the field and players with great track records at Augusta who haven't yet found the winner's circle.

The guy at #10 is familiar, like Kuchar, but he owns a Masters win. It came last year, in fact.

Sergio Garcia has a terrific chance to be a repeat winner at Augusta National. How the game of golf has changed, huh? This time last year, he was the guy who "couldn't win a major" and now there are lots of people listing him among the favorites for the 2018 tournament.

He's coming off of a decent performance at the World Match Play in Austin, Texas.-

His wife just had their first baby, a girl, appropriately named Azaela, after the flowers that dominate Augusta National every April.

Sergio Garcia always needed that major title to prove he truly was the great player his record otherwise indicated.

Now that he has it, expect him to win another one or two before the sun sets on his career.

Augusta National is the perfect venue for his golf game.

And now that we know he can win there, don't be surprised if he pulls it off again. Maybe even this year.



#dmd comments


Jonathan     December 10
Not understanding this Weddle vs. Media angle. Can someone explain?

just a fan     December 10
Count me among the few who were entertained by yesterday’s game, as opposed to being miserable because they failed to pull off the upset. Who knows where it will all end, but I’m just glad to have some meaningful football to watch in Dec. Beats the heck out of being a Bills or Jags fan! Wonder if that guy in NE is getting beat up for having Gronk on the field playing D on that last play? He looked like Weddle on that play lol.

While I am not one to normally join the haters, I do have to admit to being puzzled why Mr Weddle gets so many atta boys in the media. Have to agree, it seems more often than not, he shrinks in key moments, and frankly, even on simple basic plays in the middle of a game. He sure seems like Exhibit A to the Little Fella Corollary that says come to one of my self-serving swabbing events, and I will never speak bad about you….ever! Do a phone interview, we’ll be “lifelong pals”, ala Mike Flynn. On D, it's usually not the guy closest to the guy making the play who blew his assignment...in the Ravens case, it's usually Weddle lol!


Marv     December 10
Tippy & Radio Guy He gets it. To change would indicate you are right and he is wrong, an act of which he is incapable.

Jason M     December 10
@ChrisinBelair - 4th and game seems to be our Achilles. I thought the whole team played very well in a tough environment against one of the leagues elite. We cvoulda, woulda and shoulda - but I think if we bring it that way this week and for the rest of the season, then the last chapter has not been written yet on this team.



No one has mentioned the refs yet...and I appreciate that because there's not much to be gained. But on the final play from scrimmage, there was a mugging on Willie Snead and it was ealry and effected his ability to catch the ball. We didn't draw a single PI all game. We had PI called on us, deservedly in the end zone, but the Snead contact was heavier.




Tippy     December 10
@RadioGuy: Someone mentioned it (Superbowl) last week as well. He doesn't get it.

Radio Guy     December 10
Will someone PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE tell @Brien Jackson that Superbowl is NOT ONE WORD. I've seen him do this numerous times. The word is SUPER (first word) BOWL (second word). It has never been spelled as one word scrunched together like that. It's amateur looking if you don't know how to spell the biggest sporting event in our country.



THANKYOU. (see what I did there?)

John L.     December 10
So Drew, what are you hearing about Flacco behind the scenes? You can't throw that out there and then leave us hanging like this!!!

such     December 10
Amen, Madness, amen. My household has been calling for his release for several seasons now. Remember when we all thought it was a coup that we got him instead of Pittsburgh? If only he were a Steeler! He's been the culprit in every critical defensive breakdown the last 3 years. Thank you for the reminder.

No more wiggle room or shoulda woulda coulda the rest of the way now. That's the price paid by yesterday's collapse.

Idiot Caller     December 10
@Madness: Amen, brother! Amen!

BJ     December 10
If Lamar starts the last three games, the Ravens go 1-2.



You heard it here first.

Davey     December 10
I think this summarizes the whole thing, IMHO.



"Make no mistake about it: The Ravens gagged it yesterday. It wasn't anyone's fault in particular, and there are reasons to subscribe to the moral victory opinion if you like, but the reality is the Ravens gave the game away to the Chiefs on Sunday."

Madness     December 10
Very tough loss and I blame ONE guy who always seems to LOSE the game of inches. A guy who is loved by the media because he is quotable and always gives his time to them. He is loved by the fans because he has a "look at me" outrageous look. He promotes himself as a team leader. He is ALWAYS the guy......who misses the play by INCHES. He is an out and out JINX.

He hesitates ever so slightly on his safety blitz on the tying TD....he is the centerfielder on the FOURTH and 9 and gets turned around looking and guarding a guy who is under control of Tayvon Young. Is it "selfish or stupid" that he stays on the wrong side of Hill? That he moves away from Hill on the crucial play is just a testament of his modus operandi. CJ Mosley is a FOUR down linebacker, end of story. "Jinx McBeard" has to be the guy to knock it down on that play. He was out of position......like the Ray Rice Fourth and Twenty NINE, like the Immaculate Extension, Like the Tyler Boyd FOURTH and TWELVE, like the Jordan Howard OT run against the Bears last year......and on and on.



A menace, a season destroyer........a JINX.



But isn't that beard cool? And isn't it cute that he eats ice cream after a win....and isn't he easy for the lazy ass media to talk to....and he is great at slapping guys on the ass.



About 5 inches different in his career and he is close to Ed Reed.

Macki     December 10
I think @Drew hit this one right on the head. Ravens had it in the palm of their hand and couldn't make the big play when they needed it. This is another in a long line of defensive collapses on the last series of the game or overtime. Remember Chicago last year in Baltimore? How about Pittsburgh when Brown stretched out to win the game and end our season? Or last year when the Bengals carved us up on the last play of the game. Same old song and dance.

Mark     December 10
I often wonder if Brien watches the games. I'm thinking he didn't watch yesterdays game in KC.

amused observer     December 10
What happened to the other team tries to? Or they have varsity lettermen as well? Nope, today we get Steelers stink and KC throwing up on themselves. And of course, the overwhelming theme of the comments so far, the Ravens just giving the game away cause their D is “horrible”, with the sub theme of “they’ve never been any good since Ray and Ed left”.

It’s exhausting man, how do you people keep chewing that same bone, like Mike Preston and his alpha male/playmaker syndrome??

And love the “why is Mosely covering Hill”…yea, that was the play call there. Sheesh. Pressure forces Mahomes to scramble, Hill runs around in circles, Mahomes heaves it and, wait for it, Hill makes a play! Nope, can’t say 2 guys made a play, no, no, no, the Ravens failed to execute, and that’s on Wink! And yes, more than likely, back when you had two HoFamers back there, they make the play, not the other team.

To paraphrase the guy who said “just dial up a sack there”, they need to go “get some HoFame players”!

Everyone wrote down KC as a loss in every “get to the playoffs” scenario I heard, everyone. Now that they did lose, after a valiant effort, but an effort not good enough for our local experts, all the sudden, beating Tampa is “almost must win”?? Pretty sure losing to TB was never on anyone’s “how to get to the playoffs” plan, right?

Ravens almost beat the #1 seed in a place that is very difficult on road teams, but now we’re sticking with they can’t go to LA and play a team with no home crowd at all and win there? Which BTW I believe DEN won there, and even the Bengirls just gave them fits.

Guess the good news is since no one goes to games any more, or cares about this team, there are not really all that many of you upset by the hot mess the Ravens have become. The good news is the Harbs and Flacco haters will get their wish soon, so you got that going for ya


Neutral Observer     December 10
Here's how Brien's mind works. When Mahomes makes a great play, it's not the Ravens defense's fault. The QB just made a game saving/changing play.



When Flacco makes a game saving/changing play in the Denver playoff game, the other team's defense failed to make a play.


HERMAN     December 10
They line up on the 25 with two minutes and change, we are up 7, we need that big defensive stop that has eluded us the last 3 years in a row in critical late season games.

I can hear Harbaugh on Monday morning, knowing that Pittsburgh is going to tank in Oakland, "we control our own destiny, that's all you can ask for with three games left".

I can hear him in the press conference, I actually feel good for the guy, this four game win streak has resurrected his career here. The games are exciting, fun, they amaze. We have some stability going into next year, maybe they'll draft a game-changer or two for Harbaugh, instead of a rebuild, we just continue to be in contention late into the season.

And just like that, a 4th and 9. And on, and on, and on.

On any other week I'd be gleeful, giddy, ecstatic over the Squealers kicker ass-planting away the game, reading the PPG to see the comments section where Yinzers bemoan the Ravens taking over first.

But the D has crushed me again, just like 4th and 22, or the year before, or the year before.

And Harbaugh is back on the hot seat, and stability is looking for an exit, and.....


Chris in Bel Air     December 10
Ravens played well yesterday. It's just hard to see them burned by another backyard play on 4th down. As good as Ravens were, the Chiefs were better in the final minutes when it counted. I'm also curious about the Ravens last possessions and why they had Lamar standing in the pocket like a traditional passer. That's not his strength and gave the KC D nothing to think about. They needed to give him a couple roll-outs and options to present the threat of running. Despite the loss I'm still encouraged with their play and believe they can make the playoffs.

Ed     December 10
The Ravens still do not have the QB of the future on their roster. No WR is going to want to play here.

unitastoberry     December 10
I remember Dan Fouts commenting during a game about Mosley a few seasons back. Hes says.....If I'm quarterbacking I'm throwing to whoever he has coverage on.

davehughes123     December 10
@Herman I'm glad you mentioned Mosley because he is abysmal defending the pass. Mosley was also "covering" Williams on the game tying TD. He might accumulate a ton of tackles but he's the team's biggest liability in pass coverage.

Brien Jackson     December 10
"Watching C.J.Mosely chase Tyreek Hill, 5 yards behind, on the big fourth down play is the vision that haunts through Wednesday and into Thursday.



How do we end up with a guy who can't cover anyone in pass coverage at all on their top receiver on the most critical play of the game? Mosely is awful in pass coverage. Why, why, why...."



Because Hill was completely out of the play for any quarterback other than Mahomes or Rodgers. Seriously, that play was the equivalent of Steph Curry burying a 27 foot jumper with two hands in his face. Sometimes you play things well but great players make great plays anyway.

Idiot Caller     December 10
... that CAN'T make a stop...

Idiot Caller     December 10
We can slice and dice the loss to the Chiefs anyway you want, but to me it all comes down to the highly paid defense. By my count, this marks the 3rd year in a row that the defense has blown a late 4th quarter lead in a crucial December game.

That is UNACCEPTABLE. Period.

The Ravens have to stop paying (wasting?) so much cap room on a defense that make a stop when they clearly need to.

HERMAN     December 10
Being a Ravens fan means putting up with soul-crushing losses. Losses that stay with you through Wednesday, and into Thursday. How many third and long, and fourth down conversions can a team give up in a game? For the "league leading" D they sure give up a ton of 19 yard third down plays to keep drives alive.

Watching C.J.Mosely chase Tyreek Hill, 5 yards behind, on the big fourth down play is the vision that haunts through Wednesday and into Thursday.

How do we end up with a guy who can't cover anyone in pass coverage at all on their top receiver on the most critical play of the game? Mosely is awful in pass coverage. Why, why, why....

I couldn't even enjoy the Squealers loss, or the fluke play that beat the evil empire, even though we were supposed to be rooting against Miami.

Delray Rick     December 10
How many games have the RAVENS LOST with 2 minutes left the last 4 years? I count 7-8. Our DB break down at the wrong time


James - Dundalk     December 10
I misses the OT coin toss ,but if The ravens won it why not go on offense run the ball ,eat clock, Score,give D a rest. The D was just out there at the end of regulation. Oh & before the TD to Brown why did Lamar scamper for 2 yards & go out of bounds. Let the clock run. Gave KC too much time to come back.

Unitastoberry     December 10
Most important aspect of a defense is to protect a lead. We still can't do that. If Lamar can't stop fumbling his career in the NFL is going to be very short. Give KC credit their coaching staff adjusted well to stop Lamar on the edge. Mahomes is very good he's the MVP as of today.

Captain Oblivious     December 09
To Briens point, if the Ravens win out and the Steelers don't the Ravens win the division unless the Steelers tie the game they don't win.

J.J.     December 09
@Brien with the hard hitting analysis of the final three weeks of the season. That's good stuff!

Brien Jackson     December 09
The big development of the day is that, if the Steelers lose to New Orleans and New England, the Ravens just have to beat the Bucs and Browns at home to win the division.

Alan     December 09
Crickets.

Tom     December 09
@H,



Lamar should start. But Flacco is going to start. Wait and see.

H     December 09
1 turnover

Clutch plays

Zero delay of game penalties

Zero wasted timeouts

Zero false starts

Zero broken plays

Now tell me who should start at QB next week?

Bill P.     December 09
@Alan: Why, why why would you do that?

Just a guy     December 09
Really enjoyed the game today, lots of drama, excitement, almost beat the likely #1 seed in their house, with a QB not ready for prime time. From where I sit, coaching staff did a helluva job. Really feel bad for all the miserable haters in town who feel the need to vent like 2 year olds who didn't get their way. Its a bad look, at least if you're an adult.

Alan     December 09
I'm going to ask Brien Jackson to do something. I suspect he won't be able to complete this mission but I'm going to pose the question to him anyway.



I'd like for you to break down the game today and list your five "important points" related to how the Ravens lost.

John In Westminster     December 09
In the immortal words of the Fonz, I was "wrrrreeerrrong". Tough not to finish the job against a top opponent. Great game all around...until the last few minutes and OT. Will note the inconsistent officiating had influence. It appears Flacco will be Wally Pipped, unless Lamar's ankle injury is serious.

Brien Jackson     December 09
@That Guy



I am wowed by your tremendous insight into the sport. Make him throw an incompletion. It's amazing that NFL teams pay so much money to coaches to not see that genius.

RJ     December 09
Yea, just sack the QB or make him throw an incompletion, problem solved - Wink is just so, so terrbile

Frank     December 09
I'll have what "That Guy" is having.

RJ     December 09
You people pissed off at Ravens D are the ones who are drunk/high. No doubt you were the ones prior to this game saying KC would light them up for 50+. Yup, the D "blew the lead", "couldn't hold them" and 'just let them drive down the field", yup, that's all that happened on that field today. Good thing the KC offense self-imploded so much, against that kind of defensive effort, no reason they should not have scored at least 60 today, right? You make Ken Weiman so proud

That Guy     December 09
I'll break it down for you Brien you dimwit. It was 4th and 9. If the Ravens sack the quarterback there the game is over. If they force him to throw an incompletion the game is over. If they knock the pass down the game is over. They could have done any of five different things there to win the game and didn't. Please stop acting like you're a football expert. I've read your stuff here for years. You're nowhere near an expert on the X's and O's of football.

Brien Jackson     December 09
Everyone is welcome to show off their immense football knowledge by breaking down the defenses's mistake on that play.



I'll wait.

Jonathan     December 09
That's Brien's way of not blaming the Ravens defense for blowing a late lead and also not blaming Lamar Jackson for only throwing for 150 yards.



You'll notice a trend if you stay here long enough.



It's always Flacco's fault.

Brien Jackson     December 09
Some things are just so predictable. The Ravens play 4th and 9 almost perfectly only to get beaten by a truly unbelievable play that literally no more than 3 guys in the entire NFL are even capable of making. Ipso facto the defense is terrible,\.



I guess I have to at least concede that said dumb criticism at least isn't being used solely to make excuses for Flacco, so there's that.

That Guy     December 09
RJ must have watched a different game than the rest of us.



The Ravens had a 7-point lead with four minutes left and couldn't hold it.



The Chiefs drove down the field in overtime and kicked a field goal to beat us.



I swear some of the people that come here must be drunk by halftime.

Jimmy the Greek     December 09
The question is, how many times has #DMD put 5K down on his own picks lol

StevenShea     December 09
I’m sorry to all the Harbaugh haters, but the obvious reality is that we have an incredible coaching staff with make shift talent. The fact that is we put up 24 points with a single wing offense and defense that holds the Chiefs to 27 in OT. All the experts say we have to make a change if we fail to go deep in the playoffs. Meanwhile the architect of our last ten drafts is getting a promotion. Hayden Hurst has solidified his spot as 4th tight end and Lamar Jackson is the Raven’s version of Tim Teebo. One more busted draft and a future with no legitimate QB, an unknown coaching staff a supporting cast devoid of playmakers.

Geno     December 09
@RJ, Are you serious man? The defense had a lead with four minutes left and couldn't hold it. KC went right down the field in OT and won the game. Are you on drugs dude?

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let sleeping dogs lie


The Blast plays for the Major Arena Soccer League title tonight in Monterrey, Mexico. They'll be gunning for their 3rd straight indoor soccer championship.

The name of the league and the locations of the teams have changed several times in recent years -- indoor soccer has rarely ever had a 5-year period where things were entirely stable -- but the Blast is, and has been, the sport's model franchise both on and off the field over the last decade.

I'll be watching the title game tonight on YouTube, which is where every team airs their home games now. In the old days, circa 1995 when I was running the indoor soccer team, we craved the exposure of being on television. We needed to be on TV to be taken seriously, we thought.

The same might be true today. If the Capitals suddenly started airing all of their games on YouTube instead of standard cable television, their legitimacy would take a hit, I suspect. But absent having your game actually on television, streaming them on the internet is a successful next-best-effort.

There was a chance the Blast would face the San Diego Sockers tonight in the title game. San Diego needed to beat Monterrey last Sunday to set up that encounter with the Blast, but the Sockers couldn't pull it off.

If they would have won, a San Diego-Baltimore championship match would have rekindled lots of memories in both cities, although my guess is a great majority of both organization's core fan base has moved on since the two teams battled for the title four times in eight years in the 1980's.

In 1982-83, the Sockers prevailed in a best-of-five series 3-games-to-2. They won Game 5 in San Diego, 3-1.

That series was known for two things, primarily. San Diego humbled us in the first two games out there, producing the ultra-rare indoor soccer shutout in back-to-back games to kick-off the series.

Not only did the Blast fail to win a game in San Diego, we didn't score a single goal in Game 1 or 2. Talk about getting punched in the mouth...

The Blast-Sockers rivarly had many heroes and villains, including the best player in indoor soccer history, Steve Zungul, who was part of a memorable 1984-85 San Diego title win over Baltimore.

But back in Baltimore, things turned around. We hung on for a tight win in Game 3 in front of a rabid, sellout crowd, then a few days later played perhaps the most memorable game in franchise history in front of a national TV (USA Network) audience.

Down 6-5 with two minutes to go, defender Heinz Wirtz was penalized, giving the Sockers a late power play and disabling the Blast's chance at having an extra attacker on the field by pulling the goalkeeper.

Somehow, though, a ball popped loose near indoor soccer's equivalent of the blue line and Petar Baralic smashed a shot into the upper corner of the net with about a half-minute remaining that sent the game to overtime. Early in sudden death, Joey Fink wiggled a bad-angle shot past Alan Mayer and the Blast lived on for another day with a 7-6 win.

For a while in Game 5, it looked like we might get blanked yet again, but Fink scored in the fourth quarter of that 3-1 defeat.

Two years later, we faced the Sockers again. True to form, they blew us out in the first two games out there.

Back in Baltimore, we clobbered them in Game 3, 10-6, as Stan Stamenkovic terrorized San Diego with four goals and two assists.

