Thursday
June 20, 2024
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#3590


a night of frustration and elation


Now that, right there, was one heck of a mid-summer baseball game last night in New York.

Sure, it helps that the good guys pulled out a 7-6 win in extra innings. Two straight losses to the Yankees would have been tough to swallow.

But the night was tarnished, for me, by the two broadcasters on MASN. More on that to come. You won't understand it. And I don't expect you to, frankly.

One of the main heroes last night was Cedric Mullins, which was really heartwarming to see considering the season Mullins is putting together. I realize he's still only hitting .193, but for one night, at least, he looked like the Mullins of a couple of years ago.

Mullins went 2-for-5 at the plate, including a key 10th inning hit, and also scampered home with the eventual game winning run later that inning after the Yankees threw the ball around in the infield.

Cedric Mullins came up with a couple of hits on Wednesday night including a big one in the 10th inning as the O's nipped the Yankees, 7-6.

I don't know Mullins at all. My days of venturing into the Orioles locker room have long since passed. But he sure seems like a terrific guy and a plus to have in the locker room. He's clearly having a woeful season to date. So games like the one we saw from him on Wednesday are, as I noted above, heartwarming. Good things should happen to good people.

Ryan O'Hearn also had a nice night until he was lifted for a pinch hitter. O'Hearn had two doubles and drove in a pair of runs. But with the bases loaded in the 9th inning, Brandon Hyde pulled O'Hearn and inserted Austin Hays to face lefthander Anthony Misiewicz. Hays promptly struck out and social media lit up with fury for Hyde.

O'Hearn is not very good against lefties. He's actually pretty terrible against them.

Hays is not having a great campaign at the plate. But of late, he's been very solid against southpaws.

If Hays stings one down the line there to put the O's up 7-4, all's well that ends well. Instead, he struck out. And when Anthony Santander was robbed of a bases clearing hit by Yankees centerfielder Alex Verdugo one batter later, the game remained 5-4 and everyone (well, mostly everyone) raked Hyde over the coals for taking O'Hearn out of the game.

That moment called for O'Hearn to be removed, no matter if he had no doubles on the night or two doubles on the night. His numbers against lefties just aren't good enough to warrant confidence he'd do something special there. Hyde does some goofy stuff from time to time, no two ways about it. But that wasn't goofy last night. Hays just didn't produce when needed.

Craig Kimbrel offset the thrill of victory by once again failing to close out a one-run game. In a bizarre twist, he actually got credit for the win, despite coughing up a victory.

If I heard the ESPN guys correctly last night, they mentioned Kimbrel is now 0-for-4 when entering games with a one-run lead. I'll say it a little louder for the guys in the back of the room: The Orioles need a closer.


Any win over the Yankees is a good win, but last night's was particularly gratifying given the tension that surfaced from the Tuesday night encounter where Aaron Judge and Gleybar Torres were both hit by a pitch and all of New York reacted as if The Son of Sam had just been released on good behavior.

The home team then predictably went into message-sending-mode, hitting Gunnar Henderson (intentionally, I think) and Colton Cowser (not intentionally, I think). The score was 4-1 in the 7th when Henderson was hit, and the ball was thrown high and into his upper back. To his credit, Henderson set the bat down and strolled to first base. If the Yankees were looking for the O's star to react and create a stir, they whiffed on that one.

Much more to his credit, I think Henderson is an athlete, which is a smidgen different than being a baseball player. Athletes understand "the game within a game". Baseball players get mad when you slide into second base too hard or stare at a home run for more than 1.4 seconds.

Baseball players are always looking for something to get pissed off about.

"You're winning 9-2 in the 9th inning and you stole 2nd base? You'll have to pay for that in tomorrow's game." It's pathetic.

Baseball players are (mostly) soft. Athletes like Henderson, though, are not. And, so, when Gunnar got plunked, he simply made his way down to first base and moved on. He might get hit today and charge the mound, for all I know, but the Henderson I watch on a daily basis is an athlete first. He understands how sports work.

Now Cowser was, if we're being honest, crowding the plate a bit in the 8th inning when he was hit. Cowser banged the bat down in disgust and said a few words to the Yankees pitcher, but nothing else came of it. Sometimes guys get hit with a pitch in baseball because those things happen. The Cowser hit-by-pitch was a nothing burger in my eyes.

That said, it was clear with the Henderson moment the Yankees are trying to add "bullying" to their arsenal of ways to beat the O's in 2024.

They hit five Orioles in Baltimore during the midweek series earlier this month. And even though Juan Soto might have "started it" with his clumsy base running and collision with Jordan Westburg on Tuesday night, the Yankees then took great umbrage with Judge and Torres getting beaned on Tuesday evening.

It's all very, very tiring.

I'm not sure I can think of anything in sports, to me, that's more pathetic and exhausting than baseball players enforcing their archaic, asinine "unwritten rules". It's so bush league that bush league called and said, "Enough is enough."


Which brings me to my final point. And one that I'm sure won't be entirely popular because of the incredible amount of affection our town has for team broadcasters in both baseball and football.

Hearing those two last night defend the Orioles at every corner, in every moment, without any possibility of blame for them was so over-the-top maddening I finally turned down the sound in the 8th inning.

And I am generally not one to get mad at dumb, silly things like team broadcasters and their ability to "homer it up" for the very team that employs them.

I'm an old guy. Not much bothers me any longer, except missed three foot putts and coffee that comes out luke warm instead of hot at restaurants.

But last night was just maddening.

And I think Kevin Brown is, for the most part, an outstanding play-by-play guy.

I know Brett Hollander, which is to say we shared many a conversation at the Ravens facility back when I was on the air and would go out there a couple of times a week. I like Brett. I realize last night's role was an emergency situation because Jim Palmer was forced to miss the game with Covid (I had to LOL when I saw Palmer's tweet, I had no idea we still thought Covid was something you missed work for) and Brett was pushed into the unfamiliar role of color analyst.

I just couldn't get over how much whining the two of them did about the Yankees, the bean balls, and so on and so on. It's like the Orioles would never stoop to the level of throwing at someone or enforcing an unwritten rule.

And I totally understand the gig and how broadcasters are essentially team employees and all that other stuff. They're getting $100K or more to fly around the country on chartered planes, stay at the Wyndham, collect $108 of daily per-diem and a bunch of other perks we're not thinking of. So when the team says "be a homer" the broadcasters salute them like Popeye and say, "Aye, aye, sir."

I get it. I just can't stand it.

The Yankee broadcasters are no different, of course. On Tuesday night, after Torres got hit, they spent two minutes discussing -- very openly -- the concept of a New York pitcher hitting an Orioles hitter in retaliation. Once again, bush league called and said, "You guys are embarrassing yourselves."

The series up there is exciting, that's for sure. And the tension level will only increase today if one of the teams is ahead 6-1 in the 8th and they plunk a guy on the other team just to get the last laugh. And it will only get worse in late September if the two clubs are still fighting for the division title.

But the broadcasters, last night, with their holier than thou praise of the Orioles, as if they do no wrong, was just too much to hear inning after inning. So I finally turned down the sound and just watched it.

And what I saw was Kimbrel blow another save, Mullins come through with a surprisingly good night, the O's show their usual heart and grit in the 10th inning, and a nailbiting finish, all of which led to a 7-6 win.

It felt like a playoff game.

Stay tuned today for more potential fireworks. And don't feel bad about turning down the volume.

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#dmd comments








HERMAN     June 20
Baltimore fans calling the O's announcers homers? Have you listened to that fool Gerry Sandusky call a Ravens game? There is no one more biased than that man. He's terrible. But I get it, he's paid by the Ravens so he has to be biased. That is what's happening with the O's announcers. Give it a break.

George     June 20
Jon Miller could make a rain delay enjoyable!

Chris in Bel Air     June 20
“There were a couple of balls up and in. It’s part of it. They like to throw in.”

The stats I'm viewing shows the Yankees are 3rd in the league for most hit batters with 42. O's are 3rd from bottom at 24. Who likes to throw in, Aaron? Smh

Paul from Towson     June 20
@Randy, thanks for the stats on that, and I think you're right. Compared with last year, their current rankings probably seem a lot worse than they are. I also think it has to do with when these situations come up and how effective the O's are in late game/high leverage RISP circumstances. Also, who is coming up in these spots. Guys like O'Hearn, Rutschman, and Mountie always seem to deliver, while guys like Hays, Cowser, and (I hate saying it) Mullins (except for last night) seem to drag that average down.



Also, as a kid, listening to Jon Miller on the radio, and Chuck and Brooks on the TV side are some of the most pleasant memories of my childhood. Angelos running Jon Miller out of town should still be one of the top 3 sins of his ownership.

rc     June 20
How many times are we gonna do this? EVERY team in MLB pays its own announcers to BE homers! Yet we're gonna whine about it when the O's do it? Newsflash, Palmer is also a homer. Every call against the O's his first utterance is "oh no no no....", then they watch the replay and it's "ok maybe he did swing" or "maybe he was out".

I respect Cake's knowledge, but face it, when announcing, he's a cheerleader too. It is more palatable coming from a HOF player as opposed to a "sideline reporter" like Hollander. Hollander is a younger version of local "generic announcer" Tom Davis. These guys are doing high school fashion shows one night, then calling a game the next night. Why? One can only assume its because they do it for cheapo, and in the case of last night, on short notice. Melanie Newman in the same category. She's oh with her telling stories role, but for play by play, I agree with Such, she is beyond bad, just like most of her coworkers.

JeffWell     June 20
@UTB- I remember all of those great "once upon a time" broadcasters that you mentioned and the great calls as well. In those days you got most games via radio and those guys made it almost seem like you were there.

TimD in Timonium     June 20
"Whenever two of the best teams in baseball play in the same division, their battles have that much higher stakes. That heightened energy was felt Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, especially after Aaron Judge was hit by a pitch on his left hand in the third inning of the Yankees’ 4-2 win over the Orioles. The stoic Judge marched halfway between Orioles starter Albert Suarez and first base while shaking his head. Aaron Judge was not happy with the pitch that hit him on the hand. "Definitely pissed,” Judge said about the pitch. “There were a couple of balls up and in. It’s part of it. They like to throw in.” - NY Post, June 19th



Oh, the drama. Can't stand these guys. Go O's!


Randy     June 20
Some context on hitting with RISP:

O's are 9th in batting average (.266) and 7th in OPS (.801), so in the top 3rd of the league. The Yanks are 5th and 3rd respectively.



The Orioles were 1st in both categories last year, so that is probably why it seems bad by comparison.

Unitastoberry     June 20
@Steve of Pimlico



Chuck Thompson is a HOFer. Jon Miller will be if not already. O'Donnell famous for the call with DeCinces walk off homer with Eckman going nuts. Tom Marr called Tippy retiring the side at first base with pick off plays. All better than current guys. Thorn was good I even liked Mel Procter. Tom Davis gets honorable mention with Jim Carvellis. Great memories.

Jason M     June 20
Rutschman is the MAN. That throw out in the 10th was so pivotal. The throw was just a thing of beauty - a laser beam on a dime at 127 feet. What a stone cold stellar performance to completely remove the Yankee momentum at that crucial moment.

Steve of Pimlico     June 20
I remember when Bill O'Donnell,Tom Marr and Jim Hunter were not considered top notch

They are HOFers compared to this current crop .

Mark.S in PH     June 20
@Paul all great points on last night's game, especially on Hay's AB, it was terrible. Agree on Verdugo, he's a jerk, made me chuckle! I like Palmer and Ben when they are doing the color! Get well Jim.



I have often wondered why can't the website add a "Like" or "thumbs-up, thumbs-down" button on the reader's posts?



Go O's!

Regular Joe     June 20
I have to pile on Hyde a bit, albeit a great win. Hyde will need to be better for us to win it all. O'Hearn is a better hitter than Hays and has a way better idea of the strike zone. I don't care if a great lefty is on the mound (and that Yankee guy was not close to great). Hays is from the old regime hitting approach-wise and has no clue what to do if the first pitch isn't a hittable fastball.



And Hyde just can't be pulling relievers after 20 pitches in the 5th inning - Webb is unfortunately now one of the better options.



Also very happy for Urias - he will be very important for us.




Pratt     June 20
FINALLY! Someone finally calls out Brown for his pompous attitude. The Orioles NEVER EVER do anything wrong according to that guy. Like you said Hollender was just in there because Palmer wasn't but Brown should rise above that.

Chris in Bel Air     June 20
@JWW- Thanks for the correction. After I typed it I couldn't remember if it was 2012 or 2104.

@Such- Don't you know that nobody is supposed to question or mess with the precious Yankees? Only they know what it right and just in the baseball world. Didn't you know that MLB really just sets up the entire season for the enjoyment of the Yankees and their fans? We're all just passengers in the journey and we should be grateful if they let the other team win. Their level of narcissism and self-infatuation is mind-numbing.

Adam     June 20
Completely agree MFC but add closer and right handed bat to the list. The Os announcers were right that we dont hit guys in general but we clearly threw at Judge and I would've done the same. But there was no need to yammer on all night about how Os would never do such a thing. Somewhere Armando beanball Benitez had a hearty chuckle. But this is same Yankees phonies that watched Sabathia break bone in Markakis hand so they can kick rocks

KVVfromSP     June 20
Speaking of pathetic announcers , how about the announcer at Camden Yards …..makes my skin crawl every time she announces a batter.

MFC     June 20
Baustista, Means, Wells, Bradish, is something in the "hydration station" water? With those guys we're definitely the best team in baseball. Without them it's going to be a struggle. Sorry but Tate, Webb, Suarez and Kimbrel just aren't doing it for me. I'm of the opinion a move for a pitcher has to be made and possibly two pitchers.



Catholic League HOF dinner tonight. Calipari is the headline speaker. Lots of great stories to be told this evening. Looking forward to catching up with old friends.

JWW     June 20
@CHRIS - I was going to bring that up as I totally agree with you. It was actually September 2012, not 2014 when Sabathia plunked Markakis. The magical winning season that culminated in an ALDS loss to those same Bombers. I felt so bad for Nick - all the years of losing came to a spectacular end and he had to sit that playoff run out.



F the Yankees indeed.

lou@palo alto     June 20
Paul makes many gd pts. Hays has regressed in his strike zone awareness--it's even worse than Mateo's and he has actually improved. Elias will hv decisions re the 3 outfielders and my bet is Hays is gone w Mullins & Santander offered deals but there are lots of moving parts here w pitching needs and many gd young players knocking on the door

Paul from Towson     June 20
Teams tend to emulate their manager. The Yankees are whiny, soft, arrogant cry baby punks. Just like their garbage manager. Brandon Hyde has the Orioles focused on winning baseball games, not the childish nonsense like bean ball wars or dugout sniping.

Tom J     June 20
The Yankees whining is comical. They are third in MLB with 48 hit batters. They may want to get pissed at their own guys before anyone else. Gunnar was intentional last night so thanks dummies for putting the run difference in the game on base. BTW, their catcher totally sucks. They need to run on this guy every single time on base. Nine steals Sunday vs Boston and four last night. Pathetic......

such     June 20
DR, you're spot on. Soto had no business doing that. It sure seemed intentional. Just like the pitch that Gunnar got drilled with last night. That was clearly an attempt to pay back the Orioles for Judge getting hit. But did anyone else notice that Saurez couldn't throw a strike Tuesday night? I'm not sure there was much intention when he plunked Judge.

I like Kevin Brown, I really do, but sometimes you have to call it like you see it. He tried way too hard last night to excuse the Gunnar HBP as unintentional. I think if Palmer or McDonald had been in the booth, there would've been a different take on the whole situation. It's times like that when it's good to have a former pro alongside you. Their perspective is based on their experience on the field.

If you think the MASN guys are bad, just try listening to the radio when Melanie is doing her version of "play-by-play". Brings a whole new level to the definition of dreadful.

Speaking of play-by-play, there's a beautiful video tribute to Willie Mays that the Giants released yesterday narrated by Jon Miller. Man, do I miss that guy. You can find it on YouTube.



As always, F the Yankees.

Paul from Towson     June 20
Yes, it's June. Yes, there's still 89 of these games remaining. But a loss last night might as well have been 2 losses. This was one of those "defining" games, for lack of a better term where the O's once again pulled defeat from the jaws of victory, to only then pull victory from the jaws of defeat. If this game is against the White Sox in mid-April or mid-May, it sucks, but you chalk it up to "there's 10 or 15 of 'those games'" every season. But when you blow a 5-1 lead, in Yankee Stadium, in late-June when less than 3 games separates these teams...that's as big of a loss as any can be in June. And crushes any momentum heading into today's matinee. Coupled with the fact that my dead grandmother would have been a better pinch hit option than Hays, and the Orioles left a small village on the bases last night. By the way, I keep saying it, if the O's don't win the World Series this year, or at least don't make an extended playoff run, it will be because they just can't hit with runners in scoring position. Minus Alex Verdugo's great catch (I hate that SOB, but credit given on that, Santander smoked that ball) over the past month, the O's have been terrible when they get a runner to second with less than two outs. Bases loaded in the 9th, one out, you HAVE to push across a run there. All Hays has to do is make contact and Mateo scores as long as Hays doesn't hit into an inning ending double play. He's terrible, and he while I get the logic of why Hyde pinch hit for O'Hearn there, Hays looked like a little leaguer against a guy with a 5.00+ ERA who just loaded the bases. Can't have that in big game situations. You HAVE to make contact. And Kimbrel had been very good recently, but I was never comfortable with him inheriting a one run lead. Going into the bottom of the ninth, I was just hoping he only gave up one and was able to get the O's back up in the 10th.



All in all, in the end it was a great team win. I love Ceddie and it was awesome to see him finally come through in the clutch. Also, I thought that except for the walks, Povich acquitted himself quite nicely for his first time in Yankee Stadium.



As far as Kevin Brown/Bren Hollander last night, I agree with Drew's assessment, but ANYTHING is better than the garbage we suffered through during Kevin's recent hiatus. Brad Brach should NEVER be allowed anywhere near the broadcast booth again, and the Geoff Arnold (insert name here) team was minor league/amateur hour-ish in my opinion. Just my thoughts. GO O's!!!!!

lou@palo alto     June 20
hope Palmer recovers quickly--covid no joke at his age. Haven't seen commentary on Stanton's game tying single--Kimbrel did his job and got him to hit the ball directly at Urias, just that the Yanks had an unusual hit and run on with the runner on 2nd going. Urias vacated his position to cover third--otherwise its an out if not a double play w the runner going rite toward him

Chris in Bel Air     June 20
Agree with @David R and yes, this retaliation business is bush league. Also, while the O's announcers are huge homers I do agree with their take on the ump and was surprised he didn't issue a warning after Gunnar was drilled. I hope he goes 4/4 today with a HR on the way to an O's win. Any of these holier than thou Yankee fans remember their team drilling Markakis and breaking his hand before the 2014 playoffs? No need to answer.

Unitastoberry     June 20
Mays military service most likely kept him from getting to Ruths 714 RIP



MASN is outta my price range so I'll take your word for it on the tv call. Do the Orioles have a senior citizen MASN inflation discount?



Six innings a game on average for starting pitchers and a 5 man rotation they still blow out the armS left and right. Don't tell me it's because they throw harder. Do they have robots who do surgery on MLB pitchers yet? Orioles had 4 twenty game winners in 1971 not one lost to Tommy John surgery which was not even invented until 1974. This is like the NFL adding games but still caring about CTE. 18 coming soon. Now there's talk of a seperate QB salary cap. All this NIL money still can't buy Maryland a football national championship. Some thngs never change at U of DC.



One thing I still enjoy from the past is hating on the Yankees.Spoiled rotten bums as usual.



Well I gotta go my 1972 Gand Torino needs service and my Get off my Lawn sign is missing.

David Rosenfeld     June 20
All of this (whatever it is) started with Soto. There was simply no reason for him to make contact with Westburg in that situation. It was weird and displayed a lack of understanding of the rules at least. Second time this season he's been called for it. Bias aside, he's kind of a punk. I know he's got a 1.023 OPS and hits the living snot out of the ball, but odds are he's on his 4th team next season at age 26.

With bias...I feel like the Yankees are sort of acting like a team that's accomplished something. I'm trying to figure out what that is exactly besides being in first place in June.

TimD     June 20
Agree with your take on the O's announcers' comments. Absolutely "homer" mentality. "Our team would never do that!"



Hotel warm coffee is the worst!

Bob Miller     June 20
Consider me Team Kevin Brown. He’s entertaining and engaging.

Jason S.     June 20
I love Elias but the Kimbrel signing was a whiff. That guy sucks. Move on and find someone to close games before we get bit in the playoffs.

Cal     June 20
You're just now turning down the sound when Brown is doing the play by play? I've been doing that for two years. Turn down the sound and listen to the radio side of it. Brown is more of a homer than Hunter ever was and that's saying something.



Maybe it goes back to being suspended last year but the O's can do no wrong ever, as you pointed out.

Frank     June 20
Hollander is terrible. I agree last night was a bad look for both KB and Hollander. They sounded like school girls who got turned down by two handsome football players.

As for the game itself, Hyde is very lucky they won. I hear you about the stats and data numbers but O'Hearn has to bat there in the 9th inning. Bringing in Hays cold off the bench in that situation was stupid.

Too bad Gray-Rod doesn't pitch today or someone from the Yanks would take one in the ribs.

Delray RICK     June 20
PALMER has COVID AGAIN!!!

rc     June 20
This GM guy must be angling for a member/guest invite lol.

Kevin     June 19
Streets are saying Jeremy and Drew are taking over 10-2 show on the Fan starting July 29.

GM     June 19
When does DMD flip flop Billy? Examples?

Billy     June 19
@John, #DMD flip flops often lol.

George     June 19
@Howard -- Tough question, and one I don’t have a defensible answer to. I am struck by the fact that in many cases – art, battlefield photography, clandestine industrial videography, the gravamens of whistleblowers’ and kneeling athletes’ complaints – we (the people) tend to find fault with and condemn the messenger and fail to act on the wrong he or she has brought to light. I guess there is a fine line between right and wrong in the methods used to expose stuff, but I’ve no clue where that line is. Seems that there has to be offense at the method before anyone bothers to look at the wrong, and sometime the offense is so great, the wrong is never considered at all.

John L.     June 19
Does PA actually read what DF writes? DF made it very clear he's still anti Saudis today didn't he?



"Alas, he's also a guy who joined a rival league and accepted money from creeps who have not been friendly to our country and who continue to walk a very fine line when it comes to human rights issues. I made my bed on that situation early on and I'm very comfortable sleeping in it."

Howard     June 19
Great article by George but 1 picture too many. I think that the picture “Adult Movies” is pornography. The naked human body is a beautiful thing that has been celebrated in art for millennia, but I think this picture crossed the line into smut. I wouldn’t want my grandchildren to see this and I wonder if anyone

would be comfortable showing this to their family members who are minors.


J.K.     June 19
According to Bruce Cunningham, our very own DF is doing radio today on 105.7 from 12-3 pm. Is that correct?

pa     June 19
If I might clarify my comments too: it seems at the start of LIV, DMD was writing off each individual golfer who signed up for LIV (ala "dead to me"). At the time I suggested it was more of a "golf" thing, not a "Saudi" thing. Unfortunately, the Saudis (and China, Russia, et al) have their financial tentacles in a lot of entities that Americans support. So that in itself really is not unique to LIV. Now the format: pay for play, teams, shotguns, 54 holes etc, are all bastardizations of real tournament golf. In that vein, I am 100% with the DMD take on LIV.

Just never understand why DMD seemed to be making it all about Saudis and individual US players taking "their" money. Maybe I misunderstood, or maybe DMD has somewhat backed off the Saudi angle. Either way, as it was clarified today, I agree with the current DMD take on LIV guys. I'm sure we'll both root hard for BAD should he be on the Ryder Cup squad.

lou@palo alto     June 19
Palmer collapse in '66 Open at Olympic was a transition to a new era.He was 36 and never won another major--my long post from 2 d ago cldnt clear the robot--fyi

lou@palo alto     June 19
great column, George. My sister was '64 Parkville and me '66 City so lots of memories jogged--thx

Paul from Towson     June 19
Well said Such. Willie Mays is a once in a millennium individual. More than baseball, more than stats. His loss will extend beyond baseball, into the fiber of America. The world is a little less of a beautiful place now that he is gone.

such     June 19
I took some time last night to peruse the lifetime statistics of Willie Mays. It's as if every category you would want from a player came to life. I kept shaking my head in disbelief.

He stands alone as the only player in history to collect over 3,000 hits, 600 homeruns, 500 doubles, 100 triples and 300 stolen bases. He played in 24 (!) All Star Games. Oh, he also missed almost two full seasons when he was 22 and was drafted during the Korean War.

My only memory of Mays was seeing him on the Mets during the 1973 season. I was a very young boy, but even then I knew that Willie Mays was a legend. All I had to do was ask anyone who knew anything about baseball, which was basically everyone in America.

Icon is defined as "A person or thing widely admired, especially for having great influence or significance in a particular sphere." I like how the word sphere is used here, since a baseball is spherical.

Willie Mays was an American Icon.

Dan     June 19
Need to pull out a game or two vs Yanks since we didn't exactly line up our best starters for this series.

Steve of Pimlico     June 19
I have always loved Mr.Voshell's paintings and murals.He was our Grant Wood .

The Os have their weakest pitchers starting in this series so if they drop 3 it's not the end of the world.October will be very interesting.

Scottmann     June 19
Drew,

I'm surprised you didn't mention Jack Nicklaus as one of the classiest, and most gracious losers of all-time. Jack finished second in a record 19 majors, and always shook the winners hand.

Wednesday
June 19, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3589


there's no softening here


I was going to author something poignant and insightful about the Orioles losing 4-2 to the Yankees last night, but then I figured, "Ah, what the heck, it's just one game out of 162 in the middle of June."

The big news from the Bronx last night wasn't the New York win or the Baltimore loss. It was Aaron Judge getting hit on the hand and leaving the game.

For a month or so now, I've been perhaps prattling on about the Yankees and how the/their annual mid-season injury bug is bound to hit them at some point soon. Almost on cue, Juan Soto missed a few games, Anthony Rizzo is now out for two months and Judge, potentially, will miss some period of time after last night's incident.

Anthony Santander's hot streak continued last night with a 2-run homer in the 4-2 loss in New York.

Late last night the Yankees announced x-rays and scans were negative on Judge's hand, but even if he misses three or four games, that impacts New York's lineup.

And we still haven't seen Giancarlo Stanton pull his hamstring yet. You know that's coming at some point.

They can't help it. The Yankees can never go through a season without key parts of their team going on the injured list.

Now, they do get an injured (key) player off the injured list tonight when Gerrit Cole makes his first start of the 2024 season after missing almost three months with an elbow ailment. Cole, if healthy, makes a huge impact in New York's rotation, no two ways about it.

But all in all, I'm still here betting that the Yankees suffer through an 12-14 month of baseball when their injuries start to pile up.

So, sure, they won last night. Big deal. Check back with me at the end of July and let's see where things are then.

How's that for baseball talk?


A commenter yesterday -- "PA" -- offered something that pushed me to an explanation here today. Rather, it's really more of a clarification than an explanation.

PA wrote this: I do find it interesting that DMD seems to have softened on one of the LIV pariahs because he's clearly proven to be an elite golfer. To me, BAD took "blood money" same as others whose stars have faded (Phil, DJ, even Kopeka) or guys who never were stars, so find it odd BAD seems to be getting a pass on that. I thought the DMD stance was "anyone but a LIV" guy when any of the majors rolled around. I'm ok with the new stance, just surprised is all.

I'm not here to suggest PA needs to enroll in the much-talked-about "reading comprehension class" here. But I will say that PA whiffed with that commentary on Tuesday.

To be clear: There is most certainly no new stance here, at #DMD, as it relates to LIV Golf.

I don't like it. At all.

If you want a more fitting and edgy word, I'll go with "despise".

I never liked LIV. Not from day one. Not last year. And certainly not now.

While LIV Golf has failed to deliver on many of its promises relative to TV exposure and heightened excitement, Greg Norman and Phil Mickelson continue to promote the entity as the future of golf.

The players who jumped over there to take the money were charlatans. Plain and simple.

But that doesn't mean I've lost respect for the kind of golf they're capable of playing. Brooks Koepka is a great player. So, too, is Dustin Johnson. I'm most certainly not a Patrick Reed fan, but the man can golf his ball.

And the same goes for Bryson DeChambeau. As I wrote here last weekend, I like him. As a player. The same way, as I mentioned, that I'm fond of guys like Max Homa and Sahith Theegala. DeChambeau is an excellent player and, as we are learning in the aftermath of his win last Sunday, quite a spotlight-seeker as well.

I did not want him to win on Sunday. I was really pulling hard for a late comeback from Tom Kim, Russell Henley or Akshay Bhatia, for reasons you can probably figure out on your own. There for a while, as Henley started pouring in putts, I thought I might have a guy backing into a U.S. Open win, somehow.

Failing one of those three winning, though, I wanted McIlroy to win. Or Cantlay. Heck, I would rather have seen Matthieu Pavon win than Bryson.

That said, maybe because it's wired into people who play competitive golf, I never flat out root against any player, at any time. It's just the way you do things in golf.

I realize that in other sports it works that way. We root against the Yankees. And the Steelers. And, of course, the Flyers. It's an accepted part of those sports to be happy when the other team stumbles or loses a game.

You just don't do it in golf.

Don't ask me why it's that way, but it is.

So I never once rooted against Bryson on Sunday. I just wanted other guys to win. But I thought the way he finished off the tournament was spectacular. And there's no denying his talent, DeChambeau is an extraordinary player.

Alas, he's also a guy who joined a rival league and accepted money from creeps who have not been friendly to our country and who continue to walk a very fine line when it comes to human rights issues. I made my bed on that situation early on and I'm very comfortable sleeping in it.

So, I'm not sure where "PA" got the idea that I'm softening on LIV or its players. I am not. I can see the value of them as golfers and have immense respect for their careers because I know how hard it is to win.

But root for them to win? Nah, I won't be doing that. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not, well, ever.


One final piece of housekeeping from the U.S. Open but it concerns a guy who only played in two rounds of the four-round tournament.

Tiger Woods.

Rich reached out via e-mail with a question about the news that Tiger Woods will be receiving a lifetime exemption into certain PGA Tour events starting next year.

I actually feel kind of weird even offering this opinion because, I assume, even the staunchest of Woods haters would agree he deserves the special lifetime exemption he was given by the PGA Tour yesterday.

But I'll offer it nonetheless.

The current iteration of the PGA Tour, with whatever level of popularity you want to give it, was essentially reconstructed by Woods when he started playing full time on the TOUR 30 years ago.

I'll stop short of saying he "built the TOUR" because that would be dishonorable to guys like Palmer, Nicklaus, Trevino, Norman and others whose popularity helped draw spectators and sponsors to the sport long before Woods started competing.

But the "modern" PGA Tour was built by Tiger.

If he can't receive a special lifetime exemption, who can?

The PGA Tour announced yesterday that Tiger Woods will receive a lifetime exemption into all of their signature events moving forward.

The TOUR announced on Tuesday they were creating the exemption for Woods for their eight signature events (the ones with the most money in the player purse) effective in the 2025 campaign. This does not grant him entry into any of the major championships, although he's eligible for the Masters (lifetime), PGA (lifetime) and British Open (age 60) without needing an exemption.

Woods received a special exemption into this year's U.S. Open at Pinehurst and will need another one to compete next year at Oakmont CC unless he wins the Masters next April.

The subject of how many exemptions he should receive into the U.S. Open is, I think, worth debating. The lifetime exemption on the PGA Tour is not.

Here's what I think will happen with Tiger relative to the U.S. Open. He'll receive three more of them consecutively, leading up to 2027 at Pebble Beach, the site of his first U.S. Open title in 2000.

That means he'll get to play at Oakmont (2025), Shinnecock Hills (2026) and then Pebble Beach (2027). Once those three exemptions are used, he'll be done with the freebies.

I also think that's more than fair. And by "more than fair", I mean that. It's more than fair. Yes, I know he has 15 major championships. Yes, I'm aware he's won 82 tournaments.

And, yes, I'm very aware he's the greatest golfer ever. Or the 2nd greatest golfer ever, depending on your opinion of Jack Nicklaus and his 18 majors and 73 wins.

Either way, greatest or 2nd greatest, I think giving Woods four consecutive exemptions into the U.S. Open is exceedingly favorable for an event that is very stingy with their generosity.

But, again, if you can't give Tiger Woods an exemption into the U.S. Open, who, then, can you give one to?

As it relates to the subject at hand, though, I'm 100% on board with the TOUR giving Tiger a lifetime free pass into any signature event he wants to play. Remember, too, he doesn't really play any longer anyway. This was more a gesture of kindness than anything else.

If Tiger wasn't otherwise eligible for, let's say, The RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, all he would need to do would be to reach out to the folks who run that event and say, "Hey, it's Tiger, if you have any sponsor exemptions laying around for your tournament this April, I'll take one."

And he'd get one.

Giving him a lifetime exemption into that tournament actually opens up a spot, in theory, for someone who might actually use it and benefit from playing in the event.

I assume the TOUR is also starting to put together a plan to make the Champions Tour inviting for Tiger to compete in when he turns 50 in December of 2025.

He'll get the benefit of a cart if he decides to play on the senior circuit, which will certainly make it easier for him to compete, just as it does for any of the old(er) guys who compete out there.

That he hasn't asked the TOUR or the USGA for a cart is admirable, I suppose. But he won't have to worry about ruffling any feathers once he turns 50 since every senior event except the Senior Open allows players to ride in carts without needing any kind of medical exemption.

Perhaps yesterday's "lifetime exemption" announcement was made, in part, in an effort to curry favor with Woods moving forward.

If so, I guess we'd file that under "smart business".

No matter why it was put in place, though, the lifetime exemption for Woods is a no-brainer. The TOUR still needs him. He might not need the TOUR any longer, but they could still use an occasional Tiger appearance on the leaderboard a few times a year.

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Tuesday
June 18, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3588


with the dust having settled


For those of you who appreciate #DMD for the diversity of topics we like to tackle here, today's edition is right up your alley.

I won't say anything else other than -- please read George's outstanding story below. And thank me later. Or, actually, thank him later.

I love the diverse nature of what we do here.

Some of you are stuck in your ways and I get that. I'm old, too.

But we have (almost) something for everyone here. Orioles, Ravens, Terps, Golf, Soccer and some occasional enlightenment from my friend, George, who never ceases to amaze me with his remarkable memory and penchant for providing interesting topics.

I've offered this forum to you, too, and some of you have taken me up on that along the way.

That offer still stands today. If you're a writer or think you might be one, or even partially one, you can always reach out to me to discuss your role here as a contributor.

I'd love to find someone to write about, well, anything they want. Hockey. MMA. Local college football. More O's. More Terps. More Ravens. More Golf. More Soccer.

Whatever floats your boat, as the saying goes.

Anyway, enjoy George's piece and reach out to me (18inarow@gmail.com) if you're interested in writing here in the future.


Summer baseball is awesome. We've had some Chamber of Commerce weather in these parts over the last 10 days, including the weekend home series vs. Philadelphia that just transpired. These next three games in the Bronx will be played in perfect summer conditions. And the teams are both playing great baseball.

Aaron Judge and the first place Yankees host the Orioles for three games this week starting tonight at Yankee Stadium.

There's something about baseball in New York, particularly in the Bronx, that I just can't shake. It's mesmerizing.

I've been to a lot of ballparks in the U.S.

I still say -- sorry, friends -- that Chavez Ravine is the best baseball stadium and environment in all of the Majors. Watching a game there is probably very close to what it's like to watch a game in heaven. One of those awesome, 84 degree Southern California Tuesday nights. You just can't beat it.

But if Chavez Ravine is the best stadium, New York, the city, is the ultimate place to take in a game.

I can't put my finger on exactly why. Maybe it's the subway. Or the guys hawking tickets out front. Or the jam-packed skyline.

There's just something incredibly heart-thumping about sitting in Yankee Stadium and watching a baseball game, particularly one that matters like the next three this week.

Baltimore and New York, playing for first place, in late June.

Yes, friends, the beer is very cold these days in the Land of Pleasant Living.

Two or three wins over the Yankees would make it even a bit colder.


One thing that stood out to me as I watched the final hour of Sunday's U.S. Open was this: Tiger Woods would have never done what Rory and Bryson did in the final round.

I know what you're thinking. That's the dumb statement of the day. Maybe even the whole year.

Of course Tiger wouldn't have coughed up a lead late on Sunday. That's why he has 15 major titles. When Woods had a chance to beat you, he closed the deal almost every single time.

At his zenith, Woods was a stone-cold-finisher of the highest degree. That birdie putt DeChambeau had from 18-feet at #15, tied with Rory at the time? You know, the one he three putted? Tiger would have made that one from 18 feet to take the lead and that would have started the coronation.

The 20-footer Rory had at #16? Woods would have rolled that one in, too.

Those two wild drives authored by Rory and Bryson at #18? Tiger never hits one that crooked with the tournament on the line.

The two short misses by McIlroy at #16 and #18? Tiger makes those with his eyes closed.

It's more about how great Woods was 20 years ago and far less about how both Rory and Bryson spit the bit somewhat on the final four holes on Sunday.

Tiger was a finisher. Plain and simple.

He just wouldn't give you a chance to get up off the canvas. Once he had you down there, it was time to call in the cut man.


Like I tend to do after major golf championships, I spend the first day afterwards revisiting what happened and trying to thoroughly digest who won, who lost and what the outcome does for the sport.

Bryson DeChambeau's win at Pinehurst #2 shook the golf world, I'd say. Whether it shook favorably or unfavorably is debatable, but one thing that's not part of the debate is whether the best player over the four days won the tournament. Yes, he did.

Most of the national discussion on Monday didn't center on the winner, though. It centered on the guy who finished in 2nd place. Rory McIlroy contributed to that content late on Monday afternoon when he published a social media message that basically said three things:

1. Congratulations to the winner.

2. I'll recover from Sunday's loss.

3. I'm not playing this week in Cromwell, Connecticut.

McIlroy didn't apologize for skipping out on a post-round media session. And he didn't apologize for not hanging around to shake DeChambeau's hand afterwards. One of those mistakes, I think, was significant. The other was just a blemish.

I totally understand not playing this week's TOUR event even though he previously signed up for it. Everyone knew that announcement was coming yesterday, at some point, in the aftermath of what happened in the final four holes at Pinehurst the day before. You have to be "in it" to play successful golf and there's no way McIlroy's head would be "in it" this week in Connecticut.

Rory skipping out on the event up there this week isn't important. They'll still have a great field. The tournament will roll on nicely without him.

But let's go back to what happened on Sunday after he lost the U.S. Open to Bryson DeChambeau, because that is important.

Rory doesn't really need public favor. His bank account doesn't need it, for sure, and his legacy as one of this generation's best players is in cement.

But not sticking around for one minute to shake DeChambeau's hand in the scoring office was a massively poor call on McIlroy's part.

As I wrote here yesterday, I sorta-kinda get not answering questions from the media. It was wrong, but it was like going 72 in a 55 mile per hour zone. Everyone does it.

Honestly, I suspect DeChambeau or Cantlay would also have scooted out of there in similar speedy fashion on Sunday had they missed two short putts to cost themselves a major championship.

By not being a good sport about losing, Rory robbed himself of a chance to show that he, like DeChambeau, is different.

And perhaps McIlroy doesn't care about that or the image boost he would have received by being a gentleman about the defeat he suffered. If so, that's his cross to bear. A couple of hundred million in the bank will do weird things to your view of right and wrong, I guess.

But waiting one minute -- seriously, 60 seconds after Rory left the room, DeChambeau entered to sign his card -- to greet and congratulate the winner was not only the right thing to do, it was the thing to do if you're trying to show the people who support you why you're worthy of their endorsement.

Nike could have put a commercial together overight that ran all day on The Golf Channel yesterday. I'm not a content writer by trade, but I'm sure the folks at Nike could have produced something about integrity, sportsmanship and "doing the right thing" in the midst of one of the worst moments of your golf career.

Instead, Rory got taken to the woodshed on Monday for skipping out on the media and on Bryson. It's hard to tell which of the moments he squandered more; the putts at 16 and 18 or the post-round decisions he made.

Thomas Wolfe once wrote: You Can't Go Home Again.

For Rory, the minute he jetted out of that parking lot, he couldn't undo the damage. He couldn't "go home again", so to speak. Staying there and doing his part, despite the agony of the tournament he gave away, would have been a feather in his cap that would have stayed there forever.


A lot of the talk on Monday also centered on DeChambeau and his "changed" personality. I like Bryson. But I also think there's an obvious element of showtime that's attached to him. Whether we should consider that "phony" or not isn't my call. Alas, I'd say a significant part of what DeChambeau wants is approval. And winning a U.S. Open helps him gain that approval.

But I do like DeChambeau. I like him the same way I like, say, Max Homa or Sahith Theegala. In other words, I like him because he's an exceptional golfer. The other stuff, the showtime part of him, I could take or leave.

But there is a part of DeChambeau that's hard not to like if you've ever played competitive golf. He's a dreamer. And a scientist. And he's a man who is not afraid to try anything to see if it helps make his golf better. I love that about him, actually.

We've all tinkered.

Heck, I was floating my golf balls in Epsom salts with Walt Grabowski circa 2000 at his home in Frederick, MD. DeChambeau didn't invent that trick. It's been around since Cal Ripken Jr. played for the Orioles, if not longer.

A decade ago or so, I switched to big jumbo grips on my clubs for about a month. It was great for my wedge game. But I couldn't get the driver clubface closed. I enjoyed experimenting with the grips. But they weren't for me.

Lead tape on my putter? Tried that, too.

Everyone has tinkered.

I don't think any of us have tinkered as much as DeChambeau, but, like him, we've all tried to find the holy grail and gain an edge with our equipment.

I find that part of DeChambeau both interesting and appealing. He's not afraid to do things differently.

Maybe it's my 20-year marriage with the long putter that attracts me to DeChambeau's willingness to be "different". I faced a lot of snide remarks in 2005 when I made the switch. But I knew something no one else knew, mainly because I wasn't interested in telling people the truth.

I couldn't putt with anything except a long putter.

I did putt left handed for a couple of years in 2011 and 2012 and had a little bit of success with it, but in the end, that tinkering episode failed.

So when I hear people on the radio criticize DeChambeau for tinkering too much, it makes me laugh. The man has won two U.S. Opens in the last four years. Maybe we should all tinker like that, huh?

I don't want to sound like Paul McGinley when I make this comment about what transpired on Sunday, but here goes. The shot DeChambeau hit out of the bunker was sensational. No two ways about it. But the shot was easier given what McIlroy had just done in front of him a minute earlier.

Had Rory made par at #18 and DeChambeau faced an up-and-down scenario just to get into a playoff, that bunker shot triples in difficulty.

Being able to splash it out there and make either four (for the win) or five (for the tie) was a remarkable turn of events after Rory missed the 4-footer to fall a stroke behind.

And while we're on Rory, let's put the spotlight on him in a different way than just saying, "Those two missed putts killed him."

Those two misses hurt, no two ways about it. But the data from Sunday's final round tells a different story. He ranked near the bottom of the field in several key ball striking and shots gained categories. For as good as he drove the ball all day, his inability to hit quality iron shots was a massive factor in the defeat.

The missed putts glossed over what was otherwise a very pedestrian day with the irons. His short game and putting -- at least until the 15th hole -- bailed him out time and time again.

Rory is a great, great player. If you remove major championships from the discussion, he's the best player in golf over the last 10 years and it's probably not even close.

But something happens four times a year that's hard to explain. And it's not that he plays poorly in the majors, because he most certainly does not. But at some stage, usually on the weekend, Rory's game drops off. It's not graphic, by any means. He doesn't shoot 69-66-68-79. It's not like he forgets how to play on Sunday.

But "something" happens, whether it's two missed short putts, a couple of push-block drives into the rough or iron shots that lack their normal crispness.

Rory lost on Sunday because he shoulda, coulda, woulda shot 65 or 66 but he shot 69 instead. DeChambeau was there for the taking. Rory just didn't do the taking.

I think McIlroy is too talented to finish his career with four majors. He could quietly have 7 or 8 of them under his belt right now with equal degrees of luck, putts rolling in, and the other player faltering down the stretch instead

If the golf gods have a heart at all, McIlroy will shoot 65 on the final day at Troon and race past Schauffele, Scheffler and DeChambeau to win the British Open next month.

That would be a fitting conclusion to the major season in 2024.

But until he wins another one, I think it's very hard to predict or expect a victory for McIlroy at the Masters, PGA, U.S. Open or British Open.

He can win elsewhere. And with ease. Winning golf tournaments isn't all that difficult for McIlroy.

Winning major championships, though, has become impossible for him.

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NOTES & COMMENT
George McDowell


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


gifts to the future

(this article isn't sports related)

The artist James W. Voshell died of diabetic complications at University of Maryland St Joseph’s Medical Center on April 27, 2024. He was 80 years old.


This mural, titled "The Checker Players," was painted by Jim and his young collaborator Pontella Mason in1975 on the wall of a building that faced Edmondson Avenue on the western gateway to downtown Baltimore. The mural measured 46 feet wide by 23 feet tall. The building has since been razed. Jim usually painted on canvas, but the federal government program that financed this public art provided a sustaining boost to his career.

Mr. Voshell was my fifth-period art teacher at Parkville High School in my junior year in 1966. Twenty long and adventurous years later, my wife and I bought a ramshackle townhouse in Baltimore's Union Square neighborhood with intentions of renovating it while we were in graduate schools. We saw there was a bearded and long-haired man living in a warehouse across the street from us. We learned from talks with new neighbors that this was my old teacher, Mr. Voshell, who had left the teaching profession and set out on his journey as a full-time artist. Delighted at the coincidence, I go to visit him. I ring his doorbell and he answers a few minutes later. He's carrying a Winchester 73. [This was a rough neighborhood, but a repeating rifle was probably overkill.] He opens the door and waits for me to speak.

"The Defender," self portrait by James Voshell measuring 50" x 90," painted in 1990. Note Jim's beloved cat, Francoise, in the doorway. The piece was selected for exhibit in the United States National Portrait Gallery. The author is proud to have taken the photo that Jim used in painting this picture.

Me: Hello, Mr. Voshell.

Jim: No response.

Me: Don't you remember me? [Note – there is no reason he should have remembered me. I was an insecure and obscure kid wholly overwhelmed and socially paralyzed by the intoxicating beauty of the maturing girls at school, and too scared to have any original thoughts that would have piqued the slightest interest of an instructor who was a magna cum laude graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art.]

Jim: No response.

Me: Well, I really can't believe this situation. How could you possibly not remember a student you had 20 years ago in fifth-period Art who sat in the third row, four seats from the aisle?

Jim: Do you drink Carlo?

The "Carlo" to which he refers is Carlo Rossi Pink Chablis [pronounced shab – liss {accent on the first syllable}, in the non-French way]. It is Jim's drink of choice before sundown, and which retails in 1986 for $1.99 a gallon.

Jim invites me in, and over flutes and flutes of Carlo we become acquainted. Three hours later my wife rings the doorbell, and when Jim answers, she inquires if he's seen a 36-year-old white male wandering about the neighborhood.

"Got him right here," Jim says. "Come on in."

Jim offers Geraldine a flute of Carlo. She's not a teetotaler, but is highly selective in what she imbibes. "Thank you," she says, improbably accepting the glass. We talk for some more hours, warming to good company. We'll be good neighbors for the six years we live in this wild and crazy neighborhood on the fringe of Union Square. Jim would move from his studio some years later, taking up residence with the love of his life, Lynne Jones, on her farm in Parkton. My wife and I would also move away. But our friendship would continue for almost 40 years, until Jim's body finally gave out in April.

Jim was born in pre-gentrified St. Michael's. His parents were tenant farmers. His first art instruction was from the mail-order school that advertised on matchbook covers. After high school, Jim was awarded a full scholarship to the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Jacques Maroger, "Self Portrait," circa 1960. My guess is that this picture hangs in a building somewhere on the campus of Loyola University. Maroger was good friends with Mrs. Alice Warder Garrett, who built a cottage for him near her Evergreen Mansion, and which is now Loyola University Maryland property.

Here's a narrow and highly-truncated history of the Baltimore art situation from around the mid-20th century onward from one who is by no means an expert. It lays out Jim's professional heritage and progression.

Jacques Maroger was a painter and the director of the technical laboratory of the Musée du Louvre in Paris. He studied both the painting techniques of the Old Masters, and also how they mixed their paints to create extraordinarily vivid and long-lasting scenes. Maroger fled Paris in 1939 ahead of the Nazi invasion.

He emigrated to the United States and became a lecturer at the Parsons School of Design in New York. His students, some of whom became painters of note – Reginald Marsh, John Koch, Fairfield Porter and Frank Mason – adopted his Old Masters painting techniques, and taught them in turn to their own students.

In 1942, Maroger became an instructor at the Maryland Institute College of Art. There he led a group of painters that came to be known as the Baltimore Realists. The members of this group were Earl Hofmann, Thomas Rowe, Joseph Sheppard, Ann Didusch Schuler, Frank Redelius, John Bannon, Evan Keehn, and Melvin Miller. These artists also bucked the artistic community trend toward abstract and impressionistic art, which was the accepted style of the day. Essentially, these artists thought that art should be artistic, and not merely some paint slapped haphazardly on canvas and sold for huge prices to those who were friends and admirers in the upper financial class.

"Descent from the Ring." Oil on canvas by Joe Sheppard. Mr. Sheppard was a student of Jacques Maroger and a member of the Baltimore Realists.

In 1961 the Baltimore Museum of Art selected area artists for its Maryland Annual Exhibition. No picture painted by Maroger was chosen for the exhibit, nor were any painted by any of the Baltimore Realists. Supporters of Maroger and the Realists accused the BMA of institutional cowardice and alleged that its administrators were afraid to travel any course other than those already traveled by museums in New York, London, and Paris.

Led by Joe Sheppard and John Bannon, the artists organized an alternative exhibition at a gallery at 817 N. Charles St., and timed it to open at the same time as the BMA's would open. Two thousand people attended that first day of what came to be called the Six Realists Gallery. The Baltimore News American headline the next day trumpeted, "A Triumph in Every Way." The exhibition, with periodic additions and subtractions, stayed in place for three years.

Another slap was delivered to the face of the BMA by the prestigious Butler Institute of American Art. The Butler, which featured an annual exhibit of the best of American art, selected works of Baltimore Realists Joe Sheppard, Thomas Rowe, and Melvin Miller along with prominent New York realists Ben Shaun and Edward Hopper for its 1962 show. Sheppard's "Mr. Mack's Fighters Gym" won first prize.

Such was the art scene in Baltimore and the rest of the art world into which Jim Voshell stepped when he got off the Trailways bus from St. Michael's in 1961.

Some Famous Non-Realist Painters
"Ocean Greyness," Jackson Pollack
"Flag Detail," Jasper Johns
,/a>
"The Beams," Alexander Calder
"Charlene," Robert Rauschenberg

My sense is that Jim was a born realist painter. Had there been no Jacques Maroger, no Joe Sheppard, no Realist movement, he still would have painted in the style that he called photo-realism. Jim's personality required precision and clarity. His subleties lay in the details, not in the main event. No Pop Art for him.

Jim's painting took two courses. When he gave up teaching and began to paint, his subjects were the people and places of Baltimore City. These are but a few of some hundreds of examples:

The Urban Art of James W. Voshell
Blind Beggar
1973
Blind Beggar with Accordian
1978
Legless Man
1977
Balloon Vendor
1973
Baltimore City Street Arab
1980
Urban Renewal
1981
City Street
1973
Fire Truck
1977
Motor Patrol
1974
The Conversation
1971
Old Fish Joe
1971
The Entry
1979

Jim's paintings of this period chronicled the transition of The Block from the Golden Age of Burlesque personified by Blaze Starr's Two O'Clock Club down to the era of peep shows and lap dances. This piece showed an example of the completion of that transition:


"Adult Movies." 1977

The piece was selected for an exhibition to be held in the lobby of the Morris Mechanic Theater. As the exhibit was being set up, it was seen by a doyen of Baltimore, national, and international society, Hope Quackenbush. Mrs. Quackenbush, a philanthropic donor of epic scale, expressed displeasure at the inclusion of the picture. No doubt word soon reached the exhibit's curator, and the picture was quickly de-selected. In a show of solidarity, the remaining artists in the show pulled their works, and the exhibition was cancelled.

While he lived in Union Square, Jim's warehouse and our house across the street [in the process of renovation] became centers of social activity. Jim's dear friends, artists Richard Roth and Mark Adams, would gather for ping-pong tournaments in the warehouse, and the four of us were surprisingly competitive. One night's dominance was shattered by a last-place finish the next night.

Jim hosted dinners on his birthdays at the warehouse. We'd sit at long tables on church pews enjoying goose and a seafood stew prepared from recipes passed on to Jim from his parents, both descended from long lines of Eastern Shore families.

"Portrait of Geraldine." 1988

On Sunday mornings, I'd get a NY Times newspaper, and Jim and other neighbors would stop by our house and we'd cook up some breakfast and collectively work on the Sunday crossword puzzle. In summers, we'd wait until the peak crab-buying hours had passed [noon to 3:00 pm], then call crab houses to see what deals we could get on decent-sized crabs that hadn't been sold. When we had the cash to score, we'd have a feast. Jim was fastidious in his eating -- he'd place the shells of the crabs he'd eaten in a row, and fill the empty shells with the uneaten detritus. If anyone offered to collect his waste, he'd shoo them away. He needed to maintain an accurate count of his consumption, to record it in the diary he kept so all posterity would know the number.

It was during this time I worked out a deal with Jim to paint a picture of my wife in between other projects he had. I was earning minimum wage in a part-time job, but Jim was bringing in less than that. We worked out a deal where I'd pay $25 a week until the $600 cost of the piece was paid off. My wife had found a dress at a thrift shop for $3.00, and planned to wear it to the upcoming SoWeBohemian Ball at Lithuanian Hall. Jim took the photograph he'd use as a guide to paint the portrait, in the living room of our house on Hollins Street, then we all went off to a night of dining and dancing.

In 1992, Jim moved from Union Square to live with the love of his life, artist Lynne Jones, on her farm in Parkton. The change from the craziness of downtown Baltimore to the tranquility of a large farm in northern Baltimore County was jarring for Jim. Lynne said he ran around naked for two weeks after he got to the country.

Jim's focus on subject matter shifted radically. He moved from the scenes of inner-city Baltimore to those of the natural beauty in northern Baltimore County. A small percentage are linked in the table below.

The Country Art of James W. Voshell
Mushroom Plates
1996
Two Morels
2003
Indian Corn
2009
Amos Mill
2005
The Little Farm
2003
Farmhouse Porch
2001
Gift Box #2
2002
Red Hibiscus
2016

"The Audience." 1983
Permanent Collection
Baltimore Museum of Art

In early 2024, I received a long letter from Jim, his last to me. He never did warm to email, and preferred using the Post Office. He had shut down the barn studio and was painting in his home after having a couple of heart attacks and suffering the ravages of advancing diabetes. He had finished his last commission in 2023 — my wife's request for a panorama of a wall in the barn studio that symbolically illustrated Jim's life. I'll quote a paragraph from Jim's letter:

"I'm still painting a little — produce one or two smaller pieces a year. One good thing has happened — the Baltimore Museum of Art has finally, after [my] lifetime of painting, acquired a piece of my Art for their Permanent Collection. It's "The Audience," on page 144 of my book. It's presently hanging on display and looks great on their Hallowed Walls. A little recognition feels mighty good at this final stage of my career."

The book to which Jim refers is his biography, written by Bill Waters and published in 2020. Bill was a student of Jim's at Parkville High who went on to become a writer and teacher as well as his lifelong friend. The book, James W. Voshell: His Life and Art, gives a full account of Jim's life from his childhood on the Eastern Shore to his many years on the farm in Parkton. It is an exquisitely beautiful volume with over 200 full-color images of Jim's paintings. The book is available from Mycelium Press, LLC.

Jim died in April, 2024. In May, Lynne Jones, Jim's life partner, hosted a gathering at the Manor Mill in Monkton to celebrate Jim's life. Manor Mill is a 300-year-old building that began its existence as a grain mill and was several years ago renovated to serve as an art gallery and event space. More than 200 people gathered – from Baltimore City, from Parkton and Monkton, from all over the East Coast and several came from Europe – to pay tribute to this larger-than-life artist and friend.


James William Voshell
1943–2024
Rest in Peace
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Monday
June 17, 2024
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#3587


what a way to lose (and win)


The debate raged on last night and will continue for a quite a while, I'm guessing.

Did Rory McIlroy lose the U.S. Open on Sunday?

Or did Bryson DeChambeau win it?

I don't have an answer.

I think they both contributed to the outcome, that's for sure.

But in our society, where we're constantly looking for that one hot take that trumps all over observations, the general theory on Sunday night was Rory choked when the pressure got too tight in the final round of the 2024 U.S. Open.

Other than "Flyers win", that word might be the worst thing you can hear in sports: choke.

Bryson DeChambeau's final hole par was enough to secure his 2nd career U.S. Open title on Sunday at Pinehurst #2.

Did Rory choke on Sunday?

I don't believe he did.

He made too many birdies to use that "c word". And hit too many great shots that required the steeliest of nerves to pull off.

He hit an incredible drive at #16 when the heat was on.

He followed that up with a magnificent bunker shot at #17 and then rolled in a dicey 4-footer slider for par that went smack-dab into the middle of the hole.

I don't think chokers do those sort of things.

But he hit a terrible putt at #16 from 2.5 feet after making 496 consecutive putts within 3 feet in 2024. You read that right. Before that miss yesterday, McIlroy was 496-for-496 on putts inside of 3 feet this season.

That one, though, was a bad miss. At the worst time.

He'd also go on to miss one from just over four feet at #18, which is the one that will haunt him the most. But that one, unlike the short miss at #16, was an acceptable miss. It had a ball-and-a-half of break, from above the hole, with the U.S. Open on the line. It wasn't easy.

But he misread that putt.

Rory didn't stick around to talk with the media and address the two misses at 16 and 18, but if he did -- and if he were being honest -- he likely would have confessed to taking the one at 16 for granted and misreading the 4-footer at 18. They are putts he'd make tomorrow and the next day and the day after that, but it wasn't to be yesterday.

DeChambeau, on the other hand, most certainly didn't have his best stuff on Sunday.

But what he did do, better than McIlroy, was gut it out and find a way to win even when things didn't go his way.

He hit 5 fairways on the day. He caved in his driver face during his warm-up session on the range prior to going out and had to put a new driver head into play. The result wasn't pretty. He couldn't find a fairway.

His putting was equal parts great and iffy.

Unlike Rory, who rolled in five birdie putts of varying lengths, Bryson made par putts he needed and missed birdie putts he could have used.

He three-putted #15 from 18 feet, missed another one inside of 25 feet at #16, then left a simple 15-footer a ball short on #17 when he knew a birdie would give him the lead with one hole to play.

But Bryson made the big one.

After a wild duck hook off the tee at #18, DeChambeau wasn't able to get the ball on the green due to tree trouble and a squirrely lie in the left rough. His bunker shot from in front of the green was from 55 yards away. He hit it about 54 yards.

And then, like Payne Stewart did back in 1999, DeChambeau rolled in a par putt, albeit from 4 feet instead of 18 like Stewart, to win his 2nd U.S. Open title.

Yes, Bryson won the golf tournament.

And yes, Rory helped.

Rory McIlroy's shocking miss of short putts at #16 and #18 on Sunday paved the way for another heartbreaking loss in a U.S. Open.

But golf -- at the major championship level -- is about the player who handles everything for 72 holes. He (or she) deals with the good, the bad, the lucky, the unlucky, the ones that just fell in and the ones that lipped out.

If you can keep your head on straight for 72 holes, you have a chance. You can't keep it on for 70 holes. Or 71 holes. It's a 72-hole tournament for a reason.

Yesterday, McIlroy couldn't get it across the finish line. He was close. Ever so close. But he couldn't seal the deal.

And in the aftermath, the obvious question loomed: Can Rory recover from that collapse down the stretch?

The answer to that one is unknown.

It's tough enough to win major championships when you don't have scars and wounds and bruises that won't go away. McIlroy has lost a lot of majors over the last decade, no doubt about that. But the one he squandered on Sunday, without question, was the most painful of them all.

How do you recover from that?

He finished 2nd last year to Wyndham Clark at L.A. Country Club, but it was one of those rounds where Rory burned the edge on a half dozen putts and it just wasn't his day on the greens. Clark won that tournament, Rory didn't necessarily lose it.

But yesterday was different. Much different.

Anyone who has ever played competitive golf at any level -- amateur, professional, high school/college, etc. -- has likely given away a tournament or two along the way.

I shot 66-74 in the U.S. Amateur qualifier in 2000 at Bonnie View and missed a putt of roughly 4 feet myself at the 35th hole that would have earned me a spot at the national event at Baltusrol. I then lost on the first playoff hole when my opponent hit an improbable shot from the right rough to make par on the 1st hole while I couldn't get up and down from the front bunker for par.

Here we are 25 years later and I haven't forgotten about it. I learned from it, I think. But I sure haven't forgotten about it.

I've given other events away as well. We all have.

But if I can't forget squandering a chance to win a spot in the U.S. Amateur in 2000, how is Rory McIlroy going to compartmentalize handing the U.S. Open to Bryson DeChambeau?

I hope he can get over it. I think Rory's one of the good guys in the sport. He deserves better.

If DeChambeau goes out and shoots 67 on Sunday and wins by three, Rory gives him a hug, says all the right things afterwards and accepts his $2-plus-million 2nd place check with a shrug and says, "I'm going to get another one of these soon enough."

It's really hard to accept losing when you had it on your racket and couldn't put it away.

DeChambeau, meanwhile, showed exactly why he's won two U.S. Open trophies with the way he played over all four days. He's obviously a great player, as is anyone who teed it up at Pinehurst #2, but the best of the best have something in their gut that others don't.

Bryson's par at 18 was the difference.

It might have only been one putt that provided the final margin of victory, but he made it from four feet and Rory missed it from four feet. Two different putts, yes. But results are results. When Rory was pressed to make a putt to stay alive, he couldn't. When DeChambeau was pressed to make a putt to win, he did.

I hope McIlroy can bounce back from that one, but I think it's going to be tough.

Greg Norman never recovered from squandering his big lead in the 1996 Masters.

We never heard from Jean Van de Velde again, did we?

Others who gave away chances to win majors (Davis Love III, Phil Mickelson quickly come to mind) did eventually rebound, but they didn't go winless for a decade and have a handful of other chances to win like Rory has since 2014.

That was great theater yesterday and the player who played the best for four days eventually wound up winning, which probably means the result was ultimately justified, even if only by a single stroke.

But McIlroy's failure to close the deal will haunt him far more than the win will embolden DeChambeau, I'm afraid.


The other side story to Sunday's instant-classic finish at the U.S. Open was the quick exit taken by Rory in the aftermath of his shocking play over the final four holes.

It's one of those "but" moments that is undeniably tough to face.

Yes, it was an awful way to lose.

Yes, he's been an outstanding steward of the game throughout his career.

Yes, he's stayed and faced the music in plenty of other instances.

Yes, what happened was there for all to see, additional commentary wasn't really necessary or warranted.

But...

Rory needed to stick around for 10 minutes and answer questions.

"How tough is this one to take?"

"Given everything that transpired, is this your toughest defeat of the last decade?"

"What happened with the short putt at #16?"

"Why not hit 3-wood at the closing hole in an effort to keep it in the fairway?"

"Did you misread the putt at 18 or shove it just a hair?"

All fair questions.

Rory should have been there to answer them. Quickly, perhaps, but answer them nonetheless.

I get it. That was an excruciating loss. One of the worst defeats we've seen in golf over the last 20 years, from anyone, at any major.

But to bolt like that right afterwards was bad form.

If McIlroy wants to face the press, go home, and then decide to withdraw from this week's TOUR event in Connecticut while he attempts to recover from the disaster at Pinehurst, that's completely understandable. Golf's a taxing sport, despite its apparent pedestrian nature.

But his quick departure on Sunday evening from Pinehurst ended the whole day on the worst note possible. He lost. In more ways than one.

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orioles week in review


Week Record: 5-2

Season Record: 47-24

AL East Standing: 2nd (2 GB NYY)

Player of the Week: Gunnar Henderson

Another week, another winning record for the Orioles. If there was any question whether the O’s are one of the elite teams in MLB they answered it emphatically this week.

The Birds completed their four game sweep (or mop if you prefer) of the division rival Tampa Bay Rays and then proceeded to take four of six from two of the best teams in the National League.

The 5-2 week actually gained the Orioles some ground on the Yankees in the AL East race. The Yanks started the week strong with three straight wins over the Royals, but they couldn’t pull off the four game sweep and then dropped two out of three to the Red Sox. That means the O’s will head into the crucial series in the Bronx just two games behind New York.

Gunnar Henderson capped his "Player of the Week" honor with a leadoff home run in Sunday's 8-3 win over Philadelphia.

Unfortunately, as great as the week was, it wasn’t all good news.

Kyle Bradish left his start on Friday early with elbow discomfort and he was later sent to the injured list with a “UCL Sprain.” For a guy who had a delayed start to his season due to treatment for the UCL, this is an ominous sign. Bradish only recently came back from a short IL stint to rest his arm.

There is a strong possibility this is the end of a promising season for the breakout ace, but for now we can all hold out hope he may be able to get away with some time off and still pitch in 2024.

On Monday, the O’s completed their four game sweep of the Rays in relatively easy fashion, highlighting two teams heading in opposite directions. Gunnar Henderson led off with his 21st homer of the season, then James McCann hit one in the 3rd and Ryan O’Hearn drove in three more. It was all the support Corbin Burnes needed as he churned out another quality start, going seven innings with two runs (both unearned) and six strikeouts for a 5-2 win.

The Birds then traveled home to welcome last year’s NL East winning Atlanta Braves to Camden Yards. They opened that series on a strong foot, with Jorge Mateo going deep for an Earl Weaver Special in the 2nd inning. Austin Hays added an RBI single in the 6th and the pitching staff did the rest. Albert Suarez was fantastic again, throwing 5.1 more scoreless innings to lower his season ERA to 1.61, which is the best ERA for AL starters with more than 40 innings pitched. The bullpen followed with 3.2 scoreless to close out a 4-0 win.

On Wednesday the Orioles extended their winning streak to six. The O’s took a 2-0 lead into the 8th inning but Matt Olson went deep off Keegan Akin to tie the game. Which only set up defensive substitute, Colton Cowser, to put them back on top with a two-run shot of his own in the bottom half of the 8th. Craig Kimbrel then pitched a flawless 9th to seal the 4-2 win.

They couldn’t quite complete the sweep of the Braves Thursday, as Atlanta got out to an early lead and pushed across four runs off Cole Irvin. Kyle Stowers hit a three run homer in the 7th to cut the lead to one, but the bullpen couldn’t keep it close and the Braves pulled away for a 6-3 win.

The weekend brought the NL leading Phillies to town, along with quite a few of their fans, for a series that had a postseason feel.

Thankfully the O’s sent the interlopers back up I-95 with a series loss. Kyle Schwarber put the Phillies out in front right away with a leadoff homer on Friday night before I even made it to my seat. Adley Rutschman doubled in Cedric Mullins in the 3rd to tie the game. Raphael Marchan homered in the 5th for the only other blemish on Kyle Bradish, despite the arm discomfort.

That led to one of the more exciting conclusions of the season. Anthony Santander continued his hot streak with a solo shot to tie it in the 8th. After the Phillies scored their ghost runner in the top of the 10th, Gunnar Henderson came to the plate with two outs and runners on 2nd and 3rd. Gunnar ran the count full, before drawing an angry walk to load the bases.

On the next pitch to Anthony Santander, Kerkering unleashed a wild pitch and Cedric Mullins sprinted home from 3rd base. Initially called out, replay showed Mullins arm just beat the tag to the plate and the call was overturned and the game was tied. Unfortunately Santander lined out to end the inning, followed by a lengthy rain delay and the Phillies scored two in the 11th to win 5-3.

The O’s bounced back on Saturday though, overturning a 2-0 early deficit for a 6-2 win. It was largely the Anthony Santander show as the outfielder went deep in the 4th to tie the game 2-2, then hit a sac fly in the 6th to give the O’s the lead, followed by another homer in the 8th that put the game out of reach.

Grayson Rodriguez was strong again, limiting the Phillies to two runs over seven innings while striking out six. Bryan Baker pitched a shutout inning in his return to the bullpen and Craig Kimbrel quieted the boos of the Philly fans with three strikeouts to close out the save.

On Sunday things got even better for the Orioles. With Corbin Burnes on the mound, the O’s didn’t need a huge offensive day but they got it anyway. Burnes picked up his second quality start of the week, conceding two runs in six innings with seven strikeouts.

Gunnar started the offensive barrage with another leadoff homer. Colton Cowser tacked on two more with a homer in the 2nd, then Adley added another with a solo shot in the 3rd. The O’s poured on four more in the 5th to put the game out of reach, led by a three-run Jordan Westburg home run. The 8-3 win put a stamp on the series win as the O’s continued to keep the pressure on the Yankees.

Another outstanding week from the team made the Player of the Week award difficult once again. Corbin Burnes was an easy candidate with two wins on quality starts, throwing thirteen innings with just two earned runs and thirteen strikeouts. His 2.14 ERA is the third best for starters in the AL.

My initial gut reaction was that this award had to go to Anthony Santander, who hit three homers in the midst of a patented hot streak, driving in six runs and coming up big multiple times in key situations.

However, Gunnar Henderson had even better numbers this week, and iced the cake with some amazing defensive plays. It’s amazing that a week where Gunnar posted a .393 OBP with two homers and four RBI was almost unremarkable for the MVP candidate. But with the solid offensive week and outstanding defense, Gunnar gets the award.


Down on the Farm –

There was good news and bad news at Norfolk this week.

First, the bad news, top prospect Jackson Holliday was sent to the injured list with a “minor” elbow injury. The team emphasized that it was nothing serious and that the young star just needed some rest.

