Friday
January 20
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Issue 20
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maybe now the folks in cleveland can finally move on


The death of former Ravens (and Cleveland Browns) team President David Modell last week stirred up a lot of emotions in Cleveland.

It led to several members of the media in Northeast Ohio -- Bill Livingston and Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer to name two, specifically -- publishing articles about the life and times of David Modell and raking him over the coals one more time while people here in Baltimore gathered for his funeral.

With that media frenzy came input from sports fans in Cleveland, who also took the opportunity to heap personal criticisms on the younger Modell, who passed away from lung cancer at age 56 on January 13.

I get it.

People in Cleveland are still mad about the Browns' departure in 1995 and their subsequent move to Baltimore.

I'm not even going to chastise those folks for their heartless digs at Modell in the wake of his passing last week. Livingston and Pluto should know better, but their job these days is to stir the masses. It's about website clicks, not writing poignant, connecting columns that make people consider both sides of the story.

In Cleveland, there's only one side of the story. Art Modell was a bum. And so, too, was his son, David.

So, while I won't beat up Clevelander's for writing some pretty mean stuff about David Modell's death last week, what I will do is tell them to use Modell's passing as closure on the Browns' move to Baltimore 22 years ago.

Let it go, now.

There's no one else to roast, folks, unless you're someday going to jump for joy and write columns of glee when Ozzie Newsome passes away.

The Modell family is gone.

We know all too well about football teams leaving and the pain it causes. We also know about saying and writing mean things about the owner who did the deed and ordered the moving vans and we also know about getting a team again and starting all over.

Baltimore was a jerk about Bob Irsay well before Cleveland was a jerk about Art Modell.

I don't know that our city is particularly proud of the things we said and did in the aftermath of Irsay's death, but then again, some folks get a perverse sort of glee from people passing away in all walks of life.

There was a time when someone at the radio station I formerly worked at suggested he would go to Bob Irsay's grave and urinate on it when the Ravens made a trip to Indianapolis to play the Colts.

I objected to that idea and said as much during my morning radio show. It led to some tension at the station, amid suggestions that I wasn't a "team player".

Later, when a fan dressed in a Ravens jersey did, in fact, carry out that action and went as far as to post pictures on social media, I took him to task on the air and was criticized by listeners who claimed "you (I) don't get it".

No, friends, I get it. The team was special to everyone in Baltimore -- including me -- and the guy who pulled the plug and moved the team to Indianapolis was a community villain -- forever. I get it.

But jumping for joy at his death and urinating on his grave? That's probably not one of the things I want on my list when my day of judgment comes and I'm asked about my involvement in those events.

I lost my mom in 1987 and my dad in 2003. When you've lost a parent, you see people differently, I think.

When it was suggested that folks from the radio station make a stop at the gravesite of Bob Irsay, I didn't see him as the owner of the Colts who moved the team from Baltimore to Indy. I saw him as the father of a son (Jim Irsay). I wanted no part of that degradation.

Some clown from Cleveland did the same deed to Art Modell's grave in Pikesville a few years ago, and because people are always looking for their 15 minutes of fame, he, too, showcased his work on social media.

He was easily identified, arrested and faced his day in court back in Baltimore.

I don't remember Livingston or Pluto writing anything about that incident. A quick Google check didn't show anything, but maybe I didn't look hard enough. Or maybe they didn't have the gumption to criticize one of their own for something as hideous as peeing on another man's grave.

And, for what it's worth, I don't see how public urination on Art's grave changed anything about anything.

Just like I don't see how writing damning pieces about David Modell in the wake of his death does any good, either.

The team is still gone, the men you despise are still dead, and you haven't really altered the course of history at all by being frustrated and angry, still.

Maybe this, now, will finally settle the score for the people of Northeast Ohio. Perhaps they'll all rest a little easier in 2017 knowing that the two men who engineered the move of the Browns to Baltimore are no longer living on this Earth.

If nothing else, Bill Livingston and Terry Pluto will have to find new things to write about that stir up the football fans of Cleveland.

I'd suggest they simply cover the Browns more extensively, but how many ways can you dissect 1-15 and a last place finish in the AFC North?

And as for the folks in Cleveland still harboring resentment, I can assure them, having experienced it here ourselves, that they'll wake up one day and feel differently about it all.

They'll figure it out like we did. Just move on and celebrate what you have...

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trumbo gets the cleat of reality, o's get their power bat


Mark Trumbo learned what Chris Davis learned last off-season.

Just because you think you're worth it doesn't mean you're actually going to get it.

Trumbo started the off-season looking for $85 million.

Yesterday he wound up getting $37.5 million from the Orioles.

The Orioles solved their right-handed power bat issue on Thursday when Mark Trumbo re-signed with the club for three years.

The Cleat of Reality is a lot like Father Time. He doesn't care who you are.

Trumbo signed a 3-year deal with the O's on Thursday, returning to Baltimore on the heels of a successful 2016 campaign that saw him lead the majors with 46 home runs.

It was a tale of two halves for Trumbo in 2016. He scorched the American League in the first half, then hit the ground with a thud in the second half.

In the first half (by "half", we're talking up to the All-Star break), he hit .288 with a .341 on-base percentage.

In the second half, he hit a measly .214 with a .284 on-base percentage. No need to check to see if those numbers are right. They are.

The Orioles are hoping the first half Trumbo shows up for both halves in 2017.

Critics of the deal contend the Orioles still have an issue in left and right field on days when they face left-handed pitching. Both Hyun-soo Kim and newcomer Seth Smith are awful against lefties, and if Trumbo plays right field when the O's face a southpaw, who's the right handed DH?

Others are hinting that Trumbo's $37.5 million haul is more proof that the O's aren't going to even step to the plate with Manny Machado and Zach Britton in 2018, but no one knows if that's true except Peter Angelos.

There's logic there, particularly after giving Chris Davis $161 million last January, but it's not like the Orioles aren't going to make MORE money in the next two years to help absorb the new contracts, potentially, of Machado and Britton.

Back to 2017 and how yesterday's news impacts the Birds.

Trumbo playing right field at all is somewhat concerning given his limited range, but the club will have almost no other choice but to play him out there when they face a left handed starter.

Still, Trumbo in Baltimore makes the Orioles a better team.

And, like Davis found out last year when his $250 million hope turned into a $161 million reality, Trumbo's value is probably much closer to what he got ($37.5 million) than what he wanted.

The Orioles improved themselves on Thursday and it didn't cost them a gazillion dollars or a draft pick.

Every once in a while, the Cleat of Reality does good work.


who is the nfl mvp for 2016?


We love polls around here and we love getting your input.

Today is your final chance to tell the world who should be the NFL MVP for the 2016 season. We had a busy day of voting on Thursday and we'll reveal the winner of the #DMD poll in Saturday's edition.

The NFL traditionally recognizes the winner of the award as voted on by members of Associated Press (A.P.).

Could this Cowboys star be both the NFL MVP and Rookie of the Year?

Yesterday, the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) named Falcons QB Matt Ryan as their league MVP and Offensive Player of the Year, and tabbed Oakland's Khalil Mack as the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year.

But the vote conducted by the A.P. is the big one. That's the one that carries the most weight.

We'll give you the chance today to vote for any of five players:

1. Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers

2. New England QB Tom Brady

3. Atlanta QB Matt Ryan

4. Dallas RB Ezekiel Elliott

5. Oakland QB Derek Carr

Yes, four of the five choices are QB's. It's almost always that way.

Here's a quick reason why you COULD cast your vote for any of the five players above.

Rodgers is, of course, starting to fully emerge as one of the game's best quarterbacks of the last three decades. He has a Super Bowl ring already and could very well be on the verge of earning his second this season. When the Packers were 4-6 back in November, he stood at the podium and said, "With all due respect to the teams we have left on the schedule, I really feel like we can run the table." And, up to now, they've done just that. Without Aaron Rodgers, the Packers go 4-12.

Brady remains a marvel both because of his age (39) and the fact that year after year, his supporting cast is decent at best, constantly injured, and yet, Brady still finds a way to propel the Patriots to a wildly successful season. This year, it was Brady himself who missed four games due to a laughably inappropriate suspension, yet he still managed to post an 11-1 record as a starter and breezed through the regular season like a 26 year old.

Ryan has been maligned throughout most of his 9-year career, yet he produced a remarkable season in 2016 and has the Falcons one game away from a trip to the Super Bowl. His Atlanta offense averaged a whopping 33.75 points-per-game and Ryan threw for 38 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions on the year. And he's tough, too. Ryan was sacked 37 times during the regular season, yet still put up 4,944 yards in the air and led Atlanta to the NFC South title.

Elliott burst on to the NFL scene after being selected 4th in the NFL draft last spring. He led the league in total rushing yards (1,631) and average yards-per-game (108.7) and helped the Cowboys finish 13-3 and own the best record in the entire NFC. Dak Prescott was a valuable rookie as well, but Elliott's emergence gave the Cowboys a new dimension offensively.

Carr might have the best case of all even though his numbers don't warrant a first place vote. With Carr in the lineup, Oakland was 12-2 and poised to make a legitimate run at the top spot in the AFC and, perhaps the Super Bowl. He missed the final two regular season games after breaking his leg on December 18 and the Raiders promptly lost both of those games, fell to 2nd in the AFC West, then lost to a fairly inept Houston team in the first round of the playoffs. With Carr, Oakland had a puncher's chance of playing in the Super Bowl. Without him, they wouldn't have won six games all season. That's a case for MVP honors if there ever was one.

I think you can make a case for any of those five players. Rodgers has led the Packers back from despair, Brady is the King of Everything, Ryan had an amazing year and Elliott made everyone who said, "It's a passing league" see things differently, for once. Derek Carr showed first-hand how valuable he was -- once he left the lineup, Oakland turned into the Cleveland Browns.

My vote? It's boring, I know. I'm going with Tom Brady.

I've sold my soul.

What he does year after year (besides "winning") just amazes me. There's something almost mystical to the way Brady gets it done. I keep watching and hoping this will be the season when it finally all falls apart, like an old car that gives in after 17 years and just stops running one cold January morning.

Instead, he seemingly keeps getting better.

The good news? You can't vote for any of those five names you see below.

"Have at it", as Coach Billick used to say.
 Drew's Morning Dish

#DMD Poll

Question: Who is the MVP of the NFL for the 2016 season?
Aaron Rodgers
Tom Brady
Matt Ryan
Ezekiel Elliott
Derek Carr
Name
Email address

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dale williams aims
the terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his third season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in 2016-2017.


another road upset for maryland as terps beat favored iowa by eight


The Maryland Terrapins went into Iowa City and wrestled away an 84-76 victory from the Iowa Hawkeyes last night in a game that left far more in doubt than the eight point final margin may indicate.

Led by Melo Trimble’s 20 points, the Terps had four starters (Trimble, Anthony Cowan, Justin Jackson, and Damonte Dodd) score in double figures -- along with one reserve player (Jaylen Brantley). It was a special road win for Maryland in that they let a large lead slip away, only to regain it and win going away.

Melo Trimble's 20 points helped Maryland get past Iowa last night and improve to 5-1 in the Big 10 conference.

Maryland built a big 15-point first half lead behind some great ball movement and solid shooting. Ten of the Terps' first eleven baskets included smart passing and assists.

For the half, they had assists on 14 of their 16 first half made shots. Justin Jackson had four of those assists and Anthony Cowan had three.

The Terps were getting good looks inside with Damonte Dodd and Ivan Bender receiving sharp passes that were easily converted into points. Both big men finished the half with three buckets.

While the Terps were hitting on 57% of their shots from the field, Iowa could only manage 29%. The half ended with Maryland up nine points, 41-32. The Terps interior passing allowed them to hold a decisive advantage in points-in-the-paint, 22-6.

In the second half, Maryland was able to maintain their double digit lead until the 13:02 mark when an Ivan Bender turnover lead to an Iowa field goal by Ryan Kriener that made the score 54-45.

During that span, two significant events occurred. One was Damonte Dodd heading to the bench with his third foul and the other was Iowa was staying in a 1-2-2 zone that slowed down the Maryland attack.

Dodd re-entered the game with 11:02 left, but the lead was down to three points.

The lead was still three points when Dodd returned to the bench after picking up foul number four. One and a half minutes later the game was tied and the Hawkeyes had all of the momentum.

The Terps were getting destroyed on the glass in the second half and it had cost them their lead. For the game, Iowa had an astounding 20 offensive rebounds. The Terps seemed to play better interior defense with Dodd on the court despite the fact that he had only one rebound.

What happened next is why I'm calling this win "special".

With everything seemingly going against them, Maryland came back.

Being on the road with three freshmen getting major minutes, it would have been easy for the Terps to succumb to the environment and have this game get away from them.

But they were able to get a few stops while Jared Nickens hit a three and Trimble buried back to back three pointers to recapture a lead that the Terps would not relinquish.

The Terps won this game with outstanding ball movement in the first half, and stellar shooting from beyond the arc throughout the entire game.

The addition of Cowan as a second ball handler has also been essential to the Terps surprising 5-1 start in Big 10 play. He has added speed and persistent defense to this backcourt.

The Terps are hard to press when he and Trimble are both in the game. Cowan may have tried to play too last night though, and often found himself surrounded with no easy escape route. He had eight turnovers in the game.

In November and December, while the Terps were adding one and two point Houdini type wins to their resume, Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon kept stating that his team was a good shooting team despite their early season shooting woes.

Last night they proved him right and, in doing so, claimed a solid Big 10 road win. The Terps now head home for a Tuesday night game against Rutgers.