Game 4 was a spectacle. It was aired on national television by CBS (yes, that CBS) and the game was moved to a 2 pm start to accommodate the live viewing schedule. We had to trim the quarter breaks from three minutes to two and the halftime got sliced from the traditional 15 minutes to 12 minutes. All of this was done to try and get the game to fit into a precise 2-hour window for CBS.

I remember the pre-game meeting the night before with the CBS folks. One of them said, "If this thing goes to overtime, we're in big trouble. We have to get to the bike race at exactly 4:00 pm Eastern time."

We were competing for air time with a bike race. And somehow, the people at CBS seemingly valued the bicycles over the soccer ball.

It didn't go to overtime.

Before the game, Blast coach Kenny Cooper listed several "key points" on the locker room blackboard. Among the six or seven things he wrote was something very specific.

Leave Zungul alone

Steve Zungul, the so-called (and deserved) "Lord of All Indoors", was still in peak form at that point in his career and was a dangerous scoring threat for San Diego. For whatever reason in Game 3, his form was off. Zungul moped around the field, didn't put up much of a fight, and mostly looked entirely disinterested.

We liked it that way, of course. Cooper urged the players to leave him alone. "I know some of you guys want to get a kick in on him," Coops said. "But let's leave him alone. We have our hands full with Segota, Willrich and Quinn. If Zungul doesn't want to play, let's not wake him up."

The first quarter started off slowly. San Diego scored and the Blast countered. The Sockers pinched another goal to make it 2-1, but there was no reason to be concerned.

That is, until Zungul woke up.

Our great defender Mike Stankovic gave Zungul a crack near the bench area. The two exchanged words. A minute or so later, Zungul played a crafty ball off the boards to himself and was about to move around another Blast player when Stankovic came in at mach 12 speed and leveled the San Diego scoring machine with a nasty shot to the legs.

Zungul went down like he was shot.

The referee pulled out the two-minute blue card to send Stankovic to the penalty box. As indoor soccer lore has it, Zungul then stood up, right near the Blast bench, pointed first at Stankovic, then at Stamenkovic and Cooper and said, "I'm now going to punish you...and you...and you."

We lost that game, 14-2. Zungul terrorized us the rest of the afternoon with a couple of goals and assists.

Leave Zungul alone

Maybe Coops should have written it in bold.

We went back to San Diego for the formality of losing Game 5 and the Sockers were now 2-0 against the Blast in the championship series.

But that entire championship series in 1984-85 turned with the Game 4 thrashing and, more specifically, with Zungul's revival.

Let's hope the current edition of the Blast can keep Monterrey's scoring stars quiet tonight.

One thing for certain: If coach Danny Kelly tells his players to "leave xxxx alone", I sure hope the Blast players listen.

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loyola-chicago proves mid-majors belong


This sort of run by someone was inevitable, I suppose.

Frankly, had UMBC snuck past Kansas State last Sunday night, the Retrievers could have won another couple of games and earned a trip to the NCAA Final Four.

Instead, it's a 98-year old nun and a magical run by Loyola University-Chicago that has captivated us now that Jairus Lyles and Ryan Odom are back in Baltimore.

Loyola-Chicago is going to play in the Final Four.

It's OK if you don't know anything about them.

No one outside of Charm City knew UMBC existed until Friday a week ago.

The winner of the Missouri Valley Conference and an #11 seed in the NCAA basketball tournament, Loyola-Chicago will play in their first Final Four since 1963 next weekend.

Loyola-Chicago's demolition of Kansas State yesterday confirms what a lot of us already knew: mid-major basketball programs are not nearly the clumps of clay a lot of people think they are.

That they'll play in the Final Four is a shock, no doubt, but it should serve as a reminder that the tournament's great equalizer -- playing on a neutral court -- tends to favor the underdog far more than the favorite.

I think we're all smart enough to concede that if UMBC went to Virginia ten times and played the Cavaliers in Charlottesville, the Retrievers would likely go 0-10.

But on a neutral court, in somewhere USA, the playing field gets leveled quite a bit. The games are tighter. More upsets occur. Home court really does matter.

And here's the thing: If Loyola-Chicago somehow goes on to win two more games and captures the NCAA title, I don't necessarily subscribe to the fact that they're the best basketball team in the nation.

Yes, they would win the tournament, symbolic of the national basketball champion, but they wouldn't be the best team in 2017-2018. That claim would fairly go, I think, to Virginia, who produced an all-time best ACC season and blasted everyone in their path until their untimely "off night" against UMBC.

But that shouldn't diminish the Loyola-Chicago accomplishment.

In fact, the wins by the likes of UMBC and Loyola-Chicago should remind the NCAA tournament selection committee that mid-major programs are extremely worthy participants. Heck, there's an argument that Vermont, losers to UMBC in the final of America East, could have won a game or two in the tournament had they been given an at-large bid.

The tournament gets "evened up" by the fact that no one plays a home game. It can't be stressed enough how vitally important that becomes every March.

On a one-off basis, UMBC could have given a bunch of other notable schools a run for their money if the game was played on a neutral court.

Loyola Chicago's next opponent is Michigan, who snuck past Florida State last night, 58-54. Don't think for a minute the Wolverines are going to take Sister Jean and the Ramblers lightly. They will not.

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12 days of the masters


With all due respect to Christmas, a holiday that I love, this, right now is "the most wonderful time of the year".

It's the lead-in to the Masters, the greatest golf tournament in the world.

They'll tee it up on Thursday, April 5, in pursuit of one of the most coveted symbols in all of sports: the Augusta green jacket.

With the return of Tiger Woods and the recent improved play from the likes of Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy, this year's event has a buzz attached to it that we haven't felt in a long time.

Over the next 11 days, I'll continue to lay out my personal (expected) leaderboard, finishing on Wednesday, April 4 with my six man fantasy team and my predicted winner.

It started on Saturday, March 23, when I listed Bryson DeChambeau at #12.

And away we go...

He's knocked on the door at Augusta several times but hasn't yet slipped on the coveted green jacket. Could 2018 be the year Matt Kuchar becomes a Masters winner?

When I try and predict a final Masters leaderboard, I look at two factors mostly. Former champions in the field and players with great track records at Augusta who haven't yet found the winner's circle.

At #11 is a guy who has knocked on the door a few times at the Masters but hasn't yet won the event. He might do it this year, though. I love the golf game of Matt Kuchar and keep thinking his time to win a major is just around the corner, like it was last July when he nearly captured the British Open before Jordan Spieth steamrolled him on Sunday's back nine.

Kuchar's record at Augusta is impressive, to say the least.

He has four top-10 finishes in the last eight years there, including a T3 in 2012 when he was very much in the hunt on the back nine before Bubba Watson eventually disposed of Louis Oosthuizen on the first playoff hole.

"Kooch" has the game for Augusta. He hits it straight off the tee and his ball flight is high...both of which adapt very well to the golf course. He's not the best putter on TOUR, not by a longshot, but the greens at Augusta call more for experience than expertise.

This will be his tenth Masters appearance. Counting practice rounds, he's well into 50 or more trips around the golf course. He's learned plenty about the greens and the putting nuances of Augusta National.

There are a handful of veteran TOUR players with outstanding careers (Kuchar has won 7 times and made $42 million) who haven't yet won a major title. Lee Westwood comes to mind. So, too, does Kuchar. Both of those guys have had a handful of chances but it hasn't yet happened for either of them.

Kuchar could break through this year, either at Augusta or one of the other three major venues.

I like his chances at the 2018 Masters.

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#dmd comments


Jonathan     December 10
Not understanding this Weddle vs. Media angle. Can someone explain?

just a fan     December 10
Count me among the few who were entertained by yesterday’s game, as opposed to being miserable because they failed to pull off the upset. Who knows where it will all end, but I’m just glad to have some meaningful football to watch in Dec. Beats the heck out of being a Bills or Jags fan! Wonder if that guy in NE is getting beat up for having Gronk on the field playing D on that last play? He looked like Weddle on that play lol.

While I am not one to normally join the haters, I do have to admit to being puzzled why Mr Weddle gets so many atta boys in the media. Have to agree, it seems more often than not, he shrinks in key moments, and frankly, even on simple basic plays in the middle of a game. He sure seems like Exhibit A to the Little Fella Corollary that says come to one of my self-serving swabbing events, and I will never speak bad about you….ever! Do a phone interview, we’ll be “lifelong pals”, ala Mike Flynn. On D, it's usually not the guy closest to the guy making the play who blew his assignment...in the Ravens case, it's usually Weddle lol!


Marv     December 10
Tippy & Radio Guy He gets it. To change would indicate you are right and he is wrong, an act of which he is incapable.

Jason M     December 10
@ChrisinBelair - 4th and game seems to be our Achilles. I thought the whole team played very well in a tough environment against one of the leagues elite. We cvoulda, woulda and shoulda - but I think if we bring it that way this week and for the rest of the season, then the last chapter has not been written yet on this team.



No one has mentioned the refs yet...and I appreciate that because there's not much to be gained. But on the final play from scrimmage, there was a mugging on Willie Snead and it was ealry and effected his ability to catch the ball. We didn't draw a single PI all game. We had PI called on us, deservedly in the end zone, but the Snead contact was heavier.




Tippy     December 10
@RadioGuy: Someone mentioned it (Superbowl) last week as well. He doesn't get it.

Radio Guy     December 10
Will someone PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE tell @Brien Jackson that Superbowl is NOT ONE WORD. I've seen him do this numerous times. The word is SUPER (first word) BOWL (second word). It has never been spelled as one word scrunched together like that. It's amateur looking if you don't know how to spell the biggest sporting event in our country.



THANKYOU. (see what I did there?)

John L.     December 10
So Drew, what are you hearing about Flacco behind the scenes? You can't throw that out there and then leave us hanging like this!!!

such     December 10
Amen, Madness, amen. My household has been calling for his release for several seasons now. Remember when we all thought it was a coup that we got him instead of Pittsburgh? If only he were a Steeler! He's been the culprit in every critical defensive breakdown the last 3 years. Thank you for the reminder.

No more wiggle room or shoulda woulda coulda the rest of the way now. That's the price paid by yesterday's collapse.

Idiot Caller     December 10
@Madness: Amen, brother! Amen!

BJ     December 10
If Lamar starts the last three games, the Ravens go 1-2.



You heard it here first.

Davey     December 10
I think this summarizes the whole thing, IMHO.



"Make no mistake about it: The Ravens gagged it yesterday. It wasn't anyone's fault in particular, and there are reasons to subscribe to the moral victory opinion if you like, but the reality is the Ravens gave the game away to the Chiefs on Sunday."

Madness     December 10
Very tough loss and I blame ONE guy who always seems to LOSE the game of inches. A guy who is loved by the media because he is quotable and always gives his time to them. He is loved by the fans because he has a "look at me" outrageous look. He promotes himself as a team leader. He is ALWAYS the guy......who misses the play by INCHES. He is an out and out JINX.

He hesitates ever so slightly on his safety blitz on the tying TD....he is the centerfielder on the FOURTH and 9 and gets turned around looking and guarding a guy who is under control of Tayvon Young. Is it "selfish or stupid" that he stays on the wrong side of Hill? That he moves away from Hill on the crucial play is just a testament of his modus operandi. CJ Mosley is a FOUR down linebacker, end of story. "Jinx McBeard" has to be the guy to knock it down on that play. He was out of position......like the Ray Rice Fourth and Twenty NINE, like the Immaculate Extension, Like the Tyler Boyd FOURTH and TWELVE, like the Jordan Howard OT run against the Bears last year......and on and on.



A menace, a season destroyer........a JINX.



But isn't that beard cool? And isn't it cute that he eats ice cream after a win....and isn't he easy for the lazy ass media to talk to....and he is great at slapping guys on the ass.



About 5 inches different in his career and he is close to Ed Reed.

Macki     December 10
I think @Drew hit this one right on the head. Ravens had it in the palm of their hand and couldn't make the big play when they needed it. This is another in a long line of defensive collapses on the last series of the game or overtime. Remember Chicago last year in Baltimore? How about Pittsburgh when Brown stretched out to win the game and end our season? Or last year when the Bengals carved us up on the last play of the game. Same old song and dance.

Mark     December 10
I often wonder if Brien watches the games. I'm thinking he didn't watch yesterdays game in KC.

amused observer     December 10
What happened to the other team tries to? Or they have varsity lettermen as well? Nope, today we get Steelers stink and KC throwing up on themselves. And of course, the overwhelming theme of the comments so far, the Ravens just giving the game away cause their D is “horrible”, with the sub theme of “they’ve never been any good since Ray and Ed left”.

It’s exhausting man, how do you people keep chewing that same bone, like Mike Preston and his alpha male/playmaker syndrome??

And love the “why is Mosely covering Hill”…yea, that was the play call there. Sheesh. Pressure forces Mahomes to scramble, Hill runs around in circles, Mahomes heaves it and, wait for it, Hill makes a play! Nope, can’t say 2 guys made a play, no, no, no, the Ravens failed to execute, and that’s on Wink! And yes, more than likely, back when you had two HoFamers back there, they make the play, not the other team.

To paraphrase the guy who said “just dial up a sack there”, they need to go “get some HoFame players”!

Everyone wrote down KC as a loss in every “get to the playoffs” scenario I heard, everyone. Now that they did lose, after a valiant effort, but an effort not good enough for our local experts, all the sudden, beating Tampa is “almost must win”?? Pretty sure losing to TB was never on anyone’s “how to get to the playoffs” plan, right?

Ravens almost beat the #1 seed in a place that is very difficult on road teams, but now we’re sticking with they can’t go to LA and play a team with no home crowd at all and win there? Which BTW I believe DEN won there, and even the Bengirls just gave them fits.

Guess the good news is since no one goes to games any more, or cares about this team, there are not really all that many of you upset by the hot mess the Ravens have become. The good news is the Harbs and Flacco haters will get their wish soon, so you got that going for ya


Neutral Observer     December 10
Here's how Brien's mind works. When Mahomes makes a great play, it's not the Ravens defense's fault. The QB just made a game saving/changing play.



When Flacco makes a game saving/changing play in the Denver playoff game, the other team's defense failed to make a play.


HERMAN     December 10
They line up on the 25 with two minutes and change, we are up 7, we need that big defensive stop that has eluded us the last 3 years in a row in critical late season games.

I can hear Harbaugh on Monday morning, knowing that Pittsburgh is going to tank in Oakland, "we control our own destiny, that's all you can ask for with three games left".

I can hear him in the press conference, I actually feel good for the guy, this four game win streak has resurrected his career here. The games are exciting, fun, they amaze. We have some stability going into next year, maybe they'll draft a game-changer or two for Harbaugh, instead of a rebuild, we just continue to be in contention late into the season.

And just like that, a 4th and 9. And on, and on, and on.

On any other week I'd be gleeful, giddy, ecstatic over the Squealers kicker ass-planting away the game, reading the PPG to see the comments section where Yinzers bemoan the Ravens taking over first.

But the D has crushed me again, just like 4th and 22, or the year before, or the year before.

And Harbaugh is back on the hot seat, and stability is looking for an exit, and.....


Chris in Bel Air     December 10
Ravens played well yesterday. It's just hard to see them burned by another backyard play on 4th down. As good as Ravens were, the Chiefs were better in the final minutes when it counted. I'm also curious about the Ravens last possessions and why they had Lamar standing in the pocket like a traditional passer. That's not his strength and gave the KC D nothing to think about. They needed to give him a couple roll-outs and options to present the threat of running. Despite the loss I'm still encouraged with their play and believe they can make the playoffs.

Ed     December 10
The Ravens still do not have the QB of the future on their roster. No WR is going to want to play here.

unitastoberry     December 10
I remember Dan Fouts commenting during a game about Mosley a few seasons back. Hes says.....If I'm quarterbacking I'm throwing to whoever he has coverage on.

davehughes123     December 10
@Herman I'm glad you mentioned Mosley because he is abysmal defending the pass. Mosley was also "covering" Williams on the game tying TD. He might accumulate a ton of tackles but he's the team's biggest liability in pass coverage.

Brien Jackson     December 10
"Watching C.J.Mosely chase Tyreek Hill, 5 yards behind, on the big fourth down play is the vision that haunts through Wednesday and into Thursday.



How do we end up with a guy who can't cover anyone in pass coverage at all on their top receiver on the most critical play of the game? Mosely is awful in pass coverage. Why, why, why...."



Because Hill was completely out of the play for any quarterback other than Mahomes or Rodgers. Seriously, that play was the equivalent of Steph Curry burying a 27 foot jumper with two hands in his face. Sometimes you play things well but great players make great plays anyway.

Idiot Caller     December 10
... that CAN'T make a stop...

Idiot Caller     December 10
We can slice and dice the loss to the Chiefs anyway you want, but to me it all comes down to the highly paid defense. By my count, this marks the 3rd year in a row that the defense has blown a late 4th quarter lead in a crucial December game.

That is UNACCEPTABLE. Period.

The Ravens have to stop paying (wasting?) so much cap room on a defense that make a stop when they clearly need to.

HERMAN     December 10
Being a Ravens fan means putting up with soul-crushing losses. Losses that stay with you through Wednesday, and into Thursday. How many third and long, and fourth down conversions can a team give up in a game? For the "league leading" D they sure give up a ton of 19 yard third down plays to keep drives alive.

Watching C.J.Mosely chase Tyreek Hill, 5 yards behind, on the big fourth down play is the vision that haunts through Wednesday and into Thursday.

How do we end up with a guy who can't cover anyone in pass coverage at all on their top receiver on the most critical play of the game? Mosely is awful in pass coverage. Why, why, why....

I couldn't even enjoy the Squealers loss, or the fluke play that beat the evil empire, even though we were supposed to be rooting against Miami.

Delray Rick     December 10
How many games have the RAVENS LOST with 2 minutes left the last 4 years? I count 7-8. Our DB break down at the wrong time


James - Dundalk     December 10
I misses the OT coin toss ,but if The ravens won it why not go on offense run the ball ,eat clock, Score,give D a rest. The D was just out there at the end of regulation. Oh & before the TD to Brown why did Lamar scamper for 2 yards & go out of bounds. Let the clock run. Gave KC too much time to come back.

Unitastoberry     December 10
Most important aspect of a defense is to protect a lead. We still can't do that. If Lamar can't stop fumbling his career in the NFL is going to be very short. Give KC credit their coaching staff adjusted well to stop Lamar on the edge. Mahomes is very good he's the MVP as of today.

Captain Oblivious     December 09
To Briens point, if the Ravens win out and the Steelers don't the Ravens win the division unless the Steelers tie the game they don't win.

J.J.     December 09
@Brien with the hard hitting analysis of the final three weeks of the season. That's good stuff!

Brien Jackson     December 09
The big development of the day is that, if the Steelers lose to New Orleans and New England, the Ravens just have to beat the Bucs and Browns at home to win the division.

Alan     December 09
Crickets.

Tom     December 09
@H,



Lamar should start. But Flacco is going to start. Wait and see.

H     December 09
1 turnover

Clutch plays

Zero delay of game penalties

Zero wasted timeouts

Zero false starts

Zero broken plays

Now tell me who should start at QB next week?

Bill P.     December 09
@Alan: Why, why why would you do that?

Just a guy     December 09
Really enjoyed the game today, lots of drama, excitement, almost beat the likely #1 seed in their house, with a QB not ready for prime time. From where I sit, coaching staff did a helluva job. Really feel bad for all the miserable haters in town who feel the need to vent like 2 year olds who didn't get their way. Its a bad look, at least if you're an adult.