On the other side of the injury spectrum, Coby Mayo started his rehab in single A Aberdeen and hit three homers, showing he is ready to rejoin Norfolk this coming week. Dean Kremer also threw three innings for Norfolk on Sunday and looks close to returning to the Orioles rotation.

Aside from the injuries, a few Norfolk hitters stood out this week. Heston Kjerstad continued his strong performance in AAA, batting .307 with four extra base hits this week. Utility prospect Billy Cook was on fire this week, batting .409 with three homers and six RBI. Intriguing 25 year old right handed pitcher, Brandon Young had an excellent outing on Friday, throwing five shutout innings with four strikeouts and no walks.

In AA Bowie, fellow 2022 draft picks Dylan Beavers and Jud Fabian both had hot weeks, the latter belting three homers to raise his total to 12 for the year. Fast rising 2023 pick, Matthew Etzel continued to look solid after his promotion to Bowie, picking up a hit in each one of his first five AA games and stealing four bases.


Question of the Week –

How do the Orioles match up against the Yankees this week?

In lieu of a typical question of the week, today we’ll preview the upcoming series at Yankee stadium.

As far as June series go, they don’t get any bigger than this. Despite the outstanding play from the Orioles, they have struggled to gain much ground on their AL East rivals. After the O’s dispatched the Phillies this weekend, these are arguably the two best teams in baseball.

The O’s will enter the series two games behind the Yankees, giving them a chance to take the division lead with a sweep. The Yanks hold the best winning percentage in MLB, but the O’s are tied with the Phillies for second.

New York has the best run differential in the league at +130, but the Orioles are second at +114, and no other team is really that close. The Orioles have the most wins over winning teams, with 22, but the Yankees are second in that stat, with 18 of their own.

The Orioles lead the league in home runs with 114, the Yankees are second with 110. In OPS it's the Yankees second at .767 and the Orioles third at .761.

When it comes to pitching, New York has the best team ERA at 3.02 and the Orioles are just a tick behind in second at 3.07. In WHIP the teams are 3rd and 5th with the Orioles slightly better. In Batting Average Against the Yankees lead at .215, the Orioles are fourth at .217.

You get the picture. Both of these teams are really good.

The only cause for concern for the Orioles is that the pitching matchups favor the Yankees. The Orioles are scheduled to start Albert Suarez, Cade Povich and Cole Irvin while the Yankees have Nestor Cortes, TBA, and breakout ace Luis Gil.

It seems like a very good chance the TBA is going to be ace Gerrit Cole who is close to returning from his rehab for an injury similar to Kyle Bradish.

Now, all of the O’s starters have been solid this season, but having Corbin Burnes or Grayson Rodriguez throwing would inspire a little more confidence.

In Tuesday’s matchup, Cortes has bounced back after a poor and injury-hampered 2023, posting a 3.59 ERA that is mostly supported by the underlying numbers.

He is not a fireballer, but the lefty relies mostly on his fastball and cutter, throwing them a combined 78% of the time. He is not a big strikeout or swing and miss pitcher, but he does limit the walks.

In just his third major league start, it will be quite the experience for Cade Povich to go into Yankee stadium in a high leverage game.

Povich had some issues with walks in his debut but looked filthy in his second outing. It looks like he’ll face off against Gerrit Cole, who has been arguably the best pitcher in baseball when healthy over the past few years. He won the 2023 AL Cy Young with a 2.63 ERA and 222 strikeouts in 209 innings. Hopefully if it is Cole, we get a rusty version who is not at the top of his game.

The Thursday afternoon finale features two of the surprises of the season with Cole Irvin squaring off against Luis Gil.

Irvin has been rock solid for the O’s after losing his starting rotation place last season. Gil has been a revelation for the Yankees, only making the rotation due to Cole’s injury. All he has done is post the best ERA in the AL at 2.03. The 26 year old was not a highly touted prospect before this season, but he has been dominant.

Gil’s FIP and xFIP suggest he may be due for a little regression, but it hasn’t shown up yet and his Baseball Savant page shows his success is no fluke. He has top end fastball velocity and a high strikeout percentage while limiting the barrel and hard-hit rates of opposing bats.

Gil relies mostly on a four-seam fastball, which he throws 55% of the time and he backs that up with a changeup and a slider.

The good news is that the Orioles will face righties in two of the three games which allows them to get more of their best bats in the lineup.

This series lines up to be quite the mid-June spectacle, so get your popcorn ready and let’s hope the O’s can go into the Bronx and pull closer to that top spot in the AL East.

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Sunday
June 16, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3586


bryson's to lose


Before we break down yesterday's Orioles game -- oh, wait, some people here think a sports website dedicated in large part to the local teams shouldn't do that -- let me take a second to wish all of the fathers out there a Happy Father's Day.

If you're fortunate enough to have your Dad still alive and with you today, make sure you reach out and thank him for all that he did for you.

Those, like me, who no longer have their Dads here will simply remember the great times today. I'm lucky enough to be a Dad myself now, which is the greatest gift God ever gave me.

Happy Father's Day to all!

Yielding to the peanut gallery, we'll accept their recent admonishment and not go into detail about the 6-2 O's win over the Phillies on Saturday.

It's a shame, too. That was a nice win and a decent performance from a few guys that we're not allowed to mention. But, as they say, you win some and lose some. Yesterday the O's won one. And they have that going for them...which is nice.

We have a handful of mailbag questions to get to this morning, one of which even centers on the Orioles. I'll be careful not to break down too much stuff, though. It's a long season and all. Anyone who breaks down every game or every move is nuts, I've heard.

Before the mailbag, though, let's look at what lies ahead at today's final round of the U.S. Open at Pinehurst #2.

It's Bryson DeChambeau's tournament to lose. Plain and simple.

Sure, I doubt he's going to produce six birdies today like he did in Saturday's third round, but I also don't see any of the guys pursuing him being able to register six birdies, either.

Bryson's presence on the top of the leaderboard is certainly not a fluke. He's driving it like a madman, hitting his wedges with the same precision he did in 2020 when he won the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, and rolling in key putts along the way.

Bryson DeChambeau goes for his 2nd U.S. Open title today at Pinehurst #2. He has a 3-shot lead with 18 holes to play.

The former U.S. Amateur and NCAA champion has hit 25 drives over 330 yards this week. And remember, in order for those to be measured by the USGA, they have to be in the fairway.

It's one thing to swing for the fences and hit it 330 but be in the rough, in the woods or in someone's backyard. It's another thing entirely to pipe it 330 yards and put it in the fairway. 25 times.

Because we don't see much of him these days, we tend to forget just how talented Bryson is, with every club in the bag.

DeChambeau, remember, finished a shot out of a playoff at the PGA Championship and was in the hunt at the Masters over the weekend before eventually finishing T6 at Augusta National. That's even more impressive when you remember he's a part-time player on the LIV Tour these days.

With the PGA Tour-LIV agreement apparently reaching a successful conclusion (announced sometime this coming week), it's likely we'll be seeing more and more of DeChambeau in the U.S. in the near future. And that's a good thing for golf. Of all the guys on the TOUR who took the blood money and bolted for LIV, he's the one guy who is easy to like and good for the game.

I'm hoping he holds on and wins today. Golf wins if DeChambeau is the champion of the 2024 U.S. Open.

Saturday's 3rd round featured an early push from Collin Morikawa (66), who bolted up the leaderboard and moved past more than a dozen players along the way. His solid play showed the leaders, who went out hours later, that a good score could be had by those in pursuit.

36-hole leader Ludvig Aberg was in the mix throughout the front nine. But he, like Tony Finau 30 minutes earlier, made a complete mess of the 13th hole en route to an energy-zapping triple bogey at #13. Just as he did at Augusta on Sunday when one bad swing at #11 cost him a chance at the title, his sloppy play at #13 on Saturday probably eliminated his chances of winning today.

Patrick Cantlay plodded along like he always does and nearly forced DeChambeau and Aberg to play the final hole under temporary lighting. And had Cantlay rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole, he would have played in today's final group with DeChambeau. I'm sure NBC and the USGA would have loved that. Not.

He's a supremely talented player is Cantlay. But his pace of play, which some on TOUR think is intentional, is a joke. DeChambeau's no speed demon out there, either, but Cantlay is beyond what the experts call "methodical". It takes away from his great golf, sadly.

The contrast of personalities is impossible to ignore as well. DeChambeau is a showman. Cantlay is aloof if not borderline brooding.

At his core, DeChambeau wants to entertain people and he wants them to like him. Cantlay couldn't care less what you think abou him or anything else. He's just a golfer. There's room in the sport for both of them, though.

Rory McIlroy and Matthieu Pavon finished the day at 4-under along with Cantlay. Pavon, because he finished earlier than McIlroy, will get the honor of joining DeChambeau in today's Round 4 final group. McIlroy and Cantlay will team up in the penultimate group just after 2 pm.

Pavon is a very nice, but unknown player, who is just now starting to make a name for himself on TOUR. The Frenchman started his career on the European Tour, then broke through this past January with a surprising win at Torrey Pines. I realize we have to crown a U.S. Open champion before we start talking about who might win the British Open at Troon next month, but I can tell you now so you're not surprised: Pavon will be high on my list of potential winners there.

McIlroy, of course, is the biggest name still alive on the leaderboard today. That he and Cantlay are playing together has created a lot of chatter over the last 16 hours, as it was those two who sparked a controversy at last year's Ryder Cup. The odds are nothing comes of that today, but it will be interesting to follow nonetheless.

DeChambeau is closing in on rare territory. With a win today, he'd have as many U.S. Open victories as greats like Lee Trevino, Curtis Strange, Ernie Els, Payne Stewart and Brooks Koepka. Oh, and he'd have one more Open trophy than Arnold Palmer. And two more than Greg Norman.

For all of the quirks he possesses and occasionally displays, Bryson is an extrordinarily talented player. His equipment is either really weird or impressively progressive, depending on your viewpoint.

But, golf isn't about "how". It's about "how many".

And if DeChambeau shoots 67 in the 3rd round of the U.S. Open in part because he plays with mammoth-sized grips or his 6-iron and pitching wedge are the same length or because he floats his golf balls in Espom salts to make sure they're properly balanced, more power to him.

It's probably not easy to sleep on a 3-shot lead, but this isn't an event where someone's going to throw up a 63 or 64 today and surge past the leader in a flash.

Can Rory McIlroy break through with a win today at Pinehurst #2 and claim his first major title since 2014 at the same time?

Is it possible that Bryson could miss a bunch of 5-foot par putts today and shoot 75 or 76 today? Of course. The golf course is very difficult and every player in the field gets 8 of those putts, at a minimum, over the course of 18 holes at Pinehurst #2.

DeChambeau rolled in almost every makeable putt he looked at yesterday. The odds of him doing that again this afternoon aren't high, but his key will be off the tee. If he drives it today like he did the first three days, he'll be hard to catch.

Putting has separated the leaders from the followers through 54 holes.

Bryson putted like Ben Crenshaw 2.0 on Saturday, pouring in par saves, birdie makes and looking more confident as the day went on, a hiccup at #16 notwithstanding.

Cantlay is 2nd in strokes gained: putting and has made 17 of 18 putts from the 4-8 foot range in 54 holes.

Other than a 3-putt at #6 on Saturday that included a terse moment with a group of marshals who wouldn't stop moving, McIlroy acquitted himself well with the flat stick. A miss from 10-feet above the hole at #17 (for par) was about the only putt he didn't make that he probably should have (could have) made.

On the other end of the spectrum, Scottie Scheffler ranks among the leaders in virtually every ball striking category but is dead last in shots gained: putting.

Someone on the Golf Channel reported last night that Scheffler would be trailing by just one shot if he ranked 36th in the field instead of 72nd in the field in that category.

DeChambeau, by the way, is ranked first in putts faced/made from the 4-8 foot range this week.

Four players in the top 10 after three rounds have won a major championship; DeChambeau, Matsuyama, Rory (4) and Morikawa (2). Everyoen else is still looking for their first one.

If Bryson does falter today, who is best suited to come from behind and win? That would seemingly be McIlroy, although both Cantlay and Pavon have played well enough over the first three days to potentially piece together a nice round of 67 or 68 today and snag a win out of nowhere.

Last but not least, no matter what happens today, the USGA deserves a massive round of applause.

The guess here is they might set the course up a shot or two easier today in hopes of bunching up the leaderboard for a back-nine-shootout. Perhaps they move the tee up on #10 to create more eagles/chances or maybe they play #13 from an up tee box (330 yards) to entice players to try to drive the green on that hole.

There's a lot of talk around the country about "America's home for golf". Some people think it's Pebble Beach. Bandon Dunes has drawn a lot of praise -- albeit without hosting a TOUR event -- as well. But it's actually Pinehurst by a mile. Pinehurst #2 is the best tournament course in America, for players of professional caliber, because it requires every facet of your game to be sharp and intact.

The USGA has done a masterful job this week.

They got the benefit of perfect weather for the conditions they wanted at Pinehurst, that much is true. But their set-up of the golf course has been sublime throughout the first three days.

Sure, it's been hard. There are some guys who are home watching the tournament like you and I who probably think it was "unfair" or "out of control" on Thursday and Friday.

There's a huge difference between "hard" and "unfair", though. Pinehurst #2 has never once been unfair this week.

Yes, some shots that would have stopped 12 feet from the hole on any other week have somehow wound up 10 or 15 yards off the green, but part of winning the U.S. Open is keeping your game and your head intact for 72 holes.

I don't think I'd like to watch the U.S. Open every week. And I'm sure the players wouldn't want to play one every week as well.

But once a year, I don't see anything wrong at all with having a fast, firm golf course that requires incredible precision -- and some degree of luck -- to determine who wins the national championship.

Golf, as anyone who plays knows, is as much about your head as it is your swing. Every player who made the cut this week is a great player in their own right. But a lot of them who aren't near the first page of the leaderboard caved in mentally at the frustrating challenges they were unable to overcome.

In the end, one guy will stand above the rest. He'll conquer the layout, sure. But he'll also conquer himself at the same time.

Once a year, I love to see it all unfold that way for four days.


My weekly golf show on 105.7 The Fan will air today from 4-6 pm. I'll be joined by my friend Kevin Fruman of National Lumber. I hear there's a big golf tournament going on at the same time that we'll be able to talk about.

If you have a question for the show, you can either call in (410-583-1057) or e-mail it to me: 18inarow@gmail.com


And now we'll wipe out a few questions from the bulging e-mail inbox. I apologize for not getting to more of these. It must be all of that pesky in-depth coverage of Orioles games we provide around here that overly consumes us.

Jonathan asks -- "Hi Drew, I know you wrote something a month ago about the new Orioles owner maybe making himself too much of the show at the stadium and so I'm curious what you think about him running in the hot dog race during Thursday's Orioles/Braves game? Too much or all in good fun in your opinion?"

DF says -- "To be clear, and fair, that wasn't David Rubenstein who did that. It was one of the minority partners, Michael Arougheti.

What do I think? I think it's silly. The Orioles published something on social media to the extent of: "Your owners would never do this." That made me laugh. They're right, nearly every owner in baseball would never do that.

But, while I think it's amateur-hour stuff, I do get it. These dudes ponied up a lot of money, Aurogheti far less than Rubenstein, of course. And for that money, they want something in return they couldn't otherwise receive. For Aurogheti, it's running around the field dressed as a hot dog condiment.

I don't know why.

But I'm also not a gazillionaire. I don't know exactly how those folks think.

In the end, it's obviously harmless. But it still looked weird, at least to me."


Aaron Frontak asks -- "I laughed at your tweet (or whatever we call a message sent out on X) about the umpires on Friday. Were you serious that you're in favor of robot umps? I definitely am after seeing the strikes they called on Gunnar and Westburg on Friday night. Are you?"

DF says -- "I'm not anti-umpire. Not in the least. I think they mostly do a phenomenal job of getting the calls right.

What I'm not in favor of, though, are their rabbit ears and their thin skin. They come across like petulant 12 year olds.

Umpires do a remarkable job. But they're occasionally wrong, even if they don't like hearing that. And, so, when they get an earful from a player or a manager, there are instances where that exchance between the two of them is (potentially) warranted.

I like and respect the job umpires do.

But that guy from the Nationals (?) merely glanced back at the umpire after a questionable strike 3...and he got tossed? That was #juniorvarsity stuff right there.

I'm not for robot umpires. But I am for umpires who have thicker skin."


Matt asks -- "Settle a bet between golfing friends. Here are my last five scores and the courses. Given what you see, what are the odds I would break 100 playing Pinehurst #2 just as it is right now (Saturday, 6/15)? 80 (Rocky Point), 83 (Greystone), 80 (Greystone), 82 (Bridges), 79 (Rocky Point)."

DF says -- "First off, congrats on the good golf. Those are solid scores. These kinds of things are always hard to do because I don't know why you're an 8-handicap. Do you drive it great but can't putt a lick? Or do you make everything but drive it like Stevie Wonder?

For the purposes of this debate, an 8-handicap who is an outstanding putter has a better chance of playing well at Pinehurst, but either way the numbers don't work out in your favor.

I hate to bear bad news, but the chances you'd break 100 at Pinehurst #2 are roughly 2%. Now, I'd say you have a 25% chance of breaking 100 from the white tees. But from the championship tees? Almost no chance of breaking 100.

Given what we've seen this week, a player of your caliber (8 handicap or thereabouts) would have a hard time making a par on more than 3 or 4 holes. In fact, I'd say it's more likely you only make two pars in 18 holes than six pars in 18 holes.

So, let's give you two pars just for kicks and giggles. You're 16 over. That's 86. But that's only if you made 2 pars and 16 bogeys.

Unfortunately, I'm here to tell you that you're going to make at least eight double bogeys. And a minimum of four triple bogeys.

A better bet for you might be this: Can you make more bogeys than double bogeys at Pinehurst #2? I say no. Not from the championship tees, anyway.

Could you make a birdie? Well, of course. But I doubt you would.

So let's look at the projected scorecard.

4 bogeys.

8 double bogeys.

4 triple bogeys.

2 pars.

That's 32 over par.

Your scorecard reads: 102.

And that's still not a bad round there for an 8-handicap."

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#dmd comments








HERMAN     June 20
Baltimore fans calling the O's announcers homers? Have you listened to that fool Gerry Sandusky call a Ravens game? There is no one more biased than that man. He's terrible. But I get it, he's paid by the Ravens so he has to be biased. That is what's happening with the O's announcers. Give it a break.

George     June 20
Jon Miller could make a rain delay enjoyable!

Chris in Bel Air     June 20
“There were a couple of balls up and in. It’s part of it. They like to throw in.”

The stats I'm viewing shows the Yankees are 3rd in the league for most hit batters with 42. O's are 3rd from bottom at 24. Who likes to throw in, Aaron? Smh

Paul from Towson     June 20
@Randy, thanks for the stats on that, and I think you're right. Compared with last year, their current rankings probably seem a lot worse than they are. I also think it has to do with when these situations come up and how effective the O's are in late game/high leverage RISP circumstances. Also, who is coming up in these spots. Guys like O'Hearn, Rutschman, and Mountie always seem to deliver, while guys like Hays, Cowser, and (I hate saying it) Mullins (except for last night) seem to drag that average down.



Also, as a kid, listening to Jon Miller on the radio, and Chuck and Brooks on the TV side are some of the most pleasant memories of my childhood. Angelos running Jon Miller out of town should still be one of the top 3 sins of his ownership.

rc     June 20
How many times are we gonna do this? EVERY team in MLB pays its own announcers to BE homers! Yet we're gonna whine about it when the O's do it? Newsflash, Palmer is also a homer. Every call against the O's his first utterance is "oh no no no....", then they watch the replay and it's "ok maybe he did swing" or "maybe he was out".

I respect Cake's knowledge, but face it, when announcing, he's a cheerleader too. It is more palatable coming from a HOF player as opposed to a "sideline reporter" like Hollander. Hollander is a younger version of local "generic announcer" Tom Davis. These guys are doing high school fashion shows one night, then calling a game the next night. Why? One can only assume its because they do it for cheapo, and in the case of last night, on short notice. Melanie Newman in the same category. She's oh with her telling stories role, but for play by play, I agree with Such, she is beyond bad, just like most of her coworkers.

JeffWell     June 20
@UTB- I remember all of those great "once upon a time" broadcasters that you mentioned and the great calls as well. In those days you got most games via radio and those guys made it almost seem like you were there.

TimD in Timonium     June 20
"Whenever two of the best teams in baseball play in the same division, their battles have that much higher stakes. That heightened energy was felt Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, especially after Aaron Judge was hit by a pitch on his left hand in the third inning of the Yankees’ 4-2 win over the Orioles. The stoic Judge marched halfway between Orioles starter Albert Suarez and first base while shaking his head. Aaron Judge was not happy with the pitch that hit him on the hand. "Definitely pissed,” Judge said about the pitch. “There were a couple of balls up and in. It’s part of it. They like to throw in.” - NY Post, June 19th



Oh, the drama. Can't stand these guys. Go O's!


Randy     June 20
Some context on hitting with RISP:

O's are 9th in batting average (.266) and 7th in OPS (.801), so in the top 3rd of the league. The Yanks are 5th and 3rd respectively.



The Orioles were 1st in both categories last year, so that is probably why it seems bad by comparison.

Unitastoberry     June 20
@Steve of Pimlico



Chuck Thompson is a HOFer. Jon Miller will be if not already. O'Donnell famous for the call with DeCinces walk off homer with Eckman going nuts. Tom Marr called Tippy retiring the side at first base with pick off plays. All better than current guys. Thorn was good I even liked Mel Procter. Tom Davis gets honorable mention with Jim Carvellis. Great memories.

Jason M     June 20
Rutschman is the MAN. That throw out in the 10th was so pivotal. The throw was just a thing of beauty - a laser beam on a dime at 127 feet. What a stone cold stellar performance to completely remove the Yankee momentum at that crucial moment.

Steve of Pimlico     June 20
I remember when Bill O'Donnell,Tom Marr and Jim Hunter were not considered top notch

They are HOFers compared to this current crop .

Mark.S in PH     June 20
@Paul all great points on last night's game, especially on Hay's AB, it was terrible. Agree on Verdugo, he's a jerk, made me chuckle! I like Palmer and Ben when they are doing the color! Get well Jim.



I have often wondered why can't the website add a "Like" or "thumbs-up, thumbs-down" button on the reader's posts?



Go O's!

Regular Joe     June 20
I have to pile on Hyde a bit, albeit a great win. Hyde will need to be better for us to win it all. O'Hearn is a better hitter than Hays and has a way better idea of the strike zone. I don't care if a great lefty is on the mound (and that Yankee guy was not close to great). Hays is from the old regime hitting approach-wise and has no clue what to do if the first pitch isn't a hittable fastball.



And Hyde just can't be pulling relievers after 20 pitches in the 5th inning - Webb is unfortunately now one of the better options.



Also very happy for Urias - he will be very important for us.




Pratt     June 20
FINALLY! Someone finally calls out Brown for his pompous attitude. The Orioles NEVER EVER do anything wrong according to that guy. Like you said Hollender was just in there because Palmer wasn't but Brown should rise above that.

Chris in Bel Air     June 20
@JWW- Thanks for the correction. After I typed it I couldn't remember if it was 2012 or 2104.

@Such- Don't you know that nobody is supposed to question or mess with the precious Yankees? Only they know what it right and just in the baseball world. Didn't you know that MLB really just sets up the entire season for the enjoyment of the Yankees and their fans? We're all just passengers in the journey and we should be grateful if they let the other team win. Their level of narcissism and self-infatuation is mind-numbing.

Adam     June 20
Completely agree MFC but add closer and right handed bat to the list. The Os announcers were right that we dont hit guys in general but we clearly threw at Judge and I would've done the same. But there was no need to yammer on all night about how Os would never do such a thing. Somewhere Armando beanball Benitez had a hearty chuckle. But this is same Yankees phonies that watched Sabathia break bone in Markakis hand so they can kick rocks

KVVfromSP     June 20
Speaking of pathetic announcers , how about the announcer at Camden Yards …..makes my skin crawl every time she announces a batter.

MFC     June 20
Baustista, Means, Wells, Bradish, is something in the "hydration station" water? With those guys we're definitely the best team in baseball. Without them it's going to be a struggle. Sorry but Tate, Webb, Suarez and Kimbrel just aren't doing it for me. I'm of the opinion a move for a pitcher has to be made and possibly two pitchers.



Catholic League HOF dinner tonight. Calipari is the headline speaker. Lots of great stories to be told this evening. Looking forward to catching up with old friends.

JWW     June 20
@CHRIS - I was going to bring that up as I totally agree with you. It was actually September 2012, not 2014 when Sabathia plunked Markakis. The magical winning season that culminated in an ALDS loss to those same Bombers. I felt so bad for Nick - all the years of losing came to a spectacular end and he had to sit that playoff run out.



F the Yankees indeed.

lou@palo alto     June 20
Paul makes many gd pts. Hays has regressed in his strike zone awareness--it's even worse than Mateo's and he has actually improved. Elias will hv decisions re the 3 outfielders and my bet is Hays is gone w Mullins & Santander offered deals but there are lots of moving parts here w pitching needs and many gd young players knocking on the door

Paul from Towson     June 20
Teams tend to emulate their manager. The Yankees are whiny, soft, arrogant cry baby punks. Just like their garbage manager. Brandon Hyde has the Orioles focused on winning baseball games, not the childish nonsense like bean ball wars or dugout sniping.

Tom J     June 20
The Yankees whining is comical. They are third in MLB with 48 hit batters. They may want to get pissed at their own guys before anyone else. Gunnar was intentional last night so thanks dummies for putting the run difference in the game on base. BTW, their catcher totally sucks. They need to run on this guy every single time on base. Nine steals Sunday vs Boston and four last night. Pathetic......

such     June 20
DR, you're spot on. Soto had no business doing that. It sure seemed intentional. Just like the pitch that Gunnar got drilled with last night. That was clearly an attempt to pay back the Orioles for Judge getting hit. But did anyone else notice that Saurez couldn't throw a strike Tuesday night? I'm not sure there was much intention when he plunked Judge.

I like Kevin Brown, I really do, but sometimes you have to call it like you see it. He tried way too hard last night to excuse the Gunnar HBP as unintentional. I think if Palmer or McDonald had been in the booth, there would've been a different take on the whole situation. It's times like that when it's good to have a former pro alongside you. Their perspective is based on their experience on the field.

If you think the MASN guys are bad, just try listening to the radio when Melanie is doing her version of "play-by-play". Brings a whole new level to the definition of dreadful.

Speaking of play-by-play, there's a beautiful video tribute to Willie Mays that the Giants released yesterday narrated by Jon Miller. Man, do I miss that guy. You can find it on YouTube.



As always, F the Yankees.

Paul from Towson     June 20
Yes, it's June. Yes, there's still 89 of these games remaining. But a loss last night might as well have been 2 losses. This was one of those "defining" games, for lack of a better term where the O's once again pulled defeat from the jaws of victory, to only then pull victory from the jaws of defeat. If this game is against the White Sox in mid-April or mid-May, it sucks, but you chalk it up to "there's 10 or 15 of 'those games'" every season. But when you blow a 5-1 lead, in Yankee Stadium, in late-June when less than 3 games separates these teams...that's as big of a loss as any can be in June. And crushes any momentum heading into today's matinee. Coupled with the fact that my dead grandmother would have been a better pinch hit option than Hays, and the Orioles left a small village on the bases last night. By the way, I keep saying it, if the O's don't win the World Series this year, or at least don't make an extended playoff run, it will be because they just can't hit with runners in scoring position. Minus Alex Verdugo's great catch (I hate that SOB, but credit given on that, Santander smoked that ball) over the past month, the O's have been terrible when they get a runner to second with less than two outs. Bases loaded in the 9th, one out, you HAVE to push across a run there. All Hays has to do is make contact and Mateo scores as long as Hays doesn't hit into an inning ending double play. He's terrible, and he while I get the logic of why Hyde pinch hit for O'Hearn there, Hays looked like a little leaguer against a guy with a 5.00+ ERA who just loaded the bases. Can't have that in big game situations. You HAVE to make contact. And Kimbrel had been very good recently, but I was never comfortable with him inheriting a one run lead. Going into the bottom of the ninth, I was just hoping he only gave up one and was able to get the O's back up in the 10th.



All in all, in the end it was a great team win. I love Ceddie and it was awesome to see him finally come through in the clutch. Also, I thought that except for the walks, Povich acquitted himself quite nicely for his first time in Yankee Stadium.



As far as Kevin Brown/Bren Hollander last night, I agree with Drew's assessment, but ANYTHING is better than the garbage we suffered through during Kevin's recent hiatus. Brad Brach should NEVER be allowed anywhere near the broadcast booth again, and the Geoff Arnold (insert name here) team was minor league/amateur hour-ish in my opinion. Just my thoughts. GO O's!!!!!

lou@palo alto     June 20
hope Palmer recovers quickly--covid no joke at his age. Haven't seen commentary on Stanton's game tying single--Kimbrel did his job and got him to hit the ball directly at Urias, just that the Yanks had an unusual hit and run on with the runner on 2nd going. Urias vacated his position to cover third--otherwise its an out if not a double play w the runner going rite toward him

Chris in Bel Air     June 20
Agree with @David R and yes, this retaliation business is bush league. Also, while the O's announcers are huge homers I do agree with their take on the ump and was surprised he didn't issue a warning after Gunnar was drilled. I hope he goes 4/4 today with a HR on the way to an O's win. Any of these holier than thou Yankee fans remember their team drilling Markakis and breaking his hand before the 2014 playoffs? No need to answer.

Unitastoberry     June 20
Mays military service most likely kept him from getting to Ruths 714 RIP



MASN is outta my price range so I'll take your word for it on the tv call. Do the Orioles have a senior citizen MASN inflation discount?



Six innings a game on average for starting pitchers and a 5 man rotation they still blow out the armS left and right. Don't tell me it's because they throw harder. Do they have robots who do surgery on MLB pitchers yet? Orioles had 4 twenty game winners in 1971 not one lost to Tommy John surgery which was not even invented until 1974. This is like the NFL adding games but still caring about CTE. 18 coming soon. Now there's talk of a seperate QB salary cap. All this NIL money still can't buy Maryland a football national championship. Some thngs never change at U of DC.



One thing I still enjoy from the past is hating on the Yankees.Spoiled rotten bums as usual.



Well I gotta go my 1972 Gand Torino needs service and my Get off my Lawn sign is missing.

David Rosenfeld     June 20
All of this (whatever it is) started with Soto. There was simply no reason for him to make contact with Westburg in that situation. It was weird and displayed a lack of understanding of the rules at least. Second time this season he's been called for it. Bias aside, he's kind of a punk. I know he's got a 1.023 OPS and hits the living snot out of the ball, but odds are he's on his 4th team next season at age 26.

With bias...I feel like the Yankees are sort of acting like a team that's accomplished something. I'm trying to figure out what that is exactly besides being in first place in June.

TimD     June 20
Agree with your take on the O's announcers' comments. Absolutely "homer" mentality. "Our team would never do that!"



Hotel warm coffee is the worst!

Bob Miller     June 20
Consider me Team Kevin Brown. He’s entertaining and engaging.

Jason S.     June 20
I love Elias but the Kimbrel signing was a whiff. That guy sucks. Move on and find someone to close games before we get bit in the playoffs.

Cal     June 20
You're just now turning down the sound when Brown is doing the play by play? I've been doing that for two years. Turn down the sound and listen to the radio side of it. Brown is more of a homer than Hunter ever was and that's saying something.



Maybe it goes back to being suspended last year but the O's can do no wrong ever, as you pointed out.

Frank     June 20
Hollander is terrible. I agree last night was a bad look for both KB and Hollander. They sounded like school girls who got turned down by two handsome football players.

As for the game itself, Hyde is very lucky they won. I hear you about the stats and data numbers but O'Hearn has to bat there in the 9th inning. Bringing in Hays cold off the bench in that situation was stupid.

Too bad Gray-Rod doesn't pitch today or someone from the Yanks would take one in the ribs.

Delray RICK     June 20
PALMER has COVID AGAIN!!!

rc     June 20
This GM guy must be angling for a member/guest invite lol.

Kevin     June 19
Streets are saying Jeremy and Drew are taking over 10-2 show on the Fan starting July 29.

GM     June 19
When does DMD flip flop Billy? Examples?

Billy     June 19
@John, #DMD flip flops often lol.

George     June 19
@Howard -- Tough question, and one I don’t have a defensible answer to. I am struck by the fact that in many cases – art, battlefield photography, clandestine industrial videography, the gravamens of whistleblowers’ and kneeling athletes’ complaints – we (the people) tend to find fault with and condemn the messenger and fail to act on the wrong he or she has brought to light. I guess there is a fine line between right and wrong in the methods used to expose stuff, but I’ve no clue where that line is. Seems that there has to be offense at the method before anyone bothers to look at the wrong, and sometime the offense is so great, the wrong is never considered at all.

John L.     June 19
Does PA actually read what DF writes? DF made it very clear he's still anti Saudis today didn't he?



"Alas, he's also a guy who joined a rival league and accepted money from creeps who have not been friendly to our country and who continue to walk a very fine line when it comes to human rights issues. I made my bed on that situation early on and I'm very comfortable sleeping in it."

Howard     June 19
Great article by George but 1 picture too many. I think that the picture “Adult Movies” is pornography. The naked human body is a beautiful thing that has been celebrated in art for millennia, but I think this picture crossed the line into smut. I wouldn’t want my grandchildren to see this and I wonder if anyone

would be comfortable showing this to their family members who are minors.


J.K.     June 19
According to Bruce Cunningham, our very own DF is doing radio today on 105.7 from 12-3 pm. Is that correct?

pa     June 19
If I might clarify my comments too: it seems at the start of LIV, DMD was writing off each individual golfer who signed up for LIV (ala "dead to me"). At the time I suggested it was more of a "golf" thing, not a "Saudi" thing. Unfortunately, the Saudis (and China, Russia, et al) have their financial tentacles in a lot of entities that Americans support. So that in itself really is not unique to LIV. Now the format: pay for play, teams, shotguns, 54 holes etc, are all bastardizations of real tournament golf. In that vein, I am 100% with the DMD take on LIV.

Just never understand why DMD seemed to be making it all about Saudis and individual US players taking "their" money. Maybe I misunderstood, or maybe DMD has somewhat backed off the Saudi angle. Either way, as it was clarified today, I agree with the current DMD take on LIV guys. I'm sure we'll both root hard for BAD should he be on the Ryder Cup squad.

lou@palo alto     June 19
Palmer collapse in '66 Open at Olympic was a transition to a new era.He was 36 and never won another major--my long post from 2 d ago cldnt clear the robot--fyi

lou@palo alto     June 19
great column, George. My sister was '64 Parkville and me '66 City so lots of memories jogged--thx

Paul from Towson     June 19
Well said Such. Willie Mays is a once in a millennium individual. More than baseball, more than stats. His loss will extend beyond baseball, into the fiber of America. The world is a little less of a beautiful place now that he is gone.

such     June 19
I took some time last night to peruse the lifetime statistics of Willie Mays. It's as if every category you would want from a player came to life. I kept shaking my head in disbelief.

He stands alone as the only player in history to collect over 3,000 hits, 600 homeruns, 500 doubles, 100 triples and 300 stolen bases. He played in 24 (!) All Star Games. Oh, he also missed almost two full seasons when he was 22 and was drafted during the Korean War.

My only memory of Mays was seeing him on the Mets during the 1973 season. I was a very young boy, but even then I knew that Willie Mays was a legend. All I had to do was ask anyone who knew anything about baseball, which was basically everyone in America.

Icon is defined as "A person or thing widely admired, especially for having great influence or significance in a particular sphere." I like how the word sphere is used here, since a baseball is spherical.

Willie Mays was an American Icon.

Dan     June 19
Need to pull out a game or two vs Yanks since we didn't exactly line up our best starters for this series.

Steve of Pimlico     June 19
I have always loved Mr.Voshell's paintings and murals.He was our Grant Wood .

The Os have their weakest pitchers starting in this series so if they drop 3 it's not the end of the world.October will be very interesting.

Scottmann     June 19
Drew,

I'm surprised you didn't mention Jack Nicklaus as one of the classiest, and most gracious losers of all-time. Jack finished second in a record 19 majors, and always shook the winners hand.

Saturday
June 15, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3585


tough one to lose


The anti-Brandon-Hyde folks were working overtime last night after the O's dropped a 5-3 decision to the Phillies in 11 innings.

I didn't think Hyde had a particularly good night, for that matter, but heaping all or even most of the blame on him was kind of silly.

The Orioles batters -- not Hyde -- left 10 runners on base.

And Baltimore hitters were a grotesque 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

Oh, and that fly ball to left field in the 11th inning that Austin Hays sorta-kinda over ran and didn't catch? Yeah, that was big as well. It wasn't a routine play, obviously, but it's also a ball that a major league left fielder should probably come up with.

As for Hyde, it wasn't his fault that starter Kyle Bradish left the game early -- after just 74 pitches -- with elbow discomfort. That triggered a 30-pitch outing for Keegan Akin, which means he's unavailable today at the very least.

Some of Brandon Hyde's moves were questioned after last night's 5-3 loss to Philly, a game that saw the O's go 1-for-13 at the plate with runners in scoring position.

But Hyde was the one who removed Yennier Cano in the 10th and inserted Cionel Perez to face Kyle Schwarber, who actually hits lefties really well for some odd reason. I'm guessing the O's manager knew those details but wasn't all that worried about it.

Schwarber promptly singled home the go-ahead run in the 10th inning to temporarily put Philly up, 3-2.

If Perez gets Schwarber out there, no one says a word about the gamble. But he didn't. And everyone with the internet who knows Schwarber owns left-handed pitching this year didn't understand why Hyde would roll the dice with that one.

But...it wasn't Hyde who came up in the bottom of the 10th and had a chance to put the game away with a big hit of some kind. That honor belonged to Gunnar Henderson and Anthony Santander. Neither could get the job done.

Henderson did manage to coax a walk out of his at-bat, which turned out to be important when Cedric Mullins scooted home with the tying run on a wild pitch that produced a bang-bang play at the plate. They say a walk-is-as-good-as-a-hit, but that's mostly in Little League. Last night, a Henderson rope down the right field line might have ended the game in favor of the O's.

But while Gunnar at least managed to do something halfway-productive, Santander couldn't. He made the final out of the 10th inning to push the game into the 11th and, as it turnd out, final inning. It wasn't Hyde's fault that Santander failed in that situation.

Alas, it was Hyde's fault that he elected to intentionally walk Bryce Harper in the 11th inning. That one I just didn't understand.

Sure, with the automatic runner at 2nd base, putting Harper on a first created a potential inning-ending double play (Nick Castellanos popped out to start the inning). But allowing one run to score in an extra-innings game isn't that big of a deal, as the O's proved in the 10th when they countered the Philly go-ahead run with one of their own.

When you give up two runs in an extra-inning frame, it almost always leads to a loss. Like it did last night.

Now, sure, Hyde didn't throw the pitch to Alec Bohm that he belted to left field for a 2-run double. Jacob Webb threw that pitch. But it was Hyde who put Bryce Harper on base and it was Harper who made it all the way around to score from first on Brohm's double.

All of that said, I still say Hays should have caught that ball.

And if he catches it, it's very likely the O's double off Harper at first. He was well past second base and roaring to 3rd when the ball bounced off the wall in left field.

So, sure, Brandon Hyde did some weird things last night.

But there were other big moments that weren't authored by the manager that didn't work out for the O's as well.

The Phillies, by the way, are pretty much the Orioles of the National League so far in 2024. They can hit, they can pitch and they can close out games.

In no way do I want to get the cart this far in front of the horse, but might we eventually have a 1983 rematch sometime this October?

I think there's a very good chance.


The Scottie Scheffler Invitational -- aka, the U.S. Open -- almost wound up without Scheffler for the weekend after the scorching-hot #1 player in the world came within a whisker of missing the cut on Friday.

Scheffler safely made it though, at 5 over par, after a bunch of players couldn't handle the closing holes in the blazing Friday afternoon heat at Pinehurst #2 yesterday.

Playing in his first-ever U.S. Open, Ludvig Aberg has a one-shot lead through 36 holes at Pinehurst #2.

"Miracle" might be too strong of a word, but Scheffler is going to need something very magical to happen for him if he's going to pull off a win this weekend. There are just too many players in front of him and not enough birdies to be made on the Donald Ross layout.

Among those in front of him is the 36-hole leader, Ludvig Aberg, who is playing in just his 3rd career major championship. He sits at 5-under par through two days. Aberg, in case you haven't been paying attention, is a blooming sensation on TOUR, having made last year's European Ryder Cup team despite only being a professional for the better part of three months before being added to the team by captain Luke Donald.

Aberg finished 2nd at the Masters in April, you might remember. Do not for one second think his rise to prominence over the first two days of the tournament is some kind of fluke or outlier. Win or lose this weekend at Pinehurst, this kid is going to be a beast in the world of professional golf for a long time.

Patrick Cantlay and Bryson DeChambeau are both at 4-under, one shot back, along with Belgian Thomas Detry. DeChambeau in particular seems more and more comfortable with the intracacies of #2 as the week rolls on.

Rory McIlroy, who hasn't won a major since 2014, is positioned nicely heading into the weekend at 3-under par, along with Tony Finau and Mathieu Pavon of France. Today's McIlroy's big day. If he's still within a shot or two of the lead heading into Sunday, he stands a great chance to put it all together in the final round and capture his 5th career major. Finau and Pavon are looking for their first-ever major victories.

Given the difficulty of the layout, the expected soaring temperatures, the pressure that comes with trying to win the U.S. Open, it's likely that something in the 2-under or 3-under range is going to win the tournament. It could even dip down to something around level par by the time the dust settles on Sunday.

The golf course is going to play very difficult over the last two days, that's for sure. Par, on almost every hole, is going to be a great score.

That means that anyone currently in the 1 over or 2 over range could still wind up winning if they, somehow, produce rounds of 68 or 69 on consecutive days to close out the weekend.

PGA Championship winner Xander Schauffele is at 1-under par through 36 holes. He, I'm thinking, is right where he wants to be at this point. A round of 68 today and a 70 tomorrow might very well be enough for him to hoist the trophy.

Of everyone four or five shots off the lead, I think Schauffele stands the best chance to hang in there and come from behind to win if the leaders falter.

Schauffele is one of three #DMD picks at 1-under par through 36 holes. We still love the chances of Tom Kim and Akshay Bhatia as well, but "X" has the experience where those two don't.

As we predicted all week leading up to the tournament, the golf course would wind up being the story. And that's pretty much how it's playing out now. Only the most perfectly struck shots are holding the green and staying on the putting surface. And even those, occasionally, wind up in no man's land and lead to a bogey or worse.

Luck plays a huge role in the U.S. Open, particularly when the course is as dicey as Pinehurst #2 is this week. A foot here and there makes a huge difference in a ball staying on the green, or rolling off. Donald Ross is laughing somewhere in heaven as the players try to conquer his all-time best layout.

Scottie Scheffler? He's not laughing. But he is happy to be teeing it up today with an outside -- perhaps, very outside -- chance of winning, still.

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Friday
June 14, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3584


you can do it, trust me


When I tell you why I've pretty much adopted the phrase "You Never Know" as my personal mantra, you'll probably want to borrow it for your own.

Please feel free to do so.

This entry, today, has become a bit of a ritual for me here at #DMD. Please read along if you're someone who still has a life to live and still has a goal or two you're trying to meet.

On June 14, 2021 -- three years ago today -- I qualified for the United States Senior Open golf championship.

To say I remember it like it was yesterday would be as understated as I saying, "That Corbin Burnes guy...he's a pretty good pitcher."

I remember virtually every moment, including the days prior that led up to the event itself.

I'm not here to take you through how it happened. That's golf talk stuff. And it might not interest you. In short, I played a nice round of golf, birdied 17 and 18 to get into a playoff, then, after squandering a chance or two in the playoff, made a 16-foot birdie putt on the 4th hole to stamp my ticket to the U.S. Senior Open.

There. Golf talk is over.

Now, to the good stuff. And to the stuff I remember and try to impart to my junior golfers, high school players and anyone else who wants to listen.

This also hopefully applies to you.

It probably sounds very-Jim-Valvano'ish but here it goes: Don't Ever Give Up.

Henry Ford said it once: "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're probably right."

I always thought I could play senior golf at a high level, even with my modest abilities and athleticism. I thought I could, I tried to prove I could and I never gave up.

I had several near misses with the Senior Open early on. My first stab at it, in 2013, was a no-go. And I wasn't particularly close, shooting a 76 at a course in Delaware that left me 6 or 7 shots shy of making it.

An injury at age 51 kept me for a period of the summer that happened to coincide with the Senior Open qualifier, so I missed the 2014 attempt.

The next year was particularly painful, as I was "in" with a round of 70 with just two groups left on the course. But, because golf works this way and you're never in until every player is finished, two guys in the field that day at Applebrook shot 68 to make it ahead of me and the last player to hole out on the 9th green (right in front me, where I was watching) shot 69 to grab the last alternate spot.

Close...but no cigar. Or, in my case, no Senior Open.

A couple of other rounds in the mid 70's followed.

Then in 2019 I flirted with making it once again, shooting 70 on a very difficult layout in Pennsylvania, only to have someone snag the final available spot with a round of 69.

I was starting to worry as the years went by because I thought (incorrectly) Senior Golf was a "young man's game", meaning most of the qualifying spots went to guys just breaking into their 50's.

The 2020 U.S. Senior Open was canceled due to Covid. No qualifying.

In the weeks leading up to the 2021 qualifier at Argyle, I was playing very "meh" golf. As this story goes, that's an important side note, because it should stand to remind everyone -- including me -- that what you think is going to happen sometimes doesn't happen after all.

My friend Matt Tyner, the head baseball caoch at Towson University, likes to tell his players this: "Don't believe everything you think."

I love that.

Anyway, I was playing very average golf in the weeks leading up to the qualifier at Argyle CC. I stumbled and bumbled my way through my own member-guest at Eagle's Nest for three days prior to the qualifier. I was in no shape, golf wise, to qualify for the Senior Open on Monday, June 14.

On Sunday, the day before, I even thought about going to Eagle's Nest around 5 pm and hitting balls with the hope of "finding something" I could take with me the next day in the qualifier.

For reasons I still don't know today, something told me not to do it. I remember sitting on my couch, watching golf on TV, and this voice in my head said, "You're not going to fix anything. Just take what you have there tomorrow and do your best. Stop worrying. It's not helping you."

I stayed home and watched golf on TV instead of going to the range and practicing like a maniac for 90 minutes.

The next day, right from the very first hole, I felt different.

I split the fairway at the 1st hole, hit a wedge to 20 feet and two putted for a routine par. I made a par at the very difficult 2nd hole, playing 460 yards. My third shot on the hole was a pitch from a tight lie some 15 yards from the green. That is not a preferred shot for me. And when I pulled that one off, hitting the chip to a foot or so, something clicked.

"I might have something today."

I know that's more golf talk, but it's connected to the story.

I started gaining confidence.

And now, contrary to Coach Tyner's motto, I actually started to believe what I was thinking.

"Something feels different today."

I birdied #4, made par at #5, then made a disastrous double-bogey at #6 to slip back to one over for the round.

But I made birdie on the very next hole to get back to even par.

"I'm right back in it," I said to myself.

A couple of hours later, I birdied 17 and 18 to finish at 69. Then I waited six hours for the playoff to commence, dodging bullet after bullet as players came and went without beating my score.

I made birdie on the 4th playoff hole to advance to Omaha CC.

It sounds weird to say this: The whole thing came out of nowhere. Yet, I had been preparing for it since I turned 50 in 2013.

On that day, for sure, it came out of nowhere.

You Never Know.

If you're someone with some sort of goal in mind, be it life, business, sports or otherwise, please remember that: You actually never know what's going to happen.

You think you know.

"This business idea will never work."

"They'll never give me that position in the company."

"We'll never be able to buy that kind of house."

"I'll never be able to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open."

But the reality is, you have no idea what lies ahead.

God can take you places you never thought possible.

Even Omaha, Nebraska, for example.

So keep on keeping on, as the saying goes. Don't give up. And don't overthink it, either. Stick with your plan, work hard, take what you get and see where that eventually puts you.

The bet here is you can do it.


Day one of the U.S. Open offered very little in the way of surprises, as several top players (Cantlay, McIlroy, DeChambeau) played well and several big names (Hovland, Thomas, Zalatoris) didn't.

Scottie Scheffler, the overwhelming pre-event favorite, authored a favorable, tidy round of 71 (1 over par).

The golf course, as predicted, was a tough test for a majority of players in the field. Getting the ball in the hole wasn't all that difficult. Getting the ball on the green, though, did prove to be a tough task.

Patrick Cantlay's 5-under round on Thursday earned him a share of the lead at the U.S. Open after 18 holes.

Tiger Woods putted great for a few holes, lousy for a few holes, and never really got anything going in his round of 74. He's probably going to need something in the 70-71-72 range today to make the 36-hole cut. Tiger's capable of a lot, even now, on one leg, but I'm not sure a round of even par or one over in the U.S. Open is in his wheelhouse.

The golf course you saw yesterday and you'll see today in round two is not the golf course you're going to see over the weekend.

Pinehurst #2 is going to be a beast on Saturday and Sunday.

If Cantlay, McIlroy or someone else gets it to 8 or 9 under after two rounds this afternoon, that only stands to reinforce that a final score of 5 or 6 under will likely be enough to win.

Par is going to be a great score on virtually every hole in the final two rounds.

Every hole on the golf course has danger all over it. Even the short holes like #3, #7 and #13 will have bad spots galore if a ball is hit offline either off the tee or approaching the green.

I said before the tournament started that I thought something around 5 under par would be a potential winning score. I still see it that way now. And it wouldn't shock me at all to see the winning number be more like 3 or 4 under on Sunday evening.

Patrick Cantlay has never won a major championship. Much like Xander Schauffele prior to his win at the PGA Championship last month, much has been expected of Cantlay throughout his professional career. He's won a lot, made tons of money, but he still doesn't have that major championship.

He was pretty much flawless on Thursday in round one.

Maybe this is his week after all?

McIlroy authored a nice late run on Thursday to finish round one as the co-leader at 5 under. If you haven't heard it yet on the TV coverage, let me be the first (or the 800th) person to tell you: Rory hasn't won a major since the 2014 PGA Championship. A decade later, McIlroy remains stuck on four majors.

As for the pre-tournament favorite, Scheffler, he pieced together a nice, if somewhat shaky (for him) round on Thursday, making just two birdies on the day.

The good news for Scottie? He hit 12 of 18 greens and, per his standards, was ranked high (6th, +2.24) in the shots gained: approach, category.

The bad news? He didn't drive the ball particulary well, hitting just 6 of 14 fairways and having a two-way miss going off the tee throughout the round.

Make no mistake about it, though, it's still Scottie's tournament to lose. He just needs another decent round near par today to put himself into position for a weekend run.

"A decent round near par" is easier said than done, though.

If you're someone who likes seeing the best players in the world supremely challenged, this U.S. Open is for you. It's going to be a dogfight -- with the course -- come Saturday and Sunday.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


2024 euro preview


This summer features the two premier international tournaments outside of the World Cup.

As the global soccer schedule never really stops for long, just a few weeks removed from the conclusion of the European club season with Real Madrid hoisting another Champions League trophy, the first of those kicks off this weekend with the start of the 2024 European Championships (Euros for short).

The Euros occur every four years at the midpoint between World Cups and crown the best national team in Europe. In many ways it is a tougher tournament to win than the World Cup because the early rounds feature exclusively European teams, providing more head to head matchups for the elite nations.

This year’s tournament is hosted by Germany. The 24-team field is broken down into six four-team groups. The top two teams in each group will advance to the knockout rounds, along with the top four third place teams by points. From the Round of 16 on, the tournament is a single-elimination knockout competition.

Today we’ll preview the top betting favorites as well as the next group of top contenders, a few outsiders with a chance to win the trophy, and some “dark horse” candidates to make a Cinderella run.


The Favorites –

The three top favorites according to the betting odds are no surprise.

2022 World Cup Runners Up France along with the team they beat on the way there, England, have the shortest odds to win. France and England each sit at +350 to win the tournament and are heavily favored to win their groups. They are followed in the odds by the hosts, Germany, who come in at +550.

Jude Bellingham and England are top favorites in this summer's Euro 2024 championship that starts today.

France easily has the deepest talent pool in the tournament. Pretty much their entire roster plays at the most elite clubs in the world. They are led by the best international player alive in Kylian Mbappe, who has had one of the most successful starts to an international career of all time.

Though they did not win their group in last summer’s UEFA Nations League, France dominated the Euro qualifying, going undefeated with seven wins and a draw and scoring 29 goals while conceding just 3. They have a lot of consistency carrying over from their World Cup run and will be the team most expect to win.

England is once again a top favorite as they look to break their long international trophy drought. They were the runner-up in the 2020 Euros, losing to Italy on penalties in their home Wembley Stadium. England was also undefeated in qualifying, going 6-2-0 with a 22 to 4 goal differential.

They are led by three of the standout stars from this recent European club season, with Jude Bellingham, Harry Kane and Phil Foden all leading candidates for the Ballon D’Or (World Player of the Year). Similar to France, England has a deeply talented roster, however they will be tested with several key players missing with injuries.

Rounding out the top favorites are hosts Germany at +550. They don’t boast quite the talent of France or England but have enough exceptional players to make them a threat to anyone with the backing of the home crowd.

This German team is led by the rise of two exciting young attackers, Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala and Bayer Leverkusen’s Florian Wirtz. To balance that youthful attack, the Germans have a veteran midfield anchored around Toni Kroos and Ilkay Gundogan. One of the top storylines will be Kroos' pursuit of one final trophy after capping his club career with a Champions League victory.


Top Contenders –

Just below the top favorites come the perennial contenders from the Iberian peninsula. Both Portugal and Spain have enough danger to challenge anyone at this tournament.

Portugal enters after a perfect run in qualifying, winning ten out of ten games while scoring 36 and conceding just 2 goals. They have arguably the most talented roster outside of France or England and maybe the best starting eleven. Portugal looked strong at the Qatar World Cup before being upset by the surprising Morocco.

This will likely be the last international run for Cristiano Ronaldo, who will try to capture his second Euro trophy after winning back in 2016. However, this roster is rife with talent around the veteran striker, with Rafael Leao, Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, and Diogo Jota all potent attackers. They come off at +700 to win the trophy.

Spain is always a threat at international tournaments. They were likewise eliminated by Morocco in the World Cup but then went on to win last summer’s Nations League, defeating Croatia in penalties in the final. They are led by Manchester City star Rodri, who controls games from the base of their midfield.

Spain also has several young stars looking to break out in this tournament, including 16 year old Lamine Yamal, who is set to become the youngest player to ever play in the Euros. The main thing holding Spain back is injuries. They will be without spark plug Gavi and 2020 breakout star Pedri may not be at 100% fitness after missing most of the season for Barcelona.


Challengers –

The next group features several teams with longer odds that nonetheless are fully capable of winning the tournament. The top team in this group is Netherlands, my best value bet to win at +1600.

You may remember them for putting the US men in their place, eliminating them in the World Cup round of 16. They later pushed eventual winners Argentina to the brink, losing in penalties in the quarterfinals.

Netherlands followed up the World Cup by winning their Nations League group that contained Belgium as well, going on to lose in the semifinals to Italy. They were the highest scoring team in that competition and bring even more attacking talent to this one, with burgeoning talents Xavi Simons and Jeremie Frimpong coming off strong club seasons.

Netherlands got a tough draw in a group with France, but are nearly a lock to advance as second or one of the top third place teams. If they do advance in second, they could have a favorable setup in the knockout rounds, avoiding some of the top favorites.

Belgium comes in at the same odds as Netherlands, but on a decidedly different trajectory. With their “Golden Generation” starting to age out, Belgium is in a transition phase. Kevin De Bruyne is still around but others such as Eden Hazard have since retired. They will also be without their key man in several tournament runs, goalie Thibaut Courtois, who was left off the roster after a dispute with the coach.

Completing this tier are the always dangerous Croatia at +4000. With every new competition they seem like they should be too old, but they keep winning. After another deep run in the World Cup, Croatia won a Nations League group that included France and went on to lose in the final on penalties to Spain.

They are still led by the veteran midfield of Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic and will surely be a tough out at every stage of these Euros. Their biggest challenge is a draw into the “group of death” alongside Spain and Italy. However they should have the resolve to at least get the points they need to advance in third place.

Dark Horses –

These are teams that would shock if they won the tournament, similar to Greece in 2004. However they have the ability to upset some of the big boys and the potential to be the Cinderella team this time around.

Hungary, at +8000 to win and +900 to make the semis, is a popular dark horse team for this iteration. They finished second in their Nations League group, just one point behind Italy and ahead of Germany.

They are anchored by a rigid defense, which conceded just five goals in six games in Nations League and just seven goals in eight games in Euro qualifying, helping to win that group with an undefeated 5-3-0 record.

A pair of other off-the-radar teams that could make a run are Austria and Switzerland. Both come in at +6500 to win the tournament, with Austria +800 for the semis and the Swiss at +900. These teams are similarly loaded with veterans from the German Bundesliga and Serie A.

Austria is coached by Ralf Rangnick, famous for developing the high pressure RB Leipzig system. While Switzerland has a pair of outstanding goalkeepers with Borussia Dortmund’s Gregor Kobel and Inter Milan’s Yan Sommer. Both have difficult groups but could find themselves in the knockouts as a second or third place qualifier.

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faith in sports


As painful as it is, we're profiling a member of -- gulp -- the Pittsburgh Steelers today.

For just a little while, at least, it's OK to admire Minkah Fitzpatrick.

Today's entry in "Faith in Sports" spotlights the Pittsburgh cornerback. It's only 3 minutes long, but there's power in what Fitzpatrick tells us.

Grab your coffee, hit "play" on the video and listen to what Fitzpatrick has to say about his faith and testimony.

Thanks, as always, to our friends at Freestate Electrical for their continued support of #DMD and "Faith in Sports" here every Friday.


JERRY'S TOYOTA banner

Thursday
June 13, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3583


thursday thoughts


I really hope I'm wrong on this because I don't want the golf course and the difficulty of it to wind up being the story this weekend, but I'm afraid Pinehurst #2 is going to spend a lot of time in the spotlight over the next four days.

And probably not in a good way.

To their credit, the USGA is starting to feel a bit nervous about it, too. They gently watered the greens late Wednesday afternoon in preparation for today's first round.

But they're facing an interesting decision once Saturday rolls around and the field is cut for the final two rounds.

Tiger Woods was all smiles after a birdie at his first hole on Thursday at Pinehurst #2. Will he still be smiling on Sunday afternoon?

Do they take precaution and keep watering the greens or do they let mother nature have her way with the place and say, to the players, "whatever happens, happens"?

The golf course is playing fast and firm. Although no players like to say it publicly, the whispers around Pinehurst all week have been that of concern and worry. Competent, quality golfers have no problem playing "difficult" golf courses. It's only when the set-up becomes "unfair" that players get frustrated.

It won't be difficult to keep the ball on the green with wedge shots and anything inside of, say, 175 yards. Most TOUR players are hitting 8 irons or 9 irons from 175 these days. Those kind of shots can be lifted into greens and, with the right spin imparted, they'll be able to stay on the putting surface.

It's only when you miss the fairway or mishit your approach shot that getting the ball on the green and getting it to stay there become a challenge.

Back in 2014 at Pinehurst #2, most of the experts thought no one would break par for four days. Martin Kaymer shot 9-under after opening the event at 65-65. So much for no one breaking par over 72 holes. But the rest of the field had a tough time.

Everyone is pretty much saying the same thing this year: Even par for 72 holes would be a great score.

I don't know that even par will win. Someone always seems to have a magical week, like Kaymer did 10 years ago. I'm sticking with a predicted final score of 4 under for Scottie Scheffler. A few others will break par, too.

In the end, though, the story is going to be about the golf course. I hope I'm wrong. Things will be OK on Thursday and Friday. There will be some high scores, of course, because it's the U.S. Open and there's a variety of quality playing the first two days.

But by the weekend, unless the USGA attends to it, the golf course is going to snarl and get mean. That's when it will get really interesting.


A few people reached out to me via e-mail and a quick glance at the Comments section reveals that a significant number of folks in town are still bothered by the Orioles uniform patch that was unveiled on Tuesday night.

Glenn Clark and I talked about it yesterday on his show and he brought up an interesting by-product of the patch.

Should it be placed on the team's replica jerseys that are sold at the stadium?

And if it is on the jersey, would that impact your decision to buy and/or wear one?

Would having a T. Rowe Price patch on your replica jersey sleeve really keep you from buying one or being proud to wear it at the stadium and in the community?

Clark said it would likely cause him to think long and hard about buying one for his children.

"I don't want my kids promoting T. Rowe Price if they don't want to promote T. Rowe Price," he said. And he was quick to point out that wasn't intended to be viewed as "anti T. Rowe Price". It could be a hotel chain, mortgage company, etc.

Clark also had a novel approach to the patch on the replica jerseys.

"If they sold the jersey at a 25% discount in exchange for fans wearing the patch, I might consider it."

Carter e-mailed me and had a similar view on the patch.

"What do I get for promoting T. Rowe Price?" he asked.

Carter was referring to the story that circulated on Tuesday where the Orioles are offering to stitch the patch on your jersey for the fee of $29.99.

"Do I get anything for promoting T. Rowe Price?" Carter wondered.

The answer to that, of course, is "No."

To borrow a line from Judge Smails: "You'll get nothing and like it."

A bigger question, probably is this: Should the patch be on the replica jersey in the first place?

I guess I slip on my marketing hat to answer that question.

As of now, the T. Rowe Price patch is part of the team's uniform. It's the same thing, exactly, as the Maryland Flag patch the team has worn for the last decade or so.

You don't have to like the T. Rowe Price patch. Me? I couldn't care less. But I realize some people are put off by it.

That said, I think it should be on the replica jerseys that are sold at the stadium.

What do you get from T. Rowe Price? Zero.

When the team gives away a tee shirt or a hat at the ballpark, there's almost always a sponsor logo of some kind attached to it. You're helping promote a convenience store, a bank, an airline, etc. Is there concern there or no?

In the end, it's all eye wash. Fans lost control a long time ago. We shell out the money for whatever the club wants us to shell out the money for and that's the end of it.

You're even paying for the team's Regional Sports Network whether you watch the games or not.

I understand we still like to howl at the moon about certain things. I'm an occasional howler, myself. I get it.

But the T. Rowe Price patch story is not something worth getting agitated about, in my opinion.

You can't change it.

And if it somehow, down the road, helps keep the team competitive by infusing new revenue into the team's budget, we all wind up winning in the end anyway.

Winning, you know, is all we really care about.


If you're in the area of Pine Ridge Golf Course tonight at 5:30 pm and you have a junior golfer who would like to learn more about golf, please bring them to the driving range this evening for our monthly free FCA clinic.

We supply everything the junior golfer needs except golf clubs (and, honestly, we have a few of those too if your junior doesn't have clubs). Stop by any time between 5:30 pm and 6:30 pm. We'll wrap up by 7 pm.

This evening's monthly clinic at Pine Ridge is part of our FCA Maryland Golf program. Next Tuesday, June 18 is our first junior tournament of the year at Bulle Rock GC. We have 30 players signed up for that one.

Please join us tonight at 5:30 pm.


I'm not sure if you've paid attention to the Orioles attendance in 2024, but it's been very impressive.

Last night, they drew 24,000-plus at Camden Yards to see the Braves.

This weekend, Saturday and Sunday home games against Philadelphia are already sold out. It's likely Friday will wind up selling out as well.

But those three games are different, of course, because a significant number of people in the stands will be sporting red, not orange. Phillies fans will be everywhere, for sure.

Last night, though, was pretty much all Baltimore. Sure, a few Braves fans were scattered around, like always. But 24,000 on a Wednesday night to see a National League team is pretty daggone good.

Oh, and they also drew 24,000 on Tuesday night as well, just to prove that last night wasn't an outlier.

Yes, it's mostly about winning. If the Orioles were 30-37 instead of 45-22, they wouldn't be drawing 24,000 on a Wednesday against Atlanta.

To me, though, that's the real sign of how much things are improving with the Birds.

It's one thing to draw 35,000 or so on a Friday night or Saturday afternoon. Any team, with any record, can do that.

But if you're drawing 20,000 on a weeknight when, five years ago you were drawing 10,000 on that same evening, that's when you know things are really improving.

The beer is really cold and the team is really good. Dem O's are an easy draw these days at Camden Yards.

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Wednesday
June 12, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3582


the g.o.a.t. looks great (just sayin')


A quick day-and-a-half trip to Pinehurst #2 provided great memories with my son, garnered us both a little sunburn in places we overlooked for sunscreen, and let him see Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and his favorite golfer, Min Woo Lee, up close and personal.

It was quite a day for us both on Tuesday at the U.S. Open.

We made it home safely last night (actually 1 am this morning) but had plenty to talk about on the ride up I-85 and I-95.

In no specific order:

The golf course is beyond spectacular. The greens, they are saying, are running at "14" on the stimpmeter. Normal green speeds for the U.S. Open are somewhere between 12 and 13.

The infrastructure of the property is beyond imagination if you have ever played the #2 course at Pinehurst on just a "normal" day. Seeing what they have done with hospitality tents, bleachers and stadium-style seating around the 18th hole is mind boggling. The USGA gets criticized sometimes for their golf course set-up at national championships, but they sure do know how to build a city.

If they don't get any rain down there -- which the forecasters say they won't -- over the next five days, the golf course is going to play very difficult by the time the weekend rolls around. It's already hard enough in normal, typical conditions. Throw in the firmness of the greens and fairways and you have the makings of something around 4 under par, perhaps, being enough to get you into contention on Sunday.

Can Tiger silence the critics one more time this week at Pinehurst #2?

Pinehurst #2 is playing exactly the way the USGA wants it to play and the course looks like a Picasso painting.

Tiger Woods also looks great. Maybe not "Picasso painting" like, but he definitely looks fit and healthy. And his golf swing looked solid on Tuesday.

In general, Tiger is giving off the impression of a player to watch this week.

Everyone is saying it, including his fellow competitors.

We arrived at the course yesterday morning just before 9 am and entered through a gate adjacent to the 5th tee on the back of the property.

"Tiger's group is coming up next," a friendly marshal said to us.

10 minutes later, Woods, Min Woo Lee and Max Homa showed up and teed off right in front of us. All three of them hit booming, powerful drives on the 588 yard par 5 hole. Woods did not have the slight limp we've seen from him over the last couple of years. He looked comfortable reaching down to put the tee in the ground and showed no signs of discomfort while swinging the club.

Am I telling you to run out and place a bet on Tiger to win the U.S. Open this week?

I am not.

But if there's a course that fits Tiger-2024, it's Pinehurst. It's a flat walk, for the most part, with the only real bothersome uphill climbs coming on the aforementioned 5th hole and then again at the par 4 closing hole, #18. The rest of it is a piece of cake to walk.

The course might play 7,500 yards, but the walk isn't much more than that. Tee boxes are situated fairly close to nearly every green complex. All of that is important for Tiger.

Oh, and unlike the PGA Championship last month, Woods drew the favorable tee-time combination of early-late. He'll play just after 7:30 am tomorrow in the first round and then won't play again until 1:14 pm on Friday in round two. This is significant for virtually any player, but even bigger for Woods. He'll have more than 24 hours to recover from round one.

Is he going to win? I don't think he is.

But the G.O.A.T. sure did look good yesterday and some things about the course and the tournament are aligning well for him.

OK, wait.

Tiger at 250-1 to win the U.S. Open?

I found an old $20 in a golf jacket last weekend.

250-1 is too inviting to pass up after all.

Phil Mickelson also looks great.

Still chasing after that elusive U.S. Open win to complete the career grand slam, Phil was looking fit in his all black get-up on Tuesday and enjoyed a practice round with fellow LIV scoundrels Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson. It will be interesting to see what kind of score the 6-time major champion puts up this week.

One quick note for those of you who believe in the golf gods and "everything happens for a reason" and all that stuff.

Phil's 53 today. He turns 54 on June 16. June 16 is.......this Sunday.

I'm not suggesting you run out and put up any money on Mickelson. But I will say this: If he shoots some kind of great round on Thursday and immediately thrusts himself into the story, I'd make an investment on him on Thursday night. Stranger things have happened at Pinehurst, that's for sure.

Our friend Denny McCarthy is enjoying some solid pre-tournament publicity from folks at The Golf Channel, who cited the Silver Spring, MD native as one of their "Players to Watch" on Tuesday.

McCarthy has played in a total of 4 previous U.S. Opens, with a career-best finish of T7 in 2022 at Brookline, where he was within two shots of the lead on the back nine on Sunday afternoon. As watched him play a few holes yesterday, the golf course looked entirely manageable for him, despite his (relative) lack of distance off the tee.

He also drew a very comfortable round one/two pairing with fellow University of Virginia standouts Ben Kohles (professional) and Ben James (amateur). Pairings are very important in major championship golf, particularly in the first two rounds when players are jockeying for position and vying to make the cut.

If you would have asked McCarthy to pair himself with any two players of his choosing, he very well might have picked Kohles (with whom he played yesterday's practice round) and Ben James.

Some others we saw who stood out in various ways.

Alex Noren was struggling with his golf swing. Bad body language and some demonstrative pre-swing moves trying to get himself into a favorable impact position. And in the holes we saw him play, not a lot of good contact.

Patrick Cantlay's putter was not cooperating during his practice session on the big putting green. Everything was a pull to the left. He looked perplexed as did his caddie and others in his entourage.

Here's a name to potentially follow on Thursday and Friday to see if he gets himself into good position for the weekend: Kurt Kitayama. His golf swing looked great on Tuesday and he was hitting fairways and greens in the holes we saw him play on the front nine. Later, on the practice green, Kitayama's putting stroke looked efficient as he rolled in 10 footer after 10 footer.