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this weekend in
english soccer


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

While the top of the table continues to battle week in and week out, the biggest mover and shaker from the weekend was at the bottom of the table, where Hull City picked up their first win in the last ten league matches and just their second since the opening month of the season to jump from the table cellar to the fringes of the relegation zone as we enter Matchday 22 of the English Premier League. With a visit to league leaders Chelsea pending will the three points be for naught? Tune in this weekend to find out with all of the action live on the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Saturday, January 21 (all times eastern)

7:30am – Swansea City @ Liverpool – Anfield, NBC Sports Network

Swansea City will have to hope their relegation rivals do not pull off the seemingly impossible when they travel to Chelsea as they now find themselves at the bottom of the table following the Tigers victory over Bournemouth last weekend and their own 4-0 setback against Arsenal, with a similarly daunting road trip pending to kick off the weekend action and a visit to Anfield and Liverpool, who dropped points late and dropped to third place in the table when Zlatan Ibrahimovic equalized in the 84th minute to share the points in their showdown with Manchester United 1-1.

You can count on one hand the number of teams that have been able to stymie the Liverpool offense so far this season but United were able to do just that, although the Reds will fancy their chances of getting the league’s most prolific offense (49 goals) firing against the Swans league worst defense (49 goals), and where they have an enjoyed an impressive history against the Welsh club, running out winners in four of their last five Premier League matches (L1) and in six of their eleven all time league meetings (D3 L2), including seven of their last nine across all competitions at Anfield (D1 L1).

10am – Manchester United @ Stoke City – bet365 Stadium, NBC Sports Network

The draw with Liverpool may have ended Manchester United’s nine game winning run across all competitions, along with any lingering hopes of a late season title charge, but the point kept them well in the race for a top four spot ahead of their trip to the bet365 Stadium to square off with Stoke City, where former Red Devil Mark Hughes has once again guided the Potters back to their all too familiar ninth place position in the table with a brace from Marko Arnautovic getting them started before Peter Crouch added one more before the halftime whistle to easily move them past Sunderland 3-1.

After finishing in ninth place the last three seasons, Stoke City had hoped to get over the hump this year and, following an up and down start to the current campaign, look well on their way whey they play host to United, whom the Potters have taken all three points from in two of the last three league meetings at the bet365 Stadium (D1) although prior to their recent run of good home form had lost twelve of their previous thirteen head to head meetings across all competitions (D1), which included losing streaks of five and seven games respectively on either side of the shared points.

12:30pm – Tottenham @ Manchester City – Etihad Stadium, NBC

A 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Everton leaves Pep Guardiola and Manchester City in almost "must-win" territory this Saturday against Tottenham.

While the picture continues to look rosy on the red side of Manchester, Pep Guardiola and Manchester City endured the worst loss of his legendary managerial career as they fell for the second time in their last three games when they were absolutely dismantled by a so far this season up and down Everton side 4-0. It will not get any easier for the preseason title favorites when they welcome Tottenham to the Etihad Stadium in what is now a must win game against the high-flying Spurs, who moved into second place in the table after they made it six wins in a row when they easily moved past West Brom 4-0.

Guardiola is learning first hand why the English Premier League is the toughest league in the world from top to bottom and, with their title hopes for this season now come and gone will have to take something against Spurs who, after losing eight of their previous nine league meetings with City (W1), have won the last three matches including a convincing 2-0 win earlier this season and in this same fixture last season, though their recent visit was the only time they have left the Etihad Stadium with points in their last five trips to the Northwest of England, if they want to keep their top four hopes alive.


#dmd comments


Brien Jackson     January 20
Lol, because obviously that's what the people who are talking about 60-70 home run seasons are talking about. These goalposts are moving so fast even Justin Tucker couldn't hope to hit them.

Cleat     January 20
Credibility? Good one RR

Ray ray     January 20
Stats -- For home runs, the highest total ever was in 1985. Next year, that total was exceeded by 200 homers. In 1987, that record was broken by a staggering 600 homers. Saying the explosion starts in 1998 is grossly misleading. DMD is losing credibility.

Thatguy     January 20
@Ray Ray And bigger heads!

Ray Ray     January 20
Baseball players took steroids not to hit better, but because they wanted smaller testicles.

Brien Jackson     January 20
Which is fine. But you still need to reconcile why the home run explosion starts in 1998 and not, say, 1988 or 1992, by which point we pretty much know that steroids were commonplace in baseball. I mean, McGwire himself was roided to the gills in 1989 and 1990 according to Canseco, and he wasn't hitting 60 home runs then, let alone 70. SO sure, steroids can help increase strength and thus might lead to more home runs hit, but they simply don't explain why there was a massive, league wide spike in home runs between 1998 and 2002. This becomes the problem with the steroids narrative; there's no way to explain why there was a 12-15 year lag between widespread steroid use becoming a thing and the home run explosion happening. And then why the home run explosion stopped even though we know steroids were still being used, even by big time power hitters. As I said, it doesn't even work as correlation, let alone causation.

Greenies     January 20
Sammy Sosa...1995 thru 2004 (heart of the steroid era), hit 479 bombs. That is the most ever during a 10 year span.



I agree with expansion pitching diminishing rotations...but baseball has expanded many times...and after the 1977 expansion, there wasnt massive hr totals. No steroids than...but they were popping greenies.



And I don't think the ball was juiced for 10 years.

Alan     January 20
Wow, I wonder if Drew is reading this nonsense from Brien and reconsidering his status with #DMD?



Steroids weren't connected to home run power, Brien argues.



Drew?

Brien Jackson     January 20
"Brien, what then, caused the home run spike specifically in your mind?"



Well the first factor was simple: Expansion. Expansions in baseball have always corresponded to increased offensive output since it's hard to add 25 or so pitching spots to the major league payroll without suffering a drop off. And look at that, McGwire had his highest slugging percentage against any non-Colorado NL team against...the Diamondbacks, hitting four home runs in 8 games.



The other possibility that is both impossible to prove AND perfectly explains why there's a sudden explosion in home runs right after the strike that then suddenly ends when steroid testing is implemented, even though steroids were prevalent in the game both before and after this period, is that MLB juiced the all itself to create more offense and fan interest. I absolutely subscribe to this theory, even though it is unprovable. Though it's worth pointing out that we know MLB *has* done this before when they wanted to inject offense into the game.



But steroids alone simple doesn't work as an explanation. For one thing the science doesn't work out, as steroids enhance leanness and muscle definition but don't necessarily correlate to increased muscle *strength* (this is why they've been HUGE in bodybuilding and pro wrestling while testosterone has always been more prevalent in competition sports). But more damningly, the time timeline simply doesn't work to even ascribe correlation, let alone causation.

PLB     January 20
Brien isn't REALLY trying to say that steroids weren't connected to inflated home run totals is he? Please tell me he's not saying that.



Someone?



Anyone?



Bueller?

Greenies     January 20
Maybe the steroids were getting better? Was Sosa anywhere near the player without the juice? Bonds was great before he "blew up"....but he was "out of this world great" with them. Steroids were a big part of those storylines.



What year(s) were you in the Yankees clubhouse as a reporter? Just curious

SMR     January 20
Brien, what then, caused the home run spike specifically in your mind?



And why has the home run total dropped since testing began in 2003?

Brien Jackson     January 20
This is the most hilarious nonsense imagineable. We know based on multiple accounts that steroids were comonplace in baseball by at least the mid 80's and yet...no one was hitting 60 home runs! That window was the very brief time between 1998 and 2002, even though steroids were in the game both before and after that. The claim that steroids produced the home run spike is false on its face.

George     January 20
@Greenies -- Leave him alone. That fly has no more wings.

Greenies     January 20
Steroids were the reason Mcgwire hit 70 and Bobds hit 73. I believe that to be a fact. You can disagree.

Brien Jackson     January 20
And neither did steroids. Your point?

Greenies     January 20
Greenies didnt lead to guys hitting 73 bombs in a year...and they didnt lead to a guy like Sosa hitting 60 bombs per year, for 3 seasons. Those are facts. And do you think guys stopped doing greenies when they were using roids? Lol.

Brien Jackson     January 20
Oh and I forgot the irony of insisting stimulants aren't PEDs while clearly believing steroids are miracle drugs that magically make you stronger.

Brien Jackson     January 20
The last comment re: amphetamines is complete and total nonsense that perfectly encapsulates the utter lack of consistency and logic that defines steroid hysteria. First of all, amphetamines absolutely are performance enhancers, and their performance enhancing benefits are FAR more medically documented than those of anabolic steroids. This is also abundantly obvious in baseball, a sport where acute concentration is absolutely critical to the small margins of success.



But seriously: If amphetamines weren't performance enhancers at least comparable to steroids, why in the world has their use been so obscenely rampant in the sport for 75 years now, including during the steroid era when they were still in far more common, and widely accepted, usage than steroids were? When Jason Grimsley talked about every clubhouse in the league having a pot of "leaded coffee," it wasn't steroids it was laced with, it was speed.



If you want to make the argument that people who were using steroids when it was ridiculously common and for all intents and purposes universally accepted for baseball players to do so should be shunned from the sport and excluded from the Hall then fine. BUT DO THAT. Don't concoct arbitrary excuses for why the already enshrined greats from the 1940's up through the 1970's and 1980's were "different" for using PEDs (especially since plenty of them were probably using anabolic steroids too) as a pathetic cop out from the plain implication of your stated position. It's totally fine to admit that your distinctions are either completely arbitrary or hypocritical. But certainly don't start accusing me of waffling or some sort of moral outrage, when I'M the one demanding some sort of universal standard to hold people to.

Chris     January 20
George, a Lou Reed and Grateful Dead lyrics reference in one post. Well done!

Brien Jackson     January 20
SOmetimes relocation is inevitable. There's a lot of that in the example of baseball mid-century for sure. The Giants weren't going to stay in New York long term, St. Louis and Philadelphia weren't going to support two teams, etc. And as California boomed and the population moved westward obviously sports teams/leagues were going to be moving with them to some degree. Baltimore is another good example: There was just no way this market was going to stay without an NFL team, especially once the stadium funding was approved, and the only way around Washington's territorial claim was for an owner with standing to bring a lawsuit to decide to move their team here. If it wasn't the Browns it would have been another team.



That said: If local governments were smart and/or not corrupt they would demand equity shares in the franchises as a condition for ANY public financing of stadiums. Even if the leagues refused outright, forcing them to privately finance stadiums would also have the effect of locking teams into place for at least 30-40 years and end the game of stadium based hostage taking.

Greenies     January 20
@Brien



I am familiar with the Pittsburgh drug trials and greenies. They are not the equivalent of PEDS. Snorting cocaine doesn't put on 30 lbs of muscle. Popping a greenie doesn't put on 30 lbs of muscle. You are not comparing "apples to apples". If you think you are, than you obviously have never played a sport

HERMAN     January 20
Would you give up a billion dollars to be loyal to your fan base? The value of the San Diego Chargers is expected to be over a billion dollars more in LA than San Diego. Stadiums in Dallas and soon LA will become the model for all teams. Practice facilities that are destination entertainment facilities will become the norm. Teams belong to owners, not cities.

If you answered "yes", you'd give up the billion, well, right there is the reason they have the billion, and you don't.

JROB     January 20
Is anyone able to translate any of John Calhoun's commentary during the Terps game? I couldn't understand a single word he had to say.

John In Westminster     January 20
Glad I was wrong about the Terps. Melo was cool, calm, and collected while Iowa came back to take the lead in the second half. He got in a shooting groove and made some huge 3s to take the game back. Looks like the Terps have reasserted themselves as one of the 3 best in the B1G.

Rob Really     January 20
I ended my sports editing days many moons ago, back in high school, so maybe I don't get the sports writing of today. But can someone explain the meaning of this lead sentence to me, from today's Terps B-ball column:

The Maryland Terrapins went into Iowa City and wrestled away an 84-76 victory from the Iowa Hawkeyes last night "in a game that left far more in doubt than the eight point final margin may indicate". (I added the quotes for emphasis).

What exactly was "left in doubt"??? The article never seems to explain. The Terps won a conference road game, against a decent opponent, by playing well and holding on against a strong second half surge. Seems like a nice, quality win, one that erases doubt. Or am I missing something??

Theotherguy     January 20
@Lefty Where is MONK indeed. Would love his take on the old boss wagging his finger about how no one but him knows what the Ravens plan to announce today. Of course, he won't tell anyone, but you know he'll crow about " I knew the whole time" after the fact.

Brien Jackson     January 20
@George



"I heard that Sweet Jane was livin' on reds and vitamin C and cocaine at the time but wasn't aware that "Mays, Aaron, and a whole bunch of other players from the 50's-80's were using them as PEDs on a literally daily basis." Congratulations - you've uncovered the story of a lifetime! When are you publishing?"



Your snark game is strong, but if you aren't familiar with the Pittsburgh drug trials or Aaron's admission of using greenies "just one time" whatsoever...then maybe stop trying to double down on turning your opinion into some sort of rock solid moral law and consider you don't really know what you're talking about?

Chris K     January 20
Really good thoughts this morning. I don't understand anyone that wants to desecrate a grave site or say terrible things about almost anyone after they die. I was young when the colts left so it didn't have the effects that it did on people like my dad. Also, I do sometimes wonder how differently things would be if the colts were still here, the Browns were the original browns and the Cardinals never left St Louis (which means the Rams don't leave LA). I do wish we had the colts uniform sometimes because I think it along with the Raiders are the 2 best in the NFL, but all things being what they are I'm ok with it and things have worked out quite well for us. Historically Baltimore pro teams have had terrible owners and we (in my opinion only) have 1 of the best in Bisciotti. The Browns are terrible but they are still called the Browns and should be thankful for that. Lastly, as I've gotten older and have children now I think we all take sports way too seriously (again, I'm including myself). The last 2 years I've tried to not get too wrapped up in the Ravens after losses and even intentionally scheduled family things instead of wasting hours watching the NFL on sundays. It was hard at first but I'm happy I did it. If the ravens ever leave (and they'll eventually threaten to. It may be in 10 years or 30 but it'll happen), I want to know it'll be ok and move on and not be so dependent on them. I'll also undertand that they're a private company and if they feel like they want to move for more money, no one will be able to stop them. Sorry for the rant but it was a really good post centered on some really good thoughts. Thanks for that drew.

unitastoberry     January 20
The league is the culprit of franchise location imo. The individual owners could be fed more cash to stay put. It's more money they all want and greed rules. Bad people are a dime a dozen. Art gave millions in charity to Cleveland hospitals. Irsay gave the state tax money when he bought his booze in Maryland.