Alan     December 09
I'm going to ask Brien Jackson to do something. I suspect he won't be able to complete this mission but I'm going to pose the question to him anyway.



I'd like for you to break down the game today and list your five "important points" related to how the Ravens lost.

John In Westminster     December 09
In the immortal words of the Fonz, I was "wrrrreeerrrong". Tough not to finish the job against a top opponent. Great game all around...until the last few minutes and OT. Will note the inconsistent officiating had influence. It appears Flacco will be Wally Pipped, unless Lamar's ankle injury is serious.

Brien Jackson     December 09
@That Guy



I am wowed by your tremendous insight into the sport. Make him throw an incompletion. It's amazing that NFL teams pay so much money to coaches to not see that genius.

RJ     December 09
Yea, just sack the QB or make him throw an incompletion, problem solved - Wink is just so, so terrbile

Frank     December 09
I'll have what "That Guy" is having.

RJ     December 09
You people pissed off at Ravens D are the ones who are drunk/high. No doubt you were the ones prior to this game saying KC would light them up for 50+. Yup, the D "blew the lead", "couldn't hold them" and 'just let them drive down the field", yup, that's all that happened on that field today. Good thing the KC offense self-imploded so much, against that kind of defensive effort, no reason they should not have scored at least 60 today, right? You make Ken Weiman so proud

That Guy     December 09
I'll break it down for you Brien you dimwit. It was 4th and 9. If the Ravens sack the quarterback there the game is over. If they force him to throw an incompletion the game is over. If they knock the pass down the game is over. They could have done any of five different things there to win the game and didn't. Please stop acting like you're a football expert. I've read your stuff here for years. You're nowhere near an expert on the X's and O's of football.

Brien Jackson     December 09
Everyone is welcome to show off their immense football knowledge by breaking down the defenses's mistake on that play.



I'll wait.

Jonathan     December 09
That's Brien's way of not blaming the Ravens defense for blowing a late lead and also not blaming Lamar Jackson for only throwing for 150 yards.



You'll notice a trend if you stay here long enough.



It's always Flacco's fault.

Brien Jackson     December 09
Some things are just so predictable. The Ravens play 4th and 9 almost perfectly only to get beaten by a truly unbelievable play that literally no more than 3 guys in the entire NFL are even capable of making. Ipso facto the defense is terrible,\.



I guess I have to at least concede that said dumb criticism at least isn't being used solely to make excuses for Flacco, so there's that.

That Guy     December 09
RJ must have watched a different game than the rest of us.



The Ravens had a 7-point lead with four minutes left and couldn't hold it.



The Chiefs drove down the field in overtime and kicked a field goal to beat us.



I swear some of the people that come here must be drunk by halftime.

Jimmy the Greek     December 09
The question is, how many times has #DMD put 5K down on his own picks lol

StevenShea     December 09
I’m sorry to all the Harbaugh haters, but the obvious reality is that we have an incredible coaching staff with make shift talent. The fact that is we put up 24 points with a single wing offense and defense that holds the Chiefs to 27 in OT. All the experts say we have to make a change if we fail to go deep in the playoffs. Meanwhile the architect of our last ten drafts is getting a promotion. Hayden Hurst has solidified his spot as 4th tight end and Lamar Jackson is the Raven’s version of Tim Teebo. One more busted draft and a future with no legitimate QB, an unknown coaching staff a supporting cast devoid of playmakers.

Geno     December 09
@RJ, Are you serious man? The defense had a lead with four minutes left and couldn't hold it. KC went right down the field in OT and won the game. Are you on drugs dude?

Saturday
March 24
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issue 24
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this much is clear: john angelos is now running the orioles


It's been the city's worst kept secret for a while now, but it's no longer whispers and rumors: John Angelos is running the Baltimore Orioles.

Sure, he's been listed as the team's Executive Vice President since 1999, but those duties have largely been connected to running the team's public relations efforts and, later, overseeing the family's ownership of the MASN TV network.

Angelos has been in and around the ballclub for twenty years, but his role, now, is greatly expanding. There wasn't a press conference or any kind of ceremonial passing-of-the-torch to announce a new role. It just sort of happened.

Although his father still serves as the franchise's majority owner, the day-to-day operations of the organization are now handled by John, who presumably one day will also spearhead the transfer of ownership to "the family" when Peter is no longer alive.

There was a thought for many years that both John and his brother, Lou, probably wouldn't want to tackle the ownership issue when it came around. It's extraordinarily complicated and a massive financial and estate tax headache. But that apparently isn't the case now.

John Angelos is now running the day-to-day operations of the Orioles.

John Angelos has crept out of the shadows over the last year or so to slowly start identifying himself as the family member who will largely serve as the person running the organization. He has been "involved" -- off and on -- with business issues for well over a decade or more and was a critical component of the team's spring training move from Fort Lauderdale to Sarasota circa 2009.

Angelos spoke yesterday with my old radio buddy Glenn Clark on his daily internet sports talk show, Glenn Clark Radio. If you're interested in hearing that interview, just go to Glenn's website (www.glennclarkradio.com) and you'll find the interview after about eight seconds of surfing. It's an interesting thirty minutes of discussion.

One thing is clear: John Angelos is in charge.

And whether he knows it or not, the year 2018 gives him a remarkable opportunity to make a name for himself right out of the gate.

Angelos could be the guy who keeps Manny Machado around with a long term deal.

Wouldn't that be a way to break in and -- as Nuke LaLoosh famously said in the movie Bull Durham -- announce his presence with authority?

Imagine if John Angelos steps in to run the club and one of his first moves is to somehow keep Manny in orange and black instead of letting him slip up I-95 to wear pinstripes.

He'd immediately have "hero status" in town.

Over the last six weeks, John has already been directly involved in three very significant moves: The signings of Andrew Cashner and Alex Cobb and the development of the team's new youth ticket policy, Kids Cheer Free, which will allow children under the age of 9 to attend games free this season (when accompanied by a paying adult).

That he's out there now doing newspaper, radio and TV interviews essentially confirms what many have suspected for a while. John Angelos is running the organization.

And with that will come new pressures that Angelos never had to face in the past.

In fact, if you listen to the interview with Glenn Clark, you'll hear him say, "I'll answer the hard questions -- and the easy ones, too."

There will be lots of hard questions moving forward.

Will the club cough up $200 million or more for Machado?

What about the future of Dan Duquette?

Is Buck Showalter going to be offered a new contract for 2019 and beyond?

Will the Orioles remain in Baltimore forever? The team's lease with Camden Yards expires in less than five years.

His father has served as the majority owner of the team since 1993. It's been a wild, up and down ride for Peter, marked by incredible early success, Cal Ripken's consecutive games streak, and a decade of losing baseball and diminished attendance throughout the early part of the 2000's.

But the one thing Peter Angelos hasn't done in going on two decades now is make any attempt at all to connect with the fans through the media.

It just hasn't been his thing.

In fact, I honestly can't remember the last time I heard Peter speak to the Baltimore sports media about the Orioles.

If there's one area where John wants to set himself apart as a "new age" kind of guy, it's there...dealing with the media and being more open with the fan base -- as he did while discussing a number of topics with Glenn -- and giving them the insight they crave.

No one asked me for my opinion and franchises are always leery of being looked at as copycats, but John Angelos would hit the proverbial grand slam if he adopted the Ravens' philosophy of having one "state of the team" press conference at the conclusion of each baseball season moving forward.

Yes, the event held by the Ravens each year has lost a bit of its luster over time. That much is true.

But it's the effort that counts.

And Angelos would be well served to develop a similar sort of post-season press conference that allows him the opportunity to answer those hard questions in a way that no one at the head of the organization has been willing to do for a long, long time.

That's a story for another day, though.

Right now, John Angelos is preparing to embark on a new baseball season. One that sees him at the helm running the organization on behalf of his father and family.

He's made a lot of smart moves so far in 2018.

If those decisions prove fruitful and the Orioles get back to the playoffs this season, Baltimore could very well have a new sports ownership hero.

Wouldn't that be something?

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12 days of the masters


With all due respect to Christmas, a holiday that I love, this, right now is "the most wonderful time of the year".

It's the lead-in to the Masters, the greatest golf tournament in the world.

They'll tee it up on Thursday, April 5, in pursuit of one of the most coveted symbols in all of sports: the Augusta green jacket.

With the return of Tiger Woods and the recent improved play from the likes of Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy, this year's event has a buzz attached to it that we haven't felt in a long time.

I have 26 people going down to Augusta for the Monday, April 2nd practice round. It's the largest group I've hosted in six years. Everyone has Masters fever, apparently.

Over the next 12 days, I'll lay out my personal (expected) leaderboard, finishing on Wednesday, April 4 with my six man fantasy team and my predicted winner.

And away we go...

Former SMU standout Bryson DeChambeau is one of the TOUR's young hotshots who has already won twice in two-plus seasons as a professional and is making his 2nd Masters start next month.

Any of the 12 players I list between now and April 4 can win the golf tournament. Only one can win, though, so I have to make some sense of my mythical leaderboard and place players where I think they might fall once the dust settles on Sunday, April 8 and Jim Nantz is gathering everyone in Butler Cabin for the green jacket presentation.

If you're prone to laying an occasional wager or two on golf, always remember this about Augusta National when you're figuring it all out: Players who have won there before are always worth considering. There's a reason why a long list of guys have won there more than once (Since 1985, Olazabal, Langer, Bubba Watson, Woods and Mickelson have all won at least two times). They know how to play the golf course.

So any player with a green jacket already in his closet is worth considering, no matter how well they've played this season, last season or over the last few years.

And that's why you'll see a large number of past champions on my 12-man leaderboard over the next two weeks.

At #12, though, is Bryson DeChambeau. He hasn't won at Augusta -- yet -- but he hovered around the leaderboard for two days back in 2016 when he made his debut there and eventually finished at T21 as the tournament's low amateur.

His form coming into the tournament is solid. He finished 2nd last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational to Rory McIlroy.

But it's DeChambeau's golf game and vision for shot making that makes him a potential winner this year. He drives it long (304 yards on average off the tee, 33rd on TOUR) and hits a lot of greens (69.84%, 26th on TOUR). Those two factors play a huge role at Augusta.

His putting is very much on-again, off-again, but 2017-2018 has seen an improvement in his work with the flat stick. His 4.23 birdies per-round puts him at 13th on TOUR in that category.

The key at Augusta National is avoiding "the big number". Because of the complexities of the greens, players who rely on their short game to make pars typically don't make much noise. They wind up making double bogeys, actually. DeChambeau's greens-in-regulation stats should help him avoid those pesky 6's and 7's that can ruin an Augusta trip.

DeChambeau is a wildly interesting, eccentric guy. By now, most golf followers know his story. He builds his game and swing around science, rather than feel or style. He plays with irons that are primarily all the same length and weight. In a sport of "cookie cutter" participants, DeChambeau stands out as different. Really, really different, in fact.

Oh, and he can play. His 2015 U.S. Amateur title was not a fluke, as he showed the following April at Augusta when he had a chance to be one-shot off the 36-hole lead before making a distastrous triple bogey "7" at the 18th hole on Friday.

DeChambeau might not look like the rest of the young players out there -- his golf swing is more upright than most -- but the proof is in the numbers, not the swing.

With a handful of decent finishes so far in 2018, DeChambeau is poised to potentially make some noise at this year's Masters.

Don't be surprised if he's hanging around on Sunday when Jim Nantz enters your living room around 2:00 pm.

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take dad to the u.s. open


#DMD is putting together a special one-day trip to the U.S. Open on June 15 at Shinnecock Hills GC on Long Island (NY) and we'd love for you to be part of it with us!

We're billing it as a "Day with Dad", but you certainly don't have to bring your father along. We just think it will be fun if you do!

Defending champion Brooks Koepka will be in the field at Shinnecock Hills on June 15 when #DMD travels to Long Island for the second round of this year's U.S. Open.

We're heading to Shinnecock Hills to see the second round of the 2018 U.S. Open, departing Baltimore at 5:00 and arriving at the course roughly around 9:00 am. We'll spend the whole day on the course watching the best players in the world play on one of our nation's most iconic golf courses.

If you've never seen Shinnecock Hills in person, this is a must-do opportunity to experience one of our nation's most breathaking and scenic courses.

Our luxury motor coach will be limited to just 40 passengers, giving everyone room to spread out and enjoy the ride to Long Island. We'll enjoy breakfast, drinks and snacks on the ride to the course and we'll have more food and drinks for everyone on the ride home.

Oh, and there's U.S. Open trivia as well! A $100 cash prize is available for our trivia contest, so brush up on those needless facts about the U.S. Open.

Bring Dad along for a truly special day together at the U.S. Open. All of the best players in the world will be there...and the two of you can watch the tournament on Saturday or Sunday with the experience of having just walked the famous layout.

#DMD golf trips like this one are also excellent for employee and client reward. If you have a golfer or two that work in your business or if there's a special client you'd like to treat, we promise we'll great care of them on the trip to Shinnecock Hills!

For pricing and payment details go here.

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Friday
March 23
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issue 23
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about a quarterback, o's excitement and last night's "no handshake"


In case you missed it yesterday, incoming Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta told the team's website that the club would certainly entertain taking a quarterback with their first round pick (#16).

"If you really like a quarterback, it's never soon enough," he said, alluding to the issue of taking a quarterback in the first round.

The Ravens are going to have the opportunity to take an impact player with that 16th pick in the first round next month. Who, exactly, will be available there is obviously unknown, but they will have the chance to add a talented performer with that pick.

But what if the highest-rated guy on their board is a quarterback when the Ravens go on the clock?

Their current quarterback isn't going anywhere for a couple of years at least. Is now really the time to start looking for Flacco's replacement?

I'm starting to think the answer is "yes".

One thing for sure, though. There's no need for the Ravens to reach or take a quarterback at sixteen if they don't believe he can take over for Flacco in a couple of years and be what we all like to call "a franchise quarterback".

But if they really do like Baker Mayfield -- as lots of folks are hearing -- and if he's there at sixteen, I'd be perfectly fine with the Ravens choosing him in the first round.

Their history of drafting quarterbacks hasn't been great, admittedly, but it's been a heck of a lot better than their history of drafting wide receivers. Right? Right.

If Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield is available at #16 next month, would the Ravens take him?

There is some conventional football wisdom that suggests the best time to bring in a brand new quarterback is when you're also bringing in a brand new coach. That makes sense.

But the Ravens don't have the luxury of predicting where they'll be in 2019. Will John Harbaugh be running the team next year or will one more season of non-playoff football -- if that were to happen -- mark the end of his tenure in Baltimore?

No one knows.

So the Ravens should press on and simply follow their long-standing draft philosophy of taking the best player on their board when the time comes for them to make a first-round pick.

If that player is Baker Mayfield -- or any other quarterback -- go ahead and take him.

I don't know who the Ravens are taking, obviously, but I do know this: DeCosta and/or anyone else in the organization is never going to say something in the media that doesn't serve a purpose.

In early February, Steve Bisciotti, when asked about the possibility of the Ravens drafting a quarterback in the first round, brushed that idea aside by saying, "We have bigger fish to fry..."

This week, the team's website had an interview with DeCosta in which he confirmed the team would potentially select a quarterback with that 16th pick in the first round.

My gut says the Ravens aren't ruling anything out.

I continue to hear whispers that the player they covet the most is Florida State defensive back Derwin James. Failing their (unlikely) ability to snag him at 16, then what? A receiver? Maybe.

But if their draft board says, 1. James, 2. Ridley, 3. Mayfield -- and James and Ridley are gone at #16, could we fault them for taking Mayfield at 16? I sure wouldn't.

And taking Mayfield would go against the grain of taking a player that can help now...immediately. But quarterback is the one position in the NFL where you can make an exception for someone.

You can't draft a wide receiver in the first round and have him miss a season while he "learns the game". That's silly.

But you can draft a quarterback there, give him a clipboard, and let him figure things out for a year or two until he's polished and fine tuned.

Opening day for the Orioles is less than a week away and I've seen some back-and-forth in the comments section below about the lack of "buzz" about the 2018 season.

If we're judging the community's excitement level for the season and opening day by ticket sales alone, there's probably some truth to that statement. I went online last night at 9:30 pm and could still buy tickets for the March 29th game against the Twins.

In other words, we're a week away from opening day and it's not a sellout. There aren't 10,000 seats available or anything like that, but the fact is that seats can be had at this late date.

I'd say that's "odd", but not necessarily an overall indictment of the community's lack of excitement.

O's skipper Buck Showalter informed Dylan Bundy on Thursday that he'll start the March 29th season opener at Camden Yards vs. Minnesota.

Spring training occurs in Florida, remember.

Down there, there's plenty of excitement for Orioles baseball. If you're a baseball fan and you've never been to Sarasota in March, you should go. Your baseball blood gets boiling pretty quick once you get down there and see a game or two with a Wednesday afternoon sunshine beating on you.

Perhaps if all of the spring training games were televised back to Baltimore that would help increase the enthusiasm for opening day. Alas, they aren't.

And, let's be honest about something. The baseball season in Baltimore starts too early. Watch what happens next weekend for proof.

Opening day will be a sellout. 44,000 plus in the stands.

Saturday night they might have 20,000 in the stadium. The same for Sunday afternoon.

And it will be that way all around baseball, for the most part. Sure, the Dodgers might go sellout-sellout-sellout next weekend when they host the Giants to start the season, but my guess is the majority of teams will boast a SRO crowd for their opener and then their weekend home attendance will drop off significantly.

It's too early for baseball in places like Baltimore, New York, Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Chicago and so on.

If you have to bundle up to watch your team play a game in October, that's OK. You're watching the playoffs.

But wearing three layers to a Saturday night home game in late March isn't at all appealing, especially when there are 80 more games coming your way over the next six months.

I love baseball. I own a 13-game plan. And I'm already looking for ways to exchange my April tickets for games later on in the season.

It's not about a lack of enthusiasm. It's about comfort. In fact, I have two opening day tickets that might be for sale. When I see "58 degrees and rain" for Thursday, March 29, suddenly my living room chair looks like a great place to watch the opener vs. the Twins.

Much will be made today about last night's win for Kansas State and the fact that Kentucky didn't shake their hands after the game.

I'm not one to typically defend John Calipari, but in this case, he's right. Sort of...

He's correct when he says that Kansas State spent the immediate moments after the game running around on the court and celebrating, thus making it nearly impossible to have the traditional post-game handshake line at the scorer's table.

That's true.

His players didn't exactly stand there and wait around, but they did mill about their bench area for ten seconds or so until it was apparent that Kansas State wasn't going to stop their dancing and hugging anytime in the near future.

So, the Kentucky team left without shaking hands.

It wasn't a great look, for sure.

But if you really look at it for what it was, Kansas State was at fault for the initial delay.

Calipari, though, is a different story.

He should have stuck around.

Every coach has been part of a program that pulled off a monumental, unexpected win of some kind. Those occasionally take on a different life in their aftermath. Calipari had at least one of those during his early days at UMass or Memphis, I'm sure.

It takes a minute or two for the excitement to die down.

I don't expect the losing coach to stand there for three minutes while the winners hop around like Kevin Bacon in Footloose, but they should be willing to hang out for 30 seconds or so, at the very least.

It's the right thing to do.

Players? They're kids. Their feelings are hurt. You can talk to them until you're blue in the face, but some are just not interested in being humble when they lose.

Coaches are, and should be, held to a much higher standard.