Not that this will surprise you, but Xander Schauffele put on a clinic at the practice range on Tuesday. Ball flight, perfect. Trajectory, perfect. Golf swing, incredibly sound. If he's not sniffing around the lead by Sunday afternoon, I'll be very surprised.

Oh, and that guy Scottie Scheffler? Yep, we saw him.

He didn't miss a shot on the course. Four holes, three birdies, lots of smiles, and the comfort that comes with making $25 million playing golf for five months.

I think Scheffler is going to win the U.S. Open. Most everyone else does, too.

Of all of the other 10 players I listed in my #DMD U.S. Open Top 10, I think it comes down to Schauffele, Morikawa, Hoge and Bhatia.

If not Scheffler, then it's one of those other four.

But now that I've put down $20 on Tiger at 250-1, I think I know who I will be rooting for over the next four days.


The Orioles juggernaut rolled on last night with a 4-0 win over Atlanta at Camden Yards.

That victory moves the Orioles to 44-22 on the season. There were years when they didn't reach 44 wins until August.

Austin Hays had 3 hits last night in the Orioles' 4-0 shutout win over Atlanta.

Albert Suarez continues to be an amazing story for the Birds.

He pitched for the San Francisco Giants for two years: 2016 and 2017.

And he didn't return to the big leagues until this season with the Orioles.

That's 7 years, folks. 7 years out of the majors, pitching in Japan and other locations around the world.

And now look at what he's done.

He has appeared in 14 games this season, 7 as a starter, and has a 1.61 ERA and 1.05 WHIP.

Last night against the Braves he went 5.1 innings, allowed just 4 hits and struck out 4 while walking 3 batters.

Oh, and how about Austin Hays?

He went 3-for-4 at the plate to raise his average to .234. Rod Carew he's not, but unlike Cedric Mullins, Hays is starting to show small signs of turning back into a competent player.

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Tuesday
June 11, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3581


geez guys, it's just a patch


You would have thought the Orioles went into business with the New York City Department of Promotions and Development and put one of those famous "I (heart symbol) NY" symbols on their uniform jersey.

Now that, maybe, could have justifiably led to some local outrage.

But a T. Rowe Price patch?

I don't get that at all.

For those who missed it yesterday -- and if you spent any time on a social media platform, how could you have? -- the Orioles and T. Rowe Price announced a major partnership that will include a patch on the right sleeve of the team uniform.

People went crazy.

And not in a good way.

Those same folks are going to go completely ballistic in another year when the team renames the stadium and adds a corporate entity to the title, but I'll let that cat out of the bag when the time is right.

Some folks in these parts were even mad on Monday that the patch is predominantly blue.

"At least make the patch orange and black and get rid of that stupid Toronto Blue Jays color on OUR uniforms," someone wrote on Facebook.

If the Orioles and T. Rowe Price made the patch orange and black, it wouldn't stand out at all. And that wouldn't be good marketing now, would it?

I saw two semi-official predictions or thoughts from people in the industry on what it might have cost T. Rowe Price to get that patch on an O's uniform.

Both numbers I saw were realistic: $5 million. And $7 million.

It's an expensive hobby, sports marketing.

The deal raised a few eyebrows locally due to T. Rowe's struggling performance over the last couple of years. Then again, perhaps that's why they pulled the trigger on the partnership in the first place. They need to generate more business.

The Orioles, winners of four straight after Monday's 5-2 win in Tampa Bay, are a red-hot commodity, both locally and throughout the major leagues. T. Rowe Price's business model isn't connected to only Baltimore and Maryland. They'll take anyone's money, anywhere.

I'm probably the wrong guy to ever be worried about or criticize a team for any kind of sports marketing. I did that very thing for a long time during my tenure in the soccer business.

In fact, I'm not ashamed to say, we once added a uniform patch on the FRONT of our jersey and changed the team colors from red and black to blue and yellow in order to pull off a $150,000 deal with a national yogurt company.

Back in 1997, $150,000 cash for a sponsorship deal was a major coup for a team in the indoor soccer league. People weren't happy about it in Baltimore, but the yogurt company was thrilled and when the check from them cleared, I was beyond excited as well.

It's different with the Orioles, though, perception wise.

"Stop making money and start signing playes to long term deals!" someone wrote on Twitter yesterday.

I had to laugh at that one.

No team, in any sport, is going to willingly "stop making money". And raking in $5 million from T. Rowe Price might help the team in ways the average fan can't imagine.

Will that $5 million help the Orioles pony up $200 million for Adley Rutschman this off-season? It wouldn't make a dent.

But having T. Rowe Price on your side might help bring in other corporate partners who contribute large amounts of marketing money and, at some point, it all starts to add up.

In the end, the angst of the fan base matters none. The patch is on the unifoms and the team is moving forward with it.

Oh, and here's one that might agitate you: If you bring your Orioles game jersey to the stadium this week, they'll sew the patch on it for you right then and there for the small fee of $29.99.

That one, honestly, I might have a problem with.

I mean, it's up to you if you want the patch on your own replica jersey. It's not forced on you or anything like that.

But charging people $29.99 to do it?

That's kind of bogus, honestly.

That said, I couldn't really care less because I'm not taking my jersey in for "patch work".

I just think it's a bit of money grab from the fan base, that's all.

I'm not sure why fans get so up in arms about corporate sponsorships in professional sports, whether it's naming the stadium, having a patch on a jersey or any other kind of marketing connected to a local or national business.

If not for the TV advertisers, in-stadium advertisers and marketing partners at every level, these leagues simply wouldn't exist as they do today.

A uniform patch...

Who cares?

The fact that it's blue and not orange and black...

Who cares?

A winning team on the field...

Now that is worth caring about.


For maybe the 5th or 6th time since #DMD started back in August of 2014, I'm publishing today's edition from beautiful Pinehurst, NC.

I arrived here at 9:00 pm last night and will take in today's practice round of the U.S. Open with my son. We'll head back home late tonight.

We're on schedule for a quick meet-and-greet with Maryland native Denny McCarthy this morning. And I'm anxious to show my son the golf course and the 18th hole, where Payne Stewart magically sunk a par putt to win the 1999 Open on the famed #2 course.

There's something about seeing a course in person and then going home and being able to watch it unfold on TV over the weekend.

Pinehurst #2 is a remarkable piece of property. It was already a very difficult course before this edition of the U.S. Open, but they have made it extremely hard this week. There are two par 4's over 500 yards, in fact. I don't think Donald Ross imagined the best players in the world would be playing the 530 yard 16th hole as a par 4 someday, but that's what's going to take place this week.

It's a course where every part of your game is challenged. If you drive it off line, you're in trouble. If you don't hit the greens, you're in trouble. If you can't hit the greens and you're not able to chip and putt, you're in trouble.

In other words...

If you're playing this week and you show up at Pinehurst #2 without your best "A" game, you're not going to fare very well.

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#dmd's u.s. open preview


They're headed back to the famous Pinehurst #2 course for this year's U.S. Open, which will be held June 13-16.

It's the fourth U.S. Open there since 1999, with Payne Stewart ('99), Michael Campbell ('05) and Martin Kaymer ('14) winning previously.

The golf course is one of America's treasures. It's considered the best of the best of the Donald Ross designs, with small, undulating greens and run-off areas that make it difficult to keep the ball on the putting surface unless you're a sublime ball striker.

Analysts and those trying to predict the outcome and the top finishers are looking at the obvious stats: shots gained approach, shots gained tee to green, and shots gained putting. The winner will likely be highly ranked in all three of those areas.

#DMD will provide our predicted top 10 finishers here. It's really a Top 9, of course, since Scottie Scheffler is obviously on the list as a slam dunk, no brainer.

So we'll do this from the start. Scheffler is on the list. Automatically. You have to bet him. So our Top 10 won't include him, but it does include him. Get it?

It's really a Top 11 list, in that case.

Our #10 was Will Zalatoris. #9 was Russell Henley. #8 was Xander Schauffele. #7 was Matt Fitzpatrick. #6 was Rickie Fowler. #5 was Tom Kim. #4 was Tom Hoge. #3 was Akshay Bhatia. #2 was Max Homa.

A win at Pinehurst this week would move Collin Morikawa to within a Masters victory of the career grand slam.

#1 Collin Morikawa -- Remember, I'm listing my Top 10 in just a general order and not who I think is going to finish 10 through 1.

I'm still here saying/assuming that Scottie Scheffler is going to win the golf tournament. Nothing I've seen over the last two months tells me otherwise.

But if not Scheffler, then the other 10 are the guys I'll be wagering on to emerge with the trophy and/or a top finish.

And right there at the top of the list is Collin Morikawa.

If it's not Scheffler, it very well might be Morikawa, who just lost to Scheffler by a shot at The Memorial on Sunday.

Morikawa is a ball striking machine. His short game is very underrated. And while he's not a great putter by any means, putting is the one thing that sometimes gets impacted the least at a U.S. Open.

He has the length off the tee to handle #2.

His ball striking numbers support the idea that if Morikawa gets it in the fairway, he's going to contend.

And then it just becomes an issue of getting the ball into the hole more quickly than everyone else.

I think something in the 6 to 8 under range is going to be the winning score if the weather holds up and stays hot and dry like the locals down here say it will.

The course is going to play fast and firm. Morikawa gets a huge benefit there, I think, because he's one of the guys who will be able to keep the ball on the putting surfaces with his approach shots.

He knows how to win majors. He's done it twice before, remember.

And he could add a third this week at Pinehurst. If it's not Scheffler, it very well might be Collin Morikawa.

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Monday
June 10, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3580


maybe it is boring after all?


Remember 10 days ago when my friend Chris chirped to me about how the Orioles are boring and all this winning they're doing is just sort of blending in with the scenery?

I pretty much blasted him and so did a bunch of you as well.

After two decades where the team was pretty much a disgrace for all but three or four years, I'm never going to complain about the manner in which the Orioles win.

But here's the thing: Maybe Chris was right after all.

The O's are now 42-22 after Sunday's dismantling of the Rays in Tampa Bay. Including Sunday's 9-2 win, Baltimore has now lost just 4 times in their last 17 games.

It's really kind of -- can we actually say it with a straight face? -- boring.

An 8th inning grand slam from Adley Rutschman sealed the O's 9-2 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday.

I think Chris was on to something, even if I don't have the heart to admit that to him for fear he might actually believe his sports wisdom is unique.

Wait until today when the Birds close out the series sweep with a tidy 3-hitter from Corbin Burnes in a 2-0 O's win. That one today might put you to sleep faster than a Beatl --- oh, never mind. Let's just say today's game might feature more of the same old boring, great baseball we've been seeing for the better part of two seasons.

Is it possible to be both boring and worthwhile at the same time? Yesterday's game was exciting for a while because Grayson Rodriguez was starting to flirt with a perfect game after the fifth inning. Those are never boring.

But that fell apart in the 6th inning and then we suddenly had a ballgame with the Birds up by one, 3-2.

Adley Rutschman's 8th inning moon-shoot-grand-slam turned it into a laugher and the boredom returned for the final couple of innings.

I know we get a little jittery at anything that even resembles a complaint when it comes to the Orioles.

That's why I didn't bring up that Cedric Mullins had gone hitless in 25 straight at-bats before finally scratching out two hits in his final two at bats yesterday. Why complain about that when the team is 42-22 and bearing down on the Yankees in the A.L. East?

But calling the team "boring" is seemingly a cheap shot, even though it's really not.

The team itself: Not boring at all.

Being 42-22 in early June and pretty much winning 7 of every 10 games they play: That might actually be a little bit boring.

But we'll take it.

Yes, sir, we'll take it.

And even if I don't want to admit Chris was a little right, I think it's OK to say it. "I'd rather be boring and really good than exciting and really bad".

Let's keep being boring. We might not have to watch as much -- because we already know what the result will be -- but that's OK. It's summertime in Maryland. We all have places to go and people to see.

If we can just check in once or twice a night and it's always "Birds ahead, 5-1" or "O's are up 7-2", that's fine by me. I don't have to watch every pitch or every at bat as long as the winning continues.

Even if it's boring, all I care about is that the winning continues.


Scottie Scheffler definitely didn't make it boring yesterday, but he, like the Orioles, just continues to win. Scheffler held off Collin Morikawa to win The Memorial by a shot, his 5th victory of the 2024 season.

Here's a really quirky stat: The win yesterday was the 11th of his career, but the first, ever, after the month of April. All 10 of his previous TOUR wins came in February, March or April.

With his triumph on Sunday, Scheffler becomes the first player since Justin Thomas in 2016 to win five times in a season. And I'd say there's a very reasonable chance that Scheffler is going to threaten the 9-win seasons that both Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh once produced.

Scottie Scheffler picked up his 5th win of the PGA Tour season on Sunday at The Memorial.

Everyone in the golf industry expects Scheffler to win this week's U.S. Open championship. The course rewards guys who bomb it off the tee, hit their irons well and chip-and-putt like a superstar.

Check, check and check. Scheffler checks off all three of those boxes.

Oh, and he also knows how to win.

He can either put the pedal to the metal, like he did earlier this year at The Players when he turned in a final round 64 to steam past a handful of guys and claim his second straight Players title.

Or he can bunt it around like he did on Sunday and try to just hold serve throughout the final round, which is how he managed to pull off another win at a signature event. Despite shooting 74 in the final round, he made some huge putts late in the round, including a nasty 5 foot, downhill slider at the 18th hole where a miss would have likely created a playoff with Morikawa.

The books now have Scheffler at +350 for the Open.

Maybe what they want is to make Scheffler's number so uninviting that no one bets him and then, when he wins, the books collect all the money from the losing bets on the field.

I don't know.

But I do know it's crazy, in golf, to see someone at +350 to win a major championship. You're basically saying, "We're pretty certain he's going to win but we're trying to do something to coax you into a wager."

I don't know about you, but +350 won't do it for me. And I'm pretty convinced Scottie's going to win.

Yesterday's performance serves as an even bigger reminder of why Scheffler is the best player in the world by 20 lengths right now.

On any other day, with any other player, the leader would have shot 76 and lost by a shot or two. Scheffler didn't have his best stuff on Sunday and it was obvious pretty early on this wasn't going to be a walk-in-the-park.

But, like Tiger circa 2005, Scheffler pieced it together nicely. He turned 76 into 74 with a couple of great par saves, never once letting the moment overcome him. It looked very much like Tiger in his heyday.

I heard someone call into one of the shows on Sirius/XM last week and said, about Scheffler, "The only thing about him is that he's kind of a drab guy."

That's sort of like saying the Orioles are boring despite their 42-22 record.

Scheffler's drab and no one can beat him at golf.

And I'm not even so sure he's "drab". He seems like a good, funny, well rounded dude. He's always smiling. Doesn't seem to drab to me.

Then again, he's made $25 million playing golf over the last six months. I wouldn't be drab, either.

His golf is pretty much locked in right now. People are constantly asking me, "Why is Scheffler so good?" and I almost always say the same thing. "He hits right in the middle of the club face every time and he knows exactly where it's going."

Golf would be simple for you and I and everyone else that plays it if we, too, hit it right in the middle of the club face every time and knew right where it was going.

It might even get -- wait for it -- boring at times.

But it's not boring for Scheffler right now. Because he also knows if he doesn't play his best, he's not going to win. Someone will always have a hot week and be there to battle him.

The problem is, those guys aren't good enough to beat Scheffler.

Not this year, at least.

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"Randy On The O's"


Randy Morgan takes #DMD readers through the recent week in Orioles baseball as the Birds try to win a second straight A.L. East title.


orioles week in review


Week Record: 5-2

Season Record: 42-22

AL East Standing: 2nd (2.5 GB NYY)

Player of the Week: Grayson Rodriguez 12.1 IP 3ER 9H BB 10K 2W

As we head towards the heart of the summer, it's a good time to appreciate just how well this Orioles team continues to perform. The O’s churned out another ho-hum winning week, going 5-2 on the road against division rivals Toronto and Tampa.

Just over a week into June, the Orioles have the 3rd best record in all of baseball. They boast the 3rd best run differential as well, trailing the Yankees and Phillies in both stats and they still have the most wins over winning teams with 18.

A big thanks to the Dodgers, for proving the Yankees are human, taking two out of three from the Evil Empire after the Twins were pathetically swept by New York earlier in the week. That at least allowed the Orioles to gain a half game on the Yanks this week.

Grayson Rodriguez allowed just 9 hits and 3 earned runs in two starts last week.

On Monday the Birds traveled north to take on the Toronto Blue Jays. Grayson Rodriguez bookended the week with excellent starts, going 6.2 innings Monday with just one earned run, no walks and four strikeouts to set the table for the O’s 7-2 win. Anthony Santander opened the scoring with a homer in the 2nd, foreshadowing the onset of one of his patented hot streaks. The O’s tacked on two more in the fourth then Austin Hays put the game out of reach with his second homer of the game in the 7th.

Corbin Burnes remained the picture of consistency on Tuesday, throwing seven innings of one-run ball with four hits, one walk and five strikeouts to lower his season ERA to 2.26. Adley Rutschman and Ryan Mountcastle revived their ownership of Toronto’s Rogers Centre, with Mounty going deep twice and Adley driving in two runs. Connor Norby also got his first major league hit, a two-run homer in the top of the 8th to conclude the 10-1 win.

Santander got the offense rolling again on Wednesday with a 2nd inning homer, but the O’s were largely shut down after that by Jose Berrios. Albert Suarez delivered another solid start allowing two earned runs in five innings and the bullpen put the O’s in a position to win. However, the Jays got to Craig Kimbrel in the bottom of the 9th and plated the winning run on a single by Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

Thursday featured the MLB debut for top Orioles pitching prospect, lefty Cade Povich. The rookie pitched better than his end stat line would indicate, keeping the O’s in the game through the first five innings, before his walks caught up with him and the bullpen allowed several inherited runners to score. Despite only managing two hard hit balls off Povich, Toronto chased him in the sixth taking a 6-1 lead. The Birds battled back with homers from Adley and Ryan O’Hearn, but fell short for a 6-5 loss, splitting the series with the Jays.

On Friday the O’s journeyed to Tampa for a more fruitful four game series. Santander kicked things off again, with a 2nd inning homer. Mountcastle gave the Birds the lead again in the 5th with a two-run homer to make it 4-2, then a Jordan Westburg two-run shot in the 8th provided the insurance in the 6-3 win. Cole Irvin kept Tampa at bay over 5.2 innings with just two earned runs and six strikeouts, lowering his season ERA to 2.87. The bullpen pitched three nearly perfect innings to close it out, with Kimbrel getting the save.

Saturday brought the return of Kyle Bradish from an extended rest and he proved he was fine, pitching six shutout innings with just one hit and nine strikeouts. Danny Coulombe and Cionel Perez completed the shutout with three scoreless innings while O’Hearn and Gunnar sparked the offense with homers, the latter a three-run shot in the 9th that put the icing on the cake in the 5-0 win.

The week concluded with a third straight win over Tampa behind another Rodriguez start. Grayson was perfect through five innings on Sunday before conceding a couple of runs and handing it over to a flawless bullpen. It was Santander and Rutschman again leading the attack. Santander delivered a long ball in the 4th that extended the lead to 2-0 then Adley broke the game open with a grand slam in the top of the 8th en route to the 9-2 victory.

The O’s will try to complete the sweep at the Trop on Monday with Corbin Burnes on the mound.

As tends to be the case in successful weeks, picking a Player of the Week was a difficult task. There were many deserving candidates. Adley Rutschman and Anthony Santander led the offense for much of the week. Adley got on base at a .363 clip with three homers and eleven RBI. Santander had a .367 OBP with four homers and six RBI.

Gunnar Henderson was his usual fantastic self, though it says something about this team that in a season where he is among the leading candidates for AL MVP, he doesn’t easily win this award every week. Kyle Bradish also deserves mention for his phenomenal outing on Saturday that blanked the Rays.

However, this week we give the award to Grayson Rodriguez, who produced two winning starts. Rodriguez went 12.1 total innings while surrendering just three earned runs and striking out ten. He was perfect through five innings on Sunday before his pitch count ran high and he eventually allowed a few base runners that came around to score.


Down on the Farm –

It wasn’t a huge week for prospects at AAA affiliate Norfolk, with Cade Povich getting a promotion and Coby Mayo still out injured. Jackson Holliday continued to improve though, as he seems to be turning the corner a bit after his struggles following his return from the big leagues.

Holliday is generating more solid contact over the past couple weeks. This week he reached base at a .367 rate, hitting a homer and two doubles. A lesser heralded prospect also has been drawing some eyes with his play at Norfolk. 25 year old utility man Billy Cook had a strong week, with a .429 OBP and a homer.

After Povich’s promotion, Chayce McDermott is the top pitching prospect remaining at AAA and he had a solid outing. McDermott pitched six innings on Saturday, striking out eight with three hits, three walks and one earned run. McDermott now has a 3.57 ERA on the season and leads the league with 90 strikeouts in 58 IP.

AA Bowie was a little more exciting this week. 19 year old #2 overall Orioles prospect Samuel Basallo continued his strong hitting stretch, hitting safely in every game this week. Basallo posted a .444 OBP on the week with two homers, three doubles and seven RBI. He now has an .825 OPS on the season as the second youngest player in all of AA. Basallo could be on track to earn a mid-year promotion to AAA as one of the younger players in the high minors.

One rung down, 22 year old 2023 10th round pick Matthew Etzel, from Southern Miss, has really impressed since his debut last season. Etzel earned a promotion to Bowie from Aberdeen this week, boasting an .850 OPS and stealing 31 bases in just 51 games at High A.


Question of the Week –

How will the front office resolve the coming roster crunch with Jorge Mateo set to return soon?

It seems that once again there are some decisions looming for Mike Elias and Brandon Hyde. Jorge Mateo is eligible to come off the concussion IL today, though he may remain for a few more days.

It could be that Connor Norby just goes right back down and things carry on as they were before. However, Norby has looked useful at the major league level in his short stint and really doesn’t have much left to prove at AAA. So how could the front office keep Norby on the team and make room for the return of Mateo?

If someone was going to be sacrificed to make room for Mateo it would have to be one of two candidates. With Austin Hays finding some offense recently, Ramon Urias and Cedric Mullins remain the last two struggling veterans under scrutiny. Urias has picked up his contributions in the last week or so, bringing his season long OPS up to a respectable .699, but Mullins has largely continued to struggle.

Of course, no sooner than I drafted the notes for this story did Mullins see the glimpse of a turnaround, going 2-4 on Sunday with a clutch triple in the 7th with the game still in jeopardy. Mullins technically still has options to be sent down to Norfolk, but with a veteran track record and a strong defensive profile, the Orioles have given him every chance to turn it around. Even including the solid game on Sunday he has just two hits in 18 at-bats in June, playing mostly favorable matchups against right-handed pitchers.

Mullins may have bought himself a little time yesterday, but he is certainly on notice as the team can’t afford to carry many .544 OPS players as they attempt to close the gap on the nearly unbeatable Yankees.

With Jackson Holliday looking like he’s figuring out AAA, Heston Kjerstad still leading the minors in hitting and Coby Mayo soon to return from injury, these roster decisions will only get more difficult as the year progresses. There will be pressure on all the veterans to continue to carry their weight as the team pushes for a second straight division title and beyond.

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#dmd's u.s. open preview


They're headed back to the famous Pinehurst #2 course for this year's U.S. Open, which will be held June 13-16.

It's the fourth U.S. Open there since 1999, with Payne Stewart ('99), Michael Campbell ('05) and Martin Kaymer ('14) winning previously.

The golf course is one of America's treasures. It's considered the best of the best of the Donald Ross designs, with small, undulating greens and run-off areas that make it difficult to keep the ball on the putting surface unless you're a sublime ball striker.

Analysts and those trying to predict the outcome and the top finishers are looking at the obvious stats: shots gained approach, shots gained tee to green, and shots gained putting. The winner will likely be highly ranked in all three of those areas.

#DMD will provide our predicted top 10 finishers here. It's really a Top 9, of course, since Scottie Scheffler is obviously on the list as a slam dunk, no brainer.

So we'll do this from the start. Scheffler is on the list. Automatically. You have to bet him. So our Top 10 won't include him, but it does include him. Get it?

It's really a Top 11 list, in that case.

Our #10 was Will Zalatoris. #9 was Russell Henley. #8 was Xander Schauffele. #7 was Matt Fitzpatrick. #6 was Rickie Fowler. #5 was Tom Kim. #4 was Tom Hoge. #3 was Akshay Bhatia.

Max Homa is looking to join Xander Schauffele as a first time major winner in 2024.

#2 Max Homa -- OK, stick with me on this one. It's worth explaining.

Back in April, I was all over Xander Schauffele to win his first major at The Masters. "He's just way too good to not have a major and this is the one he's going to win," I said about "X" at Augusta National.

He didn't win the Masters. But then he fulfilled what I thought about him the following month at the PGA when he finally broke through and captured that elusive first major title.

I had Max Homa winning that PGA Championship. See where I'm going with this?

I was one tournament too early on Schauffele. So now I'm thinking I might be one tournament too early on Homa, too. I wouldn't want to miss out on him this week.

There's more about Homa, though. Keep sticking with me.

I've played Pinehurst #2 a lot. A lot of people in this area have played it. It's an easy, 6-hour drive away.

I think it's a great golf course.

I also think it's kind of boring (there's that word again).

A lot of the holes, at least to me, sorta-kinda look the same. The first two holes are straight away from the clubhouse. One is 400 and the other is 500. But they're both just bland, straight golf holes.

Several holes on the back are similar looking, too.

What's the connection to Homa, you're wondering?

His golf is kind of boring, too. He just bangs it out there 300 yards, hits it on the green to 35 feet, and tries to make a putt or two along the way.

I think Max is a great player. To me, he's one of the more underrated guys on TOUR. But I also think his golf is kind of forgettable. He doesn't do anything in a spectacular fashion. He just produces solid golf every time he plays.

That's why I love his chances this week. He'll shoot 69-67 to start the event and be four behind someone after 36 holes. No one will talk about Max Homa on Friday night.

Then he'll shoot 68 on Saturday and suddenly he'll be in the next-to-last group on Sunday. Out of nowhere, Max Homa will be a talking point at the U.S. Open.

I was high on him at the PGA and it didn't work out.

Maybe I was on him one tournament too soon.

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#dmd comments








HERMAN     June 20
Baltimore fans calling the O's announcers homers? Have you listened to that fool Gerry Sandusky call a Ravens game? There is no one more biased than that man. He's terrible. But I get it, he's paid by the Ravens so he has to be biased. That is what's happening with the O's announcers. Give it a break.

George     June 20
Jon Miller could make a rain delay enjoyable!

Chris in Bel Air     June 20
“There were a couple of balls up and in. It’s part of it. They like to throw in.”

The stats I'm viewing shows the Yankees are 3rd in the league for most hit batters with 42. O's are 3rd from bottom at 24. Who likes to throw in, Aaron? Smh

Paul from Towson     June 20
@Randy, thanks for the stats on that, and I think you're right. Compared with last year, their current rankings probably seem a lot worse than they are. I also think it has to do with when these situations come up and how effective the O's are in late game/high leverage RISP circumstances. Also, who is coming up in these spots. Guys like O'Hearn, Rutschman, and Mountie always seem to deliver, while guys like Hays, Cowser, and (I hate saying it) Mullins (except for last night) seem to drag that average down.



Also, as a kid, listening to Jon Miller on the radio, and Chuck and Brooks on the TV side are some of the most pleasant memories of my childhood. Angelos running Jon Miller out of town should still be one of the top 3 sins of his ownership.

rc     June 20
How many times are we gonna do this? EVERY team in MLB pays its own announcers to BE homers! Yet we're gonna whine about it when the O's do it? Newsflash, Palmer is also a homer. Every call against the O's his first utterance is "oh no no no....", then they watch the replay and it's "ok maybe he did swing" or "maybe he was out".

I respect Cake's knowledge, but face it, when announcing, he's a cheerleader too. It is more palatable coming from a HOF player as opposed to a "sideline reporter" like Hollander. Hollander is a younger version of local "generic announcer" Tom Davis. These guys are doing high school fashion shows one night, then calling a game the next night. Why? One can only assume its because they do it for cheapo, and in the case of last night, on short notice. Melanie Newman in the same category. She's oh with her telling stories role, but for play by play, I agree with Such, she is beyond bad, just like most of her coworkers.

JeffWell     June 20
@UTB- I remember all of those great "once upon a time" broadcasters that you mentioned and the great calls as well. In those days you got most games via radio and those guys made it almost seem like you were there.

TimD in Timonium     June 20
"Whenever two of the best teams in baseball play in the same division, their battles have that much higher stakes. That heightened energy was felt Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, especially after Aaron Judge was hit by a pitch on his left hand in the third inning of the Yankees’ 4-2 win over the Orioles. The stoic Judge marched halfway between Orioles starter Albert Suarez and first base while shaking his head. Aaron Judge was not happy with the pitch that hit him on the hand. "Definitely pissed,” Judge said about the pitch. “There were a couple of balls up and in. It’s part of it. They like to throw in.” - NY Post, June 19th



Oh, the drama. Can't stand these guys. Go O's!


Randy     June 20
Some context on hitting with RISP:

O's are 9th in batting average (.266) and 7th in OPS (.801), so in the top 3rd of the league. The Yanks are 5th and 3rd respectively.



The Orioles were 1st in both categories last year, so that is probably why it seems bad by comparison.

Unitastoberry     June 20
@Steve of Pimlico



Chuck Thompson is a HOFer. Jon Miller will be if not already. O'Donnell famous for the call with DeCinces walk off homer with Eckman going nuts. Tom Marr called Tippy retiring the side at first base with pick off plays. All better than current guys. Thorn was good I even liked Mel Procter. Tom Davis gets honorable mention with Jim Carvellis. Great memories.

Jason M     June 20
Rutschman is the MAN. That throw out in the 10th was so pivotal. The throw was just a thing of beauty - a laser beam on a dime at 127 feet. What a stone cold stellar performance to completely remove the Yankee momentum at that crucial moment.

Steve of Pimlico     June 20
I remember when Bill O'Donnell,Tom Marr and Jim Hunter were not considered top notch

They are HOFers compared to this current crop .

Mark.S in PH     June 20
@Paul all great points on last night's game, especially on Hay's AB, it was terrible. Agree on Verdugo, he's a jerk, made me chuckle! I like Palmer and Ben when they are doing the color! Get well Jim.



I have often wondered why can't the website add a "Like" or "thumbs-up, thumbs-down" button on the reader's posts?



Go O's!

Regular Joe     June 20
I have to pile on Hyde a bit, albeit a great win. Hyde will need to be better for us to win it all. O'Hearn is a better hitter than Hays and has a way better idea of the strike zone. I don't care if a great lefty is on the mound (and that Yankee guy was not close to great). Hays is from the old regime hitting approach-wise and has no clue what to do if the first pitch isn't a hittable fastball.



And Hyde just can't be pulling relievers after 20 pitches in the 5th inning - Webb is unfortunately now one of the better options.



Also very happy for Urias - he will be very important for us.




Pratt     June 20
FINALLY! Someone finally calls out Brown for his pompous attitude. The Orioles NEVER EVER do anything wrong according to that guy. Like you said Hollender was just in there because Palmer wasn't but Brown should rise above that.

Chris in Bel Air     June 20
@JWW- Thanks for the correction. After I typed it I couldn't remember if it was 2012 or 2104.

@Such- Don't you know that nobody is supposed to question or mess with the precious Yankees? Only they know what it right and just in the baseball world. Didn't you know that MLB really just sets up the entire season for the enjoyment of the Yankees and their fans? We're all just passengers in the journey and we should be grateful if they let the other team win. Their level of narcissism and self-infatuation is mind-numbing.

Adam     June 20
Completely agree MFC but add closer and right handed bat to the list. The Os announcers were right that we dont hit guys in general but we clearly threw at Judge and I would've done the same. But there was no need to yammer on all night about how Os would never do such a thing. Somewhere Armando beanball Benitez had a hearty chuckle. But this is same Yankees phonies that watched Sabathia break bone in Markakis hand so they can kick rocks

KVVfromSP     June 20
Speaking of pathetic announcers , how about the announcer at Camden Yards …..makes my skin crawl every time she announces a batter.

MFC     June 20
Baustista, Means, Wells, Bradish, is something in the "hydration station" water? With those guys we're definitely the best team in baseball. Without them it's going to be a struggle. Sorry but Tate, Webb, Suarez and Kimbrel just aren't doing it for me. I'm of the opinion a move for a pitcher has to be made and possibly two pitchers.



Catholic League HOF dinner tonight. Calipari is the headline speaker. Lots of great stories to be told this evening. Looking forward to catching up with old friends.

JWW     June 20
@CHRIS - I was going to bring that up as I totally agree with you. It was actually September 2012, not 2014 when Sabathia plunked Markakis. The magical winning season that culminated in an ALDS loss to those same Bombers. I felt so bad for Nick - all the years of losing came to a spectacular end and he had to sit that playoff run out.



F the Yankees indeed.

lou@palo alto     June 20
Paul makes many gd pts. Hays has regressed in his strike zone awareness--it's even worse than Mateo's and he has actually improved. Elias will hv decisions re the 3 outfielders and my bet is Hays is gone w Mullins & Santander offered deals but there are lots of moving parts here w pitching needs and many gd young players knocking on the door

Paul from Towson     June 20
Teams tend to emulate their manager. The Yankees are whiny, soft, arrogant cry baby punks. Just like their garbage manager. Brandon Hyde has the Orioles focused on winning baseball games, not the childish nonsense like bean ball wars or dugout sniping.

Tom J     June 20
The Yankees whining is comical. They are third in MLB with 48 hit batters. They may want to get pissed at their own guys before anyone else. Gunnar was intentional last night so thanks dummies for putting the run difference in the game on base. BTW, their catcher totally sucks. They need to run on this guy every single time on base. Nine steals Sunday vs Boston and four last night. Pathetic......

such     June 20
DR, you're spot on. Soto had no business doing that. It sure seemed intentional. Just like the pitch that Gunnar got drilled with last night. That was clearly an attempt to pay back the Orioles for Judge getting hit. But did anyone else notice that Saurez couldn't throw a strike Tuesday night? I'm not sure there was much intention when he plunked Judge.

I like Kevin Brown, I really do, but sometimes you have to call it like you see it. He tried way too hard last night to excuse the Gunnar HBP as unintentional. I think if Palmer or McDonald had been in the booth, there would've been a different take on the whole situation. It's times like that when it's good to have a former pro alongside you. Their perspective is based on their experience on the field.

If you think the MASN guys are bad, just try listening to the radio when Melanie is doing her version of "play-by-play". Brings a whole new level to the definition of dreadful.

Speaking of play-by-play, there's a beautiful video tribute to Willie Mays that the Giants released yesterday narrated by Jon Miller. Man, do I miss that guy. You can find it on YouTube.



As always, F the Yankees.

Paul from Towson     June 20
Yes, it's June. Yes, there's still 89 of these games remaining. But a loss last night might as well have been 2 losses. This was one of those "defining" games, for lack of a better term where the O's once again pulled defeat from the jaws of victory, to only then pull victory from the jaws of defeat. If this game is against the White Sox in mid-April or mid-May, it sucks, but you chalk it up to "there's 10 or 15 of 'those games'" every season. But when you blow a 5-1 lead, in Yankee Stadium, in late-June when less than 3 games separates these teams...that's as big of a loss as any can be in June. And crushes any momentum heading into today's matinee. Coupled with the fact that my dead grandmother would have been a better pinch hit option than Hays, and the Orioles left a small village on the bases last night. By the way, I keep saying it, if the O's don't win the World Series this year, or at least don't make an extended playoff run, it will be because they just can't hit with runners in scoring position. Minus Alex Verdugo's great catch (I hate that SOB, but credit given on that, Santander smoked that ball) over the past month, the O's have been terrible when they get a runner to second with less than two outs. Bases loaded in the 9th, one out, you HAVE to push across a run there. All Hays has to do is make contact and Mateo scores as long as Hays doesn't hit into an inning ending double play. He's terrible, and he while I get the logic of why Hyde pinch hit for O'Hearn there, Hays looked like a little leaguer against a guy with a 5.00+ ERA who just loaded the bases. Can't have that in big game situations. You HAVE to make contact. And Kimbrel had been very good recently, but I was never comfortable with him inheriting a one run lead. Going into the bottom of the ninth, I was just hoping he only gave up one and was able to get the O's back up in the 10th.



All in all, in the end it was a great team win. I love Ceddie and it was awesome to see him finally come through in the clutch. Also, I thought that except for the walks, Povich acquitted himself quite nicely for his first time in Yankee Stadium.



As far as Kevin Brown/Bren Hollander last night, I agree with Drew's assessment, but ANYTHING is better than the garbage we suffered through during Kevin's recent hiatus. Brad Brach should NEVER be allowed anywhere near the broadcast booth again, and the Geoff Arnold (insert name here) team was minor league/amateur hour-ish in my opinion. Just my thoughts. GO O's!!!!!

lou@palo alto     June 20
hope Palmer recovers quickly--covid no joke at his age. Haven't seen commentary on Stanton's game tying single--Kimbrel did his job and got him to hit the ball directly at Urias, just that the Yanks had an unusual hit and run on with the runner on 2nd going. Urias vacated his position to cover third--otherwise its an out if not a double play w the runner going rite toward him

Chris in Bel Air     June 20
Agree with @David R and yes, this retaliation business is bush league. Also, while the O's announcers are huge homers I do agree with their take on the ump and was surprised he didn't issue a warning after Gunnar was drilled. I hope he goes 4/4 today with a HR on the way to an O's win. Any of these holier than thou Yankee fans remember their team drilling Markakis and breaking his hand before the 2014 playoffs? No need to answer.

Unitastoberry     June 20
Mays military service most likely kept him from getting to Ruths 714 RIP



MASN is outta my price range so I'll take your word for it on the tv call. Do the Orioles have a senior citizen MASN inflation discount?



Six innings a game on average for starting pitchers and a 5 man rotation they still blow out the armS left and right. Don't tell me it's because they throw harder. Do they have robots who do surgery on MLB pitchers yet? Orioles had 4 twenty game winners in 1971 not one lost to Tommy John surgery which was not even invented until 1974. This is like the NFL adding games but still caring about CTE. 18 coming soon. Now there's talk of a seperate QB salary cap. All this NIL money still can't buy Maryland a football national championship. Some thngs never change at U of DC.



One thing I still enjoy from the past is hating on the Yankees.Spoiled rotten bums as usual.



Well I gotta go my 1972 Gand Torino needs service and my Get off my Lawn sign is missing.

David Rosenfeld     June 20
All of this (whatever it is) started with Soto. There was simply no reason for him to make contact with Westburg in that situation. It was weird and displayed a lack of understanding of the rules at least. Second time this season he's been called for it. Bias aside, he's kind of a punk. I know he's got a 1.023 OPS and hits the living snot out of the ball, but odds are he's on his 4th team next season at age 26.

With bias...I feel like the Yankees are sort of acting like a team that's accomplished something. I'm trying to figure out what that is exactly besides being in first place in June.

TimD     June 20
Agree with your take on the O's announcers' comments. Absolutely "homer" mentality. "Our team would never do that!"



Hotel warm coffee is the worst!

Bob Miller     June 20
Consider me Team Kevin Brown. He’s entertaining and engaging.

Jason S.     June 20
I love Elias but the Kimbrel signing was a whiff. That guy sucks. Move on and find someone to close games before we get bit in the playoffs.

Cal     June 20
You're just now turning down the sound when Brown is doing the play by play? I've been doing that for two years. Turn down the sound and listen to the radio side of it. Brown is more of a homer than Hunter ever was and that's saying something.



Maybe it goes back to being suspended last year but the O's can do no wrong ever, as you pointed out.

Frank     June 20
Hollander is terrible. I agree last night was a bad look for both KB and Hollander. They sounded like school girls who got turned down by two handsome football players.

As for the game itself, Hyde is very lucky they won. I hear you about the stats and data numbers but O'Hearn has to bat there in the 9th inning. Bringing in Hays cold off the bench in that situation was stupid.

Too bad Gray-Rod doesn't pitch today or someone from the Yanks would take one in the ribs.

Delray RICK     June 20
PALMER has COVID AGAIN!!!

rc     June 20
This GM guy must be angling for a member/guest invite lol.

Kevin     June 19
Streets are saying Jeremy and Drew are taking over 10-2 show on the Fan starting July 29.

GM     June 19
When does DMD flip flop Billy? Examples?

Billy     June 19
@John, #DMD flip flops often lol.

George     June 19
@Howard -- Tough question, and one I don’t have a defensible answer to. I am struck by the fact that in many cases – art, battlefield photography, clandestine industrial videography, the gravamens of whistleblowers’ and kneeling athletes’ complaints – we (the people) tend to find fault with and condemn the messenger and fail to act on the wrong he or she has brought to light. I guess there is a fine line between right and wrong in the methods used to expose stuff, but I’ve no clue where that line is. Seems that there has to be offense at the method before anyone bothers to look at the wrong, and sometime the offense is so great, the wrong is never considered at all.

John L.     June 19
Does PA actually read what DF writes? DF made it very clear he's still anti Saudis today didn't he?



"Alas, he's also a guy who joined a rival league and accepted money from creeps who have not been friendly to our country and who continue to walk a very fine line when it comes to human rights issues. I made my bed on that situation early on and I'm very comfortable sleeping in it."

Howard     June 19
Great article by George but 1 picture too many. I think that the picture “Adult Movies” is pornography. The naked human body is a beautiful thing that has been celebrated in art for millennia, but I think this picture crossed the line into smut. I wouldn’t want my grandchildren to see this and I wonder if anyone

would be comfortable showing this to their family members who are minors.


J.K.     June 19
According to Bruce Cunningham, our very own DF is doing radio today on 105.7 from 12-3 pm. Is that correct?

pa     June 19
If I might clarify my comments too: it seems at the start of LIV, DMD was writing off each individual golfer who signed up for LIV (ala "dead to me"). At the time I suggested it was more of a "golf" thing, not a "Saudi" thing. Unfortunately, the Saudis (and China, Russia, et al) have their financial tentacles in a lot of entities that Americans support. So that in itself really is not unique to LIV. Now the format: pay for play, teams, shotguns, 54 holes etc, are all bastardizations of real tournament golf. In that vein, I am 100% with the DMD take on LIV.

Just never understand why DMD seemed to be making it all about Saudis and individual US players taking "their" money. Maybe I misunderstood, or maybe DMD has somewhat backed off the Saudi angle. Either way, as it was clarified today, I agree with the current DMD take on LIV guys. I'm sure we'll both root hard for BAD should he be on the Ryder Cup squad.

lou@palo alto     June 19
Palmer collapse in '66 Open at Olympic was a transition to a new era.He was 36 and never won another major--my long post from 2 d ago cldnt clear the robot--fyi

lou@palo alto     June 19
great column, George. My sister was '64 Parkville and me '66 City so lots of memories jogged--thx

Paul from Towson     June 19
Well said Such. Willie Mays is a once in a millennium individual. More than baseball, more than stats. His loss will extend beyond baseball, into the fiber of America. The world is a little less of a beautiful place now that he is gone.

such     June 19
I took some time last night to peruse the lifetime statistics of Willie Mays. It's as if every category you would want from a player came to life. I kept shaking my head in disbelief.

He stands alone as the only player in history to collect over 3,000 hits, 600 homeruns, 500 doubles, 100 triples and 300 stolen bases. He played in 24 (!) All Star Games. Oh, he also missed almost two full seasons when he was 22 and was drafted during the Korean War.

My only memory of Mays was seeing him on the Mets during the 1973 season. I was a very young boy, but even then I knew that Willie Mays was a legend. All I had to do was ask anyone who knew anything about baseball, which was basically everyone in America.

Icon is defined as "A person or thing widely admired, especially for having great influence or significance in a particular sphere." I like how the word sphere is used here, since a baseball is spherical.

Willie Mays was an American Icon.

Dan     June 19
Need to pull out a game or two vs Yanks since we didn't exactly line up our best starters for this series.

Steve of Pimlico     June 19
I have always loved Mr.Voshell's paintings and murals.He was our Grant Wood .

The Os have their weakest pitchers starting in this series so if they drop 3 it's not the end of the world.October will be very interesting.

Scottmann     June 19
Drew,

I'm surprised you didn't mention Jack Nicklaus as one of the classiest, and most gracious losers of all-time. Jack finished second in a record 19 majors, and always shook the winners hand.

Sunday
June 9, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3579


sunday ramblings


#DMD reader and occasional contributor Ramey sent me an e-mail last night wondering if I was going to "blow up" the story about Caitlin Clark not being picked for the U.S. Women's Olympic basketball team.

No, I'm not, Ramey.

I mean, my opinion is it's completely crazy to not have her on the team.

But that's the extent of me "blowing up" the story that was first reported yesterday.

As I saw the reaction on social media, it became a story about who did make it (Brittney Griner) vs. who didn't make it (Clark).

Some basketball experts think Caitlin Clark is the best young American women's player in the country, but that didn't help earn her a spot on this summer's U.S. Olympic team.

I think we all know what the general tenor of those debates was and what it all centered on. And that's not really an arena I want to play in, honestly.

For what it's worth, in case you do care, Clark was apparently left off the team because she wasn't able to attend the national training camp back in March because she was still competing with Iowa in her college basketball season.

I have no idea if the Olympic folks basically said, "Pick one...college or the Olympics", but if they did, that's an all-time Top 10 #clownshoes moment of this century.

But there ends the depth of my discussion about the story. Do I think Caitlin Clark should be on the U.S. Olympic team? Very much so.

Will I watch any less of it because she isn't on the team? I will not.

Would I have watched any of it had she been picked? Most likely not.


Scottie Scheffler is prepping for the U.S. Open the way we all kind of figured he would. He has a 4-shot lead heading into the final round of today's Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village GC in Dublin, Ohio.

Scheffler leads by four despite carding a triple-bogey 7 on the par 4 9th hole yesterday. Imagine that. You make a triple halfway through your round and still own a four shot advantage at day's end.

It's turned into such a one-man show on the PGA Tour that nearly every major online gambling site now has a category that reads, "Top Finisher besides Scheffler", which is basically saying, "Pick who finishes in 2nd."

Online gambling wasn't a thing when Tiger was at his zenith, but there probably would have been a similar offering for him as well.

But in Scheffler's case right now, the books are trying so hard to keep your "win bet" interests up they've essentially said, "We know you don't want to bet Scottie at +400, so just pick who finishes second."

I guess if you're not a golfer or don't follow the sport very closely you don't understand how out of this world wacky that is, but it's crazy. Golf is the most mercurial game going. No one knows what they're going to do on the next hole, let alone the next round or next tournament.

"Scottie's going to win, we all know that," is bonkers talk. But that's what's happening these days on the PGA Tour.

Now, he does still have to hold on to that 4-shot lead today. And as he showed on Saturday, there are patches of trouble littered throughout the golf course if you hit a shot or two offline.

But failing something bizarre happening, Scottie's going to win for the 5th time this season, with three of those victories being very significant tournaments on the PGA Tour; The Players, the Masters and the Memorial.

Oh, and then he heads off to Pinehurst, NC for this week's U.S. Open. You know what's likely going to happen there, right?


Speaking of golf, my weekly radio show on 105.7 The fan airs today from 4 pm to 6 pm. I hope you can tune in.

I'll be following along with the play at Muirfield Village, previewing the U.S. Open, and talking about the Maryland Amateur final, which takes place this morning at Manor CC, with Austin Barbin (Chesapeake Bay GC) taking on Jake Roth (Lakewood CC).

Barbin advanced to the final -- which gives a spot in this year's U.S. Amateur to the winner -- by knocking off the defending champion, Kevin Grady, in the semifinals.

I hope you can tune in. If you have a question you'd like me to answer on the show, please send it along this morning: 18inarow@gmail.com


Well, any questions about Kyle Bradish and his health were put to bed yesterday in Tampa Bay, as he buzzed through the Rays lineup like a warm knife in butter.

Bradish went 6 innings, allowed just 1 hit, and struck out 9 Tampa Bay would-be hitters. The Rays didn't hit a single ball out of the infield against Bradish on Saturday.

There was some concern about the right hander after his June 1 start against the Rays in Baltimore (5 runs in 2.2 innings), but he erased any of those concerns yesterday with a stellar outing.

Gunnar Henderson broke out of a recent home run slump with a 3-run shot in the 9th inning.

Cedric Mullins? You really want to know? He went 0-for-3 and is now hitting .170 on the season. It's not getting any better, sports fans.

With the Yankees getting clipped on Saturday by the Dodgers for a second straight day, Baltimore is now back to within just 2.5 games of the A.L. East lead.

The Birds will finish up in Tampa Bay with two more games before heading home for a 3-game series with Atlanta that starts Tuesday and a 3-game weekend series with Philadelphia.


Soccer fans around the country are up-in-arms over the U.S. men's team getting shellacked by Colombia on Saturday down in Landover, 5-1.

They are called "friendly games" for a reason.

Matt Turner and the U.S. men's soccer team were roasted by Colombia on Saturday in a "friendly", 5-1.

Lean in a little more closely so you can hear me well: They DON'T count for anything.

The American side is preparing for this summer's Copa America tournament, which starts for the U.S. with a game against Bolivia on June 23.

Don't get me wrong: It was a disastrous, uninspired performance by the U.S. on Saturday. Losing 5-1 in soccer is like losing 48-10 in football or 13-2 in baseball.

It's beyond a blowout.

But it's still a game that doesn't matter at all, except to the folks who think U.S. men's coach Gregg Berhalter should be fired. To them, Saturday's fiasco is the proverbial "final straw".

Of course, those folks are never heard from when the U.S. wins a tournament or beats an otherwise superior opponent in one of these "friendly games".

But lose 5-1 and watch out.

It was an awful performance. No two ways about it. But at some point the players who actually touched the soccer ball and made (or didn't) make the plays have receive the lion's share of the scrutiny.

Following the Bolivia game on June 23, the U.S. will face Panama and Uruguay.

Oh, and speaking of Colombia, if the Americans make it to the quarterfinals of Copa America, guess who they might very well face?

Yep...rematch time.

And these upcoming games in the tournament actually do matter.

What happened on Saturday in Landover is like losing 30-10 in a pre-season football game. Who cares?

But starting on June 23, people will have a reason to gripe if the U.S. can't take care of business against Bolivia.

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#dmd's u.s. open preview


They're headed back to the famous Pinehurst #2 course for this year's U.S. Open, which will be held June 13-16.

It's the fourth U.S. Open there since 1999, with Payne Stewart ('99), Michael Campbell ('05) and Martin Kaymer ('14) winning previously.

The golf course is one of America's treasures. It's considered the best of the best of the Donald Ross designs, with small, undulating greens and run-off areas that make it difficult to keep the ball on the putting surface unless you're a sublime ball striker.

Analysts and those trying to predict the outcome and the top finishers are looking at the obvious stats: shots gained approach, shots gained tee to green, and shots gained putting. The winner will likely be highly ranked in all three of those areas.

#DMD will provide our predicted top 10 finishers here. It's really a Top 9, of course, since Scottie Scheffler is obviously on the list as a slam dunk, no brainer.

So we'll do this from the start. Scheffler is on the list. Automatically. You have to bet him. So our Top 10 won't include him, but it does include him. Get it?

It's really a Top 11 list, in that case.

Our #10 was Will Zalatoris. #9 was Russell Henley. #8 was Xander Schauffele. #7 was Matt Fitzpatrick. #6 was Rickie Fowler. #5 was Tom Kim. #4 was Tom Hoge.

Akshay Bhatia won the Valero Texas Open earlier this season and is now looking for a "major" success story at Pinehurst #2 next week.

#3, Akshay Bhatia -- Sure, he's a long shot. He's also a remarkably talented 22-year old. Don't know who he is? You're going to find out soon enough.

For starters, he's a North Carolina kid (Wake Forest) by way of Los Angeles. The U.S. Open is in Pinehurst, NC. I like that angle and storyline. And because I believe in the golf gods, I love this kid's chances next week.

But it's his golf that's bigger than his childhood.

Bhatia is a blossoming player that will someday be a U.S. Ryder Cup member, maybe even as soon as 2025. He can do it all.

If you're a believer in data telling part of the story as you evaluate who might win, he checks off a lot of boxes. Bhatia is 20th in shots gained, total, which is a very impressive ranking.

He's 13th in shots gained, approach to green. He's 40th in shots gained, putting. And he's 34th in total driving.

He's also 37th in proximity to the hole, which is a very strong number.

But here's the big one. On approach shots from 200 yards and in, he ranks 20th on TOUR in proximity. He's going to see a lot of those shots at Pinehurst #2.

We always encourage you to be smart with your golf wagers. Only one guy can win, after all. Top 10 and Top 20 money still pays.

But we think Bhatia has a very good chance of being in the hunt for the title next Sunday. He's going to be on a lot of our wagering cards next week.

JERRY'S TOYOTA banner

Saturday
June 8, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3578


40 -- really, 40? -- years later


June 8, 1984.

June 8, 2024.

Yep, it's been 40 years.

On this date in 1984, the Baltimore Blast won their first ever MISL, beating St. Louis, 10-3, in Game 5 at the Baltimore Arena.

That was when indoor soccer was still a big deal in this country. Well, some would say it was never a big deal, like ever, but those were the days when CBS was broadcasting games and teams in the league were putting 15,000 or more in their arenas on a regular basis.

Maybe it would be more fair to say, "That was when indoor soccer was at its zenith..."

There, I fixed it.

On that night in Baltimore, Joey Fink scored 5 goals for us, including two (or was it three?) into an empty net after St. Louis pulled their goalie midway through the fourth quarter to try to pull off a miracle comeback and send the series back to St. Louis.

Instead, the Steamers took a 7-3 game and turned it into a 10-3 clobbering, much to the delight of the sold-out crowd downtown.

I worked for the Blast (and Spirit) for 17 years. The only championship ring I ever received was from that '83-84 team. I still own it, but never break it out and wear it.

That team was filled with incredible soccer talent. Stan Stamenkovic was the king of the group, of course. We were able to win Game 5 thanks in large part to "The Magician", who scored 1:59 into OT in St. Louis two nights before to put us up 3-1 in the series.

With Stan, it really was magic. He toiled with an obscure Memphis team for a couple of years before the Blast handed over $100,000 for his services, acquiring Stamenkovic and his teammate and fellow countryman Ray Kunovac.

We didn't hide the fact we were trying to buy a championship. Our chief competition in the league at that time, San Diego and New York, both spent gobs and gobs of money buying elite players. I guess Kenny Cooper figured, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

So we purchased Stamenkovic and Kunovac from the cash-strapped Memphis franchise. The deal paved the way for us to win the title. It didn't help Memphis at all. They were out of the league a year later.

Kunovac, by the way, was pretty much a thrown in. He played sparingly with us that season, but we kept him around to keep Stan happy.

Stamenkovic showed up for training camp in September of 1983 pretty much looking like Fred Flintstone in indoor soccer shoes.

As we watched Stan jog around the indoor soccer facility on Route 40 ("Indoor Kicks") during his first day in town, Kenny Cooper whispered to me, "Holy hell, what did he eat over the summer?"

I deadpanned, "Everything, I think."

I remember Stan weighing in at 244 pounds and Kenny telling me to list him at 220 in the media guide.

"If the media asks, the company line is he weighed in at 220 pounds," Cooper said to me. "This is important. 220 pounds."

I'd make the quip here about a certain-someone-who-is-running-for-political-office once saying he weighed 239 pounds. Some people don't want to confront their real weight. I get it. Stan didn't want to go around telling people he was a professional soccer player who weighed almost 250 pounds.

That first month of training camp was tough. Stan wasn't just heavy. He was also grossly out of shape. But to be fair to him, the team in Memphis didn't really care what he looked like or how much he weighed, as long as he dazzled the home fans with his amazing footwork.

The problem was Stamenkovic was also an unhealthy 27 year old when he showed up in Baltimore. His weight didn't help a chronic knee condition, nor did his affection for cigarettes and beer. Stamenkovic was one of the rare athletes who actually played sports at a high level and didn't have an ACL in one of his knees, which seemed almost impossible to me, but it was true.

Editor's note: The Blast somehow actually once had two players on its roster who played soccer without the benefit of each knee having an anterior cruicate ligament. Dale Mitchell, a remarkable Canadian-born goal scorer, also tore an ACL at at early age and never had it repaired. I thought you might like knowing that sort of thing.

Stamenkovic eventually got down to the -- let's just say -- 220 range. In his first game with us in Buffalo, he recorded 4 assists in an 8-4 victory. Everything started off fine.

But as the season started to pick up and the games came fast and furious, Stamenkovic had trouble finding his way. Guys like Pat Ercoli, Dave MacWilliams, Paul Kitson and Joey Fink were having a hard time dealing with Stan's mercurial ways. Mike Stankovic was seemingly the only guy on the team who had a connection with the fellow Yugoslav.

At the midway point of the season, we were 13-11 and headed to Pittsburgh for a crucial Sunday afternoon game with Pittsburgh.

The night before the game, Cooper sat down with Stamenkovic in the Hyatt Regency bar for a heart-to-heart talk.

"I'm worried this might not work out," Cooper told Stan.

"We paid a lot of money for you and you're getting paid a huge salary. This is on you. We've done our part. You have to start producing and we have to start winning."

The next day, we pulled off a 6-5 OT win over Pittsburgh and Stamenkovic stepped up his game.

Over the next two months, that Blast team played the best indoor soccer I ever saw any team play in the league, ever. We went from 13-11 at the midway point to 34-14 at the end of the regular season, posting a 21-3 mark over the final half of the campaign.

We rolled through New York and Cleveland in the first two rounds of the Eastern Conference playoffs, earning the aforementioned championship berth with St. Louis.

Stamenkovic won Game 4 for us in OT with a thundering left-footed shot from the top of the box to send the series back to Baltimore with the Blast up 3-1. If there was a moment that season where Stan "paid for himself", that was it. It gave us the chance to clinch the title at home on Friday night.

Two nights later, we won that elusive first championship.

The next season, San Diego returned to the league after a one-year hissy fit and Stamenkovic showed up in camp in much better shape and ready to go. We had a terrific season, but lost to the Sockers in five games in the title series.

In 1985-86, the wear and tear of five seasons of soccer started to impact The Magician. He labored through an "off year" and the team did, too, barely making the playoffs before being ousted by our arch-rivals, Cleveland.

That summer, Cooper made a concerted effort to add some youth and goal-scoring punch to the roster in an effort to help Stamenkovic and remove some of the pressure that was on him each and every night.

We brought in Andy Chapman and Keith Furphy, plus feisty Englishman Paul Child as well. Cooper believed those three would team up well with Stamenkovic, particularly Child, who was a back-post-scoring-machine in Pittsburgh the year before.

In mid-July, Cooper came into my office and closed the door.

"Stamenkovic isn't coming back," he said.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"He just called and talked to me for an hour. He was crying on the phone. He hasn't done anything all summer. He's in terrible shape. His wife doesn't want to come back. He's confused. He's going to stay over there for now and we're going to talk again around December and see how he feels."

Publicly, we told people Stamenkovic had developed a fear of flying (which was sorta-kinda true...he hated to fly) and wasn't going to start the season with us.

Privately, we knew it was likely Stan wouldn't play with us in the 1986-87 season.

And he didn't.

The team actually percolated nicely throughout the season without him and Scott Manning posted an almost unthinkable 3.47 goals against average, but the Blast fell to eventual league champion Dallas in the first round of the playoffs.

Stamenkovic did return in 1987-88 to fulfill the final year of his contract, but his game was gone by then. We finished under .500 for the season, made the playoffs on the final weekend, then lost to Minnesota 3-1 in the first playoff series.

Stan went back home to Yugoslavia in the summer of 1988 and we never saw him again in Baltimore.

Five years later, he played a few games for the Seattle team in a new league, the CISL, and I went down to the old Capital Centre to watch Stan play.

It was a sad, sad sight.

He was well over 250 pounds by then and played primarily on the power play unit. He still had his trademark footwork, but he couldn't run at all. It was a little bit like watching Jack Nicklaus tee off every April at The Masters as the honorary starter. You remember what used to be, but what you're seeing now is just sad.

Stan died at age 39 of a head injury he sustained after falling down the steps at his home in Serbia.

He was gone way too soon.

Appropriately, I'd say he provided us all with a lot of "magic moments" in Baltimore.

And on June 8, 1984, he helped the Blast bring its biggest moment ever to the indoor soccer fans of Charm City.

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#dmd's u.s. open preview


They're headed back to the famous Pinehurst #2 course for this year's U.S. Open, which will be held June 13-16.

It's the fourth U.S. Open there since 1999, with Payne Stewart ('99), Michael Campbell ('05) and Martin Kaymer ('14) winning previously.

The golf course is one of America's treasures. It's considered the best of the best of the Donald Ross designs, with small, undulating greens and run-off areas that make it difficult to keep the ball on the putting surface unless you're a sublime ball striker.

Analysts and those trying to predict the outcome and the top finishers are looking at the obvious stats: shots gained approach, shots gained tee to green, and shots gained putting. The winner will likely be highly ranked in all three of those areas.

#DMD will provide our predicted top 10 finishers here. It's really a Top 9, of course, since Scottie Scheffler is obviously on the list as a slam dunk, no brainer.

So we'll do this from the start. Scheffler is on the list. Automatically. You have to bet him. So our Top 10 won't include him, but it does include him. Get it?

It's really a Top 11 list, in that case.

Our #10 was Will Zalatoris. #9 was Russell Henley. #8 was Xander Schauffele. #7 was Matt Fitzpatrick. #6 was Rickie Fowler. #5 was Tom Kim.

Most of the ball striking stats on the PGA Tour favor Tom Hoge next week at Pinehurst #2.

#4, Tom Hoge -- Do a deep dive into the stats on the PGA Tour over the last two seasons and this guy's name sticks out like a sore thumb. You'll see Tom Hoge, Tom Hoge, Tom Hoge. Over and over.

It's not an accident or a fluke.

He's one of the best ball strikers in all of golf, particularly on shots from 200 yards and in, which will make up a huge part of what he faces next week at Pinehurst #2.

Sure, Tom Hoge hasn't won a major title in his career. And that alone makes him a longshot of sorts next week.

But Wyndham Clark hadn't won a major before last summer's romp through L.A. Country Club, remember.

We've been penciling Hoge in at this year's U.S. Open since the season started back in January. All we needed were the ball striking numbers to keep up the pace.

And that they have.

Longshot? Sure, maybe.

But he's a great player. A very underrated player, at that. And we're high on him heading into Pinehurst next week.

JERRY'S TOYOTA banner

Friday
June 7, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3577


i don't get the hyde hate


I realize the Comments section here is a small sample size.

Talk radio callers, as it were, only make up roughly 1% of the listening audience, and yet their voices and opinions are largely the ones that shape our opinion on "what the community thinks".

How many times have you said this or heard it said? "Man, they're killing (Harbaugh/Lamar etc.) on The Fan."

But a quick persual of the Comments section from Thursday's edition of #DMD showed some scathing criticisms of O's manager Brandon Hyde.

And, yes, I get it. It's the internet. People write stuff on the web they'd never, ever have the courage to say to someone in person. Likewise, folks also have a habit of turning up the volume on their various sports takes when they're cast out over the internet.

But the vitriol for Brandon Hyde? I just don't get it.

Is he the best manager in the big leagues? I think not.

Brandon Hyde's mismanagement (maybe?) of the bullpen in Wednesday's loss at Toronto left some #DMD readers fuming on Thursday.

Does he make mistakes? Sure. Every manager does.

Will he make occasional puzzling moves with his pitchers, in particular? Indeed he will.

But he doesn't stink.

And he's not "awful", either.

For sure, there's no reason at all to fire him or even consider someone else for the role.

He is what most managers are, honestly. He's decent enough to make good decisions on occasion and bad decisions on occasion, but most of those are all hindsight moves.

If he goes to Craig Kimbrel in the 9th inning on Wednesday night and Kimbrel goes 1-2-3, thank you very much, and the O's score a run in the top of the 10th to win, 3-2, everyone says "Kimbrel was great tonight." They don't say, "That Brandon Hyde, what a genius move it was bringing in Kimbrel in the 9th."

Instead, he went to Kimbrel and the inning blew up on a single, throwing error, sac fly and single. Hyde's a bum because he shouldn't have gone to Kimbrel in the first place, people were saying.

Again, if you want to question yanking Yennier Cano after a quick, 12-pitch 8th inning, I think that's more than fair. Me, personally? I think Hyde makes those kind of moves more often than he should. If nothing else, go back to Cano to start the 9th inning with a very short leash.

That said, I don't think Hyde suddenly "stinks" because he went to Kimbrel and the game went sideways.

He might have made a bad decision on Wednesday night. It happens.

He might make a good one tonight in Tampa Bay. That happens, too.

Everyone's always looking to pin the blame on someone when the team loses. And in our country, for reasons I've never figured out, the coach almost always gets the blame when the team loses but then never gets the credit when the team wins.

One other thing that's happened in this great nation of ours is this: If you're critical of someone for one thing, that must mean you hate them.

I don't think Hyde handled the bullpen well in Wednesday's loss. But I'm not a Craig Kimbrel fan. And I'm also watching on my TV in Baltimore while Hyde is there, on site, trying to balance everything in that 9th inning.

Just because I think Hyde made the wrong move on Wednesday doesn't mean I think he's a terrible manager. Had Kimbrel struck out the side and the O's won the game in the 10th inning (or later), Hyde's move would have been one of the reasons why the team won.

The O's won 101 games last season and lost 61.

They're on pace for a similar record in 2024.

Is Brandon Hyde responsible, in some way, for a large portion of the losses but not responsible, in some way, for a large portion of the wins as well?

And if the answer is "yes, he's responsible for both the wins and the losses", doesn't that, then, make him at the very least a "good" manager if not more than that?

If your train of thought is "It's the players who are winning the games for them", I might be willing to sign off on that theory as long as you're willing to say "It's the players who are losing the games for them" at the same time.

I think Brandon Hyde is a good manager. I think he's involved in wins and I think he's involved in losses.

What really matters, though, is what the players think of him.

Honestly, no one else matters but the players.

Mike Elias doesn't even matter.

Neither does David Rubenstein.

Sure, Rubenstein signs his checks and Elias is his direct boss, but if the players like Hyde and play hard for him over 162 games, what Elias and Rubenstein think of him means nothing at all.

If the team keeps on winning, Hyde stays put.

As the late, great Charley Eckman would say: "It's a very simple game."


For unknown reasons, really, I watched the first quarter of last night's NBA Finals Game 1 between Dallas and Boston.

In case you care, the Celtics won 107-89.

This could definitely be "just me", but I was ready to flip over to the Fishing Channel (I assume one exists, somewhere, it's cable TV, after all) after the first quarter.

Maybe it was just Game 1 jitters. But the whole first quarter was as sloppy as the Preakness track in Baltimore 20 days ago.

Oh, and do they not call traveling in the NBA any longer?

But I digress...

I didn't stick around long enough to see how the other three quarters played out, but the first quarter was a total snoozefest. I mean, there was a lot of scoring, but that was about it.

The Celtics built a 37-20 lead after one quarter of play, which was either an indication that Boston was great or Dallas was really lousy. By my vantage point, the Mavericks sorta-kinda didn't even try.

Boston, I'd later find out, led by 21 at the intermission and then by 20 after three quarters. It was so energy-zapped that cruise control called the Celtics and asked them to make it interesting in the 4th quarter.

I don't watch much NBA these days.

I did check out a couple of games in an earlier round between Boston and Indiana and I was intrigued by what Minnesota tried to do this season (play defense).

But all in all, I didn't watch much NBA.

Last night reaffirmed why I don't watch it all that often.

It's boring.

Maybe the series will tighten up from here. Perhaps there won't be any other blowouts. Who knows, Dallas might bounce back and win two or three straight to build a nice lead in the series.

I realize the series is far from over.

But last night was as exciting as reading the TV Guide, front to back.

At least the first quarter was, that is.


#DMD reader Tony Roseletti checks in with a question today that we thought we'd answer.

"Drew, I enjoyed listening to your segment on Glenn Clark's show that you posted today (yesterday). I have to admit I've never listened to Glenn's show until now and it was very entertaining. How much of what you to do is scripted and how much is off the cuff? The two of you have an incredible synergy. Thanks, just wondering."

DF says -- "I don't know what you mean by "scripted"?? If you're asking if I know what we're going to be talking about when I get there every Wednesday, the answer to that is definitely "I do not".

In that way, 100% of what we do is "off the cuff".

Glenn is very good at sports talk. If his life was in a different spot right now (i.e, single and able to move around in the industry) there's no doubt in my mind he'd be doing sports radio in a significant market in this country. Alas, he's married to a Baltimore girl with two children and his home is here.

He still really cares about what goes on in the world of sports. I still care about "some things" in sports. If you want to talk radio and do it the right way, you have to really care and you have to be really invested in it. When I was on the air for 12 years, I think I was very, very invested in sports. If you aren't, you don't last very long.

I enjoy going in with him when I can. I do think one thing that has happened in sports and sports radio over the last decade or so is perhaps it's taken a little too seriously. On one hand, you have me saying "you have to be really invested in it", but then you also have me saying, "don't take it so seriously". I know that's a little confusing.

But I feel like over the last 10 years or so we've lost our way a bit with the importance of sports in our world. There are other things far more important.

So I, now, tend to lean a little more towards the "entertainment" angle of sports talk and a little less in the direction of "what I say about sports is very important."

But there are guys like Glenn who keep up the "important" angle and that's also very necessary. So, yes, I'd agree we have a good synergy, particularly because of the different styles we now have."

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#dmd's u.s. open preview


They're headed back to the famous Pinehurst #2 course for this year's U.S. Open, which will be held June 13-16.

It's the fourth U.S. Open there since 1999, with Payne Stewart ('99), Michael Campbell ('05) and Martin Kaymer ('14) winning previously.

The golf course is one of America's treasures. It's considered the best of the best of the Donald Ross designs, with small, undulating greens and run-off areas that make it difficult to keep the ball on the putting surface unless you're a sublime ball striker.