Trumbo back for a decent price is good but not the key to our offense. It's Manny playing good thru October and Chris Davis getting back to his pre contract numbers. And defensively there is the pitching and burning out the pen by July.

DR (the original)     January 20
I recently read the memoir of Dan Jenkins, the sportswriter. He had a great line about pro football, which read:

"I'm sorry to break the news, but the "team" you're cheering for consists of the owner, the general manager, and a bunch of attorneys and accountants."

The Colts in 1983, the Browns in 1995, the Chargers in 2016...none of them were civic trusts. They were instruments of their owners, used as leverage to get something they wanted. You can choose to root for the home team, wear the colors and debate the merits of every game like we do on this website, but you can't ever forget that.

Chuck P     January 20
We're playing well against middle of the road teams. Underdogs to an 8-loss, .500 team? I'd like to know the real story behind Chekov's foot injury. Good win last night but we are going to need the big guy for the second half of the schedule.



Drew, I've always enjoyed your work on the air and on your site but why don't you give some time to the women's team. #3 nationally, gave UCONN a good game but not even a sentence of coverage? Like it or not it's a `sport' and that's your specialty.

Steve from Vero Beach     January 20
I realize it's only January but, the masked men wearing Maryland jerseys are they Sweet 16 material or better ??? As far as Irsay is concerned, he lied to the Mayor and to the citizens of B-More, for me, he is no better than dog crap !!!

Chris in Bel Air     January 20
Saw an article promoting this year's two championship games as the battle of the 4 Elite QBs. Hmmm, four? I don't think so. Brady? Check. Rodgers? Check. Ben? Check. Ryan? Uhh no. Sorry. He's very good and I voted for him as MVP in Drew's poll. But 2 playoff wins in 9 years? Sorry, that's not elite. I'll even say you need to win a SB before you are in that category. Winning a SB does not make you elite but you can't be considered elite among today's best QB's without winning a SB. I would throw Brees into that category to round out the 4 but not Ryan. Wilson? Can be considered but needs more time in the league doing what he does. Eli? Has the 2 SBs but like the guy here in purple, too inconsistent. Cam, Rivers, Stafford? Please. So while the championship games this weekend are featuring 4 of the best QB's in the league (and a few future HOFs) Ryan is not there. But if he makes it to the SB, you can bet I'll be rooting for him over the Steelers or Pats.

thatguy     January 20
Thank you for your measured and thoughtful piece today. Obviously we've been on both sides of the relocation issue here. While I will never forget what Bob Irsay did, I can't hang on to that kind of hate, especially for some billionaire owner of a sports team who really doesn't care about me beyond the color of my money. We as fans view teams as a civic trust. Owners view them as an investment and a business. 33 years after the Mayflower vans, the owners are STILL doing it. Look at SD and now Oakland. St. Louis last year. And rest assured there will be other cities to come. Perhaps someday we as fans will wise up and stop being so emotionally invested in something that brings such a minimal return. I'm not surprised that your former boss was an advocate of urinating on Irsay's grave. He's an angry little guy.

That was a nice win for the Underdog Terps last night (these headlines are great btw). In all honesty I'm not sure there are 5 worthy B1G teams for the tournament. MD, Wisc, maybe Northwestern, then who? The conference is really not that good. While I enjoy KenPom and his analytics, I'm still and old school believer in the eyeball test, and these old eyes tell me that some of these teams are just not very good.

Doug S.     January 20
Drew failed to mention that Terry Pluto once worked at The Baltimore Evening Sun, a fact that is (conveniently ?) missing from his Wikipedia page. I've always thought the anger toward Irsay was far more justified than the anger directed at the Modells. The Modell family, by all accounts, did a tremendous amount work for the betterment of Cleveland, while Irsay pretty much just flew in for game day, and really had no interest in the city of Baltimore.

DR     January 20
You got me now, Drew. I come here just for the Maryland headlines.

Lefty     January 20
Where is Monk?

George     January 19
@Brien -- I heard that Sweet Jane was livin' on reds and vitamin C and cocaine at the time but wasn't aware that "Mays, Aaron, and a whole bunch of other players from the 50's-80's were using them as PEDs on a literally daily basis." Congratulations - you've uncovered the story of a lifetime! When are you publishing?

If your information is anywhere near factual, then I do indeed have a problem with those whom you will name being in the HOF.


George     January 19
@Headlinegate -- It's a new form of cyber-bullying!

Headlinegate     January 19
I found today's MD headline to be appropriate and accurate, not sure why some seem amused by it?

DR (the original)     January 19
According to Ken Pomeroy the Terps might be underdogs in a lot of games going forward, so I look forward to the upcoming #DMD headlines. :)


John In Westminster     January 19
Thank goodness most would never accept any good fortune for the O's in exchange for such a prize to the Steelers.



Terps are always in these B1G games, but I think the Hawkeyes deal them some conference road karma tonight. I'm seeing Jok playing strong down the stretch and leading Iowa to a narrow victory.

Steve from Vero Beach     January 19
I remember one year Rodriguez was so jacked up from the roids use that if you stuck a pin in him he would fly around the room like a balloon !!! The next year he comes back, presumably off the roids looking like a scrawny kid who could not hit his way out of a wet paper bag !!! H.O.F. not in my eyes !!!

n_cluster@hotmail.com     January 19
Let the roiders in as apparently this is going to happen or already has happened just put a syringe next to or on the plaque.

DR     January 19
LOL at the Terps headline. You're the best DF.

Robert     January 19
Completely agree with you Drew.



Keep Bonds and Clemens and A-Roid out of the Hall.



Thanks for standing up for us "old fuddie duddies" the last couple of days!

Brien Jackson     January 19
That doesn't change my point at all George: Cocaine and amphetamines were every bit against federal law as well, but Mays, Aaron, and a whole bunch of other players from the 50's-80's were using them as PEDs on a literally daily basis. So if you've got no problem with those guys being Hall of Famers, there's no non-relativist argument that steroid users are a bridge too far. Your argument also collapses on itself given the fact that not only MLB but ALL of the sports leagues now have specific lists of banned substances, specific testing procedures, and spelled out penalties for taking these drugs. So apparently it's NOT superfluous at all to have on the books, completely spelled out rules against taking federally controlled drugs.

Confucius     January 18
I'm with @George, both pieces today were all over the map and full of caveats and waffling. Just make your case and your vote and be done with it. But perhaps I am just biased by @George's quality writing. ;)

George     January 18
Brien, it’s very hard to argue with you. The M-16 and Claymore examples were made in hopes you would understand that the NHL and NFL didn’t need to have rules banning their use because such use was against criminal law. MLB did not have “a rule” against anabolic steroids because their use was then (and remains today) illegal.

If you want what I call cheaters and you call – what do you call those who used PEDs? – like Bonds and Clemens in the HOF with Ripken and Frank and Brooks, then use the power of your pen to make your argument. Your piece today was unpersuasive.

Thursday
January 19
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Issue 19
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i love that bonds, clemens are facing an uphill battle


So, two guys thought to be steroid users were announced as 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame selections on Tuesday.

That's fine. Two guys who were known PED users didn't get in.

I'll take that trade.

Oh, and Tim Raines finally got in, too, but his only vice was cocaine. In the 1980's, athletes used cocaine the way 19-year olds these days get tatted up as college freshmen.

I'm OK with Jeff Bagwell and Ivan Rodriguez getting in, although there's plenty of evidence to at least suggest they were likely on the juice during their careers.

People will quickly use the old excuse -- "They never tested positive" -- and I'd quickly remind those folks that, technically, neither did Barry Bonds.

Bonds and Roger Clemens both fell substantially short of selection on Wednesday, although each creeped over the 50% mark in total votes received. They'll need to get 75% of the vote in order to get elected. It's by no means a slam-dunk that either of them ever see their plaque at Cooperstown.

And that's the way it should be, I think.

A superb 21-year career in the big leagues provided Ivan Rodriguez with the ultimate reward on Wednesday when he became just the second catcher ever to be named to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

I'll reiterate this again in case you weren't around for Wednesday's edition of #DMD.

If you're casting your vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame, you follow your gut. You don't read other people's opinions, you certainly don't listen to some other ne'er do well tell you how to vote and, above all, don't worry about criticism that you're either an old fuddy duddy or a new age stats geek.

If you're voting, vote how you want, for the reasons you want. Period.

I wouldn't vote for anyone that I know used steroids. I wouldn't vote for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. They used steroids.

There's a long laundry list of guys that I think used steroids. Truth? I'm one of those skeptics that thinks everyone was on the juice in the 1990's. I'm a bad guy like that.

But, the reality is that the list of players I suspect used steroids probably trails well into triple digits, if I sat down and mapped it all out, team by team.

I suspect Jeff Bagwell used steroids. I highly suspect Pudge Rodriguez used steroids. But I'm OK with them getting in because they don't fall into my "I know" category.

At some point, as I wrote yesterday, you have to draw a line and say, "This is where I stand..."

And where I stand is simple: Bonds, Clemens, Palmeiro, A-Rod - no, no, no and no. You guys can't get my vote for Cooperstown.

Alas, I don't have a vote. So I'm just another guy writing about it and laughing at Bonds and Clemens for being forced to spend another 364 days wondering if the baseball writers will ever officially and completely forgive them for their past juicing sins.

Neither of those guys probably care all that much. They don't need the extra money you can make by writing "Bonds (Clemens) H.O.F. 2017" on a baseball or a picture. It's a status symbol, really. Nothing more. Your money still spends at the Loews Hotel in South Beach whether you're in Cooperstown or not.

The fact that it might piss them off for a week or two tickles me a little bit. They don't belong in there based on the shame they brought the game of baseball, just like Pete Rose doesn't belong in there.

Bagwell was a terrific player, probably the most productive first baseman of his era other than Albert Pujols. And Rodriguez was a trend-setter as a catcher and yesterday became just the second catcher ever (Johnny Bench was the other) to earn selection in his first year of eligibility.

Jose Canseco told everyone that would listen "Pudge" used steroids and the eye test certainly confirmed that accusation. But the voters didn't seem to mind yesterday.

Trevor Hoffman came up one percent short, which means he'll get in soon, probably next year, in fact. Vlad Guerrero came up four percent short which means he's a lock as well.

I would have voted for Edgar Martinez yesterday, but soup to nuts, Rodriguez had a more distinguished career than did Martinez.

Those were three reasonable selections yesterday.

All three guys were the best at their position for a long time.

So, too, were Bonds and Clemens. But the voters aren't ready -- not yet, anyway -- to lower their standards enough to let those two grace the halls of Cooperstown.

I love it, personally. Let 'em wait...

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who is the nfl mvp for 2016?


We love polls around here and we love getting your input.

Today is your chance to tell the world who should be the NFL MVP for the 2016 season.

The NFL traditionally recognizes the winner of the award as voted on by members of Associated Press (A.P.).

Yesterday, the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) named Falcons QB Matt Ryan as their league MVP and Offensive Player of the Year, and tabbed Oakland's Khalil Mack as the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year.

But the vote conducted by the A.P. is the big one. That's the one that carries the most weight.

We'll give you the chance today to vote for any of five players:

1. Green Bay QB Aaaron Rodgers

2. New England QB Tom Brady

3. Atlanta QB Matt Ryan

4. Dallas RB Ezekiel Elliott

5. Oakland QB Derek Carr

Yes, four of the five choices are QB's. It's almost always that way.

Is leading the Packers back from a 4-6 start to a 10-6 record and the NFC North title enough to earn Aaron Rodgers the league's MVP award for 2016?

Here's a quick reason why you COULD cast your vote for any of the five players above.

Rodgers is, of course, starting to fully emerge as one of the game's best quarterbacks of the last three decades. He has a Super Bowl ring already and could very well be on the verge of earning his second this season. When the Packers were 4-6 back in November, he stood at the podium and said, "With all due respect to the teams we have left on the schedule, I really feel like we can run the table." And, up to now, they've done just that. Without Aaron Rodgers, the Packers go 4-12.

Brady remains a marvel both because of his age (39) and the fact that year after year, his supporting cast is decent at best, constantly injured, and yet, Brady still finds a way to propel the Patriots to a wildly successful season. This year, it was Brady himself who missed four games due to a laughably inappropriate suspension, yet he still managed to post an 11-1 record as a starter and breezed through the regular season like a 26 year old.

Ryan has been maligned throughout most of his 9-year career, yet he produced a remarkable season in 2016 and has the Falcons one game away from a trip to the Super Bowl. His Atlanta offense averaged a whopping 33.75 points-per-game and Ryan threw for 38 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions on the year. And he's tough, too. Ryan was sacked 37 times during the regular season, yet still put up 4,944 yards in the air and led Atlanta to the NFC South title.

Elliott burst on to the NFL scene after being selected 4th in the NFL draft last spring. He led the league in total rushing yards (1,631) and average yards-per-game (108.7) and helped the Cowboys finish 13-3 and own the best record in the entire NFC. Dak Prescott was a valuable rookie as well, but Elliott's emergence gave the Cowboys a new dimension offensively.

