Tuesday
May 15
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issue 15
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the lebron vs. jordan debate


Nothing in sports sparks conversation and intense opinion-volleying like the comparison between great athletes who didn't compete in the same era.

Montana vs. Brady.

Gretzky vs. Crosby.

Bonds vs. Aaron.

Nicklaus vs. Woods.

The most active debate in sports these days centers on the argument between Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Which of the two is better?

James and his Cleveland Cavaliers will be on display tonight when they play in Boston in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics lead the series, 1-0.

LeBron has been the showcase piece for the Cavalier in this post-season. He was dominant in their 7-game series win over Indiana and then tore the heart out of #1 seed Toronto in a 4-game sweep.

It was, to pardon a term and ignite the debate even further, very Jordan'esque.

But which one is better?

Michael or LeBron?

LeBron James. Better than Michael Jordan? Second best? Where does he rank?

The answer doesn't lie in statistics or rings or awards. To some it might, but to me it doesn't.

In fact, I'll go through this entire piece and not cite one stat, one award, how many titles, how many whatevers.

The answer centers on one thing: Time.

Jordan's best days came two-and-a-half decades ago when social media and a 24-hour catch-all news cycle were just a pipe dream.

LeBron's best days came at the height of all of that stuff.

I saw somewhere over the weekend that James is the first sports icon of the Twitter era. That, for what it's worth, is very true.

Bonds and his greatness, circa 2002, was barely in the "internet age" and Twitter was a decade away from being born. The same goes for Tiger, who beat everyone he played back in the mid 2000's. Even most of Kobe Bryant's best years came prior to the active, daily use of social media by the legions of folks who adored him.

What has happened to LeBron throughout his career is something Jordan never had to contend with in his playing days. Everything LeBron does -- every good moment, bad moment and break-it-down moment -- has been magnified, scrutinized, approved and criticized by the 24-hour-news-cycle and social media.

That doesn't necessarily address the question of who was/is better? Or which one would you rather have?

What it does do, though, is remind everyone that you're judging Jordan on a somewhat different level than James. I'm old enough to remember Jordan's zenith. He was, without question, remarkable. But so, too, is James.

Arguments are made daily about who had the better supporting cast, who was better in the clutch, who made his teammates better, etc. I've seen people make great arguments for LeBron and I've seen people make great arguments for Jordan.

Someone asked me on Monday afternoon which one I would take.

"That depends," I said. "If you would have asked me that question in 1994, I would have said Jordan for sure. If you're asking me in 2018, I'd say LeBron."

It's all about the timing. And what you want in a player.

If style and flair are important to you, Jordan's probably your pick.

If power and athleticism are important, it's LeBron in that case.

Jordan did things I've never seen anyone else do. Or, at the very least, let's just say he did things better than most could do.

LeBron, too, does things better than most can do.

Someone mentioned to me on Monday that James has had more pressure on him because he had hype to live up to that Jordan never had.

That in and of itself is probably true. But I'm not sure that has anything to do with trying to figure out which of the two was "better".

The James hype -- created by the media, I'll remind you -- was certainly a burden for him. He was the can't-miss-kid who wound up not missing, which is most definitely a testatment to his ability and fortitude.

The list is quite short of guys who were destined for greatness before they played a minute of professional sports and then actually came through; Tiger, LeBron and A-Rod are the first three that come to mind. There are others, I'm sure, but those three turned out to be generational talents who were all labeled for greatness before they were old enough to vote.

Jordan wasn't of that ilk. He was a very good college player, but by no means was he categorized as potentially the greatest basketball player ever when he signed with the Chicago Bulls.

I don't have a choice when it comes to LeBron or Jordan.

I'm not sure how to even do it.

You can just throw out the "who has more rings?" question if you want, but I'm pretty sure that's not the measuring stick that defines which one was the better player.

James is the hot-button-topic right now because we're seeing him 24/7 on social media and on the television. Everything he does is presented to us in high-definition.

We didn't have Jordan shoved down our throats the way we've been forced to digest LeBron over the last decade. To some, that's been off-putting.

In the end, the debate will always rage on because the two players had no way of squaring off against each other. And even then, I'm not sure how we would have solved the debate.

They're both great -- historically great, even -- players. We've been blessed to see them both play.

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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.



It's not every day that the world of sports is directly effected by a Supreme Court decision, but that's exactly what happened on Monday when the nation's highest court handed down its decision in Murphy vs. NCAA.

In siding with the state of New Jersey, the Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) and opened the way to state governments legalizing sports betting. It's an event that could produce a seismic change in the landscape of sports business.

Not that it will necessarily come quickly, or that you should even start planning to get rich wagering on sports games in your local area. While states like New Jersey and West Virginia are ready to roll out plans to expand sports books, other states will have to go through the byzantine process of grinding out legislation to set up their own regimes, with different rules for doing so in different jurisdictions.

In Maryland, for example, the state legislature isn't constitutionally allowed to pass a gaming expansion, meaning that such a bill can only be passed by voters at the ballot box, something that probably can't happen until 2020 at the earliest.

And while the Court's decision is being framed as striking down the federal gambling ban, it really only does so on very narrow grounds. In short, PASPA didn't directly ban sports betting, it directed 46 states (Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana excepted) to pass laws doing so. The Court held that this regulatory mechanism was an un-Constitutional encroachment on state authority, NOT that the federal government had no authority to pass a blanket ban on sports wagering.

The longtime gambling mecca is about to get some real state-to-state competition after Monday's Supreme Court ruling opened the doors for sports gambling.

That door is still theoretically open, although no one seems to think that there's any chance of Congress taking substantial action on the matter now.

Which moves the issue over to the major sports leagues who, on the face of it, are the big losers here.

All of them joined the legal effort to defend PASPA, as did the NCAA, and all of them have strongly opposed the legalization of sports wagering despite the potential for huge windfalls from legalization. It's easy to dismiss the public opposition as cynical posturing from executives who secretly can't wait to rake in the money, but the leagues did invest real money in lawyers and legal machinations to defend the statute all the way to the Supreme Court, and they're now promising to spend even more money on lobbyists in an effort to get Congress to impose tight regulations on gambling, if not pass a new ban altogether.

That's a lot of money to put behind a position you don't really support!

For now, though, it looks like legal sports books will be in at least a dozen states within 2 or 3 years, and that's going to have a dramatic impact on the games and leagues themselves.

First and foremost, legalized betting is going to drive a ton of money to the leagues, especially the NFL.

As we've seen with the rise of fantasy football, daily fantasy games, etc. when fans get some extra skin in the game, the NFL's ratings go up. That this decision comes at a time when television ratings as a whole are going down and the league's network deals are due for re-negotiation is a godsend for Roger Goodell, whether he would publicly admit it or not.

But the leagues may find a way to profit even more directly off of gambling....by actually securing themselves a cut of the action. That's because they've concocted the idea of "integrity fees," or a percentage of gambling revenues state governments would hand over to the leagues to offset the heightened costs of monitoring the "integrity" of the game. Which is bunk, of course.

For one thing there's no actual reason to think that legalized gambling will increase point shaving or game fixing, which would still be illegal under various anti-fraud laws. For another, as far as I know, none of the leagues have provided any kind of outline for what programs they would be implementing that state governments would need to fork over BILLIONS of dollars in reimbursements for.

It's a straight cash grab, and while you would like to think that governments would tell the leagues and their army of lobbyists either, the long-standing trend of local governments handing billionaires stacks of money to build stadiums on the public dime does not exactly inspire confidence that state governments won't cave in and give the owners their kickbacks.

If they're successful, the leagues are looking at 10 -or even 11 - figure increases in revenue annually....and bitter fights with their unions on how to split that money to boot.

And then there's Vegas. The city synonymous with bookmaking is an even bigger loser than the sports leagues for losing its monopoly over betting on games, but may make up some of the difference by adding local franchises of its own.

Not that long ago putting a professional sports team in Las Vegas was as taboo as it got in the industry, as popular perception held it that simply being in Vegas would make those teams targets for game fixers. That was always ridiculous, of course, and we've been close to the dam breaking on Vegas teams for awhile now.

The NHL and NFL have just broken the ice on it, the NBA has flirted with it, but MLB has always been resistant to even the appearance that they're courting Las Vegas as a landing spot for a franchise. But if states like New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Illinois legalize sports betting too, suddenly there will be a lot less reason to single Vegas as a no-go zone, as it were.

No, I don't think that means you have to worry about the Orioles skipping town in the near future just because their lease on Camden Yards is almost up.

I might be wrong about Peter Angelos' parochial commitment to the city of Baltimore, but the Orioles' ownership group still also owns a cable television network with a distribution agreement for the Mid-Atlantic region, commensurate with the Orioles' current MLB sanctioned broadcast territory. Moving the team to a brand spanking new media market on the other side of the country would not be good for business, to state the obvious.

Nor do I see any other obvious contenders for relocation. Maybe the A's, who have been left in flux by MLB's once seemingly good deal with the Giants on territorial rights (MLB extended the Giants reach all the way to San Jose as a means of securing private financing for the club's stadium when San Francisco balked at paying) could follow their former roommates to Vegas, but other than that I've got nada.

Even the Rays seem guaranteed to work out a new stadium in Tampa financed almost entirely by taxpayers at this point.

But there's another, even more drastic way for Vegas to end up with a baseball team, an option that's been whispered about in increasingly loud volumes in the past year: Expansion. MLB hasn't expanded since the Diamondbacks and Rays were added to the league 20 years ago, just five years after the Rockies and Marlins came into being.

All of those teams are profitable, all of them have been to at least one World Series, and the league is overdue at this point to expand again.

A team in Las Vegas would almost certainly carry a billion dollar plus valuation, meaning that any prospective owner would have to cough up that money to the league for the right to buy the initial rights to the franchise....more money that would go directly into the existing owners' pockets. Oh, and then there would be another nine figures, at least, for the other expansion team they'd create to keep the number of teams even.

And if that happens, we may see one of the most drastic realignments in the history of sports.

The current 15-15 balance between the American and National League exists because the decision makers in the league office decided that having four divisions with 5 teams, one division with 6 teams, and another division with 4 teams was unfair, and that said unfairness was worse than having to play interleague on a perpetual basis. That means that simply putting one new team in each league, and by extension having one larger division in each league, is going to be a non-starter.

If baseball does expand again, we're going to get a drastic realignment of divisions, and will probably do away with the National and American league banners once and for all in exchange for some sort of Eastern/Western conference demarcation.

Indeed several national reporters have been floating just this kind of idea for the past 6 months or so as a way of alleviating the issue of unbalanced schedules, which are never going to be changed if it means a lot more matchups between East Coast and West Coast teams (indeed I would wager- haha- that the same fans who complain about the unbalanced schedule now would immediately start complaining about playing twice as many games in the Pacific time zone...and with good reason).

Not that it's a foregone conclusion or anything, or that inertia won't continue to be a powerful force even in the face of billions and billions of dollars in new revenue. But one way or another, this week's decision is going to change sports as we know it in massive, potentially unforeseeable, ways. And sooner rather than later.

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NOTES & COMMENT
George McDowell


George McDowell is #DMD's foreign correspondent. His international reports are filed from a hardened outpost just across the U.S. / North Carolina border. He writes on sports topics that interest him that he feels might also interest some segment of the wildly esoteric #DMD readership. George has been a big fan of DF and his various enterprises since the last century, and for several seasons appeared as a weekly guest on his Monday evening radio show, Maryland Golf Live, delivering commentary as The Eccentric Starter. George also donates his time and talents to the less fortunate, and currently volunteers as secretary of the Rickie Fowler Fan Club.


Supreme Court to Congress and the President:
Keep Your Damn Selves Out of State Politics


The legislative and executive branches of the federal government thought they could tell state legislatures and governors what they could and couldn’t do.

“Wrong!” the Supreme Court said on Monday in a 6½ to 2½ opinion. “You can only tell people what to do and not do, not governments.”

The issue arose out of the desire of citizens of New Jersey to bet on sporting events. It’s complicated but we’ll simplify. In 1992 Congress enacted and the president signed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). This law forbade states from authorizing betting on sports events. New Jerseyites, oblivious to or in defiance of this law, voted in favor of a state constitutional amendment giving the state legislature the authority to legalize sports betting in Atlantic City and at three horse-racing tracks. In 2012 the New Jersey legislature enacted such a law. Immediately the NCAA and three major-league professional sports leagues filed suit against New Jersey seeking to enjoin the law because it violated PASPA.

The case worked its way through the trial court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to the Supreme Court.

We’ll take a minute here to clarify a thing. Unlike say, marihuana, which is criminalized by federal statute, sports betting is not federally prohibited, either by PASPA or by any other federal law. So if you smoke dope in Denver, where state law makes it legal, you may be OK with the local cops, but you are nevertheless in violation of federal law. On the other hand, if you back with cash your opinion on a sports team to win, you are NOT in violation of any federal law, but you are in violation if you are in one of 46 states that currently prohibit sports wagering. [The four states that allow sports betting permitted such wagering prior to the enactment of PASPA, and were thus "grandfathered in" and are not subject to the law's provisions.]

The prohibition in PASPA does not criminalize the making or accepting of a wager on a sports contest, it does no more than prohibit a state legislature from enacting a statute that authorizes or allows such betting.

"Stop in the Name of Love," the Supremes told Congress and the president on Monday. "This law is the Love Child of legitimate legislation. It is causing Nothing But Heartaches for honest bettors."

The PASPA case turned on some arcane legal crap having to do with the definition of the word “authorize” [which includes the concept of "allowing"] and whether a federal law telling state legislators how to vote on an issue was “commandeering,” which it is [the Supreme Court held], and which is wrong [read "unconstitutional"], and therefore the NCAA and the major leagues lost the case, and now New Jersey is free to do exactly the same thing Nevada has been doing for about 70 years.

So now state legislatures are free to enact laws permitting gambling on sporting events. Given the rush to enact laws authorizing state lotteries a few decades back [and increasing the house's cut from 40% to 50%], it's likely most or all of the states will have sports betting in a few short years. With the technology of cell phones and specialized apps growing at a prodigious pace, we foresee the ability to get a bet down just about anywhere and any time. And it will be constitutional! Ain't this country grand???

The case is Murphy, et al. vs. NCAA, et al., 584 U. S. ____ (2018). Justice Alito delivered the opinion of the Court and was joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, Kagan, and Gorsuch. Justice Breyer joined all but a couple of Parts of the Opinion. Justice Thomas filed a concurring opinion. Justice Breyer, in addition to concurring in the opinion, also filed a dissenting [in part] opinion. Justice Ginsburg filed a dissenting opinion and was joined by Justice Sotomayer in total and by Justice Breyer in part. — Note: Since I couldn't figure out on which side of the fence Justice Breyer sat, I called the opinion at 6½ to 2½, but readers are cautioned not to bet that that is the correct tally.

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Monday
May 14
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issue 14
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could it be? tiger, caps both close to winning


The haters are going to need to do a bunch of sit-ups pretty soon if they want to fit into their bathing suits for the summer.

All that humble pie they'll be eating might add an inch or two to their waistline.

Two unlikely candidates for winning are on the verge of doing just that. One might happen more quickly than the other by virtue of the schedule they play, but it's looking more and more like the Washington Capitals and Tiger Woods are both ready to win something big for the first time in quite a while.

Grab a plate and a fork and help yourself to a slice or two of that humble pie.

The Capitals are not only up 2-0 in their Eastern Conference Final vs. Tampa Bay, they look like a squad poised to sweep the #1 seed in four straight games. That, of course, is a stunt the Caps themselves are familiar with, but this time around they might be the ones doing the trick, not taking it on the chin.

Another night of celebrating for Ovechkin and Kuznetsov as the Caps beat Tampa Bay on Sunday night, 6-2.

Last night's 6-2 win at Tampa Bay was a men-against-boys kind of outing. Everything the high-flying Capitals did was better than anything offered by the lethargic Lightning.

This one's hard to quantify and it's one of those sappy sports cliches that some believe in and some don't, but in the first two games of the series, the Capitals looked very much like the team that wants it more.

At least one Tampa Bay player believes in that theory. "They wanted it a lot more than we did tonight," said Chris Kunitz after the 6-2 drubbing. "I'm not sure why, but they did."

The reason "why" is probably simple. The Caps are fed up with being embarrassed on the national stage every spring. And Alex Ovechkin, the ringleader of many a failed playoff team over the last decade or so, has been an unstoppable force in most of the 14 post-season games the Caps have played since mid-April.

Here's the other thing that's really hard to quantify, but it's happening in droves. The Caps are getting good break after good break. And they're cashing in on them.

Last night's first goal of the game, scored before the first thirty seconds were in the books, came off the stick of Tom Wilson. Literally...

Wilson was cruising through offensive zone when Matt Niskanen lifted a harmless shot on goal -- more of a "keep this in the zone and try to extend the play" sort of thing -- and Wilson stuck his stick out hoping for a deflection.

He got one. The puck nipped the blade of Wilson's stick and tumbled end-over-end, over the shoulder of the Tampa Bay netminder and into the cage for an improbable 1-0 Washington lead.

The 6th goal was another example of good fortune for the Caps. Brett Connolly received a puck that somehow stood up on its edge when it found his stick. Most pucks arrive "flat", if you will, but this particular biscuit was standing on its edge. Connolly was able to almost "throw" the puck into the goal rather than slap at it.

You could play an entire season of hockey and never once get that opportunity, just by the simple nature of how the puck bounces. Yet, it fell to Connolly. In a playoff game, no less.

It's better to be lucky than good looking, I like to say.

Anyway, I hustled to the internet last night around 11:00 pm to see if I could buy a bulk order of brooms and take them down to D.C. on Thursday night for Game #4.

Too soon?

The other inspiring Sunday performance came from Tiger Woods, who at one point climbed into a tie for 2nd place at The Players before a 17th hole water ball dropped him back to T11 for the tournament.

Woods (-11 overall) shot 65 on Saturday and actually played better than that on Sunday despite shooting 69.

If you put stock in Tiger's biggest broadcast nemesis, Brandel Chamblee of the Golf Channel, you're probably quite enthused at what was said on Sunday night.

"You haters just keep quiet now and let me do my thing."

"His golf swing is incredibly on point," Chamblee remarked. "The angles, the body position, the release. Everything. It's about as perfect as perfect can get."

Chamblee would go on to offer the expected and reasonable cautions that seem to accompany Tiger these days. He's still prone to the occasional flare-right drive off the tee. His wedge game within 100 yards could be tighter. And his putting, while outstanding over the weekend, could still use some improving.

But the golf swing itself is spot on. And the "scoring" part of Tiger's game, which wasn't hitting on all cylinders earlier this year, also appears to coming back to the 14-time major champion.

"Very impressive," Jordan Spieth said after Sunday's round, which he shared with Woods. "I'm still stinging a bit from my play today (74), but it's obvious to anyone who was watching that Tiger has all the shots and knows how and when to use them."

"I'm almost there," Woods said following Webb Simpson's win at TPC Sawgrass. "I just need to put it together for four rounds. I got off to that slow start the first two days, but I was able to get myself back into the tournament by the back nine on Sunday, which was a good feeling to have."

Interestingly, if not for 18th hole bogeys from Spieth and Justin Thomas late Friday afternoon, Woods would have missed the cut entirely. When those two made five at the par-4 finishing hole, Tiger and the rest of the guys at 1-under par were able to stick around for the weekend.

"He cost me some money today," Spieth quipped after Sunday's final round. "If I would have known that, maybe I would have played 18 a little better on Friday."

Woods is going to cost lots of people lots of money over the next few months.

When he'll win is anyone's guess, but it's coming at some point.

And with events like The Players, where he played as well as anyone not named Webb Simpson, Woods is putting more and more stock in his Ryder Cup potential. Not that captain Jim Furyk needs to see Tiger play well to know what he's capable of doing, but it's looking more and more like Tiger will be on the team that heads to Paris later this year to take on the European side.

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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?

Superstars Edition

Who?

Pat Spencer

Loyola beat Virginia in the NCAA men’s lacrosse tournament first round Saturday night, sending the Greyhounds to a quarterfinal game against Yale next weekend.

27 months ago, I was sent to Charlottesville for emergency duty covering a frigid February game between the same two teams. On the way down, my traveling companion told me that Loyola had a freshman who was going to be the best player in program history.

Kind of high praise for someone who’d never played a college game before, but my friend was right. Pat Spencer, from Davidsonville in Anne Arundel County and Boys’ Latin School, might be the best college athlete in the Baltimore area.

By scoring two goals and adding three assists against the Cavaliers Saturday, Spencer became the first player in team history to score 90 or more points in a season. He now has 33 goals and 58 assists in 16 games this year.

With one season remaining in a Loyola uniform, Spencer already holds the Patriot League record for career points.

Statistics are great, but you have to watch Spencer play to appreciate him. He’s the best passer I’ve ever seen on a lacrosse field. He stands behind the net and toys with defenders like Wayne Gretzky.