Calipari should have waited it out last night. He would have looked good for doing it and it would have taken a little bit of the spotlight off of his brooding group who quickly ducked out after falling to Kansas State, 61-58.

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john pusateri
on lacrosse

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


weekend lacrosse preview


Game of the Week: #9 Johns Hopkins @ #10 Virginia (11:30 am ESPNU)

This week features a marquee game of highly ranked opponents -- each seeking another quality win.

The Blue Jays are seeking a top 10 win before B1G conference play while Virginia could use another good win after starting out 0-2 in the ACC. Both have a common opponent in Loyola, who Virginia beat by one goal in the first game of the season and who Hopkins lost to convincingly just a week later.

Virginia and Hopkins are both ranked in the top 10; one will move up this weekend and one will take a hit, as the two face off in Charlottesville on Saturday, March 24.

Given their performances against Loyola, one could easily conclude this game should be a Cavaliers win. However, both have played a lot of lacrosse since mid-February, so let's look at some key factors that could decide this game.

Defense/Goals Allowed: The Blue Jays boast a quality 8.7 goals allowed per game while Virginia is allowing 10.3. This seems to make sense given Hopkins only gives opponents 32.4 shots per game while the Cavaliers let opponents take 37.1 shots per game. This would appear to be advantage Hopkins. But in their 2 losses, both to quality opponents, they gave up 12 to Loyola and 13 to North Carolina. Which Blue Jay defense will show up?

Faceoffs: Both teams perform very well at the faceoff X, with Hopkins Hunter Moreland winning 68.4% and Virginia's Justin Schwenk winning 63.2%. Should be quite the battle.

Goalie Play: Both teams have had goalie issues and have struggled. Virginia recently switched to Alex Rode who's saving at 53.2% while Hopkins' Brock Turnbaugh is saving 51.6% of shots on cage. Very pedestrian numbers for both teams which will likely equate to extra goals for both offenses.

Penalties: Hopkins is only giving up 3.1 man-up opportunities per game averaging 2 minutes and 30 seconds of penalty time. Virginia gives up 4.6 penalties per game and 3 minutes 45 seconds to opposing teams. That could result in an extra goal or 2 for the Blue Jays.

Style of Play: The Blue Jays typify the modern slow-down, patiently run half-court offense, with offensive midfield specialists. The Cavaliers under Coach Lars Tiffany prefer the old school two-way midfielders that thrive on chaos and transition. That frenetic style puts teams with specialized offensive and defensive midfielders at a disadvantage. And it has gotten the best of the Blue Jays in recent years with losses to Rutgers and Coach Tiffany's former team, Brown who play that style.

Outcome: As noted previously, I see a somewhat high scoring and competitive affair. Virginia plays a run-n-gun style which will give Hopkins trouble. But does Coach Tiffany have those players yet in just his second season with the Cavaliers? I say yes, but barely. And given Virginia's home field advantage on grass, I'm feeling a Cavalier 13-12 win over the Blue Jays.

Other Notable Games:

#2 Maryland vs #20 North Carolina (Saturday 1 pm, College Park, MD) - Traditional ACC rivalry should be result in a dominate Terp victory against a struggling Tar Heel team who've lost their last 3 games including 2 to fairly mediocre competition. This should be a convincing 13-8 Maryland victory.

#8 Loyola vs Bucknell (Saturday 1 pm, Baltimore MD) - The Greyhounds (3-0 in conference) look to continue their conquest of the Patriot League against the Bison who are coming off a tough road loss at Penn. Look for Loyola to continue to roll, 14-8.

Navy @ #12 Lehigh (Saturday 3 pm, Bethlehem, PA) - It doesn't get any easier for the Midshipmen after a big loss to Loyola, squaring off against the Mountain Hawks, who are also undefeated in the Patriot League. Lehigh will remain undefeated, winning 12-7 against Navy.

Towson @ #5 Denver (Saturday 2 pm, Denver, CO) - The Tigers are still seeking that signature top 10 win and were very close against Duke last week. Perhaps Towson's zone defense can shut down Denver's high powered offense. While I see the Tiger defense keeping Denver's offense in check, I don't see the Tiger offense holding up its end of the bargain who can seem to control the turnovers. So I'm giving this game to the Pioneers, 10-8.

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take dad to the u.s. open


#DMD is putting together a special one-day trip to the U.S. Open on June 15 at Shinnecock Hills GC on Long Island (NY) and we'd love for you to be part of it with us!

We're billing it as a "Day with Dad", but you certainly don't have to bring your father along. We just think it will be fun if you do!

Defending champion Brooks Koepka will be in the field at Shinnecock Hills on June 15 when #DMD travels to Long Island for the second round of this year's U.S. Open.

We're heading to Shinnecock Hills to see the second round of the 2018 U.S. Open, departing Baltimore at 5:00 and arriving at the course roughly around 9:00 am. We'll spend the whole day on the course watching the best players in the world play on one of our nation's most iconic golf courses.

If you've never seen Shinnecock Hills in person, this is a must-do opportunity to experience one of our nation's most breathaking and scenic courses.

Our luxury motor coach will be limited to just 40 passengers, giving everyone room to spread out and enjoy the ride to Long Island. We'll enjoy breakfast, drinks and snacks on the ride to the course and we'll have more food and drinks for everyone on the ride home.

Oh, and there's U.S. Open trivia as well! A $100 cash prize is available for our trivia contest, so brush up on those needless facts about the U.S. Open.

Bring Dad along for a truly special day together at the U.S. Open. All of the best players in the world will be there...and the two of you can watch the tournament on Saturday or Sunday with the experience of having just walked the famous layout.

#DMD golf trips like this one are also excellent for employee and client reward. If you have a golfer or two that work in your business or if there's a special client you'd like to treat, we promise we'll great care of them on the trip to Shinnecock Hills!

For pricing and payment details go here.

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Thursday
March 22
r logo#DMDfacebook logovolume xliv
issue 22
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duquette, brady and the on-going saga


The Orioles just spent $57 million on a pitcher.

It's the most they've ever given to someone who, as the owner once said, "only works once every five days".

The signing of Alex Cobb is interesting in several ways.

Perhaps the most pressing question worth digging into is this one: Who within the Orioles organization actually signed Cobb?

Was it Dan Duquette? Brady Anderson? Or some combination thereof?

It's well known that Anderson has wiggled his way into an advanced and more active front office role over the last 18 months. His presence has caused a stir, to say the least.

Some players are put-off by him.

Others like him.

The front office itself appears fractured on Anderson's growing role.

Is Brady Anderson the man behind the recent signings of pitchers Andrew Cashner and Alex Cobb?

Some coaches have resigned because of Anderson's interference, particularly when it comes to off-season workouts and such.

Rumors persist that Buck Showalter has bristled at Brady's new role.

But everyone within the organization also knows this: Brady is the team's next general manager. Or "Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations". Whatever it is the Orioles decide to call the guy who will go about the task of developing their 40-man roster, Anderson is going to be that guy.

There's no getting around that one. Anderson is "the chosen one" by Peter Angelos and the Angelos family.

Duquette and Buck are both in the final year of their respective deals.

Neither has a contract past this season and an associate of the team tells me neither has been contacted about one, either.

That makes sense, even if I don't agree with the thought of Showalter not being back in Baltimore in 2019.

If Brady Anderson is taking over as the team's de facto GM in 2019, conventional wisdom and natural baseball logic says he should be able to pick his own manager.

That this has also been done discreetly over the last couple of years is a tad bothersome, but also explains some of what we see on an on-going basis with the Orioles. It's hard enough to sign a player when two people are involved in the process; the agent and the team's GM. Throw in a third guy -- someone with authority, like Anderson, but a yet-to-be-completely-defined role -- and it becomes even more difficult to get the deal done.

Then there's the natural head-butting that goes on with more people involved in the pursuit and signing of free agents.

Duquette likes Lance Lynn, Brady doesn't.

Brady likes Ryan Flaherty, Duquette doesn't.

Duquette thinks Yu Darvish is worth $25 million a year and wants to throw the O's hat in the ring, Brady doesn't think he's a $25 million a year pitcher.

Those are just examples, of course. Potential storylines to fit the narrative that two people see the game and players differently.

Brady played the game. Duquette has only managed the function of signing players who played the game.

There's a unique difference there.

Because the Orioles don't share any information about the day-to-day operations of the club, no one is exactly sure what's going on in the Warehouse.

The Ravens, in contrast, had been telling people for the better part of five years that Eric DeCosta was the team's GM-in-waiting and would move into Ozzie Newsome's spot when the Ravens' GM retired.

So, it came as no surprise back in January when the organization announced that very move. DeCosta will take over for Newsome at the conclusion of the 2018 season.

With the Orioles, there's always speculation. And intrigue. And guesswork.

Some folks will say there's nothing to be gained by the Orioles telling the media and/or public what they're doing with the infrastructure of their organization.

And that's true to an extent.

But when the secrecy and backroom whispers cause discontent in the building and people are resigning and the product is potentially suffering, it's worth questioning the business functionality.

With all due respect to Dan Duquette and Brady Anderson, if either of those men are actually running the Orioles in 2019 and they think it's a wise move to not have Buck Showalter manage the Orioles, then I have to question their acumen.

In fact, that would probably be the secret litmus test I'd use in the interview process if I'm the Orioles and I'm looking for someone to potentially replace Duquette.

"Do you think Buck Showalter should be our manager next season?" would be the first question asked.

If the candidate says anything except "Absolutely", the interview ends. Your parking voucher gets validated by the lady at the front desk and you're on your way.

And that's the way it should go for Brady Anderson, too.

If he is, in fact, going to be the team's next general manager, his first order of business better not be to run off Buck.

He can sign Andrew Cashner and Alex Cobb and we'll appreciate him for that, but if Anderson doesn't want Showalter around, his stock takes a whopper-of-a-hit.

And there is, of course, the other side: Does Buck want to work for Brady?

Depending on who you believe, that answer is already known in the Warehouse...

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#dmd hoops contest leaderboard


A large number of the 600-plus people who participated in our NCAA hoops contest were not "Retriever Believers".

Hence, about 80% of those in the contest picked "No" and "No" to the first two questions and "Yes" and Yes" turned out to be the answers.

1. Will UMBC score more than 54.5 points vs. Virginia?

2. Will Jairus Lyles score more than 22.5 points vs. Virginia?

If you didn't believe in these two guys, you lost four valuable points in #DMD's hoops contest.

It comes as no surprise, then, that only 23 people swept the first six questions of the contest and got them all right.

But a lot of people are still alive in the contest even without going 6-for-6 because of question #7: Name eight teams in the Sweet Sixteen.

There were hundreds and hundreds of: Virginia (wrong), North Carolina (wrong), Michigan State (wrong), Xavier (wrong) and Cincinnati (wrong).

Only eight people went 8-for-8 in picking Sweet Sixteen teams.

Our leader, Chris Pratt, listed these eight teams: Kentucky, Gonzaga, Villanova, West Virginia, Purdue, Clemson, Texas Tech and Duke.

He also went 6-for-6 in the "upper portion" of the contest.

And he had Virginia being the first #1 seed to go home.

So, yes, you know where I'm going with this: He has a "perfect bracket" at this point.

Pratt is the leader with 42 total points.

Jonathan Leminster is 2nd with 38 points. He went 8-for-8 in the Sweet Sixteen and got 12 points in the "upper portion". He was NOT a "Retriever Believer" or he'd be tied for the lead.

Paul Funk is 3rd with 35 points (he went 7-of-8 on the Sweet Sixteen)

John Sasajima, Richard Blumenthal, Mark Azzari, Mark Scott, Alan Welbron and T.J. Nannert all have 31 points.

There are 13 people with 29 points.

And 24 people with 26 points.

There's a long way to go. The "Final Four" and "Championship Winner" questions will decide it all.

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"The Keen Eye" of 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 Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.


enough already


The NFL offseason is boring.

I realized this when I turned on a national radio show Monday morning around 7:15 and heard about the beginning of the league year, the legal tampering period, contract restructuring and player grades—not the ones they got in college, the ones at left tackle or nose guard or whatever.

Look, I wasn’t expecting three hours of talk about UMBC, Loyola Chicago and Nevada. And I get it — the NFL draft is a little more than a month away.

And it’s not that I don’t want the Ravens to improve. I was happy to see that Michael Crabtree signed with the team — at least I’ve heard of him.

We’ve been convinced that the business of the NFL, down to the most minute detail that can be sniffed out by Adam Schefter, is at least as interesting as the 17 weeks of the regular season and the playoffs.

I am not convinced, and I won’t be convinced.

I’m interested in the NFL schedule, usually published in mid-April, and the beginning of training camps in July. I’m interested in preseason games only in the sense that they remind you that football season is right around the corner.

You can have minicamps. You can have free agency. You can have agents. You can have failed physicals.

You can have NFL beat writers and their team contacts and go-to leakers. You can have their Twitter feeds, where they desperately try to break news 365 days a year.

Please. Take them.

Do we hang on his every word each January because we're interested or because the media has convinced us he's interesting?

You can even have the draft, an event I still can’t explain beyond the excitement of who the first five to ten picks might be.

I swear it only exists to fulfill the needs of Baltimore and Calvert Hall’s own Mel Kiper, the only person who knows or cares about at least 75 percent of the players who are drafted.

We’ve spent much of the last year placing blame for a decrease, both real and perceived, in interest in the NFL.

Some of the reasons, like protests during the national anthem, are probably temporary. Others, like trying to figure certain rules like what constitutes a catch, are related to the game itself. There are lots of other things: the millennial attention span, the stadium experience, the rule changes since the “jacked up” era earlier this century.

Follow me here, though: part of the lack of interest in NFL games is that people have become more interested in everything else except the game.

Compared to the offseason, the season has become a letdown.

The Ravens’ 2017 offense aside (ouch), when did we get tricked into thinking that the machinations behind a free agent offensive lineman signing a three-year contract were fascinating while watching him actually play football was boring?

Maybe the easiest way to say it is that the NFL has officially overanalyzed itself to death. Ok, maybe not death. But at the very least, boredom, which might be worse.

The period of over-analysis is way too long. Most NFL teams, the 20 teams that don’t make the playoffs, have a four-month season. That means twice as much time to worry about some guy’s agent than you worry about his play on the field.

The NFL has the longest offseason of the major sports, even longer than baseball. With 162 games in about 180 days, baseball needs that offseason though. The players need it, the fans need it, even the media that covers the teams need it.

The NBA and NHL have relatively short offseasons, particularly for those teams that go deep in the playoffs. They play in the fall, winter and spring; it’s really only the summer for a break.

Football has a 16-game season; the number of actual competitions is a precious few. Meanwhile, the vacuum in between seasons, even in between games during the season, is incredibly long and deep. The vacuum has to be filled, I guess. It always has, in some way or another, since the days when television took over the game and the players became full-time employees who no longer had to work jobs in the offseason.

The fans need more football, not less; a few Sundays a year just doesn’t cut it anymore. The media needs more to write, not less; it’s not even worth having men and women on the beat if they aren’t working for more than half of the year.

At least that’s what we’re told.

I’m not so sure though, so I’m taking a few months off from football myself.

Ten years ago, I didn’t know when the league year started. I didn’t even know the term “league year.” Whether NFL free agency starts on March 5 or March 12 is completely immaterial. Free agency in the NFL isn’t even interesting really since, unlike baseball or basketball, it tends to involve fair-to-middling guys as opposed to star players.

I had never heard of the legal tampering period until this year. Apparently, it’s a 48-hour window where teams and agents can legally negotiate for the first time.

First, if it’s tampering, how can it be legal? Secondly, does anyone really believe that deals and numbers haven’t been worked out before those 48 hours begin? And mostly, the days of the NFL calendars that are dominated by agents are the ones where I pay attention to something else.

I have a friend who’s a beat writer for an NFL team. Several weeks ago, he Tweeted something about a player, which led a local radio show to spend an hour talking about the Tweet, including a phone conversation with the player’s mother.

The Tweet came completely out of the blue when the player signed with another team. There was no reason for it, besides creating news where none existed before. It was somewhat personal. I didn’t like it, but I wasn’t surprised. NFL beat writers have eight months to make news out of nothing, and sometimes that’s what they do.

That did it for me for a while.

I understand that the NFL is a business.

The business is about general managers and agents.

The business is about, frankly, accountants, who try to move money around so that one player can stay and another can arrive.The business is about the media, most of whom are outstanding at their jobs, being told they need to beat the other guys to the story, even if it’s not really a story.

That’s what we talk about for most of the year, and it gets old quickly. I don’t need it to fill up the hours until the season starts, and neither do you, frankly.

Get back to me in a couple of weeks, though. I may change my mind…

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take dad to the u.s. open


#DMD is putting together a special one-day trip to the U.S. Open on June 15 at Shinnecock Hills GC on Long Island (NY) and we'd love for you to be part of it with us!

We're billing it as a "Day with Dad", but you certainly don't have to bring your father along. We just think it will be fun if you do!

Defending champion Brooks Koepka will be in the field at Shinnecock Hills on June 15 when #DMD travels to Long Island for the second round of this year's U.S. Open.

We're heading to Shinnecock Hills to see the second round of the 2018 U.S. Open, departing Baltimore at 5:00 and arriving at the course roughly around 9:00 am. We'll spend the whole day on the course watching the best players in the world play on one of our nation's most iconic golf courses.

If you've never seen Shinnecock Hills in person, this is a must-do opportunity to experience one of our nation's most breathaking and scenic courses.

Our luxury motor coach will be limited to just 40 passengers, giving everyone room to spread out and enjoy the ride to Long Island. We'll enjoy breakfast, drinks and snacks on the ride to the course and we'll have more food and drinks for everyone on the ride home.

Oh, and there's U.S. Open trivia as well! A $100 cash prize is available for our trivia contest, so brush up on those needless facts about the U.S. Open.

Bring Dad along for a truly special day together at the U.S. Open. All of the best players in the world will be there...and the two of you can watch the tournament on Saturday or Sunday with the experience of having just walked the famous layout.

#DMD golf trips like this one are also excellent for employee and client reward. If you have a golfer or two that work in your business or if there's a special client you'd like to treat, we promise we'll great care of them on the trip to Shinnecock Hills!

For pricing and payment details go here.

Wednesday
March 21
r logo#DMDfacebook logovolume xliv
issue 21
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birds hope cobb's gambling ways pay off for them as well


Baltimore sports fans are very familiar with an athlete who bet on himself and won.

Joe Flacco quickly comes to mind. Prior to the 2012 season, Flacco (now) famously turned down a $91 million offer from the Ravens because his bottom line was $92 million, then told owner Steve Bisciotti, "I'll be worth a lot more when I win the Super Bowl."

Eight months later, Super Bowl MVP award in his hip pocket, Flacco's roll-of-the-dice worked out favorably. The Ravens gave him $121 million.

The Orioles can only hope Alex Cobb's gamble is as rewarding, for both them and the 30-year old righthanded pitcher.

Cobb agreed to a 4-year, $57 million deal with the Birds on Tuesday. But that's not the story. Not for Cobb, anyway.

With baseball free agency experiencing perhaps its "oddest" winter ever, quality players were left dangling for months. A few, like Yu Darvish, Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer, were able to secure deals with new teams that got close to their projected AAV (Average Annual Value), but most big time free agents didn't have that luxury over the last few months.

Alex Cobb turned down $42 million from the Cubs, but got $57 million from the Orioles on Tuesday.