Carr might have the best case of all even though his numbers don't warrant a first place vote. With Carr in the lineup, Oakland was 12-2 and poised to make a legitimate run at the top spot in the AFC and, perhaps the Super Bowl. He missed the final two regular season games after breaking his leg on December 18 and the Raiders promptly lost both of those games, fell to 2nd in the AFC West, then lost to a fairly inept Houston team in the first round of the playoffs. With Carr, Oakland had a puncher's chance of playing in the Super Bowl. Without him, they wouldn't have won six games all season. That's a case for MVP honors if there ever was one.

I think you can make a case for any of those five players. Rodgers has led the Packers back from despair, Brady is the King of Everything, Ryan had an amazing year and Elliott made everyone who said, "It's a passing league" see things differently, for once. Derek Carr showed first-hand how valuable he was -- once he left the lineup, Oakland turned into the Cleveland Browns.

My vote? It's boring, I know. I'm going with Tom Brady.

I've sold my soul.

What he does year after year (besides "winning") just amazes me. There's something almost mystical to the way Brady gets it done. I keep watching and hoping this will be the season when it finally all falls apart, like an old car that gives in after 17 years and just stops running one cold January morning.

Instead, he seemingly keeps getting better.

The good news? You can't vote for any of those five names you see below.

"Have at it", as Coach Billick used to say.
 Drew's Morning Dish

#DMD Poll

Question: Who is the MVP of the NFL for the 2016 season?
Aaron Rodgers
Tom Brady
Matt Ryan
Ezekiel Elliott
Derek Carr
Name
Email address


and the results for our steelers/orioles poll are...


On Tuesday of this week, we gave you the chance to pick one achievement by the Orioles that would be worth a major sacrifice on your part.

Namely, you'd sign off on allowing the Pittsburgh Steelers to win back-to-back Super Bowl titles in exchange for one of four things happening with the Orioles.

1. The Orioles win the 2017 World Series.

2. Manny Machado signs a 10-year deal with the Orioles.

3. The Orioles acquire Mike Trout in a trade with the Angels.

4. Peter Angelos sells the team to a local group headed by Cal Ripken Jr.

And there was a 5th choice -- I wouldn't agree to any of those four. I don't want the Steelers to win anything.

And the winner was...

44% of you chose #5, saying, basically, you wouldn't agree to letting the Steelers win back-to-back Super Bowls in exchange for any of those four things happening in favor of the Orioles.

39% of you chose #1 - the Orioles win the 2017 World Series.

12% of you chose #4 - Peter Angelos sells the team to a local group headed by Cal Ripken Jr.

5% chose #2 and #3 - Machado signs long term and Trout becomes an Oriole.

I voted for #1, by the way. I would sign off on just about anything (except the Flyers winning the Stanley Cup) to have the Orioles win the World Series. Hell, truth be told, I'd probably sign off on the Flyers winning the Stanley Cup if it meant the Orioles would win the World Series. I can't believe I just wrote that. I'll probably edit this out later on when I come to my senses. But there's nothing I'd want more -- sports wise -- than to see the Orioles win the World Series again in my lifetime.

Thanks to all of you who voted!

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underdog terps hope to upset favored iowa tonight on the road


The Maryland Terrapins travel to the Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa to take on the Hawkeyes in game that puts their #1 spot in the Big 10 and their #25 ranking nationally on the line.

Iowa is undefeated at home in conference games (3-0) while losing all three of its road contests. For the year, they are three games over .500 at 11-8.

Iowa head coach Fred McCaffery has 10 players that average at least 10 minutes of playing time and five of those players are freshmen.

However, this team depends highly on one guy and that’s their star senior guard Peter Jok.

Iowa's Peter Jok is not only Iowa's star player but a Big 10 Player of the Year candidate as well.

The 6’6” Jok leads the Hawkeyes in points (22 per game) and is tied with Nicholas Baer for the team lead in rebounds (6.2 per game).

The athletic, but slender, Jok favors the perimeter but will slash when the opportunity presents itself. He hits almost 40% of his 3 point shots but overall only knocks down 44% of his attempts. At times he has a bit of a quick trigger preferring to launch a shot from his current location instead of working for something that might produce at a higher success rate. Regardless, he is a legitimate first team All Big 10 candidate and potential conference Player of the Year.

Besides Jok, the only real Hawkeye threat to beat you off the dribble is 6’5” freshman guard Isaiah Moss. Moss had shown flashes of brilliance in his first year. He pumped in a career high of 21 points against Stetson and carded 15 first half points recently against Nebraska.

Moss averages only 7 points a game but could easily exceed that tonight against some smaller Terp defenders.

Nicholas Baer is an important piece for Iowa in his role as a “do whatever it takes” guy. You’ll find him scrapping for loose balls, setting solid picks and running good sets on offense, as well as hitting the boards.

He leads the team in offensive rebounds and steals. Baer is a long and lanky 6’7”, 205 lb forward who uses his wing span well.

Cordell Pemsl and Tyler Cook make up the starting front court. Of the two freshmen big men, Cook is the more versatile player while Pemsl is a more physical type, but he lacks a delicate touch around the basket. At 6’8” and 6’9” respectively, they have decent size but won’t dominate the interior.

Iowa’s most recent game was a 35 point blowout loss to Northwestern on the road.

Baer came off the bench in that game and it will in interesting to see what lineup coach McCaffrey starts with tonight.

Whoever he chooses had better bring some defensive intensity and rebounding skill. Iowa is last in the Big 10 in scoring defense (82.3 ppg) and 10th in rebounding margin. Making things even harder, I have also seen the Hawkeyes give the ball away far too many times.

I still feel physical teams, especially ones that can dominate inside, are the teams that will give the Terps the most trouble. Maryland has faced a few solid individual post players, but no team that features interior play as their offensive focus. When they do, Maryland better hope that Damonte Dodd has another great defensive performance.

Tonight, however, Iowa is not one of those teams. Jok is a great scorer, Moss can be trouble, and Baer can play on my team any day. That being said, Iowa’s overall defensive weaknesses make me think that the Terps are in a good position to break the Hawkeye’s string of home conference wins.

I expect the Terp guards to be too fast, getting to the rim with regularity and looking to dish when they get there. Justin Jackson scored in double figures in seven of his last nine games before getting blanked by Illinois. That left a bitter taste in his mouth, more so than that 35 point loss that Iowa just suffered left in their most recent outing.

I like Jackson to break out tonight along with a strong game by Dodd. Dodd will be the biggest guy on the court and I expect him to throw his weight around a bit.

Maryland opened as a 1.5 point favorite but they have been bet down to a 1.5 point underdog now.

An unranked home favorite against a ranked underdog is usually a strong play for the home team (especially if the ranked team is in the top 10). But I say the Terps buck that trend and come out with a 79-77 victory behind double digit performances from Melo Trimble, Anthony Cowan, Jackson, and Dodd.

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we need four more teams to fill our charity duckpin bowling event!


One of my favorite events on the #DMD charity calendar is set for Sunday, February 26 and you and your bowling friends are invited to participate!

It's our annual "Charity Duckpin Challenge", where you and your team of four bowlers can earn money for YOUR favorite charity.

Most charity golf events you play in have a pre-designated charity that everyone in the field is helping raise funds for, but this bowling event we offer is exactly the opposite.

You designate YOUR charity ahead of time, then bowl against 13 other teams for valuable prize money and a donation check at the end of the night!

This year's event will be held on Sunday, February 26 from 3 pm to 6 pm at Stoneleigh Lanes in Towson.

The team entry fee is $300.00 and all four bowlers receive the following:

Three hours of bowling, with shoe rental (each team must turn in at least three scores...bowl as many games as you like and take your best three)

Complimentary beer, soft drinks and pizza for everyone.

Participation in our "Deck of Cards" contest where you can win up to $100 cash just by throwing a strike!

We also offer free child care and bowling and pizza for them as well, so bring the kids if you'd like!

First place pays $850!

Imagine handing over a check for $850 to your favorite charity!

We'll also pay the teams finishing in 2nd, 3rd and 4th place, so just about 30% of the field gets a donation check.

To register your team, just click on the "bowling" tab at the top of #DMD and get your team a spot in the field of 14.

As of January 18th, ten teams have registered, leaving us with four spots to fill.


Wednesday
January 18
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXX
Issue 18
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today's the day we see who reaches hall of fame status in baseball


Today is one of those annual historic days in sports in our country.

It's the day the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) announces their selections for the 2017 class of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

In the event you don't know the rules, they're fairly simple. A player must receive at least 75% of the vote to gain entry into the Hall of Fame. Anything less than 75% and you go back in the hopper for the following year. However, if you appear on less than 5% of the returned ballots, you're off the eligibility list for the next voting year.

Today's the day we learn who gets in and who gets left behind.

The two most prominent names are Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, both of whom were in the mid-40% range last year and far from being selected.

Baseball's all-time home run leader is eligible for Hall of Fame induction for the fifth time in 2017. Could this be the year Barry Bonds is enshrined?

Jeff Bagwell earned 71.4% of the vote in 2016 and narrowly missed joining Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza, who earned selection last year.

Bagwell is among the favorites to be selected today when the 2017 honors are released.

We'll have a poll tomorrow here at #DMD once we see who gets in and who doesn't, but in the meantime, I'm ready to fill out my ballot for this year's Hall of Fame class.

Let's get to the white elephant in the room, which, of course are the two most prominent names; Bonds and Clemens.

I would NOT vote for either one of them.

Why?

Well, I think that's obvious. They were both steroid users.

I understand the dilemma national baseball writers face today. They're still struggling with the measurement of the performances provided by guys like Bonds and Clemens, and how they're to be judged up against others in their peer group who played at the same time and weren't nearly as scrutinized for PED use -- even though they very well MIGHT have used them without detection.

It's a slippery slope.

My best answer to the whole thing is pretty simple.

You, as a baseball writer and follower of the game at a fairly granular level, have to make up your own mind, go with what your gut tells you, and take a stand for what you believe is the truth and what might be either urban legend or an embellishment of the facts.

This is NOT something you should seek counsel on or allow for an alternate opinion to sway you what from your heart or intuition tells you to do.

Voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame should come down to whether or not you believe that player deserves the honor based on his career and the merits of "the way" his statistical career was produced.

I'll pause for a second to add this nugget about my own beliefs. I would NOT have voted for Gaylord Perry, who entered the Hall of Fame in 1991. Perry was, by his own admission, a spitballer. In other words, he cheated. And the obvious connection between a PED user (cheater) and a pitcher who doctored the baseball (cheater) shouldn't be casually dismissed.

And, no, before you say it, doctoring the baseball and throwing a spitter wasn't "chicanery" or "trickery". It was an act that, still to this day, is illegal and would get you thrown out of the game if caught by the umpires. Throwing a spitball was and still is, cheating.

But Perry's in, so I can't fight that fight.

I would, though, fight the fight on Clemens and Bonds and simply say, "No, I'm not voting for them."

By the way -- I think both of them are getting in, maybe even today. And on the basis of what they accomplished on the field, both clearly deserve Hall of Fame status.

And I should also point out the silly commentary about guys like Bonds, Clemens and, in the future Alex Rodriguez -- "They put up Hall of Fame numbers before they started using steroids." A) You have no real idea when they started using them and, B) That doesn't really matter.

Pete Rose was a Hall of Famer all the way up until he started gambling on baseball games that he was involved in as a manager. Once that happened, Rose was a Hall of Fame no-go.

I'd also politely ask you to refrain from making a fool of yourself here and trying to deny that Clemens and Bonds weren't PED users. Don't go there. You know they were. End of story.

You're allowed to vote for ten players on your Hall of Fame ballot.

I've always looked at Hall of Fame voting -- for any sport -- with this question in mind. Can you write the history of the sport and devote a chapter or two to the era a player played in and NOT mention his name as a prominent player during that time span?

If the answer is, "Yes, I can write a chapter or two about his era and not mention him"...then he's not a Hall of Famer in my opinion.

There are some twists and turns to that statement and it's not 100% etched in a stone as the be-all, end-all of H.O.F. voting, but I'm sticking with that philosophy as the starting point for my decision on who to vote for and not to vote for.

Then, I throw in the PED and steroids issue. And I make my vote accordingly.

One of the most consistent hitters in baseball throughout his career, Edgar Martinez is expected to receive significant consideration for selection to the Hall of Fame in 2017.

I'd vote for three players this year.

My first vote would go to Jeff Bagwell. I'll say this from the start. There's definitely a chance Bagwell was on the juice. But, going back to my "take a stand" comment above, I'm not sure if Bagwell used steroids or not. I know Bonds and Clemens did. Bagwell? I'm not sure. So, I'd give him the benefit of the doubt.

He nearly hit .300 for his career (.297), totaled 2314 hits and, almost as importantly, walked 1401 times. His on-base percentage was a whopping .408. He also hit 449 home runs. He won a National League MVP award and was one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball throughout the mid '90's.

I'd vote for Bagwell.

I would also vote for the second best lead-off hitter of the '80's and '90's, Tim Raines. Yes, yes, Raines had a cocaine problem. He admitted to having cocaine in a vial, in his pants, while playing in games.

Some people might consider cocaine "performance enhancing".

I consider it dangerous, more than anything else.

Raines was a prolific lead-off hitter and base-stealer, back when guys would routinely steal 70 or 80 bases a year.

If he got on base, which he did at a .385 clip in his 23-year career, Raines was likely going to get in scoring position before the inning was over.

He wasn't a Gold Glove outfielder, but he sure was one heck of an offensive weapon.

My third and final vote in 2017 would go to Edgar Martinez, the former DH for the Seattle Mariners who spent 18 years in the majors and hit .312 for his career with an on-base-percentage of .418.