Analysts and those trying to predict the outcome and the top finishers are looking at the obvious stats: shots gained approach, shots gained tee to green, and shots gained putting. The winner will likely be highly ranked in all three of those areas.

#DMD will provide our predicted top 10 finishers here. It's really a Top 9, of course, since Scottie Scheffler is obviously on the list as a slam dunk, no brainer.

So we'll do this from the start. Scheffler is on the list. Automatically. You have to bet him. So our Top 10 won't include him, but it does include him. Get it?

It's really a Top 11 list, in that case.

Our #10 was Will Zalatoris. #9 was Russell Henley. #8 was Xander Schauffele. #7 was Matt Fitzpatrick. #6 was Rickie Fowler.

Tom Kim is quickly starting to rise to the top of the "best player without a major" category on the PGA Tour.

#5 Tom Kim -- We are super bullish on Tom Kim. Not just bullish. SUPER bullish.

He's a complete player.

Kim drives it straight, hits his irons great, is a fearless putter, and makes birdies in droves when he's hitting on all cylinders.

And he's been a threat in majors for a while now, starting with last year's T-8 finish at L.A. Country Club in the U.S. Open and then his runner-up spot in the British Open last July.

He'll make his 3rd career U.S. Open start next week, but he's 2-for-2 in cuts made.

And this season, despite not having a win yet, he's once again showing the kind of form that should hold up well for him next week at Pinehurst #2.

His biggest attribute? He drives it straight and hits a lot of greens. He's 19th on the TOUR in driving accuracy, hitting 69% of the fairways. He also hits 66% of the greens. He doesn't do anything "great" (as in top 10 on TOUR) but he also doesn't do anything "terrible", either.

This is a player to watch.

We're thinking his time might come at Pinehurst next week.

JERRY'S TOYOTA banner

faith in sports


I have what I consider a "greatest hits" of the series "I Am Second".

This video, today, is right there as one of my all-time top favorites of the series, which features athletes, musicians, actors and celebrities talking on film about their faith testimony and journey into Christianity.

I had the pleasure of meeting Tony Dungy once, on radio row at the Super Bowl. He's one of the most engaging people I've ever met.

This 9 minute video of Dungy on "I Am Second" is an incredible short documentary on his faith and how God has helped pull him through times of trouble in his life.

In the time it takes you to go to the Keurig machine, make yourself a coffee, add the cream and sugar, sit down and drink it --- you can also watch this video from Dungy.

Please take 9 minutes out of your life today to be impacted by one of the best men the NFL has ever produced.



ROYAL FARMS banner
Thursday
June 6, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3576


here's what's really wrong


I wouldn't even go as far as saying "the bad Craig Kimbrel" showed up last night in Toronto.

Sure, he was the pitcher of record in the 3-2 defeat and it was his throwing error in the 9th inning that helped lead to a rare O's loss to the Blue Jays.

But the pick-off attempt of Cavan Biggio was actually the right thing to do and Biggio was dead-red-out -- except Kimbrel's throw was off the mark and Biggio scurried down to second base with no one out.

A sac fly and a single followed and that was that.

You might complain about that one. Have at it, as Brian Billick used to say.

Me?

Another 0-for-3 night in Toronto on Wednesday dropped Cedric Mullins' batting average to .178 on the season.

Eh, the team is 39-21 at the 60-game mark. You're gonna win 5 in weird fashion (remember the "runner's interference" debacle in Chicago two weeks ago?) and lose 5 in weird fashion is the way I see it. Last night was one of those "weird 5" that don't go your way.

Sure, I know Kimbrel sorta-kinda looks like the goat in the whole thing, but the O's offense has to take a little bit of heat for what happened last night. They produced what we all know as an "REO Speedwagon" in the big leagues: 5 hits in rapid-fire succession (over three innings) and then pretty much nothing else the rest of the way.

The O's only managed one base hit after the 3rd inning last night. Kimbrel did his part, sure, but the offense was a contributor to the defeat.

Cedric Mullins?

Oh, and he didn't help, but I'm sure you're not surprised by that.

Anyone have a new, thicker baseball bat we can use to beat this dead horse? The one we've been using is as thin as a toothpick now.

Mullins went 0-for-3 at the plate, but did, somehow, manage to coax a walk in one of his plate appearances. I don't know what's worse these days, giving up a hit to Mullins (.178) or walking him instead.

Alas, the days are dwindling down for Mike Elias to do something with the once-talented centerfielder.

Glenn Clark and I got into a small beef about Mullins yesterday during my weekly visit on Glenn's outstanding show.

Clark thinks defense and speed count for something. He thinks Mullins' struggles at the plate need to be considered, but they should be weighed against his glove and quickness on the bases.

I think it's almost always offense first, by a lot, in baseball. You simply can't have a "regular" player hitting .180, I don't care if he fields his position like Brooks Robinson.

I do agree with Clark that defense matters. I'm old school like that. But .180 isn't cutting it. You can accept a dude hitting .225, maybe, if his defensive abilities are out-of-this-world good. But .180? Can't play him.

Earlier in the week I suggested this 8-game road trip to Toronto and Tampa Bay would decide -- if it were up to me, that is -- Mullins' fate with the big league club. We're 3 games into the 8 and nothing has changed for the better.

Let's end this on a good note. Make that a really good note.

Albert Suarez is very much helping his cause for sticking in the rotation and, maybe, easing the pain of a potential Kyle Bradish injury that the club is being very hush-jush about.

Cade Povich will get the start today in his big league debut in Toronto, so something is definitely going on with Bradish and the starting rotation.

But Suarez looks like a "keeper" in the rotation as long as he continues to post the kind of numbers he's produced in 2024. Last night he was once again semi-spectacular, allowing 2 earned runs and 5 hits in 5 innings of work. He struck out 4 and walked just 1 batter.

Look, he's not Felix Hernandez or Greg Maddux, but he's actually been one of the better surprises of this 2024 season to date.

And, to me, at least, Suarez has done enough to stay in the rotation while things get cleaned up with Bradish.

Povich, of course, gets his day in the sun today to prove he's worth considering as well.

I'm still not sure Kimbrel's the closer. And I'm fairly certain Brandon Hyde doesn't think he is, either.

But there he was last night, in the bottom of the 9th of a 2-2 game, trying to keep the contest intact for the O's to pull off an extra innings win.

It didn't happen.

Let's be clear though: I'll take 39-21 any day of the week.


On my (mostly) weekly visits to Glenn Clark's show, we engage in a funny, but serious, segment called "That's what's wrong with our country."

Because I'm older and more jaded than Clark about most things, I usually have more material at my disposal for my weekly rant.

Yesterday was no different. But then something happened in this area last night that trumped anything I could have brought forward during the segment earlier in the day.

If you want to hear it for yourself, yesterday's show and that segment is in the archives at: glennclarkradio.com

It takes place right around 10:30 am for those who find it and want to hear the segment.

Essentially, what happened is this: Dave Marr III, a noted golf historian and contributor on The Golf Channel and Sirius/XM, was heard on a promotional commercial for next week's U.S. Open at Pinehurst where he said this:

"And in 1999, Payne Stewart's 15 foot birdie putt at the 72nd hole gave him the U.S. Open title over Phil Mickelson."

I almost drove off the road.

Dave Marr III knows more about the history of golf than almost anyone alive. His father, the great Dave Marr Jr., was an accomplished player and broadcaster.

I like to think I know quite a bit about golf history, particularly anything from 1985 on, let's say. I would lose a "golf trivia contest" to Marr III, though. I'm a book. He's an encyclopedia.

Alas, Marr screwed up in that commercial.

Payne Stewart didn't make a birdie to beat Mickelson. He made a par. The "15 foot putt" was actually 18 feet. And it was for a title-winning par, not birdie.

So during yesterday's show, I launched into a tirade about Marr's faux pas. It might be the only mistake he makes in 2024, I'll give you that. We all make mistakes. That's for sure.

But it was radio. And I was making a point. If you want to hear how I connected Marr's mistake with "what's wrong with our country", I urge you to listen to the segment on Clark's website.

Last night in our area, though, a real life "this is what's wrong with our country" took place. Right here in good old Balwmer and Maryland.

During the horrific five hour stretch of tornado activity in Maryland, WBAL made a decision to simulcast their TV coverage of the weather on the AM radio station, which was supposed to be airing the Orioles-Blue Jays game.

And.....somehow.....people got mad about that.

Social media lit up with lunatics complaining.

The phone lines at WBAL lit up with lunatics complaining.

People were actually upset with WBAL for putting the safety of their listening community first and an early June baseball game second.

"I want to listen to the baseball game. I don't care about anyone else or the danger they might be in right now. I want baseball."

And that, of course, is what's wrong with our country.

Tornadoes are popping up all over Maryland but you want to listen to a baseball game. Never mind that the game is on TV anyway. You tuned your radio to hear baseball, not tornado coverage.

We're not allowed to use it here much because adults get their feelings hurt, but it applies today: #CLOWNSHOES

People are trapped. People are hurt. People might even be dying.

And you're going to go on social media and blast WBAL because they aren't broadcasting the baseball game on the radio for a couple of hours?

Even worse, you're going to call the station and jam the phone lines with your petty complaint while others are trying to call in with tornado-related information that might help save lives if WBAL can get those details out to the masses, quickly?

As Mr. Hand famously said in Fast Times At Ridgemont High, "What are you people, on dope?"

This is so much what's wrong with our country it's not even funny.

"I want to listen to baseball. I don't care what anyone else wants. I don't even care if the entire community wants to hear tornado coverage. I want to listen to baseball. And if I don't get that privilege, I'm going to stir the pot and, maybe, cost someone their life along the way."

People, man. You're nuts.

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#dmd's u.s. open preview


They're headed back to the famous Pinehurst #2 course for this year's U.S. Open, which will be held June 13-16.

It's the fourth U.S. Open there since 1999, with Payne Stewart ('99), Michael Campbell ('05) and Martin Kaymer ('14) winning previously.

The golf course is one of America's treasures. It's considered the best of the best of the Donald Ross designs, with small, undulating greens and run-off areas that make it difficult to keep the ball on the putting surface unless you're a sublime ball striker.

Analysts and those trying to predict the outcome and the top finishers are looking at the obvious stats: shots gained approach, shots gained tee to green, and shots gained putting. The winner will likely be highly ranked in all three of those areas.

#DMD will provide our predicted top 10 finishers here. It's really a Top 9, of course, since Scottie Scheffler is obviously on the list as a slam dunk, no brainer.

So we'll do this from the start. Scheffler is on the list. Automatically. You have to bet him. So our Top 10 won't include him, but it does include him. Get it?

It's really a Top 11 list, in that case.

Our #10 was Will Zalatoris. #9 was Russell Henley. #8 was Xander Schauffele. #7 was Matt Fitzpatrick.

The last time Rickie Fowler played a major at Pinehurst #2 was in the 2014 U.S. Open and he finishesd T2.

#6 Rickie Fowler -- Yes, Rickie Fowler. Yes, that Rickie Fowler. You know, the one who doesn't have a major championship in his career. That same Rickie Fowler.

Maybe this is his year.

Nothing about his 2024 campaign suggests he's ready to finally win a major.

He's made 9 of his last 10 cuts, which is good. But his best finish since mid-February is a T30 at the Masters.

None of that means anything next week, though.

Fowler is due. Sure, he's been "due" for about 8 years now. But something about next week feels like a guy we aren't expecting to win is going to win if Scottie Scheffler doesn't win.

And I'm thinking it might be Fowler. He finished T2 at Pinehurst 10 years ago when Martin Kaymer won. And he was very much in the hunt last year at LACC before losing out to Wyndham Clark on Sunday.

Say what you will about Fowler over the last five years or so, but he hasn't missed a U.S. Open cut since 2016 at Oakmont CC.

His game fits nicely with what the USGA wants. Straight hitters who can chip and putt and make a lot of pars on demanding holes. That's Fowler.

This is most definitely a "sentimental" pick, but it's also made with logic involved. I love the golf game of Denny McCarthy, for example, and he'd be a massive "sentimental" pick for me, but I think the course isn't a great fit for him.

I think Fowler has the game to contend at Pinehurst and potentially even win.

And if you believe at all in the golf gods, then Fowler makes a whole lot of sense.

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Wednesday
June 5, 2024
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#3575


wouldn't this be funny?


I'm just getting a head start on sports talk radio, that's all.

I guarantee -- no, make that DOUBLE guarantee -- this topic will be broached today on all or most of the shows at 105.7 today.

What happens if the Orioles have found their second baseman.......and his name is actually Connor Norby, not Jackson Holliday?

*gulp*

Holliday, of course, was sorta-kinda drafted to be a Major League shortstop, but the O's have discovered that this guy Gunnar Henderson is actually very good at that position. So, Henderson stays there.

Third base might be an option, except industry experts say Holliday doesn't have the arm strength to play there.

Is the outfield a possible destination for Jackson Holliday?

The team's current occupant at that position is Jordan Westburg, but he's been splitting time with Jorge Mateo at 2nd base ever since Holliday left in early May after an unproductive debut with the big league club.

With Mateo out after getting hit in the head by Cedric Mullins over the weekend, Westburg moved over to 3rd base to give Connor Norby the start at 2nd the last two nights. After going 0-for-4 on Monday night in Toronto, Norby launched his first career home run in the 8th inning of last night's 10-1 romp over the Blue Jays.

It's an incredibly short sample size, obviously. Two games, 8 at-bats. But Norby looks far more "big league ready" than was Holliday.

So, talk radio should be prepared for the question today: What happens if Norby settles in and shows he's ready to patrol 2nd base every day with the Orioles?

Norby has also had flings with third base and left field, but second base seems like his most natural, productive spot.

Westburg at third. Henderson at short. Norby at second. Mountcastle (O'Hearn) at first.

Can Holliday pitch? I know that's what you're thinking.

The obvious answer is to move him to the outfield at some point and see if that winds up being, at least temporarily, where he finds his groove in the Majors.

I hear the Orioles centerfielder is struggling.

Then again, that's also where they're trying to plug-and-play Colton Cowser right now.

This was always inevitable, of course. And by "this", I'm talking about the potential defensive logjam the Orioles are facing at some point in the future.

Sure, Holliday could serve as the team's primary designated hitter if-and-when he gets his act together at the big league level, but that's not a great fit for a 1st round round draft pick.

Maybe Norby won't turn into Robert Alomar at 2nd base and the O's won't have a problem after all. But what if the newcomer starts hitting and fields the spot well?

Do you give Holliday a nudge in Norfolk and say, "Learn to play centerfield, bub."?

I don't think Holliday is going to be a scrub, by the way. There's no way someone of his pedigree turns out to be a "major" flop, no pun intended. He'll be back with the big boys at some point and he'll eventually hit because that's what he's done at every level of baseball he's ever played.

But I do think there's a possibility he might need to be molded into something different, at least with the Orioles.

Connor Norby has a lot to say about that.

It's very early. Two games. But Norby "looks" the part in a way Holliday didn't.

Talk radio, take it away.


Angel Reese, Baltimore native and current WNBA player, was ejected from last night's game after drawing two technical fouls and "disrespectfully addressing the official".

It's the latest entry in an interesting week for Reese, who took to social media a couple of days ago to remind her followers -- and critics -- that the league is made up of more than just Caitlin Clark.

"The reason why we’re watching women’s basketball is not just because of one person," she said. "It’s because of me, too. I want y’all to realize that. It’s not just because of one person. A lot of us have done so much for this game. Chennedy (Carter, her teammate) has been here before, obviously. There are so many great players in this league that have deserved this for a really, really long time. Luckily, it’s coming now."

Reese should cool her jets a bit.

Almost NO ONE is watching the WNBA because of her.

She's in the league, yes. And she's a contributor to her team in Chicago, yes. But I don't think anyone is texting a friend at 3:00 pm and saying, "Hey, what are you doing tonight? Wanna spend $25 on a ticket to watch Angel Reese play basketball?"

Last night's ejection in the game vs. New York will likely only heighten what is already becoming a tense first season for the former LS star (via the University of Maryland).

Reese definitely has a "me" problem.

As in, "I want you to look at me, not her."

The obvious envy she has for Caitlin Clark might drive Reese to be even better at basketball. Athletes need fuel of all different kinds. In her case, Reese knows the role she inevitably has to play and she seems both suited for it and fine with it.

"I know I'm the villain. I'm cool with that," she said earlier this week. "As long as people know I'm just playing the role and all. I'm not going to sit here and be something I'm not, though."

Reese is an agitator on the court. She's an excellent basketball player, too. Don't get that twisted. She's talented.

But she's way more Dennis Rodman than she is Michael Jordan.

I wrote back in the college season that Reese, secretly, craves the attention she gets for being a derelict, much like Rodman needed it and looked for it during his playing days.

She craves attention in general.

When her on-court talents don't generate enough spotlight for her liking, she goes digging for it elsewhere. In the WNBA, she's going to eventually find that the Clark-Reese "squabble" is her meal ticket.

And it might even be the league's meal ticket, too.

Anyone have $25 they wanna waste?


The PGA Tour moves to a favorite spot on the schedule this week, Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, for the playing of the Memorial Tournament.

This is one of the TOUR's "signature events", with elevated money and FedEx Cup points available. It also falls one week before the U.S. Open, which means those teeing it up at the Memorial are hyper-focused on their games heading into Pinehurst.

We're coming off of a really good week at the Canadian Open (thank you Corey Conners, Mackenzie Hughes and Maverick McNealy), so let's see if we can't roll on and give you some winners at Muirfield.

You're going to see a lot of familiar names this week. Most weeks here we try and give you a few longer-shots, so to speak, but this field is so deep and so talented it's impossible to not come up with five "names".

Scottie Scheffler is the favorite at a laughable number of +390. That's not even 4-1. Those are Tiger-esque numbers.

Could Scheffler win?

It's likely he will win, actually. Saying "could he win?" is kind of silly when it's obvious given his play of the last two years that he is in a zone we haven't seen since Tiger circa 2000.

But I wouldn't be plopping down any money on him at +390.

I like Viktor Hovland -- who won last year in a playoff over Denny McCarthy -- to potentially repeat as champion. I also like his number of +1700. Hovland had a really nice PGA Championship a few weeks ago and looks to have straightened out the swing issues that were bothering him throughout most of the first four months of the season.

Hideki Matsuyama at +4500 at Muirfield Village? #DMD says, "yes please!"

It's hard to pass up on Ludvig Aberg at a big ballpark like Muirfield Village...so we won't. He's at +2400, which provides a nice return if you have $25 or $50 to invest on him as a win bet.

I realize you're flipping a coin with Hideki Matsuyama these days because of his nagging back injury, but when he's "right" and "on", you almost have to play him at any venue where driving the golf ball is important. You can get him at +4500, which is an amazingly attractive number for a guy who could very easily win the tournament.

I've been bullish on Sam Burns for two or three years now. I feel like he was supposed to be Wyndham Clark before Wyndham Clark became Wyndham Clark. In other words, I thought Burns would win a major by now. And he might win one next week in Pinehurst. But this week's Memorial also seems like a nice spot for him. It's not a "major", but it's a "major-lite". He's also at +4500.

I don't like the way Jason Day is dressing these days, but his golf game sure does look good. I can see him putting together four good rounds at Muirfield and winning the Memorial, even. He's at +7500, which is a very inviting number.

And last but not least, I will actually give you one of those coveted "longer-shots" who could pay off nicely for win, Top 10 and Top 20 wagers: Lucas Glover. I know he's a bit wild with the driver at times, but he's been putting well over the last 10 months or so and that flat stick can work wonders at Muirfield Village.

There's our top six guys for the Memorial: Hovland, Aberg, Matsuyama, Burns, Day and Glover.

Speak kindly of me at the water cooler on Monday, please.

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They're headed back to the famous Pinehurst #2 course for this year's U.S. Open, which will be held June 13-16.

It's the fourth U.S. Open there since 1999, with Payne Stewart ('99), Michael Campbell ('05) and Martin Kaymer ('14) winning previously.

The golf course is one of America's treasures. It's considered the best of the best of the Donald Ross designs, with small, undulating greens and run-off areas that make it difficult to keep the ball on the putting surface unless you're a sublime ball striker.

Analysts and those trying to predict the outcome and the top finishers are looking at the obvious stats: shots gained approach, shots gained tee to green, and shots gained putting. The winner will likely be highly ranked in all three of those areas.

#DMD will provide our predicted top 10 finishers here. It's really a Top 9, of course, since Scottie Scheffler is obviously on the list as a slam dunk, no brainer.

So we'll do this from the start. Scheffler is on the list. Automatically. You have to bet him. So our Top 10 won't include him, but it does include him. Get it?

It's really a Top 11 list, in that case.

Our #10 was Will Zalatoris. #9 was Russell Henley. #8 was Xander Schauffele.

Can Matt Fitzpatrick win his 2nd U.S. Open in three years next week at Pinehurst #2?

#7 Matt Fitzpatrick -- I don't know why, but this one "feels" like the kind of course where Matt Fitzpatrick shines. Much like he did at The Country Club a couple of years ago when he won his first major in the U.S. Open, Pinehurst requires length off the tee (he has it), strong iron play (he has that) and the ability to get up and down when he doesn't hit the green (check).

Fitzpatrick isn't a glamorous player. He's Lee Westwood with a better golf swing and FAR more reliable short game.

But he's a champion.

And Pinehurst seems like a natural fit for him given what we saw him do at Brookline.

He's 8 for 9 in cuts made at the U.S. Open, so the event itself is obviously a nice fit for the Englishman.

That he teed it up in the 2014 Open at Pinehurst (T48 finish) isn't a big deal, but it can't hurt, either.

And he hasn't had a particularly great 2024 campaign, which is all the more reason to throw some money on him next week. It seems like it just might be his time, like it was in 2022.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


champions league final recap


In London’s historic Wembley Stadium last Saturday, Real Madrid captured their unprecedented 15th Champions League trophy, more than double any other club.

Though Madrid entered the final as heavy favorites over Borussia Dortmund, it was the German club that was the better team for much of the game. However, in inevitable fashion, Real Madrid made Dortmund rue their missed chances, taking control of the game down the stretch to find two goals for a 2-0 win.

After advancing through each previous knockout round despite fewer good scoring chances than their opponents, it was fitting that Dortmund lost to Real Madrid despite creating more dangerous chances.

Dortmund tallied 2.08 “expected goals” to just 1.13 for Real Madrid, but it was the Spanish club that capitalized on their opportunities. It seems the Dortmund Champions League magic could not overcome the Real Madrid Champions League witchcraft.

#DMD's European Player of the Year, Jude Bellingham, had an assist in last Saturday's Champions League victory for his club, Real Madrid.

In a game where Real Madrid was expected to dominate, Dortmund surprised early on, frequently taking the game to Madrid. Dortmund found little resistance from the Madrid press, which they often broke to find ample space to progress the ball through the middle of the field before looking wide to their speed on the wings.

Dortmund coach Eden Terzic opted for a 4-3-3 formation which pushed his two midfielders, Julian Brandt and Marcel Sabitzer higher up the field. This allowed Sabitzer to press on to Toni Kroos when he dropped deep to orchestrate the Madrid attack and limited his passing options, helping to slow the Spanish build up.

On the ball, Dortmund was surprisingly effective playing through the Madrid lines, easily bypassing the two man front line of Vinicius Jr. and Rodrygo to find space in the midfield, where Eduardo Camavinga and Toni Kroos were often sitting deeper. They also found success targeting striker Niclas Fullkrug with long balls when they opted to play over the press.

In the 21st minute, veteran Dortmund centerback Mats Hummels strode forward from the back line and played an excellent through ball past the entire Madrid defense to put Karim Adeyemi in on goal. Madrid keeper, Thibaut Courtois, only recently back from injury, did a great job to quickly come off his line to force Adeyemi wide so his recovering defender, Dani Carvajal, could block the shot.

Just two minutes later, Dortmund had another golden opportunity when Ian Maatsen won the ball back as Madrid tried to counter attack and quickly pushed forward to the Madrid box, playing Niclas Fullkrug clean into the box but his shot was denied by the far post and the game remained scoreless.

In the 28th minute, Courtois again denied Adeyemi after he was played through by Julian Brandt to squander another Dortmund chance.

The game went to the half scoreless with Dortmund left to ponder how they might have been in the lead with slightly more clinicality in key moments. Neither team made any substitutions or major adjustments coming out of the break and in the early stages of the second half Dortmund continued to look dangerous.

The German’s created the game’s next threatening opportunity in the 63rd minute when a quick transition led to an Adeyemi cross that picked out an open Fullkrug storming in on the back side for a powerful header, but it was again denied by Courtois.

As the second half progressed, Madrid did make a slight tactical tweak that helped them gain more control.

The Madrid coaching staff instructed Rodrygo to play wider instead of leading the press and moved Fede Valverde central to prevent the easy progression up the middle of the field. This put more pressure on the Dortmund back line to find outlets and led to more long balls than in the first half.

After producing most of the danger in the game, Dortmund was made to pay for their missed chances in the 74th minute.

Real Madrid seized the momentum and the narrative with a Dani Carvajal headed goal off a corner kick. The sequence began with a Vinicius Jr. breakaway down the left wing on a counter attack. The Brazilian blazed down the line but Dortmund stopped him near the end line, forcing a corner.

Dortmund defended the initial corner from Toni Kroos, but the clearance fell to Federico Valverde just outside the box and his long range shot was deflected out for another corner. This time Kroos sent a perfect delivery to the near side of the box that found the diminutive Carvajal for a leaping header which he flicked into the far post past a diving Kobel.

The set piece was nearly identical to a corner just a few minutes earlier where Carvajal missed his shot, but Dortmund didn’t heed the warning.

From that point on the game largely belonged to Madrid. Down a goal with time winding down, Dortmund was forced to play quickly and Madrid was able to take advantage.

The Spanish side nearly doubled the lead on two separate well-taken free kicks from Kroos in the 79th and 82nd minutes as they tried to put the game away.

Finally, in the 83rd minute Real Madrid dealt the final blow.

With Madrid applying pressure high up the field, Dortmund left back Ian Maatsen played a poor pass across his backline that was easily picked off by Jude Bellingham. The English midfielder quickly shuttled it to his left to find Vinicius Jr. wide open in the box and he slotted it past Kobel for the insurance goal to seal the title for Madrid.

Dortmund nearly created some drama in the final minutes when Fullkrug headed in a cross from Donyell Malen, but the 87th minute goal was ruled out for offside and the game finished 2-0 to Madrid.

In the end, it was the result nearly everyone expected. The journey to get there was not necessarily according to script, but Real Madrid once again stands at the top of European soccer, collecting yet another Champions League title. All they have to look forward to next year is the arrival of arguably the best player in the world, Kylian Mbappe. Tough times for Madrid fans.


European Team of the Year –

G: Kobel - Borussia Dortmund

D: Grimaldo - Bayer Leverkusen; Saliba - Arsenal; Hummels - Dortmund

M: Xhaka - Bayer Leverkusen; Rodri - Man City; Bellingham - Real Madrid; Foden - Man City

F: Vinicius Jr. - Real Madrid; Haaland - Man City; Kane - Bayern Munich


European Player of the Year –

Jude Bellingham - Real Madrid

This award was a tough call this season as there were multiple worthy candidates. Vinicius Jr. garnered most of the attention at the end of the year, coming up in critical moments for Madrid in their Champions League run, but he didn’t quite have the prolific scoring output of some other attackers over the whole season.

Phil Foden and Rodri were instrumental in another successful year for Manchester City, leading them to a fourth straight Premier League title. Foden blossomed into one of the most dangerous attackers in Europe while Rodri was the heart and soul and metronome of City’s possession-heavy approach.

Harry Kane was phenomenal in his debut season for Bayern Munich, leading the Bundesliga and Champions League in goals scored and leading them to the brink of the Champions League final. However, Bayern fell short and failed to win any trophies for the first time in over a decade.

Bellingham was a revelation in his first season for Real Madrid. Though he didn’t quite maintain his torrid goal scoring and overall form down the stretch of the season, he provided plenty of standout moments throughout the year.

He put up goal scoring and creation numbers to rival most forwards while playing as an attacking midfielder. Bellingham finished third in scoring in La Liga with 19 goals and 4th in combined goals and assists with 25 total. It was the same in the Champions League where he was third with nine combined goals and assists.

While he didn’t have his top performance in the Champions League final, he still made a big contribution and managed to assist the second goal that sealed the victory. This all from a player who won’t turn 21 until the end of the month. With his outstanding season Bellingham has firmly ensconced himself among the games emerging elite youngs stars, right next to Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland.

He will have the chance to build on that legacy this summer when he joins an England squad that are the betting favorites to win Euro 2024. Let’s hope he’s not too exhausted from the long club season to wow on the international stage as well.


Coming Up This Summer –

The club season has concluded but the soccer calendar never rests long.

Next up are the two most prestigious international tournaments outside of the World Cup. In Europe, the Euro 2024 competition kicks off in Germany on June 14th. As mentioned above, England are tabbed as the favorites, but they will have stiff competition from hosts Germany as well as a loaded France and the ever present Spain.

On the other side of the pond, the US will be hosting the South American championships, the Copa America starting on June 20th.

This iteration will feature the top sides in CONCACAF along with the powerhouses from CONMEBOL. Reigning World Champions Argentina are the favorites to defend their title, with Lionel Messi leading them once again, but Brazil is close behind in the betting odds.

The US are in a group with Uruguay, Panama, and Bolivia. Uruguay are slated as the favorites to win the group but the US is expected to advance to the knockouts. The Americans kick off their preparation for the tournament this Saturday with a warm-up game against Colombia in Commanders Stadium in Landover, MD.

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Tuesday
June 4, 2024
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#3574


and that.....will bring it to a close


The first Monday in June is what they call "golf's longest day" in the sport, because all over the country, nearly 1,000 men tee it up with the hope of playing in the United States Open championship.

Yesterday was no exception, as final qualifying took place at nine different sites, including one right down the road at Woodmont CC in Rockville, MD.

I had my own "longest day" on Monday as well, attempting to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open at a remarkable gem of a course in Bethlehem, PA called the Steel Club.

Most locations around the country -- for both the U.S. Open and Senior Open -- have three or four spots available out of fields ranging from 60 to 100 players.

Yesterday at the Steel Club, 100 players (give or take) teed it up for 3 spots.

In Rockville, MD, there were also 3 spots available for the U.S. Open.

It's a difficult task to snag any of those available spots, as you can imagine. I was fortunate enough to do it once, back in 2021, when I qualified for the Senior Open at Argyle CC in Silver Spring and played in the national championship at Omaha CC later that summer.

I wasn't so fortunate yesterday, as my score of 79 ended my hopes of making a second U.S. Senior Open.

Some of you might be thinking, "79 is a great score for a 61 year old guy, walking 18 holes on a 7000 yard course and carrying his own bag in 90 degree temperatures."

Maybe so. But it's nowhere near good enough to compete at that level.

I didn't play poorly, actually. I was 3 over on 13 tee and knew, based on live scoring we were able to see, that either even par or +1 might be good enough to get in or, at the very least, get into a playoff for one of the available spots.

But it wasn't to be over the final six holes. I three putted a difficult green on #13 from 35 feet (my only one of those of the day, I'm happy to report), but my quest officially ended on #15, a 465 yard par 4 that the members play (from 490) as a par 5 but we played as a par 4 from a forward tee.

After a great drive, I was unable to clear the stream that borders the front of the green (which is why the hole is a GREAT par 5) and wound up making double bogey. And that was that. I finished up bogey-par-bogey on three tough holes to shoot 79.

Chatting with my playing partner before the round, I told him this was going to be my final Senior Open qualifier.

"I'm 61," I told him. "I can't hit the ball far enough to compete on these courses. I had my day in the sun."

My "day" in the sun actually turned out to be a full week in Omaha back in 2021. With my family in tow, I got to spend seven great days playing golf with some of the best players to have ever played the sport, including Bernhard Langer, Retief Goosen, Mike Weir and Billy Andrade.

On his song "No Surrender", Bruce Springsteen says, "I learned more from a 3 minute record, baby, than I ever learned in school..."

I learned more in that one week in Omaha hanging around great players than I ever realized was possible. I'm grateful for that experience, as I've been able to share those things I learned with my own son and those who play for me at Calvert Hall.

But yesterday sent me the message I knew was on the horizon but didn't really want to face.

It's time to move on.

I'm not giving up competitive golf. No, no, no. Heck, I've got my member-guest tournament this week at Eagle's Nest with my great friend Dale Williams and week after next I'm playing with another friend, Scott Manning, in the Country Club of Maryland member-guest.

There's the Baltimore Amateur Championship later this month where I get to do something I've always dreamed of doing: playing in the same golf tournament as my son, who will tee it up in the event as well.

Later this year there's the Maryland Senior Amateur at Green Spring and the Maryland Senior Open at Hillendale.

And I'm still going to attempt to qualify for the U.S. Senior Amateur later this summer.

I'm not going away.

But I clearly see the writing on the wall when it comes to the U.S. Senior Open. Those 7,000 yard golf courses are just too much for an old guy like me to navigate.

If I could find a course in the qualifying rotation that's in the 6,300 to 6,500 yard range, I'd have a puncher's chance. But when you're hitting 200 yard shots into four or five par 4's and at least two par 3's, it's tough to score.

Alas, the USGA isn't in the business of playing the course short to help the old guys. The Senior Open is for the 50 and over crowd and some of those "youngsters" are still hitting the ball 300 yards like they did in their 40's.

The USGA has to set up the course to test the guys in their early to mid 50's. I guess that's one of the reasons why my qualifying success in 2021 at age 58 was definitely an outlier.

My playing partner from Monday was critical of the set-up as we strolled down the 18th fairway.

"This kind of length eliminates at least half the guys who show up," he said.

"Maybe that's their goal," I reasoned.

"Well, it's just too long and too hard," he countered.

"They're trying to find the best three players," I said. "And they're also trying to mimic what you'd find at the actual real U.S. Senior Open. If you think this course is long and hard, you should have seen Omaha in 2021."

But his words did serve as a gentle reminder to me that I am making the right decision.

I gave it 11 great tries (I missed the Senior Open qualifier at age 51 due to an injury) and made one of them. I had a couple of other flirtations with qualifying as well. I missed a playoff by one shot in 2015 and missed a playoff by two shots in 2018. But there are hundreds of guys all over the country this morning who can say "missed it by a shot".

It's time.

A few years ago -- speaking of Dale Williams -- I went to see Hall and Oates (with Dale) in concert.

As Daryl Hall settled in over the piano to sing "Sara Smile", he started the first few words of the song ("Baby hair with a woman's eyes, I can feel you watching in the night...") and then abruptly stopped. He was way off key.

"Father Time is trying to tell me something," he said to the crowd.

It was obvious he knew what we all could hear.

Notes and songs he could once hit and sing with ease were no longer there. It was sad to hear him confront his aging voice right there in front of 15,000 of us, but there was also some comfort in it, too.

I felt like that yesterday as I trudged up the 18th hole, a 467 yard par 4 with an insane, two-tiered green. It was a great finishing hole for a tournament of that magnitude, albeit one that nearly 80% of the field made bogey (or worse) on if my quick check of the hole-by-hole stats was correct.

At the scorer's table, my playing partner (who might have shot something in the 84 range) elected not to turn in a scorecard. I'm not sure why, but he cited hitting a moving ball on one of the back nine greens, which I didn't see because I was picking up the flagstick.

"It doesn't matter," he told the officials. "I'm not getting in anyway."

I signed mine and handed it in.

"Good playing," the official said.

"It was fun," I replied to him.

I don't think he realized what I meant by that. But it was fun, indeed.

All 11 years of it.


Speaking of qualifying for the U.S. Senior Open, I was not able to get Randy Morgan's "Orioles Week in Review" into Monday's edition of #DMD, so that's why you're seeing it this morning.

The O's started off this week with a nice, easy 7-2 win in Toronto on Monday evening, with Austin Hays, of all people hitting two home runs in the victory.

I have no idea what the odds were on that one occurring last night, but I bet it was something in the +20000 range.

Would have been nice to have a $5 spot on that one, huh?

Colton Cowser got the start in centerfield and went 1-for-4, which is one more hit than Cedric Mullins would have produced in that same spot.

Connor Norby got the call-up and the start at 2nd base but went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

Grayson Rodriguez was sharp in improving his mark to 6-2 on the year, going 6.2 innings and allowing just 2 runs on 7 hits.

Ryan Mountcastle, who had a crazy-good run in Toronto last year, was 0-for-5 on the night. Tonight might be a good occasion to place $10 on a Mountcastle-Henderson home run combination. I'm just sayin'.

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Week Record: 4-2

Season Record: 37-20

AL East Standing: 2nd (3 GB NYY)

Player of the Week: Ryan Mountcastle .500 OBP 2HR 5RBI

Though it ended on a sour note with the Orioles bullpen blowing a lead on Sunday, it was another winning week for the Birds.

The O’s went 4-2 on the week, taking two series from division rivals, however they still managed to lose a game on the Yankees who went 5-1 on a west coast trip against the Angels and Giants.

The week was also marred by the news that both John Means and Tyler Wells will require Tommy John surgery and are done for the year. The loss of Means is an especially tough blow to a starting rotation that has exceeded expectations thus far.

Ryan Mountcastle was last week's "Player of the Week" for the Orioles, but started off the series in Toronto with an 0-for-5 night on Monday.

The week started off with an offensive explosion, jumping out to an 11-0 lead on Monday after Cole Irvin went five shutout innings against the Red Sox. The O’s did it without the long ball, putting up 14 hits with Ryan Mountcastle and Kyle Stowers notching three a piece, Stowers driving in four runs. Thyago Vieira failed to impress in his O’s debut, giving up three runs without registering an out, but the Birds won 11-3 anyway.

On Tuesday Grayson Rodriguez struggled through the first two innings then righted the ship for a career high 10 strikeouts, but the bullpen couldn’t keep the game close with Cionel Perez and Keegan Akin giving up four runs in the late innings as Boston pulled away for a 8-3 win.

The O’s closed out the Red Sox series with a 6-1 win, sparked by a 2nd inning Gunnar Henderson grand slam. Corbin Burnes was consistent once again, going seven innings with just one unearned run to lower his season ERA to 2.35.

After an off day on Thursday the Orioles kept the momentum rolling with a 3-1 win over the Rays, doing all their damage in a three-run sixth inning with key hits from Austin Hays and Jorge Mateo. Albert Suarez was magnificent again in spot-starting duty, throwing five one-run innings before the bullpen shut down the Rays for the final four innings.

The O’s won a slugfest on Saturday, making up for Kyle Bradish’s worst start of the season with a barrage of homers. Ryan Mountcastle went deep twice and Anthony Santander and Jordan Westburg each homered.

The bullpen was flawless again with 6.1 scoreless innings led by an exceptional 2.1 innings from Jacob Webb after taking over from Bradish.

That set the Orioles up for a sweep on Sunday and they looked well on their way, taking a 3-1 lead into the 7th inning. The Rays battled back, getting a second run off Irvin before he left in the 7th.

Then the bullpen let it slip away with Dillon Tate giving up two in the 8th.

The Orioles outhit the Rays 15-13, with Gunnar Henderson getting on base all five times including a leadoff homer but they stranded runners in several big spots, including with the bases loaded and one out in the 8th. In the end they fell 4-3.

Ryan Mountcastle caught fire at the plate this week, reaching base in half his plate appearances to take home the Player of the Week. He had four multihit games and the pair of homers in the Saturday blowout.

Jacob Webb deserves a mention for his strong week out of the pen, pitching 4.2 scoreless innings. Both Anthony Santander and Gunnar Henderson had strong week’s at the plate as well, with Gunnar capping his with a leadoff homer on Sunday along with two other hits and two walks.


Down on the Farm –

In Norfolk, Jackson Holliday continued to progress, getting a hit in every game he started to finish the week with a .545 OBP, including seven hits and five walks, along with a home run.

Heston Kjerstad cooled off a bit this week but finished on a positive, going 2-4 with a home run on Sunday to raise his average to .329 and his OPS to 1.103.

Unfortunately top pitching prospect Cade Povich had his worst start of the year, getting tagged for six runs in three innings, though he did manage four strikeouts.

Chayce McDermott had a decent start on Sunday, giving up one run in five innings with seven strikeouts, though he did walk four batters, which has been his biggest issue.

Down in AA Bowie, number two Orioles prospect, Samuel Basallo continued to heat up, hitting safely in five of six games, reaching base at a .480 clip with a homer and four RBI.


Question of the Week –

Are the Yankees ever going to lose?

The Orioles went 4-2 against division opponents this week and it still feels like a losing week because they once again lost ground on the AL East leading Yankees.

With another winning week the Orioles remain on pace to better their 101 wins from last season. The problem is that the Yankees are on pace for 111 wins. With the fourth best winning percentage in the majors, the O’s are still three games back in their own division.

However, there are reasons for optimism. If we can remember all the way back to last season, the Orioles were in a similar situation with the Rays red hot early in the season. The Orioles kept winning and eventually caught and surpassed the Rays.

While I have to eat some crow and admit that I was wrong with my preseason pessimism on the Yankees, they remain a pretty top-heavy roster. Although they have been without ace Gerrit Cole, the Yanks haven’t had to deal with any serious position player injuries yet this season.

In Cole’s absence, their pitching staff has exceeded all expectations with 26 year old rookie Luis Gil leading the way. Clark Schmidt had also been a revelation thus far, though he is now on the injured list and expected to miss a few weeks.

Cole is reportedly working his way back from a similar injury to the one that delayed the start of Kyle Bradish’s season.

All this to say that we will see how the Yankees respond when they hit some adversity and have some of their depth tested. Several of their more veteran stars have long injury histories so it wouldn’t be shocking for them to have to spend some time without someone like Judge or Stanton. They may not have pieces to replace them as readily available as the Orioles seemingly do.

Even if they don’t suffer any injury setbacks, it's unlikely they can continue this torrid pace. Even the loftiest preseason projections didn’t have the Yankees winning anywhere close to 110 games.

The Orioles have also played a slightly tougher schedule thus far, playing five more games against winning teams and they have six more wins in those games than the Yankees do.

Also, while the Yankees have the deep pocket books to acquire free agents, they don’t have as deep a farm system as the Orioles, to bolster their roster at the deadline.

So, while it may be frustrating to go 8-2 over the last ten games and gain absolutely no ground, there is a lot of season left.

One thing is clear, the Orioles will be in a dogfight all season, just as they were last year with the Rays. They will need to play their best ball each week and can’t afford any prolonged slides. But this team proved last year that they are up for that challenge and they are now a year more experienced.

The O’s are already 3-1 head to head against the Yanks, with nine games against them remaining. Perhaps if they can’t get any help, they will just have to take matters into their own hands in that season series.

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#dmd's u.s. open preview


They're headed back to the famous Pinehurst #2 course for this year's U.S. Open, which will be held June 13-16.

It's the fourth U.S. Open there since 1999, with Payne Stewart ('99), Michael Campbell ('05) and Martin Kaymer ('14) winning previously.

The golf course is one of America's treasures. It's considered the best of the best of the Donald Ross designs, with small, undulating greens and run-off areas that make it difficult to keep the ball on the putting surface unless you're a sublime ball striker.

Analysts and those trying to predict the outcome and the top finishers are looking at the obvious stats: shots gained approach, shots gained tee to green, and shots gained putting. The winner will likely be highly ranked in all three of those areas.

#DMD will provide our predicted top 10 finishers here. It's really a Top 9, of course, since Scottie Scheffler is obviously on the list as a slam dunk, no brainer.

So we'll do this from the start. Scheffler is on the list. Automatically. You have to bet him. So our Top 10 won't include him, but it does include him. Get it?

It's really a Top 11 list, in that case.

Our #10 was Will Zalatoris. #9 was Russell Henley.

Can Xander Schauffele make it two majors in a row next week at Pinehurst #2?

#8, Xander Schauffele -- I am usually more prone to trying to find an off-the-radar-screen guy or two (as you can see above with Zalatoris and Henley), but there's no denying that Schauffele is a player who should be a major threat at Pinehurst #2.

So why fight it?

He's coming off of that PGA Championship win last month, for starters. And his record (13 top 10 finishes in majors) in the big four events is incredibly impressive.

This isn't a "great run" or anything like that. Schauffele is one of the best players in the world, mainly because he drives it great and hits his irons great. Putting is sometimes spotty for him, but when you hit it like he hit at Valhalla, you don't have to worry too much about your putting.

Pinehurst #2 should be a great fit for "X".

The logical train of thought is that now that he's one that first one.....watch out.

I subscribe to that one.

He's off and running now. While he might not win next week at Pinehurst #2, it's a given he'll win more than one major in his career.

But I think there's a good chance he does win again next week.

When you're hot, you're hot.

And Schauffele is one of the best players in the world right now, with brimming confidence as well.

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#dmd comments








HERMAN     June 20
Baltimore fans calling the O's announcers homers? Have you listened to that fool Gerry Sandusky call a Ravens game? There is no one more biased than that man. He's terrible. But I get it, he's paid by the Ravens so he has to be biased. That is what's happening with the O's announcers. Give it a break.

George     June 20
Jon Miller could make a rain delay enjoyable!

Chris in Bel Air     June 20
“There were a couple of balls up and in. It’s part of it. They like to throw in.”

The stats I'm viewing shows the Yankees are 3rd in the league for most hit batters with 42. O's are 3rd from bottom at 24. Who likes to throw in, Aaron? Smh

Paul from Towson     June 20
@Randy, thanks for the stats on that, and I think you're right. Compared with last year, their current rankings probably seem a lot worse than they are. I also think it has to do with when these situations come up and how effective the O's are in late game/high leverage RISP circumstances. Also, who is coming up in these spots. Guys like O'Hearn, Rutschman, and Mountie always seem to deliver, while guys like Hays, Cowser, and (I hate saying it) Mullins (except for last night) seem to drag that average down.



Also, as a kid, listening to Jon Miller on the radio, and Chuck and Brooks on the TV side are some of the most pleasant memories of my childhood. Angelos running Jon Miller out of town should still be one of the top 3 sins of his ownership.

rc     June 20
How many times are we gonna do this? EVERY team in MLB pays its own announcers to BE homers! Yet we're gonna whine about it when the O's do it? Newsflash, Palmer is also a homer. Every call against the O's his first utterance is "oh no no no....", then they watch the replay and it's "ok maybe he did swing" or "maybe he was out".

I respect Cake's knowledge, but face it, when announcing, he's a cheerleader too. It is more palatable coming from a HOF player as opposed to a "sideline reporter" like Hollander. Hollander is a younger version of local "generic announcer" Tom Davis. These guys are doing high school fashion shows one night, then calling a game the next night. Why? One can only assume its because they do it for cheapo, and in the case of last night, on short notice. Melanie Newman in the same category. She's oh with her telling stories role, but for play by play, I agree with Such, she is beyond bad, just like most of her coworkers.

JeffWell     June 20
@UTB- I remember all of those great "once upon a time" broadcasters that you mentioned and the great calls as well. In those days you got most games via radio and those guys made it almost seem like you were there.

TimD in Timonium     June 20
"Whenever two of the best teams in baseball play in the same division, their battles have that much higher stakes. That heightened energy was felt Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, especially after Aaron Judge was hit by a pitch on his left hand in the third inning of the Yankees’ 4-2 win over the Orioles. The stoic Judge marched halfway between Orioles starter Albert Suarez and first base while shaking his head. Aaron Judge was not happy with the pitch that hit him on the hand. "Definitely pissed,” Judge said about the pitch. “There were a couple of balls up and in. It’s part of it. They like to throw in.” - NY Post, June 19th



Oh, the drama. Can't stand these guys. Go O's!


Randy     June 20
Some context on hitting with RISP:

O's are 9th in batting average (.266) and 7th in OPS (.801), so in the top 3rd of the league. The Yanks are 5th and 3rd respectively.



The Orioles were 1st in both categories last year, so that is probably why it seems bad by comparison.

Unitastoberry     June 20
@Steve of Pimlico



Chuck Thompson is a HOFer. Jon Miller will be if not already. O'Donnell famous for the call with DeCinces walk off homer with Eckman going nuts. Tom Marr called Tippy retiring the side at first base with pick off plays. All better than current guys. Thorn was good I even liked Mel Procter. Tom Davis gets honorable mention with Jim Carvellis. Great memories.

Jason M     June 20
Rutschman is the MAN. That throw out in the 10th was so pivotal. The throw was just a thing of beauty - a laser beam on a dime at 127 feet. What a stone cold stellar performance to completely remove the Yankee momentum at that crucial moment.

Steve of Pimlico     June 20
I remember when Bill O'Donnell,Tom Marr and Jim Hunter were not considered top notch

They are HOFers compared to this current crop .

Mark.S in PH     June 20
@Paul all great points on last night's game, especially on Hay's AB, it was terrible. Agree on Verdugo, he's a jerk, made me chuckle! I like Palmer and Ben when they are doing the color! Get well Jim.



I have often wondered why can't the website add a "Like" or "thumbs-up, thumbs-down" button on the reader's posts?



Go O's!

Regular Joe     June 20
I have to pile on Hyde a bit, albeit a great win. Hyde will need to be better for us to win it all. O'Hearn is a better hitter than Hays and has a way better idea of the strike zone. I don't care if a great lefty is on the mound (and that Yankee guy was not close to great). Hays is from the old regime hitting approach-wise and has no clue what to do if the first pitch isn't a hittable fastball.



And Hyde just can't be pulling relievers after 20 pitches in the 5th inning - Webb is unfortunately now one of the better options.



Also very happy for Urias - he will be very important for us.




Pratt     June 20
FINALLY! Someone finally calls out Brown for his pompous attitude. The Orioles NEVER EVER do anything wrong according to that guy. Like you said Hollender was just in there because Palmer wasn't but Brown should rise above that.

Chris in Bel Air     June 20
@JWW- Thanks for the correction. After I typed it I couldn't remember if it was 2012 or 2104.

@Such- Don't you know that nobody is supposed to question or mess with the precious Yankees? Only they know what it right and just in the baseball world. Didn't you know that MLB really just sets up the entire season for the enjoyment of the Yankees and their fans? We're all just passengers in the journey and we should be grateful if they let the other team win. Their level of narcissism and self-infatuation is mind-numbing.

Adam     June 20
Completely agree MFC but add closer and right handed bat to the list. The Os announcers were right that we dont hit guys in general but we clearly threw at Judge and I would've done the same. But there was no need to yammer on all night about how Os would never do such a thing. Somewhere Armando beanball Benitez had a hearty chuckle. But this is same Yankees phonies that watched Sabathia break bone in Markakis hand so they can kick rocks

KVVfromSP     June 20
Speaking of pathetic announcers , how about the announcer at Camden Yards …..makes my skin crawl every time she announces a batter.

MFC     June 20
Baustista, Means, Wells, Bradish, is something in the "hydration station" water? With those guys we're definitely the best team in baseball. Without them it's going to be a struggle. Sorry but Tate, Webb, Suarez and Kimbrel just aren't doing it for me. I'm of the opinion a move for a pitcher has to be made and possibly two pitchers.



Catholic League HOF dinner tonight. Calipari is the headline speaker. Lots of great stories to be told this evening. Looking forward to catching up with old friends.

JWW     June 20
@CHRIS - I was going to bring that up as I totally agree with you. It was actually September 2012, not 2014 when Sabathia plunked Markakis. The magical winning season that culminated in an ALDS loss to those same Bombers. I felt so bad for Nick - all the years of losing came to a spectacular end and he had to sit that playoff run out.



F the Yankees indeed.

lou@palo alto     June 20
Paul makes many gd pts. Hays has regressed in his strike zone awareness--it's even worse than Mateo's and he has actually improved. Elias will hv decisions re the 3 outfielders and my bet is Hays is gone w Mullins & Santander offered deals but there are lots of moving parts here w pitching needs and many gd young players knocking on the door

Paul from Towson     June 20
Teams tend to emulate their manager. The Yankees are whiny, soft, arrogant cry baby punks. Just like their garbage manager. Brandon Hyde has the Orioles focused on winning baseball games, not the childish nonsense like bean ball wars or dugout sniping.

Tom J     June 20
The Yankees whining is comical. They are third in MLB with 48 hit batters. They may want to get pissed at their own guys before anyone else. Gunnar was intentional last night so thanks dummies for putting the run difference in the game on base. BTW, their catcher totally sucks. They need to run on this guy every single time on base. Nine steals Sunday vs Boston and four last night. Pathetic......

such     June 20
DR, you're spot on. Soto had no business doing that. It sure seemed intentional. Just like the pitch that Gunnar got drilled with last night. That was clearly an attempt to pay back the Orioles for Judge getting hit. But did anyone else notice that Saurez couldn't throw a strike Tuesday night? I'm not sure there was much intention when he plunked Judge.

I like Kevin Brown, I really do, but sometimes you have to call it like you see it. He tried way too hard last night to excuse the Gunnar HBP as unintentional. I think if Palmer or McDonald had been in the booth, there would've been a different take on the whole situation. It's times like that when it's good to have a former pro alongside you. Their perspective is based on their experience on the field.

If you think the MASN guys are bad, just try listening to the radio when Melanie is doing her version of "play-by-play". Brings a whole new level to the definition of dreadful.

Speaking of play-by-play, there's a beautiful video tribute to Willie Mays that the Giants released yesterday narrated by Jon Miller. Man, do I miss that guy. You can find it on YouTube.



As always, F the Yankees.

Paul from Towson     June 20
Yes, it's June. Yes, there's still 89 of these games remaining. But a loss last night might as well have been 2 losses. This was one of those "defining" games, for lack of a better term where the O's once again pulled defeat from the jaws of victory, to only then pull victory from the jaws of defeat. If this game is against the White Sox in mid-April or mid-May, it sucks, but you chalk it up to "there's 10 or 15 of 'those games'" every season. But when you blow a 5-1 lead, in Yankee Stadium, in late-June when less than 3 games separates these teams...that's as big of a loss as any can be in June. And crushes any momentum heading into today's matinee. Coupled with the fact that my dead grandmother would have been a better pinch hit option than Hays, and the Orioles left a small village on the bases last night. By the way, I keep saying it, if the O's don't win the World Series this year, or at least don't make an extended playoff run, it will be because they just can't hit with runners in scoring position. Minus Alex Verdugo's great catch (I hate that SOB, but credit given on that, Santander smoked that ball) over the past month, the O's have been terrible when they get a runner to second with less than two outs. Bases loaded in the 9th, one out, you HAVE to push across a run there. All Hays has to do is make contact and Mateo scores as long as Hays doesn't hit into an inning ending double play. He's terrible, and he while I get the logic of why Hyde pinch hit for O'Hearn there, Hays looked like a little leaguer against a guy with a 5.00+ ERA who just loaded the bases. Can't have that in big game situations. You HAVE to make contact. And Kimbrel had been very good recently, but I was never comfortable with him inheriting a one run lead. Going into the bottom of the ninth, I was just hoping he only gave up one and was able to get the O's back up in the 10th.



All in all, in the end it was a great team win. I love Ceddie and it was awesome to see him finally come through in the clutch. Also, I thought that except for the walks, Povich acquitted himself quite nicely for his first time in Yankee Stadium.



As far as Kevin Brown/Bren Hollander last night, I agree with Drew's assessment, but ANYTHING is better than the garbage we suffered through during Kevin's recent hiatus. Brad Brach should NEVER be allowed anywhere near the broadcast booth again, and the Geoff Arnold (insert name here) team was minor league/amateur hour-ish in my opinion. Just my thoughts. GO O's!!!!!

lou@palo alto     June 20
hope Palmer recovers quickly--covid no joke at his age. Haven't seen commentary on Stanton's game tying single--Kimbrel did his job and got him to hit the ball directly at Urias, just that the Yanks had an unusual hit and run on with the runner on 2nd going. Urias vacated his position to cover third--otherwise its an out if not a double play w the runner going rite toward him

Chris in Bel Air     June 20
Agree with @David R and yes, this retaliation business is bush league. Also, while the O's announcers are huge homers I do agree with their take on the ump and was surprised he didn't issue a warning after Gunnar was drilled. I hope he goes 4/4 today with a HR on the way to an O's win. Any of these holier than thou Yankee fans remember their team drilling Markakis and breaking his hand before the 2014 playoffs? No need to answer.

Unitastoberry     June 20
Mays military service most likely kept him from getting to Ruths 714 RIP



MASN is outta my price range so I'll take your word for it on the tv call. Do the Orioles have a senior citizen MASN inflation discount?



Six innings a game on average for starting pitchers and a 5 man rotation they still blow out the armS left and right. Don't tell me it's because they throw harder. Do they have robots who do surgery on MLB pitchers yet? Orioles had 4 twenty game winners in 1971 not one lost to Tommy John surgery which was not even invented until 1974. This is like the NFL adding games but still caring about CTE. 18 coming soon. Now there's talk of a seperate QB salary cap. All this NIL money still can't buy Maryland a football national championship. Some thngs never change at U of DC.



One thing I still enjoy from the past is hating on the Yankees.Spoiled rotten bums as usual.



Well I gotta go my 1972 Gand Torino needs service and my Get off my Lawn sign is missing.

David Rosenfeld     June 20
All of this (whatever it is) started with Soto. There was simply no reason for him to make contact with Westburg in that situation. It was weird and displayed a lack of understanding of the rules at least. Second time this season he's been called for it. Bias aside, he's kind of a punk. I know he's got a 1.023 OPS and hits the living snot out of the ball, but odds are he's on his 4th team next season at age 26.

With bias...I feel like the Yankees are sort of acting like a team that's accomplished something. I'm trying to figure out what that is exactly besides being in first place in June.

TimD     June 20
Agree with your take on the O's announcers' comments. Absolutely "homer" mentality. "Our team would never do that!"



Hotel warm coffee is the worst!

Bob Miller     June 20
Consider me Team Kevin Brown. He’s entertaining and engaging.

Jason S.     June 20
I love Elias but the Kimbrel signing was a whiff. That guy sucks. Move on and find someone to close games before we get bit in the playoffs.

Cal     June 20
You're just now turning down the sound when Brown is doing the play by play? I've been doing that for two years. Turn down the sound and listen to the radio side of it. Brown is more of a homer than Hunter ever was and that's saying something.



Maybe it goes back to being suspended last year but the O's can do no wrong ever, as you pointed out.

Frank     June 20
Hollander is terrible. I agree last night was a bad look for both KB and Hollander. They sounded like school girls who got turned down by two handsome football players.

As for the game itself, Hyde is very lucky they won. I hear you about the stats and data numbers but O'Hearn has to bat there in the 9th inning. Bringing in Hays cold off the bench in that situation was stupid.

Too bad Gray-Rod doesn't pitch today or someone from the Yanks would take one in the ribs.

Delray RICK     June 20
PALMER has COVID AGAIN!!!

rc     June 20
This GM guy must be angling for a member/guest invite lol.

Kevin     June 19
Streets are saying Jeremy and Drew are taking over 10-2 show on the Fan starting July 29.

GM     June 19
When does DMD flip flop Billy? Examples?

Billy     June 19
@John, #DMD flip flops often lol.

George     June 19
@Howard -- Tough question, and one I don’t have a defensible answer to. I am struck by the fact that in many cases – art, battlefield photography, clandestine industrial videography, the gravamens of whistleblowers’ and kneeling athletes’ complaints – we (the people) tend to find fault with and condemn the messenger and fail to act on the wrong he or she has brought to light. I guess there is a fine line between right and wrong in the methods used to expose stuff, but I’ve no clue where that line is. Seems that there has to be offense at the method before anyone bothers to look at the wrong, and sometime the offense is so great, the wrong is never considered at all.

John L.     June 19
Does PA actually read what DF writes? DF made it very clear he's still anti Saudis today didn't he?



"Alas, he's also a guy who joined a rival league and accepted money from creeps who have not been friendly to our country and who continue to walk a very fine line when it comes to human rights issues. I made my bed on that situation early on and I'm very comfortable sleeping in it."

Howard     June 19
Great article by George but 1 picture too many. I think that the picture “Adult Movies” is pornography. The naked human body is a beautiful thing that has been celebrated in art for millennia, but I think this picture crossed the line into smut. I wouldn’t want my grandchildren to see this and I wonder if anyone

would be comfortable showing this to their family members who are minors.


J.K.     June 19
According to Bruce Cunningham, our very own DF is doing radio today on 105.7 from 12-3 pm. Is that correct?

pa     June 19
If I might clarify my comments too: it seems at the start of LIV, DMD was writing off each individual golfer who signed up for LIV (ala "dead to me"). At the time I suggested it was more of a "golf" thing, not a "Saudi" thing. Unfortunately, the Saudis (and China, Russia, et al) have their financial tentacles in a lot of entities that Americans support. So that in itself really is not unique to LIV. Now the format: pay for play, teams, shotguns, 54 holes etc, are all bastardizations of real tournament golf. In that vein, I am 100% with the DMD take on LIV.

Just never understand why DMD seemed to be making it all about Saudis and individual US players taking "their" money. Maybe I misunderstood, or maybe DMD has somewhat backed off the Saudi angle. Either way, as it was clarified today, I agree with the current DMD take on LIV guys. I'm sure we'll both root hard for BAD should he be on the Ryder Cup squad.

lou@palo alto     June 19
Palmer collapse in '66 Open at Olympic was a transition to a new era.He was 36 and never won another major--my long post from 2 d ago cldnt clear the robot--fyi

lou@palo alto     June 19
great column, George. My sister was '64 Parkville and me '66 City so lots of memories jogged--thx

Paul from Towson     June 19
Well said Such. Willie Mays is a once in a millennium individual. More than baseball, more than stats. His loss will extend beyond baseball, into the fiber of America. The world is a little less of a beautiful place now that he is gone.

such     June 19
I took some time last night to peruse the lifetime statistics of Willie Mays. It's as if every category you would want from a player came to life. I kept shaking my head in disbelief.

He stands alone as the only player in history to collect over 3,000 hits, 600 homeruns, 500 doubles, 100 triples and 300 stolen bases. He played in 24 (!) All Star Games. Oh, he also missed almost two full seasons when he was 22 and was drafted during the Korean War.

My only memory of Mays was seeing him on the Mets during the 1973 season. I was a very young boy, but even then I knew that Willie Mays was a legend. All I had to do was ask anyone who knew anything about baseball, which was basically everyone in America.

Icon is defined as "A person or thing widely admired, especially for having great influence or significance in a particular sphere." I like how the word sphere is used here, since a baseball is spherical.

Willie Mays was an American Icon.

Dan     June 19
Need to pull out a game or two vs Yanks since we didn't exactly line up our best starters for this series.

Steve of Pimlico     June 19
I have always loved Mr.Voshell's paintings and murals.He was our Grant Wood .

The Os have their weakest pitchers starting in this series so if they drop 3 it's not the end of the world.October will be very interesting.

Scottmann     June 19
Drew,

I'm surprised you didn't mention Jack Nicklaus as one of the classiest, and most gracious losers of all-time. Jack finished second in a record 19 majors, and always shook the winners hand.

Monday
June 3, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3573


but is it good for the league?


I'm the first to admit that I think most of what people say about the WNBA and college women's basketball is very overhyped.

I don't know why the NCAA and the TV networks insist on fabricating the numbers for the college women's tournament. But they do, for whatever reason.

At least that's why I believe.

But all of that is just eyewash, basically. Just one person's opinion.

Caitlin Clark scored just 3 points in last night's loss at New York, but it was a win over Chicago on Saturday that created headlines.

That said, there's no question that any popularity the women's professional game is going to generate over the next few years is largely going to come from two sources; Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese.

The two did battle on Saturday in a game Clark's Indiana team won, but it was the treatment of her by Reese and teammate Chennedy Carter that has created the most headlines in the last 24 hours.

Last week, a national TV host on The View, Sunny Hostin, argued that Clark, who starred at the University of Iowa before starting her professional career last month, is the benefactor of both "white privilege" and "pretty privilege".

Sports writer Jemele Hill echoed those sentiments as well, claiming Clark is "more popular than her contemporaries" because of her skin color and her sexuality. Clark is a heterosexual white female, for those who might not know that.

In her first month as a member of the WNBA's Indiana Fever, Clark has been the victim of a series of hard, dangerous fouls. Some would say that comes with the territory of being the first overall draft pick. Others would add it's all part of the learning curve, an initiation of sorts.

But this past weekend's incident with Reese and her Chicago team has heightened the awareness of the treatment Clark is receiving from opposing players.

Is it because she's white?

Is it because she's involved in a romantic relationship with a man?

Is it because she was the fair-haired-girl at Iowa and a substantial portion of the nation's interest in college basketball was generated through her?

Those are three important questions.

But there's an even bigger question looming: Is all of this good for the league?

Does the WNBA want this kind of attention?

There's a saying: Any publicity is good publicity.

I've always been a bit "meh" on that one, honestly. You wouldn't be subscribing to that theory if it's your name or actions getting showcased in a negative light.

But the concept is easy to grasp. If that fracas wouldn't have been blossomed in Indianapolis this past weekend, #DMD surely wouldn't be writing about Clark and the troubles she's having.

ESPN and ESPN.com wouldn't have covered it like they did, either, if the game would have evolved into a casual, easy blowout win for Indiana.

The actions of Carter alone were enough to get people riled up. She called Clark a b**ch and leveled her with a fairly-vicious off-the-ball foul that sent the WNBA's meal ticket to the floor.

Reese, who obviously loves playing the role of the villain, was thrilled to see Carter doing her dirty work. She reacted favorably with high fives and back slaps, along with laughter and a smile that would light up a room.

Maybe this is what the league wants and needs.

One star (Reese) openly hating on another star (Clark) in their rookie seasons is good -- or, even, great -- for business. There's a long career ahead for both of them. This could be the beginning of a tense, heated rivalry.

But is it really what the WNBA needs?

Do they want or need a rivalry that might be based on race? Even if deep down Reese's dislike for Clark has nothing at all to do with the color of her skin, the media will never let that storyline flame out. As long as Clark's in the league and getting bullied by opposing players of color, the narrative will focus on race.

Does the WNBA really want that story percolating for the next five months?

I don't know the answer.

But someone within the WNBA does.

I wonder what they think?


Far be it for me to put Mike Elias on notice, but someone has to do it.

We're well past the 11th hour now with Cedric Mullins.

This upcoming 8-game road trip is it. He either gets his act together at the plate or Elias has to do something with the veteran centerfielder.

With the glove, Cedric Mullins is still great. With the bat, though, not so great.

Mullins went 0-for-4 yesterday and hit Jorge Mateo in the head with his bat by accident. There's a joke in there somewhere about "getting a hit" but I don't feel like piecing it together.

We're 57 games into the season and Mullins is hitting .181 on the year. His on-base-percentage is a woeful .225.

This has been going on for weeks now. We've brought it up here at #DMD on several occasions recently, in fact.

The time has come.

If he's not in the .210 range when the team returns home from Tampa Bay, Elias is going to have to make a tough decision.

You can't have your centerfielder hitting .190 and getting on base at a .250 clip. I mean, you can have that, but you're wasting a valuable spot in the lineup on a guy who has fewer hits than Devo and Richard Marx combined.

Elias has been patient with Mullins. His glove, of course, is the only reason he's been in the lineup for as long as he has this season. He made another one of his patented home-run-saving catches yesterday, in fact. It's good that he saved a run with his defense, because he surely doesn't produce any otherwise.

He's an exceptional defensive Major League outfielder.

He's almost incompetent at the plate at this point, though.

And it's time for the Orioles to make a move of some kind, whether that's biting the bullet defensively and giving Mullins' at bats to Colton Cowser or something else Elias can dream up as a beneficial substitute.

That's why Elias has the big office and the large expense account. He gets to figure that out.

I don't know much but I know this: The Orioles need to fix centerfield.

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#dmd's u.s. open preview


They're headed back to the famous Pinehurst #2 course for this year's U.S. Open, which will be held June 13-16.

It's the fourth U.S. Open there since 1999, with Payne Stewart ('99), Michael Campbell ('05) and Martin Kaymer ('14) winning previously.

The golf course is one of America's treasures. It's considered the best of the best of the Donald Ross designs, with small, undulating greens and run-off areas that make it difficult to keep the ball on the putting surface unless you're a sublime ball striker.

Analysts and those trying to predict the outcome and the top finishers are looking at the obvious stats: shots gained approach, shots gained tee to green, and shots gained putting. The winner will likely be highly ranked in all three of those areas.

#DMD will provide our predicted top 10 finishers here. It's really a Top 9, of course, since Scottie Scheffler is obviously on the list as a slam dunk, no brainer.

So we'll do this from the start. Scheffler is on the list. Automatically. You have to bet him. So our Top 10 won't include him, but it does include him. Get it?

It's really a Top 11 list, in that case.

Our #10 was Will Zalatoris.

Russell Henley hasn't missed a PGA Tour cut since mid-March at The Players Championship.

#9 Russell Henley -- The last two winners at Pinehurst #2 weren't necessarily "household names". Michael Campbell won his first and only major in 2005 and Martin Kaymer won his 2nd major in 2014, but it came out of nowhere, really.

Russell Henley winning would also "come out of nowhere", but Wyndham Clark was a bit of a surprise winner last year, remember.

Henley's stats in 2024 suggest he is going to be a threat at Pinehurst. In his last five starts, he's been better than the TOUR average in almost every shots gained category, including two of the critical ones; shots gained approach and shots gained putting.

His only game flaw -- driving distance -- gets offset by the fact that he hits it fairly straight off the tee.

With his iron game and putting intact, we're thinking he's going to be in hunt at #2. Henley has only missed one cut all season, by the way, another part of the formula that makes him a worthwhile investment next week.

He's currently at +9000. Throw a $20 spot on him to win and if he does, you cash in for $1800.

We can think of worse ways you've spent $20 in your life.

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Sunday
June 2, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3572


to the maibox we go


Another day, another Orioles win.

And this time, much to the delight of my friend Chris, it wasn't all that "boring", as he said to me on Friday during the 3-1 win over the Rays.

The Birds fell behind early on Saturday after a rare "blah" start from Kyle Bradish, but rebounded nicely to beat visiting Tampa Bay, 9-5.