He’s 6-foot-2, strong, and has a bit of an edge to him.

Spencer is one of five finalists for the Tewaaraton award, lacrosse’s version of the Heisman, and he might not win it; the competition is tough. The longer the Greyhounds remain in the tournament, the better his chances.


What?

Getting a coach fired

Speaking of people who’ve lived up to the hype, there’s never been athlete like LeBron James.

Being who he is, we always knew LeBron had the power to get his own coach fired. Now we know that he’s good enough to get the opposing coach fired too!

The Raptors, the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs but the victims of a 4-0 Cleveland playoff sweep for the second straight year, let go of coach Dwane Casey on Friday. Casey is the most successful coach in Toronto history, and was named the league’s Coach of the Year in a vote of all 30 NBA coaches.

Toronto won 59 games this year, but Casey was fired because he sat on the bench and was unable to do what none of the other 29 coaches in the NBA can do either: stop LeBron James.

The Raptors’ president, Masai Ujiri, apparently had enough after LeBron won Game 3 of the series in Cleveland with a running game-winning floater off the glass. He tore into his coach in the locker room because the Raptors’ elected not to double team James on his way down the court.

I’ve watched the play several times, and it seems to me that LeBron made a LeBron play. He barreled down the court at 6-foot-9 and made a low percentage off-balance bank shot.

Casey will get another job thanks to his regular-season success with the Raptors. And the new coach that takes his place in Toronto will continue to fall victim to LeBron James for the time being.


When?

25 years, 309 days

Manny Machado was exactly that age when he hit the eighth grand slam of his career Friday night against the Rays.

In reaching that number, Machado joined a pair of passably decent ballplayers, Ken Griffey, Jr., and Alex Rodriguez, as one of three players to do so before his 26th birthday.

An aside: it’s easy to forget after A-Rod’s long stint with the Yankees that he and Griffey played together for several years with the Mariners.

Machado has a long way to go to catch the Orioles’ all-time leader in grand slams, Eddie Murray, who hit 16 of them. Unless Manny hits nine more this season, I don’t think he’s going to get there.

He’s now tied for second in team history with those eight grand slams. It took Cal Ripken more than 20 years to get them, while it took Chris Davis about a third of that time. The other Oriole with eight is catcher Chris Hoiles.

More stats: Machado also is the youngest Oriole to hit 150 home runs, and only three Orioles have hit 150 in fewer games with the team: Davis, Rafael Palmeiro and Frank Robinson.

Machado, whether playing for the Orioles or in the future for another team, is probably reaching his prime years for hitting home runs. Not surprisingly, he’s notably bigger at nearly 26 years old than he was when he came up to the Orioles at 20 in 2012.


Where?

TPC Sawgrass

Obviously, nobody was going to catch Webb Simpson on Sunday at the Players Championship. It was one of those tournaments that reminded me of what third-place finisher Hubert Green said after the famed “Duel in the Sun” between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus at Turnberry in 1977. “I won the golf tournament,” Green joked. “I’m not sure what tournament Tom and Jack were playing.”

There was big news on the superstar front on Saturday though as Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods, who had both barely snuck in under the cut line, each shot 65. Spieth made six birdies on the back nine, including the final three holes, while Woods had six birdies on the front nine.

While everyone wants to talk about Tiger, and whether he’ll ever win again or compete in a major championship, Saturday’s duel 65s got me thinking about how great a one-on-one showdown between Spieth and Woods would be, not unlike Nicklaus and Watson more than 40 years ago.

I mean, Spieth and Kuchar at least year’s Open Championship was great, but could you imagine Spieth and Woods in that spot? Spieth chasing Patrick Reed at the Masters was neat, but what if he was paired with Woods and they had both been chasing him?

There’s a window for that duel to happen over the next few years. If it comes at the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open or PGA Championship, sign me up for watching it.


Why?

Hitting a baseball is hard

Albert Pujols of the Angels was nice enough to wait until the Orioles left town to get hit number 3,000 for his career. He became just the 32nd player in Major League history to accomplish the feat, and just the fourth player with 3,000 hits to have 600 or more of them come via the long ball (Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Rodriguez are the others).

Another aside: Roberto Clemente had exactly 3,000 hits in his career, then died tragically in a plane crash before he could add to that number the following season. So, whenever a player has gotten hit 3,001, he’s passed Clemente and reminded us of that unfortunate tragedy.

Pujols is an interesting case. He signed his ridiculous contract with the Angels and, not surprisingly, isn’t nearly the player for them as he was for the St. Louis Cardinals. He won two World Series championships with St. Louis, in 2006 and 2011, but has yet to come close with the Angels.

Since he’s played in the American League at the tail end of his career, his presence at the plate has never scared me that much as an Orioles fan. Unlike his current teammate Mike Trout, you can consistently get him out.

In his prime with the Cardinals, Pujols was probably the most feared hitter in the game. Like all Hall of Fame hitters, he used the whole field and the whole strike zone. I’m glad the Orioles only got to see that Pujols every once in a while.

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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!


ncaa 1st round review


We saw mostly good games and some upsets as expected. And thankfully, all three local teams advanced to quarterfinals. Let's review the busy weekend.

Local Teams --

Loyola's Pat Spencer led the 'Hounds to a first-round win over Virginia on Saturday night.

Loyola 14 - Virginia 12 - After 2+ hour rain delay on Saturday night, the lights came on at Ridley...and so did the 'Hounds. While the score appears close, Loyola jumped out to a 10-5 lead at half and extended it to a 7-goal differential (13-6) by the end of the 3rd period before coasting the rest of the way.

The Cavaliers made a valiant effort at a comeback scoring 6 in the 4th. But 3 of those goals were in the final 2 minutes when the game had already been decided.

Pat Spencer continues to lead the way on offense for the Greyhounds with 2 goals and 3 assists and Jay Drapeau added 4 goals. The defense was impressive forcing 10 turnovers including 3 from Ryder Harkins and 2 from Foster Huggins. The balance on this Loyola team is starting to remind me of another underrated Greyhound team from 2012.

Meanwhile, the choice of adding Virginia to the tournament as the 4th ACC team over another B1G or Patriot League team is worth questioning.

Johns Hopkins 10 - Georgetown 9 OT - An instant classic between two hot teams and exciting finish as the Blue Jays once again make a huge run late in the game to get the victory.

Hopkins went up early 3-0 in the 1st. Then the Hoyas went on an 8-0 run to take an 8-3 lead in the middle of the 3rd period. But Joel Tinney scored at the end of the 3rd period to start the comeback. In the 4th, Kyle Marr put up 5 goals as he was fed by Shack Stanwick and Tinney who kept dodging from behind the cage and setting up the marksman Marr who delivered.

In OT, Stanwick dodged from the wing and beat his man on great individual effort to seal the victory. Marr finished with 5 goals and 2 assists and Stanwick tallied the game winning goal along with 4 assists.

Maryland 14 - Robert Morris 11 - As expected, the Colonials played with a chip on the should and were the aggressor in the 1st half, winning most ground balls and taking a 6-3 halftime lead on the somewhat lifeless Terps.

If it wasn't for goalie Dan Morris' 11 first half saves, this game could have gotten real ugly for Maryland However, the Champs woke up as the defense put the clamps on "Bobby Mo" and the offense outscored the Colonials 6-1 in the 3rd period to take a 9-7 lead into the 4th quarter.

Robert Morris answered early in the 4th to cut the lead to 1, but the Terps eventually opened up a 14-10 lead and only gave up a man-up goal with less than a minute left to close out the game. Connor Kelly ended up with 4 goals while Bubba Fairman finished with 3 goals and 1 assist.

Other Games --

Yale 15 - UMass 13 - After a close 1st half which had Yale leading 6-5, the Bulldogs jumped all over the Minutemen in the 2nd half, building a 14-7 early in the 4th. However, UMass, poured it on and cut the lead to 3 (15-12) with just over 6 minutes left. But the Minutemen ran out of minutes as the Bulldogs put down the clamps, only allowimg one more goal with 18 seconds left. Tewaaraton finalist Ben Reeves continues to shine scoring 2 goals and adding 4 assists for Yale.

Duke 17 - Villanova 11 - The Blue Devils comfortably jumped out to an 11-4 halftime lead and fought off a mini 3-goal run by the Wildcats in the 3rd quarter to cruise to the victory. Blue Devil Brian Smyth dominated the face-off X, winning 23 of 28 draws. And giving Duke's offense that much of a possession advantage is a recipe for wearing your goalie out. As noted before, the questioning of Villanova's presence in this tournament is clearly validated.

Albany 18 - Richmond 9 - Connor Fields did suit up which was bad news for the Spiders as he collected 2 goals and 5 assists to lead the Great Danes past Richmond. Albany's Tehoka Nanticoke muscled out 4 goals and 2 assists and TD Ierlan won 24 of 29 face-offs and collected 21 ground balls as the former #1 Danes are starting to look like current #1 once more.

Denver 9 - Notre Dame 7 - The Pioneers get payback from an earlier season road loss to the Irish and atone for last weeks Big East championship loss. Denver was led by Austin French's 7 points, including 3 goals and 3 assists, goalie Alex Ready who made 10 saves, and face-off specialist Trevor Baptiste who won 14 of 20 face-offs.

Cornell 10 - Syracuse 9 - The inconsistent Orange unexpectedly did have something for the Big Red who stomped on them a few weeks ago. Each team traded runs until about 10 minutes into the 4th period when Cornell's Colton Rupp cashed in on a man-up opportunity which held up for the last 5 minutes of the game to give Big Red the victory. Clarke Petterson paced Cornell's offense with 5 goals.

Miscellaneous --

Done Wrong:

Loyola at #6 felt like a spot or two too low? - Check!

Bucknell or Rutgers deserved to get in over Villanova? - Check!

Big East and ACC getting more teams than deserved? - Villanova manhandled, Virginia easily handled, and Syracuse handled at home. - Check, Check, and "mostly" check!

Overall, I think the NCAA does a good job at getting the tournament correct. But as noted by others, the system puts too much reliance on the RPI calculation where there isn't a big enough sample size of teams and games.

And while the RPI gives reward for strength of schedule and wins against highly ranked teams, it doesn't penalize for the losses against those teams as it should. Scheduling tough teams should be high reward AND high risk as you should earn high reward for winning those games. But you should also be penalized just as much if you lose.

Why else would a Penn team who went 7-8 on the season even be considered as a bubble team by the NCAA when they were clearly not qualified.

In addition, there is a noticeable bias towards the old guard teams such as Syracuse and Virginia who were brought in at the expense of Rutgers, Bucknell, Ohio State and possibly Navy. There are too many teams and too much parity in D1 lacrosse these days to favor underachieving "blue bloods" without it sticking out like a sore thumb.

Projections: Need to make an adjustment with the Irish taking it on the chin.

The Final Four: Loyola, Albany, Duke, Maryland

Dark Horses: Cornell, Johns Hopkins

Upset Alert: Yale, Albany (I'll explain next time)

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Sunday
May 13
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issue 13
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happy mother's day!


A few weeks ago, someone used the word "piqued" in an e-mail to me, except the spelling they used was "peeked".

I softly corrected them, advising that the correct spelling was, in fact, piqued.

"Are you sure?" they replied.

"Yes, I'm very sure," I said.

You remember weird things in your life, I guess. Some moments of clear distinction might have otherwise passed you by had there not been a reason to connect with it.

I recall sitting on the couch with my mother when I was probably ten years old. She was an ace crossword puzzle "player", if that's what you call someone who can zip through a crossword puzzle in ten minutes time.

4 across - getting your interest

There were seven spaces available.

p-i-q-u-i-n-g.

"How do you say that?" I asked as she wrote the letters in the boxes.

"It sounds like peeking, but it's spelled differently," she replied.

You remember weird things in your life.

My mom was a remarkable crossword puzzle player.

She passed away from cancer when I was 24 years old. Sometime around 1984, she was diagnosed with it. Back then, it was a mini-death-sentence when you got cancer.

It's amazing how much progress the medical field has made since then in dealing with cancer and other life threatening diseases. We're not out of the woods yet, but more and more people are surviving cancer today then ever before.

My mom didn't survive it, but she fought like a champion for a couple of years.

She left us on July 21, 1987.

I have a 7-year old daughter named Lucy. That was my mom's name.

There are few certainties in life. We know very little about our destiny or what might happen to us or where we'll eventually live, who we'll marry and so on.

But one thing I always knew -- since my mid 20's -- was that if I was ever fortunate enough to have a daughter, her name would be Lucy.

Lucy's mom, my wife, of course, is extraordinary in her own right.

We're very fortunate to have Joanne. She works a busy, high pressure job and still hangs in there long enough to deal with the craziness that me, Lucy and my son Ethan generate every day.

I joke around that our house and lifestyle is "like the wild, wild west, except we don't have guns". We're not unique in that situation, of course. Lots of families are constantly busy, on the run, going from sporting event to school function, etc. But my wife is the glue behind all of what we do as a family.

We're very blessed as a family to have a great mother.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. Thank you for all that you've done for your children and your family. May God bless you with a wonderful day today!

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and at the 40-game mark...


So, 25% of the baseball season is gone.

Holy cow, right?

Before we know it, Lamar Jackson will be tossing a 9-yard touchdown to Mark Andrews in the first pre-season game and the talk shows will light up with claims that "Jackson's already better than Flacco".

With yesterday's doubleheader split with Tampa Bay, the O's have settled in at 12-28 through 40 games.

I don't have to emphasize how awful that is. Not that they'll go 12-28 in every 40 game stretch over the remainder of the season, but the O's are on pace right now for a 48-win season. (Yes, I'm aware that the schedule is 162 games and not 160. I'm just rounding things off.)

They'll gather some momentum at various spots and win 7 of 10 a couple of times and improve upon this dreadful beginning. But they'll also lose 7 of 10 a few times, too.

Another valuable trade piece for the O's could be Jonathan Schoop, who hit two homers in the 6-3 win over Tampa Bay yesterday afternoon.

I still contend they're not as bad as 12-28. With their full team, which means having guys like Schoop and Trumbo back -- both of whom have helped a lot since returning to the lineup -- the O's are much closer to, say, 18-22, than 12-28.

Sure, 18-22 isn't great. I get that. But the Orioles are better than 12-28.

David Hess got the start in the opener yesterday and was decent in his debut, minus a rugged first inning when he got welcomed to the big leagues with a three run home run courtesy of the fourth batter he faced.

From there, though, Hess settled down and went six innings, allowing six hits and striking out three Tampa Bay hitters. It was better than anything Chris Tillman or Dylan Bundy have authored in the last few weeks, that's for sure.

The big news from the O's continues to be the scorching hot start of Manny Machado, who is batting .342 with an on-base-percentage of .426.

Not that he needed this sort of eye-opening offensive performance to have "stock", but Machado has certainly upped his value by doing what he's done in the first seven weeks of the season.

The big question, of course, centers on his immediate future in Baltimore. Will the Orioles keep him all season or trade him to a contending team who might be willing to offer up a handful of players/prospects in return for a "rental" of one of the game's five best players?

If the Orioles keep him around, they're nuts.

That is, unless they eventually sign him in the off-season, which, according to every single national baseball follower, is virtually impossible.

There's still no evidence in place at all to support keeping Machado the whole season.

In fact, in an odd sort of twist, the fan base might wind up being more angry with the Orioles for keeping Manny than trading him. Everyone realizes he has value. And everyone knows he's not re-signing here.

It seems odd that the fans would be upset with the club for keeping the team's most valuable player, but that's the nature of what's happened with the Machado saga over the last two years.

Simply put: He has to go.

Everyone else could go to, in my opinion.

In other words, I'd listen to trade offers for any player on the 40-man roster. Yes, that includes Bundy and Gausman. I'd put those two at the top of a very small list that reads: "Not willing to trade unless you blow us away with an offer we can't refuse". But I'd listen to offers for anyone at this point.

Schoop? Nice player. Could be an elite player in the league for sure. But he's not re-signing here after 2019. Are we really going to cough up $125 million for a second baseman? I can't see it.

So, yes, I'd listen to trade offers for Schoop.

If someone wants a right handed starting pitcher, you can have Alex Cobb. But you can't have Chris Tillman. I'm keeping him.

OK, I wrote the Tillman thing above just to see if you're really paying attention. You can have Tillman, obviously. But I was serious about Cobb. You want him? Make us an offer.

It's important to stress, though, that in all of these proposed or mythical deals, I'm not giving anyone away for nothing. No one gets Machado or Schoop or Mancini unless the Orioles get the better end of the bargain.

This is more like an "opportunity sale" than a "fire sale".

The O's have the opportunity to start preparing themselves for the future.

At 12-28, the writing for 2018 is on the wall. But there's a blank slate for 2019 and beyond.

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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
May 12
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issue 12
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what should the lions do with matt patricia?


Being that it's May and not October, the Matt Patricia story in Detroit is a "7" instead of a "10". That doesn't make it any less interesting, but our attention these days is turned more to baseball and the NBA and NHL playoffs.

In case you haven't heard, it was discovered earlier this week that Patricia, the new head coach of the Detroit Lions, was indicted back in 1996 -- when he was in college -- for sexual assault. The incident took place while Patricia, then a student at RPI, was on spring break. A friend of Patricia's who also allegedly participated in the assault was indicted as well.

The charges were dropped when the woman, whom Patricia knew and was friends with, failed to show up for the trial the following January.

And that was that.

Charges dropped. Case closed. Life starts moving on.

In case it matters to you, by the way, Patricia denied the charges back in 1996 and still denies them today, even though they've been dropped anyway. "I was innocent then, and I'm innocent now," he said earlier this week.

Patricia would eventually move into the NFL and work for the New England Patriots, rising to the position of defensive coordinator there before leaving the club following the Super Bowl in February to take the head coach position with the Lions.

Was Matt Patricia wrong for not informing the Patriots and Lions of a sexual assault charge that came about in 1996 but was dropped in 1997?

The Patriots didn't know about the sexual assault charge and thus, never evaluated it when they were hiring Patricia in 2004.

The same goes for the Lions. They didn't know the charge existed when they interviewed and hired Patricia last February.

The story has created a significant amount of posturing by the media over the last few days, most of it wondering how the Patriots and Lions could have "missed" this critical piece of information about Patricia's past.

David Steele of The Sporting News, whom I know well and admire, personally and professionally, wrote a scathing piece on Friday that essentially said, "This is what the NFL has become."

Steele's piece also called into question why Patricia's situation was overlooked and even now, lightly glossed over, while the situation involving Laremy Tunsil a couple of years ago was blown up into a huge scandal that ultimately cost Tunsil a top 10 selection in the draft.

All of this brings to light the question of what should the Lions do with Patricia now that these charges and the case have resurfaced?

People seemingly still want blood.

I'm not sure why. But they do.

Was it Patricia's responsibility to bring the case up to the Lions during his interview process?

Should he have mentioned it?

And now, 22 years later, what recourse do the Lions have in the whole situation?

Let's say you're 22 years old and you have a couple of drinks at the neighborhood bar on a Friday night. You're involved in a fairly serious motor vehicle accident that severely injures someone in the other car. To your shock, when they test your BAC, it's .15, nearly double the legal limit.

"That can't be," you say. "I only had two beers."

You're arrested and charged with a variety of crimes, including DUI, reckless endangerment and others. Just prior to the case going to court, it's discovered that the device used to record your BAC on the night of the accident hadn't been calibrated properly in nearly two years.

The DUI charges are dropped and the case never goes to criminal court.

Are you supposed to bring that case up twenty years later when you apply for a job? And if you do bring it to the attention of your employer, what are they supposed to do given their knowledge of the incident?

What's the proper punishment, if you will, for a guy who was indicted on a charge in 1996, had the case dropped ten months later, and then moved on with his life?

Is Patricia not worthy of hiring?

Should the Lions be embarrassed at having this "monster" work for the organization?

I look at various opinions from respected sports writers around the country and see a lot of over-the-top reaction to this whole thing.

But maybe they're right.

So, I ask again, what should the Lions do with Matt Patricia in the wake of this discovery?

Do they fire him over this?

That would probably appease some folks. If Laremy Tunsil dropped out of the top 10 for smoking pot on a video tape, surely Matt Patricia should lose his job for being indicted for sexual assault back in 1996.

Right?

Or no?

I hear and read lots of people crushing the Lions and Patricia for this situation.

But no one gets to the finish line.

What should the Lions do with Matt Patricia?

Twenty years later...

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caps take game one in tampa bay, 4-2


I don't think I've ever written what I'm about to write.

In fact, I know I haven't.

The Washington Capitals are seven wins away from capturing their first ever Stanley Cup title.

I've never before written something like that.

Alex Ovechkin's goal with four seconds left in the first period last night gave the Caps a 2-0 lead over the Lightning.

But indeed they are. Seven more wins, that's all they need.