To me, a .300 career hitter (given a 15-year career or something of that nature) should almost always be a lock for the Hall in the same way a pitcher with 300 wins or a hitter with 500 home runs should be a shoo-in, as well.

As long as they weren't on the juice...

Martinez had little impact at all in the field, as he played only 560 games in a defensive position for the Mariners.

But his bat did the talking. And boy, did it ever.

Martinez was also decent in the post-season as well, although his playoff numbers didn't quite match those he produced in the regular season. Still, he was a .266 hitter in October with a .365 on-base-percentage. Lots of guys would take those numbers and run in the regular season, let alone the playoffs.

I'd also consider voting for Trevor Hoffman, Vlad Guerrero and Larry Walker, too. Walker was probably the most underrated of those three players but he toiled in the obscurity of Colorado for the meat of his career and some will say the thin Rocky Mountain air was for him what the needle was for guys like Bonds, A-Rod and others. In other words, it artificially sweetened his numbers.

I think Mike Mussina was a really good pitcher. Same with Curt Schilling. If Paducah, Kentucky built a "Hall of Very Good" for baseball, I'd put those two in there on the first ballot.

I don't consider either of them Hall of Fame pitchers, but I'll also admit my standards for admission are probably a little higher than reality should accept.

I've always thought about the Hall of Fame like this: If someone asks you if so-and-so is a Hall of Famer and you don't immediately say, "Oh, hell yes, absolutely", then you're probably making a pretty good argument against their inclusion based simply on your hesitation.

Look, I get it. The cat's out of the bag at this point when it comes to steroids, PED's and the like. It was part of baseball's history in the 1990's. I'd probably relent on guys like Bonds, Clemens and A-Rod if they'd allow a notation on their plaque that indicated, in some way, they were connected to steroid use either through a Federal investigation, the Mitchell Report or, in A-Rod's case specifically, flat-out admission.

But those players would never allow for that permanent stain on their Cooperstown plaque, so that point's not even worth bringing up.

In the end, this year at least, I'd put Bagwell, Raines and Martinez on my ballot.

There's no telling what my heart and gut will tell me to do next year.

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you have one more day to keep machado in baltimore for ten years!!


Yesterday here at #DMD, we launched this fun little exercise to see just how far you're willing to go for the Baltimore Orioles.

We had a whopping response to the poll on day one, and the early results, I'll hint, are VERY interesting.

Today's the final day for you to get your vote in -- and we hope you do.

On Sunday prior to the Caps-Flyers game (which, in case you don't know, was a 5-0 Caps thrashing of those toddlers from Philthy), I threw a poll out on Twitter that I've done numerous times before.

It's a mythical scenario, of course, but it tests the limits of our fandom, I suppose. It's one of those "what price would you pay?" kind of questions.

You're in control of bringing Mike Trout to the Orioles. But it comes with a hefty price. Would you do it?

It went like this: In exchange for the Flyers going 0-82 one season, which of these other instances would you allow? Steelers winning the Super Bowl, Yankees winning the World Series, or Duke winning the NCAA hoops title.

Me? I'd allow ALL THREE to happen in the same year if the Flyers went winless over the course of the entire season. Yep, I'm a bad guy.

So, that brings me to a new question today, and I'd like your HONEST input.

Let's pretend the sports fairy lands on your shoulder this afternoon and says, "I'm going to allow you to control a significant development in the history of the Orioles franchise if you'll sign off on the Steelers winning this year's Super Bowl AND next year's Super Bowl."

I know, I know: The Steelers repeating as Super Bowl champions is about as appealing to you as having to watch Meryl Streep on stage blathering on about the government right before she heads back home to her $4.5 million home in Marina del Rey.

Play along, though, this is just fun and games here at #DMD.

The poll below gives you five options from which to choose. Remember, you're signing off on allowing the Steelers to win back-to-back Super Bowls, but you're in control of one of those five scenarios that would greatly benefit the Orioles.

I'm anxious to see the results.

My vote? That's easy. We haven't won a World Series here since 1983. That's a no-brainer for me. I chose #1.


 Drew's Morning Dish

#DMD Poll

Question: Who is the MVP of the NFL for the 2016 season?
Aaron Rodgers
Tom Brady
Matt Ryan
Ezekiel Elliott
Derek Carr
Name
Email address

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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.

There was a time, not all that long ago, that the annual question of who made the Baseball Hall of Fame really got me going.

Somewhere along the way, however, I just stopped caring.

Not so much about voting results, per se, but about the sturn un drag of the debate year in and year out. It’s the same thing every year, and anymore it’s become a really disgusting spectacle of crusty old “traditionalists” whining about “stat geeks” because, good golly, Bert Blylevan got elected, Jack Morris fell just short (even though his vote total shot up in the last couple of years he was eligible), and people aren’t universally outraged by the same things that get the goat of washed up hacks like the pathetic Blogger Murray Chass.

And yet, the Hall seems to be making process.

The ridiculous outcome from a few years ago in which NO ONE was elected despite a plethora of worthies populating the ballot seems to have spurred a wake up call from the Hall’s governing body. Yes, that’s probably at least partly driven by crass financial concerns: Induction weekend is crucial to the Hall’s bottom line, and having no living inductees being honored costs them A LOT of operating revenue, but it was still the right thing to do.

And by all available information, it sure seems like culling the voting rolls to remove voters who hadn’t actually covered baseball in many years has made a big difference. There’s still more needed reforms, notably removing the rule that only allows voters to vote for a maximum of 10 candidates, which is having a significantly negative effect on the process these days. But on the whole, things seem to finally be moving in the right direction.

Roger Clemens is eligible for a 5th time in 2017; Will this be the year "The Rocket" finally gets his spot in Cooperstown?

So with that, I’ll return to the annual tradition of casting my own hypothetical ballot.

For the sake of disclosure, I’m a “big hall” guy, by which I mostly mean that I see the Hall as a museum first, and tend to think that anyone who garners a significant level of support (another change I’d like to see made is dropping the threshold from 75% to just a 2/3 share of the vote) ought to be enshrined for posterity.

And since this is being treated as a full out hypothetical ballot, there’s some tactical voting involved, the meaning of which will become clear later.

So with that, my picks:

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez, and Sammy Sosa: Might as well get the big ones out of the way to begin, eh?

These are, obviously, the “steroid guys,” the candidates whose candidacies are largely woven in with the question of how voters should treat players who are credibly linked to performance enhancing drug use.

I have been vocal in my opinion that the Hall shouldn’t consider this at all, especially for players from the pre-testing era in which use of these drugs was for all intents and purposes condoned by the sport.

I have been sympathetic to the idea that the writers didn’t really know what to do and needed “guidance” from the Hall itself, though. Well that guidance came this year, when the Veterans Committee saw fit to elect former Commissioner Bud Selig, the man who presided over the deepest part of the “steroid era.”

If Selig can go in despite turning a blind eye to steroid usage in the sport until he absolutely couldn’t any longer, than keeping out the users, confirmed or suspected, is just perversely unfair.

So Clemens and Bonds absolutely must go in if nothing else.

Manny might find himself waiting a couple of years, however, if only for the glut on the ballot, and Sosa seems to be a tough sell even to people who don’t care about steroids that much. I get it: His non-home run stats aren’t super impressive. That said, he DID hit over 600 home runs, had more 60+ home run seasons than anyone else in history, was one of the 3 or 4 most famous players in the world for over a decade, and along with Mark McGwire saved the sport from a post-strike malaise and pushed the industry towards the boom period it’s in today. Sosa deserves a spot, to be sure.

Oh, that reminds me: Another “reform” the Hall ought to make in the wake of Selig’s induction is to convene a special committee for the express purpose of enshrining McGwire, who has already fallen off the ballot due to lack of voter support. That’s a travesty that needs to be rectified post-haste.

Jeff Bagwell: Bagwell somewhat falls into the first category, as (wholly unfounded) rumors of steroid usage have derailed his candidacy since he became eligible.

However, I also think at least some of his problem has involved a general lack of appreciation for how good he was. And having grown up in Cincinnati spending many nights at the ballpark watching the Astros when they were in town, let me promise you; there was no one you more wanted to see, and feared coming to the plate, than Bagwell.

Not only did the guy hit 449 home runs, many of them in the cavernous Astrodome, he also stole 202 bases and played an excellent first base. An all around great player whose peak has largely been forgotten because it encompassed the strike shortened years, but who absolutely deserves his spot in Cooperstown.

Tim Raines: Like the aforementioned Blylevan, Raines has become a bit of a cause celebre for “stat nerds,” and that’s a real shame because the merits of his case really ought to be blindingly obvious.

A .294 batting average, .385 on base percentage, and 808 stolen bases over the course of 8,872 a bats really ought to speak for themselves, but ironically Raines is merely living proof that it’s the “traditionalists” who are truly obsessed with statistical accomplishment. Put him in the 3,000 hit club with the same numbers I just quoted, and he’s a first ballot guy (indeed, his .388 OBP is exactly equal to Tony Gwynn’s).

But because he only reached base via a hit, rather than a walk, 2,605 times he languishes in his final year of eligibility with his chances very much in doubt.

Edgar Martinez: Another player whose qualifications speak for themselves, but who finds himself a victim of voting prejudice, so to speak.

Martinez is, without exaggeration, one of the absolute best hitters of his generation. A .312/.418/.515 hitter, the .300/.400/.500 status alone puts him in rarefied air in baseball history.

The only knock against Martinez is that he was most often penciled into the lineup as a designated hitter, and many voters are expressing their disdain for the DH rule by way of Martinez’s candidacy. No matter what you think about the DH, that’s absolutely indefensible. Martinez played his career at a time when the DH was a thing and for a team whose manager felt that’s where he most helped his team in the lineup.

He could have played first or third base, and while he wouldn’t have been good there are plenty of great hitters in the Hall who were atrocious fielders, including such well known names as Reggie Jackson and Ted Williams. The idea that Martinez would have a stronger case if he’d played BAD defense rather than no defense, given the circumstances, is just flat out absurd. Another guy the Hall may need to take it upon themselves to put in, no matter what the moron caucus of the BBWAA thinks.

Ivan Rodriguez: Now we start to get to the glut of the ballot, with many worty candidates who don’t really set themselves apart from one another.

Pudge gets my vote in year one simply because for roughly a decade he was either the best or second best catcher in the game. He did it all: hit, hit for power, and did an excellent job behind the plate. He also won everywhere he went, which is somewhat overrated but seems oddly relevant here, and won an MVP award with Texas.

Vladimir Guerrero: There’s a pretty strong statistical argument that Vlad doesn’t even merit enshrinement in a vacuum, let alone over guys like Mike Mussina and Curt Schilling, but I just can’t bring myself to endorse it.

At his peak, Vlad was the most incredible baseball player I’d ever seen. He wasn’t always pretty or graceful, but it sure didn’t seem like there was anything he couldn’t do on a baseball diamond. Throw a rope from the warning track to third and nail a runner by a step? Absolutely. Score from first improbably on a seemingly not all that well hit ball? Ayup. Take a pitch that BOUNCED before the plate and lace it to the wall on one hop? Saw him do it on live TV.

Injuries wrecked Vlad later in his career, but a player this good at his peak, and such a bona fide marvel to watch for so many years, absolutely belongs in Cooperstown.

Larry Walker: And here’s where tactical voting come in: I don’t really think Walker is the 10th most deserving candidate on the ballot, but you’re only allowed to vote for 10 guys, and if anyone fails to get 5% of the vote they can’t appear on the ballot again.

So, out of fear that Walker would otherwise see his hopes dashed until he was eligible for the Veteran’s Committee, he’d get my final available vote if this was a real ballot.

The knock on Walker, frankly, is that he was a product of Coors Field before the humidor was a thing, but that simply isn’t fair.

Walker was a .278/.370/.495 career road hitter which admittedly isn’t as good as he hit at Coors, but is still pretty darn good on its own. He also hit .286/.387/.520 as a Cardinal in the last two years of his career.

Like Martinez, he was a .300/.400/.500 guy long regarded as one of the game’s best all around hitters, and he deserves his place among the immortals.

And because this is a year where there are easily more than 10 guys who deserve to be enshrined one day, I’ll add a plug for Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling, Trevor Hoffman, and Jeff Kent as players I’d also vote for if not for the ten player limit.

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we need five more teams to fill our charity duckpin bowling event!


One of my favorite events on the #DMD charity calendar is set for Sunday, February 26 and you and your bowling friends are invited to participate!

It's our annual "Charity Duckpin Challenge", where you and your team of four bowlers can earn money for YOUR favorite charity.

Most charity golf events you play in have a pre-designated charity that everyone in the field is helping raise funds for, but this bowling event we offer is exactly the opposite.

You designate YOUR charity ahead of time, then bowl against 13 other teams for valuable prize money and a donation check at the end of the night!

This year's event will be held on Sunday, February 26 from 3 pm to 6 pm at Stoneleigh Lanes in Towson.

The team entry fee is $300.00 and all four bowlers receive the following:

Three hours of bowling, with shoe rental (each team must turn in at least three scores...bowl as many games as you like and take your best three)

Complimentary beer, soft drinks and pizza for everyone.

Participation in our "Deck of Cards" contest where you can win up to $100 cash just by throwing a strike!

We also offer free child care and bowling and pizza for them as well, so bring the kids if you'd like!

First place pays $850!

Imagine handing over a check for $850 to your favorite charity!

We'll also pay the teams finishing in 2nd, 3rd and 4th place, so just about 30% of the field gets a donation check.

To register your team, just click on the "bowling" tab at the top of #DMD and get your team a spot in the field of 14.