I'm probably like you. I don't care if it's 2-1, 10-9 or 9-5. A win's a win. But there is something to be said for a bunch of runs being scored, even when some of them are earned by the other team.

Ryan Mountcastle hit two homers on Saturday as the Birds snagged the Rays in Baltimore, 9-5.

Beggars can't be choosers, I know. But I'd rather see 9-5 than 3-1 any day of the week. But that's just me. Some folks like to sit through a tense pitcher's duel where there are only four runs scored. Maybe it's just the sound of the ball meeting the bat that I like, I don't know. But give me 9-5 over 3-1.

The only problem?

Well, there are two of them actually.

The Yankees keep winning.

And the O's now know John Means is officially done for the season.

That news came out on Friday, actually. Means and Tyler Wells are both headed for surgery and there 2024 campaigns are officially in the books.

The loss of Means isn't devastating or anything like that. The Orioles, after all, won 101 games last year and did nearly all of that without Means in the rotation. And the same goes for this year. He made a few starts, sure, but he wasn't part of the first two months of the season for the most part.

That said, a healthy John Means -- and I realize there's an oxymoron in there -- could have been a big help over the rest of 2024. He's that crafty-lefthander type that can really be effective against lefty-heavy lineups.

But the guess here is Cole Irvin steps in and continues to do what he's been doing in 2024, which, frankly, is probably as good or better than anything we might have seen from Means.

So maybe it's not so bad after all.

That doesn't mean Mike Elias shouldn't be doing some summer shopping later this month. More arms are never a bad thing.

But the O's won't miss Means as long as Irvin keeps throwing the ball like he has thus far this season.

Those Yankees, though.

What on earth has gotten into them?

New York is now 41-19 on the year.

They've only lost back-to-back games four times this season along with one 3-game losing streak sandwiched in there.

And unlike the Orioles, who have played more games at home than on the road (32 home, 24 away), the Yankees have played far more away (34) than at home (26) thus far in 2024.

Worst of all, at least for those of us hoping for a Bronx disaster, the Yankees have gone 60 games with their roster relatively injury-free.

And Aaron Judge is coming off of an insanely-good month of May, where he hit 14 homers. And he started off June yesterday with another dinger in their win over the Giants.

If you're an O's fan looking for a silver lining, it might be this: Summer and fall baseball where you have to face and beat the Yankees is a dream scenario just from a theater standpoint.

As crazy as this sounds, I'd much rather have it be the O's and Yankees over the last three weeks, fighting it out, than the O's and Rays or O's and anyone else in the division.

You don't have to like the Yankees. And I certainly don't. But you do have to admit baseball, in general, is much more entertaining when one of the two New York teams are in the hunt after Labor Day. And for my money, it's the Yankees who stir the drink up there.

If the Yankees are in the pennant race in September, it's exciting. That the Orioles are going to be in with them is must-see-TV.


Pat C. asks -- "Hi Drew, here's a question for your mailbag column. I've been watching the U.S. Women's Open tournament and the announcers keep talking about how difficult the course plays and you're seeing all the superstars making 5's and 6's (and a 10!) and some of them won't make the cut. So I'm curious. Why do they make the course so hard for the women? Is it going to be the same way for the men in a few weeks?"

DF says -- "It's the national women's golf championship. It's supposed to be hard. The USGA once had a very famous -- and accurate -- statement when they were criticized for their course set up and it was suggested they were trying to embarrass the best players in the world.

"We're not trying to embarrass the best players. We're trying to identify the best players."

Once a year, I think it's perfectly reasonable to grow the rough, narrow the fairways, make the greens firm (if the weather cooperates) and challenge the players (men and women) to think "par first, birdie second", which is generally what happens at the U.S. Open.

I've played Lancaster CC before. It's a very, very difficult course.

That three women are 5-under par after 54 holes is remarkable, in my opinion.

And, yes, the set-up at Pinehurst in two weeks is going to be very similar, if not a shade more difficult. And that course is much different than Lancaster. It will present its own set of unique challenges, most of which have to do with iron play, ball striking, and keeping the ball on the putting surface."


Connor Sleight asks -- "Can you help settle a friendly golf debate? Other than Caves Valley and Baltimore Country Club, is there another course in the Baltimore area that could host a professional men's golf tournament and hold up to the PGA Tour players? Thanks Drew."

DF says -- "No, there isn't. That doesn't mean there aren't some high quality golf courses in the area. We have a bunch. But there isn't a course around other than those two that would "hold up" in a PGA Tour event.

Honestly, Baltimore Country Club wouldn't hold up if they played a TOUR stop there. That club has two dozen or more "plus handicap" players who routinely break par on the East Course. The PGA Tour players would have a field day with it.

Caves Valley was eaten alive by the TOUR when they played the BMW there a few years back. I think 28 or 29 under par was the four-day total for DeChambeau and Cantlay. But it's still a demanding course when the weather cooperates and it plays fast and firm.

The only other area course that could potentially challenge PGA Tour players would be Bulle Rock in Havre de Grace. And even that, I'm afraid, would be a birdie-thon over four days. As we just saw with the PGA Championship at Valhalla, these guys just hit the ball too freakin' far.

There's no course in the Baltimore area that could reel them in, I'm afraid."


Steve in Hunt Valley asks -- "DF, as a longtime Blast fan in the 1980's and 1990's, I always think about June 8 because that's the day the Blast beat the Steamers for the championship in 1984. I'm just curious: What really happened with Keith Van Eron playing Game 5 at home instead of Scott Manning? What's the real behind the scenes story? Manning was amazing in the two games in St. Louis and then Cooper played Van Eron in Game 5. Why?"

DF says -- "Wow, Steve, that's a great memory. June 8, 1984 is correct. Blast 10-Steamers 3. And you're right, Van Eron started in goal that night.

I never really asked Scott about this, even though we were obviously close when he played for the team and then he and I were members together at Eagle's Nest until a couple of years ago when he moved to South Carolina.

But my guess is he was fatigued after two grueling games in St. Louis. And in the back of his mind, he might have thought, "I'll rest on Friday (Game 5). If we somehow lose, I'm good to go for Game 6 (Sunday) and Game 7 (Wednesday) if necessary."

We also knew the series was over after that 5-4 overtime win in Game 4 in St. Louis. Everyone knew it, including the Steamers. Scott had assumed the #1 goalkeeping duties from Keith that season. It had been a tough year for Van Eron. So, maybe Scott wanted things to end well for Keith, which is why Manning told Cooper he didn't want to play Game 5 at home."

Next time I see Scott or talk with him, I'll ask him. I'm curious to know the real reason, now, 40 years later."

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#dmd's u.s. open preview


They're headed back to the famous Pinehurst #2 course for this year's U.S. Open, which will be held June 13-16.

It's the fourth U.S. Open there since 1999, with Payne Stewart ('99), Michael Campbell ('05) and Martin Kaymer ('14) winning previously.

The golf course is one of America's treasures. It's considered the best of the best of the Donald Ross designs, with small, undulating greens and run-off areas that make it difficult to keep the ball on the putting surface unless you're a sublime ball striker.

Analysts and those trying to predict the outcome and the top finishers are looking at the obvious stats: shots gained approach, shots gained tee to green, and shots gained putting. The winner will likely be highly ranked in all three of those areas.

#DMD will provide our predicted top 10 finishers here. It's really a Top 9, of course, since Scottie Scheffler is obviously on the list as a slam dunk, no brainer.

So we'll do this from the start. Scheffler is on the list. Automatically. You have to bet him. So our Top 10 won't include him, but it does include him. Get it?

It's really a Top 11 list, in that case.

Will Zalatoris missed the 2023 U.S. Open due to injury, but returns this year as part of the field at Pinehurst #2.

#10, Will Zalatoris -- OK, so we're going with a bit of an odd-duck right out of the gate. Zalatoris has two flaws that don't bode well for major championships. He doesn't hit the ball all that straight off the tee. And he's a very inconsistent putter.

That said, if there was ever a place where those two things might not matter all that much, it's at Pinehurst. The "rough" at Pinehurst isn't really tall, thick grass like you seen at nearly every other "green" golf course in the country. The rough there is more like a sandy, wispy grass area that often times provides you a favorable lie and angle into the green.

And the greens are so small that you can't get into too much trouble there unless you're on the wrong side of things on a few of the bigger putting surfaces, like #2, #8, #16 and #18.

Zalatoris has great ball striking numbers. He hits it plenty far enough. His only concern at Pinehurst will be putting.

And because the Open isn't a birdie fest, there's less pressure on his putter to make everything.

Something in the 10-under range is going to win the tournament.

I think Zalatoris is primed to put together a nice week, despite not having a great 2024 thus far.

And he's no longer one of the "hot names" everyone thinks about. There's something to that as well. He can just cruise in, prepare the right way, and let it go.

As of June 1, you can get Zalatoris at +2500. I might wait a week on that one and see where he is next Saturday. He could creep up to more like +3000 by then.

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Saturday
June 1, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3571


things people say, huh?


There are crazy, wild things floating around on the internet that are truly hard to believe.

Even more, it's hard to believe a rational, (likely) intelligent human being would believe these things to be true.

You know three of them: The moon landing didn't happen. The 9-11 attacks were a "government job". And the Sandy Hook school shooting was actually a bunch of actors paid by anti-gun people to produce a horrific scene that gave them leverage.

And then there's my friend Chris last night.

This one isn't quite as bad as the moon landing stuff floating around these days, but it's still a wacky theory nonetheless.

Anthony Santander broke out of a dry spell with a 2-hit night on Friday as the O's eased past Tampa Bay, 3-1.

We were exchanging Orioles-related texts about the John Means news from Friday when he lobbed this grenade at me as the Birds were polishing off a 3-1 win.

"This is boring baseball."

He followed that up with a real beauty.

"Playing like this and winning like this is what they did last year and then we they need to ramp it up in the playoffs they couldn't do it. The same thing is going to happen this year. They're going to win 102 games and then choke in October again."

Before I could respond, he threw in one more piece of commentary.

Now this one, actually, I subscribe to a little bit.

"The Rangers didn't even make the playoffs until the last week of the season last year. Remember, they lost a bunch of games late and almost didn't make it. But they were playing do or die baseball in September and it carried over to October. We strolled into the playoffs and got hammered."

There is some validity to that part of what Chris was trying to say.

We've all seen it play out in baseball, football, and other sports.

The team that barely scrapes their way into the playoffs suddenly can't lose when the post-season begins. Their playoffs began weeks before the season ended, when they had to win, win and win some more just to stay alive. Then, once the post-season began, it didn't feel any different to them.

I get that one.

The other part, though, about "boring baseball"? I don't see that one.

Unless you think winning 2 out of every 3 games is boring, that is.

Sure, last night's 3-1 home win over Tampa Bay wasn't exactly a barnburner.

Tampa Bay scratched out one early run.

The O's scored three times in the 6th. And that was that.

My buddy Chris calls it "boring".

I call it "tidy".

There's nuance there. Boring comes off as a criticism. Tidy sounds efficient. Productive. Successful.

"How do you want them to win?" I asked Chris in one of my replies to his madness.

"I don't care how they win," he shot back. "But watching this is boring. Watching paint dry would be more exciting."

And, no, he wasn't trolling or -- as they say in England -- "winding me up".

"As soon as they scored 3 in the 5th (sic), I turned over to something else. I checked back a half an hour later and it was 3-1 in the 7th. It's boring."

To break the boredom of the text thread, I got away from sports for a second.

"It drives me nuts when people say a 'half an hour'", I wrote to him.

"It's like saying 'could care less' instead of 'couldn't care less', which is the right way to say it. It's not 'half an hour', it's simply a 'half hour'."

Chris replied with "WTF?"

We finished up with some text chat about the U.S. Women's Open and how the USGA has pretty much made the golf course at Lancaster CC too difficult for the women to play and that was that.

I watched a few minutes of the post-game show on MASN and thought about that text conversation.

Imagine being "bored" with a team that's 36-19 and heading in the direction of a 95 or 100 win season and a second straight playoff berth.

We got spoiled quick, huh?

Five years ago, we couldn't get to 36 wins until late July.

Now, we have nut-job fans calling the team "boring" because they only lose 2 or 3 times a week.

And I don't think Chris is the only one who feels that way. People hate losing. Then they find ways to hate winning, too.

There are still people in town who bellyache about John Harbaugh's coaching tenure in Baltimore.

All that winning has really been awful, huh?

I once had a maniac call me on the radio the morning after the Ravens beat Houston in the playoffs and said, with a straight face, "I hope they go up to New England and do something different this weekend or we're in trouble."

"Do something different?" I said. "You mean, like lose? They just beat the Texans in the playoffs and you hope they go to New England and do something "different" --- because what they just didn't wasn't good enough?"

That, of course, was the day I lost it on the air with that guy from Parkville.

I wasn't quite as maniacal last night with Chris. It was over text, for starters, and I'm not as invested in sports today as I was 13 years ago when I got that call. I don't get worked up about things like I used to, I guess.

"You're nuts," I wrote to him. "They're winning. Enjoy it. I don't care if it's 3-1 or 10-1. It's better than losing."

"Just wait until October," he replied.

Imagine if the O's were 19-36 instead of 36-19.

Like the old days...

Then you'd have a reason to be snarky.

For now, just enjoy the rebirth of winning baseball here in the The Land of Pleasant Living.

We'll do with October in.......October.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


champions league final preview


The crown jewel of the European soccer season, the Champions League final, will be played at the iconic Wembley Stadium in London this afternoon at 3pm airing in the US on CBS and Paramount+.

The match will feature 14-time champions Real Madrid facing off against Borussia Dortmund, who are making their third appearance in the final, having won once in 1997.

Real Madrid enters as the heavy favorites according to the betting odds, which have them at -330 to win their unprecedented 15th cup. The Spanish giants are by far the most decorated club in this tournament and have dominated this century with five Champions League titles in the last decade, most recently in 2022.

Jude Bellingham and Real Madrid face Borussia Dortmund today in the Champions League Final.

While this is not quite a David vs. Goliath matchup, there is a clear disparity between the two teams.

Borussia Dortmund is a storied club in their own right and perennially one of the best in Germany. However, they are not a superpower on the level of Real Madrid.

There is no clearer evidence of that than Real Madrid’s acquisition of Dortmund’s best player, Jude Bellingham, for a hefty transfer fee this past offseason.

Bellingham squaring up against his former team as he looks to add to his Ballon D’Or (Player of the Year) resume is just one of the enticing player storylines.

This game will serve as a send off for Real Madrid and German legend Toni Kroos, who has announced his retirement at the end of the season. A Champions League title would be a fitting end for a player that has won everything there is to win in global soccer and remains a lynchpin of perhaps the best team in Europe.

On the Dortmund side, it will be the final game for club legend Marco Reus, who has been the heart and soul of the team for the last decade. Reus’s career has been beset with ill-timed injuries, forcing him to miss out on crucial moments for both Dortmund and Germany, so he would love nothing more than to go out on top of Europe.


How They Got Here –

Real Madrid began their Champions League journey by rolling through a relatively weak group with a perfect 6-0-0 record in the initial stage. Their path became more difficult in the knockout phase where they edged by RB Leipzig with a 2-1 aggregate score in the Round of 16 before escaping in a dramatic penalty shootout against reigning champions Manchester City in the quarterfinals. Madrid then delivered some of their patented Champions League witchcraft for a late comeback to down Bayern Munich in the semifinals 4-3 on aggregate.

Borussia Dortmund came out on top of the “Group of Death” featuring Paris St. Germain, AC Milan and Newcastle. They then beat Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven in the Round of 16 and Atletico Madrid in the quarters. Dortmund confirmed their spot in the final with a solid 2-0 aggregate win over Paris Saint-Germain.

Their path to Wembley was underlined by a robust defensive performance, having conceded the fewest goals among the teams past the quarter-final stage and maintaining the most clean sheets in this season's competition.

In each knockout stage the advanced metrics suggest they were “outplayed” losing the “expected goals” battle, but ultimately prevailing in the only stat that counts, the scoreboard.


Real Madrid Tactics –

Under manager Carlo Ancelotti this season, Real Madrid has consistently lined up in a 4-4-2 shape with a diamond midfield featuring the dynamic Bellingham at the tip of the diamond with Vinicius Jr. and Rodrygo split wide on the attacking line.

Ancelotti’s approach has emphasized quick transitions and exploiting spaces left by opponents. Madrid was the best team in Europe at scoring on counters and transitions this season.

Real Madrid does most of their attacking down the left flank where they look to find Vinicius Jr. in space and often have Rodrygo and Bellingham rotate in to create overloads to trouble the defense.

Bellingham’s ability to shuttle between defense and attack in his midfield role will be crucial in linking play and penetrating Dortmund’s midfield. He is especially dangerous making late arriving runs into the box to provide a target when Madrid finds space to cross from the wings.

Toni Kroos is another essential cog in the attack, often dropping deep into areas vacated when the fullbacks push forward, to pick up the ball and orchestrate the build up. The ability for Kroos to pick any pass forces the defense to decide whether to close him down and leave space behind them or risk getting beat with a ball over the top.

When defending, Real Madrid is not as committed to pressing as many other elite teams. While they will press strategically, they are especially difficult to break down when they get into their set 4-4-2 defensive block. Madrid is at their best when they can win the ball and attack quickly in transition.

However, in this game Dortmund is likely to play in a compact defensive shape forcing the Spanish side to generate more of their chances from possession. If Dortmund does opt for a deeper defensive setup, Madrid will hope to pin the Dortmund wingers back defensively in order to maintain long spells of control.

Veteran midfielder Luka Modric will probably start on the bench, but if a compact Dortmund defense frustrates the Madrid attack, he could be a key second half substitute with his precision passing and attacking guile the perfect tools to break down a defensive shell.


Borussia Dortmund Tactics –

If Borussia Dortmund wants to pull off an improbable upset in this final, they may want to look to one of the opponents they defeated along the way. Their quarterfinal foe, Atletico Madrid, is the only team that has beaten Real Madrid this season, Atletico managed to beat Real twice, once in La Liga and once in the Copa del Rey, they also drew their last meeting in February 1-1.

In each of those games Atletico Madrid allowed Real to control the possession and picked their spots to attack. For Atletico, that often involved finding Antoine Griezmann to break down a scrambled Real defense.

While Dortmund doesn’t quite have an attacker as dynamic as Griezmann they can look for similar creativity from Julian Brandt and Jadon Sancho. Sancho was especially critical in their last win over PSG, with more successful dribbles in a Champions League game than any player other than Lionel Messi.

The other vulnerability that Atletico exploited was Real Madrid’s relative weakness defending crosses in the box. Atletico scored several of their goals on headers from wide crosses or corner kicks and Dortmund has several players specifically suited to take advantage.

Centerbacks Nico Schlotterbeck and especially Mats Hummels have been supremely effective as aerial targets this season and striker Niclas Fullkrug provides another large target for crosses and set pieces.

Under manager Eden Terzic, Dortmund has generally set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with defensive midfielder Emre Can often dropping deep to help initiate the build out. The main route of attack for Dortmund in their Champions League run has been counter attacks through their speedy wingers. Whether it's Donyell Malen, Karim Adeyemi or Jadon Sancho, all possess exceptional pace and stretch defenses with their runs in behind.

Despite their relatively poor results in the Bundesliga this season, Dortmund has found a stout defensive form in the Champions League, belying the expected goals numbers to post the most clean sheets in the tournament and the fewest goals conceded per match. As the decided underdog in this matchup, they will almost certainly look to remain compact defensively for most of the game, while searching for moments to exploit the Madrid defense on the counter.


Key Matchups to Watch –

With Real Madrid expected to dominate the lion’s share of possession, the most critical matchups will come where the Madrid attack encounters the set Dortmund defense. As stated above, Madrid overwhelmingly attacks down the left side through Vinicius Jr. The talented Brazilian decimated star Bayern defender Joshua Kimmich in the previous round. This game it will be Dortmund right back, Julian Ryerson, with the tough task of containing Vinicius.

It will be crucial that Ryerson receives help, both from the winger on that side, likely Jadon Sancho, and his right centerback, Mats Hummels. Hummels has been the most crucial player in this Champions League run for Dortmund. He will need to balance helping Ryerson with keeping tabs on the crafty Jude Bellingham. If Hummels becomes too focused on Vinicius Jr, Bellingham will look to find space in the middle to create dangerous chances.

Nico Schlotterbeck and Emre Can will need to maintain constant coordination and communication with Hummels to keep tabs on Bellingham. Julian Brandt will likely have an important role near the top of the Dortmund defense, pressing up to prevent line breaking passes when Toni Kroos drops deep to get on the ball.

On the opposite side, when Dortmund has the ball, they will try to attack down the left as well, looking to isolate any of their wingers on aging veteran Real Madrid right back Dani Carvajal. That is their best opportunity to break down the Madrid defensive structure and set up passes into the box. As mentioned above, Dortmund will also try to get Hummels and Schlotterbeck forward on corners and set pieces to provide aerial targets.

The clash between these two teams promises to be a thrilling encounter, blending Real Madrid's storied history and superstar attackers with Borussia Dortmund's analytic-defying, stubborn defensive rigor. While Real has the historical edge, Dortmund’s persistence in this tournament suggests they can upset the odds and provide a tightly contested final.​

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Friday
May 31, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3570


12 people all agree?


I was skeptical from the start.

There was simply no way 12 people would agree, particularly when they're all human beings of various ages, shapes and colors.

But agree they did.

I guess it was all on the up and up. There's never any way to find out, unless one or more of them writes a book about it. And these 12 don't seem like the book-writing type.

I can't say I was shocked at the actual decision, but I was definitely shocked to find out all 12 of them agreed on their answer to the question at hand.

Do you know how hard it is to pick 12 random people and get them to all agree on something these days?

That's why I was skeptical from the start.

And I kind of still am, frankly.

Their names aren't important, but in case you're the kind of person who needs identity to help you validate the outcome, here they are: Dana, Richard, Carl, Elizabeth, Francesca, Sarah, Tobias, Walter, Steve, (another) Steve, Alyssa and Eric.

7 men and 5 women. In case you're wondering, Dana is a female. There are "men" named Dana, too. Dana White, for example, the leader of the UFC.

Anyway, they're the 7 and 5 who all agreed yesterday.

It was as random as random gets.

I was in the Wegman's in Hunt Valley and walked up to them, individually, and asked:

Is Bruce Springsteen better than the Beatles?

All 12 said "yes".

I was shocked. Not because Springsteen isn't better than the Beatles. He is, of course. I just couldn't believe I found 12 people who could agree on anything these days, especially when you just pick them at random, basically.

I figured at least one or two of them would hold out and argue in favor of the Beatles. Maybe it wound up 10-2 or 11-1 in favor of Bruce.

Instead, it was 12-for-12.

Were you pleased with that verdict? It was unanimous, after all.

Bruuuuuuuucccceeee.


Pre-tournament favorite Nelly Korda made a "10" on a hole yesterday in the U.S. Women's Open that most likely zapped her chances of winning the event at Lancaster Country Club.

Had that "10" come on a par 5, it wouldn't have been quite as damaging.

It came, however, on a par 3.

One swing of the club and a 3-minute disaster around the 12th green might have cost Nelly Korda a chance at winning this week's U.S. Women's Open in Lancaster, PA.

And that's not good.

Korda finished her round with a very respectable score of +8 for the day, which puts her in 137th place. Flyers fans do not need to rush for their calculators for this one. I got ya.

She played 17 holes in 1 over par and 1 hole in 7 over par. In other words, take away that one hole and she's right there in the mix, with the leader of the event sitting at 2-under after day one.

But you play 18 holes, not 17 holes.

Dismissing what happened on #17 is like that old, dry joke: "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"

"Other than that catastrophic 10 on a par 3, how was your round?"

I've been fortunate to play Lancaster CC in the past. The 12th hole there is very demanding, even from 160 yards, which is roughly the distance the girls played from on Thursday.

Oddly, one of the other favorites in the event, Rose Zhang, lost to Korda by a shot on Thursday. She shot 81 and didn't make a 10, which probably means Korda thoroughly outplayed Zhang except for, you know, that one fiasco on her 3rd hole of the day.

I once played the Maryland Open at Hillendale CC and saw an esteemed, high quality local PGA professional play the 10th hole in 2 shots the first day (that's an eagle) and 9 shots the second day.

On day one, he drove the ball around the corner, up the hill and into the fringe by the green and promptly rolled in a 40-foot putt for a "2" on the par 4 hole.

The next day he tried the same thing and, well, they're still looking for the first three tee-shots he hit. He pulled the first one out of bounds. Re-loaded and hit that one OB. Re-loaded again and hit that one so far out of bounds it might have ended up on Dulaney Valley Road somewhere.

He was hitting 7 off the tee now. Knocked that one into the fairway. Hit his next approach to 5 feet. And made the putt for 9.

In one of the funniest things I've ever heard on the golf course, he walked up to the tee and said, "I could have putted the ball off the tee the whole way up the hole and not made a 9."

And I think that was probably true.

If you're trying to hit the ball a decent distance with your putter, you can. The face is mostly loft-less. If you put the ball on a tee, you can hit a putter, easily, over 100 yards. If it happens to stay in the fairway, you can hit the next one another 75 yards or more.

That 10th hole at Hillendale is (was) only 320 yards or so.

I'm betting he could have made a 7 with his putter. Maybe, maybe, even a 6.

Nelly Korda didn't have the putter option yesterday. It was her chipping that let her down, as she knocked three balls in the water on that 12th hole.

The bet here is she does something crazy today like a hole-in-one or a holed out sand shot for "2"...just 24 hours after she made a 10.

Golf. It's like an onion, they say. Sometimes it makes you cry.


A few e-mail questions to get to today on this last day of May.

Sorry they've piled up. I'll get to more of them over the weekend, I promise.

Derek asks -- "Hey DF, just wondering what you think about the new "Stadium Concepts" the Orioles have released and which would you would vote for. Thanks!"

DF says -- "I saw them all. I don't know that I'd vote for any of them because all they are, as we know, are opportunities for the baseball franchise to bilk more money out of people for overpriced food and drink items.

They're essentially "specialty areas" that the club will improve/build in the ballpark to make your "enchance your game day experience" when, in the end, all they're really doing is getting you to spend $150 or more on "upgraded" food and beverage options.

I get it. It's the way sports is moving these days. The Ravens just unveiled a section of seats that are practically on the field and they're going to run $500 each.

Frankly, I think that's a better investment, as a one time thing, then sitting in an air conditioned "premium box" and getting to drink a $20 glass of Joel Gott from a bottle that costs $24 at Total Wine.

So, I'll hold off on voting for any of those four options I saw. But thanks for asking."


Craig asks -- "If you're Mike Elias and the Rays, Blue Jays or Red Sox are willing to make a deadline deal with you but it involves someone like Kjerstad or Cowser, are you doing it?"

DF says -- "It's interesting you bring that up, because that could certainly be something that's in the back of his mind.

It is probably different now that you're not playing the A.L. East teams 18 or 19 times a season, but what you're asking, obviously, is "Are you willing to take the gamble that you might be helping a team you're competing with year after year?"

I'm not so sure I'd trade Kjerstad or Cowser within the division.

Obviously, what I get in return would make the decision easier or harder. Am I getting someone I have control over for a couple of years? Or just a rental?

If I'm getting a rental, I'm probably not sending one of those "marquee" prospect-types to a division rival. If I can get two or three years out of a player I'm acquiring, I might think about it differently.

It's an interesting question. Thanks."

Katie asks -- "Hi Drew, it's Katie again. You've helped my husband and I with music recommendations each of the last two summers and we're back again. We're going to Alaska in late June and want to compile some tunes for the long trip. We thought it would be fun to give you names of bands and artists and ask you to pick out the best song they have for a dream mix tape we're going to make! Thanks and have a great summer.

The bands are: U2, Pearl Jam, Queen (my husband's favorite, give us 2!), Oasis, The Goo Goo Dolls, Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, REM, Neil Young (my brother's favorite, he and his wife are going with us on the trip), Van Morrison and my favorite, Talking Heads.

Thanks Drew. Oh and throw in one or two random surprise songs for us!"

DF says -- "Lots of great, legendary musicians and bands there. Here's one confession that I know my friend Pat Marshall from Calvert Hall will chide me about. I don't know one Grateful Dead song to pass along to you. I'm sure they have some great ones, but I'm just not a Dead fan, so I have nothing for you there. The others, I can help with."

U2: Trip Through Your Wires

Pearl Jam: Rearview Mirror

Oasis: Morning Glory

Queen: Don't Stop Me Now and You're My Best Friend.

Goo Goo Dolls: What Do You Need?

Led Zeppelin: The Rover

REM: The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight

Neil Young: Old Man

Van Morrison: Real Real Gone

Talking Heads: Lifetime Piling Up

Bonus...

ELO: Mr. Blue Sky (hope you have lots of that in Alaska!)

Young The Giant: Mind Over Matter

Brad: The Day Brings



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faith in sports


Occasionally here on Friday at #DMD, we'll bring back one of the classics since, hopefully, there are new people jumping on here all the time who might not have seen it the first time or two.

This one is a classic.

It's George Foreman, talking about the night he met Jesus.

Please take 7 minutes this morning to watch this. It chronicles his boxing career, a monumental loss, and how his entire life changed thereafter.

"You're gonna die. You're gonna die," Foreman says in the video.

This is an amazing revelation from one of our greatest athletes ever.

Thanks, as always, to our friends at Freestate Electrical for their continued support of #DMD and "Faith in Sports" here every Friday.



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Thursday
May 30, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3569


mays, griffey, trout.....gunnar?


This seems almost too good to be true.

Like, this is so good something's going to go wrong to spoil it all.

For anyone who suffered through the embarrassment that was Orioles baseball from 1998 through 2011 -- and again for a few years circa 2017 -- this most definitely classifies as one of those "no way this is happening to us" moments.

The Baltimore Orioles might actually have the new, best, everyone-is-jealous-of-him player in ALL of baseball.

I'm not dissing Shohei Ohtani, either. We'll get to him in a little bit.

Out of every player in the league, American and National, the new generational superstar is in Baltimore of all places.

His name is Gunnar Henderson.

The best player in all of baseball, right here in Charm City? Our own Gunnar? Maybe!

For more than a decade now, we've watched 1,000-tool-player Mike Trout perform in Los Angeles. Because he's west and we're east, the greatness of Trout is probably a tad underappreciated in these parts, but if you're a fan of the game and even remotely interested in those trendy, nerdy statistics baseball has created in the last 20 years, you know just how great he's been.

Gunnar is potentially going to be better.

Can you imagine this in 20 years when folks start to look back at the last 100 years of baseball and talk about the true iconic greats of the sport?

Willie Mays in his generation.

Ken Griffey Jr. in his generation.

Mike Trout in his generation.

And Gunnar Henderson, the BALTIMORE Oriole, in his generation.

Now, yes, it's fair to point out that Henderson's batting average of .256 is far off of Mays and his .302 average and even Griffey's .282 average.

But batting average is just one small part of the equation when it comes to measuring greatness.

Henderson can do it all, but it's his ability to drive the ball that's starting to stand out more than anything else. His grand slam in the second inning last night gave him 18 home runs for the season. And we haven't yet reached June. 50 dingers might be a bit ambitious in 2024, but 40 is certainly well within reach.

Then again, what do you expect from a guy who homered in his first Major League game in Cleveland?

If defense matters in the way we compare him to guys like Mays, Griffey Jr. and Trout, that's going to be hard to do because Gunnar plays the infield. But there's a stat nerd out there somewhere who will take what Gunnar does with his glove and what those guys did with their gloves and he or she might figure out that Henderson is as good or better than those three.

Maybe he winds up being a .265 career hitter, but averages 40 HR and 100 RBI on his way to 3,000 hits and a Hall of Fame spot.

That would be plenty good enough for me, and you, I assume.

But if Gunnar's average at the plate just upticks a couple of notches into that .285 range (what, four more hits per-month or something?), we might have ourselves baseball's undeniable "best player" in the mold of what we've thought of Mike Trout in L.A.

And, no, I'm not overlooking Shohei Ohtani on purpose.

I definitely see his greatness.

It's just that I don't even know "what" to consider him at this point and, honestly, he's so much better than everyone else I guess I just put him in his own category and start ranking everyone else from there.

When the dust settles on Ohtani's career, he might wind up being, both statistically and historically, the best baseball player we have ever seen, period. He won't be a generational talent, in other words. He'll be better than Babe Ruth. Better than Hank Aaron. Better than everyone.

But Gunnar is #2, or #1* with an asterisk, since we don't know what Ohtani is at this point.

Funny story here, but back in my radio days when I was pressuring the Orioles to put "Baltimore" back on their road jerseys, a friend of the show somehow got his hands on an authentic, new Orioles gray road top and had the old Baltimore script on it just like the team eventually started wearing again.

At that time, for reasons I don't remember, I told the guy to please put the number "2" on the back of my jersey. Maybe it was a subliminal gesture in the direction of Derek Jeter. I'm kidding. I think. But I don't recall exactly why I asked for #2 on the jersey, but a few weeks later he delivered it to the radio station. A gray Orioles road jersey with the cursive Baltimore script and #2 on the back.

I'm looking pretty daggone smart right about now, aren't I?

The back of the shirt has "DF" instead of "Henderson", but I have my very own #2 Orioles shirt.

There's a lot of those floating around Baltimore, by the way. Not the #2 "DF" jersey...the one with "Henderson, #2" on the back.

I know the white elephant in the room. And so do you. There's no way to avoid thinking about it.

But there's certainly a chance Henderson does his obligatory six years of service in Baltimore and then darts off somewhere to scoop up $500 million or more when he becomes a free agent.

That would be heartbreaking, but a World Series or two over the next few years would help ease the pain of Henderson talking to the media about how "I dreamed of playing in Yankee Stadium as a kid" or "growing up, I had posters of Chipper Jones all over my room and always hoped I would be an Atlanta Brave."

The hope here, of course, is that David Rubenstein doesn't allow that to happen.

Henderson will always have the upper hand, obviously. He'll pretty much tell the Orioles how much they're paying him, not the other way around.

But Rubenstein doesn't have millions. He has billions. And he'll be able to figure out a way to scrape together a few extra bucks, sell a beach house or three, and keep Henderson in Baltimore.

At least that's the hope, right?

In the meantime, we have baseball's newest-best-player right here in Charm City.

Imagine 20 years from now when people start talking about greats of the sport and "Gunnar" is mentioned in the same breath as Griffey Jr., A-Rod, Mays, Ichiro, Mantle, Trout and even Shohei.

It's happening right now.

The chase is on.

And we're all here to see it.

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Wednesday
May 29, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3568


ty cobb is now...in 2nd place?


Grayson Rodriguez better be careful.

There's this pothole outside of Camden Yards, in the parking lot somewhere.

You know...

I'm kidding, of course. The only way Rodriguez loses his spot in the rotation is if the Orioles intentionally give him a two-week break like they did earlier this season when that always aggravating "shoulder inflammation" reared its ugly head.

Grayson Rodriguez struck out 10 last night, but gave up four early runs to the Red Sox and picked up the loss in an 8-3 defeat.

The pothole trick was used in the Buck Showalter era when the team didn't want to outright cut then-struggling pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, so they created an "ankle sprain" and moved him off the active roster in that way.

Rodriguez is one of the best young pitchers in baseball, even if he got dinged up early and often in last night's 8-3 loss to the Red Sox.

It's just that he hasn't been all that great since coming back from that "injury".

The O's rotation is eventually going to need some added juice. You don't have to be a Rhodes scholar to figure that one out.

Right now, it's Burnes, G-Rod, Irvin and Bradish. Those four are solid. Really solid, in fact, if the Bradish we saw over the weekend in Chicago is the Bradish we're going to get through the rest of 2024.

The rotation depends, a little bit, on what happens with John Means and Dean Kremer. Will either or both of them return? When? And if they do, what will their quality resemble once they're healthy again?

It's also worth pointing out that 2025 will likely require at least one new starting pitcher, either from the team's minor league system or via trade at the upcoming deadline or through free agency/trade in the off-season.

It's highly likely Corbin Burnes is going to the highest bidder this winter and that bidder won't be the Orioles.

And, yes, we're not even halfway through the 2024 campaign yet, so why worry about 2025? Well, because you strike while the iron's hot, so to speak, and you can even do that with a quick glance to the future. If you can get a quality starter this June or July who extends into 2025 and/or 2026, isn't that a win-win, as they call it?

Rodriguez's last couple of spotty starts aren't overly concerning, but the American League is eventually going to be won by someone with pitching, pitching, pitching. Last season's Rangers' lineup that tore through everyone in the post-season was a bit of an outlier. Most years, pitching is going to win you the trophy in October.

The O's have good pitching now. Some weeks, it's even great.

But Mike Elias needs to pull out most of the stops he has to make sure he adds some arm depth in June or July, particularly if Means isn't returning in 2024.

That might mean someone like Heston Kjerstad or Connor Norby has to go. If so, that's the way things fall when you're trying to win a championship. You can't have all of the great players, remember. If you did, everyone wouldn't get a chance to play.

Oh, and don't look now, but Cedric Mullins still hasn't reached the .200 mark in batting average and Memorial Day has come and gone.

He did have a 2-hit game last week and a triple against the Red Sox on Monday. So he has that going for him.......which is nice.

But this is quickly becoming almost Chris Davis-like with Mullins, except Davis at least walked two or three times every ten at-bats. Mullins' on base percentage is a robust .238, or roughly 100 points higher than your Uncle Ned's OBP would have been if he ever got that elusive shot in the majors he talked about at the family picnic every summer.

Austin Hays isn't much better, mind you.

Actually, he's worse. His batting average is .164 and his OBP is .225. Oh, and he was an All-Star last year. Talk about going from the penthouse to the outhouse. Wow.

And while we're at it, let's mention a name no one wants to talk about at parties. Anthony Santander. It's not pretty. If Santander doesn't homer, he makes almost no contribution at the plate.

He's now dipped to .203/.288/.423. He would giggle at Mullins and Hays, but it wouldn't be very genuine given what he's done at the plate this season.

Pitching, pitching and pitching.

And a remedy for the Mullins-Hays-Santander fiasco at the plate.

Mike Elias has no time to rest.

I'm sure he's very aware of the work that lies ahead.


This one is very touchy indeed, because the Negro Leagues have long been overlooked by baseball historians and, well, Major League Baseball itself.

But yesterday, MLB announced they were officially recognizing Negro Leagues statistics and records and incorporating them into Major League records effective immediately.

That means, among other things, that Josh Gibson is now the all-time leader in career batting average in Major League Baseball at .372, surpassing the old mark of .367 set by Ty Cobb.

Gibson also became the career leader in slugging percentage (.718) and OPS (1.177), moving ahead of Babe Ruth (.690 and 1.164).

In an odd twist, it was actually the Covid-truncated 2020 season that led MLB authorities to evaluate where the Negro Leagues should rank in the overall history of baseball.

"The condensed 60-game season for the 2020 calendar year for the National League and American League prompted us to think that maybe the shortened Negro League seasons could come under the MLB umbrella, after all," MLB historian John Thorn said.

And so, now, historians like Thorn have gone back and researched Negro Leagues records to reflect "what might have been" had those games taken place under the umbrella of MLB.

Josh Gibson, not Ty Cobb, is the new all-time batting average leader.

I'm not a fan of Ty Cobb, per se. And I'm acknowledging the slippery slope that is adding records for players who didn't actually play in the same league as others they're being compared to. And then there's the overall poor treatment of Negro Leagues players back in those days, too.

It's touchy.

And as someone who has twice been to the Negro Leagues museum in Kansas City, I can tell you there should be a place for all of those players in some form or fashion within the historical walls of Major League Baseball.

I just don't know how you take Josh Gibson's statistical career and marry it with someone like Cobb or Babe Ruth, that's all.

But that's why I'm not a baseball historian.


The Canadian Open takes place this week on the PGA Tour, and there's almost no way the event can duplicate the excitement of last year's outcome, when native son Nick Taylor rolled in a 60-foot putt to win his national championship.

But might we see a similar sort of winner, at least?

Two players jump out at us right away this week.

We're bullish on both Corey Conners at +2200 and Mackenzie Hughes at +4000 to pull off the "Canadian double" and win their country's biggest golf event of the year.

Is Cameron Young ready to finally break through with that first win on the PGA Tour?

At some point, soon, we think, Cameron Young has to break through and win. Young, like Conners, is +2200. He hasn't been playing great in 2024, but everything is still there in his golf game. He just needs a breakout week. And he needs to win, once, to get things rolling in the right direction. This might be his week.

We've been bullish on Alex Noren for a month or so now and it's not time to jump off just yet. We love his chances this week at +2500. We liked him at the PGA and we're probably going to favor him in a couple of weeks at Pinehurst, too. He's one of the most underrated players on TOUR.

Hamilton Golf Club in Ontario is tight off the tee. Look at some of the results from courses where driving accuracy matters and you keep seeing the name Sahith Theegala. He's our man this week, even at +2000. We don't like to necessarily pick one player to win these things, because the real money is made in how many Top 10's and Top 20's you can produce, but we're going to sprinkle win money on all of the names above plus Theegala, who is quickly becoming a dependable player week in and week out.

Last but not least, if you're looking for a semi-longshot who could produce some great golf in Ontario, how about Maverick McNealy at +3000? That number might be a smidgen low for a guy still trying to make a name for himself on TOUR, but we feel like a big moment for him is right around the corner. Maybe it's on a Canadian corner this week.

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#dmd comments








HERMAN     June 20
Baltimore fans calling the O's announcers homers? Have you listened to that fool Gerry Sandusky call a Ravens game? There is no one more biased than that man. He's terrible. But I get it, he's paid by the Ravens so he has to be biased. That is what's happening with the O's announcers. Give it a break.

George     June 20
Jon Miller could make a rain delay enjoyable!

Chris in Bel Air     June 20
“There were a couple of balls up and in. It’s part of it. They like to throw in.”

The stats I'm viewing shows the Yankees are 3rd in the league for most hit batters with 42. O's are 3rd from bottom at 24. Who likes to throw in, Aaron? Smh

Paul from Towson     June 20
@Randy, thanks for the stats on that, and I think you're right. Compared with last year, their current rankings probably seem a lot worse than they are. I also think it has to do with when these situations come up and how effective the O's are in late game/high leverage RISP circumstances. Also, who is coming up in these spots. Guys like O'Hearn, Rutschman, and Mountie always seem to deliver, while guys like Hays, Cowser, and (I hate saying it) Mullins (except for last night) seem to drag that average down.



Also, as a kid, listening to Jon Miller on the radio, and Chuck and Brooks on the TV side are some of the most pleasant memories of my childhood. Angelos running Jon Miller out of town should still be one of the top 3 sins of his ownership.

rc     June 20
How many times are we gonna do this? EVERY team in MLB pays its own announcers to BE homers! Yet we're gonna whine about it when the O's do it? Newsflash, Palmer is also a homer. Every call against the O's his first utterance is "oh no no no....", then they watch the replay and it's "ok maybe he did swing" or "maybe he was out".

I respect Cake's knowledge, but face it, when announcing, he's a cheerleader too. It is more palatable coming from a HOF player as opposed to a "sideline reporter" like Hollander. Hollander is a younger version of local "generic announcer" Tom Davis. These guys are doing high school fashion shows one night, then calling a game the next night. Why? One can only assume its because they do it for cheapo, and in the case of last night, on short notice. Melanie Newman in the same category. She's oh with her telling stories role, but for play by play, I agree with Such, she is beyond bad, just like most of her coworkers.

JeffWell     June 20
@UTB- I remember all of those great "once upon a time" broadcasters that you mentioned and the great calls as well. In those days you got most games via radio and those guys made it almost seem like you were there.

TimD in Timonium     June 20
"Whenever two of the best teams in baseball play in the same division, their battles have that much higher stakes. That heightened energy was felt Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, especially after Aaron Judge was hit by a pitch on his left hand in the third inning of the Yankees’ 4-2 win over the Orioles. The stoic Judge marched halfway between Orioles starter Albert Suarez and first base while shaking his head. Aaron Judge was not happy with the pitch that hit him on the hand. "Definitely pissed,” Judge said about the pitch. “There were a couple of balls up and in. It’s part of it. They like to throw in.” - NY Post, June 19th



Oh, the drama. Can't stand these guys. Go O's!


Randy     June 20
Some context on hitting with RISP:

O's are 9th in batting average (.266) and 7th in OPS (.801), so in the top 3rd of the league. The Yanks are 5th and 3rd respectively.



The Orioles were 1st in both categories last year, so that is probably why it seems bad by comparison.

Unitastoberry     June 20
@Steve of Pimlico



Chuck Thompson is a HOFer. Jon Miller will be if not already. O'Donnell famous for the call with DeCinces walk off homer with Eckman going nuts. Tom Marr called Tippy retiring the side at first base with pick off plays. All better than current guys. Thorn was good I even liked Mel Procter. Tom Davis gets honorable mention with Jim Carvellis. Great memories.

Jason M     June 20
Rutschman is the MAN. That throw out in the 10th was so pivotal. The throw was just a thing of beauty - a laser beam on a dime at 127 feet. What a stone cold stellar performance to completely remove the Yankee momentum at that crucial moment.

Steve of Pimlico     June 20
I remember when Bill O'Donnell,Tom Marr and Jim Hunter were not considered top notch

They are HOFers compared to this current crop .

Mark.S in PH     June 20
@Paul all great points on last night's game, especially on Hay's AB, it was terrible. Agree on Verdugo, he's a jerk, made me chuckle! I like Palmer and Ben when they are doing the color! Get well Jim.



I have often wondered why can't the website add a "Like" or "thumbs-up, thumbs-down" button on the reader's posts?



Go O's!

Regular Joe     June 20
I have to pile on Hyde a bit, albeit a great win. Hyde will need to be better for us to win it all. O'Hearn is a better hitter than Hays and has a way better idea of the strike zone. I don't care if a great lefty is on the mound (and that Yankee guy was not close to great). Hays is from the old regime hitting approach-wise and has no clue what to do if the first pitch isn't a hittable fastball.



And Hyde just can't be pulling relievers after 20 pitches in the 5th inning - Webb is unfortunately now one of the better options.



Also very happy for Urias - he will be very important for us.




Pratt     June 20
FINALLY! Someone finally calls out Brown for his pompous attitude. The Orioles NEVER EVER do anything wrong according to that guy. Like you said Hollender was just in there because Palmer wasn't but Brown should rise above that.

Chris in Bel Air     June 20
@JWW- Thanks for the correction. After I typed it I couldn't remember if it was 2012 or 2104.

@Such- Don't you know that nobody is supposed to question or mess with the precious Yankees? Only they know what it right and just in the baseball world. Didn't you know that MLB really just sets up the entire season for the enjoyment of the Yankees and their fans? We're all just passengers in the journey and we should be grateful if they let the other team win. Their level of narcissism and self-infatuation is mind-numbing.

Adam     June 20
Completely agree MFC but add closer and right handed bat to the list. The Os announcers were right that we dont hit guys in general but we clearly threw at Judge and I would've done the same. But there was no need to yammer on all night about how Os would never do such a thing. Somewhere Armando beanball Benitez had a hearty chuckle. But this is same Yankees phonies that watched Sabathia break bone in Markakis hand so they can kick rocks

KVVfromSP     June 20
Speaking of pathetic announcers , how about the announcer at Camden Yards …..makes my skin crawl every time she announces a batter.

MFC     June 20
Baustista, Means, Wells, Bradish, is something in the "hydration station" water? With those guys we're definitely the best team in baseball. Without them it's going to be a struggle. Sorry but Tate, Webb, Suarez and Kimbrel just aren't doing it for me. I'm of the opinion a move for a pitcher has to be made and possibly two pitchers.



Catholic League HOF dinner tonight. Calipari is the headline speaker. Lots of great stories to be told this evening. Looking forward to catching up with old friends.

JWW     June 20
@CHRIS - I was going to bring that up as I totally agree with you. It was actually September 2012, not 2014 when Sabathia plunked Markakis. The magical winning season that culminated in an ALDS loss to those same Bombers. I felt so bad for Nick - all the years of losing came to a spectacular end and he had to sit that playoff run out.



F the Yankees indeed.

lou@palo alto     June 20
Paul makes many gd pts. Hays has regressed in his strike zone awareness--it's even worse than Mateo's and he has actually improved. Elias will hv decisions re the 3 outfielders and my bet is Hays is gone w Mullins & Santander offered deals but there are lots of moving parts here w pitching needs and many gd young players knocking on the door

Paul from Towson     June 20
Teams tend to emulate their manager. The Yankees are whiny, soft, arrogant cry baby punks. Just like their garbage manager. Brandon Hyde has the Orioles focused on winning baseball games, not the childish nonsense like bean ball wars or dugout sniping.

Tom J     June 20
The Yankees whining is comical. They are third in MLB with 48 hit batters. They may want to get pissed at their own guys before anyone else. Gunnar was intentional last night so thanks dummies for putting the run difference in the game on base. BTW, their catcher totally sucks. They need to run on this guy every single time on base. Nine steals Sunday vs Boston and four last night. Pathetic......

such     June 20
DR, you're spot on. Soto had no business doing that. It sure seemed intentional. Just like the pitch that Gunnar got drilled with last night. That was clearly an attempt to pay back the Orioles for Judge getting hit. But did anyone else notice that Saurez couldn't throw a strike Tuesday night? I'm not sure there was much intention when he plunked Judge.

I like Kevin Brown, I really do, but sometimes you have to call it like you see it. He tried way too hard last night to excuse the Gunnar HBP as unintentional. I think if Palmer or McDonald had been in the booth, there would've been a different take on the whole situation. It's times like that when it's good to have a former pro alongside you. Their perspective is based on their experience on the field.

If you think the MASN guys are bad, just try listening to the radio when Melanie is doing her version of "play-by-play". Brings a whole new level to the definition of dreadful.

Speaking of play-by-play, there's a beautiful video tribute to Willie Mays that the Giants released yesterday narrated by Jon Miller. Man, do I miss that guy. You can find it on YouTube.



As always, F the Yankees.

Paul from Towson     June 20
Yes, it's June. Yes, there's still 89 of these games remaining. But a loss last night might as well have been 2 losses. This was one of those "defining" games, for lack of a better term where the O's once again pulled defeat from the jaws of victory, to only then pull victory from the jaws of defeat. If this game is against the White Sox in mid-April or mid-May, it sucks, but you chalk it up to "there's 10 or 15 of 'those games'" every season. But when you blow a 5-1 lead, in Yankee Stadium, in late-June when less than 3 games separates these teams...that's as big of a loss as any can be in June. And crushes any momentum heading into today's matinee. Coupled with the fact that my dead grandmother would have been a better pinch hit option than Hays, and the Orioles left a small village on the bases last night. By the way, I keep saying it, if the O's don't win the World Series this year, or at least don't make an extended playoff run, it will be because they just can't hit with runners in scoring position. Minus Alex Verdugo's great catch (I hate that SOB, but credit given on that, Santander smoked that ball) over the past month, the O's have been terrible when they get a runner to second with less than two outs. Bases loaded in the 9th, one out, you HAVE to push across a run there. All Hays has to do is make contact and Mateo scores as long as Hays doesn't hit into an inning ending double play. He's terrible, and he while I get the logic of why Hyde pinch hit for O'Hearn there, Hays looked like a little leaguer against a guy with a 5.00+ ERA who just loaded the bases. Can't have that in big game situations. You HAVE to make contact. And Kimbrel had been very good recently, but I was never comfortable with him inheriting a one run lead. Going into the bottom of the ninth, I was just hoping he only gave up one and was able to get the O's back up in the 10th.



All in all, in the end it was a great team win. I love Ceddie and it was awesome to see him finally come through in the clutch. Also, I thought that except for the walks, Povich acquitted himself quite nicely for his first time in Yankee Stadium.



As far as Kevin Brown/Bren Hollander last night, I agree with Drew's assessment, but ANYTHING is better than the garbage we suffered through during Kevin's recent hiatus. Brad Brach should NEVER be allowed anywhere near the broadcast booth again, and the Geoff Arnold (insert name here) team was minor league/amateur hour-ish in my opinion. Just my thoughts. GO O's!!!!!

lou@palo alto     June 20
hope Palmer recovers quickly--covid no joke at his age. Haven't seen commentary on Stanton's game tying single--Kimbrel did his job and got him to hit the ball directly at Urias, just that the Yanks had an unusual hit and run on with the runner on 2nd going. Urias vacated his position to cover third--otherwise its an out if not a double play w the runner going rite toward him

Chris in Bel Air     June 20
Agree with @David R and yes, this retaliation business is bush league. Also, while the O's announcers are huge homers I do agree with their take on the ump and was surprised he didn't issue a warning after Gunnar was drilled. I hope he goes 4/4 today with a HR on the way to an O's win. Any of these holier than thou Yankee fans remember their team drilling Markakis and breaking his hand before the 2014 playoffs? No need to answer.

Unitastoberry     June 20
Mays military service most likely kept him from getting to Ruths 714 RIP



MASN is outta my price range so I'll take your word for it on the tv call. Do the Orioles have a senior citizen MASN inflation discount?



Six innings a game on average for starting pitchers and a 5 man rotation they still blow out the armS left and right. Don't tell me it's because they throw harder. Do they have robots who do surgery on MLB pitchers yet? Orioles had 4 twenty game winners in 1971 not one lost to Tommy John surgery which was not even invented until 1974. This is like the NFL adding games but still caring about CTE. 18 coming soon. Now there's talk of a seperate QB salary cap. All this NIL money still can't buy Maryland a football national championship. Some thngs never change at U of DC.



One thing I still enjoy from the past is hating on the Yankees.Spoiled rotten bums as usual.



Well I gotta go my 1972 Gand Torino needs service and my Get off my Lawn sign is missing.

David Rosenfeld     June 20
All of this (whatever it is) started with Soto. There was simply no reason for him to make contact with Westburg in that situation. It was weird and displayed a lack of understanding of the rules at least. Second time this season he's been called for it. Bias aside, he's kind of a punk. I know he's got a 1.023 OPS and hits the living snot out of the ball, but odds are he's on his 4th team next season at age 26.

With bias...I feel like the Yankees are sort of acting like a team that's accomplished something. I'm trying to figure out what that is exactly besides being in first place in June.

TimD     June 20
Agree with your take on the O's announcers' comments. Absolutely "homer" mentality. "Our team would never do that!"



Hotel warm coffee is the worst!

Bob Miller     June 20
Consider me Team Kevin Brown. He’s entertaining and engaging.

Jason S.     June 20
I love Elias but the Kimbrel signing was a whiff. That guy sucks. Move on and find someone to close games before we get bit in the playoffs.

Cal     June 20
You're just now turning down the sound when Brown is doing the play by play? I've been doing that for two years. Turn down the sound and listen to the radio side of it. Brown is more of a homer than Hunter ever was and that's saying something.



Maybe it goes back to being suspended last year but the O's can do no wrong ever, as you pointed out.

Frank     June 20
Hollander is terrible. I agree last night was a bad look for both KB and Hollander. They sounded like school girls who got turned down by two handsome football players.

As for the game itself, Hyde is very lucky they won. I hear you about the stats and data numbers but O'Hearn has to bat there in the 9th inning. Bringing in Hays cold off the bench in that situation was stupid.

Too bad Gray-Rod doesn't pitch today or someone from the Yanks would take one in the ribs.

Delray RICK     June 20
PALMER has COVID AGAIN!!!

rc     June 20
This GM guy must be angling for a member/guest invite lol.

Kevin     June 19
Streets are saying Jeremy and Drew are taking over 10-2 show on the Fan starting July 29.

GM     June 19
When does DMD flip flop Billy? Examples?

Billy     June 19
@John, #DMD flip flops often lol.

George     June 19
@Howard -- Tough question, and one I don’t have a defensible answer to. I am struck by the fact that in many cases – art, battlefield photography, clandestine industrial videography, the gravamens of whistleblowers’ and kneeling athletes’ complaints – we (the people) tend to find fault with and condemn the messenger and fail to act on the wrong he or she has brought to light. I guess there is a fine line between right and wrong in the methods used to expose stuff, but I’ve no clue where that line is. Seems that there has to be offense at the method before anyone bothers to look at the wrong, and sometime the offense is so great, the wrong is never considered at all.

John L.     June 19
Does PA actually read what DF writes? DF made it very clear he's still anti Saudis today didn't he?



"Alas, he's also a guy who joined a rival league and accepted money from creeps who have not been friendly to our country and who continue to walk a very fine line when it comes to human rights issues. I made my bed on that situation early on and I'm very comfortable sleeping in it."

Howard     June 19
Great article by George but 1 picture too many. I think that the picture “Adult Movies” is pornography. The naked human body is a beautiful thing that has been celebrated in art for millennia, but I think this picture crossed the line into smut. I wouldn’t want my grandchildren to see this and I wonder if anyone

would be comfortable showing this to their family members who are minors.


J.K.     June 19
According to Bruce Cunningham, our very own DF is doing radio today on 105.7 from 12-3 pm. Is that correct?

pa     June 19
If I might clarify my comments too: it seems at the start of LIV, DMD was writing off each individual golfer who signed up for LIV (ala "dead to me"). At the time I suggested it was more of a "golf" thing, not a "Saudi" thing. Unfortunately, the Saudis (and China, Russia, et al) have their financial tentacles in a lot of entities that Americans support. So that in itself really is not unique to LIV. Now the format: pay for play, teams, shotguns, 54 holes etc, are all bastardizations of real tournament golf. In that vein, I am 100% with the DMD take on LIV.

Just never understand why DMD seemed to be making it all about Saudis and individual US players taking "their" money. Maybe I misunderstood, or maybe DMD has somewhat backed off the Saudi angle. Either way, as it was clarified today, I agree with the current DMD take on LIV guys. I'm sure we'll both root hard for BAD should he be on the Ryder Cup squad.

lou@palo alto     June 19
Palmer collapse in '66 Open at Olympic was a transition to a new era.He was 36 and never won another major--my long post from 2 d ago cldnt clear the robot--fyi

lou@palo alto     June 19
great column, George. My sister was '64 Parkville and me '66 City so lots of memories jogged--thx

Paul from Towson     June 19
Well said Such. Willie Mays is a once in a millennium individual. More than baseball, more than stats. His loss will extend beyond baseball, into the fiber of America. The world is a little less of a beautiful place now that he is gone.

such     June 19
I took some time last night to peruse the lifetime statistics of Willie Mays. It's as if every category you would want from a player came to life. I kept shaking my head in disbelief.

He stands alone as the only player in history to collect over 3,000 hits, 600 homeruns, 500 doubles, 100 triples and 300 stolen bases. He played in 24 (!) All Star Games. Oh, he also missed almost two full seasons when he was 22 and was drafted during the Korean War.

My only memory of Mays was seeing him on the Mets during the 1973 season. I was a very young boy, but even then I knew that Willie Mays was a legend. All I had to do was ask anyone who knew anything about baseball, which was basically everyone in America.

Icon is defined as "A person or thing widely admired, especially for having great influence or significance in a particular sphere." I like how the word sphere is used here, since a baseball is spherical.

Willie Mays was an American Icon.

Dan     June 19
Need to pull out a game or two vs Yanks since we didn't exactly line up our best starters for this series.

Steve of Pimlico     June 19
I have always loved Mr.Voshell's paintings and murals.He was our Grant Wood .

The Os have their weakest pitchers starting in this series so if they drop 3 it's not the end of the world.October will be very interesting.

Scottmann     June 19
Drew,

I'm surprised you didn't mention Jack Nicklaus as one of the classiest, and most gracious losers of all-time. Jack finished second in a record 19 majors, and always shook the winners hand.

Tuesday
May 28, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3567


and summer.......is here


I'm sure it's my increasing age that spikes the excitement in me around this time every year, but here we are, the Tuesday after Memorial Day, and I can't help feel a little bit giddy.

Melancholy I'm definitely not.

Bring on the summer.

As I noted here over the holiday weekend, part of what happens to all of us in these parts is the whole "Land of Pleasant Living" theme that us old heads heard over and over back in the 1970's and 1980's.

I remember visiting with Mark Suchy in Ocean City a few years back, sitting on his back deck with the ocean waves bouncing inland some 75 yards to our right and laughing with him about that phrase: "Land of Pleasant Living".

"Could someone have invented a more precise phrase to encapsulate what Maryland is all about?" Mark asked as we caught up on old times.

I don't think so.

Sure, we get those raging 6 pm thunderstorms like we got in Baltimore last night. Those come and go all summer long. A few, as we know, might even be a bit scary at times.

Jordan Westburg and the Orioles promise to give us lots of great "Summer of '24" memories over the next four months.

We'll go 27 straight days without any kind of rain at some point this summer and temperatures will reach "baking point" by 10 am or thereabouts for two straight weeks.

There will be nights where the low is 82. You'll go out to walk the dog at 6:30 am and come back in sweating like a burglar.

But it's still pleasant. Very pleasant, indeed.

If you're born and raised around here, you know it's coming, this summer wave, and you're all good with it. As I say anytime someone at the golf course complains about the heat: "You don't have to shovel it."

It's also worth mentioning that a lot of us first heard the phrase, "Land of Pleasant Living", while listening to Orioles baseball and hearing Chuck Thompson read beer ads during radio broadcasts.

Maybe it was different for you, but that's certainly where I first heard those words. And back then, it was pretty much your only connection to the Orioles: the radio and Chuck Thompson.

A game on television back in the 1970's was a true treat. It was the radio that brought us all together during baseball season.

Even though I'm not a huge fan of today's set of radio broadcasters, I still find myself wanting to catch some of the game on the radio just for old times sake.

I drove back from a golf outing yesterday afternoon and worked hard to find a station in Pennsylvania carrying the O's thrashing of the Red Sox. Nothing feels like the 1970's these days, but riding in the car and hearing Orioles baseball on the radio comes close.

The summer, to me, at least, also means U.S. Open golf, which comes up in a few weeks in Pinehurst, NC.

As Roy McAvoy said in the movie, "Tin Cup", it's the most democratic golf tournament ever invented. All you need is a real sub-2 handicap and the $175 entry fee and you, too, can try and tee it up in the national golf championship.

Someone "off the streets" will never win the U.S. Open, of course. That title is reserved for the greats of the game who make a living playing on the PGA Tour or elsewhere. But the tournament at Pinehurst (June 13-16) will give plenty of qualifiers the chance to dream a little bit, which sometimes turns out to better than the real thing.

When I finally qualified for the U.S. Senior Open in 2021 after seven previous failed attempts, I was overcome with excitement and joy on the day I actually secured a spot in the field at Argyle Country Club in Silver Spring. But as the days passed and the tournament loomed closer, I started to focus more on playing well, posting a score and, hopefully, acquitting myself well on the biggest stage in senior golf.

I went from being thrilled to be there to being panicked about being there. It was weird. But it was also something I'm sure most first timers experience. It's part of golf.

So, in a few weeks at Pinehurst, someone who qualified for the event in his hometown will be on center stage and playing in the biggest golf tournament in the world. Those are the guys I'll watch. Their summer of 2024 will never be forgotten.

Like a lot of you, I assume, my family will head to Ocean City (in July) for a week at the beach.

It's always been important to me for my two children to experience a week of beach living. And now that they're both teenagers, I can share some (not all...) stories about my youthful days in Ocean City. My wife and I didn't know each other when I was a high schooler patrolling Coastal Highway, but every year we're down there, now, I'll rekindle a memory or two that she will enjoy hearing.

We are very blessed in this area to have Ocean City at our disposal.

It's a remarkable getaway. In some ways, it's how the whole world should work: Bust your hump for four or five months, take it easy the remainder of the time.

Business owners down there (it's actually "over there", I think) put in a lot of honest work. And while they're certainly in it to make a living and support themselves and their families, there's also something about serving their community that rings true as well.

Summers in Maryland wouldn't be the same without the Orioles.

Or Ocean City.

These days, with the O's flying high in the A.L. East, the summer connects to the fall in a much more streamlined way. 20 years ago when the baseball team couldn't get out of its own way, we merged from baseball to football around Labor Day and that's how we signaled the end of summer around here.

Now, summer continues well into September and even October because the Orioles are among the best teams in all of baseball.

It's hard to explain unless you suffered through 2004 and you're here, still, in 2024, taking it all in.

We truly do live in the Land of Pleasant Living, just as Mark and I laughed about a few years ago on a warm summer evening in Ocean City.

Enjoy these days, my friends. You never know what's to come in the months ahead.

I hope all of you have a great summer of 2024.

Go O's!

The beer is as cold as it can possibly get.

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Monday
May 27, 2024
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#3566


happy memorial day


Much to the chagrin of some of you, who think #DMD has to be 100% devoted entirely to sports every single day of the year, we'll spend some (important) time on other stuff today, in addition to covering the Orioles and their 4-game sweep of the hapless White Sox.

It's Memorial Day in this country, which generally ushers in the official beginning of summer. In some places in the south and the west, where warm weather hangs around 12 months out of the year, perhaps Memorial Day doesn't take on anything extra. In Florida, it was warm yesterday, it's warm today and it will be warm tomorrow.

But here, in The Land of Pleasant Living, Memorial Day has always meant that summer is here, Ocean City is open for another season of business, and we don't have to worry about seeing our breath when we exhale for at least 5 full months.

Memorial Day is not only symbolically important here, but it's also the most important national, non-religious holiday we celebrate in my opinion.

It's the day we remember those who died while serving and protecting our country.

We should be thankful beyond measure for those we honor today.

Perhaps it's the Memorial Day holiday that has me so disappointed about the death of PGA Tour player Grayson Murray on Saturday. Whatever it is, I can't shake it.

And while it's not specifically because he's a professional golfer, there is something about Murray reaching the pinnacle of his profession and then taking his own life that leaves me shaking my head in sadness.

When I was 27 years old, a dear, close friend of mine shot himself and died. You remember certain days and moments in your life and I remember where I was the day a mutual friend, Rob, called me at the Blast offices. We had moved from the Arena over to a new building on South Clinton Street owned by then Blast owner Ed Hale.

I remember my office. My view. My desk. And I remember picking up the phone when the office secretary buzzed in and said, "Rob Carter is on line for you."

I picked up the phone and greeted him and there was silence. Then a muffled sniffle or two.

"Drew? Did you hear?" he asked.

Another sniffle. More silence.

"Jack killed himself this morning."

They say there are always warning signs -- if you look deeply enough -- when someone is contemplating suicide. There were certainly plenty of those connected to Grayson Murray, even if his closest friends said he was "doing better" over the last year.

With Jack, there weren't any signs at all. At least none that I saw during our 10-year friendship dating all the way back to high school.

I never did find out what was going on in his life that led him to make that fateful decision. He had joined the military right out of high school and that didn't work out, for reasons I don't recall. I believe they were physical, but I don't remember the details.

He tried his hand at a couple of different businesses that didn't work out as well, but none of them were life changing or caused him financial ruin.

He loved the Blast. He loved golf. He was a great friend.

Then I got that call from Rob and I never saw Jack again.

Someone got that call about Grayson Murray on Saturday. Maybe they weren't surprised, maybe they were shocked. But they got the call nonetheless.

There are thousands of young, (and not so young, too) aspiring professional golfers who would give anything to rise to the level of play once produced by Grayson Murray. Murray not only made a living playing professional golf, he won two times on the PGA Tour and several times on the Korn Ferry Tour and other developmental tours.

Other than winning a major championship, Grayson Murray had everything in golf you could possibly want.

And yet, somehow, that still wasn't enough.

My friend Jack had friends that cared about him and his entire life ahead of him. Somehow, that wasn't enough for him, either.

But we should always make it a point to be aware of what's going on in people's lives that could be troubling them. We might be the one voice or one phone call that makes a difference to them.

And on this Memorial Day weekend, let's remember those who heard a voice of a different kind that resonated with them. The voice that said, "Go and serve your country."

It's vitally important we never forget those men and women. We're here today, enjoying this first official day of summer in Maryland, in large part because of their sacrifices.

All we can say is "thank you."

And we should say it every day, not just on the last Monday in May every year.

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NOTES & COMMENT
George McDowell


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


IN FLANDERS FIELD


Flanders Field American Cemetery and Memorial is a World War I cemetery in the city of Waregem, Belgium. Originally a temporary battlefield burial ground, Flanders Field American Cemetery became the only permanent American World War I cemetery in Belgium. The cemetery commemorates 411 service members of the United States Armed Forces lost in action. There are 368 soldiers interred there. The poppies blow beneath the crosses [and eight Stars of David], row on row, that mark their places. The Walls of the Missing inside the chapel venerates 43 service members who are missing in action.


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The government of Belgium granted to the United States its use as a permanent burial ground in perpetuity without charge or taxation. At the center of the cemetery is the small memorial chapel of white stone. Above its bronze entrance door is engraved:

greet them ever with grateful hearts


Charles Lindbergh, after a 3,500-mile, 33-hour flight over the Atlantic, landed the Spirit of St. Louis at Le Bourget Aerodrome just outside of Paris on May 21, 1927.


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In sharp contrast to the political liability and social embarrassment he would become in later years, Lindbergh was hailed as the darling of the Roaring Twenties. He was lauded and celebrated for his historic non-stop flight from North America to Europe. Invitations poured in asking Lucky Lindy to visit state leaders and national capitols all over Europe.

Lindbergh accepted an invitation from King Albert of Belgium to visit him in Brussels, nine days after Lindbergh landed at Le Bourget, and on what was Memorial Day in the United States. At the conclusion of the visit, Lindbergh flew his now world-famous aircraft to Waregem, Belgium, to the newly opened Flanders Fields American Cemetery. Bringing the Spirit in low over the graves and monuments, Lindbergh opened a window, dropped a wreath of flowers on the graves of his fellow Americans, and then continued back to Le Bourget. Thus began the tradition of flyovers of Memorial Day ceremonies.


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Unlike Veterans Day, which honors all veterans, Memorial Day is a holiday for the purpose of honoring and mourning those who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. I'll honor my uncle – my father's brother – who parachuted into Italy – four years before I was born – just prior to the invasion of the peninsula in World War II, and who was never seen again. I'll remember and honor my cousin, a second lieutenant killed in a firefight in Boa An Dong, Quang Nam province, Vietnam on February 9, 1968.