The Caps took Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals last night, 4-2, as they scored a couple of fortunate goals and ran out to a 4-0 lead before holding on in the final ten minutes of the game to win the series opener.

If you're a long-suffering Caps fan -- like me -- and you're starting to feel like maybe, just maybe, this might be "the year", you have good reason. And here's why. The Caps are leading a bit of a charmed life in these playoffs.

And that's a good thing.

I'll take "good" luck over "bad" luck any day. People always get offended whenever something is categorized as "lucky". I never see that as a bad thing. I'll take "good" fortune all the time.

Sure, they've had an injury or two. They won two of three games in the Pittsburgh series without Tom Wilson. They didn't have Andre Burakovsky against either Columbus or the Penguins. And they've now been without Nicklas Backstrom for two games after he hurt his hand in Game 5 of the Penguins series.

But they're leading a bit of a charmed life now, are the Caps. And maybe that's going to be the difference this year.

They were a goal away from being down 3-0 in the Columbus series and Lars Eller scored a weird, fluky double overtime goal that put the Caps back in the series.

They've tallied several goal in these playoffs that bounced off of a stick, a glove, a hip, etc. Sure, that happens when you throw the puck on net, but it seems like those bounces never went the way of the Caps in past years.

In Game 6 of the Penguins series, Pittsburgh hit the post early in overtime. A goal there and they would have played Game 7 in Washington on Wednesday. Instead, the shot clangs off the iron and a few minutes later Kuznetsov wins it for the Caps.

The Michal Kempny goal that started last night's win was one of those "I'll just throw it up there and see what happens" efforts. And it somehow found its way through a maze of bodies to hit the back of the net.

When I see stuff like that happen, over and over, I start to think "maybe this is our year".

But I also know Tampa Bay is a very good team and there's lots of hockey left.

The Penguins, remember, won Game 1 of the previous series in Washington. Columbus won Game 1 of the first series in D.C., too.

There's definitely lots of hockey remaining.

But I'm seeing things that make me smile.

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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. O'rky traveled 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 on last night's 9-4 Orioles win.

1. When I left for Tokyo on a business trip last Wednesday, the Orioles had 8 wins. I got back mid-day Thursday and they had 9 wins. I don't know much of what happened while I was gone but it doesn't look good! 11-27 on the season? Yikes.

Is he better with the glove or the bat? Manny did it all in last night's 9-4 win over Tampa Bay at Camden Yards.

2. Manny just keeps making money doesn't he? A two-run homer and a grand slam last night. And a couple of nifty fielding plays as well. I saw people on Twitter last night claiming these games are upping Manny's free agent value in the off season but I don't even know if that's possible. Everyone already knows he's a great player.

3. Kevin Gausman got roughed up everywhere except where it matters the most, on the scoreboard. That kind of start shows me Gausman has made real progress over the last year or two. In prior years he would have melted down in one of those middle innings where he gave up a couple of hits and put runners on base.

4. Did fans really boo Richard Bleier in the 8th inning when he gave up a couple of runs? The man has a 1.17 ERA. What a tough crowd.

5. I saw where the Orioles put Chris Tillman on the disabled list with a back injury. I assume in the meantime they're trying to trade him somewhere? Why not just designate him for assignment? I missed his last start while I was overseas on business but Thursday night was brutal.

6. Jonathan Schoop and Mark Trumbo both being back and in the lineup is a big help. That goes without saying.

7. The Birds picked up a game on the Red Sox and Yankees last night. Let the comeback begin!!

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Friday
May 11
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issue 11
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how dumb can a sports team be?


As everyone here knows, I'm a long-suffering but still highly-enthusiastic fan of the Washington Capitals. My Dad and I attended games together in 1975 at the old Capital Centre. A significant amount of my favorite childhood sports memories center on both playing hockey and going to Caps games.

But when I pile on the Tampa Bay Lightning in a few seconds, it has zero to do with my affection for the Capitals.

In fact, if the Capitals pull the same stunt in D.C. when the series moves north next week, I'll call the Caps organization "stupid" as well.

The Lightning and Caps start their best-of-7 series tonight in Tampa Bay.

Like a bunch of teams do these these days, the Lightning are going out of their way to not allow a non-Florida-resident to buy tickets for the games in Tampa Bay. They've configured their own website ticket system and somehow that of TicketMaster's as well to restrict out-of-state IP addresses from purchasing tickets for Games 1, 2, 5 and 7.

I worked in the front office of a professional sports team for 17 years and ran the organization as the team's general manager for 7 years -- and the thought of turning someone away who wants to give you their money for a ticket is unimaginable to me.

Can you imagine the Orioles doing that right now? They can't get 15,000 of their own people in Baltimore to buy tickets. If 25,000 people from New York want to come down here later this month and take in the series, by all means, please do.

The Tampa Bay hockey team is assured of playing well as long as this young fan and everyone else in the arena tonight is wearing blue. Right? Right?

We used to seek out the fan clubs of the Cleveland Force, Pittsburgh Spirit, New York Arrows, St. Louis Steamers, etc. and try to coax them into coming to town and buying tickets to see their team(s) play the Blast.

Times have clearly changed.

Stupidity reigns these days.

But the ticket policy in Tampa Bay isn't the more pressing issue today. Like I mentioned earlier, there have been lots and lots of teams in pro sports over the last decade who elected to install this asinine loose-rule that says "If you're a fan of the opposing team, we're going to go out of our way to hopefully prevent you from buying a ticket to the game in OUR building."

The Lightning are doing it. The Caps have done it before, too, as recently as the series against the Penguins that just ended on Monday night. It's stupid. But that's not today's discussion.

In this series with the Capitals, the Lightning have a policy that prohibits Caps fans -- should they make it into the building -- from wearing team apparel in certain sections of the arena in Tampa Bay.

Yes, that's right. If you show up with a Caps jersey on and try and sit in the "Chase Club" or "Lexus Lounge", you'll be asked to remove your piece of team clothing and instead wear a shirt provided to you by the Lightning.

This is NOT a new policy for the Lightning, by the way. They've done this before, including their most recent series with the Bruins. But it's the first time I've cared about the policy because the Caps and Lightning haven't met in the post-season since those neanderthals in the Tampa Bay front office have installed this policy.

“It’s just an added measure to keep our building as blue as possible,” Lightning executive vice president of communications Bill Wickett said.

What is this, 8th grade middle school basketball?

If you want to hand out silly blue towels with the Lightning logo on them and have people wave them around like maniacs during the game to create some sort of impression that everyone in the building is "true blue", knock yourself out. If you think that -- or having all the fans in the building wearing blue -- is going to help your hockey team win, that's your call.

But you're going to tell people what they can and can't wear to the games?

There was apparently a situation last week at a Baltimore area high school where some nitwit teacher made a student turn their shirt inside out because there was an American flag on the front of it with some kind of "pro America" motto underneath of the flag.

That was a stupid decision by the teacher and the school.

This policy in Tampa Bay might be even more stupid, if that's possible.

I'm not even sure it's legal, for starters.

It's not worth fighting in court, obviously, which is why teams do these kind of things. They figure you'll just give in and say "It's not worth the hassle".

Maybe it's not worth the hassle. But it's still a #clownshoes move by the Lightning.

Adults don't run around worried about what fans of the opposing team are wearing to the games.

The whole scheme of not allowing visiting fans to buy tickets is a jerk move, too. And if the Caps continue to do it, it's a jerk move on their part as well.

What's next? Is Springsteen only going to allow Democrats to buy tickets to his concerts? I hope not. Even though I'm not a registered Republican or Democrat, the fact that my name doesn't appear on a Democratic data list somewhere might restrict me from seeing The Boss for the 28th time the next time he's in town.

I'd beat up Springsteen for something as idiotic as not permitting non-Democrats to buy tickets to see him perform.

And that's pretty much what the Lightning are doing in this series. Non-Democrats (Caps fans) can't buy tickets to the games. And non-Democrats can't wear their team apparel in places in the arena where we say you can't wear it.

Interestingly, there's a place not far from Tampa Bay called St. Petersburg. There's also a place in Russia called St. Petersburg.

Perhaps the Lightning should move this series 30 miles away to St. Petersburg and just pretend like they're playing in a Communist country.

Go Caps!

But by all means, don't actually "go" to the games down there if you're a fan of the D.C. team.

And don't wear any offensive team apparel, either.

#clownshoes

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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!


ncaa lax tourney preview


It's finally here. College lacrosse's version of the Big Dance.

We should see a great first round as there are only a few teams which have a walk in the park this weekend due to the parity that now exists in college lacrosse.

All the top teams had a loss down the stretch and the lower seeded teams scored wins against ranked opponents. So I think we might be due for some upsets this weekend.

But which dogs will prevail? Let's focus on the local teams, who all play at home this weekend, then take a peak at the other five games. All games will be broadcast on ESPNU.

Local Teams (listed by tournament seed and national ranking)

Looking to avenge a season opening loss at Charlottesville, coach Charley Toomey and Loyola host Virginia on Saturday night in round one of the NCAA lacrosse tournament.

6-Loyola (#6) vs 11-Virginia (#10) (Saturday 7pm, Baltimore, MD) - Rematch of first game of the season won by Virginia 13-12 in Charlottesville. Loyola has matured very well since then and is clicking on face-offs. The Greyhounds have also run off 7 straight wins in a very competitive and underestimated Patriot League. Meanwhile Virginia has wilted against ranked competition in the last half of the season with losses to Duke, Notre Dame, and Hopkins. Look for that trend to continue as Loyola wins 13-11 in a high scoring affair.

5-Johns Hopkins (#5) vs 12-Georgetown (#12) (Sunday 5pm, Baltimore MD) - This game features two teams peaking at the right time as both knocked off Top 5 opponents to become their conference's representatives in this tournament. Both are also featuring great goalie play including Hopkins' Brock Turnbaugh, who saved 14 against Maryland last weekend, and Georgetown's Nick Marrocco, who made 14 saves himself against Denver. Faceoffs will play a key roll in this one. But I see the Blue Jays, with a better offense, advancing with a 10-8 win over the Hoyas.

1-Maryland (#1) vs 16-Robert Morris (#18) (Sunday 12pm, College Park MD) - I had chalked in RoMo before they played Wednesday's play-in game against Canisius. The Terps are staggering into the tournament after a brutal stretch of B1G play. As the #1 seed, you'd think this would be an easy one. But Robert Morris plays good teams well, including a win earlier this season against Penn State. The Colonials will play with something to prove, but Maryland will prevail 11-8 in a game closer than expected.

Other Games

3-Yale (#4) vs 14-UMass (#14) (Saturday 12pm) - The CAA Champ Minutemen are playing loose and with house money at this point. However, Yale might be smarting after the beatdown given to them by Cornell in the Ivy League final. Yale won the first meeting 13-10 back in February between these 2. But I see a closer game with Yale winning 11-9.

4-Duke (#3) vs 13-Villanova (#17) (Saturday 2:15pm) - Villanova played tough early on, but got bit by the injury bug later in the season and has limped into the tourney. Duke has been solid with only 1 loss to Notre Dame in its last 7 games. Most games will be close, but this feels like a comfortable 13-9 Duke win.

2-Albany (#2) vs 15-Richmond (Saturday 5pm) - The Great Danes started out on fire, including beating #1 Maryland early on. But then their ace, Tewaaraton finalist Connor Fields got injured and their play suffered a little. However, they've learned to play without him and still has the best FOGO in the country in TD Irelan. Richmond has quietly compiled an 11-5 record and can play with any team in the nation. Connor Fields is supposed to suit up for Albany, so we'll give them a 12-9 victory over the Spiders.

7-Notre Dame (#8) vs 10-Denver (#9) (Sunday 2:15pm) - This was a great game 2 months ago and should be another great one this weekend. The Irish won the first game 11-9 back in March. But since then, the Pioneers reeled off 8 straight wins before running into a brick wall last weekend against a hot Georgetown goalie. Notre Dame has recently gotten healthy and appears to be clicking on offense averaging almost 15 goals per game against their last 3 opponents (Virginia, Duke and Army). We'll give this close contest to the home Irish, 12-10.

8-Syracuse (#11) vs 9-Cornell (#7) (Sunday 7:15pm) - So if I told you one of these teams won their conference tournament by beating the then #1 team in the country for that title, has a better overall record and beat their opponent in this game 13-8 just a month ago, you'd probably figure that team (Cornell) would be hosting this game. Wrong! The lesser team, Syracuse gets to host this one. Think the Big Red will have some motivation for this slighting by the NCAA? Me too. Look for a 14-9 Cornell victory.

Miscellaneous

Done Wrong: Loyola a #6 feels like a spot or two low. Bucknell or Rutgers deserved to get in over Villanova. The Patriot League only getting one team in and the B1G only getting 2 in while the Big East gets in 3 teams and the ACC is allowed 4 is an injustice.

Syracuse hosts the Ivy League champs Cornell after Big Red spanked the Orange by 5 just a month ago? NCAA could only come up with Cornell's "bad losses" as an excuse, but they should really come clean and state the obvious: Namely the better ticket draw at the Carrier Dome.

The Final Four: Loyola, Notre Dame, Duke, Maryland

Dark Horses: Cornell, Johns Hopkins

Upset Alert: Yale, Albany

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this weekend in
english soccer


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


With the twists and turns over the last seven days ensuring that both the fight for the last spot in the top four and the last relegation place would come down to the final weekend, Matchday 38 of the English Premier League is sure to be an emotional roller coaster for several clubs when we get underway Sunday morning with a league wide simultaneous kickoff.

Hopefully you all enjoyed a small glimpse in to what’s going on each week across the pond and be sure to tune in one more time this weekend with every game available live across ten different NBC network channels and online at NBC Live Extra.

Sunday, May 13 (all times eastern)

10am – Brighton & Hove Albion @ Liverpool – Anfield, NBC

After securing their place in the Champions League final in a few weeks against Real Madrid only days before, an emotionally drained Liverpool were unable to match the same intensity level that took them through to their first Champions League final since 2005 and fell to top four rivals Chelsea 1-0. The setback guaranteed the chase for the last spot in the top four would come down to the final day, but with a two point advantage and a vastly superior goal differential over the Blues, at least a draw when they host Brighton & Hove Albion at Anfield will be enough for the Reds to lock down that final place.

Liverpool rolled over Brighton in their first ever Premier League meeting earlier this year 5-1 and have yet to lose at Anfield throughout the campaign (W11 D7), however they cannot take the Seagulls lightly after they got the better of Manchester United earlier this month and before that held Tottenham to a draw and took down Arsenal to present a tricky fixture for the Reds and no guarantees of a result, with the Premier League new boys already having secured a second season in the top flight and who would like nothing more than to throw a wrench into the top of the league on the final day.

10am – Chelsea @ Newcastle United – St. James’ Park, NBC Sports Network

After leaving points on the table at home with Huddersfield Town in a 1-1 draw, which like Brighton confirmed a second year in the top flight for the first time Terriers, Chelsea left themselves plenty to do when they travel to St. James’ Park for a meeting with Newcastle United, who were unable to cancel out a Harry Kane strike minutes in to the second half that moved the England international just three goals behind Liverpool’s Mohamad Salah in the chase for the seasons Golden Boot and Tottenham past the Magpies 1-0 to ensure a second straight season of Champions League football.

With Tottenham claiming one of the remaining two spots in the top four, Chelsea must hope that Liverpool falters at home to Brighton while taking all three points against Newcastle to back door the final spot in the top four. They have won three in a row and four of their last five with the Magpies across all competitions (D1) but have struggled mightily in their recent visits to St. James’ Park, where Newcastle has won four of their last five and have only one loss since the New Year and where the Blues have not found the three points they desperately would need in their last four trips (D1).

10am – Stoke City @ Swansea City – Liberty Stadium, CNBC

While the fight at the top will come down to the wire, we have a similar situation taking shape at the other end of the table, with only one team left to go down after Stoke City fell to Crystal Palace and sent the Potters to the second tier for the first time since 2008. Southampton took a major step to ensuring they aren’t the last team to go down when they got the games only goal midway through the second half to see them past Swansea City in their relegation showdown and move the Saints three points clear of the drop while also relegating West Brom to end their miracle survival run of the last several weeks.

With a far inferior goal differential, a win from Swansea City and a loss from Southampton to Manchester City would only move the Swans level on points with the Saints and still going down to the Championship on goal differential. Certainly a tall task but one where they have the slightest hopes as they face a Stoke City side with nothing left to play for and the joint worst defense in the league (67GA), while Southampton have to make the trip to the league’s most prolific offense in Manchester City, with a shellacking either way helping the Swans to overturn a probably insurmountable nine goal differential.

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May 10
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would anyone really care if the preakness leaves pimlico?


Over the next ten days, chatter will start to regularly increase about the upcoming Preakness at Pimlico.

There will be anticipation for the race itself and a buzz about the Derby winner, Justified, and whether this mysterious foot injury is legitimate or a red herring. There are some in the industry who think the story might have been leaked by someone affiliated with horse racing to get owners and trainers a smidge more interested in coming to Baltimore for next Saturday's race.

We'll see what happens there. The race will be run -- and be interesting no matter what -- even if the Derby winner doesn't participate.

But in these parts, more focus will likely be placed on the "event" rather than just that one, single horse race.

And over the next week or so, we'll have to hear lots of discourse on the subject of Baltimore, Pimlico, the Preakness and the marriage of the three and the long-term viability of the second leg of the Triple Crown.

I spoke at a luncheon yesterday for the Executive Association of Baltimore and prior to the gathering someone asked me if I thought the city was in danger, real danger, of losing the race at some point.

"Sure," I replied. "The only thing actually keeping the Preakness here in the first place is tradition. There are definitely better tracks and venues for the race. But because it's been at Pimlico forever, it stays."

But I'm not 100% sure that's going to continue.

Could the second leg of horse racing's Triple Crown someday leave Baltimore?

If you made me put a wager on it and we could find a safe place to keep the money, I'd probably bet that in my lifetime, the race will be moved from Pimlico.

The natural location would be Laurel Park, but there are plenty of issues with having an event the size of the Preakness at that facility. It's not as easy as snapping your fingers and saying, "We're moving the Preakness to Laurel Park in three years."

The other obvious move would be just that -- a real "move". Miami seems like a perfect fit for a significant event. Gulfstream Park has undergone a serious of major renovations over the last two decades and the facility itself is more than capable of handling a bulging crowd like you might see at the Preakness.

There's always going to be the argument that South Florida sports fans are incredibly stingy with their time. Look at the attendance for the Dolphins and Marlins as Exhibit A of that claim. But horse racing is extremely popular down there and the race is really more a party than a competition among horses. And South Florida likes a good party.

Other cities and tracks would also covet the Preakness if it were made available to the highest bidder. It's still a very attractive event on the horse racing calendar.

The big question, as a guy who grew up in Glen Burnie and has lived here his whole life, is this: Would anyone really care if the Preakness left Pimlico?

And I'm stressing the word "really" here.

Would you really care?

If your answer to that question is "no", that doesn't make you a bad person.

If your answer is "yes", I'd then ask if you support the race itself every third May of the year. Do you buy tickets? Split an infield tent with a friend who owns a business like you do? If you really care, what sort of participation do you have in helping with its success?

But whether you said "yes or no", here's the reality. The city of Baltimore and the connecting counties -- let's just say the entire state of Maryland to make it simple -- would be distressed if the event left Baltimore and within a few years, we'd hardly remember it.

Sorry to say that...but it's true.

That's not to say we'd regret losing it. We would. Every third Saturday in May when the race gets run at Gulfstream Park and we're forced to watch the pomp and circumstance, we'd remember that it was once our event until we lost it.

But life would go on here. Heck, we lost a football team once. And while that pain was real and numbing, especially those first few years, the city and state didn't shut down. Life went on.

It's been great to have the Ravens in town. There's no doubt about that. This very website and my livelihood, in fact, is somewhat connected to their popularity.

That said, the team was seeing no-shows in the 10,000 and 15,000 range last season because some guys took a knee during the national anthem and the team was boring. People love the Ravens. But they only love them as long as they're representing the city appropriately.

Because it's a one-off event, the Preakness doesn't have nearly the cachet that the Ravens or Orioles do. I don't think anyone would argue that point.

And because it's basically held over a 12-hour period in one day, it would be easy to forget about if it were to move out of Baltimore.

By no means do I want that to happen. I do not want to see the Preakness leave Pimlico.

But I do wonder, as the headline says, if anyone would really care if the race left town?

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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.


what is golf?


News came Tuesday that the Russell Street corridor between M&T Bank Stadium and the Horseshoe Casino will soon be the home of Topgolf, a unique golf-centric entertainment facility already in 19 states.

The balls you’ll hit there have microchips in them that track distance and accuracy. There are a host of games and targets to make it fun for a big group, even people who don’t play golf.

Think one of those high-tech bowling alleys with amazing food and drink options that have been around a few years, only translated to golf.