Cobb was one of a group of pitchers who thought they were going to hit the lottery in the off-season. He found out that wouldn't be the case early on when no one took a bite on his 5-year, $100 million hook.

The Cubs eventually came calling and offered Cobb about half of what he thought he might be able to get; 3-years, $42 million.

For a guy who made $4.2 million in 2017 with the Tampa Bay Rays, $42 million in guaranteed money seems like an appetizing pay increase.

But Cobb said no thanks.

Such a decision is risky anytime. What's that saying, "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush"?

But it was a significant gamble in this off-season because very few teams were forking over big bucks for anyone, let alone a pitcher with a concerning drop in velocity and home/road splits that didn't exactly remind you of Greg Maddux.

Alex Cobb gambled that a better deal existed out there. Somewhere...

And it turns out, he was right.

He was able to coax an extra year out of the Orioles, plus $15 more million from the pitching-starved Birds. I went to Glen Burnie High School, yes, but I can still do basic math. $42 million in guaranteed money isn't nearly as good as $57 million in guaranteed money.

Mike Moustakas of the Royals gambled back in November when Kansas City made him a qualifying offer of $17.4 million. He turned it down and became a free agent. Like Cobb, Moustakas gambled on himself and his playing pedigree.

Three months later, tail between his legs, Moustakas inked a one-year, $6.5 million deal with those same Royals.

For the Flyers fans reading this, I'll do the arithmetic for you: Moustakas rolled the dice and lost $10.9 million.

I'll think about that the next time I lose a $20 nassau in golf and maybe it won't hurt so much.

Alex Cobb won his gamble, though. Big time.

He told the Cubs he could do better than $42 million. My guess is the Cubs didn't believe him. It turns out Cobb's hand was better than Chicago thought.

Now, the Orioles have to hope their gamble with Cobb pays off.

He's a good pitcher, for sure. And while there are things concerning about his career data, including the aforementioned drop in velocity, Cobb's signing brings an end to the silly idea of turning Miguel Castro into a starting pitcher or trotting Mike Wright out there every fifth day to get battered.

The Orioles rotation now boasts Cobb plus two promising young arms in Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy, another decent veteran in Andrew Cashner, and a one-year reclamation effort named Chris Tillman.

It's not the major league's best rotation -- no one would be that naive to think that, I hope -- but it's "competitive", particularly if Gausman and Bundy continue to make progress. The Orioles now head into the season thinking that 90 wins is possible if everyone's chakras are in line for the next six months.

The $60 million price-tag is a hefty one, obviously. The Orioles have never spent that much money on a free agent pitcher. Yes, we all remember what happened the last time the O's coughed up big bucks on a 4-year deal for a starter. His name was Ubaldo Jimenez.

But no team achieves greatness without a gamble or two of their own.

The Houston Astros rolled the dice last August when they obtained Justin Verlander from the Tigers. I'd say that gamble turned out well.

It's part of the business. You're essentially "betting" that a player is going to achieve a set of desired or expected results. If he does, you won. If he doesn't, you lost.

In the case of Alex Cobb, the Orioles are obviously betting that his tenure in Baltimore will turn out favorably. It would be hard for Cobb to not be better than Jimenez was, but I guess that's another measuring stick the franchise might use.

For Cobb, he turned down $42 million and wound up getting $57 million.

He rolled the dice and won $15 million.

I already like his style.

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here's an auriemma gem


I realize most people think it's easy to coach the UConn women's basketball team. They have, year-after-year, the best group of recruits, the most decorated young female players in the country and an experienced "big game" roster that any coach would love to have.

Coaching those players, though, isn't nearly as easy it looks.

I found a video yesterday (snow days are great for surfing YouTube for nuggets like you'll see below) that I wanted to pass along today. It especially hits home for me, because what you'll hear Auriemma talk about is something I stress to my Calvert Hall golf team at the beginning of every season.

Geno Auriemma is far less boring than me, I know, but the foundation of my coaching philosophy rests on these three things:

1. My number one job is to be honest with the players and the team. "Honest", of course, comes in a lot of forms. Sometimes it means you have to tell someone why he isn't playing. Sometimes it means you have to tell him why his golf game isn't good enough. Sometimes you have to tell him the way he's doing it isn't right. But when it's done with empathy and compassion, honesty is never a bad thing.

2. My job is to convince you that you're capable of performing at a level that you perhaps didn't otherwise think was possible. That's a tricky one. "Talk" is just that...talk. In golf, you can either hit an 8-iron from 164 yards into the middle of the green or you can't. But at the high school level, players generally have no idea what they're really capable of. They shoot 40 for nine holes and think that's great -- which it is, for some of them -- but fail to realize that two missed short putts and a flubbed chip cost them a 37.

3. And my other meaningful task is this: I have to teach you how important it is for you to be a great teammate. As you'll see, that's why the Auriemma video is particularly heartwarming to me. Anyone can play sports. But not everyone can be a great teammate. There's an art to it. I spend a lot of my time every spring trying to make my golfers understand why it's important for each of them to be a great teammate.

If you're a coach of any sport at any level, Geno Auriemma is a remarkable model for you to follow. Forget the winning and the national titles and all that stuff. Look and listen to what he says about coaching young athletes. If you're willing to look and listen, he'll teach YOU as well.



#DMD HD-TV


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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.



have o's and ravens exchanged stripes?


There's a certain order to sports in Baltimore that is pretty darn close to inviolable.

The Ravens, the story goes, are the picture of professionalism and organizational class, a franchise that players around the league want to be a part of, with a management class that always does the right thing.

The Orioles, on the other hand, are thought to be nearly the mirror image of that; a skinflint and bush league operation that's always looking to save a buck and cares little about winning or fan happiness.

The past couple of weeks are threatening to flip that script.

A week into the new league year, and the offseason couldn't be going much worse for the Ravens.

The team's need for playmaking pass catchers was both obvious and acknowledged by the team, but despite assurances from One Winning Drive that the receiving corps was going to go through a serious overhaul, they as yet have been unable to seal the deal on bringing in the biggest available targets.

The Ravens missed out on several quality potential wide receiver additions before finally hauling in Michael Crabtree last week.

The Browns outbid them for Jarvis Landry, and then Allen Robinson and Jimmy Graham headed off the the NFC North with the Ravens barely even mentioned as serious suitors. Tight end Eric Ebron was someone the Ravens reportedly liked a lot back in the 2014 draft and were interested in signing, but he chose to sign with the Colts, who finished last season in position for the third overall pick in the draft, instead.

Even Torrey Smith, who could have made for a cheap speed option on the outside and seemed like a good bet to land back in Baltimore, was traded to Carolina rather than cut outright by the Eagles.

So far this offseason continues a pattern we saw emerge in force last year: Teams are putting a premium on receiving talent. This was most clear in the draft last year, when despite being most often "mocked" to go in the mid-to-late first round, Corey Davis, Mike Williams, and John Ross were all selected in the first nine picks.

Ravens' fans dreaming of Alabama standout Calvin Ridley should expect a similar dynamic this year. A whole bunch of mock drafts are fitting Ridley for Ravens' purple but, realistically, it's unlikely Ridley makes it out of the top ten. In fact, I won't be surprised if he ends up being the 4th overall selection and first non-quarterback drafted.

The Ravens haven't done nothing, of course, but what they have managed has been underwhelming in the extreme. Michael Crabtree is fine, and probably a better catch (no pun intended) than Ryan Grant, but he's not a game breaker or someone you want to be your primary receiving option.

If the Ravens go into next season with Crabtree as their number one receiver then this offseason will be a total failure. John Brown is a fast an shifty slot-receiver, but he's also quite injury prone and I see no reason why you'd prefer to have him over Mike Wallace all else being equal.

And the tight end position remains a wasteland, which is an acute problem given how much Joe Flacco likes to incorporate that position in the passing game.

In short, there's still a ways to go in the offseason, but so far it doesn't look like the Ravens are going to be successful in their goal of drastically improving their offense. And with the Browns already getting markedly better thanks to their bounty of cap space and owning a ridiculous number of high picks, it's already looking like a return to the postseason will be an uphill climb for John Harbaugh and Co.

On the other end of the parking lot, the Orioles offseason has gone in a very different direction. Knowing that they needed a lot of help in the starting pitching department, the Orioles spent most of the winter doing....not much of anything.

In fact, the biggest O's offseason story was the will-they-or-won't-they melodrama surrounding a potential trade of Manny Machado. That went nowhere, and maybe represented the latest in a series of signs of tension between ownership, Dan Duquette, Buck Showalter, and Brady Anderson. From there the team seemed to be in a sort of stasis, not exactly doing nothing, but not really doing enough to make them look like a playoff contender either.

That changed in a big way yesterday when word broke that the team had reached an agreement with former Tampa Bay starter Alex Cobb.

Cobb was either the third or fourth best available starter this winter, depending on who you asked, and he was at the top of the most commentators' list of realistic Orioles' targets at the beginning of the free agent market. It took a while to get there, but it seems like this winter the O's strategy of waiting out the market actually broke in their favor, and they ended up reeling in their fish at the end of the day.

Cobb is not without red flags by any means. After missing the entire 2015 season following Tommy John surgery, Cobb logged just 22 innings pitched in 2016 and didn't quite make it to the 180 innings mark in 2017 either. Furthermore, his attractive 3.66 ERA hides a much more unsightly 4.66 ERA outside of the Tropicana dome, a fact that should weigh heavily on the mind of anyone trying to project future performance.

Cobb's velocity is down and his flyball rate is up. It's not remotely outside the realm of possibility that he ends up being a new version of Ubaldo Jimenez or Yovani Gallardo; getting paid a lot of money and gifted a rotation spot only to pitch very badly.

But with great need comes great risk.

The Orioles came in to the offseason needing to fill a whoping three slots in their rotation, and that was never going to be easy regardless of financial considerations.

Ultimately, the team ended up signing Cobb, Andrew Cashner, and Chris Tillman to join Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, a scenario that I think most fans and commentators would have deemed a success four months ago.

That's not a surefire group or anything, but there's real upside there.

That's about all anyone could have asked for given the task the Birds had in front of them. A division title is still going to be tough given where the Yankees and Red Sox are right now, but that's a rotation that can certainly be capable of taking you to a wild card spot, and the Orioles do figure to be strong on offense and in the bullpen once again.

Furthermore, Mike Wright and Miguel Castro make for perfectly acceptable options as 6th/7th starters.

All of which puts Baltimore in the unusual situation of finding the Ravens hoping to emulate the Orioles for a change, watching a free agent market fall into place at the last minute and turning an embarrassingly inadequate offseason into an admirable one in the blink of an eye.

Glory
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take dad to the u.s. open


#DMD is putting together a special one-day trip to the U.S. Open on June 15 at Shinnecock Hills GC on Long Island (NY) and we'd love for you to be part of it with us!

We're billing it as a "Day with Dad", but you certainly don't have to bring your father along. We just think it will be fun if you do!

Defending champion Brooks Koepka will be in the field at Shinnecock Hills on June 15 when #DMD travels to Long Island for the second round of this year's U.S. Open.

We're heading to Shinnecock Hills to see the second round of the 2018 U.S. Open, departing Baltimore at 5:00 and arriving at the course roughly around 9:00 am. We'll spend the whole day on the course watching the best players in the world play on one of our nation's most iconic golf courses.

If you've never seen Shinnecock Hills in person, this is a must-do opportunity to experience one of our nation's most breathaking and scenic courses.

Our luxury motor coach will be limited to just 40 passengers, giving everyone room to spread out and enjoy the ride to Long Island. We'll enjoy breakfast, drinks and snacks on the ride to the course and we'll have more food and drinks for everyone on the ride home.

Oh, and there's U.S. Open trivia as well! A $100 cash prize is available for our trivia contest, so brush up on those needless facts about the U.S. Open.

Bring Dad along for a truly special day together at the U.S. Open. All of the best players in the world will be there...and the two of you can watch the tournament on Saturday or Sunday with the experience of having just walked the famous layout.

#DMD golf trips like this one are also excellent for employee and client reward. If you have a golfer or two that work in your business or if there's a special client you'd like to treat, we promise we'll great care of them on the trip to Shinnecock Hills!

For pricing and payment details go here.

Tuesday
March 20
r logo#DMDfacebook logovolume xliv
issue 20
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did the ravens play dirty pool with ryan grant?


In the aftermath of UMBC-mania, the weekend came and went without #DMD fully addressing the situation involving the Ravens and Ryan Grant.

Let's tackle it today.

By now, I'm sure you know the story. Ryan Grant was signed to a $29 million deal last Tuesday that included $14.5 million of guaranteed money. Two days later -- ironically on the same afternoon that Oakland released veteran wide receiver Michael Crabtree -- the Ravens announced Grant had failed his entry physical and would not be signed. The following day, the Ravens signed Crabtree.

"Dirty pool!" lots of people shouted on Twitter once word got out that Grant failed his physical.

It certainly did look "convenient", let's say, that Grant's failed physical came just hours after word leaked out of Oakland that Crabtree was being jettisoned.

But would the Ravens really do that?

Would they put their reputation at risk by signing-and-then-unsigning a player? Twenty years ago, that sort of stunt could have been pulled off without much pushback or criticism. Twenty years ago, though, we didn't have social media and the developed internet we have today.

Did the Ravens do wrong by releasing Ryan Grant and a day later signining Michael Crabtree to a 3-year deal?

The Ravens claim -- or at least a "source" did -- that they offered Grant a one-year deal after the failed physical. This would serve as a mechanism for the team to be sure his injured ankle wasn't going to be any sort of long-term issue. And it would serve as a good faith measure that they really did want him on their team in 2018.

Grant still doesn't have a team.

He flirted with the Colts for a day or two and is expected to visit with the Raiders today.

Are the Ravens to blame for this mess?

Free agency is a dirty, dirty game.

Every player covets that moment when he's free to roam around the league an offer himself to the highest bidder. In the NFL, your chance for one big, lucrative contract typically only comes along once if you're anything but a quarterback.

"It's just business" is the favorite go-to line for a player who leaves one team for another. And, at its core, that's as true as true can get.

Ryan Jensen could have stayed with the Ravens, for example. The team's starting center from a year ago reached free agency last week and the Ravens made it knowm to Jensen's agent that they wanted him back, but their offer fell nearly $15 million shy of what the Tampa Bay Bucs offered Jensen.

Given the choice of a $27 million deal with $13 million guaranteed or a $42 million contract with $22 million guaranteed, Jensen did what just about every smart person would do -- he took Tampa Bay's $42 million offer and signed it.

For Jensen, it was just business.

And it's that way for anyone in the NFL who opts for more money and more security with another team. It would be the same in your line of work, too.

So, with that thought in mind, can the Ravens file what happened -- whatever it was -- with Ryan Grant as "just business"?

It's not terribly difficult to see what potentially might have happened. The Ravens pony up $29 million for Grant, who mostly was a good, reliable possession receiver for the Redskins over a four-year period. He was certainly nothing special. In fact, Grant didn't even catch 100 passes -- total -- with the Redskins.

$14.5 million of guaranteed money for a guy without any kind of Pro Bowl pedigree is a lot of money, even by the everyone-is-overpaid standards that we see in the NFL these days.

It stands to reason, then, that the Ravens could have experienced a smidgen of buyer's remorse the day after the Grant deal was done. And when Crabtree suddenly got the axe, the Ravens scrambled for a solution.

Me? Personally? I don't believe that's what went down. I think their doctors saw something -- albeit perhaps not at all overly concerning -- with Grant's ankle they didn't like and passed that information along to the Ravens like they would with any other concern.

And Michael Crabtree's sudden availability gave the Ravens reason to pause and say, "We like Grant. But we like Crabtree more. And it's just business."

There are folks who say, "The Ravens had enough room -- or were in the process of making enough room -- to keep Grant and go on to sign Crabtree." That might be true. But perhaps they want more money to sign a tight end. Or a defensive back. We can't spend the Ravens' money for them. They have their own team to run.

The bigger question here is this: Let's pretend for a second the Ravens actually did play dirty pool with Grant. Let's pretend the release of Grant was directly connected to the signing of Crabtree. Was that wrong?

Does your opinion of the Ravens change in that case?

Or are you willing to file it all under "It's just business"?

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world match play brackets set


From one "bracket" to another.

While the NCAA tournament rolls on, the world of professional golf has its own "bracket contest" this week with the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play event.

This format, unlike the NCAA, isn't "one and done", though. Each player is grouped with three others and plays everyone in their group one time. Using a point system (one point for a win, a half-point for a tie, zero points for a loss -- with head-to-head considerations for tie breakers), each group sends one player to the next round and then matches are "win and move on" in the traditional style we see with bracket contests.

There are 64 players in the field, slotted from 1-64 based on their world golf ranking.

Here are the groups, with play starting on Wednesday.

GROUP 1: Dustin Johnson (1), Kevin Kisner (32), Adam Hadwin (38), Bernd Wiesberger (52): The defending champ (Johnson) gets a tough group that includes 2017 Presidents Cup teammate Kisner along with International member Hadwin. Wiesberger won two matches last year but failed to get out of group stage.

GROUP 2: Justin Thomas (2), Francesco Molinari (21), Patton Kizzire (48), Luke List (60): For Thomas and List, it's a renewal of their playoff at The Honda Classic, won by Thomas. Kizzire, like Thomas, has already won twice on the PGA TOUR this year. Molinari has struggled in this event.

GROUP 3: Jon Rahm (3), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (28), Chez Reavie (43), Keegan Bradley (63): "Certainly not an easy group," said Rahm, last year's finalist. Reavie is playing well on TOUR and Aphibarnrat recently won the World Super 6 Perth event.

Can Dustin Johnson repeat the WGC Match Play championship or will a new name be added to the winner's trophy?

GROUP 4: Jordan Spieth (4), Patrick Reed (19), Haotong Li (34), Charl Schwartzel (49): Golf gods must have had some fun drawing Reed into the Spieth group, thus setting up a match between the two fiery American teammates. The veteran Schwartzel is always a tough out while Li is making his first appearance.

GROUP 5: Hideki Matsuyama (4), Patrick Cantlay (30), Cameron Smith (46), Yusaku Miyazato (53): A very intriguing group. Matsuyama -- the highest-ranked player from Japan -- gets to play his fellow countryman in Miyazato. Cantlay and Smith are capable of big performances at any time. Will be a fun group to follow.

GROUP 6: Rory McIlroy (6), Brian Harman (18), Jhonattan Vegas (44), Peter Uihlein (57): Fresh off his win at last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, McIlroy should be flying high coming into this week. But Harman is fiesty and Vegas will have his fans as a former Texas player. Uilhein is making his Dell Match Play debut.

GROUP 7: Sergio Garcia (7), Xander Schauffele (20), Dylan Frittelli (41), Shubhankar Sharma (62): The veteran Garcia, who now resides here with his wife and newborn child, will be tested by three young players -- Schauffele, last year's PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year; Frittelli, who won a NCAA title with the University of Texas; and Sharma, who played so well at the previous WGC event.

GROUP 8: Jason Day (8), Louis Oosthuizen (25), Jason Dufner (42), James Hahn (56): This group is highlighted by the rematch of Day vs. Oosthuizen, who faced off in the 2015 final when the event was held in Austin for the first time. Day won that match 5 and 4.

GROUP 9: Tommy Fleetwood (9), Daniel Berger (26), Kevin Chappell (33), Ian Poulter (58): Fleetwood failed to get out of group play last year and his road this year will be challenged by American President Cuppers Berger and Chappell along with match play demon Poulter. "It's a good one, isn't it?" Fleetwood said of his group.