I'll ask you to join me in honoring a category of veterans who have historically been — not much discussed, those who have died by their own hands. According to the Veterans Administration, the rate of all veteran suicides is 50% higher than the general U. S. population, and for women veterans, the rate is 150% higher. It's beyond me to write anything worthwhile on causes and treatments and the like, I'm just asking you to find it in your heart to heart to honor service and sacrifice.

For holidays, we're used to wishing one another, for examples, "Happy Halloween," "Happy Fourth of July," and "Happy Hanukkah." But wishing someone a "Happy" Memorial Day is clearly inappropriate. Happiness isn't a feeling to be wished for another on this day with its specific purpose. I suggest more meaningful would be a wish derived from the engraving above the entrance door to the memorial chapel in the Flanders Field American Cemetery — Greet Them Ever With Grateful Hearts. Let's wish others a Grateful Memorial Day.


In Flanders Fields


In Flanders Fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.


We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.


Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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"Randy On The O's"


Randy Morgan takes #DMD readers through the recent week in Orioles baseball as the Birds try to win a second straight A.L. East title.


orioles week in review


Week Record: 4-3

Season Record: 33-18

AL East Standing: 2nd (2 GB NYY)

Player of the Week: Kyle Bradish 12IP 4H 1R 5BB 17K

It was sweeps week for the Orioles this week. The team’s impressive sweepless streak finally came to an end in a weird series in St. Louis, but the O’s rebounded to take care of business with a four game sweep of the AAAA Chicago White Sox.

Unfortunately for the Birds, the Yankees kept winning as well, also going 4-3 on the week in series with the Mariners and Padres, to maintain their two game lead in the AL East.

The Orioles traveled to St. Louis to start the week, opening that series with a 6-3 loss behind a rough start for Dean Kremer. It was later announced that Kremer felt some arm soreness that forced him out of the game and landed him on the injured list.

John Means is questionable to return in 2024 after feeling discomfort in his elbow last week in St. Louis.

The Cardinals jumped out to a 5-0 lead in a big fourth inning. Gunnar Henderson closed the gap with a three-run homer but that was as close as the O’s would get.

On Tuesday Kyle Bradish delivered a strong start that was cut short by rain which ultimately postponed the conclusion to the next day. Bradish left with the game tied 1-1 after five innings, giving up one run on four hits with six strikeouts.

When the game resumed on Wednesday, Jacob Webb and Keegan Akin promptly combined to yield two runs on a Nolan Gorman homer and the O’s couldn’t touch the Cards bullpen, falling 3-1.

With the streak in jeopardy, John Means got off to a good start in the regularly scheduled Wednesday game, throwing three scoreless innings. However, that game too saw a significant rain delay, forcing Means out of the game.

He was also later revealed to have a forearm issue that would have cut his start short either way and seems quite ominous given his injury history. Means will head to the IL with Kremer, and might not be back for a while.

Cole Irvin took over after the rain delay but squandered a three run lead, surrendering five runs in just over three innings. Kyle Stowers nearly evened the score in the 9th with a liner to the gap, but Cards right fielder Lars Nootbar made a great catch and proceeded the pick off Cedric Mullins to end the O’s threat as they fell 5-4.

The good news is the team managed to regroup in Chicago against one of the worst teams in the league. The O’s jumped out to a large lead on Thursday with homers from Santander and Mateo as well as three RBI from Adley Rutschman. That paired with a decent start from Grayson Rodriguez, five innings, two runs, seven strikeouts, led to an 8-6 win.

On Friday Corbin Burnes maintained his astonishing consistency, holding the White Sox to three runs in six innings with six strikeouts. Though it wasn’t his best work, it was enough to keep the O’s in the game, along with Gunnar’s 17th homer of the season. That set up Adley for a clutch two-run single in the 8th inning that sealed the 6-4 win.

Albert Suarez came up with his own clutch performance on Saturday, going four scoreless innings in a spot start to save a suddenly depleted staff and give the team a chance to win. Keegin Akin struggled again when he relieved Suarez and gave up three runs on a triple from Baltimore native Gavin Sheets.

However, the O’s fought back in a huge 8th inning, where they put up three homers from O’Hearn, Santander, and Westburg to turn the tide. Dillon Tate pitched a spotless 2.1 innings in his return from Norfolk, striking out four and setting up a Cionel Perez save in a 5-3 win.

Kyle Bradish delivered the performance of the week on Sunday with a magnificent seven inning, no-hit effort. Bradish struck out eleven while shutting out the White Sox as the O’s built a lead on homers from Adley and Cowser en route to a 4-1 win to seal the four game sweep.

There was some decent competition for Player of the Week heading into Sunday, but Bradish’s outing left no doubt about it. Bradish finished the week with seventeen strikeouts in twelve innings across his two starts, allowing just one run.

He was absolutely filthy on Sunday and looks every bit of his 2023 ace level, lowering his ERA to 1.75 after his first five starts this year. There may be questions in other parts of the rotation, but with a healthy Kyle Bradish, the O’s could have one of the best 1-2-3 starters in the majors.


Down on the Farm –

In Norfolk this week, Heston Kjerstad continued his dominance of AAA pitching. The lefty slugger put up a .615 on base percentage in the six games against the Worcester Red Sox, with four doubles, a homer and five RBI. Kjerstad boasts the best OPS at any level of the minor leagues. It's safe to say he probably belongs on a big league roster somewhere.

Connor Norby also had a strong week at Norfolk, batting over .300 to raise his season OPS to an elite .902. Jackson Holliday had a slightly improved week as well, with a .413 OBP and a homer. Though he did strike out eight times and had a costly error at second base.

Top O’s pitching prospect, Cade Povich, had a decent but not dominant start. Povich struggled in the first inning, throwing a few bad pitches that were punished for three runs, but he settled down after that and held the “Woo Sox” scoreless for the next five innings, finishing with six innings pitched, five hits, three runs, two walks and six strikeouts. Perhaps this was his last start in Norfolk before his MLB debut?

In AA Bowie, #2 overall prospect Samuel Basallo started to heat up. The 19-year old catching prospect got a hit in every game this week, batting .400 with two home runs, two walks, and six RBI.

Teammate Dylan Beavers also had a decent week, hitting two homers himself and driving in four to raise his season OPS to .899.


Question of the Week –

How will the O’s patch up the starting rotation?

The week started with Mike Elias and Brandon Hyde discussing a shift to a six-man starting rotation given the wealth of effective starters the team had after the successful returns of Kyle Bradish, John Means and Grayson Rodriguez from the injured list. That narrative was quickly turned on its head when both Means and Dean Kremer were forced to the IL with arm injuries.

Dean Kremer went to the IL with a right triceps strain, the hope is that his will only be a short stint similar to Grayson Rodriguez.

Means, on the other hand, had reduced velocity for his three inning start on Wednesday and was reported to have the dreaded forearm strain and is seeking a second opinion on his elbow. Given his struggles with arm injuries, it does not look promising for him to return any time soon, if at all this season.

It had seemed that the starting rotation was now a strength and all the Orioles front office had to do was figure out how to bolster the bullpen. Now it looks like the rotation could also use some reinforcements.

Albert Suarez filled in admirably on short rest on Saturday, just as he did earlier in the season. In the short term the solution may just be to make him and Cole Irvin the fourth and fifth starters and hope Kremer can return after fifteen days.

However, Suarez seems like more of an asset as a long reliever or power arm in the bullpen. His effectiveness had started to wane in his last few starts earlier in the season. So if Kremer can’t return immediately, where could the Orioles turn?

The top internal option may be the prospect mentioned in the section above. Cade Povich has clearly made a jump this season at AAA Norfolk, demonstrating fairly consistent dominance at the highest minor league level.

Povich doesn’t overwhelm with his velocity or his stuff, but seems to have figured out how to miss bats nonetheless, posting one of the top strikeout rates for a AAA starter. With a crunch in the starting rotation and Povich due for his turn in Norfolk late this week, it may just be the perfect opportunity to see what he can do at the big league level.

If it’s not Povich or Suarez, the O’s could look for the return of Tyler Wells. He has reportedly started throwing to rehab from his early season injury, but there is no real indication on timeline yet.

Also at Norfolk, Chayce McDermott could be another option. The righty looked like the better prospect between he and Povich last season, but got off to a rocky start in 2024. He seems to have righted the ship over his recent outings and could be ready for a major league test.

The last option would be to look to the trade market for another starter. This would likely be a last resort, only if Kremer (or someone else) has to go on the injured list for an extended time. Elias and company have proven they are willing to go out and get starting pitching, doing so last season at the deadline and in the offseason.

The team certainly has the prospect depth to deal from, so if the situation appears dire, there’s no reason to think they couldn’t trade a Kjerstad, Norby, Stowers, etc for a veteran starter.

At the end of the day, all teams are dealing with injuries, many to key starting pitchers. Atlanta has already lost their best pitcher (Strider) and position player (Acuna) for the season.

The Orioles rotation remains strong with Burnes, Rodriguez, and Bradish leading the way, so it isn’t a complete panic, but it's a little uncomfortable if the team has to rely on Cole Irvin and Albert Suarez to hold up as effective starters for the remainder of the season.

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Sunday
May 26, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3565


sunday ramblings


PGA Tour player Grayson Murray died on Saturday at the age of 30.

The two-time TOUR winner -- including a victory earlier in the 2024 campaign -- withdrew from this week's event in Fort Worth, Texas late in Friday's second round due to illness.

While no official cause of death has been released, the widespread speculation within the PGA Tour is that Murray took his own life. He had been battling a very public alcohol issue over the last couple of years and was open to discussing his mental health challenges with anyone who would listen.

This is a terrible story on so many levels.

Murray was seemingly on track to recover from his issues and revive his PGA Tour career at the same time. His win earlier this year in Hawaii was a triumph that excited a lot of people in the world of golf.

Sadly, despite an outward appearance that things were going well, Murray was wearing a well-designed disguise. His playing partner earlier this week, Peter Malnati, said Murray seemed OK, just a little "distant", as they tried to navigate their way around Colonial Country Club.

"I just thought he wasn't feeling well," Malnati said. "You know, we all travel an incredible amount. It's really easy to pick up a stomach bug or a virus. I just figured he was run down with something."

This story, of course, percolates far past the PGA Tour and the golf course. It touches practically every town, every neighborhood and every school.

If you know someone who has been battling depression or has challenges with their mental health, please stay vigilant with them as they battle through their issues.

Grayson Murray "appeared" to be back on track. But it appears as if he wasn't healthy, after all.

If you're suffering from mental health challenges, please seek professional help.

And if you're the friend or family member of someone battling depression or a dependency illness, stay with them through thick and thin, please.


It looked like the Orioles were actually going to drop a game to the lowly White Sox yesterday.

Baltimore trailed 3-0 after Gavin Sheets tripled in three runs in the bottom of the 5th inning. It wasn't looking good.

Then, it happened.

"It" was . . . three home runs in the top of the 8th inning.

First, it was Ryan O'Hearn with a 2-run shot to close the gap to 3-2.

Anthony Santander then hit his own 2-run dinger to put the Birds up 4-3.

And then it was Jordan Westburg to finish things off with a solo shot to finalize the scoring at 5-3.

Beating the White Sox in fairly dramatic fashion wasn't the only O's related news on Saturday.

Mike Elias picked up a veteran relief pitcher as well, trading for recently DFA'd Thyago Vieira of the Milwaukee Brewers.

The 31-year-old had made 16 appearances with the Brewers in 2024, running up a 5.64 ERA along the way. He was cut by Milwaukee this past Monday.

Baltimore gave up minor league right-handed pitcher Garrett Stallings to get Vieira.


I hope everyone who visits #DMD today takes a meaningful moment to remember those of the armed services who gave their lives in defense of our country.

It's important to remember their service and sacrifice every day, not just this weekend, but we celebrate Memorial Day to particularly honor those who gave their last full measure.

Thank you for honoring America's deceased veterans.







Saturday
May 25, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3564


give that fan......a contract


We've never awarded a #DMD contributor with the honor of "Best Comment of the Year", but if we started doing that in 2024, Paul from Towson would most certainly be the clubhouse leader with his published comment from yesterday's edition.

And as Forrest Gump once famously said -- That's all I'm going to say about that.

There are a lot of things wrong with this country and a lot of things right with this country, too. Because we live in a society where the bad gets spotlighted and the good gets moved to the backburner (watch any nightly newscast, on any channel), what's wrong draws most of the attention.

Paul's comment from Friday's edition of #DMD is what's right with this country. Namely, someone who makes an argument about a topic or presents their side or contrary opinion and does it without spewing hate or ignorance or causing a disruption in other people's daily lives.

We've lost the ability to do that in this country, somehow.

Look no further than the college protests this month where students organized disrespectful and unlawful gatherings in an effort to prove a point that was, if we're being honest, above their paygrade and probably foreign to them and their senses.

I wouldn't go as far as to say Paul's comment from Friday was a "work of art", but we've lost our way in this country when it comes to the art of conversation and disagreement.

This isn't news to all of you, of course. If you've been paying attention over the last 20 years, you've seen it all unfold in high definition.

And, so, when a sports figure like Harrison Butker offers his opinion that women should follow their God-given calling of, first, staying true to their birth gender and, second, bearing children within a family structure, those comments are somehow considered to be offensive, disrespectful and off-putting?

Paul from Towson handled it better than any of us could.

He made a great argument and did it the right way.

As the great Rex Barney was fond of saying --- "Give that fan......a contract."


On a somewhat related note, Scott K. from Hampstead sent an e-mail to me that was a bit of a personal attack but also highlighted another thing "wrong with this country."

"Drew, please help me understand how a good, decent conservative Christian like you can endorse and support far left commies like Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews and Eddie Vedder. It just doesn't add up."

There was more to Scott's e-mail. He threw in Phil Mickelson and Gregg Popovich, too. I like Mickelson's coffee, yes. But I don't like the fact that he jumped to LIV Golf. I don't know much about his politics and couldn't care less, either.

Should Gregg Popovich's political leanings connect in any way how he's judged as a basketball coach?

Popovich? Great coach. Truly great. His politics don't matter to me. He's not running for office. He's a basketball coach.

But to address Scott's main point, I don't care what Springsteen, Matthews or Vedder thinks about the government or politics.

They're musicians. I respect them for their music talents. Their respective efforts in song writing and singing are the only things I consider "important" about them.

In fact, the fact that the three of them will occasionally pontificate about politics during their concerts is a turn-off to me. I'd rather hear Springsteen sing Thunder Road. Or Matthews sing "Granny". Or Vedder sing "Jeremy".

I already know what the three of them think about Donald Trump. I knew it when I bought the concert ticket. I don't care what you think about him, for starters, and I don't need you to remind me of where you stand on the subject.

That said, I can balance my disdain for their public bellyaching with the fact that I have an incredible admiration for their musical skill set(s).

Perhaps some of you can't do that. If not, no worries. But I don't have to align with Springsteen politically to value him as a musician.

Oh, and Scott, don't look now, but a huge part of Springsteen's catalog has religious imagery framed within the lyrics he writes. The same with Eddie Vedder.

There are things about the church that Springsteen disagrees with and he isn't afraid to make those known.

He has a platform that 50 years in the music business have afforded him and he chooses to use them to his liking.

I'm no Bruce Springsteen, of course, but I have a (very) small platform that I've created and I use mine in whatever way I choose, too.

Whether you read my opinions and align with them or read my opinions and disagree with them is the game we play, but I'm not ever entering into a discussion here with the hope of changing the world. I tell you what I think and what I believe in and that's sorta-kinda where it all ends.

You're smart enough to figure out what you like or don't like without being influenced by me, in the same way I'm smart enough to isten to a Bruce Springsteen song or album and not be influenced by him if I so choose.

Athletes have been trying to get us to buy sneakers, rental cars, mortgages and soft drinks for a long, long time. They take 30 seconds or 1 minute telling you how great Nike is and they urge you to rush out and see for yourself by purchasing a pair of their tennis shoes.

Some of you do that. Some of you don't.

It's up to you if you're influenced enough by someone you admire to do as they ask of you.

When I hear a musician tell me who to vote for or who not to vote for, my general (unsaid) response to them is: What on earth makes you think I care what you think about the President, Governor and so on?

Just because I bought a ticket to your concert?

I just want to hear you play the guitar and sing a little bit. Give me two and a half hours of entertainment and I'll be on my way. Happy.

I hope that answered your question, Scott.

It was a fair one, I suppose, even though I think the answer was really pretty simple.


The Orioles scratched out a 6-4 win in Chicago last night, but it was, let's say, an "uncomfortable" victory.

The Birds produced a workmanlike 4-0 lead and were in great shape with Corbin Burnes on the mound, but then he started to fizzle in the bottom of the 5th, allowing Chicago to score three times and trim the lead to a single run.

Burnes got through the 6th inning unscathed and then turned things over to Yennier Cano in the 7th, but he promptly gave up a home run to tie the score at 4-4.

Dean Kremer found his way to the 15-day injured list on Friday with a triceps strain.

An Adley Rutschman two-run single in the 8th inning proved to be the difference in the 6-4 win.

The good Craig Kimbrel showed up in the bottom of the 9th and retired the side in order to preserve the O's second straight win in Chicago.

One night after collecting two hits, Cedric Mullins reverted back to being Cedric Mullins, going 0-for-3 to lower his batting average to .195.

Not to be outdone, Austin Hays also went 0-for-3 to see his average fall to .167.

Two of the team's three starting outfielders aren't hitting .200. That's.....not.....good.

Oh, and speaking of "not good", Dean Kremer went on the injured list yesterday with a triceps strain.

That's not good.

Now, let's point out that perhaps Kremer is suffering from a "triceps strain". If you know what I mean.

Either way, the Birds will shelve him for a couple of weeks.

And so, now, that's Means out (elbow) and Kremer out, too. Burnes, Bradish and Gray-Rod are the team's etched-in-stone starters and Cole Irvin can be brought into the rotation if necessary.

If the Means and Kremer injuries are serious, does Elias start doing some trade-deadline shopping-for-pitching now instead of waiting until July?

The Birds will almost assuredly go after a 2nd baseman or significant utility infielder in July, too. But with Mullins continuing to scuffle at the plate and Jackson Holliday still struggling to find his offensive groove in Norfolk, a veteran 2nd baseman at the deadine would help free up a temporary shift to centerfield for Jorge Mateo.

Will Elias get a jump start on the deadline stuff with a June trade? Or will the trades he engineers come in the traditional manner like July 20, July 25, etc.?

I'm all for adding quality newcomers now, in case you care.

45 additional, "extra" games with an upgraded roster?

Yes, sign me up for that, please.

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Friday
May 24, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3563


friday nuggets


The Orioles almost were thoroughly embarrassed last night in Chicago.

The Louisville police were thoroughly embarrassed on Thursday. No "almost" about it.

And Larry Harmison was trying to embarrass me, I think, but really wound up embarrassing himself in the long run.

The ballgame in the Windy City went the O's way last night, but it got scary in the 9th inning, where the lowly White Sox reeled off four runs, down 8-2, and looked like they might pull off an improbable comeback before Craig Kimbrel produced a weird, wacky game ending double play to finalize things at 8-6.

Craig Kimbrel got the O's out of a tight spot in the bottom of the 9th inning last night in Chicago.

Things were on cruise control heading into the 9th, with the Birds ahead by six runs despite stranding what felt like 30 guys on base earlier in the contest.

But then the whole thing turned into a fiasco. Jonathan Heasley tried to put the game away in the 9th but couldn't do it. Yennier Cano came in to get things settled down and he, too, failed. Gavin Sheets knocked in two runs with a single and there were runners on first and second with no outs. It wasn't looking good at that point.

Cano managed to get a strike out on the board and then in came Kimbrel to either sew things up or give up a 3-run homer to end one of the more heartbreaking losses of the Brandon Hyde (regular season) era.

Alas, the good Kimbrel -- somehow -- showed up, getting a game-ending double play on a bizarre fly out/runner's interference combo that likely hasn't ever happened before in the history of Major League Baseball.

It was one of those plays that you love when it goes your way and you're howling at the moon if it doesn't.

By rule, Andrew Vaughn was guilty of runner's interference. That said, his interference had zero to do with the actual ball hit in the air.

O's faithful were overjoyed at the ump show getting it right. O's faithful would have gone ballistic had that been Jordan Westburg called out for runner's interference to end the game. What's the old saying? To the victors go the spoils.

But that one would have left a bruise had it gone south on Kimbrel's watch, that's for sure.

A win's a win, even one that made you sweat like that at the end.

Grayson Rodriguez wasn't exceedingly sharp but improved to 5-1 by picking up the win. He had no command at all, walking 5 guys -- including Sheets three times -- in 5 innings, but struck out 7 and allowed just two earned runs along the way.

Danny Coulombe (perfect inning with 3 K's) and Jacob Webb (one hit in one inning) were excellent.

But Heasley and Cano were lousy, mandating the use of Kimbrel on a night when Brandon Hyde probably thought he wouldn't have to run through three pitchers in the final two frames of a blowout.

The good news? It's the White Sox. The O's might not have to worry about any of the three remaining games of the series on the South Side.

Then again, this hasn't been the best (recent) two weeks for the Orioles. If Chicago wins one of the next three, that's fine. Two of the next three, not cool.


Several videos of last Friday's arrest of Scottie Scheffler surfaced on Thursday and in the one that shows the entire incident, it's fairly clear -- based on what was seen on that clip -- that the arresting officer fabricated a significant part of the police report he filed in the aftermath of the incident in Louisville.

In perhaps the biggest fib, the officer was not dragged 10 yards by Scheffler's vehicle. He was never in contact with the ground. He didn't suffer bruises to his legs as a result of the incident.

The video that surfaced showed Scheffler gently easing his way around a parked bus when the officer, Bryan Gillis, runs up alongside of Scheffler's vehicle and smacks the windshield with some sort of instrument in an effort to force Scheffler to bring the car to a stop.

Once Scheffler stopped the vehicle, the officer went into arrest mode and the rest is history.

Scottie Scheffler is due in court early next month despite video surfacing on Thursday that shows the incident at the PGA Championship was nothing like it was entered on the initial police report.

That the Louisville police department haven't yet dropped these silly, baseless charges is a complete joke. That the arresting officer has a personnel file littered with misconduct and other related charges that would make Antonio Brown blush is also a source of (hopeful) embarrassment for them.

Gillis is one of the rare law enforcement officials who apparently picks and chooses when to take his task seriously.

It's not easy for police officers to admit they went over-the-line, particularly in this day and age when plenty of police officers who do their job well and the right way still fall under unfair scrutiny.

But in this case, officer Gillis, who was officially reprimanded for not engaging his body camera during the arrest, deserves intense scrutiny for the arrest and the false report he filed afterwards.

Scheffler has taken the embarrassing situation in stride, although it's fair to point out the whole thing could have cost him a chance to win last week's PGA Championship at Valhalla.

Why the folks in Louisville haven't just manned up and taken "the L" on this one is the ultra-weird part of the story now. It's obvious the arrest was bogus. It's very clear the officer pulled a Barney Fife and made the whole thing out to be a much bigger deal than it ever was.

With each passing day that the Louisville police department doubles down on this, they look more and more bush league.


Our #DMD Comments buddy Larry Harmison surfaced with an e-mail on Thursday that I have included below because Larry pulled the old, tired routine: "I know you won't publish this".

Earlier this week, I offered a short commentary on the Harrison Butker situation, essentially saying I didn't see any reason to comment on what he said at the college graduation.

I explained, clearly, I thought, that there were things about Butker's speech I agreed with and things I didn't agree with. But I defended his right to state his opinion, particularly in light of the fact that the college in question invited him to be their graduation speaker.

In other words: They asked for him to speak. And he did.

Larry sent me the following e-mail:

"I know you're a devout, practicing, extra loud Catholic, so it isn't a surprise you refused to be critical of Harrison Butker with all of his Catholic favoritism. I also know you won't publish this, but do us all a favor and just admit that you're afraid to be critical of Butker because it might offend your friends at IHM church and other Catholics who read the website. You and I both know that your personal views are a lot closer to Butker's than you're willing to admit. Don't dodge it. Admit to it."

I don't even know where to start.

Yep, I'm a devout, practicing Catholic. I'm not sure what "extra loud" is supposed to mean, but I assume that's a dig of some sort. All good there.

I don't see any reason to be "critical" of what Butker said because he was simply passing along the virtues he believes in. Some of the things he touched on -- gender-by-birth in particular -- I agreed with him on. Some of the other context -- women belong mainly in the home -- is probably not something I align with.

I believe Butker has the right to his opinion. I, like you, have the right to opine on his opining if I so choose. If I vehemently disagreed with all of it, I'd say (write) that. I agreed with some of what he authored. And I disagreed with some of it, too.

I know how the (in this case, liberal) media works in this country. They take a 25-minute speech and carve out the 4-6 minutes of it they can use for their agenda.

The 4-6 minutes of Butker's speech painted him into the picture the (liberal) media wants to portray him. Everyone knows that.

If you watch the entirety of his speech, it's not nearly as combustible as the 4-6 minutes the media carved out for scrutiny.

But, again, there were parts of the speech I agreed with and parts of it I didn't. But I agree, for sure, that Butker was allowed to give his opinion because that's what the school asked of him.

No one's dodging anything.

And I don't see where anyone has anything to admit to, either.

Like most everything else in our country, the media created a "gotcha" moment with his speech because that's what gets them clicks, readers and viewers.

It was a massive overreaction. The guy was asked to speak. He spoke. Nothing burger.

Thanks, I guess, to Larry, for pushing me to opine more on a subject I thought wasn't in need of further examination.

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faith in sports


One of the best things about my work at FCA is that high school student-athletes who are just starting to forge their faith journey can take that passion on with them to college.

We've had numerous FCA athletes at Calvert Hall go on to lead "huddles" in college, including several who actually started their huddle at school.

The University of Arkansas has a vibrant FCA membership both within the school itself and within the various athletic programs.

The video below is only 2:30 but it's a really strong representation of what FCA is all about.

If your son or daughter is heading off to school later this summer, ask him or her if FCA has a huddle there. If not, reach out to the school's student affairs department and ask how one can be organized. We'd love to have FCA in every college across the country.

Thanks, as always, to our friends at Freestate Electrical for their continued support of #DMD and our "Faith in Sports" segment every Friday here at #DMD.



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Thursday
May 23, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3562


swept away in st. louis


Even though the streak actually ended last October when the Birds were summarily dismissed by the Rangers in the ALDS, the record keepers say it ended yesterday in St. Louis.

For the first time in 107 series' of two games or more, the O's were swept by the Cardinals when they dropped a 5-4 decision on Wednesday afternoon.

Nothing lasts forever. And a 106-series run of not being swept is pretty daggone good, even if it doesn't really mean anything at all in the long run.

There's a gazillion baseball games left in the 2024 campaign, but the O's are now 3 games behind the New York Yankees in the A.L. East. Baltimore has played four fewer games than the Yankees, too, I might add.

What does the elbow injury to John Means do to the O's pitching concerns for the rest of the 2024 campaign?

The Orioles have also played 27 home games to date and only 20 road contests. Not a big deal, either, but just giving you the facts of how things are starting to take shape.

The Birds are off to Chicago to face the White Sox in a 4-game holiday weekend series that should net three or four wins over the beleaguered pale hose. I hope my buddy Gavin Sheets for 10-for-20 in the 4-games but the White Sox lose all four. Sorry, Gavin.

As I wrote here recently at #DMD, I assume the Yankees will soon face their annual quandary with the injured list once guys like Judge, Stanton get their hamstring strain, toe fracture or some other ailment that routinely plagues each of them. But for now, at least, the Yankees are looking like the real deal.

The O's, you might have heard, made a small trade on Wednesday, sending embattled relief pitcher Mike Baumann and minor league catcher Michael Perez to Seattle for minor league catcher Blake Hunt.

I have no idea what that means.

Baumman, of course, is eye wash in the deal. He had recently been designated for assignment and was slowly start to ease his way out of the team's 2024 plans.

Perez was just a guy playing catcher in the minors. He wasn't going to be graduating to Camden Yards someday soon.

So why Blake Hunt? What does his addition mean?

The guess here is Mike Elias simply wanted to get "something" for Baumann if he could. And the Mariners needed bullpen help. And Hunt was the guy they offered. Perhaps Elias flips him elsewhere sometime in '24 or '25. Maybe he's insurance in the event something happens to James McCann this season.

The O's have some flaws that need to be addressed, of course, and the deal with the Mariners shouldn't be looked at as anything other than getting a piece (Hunt) for a piece (Baumann). But it shows, at least, that Elias is paying attention to every department of the on field product.

Baumann, as anyone who has followed the team knows, is very hot and cold. He had a decent 2023 campaign with a 10-1 record and 3.76 ERA, but that earned run average was (is) a half-of-a-run-per-inning too high for a relief pitcher. And this year, he had 16 strikeouts and 9 walks in 18.1 innings of work.

His departure to Seattle is a nothing burger, respectfully.

But with the news from Wednesday that John Means is struggling with elbow discomfort, the wheels are likely really starting to turn for Mike Elias.

For now, Cole Irvin simply slides back in as a starter and off they go. No big deal.

But that move depletes a bullpen that (now) loses Irvin and the jettisoned Baumann. So where do the O's go from here?

There's almost no question Elias is going to start chasing after pitching help sometime soon. Who he gives up to get it is anyone's guess, but you have at least two minor leaguers (Kjerstad and Norby) who could draw legitimate interest. Coby Mayo (currently injured) would also probably be an attractive trade piece this summer.

It's inevitable that one, two or all three of those guys might have to eventually be shipped elsewhere. The guess here is Norby is the one most readily available, followed by Mayo and then Kjerstad. That said, Kjerstad is the one most potential trade partners are going to press for given his power and minor league hitting numbers.

The sweep in St. Louis might wind up being a good thing at the end of the day.

It ends "the streak", for starters, which is probably best for everyone involved, even though it was fun while it lasted. More importantly, though, it serves as a gentle reminder to Elias and Brandon Hyde that this team can, in fact, lose three straight games.

Oh, and speaking of Hyde.

The series in St. Louis wasn't his best work by a long shot.

Yesterday, in particular, he handled the suspended game and the "regular" game with the touch of a blacksmith.

In the opener, he removed Jacob Webb for Keegan Akin in the 6th inning despite the fact that lefties hit .148 against Webb. Akin, of course, immediately gave up a 2-run homer to...yes...a left handed hitter, Nolan Gorman.

But those pitching decisions he made that didn't work are all hindsight now. It's easy to beat him up for what transpired once you see none of them really worked.

That said, Hyde is becoming the master at attempting to get three (or less) outs with multiple pitchers. It's not "maddening" yet, but it's closing in on that.

The Means news isn't season-breaking or anything of that nature, but it certainly means Irvin slides back into a spot of importance in the rotation and also puts more emphasis on the quality the club will need from Akin and Cionel Perez.

It's far from panic time.

But these days matter just as much as the ones that come in August and September when the end of the season is just around the corner.

Our faith in Mike Elias is unwavering.

Our faith in Brandon Hyde...not quite as emphatic.

But the bet here is Elias starts making moves sometime next month in an effort to get a jump on the deadline and, hopefully, acquire pieces he really wants rather than pieces that were available because those were the crumbs left to snag.


A quick note of thanks to four of you who stepped up yesterday, plus another last night, to help make our first FCA Maryland Golf junior clinic a success on Wednesday at Pine Ridge.

Scott Manning (not the ex-Blast goalkeeper, "the better looking Scott Manning" he likes to say), Mark McGrath (no, not the lead singer of "Sugar Ray", the "better looking Mark McGrath"), longtime #DMD supporter Mike Mohler and James Chenowith all contributed $50 to help defray our expenses last night.

We had 15 juniors come out for the clinic and they spent 75 minutes learning the basics of the golf swing; grip, stance and posture, plus tips on compressing the ball with irons and getting the ball in the air with the driver.

And then, last night, Mike Gentry reached out to say he'll match any $50 donation we receive for the June clinic. So we're excited to put that together for next month's clinic. Yesterday, here, I mentioned our June clinic was going to be held on June 12, but that's actually not going to work.

I'll be back soon with the date of the June clinic.

Our first FCA junior tournament of the year is set for Tuesday, June 18 at Bulle Rock. If you have a junior golfer who plays tournament golf, this event is a great way to start their competitive summer. Please e-mail me (drewfcamdgolf@gmail.com) to get more information.

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Wednesday
May 22, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3561


odds and ends


If you're reading this and you have a child in your midst, ages 8-18, this will pertain to you.

If not, you can read on, but please know this isn't going to connect with you.

If you have a son, daugther, grandchild, niece, nephew or just a family friend who is a budding junior golfer, ages 8-18, tonight is the first of our free junior FCA Maryland Golf clinics at Pine Ridge driving range.

We'd love for you to bring them out.

Junior golfers ages 8-18 are welcome to attend tonight's free golf clinic at Pine Ridge from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.

The clinic begins at 5:30 pm and runs until 7:00 pm. We provide free golf instruction from both FCA coaches and area PGA professionals. It's a great way for beginners to learn the basics. And if you're a junior with some basic golfing skills, you're sure to pick up some new techniques at the clinic.

This is all part of the FCA Maryland Golf program that I help run.

Each month from May through October we host these free clinics at Pine Ridge. We welcome boys and girls of all skill levels to the clinics. Parents are also welcome to attend and observe.

FCA Maryland Golf also features a very active junior tournament schedule, with 7 events planned for 2024 throughout the state of Maryland. Our kick-off event is on Tuesday, June 18 at Bulle Rock GC.

These events are all one-day, 18-hole tournaments (except the TOUR Championship, which is two days) and are designed to familiarize junior players with tournament conditions and rules of the sport.

This year, we're excited to share that our two point getters from the season long standings receive an exemption into the Denny McCarthy Invitational at Argyle CC, October 19-20.

We're looking for four supporters for tonight's free clinic at Pine Ridge. Four sponsorship contributions of $50 covers the cost of golf balls, snacks for the junior golfers and a small stipend for our PGA professional who is on hand to assist us.

Would you consider being one of the four?

I'll happily give you kudos here at #DMD tomorrow, plus you're welcome to come out yourself tonight and see the clinic in person to know where your contribution goes.

If you're interested in helping out, your $50 can be sent to us via Venmo: @MarylandJuniorGolf

We'll post some pictures of the clinic in tomorrow's edition of #DMD.

And for those who can't make it tonight, our next clinic is set for Wednesday, June 12.


#DMD reader Mitch reached out to me witih a question about Gunnar Henderson. I bring it up today because it's going to continue to be a pressing issue throughout the 2024 season if Henderson maintains the kind of numbers he's produced through the first two months of the campaign.

Mitch asks: "Why wouldn't the Orioles try to lock up Gunnar now and give him an incredible $400 million deal for 10 years or something like that? He's only going to be worth more as the years go on. You might as well just lock him up now. Am I missing something, Drew?"

Mitch actually sorta-kinda answered his own question when he wrote, "He's only going to be worth more as the years go on."

The only way Henderson (via Scott Boras) would sign something now would be if it took away the final four years of the club's control and only added, say, two more years on the back end.

There's almost no way he'd agree to some kind of 10 or 12 year extension right now. At least that's the way Boras would advise him, I'm guessing.

Gunnar Henderson and a long term extension? Everyone but Gunnar says "yes!"

But if the Orioles want to give him $150 million for the next six years? That might have some appeal. He's going to make far more that way (over six years) than he otherwise would have and he'll still be a free agent at the ripe age of 28.

The O's, though, already have him under control for four of those six years at a fairly low price (in comparison). Is it worth two additional years to give him $150 million?

That's for Mike Elias to decide.

By the time Henderson becomes a free agent, per-season salaries for the top players will easily exceed $50 million. Henderson might even be in the $60 million per-year range by the late 2020's.

Just saying "sign him now" is fine. But "signing him now" isn't nearly as easy.

The good news, at least from 35,000 feet, is that Henderson grew up in Mobile and Selma, Alabama and attended Auburn University. Why is that good news? He doesn't have a hometown or home state team to favor when free agency rolls around.

That doesn't mean he didn't have a favorite team growing up, obviously. But it's not like he's from the Atlanta area originally and grew up with posters of Chipper Jones all over his bedroom, dreaming of someday playing for the Braves.

Most Major League players with a high pedigree eventually understand they're in it to make the most money they can. Because every huge contract they sign along the way makes it all the more lucrative for the guys who come along 5 or 10 years down the road.

I think the idea of signing Henderson now is great. I hope the Orioles are trying to figure out a way to make the money and the math work.

But I don't see it happening.

He'll get a nice raise through arbitration anyway, and won't have to "suffer" on the paltry $700,000 minimum salary he's living on right now.

And eventually his rookie deal will expire and someone will have to cough up $500 million for him.

Yes...$500 million.

Teach your kids to play shortstop and hit a baseball, mom and dad.

Great question, Mitch. I wish I was confidently able to give you the answer I know you were hoping for, but I can't.


The PGA Tour heads to Fort Worth for the Colonial Invitational this week, where it's expected that Scottie Scheffler will return to being Scottie Scheffler.

In other words, he wins and doesn't get arrested.

It's a home game for Scheffler, who lives in the Dallas area. Despite a pedestrian third round of 73 in last week's PGA Championship, Scheffler still managed a T8 finish at Valhalla. If he doesn't win this week, everyone will be surprised.

But what if he doesn't win? Who might claim the victory? I'm glad you asked.

We're favoring four additional golfers with our picks this week. We were fortunate to produce a winning week at the PGA on the heels of McIlroy, Morikawa and Noren, but this field in Fort Worth is a little more difficult to study.

The golf course isn't overly long. It typically rewards excellent putters, too, which you'll see below is one of the reasons why certain guys show up on our wagering sheet.

Four names really stand out this week:

Tony Finau (35-1) has finished in the top 20 in four of his eight visits to Colonial. He was lurking through one round of the PGA last week before his putter went south. His ball striking numbers over the last 10 TOUR events are Top 5 in several categories. This is a great spot for Finau to pick up a win.

Is this the week Denny McCarthy finall breaks through with his first ever PGA Tour win?

Brian Harman (40-1) has eight top-30 finishes in 11 appearances at Colonial, including three top-10 finishes. He is one of the game's premier iron players. When his putter is on, he's a threat to win anywhere, but the small piece of property at the Colonial should really be to his liking.

Denny McCarthy (50-1) is still looking for that elusive first win on TOUR, but there might not be another better place for his game to shine than Colonial CC. He leads the TOUR in virtually every putting stat and his "bogey avoidance" and "scrambling" numbers are at the top of the list, too. The weaker field at Colonial gives guys like McCarthy and Harman -- two shorter hitters by TOUR standards -- a chance to break through.

Aaron Rai (70-1) should be helped greatly by the short, tight layout at Colonial CC. He was second in Driving Accuracy last week at the PGA, hitting 46 of 56 fairways (82.1%) and was fifth in Scrambling (21/28 – 75%). He finished 12th last year at Colonial, which shows -- at least in one attempt -- that the course suits him well.

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RANDY MORGAN
on American soccer


Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.


european soccer year in review


The European soccer season is rapidly coming to its close. The English Premier League concluded this past weekend along with the German Bundesliga and French Ligue 1.

Spain’s La Liga and the Italian Serie A will both play their final rounds next weekend, accompanied by the cup finals in England and Germany.

The Europa League final between Bayer Leverkusen and Atalanta takes place this Wednesday and the season will conclude with the crown jewel, the Champions League Final on Saturday June 1st.

With everything winding down, we’ll review the final standings in the big four leagues and I’ll give my team of the season for each.


Champions League –

The Champions League final is set, with Real Madrid a game away from hoisting the trophy yet again. They will meet the surprise of the tournament, Borussia Dortmund, who have had a magical Cinderella run through the knockout rounds.

After beating Manchester City in the quarterfinals, Real Madrid prevailed over Bayern Munich in the semis, conjuring a 2-1 come from behind win in the second leg in Madrid to secure a 4-3 aggregate.

Madrid worked their Champions League black magic as they looked left for dead, down 1-0 with only minutes remaining in regulation, when substitute striker, Joselu, came on and scored goals in the 88th and 91st minute to put the Madridistas into their sixth final of the last ten years.

Borussia Dortmund was not supposed to be here. They struggled to live up to their expectations in the Bundesliga this season, coming in fifth and just barely qualifying for next season’s Champions League thanks to the extra spot awarded to Germany.

It has been a different story in the Champions League, where they have consistently outplayed their underlying stats to surprise their opponents in each round. The semifinal was no different with Dortmund riding a Mats Hummels header in the 50th minute to a 1-0 win in Paris to complete a 2-0 aggregate win over the Mbappe led Paris St. Germain.

As in each previous round, Dortmund conceded way more chances but came ahead on the scoreboard. They will be heavy underdogs in the final, but they may just have the magic elixir to compete with Madrid’s Champions League witchcraft.


England –

The Premier League was the only league with title drama on the final weekend and for a short period, the title seemed fully up for grabs. After taking a 2-0 lead in the first 18 minutes on goals from Phil Foden, Manchester City let some doubt creep in when West Ham scored just before halftime.

Erling Haaland once again led the Premier League in goals as Manchester City won the league title.

However, the reigning champions quickly quelled any suspense with a Rodri goal early in the second half that put them up 3-1 and set them on their way to a fourth straight Premier League title.

Arsenal held up their end of the bargain with a 2-1 win over Everton, but ultimately fell just short, finishing two points behind City in the battle to the finish.

It was fully appropriate that Foden and Rodri led Manchester City to victory on the final day. Though Erling Haaland took home his second straight EPL Golden Boot, leading the league with 27 goals, it was Foden and Rodri who were the crucial players in this title run.

The two were neck and neck down the stretch for my Premier League Player of the Year. Rodri was the spine of the team and the metronome of City’s possession heavy attack.

He touched the ball far more than anyone else and completed an excellent 92.5% of his passes. Nearly every attacking build up went through Rodri as he quarterbacked the offense, picking at the weaknesses of the defense. From his spot in central midfield he also managed to supply 8 goals and 9 assists, bested only by attack minded midfielders Martin Odegaard and Bruno Fernandes.

But as good as Rodri was this season, the nod for Player of the Year goes to Phil Foden. The English star came into his own at age 23 this season and capped off the fantastic year with two more goals in the finale.

Foden finished the season with 19 goals and 8 assists, the fifth most goals and assists in the league. He also added four more goals and three assists in the Champions League.

For Foden, it wasn’t just about totals, it was timing, the young attacker seemed to deliver in the clutch every time City needed him. In addition to his timely scoring, the quality of his goals were unmatched, he produced numerous thunder strikes to the corner that left the goalie with no chance.

Joining City in qualifying for next season’s Champions League from England were Arsenal, Liverpool and Aston Villa. Down at the bottom of the table it was Luton Town, Burnley and Sheffield United who were relegated from the league. They will be replaced by Leicester City and Ipswich, who earned automatic promotion from the Championship. Leeds United and Southampton will duel for the final promotion spot in the playoff final.


Season Best XI –

G: Vicario - Tottenham

D: Robinson - Fulham; Saliba - Arsenal; Van Dijk - Liverpool

M: Rodri - Man City; Rice - Arsenal; Odegaard - Arsenal; Palmer - Chelsea

F: Foden - Man City; Haaland - Man City; Saka - Arsenal

Player of the Year: Phil Foden


Germany –

The German Bundesliga concluded its first season in twelve years with a champion other than Bayern Munich. Bayer Leverkusen more than earned the title, finishing off an undefeated season with a 2-1 win over Augsburg. Leverkusen finished with 28 wins, 6 draws and 0 losses.

Not only did they claim the league title, but they are scheduled to play in the Europa League final on Wednesday and the German Cup final next weekend, for a chance to complete a version of the “treble” and finish unbeaten in all competitions.

There is a very good argument that despite not being in the Champions League, Leverkusen was the best team in Europe this season. They will get their chance to prove themselves in that competition next year.

Joining them in the Champions League next season will be Stuttgart, who remarkably finished second, also ahead of Bayern Munich, who finished third. RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund round out the five Champions League spots from the Bundesliga.


Best XI –

G: Kobel - Dortmund

D: Grimaldo - Leverkusen; Hummels - Dortmund; Tah - Leverkusen; Kimmich - Bayern

M: Xhaka - Leverkusen; Simons - Leipzig; Musiala - Bayern

F: Wirtz - Leverkusen; Kane - Bayern; Openda - Leipzig

Player of the Year: Harry Kane


Spain –

Real Madrid clinched the La Liga title a while back and turned their focus to the Champions League, leaving little drama in the final weeks of the season. Barcelona finished in second well behind them and Girona and Atletico Madrid claimed the other two Spanish spots in the Champions League.

Best XI –

G: Gazzaniga - Girona

D: Cancelo - Barcelona; Blind - Girona; Kounde - Barcelona; Savio - Girona

M: Gundogan - Barcelona; Kroos - Real Madrid; Bellingham - Real Madrid

F: Vinicius Jr. - Real Madrid; Dovbyk - Girona; Griezmann - Atletico

Player of the Year: Jude Bellingham


Italy –

Inter Milan ran away with the Serie A title. The only drama down the stretch was for the final Champions League spot, but that is mostly settled heading into the final weekend. AC Milan, Bologna and Juventus are locked in at 2nd-4th and Atalanta is set to take the fifth and final Champions League place barring a miracle from 6th place Roma.

Best XI –

G: Di Gregorio - Monza

D: Theo - AC Milan; Bastoni - Inter; Buongiorno - Torino; Danilo - Juventus

M: Calhanoglu - Inter; Koopmeiners - Atalanta; Dybala - Roma

F: Leao - AC Milan; L. Martinez - Inter; Pulisic - AC Milan

Player of the Year: Hakan Calhanoglu

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Tuesday
May 21, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3560


tuesday topics include butker, blast and billy


It must be a day of the "B's".

Not every question in today's romp through the e-mail inbox deals with a "B", but three of the questions do.

I thought that was unique enough to make them all part of today's #DMD.

Before we get to that, we'll throw out a quick snippet about the O's and their 6-3 loss at St. Louis last night.

A 6-3 win over Seattle on Sunday.

A 6-3 loss to the Cardinals on Monday.

Kinda weird, I guess.

Anyway, let's get to the snippet.

In yesterday's edition of #DMD, Randy Morgan posed a question about the O's and their rain out policies and wondered if, perhaps, the team simply strings things out in an effort to get folks in the stadium to buy more food and drink while they wait for the first pitch.

I would never say never on that one. It's very devious, obviously, and the O's haven't been perfect over the years, but I don't think they'd stoop to that level, honestly.

What I think happens in baseball is actually rather simple. The umpires have way more control over the situation than perhaps both perception and the rules suggest they might. Working in concert with the home team's head groundskeeper -- who is working with a local weather expert for his/her information -- the umpires run point on when the game should start, when it might need to be stopped, and so on.

I can't speak to the specifics of what happened on Saturday in Baltimore. That was definitely a bit overly chaotic. But I'm guessing the weather patterns continued to shift in the early evening and that, more than anything, made it difficult for the umpires to find a window where they could comfortably start the game and get at least 4 or 5 innings completed.

There are other things taken into consideration, of course. Day of the week, visiting team's next game, ability to reschedule the game later on in the season, etc.

Had Saturday's game vs. Seattle been against, say, Tampa Bay or Boston, there's almost no doubt they would have simply called the game off and played it at another point in the season when those two teams returned to Baltimore. But with it being Seattle in town, the need to get the game finished on Saturday was paramount.

I know the O's have been capable of doing some underhanded things over the years, but stalling a weather-related decision to sell more soft drinks, pretzels and beers just doesn't seem like something they'd do now.


Art asks -- "Hi Drew, I haven't seen you offer a thought on the Harrison Butker situation and was wondering if you planned on writing about it one day?"

DF says -- "I don't think there's anything to gain from writing about it, honestly. It was a masssive overreaction from people who don't see things the same way Butker sees them.

And I'm not saying I agree with everything he said (I don't) and I'm not saying I disagree with everything he said (I don't).

But the whole thing was blown way out of proportion, as has become our specialty here in the U.S. over the last decade or so.

Let's just move on to other things. More important things."


Tim Darvey asks -- "Drew, on your radio show this past Sunday you talked about the concept of the best player who doesn't have a major championship. I am in a U.S. Open contest where you have to pick 6 players and only 2 are allowed to have majors and the other 4 can't have majors. Schauffele would have been on my list but now that he won I need someone else. If you were in the contest who would your 4 be? And who would your 2 be who have won a major?"

Tom Kim a threat at Pinehurst in next month's U.S. Open? #DMD says he might be, yes.

DF says -- "Well, Scheffler is obviously one of the two I'd take who have won a major before. Based on what we saw from him over the weekend and the way Pinehurst sets up, I think DeChambeau has a decent shot as well. Those would be my 2 who fulfill the "major winner" category.

The four without a major? This one's tough. I have to do a lot more research about ball striking data before I start thinking about my lineup for Pinehurst.

But, in general, I'd say my 4 "non major winners" for the U.S. Open would be: Aberg, Fleetwood, Tom Kim and maybe an outsider like Russell Henley or Harris English. Pick one of those two, add the 3 others, and go get 'em!"


R.T. asks -- "Are the Yankees legit, Drew? I'm starting to think they're going to be a problem this year. Do you still think the O's are division winners?"

DF says -- "They look legit. And they're doing it without Gerrit Cole, which is impressive. But, here's the thing. You know Judge is eventually going on the injured list. So is Stanton. Those two can't come anywhere close to playing a full season. I suspect Soto will eventually wind up on the injured list for a spell, too.

But, yes, I'd say they're going to be hanging around all summer based on what we've seen through 50 games.

And, yes, I also think the O's are still the front runner to win the division. The Birds aren't flawless, but they don't have many holes, either. A deadline deal or two will also help, don't forget.

This current edition of the Orioles is not the same roster they'll be displaying in September."


Steve asks -- "I don't know how much you follow the Blast these days but how is it possible that they can't sell out the Towson University arena that only holds 3,500 fans? Weren't they drawing 6,000 fans on average at the old arena downtown before they moved out to the county?"

DF says -- "I don't follow them much at all, honestly. Sad to say, I didn't make it out to one of their home games in 2023-2024, which was the first time since 1980 that I didn't see them play a home game.

I don't know what's going on with them attendance wise. When you look at the attendance numbers in the league (which I just did for the first time in an effort to answer this question), the numbers are very similar with all of the teams. 3,000, 3,500, the occasional crowd of somewhere in the 4,000 range.

You also see a lot of crowds in the 1,500 range, too, which is obviously not good.

I don't know why the numbers are what they are in Baltimore, but a crowd of 2,500 or so at the Towson arena is about 80% capacity given a bunch of seats that are obstructed view and are the last ones to be sold.

I also have no idea what they would draw if they moved back downtown. Would they generate better crowds being in a bigger building? Maybe. But perhaps they wouldn't. I just don't follow them enough any longer to know what's going on with them, attendance wise.

In the last year or two of my tenure with the team, we were averaging roughly 5,000 or so per-game, but we were losing money.

If they're only averaging 2,000 or 2,500 but they're making money, that's better than drawing 5,000 and losing money."


Mark Jerns asks -- "I know you're an old school music guy so I thought we'd have some fun with "Billy" and see what order you would rank these three: Billy Joel, Billy Squier and Billy Idol. Thanks, Drew!"

DF says -- "This is a good one! And not quite as easy it might first seem. I think all three of them were (are) outstanding.

Let me say this first. Billy Idol (real name: William Broad) was actually very underrated. I know we got "White Wedding" and "Rebel Yell" shoved down our throats by MTV, but if you skip past those two and look more in depth at his catalog, you're going to find a lot of really good music.

"Catch My Fall" was a great song by Billy Idol.

Billy Squier was awesome. I know his run was pretty short-lived, but if you put his 12 best songs on a "Best of" CD, it's pretty freakin' impressive.

Sadly, the video for "Rock Me Tonight" was a bit of a career killer for him, which was probably more a sign of the times than anything else.

These days, a guy rolling around on the floor or dancing like he did in the video wouldn't be given a second thought. Back then, though, it didn't go over well, as the stories about his career decline told us.

His music was awesome, though.

But......

When it comes to "Billy", there's only one.

Billy Joel is the man.

If you want to put his best songs on a CD, you'll need two of them, at least. The dude has more hits than Tony Gwynn.

I've had the pleasure of seeing him in concert at MSG in New York five times over the last decade or thereabouts. He's still a master showman. And even though there are some parts of his songs he can no longer reach, vocally, his production crew does a great job of backing him out of those situations in a way that you don't even realize it. He can no longer sing "River of Dreams" in totality, for example. But you'd never know it unless you were really paying attention.

So, if you want a formal ranking, it's Joel, Squier and Idol. But all three were really good.

And in case you didn't see the video that killed Billy Squier's career, here it is below. The comments in the video are...well...they're something else."


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#dmd comments








HERMAN     June 20
Baltimore fans calling the O's announcers homers? Have you listened to that fool Gerry Sandusky call a Ravens game? There is no one more biased than that man. He's terrible. But I get it, he's paid by the Ravens so he has to be biased. That is what's happening with the O's announcers. Give it a break.

George     June 20
Jon Miller could make a rain delay enjoyable!

Chris in Bel Air     June 20
“There were a couple of balls up and in. It’s part of it. They like to throw in.”

The stats I'm viewing shows the Yankees are 3rd in the league for most hit batters with 42. O's are 3rd from bottom at 24. Who likes to throw in, Aaron? Smh

Paul from Towson     June 20
@Randy, thanks for the stats on that, and I think you're right. Compared with last year, their current rankings probably seem a lot worse than they are. I also think it has to do with when these situations come up and how effective the O's are in late game/high leverage RISP circumstances. Also, who is coming up in these spots. Guys like O'Hearn, Rutschman, and Mountie always seem to deliver, while guys like Hays, Cowser, and (I hate saying it) Mullins (except for last night) seem to drag that average down.



Also, as a kid, listening to Jon Miller on the radio, and Chuck and Brooks on the TV side are some of the most pleasant memories of my childhood. Angelos running Jon Miller out of town should still be one of the top 3 sins of his ownership.

rc     June 20
How many times are we gonna do this? EVERY team in MLB pays its own announcers to BE homers! Yet we're gonna whine about it when the O's do it? Newsflash, Palmer is also a homer. Every call against the O's his first utterance is "oh no no no....", then they watch the replay and it's "ok maybe he did swing" or "maybe he was out".

I respect Cake's knowledge, but face it, when announcing, he's a cheerleader too. It is more palatable coming from a HOF player as opposed to a "sideline reporter" like Hollander. Hollander is a younger version of local "generic announcer" Tom Davis. These guys are doing high school fashion shows one night, then calling a game the next night. Why? One can only assume its because they do it for cheapo, and in the case of last night, on short notice. Melanie Newman in the same category. She's oh with her telling stories role, but for play by play, I agree with Such, she is beyond bad, just like most of her coworkers.

JeffWell     June 20
@UTB- I remember all of those great "once upon a time" broadcasters that you mentioned and the great calls as well. In those days you got most games via radio and those guys made it almost seem like you were there.

TimD in Timonium     June 20
"Whenever two of the best teams in baseball play in the same division, their battles have that much higher stakes. That heightened energy was felt Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, especially after Aaron Judge was hit by a pitch on his left hand in the third inning of the Yankees’ 4-2 win over the Orioles. The stoic Judge marched halfway between Orioles starter Albert Suarez and first base while shaking his head. Aaron Judge was not happy with the pitch that hit him on the hand. "Definitely pissed,” Judge said about the pitch. “There were a couple of balls up and in. It’s part of it. They like to throw in.” - NY Post, June 19th



Oh, the drama. Can't stand these guys. Go O's!


Randy     June 20
Some context on hitting with RISP:

O's are 9th in batting average (.266) and 7th in OPS (.801), so in the top 3rd of the league. The Yanks are 5th and 3rd respectively.



The Orioles were 1st in both categories last year, so that is probably why it seems bad by comparison.

Unitastoberry     June 20
@Steve of Pimlico



Chuck Thompson is a HOFer. Jon Miller will be if not already. O'Donnell famous for the call with DeCinces walk off homer with Eckman going nuts. Tom Marr called Tippy retiring the side at first base with pick off plays. All better than current guys. Thorn was good I even liked Mel Procter. Tom Davis gets honorable mention with Jim Carvellis. Great memories.

Jason M     June 20
Rutschman is the MAN. That throw out in the 10th was so pivotal. The throw was just a thing of beauty - a laser beam on a dime at 127 feet. What a stone cold stellar performance to completely remove the Yankee momentum at that crucial moment.

Steve of Pimlico     June 20
I remember when Bill O'Donnell,Tom Marr and Jim Hunter were not considered top notch

They are HOFers compared to this current crop .

Mark.S in PH     June 20
@Paul all great points on last night's game, especially on Hay's AB, it was terrible. Agree on Verdugo, he's a jerk, made me chuckle! I like Palmer and Ben when they are doing the color! Get well Jim.



I have often wondered why can't the website add a "Like" or "thumbs-up, thumbs-down" button on the reader's posts?



Go O's!

Regular Joe     June 20
I have to pile on Hyde a bit, albeit a great win. Hyde will need to be better for us to win it all. O'Hearn is a better hitter than Hays and has a way better idea of the strike zone. I don't care if a great lefty is on the mound (and that Yankee guy was not close to great). Hays is from the old regime hitting approach-wise and has no clue what to do if the first pitch isn't a hittable fastball.



And Hyde just can't be pulling relievers after 20 pitches in the 5th inning - Webb is unfortunately now one of the better options.



Also very happy for Urias - he will be very important for us.




Pratt     June 20
FINALLY! Someone finally calls out Brown for his pompous attitude. The Orioles NEVER EVER do anything wrong according to that guy. Like you said Hollender was just in there because Palmer wasn't but Brown should rise above that.

Chris in Bel Air     June 20
@JWW- Thanks for the correction. After I typed it I couldn't remember if it was 2012 or 2104.

@Such- Don't you know that nobody is supposed to question or mess with the precious Yankees? Only they know what it right and just in the baseball world. Didn't you know that MLB really just sets up the entire season for the enjoyment of the Yankees and their fans? We're all just passengers in the journey and we should be grateful if they let the other team win. Their level of narcissism and self-infatuation is mind-numbing.

Adam     June 20
Completely agree MFC but add closer and right handed bat to the list. The Os announcers were right that we dont hit guys in general but we clearly threw at Judge and I would've done the same. But there was no need to yammer on all night about how Os would never do such a thing. Somewhere Armando beanball Benitez had a hearty chuckle. But this is same Yankees phonies that watched Sabathia break bone in Markakis hand so they can kick rocks

KVVfromSP     June 20
Speaking of pathetic announcers , how about the announcer at Camden Yards …..makes my skin crawl every time she announces a batter.

MFC     June 20
Baustista, Means, Wells, Bradish, is something in the "hydration station" water? With those guys we're definitely the best team in baseball. Without them it's going to be a struggle. Sorry but Tate, Webb, Suarez and Kimbrel just aren't doing it for me. I'm of the opinion a move for a pitcher has to be made and possibly two pitchers.



Catholic League HOF dinner tonight. Calipari is the headline speaker. Lots of great stories to be told this evening. Looking forward to catching up with old friends.

JWW     June 20
@CHRIS - I was going to bring that up as I totally agree with you. It was actually September 2012, not 2014 when Sabathia plunked Markakis. The magical winning season that culminated in an ALDS loss to those same Bombers. I felt so bad for Nick - all the years of losing came to a spectacular end and he had to sit that playoff run out.



F the Yankees indeed.

lou@palo alto     June 20
Paul makes many gd pts. Hays has regressed in his strike zone awareness--it's even worse than Mateo's and he has actually improved. Elias will hv decisions re the 3 outfielders and my bet is Hays is gone w Mullins & Santander offered deals but there are lots of moving parts here w pitching needs and many gd young players knocking on the door

Paul from Towson     June 20
Teams tend to emulate their manager. The Yankees are whiny, soft, arrogant cry baby punks. Just like their garbage manager. Brandon Hyde has the Orioles focused on winning baseball games, not the childish nonsense like bean ball wars or dugout sniping.

Tom J     June 20
The Yankees whining is comical. They are third in MLB with 48 hit batters. They may want to get pissed at their own guys before anyone else. Gunnar was intentional last night so thanks dummies for putting the run difference in the game on base. BTW, their catcher totally sucks. They need to run on this guy every single time on base. Nine steals Sunday vs Boston and four last night. Pathetic......

such     June 20
DR, you're spot on. Soto had no business doing that. It sure seemed intentional. Just like the pitch that Gunnar got drilled with last night. That was clearly an attempt to pay back the Orioles for Judge getting hit. But did anyone else notice that Saurez couldn't throw a strike Tuesday night? I'm not sure there was much intention when he plunked Judge.

I like Kevin Brown, I really do, but sometimes you have to call it like you see it. He tried way too hard last night to excuse the Gunnar HBP as unintentional. I think if Palmer or McDonald had been in the booth, there would've been a different take on the whole situation. It's times like that when it's good to have a former pro alongside you. Their perspective is based on their experience on the field.

If you think the MASN guys are bad, just try listening to the radio when Melanie is doing her version of "play-by-play". Brings a whole new level to the definition of dreadful.

Speaking of play-by-play, there's a beautiful video tribute to Willie Mays that the Giants released yesterday narrated by Jon Miller. Man, do I miss that guy. You can find it on YouTube.



As always, F the Yankees.

Paul from Towson     June 20
Yes, it's June. Yes, there's still 89 of these games remaining. But a loss last night might as well have been 2 losses. This was one of those "defining" games, for lack of a better term where the O's once again pulled defeat from the jaws of victory, to only then pull victory from the jaws of defeat. If this game is against the White Sox in mid-April or mid-May, it sucks, but you chalk it up to "there's 10 or 15 of 'those games'" every season. But when you blow a 5-1 lead, in Yankee Stadium, in late-June when less than 3 games separates these teams...that's as big of a loss as any can be in June. And crushes any momentum heading into today's matinee. Coupled with the fact that my dead grandmother would have been a better pinch hit option than Hays, and the Orioles left a small village on the bases last night. By the way, I keep saying it, if the O's don't win the World Series this year, or at least don't make an extended playoff run, it will be because they just can't hit with runners in scoring position. Minus Alex Verdugo's great catch (I hate that SOB, but credit given on that, Santander smoked that ball) over the past month, the O's have been terrible when they get a runner to second with less than two outs. Bases loaded in the 9th, one out, you HAVE to push across a run there. All Hays has to do is make contact and Mateo scores as long as Hays doesn't hit into an inning ending double play. He's terrible, and he while I get the logic of why Hyde pinch hit for O'Hearn there, Hays looked like a little leaguer against a guy with a 5.00+ ERA who just loaded the bases. Can't have that in big game situations. You HAVE to make contact. And Kimbrel had been very good recently, but I was never comfortable with him inheriting a one run lead. Going into the bottom of the ninth, I was just hoping he only gave up one and was able to get the O's back up in the 10th.



All in all, in the end it was a great team win. I love Ceddie and it was awesome to see him finally come through in the clutch. Also, I thought that except for the walks, Povich acquitted himself quite nicely for his first time in Yankee Stadium.



As far as Kevin Brown/Bren Hollander last night, I agree with Drew's assessment, but ANYTHING is better than the garbage we suffered through during Kevin's recent hiatus. Brad Brach should NEVER be allowed anywhere near the broadcast booth again, and the Geoff Arnold (insert name here) team was minor league/amateur hour-ish in my opinion. Just my thoughts. GO O's!!!!!

lou@palo alto     June 20
hope Palmer recovers quickly--covid no joke at his age. Haven't seen commentary on Stanton's game tying single--Kimbrel did his job and got him to hit the ball directly at Urias, just that the Yanks had an unusual hit and run on with the runner on 2nd going. Urias vacated his position to cover third--otherwise its an out if not a double play w the runner going rite toward him

Chris in Bel Air     June 20
Agree with @David R and yes, this retaliation business is bush league. Also, while the O's announcers are huge homers I do agree with their take on the ump and was surprised he didn't issue a warning after Gunnar was drilled. I hope he goes 4/4 today with a HR on the way to an O's win. Any of these holier than thou Yankee fans remember their team drilling Markakis and breaking his hand before the 2014 playoffs? No need to answer.

Unitastoberry     June 20
Mays military service most likely kept him from getting to Ruths 714 RIP



MASN is outta my price range so I'll take your word for it on the tv call. Do the Orioles have a senior citizen MASN inflation discount?



Six innings a game on average for starting pitchers and a 5 man rotation they still blow out the armS left and right. Don't tell me it's because they throw harder. Do they have robots who do surgery on MLB pitchers yet? Orioles had 4 twenty game winners in 1971 not one lost to Tommy John surgery which was not even invented until 1974. This is like the NFL adding games but still caring about CTE. 18 coming soon. Now there's talk of a seperate QB salary cap. All this NIL money still can't buy Maryland a football national championship. Some thngs never change at U of DC.



One thing I still enjoy from the past is hating on the Yankees.Spoiled rotten bums as usual.



Well I gotta go my 1972 Gand Torino needs service and my Get off my Lawn sign is missing.

David Rosenfeld     June 20
All of this (whatever it is) started with Soto. There was simply no reason for him to make contact with Westburg in that situation. It was weird and displayed a lack of understanding of the rules at least. Second time this season he's been called for it. Bias aside, he's kind of a punk. I know he's got a 1.023 OPS and hits the living snot out of the ball, but odds are he's on his 4th team next season at age 26.

With bias...I feel like the Yankees are sort of acting like a team that's accomplished something. I'm trying to figure out what that is exactly besides being in first place in June.

TimD     June 20
Agree with your take on the O's announcers' comments. Absolutely "homer" mentality. "Our team would never do that!"



Hotel warm coffee is the worst!

Bob Miller     June 20
Consider me Team Kevin Brown. He’s entertaining and engaging.

Jason S.     June 20
I love Elias but the Kimbrel signing was a whiff. That guy sucks. Move on and find someone to close games before we get bit in the playoffs.

Cal     June 20
You're just now turning down the sound when Brown is doing the play by play? I've been doing that for two years. Turn down the sound and listen to the radio side of it. Brown is more of a homer than Hunter ever was and that's saying something.



Maybe it goes back to being suspended last year but the O's can do no wrong ever, as you pointed out.

Frank     June 20
Hollander is terrible. I agree last night was a bad look for both KB and Hollander. They sounded like school girls who got turned down by two handsome football players.

As for the game itself, Hyde is very lucky they won. I hear you about the stats and data numbers but O'Hearn has to bat there in the 9th inning. Bringing in Hays cold off the bench in that situation was stupid.

Too bad Gray-Rod doesn't pitch today or someone from the Yanks would take one in the ribs.

Delray RICK     June 20
PALMER has COVID AGAIN!!!

rc     June 20
This GM guy must be angling for a member/guest invite lol.

Kevin     June 19
Streets are saying Jeremy and Drew are taking over 10-2 show on the Fan starting July 29.

GM     June 19
When does DMD flip flop Billy? Examples?

Billy     June 19
@John, #DMD flip flops often lol.

George     June 19
@Howard -- Tough question, and one I don’t have a defensible answer to. I am struck by the fact that in many cases – art, battlefield photography, clandestine industrial videography, the gravamens of whistleblowers’ and kneeling athletes’ complaints – we (the people) tend to find fault with and condemn the messenger and fail to act on the wrong he or she has brought to light. I guess there is a fine line between right and wrong in the methods used to expose stuff, but I’ve no clue where that line is. Seems that there has to be offense at the method before anyone bothers to look at the wrong, and sometime the offense is so great, the wrong is never considered at all.

John L.     June 19
Does PA actually read what DF writes? DF made it very clear he's still anti Saudis today didn't he?



"Alas, he's also a guy who joined a rival league and accepted money from creeps who have not been friendly to our country and who continue to walk a very fine line when it comes to human rights issues. I made my bed on that situation early on and I'm very comfortable sleeping in it."

Howard     June 19
Great article by George but 1 picture too many. I think that the picture “Adult Movies” is pornography. The naked human body is a beautiful thing that has been celebrated in art for millennia, but I think this picture crossed the line into smut. I wouldn’t want my grandchildren to see this and I wonder if anyone

would be comfortable showing this to their family members who are minors.


J.K.     June 19
According to Bruce Cunningham, our very own DF is doing radio today on 105.7 from 12-3 pm. Is that correct?

pa     June 19
If I might clarify my comments too: it seems at the start of LIV, DMD was writing off each individual golfer who signed up for LIV (ala "dead to me"). At the time I suggested it was more of a "golf" thing, not a "Saudi" thing. Unfortunately, the Saudis (and China, Russia, et al) have their financial tentacles in a lot of entities that Americans support. So that in itself really is not unique to LIV. Now the format: pay for play, teams, shotguns, 54 holes etc, are all bastardizations of real tournament golf. In that vein, I am 100% with the DMD take on LIV.

Just never understand why DMD seemed to be making it all about Saudis and individual US players taking "their" money. Maybe I misunderstood, or maybe DMD has somewhat backed off the Saudi angle. Either way, as it was clarified today, I agree with the current DMD take on LIV guys. I'm sure we'll both root hard for BAD should he be on the Ryder Cup squad.

lou@palo alto     June 19
Palmer collapse in '66 Open at Olympic was a transition to a new era.He was 36 and never won another major--my long post from 2 d ago cldnt clear the robot--fyi

lou@palo alto     June 19
great column, George. My sister was '64 Parkville and me '66 City so lots of memories jogged--thx

Paul from Towson     June 19
Well said Such. Willie Mays is a once in a millennium individual. More than baseball, more than stats. His loss will extend beyond baseball, into the fiber of America. The world is a little less of a beautiful place now that he is gone.

such     June 19
I took some time last night to peruse the lifetime statistics of Willie Mays. It's as if every category you would want from a player came to life. I kept shaking my head in disbelief.

He stands alone as the only player in history to collect over 3,000 hits, 600 homeruns, 500 doubles, 100 triples and 300 stolen bases. He played in 24 (!) All Star Games. Oh, he also missed almost two full seasons when he was 22 and was drafted during the Korean War.