Drive by the west side of Druid Hill Park and the zoo on any given Saturday with nice weather and you’ll see hundreds of cars parked bumper-to-bumper near Greenspring Avenue. Across the street, the passengers from all those cars are playing disc golf. The ultimate targets for the frisbees are baskets, located several feet about the ground on metal poles.

Disc golf has been around a long time, I guess. On Seinfeld, George Costanza once said he was going to spend the whole summer playing it back in the 1990s.

No holes, no out of bounds and no lateral water hazards. But they call it Disc "Golf" for some reason.

Over at Carroll Park in Southwest Baltimore, you’re encouraged by the Baltimore Municipal Golf Corporation to make a tee time for FootGolf, where nine “holes” have been created crisscrossing the actual nine holes of the golf course. On the weekend, you can play a “round” for only 15 bucks; just make sure you bring a regulation-size soccer ball and stay off the actual golf greens.

Obviously, the holes for the soccer balls are quite a bit larger. I’ve seen a few stories about golf courses that have experimented with holes of that size on their real greens, in the hopes of improving the pace of play and making putting less frustrating, I suppose.

Topgolf, disc golf and FootGolf are celebrated these days as ways to keep “golf” alive, particularly among the millennial generation. More than half of Topgolf’s customers, in fact, fall within the coveted 18-to-34 demographic, which I’ve somehow managed to surpass now by 11 years (sorry, I digress).

Disc golf is an ode to your college years tossing a frisbee out on the quad. FootGolf is a way of getting the world’s most popular sport, one that has a particularly large following among younger people in this country, into another setting.

Indeed, all of them will tell you that they’re really saving the game.

Golf is boring, and places like Topgolf make it a flashy thrill.

Golf takes too long, and all of them are a way of turning a five-hour slog into a two-hour break from life.

FootGolf is saving golf courses financially as more tee times go unfilled.

And golf is expensive, of course. There must be a cheaper alternative, and if it’s more fun too, that’s great.

As for me, Topgolf sounds like a lot of fun. Playing “golf” with a frisbee or soccer ball is awful silly, but who am I to tell you what to do with your Sunday afternoon?

None of them are saving golf though. They’re just more things that are killing it.

Going to Topgolf or tooling around a grassy expanse in your Man U kit and cleats isn’t going to make you want to start playing the game for real. Playing “frolf” religiously is unlikely to make you pay for a subscription to Golf Digest or make you watch a PGA Tour event on television.

Golf is like any other sport. To love it, you have to play it. To play it, you must reach at least a base level of skill by practicing and learning the rules. There must be something, or somebody, that makes you want to practice and learn the game.

There must be something that makes it ok to spend time and money that everyone insists nobody possesses anymore.

I don’t know what that is, exactly, but ultimately it comes down to an individual feeling, I think.

Maybe it’s the feeling that comes with hitting the ball on the screws for the first time and wanting to repeat that feeling. It could be the first long putt you make, or the first time you par three or four holes in a row. I’m sure it’s different feeling for each of us, but whatever it is, it means we don’t give up.

We are fine with the fact that golf is hard.

All these activities that are supposedly related to golf? They’re easy. That’s the real reason they’re popular.

Call me a killjoy, but I go to a certain driving range all the time and I enjoy the fact that it’s a driving range. There’s always someone giving lessons at the end of the tee line, while the small pro shop sells equipment and apparel and repairs and regrips your clubs. I have a “key,” which rewards people who visit often with a volume discount.

“Regulars” talk to each other and watch each other’s swings. Listen for a few minutes, and you’ll hear almost everyone talk about the last time they played or the next time they’re playing. Everyone wishes they were out on the course, even if they really like being at the range.

I was having a decent round the other day myself when I came to the 15th hole, a par 5, and hit a drive into the woods after hitting six in a row in the fairway. Simply trying to punch the ball back into play, with plenty of room to do so, I hit a shank that squirted to the right and hit a tree that wasn’t even in my vision. The ball careened into an even worse position than before, from which I needed two more shots to get to an open spot 200 yards from the green.

The whole thing was lousy, but I’m looking forward to the next time I play the hole. If I can, I’ll drop a ball near my original drive and see if I can do better. That’s golf.

Now, the range is the entertainment, and that’s fine. It’ll be great for the undeveloped land on Warner Street, next to the casino, that currently does nothing but serve as a small parking lot for football games. It will showcase all the amazing technology that exists today, and it will employ a whole bunch of people, which is nice.

I don’t care what Greg Norman and Hunter Mahan say on the promotional video on the Topgolf website, though: I don’t think it’ll help golf at all.

I know I’ll have fun at Topgolf when I get there, and I think I’d probably enjoy throwing a frisbee into a basket and kicking a ball into a hole in the ground. I’m just bothered by the idea that we’ve created these things because golf somehow isn’t good enough.

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NOTES & COMMENT
George McDowell


George McDowell is #DMD's foreign correspondent. His international reports are filed from a hardened outpost just across the U.S. / North Carolina border. He writes on sports topics that interest him that he feels might also interest some segment of the wildly esoteric #DMD readership. George has been a big fan of DF and his various enterprises since the last century, and for several seasons appeared as a weekly guest on his Monday evening radio show, Maryland Golf Live, delivering commentary as The Eccentric Starter. George also donates his time and talents to the less fortunate, and currently volunteers as secretary of the Rickie Fowler Fan Club.


records are made to be broken


With the Orioles’ loss Tuesday night, in which they fell behind 10-0 before recording the first out of the game, the team fell to 8-27, a winning percentage of .229.

The modern major-league record for team futility is held by the 1916 Philadelphia Athletics, who went 36-117, a winning percentage of .235, and they finished a mind-boggling 54½ games behind the pennant-winning Boston Red Sox.

The 1916 Philadelphia Athletics

The baseball season is long, stretching through sweltering summer dog days into the first crisp weeks of fall. The only things happening on the sports front besides baseball are a couple of golf tournaments, and these can take the minds of serious Baltimore sports fans off the futility of the baseball team for a few merciful days each month until football kicks off and cautious optimism is allowed to surface.

But when the golfs aren't being contested, the Birds' ineptitude will grind down the souls of true and loyal fans. In order to avoid stark raving madness an alternative method of dealing with reality must be derived. Self-medication will ease the pain in the short term, but as any know-it-all holier-than-thou do-gooder will delight in condescendingly telling you, "that won't solve your problem!"

Be that as it is, that won't exacerbate our problems, either. But never mind – onward and upward to a positive solution.

Chicago Cubs fans, after successive World Series wins in 1907 and 1908, waited a staggering 108 years for their next Series victory. And how did four generations of Chicagoans cope with this unprecedented run of failure? The answer is simple – they lowered their expectations. If one does not expect to win, the inevitable defeat is bearable because it is expected. Game days at Wrigley, from box seats to bleachers, became more social event than ballgame, and few were devastated or even surprised when the inevitable L was recorded.

New York Mets fans adopted this city-wide defense mechanism, and raised it to an art form. Early in their history, a fan showed up to a game with a sign that read "Wait Til Next Year," a common lament of sports fans everywhere, but special in this instance because it was Opening Day of the season.

Baltimore baseball fans would do well to remember, and sometimes recite to themselves, the poem written by American theologian and pastor Reinhold Niebuhr in 1934, which poem has come to be known as the Serenity Prayer. The verse has proven remarkably successful when communally used in 12-step addiction-recovery programs:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

The modern Baltimore Orioles have lost 100 or more games twice in their 64-year history. They lost 100 games in their inaugural 1954 season, and lost 107 in their disastrous 1988 campaign. This year appears to offer a good chance for the Birds to eclipse their 1988 record, and perhaps even to surpass the Athletics' record of 117 losses. In an attempt to inject a little levity into a grossly disappointing baseball season, we've cooked up a little Poll to add some small measure of excitement to it. See if you can pick the 10-game stretch in which the Orioles notch their 100th loss:


 Drew's Morning Dish

#DMD Poll

Question: When will the Orioles put the dreaded three--digit number, 100, in their loss column?
Aug. 21 or before
Aug. 22 to 31
Sep. 1 to 10
Sep. 11 to 20
Sep. 21 to 30
Name
Email address

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May 9
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is it memorial day yet?


My wife wandered into the living room last night at 9:30 or so.

"The Orioles are losing 15-1," I said. I'm not even sure why I mentioned it. She's not a huge sports fan. But I said it anyway.

There was a moment or two of silence.

"What do they care?" she replied. "They still get paid twenty million dollars and they can't get fired."

Hard to argue with that kind of logic. Especially since it might be right.

They're starting to look like they don't care.

The ten run first inning authored by Kansas City last night was one of the more poignant moments of this disaster-of-a-young-season.

Dylan Bundy's ERA skyrocketed to 5.17 after last night's debacle, where he gave up seven runs without recording an out in the first inning.

It's one thing if the Yankees come bouncing into town and throw up a ten-spot, with the likes of Stanton, Judge and Gregorius hitting home runs. You'd probably just say, "Damn, those dudes can hit."

The Royals stink.

When it was over, Kansas City won, 15-7, the O's pulling off a 9th inning four-run trick similar to what they did in Los Angeles last week when they scored five final inning runs to make a 10-7 loss look better than it was.

Last night, though, the beating was real and it left some marks.

Dylan Bundy set a major league mark for futility by failing to record an out and allowing four guys to hit home runs off of him in the first inning. I can think of better things to be known for, can't you?

Something's not right with the O's opening day starter.

If Bundy isn't injured -- which seems to be the most natural assumption -- then something else even more mysterious is going on with him. After a succession of excellent starts at the outset of the season, he's been awful recently. He's denying any sort of injury at this point, but it's certainly worth keeping an eye on in the next week or two.

Big league pitchers don't just give up seven runs in twelve minutes.

Don't let the seven runs and 14 hits generated by the O's last night fool you. The team's offense was again awful. Then again, as my wife sorta-kinda pointed out, why try when you're down 10-0 in the first inning?

Rumors out of Chicago have the Cubs interested in Manny Machado. It was front page news yesterday.

The Orioles should offer to fly Manny out there for a personal interview at this point. No offense to him, of course. He's a helluva ball player. But there's zero reason -- none that you or anyone else can give that makes sense -- to keep any pending free agent around when the team is 8-27 at the 35-game mark.

And this baloney about "waiting until Memorial Day" is stupid. So, too, is the logic of hanging on until the trade deadline to see which teams line up for the likes of Machado, Britton, Brach and Jones.

Machado could hurt himself in late June and the O's might not get anything for him. Same for Britton or any of the others.

Get rid of those guys now. Jones, of course, has veto power because of his 10/5 status, but I can't see him saying "no thanks" to a deal after this embarrassing start.

I heard a lot of people on talk radio yesterday beating up the Orioles for not cleaning house last July. That's water under the bridge at this point. I said last July they should have dealt Manny and Britton, too, but there's no sense in crushing the club now.

But they definitely deserve criticism if they don't move those four in the next two weeks.

11,000 people were foolish enough to buy a ticket to last night's game.

Just over 8,000 actually walked into the ballpark, for reasons I'm sure they can't even figure out.

The attendance is probably as much of an issue as the team's record, if we're telling the truth.

They'll be fortunate to average 20,000 per-game this season. If you think no one's going now, what happens in July when they're 25-65 (I know...how on earth are they gonna win 25?) and 30 games out of first place?

That's yet another reason to rid themselves of Machado and Jones in particular. They can save a bunch of money by doing so, particularly if they pull the plug on those two sometime this month. They'd save upwards of $22 million just by shipping those two out.

When no one is coming to the games, buying tickets, hot dogs, hats and parking, $22 million helps.

Everyone, naturally, is trade commodity of sorts at this point.

It would help the O's bankroll considerably if some team would be dumb enough to take Chris Davis, but that's about as unlikely as the Flyers playing later this week in the NHL playoffs (for those that don't know, they were eliminated a couple of weeks ago).

Even if the O's did a 70/30 split on Davis and paid $70 million of the remaining $100 million, that saves them $30 million and rids them of the worst contract since arenas around the country booked Van Halen a few years back for David Lee Roth's return to the scene.

But no one's taking Davis, so I might as well shut up on that issue.

Someone might take Schoop, though. I hate to say it, but the O's should probably offer him up as well.

While we're brushing ourselves with this honesty paint, let's call that one like it is, too. Schoop's not staying here after the 2019 season when he's a free agent. He's just not. The Orioles aren't giving him the $100 million he'll want, for starters, and, like his buddy over at shortstop, Schoop will want to test the free agent market.

This potential O's fire sale has two main pieces to it.

One is the necessity for some sort of on-field rebuild. There are a few guys in Norfolk worth looking at -- Hays and Mountcastle to rattle off two names -- and guys like Sisco and, yes, even the overmatched Anthony Santander might as well just get as much playing time as they can with the big league club.

The other piece of the fire sale is the economics of it, and that one might be even more important to the Orioles, frankly.

They're losing money by the bucket-full. They basically sold 10,000 season tickets this season. When they're drawing crowds of 11,000 or 13,000, that means no "new money" is coming in. They're not depositing any cash in the bank.

At some point, that's going to be a significant concern for Peter Angelos and his two sons.

It is, as they've reminded us a number of times over the years, a business. Money in, money out. The Orioles might need a fire sale just to help themselves make payroll in August or September.

I'm not joking.

They're not "going out of business" or anything like that, but the owner might need to eventually dip into his own coffers to help fund the business if revenues don't improve (unlikely) or expenses don't diminish (unlikely unless moves are made).

Losing 15-7 to the Royals. At home, no less.

8-27 to start the season.

How much worse can it get?

And what about the immediate future of guys like Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette. I'll give them both a breather today, since there are bigger fish to fry, but how do you keep those two guys around in the wake of this disastrous first month of the season?

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it's good to see the phil and tiger friendship


Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods will tee it up together on Thursday and Friday at the Players Championship. It's probably good that the TOUR puts the two of them in the same group...it seems unlikely at this point that their play will get them in that environment.

Yesterday, both players spoke at the event's media day, and some good natured ribbing ensued about their respective golf games and the potential for some "wagering" between the two of them.

The two have been interesting personalities during their two decade-plus professional careers.

Mickelson was generally disliked throughout most of his first fifteen years on TOUR.

Tiger didn't get close enough to most of the players to be disliked, if that makes any sense at all. He was feared, more than anything.

The two probably didn't like one another early on because their pride and ego wouldn't allow for it. Mickelson, older by five years, was the free-spirited, ultra-talented Southern California kid who probably would have been this generation's most successful and popular player if not for one guy -- Tiger Woods.

Woods didn't just win in the 1990's and 2000's. He ran over people. Including Mickelson. And my guess is Tiger wasn't all that friendly while doing so.

So friction between those two was both natural and inevitable.

They both seemed to have lightened up now, though. Age, wisdom and hundreds of millions of dollars can soften the toughest people, I assume.

While neither will openly admit that their best days are in the rear view mirror, a look in that mirror -- and honest one -- would tell them a different story.

And that's why, at least over the next few days, a pairing of the two in a tournament is a good move.

It will probably help their friendship grow, which is a good thing.

I noted yesterday somewhere here at #DMD that a commenter essentially said the pairing and their "supposed" friendship wasn't legit. That it had somehow been manufactured by the TOUR.

No offense to the author of that thought, but it's really dumb to think that two grown men would go out of their way to act like they were friends with each other when they have no valid reason to need to do that.

And both have the power to mandate to the TOUR that they not be paired together. If Tiger told the TOUR, "Don't ever pair me with Phil, I don't like the guy" they wouldn't ever pair them together. Plain and simple. And the same, too, for Mickelson. They both yield that kind of power, still.

At this point, I think Phil and Tiger see the whole thing for what it is. They're in the November of their careers now. If they win any kind of tournament at this point, it's a significant triumph given the odds they have to overcome.

Neither needs money.

Neither needs fame.

And, most importantly, they don't really impact one another anymore.

They can just be buddies now. The pressure of beating each other is gone. Hell, they can't even beat Bryson DeChambeau or Beau Hossler.

And there's probably a bit of a kindred spirit kind of thing going with each of them now. Woods has had his fair share of personal problems and Mickelson would probably be doing jail time right now if not for the fact that he's Phil Mickelson.

I'm not saying they stand around on the 12th tee and talk about that kind of stuff, but when they look at one another, there's probably a quiet resolve in each of them that says, "There's no need to not like this guy -- the competition for who is better is over at this point."

Woods made it a point to jab Mickelson a bit over their career TOUR wins on Tuesday ("big picture", Tiger said with a smile).

But that didn't stop Phil from hinting that he wanted to play Tiger for some cash over the first two rounds. "If he wants a piece of me, he knows where to find me," Phil said.

I don't know about you, but I'd much rather see the two of them be friends than not.

They deserve the spotlight after what both of them have done for the sport of golf. Let the light shine on both of them brightly over the first two days of the Players Championship this week.

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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
May 8
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issue 8
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these parents, huh?


This story comes from the "you have to read it three times to really believe it" file.

The mother of former Duke basketball star Wendell Carter was up in arms on Monday. What she said is odd, but she's certainly not the only college-mom to think this or say it.

“The problem that I see is not with the student-athlete," said Kylia Carter. "It’s not with the coaches and the institutions of higher learning, but it’s with a system, like the only system I have ever seen, where the laborers are the only people that are not being compensated for the work that they do, while those in charge receive mighty compensation. The only two systems where I’ve known that to be in place is slavery and the prison system, and now I see the NCAA as overseers of a system that is identical to that.”

Is the college athletic system flawed? Sure, there are elements of the system that are in need of tweaking. Title IX was developed mostly because the system favored the male student-athlete, for example.

But comparing it to prison? And slavery?

Hogwash.

If we're being honest, both are dumb comparisons.

Duke's Wendell Carter is leaving school after one year to pursue a career in the NBA. On Monday, his mother likened his time at Duke to slavery.

We could break down the whole issue of college scholarships and the value of the education received, but that's not even really worth debating at this point. There is a value to their schooling, whether the kid receiving it is emotionally invested in being educated or not.

Because it's what we do these days, we no longer actually hold the student-athlete responsible for their actions. Instead, we blame the system, the school, the educators, etc.

But that's not the story here.

The story is a mother who is so far out in left field, she's looking at Trey Mancini's back.

Maybe she's just looking for her 15 minutes of fame. If so, she's getting it. Or perhaps she's just a goof.

Slavery and a Duke basketball player have zero in common with one another. Zilch. Nada. Nothing.

Likewise, incarcerated prisoners have zero in common with a Duke basketball player or any other college athlete.

To suggest there's a connection there is idiotic.

I understand Kylia Carter's main comparison to prison and slavery was the lack of "income" for services performed. She believes her son should be compensated at Duke because, for example, the Athletic Director makes $500,000 and her son (supposedly) makes no money during his time in Durham.

We'll argue about this forever or until the Orioles win their 40th game this season, whichever comes first.

Her son's college education is/was his "compensation".

No one forced Wendell Carter to play college basketball. He wanted to play college basketball.

There are basic guidelines that are followed everywhere in Division 1 athletics and Carter agreed to those in exchange for the "privilege" of playing basketball at Duke and (potentially) attending classes there.

It was Carter who elected to leave school and pursue a career in professional basketball. Duke didn't "fire" him. He left on his own accord.

The last time I checked, a prisoner serving 10 years for first degree assault can't just up and leave whenever he/she wants.

Perhaps I need to brush up on my history, but it strikes me that slaves couldn't just up and leave when their working conditions got unbearable.

A student-athlete's life is remarkably better, safer and more healthy than anything a slave or prisoner encountered.

These are the kinds of discussions that give college sports a bad name. I'd say 90% of the men and women who play college sports and get a scholarship or any kind of reduced tuition payment are thrilled with their arrangement

That leaves the other 10% who feel they're getting the raw end of the deal.

It would be interesting to see how many of that 10% goes to class, completes their assignments and, in general, takes their education seriously.

Those that wind up not liking it can leave whenever they want. Even those that like it can leave at their own discretion.

Slaves and prisoners? They didn't -- and don't -- get that sort of freedom.

There's a discussion to be had about college athletics and the NCAA and things like a kid making some money when his likeness is used. As I wrote above, the "system" has its flaws. It's antiquated to some degree and also damaged over the years by kids, parents and coaches who would rather circumvent the rules than follow them.

But college athletics also has great value and a significantly large percentage of the young men and women who play for their school have no regrets about doing it.

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24 years later...

Let's get the fun stuff out of the way first.

I called it.

Prior to the series with the Penguins, I said the Caps would beat the 2-time defending champions in six games.

Even after the Capitals lost Game 1 at home, I said "There's lots of hockey left...they're still going to win the series."

And win they did.

For the first time in 24 years, the Capitals disposed of the Penguins in a playoff series, winning Game 6 last night, 2-1 in overtime.