As of January 17th, nine teams have registered, leaving us with six spots to fill.


Tuesday
January 17
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXX
Issue 17
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the malone family needs our help


I've said and written this a lot since #DMD started on August 25, 2014. Our mission here is greater than just writing about local and national sports and covering the Ravens, Orioles, Terps, etc.

We also strive to stress the importance of giving back to our community and supporting one another in times of need.

As most of you know, I assume, the Malone family suffered a heartbreaking tragedy last Thursday when their home caught fire in Northeast Baltimore, killing six of their nine children.

This is a chance for the #DMD family and the local sports community to get involved and help one of its own.

And we'll have a blast doing it, too.

They are literally starting all over again. And doing so with the heaviest of hearts, having suffered the worst thing imaginable to a parent; losing a child.

We need to help.

Our friends at Unison Business Solutions are stepping up to help the Malone family. Now, we need you to help, too!

Our annual charity bowling event is set for Sunday, February 26 at Stoneleigh Lanes in Towson from 3 pm to 6 pm. Thanks to my longtime friend Shawn Shannon and his company, Unison Business Solutions, we're going to turn the event into a fundraiser of sorts for the Malone family.

The first order of business is selling out the event to maximize the amount of money we can raise.

That's where you come in. Today, we have eight teams registered for the bowling event. We need 14 to complete the field.

I'm asking all of you reading this to consider putting together a team, but I'm specifically challenging those of you who comment regularly here. You know who you are. You're some of our most active participants, adding your wit, wisdom and opinion to the "Comments" section at the bottom of #DMD.

Now I want you to add something else; your time, energy and support.

I'm not mentioning anyone by name, but if you're a regular commenter here, the challenge is out. Get your team of four together and help us raise some money for the Malone family.

It's time for you to man-up.

And one of our #DMD corporate partners has stepped to the plate with an awesome offer to help us raise even more money for the Malone family.

Unison Business Solutions will donate ten cents for each pin knocked down in the first game of all 14 teams on February 26. #DMD is going to match that pledge. Just in case you went to Old Mill or you're a Flyers fan, I'll do the math for you: If each team averaged a score of "80" per-player in their first game, that's 14 teams x 4 players x ten cents per-pin = $448.

Boom! We're at almost $1,000 and that's just with each team bowling a team-score of 320 in their first game.

But we need 14 teams to reach that level.

Here's the other challenge: I'm asking each player in the field to put up $5.00 for every strike they throw on Sunday, February 26, up to a maximum of 10 or $50.00. That money goes in the kitty for the large-scale donation to the Malone family.

We're still donating the regular bowling prize money to your designated charity, but we're adding the "Malone donation" option for everyone who wants to help this family in need.

It's likely instead of donating cash we'll simply buy them a couple of gift cards -- per their request -- to Target, Home Depot and Amazon. We're in contact with a family member who is organizing all of that and we'll provide more details in the near future.

The first order of business is finding SIX more teams of four to bowl in our event on February 26th. E-mail me this morning if you're willing to field a team: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Your team fee remains $300, which gets everyone three hours of bowling, shoes, pizza, beer, soft drinks and prize money for the top four teams.

Unison Business Solutions will then initiate the "First Game Fundraiser" and will donate ten cents per-pin, per-player in the first game bowled on February 26. #DMD will match that.

And we hope others will, as well.

This is our chance to make a difference in the community and help a family in need.

Join with us on February 26th.


and speaking of donating...#dmd introduces a new partner, myridemycause.org


Our friends at The Cause Network continue to develop wonderful programs designed to help YOU raise money for YOUR favorite charity, and their newest effort gives you the opportunity donate a vehicle to the charity of your choice so they can reap the reward of your generous donation(s).

You can now donate your vehicle to your favorite cause --- there are over 950,000 501C3’s to choose from -- and you'll receive a tax credit for the full resale value of the vehicle while your charity gets the proceeds (net of costs to sell) as a donation.

They'll take anything that moves (or not, actually): cars, boats, motorcycles, RV's, tractors, etc. If it has an engine, they'll take it! And, seriously, even if it no longer runs, there's still a value in the the vehicle for parts, equipment, seats, etc.

Just visit www.myridemycause.org and fill out the donation form. A staff member from myridemycause.org will contact you within 24 hours to schedule the pick up of your vehicle and they'll help you complete the paperwork for your donation and your tax credit.

And by all means, please visit The Cause Network's main website -- www.causenetwork.com -- to learn more about how you can earn money for your charity via things you do every single day, like on-line shopping, travel, etc.

We're proud to be associated with The Cause Network and, now, MyrideMyCause.org and hope you'll take a few minutes today to learn more about them by clicking on the ads you see on the right side of #DMD and directly below.

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tom crean is my new favorite coach


I'm always looking for a coach to do something special and jump into my folder of favorites. And Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean did just that on Sunday afternoon after his Hoosiers dismantled a woeful Rutgers team, 76-57.

With his team ahead by 19 points and the clock winding down, freshman Devonte Green decided to throw up an alley-oop for a teammate, who (fortunately) missed on the slam dunk attempt as the buzzer sounded.

Crean, as you'll see below, wasn't too pleased.



#DMD HDTV


I love it.

Some folks will say the coach rushing out into the middle of the court to openly berate his player was stepping over the line more than the kid's mistake of trying to run up the score, but no, no, no, that's not at all the case.

Someone has to try and maintain a morsel of decency with these kids who think, at a relatively young age in this day and age, that humiliating the other guy is part of the competition.

The players don't know what the coaches all know: Everyone is busting their ass to try and be successful. That's why you'll almost never see a coach try and embarrass or humble another coach, no matter the opponent, the moment or the stakes.

In fact, if you look at that video above carefully, it's the first thing Crean says to the Rutgers coach as they meet for the handshake: "Hey, I'm sorry about that idiot on my team trying an alley oop against you up nineteen points with two seconds left in the game."

Crean knows, despite the result, that the Rutgers coach and his staff worked just as hard preparing for that game as did the Indiana coaching group. Crean also knows -- because he's been on the other end of it -- that getting your ass handed to you by 19 points isn't any fun.

Every coach knows, also, that no matter how hard they work, their livelihood is in the hands of the guys and girls who do the playing. Their reputation, too, is at stake, which is why a goofball trying to win by 21 instead of 19 bothers them so much.

It's always the coach who looks at the clock, sees his team up by 24 points with two minutes left, and signals to his guys not to take another shot until the shot clock gets down to one second remaining.

What? You think the kids themselves would pull back like that? Not a chance. They'd win by 39 instead of 19 if it were left up to them.

That young man at Indiana doesn't know anything except what he's learned by watching the pro game, which is to preen after every made shot and go out of his way to make sure everyone in the building knows his name and number by the end of the game.

Crean, like me, frankly, is "old school" in that running up the score is completely unnecessary and, even worse, likely to come around two-fold sometime in the future.

And that's why he blasted Green in the middle of the court in front of the whole arena.

Plenty of people will rush to the young man's aid ("by golly, he's just a kid"), but these are hard lessons to be learned, and sometimes, in the same way the freshman tried to show up the Rutgers team, he, too, needs to be "dunked on" by the coach at mid-court.

Tom Crean for Coach of the Year.

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so...machado stays in baltimore, but at what price to you?


Let's have a little fun this morning here at #DMD.

On Sunday prior to the Caps-Flyers game (which, in case you don't know, was a 5-0 Caps thrashing of those toddlers from Philthy), I threw a poll out on Twitter that I've done numerous times before.

It's a mythical scenario, of course, but it tests the limits of our fandom, I suppose. It's one of those "what price would you pay?" kind of questions.

You're in control of bringing Mike Trout to the Orioles. But it comes with a hefty price. Would you do it?

It went like this: In exchange for the Flyers going 0-82 one season, which of these other instances would you allow? Steelers winning the Super Bowl, Yankees winning the World Series, or Duke winning the NCAA hoops title.

Me? I'd allow ALL THREE to happen in the same year if the Flyers went winless over the course of the entire season. Yep, I'm a bad guy.

So, that brings me to a new question today, and I'd like your HONEST input.

Let's pretend the sports fairy lands on your shoulder this afternoon and says, "I'm going to allow you to control a significant development in the history of the Orioles franchise if you'll sign off on the Steelers winning this year's Super Bowl AND next year's Super Bowl."

I know, I know: The Steelers repeating as Super Bowl champions is about as appealing to you as having to watch Meryl Streep on stage blathering on about the government right before she heads back home to her $4.5 million home in Marina del Rey.

Play along, though, this is just fun and games here at #DMD.

The poll below gives you five options from which to choose. Remember, you're signing off on allowing the Steelers to win back-to-back Super Bowls, but you're in control of one of those five scenarios that would greatly benefit the Orioles.

I'm anxious to see the results.

My vote? That's easy. We haven't won a World Series here since 1983. That's a no-brainer for me. I chose #1.


 Drew's Morning Dish

#DMD Poll

Question: Who is the MVP of the NFL for the 2016 season?
Aaron Rodgers
Tom Brady
Matt Ryan
Ezekiel Elliott
Derek Carr
Name
Email address

Primary Residential banner

we need six more teams to fill our charity duckpin bowling event!


One of my favorite events on the #DMD charity calendar is set for Sunday, February 26 and you and your bowling friends are invited to participate!

It's our annual "Charity Duckpin Challenge", where you and your team of four bowlers can earn money for YOUR favorite charity.

Most charity golf events you play in have a pre-designated charity that everyone in the field is helping raise funds for, but this bowling event we offer is exactly the opposite.

You designate YOUR charity ahead of time, then bowl against 13 other teams for valuable prize money and a donation check at the end of the night!

This year's event will be held on Sunday, February 26 from 3 pm to 6 pm at Stoneleigh Lanes in Towson.

The team entry fee is $300.00 and all four bowlers receive the following:

Three hours of bowling, with shoe rental (each team must turn in at least three scores...bowl as many games as you like and take your best three)

Complimentary beer, soft drinks and pizza for everyone.

Participation in our "Deck of Cards" contest where you can win up to $100 cash just by throwing a strike!

We also offer free child care and bowling and pizza for them as well, so bring the kids if you'd like!

First place pays $850!

Imagine handing over a check for $850 to your favorite charity!

We'll also pay the teams finishing in 2nd, 3rd and 4th place, so just about 30% of the field gets a donation check.

To register your team, just click on the "bowling" tab at the top of #DMD and get your team a spot in the field of 14.

As of January 17th, eight teams have registered, leaving us with six spots to fill.


#dmd comments


Brien Jackson     January 20
Lol, because obviously that's what the people who are talking about 60-70 home run seasons are talking about. These goalposts are moving so fast even Justin Tucker couldn't hope to hit them.

Cleat     January 20
Credibility? Good one RR

Ray ray     January 20
Stats -- For home runs, the highest total ever was in 1985. Next year, that total was exceeded by 200 homers. In 1987, that record was broken by a staggering 600 homers. Saying the explosion starts in 1998 is grossly misleading. DMD is losing credibility.

Thatguy     January 20
@Ray Ray And bigger heads!

Ray Ray     January 20
Baseball players took steroids not to hit better, but because they wanted smaller testicles.

Brien Jackson     January 20
Which is fine. But you still need to reconcile why the home run explosion starts in 1998 and not, say, 1988 or 1992, by which point we pretty much know that steroids were commonplace in baseball. I mean, McGwire himself was roided to the gills in 1989 and 1990 according to Canseco, and he wasn't hitting 60 home runs then, let alone 70. SO sure, steroids can help increase strength and thus might lead to more home runs hit, but they simply don't explain why there was a massive, league wide spike in home runs between 1998 and 2002. This becomes the problem with the steroids narrative; there's no way to explain why there was a 12-15 year lag between widespread steroid use becoming a thing and the home run explosion happening. And then why the home run explosion stopped even though we know steroids were still being used, even by big time power hitters. As I said, it doesn't even work as correlation, let alone causation.

Greenies     January 20
Sammy Sosa...1995 thru 2004 (heart of the steroid era), hit 479 bombs. That is the most ever during a 10 year span.



I agree with expansion pitching diminishing rotations...but baseball has expanded many times...and after the 1977 expansion, there wasnt massive hr totals. No steroids than...but they were popping greenies.



And I don't think the ball was juiced for 10 years.

Alan     January 20
Wow, I wonder if Drew is reading this nonsense from Brien and reconsidering his status with #DMD?



Steroids weren't connected to home run power, Brien argues.



Drew?

Brien Jackson     January 20
"Brien, what then, caused the home run spike specifically in your mind?"



Well the first factor was simple: Expansion. Expansions in baseball have always corresponded to increased offensive output since it's hard to add 25 or so pitching spots to the major league payroll without suffering a drop off. And look at that, McGwire had his highest slugging percentage against any non-Colorado NL team against...the Diamondbacks, hitting four home runs in 8 games.



The other possibility that is both impossible to prove AND perfectly explains why there's a sudden explosion in home runs right after the strike that then suddenly ends when steroid testing is implemented, even though steroids were prevalent in the game both before and after this period, is that MLB juiced the all itself to create more offense and fan interest. I absolutely subscribe to this theory, even though it is unprovable. Though it's worth pointing out that we know MLB *has* done this before when they wanted to inject offense into the game.



But steroids alone simple doesn't work as an explanation. For one thing the science doesn't work out, as steroids enhance leanness and muscle definition but don't necessarily correlate to increased muscle *strength* (this is why they've been HUGE in bodybuilding and pro wrestling while testosterone has always been more prevalent in competition sports). But more damningly, the time timeline simply doesn't work to even ascribe correlation, let alone causation.

PLB     January 20
Brien isn't REALLY trying to say that steroids weren't connected to inflated home run totals is he? Please tell me he's not saying that.