My only memory of Mays was seeing him on the Mets during the 1973 season. I was a very young boy, but even then I knew that Willie Mays was a legend. All I had to do was ask anyone who knew anything about baseball, which was basically everyone in America.

Icon is defined as "A person or thing widely admired, especially for having great influence or significance in a particular sphere." I like how the word sphere is used here, since a baseball is spherical.

Willie Mays was an American Icon.

Dan     June 19
Need to pull out a game or two vs Yanks since we didn't exactly line up our best starters for this series.

Steve of Pimlico     June 19
I have always loved Mr.Voshell's paintings and murals.He was our Grant Wood .

The Os have their weakest pitchers starting in this series so if they drop 3 it's not the end of the world.October will be very interesting.

Scottmann     June 19
Drew,

I'm surprised you didn't mention Jack Nicklaus as one of the classiest, and most gracious losers of all-time. Jack finished second in a record 19 majors, and always shook the winners hand.

Monday
May 20, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3559


one putt...changes everything


There's almost nothing better in sports than someone who finally grabs the brass ring.

Peyton Manning chased a title for a long time and had several near-misses before he eventually snagged the Lombardi Trophy.

Alex Ovechkin was "Cup-less" for his career until the Caps made an improbable run in 2017-2018 and hoisted the coveted Stanley Cup.

Clayton Kershaw had everything a baseball player could have except a championship ring, but he finally earned one of those in 2020.

In golf, Xander Schauffele was widely known as the "best player without a major championship" heading into the 2024 campaign.

That all changed yesterday.

AFter 12 top 10 finishes in major championships, Xander Schauffele finally claimed a trophy on Sunday at the PGA.

Schauffele made a birdie on the 72nd hole of the PGA Championship to win his first major golf championship, a feat that was starting to look more and more elusive with each passing season.

One of the good guys earned his wings on Sunday at Valhalla GC in Louisville.

It was great to see.

Schauffele, the record will show, didn't just hang on to win by a shot. Instead, he threw up a 7-birdie, 1-bogey round of 65 to hold off Bryson DeChambeau and Viktor Hovland, both of whom shared the final round lead at some point on Sunday afternoon.

DeChambeau bettered Schauffele's final round 65 by a shot, with a birdie at the 18th hole punctuating a closing 64.

Hovland had an 8-foot putt to tie DeChambeau at 20-under, but he badly missed that birdie effort and the next one, too, to finish in solo third at 18-under par.

Schauffele, meanwhile, was handed a lousy break on the 18th hole when his drive ended up a foot from a fairway bunker, giving him virtually no chance to get home in two on the par 5 finishing hole.

He then faced perhaps the most important decision and shot of his career.

Lay up with an 8 or 9 iron and leave yourself 100 yards to the hole?

Go for the green in two and risk losing your balance in the bunker and shanking the ball into the water that bordered the final 175 yards of the hole on the right?

"X" chose the gung-ho option, whisking a 4-iron out over the water and hooking it left of the green to a nice spot some 15 yards short of the putting surface. It won't make any highlight reels of the greatest shots ever hit, but it should receive strong consideration.

He then pitched the ball to six feet and was left with that putt for the title.

Prior to Sunday, Schauffele had finished in the top 10 in major championships on 12 separate occasions. The 30-year old was developing a characteristic no professional athlete wants attached to his/her pedigree: He couldn't finish the job.

A six foot putt would either loosen that albatross hanging around his neck or tighten it even more.

It's amazing how one moment in sports can change everything.

"I didn't hit the greatest putt," Schauffele said afterwards. "I was a bit confused about the break. I knew it was going left to right just a hair but I kept thinking to myself that it looked a shade right to left. I decided to just hit it in the middle."

The ball started on the inside left of the hole and stayed there. At the last second, it started to leak left. The ball caught the high left corner of the cup, reeled around the back part of the hole, and fell in.

Major championship won.

Albatross lifted.

Xander Schauffele was no longer the guy who "couldn't close the deal".

And there's now no telling what his career might do given he finally got that monkey off his back.

He's a gifted driver of the golf ball and a top 10 iron player in the world. His short game isn't the greatest, but he can make birdies in bunches when his putter cooperates like it did at Valhalla.

Scottie Scheffler is certainly a threat to capture the career grand slam.

Schauffele is as well.

Ardent #DMD readers will recall we had Schauffele winning at Augusta National in April. He finished T8 there, but once again surfaced at a major championship and earned another top 10 along the way.

Now that he's grabbed that brass ring, anything can happen.

He can win in April, May, June and July, which is all it takes in golf. The bet here is he wins another major title in 2024 or 2025.


PGA Championship Winners and Losers --

Loser: The golf course -- "Disaster" would be too strong, but Valhalla is quickly starting to prove unworthy of hosting a major championship. Traffic was chaotic all week. A man lost his life early Friday morning after being hit by a shuttle bus. Players had to abandon their cars and walk 2 miles to get into the property. Nothing improved over the weekend, either. The golf course itself provided for great drama, but it was simply far too easy for the best players in the world. Sure, rainy weather on Wednesday helped soften it up a bit, but the reality is 21-under to win a major is laughable. The PGA of America likely won't return there anytime soon.

Justin Thomas posted four straight rounds in the 60's for his best major finish since winning the 2022 PGA.

Winner: Justin Thomas -- He only finished one shot better than Rory at 13-under-par, but the outlook was 180 degrees different for J.T., who this time last year couldn't find a fairway with a GPS system. While he was never truly a threat to win at Valhalla, he produced four straight rounds in the 60's and ranked near the top of several statistical categories. And, for the first time in maybe two years, he "looked" like the old Justin Thomas. Smiling, hitting great shots, and looking like a guy who might someday soon return to the major championship winner's circle.

Loser: Rory McIlroy -- It's 10 years running now for McIlroy, who last one a major in 2014 at Valhalla. This time, though, he was primed to get back in the winner's circle. A week removed from a huge Sunday finish at the Wells Fargo, where he won for the fourth time, Rory got off to a 5-under start on Thursday and seemed ready to break that 10-year skid in majors. Alas, he didn't much from there, shooting 12-under for four days and a T12 finish. He didn't "awful" golf, obviously, but he needed a big weekend and couldn't produce one. The malady lingers on.

Winner: Bryson DeChambeau -- He didn't win, but his golf was outstanding. And he showed he can compete with his new, "return to college" body, as he called it. DeChambeau is still a total weirdo. He's playing something called "3D developed irons" and prattled on at length over the weekend about golf's linear capabilities and other bizarre lingo no one could understand. His putting stroke still looks like something your grandfather would employ at the par-3 course in Ocean City. But the guy is supremely talented and an incredible driver of the golf ball. Look out for him at Pinehurst next month.

Loser: CBS Sports -- I don't know all the ins-and-outs of how they choose their commentating crew, but a year into the Trevor Immelman experiment, it looks like CBS might have shanked that one. Immelman just doesn't have it. The 18th hole announcing spot isn't easy, that's for sure. Faldo was decent enough, but even he wasn't the answer. Johnny Miller (NBC) was the best of them all, but he hit too many nerves with some of his honesty. Why or how CBS settled on Immelman is unknown, but he's drab and dreary in a spot that calls for depth and conviction. The answer in that position is Brandel Chamblee of The Golf Channel, but it's unlikely CBS would be willing to hand the keys over to a controversial figure like him. At this point, anyone other than Immelman would be an upgrade.

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"Randy On The O's"


Randy Morgan takes #DMD readers through the recent week in Orioles baseball as the Birds try to win a second straight A.L. East title.


orioles week in review


Week Record: 3-2

Season Record: 29-15

AL East Standing: 2nd (2 GB NYY)

Player of the Week: Adley Rutschman .353 AVG 3 HR 5 RBI 1 BB

It was another light week for the Orioles with a rainout on Tuesday and an off day on Thursday. The Birds managed to make it a winning week, coming out ahead on Sunday to finish the week 3-2.

Despite the positive week the O’s lost ground on the streaking Yankees, who went undefeated on the week, sweeping through the Twins and the hapless White Sox to take a two game lead in the AL East (four in the win column, none in the loss column).

Although they’re second in the division, the O’s have the second best record in the American League and third best in MLB, with the Phillies the only other team with a better winning percentage.

Adley Rutschman hit .353 with 3 HR and 5 RBI to capture #DMD's "Player of the Week" honors.

The week opened with a tough 3-2 loss to the Blue Jays on Monday. It was another strong Corbin Burnes start where the offense let him down. Burnes went six innings giving up only a run, but Adley Rutschman’s two homers were the only Orioles offense and Daulton Varsho took Yennier Cano deep in the 8th inning before the Jays won in the 10th.

After a rainout on Tuesday, the O’s avoided yet another “sweep” on Wednesday when Adley Rutschman went deep with a high fly that just cleared the fence in right field for a walk-off two-run homer.

The only other offense was a leadoff homer from Jordan Westburg. In between, Kyle Bradish wasn’t quite as sharp in his third start back from injury, but he only gave up two runs and the bullpen kept a clean sheet for five innings to set up the walk off win.

Over the weekend, AL West leading Seattle came to town with one of the top pitching staffs in the league. You wouldn’t have known it on Friday, as the Orioles quickly jumped on Bryce Miller, with a Gunnar Henderson leadoff homer leading to a five-run 1st inning rally. John Means delivered another solid start, going six strong innings before the O’s padded the lead with a three-run 7th en route to a 9-2 win.

On Saturday Grayson Rodriguez returned from the Injured List to start and after a lengthy rain delay, he quickly quieted any questions about a rehab start. Rodriguez no-hit the Mariners into the 6th inning, finishing with six innings, one run and seven strikeouts.

Unfortunately two of the most reliable members of the bullpen blew the lead, with Danny Coulombe and Yennier Cano combining to allow four runs. A Gunnar homer in the 9th couldn’t spark a rally and the O’s fell 4-3.

The week ended on a winning note Sunday. After Corbin Burnes struck out the side in the first, Gunnar Henderson hit his second leadoff homer of the week and his league-leading 15th of the year. Burnes was spectacular in this one, striking out eleven and surrendering just one run in six innings.

This time he actually did get some run support as well, with a Ryan O’Hearn homer sparking a small rally in the 3rd inning to extend the lead to 5-1 and Cedric Mullins breaking out of his slump with two RBI singles.

Cole Irvin pitched two scoreless innings from the bullpen before Craig Kimbrel returned to the closer role, at least for the afternoon, and picked up an efficient save in a 6-3 win.

The stars shined for the Orioles this week, as the three candidates for Player of the Week were Gunnar Henderson, Adley Rutschman and Corbin Burnes. Henderson homered in each game in the Seattle series, batting .263 on the week with the three homers and four RBI.

Corbin Burnes led the staff with two stellar starts, throwing a combined twelve innings while giving up just two runs and striking out thirteen, finally getting some run support on Sunday.

However, the week belonged to Adley Rutschman. Despite getting a rest on Sunday, Rutschman hit three homers, batting .353 on the week with three straight multi-hit games to start the week, including the dramatic game winner on Wednesday.


Down on the Farm –

In Norfolk the lead news item was not positive. Hot-hitting prospect Coby Mayo looks like he’ll miss a few weeks with injured ribs after crashing into the dug out while chasing a foul pop up.

Mayo goes to the injured list as the International League leader in homers, but the injury will delay any impact he has on Baltimore this summer.

The news on the top prospect on the system was only slightly better. I managed to watch most of Jackson Holliday’s at-bats this week and he looks like he still has a lot to figure out in AAA. I’m starting to think he won’t be back in Baltimore until after the All-Star break at the earliest.

Holliday managed a home run earlier in the week, but in general he is lacking power, rolling over for a lot of weak ground balls to the right side of the infield, similar to his time in Baltimore.

He is walking more and striking out less, but he really needs to start driving the ball more consistently if he’s going to force his way back into the Orioles lineup. Right now, Coby Mayo, Heston Kjerstad and Connor Norby all look like more major-league ready bats.

Speaking of Kjerstad, he went back down to Norfolk and homered in his first at-bat. Then he capped the weekend off with a game-winning grand slam in the 12th inning on Sunday.

Top pitching prospect Cade Povich had another solid start on Saturday, throwing six innings with one earned run and eight strikeouts to run his season ERA to 2.08. While he doesn’t always look dominant, without top end velocity, Povich still leads the International League with 65 strikeouts in 47.2 innings pitched.

Down in AA Bowie there weren’t a ton of standouts, but 2022 draft pick Dylan Beavers continued a strong start to the season, batting .400 on the week with two homers to raise his season OPS to .890.

Beavers appears on his way to earn a midseason promotion to AAA and could soon be another option in a crowded O’s outfield.


Question of the Week –

How can the O’s optimize their roster for the stretch run?

At this point we are more than a quarter of the way through the season and it's pretty clear the Orioles will be competing for a division title once again, barring some major hiccup.

This team looks every bit as strong as the one that led the American League in wins last season. So the question becomes, where can the O’s make incremental improvements to stay ahead of the Yankees in the division race and ultimately get over the next hurdle in the playoffs.

Despite the struggles of a few veteran outfielders, the Orioles are among the top of the league in most offensive categories. Likewise, the starting rotation has been surprisingly effective, in spite of injuries to Bradish, Means and Rodriguez. The likes of Cole Irvin and Dean Kremer have outperformed expectations to round out one of the better rotations in the league.

The one area that has been a little shaky is the bullpen. Craig Kimbrel has disappointed after being brought in to replace Felix Bautista in the closer role.

Though he’s looked better since losing his hold on the 9th inning, it will be hard to trust Kimbrel fully for the rest of the season. Much of the rest of the bullpen has been up and down with even the most reliable options getting touched up here and there.

When stacked against their top contenders, this appears to be the one area the Orioles could make significant improvements. The next question is how to do that. Who might the Orioles part with to bring in more solid relief options?

Would they consider moving one of their veteran outfielders to make room for some of the talented rookies knocking on the door in Norfolk?

This would come with plenty of risk as they’ve seen several recent promotions have extended struggles in the transition to the majors. It's also hard to estimate the impact trading a player like Austin Hays or Anthony Santander would have on the mood in the clubhouse.

From a purely practical standpoint, Santander would make the most sense to move, since he is a free agent after the season and likely has the highest current value of the three as an impact bat.

You could easily imagine a trade where Santander brings back a solid if not spectacular back end bullpen piece. However, it seems fairly unlikely the team would move such an important veteran. It’s a lot easier to move a player like Connor Norby who hasn’t been with the team all season.

If it’s not one of the soon to be free agent veterans then which prospects might the Orioles be willing to part with? In a search for bullpen help there should be plenty of options towards the deadline, but finding the right fit can be a challenge.

The O’s don’t necessarily need a long term solution at closer, with Felix Bautista set to return in 2025. So they probably won’t mortgage the future.

Holliday is clearly untouchable in any trade and I imagine Coby Mayo and Samuel Basallo are as well. With the possible pending departures of Corbin Burnes and John Means next season, it's unlikely the front office would let go of top pitching prospects Cade Povich or Chayce McDermott.

My guess is Mike Elias and crew will look to deal from the system’s depth more than its top gems. Maybe if there is a really attractive option they could part with someone like Heston Kjerstad, but it would need to be a truly special reliever to give up years of team control of a promising power hitter.

Connor Norby is probably the next most likely player to headline a trade, but even he could have a valuable utility role on the team in the near future.

The team may look to make multiple lower profile moves to try to strike gold like they have several times before with relievers. Players like Dylan Beavers, Jud Fabian or Luis de Leon may be able to return some bullpen help with less certainty but still high upside.

The front office still has plenty of time to work through potential solutions, including testing out some of the internal options before making any desperate moves.

If recent history is any guide, they are unlikely to mortgage the future for a short term rental, especially after the acquisition of Jack Flaherty fell flat last season.


Bonus Question of the Week –

Why can’t the Orioles provide any updates or timeline to fans during rain delays?

This question comes from a personal experience this weekend. With an afternoon start on Saturday, my wife and I decided to take our two young children down to see the game.

I fully realize that any time you purchase tickets to an outdoor sporting event you are taking a risk that weather will scramble your plans and I monitored the iffy forecast all week contemplating exchanging the tickets for another game.

However the forecast ultimately looked decent enough and there wasn’t another good opportunity on the upcoming schedule to get the whole family to the game, so we stuck with the plan.

As we left our house on Saturday to head downtown, the forecast looked promising, it seemed the rain would mostly stop in the early afternoon. Now I’m fully aware that the Orioles can’t control the weather and that they need to make the best decision for the health of the players.

However, what the Orioles can control is their communication with their fans, especially those who paid money to be in the stadium.

When we arrived there was no more than a drizzle for over an hour and yet the game was delayed with no more information than that. There was no indication of when the game may start or how long we might have to wait.

I’m sure such a data-driven organization as the Orioles must have a pretty good idea of the time they hope to start the game when they decide to delay the start in totally playable conditions.

So why do they refuse to provide any update to the fans? The only conclusion that really makes any sense is that they just want to hold everyone captive to sell more highly marked up concessions.

Which, if so, is hopefully one of the last remnants of the budget-driven approach of the John Angelos era that will soon be rectified.

If the delay had been merely twenty or thirty minutes that would be one thing, but we ended up sitting in the stands (under cover thankfully) with our two small children for almost two hours before finally calling it and heading home without seeing a pitch and having spent more than the ticket prices on concessions.

The game finally started about the time we got back home and started putting the kids to bed. To their credit, the Orioles are offering to exchange the tickets for a weekday game later in the season (that isn’t blacked out). Which is something, although not quite the same as the Saturday afternoon game we paid for.

Ultimately, if the Orioles had just been more honest with their communication and given the hint that the game may not start for several hours, we would have left much earlier with some mild disappointment, but not wasted our time and left somewhat infuriated at the lack of respect.

Perhaps Drew can shed some more light on this, having been on the team side of the equation at one point. But it just seems like a complete lapse from an organization who has been getting most things right this season.

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Sunday
May 19, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3558


it's tough to repeat


Two greats failed in their bid to repeat on Saturday.

A great horse.

And a great golf team.

I'll focus mainly on the one you all care more about. Mystik Dan failed in his effort to capture the Preakness yesterday, coming up just short on a muddy Pimlico track.

Seize the Grey was the winner.

And my Calvert Hall golf team also fell on a muddy track of sorts, as we failed in our bid to win back-to-back MIAA championships, losing to St. Paul's, 14.5 to 6.5 at Mountain Branch.

There were some other funny similarities.

Seize the Grey led wire to wire yesterday to hold off Derby winner Mystik Dan at the Preakness.

Seize the Grey led wire to wire, which is not something you often see in the Triple Crown series. It wasn't easy for anyone to make up ground on the eventual winner, even though Mystik Dan closed the gap late.

Calvert Hall fell behind early, too, just like Mystik Dan. But we rallied along the midway point before we eventually ran out of time.

I saw this last night from the trainer of Mystik Dan: "My colt's a fantastic colt. I'm proud of him," Kenny McPeek said. "It just wasn't his day, but he'll live to race again."

And it was almost surreal. Because a couple of hours earlier, I had said the exact same thing to my team as we gathered for a moment of appreciation and reflection next to the 12th green.

"You young men are a fantastic team and I'm proud of you. It just wasn't our day. But we'll be back here again."

I'm sure McPeek had a few minutes to quickly try to figure out what wrong with his Derby champion. Did the track bother him? Was there anything the jockey could have done? Or did he simply get outrun?

As I said to my team after the match, "I don't need to do a full autopsy on what just happened. I'd rather just talk about what a great season we had and how great these last two years have been."

The reality is it just wasn't our day. We didn't make enough birdies. The margin for error at the level of golf we play in the MIAA is very thin. If you fall behind a couple of holes, it's hard to make it up against quality players like our opponents featured on Saturday.

Last year when we beat the same team in the championship match at Hayfields, all the big moments went our way. Yesterday, nearly all of the big moments went against us. The other team is trying, too.

I would have really enjoyed seeing Mystik Dan win yesterday, providing a nice 3-week build-up to the Belmont and a potential Triple Crown winner in 2024. Alas, Seize the Grey wouldn't let that happen.

Based on what I read and saw online, the Preakness "event" yesterday matched the weather in Balwmer -- drab and dreary.

"No activity in the infield."

"It's dead in the infield."

"Doesn't feel like the Preakness."

Now, obviously, I wasn't there. So I'm just going off of social media posts and pictures.

And the entire event at Pimlico on the 3rd Saturday in May is "make or break" based largely on the weather. It's an outdoor activity, obviously. If it's dreary and drizzly, a lot fewer people are going to wake up and say, "Let's go to Pimlico."

The other thing no one likes to talk about at parties is that Maryland Jockey Club officials aren't all that worried about getting the great unwashed to come out to the Preakness.

It isn't that they don't care about the attendance. It's about who they want there.

They'd rather just sell at $80,000 tent for the day then worry about getting 2,000 people to buy a $50 ticket to get in.

And in the end, what the Jockey Club really wants is for people to gamble on the races.

That's why we've seen less and less marketing over the years and a smaller degree of emphasis on the attendance and a larger emphasis on "the handle".

It's not the Jockey Club's fault that the weather was lousy on Saturday. They deal with the weather as it comes. And, for all we know, there were people who bought infield tickets in advance, saw the rain forecast and the drizzle on Saturday morning, and simply said, "I'm not going out there in that weather. It's only 50 bucks. Who cares?"

The race itself? That was a winner.

Seize the Grey was fantastic and the Derby winner came calling late to make it very interesting.

There won't be a Triple Crown this year, which is a bummer. But there's always next year.

There also won't be a repeat golf champion in the MIAA A-Conference, either, and that's a bummer. At least to me. But there's always next year.


Is this finally the day Xander Schauffele wins that elusive major championship? Once again, he's right there with 18 holes to go. But can he finish the job?

Schauffele doesn't own the lead outright heading into today. He shares it with Collin Morikawa at 15-under-par. But he's once again presented himself with an incredible opportunity to shed a large monkey off of his back.

Shane Lowry sits just two shots behind Xander Schauffele and Colin Morikawa heading into today's final round of the PGA Championship.

The 30-year old San Diego native has 12 -- yes, 12 -- top 10 finishes in major championships since 2017. He finished 8th in this April's Masters. If he's not the best player in the world without a major golfing title, who is?

But it's not going to be easy for him today.

Morikawa has been there with him almost shot-for-shot over the last two days. And he does have a major championship pedigree, with two of them to his credit (PGA and British Open).

This won't be Schauffele's last brush with a major if he doesn't win today. But this is probably the one that is either going to relieve all the pressure that's built up or turn it up to a level that might start being uncomfortable.

I won't go quite as far as calling this "career defining" today. But this is a massively important round of golf for Xander Schauffele.

People in golf don't like to use the word "choke" very much. In Schauffele's case in particular, it's kind of laughable to call a guy a "choker" who has 7 PGA Tour wins, an Olympic gold medal, and has been a stalwart on both Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams. You don't do those things without having incredible talent.

But major championships do funny things to people.

Just ask Greg Norman. He shoulda, coulda, woulda won 10 of them. Instead, he won 2.

Ask Colin Montgomerie. Or Lee Westwood. Or Ian Poulter. They were three of Europe's best players of the last 50 years. Not a major title between them.

Ask guys in the U.S. like Kuchar, Fowler and, yes, Schauffele. No majors between them, either.

Sahith Theegala is lurking, too. He's at -14. Theegala is a supremely talented player that we've been bragging about here at #DMD for the last three years. Today might be his day, who knows? But if Theegala doesn't pull it off, no one is going to say anything about his inability to close the deal.

Schauffele needs to win today.

Shane Lowry, Bryson DeChambeau and Viktor Hovland are just two back at 13-under par. Hovland doesn't have a major yet. Lowry and DeChambeau both do. Hovland almost withdrew last week because his golf swing is under repair. But here he is, with a chance to win as well.

This is going to be a wild final day at Valhalla. One for the ages, perhaps.

The only bummer, speaking of winning all the big ones, is that Scottie Scheffler's bid to win all four majors in one year is 98% done after he posted an unthinkable OVER PAR round on Saturday (73). Scheffler sits at 7-under par. He's the best player in the world and all, but even he can't pull himself out of this dilemma.

I'm pulling for Schauffele today even though I have a nice investment on Morikawa. Either way, I'm good. But for his sake, I'd love to see Schauffele finally come through on a Sunday and get that monkey off his back.

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#dmd comments








HERMAN     June 20
Baltimore fans calling the O's announcers homers? Have you listened to that fool Gerry Sandusky call a Ravens game? There is no one more biased than that man. He's terrible. But I get it, he's paid by the Ravens so he has to be biased. That is what's happening with the O's announcers. Give it a break.

George     June 20
Jon Miller could make a rain delay enjoyable!

Chris in Bel Air     June 20
“There were a couple of balls up and in. It’s part of it. They like to throw in.”

The stats I'm viewing shows the Yankees are 3rd in the league for most hit batters with 42. O's are 3rd from bottom at 24. Who likes to throw in, Aaron? Smh

Paul from Towson     June 20
@Randy, thanks for the stats on that, and I think you're right. Compared with last year, their current rankings probably seem a lot worse than they are. I also think it has to do with when these situations come up and how effective the O's are in late game/high leverage RISP circumstances. Also, who is coming up in these spots. Guys like O'Hearn, Rutschman, and Mountie always seem to deliver, while guys like Hays, Cowser, and (I hate saying it) Mullins (except for last night) seem to drag that average down.



Also, as a kid, listening to Jon Miller on the radio, and Chuck and Brooks on the TV side are some of the most pleasant memories of my childhood. Angelos running Jon Miller out of town should still be one of the top 3 sins of his ownership.

rc     June 20
How many times are we gonna do this? EVERY team in MLB pays its own announcers to BE homers! Yet we're gonna whine about it when the O's do it? Newsflash, Palmer is also a homer. Every call against the O's his first utterance is "oh no no no....", then they watch the replay and it's "ok maybe he did swing" or "maybe he was out".

I respect Cake's knowledge, but face it, when announcing, he's a cheerleader too. It is more palatable coming from a HOF player as opposed to a "sideline reporter" like Hollander. Hollander is a younger version of local "generic announcer" Tom Davis. These guys are doing high school fashion shows one night, then calling a game the next night. Why? One can only assume its because they do it for cheapo, and in the case of last night, on short notice. Melanie Newman in the same category. She's oh with her telling stories role, but for play by play, I agree with Such, she is beyond bad, just like most of her coworkers.

JeffWell     June 20
@UTB- I remember all of those great "once upon a time" broadcasters that you mentioned and the great calls as well. In those days you got most games via radio and those guys made it almost seem like you were there.

TimD in Timonium     June 20
"Whenever two of the best teams in baseball play in the same division, their battles have that much higher stakes. That heightened energy was felt Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, especially after Aaron Judge was hit by a pitch on his left hand in the third inning of the Yankees’ 4-2 win over the Orioles. The stoic Judge marched halfway between Orioles starter Albert Suarez and first base while shaking his head. Aaron Judge was not happy with the pitch that hit him on the hand. "Definitely pissed,” Judge said about the pitch. “There were a couple of balls up and in. It’s part of it. They like to throw in.” - NY Post, June 19th



Oh, the drama. Can't stand these guys. Go O's!


Randy     June 20
Some context on hitting with RISP:

O's are 9th in batting average (.266) and 7th in OPS (.801), so in the top 3rd of the league. The Yanks are 5th and 3rd respectively.



The Orioles were 1st in both categories last year, so that is probably why it seems bad by comparison.

Unitastoberry     June 20
@Steve of Pimlico



Chuck Thompson is a HOFer. Jon Miller will be if not already. O'Donnell famous for the call with DeCinces walk off homer with Eckman going nuts. Tom Marr called Tippy retiring the side at first base with pick off plays. All better than current guys. Thorn was good I even liked Mel Procter. Tom Davis gets honorable mention with Jim Carvellis. Great memories.

Jason M     June 20
Rutschman is the MAN. That throw out in the 10th was so pivotal. The throw was just a thing of beauty - a laser beam on a dime at 127 feet. What a stone cold stellar performance to completely remove the Yankee momentum at that crucial moment.

Steve of Pimlico     June 20
I remember when Bill O'Donnell,Tom Marr and Jim Hunter were not considered top notch

They are HOFers compared to this current crop .

Mark.S in PH     June 20
@Paul all great points on last night's game, especially on Hay's AB, it was terrible. Agree on Verdugo, he's a jerk, made me chuckle! I like Palmer and Ben when they are doing the color! Get well Jim.



I have often wondered why can't the website add a "Like" or "thumbs-up, thumbs-down" button on the reader's posts?



Go O's!

Regular Joe     June 20
I have to pile on Hyde a bit, albeit a great win. Hyde will need to be better for us to win it all. O'Hearn is a better hitter than Hays and has a way better idea of the strike zone. I don't care if a great lefty is on the mound (and that Yankee guy was not close to great). Hays is from the old regime hitting approach-wise and has no clue what to do if the first pitch isn't a hittable fastball.



And Hyde just can't be pulling relievers after 20 pitches in the 5th inning - Webb is unfortunately now one of the better options.



Also very happy for Urias - he will be very important for us.




Pratt     June 20
FINALLY! Someone finally calls out Brown for his pompous attitude. The Orioles NEVER EVER do anything wrong according to that guy. Like you said Hollender was just in there because Palmer wasn't but Brown should rise above that.

Chris in Bel Air     June 20
@JWW- Thanks for the correction. After I typed it I couldn't remember if it was 2012 or 2104.

@Such- Don't you know that nobody is supposed to question or mess with the precious Yankees? Only they know what it right and just in the baseball world. Didn't you know that MLB really just sets up the entire season for the enjoyment of the Yankees and their fans? We're all just passengers in the journey and we should be grateful if they let the other team win. Their level of narcissism and self-infatuation is mind-numbing.

Adam     June 20
Completely agree MFC but add closer and right handed bat to the list. The Os announcers were right that we dont hit guys in general but we clearly threw at Judge and I would've done the same. But there was no need to yammer on all night about how Os would never do such a thing. Somewhere Armando beanball Benitez had a hearty chuckle. But this is same Yankees phonies that watched Sabathia break bone in Markakis hand so they can kick rocks

KVVfromSP     June 20
Speaking of pathetic announcers , how about the announcer at Camden Yards …..makes my skin crawl every time she announces a batter.

MFC     June 20
Baustista, Means, Wells, Bradish, is something in the "hydration station" water? With those guys we're definitely the best team in baseball. Without them it's going to be a struggle. Sorry but Tate, Webb, Suarez and Kimbrel just aren't doing it for me. I'm of the opinion a move for a pitcher has to be made and possibly two pitchers.



Catholic League HOF dinner tonight. Calipari is the headline speaker. Lots of great stories to be told this evening. Looking forward to catching up with old friends.

JWW     June 20
@CHRIS - I was going to bring that up as I totally agree with you. It was actually September 2012, not 2014 when Sabathia plunked Markakis. The magical winning season that culminated in an ALDS loss to those same Bombers. I felt so bad for Nick - all the years of losing came to a spectacular end and he had to sit that playoff run out.



F the Yankees indeed.

lou@palo alto     June 20
Paul makes many gd pts. Hays has regressed in his strike zone awareness--it's even worse than Mateo's and he has actually improved. Elias will hv decisions re the 3 outfielders and my bet is Hays is gone w Mullins & Santander offered deals but there are lots of moving parts here w pitching needs and many gd young players knocking on the door

Paul from Towson     June 20
Teams tend to emulate their manager. The Yankees are whiny, soft, arrogant cry baby punks. Just like their garbage manager. Brandon Hyde has the Orioles focused on winning baseball games, not the childish nonsense like bean ball wars or dugout sniping.

Tom J     June 20
The Yankees whining is comical. They are third in MLB with 48 hit batters. They may want to get pissed at their own guys before anyone else. Gunnar was intentional last night so thanks dummies for putting the run difference in the game on base. BTW, their catcher totally sucks. They need to run on this guy every single time on base. Nine steals Sunday vs Boston and four last night. Pathetic......

such     June 20
DR, you're spot on. Soto had no business doing that. It sure seemed intentional. Just like the pitch that Gunnar got drilled with last night. That was clearly an attempt to pay back the Orioles for Judge getting hit. But did anyone else notice that Saurez couldn't throw a strike Tuesday night? I'm not sure there was much intention when he plunked Judge.

I like Kevin Brown, I really do, but sometimes you have to call it like you see it. He tried way too hard last night to excuse the Gunnar HBP as unintentional. I think if Palmer or McDonald had been in the booth, there would've been a different take on the whole situation. It's times like that when it's good to have a former pro alongside you. Their perspective is based on their experience on the field.

If you think the MASN guys are bad, just try listening to the radio when Melanie is doing her version of "play-by-play". Brings a whole new level to the definition of dreadful.

Speaking of play-by-play, there's a beautiful video tribute to Willie Mays that the Giants released yesterday narrated by Jon Miller. Man, do I miss that guy. You can find it on YouTube.



As always, F the Yankees.

Paul from Towson     June 20
Yes, it's June. Yes, there's still 89 of these games remaining. But a loss last night might as well have been 2 losses. This was one of those "defining" games, for lack of a better term where the O's once again pulled defeat from the jaws of victory, to only then pull victory from the jaws of defeat. If this game is against the White Sox in mid-April or mid-May, it sucks, but you chalk it up to "there's 10 or 15 of 'those games'" every season. But when you blow a 5-1 lead, in Yankee Stadium, in late-June when less than 3 games separates these teams...that's as big of a loss as any can be in June. And crushes any momentum heading into today's matinee. Coupled with the fact that my dead grandmother would have been a better pinch hit option than Hays, and the Orioles left a small village on the bases last night. By the way, I keep saying it, if the O's don't win the World Series this year, or at least don't make an extended playoff run, it will be because they just can't hit with runners in scoring position. Minus Alex Verdugo's great catch (I hate that SOB, but credit given on that, Santander smoked that ball) over the past month, the O's have been terrible when they get a runner to second with less than two outs. Bases loaded in the 9th, one out, you HAVE to push across a run there. All Hays has to do is make contact and Mateo scores as long as Hays doesn't hit into an inning ending double play. He's terrible, and he while I get the logic of why Hyde pinch hit for O'Hearn there, Hays looked like a little leaguer against a guy with a 5.00+ ERA who just loaded the bases. Can't have that in big game situations. You HAVE to make contact. And Kimbrel had been very good recently, but I was never comfortable with him inheriting a one run lead. Going into the bottom of the ninth, I was just hoping he only gave up one and was able to get the O's back up in the 10th.



All in all, in the end it was a great team win. I love Ceddie and it was awesome to see him finally come through in the clutch. Also, I thought that except for the walks, Povich acquitted himself quite nicely for his first time in Yankee Stadium.



As far as Kevin Brown/Bren Hollander last night, I agree with Drew's assessment, but ANYTHING is better than the garbage we suffered through during Kevin's recent hiatus. Brad Brach should NEVER be allowed anywhere near the broadcast booth again, and the Geoff Arnold (insert name here) team was minor league/amateur hour-ish in my opinion. Just my thoughts. GO O's!!!!!

lou@palo alto     June 20
hope Palmer recovers quickly--covid no joke at his age. Haven't seen commentary on Stanton's game tying single--Kimbrel did his job and got him to hit the ball directly at Urias, just that the Yanks had an unusual hit and run on with the runner on 2nd going. Urias vacated his position to cover third--otherwise its an out if not a double play w the runner going rite toward him

Chris in Bel Air     June 20
Agree with @David R and yes, this retaliation business is bush league. Also, while the O's announcers are huge homers I do agree with their take on the ump and was surprised he didn't issue a warning after Gunnar was drilled. I hope he goes 4/4 today with a HR on the way to an O's win. Any of these holier than thou Yankee fans remember their team drilling Markakis and breaking his hand before the 2014 playoffs? No need to answer.

Unitastoberry     June 20
Mays military service most likely kept him from getting to Ruths 714 RIP



MASN is outta my price range so I'll take your word for it on the tv call. Do the Orioles have a senior citizen MASN inflation discount?



Six innings a game on average for starting pitchers and a 5 man rotation they still blow out the armS left and right. Don't tell me it's because they throw harder. Do they have robots who do surgery on MLB pitchers yet? Orioles had 4 twenty game winners in 1971 not one lost to Tommy John surgery which was not even invented until 1974. This is like the NFL adding games but still caring about CTE. 18 coming soon. Now there's talk of a seperate QB salary cap. All this NIL money still can't buy Maryland a football national championship. Some thngs never change at U of DC.



One thing I still enjoy from the past is hating on the Yankees.Spoiled rotten bums as usual.



Well I gotta go my 1972 Gand Torino needs service and my Get off my Lawn sign is missing.

David Rosenfeld     June 20
All of this (whatever it is) started with Soto. There was simply no reason for him to make contact with Westburg in that situation. It was weird and displayed a lack of understanding of the rules at least. Second time this season he's been called for it. Bias aside, he's kind of a punk. I know he's got a 1.023 OPS and hits the living snot out of the ball, but odds are he's on his 4th team next season at age 26.

With bias...I feel like the Yankees are sort of acting like a team that's accomplished something. I'm trying to figure out what that is exactly besides being in first place in June.

TimD     June 20
Agree with your take on the O's announcers' comments. Absolutely "homer" mentality. "Our team would never do that!"



Hotel warm coffee is the worst!

Bob Miller     June 20
Consider me Team Kevin Brown. He’s entertaining and engaging.

Jason S.     June 20
I love Elias but the Kimbrel signing was a whiff. That guy sucks. Move on and find someone to close games before we get bit in the playoffs.

Cal     June 20
You're just now turning down the sound when Brown is doing the play by play? I've been doing that for two years. Turn down the sound and listen to the radio side of it. Brown is more of a homer than Hunter ever was and that's saying something.



Maybe it goes back to being suspended last year but the O's can do no wrong ever, as you pointed out.

Frank     June 20
Hollander is terrible. I agree last night was a bad look for both KB and Hollander. They sounded like school girls who got turned down by two handsome football players.

As for the game itself, Hyde is very lucky they won. I hear you about the stats and data numbers but O'Hearn has to bat there in the 9th inning. Bringing in Hays cold off the bench in that situation was stupid.

Too bad Gray-Rod doesn't pitch today or someone from the Yanks would take one in the ribs.

Delray RICK     June 20
PALMER has COVID AGAIN!!!

rc     June 20
This GM guy must be angling for a member/guest invite lol.

Kevin     June 19
Streets are saying Jeremy and Drew are taking over 10-2 show on the Fan starting July 29.

GM     June 19
When does DMD flip flop Billy? Examples?

Billy     June 19
@John, #DMD flip flops often lol.

George     June 19
@Howard -- Tough question, and one I don’t have a defensible answer to. I am struck by the fact that in many cases – art, battlefield photography, clandestine industrial videography, the gravamens of whistleblowers’ and kneeling athletes’ complaints – we (the people) tend to find fault with and condemn the messenger and fail to act on the wrong he or she has brought to light. I guess there is a fine line between right and wrong in the methods used to expose stuff, but I’ve no clue where that line is. Seems that there has to be offense at the method before anyone bothers to look at the wrong, and sometime the offense is so great, the wrong is never considered at all.

John L.     June 19
Does PA actually read what DF writes? DF made it very clear he's still anti Saudis today didn't he?



"Alas, he's also a guy who joined a rival league and accepted money from creeps who have not been friendly to our country and who continue to walk a very fine line when it comes to human rights issues. I made my bed on that situation early on and I'm very comfortable sleeping in it."

Howard     June 19
Great article by George but 1 picture too many. I think that the picture “Adult Movies” is pornography. The naked human body is a beautiful thing that has been celebrated in art for millennia, but I think this picture crossed the line into smut. I wouldn’t want my grandchildren to see this and I wonder if anyone

would be comfortable showing this to their family members who are minors.


J.K.     June 19
According to Bruce Cunningham, our very own DF is doing radio today on 105.7 from 12-3 pm. Is that correct?

pa     June 19
If I might clarify my comments too: it seems at the start of LIV, DMD was writing off each individual golfer who signed up for LIV (ala "dead to me"). At the time I suggested it was more of a "golf" thing, not a "Saudi" thing. Unfortunately, the Saudis (and China, Russia, et al) have their financial tentacles in a lot of entities that Americans support. So that in itself really is not unique to LIV. Now the format: pay for play, teams, shotguns, 54 holes etc, are all bastardizations of real tournament golf. In that vein, I am 100% with the DMD take on LIV.

Just never understand why DMD seemed to be making it all about Saudis and individual US players taking "their" money. Maybe I misunderstood, or maybe DMD has somewhat backed off the Saudi angle. Either way, as it was clarified today, I agree with the current DMD take on LIV guys. I'm sure we'll both root hard for BAD should he be on the Ryder Cup squad.

lou@palo alto     June 19
Palmer collapse in '66 Open at Olympic was a transition to a new era.He was 36 and never won another major--my long post from 2 d ago cldnt clear the robot--fyi

lou@palo alto     June 19
great column, George. My sister was '64 Parkville and me '66 City so lots of memories jogged--thx

Paul from Towson     June 19
Well said Such. Willie Mays is a once in a millennium individual. More than baseball, more than stats. His loss will extend beyond baseball, into the fiber of America. The world is a little less of a beautiful place now that he is gone.

such     June 19
I took some time last night to peruse the lifetime statistics of Willie Mays. It's as if every category you would want from a player came to life. I kept shaking my head in disbelief.

He stands alone as the only player in history to collect over 3,000 hits, 600 homeruns, 500 doubles, 100 triples and 300 stolen bases. He played in 24 (!) All Star Games. Oh, he also missed almost two full seasons when he was 22 and was drafted during the Korean War.

My only memory of Mays was seeing him on the Mets during the 1973 season. I was a very young boy, but even then I knew that Willie Mays was a legend. All I had to do was ask anyone who knew anything about baseball, which was basically everyone in America.

Icon is defined as "A person or thing widely admired, especially for having great influence or significance in a particular sphere." I like how the word sphere is used here, since a baseball is spherical.

Willie Mays was an American Icon.

Dan     June 19
Need to pull out a game or two vs Yanks since we didn't exactly line up our best starters for this series.

Steve of Pimlico     June 19
I have always loved Mr.Voshell's paintings and murals.He was our Grant Wood .

The Os have their weakest pitchers starting in this series so if they drop 3 it's not the end of the world.October will be very interesting.

Scottmann     June 19
Drew,

I'm surprised you didn't mention Jack Nicklaus as one of the classiest, and most gracious losers of all-time. Jack finished second in a record 19 majors, and always shook the winners hand.

Saturday
May 18, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3557


rain, rain go away


Well, Scottie Scheffler certainly has a story to share with his new son, Bennett, at some point down the road, huh?

"So, son, you see there was this traffic back-up..."

In one of the great misunderstandings in the history of misunderstandings, Scottie Scheffler was arrested on Friday morning after a police officer believed Scheffler was disobeying his signal not to use the median to avoid entering the grounds at Valhalla GC in Louisville, Kentucky.

Scheffler, though, was only doing what the PGA of America told the players they had been approved by the Louisville police to do; namely, avoid a traffic back-up at the course by using the median to bypass the long line of cars and get to the course and their tee-time on time.

"So Scottie, tell me about that Friday at the PGA Championship in 2024. You remember, don't you? The one where you shot 66."

Anyway, no sense in going through everything that happened. The Louisville police overreacted, obviously, and Scheffler was hauled into jail, processed, and then released. He'll appear in court this Tuesday, where most or all of those charges will be dropped and the whole thing will be a distant, odd, memory.

But it was a wild start to an interesting day at Valhalla, for sure.

Scheffler, defying the human condition, shrugged off the arrest, the mug shot and all that goes with it and shot a 2nd round 66 to stay in the hunt at 9 under par, just three shots behind midway leader Xander Schauffele.

Tiger Woods, to no one's surprise, is headed home early after a second round 77 left him at +7 for the two days. Woods has some golf game left, of course, but not nearly enough to compete any longer. He's pretty much now "just another player", which is part and parcel of never really playing golf tournaments any longer.

The leaderboard is littered with interesting names well within striking distance.

Collin Morikawa, a #DMD pre-tournament pick, is at -11 after rounds of 66-65. Morikawa already has one PGA title in his career and clearly finds Valhalla to his liking. If you're looking to sprinkle some weekend money on a guy in the top 10 right now, you could do a lot worse than Morikawa. Other than Scheffler, I'd consider him the favorite to win after 36 holes.

Sahith Theegala is at 10-under par and looking like a guy who is primed and ready to break through, as a lot of people have suspected he might do in 2024. He's a big, powerful guy with an incredible short game. He is also worth investing on today if you're the wagering type.

The golf tournament is wide open. With Schauffele at 12-under, the reasonable expectation is that he's going to set the pace at something around 18-under par by Sunday afternoon. That leaves anyone currently at 6-under par with a realistic chance of getting to that figure with rounds of 65-65 on the weekend.

Truth of the matter, as Schauffele showed on Thursday with his 62, someone could do something dramatic on the weekend like 64-62. In the event that's possible, even the guys all the way back at 4 under have a chance.

But the guess here is that the 6-unders or better are the only ones who really have a chance at this point.

It's very much still Scottie Scheffler's tournament to lose, despite the 5-shot head start he gave Schauffele on Thursday. He birdied his first hole yesterday after doing some light stretching in his jail cell just 90 minutes earlier, a notation on his bubble gum card in the future that no one else could ever author.

Scheffler is simply so much better at golf -- right now -- than anyone else, it's not even fair. As a lot of national golf folks are starting to realize, this, what we're seeing now, is precisely the way Tiger played when he was at his zenith. And truth of the matter, as the stat nerds are also discovering, is that Scheffler's ball striking in 2023-2024 is actually far superior to what Woods produced 25 years ago.

It was a crazy Friday.

Saturday might not be as newsworthy, but it's going to be memorable just the same.

Oh, and the PGA of America will never again return to Valhalla for a major championship of this kind. We'll tackle that part of the story sometime next week.

For now...let's stick to golf.


The Preakness is upon us and I know you're so excited you can't see straight.

I'm so pumped up I'm actually going to make a race prediction for you.

Alas, I wouldn't be taking out a loan to use my wagering advice. Horse racing ain't my thing any longer.

Bob Baffert (right) brings "Imagination" to Pimlico today for the 2024 Preakness.

There was a time, 15 years ago or so, where I was into "the horses" on a somewhat serious scale. But, like almost everyone else in Maryland, I lost interest for whatever reason.

I still try to stay "keen" on the ponies in May and June because the Triple Crown series is still, I think, supremely important in our national sports landscape.

But I'd be fibbing if I said I follow horse racing like I once did.

That said...

Say bye-bye to the Triple Crown in 2024. Mystik Dan doesn't get it done today at Old Hilltop.

Bob Baffert and Imagination are headed to the winner's circle, fighting off the Derby champion and a late, spirited run from two others.

We're going with the 9-8 exacta of Imagination and Tuscan Gold, with #5 Mystik Dan hitting the board in third.

Selfishly, we hope we're wrong and Mystik Dan comes out on top to make the Belmont worth watching in three weeks at Saratoga.

But our money today goes on Bob Baffert and Frank Dettori.


On a personal note, my Calvert Hall golf team plays for the MIAA A-Conference title today at 1 pm at Mountain Branch.

It's the first time since 1996-97 that the Cardinals have appeared in back-to-back championship matches, a fact we're extremely proud of in an wildy competitive A-Conference. We finished 9-3 a year ago, then defeated Loyola and St. Paul's (today's opponent as well) in the playoffs to earn the 2023 crown.

We compiled the identical record in 2024 -- 9-3 -- and went undefeated at home (7-0) for the second straight year, another "first" for Calvert Hall golf. The program has never once won 14 consecutive home matches. We made it a goal at the outset of 2024 to not lose at Hillendale CC and we fulfilled that quest with a 6-0 regular season and a playoff win over Mount Saint Joseph on Thursday.

Today is for all the marbles.

But, really, it isn't.

At least I don't think it is.

Sure, you want to win the title. That's the goal.

But the reality is you measure seasons like the one we had by the totality of it. The journey is what makes the year "great", "good" or "disappointing".

If you started every season by saying, "If we don't win the championship this year, the season is a complete bust", you'd have a whole bunch of busted, disappointing seasons.

It's really hard to win, especially when you have so many talented programs competing for only four playoff spots.

We're ready for today's challenge. We split with our opponent during the regular season. We've seen the golf course enough over the last couple of weeks to have a nice feel for it.

It might help that I was a member at Mountain Branch for 12 years. I can't hit shots for anyone, obviously, but I do know some nuances about the place that a lot of other people playing today might not.

In the end, the team that plays the better golf today will win.

I believe we're set up to play great golf today.

If that's good enough, that's awesome.

If it's not, we'll look back on this year with an incredible amount of pride.

Get the rain gear out and let's go.

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Friday
May 17, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3556


friday quick hits


Good morning and let me be the first to remind you: The Preakness is, in fact, tomorrow.

Please don't rush to your calendars. It's true. The race is tomorrow.

Eight horses will run in the race. That's probably another fact you didn't know. One of them is Mystik Dan, the Kentucky Derby winner from two weeks ago.

The Derby remains horse racing's version of the Daytona 500. It's the king of kings, horse racing wise. The Preakness and Belmont are just add-ons.

There was a time, back in what we jokingly (?) call "the good old days" when the Preakness mattered in these here parts. But there was also a time when they had horse racing regularly at Pimlico and "lovely Larrr-elll" as Charley Eckman called it.

Heck, you might be old enough to remember people like Jack Dawson, Vince Bagli and John Buren actually reading the race results from the 6th, 7th and 8th races on their nightly sportscasts. Yes indeed, that really did happen.

I've written here for quite some time that the Preakness has lost its luster. I'm not telling you anything you don't know, of course. Unless you're either just refusing to talk about the truth or you've been in a cave, you know that's true.

The Preakness was, at one time, the biggest day of the year in Baltimore.

In fact, the week of the Preakness was the biggest week of the year in Baltimore.

Now, it's just a horse race on the third Saturday in May that a lot of people bet on, but the community at large has mostly shunned.

I say it's mostly about marketing.

There is none to speak of, frankly.

Some folks -- here and elsewhere -- feel like the race and the track are simply collateral damage from a city that has long ago ruptured and is still bleeding. I guess there's validity in that. But I still think the event can be salvaged, damaged city or not.

It's simply not marketed properly. Plain and simple.

But let's table that discussion for the next two days and just look at the eight horses in the race.

Can Mystik Dan pull off a second straight win and head to Saratoga in three weeks with a chance to win the Belmont and the Triple Crown?

We'll tell you tomorrow here at #DMD.


You might recall a couple of weeks ago Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel was suspended for two weeks and ordered not to cover the WNBA's Indiana Fever team in person after a too-close-for-comfort press conference exchange with their new star player, Caitlin Clark.

The reaction of the newspaper was almost assuredly "too much", but as my friend Glenn Clark and a couple of other people in the business have since opined, there's a chance it was the Indiana team who -- ahem -- suggested to the newspaper that perhaps Doyel should be removed from having access to Clark, and the team, if the newspaper wanted to continue having a decent relationship with the franchise.

Caitlin Clark was just 2-for-8 from the field in her home debut last night, scoring 9 points in Indiana's loss to New York.

That seems like the kind of thing an organization might do if they were looking to flex their muscles a bit. Clark and some others are quick to point out they don't know anything concrete, but there are reasons to connect the dots and assume it was the team who politely -- but firmly -- urged the newspaper to consider not having Doyel in Clark's presence for a while.

A number of respected national media members suggested Doyel should have threatened to quit the newspaper if they did, in fact, ban him from covering the games live and in person. But the man has children in college. And he has to eat. And there's a mortgage to pay.

Meanwhile, Doyel authored a column earlier this week after Indiana's season opening road loss to Connecticut and people in town were flummoxed and outraged at his continued coverage of the team and Ms. Clark.

The newspaper quickly reminded everyone: Doyel is allowed to "write" about the team and their new star player. He can cover the team from the comfort of his home. He's just not allowed to attend games in person and/or cover team events in person.

This is what you get from an overreaction.

Banning Doyel from covering the team because of fairly benign comment made to Clark in a public setting was always going to somehow come back to haunt the newspaper or, at the very least, create further additional friction when he decided to cover the games from his home.

And, now, here's the worst part: Clark scored just 9 points last night in Indiana's 36 point home loss to New York. Clark wasn't the only Fever player who stunk it up, but the 17,000 people who came out for the game were there to watch her, not the other players no one knows or cares about.

Doyel, in a normal world, would have the liberty of writing any kind of column he wants in the aftermath of a lousy performance by both Clark and the team. Instead, he probably has to treat the whole thing with kid gloves.

Caitlin Clark will be fine, of course. She's an incredibly talented basketball player. Her team might struggle for a year or two, but at some point down the road, Clark will help them play winning basketball.

And when that happens, will the team then want Doyel to write about them and cover them in the favorable light that winning brings to the table?

Or will Doyel push back and say, "Remember that press conference?"


Maybe it's finally Xander's time. The wildly-talented Xander Schauffele posted a 9-under round of 62 on Thursday to take an early 3-shot lead in the PGA Championship at Valhalla.

Schauffele, you might recall, also started last June's U.S. Open at L.A. Country Club with an opening round of 62, but it was Wyndham Clark, not X, who wound up in the winner's circle.

At #3 in the world now, Schauffele is almost clearly "the best player without a major championship." That tag used to belong to guys like Colin Montgomerie, Lee Westwood, Matt Kuchar and Rickie Fowler. But, in fairness, Schauffele is a better player -- at least on the PGA Tour -- than any of those four were in their heyday.

But the San Diego native has had a hard time closing the deal in his TOUR career. He's incredibly talented. And he does win on occasion. But he's in position to win quite often. And he somehow wins far less than he should.

Xander Schauffele made 9 birdies and 9 pars in Thursday's opening round of the PGA Championship.

Maybe this is his week.

Valhalla is a bomber's paradise, but you still have to be able to putt.

Chilean Joaquin Niemann was near the top of every ball striking category on Thursday but was ranked 134th in putting. He coulda, shoulda, woulda shot 66. Instead he shot 73.

Schauffele struck the ball great and putted even better. Here's perhaps hit craziest stat of the day: He didn't make back-to-back pars until the final two holes of his round, #8 and #9.

Tony Finau, who is also one of those "great players without a major" is at 6-under par along with Sahith Theegala and Mark Hubbard.

Rory McIlroy, who won a major title at Valhalla 10 years ago, is comfortably hanging around at 5-under par. You wouldn't get much return on your investment at this point, but Rory would be a good Friday morning wager to make. He looks primed to win on Sunday.

Scottie Scheffler is pretty good at golf, too, you might have heard. He holed out his first iron shot of the day on Thursday from 169 yards out and made just two bogeys therefter to produce an opening round 67, trailing Schauffele by five shots.

It's still anyone's game, obviously. But Valhalla isn't playing nearly as hard as the 7,600 yard layout might suggest it would.

Something in the 16 to 18 under par range is likely going to win, although rainy weather over the next couple of days might impact scoring a hair.

Tiger Woods?

What are his chances?

Not great. But they weren't great before the event.

He posted a 1-over par round of 73 that would have been 77 if not for some great putting early on in his round.

Tiger's ball speed was down almost 7 MPH from what he produced at Augusta National. That directly leads to less distance off the tee, which is not a good thing at a big layout like Valhalla.

No one is saying anything out loud, but losing 7 MPH on your ball speed is like a pitcher who once threw 97 MPH showing up and throwing "only" 92 MPH. In other words...something's wrong.

Tiger was never winning anyway, of course. But he'll need a round in the 60's today just to have a chance at making the cut, which is likely going to fall at either 1 under or, perhaps, 2 under.

Meanwhile, Schauffele is in great position to finally break through.

Can he? Sure.

Will he? We'll see.


On a personal note here at #DMD, congratulations to our friends at Royal Farms for being named the nation's top "Gas Station for Food" by USA Today.

That's a big, big, deal.

And any of you who patronize Royal Farms for breakfast, lunch or dinner know it's true. Their food is fantastic.

And so, too, is their coffee.

From the press release citing Royal Farms' selection as "Best Gas Station for Food":

Royal Farms has become a favorite destination for those seeking a quick and satisfying meal on the go. Renowned for its World-Famous fried chicken, freshly prepared sandwiches, and round-the-clock breakfast options, Royal Farms has become synonymous with delicious, high-quality fare that exceeds expectations. Each item is meticulously crafted using premium ingredients and served with a commitment to outstanding service, reflecting Royal Farms' dedication to providing customers with delightful experiences that happen Real Fresh, Real Fast.

So, a hearty congratulations to our longtime friends, Royal Farms! It's always good to see the local team come out on top!

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faith in sports


Let's go north of the border for this week's edition of "Faith in Sports".

They play football in Canada, you might be aware. It's not exactly the same as the NFL, but it's still football.

And Daniel Adebobeye is a big time player for the Toronto CFL franchise.

God's message comes from all parts and places. Here in Baltimore, we don't know much about the CFL. But in Toronto, the Argonauts are a big deal.

Adebobeye's faith is on full display in this 14 minute video. We hope you'll sit back and enjoy the interview as he professes his testimony for all to see and hear.

Thanks, as always, to our friends at Freestate Electrical for their continued support of #DMD and "Faith in Sports" here every Friday.


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Thursday
May 16, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3555


"that schedule is brutal"


The NFL schedule is very much like the NFL draft.

No one knows what to make of it four months in advance.

But everyone has an opinion on it.

"We got jobbed!"

"That schedule is brutual!"

The Ravens will take on C.J. Stroud and the Texans in Houston on Christmas Day, the 2nd straight year that John Harbaugh's team has played on that holiday.

"Who did we piss off in the league office?"

The Ravens have to play in Houston on Christmas Day, which is a Wednesday. But in a wonderfully kind gesture, the league gave the Ravens a Saturday home game against Pittsburgh (12/21) instead of making them play a Sunday-Wednesday slate. So kind of them.

Baltimore also hosts two games in four days in November; the 3rd against Denver and the 7th, a Thursday evening, against Cincinnati.

If you're going to play on a Thursday night, it's definitely better to play the previous Sunday at home, I'd think. So that was a small bonus from the league office.

But all in all, I have no idea what's going to happen in 2024, schedule wise.

For all we know, C.J. Stroud might be on the fast track to the MVP award before spraining his knee with three weeks left in the regular season. And when the Ravens go marching into Houston on December 25 for a late-season showdown, Stroud might be on the sidelines with his knee in a brace.

Sure, "on the surface", the Ravens have a challenging 2024 campaign.

They play the Bengals twice. Houston, Kansas City, Buffalo, Philadelphia and Dallas are all likely going to be good-to-great in 2024. That's 7 of Baltimore's 17 regular season games right there. All of them might be considered a coin flip at this point.

The Browns and Steelers are also on the schedule. Twice, in fact. So 11 of their 17 games are against formidable foes.

But we also know it won't work out that way.

Two or three of those teams will inexplicably stink it up next season. For all we know, Houston, Buffalo and Philadelphia all take a step backwards in 2024.

Maybe Dallas isn't all that good. They always seem to do something along the way to goof things up.

I don't know.

But I know I'm not worried about the schedule at this point.

You play who they put in front of you when they tell you to play them.

The way I see it, the Ravens are either going 14-3, 12-5 or 8-9.

After all, that schedule is.......(insert your word here).


The PGA Tour and LIV Golf "alliance" that still hasn't happened is very much among the top talking points at this week's PGA Championship.

It was almost a year ago this time when the shocking news hit the sports world. After fighting with one another for the better part of two years, LIV and the PGA Tour had a "framework agreement" in place that would turn the two parties into one happy golfing family.

But here we are...and there's no agreement in place.

Greg Norman and Phil Mickelson pushed for an agreement between LIV and the PGA Tour but, one year later, nothing is on paper.

I'm not right all the time. Some of you would say I'm rarely right.

But I was spot on, dead on, 100% right on that occasion a year ago when I said, "I don't see the two sides reaching any kind of formal agreement anytime soon."

They are still arguing about the nuts and bolts of the agreement now...12 months later. It's impossible to iron out given the ego of the LIV folks and the long history of credibility the PGA Tour is trying hard not to squander.

The only reason the PGA Tour ever really wanted an agreement in the first place was to stop all of the legal bills that were piling up as a result of LIV taking them to court every other month.

Once LIV caved in and signed an agreement stating they would dissolve all current and future legal cases with prejudice, the game was pretty much over at that point. The PGA Tour had won.

Why they didn't just wave bye-bye to LIV right then and there is beyond me.

You got what you wanted: no more court cases, attorney fees, etc.

Just move on.

Let LIV be LIV.

And you continue being the PGA Tour.

Let LIV pay Jon Rahm $450 million. They can have him.

You keep running the PGA Tour the way you've been running it. Keep Scottie happy. And Tiger. And Rory. And that's just about all you need.

The billion dollars that got kicked in by the various sports owners came in handy, obviously. They were able to give some free money to guys like Woods and McIlroy and thank them for not jumping ship. Purses have increased dramatically over the last year, in part due to the LIV money being thrown around.

But the best golf is still played on the PGA Tour. And it's not even close, really.

In the end, that's what's most important. At least it is to me, as a golf enthusiast.

The best players and the best golf is still in this country on the PGA Tour.

I don't know why the TOUR still wants to wed LIV. It's a terrible marriage. Leave LIV at the altar and just keep being single.


Preakness? When? Where? It's not this Saturday, is it? It's hard to tell.

In what might be the worst build-up EVER to the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness is apparently this Saturday and it "feels" like no one in town knows or plans on going.

Now, this was a very simple, non-scientific moment of research on Wednesday.

The Preakness is running this Saturday at Old Hilltop. But you know that. Or do you?

I asked 14 people if they were going on Saturday.

All 14 said no.

These folks ranged in age from 20-something to 50-something. 10 men and 4 women.

14 asked. 14 said "not going".

Here's the terrible part.

8 of the 14 had no idea the race was this Saturday.

Maybe I just stumbled on to a weird statistical outlier. Sort of like that time a few years back when those 101,000 people in that one Wisconsin county all voted for Joe Biden.

I could have asked 14 more people one hour later and all 14 of them might have been going on Saturday. Who knows, right?

I created a quick poll last night on Twitter that had three options for voting:

"I'm going to the race."

"Not going, but interested."

"I couldn't care less."

The poll received 40 votes in 2 hours.

Two (2) people said "I'm going."

20 people said, "Not going, but interested."

18 people said, "I couldn't care less."

By far from any kind of formal focus group or anything like that...but semi-telling nonetheless.

The race has just lost its place in the community calendar around here for whatever reason(s).

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#dmd comments








HERMAN     June 20
Baltimore fans calling the O's announcers homers? Have you listened to that fool Gerry Sandusky call a Ravens game? There is no one more biased than that man. He's terrible. But I get it, he's paid by the Ravens so he has to be biased. That is what's happening with the O's announcers. Give it a break.

George     June 20
Jon Miller could make a rain delay enjoyable!

Chris in Bel Air     June 20
“There were a couple of balls up and in. It’s part of it. They like to throw in.”

The stats I'm viewing shows the Yankees are 3rd in the league for most hit batters with 42. O's are 3rd from bottom at 24. Who likes to throw in, Aaron? Smh

Paul from Towson     June 20
@Randy, thanks for the stats on that, and I think you're right. Compared with last year, their current rankings probably seem a lot worse than they are. I also think it has to do with when these situations come up and how effective the O's are in late game/high leverage RISP circumstances. Also, who is coming up in these spots. Guys like O'Hearn, Rutschman, and Mountie always seem to deliver, while guys like Hays, Cowser, and (I hate saying it) Mullins (except for last night) seem to drag that average down.



Also, as a kid, listening to Jon Miller on the radio, and Chuck and Brooks on the TV side are some of the most pleasant memories of my childhood. Angelos running Jon Miller out of town should still be one of the top 3 sins of his ownership.

rc     June 20
How many times are we gonna do this? EVERY team in MLB pays its own announcers to BE homers! Yet we're gonna whine about it when the O's do it? Newsflash, Palmer is also a homer. Every call against the O's his first utterance is "oh no no no....", then they watch the replay and it's "ok maybe he did swing" or "maybe he was out".

I respect Cake's knowledge, but face it, when announcing, he's a cheerleader too. It is more palatable coming from a HOF player as opposed to a "sideline reporter" like Hollander. Hollander is a younger version of local "generic announcer" Tom Davis. These guys are doing high school fashion shows one night, then calling a game the next night. Why? One can only assume its because they do it for cheapo, and in the case of last night, on short notice. Melanie Newman in the same category. She's oh with her telling stories role, but for play by play, I agree with Such, she is beyond bad, just like most of her coworkers.

JeffWell     June 20
@UTB- I remember all of those great "once upon a time" broadcasters that you mentioned and the great calls as well. In those days you got most games via radio and those guys made it almost seem like you were there.

TimD in Timonium     June 20
"Whenever two of the best teams in baseball play in the same division, their battles have that much higher stakes. That heightened energy was felt Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, especially after Aaron Judge was hit by a pitch on his left hand in the third inning of the Yankees’ 4-2 win over the Orioles. The stoic Judge marched halfway between Orioles starter Albert Suarez and first base while shaking his head. Aaron Judge was not happy with the pitch that hit him on the hand. "Definitely pissed,” Judge said about the pitch. “There were a couple of balls up and in. It’s part of it. They like to throw in.” - NY Post, June 19th



Oh, the drama. Can't stand these guys. Go O's!


Randy     June 20
Some context on hitting with RISP:

O's are 9th in batting average (.266) and 7th in OPS (.801), so in the top 3rd of the league. The Yanks are 5th and 3rd respectively.



The Orioles were 1st in both categories last year, so that is probably why it seems bad by comparison.

Unitastoberry     June 20
@Steve of Pimlico



Chuck Thompson is a HOFer. Jon Miller will be if not already. O'Donnell famous for the call with DeCinces walk off homer with Eckman going nuts. Tom Marr called Tippy retiring the side at first base with pick off plays. All better than current guys. Thorn was good I even liked Mel Procter. Tom Davis gets honorable mention with Jim Carvellis. Great memories.

Jason M     June 20
Rutschman is the MAN. That throw out in the 10th was so pivotal. The throw was just a thing of beauty - a laser beam on a dime at 127 feet. What a stone cold stellar performance to completely remove the Yankee momentum at that crucial moment.

Steve of Pimlico     June 20
I remember when Bill O'Donnell,Tom Marr and Jim Hunter were not considered top notch

They are HOFers compared to this current crop .

Mark.S in PH     June 20
@Paul all great points on last night's game, especially on Hay's AB, it was terrible. Agree on Verdugo, he's a jerk, made me chuckle! I like Palmer and Ben when they are doing the color! Get well Jim.



I have often wondered why can't the website add a "Like" or "thumbs-up, thumbs-down" button on the reader's posts?



Go O's!

Regular Joe     June 20
I have to pile on Hyde a bit, albeit a great win. Hyde will need to be better for us to win it all. O'Hearn is a better hitter than Hays and has a way better idea of the strike zone. I don't care if a great lefty is on the mound (and that Yankee guy was not close to great). Hays is from the old regime hitting approach-wise and has no clue what to do if the first pitch isn't a hittable fastball.



And Hyde just can't be pulling relievers after 20 pitches in the 5th inning - Webb is unfortunately now one of the better options.



Also very happy for Urias - he will be very important for us.




Pratt     June 20
FINALLY! Someone finally calls out Brown for his pompous attitude. The Orioles NEVER EVER do anything wrong according to that guy. Like you said Hollender was just in there because Palmer wasn't but Brown should rise above that.

Chris in Bel Air     June 20
@JWW- Thanks for the correction. After I typed it I couldn't remember if it was 2012 or 2104.

@Such- Don't you know that nobody is supposed to question or mess with the precious Yankees? Only they know what it right and just in the baseball world. Didn't you know that MLB really just sets up the entire season for the enjoyment of the Yankees and their fans? We're all just passengers in the journey and we should be grateful if they let the other team win. Their level of narcissism and self-infatuation is mind-numbing.

Adam     June 20
Completely agree MFC but add closer and right handed bat to the list. The Os announcers were right that we dont hit guys in general but we clearly threw at Judge and I would've done the same. But there was no need to yammer on all night about how Os would never do such a thing. Somewhere Armando beanball Benitez had a hearty chuckle. But this is same Yankees phonies that watched Sabathia break bone in Markakis hand so they can kick rocks

KVVfromSP     June 20
Speaking of pathetic announcers , how about the announcer at Camden Yards …..makes my skin crawl every time she announces a batter.

MFC     June 20
Baustista, Means, Wells, Bradish, is something in the "hydration station" water? With those guys we're definitely the best team in baseball. Without them it's going to be a struggle. Sorry but Tate, Webb, Suarez and Kimbrel just aren't doing it for me. I'm of the opinion a move for a pitcher has to be made and possibly two pitchers.



Catholic League HOF dinner tonight. Calipari is the headline speaker. Lots of great stories to be told this evening. Looking forward to catching up with old friends.

JWW     June 20
@CHRIS - I was going to bring that up as I totally agree with you. It was actually September 2012, not 2014 when Sabathia plunked Markakis. The magical winning season that culminated in an ALDS loss to those same Bombers. I felt so bad for Nick - all the years of losing came to a spectacular end and he had to sit that playoff run out.



F the Yankees indeed.

lou@palo alto     June 20
Paul makes many gd pts. Hays has regressed in his strike zone awareness--it's even worse than Mateo's and he has actually improved. Elias will hv decisions re the 3 outfielders and my bet is Hays is gone w Mullins & Santander offered deals but there are lots of moving parts here w pitching needs and many gd young players knocking on the door

Paul from Towson     June 20
Teams tend to emulate their manager. The Yankees are whiny, soft, arrogant cry baby punks. Just like their garbage manager. Brandon Hyde has the Orioles focused on winning baseball games, not the childish nonsense like bean ball wars or dugout sniping.