Evgeny Kuznetsov eliminated Pittsburgh with a breakaway goal, as Washington advances to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 1998. The Caps will next face the Tampa Bay Lightning for the right to play in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Editor's note: In case you just got back from a month-long vacation and haven't followed hockey, the Caps are moving on and the Flyers are playing golf. Philadelphia's season ended three weeks ago when they were sent packing by the Penguins. I'm sure that warms your heart like it does mine.

Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov teamed up for the game-winning goal in overtime on Monday night as the Caps eliminated the Penguins in a playoff series for the first time in 24 years.

Last night's win was especially impressive given that center Nicklas Backstrom missed the game with a hand injury. Even though the Caps were constantly overwhelmed in the face-off circle, they were somehow able to overcome Backstrom's absence.

The star of the series was clearly Washington netminder Braden Holtby, who gamely outplayed Pittsburgh's Matt Murray in almost every contest.

Holtby was especially sensational in the third period of both the Game 5 and Game 6 wins, although it's fair to point out he was beaten on a shot in overtime last night but the goalpost got in the way to keep the score knotted at 1-1.

The Caps' defense, criticized heavily in January and February, was solid if not spectacular in the six games against Pittsburgh. Even oft-vilified Brooks Orpik was able to play above his head.

So with this monkey off their back, how far can the Caps go?

Tampa Bay was clearly the best team in the Eastern Conference all season, and have lost just twice in 10 post-season games this year. They easily dismantled Boston 4-games-to-1 in the conference semifinals, a team many thought would give them a tussle over a 7-game series.

While they'd never admit it, the Caps are playing with house money at this point. Sure, they'd like to win the next series and win the Cup, if possible. But eliminating the pesky Penguins -- and in their building, no less -- is a franchise-building moment all on its own.

This summer, no matter what they do against Tampa Bay, the Caps can sell themselves as a winner, unlike the last two off-season efforts. There's comfort in that. If I'm Barry Trotz, the first message I give to the team today is, "Take a deep breath, relax, and go have fun against Tampa Bay."

The critical piece of their series win over Pittsburgh is that Washington didn't rely on Alex Ovechkin to get it done for them. They spread the wealth.

Ovechkin did tally the game-winning goal in their Game 3 win in Pittsburgh and set up both the game-winner in Game 5 and Game 6. He played well when it mattered, something he hasn't done in the past. But there were plenty of others who made major contributions in the series triumph over the Penguins, a note that bodes well for the upcoming Tampa Bay encounter.

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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.

Glory
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Monday
May 7
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issue 7
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what was so wrong with what mike smith said?


Moments after Mike Smith's winning ride on Justify in Saturday's Kentucky Derby, the veteran jockey was asked by the on-track reporter to describe the race he'd just won.

"Before I do that," Smith said. "I'd just like to give thanks and praise to my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ."

He then went on to talk about the race and the stunning performance of his 3-year old horse.

A few minutes after that, I took to Twitter to offer a quick thought as well.

Love hearing Mike Smith give glory to Jesus after his Derby win on Justify. #nicetouch

That was what I wrote.

I was immediately roasted with comments from followers. In fairness, I also received a large number of "likes" and "retweets", but I clearly -- and unintentionally -- hit on a touchy subject.

One reply to my tweet was this one: Does that mean Jesus didn’t want the other 19 jockeys to win? Please...congrats to a good team but spare me the proselytizing.

Someone else wrote: I guess the other jockeys just didn't believe in him hard enough.

Both of those comments -- naive and silly, sort of -- are probably accurate depictions of the way lots of people think these days.

Veteran jockey Mike Smith ignited controversy following Saturday's Kentucky Derby win when he mixed a religious message with his post-race comments.

And one quick check on Twitter showed lots of other discourse like that throughout my timeline. Others around the country were praising Smith, others were busy tearing him down.

It got me to thinking about it on Saturday night. We had a member-member tournament at Eagle's Nest this weekend and a couple of us gathered early both days to spend twenty minutes or so sharing our faith over breakfast. I brought the whole subject up on Sunday morning when it was my turn to share.

Why did people lash out at Mike Smith?

What did he do that was so wrong?

And what role do the rest of us play in trying to explain what "give thanks and praise" means when those words come from the mouth of a Christian or a believer in Jesus?

Clearly, there were lots of people out there who misinterpreted it.

God or Jesus (the two are different, not one and the same, but folks seem confused by that) doesn't want anyone to win a horse race. Or a football game. Or a basketball game.

What the advocate is saying when he/she says "I'd like to give thanks and praise to my Lord and savior" is simply that. "I'm giving thanks and praise."

I don't see what's so wrong with that. Now, granted, I'm saying that as a believer. John 3:16 - (16) For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

So I'm coming from the side of protecting someone who took a moment during one of the biggest moments of his life to share the good news with millions of people. I do understand that.

But I ask again...what's so wrong with what Mike Smith did?

We have a team prayer before every match at Calvert Hall. It includes, in part, this: "If we win, give us humility. If we lose, give us peace. And know that we're competing today to honor your son, Jesus Christ."

There's nothing in there about helping us win or helping us make more putts (although we could use the help, God). We take whatever result we earn, win or lose, and deal with it accordingly...with humility or peace.

A few years ago before an A-Conference match, a father of the opposing team came up to me on the 3rd hole at Country Club of Maryland. "I'm curious," he said after introducing himself. "What were you all doing by the putting green right before the team introductions?"

"We have a team prayer before every match," I replied.

He looked at me like I had three heads.

I thought about that situation this past Saturday when the Mike Smith controversy started boiling over on Twitter.

There were actually people saying, "Why would Mike Smith say that right after the race?"

The answer, of course, is the same one I would give when someone would say, "Why do you pray before a golf match?"

Any time is a great time to give thanks and praise for the blessings that have been bestowed upon you. And "blessings" doesn't mean winning. Blessings could be your health, your family's health, your safety, your friends, and so on.

There's never a bad time to pray. And there's never a bad time to say, "I'd like to give thanks and praise to my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ."

That's what I think, anyway.

Others disagree, some strongly, in fact.

I get it.

This very column might be open for criticism and rebuttal, in fact. But that's OK.

I'll offer my favorite verse from the Bible as a response to any negative or critical feedback this piece generates today.

In fact, I sent John Harbaugh a brief e-mail the morning after last season's New Year's Eve loss at home to the Bengals that eliminated the Ravens from the playoffs. In that e-mail, I included this verse as well.

It's from 2 Corinthians, 4:16-18 -- (16) Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (17) For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (18) So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

I loved hearing Mike Smith "share the word" on Saturday after his Kentucky Derby win.

Jesus needs all the positive P.R. He can receive these days.

Others don't see it that way, sadly.

But, as it says in 2 Corinthians, 4:16-18 -- We do not lose heart.

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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?

Losing Edition

Who?

Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken

The Orioles are tied for the worst record in baseball, 8-26, while featuring one of the best players in baseball, Manny Machado, who happens to be playing at a higher level than ever.

If you think that’s an unusual combination, think back 30 years ago to the 1988 Orioles, who famously lost their first 21 games. That team had both Eddie Murray, 32 and Cal Ripken, 27, on the roster.

Neither Murray nor Ripken had a terrible year, in a single-season sense or in relation to the rest of their Hall of Fame careers. Both played in every game and each had an OPS better than .800. It was a different world for power hitters in 1988—Ripken walked 102 times while striking out only 69, and Murray had 75 walks and 78 strikeouts.

You’d think those two could win a game or three by themselves. Alas, as we’re finding out now, it takes a village. Also, it’s better to have a team without Pete Stanicek, Ken Gerhart and Rene Gonzales playing significant roles.

Even with Ripken and Murray on the team, the 1988 Orioles scored only 550 runs, an average of about 3.4 per game. Through 34 games, the 2018 Orioles have scored only 115 runs, about the same amount per game.

Of course, the Orioles won on Opening Day in 2018, thus making them just another bad team unlike their 1988 counterparts.


What?

False Hope

The date was September 3, 2017, and the Orioles had won another extra-inning game, their second in three days against the Blue Jays at Camden Yards. This one was a really good one, since the Orioles were behind 4-3 in the ninth before Welington Castillo led off the inning with a game-tying home run against Roberto Osuna. Mark Trumbo then won the game in the 12th inning.

Since Mark Trumbo's game-winning hit last September 3rd vs. Toronto, the Orioles are 13-46, a .220 winning percentage.

The Orioles were 70-67. On July 16, they’d been seven games under .500. Maybe the playoffs weren’t likely, but at least the season would end on a better note.

Instead of a last-place season heading into an uncertain 2018, it would be a disappointing year that still ended with 84 or 85 wins.

Since then, the Orioles have played 59 games and won 13 of them.

Maybe there’s something cosmic about this stretch of .220 baseball over two seasons for Buck Showalter’s team. The team spent five-and-a-half years overperforming, winning games despite all sorts of flaws. I suppose this could just be some kind of comeuppance.

Or, it’s possible that a 13-46 record is really a terrible blip. At some point, there has to be a flip. Nobody can play this badly forever.

In any event, I don’t think many fans thought the Orioles would go through this when they beat the Blue Jays that Sunday in September. I’m sure the guys on the roster are just as bewildered as the fans are.


When?

May 2, 1988

The Orioles came back to Baltimore that day with a record of 1-23. After beating the White Sox three days earlier for that elusive first win, they’d lost the final two games in Chicago.

Frank Robinson’s team played a game against the Texas Rangers that Monday, the first game of a homestand after a 12-game road trip, and 50,402 fans showed up to the ballpark to welcome the team back. It was one of the greatest shows of fan support in the history of Baltimore sports.

Think about this: less than five years earlier, only 28,000 people showed up at Memorial Stadium to watch the Colts play their final game in Baltimore.

If the 2018 Orioles had started the season with a long losing streak — maybe not 21 games but somewhere in double digits — would the team have sold out Camden Yards the day they came back from the road?

For some reason, that team 30 years ago must have been lovable losers (ok, not Murray, but maybe everyone else). Maybe it was 98 Rock’s Bob Rivers and his 11-day on-the-air marathon, which made national news as much as the team’s losing streak.

In 2018, the idea of the lovable loser doesn’t really exist anymore. These guys make too much money, and our culture wouldn’t have a sense of humor about a 21-game losing streak. Based on talk radio after Ravens’ games, we don’t have a sense of humor after a one-game losing streak.


Where?

Yankee Stadium

Drew has mentioned this on “The Juice” a couple times, but it’s worth mentioning again. The Orioles have now lost 12 games in a row on the road. They have only three road wins. And all of them came at Yankee Stadium in early April.

The Yankees have only lost 10 games this season. They recently won nine games in a row; after a tight loss in Houston broke that streak last Monday, they’ve now won six straight games. Aaron Boone’s team is 19-5 since the Orioles left town.

Since that was a four-game series in the Bronx, and the O’s have the extra home game against the Yanks in this year’s 19 games between the teams, the Orioles only play five more times at Yankee Stadium this season.

The Yankees will host the Orioles for a two-game series on July 31 and August 1. By the way, in case you don’t follow baseball, the Major League non-waiver trade deadline takes place every year at 4 p.m. on July 31. That’s a Tuesday this year. Perhaps the Orioles will be looking to trade someone?

The Orioles are back in New York the final time for a three-game series in September. The Ravens host the Broncos on the final day of that series, September 23, at the exact same time of day, and I think we’ll be paying a bit more attention to that one.


Why?

Losing

I’ve been around teams in competitive arenas quite a bit. I’ve probably been around more losers than winners; I’d like to think that was just coincidence and not me. What I’ve realized is that losing can be just as complicated as winning.

You can joke all you want that the Orioles keep losing because they can’t hit, can’t pitch and can’t field, but the reality behind that joke is pretty complex.

The Orioles “can’t hit” because they have an important and powerful piece of their lineup who doesn’t appear to be capable of hitting at the Major League level anymore. They’ve had injuries to proven hitters that put a lot of pressure on unproven ones. You have to go further than just saying “they suck.”

I think the Orioles “can’t pitch” because they made the decision to wait so long to find pitchers. As nice as it was to hear that the team signed Andrew Cashner and Alex Cobb, there was a reason they were available. I’d also say that the decline of Chris Tillman was the opposite of what the club was thinking two years ago.

As for fielding, Machado’s move to shortstop or not, the team has been forced to, or chose to, make decisions that were based on offense. Sadly, that decision to win games a different way has backfired, and there’s nothing that makes losing look worse than bad defense.

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



It's not even Mother's Day yet, but the Orioles season is already over.

At 8-26 after Sunday's loss in Oakland, they've simply dug too large of a hole to climb back into contention from. They're 17 games behind the first place Red Sox, and in Fangraphs playoff odds simulator the number of scenarios in which the the O's reach the postseason is so small that the result shows as simply 0.0%.

With the reality of the situation clear, it's equally obvious that it's time for the franchise to begin looking ahead to the future.

2018 was always set to be a pivotal season for the birds, with Manny Machado, Adam Jones, and Zach Britton all scheduled to hit free agency this winter, and less than two full months into the season the Orioles are clearly set to be major sellers in the summer trade season (or they should be anyway). Everyone has their own opinion on who should be traded and what the return ought to be.

But before they even get to that point, the Orioles need to decide what the future of the organization itself looks like.

As readers of this site are well aware, both manager Buck Showalter and general manager Dan Duquette are working without deals in place for the 2019 season.

That's a highly unusual situation for any team to find itself in, although last season both John Farrell and Joe Girardi managed on lame duck contracts. Of course, neither manager was brought back despite making the postseason, and in Girardi's case making an improbable ALCS run.

Is Brady Anderson the next O's general manager because he's the best guy for the job? Or is he the only person who would actually want it at this point?

That can't be lost on Showalter.

But Duquette might be the more egregious case.

For one thing, the nature of the GM job itself makes it ill-suited to being filled by a lame duck. If the Orioles end up going into a full on rebuild, does it really make sense to let an executive who won't be with the team after next season handle the process?

Or will Duquette even be allowed to do that?

We know that ownership, and Brady Anderson, are playing an outsized role in personnel matters, to the point that Duquette didn't even have the autonomy to sign Ryan Flaherty this off-season. That doesn't sound like someone who is going to be allowed to make any big decisions but rather is effectively the GM in name only.

Adding to the mess is that Duquette's tenure with the Orioles has been somewhat tortured from the start. After a decade long hiatus from Major League Baseball, Duquette found himself at the helm of the O's mostly because no one else wanted the job after the 2011 season.

That ended up being a blessing in disguise as the team immediately won the wild card thanks in large part to Duquette's skill at finding undervalued players and squeezing every amount of value possible out of his entire 40 man roster, but that didn't necessarily smooth over his relationship with others at the warehouse.

It's been an open secret for years that he and Showalter don't really get along, but that hasn't seemed to hurt the on field product all that much. His relationship with ownership, however, is another matter entirely.

From the beginning, Duquette has had to deal with more handcuffs than most general managers, a prime reason why he was the only serious candidate for the job in the first place. Peter Angelos exercises a much tighter degree of final authority over relatively minor matters than other owners, including apparently needing weeks to approve a minor expenditure for a utility infielder. Worse still, the team has consistently lacked any clear strategic aim for a while now, making it hard for a general manager to approach roster building in any consistent manner.

Last summer the Orioles shopped Zach Britton and Brad Brach, only to end up doing nothing on that front. This winter they did the same thing with Manny Machado...and then reversed course to sign Andrew Cashner and Alex Cobb late in the offseason calendar.

At every step, other teams' executives have made comments to reporters about how difficult it is to deal with the Orioles, because they never know if Duquette has Angelos' authorization to make the deals he's proposing in the first place, an absurd position for a modern GM to be put in and a confirmation of most baseball people's worst assumptions about the Orioles' organization.

The most infamous flashpoint between GM and club, of course, came during the 2014-15 offseason when the Blue Jays attemted to make Duquette their team's President/GM, a notion that the Orioles balked at. The situation was ridiculous enough then - what team wants to have a top executive that's effectively reached an agreement to go somewhere else - and it's even moreso in hindsight.

Angelos' position was both hypocritical and, in retrospect, dishonest.

It was hypocritical because he had hardly had any problem interviewing various assistant GMs and other executives who were under contract to other franchises when looking for Andy MacPhail's replacement, and dishonest because the lack of authority Duquette has been afforded in the job has made a mockery out of the team's claim that Duquette was being offered a lateral move by Toronto rather than a promotion, giving them the ability to prohibit Duquette's departure.

Honestly, considering everything that's happened since, it's pretty amazing that the two sides still seem to be intent on Duquette finishing out his contract this season.

Which would be the absolute worst course of action the Orioles should take. It's blindingly obvious that Dan Duquette won't be the Orioles' general manager in 2019. Brady Anderson has been acting as the team's shadow GM for at least a year now and everyone, fans and reporters alike, assume he'll officially fill the role next year.

And at this point, even if the Orioles do shock everyone and ask Duquette to stay on in the job, why in the heck would he want to? Showlater's situation is less egregious, but not all that much different. He's had to deal with Anderson offering coaching advice to players behind his back and driving off at least two of Buck's assistants, and now he's being made to ride out the final year of a contract which will become the dominant storyline for the organization by the end of the season.

This is disrespectful to two men who deserve an immense amount of credit for an underappreciated run of success between 2012 and 2016, but it's also an awful position for the franchise to be in. If the organization isn't committed to Showalter being the manager in 2019, let him know that now.

It's not like you're still evaluating the question as if there's anything knew you can learn about him over the rest of this season. After the way the team has marketed Buck since he came here, they at least owe him that knowledge, and the chance to determine whether or not he wants to stick around as a lame duck. Likewise, if Duquette isn't coming back next season, then the Orioles should just let him go now. It doesn't need to be a "firing," per se, but especially if Anderson is going to get the job they need to put the new team in place sooner rather than later and let them go about implementing their strategy for the future.

Then again, they're basically already doing that, aren't they?

Duquette doesn't have the authority to make any deals himself, and Anderson is taking a lead role not only in advising the Angelos family, but in player acquisitions as well. Duquette is basically just filling the job and finishing out his contract, just as Angelos demanded.

At this point it's so egregious that you have to wonder if the only reason the team hasn't already let Duquette go is because Angelos is still mad about the Toronto fiasco, and determined to keep Duquette in place as long as possible out of sheer pettiness.

It's probably a good thing if the Orioles have already decided that Brady Anderson is their next general manager, honestly, because it's hard to imagine anyone else wanting the job. Again. The Orioles organization might be better situated after this season than they were back in 2011, but they're no better off at the top, and it's hard to escape the feeling that another long period in the wilderness is looming.

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Sunday
May 6
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issue 6
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the pitchforks are out for flacco


There might be a full fledged witch hunt going on in Baltimore at some point this summer.

Joe Flacco is in the crosshairs.

Last week, he was chastised by the football community for obeying an organizational order during a children's mock press conference in the Inner Harbor.

Now, he's being accused of treating first round draft pick Lamar Jackson poorly because -- you ready for this? -- he hasn't called or texted him yet to formally welcome him to Baltimore.

Is this really how it's going to go in Charm City over the next four months?

Everything Flacco does will be put under the microscope.

Every word he says -- and those that he doesn't -- will be scrutinized.

"These people in town are hilarious. The Ravens haven't given me a decent wide receiver in five years but they're mad at me because I haven't sent Lamar Jackson a text."

And why? To prove that he's not happy with the team for drafting his replacement?

Let me know how you feel the next time your boss comes to you in late April and says, "We're hiring your eventual replacement today. He/she might take over this September or they might not take your spot until next September. And, oh, by the way, we'd like you to train him/her in the meantime and do your best to make sure your departure goes smoothly."

Flacco hasn't called or texted Lamar Jackson yet and people in town are howling at the moon about it.

What is this, 7th grade?

I'd love to know if Jimmy Smith sent a text to Marlon Humphrey last April after the Ravens drafted him in the first round.

I don't really care, actually. Maybe he did. Maybe he didn't. Either way, it doesn't matter one iota.

Ben Roethliserger is getting similar grief from football fans in Pittsburgh because he hasn't given off the warm and fuzzies in the aftermath of the Steelers drafting Mason Rudolph in the 3rd round.

This is professional football, not the CYO.

Should Joe send Jackson a fruit basket as well? Flowers? This made-by-the-media story about Flacco not giving Jackson a welcome hug was chomped on by the football starved public like a catfish swallowing a hook at Deep Creek Lake.

Flacco's a football player and a competitor. Sure, Jackon's his teammate now and to that end, it's incumbent upon Flacco to work with him in whatever direction the team dictates once training camp starts in late July.

But I don't know many folks who would embrace their obvious replacement, either privately or publicly.

The Washington Capitals just signed their hotshot Russian goaltender Ilya Samsanov, who was a first round pick in 2015 but has spent the last few years tuning up his game in Russia's top league. I wonder if Braden Holtby texted him yesterday?

I don't expect Flacco to say anything inflammatory about Jackson in the media. That would be bad form, in my opinion. But the mere act of not texting or calling is nothing at all to worry about.