GROUP 10: Paul Casey (10), Matthew Fitzpatrick (31), Kyle Stanley (45), Russell Henley (51): Casey is a two-time runner-up in this event and playing great golf right now. Stanley is making his first appearance in this event since 2012 and Henley has an impressive match play record during his NCAA career. Fitzpatrick defeated Justin Thomas here last year.

GROUP 11: Marc Leishman (11), Branden Grace (23), Bubba Watson (35), Julian Suri (64): Leishman and Grace are International Presidents Cuppers, while Watson has represented the U.S. multiple times. Suri is the last player in the field after Joost Luiten pulled out.

GROUP 12: Tyrrell Hatton (12), Charley Hoffman (22), Brendan Steele (36), Alexander Levy (55): Hatton and Levy have battled plenty of times on the European Tour, while Hoffman and Steele have done the same on the PGA TOUR. Hatton was T-3 in his last WGC start in Mexico.

GROUP 13: Alex Noren (13), Tony Finau (29), Thomas Pieters (39), Kevin Na (61): Noren has a couple of heavy hitters in his group with Finau and Pieters. Na won his group last year.

GROUP 14: Phil Mickelson (14), Rafa Cabrera Bello (17), Satoshi Kodaira (40), Charles Howell III (59): Mickelson had a good run last year before losing in the quarterfinals. Cabrera Bello is the highest-ranked Pool B player in the field and Kodaira is the second-highest ranked player from Japan. CH3 was knocked out in the Round of 16 last year.

GROUP 15: Pat Perez (15), Gary Woodland (24), Webb Simpson (37), Si Woo Kim (50): Perez failed to get out of group stage last year and has friends Woodland (2015 finalist) and Simpson in his group, along with the reigning THE PLAYERS champion.

GROUP 16: Matt Kuchar (16), Ross Fisher (27), Yuta Ikeda (47) Zach Johnson (54): The Kuchar-Johnson matchup will be a good match of the two longtime TOUR vets. Beware of Fisher, a group winner last year. Ikeda has yet to win a match in this event.

Drew's prediction: Final Four of Fleetwood vs. Noren and McIlroy vs. Rahm, with Fleetwood defeating Rahm in the Final, 3&2.

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take dad to the u.s. open


#DMD is putting together a special one-day trip to the U.S. Open on June 15 at Shinnecock Hills GC on Long Island (NY) and we'd love for you to be part of it with us!

We're billing it as a "Day with Dad", but you certainly don't have to bring your father along. We just think it will be fun if you do!

Defending champion Brooks Koepka will be in the field at Shinnecock Hills on June 15 when #DMD travels to Long Island for the second round of this year's U.S. Open.

We're heading to Shinnecock Hills to see the second round of the 2018 U.S. Open, departing Baltimore at 5:00 and arriving at the course roughly around 9:00 am. We'll spend the whole day on the course watching the best players in the world play on one of our nation's most iconic golf courses.

If you've never seen Shinnecock Hills in person, this is a must-do opportunity to experience one of our nation's most breathaking and scenic courses.

Our luxury motor coach will be limited to just 40 passengers, giving everyone room to spread out and enjoy the ride to Long Island. We'll enjoy breakfast, drinks and snacks on the ride to the course and we'll have more food and drinks for everyone on the ride home.

Oh, and there's U.S. Open trivia as well! A $100 cash prize is available for our trivia contest, so brush up on those needless facts about the U.S. Open.

Bring Dad along for a truly special day together at the U.S. Open. All of the best players in the world will be there...and the two of you can watch the tournament on Saturday or Sunday with the experience of having just walked the famous layout.

#DMD golf trips like this one are also excellent for employee and client reward. If you have a golfer or two that work in your business or if there's a special client you'd like to treat, we promise we'll great care of them on the trip to Shinnecock Hills!

For pricing and payment details go here.

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Monday
March 19
r logo#DMDfacebook logovolume xliv
issue 19
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back to reality, but forever changed


I'm sure at one point in the second half of last night's game when UMBC didn't score a point for nearly six minutes, Tony Bennett and his Virginia players said to themselves, "Where was this team on Friday night?"

UMBC's dream run in the NCAA tournament sputtered to a halt on Sunday evening as Kansas State produced a 50-43 win to advance to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament. The Retrievers shot just 29.8% from the field (14-47) and made only half (9-18) of their free throws.

Those numbers are a recipe for losing any game, let alone a second round contest in the big dance.

Jairus Lyles certainly wasn't to blame for the defeat, but if he has any kind of "A" game on Sunday, UMBC is still the darling of the tournament and headed to Atlanta for a Thursday night encounter with Kentucky.

A large gathering of UMBC fans made their way to Charlotte for Friday night's win over Virginia and Sunday's loss to Kansas State.

Alas, Lyles wasn't able to come close to duplicating his 28 point performance from Friday's historic win over Virginia. He was 4-for-15 from the field, 3-of-6 from the foul line and scored just 12 points in 39 minutes of action. Kansas State did a remarkable job of doubling on him anytime Lyles tried to penetrate through the paint and his long distance shot was often rushed or hurried by even more dogged defensive effort from the Wildcats.

"I'm not going to make any excuses," Lyles said afterwards. "I've got to hit those free throws. I missed a lot of shots I usually make."

Give Kansas State some credit, too. Led by Barry Brown, the Wildcats made sure Lyles didn't do to them what he did to Bennett and the Cavaliers on Friday on that same court in Charlotte.

Despite those efforts, though, UMBC hung around and hung around and -- hung around. They were down three with two minutes remaining before their tired shooting legs finally gave way and the Wildcats turned a 44-41 lead into a 50-41 advantage with a half-minute left in the game.

The second half was played at a snail's pace, with both teams playing stifling defense. UMBC forced 18 turnovers in the game -- including 11 in the second half -- but managed just three points off of them. That, it turns out, was perhaps the most telling statistic of the game for Ryan Odom's team.

The Retrievers probably did enough to win, but so, too, did Kansas State.

And so the miracle run ends for UMBC on a night they'll probably look back on with a more than a smidgen of regret. The party could have lasted at least another four days if only they would have made a few more shots from the field and the charity stripe. The game was available to them.

But what the Retrievers accomplished in beating Virginia on Friday night will leave a significant impression on their basketball program. There have already been impacts-a-plenty in the form of apparel and merchandise sales, increased social media following and, hopefully, an uptick in enrollment in the next couple of years.

Basketball recruiting will benefit from Friday night's shocking win as well.

With winning occasionally comes new pressure, and the Retrievers are going to be under-the-gun to keep head coach Ryan Odom around. There are rumors that Pitt will come calling for Odom in the wake of their firing of Kevin Stallings, but Odom would be wise to politely decline that position. There's nothing at all to be gained from going to Pitt and getting trounced in the ACC every year.

This is all new territory for the Retrievers, who made just their second-ever appearance in the NCAA tournament this year.

But they've handled it well.

From Odom and the returning players to Dr. Hrabowski (President), Tim Hall (Athletic Director) and a new 5,000 seat indoor arena on campus, the school has put together quite a list of benefits for any high school basketball player worthy of mid-major consideration.

Their day in the sun isn't over.

In fact, it's really just starting.

I know I'm speaking for a lot of Baltimore sports fans when I offer a heartfelt "thank you" to everyone at UMBC for what was an incredible weekend.

You made us proud.

For more on UMBC's loss to Kansas State, please check out today's podcast, "The Juice".

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"The Keen Eye" of 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 Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.


umbc edition


You can’t get the whole story without asking the 5 Ws: Who? What? When? Where? and Why?

Who?

The Odom family

Ryan Odom (right) grew up around the game of basketball. His father, Dave, would shake everyone's hand at the scorer's table prior to games at Wake Forest and South Carolina.

Everybody knows the way college basketball head coaches usually enter the arena, right? There’s a certain amount of theater to it.

Around two minutes before the pregame clock expires, the head coach, who hasn’t been out on the court at all in the hours before the game, emerges from the tunnel. He or she heads over to the opposing coach for a handshake and occasionally a brief chat.

I’ve spent more than 20 years around scorer’s tables at college basketball games. When the head coach appears, he or she is often laser focused. When they get to the bench, they might not even notice their wife and kids in the front row behind them.

Then there was Dave Odom, Ryan’s father, the long-time coach at Wake Forest and South Carolina.

He’s still the only coach I’ve ever seen who stopped to thank and shake the hand of everyone at the scorer’s table: the game timers, the official scorer, and everyone else.

It was like he actually “got it”: all these people were making his event run smoothly, and doing it for a few bucks and the love of the game. A billion people in China couldn’t care less, but he seemed appreciative of people who cared as much as he did.

I can only assume the younger Odom saw his Dad do that a few times, and hopefully it rubbed off on him.

What?

Three-point shooting

UMBC finished 12-for-24 from three-point range against Virginia. It doesn’t even matter so much that they shot such a high percentage; it matters more that the Retrievers made almost as many three-pointers as they did two-pointers (14).

Virginia made four of its 22 three-point attempts, so UMBC scored 24 more points from beyond the arc than the Cavaliers. That’s a hard deficit to make up, even for the consensus No. 1 team in the country.

Three-point shooting is, of course, the great equalizer in college basketball. It’s really the only thing that allows a team with much inferior talent to compete with a team it has no business beating.

Nothing against UMBC, or teams that jack up threes like they’re going out of style, but the three-point shot in NCAA basketball has become too easy. Look for the line to be extended to the international distance of 22 feet, 2 inches, almost two feet longer than the current NCAA line, in the near future.

The NCAA is actually using that longer three-point line as an experiment in this year’s NIT.

UMBC, by the way, has been a terrific three-point shooting team all year, not just on Friday. The Retrievers average more than 10 made threes per game, 18th in the country, and shoot 39 percent from behind the arc, 29th in the country.

When?

1998

Twenty years ago, the Harvard women’s basketball team went to Stanford in the first round of the NCAA tournament and beat the Cardinal, 71-67. Before Friday, it was the only time a No. 16 seed had defeated a No. 1 seed in either the women’s or men’s championship.

Despite what you might think— since the women’s field is far more unbalanced than the men’s, especially back in 1998 — the Harvard win was probably less of a surprise than the Retrievers’ victory.

Harvard was severely under-seeded. The Crimson’s best player, Allison Feaster, was one of the best players in all of Division I basketball, not just the Ivy League. She went on to a long career in the WNBA and then overseas.

Meanwhile, one of Stanford’s best players, Vanessa Nygaard, suffered a torn ACL in the conference championship game several days earlier, But it was too late for the NCAA committee choosing the teams to consider moving the Cardinal down from the No. 1 seed line.

The next day, in practice, Stanford’s leading scorer, Kristin Folkl, came down awkwardly from a rebound and also suffered a torn ACL. The Cardinal were a shell of themselves by the day of the game.

No doubt, then, UMBC’s 16-vs.-1 win was a far bigger upset, especially if you add in the fact that a few more people have heard of Harvard than the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Where?

Baltimore County

Some Baltimore Sun editor wrote a headline the other day that suggested that UMBC’s win “put Baltimore County on the map.”

Kind of silly. Baltimore County is one of the most populous counties in the United States, with a public school system that’s one of the nation’s largest. It surrounds one of the largest cities in the United States, in one of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. Let’s not get too crazy.

Also, UMBC has about 11,000 undergraduates, while UVa has about 15,000. The difference between the “small” UMBC and the “big” Virginia isn’t really that large.

There’s no doubt, however, that UMBC (and UMES, actually) have name issues outside the local area. There’s an assumption that the schools are satellite campuses of College Park, which is unfortunate, yet understandable for someone in Oklahoma watching the Retrievers play on TV.

Still, the University of California, Los Angeles, which you might know as UCLA, isn’t considered a satellite campus of the University of California, Berkeley, the “flagship” institution you probably know as Cal. So why should UMBC be considered one? There’s a University of California System, just like there’s a University System of Maryland.

I suppose John Wooden never led UMBC to any national championships, but you get my point. Plus, the last time I checked UCLA lost in the First Four and UMBC beat Virginia.

Why?

Princeton-Georgetown

On St. Patrick’s Day 1989 in Providence, R.I., Alonzo Mourning blocked a Princeton shot at the buzzer and the top-seeded Hoyas escaped with a 50-49 win over the No. 16 seed Tigers in the first round of the tournament.

That game, as has been written about many times since then, may have “saved” the NCAA tournament as we know it today.

The power conferences of the NCAA were this close to eliminating the automatic bids for the Ivy League, and every other league like it, and after that game that all went away. Later that year, CBS took the tournament away from ESPN; the next year was the first one where every game was televised live.

Is it true that, 29 years later, UMBC had the chance to beat Virginia because of what that game meant?

That’s possible, I guess. There’s a chance that an all big-time school tournament would have become a tradition, and nobody would miss the UMBCs of the world.

But there’s also a chance that, after a few years, the NCAA and its member schools would have come to their senses. There might have even been legal challenges; if teams are in Division I, they would like access in some way to the postseason tournament.

For UMBC and its history, of course, it’s better that Princeton didn’t win, right?

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john pusateri
on lacrosse

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


weekend review


#8 Loyola 15 - Navy 9

This game started out fairly even with runs by each team that led to a 5-5 tie at the half. Then the Greyhounds took over with a 10-goal 2nd half as Loyola cruised to the win. The 'Hounds were led by Pat Spencer's school record 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists).

As expected, Navy's Joe Varello dominated faceoffs winning 21 of 28. However, they negated that possession advantage with 17 turnovers, of which 11 were caused by Loyola.

In addition to Spencer, Loyola was headlined by a strong defensive effort from close defenseman Foster Huggins, who caused 5 turnovers and collected 3 ground balls. Jacob Stover also had a strong outing in the cage with 12 saves. Jay Drapeau and Aiden Olmstead chipped in 4 goals each.

Navy's offense was led by Jack Ray with 3 goals.

#2 Maryland 13 - #6 Villanova 11

The outcome was a lot closer than the way the game played out as the Terps got up early and never looked back. Maryland opened up a 7-3 in the first half and eventually led by 5 late in the game before giving up 3 goals to Villanova at the end. The Terps were led by Connor Kelly (3 goals, 2 assists) and Jared Bernhardt (4 goals, 1 assist).

#3 Duke 10 - #20 Towson 8

It looked like the Blue Devils were going to romp as they built a 7-2 lead in the first half. Then Towson dropped into a zone defense and shut Duke down while working their way all the way back to tie the game at 8-8 in the 4th before giving up 2 goals late to concede the victory.

Both goalies played well as Duke's Danny Fowler ended up with 14 saves while Towson's Shane Brennan saved 13. The Tigers' bugaboo continues to be turnovers as they gave up the ball 17 times. Towson's offense was led by Jon Mazza and Timmy Monohan, each with 2 goals and 1 assist.

#10 Johns Hopkins 14 - Delaware 8

Interestingly, this was a back and forth game which had Delaware leading 8-7 near the end of the 3rd. Then Hopkins caught fire going on a 7 goal run to close the game out. The Blue Jays were led by Shack Stanwick (2 goals, 5 assists), Kyle Marr (3 goals, 2 assists) and Hunter Moreland (20-25 faceoffs won).

Bryant 20 - Mount St. Mary's 11

In a surprising result, the Bulldogs jumped out early on the Mount and kept pouring it on. Losing 22 of 35 faceoffs and turning over the ball 17 times proved impossible for the Mountaineers to overcome. The Mount was led by Chris DiPretoro (3 goals) and Brenden McCarthy (2 goals).

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tiger's late run not enough as mcilroy shoots 64 to win at bay hill


Tiger Woods is indeed getting closer.

But even a return to his old stomping grounds wasn't enough to nudge him back into the winner's circle, as Tiger completed his 12th straight round at par or better on Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, only to see Rory McIlroy birdie six of his final eight holes and finish at 18-under to win the event by three shots.

At one point on the back nine, Tiger was within one shot of the lead. But he hit his tee ball out of bounds on the par-5 16th to make bogey and drop back to -11, then made bogey at the next hole. That was the end for Woods.

A sizzling final round 64 gave Rory McIlroy the win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday.

It likely wouldn't have mattered anyway. While Tiger was busy trying to somehow finish the tournament at 14 or 15 under par, perhaps, McIlroy was chipping in, rolling in birdie putts and showing the kind of command of his game that would likely put him in contention for a green jacket next month at Augusta National.

For Woods, the API was yet another step in the right direction. It marked the first time in nearly three years that he played tournament golf on back-to-back weeks and did so without any issues.

"I'm getting a little better every time I play now," Woods said afterwards. "There are things I'm doing now that I wasn't able to do at the Honda last month, for example. I'm shaping my shots the way I want and finally starting to get my wedge game to come around."

The length of Bay Hill helped Woods, as he was able to hit an iron off of several tees. He won't have that same luxury at Augusta National at next month's Masters.

"I'll have to drive it well there," Tiger said after his fourth round 69. "If I can put it in play off the tee, I know my way around that place well enough that I should be able to shoot some low scores."

That still remains a big "if" for Tiger. While his "stinger" iron off the tee was in good working order over the four days at Bay Hill, his two-way miss with the driver still reared its head occasionally.

To wit, after blocking several drives right on Sunday, Tiger aimed left and pulled one O.B. on the 16th hole which effectively ended his back nine run.

"I just didn't get committed to the kind of shot I wanted to hit there, and it wound up biting me. Biting me big time," Woods explained. "I was trying to put myself into position to maybe make eagle and then finish with a birdie or two and get it to maybe 15 under and see how that looked on the board for the guys coming in."


take dad to the u.s. open


#DMD is putting together a special one-day trip to the U.S. Open on June 15 at Shinnecock Hills GC on Long Island (NY) and we'd love for you to be part of it with us!

We're billing it as a "Day with Dad", but you certainly don't have to bring your father along. We just think it will be fun if you do!

Defending champion Brooks Koepka will be in the field at Shinnecock Hills on June 15 when #DMD travels to Long Island for the second round of this year's U.S. Open.

We're heading to Shinnecock Hills to see the second round of the 2018 U.S. Open, departing Baltimore at 5:00 and arriving at the course roughly around 9:00 am. We'll spend the whole day on the course watching the best players in the world play on one of our nation's most iconic golf courses.

If you've never seen Shinnecock Hills in person, this is a must-do opportunity to experience one of our nation's most breathaking and scenic courses.

Our luxury motor coach will be limited to just 40 passengers, giving everyone room to spread out and enjoy the ride to Long Island. We'll enjoy breakfast, drinks and snacks on the ride to the course and we'll have more food and drinks for everyone on the ride home.

Oh, and there's U.S. Open trivia as well! A $100 cash prize is available for our trivia contest, so brush up on those needless facts about the U.S. Open.

Bring Dad along for a truly special day together at the U.S. Open. All of the best players in the world will be there...and the two of you can watch the tournament on Saturday or Sunday with the experience of having just walked the famous layout.

#DMD golf trips like this one are also excellent for employee and client reward. If you have a golfer or two that work in your business or if there's a special client you'd like to treat, we promise we'll great care of them on the trip to Shinnecock Hills!

For pricing and payment details go here.

Sunday
March 18
r logo#DMDfacebook logovolume xliv
issue 18
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


odom, bennett shine on friday night


I watch sports these days more for the theater of it all.