Someone?



Anyone?



Bueller?

Greenies     January 20
Maybe the steroids were getting better? Was Sosa anywhere near the player without the juice? Bonds was great before he "blew up"....but he was "out of this world great" with them. Steroids were a big part of those storylines.



What year(s) were you in the Yankees clubhouse as a reporter? Just curious

SMR     January 20
Brien, what then, caused the home run spike specifically in your mind?



And why has the home run total dropped since testing began in 2003?

Brien Jackson     January 20
This is the most hilarious nonsense imagineable. We know based on multiple accounts that steroids were comonplace in baseball by at least the mid 80's and yet...no one was hitting 60 home runs! That window was the very brief time between 1998 and 2002, even though steroids were in the game both before and after that. The claim that steroids produced the home run spike is false on its face.

George     January 20
@Greenies -- Leave him alone. That fly has no more wings.

Greenies     January 20
Steroids were the reason Mcgwire hit 70 and Bobds hit 73. I believe that to be a fact. You can disagree.

Brien Jackson     January 20
And neither did steroids. Your point?

Greenies     January 20
Greenies didnt lead to guys hitting 73 bombs in a year...and they didnt lead to a guy like Sosa hitting 60 bombs per year, for 3 seasons. Those are facts. And do you think guys stopped doing greenies when they were using roids? Lol.

Brien Jackson     January 20
Oh and I forgot the irony of insisting stimulants aren't PEDs while clearly believing steroids are miracle drugs that magically make you stronger.

Brien Jackson     January 20
The last comment re: amphetamines is complete and total nonsense that perfectly encapsulates the utter lack of consistency and logic that defines steroid hysteria. First of all, amphetamines absolutely are performance enhancers, and their performance enhancing benefits are FAR more medically documented than those of anabolic steroids. This is also abundantly obvious in baseball, a sport where acute concentration is absolutely critical to the small margins of success.



But seriously: If amphetamines weren't performance enhancers at least comparable to steroids, why in the world has their use been so obscenely rampant in the sport for 75 years now, including during the steroid era when they were still in far more common, and widely accepted, usage than steroids were? When Jason Grimsley talked about every clubhouse in the league having a pot of "leaded coffee," it wasn't steroids it was laced with, it was speed.



If you want to make the argument that people who were using steroids when it was ridiculously common and for all intents and purposes universally accepted for baseball players to do so should be shunned from the sport and excluded from the Hall then fine. BUT DO THAT. Don't concoct arbitrary excuses for why the already enshrined greats from the 1940's up through the 1970's and 1980's were "different" for using PEDs (especially since plenty of them were probably using anabolic steroids too) as a pathetic cop out from the plain implication of your stated position. It's totally fine to admit that your distinctions are either completely arbitrary or hypocritical. But certainly don't start accusing me of waffling or some sort of moral outrage, when I'M the one demanding some sort of universal standard to hold people to.

Chris     January 20
George, a Lou Reed and Grateful Dead lyrics reference in one post. Well done!

Brien Jackson     January 20
SOmetimes relocation is inevitable. There's a lot of that in the example of baseball mid-century for sure. The Giants weren't going to stay in New York long term, St. Louis and Philadelphia weren't going to support two teams, etc. And as California boomed and the population moved westward obviously sports teams/leagues were going to be moving with them to some degree. Baltimore is another good example: There was just no way this market was going to stay without an NFL team, especially once the stadium funding was approved, and the only way around Washington's territorial claim was for an owner with standing to bring a lawsuit to decide to move their team here. If it wasn't the Browns it would have been another team.



That said: If local governments were smart and/or not corrupt they would demand equity shares in the franchises as a condition for ANY public financing of stadiums. Even if the leagues refused outright, forcing them to privately finance stadiums would also have the effect of locking teams into place for at least 30-40 years and end the game of stadium based hostage taking.

Greenies     January 20
@Brien



I am familiar with the Pittsburgh drug trials and greenies. They are not the equivalent of PEDS. Snorting cocaine doesn't put on 30 lbs of muscle. Popping a greenie doesn't put on 30 lbs of muscle. You are not comparing "apples to apples". If you think you are, than you obviously have never played a sport

HERMAN     January 20
Would you give up a billion dollars to be loyal to your fan base? The value of the San Diego Chargers is expected to be over a billion dollars more in LA than San Diego. Stadiums in Dallas and soon LA will become the model for all teams. Practice facilities that are destination entertainment facilities will become the norm. Teams belong to owners, not cities.

If you answered "yes", you'd give up the billion, well, right there is the reason they have the billion, and you don't.

JROB     January 20
Is anyone able to translate any of John Calhoun's commentary during the Terps game? I couldn't understand a single word he had to say.

John In Westminster     January 20
Glad I was wrong about the Terps. Melo was cool, calm, and collected while Iowa came back to take the lead in the second half. He got in a shooting groove and made some huge 3s to take the game back. Looks like the Terps have reasserted themselves as one of the 3 best in the B1G.

Rob Really     January 20
I ended my sports editing days many moons ago, back in high school, so maybe I don't get the sports writing of today. But can someone explain the meaning of this lead sentence to me, from today's Terps B-ball column:

The Maryland Terrapins went into Iowa City and wrestled away an 84-76 victory from the Iowa Hawkeyes last night "in a game that left far more in doubt than the eight point final margin may indicate". (I added the quotes for emphasis).

What exactly was "left in doubt"??? The article never seems to explain. The Terps won a conference road game, against a decent opponent, by playing well and holding on against a strong second half surge. Seems like a nice, quality win, one that erases doubt. Or am I missing something??

Theotherguy     January 20
@Lefty Where is MONK indeed. Would love his take on the old boss wagging his finger about how no one but him knows what the Ravens plan to announce today. Of course, he won't tell anyone, but you know he'll crow about " I knew the whole time" after the fact.

Brien Jackson     January 20
@George



"I heard that Sweet Jane was livin' on reds and vitamin C and cocaine at the time but wasn't aware that "Mays, Aaron, and a whole bunch of other players from the 50's-80's were using them as PEDs on a literally daily basis." Congratulations - you've uncovered the story of a lifetime! When are you publishing?"



Your snark game is strong, but if you aren't familiar with the Pittsburgh drug trials or Aaron's admission of using greenies "just one time" whatsoever...then maybe stop trying to double down on turning your opinion into some sort of rock solid moral law and consider you don't really know what you're talking about?

Chris K     January 20
Really good thoughts this morning. I don't understand anyone that wants to desecrate a grave site or say terrible things about almost anyone after they die. I was young when the colts left so it didn't have the effects that it did on people like my dad. Also, I do sometimes wonder how differently things would be if the colts were still here, the Browns were the original browns and the Cardinals never left St Louis (which means the Rams don't leave LA). I do wish we had the colts uniform sometimes because I think it along with the Raiders are the 2 best in the NFL, but all things being what they are I'm ok with it and things have worked out quite well for us. Historically Baltimore pro teams have had terrible owners and we (in my opinion only) have 1 of the best in Bisciotti. The Browns are terrible but they are still called the Browns and should be thankful for that. Lastly, as I've gotten older and have children now I think we all take sports way too seriously (again, I'm including myself). The last 2 years I've tried to not get too wrapped up in the Ravens after losses and even intentionally scheduled family things instead of wasting hours watching the NFL on sundays. It was hard at first but I'm happy I did it. If the ravens ever leave (and they'll eventually threaten to. It may be in 10 years or 30 but it'll happen), I want to know it'll be ok and move on and not be so dependent on them. I'll also undertand that they're a private company and if they feel like they want to move for more money, no one will be able to stop them. Sorry for the rant but it was a really good post centered on some really good thoughts. Thanks for that drew.

unitastoberry     January 20
The league is the culprit of franchise location imo. The individual owners could be fed more cash to stay put. It's more money they all want and greed rules. Bad people are a dime a dozen. Art gave millions in charity to Cleveland hospitals. Irsay gave the state tax money when he bought his booze in Maryland.

Trumbo back for a decent price is good but not the key to our offense. It's Manny playing good thru October and Chris Davis getting back to his pre contract numbers. And defensively there is the pitching and burning out the pen by July.

DR (the original)     January 20
I recently read the memoir of Dan Jenkins, the sportswriter. He had a great line about pro football, which read:

"I'm sorry to break the news, but the "team" you're cheering for consists of the owner, the general manager, and a bunch of attorneys and accountants."

The Colts in 1983, the Browns in 1995, the Chargers in 2016...none of them were civic trusts. They were instruments of their owners, used as leverage to get something they wanted. You can choose to root for the home team, wear the colors and debate the merits of every game like we do on this website, but you can't ever forget that.

Chuck P     January 20
We're playing well against middle of the road teams. Underdogs to an 8-loss, .500 team? I'd like to know the real story behind Chekov's foot injury. Good win last night but we are going to need the big guy for the second half of the schedule.



Drew, I've always enjoyed your work on the air and on your site but why don't you give some time to the women's team. #3 nationally, gave UCONN a good game but not even a sentence of coverage? Like it or not it's a `sport' and that's your specialty.

Steve from Vero Beach     January 20
I realize it's only January but, the masked men wearing Maryland jerseys are they Sweet 16 material or better ??? As far as Irsay is concerned, he lied to the Mayor and to the citizens of B-More, for me, he is no better than dog crap !!!

Chris in Bel Air     January 20
Saw an article promoting this year's two championship games as the battle of the 4 Elite QBs. Hmmm, four? I don't think so. Brady? Check. Rodgers? Check. Ben? Check. Ryan? Uhh no. Sorry. He's very good and I voted for him as MVP in Drew's poll. But 2 playoff wins in 9 years? Sorry, that's not elite. I'll even say you need to win a SB before you are in that category. Winning a SB does not make you elite but you can't be considered elite among today's best QB's without winning a SB. I would throw Brees into that category to round out the 4 but not Ryan. Wilson? Can be considered but needs more time in the league doing what he does. Eli? Has the 2 SBs but like the guy here in purple, too inconsistent. Cam, Rivers, Stafford? Please. So while the championship games this weekend are featuring 4 of the best QB's in the league (and a few future HOFs) Ryan is not there. But if he makes it to the SB, you can bet I'll be rooting for him over the Steelers or Pats.

thatguy     January 20
Thank you for your measured and thoughtful piece today. Obviously we've been on both sides of the relocation issue here. While I will never forget what Bob Irsay did, I can't hang on to that kind of hate, especially for some billionaire owner of a sports team who really doesn't care about me beyond the color of my money. We as fans view teams as a civic trust. Owners view them as an investment and a business. 33 years after the Mayflower vans, the owners are STILL doing it. Look at SD and now Oakland. St. Louis last year. And rest assured there will be other cities to come. Perhaps someday we as fans will wise up and stop being so emotionally invested in something that brings such a minimal return. I'm not surprised that your former boss was an advocate of urinating on Irsay's grave. He's an angry little guy.

That was a nice win for the Underdog Terps last night (these headlines are great btw). In all honesty I'm not sure there are 5 worthy B1G teams for the tournament. MD, Wisc, maybe Northwestern, then who? The conference is really not that good. While I enjoy KenPom and his analytics, I'm still and old school believer in the eyeball test, and these old eyes tell me that some of these teams are just not very good.

Doug S.     January 20
Drew failed to mention that Terry Pluto once worked at The Baltimore Evening Sun, a fact that is (conveniently ?) missing from his Wikipedia page. I've always thought the anger toward Irsay was far more justified than the anger directed at the Modells. The Modell family, by all accounts, did a tremendous amount work for the betterment of Cleveland, while Irsay pretty much just flew in for game day, and really had no interest in the city of Baltimore.

DR     January 20
You got me now, Drew. I come here just for the Maryland headlines.

Lefty     January 20
Where is Monk?

George     January 19
@Brien -- I heard that Sweet Jane was livin' on reds and vitamin C and cocaine at the time but wasn't aware that "Mays, Aaron, and a whole bunch of other players from the 50's-80's were using them as PEDs on a literally daily basis." Congratulations - you've uncovered the story of a lifetime! When are you publishing?

If your information is anywhere near factual, then I do indeed have a problem with those whom you will name being in the HOF.


George     January 19
@Headlinegate -- It's a new form of cyber-bullying!

Headlinegate     January 19
I found today's MD headline to be appropriate and accurate, not sure why some seem amused by it?

DR (the original)     January 19
According to Ken Pomeroy the Terps might be underdogs in a lot of games going forward, so I look forward to the upcoming #DMD headlines. :)


John In Westminster     January 19
Thank goodness most would never accept any good fortune for the O's in exchange for such a prize to the Steelers.



Terps are always in these B1G games, but I think the Hawkeyes deal them some conference road karma tonight. I'm seeing Jok playing strong down the stretch and leading Iowa to a narrow victory.

Steve from Vero Beach     January 19
I remember one year Rodriguez was so jacked up from the roids use that if you stuck a pin in him he would fly around the room like a balloon !!! The next year he comes back, presumably off the roids looking like a scrawny kid who could not hit his way out of a wet paper bag !!! H.O.F. not in my eyes !!!

n_cluster@hotmail.com     January 19
Let the roiders in as apparently this is going to happen or already has happened just put a syringe next to or on the plaque.

DR     January 19
LOL at the Terps headline. You're the best DF.

Robert     January 19
Completely agree with you Drew.



Keep Bonds and Clemens and A-Roid out of the Hall.



Thanks for standing up for us "old fuddie duddies" the last couple of days!