Flacco's virtually in a no-win situation now.

The only way he comes out of this smelling like a rose is if he has a massive season and the Ravens make some noise in the playoffs.

Anything less than that won't be good enough for the fans.

Oddly, it's almost like people want the former University of Delaware star to fail. Baltimore might be unique in that way. For some reason, we like it when it our once-untouchable-heroes can be flipped over on the grill and cooked well done.

The Ravens haven't given Flacco a competent wide receiving corps in forever. I don't see many people getting hot and bothered by that.

But the minute he doesn't make contact with Lamar Jackson, folks are sharpening up the pitchforks.

Only in Baltimore? Maybe.

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was that the best period of caps hockey ever?


There's no telling what's going to happen to the Washington Capitals over the next five weeks.

They still have to figure out a way to win a fourth game in their current series with the Pittsburgh Penguins, of course. Their 3-2 lead will be put to the test on Monday night in Pittsburgh and if that doesn't go well, Washington will have home ice for Game 7 on Wednesday.

Because they're the Caps, anything can still happen.

But if -- I probably should italicize "if" for emphasis -- the Capitals go on to win the series and do other great things in these 2018 NHL playoffs, we might all look back on the 3rd period of Game 5 as the moment a demon or three was exorcised by Alex Ovechkin and Company.

Caps netminder Braden Holtby was the star of the Game 5 win, turning aside 36 Pittsburgh shots in a 6-3 win.

Down 3-2 entering the third period last night, the season was essentially on the line for the Capitals. They couldn't stay out of the penalty box, for starters, and Braden Holtby's sensational goaltending was the only thing keeping the game close. The Penguins could smell blood in the water.

Unlike past editions of failed playoff competitors, this version of the Caps seems different. They stared adversity in the face last night and came back to win.

First, Evgeny Kuznestov struck early in the final stanza on an all-world feed from Jakub Vrana and it was 3-3. Vrana was on the ice because Barry Trotz finally realized after a period and a half that Devante Smith-Pelly was incapable of contributing to the success of the first line, which included Ovechkin.

Pittsburgh had several opportunities to reclaim the lead, but each time Holtby was there to hold them off. He was masterful on several occasions in the third period.

With just over four minutes to play, Vrana collected a feed from Ovechkin in front of the net and one-timed it past Matt Murray to put the Caps up 4-3. Two empty net goals sealed the deal.

The third period we saw from the Caps last night was something the other guys typically do to Washington...not the other way around.

It was the Caps who stood tall in the face of a crushing loss and turned things around. It was the Caps who scored the big goal at the right moment.

Last night, it was the Caps who showed heart.

Monday night's Game 6 promises to be epic. The two-time defending champs won't go home easily. They know Washington's playoff history. "If we can just get this thing back to D.C., we know what can happen there..." has to be the mantra of every Penguin heading into Monday's contest in Pittsburgh.

It's been a remarkable series thus far, maybe one of the best in the Caps' 40-plus year history.

Is the worm about to turn? Pittsburgh is 9-1 lifetime vs. Washington in the post-season. But they've never faced this edition of the Capitals in the post-season.

This Caps team appears to be different.

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o's whiff 20 times in 2-0 loss at oakland


It was only fitting, I guess, that a guy with "K" in his name factored in the Orioles 2-0 loss last night in Oakland.

The Birds struck out 20 times in 12 innings on Saturday evening and finally fell in the bottom of the 12th when Khris Davis crushed a 2-run homer off of Pedro Araujo.

The Orioles had 7 hits on the night. They're now 8-25 and have lost the first five games of this 6-game west coast road swing.

Kevin Gausman was terrific last night, pitching nine innings and allowing just two hits. He struck out six, walked two, and threw 113 innings of shutout baseball. But thanks to another inept offensive performance by the O's, Gausman's reward was a bunch of fist bumps and high fives.

Kevin Gausman turned in his third straight solid start last night, holding the A's to just two hits in nine innings of work.

The "K parade" featured three guys who each struck out three times; Mancini, Davis and Sisco. Those three combined to go 0-for-14 on the night, although Mancini did reach base twice via walks.

Today's series finale could be a doozy. Alex Cobb gets the start for the O's. There's no telling what might happen this afternoon.

One thing for certain, win or lose today, the Birds will return to Baltimore with the worst record in the American League. Dan Duquette said earlier this week he thought it was prudent to wait until at least Memorial Day to figure out where the O's stood in the standings and then start plotting a course of action for the rest of the season.

The O's have a 9-game homestand upcoming which includes three games with Kansas City, four with Tampa Bay and two with the Phillies. If the O's somehow go 6-3 in those nine outings, they'd be 14-28 at the 42-game mark.

And that's "if" they can go 6-3 in nine games, something they haven't been able to do in forever.

Going back to last year, the O's have lost 102 of their last 162 games. That's a lot of losing, sports fans. Something's wrong. Really wrong. This isn't "a bad stretch" of baseball.

I just stumbled on this stat and it's amazing: Last September, the Birds went 7-21. They're currently 8-25. A Flyers fan would struggle with this math but I'll get it right: The Birds are 15-46 in their last 61 games.

Here's the amazing part of that statistical overview. In those 61 games, how many times have the Birds won back-to-back games?

Once.

It happened this season, on April 5 and 6, when the O's beat the Yankees twice on successive days in New York.

That's remarkable, and not in a good way.

Duquette can wait until Memorial Day if he wants, but barring a miracle -- and that's realistically what it would take at this point -- the planning for 2019 and beyond should begin now.

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Saturday
May 5
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issue 5
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has any team ever gone 8-154? (asking for a friend)


Adam Jones hit a home run in the top of the first inning last night in Oakland and I said out loud, to no one in particular, "This is going to be our night. I can feel it."

Uhhh, not so much.

The A's countered with four first inning runs off of Andrew Cashner and went on to beat the Birds on Friday evening, 6-4. The loss drops Buck's boys to 8-24 on the year.

When it rains, it pours. Or something like that.

Thanks to Thursday night's fiasco in Los Angeles where Chris Tillman was battered and Miguel Castro and Mychal Givens had to work multiple innings just to keep the Angels from reaching 20 runs, there was no one to go to in the middle stages of last night's game. So in came Brad Brach in a weird spot, getting the final out in the 5th and then allowing an unearned run in the 6th that put Oakland ahead for good at 5-4.

The O's centerfielder spoke out after Friday night's 6-4 loss in Oakland, saying, "We're not here to be part of a country club..."

The bottom of the 6th started with an error by Manny Machado. As soon as that happened, you knew trouble was on the horizon.

The O's made three errors on the night as team defense continues to be a wart for the 2018 edition of the Birds. Jace Peterson's first inning miscue helped Oakland jump out to their 4-1 lead.

If you're a silver-lining guy or gal, it's at least partially worth noting that the O's scratched their way back to a 4-4 tie in the sixth on RBI singles by Davis, Trumbo and Valencia. The deadlock didn't last very long, as Brach gave up the unearned fifth run in the bottom half of the inning, but it was nice to see the O's not roll over like they did on Thursday in Los Angeles.

During my weekly appearance on Glenn Clark Radio yesterday, I mentioned that the one player on the team that was taking this losing the hardest is Adam Jones. On cue, Jones got snappy after last night's loss in Oakland.

"We're grown men, obviously, we're professionals, we know how to handle trials and tribulations, but at the same time the most important part is we're here to win," Jones said. "We're not here to just be part of a country club. We can join any country club in any of the cities that we live in. I just think what we need to do is get back to that mindset of winning."

There's no telling who that was directed to, specifically, or if Jones was, in fact, pointing the finger at anyone in particular or just venting at the club as a whole. But I knew it wouldn't be long before the veteran center fielder spoke out about the losing.

No one on the club likes to lose, but Jones -- who broke out of a weeklong slump with three hits last night -- definitely has reason to let this horrific start agitate him. Unlike Machado and Britton, who have youth on their side as they hit the free market in November, Jones will be a 33-year old veteran with a lot of wear and tear on his tires when he hits the open market this winter.

Who's going to want a centerfielder with a .260 average who just played on a team that went 62-100? Someone will take Jones, obviously, although it's likely he'll move to either right or left field at some point soon, but he might very well be looking for a job having been on one of the worst teams in the majors in 2018.

Winning sells. Losing doesn't.

Meanwhile, Andrew Cashner didn't help last night. He gave up six hits and walked three in 4.2 innings of work. Cashner allowed four first inning runs, three of them earned, but avoided the loss after the O's scored three times in the top of the 6th inning.

Cashner threw 114 pitches last night. In 4.2 innings of work. Yikes.

To put this horrendous start into perspective, look at it like this: The O's are now 8-24. If they somehow can just go 12-16 over the next 28 games, they'll hit the 60-game mark at 20-40.

Here's what's weird. I'd take 20-40 at this point.

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the derby, tiger and the caps


They'll run the 144th Kentucky Derby at 6:46 pm this afternoon. Like most years, the bulging field of 20 horses makes handicapping the event a little dicey. Many a good horse has been roughed up in the early going of the race at Churchill Downs.

Expect Promises Fulfilled to hop out early and set the pace. Get a good look at him. He won't be there once the horses hit the back stretch.

Todd Pletcher's Audible worked out eye-catchingly-well all week in Louisville and will be hanging around once they hit the midway point. Don't be shocked if this horse is there among the contenders in the final 300 yards. His jockey, Javier Castellano, knows what he's doing.

The morning favorite, Bob Baffert's Justify, is too hard to pass up at this point. The favorite has won the last five Derbys. He'll be in the hunt today but won't get it done when it counts.

Victor Espinoza is on board Bolt d'Oro, and Espinoza no longer needs to ride horses that don't have a chance to win. This horse has a shot. And he'll be there as they head for home.

If Pletcher's third entry, Noble Indy would have drawn something decent instead of the #19 gate, I would probably be all in on him. As it stands now, he'll need a great break, entirely clean, and will need to quickly move over into the middle of the track in the first 100 yards or so. If he can do that and settle in, watch out for this horse. If he can't, watch out for him at Pimlico in two weeks.

The entry from Dubai, Mendelssohn just arrived in the U.S. on Monday. That trick typically backfires on owners and trainers, but Aidan O'Brien insists this horse travels well and can overcome the flight and time change in time.

Yesterday on my daily podcast "The Juice", I went with Mendelssohn to win, but I'm returning those tickets to the window (yes, yes, I know you can't do that...it's a figure of speech) and going with another horse to win.

Here's how I see them finishing today:

4th -- Mendelssohn (Ryan Moore)

3rd -- Noble Indy (Florent Geroux)

2nd -- Good Magic (Jose Ortiz)

1st -- Bolt d'Oro (Victor Espinoza)


It sounds completely crazy to say that a guy at +2 could be leading a tournament where the leader is 7-under par after 36 holes, but that's precisely what Tiger Woods said after finishing the first two days at Quail Hollow CC in Charlotte.

Tiger Woods made the cut in Charlotte but sits nine shots behind the leader heading into the weekend. Can he make a Saturday-Sunday charge?

Some guy named Peter Malnati is winning the tournament, but Woods might very well be right about his chances of leading. Tiger missed eleven putts inside of ten feet in the first two rounds and still managed to snag a spot on the weekend. Tiger birdied his final hole yesterday which, at the time, looked like it might squeeze him in by a shot. 3-over par wound up making the cut.

"I hit the ball great Thursday and Friday," Tiger said after yesterday's second round. "I'm really starting to get my ball flight back to where I want it to be with all of my clubs. I made some changes to my driver that have helped. But my putting was atrocious the first two days. If I make the putts I should make, I'm leading the tournament."

Oddly, anyone who made the cut still has a chance to win. It's a bunched up field with some great players and the course is only going to play harder over the weekend. Expect something around 10 under par to be enough to get the "W" on Sunday.

Golf's a crazy game, by the way. Geoff Ogilvy was among the first round leaders at 4-under par 68. Yesterday? He shot 81. You know why they call it "golf"? Because "boy, this sport is really freakin' hard" seemed too wordy.

My Saturday morning "call" for a winner? I'll go with Charl Schwartzel, who currently sits at 5-under par.


No one is going to win or lose the series tonight in D.C., but the Washington Capitals could really use a win this evening to keep the pressure squarely on the backs of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Caps and Pens are deadlocked at 2-2 after Pittsburgh snuck out of town with a 3-1 win on Thursday night.

Washington will again be without Tom Wilson, who will serve the 2nd of his 3-game suspension for a head-hit on Zach Aston-Reece in Tuesday's Game 3 in Pittsburgh.

Even though they've done a really nice job of not talking about the past over the last ten days, the Caps have to know that falling behind 3-2 in this series will not be a good thing. They need this game tonight in the worst way.

It's likely going to come down to the big three from each team; for Washington, that's Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and Backstrom. For Pittsburgh, it's Crosby, Malkin and Guentzel.

Guentzel (2 goals) and Malkin scored all three of Pittsburgh's Game 4 tallies. Ovechkin and Kuznetsov were non-existent on Thursday.

Let's hope the same results don't happen tonight in D.C. or the Caps will be in trouble.

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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
May 4
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issue 4
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make your granny shake her head and say "those were the days"


Six years ago today, the great Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys passed away from a rare form of salivary gland cancer.

He was 47 years old.

Without taking the time to go back through the #DMD archives, it strikes me I've written about him on the date of his death more than once in the last few years.

Adam Yauch was a music pioneer. So, too, was the band he was a part of, the raucous, highly underrated Beastie Boys, who couldn't have cared less that they looked and sounded out of place in the 1980's when they initially hit the big time.

"Figure out how to make an impact in the world. Don't sit around wondering what other people are doing. Don't worry about them. Worry about what you can do to make an impact. It's your life." - Adam Yauch

Like virtually every group or musician we've all heard in our respective lifetimes, the Beastie Boys certainly weren't for everyone.

Some people love the Grateful Dead. I've never owned an album.

Lots of folks see Jimmy Buffett in concert every year. I've never been. Not once.

I'm a Bruce Springsteen devotee. I've seen him 27 times. I know every lyric of every song. When he passes away, I'll cry. Some folks find him boring.

The Beastie Boys were never, ever boring.

Yauch was known as "MCA" in the group. His voice was nothing perfect. He would have been the first to tell you that. He was a rapper, not a swooner. But he had a unique sound that blended well with the other two guys in the band. They were perfect together.

In addition to his musical career, Yauch became heavily involved in the movement to free Tibet. A founder of the Milarepa Fund, Yauch was instrumental in the first Tibetan Freedom Concert in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park 1996, which drew 100,000 people – the largest U.S. benefit concert since 1985's Live Aid.

In the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks, Yauch and the Beastie Boys organized New Yorkers Against Violence, a concert benefit for some of the victims least likely to receive help from elsewhere.

It was at the press conference announcing that event where Yauch challenged Americans everywhere to uplift their community with a mixture of faith and hope. "It doesn't matter what religion you follow," Yauch said. "If you believe in a supreme being, you need to take this moment to ask them for guidance and wisdom. Violence of any kind, against a human being, needs to stop."

The Beastie Boys would go on to headline numerous charitable concerts in the next decade.

Yauch, meanwhile, became the band's de facto front man, even though he never aspired to earn that role or title. It just sort of happened that way.

In the song below, one of my favorites called "Ch-check it out", Yauch (the first band member you hear singing in the song below) and bandmates Mike ("Mike D") Diamond and Adam Horovitz ("Ad-Rock") breeze through three minutes of greatness, punctuated by the final lyric -- Make your granny shake her head and say "those were the days".

Indeed they were. When Adam Yauch was alive and the Beastie Boys were making music, those were the days.



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o's freefall continues, caps drop tight one in game 4


There's no sense in piling on Chris Tillman this morning.

And the Orioles certainly aren't surprising any of us now with their woeful play.

They are what they are.

Seven earned runs allowed in one inning of work for Chris Tillman last night. Not what the doctor ordered, obviously.

The Birds fell to 8-23 with another listless performance in Los Angeles last night, as the Angels jumped out to a 5-0 first inning lead, made it 8-0 in the second, and cruised to a 12-3 victory.

The Orioles are now 3-13 on the road. They haven't won a game in any stadium this season except Camden Yards (five times) and Yankee Stadium (three times). That's an amazing fact.

The bottom four guys in the lineup (Trumbo, Alvarez, Santander, Sisco) went 1-for-16 last night. The front five were a tad better, but when the 6, 7, 8 and 9 batters collect one hit (Trumbo) between them, you're in trouble.

Manny Machado was 2-for-4 with 2 RBI. How he does anything productive with that haircut of his is beyond me...

Machado is having a whopper of a season to date. Why he'd want to hang around and lose with this group for the next five months is puzzling in and of itself, but Machado continues to insist he thinks the Orioles can turn this around and get back into the thick of the A.L. playoff race.

I love a positive attitude and all, but I don't see that, personally. One thing that's certain, though: Manny is definitely earning himself a bigger-than-big contract from someone in the winter of 2019, that's for certain.

As for Tillman, he'd definitely be on his way out if only the Orioles had someone even marginally better to take his spot in the rotation. They don't. I guess you could give the ball to Mike Wright Jr. every fifth day and hope the game gets rained out, but there's no difference in Wright or Tillman other than their social security numbers.

The Birds head to Oakland now for a 3-game weekend series with the A's. Things lighten up a bit when the O's return home, as they face struggling Kansas City (3), Tampa Bay (4) and Philadelphia (2) at Camden Yards over the next days.


Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh last night, the Caps gave a more representative effort than did the Orioles in L.A., but it still added up to a loss in Game 4, as the Penguins hung on for a 3-1 victory.

It was no-show night for Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, both of whom were largely invisible on Thursday evening.

If not for the goaltending heroics of Braden Holtby, it would have been 5-1 or 6-1. He was more-than-adequate in the net last night.

Caps goaltender Braden Holtby held up his end of the bargain last night, allowing just two Pittsburgh goals, but the Caps fell 3-1.

As expected, the Capitals appeared to miss the vim and vigor of Tom Wilson, who was serving game one of his three game suspension for breaking the jaw of Pittsburgh's Zach Aston-Reece on Tuesday in Game 3. Pittsburgh skated a bit more freely last night, and even though T.J. Oshie mixed it up with Kris Letang in the game's final minute, the Penguins could operate in Game 4 knowing Wilson wasn't around to crack a few skulls or drop the gloves when necessary.

The good news for the Caps? Sidney Crosby didn't do much of anything, although he did set up their empty net goal with a nifty move and pass in center ice. Phil Kessel hasn't been seen in four games thus far. If the Caps can keep him quiet, they stand a great chance to win two more games and advance to the next round.

It's a 3-game series now and the Capitals have home ice in Game 5 and 7 (if necessary). This hasn't always been a favorable spot for Washington, admittedly, but this year might very well be different. A victory at home on Saturday in Game 5 and all the pressure goes on Pittsburgh's head for Game 6.

Expect Ovechkin to put together a big game tomorrow. He hasn't quite been LeBron'esque in the playoffs this year, but Ovi has stepped up in the Columbus and Pittsburgh series'. I'd bet on him coming through somehow on Saturday in Game 5.

The other piece of good news for Barry Trotz is this: Braden Holtby has really found his form. Goaltending has not been an issue at all since Trotz made the change in Game 3 of the Columbus series and gave Holtby his old starting job back.

The pessimistic Caps fan will point to Holtby's solid netminding run and advise that he's due for one of his famous post-season "stinkers". Let's hope not. Not in this series, anyway.

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this weekend in
english soccer


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


Only two weeks left to go as Matchday 37 of the English Premier League prepares to kick off later today, and we still have three teams still duking it out for the last two spots in the top four while another four continue their fight against ending the season in the three relegation places.

You can catch the league action all weekend long across the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra and, if you still need your soccer fix after Sunday mornings action, be sure to catch Real Madrid and Barcelona renewing their longtime rivalry in the legendary El Clasico live on the beIN network at 2:45.

Saturday, May 5 (all times eastern)

10am – Tottenham @ West Bromwich Albion – The Hawthorns, CNBC

West Brom Albion won for the second time in the last three weeks and stayed unbeaten in their last four when they earned out a hard fought 1-0 victory over one time relegation rivals Newcastle United, who despite dropping their last two have managed to secure another year in the top flight, and keep their faint hopes of survival alive. The Baggies will continue their possibly futile fight when they welcome Tottenham to the Hawthorns on Saturday morning, with Spurs ending a two week slide to pick up their first win from the last three (L1 D1) after they successfully navigated a trip to Watford 2-0.

With a game in hand over Liverpool, all three points would move Tottenham above the Reds in to third place and, already five points ahead of fifth place Chelsea, officially lock down a spot in the top four and leave the Blues with one less team to catch. To do so however, they will have to get the better of a West Brom squad that have won only three of their twenty-three top meetings in the league with Spurs (L9 D11), but who will be throwing everything and the kitchen sink at Spurs in their hail mary to avoid relegation and take their survival fight down to the season’s final weekend.