Of course I still take a (hard) rooting interest whenever the Orioles or Ravens play. And as most folks around here know, I'm an unabashed Washington Capitals diehard and predictably fall into a solemn mood right around April 25 or so every year.

For the uninitiated, April 25 is roughly the date -- give or take a week -- where the Caps get bounced out of the Stanley Cup playoffs by a team they have no business losing to.

But that's about it. Orioles, Ravens, Caps...when those three play, it matters to me.

That's not to say I don't have an interest in other teams or hope a certain team wins given the circumstances, of, perhaps, who they're playing. I'll cheer madly for anyone that faces the Philadelphia Flyers, for example.

But these days, I find myself rooting more for coaches than anything else.

I love coaches. They're my favorite people in all of sports.

And after Friday night's shocker in Charlotte, I can't help but pull even harder for UMBC and Ryan Odom. Odom is a truly special coach.

The other guy from that game is quite special, too. If you watched how Tony Bennett of Virginia conducted himself afterwards, it's easy to see why the Cavaliers enjoyed one of the best seasons in the history of ACC basketball, although they're obviously known now -- and forever -- as the #1 seed who got sent home by a lowly #16 seed.

I wrote about Bennett here at #DMD on Saturday and I'm back for more today.

Here's the video from his Friday night press conference after Virginia was defeated by the Retrievers.



#DMD HD-TV


I'm a big believer in the theory that a team eventually takes on the personality of its coach.

It might take a while, months of practicing and games mostly, but at some point the athletes on the court, field, diamond, etc. will mold into one giant ball of whatever-it-is the coach shows them on a daily basis.

UMBC and Odom are a perfect example.

Someone on Friday night asked Retrievers' junior Joe Sherburne what made Odom a special coach. "He relaxes us," said Sherburne. "He gets us to play our best basketball by believing in us. And when we don't play well, he doesn't yell or scream. He explains. We appreciate that."

Odom should copy and paste that statment and tack it somewhere in bold on his resumè.

Other than beating the #1 seed in the country by 20 points, there's nothing more that could impress an athletic director about Ryan Odom's coaching acumen.

And his UMBC team's appreciation for their coach shows in the way they play.

They're feisty, but not combative.

They're having fun, but not wildly out of sync.

They're calm, but not lifeless.

They're animated, but not distracted by it all.

They look, on the court, the same way Ryan Odom looks off of it.

I assume the same can said about Virginia and Tony Bennett. I saw them play three or four times this past season, before Friday night's game, and I marveled at how disciplined they were, particularly on defense.

They play the game of basketball in a traditional manner we don't see much of anymore.

UMBC will have its hands full keeping Ryan Odom in Catonsville after this successful two year run.

I wouldn't go as far as to say the Cavaliers play the game "the way it should be played" because there are lots of ways to skin a cat and a team goes as far as their talent and athleticism will take them in nearly every case.

Coaching matters, obviously, but if you have a team full of guys who like to run-and-gun, you're better off figuring out how to get the best of them given their skill set than to tear the whole team down and make them play "your style".

It just so happens that Bennett's preference for a strong defensive team and a group of guys who share the ball on offense mirrors the very way he learned to play the game at Wisconsin-Green Bay back in his college days.

And he, like Odom, isn't a guy who is going to yell, scream, embarass and degrade his players. That's just not Tony Bennett's style.

Just as a matter of exercise, I would love to see how the other three #1 seeds would have reacted in the final three minutes of a 20-point loss to a #16 seed.

I know how Virginia took it. I saw it happen to them.

But the others? How would Villanova do? Xavier? Kansas? Would they have been as respectful in the final minute or so when Bennett instructed his guys to pull back and let UMBC hang on to the ball and enjoy their moment in the sun?

As the game wore on Friday night and it started to become apparent that UMBC was on the verge of the biggest upset in college basketball history, there was no panic in Virginia. They tried everything they could to get back in the game. They made shots. They stayed within shouting distance, even with five minutes remaining.

The story of the game, essentially, was that UMBC had a shooting night of historical proportions. They didn't make everything, but they darn well almost did.

And when it was ending, Virginia didn't create a scene, start a fight, throw a cheap elbow or two and diminish the wonderful season they put together before Friday evening's shocker.

They played hard and lost.

As Bennett said afterwards, "When you're in the arena, those kinds of moments can happen to you."

I faced an interesting situation last May when my Calvert Hall team faced Loyola in the MIAA A-Conference semifinals at the Dons' home course, Hunt Valley.

During the regular season, we compiled a 6-5-1 record and Loyola ended the campaign at 10-1-1. That tie was to Calvert Hall, and it took a Loyola player making a 12-foot putt on the last hole at Country Club of Maryland or we would have defeated them outright.

The earlier regular season encounter at Hunt Valley (we play everyone twice during the regular season) was also close, as we lost by a couple of points when the match swung in Loyola's favor late.

That's a short way of saying we were excited to draw Loyola in the semifinals because we felt as if we matched up well against them. That's what the regular season results showed, anyway.

Everything was perfect on that Tuesday in May when we got to Hunt Valley for the playoff match.

It was actually 90 degrees. Perfect golf weather.

Our six starters had terrific warm-up sessions on the practice range. I happened to notice that a couple of Loyola guys weren't hitting the ball well on the range. I was quietly excited about our chances for pulling off the upset.

What happened next was a complete reversal of fortune. Unfortunately.

Loyola played great from the first tee to the 12th hole.

We did not play well.

They clobbered us, 19-2.

There was no way I could see it coming. Lose? Sure, that possibility existed. Lose 19-2? I wouldn't have guessed we were capable of that.

With two or three holes remaining and the outcome no longer in doubt, I started to think about what I was going to say to the team afterwards.

At one point, it looked like we might even get shutout, but we fortunately snuck out a couple of points at the end.

As I watched the final match play the 11th and 12th holes, I was overcome with pride at how my two guys in the #5 and #6 spot just kept grinding away as if the outcome of the match was still in doubt.

My #5 guy, in fact, had a six-foot putt on the 12th hole to win a full point on the "back six". He went through his routine, studied the putt from both sides, and made the same kind of effort on that putt as he would have had it meant the difference in winning or losing.

He knew the outcome already, but that didn't matter. He wanted to make that putt and win a full point.

Oddly enough, it dawned on me right then and there, standing next to the 12th green, that I would have done the exact same thing had I been playing. I would have wanted to make that putt and win a full point even though it didn't really matter.

And I realized they were playing the way I would have played. And they were playing that way because I coached them to play that way.

They listened. And learned.

It was a great coaching moment for me and while it didn't ease the sting of a 19-2 loss in that moment, it did give me solace in the days after when I thought about what I could have done differently to potentially affect the outcome.

Afterwards, I told them the truth, much like Tony Bennett told his guys on Friday night. "The other team tries, too," I reminded them. "They have pride at Loyola just like we have pride. Today, they played much better than we did. And when you only get one shot at someone, you either win or you go home. There will be lots of other things in your life that will disappoint you and nearly all of them will be more important than this golf match today against Loyola. This is just a microcosm of what you're going to find out there in the real world. Some things work out in your favor and some things don't. You have to learn to accept the failures and the disappointments and move on...quickly."

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retrievers again underdogs as kansas state awaits tonight


Here's a funny piece of sports trivia.

Did you know that a #9 seed in the NCAA tournament has never lost to a #16 seed?

It's true, you can look it up.

Joe Sherburne and the Retrievers face a Kansas State team tonight that could be without the services of their top player.

That scarlet-letter awaits Kansas State tonight if they lose to UMBC.

All of that is true, of course, because no #16 seed had ever won a game in the big dance until Friday night when the Retrievers shocked Virginia.

Now, Kansas State looks to avoid being part of UMBC's magical run.

The Wildcats are 10.5 point favorites tonight (7:45 pm) in Charlotte. That won't faze the Retrievers. They were 22.5 point underdogs against the Cavaliers.

Kansas State beat Creighton on Friday and did so without the services of one of their top players, Dean Wade, who is expected to play tonight but see "limited" action at best.

Junior guard Barry Brown did a lot of damage on Friday, making up for Wade's absence with an 18-point, 6-rebound performance against Creighton. He also had a terrific defensive performance, holding Creighton's top scorer, Marcus Foster, to just five points.

If Brown draws a similar assignment tonight, he'll have to figure out a way to slow down UMBC's Jairus Lyles, who punctured the Cavaliers on Friday night by slicing and dicing his way through the lane on the way to a 28-point performance. Lyles is a handful, as Barry Brown is set to find out.

The good news for UMBC is that Kansas State, like Virginia, doesn't have an enormous amount of size. UMBC figures to start freshman Daniel Akin (6'9") while Kansas State will send out sophomore Makol Mawien, also 6'9".

If the Retrievers can control the pace, like they did in the second half on Friday night, they have a puncher's chance of hanging with the Wildcats, who finished 4th in the Big 12 during the regular season.

The other critical issue for UMBC will be keeping Kansas State away from the foul line. In Friday's win over Creighton, the Wildcats went to the charity stripe 25 times. The Bluejays shot just five foul shots all night. It's hard to win that way.

I'm doing my best not to stir up a pot of good ol' home cookin' here, but I think UMBC has one more win in them. I'm buying Ryan Odom stock and I can only imagine how hard he has worked over the last 24 hours to get his team's feet back on terra firma after Friday's monumental win.

UMBC stays in the limelight as the nation's new darling by shocking Kansas State, 64-62.

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take dad to the u.s. open


#DMD is putting together a special one-day trip to the U.S. Open on June 15 at Shinnecock Hills GC on Long Island (NY) and we'd love for you to be part of it with us!

We're billing it as a "Day with Dad", but you certainly don't have to bring your father along. We just think it will be fun if you do!

Defending champion Brooks Koepka will be in the field at Shinnecock Hills on June 15 when #DMD travels to Long Island for the second round of this year's U.S. Open.

We're heading to Shinnecock Hills to see the second round of the 2018 U.S. Open, departing Baltimore at 5:00 and arriving at the course roughly around 9:00 am. We'll spend the whole day on the course watching the best players in the world play on one of our nation's most iconic golf courses.

If you've never seen Shinnecock Hills in person, this is a must-do opportunity to experience one of our nation's most breathaking and scenic courses.

Our luxury motor coach will be limited to just 40 passengers, giving everyone room to spread out and enjoy the ride to Long Island. We'll enjoy breakfast, drinks and snacks on the ride to the course and we'll have more food and drinks for everyone on the ride home.

Oh, and there's U.S. Open trivia as well! A $100 cash prize is available for our trivia contest, so brush up on those needless facts about the U.S. Open.

Bring Dad along for a truly special day together at the U.S. Open. All of the best players in the world will be there...and the two of you can watch the tournament on Saturday or Sunday with the experience of having just walked the famous layout.

#DMD golf trips like this one are also excellent for employee and client reward. If you have a golfer or two that work in your business or if there's a special client you'd like to treat, we promise we'll great care of them on the trip to Shinnecock Hills!

For pricing and payment details go here.

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Saturday
March 17
r logo#DMDfacebook logovolume xliv
issue 17
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an all-time shocker!


It's probably impossible to lather too much hyperbole on the body of last night's shocking UMBC win over Virginia.

Words can't even do it justice, really.

A squad that during its regular season lost to the likes of Colgate, Army and Stony Brook -- and a stinky Maryland team, don't forget -- rose up on Friday night and made college basketball history, as the Retrievers throttled the best team in the entire country, Virginia, 74-54.

It was so improbable that even gamblers, who have a penchant for being willing to throw down a few bucks on anyone that would pay off handsomely, refused to bite the UMBC hook. One Vegas gambling location said after last night's game that only 943 wagers were actually made on the Virginia-UMBC contest and exactly two (2) people bet UMBC to win outright. Parents of players on the team, I assume.

Oh, and UMBC didn't just beat the Cavaliers. They didn't do to Virginia what they did to Vermont, which was "hang around" for 39 minutes, grab a loose ball, and hoist up a deep centerfield 3-pointer that went in at the buzzer. No, no, no...

UMBC stomped Virginia.

Ran them out of the gym, to borrow a convenient basketball term.

UMBC's Steve Levy has seen a lot in his 31 years at the school. But he probably never thought he'd see what he saw last night in Charlotte.

It's now most certainly the biggest upset in the history of college basketball and could easily be considered as the greatest single game upset in the history of modern sports.

Joe Namath, move over. You've been replaced. Finally.

The win probably means Retrievers' head coach Ryan Odom will emerge as one of college basketball's new hot coaching commodities. He had already started to make a name for himself before last night's shocker but now, unfortunately, some larger programs with a bigger salary and more security are sure to come calling.

It will be a shame to see Odom leave, but that's why you take a job in the America East conference in the first place. You work 18 hour days for eight months a year hoping to get out.

One person who was part of last night's remarkable 40 minutes of theater won't be "highly sought after" in the aftermath of the big win, but my heart warmed for him last night in a way few people watching could ever imagine.

In my former life, I could have been Steve Levy.

In 1982, while serving in my role as the Public Relations Assistant of the Baltimore Blast, I applied for the Assistant Sports Information Director position at Rutgers University and, mostly because no one else wanted to make $11,000 a year, they offered me the job. I turned it down.

Two years later, ironically about a month before I was offered the Director of Media Relations job with the Blast, I turned down a similar opportunity to be the Assistant S.I.D. at the University of Delaware.

That's a short way of saying this: I could have been Steve Levy, if not for a couple of decisions on my part not to leave Baltimore for two gigs that largely paid the same amount I was making at the time. Had Delaware, for instance, offered me $28,000 instead of the $22,000 I was making in 1984, I probably would have taken it. Instead, they offered $12,000 -- plus free schooling -- and that was about eight grand less than my Blast gig was paying.

Who is Steve Levy, you ask?

He's the longtime Sports Information Director at UMBC. They have a fancy title for him now -- something like Associate Athletic Director -- but he is effectively the S.I.D. at UMBC.

Levy has been at the school for 31 years. That's a long time.

That's 31 years of wins and losses.

31 years of twelve hour bus rides to Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and virtually anyplace else four wheels and a college basketball team will take you.

31 years of kids yelling at you because they should have been credited with an assist on the third goal of the lacrosse game against Albany.

31 years of coaches yelling at you for producing stats that show how poorly the team rebounds on the road because "we don't want our opponents to see that stuff".

31 years of raising a family and trying to explain to your wife and kids that you have to go with the softball team on their 5-day road trip to Ohio because softball players and coaches deserve to be followed and reported on just like every other sport at the school.

There have undoubtedly been a few bright spots for Levy over the last three decades. Last night was the second time he watched UMBC play in the NCAA basketball team, having been there front and center in 2008 when the Retrievers won the America East crown and lost to Georgetown in the first round of the Big Dance.

He was there a few years ago when UMBC's men's soccer team rallied in the post-season to advance all the way to the NCAA Final Four.

And there have been a handful of other memorable moments for him along the way.

But nothing like last night.

Not even close.

The Retrievers arrived in the arena as a ridiculed underdog and left as history makers.

As the final minute rolled on and the Cavaliers respectfully backed off and let the Retrievers bask in their moment, I kept thinking about Levy. Where he was, what he was thinking, and how he would celebrate the victory.

Like the true professional that he is, Levy was probably feverishly belting out the first edition of the game story for UMBC's website as the clocked reached 00:00 and UMBC celebrated on the court right in front of him.

I hope he took a minute to absorb and enjoy it all.

Levy's moment in the sun was a long time coming...

But very well deserved.

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bennett was a class act in defeat


You could actually see the look of worry on Virginia coach Tony Bennett's face with about 12 minutes to go.

With four minutes remaining in last night's 74-54 loss to UMBC, the facial expression turned to resignation.

He certainly didn't quit coaching when Virginia trailed 64-47, but you could tell that he knew.

After the game, Bennett graciously gave a TNT reporter a few minutes of his time.

I wondered, as I watched that, how many other #1 seed coaches would have done the same thing last night had UMBC shocked their team instead of Virginia?

Tony Bennett and his Virginia Cavaliers are in the record books. They're now the first #1 seed to ever lose to a #16 seed in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

Would Jay Wright have done it? I don't know. Maybe. Maybe not. You don't know until the moment presents itself, obviously.

But Tony Bennett did show up.

And he not only showed up, he said all the right things.

Here's what Bennett could have said. And none of this would have been untrue, by the way.

"We picked a bad night to have our worst game of the year."

"The loss of De'Andre Hunter really impacted us."

"If we played those guys 10 more times, we'd come out on top every time."

"I would have been nice if the committee gave the overall #1 seed an earlier game, around 6 pm or 7 pm."

But he didn't say any of that. At least not to the media.

Instead, Bennett glorified UMBC and Coach Ryan Odom. "They whooped our butts," he said.

He mentioned that losing in big moments is a part of life. "I explained to our players that this is what happens when you put yourself in the arena. You leave yourself vulnerable to moments like this," Bennett explained afterwards.

Bennett didn't make any excuses last night.

Anyone who watched the game on Friday evening saw it for themselves.

UMBC was clearly the better team. Last night.

Sure, if they played a 10-game series, Virginia would probably win nine of them.

But they play a one-game series. And UMBC was better last night. Far better, in fact.

And that was a moment Bennett didn't run from afterwards.

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crabtree should help but ravens still have work to do


Michael Crabtree is a Raven.

I assume he passed the physical.

The Ravens snagged a veteran wide receiver on Friday when the erstwhile Raider agreed on a 3-year deal with John Harbaugh's team.

He's a legit player. I wouldn't say Crabtree is "just what the doctor ordered". He is 30 years old, after all. But he's much better than Ryan Grant, the free agent the Ravens signed on Tuesday of this week and then conveniently "unsigned" on Thursday after the former Redskins wide receiver "failed" his physical.

Crabtree is a quality wide receiver.

But so, too, was Jeremy Maclin, who showed up in Charm City for the 2017 season and got the boot before the 2018 campaign was hatched.

I bring up Maclin for one reason.

He and Crabtree are cut largely from the same cloth, oddly enough.

Maclin's played eight years in the league, Crabtree just six. They were both first round draft picks.

Their playing styles are different. Frankly, the way Crabtree plays the game sits better with what the Ravens need in 2018. That's my opinion, anyway.

But anytime a player comes from the West Coast (San Francisco and Oakland) to the East Coast, I always offer a fair, simple warning: Life on this side of the country is different.

The AFC North will be much different than were those days in the NFC West and AFC West.

I've contended for a while now that Maclin wasn't a good fit for the style of play in the AFC North.

Steve Smith Sr. was a good fit. So, too, was Derrick Mason. Maclin, I thought, was not.

I suspect Crabtree will be a good fit. I anticipate he'll be a solid addition to what was a bleak receiving corps in Baltimore.

But I also know it doesn't happen automatically.

And so I offer that simple warning: The AFC North is different.

Crabtree would have to be terrible to duplicate what Maclin provided for the Ravens in 2017. I don't see that in him. He's precisely what Joe Flacco needs; someone who will go up and fight for the ball in the end zone.

But if you don't mind, I think I'll wait a while before I start looking at the price of Super Bowl tickets.

Just in case...

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take dad to the u.s. open


#DMD is putting together a special one-day trip to the U.S. Open on June 15 at Shinnecock Hills GC on Long Island (NY) and we'd love for you to be part of it with us!

We're billing it as a "Day with Dad", but you certainly don't have to bring your father along. We just think it will be fun if you do!

Defending champion Brooks Koepka will be in the field at Shinnecock Hills on June 15 when #DMD travels to Long Island for the second round of this year's U.S. Open.