Tom J     June 20
The Yankees whining is comical. They are third in MLB with 48 hit batters. They may want to get pissed at their own guys before anyone else. Gunnar was intentional last night so thanks dummies for putting the run difference in the game on base. BTW, their catcher totally sucks. They need to run on this guy every single time on base. Nine steals Sunday vs Boston and four last night. Pathetic......

such     June 20
DR, you're spot on. Soto had no business doing that. It sure seemed intentional. Just like the pitch that Gunnar got drilled with last night. That was clearly an attempt to pay back the Orioles for Judge getting hit. But did anyone else notice that Saurez couldn't throw a strike Tuesday night? I'm not sure there was much intention when he plunked Judge.

I like Kevin Brown, I really do, but sometimes you have to call it like you see it. He tried way too hard last night to excuse the Gunnar HBP as unintentional. I think if Palmer or McDonald had been in the booth, there would've been a different take on the whole situation. It's times like that when it's good to have a former pro alongside you. Their perspective is based on their experience on the field.

If you think the MASN guys are bad, just try listening to the radio when Melanie is doing her version of "play-by-play". Brings a whole new level to the definition of dreadful.

Speaking of play-by-play, there's a beautiful video tribute to Willie Mays that the Giants released yesterday narrated by Jon Miller. Man, do I miss that guy. You can find it on YouTube.



As always, F the Yankees.

Paul from Towson     June 20
Yes, it's June. Yes, there's still 89 of these games remaining. But a loss last night might as well have been 2 losses. This was one of those "defining" games, for lack of a better term where the O's once again pulled defeat from the jaws of victory, to only then pull victory from the jaws of defeat. If this game is against the White Sox in mid-April or mid-May, it sucks, but you chalk it up to "there's 10 or 15 of 'those games'" every season. But when you blow a 5-1 lead, in Yankee Stadium, in late-June when less than 3 games separates these teams...that's as big of a loss as any can be in June. And crushes any momentum heading into today's matinee. Coupled with the fact that my dead grandmother would have been a better pinch hit option than Hays, and the Orioles left a small village on the bases last night. By the way, I keep saying it, if the O's don't win the World Series this year, or at least don't make an extended playoff run, it will be because they just can't hit with runners in scoring position. Minus Alex Verdugo's great catch (I hate that SOB, but credit given on that, Santander smoked that ball) over the past month, the O's have been terrible when they get a runner to second with less than two outs. Bases loaded in the 9th, one out, you HAVE to push across a run there. All Hays has to do is make contact and Mateo scores as long as Hays doesn't hit into an inning ending double play. He's terrible, and he while I get the logic of why Hyde pinch hit for O'Hearn there, Hays looked like a little leaguer against a guy with a 5.00+ ERA who just loaded the bases. Can't have that in big game situations. You HAVE to make contact. And Kimbrel had been very good recently, but I was never comfortable with him inheriting a one run lead. Going into the bottom of the ninth, I was just hoping he only gave up one and was able to get the O's back up in the 10th.



All in all, in the end it was a great team win. I love Ceddie and it was awesome to see him finally come through in the clutch. Also, I thought that except for the walks, Povich acquitted himself quite nicely for his first time in Yankee Stadium.



As far as Kevin Brown/Bren Hollander last night, I agree with Drew's assessment, but ANYTHING is better than the garbage we suffered through during Kevin's recent hiatus. Brad Brach should NEVER be allowed anywhere near the broadcast booth again, and the Geoff Arnold (insert name here) team was minor league/amateur hour-ish in my opinion. Just my thoughts. GO O's!!!!!

lou@palo alto     June 20
hope Palmer recovers quickly--covid no joke at his age. Haven't seen commentary on Stanton's game tying single--Kimbrel did his job and got him to hit the ball directly at Urias, just that the Yanks had an unusual hit and run on with the runner on 2nd going. Urias vacated his position to cover third--otherwise its an out if not a double play w the runner going rite toward him

Chris in Bel Air     June 20
Agree with @David R and yes, this retaliation business is bush league. Also, while the O's announcers are huge homers I do agree with their take on the ump and was surprised he didn't issue a warning after Gunnar was drilled. I hope he goes 4/4 today with a HR on the way to an O's win. Any of these holier than thou Yankee fans remember their team drilling Markakis and breaking his hand before the 2014 playoffs? No need to answer.

Unitastoberry     June 20
Mays military service most likely kept him from getting to Ruths 714 RIP



MASN is outta my price range so I'll take your word for it on the tv call. Do the Orioles have a senior citizen MASN inflation discount?



Six innings a game on average for starting pitchers and a 5 man rotation they still blow out the armS left and right. Don't tell me it's because they throw harder. Do they have robots who do surgery on MLB pitchers yet? Orioles had 4 twenty game winners in 1971 not one lost to Tommy John surgery which was not even invented until 1974. This is like the NFL adding games but still caring about CTE. 18 coming soon. Now there's talk of a seperate QB salary cap. All this NIL money still can't buy Maryland a football national championship. Some thngs never change at U of DC.



One thing I still enjoy from the past is hating on the Yankees.Spoiled rotten bums as usual.



Well I gotta go my 1972 Gand Torino needs service and my Get off my Lawn sign is missing.

David Rosenfeld     June 20
All of this (whatever it is) started with Soto. There was simply no reason for him to make contact with Westburg in that situation. It was weird and displayed a lack of understanding of the rules at least. Second time this season he's been called for it. Bias aside, he's kind of a punk. I know he's got a 1.023 OPS and hits the living snot out of the ball, but odds are he's on his 4th team next season at age 26.

With bias...I feel like the Yankees are sort of acting like a team that's accomplished something. I'm trying to figure out what that is exactly besides being in first place in June.

TimD     June 20
Agree with your take on the O's announcers' comments. Absolutely "homer" mentality. "Our team would never do that!"



Hotel warm coffee is the worst!

Bob Miller     June 20
Consider me Team Kevin Brown. He’s entertaining and engaging.

Jason S.     June 20
I love Elias but the Kimbrel signing was a whiff. That guy sucks. Move on and find someone to close games before we get bit in the playoffs.

Cal     June 20
You're just now turning down the sound when Brown is doing the play by play? I've been doing that for two years. Turn down the sound and listen to the radio side of it. Brown is more of a homer than Hunter ever was and that's saying something.



Maybe it goes back to being suspended last year but the O's can do no wrong ever, as you pointed out.

Frank     June 20
Hollander is terrible. I agree last night was a bad look for both KB and Hollander. They sounded like school girls who got turned down by two handsome football players.

As for the game itself, Hyde is very lucky they won. I hear you about the stats and data numbers but O'Hearn has to bat there in the 9th inning. Bringing in Hays cold off the bench in that situation was stupid.

Too bad Gray-Rod doesn't pitch today or someone from the Yanks would take one in the ribs.

Delray RICK     June 20
PALMER has COVID AGAIN!!!

rc     June 20
This GM guy must be angling for a member/guest invite lol.

Kevin     June 19
Streets are saying Jeremy and Drew are taking over 10-2 show on the Fan starting July 29.

GM     June 19
When does DMD flip flop Billy? Examples?

Billy     June 19
@John, #DMD flip flops often lol.

George     June 19
@Howard -- Tough question, and one I don’t have a defensible answer to. I am struck by the fact that in many cases – art, battlefield photography, clandestine industrial videography, the gravamens of whistleblowers’ and kneeling athletes’ complaints – we (the people) tend to find fault with and condemn the messenger and fail to act on the wrong he or she has brought to light. I guess there is a fine line between right and wrong in the methods used to expose stuff, but I’ve no clue where that line is. Seems that there has to be offense at the method before anyone bothers to look at the wrong, and sometime the offense is so great, the wrong is never considered at all.

John L.     June 19
Does PA actually read what DF writes? DF made it very clear he's still anti Saudis today didn't he?



"Alas, he's also a guy who joined a rival league and accepted money from creeps who have not been friendly to our country and who continue to walk a very fine line when it comes to human rights issues. I made my bed on that situation early on and I'm very comfortable sleeping in it."

Howard     June 19
Great article by George but 1 picture too many. I think that the picture “Adult Movies” is pornography. The naked human body is a beautiful thing that has been celebrated in art for millennia, but I think this picture crossed the line into smut. I wouldn’t want my grandchildren to see this and I wonder if anyone

would be comfortable showing this to their family members who are minors.


J.K.     June 19
According to Bruce Cunningham, our very own DF is doing radio today on 105.7 from 12-3 pm. Is that correct?

pa     June 19
If I might clarify my comments too: it seems at the start of LIV, DMD was writing off each individual golfer who signed up for LIV (ala "dead to me"). At the time I suggested it was more of a "golf" thing, not a "Saudi" thing. Unfortunately, the Saudis (and China, Russia, et al) have their financial tentacles in a lot of entities that Americans support. So that in itself really is not unique to LIV. Now the format: pay for play, teams, shotguns, 54 holes etc, are all bastardizations of real tournament golf. In that vein, I am 100% with the DMD take on LIV.

Just never understand why DMD seemed to be making it all about Saudis and individual US players taking "their" money. Maybe I misunderstood, or maybe DMD has somewhat backed off the Saudi angle. Either way, as it was clarified today, I agree with the current DMD take on LIV guys. I'm sure we'll both root hard for BAD should he be on the Ryder Cup squad.

lou@palo alto     June 19
Palmer collapse in '66 Open at Olympic was a transition to a new era.He was 36 and never won another major--my long post from 2 d ago cldnt clear the robot--fyi

lou@palo alto     June 19
great column, George. My sister was '64 Parkville and me '66 City so lots of memories jogged--thx

Paul from Towson     June 19
Well said Such. Willie Mays is a once in a millennium individual. More than baseball, more than stats. His loss will extend beyond baseball, into the fiber of America. The world is a little less of a beautiful place now that he is gone.

such     June 19
I took some time last night to peruse the lifetime statistics of Willie Mays. It's as if every category you would want from a player came to life. I kept shaking my head in disbelief.

He stands alone as the only player in history to collect over 3,000 hits, 600 homeruns, 500 doubles, 100 triples and 300 stolen bases. He played in 24 (!) All Star Games. Oh, he also missed almost two full seasons when he was 22 and was drafted during the Korean War.

My only memory of Mays was seeing him on the Mets during the 1973 season. I was a very young boy, but even then I knew that Willie Mays was a legend. All I had to do was ask anyone who knew anything about baseball, which was basically everyone in America.

Icon is defined as "A person or thing widely admired, especially for having great influence or significance in a particular sphere." I like how the word sphere is used here, since a baseball is spherical.

Willie Mays was an American Icon.

Dan     June 19
Need to pull out a game or two vs Yanks since we didn't exactly line up our best starters for this series.

Steve of Pimlico     June 19
I have always loved Mr.Voshell's paintings and murals.He was our Grant Wood .

The Os have their weakest pitchers starting in this series so if they drop 3 it's not the end of the world.October will be very interesting.

Scottmann     June 19
Drew,

I'm surprised you didn't mention Jack Nicklaus as one of the classiest, and most gracious losers of all-time. Jack finished second in a record 19 majors, and always shook the winners hand.

Wednesday
May 15, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3554


you can win the pga championship


Sorry, I left out the word "contest" in the headline above.

You can't win the PGA Championship, obviously. You're here in Baltimore. The tournament starts tomorrow at Valhalla in Kentucky. And, unless I'm missing something, you didn't qualify for the event anyway.

But that doesn't mean you can't win.

The headline above should have read: You can win the PGA Championship contest.

You can win. But you have to get in the contest first.

Tiger Woods would be all smiles if you'd help out Maryland FCA Golf by entering the PGA Championship contest at #DMD.

Would you consider helping me and the Maryland FCA Golf program I run by entering our PGA Championship Contest, please?

It's very easy. You don't have to do anything except pay the $10 entry fee (as many times as you like) and and follow along with the three players you receive that are your "team". That's it. You don't have to know anything about golf. The computer will pick your three player team from the top 50 guys in the rankings who are in the event.

Everyone who enters the contest gets a different team. The total amount of prize money your three players collect at the end of the tournament is added up. The entry with the most prize money from the PGA Championship wins our contest.

You get half of the entry fee pot as your prize. The other half goes to the Maryland FCA Golf program I run.

And because there are over 15,000 possible combinations of three player teams, you can enter as often as you like.

Where does that money go? Thanks for asking.

Every month -- starting next Wednesday, May 22 at Pine Ridge -- we run a free junior golf clinic at Pine Ridge. We provide free instruction to anyone who attends and provide them with drinks and snacks at the end of the clinic. Each clinic costs us roughly $125 for golf balls and snacks and such.

We'll use the money we raise through the PGA Championship contest to offset the costs of the clinics over the next six months.

The entry deadline is 5 pm tonight. We'll let the computer pick the teams at that point and we'll send them out to everyone who enters early this evening.

You can Venmo your $10 entry fee to: @MarylandJuniorGolf

Please put "PGA Championship" in the subject box. We will send you the 3-player team via the Venmo "comment" option later tonight.

This is a great, easy way to help me and the FCA Golf program I run. If you can join the contest, I'd greatly appreciate it.


I've never quite understood the uproar over NFL schedule leaks, but we had one in Baltimore yesterday that got everyone overly excited a day in advance of tonight's 2024 schedule release.

The leak that surfaced yesterday has the Ravens and Chargers, predictably, playing on Thanksgiving night in Los Angeles. You might have heard...the Harbaugh brothers both coach in the NFL and, well, you can probably write the 5-minute pre-game piece in your sleep.

We already knew the Ravens will open the season in Kansas City on September 5.

There's also -- according to the leak -- a Sunday night home game against Buffalo and a season-ending home game against the Bengals.

All of that, remember, is according to the schedule that was leaked out.

I have zero idea if that schedule is right, other than I'm 95% sure the Ravens and Chargers are playing on Thanksgiving Night and 100% sure the Ravens and Chiefs are playing on September 5.

But I still don't understand the whole idea about "leaking" the schedule in advance of its distribution.

Cui bono?

Who benefits from the schedule being released a day early?

Are you rushing out (yesterday) to buy airfare for the October 20 game in Cleveland? Is the price going to change in one day?

My former boss used to delight in leaking the schedule, but that was more to stick a red hot poker in the Ravens' face than anything else. It would drive them nuts that he got the schedule a day early and it invigorated him that it drove them nuts. So, every year, he'd get his hands on the schedule a day early, until one April he was misled, and that ended the early-schedule game.

But even back then, I didn't get the whole concept of leaking the schedule.

Back in 2007 when Bruce Springsteen's new album, Magic, was released, someone I knew in the radio industry got me a copy of it two weeks before its formal release in late September. I remember "trading" him a pair of Ravens tickets for the new album.

I thought that was cool. I had it two whole weeks before the general public. I wasn't going to that particular Ravens game anyway, so giving him the tickets in exchange for the CD was a no brainer to me.

I don't think I would have done the deal, though, had he slipped me the CD a day in advance of its formal release. What's one day? But two weeks out? I felt like Eddie Haskell at that point. "I got it...and you don't. Oh, hi Mrs. Cleaver. You look wonderful today."

Anyway, I just don't get the schedule leak thing.

If you're right, who cares? You couldn't do anything with it anyway.

And if you're wrong, you're a doofus.

Oh, and as a side note: "Magic" is Springsteen's most underrated album ever. As big of a Bruce fan as I am, I'd say it was his last truly GREAT song writing album. Both "Wrecking Ball" and "Western Stars" had some great writing on them, but, as an album, "Magic" was......wait for it......magic.


A meteorologist I'm not, but I sure didn't get the whole Orioles-Blue Jays rain out thing last night.

Did they -- pun intended -- whiff on that one?

Is Corbin Burnes getting innings pitched advice from his agent?

I mean, it wasn't a Chamber of Commerce evening in Charm City, obviously. They would have played in spitting drizzle throughout most of the evening for sure.

But don't teams do that all the time?

And I thought Major League players had great disdain for doubleheaders?

The bigger story that surfaced on Tuesday was sports radio discussion about Corbin Burnes' post-game comments from Monday's 3-2 loss to Toronto, where he said he was "gassed" in the 4th inning and approved of Brandon Hyde removing him after throwing just 85 pitches.

Talk radio speculates that perhaps Scott Boras is behind those kinds of moments from Burnes, who stands to rake in a gazillion dollars from the Dodgers, Yankees or Rangers this off-season.

In other words, Boras is advising Burnes to carefully watch his innings output and arm "life" this season on the verge of his life changing contract this winter.

I think we'd all be naive if we think those sorts of conversations between the agent and star player don't occur.

I have no idea if, specifically, Scott Boras is advising Corbin Burnes to limit his pitch count or innings thrown. For all I know, Boras might drop that hint to Burnes and the O's pitcher might tell him to blow it out his backside.

But that's certainly the type of "high stakes poker" an agent plays with a star pitcher.

"You're getting $350 million for 8 years whether you go 20-7 this year with 210 innings pitched or 17-7 with 180 innings pitched. But if you throw too many innings in the first four months of the season and you get shut down in mid-August for some reason, I can't guarantee you anything. Don't be dumb about this. Throw the 180 innings."

Like I said, I have no idea if that conversation actually did occur. But it wouldn't surprise me in the least if it occurred.

Agents care about two things: The 4% commission they receive on that $300 million. And how many square feet their house is going to be in Jackson Hole or Vail.

Scott Boras couldn't care less if the Orioles win, lose or draw. He wants Burnes to do well, of course. But if Burnes only throws 85 pitches in a May home game against Toronto and the Birds lose, the agent doesn't give a flip.

I realize talk radio needs content, especially on a Tuesday in mid-May when nothing much is going on in the world of sports.

And, on the surface, agent "pressure" on the pitcher to underperform is a topic worthy of discussion. But in this case, I just don't know if it's a legit story or not.


The Preakness is going to be run in the rain this Saturday at Pimlico. Unless the weather forecasters really miss Saturday's forecast, it's not going to be a great day out there.

What Preakness?

Is that what you're asking?

The Preakness. You know, the second jewel of the Triple Crown. We even have the Derby winner, Mystik Dan, in town for Saturday's big race.

But there's just not much enthusiasm for the race.

I heard a news-talk host in town offer an explanation yesterday that was interesting. "The election (yesterday) has totally overwhelmed the Preakness this year."

I have no idea if that's true.

Would that particular AM news-talk host spent Tuesday morning talking more about the Preakness if the election wasn't held yesterday in Baltimore?

I mean, sure, maybe.

But I kind of doubt it.

There are lots of reasons why the Preakness isn't top of mind this week.

I don't know that I have the energy to devote two or three days to exploring the various reasons, but I'll just say this: I don't think the event is marketed very well.

Conventional wisdom might say: "It's the Preakness, it doesn't need advertising or marketing."

But that's simply not true.

I don't feel any real promotional enthusiasm from the Maryland Jockey Club about the Preakness. Perhaps they spend their marketing dollars on Friday's race card and assume the Preakness will take care of itself. Maybe that's their plan of attack.

But I'm out and about a lot, listen to the radio a lot, and spend a lot of time perusing social media -- and I just don't see the marketing push for Saturday's race.

And now......here comes the rain.

I hope the doom and gloom of the weather forecast doesn't dampen the enthusiasm for Saturday's big event.

How much less enthusiasm could there be, after all?

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Tuesday
May 14, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3553


a $53 million qb?


I know this is splitting hairs, but I'll go ahead and split.

$53 million for Jared Goff?

$170 million of that guaranteed?

What planet are these people living on?

I have no idea what would even be "fair" for Jared Goff. Hence the splitting hairs reference above.

Is he a $45 million quarterback?

$40 million?

We're at the stage in the NFL where "nice" quarterbacks get $53 million per-year.

I know what the answer is, of course.

"He's worth whatever deal his agent negotiates for him."

And, "If Lamar Jackson gets $52 million per-year, my guy definitely deserves $53 million."

It's all about what everyone else gets.

I guess this would be like Ryan Phillippe getting $51 million for a film. Good actor and all. But don't the best actors get $50 million per film?

Anyway...

Lamar Jackson should have held out for another year, it looks like. If Goff's worth $53 million, Lamar's worth $63 million. That's what I think, anyway.

I don't know how these owners and general managers come to terms with these outlandish contracts they're being strong armed into signing. If ever there was a need for real collusion in the NFL, it's probably now.

OK, that was a joke. Collusion is wrong.

Sometimes it's necessary. But it's still wrong.

In the case of the Lions, though, they've just forked over $53 million annually for the next four years for Carson Palmer 2.0.

I understand all about the NFL. It's a quarterback's league and all. If you have a great QB, you can beat almost anyone. The Lions, we might forget, actually made it to the NFC Championship Game a year under the watchful eye and explosive arm of one Jared Goff.

And he parlayed that into a $170 million payday (at a minimum).

These salaries, man. I don't see them going down anytime soon.

Nor do I see them making sense, either.


I wrote here yesterday that it wasn't time for the Orioles to panic despite some recent offensive struggles.

And while I wouldn't classify yesterday's demotion of Heston Kjerstad as a "panic move", it's interesting nonetheless to see Mike Elias give up on him -- temporarily -- after only 17 plate appearances in 17 games with the big league club.

Then again, Kjerstad was hitting .143. If you're gonna lose interest in someone, it probably should be the guy hitting a buck forty three.

And his defense -- which certainly wasn't why he got called up, admittedly -- isn't Major League caliber, either.

Kyle Stowers was brought up to replace Kjerstad but he didn't make an appearance in last night's 3-2 home loss to the Blue Jays.

Later on Monday, Elias returned Austin Hays to the O's after a stint on the injured list and sent Ryan McKenna packing. That's not the sort of move that will propel the Birds to a 10-game winning streak or anything like that, but it does show us that the team's general manager isn't sitting in the penthouse drinking Dom Perignon while his club's offense continues to falter.

Corbin Burnes got no help last night despite another outstanding start. The Birds managed three hits on the night, two of them coming on solo homers from Adley Rutschman.

Cedric Mullins went 0-for-4 on Monday evening to drop his average on the year to .185. They're going to keep giving him chances, of course, but at some point a decision will have to be made on the extent of his regular playing time if he can't get the average and on-base-percentage up to a reasonable mark.

But this too shall pass, as the saying goes.

The offense will click again soon. For now, though, it's an ongoing struggle at the plate and, particularly, with runners in scoring position.

Stowers will get a shot over the next five games, at least. Hays will also pick up some playing time and at bats. With Cowser cooling off a bit, it's not like the Birds will be losing ground by giving some of his plate appearances to Stowers and/or Hays.

It's not time to panic.

Despite last night's meager offensive output and 3-2 loss, the runs and the production will return again sometime very soon.

The O's have too much talent and too much firepower to not get this figured out.

Oh, and let's not forget. They've played 25% of their schedule and they're on pace to win 104 games. I think we can take that and smile along the way, don't you?


So it's the Ravens at Kansas City in the season opener on Thursday, September 5. For my money, that's the very best time to face the Chiefs.

That it's the Thursday opener and all is perfect. The Ravens will be -- assuming all goes well in training camp -- completely healthy for that contest and will have all pre-season to do as much game planning as possible for that one opponent.

Baltimore then gets 10 days off after that, so you get your toughest (likely) opponent out of the way right out of the gate and then you get ten days to prepare for your next opponent.

I think it's the best way to start the season. That is, if you have to play Kansas City on the road.

The only thing left to wonder is this: Why did the Orioles move their September 8 home game from 1:35 pm to 12:05 pm? It seemed logical to assume that game time switch was done to help prepare the football stadium for use later that evening.

So...what happened?

I'm not sure we'll ever find out, but it looks like perhaps the league had its eyes set on another NFL opener in Kansas City and something happened along the way that necessitated a change to the Ravens playing in K.C. on opening night.

It remains to be seen if the Birds will shift that September 8 game back to 1:35 pm.

The 2024 Ravens schedule will be released tomorrow.

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#dmd's pga championship top 10


The PGA Championship, now being referred to as "The Scottie Scheffler Invitational", takes place at Valhalla Golf Club from May 16-19.

Valhalla has hosted three previous PGA Championships, with Mark Brooks, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy all winning major titles at the Louisville, Kentucky course.

#DMD will preview the PGA Championship with our top 10 picks, leading up to Wednesday, May 15. On May 15, we'll publish the up-to-date betting odds on all 10 of our picks.

Is Max Homa finally ready to break through and win a major championship? #DMD thinks so.

#10 was Chris Kirk. #9 was Si Woo Kim. #8 was Wyndham Clark. #7 was Collin Morikawa. Our #6 was Alex Noren. #5 was Brooks Koepka. #4 was Corey Conners. Ludvig Aberg is #3. Rory McIlroy is #2.

Before we get to our #1 pick, it's important to remind everyone that Scottie Scheffler should be on any wagering endeavor you plan on undertaking.

I realize he and his wife just had a baby.

And I know he hasn't played tournament golf in three weeks.

I'm not sure any of that matters. I fully expect Scheffler to contend and (likely) win the PGA this week. How can you bet against him at this point? But for purposes of this exercise, I'm not listing him at #1 because everyone who follows golf assumes he's going to be right there on Sunday.

So my Top 10 is, yes, really a Top 11. You have to bet on Scheffler.

But if Scheffler doesn't win...

#1, Max Homa -- I think his time has arrived. After a super effort at Augusta National in April, Max Homa is ready to win that elusive first major championship.

Valhalla seems like a great fit for him.

He drives it plenty far enough.

His irons and approach to green stats are more than competitive with other top players.

His short game is underrated.

And his putting, when "on", is as streaky-solid as anyone on TOUR.

Max Homa just needs confidence.

And the guess here is that Augusta National gave him a massive jolt of confidence in April.

The PGA Championship has supplied a vast number of first-time major winners throughout the last 25 years; Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel, Y.E. Yang, Jimmy Walker, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Jason Day and Justin Thomas.

I think Max Homa has a great chance to join that list this weekend.

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Monday
May 13, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3552


rory deserves some "good"


Rory McIlroy boat-raced Xander Schauffele yesterday at the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, NC.

Had it been a heavyweight fight, they would have stopped it after the 14th hole. Too much blood from Schauffele and nothing left to prove from McIlroy.

It was Rory's 26th career win and, it seemed, about the 26th time in X's career he failed to cash in on a 4th round lead.

I know, I know. Schauffele hasn't frittered away 26 leads in his career, but it sure does feel that way. It's getting so bad Greg Norman is laughing at X's play on Sunday afternoons.

Yesterday was different, though.

Schauffele has a propensity for stinking it up in final rounds when he has the tournament in the palm of his hand. He wasn't terrible yesterday, though. McIlroy was just blistering hot. Scorching, red hot. And when Rory started throwing haymakers, Xander had nothing to offer himself.

Rory McIlroy's final round on Sunday included two eagles en-route to a 5-shot win over Xander Schauffele.

I wondered this aloud on my Sunday afternoon golf radio show as I watched it unfold on the TV in the studio.

"Could the way he's lost this tournament haunt Schauffele this coming week at Valhalla?"

"And is this the kind of performance that McIlroy can carry into the PGA Championship, where he's looking to win a major for the first time since 2014?"

I think the answer to both questions is a resounding "yes".

I'm not one to put a lot of stock in the impact of one tournament into the next, but I have to wonder if Schauffele isn't a bit rattled by what Rory did to him on Sunday. And with the PGA just four days a way, does Schauffele have time to rebound from that woodshed treatment he received from McIlroy?

As you'll see below, I'm bullish on McIlroy this week at Valhalla. Now, I'm the first to admit I think a guy winning this week dampens his chances of winning next week, but if anyone can parlay what they did on Sunday into four days of great golf at the PGA, it's McIlroy.

If, say, Sungjae Im or Tommy Fleetwood would have won yesterday, I would be 90% sure they weren't winning again this week at Valhalla.

But with Rory, I think it's a help, not a hurt. He's a guy who swashbuckles with the best of them when his game is "on". And if he gets off to a good start on Thursday with something under par in round one, watch out.

There's also another element of winning that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy for Rory.

He deserves it.

Like, really deserves it.

Yes, I'm aware he won the two-man event a couple of weeks ago with Shane Lowry. That's half-a-win, basically. And while they'll take the money and the points and the other stuff that goes with winning, there's no way Rory or Shane would claim that winning that event in New Orleans "felt" like a real golf victory.

So, yesterday's win for McIlroy was his first on the PGA Tour since last July when he won the Scottish Open. That's a long time between visits to the winner's circle.

And it was ultra-deserving considering what McIlroy has gone through over the last 3 years with regard to the PGA Tour/LIV Golf feud. While others scooped up the money and deserted the very entity that made them rich and famous, McIlroy stood firm and stayed the course.

Along the way he fought Greg Norman, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau and others who bolted for LIV. It had to drive McIlroy crazy that guys like Dustin Johnson and Talor Gooch -- both of whom are barely half the player of McIlroy at this point -- were making $40 million playing golf while he was "getting by" on just $10 million.

But he fought the good fight with Jay Monahan and the PGA Tour, often times in an embarrassing sort of way as more and more players left the TOUR for LIV.

Yes, the TOUR helped make it right, a little bit, by handing him $50 million last week as part of their "make good" to the big names who stuck around. $50 million isn't chump change to anyone, even a guy like McIlroy.

So now that an alliance of some sort seems to almost finalized, McIlroy will wind up playing once again with the very guys who left the TOUR in search of more money and greener pastures.

He hasn't said much about it, but it has to drive him crazy that he stuck with the PGA Tour through thick and think and those creeps from LIV are going to wind up "winning" in the end once the deal is done.

So a victory like the one he scored yesterday at Quail Hollow is not only big for his golf game, it's good for him, personally, too. He deserves some "good", does Rory.

The fight continues, yes. But, for a day at least, Rory and the PGA Tour were the big winners on Sunday afternoon in Charlotte.


When you're 26-13 at the 1/4 pole of the MLB season, there's no reason at all to panic. So I won't panic.

But...

I'm sure Mike Elias has some of the same concerns I have. You might follow suit, too.

What's the ultimate plan in the infield?

Mountcastle at first, Gunnar at short. We know that much.

Should Mike Elias be concerned about Anthony Santander's .218 batting average through the first quarter of the 2024 season?

Westburg at 3rd if Holliday comes back and can hit MLB pitching. We can fairly assume that.

Mateo is the infield super-sub. Check.

But what if, just what if, Holliday doesn't turn it around and is on again/off again with the big league club?

Elias is going to need to make a move of some kind. Ramon Urias isn't the answer.

There are trade pieces in Norfok and beyond, but what quality of player will our prospects garner?

Do the O's give Holliday one more 15-20 game stint to see if he's figured it out? And if he hasn't, do they try to add a third baseman or second baseman at the deadline and chalk this first year up to "rookie nerves" for Holliday?

The team's power numbers are good. The batting average, though? Not so much.

A 6 for 14 stretch changes a lot of things, obviously, but right now you have guys like Santander, Mullins and Kjerstad struggling at the plate. Cowser has simmered down after a scorching start, but that was to be expected. Had he continued at his April pace he would have hit .400 for the season.

So, while there are certainly bullpen issues still being addressed, there's also the everyday lineup that also needs monitoring.

That is, if the Orioles are gung-ho on fielding a World Series contender in 2024.

We've sorta-kinda known this all along, right? That all of those minor league prospects weren't going to be able to play for the big league club at the same time. Something had to give, which is why Joey Ortiz was available in the deal for Corbin Burnes in January.

And something might have to give later this summer, whether that's Mayo, Kjerstad, Cowser or another name that's coming up through the system with fanfare but no spot on the big league roster.

It's not time to panic.

But it is time to plan.

Elias is a lot smarter than all of us. I assume he's thinking about October now as well. I know I am.

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#dmd's pga championship top 10


The PGA Championship, now being referred to as "The Scottie Scheffler Invitational", takes place at Valhalla Golf Club from May 16-19.

Valhalla has hosted three previous PGA Championships, with Mark Brooks, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy all winning major titles at the Louisville, Kentucky course.

#DMD will preview the PGA Championship with our top 10 picks, leading up to Wednesday, May 15. On May 15, we'll publish the up-to-date betting odds on all 10 of our picks.

Ludvig Aberg's first ever major was last month at the Masters and he produced a runner-up finish to Scottie Scheffler.

#10 was Chris Kirk. #9 was Si Woo Kim. #8 was Wyndham Clark. #7 was Collin Morikawa. Our #6 was Alex Noren. #5 was Brooks Koepka. #4 was Corey Conners. Ludvig Aberg is #3.

#2, Rory McIlroy -- I can't think of the last time I listed Rory McIlroy as one of my pre-tournament favorites at a major championship.

It's been a while, for sure.

But this week at Valhalla feels different.

Editor's note: I was locked in on Rory at #2 before he won yesterday. Part of me thinks it's tough for anyone to win two weeks in a row, so I considered dropping him today for someone else. But if there's any player who can piece together two great weeks in a row, it's the 4-time major champion. So I'm sticking with him.

McIlroy hasn't won a major since 2014. That win? At Valhalla, in fact.

With all due respect to the TOUR's best drivers of the golf ball over the last two decades, none of them have done it anywhere close to McIlroy. He could be -- big statement here, but the numbers back it up -- the best driver of the golf ball in the history of the sport.

This year alone, he's hit more drives of over 340 yards than he has hit under 295 yards. Think about that one for a second.

If his wedge game livens up at Valhalla and he putts accordingly, he has a real chance of winning. The only thing that tends to hold McIlroy back are his wedges in the final round. He didn't really need them at Wells Fargo over the weekend, but he'll need them at Valhalla.

I'm thinking the 10-year major-less drought my end in Louisville.

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"Randy On The O's"


Randy Morgan takes #DMD readers through the recent week in Orioles baseball as the Birds try to win a second straight A.L. East title.


orioles week in review


Week Record: 3-2

Season Record: 26-13

AL East Standing: 1st (0.5 ahead of NYY)

Player of the Week: Westburg .473 AVG 4 XBH 2 BB


It wasn’t quite a banner week for the Orioles, needing to pull off some Orioles Magic to escape a two-game sweep down in Washington, but the Birds managed to come out with a winning week to maintain their spot at the top of the American League.

In a light week with two off days, the O’s won two of three from the reigning National League champion Arizona Diamondbacks, to finish 3-2.

After a rest day on Monday, the O’s traveled down I-95 for a two game set with the Nationals. In the opener on Tuesday, the Birds managed to spoil yet another solid Corbin Burnes start.

Jordan Westburg's week included a game-winning hit in extra innings on Saturday in the O's win over Arizona.

Burnes hasn’t been as spectacular as his opening day gem recently, but he keeps the team in every game he starts. Unfortunately the O’s have failed to score more than two runs in any of his last three starts, getting shutout by journeyman Nats starter Trevor Williams. Burnes conceded just three runs in his 6.1 innings while striking out six.

The Orioles bounced back on Wednesday, taking the lead with homers from Anthony Santander and Gunnar Henderson after a strong but short, five inning, nine strikeout outing from Kyle Bradish.

They appeared on their way to a split with a 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the 9th, but Craig Kimbrel collapsed once again, allowing a homer to Eddie Rosario before walking the next two and leaving Keegan Akin a mess to clean up. Akin gave up a single to CJ Abrams to tie the game but managed to get the O’s to extra innings.

In extra frames, Ryan Mountcastle gave the Birds a leg up with a two-run homer in the 11th, but the bullpen once again squandered the lead.

The O’s remained resilient however, regaining the lead in the 12th on a Jorge Mateo single, followed by Mateo scoring on a wild pitch. This time it proved to be enough to secure a 7-6 win and avoid a sweep once again.

The good vibes carried into Friday’s opener with the Diamondbacks, where Cole Irvin maintained his impressive run of starts, limiting Arizona to two runs over 5.2 innings with six strikeouts to lower his season ERA to 2.90, just behind Burnes. Gunnar and Jordan Westburg led the offense, each providing an RBI double in a 4-2 win.

The team secured the winning week on Saturday afternoon with another dramatic win. John Means started strong in his second outing of the season, but he faded fast in the fifth inning, ultimately giving up four runs over 4.2 innings.

The O’s rallied back with homers again from Santander and Gunnar to pull even at 4-4 in the 8th inning.

The game then went to extra innings once again, with Craig Kimbrel redeeming himself somewhat with a 1-2-3 11th before Jordan Westburg played hero, capping off a 4-5 day with a game winning opposite field single.

The week ended on a sour note as Dean Kremer was solid early on Sunday but came apart after some defensive miscues and left in the sixth inning after giving up six runs (only three earned).

This time the bullpen couldn’t provide a chance for a comeback as they poured gas on the fire, with Cionel Perez allowing three more runs as the Diamondbacks pulled away for a 9-2 win to avoid the sweep.

The Player of the Week was fairly simple this edition. Though Gunnar Henderson had a solid week, batting .250 with his 11th and 12th homers of the season, and Ryan Mountcastle had several big games, Jordan Westburg was the man this week. The second year infielder hit for a .473 average with two walks and four extra base hits, including the game-winner on Saturday.

Westburg’s breakout season has been a slightly under the radar story for the O’s this year. He’s been the most consistent O’s hitter outside stars Gunnar and Adley and his defensive versatility has allowed them to play matchups with their other third and second base options.


Down on the Farm –

Down in Norfolk a few prospects continued to push for front office attention.

Coby Mayo had a cold start to the week but heated up over the weekend, tallying five hits and adding two more homers to his league-leading total of 13. With a .293 average and .977 OPS it seems like just a matter of time and the right opportunity before Mayo gets his chance in Baltimore.

Top prospect Jackson Holliday has yet to fully regain the dominant form that preceded his call-up, but he made strides this week, hitting safely in all but one game while putting up a .500 OBP for the week, though with just two extra-base hits.

The O’s have two pitching prospects that are starting to look close to major-league ready. Cade Povich continued to lead the Norfolk staff. He wasn’t quite as impressive as the last few weeks but still managed to strike out twelve over 9.1 innings in two starts, giving up fourteen hits, three walks and six runs. He currently sports a 2.16 ERA with a 1.1 WHIP on the season.

Chayce McDermott followed his no-hit outing last week with a decent effort, striking out eight in five innings with five hits surrendered and two runs. McDermott now has a 3.00 ERA on the season and his 49 Ks in 33 innings are second only to Povich.

In AA Bowie, Austin Hays returned from injury for a rehab stint. Hays played in five games for the Baysox, looking healthy with two homers. He appears set to return to Baltimore this coming week.

Also in Bowie, 2022 67th overall pick, Jud Fabian, had a big week, going 7-18 with two homers, two walks and seven RBI to raise his season OPS to .826 with six homers.


Question of the Week –

Have the Orioles shifted their team hitting philosophy?

This question came to mind after reading an article on Fangraphs last week which highlighted the greatly increased aggressiveness of Adley Rutschman at the plate this season.

Anecdotally, it seemed that Gunnar Henderson and perhaps several other Orioles were also taking a more aggressive approach, so I decided to dive into some of the numbers to see if this may represent a team or organization-wide shift in philosophy.

Over the past few years the O’s have had a reputation as one of the most selective teams at the plate, led largely by their two super prospects. The organization, and by extension the home-grown players, seemed to put an emphasis on patience at the plate, valuing walks and high on-base percentage.

This year, however, there seems to be a strategic change to get more aggressive at the plate, sacrificing some walks for harder contact and higher slugging percentages. After a fairly deep dive, the stats seem to confirm what my eyes were seeing.

In 2023 the O’s had an 8.4% walk rate, which surprisingly was only the 20th best in MLB. That went along with the 10th best slugging percentage (.421), 16th best OBP (.321), 17th best hard-hit percent (32.5%), 22nd best HR/FB rate (11.6%), and 7th best average exit velocity (89.4).

This season, they have dipped in walk rate, all the way down to 29th in the league at 6.8%, and 19th in OBP, but that has been buoyed in every other category. With the seemingly more aggressive approach, the O’s are 2nd in slugging (.440), 1st in hard-hit percent (34.1%), 1st in HR/FB rate (14.3%), and 2nd in average exit velocity (90.3).

The numbers are even more convincing when looking at the individual players, where we can also see the plate discipline stats showing how often hitters are seeing and hitting pitches inside and outside the strike zone.

Many of the O’s key hitters have been more aggressive at the plate this season with mostly positive results. Gunnar Henderson has seen his walk rate dip from 9% to 7.8% and his swing rate at pitches in the strike zone (Z-Swing on Fangraphs) has increased each year of his career, going from 67.3% in 2022 to 69.5% to 71.8% in 2024.

Gunnar is actually swinging at fewer pitches outside the strike zone as well (O-Swing) and seeing more pitches in the strike zone (44.7% compared to 43.9%). This was a somewhat surprising trend for most of the O’s hitters, that opposing pitchers seem to be throwing them more strikes this season.

For Gunnar, these changes have begun to push him to a new level, as he is among the top in the league for hard-hit rate, as well as most power numbers. His slugging percentage is up to .583 from .489, hard-hit rate up 4.3% to 56% and he is second in the league with twelve homers.

As the Fangraphs article pointed out, Adley has had one of the most dramatic shifts, dropping from a 13.4% walk rate in 2023 to just 4.8% this season. His slugging percentage has risen marginally as well as his exit velocity. Adley is swinging more at balls both in the zone and out of the zone, while also seeing a 3.4% rise in the amount of strikes thrown to him.

These trends were consistent across several other O’s hitters. Jordan Westburg has similar increases in swing rates at pitches in and out of the zone as well as jumps in exit velocity, slugging, and hard-hit rate, paired with a drop in walk rate.

Though not as pronounced, Anthony Santander and Ryan Mountcastle each exhibited similar trends.

So was this a calculated move by the Orioles front office to encourage more aggressiveness at the plate? Perhaps they crunched the numbers in the offseason and determined that their patience was costing them too much in explosiveness with the bats.

An alternative is that the team was zagging against their reputation, guessing that their well-known patience may encourage opposing teams to throw more strikes and shifting to take advantage of the increase in hittable pitches.

This made me wonder if this trend extended to the minors as well. While it was harder to determine for Norfolk since the plate discipline stats are not available, it does seem that this philosophical shift is organization-wide.

Of the few players who had significant time at Norfolk in both 2023 and 2024, the numbers reflect the same trend. Coby Mayo has seen his walk rate drop from 15.7% to 8.9% while increasing his slugging from .512 to .594.

Kyle Stowers likewise dropped his walk rate from 14.1% to 7.5% with the corresponding increase in slugging from .511 to .545.

Connor Norby was the one player who has actually increased his walk rate this season, but he also has increased his slugging from .483 to .497. Even non-prospect Norfolk catcher Maverick Handley has seen a drop in his walk rate and a rise in his slugging.

If this is indeed a change in hitting tactics it appears to be working quite well. As shown above, the Orioles are at or near the top of the league in nearly every important hitting category, so perhaps this has unlocked a new level for a young team.

The next question is obviously how other teams and opposing pitchers may counter this change. One might expect that pitchers may try to start throwing more pitches out of the zone to see if they can entice the Orioles to chase bad pitches.

However, the Fangraphs article pointed out that thus far, that adjustment hasn’t taken place, with Adley Rutschman and most of the other Orioles still seeing more strikes than last year. It will certainly be something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.

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Sunday
May 12, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3551


happy mother's day!


We are admittedly a sports "business" that interacts far more with men than women. It doesn't have to be that way, mind you, but it just is what it is.

That said, we do have plenty of female readers here at #DMD.

And I'm guessing a number of them also fill out the most valuable role on the team: mother.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you!

I recently saw an interesting video clip featuring Coach K of Duke from a decade or so ago. He was coaching high school age players at a camp or clinic of some kind and got into a discussion about toughness and how it applies to basketball.

In one part of the discussion, he says to the kids, "If you ever need inspiration, all you have to do is look at the toughest people you've ever known. And you all know who I mean: Your mother."

Coach K then went into detail about how tough moms are. "When they're sick, they still get up and make you breakfast and get you ready for school."

"They have to get ready for work at the same time they're getting you ready for school. They don't complain. It's part of their duty as your mother."

He went on with several other poignant examples and praises for moms. It was a cool scene to say the least.

I find myself liking Coach K more and more in the years since his retirement. It was hard to like him when he was actively coaching at Duke. Now, the more you know of him, the more respect you have. Or, at least, I do.

My mom passed away when I was just 24 years old. But in those 24 years, I got to see exactly what Coach K was talking about when he referenced "mom toughness".

I might have been an only child but I made the mess of three kids, probably, and was a "3-kid handful" at home. I was always playing a sport of some kind. Always in need of a ride somewhere. Always in need of my parents to do something for me.

My dad was in the car sales business, so his schedule was wonky. A lot of my sports obligations had to be met, in part, by my mother.

She never complained. Not once.

My wife and the mother of our two children is cut from the same cloth. Works full time, mothers full time, and, never, utters a complaint about it.

God wired women to be different than men. They're able to do things we men simply couldn't do. Motherhood is an incredible balance of patience, compassion, energy and discipline that men struggle to maintain.

Almost every man reading this right now has his mother to thank for what he's become in his life. It can all be summed up right there.

So, Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms reading this. We owe you everything. May God bless you all.


For one game, anyway, all was right with the Orioles. Well, not quite "all". We'll get to some of that stuff in a second.

But a lot of things went right in the 5-4 win over Arizona, including Craig Kimbrel pitching for the second straight day and looking efficient in his one inning (11th) of work. Kimbrel even picked up the victory after Jordan Westburg's hit plated the winning run in the bottom of that 11th inning.

The Birds improved to 26-12 on the year, a game better (after 38) than last year's early surge that saw them go 25-13.

It wasn't a great start for John Means, unfortunately. He went 4.2 innings and allowed 6 hits and 4 earned runs. The Diamondbacks spent most of the first four innings hitting lasers off of the Baltimore southpaw.

Ryan Mountcastle had two doubles and a triple in Saturday's 5-4 win over Arizona.

It also wasn't a day to remember for Heston Kjerstad, either. He went 0-for-3 at the plate to see his average dip to .143 and he was an adventure-in-the-making on any ball hit his way in left field.

Cedric Mullins got most of the day off. He came in to pinch hit late and struck out. He's hitting .192 now. It's not pretty.

Others, though, were bright spots on Saturday.

The aforementioned Westburg went 4-for-5 in addition to knocking in the winning run. He's off to a really nice start in 2024: .301/.345/.522

Ryan Mountcastle was 3-for-5 on Saturday with a pair of doubles. He's hitting .288.

And don't look now, but Jorge Mateo is once again slowly starting to creep into the territory of "has to play more". He got the start at second base yesterday with Westburg at third and went 1-for-4 at the dish and handled his position well defensively. His only guaranteed starts over the last year have come against southpaw starters. But that might have to change if he continues to hit .250 (ish) and plays outstanding defense.

Another nice weekend crowd of 27,000 plus was on hand to see the win.

Toronto and Seattle come to town this week. That feels like 5 or 6 more wins.

The beer is going to be ice cold by Memorial Day, I'm guessing.


Don't forget, I'll be on the air from 4-6 pm today on 105.7 The Fan for "Fairways and Greens", Baltimore's only homegrown golf radio show.

Guests on today's show include Gilman's Bennett Espenshade, who just won the MIAA Individual Championship, and Michael Crowley of Loyola University, who advanced through U.S. Open local qualifying earlier this week and will also tee it up with his Greyhounds in the NCAA tournament starting tomorrow in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

If you have any questions for the show, you can e-mail them to me today (18inarow@gmail.com) or you can call in between 4 and 6 pm at 410-583-1057.

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#dmd's pga championship top 10


The PGA Championship, now being referred to as "The Scottie Scheffler Invitational", takes place at Vahalla Golf Club from May 16-19.

Valhalla has hosted three previous PGA Championships, with Mark Brooks, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy all winning major titles at the Louisville, Kentucky course.

#DMD will preview the PGA Championship with our top 10 picks, leading up to Wednesday, May 15. On May 15, we'll publish the up-to-date betting odds on all 10 of our picks.

Ludvig Aberg's first ever major was last month at the Masters and he produced a runner-up finish to Scottie Scheffler.

#10 was Chris Kirk. #9 was Si Woo Kim. #8 was Wyndham Clark. #7 was Collin Morikawa. Our #6 was Alex Noren. #5 was Brooks Koepka. #4 was Corey Conners.

#3, Ludvig Aberg -- I'm just as worried as you (if you're a golf enthusiast) about Aberg's WD from the Wells Fargo due to a knee injury, but I have to assume that was more out of precaution than anything else. If you wager on the big Swede and he winds up not playing, you'll get your money back.

Now, if he tees off on Thursday, plays 18 holes, shoots 77 and WD's, you're not getting your money back. So, wager accordingly.

That said, I'm going to assume he's healthy and ready to go.

And if he's healthy and ready to go...Valhalla GC is the absolute perfect place for him to win his first major.

They're going to stretch the place out to 7,500 yards this week. I just don't see how guys like Denny McCarthy, Brian Harman and other short-ish hitters can prosper there. But Aberg will have no trouble handling the 7,500 yard test.

Assuming he's going to have a full, healthy PGA Tour career, this kid is going to win a lot of golf tournaments. And multiple majors, too. If you pressed me for an answer right now to the question: "Who wins more majors, Aberg or McIlroy?", I'd take Aberg and he's already four behind.

As we saw from him at Augusta National last month, the moment is not too big for him. All he knows is tee it up and pound it. Find it, usually in the fairway, and hit it on the green.

He's the real deal.

If his knee is OK this week, he has a great chance to win.

JERRY'S TOYOTA banner
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Saturday
May 11, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3550


and this is what's wrong...


Regular readers of #DMD probably know by now that my weekly visit on Glenn Clark Radio (every Wednesday, 10 am - 12 noon) has recently included a new segment called, "This is what's wrong with our country."

It started on a lark, really. I don't remember exactly what I was upset with the day we invented the 10-minute segment, but it probably had something to do with lunatic drivers on Baltimore roads or coffee shop workers who mumble instead of looking you in the eye and saying, "Hi, how can I help you?"

Clark and I both try to take the segment seriously. It's not hard to do, honestly, since I think all of us, all the time, find things embedded in our society that are part and parcel of "what's wrong with our country".

A majority of the things I find wrong with our country generally fall under either common sense, kindness or self entitlement.

I was taking my son to an early morning dentist appointment on Wednesday of this past week. As is typically the case at 7:45 am, the Beltway was a fiasco. It was bumper-to-bumper as we passed over Perring Parkway in the direction of Towson. It was still moving along at a snail's pace as we closed in on the Loch Raven Blvd. exit.

Suddenly, to my right, a small car buzzed along the shoulder, passing all of his who were sitting there patiently trying to navigate our way to wherever it was we were going.

The vehicle continued unchecked all along the right shoulder at probably 40 miles per-hour.

As a rule, that's precisely the kind of stuff I point to with Clark when I say, "This is what's wrong with our country."

The driver of that vehicle was saying, very clearly, "Whatever needs you all have don't compare to mine. My morning and my destination are more important. I know you're waiting. But I'm not going to wait. I have somewhere to be."

Now...here's the quick qualifier. And I pointed this out to my son.

"Maybe he or she cut their hand and they're rushing to the hospital," I said.

Perhaps they woke up late and were hustling to make it to their job by 8 am. Maybe they've been late twice recently and the boss said, "Next time you're late, you're fired."

For all I know, their 84 year old mother slipped and fell in the kitchen earlier in the morning and was being rushed to GMBC.

Or, maybe it was as simple as, "I'm not sitting here in traffic waiting around when I can just drive on the shoulder and get to where I'm going."

The optics of it just didn't look good. Thousands of cars in traffic and one person basically giving the impression that what he or she had going on was far more important than anything they have going on.

It's a small thing, of course. A Wednesday morning in suburban Baltimore and a traffic situation involving thousands of people who were kind vs. one goof who decided he/she didn't want to wait in traffic. But it's a microcosm of one of things that's wrong with our country; people have little regard for other people.

And, so, on an unrelated note, we move to Florida, where this week a story surfaced that is also worthy of discussion in the "This is what's wrong with our country" segment on Glenn Clark Radio.

It's a slippery slope because over the last 20 years or so our country has picked up an almost-puzzling fear of God and His impact on the direction of our lives.

So, anytime religion or faith gets broached these days, there's a segment of the population that gets very jittery.

But this story in Florida deserves scrutiny and a massive thumbs-down.

An elementary school was forced to dissolve their Fellowship of Christian Athletes weekly "huddle" after the Freedom From Religion Foundation forced them to do so.

We just can't have those 5th graders meeting up once a week to learn more about God and their faith, I guess.

When they're in 6th grade, the FCA huddle is "allowed". But while you're in a public elementary school, in Florida, the FCA meeting falls under separation of church and state regulations, says the FFRF.

Never mind that participating in the FCA huddle is completely voluntary. We run one every Thursday at Calvert Hall. It's in Room 108. The door is open. Enter if you like.

We don't stand outside the door like a carnival barker urging people to come in. If you're interested in FCA, the invite is there. Please join us.

So, the FCA huddle at the elementary school in Florida was similar in nature. Anyone could attend. It was voluntary.

But the religious freedom people still got very nervous. And they filed a complaint.

"Students have the First Amendment right to be free from religious indoctrination in their public schools. While the Equal Access Act protects students' right to form religious clubs in secondary schools, it does not apply to elementary schools," an attorney argued in her letter to the school board.

"Elementary students are too young to truly run a club entirely on their own initiative with no input from school staff or outside adults," she claimed.

Yeah, we can't have those elementary school students showing leadership qualities at a young age. That would be terrible, wouldn't it?

So, the Florida school board caved in, but along the way they reminded the students that once they got to middle school, groups like FCA would be available for them to join and enjoy.

In Florida, middle schools can have groups like FCA and it somehow doesn't relate to the goofy separation of church and state stuff.

It's just those 5th graders, you know. We can't have them learning about God and faith in 5th grade.

What's wrong with our country isn't the fear of God starting to trickle down to various parts of our every day lives.

What's wrong with our country is that people get involved in stuff that is of no concern to them whatsoever.

The FCA huddle at the Florida elementary school was voluntary. Perhaps that's a word that the guys and gals running FFRF don't understand with their limited education(s), but no one was forced to attend the huddle or participate in any religious activities.

If a 5th grader wants to attend a FCA huddle, why get in his or her way?

If a 5th grader wanted to attend the Beekeeper's Club or the Guitar Club, they'd be "mature enough" to make that decision on their own.

But if they want to attend the FCA huddle, that's a no-no. Now, we have to get in your way.

The only reason you get in their way is because you've decided it's your mission to make sure people don't discover more about God.

The Florida school board caved in. I wish they wouldn't have.

I was hoping a rival group would surface in Florida. "People Against Religious Freedom People". Alas, it hasn't happened.

But it's probably time to start thinking about writing the charter.

And I'd love to see a Florida 5th grader serve as the group's first President.

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#dmd's pga championship top 10


The PGA Championship, now being referred to as "The Scottie Scheffler Invitational", takes place at Vahalla Golf Club from May 16-19.

Valhalla has hosted three previous PGA Championships, with Mark Brooks, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy all winning major titles at the Louisville, Kentucky course.

#DMD will preview the PGA Championship with our top 10 picks, leading up to Wednesday, May 15. On May 15, we'll publish the up-to-date betting odds on all 10 of our picks.

Canadian Corey Conners is among the tour's best ball strikers but needs his putter to heat up at next week's PGA.

#10 was Chris Kirk. #9 was Si Woo Kim. #8 was Wyndham Clark. #7 was Collin Morikawa. Our #6 was Alex Noren. #5 was Brooks Koepka.

#4 - Corey Conners -- The Canadian feels so much like this generation's version of Davis Love III it's not even funny. Throughout his career, Love was a great driver of the golf ball and a sublime iron player.

He was, unfortunately, a generational talent who was never a great putter. Love III only won one major title, the 1997 PGA Championship at Winged Foot.

Corey Conners is cut from the same cloth.

Very few golfers in the world hit the ball like he does. He's just not a great putter.

He's a good putter, obviously. You'd never be a top 20 player in the world by being a terrible putter.

But he's not a great putter. He has weeks where the flat stick works well and that's when he contends. But he putts "good" more often than he putts "great".

Look at the data this year alone: 43d in shots gained, total.

23rd in shots gained, off the tee.

4th in shots gained, approach to green.

30th in total driving (combination of accuracy and distance).

160th in shots gained, putting.

That's why Corey Conners doesn't win.

160th on TOUR in putting.

All that said, the difference between 160th and an acceptable number like, 80th, is miniscule. It's one more made 10-foot putt every two or three rounds.

I'm confident he's going to win a major championship someday. And, like Love III, I think it might be a PGA. And next week's journey around Valhalla seems like a good time for him to snag that elusive first major.

He's playing well at Wells Fargo this week. And that's a similar set-up/layout to Valhalla. If he just putts decently at Valhalla...

JERRY'S TOYOTA banner
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Friday
May 10, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3549


we're not doing a lot of "connecting"


The great Jim Morrison once said it best: "People are strange..."

Our beloved Orioles have played great baseball over the last two seasons. They're already on the fast track to another 100-win season in 2024.

And yet there's a rumbling of trouble in Birdland.

It has nothing to do with Craig Kimbrel.

Or Cedric Mullins.

It's actually a problem that has zero to do with anything except superstition.

The team is having a difficult time playing "Orioles baseball" in what are called their "City Connect" uniforms.

The uniforms were unveiled last year as part of a league-wide campaign by Nike and MLB to provide an alternative jersey that would better connect the team with their hometown.

Yes, it's loosely disguised as just another way to cop $150 from all of you who wanted one, that much is true. But, still, the idea was solid, even if the eventual product -- in some cases -- was "meh" at best.

When the BALTIMORE City Connect uniforms were first used in 2023, people in town fell in love with them.

A year later, divorce papers are on file.

My buddy Glenn Clark is one of the campaign leaders, in fact, for the divorce. He believes the team needs to abandon them. Like...now.

The record over two seasons reflects poorly on the new uniforms, if that sort of thing matters to you. The Birds are 5-9 in their black shirts, including 0-3 this season. Perhaps even more problematic is the team generally also fails to hit when they're wearing the City Connect "kit".

Oh, and if you're heading out to the ballpark tonight for the chilly, drizzly home encounter with the Arizona Diamondbacks, you'll be seeing the City Connect shirts up close and personal, as the ballclub wears them for all Friday home games.

So is there a legitimate connection -- see what I did there? -- between bad Orioles baseball and a bad baseball jersey that the club has to wear as part of the league-wide deal with Nike?

Or are people just crazy about things that don't matter?

Clark doubled down on Wednesday during my weekly appearance on his show and said, "Whatever the fine is for not wearing them, the Orioles should just pay that and move on."

I actually don't even think that's possible. But it would certainly be interesting if the league said, "Sure, you don't have to wear them 24 times this season as the contract states...but it's $100,000 for each game under 24 you fall short."

For the record, I have no idea what the actual league mandate is for each team to wear them, but I'm sure there's a number, per the contract. There are still some teams who haven't even unveiled their City Connect shirts yet. Detroit, in fact, just became the latest team to debut their new uniforms earlier this month.

But it's interesting to hear people like Clark just come out and say it. "Stop wearing them and pay whatever the fine is that's associated with your insubordination."

Now that's some real superstition on display right there.

And Clark's not the only one who says that.

There are lots and lots of Orioles fans who think the uniforms have to be folded up and packed away for an auction later on down the road.

Me?

I don't think the team's 5-9 record while wearing City Connect uniforms has anything at all to do with the actual City Connect uniforms.

I think people try to figure out "what's wrong?" and see a 5-9 record and say, "We're never 5-9 in any other circumstance except when we wear these shirts."

But I also know this: Baseball players are incredibly superstitious. If they eat peanut butter and jelly mixed with raisins and olives before a game and go 4-for-4, they're eating peanut butter and jelly mixed with raisins and olives the next day, too.

At some point down the road, if, say, the team is 7-18 in their first 25 games wearing those things, the club might have to figure out "something" to tell the league.

I can hear Mike Elias now.

"So, you know those City Connect uniforms? The weirdest thing happened. Our players all developed a bad allergic reaction to them. Must be something in the material. We'll have to get new ones next season and get our team doctors to figure out what's going on. For now, though, under medical advice, we're not going to be able to wear them any longer."

For all I know, Elias thinks it's funny the team's 5-9 wearing them the same way I do. And not "funny" as in "I don't care", but funny as in, "Yeah, that's a weird one, but it's not actually important."

But if the team keeps on losing when they wear those uniforms, a player or two will snuggle up next to him on a team flight at some point and say, "Hey, Mike...about those City Connect uniforms."

Baseball players are strange, man.

If they're 5-9 when they are wearing a certain uniform combination, it's because of the uniform combination. It's not because of them.


There was an interesting situation at yesterday's Wells Fargo Championship involving first round leader Xander Schauffele. If "X" goes on to win, the incident on Thursday will certainly be talked about quite a bit.

On the 8th hole in yesterday's first round, Schauffele hit a poor drive that went into a wooded area near a fence that borders the perimeter of the property.

He thought the ball might be out of bounds, so he played a provisional tee ball, per the rules.

Upon arriving at the scene, Schauffele discovered the ball was in play, but in a penalty area. Technically, he should have been forced to abandon that ball and play the provisional he hit. But Schauffele wiggled out of that dilemma by explaining to the rules official he believed that part of the golf course did not contain a penalty area (red stakes) and was playing a provisional tee ball for an out-of-bounds penalty.

The rules official agreed with him and allowed him to play the original tee ball.

Here's what it really got murky.

Schauffele's only play in the general direction of the green was to hit a low screamer under about 30 trees and overhanging limbs. The odds on pulling that shot off to perfection were probably about 2.5%. But about 80 yards up, in front of the area he was going to have to play the shot, was a tower that was temporarily erected on the course to provide satellite scoring and statistical information to the PGA Tour media center.

Schauffele asked for relief from a "temporary immovable obstruction" -- the Shotlink Tower -- and it was granted, despite the fact that under almost no circumstances at all could he have actually hit the shot he was intending to hit from the penalty area. It was possible, yes, but about as possible as Charlize Theron accepting your invite for a cocktail in your hotel room.

It was very obvious that Schauffele was grasping for straws and pulled one out, perfectly. He couldn't have pulled off the shot. But that wasn't really the point.

He then took the free relief granted to him by the rules official, played a shot up close to the green, and eventually made a par.

After a first round 64, Xander leads the event by three shots.

The internet lit up with criticism of Schauffele and the PGA Tour for allowing him to maneuver his way out of what most certainly would have likely been at least a bogey, if not higher.

"Why not make him play the shot he said he wanted to play? And if he hits the tower, then allow him to either replay the same shot or take relief then?" That was the question asked by a lot of people on the internet and, frankly, it's the one that makes the most sense.

There are courses all over the place (Briarwood in PA has this issue, in fact) that have telephone wires running all throughout the golf course. If your ball hits one of them during its flight, you're allowed to replay the shot, per the rules. You don't take relief from them before you hit the shot. You simply replay the shot, if, in fact, they interfere with your ball flight.

Golf has some weird nuances.

You can hit a tee shot right down the middle, 300 yards, but wind up in a 5 inch divot and have to play your next shot out of an area that is clearly "under repair" or "damaged".

But you can then hit your tee shot 50 yards off line into the woods and claim your next shot might be impacted by a tower that is likely not even close to being in your way and you get free relief.

If Schauffele goes on to win by one or two shots, this story won't die away quickly.

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#dmd's pga championship top 10


The PGA Championship, now being referred to as "The Scottie Scheffler Invitational", takes place at Vahalla Golf Club from May 16-19.

Valhalla has hosted three previous PGA Championships, with Mark Brooks, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy all winning major titles at the Louisville, Kentucky course.

#DMD will preview the PGA Championship with our top 10 picks, leading up to Wednesday, May 15. On May 15, we'll publish the up-to-date betting odds on all 10 of our picks.

One more major win for Brooks Koepka and he ties Phil Mickelson with six career major titles.

#10 was Chris Kirk. #9 was Si Woo Kim. #8 was Wyndham Clark. #7 was Collin Morikawa. Our number 6 was Alex Noren.

#5 - Brooks Koepka Valhalla just feels like a place where Brooks Koepka will shine. It's a huge ballpark, he's a guy that just "athletes it around", and the whole PGA vibe is perfect for his style, as evidenced by the fact that he's won 3 of them in his career.

That he just won recently on the LIV Tour is probably good for him, per se, but I'm not sure it has much to do with him playing well next week at Valhalla.

What will serve him well at Valhalla will be the array of shots he's capable of hitting. He can power it out there 320 when the hole calls for it and he can chip it out there 220 off the tee when the hole suggests that's the best play. And his wedge game is always spot-on during major championship weeks.

Koepka's putter is always the chief concern in his bag, but he's a much better putter than people give him credit for. You don't win five majors if you're not a great putter along the way.

He's only 34 years old. If Koepka can snag a 6th major in 2024, he can probably make a legitimate run at double digits. He's always going to be a threat at Augusta National and his record at the U.S. Open isn't too shabby, either.

JERRY'S TOYOTA banner

faith in sports


Newcomers to #DMD, please do yourself a great favor today and watch this video for 9 minutes.

#DMD veterans, you've probably seen it here before. I try to run this Inky Johnson video once a year. I show it, at some point, to all of my Calvert Hall golfers.

Inky Johnson was a college football player at the University of Tennessee who suffered a life changing injury.

But that's not the biggest part of his story.

You have to watch the video to find out more about Inky Johnson.

And once you watch this Inky Johnson video, you'll probably do the same thing I've done over the last 3 years and watch every video and every speech he's done since the day of his injury.

Inky Johnson is one of the most powerful people in the world of sports. God put him on this planet to change the way people look at Him and at life.

Please take 9 minutes today to watch this.

Thanks, as always, to our friends at Freestate Electrical for their continued support of #DMD and our "Faith in Sports" segment every Friday.


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Thursday
May 9, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#3548


"how's your shoulder, craig?"


I don't think the Orioles are at the end of the Craig Kimbrel experiment, but it's time to put it on pause at the very least.

Last night was the latest episode and, despite the O's eventually pulling out a 7-6 win, it was Kimbrel's 9th inning disaster that extended the game in Washington D.C.

I can't see the Birds outright cutting Kimbrel at this point and effectively admitting to a $13 million mistake.

But it's time for a reset with the veteran closer.

And that might mean the famous "shoulder inflammation" diagnosis for Kimbrel, followed by the accompanying trip to the Injured List.

Yeah, it's time.

Brandon Hyde: "Sorry to hear about your shoulder, Craig."

Kimbrel: "Huh? My shoulder? It's fine, skip. Just had some trouble locating my fastball tonight."

Another lousy outing in D.C. last night has Craig Kimbrel on the hot seat.

Hyde: "No, your shoulder's not good, Craig."

Kimbrel: "It's fine, Brandon."

Hyde: "We'll get it taken care of when we get back home. The docs we have are great. They'll get you back on the mound in no time."

Kimbrel: "But, skip, I feel --"

Hyde: "We're right here with you every step of the way. The docs will figure it out, don't worry."

Now, that doesn't mean the O's late-game woes are fixed.

It just means, for now at least, Kimbrel won't be contributing to any 9th inning collapses.

Something has to be done.

Give the closing role to a committee; Cano, Suarez, Akin, Webb.

Or just give it to Webb for a series and see how he does.

Start putting together some potential trade options and improve the situation that way, if possible.

Just know that Kimbrel is looking more and more like he's not the answer. It's a costly lesson the O's have learned, but sometimes that's the way it goes.

The Orioles have some other pressing issues as well. Yes, the closer situation is probably the one garnering the most attention, but someone needs to check Cedric Mullins and make sure he's OK.

After last night's 0-for-5 performance at the plate, he's now hitting .200 with a woeful OBP of .254.

Yes, Mullins is almost irreplaceable in center field. But you have to be able to hit, too. His defense is great. But at the plate, it's starting to become very concerning.

Colton Cowswer had also been scuffling -- big time -- before going 2-for-4 last night. Let's hope he's starting to get back on track.

The good news: Baltimore did win last night's game, though, even after Kimbrel coughed up a 2-run 9th inning lead (although Akin technically gave up the hit that plated the second run), followed by Suarez doing the same thing in the bottom of the 11th after the O's had gone up 5-3 earlier in the inning.

So, despite the bullpen woes on Wednesday evening, the Birds did prevail in a nailbiter.

But Kimbrel's performance was the story of the night, unfortunately.

Mike Elias, the ball is now firmly in your court.

Do something, please.


Shohei Ohtani's former interpreter agreed yesterday to plead guilty to federal bank fraud and tax evasion charges in the wake of stealing almost $17 million from the Japanese star to help pay off his gambling debts.

Ippei Mizuhara is expected to enter his guilty plea in the coming weeks. His arraignment is scheduled for next Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Shohei Ohtani's former interpreter stole nearly $17 million from the Dodgers superstar.

A sentencing date has not been set. The total maximum sentence Mizuhara could receive for both crimes would be 33 years imprisonment and fines of $1.25 million, but in exchange for his plea -- outlined in the agreement released Wednesday -- prosecutors will recommend a reduced sentence.

Ohtani and the Dodgers both refused comment on Wednesday.

Mizuhara began making bets with an illegal bookmaker in September 2021.

As his losses quickly grew, he began to exploit his access to Ohtani's financial accounts to pay off his gambling debts.

Mizuhara took many steps to deceive Ohtani, including changing contact information on the baseball player's bank accounts so communication would come to Mizuhara.

He also impersonated Ohtani on the phone with calls to the bank, which he did at least 24 times, according to the plea agreement that was made available to the media on Wednesday.

In one of those instances, on Feb. 2, 2022, Mizuhara called a representative of a bank seeking help to complete a wire transfer for what Mizuhara said was a "car loan" and verified the transaction with a six-digit code sent via text message, which went to Mizuhara's phone instead of Ohtani's. The interpreter had already changed the information on the account to receive the texts to his phone.

Last September, Mizuhara told Ohtani he needed $60,000 for dental work, which Ohtani arranged to give him via a check drawn from a business account. However, Mizuhara pocketed that money and instead used Ohtani's debit card to pay the $60,000 dental bill.

This is obviously a terrible, terrible story. Ohtani's out almost $17 million and there's little chance Mizuhara will ever be able to pay him back.

Ohtani also lost some credibility when the story first circulated two months ago. People in the U.S. and elsewhere believed Ohtani was either involved in gambling himself or, at the very least, was worki