Sunday, May 6 (all times eastern)

11:30am – Liverpool @ Chelsea – Stamford Bridge, NBC Sports Network

Liverpool and manager Jurgen Klopp need a win at Chelsea on Sunday to earn a spot in next year's Champion's League comptetion.

Chelsea kept their top four hopes alive for the time being when they won for the third week in a row after grinding past Swansea City 1-0 to leave the Swans only one point above the drop and in the thick of the relegation race as we approach the final week of the year. The Blues will wrap up the weekend when they host Liverpool, who played to a scoreless draw with Stoke City in the league before sealing their place in the Champions League final later this month against Real Madrid with a two legged aggregate win over Roma, at Stamford Bridge for a showdown with massive top four ramifications.

Still trying to hold off the advances of Tottenham and Chelsea for one of the final two spots in the top four, a win for Liverpool would lock down one of those spots in next years competition and officially end the Blues pursuit of their weekend visitors. With the draw in the reverse fixture, the Reds ran their unbeaten run in the league over Chelsea to six games (W2 D4), although all hope will not be lost for the home side as the two wins were the only occasions they have managed to take maximum points in their last seven visits to Stamford Bridge across all competitions (L3 D2).

Tuesday, May 8 (all times eastern)

2:45pm – Southampton @ Swansea City – Liberty Stadium, NBC Sports Network

A relegation decider will highlight the mid-week slate of make up games when Swansea City, who after taking all three points against one time relegation rivals West Ham United back in early March, and who like Newcastle United look safe with another year in the top flight all but confirmed, have fallen a point and a place above the relegation zone following a six game winless run (L3 D3) after the loss to Chelsea, entertain Southampton at the Liberty Stadium, with the Saints moving up to a spot below the Swans when they won for the first time since way back in the beginning of February 2-1 over Bournemouth.

While Swansea entertain Stoke City on the final weekend, who are three points from safety following their draw with Liverpool last weekend, Southampton have the unfortunate pleasure of hosting league champs Manchester City where any points are sure to be at a premium. With the daunting fixture pending all three points on Tuesday, which they have taken from their relegation rivals in six of their eleven all time top flight meetings (L2 D3) and in three of their five visits to the Liberty Stadium (L1 D1), is probably a must if they are to have any hopes of avoiding the drop down to the Championship.

Hughes Mechanical
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May 3
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issue 3
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pitiful


30 games into the season, the Orioles have eight wins.

This is an actual exercise I'm going to do right now. Sure, you can doubt that I'm really doing it, but I am, actually.

Right now, off the top of my head, here are the games the O's have won: the home opener against the Twins, the Thursday, Friday and Sunday games in the Bronx, a series finale win over the Blue Jays, the series opener against the Indians on a Friday, and Friday and Sunday at home vs. Detroit last weekend.

The O's have played 30 games and I can name all of their wins right off the top of my head. You can LOL at that if you want. It's pretty comical at this point.

Last night's 10-7 loss in Los Angeles was another woeful display. It was only 10-7 because the O's didn't throw in the towel. It was 10-2 heading to the top of the 9th.

The eternal optimist will point to the team's refusal to roll over and play dead as a noble virtue. Eh, maybe. They are professionals, after all. They should be trying their hardest until the 27th out is recorded.

Speaking of the optimist, I'll at least admit the team should be better once Jonathan Schoop returns early next week. But they were losing earlier this year when Schoop was in the lineup every day, remember.

There are so many things out of whack with these Birds.

Another lousy start from Dylan Bundy in last night's loss to the Angels helped drop the O's to 8-22, tied with the Royals for the first worst record in the entire American League.

We know about the hitting. It's been terrible all year. They managed ten hits last night, granted, but none of them did any damage until the 9th when Chris Davis drove in a run (yep, he did...really) and Jace Peterson knocked in three guys with a triple.

Overall, though, this team's offense is terrible. And you people think Joe Flacco stinks? This O's lineup is an all-new level of Baltimore offensive futility.

And don't look now, but a once-solid defensive team has quickly deteriorated into a coin-flip anytime the ball is hit somewhere.

Was J.J. Hardy really that important? Or is it just a case of age catching up to some folks and/or the pressure of playing out of position impacting them as well?

The stat nerds can give you this info through the computer. Maybe it will back me up, maybe it won't. The outfielders we trot out there every night have limited range, in my eyes. Some of that might be their potential showing up at the wrong time, some might be the wear and tear on their bodies. Adam Jones let a ball fall in front of him in the bottom of the 9th on Tuesday that I swear two years ago he would have gobbled up with ease.

I love Trey Mancini's athleticism and he's one of the few guys on the team who can actually hit and get on base. But he's constantly taking weird routes to balls and looks almost as unsure of himself out there now as he did early last season when he was just starting to garner regular playing time.

It's hard to criticize Anthony Santander for anything he's doing. He's as overwhelmed as someone can be who is on a 25-man roster and playing every day. But his awful performance at the plate (.205/.244) has probably been overshadowed by his defensive breakdowns. He simply has no business being in the big leagues at this point, but his Rule 5 status mandates he remain up with the big league club for another two weeks or thereabouts.

The team has no third baseman. I mean, they have guys who wear a glove, play the position, and try real hard. I guess that counts for something. But any of the three guys they've trotted out there this season (Beckham, Valencia, Alvarez) are an error-waiting-to-happen. I understand why Buck Showalter has used Alvarez there a couple of times recently. He's had a hot bat. But he is so out of place at third base it's not even funny.

Some of what has happened to the Orioles this year is bad fortune. I'll admit to that. The other team tries, too, and all that jazz. And the Birds just haven't clicked yet.

The injuries to Trumbo, Beckham and Schoop haven't helped. It's reasonable to point that out.

But a lot of this 8-22 start is on the organization for the way they went about their business in the off-season.

Dragging their feet on the Cashner and Cobb signings to save a few bucks put a dent in both players' spring training efforts.

Not going out and finding a left-handed starting pitcher was a rookie mistake. Brady Anderson (and Duquette on the rare occasion he was involved in an off-season decision) should know better.

Allowing Machado to design the team's infield was a mistake as well.

Being forced to use Anthony Santander hasn't helped. And Craig Gentry is a nice guy and all, but the O's should have brought in a fourth outfielder with some offensive prowess.

Buck Showalter wanted the team to sign Jon Jay for that fourth outfielder role but Anderson and the two Angelos sons who are running the team didn't see it that way. Jay has played in 27 games with the Royals and is hitting .264 with a .342 on-base-percentage. Gentry's numbers: .184/.231. Enough said there.

We haven't even talked about the starting pitching yet. Dylan Bundy got roughed up again last night in Los Angeles. It looks like Kevin Gausman is on a mini-turn-around of sorts, and now Bundy's in the crapper. That's how it has worked this season for the Birds. They can't get a week's worth of good starting pitching.

When the team started the season at 5-12, I authored a piece here at #DMD that said, essentially, if the Birds start the campaign at 10-24 they should begin the process of having a fire sale to move some veteran players and start a rebuild.

They are now 8-22. In other words, 10-24 is real possibility. Then again, they might not get to ten wins on this road trip. The O's are now 3-12 on the road this season. They haven't won a road game anywhere this season except in New York.

Dan Duquette, who has very little to do these days with the actual running of the baseball operations, said earlier this week he thinks the benchmark for evaluating the progress of the season is Memorial Day. That's actually fair. Memorial Day will basically offer a two-month progress report, which is more than enough time to make an assessment on players and the direction of the organization.

In the meantime, though, I'll stick with what I wrote here in mid-April. If the O's are 10-24 by the end of this weekend -- or worse -- there's no need to wait until Memorial Day.

Maybe this is the baseball gods' way of repaying the O's for the way they've treated Showalter and Duquette over the last ten months. Perhaps a team who lets their manager and general manager float in the breeze without a contract for next season should get battered like this and morph into a last place laughingstock.

Showalter and Duquette deserve better -- much better -- than to be treated like this.

Adam Jones deserves better, too. He's now faced with the potential decision to accept a trade in July if it means playing some meaningful baseball in 2018. That's too bad. Jones has meant as much to this city as any athlete not named Ray Lewis has in the last two decades.

That those three guys are going out like this is bothersome.

Maybe this all turns around. I'll emphasize that once more because it's sports and weird things happen. Heck, the Eagles won the Super Bowl in February. How much more weird does it get than that?

Perhaps the O's get their chakras in line and go on a June and July run for the ages. That would be awesome.

But that's unlikely.

What's more likely is the team continues to play bad baseball and falls deeper into the A.L. East abyss.

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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.


much better than 51 percent


If the Orioles win around 70 games this year and manager Buck Showalter rides off into the sunset or onto the MLB Network, of his own volition or otherwise, he’ll finish up eight full seasons in Baltimore (and part of a ninth) having won around 51 percent of his games.

In his 11 managerial seasons prior to coming to Baltimore — for the Yankees, Diamondbacks and Rangers — Showalter’s winning percentage was around 51 percent.

In other words, he’s probably not going to the Hall of Fame unless he’s just visiting.

He compares favorably to a managerial legend like the crusty Jim Leyland, who might end up in Cooperstown, or even Tommy Lasorda, who’s already there, but doesn’t have the pennants those guys do. In his first two stops, in New York and Arizona, Buck became known as the guy who got fired so that the team could take the final step to a championship.

In the case of the Yankees, a lot of championships.

And he left Zach Britton in the bullpen that one time in Toronto, right?

Still…

It’s been awfully sad to watch Showalter sit on the bench this season, hardly changing expression despite a million reasons to simply put his head in his hands. It just feels wrong, because it’s not fair to his Orioles legacy.

No matter how many games his team loses this season, what Buck Showalter has done with the Orioles is one of the greatest coaching triumphs in recent history.

Will this be the final season for Buck Showalter as the Orioles' bench manager?

You could say that it was bound to happen, that a ballclub can only be so bad for so long; after all, the Royals and the Pirates also started to have success after a generation of losing.

You could say that Showalter’s winning teams were lucky, in the sense that they were never as talented as their records would have you believe. You could say that Andy MacPhail, and then Dan Duquette, were the guys who found the hardly-known heroes of Buck’s teams.

None of those are wrong, but all of them only make what Showalter has accomplished in Baltimore even more impressive.

Playing 19 games a year against the Yankees and Red Sox, it was always going to be harder for the Orioles to become a good team than it was for Pittsburgh or Kansas City. Showalter had things in his background, though, that helped make it happen.

The turnaround of the Yankees rivalry was less of an imposing challenge than it was an incredible opportunity, both for his team and for himself, a former Yankees manager. He remembered the Orioles as a proud franchise, one that set the standard for success during his childhood and minor league playing days, and he kept on saying that whenever he got the chance.

He took the uniform number of his late friend Johnny Oates, who had success leading the Orioles in a great new stadium that was still great 20 years later. Whatever the results, he made it clear to his players and the fans that the Orioles weren’t little brothers.

As for luck, Showalter nipped that in the bud as quickly as possible during the 2012 season. When he said, famously and more than once, “I like our guys,” he wasn’t doing it for a marketing slogan on a t-shirt.

He was talking directly to his players, I think, telling them that the way they were playing was the way he was expecting them to play all along. He was probably talking to the media and the fans, who were understandably cautious for a long time. Whether it was true or not, he was telling the world that the Orioles were a solidly-constructed roster, not a scrappy bunch of underdogs.

Meanwhile, you were never quite sure if that help that the front office was providing each offseason was going to be much of a help. For five seasons, however, it usually was, and I give Showalter a lot of credit for that.

Even when it wasn’t, with Ubaldo Jimenez, I’d say that Showalter got about as much out of him as anyone possibly could have. And you also got the sense that when Buck would go get Jimenez on the mound or talk to him in the dugout after a good performance, he was happier for him than he was for any other guy on the team.

His team struck out too much, of course, even for today’s game. Certainly, he had to sit through fewer quality starts than other managers, even those who led teams behind the Orioles in the standings. But Showalter “got it,” for lack of a better way of describing his time as the Orioles’ skipper. His team’s flaws seemed to be so obvious, but he seemed to revel in the difficulty of winning.

Buck was better as a manager when he needed to be than when he had all the talent in the world.

For Showalter, his Orioles’ legacy also marks a true personal coaching triumph. Much has been written about the changes in his personality as a manager, spurred by age and maturity and his time as a broadcaster.

When Buck took over the Yankees at 36 years old, he was the early caretaker of guys like Bernie Williams and Andy Pettitte. He might have won a World Series if not for the players’ strike in 1994, and he might have won the World Series that Joe Torre ended up winning in 1996. Those teams had no chance of being bad ones.

Still, his Yankees’ career ended in disappointment at the Kingdome, when Edgar Martinez famously knocked in Ken Griffey, Jr., to win the 1995 ALDS for the Mariners.

Charged with shepherding the expansion Diamondbacks in 1998, his first team was as bad as expected. In the offseason, though, ownership would go out and buy the pieces of a 100-win team, led by a free-agent pitching acquisition named Randy Johnson. Much of that team won the World Series, against the Yankees two seasons later, but first-year manager Bob Brenly was on the bench for that victory.

The germ of Showalter’s Orioles’ success may have started with the 2004 Rangers, who had sent AL MVP Alex Rodriguez to the Yankees in a trade right before the season. Showalter’s first Rangers team had finished 71-91 with Rodriguez, but his second one won 89 games and led the AL West until early August. His team’s best starting pitcher was the immortal Ryan Drese, but the Rangers had a great bullpen and had 10 players hit at least 11 home runs. Sound familiar?

I suppose that any other manager for an 8-22 team that’s looked even worse than that might be gone by now. And nothing that Showalter might say or do can hide the fact that the Yankees and Red Sox are back, if not better than ever. Even if the Orioles do things the right way over the next five years, it’s gonna be hard.

The Orioles’ greatest manager may be Earl Weaver, and he’s rightly seen as a man who started to change the way managers think. But Weaver never had it as hard as Buck Showalter, who’s given us some great years that have meant way more than 51 percent would make you believe.

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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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Wednesday
May 2
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issue 2
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are you going to lamar jackson's hall of fame ceremony?


If I didn't know better, I'd think people in Baltimore saw an advanced copy of the script of Lamar Jackson's career in Charm City.

A lot of folks in town basically have him ticketed for the Hall of Fame.

As I wrote the day after the draft, I get it. The football fanatics in Baltimore have been so starved for offense in the last three years that they'll fly the Lamar Jackson flag even though he's never thrown a pass that's mattered in his life.

But I'd advise those people to cool their jets a little.

Jackson's biggest flaw is the one that seems to me to be the one a quarterback wants to avoid the most. He's not an accurate passer.

Kyle Boller had the same issue when he came out of college. So have lots of other high profile college quarterbacks. And nearly all of them couldn't figure out a way to fix that flaw when they started earning a paycheck playing football.

That's not to say Jackson can't be a successful NFL quarterback. He very well might become one in Baltimore, even. But fixing accuracy issues isn't for the faint of heart. It takes lots and lots of hard work. And even then, "fixing it" might mean going from 60% to 65%.

Don't laugh at that five percent. It matters.

Can Lamar Jackson overcome accuracy issues in college to become a standout NFL quarterback? The Ravens obviously think he can.

If you're asking me to make a prediction about Jackson's career, I think he he'll be a decent NFL quarterback. Will he be better than Joe Flacco? That depends entirely on your definition of "better".

Flacco has been a NFL starter for going on 12 seasons now. That's a long time. The Orioles once went fourteen years without making the playoffs. Remember? Will Lamar Jackson start for 12 straight years in the NFL? That's quite an accomplishment if so.

Jackson will have to play awfully well -- and be equally fortunate -- to make three trips to the AFC title game in his first five pro seasons. Flacco did it, albeit with two of the best defensive players in league history on his team at the time. I'd bet against Jackson doing it simply because those are long odds for any team to overcome.

Might Jackson compile better statistics than Flacco? Sure. But Philip Rivers has produced some impressive stats and guess how many Super Bowl appearances he's made? Right. The same number as you.

Statistics for a quarterback can be very tricky. What if Flacco, for example, would have spent his indoor career playing indoors? Better numbers? Maybe so, yes. Would Drew Brees still be the great quarterback is he is if, say, he would have played for the Bengals or Bills instead of the cozy confines of the building in New Orleans?

I don't know how to appropriately "judge" a quarterback's influence on his team. The easiest thing to do -- and I'll admit that I do this, a lot -- is to simply say, "Did the team win?" But we all know that's not the best way to judge an athlete in a team sport.

That said, Flacco has been in the league for eleven seasons and the Ravens have done a lot of winning during his time here. You might have heard they even won the championship in February of 2013. Flacco was the quarterback, believe it or not.

Flacco's critics always point to his mediocre stats and ignore the winning. Advocates of Trent Dilfer ignored his stats and pointed to the winning.

All that said, Joe's time in Baltimore is nearing its end. And the Ravens have to start figuring out who is going to fill his shoes. They've apparently decided it's going to be Lamar Jackson.

He might wind up being a winner like Flacco has been.

He might even put up "better" statistics than Flacco.

Or, I hate to say this, he might wind up being a first round disappointment.

Let's be honest. Would you bet $1,000 that Baker Mayfield turns into a Pro Bowl quarterback? Josh Rosen? Sam Darnold? I sure wouldn't. Quarterback is a crazy position. Especially in the NFL.

There are lots of guys who were great in college who couldn't play a lick in the NFL. Tebow, Manziel, Young...just to name three. You can probably rattle off six more if you want.

I hope Lamar Jackson turns into the real deal for the Ravens. But he has a lot of work to do. Anyone who thinks he's just magically going to learn the pro quarterback ins-and-outs between now and September 1st is being woefully naive about the difficult nature of the position.

I've heard and read a lot of excitement about Jackson in the last week. Some of it has been reasonable. A lot of it, though, has been wildly out of place.

I'm not comparing Joe Flacco to Ray Lewis in terms of his on-field quality. One of those guys is arguably a top five defensive player in the history of the league. The other is a good player with a Super Bowl ring who has done enough to warrant his first round selection in 2008.

But Flacco and Lewis have something in common, in my opinion. Both will be missed more than originally thought.

The fan base in Baltimore was thrilled to have Lewis walk away after the 2012 season. They thought his time had come. Guess what else left when Ray departed? Winning...

Im not saying it's going to be exactly the same when Flacco hits the road, but don't think Lamar Jackson is just going to stroll into town and become the next coming of Tom Brady.

If that's your mindset, you're going to wind up being awfully disappointed.

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caps, ovechkin take series lead with 4-3 win at pittsburgh


It's OK if you're still not convinced this is the year the Caps beat the Penguins in the playoffs.

There's still a lot of hockey left, after all.

But with last night's 4-3 win at Pittsburgh, the Capitals are now up 2-1 in the series and all the heat in the world is on Sidney Crosby and Company in Thursday night's Game 4 in the Steel City.

The Caps are winning this series, friends. I called it from the start. It might not even take the six games I thought it would take.

Alex Ovechkin's 8th goal of the 2018 playoffs lifted the Caps to a 4-3 win in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night, giving Washington a 2-1 series lead.

Alex Ovechkin's goal with 1:07 remaining in the game was the difference last night, as the Capitals improved to 4-0 on the road in this post-season. If you're looking for some data to reinforce your thought that maybe, just maybe, this is the year the Caps hoist the Stanley Cup, there it is: Washington is playing great hockey on the road in these playoffs.

John Carlson, Chandler Stephenson and Matt Niskanen also scored for the Caps. Want more proof that this might be the Caps' charmed Spring? Those three guys -- two defenders and a grinder -- were goal scorers in one of the team's biggest playoff wins in the Ovechkin era.

The Capitals might be without their resident head hunter for Thursday's game, though. Tom Wilson, who was involved in a Game 2 incident that wasn't punished by the NHL, will have another collision put under the league's microscope today and this time he might not be as fortunate.

With just over ten minutes left in the second period, Wilson hit Pittsburgh's Zach Aston-Reese near the boards on a bang-bang run-in that sent Aston-Reese to the ice with blood coming out of his mouth. The Penguins announced after the game that Aston-Reese suffered a broken jaw and a concussion on the play.

Caps fans, naturally, are going to argue that it was a shoulder-to-shoulder hit, which would make complete sense if Aston-Reese's jaw wasn't broken. Wilson escaped the Game 2 incident without penalty from the league office. I doubt he's as fortunate this time around.

Wilson was also seen laughing at Aston-Reese in the aftermath. That didn't sit well with the Penguins, either.

"I get the physical game. I get the physical play. I've been on the wrong side of it," Pittsburgh's Kris Letang said. "At the end of the day, I respect what kind of game he (Wilson) plays. But you don't laugh at somebody getting hurt. You don't do that."

All of this should make for an interesting Game 4 tomorrow night.

The Caps might be in Pittsburgh's head at this point.

For almost two decades now, it's been the other way around.