We're heading to Shinnecock Hills to see the second round of the 2018 U.S. Open, departing Baltimore at 5:00 and arriving at the course roughly around 9:00 am. We'll spend the whole day on the course watching the best players in the world play on one of our nation's most iconic golf courses.

If you've never seen Shinnecock Hills in person, this is a must-do opportunity to experience one of our nation's most breathaking and scenic courses.

Our luxury motor coach will be limited to just 40 passengers, giving everyone room to spread out and enjoy the ride to Long Island. We'll enjoy breakfast, drinks and snacks on the ride to the course and we'll have more food and drinks for everyone on the ride home.

Oh, and there's U.S. Open trivia as well! A $100 cash prize is available for our trivia contest, so brush up on those needless facts about the U.S. Open.

Bring Dad along for a truly special day together at the U.S. Open. All of the best players in the world will be there...and the two of you can watch the tournament on Saturday or Sunday with the experience of having just walked the famous layout.

#DMD golf trips like this one are also excellent for employee and client reward. If you have a golfer or two that work in your business or if there's a special client you'd like to treat, we promise we'll great care of them on the trip to Shinnecock Hills!

For pricing and payment details go here.

Friday
March 16
r logo#DMDfacebook logovolume xliv
issue 16
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


fact and opinion has umbc winning the whole thing


FACT -- The Ravens agreed on a deal with WR Ryan Grant on Tuesday, then brought him to town for a physical on Thursday. He apparently failed the physical due to an ankle injury he suffered in the Redskins' final regular season game last December. The Ravens then voided the $29M deal they agreed on and Grant is now a free agent -- again.

OPINION -- Lots of folks around town yipped for joy when news broke on Thursday that Grant's signing was null and void, but this is NOT necessarily overall good news for the Ravens. Players and agents don't like when teams agree on a deal and then nix it due to a failed physical, particularly when it's over an "injury" and not a "condition". The baseball team in town has famously used the "physical trick" on a few occasions over the years and it has likely sullied their already shaky reputation. The Ravens might wind up with a better player than Grant down the road or they might coax him into signing a one-year "prove it" contract, but flunking a guy's physical and cutting him loose isn't good for long-term business with free agents.

FACT -- Tom Crean is the new head basketball coach at the University of Georgia, agreeing on a six-year contract Thursday afternoon. Crean most recently spent nine seasons at Indiana, where he led the Hoosiers to four NCAA tournament appearances and three trips to the Sweet Sixteen. Crean's Marquette team advanced to the Final Four in 2003.

OPINION -- I was kind of hoping that Crean wouldn't take a coaching job in 2018 and would continue on as an analyst for ESPN for at least one more season. Why? Because I thought he might be a good fit at Maryland if Mark Turgeon's Terps flame out next season and Turgeon gets the boot. I've always liked Tom Crean as a coach. And I don't think Maryland's going anywhere with Turgeon at the helm.

FACT -- Tiger Woods shot 4-under par at Bay Hill on Thursday in the opening round of the Bay Hill Invitational in Orlando, an event he has won eight times in his career. That's really a staggering number when you realize guys like Retief Goosen, Matt Kuchar and Peter Jacobsen each own 7 career victories on the PGA Tour. Woods has more wins in one event than those three each have in their career. Wow...

OPINION -- Woods sure does look good for a guy who (supposedly) had spinal fusion surgery about this time one year ago.

Will Dylan Bundy get the ball on opening day when the O's host the Twins at Camden Yards?

FACT -- Buck Showalter says he'll name the team's opening starter "soon". Last year, he waited until March 27 to announce that Kevin Gausman would start the opener on April 3rd. He can't wait until March 27 this year...the opener is on March 29.

OPINION -- Give Dylan Bundy the ball on opening day. Gausman started last year and, while he enjoyed a very respectable second half of the season, Bundy outperformed him over the course of the entire 2017 campaign. I say it's Bundy's turn to be the #1 guy until proven otherwise.

FACT -- The Capitals are enjoying one of those "up" periods, as they've now won three straight games after last night's 7-3 thrashing of the Islanders in Brooklyn (NY). Washington and Pittsburgh are tied for lead in the the Metropolitan Division with 87 points, but the Caps have played two fewer games. The worst-franchise-in-the-history-of-sports lost at home to Columbus last night, 5-3, so the Flyers still sit in 3rd place with 81 points.

OPINION -- Philip Grubauer has started four straight games for the Caps, as Barry Trotz has apparently handed over the #1 goalie duties to him...for the time being. That's a good move by Trotz, who hasn't recently been confused for Scotty Bowman behind the bench. Braden Holtby was struggling through a sluggish second half of the season when Trotz made the switch prior to the game in Los Angeles last Thursday. Holtby will likely start tonight at home vs. the Islanders, which should help his confidence. The Islanders stink.

FACT -- The Houston Astros have the best record (14-6) in all of Grapefruit League action.

OPINION -- Spring training results don't really mean much, as we all know, but the Astros are so good and so deep in their minor league system that even the players who fill out their 40-man roster are better than every other team's "B" guys. Houston isn't going anywhere but up in 2018, which is saying something considering they won the World Series last year. I'll make my "official" 2018 baseball season predictions in a couple of weeks, but you'll see the Astros back in the post-season.

FACT -- UMBC will play Virginia tonight at approximately 9:20 pm in Charlotte. This marks the first time the Retrievers have played in the NCAA tournament since the Jay Greene-led 'Dawgs faced Georgetown in 2008.

OPINION -- Every Baltimore team except Towson has played in the NCAA tournament in the last decade. That's actually a fact, not an opinion. The opinion here, though, is that something's definitely "off" at Towson if the Tigers can't win the CAA title at least once a decade. It was a really tough conference ten years ago with the likes of VCU, George Mason and Old Dominion in the ranks, but with those three gone, the CAA is ripe for the pickin'. Except Towson isn't doing any pickin'. Something's not right with the program.

FACT -- The Blast plays at home tonight (7:35 pm) against the Milwaukee Wave in a one-game Eastern Conference Final to see who plays for the MASL championship, which is also a one-game scenario. Head on out to the SECU Arena tonight and then jump over to Glory Days Grill right after the game to watch UMBC take on Virginia. That's what I'm doing, anyway.

OPINION -- The Blast defeated Syracuse 2-games-to-0 in the conference semifinals last week to earn the right to play Milwaukee, who beat Cedar Rapids in a two-game sweep. Something's wrong with this picture, though. The conference semifinals are a best of three. But the conference finals are a one-game "Super Bowl" set-up and so, too, is the Championship game. Isn't that backwards? Or shouldn't every series be a best-of-3, at least? I don't get it. Why play the semifinals as a best of 3 and the other series' as one-gamers? Weird...

FACT -- Wide receiver Michael Crabtree was released by the Raiders on Thursday after Oakland signed oft-injured Jordy Nelson, formerly of the Green Bay Packers.

OPINION -- Lots of people around town are clamoring for the Ravens to sign the 30-year old Crabtree, who has more TD catches against the Ravens over the last five years (5) as anyone else in the NFL. That's what I saw on Twitter yesterday, anyway. I thought Antonio Brown had 17 TD catches against the Ravens in the last five years. That's what it felt like, anyway. Crabtree would be a nice addition for the Ravens, yes, but he's most certainly not taking the team's wide receiving corps from a D+ unit to a B+ unit. He's "decent", but nothing more than that.

FACT -- I did not submit one -- not even one -- "official" NCAA bracket this week. I had a dozen offers to get into a pool/bracket contest, but just didn't feel the urge to sit down and go through the whole thing. Lame, huh? Instead, I just filled out the #DMD contest so I have something "on the record" and that was that. Oh, and thanks to the 600 or so of you who filled out our contest this year! Much appreciated.

OPINION -- I had Virginia winning it all on Monday when I put my #DMD entry up on this website, but that was before they declared De'Andre Hunter out for the tournament with an injury. I don't think the Cavaliers can win it without him. Begrudingly, if given a second chance to fill out my entry, I'd now go with Duke to win the title. I sure hope I'm wrong.

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john pusateri
on lacrosse

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


toomey's greyhounds looking to rebound


Game of the Week: #8 Loyola @ Navy (Saturday 3/17 12 pm @ Annapolis, MD)

Intriguing early season Patriot league matchup featuring Top 10 Loyola, coming off a lackluster showing against #3 Duke, and a Navy team who's appearing to right the ship winning 3 of their last 4 after starting off the season 0-2.

Both are undefeated in the competitive Patriot league, so this is a very meaningful game. Let's take a look at some key factors that could decide the outcome.

Faceoffs: Team wise, the Midshipmen are only winning a pedestrian 53.1% of their faceoffs. But the Greyhounds are very vulnerable, winning only 42.2%. Navy's Joe Varello is winning 60.3% while Loyola's Mike Orefice is only winning 43.4%. Navy should be getting some extra possessions this game.

Man-Up/Man Down: Navy's EMO is only converting 16.7% of it's man-up advantage time while Loyola's man-down defense is only allowing goals 17.6%. Loyola may want to use the "hack-a-Shaq" defense to put Navy's man-up at the foul-line given how poor the Midshipmen's man-up is and how good the Greyhound man-down unit defends.

Clearing: Loyola successfully clears the ball from their defensive end at a solid 91.1% while Navy has it share of issues only clearing at not so good 83.1%. What extra possessions Navy gains in faceoffs could be given up if they fail to clear.

Outcome: The Greyhounds walloped the Midshipmen last year in Baltimore 18-7, but Navy took them down the year before 10-9 the last time the two tangled in Annapolis. Defenses are both giving up just over 8 goals per game. But the difference will be in the offenses where the Greyhounds are scoring 12.8 goals per game while the Midshipmen are only scoring 8.4 goals. Navy will get some extra possessions, which will in turn limit Loyola's and make this a close game. But I see the Greyhounds winning 11-8 over the Midshipmen.

Other Notable Games --

#2 Maryland @ #6 Villanova (Sat 1 pm) - After losing a heartbreaker to #1 Albany at home, the Terps now have to take on the #6 Wildcats on the road. You'd think the Terps might be in trouble. But Villanova has built up their ranking on weaker foes. I see Maryland dominating possessions and cruising to a 12-8 bounce back win.

#3 Duke @ #20 Towson (Sat 12 pm) - The Blue Devils are back in Baltimore, this time to take on the Tigers. Can Towson go from a breakthrough win to season defining one? They are going to have to bring more than 7 goals this week and not let Duke take 40+ shots. Unfortunately, I'm not seeing that happen as I'm giving this one to Duke 11-7.

#10 Johns Hopkins vs Delaware (Sat 3 pm) - After a hot start, Delaware has cooled off a fair amount. In this battle of the blue birds, look for the Blue Jays to take down the Blue Hens in a what should be a high scoring affair 14-10.

Mount St. Mary's @ Bryant (Sat 3 pm) - The Mount is trending upward after a slow start against tougher out of conference competition. Their offense seems to be clicking. But will they get enough possessions against one of the best face-off specialists in Bryant's Kenny Massa (68% winning pct.)? I say yes, but barely, as the Mount takes this NEC opener 11-10.

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this weekend in
english soccer


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


With the FA Cup taking precedent this weekend as seven clubs tend to their responsibilities in the quarterfinals, an abbreviated Saturday only card will kick off Matchday 31 of the English Premier League tomorrow morning. There are still a couple good matchups and several teams will now have a game in hand that could potentially be an advantage as we draw closer to the end of the season, so be sure to tune in with every game available live across the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Saturday, March 17 (all times eastern)

11 am – Crystal Palace @ Huddersfield Town – John Smith’s Stadium, NBC Sports Network

Crystal Palace manger Roy Hodgson, whose side sit two points from safety, faces a crucial six point relegation decider at Huddersfield Town this weekend.

Despite enjoying a man advantage for over seventy nine minutes, Huddersfield Town were unable to find the crucial breakthrough and let a golden opportunity to put some much needed distance between themselves and the rest of the bunch fighting the drop slip by when they played to a scoreless draw with relegation rivals Swansea City. Another potential relegation decider awaits them on Saturday when they entertain Crystal Palace at the John Smith’s Stadium, with Palace still occupying the final relegation place, four points below the Terriers, after they fell for the fourth week in a row to Chelsea 2-1.

While Palace struggle to survive, the next three weeks could determine the top flight future of Huddersfield as the Terriers face three direct relegation rivals with trips to Newcastle and Brighton to follow the visit from Palace, before ending the campaign against league giants Chelsea, Manchester City, and Arsenal. With the brutal run in they must take points from direct relegation rivals if they have any hopes of staying up and they should have the slight edge at home on Saturday, as Palace are winless in their last four on the road (D1) and have only two wins from their fifteen so far this season (L9 D4).

11 am – Everton @ Stoke City – bet365 Stadium, NBC Live Extra

Everton snapped a two game losing streak and halted Brighton and Hove Albion’s rise from near the bottom of the table as they dealt the Premier League new boys a first defeat in their last five with two second half goals enough for a 2-0 victory. Hoping to finish what has for the most part been a disappointing campaign after sky high expectations at the start of the year, they will travel to the bet365 Stadium for a meeting with the increasingly desperate Stoke City, who put in a decent showing but were ultimately no match for a less than perfect Manchester City to stay two points from safety in a 2-0 loss.

With matchups still to come over the next two weeks with Arsenal and Tottenham before a trip to Liverpool a few weeks after that, Stoke find themselves in the same boat as Huddersfield Town where they have to take points from direct relegation rivals in pending matchups with West Ham, Crystal Palace, and Swansea if they have any hopes of surviving another year in the top flight. If they can steal a point from Everton, who have won three of the last four with the Potters but who have only two wins from their nine all time Premier League visits to the bet365 Stadium (L2 D5), that would be a bonus.

1:30 pm – Watford @ Liverpool – Anfield, NBC Sports Network

A tactical masterclass from Jose Mourinho stymied Liverpool and the league’s second most prolific attack, with an own goal courtesy of the United defense all they could get muster as they fell to a 2-1 defeat and back down to fourth place in the table. Only a week after looking as if they were a shoe in for one of the final three spots in the top four, the Reds find themselves only four points above Chelsea, who closed the gap and probably saved their managers job following the win over Crystal Palace, when they welcome Watford to Anfield to wrap up the abbreviated matchday card.

Watford’s struggles on the road continued as their 3-0 defeat to the reeling Arsenal made it seven losses from their last eight away from home (D1), with the Hornets failing to get on the scoresheet in the last four. A visit to Anfield, where Liverpool have yet to lose this season (W9 D6) and where Watford have only one win from their twelve all time trips (L10 D1), is probably the last thing they need right now but Liverpool, who have dropped only one of the last ten with the Hornets across all competitions (W8 D1), will like their chances to bounce back and maintain their four point cushion in fourth place.

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take dad to the u.s. open


#DMD is putting together a special one-day trip to the U.S. Open on June 15 at Shinnecock Hills GC on Long Island (NY) and we'd love for you to be part of it with us!

We're billing it as a "Day with Dad", but you certainly don't have to bring your father along. We just think it will be fun if you do!

Defending champion Brooks Koepka will be in the field at Shinnecock Hills on June 15 when #DMD travels to Long Island for the second round of this year's U.S. Open.

We're heading to Shinnecock Hills to see the second round of the 2018 U.S. Open, departing Baltimore at 5:00 and arriving at the course roughly around 9:00 am. We'll spend the whole day on the course watching the best players in the world play on one of our nation's most iconic golf courses.

If you've never seen Shinnecock Hills in person, this is a must-do opportunity to experience one of our nation's most breathaking and scenic courses.

Our luxury motor coach will be limited to just 40 passengers, giving everyone room to spread out and enjoy the ride to Long Island. We'll enjoy breakfast, drinks and snacks on the ride to the course and we'll have more food and drinks for everyone on the ride home.

Oh, and there's U.S. Open trivia as well! A $100 cash prize is available for our trivia contest, so brush up on those needless facts about the U.S. Open.

Bring Dad along for a truly special day together at the U.S. Open. All of the best players in the world will be there...and the two of you can watch the tournament on Saturday or Sunday with the experience of having just walked the famous layout.

#DMD golf trips like this one are also excellent for employee and client reward. If you have a golfer or two that work in your business or if there's a special client you'd like to treat, we promise we'll great care of them on the trip to Shinnecock Hills!

For pricing and payment details go here.

#DMD Bracket Challenge
No. Question Points
1 Will UMBC score more than 54.5 points vs. Virginia on Friday, March 16? 2
2 Will UMBC's Jairus Lyles score more than 22.5 points against Virginia? 2
3 Will a 5-seed lose to a 12-seed on Thursday/Friday (opening round)? 3
4 Will at least one game go to overtime on Thursday/Friday (opening round)? 3
5 Will there be a final margin of victory of at least 35.5 points in any game on Thursday/Friday (opening round)? 3
6 Will at least one #1 or #2 seed fail to advance to the Sweet Sixteen? 3
7 List eight teams that will advance to the Sweet Sixteen. 2 pts. for each correct team;
5 bonus pts. if you go 8-for-8
8 Which #1 seed will lose first? 5
9 Which four teams will play in the Final Four? 5 pts. for each correct team;
10 bonus pts. if you go 4-for-4
10 Which team will win the NCAA title? 10

Back to the Top

We don't have many rules around here, but we are a stickler for the rules when it comes to our bracket challenge. You see the questions above. Please follow the "entry form" in a very precise manner, as you see below. It makes it much easier for us to calculate your points when everyone fills in their entry in the same way. Below, you'll see MY answers.

Rule #1 -- In the subject line of your entry, please put "#DMD Hoops".

Rule #2 -- Please put your FULL NAME on the first line of your entry.

Rule #3 -- List your answers in the e-mail as you see I've done below:

1. No

2. No

3. Yes

4. Yes

5. Yes

6. Yes

7. Virginia, Tennessee, Michigan, North Carolina, Kansas, Purdue, West Virginia, Villanova

8. Xavier

9. Virginia, Michigan, Villanova, Michigan State

10. Virginia

Rule #4 -- Send your entry to: dmdscore@gmail.com

That's it!

Prize chart

10th place -- $25 Glory Days Grill gift card

9th place -- $25 Glory Days Grill gift card

8th place -- $25 Glory Days Grill gift card

7th place -- $25 Glory Days Grill gift card

6th place -- 10 free breakfast cards from Chick fil-A Nottingham Square

5th place -- $50 Glory Days Grill gift card

4th place -- Four Orioles tickets for a 2018 home game

3rd place -- $75 Glory Days Grill gift card

2nd place -- Two Washington Capitals tickets for a 2018 playoff game

1st place -- $150 Glory Days Grill gift card

Let the madness begin!!!



"SHOW ME THE MONEY!" for October 28. Drew makes his week 8 NFL picks right here.





O's SCOREBOARD
Sunday, September 30
Orioles
4

Astros
0
WP: P. Fry (1-2)

LP: B. Peacock (3-5)

HR: none

RECORD/PLACE: 47-115, 5th (of course)

breakfast bytes

Sunday Night NFL: Bears (9-4) stifle Goff, Rams (11-2) with 15-6 win in Chicago.

Dolphins (7-6) shock Patriots (9-4) with last play 70-yard-lateral-a-thon, win 34-33.

Baseball Hall of Fame adds ex-Orioles Harold Baines and Lee Smith.

College soccer: Maryland nips Akron, 1-0, to win NCAA men's soccer title.


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Adam Hadwin