Brien Jackson     January 19
That doesn't change my point at all George: Cocaine and amphetamines were every bit against federal law as well, but Mays, Aaron, and a whole bunch of other players from the 50's-80's were using them as PEDs on a literally daily basis. So if you've got no problem with those guys being Hall of Famers, there's no non-relativist argument that steroid users are a bridge too far. Your argument also collapses on itself given the fact that not only MLB but ALL of the sports leagues now have specific lists of banned substances, specific testing procedures, and spelled out penalties for taking these drugs. So apparently it's NOT superfluous at all to have on the books, completely spelled out rules against taking federally controlled drugs.

Confucius     January 18
I'm with @George, both pieces today were all over the map and full of caveats and waffling. Just make your case and your vote and be done with it. But perhaps I am just biased by @George's quality writing. ;)

George     January 18
Brien, it’s very hard to argue with you. The M-16 and Claymore examples were made in hopes you would understand that the NHL and NFL didn’t need to have rules banning their use because such use was against criminal law. MLB did not have “a rule” against anabolic steroids because their use was then (and remains today) illegal.

If you want what I call cheaters and you call – what do you call those who used PEDs? – like Bonds and Clemens in the HOF with Ripken and Frank and Brooks, then use the power of your pen to make your argument. Your piece today was unpersuasive.

Monday
January 16
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Issue 16
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finally . . . some nfl playoff drama


I had to look up the word "drama" just to make sure I was using it correctly in the headline, but we finally got some games that brought us to the edge of our seats on Sunday as the NFL whittled its way to the final four teams of the 2016 season.

Green Bay and Dallas provided an instant classic.

Pittsburgh and Kansas City might not have been a "classic", per se, but it came down to one or two key plays late in the game and both went the way of the Steelers.

For all of the talk about Dak Prescott's play this season and on Sunday (and he was good, no doubt about it) his rookie mistake on the Cowboys' final drive might have given the Packers that sliver of hope they needed for a last second desperation play.

More on that in a minute.

Don't ever count this guy out. And don't leave 35 seconds on the clock, either, or he'll make you pay.

Green Bay is headed to the NFC title game because they have one of the most special players the league has seen in three decades. Aaron Rodgers showed again on Sunday why he's the second best quarterback in the world, hitting Jared Cook with a 36 yard strike on the sideline that set up Mason Crosby's last second 51 yard field goal, and Green Bay upset the favored Cowboys, 34-31.

The Packers squandered a 21-3 lead and it looked like Dallas was going to host next Sunday's NFC title game when the Cowboys were driving late in the game and shredding a tired, depleted Green Bay defense.

But after hitting Jason Witten with a first down pass at the Green Bay 40 yard line with 49 seconds remaining, Dak Prescott made a mistake that would potentially haunt Dallas for the rest of the off-season.

Armed with one time-out still, Prescott should have simply moved into a quick huddle to continue the series or called a play at the line of scrimmage. Instead, he spiked the ball to kill the clock.

And that, as it turned out, was a bad move.

Now faced with 2nd and 10 and needing some yards to move into reliable field goal territory, Prescott found a receiver on the next play for seven yards, but he ran out of bounds and the clock stopped with 44 seconds remaining.

The next play was an incomplete pass, which set up Dan Bailey's 51-yard field goal, tying the game at 31-31.

But they left Aaron Rodgers with thirty five seconds on the clock.

A few seconds too many, as it turned out.

Some will use the old argument, "you can score whenver you can and let the defense do the rest", but last night's scenario in Dallas wasn't anything like the scene in Pittsburgh on Christmas night when Kyle Juszczyk of the Ravens rumbled into the end zone with 1:18 left in the game.

Juszczyk had to score a touchdown there because the Ravens were trailing by four points, not three, and thus couldn't "milk" the clock and take whatever the Steelers gave them. Plus, first and goal from the two yard line can turn into 3rd and 12 if you don't get in on first two plays and Jeremy Zuttah holds James Harrison on 3rd down.

Juszczyk needed to score a touchdown.

Prescott didn't need to spike the ball to kill the clock.

He had 49 seconds left in the game when Witten made that catch at the Green Bay 40 yard line.

49 seconds and a time-out add up to an eternity in the NFL game.

By spiking the ball, and having just one-time out remaining, Prescott set up a 2nd and 10 situation, which likely meant they weren't going to give Ezekiel Elliott the ball on 2nd down.

And, on third and three from the 33 yard line, they could have given it to Elliott there and hoped for a first down, but they didn't call that play and the incomplete pass that followed set up Bailey's game-tying field goal.

By spiking the ball on first down, they essentially eliminated the chances of involving their all-world running back on the next two plays, even though an argument can be made that the third down play call (a pass) was a bad move given Elliott's ability to get three yards, potentially, and keep the driving going while also keeping Aaron Rodgers off the field.

Clock management and how you control the game is something Prescott will learn with time, but that was a fairly insignificant-looking but big-time-significant mistake the Dallas rookie made on that final series.

Then again, much like the Ravens in Pittsburgh on December 25, if the Dallas defense makes a stop at the end of the game, the teams would have gone to overtime and the Cowboys might have pulled off an improbable win.

In Kansas City, the Chiefs are still howling at the moon over the holding call on Eric Fisher on K.C.'s two point conversion try with 2:43 remaining in the game.

Le'Veon Bell ran for 170 yards on 30 carries and helped the Steelers hold off the Chiefs in Kansas City and advance to the AFC title game in New England next Sunday.

Pittsburgh, without the aid of a touchdown, patched together just enough offense and a championship-style defensive effort to turn back the Chiefs, who apparently tied the game at 18-18 on a successful two-point try, only to have it called back for holding when Fisher took James Harrison to the ground as he tried to get to Alex Smith on the throw.

I saw lots of "you can't make that call there" tweets from folks (presumably Chiefs fans) in the aftermath, but here's the deal: If the refs are going to try and make the game as fair as possible (and boy, that's a stretch), then calling holding on the game's biggest play is perfectly fine -- as long as it was, indeed, holding.

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce moaned afterwards that the game shouldn't "come down to one call like that", but the Steelers would be saying the exact same thing only they'd have the word "non" in there if it worked against them -- "The game shouldn't come down to one non-call like that..."

I'm typically a fan of the refs swallowing the whistle in the final few minutes of a playoff or championship game, by the way. I love how they handle the Stanley Cup playoffs, for instance. If you're not bleeding or in need of a knee replacement, that wasn't a penalty.

But I'm only in favor of that sort of open philosophy if the mantra for the whole game has been "let them play".

As I saw it, that was holding on Fisher on the 2-point conversion.

It came at a terrible time, yes, and it certainly altered the outcome of the game, but holding is holding is holding.

Now, if your argument was that it was a "bad call", that's a different discussion than "should he have called it there?"

Oh, and much like the Cowboys in their loss, Kansas City couldn't stop the Steelers on the ensuing drive when Pittsburgh needed a first-down to ice the game.

It probably didn't help that K.C. only had one time-out left when Pittsburgh got the ball back with 2:43 remaining, but Andy Reid tends to use those up long before he actually needs them.

If the Chiefs could have stopped Pittsburgh there, they would have had a chance to march 30 or 40 yards and potentially kick a game-winning field goal. But they couldn't stop the Pittsburgh offense at the most critical time in the game.

They were terrific games on Sunday, both filled with some good play, drama, and off-season discussion points for fans of the Cowboys and Chiefs.

Meanwhile Green Bay's improbable 8-game winning streak has them heading to Atlanta to take on a Falcons team that seems almost destined for a trip to the Super Bowl and Pittsburgh takes their own winning streak (9 games) to New England to try and somehow derail the Belichick-Brady train.

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holy cow, a perfect 4-0 record in "show me the money"!


As Wesley Snipes said after beating up another duo on the basketball court in "White Men Can't Jump" -- "I do believe I detect the smell of cash...in the air."

Aided by that Sunday night Steelers win in Kansas City, I went 4-0 against the spread this weekend, and had three of the four outright winners correct as well.

The 4-0 weekend romp puts me at 57-51-2 for the season and 6-2 for the 2017 post-season.

I'm thinking about charging $1.99 for the picks next weekend. I mean, if you're going to get rich off of me, shouldn't I at least get a little piece of the wealth for my kids' respective college educations?

By the way, the Falcons are 4.0 point favorites at home vs. Green Bay on Sunday afternoon and the Patriots are 5.5 point favorites in Foxborough vs. Pittsburgh.

I suspect the early money this week goes on Green Bay and Atlanta finishes at a 2.5 point favorite by next weekend. New England, meanwhile, will likely stay right where they are, perhaps up a half-point, in their battle with the Steelers.

Who do I like?

I already know the answer, but you'll have to come back later in the week for those nuggets of intel.

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skip the 4-letter network and come here for the good stuff


Some players just don't get it. Antonio Brown of the Steelers is one of those players, apparently. Moments after his team narrowly escaped Kansas City with a win, Brown streamed coach Mike Tomlin's post-game discussion with the team on Facebook Live.

It included, among other things, Tomlin referring to the Patriots as "a--holes" and trying to stir up the Steelers by reminding them that the Patriots had a day and a half head-start on next Sunday's game (even though they didn't...both teams played the late game).

Why on earth would a player ever record something as private as a coach's discussion with the team and broadcast it to the world for everyone to see?

Especially after a win...

It's one thing if the Steelers lost and Brown wanted to show the whole nation what kind of great leader Tomlin is during Pittsburgh's grandest moment of distress, but his team had just won a huge game and Tomlin was addressing THE NEXT GAME in the locker room discussion.

During the post-game meeting, one Steelers player can be heard shouting, "Keep cool on social media. This is about us, man."

Someone should have mentioned that BEFORE Antonio Brown hit the "record button" on his iPhone.

Do you know what's better than shutting out the Philadelphia Flyers 4-0? That would be shutting them out 5-0, which is what the Washington Capitals did on Sunday afternoon at the Verizon Center, as the Caps recorded their second straight white-washing and their 5th in the last 7 games.

The Caps have now won nine straight times and have the most points in the Eastern Conference (63) with one more game played than second place Columbus (62 points).

Washington's defense (as evidenced by the five shutouts in seven games) has been outstanding over the last month, as they now lead the league in goals-against per-game.

The win streak gets put to a serious test this week, as the Caps are in Pittsburgh tonight, at St. Louis on Thursday and at Dallas on Saturday.

And it's always good to see the Flyers roll over like they did in the third period on Sunday. The Caps led 1-0 after forty minutes, but it was 5-0 before the seven minute mark of the third period.

Justin Thomas actually looks a lot like his best friend on the PGA Tour, Jordan Spieth, and Thomas is playing like him, too, as Thomas won again on Sunday in Hawaii, finishing off an amazing two week stretch with a record-score of 27-under par and winning the Sony Inviational.

The victory was the second straight win for Thomas, who at 23, became the youngest player to shoot 59 in a PGA Tour round last Thursday. Thomas set the scoring record with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 finishing hole yesterday at Waialae Country Club, although it's almost unfair to call it a par-5 when guys (like Thomas) are hitting 9-irons into the green for their second shot.

Justin Rose, using the claw grip after a bout with the putting yips last Fall, finished solo 2nd at -20 while the aforementioned Spieth collected his second straight 3rd place finish at -19.

And don't look now, but some national reports surfaced on Sunday that indicate the Orioles are talking to -- Jose Bautista, the former Blue Jays outfielder who earlier in the off-season was dismissed by O's general manager Dan Duquette because he was concerned the fans in Baltimore would be angry if Bautista came to town.

My guess? The Orioles conveniently floated the Bautista-to-Baltimore rumor to put Mark Trumbo on high-alert.

I don't think Duquette is interested in Bautista in the least, but I do think someone needs to get Trumbo's butt in gear, and what better way to do that than circulate a juicy story that Baltimore might be in pursuit of the erstwhile Blue Jays slugger?

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we need eight more teams to fill our charity duckpin bowling event!


One of my favorite events on the #DMD charity calendar is set for Sunday, February 26 and you and your bowling friends are invited to participate!

It's our annual "Charity Duckpin Challenge", where you and your team of four bowlers can earn money for YOUR favorite charity.

Most charity golf events you play in have a pre-designated charity that everyone in the field is helping raise funds for, but this bowling event we offer is exactly the opposite.

You designate YOUR charity ahead of time, then bowl against 13 other teams for valuable prize money and a donation check at the end of the night!

This year's event will be held on Sunday, February 26 from 3 pm to 6 pm at Stoneleigh Lanes in Towson.

The team entry fee is $300.00 and all four bowlers receive the following:

Three hours of bowling, with shoe rental (each team must turn in at least three scores...bowl as many games as you like and take your best three)

Complimentary beer, soft drinks and pizza for everyone.

Participation in our "Deck of Cards" contest where you can win up to $100 cash just by throwing a strike!

We also offer free child care and bowling and pizza for them as well, so bring the kids if you'd like!

First place pays $850!

Imagine handing over a check for $850 to your favorite charity!

We'll also pay the teams finishing in 2nd, 3rd and 4th place, so just about 30% of the field gets a donation check.

To register your team, just click on the "bowling" tab at the top of #DMD and get your team a spot in the field of 14.

As of January 16th, six teams have registered, leaving us with 8 spots to fill.


please click here to see previous issues of #dmd.

RETRIEVER ROUND-UP

UMBC men's basketball (12-6, 3-2 America East) returns to action this Sunday at 12 pm when they travel to UMass Lowell.

The Lady Retrievers (2-3 American East) return to the court this Sunday at home vs. UMass Lowell. Tip off is 1 pm.

breakfast bytes

NHL: Caps use 4-goal second period to win at St. Louis, 7-3.

NBA: Wizards get 29 from John Wall, win 4th straight, 113-110 at the Garden over the Knicks.

NCAA hoops: Towson wins 3rd straight in CAA play, 86-80 at Hofstra.

PGA Tour: Bozelli (-8) leads at La Quinta; Swafford, Kizzire, Vegas one back at 7-under.