Maybe the worm is starting to turn.

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NOTES & COMMENT
George McDowell


George McDowell is #DMD's foreign correspondent. His international reports are filed from a hardened outpost just across the U.S. / North Carolina border. He writes on sports topics that interest him that he feels might also interest some segment of the wildly esoteric #DMD readership. George has been a big fan of DF and his various enterprises since the last century, and for several seasons appeared as a weekly guest on his Monday evening radio show, Maryland Golf Live, delivering commentary as The Eccentric Starter. George also donates his time and talents to the less fortunate, and currently volunteers as secretary of the Rickie Fowler Fan Club.


memories of a good week


TELEPHONE: Ring . . . ring . . . ring . . .

GEORGE: Hello?

DREW: Geo! What’re you doing today?

GEORGE: What! Is it raining?

DREW: No. It's a beautiful day.

GEORGE: Then I’m playing golf — of course.

DREW: No. Come out to Hayfields with me. I’m covering the Senior event for the radio. And, I have a present for you!

GEORGE: Can we at least hit some balls on the range?

DREW: Ha, ha! You jest. Pros only.

So I drive out to the Hayfields to accompany a professional reporter as he plies his craft. Drew hands over a necklace with a card attached that says something like, “A-1 – You can go wherever you want, just don’t get in anybody’s way.”

Don't lose it," he says. "If you do, we're both dead."

And off we trudge. Our first stop is the range. When I'm out of my element, which I certainly was in the presence of the best players of the last generation, I keep quiet unless somebody speaks to me, and observe. And I observed Drew. I knew that his professional pedigree gained him easy access, and I admired his technique. If a player wasn't hitting, but was just standing in his area on the tees, Drew would approach his caddy and begin a discussion. More times than not the player would join in, and the three would engage in brief but earnest discussions about some aspect of the game or the tournament or the season.

David Eger

We stopped at one point to watch a player I couldn't identify. Drew explained that he was David Eger, who had played on Tour for a few years in the late 1970s, then had regained his amateur status. He had won the 1988 U.S. Mid-Amateur and had played on three Walker Cup teams. In 2001, he again turned pro and earned his Senior Tour card through Q-School. In 2003, he had won the MasterCard Classic.

I was surprised when Drew introduced me to David and mystified when he told him that I would be with them tomorrow. All became clear when Drew explained that he was playing with Eger in the pro-am the next day.

Our next stop was to watch Orville Moody. His caddy was a beautiful and personable young lady who turned out to be his daughter Kelley. I was astounded when Drew told Orville (known as "Sarge") that we would be with them on Wednesday at the pro-am, to be played at Hillendale, and that I was the player and Drew would be caddying for me.

Walking on air and out-of-this-world grateful on learning what Drew's present turned out to be, I enjoyed our leisurely stroll around the course. Much is lost in the fog of memory, but one incident of later that day remains vivid. We spied Gary Player hitting out of a practice bunker and strolled over to watch. He was hitting shots – shots I would consider once-in-a-lifetimers – and hitting them consistently so that balls in the three-foot circles around the pins looked like ants around discarded doughnuts.

He hit a series of shots that I deemed impossible. Over a looming bunker-face he hit a very high shot that one-hopped, hit the stick and ended up two inches from the hole. Drew made a hitting motion to Player's caddy, who responded by flashing three fingers of his left hand. The next shot was a medium-high shot that hit and rolled four feet directly into the cup. The third barely cleared the bunker's lip, then rolled thirty feet and also disappeared into the cup. I couldn't help myself – I started to applaud and then caught myself after a few claps. Player didn't look over at us, but did raise his arm in acknowledgment.

Immediately, Drew said in an obvious stage whisper, "Anybody could do that, Geo. He's using an eight-iron."

Player froze, slowly turned to glare at Drew for a few seconds, then broke into laughter. We joined his caddy, and the three of them talked at length about bunker play. Drew's last question was, "Gary, what is the single most important thing you can say about a bunker shot?"

Player thought for a few seconds, then said, "Drew, you should write this down and remember it all your days. As with every shot, but especially in bunkers, you must accelerate through impact." Then, slowly and deliberately, he emphasized each word: "Accelerate – through – impact."



I've been in many bunkers in my golfing career. Each time on seeing a ball splash sand, thinking back fondly to Player's advice, I've reminded myself that the upcoming shot will require me to "accelerate through impact!"

The David Eger pro-am group the next day is a blur. Drew reminded me only a few days ago what Eger's caddy said to him after both David and Drew birdied the 17th hole at Hayfields: "He knows exactly where each of you stands."

And well he should have. Eger was six-under. Drew was one back at five-under. On 18 green, Drew rolled in a medium-range birdie putt to finish with a six-under 66. Eger, closer but only by a smidge, also rolled in his birdie putt for a face-saving 65!

[Alert #DMD readers will note that DF's score of minus-six at Hayfields is one better than his all-time low round of minus-five at the more difficult Mt. Pleasant.]

Nothing worth reporting, golfing-wise, happened in the Orville Moody pro-am group the next day at Hillendale. Drew had also invited two interesting young businessmen, and we played an enjoyable round. The Sarge had won only one tournament on the regular Tour, but it was a big one – the 1969 U.S. Open. After he switched to the long putter at age 50 he did well on the Senior Tour, winning 11 times including the 1989 Senior Open Championship. [It dawns on me only now as I type that learning this may have inspired DF to try one of those monstrous, heavy instruments.]

But in 2003, a few months shy of age 70, his last win had come almost a dozen years ago. "But I still have fun out here," he said in response to a question from Drew, "and earn a good living. There's no cut, and all I have to do is play three rounds in competition and hang out with mopes like this [indicating the businessmen and me] for six hours, and I earn a check."

The Sarge was a fascinating character. He pretended to be dismissive of us pro-am amateurs, but he was in fact helpful, free with advice, and quite personable. On a par-three he reminded me that a front cup just behind a bunker was a sucker pin, and that the target was the back half of the green. So I hit six-iron instead of seven. But I didn't get all of it. As I begged for it to GO, Sarge, standing at my shoulder, watched the ball's flight for a second or two, then said quietly and reassuringly, "You're home." He was old but his eyes were still professional. The ball hit three or four yards past the bunker in the rough and trickled onto the green.

Orville Moody

Orville was given his nickname by Tour players because he had served 14 years in the Army. I too had served in the Army, and we found we had both done tours in Korea, me on the border hunting down North Korean Commie infiltrators and saboteurs in the DMZ and Neutral Zone and the Sarge, as a Special Services staff sergeant, had won the Korean Open Golf Championship three times in a row. [Alert #DMD readers might know that no less a luminary than Rickie Fowler has also won the Korean Open.] Staff Sergeant Moody got a real kick out of the fact that I, who had outranked him by a zillion grades, had slept in a Quonset Hut that had been hit by a tank and he had lived in a suite at Seoul's best hotel.

In conversation at the luncheon after the round, the Sarge told us something interesting. He explained that the Senior Tour had what the pros called Charm School, a mandatory series of classes for those qualifying for the tour. Its purpose was to teach the players how to be good companions, or at least civil, to those who played in the pro-ams. The reason for this was that the pro-ams were a major source of income for the Senior Tour, and the tour wanted to ensure that pro-am players had an enjoyable time and returned to play again.

"They charge ten grand for a group to play with me," Sarge said, with characteristic and admirable humility. "Just imagine what they get for a Palmer or a Nicklaus!"

drew's addendum

I remember two things about that day at Hillendale with George and Orville Moody. On the 14th hole, an uphill par 4 of roughly 400 yards, Moody hit a decent drive on the right side of the fairway. I said to Geo as I handed him is driver, "Are you going to let this washed up old guy outdrive you all day?"

George tensed up and said, "Where do you want me to hit this one?"

I said, "In the middle of the clubface."

He plowed a drive right down the middle of the fairway and the ball bounded out there about five yards behind Moody's drive. When we arrived at the balls, I handed George his 7-iron and said, "The wind changed directions just as you were hitting or we would have had him..."

The other moment I remember happened on the very next tee, actually, a par-3 of about 170 yards. Moody at the time was playing a Callaway "Hex" ball. They made two different variations of that ball; the "red" one -- which Moody was playing -- and the "blue" one, which at the time I was playing.

I mentioned to Moody I was playing the blue ball and asked him his opinion of it. A discussion about the Callaway ball ensued. "That blue ball is junk," Moody said. "If you're a good player, you need to be playing the red ball."

After he swatted his tee shot to 15 feet, Moody walked over as George prepared to hit.

"Give me your address when we're done and I'll send you some red Callaway balls," the Sarge said.

When we finished, I handed him my business card and mentioned that I'd like to chat with him on the air at some point in the future.

We all shook hands, wished one another good luck, and that was that. It was a great day.

Two weeks later, two dozen brand new Callaway red golf balls showed up at my door with a card inside from Orville Moody.

epilogue

Larry Nelson (-9) won the 2003 Constellation Energy Classic at Hayfields Country Club, finishing two shots ahead of Jim Dent and Doug Tewell. David Eger tied with five others for 22nd-place, shooting even par. Orville Moody tied Tom Shaw at +17 as both shared 79th and last place. Gary Player is not listed in surviving online scoreboards of the event.

David Eger is retired and lives in Charlotte. He won four times on the Senior Tour, the last the Liberty Mutual Legends in 2011. He lost the Senior PGA Championship that year to Tom Watson, who birdied the first playoff hole. His last noteworthy golf act was his unwelcome and peevishly-received phone call to Augusta National officials, informing that Tiger Woods' drop in the second round of the 2103 Masters was illegal.

Gary Player will turn 83 this year. His last win on the Senior Tour came in 1998. He and Nicklaus were Honorary Starters for the Masters this year. It was noted – by at least two observers – that Mr. Player's driver still accelerated through impact.

1969 United States Open Champion Orville James Moody died of cancer on August 8, 2008 in Texas. He was 74.

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May 1
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with dodgers desperate, o's should dangle machado


The Los Angeles Dodgers are in trouble.

If the Orioles were smart, they would take advantage of it.

With Monday's news that shortstop Corey Seager is out for the season with Tommy John surgery, the defending National League Champions have a quandry on their hands. Try to patch together the shortstop du jour for the rest of the season? Or go out and trade for a veteran of some degree of quality who can keep their hopes alive for another N.L. West title?

The Orioles should be on the phone, pronto, offering Manny Machado to the Dodgers.

Yes, it might still be a week or two too early for the O's to cave in and start a mid-May fire sale. They're "only" 8-20, and even though it seems unreasonable to think they can bounce back to the tune of an 88-win season and a possible playoff berth, stranger things have happened.

But this opportunity to move Machado to a team that might be willing to give up something of value should be strongly considered by the Orioles.

Machado's not going to be back in Baltimore next season. That's a slam dunk at this point.

That leaves three legitimate options: Keep him all season, lose him to free agency, and get a 2019 draft pick in return for losing him. Or, trade Machado at the deadline in late July and hope you can fleece a team who really needs him for the stretch run. Or, find a team like the Dodgers who can't wait until late July and see if you can get a king's ransom for him now.

Off to the best offensive start of his career, Manny Machado could be a valuable trade commodity for the Orioles in 2018.

I prefer the last of those three options.

Now is the time to squeeze the Dodgers.

They have a loaded farm system, for starters, and a couple of young players on their current 25-man roster who might be appealing. And they're used to winning out there. Losing Seager could cost them a chance at another division title and a shot at the World Series. If Machado can help steady them for the final five months of the season, the Dodgers might be willing to over extend themselves.

It also stands to reason that Los Angeles will call around to see if anyone is available who might not have the price tag the Orioles will slap on Machado.

That's why the O's should call today.

Get the deal done as quickly as possible. Throw in Brad Brach if it helps sweeten the pie and get the Birds another prospect or two.

This might not sit all that well with Buck Showalter, the manager without a contract for next season who most certainly doesn't want to labor through a dreadful 95 loss season in what could be his final run with the O's. But Showalter would certainly understand that trading Machado now and getting something of value for him in May is far, far smarter than waiting until next November to lose him and get essentially nothing in return.

It would be a good idea for O's upper management to consult with Showalter on this one if for no other reason than it saves face -- if that matters -- and potentially makes amends for a couple of off-season moves that Showalter wasn't consulted on in the least. The manager didn't factor at all in the decision to sign either Andrew Cashner or Alex Cobb.

Perhaps some of the front office tension could be eased if Buck's brought in on this course of action with a potential Manny trade.

It's easy for armchair GM's like me to say "trade the players", but there's almost no logic to keeping Machado at this point.

What possible benefit are you getting from having him around for five months?

The O's might hang on to their "attendance" claims as a reason for not dealing Machado so early in the season, but the reality is this: Season tickets and mini-plans have already been sold for 2018. And even with Machado, the team's attendance has been embarrassing thus far.

Attendance shouldn't factor at all in the decision to trade the shortstop. Will a certain portion of the fan base look at a trade as "throwing in the towel" on the 2018 campaign? Of course. And, in some ways, it's true.

But the O's need to realize that sports fans can read the paper and the internet. They can look up the standings. The team's 8-20 record is right there in plain view for everyone to see.

The Birds would be far better off making a deal for Machado that potentially helps the team compete in 2019 and beyond and tell the fans as much when they make the deal.

"We would have preferred to make Manny an Oriole forever," the club could say. "But with his pending free agency, we had to look at all of our options. Given our start to the 2018 campaign and the pool of players the Dodgers offered us, we felt it was in the best long term interest of the organization to make the trade and send Manny to Los Angeles."

People would understand.

Some, in fact, would applaud the team for their decision.

And the fact he'd possibly go to the Dodgers -- a National League team -- would make the whole thing easier to sell to the fan base.

There's simply no way the team can afford to cough up $200 million or more for Machado's services over the next five or six years.

Great player? Of course.

Too expensive? Indeed, he is.

Let the Dodgers or someone else learn that next November.

In the meantime, the Birds should do their very best to get something for Machado sooner rather than later.

Make that call to the Dodgers today.

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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.



ravens draft review


Ozzie Newsome's final draft as the man in charge of the Ravens' personnel department ended up being an odd, beautiful mix of reacting to a changed league and working the draft in classic Ozzie fashion.

The Ravens delivered picks that excited some fans and infuriated others, while moving around the board to get the guys they wanted. They moved their total number of picks from 8 to 12, and annoyed some fans and commentators who didn't care for all of the trades down the board. In the end the Ravens ended up with a slate of rookies that is solid talent wise, contains some potential steals, and also represents an interesting change in direction from the team's previous way of doing things that may reflect the impending take over of Eric DeCosta.

The Ravens finally made their first pick at 25th overall, after two trades down with the Bills and Titans. I would have liked to see them draft Tremaine Edmunds myself, but there were still a ton of good players on the board and the Bills offering the 65th pick was tremendous value.

It's totally understandable why they took the deal, ditto for sliding back from the 22nd pick to 25th. When they finally turned a card in, they picked South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst, despite Calvin Ridley being on the board.

Despite some national media criticism, #DMD's Brien Jackson applauds the Ravens' first round pick of South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst.

I've seen some surprisingly strong negative reactions to Hurst, and I have no idea what these people are (or aren't) seeing in him. Hurst's tape is outstanding, and immediately makes you think of Rob Gronkowski's playing style. He's a crisp route runner, and has exceptional footwork that lets him create separation out of his breaks with ease.

He's fast enough that he could run away from college defensive backs too, and he might have the best hands of any player in this draft. Add in the Ravens' clear need at tight end and the picks they got from the two trade backs and I don't understand how anyone couldn't like this pick unless they're just super bullish on Ridley.

The Ravens' weren't done on night one, of course, as they cashed in some of that extra draft capital to move up to the 32nd pick and snag Louisville quarterback and former Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson.

If picking Hurst was about filling an immediate need with a big, NFL ready, upgrade then moving up to get a guy I think is the 3rd best QB in this draft signals where the long term future of the franchise is heading.

The line for now is that Jackson is going to sit and learn behind Joe Flacco for at least the 2018 season but, as I wrote here at #DMD yesterday, I just don't see it happening that way.

Jackson is a unique threat with the ball in his hands, a gifted runner and ball carrier who also has a cannon for an arm. Yes he needs to improve his accuracy, but the guy's not Josh Allen by any stretch.

Jackson's a natural thrower who just needs to improve his footwork and consistency with his mechanics. That's the kind of thing you can improve with practice, and we've seen plenty of wide open college quarterbacks do just that recently. Jackson reminds me of Cam Netwon and RG3 coming out of college, both of whom were outstanding as rookies.

Moving to Friday, the Ravens didn't hold on to the 65th pick they got from Buffalo, however. After a run on wide receivers in round 2 they moved down twice in round 3, and didn't wind up making their selection until the 83rd overall pick.

They may well have landed the steal of the draft though, in the form of Oklahoma offensive tackled Orlando Brown Jr. Brown was a consensus first round pick before a terrible combine sent his stock plummeting, but while those measurables aren't nothing, there's a reason everyone expected Brown to come off the board early.

A big mauler of a tackle, Brown was certainly effective as a left tackle in college. Through 40 games he didn't allow a single sack, in fact. As Mike Mayock said, he doesn't make it look pretty, but he just manages to get his job done on the field. With the right tackle position wide open, he'll definitely get a chance to win a starting job immediately.

The Ravens came back three picks later with another Oklahoma player, and tight end, in Mark Andrews. This was easily the most interesting pick of the entire weekend for the Ravens. You see, Andrews is a tight end who can't block. Like...at all.

In fact, he doesn't block. At all. It's not just a schematic thing either, Andrews shows no real interest in getting on the line and mixing it up with defenders, a fact that I would have expected would lead the Ravens to having no interest in him.

But boy does he grab your attention as a receiver.

At Oklahoma, Andrews routinely lined up wide and ran routes you never see tight ends running despite carrying around a 6'5", 254 pound frame. He's got long arms, a tremendous catch radius, and outstanding hands. He can outjump most defenders as well, and has excellent instincts for the ball that makes him adept at grabbing contested passes in the middle.

Best of all for the Ravens, he's a matchup nightmare in the red zone, something the Ravens haven't had in the entire Flacco-Harbaugh era. I wouldn't be surprised to see him lined up on the outside in goal line plays, becoming a de facto wide receiver, in fact.

I was shocked when the Ravens broke type to pick him, but I'm equally excited about what he'll be able to do in an offense with Hurst on the other side of two tight end sets.

Day 3 was the usual Ravens routine of stocking up on solid players, especially guys who can help on special teams right away, but for the most part aren't worth talking up as though they're going to be future Pro Bowlers.

There were some stand outs, however.

The most interesting being UCLA wide receiver Jordan Lasley, who the Ravens took with the 25th pick in round 5. Lasley stands at 6'1" tall, ran a 4.5 40 at the combine, and caught 69 passes for 1,264 yard and 9 touchdowns in just 9 games in 2017. But he only played in nine games because of a susension handed down by the team.

Lasley has a history of getting himself into trouble, mostly pertaining to alcohol. He got caught using a fake ID at a club and had multiple citations for underage drinking/possession at UCLA. The Ravens have shied away from guys with "character issues" since the Ray Rice fiasco, but an argument could be made that Lasley's misdeeds aren't terribly severe in the broad scheme of things.

I'm certainly not going to pretend that I don't know roughly 247 people who drank alcohol before they turned 21 and/or had a fake ID at one point. His situation is reminiscent of Jimmy Smith's "character concerns" that caused him to fall to the second half of the first round back in 2011, and Smith has been both an extremely productive player and avoided trouble as a Raven.

If Lasley follows a similar trajectory, his scouting profile puts him squarely in line with a typical 2nd or 3rd round wideout so, again, the Ravens might have found a late round steal, but on offense for a change.

On balance, the Ravens came in knowing that they needed to improve their offense, and their passing game in particular, and they went for broke. Between Hurst, Andrews, Brown, Jackson, and Lasley the Ravens may have five rookie starters on offense by the end of the season.

Along the way, Ozzie reminded us that there's no one better at working the draft board than him, while helping to usher in a new roster that will reflect the vision of people making these decisions next year and beyond as well. It was a fitting finale for a Hall of Fame tight end who deserves to be recognized as a Hall of Fame general manager one day as well.

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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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O's SCOREBOARD
Saturday, May 19
Orioles
3

Red Sox
6
WP: R. Porcello (6-1)

LP: D. Bundy (2-6)

HR: Alvarez (8), Devers (8), Betts (15), Benintendi (4)

RECORD/PLACE: 14-31, 5th

breakfast bytes

College lax: Loyola's season ends with 8-5 quarterfinal loss to Yale.

NBA: LeBron, Cavs trim series deficit to 2-1 with 116-86 win over Celtics.

MLB: Severino improves to 7-1 as Yankees beat Royals in K.C., 8-3.

PGA Tour: Marc Leishman and Aaron Wise (-17) share 54-hole at AT&T Byron Nelson.